Friday, February 28, 2014

HELP. I have a problem. I need some cooking advice.

Yesterday, I fixed pork cutlets for supper. First I brown them with salt, pepper, onion and garlic. Then I add potatoes. Cover with a can mushroom soup mixed with a can of water and some Kitchen Bouquet for flavor and color. I always bake this at 350 for about an hour and a half. We love this meal and it is super easy. The Problem?  Lately the liquid cooks away. This happens even when I cook a roast or pork chops in the oven.  My oven is off a few degrees but I have two oven thermometers in it and adjust the temp to reach 350.  And I use a Simply Calphalon nonstick Dutch oven & cover.
I have always thought the lid didn’t fit tight enough and that maybe that was part of the problem. So yesterday, I used foil to cover the pan, plus the lid. And guess what? It didn’t help. I checked it after an hour and good thing I did. It was almost out of liquid. Added a bit of water and left it for another half hour. It was as good as ever, even though it had less gravy than normal. Meat was tender and potatoes were done and tasty.  So, do you think it is the Dutch oven pan or do you think it is my oven?  Anyone ever have a similar problem?  Suggestions welcome.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Life after graduation

After graduation from High School, it was time to find a job. The nuns tried to talk me into going to college. But if I went to college it would mean either going at night and working days or working nights and going to school during the day. Neither one of those appealed to me. All I could think of was a job and money for clothes. I was tired of hand me downs from cousins. I wanted my own clothes picked out by me. Sounds so material now. But at the time, it didn’t.  So job hunting it was. That was quite the ordeal for me. At that time in my life, I was so shy. Scared of my own shadow. People that know me now, find that very hard to believe. It took a few years and the purchase of a local bar by us to get over that.  Will save that for another blog entry down the road. I worked the summer before my junior year. My first job was a telemarketing job. It wasn’t called that, though. It was a bunch of us in a room with phones, making calls selling magazines. Paid so much for every subscription you sold. Well, oh shy me, even on the phone didn’t do so good and was let go. Next, was making donuts at my brother’s donut shop. Lasted all summer there. Didn’t have to wait on people, just make donuts. Besides, mom would have killed him if he had fired me. I must have made thousands of donuts that summer. To this day, I am not a big fan of cake type donuts. Will take a glazed one, tho, anytime. My first job interview for a real job was as a clerical clerk at Armour’s. I remember how scared I was that day. Almost sick to the point I almost didn’t go. But my folks wouldn’t let me do that. I walked into this huge room full of desks and young ladies. It seemed like everyone stopped working and was watching me. I was so nervous.  Needless to say, I wasn’t hired. So on to the next interview. This one at Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company. It went better and I was hired as a file clerk. Spent everyday filing insurance claims. I actually liked that job.The pay was decent and the gals I worked with were fun. They told me that at first they thought I was stuck up but then realized I was just very shy. I met my hubby through one of them, blind date. So it turned out to be a good move. Next week I will tell you about my first and only my blind date experience.

Hope all of you had a nice, relaxing weekend.

Have a good week.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Those were the days.

Today’s topic is my high school days. Not a whole lot comes to me. I went to St. Joseph High, a very small catholic high school. My freshman class had 65 kids to start out. By our sophomore year we were down to 60. A couple got expelled and some just didn’t come back in the fall. I always figured it was either they didn’t like the rules, nuns were strict, or they couldn’t afford the tuition. I realized years later what a hardship it was for my parents to let me go to St. Joe’s. I didn’t want to go to the public high school. It was so large. Class size was 300 plus students. Besides my three best friends were going to St. Joe’s.

It was a great school. Good variety of classes. We had an hour for lunch which gave us time for mini sock hops every day. We didn’t have a football team, too small. But we did have a pretty decent basketball team. We had a 6 lane bowling alley; open to the public on weekends. We bowled during P.E. That was fun unless it was your turn to set the pins. It was an old bowling alley and didn’t have automatic pin setters. I tell you, that was a scary job. Especially when a guy was bowling. You had to pay attention so that you could duck those pins.

