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Debbie Delozier :: A Casual Affair

The Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

The Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

I have a wonderful friend who writes a note or a card to someone every single day.  It is a part of her character that I truly admire.  I also love receiving her cards.  Because I love her and love receiving her cards so much I have tried to emulate her and make this a habit of my own.  I don’t get a card written every day but, every other day  I try to sit down and write a couple.   I try to write a card to say thank you to someone for a gesture they made, or maybe a “it sure was good to see you the other day”, and sometimes a “you’ve been on my heart” note.

With email and social websites I think most people have given up writing letters, notes and cards.  I think it would be a great idea if we all tried, maybe once a week, to write a card to someone we know.  It could be to say thank you, I miss you, get well, I love you or maybe just an “I think you’re awesome” card.  Think of the smile it will put on the other person’s face when they open up a card from you and it just says “Hi, You’ve been on my mind”.

By the way, I think you’re awesome!

Grateful Heart

Grateful Heart

This morning during meditation I was reflecting on the blessing of friendship and, although I have many wonderful friends and many awesome women in my life there are 3 women that bless my heart almost every day.  These 3 women tell me things that every heart should hear.  They don’t say things like “your hair looks great” or “love that outfit” or even “you look beautiful”.  These women tell me things like “you touched my heart today” and “I had so much fun with you today” or just the other day after one of my friends and I had had lunch together someone asked her how she was doing that day (as she has not been feeling well as of late) and she answered, as she grabbed my hand;  “I am wonderful today, I had lunch and a great conversation with my good friend”.  These women also tell me things such as “maybe you should reflect on that more” or “maybe you misunderstood that” or even “maybe you’re wrong”.  Although those things aren’t as nice to hear, they love me enough to say them.

I am so very grateful for these special friendships because my relationships with other women have not always been this way.  Because of past hurtful experiences I learned to build walls and not let anyone in.  It seemed, back then, that all that mattered was what you had or how you looked and, because we never had very much and I never was the teenage beauty, I ended up hurt sometimes.  I don’t know that these people intentionally set out to cause pain, maybe they didn’t know that I already knew my nose had a bump or that my crooked teeth showed when I smiled or all the other things teenage girls and young women know or imagine about themselves.

I imagine we all have these horror stories from our younger days, but the point I’m trying to make is that people get so wrapped up in what they have and how they look on the outside that they don’t value the person they are on the inside.  Because my walls were so high because I was always afraid of what people might see or imagine they saw and would then think of me, I didn’t let anyone in.   I wouldn’t let anyone get close enough to get to know me.  Having those walls up makes for loneliness and anger at oneself.

It took me years (and years) to learn to trust myself and then others.  It was a very long time before I realized the few extra pounds I carry don’t matter and that the shape of my nose gives my face personality and that when I’m laughing it doesn’t matter that my teeth aren’t perfect.  It took me learning that there is a difference between flattery and compliments.  It took me learning that I’d rather have character than be a character.  It took learning to value myself more than the opinion others may have.

I am very thankful for these women who have helped me break down those old walls so that I could really breathe and really love life and show the world the true ME.  I’m not perfect but then, I don’t have to be and I am very grateful for that.

 

Photo credit for the heart daisy goes to Danilo Rizzuti

 

Peace!

Peace!

Someone once told me that for a person who didn’t have a job (I actually have 2 paying jobs and do quite a bit of volunteering) that I was one of the busiest people they knew.  So, this weekend we finally had the type we have been needing around here.  It was peaceful, slow, sunny and there was not one thing that had” to be done.  We slept late, read, dined instead of eating on the run, worked in the yard (J did anyway), and we just plain ol’ took things as they came.  It was fantastic.

Saturday morning I slept until about 7:30 (late for me) and after I had my computer work done and my timesheet readied to put in the folder I was totally ready for a relaxing weekend.  The only thing on the “to do” list was gather a few groceries for Tuesday’s Rotary lunch.

