We had an unexpected death in the family last week. Darren’s Grandma was 92, but still living alone in her own home with her mind, sight and hearing sharp as a tack. He lived with her during the summers after his family moved to Texas and again when he graduated from High School so he could farm. They were very close. I lived with her part of the time when I was student teaching and she taught me a lot of things about frugality, being a homemaker, wild edibles and frying mountain oysters.
Lest you think she was all sugar and spice, she was a person who told things as she saw them. Every time she saw me she complained about my long hair, big earrings and tall heels. When I got pregnant with our 4th baby, she offered to teach me about birth control. I learned to smile and roll with it. If she didn’t care about me, she wouldn’t say a word. It was her way of saying, “I love you.”
She had a deep faith and prayed poetically. When Darren and I had been married 2 years, her son died in a tragic car accent. It was a serious time of grief for all of us. She told me death was beautiful and not to be sad. She had already buried her husband and oldest son. She KNEW they were in the arms of Jesus. During her service I kept hearing her voice say those words, “Death is beautiful.” But I still miss her.
My oldest son was acting up in the car during the funeral procession to the gravesite, poking his siblings and making them scream. I told him, “Your grandmother is in a hearse 10 cars ahead of us. Remember what we are doing here and what your frame of mind should be.”
My oldest, Heidi, chimed in, “Yeah if grandma were here right now, she’d whack you with her cane.”
He said, “If she were here right now, I wouldn’t dare.”
After the funeral Saturday we went to her house with all her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren (28!) and a few extended family. The church brought over the funeral meal leftovers and we ate and visited just like we would have on Christmas day. The only thing missing was her and we all felt it. It was a lovely day until it was time to leave and I realized it was probably the last gathering like that in her home. The last time there would be fig Newtons in the jar put there by her own hands. The memories flooded in as tears running down my face. My first date with Darren was there, a whole day of learning to farm. Not long after she decided Darren was taking too long and offered me her wedding ring set so we could just go get married. She didn’t see any point of big weddings or long engagements. If you love each other, go make a life together. What’s so hard about that?
I had plans to finish Kids and Money month strong with some posts about Kids and Christmas spending, but it was just more important to be with family. I’ll come back and visit the topic again in a few weeks, but first I want to get some recipes out there. Too many times I’ve searched my own site for a favorite recipe to refresh my memory on some of the details and find it wasn’t there.
This recipe is my go to when life gets really busy. It throws together in 15 minutes and then just has to heat through in the oven. Every ingredient is available at Aldi making a very frugal main dish. Add a tossed salad for a complete meal or make it bigger with sides of Spanish rice, corn, and fruit. If you are gluten free, grab some gluten free tortillas. Low carb tortillas work great here too, for a THM S Meal (You can have up to 3 Tbs of refried beans in an S setting.) You can also assemble the whole thing in a slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
- 1 jar, 24 oz salsa
- 1 lb ground beef or turkey
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 10-8" flour tortillas
- 1 can, 15 oz refried beans
- 1 can, 15 oz black olives, drained
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brown ground beef with onion and garlic, drain.
- Stir salsa into ground beef mixture. (If you have picky kids, puree the salsa in a blender first, and use onion powder instead of chopped onion.)
- Chop the olives and reserve 1/3 for topping.
- Divide refried beans, olives and 1/2 of the cheese cheese among tortillas and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Top with beef mixture and spread to cover the edges.
- Top with remaining olives and cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.