Tag Archives: home

Traditionally Non-Traditional

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my kids? They are fun and quirky, just like their Mama, but in their own unique ways. We all embrace each other’s individuality, bringing out the best in each other, making every day life fantastically fun together. Part of our fun is that we love tradition, but we also love to break tradition!

Color Me Happy

It’s Easter. So we obviously had to color some eggs. We even made some tea eggs after seeing my sister’s post about making them. Coloring eggs is one of my favorite things. I don’t know why. I don’t even really enjoy hard boiled eggs all that much. But there’s just something about the fun, bright colors of Easter Eggs that bring a smile to my face. I’ll be coloring eggs long after my kids have grown up and moved away from home. It’s a Holiday tradition I enjoy very much.

Baskets o' Plenty

Let’s not forget the candy, of course. Our baskets were left in front of the fireplace for the Easter Bunny last night. This year, we all have “proper” baskets. I have struggled every year with the fact that my kids don’t have nice baskets that they will enjoy bringing out year after year, even as adults, like I have. I’ve just never found nice ones that we liked. Some years we didn’t even have a basket, so the Easter Bunny would leave their treats in new lunch boxes or new baseball caps. Always fun, but this year when we looked, the kids decided they both really liked the plain wood ones. They are sturdy enough that I think they will last a long time for them! And we awoke to our baskets filled with candy, candy, and more candy, plus some notebooks, coasters, books, and even new toothbrushes for the kids (their Dentist will surely be happy to hear that! lol)

Traditionally Non-Traditional Easter Dinner

So, what does a silly family like ours have for dinner on Easter? I’m so glad you asked. Cheeseburgers, of course. I was asked by someone today if I would be having a big ham dinner. He seemed a bit taken aback when I said “No, we’ll be having cheeseburgers for our Easter dinner tonight.” He asked me if that was a family tradition. It was then that I realized our “tradition” is that we like to be “non-traditional”. He seemed pleased with my response, and thought it was a pretty cool way to enjoy Holidays. [By making a tradition of breaking traditions.]

Our Easter dinner, 2012: Cheeseburgers, piled high with plenty of melted sharp cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and some thinly sliced red onion. Paired with artichokes [with lemon butter for dipping!] and sweet potatoes, and of course some deviled eggs (gotta use those colored eggs somehow, right?)

And the weather for this day? PERFECT! We made great use of our deck for the first time since we moved in here, and enjoyed our fantastically fun dinner outside, giggling about our silliness and enjoying each other’s company and laughter.

I hope you enjoyed your Holiday as much as we did.

1 Comment

Filed under Entertainment, Life in General

Loves of my Life

Heart Day Dinner for the Loves of my Life! xoxo

I celebrated my first Valentine’s Day as a single woman by recognizing the true loves of my life. The two people I spend the majority of my free time with. Who love me unconditionally (even when they “hate” me momentarily), and who I love unconditionally.  They bring me joy every day with their smiles and their laughter. They keep my life interesting and bring a ray of light even on my darkest days.

They are my favorite boy and girl in the whole wide world. They talk back. They forget to do their homework. They drive me crazy. And I love every minute of it, because more importantly, they have smiles and hugs that would melt an ice queen’s heart, they tell stories about their day and about their friends. They tell jokes. They fight and they love and they do it with their entire heart and soul.

I love you, my favorite kiddos! Thank you for sharing Heart Day with your silly mama. xoxo

So… what did I make for these most fabulous kiddos of mine? Nothing super fancy, just some of our favorite foods, shaped into hearts. My easy meatloaf, paired with roasted carrots [drizzled with olive oil and tossed with chopped red onion], julienne beets, and some mashed potatoes [I used up the last of the ranch dressing I made last weekend and that added really great flavor, along with the homemade butter I mixed in.] Comfort food with great conversation and giggles at dinner.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Holidays

Can You Name These Fruits?

Can you name these fruits?

On my quest to find new foods to try this week, I decided to get my kiddos in on the fun. They have some great suggestions and I’m excited to keep trying new foods with them, well past my challenge this month, because there are just too many things to try, and why stop the fun just because the challenge ends.

 

This week kinda got away from us, and we found ourselves coming home from a fun weekend with friends, realizing we had not tried our new food yet for last week. We popped into a market for some milk and perused the produce aisles for inspiration. The picture you see here is what we came up with. Can you name these fruits? [We will reveal names of fruits and our opinions on them later this week.]

 

2 Comments

Filed under Food Trials

Simply Perfect

Saturday night. What’s a single girl to do, with her kids away for the weekend? Quite obviously, that girl should cook herself an amazing dinner, right? Afterall, if you don’t treat yourself well, who else will?

