Monday, March 31, 2014

The Girl Who Shoots in Highlighter Shoes

 She's the sort of girl that grabs your attention,
 she stands out against the backdrop
 and really gets her point across.
Such a colorful personality, I've never seen.

 But OH MY,
Did you see these shoes!?
LOL, they truly are highlighters!

She was practicing with her Daisy Buck BB gun,
a pretty good shot for a beginner,
especially with those distracting colors on her feet.
Although I will say, she's head and shoulders 
above what Pops and I used to wear when we
were teens.  (Anyone remember flannel shirts
and hip hugger, big bell jeans?  I do!)

Fashionable too!
For a crazy girl.
Pop's orange hunting hat,
Grandma's winter scarf,
Highlighter shoes.

This will make such a lovely photo
displayed at her future wedding reception!
Bad Grandma.

Juniper Berries and Kraut

We're trying our hand at making sauerkraut this year
using the pretty crock we picked up last week.
My neighbor, Simone, who is from Germany sent over
some German juniper berries that is essential to 
the kraut recipes that she if familiar with.

There are a variety of recipes and methods
  plus probiotic and anti-inflamatory benefits associated 
with fermenting cabbage so we're eager to try it
this year.  According to sources, the Romans
carried it with them to prevent intestinal infections 
when they were on military campaigns.
In addition, it provides vitamin C which prevents scurvy
and anyone who knows me well enough knows
I'm am peculiarly concerned about scurvy! 
I have no idea why, blame it on my history teachers!

Now, I just have to learn to like it!
It looks like you can add other vegetables to it
which may improve the taste.
Let's hope!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Potato Bag - Adorable Cooker

 My neighbor, Simone, made this cute potato bag for me!
I love the fabric, so bright and colorful.  
Wouldn't it make a great gift collection paired with
pot holders, casserole dish carriers and an apron?
  You slide the potato inside the bag
Place it in the microwave and it will keep the potato
moist and fluffy inside with a tender outer skin.

They can be used not only for potatoes but 
 various other vegetables such as corn on the cob.

I  found these cute gifts for her children on sale at Kohls.
My children played with Playmobile toys, sort of like
Legos or Little People, a very nice product.
This set was $49.99 marked down to $4.99 on clearance!

 I found this Disney set for her older daughter, 
on sale from $30 down to $11.
It's great to go to Kohls the night before the sale,
they already have items marked down in anticipation 
for the morning shoppers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Poor Don't Get a Vacation

The poor don't get a vacation,
as our priest reminded us the other day.
During March and April our church is collecting
canned meat goods for the St Vincent DePaul food pantry.

These would be items such as tuna, pasta with meat, soups with meat,
Spam and chili with meat, etc.  And, as a bonus,
someone or some organization is matching what we collect,
either in cash or product!

 Even if your organization isn't actively donating, 
pick up a few extra cans each shopping trip
and donate to a local food pantry.
It doesn't have to be brand name,  I'm sure the hungry
will appreciate anything you can spare.
I also tend to add a few cans of pet food too, just in case.

(Before anyone complains that you shouldn't have pets
if you can't afford them, sometimes the poor become poor very quickly,
  perhaps through the loss of a job or sudden health issues.)
The poor might be your neighbors and you may have no idea
how they are struggling, so if you can send a few cans over
to the food pantry, please do. 

Don't wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The poor are hungry all year long.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

After 37 Years I Finally Got to Wear It

There it is- right on my finger, 
just where it SHOULD have been 37 years ago.
It's his class ring
Parkway North Sr High School 
St. Louis (Creve Coeur) MO
Class of 77

My husband and I have been together since I was 14
when he popped out from behind his locker between
classes and asked me to go steady.
This was back in 1974 when we were in Junior High.
I said yes.

We had lived in the same subdivision, just a few houses apart,
since 2nd grade.  Of course back then all boys had cooties
and the girls gave each other shots on a daily basis if we
even got near a boy! 

One thing led to another and there we were, 
still together during our senior year in high school
when everyone was getting their class rings.

