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Posts from ‘April, 2013’

A new recipe and an update from the convalescent ward


HashBrownCrockPot

For quite some time now I have been trying to find a good potato recipe that could be prepared in the slow cooker, especially for Sundays when I serve a ham. I tried this recipe for Hash Brown Casserole from the Eat at Home blog last week and we thought it was very good.

The only changes I made to the recipe were to cut the butter down to 1/4 cup (or 1/2 of a stick) and then to sprinkle some paprika on top of the casserole to make it a bit more colorful. I used a 24 oz. bag of frozen hash brown potatoes and I did thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. I cooked the potatoes for four hours on high in my slow cooker. I liked her tip about cooking some meat on top of the casserole too and might try that sometime.

Rob and I are still recovering from this cold or virus that we have had all week. Our symptoms have included headache, sore throat, facial pain, aches (especially back aches), runny nose, watery eyes, and upset stomach. Fortunately not all symptoms have occurred at once. 🙂 The symptoms seem to vary from day to day or even from hour to hour.

Our typical schedule looks like:
have a small burst of energy and do a bit of work
eat a little something
rest or nap
repeat

We sit across the table at mealtimes rather zombie-like while eating with intermittent breaks for nose-blowing and hand-washing. Our current centerpiece is a box of Puffs with Lotion. The meals served this week have looked like something an elementary school boy would have chosen from a cafeteria--items on the menu are not chosen because they complement each other nutritionally or aesthetically, but because they are convenient and easy to prepare and serve.

We are thankful for a warm cozy home, for the availability of nutritious foods which are easy to prepare, for friends and family who love, care, and pray for us, and for the knowledge that these are just temporary afflictions. This time of illness has reminded me to be more faithful in praying for those with chronic illnesses who must face similar limitations all the time.

Becka


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A couple of new things


I have been writing blog posts in my head for several days now, but haven't had enough energy to sit down and actually write. I've had a bad cold all week and have been doing minimal housework and cooking and a lot of resting. I think I'm beginning to recover, but unfortunately, Rob is coming down with it now. 🙁

I think I have mentioned before that Rob usually bakes something for us every Sunday morning. He was a baker all through college and likes to keep his baking skills honed. 🙂 I saw a recipe for a Pear Puff Pancake on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook website and asked him if he would like to try it since I had all the ingredients on hand. We had never eaten a baked pancake like this before but we both enjoyed it. Rob was a bit alarmed at first when he saw that it puffed around the edges but was sunken in the middle. I had seen other recipes and pictures before and was able to reassure him that this was how it was supposed to look. The only changes he made to the recipe were to use a 9" pie plate and to use drained canned pears. He just warmed the pears a bit in the melted butter and then proceeded with the recipe.

PearPuffPancake

Early this week I got a call from our vet, Dr. Carolyn Anderson from The Cat Clinic, telling us about a very sweet cat who was at the clinic and needed a good home. His former owner could no longer keep him and she was trying to find him a good home. Who could resist a come on like that? We went and met his owner yesterday and were approved for adoption. We went by the clinic today and brought him home. He's about a year and a half old and is very inquisitive and friendly. Nora stopped by with one of the children she cares for and the kitty doesn't seem to be afraid of children, which was something we were concerned about. We have decided to call him Buddy. I'm sure you will be hearing much more about him in the future. 🙂

Here are a couple of pictures of our newest family member:

BuddyWindowApril

BuddyGreenRug

Becka


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A day of celebrations


Our wedding anniversary was this week and since we knew we couldn't do much celebrating on a week day we decided to do some special things last Saturday.

We started the day with fresh, hot doughnuts from Krispy Kreme--a real treat!

Our next event was to go window shopping for cats at two of the local shelters. Believe it or not, we did not come home with one. Aren't you surprised? We did see several that we could have easily fallen in love with, but we restrained ourselves. 🙂 We did find out information which will be helpful when we do decide to adopt a cat or kitten again. We were actually surprised by how many cats and kittens were available or which would soon be available after health check-ups and spay and neutering.

We went out for lunch at Tony's New York Style Pizzeria. We had been there before a couple of times and had gotten their calzone--which is huge. We can split a small one and get two meals out of it. This time I had Chicken Parmesan and Rob got Lasagna. Both were excellent. They also have delicious gelato but we didn't get dessert this time. Tony's is located at 30 Orchard Park Drive if you are interested in checking it out. They do have a pizza slice special at lunch which is quick and also very good. Here's a link to their menu.

