Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Sour Side of Life

When I first found out I had cancer, I wasn't ready for all the changes in my life it would bring.

Some, I knew about.  The  masectomy of course.  I knew they were taking ALL of the breast.  I was left with a Frankenstein like Barbie boob.  For a while only, until after the reconstruction.  We, me and my husband, were going into the initial surgery not knowing what to expect after.  When you have a masectomy, they do a pathology on the removed tissue in the operating room. It is at this time that your cancer is finally staged.  Up until then, it is a guessing game.

My cancer was finally staged as Stage II Lobular Breast cancer.  My cancer was estrogen and progesterone receptive.  Meaning the hormones my body produced were "feeding" the cancer and causing it to grow.  The cancer was Stage II due to the size, 3.8 cm.  They removed the sentinel nodes and the cancer hadn't spread to there, so the lymph node was clean.  There was a little twist though.  They also found cancer in the ductal glands that was just forming.  I didn't need chemo or radiation though, since I didn't score high enough.  My oncologist said that at my young age, my score didn't warrant either.  God I love it when he calls me young!

Why the little lesson in cancer?  It's a prelude dahlings.  You see my taste changed, among other things.   I craved SOMETHING.  It drove me crazy trying to find it out.

We went out to lunch one day.  No place special.  This little lake seafood cafe by our house.  We got our fish dinners and there on the plate was something that was going to change my life.  That innocent little yellow perfect wedge was what I had been craving.


Those beautiful, yellow, perfect orbs hold the key to my salvation.  The sweet, tangy liquid held beneath it's yellow skin is what I've been craving.



Is that not one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen?!

Ok, so maybe I get a little weak in the knees over them.  I always loved lemons.  Who would have thunk that during menopause, these would satisfy my soul like chocolate would?

Enough of my love affair with lemon.  This story is leading somewhere.

Pinky promise....

Every time I go shopping, lemons are always on my list. I buy lots of them every week.  I am a lemon snob though.  I don't buy the prebagged ones. Even if they are cheaper.  I like to choose my own lemons. You, unfortunately, can just squirt lemon on everything.  Somethings just need a special kind of touch.

Enter lemon curd.

I've had people that lemon curd is hard to make.

What??!!

It's so easy!  So I am going to show you a foolproof way to make lemon curd.

Lemon Curd
6 Tablespoons butter at room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Let your butter set out over night.  That way it will get nice and soft.  Make sure you measure it out.  It's easier to cut straight out of the fridge.  I also use unsalted butter.  It will be about 6 lemons to get your juice.  The secret to juicing a lemon is before you cut it in half, press and roll it on the counter.  Soften that baby up!  Also, wash the outside.  You are going to need it for the zest.  I use a micrograter for the zest.  You only want the yellow part.  No white here!


Now that you are all prepped and ready to go, cream your butter and sugar together in a mixer.  Get it nice and smooth.  Add your egg yolks one at a time.  Then the eggs.  Mix it all together and let everyone get to know each other for a minute or so.  

Now, add your freshly squeezed lemon juice.


It should look somewhat like this and you are probably thinking "oh crap!  screwed it up!"  Well dahling, you are right on track!  Transfer everything to a saucepan and heat over a low heat to get it all melty.

Now turn up the heat a bit.  Not much.  The sauce is going to thicken now.  Stir it constantly so you don't burn it.  No one likes burnt lemon curd.


Now when your spoon leaves a trail, you are done!  Well almost....  Stir in the lemon zest.  Once again, transfer it to another bowl, I use my glass measuring cup, cover and let cool.  Its important to cover so you don't get a skin on the top.  I lay the plastic wrap on top of the curd to make sure there is no skin.


Once it is cooled, you can put into little jars and store in the fridge.  Supposedly it will last a few weeks.  Mine is never in there for that long.  It is good on biscuits, waffles and blueberry scones.

Mmmmm.......

Know what else it is good for?

Donut filling!

Like in paczki....

Fat Tuesday is just around the corner too.

Coincidence?!

