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Posts Tagged ‘great meatloaf recipes’

2I began adding floor exercises to my walking last week. This came after doing a knee bend to fill the cat’s bowl and realizing unless Rick had come to give me a hand up, I would still be crouching there. Starting slow is important. Rushing into exercise when you are somewhat out of shape leads to injuries. Also, if I kill myself the first time out, there isn’t liable to be a second time. To begin, I decided on leading off with twenty jumping Jacks. When I was in my teens I could do 100 jumping Jacks, play two sets of tennis, and participate in the triathalon and have energy left over to do laps in the pool. Those days, my body would suggest, have passed. Always in P.E. we had to warm up with 30 jumping jacks and other vigorous cardio type exercises before playing whatever sport was on the agenda for the semester. Do they still have P.E? I don’t think in the structured way we had it when I was in school. Fourth or fifth period Physical Education showed on my schedule every day during high school. One of my granddaughters said at their school they have the students walk the track three times a week. Technically, from what I understand, they’re supposed to jog, but no one does. Mostly they tap, tap, tap on their cell phones and visit. That gets my heart going, but I’m sure there’s is just plodding along.

Not being a particularly coordinated being, I won’t say I loved pulling on my gym shorts and heading out to whatever field I was playing on. Baseball, in particular, was my nemesis. Twice I got hit on the head with the ball suffering a concussion both times (this explains a lot), and once I got hit full swing with the bat across the center of my face resulting in a broken nose. The universe was trying to tell me something, and definitely it was not that I was headed for the major leagues. Basketball wasn’t my thing either. A girl about two feet taller than myself stepped soundly on my big toe while making a shot jamming my nail into my skin. Pain shot up through my spine and exited out my mouth. I’m sure that scream was heard by a peasant herding goats somewhere in Sicily. That toenail continues to come and go at whim since that day. Good news though, I didn’t have to play basketball the rest of the semester. In my defense I was fast on my feet and quite good at football. Not a sport much taken up by women back then, but I often played at the local park with friends getting by without embarrassing myself. Swimming and tennis were more my style. I was on the tennis team and took up space at the local courts often during the summer. Another sport of a sort I loved was roller skating. Surprisingly I was quite graceful at it. After showing continued interest my mother purchased skates, a case, and toe stops and I was off and running. For four years I spent weekends skating, then high school came along and new things captured my interest, but many times during adulthood I’ve tied on skates and been surprised that my feet continue to remember the experience.

In elementary school we had recess and lunch to get our energy out. When the bell rang students poured out of classrooms like roaches out of a burning building. A teacher with a whistle around her neck passed out all variety of balls from a shed by the gymnasium. Excitedly we hooked them up to tether ball strings, or played four-square or dodge ball until the bell rang calling us back to class. Hopscotch was another popular pastime during breaks. Girls carried lucky lagers used to pass from one square to the next. I’ll have to check with my grandchildren to see if such things still go on. My guess is not. I think the sound I’m hearing is my bones creaking. Sigh.

I walked with a friend this morning. Several times a month we walk, then go to lunch. Sort of a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. Smile. She has nine-children. Whew. Definitely needed a hobby when she was younger. I have four, if you count my two step-children, and I do. Her nine children have four children combined, and my four children have nine. My oldest granddaughter, Breanna, or Bre to those of us who hold her dear, was born not long after my forty-second birthday. Being a grandma before you go through menopause is sort of a treat. Lots of needed energy left to draw on to crawl about the floor or go for bike rides. Bre is studying to be a yoga instructor and is a strict vegan. When we are together meat is not a subject I throw down on the table, if you will. If I do she is liable to ask me if I pictured the cow’s face when adding catsup to my burger. Since hamburgers are up there with the manna of the gods for me, I prefer to keep meat and vegan separate when enjoying my time with her. Sometimes it is best to agree to disagree. I respect her views on making a better and healthier earth, however. Even if I don’t choose to follow the same path where my food is concerned, I can admire and support her passion for standing up for what she believes in. One thing I will say about processed food is that it most likely is doing us in, but other than limiting my diet to nuts and berries, I don’t for the life of me know what to do about it.

While living in the south I have to admit I don’t believe I met any vegans, not even any looser vegetarians. Meat was pretty much a mainstay on tables where I lived while there and I wouldn’t suggest bringing up the “have you pictured the animal’s face” query to your host before sitting down to dinner. Number one most likely he has seen the animal’s face, and number two you may find yourself eating a bowl of raw corn out behind the barn.

Last night was meatloaf night at our house. I have made so many variations of meatloaf over the years it always surprises me when a new one crops up that I can file in the “keep” file.

Mediterranean Meatloaf

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup finely crushed Saltine crackers
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. ground oregano
1 small can chopped black olives, drained
8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium zucchini
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together well. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray. Put meat into bottom of pan.

Mix together cherry tomatoes, zucchini, garlic and olive oil. Spoon over meat. Cook for 1 hr. and 20 mins. Drain if necessary.

