Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What's Outside my Kitchen Window--Root Beer Floats

What's outside my Kitchen window this week?
This is. (for my garden/yard info
check out this website )









I don't know if they participated this week, but be sure check out these great bloggers who have been such good sports in showing me what's outside their kitchen windows. (you can too, if you want!) They have something great in store for you.

Terri of Terri's Table (and that is Virginia Creeper growing up and around my patio, Terri)

and

Karen of Karen Cooks


The official kick-off to summer was yesterday, Memorial Day. I hope everyone had a good day and/or weekend however you celebrated.
When I was younger, (even in my younger married years) the family would gather in Wallowa County, Oregon, where my great-grandparents homesteaded, and most of my ancestors lived, died and are buried. Have any of you been to "Wallowa Lake?" If not, click on it and see how beautiful it is.
While we no longer have the family ranch, we still have a vacation home at Wallowa Lake. My grandparents bought it when I was a baby... (almost 50 years ago!! ) and it has been in the family every since then. Wallowa Lake is our vacation of choice.

On Memorial Day weekends, we would all gather and put flowers on the graves. It was a HUGE thing to do. My mother would always "tsk tsk" if she saw an undecorated grave site.... because, no one remembered them. To this day, my parents go and decorate the graves...and I will continue to do it once they are gone.
After the cemetery tho, we would go to a dinner put on by "The Rebecca's" The Rebecca's were the female counterpart of the "Oddfellows". These were fraternal organizations like the Elks and the Eagles, but a bit more obscure.
Tthe Rebecca's made the most wonderful HOMEMADE PIE you could ever imagine. Thus began my life-long love affair with "pie". But I am a pie snob... I want homemade crust. I'll do a Pillsbury crust in a pinch, but really.... I want a flaky, tasty homemade crust.

But, this post is not about pie...(that was just one Memorial Day Memory) it is about the official kick-off to summer, Memorial Day.
Did you have a picnic? A BBQ?

We did. And while it was a very nice afternoon with friends, I forgot to take pictures of the meal....except for.... a few here and there.
We deep-fried a turkey, had many side dishes and.... root beer floats for dessert. YES...root beer floats. All because of Mary at "My New 30".
She made them and posted about her root beer float memories.


I love memories. I love memoirs. I love nostalgia. So, when Mary started talking about her root beer memories (check out her post), I thought of mine...and decided to have floats for dessert on our Memorial Day BBQ. It seemed to fit....since it was only in the summertime my dad would take us out for root beer floats at the A&W drive-in. Once every couple of weeks, he would call out to us as we were playing in the neighborhood in the evening (no one was ever inside in those days....some dads would whistle for their kids ) and we would jump in the car and head to A&W for root beer floats.
Then he would flinch, because my dad was a real "car lover" and the thought of one of us kids spilling or sloshing our sticky root beer in his car was torture. Most of the time, he would make us get out and sit at the tables between the two lines of drive in parking spaces. A&W had a menu with a speaker....You drove your car up and when you made up your mind, you pushed the button and gave your order. Then the carhop would bring it all out on a tray that hung on your car window.
If we were getting burgers...which was rare....we would beg, BEG for a "teen burger", but usually had to get a "baby burger", while our parents got (seriously) a "papa burger" and a "mama burger". Teen burgers had bacon on them. Yum.


Ahhh...the memories. So I made Mary's root beer float. Except....I used A&W root beer. I like Barque's, but A&W is what my memories are made of.
Check out this post of my "bourbon and rootbeer" glazed ribs. See? I did get Barque's. Mary told me about Barque's history... I love stories like that.


Deep Fried Turkey. If you haven't had it, you should. It's great. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. You can inject it with a flavor or marinade, or you can just cook it as is. I don't really have a recipe and besides, it's the Handy Man's Thing.

We enjoy entertaining all year long (entertaining...fancy word for having friends over), but in the summer time, it's just nice to be outside.








Root Beer Floats. They really were great! Brought back lots of memories.






Can it get any better than this?
Well.......if you are a bird nerd.....it can.

