Yesterday was my last day as the full-time baby sitter for this little one. What a privilege to be the one who spent all day each day watching her grow and learn. But it's Mommy's turn now. I'm sure I'll still be around a lot. But not like it's been this first year. Wonder if somewhere deep in her mind, she'll remember any of this. I know I will.
Considering how fast she's traveling now, maybe this "changing of the guard" came just in time! But I'm sure going to miss it.
We've come a very long way from those first days when this tiny baby, weighing less than five pounds, came home.
At a meeting this week our new pastor talked briefly about hospitality...how it's the people that matter, not the perfectness of your house or cooking. It had been quite some time since we had invited friends for dinner. And those words kept coming back to me all week.
So yesterday I called friends and asked them to dinner. A last minute invitation means the meal must be simple. And "simple" suited the miserably hot weather, too. It's not the time to be slaving away in the kitchen. We spent much more time talking and laughing than cooking. So glad I practiced a little "radical hospitality" this weekend. My house may not have been perfect, but this recipe comes close.
You've seen this recipe here before--but I tweaked it a little this time.
Chopped Steak Salad
3/4 to 1 lb. flank steak
salt & pepper
1 bag hearts of romaine
1 to 2 cups chopped red cabbage
1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1 cucumber, peeled & sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Italian salad dressing
Blue cheese crumbles
Season steak with salt & pepper. Grill 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Let rest a few minutes, then cut thin diagonal slices across the grain and cut into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl, combine steak with romaine, beans, peppers, cucumbers and parsley. Toss with salad dressing. (I used a whole 14-oz. bottle of Kraft.) Sprinkle blue cheese over the top.
That's it---your whole meal in one bowl. We added Sister Shubert's Dinner Rolls and that was it. It's pretty. It's delicious. The entire meal prep was no more than 15 minutes. Not even many dishes to wash up. There's no excuse not to have friends over when it's that easy. I'll finish cleaning later this week. Maybe.
The fun part was that today WE got a dinner invitation from other friends for later this week! I think there really is something to the saying that what you give, you get back.
Don't let the innocent face fool you. I have oatmeal in my hair, on my face and on my shirt. There is yogurt on my feet. Peaches are splattered across the floor and on the window. I can't see out of my glasses. feed...duck...wipe... Over and over again.
Will the person(s) responsible for teaching Baby Sister to blow raspberries with such authority please report promptly at meal times until she learns to NOT do it with a mouth full of food? Thank you very much.
And if you're smart, you'll wear a rain poncho and a shower cap. Goggles are optional.
I didn't get home until 9:00 last night after a committee meeting. Mommy had a different meeting last night. Granddady kept the baby while we were gone. That meant that all of us ate supper at a different time. I needed something I could make ahead and have ready for everyone to eat whenever it suited.
So it was time to fall back on an old favorite--Sloppy Joes. I've been making this since my girls were little. It was a favorite of theirs and their picky eater friends would even eat it. I've fed it to UMYF kids at church--it's easy to multiply the recipe. And Granddaddy likes it. Plus, the recipe is easy to remember and uses thing you have on hand. That's a real winner.
1 to 1-1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon French's mustard
Brown ground beef and spoon off excess liquid. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
I made this in the afternoon and left it ready to heat. I set out chips, buns and paper plates. And there was a bowl of cucumber salad in the refrigerator. It only took a minute to fix a plate---REAL fast food! Not sure about the rest of them, but I was starved when I got home and happy it was ready.
Mommy, a non-meat eater, does this with ground turkey and calls it "Sloppy Jims." (That's what I did yesterday and that's what is in the photo.) If you choose to use turkey, saute some chopped onion and a little minced garlic in olive oil before adding the turkey to the skillet. I do that for anything using ground turkey to add more flavor.
Make a double batch and freeze some for later. You'll be glad you did.
Baby Sister and her mommy came to spend a couple of nights at the farm while everyone else was away. It had been a while since the baby was here. She's pretty mobile now so it was a busy time for all of us since we haven't moved everything out of her reach. I think my floor is well dusted this morning after she scooted around all day yesterday. I won't have to Swiffer today!
But wait---let Baby Sister tell you about her visit in "her own words"*...
Waking up at the farm was fun. So much fun, my feet did the 'happy-happy-joy-joy' dance!
Granddaddy picked apples from the tree in the yard---
the ones way up high that the deer couldn't reach.
And Mimi cooked them up just for me--applesauce and oatmeal with cinnamon.
There were fresh picked cucumbers for lunch--not liking them quite so much.
And then Granddaddy said it was time to get ready for work.
He only let me help water the tomatoes.
Maybe I'll get to ride in the tractor later. Big Sister says that's big fun.
A party is always fun. Especially a party with cake and ice cream. And even more special is one that celebrates a 100th birthday. Today our church family had a party for our oldest church member.
