Friday, November 30, 2012

WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME


Posted by PicasaWhat does Christmas mean to me?
I do not have to go deep to know the answer to this question.
The answer is in my heart. It is what my Mother brought to me each Christmas holiday.
I have tried to emulate that feeling and atmosphere in my own home with my children and family.
The emphasis was never on the gifts in the past or present. Though the gifts were always there whatever could be afforded and nothing more. Beautifully wrapped and presented with ever lasting love.

The more important traditions I followed are these.
A home radiating the Christmas spirit. A large tree trimmed with lots of sparkle, each ornament put it's perfect place and an angel atop in a glitter of white and gold. When I was young our tree at home had a blue and silver star at it's top that lit up. My mother had blue and white lights with reams of tinsel each strand put on separately . 
Mom always had something simmering of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves on the stove. Christmas eve candles were aglow. My old upright piano was decorated with greenery and red candles. The food was amazing. I am the same as my Mother, the emphasis is on lovely tasty food and drink presented with holiday flare.
Christmas music filled the house from radio or records in the olden days, today I have Pandora radio on the computer and my favorite C.D's playing. Also I play Christmas carols as in days of old on the piano. In our household throughout the years young and old have gathered around the piano on Christmas Eve to join in and sing Christmas songs.
When it was time to pass out the gifts the task was given to one child. All were passed out and then each in turn opened one gift while the others looked on. Christmas evening the children were allowed to open one gift. That is what I did as child also.
Christmas day today for me is still the same. A lovely Christmas brunch after gift opening. A dinner in the early evening of ham and all the trimmings. In between the eating events family or friends stopping by to extend Christmas cheer and perhaps bringing little home made goodies.

The feelings more than the deeds bring sweet things to my heart. The smells of Christmas, the holiday meal, the evergreen aroma of the tree, the spices, the candles even the fire crackling and of course the music.

As the years go by and I see my daughter doing the same tasks for her family as I did for mine and my Mother did for me and it brings me such joy.
So I say to you whatever your traditions keep them going. For they will bring to you much in return. A heart full of love and peace for Christmas's past and present.

I will be starting my Christmas decorating in a week or so. I set up the house first. Then we get the tree and hubby and I together spend one evening decorating while sipping hot buttered rums and listening to Christmas music. That is one of our traditions we have kept going for thirty years. It is our time alone to celebrate the Christmas spirit as we reminisce about Christmas's past. Each ornament that we hang on the tree means something special to us. Also as I have mentioned before we hang my Mother's glitzy silver and rhinestone jewelry on the tree. So she is still a big part of our Christmas as we reminisce about her while hanging her jewelry. 

So I am a Christmas person but not in the sense of shopping till I drop. In the sense or hearth and home.
I can feel it starting to settle in already just listening to Christmas music. I do look forward to the next few weeks in preparation of the old traditions.
So to you all have wonderful holiday season and a Christmas filled with whatever it is that takes your heart home.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER RECIPE

I want to say rain, rain go away but it is to soon. The rainy season has just come about. So I must be patient and as you know that is not my best trait.
Today was grocery shopping day. I went early as usual and I suppose I lucked out. Not torrential rainfall  but wind and showers.
I looked quite odd I think. A black rain jacket, a black floppy looking rain hat, works well but oh so ugly and well needed black waterproof boots.  Of course I needed windshield wipers for my glasses. They were so water spotted when I went through Freddy's door I could not really see and ran right into a grocery cart, well it worked out as I needed one!
So once again the groceries are bought for another week. Why do things cost so much? Seems each week it gets more expensive at the grocery stores.

Tonight we dine on homemade clam chowder. I really like this chowder recipe it is rich, thick and buttery with bacon. What's not to like? I will make my cheesy biscuits to go with. I really desire a grilled cheese sammie with clam chowder, but hubby gets so tired of sandwiches. As he takes his lunch most days that is his usual fare.

On the menu this week is a beautiful boneless rib roast, roasted with yukon gold potatoes and carrots and onions, shrimp and leek linguine, bone in pork chops with fried rice and sauteed veggies, polenta and sausage bake with marinara sauce and chicken noodle soup. So a good variety I feel.

I should start putting up a little Christmas decor as it is that time. But I like the fall decoration in the house something about it is so cozy and inviting so I may let that linger a few more days.
The streets were cleaned this morning early of rotting, matting, leaves. Oh they look so much nicer even on this dull day.

I am now going to share my clam chowder recipe with you. We love it.

Creamy and thick New England clam chowder
6-7 pieces bacon cut into small pieces
1 medium onion chopped
2 five ounce cans of baby clams with juice reserved
6-7 potatoes peeled and cubed
2  10 1/2 ounce cans of cream of celery soup
(don't scoff this what makes this soup so yummy)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon dried dill weed

Add bacon to your soup pot and cook on medium heat until crispy.
Add onion and cook till translucent
Add clam juice from both cans
Add potatoes
Cover and cook until potatoes are fork tender about twenty minutes, stir occasionally so potatoes won't stick.
Add clams, soup, cream, milk and dill weed.
Stir together well
Add butter and let melt into chowder
Cook for about 30-45 minutes or until thickened. 
Stir occasionally.

I am outta here now as my chores are done for the day. Dinner is all I have left on my to-do list. I have accomplished much today so for my reward? I am sure you already know. Into my comfy chair, with my good book and a hot cup of tea. Heaven.
Bye.





