Friday, November 28, 2014


Sunday, 5 April 2015 is opening night with a Cards-Cubs evening matchup.
Monday, 6 April 2015 is opening day.

Recipe # 61: Thanksgiving Dressing

I originally watched Clair Robinson's 5 Ingredient Fix show on an early autumn day in Bear Lake Michigan in 2010. I immediately tried out this dressing recipe she gave me, and loved it, and determined to use it again.
Well, the again happened yestreday, Thanksgiving Day 2014.
I made this and took to mom and dad's. Mom does a pretty good stuffing herself, so I didn't want to compete. I did holler several times though, up and down the table, 'Hey niece/nephew/cousin, try that dressing in the white bowl.'
I added a couple of items so mine's not a 5 ingredient dish any more, but you can pretty much do whatever you want with turkey dressing.

8 brioche hamburger buns, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 pound breakfast sausage
4 cups chicken broth
8 ounces diced mushrooms
1 small sweet onion diced
1 can whole kernel white corn
about half of a green pepper diced
4 celery ribs diced
1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
2 cloves garlic diced
salt/pepper to taste

Items for our Thanksgiving dressing

Place the brioche cubes on trays and bake at 400 for about ten minutes, or until most are golden brown. Mine were actually starting to brown well before ten minutes so keep a watch on these...
Place cubes then in a large bowl.
Add the broth to the bowl so that all liquid is absorbed into the bread.

Cook the sausage in a frying pan; I used a potato masher to break these patties up. When the sausage is cooked, use a slotted spoon and add to the brioche bowl.

Saute the garlic and vegetables and garlic in the grease from the sausage for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until everything softens up a bit.

Add the corn and sauteed vegetables to the bowl.
Stir gently so you have a good mixture and place in a baking dish. Clair uses a 9 x 13 pan but I used my white baker.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Then, cover with foil, and bake another 20 minutes, or until the top pieces of bread begin to crisp just a bit.

I actually made mine a while before we ate, so it cooled off a bit before dinner. We put it in a 250 degree oven for about 20 minutes right before dinner and it came out tasty and hot.

Be blessed in all you do.

Give thanks with a grateful heart.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Thankful Am I

That I got up this morning on my own, with no aches or pains
That our hot water worked and the heater worked and the electricity worked
For so much food in our kitchen and for cold water to drink
For friends and family and acquaintances and contemporaries and peers and bosses and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and moms and dads and grandparents and son and daughter in law and grand babies
Joslin Mia and Liam Jason

Joslin posing on the porch

Smiling, always smiling: Liam
who could not possibly be any cuter and associates and president and mayor and representatives and police and fire people and paramedics and neighbours, and other people who like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and our fireplace and our shed and our vehicles and jobs and pens and clothes.
For this special day of the year when I get to see people I don't get to see much and for the food and fellowship we share.

"Come Ye Thankful People, Come"
by Henry Alford, 1810-1871

1. Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home.
All be safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied,
Come to God's own temple, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home.

2. All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear.
Lord of harverst, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

3. For the Lord, our God, shall come
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offences purge away;
Give His angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

4. Even so, Lord, quickly come
To Thy final Harvest-home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In Thy garner to abide.
Come with all Thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious Harvest-home.

Hymn #574
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Is. 9: 3
Author: Henry Alford, 1844, cento, alt.
Composer: George J. Elvey, 1858
Tune: "St. George"

Thank you to

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Yes, that is what we believe.
Yes; He is Whom we believe.

Jesus is King!

Praise His name!

Beautiful mass this morning; Gospel reading was from Matthew 25 and it says nothing about those who 'accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour'. This passages says in part

He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then Deacon's homily told me other ways that I could 'clothe', 'visit', 'care for', give food and drink - not just the literal ways...

Then during the Lord's Supper, organist and soloist did How Beautiful Are The Feet from Handel's Messiah

God was sure talking to me to-day I tell you.

I went rejoicing to Kroger (along with half of those from church:-) and got our ingredients for yet another White Bean Chicken Chili version going in to the crock pot to-day. The bag of canned goods I left in the store so Moni offered to go back and get it. I also forgot the broth (actually I forgot that I used it to make soup last night) so she's picking that up also. I like when she shops without me because she always comes home with treats 'only in case your sugar goes low'. :-)

Home putzing to-day, cleaning and fixing and getting ready for family here on Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday is Here, the Weekend is Upon Us

