Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Smell of Gingerbread

            There's the smell of gingerbread in the air.

Well, not really, not yet, but it's that time of year when people start thinking about gingerbread houses and Sugarplum fairies, twinkling lights and gifts under a tree. Christmas is creeping down the chimney.

Years ago dau. Shirley started adding gingerbread houses to her Christmas goodies for sale at Shirley Anne's Bake Shop. 

I'd never made a gingerbread house and here I was, 54 years old. I decided I didn't need to wait any longer. So, I made my very first... and I might add, only gingerbread house. 

My idea of gingerbread didn't come in the shape of a house. It was the smell of a cake baking in my Mother's oven. Gingerbread, warm and toasty, slathered with lemon sauce. There just isn't anything better! 

People can sit their gingerbread houses out to look at, dust settling on the icing decorated shingles and sticking to the gumdrops and candy canes. If that's what they want to do. 

Me... Just sit me down with a plate of my Mama's gingerbread. With her gone now, I carry on the tradition for Christmas. Below you will find her recipe, just as she wrote it so many years ago. I hope you'll try it and enjoy! 

                           Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Preparing For The Winter!

 I've been....

I want to share with you what has kept me busy. I'm like a squirrel getting ready for the winter! 

The other day I cleaned out my freezer. This being an apartment, all I have in the way of freezer space is that area above my fridge. Not much, but enough I guess. 

Anyway, my packages would get all scrambled around and I couldn't find anything!

Since a lot of my food is frozen in those quart (or pint, just depending) ziplock bags, I got this idea that if I could keep them in a box, just maybe they'd stay put. Couldn't find a blooming thing in this apartment that they'd fit into..... except an empty shoe box. Hey, if it works....

And, I froze some veggies that I had in the crisper. Heaven only knows I let a lot of food go to waste... 'cause I can't eat it all before it goes bad. 
I froze some carrots, celery and red peppers. 

I'd get so upset when I would buy lemons... I never had any when I needed them! 

So, I buy a bag now. Juice them all. Pour some juice into small freezer bags and when I want some juice to add to tea, put in a dish, sprinkle over avacado or other fruit, I just pop the bag against the countertop and the juice breaks into pieces. I reach in and get what i want and put the rest back in the freezer for later. 

Let's see. Oh, this morning I got a lot of Christmas cards addressed and stamped. They are lying on the entry table ready to be mailed. 

and, I reorganized my pantry! 

We had our family Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday so tomorrow I plan on watching the Macy's Day Parade. Maybe I'll follow that up with the Dog Show from Madison Square Garden. Elbert and I used to watch that! 

Life is good. It's what you make it! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

I'm The 'Oven Inspector'

Sorry I've been missing the last few days...

Sometimes I just slip through the cracks. I'll try to do better!

I really enjoy watching SOME cooking shows. Notice I said SOME

I have no interest in the highly tense atmosphere in the kitchen of a lot of the shows, especially on Food Network. I seldom watch t v anymore but pick and choose the ones I want to watch streaming.

The reason I am telling you this ... I do have a reason... just hang in there.

I enjoy Ina Garten... She great at what she does but she laughs all the time and that bothers me. Don't ask me why... it just does.

I really enjoy Ellie Kreiger... I like that she tells you how each ingredient helps you be healthier. 

I found this chef on Discovery+ and just enjoy him so much but he's only had a handful of episodes and then Covid hit. Don't know if he will be back. But, his determination to produce good, healthy, fresh local food all with one good hand and one prosthetic arm amazes me. 

And, I love 'The Lost Kitchen' also found on both Magnolia Network and Discovery +. Such a different take on a cooking show! So elegant and classy.

Now, why I mention all this?

I have a confession to make. As I watch each show and the chef opens their oven to slide a dish inside, I am busy looking to see if their ovens are clean! Isn't that a crazy thing to do! I do see some 'dirt' sometimes and it makes me feel like maybe I am not such a bad housekeeper after all.

I don't use my oven anymore. Cooking for one, I find my little toaster oven works just fine for me. And, hey, it's so easy to keep clean! 

Y'all have fun cooking. I'd love to hear who your favorite chefs are! 

Friday, November 11, 2022

My Favorite Veteran

                         My Favorite Veteran

I met this man when I was fourteen! Thought he was the cutest thing since sliced bread. He enlisted in the Navy as an SA (seaman apprentice) and we 'dated' through Uncle Sam's mail service. He even proposed to me in a letter. I still have it. 

