Wonderful Mother’s Day weekend

This past weekend was absolutely delightful. On Friday afternoon, I made my way to Devine, expecting, but not encountering bad weather. After a smooth trip, when I got to my daughter’s home, I had a great visit with my son-in-law and some more visiting with my daughter when she got home. We had supper, played a few hands of UNO, the rules of which have changed drastically, since I last played and then to bed. Saturday was the day of my great-granddaughter’s birthday party, and we had several things to do to get ready. We made pineapple-upside-down cake, deviled eggs, potato salad, fresh (garden grown) squash, added décor to the birthday cake and just had a great time cooking together. The party hadn’t started when we got there and we helped the host with a couple of things and then helped my granddaughter decorate with the balloons and cute table covers and things like that. The guests started arriving and before we knew it, we had a party going and everyone was having a good time. All of her sisters were there, as well as aunts, uncles and cousins, grandmas, grandpas and great-grands! It was a wonderful crowd with lots of good food. Barbecued chicken was the main dish and our host does a spectacular job making it, and always has jalapeño poppers to go with it. They were delicious and I think everyone in the family enjoyed themselves. Thank y’all for inviting me it was a fantastic time and I always enjoy your parties.
Sunday morning, I went to church in Devine, and it was great. Mrs. West invited me to join the choir and sing with them, so it truly felt like old times. It has been hard for me to attend St. Joseph church, since it has now been moved into what had been intended for a family center. I was so used to attending the old church (for the 48 years I lived there) and have to get used to it being in a different location. Of course, there were lots of friends that I got to see when Mass was over, including younger folks that I had taught CCD to in its day, as well as several that remembered me as a substitute teacher in DISD for a few years. It was great seeing everyone, there are so very many that are no longer with us and I missed them, as some had been in the choir when I was, and we always went out to breakfast together afterward.
When I got home from Mass, my son-in-law took us out for lunch and we had a good time eating Asian food in Hondo, and when we got back to the house, it was time to pack up the car and head out in the general direction of home, except for a stop-over of a couple of hours to visit with my son and his family. We got lots of visiting done in that time. My grandson was in and my granddaughter was also, as well as their other grandmother, so the visiting was truly fun.
Talk about an enjoyable weekend…it truly was a memorable one for me, and my trip home was uneventful, with almost no traffic, nice weather and an unusually easy trip.
If I could have just skipped the mess I found when I got home, it would have been great. One of the cats had clawed/chewed a hole in the heavy cardboard that I have in the window of the room (separate from the house) that my freezer is in and had managed to dump all sorts of stuff onto the floor for me, as well as tearing up a large bag of paper towels and breaking some things. I had to get out there and fix it…that means a large piece of wire stapled over the window opening and cleaning up in there in general. Luckily my sister came by and helped me and made a hard job a lot easier. We finally called it quits and I finished up the rest of it this morning.
Our next holiday this month is Memorial Day, and I will try to tell you something about it next week. In the meantime, here are a couple of recipes to try.
Okra Gumbo (Stewed Okra w/tomatoes)
1 lb. fresh okra
5 thin slices bacon
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped bell pepper
1 can (16-oz) whole tomatoes
1 or 2 ears fresh corn, cut from cob
1 tbs. vinegar
Salt & pepper
Wash okra and cut into ½-in. slices, set aside. Cut bacon into narrow crosswise slices and fry until crisp. Drain and set aside. Drain all but 2 tbs. drippings from pan and sauté onion and bell pepper until nearly soft. Add tomatoes, chopping or breaking them up if necessary, cook until liquid is reduced by about 1/4th. Add okra, corn, vinegar and bacon; simmer until corn and okra are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, sausage, shrimp or chicken can be added to this, however, then it is no longer Okra Gumbo!
Tortellini Salad
1 pound cheese-filled tortellini, cooked and drained (The lady who gave me this recipe says use fresh or frozen, it tastes better and cooks up bigger, 3 or 5 cheese)
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup sliced green onion
1 cup fresh broccoli flowerets
1 small to medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped OR 2-oz jar diced pimiento, drained
1 envelope ranch-style salad dressing mix
1 cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise (NOT salad dressing)
Cook tortellini, drain well and put with remaining salad ingredients into large bowl. Set aside. Combine dressing ingredients in bowl, whisk together until thoroughly blended. Pour over salad and gently toss to blend. Chill several hours before serving. Serves 8.
Stuffed Zucchini
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
4 zucchini (6-inches long)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup canned, chopped tomatoes, drained
½ cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped black olives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
¼ cup chicken broth
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and hollow out, leaving a 3/8-inch shell. Coarsely chop the zucchini and onion and mince the garlic. Set aside while you heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the zucchini, onion and garlic. Stir together, cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the tomatoes and cook, covered, 5 minutes longer. Uncover and stir in the bread crumbs, olives, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Stuff the zucchini halves with the filling and place in a shallow baking dish. Pour the chicken broth over the zucchini. Bake 30 minutes or until tender.