Tag Archives: food

I’m Ashamed to Admit

Cheez Whiz.

I have re-discovered it.  And I love it.

cheezwhiz sultana20galletas

In Puerto Rico we happened upon an entire food aisle at the local WalMart devoted to, seemingly, only crackers and Cheez Whiz.  I have never seen so many crackers in my life.  They were very big on “soda crackers” in regular and whole wheat and even sold them in 5-pound tins!

And I was going to admit that Cheez Whiz, which I don’t think I’d even had since the mid-1960s,   had absolutely no redeemable food value when I saw, much to my delight, that a 2-tablespoon serving does provide 10% of a person’s daily calcium needs.  So, I have that going for me.  That and some really great crackers I brought back from the islands.

Tristan’s “Big Night” (because he is turning 29)

Happy Birthday, Tristan Kelley!


pictured: The sign made by Steph and Stormie with a nod to The Office, naturally.

You are at that age – you know?  The one everyone claims to be when they don’t wanna be the age they really are?  So pretty much, for the next year, everyone will think you are lying about your age.  But you’re not.  Like McCaulay Culkin, you are actually 29.  Which puts into perspective for me the little boy you were so many years ago when we watched Home Alone with our kids, and Stephanie, in particular.


When you chose Stephanie, when you decided (which in retrospect seems uncharacteristically devilish of you) to pursue Stephanie in spite of a road-bump whose name I shall not bother to mention here, you got us all, the whole loud, crazy, undone and un-in-law-tested bunch of us, lock, stock and barrel.


And we are grateful to your parents for the wonderful son they raised.  We thank God that you were nurtured and encouraged in a godly home, prepared and equipped to be the man you have become – a great husband to Steph and a true daddy to the bambinos.  Tell your mom and dad thank-you for me, will you?  Because they did really raise a courageous son, one who, in spite of the size and girth of the sum of us, is not only equal to the task, able to withstand our faults and failures and shortcomings as much as enjoy any good, but strengthens us as a family, bringing rich character and treasure to us.  Who could have known when you became one of us that one such humble young man’s presence in a family could change our course so drastically?  Tris, you brought  an increase of the favor of God upon us and I can’t remember life before you became our “son.”  We are blessed.

  l-319 img_2060-copy appreciation-dinner-081-copy

pictured: he must have said something funny at the family party; a shot from the recent Kelley photo shoot taken by Tredessa; the apparent Rocky/Tristan “butt” shot…for their wives only, I am sure.


Food ~ The Glorious Timpano

As usual, we had your annually-requested-birthday fruit pizza (see recipe) instead of a cake (but I really am game to create free-standing drum set someday), which nearly drove several family members into a sugar coma.  And, much to Stormie’s delight, your celebration became an opportunity for her highly-sought-after Timpano ~ as made famous by the cinematically beautiful movie, Big Night, starring Tony Shalub and Stanley Tucci.  The movie is wonderful.  The food they prepare is inspiring.  Stormie’s version is delish!

l-244 l-245 l-248


l-322 l-263

What a silly family we are, sometimes, huh?  But what great times celebrating each other and just being with people who’ll love you to the end!


Twenty-nine wishes for Tris on his 29th birthday.

