Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Saturday & Sunday January 29th & 30th:

"The memories we share remind me
of how blessed I am to have a sister like you."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's for dinner? Savory Steak and Onion Pie!

Late yesterday afternoon, I started to think about dinner and what to fix. I knew that in about 2 hours, Brent would be calling to say he was one his way home and "What's for dinner?".

In the fridge was a bowl of beef strips. Brent had originally intended on using the round roast for jerky, but it was too marbeled and gristly.  So he trimmed it all up and cut it into little strips. Hmmm, what to do with all of it? I thought of stir fry, or stroganoff, or....I wasn't sure what yet, but I knew it needed to be cooked up.

So I started out by roughly chopping a large onion and a red pepper. Using my large cast iron  skillet,  I sauteed them in enough olive oil to prevent any sticking, and to give a nice gloss to the veggies. When the onions and red pepper chunks were starting to get a well browned, I added the beef strips and a heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic.

I have been using a pair of metal tongs to toss things in my HOT cast iron pan when browning meat and veggies. I find it better than trying to stab things with a fork as it leaves the pieces intact without letting the juiciness leak out. Browning this way leaves lovely dark edges and gives a carmelized onion flavor to my dishes. Yumm!

I added in some leftover sauteed mushrooms, maybe 1/3 cup?  and added 2 packets of a dried onion and mushroom soup/dip mix. We had a ketchup container in the cupboard that had about 2 tablespoons of ketchup left in it, so I added about 1/2 cup of water to the bottle and shook. Mmmm, now I had a tomato-y start to a good gravy.

I added some seasoning salt, a dash of this and that from the spice cupboard, including a glug of A1 Steak sauce, then I added maybe 1-1/2 or 2 cups of hot water, and let the pan simmer for a little while, wishing I had a lid big enough for this skillet. (I'm wondering if the round aluminum baking sheet-think pizza pan-I have in the back of the pantry, the one with my great-great Aunt Marie's name etched into the bottom, might be large enough. I'll have to dig it out and see!)

Back to the fridge to see what was in there....some leftover green beans and corn-yes! eggs-no, apples-no. Then I spied a box of ready-made pie crust rolls that didn't get used over the holidays. Then the light bulb came on and I decided to make a meat pie. I have never done that before but I have read of them and always thought it would be too much of a bother making a real pie crust. But having them already at hand, excellent idea!

I dug out my deep dish ceramic pie pan (a wedding gift from so long ago!) and after the pie crust rolls had warmed up and lost their chill, I spread one on the bottom of the pan. Of course, it split and tore. I've yet to have one that rolls out intact. But we'll call it rustic and enjoy it!

I took half of the beef/onion/red pepper out of the pan and put it into a quart container to go into the freezer, now it's a ready made base for another dinner, another day, another recipe. I also added enough of the sauce to keep everything moist.

Then I couldn't decide how to make the sauce thick enough not to make the crust soggy. Eventually, I decided to use flour as a thickener, as opposed to corn starch, because I wanted a gravy that would heat up easily without gelling, just in case I had extra gravy. (Which as it turned out, I have about a cup of gravy to put into the freezer for another use!)

I removed the beef mixture out of the skillet, into a large bowl. I sprinkled the misture with flour, tossing to coat the individual pieces and repeated until they looked well coated.

Then I took, maybe, half a cup of flour and a cup of cold water and shook in a sealed jar until it was well mixed without lumps. I added this to the sauce in the pan and made a very thick gravy. I adusted the seasonings, adding a little more salt and some ground black pepper.

I mixed in the leftover green beans and corn to the meat and onions, then piled it all into the pie pan atop the crust. I added the gravy on top, letting it seep in and fill the pie pan. Then I rolled out the other crust onto the breadboard and tried to repair the tears as best I could. Then I transferred it to the top of the pie. I pinched the edges together around the pan and tucked them down into the pan, so they wouldn't get overly browned and dried-out while baking.

I didn't think to take a picture of the pie before I put it into the oven, but it looked like Jekyll and Hyde, or City Pie sleek / Country Pie rustic as the first half of the crust rolled out perfectly, but the second half was cracked, torn and, well, rustic looking! As the beef mixture was already hot, I put the pie into the oven (on a cookie sheet just in case I didn't get the gravy thick enough and it boiled over) at 450 degrees.

While that baked, I made a layered mixed veggie green salad, but that's another post someday. After the pie came out of the oven, and it was well-browned after 25 minutes, I decided to brush the top with some soft butter. It kept soaking in nicely, so I kept at it. I probably used two tablespoons.

After dishing up, I thought of taking a picture for a blog post. So here it is!

