Saturday, July 27, 2013

Breakfast is Better When Someone Else Makes It!

Scrapple with Eggs and Toast
TG asked me this morning what it is about breakfast that makes me enjoy it so much to want to go out to eat it. Frankly, I enjoy eating breakfast any time of the day, but when I'm in the mood for a full breakfast in the morning and I'm out, I would much rather stop to eat than make it at home. I'm just not ready to be standing at the stove cooking first thing in the morning. Even when I was growing up, when we had a full breakfast, it was later in the morning that we had it. Early morning was more toast and coffee. When I made big breakfasts for my kids when they were little, it was on weekends when I could make more at a later time. During school days, they had cereal and juice or grilled cheese or PBJ sandwiches before heading off to school. So, when I took TG to the airport this morning, I was looking forward to stopping and getting something to eat.

I've eaten breakfast at the Metro Diner two days in a row now. Yesterday, TG and I stopped for breakfast before doing some errands for him before he left today for Arizona to see a friend. I had scrambled eggs with scrapple and wheat toast and a side of grits
Buttered Grits
instead of potatoes. TG had Eggs Benedict with a side of scrapple. We shared a side of bacon.

Today, after dropping TG off at the airport, I stopped again at the Metro mainly because I wasn't able to find my glasses and thought I'd left them there yesterday morning. I didn't, but I still stayed for breakfast. Today I had a bowl of dried beef gravy with grits instead of potatoes and wheat toast. Of course, coffee is a given on both
Crispy Bacon
days. I had originally planned to stop at Wawa and get a bowl of eggs or a sausage egg and cheese croissant with coffee. 

I'll eat the gravy over toast, but I prefer it over potatoes. But, in recent years, potatoes haven't been kind to me, so I've been avoiding them when the option is available. So, when I have the option of grits instead, I take it. I eat grits like I eat other hot cereals. I put butter on it and I add a little sugar. Not a huge amount since I'm diabetic, but enough to keep the grits from being too bland. I've tried it with artificial sweetener, but it's not the same.
Chipped Beef on Toast

What's your favorite breakfast? Do you like any of these things?

Dave Milsom, Flickr - scrapple
Paul McRae, Flickr - grits
Wikimedia Commons - chipped beef
Wikimedia Commons - bacon

Friday, July 26, 2013

****Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake****

This is a recipe that is rapidly making the rounds on Facebook that I just MUST try. I currently have the  blueberries and I just love blueberries. I wanted to make jam, but I don't have the jars, so this is the next best thing. I tried locating a web page with a picture this delicious, but I wasn't successful.

Crumble topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, softened

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, but do not thaw!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9″ square pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients, mixing together with a fork until crumbly; set aside. In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining butter and sugar. Blend in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Blend in the flour mixture and cream alternately, beginning and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). Fold in the blueberries. (The dough is quite stiff, so be patient as you’re folding in the berries! Don’t mush them up!)

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the crumble topping. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool, and cut into 9 large squares.

Source: Facebook and Examiner New England Food

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Twerking is Outta Control!

This is one of the funniest things I've seen! Personally, I think twerking is kind of ridiculous - isn't this what they were doing on videos for "I Like Big Butts" and "Baby's Got Back" before it even had a name?? And, who gave it this name?? 

Anyway, this little gif is just hilarious!!! Although, I hope her owners don't let her outside when she's doing that. All those Toms will have a field day!! Here's the link to it since it doesn't seem to be working as an automated image.  Be sure to watch!

Does anyone know the history of how this behavior was named? I'm curious.

Previously published on Bubblews.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Finally Made Beef Rouladen

I've been watching television for a couple hours - something I haven't done in a couple months because we had the digital antenna disconnected so we could use the DVD. I needed the diversion. I even cooked dinner tonight and proceeded
to burn the shit out of the beef broth I had used. I mean, who knew beef broth could even burn!!! So, yeah, thankfully the rouladen were still edible because they weren't the cheapest cuts of meat (although they were a manager markdown at the end of the store's day). It is actually an easy recipe, but the only other time I made it I used Mom's electric stove. I HATE gas stoves. No matter how low I have it, it's still a direct flame. I can't just let it simmer and braise.