On Friday afternoon I ventured into town to check out Shawn’s Quality Meats & Smokehouse. I had heard good things about them from fellow good food lovers. I happily ordered a lamb chop from the friendly guys there, letting them know it was my first time having/cooking lamb. They were all-too-happy to give me some tips, including to not overcook it because that’s where you get the gamey flavor.

Simple Perfection

Saturday night rolled around and I had purchased all the ingredients to make a fancy dinner. I was going to make this fabulous-sounding pomegranate marinade and relish for the lamb, and risotto, and then I was going to fancy up the asparagus (generously given to me from Baby Sis’s produce co-op baskets). I stood there, staring at all the ingredients, and promptly decided that in this case, simple would be best. So I pared down my menu to include only the ingredients you see in the picture. That’s right. A lamb chop [seasoned lighly with cracked black pepper and a tiny bit of coarsely ground salt and cooked in my grill pan until medium-rare], asparagus [steamed], and a red potato [wedged, tossed with garlic-infused olive oil, and baked until brown]. Simply Perfect. And I think I enjoyed this simple preparation much more than I would have the more labor-intensive meal I originally planned. I got to really taste the flavor of the lamb, unmasked by fancy sauces. And I must say, I give it a 10!

Some foods are best enjoyed with the simplest preparation. I believe that a good quality cut of meat does not need to be fancied up, and I was pleased to find that to be true with this lamb chop from Shawn’s. I will surely return to their shop. Thanks, guys!

 

3 Comments

Filed under Cooking With Love, Food Trials

Reusable Memories

Stacks of Memories!

I use real dishes. Yes, even for parties with many people in attendance, I use glass plates, glasses, and flatware, and I even use cloth napkins. It’s not that I’m a snob about dishes. Not at all. I have a hodge podge mix of plates, bowls, glasses, flatware, and napkins. There are matching sets among the mix, but for a large group, nothing matches, and I rather prefer it that way. It’s casual. It’s fun. It’s me.

When the party is over and all the guests have left, I walk around and pick up stray plates, glasses, and whatever else is sitting on tables, window sills, next to chairs… and this brings a smile to my face, because I know that everyone enjoyed themselves and as I stack up the plates and line up the glasses, it’s like I’m stacking up memories with every clink of dishes hitting against each other. And those memories will get to come out and play again and again as those dishes are used for nightly family dinners, dinner with friends, parties “just because”, impromptu get-togethers, and much more. And those memories are worth more than any possible breakage might cost to replace.

Remember: Use the good stuff. Today is special.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Cooking With Love, Entertainment

Homeward Bound: The Incredibl(y Long) Journey

Homeward Bound: The Incredibl(y Long) Journey—Guest Blog by Flik

So, we all know that my aunt, Just Frances, was born a homeless transient. Well, we’ve also known for some time that I ‘want to be just like her’. I want to go to Scotland, live in small towns, etc. Well, I am close to ‘just like her’ at this current moment in time (and space)—Because of the status of our move from our little Redneckville to Tree Hole, I am a semi-homeless transient.
I don’t know where my home is anymore. I’ve never had an actual, full-on, dictionary example of a home. I lived in an old house until I was four or five, then an apartment for about 2 to 4 more years, another apartment for 7 or 8 years, and finally a rental old house for 2 years. Now, I’ve been in the Judge’s house for a couple of months to stay somewhere as I move stuff over to our new apartment every weekend.
So, where do I say my ‘home’ is? I’ve always just called where I lived my home, not that it ever truly was. Now, I’m totally confused. And, due to my recent addiction to ‘Doctor Who’, I am not confused easily(I’ve learned how to follow paradoxes effectively within the past few months.). So, this is my new mission to life-
Find home.

—————————————————————————–

Now a note from That Cook Girl (Flik’s Mom)

“Home”, for me, is what you make it. Flik sent me her guest post late last week. And I waited to post it because I wanted to find the right words to add my thoughts on “home” and let her (and my son also) know that I am always home when I am with them… The right words never came. And today, I stopped by our new apartment and checked the mail before heading off for a lunch meeting. In our new mailbox was a card from Scotland. It made me smile carrying that card with me all day, knowing how much joy it would bring my kids when we sat together to open it. (Yes, I actually waited until we were all together… it was, afterall, addressed to the whole family.) What I read inside that card brought a tear to my eye, because my sister could not have known of Flik’s upcoming blog post when she mailed it to us, and yet, the words were perfect.

