Posts Tagged With: food

Somebody giving back in

Growing up us girls would help as Mom and Aunt Irene packed for the field: Mason Jars of lemonade or iced tea, a pot of stew or chicken & dumplings wrapped in newspaper +a wool blanket before tucking all of it into a box in the trunk of the Oldsmobile. Nothing about this was disposable, Corelle traveled to the field, too.  Real silverware, coffee cups and cotton napkins.  As we’d head out,  our cars smelling of stew, fresh bread and pie, we’d wave to the men in the field.  As a child it was an adventure; for them, it was a lot of hard work and careful planning.

~ a typical scene from my childhood ~

Feeding and caring like this is an act of love and they did it well.

Combining under a Harvest Moon ~

Upon our arrival, the men would take their break and drive over to meet us, dust accompanying their arrival.  They’d wash their hands and splash their faces using water from the Igloo cooler then sit cross legged in the stubble as they dunked fresh buns into steaming bowls of soup, stew or chili.   Conversations ensued about what was done, what was left and what was coming next. Before long they’d stand and into their bowls would land a slab of pie or a piece of cake or maybe both.  Leaning against the trucks’ end gate they’d savor dessert and coffee before handing back the bowls, giving thanks for the meal, and heading back to work.

an Emjayandthem(C) Flapper pie

We’d pack up and, with a farm dog in tow, head back to the house to plan for the next round.

Family in the field – from L-R : Grandpa, Uncle Harley, Dad and Uncle Jarl ~ An Emjayandthem (C) Photo

Thanks for the meal, here’s a song that is real, from the kid from the city to you ~ and Cheers to the unsung heroines of the Prairie ~ the women who made the breaks wonderful.

Dusty old farmer out working your fields
Hanging down over your tractor wheels
The sun beatin’ down turns the red pain to orange
And rusty old patches of steel
There’s no farmer songs on that car radio
Just cowboys, truck drivers and pain
Well this is my way to say thanks for the meal
And I hope there’s no shortage of rain
Straw hats and old dirty hankies
Moppin’ a face like a shoe
Thanks for the meal here’s a song that is real
From a kid from the city to you
The combines gang up, take most of the bread
Things just ain’t like they used to be
Though your kids are out after the American dream
And they’re workin in big factories
Now If I come on by, when you’re out in the sun
Can I wave at you just like a friend
These days when everyone’s taking so much
There’s somebody giving back in
Straw hats and old dirty hankies
Moppin’ a face like a shoe
Thanks for the meal here’s a song that is real
From a kid from the city to you
Songwriters: Murray Mclaughlan
Have you ever had a meal in a field?  
Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Home, Life, Men, News, Personal, Seasons, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Lions, Lambs and funeral luncheons

Mother Nature has been mercurial again – here March roared in like a lion, with freezing temps, bitter cold, blowing snow and lashing sleet.   All this after a mid-February warm up to nearly 70F.  The latest round felt like a mid-winter spanking. Are we safe to assume March will leave like a lamb?  I’m not so sure.

A friend passed away last Sunday ~ shockingly young, leaving a wife and two children plus a business and employees to take care of.  We struggled to absorb the news and rally around our friend.  As expected, a call went out for food and folks didn’t disappoint.  At the wake Friday night, were crocks full of hot foods like meatballs, macaroni and cheese, Sloppy Joe’s, Fettuccine Alfredo and Lasagna plus trays of cakes, cookies and squares, salads, raw vegetables, fresh fruit, deviled eggs, boiled shrimp, crackers and cheese, a  baked ham and the fixings for sandwiches.

There’s something so comforting about being able to help at a time of sadness. 

Many commented on the abundance of foods and I thought of Mom and my Auntie and all the times they’d done the same. It’s nice to be part of a community that comes together and provides sustenance when needed.

Later that evening, reflecting on the day, Hubbs and I chuckled at how we’d both observed the same thing: older gentlemen – every one of them had a big slab of cake (sometimes two), cookies or brownies on their plate ~ we laughed about how we could see my Dad or his Grandpa doing the same – how they knew enough to”go for the good stuff first.

Co-mingled in the sadness is a lingering feeling of fellowship, the memory of a room growing loud with laughter and toasts to a good man.

