Omicron Wave and Return of Restrictions

Unavailable, even in store brand!

When there was a supply chain crisis and tube biscuits vanished from the store, (also known as Whop-whop biscuits from when we used to strike them on the Formica countertop to open),

Whop Whop Biscuits!

Ha! No worries! While visiting in Nashville, Nita taught me to use frozen Pillsbury biscuits. Yes, indeed, there they were! Pillsbury frozen biscuits 🙂 Never fear, comfort foods are near!

Many thanks, Nita!!

When Omicron variant was running rampant we returned to staying home more. It was difficult not to get down and blue and feel as if THIS WILL NEVER END!! So I decided to cook!

Baked brownies with dark chocolate frosting. I usually make them with walnuts in half the pan. Then when I frost them I put walnuts on half the frosting. Lately we have wanted them either all nuts ( like us) or all without nuts to share with neighbor.

Ribs in the magic pot! Jill Evans taught me how to do this. You cook the ribs in the Magic pot. I usually freeze half of them for another time. Then when ready to make dinner brush them with Bar-be-Que sauce and run them under the broiler until glazed. OH yum! Make a couple sides and you are living large!

One of our favorites is Slow cooked Oatmeal in the crock pot. Oatmeal is just good for us period. I make a batch and put it in the fridge. Scoop out some for breakfast, creamy and thick. I like mine with lots of milk and a bit of cinnamon sugar. Bob likes his with raisins added.

With pork tenderloin I can never go wrong. I sear it on the grill for extra flavor. Then rub in spices and bake.

I finally tried chicken breast in the magic pot from a frozen state. Several gals told em to try this. Yep! It worked and was SO moist.

Turkey wild rice soup made with broth we created from the bones at Thanksgiving is so yummy. Merged several recipes several years ago and this is one of Bob’s all time favorites. We think it tastes best after being refrigerated overnight before consuming. We freeze the excess and enjoy it several times. Put it with one of those frozen biscuits with brownie for dessert! Nope, we are not losing any weight here! But not ballooning with Covid pounds either.

WILD RICE & MUSHROOM TURKEY SOUP                4-6 servings

4 T. unsalted butter                             1 Large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped                         3 carrots chopped

4 oz. Mushrooms (or more!), sliced                     3 T. flour

5 cups turkey or chicken broth/stock  2-1/2 c. cooked wild rice

1 branch fresh thyme ½ t. dry             12 oz. cooked turkey, chopped

3 T. dry sherry  ½ c. non-fat sour cream       1 t. each salt & pepper

Melt butter over med-hi heat. Add onion, celery, carrot: cook & stir until softened 4-5 min. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to give off some liquid, 2-3 min. Sprinkle flour over veges. Stir well and cook 1 min.

Add stock, rice and thyme. Cover and heat to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer until veges tender – 15 min.

Add sherry and turkey, cook 1 min. Remove from heat, add sour cream, salt & pepper.

Recipe created 11-05  Updated  2-22

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

An Almost Immediate Refresher Course in Be Glad

I usually cook meats and foods like sweet potatoes in larger portions than we need for a meal for two senior citizens. We freeze the extras and have ready meals for days I/we do not feel like cooking.

Recently we ate the last portion of Beef Brisket from the freezer stash. Mind you, we do not eat much beef, but brisket became something we love ever since Betty cooked and served it to us in New Mexico. She uses Claude’s Barbeque Brisket Marinade from El Paso, Texas.( I cannot find it here in Ohio so I went so far as to order it from Texas! Yes, it is THAT good!) https://www.claudessauces.com/collections/claude-s-sauces Last week, I found a piece of brisket marked down at Kroger’s. It was a splurge, but I bought it anyway.

We have two wonderful women who come in once every two weeks to clean the floors and tub/shower tiles. I can no longer clean the house in one day, even with Bob’s help. They are a delight and always leave things sparkling clean. They were here Saturday morning. That evening I put the beef in a baking bag to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Baked it in the cooking bag Sunday afternoon and the house smelled delightful – almost overwhelmingly so!

