Sunday, March 31, 2019

Whatever Happened To Meals for the Week

I remember clearly this scene in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane when  Jane brings Blanche her meal on a lovely silver serving tray with the domed dinner plate. While I did not resort to such horrid measures, I did manage to feed us several pretty bleak meals this week. Maybe they were not so bleak as much as ho-hum meals with  no thought put into them.

Such is life, but I dare anyone to complain.  We don't have a cellar at all. Our basement is finished living space and 2 garage bays, but__ we have a plethora of chipmunks in the yard, and I do have silver trays and domed serving dishes.

Monday: Monday was another day, like most of them. Mom called me early to tell me what she needed/wanted to happen. We got off to a rocky start because she had imagined/created in her mind a scenario that Monday was the day to conquer a situation that was not going to be resolved until Friday. As much as I would like to be able to make her life easier, I have no control over people who leave town and take Spring Break trips. If you won't be back in town until Friday, you won't be available until Friday. Friday is NOT what she wanted. She likes things taken care of NOW. Long story short, I failed her, yet again. When I got home from her house for the days necessities I could not have cared less about what was for dinner. I rambled through the fridge and freezer and decided all we needed was some food. It did not matter what. Thankfully I had some frozen biscuits lurking in the back of the freezer. It did pad TheHub's meal a little.
Creamed chicken over biscuits, green beans

Tuesday: Tuesday was another day, but much better than Monday. I did have some relief though. Tuesday was bookclub night and we were going to a local place to grab a quick bite to eat for some major gabbing and much needed socialization.  I don't live on an island and am not the only one having outside forces dictate my life. We never even mentioned the book and are carrying it over until next month. l'chiam!
OYO (On Your Own for TheHub, who worked late, grabbed sushi and came home) Gyro salad from Purple Onion

Wednesday: Wednesday started as most of my days do, with an early phone call from Mom. This time it was "I feel weird, I am going back to bed, come down here in a few minutes to check on me" followed by a click. So I jumped in the shower, dressed for the day (with no thought nor makeup) and went to her house to check on her. When I got there, I woke her up coming into her house and she wanted to know why I was there?!?!?!  She got up and I helped her with her breathing treatment, did a couple of things for her then took notes about what she needed from the store(s).

I had planned on grocery shopping anyway, so adding her stuff was not a big deal. But I had not planned on stopping at 3 different locations. I went to Aldi for the brunt of my personal shopping because her cereal in only found there so I would be going  anyway. (Might as well save some money while shopping for Mom, right?) My Beloved Sister had picked up an emergency box of cereal the day before but it was not Aldi's fruit and nut granola and was ,therefore,  deemed toxic. (Or at least inedible because Mom is flexible like that)

While at Aldi I picked up a few things that needed refrigeration and I always have an insulated bag in my car but I forgot to take an ice pack out of the freezer. (Probably because I did not plan on making 3 stops). Aldi had frozen salmon fillets on sale so I bought them thinking it would keep my heavy cream, eggs and the other things I needed to keep chilled cool though the stopping and shopping process. It worked, but when I got home a couple of them were nearly thawed, which dictated what we would be eating.
Salmon in dill cream sauce, mashed potatoes or keto toast, asparagus

Thursday:  I pulled a package of some unknown protein out of the freezer and had no idea what it was until it partially thawed. I had thought it looked porkish but could possibly have been ham. Turns out it was pork steaks. (I really must start labeling the contents of everything I freeze and not just dating it.)
Marinated Pork steaks, Spanish rice or cauli rice, green beans

Friday: Mom had to have a routine oral surgery procedure (done under a local rather than general anesthesia) but nothing is routine for Mom. I drove her there early in the morning and by the time she felt she could be by herself it was about 5 and a half hours later.  We are very different humans. When I feel a little less than stellar I want to be left alone. For others, well, there are no limits to the amount of babying they need. Of course, I have no clue why I am constantly surprised that she seems so needy. When it comes to her I suppose I am just a slow learner. 

I came home did a few chores caught up on some blog reading, did some laundry and routine household stuff, then went back to her house to do her breathing treatment.  Meanwhile TheHub called and wanted us to meet someone from his office for basketball game watching and dinner. I hurried home from Mom's and changed into sports bar attire.

