Little Smile Makers

My family all got a flu shot this year, but like many other’s, we all fell victim to the flu anyway. The news said that the vaccine this year was not as effective as it should have been on this years strain of the flu virus… Our daughter, Shantel, was the first to come down with the sore throat, fever, chills, etc. She called me and asked me if I would make her a batch of my homemade chicken soup and bring it over to her. Of course I was more than happy to do that for her. She has been fighting this flu since last Monday.

Last Wednesday, I started not feeling well myself. Same symptoms, fever, chills, etc. I was grateful I never got the sore throat, and that my husband, Bill/Bro, was still off on vacation so he could help me through this flu ordeal… But, that was not happening, because a few hours after I started showing symptoms, Bill/Bro, started having fever, chills etc. too.  Oh, NO… now we are all sick, and on our own to fend for our selves… Lucky for Bill/Bro and I that I always keep some Progreso light chicken noodle soup in the pantry just for occasions like this. You see, when I get sick… no one knows how to make homemade chicken noodle soup so I always end up eating the canned stuff… but it’s better than nothing… 🙂 🙂

Bill/Bro and I were only down with really bad flu symptoms for three days. Then we felt good enough to resume our normal routine… As we were running about town getting our groceries etc… we laughed and said “it’s confirmed, we work hard together, play together, and we get sick together… 🙂 🙂 Our daughter, Shantel got hit with this flu virus much harder than Bill/Bro and I. She still is not feeling well… Poor baby. I’m going to call our Doctor tomorrow and either get her in there or take her to Urgent Care…I told her it is time to see someone that can help her get over this…

Once Bill/Bro started feeling better, he volunteered to go to do our grocery shopping while I stayed home getting ready to go do our Costco shopping… When he came home from Fry’s, he had these beautiful flowers for me and said he thought these would “brighten my day” What about these colors wouldn’t brighten anyone’s day?


As I was placing the beautiful flowers in a vase, I noticed my Christmas Cactus, from last year, starting to bloom. I couldn’t help but smile because this little plant actually survived a whole year with only me as it’s caregiver… 🙂 I will post a picture of it when it actually gets in full bloom…


Not only is that Christmas Cactus thriving… but also the little Christmas Tree I bought for Shantel for her apartment. It was decorated with little tiny gold ornaments, much like the very first little tiny Christmas Tree Bill/Bro and I had in our first tiny apartment on our first Christmas together…. After Christmas, Shantel asked me to take the little tree home. I really didn’t want it because I know these can get really big…. Some people actually plant them in their yards and they grow HUGE… I thought like all my other plants, it would die… but no, it grew and grew and I finally had to replant it in a bigger pot… Now I have to smile every time I look at it thinking to myself.. you should be dead by now little tree… please don’t count on me for your survival… 🙂 But if you do, I will donate you to a Christmas Tree rescue… 🙂


This morning Bill/Bro and I got up and ready for 7:00 a.m. Mass. We always arrive early so we have time to get in a few extra prayers etc. before Mass begins. We finished praying for everyone on our prayer list and sat back waiting for Mass to begin… We waited, and waited, until finally, the Deacon announced that our Pastor was scheduled to celebrate Mass this morning, but he didn’t show up. The Deacon said he called the Pastor but got his voice message which was in Spanish and he didn’t understand a word of it. He told us we could go over to the breakfast being served after all the Masses and come back for the 9:00 Mass, or go to another Mass a few miles down the street… Bill/Bro and I decided we did our part by getting there for Mass, and went home, but we did laugh about this being a first for both of us “Cradle Catholic’s…” 🙂 🙂

Bill/Bro and I came back home and made our usual Sunday breakfast. Lightly fried torn-up multi-grain tortillas, sliced turkey sausage links, sliced mushrooms, covered with reduced fat shredded cheese, topped with a fried egg. YUM!!! That is a little smile maker for sure!!! 🙂 🙂 Sorry no picture, shame on me…

Then, because Bill/Bro and I were both craving vegetables, after our flu ordeal, I began the process of making my homemade, roasted vegetable, stew…Simple, but delicious!!

Start by roasting your vegetables. I choose to roast carrots, purple potatoes, celery and onion. Roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes depending on the amount. I always put the cut-up vegetables in a large zip-lock bag, add in a little olive oil, and no salt seasoning… Let them marry together for at least 30 minutes then turn out on a baking sheet and roast.P1030677

While the vegetables are roasting, coat beef stew meat with a little flour. Heat a heavy bottom pan with oil and sear the stew meat in batches. If you put it all in at once it will steam instead of sear… Take the stew meat out in batches and set aside. Then, I use a package of Mrs Dash Salt-free beef stew mix. I replace the water with low salt beef broth, and add a splash or two of Worcestershire Sauce… Can’t go wrong with that!! Add the stew meat back in with the roasted vegetables, and simmer until you are ready to eat…


Serve with some warm crusty bread to mop up all the sauce, and you have another smile maker for sure…!

Enjoy!! 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Jan 04, 2015 @ 23:34:40

    I am just lovin’ all those little smile makers! Now aren’t you special after having the flu! ♥ And see all this time you’ve said you kill everything that comes to your house…never believed it for a minute! The stew looks awesome…so happy that all of your are on the mend! Love and hugs! more!


  2. Ellen Kaufman
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 00:22:08

    Sure looks delicious! Those flowers are beautiful, how sweet of Bill to bring you flowers when he wasn’t feeling all so sweet himself…you have a good man and I don’t need to tell you. Glad everyone is feeling better and I am sure Shantel will be back to her bubble self soon.
    Until your next feature take care and stay healthy.
    Love you❤️


  3. katsbynp
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 12:45:43

    Glad you are feeling better and I hope Shantel feels better soon. I also have a “emergency soup supply” and some soda so I don’t have to run out if I am sick.
    Those flowers are beautiful and even the picture brightens my day.
    That stew looks delicious and considering it is 26 with a wind chill of 12 it would be very warming.
    Thanks for sharing. Love you XoXo


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