Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oklahoma's Waiting Child Heart Gallery


In the past month or so, four kiddos on my caseload have been adopted.  That makes me smile.  Two of them were featured on Oklahoma's Waiting Child Heart Gallery, a photo gallery of children available for adoption through the Department of Human Services.  That's where their new "forever family" found them.

The gallery is just a small sampling of the children in the permanent custody of DHS waiting for someone to give them the opportunity to be a part of their family. 

These kids didn't do anything wrong.  They don't have a lot of high expectations or a sense of entitlement about the families they are seeking.  They only want to feel safe and loved.  If you have a minute, check out the gallery or tell your friends about it. 

A hundred years from now 
No one will remember
How much money I had in the bank
What kind of car I drove
Or what kind of job I had.
But I will be remembered
As someone special
Because I made a difference
In the life of a child.

~ Author Unknown

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011


 For those of you who don't know my husband, 
this tiny box of chocolates means more to me 
than a huge box or a bouquet of flowers!  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Boeuf Bourguignon Soup

To be honest, the idea of making Boeuf Bourguignon in any form was a bit daunting, but after reading this recipe from the Martha Stewart Living December 2010 magazine, I decided to give it a try.  It was time-consuming, but well worth the effort.  It was marvelous!

  • 4 bone-in short ribs (2 inches thick, 2 pounds total)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 carrots, 2 finely chopped and 1 cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 strips bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium beef stock
  • 2 cups water


  1. Season ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Coat with cornstarch. Heat oil in a large heavy pot (preferably enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat. Lightly brown ribs on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add mushrooms to pot. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add cubed carrot.
  3. Add shallots, celery, bacon, and chopped carrots to pot. Cook until caramelized, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.
  4. Return ribs with plate juices to pot. Add thyme and bay leaf. Raise heat to high. Add wine. Cook, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon, until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add stock and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  5. Remove ribs. Separate meat from bones; discard. Cut meat into bite-size pieces; return to pot. Add reserved mushroom-carrot mixture. Bring to a simmer; cook until cubed carrots are tender. Season with salt. Ladle soup over bowls of egg noodles and serve with bread on the side.
Serves 6.

Talk about coincidences - I just realized this was my 50th post and I also gained my 50th "follower" today!  (I know it says I have 51 followers, but I am following myself, so there are really only 50.)   I thank you all!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Green Country? What the Heck?

Okay, someone sent me a message yesterday and said they lived in "Snow Country", too.  Not that you can tell it from these photos, but I actually live in Green Country!  (It's true.  That is the official name for the section of Oklahoma where I live.  In case you are wondering, it is the northeast quadrant of the state.)

 We had a record 15" of snow on Tuesday, 02-01-11, followed by 6" of snow on 02-04-11.  We are supposed to get flurries tonight (Sunday, 02-06-11),  and another 6-12" this coming Tuesday, 02-08-11.  

Can someone please make it stop?!? 

This is the backdoor from my bedroom.  There is about a foot of snow covering the step.  Note the snow above the door handle and the deadbolt.  This is unreal!


This is the view just off my back porch off the bedroom.   That's about 3 1/2' of snow.  It's also very weird how the snow stopped in a perfectly straight edge. 

This is my neighbor's kitchen window.  That's about 4 1/2' of snow.

Thursday my husband convinced me to take a ride in the pickup with him.  That's 3 1/2' of snow on the right side of the road.  I thought we were only going in the neighborhood.  We had no phones, no IDs, no cash, etc.  It's a good thing we made it home in one piece!  It took us approximately half an hour to make a four-mile loop south of our house.  The roads were not in good shape.  Fortunately, my husband is an excellent driver, because the other people out driving were not.  I was gripping the armrest the whole way!

 Notice that my husband shoveled snow behind the pickup so he could get out, but did not shovel behind my car.  That's okay.  I wasn't taking that baby anywhere, anyway. Besides, he shoveled a path for the dogs in the back yard and another to the mailbox (not that we got any mail for 5 days).

