Sunday, November 28, 2010


It is that time of the year when you have so many things to be thankful for. I have a wonderful husband and 2 great girls. A home to live in and food to eat.... This year for the first time in over 20 years I did not cook Thanksgiving Dinner. A couple of months ago my youngest insisted on cooking for all of us! I was so excited! She did a wonderful job and everything was great. My husband always goes hunting the week of Thanksgiving and hasn't been home for the holiday in years. But with the passing of his mother and all the things that had to be done he stayed home this year. This was a real blessing! I always say God has a plan for us and all things happen for a reason. I was so glad not to have to cook and to have him home. On Wednesday evening my father called to say he thought my Mother had had a stroke to please hurry over. I called 911 and went across the street to their house. We are also blessed to have a wonderful Volunteer Fire Department right down the street and they were there in minutes. My father also has breathing problems and he wasn't doing well so they called a second Squad. It looked like grand central station and all the neighbors were really worried when they saw all the lights, and both of them leaving. Of course it was the holidays and the Squad Cars came from 2 different counties, not even ours... It was a blessing they put them in 2 rooms side by side in the emergency room. Dad had a lung infection and and infection in his leg. Mom and a stroke and they kept her, but she is getting much better, they have moved her to a rehab yesterday.
So even though my holidays weren't what I thought they would be I still have lots to be thankful for! Everyone is doing fine right now, Thank God!!
I am blessed that my father has wonderful neighbors that keep checking in on him, and if it hadn't been for my "Angel" of a next door neighbor that came over Wednesday night and finished baking my rolls that were raising on my counter and finishing up my pie and sweet potatoes that were half done I would have never made it to dinner on Thanksgiving.
God really does bless us...


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dinner Party Weekend...

A couple of months ago I had a bright idea, or as my husband would put it " One of her CRAZY IDEAS".

Well I love to cook and all my friends know that, but I really love to try new recipes, and with only the two of us at home now I hate to try big meals just on us....

So why not have everyone over once a month and try them out on all of them? There are 6 couples that have run around together for at least 35 years or so. This is a good way for us to just get together and have a fun evening. Sometimes it is just so hard to get us all together. You would think when you get older and the kids are out of the house it would be easier!!! But sometimes it's not.

So I made a call to everyone and ask them what they thought? I told them they had to bring nothing except an appetite. I would be doing all the cooking! Do you think anyone turned me down? We all decided to split the cost of everything and I could just cook away. I told them everything would be brand new recipes, something I had never cooked before. Yea I guess my husband was right, I am a little crazy!!! But we got together last weekend and there were no fatalities!!! LOL I sat the tables up in the family room, with mix and match china and silverware, a couple of my mother-in-laws beautiful tablecloths an some antique lanterns of Tom's Grandfather. I even folded the cloth napkins...

It is amazing what you can find on the Internet and all the instructions on how to do it!

We started the evening off with a recipe from Emeril Lagasse
Artichoke and Spinach Dip
I even tried frying the tortilla chips... It turned out pretty good...

Than it was time for the bread, I love to bake bread. I just don't make it as much as I would like, because I would eat every bite. I love home baked bread, I don't think there is anything better than bread. I used to love the bread they made at school when I was a kid so I made the roles just like they did.


9 1/2 Cups White Flour
4 Cups + 2 Tbs. Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup + 1 1/2 Tbs Veg. Oil
2/3 Cup + 7/8 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. + 1 1/8 tsp. Salt
2 Tbs. + 2 1/4 tsp. Yeast
1 Qt. + 1/8 Cup Warm Water
Mix all ingredients until dough is elastic and well mixed
Let rise until doubled in an oiled bowl (coating dough well with oil)
Divide dough into 2 oz. balls
Put on greased jelly roll pan let rise
Bake 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown
Brush melted butter on top as soon as they come out of oven.
Makes around 48 rolls
They freeze well...
Only I had to add a little twist to some of them... I baked one for each of us in a small canning jar to sit at each place setting adding a little sesame seeds to the tops. They turned out great, as we all know bread is a tricky thing, sometimes it turns out great and sometime not so great!!!
I got lucky with the new recipe!

I even added some rosemary to some of them...

When you have fresh baked rolls you need something special to go on them!!! How about

Cinnamon Honey Butter?

I could have just licked the bowl when we were done... LOL I even got honey from the neighbor that has bee hives. You can't get much fresher than that...
First came a simple salad with just some fresh red and green leaf lettuce a few grape tomatoes and a few roasted tomatoes. Topped with some Parmesan cheese and fresh made crouton's and a Basil Vinaigrette Dressing.

I made the crouton's out of Cracker Barrels Sourdough Bread.

1 stick of melted butter
2 Tbs. seasoned garlic salt
2 Tbs. Parmesan cheese

Cut the bread in squares, and toss in bowl with butter and herbs.

Bake until crunchy,let cool

The salad dressing was a Basil Vinaigrette Dressing

Now to the main course. This is what I stressed over the most. I wanted a really good pork recipe, and something different. It was a 5# pork loin roast that I started the night before.

Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast
By Giada De Laurentiis

The flavor was wonderful and it turned out beautiful. All the herbs right out of the garden fresh really makes a difference I think. The aroma in the house was outrageously amazing...

This was a really easy recipe, even though the ratings on this was an intermediate.

As you can probably tell by now I love watching the Food Network and Giada is a favorite, she has the most beautiful smile and makes things look so easy...

