Saturday, September 21

Hungry for mac and cheese?

I accidentally stumbled onto a mac and cheese taste-alike and thought I would share it with you for those who are cutting carbs.
1 or 2 microwaved scrambled eggs
1 or 2 T. of cottage cheese
1 T. of salsa con queso dip. (I use the Mission brand)

This combo tastes remarkably like Mac and Cheese and it has been my breakfast of choice lately

Pumpkin Pudding Cake

Yesterday I declined on making a recipe due to the price of an ingredient. It was not the recipe featured below but it was also a pumpkin recipe- and it called for a tsp. of pumpkin pie spice. At the grocery store a very small container of pumpkin pie spice was $4.79!!! That recipe was not that important!! I am aware that I could purchase the separate spices contained in pumpkin pie spice and make my own mix but I was so gobsmacked I did not even see if that was feasible or if it would have saved me a nickle. Anytime a teaspoon of something will cost me $4.79 cents I will pass on the recipe. Are you with me ladies?
I am thinking of making this recipe however...unless I run into another snafu.

Pumpkin Pudding Cake
    This cake serves 15 or more. It’s rich, so cut it in small portions for a party or potluck. Leftovers should be refrigerated. 

1 box spice cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

15-ounce can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup milk 

1 cup reserved cake mix
½ cup sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
½ stick butter, softened
Whipped topping
    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat an egg in a mixing bowl and add the dry cake mix, reserving one cupful. Stir in the melted butter and press the  crumbly mixture in a sprayed 9 X 13-inch baking pan. 
    Using the same bowl whisk the pumpkin, 4 eggs, sugar and milk. Pour over the spice cake crust. Mix the second ½ cup sugar with the pecans and softened butter into the reserved cup of cake mix. Sprinkle over the pumpkin filling and bake 50-60 minutes or until the filling is set.  Cool completely. Serve with whipped topping. 

Friday, September 20

Purchases and reports of same

I wanted some new glasses after my eye exam late in August. I was having a bit of a problem with the middle distances and I became very tired of the constant search for a pair of glasses. I asked at the optical place where I had my eye exam about cost of lenses only and put into some frames I already owned. They were very discouraging and would not give me any assurances about my frames holding up etc. and the cost would be $250 for basic lenses without extras of any kind. I had made up my mind to get them in Mexico. But then I saw an ad for an online optical business. So I started reading reviews and it seemed people were very happy with their purchases. is the place I chose. Picked out the frames I wanted, entered my prescription info and ordered my new glasses. I ordered all the bells and whistles. Progressive no line bifocals- uv protection- top of the line protective coating and a pair of clip-on sunglasses for $111 with a case. They arrived yesterday and I love them. They are everything I wanted and they fit in every way, I would not hesitate to order through them again. When you get your eye exam be sure they include the pd info along with the rest of your prescription. The pd info is the distance from the bridge of your nose to the pupil of your eye as you look straight ahead. If you have ever had a fitting for glasses before they would have that measurement and it is one of those things that does not change with age. And they should give you that info if you call them. They did for me.  I have known people who have paid $800 for a new pair of glasses and as with many things the cost has become way out of line.
And Then...
I ordered a new Samsung Chromebook. It arrived this afternoon and I am loving it too!! I was an avid Chrome user having the browser on my main computer. I used Chrome almost exclusively so the transition to this Chromebook (a computer with the new Chrome operating system) is almost seamless. As soon as I signed into my google account  all my info from my other computer was at my finger tips. Someone had suggested that printing would be a problem but nay it is not. It was a simple process getting my current printer able to work through this computer. Worked on the first try.  If you are blessed with a high speed Internet connection as I am, you too might be happy with a Chromebook for $249.
PS: I used my cash back bonus award from Discover card to purchase it so it truly is "almost free".

My walking Buddy has walked on...for now.

Colleen has left good old Jefferson to go to her daughters before then going south to Florida for the winter. Nearly every morning all summer long she and I have walked the bike trail-one mile out and one mile back. I miss her already!! It makes for a big change in my morning routine that I have yet to adjust to. This morning I forgot to turn on the phone. It seems the only reason I ever turned it on was in case she called. Every little thing will need a habit adjustment in my old and dusty brain from the hours of 6:00 AM through perhaps 9:00 AM. After that we were on our own for the day unless other arrangements had been made. Oh well...big, heavy sigh....I will survive and so will she.

Wednesday, September 18

More Rain

It rained again during the night. I do not know how much last night but the previous night it was .77 of an inch. We need that much per week for a good long time to return our moisture levels to normal.
Colleen and I did walk this morning and tomorrow will be our last walk of the season as she heads out on Friday morning very early. I will miss her and our walks but as with all my friends I will look forward to the  next time we meet. When I think of all the friends we have in so many different places it brings to mind how our lives are so abundantly full wherever we may be.

Website of the day...

Everything you did not know you wanted! What a hoot!

Items to make your life easier. From First World Living, lots of interesting and/or amusing items, some of which you'll think, "I want one of those!" and some of which will make you scratch your head and wonder.

Tuesday, September 17

Big Old Tree

There is a little known tree in Jefferson. I hate to admit the number of years I passed this tree without realizing its existence until one day it had been mowed around it and I took notice. The grass has once again grown up around the tree and people drive by every day not knowing it is there. If you knew you would think it is perhaps the most magnificent tree in town. I took some pictures today and I hope to catch a picture one day whereby you can see its feet and see its full splendor. It is on south elm (Hwy 4) on the west side of the road across the street from the high school.

