Monday, April 30, 2012

Breaded Anything Says Southern

Breaded Pork Chops (Memaw's)

4 pork chops
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup shortening or oil

Salt and pepper chops and dredge in flour.
Heat shortening in large frying pan until medium hot. Place pork chops in hot fat. Fry on rach side until golden brown and meat is no longer pink. Remove chops from skillet and drain on paper towel. Pour excess shortening from skillet. Make a white gravy to serve with chops.

White Gravy:

3 tablespoons drippings from pan
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 cup water

Brown flour in drippings in skillet. Salt and pepper to taste. Gradually add milk and water until desired consistency. Use more milk if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

That was the last pork recipe in my cookbook from Memaw. I see chicken, dirty rice, and liver and onions left in the main dishes section.

If someone has a special request for a recipe that is not included in this cookbook, please let me know so that I can get it from Memaw.

Don't forget the family fish fry at MOUF's this Sunday. Still no challenges on the caramel icing cake? Maybe I will do something else. My Saturday may be too busy for messing with icing.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quiet, but not a lazy day here today.

The dirt movers had a day of rest, and we had a day of quietness. But we did not rest. My hub and I added new soil to three of our veggie beds, added peat moss, and he tilled them so that they are ready for this season.

I know, you think I am late. We have been eating asparagus, lettuce, Swiss chard, and curly kale. Onions and artichokes are ready, and a tomato that just came up in the front flower bed is flowering and growing well. So now to add some seeds to the three new and improved beds and watch them grow.

We will be back to the noise again early tomorrow, so I will save that early wakeup to add more recipes from Memaw. We are approaching the chicken recipes, so stay tuned.

My hub took this photo of Flip this afternoon. We have a hardhat that will fit him, but he will have nothing to do with it. Funny!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fort Pork?

My first year of teaching English was in 1970 at a predominantly black school in my hometown. I met the most wonderful 7 th graders, and one of them was "Pork Chop." Sorry to say that I don't have a clue as to what was his real name. Unlike many teachers, I threw away my grade books after a couple of years. I am better at decluttering than I realize, I guess.

"Pork Chop" was a happy fellow who indeed had eaten too many pork chops. Wonder when he got that nickname? But the rest of his story is that he had been born at Fort Polk near Leesville, Louisiana. When we were filling out some forms for his class, he always wrote that his birthplace was Fort Pork (no typo intended).

Bet he would have enjoyed Memaw's next Just Plain Cooking pork dish:

Skillet Pork Chops (Memaw's)

4 pork chops
1 onion (cut in 4 slices)
1 bell pepper (cut in 4 pieces)
4 tablespoons uncooked rice
1 can whole tomatoes
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper chops. Brown chops in heavy skillet.

Top each chop with 1 tablespoon rice, 1 slice onion, and 1 piece bell pepper. Pour can of tomatoes over the pork chop mixture. Cover skillet and cook over low heat until pork chops are tender and rice is cooked about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serves 4.

Our Pond Story Continues

5:00 am--lights on the pond. Are you kidding me? In the dark? We don't get sunlight here until after 6:00 am!

Our levee to our pond is being reconstructed and moved before the break of dawn. Will wonders never cease? Actually this is day three of a possible twelve day process. The color change has gone from breathtaking lush green to dull brown to reddish brown to muddy muddy and now the reverse. Except there won't be green grass on top of the new levee until someone plants it. Hope no one is counting on me. I have enough problem with my flowers and veggies.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Since 5:00 am this morning all I have heard and later seen is the steady movement of two John Deere tractors pulling dirt movers back and forth . First scraping off the old levee and then depositing onto the new one next to it. What senseless work in a world where too many people are starving! I could write more, but what the use?

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Other White Meat

We are not chicken eaters ( except for the once in a blue moon, awful for your health fried chicken from The Market Basket-- we like better than Popeye's ). An occasional egg or two is as close as we get to real poultry. Why? I don't know. We just don't like chicken. Just like you may not like sauerkraut, and we love it. Had it last night cooked on top of country style pork ribs. Yummy! Think there are leftovers for tonight, too.

Needless to say, we are pork eaters. So the following recipe from Just Plain Cooking by Memaw is a hit around here:

Pork Roast ( Memaw's)

1 4 pound Boston Butt roast
1 large clove garlic
Salt and pepper

Pierce holes in the roast with the tip of a sharp knife blade and insert slivers of garlic in the holes made with the knife. Rub salt and pepper all over the meat.

Heat a Dutch oven until hot. Place roast in Dutch oven and brown on all sides. Turn heat to low under the pan. Cover with lid and cook until roast is done, or it is no longer pink inside. Turn meat several times so it will cook evenly. Remove meat from pan. Pour off most of fat. Make gravy with the remaining juices.

