Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chili and other ramblings

Veggie Chili and other ramblings

So listen, Is there anything better than a bowl of Chili now that the weather is starting to tease us with cold temps? You make a huge pot, freeze a few containers for later or to share with others, and there you have it! Supper that is healthy and good tasting-what could be better?

Today, I am home and gone-busy driving, etc. day. Drove our overnight guest, SGS to Sunday School for 9am class, stopped at SM with a mum, and some other things from our Farmer’s Market trip yesterday with SGS, unfortunately, she had gone to an earlier Mass, so no visit. I did see a new sign today in a Pawn Shop window “Gift Certificates bought”. Unique new business.
Stopped at Mass on the way home, nice to have a wonderful Pastor for our Priest, you really feel “filled” when you leave.
Then, drove SS to meet his Dad and Uncle for a Buffalo Bill’s 4pm football game, this was only 12:30, but can not get to Ralph Wilson Stadium late! (The stadium is really called “THE RALPH” by most WNY fans and others, and sometimes when the Bills are really doing poorly, it has the other meaning: ralph as in to hurl). We had rain a few times already today, so convinced/made SS wear his waterproof pants to keep his coolou (read as fanny) dry and take a rain jacket. Not well received, but parenthood is not for wimps.
Then I made veggie chili (recipe at bottom of this post), picture above is ingredients in the pan before the simmering started.

I will pick up SS after the game at our half-way point meeting place, Alton’s Restaurant on Transit near Seneca Street. They have a huge parking lot, and the best salads, my fav is Tuscan Chicken, it is really well balanced with walnuts, dried cranberries, baby greens, and well marinated/grilled chicken breast. I always can get another full meal with the leftovers that I take home. While waiting in the parking lot, I usually take something to read, but once it get’s dark earlier, I just search through the radio stations for anything non-sports to peak my interest while I am waiting. The parking lot has other cars there who use it as a “Park and Ride” lot with friends. If the Bills have won, oh baby, a happy crowd, beeping horns as they pull away, laughing, lovin’ life. If the Bills lose, deep despair is so visible, very quiet as they move chairs, grills, coolers from the transport car to their vehicles. It is really so interesting how much the fans are affected, and it carries over to water-cooler conversations the next day. A football game loss seems to be a physical and emotional problem instead of a game.
Here is that recipe, if you try it, please let me know.

Veggie Chili:

-In large heavy pan, heat on high:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Canola Oil
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped fine
3 peppers chopped into 1 inch pieces
(red, green, yellow looks nice, but any you have is fine)
-Cook for ten minutes, stirring every few minutes, do not let burn.
2 packages of dry Chili seasoning
1 tsp. Dried Cumin
-Do not add liquid yet, cook on low heat for 5 minutes to infuse the onions and peppers with the seasonings. Watch and stir so it doesn’t burn.
-Add (all undrained, about 14.5 ounce cans):
1 can corn kernels
1 can black beans
1 can butter beans
1 can dark red beans
3 cans sliced stewed tomatoes with onions, chilies (break tomatoes apart before adding)
1 tbsp minced garlic
-Stir well, cover and cook for two hours on low, stirring about every 45 mins., then uncover and cook for additional hour, being sure to scrape the brown bits off the sides into the chili when stirring-that is where the seasonings are hiding.

You can vary this many ways, brown some ground turkey, chicken, or my family favorite is chicken Italian sausage meat, while you cook onions and peppers.
Use whatever beans your family likes, add a jar of salsa for extra flavor and use whatever heat strength your family will tolerate!
If you prefer thicker chili, add 1 can of creamed corn during last half hour of cooking or a small can of tomato paste and be sure to remove cover.
You can make this in crock pot, just transfer from saute pan to crock pot before adding all the cans,and add a can of tomato paste and cook on low for 5 or 6 hours.
I sometimes brown meat and onions, etc and freeze in bags the size of one batch. Then, I can just defrost that bag and use as a quick starter, heat before beginning, using microwave if making in crock pot.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


So listen, did you ever notice that when someone thinks others are watching them walk that they walk differently? I do, so since I am a "people watcher" this is something I look for. This morning a man was walking into a school. In the parking lot, he was doing what we all do sometimes, schlepping. Then, he stepped onto the sidewalk, and started that swagger, you know that rolling and pitching walk, that says I am just so cool and young! A marked contrast from his prior pattern. Then today, I was walking out of the grocery store, back was bothering me so I was being very "tender-footed", but then I realized that I was walking so "old lady", so I pulled my shoulders back, straight posture and managed to get in the car hopefully not looking as decrepit and old as I really am! Ah! Vanity, what we do to change our own perception of ourselves, when really who is watching that we care about anyway?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Burning Bush earns it's name

