Saturday, November 30, 2013

Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturdays

Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturdays

Guess what we are cooking today (actually, I made this on Wednesday)???  Cranberry Apple Casserole by Cel Bailey - this recipe is also available in our Trinity UMC cookbook - Temptations!  I think this recipe is both satisfying and a little sumptuous!!  The recipe that I'm going to give you is for ONE RECIPE!  I will tell you what I did to it at the end.

3 cups chopped, unpeeled apples (I used Granny Smith)
2 cups raw cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup real butter

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix apples, cranberries and sugar.  Place in a 2 quart baking dish.  Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, pecans and butter together; spread over the top of the apple mixture.  Bake for one hour.

Well . . .you see . . .our family doesn't make many dishes in a 2 quart casserole.  That is not usually big enough.  You would think we would all be overweight - not just me!!  So, we always double this because it is a holiday favorite - both Thanksgiving and Christmas!!

So I doubled all the ingredients - 6 cups apples, 4 cups cranberries, 3 cups sugar (goodness gracious! - it needs it though).  So far . . .so good.

Isn't it pretty??  Those were some of the most gorgeous cranberries I have ever purchased!!

I used my cranberries straight from the freezer.  You can buy them when fresh in the grocery store and then just chunk that bag right in the freezer and use them as needed.  That is why the sugar looks kind of clumpy - the cranberries were cold!!

This is where the problem occurred.  I told Mark last week that I HAVE to purchase some new reading glasses.  I've been wearing 100's, 125's, and a pair or two of 150's for years.  All of a sudden, I can't read everything.  Dadgum - getting old is not for sissies!!  So when I read the recipe, I thought it said 1/2 cup flour (rather than 1/3 cup) so I had already mixed in a cup of flour rather than 2/3 (cause I was doubling, remember?).  There was nothing I could do except start over OR . . ..WAIT FOR IT . . .I HAD A BRILLIANT IDEA.  I would just triple the topping.  Everyone loves the topping.  It is like a giant oatmeal cookie on top of cranberries and apples.  So that is just what I did.  I tripled all the topping ingredients -- the oats, the flour, the brown sugar, the pecans and the butter (well - actually - I didn't triple the butter.  I just couldn't imagine three sticks of butter in anything . . .so I only doubled the butter (that is still TWO STICKS OF REAL BUTTER - LAND 'O LAKES SALTED BUTTER IS MY FAVORITE) . . .I may have added just a tad more - if you are ever tripling it, you can decide -- you have to be able to spread it.) . . .I just typed parenthetical information inside parenthetical information - there is probably some other punctuation I should use . . .or there is probably some hard and fast rule that says NEVER DO THAT . . .but heck - my blog, right? hee hee!  I always use way too many "dot, dot, dots . . ." and way too many parenthesis - I think I even talk that way!!

I baked it for an hour but because there was so much of it, I actually put it back in and let it back a little longer.  Then we reheated it on Thanksgiving day.  This casserole is what was cooking when Mr. Stanley Steemer (see last post) was here.

Cranberry Apple Casserole is wonderful - it is so versatile - you can serve it for breakfast on Christmas morning or for Sunday lunch - I think it would be great with pork tenderloin . . .maybe I'll make it for Tuesday night???.  It is especially great on Thanksgiving.  My sister-in-law, Alice, usually makes this dish but they went out of town for Thanksgiving.  We love it so much that someone else (that would be me!) has to make it when she isn't here.  (we sure did miss them but they were where they needed to be!!)
I'm not having a lot of success with folks linking up to share recipes . . .but I'm going to keep on.  When I went to that conference (She Speaks) this summer, they said, "don't give up."  so . . . link up and share a recipe with us!!  What dish does your family love so much that you cannot have thanksgiving without it?  Or you can just share any recipe!!

Friday, November 29, 2013


I scheduled Stanley Steemer to come to our house on Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) to clean our carpets and to clean our tile floor in the master bathroom.  I don't remember the last time we had our floors cleaned and they were beginning (actually, they were waaaay past) to look bad.  I swear - going back to work keeps me from doing all sorts of things that I used to do . . .of course, I've been working almost ten years now!   So . . .when I was booking the appointment for Stanley Steemer to come, I noticed that they also had the ability to clean tile floors and grout.  I decided since they were going to be here anyway . . .

I scheduled a day of vacation (which was nice because that means that I am off for FIVE WHOLE DAYS!!) and awaited the arrival of Mr. Stanley Steemer.  He arrived right on time (between 8 and 12 - it would be really hard to screw that up when you have a four hour window of time!!).  I was his second stop so he arrived quite early which was wonderful!!  He cleaned the upstairs carpets and then came downstairs to start of the bathroom.  I wanted to watch (I know that probably drives people crazy!!) so I just happened to be folding clothes in the adjoining bedroom.

Stanley Steemer has no idea that I am writing about them.  I am not being compensated in any way, form or fashion (though if they read this and offered something free, I would take it - hee hee!). 

I was amazed at the difference in our bathroom floor . . .and a little horrified that the grout was so dirty.  The floor is mopped at least once a week . . .how could it be that dirty?  But it was . . .

