Monthly Archives: July 2015

Pizza Stoned

ImageI am so full of pizza right now that I can barely type! In fact, you could almost say that I’m so full of pizza that I’m Pizza Stoned!

October is National Pizza month, and now that the month is officially half over (it’s the 15th and a half) I decided to make homemade pizza for dinner.  In my post on May 25th I had discovered the most amazing pizza dough recipe ever. I have continued to use it for my pizza ever since with undeniable success.

After work today I came home and whipped up the incredibly awesome pizza dough (Thank you, Jamie Oliver) in my KitchenAid. I was remiss in checking to see if I had any tomato sauce before I started and by the time I realized I did not have any tomato sauce or paste, or any spaghetti sauce (in a jar), or any fresh tomatoes, I was ready to build pizzas. So, I skipped the sauce. My family isn’t big on the sauce, anyway…so I rubbed the uncooked crust with a little Olive Oil and some minced garlic. Then I sprinkled on some Oregano and some Basil. I followed that with Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.  This was for the girls. While it was baking on the pizza stone in my 450 degree oven I started building my second pizza. This one was for me. I started the same way. The girls and The Hubs were raving about the crust so I must have come up with a good thing! I followed my seasonings with Mozzarella, Feta, freshly grated Parmagiano, and a little grated Smoked Applewood Cheddar. Then I added some roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts (rinsed and dried with a paper towel), and some capers. When it was coming out of the oven I was asked to make a 2nd cheese and pepperoni for the 3rd pizza. So I did. The smoky flavor of the cheddar along with the saltiness of the capers was a great combination. The crust was crispy like a cracker. I am so glad I didn’t have any tomato products in the house! The sauceless pizza was a bigger hit than any pizza I’ve ever made. I was compared to pizza joints across the country by The Hubs and the girls. I was told that this was the best pizza Daughter Number Three had ever eaten in her entire life; ever.

I did forget to use the parchment trick I discovered back in May. Even without the parchment, my ability to get an intact pizza onto the stone has improved. It’s just like everything in life; practice, practice, practice.

Happy National Pizza Month to you, and may you enjoy this amazing crust, topped with your own favorite toppings!



Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


WOW – Best Laid Plans

WOW – Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. ~ Robert Burns

As a child I remember hearing my dad use this phrase and having no idea what it meant. Around Junior High age when I discovered Steinbeck I had a hard time connecting the saying to the book. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood the meaning. Even the most well thought out and directed plans can come upon an unknown, unplanned turn of events. In Burns’ case, it was the upturning of a field mouse’s nest as he plowed the field; an unplanned turn of events for both Burns’ and the field mouse.

As I shared recently, the beginning of 2015 was not what I had planned; not for me or many other people who share parts of my life. One thing that happens when things do not go as planned is they also zap an enormous amount of energy.

That is why I am setting out anew (I started at the beginning of July) on my plans. I can only guess that Burns’ managed to get the field plowed. I will set myself back on the path to the success of my dreams and goals. I will take my eyes off of that which went awry, and beginagain at plowing my field.



Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized



Father’s Day 2015

Father’s Day 2015

Due to the craziness of having the house in a state of chaos and clutter post-flood we scaled back our Father’s Day celebration this year. Of course, we couldn’t let the day go by without celebrating The Hubs and his awesomeness as a Dad.

The girls had a list of things they wanted to buy for him: grape soda, Lemon Drops, PayDay Candy Bar, Malibu Sunshine Rum. I wanted to do something for him that would be meaningful and that the girls would be a part of creating. Oh, and then there was the food!

The Hubs is happy with simple foods, so I asked him if grilled hamburgers would be good for him. He said yes. I asked if he would want to grill…and he said yes.

As delicious as grilled hamburgers are (for red meat eaters) I wanted to give it a little something special. There were four cheese choices – sliced sharp cheddar, pepper jack, Swiss, and blue cheese crumbles. I made caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms to top the burgers. I had sliced fresh tomatoes and avocados. I fried up thick cut bacon. I even butter toasted the buns!

In addition to the grilled burgers I made French fries and homemade coleslaw. For dessert I made a no bake dessert that I found on Pinterest; 5 Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars. The meal was a success from start to finish.

The gift that the girls made, with my assistance, turned out beautifully. The Hubs truly enjoyed all of the little things the girls bought him, too.

Here is the recipe for the dessert. It was easy and awesome.

5 Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars


  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup peanut butter (smooth)


  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (smooth)

Butter and line an 8” X 8” pan with parchment or waxed paper. Place the base ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Press into the prepared pan. Melt the topping ingredients (I used the microwave at 30 second increments). Pour and spread over the base. Refrigerate until set, about 1 ½ hours. Cut into squares when set. Remove from fridge to bring to room temperature to serve.

