Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ahhhhhh.....Comfort Food!

How many of us still enjoy the deliciousness that is Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup?? All that melted cheese inside that buttery toasted bread just inviting you to dunk it into that bowl of creamy tomato soup sitting nearby! Doesn't it make your mouth drool? Or at least generate a bit of a tummy growl?

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. I prefer white American, but I'd eat this in a heartbeat!!

Were you aware that there is a Mexican cousin to this wonderful comfort cuisine? Heck yeah! It is called a Quesadilla and usually uses Mexican cheeses (or cheddar and Monterey Jack) inside one or two tortillas. It is often served with salsa and sour cream. Sometimes it even has spicy grilled meats and veggies inside with the cheese for an even finer dining experience.

Today, I really wanted something cheesy (to match my personality, naturally), but didn't have any more bread or tomato soup. What to do, what to do?!? AHA! Tortillas in the fridge! An already opened package of Monterey Jack!! And plenty of salsa and sour cream just BEGGING to be consumed!! Foodie Utopia!! (Or would that be FOODTOPIA???)

I got my tortillas out, my cheese, the salsa and sour cream, and pulled my griddle out of its isolation in the stairwell and went to work. I placed one tortilla on the griddle. I then sliced the cheese to cover the tortilla (leave space on the edges - melted cheese will spread). I debated putting the salsa on top, but opted out of that. I turned the fire on under the pan and placed the second tortilla on top. No need to butter these. They really won't stick. They just need to be browned and then flipped over to brown the other side. Once the cheese is melted and the tortillas browned and blistered, lift your quesadilla out and place it on your plate (in my case, a paper one. This is CASUAL dining.) Now cut into wedges just like you would a pizza. In fact, you can use a pizza cutter to do this (although I have no idea where mine is). I mixed my salsa and sour cream together which resulted in a coloring not unlike that creamy tomato soup you see above and sat down next to my beloved laptop and thoroughly enjoyed my lunch, dunking each quesadilla wedge into the creamy salsa mix much as I would a grilled cheese into tomato soup. 

Venezuelan Quesadillas - Wikipedia Commons

This is something anyone could enjoy, even those who are overly skeptical about eating "foreign" foods. All I can say to that is "What the heck do you think spaghetti and pizza are!!" There isn't anything we eat that didn't originate in some way somewhere else!! And, a quesadilla is a very benign way to begin. 

Another good Mexican food to try, especially if you LOVE grilled meats and veggies, is a fajita. There is nothing more wonderful than the smell of that meat and those veggies (peppers and onions) being laid out in front of you with fresh shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and shredded cheese to go with inside tortillas, also hot and steaming. Of course, if you're really stodgy, just eat everything the way you would eat anything else. Eat the tortillas as a bread and the lettuce and tomatoes as a salad and the grilled meat and veggies as a platter. I'm telling you, you won't regret a single bite, no matter how you try it!! Great for low carb diets, too!
I'd leave off the pico (the fresh diced tomatoes, peppers and onions), but the rest looks great! Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday - Sunny Start, Cloudy Finish

Well, the day's almost over and it started out sunny. It is now cloudy and getting darker. I've heard rain is in the forecast, but haven't checked today's yet. Now that I have, it does appear that we were supposed to start getting clouds today with rain starting tomorrow and increasing in likelihood through Saturday. That's fine with me. I like rain. I like snow, too, but I'm less likely to go out in it since falling has become something I'm truly afraid to do in recent years. A fall three years ago that broke my left ankle probably gave rise to that fear where before it was fear of humiliation. But, rain - I've always liked rain. There is something calming, soothing about it.

Singin' In The Rain

Now, yesterday's blog ended with my telling you about the one pot meal I made. I used a hamburger stew recipe, but added pasta. I told my daughter it was goulash and she decided it was worthy of her attention. ::sigh:: The girl grew up on my cooking, yet she rarely eats what I make these days. But, she did take a container of it to work for her lunch, so here's hoping. I'm not a bad cook unless I'm just not caring one way or another about what I'm making. Then, it's a crap shoot (as in, "shoot - this stuff is crap!!")

