I WON'T BACK DOWN

Saturday, August 31, 2019

THE SWEETEST THING I'VE EVER KNOWN


I remember when this song first came out.

I played it so much the cassette tape literally wore out; LOL

I used to love watching Bob sleep - he looked so peaceful; almost boyish, when the troubles and stresses of his long, hard workdays were not so pressing during those few short hours.

Loving him, and being loved by him was the sweetest thing I've ever known.

I will always feel incredibly blessed.

I love you, Babe.

Always.

OX

A HEALTHY MATURE WOMAN’S BODY IS FINE FOR ME


Denial is a powerful drug - does Dolly LOOK "115 pounds" here???? Of course NOT!

Today, is the real start of my new life without Bob.

My goal is to lose at least another 30 pounds – I will be comfortable with that … and a whole lot healthier too.

And I am going to try losing the extra weight naturally.

Unlike Dolly, who claims “her weight never changes”; according to her, she has “always been 115 pounds.”

Yeah; right.

WRONG.

I am old enough to remember when ((((I)))) WAS 115 pounds WITH a chest to rival Dolly’s … and there was a WHOLE LOT MORE OF HER spreading out below her waist – LOOK AGAIN AT THE VIDEO ABOVE – does that look like 115 pounds stuffed into that pantsuit?

I still have the chest, but when menopause struck, my ass grew into my boobs.

Dolly ALWAYS had an ass … UNTIL she became famously famous – then her ass shrunk, and her boobs expanded.

UNNATURALLY.

While Dolly wore a girdle in the 1970’s to rein her trashy ass in, it was pretty damned proportionate TO her large – but not excessively large chest: above her waist, and below her waist, things were pretty ‘even steven’.

But country ‘trash’ doesn’t go over well in high-end-LA-trash - even reined in with a sturdy girdle, and off-set with BIG hair.

So, around the 1980’s, when she hit pay dirt in Hollywood, her ass shrunk significantly and her boobs were noticeably inflated.

Dolly discovered plastic surgery.

Dolly discovered liposuction.

Dolly discovered breast implants (she didn’t need implants, but as she came into midlife, she didn’t want her boobs to start heading south …)

Dolly became a multimillion-dollar Barbie doll practically overnight – an adult version of a fantasy Barbie doll: and her chubby-cheeked-face was resculpted too.

She is a savvy business woman, and sold that enhanced trashy version of herself for all it was worth!

Now, I am not going to begrudge Dolly her due: she sold herself in the 1970’s, and won the monetary rewards she was hungry for. I bought several of her LPs myself because I liked her music. Then, as she started aging, she took stock of her image, and reshaped, repackaged, and resold herself. And she has been truthful about those changes.

But, for her to state that her “weight has never changed” is just a blatant, bold-faced L.I.E.

She {MAY BE} “115 pounds” NOW … but back in the 1970’s, she was waaaaaaay PAST 115 pounds; by ANYONE’S SCALE:

Dolly – Chunky 1975. I am willing to lay $$$ down that Dolly was around 165 pounds in this picture: EVEN WEARING a girdle to slim those hips and that ass down some …

Being chunky is okay; lying about it is NOT.

I admit, I am chunky.

I am 20 pounds lighter than I was before Bob stepped off this planet, in December of 2018; but I can afford to pare some more of me off. Loose clothing makes me LOOK fatter than I actually AM - but, for the time being, I am too chunky to wear my shirts tucked in ... right now, it's a lose-lose-situation :-(

There is no reason to lie about it: pictures and mirrors don’t lie – they reflect what is visible to the naked eye. I’ve never been a skinny Minnie (and never wanted to have my hip bones sticking out); the Hargand’s like to eat. Bob liked to eat. I enjoy eating. It shows … on all of us.

Family Reunion 2016 (Bob in the checkered shirt).

And even IF I could afford plastic surgeries, liposuction, and implants … I WOULDN’T DO IT. Personal choice: I don’t want a surgical knife anywhere near me – ever; and I don’t want non-organic things in my body.