Salad dressed and pie slice all ready to eat!

The cherries on the bottom of pie pan is a bit distracting, but you can see how yummy the crust turned out, even if it wasn't perfect! The gravy was perfect, just enough and nice and thick.

This pie gave us six hearty portions! Lots and lots of meat. Next time I will add more onions, maybe cubed potatoes or some broccoli or cauliflower. I cannot eat carrots, but I think nice thick carrot slices would look lovely in the mix.

I think the key to the perfect flakey crust bottom was having the filling already cooked and hot. I will definately do this again! What a perfect way to use up left overs!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Friday, January 28th:

"There's a special kind of freedom
sisters enjoy.
Freedom to share innermost thoughts,
to ask a favor,
to show their true feelings.
The freedom to simply be themselves."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Thursday, January 27th:

"If you're going to be able to look back
on something and laugh about it,
you might as well laugh about it now."
~Marie Osmond

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We thank Thee for the birds that sing...

I sat down this afternoon to watch an episode of "The Wind at My Back" with a cup of fragrant Earl Grey Tea and I realised, over the conversations on the tv, I was hearing the soft little inquiring trills of my beloved canary, Piper. The soft little calls he knows will bring me to his perch to cajole him into song.  Beyond our ongoing conversations of 'tweeeet, tweeet', he has been most noticably quiet since early fall.

He broke his three month molt by gracing me with several minutes of an almost hesitant song of rolling notes. Even though the verses of his song today were soft and short, they were undeniably sweet as honey, and they brought me joy and renewed anticipation that he will regain the majestic arias that won my heart!

And tonight, when I say grace, it will be with renewed enthusiasm as I say..

We thank Thee, for the world so sweet,
We thank Thee for the food we eat,
We thank Thee for the birds that sing,
We thank thee, God, for everything!

Piper enjoying his reward of fresh broccoli
while keeping a suspicious eye my camera!

I Love You, Sis! Wednesday, January 26th:

"Life is a great big canvas;
throw all the paint on it you can."
~Danny Kaye

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Tuesday, January 25th:

"Sisters share the innocence, imagination,
and adventure of youth."
~Michelle Malm

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Monday, January 24th:

"A home is no home unless it contains
food and the fire
for the mind as well as for the body.
For human beings are not so constituted
that they can live without expansion.
If they do not get in one way,
they must in another, or perish."
~Margaret Fuller

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Saturday & Sunday, January 22nd & 23rd:

Studies have shown that of the three
sibling pairs,
sister/sister pairs are the closest...
Sisters are the traditional kin keepers
in our society and have a
real commitment
to keeping the relationship going."
~Jane Mersky Leder

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Friday, January 21st:

"Be grateful for the home you have,
knowing that at this moment,
all you have is all you need."
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

I Love You, Sis! Thursday, January 20th:

"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and our she-roes!
~Maya Angelou

Mama and Jannie. Spring/Summer 1962.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Wednesday, January 19th:

"(My sister) was the one who showed me
what women of faith look like.
She taught me how to live.
She made me proud of my family."
~Caroline Burns

December 2009

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Tuesday, January 18th:

"One must live with a person to know that person."
~Irish Proverb

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Monday, January 17th:

"We did not change as we grew older,
we just became more clearly ourselves."
~Lynn Hall


Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Saturday & Sunday, January 15th & 16th:

"Oh, the comfort~
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person~
Having neither to weigh thoughts, nor to measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as the are, chaff and grain together."
~Dinah Marian Lulock Cralk

Georgia's surprise birthday party. 2001

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Friday, January 14th:

"The things we truly love stay with us always,
locked in our hearts as long as life remains."
~Josehpine Baker

"The people we truly love stay with us always,
locked in our hearts as long as life remains, and beyond."
~paraphrased by Karen Lawson

Sisters and cousins gathered together, knit in close for comfort and healing. By happy chance (really? chance?) the memorial dvd playing on the tv in the background shows Mama smiling over at us.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Thursday, January 13th:

"...if we believed in the media we would think the only significant relationship in our lives is a romantic one.
Yet sisterhood is probably the one that will last longer

than any other...a sister will always be around."
~Jane Dowdeswell

My grandmother, Mumum, her sister Maude and their Aunt Marie.
June 23, 1984
Sisters who still had each other, even after the loss of husbands.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Wednesday, January 12th:

"Bless you, my darling,
 and remember you are always in the heart~
oh tucked so close there is no chance of escape~
of your sister."
~Katherine Mansfield

Anyone remember this? Late 70's. Hot Summer, no pool. Had a large barrel and a hose to fill it with water.

