Friday, September 22, 2017

Clean-Up on Aisle 3

Sorry__Itchy finger hit publish and it is just not time to publish this yet

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mini Chocolate Cobbler

I read the blog Two Men and a Little Farm every time they publish. Many of their posts have wonderful ideas I "borrow" and tweak as a lake place possibility. I truly appreciate all the inspirations I get from the blog, but a few days ago First Man posted what may have been their best post ever__their recipe for chocolate cobbler.  My mouth thanks you so much for posting this, the rest of me, well. . .

I did change the recipe a bit, mainly because it is too dangerous for me to have that much deliciousness in my house at one time. Of course I had to make it twice to get the new proportions correct. (Don't you feel sorry for me having to eat this 2 different nights?) This size is better for me because chocolate leftovers are not my friends, so I almost always reduce the yield in any baked goods. (Except fruit desserts since I am not a huge fan of cooked fruits.)

Smaller Size Chocolate Cobbler

1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self rising flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons  toasted pecan pieces (delicious experiment with cobbler #2)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a 1 quart oven proof pan melt the butter. Mix 1/4 plus 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self rising flour, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 3 tablespoons of milk  in a bowl. Pour over the melted butter, but DO NOT STIR. Sprinkle the pecan pieces over the batter. DO NOT STIR. Mix the additional sugar and cocoa powder together and sprinkle evenly over the batter. DO NOT STIR. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the sugar cocoa mix and DO NOT STIR. Bake approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

This is what is looks like straight from the oven. The pecans rise to the top of the cobbler, which has a buttery crust with a soft yet dense cake.

When you spoon into it to serve it, you find the cake layer sits on top of this delicious thick chocolate sauce. If Heaven were a food I think this would be what heaven looks like!

I strongly suggest serving it with the cake part down so that all that warm fudgy goodness will be on the top, oozing into the buttery cake. TheHub had his with vanilla ice cream on top, but was so unsure of whether we liked it or not that he had to have another bowlful just to be certain. At least that is his story and he is pretty much sticking to it. I had it plain (misnomer: there is nothing plain about this) and loved it.

This is a picture of my bowl of chocolate cobbler. If I am being perfectly honest I had licked some of the chocolate sauce off of the spoon before I thought to take a picture. Yeah, I couldn't wait even 5 more seconds.

So, there is nothing left to do but curse thank them for sharing this extremely easy to make and even easier to eat dessert that is unfortunately now in our food rotation. Diets be damned!

This smaller version makes 4 smallish servings, 3 regular sized ones, or 2 gigantic servings!
Don't blame me, I am just the messanger!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Okra Perloo

TheHub had a work related dinner meeting, I had begun a menu challenge and nothing sounded good or bad, so I opted for what was easiest. I always have cooked bacon in the freezer and I always have a jar of bacon fat in the freezer as well. The rest of this meal just required a tad of chopping and minimal cook time, so it won!

Okra Perloo*

2 slices bacon, cooked, save the drippings
1/2 onion diced
1/2 bell pepper diced
1 jalapeno, seeded, ribbed and minced
1 tablespoon bacon fat
1 cup sliced okra (supposedly you can use fresh or frozen, but I used fresh)
1/2 cup rice
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook the bacon, remove from the pan and reserve 1 tablespoon drippings
In a saute pan or sauce pot att eh drippings and bring them to a medium high heat. Throw in the onions and peppers and cook for about 2 minutes. Put the okra in the pan and leave without stirring until the "slapping sound" stops. Then give everything a good stir, add the rice and chicken broth. (I added an additional 1/2 cup of water because it looked like it needed it. Bring the rice mixture to a boil, slap a lid on the pot, reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 more minutes until the rice is cooked thoroughly. Put into bowls and crumble the bacon on top of each.  This makes 2 dinner servings or 4 side dish servings.
The bacon flavor permeates the rice and any slime factor that okra is famous for is absorbed by the rice. When I make this again I will increase the jalapenos because I like heat in my food and this has just a hint of "hot" This is a perfect one bowl meal for those nights when you are tired of the usual and want something a little different.

* Perloo must be a 50 cent word for Pilaf because it really is a bacon flavored pilaf with okra.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Shelftember Week 2

This began week 2 of Shelftember where I am concentrating on using up a good bit of food storage from the freezer and pantry and only buying produce, milk and bread. I did add a codicil to my plan that if I found something at stock up prices I was going to go ahead and buy it, but would not use it at all during this challenge. I am very glad I did because ThePig has had a great buy on ground chuck and I have purchased about 15 pounds of it, processed it and it now lives in nice flat freezer bags for future use.*

Tuesday: In anticipation of Irma  blowing in and knocking down a few trees which would cause a loss of power, I rearranged the upright freezer so I could transfer everything from the refrigerator freezer in the kitchen to the laundry room. I have a portable generator which supplies enough power to be able to run both, but they are not close enough to each other to actually do it and I will always choose saving the freezer foods. So___Irma came and went with a whimper here, but I was left with a few things I had taken out to thaw as "just in case easy to cook in the dark" meals. Which meant I had to use them. TheHub was not going to be around for dinner so I chose the easiest course of action, and made an Indianish  pork and rice (emphasis on the ish ) This was truly delicious
Used: Sliced roast pork from the freezer, 1/2 onion. can of  diced tomatoes, small handful of baby carrots, 1/2 cauliflower, rice, leftover yogurt, clove garlic, hunk of ginger.

Wednesday: TheHub had to work late again (Same guy in town as the night before but he opted out of the dinner this time. He is in the office by 6:30 nearly every morning and if he has to go to a dinner meeting it means his work day is nearly 14 hours long. Even though he is eating he still has to be in business mode, and 2 14 hour days in a row is more than he likes) He was fried by the time he got home and not terribly hungry and declared he wanted spinach pies from Taboon Noon Since we can do takeout for 10 bucks total and the food is fairly good for us, it was a winner!

Thursday: TheHub was out of the office and came home relatively early for him, but still was not terribly hungry. I had taken a package of sliced turkey from the freezer and made some turkey gravy from one of those cheap packaged gravy mixes. We had open faced turkey sandwiches with gravy on top and a side of sliced tomatoes. Totally uninspired, but fodder nonetheless.
Used: Frozen turkey slices, 4 slices bread, 1 huge tomato, cheap turkey gravy packet

Friday: Friday was my birthday, but we had been to a funeral out of town and both had eaten lunch very late in the afternoon. We had planned a celebration out but were not hungry at a normal dinner time. Instead at about 9:15 we went to Firebirds for a couple of appetizers and drinks then decided we would go to  Highlands, our favorite restaurant in town, in a couple of weeks and celebrate both of our birthdays. We only go there a couple of times a year because you pay dearly for the impeccable service and extraordinary food but it is purposely in our T and E budget every year. Since we do not buy each other birthday gifts this will be our mutual present, and then on TheHubs actual birthday, I will make whatever he wants for dinner along with a speciality cocktail or two.

Saturday: TheHub and Son2 went to the Alabama/Colorado State game so I was alone for dinner. I had some assorted leftovers and ate what could be zapped for a minute. I could be uppity and call it a tapas meal but I am not sure a tablespoon of green beans, a couple of tablespoons of rice, and a half of a cucumber plus about 1/4 cup of leftover Indian counts as tapas. Not great but it used what I had on hand, was quick and I had only one plate and fork to clean up.
Used: Several small containers of leftover assorted items.

