Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tuna Casserole

My paternal grandmother taught me most of what I know about cooking. She always enjoyed cooking, and was always really good at it. She also gave me lots of recipes, from fast and easy to a bit more elaborate and time consuming.

This tuna casserole is one of the fast and easy ones, but it’s delicious. It comes together fast, is very inexpensive to make, consists of things that usually seem to on hand in the kitchen, and is total comfort food. I did make a couple of changes to her recipe, so I’ll give it to you both ways. Do with it what you will.

Tuna Casserole:

12 oz. package of egg noodles, cooked for least amount of time per package instructions, and drained

5 oz. can tuna, drained and flaked

2 cups shredded mozzarella OR Swiss cheese

1 cup Miracle Whip OR mayonnaise

1/4 - ½ cup breadcrumbs, divided

Butter, for greasing the pan

Combine tuna, egg noodles, cheese, and Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise) in a large mixing bowl.

Generously butter a square baking dish. Coat baking dish with breadcrumbs.

Spread tuna mixture evenly into baking dish. Top with remaining breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until the top begins to turn a nice golden brown.


My grandmother’s version uses Swiss cheese and mayonnaise. I hate Swiss cheese! I think it smells disgusting, and tastes worse. So I always use mozzarella cheese when I make it. My grandmother’s recipe uses mayonnaise. I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise, so I usually use Miracle Whip, largely because it’s what I usually have on hand. I like it with mayonnaise as well, just no Swiss cheese! It’s basically a matter of personal preference, and what you have on hand.

The recipe is so easy that I rarely measure the cheese or breadcrumbs anymore. I just go with what looks right. It always comes out good!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Hump Day - The Flowers Edition

We had been enjoying some warmer weather here for the past few days, but today is supposed to be cold. Really, really cold. Tomorrow and Friday aren’t looking much better.

I pretty much hate winter, so I was really enjoying the warmer weather. Spring will be here soon! That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. I’m looking forward to going outside without having to bundle up, and of course, planting things. I love watching the yard fill with color. So here are some pictures of flowers to tide us all over in the meantime.

How is the weather for you? Is it finally starting to warm up?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Blogging From A to Z Challenge

It’s almost time for the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge. You can read more (and sign up!) here. If you’re not familiar, it involves blogging almost every day during the month of April, following the alphabet. Sundays are the day off. On April 1st you write a blog post that somehow pertains (starts with, about, etc) the letter A, and move through the alphabet during the month, but skip Sundays.

The A to Z Challenge is a lot of fun. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers, as well as a great way to get into the habit of regular blogging. If you’ve never done it, I encourage you to give it a try. Yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s enjoyable.

You have the option of sticking with a theme, or going random. I’ve gone random every year I’ve participated, but this year, I’m going with a theme. I thought it might be fun to try something a little different, and I’ve come up with a theme I really like. The theme reveal for everyone doing one is on March 21st. Some people come up with some really interesting themes.

So what about you? Are you planning to sign up for the A to Z Challenge? Will you be doing a theme?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Happy Hump Day - The Panda Bear Edition

I’m slowly getting back to a regular blogging schedule, so I thought this would be a good time to brig back the Happy Hump Day posts.

This week has been awful so far. It has been cold and rainy, and a week where I’ve wished I had gone to school for just about anything other than what I’m currently doing. It’s the kind of week that needs a really, really good Happy Hump Day post. So, I give you panda bears.

I’ve been obsessed with panda bears for about as long as I can remember. I’m not sure how or when it all started, but as a child my room was covered in panda bear everything. I watched any and every panda bear documentary I could find, and generally drove people insane sharing random panda bear facts. I also decided my life wouldn’t be complete until I saw panda bears live.

I finally got to see pandas live in 2012 when we went to Atlanta for our anniversary and went to Zoo Atlanta. I spent hours at the panda bear area, and Nick patiently put up with it. And now my panda bear obsession is probably a little more extreme than it was before.

I’ve also recently discovered that my dream job does actually exist; being a panda nanny is a real job. Not that it’s a job I’ll ever have, but it’s nice to know it’s out there. A girl can dream.

So what about you? What’s your dream job?

Just in case you need a little more panda bear cuteness to help you make it through the week here’s a link to Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Cam.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Half Full Or Half Empty?

Nick and I typically agree on most things. I think our personalities are pretty similar, and we’re usually basically on the same page about most things. Except when it comes to putting gas in the car. I don’t think we could be more opposite than we are about gassing up the car.

I’m pretty sure Nick could quite happily spend the rest of his life driving from gas station to gas station. He never really lets it get below half a tank, and starts talking about the need to fill the car up when it gets down to three quarters of a tank. He never lets the gas light come on.

I’m the exact opposite. I hate putting gas in the car, and don’t usually do it until the gas light comes on. Because we live so close to work, I can actually drive for a couple of days with the gas light on if I’m not planning to go anywhere else. Yes, I have done that. The only exceptions are if I’m planning to make a long drive, and when I go to South Carolina. I always fill the car up in South Carolina because gas is so much cheaper there.

We almost always take my car whenever we go anywhere together. Nick’s car may be full of gas, but it’s also usually full of junk. Mine is usually clean. We also have to take mine if we’re taking the dogs anywhere because Nick’s is a little two door, and just doesn’t have room for two big dogs.

I don’t like driving Nick’s car (I will never understand why anyone wants a two door car), and it’s a pain for him to move all of his fire department stuff over to mine if we do switch cars, so we almost never switch cars. He drives his, I drive mine, and we take mine when we’re together. That’s usually when mine gets filled up with gas, because in all honesty, Nick puts gas in my car a lot more often than I do. 

Nick has mostly given up on trying to convince me to put gas in the car more often, and I try to make sure the gas light isn’t on if he’s going to be driving mine. It’s the closest we’ve come to a compromise.

