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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Being Prepared.. Spiritually




End Times.  Tribulation.  Three Days of Darkness.

*gulp*

I was raised a Southern Baptist so it's in my DNA to be scared of 'The Tribulation' which I think is the baptist version of the 3 Days of Darkness.  What's in a name? :)  It's still scary to think about!  Regardless of what flavor of Christian you are, we all agree that the End Times are going to get QUITE ugly.

Doing lots of online reading...I didn't know about blacking out the windows.  You know, (not that I am an authority by any stretch of the imagination... this is only my opinion), but I believe God will provide for us whether we are ready for the 3DOD//Tribulation or not.   God is loving and merciful.  And as long as we love and serve Him and are in a state of Grace then we've really nothing to fear anyway, you know?  :)   Though I do think we should be prepared.  

I am wondering what the official church teaching is on this.   I don't believe that God wants us to freak out and worry.  We should continue going to mass and frequent confession and love and serve Him as He wants us to.   We are encouraged to have home shrines, blessed candles, have our homes blessed, and use Sacramentals, as that's what they are for is to help us.    They are little gifts to us from God.  Not good luck charms as the power is from God and not the items.  What comes to mind is what the priest says in mass...  

"Deliver us, O Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Our Savior, Jesus Christ."

 Isn't that what we 'should' be doing?  Waiting in joyful hope? :)

Sacramentals are part of our armor to keep evil away from us and out of our homes.  Stuff we should have on hand anyway. :)   



A biggie that everyone needs.. Blessed salt..  get several boxes of it... add a pinch to things you cook.  Not for seasoning but for the blessing that is in it.  I do it for everything I cook here.  Whomever eats your prepared food will be getting blessed and not even realizing it.  Blessed salt and holy water are powerful Sacramentals!!  When your difficult child (teenager) is not at home, go in there and spritz their bedroom with Holy Water and pray out loud... I have done this several times myself, in our home.  Hubby and I rarely argue, but when we do, I use the holy water.. and bless the house and sprinkle the blessed salt and pray through the whole house.  You will be surprised at the difference it will make.
I have a pie safe I use as our home shrine.  One of the reason my pie safe works well as a shrine table is I can store my candles and incense and matches and everything else inside of it.  You can find them used... we got ours free.  Yes you can use any table surface but you need a place to store your things so they'll be safe and not broken or messed up.  And where you can easily find them when you want them. 
My pie safe (shrine table) contains blessed candles, blessed salt, holy water, blessed medals, and so on.   As I pick them up, I get blessed medals and prayer cards and try to get them all blessed.  I keep all blessed things together.  When I find copies of the Catholic bible or the Catechism I pick them up... thrift stores are good.. and I want to make sure I have them for every member of the family and then pick up more as I can for loved ones and friends.   In the world we live in, we need to be "armed"!!   Rosaries, rosaries, rosaries!!!  Even the "cheapie" ones... better than nothing!!  Get them blessed and have them put up to give to someone who has nothing and will be grateful to have it in their hands.  I do believe the day will come we will not be able to buy catechisms anymore...  the country is already so far from God...  just frightening.  We need to be ready!  So even those free little prayer cards and stuff you get in the mail... save those.  St Benedict medals, St Michael the Archangel medals, and The Miraculous Medal... and most of all the rosary.  Even the little cheapie ones that are like .50c are powerful.. have them blessed and keep them on hand!  OH!!  Brown scapulars!!!!