  1. May the storehouse of good in you always be full to running over!  “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him…”  Matthew 12.35
  2. I wish for you to know the deep things of God and to increase in wisdom as He leads you.
  3. I hope you and Stephanie will always remain madly in love, and that your life’s pursuits will  keep you running into each other in happy, romantic collisions.
  4. I pray that the love you bestow upon your children will come back to you a hundred-fold.
  5. Long life!  And may it go well with you because you keep the 5th commandment to honor your parents.  Keep doing that.  You can’t go wrong. 
  6. God?  Bless Tristan.  Really bless him! 
  7. I wish you 50% off days at Mile-High Comics every Labor Day!
  8. I wish for your full talent as a musician to be recognized beyond your wildest dreams and that you be compensated duly.
  9. May you get all the best drumsticks and Zildjian cymbals you ever need.
  10. I wish for you to have good students: the kind who don’t waste your time and who will really learn from the treasure-trove of musical knowledge you possess.
  11. I pray that as you have dared2work at dare2share, you’ll  get credit in heaven for the harvest!
  12. Tris, I hope you will always be strengthened by knowing that you are so well loved by our whole family.
  13. The time you need with the people you love.  Thank-you for working so hard to provide for your family, for doing whatever it takes, but enjoy time that belongs to you, too.
  14. And that secret dream?  May the resources and location come to pass quickly by the divine hand of the Lord.  He is on the look out for you, I know it!
  15. Rest.  I wish rest for you.
  16. Peace.  I wish peace for you, too.
  17. And joy.  I wish an abundance of the joy of the Lord to be your strength.
  18. X-box 360 expertise.  As if you even need this wish – may you do reeeeeally well in X-box tourneys and beat everybody (except occasionally let Rocky have a victory since he is your “little brother”)!
  19. I hope you’ll…laugh (you thought I was gonna say “dance”, didn’t you?).
  20. I wish for your sense of humor to get even keener, if that is possible, so you can keep us laughing!
  21. Surprises.  I hope this year will be full of really good surprises for you.
  22. I wish increased relationship and bonding between you and all the siblings (the sister you were born to and her husband, and all the ones you have because of Stephanie).  Their lives are so enriched in the knowing of you.
  23. Cool t-shirts, the perfect jeans, great hair cuts and shoes that make your feet go “ahhh.”  You have your own style and I wish for it all come to you easily this year!
  24. Songs.  New songs.  Lots of them.
  25. Beats and rhythms only heard previously in the halls of heaven.  Bring ’em on, Tris!
  26. I wish lots of English toffee for you and other sweet sundries, which I guess can be made possible if I will only get busy.  Sometime between now and Christmas, maybe…
  27. I wish more kids for you, but apparently you are not going to receive that little present, but can’t you just see it?  Six or seven more little redheads running around??!  Wouldn’t the world be a more delightful and magical place???
  28. I am hoping for lots more conversations with you because I learn so much and am so moved by your insight and wisdom on so many different topics.  You are truly one of the smartest people I have ever known in my life.
  29. And finally?  I pray for God to bless you back, in the same kind and with the same measure with which you have loved us, shown respect to us, honored us and become a part of us.  And if He answers that prayer, and I know He will, you will be blessed – on your 29th birthday and always.  And I am believing for that! 

We love you, Tristan.  I hope you will always know how much.  Happy Birthday to you!…mom (and so honored to get to share that role just a tiny bit even though you already have a wonderful mama)

NOTE TO SELF:  Break out the toffee recipe because Tristan is worth it, even if it isn’t Christmas.

A true tomato

I spent the entire week in Puerto Rico poo-pooing their very sad looking tomatoes.  They were barely-pinkish, transparent, rubbery-looking things that resembled something that some one may have tried to grow at some point or the other, but which had been aborted too soon and now were in a state of perpetual laboratory-like strangeness.

dsc06954 this may have been one of the better ones at the resort, truly…

So, seriously: we eat at these great restaurants.  Everything is beautiful, but every time – terrible, terrible tomatoes.  What on earth?

So, a long day on Palomino Island was my final day.  I dragged the beach lounger knee-deep into the ocean and let the waves splash over me all day while a hot breeze cooled my skin.  I got burned.  A deep burn, but it was OK because I had been careful not to burn before, so the base tan protected me (I hope Ali, who has agreed to help me un-do previous sun damage on my skin, is not reading this – because we just talked about it the night before I went!). 

Tredessa looked at me and said, “Mom, you are burned.  You are as red as a tomato.”

And then, the reason I am so proud of her, the reason I admire her intelligence so, she made the distinction, “But not like a Puerto Rican tomato.  Like one of your tomatoes.”  And I beamed.  Tomato red.

Now this is a tomato.


From my garden.  A small tomato and some basil.  If it is slightly blurry, forgive the photographer (me).  I think it is because I may have been shaking a little bit in anticipation of sprinkling some salt on these slices and eating them.  Because, omygoodness, they are sweet and tangy, and the juice, which tries unsuccessfully to escape my tongue and run down my face, is madly divine, the fountain of life, more potent than wine.

I have written about tomatoes before – oh, yes, I have!