A friend of mine had told me she’d gone to the Blue Rose on the river last week and really enjoyed it.  J, knowing that I love to try new places, asked if I’d like to go there for a late lunch. I did, so we headed to T town for lunch.  If you haven’t tried the Blue Rose on the river (it’s only been there about a year) I hope you do.  Some of you may have been to the old Blue Rose on Brookside years ago and know what I’m talking about.  It’s a fun place with music, atmosphere and tasty food.  The mosaic peace symbol in the photo is hanging on one of the walls there.  I may have embarrassed J just a bit by taking pictures of “everything”, but then again, he’s been with me over 34 years so he knows how it goes.

I haven’t had a burger in a while and when I saw the Blue bacon burger I decided to throw caution, my diet,  to the winds and give it a try.  I mean bleu cheese crumbles and crisp bacon on a burger!  It was everything I anticipated too.

While we were in T town we dropped by one of the food/kitchen shops that I haven’t been to in quite a while.  The last time we were there I ended up in Urgent care with pain drops, antibiotic drops and an eye patch because I had cut my eye with a piece of thick paper I had been fanning myself with during one of those pesky power surges (as one of my dearest friends likes to call those ol’ hot flashes).  Anyway, this time I didn’t pick up anything that I might use to damage myself.  This time I purchased some infused oils and vinegars.  I picked up a cilantro & roasted onion oil which I thought would be tasty for roasting veggies and a blood orange oil I thought would be wonderful with  the tangerine vinegar in a salad dressing.  I also picked up a honey ginger and black currant vinegars to work into something or other.

The rest of the weekend we just enjoyed the extra time, the sunshine and each others company.  It’s a good thing too, because now that Monday is here my to do list if full with baking, cooking, delivering, classes, a lunch here and there, a couple of meetings and, oh yeah, my paying jobs.

Wishing you peace, relaxation and enjoying someone’s company.

The True Gift

The True Gift

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day as we all know.  Normally my dear J buys me flowers or candy or jewelry.  This year he didn’t.  Now before everyone feels bad about it let me tell you – I asked him not to buy me anything.  J could not deal with not getting me anything at all so he did get a sweet Valentine card which he left beside my coffee pot when he made my morning coffee.

You see, J does so many things for me every single day that the last thing I want him to do is buy me a present on a day that the calendar tells him to do so.

A short list of my true gifts:

J does dishes every single night after supper
J makes my coffee every single morning (he doesn’t even drink coffee)
J makes the bed every morning, unless he takes the sheets off to be washed and puts them in the laundry, then I make the bed after I wash the sheets.
J takes me to lunch almost every Tuesday (sometimes his job interferes with that)
J tells me every single day that he loves me
J makes me feel beautiful
J helps with laundry
J always goes to the grocery store with me (without my asking) and helps put up all the groceries
J makes me laugh almost every single day
J makes my every single wish come true
J stops and buys me flowers most times for no reason at all
J has supper waiting for me every Wednesday evening after choir.  He also waits to eat until I get home
J kisses me every single day
J holds my hand
J opens doors for me
J is a wonderful father who taught his daughters how men should treat them

I could go on and on but I won’t.  Do you think I should trade any single one of these gifts for a bauble or chocolates?  I don’t think so.  The funny thing is, he says he is the lucky one.
Photo credit goes to chrisroll

A Day of Little Pleasures

A Day of Little Pleasures

It’s been a wonderful day.  A very cold day but still wonderful.  For starters it’s Sunday, my favorite day of the week.  I started this Sunday as I do 99.7% of all my Sundays;  in church.  I really look forward to Sunday mornings in church.  Being there just makes me smile.  I love singing in the choir.  I love seeing all the smiling faces and I love how it renews and refreshes me so that I know I can handle whatever the week brings.

Today was even more special than other Sundays because as I was looking out from the choir loft I saw the beautiful smile of my cousin.   It was such a pleasure that she joined us this morning.  Seeing her brought a smile to my face and put an extra happy song in my heart.

People were smiling at me in church today too.  Not just because they were happy to see me but because of what I looked like.  You see, yesterday I was in Urgent Care in Owasso with a very painful eye infection. So now I am keeping the eye clean and dry and putting drops in twice a day.  So this morning, getting ready for church I made up my entire face except for that area on the left side of my face.  I thought wearing no makeup on that eye would be less attention-grabbing than a bandage.  It still drew a bit of attention.  Drat!