Lots of laughs!

How many sisters, aunts and cousins can you fit into a barrel at one time?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Tuesday, January 11th:

"The best kind of friend is the kind
you can sit on a porch swing with,
never say a word,
and then walk away feeling like it was
the best conversation you've ever had."

Sewing Expo 3-1-08

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Monday, January10th:

"What sisters really know is that they can fight with each other because they will always be sisters; they have a blood bond."
~Laura Tracey

June 1975

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I Love You, Sis! The Weekend of January 8th & 9th:

"She is your mirror,
shining back at you with a world of possibilities.
She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best,
and loves you anyway."
~Barbara Alpert


Friday, January 7, 2011

A Sunbreak!

After what seemed like at least a week of solid rain and dark, dreary days, the sun came out and brightened my day considerably!

I donned my heavy winter coat, wool beret and scarf and headed out for a walk to enjoy the sunshine before it disappeared! I found myself walking along the beach and took a few pictures with my phone.

  I am so blessed to live close to such a beautiful park and shoreline!

I tried to capture the waves crashing but kept missing. This shot shows a wave about to crest before it crashed onto the rocky beach.

 I found a beautiful rock with so many different colors of green in it. I would love to have a kitchen counter top that has so many different shades and patterns!

 The barnacles inside this clam shell were bubbling in the little bit of water left inside the shell after it was left by the receding tide.

My view as I headed home.

The wind was blowing hard and fiercely cold but I enjoyed the power of it as I watched the whitecaps crashing on the rocky beach. I watched the wind and the waves battle the pull of the outgoing tide, leaving the rocks to sparkle and reflect the sharp winter light.

This was an hour well spent!

I Love You, Sis! Friday, January 7th:

"Between sisters, often,
the child's cry never dies down.
'Never leave me' it says;
'do not abandon me.'"
~Louise Bernikow

I think today's quote speaks to the inner heart, to the tenderest, perhaps most hidden part of a woman's heart, where that small inner-child still lives and seeks the unfailing, unconditional and life-sustaining love. The love we felt from our mother, the love we perhaps only became fully aware of it's depths upon becoming mothers ourselves. The love we depend on from our sisters when our mothers have left this earth.

Do not leave me, abandon me, forget me. For that secret part of me can only be nurtured, can only be seen when viewed through the loving eyes of someone who has shared a common history, shared laughter, shared tears, joy and sorrow. To borrow the best quote from a popular movie, "I see you."

Who will you see today, with your eyes or in your heart?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Thursday, January 6th:

Today's calendar quote:

"A jest often decides matters of importance
more effectively and happily than seriousness."

~ Horace

Not sure how this is a 'sister' quote, perhaps it's meant as advice to sisters.

I guess it's good advice, along the lines of "You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar". I prefer "A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down" much better. I'd rather have a spoon full of sugar than flies anyday!

So, at the risk of someone taking a jest in the wrong way when dealing with a 'matter of importance', perhaps simply saying it with a loving heart and a smile is a better way.

So, for today's 'sisters' photograph, I will chose one showing laughter, loving hearts and a good time!

I'm the Big Loser @ Minute To Win It game. May 2010

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Wednesday, January 5th:

"A perfect sister I am not,
But I am thankful for the ones I got."

My sisters. July 1990

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Tuesday, January 4th:

"The best thing about having a sister was that
 I always had a friend."
~Cali Rae Turner

My daughters. August 2009

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Love You, Sis! Monday, January 3rd:

"A sisters' words of praise ring long and clear throughout the years."
~Allison M Lee

December 2009

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Love You, Sis! The 2011 Daily Calendar.

My Sis sent me a darling little daily calendar. Each weekday and once on the weekend it gives quotes about Sisters. I've decided to share them here to help us all remember the precious bond Sisters share.

January 1st & 2nd:

"Sisters are for sharing laughter and wiping tears."

Girls Night Out 2007

A prayer for the dawning of a New Year

A beautiful picture of pre-dawn over Mt Baker that I found on the web.

Another year is dawning
With the chance to start anew.
May I be kinder, wiser, Lord,
In all I say and do.

Not so caught up in selfish gain
That I would fail to see
The things in life that mean the most
Cost not a fancy fee.

The warm, kind word that I can give,
The outstretched hand to help,
The prayers I pray for those in need--
More precious these than wealth.

I know not what may lie ahead
Of laughter or of tears;
I only need to know each day
That You are walking near.

I'm thankful for this brand new year
As now I humbly pray,
My hand secure in Yours, dear Lord,
Each step along the way.
~Kay Hoffman