Sunday: TheHub decided we were having a birthday meal, so I pulled 6 hamburger patties from the freezer. We had planned on cooking out but the rain had other plans for us. Instead of a burger I cooked them on the stovetop, added a little gravy then served broccoli, saffron rice and rolls. TheHub bought a cake. Whoopee!!!
Used: 6 frozen hamburger patties, frozen container of gravy, 1 pack frozen broccoli, 1 pack yellow rice with additional saffron, frozen rolls

Monday: I had some okra that had to be cooked, I was going to be the only one here  for dinner and nothing sounded good or bad. I had recently read an article about meals in the slave quarters of the American South in the early 1800's. One of the items mentioned was something called okra perloo which I had not only never eaten but had never heard of before, so I did a quick Google search and low and behold I found it several places. It is more like a rice pilaf with okra in it, but it was tasty, quick and easy to eat while I was reading.
Used: Rice, 2 slices bacon*8, bacon fat, okra, onion, frozen diced bell pepper, frozen jalapeno

*Using a vacuum sealer extends the freezer life of meat products greatly. This ground chuck will last many months.
** I cook several pounds of bacon at one time, drain them well, put them on a cookie sheet to freeze, then pack in containers. That way I can easily pull out a slice of 2 as needed. After cooking the bacon I strain the leftover bacon grease and keep it in a pint jar in the freezer. I don't use it often for cooking but when I do the flavor it adds is remarkable.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bound and Gagged By a Plan

I read many different blogs with many points of view about life and pick up hints for daily living, alternative thinking and a load of glimpses about how different people organize their lives. I fail miserably at organization and tend to live more of a pass then punt life. I am terribly fickle and live my days whichever way the wind is blowing. It does cut out on the stress levels if you have only a vague idea of what you want to accomplish each day rather than a plan because often things do go awry. But sometimes vagueness tag teams with indecisiveness and things I really wanted to do go undone.

Today I am jumping into the deep end of the pool with something that is as normal as breathing to most of you, but this is something I balk at all the time. I am going to try to have a real life, big girl weekly menu plan and stick to it.

For the month of September I am trying to use items from my food storage (freezer and pantry) buying only fresh produce, milk and bread as necessary. (And yes. I am perfectly capable of making my own bread but it is just not going to happen) I rustled through the freezer this morning and pulled out several days worth of meal possibilities, thought about what I could make with them and am committing (fingers crossed) to a plan. (I am already feeling a little figurative claustrophobia at the thoughts of being bound to a menu.)

I am not assigning days to this plan, but am labeling it 1-7 leaving one night this week open for The Greek Food Festival, an annual event that we will NOT miss! By planning 7 meals it gives me the option to change my mind one time, and my mind always needs alternate plans!

1. Spaghetti with bolognese sauce, side salad
2. Chicken sausage with cabbage, steamed carrots
3.Ham and cheese puff, apple and fennel salad, broccoli
4. Meatloaf, roasted cauliflower, tomato slices, jasmine rice
5. Taco salad with all the fixings (tomato, peppers, onions, pinto beans, salsa, on mixed greens)
6. Grilled white bbq chicken, green beans, tomatoes and cukes, rice maybe (who knows yet)
7. Okra perloo

Looking at this menu all I will need to buy is a fennel bulb. tomatoes, salad greens, green peppers and a cucumber.

Things to make or bake
Egg muffins (I hate breakfast but hopefully I will eat one of these each morning)
Brownies (because, well__chocolate)
Pudding (I have a ton of milk that needs to be used)
Dinner rolls (Maybe maybe not. Depends on my mood)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Indianish with a Side of Sadness

I had taken out a package of sliced pork roast when I reshuffled the big freezer to make room for the items I keep in the freezer section of the refrigerator, as I was getting ready for some sort of power loss during Hurricane Irma. I am so sad that Cuba took a thrashing, but it did lessen the impact when it hit Florida and by the time it made it to us there was little more than rain and a few gusts. Our lights never even flickered, but by Tuesday I needed to start using the things I had taken out to thaw to make quick meals in the dark.

I was contemplating what to do with the pork slices when Shelby, the dog, appeared. I cut her a couple of small nibbles and without any thought kept cutting until it was all in cubes. So if anyone deserves credit/blame for this meals it's Shelby.

TheHub had a work dinner meeting and I was cooking just for me so I decided I could have whatever suited my fancy. TheHub is not a huge fan of Indian cuisine, which made it the perfect night for me to indulge myself. It would be even more perfect is I actually followed a recipe instead of just using my typical wing and a prayer approach, but typical of me I did not; which is why this is more ish than Indian.

1 tablespoon olive oil*
1 onion sliced
1 small handful baby carrots cut in "coins"
1 can diced tomatoes, drained, reserve liquid
1/2 head cauliflower in florets
1 clove garlic
1 slice fresh garlic
salt to taste (I used none but I am not a huge salt fan)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
couple of shakes of red pepper flakes (my tastes, but adjust downward if you do not like heat)
1 cup (ish) diced cooked pork
yogurt (optional)

In a large pan saute' the onions  and carrots in the olive oil until they begin to wilt. Add the cauliflower, garlic and ginger stirring until everything is wilted and fragrant, but not browned. Stir in the tomatoes and keep stirring until the mixture is almost dry. Sprinkle with the seasonings and stir them through.  Add the reserved tomato liquid and additional water as needed to make a sauce. Plop the pork in the pan and continue stirring. Turn the heat down and let it simmer until everything is nicely hot.  Serve over hot rice,  add a dollop of yogurt sprinkled with a bit more garam masala and enjoy!

Son2 and Girlfriend2 stopped by after a heartbreaking 24 hours. She lost her father unexpectedly late Monday night and they came here to decompress. I was so thankful I had cooked this because it made enough for all three of us, was comforting, and gave us some quality time to have a communal meal and conversation. I am so sad for her, but so thankful she feels comfortable enough to come and share her grief at my home. Hoping and praying that she will be blanketed with peace.

*I used a large copper finish non-stick pan. Using a regular pan might require a little more oil to keep the veggies from sticking

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Still Getting My Learning On

I learned this most valuable tip from Son2 recently and thought I would pass it on.

I was doing laundry, started doing other chores and completely forgot about the load of clothes in the dryer. If it had been towels or sheets I would have just folded them and put them away, but this was a load of clothes that were wrinkled beyond the folding stage. I was kicking myself in the butt for forgetting about them and dreading the thoughts of ironing everything when he offered this brilliant solution. Put the clothes back in the dryer with 3 or 4 ice cubes and dry for 5 minutes.

Voila! The ice melted and provided just enough steam coupled with the rotation of the clothes in the dryer to knock out the wrinkles. How come I never thought of that. Slow learner, I guess?

Another great tip___Head over to Sluggy's at Don't Read This; It's Boring!
She has a girly girl giveaway going on so hop over and enter! Like she said__Someone has to win so it might as well be you. (or me!)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Shelftember First Full Week

Because I found out about Shelftember after the first of the month, I just began this the day I found out about and counted 7 days worth of meals. I had some successes and some failures but I am posting this guilt free no matter what. As of last week I have spent much less than I usually would, and not bought many items, but we did run into a couple of time warps. Life!