Seriously, though, rouladen is so easy to make and tastes great. I used thinly sliced bottom round steak, spread stone ground mustard on each one, sprinkled some diced onions on (recipes usually call for sliced onions), laid a bread-n-butter pickle slice down and topped it with a strip of bacon. Then I began rolling from the pickle end and used toothpicks to hold them together. Browned them on all sides and poured in a 15 oz can of beef broth. There's no way that broth should have evaporated (I even had a lid on it) and scorched, but it did. It didn't when I made them at Mom's. But, you thicken the gravy and they're just so tender because they've cooked like this and they're thin. With Mom's, I used cube steaks that I pounded thinner. But, I found these really nice bottom round steak slices and went for it. I have four in the freezer, already filled and rolled, to do again later. I think next time I'll use the slow cooker with the electric base and the oblong pan. I think it'll turn out better.

But, I don't like pickles and I like this. It's seriously good! Here is the recipe I used:

Time 65 minutes
Serves 4
• 1 1/2 pounds flank steak 
• German stone ground mustard, to taste 
• 1/2 pound thick sliced bacon
• 2 large onions, sliced
• 1 (16 ounce) jar dill pickle slices
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 1/2 cups water
• 1 cube beef bouillon
How to make it
• Cut the flank steak into thin filets; about 1/4 inch thick and 3 inches wide.
• Generously spread one side of each filet with mustard to taste. Place bacon, onions and pickle slices on each filet and form into a roll. Use string or toothpicks to hold the roll together.
• Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Place the rolls in the butter and sauté until browned.
• Pour in 2 1/2 cups of water and add the bouillon cube; stirring to dissolve the bouillon cube. Simmer the rolls for about an hour. Thicken the gravy as you desire.

This was DELICIOUS!! I first made this while I was living with my mother as her caregiver. I don't like pickles, but I love what they did to the meat! The gravy was rich and flavorful. I wish I could have replicated it this time. But, I have more for next time waiting!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Should all weapons be banned in the USA?

Just so you know, I'm not a 2nd Amendment nutjob, although I believe in the right of citizens to own firearms. However, I do think we have a problem. We have a popular culture that glorifies violence (Rambo, Terminator, movies with graphic depictions of the effects of being shot, violent video games, etc.) I personally own a single shot .22 rifle that was my father's. I would love to be able to go target shooting with it. But, my state is so paranoid about all weapons that I have to have permission just to walk out the door with it. But, I also don't think it's necessary for the general public to own automatic weapons. There is no real need for them, whether for hunting or sport. 

If you want to have fun shooting one, go to an open gun range where you can rent the use of one for fun. You don't need one in your home. I can see allowing collectors to own such things because they're attracted to the technology that helped create and improve them. People have passions and not all passions lead to violence. Some people love steam engines. Others love old cars. And others love firearms. There is no easy answer. Current gun control doesn't work. Chicago, where no one was allowed to own guns until recently, is loaded with gun violence. How did gun control help there? It didn't. There needs to be a better answer - one that doesn't punish the law-abiding owner of firearms. They've basically created a new class of criminal - one that turns otherwise law-abiding citizens into felons simply because they own a gun that was legally purchased.

I know there will be strong and divisive thoughts about this and I do understand. But, honestly, a gun CANNOT hurt anyone without someone else making it. Nor can a car or a knife or any number of objects that have been used as weapons. We expect people to use objects in an appropriate manner, not thoughtlessly, recklessly or irresponsibly. Yet, virtually every case we've heard of lately has been caused by careless people who simply didn't think of negative consequences (leaving loaded weapons where children can reach them, allowing them to play with real guns - guns aren't toys, not checking to make sure the gun isn't loaded before using it as a crutch or before cleaning it). If you can't treat them with the respect they deserve and teach your kids that they ARE lethal when used improperly, then you really shouldn't have them. Plain and simple.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Someone you met randomly who's made an impact on your life.

The visitors' gate at USP in Draper.
I wrote this during a blogging challenge.

