Life is good in the trailer hood!

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Tis The Season

Tis the season when people are more friendly, kind, and caring.

Full of celebrations, Christmas programs, parades, and parties we tend to scurry from one event to the next. We’re trying to find the perfect gift or  we are  feeling badly because our dollars won’t stretch far enough to even buy gifts.

Pretty soon our stomachs are tied up in knots, and we have forgotten what the true meaning of Christmas is.

Concerns for those who need a little joy in their lives and not having the means to give is very disheartening.

Seeing little children who won’t have a gift under the tree makes us sad.

It makes them even sadder, because most children they do not understand, and can feel unloved.

So here’s to all who know what the true meaning of Christmas is.

Christ, who gave his life on the cross, whose birthday we are celebrating, gave us the biggest gift of all!

He gave Himself.

Now that is the best gift, of course. But we can give, too.

To all who open their hearts this year and give of themselves, here’s to you!

You foster parents who take in other people’s children, the ones who adopt unwanted children, you are a Christmas blessing.

To the workers and volunteers who help with the needy and the elderly, God bless you forever.

For the Child Advocate Services, thank you!

If we could all just take some time, go Christmas caroling at a nursing home, visit a Veteran or shut in, or volunteer at a soup kitchen (or such), what a difference we would make.

Now that is the true meaning of Christmas! IMHO

We should celebrate it 365 days a year, give a gift of your heart, compassion and love.

Merry Christmas, friends!

❤ ~evie

A Mother’s Love

paul and dot family 1960I wrote this several years ago, just before my mother passed away in 2007. Thought you might enjoy another glimpse in my gardens of life.

Sitting in the chair next to Mom, I watched and listened as she breathed softly. Her face is so thin now, not like when she was up and on her feet. Even after taking care of Dad for many years as he suffered with Parkinson’s disease, she remained healthy and active.

Mom was always going — to church; with family and friends; outside to work in her flowerbeds! God gave her life and she enjoyed a full one. Married for fifty-eight years, mother to eleven children, grandmother and great-grandmother to many more, she always had charity and showed hospitality to all. She taught us what love really is.

Tears stream down my face as I recall moments I’ve cherished with her, trying to focus on the joy of the life He gave us. It’s a hard task, because Mom hasn’t acknowledged my existence in over a month, and I choke back the tears, not feeling joy at all. I miss her laughter.

I remember the day my son Russell was born, she was there helping bring new life into this world. Her love shines throughout my life. When my daughter Mirandy arrived, nothing could keep her out of the newborn nursery, even the nurse on duty. She loved each grandchild and great-grandchild even before they were here!

When my daughter’s firstborn arrived, Mom was excited to make the trip, although a long one. We invited her sister, Nonie. Both were about eighty years old, neither got around easily. My friend Trish and I were ready, albeit a little nervous about their comfort. The journey would be worth it, just exhausting. After praying, we were on the way!

Grandma Dot was ready to meet Ashley and be with Mirandy. Across the Midwest we drove, laughing and playing road games while stuffed inside Mom’s little white car! At the motel after arriving at our destination, we giggled like school girls, playing with Ashley and her gifts! Four generations of females were blessed those days in that room we shared. Our love grew stronger for each other.

On the trip home, time at Precious Moments became another precious memory. Afterwards, a fast food picnic lunch at a city park, and we were on the way to see where Dad’s maternal grandparents were buried.

Mom misses her mother, too. She is ready to go Home! It’s hard to give her up, but I have wonderful memories. Soon she will be with her Heavenly Father.

I wipe my face with an unscented white tissue, the kind she has always used. I think of her life, plain and simple, a God-fearing woman. I cry because I miss her, even though she is next to me. I wish she would wake up, call my name — be aware of me.

On a side note, my sister and I look alike. Both Mom and Dad have called me Vicki most of my life!

I’m thinking, “Say hello! Fuss at me! Call me Vicki!”

I dry my tears. She’s awake.

Hope arises! She opens her eyes and says, “Vicki?” 

“It’s Evelyn, Mom!”

Countdown…New Year’s Eve

Well, Christmas day has come and gone, and now we are counting down to the New Year and thinking about resolutions!

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After our first white Christmas since 1975, the year my daughter was born, I am not complaining that we are snowed in! I love the snow, and as I don’t have anywhere to go, we are just enjoying a lazy day… all snugly and warm.

Now it is time to think of the new year. Resolutions are made, and in my case, forgotten on January 2.  This year, though, I do have one year that I want to make sure I do.