Yesterday morning, I made bacon and eggs. I'm not usually up early enough to do that for anyone but me, but I made bacon and fried eggs for my son and scrambled eggs for me. Extra bacon for my daughter. No smoke alarms went off (a first), but the kitchen was filled with smoke from the overheated bacon grease because I was in a hurry trying to get done before Paul's ride came. The bacon was extra crispy, but not burnt (to me, anyway) and I was able to drop the two eggs into the hot fat and fry them the way my son liked them...nice and blistery at the edges, the whites fully cooked and the yolks runny. For me, I drained the grease and poured in my pre-scrambled eggs, added cheese and then plated my impromptu omelet with my bacon.

Quick & Easy Eggs, Bacon & Breakfast Sausage

While Paul had toast to eat with his salsa-drenched eggs and bacon, I decided to heat up a couple tortillas to eat with mine. My kids are always heating them on the stove over the open flame. I don't do that for two reasons. I can't see what's happening on the bottom and I don't want to grab them with my hands to flip them. Yesterday only reaffirmed my reasoning. My first tortilla caught fire!! My son came running out to save it from the flames. It was black and blistered on one side and perfectly fine on the other. Naturally, I ate it anyway. LOL

Shrine of the Miracle Tortilla (not mine, I'm afraid)

By the way, did you know that tortillas can ROLL? Yep - I learned that when the bottom of the bag unsealed itself sending a cascade of tortillas down which then rolled across the floor. Seriously - who knew???

Anyway, for breakfast today, I had a container of my stew/goulash. I have to say I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I have two more containers in the freezer, so a little went a pretty long way. Maybe next time, I'll thicken it without adding pasta and serve it over rice. We shall see.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Online Benefit for the USO and our Troops; plus FOOD!

I have another blog that is newer than this one. It is for my Avon business while this one is personal. But, I do want to tell people about the benefit.

Avon has a variety of fundraisers that representatives can do. Sure, they can be lucrative if you connect with the right group, but I really don't pursue that. However, ever since I first saw this particular program, I have had an interest in participating. 

This is a type of "gift in kind" fundraiser wherein part of the funds go to the organization and part of the funds are used to purchase a product gift pack that the organization will hand out to our overseas troops. 90% of the price of the item goes directly to either the USO or to cover the cost of the merchandise to be given to our troops. The remaining 10% covers the cost of taking the orders and processing the payment to Avon. Avon takes care of the rest.

You don't have to ship anything, you don't have to donate huge quantities of money, you don't have to worry about who's getting the money. You know up front where it's going.

There is a PayPal link on the other blog for placing the order and making payment. You DO NOT have to have a PayPal account. The payment can be processed without your having an account, so there's no fussing with having to link it to your bank account and what have you. Just fill out the info and, after verification, the payment will be received. Debit cards or credit cards are fine. You don't have to be rich to help out, but if you're able and want to, you CAN purchase more than one kit to be given to more than one serviceman or woman. It's entirely up to you.

Here is the link to the other blog. You can read more there about the program and about the products our service personnel will receive. As I say there, the sales will benefit me with my Avon standing, but I'm not going to be getting rich with this. It's just something I want to do, that I don't feel like there is a financial ulterior motive for me to do it. The link is here.

Of course, I'd love if you bought some Avon using my storefront link, but not everyone is a fan. And, that's OK. But, I doubt there are many people who don't appreciate that our troops are willing to risk their lives (even if we don't agree politically with the reason they've been sent) or that the USO sends entertainers into some dangerous theaters of operation in order to give the troops a morale boost. Seriously, is there anyone out there who never saw or enjoyed Bob Hope entertaining the troops? The men loved it!! So, would you please consider giving something back to the men and the USO for all they've done for us?


Of course, I have to add something about food. I didn't have my dinner finished when I posted the first part, but now it's done. We've finished eating and I now have the obligatory photo to share with you all.

I wanted to use some of the hamburger that was in the freezer. I took it out a couple days ago to thaw and it's been in the fridge ever since. I decided I needed to use it and found just the thing online. Hamburger Stew!