Looking out my window here in the offices of Livingston Lending, LLC in beautiful downtown Brighton, I see the bright sun reflecting off vehicles, buildings, and the pavement. But my little desktop gadget reminds me the actual temperature is a balmy 23 degrees Fahrenheit. I turned up the heat while the boss is away this mid-day and must remember to turn it back down to 58 before his return. (My conscience would not let me continue without, at least, a parenthetical expression here. 58 is a slight exaggeration. He keeps it a little warmer in here than that. It's just that I work near a drafty window and it feels like 58 up here... :-\)
Upon his return, I will ask to be dismissed for 'lunch'. My real purpose for leaving is to obtain insulin, toilet paper, a box of fireplace logs, food storage bags, and a host of holiday foodstuffs.
I am in charge of the cranberries for Thanksgiving. But I am going above and beyond because I want to make my brioche sausage stuffing and also bring one of my wife's best pumpkin pies - the ones she makes with the sweet milk. Oh yummy yummy yes.
Actually, I saw in the Aldi's ad that they had cranberry 12 ounce bags for like $1.29... I wonder if they're any good.
B1G football at noon and 3:30 tomorrow...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

an evening rhyme

pm in the evening at home in whitmore lake
i like potatoes better when they're fried not baked
michigan at home hosting ud mercy titans
nothing 'bout the maize and blue seems too frightnin'
crock pot full of meat and carrots and lotsa taters
house smells so good right now and it probably will later
sierra out in snowy yard without a leash to stop her
lookin for a movie tonight: george, mary, mr potter
1951 a CHRISTmas carol starring Alistair Sim
my favorite scrooge, he is, sometimes i'm just like him

my sisters birthday is to-day, she's all of 49
why i remember turning that, two years ago was mine
i made a little song for her, i put it on you-tube
maybe tonight sometime later I'll try my rubiks cube

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Many Syllables in Texts???

My sweetie just texted me, while she was ringing her Salvation Army bell in front of the Brighton Kroger. The message ended with a :-D!.

I love that she would take the time out of her 9 hours of solid ringing (she doesn’t take a lunch for fear of missing donations during the period when the kettle is un-manned, and she absolutely hates having to use the restroom because of the thousands of layers of clothes she has to wear) to let me know she’s thinking of me.

I am blessed.

Thank You, Father, for bringing Monica and I together all those years ago. Forgive me when I take her for granted or become short with her. Help me to always see her through the eyes of Christ, with love and self-less-ness. Thank You for all the time we have been able to spend together these last two years. Help me to continually seek new ways to build relationship with her, for she is my soul-mate. Amen

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How We Make Our Guacamole Dip (And How You Can Too!)

It was about ten years ago that my sister brought me a carry out from a Mexican restaurant in Detroit. It was just a huge serving of nachos with vegetables and meat and cheese, but the green concoction in the small plastic container intrigued me. 'Ooh, what's this?', asked I.
'Guacamole', said sis, 'Try it, it's good.'
And I've loved it ever since.
I don't remember what it tasted like that dark evening in Allen Park with a couple of ice cold Miller Lites, but I do know that we've evolved how we make it here at home over the past few years, and we both love it termendously.
Although I do still experiment, the blend that we appreciate most (and can devour quite handily) is like I made it this afternoon:

2 ripened a avocados
2 diced roma tomatoes
quarter of a sweet onion diced
quarter of a green pepper diced (although we had none available to-day)
cup of Kroger's Private Selection Mellow Black Bean and Corn Salsa (mild)
dash or two of Frank's Hot Sauce
tsp garlic powder
corn chips for dipping

Add to to mixing bowl the onion and tomato; remove skin and pit from avocado and add


Add hot sauce, salsa, and garlic (two or three minced cloves are preferable, but again we were out)
and mix with your favourite spoon. 

The corn and beans contained herein bring even more flavor to this dish

Stir it, stir it good

 We usually prefer white corn chips, but any will do. I've been on a Paqui Tortilla Chips kick - beware the roasted habernaro variety!

Friday, November 14, 2014


Growing up in Detroit, we were blessed to live within blocks of both of my parents' parents.

Gramma and Grampa Frank lived one block west and two blocks south of us at 16609 Rutherford, in the home my mother and her two sisters grew up in. We spent much time over there (for we could walk there if dad was at work with the car): eating, watching tv, playing with the cousins, shooting pool, getting grampa a beer from the basement refrigerator, eating, playing cards at the kitchen table, playing kickball in the backyard, looking at the cutouts of scantily clad women that grampa had on the laundry room wall that I knew we were not supposed to look at, and eating. They seemed to always have lunch meat over there, wrapped in white paper secured by a type of masking tape. Always good, and always with some spicy mustard, cheese similarly packaged, and between two slices of bread - real bread that was dark and soft and smelled of caraway and rye and melted in your mouth. Nothing like our nefarious choices at home: Wonder or Hillbilly.
Also, this huge chunk of butter sitting on a plate, soft and ready to be applied generously to anything we wanted, was always out on the table. Gramma called it 'oleo', but we didn't know what that meant. At home, we had margarine, which had to be kept in the fridge, which meant it was always rock hard, which meant my Wonder slices got absolutely mutilated during the grilled-cheese-building process.
Also, when we were fortunate enough to spend the night there, eggses cooked in the morning were fried or scrambled in butter - the same butter sitting soft and ready for me on the table! At home, mom cooked eggs in bacon grease, which wasn't bad, but oh how i loved Grammas soft-scrambled eggs done up in butter. (Mom liked to cook everything quite well, and the eggs were usually crispy if fried, or brown and hard if scrambled.)

My mouth is watering as I think about these things, from some 40 odd years ago...

