How much better can things get?

Our weather has been just great – not too hot and not too cold. The much-needed rain has happened several times and the gardens are being harvested in many cases.

My grandchildren are preparing to attend high school and college and they are all excited about their new adventures and I am still remodeling my house. I will be VERY glad when I am finished. It has been an amazing experience at the length of time things take to be finished, and it is frustrating when your house is in disarray for weeks. Patience is truly a virtue when we await the workers.

After looking at the 15-year-old photo of me in the column and after running into many of my readers who do not know who I am after viewing the picture, I am going to have a new photo for the column in a week or two. If you look at the new photo and do not recognize me … it is me! Just older, thinner and looking totally different from the last photo. Enjoy!

My friends, Ann and Glade Whitworth, have moved to a new home. I am not sure if it is Independence or Blue Springs, but she gets the Examiner and can read my article. She says her friends all think I am funny, so I hope that is true. I have not felt too funny since the “Bear” passed, but perhaps time is healing the grief and I can return to enjoying life again.

One thing that I usually enjoy is cooking. My cooking skills have been left on the shelf during the last year, but I am returning the kitchen (once the remodeling is done) and am enjoying trying some new things like these.

Easy dinner

Layer of sliced potatoes Layer of sliced carrots Layer of sliced onions Layer of meat – ground beef patties or sausage Salt and pepper 1 can tomatoes (stewed)

Pour tomatoes over top of layered ingredients. Bake slowly 4 hours, covered at 300 degrees. Uncover last half hour. Quantities may vary as to size of family.

Scalloped potatoes

6 cups sliced potatoes 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup 1/2 cup milk 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese Dash of salt Dash of pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling water 6 to 8 minutes or until slightly tender. Combine soup, milk and cheese. In a greased pan, alternate layers of potatoes and soup mixture. Season potato layers with salt and pepper. Bake in 350-degree oven 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Makes eight servings.

Grape Nut bread

1 egg 1/4 teaspoon salt 4 teaspoons baking powder 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal (soak in milk 10 minutes) 1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 4 cups flour 2 cups sour milk

Combine eggs, salt, baking powder, sugar. Add Grape Nuts, which have been soaked in milk for 10 minutes. Add flour and baking soda. Let rise in pans 1 hour. Makes two loaves. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes.

Have a great week. Smile! It does help things go better, and the smile you give someone may be the only one they get that day. See you next week.

Dixie Ryan lives in Odessa and has enjoyed sharing her cooking talents and secrets with readers for many years.