Merry Christmas! 12-25-11

Merry Christmas Everyone!  Hope you’ve had a wonderful day!  We started the day by attending Blaire and Richie’s Annual Christmas breakfast….It was totally delicious!  Richie chicken fried pork chops, Blaire made cinnamon rolls, biscuits, scrambled eggs, gravy, and wassail.  Yummy!  It was nice to visit with people we don’t see very often.  Back to Hereford for Christmas with the girls and JJ.  I got just what I wanted:  a Smith & Wesson 9 mm with laser sight.  Woohoo!  It’s been a very nice day.

We woke up to light snow this morning and it has been snowing ever since, sometimes heavily with big flakes.  We have probably gotten about 4 inches.  How nice to have a white Christmas!

Blessings to you all!

And again, Merry Christmas!

Holly

 

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12-23-11

Well, yesterday’s cooking was a total flop for me!  I tried to make my Mom’s Perfect Divinity….mine was far from perfect!  Hers was always unbelievably light and fluffy and delicious!  I have never been able to make divinity successfully!  So I am moving on!  Today’s recipe is in honor of my Italian friend, Rosanna who is from Catania, Sicily.    She has taught me all about REAL Italian food.  And when she cooks a meal for you, it is absolutely amazing!  I’ve had real Italian espresso (not the Starbucks variety), Parmesan, pasta, cookies and candy that she shipped to me from Italy.  Since I married into this family, the girl’s most favorite food and most requested is ravioli with “Pink Sauce” that Rosanna taught me how to make.  So here’s to you Rosanna!  I love you!  By the way she has a great blog:  rap55.wordpress.com.

Paglia e fieno ghiotta (hay and straw with cream, ham, and mushrooms)

Put some olive oil (2 tablespoons or so), and butter (2 tablespoons or so) in a skillet.  Saute 1 box of fresh mshrooms, sliced, until mushrooms have released their liquid and then saute until liquid is gone. Add 2 large garlic cloves minced, 6 oz. or so of diced ham, I sometimes throw in some frozen green peas and saute for a few seconds.  Add  3/4 to 1 cup of heavy cream and salt and pepper.    Cook long enough for cream to thicken slightly.  Meanwhile cook 1/2 pound spinach fettuccine and 1/2 pound regular yellow fettuccine noodles (the hay and straw part!) until al dente, which means firm to the bite.  Drain well.  Return to pot and toss with some butter and olive oil.  Then add the mushroom sauce , mixing well.  Add 1/2 cup of grated fresh parmesan cheese, toss some more and serve.  YUMMY!

Rosanna and me near Washington DC almost 2 years ago.

 

 

12-20-11

We are having some cold weather up here in the panhandle.  Yesterday it rained, hailed, and snowed and with strong winds it was brutal!  Today is warmer (36 degrees for the high) but with wind our wind chill is 29.  So, I am continuing on with my Christmas cooking!

My second day of Christmas cooking started out by making my sister Jan’s “Hot Crackers”.  These are really good…everybody loves them!  They will rescue an ole cheeseball like you can’t believe!  Jan always has great recipes to share, she’s an excellent cook.  We always ask her to make the same recipes as a tradition every time we get together, her pink salad comes to mind first and foremost!

Hot Crackers

1 box (4 sleeves) original saltine crackers

1- 1/4 c. CANOLA oil

2 to 3 Tablespoons red pepper flakes (Jan said she uses 1 T. so that is how I tried it and it is perfect for medium spicy.)

1 package Ranch salad dressing mix (I use “original”)

Put all of the ingredients in a very large tupperware bowl with a tight lid, or as Jan does it, a plastic cake taker with the big dome lid.  Then you just start rolling the bowl slowly in your hands for 5 minutes.  The crackers should be evenly coated.  Let the crackers set for a while to absorb the ingredients.

My next project was to make Mikie’s White Fruitcake Fudge.  While living with Mikie and Dwayne in California one summer while I was in high school, they took me to the “pizza parlor”…my first experience with pizza!  She also introduced me to Asian food, her Japanese Tempura was delish!  It was always a treat to eat from her table!  It was always something new and different!

White Fruitcake Fudge

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

3/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup finely chopped golden raisins

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup butter

12 oz. white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped.  I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips.

