Archives

Oops.

Salvaged freezer items.

Two oops actually. (1) I forgot to schedule this post for Monday so am posting it today instead. And (2), read on to learn about my next oops.

Recently, hubby and I spent an afternoon combining a trip to Costco with catching a movie at a theater, both about 35 minutes away. Knowing we would be gone for hours and also knowing we would be purchasing refrigerator items that needed to remain cold, right before hopping into the car we pulled out some bags of ice and ice packs from the freezer, tossing them in the cooler.

We did our Costco run, saw the movie, and arrived home about 4 hours later. The Costco items were still cold from being in the cooler so we felt very successful about our trip.

But upon entering the garage I began to hear a very distinctive beeping which turned out to be the freezer alarm. You guessed it. The freezer door had been open the entire time and it was now dripping with melting ice, circulating warm air, sending water all over the garage floor, and it was easy to see many items were already ruined. So, we quickly began mopping up the water, tossing out the ruined food, and then we turned our attentions on figuring out what, if anything, could be saved.

Cooked goodies.

I ended up with lots of blueberries I had lovingly picked by hand several months prior, a bunch of chicken and ground beef that was still cool to the touch, and a few other odds and ends. Everything else was pretty much mush and was thrown away.

But my afternoon was just beginning because now came the task of doing something with what remained. So, I cooked. The raw chicken and beef became dinner over the next few days with the remainder going in to the freezer for future meals. The bread products were eaten over the next week. But all those blueberries…what to do!

With the blueberries, I made a crumb pie, muffins, and the remaining berries were cooked down with thickeners to be used for pie or a cobbler in the future.

I have to admit; the situation didn’t get the better of me. I was grateful we were able to save some of the items. Plus, I learned a very important lesson. And while I’ve owned freezers for decades without a problem like this, I now am very careful to be double sure the door is completely closed after I retrieve an item.

And through it all I laughed. Laughed that it happened, laughed that I had to quickly get in the kitchen for several hours to try to salvage what I could. And even laughed at throwing out the entire blueberry pie because I hadn’t thoroughly drained the berries after thawing and the excess juice soaked the crust in a very unappetizing way. It was basically a horrible pie.

Life kind of hits us like that every now and then. Sometimes we’re more prepared than others. But in all cases, we need to make the best of the situation, deal directly with whatever is happening in a timely way, try to view it from God’s perspective, and when necessary…learn from it.

Freezer items aren’t a big deal to lose. Yes, it cost me some time and yes, we lost the value of many items, but it was fixable. But when life hits us hard, it isn’t always immediately fixable and sometimes losing money or health is devastating. And most times there really isn’t anything to laugh about.

But after walking with the Lord for years, this I do know: God is still God. He still loves me and He still loves you. We may not understand all that’s happening and most times we don’t have his perspective on what is happening or why; but He is completely trustworthy.

Those two precious Bible verses from (Proverbs 3:5-7a) that we know and love remind us of this: From The Message: Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!

And from the New International Version the same verse reads: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

I certainly haven’t learned to do this consistently but I’m welcoming lessons that will help me more clearly see that so much of what we worry about really doesn’t matter. What matters is keeping our eyes on Him, seeking His plan, following Him, and learning to completely trust Him to take care of us.

How about you? Any life lessons you’ve learned that you’d care to share?

Mimi

 

Advertisements

Are you kidding me?

So…I had quite the adventure this past week.

It all began last Tuesday when I tried to donate blood for the second time in three days. You get your mini physical, they test your hemoglobin and if the number is high enough, you get to donate.

Part of the process is having your identity verified in their system which is done by showing your driver’s license. So, I dutifully pulled it out, got tested, was rejected again, but made the best of it by picking up a few packages of cookies on the way out, vowing to return soon.

The next day I pulled out my wallet to use a credit card when it became immediately noticeable that my license was missing. What?

Phone calls to the blood center and other places I had been that day all yielded nothing. Three looks through the purse and car, followed by countless checks throughout the house also yielded nothing.

Since I had been online freezing my credit with the three reporting agencies (due to the recent Equifax fiasco) Greg asked if I had used it for anything I was doing. I replied no.

Early today I returned to the blood center to look for myself. It definitely wasn’t there so I drove right to DMV where I had a wonderful experience getting a new license. I kid you not. It was great. Total time was 10-15 minutes. A side bonus is that I recently cut my hair short so the new license picture reflects my current look!

Another bonus is that afterwards, I returned to the blood center to be retested and happily was able to donate today. Once back home, I proudly showed off my new license to Greg. End of story. Or so I thought.

An hour later, I had to scan a document and as I stood in front of the printer I had this déjà vu moment that I might have scanned my license the other day. One of the agencies wouldn’t accept my online credit freeze. Instead I had to print all sorts of documents and use snail mail to submit them.