Tuesday: I did not feel like cooking and TheHub had eaten at a Chinese restaurant for lunch so what was I to do? Sandwiches, of course! We had some bologna (one of TheHub's recreational shopping buys) cheese, humongous tomatoes, a hunk of onion in the fridge and a half of a loaf of bread. I toasted 2 slices of bread for each sandwiches under the broiler, turn them over and put sliced gouda and chopped onion on one side and bologna on the other and ran them back under the broiler till the cheese melted and the onion wilted a little. Each sandwich got a huge slice of tomato and a smear of mayo, and that was good enough for a low keyed weeknight meal. TheHub ate the last of the ice cream after dinner, so I see a recreational shopping trip for him unless I beat him to the punch Wednesday. Day1 of Shelftember is in the books.
Used: leftover bologna, 3 slices gouda, 1/2 tomato. 2 slices of onion.4 slices bread, mayonnaise

Wednesday: I had to go to my new attorney (Thank you to the person in my life who is drawing several of us who have nothing to do with anything into her own personal "Jerry Springer" lawsuit Hell. There is nothing greater than giving up 2 days of my life plus legal fees to be deposed for something I know little about and care about even less) Immediately after that I had to run cancel the refrigerator I bought for Mom on Tuesday and find a different fridge that could be delivered asap. I got home later than I like Wednesday evening (oh yeah, because I had to look for the fridge at 3 different places and go to a fourth to cancel the sale), I foraged the freezer for something quick and relatively easy. (because I forgot to take anything out in advance)  Finding nothing that could be ready in 10 minutes or less we did the logical thing and went out to eat!  Oh well!

Thursday: TheHub and I were both on unusual schedules today and he ate later than he normally does at lunch so he was not very hungry at dinner time. I pulled out about a half a pound of frozen browned ground beef, a can of beans and created a taco salad over a big bowl of lettuceI had a bag of tortilla chips so I added 4 to the side of each salad and called it good enough. It was really pretty tasty and more then filling for the late lunch crows.
Used: 1 small pack frozen ground beef, the leftover tomato half, 1 thick slice of the leftover onion, half a head of lettuce, the tail end of a bag of shredded cheddar (leftover from Son 3's visit), can of navy beans8 tortilla chips, salsa from the fridge 1 half head of lettuce.

Friday: Tonight we were having an easy night in, but by the time I finished all of the  Mom duties for the day, it was nearly 7 and no thought had been given to dinner. TheHub worked late since I was doing Mom things and we both pulled in the driveway at the same time. I suppose I could have come in and rustled up some sort of meal but instead I hopped in his car and we headed to a local meat and 3 to grab a take out vegetable dinner. Yumlicious!
I did make a yogurt pie this morning so At least I used something I had on hand.
Used: graham cracker crumbs from the freezer, leftover yogurt (from Son3's visit, whipping cream (left from same visit) 1 package sugar free lime jello

Saturday: I had a special request for Saturday night.  It was a ball game night and TheHub wanted something we could easily eat in the den while we watched the games (euphemism for sitting with
the remote and flipping back and forth between 4 games). Pasties and a glass of wine. Great pair!
Used: 1 cup(ish) Bisquick, shortening, additional flour, 1/2 pound ground beef, 1/2 onion, 1 carton mushrooms, 3 carrots, 1/2 bag spinach, last of a bottle of barely drinkable wine, couple of tablespoons heavy cream.

Sunday: I had about some browned ground beef left over from the freezer pack I used Saturday night, so it became the featured player in the Sunday meal. I made a very simple beef and veggie casserole and a side of marinated cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. In addition I made a pineapple upside down cake because TheHub is starting to notice he is out of ice cream and if I have a dessert available for him I might be able to deflect his recreational shopping habit for a couple of days.
Used: 1/3 pound ground beef, 1/2 onion, carton of mushrooms, 1/2 can mushroom soup (had no idea I even had that in the pantry) small pack chopped zucchini (frozen) about 1/4 bag of shredded hash browns (freezer) 1/2 cup shredded cheese, can crushed pineapple, pineapple cake mix (thought it was a yellow cake when I bought it)

Monday: Because of potential high winds, which almost always means loss of power around here, I sorted through the freezer to make room so I could move everything from the refrigerator freezer to the big one in the laundry room. We all know an unopened big freezer stays frozen for a couple of days, so it just made sense. While I was rearranging I found a full container of dressing. (Cornbread stuffing that is baked in a pan for you non-southern types). Our dinner was chicken and dressing. sliced tomatoes and green beans and some Levian Bakery type  cookies (they are so good)
Used: 4 frozen chicken thighs, container of dressing,green beans from big Trader's Joe's frozen bag,
1 tomato, flour, butter, sugar, brown sugar,1 egg, 1/2 bag chocolate chips.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pasties, It's Not What You're Thinking

Before I get into the main point of this post please allow me to share with you what our Saturday's during the college football season are like. We wake and turn on ESPN's GameDay. Generally I take a look to see where they are, I look at the crowd to try and find the Washington State University flag. (So impressed with those guys who must have a boatload of time and money on hand to go to every single GameDay broadcast with their WSU flag.) Then I go about my business and come back just before 11 to see which mascot head/hat/headdress Lee Corso dons as his Gameday final prediction. This week he chose Brutus Buckeye. Bzzzzzz! Wrong pick Lee! Oklahoma State lead by Baker Mayfield won the game. (How sad is it that I am an old Alabama gal yet I know Baker Mayfield is the Oklahoma State quarterback. Does this give it away that I am the sole female in household of guys?)

Anyway, TheHub went to the Alabama game with Son2 and wanted something "totable" for dinner when they returned. Saturdays during football season are the only nights in the year that we might possibly eat in the den instead of at the table, and that is only if the night games are particularly good.
This week's were Clemson/Auburn, Notre Dame/Georgia. South Carolina/ Missouri and USC/Stanford. We watched Clemson/Auburn mainly but flipped back and forth among the others to keep up with them. After the Auburn game was over we watched the last quarter and a half of Georgia /Notre Dame, so it was worth making an easy, neat dinner that was self contained, relatively decent for us and survived sudden outbursts and yells!

Lest you think with the headline post "pasties' that I have taken a new job working the pole at Sammy's Go Go lounge, rest assured this is referencing a dinner recipe, not "clothing" of an exotic nature.

                                              Pasties, it's what's for dinner!

Pastry Crust for a double crust pie (homemade or purchased, no judgements)
1/2 pound ground beef (browned)
1/2 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 carton mushrooms, cleaned and diced
1-1/2 bag cleaned spinach (I had 1/2 bag in the fridge that was hidden under the lettuce so__)
1/2 cup wine (leftover from Son3's recent visit, bad for drinking, great for cooking)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon savory
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons heavy cream (leftover from Son3)

Brown the ground beef, toss in the carrots and onions and cook until both are tender, adding the wine as needed for liquid. (If it gets too dry add more wine or water, but wine is better) Throw in the mushrooms and let them soften, then add the spinach and let it wilt. Give every thing a good stir, add the seasonings and cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture is almost dry. Stir in the heavy cream and continue cooking until it is reduced by half, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes.

While the mixture is cooling, roll the crust into 4 thin circles about the size of a breakfast plate. (If I had used  pre-made crusts I would not have rerolled it, I would have just taken it from the tin, put it on a pastry cloth and made a giant pastie (because I am an efficient time manager lazy) but I actually made my crust* so I did the 4 balls rolled into circles thing.