We took my car Friday night when we were out running errands and going to dinner. While we were sitting in traffic Nick made the comment that someone’s car was out of gas. I started looking around for the person stranded on the side of the road, but couldn’t find them. It turned out that he was talking about me. The gas gage was between a quarter of a tank and the light coming on. For me that meant there was plenty of gas to go to dinner, and stop on the way back. For Nick that meant stopping at the nearest gas station.

So what about you? Do you see a half tank of gas as half full or half empty?
Emma really doesn't have anything to do with putting gas in the car or not, but she's in the car, so perfect opportunity to share a cute Emma picture.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Snow Pictures & A Catch-Up Post

I seem to be sticking to a pattern of posting about once a month, so here’s the latest catch-up post, and some pictures of Duke playing in the snow.

We had a major snow storm (along with pretty much the entire east coast) on January 22nd. Our total snow accumulation was just under a foot. We also had extremely low temperatures, and crazy high winds. Nick and Duke loved it. Emma and I didn’t venture off of the screened in porch. I actually ended up not going outside for five days straight. I really don’t like snow! So of course I’m hoping that’s it for us for snow this winter. Come on spring!

I’ve changed the comment settings on the blog to require approval for comments on anything that’s more than 14 days old. The spam on the older posts was just getting out of control. Have any of you run into that problem? Any suggestions for solving it?

If you haven’t seen the movie Inside Out yet, I highly recommend watching it. We rented it from Redbox a few weeks ago and both absolutely loved it. There was a lot more to it than either one of us were expecting, but it still leaves you with the nice happy feeling that you expect from a cartoon.

Emma is still holding her own. She has been eating fairly well over the weekend, and has been a little more active and playful. There are definitely some bad days, but for now the good days seem to outnumber the bad ones.

So what about you? Have you had any snow? How are things going for you?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sixteen Things to Ring in 2016

Happy New Year! A couple of days late. Blogging took a backseat during the holidays, so here’s my catch-up and holiday posts all in one.

1. Emma is okay for the moment. I almost hate to write that, but it also feels good. It was a wonderful Christmas present. We’re dog-sitting my parents’ dog this weekend. He adores Emma, and she seems to be reveling in the attention and change in routine.

Sweet Emma!
2. It got really cold really fast here. We were running the air conditioner on Christmas Day, which was total bliss. By New Year’s Eve we were running the heat. Winter is my least favorite season, so I’m disappointed that it seems to be here in earnest now.

3. Brie, blue cheese, walnuts, and apricot jam is a truly amazing combination. We had this dish on Christmas, and now I can’t wait to make it again. Nick isn’t a blue cheese fan, so I did half without blue cheese. It’s good without the blue cheese, but with blue cheese it’s amazingly delicious. 

4. I had my yearly MRI to check on the hepatic adenomas on December 14th. I wasn’t really expecting results until after Christmas, but I got them the next day, and they were great. The largest one is now about a quarter of the size it was when the whole thing started two and a half years ago! We’ll continue with a yearly MRI just to keep an eye on things, but it’s looking good.

5. We started a new Christmas tradition with our next door neighbors. We’ve always exchanged baked goods, but this year we swapped out nights of cooking. It was fun, a little different (especially since there seem to be so many baked goods at Christmas), and getting a night off from cooking can be a nice gift.

6. We still have almost everyone’s Christmas presents. For various reasons we weren’t able to see most of the friends and family we normally see on or close to Christmas. The cats are thrilled by this since it means they still have boxes to sleep on and bows to tear up.

7. The upside to not getting to see everyone is that we were able to have a very relaxing day spent in our pajamas. Nick was off for Christmas, and it was wonderful to actually have a holiday together.

It still looks like Christmas here.
8. The downside (aside from not seeing everyone) is that we’re running out of places to stash people’s presents. The cats have already totally unwrapped one, and there just aren’t that many cat proof places in our house.

9. The other downside is that I really, really like one of the presents we got for my best friend Crystal. It’s a really pretty garnet ring. She and I wear the same size ring, so the temptation is real. Very real. But she’s my best friend, and I think she will really like it.

10. My phone/technology issues aren’t going away this year. I tried to call a friend last night and my phone informed me that it had been deactivated. After lots of frustration and on-line chatting with the company I discovered that because I have a new debit card (same account, the credit union just seems to really enjoy issuing new cards) my payment was declined. I had to text the information to my sister because you can only make payments over the phone. I’m not sure what plan I have now, but the phone is working again and Nick has promised to fix everything back to the way it was once he gets home from work tomorrow. 

Not the best picture, but it's a great ring
11. The no-kill shelter we adopted Cookie from makes a video at the end of every year with highlights from the year and information about the number of animals saved. For 2015 they saved over 6,000, which included the ones they took in after the flooding in South Carolina. It was the most successful year yet. 

12. We’ve started a list of all of the things we want to see/places we want to go that are within a day trip from home. There are so many things fairly close to home that we’ve been talking about doing, but never seem to get around to. We’re hoping a list will help.

13. January is Pantry Challenge Month. It’s a good way to get back on track after the holidays and use up all of those impulse buys from the grocery store.

14. We are finally completely finished with AT&T, a.k.a. The World’s Worst Internet Service. We switched to Charter about three weeks ago, and it has been wonderful. Netflix doesn’t freeze, we can both be online at the same time, and it doesn’t take forever to attach pictures now.

15. Despite having a smart phone, I’m still sticking with my usual day planner for 2016. I just don’t get along well enough with the phone to trust my entire schedule to it.

16. Even if you’re not the type to make resolutions for the new year, there’s just something promising about a new, blank calendar. Maybe it’s just the idea of a fresh start.

So what about you? What’s new in your world for 2016? Or what is staying the same?