16609 Rutherford, where the butter was always soft

Grandma and Grandpa Baldner lived almost exactly a mile away - to the north and east - in the home my dad grew up in, on Coyle. They had a two-story home with a dining room we all fit in at Thanksgiving and CHRISTmas-time when we were young; as the families grew, we needed more and more kids tables strewn about the living room and den. But no matter how many tables we sat at, it always smelled like Thanksgiving from when we walked in the side door, an aproned Grandma always greeted us with a hug and kiss, and Grandpa always looked sharp with a sweater and bow tie.
The cousins here we did not get to see as often as we did our other cousins, and we always seemed to be dressed up here (not like going to Rutherford) and so we didn't do as much playing. We sat and listened to the big people chat politely and drank our Vernors and didn't burp.
Summer time was different. Grandpa would grill burgers outside and we'd have a picnic in the back yard with corn-on-the-cob and potato salad. When we finished the meal (and were granted permission to leave the table), I remember us rummaging through Grandpa's old things in the garage as a form of entertainment. As the big people finished eating, they would retire to lawn chairs to continue conversations of divers natures, with laughter spontaneously erupting frequently. At the end of the day we would lower and properly fold the American flag, not letting it touch the ground ever.

There was no fence around Grandpa and Grandma's corner yard on Coyle, where we ate often and played jarts once

I do not remember ever going upstairs here. The front room facing the street was the living room with a couch and several chairs, where we would chat together after meals. The back of the main floor had a den, where there was a couch and two very comfortable chairs, magazines, toys and games in cupboards, and a small tv (actually, every tv back then was small, compared with to-days'). I remember watching The Wizard of Oz on that tv in the den with the cousins more than once after a filling Thanksgiving meal. And Uncle Elton always seemed to be sitting back there reading something or other - he didn't care much for the chatting in the living room with the other big people.

Thank You, Father, for family. Thank You for the memories we all have, for the people we have memories of, and for the time that we were able to share with these people. Thank You for the traditions and the love. 
Thank You for loving us so much. 

Fabulous Friday!!

Jeepers has the cold moved in already and we're only in mid-November! Last night down into the twenties but we had a warm fire while we watched 1951 Scrooge with Alistair Sim (my all-time favourite version!). Alas I fell asleep even before the very jolly Ghost of Christmas Present showed up, but I did force myself to finish Prince Caspian in bed before I moved into rem sleep.

The music during this scene from Scrooge, where Tim is enjoying the toys in the store window, is almost magical

Caspian fleeing his murderous uncle, the Telmarine king

Trufflehunter, Trumpkin, and Nikabrik

Tonight I'll be moving on to Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third of his Narnia books.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday

Well, well, well... what's been going on, precioussss?
Lots and none at all, isn't it, my preciousss???

I am reading the Narnia Chronicles once again.

We misplaced The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe so I started with Prince Caspian, which begins approximately one year (England time) after the Pevensies' first encounter in Narnia. I have not read this since seeing (quite a few times) the Hollywood adaptation, which includes a night attack by the free people of Narnia - led by Caspian X and the High King Peter - which fails miserably and leads to many lives lost. Very sad, and I'm glad it's not in the book. But I can see why Walt Disney would add an action-packed battle scene early in the picture: this second book in the series takes quite a long time to get rolling, if you will. I am already just past halfway through the book, and the Pevensie siblings have still not met Caspian, Reepicheep the Squirrel, Nickabrick the Dark, or Wimbleweather the Giant.
But, they have indeed met Aslan, or rather, are in the process of meeting Aslan, in the chapter I fell asleep in last night. Lucy finds Him one night while she is out alone, but the others are having a more difficult time seeing Him. Susan the Practical One will see Him last of the children, Trumpkin the Red Dwarf - their fellow traveler throughout most of the first half of this story - will meet Him for the first time at the end of the story.

We were blessed to have a facecord of firewood delivered this past weekend; it is now stacked and covered with a reversible (green or brown you know) tarpaulin, and we have already burned a great deal. I am thankful for Nick and his bigass F250!

Cold Michigan November evenings demand a warm fire

MSU lost a tough one to OSU on Saturday night, and that is all I will speak of this.

We tried a new crock pot chicken soup recipe and both of us love it. Less greasy than Pioneer Woman's Chicken Soup with Rice, but more carrots to be sure. Broth made from our frozen store of cabbage core and celery ends, along with fresh thyme and gave this almost a sweet flavour.
Just had a small bowl for lunch; keeps getting tastier!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love's the only thing that there's just too little of.

Cold and cloudy on this beautiful Thursday the 6th of November {OHHH I FORGET TO REMEMBER REMEMBER THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER YESTREDAY!!!!!!!!!!} and my daily flip calendar has this:

Count your nights by stars, not shadows.
Count your days by smiles, not tears.
And on any birthday morning,
Count your age by friends, not years.


Listened to an interview with U-M basketball head coach Jim Beilein yestreday and am excited now for B1G basketball. The ACC - B1G Challenge is early December and B1G season starts in late December.

Concerns, prayer requests, etc...
Gary and his situation, Moni's vehicle, paying bills, keeping the pipes un-frozen this winter, getting firewood without having a truck (first time in many years!), loving like I should, work concerns - peoples' lives on hold, Carolyn's health, Tiger off-season acquisitions, ...
Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.