Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Toaster Oven Tuesday, Week 48, 2015

Today's toaster oven cooking comes from the urge to have something reminiscent of childhood.  Weiner Wraps!!  I don't recall that we had these so much at home, but our small town school with farm wife cooks, served them for lunch.  They were a favorite.
 I started with a package of these.  They're my preferred hot dogs.
 Then I grabbed a can of these.  There's one more roll in this package than there are hot dogs, so it was 'just a roll'.
The finished product.

For the toaster oven, I still followed the directions on the label of the crescent rolls and baked them on the lower rack position.  I served them with a can of 3-bean salad.  

Little fuss, no frills, quick & easy.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mt. Washmore

I've borrowed the title of this post from Flylady.   Many years ago, I jumped on her band-wagon and tried to get my guys on board too.  I should have known better!  Since then, I've fallen off the wagon but much of her ideas stay in the back of my head.

Awhile back, I mentioned my woes about the laundry system I set up and the issues I have with my guys.  As a refresher, I primarily use six laundry bags that hang on racks that have a rod and shelf at the top.  For Marty and Nick, my request is that they bring their dirty clothes to, and place them atop, the washer.  I'll sort and determine when any given bag is full enough to run a load.  The goal was to do laundry as needed as opposed to spending a single entire day doing nothing but laundry.  I started this so many years ago that I've forgotten how long it's been, but this simple request should have become a routine habit by now, but it's so much easier for them to just leave their clothes either in a pile or scattered all over the floor.  Occasionally I remind them and I have gathered them myself and not said a word when I did.  I ask very little of either of my guys.

Well, yesterday, they brought their clothes down.  I'm showing just Nick's....
 It doesn't look like so much in the picture, but it is.  He ran out of his preferred tee-shirts and had to start wearing polo-type shirts...something he was very happy to give up after we transferred him from private to public school.
 However, the other side of bringing his laundry down, which also lands in the category of his required chores, is that he take his clean clothes to his room and hang them up.  These have been hanging here for at least a week, maybe longer, and are mostly his preferred tees.
This is his bedroom floor as of this morning.  Socks and shirts amongst his school books, shoes and who-knows-what.  

Time to go sort that pile and start the first load. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Toaster Oven Tuesday - Week 47, 2015

Start with one large flat baking dish. 
This had been my mom's.  It's not that old, I don't think...it was made in China and is not Corning Ware.

 Take one large ham...this was around 8 pounds and way too big for the dish and more than we'd eat, so I cut it in, and only used, half.
 Follow these directions. 
 The ham halves.  Beautiful ham.

 Covered and in the oven.  Ahem, see, didn't I tell you the inside of this oven became quite dirty during my many absences and I've yet to clean it.  I wonder if the 'set a dish of ammonia in it overnight' process will work so that it can just be wiped out?  Anyone ever try that?
 I split the current sauce that came packaged with the ham in two also.
 Sealed it up with a clip and bagged it and the other half ham and put in the freezer for another meal.  In hindsight, I probably should have cut this ham into three or four separate pieces.
I almost forgot to take a picture after it was baked.  We'd already eaten our dinner portions by this point.  We've eaten quite a bit, and yes, I've ignored the "once opened, use within 3 to 5 days".  Boxed scalloped potatoes and canned corn rounded out this meal.  I heated the corn in the microwave...oops...can't run both at the same time, had to go out and flip the circuit breaker back on! 
One night I took some leftover ham and diced it up, put some butter in a cast iron skillet, added the ham, some onion, some diced up raw cauliflower and sauteed till veggies tender, then scrambled up 3 eggs and added to the skillet along with some grated cheddar, letting it cook for awhile and then flipping it to finish cooking.  Oh was that ever yummy. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Toaster Oven Tuesday - Week 46, 2015

I obviously missed last week.  Building a new habit is hard.  I may have to write up my posts in advance and schedule them rather than waiting until Tuesday to write and post.  

This week's is an easy one.  I made these the night I made chili, and I guess that's not something I wrote about so you wouldn't know when that was.  That was on Tuesday the 27th of October.  I tend to forget how long things have sat in my pantry - you may recall I don't pay much attention to so-called expiration dates on most things, and these cornbreads are one I didn't, though I did have the thought that I should probably add some additional baking powder...but didn't...and should have.  I may need to buy fresh baking powder anyway, or at least test it to see if it still has some oomph.

 Of the different cornbread packages in my pantry, I chose this one.  At the time, I thought I was making cornbread not corn muffins...I hadn't looked really closely until I'd mixed it up and went to put it in the pan and it hardly didn't covered the bottom.  Oh well, it'll be rustic, right?
 This is how it looked after it was baked.  Um, maybe it qualifies as corn flat-bread?  I had melted butter over the top so that's the funny-looking 'glaze'.  It tasted OK, and since it was being served with chili, made a good crumble to mix in.
 Since the other one turned out as it did, I decided to make this one.  I initially didn't because Nick doesn't care for chili, spicy, Mexican, southwest flavors all that much.  But with the other one so flat, I thought this one would do better.  It's date must've been around the same time, because it didn't turn out much better.
It at least covered the pan, but was still more like flat-bread than thick corn bread.  Again, the taste was fine.

