Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fried Boloney and Broiled Hamburgers

Earlier this week I made a lemon meringue pie to serve to my Pokeno group. It was always one of my mother's favorite desserts. I think every time she had to take dessert to her bridge club she made either lemon meringue or chocolate ice box pie or maybe one of each.

So I started thinking about other "old standbys" that Mother liked to cook. One of my favorite sandwiches was fried boloney. Mother didn't buy packaged boloney (I know it's bologna, but we called it boloney). She had it sliced in the meat market at Palmer's Grocery Store, so it came with the plastic wrap on the outside of each slice. I loved peeling off the plastic wrap and eating the little bits of boloney that stuck to it.

Broiled hamburgers were another favorite. To make broiled hamburgers, you've got to use good old fashioned white bread, Sunbeam or Wonder Bread. Spread a little mustard on each slice of bread. Then make a very thin patty of ground beef and place on top of each slice of bread. Broil until the meat is cooked thoroughly but not too dry. The white bread soaks up the juice from the hamburger meat in the middle but is nicely browned and crisp around the edges.

I haven't had a broiled hamburger in a long time, but I think Mother still makes them every time my nephew Benton visits.

Probably my most favorite meal was fried chicken, mashed potatoes and English peas. Lots of Sundays Mother would come home from church and spend time frying chicken for Sunday dinner, which was the noon meal. I always preferred dark meat. The thigh was my favorite piece. Mother called it the "second joint." I'm not sure where that expression came from, but it was probably what my grandmother called it.

We'd make a "nest" in our mashed potatoes and spoon the English peas into the "nest." Now that's what I call comfort food!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Things

My niece Kate tagged me on Facebook to write 25 things about myself. I've done something similar before, but it wasn't as many things, so I thought I'd post it here as well.

1. I can't believe I started this and then failed to save a draft before confirming someone as a friend. And I was already up to 17 things.

2. I love being a grandmother. Walker is a joy, and I can't wait for Lauren to arrive in May.

3. I wouldn't trade my three boys for anything, but it's nice to be getting some girls in the family (daughters-in-law and soon a granddaughter).

4. I am crazy about the Razorbacks -- football, basketball, gymnastics -- I love it all.

5. I drive a red Ford F-150.

6. I build and remodel houses. With the state of new home construction, lately it's been all remodel work.

7. I taught school for 15 years. I loved it at the time, but I can't imagine doing that now.

8. I got my first Social Security check this month.

9. Birmingham is a great place to live, but it would be so much fun to be closer to family.

10. I really like to read. Hunter says I read "rubbish," but that's okay with me.

11. I'm also into digital scrapbooking. My latest is from Christmas 2008.

12. I have a blog. (Well, duh!)

13. Some of my friend think I'm a computer geek. They're always calling me when they have problems with their computers.

14. I have a great Bible study group that meets on Sunday nights.

15. I enjoy travelling. We've got a trip to France in March, and I can't wait.

16. I wish I could sing, but I was the only one of my friends who didn't get picked for the choir in 6th grade.

17. Camden, Arkansas, was a great place to grow up, but I can't imagine living there now.

18. Larry says my job is perfect for me because I get to spend money, talk on the phone and boss men around.

19. I wish we would get a good snow. We haven't had a good snow in 15 years. Just don't send the ice from Arkansas.

20. My friends say I make really good cornbread.

21. Ben thinks I neglected him because we didn't get him braces when he was young. We were always told he didn't need braces. Sorry, Ben.

22. I get up early and go to bed early. Don't ask me what was on Leno or Letterman.

23. I sometimes wish I could go back to school. I think I'd study business.

24. I'd like to learn how to use Photoshop. My friend Connie and I are thinking about taking a class.

25. I sometimes wonder where the time has gone. Is it too late to decide what I want to be when I grow up?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Facebook Phenomenon

I am now on Facebook. My children are probably horrified, although Hunter says that it was made for me.

Anyway, I have actually had a Facebook account for a couple of years but never did anything with it. After our last reunion one of my high school classmates set up a group for us, but it never really got going. So until a couple of weeks ago that was the extent of my Facebook experience except for the times one of my children would share a password so that I could look at some pictures.

