Thursday, March 26, 2015

Meatless Supper


I'm not sure how many times this recipe has popped up here on the blog. But it's one of Daddy-O's favorites even though it has no meat. I chose to make this for supper tonight because I'm heading out again in the morning for a few days. I knew that we could have it tonight and Daddy-O can have leftovers tomorrow. He won't mind these leftovers.

I have been on the run for weeks now. Sometimes I think I'm too old to go this much—but then I think maybe I'd better get all the "going" in that I possibly can while I'm still able! Heading back to see the grandgirls and celebrate Baby Girl's first birthday.


This recipe works with bowties or penne, with refrigerated or jarred Alfredo sauce, with or without the spinach. We've done it all of those ways. They were all good. If I happen to have plain diced tomatoes in the pantry, I will usually add a little Italian seasoning to the tomatoes. Tonight my can of tomatoes had all of those good herbs included.

BAKED BOWTIES (or PENNE) with TOMATOES AND MOZZARELLA

3 cups uncooked bowtie or penne pasta
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (I used diced tomatoes w/basil, oregano, garlic)
2 cups Alfredo pasta sauce (I used refrigerated Buitoni)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 handfuls baby spinach

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with PAM. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat tomatoes to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly evaporated. Stir in spinach just to wilt it.

Put Alfredo sauce into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 90 seconds on HIGH. Stir in shredded cheese. Heat another 30 seconds to melt cheese. Stir. Mix tomato-spinach mixture into Alfredo sauce.

Put drained pasta into baking dish. Pour sauce over pasta and gently stir to mix together.

Bake uncovered, about 30 minutes, or until hot in center.


It's time for spring cleaning. When I was washing windows yesterday and sweeping off the porch, I heard a little roar.

We have a recreational airstrip a couple of miles behind our house, so we are used to having lots of little planes flying over our house and they come and go. (Sometimes there will be 600 planes in for a weekend.) My first thought was that there were planes in the air off in the distance.

I stopped and listened again. And I realized that the cherry tree beside our screened porch was full of honey bees.  I only have a little point-and-shoot camera that fits in my pocket. The tree was FULL of bees. You'll have to take my word for it because I could only photograph this one little bee. The bees were so busy diving into the blossoms that they didn't notice I was inches away from them. 

Spring has truly sprung!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Making Muffins This Morning



While I was out with grandchildren last week, Little Sister asked if we could make muffins. She loves to bake (which mostly means she likes to stir.) But time ran out before we got to do that. We would have made the applesauce muffins (recipe here) that she loves. So this morning, back here at home, I made muffins because it made me think of her. Not the applesauce muffins that I would have baked last week, though.

I pulled a recipe out of my old, old, handwritten recipe book. I think this recipe was added to my book in the late 1970s—back before coffee mugs had completley replaced cups and saucers. You know it's an old recipe when it says to serve with "butter curls." I'm pretty sure this was a "healthy" recipe from some magazine way back then.


The recipe only makes six muffins, but there are times when you only want a small batch. The hardest part of this recipe is blending the peanut butter with the egg and water. I used a small whisk to mix. And it still took a couple or three minutes. With any muffin or quick bread recipe, you should always stir the wet and dry ingredients together only until dry ingredients are moistened. Don't over stir.

These are not the cupcake-like muffins you get at your coffee shop. They are not overly sweet and the texture is more like a corn muffin. You can taste the peanut butter, but that is not the predominant flavor. They were just perfect with my coffee this morning.


WHEAT GERM MUFFINS

2/3 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sugar

1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, stir together biscuit mix, wheat germ and sugar.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg, water, peanut butter and vanilla. Beat egg mixture until smooth.
Add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix.)
Spoon batter into greased muffin tins.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with butter curls, if desired.

Makes 6 muffins

I liked these muffins better without the butter. (Big surprise.)



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bye Bye, Babies

 

Tuesday night's dinner conversation...

4-year-old Little Sister:  I have a flight in the morning.
Mommy:  Really? Where?
Little Sister: I have a flight to the South. (She usually "flies" to Boston and Texas.)
Mommy: Why?
Little Sister: I'm going to Mimi's and stay there.

It was hard to listen to her say, "I get tears when you're not here." I almost got tears, too.
How hard it was to leave the midwest family yesterday. I gave Little Sister a "lipstick kiss" when I left her at the airport. I told her it was so she could remember how much I loved her.



It was a good week for me to get acquainted with Baby Girl. She and I had only seen each other a couple of times when she was tiny. Now, she is walking everywhere. How much fun it was to get her up each morning and to rock her at nap time. She didn't know who I was when I got there. But by the end of the week, she seemed perfectly happy to snuggle in my lap and would often reach her little arms up for me to pick her up.