Of course, I was talking to Mr. Stanley Steemer.  Didn't you expect that from me?  I told him that I was amazed at the difference and he said . . .and I quote, "Ma'am - if you had not waited so long to call us, I could have gotten it even cleaner."  I looked at him and said, "I had no idea you could have it professionally cleaned until I saw it on your website!"  He looked at me as if I had sprouted horns.  I really didn't know that the "carpet cleaners" could clean your 'TILE'!!!  He said, "Yes ma'am - we will even come out and clean your car!!"  I said, "WHAT?"  Did you know that you can pay Stanley Steemer and they will send someone out to clean the inside of your car - carpets and upholstery?  Have I been living under a dadgum rock?????  I guess I have just been living under a layer of filth.  No - I did not hire him to clean my car . . .nor my hardwood floors (yes, they will clean those, too!!)

Look at his funky boots.  I did not ask him if those were official carpet cleaning boots . . .but I really wanted to ask that question!!!!!

Look at that nasty grout!!  It looked like we had gray grout . . .we didn't!!

Look how much better the grout was looking - and he wasn't even finished yet!  I did finally leave him alone and stopped taking pictures . . .but not before I knew his whole life story!!  He was married for 11 years - has four kids - the oldest is 15???  The next in line is 13 ????  He is divorced now and said he didn't think he would ever get married again (think he had a bad marriage,  perhaps??).  He was planning to serve pizza for Thanksgiving.  Yes, we discussed that . . .and I wanted to cry when he told me that.  He did say he had his kids for Thanksgiving and of course, I said, "Oh kids love pizza - they will probably be thrilled! . . .when I was really trying to figure out how to invite him to the family party.  Just typing that makes me laugh out loud - we've brought all sorts of friends to Thanksgiving but I think my mother-in-law might draw the southern bell line in the sand if I called her and said, "oh by the way . . .I invited Mr. Stanley Steemer and his four children to YOUR house for Thanksgiving dinner."  Yet . . .I kept thinking about that scripture . . .about inviting those to the table . . .but, alas, it wasn't my table to invite.  Now you might be wondering how he and I got to discussing Thanksgiving and menus, right?  He said that my house smelled good - I was cooking the wonderful apple and cranberry casserole that we ate last night.  It does smell (and taste!) quite divine.

So after all this rambling, if you have tile that needs a good cleaning and you have tried everything (I had even scrubbed it with a toothbrush, lest you think I'm a dirty person!!), call Stanley Steemer!!  Our bathroom is quite large and it was about $109 -  he cleaned it with his machine twice and then HE GOT ON HIS HANDS AND KNEES and applied a clear sealer to the grout . . .ON HIS HANDS AND KNEES.  I rest my case - it was well worth $109.  Oh - they only take cash or credit cards . . .and they don't carry any change (at all!) . . .so Stanley Steemer got an extra dollar from me this week!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A recipe that is more than a recipe . . .

Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturdays

So . . .I was beginning to think that I WAS NOT going to get to write a post today . . .but I just sent a text to Glenn and they got a deer and they were still at the farm . . .so I'm home alone for a couple more hours.  I've been busy today!!  I had to take the cat back to the vet . . .for another dip . . .and then I brought him back home and immediately left to run a couple of errands.  I went to the local post office to mail a package to Doug - he is deployed and his packages are mailed to Kandahar airfield.  Our Sunday School class has filled two boxes and almost a third.  I mailed one last week and one today and will try to mail one next Saturday.  Then I had to run to Walmart for some craft supplies.  I got home and started cooking and the dishwasher is running for the second time.  I had planned to watch Hunger Games while I stayed home today (or last night) . . .but dadgum it, for some reason, the DVD player is not working.   So instead I've watched a marathon of Sister Act and Sister Act II and now the tv is on HGTV.  Oh - I forgot one of the most important things I did today -- I prepared a Sunday School lesson for tomorrow!!  Now I know you don't really care what I did today but I felt compelled to share :-)

Ok - so what did I cook?  I cooked several things but I want to tell you about one in particular - more than a recipe . . .it is TRADITION!!  Mark and I have been making this since we first married.  He was the original cook . . .and then taught me how . . .and it is so time consuming that I know why!!  It is soo worth it though . . .at least for tradition's sake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove one of the racks and put the other rack on the bottom "rung" . . .(I'm surprised that my oven is not filthy . . .as much as it is used . . .just a little dirty :-) )

We call these things "pumpkins" but they aren't really.  They are actually butternut squash.  This one came from the farm (where Mark is this weekend).  We used to get tons of them every year and we moaned and groaned about having to "do something" with them . . .and now we sure do miss the abundance.

I washed the "pumpkin" and then got out my handy dandy ice pick and poked some holes in the top.  You can see my wiggly pilgrim in the window from the dollar tree - the sign said, "You better buy them now because they will be gone."  You know I did - heck, I got them out of the packing box!!  Don't tell me that "advertising" doesn't work!  hahahahaha!  (yes - I have a boy pilgrim, a girl pilgrim and a turkey . . .that is a rooster in the picture!)

