Monday, September 28, 2009

a new baby

GUESS WHAT?
I have a brand new grand baby... Cassandra Maxine. She was born today, September 28th, my dad's 70th birthday. (Happy Birthday Dad)

Here she is..... just a few hours old. So pretty. She weighed in at 5lbs 8oz and came the day after her due date.
We will be traveling down to Phoenix next weekend to go welcome her. I'm very excited.


This year had been quite a year. Not only has our family welcomed Cassandra today, if you remember, we had twin grand babies in May, Eli and Emerson. These three join, Hannah, Hunter, Jordan, Jorell, Camron and Evalynn. Nine grandchildren in all.

I know that some women are really uncomfortable with the "grandma" title. Not the kids, just the title. It makes them feel old. I have never really felt "old", so I think it's funny....I tried to get my first little grandson to call me Granny, but he would have none of it, so I am just Gramma.
I like being a Gramma.
But as I said, I'm not an "old" Grandma. (I can just hear my kids sighing and shaking their heads, saying yes, yes, she is. She's old!!)

I'm digressing....all I wanted to say was WOO HOO, I have a new granddaughter. ( and I might be 50, but I'm not an OLD Gramma).


*******
At the beginning of spring, every Wednesday, I was taking a picture of "Outside My Kitchen Window" and posting it. I wanted to see how the seasons change. I didn't keep up on it like I should..... Actually we saw the beginning of my kitchen seasons.... it
was this post or this post

and then the middle of my kitchen seasons
click on this link to see my Kitchen Window posts or this one to see my yard during the summer

and this evening when I got home from work? This is what I saw........fall is coming. The Handy-Man had just blown the leaves and raked them all up the day before.




So.....we poured ourselves a beer and sat on the patio to lament the passing of summer. BUT, I really, really love fall, so its okay.
Really I am not a big beer drinker, but if you had half beer and half lemonade...it's drinkable!!
When I was up in Seattle, I asked for a beer and lemonade and told them it was a "Little Debbie". So if you are in Seattle and go to a bar and they have a signature drink called the Little Debbie....you can thank me.

And this was "raspberry" lemonade. mmmmm.............. the Handyman wasn't so sure, but I made him try it. He said it was --not bad.



Friday, September 25, 2009

Meghan's Minestrone


It's fall...and that means more soups! I love a good soup. So much so that I once started a "soup only blog". I decided early on to merge the two blogs and just include soup here in the Friday Friend Blog, so that I wasn't doing double duty in trying to keep up.
I suspended the "Ahhh SomeSoups" blog, but I like the name, so I'm keeping it.
In honor of autumn, I am bringing back, or reintroducing my favorite soup from the Ahhh SomeSoup blog.

BUT FIRST.....if you read my last post, you know that I'm busy now going thru my mom's old cookbooks, after having absconded with them the last time we visited.
She has one: Casual Entertaining (one in the Better Homes and Gardens series circa 1980).
I love to entertain, so I thought this one would be a great resource, and I suppose it is. But... it's funny. I know it's all true, but....

Your schedule is the key to being a collected and organized host or hostess. Plan a realistic timetable that accounts for everything that needs to be done. Write it down and post it in an obvious spot so you can refer to it often, especially if you're counting on other people to help with part of the work.
The major tasks to accomplish include shopping, cleaning and decorating the house, preparing the food, and getting yourself dressed for the party.


Seriously? I have to clean? Dang it. And decorate? AND get myself dressed for the party?
I thought the title of the book was "Casual Entertaining?" But you know it would be bad...very bad... if I didn't get myself dressed.

You might be wondering why I went off on an "entertaining" rant.... well because. Because every winter I have a party and invite all my friends to bring either a soup, bread, or dessert. We call it our "Soup Supper" (we're very original around here). I'm EXCITED!! Instead of a 'wine tasting", it's a soup tasting.
It doesn't take much to make me happy. A little soup, a little bread and friends.

On to the recipe!
If you want to see the original full tutorial go to the original blog here at
"Ahhh SomeSoups".


Meghan's Minestrone

Sent in by my sister in law, Meghan.
I love this soup. Love this soup. Did I say that I love this soup? It has tons of fresh veggies and a spicy Italian sausage...and it's so DARN GOOD!!! At the end we grate a tad bit of parmiganio on top and serve with a good crusty bread.
mmmmm.......

Meghan's Minestrone

1 lb Italian Sausage (I prefer spicy)
1 large onion
2-3 carrots, sliced
2-3 celery ribs, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 cups beef stock
1 leek, chopped
2-3 zucchini, sliced
2 cups green beans
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 28oz chopped tomatoes w/juice
1 cup pasta (elbow or shells)
basil, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste)

Sauté sausage (remove from casing and crumble) in large pot. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic--sauté about 5 minutes. Add beef stock, leeks, zucchini, green beans, cabbage and tomatoes. Simmer, covered for one hour. Add pasta and spices, simmer additional 30 minutes.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Addiction

I have a confession to make... a dirty little secret.
If you remember, somewhere in this blog is a list of the 219 cookbooks I have. And somewhere in this blog I said I was going to make something from every one of them.
I haven't. I couldn't keep focused on that goal (one reason is that I keep trying stuff from all of YOU.)
I'm kind of like that... I never finish anything.

