Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Friday Friend Countdown -- #112 -- Happy Hour Mushrooms

All ready to go in the oven!

My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #112!

Theda's Happy Hour Mushrooms

and you know all the whys and wherefores of this countdown, right? Homemade cookbook, friends contributed, Handyman said I couldn't/wouldn't do it, I'll show him, yadda yadda yadda....
...and the rest is cookbook history!

Very good!

This is not Theda--It's her granddaughter Zoey.  Theda is there behind Zoey, on the left.
When I first saw this photo, I was wondering what in the world are they doing letting Zoey sit by herself in a restaurant in New York City?!
Then it dawned on me---it's a mirror.

Theda is of course, my oldest friend.
I mean time-wise, not age-wise.
Sheesh I can start naming older ones if you want....

My old friend Theda just took a trip to New York with her husband, John, daughter Sarah and granddaughter Zoey.

I have been to New York, but not with Theda.
These are the places Theda and I have traveled to together:

Wallow Lake, Oregon.  (a few times when we were 17, 18 and then again when we were 48ish and 50ish)

Othello, Washington (we skipped school when we were in high school and drove up to Othello, about 40 miles away. To look for boys)

The Pot Holes, Washington (this is some obscure fishing place.  Theda drove her little green pinto and it was dark out when we got there. I don't remember why we went there or who we met there.  It probably had something to do with  boys.  I'm just saying.  I do remember driving home and Theda had her left leg tucked up under here while she drove.  We were 17.   We can't tuck our legs like that anymore)

Sacajawea State Park, Washington (  we skipped work for this trip!  We both worked at Kentucky  Fried Chicken and we called in and Theda gave this excuse--her mom dropped us off and then took her uncle to go pick up his false teeth and she isn't back yet.  HOW CAN YOU ARGUE with a good excuse like that one?  We were meeting, um, BOYS.  But---our boss drove out to get us. sigh.  )

Reno, Nevada  ( 11 years ago we met in Reno for a girls weekend.  We took a cooking class and went to an author lecture.  So much fun! why haven't we done it again?)

We might have taken a trip to Spokane, Washington.

But never to New York together.
The closest we come to being "together" in New York is
1)  she ate at Juniors
2) I have a Juniors cookbook and made their original cheesecake. 
I really hope Theda had the cheesecake while she was there.

My cheesecake looked like this:

(it was perfect!  Just like Juniors!)

This is  Theda's 13th appearance in the FF Cookbook.
I think she and I need another travel adventure!
In the next one, we won't be calling in sick to work or skipping school, NOR will we be looking for boys.
Because we already have these two...

Such discussion going on about the grill!
Food artisans at work perhaps?
Whatever they are doing---they are keepers.

That's my Theda story.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Friday Friend Recipe #111 -- Potato Casserole

My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #111!

Barb's Potato Casserole

and you know all the whys and wherefores of this countdown, right? Homemade cookbook, friends contributed, Handyman said I couldn't/wouldn't do it, I'll show him, yadda yadda yadda....
...and the rest is cookbook history!

In my Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown history, I am betting that the region of the Midwest and era of 1980's cooking trumps all other regions and eras.  It 's just a little guess I have, when I reflect on all the times I've written "creamy goodness" and "cheesy yum" in my recipe description.
There are lots of casseroles in the FF Cookbook.  Made with cream soups and lots of mayonnaise.

You take this:

Plus this:
Plus this:


Creamy Goodness!  and Cheesy Yum!

Casseroles are the easiest dump and go kind of dish you can make.

But this is all beside the point, as I know you are wondering why there are a few pecans scattered on top of this wonderful, cheesy, creamy goodness of a potato casserole?
Well, because, when you bake a Christmas Brunch and everything has to go into the oven at the same time (Ham, potato casserole, egg bake AND pull-apart cinnamon monkey bread) do not put the cinnamon, pull apart monkey bread on the top rack and everything else on the bottom, because the cinnamon, Pull-apart Monkey bread just might run over and drop a bit into the dishes below.

It's alright tho, nothing is ruined---you just pick them out and toss them into your mouth. Wah-LA!

Potato Casserole
Barbara Brown
Buckeye, AZ

2 lbs. frozen hash browns
1 pt. sour cream
1 stick butter, melted
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups grated cheddar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cornflake crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all (except for cereal).  Place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with cornflakes mixed with 1/3 cup melted butter.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Barb originally  typed out all 398 recipes that my friends, from near and far, contributed to this project. 
Because she was in charge, she contributed quite a few recipes (she called it editor's privilege) --this is her 28th appearance here --more than any other friend ( my mom runs a close 2nd), and it's getting harder to think of stories about her, so I said to the Handyman, "tell me a story you remember about Barb."

