The Worst Cook

Aunt Grace was actually my great aunt on my mom’s side. Her mom and her mom before her were amazing cooks I’ve been told. What happened to Aunt Grace in that area is a mystery.

She could put together a mean mouth -watering sandwich from “this and that” she gathered from yards and fields in the neighborhood that surrounded part of an area by the Indy 500. Of course, with all the chemicals nowadays, she wouldn’t want to eat anything she found. And I am not even sure she would be able to find anything alive to put between two pieces of white bread.

She Loved to eat. Right up to the day she died, she would fill her plate to overflowing and talk and laugh and eat and eat. She was fun. Just a fun person to be around.

She kept a very spotless home, but she had so much packed in to each room. Her sisters were kleptomaniacs and maybe once they had died, she had gone to their homes and retrieved her missing knickknacks and pictures and added them to new one’s she had to buy again. They would steal from stores. Silly things they did not even need. And they would steal a picture right off your wall and have the nerve to go and hang it right on their wall. Right in plain sight!

She was extremely blunt. Very much so. But for some reason, you still liked her. I really wish I would have had more time with her. Not eating her food, but just being around her.

She could not have children, so her and her husband adopted a child that was deaf. His parents did not want him because of his disability. She took him to her home and he was hers forever after that. He ended up living in a home right next to hers with his wife in Indianapolis. He took great care of her to the very end.

But back to her cooking. She was by far the worst cook probably ever. When we stopped to check on her and see if she needed anything, unfortunately, she insisted she make you something. Every thing got a big huge spoonful of bacon grease. When you entered the kitchen, your stomach would not come in with you. After you suffered through each bite, she grabbed your plate, wiped it with a towel, and shoved it in the cabinet. In case that did not make sense. She did not wash her dishes, she assumed you were clean, and she just wiped it all down with a towel and returned it to its place with the other “clean dishes”!

Ole Florida Seafood

Traveling to Florida soon, has got us craving the smell of the ocean, the fish markets, and good ole Florida seafood.

We lived a hop, skip, and a jump from all the beautiful beaches and we were brown and warm. We ate good! The markets were awesome to visit and see all the boats “hanging around” for repair, and stop in for a grouper sandwich.

We loved to fish from the Skyway Bridge and I remember one time being so bummed, actually mad, that I missed seeing the huge shark that everyone was going on and on about. I had turned my head right as they saw it, and as I looked and they turned their heads, I got to see a sea turtle the size of a volkswagon bug swim beautifully by. Though we enjoyed the fishing, it was not about bringing any home, but having the experience to see sea creatures. I remember our son caught a blowfish one time. Wow, what fun for him, his sisters, and us because we watched Spongebob every single day and we got to see Mrs. Puff up close.

We still loved to eat at Red Lobster and it was one of the best we have ever experienced. But each Mom & Pop restaurant that served seafood, smelled so awesome, the food melted in your mouth……..

But sometimes we would just go to the beach with a picnic, swim for hours,then stop at the fish market and bring home shrimp. We would make shrimp scampi and not make a big deal of it.

We rinsed and peeled the shrimp. Then we took out our huge skillet and melted half a stick of butter and sprinkled in plenty of garlic salt,poured in the shrimp and cooked them for a few minutes and then put them in our mouths, savoring all the garlicky meat, till our teeth reached the tail. Oh My……..

This trip our cooler is ready. We will be in the Orlando area and have picked a market to stop at and fill that cooler up! We recently purchased a freezer and stocked it with whole chickens, chicken breasts, bacon, tenderloins, and huge logs of colby cheese. All from a wholesale market in the Nashville, TN area.

My husband was not sure we could squeeze another thing in there, but believe you me, I will wiggle my nose, and some how get seafood in there.

Hash Brown Casserole

It’s bubbly all around the edges, an the casserole smells D I V I N E. But, my hash browns are not browning.

I glanced very briefly at a recipe for hash brown casserole on my pinterest last week. As the weekend progressed, I lost all interest in making it. I forgot what went in it. I did cook the hamburger, but we ate it.

