Sunday, October 30, 2016

Beef Noodle (or Rice) Soup

Beef Noodle (or Rice) Soup

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups beef broth
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 carrots, chopped medium
2 ribs celery, chopped medium
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves 
1 1/2 pounds steak, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 cups eggs noodles, or 2/3 cup rice
Fresh parsley, if desires

1. Microwave onion, garlic, tomato paste, oil, and thyme in a large bowl stirring occasionally until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to slow cooker. 

2. Stir broth, mushrooms, carrots, celery, soy sauce, and bay leaves into slow cooker.  Season beef with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours or high for 5-7 hours. 

3. Remove meat and shred and return to soup.  

4. Cook noodles or rice separately and add to soup just before serving.  

Makes 6-8 servings.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

October Thoughts

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.
So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
-  Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, October 28, 2016

Saturday Poetry

"In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfies
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
the grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer
Fires in the fall! "
-   Robert Louis Stevenson, Autumn Fires

Goals for the Week of October 30 - November 5, 2016

     Daily Bible Reading
     Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales 

     Water 32 oz. daily
     Exercise DVD daily 
     Healthy Breakfast 

     Plan next quilt

     A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 
     Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O'Reilly 

     Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn on the Cob
     Chicken-Rice Bake
     Steak, GMP, GB
     Lemon pound cake 

     Clean out shelves in garage (Yuck!)

     Museum of Fine Arts - Degas exhibit

Monday, October 24, 2016

Around OakMeadows

Cloudless Sulphur

Around OakMeadows 

Woke up this morning to blessedly cool, low humidity air!  We have been having temperatures in the 90s the past week (several degrees above average for this time of year) and I am so ready to be able to open the windows.  Up north people get cabin fever in the winter but I get it in the summer when it is too hot to go outside and all I want to do is hug the a/c.

We went to our monthly lunch P&W&C&B. My SIL, B, is recovering

from West Nile Virus. She is looking great.  She lost a lot of weight, fatigues easily, and has a slight tremor but on the whole she is making a really good recovery.  Her husband though does not look so good. These last two months have been a real strain on him. I hope he will go to see his doctor and get checked out. 

I did my usual Friday Finances this afternoon. All bills paid (including 6 month auto insurance), savings fund paid, and we are in the black.  Am still puzzled as to why my blood work for my annual physical cost almost three times as much as the JMM's blood work for his annual physical--Medical billing is truly one of the mysteries of the universe.  Next big bill is Property Taxes but that is ready to be paid thanks to the Savings Fund.

Saturday morning is my day for grocery shopping.  I like to go early before it gets crowded.  I know where everything is so I can zip through the store in one round. However, JMM wanted to go to a different mega- supersize grocery just to try it out. Ack! It took twice as long as usual.  I'll stick to my smaller store where I know where
everything is and where the produce and meat market people know me and will help me get the good stuff.  

My sweet daughter has taken a work assignment that will require a temporary relocation.  It is great for her and I am 100% supportive. But oh my, how I will miss having her close by. I know I can go and visit her but it's just not like being able to meet up for lunch or a movie.

We have had so many butterflies the past few weeks.  We've been cultivating a butterfly garden for about 3 years now and it is finally coming to fruition.  JMM and I are having such fun going out to see who is there. Lots of Gulf fritillaries, several Monarchs, Queens, Tiger Swallowtails, and many, many more. 

That's all the news from the home of Bandit, Misty, Duffy, and Henry who graciously allow us to live here with them and care for their every desire. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf

Founding Gardeners

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is about the horticultural interest of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.  While I knew that Washington, Jefferson, and Madison had plantations in Virginia, I didn't realize how innovative and forward thinking they were in their agricultural endeavors.  The book is interesting and well written. The notes, appendices, drawings, and bibliography are excellent resources for anyone interested in the gardens and farms of these Founding Fathers. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows

We are having  a blizzard of caterpillars on our milkweed.  They have eaten it down to the stalks. They are Monarch and Queen caterpillars.  There are chrysalis hanging all over.  The Monarch will fly on to Mexico but the Queens will overwinter.  

I haven't been writing much because I have been so tired.  I manage all right in the morning but even taking a 1-2 hour nap, I am just wiped out all afternoon.  I don't know if it is age related, if it is from the CMT, or something else.  I am going for my annual physical next week and hope to get some answers.  

I did get my quilt back from the lady who machine quilted it for me and it is very nice. It cost $116.22 for her to layer it, quilt it, and bind it.  I think it was a bargain!! I have another quilt top ready for her.  