He remembered something about her that made me remember something about her and so on. Sometimes it's good to have someone to bounce things off of.

In Barb's last FF Cookbook appearance (2 recipes ago) I said that we celebrated minor holidays with them when we both lived in California.  The Red-White-Blue holidays!  I had forgotten that we also have spent a couple of Thanksgivings with them too.   One of them was  5 years ago.  We met our oldest son Luke and his family, the Handyman's 2 sisters and one brother-in-law and Barb and  Doug in Las Vegas.  We had a great time.  We did some sight seeing, had some good meals, went to show or two, and did a small bit of gambling.
On Thanksgiving Day,  we ended up eating our meal at Hooters.
Hooters for Thanksgiving. 
They had the best buffet deal and the food is really good.

Earlier, when I asked the Handyman to tell me a story about Barb,  he said, "I have one.  It's embarrassing.  One time when we were going to a meeting, I was driving and had to stop suddenly. Barb was my passenger and I shot out my arm to stop her from going forward (as our mom's used to do--it's reactionary)  and... I grabbed her boob."
"on accident"  he assured me.
Uh huh.

I'm not sure how I can connect our eating at Hooters on Thanksgiving with my husband grabbing one of my best friend's boob. BUT I'm sure there is a connection there somewhere.
There has to be.
That's my Barb Story and I'm sticking to it!

I cannot find one good photo of Barb from our Thanksgiving in Las Vegas!
There she is at the end of the table with the Handyman and me.

And here she sits in our motel room --it must have been cocktail hour.
The Handyman's sister Cherrie LouWho in the window seat, and her husband, the greatest guy ever Mikey.

 I just put this photo in cuz, she's the cutest thing!  Our granddaughter, Cassandra.  (5 years ago)

Let's imagine, for a moment that there was something connectional about eating at Hooters, and the Handyman grabbing Barb's boob (for protection  services only). If those two things fit together to make this blog post have a theme of some-kind..... does this photo of my son Luke (sigh) and Cotton Candy fit in?
We were just walking down the Vegas strip, minding our own business when Cotton Candy jumped at us flaunting her/him self!
And well, you can see what happened.
I'm not proud. 

Happy Potato Casserole eating!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Soup--Brocoli Cheese

I love making soups and linking up with Deb
Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen!
Souper Sundays is a weekly blog event that started because of her love of soup and a desire to work through the many soup and soup-like recipes in cookbooks and magazines, Deb set a goal to make a soup or "soupish" dish each week and post it each Sunday and invited others to do the same.

This is a favorite of everyone in my house.
Cheesy, creamy goodness!
Although the title of the recipe might indicate this to be a vegetable soup--it isn't.  It's a cheese soup.  The dominate flavor is cheese.  It's so yummy!!
I always think of making this soup as the weather starts to get cold outside. There are certain traditions to look forward to as the seasons change and this soup is a fall and winter favorite!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 (10oz) package frozen broccoli
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 (10oz) can cream of chicken soup
12oz Velveeta Cheese
1/2 cup cooked rice

Cook the broccoli according to package directions, omitting salt, drain well.
Cook onion, green pepper and butter in a large soup pot until tender.  Add milk, water, cream of chicken soup and cheese to soup pot. Cook until cheese melts.
Add the rice, heat and serve.

Add sandwiches to make a complete meal.

I made this to take to a church potluck as a gluten-free soup.  We needed one gluten free soup for a visiting Pastor. I was in charge of the meal/potluck and put the word out that we did need a gluten free soup.  We ended up with 4 gluten free soups, which were all great!  But this one was the best!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Non-Fiction November FAIL-- kind of

I have failed this year keeping up with Nonfiction November posts.
I was feeling a bit bummed about it, because I really do love to connect with others thru memes/challenges and events, and I really love non-fiction.  I like to find out what's trending and what everyone is recommending  this year.
So yes, I was a bit bummed--until I went to see an author at the library this afternoon.
You might be thinking, yeah, so what, you saw an author. But we live in rural Nevada.
Rural.  Nothing around for miles and miles.  It's not an easy sell for an author.    TJ Stiles is a Pulitzer Prize wining author of nonfiction!  Pulitzer Prize!!  Winnemucca scored!
I had not read his books before today, but was excited to see  him and hear his book talk.
Guess what?
He was such a great speaker and was so interesting to listen to!   He's written  three books and I bought all three.  In fact, our little town bought ALL of the books he brought.  We cleaned him out.
He was just so thoroughly enjoyable.
So I was feeling good--I was able to attend a speaking engagement by a non-fiction author this month and purchase his books to read.