Put about 1/2-3/4  cup of the mixture into the center of the pie crust dough in a nice compact mound fold the top over the bottom and seal together using the tines of a fork to press the dough together. Trim off any excess. (which I did not do because I didn't care what it looked like since it was just the two of us so I just pressed it together with my fingers and it was not pretty. Carefully place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for about 15 -20 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. If you try to take them off the pan too soon you will have nothing but a broken crust and a big mess. Remove with a wide spatula and serve. Ummmmmm!

*Since the aim of my cooking this month is to use us some of my food storage items, I used about a cup and a half of Bisquick then added enough flour and shortening and water to make 2 crusts. Because the Bisquick has leavening in it, I did get a weird rise, but like I said it was just the two of us and it didn't matter.  The taste was the same and now an additional box is gone from the pantry. Double win!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Late to the Party

As usual, if there is a party invitation it gets lost in the mail heap or I misplace it until right before the date of the event and I am left scurrying to find something to wear. It seems that even in these days of social media I am still late to the party. Reading through all of the blogs I read regularly I heard about "Shelftember" which is a month of super low food budgets while you use foods from your pantry and freezer storage. (I would go back and look through all the blogs I read to post a link but I am honestly just too busy lazy today to do it. If you will let me know in the comments I will edit the post here with a link back to your page)

Since I read about it after I had done a moderate Aldi's run August 31 I am starting today.(Technically I will be observing Shelftember correctly, but we all know I was buying things for September the last day of August.)  My goal for the month is to buy minimal groceries (fresh produce, milk, bread and coffee) and use things I have socked away. I hope to spend about 30 bucks a week (or less) and hope to make a substantial dent in my frozen foods and pantry. There are 2 exceptions to this challenge though. If there is a tremendous sale on meats or poultry I might do a stock up buy, but it will be put in a different part of the freezer and remain unused throughout the month. Also September is my birthday month and I am not sure if we will go out of cook something delicious out. Either way I am planning on paying no attention to Shelftember on that day. Sue me!

I thought I would record our dinners only since breakfasts are bleak if not non-existant around here. TheHub eats lunch out every day (working lunches with meetings attached to food most days) and I eat bits and bobs of whatever is left over from meals during the week. Somedays I think it would be nice to have whatever suited my fancy for lunch, but that just doesn't happen except for the occasional lunch out with friends.

I am starting this challenge with 2 dozen eggs, 3/4 gallon milk, 1 cauliflower, 1/2 head cabbage, 6 tomatoes (huge tomatoes) 4 onions, a dozen or so small potatoes, 2 cukes, 1 bell pepper, 1 head of lettuce, 1 lb. of carrots, 1/2 lb okra,  some grapes, 2 cartons of mushrooms, a couple of limes and a couple of lemons  and every condiment known to man in the fridge.  Everything else is unknown and either frozen or in the pantry. Should be fun (or irritating because it requires planning and I hate cooking pre-planned menus. First. World. Problem. eh?)

So now I am off to the races with a quick freezer inventory to see what I have to work with. I might be cooking something  interesting and tasty or it might be craptastic, but either way it will make a huge dent in my food excess storage.  Wanna play along?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rachel at Credit Card Services

I am in a quandary about what to do with the ever increasing robo calls. Long ago I signed up with the "do not call" system and they abated for a while. And then along came the robot caller.

Rachel with credit card services started calling. While I appreciate her automated honesty that there is nothing wrong with my credit card (no shit!) I am tired of her calls every single day. And the hussy is not only brazen enough to call daily, but the witch changes numbers so that even though I block them religiously she pops up with a new one. And now she has gotten clever enough to use numbers from the same area code with local prefixes.

Next let's throw in the guy from "Microsoft" who calls at least once a week to tell me something is wrong with my computer. Amazing, especially since I have a  Macbook.  He uses local ever changing numbers also.

And we should not forget the guy from the "IRS" who only wants to help me with the lien and outstanding charges the IRS has filed against me. He honestly only wants to help and I understand if I want his help I will be routed to either CVS or Rite-Aid to send E-cards with 5 grand to assure all actions will stop. Did I ever mention TheHub is a CPA?

 Last but not least is the the robo nameless woman who calls me to help with legal issues. It seems that 3 criminal warrants have been filed against me, but she only wants to help in this police matter and if I will go to Rite Aid or CVS and send money to her, all the charges will magically be dropped before I am served. Though I do not have a criminal lawyer, we do have an attorney and I am pretty sure I would call him first and let him refer me to one of his contemporaries who deals in criminal law if I had done something illegal. (Though I will admit sometimes I do drive over the speed limit and I have been known to cut the tags off of pillows and mattresses. Shhhh don't tell anyone!)

And before you think I am an idiot for answering these calls, I don't. Unless I know the number on caller ID I do not answer it, but these suckers leave me messages and I have to cull through them to delete. So if you call me and I don't answer your call, leave a message in your best non-robo voice and I will get back to you. I hate it that voice mail is my only form of defense against the persistent intruders.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fakin' Bakin' Fried Green Tomatoes

For the past two weeks we have been lucky to have the extraordinarily talented, beautiful Girlfriend3 sharing our home. Yeah, we let Son3 come here too, but he is not quite as pretty as she is.  Since she is from the world, Swedish descent, but lived in Switzerland before landing last year in New York, we felt it was our job to expose her to as much Southern Culture (Redneckism) as possible. At the same time we were filling her head with colloquialisms like "I'm fixin to carry Mom to The Pig" (loose translation: In a few minutes I am going to drive to Mom's, pick her up and drive her to the grocery store) we were also filling her stomach with southern foods.

What would be more appropriate for a traditional meal than peas, okra, creamed corn, sliced tomatoes and fried green tomatoes? Except I really no longer fry okra or green tomatoes, so I thought I would share with you an easier and slightly healthier (very slightly) method to oven bake crispy coated green tomatoes.

This is not a recipe as much as it is a method, since the amounts will change based on how many tomatoes you choose to "fry".  First preheat your oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with raised edge twice with Pam and set aside. Slice nice firm green tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Get 3 shallow bowls, one with plain flour, one with a beaten egg, and the third with a mixture (half and half) of corn flour and corn meal. Dredge the tomato slices through the flour, until all are coated. Then dip them in the beaten egg on both sides and dredge in the corn meal/corn flour mixture. Place on the baking sheet and continue until all the slices are coated. Spray the tops of the tomatoes twice with pam and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes. Take them out, spray twice again, then flip each tomato over. Spray the flipped tomatoes once and pop them back in the oven to continue cooking. (My oven took about 8 more minutes) Remove and lightly salt before removing from tray.  Serve piping hot for some down home Alabama goodness.

p.s. You can  "fry your okra in the oven too, just cut it and let it sit for a couple of minutes, coat it with meal and put it in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet that has been heated in the oven for about 3 minutes. (I use olive oil) Then spray the tops of the okra slices about 3 times with Pam. Flip it after about 10 minutes. Spray the flipped sides about 3 times with Pam and continue baking until it is brown and crunchy (About 10 minutes in my oven)

p.p.s She loved the okra but was not crazy about the tomatoes. I just think it was great that she would try things without flinching! They have only been gone an hour and I already miss them!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Filling the Void

I have been away from blogging and am really not back, but I thought I would fill the blogging void by answering the following questions about myself, (It was easy to copy and paste so I swiped this from a Facebook friends post.) I hope some of you will copy and paste it as well and we can have a little getting  to know each other a little better experience.