And as the wind howls outside here today, no lambs are in sight.

**   How does your family or community navigate loss?  Are you experiencing Lambs or Lions where you live? **


Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Grief, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Share, Thoughts, Traditions, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – 5 years

It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday (yay!) so here are 5 randoms from my little corner of the universe.

1  Cooked yesterday and doubled everything. Why? I’m dropping off half to oldest boy and the grands later today.   The work/school/homework schedule is just nicer when you have “extras” around.  Homemade soup, sloppy Joe’s, Game day brownies  and more.   To quote Mom, “Love is Groceries.

food ina garten

2 It was Mom who taught me the significance of caring for others.  On Mothering is just one of many posts I’ve written about her. She taught me so many things but, most importantly, she taught me how to mother.  And, like her, I’m fierce — no apologies.  Because of that, I can’t wrap my head around that our grand children’s mother left them like she did.   But it was my wee Mom who reminded me He gave our boy big shoulders for a reason and sometimes Mom & Dad are the same person.

smell the color 9

3  Stopped the other day to take this picture – October will end soon and all of this will pass.  Don’t miss it.

Country Club trees

4  I write as means to formalize my thoughts, connect-the-dots and express myself.  Through this experience I’ve connected with many of you, and one I’ve even met in person (lucky me).   When I write what I know – posts about life, relationships, personal growth, faith and home – you chime in and I love that so much.


5 Going back to Mom, she was moved to Nursing Home placement this week and, when asked how things were going, her response made me laugh.  “I’m doing the best I can and managing to stay out of trouble… so far!”  This center is small, 17 beds, and in a rural setting, which is much more her style.  Both my sisters are certain she’ll get more personalized care and that’s of comfort to us all.  Thinking of her it hit me that 5 years ago today I published my very first blog and, not surprisingly, I wrote about  another life lesson learned from Mom.      5 years, 824 posts,179,273 visitors, still writing.    Thank you for reading along.

yes i can

Happy Sunday to you!  When you look back over your blogging lifetime, what do you see?





Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Food, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

2 for Tuesday

Summer is on its way and that means summer produce is, too — and that makes me happy!

1) Still fighting a cough & congestion so I whipped up something I love this weekend — my “Hey Now Salsa” oh it is so stinkin’ good!  Sent a container home with oldest son yesterday & kept one for me. Crunchy, fresh, zippy and delicious, it’s better every time I make it! And it’s going with me to top off my grilled chicken salad at lunch!

photo from  (This has never lasted long enough for me to capture it on camera)

photo from (This has never lasted long enough for me to capture it on camera)

2) Bought myself a “Nutribullet” this weekend, too.  Why? I frequent the farmers market but often find I can’t eat everything before it spoils.  And spending all that money just to throw out wilted produce goes against my grain!  I’d seen the infomercial so I did the research and found it locally at “Bed, Bath and Beyond.”  With the the 20% coupon I found from last December I paid around $80  ~ ~ Did you know their coupons never expire?  Yes they have expiration dates but the clerks just ignore them – sweet!

image from

image from

Yesterday I made my first smoothie which consisted of spinach, 1 pear, a handful of blueberries and raspberries, water & some chia seeds.  Youngest kid liked the taste but couldn’t get past the green-ness of it.  I loved it and a concoction like that will be my breakfast today.   An extra 10lbs of winter pudge snuck onto my 5′ 3″ frame and I’m hopeful that these extra nutrients will help me not only shed the fluff + boost my immunity.  This latest bout marks the 3rd time in 5 mos I’ve gotten sick with the same thing  = time to pay attention, I think. I’ll share my thoughts and progress as I go 🙂

That’s my 2 for Tuesday — so, tell me, what gadget have you purchased recently? And, more importantly, did it work as promised?

Care to play along?  On Tuesdays, pick a topic and segue into it!

Care to play along? On Tuesdays, pick a topic and lean into it with at least 2 points!



Categories: Animals, Determination, Faith, Food, Fun, Growth, Home, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Game ready

So, there’s this big football game on Sunday: Brothers coaching the San Francisco something-or-others against the Baltimore what’s-their-names.


If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’m not there for the game.

