Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pepperoni Cheese stick roll ups

After  a long hike today (six miles) Doug and I came home and I made a fattening snack.  I saw these on Pinterest and wanted to try them.  You just get a tube of crescent rolls (8 rolls), 4 mozzarella cheese sticks (cut each one in half) and a package of pepperoni (I put four slices on each of mine).  Starting at the large end, I put four slices of pepperoni and then the cheese stick then rolled them and put the small end face down on the parchment paper. I baked on my Pampered Chef stoneware with parchment paper.  Our oven runs hot and parchment paper keeps dough from burning on the bottom.  (And makes for a very easy clean-up.)

These are very rich, but very yummy with a cold beer after a long hike.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Barefoot Contessa's Salmon Spread

Barefoot Contessa's Salmon Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced.
I stirred and stirred until my arm hurt. 
This is one of those recipes that you need to mix up at least a few hours ahead so that the flavors can mingle.  I made mine this evening to serve tomorrow evening.  You can serve on crackers or toasted slices of french bread.  I'm serving on crackers.

I would like to introduce you to my new go-to recipe.  You know the one that you can quickly and easily mix up and wow your guests?
I'm having a meeting at my house tomorrow night.  The Meeting of the Intelligent Minds.  It is a small meeting- just myself and two other gal friends.  We started trying to get together about every four weeks or so and then we gave our meeting a name.  Because you know what we do?  We get together and solve the problems of the world!  Just the three of us.  We are small, but mighty.  Oh, the results that we produce!  And oh, the safety that abides with the three of us!  No subject is taboo and what is spoken at The Meeting of the Intelligent Minds stays with The Meeting of the Intelligent Minds.
Sometimes we go to a restaurant to meet after work.  (All three of us work full time.)  Twice now, one of the gals has had us over on a Saturday evening and had a full-blown get out the good dishes and the crystal sit down at the table meal.  She had pork roast and potatoes and green beans and she served us this dip as part of her appetizer spread.  I about went plum crazy for it.  I hope my version is as good as hers was.  This is the second time that I am hosting.  It is just so nice to cozy up to the fire.  I love our little meetings.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ice day quiche

I made this quiche, yesterday.  Yesterday because we had ice, I called it an "ice day quiche."  Fact of the matter is, this is an any day quiche.  If you have Milk, Bisquick and cheese on hand, and two cups of any vegetable, you can make this quiche.  My desire is that you learn to cook like a Grandma.  You don't always have to follow a recipe exactly.  Learn to improvise.  You might produce surprisingly delicious results.  Trust yourself.
Yesterday, when we were iced over, the cupboard was bare.  I scrounged to make something for lunch.  I found a sweet potato and half a bag of mixed vegetables.  Steam your vegetables first.  This recipe as is, produces a lovely quiche. 
Harvest Vegetable Pie
Broccali, frozen- 2 cups
Onion, chopped- 1/4 cup
Cheddar cheese, shredded - 1 cup
milk- 1 1/4 cup
Bisquick 3/4 cup
Salt- 1 teaspoon
Pepper- 1/4 teaspoon
Steam broccoli until almost tender.  Drain thoroughly.  Chop broccoli, add onions and cheese, fold together lightly.  Arrange in greased 10 inch pie pan.  In mixing bowl beat eggs, milk, Bisquick, salt and pepper together with a wire whisk for one minute.  Pour egg mixture over vegetables. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Before baking

After baking

Ready to eat!
On a cold, frozen day- this hit the spot!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ice, ice, baby!