Last night I had 20 minutes of free time, so I dug out:

Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Turnips, Carrots, and half a left over large onion. I rinsed and sliced large pieces of all the vegetables. Placing them in a 9 x 13, I poured olive oil on them and sprinkled them with chopped garlic. Not a fresh garlic, as I would have preferred, but some from the frig. I tossed all of this together, covering it with foil, and slid it in the oven on 350 degrees for an hour. The best smells drifted through the kitchen last night! (Except for the turnips) Ha!

Then today, after work, and laundry, I figured I had better make this casserole. I knew my husband was excited about it. So, I cooked 2 pounds of slim trimmed hamburger in a bit of olive oil, onion, garlic salt, and water. I then drained it, and placed it in a bowl with a can of cream of celery, a half a can of 2 % milk, ground peppercorns, course ground salt, a palm full of sliced jalapenos from the jar, a can of drained mushroom slices, and one can of sliced, drained, water chestnuts that I chopped up.

The topping was fun. I felt like a little kid that no one knew was in the kitchen, mixing stuff together. Half a large bag of hash browns, almost thawed went in a large bowl with a can of mushroom soup, another half can of milk, enough colby cheese that I grated to look goooood, garlic salt, and pepper.

I put the meat mixture in a greased 9 x 13 and poured the cheesy hash browns on top. Spread it all out, and sprinkled with a little parmesan cheese, more pepper to make it look pretty.

My oven cooks too fast, so I turned it to 350 degrees to bake till the hash browns were down and the edges started bubbling!

Smells good and will go nicely with the vegetables I made last night……

Christmas in January

It’s Christmas in January, not Christmas in July. Our charming little quaint home has Christmas touches through out each room. Even the hallway and bathrooms have ribbon, homemade decorations our kids made, and mistletoe hangs in the kitchen door frame.

And it is mid-January and we still have every bit of it up. Even the real tree. Of course, it is not lit. Amazingly, it is still standing, and with almost all of its needles!

Why? Because our son asked if we could still do a small Christmas when he got back from boot camp. We decided to go further, keep every thing up, fill up his stocking, and have a great big Christmas ham and all the trimmings!

He has no idea, so what a great surprise!

I daydream…

I daydream…….of living to be quite old, sitting in my chair,looking out at all my wealth. Wealth that fills the heart, not the pocket. Family that grew from two young people in love. Children. Grandchildren. Laughter, smiles, and hugs. Some fears, angry words, and tears. First days of school, friends, weekends and hot summer days at the beach.

I daydream……..of traveling the world, meeting amazing new people. Eating different food, learning their traditions, forming lasting bonds.

I daydream……..I am a Superhero. Able to solve life’s many problems with just a wink. Stretching, bending, hugging, smiling. Never tiring.

I daydream……..!

touching

watching the snow covering Pike’s Peak,
driving through a canopy of healthy summer trees,
hypnotized by a child’s smile,
watching a pot of thick, rich stew simmer in the pot,
someone reaching for your hand,
surprise tulips poking up through the cold ground,
a tractor plowing in the setting sun,
the mirage of heat rising from the ground,
a handwritten envelope from a very familiar hand……

Blessings Surrounding Him

All around our son and his recruit brothers and sisters, are blessings! They have been wrapped continually in prayer since they began the Crucible Monday morning at 2 in the a.m. They are battling cold, wet weather. Barely eating. Barely sleeping. These young men and women have dedicated their lives to protect us! Stop and say a prayer for them. Now. Reread what I just said. They are battling to become Marines to protect people they have never met. They are beyond amazing and they deserve our utmost respect, support, and prayer.

What I believe is wonderful, is most of us have been taught to always pray for those who have been battling for us. Let’s continue to pray always, write letters of encouragement, and if not already doing this, walk up to someone in uniform and truly thank them for their dedication to their country.

Our son and his recruit brothers and sister have this! And each and every one after, too! Semper Fi!