Friday, January 30, 2015

Bare Bread!

Today has been great. This morning our dear friends Kris & Jim "The Mineral Man" came out to walk dogs for us before going with us up to Koyote Grill, to eat lunch with Eileen and Lisa.

When Kris got back from taking Hank for a fun walk down to the creek, Tony and I visited with her and Jim. They complimented me on my good-looking hiking boots and then we laughed and made jokes about my blog's hiking adventures. Then Tony told them that he had ordered a couple of those inexpensive, super light-weight Opinel pocketknives, that Jim had told him about getting for him and Kris. Then Tony teased me. "Nancy, isn't good with sharp knives, so I'm not giving her one..."

During our super fun lunch we started talking about the Super Bowl game. I told them that I wasn't really interested in this years Super Bowl, because the Cowboys weren't playing in it. Then Eileen said, "I don't even know who the teams are. When is it?"

After all of us said in unison, "This Sunday." Then us girls agreed about watching Super Bowl mainly to watch the great commercials and halftime performance. Then I confessed that I was going to record the Super Bowl game while watching the movie Dean Spanley, that Mari had recommended I watch.

"Y'all," I said. "The other day I was watching Mr. Food and he made this Super Bowl Sunday dip that sounded so tasty, Tony and I drove to Kerrville so I could buy the ingredients and then make it when we got back home. And I did and it was so delicious. It was easy to make, too. The ingredients for it are corn beef, sour cream, cream cheese, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, onion, ketchup and mustard. You chop up the onion and corn beef then mix all of the ingredients together and then you bake it."

Before cooking it

When it came out of the oven

"It sounds like a Reuben Dip to me," Lisa said.

"Yes, that's what he called it. And Kris, we bought some of that H-E-B crustless whole wheat Bare Bread, that has no preservatives, flavors or artificial colors in it, that you had told us about and we made sandwiches. And they were delicious. I love that bread, too. There was so much of the dip leftover I froze most of it...."

And that is it about it for tonight. If you want to check out Mr. Food's Baked Reuben Dip recipe click here. You can watch him make it, too.

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Packin' It!

Today has been great. It has been a quiet day. A week ago today Little Debbie had her eye surgery and she is doing great. In fact, she took her last meds this evening.

Earlier this evening I received another funny comment on my blog and it was from Nancy J. Bailey, the fabulous author of The North Side Of Down: A True Story Of Two Sisters. And like the other comments it made me laugh out loud. So, since there isn't much to write about tonight I'm posting these comments in case you haven't read them. Then I will write another short version of my day.

 Mari of the NoMads said...
Nancy, my feet are blistering from walking the Appalachian Trail vicariously with you and your sister! (You can tell which version I have to believe, right?)

Obviously I didn't buy the $$$ hiking boots. :(

How much further are 'we' going to walk? My 'dogs' are 'barking'!

 cousin nancy said...
LOL, Mari! Not to worry. Before we started hiking I had secretly arranged for your sweet husband David to fly his helicopter in and pick us up, on top of the mountain, first thing in the morning. So hang in there. Your "dogs" will be fine, because they are Heelers.

And don't forget that next Saturday we will most likely be hiking the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail)!

P.S. Buy stock in M&M's!

 Eileen said...
Wow, Nancy, we actually stopped at the only place on the Appalachian Trail that has a dog pen on it! I can tell by my fat cheeks that the pic was taken when I had my mouth full of M&Ms!
cousin nancy said...
So you're the one who ate all of our M&M's!

 Nancy Bailey said...
I'm jealous. *I* want to walk the Appalachian Trail. *I* want new hiking boots. *I* want a mouthful of M&Ms. *I* want to astonish all the other hikers by being the oldest person out there. .............Okay. Maybe not the last part.

 cousin nancy said...
Hi Nancy! I am still laughing about you being jealous. I love your book so much and I am jealous of your fabulous writing skills, so I guess that makes us even? 
Until my new green, long sleeve Appalachian Trail Hiker t-shirt gets delivered to me! Keep writing and laughing.

P.S. My new Appalachian Trail Hiker t-shirt should arrive by next week and I can't wait! Then I guess you'll be "green" with envy...


