Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I've wanted to learn how to make flour tortillas for quite some time now. I really wondered if it could possibly be worth the effort though. I don't LOVE the taste of store bought tortillas. For me, they are just a vehicle for all of the wonderful things you stuff in them.

The other night I was searching through the freezer for something I could use up for our dinner. I came across a bag of chicken burrito filling that I had made and froze months ago. The only problem with this dinner plan; no tortillas.

I figured now was as good a time as any to try my hand at making some homemade.

I searched the internet and immediately found a recipe that sounded like it would work. Isn't the internet cool!!

You can find the recipe here .

The ingredients were very basic. I had everything I needed. Flour (I used white, but I imagine part whole wheat would be fine too), oil, salt, baking powder, and milk.

The dough was easy to work with and mixed up just like the recipe said.

It did take some kneading to get the stickiness out.

I divided the dough into roughly equal pieces with a pizza cutter.

Forming the pieces into balls before rolling out is an important step to getting round tortillas.

I skimped on the resting time, (I was really hungry), so some of the first tortillas took longer to roll out because the dough was king of tight. After a good rest though, the later ones were much easier to roll out.

They cooked up perfectly just like the recipe said, 30 seconds a side. I got into a rhythm and was able to have the next one rolled out by the time the one in the pan was finished cooking.

It sure was a good workout for my arms. I guess I'm pretty out of shape if I can "feel the burn" while doing a simple task like rolling out 8 tortillas.

The effort was so worth it though. These tortillas are in a totally different class than the gummy ones that I normally buy from the store. Absolutely delicious!

I heated up the burrito filling that is my sister Maria's recipe. It's an awesome recipe to have. Actually, it's not a specific recipe as much as a list of ingredients to put together however you want.

Cooked rice, cooked shredded chicken, canned corn, canned diced tomatoes, canned chilies, cheese, sour cream, any seasonings you think will work (cumin, garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, cayenne) Mix it all together with enough sour cream to make it easy to stir. Put it in a casserole and bake until it's bubbly.

Serve on a tortilla with whatever toppings you like. I kept this one simple with just some dollops of sour cream. Delicious!!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

21 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today is Sarah's 21st birthday! Happy Birthday Sass!!!!!!

Even though we are not with you today to celebrate your very special day, we are thinking about you and hoping you are having the best day ever. I baked a cake for all of us to enjoy in your honor.

We can't wait to see you in two weeks to celebrate with you.

I'm remembering today many of your past birthday's. When we had a pony in our tiny backyard. When we had the carnival and Dave was a clown and terrorized Andrew. Your tea party with all of your ballet friends. Your 10th birthday when we went to Knoebels Grove. Your 16th birthday when we all visited you in Washington DC and had brunch in Georgetown.

Even though you no longer live with us, you still bring us so much joy. I look forward to talking to you every day. Even if it's just for 5 minutes. I love hearing about what's going on in your life.

I hope this year brings you all the happiness, peace, joy, contentment, and love that you so deserve!


Thursday, July 17, 2008


I spent the beginning part of this week visiting my grandmother. I travelled to her house with my mom and my dad. No kids. Just my mom, my dad, and me. We had a great visit! My grandmother has such wonderful memories to share.

We spent hours sitting on her porch. We watched the cars and trucks pass on Centre Street. We watched the people walking about in the town. We spent a fair amount of time talking about these same people. We reminisced about my great-aunt Flossie who passed away this winter and lived in the adjoining house to my Nana's. Nana shared stories of other relatives who lived in the town over the years.

We made a visit to a nearby state park. Locust Lake. It is a gorgeous park! I grew up going to this park. When I was a child and visiting my grandparents' house with my siblings and four cousins, we would often go to the park for a walk in the afternoon. I imagine it was a nice change of pace for the grown ups to get us all out of the house for a while. My Nana would pack a cooler or basket with snacks and drinks. We'd walk around the trail that looped all the way around the lake. We always stopped at the playground. Nana and Poppop would sit on the benches and we'd all spend frantic minutes trying to play on everything at once. The swings, the see-saw, the jumpy bridge, the tire swing, the rolling log. Fun!! We'd continue on the loop and stop at a small bridge to watch the fishermen and see if we could spy a fish in the shallows. Next up was the amphitheater. It was used for different purposes in the camp ground. Church, movies, lectures etc. My cousin Chrissy and I loved to stand at the podium and pretend we were making speeches to a crowd of imaginary people seated on the log seats.

When I grew up, had kids of my own, and took them to visit Nana and Poppop, we would always include a trip to Locust Lake at some point in the visit. Nana would pack snacks and drinks for her great-grandchildren. We'd walk around the loop. Of course we visited the playground and my kids played on the same equipment that I grew up enjoying. My grandfather would talk to my kids about the mushrooms he'd hunt in the woods of the park. He told them plenty of fishing stories and would often stop to chat with a fishing buddy near the bridge. He always brought along peanuts to feed the squirrels. Poppop called all squirrels "Charlie". All the Charlies seemed to know Poppop.

