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