Saturday, January 31, 2015

Recipe #2 - Crockpot Beer Cheese Potato Soup

Honestly, one might - with still great accuracy – name this using any and all of the many, many main ingredients. I have made and enjoyed ‘Beer Cheese Soup’, but I had some potatoes I wanted to add to this concoction.  I actually thought about adding a bag of frozen mixed vegetables to this dish; the possibilities for a single name then would have been infinite.


1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
12 oz beer
¼ c flour
3 cups chicken broth
½ Tsp dried oregano
½ Tsp dried parsley
½ Tsp garlic powder
½ Tsp ground black pepper
¼ Tsp marjoram
Tbs Worcestershire sauce
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4-5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Start on the stove top with the broth, beer, and flour. Heat and wisk until the flour is dissolved and you have a nice mix. Empty this into the crock pot, on High.
Add vegetables and dry seasonings. Cook on high for 4 hours, until potatoes are soft.
Take about 4 or 5 ladles of the vegetable/broth mix and puree in the blender, and add back to the soup. This gives a creamier texture. If you don’t like chunks at all in this, blend the whole shebang.

Add the cheese, Worcestershire, cream and bacon. Mix well and leave on high for another half hour.
Mix well again just before serving, and add some chives for garnish.

I topped mine with bits of sourdough bread for a tasty, warm meal.

Shoutout to all my real soup-lovers out there!

TLH #648 - I Am Jesus' Little Lamb

I have had this hymn in my mind all morning. I had forgotten it was indeed a 'hymn' and found in the old red Lutheran Hymnal. I remember singing it in grade school often, as a young Lutheran lad.

by Henrietta L. von Hayn, 1724-1782

1. I am Jesus' little lamb,
Ever glad at heart I am;
For my Shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my need, and well provides me,
Loves me every day the same,
Even calls me by my name.

2. Day by day, at home, away,
Jesus is my Staff and Stay.
When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,
Into pleasant pastures leads me;
When I thirst, He bids me go
Where the quiet waters flow.

3. Who so happy as I am,
Even now the Shepherd's lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended,
He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.

Hymn #648
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: John 21:15
Author: Henriette L. von Hayn, 1778
Translated by: composite
Titled: "Weil ich Jesu Schaeflein bin"
1st Published in: Brueder Choral-Buch, 1784
Tune: "Weil ich Jesu Schaeflein bin"

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Fun

Colder these last couple days and we're supposed to get some snow Saturday night through Sunday night. The sun has been shining all day on this laid back Friday and I am thankful for that; it warms my soul I think.

LVCCM Women's #83 is this weekend, right about now they're listening to the fourth talk of the day I would imagine.

Thankful it's Friday and I don't have to get up early tomorrow. The fun thing is that I will because it's my time and not time I'm trading  hours for dollars. Yippeeee! Up early for a walk, and then make some beer cheese soup (with bacon and cream cheese - Oh, be still my warmed up heart). 

Made a quick Aldi's run just a bit ago and I am thankful for that chain in our town. Pint of grape tomatoes for $.69, 8 oz mushrooms for $89, 2 L Diet Coke for $.99, (almost) half gallon of Moose Tracks for $2.69, etc. 

I started a new MLB Fantasy League for us novices who don't like whining or complaining. Looking forward to another season of that! I am Major West.

Father, thank You for bringing us through another week to the weekend. Guide my thoughts and decisions so that I would make good use of the time You have given me here on earth. Bless our families with rest and peace, and be especially with Nancy, Dean, and Meghan.

Thank You for Your love.

Thank You for Your amazing grace.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Facecord of split firewood: $65

Kroger frozen pizza: $2.50

Sharing dinner and conversation in front of a nice fire with the woman I want to grow old with: priceless.


Recipe #89 - Friday Night Shrimp Linguine

We used cooked salad shrimp and tons of fresh vegetables to make this light dish. We modified the recipe we found on the 2015 calendar from the bank.
The calendar photo shows it should look like this:



1 pound salad shrimp

1 tbsp EVOO

1 pound asparagus chopped
1/2 green pepper diced 
1/2 red pepper diced
8 oz mushrooms sliced
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1 pound linguine
1/2 cup chicken broth

Oh so beautiful fresh vegetables

Fresh mushrooms rinsed and ready to chop chop

Tiny shrimps and Barilla Whole Grain pasta

Fresh garlic

Boil the linguine per box directions and drain, but save a cup of the noodle water. Place noodles in a large serving bowl.

