Thursday, March 28, 2013

Psych 101

I think it's fair to say I've always been a moody person.  It never took much to make me turn on a dime.  As I've aged, the moodiness has increased.  Medication (not just for that) helps some, but menopause has kicked it into high gear.  This evening, I experienced both extremely highs and extremely lows within a matter of minutes.  I'm proud of myself for escaping on a positive note. 

After work, I went to Best Buy in search of an old Jason Aldean CD, released in 2006. I knew there wasn't much chance of them having it, but figured I'd give it a shot.  When I got to the CD section, wouldn't you know, there was a guy standing right in front of the -A-s.  As I tried to peak around him, I saw him reach for a CD.  Yeah, a Jason Aldean CD.  I picked up the only one left and it was the wrong one.  I said something to him about how funny we were both looking at the same artist, and told him which one I was trying to find.  He pulled a CD out of the stack he was holding and asked "is this it?"  Sure was -- and he told me to take it.  I asked if he was sure, and he said yes, so I thanked him profusely and happily bought my CD.  How awesome! 

I decided to grab a bite to eat at Taco Bell.  If you're familiar with the Taco Bell on Wanamaker, you know how congested the drive through line can get.  Of course it was backed up onto the road leading into Best Buy, so I kept going and drove around to come into the parking lot from the other side.  I drove around front and there were a few cars in line.  I made sure I knew which car was the last one in line when I pulled up, and planned to merge into the line behind it.  Another car came whipping along and no doubt saw me sitting there and decided she was not going to allow me in front of her.  She kept on the tail of the car in front of her so there was absolutely no way I could squeeze in.  Of course my immediate reaction was rage.  I tried staring her down, but she wouldn't even look at me.  I cussed at her.  And then, I realized none of that was helping.  In the meantime, another car pulled in behind her, but she didn't crowd, and graciously let me in front of her.  As I sat in the line thinking about how she didn't have to do that, I decided to pay for her food.  It wasn't much -- she must have been a light eater!  But it wouldn't have mattered.  I just wanted to pay it forward.  First for the nice guy at Best Buy who helped me, and of course for the woman herself.  I got my food, paid for the orders, and headed on down the road.  As always the first thing I went to do is put my straw in my drink.  But guess what -- they didn't give me a straw.  Normally, this would set me off again.  I'd be cussing the drive through worker and Taco Bell in general.  But... BUT, I guess I felt so good about what had just happened, I just thought "oh well -- I'll just drink it without a straw"  That never happens!  I never let things go like that! 

I'm not writing about this so everyone will know I did something nice for a stranger.  I guess I'm just sharing the lesson I learned today; positive behavior begets positive behavior.  But then, you already knew that, didn't you?

It was the search for this song that got this whole ball of positivity rolling...


Friday, March 22, 2013

They Call Me Martha Sewer

Cooking.  Never really been a fan.  Or at least I didn't think I was.  But then I realized, it's not the cooking itself I don't like, it's the cleanup.  And when you're trying to create a masterpiece in a tiny area (that would be my kitchen) it's even worse.  So I've never been terribly adventurous when it comes to new recipes.  There 's another reason for that as well.  Greg hates it when I try cook something new.  He'd be happy to eat the same 5 or 6 meals every night for the rest of his life.  Nothing wrong with em, why mess with em?  That would be why I have a pinterest board titled "Stuff Greg Won't Eat".  But every once in a while, I come up with something worth adding to the rotation, as they say.  A while back, I started throwing some stuff together, thought it turned out ok, and tweaked it from there until I had something pretty yummy.  Then I made the mistake of bringing leftovers to work one day.  Now, about once a month, a few of my favorite spoiled rotten brats start whining about how they sure would like me to bring some to work!  I always give them a hard time about having to cook for them, but the truth is I really like making people happy, and if something I cooked does the trick, then I'm all over it.  So without further ado, I present to you my recipe for Hot Sausage and Rice

I'd love to be like Robyn and Nance over at dinosaurs can't eat pizza and post a picture of all of the ingredients that go into this dish, but I just made this a couple of nights ago and don't have all of the ingredients on hand right now, so that's just not gonna happen today.  I do have a few pictures taken during different stages of cooking, so that's gonna have to do for now.

