Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ode to 2013

Some subjects of which I told
as 2013 did unfold...
Cavemen, Calusas & Caverns
Antiques, Aliens & Amish
Graduates, Greek Goddesses & Glass
Teepees, TV Lamps & Travel
What shall 2014 have in store for us reader dear?
Many things my eyes have yet to see
or my ears have yet to hear.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hoosier Home Cookin'

The last time The Colonel and I were in Indiana my Darling-Sister-In-Law (DSIL) was with us. The Colonel and DSIL made this trip a genealogy research trip and I tagged along. Most days I was with them as they visited libraries and research centers, but for a few days while they were digging up family history, I was visiting with my family.

The genealogy research made it necessary to be on the road. Traveling and research makes one hungry and when we stopped for lunch or dinner DSIL and I began to order breaded tenderloin sandwiches if they were on the menu...we were in Indiana...so most places had one on the menu. Each sandwich we ate was a bit different than the last, but each was delicious.

Breaded tenderloin sandwiches are almost exclusively an Indiana sandwich. There is even a documentary on the Internet about Indiana tenderloin sandwiches. My mom would make them for dinner (or as she would say...supper) and they were one of my family's favorite meals. My dad particularly loved them; he usually ate two for supper (this is coming from a man who thought sandwiches for supper was almost sacrilegious).

Going back to Indiana and having those breaded tenderloin sandwiches made The Colonel and I want to make some ourselves. We had never made any from scratch before...and I don't know why since we are both Hoosiers.

This evening we brought some Hoosier home cookin' to our SW Florida dinner table. We also introduced our son to the traditional Indiana breaded tenderloin sandwich (he was born in Oklahoma but he has Hoosier blood flowing through his veins).

I wasn't certain I remembered exactly how to make the sandwiches like my mom's, so I called her to ask about her recipe. She didn't really have a specific one and after calling one of my sisters about it too, she basically confirmed what I thought was Mom's way of making them.

The Colonel began looking up recipes and we found one we wanted to try. It was basically like my mom's with a few more spices.

These are the pork tenderloins we used to make the sandwiches.

I defrosted three pork loin chops and then cut all of the visible fat from the loins.

I whisked together one egg and 2 tablespoons of half-and-half. I then added 1/4 teaspoon each of the following: garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, dried marjoram, oregano, ground black pepper and 1 teaspoon of table salt (I think my mom used only salt and pepper).
I pounded the loins a bit thinner and then added them to the egg wash.


The recipe from the Internet called for bread crumbs but my mom always used saltine cracker crumbs and so would I. I used The Colonel's grandma's rolling pin to finely crush the crackers.

Time to "bread" the tenderloins (photos courtesy of my son because The Colonel was busy cooking our side dish for the evening meal).

Now into the frying pan...

Ready for the buns and condiments of choice (I like pickles and mayo).

Usually hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls are used, but I did not want that much bread, so we used the thin bread.
The Colonel made Minnie Lee's Green Beans as the side dish to our breaded tenderloin sandwiches. They are a bit hot with red and green peppers, bacon and onions tossed in a spicy Asian sauce (very un-Hoosier like. We had this dish in Key West and loved it).
The breaded tenderloin sandwiches were delicious! Much like my mom's, but better (sorry Mom). There is one thing I would change about the recipe...I would omit the teaspoon of table salt.
I think I will buy a few more of those frozen pork tender loins to stock my freezer with so that I can make the iconic Hoosier sandwich whenever The Colonel and I get a hankering for some Hoosier home cookin'.
(Note: We did find a Bar-B-Q place near here that now offers a passable breaded pork tenderloin sandwich if I don't feel like cooking one myself).

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Minimalist, Merry Christmas

The older I get, the harder it is for me to get into the Christmas spirit, especially as it pertains to decorating the homestead. This year is particularly hard, as the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas barely exists (is there time enough to really enjoy the Christmas decorations...is it worth the effort?).

Year after year I chip away at the breadth and scope of my Christmas decorating (less is more, keep it simple...right?).

The older I get, the less energy I have (or am willing to devote) to spend on a massive holiday decorating campaign (and I have more arthritic aches and pains that get in the way as well).

I think my waning desire to decorate has a direct tie to the aging of my children...as their age increases, my desire decreases. My daughter and son are now in their twenties. When they were younger, I filled the house with many more decorations. When little ones are around, they give Christmas a magical quality that makes adults remember what it was like when they were younger.

