Saturday, January 30, 2010

You Are Invited ...

(photo at left courtesy of
to assist me with menu ideas.
It has been quite a while since I entered any MenuDay posts and quite frankly I've found myself in a rut. So, I thought it would be fun to invite all the wonderful cooks and homemakers out here in blog land to assist me with some menu ideas for the next week or two.
I would really like to cook from my "pantry" this week and avoid the grocer, if possible. All recipes or ideas should serve 6. Below is a list of what I have on hand.

3 pints zucchini
1 c. kernel corn
2 c. green peas
2 lb. Roma tomatoes
3. c. broccoli florets
5 c. lime juice
1 lb. almonds
1 10oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1 pint blueberries
4 lb. strawberries
1 pint plain yogurt
2 lb. corn tortillas
1 lb. yeast

1 brisket
1 lb. beef stew meat
15 lb. ground venison
6 lb. venison smoked sausage
14 lb. ground pork
4 lb. cubed pork
20 lb. ground elk
4 lb. elk round steaks
2 lb. elk summer sausage
3 lb. elk breakfast sausage
5 lb. sliced peperoni
1 whole turkey
12 lb. ground turkey
3 whole fryers
4 bone-in chicken breasts
1 ham bone

5 qt. green beans
11 6oz. cans tomato paste
1 pint tomato juice
4 4oz. cans diced green chilies
1 28oz. can whole new potatoes
1 14 oz. artichoke hearts
1 15oz. can mixed vegetables
1 24oz. box raisins
7 12oz. cans pureed pumpkin
1 20oz. can pineapple rings
1 11oz. can Mandarin oranges
4 qt. pear pie filling
peanut butter
jams & jellies
1 lb. brown rice
2 lb. white rice
8 qt. box powder milk
decaffeinated tea
I have lots of the following -
pastas ( spaghetti, rotini, pene, elbow, lasagna)
whole wheat flour
all purpose flour
turbinado sugar
granulated sugar
cocoa powder
shredded coconut
6 oz. flax seed
21 oz. wheat bran
split peas
black eyed peas
navy beans
pinto beans
and a plethora of spices and seasonings

1 gallon milk
2 lb. butter
3 doz. eggs
6 oz. Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. shredded medium cheddar cheese
1/2 head cabbage
8 lb. potatoes
3 oz. fresh spinach
6 oz. whole mushrooms
1 lg. green bell pepper
1 bunch green onion
3 yellow onions
1 head green leaf lettuce
1/2 bunch celery
3 Roma tomatoes
5 carrots
various condiments (mustard, mayo, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pickles, jalapenos, etc.)

I am VERY excited to see all the terrific ideas you all come up with!

P. S. May I post your recipe (including a link to your blog) if we try it?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Yes, I Do Have a Measure of Vanity

Hey, see that fuzzy guy sitting behind me in this photo? Do I REALLY look old enough to be his wife?
Folks, this is a photo of my dad and me on the dragon ride at LegoLand Discovery Center. During the past 3 1/2 months we've had 4 different people (a customer at Lowe's, a sales clerk at Macy's, a waiter in a resturant AND the ride attendent at LegoLand) refer to us as husband and wife!
This has been a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE ego boost for my dad. But alas, I must confess, it has devastated my self image. With my dad being 20+ years older than I, I am sure all women out there can somewhat relate to my current crisis regarding my physical appearance.
Yes, I know my inner beauty is most important. I know the Bible directs Christian women to develop inner beauty because our physical beauty will and does fade. I just never imagined I would EVER look old enough to be mistaken for my father's wife. BooHoo, BooHoo.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicago's LegoLand Discovery Center ...

While in Chicago, we also visited LegoLand Discovery Center. This place was absolutely amazing! Below are photos of Downtown Chicago made completely out of legos. As a child, AB was a total lego maniac - the discovery center was a real special treat for our family.

While waiting in the entrance line to LegoLand, a gentleman approached JP and said, "Thank you", while handing him 5 entrance tickets, a value of $85! JP responded, "Wow! thanks!" The gentleman replied, "No, thank you" and walked on into LegoLand with his family. Later that day, while EJ and OG were riding on a flying helicopter, Grandpa spotted the gentleman and again thanked him for his generosity. The gentleman asked if JP was his son, to which my dad explained that he was his grandson & that AB is a U.S. Air Force veteran. The gentleman told my dad that he just wanted JP and our family to know that he appreciates our service and sacrifice. He told my dad that many folks today seem to take our active and reserve military personnel and veterans for granted, but he doesn't. The gentleman asked my dad to again thank JP for his service to our nation.

The whole situation has touched me so deeply. This gentleman is the first stranger I've encountered who has expressed his appreciation for our nation's military personnel. This man will never know how much his words, of "Thank you" means to my family.

Aren't these Lego models fantastic?

We Had A Really Good Time While In Chicago ...

The kids had a good time playing a few games in the Arcade.
We also went bowling. Here's a photo of JP at the lane.

JP, Grandpa, BT and AB, waiting for their turns to bowl.

Since JP was in boot camp, he didn't get to celebrate Christmas with us this year. We all brought his gifts to Chicago. He really liked these shirts ... actually, I bought the three big boys the same shirts in three different colors. (I hope they'll decided to wear them on the same day next time we all get together, yeah, I'm goofy like that ...)

JP opening another gift.
By the way, while in the Chicago area, we stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott. We all LOVED, LOVED, LOVED that hotel. We rented two one bedroom suites (next door to each other) which are very similar to small apartments. They came with a small, fully stocked kitchen so I was able to cook one of JP's favorite meals, Penne Pasta with Chicken and Alfredo Sauce. However, there is one change I will make next time we all stay at a Residence Inn. I will rent a two bedroom suite for all of us (w/ grandpa there was a total of 8 on this trip). Those suites are HUGE and I know I'd have preferred everyone in the same suite.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where, Oh Where, Has That Peculiar Lady Gone?

Most recently, she went to Chicago! Well, not exactly Chicago ... we all went to the northern suburbs of Chicago, specifically the Great Lakes/Waukegan/Gurnee areas. Why, oh why would we go? To see JP graduate from Navy Basic Training, of course! Yes, that's right folks, we are now officially the proud parents of a U.S. Sailor!

Our trip was absolutely WONDERFUL. Mr. B flew in from North Dakota (ya know, he still works up that way), AB and BT flew in from North Carolina and New Jersey, and the little ones and I drove up with my dad (aka, Grandpa). The weather was free from snow and ice so everyone arrived and departed without delays.

I also want to send out a warm THANK YOU to all the citizens of the Chicago area. Southern hospitality has nothing on you guys! Everywhere we went, folks held doors open for us, they said thank you, please and literally went out of their way to be polite and courteous. I was overwhelmingly impressed!

(by the way, I FINALLY figured out how to download photos onto my blog using this silly old laptop - HOORAY!) back row, LtoR: AB, me (Mrs.B), our Sailor, JP, Mr. B / front row, LtoR: EJ, OG and BT
JP moments after we found him amid 1,500 other boot camp graduates.

Recruit Training Navy Marching Band