Archive for July, 2011

Dear Readers,

Here’s a cold vegetable salad to serve at your next cookout.  It’s simple to prepare and can be made 2 or 3 days before the cookout.  The recipe came from an old Pillsbury cookbook.  I’ve also seen it in many church recipe books.  So I’m certain quite a lot of people have this recipe.  Now you can too!

Sweet and Tangy Carrots

5 cups sliced carrots, cooked or canned

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/3 cup chopped onion

2/3 cup sugar

1 – 10 oz. can tomato soup

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In large serving bowl, combine carrots, green pepper and onions.  In medium pan, combine remaining ingredients.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally; pour over vegetables.  Chill thoroughly.  Serve cold.  Makes twelve 1/2 cup servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Let me begin by saying I usually don’t discuss politics but I can’t remain silent on the issue of the debt ceiling crisis.  Let me also state that Mimi is a registered “Independent” voter and does not subscribe to any far-left or far-right wing philosophies.

This past Sunday morning “Meet the Press” televised an intelligent discussion among a panel of qualified people.  The panel consisted of moderator, David Gregory, presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, news correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, Corey Booker, Democratic mayor of Newark, NJ, Chuck Hagel, a retired Republican senator and a freshman congressman from IL who won 3 medals and was an Air National Guard pilot.  I’m sorry to admit that I can’t remember his name.

It was a thoughtful and respectful dialogue, where each participant was allowed to give opinions without being interrupted.  Also the discussion was not peppered with talking points from either party.  Ms. Goodwin said compromise is needed and reminded us that we are a nation born from compromise.  The political courage to solve the dilemma by telling the unvarnished truth to the electorate is the wise advice offered by Senator Hagel.  Democrat Corey Booker readily admitted that the Republicans have valid points about the need to curb spending.  It’s just a shame that this panel isn’t a part of congress, because I believe they could get something done.

I’m not an economist just a homemaker but here is my take on the situation.  If I ran my household finances like the government does, I would have landed in bankruptcy court years ago.  Even I know you cannot continue to spend more than you take in.  You cannot continue to print money to buy today for what we will be re-paying for years to come.  And finally you cannot continue to tell the American people that we can have it all.  We simply cannot afford it!

What we need is a balanced approach to the debt ceiling crisis.  And that means we have to cut spending and raise taxes.  We have to do both until we can get our finances under control and the economy improves.

Democrats and Republicans in Washington, are you listening?  I certainly hope so!

And as you can tell, I’m going to try to

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Here’s a delicious side dish to accompany those steaks grilled on the outdoor barbecue.  It’s a real winner and can also be prepared indoors on the stove top.  I cut it out of a Good Housekeeping magazine long ago but the date and issue are not on the clipping.  It makes 6 accompaniment servings.

Cheesy Potatoes In Foil

4 large potatoes (2 pounds), unpeeled and cut into 1/4″ slices

1 medium onion, minced

4 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds (I use a teaspoon of caraway seeds)

1 – 4 oz. package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Prepare outdoor grill for barbecuing.  Meanwhile, wrap all ingredients except cheese in double thickness of heavy-duty foil, being careful seam of foil is folded several times to seal in juices.

Place foil packet on grill over medium heat; cook 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning packet often with tongs.  Remove packet from heat; sprinkle potato mixture with Cheddar cheese.

To Cook On Top Of Range:

About 30 minutes before serving, spray 12-inch skillet with vegetable cooking spray as label directs; place skillet over medium heat.  In skillet, melt butter or margarine; add potatoes, onion, salt, pepper, and caraway seeds.  Cover and cook potato mixture until potatoes are tender and browned, about 15 minutes, turning potatoes occasionally with pancake turner.  Remove skillet from heat; sprinkle potato mixture with Cheddar cheese; cover skillet until cheese melts.

Enjoy and remember to

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

In order to tell you about my crush on the handsome lifeguard at Crescent Hill swimming pool in Louisville, Ky., we’ll have to journey back in time to my fifteenth summer in 1960.

Since we didn’t live near the ocean or a big lake, the local municipal swimming pool was the only place to sunbathe and watch others frolicking in the water.  If we wanted to recreate the beach scenes from Coppertone ads, our only option was to board the Oak St. bus to the Frankfort Ave. stop, where we hiked to the Crescent Hill pool near the reservoir.

So about every other Friday of the summer of ’60, we did exactly that.  My sister, Nancy, and our shared best friend, Darlene, would pack a beach bag with a swimsuit, large beach towel and a brown plastic bottle of Coppertone Suntan Lotion with a 4 spf.  This lotion gave us only minimal sun protection.  After all, we wanted to look like we had just returned from a beach vacation in the south of France.  Our cover-ups were sweatshirts with the name of a college or university printed on the front.  We secretly hoped that others at the pool would think we had a boyfriend attending that college.  Mine was baby blue sporting a Harvard emblem.  I had never met a Harvard student in my life, but if you’re trying to fool the public, you might as well aim high.  Right?

Le me get back to that lifeguard.  You see he looked like a bronzed Greek god sitting high above the pool on his throne which was the lifeguard stand.  His eyes were always concealed behind stylish sunglasses, even on cloudy days.  We could never tell if he noticed us or not.  Pretty girls would hang around the bottom of the stand gazing up at him, while he supposedly watched for trouble in the pool  We found out his name was Lucien and so we would position our towels on the grass near his stand so we could ogle him and wish we were part of his harem.

Some Fridays we were crushed when we arrived at the pool only to discover Lucien had the day off.  We would have to wait another week for a chance to see him.  One Friday we took an earlier bus and had the pleasure of seeing Lucien drive up to the parking lot to start his shift.  And what mode of transportation did our Greek god use?  You guessed it – a Triumph TR4 convertible painted English Racing Green.  We almost swooned at the sight of him.  From that day forward if we spied the sporty little Triumph in the parking lot, we knew it would be a heavenly day at the pool.

