Friday, June 3, 2016

A week of Dolly and Dollywood on Home & Family/Hallmark

Home and Family/Dolly at Dollywood - I tried to share a video but it wouldn't post so above is a link to the Home and Family site.

What a fun week it was to watch Hallmark’s Home and Family from Dollywood with Dolly Parton!  It brought back so many good memories of the weekends I used to spend there and after seeing all the new things introduced over the years, I’m itching to go back for another visit.  I recall many of the places they featured on the show during the week including The Dixie Stampede but I never got a chance to visit everything.  Our weekends were so busy with…

… benefit concerts twice a day, (here she is with Kenny Rogers).

 Then there were fan gatherings or a luncheon.   Above is what she wore at the very first picnic luncheon back in 1988). 

And the rest of the time we followed her around the park just to take pictures, often outside the Celebrity Theater by the ‘Butterfly’. 

Or we’d watch her make a commercial…

…Or introduce a new ride like the Carousel or a new attraction.



 Lots of times we waited outside her apartment just to get a picture of her going upstairs or coming down.  Here she is with her best friend Judy Ogle.   


The food was always delicious and we ate a lot of it at Aunt Granny’s which I’m not even sure is still in existence.  No doubt they’ve built something bigger by now like they did her museum.  I need to get in touch with my friend Mark and have him bring me up-to-date on a few things.  He still attends the Grand Opening every year and often sends me pictures but I haven’t spoken to him in quite some time.  My sister is still bedridden and I spend most of my time taking care of her which leaves me little time for much else.  Getting to watch Dolly all week was uplifting for both of us!  Dolly will always be special to me!     

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Nice Cover on Martha Stewart Living for June 2016...but

Unfortunately and as much as I hate to say this, the cover and the recipes that go with the pictures are about all I like about this issue.   The magazine is just not the same anymore even though I thought it was getting back to excellence after the Collector’s double issue of December and January came out. 

I cannot believe they used some kind of toweling or cloth napkins as the backdrop for six pages of photos starting on page 100.  It was nice material but did nothing for the desserts pictured.  The pictures alone were quite awful!  

Martha's article was nice about her father's lavender that she grew from a packet of found seeds dated 1964.  It was quite a nice crop and she showed his technique for making bundles for drying it and also gave instructions on how to grow it.  I think her father would have been pleased. 

I was quite surprised to find the recipe cards upside down in What's For Dinner.  Before I even read what was pictured, I tried to figure out why everything looked so funny.  It was a first for me - no harm done but mistakes are noticed.

The tropical fruit section was okay as was 'Stick Shifts' or food prepared or grilled on skewers.  The pictures are very drab, no food porn to speak of and frankly, that is the one main thing I miss about the magazine!  Simply put, I don't drool over the food or much of anything else anymore and that's not a good thing!                    


Thursday, April 21, 2016

I wrote a story called Mildred's Ethylene Machine - have a look!


I thought I would do a revisit to this blog about my 'book' that is on Amazon in case anyone is looking for a Mother's Day gift in the form of a short story.  It's a quick couple hour's read for busy moms and just maybe she'll enjoy it!

Blog Original published 5/30/14:
I wrote Mildred’s Ethylene Machine about 25 or 30 years ago but never thought I would be publishing it on Amazon Kindle…yet I did.  It’s been on there awhile and I’ve sold quite a few copies and garnered even more readers through my free promotional periods so it is getting exposure. 

Last year, after about 6 months when sales were pretty slow, I unpublished the ‘book’ for awhile, (I say book but it is actually a relatively short story), but then I noticed some authors keep their books on there for years, and eventually the reviews pick up.  So I’ve decided I can wait a few years for a few more reviews especially if they are like the ones I’ve received so far which are eight 5-stars and two 4-stars.  How about them apples!  Here’s a link to Amazon if you’d like to read a few pages of the book and thanks if you do!  Mildred's Ethylene Machine

All in all it’s been great to be called a creative writer with an interesting story which most of the comments have said.  None have been too critical which is a bonus but I don’t mind critical.  Even if someone says my story was a little wordy in spots, I’m still going to be a little wordy in spots in anything I write.  It’s just the way I write because I don’t know of any other way.  I did not take any courses in writing so whatever I come up with is done on a wing and a prayer!   I’m not looking for fame, I just like to write. 



