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Generations of Memories

Recently I stumbled upon this precious old photo from about 1980.  It's our sons...Aaron (age 5) and Nicholas (age 2) at the time.  My little chefs were "helping" me make what appears to be either sugar cookie dough or cinnamon rolls.  Nick is already showing his kitchen skills by determining that the dough needs a bit more flour.  And apparently Aaron decided every chef needs a chef's hat...so a torn white paper bag was just the ticket.


And that green scoop from my flour canister provided yet another memory.  That scoop was lost...then found YEARS LATER in our flower bed.  It seems our boys decided that a scoop of flour would make a great "chalk" goal line for their football game in the yard...and the empty scoop was abandoned in the bushes! 



What treasured memories...

And now my  happy memories in the kitchen continue to the NEXT generation...with THEIR children...



















I am truly, completely, and utterly blessed.

Mama Said...

Recently I was reminded of the words to that old song by the Shirelles...
"Mama said they'll be days like this, they'll be days like this, my Mama said..."


Sometimes those old lyrics speak volumes.

When Life Gives You...

What's that old saying?
When life gives you lemons...make lemonade.
Well...when life gives me

A GALLON OF FRESH MOZZARELLA BALLS...


And a TON of FRESH SPINACH...


Fresh Ricotta Cheese, Fresh Mozerella, Fresh Spinach...YUM!

I MAKE SAUSAGE AND SPINACH LASAGNA!!!




(I LOVE the U.S. Foods OUTLET Store!)

TREES...And God's Paintbrush...

I just have to share more photos of the beautiful Autumn colors we saw on our trip home from Indiana...









And the funny thing was...after all those miles...
I found the PRETTIEST trees...within blocks of OUR HOUSE!!






Wolfie's Grill, Carmel, Indiana

Spending the day with grandkids is always fun, and sometimes a shopping trip includes lunch.  So on a recent visit to Carmel, we noticed a place we'd never been before...Wolfie's Grill.



Laney and Emma were BOTH thinking "Chicken Fingers"...and Meemaw and Peepaw decided to split a Reuben...


The Chicken Fingers baskets were HUGE...


And let's just say those baskets were EMPTY when those two girls were finished!  Each kids meal came with a soda and mandarin oranges...Except our server apparently forgot the fruit for both girls. Since the girls had just eaten bowls of fruit at home before our outing, we let the mistake slide...


Hubby and I were very pleased with our Reuben, especially when it was split and delivered on two plates.  

All in all, it was a good lunch, and spending time with two of our three Indy grandkids was priceless!

And Wolfie's would be worth another stop.

Sarah's Veggie And Egg White Omelet

I'm really proud of our son Nick as I watch his cooking skills in his kitchen.  His wife Sarah asked him to prepare a special omelet for her, and here it is...in pictures.  (The recipe was posted on the refrigerator door...)

(FYI...PPJ Cheese is Pepper Jack Cheese)









What a healthy way to start Sarah's day.  (And what a wonderful hubby to prepare it for her...every morning during our visit!)

All Aboard!

I get enjoyment from a trip...even when someone else does the traveling.

That was certainly the case recently when my sis-in-law Patrica and her hubby Robert took Amtrak from their summer home in Jackson, Michigan to their winter home in Denver, Colorado.

This blog post actually started with some good natured teasing between Patricia and me.  When I heard that they would be enjoying a "white tablecloth" dinner in the dining car while passing only an hour from us here in Iowa City, I challenged her by saying I bet MY dinner that night would be better than hers!

As food photos started to fly back and forth between us, I realized I would rather travel vicariously on that entire train trip, rather than to have a "spitting contest" about who's meal was better...so here is their trip...in photos...

(Thanks P for sharing your pictures with me...and with ALL of you!)

Jackson Michigan...The trip begins...
The train station in Jackson is beautifully restored.  (I wish those walls could talk.) And it wasn't long before Patricia and Robert boarded the train to begin their journey with a four hour train trip from Jackson to Chicago.

Robert...Settled in on the train in Jackson.  He looks quite comfy in his leather seat in Business Class...
with a NY Times, Coffee, and a Blueberry Muffin!
That first leg of the trip took them from Jackson right into Union Station in the heart of downtown Chicago.  They changed trains there, and waited in their special Sleeper Car Waiting Room before boarding the iconic...


Robert is seen relaxing in their "home" for their overnight stay. (Their bed is folded up to provide a daytime seating area.)

Their Sleeper berth...
The Dining Car...
And if you're wondering if "Business Class" on a train is worth it...Keep in mind that all meals (excluding alcohol) on the train are INCLUDED in that class of service.  And before they boarded the California Zephyr, Patricia and Robert also enjoyed the Business Class Sleeper Car Waiting Room with TVs, snacks, and comfortable couches where they waited to leave Chicago. They appreciated the preferential treatment (similar to  First Class when flying) ...and they say for them it is worth considering the extra expense, since trying to sleep sitting up in a chair in a rail car full of people is not a restful experience, to say the least.

So after exploring the train...and enjoying a shower and a rest, it was time for dinner...all while rolling through the Iowa countryside.




Starting with a Salad...


Patricia's Grilled Tilapia...


Robert's Flat Iron Steak...



And some lively conversation with a wonderful couple from Northern California who shared their table...


So... "What's for Dessert"? you ask??
Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Pudding, or Hagen Das Ice Cream...



I'm told the service in the dining car was top notch...


One of the perks of rail travel?  A chance to visit with others who are on the same journey...and on this trip, Patricia visited with some women who, at first glance, appeared to be Amish.  But during a conversation, Patricia learned they are German Baptist.  They are like Amish in that they use no electricity and they do use horse and buggies for transportation.  (But they obviously enjoy train travel as well!)


After a good night's sleep, it was back to the dining car for breakfast before their arrival in Denver...




So before they knew it...the train pulled into the newly refurbished Union Station in Denver...


Patricia and Robert travel light, with only a small carry-on, so they strolled several blocks from the station to catch a city bus that dropped them nearly at their front door in the Denver suburb of Lakewood.

What an awesome trip!

Oh...and that "Who's Dinner Is Best" competition??
Here was MY dinner that night...

Red Wine Mushroom Reduction
Fresh Thyme and Parsley from my herb bed...
My own fresh-picked tomatoes in a lettuce and baby kale fresh veggie salad...
New baby red potatoes with butter and herbs...and fresh green beans...
And my grilled New York Strip Steak with all the trimmings...
So...YOU be the judge.

But no matter which meal was best, I had a great time on the California Zephyr...without ever leaving my kitchen!

(And thanks again to Patricia and Robert for letting us ride the rails along with them!)