menu plan monday ~ july 28, 2014

We’re looking at a pretty quiet week, which is nice. The past few have been very busy. The twins are staying overnight with us while their daddy is at work and their mama is in Iowa with her job. It’s always fun to have the girls here. I am sure that once they get into their school schedule in a few weeks, we will be seeing less of them than we have this summer.

twins

The daylilies are nearing the end of their season. There are some late varieties blooming beautifully, though. This is ‘Regency Heights.’ It has done very well this year. This picture was taken a few days ago and it is still loaded with buds.

'Regency Heights'

The surprise / resurrection lilies are in full swing. So pretty this time of year! I have some that were here when we bought the house and some that I planted in the fenced garden that came from my grandmother’s house. Love those! I used the lilies to make a bouquet for a friend who wanted flowers to take to a funeral visitation. The bouquet has resurrection lilies, purple coneflowers, and hydrangeas.

bouquet for Eliot

The menu for this week is as follows.

Monday
Cheese Burgers on Homemade Buns
Garden Tomatoes
Garden Salad

Tuesday
Chicken Taco Soup

Wednesday
Grilled Pork Steaks
Grilled Carrots and Potatoes
Grilled Corn on the Cob

Thursday
Ham or Turkey Sandwiches
Leftover Grilled Veggies

Friday
Spaghetti
Quick and Easy Homemade Sauce
Garlic Bread with Cheese
Garden Salad

Saturday
Fridge Food

Sunday
Roast Chicken
Garden Salad
Corn on the Cob
Steamed Green Beans

You can find more menu and recipe ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

~~Rhonda

a lifetime of love

Last week, just a few days before her 97th birthday, my mother-in-law was called home to Heaven. She will be missed by her family, friends, church and community.

Beulah

Beulah was born in Kansas in 1917 where she lived on the family farm with her parents and three brothers.

Beulah and her brother Glenn

In 1948, she married Kenneth and moved to his family farm in Illinois.

wedding picture

They raised four children, the youngest of whom is my husband.

Kenneth and Beulah and family

Beulah was a farm wife, worked hard all her life, was always ready to help others, and worked for eighteen years at the community hospital. She was a faithful member of her church, taught Sunday School, led youth group, and served her church family in any way her help was needed. In 1998 Kenny and Beulah celebrated fifty years of marriage. Kenny passed away in 2003.

50th wedding anniversary

They were an exemplary Christian couple, beloved parents, and wonderful grand- and great-grandparents. Our children, nieces and nephews were blessed to have such grandparents.

DD and G'ma

About 65 people gathered in our home after the funeral for lunch, sharing memories, passing around photographs, enjoying being together as family and friends. Beulah would have loved it.

I want to thank everyone who offered help over the past week, sent condolences and cards, showed us love and care. We appreciate it SO much. You lightened our burden, shared our grief, and rejoiced with us in Beulah’s home-going. It means the world to us.

~~Rhonda

Mitchell vintage photos

I was loaned an envelope of photos from my Grandma Ruth’s side of the family. I’ve been working on scanning them and uploading them. I’ll post some here for the benefit of my extended family.

Here is a photo of John and Etna [Northern] Mitchell and three of their four children. I wonder where Glenn was?

Iva, Etna, Howard, Ruth, John Mitchell

Eva, Etna, Howard, Ruth, John Mitchell

Glenn, Etna, Iva, and Ruth Mitchell

Glenn, Etna, Iva, and Ruth Mitchell

Howard Albert Mitchell / 1901 – 1970

Howard Albert Mitchell 1901-1970

Glenn Alden Mitchell / 1903 – 1988

Glenn Alden Mitchell 1903-1988

Glenn Mitchell

Glenn Alden Mitchell

Ruth Emily Mitchell / 1904 – 1992
What a cutie!

Ruth Emily Mitchell

Iva Elzira Mitchell / 1909 – 2002

Iva Elzira Mitchell

I believe Iva Mitchell is the third person from the left in this picture of nurses’ aids.