Today has been great even though my back is aching. Early this afternoon Mari and David picked me up, in one of their helicopters and flew me back to the Appalachian Trail, so I could climb another mountain, but this time wearing my new "45lbs." backpack. In other words, "I was packin' it."

It took me less than an hour to climb up to the summit and then walk back down and I am so glad that I took my hiking stick with me, that Tony custom made for me, because it kept me from slipping, sliding and falling down. 

Before my good friends flew me back home to Tony tonight they had taken these two pictures of me taking off on the famous trail and when I had returned. 

And to say the least—its been a long day. And that is about it for tonight, because I am fixin' to lean back and rest my back on Mari's pretty, pink, sheepskin, that she gave to me several years ago and read more of Nancy's great book.

Y'all have a great evening!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Versions! or Happy Trails!

Today has been great. But tonight, to change things around, I am going to give you two versions of my day and then let you pick which one that you want to believe.

Version I

Today has been great, but nothing exciting really happened, so there is not much to tell. And because it is already past 7:00 and I want to continue reading The North Side Of Down: A True Story Of Two Sisters by Nancy J. Bailey, my blogging time has literally run out on me. And my excuse for running out of time is because I've been over at the Lodge, for the past two hours having a fun visit with Linda. 

Y'all have a great evening!

Version II

Today has been great, but this is going to be a short post, because I am exhausted from hiking the Appalachian Trail all day and my sister Cindy and me still have to build a campfire, so we can cook something for dinner. 

This morning started out great, because Cindy and I went to a national park store to buy us some trail mix, before we took off hiking. And low and behold we ran into Pam, Ellen and June's sweet cousin! And I probably would have walked right past Pam, coming out of the ladies restroom, if she hadn't been wearing one of our Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch caps, because I don't have good facial recognition.

We had a fun, but short visit with Pam, because she was anxious to get back on the trail, because she was meeting Ed, her son and she didn't want to wait another thirty minutes, so Cindy and I could go powder our noses too.

Forty minutes later, when Cindy and I finally had quit powdering, we left the store with four giant sacks of M&M's instead of trail mix. We figured that if we got lost along the way we could retrace our path using the M& M's as pretty markers. 

About twenty feet from the trail, we saw this big crowd of young people standing around, talking to Kris and taking pictures of her, because they were inspired that an old woman like her was actually going to hike the famous trail! I was so shocked to see Kris. I couldn't believe that we'd just run into Pam, at the store and now Kris. "It's a small world, Nance," Cindy dryly replied.

When Kris saw us she waved at me and hollered, "If you can believe this, Cousin Nancy, over there, the short one, is the same age as me and her sister is even older!" The young hikers gasped and then turned around and stared at Cindy and me. Then they came rushing over and asked us to autograph their fancy backpacks. We agreed to do it and then I joked, "But mine will cost you $5.00 and Cindy's is free." 

After Cindy had signed her name to eleven backpacks and I had not signed one—we took off hiking on the famous Appalachian Trail.

After hiking for about forty-five minutes, my sister and I decided to take a short break, as soon as we reached the peak of the first of many mountains to come. And you're really not going to believe this, but we ran into Kris and Eileen! Yes, Eileen was there, too and she was wearing sunglasses so no one would recognize her, because she knows famous authors like Nancy J. Bailey! And after howdies and hugs we posed and Cindy took this picture of us. Then Cindy and I marched on....

And that's about it for tonight. "Cindy! We're out of M&M's!"

Happy Trails to y'all and have a great evening!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's A Sign!

Today has been great. About an hour ago, I was enjoying reading Eileen's friend, Nancy J. Bailey's book The North Side Of Down: A True Story Of Two Sisters while Little Debbie slept on my lap. Then a really cool, out-of-nowhere thought popped into my head, so I immediately picked up the phone and called my sweet sister Cindy.

After we had said our howdies to each other, I said, "You know how much I love my new hiking boots anyway, this weird thought just popped into my head. I was just thinking that it would be fun if you and I fly out to the Appalachian Trail and hike it for about an hour or two?" Needless to say, there was total silence on both ends and then we burst out laughing.

"Well Nance, I guess we could do that," she said, followed by us laughing again. "But why?"