I took the pound of burger out, put it in the pan and started the fire. I love my potato masher (one of those curly ones, not those ones with the square holes in it that I wouldn't even use on potatoes) because I use it to break down ground meat that I'm cooking. I hate having huge lumps of ground meat in my recipes. So, I started cooking the meat, added onions, a can of stewed tomatoes, a can of sliced potatoes and some powdered beef base for added flavor. Then I got out the leftover corn and carrots I had frozen a couple weeks ago for future use and added them. Once all that was hot and simmering, I added some leftover broccoli and the smidgen (not a precise measurement, naturally) of lima beans that were still frozen along with some more powdered beef base and water. Once all of that came to peak heat, I added some ditalini pasta (again, no measurement - just until it looked like enough), turned the fire down and let it slow cook while I worked on the first part of today's blog entry. Eventually, I turned the fire off completely and waited for everyone to come home.

My son was the first to arrive. I asked him to look at the pot and tell me if he thought I should thicken it or if we should eat it more like soup. That's when I learned that "looks like enough" can be too much. The ditalini had absorbed all the water!!! So......I added two more cups of water, some fresh ground salt and pepper and some pot herbs along with a can of tomato sauce. I reheated the pot and stirred it thoroughly and supper was ready. Of course, I forgot to take the picture until two of us had already had some, but there's plenty in there, so I got a decent photo of the stew/soup (I REALLY don't want to call it "stoup". I mean, I like Rachael, but there is a line I draw.) 

You can see how many little pastas are really in there. 

So, tell me - is this something you'd eat? Seasoned to your tastes, of course, but do you like one pot meals like this - easy to throw together, no constant attending necessary? My kinda cooking!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Foodie Friday - Two Restaurants and Cultures

Yes, I know it's Saturday. It was late when I got home last night, so I didn't have the thinking power to put things into words. But, I wanted to tell you about the places I went and how they were.

First, Tom and I went for coffee. I'd say obligatory, but it's actually been a while since we were there. Of course, I like Starbucks, so there was no problem there other than parking was next to impossible. There was a fire on Kings Highway, so all the parking for nearly two blocks was taken by fire equipment fighting a fire in one of the historic structures there. Then it was lunch rush, so that only compounded the problem. But, we found a spot on the next block over and walked through the CVS to get back to Kings and then down to Starbucks where we began enjoying our coffee. By then, I was so hungry. I had thought we were going to breakfast, but by the time noon comes along, there are few places left that offer it. We tossed several ideas around (he simply wouldn't take my suggestion to go for Indian three doors down seriously) and decided on a whim to try the Irish pub we'd seen up near the branch of his bank we were headed for. 
Recipe for this particular Roast Beef can be found at:

I dropped him off at the bank and went to park and found it to be a problem there as well, but at last did find a spot behind the pub out of sight of the bank. I went in and got us a table and the hostess and our waiter promised to be on the lookout for him. Twenty minutes later, he was still a no show. I was beginning to look like I was stood up, but I knew that wasn't true since I had the keys to the car. I looked over the menu and one item intrigued me: The Dublin Square Carvery. 

(The name of the pub is Dublin Square, located on Evesham Rd in the Voorhees/Cherry Hill area.) The menu description looked plentiful, but the reality was that there was just so much food offered. The description: Freshly sliced Sandwich of the Day, served with a cup of soup and a nonalcoholic beverage. 

I went up expecting everything to be given to me at once. That was not the case. At first I was given my choice of soups - either the potato leek soup or the daily special of lamb and vegetable soup with coconut essence. Yes, they used the term "essence". I took the lamb vegetable which turned out to be more sweet than I'd expected, but I tempered that with the addition of salt and pepper at the table. The overall flavor still came through, the meat was so tender and the veggies cooked perfectly without dissolving. 

Next to the soup was the salad. Yesterday's offering was baby spinach salad with blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and craisins and a bit of Feta cheese. There were six dressings to choose from. I went with my standard ranch. I also took a slice of bread and some of the seasoned butter (which turned out to be so full of garlic bits that I couldn't eat it.) I don't think I've ever enjoyed a salad so much. I've never had a salad with fruits on it and the Feta cheese, which can overwhelm on a good day, was merely an accent to the entire salad. I was in love! 

