Monthly Archives: January 2010

Another cup of coffee and cigarette before I go

When I was growing up, my mom was a smoker and coffee drinker. Whenever we would be getting ready to do anything, her standard response was, “Let me just have one more cup of coffee and a cigarette before we go”. We would joke that those would be the last words she said before she died. But, in the end, that’s not how it turned out at all.

In 1999, while volunteering at the elementary school, mom caught epiglottitis. This respiratory condition, which can close the airway, can be fatal in adults if not treated quickly. Children get this disease more commonly than adults and it’s not quite as dangerous. Epiglottitis landed mom in the hospital for quite a while. While she was there, she couldn’t smoke. She was medicated while hospitalized so she didn’t really notice any withdrawal from the tobacco and by the time she was released, she hadn’t smoked for quite some time. I told her she would be foolish to start again given how she had gotten through the withdrawal without realizing it.

Right around that time, Geoff had to write a paper for his eighth grade class about why people shouldn’t smoke. He wrote, in this paper, that his grandma had quit smoking and how happy he was about that. Mom put this story on her refrigerator and while there were many times when she felt the tug of desire for a cigarette, all she had to do was look at Geoff’s paper and see the reason why she really didn’t want to have that cigarette after all. Mom said that when she was 93 she would start smoking again.

About two years ago, the endometrial cancer that mom had thought she was clear of recurred. After seven years, she was pretty surprised but decided to do what she needed to do to treat it. She went through chemo and then some very pointed radiation. One of the results of this treatment was that she lost her taste for coffee.

Now that’s something that I thought would never happen. Mom was able to drink coffee from sun up until right before she went to bed with no ill effects. She drank more coffee than anyone I ever knew. I went to stay with her for the last month of her life. She tried to have some coffee with me here and there and I could see that she really wanted to like it but I think she could have left it just as easily.

Mom went to be with the Lord early on the morning of October 29, 2009. I had gone with the CNA to make some coffee after giving her a kiss on the forehead and telling her that I loved her and would be right back. Although she never had another cup of coffee or another cigarette before she went, that saying stays with me, a reminder of the strong, independent woman who raised me to be the strong, independent woman that I am.

Country Crust Bread

Hanging out on twitter this a.m. and waiting for the storm of the year to hit, I was thinking about baking a cake tomorrow. When it’s really cold. But one of the ladies I follow, @tashadoestulsa, said she was making Country Crust Bread and provided the link. Well, that seemed like a nice idea. I wrapped up what I was doing and started making the bread myself.

Of course I didn’t make it like the recipe said. I halved it for starters and used butter instead of oil. Then I mixed it up all differently but it produced a gorgeous, yummy smelling loaf.

Here’s the recipe adapted from the original that I got from bread & honey: a food blog.

Country Crust Bread


1 packages active dry yeast
1 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 eggs
2 tbs butter, melted
3 1/4 cups bread flour


Place 3 cups of flour in mixer. Add yeast and sugar. You should probably add the salt here, too, but I don’t use salt. Heat the water until the proper temperature and mix into the flour along with egg and melted butter. Mix for about 8 minutes until dough is elastic.

Turn dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch down dough. Roll into a rectangle, 18×9 inches. Roll up, beginning at short side. With side of hand, press each end to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in greased loaf pan. Brush loaf with a little oil. Let rise until doubled, about another hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place loaf on lower oven rack so that the top of the pan is in the center of the oven. Pan should not touch the sides of oven. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until deep golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan. Brush loaf with butter; cool on wire rack.

Potato Soup

While it wasn’t really cold today, it was rather gloomy out. I had been going through a folder of recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines over time and found Emeril Lagasse’s Potato Soup recipe. Seemed like a great day to make it. I also made some whole wheat rolls to eat with it but can’t include that recipe until I make it again and write down the adjustments, which there were many of.

But the soup. It has cayenne and it’s so smooth and creamy that I wanted to suck it’s yumminess through a straw. 🙂

Potato Soup


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
8 cups chicken broth
2 large baking potatoes (about 2 lbs.), peeled and diced
1/4 cup heavy cream


1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about five minutes. Add the bay leaf and garlic and cook, stirring,, for two minutes. Add the broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are soft about 30 minutes. 2. Remove the soup from the heat. Discard the bay leaf. With a hand-held immersion blender, or in a food processor or regular blender in batches, process until smooth. Slowly add the cream and stir to blend. 3. To serve, ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. Recipe copyright ©1999 by Emeril Lagasse

Oatmeal Muffins

I have begun to believe that I needed to add muffins and cupcakes to the list of things I just cannot make along with gravy and pie crust. But I tried again and made these pretty little oatmeal muffins. They are easy and taste nice right out of the oven. And, more importantly, they look like muffins! 🙂

Oatmeal Muffins

* 1 cup dry oatmeal

* 1 cup sour milk or yogurt or buttermilk (powdered buttermilk is fine)

* 1 medium egg

* 1/2 cup brown or white sugar

* 1/3 cup oil

* 1-1/4 cups flour

* 1/2 teaspoon each baking soda & salt

* 1 teaspoon baking powder

In a large bowl combine the oatmeal and buttermilk or sour milk. If you have the chance, let it stand for a few minutes, for the oatmeal to absorb some of the buttermilk. Add the egg, sugar and oil. Beat very well with a wire whisk. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Mix again, until all of the dry particles are moistened. Do not over beat. It should only take about a 20 or 30 strokes by hand to mix it up enough. Spoon the batter into a dozen well oiled muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe from the Hillbilly Housewife

Wine Cheese Bread

How about a little cheese with your wine? Bread that is.  I wanted something special to go with dinner so that’s what I baked today – Wine Cheese Bread and it was FABU!