If you have a Mary Garden or such...  roses or plants that you've planted in Mary's honor, or if you have existing plants and wish to use them to honor her,...  you can use cut flowers and dry the petals to make potpourri.. Roses, lavender, garden sage, cedar, (those are the ones I know about) can all be used.  Oh and I think marigolds and violets.  Dry them as potpourri, and then if you want to burn them like as an incense you can.  I use a large shell but you can use any heat proof dish... even a Terra cotta pot... and put about an inch of sand in the bottom and then one of those lighting charcoals specially made for incense, not the kind you grill with. Get it lit and when it's going good you can add your dried flowers and leaves and it makes a lovely natural incense.  :)   Another thing... when you prune roses... take all of it... flowers, stalks, leaves.. everything... and put into a big pot with water and simmer it for hours... make your own rose water.  Pour into bottles and you can have it blessed it you want to, or you can use a little of it when you rinse your hair. :)  It smells good!!  If you have it blessed and use a little in your hair then it's like a little blessing for you. :)



As far as some of the herbs mentioned in 3DOD sites..... I think it makes sense to just grow it yourself.  You can dry it and store it.  Seep it in blessed oils.  Put into your dehydrator.  Stuff like that.   When you have plenty and have "enough to share" you can use in teas, tinctures, oils, or with your dried potpourri items you use as "homemade incense" for prayer. :)  Again, just my ideas and thoughts.


So, if I am so "trusting" in God, then 'why' prepare?  People have harvested and stored food since the beginning of time, in preparation for winter, hard times, etc.  Where we live, we prepare for hurricanes.  I don't know if a hurricane will hit us or not for that season.. but I will have food and water stored just in case for my family.  But not only physical needs should be met.  More than anything, we need to be concerned for our Spiritual needs.  How do YOU prepare for your family?  I'd love to hear any ideas or thoughts. :)

+JMJ+

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Southern Duties, Love, Pride, and Magic Bags of Tricks



First, one must understand that as a Southern woman, I do dearly love to cook.  Most of us ladies here do.  We pride ourselves on our "specialties".. and take great delight in being "famous" for our particular dish.  (mine is baked beans... also known as the "Kumbaya Beans".  LOL)  I can't tell you how I make em.  My own secret recipe.  But I am quite proud of my title as the reigning "Bean Queen".  Oh, yes I am!  LOL

Anyhoodles,.. here in the South, food = love.  So as much as I dearly love my family and friends, I am constantly cooking.  Full bellies = happy folks!   This thinking is in our blood.. in our very DNA.  

Lately, however, I have taken the "slacker" way out.  Sandwiches.  Leftovers.  One pot "throw together meals".  Picking up a box of fried chicken from the Publix Deli, (which when sliced makes delicious fried chicken sandwiches).   I have been lazy as sin in the kitchen.

Last night, hubby was whinin' and complaining.  "There's no cookies!  No cake!  No goodies!"   He said it in that wounded husband voice that reads in my mind as "If my dear wife LOVED me, I'd have baked goodies to eat."  (followed by a wounded hubby face... adding to my guilt.

So this morning I started out by frying chicken... followed by corn pones, (served piping hot and with real butter).... then some yellow rice to eat with the chicken... fresh green beans from my Momma and Daddy's garden cooked with bacon (of course), fresh sliced garden tomatoes, a loaf of zucchini bread, (zucchini is also from the garden), and over 3 dozen cookies, (I used peanut butter and some cranberry granola).  Also (of course) fresh brewed sweet iced tea, (also known as 'the House Wine' here at our house).

Two downfalls to this tale.  Mr. Picky NOW reminds me that he doesn't 'like' zucchini bread.  Grrrr.  Fine.  More for me and the kids to enjoy.  Also.. got it hot in here with that oven going.  I usually hate turning my oven on with summer heat... but sometimes, 'you just gotta'.  :)  A toaster over just does not do the same job.

My kids love home cooked food.  They are forever asking me, "Mom!  Where'd you get THIS from?"  (always some ingredient I found in the back of the pantry or hiding in the freezer and just decided to do something with, or add it to something we usually eat, thus adding some interest.  They are always, without fail, completely impressed.  (which makes me amused and happy too, I admit!)  And I always reply the same answer.  "Oh, just something I had in my magic bag of tricks."   I think Robyn is convinced that such a bag actually exists, and she'd LOVE a peek inside!  LOL!!

Back to business.  ;)  The recipe to the corn pones is ridiculously simple.
  
Self-rising cornmeal, Boiling water, Oil or lard for frying.  That's it.