Did I get to wear his ring, you might ask.
Well, no.  I did not.
Not until 2014 when we found it in his mom's drawer.
My daughter picked it up and asked
"Who graduated in 1977?"
 I grabbed it-
 "Your dad did," but I'm wearing it now!

Ahhh, so nice.
Some things are worth waiting 37 years for.

 I'll have to clean up mine and store them away together.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

St Pat's Recipes (Bacon Dill Scones & Cheddar Ale Dip)

Bacon Dill Scones
 From Women's World March 2000

We are going next door to celebrate St Pat's with family, 
everyone making part of the dinner.  
We are bringing Bacon Dill Scones
Deviled Eggs
Cheddar Ale Dip
Cabbage Bacon Noodle Bake (really Polish, not Irish)

I'll post the Scone and Dip recipes below but first
some of you know that I don't cook well-
I can bake just fine, it's meal planning that I struggle with-
the timing of getting it all to work out at the same time.

This was perfect for me, make it early.
Tune the Rosemary Clooney channel into Pandora
that we stream through our Roku.
This is important- get in the right mood
all that classic American songbook music of the 40s-50s 
is some of my favorites.
Put on your favorite apron and sing along as you cook.
(Thankfully, no one was here to hear me!)

First the ingredients
6 slices of bacon, crispy and chopped finely
2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C butter cut into small pieces
2/3 C buttermilk
2/3 Tablespoon chopped dill
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425
  You can cook your bacon in the oven for 6-8 minutes
but I cheated and used the microwave.
Chop the bacon finely

In a large bowl combine:
flour, baking powder, soda and salt
With a pastry cutter cut in butter until the mixture becomes coarse

Stir in buttermilk, dill, zest and bacon  until combined.
If too dry, add a touch more buttermilk

Divide dough in half on a floured surface
and shape into two 5 inch circles.
     Cut each circle into 4 wedges
Place on baking sheet and brush with egg.

Bake 15 minutes
You can cool and serve immediately or serve completely cool later. 

Cheddar Ale Dip
 10 minutes to prep, chill for an hour before serving

1  8 oz pkg of cream cheese at room temperature
 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated/shredded
1/3 Cup ale or beer (I used Samuel Adams Cream Stout)
1/3 Cup chopped onion
 1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 TBL honey
3/4 tsp paprika (I used Hungarian sweet)
1/2 tsp Tabasco/hot sauce (I would add more next time)
Assorted Crackers.

In a food processor add all the ingredients and process until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and chill for an hour before serving.
The taste will mellow out in the chilling process.
Spread on crackers to serve.
It makes about 2 cups

Deviled Eggs
(I would typically add Durkee's but we were out)
  I do use the deviled egg recipe in the 
Better Homes Cookbook
You can tell it is one of my favorite pages!

I make a couple of eggs more than it calls for
because with fresh eggs, I always get one that looks
rather like a zombie egg after peeling.
I'll use the yokes to make more filling and adjust 
the recipe accordingly.

 I won't type complete instructions since it's a classic
but really you can just make it taste like you want
with a combination of mayo, mustard, vinegar and salt/pepper.
They recommend (6 eggs) 1/4 C mayo to 1 tsp vinegar,
1 tsp yellow mustard and 1/8 tsp salt with a dash of pepper.
I use apple cider vinegar, but that's just me.
I also top most of them with the 
sweet Hungarian paprika, leaving a few without for those
that prefer their eggs plain.

 My husband is making the cabbage/bacon/noodle bake
(an artery clogger for sure but it certainly tastes good!)
Dan and Gina are working on the corned beef and 
some side vegetables plus dessert.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I Can't Believe She Fell for It

I can't believe she fell for it!

The girls were going through a drawer of old costume jewelry,
  splitting up the items that everyone thought they would wear.

We finally got around to doing this, something
that had been planned even before my mother in law
 moved to the nursing home. My father in law was going to schedule
a day for us to get together but time got away from us.

I can't begin to tell you how many clip on earrings, pairs intact,
were still in the drawer - and all of us with pierced ears,
and no desire to pinch our ears to death (more on this later)

I came across what I thought was a lone chunky clip on,
black with gold trim and only mild pressure upon closing.