Pampas Grass Flags

Leo says: "Pampas Grass Flags decided today was the day they wanted to come out and glisten in the morning sunshine."
Leo sent me this picture on my phone a few days ago. It is a bit more of a procedure to retrieve pictures from my phone to the computer than from email. (No!! I am not getting a smart phone!! They are the dumbest invention ever in my opinion. I want a PHONE. Not a microscopic computer.) Okay, I am done now.
I love Pampas grass! There are some on the bike trail that are gorgeous. I would like to find a spot for some in our yard next summer.
These in Leo and Keri's yard are VERY TALL.
Notice the condition of the yard? You can tell where watering has been done and where it hasn't. You can also see in this shot how stressed the trees are.

Rain!! Blessed Rain!

I could not believe my ears this morning! I woke up enough to realize there was a different sound I was hearing. At first I thought it was the ceiling fan going bonkers but then I suspicion-ed rain! Could it be? So I got up to investigate. At 5:23 AM we were getting actual rain-not teaser rain, but honest-to-God RAIN! I was so excited I stayed up to watch it. To be honest it is not all that unusual for me to be awake at that time but really, I opened the front door and breathed it in-and watched it come down-and was fascinated by it. I did everything but run out in my pj's and do the Julie Andrews dance.
This is the first rain we have had in Jefferson Iowa since sometime in June.

A friend wanted a few tomatoes so I went out to Leo's tomato patch to get some. After I was out there I thought I should really get a picture of these tomatoes and the patch. All I had was my phone but I did get a shot. Every tomato I picked was perfect! Not a blemish anywhere. The only thing that might put a halt to these tomatoes would be frost. If he does not get a frost he will be knee deep in tomatoes for a long time. And they taste as good as they look!
See how dry the ground looks by the buckets?

Monday, September 16


I made this salad today and I like it way above average. I could eat it by itself for lunch and be very happy with it. My cooking goes in streaks and it seems I am on one.
 CONFETTI SALAD        9/16/2013
Salad Ingredients:

3 cups cooked rice, cooled (I usually use brown rice but you can also use white or basmati)
1 can (16-oz) red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can (16-oz) black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can (16-oz) corn (drained)
4 sliced green onions
1 small green or red pepper (finely diced)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (optional)
Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar if you can eat apples)
1 tablespoon Spenda/sucralose (or sugar if you prefer)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander (optional)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Mix all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
Mix the dressing ingredients together in another bowl.
Pour dressing over salad, mix together.  And you’re done!  It’s that easy.

RVing Tip of the Day

Use the 3/300 rule for happy travel days
by Greg Illes
Before I bought my RV, I thought I knew a lot about driving around the country. With almost 50 years of driving experience and several cross-the-U.S. trips, I didn't think I had much left to learn. Wrong.
RVs are different vehicles. Not only do they proceed — shall we say — more sedately, but they coax us all into a more easy-going attitude. At least, that's the way it's supposed to work. So my 500-mile-per-day automobile jaunts were not so easy to achieve in my RV.
Firstly, speed. Yes, my Itasca will go 75 down the Arizona highways. But I'm much more relaxed at 60, and I'll get 9 mpg instead of 6 mpg. I'm going slower, and I'm stopping for a scenic look here and there. Furthermore, there are gas stops, bathroom breaks, meal stops, and shopping stops. Clearly I can't average that 60 mph speed. To really make time, I increase speed and decrease stops.
So I have two point-to-point speeds. Easygoing: 50mph. Racing: 60mph. These numbers have been verified over 35,000 miles of RV travel in the last three years.
Three o'clock or 300 miles, whichever comes first
There is a simple rule, taught me my by older/wiser brother-in-law and verified through many trips. Individual needs and numbers might change a bit, but the rationale is indisputable. If you're still traveling by 3 o'clock, you are going to need some daylight time to find a camp spot, get settled, have dinner, maybe take an evening walk. It makes no sense to start this process too late in the day.
Alternatively, if you've already gone 300 miles, there's always something new and interesting to investigate; stop and check it out.
Correlation: At a 50 mph pace, 300 miles takes six hours. When you start traveling at a humane 9:00 a.m., that six hours expires at 3 p.m. Simple.
Sure, if I need to get a long ways, I abandon the 3/300 rule for a day, maybe two. But when I want to travel in comfort and leisure, appreciating where I'm going and how I’m getting there — well, the 3/300 works very, very well. And remember, the 3/300 numbers are maxima — if you find something interesting before the time or distance expires, stop and have fun with it. Isn't that what we travel for?
Figure out your own numbers and give it a try — and happy traveling.
* * *

Sunday, September 15

All is well and back to normal.

It seems that every few years I have to get my computer into a real mess and then get it straightened out again. A lesson I have to relearn over and over it seems. Right now I cannot believe how well it is working...all of it- including Google Chrome. It was something I did of course. Isn't it always our own fault when crap happens?
I downloaded and installed a new Anti-malware/anti-virus protection program. And a question came up about PUPs and I answered No when I should have said Yes. It was as simple as that but it took me awhile to get there. I ended up doing a system restore taking my computer to before I installed it and everything cleared up. Re-installed the new program and said yes when I should have and everything came up roses. And writing this reminded me I need to set a new restore point. Always want to do that when things are working well.
So between the compromised credit card and the computer snafu life has been a challenge lately but I am breathing easier now.