A couple of favorite teachers come to mind, Mr. Lawrence and Sr. Rosalie. Mr. Lawrence taught history.  Sister Rosalie taught English, Literature and Bookkeeping.

I am sure Mr. Lawrence taught other subjects too but I don’t remember what they were. Must have been classes I didn’t take. Mr. Lawrence had first period study hall and so did I. I remember one morning I had nothing to do in study hall so I was making paper balls and tossing them in the wastebasket. For some reason I had to sit in the front in most of my classes. Anyway, at first he didn’t say anything. But then he said, “Mona
(my maiden name) throw one more and you have a detention”.  Well, I was sort of his “favorite” so I didn’t figure he meant it and tossed another one. Boy was I wrong. He did mean it. Long story short. It became a game. I was up to a week of detentions. When you got a week of detentions, you had to come to school on Saturdays and help the janitor. My mother was going to kill me. I must have looked scared because he said he had a deal for me, double or nothing. If I made it, no detentions at all, If not 10 detentions. I had to take the chance. And I made it. Whew. I can tell you, I never got into that kind of situation again.

Sister Rosalie was my very favorite teacher. She was young and fun. We all wondered why she became a nun. Boy, were we young and na├»ve. She was the one who started calling me Rose. Before that it was always Rosemary. To this day, if I hear someone say “Rosemary” nine out of ten times it is a relative. Most of them never did call me Rose. One day, Jerry K found a cat on the school grounds during lunch hour. First period after lunch was Freshmen Lit with Sr. Rosalie and she always went to the top drawer of her file cabinet to start class. Jerry decided it would be fun to put the cat in that drawer. We all sat there so very quiet (out of character for us) when Sr. Rosalie came in. I remember she looked at us a bit confused because of our behavior. She walked to the file cabinet, opened that drawer and out jumped one mad cat. No one said a word. I don’t think any of us thought the cat would come out yelping like it did. We figured we were in detention for sure, the whole class. She sat down at her desk, looked out at us and started laughing. Yes laughing. All she said “Was don’t do that again”. No detention. She was great.

How do you tell about four years of school in one short blog post? Okay, maybe not so short. They were fun years that seemed to go on and on till graduation day. Then you wonder where the years went.

What do you remember about your high school years? Fun to reminisce.

Hope you all had a great weekend and hope you all have a great week.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Bread pot Beer Bread

Do you have a bread pot? I didn’t know they existed until daughter no. 4 bought me one for my birthday one year. I love using it. It makes just the right amount for us to eat before it dries outs. I love homemade bread but because it doesn’t have all the preservatives of store bought bread, its shelf life isn’t as long.

   This is a pretty simple recipe and the rise time isn’t so long.

Bread pot Beer Bread

2 ½ cups white flour
½ cup wheat flour
4 T Brown Sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten
3 T melted butter
1 cup dark beer( I used a lite beer)

Heat beer to 115 degrees, add yeast and let foam.
Then add brown sugar, egg, salt, melted butter. Mix together.
Add and beat 1 ½ cup flour until mixture resembles pancake batter.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to form a sponge- about 30 minutes.
Add the rest of the white flour and the wheat flour. Knead until it no longer
sticks to your fingers.
Form into a round loaf shape, place into a well greased bread pot. Allow to rise till doubled in size about an hour. Place in a cold oven, set temp at 425 and bake until loaf sounds hollow when thumped.

My question is how do you reach into a hot oven and thump the bread. I would suggest baking it for about 50-60 minutes. I took ours out a bit too soon but we still liked it.

Ready for the oven.

Right out of the oven.

Time to eat.

Next week I am going to try a strawberry quick bread using my bread pot.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I have got the spring fever bug.

At this time of the year, I get the spring fever bug. I don’t know if I ‘m just so tired of winter by now that I think a change in my surrounding will help or what. But after cleaning our main bathroom and painting the woodwork a couple of weeks ago, I still needed a change. So I got new purple hand towels, a matching throw rug and toilet seat cover.

The old towels and throw rug were still good, so what to do with them. 
Well, I had a half a gallon of bathroom wall paint left, so I got this idea that it was a good  time to paint the half bath upstairs. It was a very bright pink that I never was that fond of. It was time for it to go. 