I went back to get what I assumed would be my sandwich to find that the roast beef (which was the meat being offered yesterday) was to be hand carved in a plentiful amount onto my plate and accompanied by two side veggies and Au Jus, if I wished. I wished. I got mashed potatoes, green beans and loads and loads of meat plus a bowl of Au Jus. I grabbed a torpedo roll and went back to my table. I made myself a roast beef sandwich and ate it French Dip style in the Au Jus plus used some of it on my mashed potatoes. I still had a half bowl of broth left as well as more than half the meat on my plate when I was done. All of this food PLUS my diet Pepsi for only $9.75. The meat, salad, soup and sides change daily, but the price remains the same. I can't wait to try it again!!

I would WHOLELY recommend this restaurant to anyone! Especially during the lunch hours of 11-3!! Oh, and the men wear KILTS!!! Hot diggity damn! Men in skirts!! (Of course, so do the women, but theirs are so much shorter and not on my list of things I'm pleasantly surprised to find.)

The other restaurant was in Chinatown in Philly. Personally, I could live without ever going to Chinatown. It isn't that I've never had a good meal there because I have. But, they always want to take me when it's raining or snowing or cold and windy and I HATE going into the city under those circumstances. I'm a country girl at heart and that just doesn't suit me. Not to mention the near impossibility of finding a parking spot without driving around and around and around, ad nauseum. But, we did go and we ended up at Rangoon restaurant, a Burmese restaurant on 9th St in Chinatown. I was in a foul mood anyway because I wasn't told where we were going and they know how much I hate going to Chinatown (again, with the previous disclaimers). But, I looked over the menu and decided on a vegetarian selection, Tomato Curry Tofu, as my main course, Golden Finger Tempura for my appetizer and Watercress Soup as well as Green Jasmine Tea. 

Rangoon Restaurant's very own Golden Tempura Fingers,

I loved the tempura, a bit different from Japanese tempura, but a similar concept. Fingers of squash (zucchini, I think) dipped in batter and fried with a spicy sweet sauce in which to dip them. 

Excellent, although I preferred the sweet and sour sauce that came with another appetizer on the table. I happen to love fried squash, so this went over well with me.

A similar soup made with pork, recipe found here:

Next came the watercress soup which looked and tasted a little like Miso soup, but contained chicken. It wasn't bad, but was very hot, temperature-wise. It arrived in a bowl with a lid, which was pretty cool, I thought, as did the hot tea (mugs with lids - who knew?) I can't drink or eat things whose temperatures are scalding, so I still wasn't done my soup when our main dishes arrived. I set my bowl of soup aside for later.

My main dish arrived with a bowl of white rice and consisted of large cubes of tofu in a thickened tomato sauce.

A similar recipe found here:

Although it was supposed to contain curry, I didn't really taste any. The other ingredients were garlic, onion and parsley. Thankfully, the garlic didn't dominate. But, I did taste cilantro, so I'm left wondering if they used that instead of parsley. Regardless, I did enjoy the dish, even though the sauce wasn't as wet as sauces I'd had with other Asian cultural dishes (I'm particularly fond of Indian cuisine).  The guys kept snagging pieces of my tofu and, before that, pieces of my squash. In fact, Tom ate my last two pieces of squash before I had a chance to stop him! LOL

I finished my meal by finishing off my soup, which was finally cool enough for me to enjoy. Because it was cooler, I was better able to taste the flavors therein. I enjoyed it so much more then than when I first received it. I brought about half of my tofu dish home with me. It's what I enjoyed for breakfast this morning. So, although I am not a fan of Chinatown, I would return to Rangoon if being treated to dinner again. The staff was very nice and ready to help whenever we needed. I would recommend this restaurant as well.

So, I leave you with this......CATURDAY!

