Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ki Yi Yippie Yippie Ay

I'm pretending I'm in Texas this morning... it's a typical Saturday and we've slept in a little. Coffee and paper, we had a bowl of cereal and now we're beginning to get hungry for some lunch. Lot of choices but only one if you want BBQ! Just a few miles up I-10 and Highway 80 north (exit 628) is Luling City Market! About an hour east of San Antonio, it's the best barbecue you will ever put in your mouth! We were lucky enough to share many meals here with good friends BW and Carol. I don't know if it was the company or the food, but this place remains in my memory as one of my favorites! Rough-around-the-edges, City Market offers few amenities. You have to fetch your meat the old-fashioned way, waiting in line. When you enter, the delicious smell hits you like a ton of bricks!

At the back of the dining room a swinging door leads into a shadowy, cave-like room illuminated by the glow of burning logs in pits. I can remember the first time we visited City Market, the anticipation I felt as we waited in line. Towards the back of the line we were visiting, laughing and taking in all of the "local flavor" of the place. But as we got close to the enclosed area, the pit, our moods changed. There was a reverence that came over us, just like the scene in Seinfeld when George realized he needed to order the soup in a very particular way.

The meats are cooked long and slow in a brick smoker that holds enough food to feed Luling plus the hundreds of visitors that come each day from far and wide. As you enter the pit, men take your order, cut and section the amount of meat you want, and assemble everything on a big sheet of pink butcher paper. They gather the edges of the paper together so it becomes a boat-like container that serves as both carrying device and eating surface. Once you get your paper-wrapped order of meat, you leave the pit and carry it back into the comfy pine-paneled dining room.Find a place to sit and join the citizens of Luling who are kept alive by the sauce and BBQ! John Wayne, Tommy Lee Jones and Dubya thought it was worth the trip!

Tender smoky brisket, succulent ribs that fall away from the bone or links that have been made the same way for 50 can't go wrong if you choose a little of each. My favorite was the links, cut and placed on a slice of bread and doused with the orange BBQ sauce that Luling is famous for. No other sauce, anywhere tastes like this. First time users aren't sure, then're hooked. You need the stuff for everything!

Sides are basic, white bread, pickles and onion...

Don't forget the sweet tea, or maybe Texas' favorite Big Red!

Besides having no plate for your meal, City Market deems all you need to enjoy this feast is a plastic knife, fork and spoon. They're right, the meat is so tender it cuts like butter!

Take a minute and soak up the relaxation this YouTube video will impart.
Just like being there, well almost!

A RE-RUN, too good not to share again!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Memorial Day Forecast

 Spring in the Ozarks is the same every year. We usually have quite a bit of rain and things green up quickly in April and May. We'll have two nice days, followed by another 7 days of weather that could be described as "winter." Not zero temps, but not what most of us think of as "spring."

 The dogwoods bloom, then the redbud trees and mixed with the lime green of the grass it's almost like an Easter Basket! Sprinkled in is pollen and mold that keeps us inside so I find myself getting mad at Mother Nature for making me wait!

The perks of living in the woods are balanced with the work required to claim what we call our "yard" each year. In reality it's just a mowed version of the woods that surrounds us. When we built here 10 years ago we vowed to keep it as natural as possible. I waiver each year when I see manicured lawns in town with their picture perfect borders and Kelly Green lawns. It's possible even here on our mountain top to achieve those results but it doesn't "fit." We are country, we are woods, we are natural and that's not a bad thing. It is what it is!

The few nice days we are outside trying to play catch-up with yard work. I say "we" but I really mean "he"... Jerry does most of it! There's always something to mow or trim or rake.
You can't really improve on Mother Nature, she does a bang up job of decorating. Springtime's show is one beautiful, shining moment!

 So for now we're waiting to use the patios and grill some burgers. Memorial Day is this coming Monday and as usual the weekend weather is supposed to be rainy and cool. We'll make the best of it even if we have to wear winter coats to go out on the lake!

One thing I know, summer will arrive June 1 with hot days and the ac will hum... you can count on THAT!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

The Mother’s Hand (1966) by Antanas Sutkus

 Mother's Day is Sunday, I didn't have to tell you though. All of us who have Mothers, had Mothers or have been Mothers know when it's our day. It can be a day of pampering, but most likely it's not. You still cook or clean or straighten up after kids or husbands! But Mom's just do that, they don't think twice about picking up the family room before bedtime or folding a load of clothes while dinner is cooking. My Mom was a typical 1950's Mom who stayed home with my brother and I and gave up all aspirations of career or fame so that she could wipe our noses and attend every school play we were ever in. Daddy went to work and Mom did the rest. 

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

If you think about it, childhood is a very small part of our lives. In 12 years we make the memories that we carry with us the rest of our lives. Not enough time really to do all the things that make for a happy childhood...