RACK is Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (I prefer Random Acts of Christian Kindness!)  I have just challenged my Facebook friends to join me on the page I created to share ideas! Wouldn’t it be amazing, the  number of acts of kindness that would be performed, if we just did one a day, every day? Come join us!

Lots of people have traditions for this holiday, too!  Some people go out and party, others stay in and celebrate with the family. For my sisters and I, and our guys, we have always enjoyed turning on the karaoke machine and singing our little hearts out, between lots of breaks for snacking! Check out my Pinterest boards here for yummy appetizers and desserts!

Lime in the Coconut Macaroons ...I thought I would pin my own cookie recipe I baked for this past weekend. Several have asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share with my followers, too. @Pat McGowin @Vicki Shaw..You wanted it, you got it! Evie!

If you don’t have a karaoke machine, you can sing for free online from your computer at this website. They have many songs to choose from!

Some people think they must eat black-eyed peas for good luck!  Here’s a recipe that sounds yummy I found it at Pauladean.com!

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Photo belongs to Pauladean.com!

I found these cute cookies over at Annie’s Eats!

Over at yesterdayontuesday.com blog, links to some really clever ideas for New Year’s party will inspire you to celebrate the good times. Check it out here! Countdown to New Year’s Eve

So what are you planning for New Year’s Eve, and do you have any resolutions? Please share with me!

How to Store Leftover Pasta

Yesterday I posted a recipe for the  spaghetti sauce we served in our restaurant…

which got me to thinking about noodles…

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then time savers and saving money.

I know…

I am random!

If you are short on time during the holiday season, (or anytime) you can save some valuable meal time by preparing a spaghetti meal ahead of time!

Spaghetti sauce is better the next day, no matter what recipe you use. Mine makes several gallons, although you may have a recipe you love with less servings.

Or you can grab the spaghetti sauce recipe and can some, it will save a lot of time when you need it later!

Same thing with noodles, cook them ahead of time. This should work with any kind of pasta.

After cooking your spaghetti noodles al dente, immediately stop the cooking process by immersing in ice-cold water. This will stop the breakdown of the starch, and the pasta won’t get gummy and  stick together.

Cook and store in the fridge in a container of water just covering the pasta. It will keep for a good while.

To reheat noodles…

  • Immerse in boiling water until noodles are hot, then use a colander to drain or a slotted spoon.
  • Or drain noodles and heat it in the microwave on a plate.

Throw together a quick salad, or open a packaged bag of salad, grill some garlic bread and you are good to go! (The kids can help do this!)

Try it and let me know what you think!

Share your kitchen time saving tips!

Have a great Christmas season! ~Evie

Spaghetti Sauce Recipe For A Crowd

spaghetti sauce

This photo is property of public domain.

Need spaghetti sauce for a crowd, or for canning?

Several years ago we ran a small restaurant, the owner of the building (RIP) shared his know how with me for spaghetti sauce and some of the best chili ever (in my humble opinion!)

Several of the women over at the Canning Granny blog requested the recipe, so I thought I would share with you all!

Even if you don’t want to can it, it makes a large amount, and can be made ahead of  serving time for large gatherings!

The ingredients:

  • 5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 gallon stewed tomatoes
  • 1 gallon tomato sauce
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • few bay leaves
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 onions, chopped
  • 2 large cans (8 oz.) mushrooms (stems and pieces)
  • 2 packages spaghetti sauce mix (to thicken)
  • 4 Tbsp. minced garlic (or garlic powder)
  • paprika (to color)

This is how he showed me to make the sauce. You will need a  three gallon stock pot or something of similar size.

Chop peppers and onions. Add all  ingredients except for the ground beef in a stock pot. (It doesn’t matter what order.)

Tear chunks of the ground beef about 3/4 inch to an inch in diameter and drop into the sauce.

Cook until the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Remove bay leaves.

I would love your opinions on canning this, because as I said, I have only prepared it for the restaurant.

I wonder about omitting the mushrooms, possibly using another thickener, with some tomato powder.

This at least will give you an idea of quantities and seasonings.

Would love to hear what you think!

Hope this helps!

Have a blessed day! ~ Evie

Thursday’s Tidbits! Hot Reuben Dip

Last Christmas I was staying with my daughter during her bout with cancer.

Her mother in law, Barb, made this recipe for our Christmas Eve get together.

I had never eaten anything  like this, and it is a wonderful dish to serve instead of the usual dips.