After church I met up with J who handed me the above mug which was filled with a very tasty banana bread and some tasty fudge and wrapped in a beautiful red ribbon.  It was from my very special friend Merrillyn.  She always does the kindest things, she has a heart of pure gold.  I drank a cup of hot tea with my supper this evening from my new mug.  It made me smile.  The tea was really good too and I am going to have to order some more of it.

Speaking of supper, we had breakfast for supper.  J and I love breakfast foods but we very rarely indulge in the really bad stuff like bacon, eggs and hashbrowns.  We did tonight.  We enjoyed every single bite too.  A friend had sent us a pound of smokehouse bacon (and a smoked turkey) for Christmas and I threw the bacon in the freezer.  Just the other day I took it out to use in something I was making, for the life of me I can’t remember now what it was.  J and I were discussing what to have for supper when I remembered the bacon in the refrigerator so I suggested breakfast and he agreed.

Now that it is too late to make a long story short, I’ll get to the point of why I’m telling you we had breakfast for supper.  I ate a piece of whole grain toast with my breakfast/supper and had a piece left.  I thought I’d eat this with jelly and remembered that when I was over at the cabin a while back I stopped in a little shop and purchased some of the jelly they were selling.     These jellies are Oklahoma made at Hawkins Springs Farms which are in this northeast section of the state.  They also have lotions, soaps, salts, dips, etc., etc., etc..  When I saw these jellies I thought they sounded very intriguing.  They are Lime-Cilantro, Sweet Basil and Lemon Tarragon.  I thought, when I purchased these, that the Sweet Basil would probably be my favorite.  It wasn’t.  My favorite of the 3 was actually the Lemon Tarragon.  The Sweet Basil was really good though.  The Lime-Cilantro is really heavy on the lime, tasty but lime.  I really enjoyed trying them.

Now it is time to put my eye drops in so I need to go lay flat and do that.   Wishing you a day full of little pleasures.

Sauerkraut and Sausage Soup

Sauerkraut and Sausage Soup

Now don’t turn your noses up.  I know it sounds funny.  Who, after all, would put sauerkraut in a soup?  It REALLY IS quite tasty and you really should give it a try;  I’m telling you this as a friend.

My friend, Merrillyn had this soup at her daughter’s house.  Kurt (Merrillyn’s son-in-law) was the maker of the soup and passed the recipe along to her, then me and now you.

I made this soup last Wednesday;  I make soup every Wednesday.  I do this because I am on the run from 3 to 7:30 or so and J usually comes home and warms the soup up so that it is ready for our supper so, soup makes this easy.  I also do this because our friend, Rob, is usually on the run all afternoon and evening too and he doesn’t get a chance for supper until late, late.  I delivered the soup to Rob at 3 when I am at church for a class I take on Wednesday afternoons so he was the first one to taste it when he had his supper at 6.  When he saw me later at chime and choir practices he told me how good the soup was.  Needless to say, I was anxious to get home and try it myself.

Merrillyn and I both think the soup is better the next day after the flavors have a chance to mingle together and marry.  If you have the chance to make it the day before or earlier in the day that you will be serving it I think you’ll enjoy the deeper flavors.

So, here’s the recipe and I’ve only made one change that will make it easier.  Kurt’s recipe called for sauerkraut and then adding the caraway seeds but I am telling you to get the Bavarian sauerkraut because the caraway seeds are already in it.  Now, if you don’t care for caraway seeds at all, get the traditional sauerkraut and get rid of the caraway seeds all together.

4 ½ cups water
4 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ pound smoked sausage cut into ¼” slices
16 ounces Bavarian sauerkraut (do not drain)
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed
1 cup sour cream

Cook potatoes and onions in the water until tender.  Add the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer until all is hot.
Remove one cup of soup and add it to the sour cream.  Mix well and return to the pot.  Heat through but do not boil.

Please, do not let the thought of sauerkraut in a soup put you off;  this really is a tasty soup.  I hope you give it a try.

Jesus is Sticking Out All Over

Jesus is Sticking Out All Over

Our minister told a story this morning in church and I loved it so much I want all of you to hear it too.