Just a few weeks ago, this was a lovely shade of green, a haven for our chickadees to break their sunflower seeds on it's stiff branches, but now, look, a more beautiful color does not exist. We unfortunately had to remove about 1/3 of this bush to do some entry changes to the front of our home, but we were able to save it from removal. Last winter the rabbits decided that it tasted good, so the bottom 1/3 was eaten by them- as the level of snow rose, so did their feeding station. This year we are planning on wrapping the bush in burlap, not that we don't love our little guys, but geez, we live across the street from our woods, go help yourselves there!
p.s. the Buffalo Bills won yesterday!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bappy Birthday Buffalo Bills

Today is a big Sports Day in Western New York-our beloved Buffalo Bills Football team is starting the 50th. season-first home game. The population here really supports our sports teams, it is a big highlight of the year when the "football season" starts. Today, long slowing evaporating jet contrails in the bright blue sky add to the festive mindset. Fans are being "warned" to expect traffic problems due to construction in two very important routes, and to be aware that DUI checks will be everywhere.

DS has season tickets with his father, so he will be attending, we just need to drive him to a local restaurant before the game, and pick him up after the game-we have a system-he calls me when the 4th quarter starts, and off I go. Sometimes, if the weather is warm, I take sd for the ride. Since it is a 4pm start time, pickup will be 9pmish. By then the temp is expected to fall, so heater will be pumping in the car-we have a Toyota Rav 4, heater is fine-but our previous Ford Taurus had a quicker steam of heat-but that is the only thing I liked better.

Even though our DGS does not go to games yet, he along with so many others is excited today. So, the tailgaters are ready, the Bills are ready, Good Luck Bills.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


So, my SH had a wonderful mother who cooked many traditional German receipes, and then his equally wonderful sister carried on the tradition and made all of his favorites. He mentioned yesterday that he really liked Ofenschlupfer, which is a bread and apple pudding. He just happened to have a German cookbook "Original Schwabisch, Swabian Food & People", and the receipe was in there! SEE?

The panic set in as soon as I read the list of ingredients, it had THAT phrase in it "EGGS, SEPARATED". I do not do that, well, I have tried, but it is barf city for me, I tried the little seperator thingy that stores sell, but using all methods you need to LOOK at the egg! That ain't happen' with me. I had a childhood trauma, (well not a trauma, just a disgusting thing happen with eggs, so I have convinced myself that I never can look at an egg without heaving-ho). I have perfected the unfocused glance when using eggs, and quickly cover them up after cracked-hey, a girl's gotta do what a girls gotta do!
So anyway, I needed to change this receipe. I have another receipe that I use at Christmas Brunches, so I decided to kinda adapt this, and hope for the best.
Here is what I did:


Preheat oven to 350deg.
4-5 medium Yellow Delicious Apples-peeled and sliced thinly

3 tbs. Splenda brown sugar blend

3 tbsp. Water

4 stale egg flavored sandwich rolls-broken into 1 inch pieces

½ cup milk (skim)

6 eggs-slightly beaten

21/2 cups of milk (skim)

2 tbsp. Splenda-white

2 oz. Smart Balance butter spread-melted

½ tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. grated orange peel (lemon or dried ok)

1/4 cup raisins

1 tsp. Vanilla

6 small pats of Smart Balance butter spread to put on top
sprayed 9x9 pan-glass or ceramic

Heat heavy saute pan-add first three ingredients-cook until apples softened but not too soft-approx 10 mins.
Let torn egg-rolls soak in ½ cup milk. (If not stale, slice, open, and put in 350 deg. Oven for 10 mins).
Mix eggs and 2 ½ cup milk till smooth, add remaining ingredients except pats of margarine, stir to mix.

Place ½ of bread into pan, then ½ of apples, repeat, then pour egg mixture over top of all. Place margarine pats on top. Bake until brown on top-approx 35-45 mins. Serve warm, Plain or with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

This is what it looked like just before going into the oven. Five minutes after it went in, I thought that I better add some more milk-I added 2cups, pouring over all and continued baking. Did you notice I have it in a metal pan? Well, I started in a 9x13 ceramic dish, but soon realized that there were not enough ingredients to fill it so quickly-without thinking grabbed a metal dish. Which of course meant that after baking and setting for a few minutes, I needed to remove it and put into a
pyrex dish to store leftovers.
Here is what it looked like-ready to serve:

And guess what? SH said it tasted superb! He even suggested that I make it for his family the next time we get together! Now isin't that just the best? I met my goal of making something that he requested, and that reminded him of his Mom.
SS and I of course will eat anything that is even remotely in the dessert family, so we liked it, but SGS passed on it-can't please everyone.
If you make it, please let me know how it turned out.