After the meat cooled I snipped a small corner of the bag so I could drain and save the juices for making a gravy after I sliced down the meat and separated it into portions. Usually I do these sorts of things in the sink in case I make a mess. I was tired and not thinking clearly. I tried to get the juices into a measuring cup on the glass stove top. In short order the baking bag got away from me. The open tip actually began spinning around. Yep, you guessed it! Brisket juice all over the stove top, down the front of the stove, on the floor, down my pants leg, left shoe top. I finally got it aimed and into the pan where I had cooked the brisket. As I hollered “Oh no!!” Bob came to my rescue asking, “What can I do? What can I do?” I had just placed clean rags on top of the dryer. I asked him to get me the rags. I almost slid in the juice while trying to clean it up. I wiped up enough that I would not fall. Called the beagle over.

After all the excitement it took some encouragement to assure Lucky it was okay to come lick this up. She was entranced by the exquisite flavor. I mean that dog stayed there licking and polishing that floor the entire time I was working to clean up my mess. In the past I nicknamed myself, “Little Molly Make-a-mess.” So apt. Remember when I quoted Hanson as writing, “We also focus on our own mistakes and flaws – and on the feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, and even self-hatred that get stirred up.” I had begun with internal self-castigation and shaming. And then I was glancing down at that dog.

Having just read and then re-read the selection by Rick Hanson, I knew I had several choices here. I could choose to be glad or spiral down into negative, dark thinking. As I stripped off my clothing in the laundry room it hit me that this could have been so much worse had I not cooled the meat before I began. I washed by new slacks right then, but the oil stain remained from the brisket juice. Washed them again. Have not checked that status yet.

Dressed in clean clothing, I went back to cleaning up the stove top, stove front and floor. That dog was still amazed at her blessing from on high in the form of brisket juice. Much more juice than she would ever be given otherwise! She was delighted!

For the first time I used the Lysol cleaner from the other house to clean the stove and mop this portion of the floor. It would cut the grease better than water with vinegar and a drop of Dawn as recommended for regular use on this type of flooring. I used the sponge mop that I prefer. And I was able to do it! Even after bending over to wash the front of the oven door.

Draining the catch pan and measuring cup I got enough juice to fill a 2 cup measure and then a bit more. I began to slice the meat. Got about halfway through when my hand began to rebel (Arthur-Itis is not my friend!) Bob finished for me. Love that man! His help is invaluable.

Measured out portions and had a large dish for our meals this week. Likely too much so will freeze some of that also. Three other portion bags for freezing. While making the gravy Lucky sat on the rug in front of the refrigerator, likely hoping for “More, please!” The gravy worked just fine without the part on the floor. In actual fact, it was better than if I had made the mess in the sink where I likely would have lost more of the juices from cooking right down the drain.

Later in the evening the dog kept going back to that portion of the floor. She does not get the fact that I mopped it. Perhaps she prays for me to make another mess. Larger. Soon. Until then, she will need to be content to lick a little bit of gravy off my plate after dinner. Last thing we need is a chunky beagle!

What might have ruined an evening became an occasion for rejoicing with the Beagle, seeing that even when I make a mess it is not a catastrophe, just a mess. I am even more grateful for our cleaning women and their abilities to make our home sparkle. I was able to “Be Glad” even though things did not go as I planned.

Guideposts and Prayer

Guideposts offers many ways to get prayer including a Facebook page! One paper item they publish is called 60 Days of Prayer. I opened it randomly and came to such an important lessons as the holiday entertaining begins.

First they quoted the New International Bible.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

And then this important message: “Give yourself the gift of letting go. Let go of the need to be perfect. Perfect gifts, perfect gatherings, planning the perfect day. When you focus on perfection you miss the most important part of the holiday. Instead, sit at Jesus’ feet and focus on Him.”

Now I know for some of you the letting go would not occur unless you broke your hand! Been there. Done that. And, as the saying goes, I have the t-shirt!!

Guideposts went on the make a prayer saying “I plan on keeping You the center of my celebration.”

That would be a tremendous way to celebrate Christmas, 2021, don’t you think?

Our Christmas dinner meal usually looks like sandwiches with deli items from the meat and cheese store. The kids are too excited to have a sit-down meal! My son makes mac and cheese as only a chef can. Daughter’s broccoli salad is delicious. Pickles, Skyline dip, salsa and chips, homemade cookies and United Dairy Farmers ice cream.

