Friday, November 28, 2008

Braving the elements for that magical Evergreen!

Yes Joshua, It is raining!

But we have come for the magical Evergreen....

And this is the Evergreen state so our chances are good.

oh Joshua is not buying this quest.....

Click to enlarge it will look like you are right there in the forest.

Let's try a family photo moment between rain drops.

Hi Dunham's
Hi Papa

Look over there. Those are neat trees!

The scatter and hunt technique (we had several sets of walkie Talkies with us!)

Lilly is ready to cut that beautiful tree down

Oh and it smells so nice!

enlarge this to see the sleeping one year old

Daddy took over for Lilly, she is falling asleep standing , Papa holds the tree up....What?

Is this a posed photo?

Now the fun Begins....

Getting the tree to the car!

Did we say it was raining..... That means lots of mud!

Look at the size of the trunk on our tree. It's a very full, Magical tree.

This is my tree, the long hike made short with a little trailer ride. Lilly joined us on the ride

Cocoa time!

Laundry Time!.....We did mention the mud right?

Let us put in a good word for Reade Christmas tree farm
between Monroe and Snohomish.
Not only are the trees beautiful but everyone is so nice and the fields are easy to walk in.
(The only thing better is a forest tree without so much snip snip)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we go!

Click to enlarge

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving
Thinking of our family far away
Our family close by
Our friends
And those who care for us.
We hope your day is filled with gratitude
Happy laughter and good food!
I've baked my pies and couldn't stop, I have two pumpkin, a cranberry walnut, a toll house pie, and a lemon meringue.
Tomorrow I will wake in time to watch the Macy's parade and make a double batch of yeast rolls.
The very cute turkey above was from some of my grand kids. Natalie is the tiny baby hands, and Logan is the big boy nearly three year old hands. My heart melted when I opened the envelope that cute turkey arrived in today.
Another surprise was a quick call from far away daughter, she now has already had her thanksgiving. Jakarta is a day a head of us here in the Pacific Northwest.
Thank-you kids! Grammie and papa love the Turkey.
Lots of love to our family and friends
P.S bleach boy/papa will be going swimming tomorrow morning and we leave for dinner at 3:00 pm but you can reach us at Cheryl's if you want to call.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to make corn tortillas

How about a quick photo essay on making Corn Tortillas. I was trying to make a quick dinner and was half way through these when I thought you might like to see how this is done. So here goes! At one moment I had a big plate of them and the next there was only a few left over for breakfast tomorrow. Did I say quick dinner!

This is instant masa, don't use corn meal. There are several different brands, you can try them until you find a favorite. Can you use fresh masa? Of course but this is what I have on hand year around.

Mix 2 cups of instant masa with 1 1/3 cups warm water

stir with a fork and if it is too dry add a tablespoon of water at a time. Once you can make a semi-moist ball of the mix it is ready. If you don't make the tortillas fast cover with damp towel.

This is a Tortilla press. You don't have to press down hard, just a light touch will do it. Can you use something else? Yes but it's more work. I used a cast iron skillet at one time.

Place a zip lock quart Freezer bag on the bottom Make a ball golf ball size of dough. Put it 1/3 up on the circle

Take a 2nd quart freezer bag and using scissors cut off the zip and the sides. This will leave you with a single piece of heavy plastic. Lay on top of the dough.

Press the top of the Tortilla press down. Don't push hard just gently is all you need. This is soft squishy dough after all!

This is how it presses out. Nice isn't it and fast!

Pick up the whole collection of bottom bag, dough and top bag piece.

Flip it on your hand, remove the bottom bag carefully.

You will now have only the top bag to remove. I pull each corner gently to the middle and only once in a while lose a bit. The goal is to remove the plastic and not leave any dough on it.

The dough in the shape of a tortilla is now on your hand, it is fragile. If you mess up it rolls into a ball again....

Prepare a very hot griddle or case iron skillet

Flip your tortilla over off of your hand onto the skillet. You don't touch the skillet! OUCH.

The top Tortilla is cooked on both sides, it is a little different color than the front one we just laid on the skillet. These need only 30 seconds on each side to be done.

Yes sadly this is all that is left now. They get eaten fast. I think we made about 12 tonight. That reminds me, left over turkey makes great taco's!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Need a Christmas Lullaby?

I am the oldest child in a large family. When lullaby's were sung to my siblings this one stayed as a part of me, I heard it so many times. I also sang it to my children but knew I was missing parts of it. One day (long ago) I mentioned this to my sister (lets call her Amazing Auntie) and in the process of cleaning up after passed away family members she found the little blue book called "Little Stories in Song" with my name written in it. My beloved lullaby was there and it's a missing piece of my life restored!

Now youngest needs holiday music for church and she called requesting a peek at this song. I'm thinking this song should not just pass away un-noticed so I offer it to all of you. It was used in Primary in the 1950's and is an old treasure. This tiny blue book is nearly completely written by Frances K. Taylor and if she is still alive, THANK-YOU for such sweet, gentle songs.

Please disregard the hand written verse, it is my own and is not important.