I would like to dedicate this blog to Bryan.  Read here and here and here – for old times’ sake, Bry.  And oh, what the heck?  Here is my roasted tomato recipe for Cody, but Bryan, you can enjoy it again, too – right before you re-read this blog about YOU, where I seriously question whether God wants us to be friends if you hate tomatoes!   ;)

Roasted Red Peppers

If you love roasted red peppers, if you enjoy them on chimichangas or like to make roasted red pepper soup, if you like them in or on anything, crave the savory sweetness they add to a meal, then you will mourn with me the fact that I cannot find a local vendor for my canned red peppers anymore.


I used to buy them at King Soopers for $6.99.  Yes.  Only $6.99 for a 5-pound 8-ounce can which held an average of 36 roasted red peppers.  About a year and a half ago, during one of their ridiculous re-arrangements, they discontinued them. 

I figured I’d find them somewhere, but alas, I have not.

I have checked all the major grocers as well as disounters like Big Lots.  I have even ventured into Asian markets and scoured the Mexican Carnicerias.  I had such hopes when Rancho Liberio started sending me their ads.  But to no avail.

Sure, I can order the peppers from an online source.  But it is quite a lot more expensive, and naturally, the shipping is exhorbitant.

They are a product of Spain and I miss them so.  The Roland Food Company is an importer of such deliciousness.  Can anyone tell me where I can get them now?  Product #45630.  UPC# 0 41224 45630 3

Help me…..she moans….Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Go feed garden pepper plants.

Green Trend

How much of what is now called “green” really is?


Dave was thinking of writing a blog about how appalled he was by the number of those little plastic food-sample cups we go through in American food stores every weekend as grocers try to entice us into buying $15.99-a-pound cheese or $28-a-pound  deli herbed-roast-beef .  Though it sounds noble and Dave seems almost “green,” it was really just based on the fact that he and I alone had approximately 17 empty little containers in our cart after a half hour in Target. 

That is probably more of an indictment against us than against the state of plastic-sample-cup use across America.

We did find a nice cheese in our price-range with a coupon…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Skip lunch before Target next time.

Holiday Fare – Top Ten Tips


This came in emails from several friends last week and I must wholeheartedly concur with this very good advice for eating and diet during the holidays.  I was told a member-in-good-standing with Weight Watchers wrote it (?).  I truly suscribe to this thinking!  Here are the top ten tips to get you through the holiday buffet:

10.  Avoid carrot sticks.  Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet
table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit.  In fact, if you see carrots,
leave immediately.  Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls. 
9.  Drink as much eggnog as you can.  And quickly.  It’s rare.  You
cannot find it any other time of year but now.  So drink up!  Who cares
that it has 10,000 calories in every sip?  It’s not as if you’re going to
turn into an eggnog-a-holic or something.  It’s a treat.  Enjoy it.
Have one for me.  Have two.  It’s later than you think.  It’s Christmas! 
8.  If something comes with gravy, use it.  That’s the whole point of
gravy.  Gravy does not stand alone.  Pour it on.  Make a volcano out of
your mashed potatoes.  Fill it with gravy.  Eat the volcano.  Repeat. 
7.  As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or
whole milk.  If it’s skim, pass.  Why bother?  It’s like buying a sports
car with an automatic transmission. 
6.  Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control
your eating.  The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat
other people’s food for free.  Lots of it.  Hello? 
5.  Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New
Year’s.  You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.
This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the
buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of
4.  If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like
frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position
yourself near them and don’t budge.  Have as many as you can before
becoming the center of attention.  They’re like a beautiful pair of
shoes.  If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again. 
3.  Same for pies.  Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat.  Have a slice of each.  Or if
you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin.  Always have
three.  When else do you get to have more than one dessert?  Labor Day? 
2.  Did someone mention fruitcake?  Granted, it’s loaded with the
mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost.
I mean, have some standards. 
And the #1 and final tip:  If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party
or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention.  Re-read
tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Remember this motto to live by: 
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention
of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand,
champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out and screaming
“WOO HOO what a ride!”

author unknown

‘Nuff said.

images: google!

A Thankful Tree, the Flu, a Light Snow and a “Blogoversary”



Can I just say the sooner the leftovers are gone, the better (except for Stormie’s pumpkin pies)?  But all delish.

