Thursday, August 1, 2013

Simple Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This came at the request of my husband.  He wanted stuffed peppers but without the work of stuffed peppers.  I researched a few recipes online, and based on what we had in the house, we came up with this:

Stuffed Pepper Casserole:

2 Green Peppers, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic
A pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
1 can of traditional flavored spaghetti sauce
1 can of sweet corn
2 cups cooked rice
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup of mild cheddar

Preheat oven to 350.

Brown ground beef with onion, green pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire Sauce.  After you drain the grease, add spaghetti sauce, corn, and rice.  Simmer for just a few moments and then place mixture in your casserole dish.  Add cheese.  Back until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 20-25 minutes. 

That is it.  Almost too simple, and it was husband approved. 

Between this and the tomato pie I made this week, he almost believes I can cook.  We won't tell him any different. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Love How...

I love how, even when he is sleeping, he will reach out and place his hand upon me, making sure I am still here.  I am.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Just One of Those Days, Part II

Have you ever had "I don't feel good, and I want to pout day"?  I think we all need one now and then, and today was my day.  My husband and I argued before bed last night, and of course, as he snoozed, I analyzed every single word of a five minute waste of time.  I have to admit my stupidity; I wasted a full night sleep agonizing over a five minute argument, which in the long run, won't matter.  I feel lost when we fight.  It brings out my insecurities.  It brings out my irrational fears.  It brings that cruel, nagging voice in my head.  Today I needed to heal from it all, and I fortunately had the luxury to do so.  Funny how I can argue with him, but I need to step back and repair myself from myself.  I am the cliché own worse enemy. 

So, how did I celebrate my self-proclaimed day of rest and laziness.  First of all, I read and read and read.  I picked up Elizabeth Berg's The Year of Pleasures, from 2005 and read it all in one, selfish rush.  I almost wished I had saved it for the winter, because it would go perfectly with my favorite throw and a cup of hot chocolate.  It is a small read, and there seems to be so much the protagonist isn't saying.  It could have easily been expanded into a larger novel.  I read one review on GoodReads that said it was like a Hallmark novel, and yes, I can see this as a Saturday afternoon Hallmark movie, or even a woman's television drama.  It focuses on Betta and her grief following the death of her husband.  She is completely lost when he dies, and leaves Boston for the mid-west to finish the dreams they shared together.  My only complaint is that when it ends, it ends.  I really wish it could have been longer and allowed me to see their lives as they continue on.  Just when you fall in love with them, they are gone. 

The best thing about this book is my belief that I was meant to read it.  A friend of mine, just last Friday, asked if I had ever read Elizabeth Berg, and no, I hadn't.  She was once an Opera pick, and Opera and I don't always agree on literature; but A.'s description told me I had to give her a try, especially one book she just finished.  She talked about how the author captured the texture and the little beauties of being a woman.  The tiny details brought the characters to life for her and allowed her to identify with them. I went to a used bookstore Saturday and bought the book...because of its cover.  Yep, that clinched the deal for me.  I just finished A Homemade Life last week, and the cover was too beautiful to forget.  This cover has the same sense of peace and home.  I didn't fully realize it was the same book my friend loved so well, until later that evening.  I am so thankful to have found it, and it isn't going into my books to swap.  I now plan to go deeper in and annotate the lines that meant the most.  I will remember it for a long while.

Just One of Those Days

Monday, July 1, 2013

Seriously? Baby Steps Toward Aging.

According to Redbook, the chances of me getting pregnant naturally is 20%.  I am too old.  What?  How did that happen?  I don't want another baby, at this point.  I am good with two step-sons, one girl child/woman, and one boy who is growing into his own stinkiness; however, I like knowing I could if I wanted one.  I guess there lies the rub. 

I have truly enjoyed my early 40s.  Life isn't that horrible, and I have a husband to thinks I am beautiful and kids who love me.  Yet, here I am, facing my own mortality because I may/may not be fertile anymore.  I wonder what is really bugging me:  age, my definition of womanhood, or not being in control of these changes?  Maybe it is the fact my ability to grow a full beard is right around the corner.

I have high school friends who are now grandparents.  Good for them.  They love their grandbabies and love posting pictures on Facebook.  I am not ready for that, at all.  For some reason, when I think of being a granny, I picture the other side of the mountain, and I am clinging to the peak, with every ounce of strength in me.  When my own granny met me, she was only forty-six, five years older than what I am now.  I wasn't her first.  My other grandmother was only in her 30s when she was called "Mamaw" for the first time.  Something about that just ain't right.

