Tuesday, September 22, 2009


As I am sure Ihave mentioned before, probably several times, I love to cook especially when the weather is cooler.  Yesterday being the first day of fall, came in just as it should.  It started off a wonderful summer day yet by mid afternoon a cold front had blown in and the weather shifted much cooler.  A stiff north breeze made it seem all that much colder.  Of course this immediately put me into the mood, so for dinner I prepared one of Vince's favorites Spaghetti. 

I love the aromas this meal puts through the air... Garlic, Oregano, Rosemary and they are just a few.  Of course my sauce starts first, as I love to let it simmer for as long as possible.  Start to brown a pound of suasage.  I know many people prefere beef, yet to me sausage gives it a bit more of a spicy taste.  As that is browning, I add chopped onions, any peppers I may have (green, red, yellow whatever), and a few cloves of garlic.  Seasonings of salt,

pepper, oregano, thyme,  and parsley are also added while the meat is browning.  I then add about 2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms. Add a small splash of olive oil, about a Tablespoon or so.  You may not necessarily need it but it gives a wonderful hint of taste.   When the meat has cooked thoroughly, I then add my sauce.  I am all about easy so... I use a jar of good sphaghetti sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes, and a small can of tomato paste.  On the top I place a fresh sprig of Rosemary.  It is wonderful to have my own herbs growing outdoors where I can just go and pick them when I wish.  The difference of fresh is wonderful.  Cover and let simmer on low while you prepare the rest of the meal and enjoy the wonderful aroma.

Next of course are the noodles.  While boiling your water, add salt, pepper, 2-3 crushed

garlic, olive oil, oregano, & parsley.  Place your noodles in when the water comes to a good boil.  It seems everyone likes their noodles a different consistency... Yet I remember an old woman once told me the way to check for doneness is to take a couple noodles and throw them at the wall.. If they stick they are done.. Now I dont necessarily do that yet I found her method quite funny.  Strain the noodles in a colandar.  Much of the herbs added eariler will cling to them giving that much more flavor and appearance to the finished product.  The olive oil also helps to keep them from sticking.

Of course no spaghetti dinner would be complete without garlic toast.  Slice up a small loaf

of french bread and place on a cookie sheet.  In a small bowl combine:  olive oil, pepper, sesame seeds, 1 Tablespoon butter, and 1-2 crushed garlic cloves.   Microwave this briefly just to melt the butter .  Spread on both sides of cut bread and broil in oven until lightly brown.  Turn as needed.  The rest... well that is simple... sit down and enjoy.  Needless to say it was an enjoyable dinner and just the right meal to start off our Fall season. 

The weather this morning is cloudy and a cool 56... I may just have to bake a little.. I did promise my son a goodie box in the mail.... Enjoy your day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Other Blogs

Some of you are already aware of that besides "Rantings" I have a couple other blogs.  However there may be a few of you who are not.  I'd like to take a moment to invite you to visit my other two sites.

The first is Mother Moons Message.  This is a blog that is quite dear to my heart.  It reflects a bit more of a personal side of myself and my inner feelings and beliefs.  Although "Rantings" is quite personal too, it is more the mother, wife & grandma (gg) side of me.  To some it may bring new enlightenment to your understanding of me.  I ask that you view it with an open mind.  I am still very much the same person I have always been.  This is just an area of my life that is very real and I would like nothing more than to share it with those who know me.  I have kept it back far too long.

The next site is The Picture as Janie Sees it.  It is strictly a photography blog.  This activity has become one of my most cherished past times.  It is an attempt to protray my world via photography.  It is still very much in the early stages, as I have learned this can become a very time involving process.. Yet it is something I wish to do. 

The buttons for each of these bog sites are to the left side.  You need only click to venture to the other sides of me... I hope you enjoy them.  I look forward to your comments. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Update on my Button

I have been saved... by a younger and much wiser (in computer jargon) woman... Heather from Girlchef was my hero for the day.... She helped me out with my button. She did everything but paste it on my site...