For both of these, I just followed the directions on the box for baking in a standard oven.  I didn't adjust the temperature or the time, and aside from the 'flat' problem, both were a good fit for the toaster oven.

As for the chili?  It wasn't done in the oven, but it was good too although quite mild.  I sauteed ground beef, onion, garlic, carrot, finely diced mushrooms along with a can of stewed tomatoes that I crushed up with my hand, canned chili flavored beans, a package of taco seasoning and a dash of sugar, and I'm probably forgetting something.  Mild chili but those beans did their thing...and at that, I'll now leave by adding a photo of the chili.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Drawing Near...or not

From James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded

This is clearly an admonition for me today.  All the while I was at church this morning, I could not keep my heart, mind and soul focused on worship to the Lord.  I was all over the place.  

I likewise had a restless night of sleep after receiving a letter from my dad yesterday.  I might say, it's the very first ever letter I've received from him.  Initially, I was really excited.  But then I opened it.  He asked me to send the titles to his vehicles, something I've intended to do but haven't been sure just to whom I should send them (remember, he has dementia, lives at the home of an ex-wife, and his brother took over power of attorney) and he included two stamps to cover postage.  I don't want his stamps.  I will return them.  This is the letter he sent:  
I covered names in the letter since I don't use real names here.  It's hard to read his writing - he's semi-literate which I think involved an undiagnosed learning disorder in his youth.  The content is what I am troubled over even though I know that much of it is because he has dementia.  I've had so many "retaliatory" letters composed in my mind since yesterday, but will not write them.  One day, he will kneel before the Lord, and he'll know what's true and what's not, but sadly, he doesn't know the Lord and has no relationship with Him and doesn't know what's true anymore. 

You may be wondering what's so bad about this letter - the history, the conversations and stories since my mom died, the implied accusation(s) based on falsehoods from my estranged brother, but mostly from my dad's own warped, confused memory of events which include complete fabrications.  This letter hurts my heart to the core.  And, it's what isn't there.  There's no father-daughter relationship there.  I don't know that he's capable of such, and yet, for my entire life, I suppose I've yearned for the type of father (and mother) depicted in movies and TV from the era in which I was a child.  You know, the Cleavers, or Ozzie & Harriet, the Waltons, Lassie, all those where parents, while firm, were loving and encouraging.  Zip, nada, never happened and never will.  Which has led me to really ask God, who I believe places us in our respective families, why? what am I suppose to do with this? how is this to bring you glory? how is any of this 'for good'?  I see a family so divided, so unattached to each other, so bitter, so filled with resentment, and I want to do nothing but run from them and be cut off from them.

So all of that to explain my distractions during a time I should have been worshiping and learning.  I fussed about Nick being so annoyed by fragrances (something sickeningly sweet that smells like burnt marshmallows and an 'old man's' cologne) that he got up and sat on a bench outside; watching a young black man with absolutely beautiful dark skin sitting next to his mom(?) of lighter skin with reddish hair-fighting against dozing off and eventually getting up and also leaving; noticing another young man a few pews ahead of him who was either 7' tall or extremely long-waisted as the top of his shoulders was level with the top of the heads of all others - his head stuck out like a sore thumb, attendees who got up later to return-presumably a restroom break and thinking maybe I should go, or maybe it was just that I was freezing that made me feel like I should go too, others who had tablets that flickered every time they caught the overhead lights, the bright glare that came in every time an outer door was opened, and noticing that I really need to trim my toenails - very noticeable as the too-long nails were digging into the toes next to them since I haven't worn solid shoes in awhile, and the guy in front of me...no one in front of him, so why was he moving all over the place? Every time I moved to see the pastor clearly, he'd move so that I couldn't see him...it was only he and his wife in the short pew in front of me.  Marty was thinking he'd done something wrong and I was trying to move away from him :/   There you have it, the story of my distractions.  

It seemed I couldn't draw near if I tried.  I'm sure glad He doesn't give up on me, because I can be a real mess.  This probably wasn't the 'double-mindedness' spoken of in this verse, but I certainly wasn't single-minded this morning.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Prayer Request - UPDATE!

Thanking those who prayed, and thanking God that Nick's 'ailment' is not serious, at least not from a cardio issue.  He's feeling much better this afternoon, and after another EKG, and an abdominal ultrasound of the heart, there appears to be no heart problem.  Oddly enough though, even that EKG was "abnormal", and the doctor said it could just be that's how his EKGs will be.  I hope that's legit.  

