Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pasta and Whatever is in the Fridge Alfredo

We were going to head up skiing yesterday morning, but it's the time of year that, after we've been doing it for several months, the conditions have been hit-or-miss all season and, hey! It was the first day of spring, we just start to lose our enthusiasm for the early mornings and cold weather, so we just hung out around the house all morning, talked with friends on the phone, caught up with some their doings.

I've been re-potting plants all week. After they've grown for several years, they have absorbed all the soil in the pot and are just a pot-shaped root-mass, they start losing leaves and deteriorating and it's time to give them fresh soil and a new lease on life. Spring cleaning is just around the corner.

We went up to some friends' cabin later and stayed the night, intending to ski today, but the conditions at the ski area turned out to be snow in its liquid form, so we came home. The tacit conditions of our staying with the friends is - they wouldn't dream of taking any money - but we always take a meal. There is an added challenge this year-Cathy became vegetarian, so I can't take any of my good old stand-bys that I used to. Meat dishes don't always translate over to vegetarian by simply eliminating the meat. I'm open to any suggestions! Since we were just lazing about I started looking at what I had on hand to make and take up for dinner.

Pasta, always
Canned Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo, check
Green onion, green pepper, garlic, mushrooms, check, check, check
Frozen spinach, hey, we have lift-off!

Cooked and drained the pasta, baptized it with generous glugs of olive oil, added the spinach and chopped veggies, then poured the Alfredo over all.Just heated up in the oven at 350 for about half an hour. And we had Focaccia Asiago to accompany it. We also took St. Patrick's Day Nutella Pocket Cookies. All was well received, devoured actually.

Several months ago, Thanksgiving week, two of my three offspring moved out of my house, where they had landed temporarily for a protracted period after college, and into their own apartment. They invited us over for dinner tonight-I hadn't been to their apartment before! My youngest son made lasagna; he started with my version of it, but his version is far better. We decided to take ice cream. I was raised by a Mom who taught us that you don't show up at anyone's house empty-handed. Even your childrens'! I'll post photos when we get back.

Photo as promised (he's a really good cook):
What's really great about their move, besides moving out of my house, is that Ron and I are downsizing with the hope of someday living in the same town and the same house and don't need or want two, or possibly three of everything, so when the kids were moving and needed furniture, we gave them Ron's old kitchen table-a country-nook set, hide-a-bed, coffee table, magazine rack, and I think a chair and ottoman, although I don't remember seeing the last items at their place.

They live on the third floor and had to carry that probably 30 year-old, incredibly heavy couch up three flights. They said it's not coming down soon. The coffee table is out on their patio.

I'm not sure I can explain the layout. It's a two bedroom apartment, one for the oldest, the other for the youngest and his girlfriend. They've been together so long (an aside of which I won't go into because she reads my blog, oh hell, sure I will...she was 14 and he was 19 and her family didn't exactly approve. I think they've accepted it now, 7 years later) we refer to her as my daughter-in-law and on my 50th birthday, I gave all the kids my blessing to give me grandchildren-something no one is making the slightest progress toward-and embarrassed the bejesus out of her.

The living room has the aforementioned couch facing a wall, which contains all three of the kids computers. They must sit there side by side, day after day, and surf. It was a good visit.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cooking while Traveling

I thought I'd share our strategy for cooking when we travel. We take four to six trips a year and normally stay in condos, either Ron's timeshare, or mine. His condos have dishes, ample cookware, coffee, tea, basic spices like salt, pepper, Italian, dried parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and dried onion, dishwasher detergent; mine have dishes and cookware. (I sold mine last year when we bought a joint membership at Grand Mayan in Cancun.)

I get the impression that many, if not most people don't cook much while traveling; perhaps they don't do it for entertainment like I do. In fact for me, cooking is a vacation. I dream food! One of the other reasons we cook is that neither of us is particularly fond of fast food, eating in restaurants for several days can really add up, using money that would be better spent on something else-lift tickets, for instance.

I've learned when we travel, at least in the states, to take along a few essentials. Maybe more than a few, and they can change depending on what I think I might plan on cooking. Our last trip, for instance, I'd brought pork loin chops, lamb chops and chicken drumsticks. The friends who joined us brought salmon caught on their last trip to Canada, which we barbequed and I featured in an earlier post .

They once called me and asked if I liked duck...boy, do I, however until then I hadn't had duck since my Dad hunted when I was a kid. They invited me over for roast duck, wow, it was a dream come true! Yum-yum!