And might I add her site is incredible... If you like to cook or if you just like wonderful recipes with some beautiful photography... I urge you to click on the picture above and take a gander... I am sure you will enjoy it...

I already have plans to make the party nuts this weekend during football.... Thanks again Heather you are a doll... But it is like I said... what else would you expect from a Scorpio...

Friday, September 18, 2009

My New Button

As some of you may have noticed I have attempted to create and add a button to my site.  To be honest this has almost drove me crazy... I finally got the picture added to my sight, figuring out all the little quirks etc.  Yet when attempting to figure out the addition of the hmtl text below... well let just say I think my computer savy went out the window.

The instructions I were given were simple enough and I attempted several times to complete them yet each time in doing so, it would raise havoc with my button.

Seeing how it only makes sense to me that when there is an easier route that does exactly what I want it to do is available I opted to go for it. 

So in saying this, if you opt to post my button to your sight, it is quite simple.  You just copy the picture and add it as a picture gadget.  There is an area above to add a link.  Simply put my blog site:  RantingsOfACrazedWoman.blogspot.com  Save and it is finished.

I guess I am just one of those girls who "has" to be different... Honestly... I am one of them old women who can't figure it out... Have a wonderful weekend...


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday

There is no better feeling for a mother than to feel that her children have grown up well and have found someone good to share their lives with.  I have been blessed to have that for all of my children.  It is something I am very thankful for. There are attributes in all of them that compliment the other and a happiness shared by all. 

My son in law is celebrating his birthday today and I would just like to wish him a happy birthday along with warm wishes.  Not only is he a fantastic daddy to my 2 grandkids and (one on the way)... a great friend and husband to my daughter... and a son in law any mother in law could love... he also is a Captain in the United States Army

I am thankful for all he gives to his family, yet also thankful for all he gives to his country.  Happy Birthday Jon!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

As the cooler weather continues and the sun decides to stay hidden by the clouds, the urge to bake is becoming stronger and stronger... I have tried somewhat to keep myself from its calling yet I think today I will give in. I have decided that my baking season has begun. Even if I have to give all my creations away. The urge is too strong.
Thus, today I decided to start small and make some cookies.. Usually Chocolate chip are the usual standby.. I love them soft and gooey, yet Vincent is not fond of them. So I will whip up a batch of his favotite, Peanut Butter. They also lend themselves nicely to the coolness and feeling of the coming Autumn.

This recipe is simple and usually one that is a favorite with my grandkids as they love to make the criss cross with the fork. Enjoy

1 cup shortning
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, cream shortning, peanut butter, and sugars.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and add to creamed mixture.  If you do not have a sifter, an easy way is to whisk the ingrediants together in a separate bowl, this works just as well. 

Roll mixture into small balls, aproximately 1 1/2".  Place on ungreased baking sheet 3" apart.  Flatten with a sugared fork, making the well known criss cross pattern. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 12 minutes.  Let cool slightly and remove from baking sheet.  Sit back and enjoy.

Extra note:  Recently per the Domestic Witch blog ( http://domesticwitch.blogspot.com/ ) she had a delightful recipe for lavendar sugar, which I intend to use.  I think that this would be perfect to use as a dusting on these cookies or possibly the sugar to dip the fork in before making the criss cross. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Potatoes & Gravy

There is a good reason that some foods are called comfort foods. They give us a feeling of calmness, warmth and often fond memories. Unfortunately many if not all of these foods are not necessarily something that we should be eating at every meal. Unless of course we work a 10 hour day of hard labor. Yet still there are the occasional times when we indulge ourselves and partake of those things that always seem to bring a smile to our face.