Nothing in this recipe is measured. Depending on the amount of cornbread you want to make, pour cornmeal in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over cornmeal and stir quickly. Batter should be very thick. Drop by rounded spoonfuls into hot cooking grease. Fry until golden brown. Turn em' and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels (I use leftover brown paper bags from the grocery store) and serve hot. Similar to Hush Puppies, only better.  Good with butter or without... trust me we will eat them happily either way.

The Zucchini Bread is 2 cups self rising flour, 1 cup sugar, a good shake of cinnamon, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup shredded unpeeled zucchini, 3 tbsp. vegetable oil (or melted butter), a half cup (or so) of pecans, and a little milk.  You want cake batter consistency.   I add the pecans last, and you don't 'have' to have them.  Its just how we like ours.  Pour it out into a greased bread pan and bake at 325F for 60 - 70 minutes til it's nice and golden.  Let it cool a bit before you attempt to turn it out onto your cooling rack.  Then just let it finish cooling there.  Yummy eaten like cake or you can put cream cheese on it if you want to.  Quite good with tea or coffee. ;)

I am almost embarrassed to explain the cookie recipe.  I started with 2 cups self rising flour, a cup of brown sugar, a good shake of cinnamon, and a big scoop of peanut butter... probably about 3/4 cup worth but to be fair I did not measure it.  I worked the peanut butter in.. and found that I had no eggs.  Terrific.  I remembered that mayonaise is nothing but eggs and oil, so I added some til it got to the right "cookie dough" consistency, (stop making faces these turned out pretty darn good), and then lastly I dumped in about 2 cups of cranberry granola.  Mixed it all up good and rolled it into balls and put on UNGREASED cookie sheets and baked at 350F til golden.  Don't ask me how long.. LOL I have no idea.  Ten minutes maybe?  I don't know I just baked til they were done. :)  Robyn was a little grossed out that I used mayo in the cookies but she sure does like them.  She said, "You can't even tell there's mayonnaise in these, Mom!" :)   See?  Old Mom always knows a trick or two. ;)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Banana Cranberry Bread Recipe

Banana Cranberry Bread Recipe


I double this recipe, and pour into a 9 x 13 pan instead..
Ingredients


* 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
* 1/3 cup melted butter
* 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* Pinch of salt
* 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
and a handful of Craisins!!


Method


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and put the mixer in. Add the flour last, mix at high speed until it's velvety. Add a handful of Craisins and hand-stir them in. Pour mixture into a buttered loaf pan. Bake until golden. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve. We like cream cheese on ours!! :)

How to Make Bread for Fasting


How to Make Bread for Fasting

A recipe used in Medjugorje

I have this posted so I can find it, :) but anyone is welcome to copy it and use it. :)  I got it from


  http://www.medjugorjemir.org/bread_for_fasting.htm

Fasting is good for the soul and the body, I hope that Lent is will not be the only time for us to do it.  If you want to know more, please check out 

 http://www.medjugorjeusa.org/fastingmessage.htm   


It's excellent! :)  And also here:


Ingredients

3 cups white flour
4 cups wheat flour
1 pkg dry yeast or three tablespoons of active yeast
1\2 cup of lukewarm water
2 cup of very hot water
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of butter
1 cup of raisins (or fresh apple cut up into small pieces)
1 cup of almonds or walnuts
1 cup of Plain Oats

Blend flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour. After yeast dissolves in1/2 cup of lukewarm water (5-10 minutes), add to flour. Mix flour over yeast mixture making soft balls. Add salt, sugar, butter, oil, raisins (or apple) and nuts, 1/2 beaten egg to 2 cups of hot water. Pour over yeast. (Continually add flour and water as needed) Knead the dough until it comes clean from the bowl. Let it raise 10 minutes covered. Knead again until it has spring on it. Place in a well greased desired shapes. Brush the top with remaining egg and sesame seeds, oats, or poppy seeds, if desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, until done and golden brown. (Use the “wet knife” test) Make 2 larger, or 3 medium loaves.

