A Slight Change of Plans...

While I was at the dentist today getting a deep cleaning and laser treatment for my gingivitis a phone call came into the home phone. It was my Orthopedic Surgeons office saying they were changing my surgery date and that it would be a day earlier. For some people that would not be a problem. But for me it creates a problem.

First I have already applied and have been granted my FMLA(Family Medical Leave Act) request at work and now we have to redo the paperwork, also I have to get a Dr's note stating why he is moving the surgery up. You know the whole documentation thing. The last Dr's note cost me $25.00 for him to fill out the paperwork for my FMLA. Two, the 30th is the last day of the month. say, well for me that's a problem because I am the principal data entry person in our office and the last day is the busiest day of the month for us, as we have lots of units who wait until the last day to turn paperwork in to be processed.

The reason for the move...he is the team Dr. for the schools basketball program as well as the football program and they require him to travel with the team and on December 1, he will be in Fayettville, AR on TV. Maybe I will see him, maybe I won't, you know...good drugs...sleeping!

I guess I can sacrifice a day for the team. Go Sooners....

Happy trails and be safe out there...


A Tribute...Margie's Oatmeal Recipe

It's hard to believe that it's been 4 weeks since we lost one of our favorite RVing couples, Margie and Bruce Mallin in a tragic accident. How I have missed reading their blogs.

While going through some papers on my desk over the weekend I came across Margie's recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal that I had copied. My hubby loves oatmeal and eats it every day. What better way could I honor Margie and Bruce but to print out her oatmeal recipe for everyone to enjoy.

Margie's Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

3/4 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup of brown rice
1/4 cup of barley
dash of salt, if desired
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
4 cups of water
1 cup of frozen blueberries (no need to thaw)

Spray the heck out of that crock pot insert with Pam spray, or you can use a crock pot liner (easy clean up).
Add oats, brown rice, and barley to crock pot. Sprinkle the salt (if desired) and the cinnamon over the grains. Stir up with a fork. Add the 4 cups of water and the vanilla flavoring. Stir again. Place lid on crock pot and plug in. Let it cook overnight. in the morning, give it a stir and add 1 cup of frozen blueberries. Stir it again. replace the lid. Go for and hour walk and then be ready to enjoy with 1 cup of skim milk.

From all that I have read lots of people will miss Margie and Bruce but I can say one thing, her oatmeal recipe will live on.

Happy trails...


The Doldrums.....German Chicken Barley Soup

A state of inactivity or stagnation. That is what I'm going through at the moment mentally, the calm before the storm. I'm trying to get everything squared away at work and here at home before my surgery. Other than that life plods on.

Our weather here at the moment reminds me of south Florida in December light, breezy with pretty sunsets, but there is a storm brewing on the horizon. Am I ready for cold weather? No! Do I wish we were on our way to someplace else...warmer perhaps? Yes! Two years from now is our target date to get out on the byways and highways of this great country. Am I looking forward to this? You bet, so much that I can taste it! But there is so much to do before we can get to that point. Follow me on The Countdown as we try to achieve our goal to fulltiming. We have a new follower on The Countdown, welcome Donna aka Froggie and Stu, hope to meet you one day.

Key West, Florida Picture taken by our daughter Christie, December, 2001.

We have never operated on a true budget so trying to create one and sticking to it will be something new for us. But I can see where in the future it will be a necessity. So there is no time like now to start one, therefore I have been looking at items that we seem to splurge eating out, which we do way too much and shopping on a whim for stuff. Those habits will have to change if we want to achieve our goal of fulltiming. We have lived in the land of excess for a long time, now we are going to have to make a shift to living in the land of the lean if we wish to achieve our goal.

Today I am making a wonderful soup that is a main stay in our family. It's a hearty German Chicken Barley soup. The original recipe calls for chicken gizzards ground up but since I don't like gizzards I use a whole chicken instead. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

German Chicken Barley Soup

1 Whole Stewing Chicken
2 Large Yellow Onions chopped
4 Cloves Garlic Crushed
1 lb Carrots ground (I use my Kitchen Miracle Chopper)
1 Bunch Celery ground
1-1/2 Cup Pearled Barley (Quaker Oats)
4 whole Peppercorns
4 whole Cloves
3 Tbs. Osem Chicken Consume Crystals (Found in the Kosher Section of your grocery store)
Sea Salt
2 Bay Leaves
1 Loaf French Bread

In a large pot place chicken and cover with water. Add 2Tbs. of Sea Salt and 2 Bay Leaves. Place on simmer and let cook until done and bones start to remove easily. During the cooking process skim foam from top of water and discard.