I am being very honest here!

 What was the last thing you put in your mouth? Chocolate Ice Cream
2. Where was your profile pic taken? Uh, I don't have one.
3. Worst pain you've ever experienced?  Last hour of a natural childbirth
4. Favorite place you've traveled? Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.
5. How late did you stay up last night? 4:00 am
6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be? I would love to have a 2nd home in Portland, Oregon (Give me 3 years and it will most likely happen)
8. Which of your Blogger friends lives closest to you? Linda @Practical Parsimony lives just an hour North of Birmingham
10. When was the last time you cried? A few days after Dad died
11. Who took your profile photo? Again, I don't have one
12. Who was the last person you took a picture with? Participants at Independence Place
13. What's your favorite season? Autumn
14. If you could have any career, what would it be? Selecting music to be used in films
15. Do you think relationships are ever worth it? Absolutely
16. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be?  Dad and Leonardo Da Vinci
17. Are you a good influence? Depends on whom you ask!
18. Does pineapple belong on pizza? Never! It is pizza blasphemy
19. You have the remote, what channel? NatGeo
20. Whom do you think will play along? I don't think anyone in particular will, but I hope a lot of you do. It only takes a few minutes to complete!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Gone Fishing

Son3 and Girlfriend3 are visiting with us through August. She is from Switzerland and has never been in the south before so we are trying to be good hosts and show her how life truly is here, and it is taking a lot of time, albeit fun time.  While they are here we are also having an extended family, family reunion and I will have some additional family staying with me. I can't wait to see everyone! Throw in a little time at the lake place and my days are disappearing.

As they say, time and tide wait for no one, so I am taking and enjoying this time they are here to the fullest, and one way I have time in the 3-D world is to limit my time on a computer. Please forgive me for not commenting on your blogs. I will still be reading them, but may not comment. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy your posts, I do, but I am choosing family time!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Today I went to my aunts funeral. Uncle Bob and Laura were fortunate to have met each other after the deaths of their respective spouses and spent 30 plus years together until this final separation.  She was a very gracious woman, interested in all of us, and I don't think she ever thought of us as almost family. She embraced us and became part of the tribe.

At the funeral today, I met her daughters who are definitely a reflection of their mother, and I wish I had met them and spent time with both of them before today.

While I was at the service, I listened to the minister who was saying such nice things about Laura and it gave me pause to think what I hope people will remember about me.

First I hope people will remember I laugh__a lot! I find humor is almost everything and I laugh easily, and silently, and often inappropriately. My sons always say they can tell when I find something hysterical because my head is tossed back, my eyes are squinted, my mouth is grinning from ear to ear, my body is shaking with glee and I am not making a sound, except for occasional gasps for air. Don't know why I laugh this way. It just happens. All. The. Time. (All 3 sons do a pretty decent impression of me laughing, but then they crack up while doing it and they are not silent laughers.

I hope they will remember how much I love music, except for contemporary country and western and rap. Give me some old Charlie Pride or Patsy Cline and I am fine with country. This CW cross over stuff drives me insane and reminds me of Barry Manilow songs. It is basically the same song with the same riff and only the words change. (OK add Barry Manilow to music I don't like)

I hope they know I like to watch birds, dragon flies, butterflies, sunsets, moon rises, moving water, fluttering leaves, flowers (except for one particular shade of orange azaleas which truly makes me nauseous) and sunrises. I am a night owl and see very few sunrises so I really do relish seeing them when I am up early enough to enjoy them. I am very thankful for wintertime because sunrise comes at a decent hour! I have been known to sit on the  freezing deck at the lake place wrapped in a blanket just to enjoy the sunrise.

I enjoy theater, movies, kid performances of any kind, small intimate dinners or large parties (but only if there is some space around me. I am kind of insistent on having my very own social air space with no one intruding on it. I am very claustrophobic, and start suffocating if anyone is in "my space'.

I hope they remember I love hearing the bird's songs and children in the neighborhood playing outside. Sometimes I will open the door and sit just to listen to the giggles, yip and yells that come with kid play.

And mostly I hope they remember that I love people, individually and collectively. I love to people watch and appreciate the intricacies and peculiarities of people who are just living life, unaware I am sharing the moment with them. I love people I know who are part of my every day comings and goings. I love my family, both  my "obedient" family (Son 3 had heard the term immediate family when he was in kindergarten, and this was his take on it) as well as my extended family.I love those close friends who serve as a second family, friends who are not quite that close but equally essential, friends I have not seen for  while, old friends I have not seen in years, childhood friends who have come back into my life recently (Yes, you Mary Ann and Charlotte), friends I never see but remember fondly,and this group of Bloggers whom I have come to know even if we do not share a 3-d friendship.

So maybe I need to laugh more often, love more openly, listen to music loudly, dance badly (cause that is how I dance) sing either in or out of tune, and live boldly. We only have a short time on this planet.

Oh yeah, I also hope they remember my favorite word is verklempt!

                                           And I really like this song. It brings me joy

Monday, August 7, 2017

Positively Monday

Today I am positive it is Monday and I am working on my negative attitude!
Last week was a bad week which still had lots of positives but I am busily self absorbed and feeling petty today so I am not counting them and instead just saying I am positively thrilled this is a new week!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Christmas Countdown

I am going to start a " Christmas Countdown" post every other week until Thanksgiving. Some of you are probably much younger than I am and time is not whooshing by as rapidly for you as it is for me. School here begins next week, Halloween junk is already out in stores, I will blink twice, close my eyes and it will be Thanksgiving and I will be in a panic trying to get all the work that goes
into Christmas done so I can simply enjoy the holidays. So I started my Christmas prep accidentally last night.

I was cleaning out a drawer in my kitchen and found last years Christmas cards bundled in the bottom of the drawer. I separated photo cards from regular cards and stuck all the photos on my freezer in the laundry room to enjoy for a bit. Then I took all the remaining cards and separated them into 2 piles. Those that could be turned into boxes and those that couldn't. The latter went into the recycling bin and the former went to my work desk (AKA my kitchen table) to become gift boxes for Christmas. I truly did not mean to begin this project at 2 am, but yes I did it anyway.

I tend to have multi presents for each person in the family and I like everything wrapped and bowed and looking pretty under the tree. Many of the presents I give are either freebies or homemade items and a lot of those are very small items. I would never purchase boxes for them so I make them with leftover cards each year. Since I have many gifts on hand, instead of just storing them, I prefer to have them boxed and taped. Amazingly even though they are adults Sons 1, 2, and 3 are not beyond a little snooping. These boxes help with the peeking issue tremendously.

Begin by opening the card so the inside is showing and place it flat on a work surface. Measure and mark a border using a ruler and ball point pen around the four edges of the back of the card (side with the message). You need to press hard while drawing your line as it will create a scored line for the next step. Do this for the inside front of the card but make it about 1/8 inch larger. Now cut the card at the center seam and you will have the beginnings of a box top and box bottom.

You will have to decide how much you measure based on the design of the card. Some are naturally thicker boxes and some are thinner, just because of the card design. If the card has a border on the design I use it as a natural measurement. If not I just wing it, centering the design of the card (maybe) and make it whatever size I need.