Then a week or so ago I got an email from a Kappa sister that I was in the house with. She wanted to network with some of the rest of us, so I began poking around in Facebook again and actually found quite a few people my age. I even started getting "friend" requests and requesting some of my own. I now have 50 friends. Wow!

One of my first friend requests was from someone in Denver whose name I didn't recognize. I asked around, but he didn't seem to be friends with anyone else I knew, so I "ignored" his request.

A couple of days later my friend Susie asked what to do about a "friend" request from someone you didn't know. I told her what I had done, and it turns out her request was from the same person. Now that wouldn't seem so odd since Facebook is all about networking and Susie and I are friends. However, at the time he sent his request, we weren't Facebook "friends."

The whole concept of social networking via the internet seems to be here for the long run. What started as a network for college students (I think you even had to have a college email address to join when it first started) now has millions of members worldwide. And I'm right there. So if you want to be my "friend," just ask.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mail Call

A couple of things that came in the mail this week have me wondering about the means direct mail marketers will use to get you to read their "junk" mail.

The first was from Architectural Digest and came with the ominous warning on the envelope, "Do Not Bend." So I'm wondering just what's so special in this envelope that I would be upset if the post office bent it. What little gift has Architectural Digest sent me?

What you are seeing is not only the envelope, but its entire contents. Frankly, I was disappointed. I just didn't see one thing I couldn't live without.

The second piece of mail had no return address, but in the upper left corner of the envelope were the words "Neighborhood Information." Is this something from my neighborhood association, from the Hoover city government, from the police or fire departments? Not hardly. It was an advertisement for a handy man.

This was not the first time I've received one of these envelopes marked "Neighborhood Information." As I recall, the first one contained a marketing letter from a local fitness center. I'm on to this tactic, and in fact I didn't even open the latest one until I got ready to post this blog entry, and then I had to dig it out of the recycling.

And finally, while I'm talking about mail, I just have to mention the invitation that was returned to me yesterday marked "Unable to Forward." I understand that this happens. Things get addressed wrong, or the addressee has moved and the forwarding order has expired. But this invitation was mailed to Little Rock on October 17, 2008. That's more than three months ago!!

I feel fairly certain that the Little Rock post office has not been looking for this couple for three months.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Basketball, Books and Bubble Baths

What's there to do on a Saturday when it's too cold and dreary to enjoy being outside? For me, it was the three "B's".

Shortly after lunch, I settled in to watch some college basketball, hoping the Razorbacks would bounce back from two straight losses. Unfortunately the streak continued at Florida. Guess we should chalk it up to youth and hope we can get back to playing like we did against Oklahoma and Texas.

I also made a serious dent in my latest "rubbish" novel, as my son Hunter calls most of what I read. I'm about two-thirds through Patricia Cornwell's latest book, Scarpetta. It was a little hard to get into, but the pace has picked up.

Finally, there's nothing better than soaking in a hot tub filled with scented bubbles. Since I got a bottle of Bath & Body Works bubble bath in my stocking this year, I've been taking lots of bubble baths lately.

LBeau thinks bubble baths are frivolous. He asked me tonight if they reminded me of my childhood.

Well, I do remember taking bubble baths as a child. Occasionally we would have a packet of scented bubble bath powder from the dime store, but more often than not Mother would use detergent. I can't imagine that it was very good for my skin, but that never crossed my mind.

Since I don't have a picture of me taking a bubble bath, and I certainly wouldn't post one if I did, here's one of Ben and his cousin Wes in their younger days. Since this picture was made at the lake house at Lake DeGray, I'd be willing to bet these bubbles were made with good old dishwashing liquid.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Long Live the Queen!

The first birthday of the year in our family belongs to my sister Margie. Although I share the same birthday as Prince Charles of England, Margie has the honor of sharing a birthday with The King--Elvis that is.