I’m there for the food and the commercials! 🙂

The Budweiser Clydesdale’s commercials are a favorite of mine and this one makes me think of two special blogging friends:  D at The View Out Here who raises & trains beauties like these and Dianna over at These Days of Mine who wishes she did.

Happy Super Bowl, everyone!

Need some easy-peasy recipes for your football gathering? Visit my Recipe vault!

Categories: Attitude, Family, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Opinion, Relationships, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

“Look No Further” Cheese Ball

..a cute lil' cheeseball .. all dressed up for the Holiday!

Look at that cute lil’ cheeseball .. all dressed up for the Holiday!

Your search is over.

I know what you’re after, yes I do.  You’re looking for that one recipe this Holiday Season that’ll knock their socks off.  The one … singular sensation … the one that brings them out of the woodwork to get the last scrapings off the plate, the one people will ask you about one year later.

Look no further, it’s here for you right here, right now.

Why is it so good, you ask?

I don’t know (curry) but I do know this: every single time I’ve taken it anywhere I have been asked to hand over the recipe. Every. Single. Time.

Oh, there was a time I didn’t give it up. Oh no.  I held my trade secrets close to my heart like the treasures they are …. and, truth be told, I still do that if the person clamoring is someone I’m not sure of.  You know the ones, they take your recipes and claim ’em as their own.  But .. I’m past that now.

That’s right, I’m opening the vault to you, my delicious readership, you.


Because you deserve it.  You deserve the slice of hap-hap-happiness this cheese ball recipe will add to your Holiday gatherings!

2 Words of advice? Stretchy pants.  You’re welcome. 🙂

**MJ’s Look-No-Further Cheese Ball**   (makes 3)

  • 2 blocks of cream cheese
  • 2 packets of Carl Buddig Smoked Ham, chopped (sold in the deli meats section)
  • 1 envelope of dry ranch dressing seasoning
  • 3 green onions, chopped with some green, too
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of curry (I don’t measure,  just give it a shake)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash regular or onion (I don’t measure,  just give it a shake)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • If you want to “fancy  it up” you can roll the cheese ball in chopped pecans or walnuts before wrapping. My personal pack of Wolverines could care less but some peeps like it like that.


Bring cream cheese to room temperature OR microwave on low heat ’til soft. Stir in seasonings: ranch dressing, curry, and Mrs. Dash. You can add a pinch of garlic powder if you’re so inclined.

Next blend in the chopped onion & ham. Lastly, add the shredded cheddar.

Divide into 3 cheese balls about the size of your palm and roll in chopped nuts if you’re getting jiggy with it.  If not, skip the nuts and wrap each cheese ball in plastic wrap. Think you’re done? Not so fast … wrap again and refrigerate immediately.  Bing, bang, boom – done!

These are best if made at least a day ahead (the ultimate party food!) but can be made up in less time than it takes you to shower and slip on your Holiday sweater!   They can also be frozen although the texture will shift from creamy to crumbly .. but still plate-scrapingly good.

15-20 minutes before serving, take cheese ball out of the fridge so it has time to soften.  Serve with your favorite crackers (we like Triscuit Rosemary & Herb … mmm), stand back  and prepare for the accolades sure to come your way.

Me? I like to set it out, step away quietly and watch the frenzy from a safe distance!

Happy Noshing 🙂

How about you? Got a “go-to” Holiday recipe to share with me?

Categories: Family, Food, Home, Joy, Share, Traditions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Happy Leftovers Day

Turkey, pumpkin, cranberries and more.  Nope, I had no guilt having pie for breakfast today. None at all.

For more on why you ought to skip the guilt and enjoy yourself instead, visit a noted Dietician’s post on the Top 10 Reasons To Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Day Meal.

C’mon Grampa, drop something! Happy Franksgiving! (an emjayandthem photo)

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Food, Home, Humor, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Who’s the Turkey?

*originally posted  10/18/10 by  Emjayandthem

Mom was visiting us for the Thanksgiving holiday and we had no less than 17 guests in attendance. I’d been cooking for three days already so the fridge was stocked to the rafters, the garage fridge was jammed, and every spare counter-top seemed to hold a pie or appetizer.