Baby Cat, 10 months

Tiki, 2 yrs 10 months

Chloe, my fatty catty, age 12

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fried Rice, Avon and other things.

It's still Wednesday and I had to start Thursday's post because I am so happy with something I made for supper, I HAVE to write about it while it's on my mind.

I had made pork chops a couple days ago and made rice to go with it using the pan drippings with mushroom soup mix, chicken gravy mix, milk and water. The rice was OK, but not exciting. I ate some today with yesterday's leftover baked beans, but still had a quart of it left (I made a lot). So, I decided to try my hand at fried rice.

I put oil in the cast iron pan and tossed in some cut up lunchmeat (ham and roast beef) to frizzle along with a green onion I also cut up. I had already scrambled some eggs, so poured them in when the meats were frizzled and the onion was soft. I stirred them with a wooden spoon until they were thoroughly cooked. I quickly broke them up into smaller pieces, turned down the fire and added all the rice to the pan. I made sure the rice was stirred and most lumps broken down so that I could keep the eggs from browning in the pan. After I knew the rice was heated throughout, I then added two packets of soy sauce (approximately 2 Tablespoons) and sprinkled some garlic salt (Adobo seasoning) over the top, stirring one last time to be sure all seasonings were mixed in. What I got was the BEST fried rice I've ever made!

I've thrown fried rice together before without really paying attention to what I was doing, usually pouring the scrambled eggs over the top of the heated rice (usually leftover rice from one dinner or another) and made more of an egg/rice omelet than true fried rice. THIS was the real deal!!

This one's a keeper. I definitely plan to make it again!!

I'm expecting my friend, Melissa, to come in the morning. I'm buying some Avon books from her because I didn't turn in an order this last week. I had no orders and didn't want to add to my balance with Avon, so I asked if I could buy some books from her. That'll get me caught up for this campaign. I'll also get to see her again. I haven't in a while. I hope Tom comes over as well because the three of us used to work together (can't believe it's already been over ten years since I worked there!) That'd be a nice mini-reunion.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recipes and Rain (and a bit of a Rant)

It is Wednesday and has been raining since before sunup (can't see the sun, but I know it's there somewhere). I thought today might be a good day to share some recipes I've tried and enjoyed. Of course, I can't do that until I've chatted a bit, so I hope you don't mind.

Yesterday, I spent all day (literally) helping Tom get his homework together and, supposedly, study for his exam at school. Getting him to do his homework was pretty much like trying to put a collar on a jelly fish. Now, you need to understand - this is NOT a child I'm talking about. This is a 36-yr old man who already has a Master's Degree from Villanova...someone who can rattle off political facts and analyses like an encyclopedia....a man who is one of the least stupid people I know. But, this is also a very spoiled man who has always managed to find someone else to do whatever it is he doesn't want to do. That's where I come in.

Honestly, I don't mind doing some of the work. I enjoy working on the computer and I enjoy learning the software he's studying (Microsoft Office and WordPerfect). (Quite frankly, tuition-free learning is the way to go.) In the long run, it helps me as well as him. My problem is (hopefully was) that he thought he could just look at the chapter a few times before class and know how to do the work. He thought that as long as he turned in homework and showed up, he'd pass. He didn't think he needed to actually apply what he was supposedly learning by practicing. That's where we parted ways yesterday.

He learned that he was failing the course. He planned to appeal that, which is fine if everyone in the class is failing. It shows a distinct lacking on the part of the instructor. But, even though this instructor has nothing but negative reviews from her students, I also felt that HE was mostly responsible for his lack of learning. The man refuses to take notes. He loves playing dumb in class and having all the girls help him. He thought the game would work with his teacher as well as his tutor. He was wrong.

He's attending school under the Trade Act for job losses due to jobs being sent overseas. The company for whom he'd worked 12.5 years let almost everyone go after sending all of their accounting, publisher contact and most of the customer service jobs to Singapore and Sri Lanka. He spent most of his last year with them in Singapore training their replacements. Now he's being retrained for future employment (he had no computer skills at all and wasn't particularly marketable with a Political Science degree). He's in the Paralegal program which I think is a good fit for him considering his ability to understand the abstract. But, he MUST learn the software. I don't care HOW much he hates computers (I feel the same way about typewriters, which is why I avoided secretarial courses passionately in high school), they are what is being used and they are what is being used EXTENSIVELY in law offices. He can learn everything he wants about law and legal writing, but he'd damned well better know how to put it into a computer since that's what a Paralegal will be doing!!

