Friday, July 29, 2011


How is your morning? Do you get up all grumpy? Do you stay that way until that first cup of coffee? Or, maybe you get up bright eyed and bushy tailed. (How long since you heard that one?) Or maybe you're one of THEM. You know, those people who jump out of bed and then go out to run several miles before breakfast.

Well, not me; I do enough running in my dreams. I sure do not need to do it in real life, unless I'm being chased by a bear or a ticked off milk cow. (Don't ask.) The only thing I can see good about running is that it makes me more hungry. (Anyone up for BBQ for breakfast? YUM!)

Nope. I kind of like my mornings to start off nice and slow.

Take your time, relax some from sleeping all night. Have that extra cup of coffee. Lounge in your jammies or nightie or whatever it is you wear -- or don't wear. But, please put something on before you cook anything for breakfast. We don't want anything getting burnt that you might really need later on.

But, what's up with these health nut people who have to hit the floor running! Where's the fire? Can't you do your running at work? Like, run the stairs. Do a sprint between the desks, leap the file cabinets. Do push ups before and after a presentation. Make your boss count them off.

Watching people that early in the morning, jogging along before work, makes ME tired just watching them. I know, we all need to be more active. And our waistlines are getting larger. But damn, it took me a lot of years to get my Isle of Belly! I'm now thinking of letting some company advertise on it just to make a few extra bucks.

Or, maybe there is a market for belly fat that they can use in lipstick. Like, Isle Of Belly Red. Or Isle Of Belly Luscious Pink. You could have Isle Of Belly lips all day long. Your husband will have to fight off other guys. Your lips will be kissable soft all day.

Course, with every day use, you might end up with love handle cheeks on your face. OK, maybe, I should try to work out a bit more. BUT! Not before I have had a good breakfast. And my morning quart of coffee. Some mornings its harder to wake up than other mornings. Now let's see. . . coffee, bacon, eggs, pancakes, another cup of coffee. Oh yeah! Some orange juice for your health, and some homemade syrup or molasses for the pancakes.

And we are not even going to talk about what's for lunch. So, we need to get off our duffs. Work them duffs! Let's see if we can be more like THEM. (I sometimes think that they are aliens from another planet. Look at them the next time you see one running so early in the morning.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Well, today is our ninth wedding anniversary. And what are you supposed to get your spouse? If it was our first, I could get her something of paper, like a 4 pack of toilet paper. You know. Something useful. Or, if it were our tenth, it should be tin or aluminum. So, a six pack might be in order. And who makes anything out of tin any more?

She has jewelry, and some diamonds. And she got a new stove several years ago. She has ALL the pampered poo poo (Pampered Chef ) stuff for the kitchen. She has more collars for Nugget. He could wear two a day, and still not go through them all in a week. And she has some really nice clothes. And I urge her on to get more. And she has a spouse that would give her the moon if he could. (I'm whupped, and I know it. But so is she. ) Course, what in the heck would you do with the moon?!

If I try to talk her into getting something for herself, besides Sonic, she lots of time refuses. (She hardly ever refuses a drink from Sonic!)

She says that she has all that she wants. And of course, being male, I take her at her word. BUT, sometimes when a female says she has all she wants. That what it really means is that there is still that ONE thing. That us guys have NO idea what in the world it is. And if we ask, you all say there is nothing else you want. AND, that is why most of us older guys, have no hair, 'cause we pull it out trying to think of what it is you want. And we have no teeth, 'cause we are grinding them down knowing that there is that ONE thing, that we have never gotten you.

We end up with sun spots all over our bodies, spending hours and hours out in the hot sun, going from store to store in search of that ONE thing. And you think that when we are out in the garage on our anniversary, instead of spending time in the house with our lovely spouses, we are really calling everybody we know (male of course ) and every store we can think of, (Target, Wal -Mart, Sears, Bass Pro, and the like) trying to get a lead or a hint of what that ONE thing is.

I can't even pull a Fred Flintstone and get her a bowling ball. She already has one! With even her own shoes and bag.

The new stuff they say is for your ninth anniversary is leather. And we both know that we have plenty of that. So I won't say any more.