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My New Favorite Vegetable Soup Courtesy of Martha Stewart and Company

This delicious soup called Everyday Vegetable Soup is similar to the vegetable soup I make except…it tastes way better!  

Who knew tossing a couple of teaspoons of Italian seasoning in with 2 cups of chopped onions could taste so good sautéed!  Well, I guess Martha and company did and now I do and so will you unless you already knew that.

I don’t get to the store lately as much as I would like and so the only fresh vegetables I had on hand were carrots.  I do have potatoes but the can of Veg-All mixed vegetables I opened up had plenty of potatoes in it already.  I also didn’t have any dice tomatoes so I used my favorite San Marzano which I cut up.  I like corn in my soup too so luckily I keep frozen Bird’s Eye sweet corn on hand.  It heats up in the microwave in about 5 minutes and tastes just like fresh corn.  Yum!

I bought this Robert Irvine Mandolin slicer on HSN for less than $20.00 and sliced 2 carrots in about 30 seconds.  I’ve been playing with it for a few days now.  It’s a nice little gadget to have on hand and I also like my mini Black and Decker food processor to chop up onions.   I had my veggies ready in a flash and this soup is so good, my picky sister likes it!


Below is this recipe from Martha’s site and you can be eating lunch or dinner in a matter of minutes once you get everything assembled.  Happy soup day!

Martha Stewart's Everyday Vegetable Soup...Yum!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions or thinly sliced leeks (whites only)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 cups mixed fresh or frozen vegetables, such as carrots, corn, green beans, lima beans, peas, potatoes, and zucchini (cut larger vegetables into smaller pieces)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions or leeks, celery, and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, and 3 cups water to pot; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes.
  3. Add vegetables to pot, and return to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Let cool before storing.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 114 - My Sister’s Kneecap Has Healed But…!

Sorry for the one graphic picture but I wanted to show how badly my sister bruises.  There is more further up the leg but I thought this picture was enough.

When she fractured her kneecap in November and began wearing a knee brace, we thought she would heal up in a couple of weeks and be up and around again, but instead she developed blood clots in her lungs from lack of mobility.  The physical therapist hadn’t made an appearance until 6 days after her fall because it was Thanksgiving weekend, so back to the hospital we went in December.  After almost 24 hours in the emergency room she was given a room in ICU.  The next morning they put a Vena Cava filter in her neck to prevent further clots.  After 5 days in the hospital she was home again and back in bed where she was to take it easy...therefore, no physical therapy.

Here is part of her leg ready for new bandages in the doctor's office after Thanksgiving...

...and all bandaged up in the emergency room on November 24th while she waits for a leg brace.  Her face on the right side was also badly bruised.   She only remembers trying to find her medicine and ended up cartwheeling it across the room!  

Here is the leg brace at home.
  
In January she began bleeding profusely from her mouth which scared the daylights out of both of us and gave extreme concern to the paramedics who came to transport her to the hospital.  During that hospital visit she had an endoscopy and a bone marrow test to rule out cancer.  They wanted to do a colonoscopy but couldn’t because of her age.  After 3 days and 2 pints of blood, she was home again and back into bed.  By then her physical therapy visits expired although the wound care nurse stayed on because the wounds from her fall in November were still open.

In January she had bladder problems and her stool had turned black which meant internal bleeding.  This time they diagnosed upper G.I. bleeding from her esophagus and her hemoglobin was quite low so they gave her a pint of blood.  The next day, they gave her another pint of blood and after 4 days, she was home again.  I should mention that through all of these ordeals, she ate only tiny bits of food until the medicine for her G.I. bleeding finally began to work.

When she began eating better she of course got stronger but unfortunately, on Sunday February the 28th, she had a mini stroke and spent 4 more days in the hospital.   Luckily I found the name of the home care people who took care of her back in 2011 when she spent 11 days in the hospital without ever getting out of bed and was unable to walk then.  The PT from that particular home care facility had her walking in a couple of months and she continued walking just fine until she broke her kneecap.  I’m just happy that the same PT was still working at the same place and so I requested him when the doctor’s orders from the hospital came through.  He’ll be working with her 2 or 3 times a week as he tries to get her to sit up and then later, hopefully start walking again.    

