Month: May 2013

  • A Fond Farewell

    Well, I am tired of not having any photo memory here, and I am tired of not being able to post when I want to, so I am going to stop posting to this blog after nearly 8 years. I’m not going to stop blogging, of course. You can continue to follow my adventures here:

    I am going to post my recipe index here in this last entry, because I want you to be able to find one of my recipes if you want to. It’s been a fun ride. Whoever would have thought I’d be consistent about blogging virtually every day for so many years? Thank you so much for riding with me!

    Recipe Index

    Apple Punch—December 19, 2005

    Bacon-Wrapped Dates—June 22, 2009

    Basler Brunsli (Swiss almond chocolate cookies)—October 24, 2006

    Beef Curry—February 28, 2011

    Birdseed Bars—November 14, 2006

    Boiled Custard—December 24, 2009

    Breakfast in Bags—September 17, 2008

    Broccoli Salad—November 20, 2007

    Brunch Casserole—November 25, 2005

    Butter Mints—December 8, 2005

    Candied Peanuts—November 21, 2005

    Caramel Rice Pudding—September 27, 2005

    Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing—February 28, 2008

    Chai—September 5, 2005

    Cheddar Cheese Soup—December 1, 2009

    Cheese Soufflé—September 11, 2007

    Cherry Cheese Pie—October 19, 2006

    Cherry Crunch—January 31, 2006

    Chicken Enchiladas—January 23, 2006

    Chocolate Fudge (2 recipes)—January 31, 2009

    Chocolate Wiggly—March 11, 2006

    Coconut Squares—April 25, 2006

    Cornflake Cookies—August 29, 2007

    Corn Pudding—October 5, 2005

    Cream Cheese Spread—February 6, 2006

    Crostini (Fresh Herb-Tomato)—June 22, 2009

    Crumpets—August 23, 2006

    Deluxe Potato Soup—December 12, 2005

    Dinner in a Pumpkin—November 1, 2010

    Dump Cake—December 12, 2005

    Dutch Apple Pie—November 20, 2007

    Dutch Oven primer and stew recipe—November 7, 2006

    Easy Elephant Ears—October 20, 2008

    Éclair Dessert—November 16, 2005

    Ethiopian Injera—March 1, 2012

    Freezer Ice Cream—October 27, 2008

    Fruit Cobbler—March 29, 2006

    Ginger Scones—January 3, 2006

    Gluten-Free Flour Blend—January 12, 2013

    Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free Flour Blend–May 18, 2013

    Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free Bread–May 18, 2013

    Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas—March 1, 2010

    Golden Divan—November 20, 2006

    Granola Bars—September 8, 2005

    Grits Puff—November 13, 2008

    Guacamole—November 27, 2007

    Guyanese Coconut Roll—October 10, 2006

    Hot Chocolate Mix—October 24, 2005

    Hot Cross Buns—October 19, 2005

    Hot Punch—December 21, 2005

    Jamaican Meat Patties—September 27, 2006

    Javanese Chicken Dinner—July 16, 2007

    Korean Marinade—January 21, 2006 & November 20, 2007

    Lasagna—September 22, 2006

    Lemon Curd—December 4, 2006

    Mahogany Cake—October 7, 2006

    Mango Chicken Curry—November 7, 2012

    Meringues—February 19, 2006

    Molasses Spice Cookies—October 14, 2005

    Nacho Cheese Dip—November 29, 2006

    Nshima—August 18, 2006

    Oatmeal Walnut Bars with Chocolate Filling—October 8, 2009

    Orange Sherbet—July 4, 2011

    Parmesan Cheese Straws—November 10, 2005

    Peanut Butter Fudge—November 4, 2005

    Pepperoni Pizza Bread—October 8, 2007

    Pimiento Cheese Spread—May 6, 2010

    Pink Punch—May 5, 2008

    Pita Bread—March 28, 2008

    Poached Eggs in quantity—September 8, 2008

    Preeni’s Chocolate Dessert—May 22, 2006

    Pumpkin Butter—November 21, 2008

    Pumpkin Cheesecake—October 23, 2006

    Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes—January 17, 2011

    Pumpkin Soup—September 24, 2005

    Quiche with Shiitake Mushrooms—January 19, 2008

    Red Lentil Stew—February 20, 2013

    Rye ‘n’ Injun Bread—October 6, 2008

    Sakeji Rice Cakes—March 15, 2006

    Scottish Shortbread—November 1, 2005

    Sicilian Cheese & Chocolate Layer Cake (April 2, 2012)