So, here is to my wife of nine wonderful, fun filled, and romantic years. You are the light of my life. And you saved me. You have brought a smile to my face and a spring to my step. (Not bad for a old guy.) You are my soul mate, and I'm sorry it took so long for us to be together. (Better late than never.) You are my best friend and lover, and I can't wait to see what our future has in store for us.

Plus, you can throw out your running shoes now. I'm caught, hook, line, and sinker. I'm yours for as long as you will have me. (Pushing for 50 more years, or more. ) And yeah, I admit it to the whole world.

(Just wait until tonight. HUBBA HUBBA !! )


Thursday, July 21, 2011

FEED YOUR FACE: Old Joe's Texas camp bread

Old Joe said that his Ma used to make this quite often. He said it dates back to the 1850's.
So let's get started. You need:
10 cups flour
3 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lard
4 1/2 cups water

Also, you need your dutch oven or cast iron skillet.

Sift and mix all the ingredients together. Use lukewarm water to make a fairly dry dough. Let the dough set for about 20 to 30 minutes. Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into rounds using your biscuit cutter, and cook on a hot, bacon-greased cast iron skillet or dutch oven.

Poke with a fork and turn them over when browned on the first side.

These hummers are great when out camping, hunting, or fishing. Plus, you could break a few in half, put them in a bowl, add some strawberries or peaches or whatever kind of fruit you have on hand. And maybe a big spoon of ice cream.

Old Joe made these when my sister and I were at the ranch. Man, talk about good! We would set around a campfire and have them after supper. Somehow he would come up with some wild strawberries that he would put sugar on then let them set in a cooler on ice.

While we stuffed our faces, he would tell a few stories. Heck, even Uncle Fay would stuff his face, and smack his lips and lick the bowl like a little kid. Uncle Fay would even listen to some of the stories Old Joe would tell. Sometimes, with eyes as big -- if not bigger -- than mine or my sister's.

So give this a try. Make a batch, and get out the butter and homemade jelly. Smack your lips, and rub your tummy. I think that you will really like these. . .


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


It's wild, windy, rainy, hot, floods, tornadoes, hail, and yes, even snow. What in the world gives here? Has Mother Nature lost it? Is she going bonkers or what? Do we need a new Mother Nature? After all these many years, is she going through the . . . what do women call it -- the change? She has been nutty this summer.

I heard on the news the other night that they had to put ice into a swimming pool in Nebraska because the water temperature was like 90 some degrees. And they added something like 400 pounds of ice or more! So how many people couldn't make ice cream that day?

And then, all this rain. It falls where we really don't need it. Course that's good for our water bill. But what about those who could use the rain! Not a drop. And record temps in places such as North and South Dakota and parts of Kansas.

And all those tornadoes! Maybe it is time that we bring back the civil defense and those funny little hats that they used to wear. Maybe we should make it so that every house sold now in the U.S. has to have one of them storm cellars/bomb shelters. Having a regular basement does not get it.

I remember storm cellars from when I was just a wee little tyke living in Arkansas. And I can also remember bad enough weather that we had to set in the storm cellar and ride out a storm and tornado. I remember that grandma had home canned goods in that cellar. And if I close my eyes, I swear that I can even smell that cellar!

Now, as for the bomb shelters. . . well, I can remember a few of those as well. Me and this kid that I knew, I can't remember his name now, (maybe I'm ready for the home) -- his dad had put in and buried in their backyard a bomb shelter. They had taken and dug up the old storm cellar, and in its place put in this bomb shelter.

As a side note, when you decide to have a bomb shelter you are supposed to do it on the sly. It is supposed to be just for you and your family because if the whole neihborhood knows that you have one, they all come knocking at your door if the commies decide to drop the big one on us.

Anyway, this bomb shelter was really cool. It had a fan that kept it nice and cool, and lights, and beds to sleep on, and food and water. And it had a BATHROOM. Never saw one of those in a storm shelter, just a five gallon bucket with a seat on it. This bomb shelter even had a shower. The kind that you have seen in travel trailers. You know, where you could set on the throne and shower at the same time? Well, we must have played for days in that bomb shelter, until his dad came home early one day.

