Monday, May 29, 2023

Let's Do Dinner

The week came and went. We ate some of the things I had planned, but certainly not every  meal every day. Can you say dinner dates?

This video slays me
Ideas I thought we might have for dinner:
1. Grilled tuna, hot spinach salad, artichokes, rice or potatoes for TheHub
2. Veggie dinner TBD later
3. Leftovers
4. Chicken enchilada casserole, coleslaw or salad
5. Sandwiches and salad
6. Beef stew, coleslaw
7. Out to eat

What we ate instead:
Monday: I cleaned the fridge and found some veggies that were less than prime, plus I had thawed some cooked meatballs that had been in the freezer. Easy dinner.
Beef stew, coleslaw

Tuesday: Leftover chicken and a bogo mini pepper sale at Publix was the inspiration for the nights meal
Chicken enchilada casserole, tomato onion and cucumber salad

Wednesday: TheHub had a business dinner meeting and there is no way I would cook for just me.
Warmed (or possibly cold straight from the fridge) leftovers

Thursday: Because I painted all day, dinner was TheHub's responsibility. (Yes I know he also worked all day, but at the end of his workday he came home washed his hands and was ready to roll. I was busy scrubbing primer off of my hands, arms and toe (? how did that happen?)
Take out chicken dinners from Jacks

Friday: See Thursday, with the exception of paint on my toe. TheHub brought dinner home for us.
Pork chop, turnip greens, stewed okra or whatever TheHub ate. I did not pay any attention to his plate.

Saturday: We had planned on having sandwiches for dinner, so we did. Everyone for themselves.
PBJ *or bacon sandwich (not mine)

Sunday: We went to Nashville for the big move in day. We all went out to eat after working  to empty some of “box mountain”
Various bbq dishes

This week we are only going to have 3 meals at home.
1. Something
2. Something else
3. Leftover something
(your guess is as good as mine)

*The choczero orange marmalade is a fantastic tasting sugar free alternative. I have no affiliation with them. They just have some really good products.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Joys For A Slow Week

This was a pretty calm week spent mostly at home. I had a lot of chores to do, did some and successfully managed to avoid others. Truthfully it was a good and productive week with some down time.

Sunday: We woke to a pretty morning and went to church. On the way home we stopped to grab a quick lunch before watching the various softball games on TV. (Yes, Alabama was watched, in addition to other games)
Son2 dropped by to help us remove the pool cover. The joy is that the pool is open but the downside is that the water is going to take about a week before it is ready for swimming. Now I need to get the pool deck gussied up for the summer swim season. 

Monday: Age related . I forgot to write my joy for the day and by the time Tuesday (OK really Saturday night) came around I had no clue what might have been joy filled for the day.
I just remembered one thing. Our new passports came and my picture was not as horrible as I remembered it was, though no one who looks at it will ever mistake me for a supermodel.

Tuesday: Yes I was a bum and read most of the day. I mean, the day was overcast, so why not?

Wednesday: I binge watched/listened to Ted Lasso while I was doing work in the house. A friend had told me how good it is, and I admit to really enjoying a show about a truly nice, optimistic human. What a refreshing change.

Thursday: Finally we had some protracted sunny days in the weather forecast. I began work on the patio set I had purchased. Though I did not get everything painted, I did get it primed.

Friday: I got the set painted.Whoo hoo. I was a little bummed that it took 2 coats of paint, but such is life. I think I am really going to like it once it is completed. The cushion seat covers will have to wait until we are back from Portland . My Beloved Sister came over for a bit and we laughed about how bad we looked. I had paint all over me (I am a very clumsy painter), neither of us had taken a shower and were wearing crappy work clothes. We would have been great cast as extras in a redneck horror flick.
I found an audio book on the Libby app. to listen to while I painted. "The Girl With The Louding Voice" by Abi Daré and narrated by Ronke Adékoluejo was a joy to listen to as I worked.
After cleaning up TheHub and I flipped channels between Alabama softball and Alabama baseball (both lost).

