An Apron and a Recipe, Both From my MIL

My husband’s mother was one of the world’s best mothers-in-law. She went to heaven almost 7 years ago, and I miss her greatly! I’ve mentioned before that Mom G made aprons for me; she also shared plenty of recipes. Today’s post highlights one of each that holds a special place in my heart.

 

Back in the 1990s, it was popular to decorate one’s kitchen in a theme, and my theme was cows. Mom G found some adorable fabric scattered with glow-in-the-dark cows. She made an apron and a “bag bag” out of that fabric for me, both of which I still have and use to this day, although the fabric’s glow-in-the-dark property has disappeared. (Ha! I made a funny punny!) In case you’re wondering what a “bag bag” is, it’s a tube of fabric with elastic at both ends, with a loop at the top for hanging. You stuff your plastic grocery sacks inside it, so you can pull one out when you need it. I forgot to take a pic of the bag bag, and I’m not going to mess with it just now. I’m feeling lazy.

 

 

 

 

What was I cooking up the day I wore my MOOvelous apron? The casserole recipe that Mom G gave me; it is the perfect one to make for supper on a day when you know you’ll be working hard and won’t feel like cooking when you get home. The beauty of it is that you put it together at least 8 hours before cooking, so when dinner time rolls around, all you have to do is toss it in the oven. It’s also perfect to prepare for a new mother or a full-time caregiver. All they have to do is bake and eat! The name says it all:

 

Make Ahead Casserole

 

2 cups cooked chicken (or other meat, or meat substitute)

2 cans cream of whatever soup

2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)

2 cups dry macaroni or other pasta

2 cups vegetables, chopped if needed

1 small onion, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups shredded cheese

 

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan. Mix together all ingredients except cheese in a large bowl.  Pour into prepared pan; sprinkle cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for one hour.

 

 

The recipe is easily halved; that is what I did on this day, so that Some Postman wouldn’t have to eat it every night for the next two weeks. A 9 x 13 casserole is a LOT of food for one person! Since our birdies flew the nest, most of the time I make two half-recipes – one meaty and one non-meaty – using 7 x 11 or 8 x 8 pans. That’s another great feature of this recipe; it’s versatile. You can use whatever cooked meat you’ve got on hand (you can see I used ham above). For myself, I substitute sliced mushrooms or frozen meatless crumbles or black beans. Any flavor of cream soup can be used (hence the term “cream of whatever soup” in the ingredients list above). Any type of pasta can be used, although I wouldn’t recommend spaghetti. The vegetables can be frozen, fresh or canned, and whatever you have on hand. Whatever cheese you’ve got handy will work, too. I love recipes like this – it’s really a basic formula that can be put together in countless flavor combinations!

 

Here is the casserole ready to be covered and placed in the refrigerator. I completely forgot to take a photo of the baked casserole, and it has long ago been eaten up, so you’ll have to make one of your own to see what the finished product looks like.

 

 

I’m a rather forgetful blogger, aren’t I? Well, at least I remembered to post today!

The Tortoise and The Hare

My little grandson Boo came over to spend the day this past Saturday. In lieu of a nap, we sat in Grammy’s reading chair and went through a stack of books. One of our selections was The Tortoise and The Hare. My posts on this blog have been so few and far between, I feel rather like that tortoise. Or maybe I’m more like the hare…running along full speed, then suddenly falling over to take a nap just near the finish line.

 

So…I’m a tortoise AND a hare.

 

This outfit was worn weeks ago, but I liked it, so I’m going to tell you all about it. If I can remember.

 

 Merona tee – thrifted

Gloria Vanderbuilt shorts – thrifted

Dansko shoes – Zulily.com

 

Pooka was helping me take outfit photos that day. She’s my little helper dog! We do almost everything together.

 

 

If memory serves correctly, and that’s iffy these days, I found this tee at a yard sale. Or it might have been Goodwill. OK, I really don’t remember, except that I am SURE that it was thrifted. What I do remember for sure is that the instant I saw that sweet little bird and branches, I knew that this tee was going home with me!

 

 

What did I do the day I wore this outfit? I think I must have gone grocery shopping, because I added a bit of jewelry to make it special. This bracelet was given to me by my adopted mother-in-law. She really belongs to Sister L, but she allowed Sister B and me to adopt her, since B’s MIL is kind of a B, if you know what I mean, and my dear MIL lives in heaven now. Thank you, Momma L!

 

 

Stars and Fish, but not Starfish

As I sit at my desk writing this blog entry, I’m wearing jeans and my hair-coloring tee shirt. Because eventually, I’m going to wash that gray right outta my hair. My body is feeling so very sluggish today, and it is taking me forever to get anything accomplished. I might not make it into “real” clothes at all today! Ah well, days like that are to be expected.