Gifts are likely to come from a wish list, but sometimes the family surprises us with an unexpected item. Mostly, we just like having them here. The plan for now is for our daughter’s family to come around 11 in the morning for gifts and quiche. Our son’s family to arrive around 4 for gifts and sandwiches. (The two do not meet as some are vaccinated and some are not.) All of this of course is dependent upon the Omicron variant.

Looking at Omicron, I am stunned back to the feelings of December, 2020. The Delta variant is still spreading. This new variant is more contagious and spreading faster around the globe than anything we have likely seen during our lifetime! The news doctors say if we are vaccinated and ‘boostered’ we are still likely to get it, but a much milder case than those who have not been vaccinated. They have not given their opinion regarding those with other conditions such as diabetes and COPD. The reports say “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death — for yourselves, families, and the hospitals who may soon overwhelm,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a news briefing Friday, December 17th. “We need the American people to do their part.” Hospitals nationwide are now being overwhelmed. What does that say about those needing treatment for heart attacks, strokes, cancer. When all the beds go to Covid illnesses surgeries get cancelled. Other needs are neglected.

One friend has an adult unvaccinated son who caught the Delta variant. He isolated in his room for 7 days. His wife and 10 month old daughter got sick. He was finally admitted to the hospital because he was having such difficulty breathing. Was there for almost a week. Extremely ill, on oxygen, medications. He lost a tremendous amount of weight. Is now released but has absolutely no energy for even the simplest things. Another older friend and her husband caught Delta. She was in pain such as she has never known and exhausted for almost two weeks. Slept constantly. On the mend.

Oh Lord, have mercy. Give wisdom and conviction to those who are not vaccinated. Help each of us to keep our eyes upon You no matter what this illness does next. Be the center of our celebrations, no matter what tries to distract us. Amen.

Hatch Chile

Have you ever visited New Mexico this time of year? From now until early October the chile is harvested, roasted, stored, eaten, made into sauces, etc. Last autumn I thought I posted about the roasting at Wagner’s market in Corrales. Cannot find such a post so I will recap!

During our very first visit to New Mexico in 2004 Dan and Betty took us to Wagner’s Farm to witness roasting and small the deliciousness of roasting chile.

This is how you find the market on Corrales Road.

I wish I could share the fragrance of roasting chile with you. Perhaps you can create your own! This year our local Kroger store was selling New Mexico Hatch chile for $.99 a pound. I have never, ever seen that before! So I bought a bag and decided to work the magic on our grill.

You roast the chile on the grill until they are charred. (Darker than this photo.) This makes for a great fragrance and easy peeling later. But wait, there’s more!!

Remove the chile from the grill and place in a plastic bag. This lets them steam and continue to cook a bit. When they are cool you can process them further. And gadzooks! our kitchen smelled like Wagner’s!!

There is just nothing like the fragrance of roasted chile. Before you place your order at Wagner’s you have to decide how hot you want the chile! Here are 30 seconds of prices and ideas from 2020.

Buy your bushel and let the magic begin! If you watch/listen to at least 1 min 37 seconds you can hear the chiles start to crackle over the flames.

Here are Bob and Dan in Corrales 2020 processing the chile after Betty broke her ankle in Colorado and Molly hurt her back.

After they cool, you MUST put on rubber gloves as the capsacian from the chile can burn your eyes and mucus membranes. You slide off the charred skin and remove the membranes and seeds. Now Betty says to taste them and see how hot they are. If you want them hotter leave some seeds in. I confess, I did not taste mine. If storing them, I lay them out on waxed paper and freeze. That way they are easier to separate later. Or just toss them in whatever you are cooking to add flavor and heat! Cuban Black beans, burritos, tacos, casseroles, toasted English muffins with melted cheddar, you name it!

When we visited New Mexico we double bagged the chile in plastic and packed in a plastic box in our suitcase. They made it home just fine.

So there you have it! Hope you can purchase and enjoy some in your home town!

Gratefulness

Every January I try to make English Muffin Bread. It makes terrific toast, and who doesn’t like warm toast in January? With all the purging and packing going on in this house as we prepare to move it has been a challenge to get the bread made!