Antique Pharmacy Items

I thought I would post a few pictures to show you what SH's antique pharmacy items look like, these are not his, but some pictures of similar items:

Herb cardboard boxes.

These have labels painted on glass, and shaped to fit the bottle.
Pretty Neat huh? Unless of course your house has 5 truck loads.
SH said TR on the labels stands for tincture.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mary Travers

Sorry to see you go Mary Travers.
In 1968, I went to see Peter, Paul and Mary perform at Kleinhans Musical Hall in Buffalo. Had Balcony seats, but that was OK because the sound is really good all through the Hall. I thought I was dressed really nicely. I had on a grey woolish straight dress, just above the knee (until I sat down) with White FISHNET stockings. They were all the rage, knitted of cotton thread. It was a sitting concert-unlike today when people stand throughout (because the person in front of you is standing, because the person is front of them is standing, etc.). When I got up, the stockings were embedded into my legs, and when I got home, and took them off, I had this really cool diamond shaped pattern on my legs. Seems like a memory that is just as strong as my enjoyment of the music that night. I enjoyed FOLK music then, had seen Joan Baez and Buffy St. Marie on the "Island" in Toronto around that same time. Like it not so much now. I think Bob Dylan's songs are really wonderful-I just like to hear someone else doing covers on them, because I enjoy understanding the words and I am not able to decipher his pronunciation. Other people can, not me, so it is my problem, not his.
So, leaving on a Jet Plane, goodbye for now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Family Day-Four Generations

So listen, I am lucky enough to be able to send off SGS to 5th. grade a few mornings a week, this allows SD to go to her college classes-she is in her final year of courses for teaching exceptional students. She went back to school at age 27, and doing well-because she really wants this. She is also working full- time while attending school. I don't know that I could have done that-or if I would have succeeded at the level she has. She said good-bye, thanks and tells me she loves me-very natural, and very appreciated.

So, after all morning rituals are done by SGS, we watched the movie "National Treasure 2" on his PSP-which I now know stands for Play Station Portable. The picture and sound were really amazing for being such a small hand help unit. The screen is about the size of a cell phone. So then, off he went to school, telling me he loves me-right out loud-not caring if a peer overheard. I don't know how long that will last until the 10 years or so that they go through the "no public showing of affection" stage, so I am really soaking it all in-planting it in my heart so I can pull it out when things are parched and those sentiments are really needed.

Home to go for voting in the primary with SH, then we decided to take his trusty 17 yr. old car for a spin-it has a new inspection sticker, a new battery, new radiator and new oil waiting to flow through wherever that goes. He Has not driven for around 2.5 months because of recent health problems, starting to feel stronger now, so off come the leg braces-can't press on the petals (as in gas and brake-OMG) with them on. We decided on just a short trip, I decide not to drag my purse with me, lock it in our other car along with his braces-and away we go. It was lovely to be a passenger. I really do love driving, but sometimes it is nice to just sit back and chill-lax, looking at the trees changing color ever so slightly, watching the first V formation of geese starting their journey south. Then we both notice that the gas tank is showing enough gas to keep the needle above "E", yikes, are you kidding me? We drove up and down a few hills between us and home, so if we run out of gas, I stupidly left cell phones-yes 2 folks, count 'em, back in the other car, along with money, leg braces, and of course his wheelchair. Being the anal soul that I am, I plead to go home immediately, but wondering how we were going to chug up and down the hills that are now our enemy, but were previously just so bucolic (don't you love that word? We use it often and laugh every time.) To cut to the chase, we made it home OK. SH wanted to go immediately and get gas, but I had enough fun in that car for today.

In the afternoon, I picked up my SM (new abbreviation-Sweet MOM), bring her back to our house and wait for SS's van to bring him home from work. This is a big day for him-he works in a sheltered workshop, and this is the annual Family Spaghetti Dinner, a special night for him. He cleans up we all pile into the trusty car, and drive away-and I casually look at my fuel indicator-and the (*&* low fuel light is on! Again, are you kidding me? We do not have time to stop before the dinner, so all are asked to remind me to get thee to the gas station right away on the way home.

At the dinner, we are joined by SD, SGS, and more new abbreviations: SFH and SFHW-sweet former husband and sweet former husband's wife. I know, this seems very different, but it works for us to be friends-now.

Great dinner, new method of giving away 200+ door prizes and raffle items, we are not able to stay 'till the end, but almost. Needed to say goodbye to SS's very caring, committed Vocational Case Worker-she is movin' on up! She really had great insight (insite?) into SS's needs and abilities, and we wish her well.

I should note that this is the first time that SH has been out at night in those same few months that he has been ill. All worked out very nicely. Drove SM home, but did not stop for gas until we were able to go to local grocery chain, in case I had some discount points to use-who says I am not a high risk taker-bring it on!

