Thursday, January 27, 2011

Universal Casserole...Getting Creative

This recipe is great for leftovers.  I've gotten very loose with it over the years and I don't even pay attention to the quantities listed in the recipe.  I also use all different size pans, depending on what ingredients are at hand and how many of us will be at dinner.  Although, I have to say, I mostly resort to using the recipe when Kevin is around because I know it will fill him up ;)   Drew and Dave aren't big on carbs so I reduce the starchy ingredient.  Also, I rarely stick to either the quantities or the sequence of the recipe - it's worked out pretty well to just make sure nothing is too dry on the bottom of the pan to make it stick.

The fun thing is that you can use just your favorite ingredients and go with a theme, like all Italian food ingredients or all Mexican food ingredients...or a seafood theme with fish and chips and rice.  

The Universal Casserole

1 Cup Main Ingredient (tuna, chicken,turkey,ham, seafood etc.)
1 Cup Second Ingredient (celery, mushrooms, peas, hard-boiled eggs, veggies etc.)
1-2 Cups Starchy Ingredient (pasta, sliced potatoes, cooked noodles, rice etc.)
1 1/2 Cups "Binder" Ingredient (cream sauce, sour cream, tomato sauce, soup etc.)
1/4 "Goodie" Ingredient (olives, almonds, chestnuts,  etc.)
Topping (grated cheese, chips, bread crumbs etc.)

If it seems dry, add some milk or stock.
Butter the casserole dish and bake @ 350 for 30-45 minutes

I just went back to using this old casserole recipe recently because Kevin was here - actually I've done 2 different ones this week and he loved them.  (Dave complained that I was feeding him too many carbs, though).  At any rate, the other good part of all this is that there's really only one pan to wash! 

Good Luck !  I wouldn't try it on company, though ;)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just The Two Of Us

So what to do on a Sunday afternoon with the kids away?  It was such a beautiful day that we decided to go for a walk... and then wine tasting at Deer Ridge Winery:

The weather today was a "tease' because it's not really Spring yet but we weren't complaining.  It was a nice reprieve from the rain. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In Like Flint...Krannert School of Management

Lauren officially made it into the Upper Division of Purdue's Krannert School of Management (Purdue's Business School) after her 1st semester as a Sophomore! .  Yea!  After lots of hard work and late nights! Here she is with the new Krannert Bag and Portfolio that she received today .  
She was accepted into Krannert as a Freshman but, in order to stay in Krannert and move into the Upper Division, she had to maintain the minimum of a B in every management class: all Calculus classes, Accounting, French, Management etc.
Lauren really scared me with how little sleep she was getting and how intense the program was.  I tried not to let on, but I was really worried and she got very sick after finals last Spring.  It was frightening because we were so far away. She ended up pulling it off with a 3.8 overall gpa.  We are all really happy now but it was harrowing for 3 semesters.  I really hope it gets better from now on.  Seriously.
Lauren is just happy about 2 things:
1. She'll never have to take another calculus class again.  Yea!!
2. She has decided not to take French again and that makes her happy.  
Actually, I'm not going to say Yea about this because she was really good at French even though the classes put her to sleep but...How will we get around Paris now, Lauren? We'll have to go there very year so you can keep up your skills.    ;)   Ha, right...

Lauren, if anyone has put their nose to the have.  Congratulations, Sweetie.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Last Full Measure Of California

Lauren goes back to school tomorrow so we went down to Monterey and Carmel for the day... if you've never been in Northern California, here's the one penny tour:

Driving along Highway 1 , approaching Monterey, next to Fort Ord where many Vietnam soldiers were assigned before being deployed to the war.  The last view of the United States for many of them...can you  imagine?
The beach hotel where Lauren and Grandma Connolly and I stayed on our "Girls Weekends" when Lauren was a little girl.
The pier in Monterey - still a fisherman's workplace
Dad and Daughter...two peas in a pod...
We three
Surfers waiting for the big one...this one is pretty was too calm
See the black spot in the upper left corner?  It's  sea otter, sharing the sea with the surfers
Daughter and Dad ( he gets camera shy :)  a nice lunch on the pier in Monterey
Highway 1...heading toward Carmel
Natural Seaside plants
More shoreline along the highway
And more...
Nice to live here, huh?
It was pretty cold here so I got back in the car. Pretty, though.
Downtown Carmel
Carmel was one of the Original Mission towns created by the Padres (priests from Spain who created missions along the length of California).  Learning about the Missions is something every California school child encounters all through elementary school.  The Missions are the foundation of our State.  The Missions and the Gold Rush of 1849 are central to the history of California.  
Some graffiti on the back of a sign along the beach...we feel the same way :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Curled Lips

Kayaking didn't seem like the thing Lauren and I wanted to do when Dave first suggested it.  The weather was overcast and it was chilly outside...not to mention that we might get wet and the water was reaaallly freezing.  Soooo, we curled our lips like two teenagers before finally relenting (I should add that one of us is still officially a teenager - the other one may have just been a grump).  Just as we got down to the dock, the sun peeked out of the cloud layer and things started looking up.  We headed down to our neighbor's waterfall to see if it were in full roaring mode and it certainly was!  And to think we almost missed seeing it!
The waterfall...from November through about May.

No more curled lips!
It's a good thing Lauren was steering - she's stronger than I am.
Peace, sunshine and...


Weather changes with elevation
The rest of our few days at the lake, Lauren and I spent vegging out.  Well, I did a little housework but spent a fair amount of time on my book and Lauren was experiencing the calm before the storm of going back to school.  Dave was, as usual, working around outside.  For the past few weeks he's been trying to control the erosion along the steps and the path he put in over the summer. But he loves all that work so it was a great couple of days for all of us.  And we have 3 more days with Lauren....