Saturday, December 30, 2017

It's an Age Thing

We had a wonderful holiday with our entire family here less Son3's girlfriend who was in Sweden with her family. Sweden? Birmingham? Sweden? Birmingham? Not really a difficult choice, eh?
I know he missed her terribly, but because of the miracle of modern communications and thanks to Steve Jobs and co. they were able to Facetime with each other daily and she did get to be a part of our festivities, which was great also.

The weather was a bit coolish so long sleeves were in order until midway through the visit when we had a one day warm up. All of my sons tend to be rather hot natured and all changed into cargo shorts and tee shirts to hang out inside the house that afternoon.  And that is when I saw it.  Son1 has remained uninked throughout his life, claiming there is no need to provide anything that could be used to identify you in a police line-up. Son2 has 2 tats but they are on his lower leg and easily covered by socks. But now Son3 is wearing a 5 or 6 inch train on  the inside of his arm. I know it is his body and his decision. He had an image of one of my dad's trains tattooed on his arm, and while I appreciate the sentiment, I have no idea why anyone thinks to honor and remember someone you have to get something permanently affixed to your skin. We discussed it and it seems I am old and do not understand the value of wearing meaningful artwork, Every. Single. Day. Of. Your. Life. Forever.

Perhaps my aversion to them is that I am old enough to want crap removed from my body, not added to it. Plus I am old enough to know that older skin gets wrinkled and loose and that nice taunt train will eventually derail  (The photo is not Son3's tat but is somewhat similar in that it is a modern engine, not the steam variety)

When I asked him why it was prominent and visible he informed me he wanted something he could see to remind him of my dad daily. It's funny because without a tat I see things that remind me of Dad every single day.

I am not angry, it's not my arm and ultimately none of my business, but if any of you can explain how ink is endearing, please do. I am trying to understand but coming up blank.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas Y'all

I have been reading all of your blogs, but my comments have been few and far between. Christmas has been kicking my butt this year, but now it is in the countdown stage and all is calm. Wishing you all a glorious Christmas, or if you do not celebrate, wishing you a glorious Monday.

The most beautiful girl in my world is here for the holiday so all is right  and good. Now I will head to bed only to wake to the excitement of a 4 year old. Life is good and I am blessed much more than I deserve.

                          So__from my home to yours, wishing you the Merriest Christmas!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

It's Beginning to Taste a Lot Like Christmas

I know each and every family has their own specific traditions to celebrate the holidays and many of them are all about food. For some families it is all about the big Christmas Day meal, for some it is about cookies and decorating them. Some families bake glorious breads during the holidays and some make jams and jellies for sharing. There are even some who do no actual cooking but purchase foods from various places or have favorite places the frequent for meals. No matter how your family defines traditions, it seems food occupies a big space in the "traditions"category.

We have several foods we make only at Christmastime and we make them year after year after year. They range from cookies, to candies (Can you say praline fudge?) to dips, to items for our Christmas brunch. Each holds it's own memory of when it first began as one of our traditions.

In 1980 (yes, way back in the dark ages) TheHub and I were invited to an Iron Bowl pre-game party at the home of my childhood best friend/freshman year college roommate's parents. They had this party every year for literally as long as I could remember. When Kathy and I were preteens - teenagers our job was to help with the food prep, and we would chop and, dice and do whatever was asked after school in the days leading up to the party. (Understand that our yards abutted  in one small corner and we were back and forth at each others house all the time. We both loved to cook from the time we were young kids and we would create recipes from whatever was in whatever kitchen we were in. We had free rein to make whatever we wanted at either house as long as we shared the food and cleaned up our mess, so by the time we were 12 we were both pretty good in the kitchen,) Kathy's mom would try new and different foods each year, so it was pretty normal for her to give us a recipe and we would make it, sight unseen. If it worked it became part of the party food and if not, well we lived in a neighborhood full of kids so nothing was wasted.

By 1980 I was a very young married woman living in a different part of town so I was no longer doing the prep and went just as a guest. This particular year they had these wonderful treats with a cream filling and cookie bottom. When I asked Kathy about them she told me to run out after the game and buy the Christmas issue of The Lady's Home Journal. The recipes for everything sweet they served that year could be found there.

I have no memory if Alabama beat Auburn that year or not, but I clearly remember stopping at Western (grocery store ) on the way home to buy the magazine. I still use the same magazine every single year as my cookie and bars bible for all my Christmas baking. In my opinion is the best collection of Christmas goodies ever printed in a single publication. (I should know, I have bought hundreds of Christmas magazines in the years since and have tossed all but this one.) The coverless well worn magazine lives in a sealed plastic binder and is only touched in December of each year when I bring it out and pour over the cookie recipes. I try a new one occasionally, but mainly stick to the same dozen or so I have made every year since.

To pay proper homage to LHJ and their wonderful 1980 issue I took a picture of the recipe with the instructions. I am pretty sure you can tell from the splattered page how well loved and used this single edition has been. If you are in the mood for something insanely rich and indulgent give theses a try. I will make 3 recipes of this and freeze them. (They freeze very well ) When I need a hostess gift this season, this will be my go-to gift.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cranberry Relish

Even though I did not participate in our usual family Thanksgiving meal (achoo!) I still prepared my usual pot luck items and sent them with Son2. I am afraid there would be a lynching if I had not sent the collards I had promised to bring. I also sent cranberry relish, smoked pork butt, au gratin potatoes, and smoked sausage dip. Along with the turkey, ham and about 20 other dishes from various relatives the table was groaning__as usual.

