Musings

Bits and Pieces

Or, A few things I want to share while I’m thinking about it.

I looked up today and realized that it is almost March, 2021. Totally blew my mind. It seems like we were just dealing with the holidays and then Winter decided to come and visit for a while.

Speaking of Winter: When I caught the weather report this afternoon, we were given a “wow” moment. One week ago today the temperature in my little corner of the world was -20 and today the temperature made it to 71 degrees. That’s an entire 90+ degree swing in seven days. Yikes!

Needless to say, all the white stuff accumulated during the past week is gone and while we may be looking forward to some rain in the coming days, it is nothing like what we have experienced.

Around here we spend Summer complaining about the heat and wishing for Winter’s cooler temperatures only to get to Winter and the snow with the attendant upheaval when we get too much of what we asked for.

I’ve been spending some time working on the newsletter, collecting recipes and ideas for future Pantry Magic collections. Dragging out cookbooks has been more fun than some might think. I found a few reminders of why I bought particular books in the first place. Hopefully, I’ll be able to actually make those recipes soon.

My latest grocery haul included a lovely pork roast. Yum! I can’t wait to season it, tuck it into my oven and add potatoes and carrots for a wonderful series of meals! Sometimes it is the simple foods that are the best.

Speaking of food, over on PlutoTV, the BBC Food Channel has added The Hairy Bikers to the lineup. The guys are investigating the Best of British Food. It has been quite an amazing journey.

I want to take a moment to thank you for taking the time to read the blog, send comments or “Likes” and share with friends. It means a lot.

Musings · Podcasts

Podcast Review: Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown

Podcasts are relatively new territory for me. Many years ago I was a regular listener to a quilting podcast, but for a long time there wasn’t anything that captured my interest enough to invest the time to listen. Something I’m hoping to rectify in the future.

I’ve been looking for interesting (to me) podcasts lately and came across this new venture from Mayim Bialik. You might recall her from “The Big Bang Theory”. Turns out Amy Farrah Fowler was played by someone with an actual PhD in Neuroscience. Who knew?

I did, but then… <shrug> 🙂

There has been a lot of talk about Mental Health lately. Unless you are someone with actual experience dealing with it for yourself or a family member, I think it can be a topic that is confusing and often a bit scary. Actually, I’m pretty sure that even if you are someone with experience dealing with it for yourself or a family member it can be confusing and scary.

While I’m still catching up with the episodes – as of this writing there are six – I have been impressed with the way the topics are presented, the effort to explain what might seem unexplainable, and, most importantly, the guests and their honest and real experiences. It says a lot about the trust in the room for this to be able to work the way it does.

There is a lot of material to cover and these podcasts are not short – the average is 90 minutes. Check out Mayim’s website: Bialik Breakdown. There you will find tons of information and resources and you have access to podcasts and YouTube videos as well.

Check out the trailer and see what you think:

I think you will find, as I did, that there is a lot of food for thought here.

Around the House

Home Decor: Thinking Outside The Box

Have you looked at my Very Favorite Piece in my home? Go on over to the Gallery and check out my cabinet.

My postage size kitchen was in extreme need of storage when I bought my house. I still need better storage, but thanks to the addition of the cabinet, I have space for my dishes, counter appliances, and extra bits and pieces that aren’t needed every day.

The cabinet itself is a combination of a base cabinet, a wall cabinet, an over the fridge cabinet, and a countertop. It is screwed together, handles were added and it sits in the perfect spot in the kitchen.

There were no special tools required; a drill and a screwdriver were all that were needed.

This project came about thanks to a couple of handy friends who volunteered to do the heavy lifting and other work after I found what I wanted. My intention was to create something like a Hoosier cabinet but without the cost.

When you think about things you want in your home and space is an issue, check the options available at your local hardware or home center. I looked for finished cabinets, but there are unfinished as well as custom options.