1 (7 oz) jar marshmellow creme

Combine walnuts, apricots, and raisins.  Reserve 1/4 cup.  Line a 9×13 pan with foil; extend foil over edges of pan.  Butter the foil.

Butter the sides of a heavy 3 qt. saucepan.  In saucepan combine sugar, sour cream, and butter.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils.  Clip on a candy thermometer to side of pan.  Reduce heat to medium low; continue boiling at a moderate , steady rate, stirring occasionally, until thermometer registers 236 degrees (18 to 20 minutes.  It took mine about 15 minutes to get to 236).  Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.

Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and marshmellow creme. Continue stirring until chocolate is melted and mixture is combined.  Stir in fruit and nut mixture.  Immediately spread fudge evenly in prepared pan.  Top with reserved 1/4 cup fruit and nut mixture.  Chill until firm  Use foil to lift fudge out of pan.  Cut into squares.  Store in the refrigerator.  Makes about 3 lbs.

 

Lastly, here is me with my wig on upside down! 

12-19-11

Cheers Everyone!

Things are going pretty good at the Easley’s…..I went to Amarillo every day last week for my chemo, and I’m doing pretty good with it.  Just loss of appetite and tiredness, but nothing unmanageable.  The leg is much better, still somewhat swollen, but the pain is gone unless I over-do.  I really have nothing to complain about!  Yippee!  I am starting my Christmas cooking and have been thinking about the people who inspire(d) me, so I decided to honor each one and post their recipe.  I should have thought of this earlier but I was too caught up with the trips to Amarillo last week for chemo.  Otherwise I would have done the “Foodies Twelve Days of Christmas Cooking”!

Today I made my Mom’s fudge, which she happened to get the recipe from my Grandmother.  Those of you who know these ladies know what awesome cooks they were.  And they taught us the love of good food and cooking.  My Grandmother taught me a lot about cooking outdoors like cooking beans all day in a hole in the ground; and dutch oven, buddy burner, and hobo cooking. She made the most beautiful decorated Christmas cookies…they were little works of art!   My Mom was more of the gourmet cook…really ahead of her time as far as food trends go.  She was a perfectionist and her food was always delicious and fresh.  Her coconut meringue pie is to die for!  Here is the fudge recipe:

Mother’s Fudge

4 1/2 c. sugar

1 large can evaporated milk

Mix and bring to a rolling boil and boil 8 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Add:

3 (6 oz) pkgs chocolate chips – semi-sweet, milk, or a combination depending on how dark you like it.  I used half milk and half semi-sweet.

1 (10 oz) pkg miniature marshmellows

1/2 c. butter

Mix quickly and only until melted.

Add:

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 c. chopped pecans

Spread in a 9×13 ungreased pan.  Let cool and cut into squares.

 

This morning my dear friend Lue from Dimmitt came over for a visit and I loved getting to see her!  She braved the weather and drove over.  I am mad at myself for not thinking to get a picture to post!  Anyway, it was a special treat!

Until next time!

Holly

 

 

12-07-11

Hi Everyone,

Everything is good here!  The leg is much better, still somewhat swollen but the pain is so much better!  I’m still getting blood tests done 2 or 3 times a week to determine the proper dose of coumadin.  It is not as sporadic, so I hope we are getting close.  I am tapering off of steroids, and have had no signs of graft vs host, or the BK virus so far which makes me so happy!  I think I am finally on the right track….knock on wood!  And I am up to 92 pounds.

Here is the greatest news!   My bone marrow cytology results came back and I am happy to report that there were no blasts seen (!) and the cytogenetics are completely normal (!)  This means my disease is completely gone…those damaged chromosomes are now healthy, thanks to my donor!  HAPPY DANCE!!!!!!! (In my case it’s the one legged hop!)  I hope my donor will agree to meet me after the year requirement.  I will travel to the ends of the earth to meet him, hug him, and thank him for his totally unselfish act of kindness, for saving my life.  I love that 19 year old young man!

I had a great visit yesterday with Mikie and Dwayne, Monte, and Lorraine.  Mikie and Dwayne have always been there for me and have been a huge influence on me.  I love them dearly!  And Monte was my bestie when we both lived in San Antonio.  These are special people in my life!  Here is a pic:                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mikie and Dwayne

 

Spread some love and cheer!

Holly