The quality of bread depends largely on the kind of flour used. A mixture of whole wheat flour and white flour can be used.

On fasting days it is crucial to drink a lot of water. Our Lady did not specify weather it should me hot or cold water, or give any other details of this sort, so each is free to decide these details for himself, in full freedom, from the heart, and according to the condition of his health. Fasting is easier when we ask God the day before for this grace, since to fast well is a grace we should not take for granted. As we ask our Father for “our daily bread”, let us humbly ask Him also for the gift of fasting on bread and water. To fast with the heart increases the power of our fast against evil, divisions and wars.

Here's another:

Oatmeal Bread for Fasting
By Deanette Pease.

"I thought I would share with you an awesome bread recipe. It is great for fasting. This recipe will make two loaves. This bread takes 4 hours from beginning to end. The bread also freezes very nicely. It was taught to me by an 86 year-old prayerful Italian woman. If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer the kneading goes easier." 


Oatmeal Bread
Add 2 tablespoons of dry yeast to 1/2 cup warm water and let stand for 10 minutes (good yeast foams up)
In large mixing bowl add (mix well):
2 cups oat bran flour
3 1/2 cups white flour
1 flat tablespoon salt
1 cup quick (not old fashioned) oatmeal
Make a little hole in the center of your bowl before adding:
dissolved yeast
2 eggs beaten (eggs should be room temperature)
1/4 vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup of honey, maple syrup or light molasses (your choice)
3/4 cup of warm water (Add water little bit at a time, when bread is dry add a little more, if too soupy too much water, no fear - can always add a little more flour to stiffen up the dough). Roll onto floured surface and knead into a large ball. Place in a lightly oiled large bowl to let rise for 2 hours (on a warm place preferably). Cover with spray-oiled plastic wrap and let rise. Then when risen, punch down and roll onto floured surface again and split the dough into two balls. Roll flat and shape into elongated rolls and place in an oiled bread pan. Cover again with lightly spray-oiled plastic wrap. Let rise again for about an hour. When dough rises to just above the top of bread pan, (a rounded look), you can take egg white and a little water and brush lightly on top of bread and sprinkle quick oats on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then lower temperature to 375 degrees for another 35-40 minutes. When bread is nicely browned and the top taps hollow sounding, take out and cool on wired surface. Tip: Let bread cool a bit before slicing or even better yet at least a couple of hours. Enjoy and good fasting to all!

My Own Crockpot Recipes


These are all "tried and true" recipes that I make.  I will add more as I have time. :)


Crockpot Easy Beef Stroganoff  (crockpot)

2 lb. stew meat or round steak
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
Pepper
Noodles

Put stew meat in crock pot, coat with lots of black pepper. Cook for 2 hours on high, stirring occasionally. Add cream cheese and cream of mushroom soup. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 hours or 2 hours on high. Add milk to reach proper consistency. Serve over cooked noodles or rice.

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Chicken Chili  (crockpot)

Inspired by my sweet friend Angela!  She came to visit, and she likes chili, but not a beef eater.  So I made Chicken Chili. We were so surprised how good it was.  I hope you will enjoy it too.  Mmm we have added this to our list of favorites!


In the crockpot, add in two 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes.
In a food grinder, grind up about 2 lbs of chicken meat.  We used half chicken breasts and half thighs.  All boneless and skinless.  Brown the chicken meat in a large frying pan (I used my cast iron) in a little oil until fully cooked.  Add it to the crock pot, along with a chopped onion, minced garlic, two cans of dark red kidney beans, one can of whole kernal corn; drained, and a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes.  Add chili seasoning to taste, and corn masa (that you make homemade tortillas with) to thicken.  Sorry I don't know the measurements of either... I just put in what looks right.  It's easy to add a little more and adjust it later.  I shake in a little blessed salt and stir it all up.  Put on HIGH, and go to church. :)    

When you come in from mass, your chili is hot and bubbling and waiting on you.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Yummy topped with grated cheddar cheese, or crackers, or corn bread.  :)

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Italian Beef  (crockpot)

This recipe was given to me by my friend Amber. (Thanks Amber!) This is so easy!  