So, to make the day even more delightful, sd used her puppy pottie while we were gone! Life is good.
Good Night, I need to refresh, refuel energy for whatever tomorrow brings.
p.s. don't you love spellcheck? Even if the wrong word is chosen grammatically, it is spelled right.

Monday, September 14, 2009


SH is a COLLECTOR. Many large collections, including historical items, rocks/fossils, geology everything; books of all subjects-filling many bookshelves, and a very extensive collection of antique bottles-from 100ish years ago. He is thinking of the future, so has decided to pass on collections to appropriate persons. A pharmacist near us has agreed to take the pharmacy items-it will be trucks and trucks, of beautiful glass bottles with curved glass labels, paper boxes, tin cans of every shape and size, and enough related books to stock a library. Today, someone interested in his rocks, minerals, fossils, geology related items and books has agreed to buy the collection-the inventory tour took longer than some movies that you go see today. This very nice man has been a seller to Hubie, and now the tables are turned. And then there is the STUFF, not fitting into a category, except one I created called crap. I wonder if there is a limit of the number of bags we can kick to the curb?
Anyway, this will ease up what I call our clutter situation, and make our golden years a little more streamlined.
SS has been wonderful moving things that I have packed, and weighing boxes to be mailed. He is always very obliging.
I think it is a generous gift that SH has given me of divesting himself of these things close to his heart-knowing how worried I was about the proper disposition of these things, and worried that some valuables went into the dumpster by mistake by those meaning well, left to do the deed.
We always joked that every building we own could never be picked up like Auntie Em's by a Tornado and tossed to the great beyond because it is so firmly weighted down, but what about AFTER? Will we need to put some bags of cat litter in the basement to weight it down like we do for our car trunks here in Western New York during the icy driving times?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day of crimes

So Listen, yesterday, I was illegally parked at a large mall in the Fire Lane, with blinkers on, waiting to pickup SS. I parked there so he could see me easily, and not panic when he came outside. He was getting an autograph from Marv Levy, a sports god in WNY. When yikes, two, not one but TWO police cars pull up behind me, lights flashing. So I immediately think I am the reason, pulse starts racing, face gets red, they leave vehicles, one officer gives me "The Evil Eye", and they all walk inside the mall. As fast as my shaking hand allows, I start car and move to a real parking spot, vowing to not take this chance again.
I wait, and a few minutes later, all four officers escort a young woman, 20ish. out of the mall, in handcuffs, they are carrying a store bag. One officer says to the young woman, "Now, was that worth it?", and they place her in their vehicle and drive away. If she is found guilty, then her poor judgement has now caused a profound negative effect on her life. What about her family, can you imagine what it would be like to get that phone call if you were her parent? What about a current or future job if she is convicted. What about her? If she is guilty, is she mad that she was caught and not truly sorry, or was this one moment of poor judgement. We all make those. When I was about 11 or 12, we took glass bottles back to have money to go to the "show", what we referred to and now is called attending a Movie. Bottle deposit was a penny for small bottles and a whopping 5cents for a "quart" bottle-they are now 2-liter bottles. The show cost was 25cents. So, if you found enough bottles, you had money for the show (2 movies and a cartoon-what a deal), and maybe some money for candy. Some kids I was going to the show with, said they didn't need money for candy-they stole it from the drugstore next to the show, and that I should too! Are you kidding me? Never? The nagging, dares and taunting continued all the long walk to the show, I finally said I would. So, in we go, me wearing my one and only dress-most in my neighborhood only had one "good" outfit, and for whatever reason, I was wearing mine that day. It had a sash across the front, and I slipped a Necco(sp?) wafer package into the sash and left. During the show, I did not remove it. I had a feeling like it was on fire, boring it's way through the paper wrapping, through the dress, my undershirt (kids were not hurried into "adult clothes" in those days), and right into my very heart-cursing me forever. I was tormented that I stole something. After the never ending time in the theater, I went back into the drugstore and RETURNED IT! I left that store so much lighter, the burden of my crime had been negated, and the lesson learned, all for the 5cent price of candy!
I prayed for that young woman last night, seeing her situation really bothered me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hello world, after being a blog reader for about a year, I am jumping into the fray.
Eyes wide open, aware of what this means to record and SHOW what I really feel? Time will tell. Will I have skin thick enough to hear any comments that disapprove of my comments? Well, this is another matter, I have never been know to be thick-skinned, very fragile even though I try not to show weakness.
I am hoping to share a bit of the person I have developed into, as a result of all that I have done and been exposed to in this gift of life. The older I become, the more frightened I am that I did not fulfill the destiny that could have been, and having not done that, am not doing the best I can right where I am.
Oh Lord, this sounds dreary and pompous, on with the show!