It is simple to make, stays warm in a crock pot, and is an excellent appetizer for parties.

Reuben Dip

Barb Kubinski’s Hot Reuben Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened                                                                                                                                                                                                               2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
6 ounces deli sliced corned beef, chopped
½ cup Thousand Island dressing
1 16 oz. can drained sauerkraut

Serve with cocktail size rye bread squares.

Put in crock pot, melt cheeses, and stir! Serve warm! Delicious!

Since last Christmas my friend lost her battle with cancer. She is missed.

RIP Barb Kubinski.

Wacky Wednesday

Wow, its Wednesday.  Hump day.

On a roll. Downhill slide.

Busy schedules and the rush of the holidays have you running short on time?

Kids want dessert?

Many moons ago, my mother was a cook at our school cafeteria, and they made this simple cake often.

Everyone loved Wacky Cake! Thankfully she taught me how to make it, too… ’cause I love chocolate and sometimes I don’t have eggs!

This is such an inexpensive dessert,  and the kids can even mix it up. (No mixer needed, just stir until the lumps are gone.)

Here it is, a delicious, easy to make dessert for this Wacky Wednesday.

Did I mention it’s chocolate?

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I made these to give as gifts!

Wacky Cake

6 tablespoons cocoa
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift or mix all dry ingredients together in a big bowl (or even in the  9 x13 inch cake pan you are going to bake it in). Add liquids and stir until smooth.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Or… bake the batter in wide mouth pint jars filled about half full of batter. (Check after 35 minutes.)

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Sterilize lids in water while baking cake.

When cakes are done (toothpick test), put lids and rings on jars, finger tighten, and wait for the ping.

Now you have gifts ready to tag! These makes wonderful troop gifts for care packages, or for when someone shows up unexpectedly. Makes nice individual mini loaf  size pans for inexpensive gifts for co workers, teachers, and friends.

Frosting

1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa

1/3 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter

Mix together and boil for 2 minutes. Stir until cool, pour over cooled cake.

Or… sift powdered sugar over cooled cake… or don’t frosted… or make a powdered sugar glaze, pour over warm cake!

The following is my favorite icing for this Wacky cake, although most times I don’t even add icing.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
3  tablespoons  liquid (milk – water – fruit juice, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional
Combine ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour over warm cake.
*Glaze is good on cookies, cakes and breads.
WACKY? Well, yeah!

Sorry for the double spacing on the one recipe. This computer is wacky, too!

Entering The Christmas Zone!

It’s that time again!

Believe in the Spirit of Christmas Printable

Gearing up for Christmas!

🙂

Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday have all passed without further ado! Now is the time to think about the reason for the season.

LOVE!

Brrr, baby it’s cold out there!  I need hot chocolate. (I love hot chocolate!)

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a  quick  holiday idea for making gifts teachers, friends, etc. My kids love  this hot chocolate mix.  Adapted and tweaked from Grandma Dot’s recipe to…

Evie’s  Hot Chocolate Mix!

1 – 8  ounce jar cocoa powder

1 – 8 quart package  non fat dry milk (about 10 cups)

1 -16 ounce package sifted powdered sugar (about 3 -3/4 cups)

1 -10 ounce jar powdered non dairy creamer

Optional * pinch of cinnamon and whipped cream or marshmallows. I like to add a peppermint stick to my gifts!

My grandson, Justin doesn’t like cinnamon so I just add it to my cup!

~ In large bowl mix all ingredients except optional items. Store in airtight container. For one serving add about one fourth cup hot chocolate mix to one cup boiled water. Let cool before drinking!

Last year for teachers and friends, the grand kids and I did Rudolph Hot Chocolate Treats .

For over a year I have pinned these holiday ideas, and here’s the mother load! I thought maybe you would like to check out my Pinterest board full of Christmas ideas.

Many are do-it-yourself, easy decorations, crafts, and ornaments that will make your holiday brighter.

Enjoy and don’t forget to follow Evie’s Gardens here and on Facebook!

Thanks ~ Evie

Holiday’s Are Coming!

As a child I remember going to our grandparents’ home. My grandfather managed a dairy, his father owned Pippin’s dairy when he grew up.

Just a blast from the past I thought I would share!

My great grandparents on the Pippin/Sams Branches of our Family Tree.

Made me think back, then forward. Family memories rock. Period. No one has your family and your life time memories. They are tucked away somewhere in your mind,  just to jump back in there right at the holidays. I know, right?

I love to make memories with my grandchildren and my children!

