Archive for November, 2011





We Have A Winner!

Friday, November 25th, 2011





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Somebody’s Gonna Be

Busy!


OK….yes….I’ve been on a week long hiatus because the first grandchild is due, relatives are in from all over the country for the event (first great-grandchild too!) and I have finally figured out that I have not mastered multi-tasking, growing four arms or cloning a perfect imitation of myself. (perfect, unlike me!) For some reason, I have not found it possible to type while serving meals, chasing pets to keep them out of visitors’ plates, and balancing a ham, a turkey and a fresh pecan pie like a really bad juggler.


But I have found time to be really, really thankful for the blessings so richly bestowed on me and my family. I am thankful for each and every one of you readers who make it so very worthwhile to struggle with HTML, Photoshop and WordPress because of your encouraging emails of appreciation. I am thankful for being allowed to be a part of this great state and this great country and I am really thankful for Mr. Fix-It and his generous and gentle spirit. I am continually blessed by my parents and sisters, my children and my friends (of which I count many of you). I am truly a woman filled with joy. Thank you for being part of that joy.


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Without further ado, there was one activity to which was attended with due diligence at the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ digs and that was the drawing for the winner of the Appletime Giveaway in which so many of you entered. We even used a real hat so that we could say, “We put your name in the hat!” The hat we used was actually Mr. Fix-It’s Great-Grandfather’s felt cowboy hat. A family member, a totally unbiased and REALLY disinterested 20-something (she WAS fascinated by how many little folded up papers there were!) stuck her hand in, shuffled the papers and pulled out…..drum roll please…..Candy of Lazy J Bar C Farm blog fame. Yay, Candy. Now you get to make LOTS of apple pies!! Congratulations.


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And just to let you know, there is another giveaway coming up in just a few days. So get ready to enter. It’ll be a good one!!



Happy Belated Thanksgiving



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MB
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Game Day Chicken Fingers

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011





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Drawing Next Week!


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A Plethora of Flavors


Not a soul in Oklahoma is away from the television when OU and OSU come together to fight it out at “Bedlam” when the Red and White intermingles with the Orange and White. Mixed marriages of OU and OSU alumni have been known to need police protection on the premises.


This year, Bedlam is the last game of the OU season and though my dear son-in-law is of the OSU variety, I have to cheer the Sooners on, singing Boomer Sooner at the top of my lungs. Fortunately, Mr. Fix-It and I are of one mind and he tolerates my screams at the television set, my jumping up and down and my offers to Coach Stoops the expertise that can only come from a woman who has never played football or had a son who had any interest in playing football. Both of our sons played drums and guitar, but I see a similarity to the passion needed in a team, so that makes me qualified to coach from a standing position in front of the television in Mr. Fix-It’s line of sight.


Of course, there is always food for a game and one of Mr. Fix-It’s favorites are boneless chicken fingers dipped in a variety of sauces. This recipe is especially for you new cooks who are just getting started and is very elementary. But it’s quick, easy and yummy and it is my own recipe. So get out those big, foam fingers and get ready for your favorite big game. It doesn’t matter who wins – at least you’ll be full!


Boneless Chicken Fingers



(this recipe can be doubled or tripled, etc for larger groups)
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders or breasts cut into strips
Milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 package Liptons Cream of Chicken Cup-a-Soup
Oil for frying


Printable Recipe

Directions:
Place chicken in a bowl and toss with a little milk to coat. You can use buttermilk too if you like. Set aside. In a large skillet place enough oil to make it about 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep. Heat to 350º or if you don’t have a thermometer, test by dropping a piece of the chicken coating in and it should begin frying immediately.


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In a large, plastic bowl with a lid, add flour and spices and mix.


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Mix in powdered soup


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Place pieces of chicken into the bowl with the flour mixture and cover tightly with lid.


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Shake until all pieces are well-floured


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Place floured pieces of chicken one at a time into the hot oil.


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Brown and then turn to brown the other side. Only brown, it doesn’t matter if the chicken gets done all the way through.


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When browned, place pieces of chicken onto a cookie rack that has been placed over a shallow cookie pan. Place the rack and pan of chicken, uncovered, into a 350º oven and bake for 20 minutes. This cooks the chicken to tender and also removes much of the oil while leaving a nice crust.