    Six-Layer Cookies—December 1, 2005

    Sombrero Dip Casserole—March 1, 2006

    Spaghetti Sauce—November 9, 2006

    Spinach-Artichoke Dip—November 27, 2007

    Spinach Salad—May 6, 2007

    Supreme Scalloped Potatoes—September 13, 2005

    SweetMarieBars—February 8, 2008

    Taco Casserole—April 1, 2010

    Taco Rice—December 31, 2007

    Taco Soup—February 2, 2008

    Toffee Fruit Dip—December 6, 2006

    Turkish Delight—November 12, 2005

    West African Groundnut Stew—April 7, 2006

    White Chocolate Bread Pudding—April 3, 2006

    Ziploc Omelets—May 24, 2006


  • Into Darkness

    Today was a struggle as I am still fighting a cold–but I believe I am finally winning, so let’s hope I can make up for lost time on the wedding preparations.

    The big event of the day for me was going with Lina to see Star Trek Into Darkness this afternoon. We are HUGE Star Trek fans here and had been looking forward to this movie with great anticipation.

    We weren’t disappointed. The only problem is that I can’t discuss it in detail because I wouldn’t want to spoil any of the delightful surprises for anyone else. So all I can do is complain about one thing, and that is that we were forced to watch the movie in 3D because that was all that was showing at the time we were free to go. I know I’m an old fuddy-duddy, but 3D really annoys me most of the time. It’s so irritating to have parts of the screen out of focus so much of the time. I would really like to see this movie again in good old 2D!

    Mercy has been gone almost all day helping a friend celebrate her birthday. One of the things this involved was making a cake. She made a cake and then split it into two layers. Between the layers went a layer of ice cream, so it looked like a giant ice cream sandwich until I put the icing on it. I hope the birthday girl liked it!

    My brother Matt called me this evening. Since my brothers very rarely contact me, it is a huge deal when I get a phone call from one of them. Even better is the news that all three of my brothers will be at Mary’s wedding, and that two of them will be driving their motorcycles down from Indiana and Ohio to be here!

    Mary and Spencer are at a concert bonding over music. Hope no one gets hurt this time–Spencer’s hand and wrist finally seem to be fully healed!

  • Multiple Allergy Recipe!

    Yesterday I’m pretty sure something happened, but sleep seems to erase my short-term memory these days. One thing I did was go to get gluten-free ingredients to make a gluten-free flour blend. I LOVE my normal gluten-free flour blend, but I can’t use it this time because we are expecting guests who can’t have gluten, dairy, corn, or soy. So, this is the new blend I am trying:

    Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Corn Free, Soy Free Flour Mix

    8 parts white rice flour

    5 parts brown rice flour

    5 parts garbanzo bean flour

    4 parts tapioca starch

    3 parts sorghum flour

    3 parts amaranth flour

    2 parts potato starch

    ½ part xanthan gum


    Once I had my flour blend, I made a new version of my GF bread recipe:


    Gluten-Free, Corn-Free, Dairy-Free Bread

    3 cups gluten-free flour blend (with xanthan gum included)

    2 teaspoons kosher salt

    1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

    ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

    2 Tablespoons sugar

    1 ½ cups warm water (not too hot)

    ¼ cup vegetable oil (not corn oil, obviously)

    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

    1 large egg


    Combine dry ingredients in bowl of mixer. (A stand mixer works best for this.) Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then beat the batter well for at least 5 or 6 minutes. The mixture should be pretty stiff and sticky, but not hard. If it seems too stiff, add more water a tablespoon at a time and beat some more.

