Friday, September 28, 2012

Cabbage Roll time!

A week before Thanksgiving!  Really?  How did that happen?

I have been thinking about Thanksgiving, and even talking about it - but it did not really hit me...WHAM!.... until today, that next weekend is the long Thanksgiving weekend!

Guess I was thrown off because it is quite early this year.  Usually my birthday falls on the Thanksgiving weekend - this year it is a week later.

So of course I am going to make my cabbage rolls this weekend - I need them for dinner next weekend!  All I had to do is suggest making the cabbage rolls, and hubby jumped right in, offering to head to the store today for ingredients. 

He did too... He has picked up the ground pork and the ground beef, and all I need to get tonight when I do my weekly shop is cabbage and sour kraut.

I don't actually use a recipie - nor do I really measure - but this is roughly how I do my cabbage rolls.

My Cabbage Roll Recipe...  this makes a large dutch oven full - or more!

1/2- 1 lb lean ground pork
1/2-1 lb lean ground beef.
1-2 onions
garlic (crushed)
1- 2 cups uncooked long grain rice.
3 really full large heads of cabbage
1 large jar of sour kraut
1 can of tomato soup.

Mix ground beef and ground pork together in a large bowl.  Add seasoning to taste... is use salt, pepper and seasoning salt.  Remember the pork will absorb a lot of your flavour - so if you think you have used too much salt - you have probably used just the right amount.

Chop the onion finely and crush the garlic and mix in with the meat mixture.  Add the uncooked rice and mix well - set aside.

Fill a large pot (I use my dutch oven) with water and get it to boil.  Remove outer leaves of the cabbage, pierce the cabbage around 4 sides of the core as deep as you can with a knife and set the cabbage in the boiling water core side down.  I usually leave it there for a couple of minutes until I see the cabbage is turning a darker color, then I gently peel the first leaves off and let them lie in the boiling water for a few minutes.  All you want to do is soften the leaves so they will be easy to wrap - you don't want to completely cook the cabbage.

I peel leaves and let them soak while I wrap the ones already peeled so there are always leaves ready when I have finished wrapping.

Take a softened leaf, with a sharp knife trim the center part of the leaf (from the core) so it is not so thick,
Place about 2 tablespoons of the meat/rice mixture in the center at the bottom of the leaf and give the leaf 1 roll.  Bring the sides in and tuck around the mixture and then complete the roll.  Tick the ends in the pockets at each side and repeat with another leaf.

I cook my cabbage rolls on the stove top. 

Take a large pot (another dutch oven) and place half of the contents of the sour kraut jar liquid and kraut in the bottom of the pot.  Layer your wrapped rolls in the pot until the pot is 3/4 full.  Cover the rolls with the rest of the kraut in the jar and then add water to cover the cabbage rolls.

Remember the rice will expand - so leave room for the cabbage rolls to grow...

Cover and bring to a boil.  When the water reaches a boil - pour the can of tomato soup over the top and reduce the heat to simmer.  Let simmer for a couple of hours until cabbage is cooked through.

Cabbage rolls are always best the second day - at least I think so - so when they are done let them cool and place them in the freezer or the fridge in an appropriate container.  I freeze mine in ice-cream pails but you can freeze them in bags - although I find this a bit messy.

To serve heat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove and serve...

You can also freeze the rolls on cookie sheets and then transfer them in freezer bags if you would rather cook them in smaller amounts.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Story

On Sunday a beautiful young woman in her early twenties borrowed her friend's truck and set out to do some errands.  That evening as she was driving home she was broadsided by a speeding vehicle driven by a unlicensed youth, who was drunk and driving a stolen car.

That young woman was one of my followers here - Michelle Lynn. 

Michelle has been hospitalized and is recovering from her injuries.  She is young, and she was strong, but that doesn't mean that she will have an easy recuperation. 

Michelle has been one of three very special young women in my son's life.  Erin, Jillian and Michelle have been the best friends I think my son has ever had.  Michelle and Jonathan went to school together, and she recently joined Luxury Liner - a musical group formed by Erin, Jon and Jillian.  She is the kind of young woman who will befriend someone my age on face book, and actually comment and communicate with you.  She became a follower here on my blog, and I know she has read some of my posts because she has left comments. 

Michelle lost her mother just last year.  At the time I contacted her and told her that if she needed me for anything I would be there for her.   I meant that then, and I mean it now.  I don't know how many "Mother" figures Michelle has in her life - I hope she has many - but I do know that a young woman can never have enough of these.  I was just a little older than Michelle when I lost my Mom.  I know how much I needed and welcomed several "mom's" in my life. 

Times like what Michelle is facing right now, require love and support from family, friends and mom's like me. 