That way I would have two nice and very clean bathrooms and at the same time be able to use the teal stuff from the main bath.

All went well. The room is small so it didn’t take long to paint. The only problem was that odorless paint isn’t that odorless and it was too cold to open a window. The smell got to be. It was a good lesson learned, tho. I decided painting a room is a thing of the past for me. Hubby says “yeah, right.”

Wonder what other bright ideas I will get before it is nice enough to be outside. You can bet it won’t be painting.

Just heard the forecast for the next 5 days. Highs in the upper 40's and lower 50's.
That will be so nice.

Take care,

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Topic for this week’s Question and Answer blog. Tell us about your school years.

Elementary Years

Where do I start? The only think I remember about kindergarten is Mrs. Thomas. She was a little “old” lady teacher at Robbins Hill Elementary School. And I am sure she wasn’t old but to a 5 year old she was. St. Stanislaus Elementary didn’t have kindergarten so Robbins Hill was where we had to go for kindergarten. One other event comes to mind from kindergarten days. That was winning a Pumpkin shaped cake at the cake walk at Robbins annual Fall Festival. I remember being very excited. Don’t remember if it was delicious but I do remember it looked beautiful.
I went to Stanislaus from first grade through eight. I have random memories from those days. One is when the nuns had all of us girls knee on the floor with our hands out for misbehaving during class. The practice was to come down the row of kneeling students and whack their hands with a ruler. You know, back then if one misbehaved all got the punishment. Well, the boys started laughing and the nun had them take our places and receive the punishment instead. Talk about saved by the bell, so to speak.

I remember Christmas plays and being in the classroom in the evening when it was dark outside waiting our turn to perform. It was such an eerie feeling. Almost magical.

I remember the first morning of summer vacation and lying in bed and thinking I have three full months of not going to school and loving that thought.

I remember Good Friday and spending three hours in church in the choir. And speaking of choir, I remember singing at funerals and weddings and having the families involved giving all choir members huge candy bars at the end of Mass.

I remember Hold Saturday morning and taking a serving of the Easter meal in baskets to be blessed. The church smelled so good with all the homemade polish sausage in those baskets. Agony, knowing we couldn’t taste any of it till Easter morning.

I remember the recess when a bunch of kids piled on the teeter totter, too many on each side. Some on the one side jumped off and guess whose ankle was under the falling teeter totter’s other side? Yep, mine. A couple of kids carried me 5 blocks home and I was on crutches for a week with a severe sprain. Never have liked teeter totters after that. Actually, I wasn’t fond of them before that. I was such a skinny Minnie that everyone liked to try and bounce me off. They never succeeded though. I could hang on pretty tight.

I remember a good friend stepping on a bumble bee in our yard and blaming me. We never were as good as friends after that. I remember being the only girl on our block and being able to beat all the boys when we held our “track meets”.

I can remember my two younger brothers and me building go-carts out of scrap lumber and wheels off scooters and wagons. One time we were pushing John down the driveway. He got to going pretty fast and turned towards the house to stop, we didn’t know how to make brakes, right into the basement window. Half of go cart outside, half inside hanging over my dad’s work bench. No one was hurt but we knew we were in deep trouble. I don’t think we ever got all the broken windows from our childhood paid off. My older brothers caddied at the local golf course and would bring home golf balls. We sunk veggie cans for holes, one in the front yard and one in the back yard. The object was to hit the ball from one hole to the other. Problem was, there wasn’t much space between the house and unattached garage. And the garage door had windows across the top. I am sure you can figure out the rest. None of us were a Tiger Woods.

So many memories come back as I write. But I think it is time to stop for today. Next week I will cover memories from St. Joseph High.

Have a relaxing Sunday,


p.s. Hubby isn't in to this question answer thing, but I am still working on him.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pigs in the Blanket (cabbage rolls) Simple comfort food.