To make gravy:
Thicken the juice with flour (about 2 tablespoons). Brown flour. Add water --about a cup more or less-- for desired thickness of gravy. Stir with a fork for smoothness. Cook until desired thickness. Add more water if necessary. You need no more salt, as juices will be salty.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another Video/foto of Narrowboating

When I figure out how to include the really good video of me (orange Michelin woman) helping with the locks, I will do it. Until then, this is the best that I can do.

Two Years Ago This Week

Two years ago we were invited to attend our Dutch nephew's wedding in Nottingham, England. As we are definite travelers, we looked for something else to do or see while in that beautiful country of my forefathers (not my hubs!).

We had both been interested in trying a narrowboat journey somewhere, and the canals near Nottingham and in the Pottery District seemed the best choice. So after the lovely British wedding, my husband and I, along with our adult son, began our excursion in a narrowboat.

It was like living in an RV floating down the canal. We had all the luxuries of an RV. Each evening we stopped and tied up along the banks for the night. Most evenings we were near enough to a small village for a meal at a pub.Our other meals were lovingly prepared by moi in our complete kitchen. Of course we had tried to stock up on provisions beforehand at the nearest British Walmart.

Thank goodness we had our son along with us, since the 90+ locks in less than a week would have never been accomplished by the two of us! Our trip was just as our son described it: It was good to do it and good to be finished with it.

Hope this video gives you an idea of our trip.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Who Likes Mushrooms?

Last night we had sautéed fresh asparagus out of our veggie garden and mushrooms with our steak. After almost burning up the oven (and burning the Teflon off of an old cookie sheet!), I turned on the vent fan and opened all of the doors. What an awful smell! Then I lowered the oven temp and tried to broil our ribeyes. They were as tough as a boot and tasted like cardboard. Thank goodness we had a garden fresh lettuce salad, boiled eggs, and the delicious asparagus and mushrooms. Such are my episodes while preparing dinner for the two of us.

Memaw had far better luck, since she was a far better cook. Here are a couple of pork chop recipes from Just Plain Cooking:

Pork Chops and Mushroom Sauce (Memaw's)

4 thick pork chops
1 can mushroom soup
Salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper pork chops. Brown in skillet.
Pour cream of mushroom soup over pork chops. Cover with lid.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Serve with hot, fluffy rice.

Serves 4.

Pork Chops and Sauerkraut (Memaw's)

4 thick pork chops
1 can sauerkraut
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper pork chops. Brown quickly on both sides in skillet.
Place chops in baking dish. Pour sauerkraut over chops. Cover.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour or until chops are tender.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paperwork 2

Yesterday my mom and I spent much of our day in doctors' offices. My mom was interrogated both verbally and on paper. There is the rub! How many times does one have to fill in forms about their medical history? How many more people want to hear you tell your recent health experience? Why do you have to carry your drug prescriptions to the doctor's visit? Why? Why? And who is the wiser? Only you, of course.

Where do I begin? Paper? Rock? Scissors? Oh, that is another blog. Let's stick with paper. As a new patient in a doctor's practice in the US, you must fill out a medical history form. But what if you are so sick or feeble or whatever that you can't do that? Who knows that info except you? Where are all those interrogation forms that you have filled out over the years? Who cares?

As my mom sat filling out the umpteenth medical history form and jotting down her list of medications at the second doctors appointment yesterday, I wondered who actually cared. Now I finally understand how she is able to rattle off the names of her medications. It is becoming clear that if she doesn't know what she is taking, no one else will know. Scarey thought, since my mom is a 86 years young!

In addition to the paperwork Mom filled in, she was interrogated by the first doctor's nurse /assistant. This time the young lady was madly filling in the info. Then the specialist began the questioning and used her laptop to take notes and shuffled through a file of paperwork ( oh no not more!) that she was seeing for the first time.

You can think what you want to think about education, but I can only imagine what would have happened to me as a teacher if during a parent/teacher conference I had started to shuffle through my hundreds of graded papers looking for a student's latest test papers and scores. Since the late 1970's educators have kept their report cards, grade books, and lesson plans electronically! What is with the US medical system?

Other countries in the world have successfully gone electronically in regards to health and medical care. What is taking the US so long to step up to the plate? Bring on the Health Care Program. Call it whatever you want to. Enough of this PAPERsCRAP!

Monday, April 23, 2012


For 12 years of my life I remember spending the very first day of each school year filling out forms. Not just one form full of personal questions, but the same form in triplicate. And there was never a sheet of carbon paper between the cards. Each of the three cards containing all of your family info had to be completed in your own handwriting. I remember that the cards were to be completed in print, which at one time was called block letters.