Boil shrimp in the reserve water for just a couple minutes. Drain the water and add shrimp to noodles.

Add the oil to your pan and heat it up good and proper. Add the garlic and vegetables and cook until just soft

Meanwhile, heat up the chicken broth for a couple minutes.


Add the vegetables to the serving bowl, pour the warm broth over all, and toss gently and with much love.

It doesn't look exactly like the calendar photo, but it sure was good. Next time I might add a shred or two of Parmigiana on top. I was just thinking you could add tomatoes to the vegetable mix.



Friday, January 23, 2015

Fabulous Friday!

One of the bloggers I follow via email is Vinita Hampton Wright, an author and publisher from Kansas. Her blog - Days of Deepening Friendship ( - is subtitled For Women Growing Wiser, but it is helping me become wiser also.

Her post for to-day is a simple but beautiful prayer, and I share it here via the wonders of Ctrl C and Ctrl V.

God, who creates me and who loves me,
I open my thoughts to receive you.
I open my heart to welcome you.
I open my eyes to see your possibilities for me.
I open my ears to listen more attentively to my life.
I open my dreams to include wonders beyond my sight.
I open my future to your grace.
I open my struggling soul to your peace.

Thank You, Father, for your Church. 
Thank You for all those who have come before us, and for those who are with us now, and for all of those who will come after us; who love You and who serve You faithfully.
Thank You for the encouragement and exhortation that You send us through others during our pilgrimage. Thank You for not giving up on any of us.
Your mercy and love are unfathomable.
You are love, perfect love.
All praise and honor and glory to You!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Recipe # 6 Sausage and Egg Tater Tot Brunch Bake

Blame this one on @RachaelRay; I was watching her week in a day show this morning and started getting all manner of ideas in my mind.

Thanks to Lee Fogle for the sausage recipe.

Before I built the cassarole, I had to 'make' the sausage.

1# ground pork
2 tsp dried sage
Tsp salt
Tsp ground white pepper
¼ tsp marjoram
1 tbs brown sugar
1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
Pinch ground cloves

Combine seasoning in small bowl; mix well.

Add to pork in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with hands.

Make into patties or whatever shape you feel good about. Cook until pork is not pink at all.

THEN, for the bake:

About 20 tater tots
14 oz Velveeta, cut into slices
8 eggs, beaten
1# sausage

Spray the pan inside with cooking oil. Line bottom of your favorite baking pan with the tater tots. I actually used the Burger King sized tots (on sale from Kroger). Add the cooked sausage on top of the potatoes. Layer the Velveeta over that.

 Pour the scrambled eggs over all and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Enjoy with a buttered bagel and a tall diet Mountain Dew.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Recipe #19 Beef Barley Soup

Holy macaroni I just tried a bowl of this and why have I never made it before?? Simple and nutritious (I am sure), and warm on a cold night.

One pot is all you need, and a spoon to stir with:

2 tbsp EVOO, divided
1 lb round steak cubed small
2 carrots cleaned and diced
2 celery ribs diced
1 yellow onion diced
10 oz sliced mushrooms
1 box and 1 can of beef stock
oregano and groundblack pepper to taste
2/3 cup barley

Start your soup pot on medium heat with 1 tbsp EVOO and brown the meat for about 5-6 minutes.
Set aside meat.
In the same pot add tbs EVOO, vegetables and a quarter cup of stock. Soften veggies for about five minutes, then add the rest of the stock, the meat and seasonings.
Bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour covered. You may need to add some water if your pot reduces too much; I added about a cup.

Raise the temp and add the barley; cook for another half hour. Turn off the burner, and have a large bowl.

The second of three bowls I enjoyed during the Northwestern-Michigan game, on a Saturday night.

This would be great with a large piece of crusty buttered french bread, but alas I had none.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thumpin Thursday

Late evening thoughts all coming into my pea brain at the same time...

