Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shredded Beef, Rice, Refried Beans, Corn Tortillas, Candy Corn Cookies

Armed with 30 lbs. of Mexican style shredded beef, a huge amount of refried beans & an even bigger amount of rice we fed 42 people on Saturday & on Monday the biggest number ever of 59 people.  The weekend ended up with 101 people fed, a record so far, for a total of 2032.  :)   Wow !!  :)

It was amazing to see all the people lined up for hot food, especially at Santa Rita Park.  Later on we also ended up at Estevan Park for the first time, which is near DeAnza Park, around Main Street & Speedway, to feed some more people there.  :)   I had a few blankets in my car & they were taken away pretty quickly.  I can always use a lot more to hand out, as it is getting colder during the nights here now. 

Jen Y., thank you for helping me cook all that food & for helping me with all the seasoning of the meat & with putting so much of your Love into it too.  I love cooking with you, we are a great team.  :)   I enjoy & treasure the Friendship we are developing.  :)   And Bobbie Y., thank you for helping me along with advise on the buying & cooking of the meat.  It was my first time ever making shredded beef.  My expertise is in German food, but I am learning to cook Mexican food too & I love eating it as often as possible.  Not so much the beans though, but everything else is awesome.  :)   My Tortilla Soup is always a big hit in the parks & with my friends too.  I make a pretty good Mexican Cheese Soup too & actually have been craving it myself a lot lately, since the weather is cooling off some now. 

Jessie M. thank you serving all that food on Saturday & on Monday too.  Rosemarie H., it was great to meet you & I am grateful too for your help with dishing out the food on Monday.  It is wonderful to get to know you both, you definitely are to each other what I call "Sisters of the Heart".  :)   Often we are closer to our heart family than we are to our birth family.  Welcome to my Feeding the Homeless Family.  :)  

Rosemarie you blew me away with all the food, plates & forks you donated !!  I am still in awe.  You are incredible & I am so grateful for your caring heart for the homeless people !!   :)   It all is so much needed, especially with the large amount of people we are now feeding.  Word is getting around with the homeless about the real food that is available on Saturdays & Mondays. 

Since I am still within my first year of doing this, I don't quite know the trends yet.  Everything is always so unpredictable still.  Right now it looks like there will be more people in the winter time since our weather is so good here & we hardly ever get snow.  I did realize that we always feed more people on Mondays than on Saturdays.  Occasionally other people will take food to the city parks & it is often on Saturdays, so by the time I get there everyone has eaten already, which is great !!  :) 

Thank you T-bird for sending money for gasoline, which is always welcome & much needed too.  :)   I do a lot of driving to & from the different parks & to buy all the groceries every week.  I always look for the biggest bargains & the best deals around.  :)  

Charlotte, from Amber Lights Retirement Home, thank you for your precious check !!  :)  It all helps so much.  I was able to buy lots of cauliflower & fresh mushrooms for this coming weekends meals. Today someone in the grocery store stopped me to find out what I was going to do with all those mushrooms. 
so I told him & it looks like he & his 13 year old son will help out in some way.  :)   As I mentioned before in this blog, I love it when the young ones are taught early to give back & to share.  Todd N., you are a great Dad !!   :)

Holly T., Vicki L., and Magdalena S., a thank you goes out to each of you also for chipping into the Homeless Food Fund.  :)  You are very much appreciated !!   :)

Thank you Buck of Sugar Pies for all the Candy Corn Cookies you baked for everyone in the parks.  They looked really fun & everyone oohed & aahed over them.  :)   You can find the recipe on Buck's blog.

My prayer is that all of you receive many, many Blessings for your sharing & caring for the people in our city parks !!  :)   I always hear many "God Bless Yous" when handing out the food & water & I want to share that with each & everyone of you !!  Together we are making a difference in people's lives.  :)

With a full heart I will go to sleep now, it is almost 2:30 AM, so I can wake up rested & cook about 15 or so pounds of spaghetti pasta & huge pots of spaghetti sauce later on today.   :)

Good night now !!  Everyone, sleep with the Angels tonight !!  :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chili, Corn Muffins & Crybaby Cookies

Running somewhat behind this week.  :o   Served this weekends meal today & haven't even blogged about last weeks meal yet.  So here it goes for last weekend ....................