When you do your measuring you will have 4 little squares on the corners of each end of the card pieces. Cut up to your measuring line from the bottom end  and down to the measured line from the top end  and it will create 4 small tabs. (The bottom end will be the end the where the card was signed)
If your card has a vertical design the end will be the shorter side, if it is a horizontal design the end will be the longer side (I have used both types in these photos)

The one at the right is a vertical card, and the one below is a horizontal design.

Now begin the actual assembly part. Fold upwards at the pencil lines to create the 4 sides of a box.

Flatten the card and put dots of glue on the four corners of the top and bottom flaps (See illustration with marked glue spots. The glue placement will be the same for either horizontal or vertical card designs, just remember bottom is always the end the where the card is normally signed)
I highly recommend using a glue stick for this.

Now fold the tab inward and press to adhere the two surfaces. Do this on all four corners and you will now have your box bottom. Do the same for the front of the card making sure to fold toward the inside front of the card so the design will be visible on the top of the box.
Trim as necessary to make everything even and enjoy your free box.

I took a picture of a few of the items I have for Christmas gifts, just so you can see what will fit in these. Here you can see a bracelet and necklace set, retractable tape measure, usb powered computer fan, gift card (I want the Levy's gift card!)  and small  wallet. If you look closely you will notice handwritten notes in the box tops of some of these. Since these will only be given to family members who have already seen all the cards, I am not worried about the greetings. If I were making these to give to random people in my realm I would make them from unused cards leftover from last Christmas or would buy a box of cards with a pretty design from the dollar store.

So now I have a few gifts boxed and taped and stored in my gift closet. All these pretty boxes will need is a tag and then they will be ready to go under the tree, which will free up some time that will be badly needed come December.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Crazy Life

I am going to be hanging out in the 3-D world with some of my favorite people for a while. Trains are still running full speed and there are wonderful things happening each and every day, but instead of being Anne in the Kitchen next week I am going to concentrate on being Pip's Annie. Playing with her is first  and most important on my to-do list, so blogging will have to wait. I will still be reading your blogs (after her bedtime) but please forgive me if I do not comment as often as I normally do.

                                                    Have a great week__I know I will!

Positively Monday

Good things happen every single day and I try very hard to stay positive. Don't get me wrong I whine and complain with the best of them, but I try and reflect on the day to find what the best thing of the day was. Even the worst day ever has something good in it.

Monday: I had a seriously lazy day and it was wonderful. It was a totally self indulgent day (with the exception of a few Mom issues)

Tuesday: Had a long phone conversation with My Beloved Sister and we were laughing so hard I snorted coffee all over the kitchen table

Wednesday: Went shopping and managed to make it out of the store before heavy rains hit, then arrived home in time to sit in my driveway for about 30 minutes waiting for the storm to pass, but got to see some incredible lightening in the valley. (Some days are harder to find positive things than others!)

Thursday: We had a lovely dinner with Mom. She eats much better and more food when she is with us, so I try and have a couple of meals each week with her. A nearby lake has food trucks and an outdoor market a couple of times a month, so we shopped the market and bought our dinner. There were no empty tables so we just brought it back to the house to eat, then took Mom back to her house.

Friday: We talked briefly about going out to eat, but I had bought corn from a vendor at the Thursday night event. TheHub and I ate corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes for dinner, then sat on the deck with a glass of wine and listened to the crickets and katydids while we talked.

Saturday: I needed a set of twin bed sheets for the trundle beds at the lake place and a comforter for Pip's bedroom at my house. I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond with coupons in hand and found one of those bed in a bag sets that was on sale, but was missing the pillow sham. Score for me! I got it for 1/2 the sale price then used my 20 percent off coupon.

Sunday: Game of Thrones returned: 'nuff said!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Winter is Coming or GOT Theme Dinner

Recently I did a post about a prison in homage to the Netflix new season of Orange is the New Black.Well, folks, right now we begin the countdown to Game of Thrones season premier and I felt compelled to do the same. (Actually Son1 asked me to create a meal for a pre viewing feast)

If you watch GOT but have not seen season 5 stop now because there will be some spoiler alerts.
Last season saw a lot of changes, and of course, more dead people (I will miss Hodor, but what a great plot development). We also got to see a few new things like a fleet of ships with Daeneryis flying above while riding her dragon, Cersei blowing up a few people, and Arya serving pie to Walder Frey.

I used this past seasons revelations to act as a guide for the following theme meal. There are 7 kingdoms in the Game of Thrones world but right now five major regions house the main characters and each region has a European counterpart. The North is supposed to be similar to Scotland,  The Iron Islands resemble Norway, Westeros is very much like London during the Middle Ages, The Reach can be compared to France, and finally there is Dorne which is almost a dead ringer for Spain. I decided to cook somewhat regional dishes based on the story line provided with each area with one caveat, the food had to be made with things I would keep around the house on a regular basis, so no heading out to the store for some pickled herring or Spanish olives.

I had the most trouble with the Iron Islands, mainly because it's place in the tale is most likely going to be fleshed out this season. Last season ended with Yara and Theion leading a mutiny against Euron, their uncle, who had just been declared king after murdering his brother, the king. I am pretty sure the action is going to increase rapidly.  Since the Iron Islanders are a sea faring bunch I decided to start the meal with a fishy appetizer. Now I live no where near a cold sea, so there was no way I would have anything from there in my kitchen, however I am a reasonably decent punter sometimes.
Instead of a cold water fish, we started with a faux smoked tuna spread on toasted baguette slices. The real thing is one of our favorite treats when we are on the Gulf coast, but I have made this bastardized version several times when we are not at the beach and get a hankering for it.

Faux Smoked Tuna Spread

2 ounces creamed cheese
1 can albacore tuna, drained and flaked
1'2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 scallions minced finely
3 or 4 drops tobasco (optional)
Mix all ingredients well with a fork.  Stick it in the fridge to chill and serve on cracker or toast.

I thought since there is a battle for the throne, it would only be appropriate for me to serve our app on my plate that has the image of The King.

For our salad course I took a little (very little) inspiration from Spain. The Sand Snake gals are in a difficult situation right now but they are clever, skilled and dangerous. Luckily for TheHub I did not coat the blade of my dagger (knife ) with poison while I was slicing onions.

Somewhat Spanish Inspired Salad

1/2 cup torn lettuce leaves per person
1 clementine, sections and pith removed
4  very thin rings of raw onion (I should have used Spanish onions but I had Vadilias
lemon juice
olive oil,
salt and pepper
Put the lettuce on a plate, top with the clementines and the onion slices. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Add a bit of salt and pepper.

The main meal was served on the same plate, therefore there is only one photo, but I am going to say a tad about each dish.

In the North last season Arya Stark had a little surprise for Walder Frey the elder. She served him a hearty meat pie, but she went all Sweeny Todd on him and served him his sons, literally. For my dish I made a variation of the Frey Pie, but I promise, no sons or daughters were harmed in the making of this dish. Yeah, it wasn't  a real pie either. I made a meat roll, which is a pastry crust with meat filling that is rolled jellyroll style and baked.

Frey Pie

1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped finely
1/2 carton mushrooms, chopped finely
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
2 teaspoons parsley
2 tablespoons of any condiment you wish (ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, A-1, gravy, your choice) I have this wonderful smoked bell pepper sauce that pours almost like ketchup. It has a fabulous flavor we love so that is what I used. You need something cohesive to pull everything together and add a little moisture to the final beef mixture.
1 single pastry crust, rolled in a rectangle. (I used a ready made Pillsbury crust and simply re-rolled it into a rectangle.)