You can see the holes - there is no magic number - just poke away . . .work out some frustrations!!

I had to trim the stem a tad . . .it wouldn't stand upright in my oven.  Place in a pan and add a cup or so of water to the pan.

I took a picture of this because I wanted to remember the time . . .I started the process at 10:30 a.m. . . .and the pumpkin cooked for about 2 1/2 hours in the oven.

I took it out (the first time) and it looked like this.

When I cut into it, there were some areas that were not cooked enough . . .so I put it back in the oven.  I think this was at the 2 hour mark and I put it back in for an extra 30 minutes or so.

This was the final product . can definitely tell that it cooked more . is "slumping"!!!

I let it cool for a few minutes (15 or 20?) and then I peeled some of it and scooped some of it . . .this was a great "pumpkin" because of the thick neck full of useful "meat."  I scooped out the seeds and strings and put the rest in the mixing bowl.

You can see what was left . . .charred skin, seeds and strings and juice.

It was enough to almost fill up my mixing bowl . . .but that was not the end.  I dumped the "pumpkin" into a dutch oven and cooked it some more to get out some of the liquid.  This is for Thanksgiving dinner so I needed lots . . .so I added two cans of pumpkin from the grocery store - NOT pumpkin pie filling - just plain pumpkin.
Finally, it was cooked enough - you can tell - when the liquid has cooked out.  I added the cans of pumpkin and made sure it was all hot and added about 3/4 of a stick of real butter - Land O' Lakes is my fav.  I also added one and a half cups of white sugar (maybe a little more) and a cup of brown sugar.  You really want to add the butter and sugar while it is hot so that it melts into the "pumpkin."
I then transferred the pumpkin back to the mixing bowl.  I added about 1/2 to 1 tsp. of cinnamon and about a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt. 
I let the mixer run a long time because you want the pumpkin to be as smooth as possible.  I added about 1/3 to 1/2 can of evaporated milk.  After everything was mixed well, I beat two eggs in a cup and added those to the mix.  You either want the pumpkin to be fairly cool when you add the eggs or you want to temper the eggs.  (to temper the eggs, beat them with a fork in a little bowl or coffee cup - add hot pumpkin to the eggs about a tablespoon at a time until the temperature of the eggs is comparable to the temperature of the pumpkin mixture)  If you add eggs to a hot mixture, they scramble . . . and you do not want scrambled eggs in your delicious pumpkin.
I sprayed a three quart casserole dish with pam and poured all that deliciousness into the pan and covered with foil and popped it all into one of those giant 2 1/2 gallon plastic bags and then took it to the basement and popped it into the freezer.
I will take it out of the freezer on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning and put it in the fridge.  On Thursday, I will put the cold casserole dish into a cold oven (so the glass doesn't break) and turn the oven to 350 degrees.  It will need to cook a couple of hours because it is going from a very cold temperature to warm goodness.  You want it to be "set" . . .and not too wobbly when you shake the pan.
About ten minutes before serving, cover the top with marshmallows and stick back in the oven until they are melted and slightly brown.  DO NOT WALK AWAY AT THIS POINT.  If you do, odds are you will burn the marshmallows.  This is a good time to have more than one person in the kitchen because the cook is always running around doing last minute prep for the meal and it is easy to forget -- yes, I've done it.  Mark's momma also got the melted marshmallows all over the element in her oven one time - I don't know how . . .I've also made a topping out of pecans and brown sugar and butter (and seems like something else?  flour??) but our family seems to like the marshmallows better.
This is not a dietetic recipe. . .but we don't eat it every week.  It is also not a "make on the holiday" recipe - too labor intensive and takes too long on stove and in oven when you will be needing both of those spaces.
This recipe is TRADITION.
My favorite dish on Thursday is the dressing (stuffing) and gravy . . .but I like the pumpkin, too.  I also have to make devilled eggs (because my family always had those! - Mark's momma only has them at Easter) and a cranberry/apple casserole with oatmeal topping and I'm making a green salad that has pears and walnuts and feta cheese . . and I'm also making some mashed potatoes because Laura doesn't eat dressing (stuffing) . . .because she got sick one time and has never been able to eat it since.  Maybe this year :-)
So what is your most labor intensive Thanksgiving recipe . . .or your favorite TRADITION . . .or your favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving . . .or what is your menu?
Link up and share with us.  So far, the max link ups I've had is two . . .but I'm going to keep on posting!!


Friday, November 22, 2013

A Brand New Experience!!

Today, I experienced something new!  I was a "grandpal" for the morning!!  What is a grandpal?  Well, in today's world, there are many children who either do not have a grandparent . . .or their grandparents live out of town or are deceased . . .so instead of "Grandparent's Day," many of the local schools celebrate "Grandpal's Day."  I was a "stand in" grandparent . . .and I was honored to be asked and humbled by the experience.

Due to privacy laws and issues, I can't show a picture of my "grandchild" but I can show you a picture he took of Laura and me.