Bonus! Here is the next song in the book

Friday, November 21, 2008

Simple gifts that last & last

He has beautiful old green button eyes
and he is very old

As the holiday season approaches(wow I think it is already here!) I hope you will all feel comfort in this blog. Know that the smallest of things can have the biggest impact.

I have this little Octopus made from the most basic of materials. I wasn't yet 5 years old when he was given to me. I loved this little fellow all these 50 years. In the early 1950's we were but a few short years from the endings of WWII and everyone still lived with the lacks of not only the depression but also the shortfalls from supporting the war effort. That didn't stop the gifts given to children. My little octopus has a wad of old clothes as the stuffing for his head. My sunbonnet Sue quilt from the same time period has another quilt inside it as it's batting. What we can learn from these people who lived so carefully is amazing! I have some great stories I remember.

When you look at what you can spend on gifts this year remember it's not the money. It truly is not the money. It's the love and kindness that sets gifts apart. Be careful this year, money will get to be even harder to come by in the months to come and you can enjoy the best of the holiday season and not set back your budget. It is not a lower standard, I thought that little Octopus the dearest of gifts. Even so that it is one of only 4 toys that stayed with me from childhood. One a sock clown, another a little lamb with a music box and the last my doll from my third birthday, Mary, I named her for Jesus's mother.

Taken from a dollar book I bought in 1963 the pages are nearly dust!


1 hank or skein of yarn in your favorite color
Some kind of ribbon or yarn that is not too wide for knotting
embroidery thread for sewing face it can be what ever you like for a face
something to put in the center of the head, a ball of old yarn, scraps rolled into a ball, stuffing in a piece of sock, etc. Make it round and smooth.
Cut through the skein as in picture one
Tie one end tightly I'd tie it before cutting
this tie becomes the top of the head.
Place head under the tie and arrange the yarn around to cover the head, If your head is too big shrink it some.
Tie a yarn tightly under the head. Mine has never come untied!
Divide the dangling yarn into 8 separate bundles
Braid each group to make one of the legs. Make a double knot 1" before the end of each leg.
You can tie bows of ribbon on the top, the neck and the legs but do that over the original ties
Embroider large eyes of black yarn and add a single stitch of white yarn to make a glint.
If you feel comfortable with buttons they make great eyes and you can embroider a smile if you wish.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vegetable Pizza, putting those veggies right out front!

oh go a head, see what happens, let the kids decorate this pizza and see if they eat the vegetables out of interest. I remember youngest daughter ate lunch in her class room and had fresh sliced bell peppers one day, after that she loved them and all I can figure is that it takes something interesting to invite a bite!
Vegetable Pizza
a recipe I saved from very long ago
2 (8 ounce) cans or crescent rolls
2 (8 ounce) pkg cream cheese softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp minced onion
shredded cheese any kind
Raw veggies: stuff olives, tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peppers, fresh mushrooms, zucchini etc.
Use a mandoline to slice veggies very thin, or a good sharp knife
Spread crescent rolls flat on a pizza pan, or a cookies sheet
Pinch edges together to make one big pizza
Bake as directed on the package
Mix cream cheese with mayonnaise beat until creamy
Add Dill and minced onion to cream cheese mix
Back in the day we added 1 tsp BeauMonde Spice but I don't know if that is even around any longer! :-)
Spread cream cheese over cooled pizza crust
Lay out the sliced veggies and press lightly into the cream cheese.
top with Shredded cheese of your choice.
Chill and serve
Hints: you can grate the veggies, or use a peeler to make long thin strips, cutting each veggie different is more interesting.
Enjoy inventing different ways to top the pizza

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How to sneak in veggies...he he he

This is for my daughter-in-law....we need to call her something me find a term of endearment for her? She married my son who followed in his dad's foot steps as a child. They both wouldn't eat veggie side dishes..........
I tricked them!
Here is my recipe for getting veggies into meat balls. They will never know it once the sauce is on it's just meat balls. I got the recipe from my friend Pam Matson and it served useful for getting veggies in all five kids and bleach boy!
Vegetable meatballs and sauce
1 pound of ground beef
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg
2 med carrots finely grated
2 med potatoes grated
one small onion grated
Dash of salt and pepper
Mash this all together.
Form into small meatballs, this is important or the veggies won't cook fast enough to keep up with the hamburger.
Put a little oil in a nice size frying pan or use a non-stick
Put the meatballs around the pan giving them a little space between each
Brown being careful to only turn them as each side is brown. The less you move them the better they stay together. It helps to do this on a medium heat.
Place in a casserole dish
mix one can of cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup
with 1/2 cup of milk
Or enough to make a loose gravy
Bake in 325 degree oven for 45 minutes

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The difference between Yams and Sweet Potato

Youngest daughter is starting to feed her baby some solid food. She is wondering if what she is buying is Yams or Sweet Potato. So here goes........

Everything you find in a general grocery store is........................

A Sweet Potato

Are you surprised? I know this as a gardener, someone who wanted to grow every cool plant. I can grow a sweet potato, I can not grow a yam. Let me explain.

Sweet Potato is a Native American plant. Columbus found it here and mentioned it in his records several times.