A comfort food that can well be called one of my favorites is potatoes and gravy... You know the real potatoes cooked up and mashed just right. Then the gravy that is not from a package but made from the drippings of the meat cooked earlier. My mother being the German she is, had several ways to prepare potatoes. And I think I can safely say we had them every day at least once and sometimes twice. From potato pancakes to fried potatoes and onions they were all so delicious. Yet my favorite by far was when she fried pork chops and made potatoes and gravy.

I have tried over the years to duplicate that taste from her yet I just never seem to get it right. I think much of this is because it just always taste better when someone else prepares food for you.... That is if they are a good cook. Yet from the reviews I receive on my own attempts I am led to believe that I am not too bad at it.

There are a couple other things that give me a smile and a fond memory. My grandma's Lemon Pie: something I later found out she would make just for me when she knew I was coming. Saltine Crackers with a thin layer of real butter spread across the top: This was the treat that my grandma would give us as children when we stayed at her home. Soft white bread with butter and sugar on top: Another treat from Grandma. My moms fried chicken: something I still have not completely perfected. Pie Crust squares: Left over pie crust which is rolled out and topped with sugar and cinnamon. Violet, a woman I worked with when I was young, taught me how to make this. And the list goes on.. I guess I have a few more than just a couple.

Comfort foods bring us a feeling of nostalgia. A remembrance of people whom we love and hold dear. They may not be the healthiest food, yet it is hard to say that they are not good for you. As they take the worries of the day and make them disappear for a bit, giving you a moment of serenity and peace. So I say indulge now and then. Give homage to the memories and the people who with just a few bites can make us feel a little bit better, if only for a while.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Nurturing Power of Rain

There are not many who would say that they do not enjoy the rush of cool water falling over their heads. Yes at times the sudden change in temperature can be a shock, yet it can also be quite refreshing. Rain is no different. It is mother natures way of washing away the grime that accumulates, making the world and ourselves once again new.

It was a wonderful damp rainy weekend. A weekend to just sit in the house and read a good book or catch up on movies that you have not seen in some time or possibly not at all. A weekend to be still for a bit and enjoy the solitude and peace.

Although the sunlight is loved by all, occasionally it is a pleasant change to have a damp cool misty day. As the rain continues through the beginning of this week, giving glimpses of sunshine as the week progresses, I intend to take advantage of the time. It is a perfect time to capture some photography that only a foggy wet day can give. It is a perfect time to sit with a nice cup of hot tea and read a good book. It is a perfect time to run away into my imagination and work on the story I am writing for my grand kids. It is just a perfect time to enjoy.

Although I know that this slow lazy attitude can not be practiced for long, I intend to hold on to it for a bit longer and enjoy its presence. Happy Monday to all.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Remberance

September 11 2001... A date that will forever be etched in the minds of millions. At 8:46 am the world was to be changed forever. Although the attacks that occurred on that day were executed on American soil, the repercussions would in time effect so many more.

A total of 3017 people lost their lives on this day. Yet the loss was greater still as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, children, and friends were also lost. The grief that would blanket us would be felt world wide. Over 90 countries were represented in the loss.

And still the death count continues. For out of this event arose another. The current death count for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) according to the Washington Post - Faces of the Fallen is 5130. A direct result of the 9-11 attacks, this war shows no sign of ending soon.

Thus today do not just remember the 3017 whose lives were lost 8 years ago today.... Also remember the 5130 who have lost their lives since.

And still the sobering sadness continues, as this number of 8147 does not include the others. Contractors, Journalists, Civilians of said countries, the family and friends touched by the loss, and so many more. A moment of silence.... A prayer for peace....


Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Roaming Gnome

I am always looking for new and inventive ways to prepare food. The simpler the better. On our recent trip to Tennessee, we visited a local pub called "The Roaming Gnome."

It was my son who found it in his search for a good place to eat on the Internet. Seeing that I am a lover of Gnomes, we all decided to visit. Have to say we were quite glad we did... Definitely a local hang out and probably not frequented much by those who are not familiar with the area. All traits of a good place to go, at least in my opinion.