We were lucky that Chris had gone to the bar straight from work. He had snagged a table right in front of the mega TV. Auburn was playing and Alabama is a college sports crazed state. A local team and a sports bar means crowds packed the space like sardines in a tin. We had a table with chairs (people were standing everywhere in the joint) and a very good waitress thankful for the crowd. Her pockets should have been bulging with tips, and with the Auburn win it surely repeated itself on Sunday. (Don't know for sure since Auburn is our rival team and this was the only time I can ever remember actually cheering for them, much less sitting in a bar filled to the brim with Auburn fans. It is not likely this will ever happen again) 
Seared tuna, chopped salad

Saturday: We were bums and watched basketball games and/or The Last Kingdom (Netflix)
Salad (me) Pizza, that kind you buy uncooked then pop in the oven  (TheHub)

Sunday: More basketball watching
BLT sandwiches or BLT salad, pickled okra, cheese puffs (TheHub)

And what is on deck for this week?
In no particular order here are some of the ideas, which may or may not happen. It depends on the time demands of any given day as well as my mood. Additionally the food ads come out here on Wednesday. Some seriously great sale on anything could totally alter this plan. 

1. Baked chicken, mashed potatoes or cauli mash, spinach salad, steamed cauliflower and broccoli
2. Corned beef and cabbage, new potatoes or cauli mash
3. Spaghetti or zoodles with meat or marinara sauce, tossed salad, garlic toast or keto roll
4. Pizza, tomato, onion and cucumber salad 
5. Grilled steak, tossed salad, baked potato or cauli mash, bread sticks or keto roll
6. Cheeseburger casserole, brussels sprouts, cauliflower "potato" salad
7. Chicken enchiladas, coleslaw, green beans 

Odds are 1 in a thousand that I will actually follow this exact meal plan, but if anyone wants to take those odds . . .  Perhaps if I saw a monetary gain in following it I might be tempted to make it really happen.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

A few nights ago  over a week ago (but who is really counting how fast time flies) I was having a severe burger craving, but I wanted something more substantial than what I usually do for a keto burger. Generally I toss a burger on the grill, eat the meat and watch TheHub eat a delicious fully loaded burger on a bun. I wanted something full of flavor with all the usual trimmings.

Since I began Keto, I have tried many recipes and pretty much have figured out the secret to turning traditional food into some keto accepted version. I keep a running list of whether each meal is a "keeper" or "coaster". DIL 2 and Son2 ate this and both gave it a huge thumbs up so here is my interpretation of a bacon cheeseburger.

1/4 pound bacon, diced and cooked crisp
1 pound ground chuck or sirloin (I used an 85/15 blend)
1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning (I don't like much salt, so you might need more)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 small carton mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, chopped fine
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 cup sugar free ketchup (if not doing keto use the real thing)
1 tablespoon mustard
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces shredded cheese (I probably used a little more. I did not measure)

Heat the oven to 350. Cook the bacon until it is very crisp. Remove from the pan and drain the bits on a paper towel. Add the ground chuck to the same pan and sprinkle with the parsley and steak seasoning. Cook until the pink cooks off, but do not brown the beef. Remove from the pan, but do not drain the grease from the skillet yet. Add the vegetables and cook to wilt, remove and drain. Put the bacon and ground beef back in the pan and stir to mix.  (I Usually wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove excess grease before doing this step.)  Put the meat veggie mix in the bottom of an 8x8 casserole dish. Mix the mustard, ketchup, eggs and heavy cream in a small bowl. Make sure it is blended well. Pour the mixture evenly over the beef. Cook for about 20 minutes, then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Cook an additional 10 or so minutes until everything is well set and all nice and melty. Remove from the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve on a bed of mixed lettuce, with tomato wedges. Top with pickles, mustard and ketchup. It is delicious!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Whatever Happened to Menu Plans

This is what I thought might be a good idea for our meals for the past week. As usual some things worked and some didn't.