There are two types and this is where the stores miss label your food. There are dry meated sweet potatoes and moist-meated potatoes. I like the moist meated and these are the red ones often labeled as yams. There are several types usually Red Velvet, Georgia red, or any of several new variety Sweet potatoes. The white or yellowish dry meated are Porto Rican, and several other new varieties. If you get a dry meated type you will know it. They are just like their name.....dry and cook up more like Irish potatoes, but still rich in nutrition!

So what is a yam? Amazing food but hard to grow. Japanese yams are 24 to 36 " long and need twice the space needed to grow sweet potatoes. Sadly they are left in the ground for 3 to 4 years and when you do serve them, grated or shredded, they quickly turn mucilaginous. Fun. Mexican Yams are used in treatments, creams etc, to treat female ailments. There is also a wild yam which is used in natural medicine also. Yams are not from the nightshade family as Sweet Potatoes are.
So the good news is Sweet Potatoes are full of vitamin A, a good dose of Vitamin C and other minerals. Lots of magnesium here too. So use these easy to cook potatoes, you may bake, boil, brown, fry, and candy them. You can put them in biscuits, bread, muffins, pies, cookies, cakes and last night I put them in sloppy Joe's.
There you have it this is the Japanese yam....
My resources are my gardening books and my Ortho books ' Adventures in Oriental cooking', and 'When the good cook gardens'.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you to the Veterans who serve

Today was Veterans day. A day to say our thank-you to those who serve and served our country. Here is my list, living and dead, I do not mean to leave anyone out and if your name isn't complete forgive a grammie brain. I still say Thank-you from deep in my heart!
Thank you To those who served in the past
Bernie Reagan WWII
Donnell Gardner WWII
Charles Finch WWII
George Gardner WWI
Philip Reagan Vietnam era
Thank you to those who serve now
Leasa Bairs two boys (she is now all alone and I think of her)
Our neighbor, one of the Norberg twins (I mix them up!) Welcome home!
Todd who serves with the coast guard
John who we worried about a lot as he removed bombs in Iraq (my daughter Cheryl's friend)
Eve Hays sons who are serving right now
I cherish the Freedom you protect.
Don't feel forgotten.
Thank you a Bunch!

Story telling for these dark days

The time change here in the Pacific Northwest brings a darkness even the strongest among us shutters at! It's time to bring out the full spectrum lights and have some good story telling. One of my few documented talents is story telling. Documented you say? Yes when you get your nick name, that long carry's with you, from your art of story telling I'd say it's documented.

Here are some fun ones to brighten your rainy fall days. Practice these pencil stories for smooth telling of the tales.

You need a paper and pair of scissors to tell this story

Here goes: fold the paper in half, twice. Start from the center fold corner. As you cut figure A tell the story of the boat captain who needed to guide his boat on a mysterious adventure and what did he use to find his way at night? (unfold the star you just cut out)

Next as you cut figure B tell the story of the the boat finding a great island and to go explore they throw what over board? An anchor BUT DON'T UNFOLD just hold it up as is.

End your story with some great adventure of escaping the wild natives of the island, hoping on your boat and quickly steering the boat away, as you tell this let the anchor piece drop open into a big steering wheel.

This is fun but a practice run helps a lot!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm not finished with Pumpkins yet!

I have one more pumpkin on the porch too cook.

The first one was delicious! I taught my 2 year old grandson to say that word on my last visit, he practiced all week-end I wonder if he can still say 'Delicious'?

Time for my all time best Holiday Pumpkin recipe.

I got this in Ukiah back when I was selling dolls and bears like crazy!

A fellow crafter, Shirley whom may even live up here in the Northwest gave me this recipe.
You can make it a day or two before your holiday meal just keep it cold.

Pumpkin cake Roll
preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3 eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 teas lemon juice
Beat eggs 5 minutes no kidding we need lots of air here!
Add sugar on high speed, isn't this fun?
then add the pumpkin and lemon juice.
Mix together
3/4 Cup flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Add to batter and mix well
Pour into a well greased and floured 10 x 15" jello roll pan
Sprinkle top of pumpkin roll with 1 cup chopped nuts, pecan, walnuts are both good
Bake in 375 degree F. Oven for 15 minutes. Do not brown this.
sprinkle a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar
The next step is tricky but not hard to do.
Once the cake is done you will turn the pan over once on a cooling rack and again onto the sugared towel
I lay the sugared towel on a cooling rack on the 2nd time around and use the rack to support the the towel and pumpkin cake like so:
1) lay the towel with the sugared side against the pumpkin roll
2) lay the cooling rack over the towel
3) Bravely, using hot pads, flip the cake upside down!
The Goal is to roll the cake in the towel with the nuts on the inside of the cake.
Gently roll the cake up in the towel. Let the cake cool in the towel.
Filling: 1 cup powdered sugar
2 -3 ounce packages of cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons vanilla
Beat all ingredients until creamy
Unroll the cake, if edges are crusty just cut them off and pass them around!
Now spread the filling evenly over the inside of the roll.
Roll the cake back up and wrap it in foil being sure to leave the end open
The cake must breath on the ends
Chill 4 hours
Slice and serve.