My ever dwindling ability to grasp upon the Christmas spirit may also hinge upon the fact that I am usually the only one who puts up and takes down the holiday decorations each year (I haven't decorated the outside of the house this year).

So with that in mind...as each year goes by my decorations become more sparse and simple...just touches of holiday cheer strewn about the place, here and there.

This is the only decoration I have going on in my kitchen this year (I don't even have any holiday dishtowels hanging from the oven door).

On my dining room table is a milk glass trio, filled with artificial holiday flowers.

My coffee table has even less upon it.

I have added a scarf to my "Bird Girl" statue...simple, easy, quick and cute.

I have my Florida "snow man" sitting in the living room.

My Christmas Tree is very simple. It comes in two pieces and is pre-lit. I put a few glass ornaments on the palm fronds and...voila! I also display our beautiful, handmade stockings as you can see in the photo below.

When Christmas is over and before the new year is upon us, I should be able to "de-decorate" the place in no time at all, by myself and with energy to spare.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Easy On The Eyes

My birthday was in September and I received some money as a present. I think money is the perfect gift to ask for as gifts for birthdays and Christmas (unless you have a specific gift in mind) because it is always the right color or size (and you do not have to wait in line to return it if need be).
A couple of weeks after my birthday the money began to burn a hole in my pocket. I still did not know exactly what I wanted to get with my money but as I was out and about one day I passed a store that I had been wanting to visit for some time. This store.

Every time I passed this store (with or without The Colonel) I had the desire to see what was inside. I happened to be sans The Colonel the day I finally entered the establishment. With a store front like this how could I not eventually succumb to that desire?
The store inside was a sight to behold. It was bursting at the seams with all kinds of items, most of which were nautical in nature (no surprise there). There were items hanging from the ceiling, walls and on shelves. I felt as if I was in a hoarder's house (but one who was willing to part with their hoarded items for the right price).
I took my time as I weaved in and out of narrow aisles, looking up and down...I did not want to miss a thing (but I probably did...there was so much to see in the store).
I saw an old and interesting item on one of the shelves in the back of the store. I thought it was a pretty, green vase with a shell design on it.  As I picked it up I noticed it had an old light socket and electrical cord attached behind the vase.
I took the vase/lamp up to the counter and had the man there plug it in for me (after he found a light bulb) to see if it worked. It did.
I had the perfect place to put my new purchase. I would put it on my kitchen counter, put some artificial red coral in the vase and use it as an accent light. I had The Colonel help me to rewire the lamp with a new cord and socket because the old ones delivered an unpleasant shock every time I switched the lamp on or off (to be expected from old wiring). 
I knew my new vase/lamp was old but I didn't know exactly how old. I also didn't know exactly what it was or what it was used for until my aunt and uncle from Indiana stopped by for lunch and a short visit (they were staying in their condo south of here).
My aunt said she was sure that my vase/lamp was a Television Lamp. Of course I googled it when they left.
Television was introduced in 1946 but 1949 began the "television boom" when 940,000 households in America had a set positioned front and center in their living rooms. By 1953, around 20 million households had a television set.
I would bet that most everyone has photos similar to these in their family album.

When you looked at these old black and white pictures did you notice that each television had a Television Lamp sitting on it? Go ahead, look again if you need to, I'll wait.

When television was new, everyone was used to watching movies in darkened theaters, so they would watch their televisions in their darkened living rooms. Television Lamps were created to help guard against eye strain. It was believed that the ambient light would reduce eye strain and permit "guilt-free" viewing.

Soon Television Lamps were a must have and hundreds of companies began making them in thousands of designs. They were mostly made out of ceramic with shiny glazes. The lamps were made to look like animals (horses, dogs, deer, birds, panthers, fish), people (usually oriental in theme or mermaids) and natural or abstract designs. The Television Lamp "craze" lasted about 10 years.

When I searched the lamps on line I saw that there are special websites dedicated to those who collect them. I was amazed at how many lamps are still around and how many different designs there are. I did not see another like mine.

While I find Television Lamps interesting and all of their various designs as lovely, functional pieces of art, I do not think I will become a collector of them (my house could then become as cluttered as the store in which I found my new lamp).

A couple of pieces of television trivia before I leave you...

RCA introduced the color television in 1953 and the first television remote control was introduced in 1956, it was called "Lazy Bones".

Thursday, October 31, 2013


One of our favorite times of the year is upon us once again...HALLOWEEN!

The Colonel and I carved more turnips this year. My turnip is the one with the tooth. We may have to make this an annual event.