Prairie Land Pot Roast

I made this pot roast recipe last night for company. I was skeptical about it (who uses Catalina dressing for pot roast?!) but it was just different enough to try and my pot roasts have never been spectacular anyway. It got rave reviews all around!!! The only things I did differently was to substitute a can of beef broth for the water and I used the “Sweet Honey” version of Catalina dressing. I also tied the quartered onion (I only used 1) in cheesecloth so none of the pieces would end up on my onion-phobic husband’s plate. If you try it, I urge you to make the gravy too! Mmmmm! It was really quite good!!!


Brendan is opening up! We had a reasonably good session at the library story and craft time last Wednesday. Also, Dobie (PawPaw) came over yesterday and Brendan took to him immediately.
He is looking and acting more and more boyish. Last week he suddenly erupted into conversation. Not just a few words understood by both parties but back and forth meaningful exchange. WOW. It is exciting to see.
I got out some little cars and tracks last night. The little cars go around the tracks on their own. He has 3 vehicles and they are always crashing, bouncing off each other and occassionally even break free of the track for an across the carpet voyage. Very fun. Brendan would watch them and say “round & round, round & round!” 😀 He’d can also twirl his hands around each other and say the same thing. He is so cute! 😀
And the biggest evidence of the cogs in his brain at work…
At lunch yesterday, Brendan started reading off the letters on Darrell’s shirt- and getting most of them right!! 😀 I found it hilarious but appropriate when he called a couple by their sounds instead. Thank you, LeapFrog fridge letters, LeapFrog Letter Factory DVD, Sesame Street, Between the Lions, Bathtub foam letters, and various computer games.

Strawberry Glazed Strawberry Cake

I made Darrell a rather awesome birthday cake yesterday. I created it from a memory, lol. The idea is not mine but the actual recipe pretty much is. I wish I knew the real name for it. Then I could find the recipe and see how close I came. Haha. It is a strawberry cake with real strawberries in it topped with sweetened strawberry juice that’s allowed to soak into the cake. The end result is very similar to pineapple upside down cake- except not pineapple and not upside down. LOL.
Strawberry Glazed Strawberry Cake
white cake mix (I used Pilsbury)
3/4 c water
1/2 c oil
4 eggs
1 sm box strawberry jello
1 24 oz tub frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed
3/4 c powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, strain half of the tub of strawberries to remove the juice. Add the juice back to the other half.
Beat eggs in a large bowl with a mixer. Add cake mix, water, oil, box of jello and the strawberries that the juice was removed from. Mix until blended and pour into pan. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until done.
While the cake is baking, blend the reserved strawverries & juice along with the powdered sugar in a blender until liquid.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then poke the cake with a fork about every inch along the cake’s surface. Pour the strawberry topping over the cake and spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
Very moist and yummy. Great for people who are not fond of frosting (and those who are as well, lol).
Happy Birthday, my love.

Fried Plantains

I have always been curious about plantains. Giant, hard, green bananas. Bren and I were watching an episode of Postcards from Buster a few days ago (apparently Buster the Bunny from Arthur spun his own cartoon- as is the modern way) and it featured a cuban cooking lesson- fried plantains!
The lady in the show peeled a plantain with a knife. It’s harder to do than it sounds! Then she cut the plantain into about 3/4 inch thick coins. She fried these in oil until the sides had a golden appearance to them. Then she removed them, squashed them with a special gadget, and refried them.
I had to try it.
Two plantains cost me all of 68 cents. I lopped off the stem end of each plantain and used a knife to skin one side. Then I peeled off the rest of the skins with my hands. They felt like petrified bananas, lol. I cut them into the 3/4 inch coins and fried them. I didn’t have the special squashing gadget, but a heavy measuring cup worked fine. The petaled out like flowers whereas hers had been more round. I refried them til what had once been the insides of the coins started to brown. I placed them on paper towels.
While the cubans in the show ate them straight, I decided to sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on mine. Bad choice, because it didn’t stick very well. I ended up eating mine with honey and DH ate his with maple syrup. They tasted a lot like crispy banana french toast. 😀
I think they’d lend themselves to a cute mini dessert very well. I bet I could round the “petals” up to make a tiny bowl. Perhaps as the base for a dollop of banana pudding or half-dipped in melted chocolate and topped with a slice of banana? Mmmmm. Maybe a cream filling drizzled with caramel? 😉


Brendan will poke at the side of his head and say “think, think, think” (fink, fink, fink-lol), “Oh, bother” (Oh, bodder) and also says “Oh, dear!” just like Winnie the Pooh.
I also love how he says careful- “care-poh” lol

Sand Table

I remember playing with something similar to this in my kindergarten classroom. The teacher would change the sand to water or rice once in awhile for a change. I loved the feel of rice running through my fingers. Click on the graphic for the instructions. It’s from the July/August 2005 issue of Family Fun magazine.

Darrell and I plan on making one this weekend. We already own the black tub. We bought one for Bren at the beginning of summer. I like the idea of adding the table part. It’s easier to play in that way.

Labor Day weekend

Our dryer light bulb exploded.
A pipe under a bathroom sink burst at 3 in the morning. Water went down the hall, under the wall into the other bathroom, into closets and soaked the edges of our bedrrom carpet. The pipe still needs to be fixed and the house now stinks of musty water. I am grateful that it didn’t decide to burst when we were gone or even when Darrell was at work.
And our car- well, it is on its way to repair shop for it’s 7th time in just over a month’s time. Wonder what rental car we’ll get this time. Sigh.
And yet I can’t do much more than sigh and shake my head a bit when the news is full of devastating Hurricane Katrina stories. Deaths, parentless babies, toxic floods, not enough not soon enough. Crime, anger and hoplessness. And where is that polluted water going to go? Mississippi river? Gulf?
Why do people build cities below sea level anyway? Holding back vast quantities of water for long periods of time just doesn’t seem smart.

Winnie the Pooh Live

Paid too much to park.
Paid WAY too much for a spinning toy.
Paid FAR TOO MUCH for lousy seats.
Having Winnie the Pooh come to life? Tiggerifficly priceless.
Brendan was a crab-and-a-half as we waited in the halls for the theater to open. He cried all the way up the two or three sets of stairs. He fussed while we waited in our seats. He fussed when we moved to better seats, which we were told we could do after the show began (about 5 rows forward- much better!). But once the show started he was captivated. His mouth dropped open and it was suddenly worth all the effort and expense. And when he sang along all was perfect in our world.
Needless to say- he loved it. 😀