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Remove chicken from the oven and let cool slightly. Now you can cover pieces in different sauces. I like to toss some of the pieces in honey.


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And then add our favorite barbeque sauce to make a honey-barbeque. I coat the pieces evenly by putting them into plasticware dishes with lids and then covering and tossing in the sauces.


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Of course, I HAVE to have my hot wing sauce!


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Leave some plain to be served with white gravy or chicken gravy and you have a nice variety! As I said, this recipe can be increased for however many people you plan to entertain.


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And IF you have any left-overs, lunch or dinner the next day is yummy indeed with a nice salad of organic greens, cranberries, sunflower seeds and plum tomatoes topped with the cubed chicken and blue cheese.





Happy Game Day!



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Just A Reminder

Monday, November 14th, 2011





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Take Advantage Of

The Sales To Stock Up




I noticed this weekend that starting Wednesday here in Okieland that celery, sweet potatoes, turkeys, etc are all going on sale for dirt cheap prices. So now is the time to grab and can or dehydrate for the rest of the year. For example:


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Celery is 3 bags for $1 here. Guess what I am going to be dehydrating. The step-by-step tutorial is here


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Sweet potatoes are on sale for 3 lbs for 99¢ so I will be dehydrating those too for wonderful sweet potato casseroles and candied yams. You’ll find my step-by-step directions here.


And get extra turkeys if you can. Put them in the freezer for later. After Thanksgiving, I’ll be showing you how to can the meat for wonderful pot pies, casseroles and turkey and dressing.



Happy Shopping!



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MB
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If God Meant Man To Fly….

Friday, November 11th, 2011







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If God Meant Man To Fly

He’d Have Given Him

A Propeller


What is it about men and airplanes? I remember little boys in my elementary school classes bragging that they were going to be pilots someday while we poor little girls swooned at the thought of just being “stewardesses” who wore short skirts, high heels and met rich pilots. Flying has been a part of my family as long as I can remember. My uncle is a retired Eastern Airline pilot, my cousin flies for Northwest, my cousin-in-law is retired from Delta and another cousin has a bush pilot company in Alaska. I think part of us have Wilbur or Orville’s DNA in there somewhere.


Not I, though. Oh no. My feet are planted squarely on Terra Firma (when it isn’t shaking of course) and I just really don’t get all that excited about getting any higher than our four foot ladder to pick apples. In my world, a flight on a commercial airline only occurs when all other options, including hitching a ride on a McDonald’s semi, run out and I have to get 900 miles from point A to point B in a matter of hours. I do grit my teeth, board a plane and take stock of all exits and oxygen masks within range.


But a small plane? Puh-leeeeee-zzzz. I grew up with Sky King and Penny and I saw how those little planes would nearly crash in pursuit of villains and spies. And then, in college, some tall, relatively handsome upperclassman who thought he was God’s gift to us freshman females decided to impress me with the fact that he had his very own airplane. No Camaro for this dude. Nope. He gave new meaning to, “slept late and flew to class”. So, like the dumb kid that I was, I bounced into the front passenger seat of his tin-can-of-death and cheerfully watched as the grounds of Middle Tennessee State University disappeared from view. All was going great until Mr. Macho put a piece of paper in my lap and told me to watch it. I stared at the scrap as this nerd dropped the plane so fast that the paper lifted off of my lap – with my stomach. Taught that guy never to take a freshman girl up in his plane again.


It is with this personal background that you might understand my trepidation when my son, Sir Flying Ace, informed me that he had bought an airplane – an older Cessna 172. No, he’s too old to take freshman girls up into the wild-blue-yonder – short of a prison sentence – but as far as I’m concerned, he’s still too young to drive a car, let alone fly a hunk of metal with an engine that by all rights shouldn’t be able to get 10 feet off the ground. I mean, think about it. Does it seem logical to you that a 150 lb human being can jump off a balcony, flapping his arms and end up in the emergency room with broken limbs, but a 2000 lb airplane can travel for hundreds of miles way up in the clouds? Just doesn’t make sense.


Well, this weekend Mr. Fix-It and I made a trip to northwest Oklahoma to see Sir Flying Ace and his airplane. Of course, I had already told him that the Kardashians would reunite before I would get into a small plane, but I have been known to eat my words.