In discussion with this doctor and Nick re-describing his symptoms, it's sounding very much more like the issue is either allergy or pulmonary, and she suspects allergy/asthma and suggested we start in that arena.  

It's probably a good time, now that the weather has turned a definitive corner (we had some rain! and it's getting into the 40s at night!), for both of us to get out and start some exercise...walking around the block would be a good start!  Marty goes to the gym twice a week, and hikes a local trail every Sat. morning...and he has worse BP and cholesterol levels than Nick and I...go figure.  That's in part, why I don't buy into all the so-called "expert" advice that continually changes.  All things in moderation.  Still, it won't hurt to try working in more fruit, veggies, and grains - we've not been totally devoid of them but could use more. :)

Prayer Please

The first thing, and it's no biggy, but I cut my right hand ring finger last night and nicked the pinky...Cutco serrated knife in freshly drawn dishwater.  I'd placed several knives in with only about 2" of water, grabbed a pizza pan and sponge thinking I'd get it out of the other side of the sink, all the while in my brain saying "remember the knives" and promptly ran that sponge along the submerged edge of the pan right against that blade, yowie!  It bled quite a bit.  DH arrived just as I was grabbing paper towels to put pressure on it.  Dinner was cooking.  Wasn't sure if I should head to urgent care or not and was willing to 'wait and see'.   About that time....

...Nick comes into the kitchen saying he was having trouble breathing and was feeling odd in his chest.  The boy just turned 17 a few weeks ago, so that concerned me, but I wasn't sure what to make of it.  His only allergy is peanuts but he hadn't been in contact with them but I had taken a small container that had peanut butter and cleaned it out putting the peanut butter in a zippered bag in the trash.  He's not been sensitive to the allergen except when consumed or extended time in a restaurant that served peanuts in the shell and the shells were scattered on the floor, and then he was only bothered minimally, so there was no known cause for him to be having trouble breathing.  As a toddler, he had some wheezing issues after being sick and we utilized a nebulizer, but he hasn't been sick and we haven't used it for him in years and years, but have for myself.   

We deliberated as to whether to take him to urgent care, but he was hungry so wanted to eat first.  So we did.  We then hemmed and hawed for awhile longer and finally decided to better be safe than sorry, and went...for both of our issues.   Mine, the ultimate outcome was "superglue" instead of stitches, along with a tetanus shot.  I feared the latter more.  The 'nurse' was excellent, I didn't even feel the jab let alone the input of the fluid!  But Nick's outcome is a little more worrisome.

They performed an EKG, which came back with abnormal readings.  Also, for one his age and slenderness, his BP was a little elevated.  The recommendation was to have him see a pediatric cardiologist this week, so we were actually able to get an appointment this afternoon but have to drive a ways away to their alternate offices, otherwise couldn't get in until next Monday.  While we were at urgent care and out of the house, he was saying he was feeling better and almost 'normal'.  But after being home a short time, he was having trouble breathing again with the same sensation in his chest.  The U.C. doctor didn't perform any pulmonary type tests other than listening through a stethoscope, so I don't know if that could be a problem as well. 

I know housekeeping here isn't the greatest, and his room is pretty dusty. I changed his sheets before he went to bed as well and gave him a clean blanket.  I have done anything in his room in ages, since at his age, he should be responsible to change his sheets on occasion.  I'm thinking maybe that hasn't happened in months! :/   I also let him have a breathing treatment since I had Albuterol here from my last need and it's within date and he's "adult" dosage and has used it before.  He said he felt better after, but this morning said he only slept about four hours and wasn't feeling much better overall, very tired.  He went ahead to school, but will be home in about 45 minutes for the rest of the day and to go to the doctor appt.

Please pray for doctors' wisdom, and most importantly that there is nothing serious with his heart.  I hear stories of young ones with unknown defects who lose their lives suddenly, and it scares me.  He's commented too that he's felt fluttering in his chest (like PVCs), and to have the U.C. doctor say abnormal reading which could  indicate wall thickening, I'm actually terrified.  My young man hasn't had the best diet, doesn't care much for greens and veggies though will eat some and loves all the bad things: pizza, burgers, cheese, cream soups, used to love corn dogs, cocoa milk for breakfast, and Mountain Dew. Yeah, I know, I'm the mom and I do the shopping - guilty with no good excuse, these are all the foods DH & I like too!  We told him last night his diet will likely be changing if there is a real heart-related issue.  Wouldn't hurt any of us, though I've not been one to be on the "cholesterol" and "saturated fats" band-wagon; I'm more in the inflammation camp, but then haven't steered clear of a lot of processed foods in recent years either.  He also doesn't get much exercise being a computer nerd-type and no PE class this year, and no interest in extra-curricular sports.  Life may necessitate some changes in the household and none of us are going to be too happy about that :( but my son's health is more important than anything.

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