My family does not care for the traditional cranberry sauce or jelled cranberry stuff from a can. Instead every year I make this very simple and easy cranberry relish which we eat with the turkey and fixings, then eat with the leftovers, and next serve it with crackers and cream cheese until there is only a heaping spoonful left which is then mixed with mayo and mustard and used as a sandwich spread with the remaining turkey scraps in sandwiches.

It is a snap to make and insanely delicious, though it is quite different from traditional cranberry sauce.

 1 bag of washed cranberries
zest of 1 large orange*
juice from 1/2  orange
1/3 cup chopped pecans
sugar to taste (I use about a tablespoon and a half unless the cranberries are exceptionally tart.)

If you want a break from the traditional, give this a try!

Chop the cranberries in a food processor (or hand chop but I have no patience for that). Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
* I find using a microplane grater works best for zesting. It keeps the pith out of the zest and the pith can make everything bitter. Some of you with mad skills might be able to slice it then finely chop it, but that is way above my skill set.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Blogger Christmas Card Exchange

Last year I organized a Christmas Card exchange among any bloggers who wished to participate in one and thought I would do the same this year.  If you are interested in participating the deal is send 3 Christmas cards to fellow bloggers and  get 3 cards in return. You may get a card from someone you sent one to, or  it might be from 3 totally different bloggers. So if you are interested let me know so we can get the ball rolling.
Just send your name, blog name, and address to (new email addy just for this  ) and I will add you to the exchange.  After all who could not use a few extra greetings during the holiday season.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Wishing all my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving and the rest of you, well, Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Back with Memories,Smiles and Sneezes

We are back from visiting the most beautiful girl in our world. 

We had a great trip and enjoyed every single minute of it, but  (message to the guy on the plane sitting behind us) I really do wish you would refrain from flying while not feeling too well. Your sneezing and coughing were very unwelcome souvenirs we brought home with us. Thanks for the lovely gift, just in time for Thanksgiving! (She said sarcastically, while trying to see what she typed through watery blurry eyes as she enjoyed the fine art of mouth breathing because her nose was no longer capable of doing its designed job.)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lemon fettucine

What do you do when you have planned on going to the lake but didn't shop before hand? If you are like me you shop your kitchen and see what you can pull out to pack and take with you since the nearest grocery store is about 13 miles away. I had seen this recipe at Happier Than A Pig In Mud, knew I was going to try it, and had everything on hand to make it, so it became the star of our game night meal.

8 oz fettuccine
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 + cup heavy cream
The juice of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (yeah right, I used the Kraft's stuff. No fresh parm at the lake)
I 1/2 cups chopped chicken
Salt and pepper to taste to taste
parsley for topping. I would have preferred fresh but the lake place has only dried

Cook the fettuccine in boiling water until it reaches your preferred doneness. Drain the pasta in a colander. While it is draining return the pasta pot to the heat and melt the butter with the lemon zest. Once it is bubbly and liquidy add the cream, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. If the mixture seems too dry add a little more cream. Stir well  add the chicken then toss in the drained pasta. Sprinkle with the parsley, pass the plates  with additional parmesan cheese and let everyone chow down on this deliciousness. It was incredible and is going in our rotation as an occasional dish. (Actually we would love it just about anytime)

I served it with a side of steamed asparagus and a salad and there was not a single bite of anything left. It served 4 but  if I had not served the salad I think it would have only fed three. I am going to try it with either scallops or shrimp next time. Probably scallops since I really don't like shrimp and because I do the cooking, the menu is mine!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Positively Monday and Some Musings

Today begins a new week, new beginnings and no inspiration.  I am not really languishing but I am stuck with my wheels spinning, going nowhere. Some of you are probably more focused and deliberate than I am. I tend to start many projects at once where things need dry time or some other delay that is part of the process, and wind up with chaos until they are finished. Right this minute I am in the middle of chaos waiting for whatever the next thing I have to wait for is dry, moved, replanted, sold, painted, etc, while everything around me is askew. YUCK! (Maybe I spelled that correctly and maybe I didn't)

I am heart sick about the event in Texas, just as I was the one in NYC and before that Vegas and before that . . . I guess that is all I am musing about today.

I took Mom to a Christmas gift shop and she was less than thrilled with the store (and let me know repeatedly) but she did find a Christmas gift for my DIL.
I got the best picture ever of my granddaughter. You know those pictures that just make you laugh and the longer you look the more you laugh until you are about to wet your pants? It was not a classically pretty picture, but was one of her face in an extremely irritated state shooting daggers at them. If looks could kill Son1 and DIL would not live on this plane any longer. 
Alabama won their ballgame, Roll Tide!
I made a coffee cake and forgot to put about half of the flour in the batter. Instead of coffee cake we had coffee "brownie".

Menu possibilities:
Ham, cabbage and onion skillet meal
Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
Spaghetti with bolognese, mixed green salad
Chicken stir fry (cauliflower, broccoli and carrots) on rice
Potato soup, tossed salad
Random vegetarian meal (clueless right now)
Pork tenderloin, broccoli, oven roasted root veggies

I am going to do some heavy cleaning now so I can work and not think!

Sunday, November 5, 2017



                                             Enough !!!     

