Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fast Forward!

My life seems like it is in fast forward lately. First, for those of you that do not know (which is almost everyone), my family is moving to Florida (Tampa) in the summer of 09. I could not be more excited! This started when Bubby got very ill and we thought we were going to lose her. This made me think of how much family we have in town… none. I told my husband that I wanted to be closer to family so here we are! We signed on a house 2 weeks ago and signed up the kids for school. The plan is to get this house ready to put on the market soon so we have a LOT of work to do.

Because of the pending move, we have needed to make (and really have needed to make for a while) a change in our spending habits. We have wanted for nothing in the last several years. We would eat out most nights, get the most current toys and baubles and not think about spending. We have been very lucky, VERY. In today’s economy that is just not possible. I am starting to cook every meal and really taking a look at how much I spend on the meals. A friend told me about 5 dollar meals. This woman is amazing with her thriftiness! I cannot say that I will be able to be as good as she is, but it really helps me with MY spending. Cooking at home will also help keep the family healthier in the long run.

Thanksgiving was this week. We spent it with the same people we spent the 4th of July with, the Altwargs. We had a blast! They are such a great family. The cranberry sauce was GREAT! See below for the recipe. I will never EVER buy canned again! Elizabeth also made cranberry bread that was by far the star of the meal. The recipe is below. I made a Semi-Homemade meal with some of the leftovers we had but I tweaked the recipe a little. See below for the modified recipe.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

zest and juice from 1 orange
1/2 cups water
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, pippin or
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the zest, juice and the water and bring to a
boil.. Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan with the cranberries, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving.

Pot Pie Casserole

Preheat oven to 350.

-4 cups of chopped up cooked turkey (or chicken if you prefer)
-2 cans of condensed cream soup (I used healthy request broccoli cheese and chicken)
-4 cups of veggies such as: leftover steamed green beans or fzn), raw white corn cut from 2 cobs, 2 large raw carrots sliced, 2 small raw red potatoes cubed, half a chopped sweet onion, 1 celery rib chopped... you could also add fzn peas but I didn't have any.

Stir all above in a large bowl. Add to a large baking dish and cook TIGHTLY covered in foil for 1 hour and 45 mins. Take out of the oven and on top add a single layer of:-16 oz can of refrig. biscuits (I used pilsbury grands). Brush with 4 TBSP of melted butter and sprinkle pepper over the top. Bake for an add'l 18 mins until the biscuits are done.

Cranberry Fruit Nut Bread
- 1 cup of Ocean Spray fresh or frozen cranberries – coarsely chopped
- ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts)
- 1 tbsp. Grated orange peel
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
- 1 tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Baking soda
- 2 Tbsl. Shortening (margerine/butter)
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 1 egg well beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Generously grease & lightly flour a baking pan
Prepare cranberries, nuts & orange peel – set aside
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda
Cut in shortening (make it look like pebbles and mix into the flour mixture)
Stir in orange juice, egg and orange peel, mixing just to moisten
Fold in cranberries and nuts
Spoon into prepared pan
Bake 60 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean
Cool on rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool more.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A letter from the heart...

Today I felt compelled to tell John McCain how I felt. Many of my conservative friends are too busy berating the president-elect 2 and a half months before he is even sworn in. Many of my liberal friends are busy celebrating, but my mind this afternoon was drawn to Senator McCain. His speech was more than gracious, classy and very respectful. I expected nothing less from the man.

I watched the news most of today. Many people were trying to analyze what happened to the republican vote that has been so strong the last 2 presidential elections. One person interviewed was Michael Regan, adopted son of Ronald Regan with his first wife. No, I do not agree with his politics but I agreed with one thing he said (to an extent). He said that McCain's loss was because of Bush and his causing America to lose faith in the republican party (I paraphrased). I think it was an unfair, uphill battle for any republican largely due to the last 8 years. But, I think Palin was a big weakness in the McCain campaign. I say that because when he chose her for a running mate I questioned his judgment for it. As I watched her in action, that thought was only reaffirmed.

That being said, I decided to write to Senator McCain. Silly me I guess. I am sure it will not be read. I am sure he is flooded with emails. I am sure reading a letter from someone who didn't vote for him isn't high on his priority list, but I did...

Senator McCain,

I want to tell you how very much I respect you now and even before this election was won. You have done great things for our great nation and I personally cannot begin to thank you enough. Though I did not vote for you in this election, I wanted you to know that there are people, me included, who still hope that you continue to make your opinions loud and clear in the senate. This nation is clearly divided and it is clear that your opinion is strongly looked to for fair balance. Please, continue to make your voice heard. Continue to help this country come closer to a middle ground. Continue to help us all become a better America, one we can be proud of once again. Yes I am counting on President-elect Obama, but I also count on you. Be that voice for the people you so relentlessly campaigned for and do not yield even if your opinions are not turned into actions. Help compromise and encourage compromise when compromise can be made. Do not be discouraged.

P.J. Rosen, married mother of 2 in Georgia