There are a couple of people I met randomly who made a huge impact on my life. The first would have to be my now ex-husband. There is nothing more random than meeting someone at the Utah State Prison when you're doing a friend a favor and going there with her square dance group for special socialization dances being provided a certain group of inmates. I mean, seriously random. She had asked me to go with several times and I kept saying no. I had no interest in going to the prison for any reason. She then uttered the fate-filled words I've never forgotten: "Look at it this way, Wendy. At least they can't ask for a date." I met him that night.

Never expecting to have a good time, I went along with her plan and found myself actually enjoying myself. I didn't dance, but ended up playing pool with a couple of guys who felt sorry for my friend and me sitting idly by doing nothing. I discovered that these guys weren't really any different than guys on the outside, despite whatever their reasons for being there might be. Although I have that proverbial hindsight we've all heard about, going through the entire experience, good and bad, helped make me who I am today.

The second person who had a huge impact on my life would be my friend TG. I've mentioned him before. I had worked for about a year when he was hired. He was quiet and shy and all the women were talking about fixing their daughters up with this recent graduate of Villanova. I didn't think one way or another about it other than several of us doubted he or the other guy would stay in our little office since they both had just earned Masters Degrees. Well, we were right about the one guy - he left after a week when another job he'd hoped for came through. But, TG stayed. In fact, TG outlasted me, staying with the company 12 years before being laid off after most positions were sent overseas. 

At any rate, the randomness factor was that he was just so much younger than me that I never ever considered being friends with him. But, one day shortly after he started, I was running up to the break room and saw him standing all alone at the bottom of the stairs looking lost. Well, I've been lost before. I've been odd-man-out before. I introduced myself and welcomed him to the company, never thinking anything other than I didn't want him to feel locked out of things. Over time, he began sending me playful emails or popping up suddenly on the other side of my cubicle wall to tease me about one thing or another. He began asking for rides to company functions and eventually began calling me at home. Not being used to that kind of thing, I was freaking out. I didn't know how to handle it. But, the boy grew on me and we became hard and fast friends. When I left the company, we began to travel together. It is because of Tom that I went to Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Salzberg, Dublin Republic of Ireland, San Francisco, Savannah, Oklahoma City, Cape Cod, Montreal, Quebec City, St. John New Brunswick Canada, Belfast Northern Ireland, Ayr Scotland, Chester England and Conwy Wales. We haven't done much traveling since he was laid off, but I have such good memories of where we've been that I can't complain.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Early Morning Wawa Run

I woke up around this morning and was wide awake. After my potty run, I knocked on Deb's door to ask for the car keys. She wanted to know why and I said I wanted to go to Wawa and get breakfast. She also wanted a coffee and asked if I would get gas in the car for when she left for work later. No problem.

I left home, stopped at the gas station and got her gas. Then went to Wawa up on Market. My brain just didn't work this morning. She had asked me for an English Toffee cappuccino, but I couldn't find it on the touch screen when I was ordering food. Turns out it was a separate machine next to the soda fountain. So, I had to re-enter my order (breakfast burrito and a sugar-free vanilla latte). I went to get her coffee, grabbed a cup and started filling it when I realized I had used a cold drink cup instead of a hot drink cup. Plus, I overflowed the foam. Ugh!! One of the ladies came out to help me clean up my mess and we stuck the clear plastic cup inside of the paper hot cup. Once I got that taken care of, I went back to the ATM and withdrew money to pay rent and then went to the front to pay for everything (you have to pay for your food first - too many people were taking the food and leaving without paying). Of course, I forgot the coffee that I'd gotten for my daughter - it was sitting back by the ATM machine. The lady who'd helped me clean it up was also checking me out. She is the one who noticed I didn't have it. OK, so there was my third strike of the morning. My brain just wasn't working at all!!

Finally got everything paid for, my breakfast burrito was waiting for me on the counter as was my latte. I put the burrito in the bag with my apple fritter and took it with both drinks out to the car. 

Then I swung by the landlords' house to drop off the rent money and came back home. I left Deb's coffee in the car because I knew she'd drink it on her way to work. She left about 10 minutes after I got home. I enjoyed the burrito, but I think I'll stick with their bowl of eggs from now on. I love their eggs!!