"I am putting it on my bucket list. We could go out there for a day or two and hike the famous trail for a few miles. Then we could tell people that we've hiked the Appalachian Trail. It would be really cool."

"But I've already hiked the Appalachian Trail. Ray and I did it right after we got married when we went up north to see his family. I guess I could do it again. Why don't we hike somewhere closer?"

"It's got to be the Appalachian Trail, Cindy. Because it is so famous and we could take pictures of us standing next to an Appalachian Trail sign. Sort of like what Ronnie did when all of us went out to Red River that time. Remember us catching about ten rainbow trout and putting them on a stringer and then Ronnie changing shirts three times and posing in different places, holding the stringer different ways? So he could show all of his friends all the trout he had caught when he got back to Texas."

After we had quit laughing, I continued on, "It's the same thing as me having all of those Martin guitars in my life and people saying things to me like, "Wow, you've got a Martin. You must be really good on the guitar." And I wasn't." Then we broke out laughing again.

"Well, I think that we should think about this for a while, Nance," Cindy suggested and then she started laughing again. "Wouldn't it just be easier and cheaper if you just photo-shopped it? You know how to do that kind of stuff."

"That's a great idea! And I could also put me standing next to a sign on the Pacific Coastal Trail, too! That Cheryl Strayed hiked and Reese Witherspoon hiked on in the movie Wild...." We were still laughing about all of this when we finally adios-ed each other. Then I got busy.

Here's what I came up with and please note that I actually do know how to cut and paste using Photoshop, but time was of the essence, because I wanted to do it fast, so I could get back to reading the great book The North Side Of Down: A True Story Of Two Sisters.

Y'all have a great evening!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Some Cutlets!

Today has been great. Around noon, when Tony and I were just finishing up our outdoor chores—Rooster Cogburn spread his wings and cock-a-doodled-do and The Golden Girls totally ignored him. It made us laugh. "He's telling us that it is time for us to eat lunch," Tone hinted. "What are you fixin' us for lunch?"

"I don't know."

"Nance, I love those healthy meatless cutlets that you've been making us, but could you please fix us something else. We've been eating them almost every other day and I'm...." Even though Tony was right about getting tired of eating the cutlets so often I still didn't know what to cook us for lunch.

Then it hit me—hamburger soup. Last week my dear friend Mari had sent me this link to The Pioneer Woman's Hamburger Soup recipe and she had told me that it was easy to make and was totally delicious and that I should give it a try. So after I checked it out I bookmarked Ree Drummond's Hamburger Soup recipe for future reference. Click Hamburger Soup to check out her recipe.

After I reread The Pioneer Woman's Hamburger Soup recipe I got busy cooking it in the kitchen, sort of, because I didn't have all of the ingredients and I had to make several substitutions. While I was sauteing the mushrooms, zucchini, onion and garlic, I filled a big pot with six cups of boiling water and then I dumped in leftover sacks of frozen mixed vegetables and Brussels sprouts.

Then I chopped up some celery and tossed it into the pot. Then I added the beef broth, a can of tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce and a can of Rotel tomatoes and green chiles.

Then I substituted the potatoes for pasta and started cooking up some linguini. Then I stirred up some Jiffy corn bread mix and slid that into the preheated oven. It was sort of like a three ring circus, on the stove top. Then I poured in the rest of the jar of my homemade Serrano pepper salsa and then added the salt, pepper and parsley.

I then cooked the hamburger meat with some leftover pinto beans and then I added it to the pot, along with the drained linguini—"Tony! Lunch is ready. Tony!"

Omg, it was absolutely delicious and Tony loved it, too. Even though I cooked it differently than the recipe and had to substitute several of the ingredients and then added some extras, I want to thank Mari for turning me on to this tasty recipe. And I think that in honor of Mari I am going to call it Cousin Nancy's The More The Mari Stew.

After lunch, as I was dividing up the 1/2 pot of leftover soup/stew into six quart-sized Baggies, he said, "Thank you. That was a really good lunch." Then he chuckled and jokingly said, "I guess we'll be eating these leftovers for lunch, for the next five or six days, too?"

"Yes," I replied. "And by then you'll be begging me to please cook you up some cutlets."

