Saturday, December 24, 2016


This recipe is actually for one of my three daughters, and I'm sure they'll all know which one it is. It's for the daughter who for a brief moment was in a state of panic, thinking that due to unfortunate circumstances, Christmas dinner might be moved to her house. Her dad was the one to make the call. Though I couldn't hear her, I almost wet my pants, laughing at the thought of her expression. I could almost hear her – Me? Make Christmas dinner? But I can't cook!

I couldn't count the giggles I let out on that one.

All she would've needed to make would be the main entrĂ©es – the turkey, ham (or both), and the mashed potatoes, because that's all that's expected of the host. The rest of the family members always divvy up the side dishes and breads and goodies and bring those to the table. Nobody wants the hassle of keeping mashed potatoes fresh and warm during a one-hour drive, so the host always makes them.

But this particular daughter wouldn't know what to do with the turkey, and she'd be calling me – Do I have to peel the potatoes before I mash them?

It worked out that we didn't need to move Christmas dinner to her house after all, and I'm sure she sighed a thousand breaths of relief. But for any of you who get in a panic over Christmas dinner, here's the easiest last-minute one you can make. It will also work for you, daughter, if ever again there's the possibility of having Christmas dinner at your house. Although a few adults might quirk an eyebrow, the kids will love you for it. Who wants that boring stuffing and cranberry sauce with those awful red berries anyway?

Make a Christmas tree taco dinner.

First, you will need two-thirds of a yard of nice green fabric (honey, that's 24 inches, so don't buy a whole bolt.) Green construction paper would work as well, but you might need to tape about four sheets together to make it large enough. If you don't like that idea, and you have no fabric, use aluminum foil over cardboard and you will have a silver tree. Fold your 24 inches of fabric (or substitute) in half. Then cut the shape of Christmas tree branches out on the unfolded side. You did this in kindergarten, so I know you can do it. Unfold the fabric, and then you will have the shape of a very nice Christmas tree.

It is your choice if you want to put on any garland or not. You can string anything that you would put in a taco bar. Green olives, diced tomato, diced onion. You can make an all olive garland, or one that is all tomatoes, or one that alternates every other color.

You want nice big bulbs for the taco-bar tree, so for that you will use aluminum foil and cut a number of 8-inch circles, easily done by using a small dinner plate as a pattern. Then bring up the edge all around each circle, so that you are shaping them into a nice round bowl. These little bowls will be filled with diced onion, grated cheese, green olives, black olives, diced tomatoes, taco sauce (double your bowl for sauce so it doesn't leak), and anything else you'd like for tacos. Be sure to fill a few of the bowls with taco meat. Last, make a trunk-sized dish in more of a square shape and fill it with the taco meat. That will be the trunk of your tree.

Your dad and I would both love a meal like this, because quite frankly, by the time we're done having Thanksgiving with all of you, and Thanksgiving with a few other people, we are a bit tired of ham and turkey and all of that hoopla anyway. To look at the same meal again for Christmas is a bit of a bah-humbug, if you ask me.

Love, Mom

P.S. Merry Christmas!



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

MY NEW BFF--Teddy!

I remember thinking that once the last kid moved out, my house wouldn't be scattered with toys. Boy, was I wrong.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


November is here, and her chilled breath already waits outside our door. November in Minnesota sometimes brings shoveling from early snows, bulky coats and boots, and temporary goodbyes to bicycles and full blooming gardens. But November also brings families together as they huddle around the Thanksgiving table and swap holiday gift ideas for the coming month. Old recipes are pulled out, phones are ringing, and plans are made. I'll take the snow any day when it also brings such warm gatherings.

November also offers an added bonus –– the smile it puts on my husband's face because he's surrounded by snacks and food and grandchildren.

What does November mean to you? Do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share that finds your table every November? Send it to me and I'll post it with your name on my blog.

Happy days to all of you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

We Lost a Few, But Gained a Good One

This past year has brought a lot of sadness. Too many funerals and too many sorrows. The most recent sorrow came with the passing of Jada, who'd been our furry companion for almost fourteen years. 

That dog had such a personality. She was a mixed breed, part American Eskimo and part Pomeranian/Terrier. She loved to sit by my feet during the day as I worked at my desk, she was a wonderful listener when I needed to read something aloud (a thing writers and editors have to do from time to time), and she loved to play ball whenever I was willing. My husband always found time. He'd run around the yard with her for a short while every night. 

Jada's favorite trick, one that took notice throughout the neighborhood among many children and adults, was her jumping skills. When my husband squirted the hose to shoot water high into the air, Jada (up until two years ago) could jump a good twelve feet to catch a drip or two in her mouth. She had everyone laughing.

But the last couple of months of her life, she was pretty slow at play time. In fact, most often, she would just go get the ball thrown for her and then sit there to rest for a while.
There was no doubt her days were numbered, but I didn't want to face it.

But we don't always get what we want. 

For two weeks I moped around the house. Can you believe how hard it was to get involved in my writing when no one was at my feet? I'm amazed at what a habit that had become. After she was gone, it just felt wrong in my office. Something was missing, and though I tried to tell myself I could still work, I couldn't get myself to actually do it.

But last week I gave in and decided that if I was going to be me at all again, I needed a furry friend. Hence, Teddy has entered our family.

He's delightful. He let us know his first night here that he does not sleep at the foot of the bed. He sleeps right between me and my husband.

Have a great day, and if you are writing, painting, sewing, or tapping at a calculator, enjoy it. We never know how many we get. :-)