I intend to lose 30 pounds naturally, too; if I can actually lose the menopausal weight without estrogen supplements – which I firmly reject. Again, a personal choice. I made that choice at 16, and see NO reason to change that decision. None.

Bob didn’t mind me chunky: Bob loved me. ALL of me.

But, now, I am alone – and I am officially a Senior Citizen; I have to think differently – I have to be more health conscious. My bones, though healthy now, will begin to get brittle. Extra weight will be bad on them. My anginaic heart is aging along with the rest of me, and it would do much better if it didn’t have to work so hard to keep up with the extra weight. My weak lungs, already stressed by chronic bronchitis & environmental asthmatic flareups, would not have to work so hard, if I could shed the extra weight.

I am alone now.

I have to think differently.

I am already eating differently: more lean, and more calorie conscious.

I have embarked on an exercise regime again – brisk, but safe enough for a senior citizen ;-)

It may take ALL of what’s left of 2019, and ALL of 2020, BUT I am going to give it ALL I have, to pare off those extra 30 pounds that are wearing me down physically, and putting extra stress on my heart & lungs – both, of which, are already weak; and have been all my life. Now my body, and internal organs are older too, and will continue aging: I need to pay attention and pamper them now. Only God knows how long they have to last me …

And when I DO – if I can – I am NOT going to lie and tell everyone, “I have always weighed 115 pounds; that never changed.”

I don’t WANT to weigh 115 pounds – that would be too thin for my personal taste, concerning my personal body shape. And I will still be pretty curvy when I shed those 30 pounds, BUT I will be healthier than I am today.

And THAT is okay with me ;-)

I am not a teenager anymore.

And my skin is not as elastic as it was before menopause struck: I am aging, and so is my body. In every way imaginable.

I am not husband shopping: and never will be interested in another man.

I am 62 years old.

A mature woman’s body is fine for
me.

As long as it is reasonably healthy.

Friday, August 30, 2019

BETWEEN NOW AND THEN; BOB'S CELEBRATION OF LIFE GATHERING


Our granddaughter, Alyna, & her fiancé, Liam, came late last night and spent the night with me: I think they needed my comfort as much as they thought I needed theirs – I was thankful, and loved them for their thoughtfulness; they didn’t want me to be alone. They knew how much I love Bob.

They are good kids.

I got up early this morning, having only had about 4 hours of sleep, and headed out for Eden Valley ahead of the kids: I needed to be there before 11 a.m. … earlier would be better; so I shot for earlier, and prayed like crazy Dave would be there early – and that Kerry would arrive early too.

I asked my friends on FB to keep me in their thoughts, and to pray or me today – and I FELT those prayers lifting me, and keeping me, all day :-D

As I passed Mill Creek junction off Ocean Beach Highway, I saw the Columbia River 4-story-paddle-wheeler make its way upriver out of my peripheral vision … but, I was on a mission, so couldn’t stop to gawk or snap a quick pic: no time today. It WAS impressive!(https://www.usatoday.com/story/cruiselog/2014/04/04/american-empress-river-cruise/7300731/)

The trip was pretty uneventful, EXCEPT when I met an oncoming log truck on KM Mountain (just a big hill, really); it was coming at me with its left wheels a bit over the center line – and that kinda worried me, because there was no place for me to go, except in the ditch if it didn’t stop hogging the center line. My right wheels were hugging the far white line on my side of the highway as safely as I could without sliding into the ditch. It went past me with no incident … but it was CLOSE. Too close for my comfort. But, I reminded myself that loggers and log truck drivers have very early work days: most of their “days” starts at 3 a.m., and by 9 – or 9:30 a.m., they have already put 6 straight hours of work under their belt with little to NO downtime: they are beat already – and they still have a long day ahead of them until they can sign off their work day at 5 p.m. That said, it WAS a dicey situation, and it did worry me some.