In no particular order:

Coffee; Ron drinks instant, but the condo usually has a couple packets of drip-type
Coffee creamer; Ron's also
Tea; I like loose tea (I elucidated in an earlier post my love for tea and my fave tea shop) but I often take bagged teas on trips. Convenience factor. In fact, I've bought so many boxes of bagged teas on trips, I take it now just to try to use it up
Olive oil
A couple cups of flour
A couple cups of sugar
Sea salt in mill; I need a new one, the one I have doesn't work so well
Peppercorn mill
A mix of spices; this time it was Montreal seasoning mixed with dried parsley flakes
At least one head of garlic
Red pepper flakes
Dried rosemary (that I grew and dried)
Spice packets leftover from prior condo excursions, once opened they discard them, this way they aren't wasted
Some kind of pasta
Microwave popcorn. Usually we watch a couple of movies, but that week we watched the Olympics

Miscellaneous stuff that might rot in the refrigerator during the week if we don't eat it before we leave!
Since we were skiing that week, sandwich ingredients-bread, sliced turkey, cheese, mustard, mayo
Salad ingredients-lettuce, green onion, green pepper, bleu cheese dressing, mushrooms
Hershey's chocolate for my chocolate milk in the mornings
(Not to get on a soap-box, but if you are even mildly environmental, follow this link about Nestle's marketing and try to be cognizant of where what you eat comes from and what resources might be used producing it)

If we're driving, this all goes into coolers and a box or two, if we're flying, obviously we don't take as much as we have to fit it into luggage, which takes space away from the number of shoes I can take! With these basic items, we can go to the store at our destination and cook pretty much anything we decide to buy.

Happy traveling! Which reminds me, we are going to New Orleans in May. I've never been to The Big Easy and am very excited, so if anyone can suggest some really great things to do, drop me a note...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Nutella Pocket Cookies

Ok, St. Pat didn't invent these cookies. They're the delightful creation of La Fuji Mama that I adapted to the Irish holiday by adding green food coloring. I shared with her that I had never heard of Nutella before, but upon discovery of her recipe, found some at the store (among the peanut-butters and jellies). Curious, I opened it in the car on the way home and tried a couple fingers full. I had to toss the jar into the back seat where I couldn’t reach it to keep from eating most of it before I got home. This stuff is perilously addictive.

We had a St. Paddy's potluck at work today, so I baked and took these; everybody I work with just loved them. So my derby is off to you, La Fuji Mama! I award you the glorious shamrock o' the kitchen!

The only change I made, besides their wearin' o' the green, was that I believe I cut them a little thinner. After you get a routine going, they're quite simple to assemble. The only advice I would give is to resist the temptation to overfill them with the chocolatey Nutella gooey goodness, because it squishes out when you try to seal them. They taste just as great, but are slightly less attractive. So I ate those.

And yes, that is a seriously old Tupperware pie crust guide! I've had it forever and use it for anything I'm rolling out. I don't happen to own a cookie cutter though, so I used a drinking glass and may be looking for a cookie cutter next...

Today at work we had the potluck. We work in a rather shabby area of town in a fenced in compound with about a dozen buildings called the "Region Complex". The building I work in is just across a chain-link fence from a small mobile home trailer park where police activity is not uncommon, so we have occasional "lock-downs" that we are notified, when they are searching the trailer park for some unsavory criminal element, to lock all the doors and stay inside.

My supervisor told us this morning he'd seen a police car go by next door, so we all watched as, not one, but two stole slowly by and turned the corner into another part of the park. Some time later, I walked over to another building in the complex and when I returned, found the door was locked. Oh holy hell! I envisioned armed criminals and cops in a crossfire with me at its center! I started banging on the door and yelling to let me in. When my boss opened the door, he was laughing so hard, he had to lean against the wall to keep from falling. Other than a totally warped sense of humor, he's a great boss :)

He loved the cookies, too...Happy St. Pat's day everyone.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fallout Baked Potato Soup

I discovered about 9:00 tonight that I really didn't have anything for lunch tomorrow...I normally make soup on Sunday for lunches all week, it's cheaper, I know what's in it, and I only have half an hour for lunch, so I don't have to wander out to find fast food that I will actually eat. But we were just getting home from the ski trip Sunday evening, and I haven't been to the store since.

We had several baked potatoes leftover from the trip (we always have a lot of leftovers because we and  the friends we ski with always make way too much food), which we carted all the way home from Oregon because I refuse to waste food. I needed to find a use for them, so this is my version of Baked Potato Soup made mainly of ingredients I had in the refrigerator and cupboard. I have a friend whose Mom used to call this sort of meal "fallout" which I've always found amusing; basically it's anything that "falls out" of the refrigerator.

