Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I would like to wish you and yourn a Happy New Year!
I pray for all of us in this new year. I pray for our country and our new leaders. I pray for the men and women who are sacrificing so much for our country. I pray for an end to hunger and tyranny. I pray that no child has to live in a world where terrorism is a fact of life. But most importantly, I pray for Peace On Earth.
May God bless you and your family in this New Year.
Have a safe and joyous New Year's Eve!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Okay, I'm gonna share with you a Springfield, Mo original. David Leong created this dish in 1963 in Springfield. He was the chef at a local supper club and he wanted to come up with a dish that would appeal to the locals. Since fried chicken is a staple in these parts, he used it as the base of his now famous dish. It became so popular that he was able to open his own restaurant, Leong's Tea House. His brother later opened Gee's East Wind and David's Cashew Chicken was featured there too. David's son now prepares the dish at a new restaurant in Springfield. David has passed on but his famous Cashew Chicken lives on.
Now I have checked in other states when on vacation and I have not found it prepared like this anywhere else. A few years back, when we were vacationin' in Florida, my son was home sick and he needed, I stress needed, a fix of cashew chicken. I went to a Chinese food drive thru and ordered their style of the chicken dish, not realizin' that it was goin' to be nothin' like what we were use to. When I got back to the room with every ones order, let me tell you, there were very disappointed kids and hubby. It was prepared like a stir fry and there was a lot of leftovers.
Cashew Chicken in these here parts is a top favorite. It doesn't matter if you go out to eat it or go through one of the many drive-thru's it is immensely popular. It is right up there with pizza and hamburgers as a favorite of kids and adults alike. When we want to just go and pick up somethin' or have CD bring it home for supper, the choices are usually , hamburgers, pizza or cashew chicken. That's what it is like here in the Ozarks.
Now this is an easy dish to prepare but there are a few steps to it. I'm gonna start out with my fried rice recipe. We like fried rice with our chicken but you can use just plain cooked rice.
4 cups cooked brown rice
It is best if you have cooked your rice and let it cool in refrigerator until ready to fry. It isn't soggy when prepared this way.
4-6 slices of bacon cut in pieces
green onions, chopped on the horizontal, about 1 cup
1/8 to 1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil ( optional, but very good when added)
Put floured pieces into hot oil in deep pan or deep fryer and fry for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Place on paper towel lined plate to drain.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
You know, I'm sure you do it too. I must confess, I didn't get very many decorations out and up this year. Shame on me. We have a beautiful 11 foot tall tree for our living room, but I only put up the 7 foot fiber optic one this year. It is a lot easier to deal with. I didn't put any of my other 6 trees up. I didn't put any outside lights out. I didn't bring down my Santa collection from storage. It's not that I wasn't in the Christmas spirit, I was, truly. I just kept procrastinatin' and before I knew it, it was Monday and everything needed to be done in two days!
On Christmas Eve, one of my sisters took me aside and asked if everything was okay and was I feeling alright? "Yes, I was just lazy this year."
The last few years I have done so much to get ready, that Christmas is here and gone and I feel like I didn't get to enjoy or savour it. So this year I did less decoratin' and more enjoyin'.
We had lots of fun and I hope you did too.
My daughter and granddaughter spent Christmas Eve night, as they usually do, and we opened our gifts to each other on Christmas mornin'. Our favorite gift that granddaughter received and which was enjoyed by all, were a pair of Moon shoes. We laughed and laughed at her jumpin' around all over the place.
I want to show you some of the photo's of her in action. Now remember when lookin' at these photo's that she is jumpin' and her feet in Moon shoes are completely off the floor.
My dad use to say after all the presents were opened and the floor was trashed with all the wrappin' paper and kids were all scattered about enjoyin' their gifts, that 'It's all over but the cryin'. Watchin' my granddaughter jump around in her Moon shoes is makin' me laugh so hard that I'm cryin'. Maybe that's what he meant.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Ok, so they were forcastin' all kinds of gloom and doom here the last couple of days. We got a lot of gloom but not much doom, at least in my neck of the woods. Springfield, where my husband drives into work, got a little more than us.
