Monday, November 30, 2009

Disney goes Hollywood

Where else are things done to perfection? The tree is tall and perfect, everything is clean and orderly, everyone friendly....I'm talking Disney World!

The Trout and I spent the day at Hollywood Studios at Disney World. After volunteering a lot last month at Disney, today was a day for play. Our first time to Hollywood Studios, and we had a great time. Amazing what we squeezed into a day, but the crowds were thin which helped. You can see the picture perfect blue sky. About 76 degrees today--perfect.

Photo above is a view of New York City - Disney World style.

The Muppet Show was great fun. 3-D and the muppets seemed to be right in our faces. Lots of laughs. And, of course, my favorite, Miss Piggy!!

I had to take a picture of Miss Piggy's clothing trunks. Such a lady, she is.

We managed to experience The Great Movie Ride, Indiana Jones, The Studio Backlot Tour, Toy Story, Journey into Narnia, and Beauty and the Beast.

Had a very nice lunch at The Brown Derby. The original one, in Hollywood, CA, closed in the 80's. So, of course, had to have the traditional Cobb Salad which was first served in California at the Brown Derby.

It is very typical...when you live near to something special, you rarely go to see it. I am so glad we went to Disney today, especially before the Christmas crowds get here. (smile) You all have a Magical Day!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Spicy Chicken Soup

While in Montana this summer, The Trout and I had the privilege of meeting two new blogging friends, Chris from Knitting Mania and Dustye from Dustye's Kitchen, who are both from California. Chris and Dustye talked about this fantastic soup recipe they can gotten from a friend. It was our luck to be invited to Chris and Pat's for dinner before we left to drive back to Florida.

We loved this soup immediately. So, with leftover turkey in the refrigerator, we both thought that this soup would be perfect. Besides, it was a cool but comfortable day in Florida today. It is easy, different and everyone seems to love it. So thanks, Chris, thanks Dustye, and I hope you don't mind me sharing with the blog world. All the credit goes to you.

Spicy Chicken Soup

1 whole cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works great)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cans chicken broth
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes (original) Use more if you want more heat
chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon cumin
chopped avocado
sour cream
small package corn tortillas

Saute all veggies in olive oil. Add broth, tomatoes, shred the chicken and add to the soup, cumin and pepper to taste. Bring to a good boil. Add 6 chopped corn tortillas which will melt in hot broth and slightly thicken soup.

Boil at least 20 minutes. Simmering for at least an hour is better and it even tastes better the next day.

How to serve:

Place a small amount of chopped cilantro and avocado in bottom of bowl and add hot soup. Sprinkle with your favorite shredded cheese and a drop or two of sour cream.

Another option would be to fry up strips of corn tortillas until crunchy and sprinkle on top.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Because it is just the two of us in this house, I rarely make pie anymore. When I had a source, I used to make the best black raspberry pie. The Trout loves my Apple Pan Dowdy, and a very favorite of ours is Mincemeat Pie. Years ago, each Christmas we would get a 16" mincemeat pie shipped from The New York Athletic Club. The two of us were the only ones who loved this pie. So, we ate and ate and ate. It has been years since we had this treat.

I bought the jarred mincemeat filling, ready to make this treat, when my neighbor gave me quite a few lemons from her tree. She also said that she knew I would make something good out of the lemons. I also knew that a light pie would be perfect after a heavy Thanksgiving dinner.

Go back 44 years (WOW) and I was reminded of a recipe given to me by a friend. I made this pie quite often in those days. Thinking about our abundant meal on Thursday, Mile High Lemon Chiffon Pie just seemed to be the right thing to do.

This recipe is from the Stone's Creek Restaurant in Marshalltown, Iowa. I have no idea if this place still exists, but they sure had a good dessert on their menu in the 1960's.


8 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
2 lemons (juice) don't use bottled lemon juice
2 lemon rinds, grated
salt to taste

Cook above in double boiler, stirring frequently until consistency of thick custard. This takes quite a while, but must be thick custard.

Combine 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water
Soak gelatin in cold water until dissolved and then add to hot custard and allow to cool.

Beat 8 egg whites stiff, but not dry. Beat in 1 cup sugar, gradually, and then beat again.

