Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Out with the Old....In with the New!    That's a favorite saying of mine.  I cannot believe another year has flown by...can you?  Time used to drag....when we were younger.  Now....whew....the days, weeks, months and years are like a mouse on a wheel. 

I am looking forward to a new beginning.  So much I still want to accomplish, even though many people my age are looking at retirement or have already "retired".  What is retirement really??  Certainly not sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch watching the neighbors drive by.....or complaining about every ache and pain...or bugging your kids for a visit.  That was in the prior generation.  No, today things are different.  We want to be active and healthy and keeping up with what's new and happening.   We still need to make money...even in retirement...thanks to the downturn in the economy, inflation, and the diminished 40lK.

Wayne and I brought in the new year watching back- to- back funny movies on the big screen TV in our media room....well, really, we're not that rich...but we do have a rather large bedroom complete with not only bedroom furniture, but also a table & chairs, recliner, entertainment center and of course the HD TV.  It feels like a media room when we lower the lights and settle back to watch....I love it.  Don't get to do it very often but that's one of my choices for the new more movies that make me laugh and cry.
Now, as we were finishing up with the last movie the clock was nearing midnight....the weather has been rainy all the fireworks were few and far between.  What a let down....not one big boom for the stroke of midnight.....what??  Where are those people who would spend $$$$ on the beautiful and loud fireworks?  Maybe the rain and stormy weather got to them....or maybe it was  the 2010 economy.  In any event, we had a quiet ending to the old year.

My prayer is that January 2011 will usher in a stronger economy complete with more jobs, more home sales, more cash flow....etc.  Also, with God's guidance I want to remember and reflect on who and what is most important in my savor the moments and happiness and not take anything or anyone for granted.
This past year was marred by family tragedy and friends who lost loved ones.  Also some of us had health issues to deal with....I don't want to take health for granted anymore.  We need to preserve it....take care of yourself and those close to you.  I love to you all know by now....but I commit to cutting down on the butter (sorry Paula), the salt and cooking and eating more fiber, fruit and veggies. 

Life is so precious...we should relax, have fun in work and play, appreciate more, laugh more, cry more (and with those that are hurting)  and eat less..    Be vulnerable.  Be spontaneous.  I love the song "It's not the breath you take, the breathing in and out...but the moments that take your breath away"!

 I want more moments like that...or at least I want to be available for aware of them. I want to visit my kids and grandkids when they can't come to visit me...(buying the RV will help with that).  I want to visit family and friends that we rarely see....also spend some time with lonely people who no one visits.

It's now 1:30 AM Jan. 1... an hour and a half has already been taken from 2011....I thank all of those who read my blog.  It's amazing that anyone would be interested....but I know that I love to read about others and their's a new phenomenon....this blogosphere....I love's therapy for me.

When I'm feeling up, or down, or anxious...I can express through the keys and it makes me feel more at peace.

I wish for you and a wonderful, successful, happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Gumbo

We started a tradition in our family many years ago....presents would be open on Christmas Eve after a meal of Chicken & Aundouille Gumbo (aundouille is a German Sausage made in south Louisiana with the best place to buy it being LaPlace, LA where we lived for 20+ years).  LaPlace is the AUNDOUILLE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD....this is even written on the water tower of the town!  The Jacob family has been making it for as long as I can remember and beyond and they have a product that has not been duplicated anywhere else...even here in Acadiana where I live now.   Anyway...I'm sure I'm spelling it's not a word found in the dictionary and I cannot ever remember how to spell this sausage.

So, every Christmas Eve I would get going with the preparations....making potato salad to go along with it and of course crispy french bread!  We would eat the gumbo...and then in a circle, with gifts given to each child, they would open them one by one in an orderly fashion savoring every exciting anticipated moment!

Advance ahead about 20 years and you will see 3 daughters who have produced 5 children ranging in age from 8 to 2....3 spouses and of course Wayne and I.....the candle-lit Christmas Eve dinners are a thing of yesteryear...and forget any type of orderly opening of the presents!  By the time you get the kids situated around the table...and then you serve yourself and your spouse...the kids are through...or spilling, or trying to get down and run around the tree, etc. etc.   I think you  get the picture.