Just buy a cheap pot roast, Throw it in the crock with 2 bullion cubes (I used the beef granules) and several pepperocini peppers (I use about 7) and about 1/3 cup of the pepper juice and one cup of water (this is NOT HOT OR SPICY). I also chopped up an onion and added some minced garlic. Cook on LOW for at LEAST 8 hours (I cooked it 11 hours because I went out, but it was just fine)  until it shreds into strings easily.  Taste it, and you can always add a little more of the peppers if you want, or, like me, I added a little more of the beef granules.  My friend says you can add anything to this. Maybe some au jus. Also good on mashed potatoes, noodles, rice.   It's one of those recipes you can add anything to - mushrooms, tomatoes, green veggies. Leftovers make great beef soup. I boiled some red potatoes "whole" and we're going to eat some of the beef over potatoes for dinner.  We were starving when we came in from church, and we spooned some into a hamburger buns and had it for lunch.  Made the bun mushy, but it sure tasted good. :)  I'm sure hard rolls or crusty bread of some sort would have been better.  Don't be turned off by the peppers.  I am a coward with spicy stuff and I love it.  :)  My friend's little granddaughter loves it, and so do my kids! :) Enjoy!!

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Spaghetti Sauce (crockpot)


Talk about the height of laziness.. LOL Now y'all can see how bad I really am! :)  You can make this and serve over pasta, or, if you're watching your carbs, spoon it over cooked spaghetti squash.  It's absolutely dellish!!

Night before: Dump 1 lb (or more) of ground chuck, 1 whole chopped uponion, & a teaspoon or so of garlic, & put into a huge microwave-safe bowl, & nuke it in the microwave for about 5 minutes or so. Take out, chop it up, stir, see if it needs to cook anymore. If its still pink, pop in for a few minutes. Once it's all done, drain off all the grease.  (I have been known to put mine in the colander and RINSE it to get all the grease out.)  Set the bowl of cooked meat in the fridge, & go to bed.  If you want it meatless, skip that step.  You can use vegetarian meatballs or TVP instead. :)  Or.. just go with the sauce itself and add more veggies.  

Next morning, whip out your handy dandy crockpot. (our secret weapon!) Dump in the bowl of meat & onion. Add TWO, 28-oz cans of crushed tomatoes (I use organic only) & a good shake of Italian seasoning. Add mushrooms (the darker, the better),or black olives or even broccoli or zucchini if you feel froggy. Put on the lid, & go your merry way.  Cook on low for at least 8 hours.  

That evening, cook your spaghetti noodles & ladle on the sauce. Nummy.

Now then... WHY I used crushed tomatoes instead of prepared spaghetti sauce? Easy. Prepared spaghetti sauce is full of sugar & filler, and Heaven only knows what else. This is healthier & Tastier. :)  I call this my "Earth Mother" spaghetti sauce. 

Bon appetit!

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Crockpot Lentil Soup (Vegetarian)

1  1 lb sack of lentils, washed and drained and carefully picked over
1 large onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 vegetarian bouillon cube
2 or 3 carrots, scraped and sliced
2 stalks of celery thinly sliced (optional)
1 can of diced OR stewed tomatoes
1 tsp of basil
1 bay leaf
4 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything in your crock pot and cook on high for about 6 hours.  Taste it, and adjust seasoning. :)  After it's cooked, make sure you pick out the bay leaf! :)

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 Crockpot Baked Potatoes:

I got this from my friend Karen's list.  Thank you Karen!  

"Here's an "easy" way to make baked potatoes without using the oven.  Put 1/4 cup of water in a crockpot and put in as many potatoes as you like (scrubbed of course)...no poking necessary btw.  Put it on low and let it cook all day, and at dinner time you have a crock full of the lovely goodies!"