Fold cooled custard into beaten egg whites. Put in baked pie shell and chill at least 3 hours. Top with whipped cream.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

The turkey is in the oven. The table is set. Florida is having a beautifully cool day (60 ish) for roasting the turkey. My wish for all my friends and family is good health and happiness. There is so much to be thankful for this year. Hugs to all of you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Well, finally!

This posting is for my children. I can bake bread, and most of the time it is outstanding. Dinner rolls have always been tricky for me. Hard, dry and hockey puck-like. Sorry, but I have tried. But, since I found Debby at A Feast for the Eyes , I have actually accomplished something.

Take a look at these rolls. Debby gives the recipe of the Pioneer Woman who uses frozen bread dough. That sounded simple enough. Then Debby gave her own recipe and it sounded great. I made these with a cup of whole wheat flour in addition to the white flour. I think the instant yeast I bought at King Arthur Flour this spring has something to do with it also. The recipe says it makes 9 rolls, but I got 12 large rolls. They also fit beautifully into my new cast iron skillet. I have been wanting this size skillet for quite a while and have used it a lot since.

So girls, this one is a keeper and I hope you can visit and partake of these fabulous dinner rolls very soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There is a nip in the kitchen

About nine years ago, a friend, Holly, shared this wonderful recipe for Brandied Cranberries. I believe she said she found it in Southern Living magazine. I have enjoyed it every year since.


3 - 12 ounce bags, cranberries, fresh or thawed
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup brandy

Place a single layer of cranberries into two greased jelly roll pans. Pour sugar over. Cover tightly with tinfoil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Spoon into large bowl. Stir in brandy. Cool. Serve chilled or room temperature. Store in refrigerator for 1 week.

That is all there is to the recipe and it is very good. Nothing like a little nip of the berries!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our early Thanksgivings

With Thanksgiving approaching quickly this week, I always have a memory trip this week of the year.

Our first Thanksgiving as husband and wife, we spent at my parents' home. It was the typical turkey dinner for my mom. She always roasted the turkey breast down because that way the juices would stay in the breast and provide a very succulent turkey. I have tried it this way, but the family has always looked as me strangely. Granted, it is not something to photograph, but gosh, it tastes good.

Our second Thanksgiving of married life, we were living near Fort Knox, in Louisville, Kentucky. Small apartment, but we loved it. We invited a couple also stationed there who were from Iowa. He and the Trout were drafted on the same day.

Actually, the turkey was beautiful, tasted great and so did all the fixins! But, almost immediately after the meal, John, our guest, excused himself to the bathroom. He was sick, very sick, throwing up with the flu. At least we decided it was the flu since no one else got sick from my meal. I had my doubts though and a little insecurity set in.

No, I will not tell you about every turkey I have ever roasted, but the following year was a memorable one. We were living in a tiny apartment in Heidelberg, Germany. The kitchen was on the upstairs landing. It had a sink, which we also used as a bathroom sink, a tiny refrigerator and a very tiny two burner gas stove with an even tinier oven. I measured and measured that oven and told the Trout that no turkey would ever be able to see the inside of that oven. He simply would not fit. I suppose I could have gotten a very small Cornish hen in there, but no turkey. Disappointment!! Even though we were living in Germany, we were Americans, and turkey was a tradition. It had to be.

We went to the base exchange for our groceries and I searched and searched until I found a turkey that would fit. Oh yes, we had turkey that day with the fixins, but the turkey was a turkey roll. You know the kind, turkey meat rolled together in a cylinder and then frozen. Well, it tasted great and even the landlady and her brother were impressed. Back in 1968, turkey was not a typical food in Germany. Only many years later did Europe start using turkey and putting in on restaurant menus.

These are precious memories for me. I have trouble believing how long it has been and how quickly the time has passed. This Thanksgiving, well, it is just the Trout and me this year. But, we will have a real turkey, roasted breast up and with all the fixins! I can hardly wait.

Oh yes, one more thing....Speaking of turkey breasts, tomorrow is my annual mammogram and NO ONE will take that privilege away from me, no matter what my age!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This was a great meal!!

We are getting back into the swing of things in our own kitchen. The recipes on the blogs I follow have been phenomenal and I want to try them all. But, one day at a time. Tonight we grilled a Costco strip steak with Onion and Blue Cheese Sauce from the "Pioneer Woman Cooks" and Bacon Braised Green Beans from "A Nod is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse."

I found the fantastic Onion and Blue Cheese Sauce from the Pioneer Woman on a blog I follow every day, "A Feast for the Eyes".