1. Reuben casserole (Hooray for leftover corned beef)
2. Hamburger patty, steamed asparagus, leftover St Paddy's potatoes or cauli mash.
3. Wedge salad, rolls or grilled keto bread
4. Chicken enchiladas, tossed salad, avocado slices
5. Smoked ribs, baked beans or green beans potato salad or cauliflower salad, rolls or keto rolls.
6. Meat sauce over spaghetti or zoodles, mixed green salad
7. Piri piri over rice or cauli rice, cucumbers, green beans

Monday: I had cleaned the fridge and found bits and pieces of various meats that needed to be used right then. I also had a few random mushrooms and about 1/2 of a zucchini. Since I had some leftover marinara sauce from the pizza casserole, I chopped and combined a lot of items for a different take on a traditional meal.
Spaghetti sauce hybrid over pasta or zoodles, leftover tossed salad or leftover coleslaw

Tuesday: I got stuck at Mom's for a protracted amount of time and decided I was not cooking. TheHub and I went to a local meat and 3 joint. It had no atmosphere and the food was so-so at best, but it was a meal that I did not have to cook or clean so it was fine.
Bluff Park Diner meal

Wednesday:  I was at Mom's doing her taxes when I heard some commotion in the basement, then I heard her scream for my Dad (who died nearly 4 years ago). When I got to the basement stairs Mom started yelling that there was water everywhere. I told her to come upstairs, I called the plumber (of course it was after 4 p.m.  so the rates were time and a half). When water backs up from her basement plumbing it means there is a blockage in her sewer line. Usually it is because tiny roots grow through the terra cotta pipes  and eventually cause a block.age I was surprised because I have been very regular about flushing the toilet with an enzyme made to keep the roots decayed.  
Anyway, I was in nice clothes and nice shoes so I drove like a bat out of hell to my house (2 minutes away when driving fast) changed into work clothes and work shoes, gathered cleaning supplies and flew back to Mom's to begin the cleanup.
While I was sweeping massive amounts of water out her basement door, My Beloved Sister came and joined in. When we had swept out the brunt of the water, we decided to tag team, in the finished part of the basement. I sucked the remaining water with the wet vac and she followed behind me with the wet jet and a bleach solution. At about 7:30 we had things cleaned and mostly dried, so it was time to go home and start my dinner. Thank goodness for leftover corned beef.
Reuben casserole with nothing else because it was late and I was pissy.

Thursday: Had to get ready for more houseguests, plus do crap for Mom. 
Wedge salad

Friday: TheHub called mid day to see if we might go to the lake for the weekend. I had not planned on going and I had no food planned for the weekend, but had to run some papers out for Mom, then pick up what she needed at the grocery store, so I bought a couple of things to take to the lake. Meanwhile TheHub got stuck in traffic and we got away later than we thought we would, plus it was the beginning of Spring Break. Everyone and their brother was on their way to Florida. Since we were headed south also we sat in a virtual parking lot on 65. By the time we had driven about 12 miles on the interstate but had been in the car about 1 hour 15 minutes, we decided to scoot off 3 exits before our usual one, grab some takeout food, then hit the back roads to the lake. Smart move on our part. After we got our food we were only in the car another 20 minutes. I understand from traffic reports the snarl was far beyond our normal lake place exit.
Smoked wings in white sauce, collard greens and coleslaw eaten to the sound of crickets and geese honks.

Saturday: Blissful day at the lake. Not so blissful for my beloved sister who was stuck taking care of Mom's needs. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me to take the break!
Grilled pork chops, broccoli, tossed salad, tater tots or cauli mash. Nothing is better than grilling on the deck at the lake!

Sunday: We pushed the day at the lake as long as we could to still get off the back roads before dark. We have owned the lake place for 6 years and have never spent longer than a weekend there. This year I want to go and stay  vegetate at least a full week just sitting in the rocking chair on the deck, reading and watching the water birds, sunrise and sunset. We got home late and had al the fixings for a quick meal. Keto had to take a backseat for the evening.
Tacos and fixings

And what is planned for next week?
I have no earthly idea. I know I have chicken, ground beef and ribs frozen, fresh cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, frozen broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. I will create some meals from this but right now your guess is as good as mine as to what it might be. I am open for suggestions. I am also Mothered and companied out, but Mom has already called with demands beginning Monday morning.  I am truly sorry she is so unhappy with the way her life is now and I wish I could change it for her, but I can't. She can be so unrealistic with her demands  (most of this is from her less than realistic grasp of reality, and not truly her fault) that my sister and I are often at our wits end. Anyway, I am playing this week blind, with no plans. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019