Made three huge pots of Chili for everyone in the parks & dear Buck from Sugar Pies made corn muffins for everyone to go with it & he also baked some really wonderful cookies, which are called Crybaby Cookies, because they would make children stop crying.  :)   I love those cookies & must confess that I ate more than the usual one.  :o   The recipes are on Buck's blog.  Just click on the link above & it will get you to his blog.  Thank you Buck for always making such wonderful treats.  You are The Best & I am one of your biggest fans, besides Michael of course !!  :)

Thank you Jen Y. for all your caring help cooking with me last Saturday & for putting so much Love into the Chili.   :)  It was so good because it had both of our Love stirred into it.  The Chili was a great big hit with all the people in the park.  On Monday there were 44 people at Santa Rita park waiting for the food, because word had gotten around about the good Chili.  On Saturday we only fed 28 people.  On Monday I ran out of food at the first park & only had crackers, blueberry muffins & water left for the second park, DeAnza Park.  I felt really bad to have run out of food after just one park, it was the first time this ever happened.  And I had a lot of Chili to start with.  So I will cook Chili again soon, since it was such a success.  :)  It is getting colder here now towards dinner time, so it is nice to bring comfort food again for the homeless.  I got kind of tired of making all those cold pasta or potato salads every weekend.  It's like wanting to wear warm clothes again around here after our long hot summers.  :)

Jennifer R. thank you for stopping by on Monday & helping dish out the food & for your support in being there with us !!  :)  I always enjoy when you show up at the park, even though you are very busy.  :) 

Sean & Brandie S. thank you for bringing over some blankets for the homeless & for caring so much about these people.  :)   I am so grateful that I "accidentally" met you at the bank the other day & that you eavesdropped my conversation with a friend there.  :)

The homeless still need lots of blankets & sleeping bags, since it is getting colder now during the nights. 
Used ones are great, but I am grateful if they are clean, so I can just take them there.  :)

Thank you Gary Mc...., your donation saved the day !!  :)   I only had $2.20 left in the Homeless Food Fund & wondered how I was going to feed all the people this coming weekend on that.  Now I have $22.20 & everything looks a little brighter.  :)  Every penny helps & altogether it adds up.  :)  Gary, I'm glad to know that you read my blog & that I can thank you this way, which is very important to me.  :)  I like it when the homeless people acknowledge what we do for them & I like to do the same for everyone who lovingly helps out with this whole heart project.  I am "paying forward" the gratitude to everyone that way.  :)  These people are always so grateful for the food, the sweet treats & the water & I hear many "God Bless Yous" every time I go.  :)

Jan, a writer for "The New Southwest" newspaper (formerly called the "Tucson Green Times") came over last week to interview me for a story in the upcoming November 15th issue.  I feel very honored to be in this wonderful & free newspaper.  It is all over Tucson & if you have a chance, please pick one up & find out for yourself how great & educational about the environment this paper is.  :) 

Have a wonderful week everyone & be safe & happy !!   :) 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas, Apple Cider Cake & Dixie Cream Cookies

My computer keeps booting me off today, so I hope that I am able to finish the whole blog today for this past weekend.  I am running late this week to start with, it has been quite busy around here.

