Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What's For Dinner: Reboot

Originally, I posted this 5 years ago, but after chatting with a blog reader a bit as well as with a couple of friends at work, this seemed to be timely once again. I was going to write a new post, but when I went back and re-read what I had written, I couldn't think of one thing I would write differently.

I still use my master list although I have added quite a few new recipes, but the post is the about same:

This morning I was working on a list for a menu and I thought, "What's for Supper?" and then my thoughts seamlessly continued..."Grandpa?"

"Chicken Fried Steak. Mashed Spuds. Cream Gravy. Buttermilk Biscuits. Black-eyed peas. And Peach Cobbler with homemade ice cream. " Must be said like Grandpa Jones.

 "YUM! YUM!"

Remember Hee Haw? Yes, it was corny, but it was honest to goodness-fun for the family- clean entertainment. And here lately, I've been wishing for a Grandpa like that. You know... one that cooks.

Come to think of it, don't know if I've ever heard of one of those.

Yesterday I read a post from a friend who was bemoaning the fact that it's hard to come up with ideas of what to cook and even if you have a idea, you most certainly will not have the required ingredients to make said meal.

Around here, our big meal is at noon and we call it Dinner. Our 'supper' is generally light:  leftovers or something thrown in a tortilla.

There are days I have it all together and then there are days I do not. However, I figure we can all relate to those 'not' days when you find yourself staring vacantly into the refrigerator and pantry and sighing. You may even have small (or not so small) kidlets clinging to your britches clamoring for their next meal because they are S-T-A-R-V-I-N-G. Those days are a thing of the past around here, but grown kidlets in men's clothing can be just as convincing.

One of the things I have done is make a master list of everything I cook. I have it on the inside of a cupboard door and refer to it on those days I am at a loss. Some things get made more often than others and some only get made once a year, but they are all things we deem as keepers. I'm pretty lucky. My crew isn't picky. They're wonderful guinea pigs although I've made my fair share of "what were you thinking?" recipes. Here's my updated list:

What’s for Dinner?

1. Catalina Salad
2. Hamburgers
3. Hotdogs
4. Hotlinks
5. Sloppy Joes
6. Steak
7. Barbecue Sandwiches
8. Taco Soup
9. Meatloaf
10. Lasagna
11. Layered Mini Lasagna Casserole
12. Taco Lasagna
13. Bolognese Lasagna
14. Crock Pot Pizza
15. Beefy Beans & Cornbread
16. Beef & Cheese Enchiladas
17. Chicken Enchiladas
18. Red Enchiladas
19. Tacos / Tostadas
20. Burritos
21. Quesadillas
22. Steak Tampequena
23. Spaghetti
24. Chicken Fried Steak
25. Smothered Steak
26. Swiss Steak
27. Slow Cooked Pepper Steak
28. Buckaroo Bundles
29. Beef French Dip Au Jus
30. Hamburger Corn-pone Pie
31. Pour-a-Pan Pizza
32. Hungarian Goulash Soup
33. Chicken Noodle Soup
34. Black Bean Sirloin Chili
35. Chili
36. Hobo Casserole
37. Best Ever Potato Soup
38. Stew
39. Chicken Tortilla Soup
40. Chicken Strips
41. Smothered Chicken
42. Stuffed Green Peppers
43. Chicken Spaghetti
44. Chicken Pot Pie
45 .King Ranch Chicken Casserole
46. Chicken & Dumpling Casserole
47. Fried Chicken
48. Ravioli Casserole
49 4-Cheese Chicken Fettuccine
50. Ham & Swiss Stromboli
51. BLTs
52. Pioneer Woman’s Sandwich
53. Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
54. Texas Hash
55 .Salisbury Steak Deluxe
56. Roast
57 .Ribs
58. Venison Backstrap or Tenderloin
59. Chicken Parmesan
60. Homemade Pizza
61. Barbecue Chicken
62. Fajitas
63. Breaded Pork Chops
64. Chef Salad w/ grilled beef or chicken
65. Tortilla Stack
66. Chicken Milanese
67. Parmesan Dijon Chicken
68. Baked Beef Stroganoff
69. Green Chile Pork Stew
70. Smoked Chicken
71. Smoked Pork Loin
72. Brisket
73. Chicken & Rice with Peas
74. Grilled Cheese with Bacon & Green Chile
75. Sweet & Sour Chicken with Peppers
76. Cajun Chicken Fettuccine
77. Bourbon Chicken
78. Quail Soup
79. Dove Fricassee
80. Steak Bites
81. Stir Fry
82. Ham
83. Ham-Pasta-Egg Scramble
84. Zucchini Boats
85. Cajun Salmon
86. Catfish
87. Chicken Salad
88. Frog-more Stew
89. Cheesy Meatball Skillet
90. Pulled Pork
91.Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Now I won't guarantee you'll know exactly what your cooking every single day, but it does seem to help.
I also try to make a menu for each week. Just jot it down on an index card and then you can refer to the recipes when you're making your grocery list. I have lots of cookbooks, but I keep our favorite recipes here.