But Elohim was faithful ;-)

I arrived at the Rosburg Hall around 9:45 – I had pretty much been creeping along the roadway from home, so as not to jar the headstones and damage them. I was ahead of schedule, so I decided to visit for a bit with Sonja (Bob’s mother’s lifelong friend) & Frieda (Bob’s Aunt; his father’s sister), and have a quick cup of coffee before heading on to the cemetery. After I finished my coffee, and was walking to my car, Ken Elliot, who was weed-eating around the Hall, walked over to me and said he was sorry to hear about Bob – and asked how I was holding up. I said, “Thank you”, and “I’m doing okay.” Bob grew up in the Valley with the Elliott boys: Bob’s family lived in Eden Valley, and the Elliott family lived in the Altoona-Pillar Rock vicinity, a hop-skip-&-a jump down the road past Eden Valley; Ken’s brother, Brian, and his wife Linda, moved into the Elliott house about 25 years ago, and turned it into a B & B. It is a beautiful antique house, but the road to get to it is a HELL RIDE – steep, rutted, and very, VERY narrow; we went up there a few times and the road really freaked me out. But, according to their FB Page, they are doing a booming business with the tourists that enjoy giving themselves heart attacks by death-defying cliff climbs:

Elliot House (aka, Dahlia House). 

Ken and & talked for quite a bit, reminiscing about Bob, the past, the time he was part of the chaperoning team that went with our girls (Stacey – our daughter, & Traci – his daughter), and the rest of the Wahkiakum Track Team when they participated in the 8th Grade Junior Olympics Track Meet in Florida. As we were winding up our trip down Memory Lane, Alyna & Liam pulled to a stop in front of my car … and we commenced on to the cemetery – and I was glad to see Dave there already.

We were still ahead of schedule, but that was okay. Maybe it was best this way; the kids were ready & willing to help do whatever needed to be done. Alyna loved her grandfather – and Liam, had already been welcomed into the family as Alyna’s fiancé, and “grandson-in-law”, LOL, 5 years ago: I was sure Bob was pleased they were with me and eager to help with loving ministrations.

We all introduced ourselves; and I liked Dave right off. I was sure Bob liked him too ;-) I saw the area had already been prepared with the hole ready & waiting … AND DRY, thank God, after the rainstorm we had last night – Dave said it had rained there too, but, the ground was really very dry (even the backfill on the tarp was dry too); and the hole had been covered …


So, I thanked Dave for being there to lend a helping hand, I thanked Elohim for favoring us with dry conditions despite the rainstorm that went over our areas, and I had a private moment – remembering the beautiful body and handsome face that Bob’s spirit lived in and enjoyed while he lived on earth, and loved me as a man; I kissed the Urn Box and let my mind remember before it was buried - never to see the light of day again until that great and glorious Day Yeshua returns to claim His Own and graves are opened, followed by the Rapture of the Church:

Yeshua had given Bob such a beautiful and handsome earthen vessel for his spirit to dwell in for 69 years. Bob was altogether beautiful inside and out ... I feel privileged to have had Bob in my life; to have had the pleasure of his pleasuring & pampering; and all the love he lavished on me. I am a better person because Bob loved me.

Then Dave started backfilling. He did so with tender care. Liam & I helped with cleanup. And as I peeled back the tarp, A BLACK GARTER SNAKE slithered out of the tarp fold! I jumped and dropped the tarp edge like it was on fire – the guys looked at me, and I said, “Snake!” The guys exchanged looks that had laughter in their eyes, and I looked at the sky and said, “Not funny Bob! Stop laughing – you KNOW I hate snakes!” I don’t, for one minute, believe that Bob had anything to do with that snake being in the tarp fold … but, I DO believe he was laughing as he watched the whole little drama unfold because he always laughed when I was spooked by a snake – even a semi-baby snake like this one was. And he would say exactly the same thing Liam said – “It’s only a garter snake, Val.” I don’t care! ALL snakes look the same to me: ICKY!

Backfill complete. I was thankful for Dave Brueland’s help.

Backfill done, it was time to tinker with the headstones, so I asked Liam if he’s help me carry them 1 by 1 from the car, to the plot block; he agreed – so we went after them.