We woke this morning to ice.  Doug and I ran out briefly to make a couple of brief stops last evening and the freezing rain had started.  By the time we got home my car was covered in a layer of ice.  The drive is covered in ice.  We won't be venturing out any time soon.  I'm thankful it is Saturday and I have no where to be.  I ventured out in my house shoes this morning (carefully!) to take some photos.
slats of the swing in the yard

grasses in the yard


abandoned planter

ice covered ivy

upper deck

hand rail on steps to upper deck

small barn

Of course we need to go to the grocery.  I did have all of the fixins for a quiche.  A nice day to stay in my pajamas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Keepin' it real

Just so you don't think my life is all sunshine and roses all the time, I am going to tell you what happened at our house yesterday.
A real life not made for t.v. story.
Yesterday, when we got up, it was pouring rain.  I don't know if we had a lot of accumulation or not, but when we got up, it was POURING.  Our road runs along side Clear Creek.  When I say Clear Creek, people around these parts don't picture a raging, ravaging ,nearly river size situation, but I've seen it and have lived to tell the tale.  We have canoed Clear Creek on more than one occasion when it was probably too dangerous for us to be out in our canoe in it, but there we were. 
I've seen Clear Creek completely up and over our road to the point that they posted emergency personnel and told us not to drive down our road.  (It was only about up to the bottom of my car and I did anyway, there isn't anywhere for me to go even if I did get washed over the side of the road.  It isn't like I was going to fall to my death over a cliff and the way that the emergency personnel man wanted me to go MILES out of my way.)  Anyways, I tell you all of this to tell you, I have seen Clear Creek clear out of its banks.  And despite the fact that our house is up on a hill and we've been hit by lightening before, we've also had water come into the house to the point of running down the entry way hall.  I'm serious.  Now since most of this has happened, they have done a lot of drainage work on our road and it hasn't flooded as bad as it did in the past for some time.  And we haven't had the water come in to the house for some time.  But, it could happen.  So  yesterday morning, it was pouring down rain and Doug told me that he saw a couple of wet spots on our ceramic tile.  Just before leaving for work, I went in to the bedroom and gathered up my two stacks of stuff sitting in the floor by the bed and I put them on the bed just for safe keeping.
(If you don't have any stacks of stuff beside your bed, just stop reading, now.  I don't even want you to read my blog.) 
You know, the stacks of stuff that you usually go through and throw away most of but you have to keep it around just in case.
Well, now.  I love my animals, but I don't love my animals in my bed or in my bedroom for that matter.  Sorry, never have and never will.  So consequently, because we try to keep them out of the bedroom, they are forever trying to get n.  What is the attraction? Somehow, when I was about to leave for work, Milo slipped into the bedroom. 
Milo who loves to cuddle to my laptop for warmth.
 Or lay on a freshly folded load of towels for warmth.
 The very same adorable, lovable Milo slipped into the bedroom where he spent the entire day while we were at work. 
As soon as I came in last night, Doug met me at the door and said
"I have to tell you something." 
And I said "something happened to one of the chickens."
And he said "no, it's Milo."
Well, Milo is thirteen years old and even though he is a beautiful boy, he has his good days and bad days.
I said "something happened to Milo?"
And Doug said
"No.  He got shut in the bedroom all day and he pooped on the bed."
On. The. Bed.
Doug continued "And he tried to use your papers to cover it up."
At this point I think to myself how it would have been better if my papers just got wet.
Then I ask Doug what got ruined.
He said "your paint samples."
As you can see, the room is blue and white.  Doug painted this room blue and white- two walls blue, two walls white.  His closet is blue, my closet is white.  This is the next to the last room that we have to paint and fix up.  We are getting new carpet. (The only room in the house to have carpet.)  We are painting and getting a new light fixture.
I decided to paint the room "chalky grey."  I had it in my mind that it would look nice with white trim and that I could change out the duvet cover.  Do you know how difficult it is to find the perfect shade of grey?  I don't want lavender tint or blue tint or greenish tint.  I want chalky grey.  The girl at Lowe's said "we can mix black and white."  I had an envelope overflowing with paint samples of various shades of grey from Lowe's and Menard's.  That is what Milo used to cover his poo. 
I am going to take this as a sign of God that it is time to start all over.  I don't even know if I want to do the chalky grey.  I'm open for suggestions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grandma's Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

While thinking about the title of this post, I thought I might call it "Mama's Scalloped Potatoes."  Then I thought wait just a gosh dern minute, there- I am a Grandma now!  Doesn't it sound so much better to say "Grandma's" anything?  Everyone knows Grandma is a good cook!  First I will tell you how the recipe reads from my 1977 American Classic vintage Betty Crocker cookbook, (I just looked it up on Amazon and that is the description) then I'll tell you how Grandma does it. 
Scalloped Potatoes
No sauce to make!  Only a mix could be faster.
2 pounds potatoes (about 6 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 1/2 cups milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
 Wash potatoes, pare thinly and remove eyes.
  Cut potatoes into then slices and measure about 4 cups.