I also stopped at the gas station on the way to Wawa to put gas in Deb's car so she could get to work. 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons, but the store I was at is IDENTICAL to the one in the photo.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What is Barbecue (BBQ) to you?

THESE are BBQ ribs! (Wikimedia Commons)
I've been to places that specialize in BBQ where they smoke their meats over a slow wood fire, usually mesquite, and then have BBQ sauce on the side for those who want to add it. Because of the prevalence of the sauce on many menus, a lot of people think that BBQ means "covered in sauce".

Now, I'm not from the south, so I did grow up with that assumption for the most part - that it's the sauce that makes something BBQ. Then I attended my first chicken BBQ fundraiser dinner (popular around here) and there was no sauce to be found anywhere. That's when I learned that true BBQ was the cooking, not the sauce. The sauce was the accompaniment. And the chicken was delicious! 

I went out to dinner another time with a friend and had BBQ chicken and ribs. My dinner companion had asked if the ribs were cooked in the oven or on the grill. He was told by the owner that they were grilled. They weren't. Not only were they not grilled, they and the chicken were drenched in sauce. Apparently, that was this cook's idea of what BBQ is. It's not that it didn't taste good. The chicken was apparently cooked on the flat top and had some browning to it and the sauce was good, not too strong, sweet or spicy hot; but over all, this was NOT BBQ ribs - it was just ribs with BBQ sauce on them. I ended up taking those home to my friend Tom. I ate the chicken as well as the broccoli (cooked exactly as I like it) and the applesauce. I had plenty to eat without the ribs.  

So, as I asked up front, what do YOU consider BBQ? Is it meat cooked over an open flame or on a grill? Or is it just meat with BBQ sauce? Or is it some combination of the two? And, what is your favorite kind of BBQ? Whether that is meat or cooking style, I don't care. I'm just curious.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

California Roast, Baby Carrots and Creamy Garlic Pasta Shells

I bought a California Roast a couple Saturdays back. It's not a cut that is usually seen around our area. In fact, I have only ever seen it in one store, and that is the little full service grocery that opened in town just over a year ago. They have a fully operational butcher shop in the back and the meat appears to be cut on site. At least, the beef does. Anyway, they have these California Roasts that are supposedly more of a chuck roast, but a different shape. I guess like they have tri-tip roasts out West, but not here in the East. 

I usually buy bottom round roasts, but I haven't found any good prices lately. And, this kind of roast cooks down into a more tender piece of meat than the bottom round does, although the bottom round is prettier to cut. It cuts more neatly and evenly.

Still, I got this really big California Roast with the intention of having it the next week. I'm glad it was still good because it took me five days to get to it! LOL 

I put it in the slow cooker around noon, poured the dry onion soup mix over it and then added a can of beef broth and added some baby carrots. I turned it on high and left it to do it's business. By 4PM, the house was smelling very roasty. I checked it and saw that it was cooking well. I poked the carrots with a fork and was happy that they were mostly cooked through (carrots can be stubborn at times). 

Debra came home and my stomach was growling terribly, so I decided to try to put something with them because I didn't want to bother making mashed potatoes. I found a Knorr side dish pasta that we had bought when we went shopping a month ago and that's what I made. In less than 15 minutes, we had dinner ready to eat. I was surprised that I liked the Creamy Garlic Pasta because I really don't like garlic. But, this wasn't a heavy garlic flavor - it was very mellow and actually quite good.

Last of all, I had two slices of bread with the gravy I made from the roast. Yeah - really. That was something we used to do when I was growing up. Usually, we'd tear up the bread before putting the gravy on, but my plate was empty, so I left them whole and thoroughly enjoyed that little trip into the past. 

So, then I put the roast is back in the slow cooker with the remaining gravy. I let it continue to cook until it fell apart, then I shredded it. I wanted to pick up some Kaiser rolls so we could have hot roast beef sandwiches, but that didn't happen. Instead, I enjoyed some with tortillas.