Friday, November 3, 2017

White Chili Kind of Night

A little nip in the air and those of us in the south declare it is cold enough for soup, stew and chili, and yes, we know that some of you laugh at what we think is nippy weather. Conversely we scoff at you when you come to visit us in the summer and gripe because heat with high humidity is a tad unpleasant. We know to wear our hair pulled back and to wear light colored cotton clothes with flip flops, and just grin and bear it while we drinking iced tea by the gallon.

The past weekend we had temps dip into the high 30's which we call winter temps here, so naturally I had to whip up something hot to keep us from freezing to death. (Because I have a hard and fast rule about no heat until November. I prefer December 1, but I will concede to firing up the furnace November 15 if it is below freezing, which is just not going to happen.)

Since I am the chief cook and bottle washer, I get to decide what kind of dinner we are going to have, though I will honor a special request if you give me enough lead time with the requesting. TheHub mentioned he might like chili but I had chicken in the refrigerator that needed to be cooked. I had also cooked a package of great northern beans the day before and had them ready and waiting so the dinner decision made itself. Though I cooked everything from scratch, I am using standard size cans as my measure.

1 large skinned boneless chicken breast (or 2 small ones) cooked and cut into strips or cubes. (I prefer strips but that is my personal esthetic)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper diced (again I cut mine in strips because i like a bigger bite of pepper)
1 small can diced chili peppers, drained (I seeded and minced 3 chili peppers)
1 jalapeno, seeded, ribbed and minced
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt (I always under salt cause I don't like salty dishes. you might need more)
1 tablespoon chili powder (You should use white chili powder but I am not a stickler for appearance so I use regular. It does not turn the chili red)
2 cans drained great northern beans
32 ounces chicken broth

Chop cooked chicken and set aside. In a dutch oven or large stewing post saute' the peppers, onion, and garlic until they are soft but not brown.  Add the chicken and the spices and stir well to coat the chicken. Add the beans and the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan and turn the heat to a simmer. Let the chili cook slowly for about 30 minutes. Ladle into bowl and enjoy. I like mine with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and a tad of grated jack cheese. I had neither so we ate it plain and it was still remarkably good.

And of course as I am typing this post it is 82 degrees. I guess tonight will be a salad dinner! Sheesh! No weather consistency!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Last week was our anniversary and even though we had already celebrated a joint birthday, birthday, anniversary with dinner out at our favorite restaurant, the day of our anniversary TheHub called and suggested we go somewhere that cost less then our mortgage reasonable for dinner. I had planned to cook but I am not stupid enough to look a gift horse in the mouth. As fate would have it that same day we had an advertising mailer delivered  for a restaurant we had never tried before. It offered a free appetizer with a meal purchase. I looked the menu up online and it was a very casual restaurant with modest prices, so off we went.

We do not normally get appetizers, unless we are going to have those as our meal, but hey, this was free so why not. We chose the Low Country Dip, mainly because we had never had it before and it looked better than any other one on the menu. In addition to the dip we decided to split the pimento cheese burger and a salad. The appetizer came first, naturally, and we decided right then that we should not have gotten the burger. The dip and salad would have been the perfect amount. It was wonderful with all it's cheesy, smoked sausage goodness, both in taste and texture.  I kept taking small tastes with just my fork to try and deconstruct it. Below is my take on the dip

Low Country Dip

2 cups cheddar cheese 
1 8 oz, pack of creamed cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 pound smoked sausage, chopped finely
1/2 can drained seasoned turnip greens
Mix the cheddar cheese and the cream cheese in a microwave sale bowl. Nuke until the cream cheese is soft. Remove from the microwave and stir to blend. Next  in the mayo, sour cream and hot sauce and stir to blend well. Add the sausage and the turnip greens and stir to mix. Pour into an 8x8 oven safe pan and bake at 350 until it is bubbly and hot. Serve with sliced baguettes or tortilla chips. It is so incredible tasty and makes the perfect dish to gnosh on while watching a football game. I will be making this often. It makes a very full 8x8 pan and we had a lot of it leftover. Son2 and Girlfriend 2 had it the next morning for breakfast, and I still had a lot more left. The good news? It refrigerates nicely. To serve it again just put what you are going to eat in a ramekin and zap it about 35 seconds.

I cooked mine a little too long. I would suggest maybe 10 -15 minutes in a 350 oven. (I forgot about it and left mine in about 30 minutes. ) I will also use white cheddar, but that is purely an esthetic change, not a flavor one. Other than that I will leave it just this way. My mouth is watering just typing this.

Now the biggest problem I have with this is that I have a half pound of sausage left over and no cream cheese. A trip to the store, a football Saturday and I will be in business again. 
Happy eating and Roll Tide!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Positively Monday and Some Musings

Another week has come and gone and now I am getting down to some serious prep for the coming week. I have a big project looming and the only way I know to get it done quickly is to just take one item at a time, finish it and mark it off the list. So this week is going to be pretty much a nose to the grindstone week. If I don't comment on you blogs it is because I am busy sanding, staining and painting, but I will be reading them as always but it might be at night, in bed, on the Ipad, with one eye open.

