Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Garlic Dip - By Julie's request

1 large container cottage cheese

2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces), softened

Enough mayonnaise to make it dip consistency, about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup

4-6 cloves of minced garlic

Put everything in a mixing bowl and mix together. Eat with potato chips.

Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups sugat, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons baking cocoa, divided
1/4 cup butter
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Combine crumbs, 1/4 c. sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa and butter; mix well. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan; chill. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and remaining sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon extract and remaining cocoa. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is completely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 8 hours. In a mixing bowl, whip cream until it mounds slightly. Add powdered sugar and remaining extract and continue whipping until soft peaks form. Spread evenly over cheesecake. Sprinkle with almonds. Store in fridge. 8 servings.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup light cream
1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the eggs, cream, oil , and lemon extract; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold into raspberries. Spoon into 18 greased muffin cups. Bake at 400 for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. I've cut the amount of oil in half and the recipe is still good.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups beef broth
1 can (28 oz.)tomatoes with liquid, cut up
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup slced carrots
1 cup cubed, peeled potatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt

Brown ground beef, drain. Add onion abd cook until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender.

The bay leaves are also lucky in this if your name is Lisa.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping

I hate shopping. Yes, I do!
I hate shopping. How about you?
All that stuff puts me to sleep.
The prices usually make me weep.

The commercials promise love and peace,
Happy families at a feast.
Kids who are sweet, bosses who are fair
If you will only buy their wares.

Yes, the key to happiness is all those things:
Ipods, X Box, and diamond rings.
The more you spend, the more you love?
Madison Avenue, you need a shove.

If we buy their baloney, we must crazy
Or maybe we are just stupid and lazy.
Think about it, what is more sublime?
Buying a bauble or taking the time?

Taking your kids to church on Sunday
Can't be replaced with toys on Monday.
Do you think everyday family dinners
Can be exchanged for one day of fluff and glimmers?

Buying neat stuff and taking fancy trips
Those are not short cuts to family bliss.
Your selfishness your spouse and kids will see through
They know if YOU are the most important thing to you.

There are no outs, no easy way,
We create our family day by day.
We put our family first, we look at the divine
We choose what’s important, for that we make time.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Retroactively Embarrassed

At church, I work with girls 12-18. It’s a lot of fun, and I love being able to do it. Naturally, some of the girls occasionally behave like toads. They’re kids, and kids behave like toads sometimes. Although, I wish I could warn the girls about retroactive embarrassment.

Retroactive embarrassment can hit at any time. You’ll be a young mother with four children at home. While making lunch for the kids during an ordinary day, Splat!!!! You will remember the time you made panty length cut-offs out of your yellow polyester pants and then rode your bicycle all over town - bending over all the way. Nice!!

Or you let your mind wander while you are doing a little innocent dusting, and before you know it you are at 9th grade cheerleading try-outs. The memory of falling flat on your rear-end during the tryouts will play on the screen of your mind in technicolor color. Or rushing back through time, you feel the embarrassment you should have felt (but didn’t have sense enough to) when you took the sacrament at church and said in a loud stage whisper, “Oh! That’s refreshing!” Clowning around that got a laugh with a group of nine-year-olds takes on a whole new meaning at 51.

I would have made a gargantuan effort keep my stupid teenage behavior to a minimum if I had known how memories tag along at a person’s heels. And some memories do NOT seem to dim with age. Memories are accompanied by feelings. If they weren’t, they would just be pictures in the mind. Feeling the public display of you imperfections - Ouch!

I never could see what use any of my retroactive embarrassment was until I started teaching the teenagers. Now, I see it has its uses. A memory of my past embarrassing behavior helps keep perspective with a kid in the midst of bratty moment. How could I not try to be understanding? Was I perfect at age 15? For that matter, am I perfect now? I want my retroactive embarrassment to increase my tolerance. People put up with the me and my lousy behavior. Bless them!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Wisdom from Wilbur

Over the past 30 years, my spouse has shared bits of wisdom. Here are some of a long list:

Driving tips - "Don't holler 'whoa' in a bog hole."

Nutritional advice - "The reason grass fed beef is better for you than grain fed beef is that you use more calories chewing it."

Weather forecasting - "Clear as a bell, cold as Hell."

Public speaking pointers - "Don't chew your cabbage twice."

Fresh Tomato Soup

I had a bumper crop of tomatoes, so I used the recipe a lot:

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose four
2 cups water
6 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually add water, stirring constantly (so flour doesn't make lumps) thickened. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. Simmer until tomatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf before serving, unless Lisa is eating with you. In that case, whoever gets the bay leaf in their bowl is lucky if their name is Lisa.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Phone Solicitors

Only a person with a unique mind could work as a phone solicitor. At least, I think it is unique to have a mind that is not open to logical reasoning.

Yesterday I took a call on the business phone from a solicitor. The conversation went something like this:

"Is Rumplestiltskin available?"

"No, he isn't may I take a message?"

