Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pulled In Many Directions

I have so many projects I want to finish, I want to start, I want to learn.  I'm just not a person to sit still and veg.  I have to have a project to do.  When I see friends and family state on facebook "I'm bored."  I don't even know what they are talking about.  I can always find something to do.  Boredom isn't in my realm of possibilities.

Right now I'm finishing up an afghan in a CAL on Ravelry.  I have a pattern for a hat that my daughter wants to learn how to crochet.  I have a pattern for some fingerless gloves I would love to start for myself since it's fricking cold out.  I've also challenged myself to learn some new techniques and patterns on my knitting machine.  Mainly socks since it's fricking cold out.  Yesterday, I was picking out cookie recipes to teach my young protégé.  Today I'm juggling finances so every thing is paid on time while I'm doing laundry.

When does someone have time to be bored?  I welcome a few minutes when I give myself permission to just sit and do absolutely nothing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving With All The Trimmings

I've come to realize that "all the trimmings" means something different to everyone.  My daughter asked, "Would it be too weird to have Cheddar Potatoes Slices for Thanksgiving this year?"  My answer, "YES!"  It's going to be mashed potatoes.  What would one put the gravy on?  I, by the way, made the best turkey gravy I've ever made this year.  Then I was watching the Thanksgiving episode of "Mike & Molly," as he described the crispy cheddar cheese on scalloped potatoes for Thanksgiving.  I told my daughter, "Mike's got your back."

My daughter asked why would it be weird.  I said it really wouldn't be weird it just wouldn't be the Thanksgiving I look forward to every year.  I told her when she cooks Thanksgiving dinner she can serve whatever she wants.  I did say keep in mind you don't want a riot on that day, so you might want to have a few traditional foods.

Lynne's Thanksgiving with all the Trimmings
Turkey (big enough for leftovers for everyone)
Mashed Potatoes
Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Big Green Salad
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Pecan Tassies

Lynne's note:

Best Turkey Gravy Ever

In the pan under a 25 pound turkey place roughly chopped celery, carrots and onions.  Add one quart of chicken broth.  Bake turkey covered with foil for half of it's baking time.  Remove foil and bake until turkey is done. Strain vegetables out of broth in bottom of turkey pan.  Skim fat off of broth.  Measure broth.  I had 6 cups.  To skillet add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour per cup of broth reserved.  When butter is melted and flour incorporated add turkey broth.  Stir until thickened.  Add garlic powdered and Lawry's Season Salt to taste.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sniff Sniff Tear!

I received this email tonight thinking the train was back on.  I was sadly disappointed.

Dear Stitch ‘n Rider:

We regretfully announce that we will not hold Capitol Corridor’s annual “Stitch ‘n Ride” on-board event to Stitches West in 2011. In the five years that the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) staff ran this event, we have truly enjoyed accommodating the knitting/crocheting community and appreciate the support and loyalty you’ve shown us.

As you are well aware, state-funded services have taken quite a hit in the past two years and Capitol Corridor is not immune to the state’s economic crisis. As a result, our marketing dollars have to work harder for all of our promotions and we do not feel that we can create a quality experience with the limited budget we have for this event. Costs to charter a special, dedicated train, have also increased significantly, and we are unable to offer a reasonably-priced ticket as in the past. Another determining factor to consider was that many of the knitting businesses, which helped fill our Stitch ‘n Ride bags with the goodies you have come to expect, had to cut back on their donations due to the poor economy. In fact, many of those small businesses are now closed.

The CCJPA marketing team carefully considered many options to hold a Stitch ‘n Ride event, but none of these options would allow us the chance to bring you the caliber of event you’ve come to know and expect. Therefore, with heavy hearts we made the decision not to run a special train to the 2011 Stitches West conference. We are working on a possible discounted fare offer for our stitch ‘n riders and will post that information once the details are confirmed.

For those of you who rode our trains to Stitches West in years past, we hope you continue to use the Capitol Corridor as your travel option when traveling to the Santa Clara Convention Center or any other destination along our corridor. Knitters and crocheters are always welcome onboard our trains. We still offer regularly scheduled service to Great America Station in Santa Clara for Stitches West, although we will not have a special shuttle between the station and the convention center. We appreciate your support, your love of the Stitch ‘n Ride train and thank you for your loyalty and your understanding.