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

INTERIOR DECORATOR FINAL CHAPTER

So this the final phase of my work as a decorating consult.
I thought perhaps if we were serious about moving back to Eugene that I should secure a job first.
I knew there were two high end furniture stores in Eugene and with my credentials at this point I should be shoe in if there were any positions open.
I first called Edmond's Furniture. This store carried all the fine furniture that I had been selling in Portland except for Thomasville furniture. They had no openings. It was primarily a family run company. The only other furniture store that I felt I would care to work in was Ethan Allen.
Now I knew that you had to train for being a Ethan Allen designer but this did not bother me. I had all my skills as far as designing rooms, color concepts, working from blue prints, and making house calls and all of the different types of paper work involved.  Also Ethan Allen sold window treatments and that was a skill I had learned at Wall St. Interiors. So I gave a call to Ethan Allen and yes they wanted to talk to me. I talked to the owner when I called from Portland and he said anyone who had worked for Parker's in Portland at the their huge design center he would certainly want on his staff.
So I set up a time for a interview. I still had my job with Parker's and at this point did not say anything to anyone as to what I was doing. I thought it prudent to get the job first with EA before saying anything.
So on my days off hubby and I drove to Eugene and I met with the manager for a interview. She hired me on the spot after that initial hour meeting. I could start anytime within the next thirty days and I would have training on the Ethan Allen products and procedures before going on the floor.
So all that remained now was to give notice to the Parker's and find a rental in Eugene and move again.
I gave notice and everyone was so wonderful. Some of them cried, some were so sad I was going, they gave me a huge party. I really felt I was leaving my family. But everyone understood. And I got a call from Craig Parker the owner and was told if I ever wanted a job with them again just let him know and he would make one available. How sweet. 
So we found a suitable rental in the south hills of Eugene and moved. I started work and my husband went about the business of getting his new enterprise underway. Advertising and business cards and making contacts kept him busy. 
My work at Ethan Allen after my training was boring. The store did not hustle like the places I had worked before. Seemed the days went by so slowly. I made decent money when I did have big projects but it certainly was a let down from the stores in Portland or even Bend for that matter.
I told myself I would give it two years and by that time hubby should be up and running with the hardwood business. And that is exactly what I did.
I gave notice almost two years to the day I started. My husband was doing amazing installing and refinishing hardwood flooring. He also installed laminate and bamboo flooring and did repairs. He needed me at home to be his right hand woman. So I became a go-for for supplies, a office manager and a help mate when needed. Still those are my titles.
We became so busy over the first few years we had my son come and work for us. He had been wanting to move from Washington state. So for almost three years my son worked for us. He then went to Portland to use his own skill which is a heavy equipment operator which paid considerably more than we were paying him. But it was grand having him live in Eugene and I missed him so when he left. 
So there it is. My working life. 
Now after writing all of this it seems to me it would have been more prudent to have stayed in Eugene in the first place. We spent five years between Bend and Portland before settling in Eugene once more. And what is more astounding after we rented for a year we found a home to buy and that we are still in. And it is right down the street from the one that my husband had built that we were living in before we left for Bend. 
Life is strange........if we had stayed here we would not have had the experiences we had, I would not have met all those amazing folks in Portland. Maybe Bend would have still seemed like a place in our mind we would want to go back to. But after going back we knew our love affair with central Oregon was over. 
So you learn and you grow and you experience life.

We are very content here in this little city. Location is everything. Two beautiful passes the McKenzie and the Willamette both at our door step that offer so much. The beach a fifty minute drive away. Eugene is small enough and the saying is you can be anywhere in twenty minutes. That seems to be true with freeways running both north and south as well as east and west. There is much to do, good eateries and shopping, river trails for biking and a huge cultural agenda.
This the longest period of time we have been in a home. It will be ten years this coming summer. We have slowly been remodeling the house and this winter we will be redoing the laundry room which is the last room left. However there will always be something that we will want to do.
So yes contentment now. Feels good.
Now the blogs will be back to my normal chatter with food and recipes.
Bye for now.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