    Grease or spray a loaf pan no larger than 9×5 inches. Scrape the dough into the pan. I spray the top and then press it down into the pan with a plastic bag to make sure it fills the corners.

    Cover and place in a warm place for at least 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375°. It may take up to an hour for the dough to rise so that it is at least half an inch taller than the pan.

    Bake for 45-60 minutes. The outside will be brown and crusty. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out on a rack to finish cooling. You’re not supposed to slice it till it’s cool, but we sometimes just cut off a couple of slices and eat them hot with butter! Makes good toast.

    I have to admit, I still enjoy my “normal” GF bread recipe more–but this is pretty good considering everything I had to leave out.

    In the afternoon we had a visit (see–I knew something happened!) from Mary’s friend Sarah and also from Becca, another friend who was visiting from Colorado. I’m so glad they were able to come over for a few hours during Becca’s brief visit. I met Becca back in 2008, the first time I took the kids to Colorado for their annual “moot,” and since then we have been in touch by Facebook. We had a nice chat over supper before they had to move on to visit another friend.

    We watched a movie last night, which was kind of irresponsible of me, but on the other hand I have been fighting a cold all week so I doubt I would have been very productive anyway.



  • Still Here

    Sorry posting has been patchy lately. I sometimes can’t get on the internet (for no apparent reason) and often even when I can get on the internet, Xanga won’t let me post. This is Thursday’s post.

    Yesterday I tried to get stuff done but it was difficult because I really was not feeling well at all. The main thing I accomplished was to begin the job of rearranging the schoolroom to make a little space for Jasper to sleep on an air mattress once Jordan gets here. My sewing room closet just is not big enough anymore and besides I am using my sewing room a lot at the moment!

    In the evening my husband treated us to a power point slideshow of his trip to China with his dad two and a half years ago–the trip taken after his dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and wanted to visit China one more time. It was the first time for most of us to see the photos because he spent so long organizing them and writing up his journal of that trip.

    We had another dress fitting and I think I have a pretty good idea of what alterations are necessary, so maybe today even I might be able to do some drafting on the pattern in preparation for cutting out the actual dress tomorrow!

  • Ripped Off

    Well, it was the second disappointing day in a row. Just before lunchtime, I checked into my online banking in order to record some transactions, and I saw a transaction that made my eyes almost pop out of my head. Supposedly I had bought something from yesterday for $495! Naturally, I was concerned. I called Best Buy and they claimed they had no idea what I was talking about.

    So I went to the credit union, because I had something else I needed to talk to them about anyway. I had a few questionable charges on my other account. Turns out, I had to cancel my debit card on that account. They recommended that I call Best Buy again and see if I could find something out.

    I came home and spent over an hour on the phone with Best Buy. This time they were able to find the transaction, which had taken place on Monday right here in town. The person who made the purchase didn’t even pretend to be me. Then, he/she picked up the merchandise later (10 minutes later!!!), which shouldn’t have been possible because you’re supposed to show photo ID and also the card used to make the purchase when you pick it up.

    So, what I was told was that I had to report the whole thing to the police here in town, but that first I should cancel my debit card (the one that I hadn’t already cancelled.) So, I may actually have to resort to writing checks for the next couple of weeks. Then there ensued a conversation with a very nice policewoman who took down my information.

    I’m not at all sure when I might get my money back. I was reassured, however, when the policewoman called back a couple of hours later. They had got Best Buy to tell them the exact time of the transaction and the exact time the order had been picked up. They wanted to let me know that they had sent an officer to Best Buy to pick up the surveillance tapes that covered the time in question. So, maybe they will be able to nail the person who did this to me. Meanwhile, I lost at least three hours out of my day and it was miserable.

    Still fighting a cold, still trying to sew, doing some housework here and there.

  • This Can’t Be Good

    Last night I suspected that I was getting sick. Lucy, Jasper and Mercy have fallen victim to very serious colds in the last couple of weeks, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I also succumbed.

    At least I got to sleep in this morning. Jasper wanted to make me a belated Mother’s Day breakfast in bed, and I was more than happy to humor him. With Lina’s supervision, he made me a feast which included eggs, sausage, hash browns, and yogurt. I had a leisurely breakfast while reading my book and then got ready to head to the fabric store.