In greased 2-quart casserole, arrange potatoes in 4 layers, sprinkling each of the first 3 layers with 1 tablespoon onion, 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt dash pepper and dotting each with 1 tablespoon butter.  Sprinkle top with remaining onion, salt and pepper and dot with remaining butter.  Heat milk just to scalding; pour over potatoes.  Cover; bake 30 minutes.  Uncover; bake 60-70 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.
  Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 
4 to 6 servings.

I always (nearly always) change recipes.  I make them "better."  Now, do you see any cheese in Betty's recipe?  No.  In my cookbook, I have written one cup cheese.  At some point in time, I decided that I was no longer a quivering rabbit of a cook and that I would cook like a Grandma- I don't really measure.  I look at this recipe to see how long to cook the potatoes and when to cover/uncover and what temperature.  Other than that, I wing it. 
First, get you a big strong man to peel and slice your potatoes.  Be sure and say "Honey" when you ask him to peel and slice your potatoes.  Then give him lots of praise. Then tell him to get out of the way.
This is what your first layer should look like:
 I leave the flour bag sitting out and use a serving spoon tablespoon and get a big ol' spoonful of flour and shake it over the layer of potatoes.  Then I give each of the salt and pepper a twist over the potatoes.  Then I chunk off some butter (Grandma wants you to note here that she only uses butter and never margarine because margarine is only one molecule away from being plastic and Grandma doesn't want plastic in her food or body.)  and chunk off some Velveeta.  Yes, Grandma said Velveeta.  Don't tell me it isn't cheese- the box says "cheese food" right on the label.  And, from someone who grew up eating her Grandma's government cheese, Velveeta is good stuff.  (And I liked government cheese just fine, thank you very much.  Raise your hand if you remember government cheese.)
Do you see any onions in Grandma's scalloped potatoes?
Grandma has colitis and can't eat onions any longer. 
I do scald the milk and I do measure out two and a half cups.  But I gauge if I have enough milk by the way that it looks in the pan.  You  want the milk to about three quarters of an inch from the top.  I pile everything high- it will cook down.  And, put a baking sheet under your pan because most likely, it will run over. 

 I should have put the foil back on near the end, but I didn't check on them, so some of my potatoes and cheese burned a little.  Oh well.  Most people like it like thatGrandmas don't worry over such trivial details.
Just like Andy Griffith used to say "Now, that is goooooooooood!" 

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Today's post is brought to you by the number three.
Sometimes I think about a post for quite some time before I actually sit down to write it.  Such is the case with this post.  I have been thinking about this post all week.  It has been tip-toeing in and out of my mind, snippets of thoughts just before I drift off to sleep.  Because we have a three day weekend this weekend, I've been thinking about the number three.  I remember studying the significance of the number three in one of my lit classes in college.  It was fascinating. 

The three bears
with three chairs
and three beds
and three bowls of porridge.
three bears
The three little pigs- remember the saying
"I'll huff,
 and I'll puff,
and I'll blow your house in?" 
three little pigs
 In Greek Mythology the three graces- charm, beauty, creativity. 
three graces
 In comedy- The Three Stooges, Larry, Curly and Moe.
three stooges
 In jewelry- the three stone ring, a center stone anchored by two outer stones.
three stones
Three blind mice- remember the song? 
They all ran after the farmer's wife
she cut off their tales with the carving knife
did you ever see such a sight in your life?
three blind mice
In Christianity- the trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Three kings visit the babe in Bethlehem.
Three crosses at Calvary.
Three days before Christ arose.
Peter's three denials of Christ.
Three times the cock crows.

