About Me

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I LOVE to design and to paint whimsical items that will put a smile on your face. Each day I share my simple life with you as I try to encourage, to inspire and sometimes JUST to make you smile as I recount my life growing up on a dairy farm! I've never had many material items in my life, BUT I have been blessed beyond words with love and encouragement from WONDERFUL Parents who instilled in me WHAT was important. I have had EVERYTHING that I needed and WAY too much of what I wanted. I am slowly learning to be a better person each day through my interactions with my friends on Facebook. Some day I hope to be as good as people seem to THINK I am! I am BLESSED! Welcome to my little corner of the world...Please stop by and visit often!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pasta Salad is SERVED with some more Memories...Saturday, July 19, 2014

Antipasta, Antipesto, Antiposto?????  WHY am I even attempting ANYTHING that might be close to Italian??  I already told you that where I grew up, we did NOT have very many different cultures~~we had Blacks and we had Whites and yes, we had ONE Jewish family that ran the local FANCY SMASHY Men’s store uptown~~Paul’s (I think)…LOL…

I didn’t personally know people who experienced much about all the horrible crimes that happened during the 60s because we were raised to believe that people were people…NOW, I will NOT lie and say that people didn’t “have their places” because yes, there was very much a divide in WHERE people lived, WHERE people went to school and WHAT a person did for a living.

Many of the Blacks in my county were sharecroppers…AND there was NOTHING wrong with that.  My Granddaddy was a sharecropper (Daddy’s Father) and it was an honorable life.  Many white families moved from farm to farm to help work the crops, too.  Housing was usually provided for sharecroppers.  I can honestly say, that I spent more time as a child with people of color than I did with White people…I was lovingly rocked by the ladies who would help Mother with the chores while their husbands and father’s worked the fields alongside my Daddy and brother…Son and Nanny, Emma Dee and BoJack and Hadley welcomed me and my brother into their house just like anyone else…I felt the LOVE they had for me and I felt the same about them…I can remember as a child going to visit the older Black Ladies that Mother had grown to love on the farm…We were FRIENDS…we worked and played SIDE BY SIDE.

I can only tell a perspective from MY POINT of view, because I only lived my life…I am sure my friends have other views and feelings…I just think we need to treat people fairly~~no matter of their color or sex…GOD is the final judge on HOW people live their lives.

Because of this lack of diversity, as I stated in my last post, we did NOT have different foods from different cultures growing up because we simply didn’t have PEOPLE from different cultures to teach us!  My Parent’s did a WONDERFUL job making sure that I and my brothers got opportunities to VISIT other cultures so that we could LEARN to appreciate their customs and yes, the FOODS!!

I have travelled throughout this great land to 38 states and to Canada and South America and have witnessed our beautiful country and tasted the wonderful cooking that families have passed down from generation to generation. 

I don’t know why I am sharing a PASTA SALAD with you, BUT I just love this!!  It’s like a tray of Italian Goodness all thrown into a BOWL…I was buying it at a local market but it was SO expensive for a pint that I decided that I could make a GALLON for the same price!  =)  hmmmmm…does THAT sound familiar??!!  

As I am writing this, today is the 63rd Wedding Anniversary of when my Parent’s married…When Daddy died in 2003, I would tease Mother that Daddy took his wedding vows SERIOUSLY and he got out of the “contract” the ONLY way he could!!  They had been married almost 52 years when Daddy died…I sit here and STILL find it hard to believe they no longer walk this earth, but I KNOW they are at peace and having the most glorious Family Reunion and that one day I will join them also!  BUT now is not the time, so I do my best to Joyfully attempt to follow the path that I am meant to travel…

Daddy would have HATED this recipe.  He was a meat and ‘taters guy and could HONESTLY eat the same thing every day as long as he had meat and white loaf bread!!

I have shown the picture of the Pasta Salad in Mother and Daddy’s Wedding Place Setting~~Desert Rose…This is an original Soup Bowl that I use most EVERY week at least ONCE as my way to connect with the family they started…I KNOW it is JUST a BOWL, but that bowl represents a UNION that was formed…a Union they BOTH worked VERY HARD to keep alive…NO, they were not perfect and they did NOT have a perfect marriage…they experienced heartache, hurt feelings, money problems, and ANY kind of problem that people face in living life…the difference is that they WANTED to STAY MARRIED…THEY HONORED the vows they took as they stood before God and friends and family.  They put GOD first in raising their family…they LIVED what they taught us…they gave us WINGS and let us make mistakes while all the time being around to catch us WHEN we needed it…they did NOT do everything for us as adults because they KNEW that would NOT help us one bit, BUT they were there to HELP us…They allowed us to FIGURE out our own work schedules and meals so that when they left us, we would NOT be lost and unable to do these things…they allowed us to solve our own money troubles, just like they had done…We were TAUGHT to be self-sufficient, BUT NEVER EVER were we ALONE…

Today, I am THANKFUL for the WISDOM of my Parents.  I am GRATEFUL for their love…I am appreciative of their Encouragement…I am above all else, SO BLESSED for the LIFE they gave me.

I love you and miss you SO MUCH, My sweet Mother and Daddy…~charlotte♥

 I Call this My Anti-Pasta Pasta Salad...WHY?  Because it has all my favorite things from an Anti-Pasta Tray thrown into Pasta...FUNNY, huh??!! 