Saturday afternoon we went to the Upcountry History Museum where they were having a special pictorial exhibit about the city of Greenville. It was interesting to see pictures of some places in Greenville from the past compared to how they look now. This exhibit was to close last weekend but is being extended for a couple of months. The museum has a lot of information about the local history and has a nice little gift shop with many books and other items from this part of the state. It's also very economical--the cost is only $4 for adults at this time.

Saturday evening we also attended another special celebration--Ryan's second birthday party. Katie made him a little cake shaped like a car with Oreos for wheels. He loved his little cake (especially the tires, which he is fascinated with right now!) but he would not even try one bite of it. He also enjoyed playing with the shiny confetti which was part of the table decorations and trying out some of his new gifts. Since turning two he is talking quite a bit more and it has been fun to hear his vocabulary expand.

We forgot to bring our camera and his other Grandma, Cindy, graciously shared these pictures with us:

Here he is rearranging the confetti.

RyanConfetti

Here he is playing with some of the toys he received.

RyanToys

Becka


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German Week


Our Aldi store has German Week a couple of times a year when they feature German grocery products. This has been German week here in our home. Our German guests, Diana and Uwe, arrived last week. For the first few days of their visit we tried to show them many of our favorite places in the area. One day we went downtown and walked along Main Street and looked for the Mice on Main, walked across the bridge, and visited the Mast General Store.

Here are our guests on the Liberty Bridge:

picture of Diana Uwe Bridge

We spent the second day on campus visiting the bookstore, eating in the Dining Hall, visiting the Art Gallery, and attending a production of the Living Gallery program. They also visited and spoke at Rob's German class and treated the students to some delicious German chocolates. On a wonderful side note I got to meet my blogging friend Deb in the lobby just as we were leaving the performance of the Living Gallery. She, her mother, and her two daughters were here from Virginia, visiting her sister Betty. Deb has a lovely blog called Mountain Musings which you might like to check out sometime.

On Saturday we took them to some of our favorite spots nearby in North Carolina. We visited Carl Sandburg's home in Flat Rock and then drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Folk Art Center where we enjoyed looking at the beautiful craft items and watching a couple of the artists who were giving demonstrations. We then had a delicious dinner at the Moose Cafe at the Ashville Farmer's Market.

On Easter Sunday we had special services at church where we were all blessed by the wonderful music and messages which reminded us of Christ's sacrifice for us. In the afternoon Diana and Uwe visited our local zoo. In the late afternoon Mark, Katie, and Ryan came by for a visit and ate supper with us.

Here is Ryan in his Easter finery "rock climbing" on our neighbor Mary's rock:

picture of Ryan Rock Easter

Monday morning our German visitors left for a few days in Virginia and North Carolina. They will return later this week and then head to Georgia for a few days and then return here for a few more days before they fly back home.

Our German week continued Tuesday evening when our speaker for our monthly Women for Missions meeting was from Germany. 🙂 I was in charge of the refreshments and took spice cookies. I don't think the recipe is actually German, but I did get it from a woman with a German name. I normally make these cookies at Christmas time and cut them into different shapes such as bells, trees, etc. and then frost them in a variety of colors. For this event I just made stars and then glazed them in white. These really are delicious cookies and I hope you will try them sometime.

picture of Christmas Spice Cookies

Christmas Spice Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. corn syrup (either clear or dark)
1 egg
3 cups flour
2 tsps. baking soda
2 tsps. cinnamon
2 tsps. ground ginger
2 tsps. ground cloves

Cream butter and sugar. Add corn syrup and egg. Add baking soda and spices. Mix in flour to make a stiff dough. Chill if desired. Roll out and cut out with cookie cutters into desired shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 mins. Let cool and then frost if desired. I used this glaze:

Glaze
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsps. clear corn syrup
2 Tbsps. milk
2 Tbsps. lemon juice
5-10 drops food coloring if desired
Drizzle on cookies and spread with the back of a spoon. Let dry completely and store in layers with waxed paper between each layer.

I don't really enjoy fussing a lot with cut out cookies and cookie decorating but my daughter Nora has a cookie business and makes beautiful cookies. They are little works of art. You can see some of her cookies on the Facebook page for her cookie business.

Another event for the week isn't really "German" but Rob and I will be helping to set up and serve at a rehearsal dinner for the son of another German teacher this weekend. We will also be attending the wedding the following day.

The final big event is a party for a special little boy who turned two this week. I'm sure I will probably have pictures of that event to share next time.

Becka


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