Monday, July 17, 2017

Crazy Life

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

                                                    Have a great week__I know I will!

Positively Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday: Game of Thrones returned: 'nuff said!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Winter is Coming or GOT Theme Dinner

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

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

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

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

Faux Smoked Tuna Spread

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

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

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

Somewhat Spanish Inspired Salad

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

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

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

Frey Pie

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

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

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

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

Dragon Potatoes

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

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

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

Seriously Lame Cheesecake Parfait (Sugar Free)

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Positively Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

words for wednesday

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

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

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

This is where the words lead me this week.

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

Monday, July 3, 2017

Positively Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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