Friends are another great source and mine are great cooks who are more than willing to share their recipes. Something they're completely sick of making might be your family's newest favorite dish. I'm always looking for new recipes to add to my list so ya'll send 'em this way!

In closing, here's a hint: Keep the ingredients for a Cherry Pie on hand at all times. It's guaranteed to put a sparkle in their eye and stop that tummy from rumbling... at least until the next meal rolls around and if y'all ever find a Grandpa like Hee Haw's Grandpa Jones, send him my way.

We've got folks coming to pick up calves tomorrow and when DH asked them what time they'd be here they said, "Noon." Makes me laugh. Everyone shows up here bout noon. Guess we'll be having company for dinner. I pulled out a roast that I'll cook today and we'll have barbecue sandwiches, steak fries, coleslaw, and strawberry cheesecake for dessert. I'll probably bake some cookies today too so I'll have them on hand to send along for their trip home.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Old Windmill

I love windmills and through the years, heaven knows, I've worked on more windmills than I ever imagined I would. I have learned to read hand signals with the best of them and those of you who are ranch wives and work along side your husbands, know exactly what I mean by that. We become professional mind readers as this wave means one thing and that wave means another, unless it's accompanied by a head tilt then it means the same as the first. LOL. Honestly, we ranch wives have a sense of humor for a reason.

I wish I had pictures from the days when we were first married and we worked on windmills all the time, but it was just the 2 of us and that required all hands on deck. The ranch we lived on had 24 and nary a week went by when we weren't working on at least one. When the wind didn't blow, we had to hook up pump jacks to them and that required a whole other set of repair skills.

Poor DH married a gal that didn't know the first thing about windmills, but I'm a fast learner, although I might have dropped some sucker rod down the pipe once or twice. That won't make any sense to those of you who are not well versed in windmill speak, but in a simplified version, the sucker rods are jointed, and sometimes there were 12 or 15, and you often have to pull them using a block and tackle in order to replace the leathers or fix the check which is seated at the bottom. If you drop the sucker rod before they are connected, then you get to pull all the pipe to retrieve said sucker rod. In other words, this does not make for a happy hubby. Most of you could care less, but for those of you who have a mechanically inquisitive mind, I've included a simplified diagram:

I look back now and laugh, but there might have been a tear or two during those marathon windmill sessions and I think I ought to be awarded some kind of honorary degree since I'm pretty sure I have reached some sort of windmill pulling sidekick status through the years.

I still love windmills though and I have a hard time passing one by without capturing it with my camera:

Thankfully, this ranch only had 2 working windmills on it and we've converted them to solar wells so my windmill pulling days are over.

And you had to slog through all of that for me to tell you that I am working on a windmill once again:

I started this last year, or maybe the year before, but I became frustrated with the chart. I've done a lot of cross stitch through the years, but this chart is printed so tiny - each square is less than an inch - and I just could not keep track of what went where. It may have something to do with my aging eyes too:

but even with a magnifying glass and my reading glasses, I was unpicking more stitches than I was stitching so I laid it aside. Then a few weeks ago, I took the chart to town and had it enlarged for .33 cents.

 Money well spent and I am back to windmilling.

I had to pull a few stitches from when I worked on it previously, but at least I haven't dropped the sucker rod!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The First Week of January

The first week of the New Year was a busy one. After getting over that nasty stomach bug, scrubbing down the house, and putting away Christmas, we made our annual trek to the big city of Dallas for the Dallas Safari Club Convention

Image result for DSC Convention

and survived the chaos that is big city traffic. We stay in the really nice hotel that is attached to the convention center simply to avoid having to deal with the traffic.

Image result for Omni Hotel Dallas Texas

Rooms are highly sought after. They open up reservations on a particular day in February for the following January and every one of the 1001 rooms are snapped up in less than 15 minutes so you really have to be on the ball. It always surprises me how many people we know when we go and I love that DH gets to spend time with his brother. You might be thinking that I go for DH, but I enjoy it as much as he does. It's always good to catch up with these 2 on the left. This is the organization that we chose when we went to Africa. Buzz and Miles are 2 of the genuinely, nicest people you'll ever meet. Buzz, center, is barely recognizable because in his natural state he is barefoot and stalking elephant. :)

Image result for Charlton Mccallum Safaris

They recently got into ranching so they were eager to discuss that with DH.                    
I'm not a shopper, but you can spend a lot of money here very fast.

Image result for DSC Convention

(Photos snagged from Google images because I was too captivated by everything to remember to take pictures)
The only thing we bought this time was some hearing protection. DH shoots so much and he's always worn hearing protection, but his hearing has diminished some and we want to protect what he has left. They are not cheap and he didn't want to get them. He said he wanted to get ME something for my birthday and anniversary and I told him that these WERE for me. LOL.