This was previously posted to I've made some grammatical adjustments to account for a later posting date.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Foods that Trigger Old Memories

What do chocolate chip cookies bring to mind for you? Baking with Mom or Dad or Grandma? Snacking after school?

For me, I remember "running away" from home through the orchard to the chicken farm where Mrs. Hurff almost ALWAYS had chocolate chip cookies and milk on hand in her big farm kitchen. While I was noshing away at this delicious treat, Lil would be on the phone calling my mother to make sure she knew where I'd disappeared to. You see, although my mother loved to bake, cookies weren't ever on her baking list. She'd make pies and cakes and apple dumplings, but not cookies. And, I'd never drink milk at home, but in Mrs. Hurff's kitchen, there was just something special about all of it. 

Do you have a chocolate chip cookie memory? Or some other similar memory that a particular food brings back?

Photo Credit - Comstock photos

Previously posted to

Monday, July 15, 2013

What is your favorite kind of Sweet Treat?

I love Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but I was recently able to get some Blue Bunny Bordeaux Cherry with Chocolate Chunks that was excellent for far cheaper than a small container of B&J. Unfortunately, I eat it if I have it. So, I can't do that very often. I also like cheesecake and English toffee. I love that crunchy buttery goodness especially when the chocolate is cold and solid, not warm and soft. I hate chocolate that is soft and melty. I won't even eat chocolate chip cookies that are warm.

As far as cheesecake is concerned, my absolute favorite cheesecake is White Chocolate Raspberry! OMG - that is just absolutely DIVINE! Plain cheesecake is top notch, but WCR is beyond heavenly!

I mentioned chocolate chip cookies, but my favorite by far is a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut followed by Starbucks' Oatmeal Cranberry Raisin. Of course, I really shouldn't eat either one, but who doesn't disobey dietary rules once in a while??

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sausage Gravy - you know you want some!

I'm making Sausage Gravy for my very late breakfast. I've been wanting some for a while now. I finally bought some sausage over the weekend so I could have some. A couple pieces of buttered whole grain Toast and gravy and I'll be in hog heaven!! Making this gravy is really very easy. I like more gravy in mine where some places have more sausage than gravy. But, I'll give you the basics and you can adapt to your own tastes.

1/2 lb of breakfast sausage (you choose your own variety that works for you)
scant 1/4 cup of flour to sprinkle liberally over the browned sausage
about 2 cups of milk to pour over after the flour/sausage mixture has cooked to desired brownness

Stir frequently to get the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan and to keep the gravy from developing lumps. Cook until the desired thickness, then serve to your heart's content. Obviously, you'll need more ingredients for more people, so double or triple them as needed. But, use a deeper pan if you're making a lot. And, season with salt and pepper if you desire. Sausage can be salty, so I wait until I taste it. Or I add salt to my plate.

(Previously published to in real time. No time editing made.

Friday, July 12, 2013

I love being waited on!!

I stopped by my landlord's house  one day when I got done taking my daughter to work and running to my doctor to pick up a letter excusing me from jury duty. They're not home, but I knew their one son would be since he didn't leave for work until 1 or 1:30. I actually was hoping they had coffee made (they usually make more than they drink, so there's almost always some left) and I was right. I was also hoping I could bum a couple of postage stamps. Then the son asked me if I wanted some scrambled eggs. Heck, yeah! I was hungry and had planned to come home and cook. Now I wouldn't have to! So, I got to have hot coffee, scrambled eggs and a couple pieces of toast before I came home. Really, not a bad gig if you can get it.

Originally published on in real time.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Leftovers for dinner

We had tacurritos one night for supper. By that I mean that my daughter made what I usually make as a burrito filling but instead of adding cheese and salsa to it, she had the shredded cheese and salsa on the side and chopped tomatoes and spinach to put on top of it in our soft tacos made with whole wheat tortillas. She also had some tofutti sour cream, which I can assure you is actually quite good. She said we would have leftovers the next night, so I figured it was either going to be exactly the same thing again or she'd use the tortilla chips as a base and make nachos. I considered doing that myself, but I didn't.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dinner at home! It had been so long!