And as I was reaching for one end on the first one we decided to pick up first, Liam said, “Oh, they aren’t that heavy: I can take both of them.” ARE YOU FOR REAL KID? Those things are H.E.A.V.Y.

But, HE DID IT …


And Alyna jumped into the fray too, and helped with the placement of the headstones – jiggling them and juggling them; lifting and setting them, until everyone was satisfied they were level and “right”:


Then, Dave started slicing the sod. And he heard me tell the kids, “I wish my headstone could be close to Bob’s – like my head was close to his head every night for 44 years. It seems silly for it to be all the way over there in a separate plot when my cremains will rest next to his (above his, actually, as 6 urns can fit in 1 plot) in this plot. But that’s what Heather said has to be done …”


And he stopped the action, and said, “If that’s what you want, I can do that for you.”

So, I said, “You can? Then ((((YES!)))) That is what I want – I want my headstone as close to his as you can get it.”

So, a new plan was set in operation. YAY!

Side by side. Always. ~OX
Alyna helped with adjusting the headstone depth. What a trooper.
I am MUCH happier with this arrangement.

That done, I thought of another use for the sod block that had been sliced and lifted. And Dave thought of the same thing :-D At practically the same time, we both said, “That sod can be repurposed to place over Bob’s Urn Box placement.”

So, that is what happened :-D

Repurposed sod block used to cover the raw dirt over Bob’s Urn Box placement; MUCH BETTER!

And, I swear, I could FEEL Bob watching our endeavors, and loving administrations to honor his existence when he walked as we walk; and to lovingly care for his cast off remains, now that he lives above the clouds: I am sure Bob was smiling and approving ;-)

The sky directly above us ...

I was really proud of the kids today – they really pitched in and helped – out of genuine love. I am sure Bob is proud of them, too.


Everything was finished that needed to be finished before people started arriving - Kerry was late. But, it was okay. I kinda felt guilty asking him to help anyway: he is grieving too. Kerry was willing to help ... but now, it was not necessary ;-)

Like I said before, perhaps it was better this way - the kids helped Dave help me; and it was a true family experience. We had closure in a real, cohesive way. As a family. Immediate family. It was right.

As that sod block was being tamped with shoe toes into place, our oldest Grand-daughter, Krisalee showed up – she flew in from the Connecticut earlier this week, and drove up from Salem, OR (where she had been visiting her mother) this morning. It was a looooong drive; and I was happy to see her arrive. Safely :-D

Our oldest Grand-daughters, Krisalee (purple hair: Bob's son Alex's daughter), Alyna (our daughter Stacey's daughter), & Liam.

And then extended friends & family started arriving.


Danny & Terri Eaton were first to pull in. I was happy they came after all. And I was SO glad for Bob! They were friends all through high school, as well as Bob’s first marriage – and they stayed in contact … albeit spotty at times … all their adult lives. Bob’s brother, Ralph, (2 years younger) started talking with them:


A nice sized gathering took place; I opened the time of sharing with Psalm 91:14 thru 16: “Because he has loved me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My Name: he shall call upon Me – and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him; I will honor him. With a long life, I will satisfy him. And show him My salvation.” I shared with them that the Grim Reaper, had 3 times, before December 14th, 2018, tried to claim Bob – when he was a toddler (a house fire that destroyed the home, and that scarred his legs, arms, & lungs – he was scared & scarred … but he lived for another 26 years); when he was 28 (a blood clot, while in hospital, broke lose from his broken thigh bone & killed him in front of my eyes – he was jump started and was returned to me for a few years more); when he was 31 (the doctors never did figure out WHY he died AND WAS DEAD FOR 25 minutes: and returned back to me for another 38 years). Elohim had been faithful to keep him alive – and return him back to me 2 more times: and Bob ALWAYS praised Elohei, lived for Yeshua, and TOLD people about his salvation in 1981. There is no doubt, none whatsoever, that when he answered Elohim’s call to ‘come Home, Bob’ in December of 2018, Bob now walks WITH Yeshua in that celestial city above the clouds.

