Friday, August 27, 2010

Favorite Casserole

One of the things I was most scared about when I got married was the cooking.  The very idea of planning a meal every night was so intimidating to me and I was sure I would fail miserably at it!  I was much more of a "baker" growing up, and only when Mom went away would I attempt cooking.  My brothers and dad always seemed to be ok with and seemed to enjoy any cooking I did. Usually after the meal the conversation would go like this...
Me:  So what did you think
Guys:  It was good
Me: But did you like it
Guys:  It was good
Me: Should I make it again
Guys:  It was good

I am seriously laughing my head off as I type this!  It really didn't go like that but it kinda sorta did!  To them it was food and it was good.  That's all that mattered.  I could usually tell if they really liked it though.

Thennnnnnn I got married and thankfully, my husband is the world's most unpicky eater!  At least for hot cooked food that is.  Not so much a dessert man because he's not fond of fruit.  Any dessert with fruit in it is out of the question except apple pie.  He loves apple pie.  Do you have any idea how hard apple pie is to make?  I wouldn't know because I've never tried to make it, but the thought alone is intimidating!  Another very good thing about cooking for my husband is that after living on his own for 10 years and surviving on Burger King and Subway for supper and the occasional ring balogna and ice cream, he was thrilled to have a cook in the house.   I think he married me so I would cook for him!  Just kidding!  But he did hear my fears about cooking and pretty much shattered them....

I absolutely LOVE cooking for this man!  He loves anything I make and lets me know how much it means to him that I cook for him.  He loves when I try new things.  One day as he was leaving for work, I warned him that I don't know how supper is going to turn out because I'm gonna experiment and throw some things together.  He said "Go for it!  I can't wait to come home and see what you made".  I don't even remember what I made, but I do remember that it WAS good.  I really need to start writing my experiments down so I can make them again!  I love twisting recipes around and making them my own.  Bottom line...I pretty much love cooking.  Ok, I do get sick of coming up with meals all the time but the good thing is that Hubby loves leftovers too!  One meal lasts us 2 or 3 so basically I cook about 2 or 3 times a week!

I'm not really a casserole person but do love a few of them.  One of my friends brought this as a meal after one of my miscarriages and we both loved it.  I looked around in my cookbooks till I found a similar recipe and now I make it alot.  Not every week alot, but probably like every month!  I also make it for the old couple I take care of.  In fact I just made it today and that's what made me remember that I had wanted to blog about it.

I love when people post recipes with pictures.  I also love when people post simple recipes on blogs or facebook etc.  That's why I thought I would  put this on here.  It really is so simple and delicious...

6 Layer Casserole (taken from Weavertown Cookbook)

Start out by peeling a few potatoes.  I usually do about 5 potatoes and also whatever veggies I want.  I often use beans or peas instead of carrots.  For these pics I used carrots because that's what the recipe calls for!

While I'm peeling veggies, I also am frying the hamburger.  Don't ya just love being a woman and being able to multitask?!

The fun thing about this casserole is layering everything. Layer a bunch of potatoes, then the carrots and then some chopped onion. And another thing I LOVE is that you don't have to cook the veggies!

Then the hamburger, a sprinkle of pepper,
and then a layer of Velveeta cheese slices

After that use a can of cream of mushroom soup and put it over everything.  Then I also sprinkle some parsley on it.

Doesn't it look so pretty from the side?

Then cover it and pop it in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours
Mine got a little burnt but we like it crispy!
Enjoy and keep it simple!

6 Layer Casserole
2Cups Potatoes
2Cups Carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef, fried and drained
Velveeta Cheese slices
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup

Layer ingredients in order given in a casserole dish.  Bake at 350* for 1 1/2 hours 

Tea Party

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win a tea party giveaway, from one of my favorite blogs. This site is chock full of all kinds of gardening tips and helpful advice. 

Funny thing is, Esther was also my Home-Ec teacher in high school and I can remember learning lots of good things from her.

If you ever get the chance to have enjoy her garden...go for it!  Her backyard is beautiful and so peaceful.  You can tell that flowers are her passion, not to mention all of the fun little goodies she finds here and there!

Esther had just finished hosting a twilight tour and had had ots and lots of strangers and friends milling about her gardens.  When she hosted the giveaway party, the gardens were in tip-top shape.  We got to enjoy the surroundings of her hard work.  Like the cozy gazebo.  Seriously, it looked so dreamy and romantic and were it not for the fact that I would be scared of breaking the old fragile antique bed, I would've laid down for a short snooze!

The company was fun too.  They were all ladies I kinda knew but a few I hadn't spent time with in a long time. 

We had an enjoyable evening chatting and discussing all kinds of things... and eating...oh yes eating!

Esther not only has a knack for gardening but also cooking.  She served a simple, yummy, elegant feast.  My favorite was the dessert (of couse).  I so wish desserts were as healthy as veggies!   A scoop of moose tracks ice cream over a chewy chocolate cookie, and topped with hot fudge sauce.  Oh my but it was so so good.

Perfect way to spend a summer evening!  Thanks Esther!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Weekend Getaway

I don't like when my husband works Saturdays.  I don't complain though because it's nice not having to stretch the paycheck as much.   Besides, he's making up for times this winter when work was slow.  He's usually home by 3 or so when he does work on Saturdays so it could be worse, but I still would rather have him home with me!