Every year I wondered why we were having to do this. My name stayed the same. My mother and father stayed the same. My mother's maiden name never changed. Of course my birthdate never changed. I did get older. We did move a couple of times. And after I started school, I did get a new brother. But for the rest, there wasn't much new family news to report. So why couldn't we have simply updated our information? Why did we have to completely fill out those cards every first day of the every school year?

And who actually looked at those cards and where did they ( proverbially, of course) keep them? And where are those 36 cards today, 45 years since I graduated from high school!

When I began teaching in 1970 in my hometown, I had to make sure that my homeroom students filled in the triplicate cards every first school day. Monitoring that activity was a lesson in itself. Most of the time it was to be done in blue or black ink and in the absolutely neatest printing. Explaining what "maiden name" meant to 7 th graders was sometimes more than I bargained for, since as the years passed, more and more mothers had never been married. Or they had been married so many times that the kids had never heard of their mother's maiden name.

Do students still have to endure that senseless ordeal in 2012? I hope not. But I bet they do.
Stay tuned for more senseless paperwork tomorrow.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Roast 2

I remember Memaw taking a deep frozen beef roast and searing it and leaving it to cook on top of the stove while we were at church on Sunday. Maybe I am wrong about leaving it to cook all that time, but the frozen part is correct, and I do that, too. I rarely cook a thawed roast, since I forget to take it from the freezer until the last minute.

Em, whether you like it or not, here is Memaw's Beef (Beast) Pot Roast recipe:

1 3 pound chuck roast
1 large onion
1 toe garlic
3 or 4 carrots
4 potatoes
2 tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper
Flour for dredging (coating) roast

Season roast with salt and pepper and cover generously with flour.

Heat oil in a large roasting pan or Dutch oven. Brown roast on both sides. Slice onion and put in pan with roast. Put in the garlic. Turn heat down low. Cover the pan and let cook until nearly tender. Meat will make its own juices. Turn meat over several times so it will cook evenly. Add carrots and potatoes and cook until vegetables are done and meat is tender. Remove meat and vegetables from pan. Drain fat off juices. Make gravy to serve with meat.

Gravy--Brown 3 tablespoons flour in drippings from meat. Salt and pepper to taste. Add enough water to make desired thickness. Stir with fork to make smooth. Serve hot.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tried It.

Yesterday I tried my version of Memaw's Tamale Pie.

Instead of cooking the cornmeal on top of the stove, I did a Sara Moulton polenta in the oven. Super easy and delicious with added cheese. I used one small can of tomatoes with chilis instead of one of the cans of tomatoes (and significantly reduced the chili powder!). We ate the tamale pie and drank lots of water. Wow, was it ever hot and spicy! When I make this again, I will not substitute anything except the polenta. I am sure that is the best way to cook that mush. We also had fresh Swiss chard out of our veggie garden. Cooked it like spinach, and it was excellent and healthy.

My last batch of Greek yoghurt was grainy and stringy, so I am looking forward to trying that again to see if I can get it right like the first time. I am eating the imperfect yoghurt anyway, since with cereal you can't really tell the difference. And it tastes excellent, just looks and feels funny.

What about hamburgers today in Just Plain Cooking?

Hamburger Steaks (Memaw's)

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck or ground round beef
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Blend pepper into the ground beef. Shape into 4 steaks about 1 inch thick and the size of your hand. Heat and sprinkle salt into a large heavy skillet. Do not add extra fat for frying. Brown steaks in hot skillet. Brown on both sides. Turn heat down so steaks will cook to desired doneness without burning. Add mushrooms to skillet so they can sauté while steaks finish cooking--about 5 to 10 minutes.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cloudy? No Way!

How wrong can a weather website be? We have glorious sunshine, and the weather website says it is cloudy. I don't get it. My hub said something about someone in Seattle is predicting the weather here, but they are doing a lousy job. Oh, there goes the sun! And there it is again! I give up! Maybe it is partly cloudy. Anyway, the bugs are still biting. So inside I'll stay this morning.

We have to vacuum the back porch before the rain comes. Pollen and fine sand particles seem to be an inch thick out there on the screened in porch. If we plan to enjoy the porch, we need to spruce it up a bit.

Enough housekeeping! If you haven't checked out my Pinterest boards lately, I have made it easier for you by adding the Follow Me on Pinterest button on the top right of this blog. Just click, click, and enjoy. If you need an invitation to join Pinterest, just let me know.

I think I will try Memaw's Tamale Pie recipe tonight with my oven Polenta. But here is another recipe from Just Plain Cooking:

Smothered Round Steak (Memaw's)

1 large round steak
1 large onion (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Flour for coating steak
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups water

Salt and pepper steak. Cut steak into serving pieces. Pound each piece to tenderize.