This week was a low Mom week, even though I did see her multi times. The emergencies were minimal and she really did not keep me hopping every day.
Wednesday after class I had run by the grocery store and noticed my wedding ring was gone from my hand.  I retraced my steps everywhere I had been, leaving my name and phone number just in case anyone found it and turned it in. No dice.
Friday afternoon TheHub came home from work a little early and we headed to the lake. On the way we stopped at the Publix nearest the lake place to stock up on a few things. Before we left the house I grabbed my credit card from the kitchen counter (placed there after some Christmas online ordering) and put it in my pants pocket. After we shopped I was walking to the car and put my hands in my pocket. No credit card! TheHub paid with his card so I had not needed mine. I decided I might have stuffed it in my back pack without thinking so I stood outside the car and dumped the contents of the bag into the passenger seat while looking through everything. While I was searching my bag TheHub retraced our steps in the store. No credit card, but I did find my wedding ring which must have slipped off when I grabbed my billfold at the grocery store Wednesday. TheHub came back to the car and a good Samaritan had found my credit card by the car. (it must have fallen from my pocket when I got out of the car to go into the store). It turns out it was the same woman who was bagging our groceries at the check out. She argued with me about accepting a reward for her honesty, but eventually did. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is wonderful to find honest people still live on the planet.
Son2 and Girlfriend2 came to the lake too and the rest of the weekend was uneventful, chilly, wet and filled with good food, football and board games.

Both my ring and credit card were found.
The weekend was fun and restful
I spent little at the grocery store until we did the lake place stock up.
All Christmas presents purchased are wrapped.
The weather is finally cool (but it is supposed to go back to summer temps later this week)
1/2 of one project is done, with the Big Kahuna project waiting in the wings.

Menu Possibilities:
Mexican chicken pasta, brussels sprouts, salad
Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
Hot dogs, coleslaw, corn chips (our traditional Halloween dinner)
Vegetable soup, cornbread
Baked chicken, rice, green beans
Peas, collards, cornbread, sliced tomatoes
Leftovers or sandwich (Football night and TheHub goes to home games with Son2 so I am home alone)

Hope everyone has a great and happy week and a Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 27, 2017


I was contacted by Plantscape Inc recently and was offered artificial plants in exchange for an completely unbiased review.  They are a commercial landscaping business doing both interior and exterior foliage, plants and trees. They must had heard about my notorious black thumb because artificial plants are one of the few things I can't kill. It sounded like a winning proposition to me, so I selected the Echeveria. 

The lake place has a screened porch that never gets any rain. I have planted several plants for the baker's rack there, but something always comes up and we don't go there in time for me to water.  Even some of the succulents I have planted have withered and died. I had already decided to "plant" artificial succulents there so this was a no brainer.

The box came with six plants (all the same size). The picture on the left shows one plant sitting on a standard dinner plate for reference. It is a high quality plant, such high quality that Mom thought they were real

Since we have been notoriously lax about going to the lake and I wanted to get this review underway, I decided to create an arrangement using the echeveria here at the house instead of waiting any longer.

Close up of the leaf detail. The plants are very detailed and lifelike

The finished arrangement on the dining room table. It would have been much nicer if I had an actual barn wood box, instead of faux painted cardboard one.

Tight shot of the "plantings" with some additional Michael's faux succulents

Since I am a total amateur this is about the best I can do, but take a look at at the Plantscape web page for some photos of what people with talent and an eye for design can do using these quality plants.

Again this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I Win!

My Beloved Sister and I have this little informal competition at Christmas called "Who can find the most regrettable food." The object is to look through the grocery store and find something that will totally gross the other out, buy it and wrap said food so the other will think it is just a random run of the mill gift. Thus far, I am winning with the gift of canned sausage patties.

This year, thanks to our wonderful blogging community, I came home one afternoon and found a package on the front porch. I did not think I had ordered anything but was unsure so I began to unwrap it. This is what I found inside compliments of 1st Man and 2nd Man over at Two Men and a Little Farm. If you have not visited the farm before hop over here. They always have something posted that interests me. What can I say except thank you over and over for assuring I will win again this year. I don't ever think I am a  competitive person until I remember a conversation MBS and I had. She told me I was winning at something. (I truly don't remember what she thought I was winning, probably something like having my Christmas presents wrapped mostly before Thanksgiving but I do remember my response)
It's not a competition, (Insert her real name here)___as long as I'm winning.

And what do you do once you have this wonderful canned haggis to surprise her with on Christmas Day! Why you get shiny paper, wrap it, tie it with fluffy ribbon and stick shiny things in the bow. All my adult life I have wrapped in unconventional containers, so the fact that it is a can means nothing. I have one of those weird can openers that opens cans without leaving any sharp edges and the top will fit back on it. For years I have used cans as "box" for small odd shaped items or gift cards. I am pretty sure  before she opens this she won't think "Gee Thanks, Canned Haggis"!

So once again, Thank so so much 1st Man and 2nd Man for helping my sinister side blossom again!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Almost Sweet and Sour Chicken

Are any of you old enough to remember Rocky and Bullwinkle? At the end of the episode they had an announcement telling all the kiddies to come back and see the next episode. The narrator would entice us to watch "Avalanche is Better than None or Snows your Old Man" It was always one title followed by an or with another title. (The avalanche thing is actually one of the narrations from a real Rocky and Bullwinkle episode)  If I were following the same pattern here I would name this post "Almost Sweet and Sour Chicken or Why You Shouldn't Menu Plan Right Before Cleaning the Refrigerator", but if I named it that it would just be too long of a title. So I did it here in the body of text instead.