I have a HUMMINGBIRD NEST under my patio cover. HOW COOL IS THAT????
If you want to see pictures, go over to my big backyard blog here.

It's way too cool. Okay....one tease...



Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Hiking Picnic

What do you take on a hiking picnic?
Me?
Well......
hard boiled eggs w/salt and pepper
fresh radishes w/salt
dill pickles
black olives
fried chicken from the deli
cookies

Things we could easily eat with our fingers, pull out of a backpack.

We went with our friends, the Storms to see the Great Blue Heron's nesting. The Storms are some of the nicest, easy going people ever. Very laid back. They have two cute little boys, who were great troopers today, as we hiked a bit.
We were lucky enough to also see a Great Horned Owl nesting, some pelicans, a Great Egret, King birds, a Red Winged Black Bird and Starlings.
The drive out was short enough but we had to hike about a mile or so in to where the Blue Heron's nest. It is in high desert country...here are some pictures.

The hike begins.

Hurry up, you don't want to be left behind.

This is where the birds are nesting.



Trying for a family picture....it didn't work.



This one is better. The Storms. Looking at birds.



There it is....The Great Blue Heron.




Nests. The Great Horned Owl was really hard to see... and this picture is little... but if you look closely, you can see her head...the side of her head anyway.


Taking Flight.


More nests




When we came up close to the trees, they, of course got nervous and flew away.




an old barn with the door just hanging there.






We found egg shells under the trees, which means the babies have hatched, but we didn't see them, Just their parents.


Checking out red ants is much more interesting than looking at far of birds!


Another Blue Heron on the nest


Pelicans above the river.



We decided to head back to the trucks because there were some menacing clouds coming in....and some distant thunder.



On the walk back to the trucks, we found ourselves in a pasture with cattle.... and a Long Horn Bull, who was not happy to see us. It made Mitzi and I a bit nervous, but it all turned out fine.
It was a nice afternoon, a nice day with friends.
A nice little Hiking meal too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's Outside My Kitchen Window


This is what I wish was really outside my kitchen window!! What I really want to see right now. :~)
Eli and Emerson.
They are doing so well.
That is Eli with his mom, and Emerson getting changed by her mom. She's a teeny little thing, but look at her looking at her mom! They sent me a video yesterday of this (the changing), and when Sadie said something, Emerson's eyes went right up to Sadie's face.
(ahhhh.... )
And then look at that contraption they have to change them thru... the isolette. No one would find that easy!!


*******
What's outside my kitchen window right now?
This....
I was actually standing "outside" my kitchen window, where I took the same set of photos I've been taking from inside.










My friend Terri from "Terries Table" asked me why I always say that my yard "doesn't look to bad now" and "I'm really greening up"?
She said it looked very nice.
Well, I say it, because, I can see what is just down the street from me...THE DESERT.
My yard is not fancy, by any stretch of the imagination, and we have a dog, who makes a path, but we do work at making it a nice place to have people over, or to read a book in, or to just sit and have your morning coffee.
So, yes, my yard looks nice, but really.... if you could only look outside my upstairs windows! You could see sagebrush for miles and miles.

Check out my "big backyard" blog for further info on how we're coming along with our garden.

And Check out, My Desert Walk, to see what is really just down the street.


And don't forget to check out both Terri's and Karen's yards/gardens/blogs. They both have fun blogs to check out as well as they are putting up with me and showing me every Wednesday "What's outside Their Kitchen Window". Just click on their names for a link.


Before I get to that "good little sandwich" I told you about yesterday, I have to tell you that I went for a walk this morning. It was my 2-mile day. And I wore my new walking shoes. Lots better on my weak ankle.
As I was walking....alone, because the Handy-man does not feel well (he has a cold and he's GROUCHY, when he doesn't feel well, so I left him in bed at 5:00 a.m. this morning).
One of the nice things about a small town, is that you run into people you know all the time. But really, do I need to at 5:30 a.m.?
I guess I do.... there was Mitzi's husband Larry, riding his bike, and my friend Gini walking her dog, and my neighbor walking with a cup of coffee in hand, Jean's husband walking in his orange vest (he goes very early and for a very long way, it's dark when he starts..and he's an engineer, he is "safe" )
But me? I roll out of bed, sift thru my closet to find the pile of walking cloths I left there on Tuesday. It's dark, I can't find my bra, do I dare go without? 2 different socks.. I notice this when I'm putting on my shoes downstairs, too late to turn back now.
I went to bed without washing my face, I have two black raccoon circles of mascara under my eyes. My hair is flat on one side, sticking out to high heaven on the other side, I don't brush my teeth...
I leave the house......and meet......tons of people I know, out walking like fools at 5:30 in the morning!!! (and they look much better than me!)
***************************