I had an idea!!

"Hey Taylor, come here," I called out.
"Look what I found, it's Nanny's old nose ring!"  
(soft "a" in Nanny, like AH)

 She gave me THAT LOOK-
"No, really," I said.
"They didn't have pierced nose rings way back then,
they used clip ons.  Do you want to try it?"

"Sure!" she said as I gently attached the "clip" to her nose.
She was so excited. She ran to the next room to tell
Pop's (grandpa) and great uncle Dan.

"Look, I've not Nanny's nose ring on!" she joyfully exclaimed.
The guys now gave her THE LOOK.
Really. You fell for that?

 Then she knew.
OF COURSE Nanny didn't wear a nose ring,
she's 82 for goodness sakes!

Oh, oh.  I think she knows!! 

  I'm going on a hunt for a clip earring conversion kit,
there are just too many cute earrings to let this go by.
I'm not much of a jewelry person at all.  I wear 
my wedding ring, a ring for the other hand  (sometimes)
and one necklace.  I rarely change out my post earrings
but I would if I could convert some of her clips.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Semper Fi, Gunny Richard Usher 10/5/1930 - 3/1/2014

On March 1, 2014 Richard Usher, my father in law, passed away
after a short stay in the hospital preceded by several months of
declining health.  It was expected, yet unexpected.

We sent him off exactly as he would have wanted.
A brief viewing at the local funeral parlor
with the Marine Corps Pass in Review.

Then to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
for the gun salute and flag presentation to my daughter, Becky.

I began dating my husband when I was 14 years old so I've been with the family for a very long time.  We lived in the same subdivision, about six houses apart, since we were in second grade.  Dick was a great story teller and over the years we listened to his stories of growing up in Kerry Patch located in  North St Louis - back then a very poor neighborhood of Irish,  immigrants with a smattering of Jewish, Polish and Italian folks.  He worked as  tile setter's helper after dropping out of school at age 16 but joined the Marines at age 21, serving until the end of the war.  He met my mother in law "in a 3.2 tavern" and it was the beginning of a journey that lasted a lifetime and produced many great stories, in addition to a couple of great brothers:  Tom and Dan 

Arden Ruth Mueller Usher

Before he shipped out to Korea, Dick hitchhiked across to country for a visit home.  Finally arriving, he had only 4 pennies left in his pocket.  His mother kept those pennies and to this day they hang in his bar area displayed in a simple frame.  
His crew fired the last round in the war --  These are his words . . .  

The Real Story of the Last Round Fired in Korea

I was the Section Chief of gun 5 in H-3-11. On the morning of 27 July,
1953, I left the  Battery to go on R&R in Japan.  Sgt. Jerry Lannert
was my assistant Section Chief and left in charge.

At   2138, when the  firing mission was fired, and the guns checked in,
“check  #1, check #2, etc.”  When they got to # 5, Jerry reported a misfire on #5.  “I THINK I GOT A HANG FIRE!”

The exec pit said to try to fire it out.  With a big grin on his face, he
said, “This is the last round.”  

Jerry died some years ago, but the 105mm brass is engraved and polished in his family room.

Husband to Arden Usher
Father to Tom and Dan Usher,
 Grandfather to Becky and Sean Usher,
Great Grandfather to Taylor Usher and
Father in Law to Kathy and Gina Usher.

We sent him off in style.
A last toast to Dick Usher.

Jim Beam shed a tear 
but the angels rejoiced.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Brief Thaw

A day without new snow!   
The chicks were happy, they are frightened of
the white scary stuff.  Once we added
a layer of straw it was better but now we 
also have a short thaw.  I was home today 
so I took advantage of the time to clean out the fridge
and found some apples that were just a little soft.
Between apples, celery, a few grapes and lettuce,
the chicks had some nice treats.

The winter has been hard on them
and there are way too many in the coop.
We need to thin the flock a bit, 
particularly since we have several roosters.
From past experience, having multiple roosters
has not worked out well.

Although we may not be completely over 
with ice and snow, things are looking up.
Check out what came in the mail today!
I've got my list going already.