 Play dress up 
 Go Sledding
 Build a snowman
 Go swimming
 Have a picnic
 Visit the zoo 
√  Play Monopoly
√  Take a walk
√  Look at baby pictures 
√  Sing Songs
√  Go roller skating
√  Build a blanket fort 
√  Have a scavenger hunt
√  Go to the movies 
√  Finger Paint
√  Make S’mores
√  Play baseball
√  Rake leaves and jump in them
√  Go on a hayride 
Visit a pumpkin patch
√  Plant something
√  Have a water fight
√  Play hide and seek
√  Go to the state fair
√  Make homemade ice cream 
√  Go wading in a creek
√  Go horseback riding
√  Climb a tree 
√  Go camping
√  Draw a map and have a treasure hunt 
√  Play in the rain 
√  Paint a picture by numbers 
√  Fly a kite 
√  Jump rope 
√  Go fishing 
√  Play Simon Says
√  Play “I Spy”
√  Start a collection of rocks or shells 
√  Draw pictures on the sidewalk with chalk
√  Go for a bike ride
√  Play pretend
√  Tell Knock-Knock jokes

... unless you had a Mom like mine. The only thing I missed was going to a Pumpkin Patch, but they didn't have those in the 50's! Wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there that have been a Mother to someone or SOMETHING, that includes Moms of pets~ Dad's of course, Grandparents who step up and fill in for all the working Moms! It was such a blessing to have her in my life and I honor her this day.

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥ 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I've reached Great-ness!

We found out recently that we are going to be Great-Grandparents! As excited as I was with our Grands, I just can't imagine what this is going to be like! We've already been giving advice and even a list of family names that they might like to "consider." Go back a couple of generations and Virgil and Nola's children were Hobert, Walton, Tracey and Joy. That's where my name comes from... my Aunt Joy ♥ On the other side we have Clay and Selva and my Mom, Willadean! A few more generations back, the names get more distinctive... Bird Moore Milum and his bride America Allison~ really!!!

My maternal Grandparents Clay and Selva Keeling

My parents considered the name Nola after my paternal Grandmother, Vance after my maternal Grandfather. What would I have been like if I'd have been a Nola? Would it have made me have a different personality, more outgoing or more reserved? 
"Reserved" is not a word we use much on my side of the family! We are a noisy bunch who speak our minds, laugh out loud and never meet a stranger. When we are all together, the decibel level is off the charts loud. We all talk at once, we talk about EVERYTHING under the sun and food is always involved! I'm looking forward to summer picnics, lots of time to hone my Great-Grandma skills!!!

Fish Bowl Jello is a great idea from Martha Stewart Living that would be perfect for a party centerpiece. It's made with jello and gummy fish!
Print Recipe

Fish Bowl Gelatin: Fills a 2 1/2-quart fish or glass bowl
1 two-liter bottle lemon-lime soda, flat
4 1/4-ounce packages unflavored gelatin
2 drops blue food coloring
2 ounces gummy fish

Place 1 cup soda in a large bowl. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over soda, and let stand to soften,
about 5 minutes.

Place 2 cups soda in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until just before a boil. Add
the softened gelatin, stirring to dissolve the gelatin completely over the heat, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the remaining soda and food coloring, and stir to combine. Pour the liquid into the fish bowl. Using a damp paper towel, carefully remove any bubbles that have formed on the surface. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill overnight.
When ready to serve, use a sharp knife to make vertical slits in the gelatin; insert the fish in a random pattern to make it look as though they are swimming in the bowl. Keep refrigerated until serving. Serve within 6 hours.

Note: To make the soda go flat, twist off cap, and let the bottle stand at room temperature

The second appeals to my 1970's HIPPY~DIPPY self! I like the name Groovy Cake, I  like saying Groovy, I may drive the kids a little crazy adding it to every sentence where I can  work it in!

Groovy Cake Print Recipe
1 box (18.25 oz.) white cake mix
3 whole eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
Red, blue, green and yellow food coloring
2 (12 ounce) cans whipped vanilla frosting
Assorted colors decorating gel tubes
½ cup SKITTLES® Bite Size Candies
2 8-inch round cake pans

1. Blend cake mix with eggs, oil, and buttermilk. Spoon 1/2 cup of batter into four  separate bowls. Tint each bowl a different color, set aside. Divide remaining white batter  between two greased and flour cake pans. Drop spoonfuls of tinted batter randomly over  the white batter. Gently pull tip of a knife through batters, creating a marbling effect.

2. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until golden and an inserted toothpick in the center  comes out clean, approximately 28-31 minutes. Cool cakes completely.

3. Trim the tops of the cakes, leveling them. Sandwich the layers together with frosting  and set on serving plate. Spread remaining frosting over sides and top of cakes. Using photos as your guide, pipe concentric hexagon shapes of different sizes and colors on the  sides and  top.Gently pull the tip of a toothpick through the frosting (not the cake), starting in the enter of gel circles. Randomly dot the cake with SKITTLES®  Bite Size Candies.
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