Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2012 Resolutions!

It was a great Christmas....
We were blessed to have at least part of
our family with us.


Christmas 2012 will be very different.

I sent myself a note on October 1st that I would
start pulling out Christmas boxes and deciding
what I would need for decorating.


I actually took down my fall decorations
before Thanksgiving... even assembling my
new pewter-colored Christmas tree.


The results:

The most unorganized Christmas I can remember
in years!

My Christmas 2012 Resolutions

  1. Cut back on decorating
  2. Store only the decorations I plan to use next year
  3. Reduce the 17 bins (this is true confession here!) to 5 .. ok,  7 bins!
  4. Allow only 2  3 days for decorating... period!
  5. Plan menu and cook ahead AND
don't cook for an Army!


And if you belive this will truly happen... then "I have some ocean front proptery in Arizona" to sell you! ;-)

My Favorite Christmas Recipe this Year

Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon

1 lb. (about 4 c.) fresh cranberries
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. bourbon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cranberries, sugars, and cinnamon in 9x13" baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir in bourbon.
Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. This can be prepared a week in advance.
Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Today I am linking to
A Stroll Thru Life

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from
my home to yours!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Three Bloggers Enjoy a Christmas Party!

There are great parties.

Then there is great food at great parties

Then there is great music, great food at great parties.

But the BEST is GREAT friends at great parties!!

In case you do not recognize these three women:

Left: Moi! Ladybug Creek
Center: Laura of White Spray Paint
Right: Nancy of Nancy's Notes

Here are just some of the refreshments served
at our Christmas Dance.

I prepared the Paula Deen's
Shrimp Butter

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. sherry
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. House Seasoning (1 c. salt, 1/4 c. black pepper, 1/4 c. garlic powder)
cayenne pepper to taste
2 (3 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. onion, chopped (I used green onion)
1 lb. shrimp, shelled, deveined and cooked
Paprika for garnish
Put all ingredients except shrimp and paprika into a food processor. Process until well mixed. Drop in shrimp and process until pureed or chopped to desired consistency.
Garnish with paprika. Serve with crackers as an appetizer.

I added a few drops of Tabasco sauce.

I'm sharing my post with
Little Red House
for Mosaic Monday

I'm also linking to
All the Small Stuff for
Tuesdays at the Table


Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Dance Sneak Peak!

Here is a sneak peak at just a few
of the tables decorated for our
Christmas Dance.
Mind you there will be candles and
tiny lights that will add to the glow.

We'll be rockin' and rollin'


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hosting a Christmas Dance! - Turn your sound down!! :-)


If you read White Spray Paint
and I certainly hope you do...
You will already know that we are
in the throws of planning a
Christmas dance.
Not just any dance...
It's a recreation of a Christmas dance
we hosted in 1985.

Now rarely does anyone like looking back at
old photos where we see ourselves in goofy
hairdos and clothes (mother told us we'd be sorry
and after all these years... I will admit she was RIGHT!)
But this dance was totally the "bomb" so
over a Mexican dinner which included a few margaritas
we decided to host the dance again... same hosts.

Laura has reviewed the refreshments we are each
bringing, but we also have to come up with
a sweet as well as a savory "surprise".
Mine will be muffin paper cups of
bread pudding topped with bourbon sauce
and also I will prepare
shrimp butter served with crackers.

We'll dance to tunes from the '60's, '7o's and '80's.
Our aging joints will scream out in pain.
Our bunions will holler "stop"!
Our ears will be ringing throughout the night...
and possibly the next day.
All I can say is...

Bring it on!!

I know you're wondering... I am fifth from the left, middle row... black sparkly top and dig those false eyelashes! Miss Laura is on the far right. Now don't tell her I spilled the beans!!

I'm linking to
Colorado Lady's
Vintage Thingy Thursday.
After all... the folks in the picture are pretty vintage now!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chorizo Con Huevos - Buen Provecho!


Chorizo con Huevos
at Las Islas Ranch

We spent Thanksgiving at our deer lease in deep south Texas. Breakfast is always delicious and filling as it is
enjoyed after a morning in the brush.

This morning it was chorizo con huevos...
sausage and eggs, Mexican style!
It has long been a family favorite.

I must admit.. I cannot make flour tortillas.
So I do the next best thing..
I buy them!
Exquisita brand is our favorite.
I place them in a hot skillet and cook them until
they are lightly browned and puffy.
I keep them warm nestled in a linen tea towel.

This is the ONLY chorizo I use.
Chorizo de San Manuel...
pork sausage with wonderful spices.
Remove the chorizo from the casing and cook slowly in
a skillet. A conscientious cook would carefully drain off the
juices to cut back on the fat, however, with that you will
lose a great deal of flavor.
Cook for about 15 minutes or so.
Crack a dozen eggs on top of the chorizo.
Let the white form a little and then stir the eggs into
the chorizo.
Add extra cracked pepper.
Now these are the additions that some people
like to add:
1 - pico de gallo or in Mexico - Salsa Mexicana
(chopped onion, tomato, cilantro and serrano chili)
2 - grated cheese
3 - onion
Place about three serving spoons full of
chorizo con huevos in each warm tortilla.
Serve this with fresh fruit and hot coffee or cocoa and
you have the breakfast of champions!
"Buen provecho!!"