So a few weeks ago, on a Saturday, when my husband was at work, my doorbell rang and there was this sweet old man handing me a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  I ripped open the note...

I was so thrilled!  I had always thought it was soooo romantic when a husband did this kind of thing for his wife and now my husband was doing it for me.  Totally out of the blue. 
This is my puzzled face.  Definitely not a mad face although looking at it now, I think I look a bit irritated.  But for real, I was puzzled and tickled!

We headed out and made some stops along the way.  One of them to MacDonald's to chill with a mocha frappe....mmmmm.  Then we had to fill our tire with air.  I sat in the car and sipped my frappe while hubby dear did his manly duty and made our chariot ready.
My hubby was determined to keep our destination a secret as long as possible and kept his mouth shut even in the face of true adversity!  As soon as we headed east, I assumed we were headed to Philadelphia or somewhere around there.  It doesn't get much more "east" than that unless you want to drive for a few hours and head northeast or southeast.  Ok..I'm getting off track...We did end up in Philly.  Brad reserved an executive suite at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. 
Brad said that it actually wasn't as great as the website made it seem, but we did have a lovely room!  The executive part meant that we had full access to a 24 hour snack bar on that floor.  We did help ourselves to some goodies and then got bagels and fruit there in the morning for breakfast.

It was such a lovely weekend of refreshment and just enjoying each other.  We watched movies and talked and laughed and dreamed and just enjoyed being together. 

I never dreamed married life could be this good.  It feels so good to have someone love me unconditionally and who challenges me to be my very best.  He shows me in sooo many ways that he loves me.  He empties the dishwasher every morning if it is full.  He tells me every day that I am the most beautiful woman in the world.  He listens when I pour out my heart and holds me when I cry.  He makes me talk when something is bothering me.  He tells me every day that he loves me! 

I am so glad the honeymoon stage doesn't have to end!

I love you babe! : )

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trash to Treasure

I love Tuesdays. 

Ever since I started working at Farmersville auction, I've been collecting all kinds of treasures.  You see, anything that doesn't sell, we as workers get the option of taking it for free.  Me, I am a sucker when it comes to free stuff.  I spot poor lost items and they seem to call my name. 

So a few weeks ago, these old desk ends ended up on the "no bid" pile.  Poor dejected things.  I wonder what their history is?  Right away I thought that they would make a good planter stand.

Too bad I don't have a picture of them before we did anything but they really didn't look any different.  I didn't really do anything to them other than get my hubby to make a seat, back and top of old wood.  He also fastened it on pieces of wood to keep it sturdy.  See, I wouldn't have thought of that!

Hubbys are so handy!  I like to try and do most of my redo things on my own but sometimes it just needs manly help!

My  hubby has the brains to know how to put together the things I see in my head!  Guess that's what marriage is all about...working together!

It turned out just likethe picture in my head.  All except the long flowy plants.  Next year I will get plants before they are all picked out.  I envision plants trailing off of it, down the sides.  At least these plants I picked up were buy one, get one free!  Not a bad look for $2.25!

Who says trash can't become treasure!

It's Tuesday and I'm off to the auction again!  Wonder what will be calling my name today?!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Parents for a Coupla Days

Is it seriously August already?  Where does the time go?!  

A few weeks ago I told my nieces and nephews that they should come to my house for the night sometime.  I usually like to have them at least once over summer vacation.  They promptly informed their mom and I that they want to be here LONG, not just one night! 

Without even a second thought I said oh yeah, that would be so much fun! Maybe you guys should come for a whole week!!

Well, till all was said and done, they ended up coming for 2 nights and 3 days.  Ummm...can I just say that looking back, I'm so glad it didn't work out to have them longer?!

 Don't get me wrong, I love children, and these especially!  But I so was not prepared for the changes it would bring!  3 days without facebook, reading story after story, watching Diego and Dora and shouting along ( I think I have the map song memorized!), playing games, a constantly cluttered house, and stuff everywhere!
It was fun though and I enjoyed most of it.  The games, stories and videos I was prepared for.  The clutter and exhaustion...not so much!   One night I dropped into bed and asked Brad if this was how it was going to be when we have children!  We laughed and talked about how our lives will definitely change, but at least they will come one at a time!

Brad and I took them to a Reading Phillies game.  What fun!  They loved it.  We stayed to watch the fireworks at the end. 
During a pitcher change a clip from the old TV show He-Haw came on and we all sang along at the top of our lungs!  Mom and Dad have a bunch of the videos and the kids like watching them.

They also went to work with me on Friday.  I am a caregiver for an elderly couple.  The couple I work for enjoyed having some "life" around there and I think it's always good for children to be around the older generation!  They did get a little bored till the end of the morning but had a great time.

Children bring so much joy to my life and I hope and pray that one day Brad and  I will be parents to our own children.  They are exhausting, full of energy, make the bathroom all messy when they take baths, want drinks in the middle of the night, and love hearing the same story over and over.  But when they throw their arms around you and give you a hug, or whisper prayers with you at night time, it makes everything else disappear.  Who needs facebook time and a few moments of silence when a child calls your name?  I would give anything to be able to feel my little girls arms around my neck, and have a feeling I wouldn't even see the clutter on the floor.

Make some memories and cherish your kids....