Bow Tie Pasta, Cooked according to Directions

Marinated Artichoke Hearts (whole jar, drained)

Roasted Red Bell Peppers (half jar, chopped and drained)

Mild Banana Pepper Rings (Half jar, chopped and drained)

One Medium sized Sweet Onion, thinly sliced

Pepperoni (I often use the mini-pepperoni, but if you use the regular, slice in half)

Fat-Free Italian Dressing~~your FAVORITE Brand (about half a bottle)

Salt, to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Just add as much of EACH as you like…Feta Cheese is good in this, Black olives, but they aren’t so good after the first day, so add them before you eat it…

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Meatloaf...Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July is HALF GONE…YIKES…and I had SUCH plans to do better with my blog…HOW in the world am I not doing better!!  I can’t think of anyone to blame, either…

I shared on my page the other day about making meatloaf.  I discovered WHAT I already knew~~MOST people like Meatloaf.  I think my family is the exception~~we were NOT a meatloaf eating family!  Personally, I would rather have meatballs, BUT I don’t want my meatballs with spaghetti~~I want them BY THEMSELVES and I most certainly DO NOT want them on a sandwich, nor do I want a Meatloaf sandwich either…Give me a hamburger…hmmmm…I think I might be a GROUND BEEF SNOB…

I was raised in the South and we FRY everything and IF that isn’t bad enough, we throw GRAVY over it~~not GRAVY as in tomato sauce, but GRAVY as made with grease and flour~~NOW that does not sound appetizing, but my Daddy expected Gravy with EVERY meat that warranted gravy.  I never understood WHY Mother didn’t just go ahead and make it every time.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten up after we said the Blessing to make Daddy some gravy…LOL…EVERY TIME, Daddy would say “You don’t have to do that.”  Half of the time I would just ignore him, but the other half I would say, “You KNOW you want it, so just HUSH!”  Daddy and I had a gift of saying things to each other without either of us going into the silent treatment.

How many of you remember the episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Aunt Bea had gone out of town and Andy was invited to have supper at the home of several people…EACH TIME he arrived to find SPAGHETTI!  The secret ingredient was Oregano!  I felt that way when Mother broke her leg and several friends brought us~~VEGETABLE SOUP…ROFL!!  I LOVE vegetable soup and it freezes so well… =)

In the area I live, most of the people who lived here were born and raised here…we didn’t have many outsiders, so most everyone cooked the same way.  I have a recipe that Mother got in the 50s for spaghetti and we laughed because it had Chili Powder in it and NO oregano…oregano, to ME is what makes it Spaghetti!  I didn’t have Taco’s until about 1972…Today, it seems that Springfield has very FEW people who were born and raised here…BUT the good part about that is we have JUST about ANY kind of food one could WANT!!  THAT I LIKE…

…hmmmmm…I guess I better get back to the Meatloaf, huh!  I found this recipe a few years back and think it is a good meatloaf.  It has a nice tangy tomato sauce and is very soft.  I can guarantee that most of the ingredients will be in your pantry, so I was asked to share this recipe…The recipe calls for tomato sauce, but I prefer CRUSHED Tomatoes, so that is what I used.

1 ½ lbs ground beef (I used ground chuck)

1 c fresh bread crumbs

1 onion, chopped

1 egg

1 1//2 tsp salt

2 (8-ox) can tomato sauce (1/2 cup goes INTO the meatloaf)

2 T Worcestershire Sauce

½ cup water

2 T. Vinegar

3 T. Brown Sugar

2 T. Mustard

¼ tsp pepper

Mix beef, crumbs, onion, beaten egg, salt, pepper and ½ cup tomato sauce, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.  Form in loaf and place in shallow pan. 

Combine rest of sauce, water, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Pour over load and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes at 250.  Baste occasionally. (I didn’t)

I will also share my recipe for Cheesy Garlic Grits with Shrimp…it is really good, and I don’t really like grits! 

3 slices of Bacon

Small Package of Portabella Mushrooms (sliced)

Frozen (or fresh) Bag of Large De-veined Shrimp (no shell or tail)

Sweet Onion

1 can of Chicken Stock

Hot Sauce

1 Lemon

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder (or to taste)

Instant Butter Grits (or slow cooking if you prefer)

Olive Oil (or Canola Oil)




Parmesan Cheese

Cheese of your choice

Fry Bacon until crispy in a pan.  Remove, leaving the bacon fat.

Cut Onion in small pieces and cook in the bacon fat until Soft.

Add mushrooms and cook until tender.  Remove from pan.

Place a small amount of flour (about ¼ cup) into a ziplock bag with about 1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder, 1 Teaspoon of Salt and a few shakes of Black Pepper.  Place the shrimp that has been slightly dried with a paper towel and shake until the shrimp is coated.

Place a couple teaspoons of oil into the frying pan and add the shrimp~~shake the excess flour off before placing in the pan…Cook until done…about 5 minutes…

Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the shrimp.

Add the Can of Chicken Stock.

Add Hot Pepper to taste.

Put the Onions/Mushrooms back into the pan and cook until thick.

Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

To make the grits, follow the directions to make 2 servings.  I make it in the microwave.  When the grits are done, add a few shakes of garlic powder (about 1 teaspoon) and ¼ cup of Parmesan Cheese and about ½ cup of the cheeses of your choice (I like Monterey jack/cheddar).  Stir until the cheese is melted.

Place the grits in a bowl and pour the Shrimp on top…Garnish with the crumbled bacon~~YUM!!!

NOTHING keeps a family together more than sharing DAILY meals with feet under ONE table…

Have a WONDERFUL week…Blessings to YOU…~charlotte♥