Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Saying good-bye with a quick and easy spaghetti sacue


This is it, my quick good-bye.

I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon for CT, to see my grand babies.

I'm so excited!!!


But I'll be out of the food blogging world for a couple of weeks. Don't forget about me!


Last night between errands I made this quick spaghetti sauce that I found over at "Everything in Moderation". I left Sherri a comment that I was going to try it, but who would have thought I'd do it the same day. If you want the full recipe, hop on over to visit her blog "Everything in Moderation." I will say that it was quick and quite good too. The Handy-man had 3 helpings. (and if his mother is reading this, he didn't like it as well as yours. LOL)


Speaking of spaghetti sauces...... my mother in law is half Italian and is known throughout the family for her great spaghetti sauce. It is legendary. And she has no recipe, she just adds a pinch of this, a pinch of that. We have all followed her around and tried to write it down as she cooks, but so far, none of us can compare. Well... there was that one time, when we were first married, 30 1/2 years ago, when the Handy-Man told his mother that my spaghetti sauce could rival hers. It was a tense moment at the table, but (and this is why I love my mother in law more than the average daughter in law should ), she just put her fork down and looked at me and said, "that's great!! It's about time we had another cook in this family. How do you do yours?" She's always been very supportive of me and and anything I do. Interesting woman, she thinks her daughter-in-laws walk on water. (sigh, yes I have to share my "water walking" ) But the nice thing is, I've learned from the best and I happen to think that my own daugther-in-laws walk on water too!!

My sauce really does not rival hers... I think the Handy-Man jinxed me that fateful night when he said that my sauce was as good as his mom's. Because I've never been able to make it as well since....and that has been over 30 years ago.


But this sauce? It's good. And fast. Just right for a work night. Serve with garlic bread and a salad.


It's perfect!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stone Soup--(they stole my name)

Before I tell you about how my name has been stolen, let me tell you this:
LONG BLOG ALERT. I've incorporated 2 or 3 things in here.

Here's my story.....
Every Friday night, if we have no plans, and if our friends, the Milton's, have no plans, we eat together. I'm not sure how this tradition got started... it just did. And yes, it is EVERY Friday night of the year, unless we are busy or gone.
Some people (other friends of mine) find this odd. Odd that we set up schedules like that I guess....odd that we just don't stay home and do nothing. I like "nothing", don't get me wrong, but it's got to be such a tradition that it seems normal. 2-3 Friday nights a month, we are always together.
One of my favorite things that Robbie makes is her signature salad. (these pictures aren't so great--sorry)
Robbie doesn't' follow a recipe for her salad, she just makes it up, but it's one of my very favorites of all time. She has 2 different variations. (and then she opens a bag-o-salad for the men, as they are not too fond of her salad, but I could just eat it and some bread and cheese and be happy )

Robbie's salad

#1
Romain Lettuce--torn
green onions--sliced
cilantro--to taste, but she uses a lot
fresh ginger--to taste
avocado--sliced
grape tomatoes--halved
Parmesan cheese--fresh, shredded

#2
Romain lettuce--torn
Field Greens or Spring lettuce mix or baby spinach
avocados--sliced
sliced almonds or walnuts
blue cheese crumbles OR Parmesan Cheese
grape tomatoes--halved
green onions--sliced
dried cranberries

The Dressing for both variations
garlic infused olive oil
seasoned rice vinegar
a smidgen of sesame oil
Greek seasoning

She doesn't mix it in a bowl or shaker either, she just "eyeball" pours it on top and mixes the salad together. Then it is my job to taste it and tell her if it needs more rice vinegar, or Greek seasoning, etc.

It's a great job!




Our Friday Night Table (not at my house...at their house)


And seriously...this is what I could have an be satisfied (maybe it's just the good company that makes it so good)
Salad, cheese and bread....



And now..... the story of my soup shop.
My last name is STONE, I've always wanted to have a soup shop.
I used to be a Children's librarian and there is an old Children's Fable called "Stone Soup". I wanted that as my name, the name for my soup shop... Stone Soup.
While I was away from my home town (I've been away for 30 years) , someone opened a soup and sandwich shop called "Stone Soup".
We moved from the Tri-Cities, WA in 1979 to Walla Walla, WA, where they then opened a soup and sandwich shop called, "Stone-Soup".
It is following me!! Saying...this could have been yours, this could have been yours.