Jen Y. helped me cook last Saturday & we ended up cooking 14 lbs. of pasta, along with 36 eggs, chopped 2 huge jars of pickles & added a whole slew of cans of green peas.  We ran out of mayonnaise & had to run & get more, which Jen volunteered to do.  :)  When she came back from Walmart with the mayonnaise she had also purchased a Gift Card for the Homeless Fund.  :) 

Earlier last week I ended up buying a very big 14 quart stainless steel pot with a solid bottom that wouldn't burn the pasta that was cooking in water even.  I felt really guilty about spending the money from the Homeless Fund, but also kept thinking about how I needed another pot just like it.  Jen knew this.  And I could use a third one actually.  Plus we struggled with the cheap can opener I had which just didn't want to open all those green pea cans.  When I discovered the Gift Card I started crying & Jen told me to go & get the other pot & a can opener & not feel guilty anymore.  How sweet is that  ??!!  :)  I went to Walmart right after Jen left & grabbed that other pot & a good can opener.  We will be testing it tomorrow when we need to open 16 great big cans of kidney beans for this coming weekends American Chili meals. 

Thank you Jen, you touched me so deeply with your kindness & your incredible generosity !!  You are awesome !!  :)

Dearest Buck brought over a whole Apple Cider Cake  & 86 Dixie Cream Cookies for the Homeless to enjoy & enjoying they did & of course I had to sample them too.  ;)   Ahhhhh, they were totally delicious, as all of Buck's treats are !!  :)  For all the delicious recipes please go to Buck's  Sugar Pies  blog. 
Buck also donated a whole bunch of Granola Bars for the Homeless.  Thank you Buck !!  :)

My special friends Brian & Maggie donated three huge boxes of Minute Rice, two jars of Spaghetti Sauce, cooking Oil, & two blankets.  :)   Thank you my dear & sweet Friends !!  :)

Laurel sent a check for the bottled water for another month & whatever is left over I use to pay for the gas to go back & forth to the parks & for all the grocery store trips every week.  Thank you my very special Laurel !!  :)  You are soooo appreciated & I Love You So !!

Dave & Linda M. donated some blankets for the homeless & a good portion of the food for this coming weekend.  Thank you with all my Heart you two for your unending support & for being so genuine !!  :)
I feel honored to be your Friend !!  :)

A.W. sent a donation check & I appreciate your caring support with this project.  I used a lot of it already to buy the ingredients for last weeks meal.  Thank you soooo much !!  :)

Now to some sad news.  In an earlier blog I talked about the old black man who used to live in his old white Cadillac in the parking lot of the Santa Rita Park.  Some of you might remember, he had edema & his feet & legs were about three or four times as big as normal & I would always take the food to him, so he wouldn't have to leave his car.  I just learned that he died about two weeks after his family all chipped in & got him a small apartment to get him out of the heat of this summer.  He once told me that his job once upon a time was to find homes for the homeless.  Have fun on the Other Side & watch over all your buddies in the parks !!  :)

The total homeless people fed so far is 1,859 in less than 9 months.   :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cheeseburger Stoup & Tortillas

On Saturday we didn't feed very many people.  It was raining so heavily all over Tucson, that most of the homeless people were seeking out dry places to shelter under.  The grass was utterly soaked with rain. There were only 16 people at Santa Rita Park & not one soul at the DeAnza Park. 

I was really disappointed, as Jennifer & I had cooked a lot of extra Cheeseburger Stoup (a combination of Soup & Stew) after all the requests I had received for it.  It all worked  out great though as there were 43 people on Monday & the stoup was all eaten up.   :)  There was just a little bit left over & Carlos got to take it home for left-overs.  :)

Thank you for coming over Jennifer R. & cooking with me for almost 4 hours, even though you really didn't feel good !!  :)   You are such a trooper & I soooo appreciate your "showing up" & helping out anyway !!  :)

Carlos, thank you for coming all the way down to the park now to help me serve & to watch over me every time we feed everyone !!   :)   I am so glad that you have a roof over your head now !!  :)   Hopefully it will be permanent !!