But we did get enough ice that when I stepped out on the deck steps, the next thing I knew I was at the bottom, AND my butt never touched the ground! Don't ask me how that worked. It just about gave me a heart attack though. From now on, I'm goin' out the back porch way. It's concrete but it has an old cistern under it and it keeps the concrete warmer so that nothin' stays on it for long. Safer for less 'graceful' exits.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I rode into Springfield last Saturday with CD on his way to work. When gas was really up there we would do this to save money, and I've kinda gotten into the habit, if I need to go to the big city I just wait and go in with him on Saturdays, because he's just there for part of the day. I wasn't even thinkin' about what day it was. Saturdays must be the very worst this close to Christmas. Every family that lives within 100 miles of Springfield, comes to town to shop, plus all of the 800,000 people that live in Springfield. It was a nightmare. I told my husband if I tried to ride in with him on another Saturday before Christmas to please shoot me. He said he would.
Before givin' up on the possibility of shoppin' sanely, consider these ways to keep your sanity while checkin' everyone off your holiday gift list.
1. Comfort is the key. The right clothes can ensure your comfort and make shoppin' more enjoyable. Dependin' on where you live, it could be rather chilly when headin' out. But avoid wearin' a bulky winter coat. Stores crammed with shopper can be stuffy and hot, and you'll end up havin' to lug your coat around. Instead, leave the heavy coat in the car and wear a light weight jacket into the store. Also be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Athletic shoes are probably the best.
2. Take breaks. If you've planned a day of marathon shoppin', be sure to schedule breaks in. An hour long lunch, a coffee break with a friend or catchin' a movie. A simple pit stop now and then can rev up your energy level and help you continue shoppin'.
3. Don't shop on an empty stomach. It's harder to concentrate when you're starvin', so make sure to have a bite to eat before settin' out. Pack some granola bars or other easy go snack in case of a snack attack in the throes of shoppin'. Especially remember to keep hydrated. Those climate controlled stores can dry you out quickly.
4. Avoid peak shoppin' hours. Try to shop during meal time hours, especially early mornin' and the supper hour. When kids are out of school or on weekends is prime time shoppin' hours. So try to avoid these times.
5. Split up shoppin' tasks. Families can divide the shoppin' list among their members and shop separately, then meet up at a designated time. This will allow everyone to spend fewer hours in the stores.
6. Leave the baby at home, if possible. Infants and toddlers can easily become overwhelmed and irritable when holiday shoppin'. Rather than contend with a major meltdown that requires you to exit the store pronto, hire a sitter or ask a family member to care for the kids if possible. You know how tired and stressed shoppin' in crowds can make you, just multiply this ten fold and you can get an idea what it does to a child. No wonder there are so many cryin' and fussin' kids in the stores. Poor babies!
7. Take a road trip. If shops close to your house are always over-crowded, map out stores or outlets that are off the beaten track. Then make a day of takin' a scenic drive and shoppin' at places that aren't as busy. Who knows....you may make it an annual tradition that you enjoy. My mom, sisters and I did this years ago when my mom was still with us. We always planned an early Christmas shoppin' trip to Branson. Man! I wouldn't even dream of shoppin' in Branson at this time of year now. It's grown way too much. Way too many people.
8. Invest in a shoppin' cart. Anything with wheels will do, a small metal or a canvas one will work. Look for carts that fold up and fit in the trunk of your car. This simple tool would be great for totin' around all of your loot. It also frees up your hands for browsin'.
9. Shop early. Try to shop all through the year for items that you know family and friends would enjoy. If you're really ambitious, you can wrap them early too. Come December, you'll have a gift for everyone and an entire month for rest and relaxation, or bein' able to have time to do your holiday cookin'. Make this your shoppin' resolution for next year.
Hope these tips help. I heard about 'em on t.v. and thought they made good sense, so I thought I'd pass them along.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
It's so easy just to buy the pre-printed paper. It's the safe way to do it. Like someone doin' your thinkin' for you. But if you are lookin' for an interesting or crafty idea for wrappin' presents, here are some unusual ways to wrap up and make your gifts stand out.
1. Gift boxes. They come in all sizes and colors so don't hide them under paper. Make the gift box stand out by decoratin' it. Cut designs, such as a snowflake or a tree or a snowman, using a cutting tool like an x-acto knife. Line the box with colored tissue paper and it will show through and make the gift box stand out.
2. Wallpaper. This can be used as gift wrap supplying a varied color palette and style. It will be a little more expensive than gift wrap, unless you have leftovers, so use it for special gifts, like jewelry or collectibles.
3. Fabric. This can also be a unique gift wrap. You can use it to cover awkward shaped gifts that would not be easy to wrap usin' paper. You can also sew fabric to make gift sacks, stockings or wine cozies.