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still

Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear

Claude Rains was the invisible man

My brother in law took me out for lunch at Sagano's Japanese Bistro and Steakhouse Restaurant to-day and we ate very well. You sit right by the grill and watch the chef-entertainer throw stuff at you and create huge flames while he creates your meal. The guy had an onion volcano going that had us running for cover; we politely declined the offer to let him toss small bits of chicken into our mouths via his spatula.

How do you feel when the whole world sees you've won $1000 worth of Aleeve on Jeopardy?

The High and the Mighty (1954) tense, drama

The Great Train Robbery (1979) slow moving but builds to a wonderful climax

Sunday, January 11, 2015

35 degrees on the deck!!

...and we have all of our running water back God be praised!!

Washing a sorely needed load of kitchen towels right now with another load drooling to get in there. The halogen lamp under the pipes did the trick, aided by the outside temps, which have been rising since yestreday late evening. Monday and Tuesday lows are expected to be back below zero, but for now we will pour the lemonade and sport our shorts.

The 45 Lessons Life Taught Me

...applicable for all of us, and sent via email from my dear sister Carolyn. This was written by Regina Brett of the Cleveland Plain Dealer; she says it is her most requested column.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time some time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Super Saturday!!

Well, the battery I bought for Monica's PT Cruiser not even a year ago ( see for a reminder of what was going on) was not meeting our expectations and so we removed it from the Grape and took it to Walmart for an exchange. Moni spent a couple of hours last night finding the receipt so this transaction was seemless. I got the new one in, started her car, and she is off running errands with her sister.

I also needed insulin this morning from Walmart, and I was looking for a halogen light for under the trailer to thaw the water supply (all cold water was frozen by now, all the hot valves still produce). So on the way out there we stopped for a meat-lovers omelet at Sunrise restaurant right there where Chilson hits Grand River. Texas toast with real butter and an average cup of coffee rounded out our quick meal there.

A hop, skip, and a jump down the road and we were at Wally World. I did remember suet for the birds this time, and I placed one more station feeder in the dappled willows for up-close and personal  chickadee encounter.

It is a walloping 19 degrees on our deck right now and the wind makes it feel like cold-as-hell.

I am going to check the heat lamp for any fires it may have caused and then relax with some college basketball.

Blessed be God forever!

5:41 pm update: the lamp has been on continuously. Main bathroom all water working (toilet included;-) and kitchen is fully functional. Now we just need the laundry and back bathroom cold.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thumpin' Thursday

The temps have been below freezing for five straight days and our back bathroom cold water line has frozen and our clothes washer lines (both hot and cold) are frozen. Thankfully, our kitchen sink and main bathroom are fully functioning. 2 degrees on our deck right now at 1440 hours and , according to, highs will not go into the 20’s for another three days, nor into the 30s for another ten days. Wow!

A year ago, we had four days in a row (6-9 January) of lows at or below 16 below, AND we were buried under God know how much snow! Thankfully (again), we only have about two inches on the ground now, and the main roads are dry, dry, dry!

Due to the plague I am currently embracing, I’m swallowing my second dosage of a pair of Vicks Day-Quill Severe Cold & Flu Non-Drowsy Max Strength caplets. I am only able to get these Mr. Ed-sized pills down with a big swig of my third dosage of Lauder’s Blended Scotch Whiskey and a ginger ale chaser.

Apparently oblivious to the frigidity of the out-of-doors are the birds who avail themselves of  the suet and seed provide outside our home. I did see the largest bird on the planet yesterday – but only for a half-second and could not determine its name or identification. And um I wasn’t fast enough on the shutter to get a photo either.

The small birds are plump this winter in Whitmore

I watched Taken and Taken 2 back to back last night. Taken 2 was refreshing after the arrogance and ignorance of Mills' daughter and ex-wife in the original. The commercial cable network I watched these on did not permit me to ascertain how Marco from Tripoja’s dad died; Mills kind of pushed him into his chair at the end and he just ended up staring straight ahead (as if he loathed that chair and was holding his breath until he could remove himself from it).Ah yes, I will just have to rent it.