This afternoon I checked my e-mail and sweet Eileen had sent me this note:

I told Nancy Bailey you blogged about her book & got a mutual fan comment from Fay!  She had already subscribed to your blog feed & she read it & was thrilled!  She thinks you are a cool person and can feel the energy from your blog!
So, two writers complimenting each other - that's great!!!  Eileen

Omg, Eileen's note about her good friend, Nancy J. Bailey, a super talented author, artist, actor, horse and dog trainer, etc. put a really big smile on my face and it literally made my day great, because she is one fabulous author and I can't put her book The North Side Of Down: A True Story Of Two Sisters down. 

Feeling so complimented that Eileen's friend, Nancy J. Bailey, follows my blog, I Googled her and was instantly blown away with Nancy's beautiful art. And her incredibly great watercolor Fall Trail Ride is so awesome, it blew me out of the saddle, so to speak. So I suggest that y'all Google her too, or at least check out these two links to Nancy J. Bailey: Paintings and Books.

So as I wind this up for tonight, I hope that Nancy, up there, reads this post, because she now has another big fan, from Texas.

Y'all have a great evening!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Boys! or Happy Birthday Kris! or The North Side Of Down!

Today has been great. This morning when I woke up, Tony said, "It's snowing outside, but not sticking, because it is already thirty-five outside." I looked out the window and he was right—no ice, thank goodness!

This morning while drinking a cup of Donut Shop Coffee I checked my e-mail. Our good friend Marguerite, who works part-time at Wild Birds Unlimited, one of our favorite stores, sent me a picture of The Boys romping in the snow this morning.

Marguerite has a really big heart, especially when it comes to animals and that is why she was a vet-tech for over eighteen years. Besides adopting Minnie from us, one of the six adorable Chihuahuas that we rescued back in August, she has also adopted these two great guys from us. Enzo is the German Shepherd, who a few years ago came to us in really bad shape both mentally and physically. And Marguerite adopted sweet Odi from us, in Hoegemeyer Animal Clinic's lobby, a few days after he had his eye removed and was ready to come to our rescue ranch. Anyway, thank goodness for nice people like Marguerite, who only adopt from shelters and give loving dogs and cats second chances. Here's The Boys!

Tony and I got outside early this morning to do our chores, because we had an important surprise birthday party to go to, at the Medina Highpoint Resort's Koyote Grill. 

When we arrived at Koyote, our good friends Eileen and Lisa were already there getting things ready for Kris' surprise birthday party. After we said our howdies to each other, I said, "Omg! Eileen, I love Kris' archaeological-themed birthday cake that you had Creative Cakes by Sharon design! It is too cute."

"I know," Eileen said. "Sharon has done it again." Then I whipped out my phone and took a picture of it and some of the presents.

Then Ellen, June and their super sweet cousin Pam, who is visiting them arrived. And while they were taking pictures of Kris' birthday cake, Kris & Jim walked inside Koyote Grill. "Surprise," we half-hollered. "Happy Birthday, Kris!" 

Kris seemed totally surprised, so I walked up to her and teased, "Wow, you've really aged. Doesn't Kris look old?"

Kris laughed and then she smiled, looked at me and said, "And so do you, because we are the same age." 

Kris' surprise birthday party was so much fun and ,of course, it was filled with laughter and teasing. "Since all of us are senior citizens," Eileen said. "I decided that we should start reversing the digits of our birthdays to make us feel younger. And that's why Kris' cake has 36 on it."

"Now wait a minute, Eileen," Lisa said, wearing a big grin on her face. "I'm not a senior citizen." Followed by a chuckle. Followed by all of us laughing out loud. Then we started teasing Lisa.

Before the "make a wish and blow out the candles" part of the party, Pam started telling us about how much fun she recently had at a remote movie location, getting to watch her son, Ed Helms, play a funny character, in an upcoming motion picture. And since all of us are big time fans of Pam's son and June and Ellen's famous cousin—you could have a heard a pin drop, in between the laughter.

Right after Kris' cake had shrunk down to three-fourths of its original size I took these pictures of Ellen and sister June and then one of Pam. The only thing that I don't like about these pictures is that you can't see Ellen's new, pretty pink cast, that she is wearing on her wrist—that she was purposefully hiding.