Boy, did the stuff hit the fan! We were chased out by his Dad, and I guess I ran faster, 'cause that kid was caught by his dad and was getting a licking. I ran so fast towards home that I almost ran BY it! I was out breath and thought that my lungs were never ever going to be able to take a normal breath again.

I never saw that kid again. And when we drove by every now and then, I would kind of duck down in the seat when his dad was in the front yard. Never knew what happened to that kid!

Anyway. Maybe we should get a new Mother Nature. A mother we could sort of train. A more gentle sweet forgiving type who wouldn't be so hard on our earth.

Then again, maybe it isn't Mother Nature to blame. Maybe it is old Mother Earth. And she isn't happy with how we have been treating her. Or maybe both of them have decided to gang up on all of us.

Maybe we all should say a few more prayers now and again. And ask what the heck is going on with the weather. Get the president on the line! No, wait -- I think that my new and improved bomb storm thing-a-majig just got here. It's that, or my ride to the home is here.

So, whats up with this weather we have been having? It is heck on the knees.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quote of the Week: 7/18/2011

"Happiness often sneaks through a door you didn't know you left open."

--John Barrymore, American actor

Friday, July 15, 2011


I'm on my way back to blog. I wish I had newer knees, or at least knees that didn't have so many problems. 'Course, if you're going to have new knees, I think that you should be able to get new legs to go with.

Just think, you could be taller or shorter. Or pick out some legs that make you look good wearing shorts or, for that matter, if I had those good looking legs and everyone was looking at them. Then the Isle of Belly would not be noticed all that much. (Yep, still got it.) You could have legs for dancing or running or have some macho legs with all kinds of hair on them. Or, legs that are hairless and look like you wear nylons all the time.

Plus, you could have them new knees with dimples or with out dimples. Or knobby, like we all had at one time in our youth. I can remember when I could kneel down on my knees for about 30 minutes at a time. Now, if I see anyone on their knees, I cringe and grit my teeth. And to watch kids drop to their knees, I have to stuff a rag or pillow in my mouth to keep from screaming. I even get a little queasy to the Isle of Belly.

Yep, I'm stuck with these old knees. But then I think of all the miles and running and jumping and bike riding and dancing and everything else that these knees have done and been through. They have been banged up, bruised, and abused. And they still carry me along. Maybe, not as fast as they used too. And they get tired faster. But they keep on carrying me along.


Cowboys, can be pretty down to earth when it comes to having something to say to teach a lesson.

Don't judge people by their relatives.

Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.

Some of what they had to say still holds true for today.

(Yep, I'm on my way back.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My first cookbook: FEED YOUR FACE

Jim is still not able to sit at the computer long enough to blog, so I thought I would share with you about my first cookbook: Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook.

My parents gave this to me for my 9th birthday. I was just working on my Girl Scout Cooking Badge.

The previous summer I had been to Girl Scout day-camp, and they taught us an "easy and portable" recipe, which was basically canned Chef-Boyardee spaghetti with a can of corn added to it, then served in an ice cream cone. It really did look as if someone had already eaten it previously. Well, and tasted that way, too.

Any cookbook was going to be an improvement!

The Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook featured some very basic recipes. My sister Karen was just a year younger than I was, and she was also interested in the book. We would look over all the recipes, see if we had the ingredients for them, then make things.

These were not recipes that would require much. The first section of the cookbook featured beverages, and included "recipes" for grape float, orange float, cocoa, chocolate shake, lime fizz, eggnog, and tutti-fruitti-ice SPARKLE, which was basically KoolAid made into ice cubes, with 7-Up poured over them. I loved the pretty colors, but I was especially enamored of the glasses with the lemon-wedge art on them and the to-DIE-for lemon swizzle sticks.
To this day, I love citrus-y things, and have a set of nice, large glass tumblers with glass lemon wedges on them. No swizzle sticks yet, though.

There were recipes for such exciting items as cinnamon toast and biscuits (made from biscuit mix, not from scratch).

I really liked the picture of the egg-salad sandwich boats (egg salad on a hot dog bun), until I got sick at school one day after having egg salad. I couldn't even look at it again until I was about 30.

There were recipes for cookies, candies (think fudge), baked apples, and applesauce with red hots.