While I was visiting with him as he was  signing my books, I mentioned that it was Non-fiction November and he said  "you have a blog?"  I said that I did.
You all know that I don't identify with being a 'book blogger' right?  I'm just someone who  has a blog and LOVES books.
But today--I was so happy to be included and be a  part of the book blogging world!

So even tho I am failing at the proper way to participate in Nonfiction November, I just feel I scored big!

Off to go read some Non-Fiction!!

Friday Friend Recipe #110--Grandma's Orange Salad

My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #110!
Tomi's Grandma's Orange Salad

and you know all the whys and wherefores of this countdown, right? Homemade cookbook, friends contributed, Handyman said I couldn't/wouldn't do it, I'll show him, yadda yadda yadda....

Grandma's Orange Salad
Tomi Pingree
Kaysville, UT

1 11oz can mandarin oranges
1 8oz can crushed pineapple
1 6oz pkg orange jello
1 pint softened orange sherbet
2 med. firm bananas sliced

Drain fruit, reserving juices. Set fruit aside. Add water to juices to measure 2 cups. Bring to a boil in saucepan; pour over jello in large bowl.  Stir until dissolved. Stir in sherbet till smooth. Chill until partially set. Fold in 3 fruits.  Pour into a 6 cup mold coated with non-stick cooking spray. Chill till firm.
(Tomi usually just puts it into a pretty bowl rather than using a mold)

**And I added cool whip into the mixture

And now to my Tomi story.  This is her 4th appearance in the Friday Friend Cookbook (you can see all her recipes here)
As I've mentioned before, Tomi and I would spend endless hours, first, exercising to Richard Simmons (remember the days of Richard Simmons Never say Diet?) and then talk about food and what we were cooking, while our 6 kids ran amuck.   They didn't really run amuck, and a couple of them were in school, so we probably only had 4 kids running amuck at the time.

We were able to catch up and have lunch this summer.   A 3-hour lunch was NOT ENOUGH TIME!

When I look thru the Friday Friend Notebooks, I find that Tomi  didn't answer a lot -- she said she always answered in her head, but when it came to putting it to paper, she thought it sounded weird.
For the record--it didn't.  But she is a thinker, unlike me, who is a bluter-outer and just write down whatever comes out of my mouth!

Like this:
One time, a long time ago, about 29 years ago to be exact, the Handyman and I decided to go camping for a few days with our boys, and to do a bit of hiking.
Lamoille Canyon, a beautiful place in Northern Nevada, was only about 30 miles from our home, and they have some really nice high lakes and we thought we would hike a couple of those and just sit around a campfire in the evenings (at our basecamp--these are day hikes for us) and relax,  and you know, get away from people.
So one evening we are sitting in our campground and we see a car driving up the road.  Now there are tons of empty camping/picnicking spots around--TONS.  But this car pulls up right to the one next to us.
This was me:
I can't believe it?
Really?  Right next to us?
I don't want to have to make nice chit-chat with some weirdos.  Don't they know? You don't crowd people!!
What the hell?!

The car pulls up, the people start pulling a cooler and camp chairs out of their trunk, they don't really notice us-- I mean, of course publicly recognize and give greeting to-- and all of the sudden I notice it's Tomi and Stuart and their kids.
I shout:
What are you doing? Following us?

Then of course, there was laughter all around (thank God, she hadn't heard me complain about them, before I knew who they were!) and she said,  "We just wanted to get up in the trees where it's cooler, for a little cookout.  It's been so hot in town!!"

They didn't know we were up there camping! And she just wanted her favorite spot--weird people (us) be damned!

So, we ended up having a cookout together!

Now, let me ask you something.
When you go to a campground and use the public grill, so you cover it with foil before grilling your food, OR do you light a big fire and think/pray that the fire kills all the 'stuff' on the grill?

To be honest, I was young and had never really thought about it, AND the Handyman does all grilling--he never covers the grill just burns it all off (and home he brushes and cleans it of course, but out in the wild, naw,  he just burns the crap out of the grill).
Tomi had her foil and covered the grill.
A lesson learned Handyman!

Remember, the camera adds 10 lbs! 
Although Tomi looks great!

Photos courtesy of my granddaughter Cassandra!
After a pizza lunch we went to the park so my grandkids could run amuck just like our kids used to do.
(this lunch took place during the infamous July 2016, when I had grandkids for on solid month)

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Thirteenth Tale

From Goodreads:
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise — she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.

Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s
Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story.

Both women will have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets... and the ghosts that haunt them still.

From Me:
A deliciously creepy, gothic story. Of course, it's mysterious, contains a creepy house and a governess.  And a surprise twist that I never saw coming.
It was a great fall read for me.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted each week by

This week's question is:

Would you take a book with you when you go to your family's Thanksgiving gathering/dinner?

My answer is:
Of course I'd take one!  But I probably wouldn't read it.
I always have a book with me--just in case.
I'd only read it if the trip was an overnight one.  If we just went for the day, I would not, but I'd feel safe knowing I had one in my purse -- just in case.

Most of the time I'm the one doing the cooking, and later in the day, there is no time to read, there are board games to play, or a walk to take, or a football game to watch.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Friday Friend Recipe #109--Caroline's Appetizer

I got a bit chastised today---one of my friends who I confided in-- that I had 25 more FF Cookbook posts in my drafts told me to GET BUSY!

My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #109!
Barb's Caroline's Appetizer

and you know all the whys and wherefores of this countdown, right? Homemade cookbook, friends contributed, Handyman said I couldn't/wouldn't do it, I'll show him, yadda yadda yadda....

This...this....this is Yummy!
I would venture to say it's a crowd pleaser!

Caroline's Appetizer
Barbara Brown
Buckeye, AZ

Mix together 1 doz eggs, shredded jack cheese, 1 small can diced green chilies.
Put on greased cookie sheet (or ungreased Teflon).  Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour or till done.
Cut into small squares and serve warm from oven.
Full disclosure:
I have a very similar recipe that I have been using for years, but we always served it as a brunch item, baked in a 9x13 pan.
And it was a dozen eggs, 1lb cheddar and   1lb jack cheese with the small can of roasted green chilies.
So, when I prepared this one, I used 2lbs of jack cheese, baked in a 9x13 pan and used it for my Christmas breakfast brunch.

As I told Barb, I made this last year for the Friday Friend Cookbook...I am just a slowpoke getting this stuff posted,  but LOOK! It goes with the season now. As far as my Christmas place mats under my glass plates go, anyway.

** This is really good. We love it.

Barb is making her 27th appearance in the cookbook countdown.  You can see them all if you click here.

Remember I'm taking pictures of pictures--it's the friends and the stories that are important.

Good thing too!
Because these photos are funny/odd.

A picture of the Stone Family (Handyman with some BIG glasses there) and the Brown Family being goofy.
(they still all like to be goofy!  Even tho everyone is all grown up now.)
For years when we lived close by each other we would get together for certain holidays-- always Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Barb liked the Americana décor, so why not?  Hot dogs, hamburgers, a backyard cookout, nothing could be more Americana.

Let me just state that I KNOW I made her recipe for a Christmas Brunch and now I'm showing you photos of a summer holiday.  They don't seem to go together, BUT I'm running out of photos  here.  I didn't have a cell phone back then and didn't realize I'd have to document my life! I'm grabbing the bottom of my picture box!

The reason I know we were being goofy on purpose?
Look at this photo:
Doug has a chicken bone in his hand.  I have no idea my purpose with these photos, but they came in handy today!

Our holiday get-togethers were never over the main holidays, but  always the Red-White and Blue ones, with an occasional New Years Eve or Superbowl thrown in.
On the Red-White and Blue holidays we had a tradition...

See the little green thing in the pool?  It's a watermelon!  I can't remember how the whole thing started, but Doug would always toss the watermelon in the pool and the kids would swim around it all weekend.  We never ever got around to eating one of those watermelons.

The watermelon tradition didn't start out to be my story about Barb tho...
I was glancing in my Friday Friend notebooks this morning and  found this,  from November 15, 2006...
(I had asked everyone if they were going to go up in a hot air balloon, where would they go, given the chance?)
Barb wrote:
I used to have a list of things I wanted to do and going up in a hot air balloon was one of them (but also on the list was filling up someone's office with wadded up newspapers...)

Barb!!!  This is  still so totally doable!!
Let's do it!  I will be your partner in crime!
They better have a pretty small office tho.
What fun!

She went on to say that she'd like a hot air balloon ride over  Venice Italy.

And that's my Barb Story.
Watermelon and Wadded up newspapers.
The "W" story of Barb.
See,  I can connect everything!!

Friday friend recipe number 274 and 275-Grapefurit Shrimp Salad and Crispy Potato Chicken

  My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #274 and 275 My Mother-in-law's Grapefruit Shrimp Salad and Crispy potatoes . and you know all th...