The ingredients are:

1 lb. Tennessee Pride Hot Pork Sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped peppers
2 T. Olive Oil
1 box Creamy Four Cheese Rice A Roni
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups water
1/2 cup Velveeta, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

The first thing I do is chop the onions and peppers.  The peppers I use depends on what I have in the freezer or if I have to buy peppers in store.  We grow all sorts of varieties of hot peppers in the garden and then freeze them, so I that's what I usually use.  The small red, yellow and green peppers that come in a bag in the store work great for this.  They aren't hot, so if I use them I throw a few jalapenos in too.  How many hot peppers you use depends on how hot you like your food.  The hot sausage is pretty spicy, so I usually seed any hot peppers I use.

Saute the onions and peppers in the olive oil. 

Then add sausage and cook until the sausage is done.  


Remember I mentioned how much I hate cleaning up?  Well that led me to using the same big skillet for everything in this dish.  When the meat is cooked thoroughly, I dump the rice right into the center of the skillet and brown it a minute or two before adding the chicken soup and water.  Then turn down the heat, cover and let it simmer until the rice is almost done (about 10 minutes)  It's a good idea to check on it frequently and stir so it doesn't burn.  Once most of the liquid is cooked out, I add the Velveeta and let it melt.  Season with salt and pepper. 

If you have a fancy schmancy dishwasher and pots and pan running out of your ass, feel free to cook the rice as directed on the box, then add it to the sausage mixture and add the soup and cheese in without any additional water.  I happen to think MY way is easier. 

Now if I'm making this for supper after I get home from work, Greg is probably starving, so we go ahead and eat it at this stage.  If I'm making it to take to work, I put it in a pan and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes or so.  Baking it cooks the rice a little more and just firms it up a bit -- it's really however you prefer to eat it.  There's no right or wrong way to eat this stuff!

 All ready to feed to those bratty kids at work!!!

The beauty of this recipe is you can change anything in it to suit your tastes.  And while I do think the sausage is what makes it so good, you don't have to use hot sausage.

If you're brave enough to try my recipe, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Nothing to Say

I feel like writing a blog post today.  Trouble is, I have no idea what to write about.  Lets see... well the weather sucks.  No, I take that back.  It rained all weekend, and to a farmer, that rain is  better than gold.  Even the snow we got in February was a blessing.  But did you know it takes 12 inches of snow to equal 1 inch of rain?**  That doesn't seem fair!  Wonder if it's partly because some of it evaporates before it can soak into the ground?  Who knows.  I do know it felt much heavier than 1 inch of rain when we shoveled mom's driveway.  Cue whining about my shoulder, and inturn Greg yelling about my whining. 

Everyone's been sick.  Right around the end of January we all got the flu.  I even missed 4 days of work because of it.  I never do that, so you know it was bad.  Greg caught it, but somehow he managed to get over it quickly, even while ignoring my advice to take it easy and rest.  Now, Erin and family have a new virus and are all home sick today.  Ugh.  Will the germs ever go away???

We got meat!  We took two steers to the locker plant last month, and picked up the meat last Wednesday.  Sure is nice to have a freezer full of fresh meat.  It seems like after a year or so, the meat starts tasting old.  Greg doesn't notice it as soon as I do, and Erin notices it before either of us.  Once I notice it, I'm done.  We're planning to butcher a few pigs next month, and we're going to be doing it ourselves in the shop.  There's several of us buying pigs at the same time, so we'll all spend one long day working on it.  That's usually a fun day.  "The women" do the wrapping and labeling, and that's fine by me.  Doesn't matter how much wine I drink that way. (although the more wine we drink the more creative the labeling is, heh heh)   Wine and knives, on the other hand, not such a good idea.  Well neither is  beer and knives for that matter, but that doesn't stop the guys.  Haven't lost any fingers yet... 