She would give me a hard time for scraping together whatever leftovers were in the refrigerator, heating it up and serving it for me and the kids for dinner. Chili, scrambled eggs, pickles, wrap it in a tortilla...She thought it was pretty disgusting and called it "pig slop", but I did it because if there was a dab of this and a scosh of that, one of them would always be unhappy with what they didn't get. I was a single Mom and it's why I dislike wasting food today. (Also, from childhood I have hated to let my food "touch", so I wasn't real crazy about this prep method myself!)

2 medium potatoes of your choice
Olive oil or reserved bacon grease
1/2 chopped onion
1 stalk minced celery
1 shredded carrot
Minced garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce, also to taste-I find a little goes a long way, so I used four "splashes".

Bacon crumbles
Sliced green onion
Grated cheese; I used Gouda, again brought back from the trip. It doesn't grate very well, and usually it isn't leftover-we had cheese, meat, and veggie trays, and our choice of beverage while watching the Olympics, but as I said, we brought a lot of food. The great thing about this soup is it requires so little cooking!

I might mention that I don't normally garnish my soups for lunch, just toss it in the microwave and heat at work which would incinerate the garnish, but I wanted the photo to look attractive :)

If you don't have leftover baked potatoes, rub medium potatoes with olive oil and bake in 400 degree oven until done. At this point, you really should just throw your favorite toppings on, eat and be done with it, however, we overestimated our appetites and these were relegated to the refrigerator for "later", hauled home, and here they still were.

Dice the leftover baked potatoes fairly small, 1/2 inch or less and set aside. Heat butter in a sauce pan and saute onion, celery, and carrots until nearly tender.

Add chicken broth and diced potatoes. Bring to a boil. Whisk milk and cornstarch well. Add to soup and heat through. Season with spices and Tabasco-feel free to be creative.
My son, the one who dredges most of his food in cayenne pepper, said the soup wasn't very spicy (apparently the lining in his mouth and esophagus were still intact), but it still tasted good. As usual, sorry about the photos, my camera is old and wheezing it's last shuttery clicks. You do know, don't you, that today's digital cameras don't need the shutter click, but we, who have always operated cameras that clicked wouldn't know if the photo took without the accompanying sound!!

I'd ask the guys for a new one for Mother's Day, but one of them recently borrowed my blender to make cheesecake  and burned it up, so I'd have to decide between a camera and a new blender. Or some of my favorite perfume. Usually, though, I have them all come over on Mother's Day for what I call "obligatory slave labor", the price they pay for my having let them live to grow up. They clean up the yard, haul away the recycling, repair what needs repaired. And I cook!

Lunch is made, tomorrow is my "Friday". How could life get any better? Good-night!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tom's bbq Salmon

We've skied three days at Timberline (in bluebird sunshine yesterday) and plan to ski Mt. Hood Meadows the next one or two-snow expected tomorrow and sunshine Sunday, which may lure us there on the way home.

We had friends join us here yesterday; Tom, Lynda, and Ryker:

Last night we had Tom's barbequed Chinook Salmon. He catches these on his boat trips near Port Alberni, Canada. He says if he tells me exactly where, he'd have to kill me. He spreads the fish with pesto, encloses it in aluminum foil and barbeques it on the grill. Again, if he gave me the exact recipe, he'd have to kill me, but I've never had better fish and we're privileged to share the bounty of his fishing trips.

Know what this is? It's the second greatest ski convenience item invented; neck gaiters are the first...Tom tunes my skis, and after the latest time, this strap, that holds my skies together disappeared. This makes carrying them to and from the slopes more difficult and annoying, because they "scissor". He went out and dug through their car last night and found the strap, so I was a happier skier today. The mistake, he explained, was that he had a red one, too, and thought this was one of theirs.

Next day: A photo of our group from Mt. Hood Meadows with 4 inches of new on a beautiful sunshiny day-life is good and after four straight days skiing, I'm pretty tired:)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pork Chops, Pasta and Condo Campinig at Mt. Hood OR

When Ron and I met, we both owned condos, and Ron loves to travel and plan trips, weekend junkets, week long excursions (we drove-I'm not kidding-2300 miles in a car through seven southern states back east and visited eight civil war battlefields in fall 2008), in the US, outside the US-2 trips to Mexico last year and next year-Japan, where he grew up, a military brat.