This recipe will definitely make it into the rotation for about half a dozen reasons. It was chocolatey, and peanut buttery, and sweet, and delicious, and easy, and no bake! Yes, definitely making it into the dessert rotation.

The gift that the girls (the 3 who still live at home) made their Daddy was a tribute to his love of the Navy and a scripture about hope. The timing seemed perfect, given the especially long month we had!

hope anchor hebrews

Although the day was more low-key than we usually make our celebrations it was perfect for where we are.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. ~ Hebrews 6:19


Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


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WOW ~ Onward

WOW ~ Onward

After my exorcise exercise I felt instantly better! The comments and response that followed were also very uplifting.

One of the benefits of sharing my past adversities so publicly was that I was able to release it more than I had been able to previously. Another benefit was being able to break each thing down and find the positives or silver linings in each trial. So, I’d like to share those with you.

I shared how my father’s stroke and subsequent infections had made such a huge impact on so many people. Although sometimes it does take me reminding myself, I do still have my father in my life. On his best days he still sings his favorite songs with me. He is able to joke with us, as he always did. Most importantly, he is still making memories for is grandchildren.

Daughter Number 3’s bumps are benign. YAY! We maintained a sense of calm in front of her throughout the process of seeing the specialists, which helped her stay very calm. Both of the specialists were very thorough and explained everything to all of us in understandable terms, and they both had a great way of showing us what was going on every step of the way. D3 even got to see her had through a magnifying lens on the Doctors iPad, which she thought was very cool. The Dr. gave us the option to remove the bumps or treat them with topical medication. The Hubs was in favor of the first option, while D3 said she would prefer the topical solution. Her head – her choice.  A side benefit (?) is that we have found a new primary physician who we feel certain won’t just throw around the “c” word!

My mother’s family room looks amazing! The walls are so smooth, and the new paint color is very inviting.

The Hubs grandmas are much improved. His mom’s mom did not have a stroke and was released from the ER to home. I was able to stop in to the rehab facility that his other grandma was in to see her.  She is such a lively woman I have always enjoyed being around her and her spunk!

The night of the flood The Hubs called and had found one of the cats. She had hidden under the house when we had people in the house helping carry things upstairs. He heard her mewing and crawled through the water with a flashlight in his mouth to rescue her and carry her back to the main floor. She has become even more loving than she has ever been. The water receded by the next morning and we were able to immediately cut out a few inches of drywall and start drying out the walls. Our other cat appeared from somewhere in the house, and even though she was completely freaked out, she has returned to normal now. We got the carpet in the family room dried and cleaned within the first 24 hours! That room is completely salvaged! With minimal work (ok, it was hard work) we were able to clean up The Hubs office and get his office partially put back together. Some of the big positives about the flood: A couple of our neighbors had extensive damage. One of the families had to move out of their home for a month; our family came together and worked for the greater good; we took the opportunity to go through some items that were ultimately just clutter and got rid of ‘things’.

My dad’s mom was 99 ½ when she passed away. 99 of those years were good years, lived well. How can that be a negative? I could be so lucky! There were many other silver linings, since I am looking for those, with her passing. She had had a rough past couple of months. There is no more pain for Grandma. At her memorial service I was able to connect with some of my family whom I get very little in person time with. Getting to spend time, even a small amount, reminds me where I get my creative nature. These beautiful people have the same quirky sense of humor that my dad has, while being talented in so many ways. In addition to getting to spend this brief time with my family, I also was able to show my children the town where my lived when he was a young boy, and where I visited his parents when I was young. The girls were so young the last time we visited the town that they didn’t have strong memories of it. Lastly, I was able to go to the cemetery – and see my Grandma’s final resting place and spend some time reminiscing with my mother about my grandparents, my aunts and uncles who are laid to rest there, and some great aunts and uncles, who have a special place in my heart.

Now that I have found the positives in my trials, I am ready to move onward and upward! I am now ready to do my goal setting and create an action plan to finish my 2015 on a high note!





Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Uncategorized


More Mother’s Day Munchies

More Mother’s Day Munchies

After sharing the story of the Mother’s Day / Retirement party we had for my mother, I felt like I left people hanging without all of the good stuff.

So, I am going to share some of the other family favorites that were served that day! These hors d’oeuvres are not fancy, but they are delicious!

Cocktail Shrimp

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup chili sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, cooked and peeled

Combine ketchup, chili sauce, lemon juice, Tabasco, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill. Place softened cream cheese on a platter or bowl and cover with the chilled sauce. Arrange shrimp around the edge of the dish.