My daughter cooked dinner recently and planned to again the next night. I have to admit, I love when someone else does the cooking! The first night she made breaded steak with broccoli and a cheese and broccoli pasta side. I so enjoyed that meal!! The next night we had pork chops with mashed cauliflower and broccoli with cheese. It turned out to be really good! She had a doctor's appointment that morning and that afternoon we went together to reschedule another appointment and pick up a few more things from the store. She also wanted me to invite my guy friend, so I sent him a message to let him know. Unfortunately, he decided not to join us.

If anyone wants to respond, I'd like to ask you if you always have dinner at home or if it's only once in a while? What kinds of dinners do you enjoy most?

Originally published on in real time. Verb tenses have been adjusted accordingly.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chinese Dumplings

Well, it's almost dinner hour and I just ate my breakfast. I had ordered some fried +Chinese_dumplings with my combo plate a couple days ago, but because my tooth was hurting pretty badly, I didn't eat much of either one. Plus, the dumplings I received weren't exactly what I had imagined in my mind. You see, these were the kind that are shaped like a little drawstring pouch. They're often in a steam pan at the Chinese buffet. I've never actually tried them before. They looked like the first picture you see here, but pan fried on one side.

What I was expecting to get looked like these +Gyozas in this picture. I just love gyozas. They would be called Pot Stickers, but I also thought they were called dumplings. Thus, my confusion. I get these pot stickers at the Chinese buffet all the time with the soy/garlic/ginger sauce to dip them in - they are wonderful, if done well.

Anyway, I had put them away in the fridge so that I could eat them later. There wasn't anything wrong with them other than they weren't what I had expected them to be. So, that's what I just had for "breakfast". My tooth is feeling pretty good today, so I knew I'd be able to chew them. They really aren't bad. I was going to reheat them in the microwave, but decided to toss them into my small fry pan and brown their unbrowned side so they would be more like they were when I got them. Now that I know what they are and how they taste, I may just order them again.

I do personally prefer the very thin, almost translucent, dough wrappers, whereas this dough is much thicker. But, there was plenty of meat filling and the dipping sauce was pretty good, so I've added them to my list of things I'm willing to order off the menu.

How about you? Do you like these +dumplings? Do you like them steamed or fried? Do you like +PotStickers, too? And, which dough wrapper do you prefer?

Surfing For Side Dishes (Main Courses, too.)

I have been collecting recipes all my life. It began in high school with 3x5 index cards and a file box. Well, actually, it began far earlier with the fascination I had with all the little cookbooks my mother had stashed in the bottom drawer of the stove. I'd read those again and again and again as a child. 

When I first moved away from home, my file box went with me. I used it to decide what meals to make, but I could just never really get into the cooking part of the picture. I wasn't that good at it and simply didn't enjoy being in the kitchen. Obviously, if you see my photo, I enjoy eating what is prepared (I need to lose weight, but that's another story for another time), but I could never find the pleasure in the creation of meals like my mother did. She lived for and loved cooking for anyone who wanted to eat. She didn't need a recipe (which is why I was the only one who looked at those cookbooks) and often recreated meals she'd enjoyed elsewhere. That gene simply didn't find a home in my body.

Then my aunt gave me an old cookbook that I just loved. It was full of every day recipes that anyone could make - 
nothing super exotic, but real down-to-earth cooking. The title was The Modern Family CookBook and the author was Meta Given. A nondescript hard-cover, grayish in color, it was vintage when she gave it to me back in the 70s. I loved that cookbook and was heartbroken when, after a couple decades to find it missing from my collection. I happened upon another copy, I can't even remember where, and immediately bought it because 1) it evoked my aunt and the memories of the visit during which she gave it to me and 2) I still really like that little book.

Later, I bought the Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer. That was the second cookbook I ever owned and I was so disappointed. Not that it's not a good cookbook, but I just didn't get the "down home" comfortable feeling from that book that I got from the Meta Given book. It was so clinical, almost scientific. I simply didn't enjoy that cookbook at all. 

The same is true for a cookbook I bought years later called How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I was disappointed there, as well. Honestly, I don't know how exactly to explain it, but it just didn't "feel" right as I went through it. Plus, many of the foods found in it and in the Joy of Cooking were foods I would never eat, let alone serve. Some of the instructions, while perfectly legitimate, were meant for those who hunted for or raised their own stock for food. I'm grateful that I do neither.