Well, the gumbo still is good.   I still take out the fine china....the candles are lit...however, Gracie (the 4 year old) cannot stand to see one burning and wants it put out...Hunter (2 years old) wants to chew on them....but with a promise that we will pick up the tradition maybe by the time they are 10 or 12....we do enjoy the gumbo!

I thought I'd give my step-by-step guide to how I make a Southern Creole-type Gumbo in this blog.  By the way, you may have noticed that I use "creole" a lot when describing certain dishes that I prepare....what I mean by that is NOT just a Cajun using cayenne pepper....but a recipe using the "trinity" of seasonings: 
Step 1:
Get out the gumbo pot and boil the sausage which has been sliced (this year I had forgotten to purchase my LaPlace Aundouille ahead of time, so I had to use a local smoked sausage....not  as much flavor.

Step 2:
Season (with Tony Chachere's) the chicken and brown in a skillet
I use thighs since my family likes the dark meat
Step 3:
Start your roux which is equal amounts of flour and oil which is browned to a deep caramel color
I do my roux in the and stirring every 3 minutes, then 2 minutes, then 1 minute then down to 30 sec. between stirring to get it to the right color and NOT burn it

you can see the natural progression of the color
At this point you will throw in a bag of Picksweet frozen seasoning (onions, celery, bellpeppers) and about 3 toes of minced garlic and you will fry it down in the roux mixture until soft.....then it all goes in the gumbo pot
which has the water, sausage and the chicken pieces from the fry pan

Let it come to a boil and then turn down to medium heat and let cook....finally to simmer (covered) thing about gumbo..the more it cooks the better the will also want to add more cajun seasoning (tony's)...or salt and pepper to taste

You may notice that I don't give measurements except for the roux....this is not a scientific's one I watched my Mother do and just tweeked it for my lifestyle....i.e., frozen seasoning and using the microwave to make the roux.  My Mother and Grandmother would chop all of the seasonings and cook that roux in a black iron skillet on the stove!

In a few months from now...I'll share with you my Shrimp and Okra Gumbo.

Before I leave's some pictures of 2 of our grandchildren playing on Wayne's display in the yard on Christmas Day....
Grace and Hunter who love to follow their paw paw out in the yard and play with the wooden lighted displays!  By the way, our two oldest Grandchildren Julia and Joshua were already in Tampa for Christmas, but they are coming here in 2 weeks for us to celebrate the holiday with them and Julia's 9th birthday celebration....maybe a candle light dinner will be manageable for that dinner.......I'll keep you "posted".

Till tomorrow when I'll share some thoughts on 2010.    See you then!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rain Is Coming Down

I'm feeling very cozy in my home office room behind the computer and the writing desire is taking over....especially listening to the rain coming down, the flashes of lightening and rounds of thunder...ummm...besides wanting to curl up in bed...the fingers get the itch to type! Thought I'd share the experiences we had on our short RV trip as I stated in my last post.

We were going to Mississippi for Wayne's family reunion and my daughter and two grandchildren were going to come with us. Ah...let's take the Paradise Pointe and try it out by staying in a campground (Percy Quin State Park) which was about 25 miles from the event.

So, loaded up...buckled in Gracie (4 yrs. old) and Asher (2 years old) along with my daughter, their mom, Jena. We pulled off, not knowing how the truck would do, or the trailer, or me...not to mention Wayne driving (and our nurves!)

Well, the truck towed like it was designed to...the trailer followed and we got there 2 l/2 hours later (140 miles) in tact and with enjoyment. The only learning curves were:
1. The hitch is a little hard to unhitch unless the truck is pulled forward a slight little bit to disengage...should not be that way...but it is what it is.
2. Got a very pretty site, however, the sewer connection was further back then normal so we needed the extra hose length Wayne had prepared for...the only problem...forgot the extra fittings..(lesson learned)! We did know not to unhitch until all connections were measured and sure they would fit!

Everything else worked great....had hot water in no time...did find that we had a slight overload with heater and coffee pot going at same time...had two overloads...but quickly learned where the fuse box was!

We did have a little issue with the furnace not working all the time when we wanted it to (temps got down to 30 degrees both nights) however, we had brought an electric blanket and little electric heaters.

The kids really had a great time...inspite of Asher developing a fever and a bad cold...oh well, such is life.

We are looking forward to going back to this's very pretty and has a beautiful lake.