Afterwards, while packing up the leftovers, Mom started to cover what was left of the 26 lb turkey.  I began to explain that I wasn’t keeping it when I saw a look of abject horror cross her face.  She tried to suppress it but there it was. Guiltily, I scraped the last of the turkey bones into the garbage. Later I tried to dodge the issue by explaining that we just didn’t have room to which she softly replied, “No turkey soup? That makes the most wonderful turkey soup you know.”

Of course I knew that. I grew up knowing that.  On the farm, mom made soup all the time; hearty hamburger soups during harvest, ham soup after Easter dinner, creamy potato soup, chicken noodle soup, you name it soup.  Soup was a staple in our home. Soup was a bowlful of loving care and not saved just for head colds or cold wintry days.


A few days later, after many hugs and tears, I put her on the plane back to her prairie home and reflected on what I’d nearly missed.  That week I bought a rotisserie chicken, cooked it down and made homemade soup, for the first time in years. Hubby thought he’d hit Nirvana! Next came beef & rice soup, beef vegetable soup,  chicken tortilla soup, ham & bean soup, you name it soup. More soup than you can ever eat! Guilt begets soup? In my case, yes, yes it did.

Flash forward to the next Thanksgiving: we were all gathered at a relative’s home and, for once, I wasn’t in charge of the meal.  Later, as we cleaned up, there it was:  what remained of the turkey.   As I started to cover it with foil, our hostess commented, “Oh we’re not keeping that.”  A look of abject horror crossed my face that I tried, but failed, to suppress.  “No turkey soup? That makes the most wonderful turkey soup you know.”

It was at that moment that I knew. I knew that all Mom wanted me to do was to look and really see what I was doing.  Slow down.  Re-examine. See the value in what’s before you.

I get it. Thanks Mom.

Me & Mom. an emjayandthem photo

MJ’s Turkey Soup:

Place all leftover bones and meat into a large stockpot, fill with water about 1/2 full. Add chopped onion & celery, seasonings (I use Mrs. Dash and a bit of garlic, salt & pepper).  Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for about 2  hours, or until all meat has fallen from the bone.  Remove from heat and carefully spoon out bones and discard.  When the broth and remaining meat has cooled, shred turkey into bite sized pieces and place back into the stock.

Add 1 chicken bouillon cube and whatever chopped vegetables or noodles you like. I add:  peas & carrots, shredded cabbage, more celery and onions, canned (chopped) tomatoes, corn, diced potatoes, rice or egg noodles (not usually all 3).  Bring to a boil until vegetables are cooked.  Season to taste.

Wonderful, economical and tastes like home.


Categories: Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Holidays, Home | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Deliver me

“Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.” ~Robert Orben

My sister-in-law’s Saskatoon berry pie.

Visiting Mom on the family farm over the past little while, thank goodness I walked. Daily.  Because when you’re surrounded by women who can cook like this, there’s only one choice and that’s to roll in it and move. Often.

Saskatoon berries are tiny and naturally sweet; Saskatoon berry pie is juicy and delicious, like the glamorous Debutante a blueberry pie could only dream of being.

I knew it’d be quite some time before I’d get another chance at this so, no, I did not pass it up.

Which is why I added a new exercise program to my routine this week: the Couch-to-5K running plan.  Inspired by the success of bloggers like Sandi who changed her life  in a big way I downloaded the free pod casts to my mp3 player.  Slick-as-what, this workout will get you sweating in a hurry.

And that’s a bit of a necessity.  If you like pie.

# # #

Have you been tempted of late? Are you keeping in touch or keeping your distance?

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Joy, Life, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Red, white & blue: you can, too!

It’s potluck day at the office again!  Oh do we love our potlucks.

Our theme today is Red, White & Blue in honor of our upcoming Independence Day Holiday :).  Many of you know that I grew up in Canada and we wore our red & white proudly.  When I became a U.S. Citizen, I happily added blue to my repertoire. I’m proud to be a citizen here and a “dual” there … and I’m always happy to contribute something fun to a party.

I saw this idea in a magazine; reading it over I thought, “I can do that” and guess what? So can you.

Have fun with it .. and to my Canadian family & friends … follow the steps below and just skip the blue:  have fun creating your very own True North Strong & Free delights, too!