Michelle, I know you won't be reading this post today - but I pray that you may read it soon, when you are recovered from your injuries and once again living your life as you should be. I am so sorry this happened to you, and I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, as well as in the thoughts and prayers of many people you don't even know.  I don't know if you even believe in prayer - but I do - enough for both of us!

I would like to add a comment for the youth that caused this accident.  Young men, the path you have chosen is the wrong one - it will lead you nowhere.  You are sad, weak, stupid and disrespectful.  Perhaps you have never had someone care enough for you to set you straight - if that is the case, I do feel sorry for you, but still you are sad, weak, stupid and disrespectful. 

You will do this again - and maybe next time you will kill someone - maybe it will be someone innocent or maybe it will be yourself.  Would that it be you, at least you did not sacrifice anothers life for your own stupidity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall chores, and Baby loves Spaghetti

The month of September has been packed with many "news" for me and my family.  Exciting times are happening in my little home.

After 6 yrs of working full time, our son Jonathan has returned to school.  He started college on September 6th and aside from the odd panic over math problems, he is loving his course and new learning environment.  Having said that is is weird to have a student in the house again.  We are accustomed to having a grown child with us, but not accustomed to having that grown child working quietly in his room on school projects instead of being out every night with friends.

Hubby started 2 new positions in September.  He was offered the coordinator position for the Lutheran Volunteer Ministry  here in Winnipeg, so he has been busy meeting clergy across the city and meeting volunteer service staff in all the major hospitals and the care homes where his volunteers will be working.  He also started working for a seniors agency - doing computer repair for seniors in their homes around the city.  He is constantly on the go, but happier than I have seen him in a long time.

So many things have changed for us, and now the season is changing as well, and I find myself changing right along with it.  I don't know what it is about fall that makes me want to gather and store things.  I feel like a squirrel... I want to cook and fill the freezer for the winter.  I want to haul out all my yarn, patterns and needles and pile them around my chair - after a summer of relative inactivity - all of a sudden I want to DO!

About time, I'm thinking.  Christmas is only 3 months away and I want to make some very special projects for some very special people. 

I am not doing any craft sales again this year - I will concentrate on selling online and hopefully selling the odd doll or so on eBay - and of course making gifts for those special people as well. 

Time to get busy...

I promised you a video of "Baby Loves to Talk".  Here she is in an conversation we had the other night.  She really is a terribly cute doll - don't think I can sell this one.... yet!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dolly Rescue to the Rescue!

I can't believe its been over a month since I posted here.  I think this is the longest I have been away from this blog ever. 

Every so often life seems to catch up with us, shakes us around a bit and then lets us go so we can get up, dust off our knees and carry on.  So I have been working really hard at dusting off those knees - I think they are sufficiently dusted now I can move along again for awhile!

In the month I have been away I have done a few crafty things.  I have done a bit of sewing (more dolls clothes and a few small quilting projects); I have crocheted and knit (more dolls clothes) but mostly I have concentrated my efforts in my Doll Rescue hobby.

For some time now, I have been picking up used and in many cases abused dolls from thrift stores.  I wash them, fix them, redress them with the intention of reselling them again.  I was concentrating mainly on true vintage dolls, until I happened upon my first interactive doll.  It seems the interactive dolls end up in the thrift stores more frequently than many other kinds, and being newer dolls, I am almost never familiar with the doll until I get it home and check it's markings and look it up on the Internet.

I found a "Baby Loves to Talk" doll... she is 1980's - and highly collectible as there are not may around anymore.  The one I found was dirty but otherwise in perfect condition - and she works very well.  She says many different phrases and is quite adorable, and although I bought her with the intention of reselling - I am finding myself being quite attached to her already.

I'll see if I can get the video uploaded here so you can hear her talking - she is quite adorable.

The second interactive doll I rescued is "Amazing McKayla".  She is one of the "Amazing" series dolls which are still produced and sold today.  This one is from around 2004 she was very expensive new, and like the doll above - has become hard to find, therefore is highly collectible. 
She was is deplorable condition when I got her, she was naked and I really thought there would be nothing I could do with her hair - it was so matted and dirty.  When I researched her I was able to see what kind of clothing she wore, and I discovered that she came with a spoon a jar of peas and a teddy bear - all items she interacts with on some level.  So I went back to the thrift store, hoping I would find the missing items, but although I did not find her toys and food -I did manage to find her outfit, and after several days of work - I managed to get her to look somewhat cute.  Believe me when I say this doll resembles nothing to the one I dragged home last week.

She talks - turns her head to follow your voice - can be rocked to sleep - plays games and is spooky in that she seems to know who you are... aside from her toys and food she is now in wonderful shape.  I will sell her on Ebay once I have exhausted all hope of finding her toys.

I have not taken a video of her as yet - but it's on my to do list.

So this is what I have been up to...

More about the dolls at another time...

Stay well everyone!