I think not....

MUUUAAAAH!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Little Peek

If you looked closely at the very ugly front of my house you would get a hint of what is the next project.


Here's a little closer look....

Nothing?


What about now?!

I'M GETTING A PORCH!!

I am so excited!  I can just imagine relaxing on it on a beautiful summer day. A gentle breeze blowing.

*sigh*

For now though, there is much to do!  We stripped off the railing around the porch and the steps.


Once the railings were off, the posts and headers went up.  The boy even got in on the act since he found out there was alot of ladder work.  What is it with boys and ladders?


The rafters were scissored onto the existing ones.


Then  the decking.  Have I impressed you with my construction knowledge and terminology yet?  Well....don't be toooo impressed.  In real life I still call stuff thingamajigs.  I call it endearing.  My husband just rolls his eyes.

At this point the neighbors were hoping we were done.

Nuh huh....

I guess you will have to wait though to see what else is next.

MUAAAAH!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Old Girl

Remember this girl?


I love my girl!  I remember the first time that I saw her.  She was a beauty!  She still is.

We don't really know how old our girl is.  On the books, she is listed as a 1890 farmhouse.  That was the year that the one story part of the house was added though.  Feeling adventurous, I went to the county and looked at plat maps.  There is a house and barns on our property  shown on the 1858  maps.  So like a true woman, we are not sure of her real age.  Crafty ole bird!

Our girl was starting to show her age though.  The roof was starting to wear.  The last winter had taken quite the toll on her and shingles were starting to blow off.

Crap....

I am a very lucky girl and married to a very handsome and talented contractor!


There he is!  My very own fiddler on the roof!  He's probably thinking what the heck did she talk me into now?!

You see.... it's not a simple but down a new layer of shingles.  Oh no....  The roof already had 3 layers on so we had to strip off the old shingles to put down new ones.  Code in Michigan is no more than 3 layers.  But look at what we found!


The original cedar shake roof!

Be still my heart!

We considered repairing the cedar shakes and keeping the original roof.  Big problem was having 3 layers of shingles nailed through made for lots of nail holes.  The above pic is actually after we painted it with Deck Restore.  Did not fill the holes....damn....  


Goodbye beautiful old cedar shake!  I loved you dearly for the short time that you were showing!
Okay, the bad news was I lost my cedar shake roof.  The good news is.....

....I guess you have to come back to see what it is....

MUAAAAH!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

When Life Hands You Lemons.....

HELLO MY LOVES!!!!

Miss me?!  I have missed you sooooo much!

I needed a break from blogging.  I thought it would be a couple of months.  Life decided to hand me ALOT of lemons!  One thing after another and now....BAM!  Four years later!  I have so much to tell you about to get you up to speed too!

First of all.....my kids!  My children are AMAZING!!!  You never realize how amazing your children are until they become your lifeline and reason for living, but enough of that!


My girl graduated!  Whoopwhoop!  Such a proud mommy moment!


Now it is this one's turn!  He's such a goof,but I wouldn't want him any other way!  BTW isn't his girlfriend a cutie?


And last, but not least, Not So Bitty Anymore!


Here are all of them dressed and ready to go terrorize the neighborhood.  If the boy behind Bitty looks familiar, that is my nephew!  He grew up too!


One more pic of the nuts, then we will move on....

Remember this old girl?!


She has had major surgery!  I mean MAJOR!  You won't even recognize her!  But that is to come in future posts.  It all started innocently enough with needing a new roof....  You won't believe her now though!


This old girl got a makeover somewhat too!

When we started our house remodeling, I pulled out of alot of volunteer work,including Relay For Life.  I told them I had "no time".  I think back about that now and laugh.  I found a cyst on right breast right in the cleavage.  It didn't change or anything, so I waited  til my once a year visit with my OB/GYN.
New Year's Eve, Bitty's birthday, I got the news....I had cancer.  WTF?!  I screamed, I cried, I begged, I bargained....nothing changed the fact that I had cancer March 5, 2014 I had a mastectomy of my right breast.  Just when I thought I had no time, I found how to make time.