Well, Lucien is now probably near 70 years old and I’m certain he still remembers his glory days at the Crescent Hill pool.  But the real question is:  does he still drive a Triumph convertible?  I sure hope he does!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

This recipe came from Relish Magazine that ‘s inserted quarterly into the local newspapers.  It’s refreshing, healthy and easy to prepare.  It’s also a unique way of serving cantaloupe that is readily available now at your local farmer’s market.

Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic or rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

1/2 small cantaloupe, cut into chunks (about 2 cups)

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into halves

1/2 cup chopped, peeled cucumber

1.  Whisk oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

2.  Combine cantaloupe, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl.  Add dressing; toss well.  Serves 4.

Each serving contains 180 calories and 14 grams of fat.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Christina Peterson, a Good Housekeeping Research Institute product analyst, wrote an article entitled “Smart Cleaning Swaps” in a recent issue of their magazine.  I found the article to be extremely informative and useful and want to share it with you.  Therefore, the article will be quoted verbatim in this post.  Read and learn.

“Smart Cleaning Swaps

When you run out of what you’re supposed to use, here’s what’s safe to try instead.

No dishwashing liquid?  Grab the laundry detergent.  A teaspoonful of liquid laundry detergent in a basin of hot water will cut grease on dirty dishes equally well (though you may want to wear gloves, as detergent can be drying to hands).  To tackle cooked-on gunk, really raid the laundry room:  Fill the grungy pan with hot water and a tablespoon of fabric softener and soak before sudsing in your detergent bath, as described above.  Rinse all items to remove any residue or fragrance.

If you’re low on silver polish, use toothpaste.  Plain, non-gel toothpaste (without additives like whiteners) can rid small silver pieces of light tarnish without damaging the surface.  Moisten the silver piece; apply a bit of toothpaste to your finger.  Rub gently and rinse, then buff with a soft cloth.

When you can’t find the stain pretreater, try hydrogen peroxide (3%).  This medicine-cabinet staple has similar stain-fighting power to that of a color-safe bleach.  And it can be applied directly to most fabrics, including washable silk and wool ( but spot-test in a hidden place first).  Dab the stain, then launder right away in the warmest temperature permitted by the item’s care label.

Need carpet stain remover?  Pull out a baby wipe or premoistened facial-cleansing wipe.  Soak up the spill with a paper towel or clean cloth, before taking a baby wipe or wet towelette (like Olay Daily Facial Express) from your bathroom stash.  Blot the carpet, turning the wipe as it absorbs the stain, until clean.  Sponge the area with a damp cloth to rinse, and let dry.  In GHRI tests, our red wine and chocolate spills disappeared without any damage to the carpet’s pile.

If you’re out of fine-fabric detergent, wash with shampoo.  It’ll be as gentle on your delicates as it is on your hair.  Pretreat any stains by gently rubbing in a drop of the shampoo.  Then add a pea-size dollop to the cold-water-filled sink.  Wash, rinse, and lay flat to dry, as usual.”

The Good Housekeeping magazine is chock full of excellent homemaking tips like the ones noted above.  Hope this info will be helpful to you and remember to always

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Here’s a healthy and tasty sandwich filling that is just perfect for a  toddler to eat at a summer picnic.

Peanut Butter-Raisin Sandwich Filling

1 – 8 oz. package lite cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup finely chopped raisins

Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.  This recipe makes enough filling for 24 mini bagels.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!


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Dear Readers,

Recently my husband had out-patient knee surgery and as part of the admittance procedure, I was asked if I was retired.  When replying in the affirmative, the admitting clerk inquired who my employer was.  I meekly answered “I’m just a homemaker”.

Later in the day, I chastised myself for responding “just a homemaker”.  After all, the title “homemaker” is one that shouldn’t be regarded lightly, as it encompasses quite a lengthy roster of duties and skills.

In 41 years of marriage that roster has included over 14,000 dinners prepared and approximately 9,000 breakfasts and lunches served.  Loads of laundry washed and dried amounts to over 21,000.  Thorough housecleanings were performed over 1,400 times.  Wow, I’m exhausted just reading these figures!

Being both a mother and homemaker means changing diapers, wiping runny noses, shopping for school clothes, driving children to sports and other activities, organizing birthday parties, attending PTA meeting and purchasing supplies for all those complicated science projects.

Because I’m a homemaker means there have been occasions when I’ve been called on to be a plumber, nurse, teacher, cheerleader and psychologist; not mention, disciplinarian, seamstress, family photographer and vacation planner.  I’ve also been known to tackle home decorating and flower arranging.

So the next time I’m asked for my profession, homemaking will be declared with a renewed sense of pride and accomplishment.  Mimi is a homemaker and damn proud of it!

Keep smilin’!

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No Bake Blueberry Pie

Dear Readers,

A tennis friend in NC invited my husband and me to dinner at her home a couple of summers ago.  She served blueberry pie for dessert and it was scrumptious.  This is the recipe she graciously shared with me.  Thanks, Marty!

Blueberry Pie

4 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

Spread two cups of fresh blueberries in a store-bought graham cracker pie crust.  Cook remaining two cups of blueberries with sugar, cornstarch, salt and water over medium heat until thick.  Remove from heat and add butter.  Cool and pour over blueberries in crust.  Chill pie in fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Note:  This can be made in a prebaked regular pie crust.  It is heavenly served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Another Note:  Just recently made this pie and I cut the sugar to 1/2 cup and it was still sweet.  If your blueberries are tart, use 1 cup sugar; otherwise, you can easily reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup.  It saves calories and is healthier for you.

Keep smilin!

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