    I was rather shocked when I saw the price of satin, compared to what the online store charges. However, the exact kind of satin I wanted happened to be not only in stock, but on sale for 30% off, which brought it sort of into the realm of affordability.

    The elderly lady who cut my fabric has been working there for many years. Working beside her was another lady who has worked there a long time. I have often wondered if the two ladies were related, because there seemed to be a definite familial resemblance there. Today I found out that they are indeed related. The lady who served me today is the other lady’s mother. Her 86 year old mother–still going and still sewing! She is remarkably vigorous. In fact, she does not seem old enough to be her daughter’s mother!

    I had some things to do when we got home, like pack up the gauze and have it ready to be picked up by UPS. Then I got a call from a friend who wanted to make a cloak. She needed to borrow a pattern. If you were going to make a cloak, I bet you’d call me too.

    Late this afternoon I got an email from the online fabric store saying they were going to ship me some replacement fabric right away. I fired off a response begging them to pull the shipment as I have already replaced the fabric. We shall see what happens!

    I kept going all day by taking cold medicine and lying down until it took effect. Then I’d get up and get stuff done until the meds wore off and I had to take more. In this way I got quite a bit of sewing done on the mockup for Mary’s wedding dress and we had our first fitting tonight. It does need some alteration, especially since Mary has lost so much weight, but nothing too drastic.

    Speaking of Mary, we had a belated birthday dinner for her tonight. We made one of our favorite meals, which happens to be gluten free, and Lina also made a very rich gluten free chocolate cake, which I topped with mocha icing. It was delicious, but very rich and filling.

    I also finished my book today. I have been reading the book Trek, by Paul Stewart, which my friend Angie loaned to me. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I’m a sucker for a good survival story. Make the story take place in Africa, and it’s even more attractive. This is a story about 2 Englishwomen and 2 Englishmen who go off on a world-class road trip together in an 8 horsepower Morris Minor in 1955, driving from Kenya to England via the Sahara desert. None of them knew each other before the trip. Of course, they soon became very well acquainted.

    The book gets off to a rather slow start, but the author’s constant hinting of tragedy ahead kept me reading because I wanted to know what happened. It was fascinating to read about the details of taking a road trip across Africa in the 1950’s. In some ways, I think it might have been safer and easier then than it would be today. By the time they got to the Sahara I found it hard to put the book down. I was so absorbed in their predicament that I hesitated to open the door to my house–I suppose I expected to be met with a blast of searing desert heat.

    The story was not just a survival story. It was also a coming-of-age story for one of the participants, a 17 year old boy. It was also a cautionary tale showing how a man with a strong personality can persuade very smart people to do very stupid things. It was a classic illustration of how one bad decision leads to another until the situation becomes life threatening. It was a compelling drama and I highly recommend it.

    Please pray that this cold will only be a cold and not develop into another sinus infection. I am faithfully taking zinc and vitamin C and irrigating my sinuses. I cannot afford to be sick!

  • Fabric Fail

    We had a nice Mother’s Day here yesterday. I spent a restless night sleeping on the couch because we arrived too late on Saturday night for me to inflate the air mattress topper on my side of the bed and I really need it to be able to sleep in comfort. Lina got up and made a great breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, sausages, orange juice, and hash browns.

    We didn’t make it to the first service at church, but we were there in time for the second service. After lunch, I had a glorious nap while the kids went shopping for supper ingredients. They also brought me some lovely flowers and some cheese. Yes. Cheese. I do believe I prefer cheese to chocolate.

    We made my favorite salad for dinner–the one with the spinach and the chicken and the feta cheese and bacon and strawberries and walnuts. It’s gluten free! And so was our dessert of fruit and ice cream.

    Today I had to do the big shopping at Walmart, and then we made some cupcakes for 4H because we couldn’t remember if we had signed up to take food or not! We had to be at the 4H meeting early because it was a surprise farewell party for my friend Tammie, who is stepping down as our leader. We took the big black foam board I had got and some silver markers for people to write notes to Tammie. What we didn’t take was the cupcakes! But that was all right–there was plenty of other food.