We did a “thankful” tree on Thanksgiving, everyone filling out little “leaves” and hanging them with things for which we are grateful written.

Thumbnails (click for larger image):

  • The Thankful Tree
  • Wrex, whose medium was colored pencils, wanted his art on the “family art wall.”  The picture was drawn by Amy Jo Becker and includes the lyrics to a little turkey ditty (Five Fat Turkeys are We) to the tune of a song from The Mikado.
  • Turkey-bread by Stefane (who, as a devoted Texan, also introduced us to “Armadillo Eggs”-which are fabulous!)
  • Fake Thanksgiving-food cupcakes by Tredessa and Stormie for Jovan, who does not like one thing  – not one  Thanksgiving-related food (not turkey, not dressing, not mashed potatoes, nor gravy…not green bean casserole, not cranberries, not even pumpkin pie!)!  So the girls made cupcakes (which she loves) that LOOKED like Thanksgiving food using icing, white chocolate, Starburst candies and melted caramel.

    The Flu.

    In the middle of the night following Thanksgiving, I got hit with a full-on, horrid stomach flu, complete with fever, chills, and wrenching.  I won’t say more.  If it hadn’t been for the entire Kelley family having contracted and suffered through it just before Thanksgiving (Gavin does go to public school now – germ breeding grounds!), I’d have been thinking food poisoning.  But no, just a very untimely stomach bug!  So I spent Friday, while my husband and daughters were all shopping madly, in bed – when I wasn’t running to the bathroom.  Truly a “Black Friday” for me!

    I wish the google image above really did reflect my 3 a.m. view Friday morning!

    Snow at Last.

    At about 11 o’clock last night, we looked outside to see the most beautiful snow.  My nephew Zach from Montana, living with us while he completes a ministerial internship here, had just asked 2 days ago, “Yeah-so when do you guys get snow here?”  I am not a huge fan, but since it has so politely remained largely at bay this year so far, it was a welcome sight.  This morning the grass is almost covered and every branch has a puffy white coating and it is lovely and makes you want to watch Christmas movies and wrap presents.

    This is the snow-on-the-branches view out the back door this morning at 7:15 a.m., just after the bunny rabbit, who’d been looking in at me, hopped away.


    Teena from Toronto left me a “Happy Blogoversary” message this morning and I realized that, yes, it is indeed my “blogoversary.”  How did she know that?

    Two years ago today, I started blogging.  The kids found and bequeathed the image that adorns my blog banner to get me started.  They all said she looks just like me, and I am happy they understand the inner me, for surely that is what they see. 

    To blog was both exhilerating and trepidatious for me.  I was so afraid to hit the “post” button back in those days, fearful of what my words would reveal of me, but also needing a place to tell some truth and speak some words I was struggling to communicate, especially to my children.  I was so cautious and agonized over how much to say, carefully wondering how much I could really tell truthfully, lest my truth hurt some one else.  You can read my very first blog here. (from 11.29.06)

    Now I blather on with both spiritual epiphanies as they come (they are for me, anyway) and the torrid, word-filled minutia of my life (like telling you about my stomach flu, for crying out loud!!).  This is my 398th post and I have 30 drafts in the folder waiting for me to finish off and publish – there is no end in sight, people!  And I always wonder about when I am gone – if my offspring should really ever begin to read this stuff, investigating it as they look for meaning and understanding of their past and their own lives – how really weird will they think I was? 

    It all remains to be seen…from the ever-graphomaniacal Jeanie

    NOTE TO FAMILY:  To all the Rhoadeses in every direction-hope Thanksgiving was warm and wonderful for you.  To the whole Moslander bunch, far and wide, always think of you and miss you on these days. 1991 was our last everyone-together Thanksgiving, and that does not seem right!

    A Very Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

    OK. This is what happens.  You spend years making ridiculous amounts of food for Thanksgiving.  Then one day you realize: NO ONE needs that much food at one meal on one day EVER.  So, you say to the now-grown children, “Let’s simplify.  Let’s do less.  L:et’s decide to fix only what we must positively have to create the Thanksgiving feast of our dreams.”