Third from Left: Iva Elzira Mitchell

This is a postcard that John Mitchell sent from Florida to his son Howard in 1921. Howard would have been 20 years old. The postcard reads: “Got your letter today and Ruth’s yesterday. Went to the beach today. Cannot begin to tell you about it. Will try to tell you some when we get home. Your Father.”

"Sunset in Florida"

Postcard

Glenn and Howard Mitchell. I’m not sure what occasion this was, but they are sitting at a piano or an organ. The lady in the background is identified on the original photo as Amy Tipps and the gentleman as Lee Ruyle.

Brothers Glenn and Howard Mitchell

The bardyard at the Mitchell farm.

Mitchell's Barnyard

Mitchell's Barnyard with "Old Jack"

I do not know the identity of the people in this photo, though the second from the right in the back row looks like Ruth. Any thoughts?

Ruth Emily Mitchell

Family members, please feel free to copy these pictures. I have a few other Mitchell photos to scan that Mom gave me some time ago. I plan to upload all the photos to a site where they will be available to you all.

~~Rhonda

spring is back…and so am i

With the arrival of spring, I think it’s time to get back to posting. Thanks to those who have asked how I’m feeling and to those who let me know they’ve missed my posts. I appreciate hearing from you!

Here are a few pictures from the yard. Spring…the pics may be the same each year, but the joy spring brings is always new! So refreshing to heart and soul.

The redbuds are in full bloom and look spectacular this year. Everything is blooming later than usual. The redbud trees usually begin blooming the last week of March or the first week of April. That makes them about three weeks late this year.

I love red tulips. They add such a bright splash of color among the daffodils. These tulips are from bulbs I saved from potted tulips DH gave me a few years ago.

The Southern Red Oak in the backyard is in full bloom, as well. The catkins are doing their pollen duties and will soon fall from the tree. From my craft room on the second story, I have a great view of this oak. It’s always fun to watch the progression from swelling buds to catkins to tiny new leaves to full grown, bright green, shiny leaves of summer.

We have five dogwood trees. Two bloom about the same time. A third is usually four or five days later to open. There is also a white one with a pink cast to the center and a pink dogwood that we planted two years ago. This one stands near the kitchen door.

The violet flush is on. Some years I pick a bunch of these during the spring flush and sugar them for decorating cookies and cakes.

Every spring, I am amazed at how quickly the peonies grow! The buds are about half an inch wide. They are my favorite flower and I look forward to their bloom.

Virginia bluebells…such a pretty flower. We dug starts of the bluebells from the woods on DH’s aunt’s farm years ago. They lived with us at our old house and moved to this house with us twenty years ago.

‘Thalia’ daffodils are such a pretty white. Each stem usually has three blossoms, sometimes two. A later blooming daffodil than most. They extend the season when the yellow daffodils are beginning to fade.

Another redbud. This one can be thoroughly enjoyed from the east porch. One year, DH planted a ring of ‘Poets’ daffodils around it and they are in full bloom right now.

I hope the spring flower tour was enjoyable. I know I enjoyed getting outside yesterday to take the pictures!

~~Rhonda

menu plan monday on wednesday ~ march 3, 2014

Last week, I had the fun of hosting my home extension group for an evening of crafting. We made decoupaged ornaments, using pictures from Christmas cards. It’s always fun to get together with friends, spend some time creating, some time laughing, and some time enjoying good food. Thanks, Lana, for bringing the delicious treats!

home extension craft night

home extension craft night

They are concentrating in these pictures, but we spent most of the time laughing together. We had a great time. I’m already looking for new ideas to craft with them again.

Here’s the menu for this week. The sushi came from the Asian Garden. Delicious! We’ll have that again, soon.