4. Drapery tassels. You can use these to tie up gifts instead of usin' ribbon. It will really spruce up your package and will look elegant and expensive. And if you shop for them at discount stores, they can be fairly inexpensive.
5. Make the wrapping part of the gift. Use decorative scarves, hair clips, towels and similar items. This has been bein' done for years for showers for brides or new babies. Incorporate it into your Christmas gift givin'.
6. Scrap ribbon. Never throw away pieces of ribbon scraps from sewing or ribbons accumulated from other means. I save ribbons from vases or ribbons that have been made into bows. Just untie and iron flat. Then roll to store. Use these scrap ribbons on gift packages or use a mix of scrap ribbon to weave together so that they cover the lid and bottom of a gift box completely. This will be a unique gift wrap.
7. Shop your 'Dollar Store'. Browse the aisles for other inexpensive trinkets or ideas and use for thoughtful and creative gift wrap.
8. Simple materials. Like brown postal paper stamped with a pattern and tied off with raffia or scrap ribbon will make a unique gift wrap.
9. Be creative. Don't just leave it at gift wrap. Think of clever ways to present the gift to heighten the sense of anticipation. For children set up a treasure hunt by leaving clues that lead to the next clue that leads to the gift. Hide a gift inside something else. A ring set inside a rosebud that has not yet opened. Quite a surprise when the flower opens up!
There are so many things you can do. And you'll see that once you get started you'll come up with all kinds of unique ways to wrap your gifts.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Bakin' is such an important part of the holidays, and it just wouldn't be the same without these spices. It's hard to find a Christmas cookie or cake or even some candies that don't have at least one of these ingredients in them.
Vanilla - Was brought to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors. Vanilla has a rich flavor and comes in three forms: whole pod, powder, and extract. It is one of the most used flavorin's in the kitchen.
Cinnamon - Is one of the oldest and most used spices in the world. It has a variety of uses and you can find it in most any kitchen. It is made from the bark of a cinnamon tree. Durin' the dryin' period, the bark rolls up into what is known as a cinnamon stick. It is easily recognized by its aroma and adds a warm sweetness to pies, cakes and cookies. It is also used in a lot of meat dishes.
Nutmeg - Is the dried seed of the nutmeg tree. It has a sweet taste and is especially good in puddin's and custards and when makin' French toast. It is best when you grate it yourself from the whole nutmeg.
Cloves - Is one of the earliest spices to be used for trade. Cloves are from Indonesia and are actually dried flower buds. Ground cloves are used for bakin' gingerbread, spice and fruit cakes, nut or raisin bars.
Allspice - Many people believe that allspice is a mix of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg but it is a dried fruit of a small evergreen plant. It is used in cakes, cookies and pies.
You can use a mix of these spices in your cookin' to come up with interestin' flavors or may be used individually. The key is to buy good quality spices that have strong flavors and aromas.
I don't know about you but the smell of any of these spices bakin' in somethin' in my kitchen can bring a whole lot of memories comin' back.
Some of these spices have been around since pertneer the beginnin's of time. And in the last few years I've read about the health benefits associated with certain spices.
Cinnamon can relieve nausea and diarrhea and aids congestion. It is good for circulation of the blood and can warm the body. It helps with digestion and metabolism of fats. It fights fungal infections and is useful for diabetes, weight loss, yeast infection and uterine problems.
Cloves have a antiseptic and anti-parasitic element and can aid digestion.
There are a whole bunch more spices out there with all kinds of medicinal properties to them, and in the olden days people used them for medicine. So just think about this the next time you're makin' up a batch of cinnamon rolls or cinnamon chicken.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I have several shrimp dishes I make and this one is purdy good. I don't know if there are very many versions of it or not. I've never seen it anywhere, maybe my friend Mary over at My New 30, who lives down near Louisiana or my friend Bayou Woman , who lives in Louisiana have a version of this or knows if this version is any where close to the real thing. I don't even remember where I got the recipe, I may have put several recipes together, I'm not sure. But I know I like it and I hope you'll try it.
Add soup, sour cream, catsup and mushrooms to skillet. Mix well and heat over med-high heat, stirrin' frequently.
Add shrimp and mix in well. Continue heating over med-high heat, stirrin' constantly.
Put skillet into oven that has been heated to 350 degrees. Bake about 20 - 30 minutes 'til browned lightly and bubbly.