The Sunday School teacher was leading her Sunday school class one morning and at the end of the lesson asked the children “Where does Jesus live?”.  All the children quickly answered “inside of us”.  One smart little boy looked up at a picture of Jesus and, seeing that He was a grown man and realizing that he, himself, was just a little boy said, “If Jesus lives inside of me, wouldn’t He be sticking out all over?”.

Out of the mouth of babes (as they say).  Wouldn’t it be nice, and shouldn’t it be that Jesus should be sticking out all over for each of us?  I hope that I live in such a way that anyone who meets me knows by my words and by my deeds that Jesus lives inside of me and is sticking out all over.

Credit for the hands and heart photo goes to it’s designer;  Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot.

Chocolate Souffle

Chocolate Souffle

I love dishes.  Especially individual serving dishes.  So when I ran across these little ramekins a while back on a website I had to purchase them.

Besides loving dishes I also love individual desserts, actually individual servings of anything.  Once my little ramekins arrived I began searching through the oodles and oodles of recipes on my computer for something I could make in them.  I happened upon this chocolate souffle recipe.  I’ve had the recipe in my files for many years and I have no idea where I found it but I am so glad I did.  I am not only happy because it tastes wonderful but also because I can make it up to 2 days ahead of the luncheon or dinner I am doing.  I love make ahead foods too.    The souffles are very easy to make but I did wish I had a sous chef just to do the dishes afterwards.

I think this would be a sweet Valentine’s dessert too, so here is the recipe for you.

1 tblsp softened butter
1 tblsp sugar
Coat the ramekins with the softened butter then sprinkle them with the sugar.  Set in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

4 tblsp butter
8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
1 tblsp Grand Marnier

1/3 cup sugar
2 tblsp water

6 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites
¼ cup cream of tarter
2 tblsp powdered sugar

Melt chocolate and  butter in medium bowl set over pan of simmering water. Turn off heat, stir in salt, vanilla, and liqueur; set aside.

Make a simple syrup by bringing the 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons water to boil in small saucepan, then simmer until sugar dissolves. With mixer running, slowly add this sugar syrup to egg yolks; beat until mixture triples in volume, about 3 minutes. Fold into chocolate mixture. Clean beaters.

Beat egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar and beat to soft peaks; add confectioners’ sugar; continue beating to stiff peaks. (Mixture should just hold the weight of a raw egg in the shell when the egg is placed on top.)

Vigorously stir one-quarter of whipped whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold remaining whites into mixture until just incorporated. Fill each ramekin almost to rim, wiping excess filling from rim with wet paper towel. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until fully risen, about 16 to 18 minutes. (Soufflé is done when fragrant and fully risen. Use two large spoons to pull open the top and peek inside. If not yet done, place back in oven.) Serve immediately

This technique only works for the individual chocolate soufflés, which can be made and frozen up to two days before baking. For a mocha-flavored soufflé, add one tablespoon of instant coffee powder dissolved in one tablespoon of hot water when adding the vanilla to the chocolate mixture.

I hope you’ll give these a try, they are super easy and super yummy.

 

SMILING

SMILING

I’m deep-cleaning today so I bet you’re wondering “why would she be smiling”.  So, here’s why.

1.  I haven’t had time to really clean since before Thanksgiving.

2.  I love that energy pumping through my body as I’m cleaning.

3.  My Ipod is playing my favorite music.

4.  When certain songs are playing on my Ipod it’s more of a dance than sweeping, mopping, dusting.

5.  The smell of my favorite candle burning.

6.  Finding a little red car under the couch when I moved it.  And it plays hip-hop music when the doors are open.

7.  It’s 11:00 and I’m still in my pajamas.  :P

8.  J coming home unexpectedly and finding me in my pajamas at 11:00.

9.  Knowing that J just dropped by the house on his way out of town for a kiss.

10.   Anticipating the thought of a nice warm shower.

11.  NOT the cat hair I have found on every single surface in the living room;  BUT the loving, snuggly cat the hair comes from.

