Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sometimes the simplest things are the best

I make the best chicken pot pie that you have ever tasted. Really, I do. I cant tell you how many people have asked for my recipe. I've been making it so long that I cant even remember where I got the recipe. I have a vague memory that my Aunt Myrtis just verbally told me the recipe one day about 20 years ago, and I have been making it ever since.

It is probably the best dish that I make, and I make it for all occasions.

Have surgery? You get a chicken pot pie.

Death in family? I'll bring over a chicken pot pie.

I even have a friend that I just trade dishes with sometimes. She brings me sausage stir fry and picks up a chicken pot pie. Works really well for both of us.

But, I hesitate to give you this recipe. Your going to read it and think it is so simple that there is no way it is as tasty as I claim. But sometimes, the simplest things are the best. And this is one of them:

Preheat oven to 375.

Get a Pillsbury pie crust (in a red box in the fridge section).

Spray a casserole dish with Pam and put one pie crust on the bottom.

Bake a whole chicken, then take it off the bone (or get one already cooked, or just cook some chicken breasts and chopped them up)

Mix the chicken with one can of cream of chicken soup, one can of chicken broth, one can of veg-all and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and Cover with the second pie crust.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until brown on top.

Now, go amaze your family and friends with the simplest of dishes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today, I:

Slept until 9:30. The last time I slept until 9:30.... well, I cant even remember the last time I slept so late. It was a long hard week, and husband and dog was in the yard leaving me a quiet house to sleep in.

Made a strawberry/blueberry smoothie for breakfast.

Unloaded dishwasher.

Picked up 8 Jambalaya plates for lunch.

Dropped off 5 Jambalaya's with my niece, who just had a baby- a little girl named Natalie.

Grocery shopped with husband.

Came home, ate lunch. Had a diet coke.

Decided to put fence in backyard where wooded area is being cleared out.

Went to work for 4 hours. Had another diet coke.

Went to JC Penny. Had a $10 off coupon that expired today. The mall was so crowded I could hardly shop.

Left with a candle that cost $2.17 after the coupon.

Looked for shoes in JC Penny and in Macys, in vain.

Stopped at Walgreens and pet store.

Came this close to paying $400 for a miniature long haired dachshund puppy. Seriously... I was this close to bringing him home. Instead, got some toys for Butch. I may still go back for him.

Watched husband grill dinner.

Made Maple- White bread. Did not go well. It saw the trash can fast.

Had another diet coke. Realized that this is my third today, and I probably wont sleep tonight.

Made Macaroni and Cheese. Hand grated the Cheddar. Another disaster. Another quick trip to trash.

Put first load of dishes in dishwasher.

Watered all plants outside.

Replaced bird food and water in bird bath.

Went to Lowes, got Planting soil, Cilantro and Lantana to plant. Husband got lumber for fence.

Made chocolate chip cookies. Ate four.

Cleaned kitchen. Put second load of dishes in dishwasher.

Watched Biggest Loser.

Thought of all the things I did not do today.... laundry, cleaning, changing sheets...

Friday, March 20, 2009

What have I been doing lately? Finding old cookbooks at yard sales and baking Walnut Cookies

Walnut cookies?

Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Apparently, busy women in the 1960s have. I found the recipe in the Pillsbury Cook off Best Recipes for Busy Women Cookbook (published in 1966), at a yard sale for $.50.

They are delicious, husband liked them, neighbors liked them, I'm making them again. A lot different than the traditional cookies you may be thinking about. Not too sweet, not gooey, not crispy, not chocolate.

If you like cookies, (and who doesn't like cookies?) try this out:

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Mix 2 cups flour with 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda and 1/4 tsp. salt

Beat 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed with ½ cup shortening. Mix well. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Add dry ingredients.

Shape into balls. Put on cookie sheet.

In different bowl, mix 1 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup sour cream.

Put one tablespoon of mixture on each cookie.

Bake for 12-14 minutes

I'm off to explore what else busy women in the 1960s were cooking.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Q & A part 2

Q: Where the heck do you find all your weight watchers recipes?

A: The women who attend Weight watcher's meetings are great at sharing, and will print out recipes, make 30 copies, and bring to share. Also, the meetings have cookbooks that you can look through and purchase. I have also found some WW cookbooks at yard sales. I sometimes just make a regular recipe WW friendly by replacing the eggs with egg beaters, replacing the oil with applesauce, and using Splenda instead of sugar. But probably the biggest source of WW recipes I have ever found is here.

Q: Have you ever found an alligator in or near your yard?

A: I live in a small subdivision near a major river. The houses in the back of my subdivision (about 8 houses away) have their backyard overlooking the river. My house is in the front of the subdivision. I am sure my neighbors have seen alligators in their yards, but I have not had any. I have rabbits, bats, raccoons, possums, armadillos, deer and squirrels coming to visit but never an alligator. I have seen ones when I go fishing with my husband, but they never move- just watch you from afar.