At any rate, I set out an assignment for him to do. A short one. An easy one. All he had to do was manipulate WordPerfect to change whatever it asked to change. It was pre-written!! It took him almost two hours to finish what should have taken 20 minutes at most. He got up and down, went outside to smoke, decided he needed to shave because his face itched, complained about computers, turned on the news, went to various websites that weren't work related (some of them political, but others were less than savory), complained that he was hungry, and so on. He just wouldn't get started. When he finally realized I wasn't going to step up and rescue him, he sat down and got it done. AAGGHHH!!!

So, now he's changed his two computer classes to "audit", plans to take one this summer and has gotten his counselor's approval to not take the other one (Word Perfect) if he takes and passes MS Word. I guess I can now relax as well, but someone who hates computers should have NEVER taken TWO computer courses during the same semester. Period!!

OK, so that's out of my system. Let's move on to rain. The forecast I received by email says we can expect snow today and tomorrow following the rain earlier in the day. SNOW!! On March 23!! I knew they were having snow farther north, but didn't think it would drop down to visit us here. And, it might not since it's mid-afternoon and still no sign of the white stuff. I love rain and I like snow, but I don't like that slushy stuff that's best had in glasses with a variety of flavored syrups and a straw. It's messy, it gets dirty, there's nothing at all soothing about it. Rain puts me to sleep and snow quiets the noisy world around us. Slush is mush - there is nothing at all poetic about it. So, if it's gonna snow, LET IT SNOW!! Or stay gone!!

Ready for those recipes I promised? Assuming you haven't simply scrolled down to find them? LOL

I made this one when I found an opened can of beer in the fridge (I don't drink beer, but my kids do). I found a recipe that sounded just right and this was the result. This and other recipes are posted on my GroupRecipes page under the name chatombreux.

German Beer Braised Pot Roast

  • Ingredients

    ·         1 1/2 -2 lb. beef rump roast (I used a bottom round about the same size)
    ·         1 T. oil
    ·         2 pieces of bacon
    ·         1/4 tsp. salt
    ·         1 medium onion, chopped
    ·         2 carrots, cubed
    ·         1 bay leaf
    ·         3 whole cloves
    ·         1 tsp. black peppercorns, crushed
    ·         12 oz. beer or brown ale
    ·         1 c. beef broth or bouillon to make 1 cup
    ·         2 tsp. molasses or dark beet syrup (Ruebensirup in Germany)
    ·         1 T. vinegar
    ·         1 T. flour
    ·         1 T. butter (I left this out - enough fat in the liquid from the meat & bacon)

    How to make it
    ·         Heat oil in Dutch oven. Brown roast sharply on all sides and remove. Lay the bacon on the bottom of the Dutch oven, place the browned roast on it and sprinkle with salt.
    ·         Place onions, carrots and spices around the sides of the roast. Pour the beer and the broth over the roast, then mix the vinegar with the molasses and add to the liquids. Liquids should be 1 to 2 inches deep. Place lid on pan and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.
    ·         Remove roast and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain and reserve the broth. Melt the butter in the pan, add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of reserved broth, a little at a time and stirring the sauce smooth after each addition. Add pepper, salt, vinegar or sugar to taste.
    ·         Serve sauce (gravy) over roast. This roast is good with braised cabbage or mixed vegetables and potatoes to soak up the gravy.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Foodie Weekend is over and all is well

    Well, I managed to make it to both foodie events over the weekend and am happy I went. I saw people I haven't seen in a while and the food was good. All in all, it was a good weekend.

    On Saturday, we went to Richwood for Richwood Methodist's Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie supper. I had already contacted a cousin in Delaware about it and she was planning to attend. She had already arrived when we got there, so we sat with Betty and her friend. 