INTERIOR DECORATOR CONTINUED

When I stopped the post last I had just gotten a position at the Thomasville store in Eugene owned by the Parker family.
So I went into training for two weeks. Learning product and company polices, work formats, office structure etc. There was much to learn as I had not sold Thomasville furniture before. 
Soon the doors opened and we were in business as they say.
I loved my work but most of all I became very close to several of the gals I worked with. All were lovely women from different backgrounds with different histories. We just meshed. So a new set of friends for me. Work mates as well as play mates.
The work paid well, hubby built two houses during that time and we moved permanently in to one of them while he continued to build spec houses. It was a good time for us, we traded our 19 ft boat and bought a 23 ft cabin cruiser a dream of a boat and I was in heaven when I was in that boat. Well that is another story.
I continued on with Thomasville until the store was bought out by Basset furniture co. I did not want to sell Basset or work for new management. So I quit my job and at the same time property was becoming harder and harder to come by. The prices were escalating and the big builders in the city had the sub-divsions bought up for their own enterprises.
So we considered moving back to Bend. We went over the pro's and con's several times and agreed we would go back as in the beginning the move really was only temporary to help my hubbies father.
So we sold our cute home and moved back to Bend. We rented and bought a large lot to build our own home on.
So for about eight months my hubby constructed our new  home. This house was my dream home perfect in every way, just the way I had always envisioned it.
When finished with our own home we started a house for speculation. Bend had not quite started into the building frenzy that happened about three years later but still again finding property to build on was an issue. The same old problem was plaguing us.
Now I have to say gorgeous home or not we were not happy in Bend. In the few years we had been gone a lot had changed. Traffic was deplorable, people were moving in, everything was so busy and we had forgotten how many months were so cold and windy. Seemed I just counted days waiting for warmer weather. I guess I had become a valley girl living in Eugene. We had been in our new home almost two years and I received a call from one of my friends that I had worked with in the Eugene Thomasville store and she was now one of the managers at the big Parker design center in Beaverton Or.  She asked me if I would be interested in a position as a design consultant in that amazing store. We looked at all options not many. Stay or leave. So we put the house on the market the spec house was already on the market and hubby could not start another project until that spec sold. 
I told the Parker's I would take the position and would start the end of June. It was now May. So we packed up our motor home and found a RV park that was suitable to live in until we could find a rental home. And off to Portland we went and started yet another new adventure.
There again I loved working for the Parker's. I of course being in the field had heard of this amazing furniture store. The biggest and finest in all of the Portland area. Now I was a part of this group of talented designers and working with very high end product. I had my nose in vendor books for months studying and learning as much as my brain could take in.
It was very hard for my husband to get a foot hold in the Portland area as far as building was concerned  He did however find a job working with a builder and the two worked on many projects together both residential and commercial. 
After a year I decided I wanted to transfer to Parker's other  store in the Lake Owsego area. Reason being it was just a Thomasville store though we had access to all the merchandise at the Beaverton store. It was smaller store and located much closer to where we were renting a home in Sherwood Or. If any of you have lived in the Portland area, you know the closer you are to your work the better as the traffic at rush hour is a nightmare.
So moving the story along. I was very happy with my job doing very well making bigger money than I had ever dreamed possible. For my husband it was a struggle as he so much missed working for himself and that did not look like even a small possibility in Portland.
So after over two years in Portland we had another decision to make. Stay or leave. Now I know you think we are probably nuts!  However our daily happiness is everything to us and to not have that sense of contentment meant everything. We were wanting to buy a home but with what was going on with my husband we did not want to commit to that obligation.
Hubby started thinking that he had to reinvent himself. Get entirely out of the building trade. So he started to learn the craft of laying and refinishing hardwood floors. Hardwood flooring had become very popular during this time. So with a change in career for him we thought about where would be a good place to live. We had always liked Eugene when we were here, we loved the location being close to mountain passes offering hiking, boating, camping all the things we loved. Also less than a hours drive to the ocean. So perhaps.............

To be continued.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

MIDNIGHT MADNESS IS MADNESS

Rant time!
OK now it is getting worse not only have we had to endure midnight madness the past few years but now stores are opening at eight pm Thanksgiving evening? Several in our area did that including one large mall. Makes me want to scream!

Now let me ask you this. If you were an employee in one of these stores opening Thanksgiving early or at midnight would you want to work???? Hello!
Lets see, you have slaved all day in the kitchen and probably a day or so before. The big meal is sitting on the table to be enjoyed by family and friends and you are looking at the clock to see how much time you have before you have to head to work. And not only a normal days work but to a nighttime crowd that is yelling and grabbing products off the shelves and hurrying and scurrying and angry and crazy! 

I think the whole idea is a disgrace to what we call a family holiday.  A time to share and care, and break bread together as the laughter of children fills the house and memories are made.

But no the corporations that own the businesses  are so greedy that money must be made and the quicker the better. Everyone needs to get the jump on their competitor as the merchandise flies out the doors and bills and credit slips fill the tills. Oh, let the good times roll!
Now I know there are small business men that do not care to participate in these activities  But really what choice do they have? Join the band wagon or get left in the dust.
The whole thing is just so sad.
When I see photo's in the paper of crazed customers with their arms full of the clothing or toys or electronic's or whatever running through the stores I know why they call it madness.  I would be ashamed to be seen like that. All because you are in need of buying and buying and more buying . Can you tell me what propels a person to buy a half dozen sweaters or sweatshirts in all different colors for different people. Now a lot of thought goes into those gifts. Just to run through the isles and throw things in carts because they are sale priced is ludicrous.
I would rather get a hand made card from someone touched by loving hands than a thoughtless gift.

So there is the rant. It is my blog I can say what I like.
I will leave you now I feel much better after saying my piece.
Thank you blog. And once again the size of the font has changed to large in a couple of places. I cannot figure out how to change it back........so know it was not intentional. 

LEFTOVER TURKEY


Posted by PicasaThis is one of our favorites made with leftover turkey.
I have this recipe for chicken divan posted on the December 27th 2010 blog.
I am making this tonight. I cannot wait for that creamy goodness to fill my mouth with the juicy turkey and bright flavor of broccoli. They should call it Turkey divine!

After a full day of college football yesterday including our OREGON game with OREGON STATE which we won, I am foot-balled out!!!!  I finally had to call it quits and went for a soak in the hot tub after the third game we watched........enough already. Then the commentators going on and on about this scenario and that. It truthfully wore me down. Now today first thing hubby has the telle going before we even crawl out of bed and on and on it goes; all the analyst shouting and yelling and talking over one another. Too much testosterone for me.
I am going to go for a walk and leave the football circus for a while.

It is another day without rain but it is so grim and gloomy. Just gray sky, dirty streets plastered with leaves, the trees bare and brittle, the lawn leaf littered as is the deck. I doubt there will be much for me to gaze at as I walk about. But still there is the moist fresh air to invigorate and muscles getting a work out as they pump away. Those are positive things.