The CCJPA Marketing Team

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Pepper Report

Pepper is the new puppy my parents got back in June.  He's doing well and as cute as ever.  My mom was a bit worried that he was so unruly.  Next to my grand dame Little Star, who is 8 years old he was quite the heathen.  I reminded my mom he's still a baby.  Don't worry about him.  He's right on track.  He still needs training, which she's doing.  Just keep it up and when we're here we'll help with the "don't nip my nose," "don't lick my eyeball," "stop scratching by neck," and my brother's favorite "stop punching me in the crotch."  He's learning more with every trip up there.

Pepper is learning to get along with my Little Star.  As you can see from this photo he's getting a healthy respect for her as he leans away from her.

He had to be held in the photo and with the quick jump out as with all babies.

They aren't the best of buds, but they do pal around in the yard.  Every now and then Pepper can't stand it and tries to jump on Little Star.  She gives him a gentle, but firm growl down.  He goes right into a submissive pose, which meets with Little Star's approval.  Then they continue their tour of the  2 1/2 acres.

Which way did she go?  Caught Pepper's ears in mid flight as she looked around for which way Little Star had gone through the garden.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Day That Warms A Mother's Heart

I get my heart warmed a lot with my kids, but Sunday was a particularly heart warming day.  My daughter belongs to a group at school called "Caring for Cancer Patients."  I thought it would be great to host a machine knitting day, so they could make Chemo Caps for donation.

My plan was to teach them to machine knit and to feed them.  Both went off without a hitch.  They all really enjoyed learning to machine knit.  They were very excited to have knitted hats themselves. 

While they were machine knitting I tried a new appetizer call Chile Relleno Bites.  Excellent Recipe.  The recipe is not kidding when it says "cool and cut into squares."  When fresh out of the oven my daughter couldn't wait and asked to dip in.  I said sure.  It was a gooey mess.  I suggested she scoop some out and eat it with tortilla chips.  She made a bowl for all her friends and it was great.  What was left in the pan actually cooled.  It cut up into beautiful squares that one could pick up and eat as the recipe intended.

Chile Relleno Bites

2 small cans diced green chiles
5 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 eggs, beaten well
1 dash Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Spread the green chiles on the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle cheese on top. Add the Tabasco sauce to the beaten eggs, and pour over the chiles and cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

I also had dinner plans.  Thank goodness my son came home as I found out I couldn't make dinner and machine knit.  I had started dinner, but couldn't finish.  My son came home and asked, "Anything you need help with?"  What a nice son.  I said, "Yes, could you finish dinner?"  He jumped right in.

We were knitting and dinner smelled so good.  The teenagers couldn't wait to eat.  My friend that was over helping with the knitting couldn't wait to eat.  Next thing I knew Diana was back from Pennsylvania.  She is the leader of the CCP group.  She lives next door and she and her older brother (who picked her up at the airport) stopped in to see the progress of the knitted hats.  Allison announced, "Diana's here to see the hats!  Andy's here to raid the fridge!"  Allison laughs.  Andy laughs.  I laugh.  Then Allison says, "No really Andy here's looking for food."  I laughed again and told Andy to get a plate and help himself.

We all ate and knitted and it was just a really fun day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bean Pot Pizza

How many of you out there own a Home & Garden Bean Pot?  They were sold at Home & Garden shows, which were run like Pampered Chef or Avon shows.  It was so adorable I had to have one.  Ten years ago!  Now what to do with it other than collect dust.  I decided to drag mine out and try this recipe.  It could be cooked in something other than a Bean Pot.  Maybe 2 layers in a 9X13 inch pan with aluminum foil.  It's that good you'd want to make it.