All the girls--me, Mommy, Big Sister, Little Sister, Baby Girl--spent an afternoon at the new exhibit at the nearby museum. Big Sister has learned about some of the artists in school and recognized some of the paintings. Little Sister loved the interactive activities they provided for the little ones. Baby Girl just enjoyed her ride in the stroller.  

I got to drive Big Sister to school each morning which gave us time for visiting. She is so busy as she nears the end of her middle school career. I got to drive Little Sister to her Jitterbugs class so I could see her dance. Too much fun!

And I hope those little trips helped Mommy find an extra minute here and there to do some things around the house. That might redeem me from being up so early with the little girls in the morning. I'm pretty sure they don't wake up so early when I'm not there.


 After spending most of yesterday in airports and airplanes, I am back home. Suitcase sitting right where I left it last night. I figured the unpacking could wait until today. I found a "grandmother doll" in my boot as I was packing very early yesterday morning. Wonder if there are any other surprises in my suitcase?



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Grandmother On The Go






Just got back from a girlfriends weekend at the beach. It's an annual tradition. A cherished tradition.



Today I'm passing through a couple of airports on the way to visit grandchildren.

All good trips.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Singing A Song


I had planned to go knit with friends at the library yesterday afternoon—my usual Tuesday activity. But when you get a call from a dear lady who is in her 80th decade to come make music with her, you drop what you're doing, pick up your ukulele and go.

This sweet lady has been stuck in a rehab facility for months when recovery from her surgery didn't go as smoothly as hoped for. There have been more surgeries and longer rehab sessions since then. But the music has never stopped. She has been limited in her activity because of a leg brace (which comes off soon) but she has kept her ukulele by her side.


I know she is feeling better because she picked up the phone and called some of our ukulele band members to come for an impromptu music session. It wasn't on the center's activity calendar, but quite a few residents were happy to roll into the dining area to listen. Before we were done, the nurses and staff were dancing in the hallway.

So I sat there for about an hour with musicians on my right, musicians on my left and a large group of residents in front of us, toes tapping, fingers waving as they listened.  It was cold and rainy on the outside, but it was all sunshine and smiles on the inside. What a happy way to spend a dreary afternoon!




Saturday, February 28, 2015

And You Get A Blanket



Yarn:  Cascade Ecological Wool
Needles:  size 10

It's nice when a plan comes together. Two really big balls of yarn. One set of needles. Practice of a tricky new cast-on method. Patience with a new pattern. Persistence with round after round after round of plain knitting. And after enough time passes, you get a blanket.

When I taught guitar lessons, I had a sign on the wall of my studio that said, "Practice. Patience. Persistence." That was the secret if you wanted to learn to play. It's kind of the secret to learning nearly anything.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Why I Knit

 

It started with just plain gray yarn, waiting to be wound into a ball.
This is not a hobby with quick results. I like that it requires patience.


I studied the pattern and read the notes made by so many other knitters.
There were several new things for me to learn here.
Homework up front would save some frustration. At least that was the plan.


 When you're learning new techniques, mistakes happen.
Mistakes that meant I unknitted one section over and over—until I read the pattern right.
Then, I unknitted row after row at one point when I got confused.
Thankfully, my mistakes were made when these rows were small.


After a couple of weeks, I finished the knitting and took it off the needles.
Doesn't look like much, does it? I'll be honest. I was a little worried.

I had admired the photos of this Hemlock Ring blanket for a long time.
I knew this was part of the process, but I wasn't sure mine would make the transition.
I didn't understand how this pile of ripples could possibly end up flat.


After a good long soak in cool water to relax the fibers,
the soggy lump got moved to Little Sister's alphabet blocks 
I pinned and pinned and pinned, stretching and smoothing carefully, 
working it into the shape I wanted. Who knew wet wool was so moldable?


And when I stood up, knees creaking, I looked at the blanket.
 The magic had happened—the knitting magic.
My soggy, lumpy mess of yarn had turned into a circle of lace.

When you start a new project, there is no guarantee 
that it will turn out like you imagine, like you hope.


But this time, it worked. The knitting magic.
 
Now, the comes the hardest part. 
 Leaving it alone until it is completely dry.

Tomorrow I'll take all the pins out.
Yarn has a way of softening when it is soaked. 
I can't wait to see how it feels. And how it drapes.

This is why I knit. It's creative. It's an adventure.

(Look for finished photos soon.)