You guessed it. When I opened the lid, there was my old license! The timing was perfect and quite ironic, wasn’t it, as I had just gotten my new one. The license is now in the shredding pile and I’m still laughing and shaking my head.

While I feel rather silly, I am also quite thankful because the DMV experience which can often be horrid, was actually pleasant. But more importantly, I’m thrilled my license isn’t floating around somewhere for someone else to find and possibly use illegally.

I don’t always sail through such an experience with a smile on my face but this one actually had me laughing at myself.

I don’t think I’m alone in being forgetful occasionally or in running around trying to fix things that actually don’t need fixing at all. And I’m sure there will be more “fun” times in my future, but for now I’m considering it my dose of spiritual medicine as is mentioned in Proverbs 17:22a “A cheerful (or merry) heart is good medicine.”

Mimi

May I have a salad please? The one with bacon.

The salad I was supposed to have.

Since moving to Clermont in September, hubby and I rarely eat fast food. They’re just too far away. But last week, loaded we ventured to McDonald’s to order a quarter-pounder meal for Greg and the salad with bacon for me. There are only two salads on the menu so even without knowing the name, the cashier was able to easily ring me up.

It was an early supper so the place was practically deserted when we walked in. Despite that, it seemed to take forever for our food to arrive. When it did, I discovered my salad was covered with corn and tortilla chips instead of it being a tossed salad with bacon. Hmm, I think they got it wrong.

So I debated for a few minutes and finally decided to take it back and explained to the cashier that I ordered the salad with bacon and got this one instead. He shook his head as if to say “That silly kitchen…” After reiterating I wanted salad with bacon he took it back to be corrected.

More waiting and the salad was eventually delivered to the table with apologies. I popped off that top once again and uh oh, there was bacon alright…but they had simply put the bacon on the southwestern salad I had taken back.

Again I made the familiar trek to the cashier and explained that I still didn’t get the correct salad and asked them to please correct the order. The third salad finally arrived and was indeed correct. Greg was done with his meal by this time so we brought it home with us and I enjoyed it the next day.

While a little perturbing, in the scheme of things, this McDonald’s dinner incident was no big deal. In fact by Salad #3, it was downright funny. And I was able to laugh it off.

However, that’s not always how I respond to inconveniences. Sometimes something so minor will really tick me off. I will feel irritated and frustrated. Even worse, is when I lay blame on someone else or just overall share my discontent with them.

Really Cindi? What’s the big deal? Every single one of us makes mistakes and every one of us is on the receiving end of someone else’s mistakes. It’s life and it happens.

This week I was an overcomer. No frustration on my end, no blame put on someone else, and no bad attitude shared with the hubster. But my hope is that I’ll “remember the salad” in coming days when I may once again be faced with an opportunity to extend grace and mercy to others.

How about you? Ever find yourself overreacting to a very minor incident? Here’s a good verse to help us all remember what to do:

Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your [heavenly] Father is merciful.

(Luke 6:36 AMP)

Mimi

I know better; I really do!

Cookies

Your eyes do not deceive you. That’s Mimi tossing out the four dozen cookies I baked last week.

While I don’t pretend to be a gourmet chef or outstanding pastry baker, I do fairly well in the kitchen. I understand that cooking is one thing and baking is another. That is, baking is science and needs to be more exacting.

So what went wrong when it started out so right? I was using coconut oil instead of butter in the chocolate chip cookie dough and despite reading that the dough would be more like batter (wet), at the end I did my own thing and added enough flour so the result was a dough that looked more traditional. BIG MISTAKE!

Cookies were formed, put on baking sheets, and baked to perfection. All was well until I ate one. And then another. Yuck. Pah-tooey! Every single one was tasteless and floury. Of course I thought maybe my discerning palate was over-analyzing so I brought one to hubby to taste. The hubster agreed with my assessment. Hence you see me tossing my hour’s work into the trash.

What was so wrong about deviating just a little? About trying my own thing? About ignoring all the rules of science in baking and thinking I knew best? I’ll tell you…I should have just followed the directions. They were there for a reason. And for the best results, at least in baking, the rules should be followed exactly step by step.

We also need to follow the rules in life. As kids, we followed our parents’ rules because if we didn’t punishment of some kind was sure to follow.

In school we knew homework, performing well on tests, and class participation were important parts of the grading system. By not following those rules you might end up with a bad report card.

Even at work we have rules to follow from HR requirements to job duties. Not following those rules could lead to dismissal.

Our heavenly Father also provided rules to help us. From the Ten Commandments to Jesus’ words in the Gospels to the letters written to the churches, all were provided to reveal Him to us, show us The Way, provide access to Him, and grant us life in Him eternally. God’s rules are there to give us abundant life and to keep us from making some disastrous mistakes.