~This was made by my 2nd oldest brother ~

This recipe was given to my mother by her  brother and we have made it dozens of times and it is always a big hit! *Word of caution: please be careful about cross contamination of shrimp, shellfish, or other seafood if you have family members who are allergic! Always warn those family members of the ingredients in your dishes.* Although this sounds like common sense, in my family it has caused at least one (or 2) trips to the ER!

shrimp cocktail

Seven-Layer Dip

  • 1 16-ounce can refried beans
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • Tabasco sauce (to taste)
  • 1 12-ounce carton sour cream
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1 small can diced black olives
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 medium tomato, diced

Combine beans, taco seasoning, and Tabasco. Make a 1” thick layer of the bean mixture on a platter. Ice the bean layer with sour cream. Cover that layer with chiles, then olives, cheese, and lettuce. Garnish the top with tomatoes. Serve with tortilla chips.

~ This was made by my oldest brother and his wife~

There are some optional ingredients that can be added, which may change the number of layers! If you want to add all of them for a 10 or more layer dip, please do! I’ve had it with chopped ham, browned and drained ground beef, avocadoes or guacamole, green onions, chopped red or white onion, jalapenos, and even crumbled bacon.

7 layer dip

Taco Pinwheels

  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ package taco seasoning
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped black olives
  • 2 Tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • ½ can chopped green chiles

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning and Tabasco. Mix until smooth. Add cheese, olives, green onion, and chiles and mix thoroughly. Spread the cream cheese mixture over tortillas, leaving about ¼” uncovered. Roll up each tortilla. Slice into ½” pieces and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be served with toothpicks (for a group that isn’t your family!).

~This was made by my oldest daughter~

taco pinwheels

The next time you’re getting ready to host a get together and you need some quick, tasty, and fun recipes (I was going to say ‘killer’, but that hits too close to home for one of my brothers) give one or all of these a try.

Heck, if you don’t know what to take to your upcoming summer party (4th of July is just around the corner) now you’ve got some ideas!



Posted by on July 2, 2015 in recipe


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An exercise in exorcising

An exercise in exorcising

I am departing from what is my standard beginning to every goal setting session I have. I am also departing, only briefly, from my core belief of positivity and life.

I am using this post and this forum as an exercise in exorcising the trials, tribulations, and adversities of this past 6 months. As much as I believe in not feeding these, and have tried to fully immerse myself in Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer’s views of ego,  I feel that these past adversities need to be illuminated so that I can put them away rather than revisiting them, as if they were saved on my DVR to re-watch over and over!

Please understand that I am not looking for sympathy or attention either negative or positive (I do not want to be an attention whore); I am hoping to put this information more than on to paper (which I have done) but release it into the universe.

My job changed dramatically at the beginning of the year. The job I have done for nine years made a 180 degree turn. My salaried position became comp and commission based, which means that my base pay dropped to about half of what it was.

There is definitely a learning curve to this new world. Not that it’s brand new, just different. There is a certain amount of time and stress that goes along with learning.

My father, who had a massive stroke December 26, 2012, has had several infections this year. Let me digress from the past 6 months for a minute. His stroke changed his life, my mother’s life, my siblings’ lives, my life, and the lives of everyone who knows him. The recent infections caused him pain, caused heartbreak for my mom, and brought his mortality closer to home.

Daughter Number 3 developed some painful bumps on the back of her head. Upon taking her to our primary care physician (who told my 12 year old “we always need to consider the ‘c’ word”) in addition to scaring the pants off of us and raising our stress levels started us on a month long journey to specialists.

In May my mother retired. This was not an adversity, I was thrilled! She had been talking about retiring for years, but I believe she put it off after my dad’s stroke to keep her mind occupied. I had promised her that I would re-do some rooms in her house before she retired and thought that I had a little more time. She made the decision about 3 weeks before she was going to retire. I took a week off to work on smoothing out some walls (compound and sand) and repaint. I was going to re-do the family room and her bedroom (which she has not slept in since dad’s stroke). Let me give a little backstory to my parents house, the home I grew up in. Their house is a large 2-story home with a large kitchen / dining room, living room, family room, music room, laundry room, 2 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms. The original house was a 2-room frame house with a loft. It was added onto for the past 100 years or better. My dad did a great deal of the work himself, learning as he went. As with any house, it has shifted quite a bit since the original work was done and was in need of re-doing. Additionally, upon hearing that my mother was retiring, her sister called me and decided she was going to come surprise my mother for her retirement. My mother is not a fan of surprises. My mother is not a fan of parties. So, I came up with the idea to invite my 3 siblings and their spouses and children to my mother’s house for a combination Mother’s Day / Retirement party. I knew that my deadline for the re-do was that Sunday. I was under the gun. On day one of the remodel I fell off of the ladder and twisted my ankle and then in my stupor tripped over an iron doorstop and broke my pinky toe. No time to stop, I kept going.

I took a very small break the Saturday before Mother’s Day to attend a graduation party for 2 of my nephews!