We have a deli in town called Uncle Ham's Deli. I get e-mail blasts from them every day telling their breakfast and lunch specials. Last week, they had a grilled mozzarella, tomato and basil sandwich.
That sounded good to me, so I bought the stuff to make them, for when we needed a fast meal this week. (which turns out to be every night ).
Tuesday in the mail, I got the new Taste of Home magazine and in it there is a recipe for a sandwich just like that one, from Stacy Johnson of Tacoma, WA.
Only she added a slice of sweet onion and some wasabi sauce to hers. And they made toast, didn't grill the whole thing.

That's what I did!!
We needed a fast meal.... after work, our grandson had a baseball game, then we ran to Wal-mart, then home, so we had these sandwiches at 7:50 pm on Tuesday night.
I liked them a lot. My husband....not so much. Although he did eat two of them.

I should have used "toast", but I tried to grill the whole thing...AND I tried to do it fast, because we were so late...and so hungry.
As you can tell by the picture (in which you can mostly see Doritos ) I didn't do a good grilling job. I was in a HURRY.
(we had to get our plates together to sit in front to the TV and watch NCIS. )
Anyway, as I said, I liked the sandwiches.

Fresh Mozzarella Sandwiches

sourdough bread, toasted
wasabi mayonnaise
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
tomato slices
sweet onion slices
fresh basil leaves

And then take a better picture than I did. LOL





You know the Friday Friends history? It's on my sidebar....in my profile.
Anyway, Tracie is an original Friday Friend. She does not have a blog, but in the FF forum, she sent pictures of her garden too.
And her "Handy Man". And her dog, who is just sure there is a bird in the bush!

Traci's garden in pretty, sunny, central California.





Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Join Team FRIDAY FRIENDS for Operation Baking Gals

I WILL be posting What's outside my kitchen window, along with a great little sandwich, later on this evening.
I just have to..."have to" because it's my deadline, post this "article" on Operation Baking Gals. I have to turn it in today.... and being that I'm a procrastinator, I'm still trying to find out some info about my soldier. (I know when his birthday is, when his wedding anniversary is, that he likes to tease his sisters... but all the "military" info... not so much. Because. ..I procrastinated!! )
I will post this now, and then again when time is drawing nearer to the sign ups... cuz I know you'll be wanting to sign up and send goodies...




Join Team "Friday Friends" for Baking Gals: Round 9

Round 9 is here for the Baking Gals (Give a little support).
This is the first time that I have hosted a "baking" round, so maybe I'm the one who needs a little support...Won't you join me in baking for our troops?


I think we've chosen a fine young soldier to bake for this time.
Specialist Luke Haaglund of the Nevada Army National Guard.


Luke is a shirt-tail relative of mine, he is my daughter-in-law, Sadie's brother.
We've spent a few holidays together--the dinner part of the holidays anyway. The part where you eat, you sit together and visit and tell stories and have great food.
And that's what I want to send to Luke and his troops as they arrive in Afghanistan-- great baked goods from a group of great bakers/bloggers.
Luke and his wife Danielle have been married for almost 6 years and make their home in Reno, Nevada.
All of Luke's troops are from the great state of Nevada and have just arrived in Afghanistan as we speak (or write...or blog...)

here is a photo of the guys who will be on the receiving end of our boxes of baked goodies... (Luke is the one in the sun glasses)



This is Luke's first tour overseas and I know that homesickness must have settled upon them all just about now.
Please help me in letting them know that we think about them and wish them safety and a quick return home to their loved ones.