Saturday: We woke, got ready to leave, and headed out to do our Saturday errands. It was a beautiful morning filled with sunshine and cardinals. Everywhere we drove we saw flashes of brilliant red in bushes, trees and just flying in front of the car
Once home I did a little touch up painting on the patio set and after it dried we moved it to the porch. Even with the cushions I dislike, it looks pretty good ( but it will look great once I get the slipcovers made).  
We also got my van filled with items from Mom's house Son3 had stored here. We were originally going to take them to NYC, but once they started talking about a home in Nashville, they suggested we hang on to them a little longer. They made the move Friday and Saturday, and invited us to meet them for Sunday brunch. 
Woo hoo! The first wave of their stuff is gone and I will soon have a room back!
We ended the day getting our duds ready for being in Nashville a couple of days. 
After packing the only other thing on our list was to watch Alabama softball. They are not playing well, but they managed to pull off a win (barely).

Have a great day and look for your joys no matter how large or small. They are always out there.

May all your weeds be wildflowers.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Enchilada Chicken Casserole

There are days when I have leftovers that need to be reformed into another meal. There are also weeks when the food ads are so lame there is no reason to set foot in a grocery store. This was one of those times. Anyone who reads my blog knows I keep a stocked refrigerator, and had already planned this week based of foods I have available. This is one of the results. It is not really a recipe but more of a "how to", therefore all measurements are approximate.

Enchilada Chicken Casserole*
1/2 cup enchilada sauce + additional for serving
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded chicken
chopped sweet peppers 1/2 cup maybe?
1/2 jalapeno, minced (optional)slightly undercooked rice
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded pepper jack
Sliced olives, scallion tops and sliced peppers for garnish 

Heat oven to 350. Spray a 9x9 baking dish with Pam. Spread the rice in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.
Stir the cream cheese until it s softened, then mix in the enchilada sauce.  Add the seasonings and blend well. Stir in the chicken and peppers then plop it on top of the rice. Spread it evenly the place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle the cheese on top until it is melted, toss the garnishes over the top of the melted cheese and a quick dinner is ready. 
Serve with additional enchilada sauce.

I snapped this picture right before I sat down to eat and had not yet spooned a tad more sauce on it.

It would have been prettier if I had used red peppers but I didn't have any. * To make this keto, I used my own sugar free enchilada sauce. (Found the recipe online a while back but I don't remember where.  Made 3 x's the recipe )  I keep it in 1 cup containers in the freezer so I always have it on hand. Instead of rice, I used frozen riced cauliflower. I sprayed the pan and put the cauliflower in it to bake about 10 or so minutes so it would be thawed and dried out a little before I added the chicken mix.

TheHub is non keto and this gets his seal of approval. We will add this to our dinner rotation for the summer. I have a dual microwave/convection oven and the 9x9 dish is small enough to bake there without doing any serious heating up the kitchen. Good food and less heat is a summertime win!

Monday, May 22, 2023

Din Din

This past week I managed to do the minimal amount of cooking without going out to eat multi times. I am giving myself an A+ on cooking avoidance. This was one of those "If I can't make it in 15 minutes or less (minus time the crockpot cooking time for the crack chicken) I am not making it at all"weeks. I seem to be pretty good at doing what I say I am going to do and managed to keep my kitchen time as brief as possible. The upside? There were few pots and pans to wash!

What was planned:
1. Salad dinner TBD √ 
2. Grilled tuna steaks, steamed artichokes, salad, some side dish for TheHub
3. Sandwiches TBD, coleslaw √
4. Crack chicken (crock pot item) caulirice, tomato cucumber onion salad √
5. P.F. Chang'sish lettuce wraps, sliced cukes √
6. Veggie meal TBD based on what is available
7. Out to eat or leftovers √

What we ate:
Monday: I forgot to take anything out of the freezer for dinner, but had been to The Pig earlier in the day and thankfully bought some ground chuck. (I needed to spend 10 bucks to get the 2 free items of the week. It was not stock up price, but it was at least a decent price.) I used about 1/3 pound of it then froze the rest for future meals

Tuesday: I did not feel like cooking, so I went back in time to one of our early marriage, poor student meals.
Toasted cheese, tomato and onion sandwiches, (essentially cheese toast ), coleslaw

Wednesday: Gotta love a crockpot meal to contain the mess and keep the kitchen cool.
Crack chicken,  * over mashed potatoes or caulirice, tomato cucumber onion salad