I am now going to make up our sky high bed. That new mattress is a big thick fat one. I can barely get my contour sheet stretched over it. I have to turn my back to the bed and give a little jump to get into it. I would not want to fall out of that bed onto the hardwood floor that is for sure.
It is so comfy though, just cradles me nicely not to soft or hard. A Goldilocks bed I suppose.

I will leave you now and when I return I will finish my life as a decorator that I said would be continued.
Have a lovely Sunday no matter what your weather there is probably something you can do to get you out the door into some fresh air.




Friday, November 23, 2012

REFLECTIONS


Posted by PicasaMy kitchen window.
Two days ago it rained torrents and that is when I took this photo out my window.

I am reflecting today on our Thanksgiving meal with my family. Such an enjoyable time a special day.

I will say even though I was organised and had lists for lists yes you heard me right. Disgusting I know. I still was plenty busy in the kitchen. 
As far as turning the carving knife over to my hubby he was no better than I at turkey carving. He watched a couple video's and sharpened his weapon but lost the battle. Another hacked up bird! But I am not taking the chore back it was nice to mash the potatoes, and make gravy while he struggled. The turkey tasted good was juicy and he managed to get the wings and legs off in good order.
Tonight we are having a repeat. I just need make up a small batch of mashed spuds and reheat everything else.

I chattered much about cooking and recipes with Tyson and Lindsey and I am going to be gathering and sending off some of my favorites off to them. I love it that they are foodies. 
They were so generous and brought two bottles of red wine and two bottles of prosecco. For those of you that do not know that is Italian sparkling wine. I love it! 

It was surely a lazy day for me today. Hubby worked a half  day so not to bad and now has the next two off before starting a big project.
I quickly went through my house this morning tidying things up, took care of the dining table and few things I did not get to last evening. Took a short walk before the soft rain came in and then when home took a hot shower. I then snugged down in my chair and read in my current book for an hour or so. I was alone and the only noise I heard was that of my water fountain splashing it's way down the ledges over the stones. Very peaceful and truth be told I was tempted to close my eyes and drift off for a short interval but I resisted and roused myself and went and unloaded a very full dish washer.

Now the day is leaving and night is seeping in through the blinds. Time to shut the outdoors away and cuddle in, turn on the lights and little electric fireplace. Turn on the oven and heat up our dinner.
I think I am liking this evening very much. I feel very relaxed after having a nice glass of melbec that my grandson left for me to enjoy.
I will write another day, this one is surely winding down.






Tuesday, November 20, 2012

THANKSGIVING TABLE 2012


Posted by PicasaThere will be five seated at our table this year. The table only sits six comfortably so that works well gives us a little extra space for food items.

I know I have a blog regarding my career as a decorator that is supposed to be continued and it will be at another time. My mind is frantically into Thanksgiving at this time so no other thoughts can enter.

Today I made the mixed berry sauce for the cheese cake and my cranberry orange relish. Sadly that is all I could make up today that would hold. Tomorrow I will make a lemon tart and a pumpkin pie. Also on the agenda are the rolls, relish tray and black bean corn salsa (for an appetizer) and I need to make up sausage patties ahead for our breakfast sandwiches Friday morning. The remainder of the meal will  be made on thanksgiving day. 
For years I always cooked my dressing inside the turkey but then with all the warnings and such the past few years I have made it in a casserole. So I will make that up ahead thanksgiving morning and pre- bake it before I put the turkey in. Then all I will need do is pop it back into the oven with the rolls to reheat after the turkey is removed from the oven. A turkey needs to rest a half hour covered loosely with foil before carving so it all works out. In the meantime I am mashing potatoes and making gravy and brussel sprouts with lemon butter..........help me! It is at this point that I tend to get a little stressed. Hubby is going to carve the turkey this year. Now I do a better job of this but he tells me he is going to take lessons watching a video on the internet. So I am hoping for the best lol.

It has been a day of weather believe me. First of all last night it was deluge it pounded on the roof throughout the night. I will admit I felt quite cozy snuggled down in the bed with my comfy pillow nested in it's flannel case. I would rouse every so often but the rain took me back to dreamland quickly. This morning it was thick clouds a gray felted sky.
Then this afternoon the sky brightened and the sun showed it's face though briefly  A while later I said to my husband, the sky has gone almost black and within minutes we had a wind gust that lifted the patio table up and tossed a couple chairs across the deck. The wind slammed the windows with vengeance and splattered them with rain and sticking leaves. Just amazing! Quite exciting really. Now all is calm. Go figure it is just Oregon as they say.

I am now going to call my son and cement plans for the weekend. I am as prepared as I will ever be I have my list for each day stating my to-d0's. The older I get the more I rely on a list. I will say I love making a list. I am a planner and list making is part of that. I especially like crossing things off my list........strange I know but that is the way I am.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving 2012. Always there is so much to be thankful for. But for me it is my husband and children, grandchildren and family. All are so dear in my heart and they will always be there held tightly with love.
Blessings.