Brown the ground beef and wilt the onions and mushrooms at the same time, in the same pan. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the mixture is almost dry. Spread over your rectangular pie crust, leaving about a 1/2 inch pastry crust perimeter all around the edges.  Slowly roll along the long side like a jelly roll and place on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet. (Spray the foil with cooking spray before putting the pastry on it) Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Meanwhile back in Westeros, Cersei was busy causing an explosion to kill 3 of her enemies along with hundreds of collateral casualties. The things some people won't stop at to be queen. When we were in London, every single place we ate had carrots on the menu, so I knew I wanted to have carrots, but was unsure what I was going to do to/with them. I actually searched for an explosive carrot recipe and instead found one promising explosive flavor. Since I made this recipe just like she said (with the exception of adding some hot red pepper paste) am simply posting a link to The Green Creator and her recipe for Carrot Cashew Pate. We ate it on cucumber rounds and though it was not the best thing I have ever eaten it was OK. I will probably never make it again but I am going to stick the leftovers in the fridge and see if overnight in the cold improves it.

And finally, Daeneryis has been busy flying around on her hot breath dragon, so naturally I needed to have something to put a little heat is our mouths, right?

Dragon Potatoes

12 new small new potatoes, scrubbed and boiled to fork tender
2 tablespoons butter
1 very small clove garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno, minced

Cook the potatoes until soft, drain, put them in a serving bowl and cut an X in the top of each potato. Mash the sides of the potato to open the X mark.
Melt the butter in a small pan until it is bubbling. Toss in the garlic and the jalapeno and stir continually over medium heat until the veggies are wilted and the butter has turned a caramel color. Pour over the open space in the potatoes and serve immediately.  (serves 2 or 3 depending on the size of the potatoes) These were really good with just a tad of heat,

And last but not least we head to The Reach, where Oleanna (Granny) Tyrell (Remember Emma Peel from the Avengers in the 60's.) is plotting some super sweet revenge against Cersei. It seems that Cersei is the reason her granddaughter, Margaery, her grandson, Loras, and her son, Mace will not be coming home for dinner_ever. We already know Oleanna has a very quick hand when it comes to poisoning food. Again TheHub is lucky I am not emulating the lady.

Seriously Lame Cheesecake Parfait (Sugar Free)

1 box Jello instant Sugar Free Cheesecake Pudding
1 cup kefir (can use milk instead, but the kefir gives it a tarter taste)
1 cup milk
Prepare according to package directions, chill
Spoon the pudding into a parfait glass
Sprinkle raspberries over it to make another layer
Add Sugar free Cool Whip for the third and final layer
Garnish with a raspberry or two.

And yes I know how seriously lame the dessert was. I just have not been eating sugars, and needed something Frenchy and dessertish to complete the menu. And it was pretty tasty, especially if you have been eating no sweets.

Also, following Cersei's beverage of choice, everything was served with a nice cabernet.

Now I have to go get my geek on because in less than 24 hours "Winter is Coming"!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Positively Monday

I neglected to keep up with the daily positive things that happened last week, so I am just gong to have a brief synopsis of the week's happenings. (Yes, I know, I am seriously bad at this.)

We saw fireworks on July 3 at a near by country club (They do it ahead of time so it won't interfere with anyone wanting to see the city fireworks show on the 4th. It was lovely and the fireworks reflect in the lake which makes them doubly beautiful.

On July 4th Mom ate with us, but unfortunately Girlfriend2 had a family emergency and couldn't join us. Special shout out to Winn Dixie who cooked the ribs so I didn't have to. Boy, did that make dinner easy!

I have no idea what happened the remaining days, but there were many joys I noticed at the time they happened, but by failing to record then they are blurred as just a jumble of pleasantness.

Saturday night we went to a fundraiser for The Independence Place of Alabama. I find my joy volunteering with these very special people, and seeing them in a different setting was wonderful. Plus they raised money and I was the silent auction winner of 2 prints from a local artist. These prints bring my Don Stewart print collection  total to 5. If there is a Stewart print available at a charity fundraiser I will outbid you.

Sunday was gorgeous with no rain but it was scorching hot and humid. I have learned to wear longer sundresses with cotton knit shrugs and flip flops to church to stay a little cooler. I am pretty sure God doesn't care what I wear, but I imagine there are a few people at church ( Mom) who might find it unacceptable. The biggest positive is that I just don't care what they think.

As an added bonus Son2 was telling us about an epic fail at the San Diego fireworks show of 2012.
I am including the video so you can enjoy it also. Due to a gigantic glitch all the fireworks ignited at once. It still makes me giggle to watch it, but if I had been one of the thousands who trekked to see it I probably would not have laughed.

I will try to keep a record of joyful things that happen during this week, but I am making no promises. After 2 weeks of rain we have sunshine finally and the pool is screaming at me. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

words for wednesday

I have been reading Elephant's Child blog for quite a while and was always intrigued with her Words for Wednesday post. A group of words or some other writing prompt is gives and people write what said words or pictures evoke. A little while back instead of being the constant voyeur I started participating, and find it fun because it challenges me to use language in a different way. This month the word prompts can be found Mumblings. I honestly felt like an intruder leaving my submission there, because I have only left them on E.C's page before, but I did leave my comfort zone and post it. Now I am going way, way out of my comfort zone and leaving it here.
From Mumblings blog these are the prompts:

crashing, valve, spotlight, postage, resonate, spastic
branded, organic, bargain, designate, amplify, blase
you could use this phrase to 'set you off'

Please feel free (compelled?) to play along and leave your poems,  essays, tales, whatever inspires you.

This is where the words lead me this week.

Molly managed to answer the phone on the fourth ring right before the message began. She had no idea who was calling because her glasses were in the bedroom and the caller i.d. just looked like chicken scratch .
'Hello" she said, with forced pleasantness, she hated unplanned phone calls, especially when she was busy.
"Hi dear, it's Lucy" the quivering voice on the other end of the phone began, "Lavender just called me to let me know she will not be able to help at all this month. You know all that tunny trouble because of her spastic colon. She said she would love to help when and if her health allows. With her feeling so bad, I can't ask her to do anything, but I am overwhelmed. There is so much to do and right this minute I feel like I am in a pressure cooker with no release valve.  I need some help and I need it quickly.
"Lavender lie's and she always has"Molly said emphatically (so much for tact)  The only thing wrong with her colon is that is is attached to the rest of her conceited self. She is perfectly healthy! She just doesn't want you to designate specific tasks to her because it might interfere with her spa days, consignment shop bargain hunting, or whatever other self indulgent events she has planned"
"Oh my, I'm stunned. I had no idea ."
Molly continued "She uses the lies to keep from doing any true labor but is always happy to maintain her title. As long as she gets an occasional picture in the society pages so she can be branded as a patron of various arts and charities she is happy. She wants the spotlight on her and to have someone else to  so all the grunt work. As she spoke Molly noticed her voice seemed to amplify on its' own "Reel it back in, girl' she thought, "You know Lavender always brings out the worst in you"
She continued in a calmer voice, "So, Lucy, now that your co-chair is ill, what do we need to do to get plans back on track ? Just tell me and I'll be happy to help. I don't want you to feel like everything is crashing down on you and you have no backup"
"Thank you Molly. The most immediate thing is postage. I need all the envelopes stamped so they can go out in the mail this evening. Are you available around lunchtime? We could meet somewhere and strategize . There are only 5 weeks left before the Gala and I really do need a lot of  help."
"Sure, How about meeting at Organic Harvest? They have great salads and the tables are large enough that we could do the stamping while we eat."
"Perfect. I'll see you in an hour?"
 "I'll be the one wearing worker bee clothes"
"I need a worker bee, "
Molly hung up the phone and thought about this unexpected turn of events. She would help make this the best Gala ever, and when it came time to fill the upcoming Junior Board seat, hopefully tales of her hard and selfless work would resonate throughout the Executive Committee, and any thoughts of Lavender would be, at best, blasé.
Poor Lavender, life only allowed for one Queen, and the worker bee had just landed the first sting