Others shared what they knew of Bob’s life – how he impacted their lives, and how he enriched their lives for having known him. Some things, I already knew – and was comforted with the memory; some things were new to my ears, and showed me a whole new side of Bob I didn’t know before I came to know him in 1974 – and I appreciated the insight: it explained things, like the scar on his bald head that I wondered about, and he couldn’t remember because his death in 1981 threw a kink into his long-term data bank.

And Ralph, as usual, told a whopper – intended to put Bob in a bad light … but instead made Ralph himself look ridiculous because everyone knew the truth of the matter. Ralph is a sad excuse for a human in being in general, and a really sad example of brotherhood.

But, everyone just ignored Ralph’s petty jealousy and behaved beautifully: I was proud of everyone’s behavior – with that one exception …

A nice crowd Bob would have enjoyed spending time with – and he did, actually: Bob was with us in spirit. Truly - Bob is more alive now then he ever was; and he was pretty lively when he lived among us for 69 years ;-)
Donny Seaburg (large checked shirt). Another one of Bob's close high school friends, who came today: all hometown kids, who stayed loyal hometown kids. Knowing them, I can imagine the stories of mischievous youth & rambunctious young adulthood they must be hiding!
Bob’s mom & cousin, Martin Ostervold. Bob water-skied behind Martin’s speed boat – that boat was FAST! And Bob was beauty in action on those water skies - with that sun-kissed browned skin and those white cutoffs. Bob was a very handsome man, who enjoyed being actively athletic. And I loved watching him when he was actively engaged ;-)

Even though Bob didn’t want a funeral, I believe Bob was happy with the Celebration of Life turn-out today: which really was not a 'funeral' at all - more of a respectful - yet casual - gathering a friends. I was happy to see so many people show; who loved my husband, and honored him by remembering a life well lived, by a man who loved everyone unconditionally – and who always smiled easily and laughed with abandon.

Bob was one of those rare human beings that really made everyone feel equal and special: he was capable of favoring people with 1-on-1 attention, and lifting them above themselves, so they could shine.

Bob TOUCHED lives and left imprints that will never fade over time; if anything, those imprints will increase as life moves forward.

Bob’s youngest brother, Kerry (in the wood mask he designed & crafted), humoring the crowd – and livening the mood: Bob was howling, I am sure! I was proud of everyone today.

Bob was happy. I was happy. Elohim was faithful.

Thank You, Yeshua.

I am eternally grateful.

The weather was perfect.

The attitude adjustments were perfect.

A day that was dreaded, turned out to be A VERY GOOD DAY.

And THAT was a very good thing ;-)

On the flip-side of all the joyous peace I was experiencing this afternoon, when I left Rosburg, I saw that I had a missed call on my cell; but I was in a spot where there was no service in the Valley … so as soon as I had service (which was in Skamokawa - a looooong way down the road), I returned the call – knowing what I would hear and not wanting to hear it: my sister, Iris, is dying. She had been in the hospital for a while now, but I was told this afternoon that she has been ‘non responsive’ for a few days, and her doctors are thinking it may be time to consider quality of life options. Her brother, Bob, doesn’t accept that: he is operating on false hope, and shock. Her husband is in deep emotional upheaval – boy! Do I KNOW that feeling. And I am being asked by Bob to insert my opinions into the lives of people I really do not know except for phone conversations, in which truth has not been shared with me: I had NO IDEA Iris was suffering from serious & critical medical issues. Those issues do not change my love for her – I always knew about her/I always loved her/I always wanted to get to know her … and Elohim brought all that into being over the past 8 months. BUT, how much do I really know? NOT ENOUGH to involve myself in lives that have not been forthcoming with me.

No!

Life and death decisions for Iris will have to be made by her husband.

And her brother will have to live with those decisions.

But asking me to get involved in lives of people, who are still strangers to me, is NOT OKAY.

I want Iris to recover and get better.

I want to have her around a little longer.

I want her to come to know me well enough to be honest with me.

But most of all, I want for Iris, whatever IT IS that Elohim wants for Iris’ life.