Shortly after posting the Monday blog I decided I needed to clean the refrigerator and found several things that had no shelf life beyond dinner.  As much as I tried I could not get 1 1/2 boneless chicken breasts cooked in a vinegar based bbq sauce, 1/2 head of cauliflower, 1/2 of a red pepper, a few chunks of pineapple, the bottom of a jar of General Tso's sauce, about a cup and a quarter of cooked rice, and a slightly old piece of an onion to form into anything remotely resembling my menu plan. Instead I did as I said I would and use the menu as a possibility and nothing there was possible to transform.

Punt time! I chopped the chicken into chunks and set it aside Then I cut off the mushy edge of the red pepper  and cut the remainder into strips, julienned the onion, cut the cauliflower into florets, cut a hunk out of both an orange and a green pepper and cut that into strips, minced a clove of garlic, and sautéed everything in a pan coated with olive oil until it was wilted. Next the General Tso sauce went in followed by about a tablespoon of ketchup, a dash or 3 of hot sauce, and the juice that surrounded the pineapple chunks. When I added the chicken and pineapple chucks everything was stirred together well, and I did add about 1/2 cup of the bbq sauce that the chicken was in because it seemed a little thick. (remember this was a thin sauce). I tasted it and found it lacking just a bit so I threw some powdered ginger in the pan and gave it a quick stir. The really thin bbq sauce left it a little too watery so I made a slurry of a couple of tablespoons of water with about 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch and popped it in the pan to tighten every thing up. All that needed to be done was to nuke the rice.  The chicken was served over the rice and we had what might fondly be called a salvaged meal.

And now I have learned my lesson and will clean the fridge either Sunday night of early Monday morning so any leftovers can be rescued and incorporated into the weeks menu, maybe. Or I might forget about this entirely and start next week having to adjust again to keep from tossing nearly dead leftovers.

                                                  And this is just for kicks and giggles

Monday, October 23, 2017

Positively Monday and Some Musings

I just noticed I have posted nothing since my last Positively Monday post. Either I am a seriously bad blogger or I am the most boring person on the face of the earth, or perhaps it's a combination of both. Apologies to all! I might do a little better this week, or I might not.

Ok for those of you keeping count there are 30 days until Thanksgiving and 62 days until Christmas. If I want to get a little more nerdy, that is 720 hours (as of midnight tonight) until the bird is served and 1,488 until the fat man comes. Wow, I just depressed myself, but I am making steady progress with the deep cleaning and I have managed to get a few gifts this week, but they are hidden and not wrapped. I will have to take care of that tomorrow because prying eyes were around all weekend.(Kudos to Canada for allowing more time between being thankful)

This week was dedicated to Mom and she pretty much took as much time as I could/would offer. The upside is her cardiologist visit was good, her dentist appointment was fine and I took her to a small speciality fabric store where she found fabric she wanted so she could make my granddaughter a dress. (It seems to not register with her that Pip wears pants every single day to day care even though I have told her repeatedly) In addition to that I made sure the bed in her front lawn was replanted with azaleas. All of her bills were taken care of as was all of her banking for the month. I ate 3 meals with her  this week, then Girlfriend2 and I even had a tea party with her Saturday afternoon.

I tried to let My Beloved Sister have a minimal Mom involvement week and a free weekend  because on Friday I am headed to the lake. I don't care if we have floods of Noah proportions, my rear is headed to the lake midday Friday and I am staying until late Sunday, so MBS will have to do all the heavy lifting.

Other than doing Mom things and binge watching (which really means listening while I work) some Netflix, this week was pretty boring.

Mom had a great cardio check up
Mom's front yard bed is done (But before the last shrub was planted she was telling me the hedge in her side yard is too tall and her gutters need to be cleaned, plus the roses look bad and she has 2 possibly 3 trees that need to be taken down
TheHub had a shorter than expected trip but it was fine and mostly uneventful.
I had a great Facetime visit with my granddaughter
I talked with Son3 a couple of times this week (Unusual because we generally talk about every 10 or so days)
Alabama won their football game.

Menu Possibilities:
I use the term possibilities in the most literal way possible. Last week I only cooked 2 of the meals, and all the rest were free styling meals, but no one complained.
White chili (if the weather will ever cool down and stay down instead of climbing back up)
Chicken scaloppine, salad, rolls
Meat rolls, coleslaw, green beans, roasted cauliflower
Pork tenderloin, grilled pineapple, asparagus, rice, fruit salad
Grilled chicken in citrus marinade, broccoli, couscous
10 bean soup (if the weather cools), cornbread
Tater tot casserole (we still have not eaten this) tomato slices, cukes,  bell pepper strips, radishes, leftover green beans

Extras to make this week:
Turmeric Chai concentrate, pumpkin custard, dinner rolls, Levain cookies, football snacks

Additional things I want to accomplish this week:
Finish deep cleaning the laundry room,
Deep clean pool bath and dressing room
Deep clean music room
Clean corner cabinets in the dining room.
Take Mom out to lunch
Oh yeah, Halloween decorations.