Physical therapy of any kind is so important when a person cannot walk but even our regular doctors don’t always order it or by the time they do, it’s almost time for the patient to return home.  Once home it takes another several days for the home care nurse to make a visit to evaluate the patient which means by then almost 10 days have passed without any help with sitting or walking.  The paper work takes hours to fill out and then maybe in 2 or 3 more days another nurse will stop by to take vitals.  In the meantime, the PT comes and sits in the same room as he writes up his evaluation and a few days later, he stops by to start an exercise routine.  The entire process is so time-consuming and the home care facility can only blame Medicare for all the paperwork they have to do.  Medicare no longer fills orders quickly for new hospital beds even if the old ones are almost 10 years old, or for wheel chairs like they used to and paperwork is ridiculously long.  Apparently too many people have abused the system and so now we all must suffer!

One of our nurses tried to get a new hospital bed for us when the remote fell apart where the wires connect but no luck so far.  I finally took the remote apart entirely and stretched the wires out so they would connect with the other 7 in the cord.  I merely matched up the colors and twisted them together, then used hot glue to keep them from pulling apart.  It doesn’t look pretty but at least I don’t have to use the hand crank to raise and lower the bed in six different positions!

Ed, the PT guy is a gem as far as I’m concerned.  Together sis and I will do exercise sets he has set up for us and hopefully she’ll at least be sitting before long!  One can never lose optimism no matter how many disappointments appear to darken our days!  I think we all have had at one time or another ‘the best of times and the worst of times’!

P.S.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!         


Friday, November 27, 2015

This blog will be idle for awhile longer.

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!  I shared mashed potatoes and peas with my sister which were very good.  I’ll cook a turkey at a later date and get a pumpkin pie hopefully next week.  Sis fell out of bed and fractured her knee cap and has many skin tears as well.  A nurse comes to change bandages and because she is bed ridden, I do the rest which involves administering her medication every 6 hours and her duo neb treatments every 4 hours.  I grab naps whenever I can!  I won’t know any more until we see the orthopedic doctor on Monday if we can get there.  It all depends on someone having a stretcher available that day.  I am waiting for their call. 


She was out of sorts the week before her fall but since she had improved so much by Monday, at her request I left the bed rail down which turned out to be a big mistake!  The Physical Therapist came today and impressed the importance of protein for muscle improvement so hopefully she will allow me to prepare more sensible food for her.  Healing time for the knee could be 4 to 6 weeks so Merry Christmas too If I don’t get back on my blog before then.  Thanks to all who are still reading the older posts which my stats show there are many of you!  Thanks so much and hopefully I’ll be back later!     

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I Learn Something New Almost Daily…and today’s lesson was to never answer the phone if the caller is YOU!

Caller ID is a good thing!

When the phone rang this morning and the caller ID indicated the call was coming from our own number, I decided it was some kind of spam because logically speaking; no one can call themselves on their own phone!  My sister in the other room could not have made the call even as a joke.  When I saw the name on the ID I told her we apparently just got a call from one of us because our number was on the ID.  She laughed but then we both wanted to know how that happened. 

My intercom phone.

Luckily I am not one to answer the phone until I have a look at who is calling.  The names don’t show up clearly on the above phone which is in my bedroom so I never answer that one unless my sister is calling on the intercom which has a different ring.  If I feel like answering a phone call though, I will go to another room to check the ID first.  Otherwise they can leave a message.

After this happened, I got on Google to find answers and this is what I typed in the Search box:  “I received a call on my landline with my own caller id showing – how is that possible?”  At the top of the list of answers was a link to the Federal Trade Commission – Consumer Information.  The article said the call is actually a scammer making an illegal robocall.  Good to know so I’m passing that information along to those who also didn't know.  Here is a link to that article FTC Consumer Information which tells you what to do and what not to do.  For instance, don’t pick up and start pushing buttons as you might be instructed to do.  It might allow the robocall jerks to listen in on all of your calls where they will most likely steal information.  P.S. The FTC did not say 'jerks'.  


