Babs Just A Babblin' Blog

A bit of Gardening, baking, blogging, knitting, sewing, family, friends and discovering hidden treasures along the way.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cook or Eat Out

 I am truly amazed at the number of friends we have that do not cook at home.  Or if they do fix a meal, it's canned, boxed, or frozen.  I cannot imagine going out to eat several times a week.  However, I am somewhat of a food snob.  I only want to eat at certain places where I know they serve quality, tasty food.
And, the cost sometimes is well.......remember we are retired!

Conversely,  many people cannot believe how much I cook at home.  My husband really enjoys leftovers.  So that is either another meal at supper time or he eats them up at lunchtime.  Thus, it  makes it easy.  Sunday I made a pot roast with carrots, potatoes, onion.  Ate Sunday and Monday dinner.  Last night we had Greek Chicken with Orzo Pasta and Feta.  Another great meal.  Today, it's Chili.

It really isn't difficult cooking at home, it just gets exhausting trying to think of something different to make all the time.  Seems like the same old thing is made, over and over again.  I, too, try to cook so I can take a dish of whatever over to my Mother.  She no longer cooks for herself, but hey, I wouldn't either at 92.

I thought I would help all you non-cooking friends out with a truly good recipe.  I just whipped up a batch - will take some to Mom and also have leftovers for a few meals.  This one is definitely a favorite.
Simmering on the stove top as I am posting

Dam Good Chili from Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 (8 ounce) jar salsa (use mild or medium or hot)
4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix ( I use McCormick's Original Chili)
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
**1/4 cup brown sugar
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease well.
Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and kidney beans.  Add brown sugar. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Top with mozzarella or cheddar cheese.

When we were growing up, I remember my dad wanting chili mac or chili con carne.  Either way, you simply boil macaroni  and scoop the chili into your bowl over a bed of macaroni.  Yum, yum

We like ours with the macaroni.

How about you?  Do you cook at home?  Do you eat out a lot?  If you have a "go to" recipe that's easy, I'd love for you to share!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Perfect Evening

The busy weekend is over
Though we were pretty laid back
Didn't get into Black Friday
Did a little cyber shopping for my Mother today

Twas' the perfect end to the day
with my husband

The tree is up and semi-decorated.
Enjoying the flicker of the flames beside my hubby!

Bailey's on Ice nice!
We sat and chatted about our many blessings
The upcoming holiday season
and how we will make it merry!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

So, What Day Is This?

So confused. Thanksgiving Day felt like Sunday. Black Friday felt like a Sunday. Today is Saturday, I think! My days are all messed up.

Thanksgiving was a very pleasant day. Two families to be with....and it worked well. My family got together later in the afternoon. So pleasant, good food, good company, not too much drama.....just very nice.

Black Friday was most wonderful. Home, sweet, home. After Thursday being gone all day, 60 degrees and sunny, Friday was the opposite. Stayed in all day, the winds kicked up wickedly and the snow blew in. Plus it was only in the 30’s and the windchill made it ugly. So, what to do?

Craft, read, bake, nap, get lost in my iPad , craft some more. Oh and eat leftovers and snuggle with my husband all day! Life is good.

Highly recommended by several different people

New scarf for me.....just plain off white - wool - warm

Words with Friends - playing multiple games with niece, brother and Mom (yes my 92 yr old mother has an iPad)

So, in a nutshell, Black Friday was a perfect day.  Looking forward to the weekend now to kick back some  more.  Maybe, I'll think about the Christmas tree.  After three years with not putting one up, I'm giving it a whirl this year!  How about that!  Maybe, just maybe, that will encourage my husband to buy me something so the tree isn't so bare underneath!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday is Our Day!

Lynne and I usually get together on Tuesday.  Usually for coffee and conversation, but sometimes we do something out of the ordinary.

Today, it was a visit again to the Christmas Tree Farm.  We picked up some boughs for decorating, I purchased some pots for greens and we drove through the Christmas tree fields.

The Greeter!