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Photo by Susie Nelson

I haven’t had time to do much reading lately, so have missed stopping by and visiting everybody’s blogs.  Will try to catch up soon. Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day immersed in paperwork.  Perhaps spending our days buried in paper is Mother Nature’s retribution for cutting down her majestic trees.  In particular, these papers were loan pre-approval forms for purchasing a house.  It seems if you want to buy a house at least one tree must be sacrificed in the process. There was so much personal information requested in these forms that a reader should be able to locate the discretely placed mole under my right rib.  Sigh. Uncharacteristically, I have been avoiding this chore.  Usually, I heed my grandmother’s words to live by, “put the chores you like the least at the top of your to do ladder and work down to the more palatable ones”.  In this case, the loan paperwork was moved up and down the rungs of that ladder more times than a busy firefighter.

For years I worked in an office.  Paperwork was pushed down to me from above. Once processed on my desk, I pushed it on down the line to someone else who, in turn, pushed it further down the line until eventually it ended up wherever old paperwork goes to die; a shredder, a file cabinet, or gathering dust in banker’s box in the warehouse.  Every day I’d go in to work to find the empty inbox from the night before replenished in my absence and the next eight hours were spent trying to rid myself of it once again. Sort of like a secretarial version of Groundhog Day.

This year the gods have been particular prolific with their distribution of paper, at least at our house.  With the holidays approaching, merchants are sending out catalogs at an alarming rate to get those holiday bucks in the bank. I just round file one bunch and a new one appears to take its place.

With gas prices skyrocketing, particularly in California where everything has to cost more (about $.87/gallon more here), it makes good sense to order on-line. Besides rising gas prices, other incentives are the infinite variety of items available on the Web, plus avoiding the inevitable crush of holiday shoppers pushing and screaming their way through the stores. As with most things in life, ordering from the comfort of your easy chair is not seamless.  Last month was my other half’s birthday.  I ordered a pair of moccasins on-line in his usual size.  They arrived on time but once on his feet, proved to be too large. Since he loved the shoes, I filled out the exchange form, reboxed them, and headed to UPS. To return them it would seem would cost me $14.95.  Once received and exchanged I was debited $7.95 to ship the pair we exchanged them for.  Really?  Driving to the mall was starting to look better.  Three weeks later the new shoes arrived. Excited he put them on and in an imperfect world these were also too big.  Now, if I returned these for the next size down I could now have bought a second pair. After some deliberation we went to the store and bought a pair of Dr. Scholl’s inserts.  Case closed.

Last year my mother discovered catalog shopping.  A quick study when it comes to purchasing, it didn’t take her long to develop a taste for it.  For my mom, shopping is a vocation, and she’s damn good at her job.  Apparel would be her number one passion, items for the home running a close second.  In my formative years bags and boxes of new goodies were hidden by my mother in various closets, beneath beds, and in the attic to be introduced later and always described when asked if new as “this old thing”.  To this day her closet is legendary.  Tours are conducted weekly. Clothing is arranged according to color and occasion.  Evening or more dressy items are stored in huge plastic zipper containers, also color coded.  All four seasons are represented and as each season rounds the bend clothing from the last is pushed toward the back and replaced by new season appropriate.  I’m quite sure the hospital gave her the wrong baby in the nursery because in that area we share no like genes. I am very neat as a human but if my red shirt is butting up against a blue plaid I do not required immediate solutions to the problem. As a kid I used to love to explore her closet, vamping in front of the full length mirror pretending to be a movie star or a princess from an exotic land.  I would try on all the beautiful clothes hanging there, accessorizing them from the storehouse of shoes and hats stacked on the shelves above.

Mother has a computer but it’s just for show.  Back a few years she took an introductory class and after two classes total frustration resulted in a mutual decision between teacher and student to go their separate ways.  This being the case, her catalog ordering must be done via the phone lines. To preface, this is a tricky ordering venue for my mom as she is deaf as a post, and pride has found no room for hearing aids. After this last ordering fiasco, the hearing aid situation is being reassessed. As luck would have it the customer service rep answering her call had a very heavy foreign accent.  Having a deaf person on one end and a person struggling with English on the other made navigating the lines of communication like rowing a canoe in a hurricane.  Managing to place the order but deliberating between several sizes the conversation became highly frustrating for both parties. Finally, my mother, who will be the first to tell you patience isn’t in her vocabulary, decided on a size and the order was placed.  Two days ago she received an enormous box with all her items in each size available.  I can’t wait to hear how the conversation with the customer service people regarding the returns goes down.  That’s my mom.

I love meatloaf.  I’ve tried it in so many different ways, but this one was particularly flavorful and the sauce was yum.

Meatloaf with Tangy Tomato Glaze

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped (white and smidgen of green)
3 large mushrooms, finely chopped
1/3 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 large egg beaten
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
Glaze(recipe follows)

Tangy Tomato Glaze

8 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 cup catsup

Mix well until sugar is dissolved. Spread half on meat loaf, reserving other half for serving.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over med. heat. Add onions, green onions, mushrooms, green pepper, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook over med-low heat for 6-8 mins. until vegetables are tender and onions translucent. Remove from heat. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth and tomato paste. Allow to cool.

Mix together bread crumbs, sage and garlic powder. In large mixing bowl combine cooled onion mixture, ground chuck, bread crumbs and spices and beaten egg with fork. If you prefer to mix by hand use your fingertips to avoid over mixing.

Spray loaf pan with cooking spray. Form into a loaf and place in pan. Crisscross with a fork to even out top. Coat with 1/2 of glaze mixture. Reserve the rest for serving. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Warm reserved glaze and serve with meat.

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