Will the day ever come where everyone can feel safe, and I’m not just referring to the telephone!  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Martha Stewart Living Magazine Collector’s Issue, December/January 2015


What a beautiful edition this Collector’s issue is and Martha is looking gorgeous on the cover!  She was painted by Will Cotton who doesn’t just use paint.  Think sugar, flour and egg whites too!  Yeah, it took me a few minutes to digest that information also but equally interesting was reading about the inedible substance he used to embellish Martha’s Valentino dress without ruining it.  I think she looks fabulous and the photos shown of Will at work clearly depict ‘genius at work’!  I have enormous respect and admiration for artists.  I could never paint anything let alone a picture of a person! 

I eagerly read the magazine with a bunch of ‘yum, that looks good’ and ‘wow that tree is really pretty’, and ‘maybe a little bit of copper might look nice in my kitchen’ as in those copper colored stainless steel measuring cups on page 45.  That page starts the Gift Guide section which pages I thought were quite cleverly displayed across from ads on the opposite page which also include possible gift items.  I’ve said it before that if I hadn’t seen something in an ad, I might never have known about it so ads are good things!  I like the Frosted Feast display from Pier 1, a place I rarely visit because it’s across town but I might have to have a closer look at all of those goblets and glasses.  I also like a snowflake cookie cutter from William Sonoma. 

The next section is Beauty & Style and among many other good things are directions for making sleep masks.  For years I’ve been going to make one of those but haven’t so far.  This could be the year and I think I have all the material I need.

How do orange slices with green olives in lemon juice and EVOO spooned over the top with a finish of fresh mint, sea salt and red-hot pepper flakes sound?  Yeah, that got a yum out of me too! 

I will flash forward through the Food and Gatherings section because there are just too many good recipes to mention, but don’t you dare zip past it in your copy!  I have got to try the Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Meyer Lemon, and Quinoa Salad and the Puff-Pastry Cheese Straws.  And maybe the Green Beans with croutons and mustard vinaigrette…

Next is a Good Living section with some craft ideas for the holidays from a designer and boutique owner, Jenni Kayne and a couple of her friends.  I like that they used fallen pine branches and pine cones for a garland and a wreath and they also topped their wrapped gifts with a sprig of evergreen and pine cones. And to think my neighbor across the street has a pine tree!  Maybe when I return her pine needles that I am always raking up, I’ll pick up a few cones on the way home.  Just kidding about returning her pine needles but not about getting some pine cones! 

Next there is ‘A Cookie a Day’ Advent style calendar in honor of the magazine’s 25th anniversary.  They chose their favorite from each year and all you do is open up the doors and compare the number to one in the How-To-Handbook section to find the cookie name.  Number 1 is a French Macaron from the year 2014 and you’ll have to type in a link to Martha’s site to get the recipe.

‘Visions of Sugar’ is all about the cover and this most interesting article was written by Amy Conway.   You will want to read it!  The next few pages are all about sugar and the recipes to make such delights as Salted-Caramel Whoopie Pies are in the Handbook.   All yummy looking.  How many yums is that so far?

So as I continued to drool over the sweets, I flipped through the pages of trees and stopped on page 120 to closely check out the ‘High (Wire) Style tree created by Marcie McGoldrick.  Wait until you see it…very unusual, eye-catching, pretty actually and it suspends from the ceiling on wires.  I love it!

Flip, flip more pages to learn about candles and darn if I didn’t spot item No. 8, a candle adhesive called Stick-Um, and Michaels has it.    I need some!

Now, get ready to brake because the food pictures that follow will blow your mind.  I wanted to taste the first one, a Turkey B’Steeya so badly and then I turned the page and was immediately mesmerized at seeing the Apple-Stuffed Pork Wellington.  That photo has got to be the most beautiful food photo I have ever seen!  Not kidding!  I believe I will be purchasing a duplicate copy of this issue so I can tear that page out along with the one next to it which shows it being served with ginger rutabaga puree and studded red cabbage with raisins and pistachios.  Wow and OMG.  I still can’t stop looking at it!