I went in this direction rather than order a custom cabinet or buy prefab items because the prefab usually doesn’t come in the size I needed and the custom would have been more expensive than my budget could handle.

Don’t be afraid to look outside the box. You never know what you might discover that will be Perfect For Your Home.

Classic TV · TV

Visiting With Old Friends: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”

I was lucky enough to be around when some wonderful classic television shows were on their first run. Watching them gave me a great sense of what quality could be. Shows like

  • Star Trek
  • Perry Mason
  • Bonanza
  • The Bob Newhart Show
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • The Waltons
  • Marcus Welby, M.D.
  • Love, American Style
  • The Odd Couple
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • The Doris Day Show
  • I Love Lucy
  • Hollywood Palace
  • The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour

And these are but a few!

Back then there were only three networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS. PBS was a fledgling that showed up on UHF (if you were lucky). The rotations were predictable; what was the highest-rated show and genre? Copy that! And then there were the breakout shows that many thought wouldn’t survive but somehow did. Like Mary. Saturday nights with Mary Tyler Moore were a staple in my home.

A Breath of Fresh Air

When Mary Richards arrived in Minneapolis she was not only the new kid on the block, she was the new idea in the country. A thirty-year-old single woman (never married) who had left behind a bad relationship and was embarking on a new life. For those who thought Marlo Thomas’s “That Girl” was the epitome of single womanhood – who eventually married – Mary Richards was a totally different reality. Different decades will do that, you know.

Mary was a single woman who wasn’t afraid of being single. Not really. She also wasn’t afraid to be alone or try new things or figure out what she wanted for herself and not depend upon someone else to tell her what she wanted or how to live, etc. She was intelligent, well-read, thoughtful and a person who enjoyed her life. Mostly. 🙂

Mary had co-workers and friends who were just as ordinary and she was and they all had their quirks. Lou was the alcoholic newsman with a heart of gold. Murray was the frustrated author who wrote the news copy and needled the anchorman. Speaking of which, Ted Baxter was the nightmare of most professional journalists…who probably knew their fair share of Teds. I have to wonder if Walter Cronkite ever forgave Lou for introducing him to Ted.

Rhoda, who lived upstairs, was the other side of the coin that was Mary, but both were, in their way, very much alike. Phyllis was, well, Phyllis. Sue Ann Nivens was the archetype of the predatory female. Yikes!

For several years we got to spend time with these people. Suffer through bad times. Celebrate good times. Enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being around good people who are also good friends. We also got a chance to see life in a different way from what was on television and it changed attitudes, provided ideas, planted seeds of possibility and provided a touch of reality that was closer to real than many thought.

The show not only boasted an excellent cast but the behind the scenes folks were high caliber, too. Check out the list of awards the show won HERE.

I often look to find episodes of the show when and where I can. Oddly, I haven’t yet acquired the DVD sets but it is on My List. You can find the entire series on Hulu or purchase them on Amazon Prime. If you need a quick fix, however, go over to YouTube and see what comes up. Like this little gem:

Are you a fan of classic TV? I’d love to learn your favorites.

And, as always, if you like this post, please let me know by clicking the Like button below.

Classic TV · Musings

Another Saturday Night

When I was growing up way back in the 1970s there was one particular tradition in our home that was rarely missed: watching “The Lawrence Welk Show”. The show began back in the 1950s and was a network staple for decades.

Every week, no matter what, we all sat down to enjoy an hour of great music, exquisite costumes and sets, familiar faces with beautiful voices and a rather eclectic collection of genres.

My mother, in particular, was adamant about the weekly visit. She worked nights and often caught a late evening nap around the time the show was on. Saturdays, however, came with the explicit reminder that we make sure she was awake to watch and listen from her recliner in the living room. We did. (She often fell into a nap, but Mom being Mom she was also listening closely.)

Now, I get that some folks find the entire idea silly and feel like the music was hokey and way out of date. Accordions? Polkas? Orchestra music? Dancing?