He was so proud of himself for taking the photo!!  Laura is an instructional aide in the Special Education department of a local school and she knew this child would not have a grandparent so she invited me to be his "grandpal."  The student calls Laura . . ."Elliott" pronounced like Ehyet.  So guess what he called me and the name he used to introduce me???  Of course, you guessed it . . .Ehyet mommy.  Melt my heart.  Just typing it brings tears to my eyes.

So what do you do at Grandpal's Day?  I knew you were going to ask that question next, right?  First, I arrived right on time and parked a few blocks away.  Laura had warned me that the parking lot would be full and to park near our friend's house.  It was uphill to the school . . .and then downhill . . .which means it was uphill back to the car.  So . . .I went into the front doors of the school and stood in the lobby with tons of other grandparents.  They evidently do this in shifts by grade . . .and some grandparents/pals had to make several appearances today!!  After we gathered, the principal called each class by name and some of the "older" students escorted us to the classrooms.  I got to see his desk (and got to see where Laura sits).  I got to meet the main teacher for his classroom.  I got to meet the little girl who sits next to him.  Everyone was so sweet to him - from the students to all the teachers.  He calls everyone "my" so and so . . .we went to see the music teacher and the music room and he said we were going to see "my" pepper (ms. pepper).  He held my hand and we toured the gym and the art room and the special ed room and then we went to the library and had cups of ice cold apple juice . . .emphasis on "ice" . . .he wanted to eat the ice but it was COLD . . .brrrr.  At the end of the tour, we went back to his classroom and had our picture taken for his class.

I want to write about how special the morning was . . .about how special it was for this child - this special child - to hold my hand and introduce me.  I'm sure for privacy reasons, I can't even write about his "specialness."  I'm not sure that I even have the words though . . .if I could share.  I can tell you that it was amazing to me . . . .amazing that a child can be mainstreamed . . .amazing that this child can write his name . . .amazing that MY VERY OWN DAUGHTER is so incredible.  I cannot even begin to tell you how proud of her I am.  That child adores my daughter . . .it was evident!!  That little boy's daddy wrote a letter telling Laura how she had changed their lives . . .he said the school is wonderful but Laura's love and care of his child had changed him - in a wonderful way.

So . . .today - the Friday before Thanksgiving . . .I was given a gift.  Not a gift in the traditional sense - all wrapped up in pretty paper and tied with colorful ribbon. . . no, not that kind.  I was given the gift of experience.  I was given the gift of a little boy's heart . . .and his voice saying, "Ehyet's mommy" . . .I was given the gift of seeing my daughter - my own precious little girl . . .all grown up - at work!!!   . . .   I was given the gift of eyes to see . . .and ears to hear  . . .and a mouth to smile . . I was given the gift of a brand new experience. Thanks be to God for so many blessings . . .especially the gift of this little boy.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturdays

Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturdays

We hosted our supper club on Thursday night of this past week.  First time we have all been together (minus Kim) in a couple of months  (seems like we were all there at Guy and Phella's house this fall).  We usually get together on a Friday night or a Saturday night but since November is already the beginning of the holiday season, we decided a Thursday night would work.  Mark had the great idea to do a Mexican food bar.  We've done that "menu" many times for our Tuesday night group so we are at least "familiar" with it.  Our menu consisted of:

appetizer - four kinds of cheese and two kinds of crackers (picked up at Walmart on the way home from work -- thank goodness for my sweet supervisor - she allowed me to leave early)

main course - already prepared chicken, cheese and bean burritos from Costco.  I have searched and searched for a picture online . . .I can't find one.  They were in the refrigerated portion - there were six individually wrapped burritos in the package.  I took them out of the package and unwrapped them and placed them in a glass pyrex dish (they are large enough that I could only get six in a three quart casserole dish).  I spooned some salsa on top and sprinkled grated cheese on top of that and heated them in the oven for 20 minutes.  They were really good!!!

I also had hamburger meat that I had browned and seasoned with taco seasoning and chips and tortillas and grated cheese and sour cream and salsa and melted white cheese and tomatoes and lettuce . . .all the fixin's for soft or hard tacos.

side: 2 cans of black beans - warmed in a saucepan and I also prepared and served Cilantro Lime Rice from Target.  It is really good!!  I did two boxes but only used 1 1/2 pouches of the seasoning mix because it smelled so strong . . .it seemed perfect.

I also served homemade guacamole . . .my sister-in-law, Alice, taught me to make it years ago and I have tweaked and added along the way.

Best advice - buy your avocadoes several days in advance so they have time to ripen.  I bought mine on Sunday afternoon and it was cold here this last week and I left them in the basement.  Not smart.  I had to stop and buy a few more ripe ones on the way home.  I used 12 avocados, 1 small to medium onion, chopped very fine, about 6 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/4 pieces (no, I don't measure - just giving a guestimate), a giant lemon, a tablespoon or two of sour cream (I finally have found the magic . . .if you put some sour cream in . . .it won't turn dark!!!! - I promise!!! . . .by day two in the fridge, it will be dark just on top).  I also use a lot of salt, some garlic salt, and a LOT OF black pepper (my daughter-in-law taught me that one!!).  I have two other tricks.  I have an avocado scraper that will scrape out the inside of each one really well so you don't have waste.  I also have an antique potato masher that I use to mix it all together. 