This is another blog that I find wonderful. She can cook and is a true follower of the Pioneer Woman.

I have really enjoyed finding George Gaston at "A Nod". He is very creative with his recipes, photographs well and is very kind with his comments on my post. Please take a look and enjoy what this man has to offer.

Of course, such a meal needs a great wine and we had a French Bordeaux that went beautifully with such a great meal.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a week!

What a week! Other than miserable cold rain on Thursday, we had a beautiful sunny week at Disney on the Palm and Magnolia golf courses. Some days were 12 hour days, others a little shorter. Starting work in the dark and ending in the dark was pretty typical. But, there is a spirit at Disney that makes all of this volunteer work so much fun.

There were over 900 volunteers for the Children's Miracle Network golf classic this year. Can you imagine organizing so many people to do their jobs, find their way around, feed all these people breakfast and lunch and still maintain a happy spirit?

The committee The Trout and I worked on "Water Service" is the group we have worked on for three years now. We have it pretty much figured out as to what needs to be done and when. As a matter of face, we have just submitted our request for the same committee next year at this time. I can't even begin to say how many cases of water and 20 pound bags of ice we loaded off of refrigerated trucks into our small carts and filled water coolers on the tee boxes. The water is only for the golfers and their caddies, but some of the golfers get friendly with the spectators and pass them out to family, etc. That just means more runs for us. We have to watch that we halt when the golfer tees up, hits out of the fairway and puts. Can be challenging.

The first two days the amateurs played with the pros. The excitement was around Johnny Damon who plays for the Yankees. He was enjoying himself even though his golf ball sometimes went where no golf ball should go. He had a large crowd following him and you could tell he was having fun.

There were quite a few spectators this year despite the fact that there were not a lot of big name players. We tend to favor Zach Johnson, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That is kind of our home where we grew up, so we are always for the local boys. Zach came in 9th and won quite a bit of money. What impressed me of this golfer was that as he was walking up to the tee box, with spectators all around, he says "Hi baby" to a young boy in a stroller. He is a very kind young man, not always thinking about himself.

Last night took a little longer for the game to end as there was a Sudden Death with 3 players on the 18th hole. Two went on to play the 3 par 15th hole once again and Stephen Ames won. He also won in 2007.

So, our Disney gear gets packed away for a year. We have earned tickets for the Disney Park and golf passes for the Disney courses to use in the next year. Now, the holidays and then in April we get ready for the American Pie Contest sponsored by Crisco which we will be judging for the second year. And so it goes....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's volunteer time again

It's that time of year again. This will be our third year that we are volunteering at The Children's Miracle Network golf classic at Disney World. We drive a cart and fill the barrels on the golf tees with ice and bottles of water for the golfers. We start 6 am and work until 5 pm. Since we have a 45 minute drive to Disney World, it makes for a long day. Our reward, being around great people, happy people, very talented golfers, and Disney World theme park passes and passes to play free golf on the Disney courses.

Going early we see wild turkeys, deer, and lots of rabbits on the golf course before it gets light. During the day, alligators are spotted in the ponds. We will be working Wednesday through Sunday, so the week does get long.

I hope you have a chance to watch the golf classic this weekend. We will...up close and personal. As they say to all the workers at Disney World, "have a magical day!" We will!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


We live right next to the "winter strawberry capital of the world." Our newspaper this week was heralding a new strawberry we can try very soon. It is called Florida Radiance and it produces a lot of fruit in December. It is the first time since 2005 that a new variety has been grown in substantial 300 acres.

What I didn't know, and find amazing, is that the University of Florida has a research center where scientists develop new types of strawberries. "Only about one in 30,000 new varieties the scientists create actually makes it to market. " Are you kidding me? Doesn't that seem like an impossible number?

There are 5 popular varieties grown in Florida including Strawberry Festival, Treasure, Sweet Charlie, Winter Dawn and Carmine. Florida Radiance will be the new one. I am anxious to try it.

A Farmer's Market in France

We have usually traveled to Europe in May or early June, so we have always enjoyed the fresh strawberries in France or Italy at the markets. I remember two particular kinds of strawberries, I know there were more, and we would try both of them to see if we favored one over the other. What it came right down to was this...we loved whatever name the strawberries had.