 

Way back on May 25th, I did put on real clothes and wore this to church that Sunday:

 

 Mossimo dress – Target

Michelle D flats – thrifted

Vintage fish pin – antique shop

 

 

This isn’t a sailor dress, but it seems nautical to me anyway, what with it being blue and covered in stars. Are fish nautical? They don’t go boating, but they do live in the water. So the fish pin fits the quasi-nautical theme of this outfit. As do red flats. Not the least bit nautical, yet they “go” anyway.

 

And now I’m off to put another load of laundry in the washer, and then to the bathroom for a date with L’Oreal. Which may actually be a very bad idea…the washer has been misbehaving lately. It would not be good if it begins spewing water from the exhaust hose again, especially if I’m in the  middle of rinsing Medium Brown out of my hair. Oh, what the hay…I’m up for an adventure, aren’t I? Yeehaw.

 

If you don’t hear from me in a while, you’ll know why….

On Remaining a Vegetarian

Around October 1, 2012, I made the choice to abstain from eating meat. As a child, I had been diagnosed with IBS and lactose intolerance, and have dealt with the symptoms of both ever since.   In late summer and early fall of 2012, I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives on PBS and read the book The Veganist by Kathy Freston, as well as other books on eating a more natural, whole foods way.* One thing I gradually concluded was that my body has a difficult time digesting proteins. After reading Veganist, I decided to completely eliminate meats from my diet.

Fresh Salad Greens From Our Garden This Spring!

 

The results were astounding! Within three days, my gut no longer had that constant tight, wound up feeling. I slept so soundly at night that I nearly didn’t wake up to go use the bathroom! The pain in my hips and legs went away, and I lost an inch from my waist (although the scale showed the same weight as always). All this convinced me that eating a vegetarian diet was definitely the way for me to go! (I still eat eggs and a little bit of dairy, like yogurt and hard cheeses, and use real butter for baking.)

 

Over the past year and a half, however, many of my symptoms have returned. And I really, really missed eating things like chicken & noodles, hamburgers, fried chicken and bacon. I began to wonder if it was really making any difference anymore and thought perhaps I’d go back to eating the traditional mid-western way. Honestly, going to the neighbors’ annual hog roast and enjoying the tender barbecued pork is something we look forward to every year! I thought I didn’t want to stay vegetarian the rest of my life.

 

And so, a couple of weeks ago, Some Postman and I had a date with our daughter. We ate lunch at the new Pizza Ranch that just opened in Town and went to see a movie afterward. Pizza Ranch specializes in pizza (of course) and fried chicken. Ohhh….that fried chicken looked and smelled SO good! I decided to give it a try, and put a tiny little drumstick on my plate.

Photo credit: Pizza Ranch

 

(Looking back, I wonder why did I think this would be OK? I’ve gotten a tummy ache just from eating vegetable soup made with chicken broth!)

 

That little piece of fried chicken tasted good…but not as delicious as  my taste memory recalled. During the movie, my tummy began to complain a bit, feeling tight and wound up. Nothing too terrible, though. When we got home, I took some Bromelain (a digestive enzyme derived from pineapple) and some Probiotics. My tummy felt a little better, and I was able to sleep that night, but by morning, things were beginning to rumble. Shortly after noon that day after, my intestines revolted completely. Oh, the PAIN! the CRAMPING! It was like birthing labor, except no reward of a baby after the suffering. The only way for me to get through this kind of attack is to allow the toxic material to leave the body, then take Immodium (stops the colon spasms) and drink a ton of water to flush out the system.

 

OK. I hear you, body of mine.

 

NO MORE MEAT!

 

I will remain a vegetarian, for the rest of my life if need be. No fried chicken is worth that kind of attack. A veggie burger is just fine. As for the hog roast, I’ll still attend, but will take a pot of bacon-less baked beans with me. Quite simply, meat is a bad idea for my body. Why some of my symptoms have returned (aside from the Fried Chicken Experiment), I have yet to figure out. I’m working on it.

 

Oh, and by the way…I do plan to eat with my family at Pizza Ranch again. There are plenty of non-meat options for me to choose, and the food really is quite good. The Tuscan pizza with tomato and basil I also had that day was delicious! Just as someone with Celiac disease must watch for hidden gluten, I must watch for meat. Simple as that.

 

 

 

*Note:  While I found these to be very informative on a general level, I did not agree with all of the information presented. The documentary and books did give me a lot to think about, and I picked out the material that seemed most helpful to my own situation.