Archive | December, 2019

Toni’s Tasty Tip Tuesday:) Vegan Black Bean Burgers

31 Dec

“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”

Bethenny Frankel

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A great way to end the old year and start the new year is deciding to eat healthier and take better care of yourself. Food is a good way to start.

I’m visiting with my sister for a few days before I go back home to Texas, One of the things we wanted to do is to try making our own black bean burgers. She looked up a few recipes, and we kind of added our own flare. (I don’t follow recipes well.)

The first thing JoAnn did was to rinse and soak the black beans last night. Yes, starting from scratch. No canned stuff for us. She cooked them this morning, so they were ready to use by the afternoon. I’d share the recipe, but we didn’t exactly measure. But, I know most of the ingredients. I think?

One big pot of black beans. We used about 6 cups.

Chop fine 1/2 red onion, a few carrots, a handful of mushrooms, 1/2 bag of frozen corn, 4 cloves of garlic, Sauté in a little vegetable broth. While I was sautéing the vegetables, Jo was smooshing the beans with a masher, (that’s a professional cooking term…smooshing.) we added some cumin, smoked paprika, pepper, onion powder, low sodium soy sauce, and some hot sauce.

The binder was 2 tbsp.flax seed mixed with about 5 tbsp. water (let sit to thicken) and about 2 cups of ground oats. Mix that all up and let sit a bit.

For the patties, we mooshed ball sized rounds, bigger than golf and smaller than tennis balls. Then, squish, form a patty, and put on a plate of bread crumbs and flip. Place on plastic wrap in piles of 4 or 6 to freeze extra for the future.

We had no idea what we were doing, but the ingredients were all good and healthy, so what could go wrong?

JoAnn cooked them in a frying pan with a tiny bit of oil until crispy, with a side of spring greens on a slice of whole wheat toast. They were DELICIOUS!

It was a big productions and we made a huge mess, but I think they turned out great. She has about 20 patties in the freezer for future meals.

I’m not saying that I’m going to become a vegetarian or vegan, but I think if I have some healthier alternatives, I’ll try to incorporate them into my lifestyle. But, I’m still going to need pizza, burgers, fries, and some chicken fried chicken, fried okra and mashed potatoes smothered in gravy every now and then. Just sayin’! .

Old photo from this summer at The Pantry on the McKinney Square. Oh no, this is making me hungry.

Happy New Year’s Eve, my friends. I hope your new year is a healthy and happy one.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

31 Dec

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

Andy Rooney

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I hope you still have a messy living room, with toys, wrapping paper, and holiday decorations strewn everywhere. Sometimes a happy mess is better than a sad tidy room. Savor the holidays while you can.

Another great week with family and friends. I’m still counting my blessings, but unfortunately, I can’t count that high.

A week in a peek….

Have a marvelous Monday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon, Saying Goodbye, and Some Amazing Maxwell Street Polish Sausage

30 Dec

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”

― Shakespeare

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I started out my Sunday in the most beautiful way. Lindsay was downstairs early with the baby, before 6:30. I offered to give her a bottle and play with her so mommy could go back up and get some sleep. Sophie and I played, I sang songs and read books, and had breakfast. The rest of the family came down after 8. Everyone was in a great mood.

I was pleased that Joe was going to 9:30 Mass with me again this Sunday. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the house with two little ones early in the morning. It means a lot to me to be able to attend church with my son, a special bonding time.

Today was the Feast of the Holy Family. The Gospel was again about Joseph, and he was again warned in a dream. He was told to take his family and flee to Egypt. Harod was looking for Jesus and planned to kill him. Joseph obeyed.

I smiled because Father talked about St. Joseph, and how he was a good, loving, and patient father, and how he provided for his family, and he was a good husband, and obedient to God. I thought about my Joseph.

When the magi had departed, behold,

the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,

“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,

and stay there until I tell you.

St. Norbert’s was beautifully decorated, and we lit a candle after Mass.

I took a few pictures.

The family was going to meet some friends for brunch around 11, and my dear old (she’s not old- we’ve just been friends since the 70’s) friend Debbie was coming over around noon. So, I said my goodbyes to the grand babies and family before they left for their brunch. I’d be gone when they came home. Belle drew me a picture and the girls gave me big hugs.

Debbie arrived and helped me load up all my stuff into her car. I’m not sure how I’m going to get all that stuff in my suitcase? She asked me where I’d like to go for lunch. Well, Portillo’s was on my bucket list of all time favorite Chicago “gotta have” meals

before I go back to Texas.

When we walked toward the entrance, there by the door was a new shiny lucky penny. l thought that was a good sign.

Oh man! Maxwell Street Polish sausage with grilled onions, fries and a coke. To die for, (Probably literally)

After lunch, Debbie was driving me all the way to my sister’s in Elgin. Debbie is such a great friend. She lives in Chicago, drove out to Northbrook, which is a good hour drive, we had lunch. Then, she drove me to Elgin, almost another hour, then over an hour back to Chicago. Only a VERY good friend would volunteer to do that. I have the greatest friends.