Okay, wait. That's not true either. I finish lots of stuff. I finished 2 books this month, I always finish my plate, I finish all the money from each paycheck I get.

Seriously tho... I do finish things. "If" I have a deadline. And someone to keep me accountable. Open ended goals don't do it for me.
I have deadlines all the time for work, and I make it ---just under the gun. Homework...at the very last minute. Dinner parties timed to the minute (so when I take the bathroom rugs out of the dryer as people are coming up the walk, they will have the ultimate fluff!)

But my point is... I didn't reach my cookbook goal. How embarrassing. I didn't even really try.
And then....and this is my dirty little secret.... when I was up at mom mom's the first of the month (for our niece's wedding), my mom was "going thru stuff" to be taken to the thrift store... WITHOUT ME. It brought me much anxiety, because there might have been some stuff I wanted. So, I quickly grabbed the two boxes...2 BOXES of cookbooks she was getting rid of. I added at least 25-30 more cookbooks to my goal. (Plus, I am running out of room to put them)

The Handyman just sighed and just put them in the trunk of the car.
Whew! I dodged that bullet. There might be something wonderful to cook in those boxes.
I found an old notebook...circa 1955-56, where my mom (a sophomore/junior in highschool) cut out recipes from magazines and made her own cookbook.
Ahhh---Velveeta, Carnation, Jell-O, Campbell's and Kraft, where would our 1950's and 60's cooks be without you? What would Sunday dinners of my youth be without Jell-O, orange sherbet and heavy cream masquerading as a "salad"? Soup drenched casseroles , baked potatoes with sour cream AND cheese? Broccoli smothered in Kraft mayonnaise.
All these recipes AND MORE are in my mom's homemade cookbook.
I love my mother's cut-out cookbook.

It's the cookbooks..... I am addicted to them.
But someone...please, PLEASE give me a deadline.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

something new for me

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Lemon Sheet Cake and the 3day walk

LEMON SHEET CAKE


I've been missing in action. A "Prisoner of Summer", if you will.

Now I realize that most of you have been able to keep up on your blogging this summer, but I slacked.
I am not a loser tho. NO...
I walked in the Seattle 3day-60mile breast cancer walk.
Woo Hoo!! It was an amazing experience. I think everyone should do it. I can't really put it into words... all I know is that I loved it and want to do it again.
BUT---walking does take a lot of time. Training walks. So, there you have it, my excuse for being out of the loop.

At the begining Breast Cancer was not my "cause", I did the walk because I was turning 50 this year and I wanted to do "something". So, I joined my sis-in-law's team. After having been at a three day, breast cancer is now my cause. There are some amazing women out there and I admire them so much. It was a very emotional experience. I laughed, I cried, I felt drunk without alcohol, I hurt, I was happy.... I was really glad that the walk had fallen into my lap the year I turned 50. It was a great way to mark the occasion.

My team, the Random Racks of Kindness, gave me a bad time about not whipping out the camera to take a picture of the food they gave us during the 3-day walk. They are used to me blogging and were very suprised that I didn't.
I must say while I was never full during the 3 days, I never went hungry either. They gave us food all day long, but we walked it off all day long too.
And treats and goodies from the spectators? Oh my word!! It was better than Halloween.


I'll post a few pictures at the end of this.... but now, on to some food.
It was good to get back into a real bed and not have to "camp out" anymore. And real food was nice. The best meal of the whole week was on Sunday night after the walk, my brother-in-law and friend made us BEEF hamburgers. Nothing fancy, but they tasted soooo goooood.

I made this easy, peasy, Lemon Sheet Cake this weekend.
The easiest dessert to take for a potluck or picnic. And really good too.


Lemon Sheet Cake

1 pkg lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1 can lemon pie filling
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix and eggs until well blended. Fold in pie filling. Spread into a greased 15x10 inch baking pan.
Bake at 350 fro 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in vanilla.
Spread over cake.
Store in refrigerator.




And now a few pictures from my weekend in Seattle. I was actually in Seattle for a whole week, but the 3day walk was over a Fri, Sat, Sun.
It was amazing.
This was from the Opening Ceremonies. We were waiting for them to begin.


I jump around a lot.... this photo was on the last day when we were tearing down our tent city. Yes, 2700 walkers, and about 1300 pink pup tents. It's very early in the morning...this is Ellen. My friend Leah's mom. Ellen was the sign language interpreter for the Seattle event.

And we walked by Pike Place Market. We had gone earlier in the week to buy food for dinner. YUM. I love me a good Farmers Market. And this is the BEST!


We were cheered on by so much of the community. This is my sister in law, Cherrie. Her back anyway.
I was so impressed by the community of the Seattle Area.....so much support for the walk. They came out in droves to cheer us on.



Our walk took us by Green Lake in Seattle...so pretty!



And thru a neighborhood "tit" stop. LOL



This was my mantra the whole 3 days. LOL my feet did hurt, but I kept walking.



A picture of my team......The Random Racks of Kindness.