Different time; different expectations, I guess.

Now, for my oldest, I don't want to see you rushing toward pink or blue.  Find yourself, travel, meet the "one", be satisfied with yourself before you even consider it.  Move slow.  Not for me, but for yourself.  I was twenty-six, when I first held you, and I now realize, I was still too much of a baby.  You are the best thing that ever happened to me, but I could have done better for you.  Life moves too quickly, why add to the rush.

Now, with that being said, don't wait until 41, unless you are wealthy enough for doctors to help.  Twenty percent, baby!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What Are You Watching: Summer Television

I use to love TV.  As a kid, my grandparents never bought a TV guide; they just called me.  I was usually more accurate.  As an adult, I just seem to DVR a few and then ignore the rest.  Dr. Who and Sherlock are favorites, but they flutter briefly across my screen, and then I must wait for the next season. Walking Dead is a must, but right now is a long time until October.  I do DVR Castle, but I don't rush to watch it every week.  I am getting into Grim this summer, and since school ended in May, I have watched season 1 and 2, and I am looking forward to 3 in October.  That is one good show, and I have inhaled it. 

Summer viewing is different and fun.  I can stay up longer with the kids.  I can actually sit down and watch without worrying about if my Things have their homework.  I can DVR and watch in my nightgown at 10 AM.  One guilty pleasure is Paranormal Witness.  We love to watch this show as a family, and then do our own commentary.  Have you noticed it is the weird and strange that lures us in? 

Speaking of strange and weird, I have seen two new shows this summer:  Mistresses, on ABC and Under the Dome, CBS.

Mistresses is like a bad train wreck.  The characters are cardboard and difficult to tolerate.  One actress is so wooden, I almost feel like I am watching a high school production instead.  The 4 female leads are successful, beautiful, and quite frankly, stupid.  I am wanting to watch the original British version to see if they are equally stupid;  I bet they are.  I think I am going to tune in for one more episode, but I may not follow up with this drama.  It just seems like an urban rip-off of Desperate Housewives, but less fun.  There is no comedy or quirk.  Well, one character does possess a few zingers and wants to be the comic relief, but unfortunately, she is morally reprehensible, so you don't really want to pull for her.  She sleeps with her married boss for better real estate properties to sell.  She uses sex as a weapon and leaches off of those around her.  I know, I know, some may say she thinks like a "guy", and I apologize to my guy friends for that comparison.  It is just a nasty stereotype for her character and men,  in general.  The gorgeous Australian husband is a plus, but beauty will only take you so far.  There has to be more to the plot and flat characterization.  I really wanted to like it because I am a fan of Allysa Milano.  At least the clothes are beautiful.  I guess that summarizes it:  Beautiful but no heart or substance. 

Last night, we watched Under the Dome.  Now, that did cause me to jump a few times.  It was gory, scary, and everything that makes you want to watch again; yet I don't know if I really care. The intrigue is there, and the acting wasn't that bad.   I think I will set up my 4 episode rule and see what happens. 

Oh, I know I didn't mention True Blood.  I am just catching up to last season, thanks to no HBO.  So, sssshhhhh on spoilers.  :)

Well, that is my TV viewing habits in a nutshell.  What are you watching? 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What I Am Listening To Today

Okay, to know me is to understand I am an old soul.  I am not dressed everyday in vintage, but it swirls around me in how I furnish my house, to the luggage I use, to the utensils I have in my kitchen, and yes, the music I play.  Now don't get me wrong, I love the modern stuff, too, but more often than naught, my Spotify targets crooners and long forgotten recordings from the '20s. 

Now with that background info. out of the way, it should come to no surprise that my new favorite album belongs to the multi-talented Emmy Rossum.  For those of you saying, "Hey, that name sounds familiar!", she is better know for her work in the film Phantom of the Opera and the television show, Shameless.  I discovered this gem by accident this week with a visit to Barnes and Noble.  As I cruised around the store with my pretentious drink of choice from Starbucks, I completely became entranced with the music playing.  I forgot about the book in my hand, and had to ask the clerk what CD was playing. The vocals are almost perfect.   I find her interpretations pure, sweet, and sometimes heart wrenching,  as in the case of "Autumn Leaves".   The songs are the old standards you will recognize, but instead of retooling the formula for modern ears, Ms. Rossum is content to play tribute to  the glamour and beauty of long gone days.  It works.  This is a CD my granny and I could have enjoyed together. 