"Can you tell me when is a better time to reach him?"

"He does not like to be solicited over the phone. This phone is listed on the National Do Not Call list."

"This phone is listed as a business. For businesses there is really no such thing as a Do Not Call list." (This is not strictly accurate.)

"O.K., you can call him. It will make him mad, but you can call him."

"Well, he isn't in business, then."

So the mind of this phone solicitor must operate under two premises:

1) Someone who has adamantly stated he does not want your calls will buy something from you if you call him anyway.

2) Every business must buy from phone solicitors because there is no other possible way to be in business if you don't.

Under premise one, around age two my powerful intellect allowed me to comprehend that when you do what someone has specifically requested you NOT do, kiss their cooperation and good will good bye. About the earliest you can ever expect us to buy as much as a thumb tack from a phone solicitor is when Hell freezes over.

Under premise two - we receive catalogues in the mail, we have local businesses, we have the internet. Somehow, in our bumbling way we will manage to run our business with out assistance from phone solicitors. Thanks anyway.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Hate Cows

The only good cow is a T bone steak.

Cows and I have had a rocky relationship for a lot of years. When I was eleven or so the kids in the neighborhood would go for hikes in the hills behind our houses, just south of town. On one such hike we stumbled into Dr. Score's cows. We all climbed up ponderosa pine trees. Maybe the other kids were doing that for fun, but I was doing it because I didn't want to mess with the cows. After observing cows from the vantage point of a tree became boring, my fellow hikers got down and horsed around (cowed around?) with the cows. But I went home. Cows aren't very entertaining playmates if you ask me.

I have had the dubious pleasure of chasing cows out of alfalfa fields. I have made the mistake of running at a cow to get her to move only to discover her I was between her and her calf. Not a good location. I have had my dog chase cows off the road in front of me and watched the cow come after the dog. I have been glared at by a bull eating alone on a hillside. I have had to leave a hiking trail and hike through deadfalls because an enormous red cow with a calf made it abundantly plain that she wasn't moving off the trail, so I had better.

When we lived in Jefferson Hills, Travis Smith turned his cows out to pasture on Prickly Pear Creek in the summer. Unfortunately, we had corn and lived near a tributary to Prickly Pear Creek. Cows LOVE corn. Very, very, unfortunately, we had no fence around our corn. It seems like we and our neighbors spent our summer herding Smith's cows out of our corn.

That summer my husband took numerous moonlight walks herding cows that came into the corn in the middle of the night. He learned a lot of interesting things. There are a lot more black widow spiders than you think all over the prairie. They love to build webs in gopher holes and come out into middle of the webs to bask in the moolight, I mean moonlight. I suppose we owe that bit of trivia to cows, but a good night's sleep would have been way more useful, especially to the parents of five children.

At that time of the moonlight walks, Tucker Smith, the artist, lived in our area. People would get him mixed up with Travis Smith, the cattle owner, and call him up to bawl him out about the cows. Later, I heard Tucker Smith moved to New Mexico. I wondered over the years if Travis Smith's cows were the reason for the move.

My latest, and nastiest encounter with a cow occurred during a hike in the Elkhorns. While my daughter and I were hiking up a trail, cattle owners were moving their cows down the trail. I heard the mooing of upset cows, but didn't know what was going on as I started to wade through where the creek and the trail converge. Before I knew it, I saw the whites of the eyes of an upset bull. Evidently, he decided to take his bad day out on my daughter and me. He started after us as we scooted off the trail into the thick, reforested growth of a 15 year old burn. The bull was not deterred in any respect by the thick sapling growth.

Lucky for us, a cowboy came along, and shooed the bull back onto the trail. The forest growth was so thick I don't think the guy even saw two terrified hikers huddling in the trees. I still have a scar where I scraped my shin trying to get away from that stupid bull.

No, I do NOT like cows.

Grandma Latour's Caramel Corn Recipe

Pop enough popcorn to fill a large,silver bread pan. We've found the best way to prepare the popcorn is after popping it, but it in a large bowl and shake the bowl. Any unpopped seeds will fall to the bottom of the pan. Then remove the seedless popcorn to a new bowl before pouring the cooked syrup over it. That way no one breaks a tooth on a popcorn seed.

Mix together:

3 c. brown sugar
3 cubes of butter (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. Karo syrup
1 tsp. salt

Cook to soft ball stage. Pour over popcorn and mix together

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Do I Really Want to Spend This Much Time Doing Something Like This?

When my kids were little I never had a minute to spare. I knew when they grew up I would I have time to do all the things that I never had time to do. So now the baby is 20. Why do I have less time than ever? Is there a time factory some where that creates time. As we get older does the amount of time we are issued crank up to a faster and faster speed? Or am I just getting slower? It doesn't seem like I am, but then oft times I am oblivious to things.

So with time in such limited supply, do I really want to wrack my brain to come up with clever posts every week? Maybe not, but I was thinking this would be good place to put the recipes the kids are always asking me for.