Coat steak pieces with flour. Fry quickly in hot oil in a heavy skillet. Brown on both sides. Remove steaks from skillet.

Pour off all fat except about 1 tablespoon. Sauté chopped onions until golden brown. Add 3 tablespoons flour to make gravy. Let the flour brown until golden brown. Stir constantly to keep from burning. Add water, stirring well until gravy thickens.

Add meat to gravy. Cover skillet. Turn heat down to simmer.

Let cook about 1 hour or until fork tender. Add more water as needed while cooking. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Meat should be tender and delicious, and gravy thick and rich.

Serve over rice or with hot biscuits.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

100 and 1100

I did it! I blogged 100 times since I began this Wetcreek thing in January. And by the end of the day I should have 1100 hits. Pioneer Woman probably gets that per hour, but I just have a semi- private blogspot. I am happy with all of my followers. I have opened up the comment section to also allow anonymous comments, so let me hear from you.

Remember yesterday I said I would do some gardening. Well, we did. I was outside for well over 6 hours, and my hub made me some standards for my two window boxes of geraniums. I am happy. Window boxes were my pride and joy when we lived in Europe. Now to see how they do here in the Deep South.

Now some Just Plain Cooking by Memaw:

Cajun Stuffed Round Steak ( Memaw)

2/3 cup cracker crumbs
1 small onion
1/4 bell pepper
2 tablespoons parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon all spice
1 egg (beaten)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1 or 2 large round steaks (1 1/2 pounds each)

Combine ingredients except round steak to make stuffing. If using only one steak, shape leftovers into meatballs and place around the steak, or save to use in a meatloaf for another meal. Remove bone and trim fat from steaks. Pound until very thin. Sprinkle steak with salt and peppers and cover steak with stuffing. Roll from one end. Tie or place seam sides down in a large casserole dish. Repeat for other steak.

Make gravy:
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups of hot water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients and mix well. pour over top of steak.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 20-30 minutes until fork tender.
Serves 6.

(Isn't the name of this dish hilarious? I just visualize a Cajun stuffed in a round steak! I know, stupid humor in this "neck of the woods." )

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What an Idea!

Before I went to sleep last night I thought of something good to write about in this blog. I did not write it down, so there you are. Forgotten!

I could write about my dreams (Russell Brand was dating a relative or I had to repack the back seat of our old Mercedes station wagon three times and connect it to the front seat of the car or I was ordering some bizarre jewelry from someone whose business was bankrupt for over a year), but who would be interested in any of that? So I will just stick with Just Plain Cooking today and then go out for some gardening.

Hot Tamale Pie (Memaw's)

6 cups boiling water
2 cups corn meal
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 pound hamburger meat
1 chopped onion
1/2 chopped green pepper
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and pepper

Sift corn meal slowly into rapidly boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook 15 minutes. This will get very thick.

Brown hamburger meat, onions, and green peppers in hot oil. Add tomatoes. Season to taste. Simmer 10 minutes.

Fill well-oiled baking pan with alternate layers of cornmeal mush and meat mixture.

Bake in hot oven 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
You may add 1 cup grated cheddar cheese over the pie the last 10 minutes of baking time.

(Think I will use my oven polenta instead of the cornmeal mush. Will let you know how this works.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cool and Cloudy

No weather forecast, just a comment. Dog got me up early, and now he is back sleeping in his bed. Not the same for me, unfortunately. Awake is awake for me.

M. V., look for a small package in the mail (next week) containing Ranch Dressing mix. Enjoy!

Baked in Beefburgers (Memaw's)

This is a flaky tomato biscuit with meat rolled up inside and served with mushroom sauce:

3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Water to make 2/3 cup

Brown beef, onions, and celery in shortening. Add salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup tomato sauce. Cook until thickened. Cool.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, marjoram, and sage. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles corn meal. Combine tomato sauce and water. Add to flour mixture, mixing until all flour is dampened. Knead gently on floured board. Roll to 12 x 9 rectangle. Spread with cooled meat mixture. Roll as a jelly roll starting at 9 inch side. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake 375 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot, plain or with sauce.

Mushroom Sauce

Add 1/2 cup milk to mushroom soup. Heat to simmering. Spoon over Beefburgers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Snakes and Fluffy Cajuns

Let's begin with the snake. Flip usually warns us when he has found something interesting. Barking and circling are his warnings. Two days ago I decided to check out what he had found, but actually I knew I did not want to know. After two dead and mutilated armadillos last week, I figured that was enough for me.