Thursday: I had planned on grilling tuna steaks, but when the morning weather looked treacherous I found something else to thaw. Then the afternoon was sunny and I thought about taking the tuna steaks out of the freezer. I am glad I didn't for right as I would have been using the grill the bottom fell out.
Smoked pork, coleslaw, collard greens, bun or no bun

Friday: We had another television softball game to watch and wanted to have an early, quick, easy to eat meal
Keto lettuce wraps (PF Chang's knockoff)

Saturday: We go out to eat just about every week, but this week we just did the take out thing from Blue Pacific.
Shrimp pad Thai or green curry chicken

Sunday: We watched a softball game while dinner basically cooked itself
Roasted chicken, tossed salad

Suggestions for this week:
1. Grilled tuna, hot spinach salad, artichokes, rice or potatoes for TheHub
2. Veggie dinner TBD later
3. Leftovers
4. Chicken enchilada casserole, coleslaw or salad
5. Sandwiches and salad
6. Beef stew, coleslaw
7. Out to eat

I did absolutely none of the keto baking for the freezer last week and there is a really good chance I will not get it done this week either. I am going to list it on the off chance I actually get around to some of it.
1. keto dinner rolls
2. keto sponge cake in the shortcake pan
3. keto cornbread
4. keto peanut butter cookies
5. keto chocolate chip** cookies
6. keto French coconut pie

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all.

* I make a scaled down versions of this recipe. Instead of a Hidden Valley envelope I use my ranch dressing spice mix. The flavors are just about the same as using the packaged mix, and because I keep it on hand all the time, it just makes sense to use what I have. I could probably add some buttermilk powder to the crockpot to make it even more like HV, but honestly we don't need it. The flavor profile is there and that is enough for us.
We also eliminate the cheddar cheese and bacon, but the sliced scallions are essential.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Joyous Moments

This week began with Mother’s Day and ended with softball games.  There were fun things followed by some ordinary delightful happenings. But mostly the biggest joy for the week was having all 3 sons who call to talk not only on events, but also call during the week just to talk. And that is the best gift ever! I just wish I could still call mine.

Sunday: The irony of Mother's Day was waking from a dream about Mom. She had called me and asked me to come to her house. I was on my way when I woke, and even though I did not get to see her in my dream, at least I was able to talk with her.
So I woke with happy thoughts of Mom and a screaming sinus headache. I sat on the porch with TheHub Saturday morning and I guess the relentless pollen had it's way with me. 
Shortly after noon we left the house to go see " On Your Feet" a musical about Emilio and Gloria Estefan. We drove home and ate an early dinner so nothing would interfere with watching Succession. Only 2 episodes of it are left before it leaves the air forever. I still think it is so appealing because no matter how vile I could be, I could never be as horrible as the characters in the show are.

Monday: ThePig had free items actually worth going to get this week, one dozen eggs and 8 ounces shredded cheddar. Chicken quarters were cheap, ground chuck was reasonable, and the baby back ribs were decently priced which made it easy to buy the 10 buck minimum to get the free items.
I also had a phone conversation with Sluggy and laughed as usual.
Right before dinner we had a massive downpour with high winds and lightning. The rain was appreciated but the winds, not so much.

Tuesday: Right after a torrential thunderstorm passed I had a surprise visit from my beloved sister. Once she left I did minimal straightening of the house, then had a phone call with Sluggy. 
The Hub and I had plans to run by Costco after he got home from the office, but another thunderstorm persuaded us to stay home and watch The Diplomat 

Wednesday: As I was looking through my Libby app, I noticed I had several books that would need to be returned in 10 days or less. If that is not a message from the universe to have a self indulgent reading day I don't know what is. I obliged!

Thursday: I think my biggest joy for the day was securing our tickets for a flight to Portland. We managed to hit the grandparent trifecta. As we live in Alabama and Pip lives in Oregon, other than her birthday we do not usually get to attend her events. Luckily the first weekend of June we can see a softball game, dance recital, and her role as the tin man in her first play. I have to really love someone  to cross the country, beginning with a night flight, for a 3 day visit, culminating with a redeye flight home.

Friday: I had another surprise visit from My Beloved Sister, always a pleasure. Then I went shopping for a few things I needed from Publix. While I was there I ran into a former teammate of Son1, and we had an aisle visit to catch up. It was very nice seeing him again.
A small joy also happened while I was there. Last summer when we were at the beach I bought a new to me flavor of La Croix, Beach Plum. I loved it but had not been able to find it in town until today. They had 2-8 packs and I bought both of them. I will use them sparingly, but I was thrilled to get them home to have one with my dinner.
Following an early supper, we watched Alabama Softball

Saturday: I woke a little earlier than usual for a Saturday morning and finished a book while drinking coffee. I am not sure there is a better way to begin the weekend.  
We did our Saturday running around before settling down to watch Alabama softball. (Yes I know we watch a lot of sports. I was the sole female with TheHub and 3 sons who all like sports. For me it was baptism by fire and I could either join in or be left out. Now I actually like them.)

And that is just about all the joys for the week. Look for yours. They are always around!

May all your weeds be wildflowers 

Monday, May 15, 2023

What For Dinner

When TheHub and I did our Saturday morning run arounds last week, the vegetable stand we use had big baskets of freshly picked strawberries.  In addition to just eating them plain, this week was made for strawberry shortcake! Yum!

An Aside
When I was a teen, during the summer a locally owned department store 
 teamed with a local theater and had
fashion shows and a movie once a month.
The store and theater were very close to each other and the smart marketing was
the free tickets had to be picked up in the women's or junior's section of the store
 so browsing/shopping was inevitable.
Every summer after the fashion show they ran the film 
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.
 I remembered this song from that movie.

This is what I thought might happen:
1. Taco Salad
2. Ground chuck patties, sautéed Brussels sprouts shreds
3. Vietnamese chicken wraps
4. Veggie dinner (TBD)
5. Leftover pork chops, tossed salad, dinner rolls
6. Sandwiches (TBD), chips
7. Stuffed baked potatoes

This is what actually did:
Monday: I had some lettuce that needed to be used, plus I had all the other fixings on hand. Taco salad, strawberry shortcake*

This meal turned into a gathering of fragments that were languishing in the refrigerator
Leftover pork chops, leftover mashed potatoes, coleslaw, strawberry shortcake 

TheHub had forgotten to tell me about a business dinner when I originally made the meal plan. No way I was going to cook for just me.
Leftover coleslaw, shortcake with lemon curd and strawberry slices

Thursday: Fresh produce and more leftovers were in the fridge.
Sautéed shredded brussels sprouts, leftover ground chuck patties, rolls or keto cornbread.

Friday: We planned on watching Bama softball so what was better than a ball game meal right before it began.
Hot dogs, coleslaw, chips or keto puffs

Saturday: The day was gorgeous and TheHub suggested we cook something on the grill. This is when I am most thankful that I keep the freezer overstocked.
Steak, tossed salad, dinner rolls or keto toast

Sunday: We had a couple of things planned for the day and wanted a quick and easy dinner. I keep cooked bacon in the freezer all the time so this was our choice for the evening.
BLT sandwich or BLT salad

What lies ahead?
Summer has arrived and is gearing up to be like it always is here__hot and humid, which means fare that requires less prep heat (stove top meals, crock pot meals or air fryer meals ) but outdoor cooking is the optimum.  It also means anytime the oven is on, cooking multiple things to save heating up the kitchen more than needed  is a necessity.This week's plan will begin our summer way of life.

1. Salad dinner TBD
2. Grilled tuna steaks, steamed artichokes, salad, some side dish for TheHub
3. Sandwiches TBD, coleslaw
4. Crack chicken (crock pot item) caulirice, tomato cucumber onion salad
5. P.F. Chang'sish lettuce wraps, sliced cakes 
6. Veggie meal TBD based on what is available
7. Out to eat or leftovers

Oven stuff I need to make one day this week
(This looks like a lot, but it will be frozen so I can access it easily for meals during the coming weeks)
keto dinner rolls
keto sponge cake in the shortcake pan
keto cornbread
keto peanut butter cookies
keto chocolate chip** cookies
Keto French coconut pie

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all.

* I found this shortcake pan online. This is not an affiliate plug, just something I found that works very well. 
** Another non affiliate suggestion. These choczero chips are hands down the best sugar free baking chips out there. TheHub is non-keto and he likes them but he loves the milk chocolate ones. I like dark chocolate better and since I am the one who does the cooking . . .