I hate cancer.  I am also grateful.  This experience taught me alot.  It made me realize who I am.  It brought my family together to be supportive of each other.  To come to together when one of us is down and bring them up.  This was one of the hardest challenges I have had to face but thankfully I didn't have to do it alone.  My family and friends were right there beside me ready to take over when I was weak.  I am so blessed!

Now.....bring on the remodeling!  Hope ya'll come back to see what the crazy lady has been up to  in between surgeries!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Boo!

Yesterday was Bitty One's Preschool Halloween Party!



Aren't they cute?



Bitty One thinks she is Cinderella.  Don't tell her she really is a Renaissance princess though.  Isn't she cute? This is her and her friend Tyler.  I tease her that he is her boyfriend!


Look who else is a cutie!  Heehee!  She told me she would get her revenge if I posted her pic on facebook.  She  didn't say ANYTHING about my blog though!


Her "partner in crime" is just as cute too.  We were talking about how hard it is to find a costume that you can wear around 4 year olds without being risque.


They made crafts, listened to stories and ate food.


Lots and lots of food!


Isn't this cake cute?!  Okay, it was cuter when the legs didn't start to break and thaw.  The kids didn't seem to mind though.  I got this idea from Hungry Happenings.


I also brought these cute little mice.  Bitty One ate all the silver balls that I was going to use for eyes.  You can find the recipe for them here.

As for now, I am scooting off.  I have to bring treats for Bitty's other class today.  I found another really cute idea at Hungry Happenings that when I saw it I just knew I had to make them!

See ya soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu For Week Of Oct 24th

So.... yesterday was the first day of no hubby. I made lists of what to do this week, planned a menu and even went to the dreaded grocery store! I "lost" the kids at Meijer's. Aren't you proud?! Yup, couldn't find them. They went to look at the video games and toys while I shopped. How could you resist a deal like that? I went to go find them when I was done and they were no where to be seen. I gimped around that whole store, couldn't find them. I have gotten to know the lady who was working as a greeter since it seems I am up there daily. I told her "isn't this great? The first day my hubby leaves me alone with them and I lose them!" I did find them though, don't worry. They are safe and sound! Oh, for all inquiring minds, Stinky Pinky is gone! The doctor took it off last week. Now I just have to wear this very attractive shoe for the next 3 weeks since I am not supposed to bend it.

Oh well, onto the menu!

I am planning on sending food down with my husband on the weekends. Not a real problem since I cook like an army is coming to dinner. I also suck at reheating leftovers. How boring are leftovers?! So I will be freezing them and sending them back to Tennessee with him. Saves on groceries or cooking for him. I bought a new cookbook so I am trying out some of the recipes in it this week.

Monday
Chicken and Fall Veggie Casserole
Ceasar Salad

Chicken and Fall Veggie Casserole
3T olive oil
2 leeks, sliced and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
2 sweet potatoes, chunked
2 parsnips, scrubbed and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
9 0z wild mushrooms, sliced
14 oz tomatoes, chopped
4 cups cooked long grain rice
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook til softened. Add the chicken, stirring frequently about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and parsnips. Cook til golden brown and beginning to soften. Add peppers and mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes more. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese. Spoon into an ovenproof dish. Cover with cheese and cook about 25 minutes. Serve.

Tuesday
Spinach and Ricotta Rollatini
Minestrone Soup

A total vegeterian dinner! I found this and it looked soooo good I knew it would be on the menu soon! Look for the tutorial for this later in the week.

Wednesday
Burgers on the Grill
Cream of Potato With Bacon Soup

The days are getting colder here in the North so I am taking advantage of the mild weather to use the grill. I am also doing a "fall cleaning" on the kitchen so not cooking in it is a plus! I am trying out this soup for the first time. You can find the recipe here.