Even though we did not put out our awning for this trip (too cold to stay outside) I'm posting a picture of's brand new a replacement from the RV Dealer when we purchased!

So, we made it back in an uneventful trip...just a few mishaps inside: One glass front to the overhead fell out (did not break) and one cracked. Don't know what could have caused that to happen since nothing was in the cabinet...however, some of the roads in Louisiana are so bumpy maybe that is what caused it. Who knows.

I do know this....loved the experience and can't wait for our next trip!

Speaking of next...I will share some of my Christmas Eve cooking in my next post....till then...listen to that rain... I wonder what that would sound like in the "Pointe"??

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Preparing for the Maiden Voyage

This has been a 2 and l/2 month process.....finding a 5th Wheel trailer, finding and buying a truck to pull it and then setting up the trailer and truck for the trips.  Whew....didn't know so much would be involved.  Lots of telephone work, looking, and decisions.  It was fun and sometimes stressful, but then I stress a lot.  Hopefully, with our condo on wheels I'll learn to relax and take in nature and have time to reflect and learn and well, you who camp...know what I'm talking about.  Now don't get me wrong....I'm NOT a camper....I'm a RVer!  I've learned there is a difference.....a camper loves to "rough" over open fire, not going inside very much.  They like bathhouses, or maybe no bath at all.  I, on the other hand, want all of the creature comforts of home...king size bed, recliners (that are comfortable) shower, potty know a condo...just on wheels.  I do like the outdoors...and love a fire in the fire pit......grilling on a gas grill....and having a nice place to retreat to in inclement weather!  Ok, so I'm a campground Diva!  I do put makeup on and cook (you know I love to cook) in my "camper".

Here are some pictures: 2006 33'Crossroads Paradise Pointe
Living area with leather recliners....that are actually comfortable!
I loved that this unit had the table and chairs
king size bedrrom
We also have hook ups for a stackable washer and drier.  That's a plus if we ever get to travel for extended trips...we may want that convenience as well!

Here's the tow vehicle:  ....a girl has to "ride" in style!

   It's a 2002 F-250 with a 7.3 ltr. diesel.   Yes, I drive it and I'm really enjoying the ride! It's a pretty truck and the interior was in perfect shape....since I have to ride around town in it and on standards were high!  We wanted an older truck...for the engine...but it had to look new....well, that took some time to find!

So, there you have it....we're planning to take it out on December 18th and 19th to Percy Quin State Park, Mississippi, near where a family reunion will be taking place.  It will be cold and we will be cozy!  Taking Jena with Gracie and Asher....that should be fun! :)

I'm sure I'll be posting about that adventure....stay tuned!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Is it a Lost Art?

I think I've perfected the "art" of making pralines.  Now in case you think I'm being a little too cocky, let me explain.  There are many versions of Pecan Pralines out there.  Sugary, creamy, made with chopped pecans or made with pecan halves....I believe I make the "creole" version....yep, you guessed it....the way my momma made them.  No microwave pralines for this Louisiana gal!  It's a blend of certain ingredients....cooked to a certain stage....beat to perfection and turned out at just the right instructions...just trial and error.  I used to watch my mother, Elta Miller, make these mouth watering perfections from a child growing up in Destrehan, LA.  I even had the "chore" as a kid of being the stirrer of the mixture of milk, sugar, syrup, it bubbled it's way to perfection.  I hated doing that in those days....more years ago than I wish to admit!  My inheritance among other things, were the vast assortment of hand written recipes from Mother's kitchen.  That was the treasure I wanted the most...even though at the time I didn't cook or enjoy cooking the way I do now.  I guess I just knew that was where my desires develop the art of cooking as Mother had done.  She was not a chef....but was known for her wonderful meals and treats she often baked.
I found that praline recipe many years ago and only tried my hand at making the scrumptious treat once a year at the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holidays.  I failed many times.  Spooned  them out to "turn"...only to end up with taffy and not the smooth, melt -in -your mouth candy Mother was known for.  In an earlier blog I shared how I came about realizing that my recipe was flawed.  That was only about 7 or 8 years for about 20 years I've failed more times than succeeded with this candy.  But, now, I can whip it together and put out a praline...none like you will ever find in a local store or souvenir shop.