I love to travel also but don't love planning so much, possibly the consequence of raising three sons and a step-son (from a now-defunct marriage, but I had him for 10 years) all of whom we kept active in sports, scouts, band, karate. You can imagine what a hectic schedule that was to orchestrate, let alone planning vacations for six of us, which was assuredly hellish. Plus feeding them, teenagers are, as you might know, eating and sleeping machines. We had a white board on the kitchen wall with a monthly menu, shopped at Costco, took out left-befores for lunches because they left no leftovers-they didn't eat until they were full, they ate until the food was gone. Actually, they still do that...

So back to Ron and his trip-planning propensity; when we met, we discovered we both have the travel bug in its acute form, so he started planning trips until I had to give him the time-out signal and explain that unlike him, I haven't worked at the same place for over 20 years and have adequate, but not unlimited leave available. I had planned a trip to Seaside Oregon, to sulk, if you will, from yet another failed few-week relationship. Ron invited himself along, half-kidding but also serious, before I had even met him in person. We did meet the week before, on my birthday 2007 and then met up in Seaside.

That was the last trip I planned. He plans 'em now, gives me directions when we're driving, or hands me my boarding pass as we get ready to board a plane. Man, is this the life! Now we're at Welches,Oregon (where??), at Whispering Woods, going to ski Mt. Hood the next few days and have ski-buds joining us Thursday. That brings me to condo camping. I don't camp outdoors, I like that shower in the morning and sleeping indoors, no bugs or dirt  in my food. It helps if we're sleeping indoors in really great places! My ex liked to golf, so my timeshare exchanges were all in beautiful locations on - you got it - golf courses. Tonight we're using Ron's timeshare exchange, which is also always wonderful and ironically, on a golf course.

Ron likes pork; I don't particularly, but I like the price-usually it's the cheapest, so I brought some pork loin chops along and gave him the choice between pork chops or lamb chops. This was dinner tonight:

Pork Chops

Pork Chops or Pork Loin Boneless Chops

1 egg and 1/2 cup milk whisked together
Corn Flake Crumbs-I used the boxed stuff, lazy I know, but easy to transport
Seasoning-make your own-remember we're in travel status-this might have been Montreal seasoning, parsley flakes, garlic powder, I'm not sure. I packed it for Grand Lake, Oklahoma trip this summer, didn't use it, nor for a couple of other trips until now. See the next post on what I pack to travel.
About 1/4 cup grated parmesan.

Dip the pork chops in egg mixture, then corn flake crumb mixture, brown on each side, then cover and simmer until done to your preference. Ron did ask me how I made these and I told him, but I doubt he has most of the stuff at his house!

Pasta Salad-I put roughly 8 things in this-my signature pasta salad, limited only by your imagination:

Pasta-your choice-I used 3/4 lb. cooked multi-gran fettucini tonight
Olive oil
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed (capers are pickled juniper berries, that plus the olives are little salt bombs)
Chopped parsley (I used dried-packaged tonight because I'm traveling, but usually use fresh Italina
Grated parmesan cheese 

Boil the pasta, drain add other ingredients, chill and add grated parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Flintstone Ribs and Baked Potatoes

I love Tony Roma's barbeque sauce, we discovered the restaurant years ago in Spokane, WA (that restaurant is now, unfortunately closed although there still is one in Kennewick, which is much closer to me, but I seldom get down there) during my last disastrous marriage when we were hungry, driving around bitching at each other because neither of us was "hungry for" what the other wanted to eat. Spokane's Division Street is a miles long succession of restaurants on either side of the street, where we spotted Tony Roma's. It was the first we'd ever been to, but I really fell in love with their bbq sauce. I think I'll make it a goal, maybe this year, to invent a copycat recipe for it-although I can find it at Safeway, because I feel it's cheating to post a food blog with a commercial product in it and call the recipe mine.

So Flintstone Ribs? Anyone remember the Flintstones? Are they still on-I don't watch much television? But there is a scene in the closing where they wheel up to a drive in and order Brontosaurus Ribs. The waitress carries them out to the car, heaves them up to the side of the car and the car tips over...

I get beef back ribs, usually on sale for way cheap, boil them for at least an hour, until they're nearly falling off the bone, then brush the bbq sauce all over them and bake them until the sauce is thick and sticky. They're messy, gooey, sticky things, that taste just terrific. I serve them with baked potatoes, because-you may not know this-baked potatoes are great with bbq sauce on them.