Serve over cooked, hot brown rice.
So when they come in and want to know if there's sum'ndeet, sit 'em down and shove a spoonful of this in their mouths. Sure to please and fill 'em up.
Let me know how you like my Shrimp Orleans.
Youn's come back dreckly, ya hear.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Some say that if it rains on the first Sunday of December, it will rain for a week. Weather proverbs are our attempts to explain and understand our climate. Some are useful, some are ridiculous, but almost all are interesting. Here's another one relating to the days of the month: If it storms on the first Thursday of the month, count the remaining days of the month, add to this the number of days until the New Moon (Dec. 27 this month), and that will give you the number of storms for that season.
Many ancient vows and superstitions involved food. At medieval feasts, a roasted peacock, with its feathers and head intact, was often common fare. Knights would put a hand onto the roasted peacock's back and make a vow for the coming year, much like our New Year's resolutions. Ancient Egyptians believed that onions kept evil spirits away. When they took an oath, they placed one hand on an onion.
This Dec. 17, 19 and 20 follow the third Sunday in Advent, which makes them Ember Days. The Old Farmer's Almanac notes four annual sets of Ember Days because they are traditionally used for predicting the weather. The weather on Wednesday, Dec. 17, is supposed to predict the type of weather for Jan. 2009. Friday the 19th predicts the weather for February, and Saturday weather (Dec. 20) has something to tell us about March. Ember Days also follow the first Sunday in Lent, the seventh Sunday after Easter, and the third Sunday in September.
If the wind blows much on St. Stephen's Day (Dec. 26), the grapes will be bad in the next year.
Many stars in winter indicate frost.
Between the hours of 10 and 2, will show you what the day will do.
Much sleet in winter will be followed by a good fruit year.
If at Christmas ice hangs on the willow, clover may be cut at Easter.
If the wolves howl and foxes bark during the winter, expect cold weather.
Black clouds in the north in winter indicate approaching snow.
Some of these and a lot of things in the almanac just make sense and some sound pretty wacky. I still go along with the old hillbilly way of tellin' if it's rainin' or not. If the rock is wet, it's rainin'!
But any who, right now it's cold and sleetin' here. The late news is on and they're tellin' about all the accidents and one guy has been killed on local roads. So it's good to be in and warm.
If you have bad weather in your neck of the woods, I hope you and yourn are home safe.
It seems this guy was over visitin' his elderly mother the other day and she was all worked up about somethin' she had seen when she was drivin' down one of the streets in Springfield. She passed a guy goin' the other way and his dog was hangin' over the tailgate of his pickup. She said the dog was just hangin' there! She was so upset when she got home that she called the police department and told them about the dog hangin' over the tailgate. The officer told her without the license plate number or the make of the truck there wasn't much they could do. She said she didn't get the license number and she hadn't noticed what kind of pickup truck it was because she wasn't lookin' at that, she was too busy lookin' at that poor animal hangin' over that bumper!
This guy did his best to reassure his mom that the dog was probably okay, that someone had finally gotten his attention and the dog was saved. When he really thought the poor dog was probably dead. Not an easy ordeal for an animal to go through.
The guy forgot about the episode but about two weeks later he was pullin' into the Bass Pro shop and this is what he saw.
The truck belonged to a taxidermist!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
1) Does your name have a meaning behind it?
If so, what is it?
2) If you were paint on an artist's pallet,
what color would you be?
3) Who is your favorite artist and why?
4) What word or phrase do you overuse?
5) If the world was only filled with animals,
what animal would you be and why?
6) who is the smartest person you have ever met?
7) What's a fashion trend you followed and
now you wish you hadn't?
Ok, I guess it is only fair that if I want you to answer my questions I should go first.
Rebel is a nickname. When I was a senior in high school, it was the last year
the draft was in effect and I received a notice that I was to register for the draft after my 18th birthday. It was addressed to me and they made out my name to be 'Rebel'. That's when friends started calling me that.
2) I would be green.
3) I guess artist could also mean music artist but my favorite artist artist is
I love the way he depicts American life so realistically.
4) I have 3 phrases I use too often. Ok, now and that's funny.
5) A horse.
They are so beautiful and wild. I've always loved horses. Also I was born in
the year of the horse.
6) I know it probably sounds dorky but my husband is the smartest person I have ever met. I mean he really is smart. Not just knowledge smart but that man got good common sense. I've known other really book smart people that were down right stupid.