Main dish items included "frankfurters," cheeseburgers, oven-fried chicken, and mock drumsticks. My sister and I became obsessed with getting the cheese to melt just like the picture of the cheeseburgers in the book. (She's a vegetarian now, so I'm sure she never even thinks of that these days.) We also made the mock drumsticks, which were pretty much meatloaf on a stick.

There was a recipe for saucy spaghetti that was made by taking a can of spaghetti and adding a can of Vienna sausage. Ugh. Maybe my Girl Scout camp leaders were cookbook contributors.

The macaroni-and-cheese recipe was for making it from the box. That's a recipe? Really?

The salads were very basic. Like, take two pineapple rings, plop it on lettuce, stick a cherry and walnut halves on it and call it a salad. The "Peter Rabbit" salad was a canned pear half on a bed of lettuce, decorated with marshmallows, cherries, and cloves to make it look like a rabbit, though it really looked more like a mouse. Eeuuww.

Still, we used the heck out of that cookbook and the cover and every page is stained with something we spilled.

I am a better cook than that, now. But it's still fun to look at the book, especially the pictures.

Do you remember your first cookbook? Do you still make things from it? Or at least look at it?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quote of the Week: 7/11/2011

No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference.
--Tommy Lasorda

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Grandma's Bowl

Kathi here again, until Jim gets to where he can sit a little longer.

Do you read the Bye-Bye-Pie blog? It's really good. Be sure to read the comments, too, 'cause sometimes they are the best part!

Today the posting was about the author's grandma. It made me cry just a little -- enough that I had to wipe a couple drips of mascara from under my eye. Next time, I will buy waterproof.

I spent a lot of time with my mom's mom, 'cause she watched my sister Karen and I when my mom worked at the library when we were really little. Then, we saw her every Saturday when my mom would take her grocery shopping, and on Sunday's when we would pick her up for church. She always looked pretty and smelled good, and we made it a ritual to tell her that each time she got in the car. It was said in the most dramatic fashion possible, with a little sniffing sound for effect: "Grandma, you look pretty and ((SNIFF SNIFF)) smell good!"

In the summer, my grandma grew rhubarb, pickles, and strawberries. I'm sure she probably grew other things, too, 'cause she was from a farm. But, what those things were? I don't remember! I think I remember the rhubarb, pickles, and strawberries because those were my favorite things that she grew, don't you think?

Before lunch each day, she would let us pick berries to have with our lunch. Of course, we ate just about as many before we got into the house as by the time we got them in. They were so red, ripe, sweet, and juicy, and tasted sooooo good.

She had a pretty little bowl that she mainly used for fruit or fruit salad. I liked it because it was emerald green, my favorite color. It's also a nice size -- not too small, not too big. The berries piled in that bowl were so pretty and tempting. Yum.

Late in her life, she moved from her house with the wonderful gardens into senior apartments. Of course, she had to pare things way down in order to fit them into her new, smaller place.

I got custody of the beautiful green bowl. I GOT CUSTODY OF THE BEAUTIFUL GREEN BOWL!!!

I didn't use it. I put it on a shelf to look at because I didn't want it to break from use.

Well, one of my dogs knocked into the shelf somehow one day while I was gone, and I came home to find the beautiful green bowl shattered on the floor. I was so sad.

The bowl was more than just a bowl to me:
It was a symbol of the times my grandma fed us lunch and cared for us.
It was a reminder of the time spent picking berries together.
It was something she held in her hands so many times, then she passed it on to me.

Once, at a garage sale, I found glasses that matched the bowl. Though they weren't the bowl, they were a visual reminder, so I bought them, and they remain in my cupboard to this day.

But! Last year, I found the same bowl online. It was less than $10, and I wanted it because it was like THE bowl.

I was torn about buying it. Sure, it was just $10, but I wasn't sure I deserved the bowl. What if I broke that one, too? I consulted with my sister Kristi, with whom I consult about all the important things on my brain. She convinced me to get the bowl, but to USE it, not just set it on a shelf.

She was right, of course, so I bought the bowl. I have used it several times since, and when it is not being used or going to someone's potluck, it sits on the display shelf in my living room, behind glass so it doesn't have a mishap when I'm not around.