To denote time- yesterday, today, tomorrow.
Past, present, future.
Morning, noon and night.
Twenty-four hour day- divided by three equals three eight hour shifts.

The trilogy, triad, trinity.

"I'll give you three wishes."
"Third times a charm."
"Three strikes you're out."
"Three ring circus."
"Three sheets to the wind."
"Thought, word, and deed."
"Me'nage a trois." (Ooooh la la.)
"Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil."

While reading what I could about the number three today, I learned humans perceive white light as a mixture of three additive primary hues- red, green, and blue.  Who knew?

For one of the most conclusive essays regarding the number three, consult this website,
specifically, here.

Or, for a generic version, there is always good old wiki.

What comes to mind when you think of the number three?
I hope you enjoyed this post today, brought to you by the number three. Now I'm off to enjoy my three day weekend.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let's play in the snow!

Tonight I'm joining in with Shannan over at Flower Patch Farmgirl.  I'm certain she is getting snow at this hour.  I know we are.  I just drove home after being in town after work with a friend and the further out I drove, the worse it got.  But I arrived alive.  I'm sitting in the kitchen at the table.  Milo the wonder cat is to my right, that's right, on the kitchen table.  The dishwasher is running and Doug is in the living room watching Indiana University and Minnesota play basketball on t.v.  Life could be worse, people. 
Here we go: 
current guilty pleasure: sleeping in on the weekend.
current nail color: Nail Magic nail hardener (sans color)
current playlist: Anything Adele
current read: The Berlitz Self-Teacher French, Stuff Parisians Like, The Sweet Life in Paris, The Starter Wife, and Full Dark, No Stars.  (Yes, simultaneously, all at once!- Life is too short!  The Starter Wife is on my bedside table, The Sweet Life in Paris is in my car, The Berlitz Self-Teacher French, Stuff Parisians Like and Full Dark, No Stars is in on the table near the fireplace.)
current drink: Bigalowe Constant Comment.  I call it "constant comfort."
current food: Just had Friday's shrimp and fries
current favorite show: IU Basketball
current wish list: getting our bedroom painted!
current triumph:  Being published in New Castle's her magazine and interviewed and featured on little Indiana in the same week!
current bane of my existence:  Frustrations
current celebrity crush: Always.  Richard Jenkins.  You know, the dad from Six Feet Under?  There is something about his voice, those eyes, I don't know, he looks a little like James Taylor. 
Recent  indulgence: I currently own more than one (several) pairs of tennis shoes at once!  How did that happen?
current blessing: Support and love from friends.
current outfit: Olive green cargo pants with lavender v-neck t, white socks and my red crocs (I wear crocs for house shoes.)
current excitement: A pending trip to PARIS
current mood:  grateful
current link: I love Paris in the Springtime!  Our friend, Tom Roznowski just sang this to me from the stage this past Sunday night when he preformed at Player's Pub.
Now if I could get Richard Jenkins to meet me in Paris...
(let us know if you play along and link us to your post)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Featured on little Indiana!

Can you stand a little shameless self-promotion?  Isn't that what blogging is all about?  Do you see anything new on my blog?  A featured blogger button from little Indiana!  And I'm so proud I could just bust my buttons!  I don't know who stumbled upon whom first, me or Jessica, but she emailed asking if I would be willing to be featured on her blog.  Would I?  What an honor!  Jessica Nunemaker is the hostess with the mostess of little Indiana.  In her words:  your guide to the best of Indiana small towns.  I've never met Jessica, but I would love to because there are a lot of crazy photos of her online, evidently she truly enjoys life and must be an enjoyable person to be around.  I envision recognizing her sometime, say at the state fair and hollering "Jessica!"  She would turn to me, giving me that "who are you crazy lady" look and I would say "Whosyergurl!" 

Jessica followed up with another email with interview questions.  Wow, that was tough and I'm grateful for her probing questions because it caused me to take a long hard look at my blog.  I basically went all the way back to the beginning and combed through my blog, post by post. 