He drives himself to church each Sunday for Sunday School and morning worship. He is sharp as a tack--sharp dresser, sharp wit.
We know that since Baby Sister was born in 2010, she won't remember that she helped celebrate a birth that happened in 1911...99 years before she was born. She didn't get to eat any of the good food that loaded the table after morning worship. She didn't even get any ice cream.
But she did get to sit in the birthday boy's lap! Here is a moment for the books---the oldest and youngest members of our church family together. We will save this photo for Baby Sister to see when she's a little older.
Our weekend started early. We headed to the lake Thursday night after a little baby sitting and helping get Big Sister out the door for a beach trip with her other grandparents,
Before Big Sister left on her trip, she finished her knitting project all by herself. This one went at lightening speed. Less than two days. She was even impressed at how fast she can knit now. And she doesn't need me anymore to help start or finish. I'm out of a job!
After all that Granddaddy and I managed to spend a couple of nights at the lake, doing nothing but enjoying the cool weather. Weird weather, but welcomed! Not many chances for those kinds of days.
Checked out the Laurens Farmers Market on the way home and we're back. Now to get food ready for Mr. Busby's 100th birthday party tomorrow. Wow! 100 years old. Happy birthday, Buzz!!!
Random Things I Know (Now)
100 grams of yarn does NOT equal 100 yards of yarn. (For sock yarn, it's more like 100 grams = 376 yards.) I now have about 2000+ extra yards of lemon/lime sock yarn. Should have read more carefully before I ordered. Lesson learned.
It's hot!!! But not too hot to eat which means I still need to cook supper each evening. No one wants to spend much time over a stove in the summer and we want something a little lighter on our plates.
Last night's dinner was a favorite recipe we've used for years. A very few minutes of easy prep in the morning and then very little hands on at supper time. 20 minutes under the broiler. We've never done this on the grill but I think it would work there, too. But not on a 100 degree day!
Place turkey in heavy gallon-size zip top plastic bag. Add marinade ingredients. ("Massage" marinade ingredients to mix, squeezing the lemons slightly to release some juice.) Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Place turkey on a broiler pan. Move oven rack so top of turkey is 5-inches from heat.
Broil small tenderloins (4 per 1-lb. pkg.) about 10 minutes, turning once. Broil large tenderloins (2 per 1-lb. pkg.), turning once, about 20 minutes, or until juices are clear.
We finished out our dinner with vegetables from the garden and pasta salad again. Neither one of us has a problem with leftovers. To make clean up easier, I lined the bottom of the broiler pan with foil.
Here's a quick tip to use up cucumbers if you're loaded with them like we are. Mix 1cup water, 1 cup cider vinegar and 1/2 cup sugar (plus a little more--I just slightly round the sugar in the measuring cup instead of leveling it.) Stir to dissolve sugar. Pour over peeled and sliced cucumbers in a glass dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Some thinly sliced onion is good in this mix, too. I did this in a plastic container last week and it all ended up with an awful plastic taste. Went back to my good old Corningware dishes. Much better.)
The weatherman says a cold front is on the way. It will only be in the high 80s by Friday. By comparison, that IS cold! We're ready for it.
For the month of July, I am back on full time "grandmother duty," keeping both girls while Mommy teaches a grad class this summer. But just afternoons this time. That means I have time to make a dinner plan before I leave each day. Granddaddy gets real suppers in July!
I was home before 6:00 tonight. Supper took less than 15 minutes to put on the table. I made pasta salad this morning before I left, using up some of our garden produce. It's a huge recipe if you need to take food to someone. It will make enough for you and enough to share.
I cooked tilapia when I got home. Just sprinkle a couple of tilapia filets with Cajun seasoning and pan saute in a little oil. That's it. Super simple. Super good. Got this recipe from daughter Jessica on her blog. She's a great cook.
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
2 tilapia filets
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle seasoning generously and evenly over both sides of the filets. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side (depending on thickness), until it reaches desired degree of doneness.
Big Sister knows that one of Mimi's "rules" is to never say the words, "I'm bored." So today she spelled it out. "Mimi, I'm b-o-r-e-d." She had read. We had played Trouble. And both of us had played lots with the baby. It was too hot to go out. The heat here was in the mid-90s with humidity that was about 500%.
That made it a great time to pull out the knitting again. (While Baby Sister was napping.) Big Sister started a new dishcloth (and cleaned out her knitting bag) while I started a new baby blanket. Both projects are the easy kind. The kind you want to do when it's too hot to do anything. It's supposed to be even hotter as the week goes on. She and I may finish our projects if we need to stay in most of the week. Maybe we will find a winter movie to watch while Baby Sister naps and we knit.
Wishing we were back at the lake. Or even better---in the lake.