While it is a yeast bread, the end result is almost closer to a quick bread in texture. I think that’s because of the addition of the eggs. This was an easy bread to make with few ingredients, like most bread.

You’ll want to combine the first four ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook over low heat until very warm. I usually gauge this by when the butter is just about all melted but you can measure that around 120 degrees.  Set this mixture aside.  Stir 2 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of yeast together in your mixer bowl. Add the wine mixture and eggs. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Gradually add the remaining flour and the cheese to make a soft dough.  Mix for 8 minutes. Dough should have formed a ball in the mixer bowl.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, around 1 hour.  Punch the dough down and let rest for 10 minutes.  Place the dough in a greased pie plate. Cover and let rise again until double, around 40 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.

This bread has an amazing texture. Crunchy and cheesy on the outside and cakey with a tang of the wine on the inside. I’m sure you will agree that this bread is FABU!

Wine Cheese Bread

1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. butter
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp dry yeast
3 eggs
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Set aside. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add wine mixture and eggs, beat at medium speed of an electric mixer 2 minutes. Gradually stir in cheese and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes). Place dough in a greased bowl turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough, let rest 10 minutes. Place dough in greased 1-quart souffle dish or 9 inch pie plate. Cover and let rise in warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake an additional 20 minutes. Yield: 1 loaf.

An interview with Lauri Rottmayer

Interview conducted on Monday, January 04, 2010

What is your favorite quote and what does it mean to you?

My favorite quote comes from Zig Ziglar and it says, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help other people get what they want”. I love this. What I want is a feeling of satisfaction that I have encouraged people to be their best selves. I believe that this is my function as the director of the Mrs. Oklahoma Pageant. I love encouraging my titleholders and traveling the path with them. In their excitement and fulfillment, I find my own satisfaction.

Name one person that has singlehandedly influenced you most

This person would be my husband, David. He supported me as a contestant in pageants but he supports me even more as a director and business owner. As a business owner himself, he not only provides moral support but invaluable business support to help me succeed.

Name two aspects of your career that you are most passionate about

I am passionate about my contestants and their platforms. Each of our contestants must have a community service platform. This has such amazing outcomes all over the state as they raise money, raise awareness and effect change. I am blessed in that my contestants are wonderful women. It makes my heart so happy to provide the vehicle and the support to help them achieve something that means so much to them.

Do you love what you do? Why?

I love, love, love what I do. Other than the contestant interaction the marketing, advertising, graphic design and event planning that is involved touches all of the areas that make me happy.

Despite your success, what do you still find difficult in your career?

The one thing I find difficult is that some people don’t completely “get” what we are doing with the pageant. Some people see it as superficial and silly. I see incredibly committed women with a passion to change their worlds. I love that and wish everyone could see it!

Rerun: from the Brag Basket

Becky McCray over at Small Biz Survival opens up a brag basket every week. It’s really fun to read about the success of others and I’ve learned about some interesting resources for small business there, as well. I was totally inspired to throw my offering into the Brag Basket on December 18th. And here is what I said:

I am in my fourth year as the director of the Mrs. Oklahoma International Pageant. I know that a lot of people laugh at pageants but I am so proud of my titleholders that I’d just like to brag here a little.

Our contestants, who are married, must have a community service platform. At the pageant, fully 50% of their score is based upon interviews regarding this platform. For this reason, we encourage them to enter early and work their local title. By this I mean, get out there, put their energy and their voice to their chosen platform and really get to know it. This helps them in two ways. The first, obviously, is that it will fulfill them like nothing else. We all know how great it feels to help others. Secondly, though, this community interaction helps them to become more familiar with their chosen cause and results in a better interview with the judges at the pageant.

The result for me is that I am so proud I could burst. I have amazing women doing incredible things all over the state of Oklahoma! From post partum depression, to sexual child abuse, to pancreatic cancer awareness and everything in between, our ladies are out there raising awareness, raising funds, and making our state a better place.

I thank you for letting me brag. I always feel that if more people understood our mission, they would be just as proud of these ladies as I am!

Cool, eh? Just like that I got to say out loud (well in print which is almost as good) what directing the Mrs. Oklahoma International Pageant means to me and how it fulfills me. I love, love, love these ladies, their passion and their hearts. I am blessed.

My black eyed pea philosophy

Listening to Black Eyed Peas = Good
Ingesting black eyed peas = Bad

Happy New Year! It was at a party on New Year’s Day 1995 that I learned that black eyed peas were supposed to be good luck on the first day of the year. I had never heard it before and I had bad memories of being made to eat black eyed peas from someplace back in my childhood so I took a pass.

Over the years, I heard people encourage others to eat black eyed peas for good luck and have tried some different recipes but I very simply do not like black eyed peas. I love other beans and peas. Give me black beans, white beans, red beans, pinto beans. Yellow peas, green peas, split peas. Yum.

They are supposed to be healthy for you, like lentils, another legume that I don’t like. And although I have tried to make them taste good, I just haven’t been successful. So there won’t be any black eyed peas in my future unless they are on the radio.

God is in control anyway, and I don’t believe in luck. I believe He has everything planned for us and that whether I eat a nasty pea or not is not going to make a difference in His ultimate plan for my life.

I wish you a very happy and prosperous new year that is full of great food and no black eyed peas.