Of Many Things

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Today’s post got me to thinking of the poem: “The Walrus and the Carpenter” – especially the line:
“The time has come,’ the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes — and ships — and sealing wax — Of cabbages — and kings”. Why, you ask? Well, it’s only because there’s a plethora of subjects going through my mind at the moment. Just spent almost an hour with my retirement advisers; when I turned 65 in June, I became eligible to begin my retirement pension and I still wasn’t clear on all of the ‘boxes to fill out’, so I asked for their advise. Let’s just say, I ‘thought’ I had an idea of where this was going . . . (silly me). I spoke to them beginning of June and, at that time, they said my retirement checks should begin in about 8 weeks – well, it’s 8 weeks and NOW they’re telling me it’s going to be another 8 weeks (but the check will be retroactive back to June). After much conversation, I was surprised to find that NO, the amount per month wasn’t bigger than the original amount stated in 1984, but would stay the same amount FROM THAT DATE. Let’s just say I won’t be going out for any fancy steak dinners on the amount per month I will be receiving. I was also told I should be glad I’m getting even that amount, as most employers now days aren’t even offering a retirement pension – great. I guess it’s ‘Be thankful for what you have”, eh?

Spent time in the phone, also, with another medical bill from our son who is also on our insurance; apparently they hadn’t considered the FAMILY deductible on his bill and were billing him to cover that – yep, another phone call straightened that one out. I’m actually getting pretty good at running the numbers on these various bills; at least, when it came to 7 separate bills that were sent in my name for various doctors in June. These SHOULD have been routed through Medicare FIRST, but were sent to Blue Cross, who immediately rejected them all – hence, LOTS more phone calls . . . sigh.

On a trip out our back door I happened to notice (almost eye level) this spider on it’s web:

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I’m sure you’re probably not very interested in spiders, but in all my life I’d never seen one like this! That’s it’s head at the top and it’s body is all spikey – it’s underbelly is a series of tiny black and white circles, almost like a maze – fascinating! It was alive and very active; it’s about the size of a dime, maybe just a tiny bit smaller. Upon further investigation, it’s called a “Spined Microthena” – it’s common to wooded areas, and not harmful to humans. What an unusual spider! (I guess when you raise ALL BOYS, almost anything becomes ‘interesting’!)

Yesterday was youngest son’s 19th birthday and, as per tradition for him, got him his favorite Reece’s Peanut Butter ice cream cake at Dairy Queen. The photo below is around 11:30 p.m. and he’d spent the entire day with friends – he’s very tired, but happy.

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I loved his comment when eating it: “Oh, YEAH! I’ve been waiting for this ALL DAY!!!”

Last night was Knit/Crochet night and we had a good turnout – 17 ladies (1 new person who just moved to the area). I thought it was comical hearing, at various times throughout the evening:”I can’t WAIT to get this baby blanket DONE! I’m SO tired of knitting/crocheting it!” I know what they mean – I have 3/4th of my LAST baby blanket done (3 done, 1 almost done). We all love doing charity projects, but sometimes they get a bit boring. I have to remember to call the lady in charge of the Detroit Veterans Hospital to solidify the date of pick up of all our items.

Weather-wise it’s, again, kind of un-typical for August in Michigan – lots of cool days (right now at 1:20 p.m. it’s 71, overcast and breezy). It’s been raining every day, on & off, for about a week. The good thing is: I don’t have to remember to water my two hanging plants outside!

My ‘social calendar’ has changed a bit: This Saturday I only have to attend the Bridal Shower at 12 p.m. and the Sunday School Picnic at 4:30; the wedding reception I was going to ‘drop in’ at has been canceled. The bride (this would be their renewal, not the first wedding) is a cancer survivor and had some reconstructive surgery about three weeks ago. Apparently she isn’t healing as quickly as hoped and her doctor said NO FLYING (she’s in Florida), so they will have to re-schedule the entire thing. I feel bad for them – that’s a LOT of planning, but in the long run, we all want what’s best for HER health. She’s taking it well.

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Buttery Grilled Shrimp w/Tomatoes


2 tsp. ground cumin
3 T. butter
30 uncooked jumbo shrimp (about 3 1/2 lb)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tsp. ground white pepper, divided
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 C. tightly packed fresh basil leaves
6 medium tomatoes, room temp., cut
into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 tsp. honey

Heat cumin in small skillet over low heat
until warm & slightly toasted, about 1
minute. Remove from heat, stir in butter
until melted, set aside. Brush shrimp on both
sides with butter mixture, then season with
1 tsp. salt & 1/2 tsp. pepper. Grill, turning
once, until shrimp are pink, about 3 minutes.
Toss shrimp with lemon juice & 1/2 of basil;
set aside. Arrange tomatoes on serving
platter, then sprinkle with remaining salt &
pepper, honey & remaining basil leaves. Top
with shrimp & juices. Serves 6

(recipe: Unilever)
——————————————–

Banana Bread Brownies

1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1-3/4 (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk

Heat oven to 375F.
Grease and flour 15×10-inch jelly roll pan.
For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together
sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until
creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract.
Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend 1 minute.
Stir in walnuts.Spread batter evenly into pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Frosting:
Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat
until boiling. Let the butter turn a delicate brown
and remove from heat immediately.Add powdered
sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk together until
smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner
than frosting). Using a spatula, spread the brown
butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting
will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).