This is the back yard.  That's about 5' deep.  Good thing I put that outdoor faucet cover on Monday night.

 Leiua loved the snow in small doses.  Tillie, on the other hand, didn't want any part of it.  (She's standing by the back door to the kitchen.)  Unfortunately, she got stranded in the snow three separate times and had to be rescued each time.  I don't blame her for not wanting to get back out in it.  

Leiua liked digging in the snow.  She found a bone, so at least it was productive.  (Plus, she looked so cute with snow on her muzzle.)

Thank goodness for young entrepreneurs!  Just as I was getting ready to head out and shovel that snow behind my car, these young businessmen offered to do the job for me in exchange for a nominal fee.  They did such a good job, I gave each of them a bonus.  I was thrilled that I didn't have to shovel the snow, although my husband thought I needed the exercise.  (I thought he was crazy to think I would do it myself.)

I missed four days of work last week.  I am grateful that the offices were closed most days and that I did not have to take leave for three of those days.  I am thankful that I have plenty of leave built up to cover the fourth day.  I am happy that the court moved their dockets to accommodate the snow days, even though that will jam up the dockets down the line.  I am grateful for a loving husband, as well as family and neighbors who checked on us regularly.  Even though the family was too far away to help, it was nice to hear from them.  I also thank the Lord that we didn't lose electricity or water.  We have a wood-burning stove insert in our fireplace, but we couldn't use it because our wood, although covered with a tarp, was inaccessible, as it was completely covered in snow.  
Now, I think I'll contact my travel agent.  I need some sun and some sand!!

(NOTE:  Late Tuesday/early Wednesday we got our third round of snow.  Another 6-8" dumped right on top of all the other.  Several snowfall records have been set with this storm system.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Roger's New England Clam Chowder

2 dozen chowder clams (quahogs) - you can use frozen clams, if necessary, one box should be enough
3 cups white wine
1/2 pound salt pork or fat back, diced fine (bacon can be used, if necessary)
4 Tablespoons butter (not margarine)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 bay leaf
pinch of thyme
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream

your choice of crackers

Steam the clams in the wine until they just open.  Remove and strain the liquid.  Reserve.  When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from the shell and chop them.  Set aside. 

In a large skillet, cook the salt pork until crisp.  Drain and discard the fat. 

In a large pot, melt the butter with the oil and add onions, celery, bay leaf, thyme, and crisped pork.  Cook until vegetables are softened and translucent.  Add reserved clam juice and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes, milk, and cream.  Cook until potatoes are just cooked, about 7 to 8 minutes.  Add chopped clams and bring the chowder to a slow boil, stirring occasionally.

Serve with crackers.

Yield:  4-8 servings.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's a Snow Day... ummm... Snow Week! Yea!!

This is an extremely old recipe for Snow Cream. It was my grandmother's and I think she got it from her mother. (My grandmother passed away last year just shy of her 101st birthday, so the recipe is tried and true.)  Enjoy!

Snow Cream

1 egg, slightly beaten
1 - 2 teaspoons vanilla
3 - 4 cups milk
Sugar to taste (about 2 cups)
A dash of salt
1 large bowl of fresh, clean, powdery snow (not crusty or packed)

Pour milk and beaten egg into a saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly. Do not allow to boil. When the mix begins to form tiny bubbles, slowly add the vanilla and then the sugar, all the while stirring the mixture. Turn off heat and allow to cool a bit. Gather fresh snow and divide into individual dishes. Carefully pour the milk mixture over the snow, stirring until you get the consistency you want. Add more snow or milk mixture, if needed. Refrigerate leftover milk mixture.

P. S.  Last night I decided this would make excellent "Hot Vanilla", too.  For those that don't like Hot Chocolate, can't have it for some reason, or just want something different - add more milk to the liquid and heat it up.  Delicious!