I’m not a fish lover but as good as the fish on the next page looks, get ready for another stare-fest on the page after that with the Potato Wrapped Beef Tenderloin.  It was served with sautéed mushrooms and vegetable bundles and will be in my dreams tonight along with the Pork Wellington!


I must stop now because my hunger pangs are in high gear!  I wish I could show you pictures of all the goodies in this issue but for many reasons that is impossible.  It’s actually a good thing because you are going to want your own copy of this gorgeous edition which happens also to be a collector’s item!       

Friday, November 6, 2015

Food Network Magazine for Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas


I tend to buy a few extra magazines around the holidays just to get new ideas for meals or for gifts or to just look at the food!   When I noticed Food Network magazine had a section on 50 Great Grains in the November issue, I had to buy it.  I love rice, quinoa, farro, barley and bulgur and of course there are several recipes for each of them.  Most interesting to me is the Slow-Cooker Squash Risotto with 3 cups of chopped peeled butternut squash and a cup of grated Parmesan.  I might make that first as soon as I get more chicken broth and Arborio rice.  I am always buying chicken broth because I use it so much.  I might as well get some jasmine rice also because the tropical rice also looks good. 

Here is the Tropical Rice recipe:  Bring 2 cups each water and jasmine rice, one 14-ounce can coconut milk, 3 wide strips lime zest and 1 teaspoon each sugar and kosher salt to a boil.  Cover, cook over low heat until rice is tender, 20 minutes.

This picture is on page 3 in the magazine.  You can see 'Food Network Magazine' above the Contents.  Doesn’t it just whet your appetite?  It does mine!  Starting at the top is Cornbread-Andouille Stuffing, Lemon-Pepper Turkey, (I make lemon-pepper chicken a lot), Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce, Classic Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans with Garlic and Rosemary.  Page numbers to the recipes are included.   

On page 117 is a tasty looking Humble Ham Casserole that I would like to try simply because I have never made a ham casserole.  I think I’ve seen ham already diced in Publix so I’d basically only have to slice the potatoes and layer the casserole dish with the sauce, cheese and breadcrumbs.  I think it would make a great New Year’s meal since the two of us never plan anything extravagant for that day.  


Do you also buy extra magazines around the holiday and make some of the recipes?        

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tom Turkey plays Ollie the Ostrich and a few ghosts come out of hiding! SO WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME!

I drew this little turkey the other day and named him Tom of course even though last year he pretended to be Ollie the Ostrich.  I had to draw him from memory since ole Tom went into the oven last Thanksgiving.  We did think it was kind of funny that he pretended to be an Ostrich though!  I plan to give this to our niece on Thanksgiving.  She’ll probably ask if we cooked an ostrich for real – really!

It took me a couple of days to paint this basket but the results were worth it!  I think it goes great with my tablecloth and candles!  Those are fake pumpkins inside and I guess this is the ghost of the basket who might be keeping an eye on the pumpkins.  “The ghost of the basket kept his or her eyes on the pumpkins to make sure they did not move and disturb the rest of the ghosts who were sleeping.  They needed their rest if they were to catch the wicked witch at midnight...”  (Not to be continued!)

Anyway, these two ghosts are out of their hiding places also.  Well almost.  I see one still halfway in. 

I think my faux wood candles look nice on my table with the colorful place mats I decided to use as a runner.  I’m always finding ‘stuff’ I haven’t seen in awhile in the back of my linen closet.  I pulled the fall leaves off an artificial bouquet so I could toss them around the table for an autumn look.  We don’t have this kind of beautiful leaves in South Florida.

Another view of the table.  Tom turkey was just there for me to take a picture.

And another view with basket moved, napkins added and Tom Turkey gone!  Lol.    The candles light up so nicely at night.  I bought extra but notice I did not remove my mercury glass candle holders just because I said I may never take them off the table!  I put some acorns around them instead.   

For Christmas I think I’ll buy a new tablecloth so my other ones can have a rest.  I always give myself an excuse for buying things! Happy Halloween!