Celebrating baby milestones on FaceTime

It was my husband who came up with the idea to FaceTime our grandson this past week. I was a little skeptical at first. I mean … Jake is only three months old. Rick thought it would be fun to sing the “Happy Three-Month Birthday” song to Jake … and after about five seconds of contemplation, I totally agreed!

“Be sure and pick up one of those little bundt cakes and a candle,” he smiled.

Although I totally got the heartfelt sentiment, Rick is one dude with a ginormous sweet tooth. But let’s face it … for every important milestone … there must be cake! And carrot cake from our local bundt cake store is even better.

I love how my daughter and son-in-law celebrate Jake’s milestones. Etsy has these cute stickers that you can stick on a onesie. Search for “month by month baby stickers.” They have hundreds of different kinds. Jake’s photos are are startling in their contrast! Is that elephant shrinking or is Jake growing? You be the judge!

Saugatuck, Michigan … love this harbor town

Just got back from a lovely visit to Michigan to visit family. It’s July and the temperatures hovered in the 70’s and the humidity was non-existent. It was such a nice respite from the Houston heat!

While the boys went fishing, the girls visited the Lake Michigan harbor town of Saugatuck, about an hour away from Kalamazoo. We only had time to squeeze out a few hours. It felt like skipping stones over the surface of a travel destination loaded with plenty of seaside charm, lots of boutique shopping, dining … fine and casual, homemade fudge, cookies and ice cream establishments and wine tasting. We chose the Coral Gables Restaurant, right on the lake, located at 220 Water Street for our lunch break. Nice salads and gourmet sandwiches! Highly recommend!

From the Saugatuck Visitor’s Guide there appears to be plenty of lodging, performing arts and recreation, like the Harbor Duck tour and boat cruises. I could totally see hangin’ out in the town for a relaxing week.

During our stroll through the town, we sampled interesting olive oils and balsamic vinegars at the Olive Mill. There were purchases in the Spice Merchants, a shop specializing in spices and teas. I picked up some exotic salts and a spice mill. Kilwin’s Chocolates was out in force on the street handing out handmade fudge samples. Yum!

My personal favorite shop was The T-Shirt Shoppe located at 107 Butler Street. Sorry there was no website that I could find, although they already have a few great reviews! The store concept is simple and the results were lovely! Purchase a high quality t-shirt, pick out one of their unique designs. They silkscreen your shirt which is ready to pick up in under an hour. Check out the little duck design Mimi is sporting!

My only regret is we weren’t able to stay longer!

Best potato salad ever!

I learned how to make potato salad by watching, and chopping, for my mother-in-law eons ago. If you camped out in her kitchen you chopped, spindled or mutilated something that wound up in a pot or bowl. Wilna was a wonderful cook and really knew how to feed a bunch of people. Did I mention my husband is one of eleven kids? Nine sisters and a brother. Hand-me-downs were rough.

After all these years, I believe the only difference between Granny’s fabulous potato salad and mine is the pickles. She used sweet … I use dill. That reminds me of a pickle of a disagreement hubby and I had the other day. He would rather I use Kosher pickles. While I certainly didn’t like the sound of that, I tried it this time. It wasn’t half bad. But I still like my chunks of dills.

Granny’s Fabulous Potato Salad
Feeds lots of hungry people!

5 pounds of Russet potatoes, peeled and boiled till just tender when stabbed with a fork
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 large handfuls of dill pickles, chop these guys up too!
large handful of black olives, chopped (optional but adds something special)
small jar of pimento, chopped
yellow mustard
Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
salt and black pepper to taste and don’t be stingy!

Basically, I really believe in NOT dicing up all the veggies so you can’t tell what you are eating! Leave everything a little chunky and you will love the results! So start by cubing up the cooked and cooled potatoes in a huge bowl. Add the chopped eggs and everything else on the list. I tend to go lighter on the mustard and heavier on the Miracle Whip but that is a personal choice. Refrigerate until dinner time! This dish goes great with brisket and beans!

Celebrating my 400th newspaper column with cookies!

Celebrating with cookies!

To celebrate publishing my 400th “You Gotta Laugh” column this week in The Tribune Newspaper, I asked my awesome neighbor, Marie (www.missmariescookies.com), to conjure up some awesome cookies for the occasion to share with my newspaper office staff. Believe me … they taste as good as they look!

If you haven’t read the 400th column already, be sure to visit the “You Gotta Laugh” page on this blog website.

Thanksgiving … family, food and friends

My girls, Katie and Mimi, made a delicious bourbon pumpkin tart with streusel topping for Thanksgiving. One of Katie’s gifts is the girl makes amazing desserts! Another gift is her huge and gentle heart. Katie adores her sister. I loved watching them interact … Katie wheeling Mimi into the pantry to retrieve pie ingredients, letting Mimi hold the eggs, laughing hysterically when one of them hits the floor, helping Mimi stir the ingredients … these little things are huge in Mimi’s life.

Thanksgiving … so much to be thankful for … family, food and friends.

Grandma’s chocolate pie

chocolate pie
I just noticed I neglected to add my grandma’s fabulous chocolate pie in the recipe section of this blog! Oops on my part! Since it’s getting close to the holidays thought it might be nice to correct that. However, be warned, the pie is a heart-stopper and an eye-crosser. The photograph depicts the thick-as-the-Mississippi-River-bottom mud pie with a graham cracker crust. Family tradition usually demands a regular old pie crust. Those pre-made rolled-up crust versions work quite nicely in a pinch. Oh, and don’t forget to top your generous slice with whipped cream.

Makes 1 pie

baked pie crust
2 cans Eagle brand milk
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place 2 cans of Eagle brand milk in double boiler. Melt the chocolate on low with the Eagle brand milk and stir constantly till very thick. Be prepared to stand at the stove for a very long time. Add vanilla and stir. Pour into baked pie crust and cool. Top with whipped cream.

Reuben Sliders and pretzel rolls

Has anyone tried those new pretzel rolls that seem to be all the rage? I have seen them on a couple of fast food commercials and they just look yummy. So when I was cruising on the Internet looking for football snack recipes, imagine my surprise when I paused at a photo of a Rueben slider on a pretzel roll. Quickly wiping the drool off my computer keyboard, I slammed the print button. No one likes fun food more than our family … especially during football season.

I found “Sister Schubert’s” Pretzel Rolls in the frozen bread section of my local grocery store. One bag of 6 mini rolls cost about $3.00. The frozen little rolls thaw quite nicely several different ways. I loaded each up with pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and some spicy mustard. I know … Rueben sandwiches demand Thousand Island or Russian dressing. We just like ours with spicy mustard. Oh, and then pop the little darlins’ in the microwave to melt the cheese. Be prepared to make them often!

The original recipe was adapted from eatathomecookes.com