Sunday, November 28, 2010

No major storms. . . yet

There is a saying in Rochester, "if you don't like the weather, hang around a bit, it will change." With Lake Erie to the west and Lake Ontario to the north, we are subject to rapid changes in weather year round.

Our first measureable snow usually comes around the week of Thanksgiving. So far, yesterday we had a trace, hardly enough to cover the grass. It was gone by the middle of the morning.

Depending on which long term forecast you want to believe, this year we will have a mild winter with January and February "being the most erratic". . . pretty safe forecast since January and February are the major snow machine months.

Having grown up in Florida where there are two seasons, summer and a drizzly, rainy winter, I very much enjoy the four seasons here. In Florida, I never knew the joy of seeing a crocus push defiantly through a patch of ice and bust open into color, or a hyacinth, or daffoidil. I never appreciated summer as much as I do here because summer is much shorter. And the colors of fall are spectacular in New York. Winter, with all its harshness, is a thing of beauty with everything covered in a pristine white blanket of snow. Being inside most of the winter, and free from the yard work of the other three seasons, forces me to sit down and read those books I have been promising myself I will read.

Then one day, you look out and see people in light jackets walking their dogs and you pause to stare at them. Amazing! People come out of the woodwork on the first mild day of late winter or early spring!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leftover Turkey

One reward for spending all day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day is the many leftover turkey recipes for what's left from Thanksgiving dinner. This year, I spent Thanksgiving at Michael and Marisa's house so I didn't even have to do all the prep work, except for the candied yams and pumpkin pie that I brought for dinner. When I came home, they gave me a ziploc bag full of leftover turkey meat.

Here is one recipe that John and Michael always asked for when they were growing up. It's called Turkey Turnovers. Admittedly, I don't make it much anymore just for me, but if company is coming, this one is a sure winner.

3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup milk
2 cups chopped, cooked turkey
pie pastry for a 2-crust pie

Preheat over to 450 degrees.

Melt butter; add onion and flour and stir until smooth. Add the seasonings. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened. Add the turkey; adjust seasonings if needed. Let mixture cool.

Meanwhile, roll out the pastry to one-eighth inch thickness. Cut dough into three inch circles or squares, place a rounded tablespoon of the turkey mixture over one half and fold the other half over the filling, pressing the edges together. Slash the top to allow for escape of steam.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake until attractively browned, or about twenty to thirty minutes. Serve with mushroom sauce (recipe below).

Mushroom Sauce for Turkey Turnovers

1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/4 lb. mushrooms sliced thin
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups canned beef gravy

Saute the onion and mushrooms in the butter for five minutes, stirring. Add the lemon juice and gravy and blend well. Bring to a boil and swerve hot.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Congratulations to Andrew and Lauren

Andrew and his wife, Lauren, welcomed a new baby girl to their family last night. Cameron was born a little after 7:00 pm here in Rochester. She joins her big sister, Reese (I hope I spelled that correctly!).

Andrew is the son of my very good friends, Robert and Nancy. I remember when Nancy was pregnant with Andrew - that's how far back we go! We watched each other's children grow up over the years.

This is grandchild #6 for Robert and Nancy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A fantastic meatloaf recipe

I stumbled onto a really good meatloaf recipe in one of my Southern Living cookbooks. It's called Old-Fashioned Meatloaf and it is on page 518 of Southern Living 1001 Ways to Cook Southern.

Two things make this special, in my opinion. There are seasonings not often found in meatloaf and the fact that it is cooked on a broiling rack with the excess fat falling through to the pan below.

Here it is.

1 tablespoon butter
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 of a large onion, finely chopped
2 lb. lean ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in medium skillet; add celery and onion, and saute for 7 minutes.

Stir together celery mixture, ground beef, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into a 10" x 5" loaf; place on lightly greased broiler rack. Place rack over broiler pan.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Stir together remaining 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and 1 tablespoon ketchup until blended. Pour evenly over loaf and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Nice end to the week

Ahh. . . nothing nicer than to come home to a glass of wine and classical music playing on my Bose stereo. My home is my refuge. I can close the door and all the office politics and craziness of the outside world can't get inside.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quote for the Day

Grandchildren are God's reward for growing old.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A visit with my grandchildren

You know, I loved raising my two sons, John and Michael. . . and for those of you that don't already know - they are twins! But there is something very special about grandchildren that you just can't put into words or define.

I just returned from a long weekend visiting them down South. . . they used to live in Rochester. And I could pop in almost anytime and see them. Then a few years back, a head hunter found my son, promised him the world. . . and, unfortunately, for me, delivered. I cherish every minute I can spend with them.

This weekend was a lot of fun for me. On Saturday morning, John and Jen were running in separate races - John in a half marathon and Jen in an 8K. They both did very well for their age group - but Jen got her name in the paper and John didn't!!!