Monday, July 3, 2017

Positively Monday

Sorry for not keeping my list, but last week hit me like a freight train. That being said, the week was filled with wonderful things along the way, but since I didn't list them as they happened I can't remember them, so you will have to settle for the biggest positives of the week

We were planning on going to Portland to visit Son1's family in a couple of weeks. Instead, he and Pip are coming here for a quick visit, so he can also see my mother and sister. DIL, Mama K, is covered up with work right now and can't come here. I hope while they are gone  she can catch up on her work load plus have a little time to include some self pampering.

I have added incentive now to get Pip's room here finished. It has been tragically languishing and need to be transformed and turned into a girly room. (Since I only had sons I never had anything even remotely prissy in the house)

When we were at the lake place this weekend, we went to a resale shop in the nearby town and found a cute addition for Pip's room and only spent a whopping 25 bucks for it.

Also over the weekend, we hit Dollar General (the lake place equivalent of a small scale Walmart) and found a 6 dollar hot pink dress with glitter embellishments, perfect for a princess. It will be something Pip can use for "dress up" play while she is here and take with her when she leaves.

Mom stayed with us at the lake place over the weekend and for the most part things went well.

Tomatoes are being harvested now and nothing is more delicious to me than vine ripe tomatoes.

My house is a wreck, but I have some time this week to change that. Hope my resolve kicks in!

Hope everyone had a great week filled with wonderful things. Look for them, I promise they are there!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tomato Salad

There is a local restaurant here called Hot and Hot Fish Club where every thing is delicious, but every summer when tomatoes are in their prime, the best dish hands down is the tomato salad. I bought some fantastic vine ripe tomatoes at the farmer's market Tuesday and decided to make a somewhat similar salad for our dinner tonight. I had nearly everything on hand and what I didn't have I could punt and either do without or find a reasonable substitution.

                              Variation on a Theme of Hot and Hot Tomato Salad

2 very ripe tomatoes
10 cherry tomatoes (halved)
2/3 cup cooked lady peas (chick peas, crowder peas or black eyed peas will work)
6 pickled okra pods
5 slices bacon cooked crisp (I used Neuske's applewood smoked bacon)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend
salt and pepper to taste (About 1/8 teaspoon each but I don't like salt)

Mix al ingredients together with a wire whisk.  Stir well before using.

Faux Basil Aioli
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Mix together and set it aside

Prepare the dressing and set it aside.
Peel the tomatoes and slice into about 1/2 inch slices, put the slices in a shallow bow,l and pour about 1/3 of the dressing over them.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes
Put 1/3 cup of the peas on the bottom of a plate. Put about a tablespoon of the dressing on the peas. Place the tomatoes on top of the peas. crumble 3 slices of the bacon and sprinkle half of  it around the peas. Put 5 cherry tomatoes on each plate and add the 3 pods of pickled okra. Place one whole slice of bacon on the top tomato slice . Drizzle the remaining dressing over everything and add a dollop of the basil mayonnaise. Have a nice glass of a cabernet, a couple of slices of toasted French bread and enjoy a fantastic summer meal. The only thing that would have made the dinner better would have been if we ate it on the porch and could hear the crickets and katydids while we ate. Oh well, next time.

The salad at the restaurant has 6 varieties of tomatoes, corn, and fried okra instead of the pickled. I had 2 varieties of tomatoes, no corn and no fresh okra, but it was still incredibly tasty.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Living Life on the Edge

I found a jar of jelly in my pantry, that was out of date and I honestly could not remember when I got it, but I didn't want to  just toss it without seeing if it was still good.  It passed the smell test, it looked perfectly fine, so I tasted a small bit.  Since it tasted perfectly fine I decided I would do something death defying and use it in a recipe I made for my older sons when they were small. (Sorry Son3, but by the time you came along life had changed a lot and you didn't get hot muffins for breakfast. You can use that in Chapter 3 when you write your memoir about your tragic childhood)

Jelly Filled Muffins
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1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup jelly or jam (Your choice of flavor) I used spiced orange jelly

Preheat oven to 400 Grease or put paper muffin cups in a 12 muffin standard size muffin tin.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well to mix
Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend just to moisten everything. The batter will not be smooth.  Remove 1/3 of the batter from the bowl and put aside. Fill the muffin cups evenly with the remaining batter. Put approximately 1 teaspoon of the jelly/jam in the center of each muffin cup. Top the jelly dollop in each muffin with the remaining batter. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. When they are hot if you like you can brush the tops of the muffins with melted butter and sprinkle sugar over the top. I prefer them plain because I have some tactile issues with food and sugared tops often remind me of eating sand.

These are best eaten warm straight out of the oven, but they are not shabby eaten cold. If you like milk I imagine it would be pretty good with them. I had a steaming hot mug of black coffee with mine this morning and it was pretty dang good.

And if you do not see me post for several weeks you will know that I died from eating tainted jelly, but at least know I died happy!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Taco Deconstruction

Tonight (last night, or a few nights ago depending on when I actually hit "publish") I was looking through the freezer for something quick and easy for dinner, emphasis on the quick part. I found about a half pound of browned ground beef and a bag of cooked black beans. (I cook the entire 2 pound bag of black beans at one time, then freeze it in 1 cup portions.) Then I moved to the pantry to see what else I could find. I had an onion, a can of niblet corn, some diced chili peppers, and a can of petite diced tomatoes. Put em together and what have you got___ (Imagine a Fairy Godmother here making dinner rather than a pumpkin coach)

Tada! Deconstructed Tacos

1/2 pound browned ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 cup black beans
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can niblet corn drained
1 small can chopped chili's drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
grated cheese
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
avocado slices (I forgot I had an avocado in the fridge until after I took the picture and had begun eating)
tortilla chips, tortillas or even corn chips
sour cream

In a large pan add the browned ground beef and the chopped onion.  Cook a couple of minutes until
the onion begins to wilt. Toss in the tomatoes, the corn,  and the chili's, mix everything together. Add all the seasonings and stir well to blend. Stir in the black beans and heat until everything is hot and the mixture is almost dry. Stir often to keep it from burning.  Put the tortilla chips in the bottom of a large bowl.  Scoop the mixture on top of the chips and sprinkle grated cheese over it. Top the cheese with the shredded lettuce and tomatoes.  Add some avocado slices (It really makes it taste better) salsa and a dollop of sour cream. (I forgot the sour cream before I took the picture also)

Eat and enjoy! This would pair very well with Dos Equis Amber but I didn't have any. It was good with water, but I think the Dos Equis would have been a little better.

Son3 ate with us tonight and this was enough for 3 adults with a lunch serving leftover. Guess I know what I will be having tomorrow!