As I whipped up a "batch of pralines" (a term my mom used) last night before Thanksgiving Day.....I took some pictures of the progress which I will post in this blog along with the recipe.  The ingredients are's the technique that has to be ingredient list came with only one instruction.  I will try to give the reader of this blog a few more hints as I have learned how to perfect this art of making pralines.

1/3 cup light Karo corn syrup
2 cups white sugar
6 oz. evaporated milk (l/2 can)
pinch of salt
2 cups pecan halves (toasted at 200 degrees for 15 min.)
1/4 stick butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Put the first 4  ingredients in 3 quart. pot over med heat and stir till starting to bubble
Add pecans and continue stirring adjusting the temp. as to not stick....letting it boil gently
Let it cook to firm soft ball stage    (deep caramel color)
Take off fire and put on heat pad to "beat"...adding the butter and vanilla
You will beat till just before candy begins to "turn" then drop by teaspoon on to waxed paper

    (this is the tricky much to beat...if it hardens too much...add a (very) little more evaporated milk and return to stove to melt....then go back to dropping by spoonfuls)

cooking to reach the "perfect" stage

                                                       Just right "caramel" color  ready to 'beat"
"beating" to the turn out stage

                                                dropping by spoonfuls...not completed "turned"

If you decide to try your hand at this candy making family recipe....let me know how yours comes out.  I'd love to hear! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Early Thanksgiving

Friday, November 19th was Thanksgiving at our home this year!  My daughter, Alicia and her family were due to come in from California where they had been travel nurses for the past year.  Two days earlier she had text me and asked if I would make our "traditional" Thanksgiving meal on that day since they would only be in town for 2 days before having to leave again for their next assignment in Tampa, FL.    They would not be with our family for Thanksgiving, so she wanted her "momma's" Turkey feast!

Of course, like any mom who likes to cook would do, I text back...."sure"!  Here I was on a Wednesday.... not having the turkey or any of the fixin's that go with such a meal.  So, after my Mary Kay sales was a dash to Wal Mart and picking up a turkey and as I planned in my head the dishes they liked and what I needed....I shopped through the store at 10:00 PM picking out the bird, and the ingredients for:  Dirty Rice, Broccoli Casserole, yeast rolls, and.....of course pies.....that's it....I would make a simple meal...not one with 25 different dishes...just a simple family meal with the family's favorites.  Yes, I could do this in two days!!

When Friday arrived, the bird was thawed, the ingredients were gathered and after some last minute work in my home office, I closed the door and went into my kitchen to start the meal.  We would be eating around 7 PM since they would not be arriving in Sunset until around 4 PM.  They had been crossing the country since Tuesday in their motorhome stopping along the way with my husband, Wayne, to show him some of their favorite sites and experiencing their favorite Texas steakhouse....THE BIG TEXAN in Amarillo.
Here's one of the spots where they stopped:  The Meteor Crater in Flagstaff, AZ
Wayne had flown out to California 2 weeks earlier to spend the last few days with them there and ride home in the "bus" with them.

So, here I was in my theraputic kitchen....yes, cooking is my therapy....I know some of you may think I'm nuts, but I LOVE TO COOK!    I will post the recipes at the end of this blog....nothing elaborate just two of their favorites and I'll tell you what kind of turkey I buy and how I prepare to cook it.

Anyway, here's a look at Julia exiting the motorhome when they arrived:
She was very excited to be home and came running with arms wide open! Sorry for the iPhone is only a 3G!

Now, on to the meal and recipes:

Dirty Rice (family recipe and with more of a creole flavor then cajun flavor) 
1 lb. of Jimmy Dean pork sausage with sage (it comes in a roll)
2 lbs. of ground chuck
l pack of picsweet chopped seasoning (or if you want to chop yourself:  onions, celery, bellpepper
parsley (to taste)
3 cloves garlic
Tony Chachere's Creole (original) Seasoning
2 cups of rice(uncooked) I buy my rice at Sam's... the Basmati Rice in burlap sack....truly the best rice
Fry the pork sausage first...then add the ground meat...frying both together,  adding Tony's to taste (be carefull as it is salty)......then add the seasonings along with the garlic......frying all together until the seasoning is cooked with the meat....add fresh parsley to the mixture and cook slightly more.    In the meantime put the rice in a rice cooker and cook.  When done add the rice to the meat mixture and then you have "dirty" rice.

