This is one of Anna’s Sunday dinners. It is shish-k-bobs, Armenian rice, stir-fry vegetables right out of the green house, and the great homemade hot rolls. Today I am showing the recipe for the rolls, they are easy to make and always perfect. Whether we are eating at the river or at home, there is always hot bread. It makes every meal special. Debbie, Anna, Elizabeth, Stacy Mae and I have used this same recipe for as long as we have been cooking. Try it and then keep the recipe handy, you can keep yeast fresh in your refrigerator for months so you will always be ready. You can easily double or triple the recipe, sometimes Debbie ‘4 times it’~
We were always looking for simple subjects ZZ could paint when she came to visit. Desert scenes were simple enough, blue sky with one cloud, sandy ground with a few patches of scrub brush. Then we needed a subject, like a yucca plant or as in this case, a group of adobe houses connected with each other to make a small pueblo. Starting with a few ‘boxes’ and adding ladders to get to the upper levels, vigas~or wooden beams~ then doors and windows. Shadows were the fun part, they made the different rooms stand out from one another. ZZ painted several of these scenes when she was around 11 years old. Some she gave away, some she sold on e-bay and others she kept. (when you paint, pretty soon you have a lot of pictures). New Mexico is rich in ancient history and these kinds of pueblos are scattered throughout the state. These that she painted were made up, no real places, just remembering those we had seen.
One morning a few years ago, I heard interesting noises from across the road, not a chain saw, a weed eater, not a mower, but something better. I knew the sound of a circular saw and it was buzzing away. This went on all day and when I went for my walk I saw what was going on with my neighbors. In an oak grove in the back there was some framing going up the biggest tree and legs down to the ground. I could see Jim was building a real tree house for their girls. It was fun watching the progress. It took about a week and was perfect and wonderful. It had a nice sized room, a porch and real stairs with hand rails. I thought how lucky those two kids were, it is every child’s dream to have a tree house, a play house or a cave. I always look when I drive by, it is a mighty fine house and a fine daddy who built it~
This recipe for homemade corn tortillas is fast and easy. You mix the batter, pour it in a small 8″ skillet, much like making a crepe or pancake, and cook it in a minute. Repeat until you have used all the batter, It should make 12 nice size corn tortillas. You can roll up whatever you like inside, here I have grated cheese, cottage cheese, shredded lettuce,scrambled eggs and tomatoes. Everyone can build their own. When you cook a tortilla, you cook it twice, once to make it, then the second time to soft fry it in oil to cook it and make it a little crisp around the edges, it gives it a wonderful flavor. Since the batter has an egg in it, don’t heat it in the microwave or it will taste “fishy”. ( I sent this recipe to Elizabeth since she likes Mexican Food and there are no tortillas in Africa, and no masa flour to make them. They do have corn meal so she will be able to make enchiladas and tacos now).
Today I would like to wish my sweet little sister a Happy 79th birthday. One cold November night in 1937, my mother and daddy came home with this tiny bundle, a new baby sister. We had stayed with Grandmother and Granddad Christian for a couple of days and had no idea there was going to be this surprise. She was probably the first baby we had ever seen. She seemed to fit right in though. We have been friends for a lifetime. She has brought so much joy to our lives. Happy Birthday Nancy, I am glad you were born~
This is the recipe for the soft, creamy, chewy pecan pralines. It takes a little longer to make then than the sugary ones. I like all kinds of pralines so these are are worth it. You need a candy thermometer if you are going to have success every time. Wal Mart has them and they are not expensive. This is another one of Grandmother Montgomery’s candy recipes, she made a date loaf candy that was wonderful and something she called ‘fork candy’. She made pot of clear syrupy candy and poured it over pecans in a platter. Then the kids each got a fork to scoop it up and enjoy. Candy making isn’t just for Christmas time, you can make it all year and it might be even better when there aren’t so many sweets at once. Try this one, you will love it~
The year was 1965 on a trip to Mexico. Tres vaqueros mexicanos. They were proud men. It is hard to believe anyone could carve out a living on land like this, not much growing here except scrub brush and cactus. A little further down into the interior of Mexico, the lush beauty begins. Back in the years when we traveled there, we found the people to be genuinely fine in every way. They were hard workers and they took care of their families. On Sundays, everyone brought their children to town and it was like a celebration, there were parks everywhere, lots of fountains that were built to honor someone. It only cost a few centavos to have a day of fun. There was the music of Mariachi bands or maybe just one man with his homemade harp, ready to entertain. Even riding on a city bus, there was usually someone with a guitar singing his heart out. I am thankful that my family got to know Mexico back when it was such a wonderful country. It was like another world, and right in our own back door~
Here are some Mallard duck figurines I bought after I no longer had my real ducks. They are quite beautiful and realistic. I have had a love for ducks ever since I got two babies at a garage sale thirty five years ago. Stanley and Rose Olive lived with us for almost nine years. Later the kids had ducks when they were grown and married. There was Sarah Kate, Katy Mae and Algeritta, to name a few. No one knows how smart and loving these birds can be until they have them for pets. They are unbelievably beautiful. All they wanted was a puddle of water. We always remember them at Christmas time and how much fun they were when they got their special gift~a pint of earth worms~
Sarah Kate was a beautiful male mallard, he loved the pond with the fountain. It was fun to watch the ducks go upside down in the water to eat off the bottom. We had a wonderful time with all the ducks, what special little friends~
My first miniature shoe was the ‘I Do’ shoe, a little old timey wedding slipper. Nancy gave it to me for my birthday one year. I couldn’t put it down, it was absolutely adorable.
Then on another birthday here came the Raine Runner, this was during my jogging years and is a perfect replica of a running shoe. These shoes were all made by a company called Just the Right Shoe, they came in their own fancy box with only the shoe for the right foot.
Later a friend in Canada sent me the pretty little blue mule slipper. It was encrusted in pearls and looked like blue satin leather. I just like things that are little, all the shoes remind of those special days and happy times.
1 C WHITE CORN SYRUP
1 C BROWN SUGAR
1/3 tsp SALT
1/3 C MELTED BUTTER
1 tsp VANILLA
2 CUPS PECANS (toast in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring twice)
Mix syrup, sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla.
Add slightly beaten eggs. Pour into 9 in. unbaked pie
shell. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 for
1 hour. Watch carefully the last 20 minutes. You can lay a piece of foil over the top during the last 15 minutes so the crust doesn’t brown. It should be golden.
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
½ c shortning
Mix flour and salt, cut in shortning with pastry blender
Slowly add a few teaspoons of cool water while stirring to make a ball of dough that is firm and not sticky. Don’t over work it, the less you fool with it, the more tender it will be.
Roll it out thin on floured wax paper,( put a few drops of water under the paper so it won’t slip and slide). Now carefully fold it around the rolling pin and place it in the pie pan. Cut excess crust off around edge, leaving 1/2 in. overhang, which you can tuck under and make a pretty fluted edge.
I wanted to show our Thanksgiving dinner from a few years ago. There were just the four of us since everyone else was out of pocket. It was a great meal at Tricia’s in her sun room. The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious and the company was great. We had ham, smoked turkey from Anna’s smoker, dressing, cranberry salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, steamed broccoli from the green house, hot rolls, pecan pie and ice cream. It is my favorite of all meals.
Afterwards, Tricia showed Anna how to make roses for decorating cakes. We had a wonderful day. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving too.
Here are seven of Anna’s first pet chickies. When they got them eight years ago, they were one day old. They put them in a kiddy swimming pool in the garage with a screen wire around it to make a cage. This was their brooder for several weeks with a heat light to keep them cozy. I made a play house from a small box, with windows and doors, and they liked it. There was a chickie head sticking out of every window. When they outgrew it, they just stood on top. They all have names, Miss Lilla, Ellie Mae, Honey, Ivy June, and the Three Girls. When they were bigger they moved to the chickie coop condo. Anna had it built and it has six laying boxes, roosts, even two insulated windows. It has a screened porch attached, made of hail screen covering the bottom, walls and top to make it snake and varmint proof. They roam around outside until evening, then go to bed on their own. Someone printed a production sheet with grafts and charts and hung it in the chickie house so they would know what was expected of them. They have done great, their eggs are too big to fit in an egg carton, each chickie lays a certain kind of egg, a certain color, a distinctive shape.When I drive up, they come running down the road to meet me, their wings spread out, looking like fat little airplanes, not being able to get airborne. When we are working in the yard or the pasture, they are right there singing and talking. They are just the most wonderful pets. There were about 40 new chickies to add to these who are older now. Also there is a new chicken condo which is a larger coop. They will live their whole lives there, and their only purpose is to enjoy themselves and lay a few eggs. Chickie Town is sweet place. Who knew!