I should have wiped the counter off before I snapped the photo.  I was in a hurry!  I chopped the onions and the tomatoes on Wednesday night and put them in little plastic bowls in the fridge.  One less step before dinner!!  (actually, two less steps!!)

I also made "homemade" margaritas.  You know that stop at Walmart on the way home from work???  I bought a black and decker blender - $29.92 - because we didn't own a blender.  How could I not own a blender???? 
6 ounces of frozen limeaide (any brand will do)
6 ounces of white tequila - I used Jose Cuervo Tequila Silver made with Blue Agave
2 ounces of Bols Triple Sec
Here is the trick - I never knew this before Thursday night.  I filled the blender about 2/3 of the way full with crushed ice (from the refrigerator ice maker).  Then I added the other ingredients.  For years and years, I have been adding the liquid first and then have been frustrated because I couldn't add enough ice.  If you put the ice in first, everything else fits.  (just like the rocks in the jar . . .priorities?? -- if you put the big rocks in first (God, family, etc.), then the smaller rocks . . .job, exercise, you name it . . .then the sand . . .all those little things (last) . . .it will all fit -- but if you start with the sand (all the little stuff) . . .everything else won't fit???  You know that analogy, right?)  The margaritas were the best I've ever made . . .and they were made in my very own handy dandy Black and Decker blender (no - they don't know me from Adam so they are not giving me any money for their free advertising!!)
Dona made dessert . . .little individual flans - yummy!!  I'll tell you her secret . . .she said that Jello makes a flan mix . . .you know - like jello pudding???  Who knew???  I sure didn't!!

So . . .for today's Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturday . . .

You have a menu and a couple of delicious recipes!!  Enjoy!!

Link up if you will and share your favorite "supper club" type menu or a favorite cooking/entertaining secret.

By the way, I made Robin's date/chocolate chip cake yesterday - Mark loves it - said it is a keeper recipe.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Sure do love our Snugger bugger

I never ever ever . . .in a million years ever . . .thought that Mark and I would have a cat.
1.  I am allergic to cats.  So allergic that this is the fifth time in my life to take allergy shots for cats . . .and I've been taking them over three years at this point . . .and we are pushing the envelope with how much  "venom" (I have no idea what the stuff in the shots is . . .seems like venom!!) I can stand!!
2.  Mark has always hated cats.  H.A.T.E.D. cats
3.  We've been married 30 years and raised two children without a pet . . .why now? 
Well, Snuggles E. is our cat.  We've had him four years this month.  We have no idea how old he is.  He showed up on our deck one day and has been with us ever since.  The vet says he is old. . . she can tell because of his teeth . . .and also because, well . . .he had his "fix" so long ago that it is actually difficult to tell whether he is a male or female (poor guy!).  We do know that he is a male.  So. .  back on August 21, Laura and I took him to the vet because he was sick.  He just wasn't right.  They took blood that day and it was horrible.  He cried like a baby.

They couldn't really find anything wrong with him.  They gave us some meds for his ears and said to take him home.  We kept doctoring his ears on the outside and he seemed ok.

September arrived.  Snug has always (since we've had him) been an indoor/outdoor cat.  He loved lying in the sun on the deck or marking his territory which consisted of our yard and the yards surrounding ours.  We let him out after work on a Thursday and he didn't come home that night.  He always came home right in time to have a late dinner and go to bed.  Mark nor I slept any that night.  We left the back lights on; I drove up and down the street; Mark drove up and down the street; we called his name.  He never came  home. 
At daylight on Friday morning, I pulled on some shorts and started walking up and down our street softly calling his name (most people were still asleep!).  When I started back up the driveway, I could see him under Mark's truck.  I called and called but he wouldn't come out.  Mark came outside to help me and Mark finally laid down on the concrete and unched (oonched?  scooted?) under the truck and Snug kept backing away from Mark until he came out and I picked him up.  He was terrified of Mark (and he and Mark have always been buddies!! - really - this cat has Mark wrapped around his paw!).  I was home with him all that day and he just wasn't right.  I called and the vet said they could see us when Mark got off work.  We took him to the vet and they assessed him and gave him fluids - he was dehydrated (if you have never seen that, it is so cool - they pump the fluid under their fur!).  I think they gave him a shot of antibiotics and told us to take him home. 

On Saturday morning, we woke up to a very sick kitty cat.  He seemed blind.  He would walk up to the wall and just stand there.  His walking was stiff and he was kind of "hunkered down."  He wouldn't eat.  OH MY GOSH!  I never knew you could hurt so much for an animal.  Mark and I were both crying because we thought he was dying.  The vet had told us the night before that if he wasn't better, we could just meet her at the office at 8:00 a.m.  We were there waiting on her.  As a matter of fact, they called her and she came straight in.  She actually started accessing his condition in the waiting room because there were no rooms available.  I love Dr. Frederick at Alford Avenue Animal Hospital!!  She loves our snugger, too!!