Broccoli Casserole (white sauce with cheese)
1 family size bag of frozen broccoli flowerets (you can steam fresh broccoli if you'd like)
1 lb. of cheddar cheese (your choice)  you may not use the whole block of cheese
white sauce....(I use the Better Homes & Garden's recipe for medium white sauce and double the ingredients)
salt for broccoli
Steam the broccoli.....grate the cheese.....make the whitesauce....adding grated cheese to mixture when done
Spread the broccoli in a 13"x9" baking dish...sprinkle salt over all (not too much)
pour white sauce mixture evenly over broccoli and then top with remaining grated cheese
bake till bubbly in 350 degree oven

My favorite is the ButterBall turkey...but any kind will do
I do not stuff my turkey
I bake it in a NESCO roaster....18 qt. size....frees up the oven for other things
After rinsing the bird and taking out the necks, gizzard, etc. I pat it dry with paper towels
sprinkle Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning all over as a the inside and under the skin
take softened butter and rub over the bird
(if cooking in a regular oven....put in now and bake about 15 min. per lb. on 325 or 350)
For cooking in NESCO I then put "browning sauce" over the entire skin of the turkey
put in roaster....cook for about 3 hours (12 lb. turkey)
comes out succulent....jucicy.....perfect!

I also made pecan pie and pumpkin pie.....recipe on canned pumpkin is the best
The pecan pie recipe is simple:

1 cup of pecan halves....toast them in toaster oven on 200 degrees for about 15 min.
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 l/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat eggs.  Add sugar and syrup, salt, vanilla, and last, the melted butter.  Place the pecans in the bottom of a 9 inch unbaked pie crust.  Add the filling and bake for 50-60 min.

I did make a salad to go with this meal and of course, Rhodes Frozen Rolls.....
The best yeast rolls....found in the freezer at the supermarket...little balls of dough that you let rise for about 4-5 hours...I use muffin pans and put one roll per spot....or you can let the dough defrost in the frig over night and cut the balls into halves and put 3 pieces per muffin make cloverleaf rolls.....bake according to package directions.

So, that's simple, favorite Thanksgiving meal.  Wish I would have taken pictures to show...but, will try to remember next time.

Have a very blessed Thanksgiving.   I'm working on an "attitude of gratitude" this year and being content and looking to the simpler things in life.  God has trully blessed us and I want to give him all of the praise and honor and glory!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Election Time

Are you feeling like I'm feeling?  Yeah, Yeah, same old, same old.  I do want to get excited about "change".....about new leadership in our Congress.  I'm trying not to be cynical and just believe that when   they tell us that they are going  to go to Washington and reverse all of the destructive legislation that has been done, that they really are going to do it.  When they say they are  going to stop wasteful spending, stop "earmarks" and get rid of the deficit, is it campaign rhetoric, or the truth?    They tell us that they  are going to not compromise and legislate with a conservative "pay as you go" system.    However, when they get to Capital Hill....they must go through some "inside the Beltway" orientation and learn the phrase:  "with all due respect", or   "reach across party lines"....or "reach across the aisle".   This is not a time for compromise or for "playing nice".  No conservative who ever compromised with a liberal ever survived!

Yes, I am one of the conservative (notice I don't say Republican) women...fed up with those who run for office promising to legislate with conservative values and ideology.  Then, after they are sworn in, you cannot recognize them as being conservative.  I see the rundown each night on the news of those who may be winning on Nov. 2.  Oh, they look so promising...they are pledging to America to bring our Great Country back to  the the principals of our Founding Fathers.   Back to smaller, less intrusive government, securing our borders (don't even get me started on that topic!), and making sure our interests here and abroad are protected from those who would terrorize and kill us.   They promise to fund and support our Military and protect our homeland first and foremost.  How about promising to defund the organizations here and abroad who are corrupt, i.e., Acorn, foreign countries who harbor terrorists, the U..N., special interests groups here and overseas who are NO FRIEND TO THE U.S.A.    My uneducated guess would be that if we stopped funding pork barrel projects that have no effect on our well being, along with stupid giveaways to warlords in 3rd World countries, we'd have no problems here with funding legitimate needs of our country. 