When I was in Washington a couple of weeks ago, my mom wanted to take me there for lunch. It was my first time (her's too). We ended up taking the whole family almost.



The soup of the day....when I went with my parents and brother and sister in law 2 weeks ago, was "Cream of Asparagus".
I have to give the Stone Soup people credit, because it was REALLY GOOD!! And they sandwich was a south-western turkey. It was really good too.
I'd go back to their silly old soup shop! (even if they stole my name)




I have no idea about this picture...except if you look down on the right, you can almost see the copy of "Stone Soup" sitting there....

My little brother, bringing back the drinks.


Outside again ...they probably should cut back their trees, but I love trees so much, I don't want them too.


It just so happens that "Stone Soup" is located two doors down from the Book Worm. My favorite independent used/new book store. I usually go to the one in a town across the river tho, so I was excited to see this one.
Two of my favorite things SOUP AND BOOKS. SIDE BY SIDE!! (is this heaven?)

Getting the obligatory family photo in front of my soup shop....
(hurry up dad... hurry up)
(I don't think my family understands my blogging )
Another shot of Stone Soup, while waiting for my dad.
Hooray! A family photo. (kind of . Minus my nephews who were in school)

On to my husbands' side of the family.
Let me back-track just a bit.... I was up in Washington for my nephew's graduation and to check on my dad, who had just gotten out of the hospital.
Both our families live in the same area.... and they love us sooo much. (we love them sooo much too ) We are very popular when we are up north.
(I'm sure the siblings are annoyed at the fact that our parents kill the fatted calf when we come home. I have one brother, the handy man has 13 siblings, including whole, halve and step siblings)
MaGills. It's a great place to have breakfast. My in-laws love it.
Their breakfast menu has 10 pages....10 PAGES.


This was my breakfast scramble....with potatoes and bacon and cheese and ...it was really good. I couldn't eat it all.


Random shots of Magills.







and a random one of my in-laws visiting outside of Magill's after breakfast

With my husband's family it's always a production. And I mean that in the nicest way. I love it. I love the feel of a big family.
But on this day, only 13 people came to join us for breakfast. We went early, because the Handy-Man and I had to drive 8 hours back to Nevada, so most of the family couldn't raise their lazy butts out of bed.
But so early, that the waitress wasn't' ready for a 13 person set up.... she was all alone (and I think it was only 8:00 ) so we helped her set up our table and helped her pour coffee.
It's so different for me (although I am used to it now) having only 1 brother (and what great times we had/have ) and a non fix-it dad (we called the repair man at my house, growing up. LOL ) to have "fix-it" relatives...and a lot of them at that. At one of my kids graduations, the brothers just took out my sliding glass door and fixed it. It needed fixing, and their big brother, the Handy-man hadn't had time, so all of the sudden I noticed the door was out and someone was a the hardware store and low and behold they fixed it!!
So, setting up tables and pouring coffee is nothing.
I like my family. and I like my husband's family.
(even the lazy ones who didn't get out of bed to say goodbye to us)




One of three: easy summer cakes


This needs no explanation at all. It's a Jell-O poke cake. Everyone has made one. I'm posting it because it is one of my 3 quick and easy summer desserts. I have more than 3 desserts in my repertoire, but these are the 3 things I can make without even thinking about it. I whipped it up this afternoon.
The other 2 are a Jell-O Poke Cake (with jello, not pudding) and a raspberry freezer pie, made with Jell-O and cool whip and raspberries.

Jell-O Pudding Poke Cake

Take a white cake, or a chocolate cake if you want.
Make it according to directions. Cool and poke holes with a dowel or wooden spoon handle.
Make the pudding, chocolate for white cakes, vanilla for chocolate cakes.
Spread the pudding over the cake....it will fill in the holes.
Refrigerate until you are ready to eat it.

It's the easiest dessert ever.
Try it some summer night.
I'm sure there are proper directions, but... I don't know where they are.









Sunday, June 21, 2009

I want some Country Bob's

I am feeling seriously deprived. I have never had Country Bob's sauce. I cannot find it in Nevada. Look! My market shelves have no "Country Bob's".

Rachelle at, Mommy? I'm Hungry, is having her 2nd blogoversary and is she being generous!! All week long she is having give-aways to celebrate her birthday bash. That is GIVE-A-WAYS to you and me!!
Well, hopefully you will win something else, because I really, REALLY want the "Country Bob's Sauce".
Go check out Rachelle's blog and find the "give-a-way" that you covet and comment on it. BUT.....geez, I really want the Country Bob's. (so comment on everything else..LOL )
Go back to older posts and see how fun her blog is.