Thursday
Roast Pork
Rosemary Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole

Roast Pork
2 lb pork loin
3T olive oil
salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat loin dry and put into a roasting pan. Brush the loin with 1T of oil and rub with salt. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Lower temp to 400 degrees and cook for an additional 40 minutes or until pork is done. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Rosemary Potatoes
2 lbs small yellow potatoes
4T olive oil
1 bunch rosemary, chopped

Peel and dice the potatoes. Heat the oil in another roasting pan. When hot add the potatoes and rosemary, toss to coat and cook for 40 minutes in the same oven as the pork. Remove from the pan and serve with the pork.

Friday
Margherita Pizza

Yes, it's pizza night! I love Fridays for this reason. You can find the recipe for this pizza here. I am using the canned pizza dough and precooking it for this meal though. You can also add cooked, shredded chicken to this if you like.

Saturday
Baked Chicken
Boxed Potatoes
Roast Fall Veggies

Baked Chicken
8 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup mayo
6T yellow mustard
Zest of 1 lemon
1-1/2 cups Italian breadcrumbs

Put chicken in a large sealable bag. In a small bowl, mix mayo, mustard and zest. Add to bag and toss to coat. Let marinade overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Remove chicken from bag and shake off excess marinade. Dredge in breadcrumbs and transfer to a 9x13 baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve.

Sunday
BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Baked Macaroni

I am using Stone Gable's recipe for the BBQ Beef. It definitely is a family favorite and so easy to make! Thank you Yvonne for posting it! The baked macaroni is also a favorite here. I can eat this stuff til I am stuffed! You can find the recipe for it here.

I also have cooking to do for Bitty One's Preschool Halloween party and school snacks on Friday. I think I will be in the kitchen all week long! These recipes are so easy though. It's been so long since I spent time in the kitchen I am actually looking forward to it. As for now, me and Bitty One are off to the orchard to get some apples for caramel apples later in the week. Maybe even a pie or two?!

What are you having for dinner?



Friday, October 21, 2011

Just Roll With It!


Hey! What's going on over there?


Let me go see....


....almost....there....


Whatchadoin?


Stuff....


We're just going to get to the top of this hill....


....get into this wagon and....


WWWWWEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!


Hahaha! Aunt Maggie look at Jeffrey!


WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hahaha! Mommy, Jeffrey's funny!


weeee.....


WAIT FOR ME GUYS!


Oooooookay....that was....kinda....fun....


Hey Jeffrey! There is a really BIG hill over there! Grampa falls down it all the time!


Who falls down it?

Oh to be a kid again....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Surprise!

How about something fun?! This weekend was all fun! No work, no laundry, no cleaning, just having a good time.

The best benefit about blogging is "meeting" people! I have sooooo many people that I consider my friends that I have only gotten to know through my blog. You are all my besties and I love ya all. Even better than "meeting" you all is meeting you all. That is exactly what I got a chance to do this weekend, meet one of my besties!


Do you know who this gorgeous cutie patootie is?


Yes, it is Theresa from 612 Riverside! My crappy photography does not do her justice. She is just absolutely gorgeous! When she smiles her whole face lights up and her eyes twinkle. She is so warm and welcoming I felt like I have known her for years! I snuck these pics when she wasn't looking! No pics of the two of us together cause, unlike her, I looked like the hag from hell.


She is also extremely talented! Look at the gorgeous pendants she made for the show. She also does custom work so I ordered some from her for Christmas. Yes, thinking about THAT already!


Her booth was set up so cute, just like her! Filled with all kinds of goodies too!


It was funny cause at one point, I heard my ringtone. I looked over at my oldest because I am not allowed to carry my own phone. She was standing next to Theresa's daughter, Hannah. They both pulled out our phones and checked them. Not only is she not allowed to have her phone, but we have the same ring tone! We are RINGTONE BUDDIES too! How funny is that?

I tell ya! I coulda stayed there all day just yacking with her. The kids had other plans though. So I had to cut it short, which is probably good for her since I was keeping her from her customers!

If you would like to see more of Theresa's work, visit her Etsy shop listed on her blog. I swear you won't be disappointed by her talent!