Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Beast

Someone early in my marriage told me that a Cuisinart was a must-have kitchen tool. For my very first Mother's Day in 1980, my husband bought me one. It is still running. When my mother died in 2007, I kept her larger machine (almost as old as mine) and gave my first one away. Then several weeks ago a neighborhood estate sale was calling my name. Only a garage saler would understand that. As I perused the tabletops, there sat the biggest Cuisinart I had ever seen. I could tell from the glossy sheen on the workbowl that it had not been used much. The price was $38… really? I am thinking the work bowl could at least be used to replace my cracked one, and a new work bowl alone would be twice that. The lady held it for me while I raced home to measure the bowl diameter of my machine. Holy moly… 1" too wide. Quickly I researched the machine. The lowest price of this machine was $630 from Amazon Prime, retailing for over $1200. Commercial grade, caterer preferred Cuisinart. Steel knife + 4 blades. The beast… now THAT's a bowl of chicken salad.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lemon is for Lovers

Another ditty I brought home from Charleston is a dessert my lover Rusty selected and we thoroughly enjoyed… Lemon Pot de Creme with Macerated Strawberries. Elegantly served in a half-pint Mason jar, I was committed to figuring it out. As I pondered the wonderful flavors, it came to me in the middle of the night EXACTLY what it was… upside down Lemon Icebox Pie. Really good.

Lemon Pot de Creme with Macerated Strawberries

In microwave-proof bowl, combine:
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 eggs

Microwave on 2 minute intervals, whisking between, until thermometer reads 160 degrees. It will only take a few intervals. Allow custard to cool, then spoon into small Mason jars or pretty stemware. Refrigerate.                                       

Chop strawberries & sprinkle with a bit of sugar and 1/2 tsp. almond flavoring. Place onto custard about an hour or so before serving. Top with whipped cream.

Graham Cracker Topping: Crush 1/2 package of graham crackers in food processor, adding 2 Tbsp. melted butter, a little brown sugar, and 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Spread onto cookie sheet and bake 10-12 min. on 350. Cool and keep in baggie until just before serving.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Warm Weather Welcome With Firefly

It has been a long, cold winter for me personally, so I am tickled to have 70 degrees in middle Tennessee once again. Our new favorite beverage is a John Daly, so named in Charleston while we were there in March. It is sort of the bad boy version of an Arnold Palmer, every golfer's favorite. Did you know that you can order an Arnold Palmer at Chick-Fil-A? It is actually on their keypad register! Unsweet or sweet tea with lemonade, diet or regular. Delicious. Chick-Fil-A, however, does NOT have a John Daly… you can make your own. Using Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka with homemade lemonade and club soda, it is really refreshing. Top it with a good twist of lemon and relax. 

John Daly
over ice pour...
2 oz. or so Firefly
1.5 oz. each: homemade lemonade & club soda

squeeze of lemon

Homemade Lemonade (from
Dissolve 1.75 cups sugar in 1 cup boiling water. Cool. Add 1.5 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (7-8 lemons) and 6-7 cups water (taste for preference - we like it strong). Delicious in cocktails or straight up!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Working Your Core

My YMCA instructor constantly emphasizes core strength. What is she talking about? You can access for a good explanation. Suffice it to say, core strength as we age is extremely important for balance and stability. Recently, the instructor has challenged us to incorporate core strengthening into the daily things, such as putting on and taking off your shoes and socks… standing. This was really hard for me at first. Why not just sit down… isn't that why I put that cute little bench near the closet? I have taken her challenge seriously, though, because I know in my head that we either use it or lose it. Try just your socks for a few weeks if it is too hard. Set a goal for some specific time in the near future. Treat yourself to a new pair of shoes once this becomes habit. A pair of shoes will be much cheaper than a broken ankle if you trip and can't catch yourself from lack of core strength. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Oven Crud

You may not have a clue what oven crud is in which case this blogpost won't interest you. If, however, your oven needs some attention like mine, read on. Our lives have been a little upside down lately with my husband's serious heart attack and quintuple bypass surgery, my last child's wedding, and mother-in-law's health issues in play. Some of the household chores have been a little neglected. This needlepoint piece was done for me 20+ years ago by a family relative. As true as the saying may be, my oven situation had to be reckoned with. Of course, the cavity of the oven is way easier to clean… push a few buttons - but the oven racks, sigh. My oven manual says specifically to remove racks before setting oven on clean, but talk about gross. A friend's mother gave me an outstanding tip many years ago. In the bathtub place an old beach towel (to keep from scratching tub) and run hot water to cover racks, adding a couple of scoops of Cascade dish detergent. Let racks soak awhile. The oven crud will fall off. I also use SOS pads to once over the racks, but no scrubbing is necessary. The crud is loose and the racks clean up amazingly. Bring on the turkey and dressing! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

To All Of My FB Family and Friends

Waking up this morning I was reminded of my thankful quotient. I thought of two friends in particular who taught me how to text when my dad was dying in 2009. Then I thought about my youngest daughter who taught me how to use Facebook when I retired in 2010. Both of those vehicles were lifelines to me over the past 2 weeks as we were most often in areas of the hospital where "quiet" was required. If you have never read Ann Voscamp's "1000 Blessings," I would highly recommend it. A friend gave it to me about this time last year. As I am waking this morning, I am deeply struck by the magnitude of friends and family who have sustained us over these past 2 weeks. Pat and MaryBess, along with hundreds of others of you, have cared for us using these two modes plus old-fashioned phone calls and cards with scripture, giggles, well-wishes, signs on our home, balloons on the mailbox, mums and pumpkins and fall wreaths outside our home, fresh flowers in most every room, a cleaned out refrigerator with fresh food, newly planted grass watered, meals lined up until Thanksgiving... I could certainly list 1000 Blessings at this moment. And to be back in our own bed... suffice it to say that I don't even want to get out of it right now since it feels so good. Great is Thy faithfulness, Oh God my Father. Morning by morning new mercies I see...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Detour On Vacation

We added another state to our current trip out West. We never had the funds to bring our children out here when they were young, but now they have joined us for this last leg of our journey! What began as a visit to Utah and Wyoming has extended to include an airlift into Colorado. My beloved's heart was in trouble Thursday morning. On Monday (tomorrow) Dr.Leonard Lapkin will be the only one ever closer to Rusty's heart than me. Almost 24 years ago the first photo here was our Christmas card announcing the birth of our 4th child, Lucy. The best part of the outcome will be that Rusty's heart will be like new, ready for Lucy again, when he walks her down the aisle to her beloved Sam soon.

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!" (Proverbs 3:5-8 MSG)