I want some Country Bob's so bad, that I made the Handy-Man take pictures with his cell phone in the store last night. He stood there and waited while people walked by, and then he took the pictures of our barren of Country Bob's sauce shelves!





Nope, no Country Bob's!! But there was some Phil's. I have no idea who or what this is, but my father-in-law's name is Phil. So we snapped a photo.
Still... it's not Country Bob's!


And then he snapped some Budweiser sauce, because he had never seen any before.
Still....it's no Country Bobs!


(sigh) there is only one Country Bob's. And if I don't' win the give-away, I'm going to have to do some serious mail-order, because this is driving me crazy.

Happy Father's Day!

I am a HORRIBLE wife.
for Father's Day, my son Dustin and his friend Mike are taking their dads out shooting (pop bottles) and then to the Paradise Valley Fireman's BBQ (a tradition) but...but... I am not going.

and...this is the horrible part... I'M SO EXCITED TO BE ALONE!!!!
I have on classical (yes, classical) music and it's kind of rainy (hit and miss) outside (I could get kicked out of Winnemucca for saying this, but I like it), I have a book to read, some weeds to pull, some blogs to write, a nap to take, a cake to make.

THIS IS THE BEST FATHER'S DAY EVER!!!

Happy Day everyone!!!
PS: hmmmm... should I have a coke or a margarita? Margarita or coke?
Before the great father/son outing, we all went out to breakfast...
(and I skipped church.)
The Griddle is owned an operated (from afar) by my good Friday Friend Ashley.
The Griddle in Winnemcuca, NV is the original, they also have Griddle's in Meridian and Eagle, Idaho.
(we have lots of Friday Friend cookers)




Raspberry Crepes....YUM!




This isn't my son, but his friend, Mike... getting ready to eat the crepes.
(they were really good)
Dustin, my son, refused to be photographed. He doesn't want to be blogged about.


Again....Happy Day everyone!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's Outside My Kitchen Window and a Happy Anniversary to me!

Today the Handyman and I have been married for 31 years. (wow)
We have 4 children (3 together and one from his previous marriage)
All Boys.
3 are married, so we have 3 daughters-in-law
We have 8 grandchildren with 1 on the way.
We have one dog...a bassett hound
We have one cat....a gray, ornery one
We have 6 parents (his mom and dad were divorced and remarried over 45 years ago) all still going strong
too many brothers and sisters and in-laws and nieces and nephews to mention.
Anyway....we've had a good 31 years, here's to 31 more!!!

I am so impressed with everyone's gardens/yards/outside their kitchen windows.

Check out these posts from my friends!
Karen @ KarenCooks

HoneyB @ Life and Loves of Grumpy's HoneyBunch
Mary @ My New 30
Terri @ Terri's Table


I've decided that when I win the gazillionair lottery.... I'm going to go have coffee with each and every one of these ladies. Unless of course, they don't drink coffee and then we'll have to figure out something else to drink. Gin, perhaps? Rum? Mimosas?
We'll figure it out, don't worry about us!

Last week, when I was up in Washington, I took a picture outside my mom's kitchen window and posted it. I also took a picture outside my mother-in-law's kitchen window. but I took it literally from the window, and the screen is very prominent in the picture.
But, nevertheless, here it is:


BBQ time. (okay, for all my southern readers... it was really "grilling" time)


They have a laughing Buddha in their yard. He sits under a tree.


At our house, it's RAINING. Raining almost every day. One would never know that we lived in the desert!! My yard looks so green.

Picture of my kitchen window (from the outside)




And then.... pictures from inside my dining room ( close to the kitchen) of my garden. It's coming along.
My flowers are pretty, my veggies are getting there.







I saved the best for last.....
I'm counting down the days.... 9 more to go....until I leave Nevada for Connecticut!
And then this is what I get to see....



AREN'T THEY ADORABLE? ahhh, she has her arm around her brother. In a couple of years, she'll be pulling his hair. LOL

but you know how I am in "training" for my 3day-60mile walk? My daughter in law sent me this:
We'll make sure you keep training in CT. We live on top of a hill so you can get a hill work out in.

I thought I just got to hold the babies for 10 days straight! You mean I have to keep walking? LOL
There is a walking tour of YALE University, so I plan on doing that. I wonder if we can take the babies for a stroll yet?

