Saturday, August 30, 2008

Peace ….

I’ve always been one to strive for peace, not necessarily happiness as a lot of people seem to do.  I’ve found through the years, that happiness is borne of peace.  Happiness is elusive, a few fleeting fragmented moments of time, but oh, when your soul is at peace, it’s lasting and it’s perfect.

I found it this morning.  It’s a warm, very breezy fall day in Heavensville.  Hubby is working, and I made myself a late breakfast, eggwhite omelet, freshly ground and brewed coffee, and a bowl of fresh peaches and yogurt.  I ate outside on the patio, with freshly cut herbs sprinkled on my omelet, and cherry tomatoes plucked from the vine, feeding the M&M’s bites of peaches as I ate. Afterwards I took them for their late morning potty run. I was sitting in the golf cart in the shade by the rocks, the fur kids were scampering in the grass, the wind was blowing in my face, the sun dappling thru the trees, a dove was cooing in the distance, and I was at peace.  Wonderful, blissful peace.

I have defining moments in my life when I remember such feelings.  The most binding ones were when the boys were born.  After both births, as I held those little red faced, ten fingered, ten toed baby boys in my arms, I have never felt such peace.  They were healthy, beautiful little babies, and it was the happiest moments of my life.

Not surprising, one of the other vivid memories is of home.  Hubby and I had been married a few years, the boys were small at the time, and we were visiting Mother.  It was a day not unlike today, a warm day with a brisk wind, and Mother had her windows open.  There is nothing like freshly laundered curtains billowing at the windows, and because she lived in a valley surrounded by trees, she always had great cross-thru ventilation, so it was a wonderful breeze.

Hubby had taken Mother and the boys somewhere, but I stayed behind.  I took a pillow from her bed, with the same pillowcase that I had slept on as a child, one she had made years before, and I laid down sideways on the foot of her bed, my head on that pillow, and my face to the window.

I’ll never forget that afternoon, the way the birds I remembered from my childhood were singing in the trees by my ditch, the sound of the tassel on her raised window shade as it flapped against the blind, and I went to sleep.

I’ve never slept as soundly, or as well as I did that afternoon, with the breeze blowing over my body, in the house where I grew up.  It was comfort, and it was warmth, and it was memories, and it was totally perfect.

I awoke refreshed, and I can still remember the imprint of her chenille bedspread on my arm.  It’s a much cherished memory, one that will stay with me always.

So when I have a peaceful moment, like I did today, I treasure it, and I remember other moments as well.  I hope you do, too.  It’s a wonderful thing.

~ jan

This is it, this is the pillowcase I slept on that long ago afternoon!!!  I have it saved in a drawer in the guest room.   A few years before Mother mom's-pillowcasedied, I was visiting her, and I told her I wanted it someday.  She went right then, found it in her drawer, and gave it to me. I seldom asked her for her things, and I’m sure she wanted to be sure I got it.  It used to be one of a pair, but she didn’t have other one, I was just glad that she had saved this

After I made this entry, I thought you might all like to see it, so I got it from the drawer and took this picture. Isn’t it wonderful?

I still have the pattern Mother used to make this, too.  This old case dates back to the late 40’s.

It’s made from a feedsack, and she appliqued the lady with the bonnet, and added a ruffle at the bottom. It’s so worn, and a bit yellowed from where many heads have lain,  as you can see, but I bet if I handwashed it, put it outside to dry, starched it a bit and ironed it, that it would be PERFECT to take a nap on again.  And what do I have for my boys to remember of their childhood?

Well, somewhere, stored away I still have their Ronald McDonald pillowcases…  I’m such a sentimental schmuck!

It’s those simple things, ladies…

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Friday, August 29, 2008

The potato chips are a hit…

I’ve received several emails praising the potato chip recipe I posted on Tuesday.  It’s a big hit, ladies, if you haven’t made it, you’re missing out on a good one….

You can access it quickly HERE.

~ jan

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An exciting morning, it’s going to be Sarah Palin…..