Hope all of you have a glorious week and get what you want to do done, but hope there is also a lot of joy and fun in your week.

p.s. If you have Netflix try Mind Hunter. It was great.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Positively Monday and some Musings

This past week was a fun week even though we had no real plans or events. Because TheHub has been working exceptionally long hours he would come home ready to "do something". The something turned into going out for drinks and some nibbles or picking up some take out instead of staying at home and cooking. It was not financially frugal, but was worth every penny for the stress reduction and change of pace for him. Fortunately we live in a area with many options we could use to our advantage. This week should be the last week of this intensive push at work so maybe next week we can get back to normal. (Because he has had this job a long time  and I know how it goes, read the prior sentence with the emphasis on the word "should")

TheHub can see the light at the end of the tunnel at work. (Maybe)
Mom had a relatively good week with just a few emergencies.
BIL had great news regarding a recent CT scan
Today the weather is cooler___finally!
I am still able to use items from our food storage and have only shopped once in 2 weeks.
Alabama won their game. Roll Tide!

There are 5 weeks until Thanksgiving. I managed to get the upstairs clean with the exception of the music room and I just did not have it in me to clean it. Hopefully it will be done this week. I also started on the hovel laundry room/studio. I am not exactly sure how it became so disorganized but it did and now I am paying for the lack of upkeep. My good friend, Cindy, has a wonderful method of attacking a job that seems impossible. She starts in one corner and works from left to right in timed increments. I decided to follow her plan with one minor adjustment. I took my laptop into the room and set it up on the desk, turned on Netflix and for every hour I worked in the room I got to "watch" (mainly listen) to "Mind Hunter". As soon as I finish this post I am going to hit the laundry room again because I need to know what happens next!

There are 11 weeks until Christmas. This week I got a few more gifts wrapped, found 5 more I had stashed in the guest room dresser (ah, the benefits of deep cleaning) worked on my Christmas organizer, and started looking at our calendar so I can tentatively plan some entertaining events.

We are trying to work a short trip to Portland into our November schedule, and a weekend in NYC at the end of November. (Girlfriend3 has the lead in a musical and we would like to see her perform)

This week is filled with Mom stuff,  and where Mom stuff goes, there goes my time, so I am planning little other than being accommodating/

TheHub is going to be out of town most of this week so my meal planning is sparse.
1. Chicken divan, rice, salad
2. Leftover chicken divan, grapes
3. Soup or maybe just popcorn
4. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple
5. White bbq chicken, salad, french bread
6. Peas, okra, and cornbread
7. Chicken fried rice
8. Spaghetti with bolognese, salad
These are only suggestions and what happens could be entirely different, except for the chicken divan which is on the menu for tonight and probably tomorrow.

Hope y'all all have a wonderful week filled with adventures.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Positively Monday and Some Musings

This past week was an unusual week for me. I had no outside appointments, didn't have to take Mom to any doctor's appointments, and had no guests. So the week was filled with some humdrum comings and goings with less actually accomplished that I should have gotten done, but things are coming along.

There are 6 weeks until Thanksgiving and 11 until Christmas, so I have begun getting the house in order for those holidays. I actually don't think Thanksgiving will be a very big holiday around here this year. Son1 and his family will be in Portland, Son3 is staying in New York and Son2 is a wildcard. He might be here or he might not, but TheHub, Mom, My Beloved Sister, BIL, and I will have a celebration of sorts anyway..

Christmas, this year, will be a horse of a different color. The Portland crew is coming and Sons2 and 3 and both going to be here, so I will have a full house for at least a few days. I figure if I have the house ready by Thanksgiving I can kill two birds with one stone, then the Friday afterward I can do the Christmas decorating and be finished with everything but touchups and cookie baking.

In fact, today I began wrapping presents. I shop for Christmas throughout the year and when I was cleaning my closet I found about 10 presents I had stashed in there. Instead of hiding them somewhere else I decided to go ahead and wrap them. Nothing wrapped this early gets bowed or tagged, I just wrap it in paper and write the recipients name (in Sharpie) on the bottom of the package. For the time being they will live in a big black garbage bag in the laundry room. Unattractive? Yes, but safe from any prying eyes.

1. I talked with a former neighbor who moved to Tennessee years ago. I have always loved being around her, but we had lost touch over the years. It was wonderful to reconnect!
2. Mom had a pretty decent and basically non-demanding week.
3. Saturday My Beloved Sister and I had gone to Mom's to clean out her basement refrigerator (which was on her "it need to be done right this minute list") Before we got started cleaning it Son2 and Girlfriend2 showed up at Mom's with Sneaky Pete's Hot Dogs. Instead of cleaning out the fridge we had an impromptu "tea party". Mom was thrilled.
4. Rain__we have been very dry lately and the rain was much needed and appreciated. I thought the rain might bring cooler temps and it has. It is raining right now and about 83 degrees. I don't guess fall is here yet.
5. Son2 Girlfriend2 TheHub and I watched Alabama win the ball game Saturday, complete with a quickie halftime bbq rib dinner.

Menu Suggestions:
I am still cooking primarily from food storage
1. Out to eat at Highlands celebrating our birthdays and anniversary
2. Chicken croquettes, broccoli, mashed potatoes, salad
3. Chicken pot pie, coleslaw
4. Peas, okra, tomato slices, and cornbread
5. Hamburger patties, saffron rice, green beans
6. Potato leek tart, cuke/tomato/basil salad
7. Pasta salad
8. Pork tenderloin, roasted carrots and cauliflower

Hope everyone has a great week.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Chicken Koobideh

Saturday I had taken a pound of ground chicken out of the freezer specifically to make Chicken Koobideh. I order it nearly every time we go to a neighborhood Persian restaurant. It is delicious and tender and moist and almost sings in my mouth with flavor. The last time I bought it I performed food forensics on it to try and isolate the seasonings.  After finding about 10 recipes online I combined bits and pieces of each of them and am close to the restaurants recipe.

