Archive for February, 2010

Another Lenten Casserole

Dear Readers,

It’s Friday and it’s Lent so here’s another meatless meal to try.  It’s a favorite in our home and I hope it will be in yours.

Tuna Tetrazzini

2 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons cornstarch

salt and pepper

2 cups milk

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup dry sherry

1/2 lb. spaghetti, cooked and drained

12 ounce can tuna

grated parmesan cheese or other cheese

Saute first 4 ingredients.  Stir in cornstarch, salt, pepper and milk; boil 1 minute.  Reduce heat and add mayonnaise and sherry.  Remove from heat.  Put cooked spaghetti in a greased 6 x 10″ casserole pan.  Add 1 cup sauce to the spaghetti in the casserole pan.  Stir tuna into remaining sauce.  Pour this sauce over pasta and grate cheese over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

The magic started for me as a kid going to the Saturday afternoon matinee at the Airway Movie Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky.  I would stand in the long line at the ticket window, ready to surrender a dime for an afternoon of pure delight.  You see a dime was the price of admission for two full-length movies and a couple of cartoons.  The show started with reels from Movietone showing the news, followed by “coming attractions” or previews.  Cartoons were next on the agenda – Tom and Jerry, Heckle and Jeckle, or Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.  The audience almost rolled out of their seats laughing at these characters and their shenanigans.  The main attraction was always shown in Technicolor and was full of famous movie stars.  The “B” movie was in black and white with lesser known stars and was shown first.

Going to the movies was so exciting.  A lot of elements contributed to this excitement – a dark theater, the tempting smell of buttered popcorn, a bigger-than-life movie screen accompanied by an ear-blasting sound system, along with the experience of the audience laughing, crying, cheering and gasping together.  The entire audience clapped at the conclusion of the movie.

The balcony was reserved for the teenagers who had girlfriends and boyfriends.  Hands were secretly held and kisses quickly exchanged in this private area.  The Saturday night date consisting of dinner and a movie was a common thing during the 50’s and 60’s.  I still remember one of the first dates with my husband was viewing “The Graduate” with Dustin Hoffman.  It was quite controversial at that time.

Even as a mature adult, I love to attend a movie with friends.  As soon as that ticket is purchased, and I stroll past the popcorn stand on my way to selecting a seat, the magic begins – the same magic I felt as a kid at the Saturday matinee.

Can’t wait until my granddaughter is old enough to share this magic with me!

Keep smilin’!

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Lenten Casserole

Dear Readers,

Lent started this past Wednesday and for Catholics it’s the start of 6 weeks of meatless meals on Friday.  Here’s a good casserole for a meatless meal any time of the year.  Pair it with some frozen peas and a tossed salad.  Yum!  Yum!

Cheese Pie

5 slices buttered bread, cubed

3/4 lb. or 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Using a deep 2 quart casserole dish, put the above in layers:  bread cubes, cheese, bread cubes, etc.

In another bowl, mix:

4 eggs

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon ground dry mustard

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Whip all the above ingredients together, pour over casserole.  Refrigerate overnight.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.  Enjoy.

My dear PA neighbor of 20 years, Bev Potter, gave me this recipe.  In fact, I still have her handwritten copy of the recipe. I hope things are going well with her and her family.

PS.  Forgot to mention that the casserole should be greased.  It will make the dish easier to clean.

Keep smilin!

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Healthy Tips Mimi Has Found

Dear Readers,

The November, 2009 issue of  Good Housekeeping’s “Good Health” column reported on at least 12 good tips for staying healthy this winter.  Three of these tips really appealed to me so I am sharing them with you.  (These are direct quotes from the column.)

“Keep your toes warm.  Give this one to Mom:  Catching a chill can jump-start a cold, say researchers at Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre.  Plunging the feet of volunteers into cold water triggered the onset of cold symptoms in 10 percent of subjects, while there were far fewer colds in the ‘toasty toes’ control group.  Cooling the feet, explain researchers causes constriction of the blood vessels in upper airways, which may reduce defenses against vexing viruses.

Pop in some earbuds.  Music seems to raise levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), one of the body’s primary defenses against germs.  When researchers from Australia’s Monash University subjected students to the tension-filled task of preparing an oral presentation, participants who worked to the soothing strains of Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D Major’ not only enjoyed a drop in stress symptoms, but also had a surge in IgA.  Singing in a choir has a similar immune-boosting effect, German research has found – all of which just might translate to fewer colds.

Enjoy a drink.  Spirits aren’t just good for your heart.  “Having one or two drinks a day is associated with less risk of getting a cold,” says Cohen.  Red wine may be particularly protective, report researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Harvard School of Public Health.  They found that, compared with nondrinkers, those who drank two glasses daily had about half the risk of coming down with a cold.  The reasons for the lower risk are unclear, but it might be the anti-inflammatory action of the resveratrol in red wine.  But don’t start drinking if you don’t do so already.”