I'm linking to Little Red House for
Mosaic Monday
Be sure to visit to see beautiful collages!

I'm also  linking to
Blessed with Grace for
Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays
Check this out for some scrumptious recipes!
Today it's Brown Sugar Fudge...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reached My Limit!

This is the tree that I absolutely-had-to-have-or-I-would-never-make-it-through-the-decorating-saga-known-as...

Decorating for the holidays!

Disclaimer:  I resist using the "C" word in decorating as I am very aware that Christmas would not lose it's meaning one bit if for some reason I had no tree at all... nor decorations.

I am in a major dither of frustration...

?How to decorate a pewter-colored tree?

In my mind I thought I had the color scheme figured out, but
that did not mean it WAS.

Notice the Persian rug on the floor of the room?
I figure the colors should at least blend with it.

Am I correct?

I am counting on your opinion...
so here is your chance.

I have reached my limit of imagination.

I'm linking to Little Red House
for Mosaic Monday

P.S.  I should add that I have always had a traditional green tree.. although artificial. Lesson I have learned here... when making a drastic change as I have done.. have a plan! ;-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys & Girls - Republished!!

Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls

The book was published in 1957. My sister and I had already prepared many of the recipes in this book by the time my youngest brother was born.. and that was in 1962. This cookbook was used so often (and still is!) and is now stored in a plastic bag (a no-no for vintage items) because it is in pieces.
I love to look at the page where my mother had made a list of meals and the order of preparation for my sister and me so that when my mother was in the hospital having my brother, our family would still have meals on the table.
Heaven forbid that we have to eat out. In my childhood eating out was a rarity.
I still use the gingerbread recipe in this book and my brothers and even my sons all consider Saucy Hamburger Crumble to be the ultimate in comfort food.

Time passes... and life goes on... Sunday, October 23rd I had my parents on my mind. It had been three years since my father had passed away and my mother just four months before him.

I was with my friend, Sherry, and we were having  so much fun shopping in Wimberly, Texas. We wandered through Kiss the Cook, a fabulous store loaded with cooking all sorts of cooking utensils and cookbooks. So much fun!!

It had been laying heavy on my heart that I had not received a "sign" from my parents in some time. On that particular day it was actually nagging at me. Some little something that would only be understood by my parents and me.

As I enjoyed looking through the cookbooks I looked up and suddenly saw THE cookbook. It was the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls! One single copy and on a little stand. No way to miss it. It's been republished.. is that a word??
It was the sign!!

My new cookbook!!

I whipped that cookbook off the shelf and there could not be any purchase that I will make for a very long time that will hold a candle to this cookbook.

... and, yes, that is a picture of my parents in my collage.


"Little girls in hoop skirts and boys in ruffled collars ate gingerbread, too."

Heat oven to 325 degrees

Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan.

Mix thoroughly:
1/2 cup soft shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Blend in:
1 cup dark molasses
1 cup boiling water

Stir in:
2 1/4 cups sifted Gold Medal Flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes.

Saucy Hamburger Crumble

Melt in frying pan:
1 tablespoon fat

Add and brown lightly:
1 small onion, chopped

Then add and brown:
1 pound ground beef

Break the meat into small pieces.

Stir in:
1/4 cup Gold Medal Flour

Then stir in:
2 cups water or milk (I use milk)

Heat until gravy bubbles. Serve over mashed potatoes.  4 servings

I am linking to:

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Devil and the Ghost! - Wordless Wednesday

This lasted about five minutes!

Be sure to make a visit to "Wordless Wednesday"!!

Farewell, my children!

Aren't grandchildren just the BEST?

My "grands" live in Mexico.  I don't see them often
so when my son sends pictures... my heart skips a beat.

Carmen is so sweet and gentle. An excellent student she
is top in her second grade class.
David ... named after my husband, well... just look at that
expression on his face. He is just as sweet as his big sister, but has a look of mischief in all of his pictures.

They are preparing to leave for a trip to California to
visit relatives so for them.. it's a day of adventure.

 "Que le vaya bien, mi niƱos !"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dump Cake at Las Islas Ranch

Las Islas Ranch is our retreat

These are just a few pictures that we've taken over the past
few years.
You'll see deer, turkey, javelina, wildflowers,
bluebonnets (our state flower), blooming cactus, my husband with friends chatting by the firepit,
and my husband and me.
We go here to refresh and "replenish".

Today while we are here I have made
Dump Cake... a ranch favorite.
Photography-challenged I am even tested further
due to just being at the ranch (poor lighting and only
serviceable dishes)
Oh well...