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White Bean Soup (meatless)

1 sack (16 oz) of White Northern Beans (you can use any bean I guess, this is just our favorite)
Soak overnight and pick over. Rinse and dump into your crockpot the next morning.  Cover with water... about 2 inches over the beans.   Add 2 bay leaves, 2 bouillon packets of your choice, a large chopped onion, minced garlic to taste, and about 2 or 3 carrots scraped and sliced, (I use about 15 baby carrots cut into thirds)   You can probably cook on low for 8 hours, but I've never tried that.  I cook mine on high, and if I turn it on first thing in the morning, it's done by lunchtime.   For the bouillon, I've used veggie bouillon put out by Knorr, but our favorite is to use 2 of the small packets of Goya Ham Seasoning.  You can get a small box of it at Food Lion, and it has (I think) 6 packets in the little box.   It adds a nice ham taste but is still within Church definition of "meatless".  :)   If you make a double batch, you can have it again the next day with diced smoked ham or cooked sliced sausage added. :)    Added note:  Some folks add a can of diced tomatoes to their soup.  I never have.  
Enjoy!

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+JMJ+

Susan

Oven Recipes

These are just but a few of my most requested oven recipes.   I hope y'all enjoy. :)



Leftover Grits Casserole with Chives

2 cups leftover cheese grits
3 chopped scallions
1 cup egg substitute or three beaten eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (reserve 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup bacon bits or three slices cooked bacon broken into pieces

Mix first three ingredients and stir in 1 and 1/4 cups of the cheese and the bacon bits. Spray casserole with non-stick spray or olive oil and pour grit mixture into casserole. Top with grated cheese and some additional chopped fresh chives. Bake in 350 degree oven about 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

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Yeast Rolls (bread machine)

Ingredients
 1 cup water
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 eggs
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons yeast

Directions
 Place all ingredients in above order in bread machine.  After dough cycle completes, remove and shape as rolls, placing them in a pan lined with parchment paper.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Brush tops with butter prior to baking (I use about 2 tbl spoon melted margarine).  Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown, on the highest rack possible in your oven.  Brush the tops with honey butter to give it a slightly sweet taste, as soon as you get them out of the oven. Now eat, and enjoy!

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Nancy's Pumpkin Bread 
from my friend Nancy Widener :)  Thanks Nancy!  (and folks you can find her blog at http://benotafraidnancy.blogspot.com/

‎2 1/2 cup flour, 
2 1/2 cup sugar, 
2 tsp baking soda, 
1 tsp cinnamon, 
1 tsp salt, 
1 tsp ground nutmeg, 
4 eggs beaten, 
1 cup veg. oil, 
1/2 cup water, 
1 15 oz can pumpkin (NOT pie filling). 

Mix thoroughly and pour equal amts into 2 loaf pans that have been sprayed with Pam. Bake about 1 hour. Cool 30 min.

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White Soda Bread
4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Method:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  Lightly grease and flour a cake pan.
In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.  Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)  Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.  Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot).  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.   The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.  Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

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Snickerdoodle Cookies
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Coating:
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until smooth (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. If the dough is soft, cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls (one hour).  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Shape the dough into 1 inch round balls.

Coating: In a large shallow bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Roll the balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on the prepared pan, spacing about 2 inches apart. Then, using the bottom of a glass, gently flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick.  Bake the cookies for about 8 - 10 minutes, or until they are light golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Can store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 10 - 14 days.  Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

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Best Rolls Ever

1 cup warm (but not hot) water
1/2 cup butter OR oil (whatever you have)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast  (or 3 and a half tsp jarred yeast)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-3/4 cups self-rising flour

In a large bowl add the water, yeast, sugar, salt, melted butter OR oil, and the egg.  Mix well.  Add in half the flour and mix well, then add in the rest of the flour.  When it's all mixed good, pour it out onto a floured board, and sprinkle with flour.  Don't knead it, but sprinkle with flour enough so you can work it and make it into about 12 balls.  Placed them on a greased baking sheet and let rise for 30 minutes.  If they don't look like they' risen, don't worry about it.  Bake at 400 til golden, and brush tops with butter if desired.  These are nice for dinner, or anytime. :)  We like to take leftover rolls and split them open and add a piece of sausage for breakfast. 