Most Fridays, I make a pot of soup. That way I can take a break from meal planning for a couple of days. Well, answering questions about my family got me thinking about the pigs in a blanket my mom use to make. I loved them. I haven’t made them in years so I decided it was time. Most people know them by cabbage rolls. A nice change from soup and I still get a couple of days off from meal planning. The hardest part of this recipe is steaming the head of cabbage so that you can take the leaves off without tearing. They have to be soft in order to roll up the cabbage rolls. This is the way I do it.

Core your head of cabbage, and gently drop it into a pot of simmering water. Pick off the leaves that fall off with thongs. As it simmers, the leaves will just fall away, and you keep picking them out so they don't overcook. Takes a while. I almost got brave and tried putting the cabbage in the microwave but wasn’t sure if that would work. So I stayed with a tried and true method.

I just use my meatloaf recipe for the stuffing.
1 lb. hamburger
1 half onion, chopped,
1 egg
¼ cup or more quick cook oatmeal
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Mix together. I divided my mixture into 6 portions.

Lay a cabbage leave on the counter. Put one of the portions on the leave and roll up, tucking in the sides as you go. I put extra cabbage leaves on the bottom of the pan and lay the cabbage rolls on top.

Pour the following over the top.
1 ½ cup of ketchup
¼ brown sugar or to taste
onion powder
¾ cup water mixed with one tablespoon of cornstarch.

Cover and bake at 350 for an hour and half.

I always struggle with the sauce. But this came out pretty tasty. If anyone has a good sauce recipe, let me know.

The cabbage rolls hit the stop on a very cold winter day.

Take care and stay warm.


All wrapped and ready for the sauce

Ready for the oven

Ready for our plates


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Four Boys and One Girl. Spoiled.? Not Me.

You know the hardest part of this question/ answer once a week blog post, is sticking to the question. Maybe I will get better as time goes. But don’t hold your breath.

This week’s question: Tell us about your siblings and early memories of your family live.

When I was born, I joined two older brothers. Frank was born on Nov. 6 1936 and Cash Jr. was born on July 9, 1934. Later I was joined by two younger brothers, John born Oct. 25, 1945 and Ron born Jan. 18, 1948.
We lived in a small, four bedroom house. Later we were joined by Gramma Mona, my dad’s mom. She lived with us till her health failed and she moved to a nursing home. Nursing homes have come a long way since that time. I can vaguely going to visit her. It was a big, old house converted to a home for the aging. I remember the house to be very dark and smelly. Thank goodness, Long term care facilities have come a long way since then.

Most people assume that being the only girl in a family of four boys would make for person child. That might have been true in the early years but it definitely wasn’t true of years that I can remember. My dad was always sick and there was no government assistance in those days, so mom had to go to work to help support a family seven. My older brothers had jobs and helped out, too. That left me to care for the two younger boys. Let me tell you, no spoiling going on in my family. There were no boy/girl jobs. Everyone had to do their share. If the house needed painting, you grabbed a brush and helped. Yard work, grab the dandelion digger or push mower. No one left the house till the dishes were washed (we took turns being the dishwasher), floor swept and garbage taken out after supper.  A lot of nights, supper was my responsibility. In fact, that is what I was doing when I caught myself on fire. I was wearing my dad’s white shirt with long tails, fad of the 50’s. Our kitchen was so small you couldn’t eat in it but we had a table by the stove mainly for morning coffee and much needed counter space when getting a meal.  Well, I was leaning against it, polishing my nails while I watched supper cook and Yep, the tails of the shirt caught fire. And you know what, you panic or at least I did. I not only didn’t remember to drop and roll, I ran through the house yelling for my mom. She was lying down, resting from a long day at the hospital with my dad. Thank God, she was thinking. She threw the blanket she had over her around me and managed to save my long hair from going up in flames and probably me. The Doctor came (they still made house calls back then) and said I didn’t need to go to the hospital. But I can remember being very upset because I had to cancel my date for the night. And I missed a few days of school. And to this day, I can’t stand to watch kids playing around bonfires, or lighting fireworks. Makes me very uneasy.

Hubby hasn’t gotten to his respond to this question, yet. Maybe I can pin him down today before the “game” starts. Will post if and when he does.

Have a great Sunday. Enjoy the Super Bowl.