Here is what you do if you want to join me:

1) e-mail me and let me know you want to join TEAM FRIDAY FRIENDS.

2) go to BakingGals site and join team Friday Friends from the round 9 teams. Sign ups begin on May 23rd.

3) Shipping Dates for Round 9 are June 1st thru the 10th.

4) e-mail me a picture of your goodies and package contents and a link to your blog post. (if you have a blog...YOU don't have to have a blog to participate, just e-mail me the info)

5) BE SURE and do both #1 and #2 so that I know who is on my team. Thanks.


I will post the round-up on my blog once the shipping period is over and I have received all the pictures.
Any treats will be appreciated but try to stay away from too much chocolate (ch chip cookies are okay, Hershey bars are not), as it gets very hot in route.

You may include (but it is optional):
a post card or brochure of your town
a short letter/note telling about yourself
beef jerky
pepperoni
hard candy...star bursts, jolly ranchers, jelly beans, blow pops, hot tamales, life savers, etc
gum

I will post Luke's mailing address through the BakingGals site bulletin once you have joined, as well as send it out to you in an e-mail.

Thanks!!! You can do it!!! We can do it!!
Enlist now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Taco Tuesdays


Every Thursday night my husband and I eat at a local restaurant called "Las Margaritas". We eat at it on Thursday because Thursdays are $1 taco night.
Of course.... that is a ground beef, hard shell taco for $1.
I usually have carnita tacos, and he has carne asada tacos, which are $2.50 or more tacos. Add rice and beans and a margarita or two.... and well, $1 taco night adds up to $25 or more. It just sounds so good... "we're going to $1 taco night!" "Yep, tonight is $1 taco night." "Hey, you wanna go to $1 taco night?"

Last Thursday, I met a friend for lunch and we went to "Chihuahua's", another Mexican restaurant in town. At the same time my husband went to Taco Bell for lunch. Guess what? We STILL went to $1 taco night at Las Margaritas that night.

Are we stuck in a rut? Or, are the tacos that good? OR, do we love Mexican food-- especially tacos-- that much?
I think we really love the flavor of Mexican food.... true Mexican food is best.

Even after a week of many tacos, I'll still make them at home. Tacos are so versitille. How easy and tasty is it to eat something rolled up or folded up in a tortilla? You can put almost anything in a tortilla. A warm flour tortilla and some peanut butter? Yum
A warm corn tortilla with some Mexican sour cream.... YUM!
My daughter in law, Mara (not the one who just had twins) makes a great "Chihuahuan" taco. They have mashed potatoes in them. I'll make them for next month's "Taco Tuesdays".
But this month....
....I just made up some quick shrimp tacos.

I took some sour cream...... when I am feeling like making something with a special touch, I'll buy the Mexican Sour Cream in the Mexican section of your market. It's a bit creamier than what you can buy in the dairy section. It's really good.

I took the sour cream and added some seasonings to make a sauce. I used the chipolte seasoning, and a tad bit of cumin, added the seasonings to the shrimp, grilled the shrimp, fried up some corn tortillas, stuck them in the middle of the tortilla, added some avocado, lettuce and tomato. (I used a Caesar salad from a bag ) and some fresh lime squeezed over it all.

That's it.
Tacos are usually my fast "go to" food, when I need something easy. I served the shrimp tacos with some fresh pineapple and mango. I thought it was a real "fresh"tasting meal.

If you have a great Taco you want to share, join us on the 3rd Tuesday of the month for "Taco Tuesdays" at Foods and Flavors of San Antonio.
Gloria has written a great cookbook too! I just got it in the mail and read the whole thing on my trip to Reno this weekend .... no worries...I wasn't driving, my husband was.

It has tons of great sounding recipes which I can't wait to try.


Shrimp Tacos
(there is no recipe... just season, add, chop, put on what you like. I left out Emril's seasoning. )






My Big Backyard (on Thursday instead of Wednesday)

Because I'm a nerd, I want to see how my backyard changes throughout the year. So! I'm going to take a few pictures of it ea...