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Posts from ‘March, 2012’

Another shameless grandma post

DD Nora reminded me earlier this week that this time last year we were very busy preparing for a wedding (and, unbeknownst to us, the birth of our second grandson on the very same day!) This week and actually the last several have been much less frenetic. We have been keeping busy with various and sundry household chores such as defrosting the chest freezer, washing and storing winter coats, changing out winter clothes for summer clothes, planting things in the garden, etc. I don't have any completed projects or new recipes to share, so I thought I'd post a few fairly recent pictures of the grandchildren.

Ryan will be turning one early next week. He is not walking yet but manages to get around quite well by crawling or more often by walking on his hands and feet somewhat like a spider.

He can now hold his bottle and likes to do this even though we still hold him while he is drinking from it:

He loves to play under the kitchen table and will often take his toys there:

It appears that he is considering a future in the military since he spends a great deal of time on the obstacle course:

His latest obsession is with the ceiling fans and we often find him gazing up at them and waving his arm in a circle:

I don't have nearly as many pictures of the other two grandchildren since I don't see them as often. Megan gave me permission to post some photos from her blog.

Drew turned five earlier this month. He also had his first real sickness with a bout of the flu which lasted for over a week. He is much better now and loves his little sister. She doesn't look too comfy in this photo:

Little Maddie is six weeks old already and weighs over ten pounds. When Megan took the two children to the doctor last week the doctor said to Maddie, "You're a lot bigger than your brother." Drew replied, "No she's not!"

All three of them have been a great blessing to us and we thank the Lord for each of them and their parents who are seeking to raise them for Him.


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Busy day dinner

We all have days and weeks when we are especially busy and it's good to have a few recipes that go together quickly and don't need much attention. This is one such recipe which was given to me years ago by my sister-in-law, Deb. Whenever I make it, both Rob and I comment on how good it is and that I should make it more often.

Busy Day Dinner

For two people:
a little olive oil
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 of an onion, thinly sliced
2 potatoes
3 carrots
salt, pepper, garlic powder
1/4 cup water
about a cup of frozen peas (optional)

With the olive oil coat the bottom of a heavy skillet or Dutch oven with a lid. Crumble the ground beef into the skillet. Top with the sliced onion. Slice the potatoes thinly (no need to peel) and then season with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Peel and slice the carrots thinly and then add a layer of those. Pour the water over the top, add the lid, and then cook on very low heat for about 35 mins. (Deb's original recipe said not to peek, but I usually check on this a couple of times to see if I need to adjust the heat.) Add the peas if you are using them and cook for about 10 more minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve with fruit or a simple salad and you have a delicious dinner without a lot of work. It's easy to adjust the amounts for a larger group.

What is your favorite busy day meal? (Take-out doesn't count!)


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A Christmas project

We've been keeping busy at our house for the last few days doing ordinary things. The public schools were off for vacation for two days since they hadn't needed snow days this year and I took advantage of my days off to do some shopping and a bit of organizing. I cooked up most of the last of the fall apples stored out in the garage refrigerator and made about ten pints of applesauce for in the freezer. I've also had some ear and eye problems since my trip which have necessitated a few doctor visits.

While I was up in Michigan last month Rob was busy here at home painting Mark's old bedroom. We had picked out the color earlier but he surprised me by painting it while I was gone. He and Mark put up the bunk beds too. Over the weekend we hung the curtains and a little bunting I made for over the window. There are still several other projects we plan for in that room, but little by little they will be accomplished. Our goal is to implement some storage for craft materials, books and toys into the room as well as a place for the littles to sleep when they are here visiting. Here's a picture showing the new wall color and the black-out curtains (for promoting good napping conditions!) and the plaid bunting I made:

Shortly before Christmas I went to a nearby store where I often purchase thread and fabrics. Judy has a beautiful selection of fabrics and also offers some classes and does long-arm quilting. I was intrigued by a Christmas table topper on display. I purchased the pattern and the kit of fabrics to make it and promised myself that I would begin working on it after I finished the quilt for Maddie. The table topper was fun to make and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I tried to be extremely careful in cutting it out since the yardage was from the kit and I knew it would be very hard to find more of the fabrics if I made a mess of it. They had some samples of the various steps of making the quilt and I took pictures of those to help me remember how to place the fabrics. It's all pieced and basted and just needs a few simple rows of machine stitching through all the layers and it will be ready for the dining room table next Christmas.

Here is the nearly completed table topper:

What kind of projects have you been working on lately?


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A couple of lemons

Before I left for Michigan I juiced some lemons and then froze the juice. Since my return I have used the juice in some salad dressings and in a couple of desserts.

I don't know where this first recipe originated, but my friend Sandy kept telling me that she had made "my" lemon cake and that her family was quite fond of it. I finally asked her for a copy of the recipe for "My" lemon cake and honestly didn't remember making it. 🙂 I did make it recently and it is a good cake.

Lemon Streusel Cake

For cake and streusel topping:

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 pkg. lemon or yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon)
1 pkg. (3-4 oz.) instant lemon pudding mix
1 stick cold butter
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs

For the lemon cream cheese topping:

1 small lemon
1 pkg. (8 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsps. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While it heats toast the pecans for 3-4 minutes.

Grease and flour 9" x 13" pan.

Combine cake mix and pudding mix with wire whisk. Cut the butter into small chunks and work into mixes with a pastry blender until crumbly. Take 1 cup of this mixture and combine with the pecans. Set this aside for the struesel topping.

Add 3/4 cup milk and the eggs to the rest of the cake mixture and beat with electric mixer. Batter will be thick. Spread into prepared pan.

Make cream cheese layer by zesting lemon to get 1 teaspoon zest and juice lemon to get 1 Tbsp. juice. Add to cream cheese and granulated sugar. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Dollop this over top of lemon cake batter. Spread small dollops together to form a thin layer over cake batter.

Sprinkle streusel topping over cream cheese layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 mins. until cake just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and top springs back when lightly touched. Cool to room temperature and drizzle with glaze.

I still had a little of the lemon juice left and made this lemon tart over the weekend.

The filling is very tart and delicious. My crust was not as tender as I would have liked but I did enjoy the almonds in the crust. I made the crust in the food processor as the recipe directs and so far I have never been able to make pie crust in the food processor which is as tender as when it is made by hand. Have any of you readers had success making pie crust in the food processor?


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Another idea for leftover ham

Years ago I attended a rehearsal dinner where the mother of the groom had made meatballs made of ham and cooked in a tangy sweet sauce. They were delicious and I have searched for a similar recipe ever since. I recently discovered this one and it's a keeper.

Ham Balls in Barbecue Sauce

2 eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs (mine were dried)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsps. milk
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
dash pepper
about 2 cups ground ham
about 1 lb. ground pork or ground beef (I used pork)

1/2 cup catsup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsps. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard

In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, bread crumbs, onion, milk, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, pepper, ham, and ground meat. Mix well and form into about 12 meatballs. Place in a greased baking dish.

In a bowl combine the catsup, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp. dry mustard. Pour over the ham balls. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 mins. or until a temperature of 160 degrees.

These can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to one day or frozen for about a month. If frozen thaw overnight in refrigerator. I had frozen mine ahead of time and added the sauce right before baking. I served them with these potatoes. This blog has some great recipes and many wonderful ideas for preparing food for large groups.

Megan and Maddie are continuing to do well. She returns to the doctor tomorrow and hopes he will lower her blood pressure medication even more. She has posted a couple more blog posts this week here and here if you are interested in following the saga. 🙂


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