Monday
Tacoritos
Tortilla Chips
Lettuce, Cheese, Sour Cream

tacoritos

Tuesday
Fridge Food

Wednesday
Sushi

sushi 1

sushi

Thursday
Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Stir Fried Veggies
Brown Rice

Friday
Veggie Lasagna
Edamame
Garden Salad
Garlic Bread

Saturday
Roast Beef Sandwiches
Rolls
Chips
Celery and Carrot Sticks

Sunday
Oven BBQed Pork Steaks
Green Salad
Baby Baked Potatoes
Steamed Green Beans

You can find more menu and recipe ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

~~Rhonda

make a salad box . . . your own mini salad bar

Would you like an easy way to fit more salads into your menu? An easy way to help your family choose salad with dinner or for a quick and light lunch? You need a salad box! A salad box is a self-contained mini salad bar in your own fridge. Everything is prepared ahead of time and contained in the salad box till needed.

my very own salad bar

If you want to give a salad box a try, the first step is to decide where it’s going to be stored in your refrigerator. The point of the box is to be able to pull everything out in one container, so using one of the drawers isn’t the best option. If you have to pull out a lot of little containers, one by one, it isn’t going to work very well. When you’ve decided where it will be stored, measure the depth, width and height of the available space. The next step is to find a plastic container, box or tub, to fit that space. A lid in not necessary. One with squared corners will store more smaller containers than one with rounded corners.

After finding a usable box, the next step is to find smaller containers with lids that will fit inside. For starters, at least six or seven containers. More, if possible. Two sizes should suffice. Larger ones for items you need more of and smaller ones for things like toppings and extras (nuts, seeds, crumbled bacon, etc.). Some items can be included in the box in their original containers…a bag of shredded cheese, a jar of pumpkin seeds, etc. A small pair of tongs can be added to the box for those items that won’t pour well.

DH found a plastic container at Wal-Mart that perfectly fits the available shelf in the fridge. A lid isn’t necessary. I am able to fit more in my salad box because there is no lid. Containers can stack a bit higher than if there were a lid on the box. Just be sure they don’t stack higher than the allotted shelf space. Our salad box is the one with the handle hole.

salad box

Currently, the ingredients in our salad bar are:

my very own salad bar

Back row: Celery, lima beans, and cucumber.
Middle row: Raw sunflower seeds, halved cherry tomatoes, green onion, and chopped parsley.
Front row: Walnuts, radishes, turkey.

Because containers of leafy greens take up a lot of space, I store them separately, washed, cut if necessary, and ready to go. Sometimes we buy the boxes of premixed greens. Sometimes we get a head of Romaine and I wash and tear it, then store the lettuce in a container. It’s ready to go when we want salad. If our refrigerator would accommodate a larger salad box, I could keep the leafy greens in it, as well.

Beans can be anything you like. Black beans, white beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, edamame, green peas, etc. If the beans are canned, rinse them under running water until there is no more foam. If frozen, pour the frozen beans into the container and let them thaw in the fridge.

If they won’t be eaten within a few days, cherry tomatoes could be left whole. I cut mine in half or quarters and haven’t had any problem because the small container I use holds just enough for about three salads. They are eaten before they get mushy. Same for the cucumbers. I love cukes, so I use a lot on a salad.

Any kind of nut/seed that you like can be used. Keeping small containers of two choices with the salad fixings makes it easy to add what I like, and they will keep for quite a while in the fridge.

Fresh parsley adds a great flavor to a salad. Having it chopped and ready to go makes it easy to add. I’ve also dipped into the salad bar fixings for stir fry or for adding chopped parsley to a recipe.

When I first made up the salad bar, I had cauliflower and broccoli chopped and stored in containers. It didn’t take long for the broccoli to take on a strong smell, so I don’t keep that on the salad bar any longer. My space is limited, so I haven’t included cauliflower again. When I’m hungry for it and tired of something else on the salad bar, I’ll swap cauliflower for the other item.

One nice aspect of the salad box is the amount of variety that can be achieved. A lot of salad options out of one box. This “salad bar” in a box would be great for larger families when everyone has his or her own favorites for salad. I really like the available options. Each salad can be different without having to prepare a different set of ingredients.

salad

When making up your own salad bar, wash your hands before beginning and use clean cutting boards and knives, clean containers, and work on a clean surface. All vegetables and fruits should be washed due to pesticides and other contaminates. Buy organic, if you can, though those should be washed, as well. Check this link for more information on the best ways to wash fruits and vegetables. I can’t wait till spring/summer when I’ll have our own garden produce to add to the salad box. The freshest possible choices and guaranteed pesticide free.