    The pot pie was good, but they should have used different side vegetables. They used frozen vegetables that still tasted like frozen vegetables. Now I use frozen vegetables myself, but I don't like the frozen taste; so I usually use them in soups or stews to alter that frozen flavor. I rarely serve them alone; but if I do, I let them cook as I would vegetables out of the garden with time and seasoning. These were not done in that manner.

    photo by David Shankbone

    They also Chicken Pot Pie that people know today; that is a crusted pie full of chicken and vegetables and thickened broth. That wasn't what I was there for, so I didn't take any. There was an array of salad items including cranberry orange relish and applesauce. Green salad was available, too, but there was only one dressing, Creamy Italian, and I don't eat that. I skipped the salad, but did enjoy the applesauce and cranberry relish. Of course, there was homemade dessert to be had as well as tea (hot and cold), coffee and water. Tom opted out, but I had the bread pudding.

    While we were there, a woman my mother used to go to church with came in. I hadn't seen her since Mom's funeral three years back, so it was good to see her.

    After leaving the supper, we went to Confession at Lady of Lourdes in Glassboro (for him) and then to Pitman to Bob's Hobbies to see if I could get stones for the bottoms of the containers for my container garden (they didn't even have any for aquariums! I opted for 12 mm plastic beads) after which we went to Queen of Peace Parish in Pitman for Mass. (It was a very nice mass. I recommend it.) From there we drove to the Deptford Mall where he ran into Boscov's to buy yet more clothing for his overstuffed closet.

    Finally, we stopped at the Deptford Pathmark that lost its battle to the two Walmarts that were built on opposite sides of town with it sitting halfway between both. Picked up a couple of things, but I could tell they'd raised some of their prices to accomodate their "closeout" discounts. I have never in my life paid $1.59 for a can of refried beans at full retail. Even after a 30% discount, the price was above $1/can, which is still more than I'll pay. So, their refrieds will remain canned. I can cook my own dried beans for less (also marked up considerably from what I could see) and mash them myself. I did pick up a couple of things I thought prices were decent on, but I just don't trust "our store is closing" sales. When our local KMart closed last year, they actually put new price stickers over the old ones marked up exactly the amount that they were giving for a "closing" discount. The new prices were 30% higher than the old ones and the store-wide sale was 30% off!!! I ALWAYS compare prices and won't buy if they're not honest (or if items are not priced). I walked out of KMart without anything and told as many people as I could what their game was on my way out. I'll never understand consumer gullibility, especially in the face of such blatant dishonesty.

    Then came Sunday, my son's 30th birthday. He wasn't a happy camper. He'd had to work all day Saturday when he'd wanted to go out Friday night and now he was having to get up early on Sunday after not going out again for his birthday on Saturday night. But, because Mom was doing the inviting and the paying, and because Mom wasn't going to see him again for a while once he returned to Utah, he allowed me to treat him to a rather affordable breakfast at the VFW in Mantua Twp. Mom's neighbors were there, Mike and Sandra. Mike is the current Post Commander. We got there later than planned, but they were still waiting for us. It wasn't a huge breakfast, but it was good and it was AYCE if you so chose. They had toast, French Toast, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, sausage links, sausage gravy (yum!), tropical fruit, orange juice, apple juice, coffee and hot tea. All for $6. You can't beat that, I say. As it turned out, a high school classmate of mine was also there with her family. They come to the breakfast every month courtesy of her father who is a veteran. It was good seeing Joan again. It turned out her father had known my father because of his having been the township dispatcher during the time my father was a firefighter. Small world, really. I'd never met the man before, so it was a really nice day. On top of that, they were celebrating Joan's grandson's 9th birthday the same day, so we had two birthday boys in attendance. All in all, it was a really nice time and really good to see everyone. I hadn't seen Joan since my son was three and I hadn't seen Mike and Sandra since I moved the last of Mom's stuff out of her house following her death.

    photo by kilbourne123

    So, Foodie Weekend turned out to be a success and filled with friends and family as well as food. Can't beat that with a stick!