So . . .we thought she would have to put him down.  Once we got in a room, she examined him more closely and made us put him on the floor so she could see him walk.  She gave us some different meds for his ears and sent us home.  That still wasn't the end of the story!!

Since he had stayed outside all night (we don't know if our odd neighbor locked him up or if he had an encounter with a coyote . . .we don't know . . .and I am not being a bad person for saying that about our neighbor . . .Snug has been in their house before and I told them he was our cat but . . .I had literally had to walk into their backyard to get him because they were feeding him  . . .and said, "Oh is he your cat?" . . .when Mark had already told them he was . . .odd!  just odd!!) and almost died, his immune system was compromised.  Hair started falling off his head and big bald patches appeared - even a hunk of fur all the way around his tail fell off . . . and even a little piece of his ear fell off!!!!! EEEEEKKKK!!.  Back to the vet . . .and Dr. Frederick scratched all the bald places with a toothbrush and put the "stuff" onto a medium in a petri dish.  ring worm . . .bless his heart.  His ears eventually had no hair and most of the top of his head was bald.  He had patches under his chin . . .his tail . . .so very pitiful.

They started doing lime dips two times every week and since I have to take him by myself, I purchased a kitty carrier. 

Look at the bald spot on his tail - halfway down . . .this is right after a trip to the vet . . .his white feet even turn green!!  (lime?)

Doesn't he look like a happy kitty??? Not!!!  The girls are so sweet to him.  They say he is the best kitty ever.

One week, I gave my phone to one of the vet techs and asked her to take pictures of him while they were doing the bath.  Pretty doggone pitiful.

To me, he looks like one of those funny cat photos.  So . . .today is 11.15.13.  We've been battling his condition basically since August 21.  We've been to the vet so much and spent sooo much money.  I emailed with the vet yesterday.  He has to have three negative tests (for ring worm . ..which isn't actually a worm - but a fungus) before we can stop treatment.  She said we aren't there yet.  GRRRR.  We sure do love our snugger bugger. 
P.S. Cat ringworm is contagious . . .to humans double GRRR!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tuesday nights . . .are so very special!!

Trinity Young Professionals

Are you in your 20’s?  Not married?  Out of college?  (higher ed is fine)  If so, ask me about our Tuesday night group!
This has been my tag line on emails; it has been on our church webpage; it has been on postcards and posters for the last 3 1/2 years.  Mark and I have been BLESSED by our Tuesday evenings.  I've shared posts with you before about our projects/mission service nights.  We've made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a homeless ministry and helped with all sorts of other hands on projects.  We've had guest speakers - from Betty Bell at the Bell Center to Matt Lacey from Church of the Reconciler to a mother of a child with mental illness.  We've had parties.  We've laughed.  A few people have even cried over the years.  We've eaten meals together.  Sounds like a family, doesn't it?
We are a family.  On Tuesday afternoons, I unlock our front door and it stays unlocked until the last young adult leaves. . . somewhere between 8:15 and 9:00 p.m.  They don't knock or ring the doorbell . . .they are coming "home" for dinner and a visit (that is our goal anyway!).
Right now, we are studying The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel.  Last night's lesson was "You believe in God but aren't sure he loves you."  His main point was that love isn't something God does - God is love.  Love is who God is.  We read lots of scripture about God's love and we read one of my favorites -- Romans 8:35-39 . . .nothing can separate us from the Love of Christ Jesus!  We talked.  We listened.  One of the questions was, "Do you struggle with believing that God could love someone as bad as you or do you struggle with believing God could love someone as insignificant as you?  If so, why or why not? 
How about you?  Do you struggle with either of those thoughts?
We read lots of other scripture and listed a word or brief phrase from the scriptures that summarizes the characteristics of God and God's love.  Here is a list of some of those:
sacrificial love
loving, forgiving, deliverance
forgiving, slow to anger, merciful
faithful, standing firm
God IS love, whoever lives in the love of God has God in him/her
nothing can separate us from the love of God
All encompassing
Isn't that a good list?  On those bad days, we can remember all these things . . .and this is just a tiny list about God but it is a good list!!!
Another question was, "What most reassures you and helps you to believe deep down that you are loved and forgiven by God?"
Love isn't just what God does . . .Love is WHO he is.
So what "characteristic" of God is comforting/life giving/etc. to you?
I'm actually linking up with Heavenly Homemakers - Gratituesday (a day late!!) Small Group Fellowship.
Are you in a small group that is meaningful to you?  I just can't even imagine our lives without Tuesday nights.  God shows up every single week . . .EVERY SINGLE WEEK.  Mark and I are so blessed that these young adults will hang out with us old fogies.
I would love to hear about your small group!!
last night we had 20 in the group and we served a baked potato bar with BBQ and/or chili, cheese, bacon, sour cream, real butter, etc. and a salad bar with lots of toppings.  My friend, Phella, made the dessert and we had banana pudding and cookies and one of the girls brought chocolate/peanut butter treats.  it was a perfect dinner for a cold night!!
Here are some random pics from the last three and half years

a couple of Christmases ago

tailgate party a couple of years ago

 Tacky Christmas party last year - this year's party is Tuesday, December 10

Halloween party two years ago - both of these folks are now married . . .to other members of the group

This year at Magic City Miracle

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturdays

Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturdays
Today's recipe -- Cranberry Chicken
by Lenore Neptune

Today's recipe is from our most recent church cookbook. Temptations!!!  Some of the recipes are available online but there are even more in the cookbook.  Let me tell you . . .I have about three favorite cookbooks and this is my "go to" cookbook most of the time.  Well worth the money. (no, they ARE NOT paying me to write about their cookbook . . .I don't know how many copies (lots and lots!) that I have bought and given as gifts though!!  You can buy one from the link above and they will mail it to you!)