Monday, November 12, 2012

THE INTERIOR DESIGN PART OF MY LIFE


Posted by PicasaI am going to blog about what I did for a career for over 30 years.
As I stumbled along my path of life after having my babies and working part time in motels, cafe's and general stores for a number of years in my twenties I finally decided this was not enjoyable in any way. So I thought what can I do? Well considering the fact that I had two children at home and was rather isolated as far community and such I would have to take a correspondence course in something I was interested in. So I started investigating what there was available to me and also what was affordable.
I settled on interior decoration. I felt I always had a touch as they say for this type of thing as my Mother did. So I signed up for a course through LaSalle University. If I recall the course cost about a thousand dollars and it was quite hands on considering it was an extensive course. It took me close to a year and half to get through it as I only studied in the evenings after all my wifely and motherhood duties had been accomplished.
I did well in my lessons and received my license in interior decoration. Really now there is no such thing as a license rather it a certificate saying you completed the class and passed all the required studies. I actually graduated with honors and the University asked my permission to copy several of my lessons to help other students that we having difficulties.
So when the certificate came in the spring of 1977 I immediately off I went to secure a job. I had no problem. The first job I acquired was a decorating consultant position at Sherwin Williams in Bend. My duties were helping the folks that came into the store with their paint, wallpaper and carpet selections then going to their homes to measure. Our store was a SW design center. I enjoyed my job very much and helped many folks. But after two years my position in the company was deleted.  The big district manager informed us our store was being re-classified into a just a paint store. No more carpet, wallpaper etc. So no need for a decorator on staff. So goodbye Sherwin Williams.
My next job was several years later as I had a stint of cancer that had to be addressed(another story perhaps someday).
I started work at M.Jacobs Furniture in 1983. This was a fabulous new furniture store the best Central Oregon had to offer. I started as a gal Friday in the office but later moved to the design and sales department. I was with M. Jacob's furniture for about two and half years. It was a difficult work place because of management issues and I finally left to keep my sanity. On to job three. Wall Street Interiors. Finally I landed a job in a complete design center including window coverings which I had no experience with. So a new skill was learned. I was with Wall Street Interiors for approximately seven years. I even quit at one point to help my hubby in the house building business we were undertaking but I went back and worked part time doing display for the store.
In 1993 my hubby and I moved to Eugene(the first time). I then secured a job with Thomasville Furniture. The store was brand new just being built in fact it was owned by the Parker family of Portland who owned two high end furniture stores in the Portland area also.
There were over a hundred applicants for the design consultant sales positions, they hired six people and I was one of them.
Thus starting my long relationship with the Parker family.

To be continued.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

ME AND THE DUCK !


Posted by PicasaA photo of me and the Duck. I took the picture of myself in the mirror yesterday so thus the camera. I was in my yellow and green with my black Duck bracelet and Duck lips though you cannot see those for the camera strap.
I am so proud of our Ducks! They scrambled a bit at first but then settled in as is par for them. They had found out that Alabama had lost before they played so that may have unsettled them a bit. Our QB is amazing. So much composure for a young man and so unassuming for such a huge talent. He led that team last night. So sorry for the injuries though to some of the players, such hard losses. 
So we are still marching upward to the top. We think we will be #2 when the BCS standings come out tomorrow.

We had very fun afternoon and night. Very fun watching Alabama fall!!!! We were hoping that Oregon State would have won but it is what it is I suppose. They had two good chances at the end.
We played golf on our Wii until the OREGON game started. I won a game and my hubby won a game. We are very competitive playing that game and quite good actually.

The little salami cream crescents were just OK. Hubby ate a few I ate one(do not make them). I am really no fan of that sort of thing. The deviled eggs were a hit. There are two left and after I finish here I will go scarf one down.

I just put the slow cooker on to do it's thing. It is filled with navy beans, onions and celery, chicken broth and seasonings. I will add the big juicy ham steak cut into chunks the last hour of cooking time. My hubby is happy I have no corn meal for muffins and he knows I will make those cheesy biscuits they are wonderful and one of our favorite things. So I think I will post that recipe at the end of this blog.

I am tired today as we stayed up well beyond midnight listening to all the college football talk. Good grief I am getting as obsessed as my husband. Anyhow did not crawl out of the nest till eight this morning.
I do believe we may run for a taco though to Los Dos Amigo's. The good thing other than the great food there is it about ten minutes away and an easy drive.

Well here is the promised recipe.
Cheesy biscuits.
1 cup of flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter cubed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degree's. Mix flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, sugar and salt in a medium size bowl, stir all up with a whip works good. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Add the milk and stir until mixture forms soft dough.
Place on a lightly floured surface and knead about 8 -10 times or till smooth(do not overwork). With your hands pat out the dough into a 6 inch square. Cut into nine squares and place on a greased baking sheet.
Bake 10- 12 minutes or until golden brown. 
Makes nine tender cheesy biscuits.  Yummy!

It is time now for me to jump into the shower and get ready for a little outing with a very sweet husband and very good taco!
Adios! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

GAME ON AGAIN


Posted by PicasaAnother game tonight with Cal. The game is at 7:30 so we will watch Oregon State play first.
This game for the ducks should be one step closer to the national finals. Hubby asked me yesterday if I would rather have OREGON go to the national finals or go to the Rose Bowl. I thought a moment and said to the top! We have been to the Rose Bowl it is always a thrill especially when we win. But to go to and possible win a national title what could be better than that?  Even if you were to lose you made it there something to be very proud of.

It is cold this morning. I did not want to get out of my warm bed I was snuggled in tight and so cozy.
But hubby had to be out the door early this morning in order to finish up a job and get home for the games.
I am making us an appetizer for this afternoon. I am just flying by the seat of my pants here but I think it sounds good.

Cream Cheese and salami crescents
Unfold the crescent rolls and spread soft cream cheese on them add chopped salami and a pickled jalapeno slice and roll up and bake as instructed. I think it will work anyhow better not try it until I let you know. I am also making a half dozen deviled eggs to go with. A good snack I think. Hubby loves his snacks.