In conclusion, here is Mimi’s take on the above tips.  Put on a snazzy pair of warm winter socks, turn on the radio and hoist a glass of red wine.  Sounds like fun to me.  What do you think?

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

I’m sure you know that Sunday is Valentine’s Day and here is a really good recipe for a Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.  This recipe is sure to put a smile on your Valentine’s face plus it’s so easy to prepare.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1-1/4 cups sugar, divided

1 cup flour

7 tablespoons Hershey’s Cocoa, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1-1/4 cups hot water

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In medium mixing bowl combine 3/4 cup sugar, flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Blend in milk, melted butter and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Pour batter into square pan, 8x8x2″ or 9x9x2″.

In small bowl combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar and remaining 4 tablespoons cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over batter.  Pour hot water over top; do not stir.  Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set.  Let stand 15 minutes; spoon into dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top.  Garnish as desired.

This recipe came from a Hershey’s Chocolate cookbook.  Happy Valentine’s Day and

Keep smilin’!

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Laundry Room Meditations

Dear Readers,

Over the years whenever I read something inspiring or thought-provoking, I would cut it out of the newspaper or magazine and save it.  I wanted to have easy access to my favorite clippings, so I scotch-taped them to the inside cabinet door over my washer in the laundry room.  This was a great posting place because I certainly spent much of my time in this room.  On many occasions these words brought a lot of comfort to me.  I’d like to share them with you today.

This is a quote from St. Francis de Sales:  “Have no fear for what tomorrow may bring.  The same loving God Who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.  God will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

The author of the following poem is unknown.

If I Knew

Hold your loved ones close today,

Whisper in their ear,

Tell them that you love them

And you’ll always hold them dear,

For tomorrow is promised no one,

Young and old alike,

And today may be your last chance

To hold your loved ones tight.

And the last quote is my favorite – the author is unknown.

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given:  a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.”

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Cut  a recipe out of Wednesday’s Desert Sun food section by Judy Hevrdeis of the Chicago Tribune that sounded very good.  Decided to prepare it for dinner tonight.  Well, it was really a hit.  My husband loved it and proclaimed that a cold beer with the perfect accompanying beverage for this meal.

Veggie Chili

Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot with 1 cup each:  chopped onions, red pepper, green pepper and mushrooms.  Add 2 cloves garlic, minced.  Cook 2 minutes over medium heat.  Add drained pinto, kidney and/or black beans, a large can (28 ozs.) of crushed tomatoes and 1 cup each water and frozen corn.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder.  Simmer 45 minutes; add more water if needed.  Top with shredded cheese.  Makes 12 cups.

Note:  I used a 16 oz. can of mushrooms instead of fresh and only used 2 teaspoons chili powder.  Didn’t have garlic cloves so I added 1 teaspoon garlic powder.  Crush some tortilla chips and sprinkle over the top of each bowl for some extra crunch!

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

PS:  This recipe would be perfect for any vegetarians attending your Super Bowl party!

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Dear Readers,

The other day I was waiting in  line at the very crowded deli counter.  A young woman in front of me turned around and smiled.  I remarked that there was quite a long line of customers.  She answered yes but quickly added that it was worth the wait – good cold cuts for a reasonable price.  I readily agreed.  We went on to talk abut the recent rain storms and the large amount of snow it dumped on the surrounding mountain tops.  She mentioned that she reminded her son what a blessing these storms were because snow on the mountain meant more water for the Coachella Valley.  After having been waited on and as she turned to leave, she glanced back at me, smiled and told me to have a great day.

Now fast forward to three days later.  It was at the end of the day at our new condo.  The demolition team had just left, carrying the remains of the tile floor they had removed.  I looked up at our new neighbor across the street.  He was standing on his upstairs deck, arms folded and glaring down at me.  I said hello and asked if there was a problem.  He curtly replied that the workers had blocked his garage door and he couldn’t get out.  After apologizing for the inconvenience, I suggested that if he had requested the workers to move their truck, they would have complied immediately.  He just stared at me, turned around and walked through the door.  I thought, oh boy, what a way to meet a new neighbor!

Then I thought about these two different encounters.  The woman at the deli was so positive; her remarks energized me.  The negative neighbor made me feel deflated and very sad.

Then I wondered why human beings are so different.  I decided God put these people in my life to teach me a lesson.  Being nice to each other, even if we are strangers, uplifts us.  And in the case of the grumpy neighbor, God’s commandment to “love our neighbor as ourselves” is not as easy to follow as it may seem.  I can see I will probably struggle with that commandment for a while!

Keep smilin’!

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