But, now there is the Internet. And Facebook. And Pinterest!! I share recipes on FB and I pin so many things to Pinterest, you'd think I cooked for a living. LOL But, I still love the pursuit of a good recipe and, now that there are images, I can also include how it will look when it's made. Pinterest has become my modern-day index file of recipes!!

I also am a better cook than I used to be, although I still want recipes that aren't labor intensive. I want foods that taste like I worked on them all day long when I did no such thing. The things I make these days taste far superior to the things I used to make. I'm a better judge of seasoning and know more techniques than I used to. Despite my having been
an female only child, I was never brought into the kitchen to be taught to cook. I struggled for years to become comfortable in the kitchen. I was more comfortable with Dad's tools than I was Mom's. Taking care of my mother and cooking every day for her helped a lot, though. She was a willing guinea pig for most of my efforts.

Anyway, the title of this article is pretty much what I do on a daily basis. I love looking for new meal ideas - the easier, the better. But, they have to taste great. I've learned a lot in the past decade of my life with regards to cooking and cooking techniques. But, I still make the occasional burnt offering. Some things just are.

First published on by me.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Domino's New Pan Pizza

Domino's recently began offering a pan pizza option, medium with two toppings for $7.99, that I decided to try. Wow! It was really good!! I do like their dough a lot, but I hate having leftover crust. I like the toppings to go as far as possible. Well, on this pan pizza, the toppings, sauce and cheese go all the way to the edge!! 

The first time I ordered it, I got ham and pineapple. The next time I ordered two pizzas, but had to make them both the same because I couldn't get the online system to accept two different kinds of toppings. So because I was ordering for my daughter, I ordered sausage and black olives. I wanted one to be ham and pineapple. Maybe next time I'll just order by phone.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Shopping at Target

I haven't shopped at Target in years. They just don't have things I really like all that much - especially with regard to my size (plus), but I recently needed cat food and stopped there with my friend after we had dinner at a local steakhouse. He went to check out the cat food and I walked back to my size department and found nothing but overpriced clothes I'd never wear. 

I then walked over to the infants' section and found a really cute shirt and short set that on the clearance rack that I bought for my new grandson, Alex, who was born in January. I didn't have any income at the time, so I wasn't able to buy him anything to welcome him into the world. He'll get a belated birthday gift now. My oldest grandson will be 13 this month, so I found some nice shirts on sale. One is labeled by a well-known skateboarder and I know he'll like it. He goes skateboarding with his dad all the time. I found another couple of shirts on clearance in colors I've seen him wear, so I got them, too. I picked up one T-shirt for my third grandson, Kobe, whose birthday isn't until September (he'll be 11) that makes you think of the Philadelphia Eagles. Both boys love football!

I had already sent their sister, Taylor, her birthday gift after she turned 9 in February. I was able to find a really great Father's Day card, too, for my son. So, I hurried and got all of this wrapped and sent out to Utah in time for Dallan's birthday. It was nice to be on time just once! LOL

Previously posted to my account.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Depression "Meatloaf"

I'm about to have a platter that includes Depression Meatloaf (no meat). I'm not sure if I'll like it, but I know it won't hurt me.

Just tasted it and you can definitely taste the peanuts. This is NOT a recipe for those who have peanut allergies. But, it's actually not half bad. The peanuts dominate, but the texture is reasonable and meaty. The cottage cheese isn't at all obvious, nor is the rice, except the side serving you see on the plate. During the Depression, peanuts would have been a cheap substitute, but today, they're not so cheap. In fact, they're far more expensive than any meat I buy these days, so this wouldn't be a practical recipe today.