After the over commercialization of much of the Smokies, The Roaming Gnome was a much needed relaxation. After a couple pitches of beer and an array of wonderful appetizers we could easily say that we had made a great choice.

I spoke of the food... We had what was called Cheese Logs... which basically are homemade cheese sticks. Giving them the name Log was not a mistake.... as they definitely were not sticks... Coupled with fresh homemade marinara sauce that was simply to die for. We also had what was called Irish Boxies. Potato balls deep fried served with sour cream and fresh picante.

So if you are ever in the vicinity of Sevierville, Tennessee, make the extra effort to locate this out of the way place... I can assure you it is worth the trouble... Oh, and the picture of the gnome above... that is my own roaming gnome...but then that is a whole other story.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Birthday Giveaway

I am quickly becoming quite a fan of this blogging. One of its many blessings are the people that you meet. A follower of "Rantings" is doing a simply wonderful thing. She has opted to give presents away on her birthday. Just wanted to drop a quick note about it as it is such a sweet thing to do as well as her blog is quite enjoyable and one that you may just enjoy. Please see the link below.

Hurry... you only have until September 14th to register as her birthday is on the 15th and this is when she is going to draw the winners....



Today is one of those days that everyone finds fascinating as all three numbers of the date are the same... Yes it is September 9, 2009 or as it is better known, 9-9-9.

I am sure there are many reasons that people find this date so fascinating and special yet for me there is mainly one.

It is the day that the Beatle RockBand is released. Like many other Beatle fans I have been awaiting this date... Although I think many of us are closet RockBand/Guitar Hero fanatics. I can hardly wait to purchase my copy and start learning. Although I usually play the bass on Guitar hero, I will need to brush up on my skills as George is my favorite beatle thus, I have to play lead. The words, no problem.. I already know them all...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Long Way Home

I have arrived home from my trip... It was quite an enjoyable experience, although anytime I have the chance to see my grandchildren or my kids I enjoy it. Our destination was the Smokie Mountains in Tennessee. A beautiful contribution to the world...

Although the area was quite built up and very commercialized. I was somewhat surprised by this as I really was not expecting it. It is a pet peeve of mine. To take such a beautiful area where God has created such beauty and to mar it with billboards and trinket shops.

The trip was for my grandson's third birthday so the majority of the time was spent at the water park with the family. Although I do think that it would be a lovely place to sneak away up into the mountains where the existence of man is not as evident. In the mornings the mist covers the hills and you can just feel nature calling you away from the rat race of the multitude of cars and noise.

Maybe someday I will have another opportunity to visit and this time will experience the quieter side of the Smokies.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Moments in Time

I have busily been preparing to take a short trip and visit my grandchildren. My grandson is turning three years old and although they no longer live near me, I would very much like to be with them for their birthdays when it is possible. It has been a few months since I last seen them and I am sure both have grown.

It has taken some time yet I think I have resolved the fact that I am not able to see them at a drop of a hat anymore. I am fortunate that the drive to see them is not that far. A good days drive, yet it could be worse.

Time seems to go so quickly as you get older. I remember when I was young, all I ever wanted to be was 13 years old. I thought when I turn 13 years old, the world will be right... Whatever, it still had all the same problems as it did before.... and then some. Each time I talk with my grandchildren I can hear a difference in their voice or they tell me of something new they have done or are planning on doing... I realize at these moments that time is fleeting and yes, they are growing up.

One thing I did promise to myself when they moved was that I would not allow the distance between us to keep me from experiencing their lives and many changes. It is quite different than before yet still I am able to share in the moments. My daughter has been quite good at keeping me up to date with such things and still calls me at times to let the kids tell me good night before they go to bed. No I dont get to tuck them in and snuggle down with them for a bit. Tell them a good story or sing a few songs with them... but still it is a pressence.

Remember that moments are fleeting. Take advantage of all you can. Not just from the little ones but from the older ones and the in between ones... No one ever knows what tomorrow holds.