This recipe is from my friend, Beverly Moody, who is
a wonderful cook!

Beverly with her husband, Pat
and friend, "Dobie".

Beverly's Dump Cake

1 can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple, drained (save juice!)
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted and pineapple juice mixed with it
1 c. coconut
1 c. chopped pecans

In a large pyrex dish layer:
Pie filling and crushed pineapple, mixed
Sprinkle cake mix over mixture
Drizzle melted butter and pineapple juice over cake mix
Top with coconut and pecans

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees


I am linking to two of my favs!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pecan-crusted Tilapia, Royal Star Papaya, Okra - A Winner!

Supper was a hit!

We spent part of the day shopping in
Wimberly, Texas yesterday.
I came home with a little cookbook...
Cordon Bubba
by Barry Shlachter

Pecan-crusted Catfish sounded so good,
but, alas, no catfish in the freezer.
So... I thawed out a package of tilapia fillets.
There was..
No dry wine in the house.
Barely enough Dijon mustard

and so I followed the recipe... somewhat.

The following is my recipe inspired by this cute cookbook
that shares part of their earnings with
Habitat for Humanity.

Pecan-crusted Tilapia

1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1 cup coarsley ground, lightly toasted pecans
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 pound of tilapia fillets

Lightly toast pecans. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Thoroughly mix mustard, sherry and garlic in a
small bowl. Set aside

Mix bread crumbs and pecans together in a deep
dish pie plate.

Pat fillets dry on paper towels. Sprinkle the tiniest bit of
sea salt on the fish... not much!

Dip each fillet in the mustard mixture and press into the pecan/bread crumb
mixture, creating a heavy crust.

Spray Pam on jelly roll pan and lay fish fillets in the pan. Sprinkle any leftover
crumb mixture of the fish.

Bake 30 minutes... maybe a little longer depending on thickness of fillets.

As with most of our meals, I served fresh
Royal Star Papaya..
this time with fresh blueberries.
(A moment to brag a bit: My husband and our oldest son grow these magnificant
papayas in Mexico. We ship all over the U.S. and soon in Canada.)

The okra is salted and broiled on a "Pam'd" cookie
sheet... no oil! We love it!!

I'm joining the fun at All the Small Stuff for
Tuesdays at the Table
Come join the party!

Cestohowa, Texas

Nativity of the Blessed Blessed Mary Virgin Church

My husband and I were returning to our home from a wedding in Wimberly, Texas when we decided to make a visit to this church in Cestohowa (the "w" is pronounced as a "v"). Close friends of ours have their famil roots well-established in this church and had spoken of it many times.
It is truly a beautiful church and so rich in history!

Cestohowa, Texas

The second Polish colony in Karnes County, the village in this area grew out of a small settlement known as St. Joe and was formally established in 1873. At times the priest at Panna Maria would conduct services at St. Joseph School in what would become Czestochowa. The Mother Colony church at Panna Maria was destroyed by lightning in 1877; Czestochowa settlers decided to build their own church. This was the subject of much controversy among the Polish pioneers of Karnes County. Anton Jarzombek (1836-1922) and Frank Mutz (1814-1891) each donated land for the church. Area residents contributed their labor to build the eighty-five by forty foot church with Gervase Gabrysch (1830-1904) as contractor. Bishop Anthony D. Pellicer blessed the church on February 10, 1878. Father W. Pelczar was assigned as the first pastor that September. As a sign of their reconciliation, the parishioners from the newly rebuilt Panna Maria church presented the new parish a large painting of the Virgin Mary of Czestochowa, the Patroness of Poland. The two congregations often shared leadership in the ensuing years. The Cestohowa church (adopting the Americanized spelling of the community) thrived into the 20th century. In the 1930s the church underwent intensive additions and remodeling. Though the original walls remained, the roof was completely removed and the ceiling raised. The north and south wings were added and the steeple was increased in height. In 1998, the church celebrated its 125th anniversary. At that time, the parish consisted of 380 members. The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church continues in the traditions of its founders. (2000)

Today I am linking to Little Red House
for Mosaic Monday

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood for Rednesday

Little Red Riding Hood for

My daughter-in-law and granddaughter
Mexico - 2006

Family and friends come to their first
Halloween party

The "fortune teller" was a huge hit with the
older children.

This time of year I enjoy looking back  when we lived in
Mexico. We hosted three Halloween parties for
our granddaughter, Carmen, on the right.
She is sitting with her little friend,
Yoda-lay... (isn't that cute?)

This was so much fun and we enjoyed seeing the
children get dressed up.
We had crafts, food, fishing booth, the fortune teller,
and best of all.. the "scary story". I wrote it but my daughter-in-law told the story... with amazing gestures and drama. We loved seeing how much fun she had using sound effects. You probably remember these little tricks too ... the cold, wet spaghetti, furry toy mouse and other things that are "icky" and make you scream.

Great memories in Mexico!

Visit It's a Very Cherry World
for Rednesday Wednesday