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Corn Pudding

My daughter Amy has loved this and asked for it since she was big enough to talk. :)

1 can cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1/4 cup milk
3 tb Sugar
2 eggs
2 tb Cornstarch


Preheat oven to 350~. In a lg. bowl, mix together all ingredients. Pour mixture into a greased 2-qt. casserole. Bake for 70 mins., until firm and golden.

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Fancy Chicken

SAUCE

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
3/4 teaspoon salt
juice of one lemon (3 tbs juice)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 whole chicken breasts skinned and boned (we like to cut them into cubes)

Preheat oven to broil

In large skillet, mix together sauce ingredients.  Cook over low heat until butter has melted.  Place chicken in a shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over chicken.  Broil for 30-35 minutes or until done.  Serve over rice or noodles

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Frenemy



I've been trying to think how to put all of this.  I cannot sum up a 'many-years' long friendship in just a few paragraphs, but I hope I can be clear enough..  I guess we'll see.

I had a friend, for a very long time, who allowed me to be myself, was my confidant, and as close to me as a sister... and every chance she got... she used me.  

I loved her like a sister.  Trusted her.  Confided things in her.  Boy was I stupid.

There were a lot of things.  Firstly..she rarely came to my house.  There was always a reason.  She didn't have gas, or "just couldn't", (whatever that means), or it was just "easier" for me to come to HER house.  (I had kids, and her only child was grown and gone).  Then it was that she "couldn't talk the way she wanted to" at my house.  Translation is she couldn't talk about personal things, or swear as much as she liked.  But she had no problem getting me to drive out to her house, which was about 17 miles one way.  Several times I drove out, picked her up, drove all over the place to everywhere she wanted to go, and then took her home.  My husband was not pleased by all the gas I was burning up.   But she didn't mind one bit.  Ever.  She never did the driving in all the years of our friendship.  Not once.

The final and last excuse she used for not coming over was that she felt my husband had lustful feelings for her.  Trust me, he didn't.  He was being nice and paid her a compliment once, in front of me.  I thought my husband was being very nice and thoughtful to her.  She took it as he was openly hitting on her in front of me, and acted mad that he was just so "insulting" to me "right in front of me".  Whatever.  Any excuse to not spend a drop of gas driving to my house.  All she did was make my husband feel bad for having been complimentary to my friend...  his comment had been kind and gentlemanly.  Not at all what she was making it out to be.

Once she bought jewelry for herself behind her husbands back and had it shipped to my house.  She'd bought it from a coven of witches.  The item was "haunted" and "blessed" by the coven.  Knowing my feelings about spiritual things, she shipped it to me anyway.  When it came, she couldn't be bothered to come get it, and wanted me to "deliver" it to her.  My fear of having such an item in my house she found funny, and felt I was over-reacting.  When I finally took it to her, I watched her take it into her back yard with her special water and wave her hand over it and said some sort of incantation over it.  That scared the hell out of me.  When I asked her what was going on, she told me she considered herself a "kitchen witch".  

This "friend" called the shots.  And I let her.  She chose when I came over, and what time I was allowed to call.  She had me drive her to certain places, so she wouldn't use up her gas.  If we decided to have a yard sale, and she saw something of mine she wanted, I gladly just gave it to her.  If she had something that I liked, then she wanted to charge me for it.  This went on for years... one way or another.  As I grew in my Catholic faith, she grew in... whatever 'felt good' at the moment.  Even bad stuff, I am afraid to say.  And she was very, very defensive about it.  She wanted everything she 'thought' to be accepted.  But if I mentioned something, such as "40 Days For Life", she snorted, made this little bemused face, and said "no thanks" like she thought it was a joke and trying not to laugh.. even though I knew that she is against abortion.  Why were my views such a joke to her?   