* * * *

* Patriotic Strawberries ~~ What you need *

  • Strawberries, rinsed & dried (keep stems)  (I used 4 lbs)
  • CandiQuick or Dolci white melting chocolate (I used 2 packets of Dolci)
  • Sugar ( I used about 1/4 cup)
  • Blue food coloring ( A couple of squirts)
  • Waxed paper (enough to line your platter)
  • Paper towel (to put clean berries on & to dry with)


Rinse strawberries and place on paper towel.  Pat dry (be sure they’re dry or candy coating won’t stick.)

Add food coloring to sugar (use a bowl, you want a little depth here).  Try to ignore Tigers’ headlines.

Blend in sugar by mashing with a fork. At first the food coloring will want to stick together but you’ll soon convince it otherwise.


Next, follow microwaving instructions on package to melt the coating (I melted and dipped one packet at a time and used 2 total).

Next, dip strawberries (one at a time) about 2/3 in the candy coating and immediately roll the bottom in the blue sugar.  Place on platter.

Resist the urge to be generous with the coating or you’ll get a gloppy mess like the one in the left:

Finished product below!

Smile, taste & celebrate!

Happy Canada Day (July 1st)!  *  Happy Independence Day (July 4th!)

Categories: Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Life, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments


“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”
Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto

image from

I read this quote a few days ago and -BAM- two scenarios of conflict and confusion played out right before me.

It helped to have read this.


It gave me a reference point for understanding.

Has life ever served you chef’s salad?

Categories: Family, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Making room for pie

one end of the pie table.

Harvest on the prairies. Dust blowin’, combines goin’, suppers in the field.

And I was there, back on the farm, the latter part of September.  It had been an early harvest for many in the community and this meant more smiles than sadness, more grins than complaints and more than enough pies, cakes and desserts at the annual Macrorie Fall supper. My hometown.    The supper is a fund-raiser, yes, but it’s more than that. It’s coffee with former bus drivers, it’s hugs from long-time neighbors; it’s fellowship.

See the two blueberry desserts out front?  See that carmelly looking meringue topped madness at 10:00?  That’s a sour cream/raisin pie, my Dad’s favorite, and I know it sounds dreadful .. but I assure you .. it’s not. It’s a combination of carmelly pecan-pie gooeyness peppered with raisins and sometimes nut meats.

The community supper  – a chance to share harvest’s bounty –  was scheduled to start at 5:00 Sunday.  By 4:20 no less than 200 senior citizens from a 40 miles radius were in their seats, forks in hand with their pre-selected pie at their seat.

For many elderly farmers, it was a the old favorites that won their hearts:  flapper pie, apple, and sour cream/raisin.  Ladies chose standards like pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, cherry delight or bread pudding with caramel sauce.  Me?  Pineapple upside down cake. Oh yeah.

In the midst of the communal enjoyment of roast turkey, dressing, turnips, mashed potatoes, garden peas & carrots, gravy, butter, salad and rolls, I witnessed behavior I hadn’t seen for a while: adults jockeying for position; nearly elbowing each other into line. Grown men gleefully discussing the merits of a good pie.

Someone nearby exclaimed, “Good Lord; it’s like they’ve never had food like this before.”

Oh they’ve had it all right.

They’ve had it at their Mother’s table some 60 years ago.

They’ve had it when their wife was still alive and did you know she loved to bake?  Baked a darned good pie that girl did. 

They’ve had it when they’ve been included in Thanksgiving plans and had the opportunity to take a few leftovers home with them.  And they’ll always choose pie.

It’s not the food itself that does it though; it’s that first taste of something you  haven’t had since grade school – that’s what does it. It’s that moment, that taste and smell that awakens the child in each of us. The child who longs for simpler times, for doughnuts at Grandma’s table and pie at the hockey rink. For coming in from a cold evening of freeze tag to the smells of cinnamon coffee cake.

We long for the taste of love, baked into each and every bite.

Thinking about it now, I don’t think I witnessed greed at all.  I saw wisdom in those pre-supper pie pickers.  They were experienced enough to go for the sweet stuff first and build their plate around it.  Why?  They knew there would probably be enough turkey and sides (sustenance), they’re farmers after all, but they’d learned, over the years, to not count on the sweet things in life (decent weather, fair prices and a good harvest).

Do you make room for the pie in your life?

The other end of the pie table ...

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Fun, Life, Opinion, Seasons, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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