Cooking away!


Sometimes you don’t do something you enjoy. Doing something you like can becomes a chore. Sometimes it is a chore because you seem to be involved in so many other things that end up taking you away from it.

Cooking and baking has been in that arena for me for a while.

MK being under the weather got me re-
involved in it. She got the flu and at first wasn’t interested at all in eating and then she was finally back on the mend. I started making ‘comfort food’ that I haven’t made in a long time.

It started out with not wanting to defrost my recent goulash, and wondering what might pique Mary Kay’s palate when she didn’t feel all that great. I started out with a favorite pork chop recipe that I have that is French: Côtelettes de Porc aux pommes en l’air. Basically it is pork chops sautéed in clarified butter and baked with apple slices. I made a more Jewish than Hungarian, noodle kugel with sour cream to accompany it for a side and had sliced oranges and homemade butterscotch pudding for dessert. It was wonderful.

We ended up having the above for the second day as both of us enjoyed it so much.

I also made a quick batch of Maho Bay Granola and made homemade yogurt to go along with it for breakfast. It was wonderful.

Today I am making a Hungarian beef soup, having stopped at Fresh Farms in Wheeling, a very ethnic store featuring much Russian and former Soviet Bloc countries’ fare as well as Hungarian. I got everything I needed and a few others. I came home, washed everything, threw it all in the pot, and now I am going tutoring, leaving MK to watch it simmer on the stove.

As it turns out, that may be tomorrow’s meal as we still have noodle kugel and may make a steak, soup is always better the second day.

Okay, off to the tutoring!

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Stewie anoints a Yucca

A nasty beginning to the day. I didn’t even get to clean mine, I was in a rush to get out.

Nothing like an unpleasant start to your day.

I was already under pressure as I was doing the grandparenting alone, and to complicate that, I was doing it at the grandkids’ home. That meant that I needed to have all my ‘usual’ goodies and things for them. I packed a picnic basket and I also packed my backpack because there is always the possibility, especially on a snowy day, that my after-grandparenting time might get eaten into. I am tutoring in the early evening and need my Technology for that.


I am in rush, I woke up at 6:30 and did my quick exercises, fed the dog and then I went to walk him. I started the car, hoping that the nasty, frozen slush might melt enough so that I could see while driving.

Stewie decided to choose a yucca plant, piercing out of the snow. It had snowed during the night and we had a crusty, already on the edge of melting kind of snow. I am guessing four inches, but due to the slushiness, it was less than two. Stewie decides to do his job and the neighbor, standing by his car, just a few doors from my house yells, “You know, that is my garden there.” I made him repeat it because I was incredulous that he was even deigning to speak to me, something that in some thirty years, he has never done.

I realized that he was upset about my dog doing his thing on his supposed garden (I have never thought his sense of landscaping was all that great, just okay, and now that he annoyed me…).

I yelled back, “First of all, I always clean up after my dog, secondly, you have always been a weirdo.”
I now understand why one of my sons punched this new Malbor’s daughter way back when. I found out she had been bullying him. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say.

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Getting doused at the movies

We had decided that we wanted to go see a movie. We wanted to see the movie about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. So far this week, we had been unable, until Wednesday, to pull that off.

We went to the movie, settled in, and started watching the movie. We were relaxed and there were few people or complications regarding getting to the movies in Highland Park or with parking, or anything else.

We found the movie to be a bit slow. Somewhere, about an hour into the movie we heard a huge splash, sounding as if it were ice and water and we noticed the row behind us had the few people in the theatre scrambling.

Within moments, we knew that the water and ice had dropped from the ceiling. Apparently, the ice storm and recent weather were doing more damage than we had anticipated. One man was completely doused with water, his jacket and upper body were soaked.

We got up and left the room and went to the main area of the cinema. There, we detailed what had happened to the docile and non-reacting people working there. Our fear was that if something had fallen from the ceiling, that perhaps the room should be evacuated, or at least checked by someone, before a return to the movie. They acted as if nothing had happened. I requested our money back and we did get that. All in all, the people working there were slow to react and said something like, “Oh, that happened last year and we thought that it was repaired.” It was clear that there was no master plan for a situation like that. They all acted as if nothing at all had happened.

We shall be calling the village of Highland Park tomorrow to see what is being done.

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More fun with Brio Trains

The first time I saw the Brio Trains, way back in the early 80s or maybe late 70s, I was intrigued. I love model trains and I am quite remiss in putting up the two train sets I have squirreled away in the crawl space. I have my own American Flyer train I received in the 50s and also a larger American Flyer train from the 20s. The Brio Train, however, is so much easier to deal with as it can be put up, taken down, and frankly, just easily used.

We bought Brio trains sets, I think from Galt Toys, way back when (the early 80s?), and started collecting track, villages, wooden pine trees, and train pieces. With the passing of the years, we kept the trains and pieces as we just could not part with them.

Today, our grandkids benefit from the fact that we kept the wonderful wood pieces and the only issue we have had with them falling apart is the canine connection. We have had some puppies who decided that the wooden pieces were worth chewing.

Thank goodness for, we have been able to replace and purchase more accessories and our grandkids have a collection of Brio in their own homes. Add in to that, the cost was not inflated.

The latest change was the introduction of the AA battery operated train engines. At first, I heard of this from my son, then I did some research and found out that Brio even made remote-controlled battery-operated trains. This adds a whole new level to the fun and playing opportunities of the train sets.

It seems as if we pull out the trains at least once a week or so. It is so easy to set up and equally easy to take down and the creative processes it brings about for the kids makes it all worth it.

Brio Trains are just fun!

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Ice Storm

Chicago gets ice storms but somewhat infrequently. We are definitely more of a snow and blizzard kind of town.

Yesterday, we were threatened with an ice storm. The snow had been melting at a record pace and the temperatures had risen from the subzero temps of the previous week. It was set to plummet again and you could already feel the iciness in the air.

We had had a busy day with the two youngest grandchildren. Toward late afternoon, I took one of our charges while the other napped, and took her to her cousins’ house. It was really cold out and we got their dog and went to the corner to wait for the bus. It seemed to take longer than we both expected, we were both freezing, and just as we were about to go and wait in the house, the bus came by.

We had a great time, Papi making afternoon popcorn and the girls having fun. A little later, they were joined by their youngest cousin and Grandma.

I had to go out tutoring, so I went out just as the temperatures were starting to really drop. Half way through my session, the family asked me if I wanted to leave, given the weather situation. I told them I would stay.

When I got back to our grandkids, their mom was already back and I realized that their blacktop driveway was insanely icy. I glided along and made my way up the steps of the deck, barely avoiding the slippery possibilities.

When we went out to return home, we went out the front, avoiding the blacktop, walking on the lawn. Nonetheless, even getting past the brick paved stoop was tough. We ended up walking off of it on to the adjacent lawn, it was so icy.

This morning the temps seem to be just slightly above freezing, so the iciness of the previous evening is dissipating quickly. We are lucky as it could have been way worse.

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