Saturday, May 28, 2011

Decoration Day

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, commemorates men and women who died while in military service to the United States began as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the civil war, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not.

On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m.

Charles Ives classic Decoration Day Symphony.

However you celebrate Memorial Day, have a safe and Happy Holiday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good Grief!!!!

I can't believe that I've reached 200 Followers!  I'm amazed each day for the people who find my blog and decide to follow me and my posts, as well as for your kind and thoughtful comments.  As I said in my header when I started this blog, (which I've recently re-designed and can now be found in my new page "About Me"), we'll cook, bake, decorate, entertain, laugh, maybe be get a little daring, but most of all we'll enjoy ourselves - and have fun!

Additionally I'm sending each of you a heart-felt thank you and a virtual bouquet of balloons for your friendship! I can hardly believe that over the past 10 months I've made 200 new friends all over the world - it "bloggles" the mind!   If you haven't done so yet, please click and play my personal greeting to each of you on my right sidebar.   Please remember that I love company, and you will always be welcome at Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Goulash vs. American Chop Suey

Who doesn't love pasta? OK, so I did a little research on "Goulash" or "American Chop Suey" or Macaroni & Beef (as it's know commercially). If you've never heard of it, It's an American pasta dish. What I found out is that the preferred name and recipe varies by region: for example, the name American Chop Suey is most prevalent in New England, which is where I'm from.

Simmering tomatoes, onion & hamburg

I wondered why my family called it Goulash. I phoned mom and asked her and she said that's what her mom called it - OK, so that's cast in stone! So, it is what it is. My husband grew up calling it American Chop Suey, well, he lived near Boston, maybe they were a little fancier than us! LOL!

Add some different types of pasta!

Upon further research, I discovered that it's known as chop suey because it is a sometimes-haphazard hodgepodge of meat and vegetables. The recipe is quite adaptable to taste and available ingredients. Elbow macaroni can be substituted with any pasta of similar size, such as ziti, shells, or rotelle. The onions or green peppers may be omitted, or replaced with other vegetables or mushrooms. While some recipes call for a smooth prepared tomato sauce some cooks prefer to add crushed or diced tomatoes along with tomato paste for a chunkier more intensely flavored dish - which is what I like. Italian herbs and Worcestershire sauce are sometimes used in preparation.

Some favorite ingredients.

However you decide to make it, or whatever you'd like to call it, and keeping with family tradition I'll call it Goulash,  two accompaniments are a must, grated Parmesan cheese and fresh bread for a yummy comforting meal!

Grab a fork and enjoy!

My Goulash Recipe (with an attitude*)
Serves 4

1 pound of lean ground beef, broken up
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
pinch of sea salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper
2-4 shakes of hot sauce ( I use Franks)
1- 14 oz. can of organic diced tomatoes
1- 10 oz. can of Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
8 ounces of dry pasta - cooked (I used elbows, shells, and orecchiette)
Parmesan cheese

Add olive oil to a large skillett, add chopped onion and soften, add garlic and simmer for another few moments. Add the salt and pepper. Add 2-4 shakes of hot sauce. Add the ground beef and break it up in the skillet. When the hamburg is browned add the organic and Rotel tomatoes. Cook until hot, add the pasta, mix it up, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve!

*If you don't want the "attitude" you may leave out the hot sauce and substitute the Rotel with regular diced tomatoes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nana's Banana Tea Bread

My grandmother, who we called Nana was a fabulous baker, and my grandfather, who we called Grampy was a fabulous cook.  What a perfect pair!  It wasn't fancy food, but it was delicious!   They always had a house full of family which they loved being surrounded by.

That's a very good thing, because Nana and Grampy had 7 children, and they were all married.  You can do the math, that means they had 7 daughters & sons in-laws!  But the number that they were most proud of was the amount of grandchildren.