My job on Saturday morning was to pack all three of my grandsons, Kevin, Jake, and Andrew in my little Honda Civic and drive them to Jake's soccer game. Okay, I admit, I was a little nervous about packing up three kids - and their gear - all by myself. So I allowed PLENTY of time to get Jake there on time. Jen said we needed to leave by 9:45. Forget that! NO! I wanted to allow for every contingency. So at 9:00 am, I loaded the three boys and their gear in the car and was ready to pull out of the driveway by 9:15. "Okay. . . Jake, do you have everything you need?", I asked.

"I think so," he answered.

"JAKE! I don't want an 'I-think-so' Do you have everything you need???"

"Well, I think I need my water bottle and my soccer ball," he replied.

Okay, so we get the water bottle and the soccer ball from the house. "Sometimes I'm irresponsible," Jake said. It was hard, but I did not laugh at him.

John had warned me that some of the kids on this soccer team were, well, less than my expectations for childrens' behavior. So I had pulled Jake aside. . . looked at him with my "stern gramma" look. "Jake," I began, "I want you to have a good time today and Gramma is really looking forward to watching you play. But I expect you to behave the way you are capable of behaving. . . do you understand?"

Jake looked at me with those eyes that said, "Gramma is serious, I better tow the line here."

"Because if you don't," I continued, "Gramma is going to tie you to the bumper of her car and drag you all the way home." Somehow I managed to look into those eyes and keep a straight face.

"What will you use for rope?", Jake asked with only a hint of a smirk on his face.

I may be a strong willed person. But that made me laugh inspite of myself!!!

I was going to insert here a picture of Jake in his soccer uniform. But I didn't like the way that picture turned out.

But here is one that I really like. Humor me. I'm a very proud Gramma.

On Saturday morning, I came downstairs. . . forget grandchildren. . . in the morning, my first priority is my cup of coffee. So I walked into the family room from the kitchen with my treasured cup of coffee. This is what I saw! Kevin and Jake with Bingo, the dog, cuddled up with them!

I have to add a word about Bingo. Those who know me, know that I will tell you, there is no other dog in the world but a Labrador Retriever. But Bingo is an exception. When I first heard John and Jen were considering a rescue dog, I went ballistic. I can relate more true stories than I care to, about the horrors of bringing a rescue dog into your home, ESPECIALLY with small children!

Bingo is a major exception to that rule. Bingo is one of the most loving dogs I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We don't know her background before coming to John and Jen's home. But I assure you, this dog found the right home. She is good with the kids and all five of them (John, Jen, Kevin, Jake, and Andrew) love her.

And here are other scenes from my weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Found it!

I found the long lost recipe for tuna casserole that I haven't made in years!

As the picture shows, it was clipped from an issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

You can see the ingredients in the picture. Here are the directions:

In large bowl, blend cheese thoroughly into soup. Stir in tuna, pimiento, onion, pease, mustard, milk and macaroni. Pour into casserole dish. Mix crumbs with butter and sprinkle over the top. Bake in 375 oven for 35 to 40 minutes.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lost recipe for tuna casserole

Okay, this one is really bothering me. Many years ago, I had a wonderful recipe for tuna casserole. The main ingredients were tuna, cream cheese, peas, and pasta. Those are the only ingredients that I can remember. It was a delicious recipe. I have searched through dozens of my cookbooks, recipe card files and recipe binders. I went online to several of the recipe sites ( for one) but nothing turned up.

Do any of you have such a recipe????

Is this a sign of old age when you start thinking about things you cooked decades ago?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Get out and vote today!

I always vote the first thing in the morning. The rest of my day is going to be frantic and I have no patience for standing in long lines as is the case toward the end of the voting day.

This morning I only took time for one cup of coffee, jumped in the shower, threw on my jeans and turtleneck and I was off to the polls.

I have to admit to feelings of anxiety at using the new voting machines. All my life I have voted on the tried and true pull lever types behind a curtain. Whether or not my thoughts are unfounded, I have strong reservations about the accuracy of these new fangled machines. Can they be tampered with? With the old machines, it was simple. You pull the lever, your vote is recorded. . . period.

I saw one old gentleman walking in the voting place using a walker. It was obvious that every step he took was painful to him. Yet this man took the time to go vote.

To all my readers in the United States, please take the time to vote today.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Recap

We had an uneventful Halloween in our neighborhood last night. There was one point when I had raised eyebrows. I heard a siren close by and thought, "Oh, no!" It was the fire truck from our town going around, lights flashing, handing out candy. Just as I opened my front door to see what was going on, I heard a voice on the microphone say, "Happy Halloween, Everyone!" It was drawing kids like a magnet! I don't remember them doing that before. At Christmas, they decorate the truck and drive down the residential streets with Chistmas carols playing.

Most of the kids who came to my door were polite and said, "Thank you!"

Of course, Molly had to be right in the middle of things, with her tail wagging and her tongue ready to lick the face of any little kid she could get to!