We've been watching the Olympics all week. Watched Lindsey Vonn cross the finish line the other night, with bad form, nearly on one foot due to the pain, and win gold. I'm a skier and had a broken foot in 2006 (not from skiing, just from stepping off my back steps onto uneven concrete), and can tell you that you skiing with an injury isn't a whole bunch of fun. Lindsey, you rock! Apparently Korea hates Apolo Ohno because he's an aggressive skater and he keeps winning their golds. Somewhere in the definition of competition must be the word aggressive. You don't tap someone politely on the shoulder and ask to pass them while skating in the Olympics...they evidently invented toilet paper with his picture on it that is selling well in Korea.

She's so old...I have a 20 year old cat who has always been blind. She's amazing, really. I don't think she hears or smells so well anymore either. She's a lilac point Siamese, always been just so beautiful, but she doesn't take such great care of her coat anymore, so every week or so we have to hold her down, brush her, and cut the hairballs off, a process she strenuously and vocally resists, and I dislike doing it, but if we don't she develops golf ball sized snarls that we eventually have to shave off anyway.

Taking her photo is pretty challenging, because you just get her in the frame and she moves, plus I have a years old camera that waits a few seconds before the photo "takes", seconds in which she moves. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rice and Beans with Buffalo Chicken

Or Some Pseudo Mardi Gras food!

We've had a laid-back holiday weekend, as I mentioned, pretty much rained out for skiing, but watching the Olympics. Their weather isn't exceptional, either, and they've had to helicopter snow in to hold the alpine events. We didn't get to the store, so had to rely on the cupboards and freezer for dinner tonight, which can be very fun seeing what we have that we forgot we had and what we can come up with. Lunch was leftovers.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered, heaven only knows why it took me this long, the bulk food section of Fred Meyer. It isn't as if the store is new, nor is their bulk food section. They have a better than decent selection, compared to most other supermarkets, and seems fresher, at least the trail mix I bought was. So for dinner I had rice and black eyed peas, with buffalo chicken wings. The rice is a wild rice blend I found in bulk foods, the black eyed peas were packaged dried beans, and the buffalo wings frozen from the meat department at Safeway.


1 cup water
1 cup tomato juice
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 cup long grain and wild rice blend

Boil the liquids and add the crushed pepper and rice. This takes about 1 hour to cook. I used the 2 to 1 ratio I'm used to when making rice, but it was dry after about 20 minutes, so I added 1 more cup of water and 1 more cup of tomato juice. It turned out very tasty.

Black Eyed Peas

Rinse 1 cup black eyed peas well and drain
4 cups water
About 1 tablespoon salt, to taste
About 1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules (you wouldn't believe how many tries I took at spelling bouillon correctly so the little red squiggly line disappeared.)

Boil for 1 hour or more until tender. Yes, the package says to pre-soak overnight, or quick soak by boiling 1/2 hour then letting it sit in the hot water for 1 hour. This isn't necessary, they cook just as quickly without doing all that. Mix the cooked rice and beans together, if preferred.

So this is our lazy day, sort of spicy Mardi Gras food. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Olympics, Steak & Shrimp Scampi

I bought a lot of seafood on sale this weekend, so we had steamer clams and store-made shrimp scampi Friday night. The clams, I boiled, drained, added some garlic, white wine, and lemon juice. I could eat those by the gallon! Tonight, though, to celebrate the Olympics-so far we've seen two couples skate-not being able to ski (rain rain rain-but I don't feel so bad, I watched the nordic combined today, and those guys were out cross-country skiing and shooting in sleet-blech), so I had some cooked, deveined shrimp (hey, I'm lazy, but I'd gladly take a lesson on deveining if someone has some advice to make it easy). The store-made scampi was pretty salty, so I left salt out and mine turned out less salty and, perhaps, healthier.

Olive Oil in skillet, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 sliced green onions
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 lbs. cooked deveined shrimp (but not those little bitty canned things that have the consistency of pencil erasers and are suitable for a last-minute salad for a 4th of July picnic!) 
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white wine
Italian seasoning

Multi-grain thin spaghetti

Saute garlic and green onion in olive oil. Add crushed red pepper flakes and shrimp and cook until warmed through. Add butter and Italian seasoning, then white wine when the butter has melted. Add to cooked, drained pasta and serve. I plan to submit this to Presto Pasta Nights, the hosted this week by Mrs. Ergul Passion of Food and Life and courtesy of Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.
My son Brian cooked the steaks, a talent he has perfected over the last several years. When he started, he cooked them all the way he likes them - nearly raw and coated with cayenne pepper. Once I explained that the rest of us like them cooked, and edible, he does a great job, and did so tonight.