This is definitely a satisfying and savory recipe!!
Cranberry Chicken

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 8 ounce bottle French dressing (or catalina or Russian -- all three work!)

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

6 to 8 chicken breasts (I've made it with large bone in breasts for supper club and it is really good!  For the young adults, I use boneless skinless chicken breasts - giant bag from Costco.  The bone in breasts have more flavor - just fyi!!)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 9 X 13 pan with pam or line pan with foil for easy clean up. 

Combine cranberry sauce, dressing and soup mix.  Sometimes I zap in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute so that the ingredients combine easier.

Arrange chicken pieces in baking dish and pour sauce over each one (use all the sauce).  Bake
uncovered for one hour or until chicken is cooked through (large bone in breasts make take longer than an hour).

Serve with wild rice and green beans and salad . . .yummy meal.

ok - here are my "extra" notes.  Sometimes I add a few - a cup maybe - of extra frozen cranberries to my sauce.  I also triple or quadruple the recipe for the young adults.  BUT do not triple or quadruple the onion soup - it will be too salty.  If you quadruple, you can probably use two envelopes of onion soup.  Another thing I do when I use this recipe for a large crowd . . .I use the crockpot.  IMPORTANT note:  the breasts are not as pretty when cooked in the crockpot (only use boneless - the others would probably fall apart).  When I use the crockpot, I remove the breasts from the crockpot at serving time and place on a large platter.  If I'm using the crockpot, I save back some of the "sauce" ( in the morning, don't put a cup or so of the sauce in the crockpot - but store it in the fridge).  Before serving heat reserved sauce and spread it on each breast once on the platter.  Presentation matters to me!!  I usually try to make sure a cranberry or two is on top of each breast.  The sauce leftover in the crockpot is really good to put on the rice.

This is an easy and delicious recipe!!  Something Satisfying and Savory for this Saturday . . .is a good thing!

Now I must finish preparations on my Sunday School lesson. . .it is on gratitude!  I am grateful for this gorgeous day . . .and for good food . . .and good friends . . .and sooooo many other things.  Most of all, I think I am grateful for God's grace!

P.S.  I forgot to tell you a couple of things!  Lenore Neptune is the mother of my boss!  I think that is cool.  She passed away several years ago so I really think it is neat to be using her recipe.  Also, please feel free to link up and share a recipe.  Just click on the link and follow the directions.  Last but not least, if you are a regular reader . . .I participated in Wednesday Hodgepodge this week.  One of the questions asked how I am like my siblings - ways we are all alike.  I had a hard time with this one but Becky (middle sister) and I talked and came up with several ways -- 1) all three sisters love to read . . .and not just love to read but love to read mysteries!!  2)  all three of us have been divorced at one time or another  3) all three of us have bad vision (but I had lasik surgery 10 or 12 years ago so I don't have to wear glasses except to read)  . . .seems like there were a couple of other things but I can't think of them now.

Don't forget to link up!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I love creating/crafting/sewing things.  Those hobbies are the things that keep me sane!  I've been so stressed and tired and kind of sad over the last few weeks that I decided to spend more time doing things I love.  I've been getting up and taking the time to pray in the mornings and I've been drinking more water and I've been creating.  As I typed that last sentence, I realized that you do not see any water in these pictures . . .there is something red and delicious in the little green polka dot glass.  My new favorite is Sparkling Cranberry Juice . . .with a splash or two :-)  You can also see a diet Pepsi bottle . . .and if you look closely, you can see starburst - empty wrappers and also some to be unwrapped.

I have a scrapbook/sewing space upstairs but I haven't wanted to be up there . . .too far from the heart of our home . . .or something.  So . . . .I've been making a big mess in the living room.  Poor Mark - on Monday nights, he has to fold up the 8 foot table and drag it down the basement steps . . . We then have the young adults over on Tuesday night.  On Wednesday night, I ask nicely, "will you please bring the table back upstairs?  I'll help carry it."  Of course, he never lets me help carry.  He's a good man!!  Yes, I know that the kitchen table is right there but when I create on the kitchen table . . .we have to eat in the dining room . . .which is really silly  - two people at a giant table . . . We would feel like Richey Rich or something equally absurd . . .or we have to eat in our laps.  I don't like eating in my lap unless it is pizza or other finger foods.  The cat has a blanket covering his portion of the sofa and he likes to sit there and peek over the top of the sofa.  He hasn't jumped up on this table.  He usually wants to lie down and take a nap on the computer keyboard.