7) Probably ratting my hair. When I see pictures of myself like that I just want
Okay, now do you know me better? Now you need to answer the questions, it's only fair. How funny.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Now, I grill year round. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. Hot weather, cold weather and perfect weather. Sunshine, rain or snow and I have even been known to stand out mannin' the grill durin' a tornado warnin'. But for some reason the cold has really been gettin' to me and I could not bring myself to go outside and grill for supper tonight. And this posed a problem because I was fixin' bacon wrapped ground sirloin and I happen to be one of those people who believes the only way to fix a steak is to grill it. But I've come up with a way to cook a steak indoors that I honestly think makes them good.
It doesn't matter what type of steak you've got to cook, I find this works for any cut and makes them taste delicious.
This method is for cookin' 2-4 steaks at one time.
First, heat your oven to about 475 degrees.
Then you you'll need to salt both sides of your steak with garlic salt.
For smaller steaks use smaller skillet, for larger cuts use a large skillet.
You will need to use an iron skillet or a skillet you can put into a really hot oven. I've never used anythin' but an iron skillet so use one if you can because I'm not sure if the steak will come out as tender and flavorful. There's just somethin' about those iron skillets.
Depending on what size of steak you are cookin', you'll use about 2 tablespoons of real butter (gotta be the real thing) for a smaller skillet and 3 tablespoons for a large skillet.
Put the butter in skillet and on top of stove over high heat melt the butter and let butter and skillet get very hot.
When you get both sides seared, put the skillet, with steaks and melted butter still in it, into your really hot oven. Close the oven door and don't open for about 15 - 20 minutes. You will need to adjust cookin' time to steak thickness. Twenty minutes is good for a steak about 1 1/2 inches thick and med-well doneness.
I promise you will be surprised how well these steaks taste. So flavorful and juicy and it really is quick and easy. Remember it doesn't have to be a ground steak to work. You can use ribeye or sirloin, any cut of steak.
Mmmm mmmm good.
Let me know how you liked 'em
Happiness is like wettin' your pants,
Every one can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.
Brown the sliced sausage real good over med-high heat. Don't worry about the pan gettin' all brown, this helps add flavor to the dish.
IT'S COLD! I mean COLD! I'm ready to go down yonder a bit. I know it's warmer in Natchez. I begged my husband, p l e a a a s e take me away from this frigid cold, it's only goin' to get worse. He said, no. The nerve of that man!
I don't want to go somewhere that it's hot, although I would love a cruise in the Caribbean, I just want to be somewhere that the winters are mild.
Natchez, please come git me!
Oh well. I guess I'll just have to make somethin' to warm me up. I know just the thing. Red Beans and Rice, this dish always warms me up. Nice and spicy. Now I make mine a little differently than most, but it suits us. It's a delicious dish and full of so many good for you ingredients. And red beans are close to the most fiber rich legume out there. And you know what they say, more fiber! If you have never fixed or eatin' red beans and rice please give it a try. I think you will be surprised at how good of a dish it really is. Even if you don't care for beans, this has ham and sausage and rice and veggies and........... Well just try it.
Youn's will need:
1 pound dried red beans
1/2 pound sausage such as andouille or some type of smoked or kielbasa, or in my case, all I had on hand was some precooked brawts. I know, brawts? Gotta learn to improvise, the true hillbilly way of life.
1/2 pound of roughly chopped ham
3 quarts (12 cups) or about of water
1 1/2 cups brown rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped onions
1 cup roughly chopped green bell pepper
1 cup roughly chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
2 chopped jalapeno peppers with seeds, be sure and remove ALL of the white membrane.
AND be sure and oil up your hands real good like to keep from gettin' burnt by the hot pepper.
1/4 teaspoon bakin' soda, to stop another kind of burn
1 teaspoon ground red pepper, you may want to cut down on amount if you're not sure you want this much heat. Just taste and add as needed.
1 tablespoon kosher salt to start with and more to season later
2 whole bay leaves
5 cloves minced garlic
Slice your sausage and put into a large pot or dutch oven. Since I used what I had on hand and brawts aren't very spicy, I sprinkled ground red pepper all over the sausage in pan, but you usually won't need to do this or if you want to cut down on the heat a little omit this step.
Add the ham and rice and vegetables
Continue cooking everything over med-high heat stirring constantly. Get a little brown on it all.
Iffin youn's need to get a little warmth in ya, try this good and spicy dish.