Yes, I will vote on November 2.  It's my privilege and duty as an American.  However, I will be watching closely as those who take office will conduct themselves and how they represent me and those who put them in that place.  Contrary to what President Obama, Sen. Kerry, and numerous other elitist "insiders" think and say, we are informed, enlightened and watching every move very closely. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family Time

It's awesome when the "forces" all come together! Alicia and John with the kids have arrived from California for 2 weeks. I picked up Jena, Gracie and Asher in Texas and brought them home to Louisiana, Natalie, Sergey and Hunter are close by and Wayne's family are driving in Saturday....all for several celebrations! A family wedding on Saturday (John's side of the family) and Wayne's 64th Birthday!! The Celebrations start Saturday and will continue on through Monday, October 11!

That's how our life has been going....every month seems like there is something to celebrate! How wonderful is that?? We have been blessed for sure and since we have acquired a new vacataion home on wheels, we'll be celebrating even more in various places!

Some couples purchase a lake home, or a "camp" as we call them in Louisiana, but we decided we wanted to be "mobile" in our vacation time.
As soon as I figure out how to post pictures on this blog, I'll be sharing. It's a 33' Paradise Pointe 5th wheel...complete with leather recliners and a king size bed (very important at our age!!)

Even though RV's are not "investments" we did get a very good price on this one. It's a 2006 and the depreciation hit has already been taken. Was not in our plans for a few more years...but this one was too perfect. Besides, as we thought about doing some travel, we realized that between now and the next 5 years was the best time for us to be able to be "on the road, while we are healthy and have energy!

I'm planning ways I can use our new 5er (that's RV talk for a fifth wheel RV) for my business since I have consultants in other states that I rarely if ever get to see.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Way Momma Did It!

It's been almost 2 weeks since I started this blog. After posting 3 times I went into a writing desert. Didn't have anything of a driving force which made me want to write. So, now here I am...thinking of my other passion....COOKING! Yes, I said that right....I love to cook! Most of us who are not chefs, or cook for a living try to get out of cooking....but I love's theraputic for me. "Sorta" like writing! Don't get me wrong...sometimes life keeps me too busy to really "cook"....that's when I revert to throwing something together. However, when I have time to get in the kitchen and dive into the ingredients...I have a good time. I find myself thinking as I cook a family recipe..."why do I do it this way?" The answer always is: "because my mother did it this way". For instance...I love to cook rump roasts and I serve them all the time when we have company. Someone asked me recently....what do you do to the roast? I replied that I season the meat, make pockets to stuff garlic and green pepper, then dredge (Mother's term) the roast with flour and sprinkle with paprika. Finally, put in a granite roasting pan, drizzle with oil and put in 450 degree oven for about 10 min. for it to brown. After 10 minutes or so...pour a little water over the roast and then cover and turn oven down to 350 degrees and cook the roast for about 30 min. per lb.
Yesterday, as I was pouring the water over the roast, I chuckled to myself when I thought of all the years I've done that for no other reason then that's the way Momma did it!
My mother has been gone for about 20 years now, but I can imagine her looking down over my shoulder and making sure I "do it right". I think of all the years I could not make the pralines (from Mother's recipe) turn out right. I struggled and struggled...most of the time coming out with a taffy-like consistency. Well one day I couldn't take it any longer and called my sister Marilyn (my second Momma) and told her of my delimma. She had me go over with her the way I was cooking the ingredients...then when I told her what I used and how much of each ingredient she solved my problem! All I had to do was decrease the amount of "Karo" syrup I was using and voila! The next batch of pralines came out pefect and have been perfect ever since! In fact, they are now my husband's favorite!!

Yes, my mother sure did like to cook. She was always in the kitchen. Ironically, she never taught me. Can you believe that....well, maybe she did teach me. I watched her cook and what's caught is sometimes more important than what's taught!
I suppose I learned by watching and subconsciously it became a part of me. Now don't get me wrong...when I was first married, I would call her and she would help me over the phone to cook stuff as easy as Red Beans and Saugsage! Man, if only we would have had Food TV back then!

That brings me to how I honed my skills...yes...watching the Food Network particularly, Paul Deen. In fact, she is what I guess you can call my kitchen hero. I have her cook books, go to her website all the time, have a subscription to her magazine..which I have every one she has done..they are collector's items. Her recipes are easy, simple ingredients and never come out bad! If one has sour cream, butter and mayo on hand you can prepare anything she has in her books!