So, it was a good Sunday. It was sad to say goodbye to the grandchildren, and family. But, I’ll have a couple of days with my sister, then back home to Texas. The time really did fly by.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Sittin’ Watchin’ Notre Dame vs Iowa State

29 Dec

“Even if you’re not a huge football fan, there’s nothin’ like gathering around the television watching a game with your family and friends.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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The holidays are for making memories and sharing family traditions. Our family has been Notre Dame fans since the boys were little. Joe graduated from Notre Dame in ’03. So, I was pleased to sit and watch the game with my eldest and his family. More traditions continued.

I

Notre Dame beats Iowa State 33-9. Great game. Go Irish.

I’ll be honest, the only time I watch any football nowadays, it’s if Notre Dame is playing.

Happy Saturday, my friends.

Friday:) Family, Friends and Is There a Doctor In The House?

28 Dec

“The year end brings no greater pleasure then the opportunity to express to you season’s greetings and good wishes. May your holidays and new year be filled with joy.”

~Charles Dickens

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The year is winding down, and certainly flew by like a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. (That’s a really fast plane, in case you were wondering.) It’s been wonderful to spend time with family and old friends.

I received a surprise call from my dear friend Lin this afternoon. She was out running errands and asked if I had time for a visit. The baby had just gone down for a nap and Lindsay and three year old Belle were playing, so I didn’t feel too bad leaving them for a few hours.

Lin picked me up and asked what I’d like to do. Way back during our old girlfriend bowling days, we used to go to Culver’s for turtle sundaes. That was kinda our special thing for birthdays, holidays, and almost every Tuesday. Our special place. So, of course, I suggested Culver’s. It wasn’t because I was fancying ice cream, as much as I was feeling nostalgic. And yes, they were pretty darn good. We had a wonderful visit and caught up on old times, family, and of course, grandchildren.

I think I ate too much ice cream. Luckily, I had a couple of young doctors waiting for me when I got back to the house.

I hope when they grow up to be real doctors that I’m still around to enjoy the free medical advice. Oh wait…I just did the math. I may not be around in 25 or 30 years… but you never know.

Happy Friday, my friends. Cheers!

”Twas The Day After Christmas

27 Dec

“Happy Day After Christmas, Merry Rest of the Year, even when Christmas is over, The Light of the World is Still Here!”

Matthew West

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The day after Christmas can sometimes be bitter-sweet. So much preparation and anticipation, and poof…it’s over in a few minutes. Many of us are blessed and have family and friends to celebrate with, carrying on old traditions and making new memories.

“Twas the day after Christmas, but I wasn’t sad.

With wonderful memories, oh what fun we all had.

Two beautiful grand-daughters, as cute as could be.

The family together, all under the tree.

When I count all my blessings, too many, it’s clear.

Now, I won’t be this happy, ’till maybe next year.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Christmas wouldn’t be complete without the traditional cookie making and decorating. Here’s a funny story. My son Joe decided that he wanted to make some very unusual cookies. He saw some funny John McCLane cookies on Pinterest., from the movie “Die Hard.” He figured that if anyone could figure out how to make them, it would be his very creative momma. They were just made from gingerbread cookie cutters and sugar cookie dough. The tricky part would be the decorating, especially since they were so small. I had the bright idea of finding a really large cookie cutter for one big cookie,

Belle and I rolled out the dough and cut out the small shapes.

I made the icing and we decorated.

Belle put pink sprinkles on all of hers.

Everyone decorated cookies. Joe was a little rusty at cookie making, but he did a great job with his very specific design.

We stayed up late, after the girls went to bed, and watched the movie and ate John McClane cookies. A new tradition, perhaps?

Today, the sun was out and it was just beautiful. I took The baby for a walk in the stroller, while Belle rode her little bike with daddy.

Christmas memories being made, and new traditions created. This is what it’s all about.

Merry Day after Christmas, my friends.

Merry Christmas All and To All a Good Night~ Elvis Has Left the Building

26 Dec

“Christmas magic is silent. You don’t hear it — you feel it. You know it. You believe it.”

~Kevin Alan Milne

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The house is always joyous and exciting on Christmas morning when there are little ones. The girls slept a little less ne’er than usual this morning, mostly because they both did some crying, and waking during the night. Everyone is still sick. This includes Gamma.

But, we all managed to open mounds of presents and throw wrapping paper all around. This is my beautiful family. I am truly blessed.

We all went to lunch at a local Chinese restaurant as per tradition.

” Where’s the food, folks! I’m getting hungry.”

After lunch, it was a perfect day for a walk. Who would ever think that the Chicago area would be sunny and in the 50’s on Christmas Day? I don’t think anyone was disappointed that there was no white Christmas.

We spent a couple of hours making Christmas cookies. There’s a funny story that goes along with that. I’ll have to save that for tomorrow.

Now, the children are nestled and snug in their beds while the grown ups are watching tv and shaking their heads, “All this commotion for one day?” Yes, and making new memories and following old traditions,

Back to the real world. And, I guess my last day of Elvis on the Shelvis.

Elvis has left the building. Merry Christmas from Elvis on the Shelvis…