Did someone say they wanted to hear a Carter story?  Last week he went to the Caterpillar Dealer in Topeka with Papa.  Greg was busy ordering parts, so he pretty much let Carter have the run of the place.  Well, Carter found someone that knew him.  (One of Brent's best friends' dad works there)  He hung out in Gordon's office playing with toys for a while, and spotted a brand new remote control dump truck in an unopened box.  Of course he wanted to play with it, but since it was new, the easiest thing for Gordon to tell him was that the batteries were dead.  He accepted that and kept playing, BUT, when it was time to leave, Carter told Gordon "next time I come here, I'm gonna want to play with that, so make sure you get new batteries for it".  Sometimes I think he's too smart for his own good.  When Erin took him to the well child screening for preschool, everyone thought he was getting ready to go into Kindergarten.  (And believe me, that's not because of his size)

And because I believe in equality, let's catch up on Miss Chloe!  I had the pleasure of spending most of the weekend with my sweet baby girl.  She's such a loving and happy girl, but she does not like strangers.  Any by strangers I mean anyone who isn't Mommy, Daddy, Meema, Papa or Grandma.  I guess it's not that she doesn't like them, but she won't let anyone else hold her.  Once she warms up a little, she'll smile or laugh at them, but that's about it.  I had to laugh the other day when I took her into the Coop office to see all of my former (notice, I didn't say OLD, ladies!) co-workers and they all came rushing up to see her.  Of course they all wanted to hold her, but I had to tell them that wasn't going to happen.  She did finally let me put her down and she walked around a bit.  It was just killing them (I'm looking at YOU, Laura!!!) not to hold her.  Whenever I took Carter in at that age, he went to everybody.  It's so funny, we could tell almost immediately after she was born that she wasn't going to be as outgoing as Carter, and so far, that's still true.  I think Erin is grateful for that, since she worries so much about Carter being over friendly with strangers.  Chloe has  been walking since January, she'll eat anything you put in front of her, she has 6 teeth I think, with more trying to come in.  She says mama, dada, ma (for Maggie) and tries to say bubba. Oh, and UH OH!   She just started waving bye, and Brent has her giving high fives!  She also loves her blankie, just like her momma.  One improvement over Erin's attachment is Chloe will take any of her blankets, not just one special one.  That means no trips back to Walmart to retreive a lost blanket, which we may have done once or twice!  Like her brother, she loves animals, especially  Maggie of course.  And she wants nothing more than to pet Hoss and Harry, but we all know that will never happen! 

Last, but certainly not least, our family suffered a terrible loss in January.  Brent's dad, Richard passed away after fighting lung cancer since August.  Brent and his family have the same tight bond as our family does, so this has been very difficult.  We worried so about how Carter would handle it, but after his momma so carefully and lovingly explained to him what happened, he seemed to understand better than anyone expected.  Other than not wanting to go in to the funeral home (after the first visitation) he did great.  He still talks about Grandpa Gibby, and he gets that he's gone forever, but it's only been a little over a month, so we'll have to see how things go. I know he misses him terribly.  He's spent the last few Saturday nights with Grandma Gibby, which I know gives Mildred great comfort.  Please keep Brent and his family in your prayers as they adjust to life without such an important person in their family.

Sharing a few pictures too :)

The Birthday Boy on his new bike

Just bein' goofy :)

doesn't every 4 year old watch TV like this?

He was SUPPOSED to be helping us shovel snow...

If you love Forest Gump as much as we do, this should require no explanation!

Ready for Cake!!!

Hamming it up, just like big brother

Happy First Birthday Chloe Janette!

He loves carrying her around -- wonder how much longer he'll be able to!

They love playing together :)

big  brother sharing his ice cream cone!

they even hunt together! (shhh- don't tell Chloe that's not a gun)

Huh!  Guess I had more to say that I thought!  Doubt that really surprises anyone :)

**source:  the hubby, so take it for what it's worth