He and I often take a short walk around the pond even before our neighbors start moving in the morning. But on Saturday I wasn't really too interested. The mosquitoes are still rampant and putting on armor for a short walk is not much fun. But I suited up anyway and did a little weedeating (or rather weed cutting) around our agaves. Then the barking and circling started out next to our gravel road. I knew he had found something and wanted to show me, but I was reluctant to go see what. As I walked closer to Flip, I thought "snake." And, yes, I was right. There was a medium size dark snake with stripes curled up in the tall grass along the road. I didn't stop to see what markings it had, since all snakes are dangerous to me. I shouted for Flip to stay away and follow me, and he did. We usually see about one snake per month, so this was the one for April! (Alert: Frantic barking by the compost heap. Sent Hub out to see what is all the commotion. It was something in the forest!)

Now for Fluffy Cajun's recipes in Memaw's Just Plain Cooking :

Cajun Meat Loaf by Paul Prudhomme

2 whole bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup catsup
2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fine bread crumbs

In a small bowl, combine spices and set aide.

In a 1-quart sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, celery, green peppers, green onions and garlic, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and combined seasonings. Sauté mixture until it starts sticking excessively, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan.

Stir in milk and catsup. Continue cooking about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place ground meat in an ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan. Add eggs, cooked vegetables and bread crumbs. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined. In the center of the pan, shape mixture into loaf about 12 x 6 x 1 1/2 inches. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Raise heat to 400 degrees F and continue cooking until done (about 35 minutes longer).

Serve immediately. Serves 6.

(Excuses to Paul Prudhomme for calling him "fluffy." I actually admire him for everything he has done to make Cajun food so international, as well as delicious!)

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Enough said.

Be back tomorrow with more of Just Plain Cooking and a snake story.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Out of Order

Nothing is broken! And I haven't gone back to the classroom. I have just decided to jump to cake icings. So this Just Plain Cooking thing is now OOO. Yesterday it was Meatloaf, and today it is Caramel Icing.

I just noticed that MOUF sent out fish fry invites for May 6. As birthday cake is always an essential part of this family feast, I thought this would be a perfect time to share Memaw's Caramel Icing recipes. Maybe someone wants to challenge me for making the best icing. I will use a yellow cake mix, but the icing will be from scratch. Any takers? Wouldn't it be great to have several caramel cakes? We can have a Taste Off with prizes!

(By the way, we just had a winner for the prize from the January 29 blog question. The correct number of eggs was 2, and W. wins a silicone cake pan, or cupcake cups, or cookie sheet liner. She needs to let me know which prize she wants.)

Caramel Icing (Memaw's)

1 cup sugar (browned)
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Karo syrup
3/4 stick oleo (margarine, but I will use butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Brown one cup sugar in a heavy pan over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Combine 2 cups sugar, milk, Karo, and oleo/ margarine and add gradually to caramelized sugar. Stir constantly to prevent lumping. Cook to soft ball stage. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and beat until creamy. Spread on cake.

Good on yellow or white cake.

Never Fail Creamy Caramel Icing (Memaw's)

--Aunt Jan Ridge's recipe--

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 slightly beaten egg
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt 1/2 cup of sugar in iron skillet slowly until brown and runny. Mix egg, butter, remaining sugar, and milk in a saucepan and cook over a low flame until butter melts. Turn the heat up to medium and add the browned sugar. (Get someone to help you with the iron skillet, and make sure the egg/butter/sugar/milk mixture is hot.)

Cook until it reaches the soft ball stage or until the mixture leaves the side of the pan. This takes about 10 minutes.

Remove from fire, let cool slightly, and add vanilla. Beat (with mixer) until right consistency to spread. If it gets too thick, add a little cream.

This will ice a 2 layer cake.

My note from May 7, 2011---
Delicious! Not easy, but a keeper. Get someone to help you with the iron skillet. Be sure egg/ butter/sugar/milk mixture is hot. Use mixer at end.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Just Plain Cooking is BACK!

Do you think I used a bookmark to find my stopping place in Memaw's cookbook? As a former English teacher I never use a bookmark ( well almost never). And I never know where I stopped reading! Pretty stupid, I know. I have the most beautiful and interesting bookmarks, so don't send me one. I won't use it. In fact, I have begun to regift my bookmarks. Be warned.

After searching my blogs for the last couple of months, I think I have found my place. If this is a repeat, sorry.

Company Meat Loaf (Memaw's)

1/2 cup bell pepper (chopped)
1 toe garlic (minced)
2 onions (chopped)
1/2 cup celery (chopped)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 pound veal ( ground)
1 pound beef ( ground)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons horseradish
2/3 cup catsup

Add bell pepper, garlic, onion, celery, and bread crumbs to ground meats. Work in eggs and milk along with salt and pepper. Shape and put in loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Mix soup, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and catsup and pour on top of loaf. Bake 30 minutes longer. Sprig with parsley before serving.
Serves 8.