For the next 22 1/2 years he served his country with dignity, honor and passion. He was in the battle of Inchon in Korea and other battles. He was a radioman so he was among the first to land on the beach so he could establish communications with the ship and the ground crew hitting the beach fighting. 

Much later, he was on an ammunition ship carrying nuclear warheads to our troops in Vietnam. 

He eventually became an officer through the Limited Duty Officer program. His first assignment as Ensign was as Communications Officer at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. 

He retired from the Navy in 1969, having served his country well. He was a dedicated sailor, family man and child of God. He seldom angered, was always whistling, smiling,  telling jokes and enjoying life. 

I was honored to be his wife.....


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

"In Those Old Cotton Fields Back Home"

There's nothing like a field of white cotton to drag me back to my childhood, living in Alabama, 'helping' the grownups pick cotton. I even had my own little sack  that I slung over my shoulder that dragged along behind me while I picked.... maybe a handful of bolls. I was all of four or five years old. 

Monday Shirley drove me out to a cotton field near her home. It looked like there was snow on the ground it was so white. I loved seeing it. Cotton has a very distinctive woodsy odor.. warm, comforting. I remember playing on big piles of picked cotton that had been stored on the front porch until the folks could go to the gin. 

                         Oh, those were the best of times! 

Here's Creedence Clearwater Revival to put you in the right mood. Play a little of it and sing along, I bet you know the words! 

Monday, November 7, 2022

Sunning On A Street Light

When they were growing up, Shirley and Michael spent many hours at the bluff on our farm in Alabama. One day they spied two buzzards underneath the bluff where the 'mama' buzzard was sitting on a nest. They named those buzzards Gertrude and Heathcliff and they would go visit them often. That is until the eggs hatched and they all took off for parts unknown.

Fast forward some 50 years to yesterday! I see a large bird flying across the pond. He landed on top of the street light just across the driveway. Even though those have got to be the ugliest birds alive or dead I got my camera. 

I have so little to photograph now... you might say I was desperate for something... anything to snap.

It was a buzzard. As I stood there looking at this weird creature, he opened his wings to sun a bit.

That wingspan was gorgeous... and huge. Just look how colorful the feathers are... greys, pinks, fushias, and black and the pattern they all make.

 That bird may have an ugly face but what a body! 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Chore Time

                               Where did this spurt of energy come from?

Maybe it's because I am feeling well, hopeful for some new and exciting things in my life or maybe it's just cause those jobs sorely needed doing!!

Boy, how I can put off doing something I do not want to! 

                                 Do you do that?

Thursday I took everything out of the freezer section of my fridge. It was such a shambles. I got rid of food I'd never eat, repackaged some and organized what was in there. I freeze some things in quart bags, squish them flat to freeze them so they'll stack better. Well, I got me a shoebox (only thing I had that would work) and I stood those freezer bags up in that box. They'll stay put NOW!

When Michael was here last, he bought me a LARGE mum full of buds. It had bloomed and the blossoms were about spent so I sat down in my chair I keep in my out front corner and I clipped each and every one of those dead blossoms, one at a time! And, dropped them into a trash bag. 

There must have been a million of those things. But, look what was underneath those dead flowers.... new buds trying to pop through. But, let me tell you, that was a job. 

One day this week one of my friends that lived here at Centerbrooke was moving out and she dropped off 4 books for me. They look really good and I can't wait to dive into one of them. I think most of them are centered around WW11, which I have been on a WW11 reading kick for some time now. A perfect gift and right down my alley.

Not too long ago Susan shipped me a book she thought I might like to read. It's by Clint Hill who was the secret serviceman assigned to Jacqueline Kennedy. It was a delightful book. Name of it is 'My Travels With Mrs. Kennedy'. 

So, today is Saturday. It's football day around here. You all know I am an Alabama fan. And, tonight I turn my clocks back an hour. 

                 Gee what will I do with that extra hour? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Giving Not Getting

 Gee Whiz... why did I not take pictures? Just goes to show you that my 'get up and go has got up and went'. (grin) 

I've lived at Centerbrooke for over 8 years now and we never did anything for Halloween. Certainly children did not trick or treat here.

But, this year we had a committee that arranged for 4 of us to Pass out Treats to each apartment. Just made this ole gal feel good about being neighborly and adding a little joy to their lives. 

I delivered treats to the 30+ apartments on the second floor. In turn I was given treats by two residents doing my 3rd floor.

                              What did you do for Halloween? 

Here's a photo of me passing out treats at our home in Wakefield, Va. back in 1999.