    It was a nice party and I got a lot of knitting done. 4H seems to be my best knitting time! It was the last meeting of the school year, where new officers are elected. To Lucy’s horror, she was nominated for secretary and voted in. I believe she will someday be glad for this experience!

    I returned home to find a box in my sewing room. Apparently the fabric for Mary’s wedding dress had been delivered over the weekend while I was gone. The only problem is that I ordered two kinds of fabric: chiffon and satin. The chiffon is exactly what I wanted and I am happy with it. The other fabric is most certainly not satin. In fact it is cotton gauze–something completely different and not suitable for this wedding dress. So, tomorrow morning I go to the fabric store to see if they have some satin I can use, and I also send back the overpriced and useless gauze!


  • We sang this hymn at church this morning, for the first time in many years. It was one of my favorites as a child, and in fact I want it to be sung at my funeral. Not that I’m in any hurry!

    Saved By Grace

    Fanny Crosby

    Some day the silver cord will break,
    And I no more as now shall sing;
    But oh, the joy when I shall wake
    Within the palace of the King!


    And I shall see Him face to face,
    And tell the story—Saved by grace;
    And I shall see Him face to face,
    And tell the story—Saved by grace.

    Some day my earthly house will fall.
    I cannot tell how soon ’twill be;
    But this I know—my All in All
    Has now a place in Heav’n for me.


    Some day, when fades the golden sun
    Beneath the rosy tinted west,
    My blessèd Lord will say, “Well done!”
    And I shall enter into rest.


    Some day: till then I’ll watch and wait,
    My lamp all trimmed and burning bright,
    That when my Savior opens the gate,
    My soul to Him may take its flight.



  • Catching Up

    I actually took my computer on my trip, thinking that I might post updates on our adventures. Ha! That was a hilarious miscalculation. I never even had a chance to take the computer out of its case.

    Lina and I left here right about 6:00 a.m. on Thursday. We stopped briefly for breakfast and then kept going because we wanted to be in Memphis as soon as possible. I have a cousin who lives in Memphis. I had not seen my cousin Mark since 1987. I had never met his wife or his four children. So, since it was just Lina and me and there was no urgent need to arrive in Nashville early, I had arranged to stop and see my cousin and his family.

    We misunderstood our directions the first time and ended up crossing the Mississippi three times in quick succession, but eventually we found the right house. I have a wonderful family. We were greeted with enthusiasm and we had a lovely visit with Mark and his wife Teresa before heading on down the road toward Nashville.

    My aunt and uncle were off celebrating their granddaughter’s birthday, so Lina and I stopped for supper near their house. Then my aunt texted me that she had left the house unlocked for us, so we went on up to their place and Mary soon joined us there. It was Mary’s first time to see Lina since her return from Zambia.

    We had a lovely visit with my aunt and uncle that evening before Mary went back to her apartment. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “the hostess with the mostest,” I’m pretty sure it was coined to describe my aunt. We had a guest room with every comfort and were showered with little kindnesses throughout our stay.

    Friday morning we were up early again after a restless night. My aunt had breakfast ready for us and even had snacks for us to take to the graduation. We had arranged to pick up Mary in a parking lot near Vanderbilt so she could show us where to park for graduation. Of course, the closer we got to Vanderbilt, the more congested the traffic became. Hundreds of formally dressed pedestrians were threading their way through the cars in an effort to get to graduation on foot. We crawled past Vanderbilt at a slug-like speed and failed to find Mary. It was 8:10 and graduation started at 9:00.

    Eventually we realized we had gone too far and I called Mary. She had us turn around (much, much harder than it sounds) and we began heading back the other way at a speed of about one inch per minute. By the time we finally found Mary, it was 9:00 and the parking garage was full.

    Lina dropped us off in front of the gym and went to find alternate parking while Mary and I made our way to “section F.”  Section F was apparently the only section that still had any seats left in that 15,000 seat arena. It was kind of overwhelming to be in a building that size and that full of people, although I have to admit there were plenty of interesting sights, including a lady in a lovely dressy outfit and high heels, who had both sides of her head shaved and a towering Mohawk sprouting from the middle of her head.