((((Mom, is this the meatloaf that my son loves? I use Ann Lander's recipe, and he likes that, too.))))

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No News is No News

No inspiration, but lots of perspiration outside. 83 degrees F for tomorrow. Warm for April. Too warm to work outside in my mosquito clothes (long sleeves, long pants, socks and boots, garden gloves, and a wide brimmed hat covered with Off).

Stay Calm and Stay Cool!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The crockpot Greek yoghurt worked.

When I opened the well-wrapped crockpot this morning, I thought I had managed to make a lot of buttermilk. But I followed the directions and placed my milk concoction in the fridge for a couple of hours. Then I found the package of coffee filters I have had hanging around for over 10 years (at least!). Using several of them to line a spaghetti strainer, I plopped the cooled white thick liquid on top of the filters and placed a large bowl under it to catch the whey. (More on whey later.)

Then the whole thing went back into the fridge for an hour until a good amount of whey had leaked out. Then I used new coffee filters in a smaller strainer above a smaller bowl. This time I was able to collect about a quart of whey to keep in the fridge for future use. After another 45 minutes in the fridge and more draining, I have Greek yoghurt. Yippee! I will enjoy this yummy homemade product and for sure try this again.

Now for the whey. You were thinking I was going to say something about curds, right? No curds in my yoghurt. It is thick and smooth. Flip wasn't too happy to try the whey, and he actually loves spoiled milk. So it doesn't taste like that. A really popular cold drink in The Netherlands is made from whey. It is called Rivella. My hub loves it!

But here are a few things you can do with whey:

  • Reincorporate all or some of the whey back into your yogurt. Keep in mind that the more whey you add the thinner your yogurt will be.
  • Soak your grains or beans in it. Soaked grains (oatmeal, rice, quinoa) and beans take less time to cook, are easier to digest, and allow our bodies to utilize more of the nutrients. Add 1-2T of whey and just enough water to cover your grains or beans. Soak overnight.
  • Use in place of water in just about any bread recipe or other baking. The Nourishing Traditions cookbook is a great resource for recipes that incorporate whey and all of its nutritional value.
  • If you’re already making homemade yogurt, why not try homemade ricotta cheese. It’s made from leftover whey, and it’s delicious in lasagna or other pastas.
  • Season your whey with garlic or other spices and use it as a marinade for meat. This works especially well with frozen meats. The enzymes will help bring out the flavor.
  • Use in place of vinegar to pickle your vegetables.
  • Add it to your bath water for healthy, glowing skin.
  • Use it to water your garden or compost pile. This is especially useful if you have a lot of whey to use up.
  • Drink it. Some people drink whey straight up, but I’ve found it does not taste very good. Add it to a smoothie for all the nutritional value minus the taste. (from Kelly on Faithful Provisions Blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yoghurt in a Blanket

No, I haven't been eating breakfast in bed. But I am experimenting making Greek yoghurt in my 40 year crockpot. Maybe you remember that last week I found an easy recipe for making Greek yoghurt. Well today I started the process. A shrouded crockpot 3/4 full of future yoghurt sits on the end of my kitchen counter. Actually it should be inside my oven with the oven light turned on. I read in the comments for the recipe that out on the kitchen counter will work, too. We will see. Check back tomorrow. If you are interested in the recipe, check out the following :

Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember something about my grandmother Chapman having an armadillo shell sewing kit ( or was it a purse?). Something about the tail being attached to the mouth to form a handle. Sorry, but this story gets worse--

As we endeavor to have an "in/out dog," we are tested by this little creature. He was a perfect man's best friend up until around 4:00 pm today. Then he went outside for whatever and came back with a complete armadillo armor. While I rescued the armor and got it ready for garbage pickup ( can't toss it into the woods, since we would have to start all over again with Inspector Beagle), Hub gave Flip his shower. My hub said our dog just sat down and enjoyed every moment of the shower. No shaking, pulling away, or cutting out for an escape. He was also calm and willing to be towel dried.

Do I see a pattern here?

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Bloody Truth

Our beagle is a hunter! How do we know? Just ask our son. Just spend a night with us and watch what he does while we are sleeping.

Last night after returning from our trip abroad ( that sounds so rich, HaHa), we decided that we would try allowing our "outside dog" to sleep inside our home instead of in the warm garage. Our neighbors still find it bizarre that we don't make our "outside dog" sleep outside. Now what will they think?