Thursday we worked on house things. I was getting tired in the late morning, but was determined to mix that bread! I had looked for a CD to inspire us while we were cleaning the pantry and could not find it. As my energy flagged I needed music to spur me on! Finally found the recording I wanted on You Tube music. If you every need a musical motivator try “Hooked on Classics.”

Muffin Bread is one of our son’s favorite foods. Measuring the flour with Mom’s flour scoop, I remembered how much she liked that bright yellow scoop. I think perhaps she got it through Gold Medal Flour? In the 1950s plastic kitchen items were uncommon. I am so grateful to have her flour scoop. It makes me smile.

Meanwhile, Hooked on Classics moved to Liebestraume by Liszt, the only piece of classical music that I remember my Dad liking. I was using a Kitchen Aid mixer. I only bought one a few years ago. (Wish I had owned it when the kids were growing up and I was baking all the time!) I remembered my daughter asking for one on her wedding registry.

Next thing I knew Hooked on Classics was playing the Wagner wedding march! All of these within a few minutes! You see, Hooked on Classics arranges the most memorable portions of classical music and puts those portions to an up tempo beat.

So much gratitude! Fatigue from cleaning the kitchen pantry, because we are going to move to a new house. Our son on an even keel and knowing he would enjoy his muffin bread. Our daughter, Emily’s wedding and stable marriage. My mom’s flour scoop all these years later. My dad’s favorite love song, because that is what Liebestraume means. My wonderful husband who has been working EVERY SINGLE DAY towards packing and cleaning up the holes in the walls and preparing for our move. Occasionally I can talk him into a day off, but not every week.

Before I knew it the bread dough was rising and I was out walking the dog! When was the last time you had an avalanche of gratitude in a short, intense burst? Did you give thanks?

Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV2011)  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,  for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Psalm 107:8-9 NIV

Humor from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports lists goofs that people spot while shopping. Bob saw this in the monthly magazine. I copied it from their website at https://www.consumerreports.org/advertising-marketing/selling-it-august-2020/

Bryon Skaggs might know something about this!
Oh yuck! I can just imagine that flavor 😦

That price would certainly cut down on my consumption!!

Keep laughing!

Summer Walk

When I took Lucky for a walk at Sycamore Park (see Playing Michael Q. Powell) I made certain we went near the water. She was not interested in swimming, though I did put her feet in at one point. Discovered a flower or two I was not familiar with. Bob and I recently discussed Matthew 6:28 “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow…” Some translations read flowers or wildflowers. These plants remind me not to be anxious. My Heavenly Father knows all things that I need. He wants me focused on His Kingdom and His righteousness before all things. Seems this plant might be called Wild Petunia?

Wikipedia teaches that common chicory is also known as blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, Bunk, coffeeweed, cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor’s buttons, and wild endive. This is where we get the term describing someone’s eyes as cornflower blue. This plant is in the dandelion family!

Cornflower with a busy bee!

Growing along the sides of the road this always announces summer to me. I remember my mother teaching us that people used to roast the roots and use them to extend their coffee supply. It is caffeine free, but is supposed to taste like coffee. Can’t say I have tried it. It is still used and often known as New Orleans coffee.

Saw this thing below and thought, “What in the world?” Before I could look it up on the internet, I noticed a similar growth in my front flower bed.

Last spring I had some garlic in the kitchen that was beginning to sprout leaves. I decided to plant it where I could watch it. A friend had told me that if I plant it in the fall I could harvest my own garlic the next year. Granted, I chose a different time of year because the garlic presented itself ready to grow. Learned from Leslie Land at https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/advice/a18057/growing-garlic-460709/

“I spent most of my gardening life cutting off the flowering scapes of hardneck garlic so they wouldn’t draw energy from the bulbs. Then I read a story about a garlic growing guru who said it didn’t matter a whit. Well, it isn’t really much bother. Tender young scapes are delicious and older, curly ones look wonderful in the vase.” I never knew ANY of this! Perhaps I should have picked that “scape” at the park? Nah, leave it for someone else to notice and wonder about.

Keep looking around! Never know what you might discover in plain sight!

What Have You Been Doing?