    Mary and I felt so relieved to find some empty bleachers until we sat down and realized that the reason the seats were empty was that they were right behind the stage (which was screened off) and also behind the gigantic scoreboard, which effectively blocked our view of the jumbotron which would have been the only way for us to view the festivities.

    So, we made the best of it. If Mary sat on the very end of the bleacher, she could see about a third of the screen. Sitting next to her, I could see only a narrow strip. In contrast to LeTourneau’s graduation, which is dignified and solemn, Vanderbilt’s ceremony was barely contained chaos. Nobody made even the slightest effort to be quiet. Everybody was talking. People came in and out constantly. Some returned with food and drink. Lina never joined us at all. She watched the whole thing from overflow seating.

    After the first hour, Mary told me that she had come up with a new definition of “love.” We did get to see Jordan for a split second when he crossed the screen. He graduated summa cum laude with a double major in math and computer science. For an old lady, the hard backless wooden bleacher was excruciatingly uncomfortable. I could barely hobble away after three and a half hours when the cannons finally shot out some metallic streamers and the mortarboards went flying into the air.

    We found Lina eventually and then made our way to the building where we were to meet up with Jordan and his family. I finally got to meet Jordan’s stepmother. We were all herded down to a distant lawn where we were to be treated to strawberries and champagne. Mary and Jordan and his brother and wife got separated from the rest of us and it was impossible to find them among the thousands of bodies crammed into what is normally a rather spacious lawn.

    We finally reached the strawberry shrine–a huge canvas pavilion with crystal chandeliers and tables piled high with strawberries. The tables’ corners were adorned with silver urns of powdered sugar. I know there was champagne somewhere, but we never saw it because we got tired of the noise and the endless crush of humanity so we picked our way through the crowd and walked back to the building we had started from. The younger folks met us there and we were treated to a very Southern lunch–chicken, rice, black beans, greens, and cornbread.

    After that, Jordan and his family had places to go, so Mary and Lina and I went to see Mary’s apartment (and to let Lina change into jeans) before taking off for Centennial Park so that I could fulfill my decades-long dream of seeing the Nashville Parthenon, having seen the original on the Acropolis back in 1970. It was very imposing and I really regretted not taking my camera. I got a few shots on my phone, but it’s not the same!

    We finished up the afternoon by hanging out at one of Mary’s favorite coffee shops while we drank our hot drinks (a very peppery chai for me). We dropped Mary back at her apartment and then returned to my aunt’s house, where we had a few minutes to rest before Mary returned in Jordan’s car and we sat down to a sumptuous dinner. It was so enjoyable just to visit together and tell family stories. I adore my family.

    Mary eventually left to pack and Lina and I tried to get a good night’s sleep before the long drive home.

    My aunt had a wonderful hearty breakfast for us in the morning and then Jordan brought Mary and before we knew it we were saying goodbye to my aunt and uncle and Jordan and we three girls were headed out of Nashville. There had been some talk of going to see Graceland when we got to Memphis–just to say we had. Well, we couldn’t afford the tour, and when we got there we realized that we couldn’t even afford to park there!

    So we just drove past the mansion with its tacky pink gates and then stopped at a souvenir shop where Lina bought some postcards and a refrigerator magnet. The rest of the day was long but I was just so happy to be with my two girls on a road trip. We had supper at a restaurant in Texarkana where we were waited on by an adorably sweet and respectful young man who also happened to be very heavily tattooed. When we left, he called “God bless!” after us.

    After supper we followed signs to the right highway but soon realized we were going north instead of south, and after several attempts to return to our planned course we just gave up and came home through Louisiana. We didn’t make it home until 11:40 p.m.!

  • I’m Back!

    I tried to post on Wednesday but Xanga wouldn’t let me. Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. Lina and I left for Tennessee and we returned late Saturday night. An account of our adventures will appear here at some point after I have had some sleep!