Obviously this picture is from a much younger birthday. That's my friend Nancy helping with the presents. Being six years older (I'm not ashamed to admit it), my friends and I were always "helping" in one way or another when we were kids.

Growing up, Margie and I always shared a bedroom. Our brother Tommy got his own room, but then he had to sleep with a deer head over his bed! Even when I was a senior in high school and she was in the eighth grade, I don't recall being too stressed out about sharing a room with my "baby" sister. That's just the way it was.

So here's a belated "Happy Birthday" to my "baby" sister. And here's one more picture for you to enjoy. I'm sure she's the only one going the right direction.

Friday, January 9, 2009

TV Snacks

You might call it Chex Mix, but in our family it's always been TV Snacks. Made by Mema Martha, TV Snacks is a staple at Christmas time.

The secret to her recipe is that she makes the seasoning sauce with bacon grease. I know most of us don't keep a can of bacon drippings on our stove like our mothers did or like I did when LBeau and I were first married, but if you are going to make TV Snacks, you are going to have to fry some bacon in a skillet and save the drippings. Forget about trying to fry it in the microwave. The paper towels absorb all of the grease. You can refrigerate or freeze the bacon to use in salads or for BLT's.

For her TV Snacks Mema uses a combination of cereals, nuts and small snack crackers and such. She suggests Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Cheerios, Crispix, pretzels, oysters crackers, Cheez-Its, pecans, peanuts and almonds. We are particularly fond of Honey Nut Cheerios; they add just a touch of sweet to the spicy mixture.

Each year Mema likes to surprise us by adding a new ingredient. This year's new addition was a puffy stick that reminded me of cheese puffs in its texture. She said they were Mozzarella Sticks. The boys liked them so much that they began picking them out to eat alone. When Ben also started picking out the pecans, Hunter complained that he was ruining the mixture.

Before Mema left to go home after Christmas, I asked her if she would give me the TV Snacks recipe. Yesterday it came in the mail with a detailed explanation. The seasoning sauce recipe is enough for two large pans of snacks. Mema uses an old oval enamelware roaster that belonged to Billie Anne's mother-in-law and one of the large disposable aluminum pans that you can buy at the grocery store. She called it the "dollar size" pan, but I would guess that it costs more than a dollar now. Anyway it's approximately 16x12x3 1/2. She described the oval roaster as "large enough to roast a 12 or 14 pound turkey."

Here's the recipe:

TV Snacks


Mix together:
3/4 c. bacon drippings
2 sticks oleo, melted (Mema uses Fleischmann's Corn Oil Margarine)

2 T. garlic powder
2 T. Andy's seasoned salt
2 t. onion salt
1 T. Tabasco
2 T. Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce
2 T. chili powder

Layer cereals, nuts and other snack items in 2 large roasting pans until they are approximately 3/4 full. Stir seasoning mixture well and continue stirring as you dribble it over the cereal mixture. Stir cereal mixture to distribute seasoning throughout. Bake at 225 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool and store in airtight containers.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Paula to the Rescue

Garlic cheese grits have been part of my Christmas brunch menu for years. They rank just under the "pineapple stuff" as my boys' favorite brunch food.

I have always used a recipe that calls for one roll of Kraft Garlic Cheese. I started looking for the garlic cheese roll about a week before Christmas. No luck at Wal-Mart, but I felt confident that I would find it at Publix. I was wrong. Same thing at Bruno's where an employee in that department said that I was the third person to ask that morning. He told me they had not received any Kraft Garlic Cheese this year.

Meanwhile, Claire offered to make the cheese grits, so we went online looking for recipes. It was then we discovered that inexplicably Kraft decided to discontinue making their Garlic Cheese roll. Boo Kraft!

Since Claire's favorite recipe website is Cook's Illustrated, we started there. Cook's Illustrated is based in Vermont, but being a Yankee website, it didn't offer one single recipe for grits of any kind.

At that point, we decided to turn to a true Southern cook, Paula Deen. Paula's recipe for Baked Garlic Cheese Grits was delicious and a big hit with the family. Problem solved, and Kraft can keep their silly ole Garlic Cheese Roll.