It won't be long now until we can get fresh, red, juicy berries. How about strawberry shortcake for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pictures I promised

In August when I posted that it was our wedding anniversary, we were in Montana and I did not have access to old pictures. I promised some of my oldest friends, those who were at our wedding, specifically, that I would post our wedding picture. You have to be in the time mode. This was August, 1966. Our country was not in the best of shape with Vietnam happening, etc. But, for a couple of young kids, (actually we were 22 and 21) we were setting out on the trip of a lifetime.
One short year later, we would not be able to spend our first anniversary together. Uncle Sam called loud and clear. This is a photo taken while a friend and I drove from Iowa to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to surprise our husbands. I learned first hand that the Army has many rules and one is that you do not make surprise visits.

Someone there had a heart and gave us time together. And as luck has it, after basic training, the Trout got orders for Germany instead of Vietnam.

These pictures bring back many memories. How quirky is it that I am wearing a military type shirt also?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Knit one, purl two

While visiting the grandchildren this fall, 5-year-old Rachel asked me for a favor. When she was 3, I knit a hat for her that has turned into a favorite. But, now that she is in kindergarten, it is a little on the small side. So, when I got back home, I ordered the yarn and just today finished her hat.

It is the cutest little hat and very easy to knit. I used the Norwegian Dale Freestyle yarn. It is machine washable and dryable and even though the yarn tends to split for me, it is a good yarn to use for a little girl's hat. If you have a little girl in your family or close to heart, you really might like to try the "Twist and Sprout" hat pattern.

I learned to knit from my grandmother as a child, but when I was in high school and took a Home Economics class, my teacher taught me continental knitting and since then I love knitting a lot more. It is not the "throwing" kind of knitting, but the "picking" kind and much easier for me to handle and quicker.

Some years ago, I saw a picture of some Norwegian hiking socks in a magazine. I love searching the Internet, and even though it took some time, I found a yarn shop that could help me. There is a Norwegian woman who owns a yarn shop in Ames, Iowa. I wrote to her and asked for help. She found a pattern, in Norwegian, and she actually spent the time translating the pattern into English for me, and then I let her choose the yarn for me. A cream-colored pair of socks for myself and a gray pair for the Trout. Though I now live in Florida and do not need these socks for hiking, you never know when I will be in a cold climate, hiking, and in need of these socks. I love them.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Old fishing buddy Bob "B" "Fishhog" Cyr suggested last summer that I join him for some late Fall trout fishing on tiny dry flies to big sipping fish in Montana, specifically on the Beaverhead River near Dillon and the Missouri River near Wolf Creek. He promised varied weather but we needed overcast cool days to bring out the bugs. Snow is even better to prompt a hatch!! He is stoically awaiting the hatch to come off on the Mo before taking his stance in the stream where he is damn good at "20-20" fishing i.e. size 20 dry flies to catch 20"+ trout - the ultimate in trout fishing!!

Bob and I have roamed many a trout stream over the last 20 years even though we are somewhat world's apart age and talent wise. We get along very well in search of the wily trout as well as enjoying a good gourmet meal with a fine wine!! Our wives are good friends as well!
We even ventured into Yellowstone Park for some fishing. The geysers were in full plume with the cold air aiding the steam. This is a good time of year to see the park as the wildlife is active and the crowds are diminished from the summer flow of gawkers who slow down the whole park!! This stream is too hot in the summer months due to the hot water coming into it from the geysers but the cold fall temps help cool it off for good hatches and active trout!

We had very manageable weather to enjoy fishing. The hatch was strong each day and the trout were actively feeding. Bob of course did much better than I number and size wise but I enjoyed my successes very much. This is a beautiful rainbow from the Missouri River!!

What's cool about Yellowstone is the abundance of buffalo and many other forms of wildlife. These old bulls are taking it easy with one enjoying a little dust bath. Life will not be so easy in a month or 2 as winter sets in!! We find many a pile of bones near the stream from those who gave up or were victims of wolves.

This Bull Elk does not appear to be that old or of great size but he really had a nice rack - a 6 pointer I would say and the goal of any elk hunter! I found it odd he was by himself and not in hot pursuit of the ladies with his bugling and raised lip! Disgusting!!
So this ends my Montana days for 2009! I wonder why we don't live in Montana at times to get out to fish even in cold days when the trout still are feeding. But I know we wouldn't find it so nice as Florida when the temps really drop and the snow flies!! Thank the Good Lord for both settings!!