For six weeks while we were traveling around here in the South with our Dutch friends and then traveling on our own in Europe, our pup was an "inside dog" at our son's home. He stayed in his cage during work days and mostly slept next to our son's bed at night. So we decided to see if we could give our Flip the best of both worlds--he could become an "inside/outside dog."

Last night we tried a few locations in our house for his bed with mattress. (I can SEE your eyes rolling!) Then my hub remembered that he had seen Flip sleeping in a corner of our living room, a room that I forbid him to stay in. So Hub placed the dog bed in that corner, and Flip hopped right on and fell asleep. Around 2:00 this morning I heard the tick, tick of dog claws on our slate tiles in our bedroom. I pretended to be asleep, so the dog went around to Hub' s side of the bed. I guess Flip could tell from the snoring that he wasn't going to get much attention, so he left our bedroom. When I peeked out of the bedroom door some five minutes later, I could see that our beagle was sleeping soundly on his bed. And he was still sleeping at 7:30 this morning. There is even more to this story.

Today when he wanted to rest, our canine went directly to his cozy corner in the living room. Tonight after following me around the kitchen, he forgot and went to his cage in the study. Before he entered it, he remembered his mattressed bed and "flipped" around and went there. So far, so good.

Now the more difficult part. How to keep him reasonably clean to sleep inside our home? Well time will tell. Already this morning after an hour of "hunting," our Flip came home with a bloody chest. I wasted no time running him through the shower by our pool. He was not injured, but some other animal was. Perhaps the real fight has begun--the fight to keep "in and out dog" clean enough for both worlds.

Wish us luck. Or better yet, give us some advice or suggestions.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Shopping on Easter

There weren't too many stores open today on Easter Sunday. Along our route home this morning, I noticed that Walmart was open, but Sam's Club was not. We stopped off at Dollar General for milk and eggs, since I was reasonably sure we had bacon and bread in the freezer. Our Easter meal was actually a late Easter breakfast. But that was okay, since we had an Easter meal of baked salmon, tossed salad, and corn on the cob yesterday with our son at his house. (he was the fisherman who caught the salmon off of the coast of Alaska)

As for the shopping today, we weren't the only ones. Some people in the Dollar General had the most unusual purchases, but that is to be expected. Maybe that is the reason some of my family members never darken the door of that store. Personally, I always find bargains there. But today
DG helped us out.

After arriving home and finding beautiful blooming pink and red Knock Out roses and knee deep grass and weeds, I noticed some of my flowers from the last two summers growing out in the yard as weeds. Before my hub could cut them down with the tractor blade, I "bought" the most beautiful plants for my flower beds. If I can fight off the mosquitoes tomorrow, I will pot up the plants for a late April planting.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Not a tasteful topic, but everyone has to visit them.

Americans politely call them restrooms, but personally if they are public I am not too restful. I think the Europeans chose the right word when they decided to call them toilets ( or something on that theme). Some Europeans call the home variety WC's, but that is just the initials for "water closet." And in some homes and hotels that little room is sometimes smaller than a broom closet! Once while staying in a hotel in Paris, the toilette down the hall from my room was so small that my knees hit the door. That is small, since I am only around 5'5". I am not sure how my hub or son would be able to manage that size bathroom (where you can't take a bath, Americans).

In many homes and hotels in Europe, there is an additional water apparatus in bathrooms. As well as a bathtub, there may be found a "bidet" next to the commode ( my dad always called the toilet pot this). I think most people get more of a kick imagining how someone would use the bidet than actually using it. My hub as a former tour guide has some humorous stories about foreigners who were perplexed about the use of such a typically female appliance. Ask him, since it is too delicate to share here. Who thought it was a place to wash your socks?

While on vacation in Germany two weeks ago, my hub and I noticed a new sign in toilets. Men are instructed that when they urinate they are to sit down (NOT STAND!). I'll let you think about that one. My mom taught me years ago not to sit down in public toilets, so maybe that sign is also for me. Don't think I am going to change my "stand" on that issue.

While staying in the apartment in The Netherlands, we used "senior height" toilet pots. Here at my son's house he has standard height pots in some "restrooms." I never realized that you sort of fall down on top of them, since they are so low. And getting up is a whole other thing. I think I will be ready for my ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) toilet with build-in water tank and a large button and a small button. My nieces still giggle about big and little messages. Hope this blog wasn't too .....

Friday, April 6, 2012

On To 1000

Three months ago I started (staart ed ;) this blog. It has followed many directions, but most I have enjoyed. I am amazed every single day at the number of times my blog is found by people from around the world. In the three months, I have had almost 1000 hits! I know that some were purely accidental, but hopefully the most were intentional. I still long for comments, but maybe that is not necessary.