Sarah-Palin-Vogue

Huge news this morning, McCain’s camp just announced that he is running Sarah Palin for his veep. 

Time will tell what kind of candidate she will be, but you have to admit, McCain sure pulled a rabbit out of the hat with this one.  I bet Obama is scrambling over this news!  He just had the rug pulled out from under him.

I haven’t been this excited about politics in a long time.

She is 44 years old, had a Downs Syndrome baby just last spring.  No abortion for this woman governor of Alaska, she’s definitely pro-life.  A conservative,  mother of five, and a former 2nd place contestant in the Miss Alaska contest.  Hot damn, this election just caught fire!!!!!!

Lots of information about her on Wikipedia – here’s the quick click!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Signs of fall…

I took the M&M’s out for a potty run, and snapped the leaves behind the condo.  There is nothing like fall, as my friend, Mary said today, she can’t wait for soups and chili's, crisp apples, art shows, fall color and warm sweaters.  I so agree, I can’t wait either!

 

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Aloha Daisy…

The internet is a wonderful thing, it truly is.  Years ago, I used to belong to a Yorkie web ring, and thru that site I connected with this wonderful woman and fellow Yorkie lover, Daisy, from Hawaii.  Well years went by, computers were updated, email addresses changed, and Daisy and I lost touch.

Yesterday, I thought of her, and quickly typed “Daisy Hawaii Yorkie” into Google.  Lo and behold, her email address popped right up.  So I contacted her, we’ve reconnected, she has a new Yorkie, Marla, of course I no longer have the Munchkin, and she no longer has her Jolie, but now I have the M&M’s and a friendship is rekindled.  So Aloha, Daisy, welcome to the crazy world of Jan in Heavensville…

And speaking of crazy, yesterday when I was posting the entry about Mother and the green beans, I had put my crockpot liner on the stove (yes, I can do that, it’s aluminum) to get my beans hot before I put them in the crock, and I promptly forgot all about them.

I’m in the sunroom, just typing away, and hubby comes thru the kitchen and says, “Jan something’s going on with these beans.”  CRAP, I forgot them, they were, ummmmm, carmelized – hey, really they were fine, another two minutes and they would have been TOAST!!!!  Geezy Pete I’m such a ditz! 

So I added more water, cooked them all afternoon, and they were sublime…  Yeah, they really were, they were NOT burnt!!  Not even a little bit, not even a smidge.  I lucked out… this time, anyway…

So this morning I was reading about how this woman puts sweet potatoes in the crockpot.  She just washes them, gets them drippy wet, pierces them, puts them in the crock with no water for 4-6 hours.  So I’m trying that.   Of course hubby is working today, so if they start to burn in the crock, I’m on my own. 

I’ll let you know how this all works out for me…

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All tucked in…

goodnite

Recorded by The Spaniels, 1954

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Wow….

I just posted the most amazing sounding salad over on Jan CAN Cook.  It’s from Splendid Table, and it looks absolutely to die for!!!

Check it out HERE, gang….

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Your daily dose of cuteness….

Now, before you all freak because the fur kidz are in the sink, they’re in the GARAGE UTILITY SINK, not the house!!!

Hubby and I are working in the garage today, and since we all are FAM-I-LY, heaven forbid we leave the M&M’s in the house.  Oh no, they want to be where we are.  The garage door was up, I didn’t want to have to worry about them scampering out into the wild blue yonder, so I just put a clean piddle pad in the sink, and plopped them in it.  They’re content, they could care less that they are napping in the sink, they’re just happy to be with us.

Sweet little dogs…

 

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Memories of Mother…

Those of you who have lost someone close to you will be nodding your head at this entry…

I can be going along with my life, having a perfectly normal day, and all of a sudden a memory of Mother will pop into my head and it will be so vivid that it takes me aback.  Sometimes it makes me tearful, sometimes it makes me smile, and oftentimes, for me, it’s working in the kitchen that triggers it…

I bought fresh green beans at the market, and this morning I was stemming them, wondering if it was really necessary to take off the tails, and for a brief moment, I thought, “I’ll ask Mom, she’ll know.”  And then reality hits me and once again, I realized that I will never ask those questions again, ever.