It is up to us to choose God, choose His ways, and choose to obey Him no matter how we feel or think. I used all the right ingredients in the cookie recipe and followed it almost exactly. I only changed up one little thing. But that one choice destroyed the whole batch. “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” (I Peter 1:14 NIV)

We don’t have to live in ignorance. Those who know Christ have the Spirit within to teach and to guide. Our part is to obey. I encourage all of us to decide following God’s path and His rules is really the only right choice.

Mimi

Silly in our 60’s

Throughout our lives, each new decade brings change. Many are great and wonderful such as wisdom, retirement, or grandchildren. Some not so great or wonderful such as our bodies aging.

I remember the day I first realized I might need reading glasses. I noticed I had double vision while reading. My older friends smiled knowingly as I wondered aloud what was happening. Once I was assured that I was now far-sighted I enjoyed finding some fashionable glasses and merrily accepted this rite of passage.

Realizing I needed vision correction was easy. One day I could see clearly; one day I could not. Glasses were the answer.

But other issues are trickier. Hearing for instance. Unlike changing vision, you don’t often realize what you’re missing. Because, after all, you can’t hear what you can’t hear!!!

I know I have some hearing loss because I took a test in my late 50’s and was diagnosed as “hearing loss consistent with age.” Hrrmmmph. I don’t like the way that sounds. Whatever that hearing loss is, I don’t notice it as I can still hear the tiniest of sounds and have no problem whatsoever with conversation. Not so with hubby.

Hubby’s hearing loss is a bit different. And while it doesn’t yet interfere a lot with his life it does make for some interesting challenges.

Recently, I mentioned there was freshly made ham salad for sandwiches along with some leftover potato salad. Greg appreciated that and happily made his sandwich.

Greg & His Scrumptious Sandwich

Greg & His Scrumptious Sandwich

Taking the sandwich with him to the table, he eagerly took his first large bite. (Let me interrupt for a second here. I happen to make great ham salad. It’s a long-held recipe that turns out perfect every time.)

Having eaten my ham salad for our entire marriage, Greg was anticipating yet another wonderful lunchtime experience. Only, this time something was off. After the first bite he took another…and with a strange look on his face made some comment about it tasting different. And in that instant I knew exactly what happened and why he wasn’t enjoying his lunch.

Greg wasn’t eating a scrumptious ham salad sandwich. No, he was eating a potato salad sandwich!

He must have heard some of the words I spoke such as ham salad, lunch, and sandwich, but he didn’t hear all of them such as potato salad on the side. He simply picked up the first container, figured it was ham salad, didn’t pay attention to how different it looked, and smeared it on his bread. But that first bite was an eye-opener for sure!

And know what he did? He just continued on eating that sandwich!

And that, my friends, is where a sense of humor comes in. Lunch that day was not a great culinary experience and in fact was quite a let-down. But realizing the opportunity, I immediately said “I SO have to blog about this” and he graciously allowed me to snap a pic and publish the story.

A sense of humor will go a long way to help us when we find our car keys in the freezer. It will help when we walk into a room only to realize we have no idea why we went in there in the first place. Humor will get us through our own silly age-related situations and it will go a long way toward helping others as they encounter them as well.

We are reminded in Proverbs 17:22 that “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” (The Message)

I’m 61 so these kind of experiences are just beginning and promise to become more abundant. I am determined to allow fun and merriment to grow and crowd out “gloom and doom” thinking that may try to accompany the physical changes we experience in the aging process. I hope you will, too.

Mimi

 

 

Mimi’s Marvelous Meatloaf

With permission.

Picture Used With permission.

“You know what? I love your meatloaf, Mimi. I eat it all up. Please make it again; make it a lot!” So said Konnor yesterday as we talked about the scrumptious bacon-wrapped steaks I had just purchased for a birthday bash tomorrow.

What? A five-year old loving my meatloaf? You’ve got to be kidding me! But earlier in the day (while at the meat market picking up the steaks) the little guy (almost three) said nearly the identical thing. So that makes two young’uns enjoying my meatloaf and asking me to make it again.

This cracks me up cuz nowadays most people do not like casserole-type meals, the kind where everything is mushed together to form one dish or one loaf or one anything. And kids especially don’t want their various food items to touch.

When I grew up meatloaf was an expected and enjoyed dinner entrée and for the most part I loved it but my mom did have a tendency to overcook meats sometimes. So when the meatloaf was overcooked, yuck! It became a hard lump of unrecognizable substance that even a knife had trouble penetrating.