*UPDATE: My sister, Iris died September 2nd, 2019.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

BOB WILL ALWAYS REIGN IN MY HEART


Last year, on Bob's Birthday, August 30th - I posted this to our FB Page in the morning ...

  

… by 1'noon, we were trying to make sense of the ER doctors telling us Bob was dying.

Bob always treated me like a Queen; and took a lot of flack for that from people who thought he should "rein that woman in": but, Bob LIKED Me feisty ... and he knew he could get me into the corral quicker with a loose rein than he could by a sharp jerk on the bridle ;-)

Bob was a smart man.
And because he treated me as his equal - and as Queen of our humble castle: I treated him like a King.
He will always reign in my heart.
I love you, Babe.
Always.
OX

NATIONAL GRIEF AWARENESS DAY


Is this prophetic, or what?

August 30th is Bob's Birthday - he would have been 70 years old tomorrow. 


We would have been celebrating his life with his favorite birthday food - pizza ;-)

Instead, on his birthday tomorrow, I will be taking his earthly remains to be placed among family members that preceded him - in the family cemetery in Eden Valley. Because I will be placing Bob's cremains myself, I designed and crafted a special way to safely lower the remains of his beautiful body - and Kerry will help too.


Tomorrow.

On Bob's birthday: August 30th.

Which, will never again be celebrated happily.

But, which will always, now, be remembered nationally - on August 30th/National Grief Awareness Day - with other widows & widowers; who are now part of my extended 'family'.



“NUKING HURRICANES”- LATEST LEFTISTS HYSTERIA


DO THE RESEARCH PEOPLE!

Personally, I think dropping a bomb into the eye of a hurricane to stop it makes more sense than fat dictators and brainwashed religious fanatics dropping nukes to kill people ...

Killing a hurricane doesn't seem "insane" to me.

But, it figures that the leftist crazies would think killing babies, women, and children is more important than killing hurricanes.

Even if it IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO TO SAVE HUMANS ... somehow, I do not envision stocking-hatted-political-zombies marching in protest "for the right to kill" hurricanes.

Just sayin'.


Snopes has given its opinion on the issue reported in the link following: {Snopes cannot independently verify the claims of anonymous sources cited in the Axios story, or claims contained within documents we have not seen. As such, we rank the claim “Unproven.” This rating could change if corroborating information becomes public}


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

I MISS MY FRIEND ~OX

THERE'S ONLY YOU


Always.
OX

BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS


Right back where I started 45 years ago.

Never thought I'd ever see this boulevard again ...
For a brief period of time I was loved.
Wholly & completely.
Now I have been thrust back to the boulevard of broken dreams.
It is not a friendly place.

MOD FOOT FORM


I like homemade slippers – my family likes homemade slippers … and I sell homemade slippers at local Winter Bazaars.

Last year, Bob & I noticed that our slippers were getting holes in them; this never happened before (the yarn would thin significantly over time due to wear & wash) in any other house we lived in - but HERE, they were wearing out faster than I could make new pairs; so we started paying attention to what the issue could be. I mean, I would make us new pairs … and they WOULD HAVE HOLES IN THEM IN 2 WEEKS TIME! We finally decided that it had to be the kitchen floor: that floor is stone flooring, and the tiles had rough edges and rough design: very beautiful – but hell on our slipper bottoms. So, I put non-skid footing on them, and they last; literally until wear & wash thins the yarn to disintegration. All I use for this protection is ‘Tulip Puff Paint’ – it is spendy ($17 for a 6-pack), so I don’t do this for the slippers I sell: if people want that added protection, they can add that themselves, ‘cause for sure they will bitch about the extra cost if I do it for them; and I can’t eat the added expense myself: homemade stuff costs $$$,and I need to recoup that expense.

I made a new style of knot slippers the other night, and know – from past experience – that I will need to protect the bottoms when I wear them. So, I made a set of MOD Foot Forms to stretch my slippers on and coat with puff paint ;-)

MOD FOOT FORM. Styrofoam, plastic wrap & foil.