This album is a perfect way to end a long summer day.  Sit on your porch, wine glass in had, and let the "Summer Wind" transport you away to 1944.  This is one is one "Sentimental Journey" worth taking.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Never Know What You Will Find

As I mentioned yesterday, my granny died in December.  It seemed liked the final chapter of my childhood just closed.  My parents are now in the house, and we began sorting through eighty-six years of memories.  Loving all things retro, I received the dishes from the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  Little odds and ends, have found their way into my home, but the real treasure came in an Aigner shoebox, circa 1978.

I was going through the linen closet, an odd place for some of the items she stored.  Her organizational methods were changing as she aged, and you didn't know what you would find and where.  It made sense to her.  I pulled out this and that, and noticed most items belonged to my grandfather.  I modeled my papaw's fez for my husband.  Squealed in delight as I found several books that we once read together.  Then just as I was going to close the door, shoeboxes caught my attention.  Pulling them from the top shelf, I wondered what I would find next.  To my surprise, it was years upon years of my grandfather's sermons.

He wrote out his ideas on index cards and clipped them with paper clips.  I remember playing under the kitchen table as he worked on Saturday mornings.  If he could finish in time, we would watch Bugs Bunny together.  One particular morning, I made a request.  I wanted my own sermon.  I wanted it to be specifically on King David.  He was/is my favorite Biblical figure, and I wanted my papaw to tell his story.  This was 1976, and I was four.

Papaw wrote my sermon, and he found it very difficult to write.  He wanted to make special for me, a preschooler, but he also wanted to make it relevant for his congregation.  I told my husband the story, and I wondered how if I would be able to find the sermon in this burgundy box.

That evening I put the box on my bed and just stared.  How would I find it?  There were hundreds of packets of cards, and how would I find that particular one.  The only hope I had was faith and a little bit of hard work.  I stuck my hand inside the box and pulled out one sermon, and then my little miracle took place.  In my hand was a sermon from 1976 entitled, "The Bible's Biggest Sinner".  It is was a sermon on faith and redemption and grace.  It was mine.  My sermon.  I couldn't believe it.  I had my papaw's gift in my hands. 

Miracles aren't always grand and earth shattering, and sometimes they are found in quiet, simple places.  A little burgundy shoe box is my miracle.  It was a reminder, twenty years after my grandfather's death, that I was loved.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So much....

So much has happened since my last post.  In the words of Dickens, "It was the worst of times; it was the best of times."   In the stress of dealing with good and bad, I lost the urge to blog and share.  I lost the urge to write, but with school out and the computer on, I once again want to explore, read, write, create.  I am not that good at it, but it is an outlet for me, and I feel like it does make me a healthier person. 

I think my grandmother's death in December silenced me for a while.  It was too traumatic and raw to even explore.  She died suddenly the weekend before Christmas, and my children and I were visiting.  My mother went to check on her and she was just gone.  I am so thankful my babies didn't find the body, but my daughter, who is certified in CPR, did rush in and tried to revive her, as we waited for the paramedics.  I want to protect her from the world, but when our world was falling apart, she stepped up and showed me the woman she will one day become.

It isn't all doom and gloom.  In April, I married the Flatlander.  He and I met April of 1993, so it seemed fitting to elope during our spring break.  We had a beautiful outdoor ceremony in Tennessee, on a clear, warm day, next to a waterfall.  It was simple, sweet, and just what he and I wanted.  We were fortunate enough to have all four of our children with us, and we celebrated afterwards with laser tag.  Well, they did.  A long dress usually isn't the best attire for such activity. 

Now, I am still using coconut oil at night as a face cream.  I am still making my own detergent, and Paul and I are now thinking about making our own candles.  No garden this year because of the lack of time, but I am still looking for new recipes to try.  In fact, I am making a peach custard pie tonight.  I found the recipe in Redbook, and I cannot wait to see the final product.

So, that is it for today.  Do I dare try again tomorrow?

Perfect Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Today was a very busy but lovely beginning to our Halloween Festivities.  My husband and I went to a Farmers' Market that was featuring ...