Here are some ideas for stocking a salad box. Choose those you and your family like best. Don’t overstock items like cut tomatoes or cucumber that won’t last long once cut. If you have other ideas, I’d love to see them in the comments!

Veggies

  • all kinds of lettuce
  • shredded cabbage
  • Chinese cabbage
  • bok choy
  • sorrel
  • all kinds of sprouts
  • sugar snap peas
  • snow peas
  • sweet peppers
  • hot peppers
  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • corn
  • shredded carrots
  • chopped fennel
  • beets
  • celery
  • green onion
  • white and/or red onion
  • cucumber
  • chopped parsley
  • chives

Fruit

  • dried cranberries
  • raisins
  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • oranges
  • Mandarin orange segments

Beans

  • lentils
  • lima beans
  • garbanzo beans
  • white beans
  • black beans
  • kidney beans
  • Edamame
  • peas

Nuts and Seeds

  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds

Protein

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • ham
  • bacon
  • tofu
  • salmon
  • salami
  • pepperoni
  • browned ground beef for taco salads
  • egg
  • water packed tuna
  • shredded cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • goat cheese
  • Feta cheese
  • cottage cheese

 Other items

  • pickles
  • olives
  • croutons
  • chow mein noodles
  • quinoa
  • rice
  • guacamole (Thanks to Joy for that great idea!)

My youngest daughter told me she pulled the salad box out and made herself a salad for lunch this past week. She wouldn’t have had salad if she had to take the time to cut all the veggies. And I probably wouldn’t, either, for a single salad. Now I’m including salad in my meals every day because it’s so easy to do.

If you use a salad box, share how it works for you. Any tips or techniques you find helpful? I’d love to hear about it.

~~Rhonda

menu plan monday ~ february 10, 2014

“Dear Lord, afford our souls a spring,
Thou know’st our winter has been long;
Shine forth, and warm our hearts to sing,
And Thy rich grace shall be our song.”

That’s the last stanza of the poem “Waiting for Spring” by John Newton. The entire poem has a much broader spiritual meaning, but this last stanza strikes a more earthly note for me right now. I want spring to come! I’m sure I’m not the only one. DH brought seed packets home from the store this weekend. We want to plant!

spring fever

We still have a parsley plant and a basil plant on the kitchen counter. They are slowly putzing along, but only offer up enough leaves for a recipe now and then. They are tired of winter, too. I do chop a few basil leaves into my salad now then. Nothing better than fresh!

winter weary plants

Here’s the menu for the week.

Monday
Hamburgers with Cheddar Cheese
Green Salad
Celery Sticks

Tuesday
Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce
Cauliflower with Bacon and Mushrooms
Steamed Sugar Snap Peas
Spinach Salad with Orange Slices and Pecans

Wednesday
Italian Sausage and White Bean Stew
Celery and Carrot Sticks

Thursday
Asian Flank Steak
Stir Fried Broccoli and Mushrooms

Friday
Pan Seared Tilapia
Oven Roasted Aspragus
Creamy Dilled Cucumber Salad

Saturday
Fridge Food

Sunday
Roasted Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Green Beans
Green Salad

You can find more menu and recipe ideas at Menu Plan Monday. Check it out!

~~Rhonda

menu plan monday ~ february 3, 2014

Here’s the menu for the week. The Chicken Capri was a big hit yesterday and DD took the leftovers home, so we are having it again this week by mutual consent. Also, we had the Asian Flank Steak last Wednesday and we liked it so much we are having it again this week. Thursday is our youngest daughter’s birthday and she requested Veggie Lasagna. God willing, she will be getting her driver’s license that day, too. I’ll be happy to have the extra shopper at hand! We’ll celebrate her birthday again with family and cake on Saturday afternoon.

