12 December 2010


We live in Southern Illinois and really don't get snow all that often so it was a real treat to wake up on a Sunday morning to find everything covered with beautiful white snow!
If you have snow where you are...go out and have some fun it. I made this snow angel for a friend in Florida that has never seen snow.
Now I'm off to make some Christmas goodies.

05 December 2010

A great Cookie Recipe

I have to take 40 cookies to work tomorrow for a cookie exchange, plus I wanted a few for here to freeze for Christmas Eve. Most of the recipes I wanted to do only made 3 or 4 dozen so I pulled out my Grandmothers 1953 copy of Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and found this recipe.
It's a simple recipe, made 75 cookies and they are really tasty.



Cream shortening and sugar; add eggs, vanilla and sour cream; mix well. Sift flour with baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to creamed mixture. Add nuts.
Drop from teaspoon onto baking sheet. Grease the bottom of a small glass; dip into cinnamon sugar mixture; lightly press cookie flat.
Bake in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges turn a golden brown.
Makes 6 dozen cookies.

20 November 2010

Dreaming of Thanksgiving Dinner...

I LOVE Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays because it centers around food, fun and family. It's a day to relax, enjoy and appreciate all that you have to be thankful for.

Our menu this year...
Roasted Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Deviled Eggs
Parker House Rolls
Pumpkin Pie

The only new recipe that I'm doing this year is the parker house rolls. I found a recipe in this months Food Network Magazine. I'm not the best bread baker, especially with a new recipe soooo wish me luck. I'll let you know how they turn out.

What's on your menu for the Holiday?

31 October 2010

Lasagna and Apple Pie

Today with a scary movie marathon going on in the back ground, I made lasagna in the crock pot for the first time. I was a little skeptical at first but it really turned out good. The cheese was melted perfectly and it came out of the crock without sticking.
Just follow your favorite recipe for lasagna. Pour a thin layer of sauce and a touch of olive oil to the bottom of the crock and start your layers with UNCOOKED lasagna noodles. Layer up and cook on high for 3 to 3 and a half hours.

I made an apple pie also but instead of a 'traditional' top crust, I used an apple shaped cookie cutter and layered them on top. Haven't tasted it yet, but it smells wonderful.

The weather here is really cooling off and fall is in full swing. I LOVE it.

Happy Halloween!!!

Hope everyone is having a spook-tacular day!!

24 October 2010

End of Liberty Trailer

I'm not from Iowa and I don't know anything about this race but I did like this video.
All of us need to stand up to the corporations that have taken over the US so that we can begin to fix things. One of the best ways to do that... STOP buying their products! Spend a little time to investigate where you are letting your money go.

Francis Thicke vs. The Corporate Ag Monopolies

21 October 2010

Wide Open Spaces...

The older I get the more I need wide open spaces. I consider myself very lucky to live in a smaller town away from the hustle, the traffic, the crowds. It's been five years here now and I don't miss the 'big city' one bit.

16 October 2010

Can't believe I haven't posted anything since July. No real reason. But here's a glimpse at what I've been doing.

Harvest Festival in Mt. Vernon

Eating lots of good food.

Cruise Night Taekwon Do Demo in Mt. Vernon

Japanese Festival at Missouri Botanical Gardens September 2010

About the Missouri Botanical Garden"To discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life." – Missouri Botanical Garden mission
Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark.
The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis. The Garden offers 79 acres of beautiful horticultural display, including a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home, and one of the world's largest collections of rare and endangered orchids.
For over 151 years, the Garden has been an oasis in the city, a place of beauty and family fun—and also a center for education, science, and conservation.
Visit the Garden's illustrated history for glimpses of the rare, archival images.

21 July 2010

One of the BEST things about Illinois...

Fajita Seasoning Mix

After checking the package of Fajita Seasoning that I normally buy and seeing many ingredients that I didn't want to ingest, I came up with my own and it is very good.

Mix together-

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic

Even if you're not eating meat, this is great on sauteed or grilled veggies.

04 July 2010


This was our dinner with salad and tomatoe's from our little garden. It was a great meal. Now I'm about ready for the FireWorks!!

29 June 2010

We need a better School Lunch program.

Everyone having access to fresh, local, healthy food is one of my biggest passions. I'm especially disheartened by the things that they try to pass off as "food" to our children at school. So I was very happy to hear that this Thursday Representative George Miller from California will be holding a full committee hearing on the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act of 2010.

This bill will expand access for millions of children to healthy meals in schools and other child care centers, call for farm to school sourcing, create a grant program for local food and establish nutrition standards for food sold outside of the cafeteria. Vending machines full of junk food will be out.

The downside of the bill is that it only raises the amount for school lunch by six cents. Right now, schools get about $1 for each meals ingredients. That is crazy. I know our government is broke already but we have to put money into our future and feeding our children healthy meals and teaching them about proper nutrition will pay for itself in the long run.

Call your House Representative before Thursday morning and ask them to bring this bill up for committee quickly and to fully fund the bill with at least an additional $1 billion per year.

26 June 2010

Six month check up on my 2010 goals.

Since we are 6 months into the new year I figured it was time to sit down, look at the goals that I set for myself this year and see how I'm doing.
All and all I am doing pretty well. There are a few things that I need to pick up the pace on and one or two that I have decided to modify. (re-what was I thinking)

My 2010 LIST:

-I will set aside more time to read.
Have been doing well with this. I just finished Janet Evanovich's Finger Lickin Fifteen and have Emeril's two newest cookbooks to start next. His Farm to Fork is awesome. I am also working my way through the Encyclopedia of Country Living from cover to cover.

-Make one new recipe each week and record that recipe and a photo and any notes in a notebook.
50% on this one. I have been making one new recipe a week-sometimes more but did not start the journal that I wanted to. I think this is still something I want to do though.