Kris seemed to get a kick out of reading her birthday cards and then opening up her really cool gifts. And Tony and I were thrilled that she loved her Solar Firefly Lantern, like the two we have, hanging on our front porch. And I overheard Ellen and June, down at the other end of the table, talking about going to Wild Birds Unlimited to buy them some, too.

Before the party officially ended and we all went our separate ways, we made Pam an honorary volunteer. And Tony and I even promised her that we would hand-deliver a Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch cap to her before next week when she flies back home.

Following the fun birthday party Tony and I took off for Kerrville so we could go pick up our Little Debbie. The reason that I put "our" in italics is because Little Debbie has also stolen Tony's heart too, and he loves her as much as I do. I took this one faraway picture of Susan bringing Little Debbie to us, in the lobby, because Little Deb is vain and she doesn't want you to see her partially shaved head and multiple black stitches.

And before I finish writing this tonight, I want to tell y'all about Eileen, during the party today, giving me a copy of her friend Nancy J. Bailey's book The North Side Of Down: A True Story Of Two Sisters. Eileen told me that Nancy is a fabulous author of ten books, that she is also an artist and painted the beautiful picture on the cover of the book and that she also tours with Clifford, her trick-trained horse who goes to schools, libraries, etc. to promote literacy and making the world a better place. "Thank you, Eileen. I plan to put Little Debbie on my lap and start reading it tonight, because Ellen has already put dubs on reading it next."

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Funerals! or Blue Healer! or Tree Hugger! or Nowhere To Hide!

Today has been great, even though it has been another dreary day outside. As you know this kind of weather always mildly depresses me. So this afternoon while I was thinking about what I could write about for tonight's post, that would be upbeat and not bring people down, I decided to write about funerals. And I'm betting that you just chuckled, because I just laughed out loud.

A couple of days ago when our good friend Linda was over here eating lunch with us, we talked about nearly everything under the sun. While she and I were talking about our favorite parts in the book Wild the subject of funerals came up. We agreed that funeral costs are ridiculously expensive and then I found out that she, like Tony and me, wants to be cremated—when the good Lord honks our horn.

When Tony and I were eating Linda's delicious, homemade, chocolate cake for dessert, Linda told us about her taking a tour of a crematorium and it was very interesting, because I learned some things I didn't know about cremation and Texas law.

Anyway, after Linda went back over to the Lodge, to babysit The Friedmans and finish reading Wild Tony and I jumped into Trigger and took off to get our mail and then go to Kerrville to run a few errands. When we were going over the pass, I opened up a green colored letter addressed to me and I burst out laughing. "What?" Tony asked.

"I can't believe that we were just talking about funeral costs and then I get this life insurance offer telling me that I might quality for their Funeral Advantage Program. It's just too weird." Tony laughed.

This afternoon while I was checking my e-mail I got a note from my good friend Mari. She's into juicing too and she also has The Big Book of Juices too. In her note she asked me if I had checked out juice #275 in the book. So, I checked it out. I love the name "blue healer" and it looks delicious, too.

When I was fixin' to write Mari and tell her I wanted to try it, I saw a beautiful doe laying down beyond our backyard fence—so I shot it through the blinds, using my camera. (2nd blind at the top.)

After I'd checked all of my e-mail, I checked our snail mail to find that Rick, in Nicaragua, had sent us a Nicaraguan Tree Hugger ecotourism map, that had used three of Rick's photos. The butterfly, the dancer and a hummingbird and his pictures are great.

Then Tony walks into the kitchen and says, "The birds have found your new feeder." So I grabbed my camera and shot them, too. 

Then I started washing some dishes, in the sink. And that's when I glanced over to the television and saw Rambam on it and I couldn't believe it. Then I realized that our DVD recorder was automatically recording one of his great crime solving shows. So I picked up my camera once again and this time I shot our good friend Rambam, on the ID Channel, Investigation Discovery channel, on Directv's Channel 285.

Early this evening Dr. Rydberg called to let me know that Little Debbie had her eye surgery and it went well and for us to call them around 10:00, in the morning to see if we can pick her up and finally bring her home. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can bring her home, because I am missing my little buddy so much. And that is all of the exciting news for today. I hope that the sun comes out tomorrow.

Y'all have a great evening!