When the bananas from Click List went too ripe too quickly because they sent large ripe ones (I always buy small and the greenest I can find) Bob made banana bread. No nuts, not with rum, but with oatmeal. I think it might have been Betty’s recipe. Quite tasty!

I have been figuring out what pattern I prefer for making face masks. The Clermont Sun local newspaper offered a pattern on the front page one week. It worked fairly well. I tried another one I found on You Tube from Sewing Seeds of Love with nose wire and insert pocket.

I find the pleats tricky, so I just started pleating them with my best guess.

These each have an opening in the back to hold a surgical mask or coffee filter or folded paper towel. The girl across the street works at Dunkin’ Donuts drive through and will be required to wear a mask this week. They do not sew, so she received two. My daughter’s family needed 6 or 7. My son’s family the same amount. Bob and I need a stack of clean ones so we can change them each time we wear them. I will be busy for a while.

My daughter graciously ordered 1/8″ elastic on line as I used up all I had on hand. I did not bother to learn the tie one ones. Figured most folks would not use them. My oldest Grandgirl found yards of fabric in her closet and gave it to me for masks. She could not remember what she had bought it for. She works at a movie theater. On Tuesday and Friday nights they are giving away fresh popcorn. They have a bar there that is selling bottled alcohol and cans of 50 West beer curbside with the popcorn. Last Friday the line was really long. They promote it as date night. Watch a movie at home and have popcorn!

People with sewing machines have been kind to share with each other. Some with time on their hands are sewing like maniacs, then sharing with their work colleagues or trying to fill requests from others. One neighbor brought us a handful along with some surgical masks to use. She is aware of what we went through when Bob was so terribly ill.

In fact, I have found people overall to be kind during this pandemic. Neighbors are willing to pick up laundry soap when they are out and the Click List says they do not carry that – or are out of it. It would be even better if they said, “I am going to this store or that. Do you want anything?” We would not feel as if we were such an imposition that way. At this point, I am fighting the urge to just jump in the car and go get whatever I need. So, I will take all the help I can get.

 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,  accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.

Colossians 3:12-14 (HCSB)

And I have not heard any political comments among the common folk!

Grrr

We have a van that drives through our neighborhood once a week. They throw out a pink plastic bag with advertisements from the local grocery stores. When they used to be late, or not come at all, I would get aggravated. I base some of my cooking and shopping by what is on sale at different times.

Now that we are restricted from doing our own grocery shopping, that van throws the ads in our drive and I just growl. Grrr. Only one local store offers shopping where they get the items, bag, total, charge them to my credit card and bring them to my trunk. Touch-less shopping. So NO, I do not want to read the ads. I had not realized how much shopping I do from memory while in a store. I see an item on the shelf and think, “Oh, yes. We are almost out of that.”

One week the touch-less store was out of my low carb yogurt. It is pretty much a staple in my diet. This week, no carrots. What? Who runs out of carrots? And mark down items? I told Bob I could not stock up on Peeps Marshmallow chickens and rabbits for him this year. I usually buy them in the markdown sale after Easter and store them in the basement. Then I ration them out throughout the year. I will say that this year when I went to make Ambrosia salad for Easter scrumptiousness and we did not have enough mini marshmallows I chopped up a yellow peep or two from last year!

It is likely many more weeks before I can go to the grocery for myself. Even then I will be wearing a mask, gloves, and who knows what else? I am trying to remain GRATEFUL. Can you imagine this pandemic 10 years ago without internet and touch-less grocery shopping?

So if they throw ads in your driveway, please pray for me to be patient and remain cheerful. I don’t care right now who has the best price on Cheerios. Would just like to fill my own basket.

-Grumpy Old Woman

Hard Work among a Group

United Christian Outreach joined the Christian Help Center to put on a “Turkey Crusade.” These are the bags of groceries that were donated for the event. Mind you, the donations had to be collected, sorted, and bagged according to the pre-registered needs of each family.

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Our home church hosted the event. We were some of the people who met with families to listen to their prayer requests and then pray with them about each concern.

Then each family was given their groceries and one or two turkeys to prepare for their celebration of Thanksgiving. Sure hoping their celebrations are joyous and festive!