I look back and recognize that for a time, I too, wasn’t aware of the treasure the show was. I have a decidedly eclectic taste in music that I can trace back to those shows.

Thanks to Oklahoma Public Television, the shows are once again available in my area. I may not catch it every week, but I do go out of my way at times to be sure to sit back and enjoy the show. Don’t forget to explore Amazon. I just told Alexa to play “Lawrence Welk Music” and the results are amazing, beautiful, wonderful. Mom would be pleased.

If you are curious about the show itself, here are some things to explore:

One thing I’ve always admired about Mr. Welk was his ability to listen to his audience and give them the music they wanted to hear. His shows were well crafted and beautifully choreographed, too. They were Appointment Television before there was such a thing.

Every week we were thanked for joining the party and reminded of something that Mr. Welk always said:

“Keep a song in your heart.”

Lawrence Welk

I don’t know about you, but I think this is an excellent idea.

Food · Recipe of the Month

Cookbooks In My Collection

Or, I might have gone a bit overboard

You might recall that I embarked on an adventure of cataloging my library last summer. This is a project I do every few years or so when the inspiration hits me. There are a few years when I hit back, but not last year. <shrug>

I discovered quite a few things. One, in particular, was a bit surprising. I own quite a few Bisquick cookbooks. Like, maybe, eight of them. Yeah, it surprised me, too.

The thing is, I love cooking with Bisquick. It is a staple in my pantry alongside flour, sugar and all the rest. The ease and versatility of it is amazing and the biscuits and pancakes it makes is – dare I say it – wonderful.

Now, that is not to say that fully from scratch versions aren’t possibly better, but my scratch biscuits could be used to pave the driveway.

A Lifelong Partnership

I don’t remember when I first used the product, but I would have to say it was in the mid-60s when I was just learning to cook. Over the years I’ve picked up the occasional cookbook and added at least one recipe to my collection from each of them. Their Impossibly Easy Pies are game-changers. I am a huge fan of their French Apple pie; it is easy, tasty, and versatile. And, if you are like me and pie pastry challenged, this is easy!

A recent foray over on Amazon netted me a copy of the Betty Crocker Bisquick Impossibly Easy Pies book published in 2004. Click HERE for a look.

If you have never tried an Impossibly Easy Pie recipe, I’m including one of my very favorites as this month’s Recipe of the Month.

Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie


Courses: Main Dish
Categories: Beef, Bisquick, Casserole
Serving size: 6
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins

Ingredients

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/2 cup Original Bisquick™ mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.

2. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in salt. Spread in pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.

3. In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients with fork or wire whisk until blended. Pour into pie plate.

4. Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Nutrition

Amount per serving
Serving size: 1 Serving
Calories: 325
Total Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 10g
Cholesterol: 135mg
Sodium: 530mg
Total Carbohydrate: 11g
Dietary Fiber: 0g
Protein: 23g

Let me know what you think. Are you a fan of these easy recipes or are you new to the genre?

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Musings

Is It Too Early To Look For Spring?

In my corner of the world, we have had Cold weather with bouts of rain and snow competing with the sun for some sort of warmth. While (so far) we’ve been lucky not to have had lots of snow, anyone who has been around here for long knows that there will be at least one more downpour of the white stuff before the end of March. That’s just how it is.

I recently came across an old (!) episode of America’s Test Kitchen which focused on two dishes prepared with fresh tomatoes. (Whimper) On top of that, I found a few recipes using that luscious fruit that I haven’t made in far too long. (Moan)

I look outside and the lawn, the part that is not mud, is not quite green, and there has been precious little sunshine to accommodate growing plants.

Yep, cabin fever coupled with winter boredom and we are at that point in time when contemplating a garden comes to the forefront.

Are you there, too?

Are you contemplating a vegetable garden this year? Are you thinking about flowers? I’d love to hear what you have in mind.

Oh, before I forget it: Happy February!

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