If you're looking for a vegetarian option for meatloaf, this might be worth considering, though. If you're vegan, then you'd have to substitute tofu or soy options for the cottage cheese and egg, but ovo-lacto vegetarians would be able to easily use this recipe. The URL for the recipe is:


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Breakfast with Friends

One morning in June I got to have breakfast with a friend I have only seen four times in 40 years! He was a classmate of mine when our families were living in Valencia, Venezuela. We were in the same grade at the same international school. I never thought I would see anyone from there again until one day in 1979, a call came to my friends' house asking if I was the same Wendy who'd lived in Venezuela. I had advertised on the roommate board at the University of Utah looking for a new place to live - which is why I was at a friend's house. Ken happened to also be a student there and was looking at the roommate board when he saw my name and did a double take. He remembered a girl from his 4th and 5th grade classes by the same name - was it actually possible that I was her?

And, it was! The next time I saw him was after the advent of the Internet and I found a group online of former students from our international school and they were planning a reunion to be held in Denver, CO. I think it was 1999. Ken's name was among those who planned on attending as was the name of the girl who lived right across the street from me in Valencia. I was shocked to learn she actually lived in New Jersey, too. 350 million people in this country and only 12 kids in my class in Valencia, and here I was connecting with one of them and a neighbor!! I went to the reunion and got to see Ken again as well as Pat, who'd lived across the street from me.

Then, in about 2003 or 2004, my friend Tom decided we should take a trip to San Francisco. He had a friend who lived in San Diego who was going to fly up to meet us. My daughter also went along for her first ever trip to California. Ken knew I was coming and we agreed to meet for breakfast while we were there since he lives in the Bay area.

Then the week before June 14, I got an email from Ken telling me that he was flying into Philadelphia with his wife and could we meet for breakfast, this time on the East Coast. He was born in Philadelphia, it seems, and has quite a few family members still in this area. So, this morning Ken and his wife Kathy picked me up at my house (I don't have a car) and we all went to a local diner for breakfast. Ken was looking forward to having scrapple, a regional pork product he can't find in California. We sat and talked and watched with some trepidation as a wicked storm moved through the area from our window-side booth. His wife introduced me to Mimosas, which I found that I liked. I was surprised, though, that they were allowed to serve alcohol so early in the day. I always thought there was a time limit on it. Hey - learned something new today!

Anyway, I had a really enjoyable time. Kathy took Ken's and my picture out in front of the diner with the diner's sign behind us. It was raining, but the front of the diner has a large overhang that kept us dry, so she could get the picture with the sign. He hasn't forwarded it to me yet, so I can't share it with you. But, I will share a photo of the front of the building where we stood. It was really so nice to see them, to meet Kathy (he wasn't married the last time I saw him) and to discuss the different things that had changed in our lives. Apparently, the next school reunion will be in Indianapolis in a couple or three years, so maybe I can get out there to join them again.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pizza Toppings - Love 'em or Leave 'em?

There are so many different toppings that can be put on pizza and they can vary from country to country. Here in the USA, the toppings most often listed on a menu are: pepperoni, ham, ground beef, bacon, sausage, onions, green peppers, roasted peppers, black olives, mushrooms, pineapple, and extra cheese. Recently some others began to appear as specialty items: spinach, broccoli, grilled zucchini or eggplant, chicken, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, Ranch dressing, Alfredo sauce, even macaroni and cheese. 

Now, personally, my favorite toppings are (not all together): ham, sausage, bacon, onions, green peppers, black olives and pineapple. Extra cheese is always welcome, too. I've eaten slices of bacon ranch chicken pizza and found that I really liked it, although I won't ever order it as a whole pizza. I've ordered spinach and ham or spinach with black olives and enjoyed it, too. Baby spinach leaves aren't bitter like canned spinach is. I've had the eggplant as a topping and loved it. Ham and pineapple with black olives, bacon and hot sauce is another one I love. 

Toppings I flat out refuse to have on my pizza are: mushrooms, anchovies, ground beef, sliced sausages (I want the uncased sausage, not the kind that comes in links). I would eat the pizza in the photo except I'd take off the mushrooms. I really and truly dislike mushrooms. I'm not a big fan of pepperoni, either, but I will eat it at times if it's well cooked and crispy. Otherwise, I take that off, too.

So, what pizza toppings do you like? What ones won't you eat? What toppings do you like that I haven't listed? Are they popular in your country or just to you?

Originally posted at: