Saturday, July 22, 2017

Best Invention Ever

Kudos to whomever invented long sleeve toddler swimsuits. This makes applying "sunscream" to Pip so much easier. Love having this kid around!

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"!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Crazy Train Tuesday

Once again I am recounting the life of My Beloved Sister and me as we attempt to make our mom's life easier for her and somewhat happy. It is hard because if things are not perfect she is testy, and if she is testy we all have to be miserable too. Writing this provides me a cheaper alternative to therapy and keeps me sane. You are welcome to come aboard for a little ride on the crazy train

Tuesday: Mom had dinner with us for the 4th of July. She was disappointed because "That Girl" (Girlfriend2 who evidently has no name) was unable to eat with us. I "made too much food, and why would you do that". Holiday, maybe?

Wednesday: This started the beginning of the week of terrors. Mom called to tell me her freezer was not freezing properly and it scared her. Also the tree had another small branch fall, and that scared her. (Please pray, if you are so inclined, that July 17 and 18 will be rain free.  We are having the power lines dropped so dry weather is critical for the two day projected removal operation.) My Beloved Sister ran by Mom's on her way home from work. Mom had to show her that her freezer was not working by taking the ice cream out of the freezer and sticking her thumb in the middle of it. I guess a spoon could not have demonstrated that correctly. Now MBS and I are secretly calling Mom, "Little Nan Horner"but she has yet to find a plum.

Thursday: Mom called and woke me early to let me know her freezer was still not working well and asked if I could come look at it. She was too scared to check on it. I asked her if her refrigerator was still cooling but she didn't know. Since I know nothing about repairing refrigerators I called Danny to go take a look at it. (Repairman I have used exclusively since I was in my early 20's). She was not sure about being alone with Danny since she could not explain what was going on with her refrigerator. I told her that is why I called him. He has the knowing of appliance repair that I am not privy to. She still wanted me to come wait until he got there, even though he had told me he was covered up for the day and would probably not be there until Friday.  I was not about to wait in her hot house all day. (Anyone else have a mom who keeps her a/c set on a balmy 83?)

Friday: Danny came and found the unit had frozen, so it needed to thaw before he could take a look at it. The refrigerator was pulled out and unplugged. Thanks to My Beloved Sister who helped Mom move all her cold items to her basement fridge. More horrors__Danny does not work on weekends so it would be Monday before he got back to her.
Since she was scared and had no upstairs refrigeration I had her come eat dinner with us. "That Girl" was here then, so she was somewhat happy, but I still made "too much food".

Saturday: Mom called at the crack of dawn. There was water in the finished part of her basement. Before I went flying down there I asked how much water there was, thinking a pipe had burst and it had flooded. There was a puddle__from the refrigerator that she had put no towels around to catch the thawed previously frozen liquid so it followed the path of least resistance and ran through the minuscule opening where the water line connects with her refrigerator through the ceiling tiles and onto the downstairs den floor. It wiped up with one bath towel, so it couldn't have been much of a puddle to begin with, but it ruined the ceiling and she was scared. I told her I would replace the scary dropped ceiling tiles next week, but I would not do it right then. Since I would not fix them immediately, she put on her finery and went to a 90th birthday party for a friend of hers (Thank you Malcomb, for having a sit down luncheon for your birthday celebration), then she went home, took a nap, then attended a dinner function with us. Later she told MBS that the event (dinner and a musical revue) was just OK. It makes me really glad we asked her to go.

Sunday: She was down in the dumps because she had never been faced with so many horrible things in her life. Evidently she had no idea they had repairs and maintenance done around the house for the entire 63 years she and Dad were married. We keep saying we don't know whether to thank Dad for taming the beast or curse him for creating the monster.
And what you might ask are all the horrible things she is facing? The tree in her front yard, a shrub that she had to remove when she had a sprinkler system put in, a wounded refrigerator, a fire ant bed near her walkway, and possible moles in her back yard down by the creek.  Terrifying, right?

Monday: Once again I got an early morning phone call asking when I thought Danny might be there. She was alarmed because it was 8:30 and she thought he might stop at her house first. When I told her he probably followed a geographic order working his way from his office outward she was terribly disappointed. (Again!) I do not know when all service people will realize her needs should always be served first. Anyway she needed a new motor* and he replaced it but she was so upset she had to come here and have a glass of iced tea, because she had not heard "ice tinkling in a glass for a long time." (Her words, honest to God. It had to be at the very latest Friday night when she came here or Saturday night when she went with us to because she had iced tea both nights.)
And now we begin a new week fraught with hidden terrors and horrors, and early morning phone calls. And I begin a new week going to her house and lugging all her cold food upstairs so she can put it back in the fridge and freezer.