I can’t believe she is old enough to drive. Time passes so quickly. Here she is in 2006 when we acquired her cat, Buttercup. Where did this little girl go?

we've been acquired by a cat

On to the menu:

Monday
Foil Baked Fish
Green Beans
Yellow Squash
Salad

Tuesday
Shrimp with Garlic and Parsley
Steamed Snow Peas
Salad

Wednesday
Chicken Capri
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts
Salad

Thursday
Veggie Lasagna
Salad
Bread Sticks

Friday
Asian Flank Steak
Stir Fry Sugar Snap Peas, Edamame and Broccoli
Salad

DH made the flank steak last week and it was delicious. It would be great served over rice or buttered noodles.

flank steak

Saturday
Sausage and Bean Soup
I’ll be leaving out the bell peppers as DH will not eat them or anything that includes them. ::sigh::

Sunday
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
Asparagus
Green Salad

You can find more menu and recipe ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

~~Rhonda

broccoli and cheese quiche with bacon

The inspiration for this dish came from the recipe Cheddar Broccoli Quiche. I added ingredients to mine that make it a different dish. Following is my version.

crustless quiche

Crustless Cheese and Broccoli Quiche with Bacon

1 tsp. canola oil
3 c. chopped broccoli
2 c. sliced mushrooms
4 oz. Canadian bacon, diced (or use bacon of your choice, cooked and crumbled)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
8 eggs
2/3 cup half and half (or milk or cream)
2 tsp. dry onion (or use 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, sauteed)
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Sauté the broccoli (and onion, if using) in the canola oil, until bright green and still crunchy. Remove from pan and layer in a greased 9×9 pan.

crustless quiche

crustless quiche

Sauté the mushrooms in the same pan. Use some spray oil, if necessary. Remove from pan and layer over the broccoli.

Sauté the Canadian bacon in the same pan, until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the pan and layer over the veggies.

Layer shredded cheddar cheese over the bacon and veggies.

Mix the remaining ingredients, whisking until well mixed. Pour over the vegetables, bacon and cheese.

crustless quiche

Bake in a 350* oven for 25-30 minutes, until egg is set and top is lightly browned.

crustless quiche

This quiche can be made in a homemade or store-bought crust, if desired. When I made the dish, I put part of it in a greased cereal bowl because my youngest daughter wanted hers without meat. If I had put that amount into the main dish, the resulting quiche would have been a bit thicker.

And, yes, you could sauté the broccoli, onion, mushrooms and even the Canadian bacon at the same time, but by doing the mushrooms and meat separately, you can control the cooking time. Mushrooms should be sautéed a few at a time, rather than the entire two cups at once. That way, they will brown and not just steam cook, due to the amount of moisture in them.

You can switch out the veggies for something you like better. Even the cheese can be changed out. Make it any way you like!

Leftovers keep well in the fridge and can be reheated for breakfast or a light lunch.

~~Rhonda

menu plan ~ January 27, 2014

I suppose I should title this post “back in the saddle again.” Where’s Gene Autry when you need him?

I haven’t been keeping up with my menu planning. The holiday season was hard this year. I didn’t feel well and the weather was not cooperative for some of our planned events. My side of the family had to deal with two cancellations due to weather. We finally had our party mid-January.

But I’m back to work on the menu and meal planning. It is so much easier to feed a family when you know what’s on the menu. No last minute scrambling to find something to eat.

Here’s what we’re eating this week.

Monday
Chicken Taco Chili
Celery Sticks

Tuesday
Broccoli and Bacon Quiche
Garden Salad

We had this for supper and it was very good. I, of course, changed the recipe a little (added mushrooms, used Canadian bacon). I’ll post pictures and how I did it tomorrow.

crustless quiche

Wednesday
Asian Flank Steak Skewers
Stir Fried Cauliflower and Broccoli, tossed with freshly grated ginger
Garden Salad

Thursday
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Asian Sugar Snap Peas with Radish and Edamame
Roasted Kale Chips

Friday
Chicken Taco Salad

Saturday
Foil Wrapped Fish
Green Beans
Yellow Squash
Garden Salad

Sunday
Chicken Capri
Garden Salad
Stir Fried Zucchini and Summer Squash

You can find more menu and recipe ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

Meanwhile, I’m staying in during this cold, cold weather and dreaming of spring. Can’t wait until this is showing up in the yard…

spring is sprung

~~Rhonda