12.  A nice glass of iced tea when I’m all finished and sitting in a clean house.

OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE MADE ME SMILE THIS MORNING

1.  A facebook note from one of my beautiful daughters.

2.  My large Westminster chimes chiming outside the door.

3.  The sun is shining.

4.  A nice clean house.

5.  The laundry is done.

6.  Tonight is movie night with J’s mom and sister.

7.  J stopping by just for a kiss (I know I already mentioned it but it made me smile again to remember it).

8.  Talking to my dad on the phone.

9.  It’s almost lunch time and I’m very hungry.

10.  Knowing I will be having a bit of time this afternoon for “dolce far niente”  sweetly doing nothing (which every soul needs).

11.  Knowing there is a nice, crisp Pink Lady apple in the kitchen to go with lunch (did I mention I’m very hungry?).

I’m smiling really big now because I think I’m going to go take that nice warm shower and then fix lunch.

Wishing you many reasons to smile.

Happy National Pie Day

Happy National Pie Day

Because it’s National Pie Day I felt compelled to make a pie.  I had 1/2 pound of hamburger in the refrigerator (every since we became Empty Nesters I split the hamburger packages in half when I bring them home) and had told J I would make a small 2 person meatloaf for supper.  But my mind began to imagine things far greater than meatloaf when it came time to start supper.

A while back a group of our friends went to Kilkenny’s Irish Pub for supper and one of my friends ordered Cottage Pie for her dinner.  She totally enjoyed it.  So, I decided, because it was Pie Day, I would try my hand at Cottage Pie.

A little history lesson:  Cottage pie is said to have originated in the 1700′s when potatoes were being introduced as an edible crop for the poor.  The term ‘cottage’ was used because of the dwelling places of the farmers and workers.  The difference in Cottage Pie and Shepard’s Pie is the meat used.  Cottage pie is made with beef and Shepard’s pie is made with lamb or mutton.

Now, on to the pie.  I found a recipe that sounded scrumptious but, as you know, most recipes serve 4-6 people and I only had 1/2 pound of beef.  I used the recipe as a guide but used my eye when it came to measurements.

I began by peeling and dicing 2 medium sized potatoes and starting them to boil.  When they were done I mashed them as I normally would for mashed potatoes.

I diced 1/2 an onion and pressed 2 cloves of garlic (the garlic is not in the original recipe as you will see below).  I put a few swirls of truffle oil in my skillet and when it was hot threw in the onions and garlic to saute.  I then threw in 2 hands of sliced mushrooms (also not in the original recipe) and continued to saute until all their moisture was gone. I then threw in about a handful of sliced carrots.  I let this cook for a bit.  Here is where I crumbled in the 1/2 pound lean hamburger and begin to let it brown.

Now, because I love peas and J doesn’t I decided to make separate dishes for each of us.  I threw about 1/4 cup of frozen peas and 1/4 cup of frozen corn in my dish and 1/2 cup of frozen corn in J’s dish.  I microwaved both of the dishes and set them aside while my attentions were drawn back to the skillet.

Once the hamburger is crumbled and brown and the carrots are beginning to soften I squeezed in a bit of tomato paste and stirred that into the beef mixture.  This is not in the original recipe but it adds another layer of flavor to the dish.  I then stirred in about a teaspoon of the Worcestershire sauce.

I stray from the recipe again and toss in about a tablespoon of flour to help pull it all together and thicken it.  I poured in the 1/2 cup beef broth to make a nice sauce although I must tell you, if I had had some red wine on hand I would have poured some of that in too.

Once the sauce had thickened I mixed it with the waiting corn/peas in the prepared dishes.

  Mine        J’s   Doesn’t mine look so much prettier with the green peas added?

The potatoes were done and once I mashed them I spread them over the beef mixture and baked it for 30 minutes.

For a Poor Man’s dish the is very tasty and I will be serving it again.  Who knows, maybe it will become a National Pie Day tradition.

YUM!  

COTTAGE PIE      serves 6

1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
1 onion chopped
1-2 cups vegetables – chopped celery, carrots, corn, peas, green beans,
1 1/2 – 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup beef broth
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

1 Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
2 While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.
3 Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.
4 Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add Worcestershire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.
5 Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.
6 Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown

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