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Sir Flying Ace was rather sneaky. As he pulled his plane out of the hangar, he coaxed us to hop in just to taxi down the strip to the gas tank to fill up his winged buggy.


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As he fueled the tanks, his friend and fellow pilot, Master Charlie Bravo, decided to help check things over and join in the fun. At this point, Mr. Fix-It and I realized that we were trapped with no way to get back to the hangar unless we wanted to look like idiots walking down an airstrip. We reluctantly climbed into the two back seats of the plane and it was then that I realized that Mr. Fix-It does not have those Orville and Wilber genes and is more afraid of flying than I am! I can’t quite describe the look that he gave me, but it was kind of a combination of, “If I live through this, you are making me blueberry pancakes every morning for a month!” and “Would I look stupid if I fall down on the tarmac and play dead?”


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As it was, we both managed to stay seat-belted and calm as our two pilots deftly lifted us into a beautiful, clear sky and over the town.


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A grid of wheat and cotton pastures stretched as far as we could see, bordered by miles of white crystals on the Great Salt Plains.


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Terrace farming is used in Western Oklahoma to avoid the catastrophe of the dust storms like in the 1930′s Dust Bowl.


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We landed without a hitch, taxied back to the hangar and Mr. Fix-It and I were able to unload from our ride without dropping to our knees and kissing the ground like airsick fools. We toured the area with Sir Flying Ace and marveled at the planes that he was working on and putting back together as part of his position at Vantage Plane Plastics. I am very proud of the careful and meticulous job he does replacing interiors, working on engines and doing required FAA inspections. Aviation has been in his blood since he was two years old and running out into the yard everytime a helicopter or plane flew overhead.


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And so, after our lovely visit, amazing flight and good company, Mr. Fix-It and I headed home smiling because we had made a memory and lived to tell about it! And Sir Flying Ace had performed a miracle. He had gotten us into his plane and into the air! I guess he’s feeling pretty smart. We are feeing mighty blessed!



Happy Off We Go…!



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MB
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Shake, Rattle And Roll…And Freak

Monday, November 7th, 2011





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This Ain’t California

Ya Know!!


Now I KNOW my Oklahoma history. I read that Steinbeck book and saw the movie with Henry Fonda about the 1930′s when a boatload of Okies travelled in old, rickety trucks to California to pick angry grapes because the grapes here were too dusty. I know that half the people in Oklahoma have relatives in California (also known as Californee) who decided that the beautiful land of plenty there beat our dust and home canned vittles – never mind those grapes of wrath. My sister is one of them, however she just went there because she liked it in the 80′s. And so, in spite of a few really weird states separating us (just kidding!), California and Oklahoma have a special bond.


But we don’t like California THAT much. It’s a great thing for that long, skinny state to send us strawberries, avacados and Tom Selleck, but we draw the line at the earthquakes. Oklahoma doesn’t have earthquakes. Oklahoma doesn’t WANT earthquakes. Oklahoma has tornadoes and Oklahomans know how to hide from tornadoes in a shelter. But trust me…there is NO place to hide in an earthquake. Short of having a helicopter in your front yard, revved and ready at a moment’s notice to whisk you off of terra-not-so-firma, you are relegated to scrambling under a desk that you remember has the two million ton computer sitting on top of it – and therefore on top of you.


So I guess you’ve seen the headlines. Saturday night, Armageddon struck the Sparks/Oklahoma City/Shawnee/Prague/Chandler area with a 5.6 tremor that sent newscasters across the country into fits of pretend frenzy. It was almost as bad as when the University of Oklahoma Sooners gave up their undefeated title to Texas Tech.


Now, there HAS been damage. And to every individual or family who lost crystal, china, bricks, mortar and a sense of stability, just know that Californians are rolling their eyes right now and comparing this disaster to their size 8 rockers with disdain. However, a loss is a loss and there are a bunch of Oklahomans feeling that great loss today. A beautiful building in Shawnee, 100 years old, had major damage to it’s spires and it is a sad thing to behold. Homes have huge cracks, downed chimneys and scattered piles of bricks. Most people don’t have earthquake insurance. Who thought it was needed?!