(recipe: Facebook)
—————————————————–

Hillbilly Farmer Casserole

6 C. frozen shredded hash browns
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 C. diced cooked ham
1/2 C. sliced green onions
8 large beaten eggs
2 C. evaporated milk
1/4  tsp.salt
1/4  tsp.pepper

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of
dish. Sprinkle with cheese, ham, and green onion.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and
pepper. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture in dish.
Bake 45-55 min.

(recipe: Facebook)
—————————————–

Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1-10 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 cup shredded Colby-jack cheese blend
2 green onions, sliced thin
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Optional: sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Lightly coat 9 X 13 casserole dish with cooking spray
In large skillet add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp)
and heat over medium-high heat; add potatoes, sprinkle
with salt and pepper, and cook 10 minutes, stirring often;
spoon potatoes into casserole dish and set aside. Lower  heat to medium and add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil; add chicken &onionto skillet and, stirring often, cook 6-7 minutes until chicken is nearly cooked through; stir chicken and onion mixture into potatoes; set aside. In a medium bowl add soup, milk, Parmesan cheese, and paprika; mix well and pour over potato-chicken-onion mixture; bake in oven 30 minutes; sprinkle cheese, onions, and parsley over casserole and cook additional 5 minutes until cheese melts; remove from oven and serve with or without sour cream.  Serves 4-6

(recipe: Facebook)
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CROCKPOT TACO SOUP

1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 can corn
1 can Great Northern Beans(white)
1 can black beans
1 can red beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing packet
1 Taco seasoning packet
2 cups water
Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheese

Combine all ingredients in Crockpot except
Tortilla Chips, Shredded Cheese and Sour Cream.
Do not drain any of the cans. Stir and cover with lid.
Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with tortilla chips,
cheese and sour cream.

(recipe: Facebook)
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Impossible Greek Spinach Pie

1/2 C. green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 T. butter or margarine
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
drained & thawed
1/2 C. creamed cottage cheese
1 C. milk
1/2 C. Bisquick baking mix
3 eggs
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 T. feta cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 inch pie plate. Cook & stir
onions & garlic in butter in 10″ skillet
until onions are transparent (2-3 minutes).
Stir in spinach; layer spinach mixture & cottage
cheese in pie plate. Beat milk, eggs, Bisquick,
lemon juice & pepper until smooth (15 seconds
in a blender or 1 minute using hand beater) Pour
over spinach mixture. Sprinkle top with feta &
Parmesan cheese & nutmeg. Bake 35-40 minutes
or until knife inserted into center comes out
clean. Garnish with ripe olives if desired.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)
———————————–

Summer Squash Casserole

4 yellow squash, 1 1/2 lb,
cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
6 green onions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
3/4 C. ranch salad dressing
1 1/2 C. finely shredded mild Cheddar cheese
16 Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients except cracker
crumbs in 2 qt casserole dish; top with
cracker crumbs. Bake 30 minutes or until
heated through. Makes 14 (1/2 C.) servings

NOTE: For added color, substitute 2 zucchini
for 2 of yellow squash

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Corn & Black Bean Chopped Salad

3 C. chopped iceberg lettuce
2 (8 3/4 oz, ea) cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15 oz) can whole black beans, rinsed & drained
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel Mexican diced tomatoes
with lime juice & cilantro, undrained
2 T. cooking oil
(shredded cheese) optional

Toss all ingredients together in large bowl
until combined. Can add shredded cheese,
if desired. Serves 6

(reipe: readyseteat!)
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Triple Berry Cobbler

4 C. assorted fresh berries (blueberries,
raspberries, sliced strawberries)
1/4 C. sugar, divided
1 (3.4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 C. water, divided
1 C. Bisquick baking mix
1/4 C. sour cream
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 C. Cool Whip, thawed

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine berries in 2 qt. round microwaveable
casserole dish. Microwave on High 1 minute.
Reserve 1 tsp. sugar. Stir remaining sugar, dry
pudding mix & 1/4 C. water into berry mixture.
Mix Bisquick, sour cream & remaining water.
Drop in 6 mounds (mounds should not touch)
over fruit mixture. Mix reserved sugar & cinnamon;
sprinkle over dough. Bake 35 minutes or until
fruit mixture is hot & bubbly & biscuits are lightly
browned. Serve warm, topped with Cool Whip.
Serves 6.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

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Well, friends, I realize this post has been sort of ‘all over the place’ – that’s what my mind feels like right now – scrambled eggs! I’m seriously considering sitting in my comfy recliner and knitting for awhile, just to clear my head! There are some days when there’s just too much ‘input’ and not enough ‘outflow’ (medical bills/retirement pension/details on the scheduling of the baby blanket pick up/knit group/special needs group/social obligations . . . WHEW! I’m all worn out just THINKING about it all!

Hopefully YOUR day is much calmer/more relaxed & laid back. Enjoy your day!

Hugs;

Pammie

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