Q: What's the next project in your house?

A: Straightening out the back yard. Its kind of been a neglected area. This is what my back yard looks like now:

Bamboo will be planted after the underbrush is removed. It grows really quickly and will make a privacy "fence" in no time. Then magnolia trees, and azalea bushes. What was an abandoned flower bed will hopefully become a rose garden. I am pretty sure it is only a hope because the planting season for roses is almost over and the bed hasn't been started. I may have to wait until next year. The problem is I have a long tree line in the back yard. Its going to take a while.

After the yard makeover, it is the small bathroom in the kitchen. Right now it is almost empty. It will get a sink, new toilet, wainscotings and wallpaper.

After the bathroom, the closet downstairs underneath the staircase will get a wood floor (left overs from upstairs bedrooms) and built in shelves.

Heavy sigh. I am tired just thinking of all this. There is no shortage of projects.

Q: How do you know so much about plants and such?

A: My Grandma was always in the garden, planting and tending to her plants and flowers. She was a serious gardener. At one point, she was growing African Violets in the living room with a black light. I was mesmerized by their dark green velvet leaves and deep purple flowers. I couldn't keep my hands off of them, which is probably one reason she eventually gave them up. Poor little things didn't stand much of a chance with me around. She lived in the same spot since the early 1920s, and had plenty of land. There was a lot of plants she tended, as well as wild ones, blackberries, honeysuckle, two different kinds of wild roses, pink clover... I was well into my adult years before I realized that Camilla's grew on bushes and not trees. Our Camilla bush was so mature, it was literally a tree.

I also had an Aunt who lived "in the big city" (New Orleans) and I would spend my summers with her. She was a member of the garden club, which impressed me to no end. She was not nearly as a successful gardener as my Grandma, but her yard won garden of the month more than once. That is one of my very few unrealized goals ... to have a garden of the month garden. I am not nearly there yet.

As my aunt got older, she let Lantana and Ferns take over the front yard, because they did not need any care. She died last year, and before her house was sold, I went and dug up some Lantana bushes and planted them in front of my dining room window.

My husband also has an Aunt who lives in very rural Mississippi, whose front yard literally makes strangers stop and admire it. Each time we visit, she walks me around her yard, pointing out what each flower is. Every walk ends with her getting a shovel and bucket and me getting some plants to bring home. Here is one of the last things I got from her house, a yellow angel trumpet. I also have a pink one.

It also helps that one of my best friends is married to the Chancellor of the Agriculture college.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My notes on Chapter Three of The Frazzled Female Bible Study

Have you been rushing around? Busy, busy, busy? on the run all day? Not getting as much accomplished as you think you should? Ever said, I just don't have enough time? Or, I guess the real question is.... how many times have you said I don't have enough time?!

Sit down in a quiet spot and find a minute for yourself to list your "job titles" and the things that you are responsible for. seriously. Write it down.

My list looks something like this: wife, employee, house keeper, cook, decorator, gardener, member of Sunday school class, leader of women's Bible study, blogger, member of church food ministry, mentor, leader of annual Women's conference.... and probably a few other things I may have missed.

Now, take another minute to think about the things you just wrote down. Everything you wrote down means that is what you do with your time.

How does it make you feel?

Ask this question and then go around the room in any Bible study and you will hear these answers: tired, stressed, grumpy, rushed, scattered, frazzled, Some mornings, I feel tired before getting out of bed.

Is it a good feeling?

Is this how God created you to feel?

is this what He wants for you?

Can you be your most effective feeling this way?

What do we need to help us get over this problem?

I know we think we need more time. But more time really is not the answer.

Chapter three of the Frazzled Female Bible Study points out that we all have 24 hours each day and we get the choice of how to use that 24 hours. God will not bless you for doing the things he has not called you to do- even if it is good things you are doing.

Look again at the list of all your activity and what you are doing.

Is it all things that God has called you to do? or is it things you have put on the list yourself?

Before you take on one more thing... look at that list and say to yourself...

1. Did God call me and equip me to do this? Is this something God wants me to do? Even if it is a good thing, is it what God has given ME to do? or did I call myself to this job?

2. What am I doing right now that will suffer if I say yes to something else.... am I willing to spend less time with my husband, less time at work, less time in bible study, to take on this new activity?

3. Am I using the 24 hours that God gave me wisely?


because we all have a certain amount of things that we must do each you have any tips to share about how to spend your time wisely?

I have found that if the last thing I do before I go to bed each night is wipe down the kitchen counters, put a load of dishes in dishwasher and put load of clothes in washer, then the first thing I do each morning is unload dish washer and put wet clothes into dryer then fold before leaving for work, the kitchen is always clean and the clothes are not piled up.

Your turn. Share your time saving tip.