We spent from 9-5:30 walking through the booths and visiting with people and we still did not see it all. We had to get back home on Friday, but we spent the morning seeing the rest of the convention and revisiting a few of the booths before heading out. When we walked outside, it had started snowing. That doesn't happen a lot in Dallas, but Dallas traffic is scary enough without adding snow into the mix. It took us 2 1/2 hours to drive 65 miles

Most people were driving sensibly, but we passed at least 10 accidents. Thankfully, by the time we arrived back at my BIL's house, the roads were clear. We stopped in to pick up this:

Our taxidermy from Africa has arrived! We cannot wait to dig into it, but we also arrived home at 9:30 on Friday night to 3" of snow. The first thing I reached for were my flannel jammies:

 and this morning it was a whopping -1 below 0:

Chopping ice and feeding come before anything else so the crate will have to wait. We might get to 32 degrees today, but at least the sun's out and it promises to be a beautiful day:

Just ask Skeet:

I don't know if his cause for celebration has to do with us being home or the snow,

 but he is jubilant:

And everyone knows that the best treasures are always buried beneath the snow:

I pulled out some stew meat from the deep freeze and it's simmering away, making the house smell awfully good. Hopefully we'll be able to unpack our crate this evening and begin planning our Africa room. There will be moving of various mounts because we didn't want to mix continents and Africa deserves a room all to herself. LOL

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Quilt Review

It's been quite a while since I sat down with my sewing machine or even thought about sewing, but I thought I'd kick off the new year with a look back at the quilts I  made in 2016. I've added the links to the finished posts for each quilt if anyone wants additional information:

Holly and Vine


Don't Fence Me In


Zoe's Baby Quilt


Rodeo Baby


Butterfly Garden


Breath of Avignon


Lakeyn's Baby Quilt


Safari Quilt


Saddle Up


Ginger Belle


That brings my total to 10, but who's counting. The fun is in this quilt making journey and all of the amazing people I've met along the way. I was hoping to get one more bound, but I've been working on it for a month and it's still not finished so it gets scooted into the first finish for this year, once it's done, even though it's a Christmas quilt.

Now it's time to start thinking about new projects! I've got 8 quilts at the quilter's, and 2 more here ready to add to Jackie's pile. Maybe I ought to just focus on getting those done and not start anything new. Ha! Who believes THAT?! I know. Me neither. But I really don't know what I'll be picking up next. Like everyone else, I'm going to work on using what I've got and I'll see where that takes me. I'll just follow the trail of scraps and if my stash is any indication, I'm about to embark on the never-ending journey. :)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas 2016

Well the last couple of weeks certainly blew by fast! I've not had a minute to even sit in front of the computer. I don't know how ya'll do it over the holidays. We had a house full of company since the 23rd and before that, I was busy getting ready for the house full of company. We had 7 staying here plus a new puppy,  a 2 yr old, 1 bathroom, and  it was wonderful! The kids left on the afternoon of the 26th after spending a morning working on their pistol skills. Around here, 'home on the range' includes the gun range:

I took my mom to Ruidoso for the day on the 27th. That is such a pretty little town, just 90 miles from here and there was just enough snow to make it magical, but not enough to make driving or walking treacherous.

Image result for Ruidoso

On the 28th we were hit hard with a nasty stomach bug. Very thankful it was after Christmas and the kids were gone although DD thinks she brought the virus with her. She was the first to get it after she left the ranch. On the 29th I took my mom to the airport.  Whew. It took a while to get beds put back together and cots put away and then pack away all the Christmas decorations, not to mention bleaching down the house and everything in it.

But I hope ya'll all had a blessed Christmas. I know that we sure did! With little kids and puppies and family, it's always a ton of fun. Here are a couple of my favorite pictures...the tree that our North Camp man brought me was simply perfect. Our ceilings are 9 ft and we had to cut a foot off of the tree in order to squeeze it into place:

And then a few more inches to accommodate the star:

30 years of Christmas memories with a story behind each one:

Christmas with a 2 yr old, especially this 2 yr old, was magical:

And a Christmas puppy that always found a willing lap:

And made himself right at home:

And no, he's not staying here although Skeet thought he was his Christmas present. :)

It's been a while since we've viewed Christmas through the eyes of a little one:

He's incredibly sweet:

And tidy! He put every piece of paper in the trash as he unwrapped each gift without being told:

I tried, but his Mama wouldn't let me keep him:

Our annual puzzle piecing party was a hoot. Our North Camp Man, Dane, is single and he was here so we adopted him for Christmas. Poor fella. Don't think he was ready for the insanity, but then again, he fit right in so I hope he felt like part of the family. At one point, DH told him he was fired due to 'poor puzzle ethics'. LOL.

And I'll leave you with what is probably sums up our Christmas the best. This picture that our girl captured just cracks me up:


Wishing you all a Blessed New Year as you ring in 2017! I think I'll be starting mine with a nap!
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