Cutest Blog on the Block

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A recipe concured

I am tickled pink.  My mother helped me create a recipe I once adored by my Farmor (father's mother in Swedish).  For years I have hoped to recreate a goulash recipe my grandmother use to make when I was a youngin'.  Unforunately a few years ago she passed away at the rip ole age of 90.  My sisters have plummage through boxes and boxes of recipes but have not been able to locate my personal favorite: goulash. 
God bless my mother and her impecable memory. Even after 27 years she has been able to remember the ingredients my grandmother used to make this particular dish.  We still need to make some modifications but here is what we've managed so far:
I look just like my mother

1 to 1 1/2 lb of ground beef
12 - 16 oz of wide egg noodles
1 can of Contadina tomato paste
1 can of cream style corn
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp of mustard
1 medium onion - chopped


Brown hamburger
Add chopped onion
Drain fat from the hamburger
Add tomato paste
Add can of diced tomatoes
In a separate pot, cook the wide egg noodles.
Drain noodle liquid in a measuring cup
Add meat mixture to noodles
Add about 1/2 (2-3 cupps) of the "noodle water" to mixture.
Add the can of cream corn
Add 2 Tbsp of mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste

Monday, December 12, 2011

The beginning of a tradition

Last year Sara suggested that for her birthday that we all come together and bake holiday cookies. Since her birthday is a week before Christmas, she decided it would be a very nostalgic way to celebrate her birthday and the coming holiday.

I've been lucky since I've moved to the Triangle that my work schedule has allowed me to join in on these festive occasions. In the past I've always had to cut my visits short or show up fashionably late due to my service industry themed jobs. Even though this year I have two jobs, I was determined to keep my schedule open for this convivial affair. The morning started out like any other. I basically woke up with half the amount of time I deem necessary to get ready. The cookie making was to start proximately at 9. Jane and I left her house about 9:10 with a half an hour drive to Sara's ahead of us. In my need to divert hunger, I suggested we stop at Chick-fil-A or McDonald's. A bacon, egg and cheese biscuit was calling my McDonald's it was. Rarely do I become annoyed at fast food restaurants since I've had the pleasure of working in one, but it was too early for the nonsense that ensued. In order to ensure fast and effective service, this particular McDonald's has two speaker boxes in which to place your order. The annoying part about this particular concept is that the first speaker box is several yards from the menu. Unless you frequent McDonald's enough to know your order by heart, the menu is a vital step in the decision process. At the first speaker, the friendly employee asks for our order. We replied that we weren't sure what we wanted and that we needed to see the menu. The speaker goes quiet. About thirty seconds later "How can I help you?" I politely respond with "We are waiting to see the menu." Again about 20 seconds later, "Can I help you with your order?" "No. We are waiting to see the menu." At this time I beginning to get annoyed simply at the fact that the woman car in front of us seems to be taking an exceedingly long amount of time to order what I would imagine is a quite simple order. Again, the ever so pleasant voice from the speaker box graces us with her presence. "How can I help you?" At this point I choose to completely ignore her. Thankfully, the car in front of us has pulled forward and we are now able to make concrete decisions regarding our hunger pains. All is well, we get our food and I also get my much need caffeine and begin to pull out of the restaurant. I handed Jane her two hash browns and orange juice while I started unwrapping the bacon, egg and cheese I've been craving all morning. To my dismay, it is a sausage biscuit. I "flipped a bitch" and headed straight back to the restaurant. Our trip is now delayed by another ten minutes.

We arrived at Sara's exactly an hour behind schedule. Gam-Mah and Eva were already cutting out the sugar cookies while Ruth was taking a crack at the famous Farmor Rye bread.

Gam-Mah passing down the tradition
I will admit that I find myself more of a hindrance during the cookie making process than a helping hand. Eva probably contributed more in her enthusiasm than I did in my desire to stay out of the way. We made the traditional sugar cookies, date balls, Danish (?) wedding cookies, and peanut butter cookies. I had the pleasure of assembling the peanut butter cookies. Other than licking the batter from the mixers, I can't tell you if the cookies turned to perfection once baked.  This is probably the first time while making cookies that I didn't end up with a sick stomach from a sugar, raw egg overload.  I found it terribly entertaining that Eva sat so patiently on the counter while helping her mother mix ingredients for additional cookies. I can definitely say that I already see the Eslinger in her. She insisted on changing her shirt because it was dirty from all of the flour and batter. She went from her favorite pink princess shirt to her second favorite, yellow monkey shirt.
Her version of helping

On a personal note, I was quite happy to see the progress mom made on my Christmas stocking.  It has taken the better half of a decade to complete but I won't harp on that since to be frankly honest, my mother is a busy bee.  But I will say that I have the BEST christmas stocking of all.  :)  It isn't quite complete but if all things go well, it should be done by Christmas time.  Now I need to find the time to work on Brian's.  I'm not sure which is more difficult: finding the time to work on the stocking or getting Brian to make a decision on what he wants stitched.
A decade in the making

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu
My beautiful niece, Eva Louise

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm not much for journaling

I've recently come to the conclusion that I truly have too much going on inside my brain.  I've never embraced the need for journalizing my thoughts but recent events have led me to believe it would be worth a try.  In my quest to focus on myself this year, the idea of blogging was an unexpected brainchild.  I hope this turns out to be a rewarding concept.

Hello world
August 1, 2011 began what I coined as the "Year of Alys."  Feeling like a rat trapped in a wheel, I decided enough was enough.  I felt that maybe focusing my myself and what I needed in my life would then allow other bearings of my life to correct themselves. It is almost a mantra that I have to repeat to myself in order to stay focused on the goals that I have.

"You must live like no one else in order to give like no one else."  - Dave Ramsey's motto for financial peace.  Another mantra I continuously repeat to myself.  I decided in this Year of Alys that I would personnally do whatever it takes to help get my husband and I out of debt.  Without resorting to my trustly calculator, I guage that my husband and I owe around 25,000 dollars in debt.  Which is 10,000 less than we owed last year around this time.  That was not fast enough for me.  In the o'so wise words of father Eslinger "Patience is a waste of time." And with that in mind I rolled up my sleeves, lowered my neckline and plastered on that pretty smile my parents paid so much for when I was a child.  Desk jockey by day, table runner by night.  Though I'm exhausted, it has already proven to be fruitful in my endeavours. Plus the fact that I've lost around 10 pounds isn't something to be ignored. 

Sometimes I wonder if being extremely busy has caused less stress since I don't have time to focus on it or more stress since I'm both physically and mentally tired.  Either way, it's a trying time for our marriage.  I believe that if we can make it through this without any lasting scars than our marriage should stand the test of time.  To make things more difficult on myself, I've surrendered to the instrinsic art of extreme intense couponing.  It is painfully rewarding and definitely not for the faint of heart.  My idiosyncratic need to be organized has been a blessing during my development of this hobbie, but it also has been a curse due to the time consuming nature that already plagues the world of couponing. 
Many hours of work
- To end the day with a quote:
It is the epitome of life. The first half of it consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity. - Mark Twain