Tonight is the third debate. I'm not going to watch. I've already voted and just wish I could fast forward to Hillary's inauguration and be done with it.  I cannot express how much I am looking forward to never, ever hearing or seeing Donald Trump again!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

December Menu

December Menu

1. Leftovers
2. Out
3. Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
4. Pancakes and Sausage
5. Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
6. Chicken-Rice Bake
7. Steak, GMP, GB
8. Leftovers 
9. Out
10. Stuffed Wieners, Corn
11. Slow Cooker Chicken
12. Shrimp Jambalaya 
13. Chicken Tenders, Beans, Cole Slaw
14. Pork Roast, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach
15. Leftovers
16. Out
17. Corned Beef Hash, Cream Style Corn
18. Schlotzsky's
19. Tuna Salad Sandwiches 
20. Chicken Parmesan 
21. Pizza
22. Leftovers
23. Las Vegas
24. Las Vegas
25. Las Vegas
26. Las Vegas
27. Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Toast
28. Seafood pasta
29. Spaghetti and Meatballs 
30. Leftovers
31. Out

November Menu

November Menu

1. Chicken-Rice Bake
2. Steak, GMP, GB
3. Leftovers
4. Out
5. Stuffed Wieners, Corn
6. Pancakes, Sausage
7. Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Cabbage
8. Chicken Tenders, Oven Roasted Vegetables 
9. Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry
10. Leftovers 
11. Out
12. Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
13. Slow Cooker Chicken
14. Shrimp Jambalaya 
15. Chicken Parmigiana 
16. Cutlets, GMP, GB
17. Leftovers
18. Out
19. CB Hash, Cream Style Corn, Salad
20. Schlotzsky's
21. Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Veggie Tray
22. Chicken Casserole 
23. Pizza
24. Turkey
25. Leftovers 
26. Out
27. Slow Cooker Beef
28. Seafood Pasta
29. HBs
30. Spaghetti and Meatballs 

Friday, October 14, 2016


O hushed October morning mild, 
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; 
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild, 
Should waste them all. 
The crows above the forest call; 
Tomorrow they may form and go. 
O hushed October morning mild, 
Begin the hours of this day slow. 
Make the day seem to us less brief. 
Hearts not averse to being beguiled, 
Beguile us in the way you know. 
Release one leaf at break of day; 
At noon release another leaf; 
One from our trees, one far away. 
Retard the sun with gentle mist; 
Enchant the land with amethyst. 
Slow, slow! 
For the grapes' sake, if the were all, 
Whose elaves already are burnt with frost, 
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes' sake along the all. 

Robert Frost

Goals for the Week October 16 - 22, 2016

     Daily Bible Reading
     Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales 

     Exercise DVD
     Water 32 oz. daily

     Cut out next quilt
     Pick up Starz quilt from machine quilter

      Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf
      Cyberstorm by Matthew Mather
      Early Warning by Jane Smiley

      Tuna Salad Sandwiches
      Chicken and Snow Peas Stir Fry
      Hamburger Pie
      Chocolate Chip Cookies 

      Take in Recycling 
      Clean off back porch

      Monthly Lunch with P&W&C&B
      Rosetta Stone Spanish
      Check on possible Thanksgiving trip to National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Slow Cooker Homey Chicken Stew

This is a favorite. A slice of hot buttered cornbread goes very well with this.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 onion
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 stalk celery, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 medium red potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen peas

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown in 1 tablespoon oil. Remove to a plate. 

Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan and add onion, carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic, thyme, and tomato paste.  Cook on medium heat until onions are softened, about 8 minutes. 

Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute.  Add wine, cook for about 1 minute. Add 1 cup chicken broth and stir well. Cook for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker. 

Add to slow cooker the chicken, remaining chicken broth, and bay leaves. Stir.  Cover and cook on low about 6 hours.  About 1 hour before end of cooking, add the frozen peas and finish cooking. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

October Poetry

The sweet calm sunshine of October, now
    Warms the low spot; upon its grassy mold
The purple oak-leaf falls; the birchen bough
    drops its bright spoil like arrow-heads of gold."
-   William Cullen Bryant

Autumn thought

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October." 
-  Nathaniel Hawthorne

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild

I finished Strangers In Their Own Land and never, ever have I been so glad to finish a book. It has been like a millstone around my neck the entire time I was reading it. It irritated, upset, annoyed me so much that I could only read 5-6 pages at a time before I would have to put it down for a while.  Why, you ask. First of all, I must state that I am and have always been from childhood, an environmentalist. This book is the result of the author's attempt to understand and develop empathy for people who are Tea Party sympathizers.  She attempts to understand why they vote against their own interest for a clean environment. They may lose their house in a stinking sink hole, they may lose their health, they may see their beautiful environment turned into a lifeless cesspool of toxic waste and still vote for and elect politicians who promise to lower their taxes and get rid of government interference such as the EPA. She learns that behind their Tea Party inclinations are three bulwarks: faith, family, and honor. She follows several families and demonstrates how these bulwarks influence their choices and decisions. She bends over backwards to make these choices sound rational and reasonable. But the fact is, they are neither rational nor reasonable.  The same pillars of faith, family, and honor are more applicable to a faith that leads one to cherish and care for God's creation, protecting one's family from dying of cancer from exposure to toxic chemicals, and taking pride in causing no harm to the natural world and the life that inhabits it. It is a well written, well researched book but it is still incomprehensible to me that people will knowingly poison themselves, their families and the environment around them.