Home & Garden Party Bean Pot Pizza

By Nancy Westbay, OH

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
16 oz. box rotini, (spiral pasta), cooked
1 small can mushrooms stems and pieces, drained
32 oz. pizza sauce
16 oz. mozzarella shredded cheese
3 oz. pkg. pepperoni
Brown ground beef and onion together.  Drain and combine with cooked macaroni, mushrooms and pizza sauce.
Prepare your Home & Garden Party Bean Pot with a vegetable oil spray and then layer  ingredients as follows:
Approximately 1/3 of the rotini and beef mixture, then 1/3 of the sliced pepperoni, and 1/3 of the shredded cheese.  Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of pepperoni and reserving about 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
Cover with lid, place in oven and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees F.

After baking, remove from oven and top with reserved cheese.  Cover with lid and let it set until the cheese is melted.

Serve with salad and garlic bread.

Lynne's note:  After it was baked I couldn't add the cheese AND replace the lid.  The rotini had puffed up to the very top of Bean Pot.  So, I threw on the cheese and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Worked out great.  Everyone raved about it and said it should be made again.  I fed 6 people generously and had enough leftover for 2 lunchs today.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Planning Continues

This is month number 2.  Decided to do it again.  It worked out fairly well.  Having nearly all ingredients readily at hand was such a time saver.  Having all the meals written out and on the fridge made for a great work sheet for the month.  No wondering what's for dinner tonight.  Check the list.  When the kids would ask what's for dinner I had have them refer to the list.  If I hadn't picked out something I'd have them choose.  Once something was made I found it handy to write the date next to it and cross it out.  This worked out well for leftover questions.  Is this still good?  Check the date next to the recipe.  "Why yes it is still good, but today's the last day for it better eat it."

As the list was getting many crossed out items I found it more handy to highlight them.  I knew what was done and what wasn't at a quick glance.  It turned into a great work sheet.  Some things added.  A thing or 2 not made.  Some meals tweaked a little different, but all in all a big help to my daily cooking duty.  Next month's list will be further down from top of page as the magnetic clip covered a few meals and for some reason it really bothered me. 

We still used the same rules as last month.  One meal veto.  Can't veto the same meal 2 months in a row.  Chicken Curry seems to be my son's least favorite meal.  He vetoed it last month and couldn't this month.  So, he paid his sister $1 dollar to veto it this month.  She took him up on the offer.  Dear Hubby laughingly said, "That's not right!"  It's his favorite meal.  I told him I'd sneak it in some night when both kids are off doing their own thing.  It will be our special "parents only" meal.  No kids allowed.

This month's menu plan as worked on by the whole family is...

Turkey and Trimmings
Hot Turkey Sandwiches
Turkey and Dumplings
Beanpot Pizza (attached)
Beanpot Enchiladas (attached)
*Beef & Barley Soup
*Chinese Simmered Chicken
*Deviled Short Ribs
Burgers & Mac Salad
*Slow Cooker Meatball Subs
*Artichoke, Spinach & Feta Shells
*Bierox Casserole
*DeAnn's Basil Sauce and Meatballs
Steak with *Cheddar Potato slices (hot links)
*Polka Dotted Macaroni and Cheese
Country Fried Steak
Eggplant Parmesan
Nachos w/Refried Crack
*Western Meal In One
*Biram Ruzz
Chicken Delish
*The Best White Chicken Chili
*Hidden Valley Ranch Chicken
Paninis and Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
Tipsy Chicken with rice pilaf
Make your own pizza night
*Cheddar Waffles w/scrambled eggs & bacon

The star before the meal reminds me that I already have the recipe written down in the recipe box.

Here is one of the recipes from this month's plan.  It's been a family favorite for many years.  Please see the notes at the end as I make it slightly different for our tastes.


1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. corn flake crumbs
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 pkg. of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix (powder)

Combine corn flake crumbs, Parmesan cheese and dressing mix, set aside. Melt butter. Dip chicken in melted butter and then coat chicken with crumb mixture. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Lynne's note:  I did not like the flavor of the corn flake crumbs.  They has a strong distinct flavor of their own.  I use bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, Panko crumbs anything on hand instead.  This way the great flavor of the ranch and Parmesan shines through.  I also use half as much butter.  I brush it on and then roll in dry mixture.   Otherwise... err I never thought I'd hear myself say this ... it becomes too buttery.