I am hungry this morning which is odd for me but I listen to my body so I think I am going to fix a whole grain waffle with granola. It is a new style Eggo waffle. Of course I have a waffle iron and make from scratch when my husband and I are both having waffles. However it is nice to have the Eggo's on hand if just one person wants a waffle.
So off I go to indulge.
Have a fun Saturday and remember GO DUCKS!

Friday, November 9, 2012

FIRST OUTDOOR FIRE OF THE SEASON


Posted by PicasaOur first outdoor fire of the season.
We had our Mexican lunch date Wednesday came home and hubby watched a movie and I read for a while. As it turns dark so early hubby said there are stars and it is cold so how about a fire tonight? So that is what we did. The wood that we burned was amazing it was dried seasoned wood from a corkscrew willow. It burned so clean no smoke and had a mild fragrant smell. So we spent a couple of hours on the deck under the stars staring at the fire and staying cozy and warm. Actually I came in before my husband he loves a fire so he lingered until the last embers died. We are planning on having one Thanksgiving evening if the weather cooperates. 

So today I am off shorty for a little shopping at the Dollar Tree. It is fun to go there and I get a lot of my cleaning supplies there. Then I am off to the fish market for cod. We love cod fish and chips and this is very good cod when it comes on sale we buy it. So tonight fish and a big green salad. 
Last night the meal sure was fitting. It was a showery black wet night and we were snuggled in with bowls of steak stew  and rolls. 
In a few days I am going to make navy beans and ham. I love to make home made cheesy corn muffins and plop one in a deep bowl and ladle on those good beans and ham.

I am back from my shopping earlier.
I spent a lot of $$$ yesterday and today for our groceries and staples. The prices are high and we like to eat well and when things are on sale I stock up. So the freezer is stuffed and the pantry is full no room to spare. It is a good feeling knowing we are stocked.

What a crazy day the weather is today.  As I was driving home about an hour ago bruised looking clouds were turning black and threatening. Then rain drops the size of dimes started dancing on the windshield.  I was happy to pull into the garage and just in time. The deluge lasted less than five minutes and washed the streets clean and stripped more leaves from the trees.  Soon I will hear the rattle of bare branches in the wind and it will be so until the buds start to appear in early spring.

I am now going to put together a Thanksgiving basket to sit by the front door. It will not be fancy just filled with gourds and faux leaves in fall colors. I still have the pumpkins on the steps and hopefully they will they will hold until after Thanksgiving.

As I am not posting a recipe how about a tip before I leave you?
When making gravy without stock you can use your potato water. Drain the potatoes and save the water. Use Shilling's powered gravy mix and the potato water. If you have some drippings add that also to the sauce pan. You can also add a spoonful of sour cream for a German style gravy or if making a brown gravy add a splash of red wine for depth and added flavor. I always have gravy mixes on hand and use them also in soups and stews in the slow cooker. Just make according to directions and add to the soup or stew the last half hour and stir well.  Makes a wonderful sauce.
I cheat on gravy quite frequently and no one knows.....but now you do.
Well I am off to decorate my fall basket. 

Note* So here we go again the font size changed while I was typing this post. I am going to address this issue but what to do? It is really starting to irritate me. So bear with me, I know it looks weird hopefully I can solve the problem.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Los Dos Amigos Eugene OR.

This is a review of Los Dos Amigos Eugene OR.

From the minute we stepped in the door it was a pleasing experience. The atmosphere is appealing bright and inviting. All was just gleaming........clean. That is so important to us. 
The service was wonderful attentive but not too much.  Gracious is the way I would describe it.
The food was very good. Tasty and a good amount and the prices were reasonable. 
I had two pork verde taco's it was so good and the taco's were packed full of juicy meat. There was a generous portion of beans and rice that were good also. I was humming.
Hubby had a steak burrito and that steak was so yummy. Grilled charred steak how good!! The burrito was big and stuffed my husband was so happy. We were trading bites and really getting into it.
The chips and salsa were good also. The salsa they bring with the chips is quite hot but so tasty. Hubby asked for harbenaro salsa and they brought that also. He loves a really hot fix.
The drinks were very reasonable and the micro pints were $3.25 a deal.  So what can we fault? Absolutely nothing.
We will return and bring family. I think this will become our "new" place.
Thank you Los Dos Amigos
Zo Kasza.  food blogger.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

COUNTRY FENCE


Posted by PicasaI like this photo I took it last year at this time. It stretches a short way along the country road I walk. 
This past year has seemed to flown by. To me it seems almost like yesterday the fall leaves were scattered thick on the lawn and sidewalks. 
We have two lovely trees on the street in front of our home. The one now is completely bare except for a few hardy leaves still clinging and a handful stuck on craggy branches. The other tree has lost about half of it's red leaves. This trees leaves are vivid red before dropping them. It stays green until quite late in fall and all at once it seems it burst to red. I need to go out a little later today and sweep the sidewalk clear so folks can see where they are stepping. Of course once again our back deck is covered  How many times do I sweep that deck? Hundreds it seems, the tree that overhangs the deck drops horrendous amounts of tiny leaves twenty four hours a day.  So the sweeping of leaves will continue for another good month or beyond. Sigh.

I am listening to classical piano solo's as I write. Oh how I love this music. It just picks me up and takes me away .........somewhere lovely though.