Here we are all tied up and ready to get a bath of White Wine and Chicken Broth than popped it in the oven...

All finished and just resting on the plate for a few minutes before carving...

Shrimp Stuffed Potatoes

By: Paula Deen

I fixed two different potatoes that night, just because I couldn't choose what one I liked best. Than I really didn't know if everyone liked sweet potatoes or not. Tom isn't a big sweet potato guy, but as it turned out everyone liked sweet potatoes.

This was the first time I had ever put shrimp in a potato and it was great...

These are the Seafood Deviled Eggs.

This recipe came out of the new Pillsbury Appetizers and Desserts magazine this month.

My husband loves deviled eggs and what goes with pork better than Deviled Eggs. Especially with seafood in them!!! They were yummy...

Now to my pick of the evening, I have to say I liked this one the best of all. Sweet Potatoes, cinnamon,sugar and coconut all great together.

Sweet Potato Balls
by: Paula Deen

Yea they tasted as good as they look...

You just grab up a handful of the mashed sweet potato and add a marshmallow to it and roll the potato around it, than roll in the cinnamon,sugar and coconut than bake. These can be made the day before and just popped into the oven to bake at the last minute. One of my girlfriends said it was just like desert... and it was!!!
Look at that marshmallow in the center!

Well here we are with everything on the plate ready to eat....
But of course we had to have desert...

Caramel-Pecan Apple Pie

by: Taste of Home

This pie was rich - rich - rich... and we still poured more caramel on top of it!!! LOL
The only thing I changed was the pecans I used walnuts instead, either would be good...

I love just about anything I get from Taste of Home always easy recipes and great tasting...

I didn't use an unbaked pie shell I baked my own.
1 3/4 C Flour
2/3 cup Crisco
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup water
Well all was cooked,baked and enjoyed by all I think! We had a great evening talking and catching up on each others lives.
It is so nice to have great friends like these, what I call " LIFE LONG FRIENDS" those that have always been there.
For some of us it has been a rough time, three of us has lost parents in the last 3 months. We have been there for each other just as we knew we would someday.
For some it has been a wonderful time with beautiful new Grand Children, it is the circle of life I guess...
I'm so bless to have such great firends to spend this time with...
As I always say...
I hope you enjoyed the recipes, now take them, make them and share them!!!
Have a Good One,

PS Wonder what we will have next time? It's a surprise... I don't even know yet!!! LOL

Sunday, November 7, 2010

This ones for you "LIL"

It has been a rough month in the Usary House. One of the sweetest ladies I have ever known died 2 weeks ago. She was my Mother-in-Law... Since I grew up across the street from my husband and his family, and we have lived next door to them for 32 years I have actually known them forever! For a lot of people living next door to your in-laws would be terrible, but for me and my family it has always been wonderful and my in-laws were wonderful. My Father-in-Law died almost 6 years ago now, and he has been truly missed.
This picture was taken in May with her daughter Patti and son Tom (my husband)
Lil had just turned 83 on Sept. 9, here she is dancing in her wheelchair with her youngest grandson. She loved to dance and she loved her grandchildren more than anything.
She was a tiny 5 ft tall ( 4 ft. 10 really lol, but she always told everyone she was 5 ft.) I remember one day she ask me to go buy her a pair of tennis shoes, when I ask her what size she told me size 3 I didn't believe her until she took off her shoes and showed me. I must have been around 17 at that time!!! She loved working in her flowers and the garden and that day just didn't want to leave to go get new ones!!!
Back in the day her 6ft. 1 husband used to throw her threw his legs and above his head when they danced. I would have loved to have seen that. She was 87 lbs. when they married. But she could shoot a gun and fish with the best of them...
So dancing at her last birthday was great to see!!!
You can tell she was having a blast...
All the staff at the Nursng Home had so much fun with her, and loved her.
Later that night we went a picked her up and took her to see her oldest grandson preform with the High School Band. We got her there just before half time and brought her home right after they finished. She was so happy to see him play for the first time on the field, he is a freshman this year. "She said it was great all those kids came out to back him up" how cute was that...
Here is Joe & Lil in a picture just before their 50th Anniversary, what a great couple...

Lil loved to craft and sew, not to long after we were married she started a craft show. It grew quite a bit over the years. So much so that she had to move it from the community building to the fire department, where she had a lot more room for crafters and the public that loved coming to it. She did this for 30 years and it was always the third weekend of October. She had a set of rules for her crafters and the most important one was that no one could start packing up anything until 4:00 when the show was over. Well on that 3rd weekend this year she packed up and left us 15 minutes early and I could just hear her saying ha ha I broke my own rule... It was just fitting she died on the day of her craft show.

It was wonderful for my girls growing up next door to their grandparents,my oldest Colleen was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. What fun they had over the years with all the grandparents.

We are all going to miss her very much, things aren't going to be the same without her laughter and quick wit. One of her favorite sayings were:

"I'm so *TERD (*she would spell this) Tired

I could *FART(*she would spell this) Faint"

It took me the longest time to catch on to what she was spelling and saying...LOL

Those Sunday dinners with her great cooking, Christmas Cookies( by the dozens) and Party Mix, Great Christmas Goodie Boxes she made each of us, and just that loving smile she always had. Everyone that knew her loved her.

This Blogs for you Lil, hope you're kicking up your heals with Joe!

May you Rest in Peace...

We love you....