Last year while at my daughter’s, I had a wonderful time with my grandchildren, Ashley and Cooper doing “random acts of  Christmas kindness“, which from now on, will be referred to as RACK.

From making cookies for the neighbors and the fire fighters to picking up trash in the neighbors yards, we did an act of kindness from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

It’s the beginning of the holiday season, and I am looking forward to some family and friends’ time!

Every year at this time when my Thanksgiving cactus blooms, I start thinking about the fun ahead.

Last year we had a blast making gingerbread houses with Brittnee and Kye, two more of my grands who were visiting from Oklahoma. The kids had fun, the left over Halloween candy is history, and we made some precious memories.

This year’s holiday season started off sad, with an unfortunate accident that took the life of my nephew. My sister in law’s sister passed away, and there is lots of sickness going around.

Our local VFW Post and our auxiliary make Thanksgiving dinner for our community who don’t have family, or can’t afford to make such a meal. We take donations to help cover the cost.

Mr. M and I usually contribute by pitching in where ever we can. It’s such a little thing to spend your time making peanut butter sandwiches for those in need. Then we feast on a meal that is blessed by many doing RACK. Oh, yeah!

Then Countdown to Christmas! Check out my Pinterest board for a fun, easy inexpensive Christmas craft to do with your kiddos for teachers’ gifts, or for party favors.

Hot chocolate, anyone?

The number of cakes in the jars for my troop and family Christmas gifts is increasing, if I can keep the man out of them! 😉 I am making extras to have for when company drops by! My favorite so far is the egg-less, milk-less chocolate cake!

Remember the reason.

Enjoy the season.

Give thanks.

And RACK on!

Cake In A Jar? Oh, Yeah!

For those of you who follow me, are kin to me, love me… (tee-hee), you know our Ladies Auxiliary is gearing up to send Christmas packages to our troops whom we have adopted.

You also know I have been making cakes, breads, and brownies in jars to send to our military for those care packages.

So yesterday I was thinking (yeah, I know, scary, huh?); wondering what I could do next, thinking back over all the yummy goodness I have baked and eaten in my lifetime.

I thought about the first time as a newly married (very young) wife when I invited my parents over to eat, making one of Dad’s favorite desserts, Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Hey, I can still remember – it hasn’t been that many years ago.

That got me to thinking, again… okay, stop laughing y’all.

How could I adapt that scrumptious dessert to a jar? Well, as you know, I had to try.

Just remember,  for those of you who are diabetic… don’t let your friends tempt you to eat the whole thing. (Christy Badgwell! 😉

That red and white checkered book where I found the recipe was my first cookbook…  a wedding gift from my Aunt Nadine, purchased with S and H green stamps.

The recipe has been a favorite in our home since then.

I renamed this, but  recipe is adapted from the BHG  (somewhere around 1970.)

 

Pineapple Upside Down – Right Side Up Yummies!

1 – 20 ounce can of chunk pineapple (I am sure crushed would work as well, I had chunk.)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup Crisco or shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thoroughly grease (I use a pastry brush) bottoms and sides of 5 wide mouth pint size canning jars. Don’t grease the top inch!

Drain pineapple, reserve juice. Add water to remaining  juice to make one cup liquid.

Melt butter in the microwave. Add brown sugar and two tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice.

Drop pineapple chunks making a layer in bottom of  jar.  Divide the melted butter – brown sugar mixture between your five jars.  Save enough to swirl some on top! (Maraschino cherries, optional.)

Meanwhile… cream together shortening and sugar until light. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.

In another large bowl, mix dry ingredients, stirring with a whisk, (or sift ) until mixed. Add alternately with reserved pineapple juice.

Fill jars approximately half full with batter.

Divide remaining pineapples, drop on top.

Swirl remaining brown sugar and butter sauce on top of batter in each jar.

Sprinkle flaked coconut on top.

Wipe the top part of the jar down with a damp paper towel to make sure nothing hampers the sealing process.

Bake  at 350 for approximately 40 minutes. Oven temperatures vary, check with toothpick. When toothpick comes out clean, cake is done.

At this point you probably should send the men out of the kitchen or there won’t be anything left.

Put seals and rings on, tighten. When you hear the ping… it’s sealed.

Oh, yeah, leave one be…  forget the seal and ring. You have to sample it! And then you can crash from the sugar rush!

Put in your pantry, or send a jar to one of our military people… they will love it!

For more information on sending packages to the troops check this out!

Happy eating! ~ Evie

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