I think if most people are honest, they are usually madly in love with the state that they hail from.  I had a hilarious conversation (I thought it was hilarious) over the holidays with someone who told me IF she were to get a tattoo, she might get a tattoo of the outline of her home state.  (Not Indiana.)  I laughed and told her that would be the most boring tattoo ever and I think I made her about half-mad.  She said "it wouldn't be boring because I have a lot of pride in my state!"  I have to say I understand.  Don't we all have a lot of pride in our state?

I know whenever we are out of state and cross over the state line, no matter who is in the car, we always break out in song singing Back Home Again in Indiana.

To read all about what Jessica had to say about Whosyergurl, click here.  She tuned in on the post at the beginning of the year, the day that I waded into Monroe Reservoir.  Doug and I went to the Y tonight and afterward, to the grocery.  We were walking to the car, me wearing shorts in thirty-six degree weather and I said "I think I'm just going to wear shorts all winter- it will make me tough."  Thus far we are having an unseasonably mild winter.  Remind me of this proclamation when it is really cold and snowy.  O.k., go see Jessica at little Indiana.  Even if you aren't from Indiana, you'll enjoy it.  If you are from Indiana, you will really enjoy it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hilltop Restaurant

On Saturday, Doug and I went to Spencer, IN in Owen County to the Hilltop Restaurant.  It is located near McCormicks Creek State Park. (Note:  not the official DNR website.)  The restaurant sits on the top of a hill.
Doug, ready to strap on the feed bag

When we went in, we saw that it was still decorated for the holidays.  We were escorted to a table by the window.  Tables for two were along the sides with larger tables in the center.  Another couple was seated at a table behind me and it was too tight for everyone to sit.  The solution was to angle the table behind us. 


 As you can see by the menu, each meal includes house salad (which consists of lettuce with "sweet vinaigrette," which is made of vinegar, water and sugar), tomato juice, pickled beets, carrots, celery sticks & ranch dip, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, fresh baked rolls with orange marmalade.
"just like eating at Grandma's"

I feel that we live in the land of apple butter.  Apple butter is something this area of the state is known for.  Seemed they were missing out by offering packaged apple butter.
packaged apple butter
Pickled beets were tasty.  Anything you want more of, you just ask.  You choose your meat and all of the rest of the meal is standard.  (Dessert and drinks are extra.)
Salad was disappointing.  It tasted fine but it was basically "bag" salad.  We were encouraged by our waitress to try sprinkling garlic salt on it.  Neither of us did so.
salad & roll
Rolls and marmalade were very good.  Our waitress emphasized "rolls, fresh out of the oven."  The rolls were hot and fresh.
All of the photos in this post were shot without a flash.  Something kind of romantic- photos of food in natural light.  (Is it just me?  Or do you agree?)
orange marmalade
Doug ordered fried chicken which he felt was a bit disappointing and greasy.  I ordered pork chops.  The meat was tender and tasty.  I was very pleased with the pork chops.  Doug thought the gravy looked like pudding but it was very good.

For dessert I ordered the persimmon cake or pudding.  This was disappointing.  In the past when I've had persimmon, part of what was wonderful was that it was moist.  This was not moist.  It was a little dry and chewy.  I didn't eat it all.  (We felt our waitress was a bit absent-minded, but when it came to desserts, she rattled off a long list.)
Doug ordered the blackberry cobbler and he said he has had better, but he did eat it all.  Seemed to me he enjoyed it.  (He may have said "I've had better," in an effort to comfort me because I had just told him I wasn't thrilled with my dessert.  It seems that whenever we eat out his food is better or his portion is larger.  Sometimes he notices before I do.)
blackberry cobbler
The Hilltop originally opened on July 4, 1948.  Other than a facebook page, I was unable to locate an official page online.  When it comes to restaurants, I am picky.  If I have a negative restaurant experience, I don't usually go back.  There are too many restaurants and life is short.  Overall, this was a positive experience and we both agreed we would return.  They feature fish on Friday night.  I would like to try that.  As we were leaving I captured this parting shot of the sign.  If you are in the area, I would recommend trying the Hilltop Restaurant.

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