Mr. Fix-It and I are very fortunate. We have experienced no damage and are only left with a very strong sense of vulnerability from this experience. We have never been through anything like that before and really don’t want to do that again. I was slammed into Mr. Fix-It and he was slammed into the television armoir and I will not lie – I screamed like a little girl!! Yes I did. Somehow we made it under a table to experience the rolling and shaking on our knees like the total cowards we are!!


And then of course, afterward, I had to call or text every individual I know in the state to say, “Did you feel THAT?!!” And they responded, “YES!! Did you?” And after determining that we had both felt “it”, then we compared notes about where we were, what we did, how we felt, what we thought, what we should have done and what we will do if there is ever a next time which we all agreed we hope there isn’t. I also called my “Californee” sister to find out what one is supposed to do in an earthquake situation besides run around screaming like a scared rabbit. Human action after a perceived crisis is a curious thing indeed and something I would suggest some Freudian expert study sometime. It might mean a government grant.


So thank goodness for our awesome God, our protector, and a sturdy house. It is now possible for us to help someone else pick up their pieces. But just a word to you Californians…please keep your earthquakes and we’ll keep our tornadoes!!


And to my sister (and all Californians), this is all in fun and I hope you will speak to me at the next wedding!!


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Photo from KWTV News 9 Benedictine Hall at St. Gregory’s University lost a turret and had another (on the left) damaged and leaning


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Photo from KWTV News 9 This home had major damage. The chimney also fell in and took the roof with it. Fortunately, these blessed souls had earthquake insurance.


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Photo from KWTV News 9 Bricks shaken from a home are scattered in the yard.


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Photo from KOCO Channel 5 Hwy 62 buckled and split



Happy Stable Ground!



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Quick Curried Chicken

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011





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Tasty Curried Chicken


It’s cold in Okieland!! Who would have believed this past summer, as we suffered through 60 some odd days of triple digit temps, that we could ever reach 30 degrees! It’s glorious. The sun is shining, we got a little rain yesterday and the air is clear. Good times!


In this cold weather, this wonderful chicken dish is hot, fast and filling. Accompanied by hearty Indian Basmati rice and fried spinach you’ll think you are in Calcutta. Mr. Fix-It loved this dish and ate two helpings. I think you’ll love it too because it is so easy to fix. So here you go:


Quick Curried Chicken



4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes or strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced or 2 tsps garlic paste
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste


Batter-fried Spinach



3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp. soda
1 egg
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water


Printable Recipe



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Pour olive oil into large skillet


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Add chicken and cook on medium high until lightly browned but not cooked all the way through. Remove from skillet and set aside.


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Add onions to the skillet


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And garlic. I have found this wonderful stuff at Walmart. It is in the produce section. There are a variety of organic herbs in paste form. How cool is that? It takes two teaspoons of this garlic paste. Cook until onions are tender and slightly clear


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Reintroduce lightly cooked chicken to the skillet with the onion and garlic and add tomatoes. I am using home canned tomatoes here, that I pulsed in the blender for a few seconds. Stir until ingredients are mixed.


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Add two tbslps curry powder and stir until curry is mixed throughout. Simmer the mixture for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occassionally, until thickened and chicken is cooked and tender. Start your rice.


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You can find coconut milk at any grocery store. Shake the can and then pour out 1/2 cup. Store the rest in the frig in a refrigerator dish.


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Add coconut milk and stir to incorporate. Allow to simmer 10 more minutes, stirring occassionally.


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While the curry is cooking, mix flour, corn starch, tumeric and soda in a bowl and add beaten egg. Slowly add 1/4 cup ice water and stir. Add more water as necessary to form a nice, thick batter like pancake batter. Start a skillet or pan of hot oil about 3″ deep and heat to 350º.


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Take a handful of fresh spinach and dip the entire handful into the batter.


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It’s messy, I know. It doesn’t matter if all of the spinach is covered. The object is to make all the leaves of spinach stick together.


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Drop battered clump of spinach into hot oil and fry on one side until browned and then turn. Drain on a rack over a paper towel.


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Put rice onto plates and spoon curry over rice. Add spinach and a salad and you are done!



Happy International Cooking!



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MB
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