Remove chicken from water when done and let cool. Once cooled remove skin and bones from chicken. Shred chicken and set aside.

In separate skillet add 2 cups of stock, onions and garlic. Let cook and start to to turn golden. Add more stock to pan and de-glaze, add all of mixture to the stock in the large pot. Add celery, carrots, peppercorns, whole cloves,barley and shredded chicken to stock pot. Cook on simmer, taste, add salt if necessary(This is personal choice). If you need more chicken flavor add in another Tbs. of chicken crystals.

Soup is done when barley is swollen and tender.

Serve with buttered slices of french bread and a side salad.

Makes 15 servings.

17 Days and counting until surgery day, 12 days until Thanksgiving. Time is flying by, before long we will be into a new year. I wonder what 2011 holds for us.

Happy Trails and be safe out there...


Appointments, Appointments...

Like last year the days leading up to my knee replacement surgery are filled with appointments. Unlike last year I don't have as many, thank you very much. First off I have to get my teeth deep cleaned and lasered as I have the beginnings of gingivitis and I don't need for it to progress any further. I really don't look forward to this procedure but I know I will feel better once I have it done as I have a rear molar that is really starting to bother me. Plus I don't need to have an infection brewing somewhere in my body as that would knock me out of having the knee surgery.

The next appointment will be my pre-op appointment with Mr. Phil at the McBride Clinic . Phil is a great guy and Physicians Assistant to Dr. Schnebel. He has been with the good Doc for a long, long time. There I will get the low down refresher course on do's and do not's of before and after surgery. Then I will get an x-ray, blood work, EKG, lab work and anything else they can think of and sock me for about $850.00.

I got the final cost on my surgery yesterday and I will be out pocket to the tune of about $3,500.00 on a $46,000.00 surgery. I know that sounds like a lot but the cost is nothing compared to how good my left knee feels and I know that my right knee will feel just as good. The surgery is well worth it but there is one thing that you really have to do and that is to do everything your Dr. and Physical Therapist tells you to do, because if you don't there is a price to pay and you won't like the outcome.

As I did with last year I will keep everyone posted on how the surgery goes and how I progress. I am so ready to get all of this over with. It's been a long time coming, since I was 26...I knew what was in store for me, all of this is almost over and done with and when I am released in June I will be ready for some camping.

The big day? December 1st. So please keep me in your thoughts and prayers on that day and the days that follow.

Happy Trails to you all...


Taco Soup...

Ok...I have had several requests now for Taco soup. It is one of the mainstays at our house and since we are getting into the soup season I thought I would go ahead a give you all out there in blogger land the recipe that my son-in-law gave to me. It's one of those recipes that does not require you to do a lot, except for grocery shopping. Keep in mind that I buy certain things in bulk at Sam's Club, such as French's Chili-O and Hidden Valley buttermilk mix in the large container and measure out 1 oz. actually you can eyeball it. I keep these two items in hand as I am always using them and it is cheaper to buy them in bulk.

Taco Soup

2 lbs. Ground Meat ( If you are a vegetarian you can get the Morning Star veggie crumbles)
1 large Yellow Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Package of French's Chili-O
1 Package (1 oz.) Hidden Valley Buttermilk Dressing Mix
1 Can Pinto or Ranch Style Beans
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Kidney Beans
1 Can Corn or Golden Hominy
1 Can Rotel Mild
1 6 oz can Tomato Sauce
2 Cans of Mexican Diced Tomatoes
1 Package of Yellow Corn Tortillas
1 8 oz. container Sour Cream
1 Package of Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup canola oil
California Garlic Salt or Zing (found at Golden Chick restaurants)
In a soup pot combine and cook the first three ingredients until meat is cooked through.
Add in Chili-O and Buttermilk dressing mix.
Open all the cans and start dumping them in.
Add some hot water (half a can) to a can and swill it around and dump into next can getting all the leftovers out of all the cans and dump into soup.
Stir and turn fire down to simmer, cover and let soup come up to temperature, stirring occasionally.

Take a pizza cutter and cut tortillas into thin strips. Fry up in hot oil until golden, drain on paper towels and add garlic salt or Zing and enjoy with the Taco soup. Serve with a salad.

Add, if you desire, sour cream and or shredded cheese and chopped onion.

Makes 10 to 12 servings Total cost to make, about $14.00, which comes to about $1.17 per serving.

Next time I will share my Potato Soup...

Until then, Happy Trails...