I think that’s what most people think of the minute you mention meatloaf. No wonder they’re afraid to try it. Or they think of something smothered in a ketchup-like sauce, sweet enough for dessert. Well, my meatloaf is neither. And while I know it’s probably not very healthy, it’s definitely yummy to eat.

Just writing about it has my mouth watering so I’m going to share the recipe with you. And it really does end up looking a bit like the picture above – unadorned but delish! Try it sometime and let me know what you think. And maybe share your own recipe for your family-favorite meatloaf. Believe me, I’m no meatloaf snob. I like ‘em all – sauce covered, plain, with surprises inside (my grandmother used to line up hard boiled eggs in the middle and you got a piece of egg in every slice).

As Julia Child would say “Bon Appetit.”

(Before we get started – this is very forgiving. I began making it with 3lbs of meat because we had a family of four and enjoyed lots of leftovers. You can cut the meat down to 2 lbs. easily. Don’t go much less because then you won’t have any for sandwiches or another dinner meal later in the week.)

Mimi’s Marvelous Meatloaf

2-3 lbs. ground beef/chuck (yes, you can use a meatloaf meat mixture if you like)
1 egg beaten
Bunch of shakes of Worcestershire Sauce (can’t go wrong here-shake to taste)
½ can any brand cream of mushroom soup (can use cream of celery, cream of chicken, etc.)
Several shakes of seasoned salt
Bunch of Italian flavored breadcrumbs, not Panko

Whisk all wet ingredients together, toss in meat, mixing with hands. Add breadcrumbs by the handful, mixing well until you receive the desired consistency. I like it very moist but not wet. After all, I’m trying to get this to form a loaf. Add breadcrumbs until you can form the meat mixture into a shape that holds. Shape into a traditional loaf. (If I’ve used 3 lbs. of meat I’ll make two smaller loaves, one for the freezer.)

Place loaf in a baking dish and add ¼ to ½ cup of water. This keeps the fat drippings from spitting all over your oven. Do not cover. Just bake at 350 or 375 degrees for about an hour. If you make a thick meatloaf it will take all of the hour but if you make a flatter one it may cook in as little as 45 minutes. To test for doneness, simply cut into the middle to make sure it’s barely or no longer pink.

When done, remove from oven and transfer to a plate or cutting board. Slice as you desire and serve it up. (My lust is the ends. I try to keep them for myself.)

Enjoy it as-is though diehard meatloaf fans may insist on a drizzle of ketchup.

Freezes well cooked or uncooked. If uncooked, thaw completely then bake as above. And this makes the best sandwiches! Hope you enjoy.

A place for everything.

 

The Container Store, yippee!

The Container Store, yippee!

 

It’s not like I live in some back woods place. I’m in south Orlando for goodness’ sake. But I see commercials on TV or know of some great chains I wish were nearby and wonder why they aren’t.

We do have an Ikea. And after years of seeing commercials for Kohl’s they began popping up. Red Robin is also on my radar after having had a few opportunities to enjoy their burgers. But top of my list right now is a Trader Joe’s. There’s “talk” about town so I’m hopeful it won’t be too long.

And this week, after years of anticipation, the Container Store opened. This massive store must be like an amusement park to organizers, professional and amateur alike. I’ve never even shopped there but am eagerly awaiting my first fieldtrip because I don’t like clutter and do like opening a drawer or closet and having everything in its place.

As much comfort as this type of organization gives me, it truly can be a false comfort. If I have items I don’t need but am missing things I do need, even though they look nice on the shelf, what good are they? These items can take up space, making it look as though I am properly prepared when in reality I’m not.

Case in point. I made a new cookie recipe the other day using all sorts of items I don’t typically stock. (Okay already, they were healthy cookies so I needed coconut oil, almond flour, and organic honey. Who has that stuff anyway?)

But when mixing my dough I quickly realized I didn’t have the dark chocolate chips the recipe called for, only milk chocolate. In spite of my organized cabinet with the special basket for baking chocolate, I still missed this important ingredient because I assumed what I had on hand was what I needed.

I made the cookies and they were good but I do think using dark chocolate chips would have only made these better. Here’s the link to these yummy delights.

Point is I missed what wasn’t there because I assumed what looked good was correct. It was not.

The idiom appearances can be deceiving is so true. And while it was no biggie that my pantry didn’t house what I needed, my greater concern is how easy it is to deceive myself into thinking all is well with my spiritual life just because on the outside things look good.

I go to church and serve others. I talk about God and pray at supper every night. I even talk to Him throughout my day. And to others (even to myself) I look pretty good. But God is much less interested in what I look like on the outside and more interested in who I am on the inside.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, GOD, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”

Father, may my inside—my relationship to you—be what matters most.

Mimi

p.s. Had a colonoscopy the other day. Oh boy! I’ll be posting about that experience soon.