Look at all those computer cords . . .I see an I-phone cord and a silhouette cord along with a power cord.  My laptop has no battery . . .none.  It shuts down in about 5 seconds.  Thank God for power plugs!!  I think I was loading pictures from my phone.  Last weekend, I used the table for creating . . . and for writing a blog post . . .and for typing my Sunday School lesson.  Pretty practical, right?
My friend, Robin, over at My Quilted Nest loves to create also -- she makes quilts (bet you couldn't guess that from her blog name!!)  My daughter and daughter-in-law both love to create, too.  You can check out some of Lauren's creations on her blog -- Simply Free.
What makes you happy?  Do you create?  Sew?  Write poetry?  Paint?
It is cold here today . . .and I was smart and put homemade vegetable beef soup ingredients in the crockpot this morning.  I'm going to make some cornbread when I get home from work.  What are you having for supper??
This blog post is all over the place.  Two questions . . .what makes you happy?  What are you having for supper?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Thought I would write a quick post today . . .just fyi . . .God has been filling my cup all week.  I think someone must be praying for me!!  I'm not as tired . . .and my mind is less foggy.  I'm going to give God all the glory!!

I follow several blogs . . .this one is a fairly new one that I've been following but I love it because it is written by a UMC preacher!!  The name of the blog is Karen's Korner.  She probably doesn't even know that I am following her . . .we've never met.  Today she is doing Wednesday HodgePodge and I liked her questions . . .so thought I would jump in!

1.  What's one way you're like your siblings? If you don't have siblings, how are you like your lifelong best friend or cousin?
I am the baby in my family . . .the baby of three girls.   I know that my sister, Becky, and I "sound" alike.  I'm not sure how my older sister and I are alike.  I'll have to think about that one!  I do know we have all struggled with our weight over the years which is interesting to me because neither of our parents were overweight.  My sisters aren't as round as I am though.  (Becky - how are we all three alike???)  I know that I look so much like our mama . . .Becky always said she looked like our grandpa (which I think that is hysterical) . . .Glenine (oldest sister) is short like our mama.

2.  What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of yourself at age eighteen?
S.T.U.P.I.D.  No, really.  The question asked, "what's the FIRST thing?"  I really thought stupid.  I always told my kids not to use that word but . . .sometimes it does fit.  I married at 18 . . .and was divorced just a little over a year later.  I graduated in the top five of my senior class . . .but didn't start college . . .I got married.   I wish there had been someone to help me navigate colleges and scholarships . . .but I was so headstrong!!  I was IN LOVE and I WAS GETTING MARRIED.  Oh my goodness, what a mistake.

3.  Sculptor-dancer-actor-painter...if you could excel in one of these arts, which would you choose and why?
Could I be an actor and a dancer?  I think I would love to dance.  Sometimes I do when I'm all alone . . .and it is pretty funny!!  I took ballet as an elective at UAB and it was one of the hardest classes ever . . .and I was in great shape!!  There are certain songs that just make me want to dance.  I'm smiling as I type those words!!  oooohh . . .here is a little secret . . .remember how old I am?  Old enough to have lived through the disco era . . .I took disco dancing lessons with my best friend, too!!  Staying alive  . . .staying alive . . .oooh oooh oooh ! hahahaha!

4.  What's a scent that takes you back in time, and where does it take you?
I can't narrow that down to just one. . . .so I'll tell you about three (sorry!!).  My momma wore Chanel #5 . . .and she also wore Coty face powder.  If I smell either of those, I am transported back many years . . .to my momma and daddy's bedroom.
The other scent that takes me back in time is the smell of old books.  I spent many happy hours in the Tarrant City Library . . .and when I smell old books, I can close my eyes and be in that library!!

5.  November is for peanut butter lovers (National Peanut Butter Lovers Month). Are you a lover or a hater? What's your favorite dish/recipe that calls for peanut butter?  I LOVE peanut butter . . . on a spoon, on saltine crackers, with chocolate (Reese cups!!).  My favorite "recipe" would be for peanut butter pie.  YUUUUUMMMMY!! 

6.  What do people thank you personally for most often?  I have no idea . . .hmmmm . . .maybe teaching Sunday School???? . . .I'm also a pretty good listener (you wouldn't expect that since I like to talk so much but I am a good listener . . .and I can keep your secrets!!).  The young adults thank me for dinner on Tuesday nights.

7.  What event this year are you most thankful for?  These questions are getting harder and harder . . .One of the things that I am so thankful for is the She Speaks Conference that I went to in North Carolina earlier this year . . .and I'm thankful for the family that gave the money so I could attend.  I'm also thankful for time with family and friends . . .and my job . . .oh!! I am also thankful that our kitty didn't die when he was soooo sick!!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  Well, dang!  I have tons of random thoughts.  I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  I'm wishing and hoping that my sister will come home for Christmas.  I'm amazed at the gorgeous color of the leaves outside my window!!

Here is another random thought . . .I sure do enjoy our Tuesday nights.  I also think it is so cool that I work on a church staff.

I told you my thoughts are truly random . . .all the time!!  Pick a question and answer it . . .or answer them all on your blog.