Chicken Koobideh (No idea if the spelling is correct but that is how the restaurant spells it)

1 pound ground chicken
1 onion, finely grated and all the juice pressed out
1 clove garlic minced
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley (2 tablespoons if using fresh)
1 teaspoons dried mint
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground sumac (I used 1 teaspoon ground lemon peel)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the first 5 ingredients together with a paddle or spoon. When everything is blended well add the spices. Now comes the part some of you will hate, but you just have to get in there with your hands and mix everything really well. (I have some disposable gloves from a bakery that I use. Once at Publix I had a very full cart and asked the woman in the bakery if she would sell me some. She gave me about 15 gloves. When these are gone I will go to Costco and buy some more. This is a hands on project so you might as well get some before you start.) Once everything is mixed very very well put it in an airtight container and stick it in the refrigerator for several hours (overnight is suggested, but I only chilled mine for about 4 hours)

I am linking the following YouTube video to show you how to put them on the skewers. I read the directions in the recipes I used several times and could not make sense of it. Then I watched this video below and wouldn't you know it, it was a pretty simple process. I do not own any flat kebab skewers and used regulation bamboo ones. It worked fine, but I am ordering these from Amazon* to make it a little easier.

Watch the video (I suggest turning the volume down because the music is a little annoying) and you can see  how to put it on the skewers.

I wound up baking/broiling (baked first them broiled to get a little color on them) mine in the oven, which worked fine, but next time I will fire up the grill just to get a little of the smoky flavor. The finished kebab is incredibly moist and delicious. Give it a try! It's much easier than it appears and well worth the effort!

*This is not an affiliate post, just showing what I ordered. I have no idea how well they will work, but they might be easier to use on the grill than the bamboo ones.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Lightness After the Weight of Yesterday

I felt like after the news coming from Las Vegas, we could all use a smile. I love this kind of humor.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Positively Monday and the End of Shelftember

From now on (or as often as I remember) Monday postings will be about musings and menus. The musing category will be any little odd things I saw or did the prior week along with 5 positive things that happened during the week. The menu? From now on I am going to be more like Sam and use the menu as a suggestion. I might or might not stay on track, and am not going to beat myself up if things change or I feel totally uninspired to make what is on the menu. But, I will not be posting the changes I make or the meals we eat. I experimented and found I can mostly stick to a menu but I really get a little testy about feeling obligated to follow it.  I am also going to continue with my food storage meals for a couple of weeks. I still have a lot of food in the freezer that needs to be eaten before I begin my holiday season cooking,

This past week we attended 2 events at night and took a friend of Son3's out to dinner after one of them.
Alabama won their football game, Roll Tide!
Began the hunt for a new dishwasher. My rack is currently held together with zip ties and the mesh from an orange bag. I think I have had this dishwasher about 15 years so I am not terribly upset.

1. I found a great deal on pineapples which means pineapple infused vodka for some holiday gifts.
2. I used a $20 off $20 purchase Wrapsody birthday coupon to buy My Beloved Sister a               Christmas gift.
3.The weather has cooled ever so slightly.
4. Mom had her quarterly eye shots and is free and clear until January.
5. Found a pair of earrings I thought were lost

Last week's menu plan:
1. Chicken koobeidah, rice, broiled tomatoes
2, Tater tot casserole, (yes it sounds awful)   marinated onion, cukes, and tomatoes
3 Peas, fried okra, cornbread
Bbq chicken, cole slaw, mashed potatoes
5. Bottega for dinner
6. Chicken scallopini, salad, grilled asparagus
7. Leftovers
8. Black and blue salad, dinner rolls

What happened and why:
Monday: Early in the day I had planned for the tater tot casserole. I had a bag of tots living in the freezer and had taken out my last bag of browned ground chuck to thaw. About 2 in the afternoon TheHub called and asked if we could have something not quite as heavy. I was bound to the ground chuck, so I ditched the plan, sautéed some onions, mushrooms and bell peppers, heated up the ground chuck, added some herbs and spices and served it as an open faced sandwich. Since it had about a 1 1/2 times veggie to beef ratio I didn't bother with any sides.
Used:  3/4 cups ground chuck, spices, 1 1/2 onions, 1 carton mushrooms, 1 gigantic bell pepper, 2 hot dog buns, 2 beers

Tuesday: Another late dinner! They are tiresome because it means the kitchen has to be cleaned well after 9. This was one a pretty basic meals. We had crowder peans, fried okra and cornbread.  TheHub drank wine and I had water. I am sorry but wine just does not go with peas and okra.  According to my plan I should have also sliced some tomatoes but I forgot about them. Oh well!
Used: 1 pack frozen crowder pean, okra, corn meal, oil, egg, kefir, salt and baking powder

Wednesday: We went to a local watering hole to have a couple of drinks and hear TheHub's cousin preform with a group she belongs to. Brenda has a beautiful voice and we try to catch them whenever they are in town. This meant another late night dinner, but this time I used the crock pot so we could walk in the house to an almost done dinner. I bought some farm stand bbq sauce that we did not like and will never use just as a sauce. I added some vinegar and some additional spices  and pepper (yes I had to get the heat level up) I poured it over chicken and started cooking it on low then made a bowl of cole slaw and stuck it in the fridge. When we got home all I had to do was make (term used loosely) some instant mashed potatoes. Don't judge. I keep them for nights like this!
Used: Chicken thighs from the freezer, 1/2 jar bbq sauce 1/2 head cabbage 2 carrots 2 scallions 1/2 c (maybe) instant potato flakes.