-Learn to make cheese.
Haven't made any yet but I have been reading about it. As a matter of fact, the Farm to Fork cookbook has two great cheese recipes with pretty easy to follow steps.

-Expand our home grown veggies and herbs.
In progress.

-Learn to can tomatoes, my salsa and spaghetti sauce for myself and Christmas gifts. For some reason canning tomato products scares me.
In progress.

-Make more strawberry jam and pickles for myself and for Christmas gifts.
In progress.

-Learn to knit scarves for myself and for Christmas gifts.
My first scarf is half way finished. I will need to bump this up a LOT if I plan to make a couple for gifts.

-Dust off my sewing machine and get re-acquainted with it, for myself and Christmas gifts.
Sadly, I haven''t made time for this yet.

-Have a 100% home made Christmas.

In progress. Not sure I will make it to 100% but I think I will come close.

-Pay off all remaining debt. We are SO close. WOOHOO!!
Have NOT made any new debt and are even closer to our goal of paying everything off.

-Take a 30 minute walk every morning before work to focus on my day and to get more exercise.
Have modified this to three days a week. Every morning was a bit much. I am off on Wed, Sat and Sun so these are the days that I do this.

-Find a place to buy local eggs and dairy.

One of my husbands Tae Kwon Do students always has an over abundance of eggs so I have found them but not dairy yet.

-Find a place to buy fish that is raised closer than Indonesia or Honduras.
The closest fish I have found locally is from Alaska. We are still in the process of eliminating all meat from our diets. We still eat grass fed local beef about once a month or so and we are still eating local poultry a few times a week. The fish we have had to cut way down on because I won't buy it from another country and now with the problems in the Gulf I am afraid our seafood days are close to an end.

-Find more people ( on line and in my community) that are trying to live a simple sustainable life also.
In progress.

-Continue to purge and organize our home.
Have realized this is going to constantly be a work in progress. We have a home that we LIVE in, not a show place.

-Take my camera with me everywhere I go.
Have been pretty good about this one.

-Enjoy the journey, smell the herbs and take in the sunsets
Success on this one!

23 June 2010

Herb Bread

After I did an egg wash, I sprinkled fresh thyme, fresh rosemary a little pepper and garlic powder then baked as usual.

I can't wait to cut into it tonight at dinner. It made my kitchen smell heavenly.

Aren't mums supposed to bloom closer to Fall??

Well mine is in full bloom NOW.

12 June 2010

Perfect end to a perfect day...

Happy Saturday!

Since I stepped up on the soap box yesterday with my little 'rant', I figured I'd lighten it up a little today. I'm definitely not all doom and gloom but I really do hope people start to pay attention and take better care of our world.

This is my new red pot that I had been eyeing for awhile and hubby got it for me for my birthday. I used it this week for black beans and rice and I swear they tasted better.

A couple of tomato plants and rosemary on the front porch. The hen and chickens are from my grandmothers garden.

This hot banana pepper was delish. Part of it went into a jar of salsa and the rest was chopped up and cooked into stuffed burgers.

I'm looking forward to cooking with all the wonderful things that are growing. We've really had perfect weather so far this year. I hope it continues.
Already tomorrow I will be making a batch of pesto to use some of the basil that seems to be going crazy.

How are your garden's doing? Reaping any of what you sowed yet?

11 June 2010

Rant for the Week...

I have no access to solar power, wind power or any other alternative method of energy other than electric, gas and hand powered.
I have no access to water other than the small amount I can collect from rain or the faucets in my home.
I have no livestock, chickens or a garden that will get us through a year.

And yet I am still more prepared for an emergency, natural or otherwise, than the 'average American.' That should make me feel better, but it doesn't.

I was watching part one of a series on Oprah about getting out of debt. The $170,000 debt that this one family has was scary but the most amazing thing to me was that their kitchen was entirely empty. NO food at all. They spent close to $100.00 a day on the four of them to eat out EVERY meal, EVERY day of the year. Now not only is that unhealthy and just crazy but what would they do in an emergency? What if a natural disaster affected their area even if only for a couple of days?

People need to wake up!
Our world is changing very rapidly. I know we can't all bug out miles from civilization and live totally sustainable lives, but we can all make changes to head in that direction. I think it will be easier to make some of these changes now while they are still self imposed rather than waiting for the day that will come when we have no other option.

Over at www.agoodhuman.wordpress.com
she has a couple of great posts about 'Building Lifeboats' that you should read. We all need to work on our own lifeboats so that we can protect ourselves and our families.

In the event of a natural disaster, an EMP, an attack, etc. the government will not be there for us. They can't do everything.

When we lived in Florida we did experience one hurricane (Charlie) that had a direct hit only 30 miles from our home. The city looked like a war zone. We had to experience a city of over 500,000 people with no electricity for weeks. It was a wake up call. It took two weeks for FEMA to set up a booth to start taking claims. It took months to get trailers in to provide shelter for those who had lost their homes. Between the red tape and the waits, people who had the money just moved.
Look at New Orleans, they're still re building. Look at the Gulf Coast residents, they're going through it now.

I still have a long way to go but at least I know I am on the right road and that feels a little reassuring.

06 June 2010


Emeril's Creole Seasoning
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

A little olive oil, potatoes cut and cooked anyway you like, fresh thyme and Emeril's Creole Seasoning makes a delicious side or snack.
These were wedged and cooked on the grill.

The Martins have moved in.

For the five years that we have lived here, from the first of May until the end of June we are visited by Martins.
I love to have them here because they eat their weight in mosquito's and they are cute little things but it takes a little getting used to having to duck being dive bombed every time you open the front or back door.