MOD forms are rough-form; they are made out of recycled Styrofoam:

MOD FOOT FORM made to stretch knit slippers for non-skid application.

The Styrofoam is thick and pretty sturdy, so I traced my feet on it – cut the shape out with a serrated steak knife over a Lucite cutting board (now I need to buy a new cutting board because this one is nicked pretty bad from the jabbing knife point)

HOW TO MAKE MOD FOOT FORM. Styrofoam, cutting board, serrated knife, plastic wrap & foil.

… and wrapped the Styrofoam forms in plastic wrap (to keep any flaking foam balls off my knitted items) – and added a layer of tin foil wrapping over the plastic wrap (to keep the puff paint from bleeding through & drying my slipper top & bottom together):

HM KNIT SLIPPER STRETCHED ON MOD FOOT FORM.
SLIPPER WITH PUFF PAINT APPLICATION.
NON-SKID FOOTING APPLIED & DRYING.
How the slippers look after the undercoating dries thoroughly.
How the slippers look on the feet ...


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

4 MAKE-AHEAD FREEZER MEALS


Cheryl & Pam came to visit me yesterday afternoon – and Cheryl brought some of the ‘down south’ Pinto Beans, her husband Mike, had brought back with him from his New Mexico trip. I am told they are milder and smoother tasting that the pinto beans we have here … we’ll see: I am making a batch of ‘Baked Pinto Beans’ with them this morning ;-)

I stored the Pinto beans Cheryl brought me in a separate baggie, so I can tell them apart; to test the taste differences; if there are any.
The Pinto's Cheryl gave me so look lighter ...

I googled a chuck steak recipe – basically because I wanted a change of pace in that regard; and I was just too lazy to thumb through my cookbooks – and I found a recipe that sounded good. It did smell good while cooking, so I think I will be happy with this change of pace ;-)

Gravied Chuck Steak - portioned for Freezer meals. 

The ‘Curried Carrot Soup’ recipe came from my August 1985 Bob Appetit cooking magazine.

Curry Carrot Soup; frozen in 1-serving portions alongside 1-portion packages of Baked Pinto Beans - for future meals.

And the ‘Orange-Curry Grilled Chicken w-Tarragon’ recipe came from my August 1986 Food & Wine cooking magazine. The house smelled wonderful!

Orange-Curry Grilled Chicken w-Tarragon; portioned for freezer meals.

For Supper tonight, I had a mug of Curried carrot Soup & a side of Cajun Shrimp – I got the recipe for the spicy shrimp from my ‘2003 Taste of Home/Light & Tasty’ cookbook. Delish!



==BAKED PINTO BEANS ~Serves 6 (1 cup servings)

This recipe comes from my ‘Betty Crocker/New American Cooking’ cookbook my sister gave me decades ago; Bob really liked it. It is a good source of thiamine (vitamin B1) – which is essential for our bodies.

I cook this dish in my crockpot** – works better for me; but I am posting it as written in the cookbook for the cooking purists :

4 cups Water * 1 pound (about 2-1/2 cups) dried Pinto Beans * ½ cup Brown Sugar * 1 teaspoon Sea Salt * ¼ teaspoon ground Cloves * ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper * ¼ teaspoon Celery Seed * ¼ cup Water * 1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar * ½ cup strong Black Coffee * 2 Tablespoons Brandy * 1 medium Onion. Sliced * 4 slices Bacon

Heat 4 cups water and the beans to boiling in a 3-quart saucepan. Boil 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover, and let stand 1 hour. Add enough hot water, if necessary, to cover beans. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover, and simmer until beans are tender – about 1-1/2 hours (do not boil, or beans will burst). Drain beans, reserving liquid. Heat brown sugar, salt, cloves, pepper, celery seed, ¼ cup water & the vinegar to boiling; stirring occasionally. Stir in coffee and brandy.

Place half the beans in an ungreased 2-quart casserole; arrange onion on top. Pour half of the coffee mixture over onion; top with remaining beans. Pour remaining coffee mixture and the reserved bean liquid over beans. Cover & cook in 350-degree oven for 1-1/2 hours. Stir beans; arrange bacon on top. Cook uncovered 30 minutes longer.