*You don't pay Danny at the time of service. He bills you and you send him a check. I don't care how high the bill is because it is worth every penny to not have to go shopping for the prefect refrigerator which will never be found because the models will have changed since she bought her last one and all change is bad!

And now I am off to haul all of her refrigerator stuff back upstairs which will lead to me having to have a tea party and then fitting some clothing item she has torn apart so it can be altered to fit her rapidly dwindling body.

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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th and Crazy Train Tuesday

If you read me regularly you will know I have this post each week. My Beloved Sister and I are trying to navigate unfamiliar waters helping our widowed mother. She wants to live at her home for as long as possible, but each week seems to require a little more help. We are trying very hard to let her have some quality of life while making sure she is safe and secure. If she were compliant or docile this would be so much easier and less frustrating, but Mom has strong opinions on every. single. thing. and she sure as shooting is not afraid to let us know what they are. In addition to being opinionated she is demanding and becomes fixated on one thing (like the tree in her yard)  and will not let it go__ever. I write this to keep me sane and save money I would have to use for therapy so I can spend it on more important things, like chocolate.

Tuesday: I am trying to get Mom out in the world to do something different at least once during the week. I was going to the farmer's market Tuesday and asked if she would like to come along. She went with me and seemed to enjoy seeing things, plus she liked seeing me talk with the farmers. While we were there we happened on an older couple who not only had their farm veggies to sell but they also had a big gas fired cook pot filled with hot boiled peanuts. I bought some and Mom and I both ate one before we left the parking lot.
Mom: These peanuts will probably be good once they dry out.
Me: They are boiled peanuts, Mom, they're supposed to be wet because they are boiled.
Mom: Well whoever eats boiled peanuts?
Me: People who like them. i like them
Mom: Y'all are just wrong!

Wednesday: The Tree in her front yard. It is keeping her from doing any and everything including washing her interior windows or vacuuming.

Thursday: Mom was going to the lake with us this weekend but had told everyone she knows that she does not like to go because we keep our house too cold  (75), there is nothing to do there, and she gets bored doing nothing. (Even though she would be with TheHub and me at night when she is usually alone.

Friday: Mom went with me to the lake place. We had a couple of stops to make on the way down and traffic was horrid so our 45 minute drive took nearly 1 hour and 45 minutes. On the drive down I heard about every single beautiful tree, cloud, horse, house, pasture, pond___you name it. If she liked it I heard about it. I also heard every single thing she didn't like: an older man with suspenders, a family with too many children, my cousin, ugly houses, yards that didn't meet her specs, dying Queen Anne's lace, my cousin, rotted trees that had fallen in the woods, a dead armadillo, uncut pastures, a house with "too much stuff", my cousin, gray skies, rain, my driving, my cousin. I have decided that she has never believed in the concept of a comfortable silence.

Saturday: It was a mostly good day except I cooked too many foods for dinner, grilled hamburger patty, corn on the cob, green beans, and tossed salad. After dinner she asked me to give her a job. She couldn't help load  the dishes because my plates and cups are too heavy. (I knew before she told me they would be too heavy for her.  All stoneware is too heavy for her to carry more than one plate at a time.) Instead I asked her to please wrap the one leftover ear of corn and one patty in aluminum foil because I was out of ziploc bags. She did not agree that they should be wrapped in foil insisting on putting them in bags I didn't have. Finally they were wrapped in foil and put in the fridge.

Sunday: We decided to come home Sunday night rather than waiting until Monday, mid-day. TheHub drove straight from work Friday and was planning on getting up and driving straight to work Monday from the lake. I was planning on getting everything cleaned then heading home about noon. My car was having a hard time holding a charge, and we did not have the tools at the lake place to really see what was wrong with it. We thought it would be easier to go back while TheHub could follow me and make sure I had no car trouble, or be there if I did. I cleaned everything, washed all the linens, mopped, swept, cleaned the fridge, all the usual you do when leaving somewhere for an undetermined amount of time. Mom mainly sat and watched, which was fine because she kinda gets in the way sometimes when she tries to help. At some point she said she had lost her glasses, so I went on an all points search for them. I looked everywhere and couldn't find them. Finally she said she might have left them at home. She does not need them all the time and I honestly could not remember if she had worn them or not, so we packed up and left sans glasses.

Monday:  Mom called me straight out of the chute. She wanted me to go back to the lake, call TheHub and tell him to meet me there and enjoy the rest of the 4th holiday. It sounded pretty altruistic, until I told her we were not going back and would just stay home and have a laid back holiday. Turns out she thinks she remembered making her glasses up with the bed. She just wanted me to go back and get them. She has an ugly spare pair and she will just have to look funny until I go back next weekend.

And last but certainly not least:

                        Happy Fourth, Y'all 
                                and for the non celebrants 
                         Happy Tuesday!

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!