Thursday: We went to hear Joey Alexander, and took the bass player out to eat after the concert. He was a school friend of Son3 and is currently touring with Joey. So we heard great music and took Dan to eat a very traditional southern meal: bbq ribs, fried okra, mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw and banana pudding. It was the best the south on a single plate. In case any of you want to taste the same, you can order them here; yes right here! Just be ready to drop some coins!
Used: Money only and time well spent.

Friday: Had a wonderful day with Mom. I was with her from 1-4:30 for a doctor's appointment and called back to her house twice for "emergencies".  Any dinner plans flew out the window so I grabbed us a couple of spinach pies and we ate them between mother needs. Does anyone else have a parent who is a worse patient than a 2 year old child? When she gets her next shot for macular degeneration I am hiring someone to sit with her for 24 hours. I know she will pitch a hissy fit but it is the price she will have to pay to remain in her own house. And yes I know I am a horrible daughter, but I am not going to go to her house, watch her moan and groan, but when asked what I can do to help her, get "Nothing" or "I don't know". Then when I do something like get ice packs or try and put artificial tears in her eyes (both Dr. recommended) she screams that I am doing everything the wrong way.
Used: Every ounce of patience I possess and bandages for the tongue I was biting.

Saturday: Just me for dinner, as expected, so I ate leftover spaghetti and bolognese. I also had some celery and cucumbers (and some potato chips because they were there)
Used: Leftovers and too many additional calories (thanks chips)

Sunday: We were in a quandary about what to have for dinner. Black and Blue salad or chicken. Neither of us really wanted to fire up the grill so I tried a new to us recipe. Chicken Koobiedah, jasmine rice, broiled tomato. cucumber slices. Technically I should have cooked this on the grill but I decided to try it in the oven since that was simpler. This was a seriously tasty way to eat chicken! I will make this again, soon.
Used: 1 pound ground chicken from freezer, 1 onion,  assorted seasonings, 1 cup rice, tomato, cucumber

This week's meal possibilities:
1. Pasta salad
2. Ham with cheese ravioli, mixed greens
3. Chicken croquettes, green beans, tossed salad
4. BLT Pizza
5. Out to eat
6. Tater tot casserole, broccoli
7  Black and Blue salad
8. Peas, squash, sliced tomatoes with cornbread.

Since TheHub and I decided we need to cut back on our sugar consumption the only thing I am planning on making is some sugar free pudding. It is a fine enough dessert (I guess) plus I have a lot of milk that needs to be used. It might be possible probable that some chocolate chip cookies will be baked this weekend, after all it's game day.

Music curtesy of The Joey Alexander Trio. That is the very talented Dan Chmieilinski on bass. If you get a chance, go see Joey. He is a 14 year old  phenomenon! Talented well past his years both as a pianist, composer and arranger.  The bassist and drummer aren't anything to sneeze at either!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Never Have I Ever

There is a game of sorts going around called Never Have I Ever. The rules seem simple enough, when it is your turn you tell something you have never done. I am unsure of any rule after the telling since I have never played it nor do have I wanted to until today.

The Publix nearest me has a discount rack at the front of the store. It always contains products that are either seasonal and the season has passed of items that very near their "Sell By" dates. The other day I was looking through the products there and saw a lone bag of Ralston whole wheat hot cereal.
(Photo is from the Ralston web site)


The only hot cereal other than oatmeal I have ever eater was cream of wheat.  Mom made it for us for breakfast on cold mornings before we walked to school. (Yes, I am old enough to have actually walked to elementary school) The only reason she cooked it is because she liked cream of wheat and she hated (still hates) oatmeal. If she hated it obviously My Beloved Sister an I hated it. You see the logic in that method of thinking, right?

The ironic thing is that both MBS and I liked oatmeal perfectly fine but loathed cream of wheat. So on cold mornings after pushing the cream of wheat around our bowls and gagging eating a few bites we would walk to school with this warm, vile food in our bellies. (To this day I still have no idea how something you ingest contributes to warmth more than a coat and gloves does. I would have been perfectly fine with a slice of toast and a jacket.)

Since the discounted cereal was only 1.12 for the bag I tossed it in my buggy (southernism for shopping cart) and bought it.  I figured is I hated it I could still use it as an ingredient for any recipe that required a filler (like meatloaf).  

This morning (and by morning I mean about 11 when my mouth decided it could tolerate more than coffee)  I was looking for the Cheerios which were gone. The only alternative was Frosted Flakes (uh, no) or the Ralston cereal.  I chose the latter and made a smallish pot of it and to my surprise it was not gross  like cream of wheat. The taste was different and the texture, well, suffice it to say it had texture. I ate it with about a teaspoon of real maple syrup and a splash of milk and it was delicious. If any of you have eaten this before and have alternate serving suggestions, I would love to hear them to give it a try.

And for the sake of playing along, what is your Never Have I Ever

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