**I like this recipe more as a soupy dish … so I just dump everything into my crockpot (slicing the bacon into smaller bits) – and cook on LOW for about 6 hours. The house smells great! And the dish is delish ;-)**

SI didn't have any brandy, so I improvised ;-) It works fine.
And that 2nd little empty bottle joined the 1st - waiting in the cupboard until I make a batch of Garlic Syrup this Winter.
I  added eggs to the crockpot meal, to hard-cook; the cooking liquid adds a nice flavor to the cooked eggs.


Prepping the skillet to go into the oven - I wrapped the handle with foil.

 

Browing the steak, and setting it aside.
.I used regular mustard in the sauce ...
I used onion diced large - because i like them like that ;-)
And finished cooking the dish in the oven.

==CURRIED CARROT SOUP ~8 servings (or 4 generous servings)

1 Tablespoon Butter * 1 large Red Bell Pepper, chopped * 12 medium Carrots, thinly sliced * ½ cup Water * 1 Tablespoon Sugar * 3 Tablespoons Butter * 2 Tablespoons all-purpose Flour * 2 cups hot Chicken Stock * 2 cups Milk * Sea Sat & Black Pepper *1/4 teaspoon Curry powder * ½ cup Whipping Cream * Slivered Pimento

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add bell pepper and cook until it begins to soften, stirring occasionally – about 4 minutes. Add carrots, water, and sugar. Cover & cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally – about 20 minutes.

I just dumped everything in the pot - including 2 eggs - and cooked it that way - this is what works for me: I am not a fancy cook; I cook TO EAT - not show off.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in 2 cups stock, then the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes to blend flavors. Add curry. Cool to room temperature.

Puree soup in blender until smooth. Strain into bowl. Mix in cream and enough additional stock to thin to desired consistency. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead & refrigerated). Serve hot or cold; garnish with pimento.

Puree the COOLED soup in batches.
I portioned the soup out into 1-cup servings: I am determined to stick to my calorie counting and shed another 20 pounds. So help me God! I portioned the servings out and froze them in baggies.

==ORANGE-CURRY GRILLED CHICKEN w-TARRAGON ~8 servings

I used half a chicken in this recipe – and I did not grill my chicken: I baked it in the oven; a personal preference. But I am posting the recipe as originally written …

Not needing a sauce, this dish will benefit from the sweet pungency of a Mango Chutney. It will also go well with a wild rice & mushrooms dish, and fresh snap peas or a green salad. A summer melon will round the meal out nicely.

8 skinless, boneless Chicken Breast halves * 4 teaspoons Dijon Mustard * 1 cup Orange Juice * 4 teaspoons Curry powder * 4 teaspoons Tarragon

Trim off any fat or cartilage from the chicken, and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, thin the mustard with ¼ cup of the orange juice. Blend in the curry powder, tarragon, and remaining orange juice. Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes at room temperature – or refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Preparing the marinade. Tarragon is VERY PUNGENT. It literally "takes my breath away" - so I use it sparingly and it lasts a good loooooong while with me.

Since the chicken cooks quickly, have the rest of the meal well underway before putting the chicken on the grill. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes on each side over a very hot grill. If not done, baste with the marinade, turn and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer on each side. The chicken should be slightly springy to the touch and juicy and moist – but not pink on the inside.

I opted to bake my chicken - it got drier, but I like it best this way; I am not fond of grilled meats ... though I do like the recipes for grilled meats

==CAJUN SHRIMP ~4 servings

2 teaspoons Paprika * 1 teaspoon dried Thyme * ½ teaspoon Salt * ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg * ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder * ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper * 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil * 1 pound uncooked, medium Shrimp, peeled & deveined

In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the paprika, thyme, salt, nutmeg, garlic powder, and cayenne in oil for 30 seconds – stirring constantly. Add shrimp; sauté for 2-3 minutes; or until shrimp turns pink, stirring occasionally.