I am making copies of recipes to make while I am there. Quick, easy, freezer friendly recipes, so hopefully I can make a few to leave behind when they are on their own once again.
I am so excited to see the babies, and of course their parents!
They are gaining weight rapidly (the babies, not the parents), and now weigh 6lbs 6oz and 5lbs 3oz.
They'll be almost grown up by the time I get there.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

stuffed peppers

Cookbook Challenge
One more down.... 205 to go (and oh damn, I just bought 3 more cookbooks! Back to 208 to go)
I made some stuffed peppers from this cookbook:
Get Togethers, a cookbook celebrating Friends, Family & Food.




In September, I am supposed to walk in the 3Day-60mile, Susan G. Komen, breast cancer walk. I haven't trained like I should, nor raised money like I should. I was thinking: my dad is not well, I have two preemies grand babies in Connecticut that I'm going to see (in 2 weeks YAY!! I'm flying to the east coast), a third grand baby on the way in September, this, that, this that.... excuse after excuse!
but last week when I was up in Washington, I did a training walk with my sister in law and I got RE-ENERGIZED. So, I've been very faithful with a training schedule in the past week.
Tues: 3 miles
Thurs: 3 miles
Saturday: 6.5 miles
Sunday: 4.2 miles

The one that killed me? Today/Sunday. the 6.5 on Saturday was okay, but having to get up and walk again this morning? I ached. LOL
There are a lot of hills around here....so it's good for training.
I'll just keep plugging along. I'll be there in Seattle on September 11 to walk. I figure I ache, but women and men with breast cancer (or any cancer) have ached much more than I with sore muscles, so I shouldn't complain.

I have downloaded podcasts of

"The Splendid Table" (click on it to see their web-site ) on my Mp3 player to listen to as I walk.
Today I listened to a program from February 28: A trip to Mexico.


Not that my stuffed peppers have anything in common with authentic Mexican cooking, but I thought it funny that I was going to blog today about my very Americanized version of what I thought"could be" a Mexican dish,and then ended up listening to several proud Mexican Chefs and food historians and ended up feeling embarrassed that I call this a Mexican dish.

If you haven't heard this Splendid Table program...go to the archives and listen. It will make you understand that we do NOT ONE THING right in how we Americans make and cook Mexican food. It was really interesting and included a short interview with Diana Kennedy, the "grand dame" of Mexican Cuisine. I have 2 of her cookbooks, they are pretty new and I haven't had a chance to sit down and look thru them, but now I can't wait. I do have a love of the history of regional cooking.

My stuffed peppers were really good, even if they weren't authentic.
Here's to "authentic" Mexican cooking and to lots of walking.



The Peppers:
They're so pretty. Bell peppers and Anaheim.



The fillings




The white rice mixture goes into the Anaheim peppers.







The ground beef/rice mixture with chipolte-powder seasoning goes in the bell peppers.




Ready to go into the oven.


On the plate and ready to eat. Mmmmmm...

Chili Cheese Rice Bake

3 cups cooked rice
1 4oz can diced green chilies
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups grated jack cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

In a bowl, mix the sour cream, chilies and salt. In buttered 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish, spread half the rice. Over this sprinkle 1/2 the jack and top with 1/2 the sour cream mixture. Repeat this layer and then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle cheddar over the top and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

* You can make this as a side dish and it's really good. For the peppers I just mixed it all together and stuffed the Anaheim peppers and baked them. These were my favorite.
This rice dish is one I got from my friend and Friday friend, Barbara Brown of Buckeye, Arizona. Barb laughs more than anyone I know. She can find the bright side of anything.


**********************

Saucy Stuffed Peppers

3/4 ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic salt
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cooked rice
1 16-oz can tomato paste
3 large green peppers
1 6-oz can tomato juice

Brown the ground beef with the salt, garlic salt and onion in a skillet, stirring until crumbly; drain. Stir in the rice, tomato paste and 1/3 cup water; simmer for 10 minutes. Cut the bell peppers half lengthwise and clean out the seeds. Boil in salted water for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Fill the bell pepper halves with the beef mixture and arrange in a foil-lined shallow 9x11-inch baking dish. Drizzle the tomato juice over the peppers and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.

*I added some chipolte-chili powder, which gave them some extra spiciness.
These Saucy peppers came from the Get Together cookbooks.

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...