Frances writes:

“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.” -author unknown

Welcome home!!I hope that your hearts find much joy in [Tree Hole]!! I love you all!! <3 Frances xxx

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking With Love, Guest Posts

Cherries to Cheer You

Yesterday was National Cherry Cobbler Day. Cherry Pie is one of my favorite desserts (not that I eat it, or any other dessert, very often… In fact, last time I had Cherry Pie was when I had lunch with a friend back in October at Twede’s Cafe.) As you know, I’ve never really been great at making pie crust, so Cherry Cobbler is second best, since it does not require the labor (of love) of making the crust.

So, in order to celebrate the Holiday, it seemed appropriate to make a cobbler. And since the day’s work brought me to Prosser, home of Chukar Cherries, I took a moment to stop in. I had never been to their store previously, and I was greeted by one of the best smiles backed up with the most excellent customer service I’ve experienced in a long while. (Thank you, Tami! You were a true bright spot in my week.) So, I was happy to pick up a beautiful jar of cherries, along with a snack pack of nuts and dried cherries to stash in my desk for a quick “pick me up”. And because I was made to feel important while in that little shop, I will definitely be stopping in again.

Now, I know that what you’re actually waiting for is to see the cobbler come together, right? So, without further ado:

Triple Cherry Pie and Cobbler Filling from Chukar Cherries, and some Dove Dark Chocolate

Pour cherries into ungreased casserole dish, and grate chocolate over the top.

”]

Bake at 400* until biscuits are browned and filling is bubbly.

Invite a friend over and enjoy with ice cream and laughter to cheer you!

I was blessed to have my best friend and her kiddos join me and my kiddos for this cheerful dessert. We agreed that the chocolate grated over the top of the cherries made all the difference in this wonderful mid-week treat. Thanks for joining me, friend!

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking With Love, Dessert, Recipes

Kitchen Success

I’m back! And well, I thought it would be so much more fun if you had to GUESS what my latest kitchen success might be! So here’s a poll. It’s open for only 1 day. Cast your vote by tomorrow night and I will reveal the details of my kitchen success once voting closes. Share with all your friends and get them in on the fun, too!

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Cooking With Love, Polls

The Year of the Rabbit

Today is the Chinese New Year. And I forgot all about it! I arrived at work this morning to find baskets filled with goodies and New Year wishes “Kung Hee Fat Choy”. It is now the Year of the Rabbit. A lucky year that will be followed by my personal favorite, the Year of the Dragon, next year (I was born in the Year of the Dragon and find the creature to be fascinating, but I think that’s a blog post for another day. 😉 ). This year, though… THIS year is my son’s year. The Year of the Rabbit. A lucky animal, indeed.

Several years ago, I began celebrating this holiday with my children, simply because we like to celebrate things and it’s a good excuse to eat Chinese food. Tonight’s dinner plans are now changed. The Tamale Pie will be frozen and can make it’s way onto next week’s menu instead. (It’s a lucky year already! I’ve got a dinner ready for next week, and it’s not even the end of this week, yet. 🙂 ) I will pick up some potstickers and some other of the kids’ faves on my way home. We would usually cook up a big Stir Fry, and had I remembered, I would have made some Chinese BBQ Pork as well. But tonight will be about sitting around and celebrating the New Year together with some fun Coloring Pages and crayons instead of making a mess of the kitchen.

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking With Love, Entertainment

I Like to Share

Dinner with Loved Ones

As you know, I love to cook for people! This weekend was a bit of a treat for me, getting to cook for my sis, who I rarely cook for and her foster daughter (the kid) who was getting to experience a dinner in my home for the first time. On Saturday morning, my sis took the kids fishing while I went shopping and to spend some “me” time. By the time I got home, everyone was waiting for dinner (which ended up being very late… but it’s a Holiday weekend, so that’s ok, right? 😉 ) I made Mom’s Stuffed Green Peppers (recipe to follow in a few days), baked potatoes with mushroom brandy sauce (this recipe will also follow sometime this week), and a big ol’ salad topped with tomatoes I picked up from the Farmer’s Market. When the kid saw the platter of salad she excitedly asked “Are you going to take a picture of that?” (This is something she thought was odd about our family at first, but by the end of pickle makin’ weekend she thought it was pretty neat.) But her real excitement came when I told her that the ranch dressing sitting atop her colorful salad was homemade! I wish I could have captured the look on her face. It was pure excitment and joy and it filled me up with excitement and joy, too. I hope the kid enjoyed her weekend here, and will always have good memories to look back on of her time with our family.

3 Comments

Filed under Cooking With Love