The yeast buns I made yesterday are very tasty but I actually am going to try the recipe for Thanksgiving that came out in the current Food Network magazine. I can use my dough hook on the Kitchenaid mixer with that recipe. And I can make them up the day before if I like and bake them while the turkey is resting. 

I am trying to decide what to have as appetizers for our family at Thanksgiving. Last year I put way to much food out and no one was that hungry when the meal went onto the table.  I have always had a issue with appetizers. I do not care for them so it is hard for me to come up with idea's. I have never been a stand around the bar and munch of snacks sort of gal. So I usually try to come with some sort of appetizers that folks can dish up onto small plates and take and eat on their lap etc. I am actually right now trying to think of one single thing I enjoy and other than cheese and crackers I am at a blank! How boring is that? And to make matters worse here I am married to Mr. Munch!
I looked online this morning and I have decided on two items but I am still lacking. I am sure something will come into my head soon or it may be cheese and crackers!

I usually have no problem with dinner menus. Tonight we are having farfalle with vodka sauce as I had some sauce left over from a meal a few days past. I am going to add some chicken breast and artichoke hearts. We do not waste a thing in this household if we can help it. We are quite diligent about not making too much and morphing leftovers into a different meals.

So here it is afternoon. I was not going to blog today but I had the music on and I wanted to sit and write not that I have any news. Same ol'. 

The sun has now graced us and the light is glittering through the tree with the red leaves. I love how the light moves in through the living room windows and dances on the hardwood floors.

I must get on with a few things now that I want to accomplish this afternoon. But that sun is beaming now outdoors and the thought of sweeping that deck does not sound bad at all.
Ciao


Monday, November 5, 2012

MY DAUGHTER GINA AND GRANDDAUGHTER MEGAN TWO BEAUTIES


Posted by PicasaThis photo was posted on FB this morning along with others. My daughter Gina just spent five days in Topeka Kansas with her daughter, my granddaughter Megan. What two lovely ladies and they are just as beautiful on the inside. Mother/daughter time is such a blessing and the memories will be cherished forever.

Do you know that we had 74 degree's yesterday here in Eugene? What a nice surprise. I knew it was warm when I walked early morning. 
I also had another surprise. My hubby walked through the door at noon. What happened was there was a power outage we hear caused by a transformer malfunction in the neighborhood he was working in. Well he has to have power to sand floors so he could not work. Now this was a unexpected treat for me to have him home on such a lovely day but the downside is he had to leave at 5:45  this morning and will not be home until very late. The power there was restored about four yesterday but at that point it was to late to drive back to the job site. The folks he is working for are on a very tight schedule to get everything done and get moved in on their scheduled date. 
But the upside is we had such a fine day yesterday on the back deck sitting in the sun it was like a summer day in November. I actually put on shorts and a summer top......we were just loving it. We decided to grill our dinner. So we had fat juicy turkey burgers.
Now today is already shaping up quite nicely. It is still early yet but I see the sun coming up behind the red and gold trees on the street. It is suppose to be only in the sixties today but we will see what happens.
I will walk a little later. I am on my second cup of green tea. I had tea this morning instead of coffee. I will do that sometimes. Green tea and actually all tea is good for you but coffee has it's benefits also.

Now as I have such a long day ahead of me I may as well make those yeast buns I decided I was not making yesterday. I will just have to slap my own hand if it heads towards the pan of buns.
Always when I eat buns I think of my high school friend Judy. I loved staying at Judy's house of course she was my best friend but her Mother's yeast buns were out of this world. The best I ever tasted. I still think of them. After we were in bed and should have been sleeping we were wandering back into the dark kitchen quiet as little mice and sneaking buns back to the bedroom. I cannot even imagine how many buns we would eat in the course of an evening but seems we always emptied the pan. A good memory.

My husband and I decided yesterday while chatting out in the sunshine that we would go for lunch on Thursday or Friday to a new to us Mexican eatery in the Whit. This is a district in Eugene that is about as ethnic as you can get also the district is a big melting pot of eateries, breweries, quaint shops and the likes. Quite an interesting area. Hubby wants to stop first at his favorite brewery for a pint before going to eat. So we will have a little outing the end of the week.

On that fun thought I will go now and do my Monday chores which consists of a couple loads of laundry the cleaning of floors and taking down of the Halloween decorations and putting up Thanksgiving ones. Plus I will make the buns and take a photo(if they turn out) and post the recipe tomorrow.

Note. The turkey burgers we always make are frozen in a four pack box from Trader Joe's and are the best!! They are white and brown meat, so juicy and tasty. You put them right on the grill frozen. My own trick is to keep them basted with Trader Joe's Soyaki marinade(baste and flip, baste and flip). This is a tasty asian sauce and keeps the burgers moist and tender while they grill. Try it you will like it.

I just now reviewed this post and it seems the size of my font jumped up in size. Why it does this I do not know and it has happened before. It is nothing that I do so know it was not intended. At least if you wear glasses you can probably read it without them lol.

Off I go.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

MY HUBBY


Posted by PicasaThinking of my husband today and all that he means to me so I thought I would blog a little about him today.
Seems impossible to me that we have been together over thirty years. But however when I think of all we have done in our time together it does not seem that impossible. Do you know that we built seven homes together that we moved into and lived. Also we built six spec homes and hubby also helped his father who was a builder on many of his houses.  My husband quit the building trade when lots became extremely hard to come by and therefore were very expensive. We knew any profit on the spec homes would be eaten up by the cost of the property. So it was time for a change. So being who he is he reinvented himself. He learned how to install and finish hardwood floors. He has been in this trade now for twelve years and has built up a nice clientele most of his work comes by referral. It is very hard work and he does the work himself keeping our overhead down and quality control high. This way we can also give a more reasonable bid than a company employing workers.