That brings me to drop in a little political flavor
here..about..butter...please Mrs. Obama don't get your husband to ban butter. Restaurants will have to sneak it in the food if the government has their way! Paula Deen may even be in danger of sanctions or God forbid, arrest! Butter flavors everything and makes it all better, from bread to green beans and yes, even my pralines!

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13....two special Birthday's to Celebrate

Mondays....27 years ago when I worked a J.O.B. I hated Mondays. After a busy weekend of shopping, house stuff, family stuff, more shopping, cooking, getting caught up on sleep....Church activities.....etc. etc., then...the dreaded Monday...get everyone up..dressed, out the door with lunches or lunch money...carpool rush...then make to the office on time.
Whew...are you tired yet?

Fortunately, 27 years ago I joined a cosmetics company as a beauty consultant. My life was to become my own...more time for Church activities, family, shopping, house stuff, etc. etc. This brings me to today...SEPTEMBER 13, 2010 IS THE 47TH YEAR MARY KAY COSMETICS HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS! What a journey...and I'm still on it. Happy Anniversary Mary Kay Inc. and thanks for the opportunities to live my life with more excitement, fun, more friends, and experiencing places I would probably never have gone.

September 13 is also the birthday of a special brother-in-law, Warren Bergeron, Sr. He's married to my sister Marilyn. He turned 80 years young today...and I don't say that lightly. He's a young looking 80...they have had a great retirement life...beautiful home, wonderful kids and grandkids and great and they run an awesome "bed and breakfast"...well, not commercially but whenever I need to travel to the New Orleans area and need an overnight place to stay!

Sadness entered their family 2 weeks ago when their first-born son lost his 8-year battle with cancer...leaving a wife, children and grandchildren. He was an avid hunter, fishmerman and loved life...lived it to the fullest that he possibly could with that awful disease.
Warren Jr. was special to a lot of people...and that is a testament to his parents. They raised him "right" as the saying goes!

I honor not only my company today, but also Warren Sr. on his special day and my sister as they deal with the pain of the loss. I admire their strength and how fortunate that they have each other to lean on.

We never know what life will throw us. How will we handle it? My mentor in Mary Kay, who recently lost her husband, shared..."It's not what life gives us, it's how we handle it"!

Birthdays and Anniversaries are special. Enjoy each one. Embrace life and live your dreams. On the wall of my office are three plaques which read:


Sunday, September 12, 2010

A 9/12 Attitude

Have you ever heard the phrase:  "I'm a 9/12er"?   About a year ago Glenn Beck started the 9/12 Project.  It's basis was recapturing the feeling you had on September 12, 2001...the day after the terroists attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and  Shanksville, PA  We were amazed, frightened, extremely patriotic, and most of all generous with help and love to our fellow man.  Families were drawn back together, neighbors were friendlier, churches were full again.    Do you remember? 

Well, today being 9/12/10, I decided to spend most of the day researching and studying all that I could about the craziness we have been seeing on the TV news reports, namely, the never-ending Ground Zero Mosque controversy.   What have we become in 9 years from that all-encompasing day of September 12, 200l?  Why are race relations seemingly at their worst?  Why is political correctness the order of our day...causing us to be labeled as  "fobic" behind the name of any group we go up against. 

I am not violent, not racist, just not silent anymore.  I fear for our country.  I fear for my grandchildren and what kind of country they may have to live in.  In researching the building of the so-called Cordova Community Center I came up with something interesting.  It's named after Cardova, Spain where a huge mosque was errected where once a battle raged and the Muslims were victorious.  Don't you think that naming the "ground zero" mosque...Cordova is a little suspect as to what might be the purpose of that mosque? 

I also found several authors and commentators who I had seen on different TV appearances and read more about them today, i.e., Brigette Gabriel, and Pam Geller.  They are both outspoken passionate women fighting for our American ideals  to be preserved.  Have you heard the term:  Islaminization of America?  Yes, that's what I said....could we ever have thought such a thing 9 years ago?   I'm sure you have heard the term "Sharia" law.  Actually, I learned today that one should say simply Sharia because the name means law.  Islamic Law.  The Iman Rauf, leader of the "ground zero" mosque has said in interviews that America should be Sharia complient! 