    And when all is said and done and everyone has made their decisions – we are still having too much food

    At least now they all pitch in, so my life really is easier.

    We’re pretty traditional.   I am roasting the 23.18 pound turkey.  I’ll just create the fabulous dressing on the side because that whole stuffing-inside-the-turkey thing is still a bit scary…you never know.  I will also mash 10 pounds of real-butter-and-heavy-cream potatoes with just the right amount of garlic.  They are to die for, if I must say so myself.  And I am an amazing gravy-maker.  There’ll be some dips and hors d’eouvres (gotta have the shrimp cocktail with Bookman’s sauce) and that is it!  The rest of the sides and pies and must-haves will come from my kiddos.

    What are you eating Thursday?…Jeanie

    NOTE TO SELF:  Better check Martha’s website to make sure I’m up on the latest turkey info…

    Choo! Choo! Train Cake for Hunter


    Whereas last year’s firetruck cake (see here) was about 80 pounds and I toiled in fear over it, I have now realized I am not really “into” novelty cakes and was very relaxed.  It was simple and straightforward (with Dave explaining to me what a train must have) and instead of doing lots of piping and icing stuff, we “glued” Tropical Twizzlers and M & Ms and Dots, along with a couple of varieties of cookies onto this train cake for Hunter’s 4th birthday.  Dave piped windows for me and I came up with mini-Kit Kats as the idea for the railroad ties.

    The board it was on was 13 inches wide by 3 feet long.  The engine was 3 2-inch layers of cake at it’s highest part and was 4″ wide by 14″ long. The other cars were 8 inches and 12 inches long, respectively.  The “coal” was a box of Junior Mints.  It was just plain white cake wih the almond-infused buttercream, which, it turns out, Hunter is not a fan of.  He wants his icing (which he prefers to cake) to be plain, old vanilla-flavored.  Next time, Magoo, next time. 

    The smokestack was my favorite part: icing glued cookies, and a “Dot” base holding a cocktail pick threaded through popcorn for the smoke.  Pretty cute!


    I had looked at a bunch of train cakes online and cracked up at them and wondered why people would even post them.  Then mine turned out like theirs.  Ha!  But there wasn’t any sweat and the grandkids loved it. It was quick, simple, easy, fun and in the end the candy was the huge hit!

    There are still vats of buttercream here…takers?…Jeanie

    NOTE TO SELF:  A Candyland cake!  YES!  Using MMF and lots and lots and lots of candy!

    pictured: the cake, the chalkboard in the kitchen;  and Hunter at his house about to blow out his candles!

    October is Orange

    October is pumpkins and spice, rustling leaves, brilliant carrots and abundant gourds and squash.  It is wool socks, leather shoes and a new pair of dark blue Levi’s.  October is tricks and treats, turtlenecks, Sunday suppers and chimnea fires.  It’s roasted seeds and amber and gold with browns and greens.  It’s spicy, cool mornings and indigo-dark skies.  It’s cinnamon rolls and fresh spicy pies.  It’s blazing color and fried green tomatoes, and caramel and taffy and apples, too.   But mostly, October is orange.



    ORANGE (“the color of craving”) AS DESIGN PASSION. 



    1 Kings 8.65 The Message: …”This is how Solomon kept the great autumn feast…Two solid weeks of celebration!…”


    Roasted Pumpkin Seeds  (modified from a recipe by Alison Aves)
    In a 10″ x 15″ baking pan,
    mix 2 cups unwashed* pumpkin seeds,
    1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter,
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt (use a seasoning salt, if desired) and
    1 teaspoon (or more to taste…for me? always more) Worcestershire.
    Spread seeds out in pan.
    Bake in a 250-degree oven, stirring occasionally,
    until browned and crisp (about 2 hours).
    Serve warm or cool.
    Thoroughly cooled seeds can be stored in an
    airtight container for up to a week.

    So-I am a summer-lover, but fall feels really romantic and lovely to me, too…Jeanie

    NOTE TO SELF: October is also when I have been called for Jury Duty, too.  Poo.  Jury duty is NOT orange.

    *Don’t worry – the orange slime from the pumkin that is still on the seeds will form a deliciously salty, crunchy coating on the seeds.

    pictured: a deliciously orange google image-collage