Doug and I camped at Locust Lake several times with our kids. Since the park was so close to Nana and Poppop's house, they would often come to visit us in the evening to enjoy the campfire and a marshmallow or two. I saw my Poppop for the last time at Locust Lake other than a few minutes in the hospital when I said a painful, tearful good-bye to him. I treasure the memory of that last visit around the campfire at the Lake. I can still see his smile!

This visit was a different kind of visit. No kids. No Poppop. No playground. Quiet. Peaceful. Sitting still with our memories. My dad took a walk around the old loop while I sat with my mom and Nana on a bench in the shade. I went to the camp store and bought us some hand dipped ice cream to enjoy while we soaked in the beautiful day.

I hope someday Doug and I will bring our grand kids to Locust Lake and share with them all of the wonderful memories we have of this special place.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Boy, that title got your attention didn't it! No, not baby babies...baby chickens.

Last week, Doug called from the feed store to tell me that they had some extra chicks and asked me if I wanted them. Well, yeah!! I LOVE baby chicks. Our hens' egg production has slowed down so we really need to get some fresh layers going if we're going to continue to eat the VERY large amount of eggs that we are accustomed to.

Tommy and I scurried around trying to find a temporary home for them. They need to be in the kitchen for several weeks where it's warm. Anyone who's ever been in my kitchen knows that "warm" is relative. We'll be using a heat lamp and a portable heater for a while too, don't worry.

Awww. How cute.

Tommy's our official namer, so these chicks were christened, Penny, Polly, Lucy, and Lola.

It's not easy to tell them apart right now, but Tommy always seems to know who's who.

Yes, I did say 8 new babies.

The next day, Doug called me from one of his customer's farms to say that her hen had just hatched out 17 chicks and could we possibly help her out. Well, sure, why not. The more the merrier!

How could anyone say no to these little guys?

Names: Mary, Marcy, Pablo, and Susie. The feminine names are really wishful thinking. We won't be sure for a while if we have hens or roosters.

New boarders in our barn gave us a gorgeous basket of flowers. I just couldn't resist setting the chicks in the basket for an awesome photo opportunity.

How cute is that!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Our beloved rooster, Ace, was killed by a fox on Friday. He was an awesome rooster!!

He took such good care of his ladies. He always knew where they all were. If one was missing he started calling to her and rounded her up when he caught sight of her. He would peck at the ground until he found a tasty bug or worm. He would never eat it though. He'd stand over it and call to the hens to come and get it. When I called them over to the porch for some table scraps, he made sure all of the hens had their fill before he would take his first bite.

He was NEVER aggressive with his hens or with his human family and friends. He was so handsome and regal looking. I have no doubt that he died protecting his hens. I'm so sad that I let them out of the coop that day!

It is definitely open season for foxes around here!!!!

The mornings are so quiet without his beautiful crowing to bring in the day. I imagine we'll get another rooster, but I think it will be really hard to ever find a rooster as beautiful, gentle, brave and cool as Ace.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I've been looking forward to a quiet day at home today all week. We didn't have to leave the house until the afternoon for a lacrosse game. I pictured a quiet day getting tons of school work completed, doing all my long neglected housework, hanging the laundry out to dry in the beautiful spring breezes, baking bread, weeding the flower beds.

I still had the idea of this quiet day in my head for maybe the first hour of my morning. Then, the reality of the amazingly beautiful day that was unfolding sunk in.

I told the boys to put away their math books, packed some water and food, grabbed the dog and a blanket, called my friend Jennifer, and headed to the park for a hike and a picnic lunch.

Happily, Jennifer and her kids were game to set aside their plans for the day and join us.

We had an awesome hike and a delicious lunch. The dogs even got along. They may become friends after all.

After being sick all week, Billy was pretty tired out after our 1 1/2 hour hike. I think he was very grateful for the comfy blanket, soft grass, and warm sun. After a little rest he was revived enough to go play in his lacrosse game. He's the goalie and had a great game.

Monday, April 14, 2008


In my quest to make, from scratch, as much of our food as I can, I have been searching and searching for a recipe for crackers that was not too complicated and actually tasted like crackers, not thin bread.

I think I found it!!

I found it here . I used the 2nd recipe on the page. It was really easy. Took less than 1/2 hour to put together. I did make a change to the recipe. I used half white and half wheat flour. I may try all wheat next time and see how it works. I also cooked them a little longer. I just kept checking them until they looked crispy, but not too brown.

I didn't need to use the roller. The dough was very soft and spread just fine with my hands. I think I would keep spreading and make them just a touch thinner next time.

I cut them with a pizza cutter in roughly wheat thin sized squares.
These are sesame, but I am imagining all kinds of variations to try in the future: poppy seed, garlic, parmesan, cracked pepper, dill...