Years ago, when he was a novice, it was my parental pleasure to listen to him clicking the starter repeatedly on the barbeque, lean outside and suggest he open the lid, as fire needs air. He did, then clicked the starter again immediately and then disappeared, albeit briefly, in a fire ball. Mercifully the only damage to his person was singed hair and eyebrows, and to me, wide open mouth and rapid heartbeat.

It's still hard for me to watch Olympic skating. My mother loved it and followed it avidly. She died of heart disease in 2001 and were she still alive, I would know who was skating for what country, their standings, and would have watched some of the competition leading up to the Olympics. So, I watched the young American couple skate tonight, often overcome with tears. I always miss my Mom, but at times like these, I miss her more. Even if I didn't, there are so many poignant stories on the paths the competitors take to get there, I would probably be weepy anyway. Many of the athletes and their families sacrifice all to compete.

I have found limitless creative ways to waste time on the web. I spent quite a lot of the day on Facebook, not only creating a comic avatar for myself (this actually looks quite a lot like me, except I might look slightly older), but also chronicling where I've traveled on "Where I've Been" both of which are excellent examples to tick away your time on - well - the inconsequential.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine's Day Basket

My Scuba Club meets once a month (at a Mexican Restaurant whose food I abhor-huge portions of greasy, salty food. I usually eat beforehand and just have wine at the meeting :) Each month we auction off a basket, the proceeds of which go to the club. I won it last month. In the 6 or so years I've been diving, I don't remember ever having won it before, I guess because it used to be 50/50 and the winner generally donated their 50 percent back to the club. I may have won that once or twice, the winnings amounting to all of $11.,in that neighborhood. I don't remember when or how the basket raffle started.

Well, I won it last month. The guy who got it in December must have taken issue to the "girl" theme, because he donated a "Man Basket", Hot Rod Mag, Beef Jerky, Chips and Salsa, an oversized bottle of Fat Tire Beer, Beer Glass and a Butterfinger he said was to disguise  your breath so your wife doesn't know you were drinking...Do guys really do that? Do they really think it works?? But, he pointed out, there was not a single scented candle in the basket. As I drink mostly wine, I donated the beer to the superbowl party yesterday. Now, wasn't that quite a game?? Even a non-football lover like me got a little thrill, particularly when the Who, geezers that they have become, performed at half-time. Yeah, they still got it!!

Now it's my turn to fill this basket to raffle off for tomorrow night's meeting. What a dilemma-on the one hand, it's a perfect opportunity to "re-gift" those things you got for Christmas that you'd never buy yourself and will never use. Scented candles probably being pretty high on the list. I didn't want to try to invent another man basket, even though most of the dive club members are guys. I've pondered this all month. Hey, it's Valentine's Day this weekend, yeah, I know, guys are all over that holiday, only because we make them.

This month I decided to make "Food-in-a-Jar" with a Valentine's slant. Cowgirl cookies from Bakerella with pink M & M's, you gotta love it, Chocolate Cherry Cookies I found at, and last but not least, Cupid Soup! Ok, it's actually called Country Soup in a Jar on, but I'm going for a Valentine's theme here. At least if a guy wins it-and chances are one will, most of the dive club is male-they do eat cookies and soup.
And just so it doesn't look too manly, I added pink heart tissue and frilly Valentine ribbon. Please overlook the crummy labels, I'm not particularly artistic and the ones Bakerella had I could download didn't print clearly. I probably have a crummy printer, too.
I thought I'd save money and buy the jars at Value Village for .49 each. None had lids. How much could those little lids and rings possibly cost anyway? I don't can, so I've never priced this stuff. The first challenge was finding them. None at Safeway, which is on my way home from work. Ok, Michaels is just up the street. That's a hobby store, surely they'll have them. Zilch. Bi-Mart, a discount membership sort that sells food, clothes, sporting goods, and kitchen supplies. They had them.

In my infinite wisdom, though, I had chosen large mouth jars thinking they'd be easy to fill. First, Bi-Mart had only regular-size lids and second, even the large one are not so easy to fill. I found the damned things at Fred Meyer, four stores and an hour and a half later. What a bargain! I also haven't made any of these, so I can only hope that they're good.
I made a list of all the ingredients and tucked it in, just in case someone is allergic.
Happy Valentine's Day!
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