I won't bore (or should I say scare you) with what Sharia is, however, I will ask you to google it.  Read all you can about it.  I really don't think you'd want that to be imposed here in America.  Oh, I bet you are thinking right now....that could NEVER happen in our country.  Well, I also found out that Sharia is in 5 areas in Great Britian.  Yes, in the Muslim communities which are growing in England....they have imposed Sharia.  Look up Pam Geller....she has researched this and speaks of it in her book.

We have a President who says, just yesterday, we are not at war with Islam.  However, Islamic Law...Sharia, demands its followers to destroy infidells (that's me and you if you are a Christian, a Jew or any other religion other than Muslim).  An American Muslim-convert was on the streets of New York yesterday in the counter protest shouting out that very news report did show him!

Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanon-born American writes and speaks passionately about growing up as a Christian in Lebanon.  She and her family experienced the terror of Sharia from Muslims who came to her country as refugees and the government there insisted that they be accepted,therefore,infiltrated the Christian sectors of Lebanon.  Terroists destroyed her home and the world she knew....she escaped to the United States and lives to tell about it today. 

I know that God is in control.     I pray every day for His hand on our country, our leaders, and His guidance to them as to how they should govern.  We don't want to think this could ever happen in America, but if we don't watch and be aware and speak could. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What were you doing 9 years ago today?

I have wanted to start a blog for a few weeks now.  The one thing holding me back was I could not come up with a name.  I've researched how to name a blog.  I've asked family and friends for their ideas.  Nothing came to mind so I put it away...out of my mind.  Yesterday, I was driving home from running errands, I noticed a sign on what I think was a restaurant....POTLUCK.  That's it!!  That's a great name for my blog.  For you see, I wanted this to be a mixture of my passions, my rants, the loves in my life, and of course it would have to be a little political.  However, I didn't want only my political rants....I wanted, however, to be able to express my love of cooking, my family....just whatever stirs the passions within me for a particular day....hence POTLUCK.  With that discovery, I came home, opened my Facebook page to find a post by a long-time friend, Debbie, who commented after one of my "political status updates", "Mel, do you have a blog"?  That was the affirmation that I needed to go back and complete the start of this blogspot.  You see, one of my daughters had asked me, "why do you want to do this....why would you want people to read what you have to say"....that had put a doubt in my mind....I pushed the desire down thinking, I'm not that important that anyone would want to read my rants.   However, writing down thoughts, dreams, desires, exasperations, is therapy for the least for me.  If I'm upset and I write about's calming...with a feeling of..."there, I've got it out....I feel better" and I can go on with my day.    Hence, the reason I'm putting these words on cyperspace feel share (I love to share ideas) to give opionions (we all have them) whether anyone reads this or not....I feel renewed!

It's 8:54 AM CST on 9/11/10.....9 years after the first plane went into the 1st tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.    I watched the FNC Special about that day last night.    Yes, it was a repeat of the special they had put together a few years still made me cry.  I still get emotional when I see the events unfold.  Thank you FOX for being the only news outlet that still shows the people jumping out of the top of the WTC to their certain death.  We should all watch that every year as a rememberence of what we are fighting.  I know that some think it's not respectful of the families of those who jumped...however, I think it's that one image among all of the others that brings the emotions to where they should be.  WE MUST NEVER FORGET..who did this horrible act that day.  Why they did it.  And, why they continue to scheme and plan for another one just as horrendous. 

That brings me to today, well, the news events of the last few weeks.  Would anyone, 9 years ago, be thinking that we'd be in the discussions that we find ourselves in with mosque building, Koran burning...or that we'd even have a President with a Muslim name?

Americans forget.  Americans have a forgiving spirit, along with a generous spirit.  We give more than any other country in the world to foreign aid, even to our enemies....that one is for another blog on another day!
But, we should NEVER forget what happened to our country  and our people 9 years ago.  We should never forget the soldiers of our military who have died trying to fight our enemy with one hand tied behind their back. 

The news media should turn off the cameras on that loon in Gainsville, FL and that Iman in N.Y. and focus on the men and women who died that day in N.Y. at the Pentagon, in Shanksville...on the planes ....and on the battlefield for the last years since we were attacked.    Those are who we honor today and remember.   They are the heros in my mind.