I was putting the green beans in her stainless steel bowl, by far my favorite thing in my kitchen.  Me with all my fancy gadgets and state of the art equipment, me, who constantly devours every issue of Williams-Sonoma catalog looking for new goodies that I “must have,” me who throws away things that aren’t up to my standards, simply adores that old bowl.  I actually have two of them, they were a set, a large, a medium and a small.  Somehow the medium is gone, I’m surprised as she never threw away anything, but I drag the large one out every single day and use it for something.  The little one, not so much, but it’s there, every time I open the cupboard I see it, and I smile.

And this morning, the memories brought a few tears, but they were brief, like a cloud drifting along in the sky, and then the sun popped thru and I smiled as I remembered how she used to work alongside me, helping me snap the beans, offering suggestions, giving good advice.

So we’ll have them for dinner tonight, and they will be wonderful because they are fresh, but, I’m sure, not as wonderful as hers…  She always loved green beans, picked from her garden, and nobody cooked them better than she did, so these are for you, Mom, I’ll enjoy them and think of you…

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Guilt Free Homemade Potato Chips????

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Ahhhhhhh, these aren’t just any old potato chips.  I made wonderful, hot, yummy, totally crispy, NO FAT potato chips.  They are absolutely to die for, and you can make a plate of them for pennies and in just a few minutes. Unlike the Lays Light ones that you pay $3.89 for, these cost you practically nothing and taste LOTS better, too because they are hot and fresh.  Click on this picture and enlarge it, they look even better up close and personal.

I found this recipe a couple of days ago, and last night I made them for hubby.  The man is a potato chip addict, and he was TOTALLY impressed.  He said they tasted like kettle chips, only thinner!  You would never know they weren’t deep fried…

Here’s the scoop on how you make them.  I have a mandoline, the nifty little slicer that you have to be careful when you use that you don’t slice off your fingers, anyhoo, I got mine at Williams-Sonoma, my favorite store of stores, and I use it all the time.  Williams-Sonoma now carries a cheaper version by Oxo since I purchased mine, I’m sure it would work great, and it’s under $40. You just dial it to very thin, so that when you slice your potatoes they come out like, duh, CHIPS!  If you don’t have a mandoline, you can slice them by hand, good luck with that, I’m not really that skilled with the knife, myself.

So, after you slice your potato, don’t peel it, leave the peeling on, and btw, one potato makes a nice pile of chips, you spray either a plate or a piece of parchment or even waxed paper with Pam.  Spray it thoroughly so that the chips won’t stick.  Then you lay one layer of chips on the paper or the plate, spray the chips again with Pam, and lightly sprinkle on salt.  My first batch I sprinkled too much salt, it’s easy to overdo it, just a dusting of salt works perfectly.

Then you put them in the microwave, uncovered,  until they are golden brown and crispy, mine took five minutes.  That’s all there is to it.  Some people do a couple of layers at once, putting paper between the layers, I personally think they come out better if you just take your time and do one layer at a time.  Mine weren’t soggy at all, they were totally crispy.  And the fact that you eat them warm makes them even better…  Just be sure to spray whatever you lay them on thoroughly so that they don’t stick…

So go grab a potato, try this, you will be amazed, I pinkie swear…  You can all thank me later, you’re gonna love these, girlfriends!!! 

No guilt, cheap chips – WHOHOOOOOO!!!  Doesn’t get better than this…

~ jan

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Whirlwind and an agitated little yorkie....

It's a hot, dusty day in Heavensville, but the dried leaves are falling, making it seem almost fall like.

I just took the M&M's out for their afternoon break, it was really windy, the leaves were blowing in whirlwinds, and they were blowing up against Maggie's butt when she was trying to potty.  It happened once, she jumped up, it happened again, and then again, and by this time she was one mad little dog.

She jumped in the air, whirled around and started biting at the leaves and barking at them.  What a site that was. 

It's the simple things....

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