She had a bad habit of putting a price tag on everything.  I wanted to say, "So what?!" but I didn't.  I don't believe on putting a price tag on friendship.  But she did.  And it hurt me.  But still I said nothing.  I don't know why I just wanted her approval.  But I did.

She and I had opposing opinions on different things.  Which was fine with me.  I don't actually expect everyone in the world to agree with everything that I think.  But she would get LOUD in public, and make fun of things that I liked.  She mocked things that I liked to my toddler, encouraging her to repeat things back contrary to what I liked... I guess just to get my goat.  I'd ask her to stop, and she continued... and when I got upset, she made sure that I knew that "I" had offended "her".  I was supposed to take it, and like it.  If I didn't, then she said that I "embarrassed her".   

A few years ago we were shopping.  We went into a small mom and pop store.  I purchased something for my grandmother, and got a gift box for it.  When she saw that I got a box, she literally RAN up to the counter and insisted on boxes for all her purchases, even ones that were NOT gifts. Never mind this was a small store and they have to pay for those boxes.  She only cared that they were free and got them BECAUSE they were free... I was so embarrassed I could have died.  But I said nothing.  Then she started carrying on with some strange man in the store..  she got so LOUD I was humiliated and walked away from her.  When we got outside, I had a strange moment... I am not proud of myself but after putting up with this kind of thing for so long.. I'd just HAD IT, and I chewed her out.  I was not loud.  And no one else was on the sidewalk.  I said what I needed to say, and she acted like she agreed with what I said.  We went into another store, and she didn't say a word.  We got back to my house, (I know.. RARE moment), and my sister called.  I can't remember what it was about, but I do remember that my sister was upset, so I talked to her, maybe five minutes.  I did not think this was a big deal, since my friend regularly took long phone calls whenever I visited her, and she certainly never minded making me wait.  My bad.  She was offended.

A few days later, on a public forum we were both on, she publicly stated how she supported homosexuality and gay marriage and was proud of her paganism and basically dared anyone to say a peep to her.  She posted this, on a Christian forum.. and knowing it is against my religious beliefs.   I did reply, and told her that I was not against gay people at all, but I felt that no one had the right to redefine marriage.  The equivalent to this would be if I went on a pagan forum, aired my views, and challenged anyone to disagree with me. She then emailed me privately and informed me that I was "NOT ALLOWED" to reply to her, and proceeded to chew me up side and down the other.  How I had embarrassed her and how mean and closed minded and unaccepting I am.  How she pitied how my husband lusted after her, and how her "religion" was "equal" to mine.  (huh?) We didn't talk again for a few years.

A mutual friend contacted me.  My "best friend" had been talking major crap behind my back. Twisting everything.. making herself look like some poor abused victim.  I could barely believe what my eyes and ears where telling me.  It was like I'd fallen down the rabbit hole into bizzaro world.  How on earth could a rational person twist things like this?  It took everything I had to ignore this.. not say anything.  Let it go.  It wasn't easy.  To this day I have not let on that I know what she was saying behind my back.  What good would it do?  None.  Another year passed.

She started emailing me again several months ago.  She acted like she wanted to give our friendship another try.  I tried explaining that her paganism scares me.  She "just doesn't get why".  About a month ago, we were supposed to meet at a funeral of someone we both used to know.  She sent me a text.. TELLING ME what time she expected me to be there.  Not asking.  Telling me like I'm too stupid to know how early I should be there.  I was unable to go, as my child was ill.  Did she even ask how my child was?  Sure.. two days later.  Like an afterthought.  Why should she care?  Not her kid.  As long as I followed her directions and showed up when and where I was supposed to be.  Same old "friend".  Nothing has changed.

Why am I having such a hard time just cutting her off permanently?  Why do I keep going back for more?  She is nice and fun and understands my "quirks" (most people don't) and never made me feel like I'm weird, (most people do) but then she starts her manipulation and "friend bullying" and selfishness.  Am I so pathetic and desperate for a "friend" that I put up with anything?  Am I just a doormat?  With a "friend" like this, I don't need any enemies.  Trust me.