I know that I use this medium for griping, but that gives my hub a break. I told him I would write about the crazy airport security, but that was only annoying at the moment. We are back in our son's home with him and our pup. What better Easter weekend could we ask for?

Now to let the dog inside and get on with my life back in the USA.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Greek Yoghurt

Hooked on Greek yoghurt! Last night while browsing Pinterest, I found a super easy recipe for crockpot Greek yoghurt.

Thank you Jillee!

Before trying this recipe, read all of the comments. Some are quite helpful, especially the one about using a coffee filter to strain the yoghurt. This recipe will be at the top of my list when I return home in a few days.

By the way, Jillee's One Good Thing blog is worth following. Not sure where she lives, but she is sometimes posting on Pinterest when the rest of the US is sleeping, or should be sleeping.

Yeah, I am almost ready to get back to posting Memaw's recipes. Finding the original cookbook may be a whole new story.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy Moley! Culture Shock!

We are up higher than a normal three story building. Some people have called this a penthouse, which means we are up high. We heard that there might be window washers on cherry pickers coming by to wash our windows. That was last week, and I had forgotten all about it. Until right now!

While sitting watching television at 3:00 pm, I heard and saw brushing and water swishing on the slanted roof windows in the living room. I waited for the man to come into view. When he did, he had no safety belt, nor did I see a high cherry picker. He was walking/standing in the gutter of the building!

When he finished those two windows, he moved toward the front. I heard no machines, but he almost ran to the small front windows. Zip,zip, they were cleaned.

Then he pranced across the gutter on the balcony and washed the two small bedroom windows. My curiosity was too much, so I peeked around the bedroom door and watched him expertly wash the huge slanted bedroom window. No harness, no safety belt, nothing! Then he went toward the neighbor's apartment.

Never expecting to see him again, I sat down to write this blog. And then he raced back by all of our windows! Whew! Niet te geloven! (Can't believe it!)


If I didn't know better, I would have dived under the couch at noon today. As there is no couch here, that would have been a feat.

Anyway, every first Monday of the month there is an alarm check at 12:00 noon. Today this alarm sounded a little like a sick cat that was being chased by an old dog.

I remember back in the day when these alarms were indeed alarming and sounded like the "Russians are coming" or "the Nazis are sending V2's." Today the sound was quite pitiful. My hub didn't even hear it from the bedroom.

All is at peace.......

A Hobby: Washing Clothes?

My late father-in-law suggested that I enjoyed washing clothes. In fact he said that was my "hobby." Actually that suggestion was really annoying, but maybe he was correct. Especially while we are away from home, I am constantly worried that we won't have the right clothes to wear. And as you can imagine, we always take far too many clothes in our suitcase. In any case, I wash clothes whenever our plastic dirty clothes bag gets full.

With good, warm sunny weather, washing clothes is not a worry. You are starting to get the picture. We don't have a dryer here in the apartment! On Saturday during the Open Huis, not one person asked how we dried clothes. They commented on the great place in the pantry for the washing machine, but did they wonder how we dried our wash?

You don't realize how much you depend on a dryer until you don't have one! Several years ago, we bought a clothes dryer for my inlaws. When they left this apartment a couple of years ago, the dryer was still here. Lucky for us ( I mean me)! Then our relative's dryer went out, and he took this one. I never dreamed that we would ever need that dryer again.

Just like our grandmothers did before us, I have tried to be resourceful. I am reasonably sure that the Home Owners Association does not allow wash on the balcony. Tried that once when my father-in-law was still around, and he was terribly annoyed and anxious. The wash dried within an hour!

As we are leaving here early Thursday morning, I needed to wash our bed linens, since who knows when we will be back here. As there is no place to string a clothes line, the rickety clothes rack (I would swear there was a sturdier one here!) must do. The weather is lousy today, so the duvet cover and other unmentionables are spread out on the drying rack in the living room. Last night the bath towels dried on the same rack in 15 hours. Maybe I should turn up the heater and keep my fingers crossed that we will have dry sheets on our bed tonight.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Flipped Out

We heard from our dog sitter (our favorite son!) that our Flip almost flipped out last night. Poor thing is used to hunting, and he usually gets even overtime when my hub takes him out for his midnight stroll. Well, while he is at our son's house Flip has missed his hunting possibilities. But early this morning or maybe late last night he spotted a possum up on the back fence. We heard he jumped at the fence to either get to it or to knock the creature down. After a bad experience with a rodent last week, luckily our son intervened in time to avoid an encounter of awful proportions. But he did get a photo of the beast (possum, of course).

We are eager to see our son again after being away for a month. And we are sure he will be eager to see us again and even more eager to see us take our Flippie home so that he doesn't have that pest under foot ( or bed)!