In our first twenty years together we did much traveling. Not only to tropical destinations which we did frequently but also in the united states and Canada. Now it seems we have settled. With him working most of the year taking time off is hard so now we do what we can with a few days here and there. He never complains nor do I as we know we have the main components of a good life.

My husband has so many wonderful qualities. He is kind, sensitive, funny, caring, understanding(most times) affectionate, a good provider, generous and more.
Besides I think he is very handsome.
Well of course he has his moments but I will not go into that at least not at this time.
I will just say that after all these years we still totally adore one another and are each others best friend and we make each other happy. I would raise a toast to my hubby right now but unfortunately it is not even noon yet so best not pull out the wine bottle!

I was going to make yeast buns today. I wanted to try this recipe as it looks really good and I want to make them for my Thanksgiving dinner. But I am having second thoughts. If I made a big pan of them what will keep me out of them? I so love homemade bread and yeasty buns are just about my favorite so I fear I would be eating the heck out of those buns as I would have no will power. So I am not going to make them I just decided  I will just make them for Thanksgiving and hope for the best. No matter what happens they will still be better than store bought.

Well the OREGON DUCKS did just fine last night. There were a few tense moments for me however when twice they came within three points of us. My husband though told me to stay calm it all be ok at the end and it was. So we are still undefeated and still moving ahead. Oh and I must say the Trojans did not play dirty last night they played an honest clean game. Thank you USC.

I have already walked can you believe it is 72 degrees at this moment? It feels balmy and the little breeze that there is feels warm on your body. I like it.

I now must leave and do a little something whether right or wrong. Hubby as you know is working again......still. He is going to have two days off later this week before he starts another job. So maybe we'll have a lunch date again.
Catch up later.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

OUR OREGON DUCK !!!!!!!


Posted by PicasaHello every body! I am your OREGON DUCK!
He is just the cutest little thing. I hope he does lots of push-ups today! We are playing USC and we need to win. This is such an important game to keep us on the march up to the National Championship final. Besides this game is more than that to a lot of folks. In our household we are not USC fans.  This team has always gotten under our skin. Why you ask? Let me just say they have kicked our butts many times in the past, have always been a tough rival, they are always a threat, those are positive things however. There is also something negative about this team. they have a tendency to play a hair dirty. Sometimes it is not that noticeable but believe me they are out to get someone and injury them enough to put them out of the game. This is not something to be proud of and I would be ashamed if I were the coach, he should not be teaching young men unethical tactic's, disgraceful. Anyhow enough ranting. I am on a positive high regarding our Ducks today and this game. We will win the day and we will be on our way!!!!

Cloudy here again in ol Eugene, but hey as I look out the office window I do see some blue peeking through. Makes me smile. Something else makes my heart smile today also. My hubby the man I have barely seen for the past few weeks will be home at three pm getting ready for the game. He will be working again tomorrow but he will have the afternoon off to root the ducks on. So I am looking forward to our afternoon with the game and a pot of good german stew. Sounds just about perfect to this ol Oregon gal.

I am going to leave now and go get my OREGON gear on and finish up my little house chores.
So I will leave you with this one thought.
GO DUCKS!

Friday, November 2, 2012

DREAMS, OH SWEET DREAMS (a song)


Posted by PicasaThis is a photo of an older woman but it is not me of course I found the image online.  But the reason I put it on my blog is that I wrote a poem a few years back regarding what you see when you are old and look into the mirror.
The poem is not about me but I can relate.  I wrote it because I was writing a silly little song but the lyric's went this direction. But then I decided yes what I wrote could possibly be relevant for a number of folks when they get older and their lives have become small. So I will share this little song I wrote.

DREAMS, OH SWEET DREAMS (a song)

When I look in the mirror what do I see?
Just an old woman staring right back at me.
What happened to the girl with the bright hazel eyes
with more dreams in her head than stars in the skies?

When closing my eyes it seems I'm the same
The wishes and hopes do they still remain?
What's been accomplished? Is there still more to do?
They say to yourself you must always be true.

But what is that truth that lingers inside?
What of those dreams have they vanished and died?
It's hard to recall what exactly they were.
Would they still be the same if they were now to occur?

Dreams are so fleeting yet they hold us so tight.
But to give them all up just doesn't seem right.
And the youngest of dreams are the sweetest to hold
For they were our future before we grew old.

So here I stand looking into that mirror
Seeking no future because the future is here.
So it's peace and contentment I ask to find
So I can cease worrying about dreams left behind.

Chorus
Dreams, oh sweet dreams 
how I do love you so.
But I'm saying good bye now to those that must go.
I'm lightening my load and letting things be
and knowing that peace is just waiting for me.

So a little sad huh? To be honest we all have had dreams and aspirations that may not come about in our lifetime but it seems the older one gets the less you care. Your life gets smaller as your body gets older. And as you advance in age you find yourself looking for simple things to give you pleasure and they do. The small things in your daily life have their rhythms and patterns and when you are an older  person routine keeps you centered.

So to my senior readers enjoy the little poem and take to heart what you must that connects and laugh at the rest. It is only a silly song after all.

Have a lovely November day after all turkey day is on it's way!
Oh my, enough of the rhymes!