I immediately went back to work on the family room, which I knew was much more important to get done, as we would need that room on Mother’s Day. During the final stages of painting I bumped into a hutch that I had left in the room to paint. In an effort to keep the top from toppling off, I reached my arm underneath and behind, which did lessen the impact of the furniture on the floor and wall. It also managed to trap my arm between the top and bottom pieces. My 2 youngest daughters were able to lift the top off and call out to my mother who wanted to take me to the ER, because she was sure I broke my wrist. I did let her put an icepack on my wrist. I got the room done!

The following Tuesday, my youngest daughter informed me she didn’t feel well. She had a fever and lethargy. I kept vigilant watch on her through the night. The fever responded moderately to meds and soaking in the tub. The following night she woke me because she felt worse. Her temperature was 104.5. I woke the Hubs and we put her in the tub and gave her some fever reducer. I spent the rest of the night sponging her forehead and monitoring her temperature. By morning her fever had dropped to 100. Still, it was a rough (and scary) night.

The end of May we got a call from the hubs cousin. His grandma had fallen and was hospitalized. She had bumped her head and had some broken ribs and clavicle. She was not doing very well.

June 4 – Heavy thunderstorms hit the area. Torrential downpours and high winds combined with severe lightning. It’s been a rainy spring, but this storm was intense. In fact, at about 3:30 in the morning my doorbell chimed. I ran to the door to see my oldest brother and his oldest son standing there in the rain. My immediate thought went to my parents. My brother must have known by the look on my face, and quickly assured me everyone was fine. He let me know that the creek that runs through our little Kansas town of 1100 was expected to flood. 10 years ago the creek flooded and we were not warned in time. We lost 50% of our belongings and the flood damaged 70% of our home.

June 5 – I had an 8 am appointment that was very important at my office. I held my appointment and called the hubs. He said that he and the girls had been very carefully and methodically taking things out of his office in the basement and relocating them to a higher level of our home. I drove the 30 minutes home and began the same process for our bedroom, which is also in the basement. We spent the next several hours emptying out those rooms. I tripped carrying boxes up the stairs (barefoot) and injured my foot. I took a couple of minutes to tape my toes and the ball of my foot and got back to work. With help we were able to remove all of our belongings to the higher levels of our home. I sent the two youngest girls to my brother’s house (2 blocks south on the same street I live on). The hubs, Daughter Number 2 and I continued securing outdoor items as the water was rising up past knee level. We secured our dogs and rabbit, and realized our 2 cats were nowhere to be found. By the time we felt we had secured everything we could Daughter and I walked through the thigh high flooded street down to my brother’s. The current was pretty strong so it was slow going. We made it!  I was able to put my eyes on my daughters and see that they were safe. The girls and I spent the night at my mother’s house; the hubs stayed home to take care of the drain, monitor the level of water inside and outside of the house, and be there for any problems that might arise. When we were able to return home I discovered that there was minimal flooding in one main floor room, the family room, and all of the basement rooms.

June 14 – The hubs got a phone call from his mom that her mother was being transported to the ER with stroke like symptoms.

While waiting for a call back to hear how his grandma was doing the phone rang, and it was my mother letting me know that my grandma (my dad’s mom) had passed away earlier that day.

Whew. I already feel better.

Thank you for allowing me to share, in writing, my trials. I am ready to put all of that behind me and move forward with my life, my journey, my goals, and my dreams!

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill



Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


WOW! Motivation

WOW! Motivation

I am so thrilled to be sharing this with you!

In addition to my food passion, which I share on Orts of Sorts, and my brand new passion for art ~ I also have a passion for motivation and growth. I love to motivate others and be motivated. I love to find new ways to stretch myself on my journey to becoming the best me I can be. I have had a separate, simultaneous, secret life (not really secret) on a different blog called WOWMotivation. For the past few months I have been on WOW hiatus. Not entirely, as I have been maintaining the WOWMotivation Facebook presence, but I have removed the WOWMotivation website due to an ongoing problem with spammed, viral, inappropriate content. (porn) No matter how any times I corrected it and contacted the provider, it kept happening.

As much as I would love to have time, energy, etc. to get that website (through a different provider) up and running full on once again, I am going to combine that with ortsofsorts. I have created a WOWMotivation Page, which gives an overview of “what it is”. I will also be adding Quotes to that page, so feel free to stop there to read!

Thank you for your support while I integrate the Motivational morsels with the other morsels (orts)!

With that I want you to know that as of today (July 1) we are halfway through 2015! I believe this is a great time to put the first half of the year where it belongs, in the past! It is a great time to lay the groundwork to finish this year at the top!

As always, I invite you to join me in this journey to make 2015 the most amazing year, reaching goals and realizing dreams. Your comments are invited and appreciated.

It isn’t where you came from; it’s where you’re going that counts. ~ Ella Fitzgerald

Let’s get going!



Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized