Archive for April, 2009

Dear Readers,

Occasionally a totally random thought pops into Mimi’s head.  Will share these ideas with you today.

The other day my teeth were being expertly cleaned by the dental hygienist when a Bob Dylan song came on the radio.  It was very pleasant listening to Dylan sing but I wondered if, when he composed this song, he ever envisioned it being the main entertainment in a dentist’s office?

It was during this same appointment that I noticed a copy of Working Mother magazine among the other reading material available in the waiting room.  The title sounded interesting, but when exactly does a working mother have a chance to sit down and read a magazine dedicated to her?

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re the only person in a group that speaks a language that you don’t understand?  It may have happened to you while traveling or on an elevator ride.  Why do we always become paranoid and think we are being talked about?  Is it that we have a super ego or is it the opposite – low self-esteem?

Recently had a chance to visit a desert oasis.  What a cool and refreshing place it was!  Tall palm trees with fat trunks encircled a flowing pond of water.  It was truly a sanctuary of peace and serenity; a welcoming shelter from the parching rays of the hot desert sun.  Then I thought that an oasis is a place but can also be a person for many of us.  How many times have we sought the comforting shelter of a loved one?  The person that brings us peace and serenity in an upside down world?  I hope all of you readers have just such an oasis in your life.  I know I do!

Keep smilin’!

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For Artichoke Lovers Only

Dear Readers,

Artichokes are one of my favorite foods.  Enjoyed them in a salad my friend and neighbor, Lisa, brought to a neighborhood barbecue.  Needless to say, this culinary delight was the hit of the gathering.

Lisa’s Artichoke Salad

1 package Chicken flavor Rice-a-Roni

2 green onions, thinly sliced

8 green Spanish olives, sliced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 jar artichoke hearts – drain and save marinade.  Slice artichoke hearts.

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Cook rice according to package directions but use less butter; then cool.

Mix artichokes, onions, olives and pepper with rice.  Combine marinade, mayonnaise and curry powder to make a dressing.  Add dressing to rice mixture and mix well.  Chell 24 hours.

This recipe is  easy to double for a big party.  Give it a try…maybe someone in your family will become an artichoke lover too!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Was recently cleaning the kitchen cabinets and found an old recipe book that originally belonged to my grandmother.  It was the recipe album issued only to club members of the Borden’s Cooperative Recipe Club.  (Borden’s was a brand of canned evaporated milk.)  Couldn’t find the date of publication but I think it was published in the 1920’s or 30’s.  Someday I will copy some of these vintage recipes for you.  But the real treasure in this book is an old piece of yellowed tablet paper that was tucked inside.

It is a grocery list written by my father and dated Saturday, October 30, 1937.  My parents were married April 1, 1937 so they were still newlyweds.  My Dad always grocery shopped on Saturdays even after his 3 daughters were born.

In those days a dollar really was a dollar and worth quite a bit!  Let me quote from that list:  “oranges 18 cents, milk 15 cents, cheese tidbits 10 cents, 1/2 lb. butter 19 cents, potato chips 9 cents, can of tamales 15 cents, bread 10 cents, meat 15 cents, coca cola 25 cents, ice 15 cents.”  My Dad listed the cost of his haircut as 30 cents!

Pretty incredible, isn’t it?  The only figure I don’t know is the amount of Dad’s salary.  Oh well!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

On Sunday, April 19, 1953 I made my First Holy Communion.  I was part of a class of 32 second graders from St. Therese School.  Sister M. Joachim, OSU, had taught us very well.  We knew all the required responses and prayers.  We were ready for the big day.

It was a very cold day for April.  Snow had fallen the day before but melted immediately.  Our Communion Mass was at 7 AM, quite early for my immediate family and the few close relatives who attended it.  (Later in the day, there would be a big party at home for more relatives, complete with a beautifully decorated cake!)

Thirty-two of  us marched down the aisle – the girls with fancy white dresses and white veils and the boys wearing navy blue suits with white shirts and ties.  We all carried brand new prayerbooks and rosaries.  We were nervous and somewhat hungry because of the fasting from midnight.  At that time, church law declared that no one could receive Communion without fasting from midnight – only water was allowed.

Halfway through the Mass we received Communion and we were so proud to receive Jesus into our hearts.  In our innocence, we prayed that we would never sin again.  Then we sang the hymn “Oh Lord I Am Not Worthy”.

Every April I think back to that day and that incredible feeling of innocence.  I did sin – again and again.  But each time God forgives me and enters my heart through Communion.  I realize now that April 19, 1953 was the beginning of a long spiritual journey that I still travel.  And for that reason it is a “most memorable day”!

Keep smilin’!

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Susan Boyle, You Go Girl

Dear Readers,

Was cleaning the oven this morning when Hubby alerted me to the Youtube video clip of Susan Boyle.  I’m sure by now many of you have heard about her.  She sung “I Dream a Dream” on Britain’s Got Talent show and her performance was absolutely mesmerizing!  In fact, her singing brought tears to my eyes.

She doesn’t fit the usual mode of a female vocalist.  Susan is 47 years old, a little plump and wears very little makeup; but oh what a voice!  Amanda, one of the British judges, reminded us that as an audience we are very often cynical and that this performance was a wake-up call to us.  How right you are, Amanda.  Somehow our culture has taught us that beautiful things only come out of “beautiful” people.  And I guess most of us are guilty of subscribing to this shallow philosophy.

Why did I cry?  Because it is so heartwarming to witness someone defeat the world’s cynicism and emerge a winner!

Susan Boyle, I say to you “You Go Girl”!  And don’t let anyone change a thing about you!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

It was April, 1957 and my 11th Easter.  That was the year I wanted a grown-up Easter outfit – no more frilly dresses or patent leather maryjanes with white ruffled anklets.  No, the idea was to look like Annette Funicello and her cohort, Darlene, on the Mickey Mouse Club.  They were my idols and they wore high heels and suits on a segment where they were junior stewardesses on an airplane.

After much cajoling, my Mom agreed to buy me a more mature outfit.  She went all out too!  Wore my first suit, a beautiful lightweight gray wool job with a fashionable boxy jacket and pleated skirt.  A delicate sheer yellow nylon blouse peeked out from beneath the jacket.  My Easter hat was white and very serious looking – no fluffy bonnets for me!  But the best part was the pair of black leather pumps with a 2 inch heel along with my first pair of nylon stockings.  Eat your heart out, Annette Funicello!

Seriously, I was so enamored with this apparel that for 2 weeks before Easter, the shoes, hat and clothing were tried on nightly before bedtime.  This was accompanied by my preening in front of the mirror and pretending to be Annette, escorting passengers onto the plane.  Even she would be a little jealous of this suit and high heels!

Leapt out of bed on Easter Sunday morning to dress for Mass.  Wouldn’t you know it  – the skies opened up and it rained “cats and dogs”.  My Mom was too practical to let me walk to church (we didn’t own a car) and take the chance of ruining my new suit and shoes.  That ensemble would have to wait for a sunny Sunday!

I guess Annette had the last laugh, as I’m sure she wore her suit and high heels anytime she desired – rain or shine!

Happy Easter and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

If the Easter Bunny delivers the traditional dyed, hard-boiled eggs to your home, I’m sure you’ll be wondering what to do with the eggs.

Well, Mimi has a delicious recipe that combines 6 hard-boiled eggs with Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese into a cold salad.  It’s an old Kraft recipe from a July, 1979 issue of McCall’s magazine.  The original title is:

Incredible Egg Macaroni Salad

1 – 7-1/4 oz. pkg. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner

1 – 10 oz. pkg. frozen peas

1 medium tomato, chopped

3/4 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing

1/2 cup celery slices

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

6 hard-cooked eggs

Prepare Kraft dinner as directed on package.  Add peas, tomato, salad dressing, celery, onion and seasonings.  Chop 6 eggs; add to dinner mixture.  Mix lightly.  Chill.

This salad goes well with the Easter ham and baked beans.  Don’t forget the chocolate bunnies for dessert!  Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Super Side Dishes

Dear Readers,

Mimi has some super side dishes and wants to share them with you.  The first is “Orangey Carrots”.  (Don’t know if orangey is a real word but it fits the recipe!)

Microwave a 1 lb. package of peeled “baby-cut”  carrots covered with water for 10 minutes – stirring once.  Carrots will be cooked but still crunchy.  Drain thoroughly and spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of orange marmalade onto the hot carrots.  Marmalade willl melt and make a delicious sauce.  This dish can be prepared in advance and reheated in the microwave.  It serves 4 and is low in fat and calories.

Quick Spanish Rice

Add a jar of your favorite salsa to 2 or 3 cups of cooked rice and microwave  til heated through.  Makes an easy side dish and is perfect with tacos or a taco salad.  But please don’t forget the margaritas!

Salsa Side Salad

Line each serving plate with lettuce.  Place 1 or 2 thick  juicy slices of tomato over the lettuce.  Mix low-fat, small curd cottage cheese with Chachies Mango and Peach Salsa (can be found in a 24 oz. container near the deli section in many Wal-Marts) and spoon onto tomato slices.  Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and a couple twists of freshly ground pepper.  Ole!

Enjoy and as always,

Keep smilin’!

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