Thank you Stephen R. for another kind donation !!  :)  The homeless & I are very grateful for your continues support !!  :) 

And thank you also my dear friend Mary Helen for your check !!  :)   You & Stephen R. are making a difference every month & I couldn't do this without your caring help !!  :)

Very much thanks also go to my special heart-sister Gerda B. in Switzerland for your dear donation !!  :)
You are wonderful !!  :)

Kathy & Larry O. a big shout-out goes to you two for providing a lot of the ingredients for the next meal !!  Your thoughtfulness is wonderful & it is amazing how far you had to drive to bring your previous food donation to me. You are very caring & much appreciated !!  :)

This rounds up another week & the next Meal in the Parks is just around the corner once more.  :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sausage & Vegetable Stoup, Cantaloupe, Amish Church Cookies

This week has been more busy than usual for me as it is my 67th birthday week. It was wonderful to be taken out to dinner a few times by some of my dear friends. :) Now that I am cooking so much for the Homeless, I don't want to cook for myself so much anymore & it feels good to be spoiled by other's cooking. :) I got to go to two of my favorite restaurants & last Sunday to the Arizona Inn for Brunch, which was soooo elegant & the food was ever so good too. :)

We feed only 30 people on Saturday, as some organizations pulled together & cooked steaks for the Homeless at Santa Rita Park. That is exciting & the people loved to get freshly barbecued steaks for a change. :) On Monday though we fed 44 people. Buck has added the running total for everyone to see on my blog in the upper right corner. We are at 1,734 as of last weekend. :o

There is still a need for blankets & sleeping bags for the Homeless, but we don't need any pillows, as I learned that they use the blankets rolled up as pillows. Thank you so much Sue & Bob B. for donating the two blankets & the two pillows !! :) Also for your cash donation for the food !! You are wonderful & much appreciated !! :)

Buck, your cookies were soooo good, as usual !! Thank you Dear !! :)
On Saturday some of the people came over & said that they were full of steak but wondered if they "could have a cookie anyway please". :) I thought you would enjoy knowing this. The orange & cream cheese frosting was so great & the cookies actually were more like a cake, so soft & moist. I am rooting for you to be the Grand Winner in the Food Blogging Contest !! :) You soooo deserve it, my special Friend !!  To read the very interesting & fun story of Amish Church Cookies please go to Buck's blog

Will Ferguson, who took the photo for the article on me in the Tucson Weekly paper came over on Saturday to help me cook. He chopped up 12 lbs. of Kielbasa sausage, which was quite a job. :) He couldn't wait to tell his Mom that he was helping out with the cooking, which is very new for Will. He goes to the University of Arizona & he also works for the Arizona Daily Star newspaper now. Will interviewed me while we were cooking for a project that he wants to present to the Arizona Daily Star. The kitchen is always a great time for telling life stories or current ones too. :)

My friend Christina C. in Maine had this idea of me contacting some farms to get fresh fruit & vegetables donated. She only found one farm in this area, in the town of Catalina & sent me the information. I called them, but they told me that they already donate to some organizations like the Food Bank, Salvation Army, etc. It was a great idea Christina !! :)
I have to be careful with the fruit I take to the Homeless, many don't have teeth, so for instance apples are not good at all. I have been taking fruit salads that I make, like the cantaloupe this week, or fresh cucumbers & tomatoes. Things that are easy to chew.

Bill Y. met me at Costco today & paid for some of the ingredients for next weeks meals. Thank you Bill, that was really kind of you & I pray that the Blessings will come back to you many fold !!

Gary Mc. sent some money in the mail & I always so appreciate you doing that !! Every little bit helps & it adds up to make a whole. Gary, I hope that you are reading this blog, as it is the only way I can communicate with you. It seems like you want to stay anonymous.

And, oh my goodness, Hugh & Polly M., from Amber Light Retirement Community, thank you soooo much for your generous check that came through your Terri earlier this week !! :) You touched me deeply & again I was crying, just like when I was up there with you all giving my talk about Feeding the Homeless. Hugh, keep smiling, you spread a lot of sunshine all around with that smile of yours !! :)

Thank you all for walking this path with me & supporting my dream of no more hunger in Tucson's City Parks. :) I am very, very grateful to you all !! :)