Trees ready to purchase

Cut your own!

Time for a little lunch.  Lynne has commented on this little restaurant in Whitehall.  I now call it the Hidden Gem.  Everything looked so delicious.
Tuscan Veggie Panini

Cobb Salad

Bread Sticks with Parmesean, Garlic and Marinara Dipping Sauce

And of course, a little Pinot Gregio
Bringing in the holidays with a little bit of cheer! Why not!
How we cherish our Tuesdays!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Another Beautiful Walk

So, this time I tag along with Maggie, Don and the dogs.  We enter Hoffmaster State Park and the rangers are out front at the gates and a sign is posted "Special Hunt in Progress."  The rangers say we are entering at our own risk as hunters are hunting deer this weekend.  My immediate response, " oh, let's not walk."  Don says - oh we will be fine....we will go down by the beach.  I'm still pretty skeptical.  Simon could easily be mistaken for a deer.  He and his white tail.  Again, Don says we will be fine.

So.....down the walkway we go.  I'm so happy we did.

Dah. that's a log, not a stick Don!
Simon is so far out.  The farther the throw, the better.  He LOVES it.

That's better!

Beautiful sky!  54 degrees

Simon and his Mama playing

Don, Maggie and Cooper

A family picture! Don, Maggie, Cooper and Simon

How cute is our Mini Cooper
Check out the erosion along the shoreline.  This is a good one foot drop.

Made it back, no one shot!
It's suppose to be 50's most of the week.  Yee-ha!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Say Yes to The Dress

Maggie and I went to Kalamazoo on Saturday wedding dress shopping.  My niece Jessie is getting married in August and she invited us to shop for a dress with her.  She's so sweet.

It was an all day affair.  First to David's Bridal, lunch break, then to Memories Bridal Shop and then dinner and a few toddies at Jessies apartment and the drive back home.  We ladies were pooped!

Of course, I will not show the actual dress she picked.  Here are a few snaps from the day.

(L to R:) Groom's Mom, Bestie, Auntie, Bride, Bride's Mom

Kim (BFF) and Jessie
Dresses Galore!

Ballerina - Not so much!

Bunched and wrapped

Rose Garden train
Vintage Like
Bridal Veil

Yes, in the end I found my dress!
Now, how do we pay for it?????
And we came home to this
Thanks Jessie for asking us share in your fun day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Real Treat!

You all have heard of my friend, Lynne by now (  She is so thoughtful and so delightful.

She asked me a few weeks ago if I would like to join her for an evening out.  She invited me to a class for making a fresh Christmas wreath. 

This past week was the class.  It was held at Montague Tree Farms. (No snow yet, this is their stock image!)
It was out on a dark, quiet backroad.  The class was held in this barn.  It was a real production they had going there.  We were given a wire frame with prongs all around it.  They had bins of fresh greens.  We gathered our greens into bunches and then placed them between the prongs on the wreath and put them in this little "gizmo" and pressed on a pedal and the "gizmo" bent the prongs down around the stems of the greens.  It was so cool.  Wish I had one at home!

They provided pinecones too and the bow.  I brought a few berries and twigs from home.  It was such a fun night out.  I think my wreath turned out great!  What do you think?
Thank you Lynne for a delightful evening out!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Closed but Open

I took a walk on Sunday.

It was 65 degrees outside and absolutely beautiful for November 11th in Michigan.

I went to the State Park two miles from home.
It's closed; but open to those who dare pass these gates.....on foot.

I like the Ridgeview Trail, mainly because I know the way.

Just an FYI

So much beauty along the way.

And there are a few benches here and there; I like to stop and sit.....not because I'm winded or tired

but to take in the beauty of the surroundings and pause......think.......ponder


Lots of leaves to rustle through.

The campground empty....ready for winter snow.

A peaceful walk in nature.  Only a few miles from home.

If you dare to pass through the closed gate.

Lake Michigan bringing in the COLD temperatures...high 42 tomorrow with snow flurries.