There were 40 grandchildren!  We all lived nearby, we all knew each other, and we had a great time at family get togethers!  I hope you enjoy Nana's banana bread as much as we did.  And yes, Nana always made several loaves!  LOL!!!

Nana's Banana Tea Bread Recipe
(makes 1 loaf)

1 3/4 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Mashed Bananas (2-3)
1/4 Cup fat, melted (Crisco)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (if you like)

Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and sugar together; add the nuts if used.  Add the unbeaten eggs, the mashed bananas, and the fat, which has been allowed to cool after melting.  Stir these liquids quickly and lightly into the dry ingredients.  Pour the batter into a loaf pan that has been greased and dusted with flour.  Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 1 hour.  Cool before slicing.

Note:  Cream cheese and butter make great spreads for this delicious bread.  However, if you want to die and go to heaven in one bite, spread the bread with Nutella!  Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mosaic Monday: Highland Greenhouse, Scarborough, Maine

Highland Avenue Greenhouse is one of my favorite places in Maine to shop for perennials and annuals.  There is a great selection of annuals and perennials.  One of their best kept secrets is the seafood compost, if you want your garden to explode you have to try it!  I hope you enjoy my rainy day trip through the greenhouse!

Please visit Mary by clicking on Little Red House for Mosaic Monday! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Birthday To . . .

I'd like to wish my good friend Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window a very Happy Birthday.  If you have some time please visit her blog to wish her a Happy Birthday!

Oh the stories I could tell (he, he, he) ~ and won't  . . . Happy Birthday my dear friend! Enjoy!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Other Self Challenge . . .

 I love rings!

Karen at This Old House 2 has created a very fun challenge, called "My Other Self" and I thought I'd participate.  Please join me in my escape from reality, if only for a moment!

My other self wears this kind of jewelry . . . 


I love vintage straw handbags and I'd carry one all the time if I could!  

My other self lives here with her (same) family!

Has beautiful gardens!

A great kitchen with all the bells and whistles!

Award Winning Kitchen Designs

A comfortable family room

A relaxing master suite

Looks like this in her khakis . . . 

Could wear these without breaking her neck!


Has her faithful 4 legged friend with her at all times

Drives this

Relaxes here

Does this for a living & makes good money!
(I really do this)

to give them a better life . . . 
(I really want this.)

What does YOUR Other Self look like?
Karen challenged you to do a similar post
Send Karen your blogpost link and she'l put it under her hot tub!
Go on, you can do it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Color Decisions . . .

This desk cost $2,950.00 and the chair cost $390.00.  Since my last name isn't Rockefeller or Trump I didn't buy these.  However I did buy a desk and matching chair for about $160.00 at a consignment store in Maine. These are in our cottage guest room.  Yup, it's hardwood and in perfect condition.  My dilemma is, what colors do I paint them?  Should I paint them the same colors or different colors.  

The room and all the furniture is being painted, so blog friends, what colors do you like?  You'll notice I've not given you white as an option. I'm not interested in white, the furniture in our bedroom is white.  I want color!

Beach House Furniture, Desks & Desk Chair

I also have a hardwood dresser, which was free from the estate of a family member and a 1920's hardwood bed that I bought at an auction for $20.00 in the same room, what about those? Should they be painted the same matchy colors or not?  
Beach House Furniture, Double Vanity
Or do you like the colors mixed up?  

Of all the colors here, what's your favorite pallet? 
Beach House Furniture, Fence Bed, Queen
To recap, I'm painting a desk, chair, bed, dresser, and night-stand in our cottage guest room and I can't decide on a color pallet. The walls, and trim  will be a shade of white. I'd love to hear your thoughts.  

Now for all your hard work pick a cocktail, relax and enjoy! You've earned it! I appreciate all your comments on helping me select colors.  The finished product won't be available for viewing until the end of the summer, but I will post about the pieces that I'm going to refinish in the near future!

Which cocktail color did you pick?  I know, more decisions!  LOL!!