I learned a few important lessons from the loss and re-finding of the bowl.

1. Use the special things that have meaning to you, and don't save them for "good." They are never going to mean as much to someone else anyway, I'll bet.

2. Those special things aren't really that special: the memories they invoke are.

3. A sister with whom you can consult of things is a very good thing to have. I love and appreciate mine.

4. Grandmas stay in your heart long after they have left you to be with God.

I hope that you all have or had really good grandmas and really good sisters and some awesome memories.

And a nice bowl for berries isn't a bad thing to have either.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FEED YOUR FACE: Guinness Ice Cream

Kathi here. I am NOT a fan of drinking Guinness. It's way too serious of a drink for me.

One of the girls at work chose an Irish Pub as her birthday celebration place and ordered Guinness ice cream for dessert. She shared with the rest of us, and I liked it right away. Really!

So, I looked online for a recipe so I could make it at home. I found several, including one that used 15 egg yolks, but the one I based my trial batch on was from Emeril on The Food Network. This links to his recipe.

Here's how I made it.
  • 12 oz. Guinness Stout
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 6 egg yolks
In a saucepan, simmer the Guinness until it reduced by 3/4. This means you need to cook it down to about 3 oz. Emeril's recipe says it takes about 8 minutes. It took me about 15 minutes. Pour it into a measuring cup and set it aside. The measuring cup is so you know how much is there. I guess you could use a little more than 3 oz. if you want to!

In a saucepan, combine the cream, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat, then remove from the heat.

In a bowl, beat the 6 egg yolks. I saved the egg whites in two little glass bowls with lids, 3 in each, and I'll either use them when I make a quiche or maybe I'll make a big poofy cake. Angel food, maybe. Doesn't that use a lot of egg whites?

Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot cream mixture. Jim helped me do this 'cause I'm not exactly coordinated enough to do that. At least not without burning myself or making scrambled eggs in cream anyway. He whisked, I poured.

Then whisk that mixture into the rest of the cream. Jim whisked, I poured. Then cook the mixture some more until it reaches 170 degrees. I used a candy thermometer to see when that happened.

Emeril says to strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, then it calls for chilling for two hours. Instead, I poured it into a pitcher and chilled it overnight. THEN I strained it using one of my jelly bags. I'm glad I strained it, 'cause there were a few little chunks.

SO. . . pour it into a clean container (I used a pitcher 'cause it made it easier to pour later) and cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap touching it. That's so it doesn't form a skin. Did you like pudding skin when you were a kid? I did, but Jim canNOT stand the thought of it. Anyway, this would make a pudding skin if you don't put the plastic wrap on it.

I chilled it about 24 hours, 'cause I just didn't have time to make it all at once. Then, I strained it through a jelly bag to get the little chunks out.

In Emeril's recipe it says to add the Guinness reduction after chilling. I mixed it with the cream mixture before chilling. I just didn't want the Guinness sitting around waiting for me to spill it. That's pretty much the only reason.

All you need to do after that is to process it in your home ice-cream maker! Jim helped me do that part, mainly 'cause he just likes to. It took about 30 minutes in our big ol' ice cream maker, maybe a little longer.

Then you could put the ice cream in a plastic container to "cure." Jim gave me the paddle to lick. Nugget was jealous, but I did share a little and he licked it right up! I should have taken a picture of that, shouldn't I have?

Oh! And another idea. Because I don't like Guinness to drink (and Jim does, but it would take him awhile to drink much of it), we bought a bottle of it that was 24 ounces. It was way cheaper than buying a 6-pack. Plus, we now have 12 ounces left, which is just the right amount to make a nice beer bread with.

So, get your ice cream maker ready, make some Guinness ice cream, and FEED YOUR FACE!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Quote of the Week: 7/4/2011

"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."

John Adams
2nd U.S. President

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jim Update: 7/1/2011

Jim does not have to have surgery on his knee.

He still can't sit in a chair without his leg up very long, but he starts physical therapy today, so I'm sure he'll be back here with you next week. Don't give up on him!

He wishes you all a great 4th of July weekend, aka Independence Day. He especially likes the "independence" in the day, and why we are free. Thank a soldier!

Have a great weekend! Jim will meet you here next week.