And This is The Rest Of The Story

Typical of me I created a meal plan that required little to no shopping based on what I had on hand. I had totally planned to buy nothing this week, but I had to run to the store to pick up a few things for Mom's birthday celebration. Of course I could not stop by ThePig without looking at their meat counter, or picking up a couple of things I am out of, like black pepper. Who ever actually runs out of it? I don't think I ever have before. And after I picked up ground chuck and pepper in addition to the party things how could I resist the gigantic Boston ferns? Oh, I couldn't. Somehow 2 of those giant things wound up in the back of my car. I did decide to give one to Mom as an additional birthday gift. That makes the purchase ok, right?

On Wednesday I had to run to Sprouts for their double ad deals. They still had asparagus at 98 cents per pound which is rare here, so I loaded up and froze a lot of it. I am not crazy about frozen asparagus, but it is a great keto vegetable and it was cheap. It is what it is, and I will have it for dinner  anyway even if it is not my favorite way of eating it. And even though I planned on walking out with just the asparagus, I noticed macadamia nuts were 7 bucks a pound cheaper than normal, so yep, I bought a bunch. (I left a few out but put most of them in the freezer so they will last quite a while.)  Oops! Then I saw the red grapes for 98 cents a pound. TheHub loves them so they came home with me too. It was not an inexpensive outing, but I do have much more in the freezer than I did before I went.

I also forgot Uncle Bob and my cousin Sandy would be here over the weekend when I planned the menu. (March was flying by and I was obviously oblivious to time passing) That meant  I needed a little extra for our St. Patrick's Day meal. Add additional potatoes, another cabbage, and 1 more corned beef to the shopping that was not supposed to happen.

This was my Sunday night idea of how our meals would go for the week:
1. Birthday meal for Mom (yet undecided)
2. Crustless Pizza, mixed green salad
3. Chicken crack, asparagus, coleslaw or salad
4. Ham, cheese and mushroom frittata, tossed salad
5. Pork chop/sauerkraut/potato bake, asparagus
6. Enchilada casserole, coleslaw, tortillas
7. Corned beef and cabbage, au gratin potatoes, steamed carrots, mint chocolate brownies

And this is what really happened:
Monday: Ham, cheese and spinach frittata, tossed salad, toast
Tuesday: Baked ziti, tossed salad, Italian bread, cupcakes and ice cream (take out birthday meal)
Wednesday: Chicken crack, asparagus, rice, or keto toast
Thursday: Pizza casserole, tossed salad
Friday: Bacon cheeseburger casserole over lettuce and tomatoes
Saturday: Brats and sauerkraut, cucumbers and tomatoes
Sunday: Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, rolls, mint brownies.

And this is what may or may not happen this week:
1. Reuben casserole (Hooray for leftover corned beef)
2. Hamburger patty, steamed asparagus, leftover St Paddy's potatoes or cauli mash.
3. Wedge salad, rolls or grilled keto bread
4. Chicken enchiladas, tossed salad, avocado slices
5. Smoked ribs, baked beans or green beans potato salad or cauliflower salad, rolls or keto rolls.
6. Meat sauce over spaghetti or zoodles, mixed green salad
7. Piri piri over rice or cauli rice, cucumbers, green beans

As usual it will be interesting to me to see how closely I stick to this plan, or how far I drift from it. Either way will be without real intention but just follows whichever way the proverbial wind is blowing.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Crustless Pizza

I have been doing that keto thing for quite a while now, and most of the time I have no problems staying on it. Occasionally I miss a particular food though. Lately I have been craving pizza. I am not a pizza connoisseur by any means and it has never been one of my go-to comfort foods, but occasionally I just want it, or, at the very least, the flavors of pizza.

After  researching all of the ways to make an acceptable keto pizza and had making the fathead dough (which tastes and feels remarkably like a true pizza crust), but it requires a lot of cheese and I had rather have my cheese as a topping than as a crust. A few recipes later I had a fairly good idea about how to format the base layer. (A recipe is just a suggestion, and subject to change.) As for the pizza toppings, I have no idea why anyone would need a recipe for that. You just put whatever you like, or have on hand, or made a special trip to the store to buy.

I was stymied about the pizza sauce. I needed one that has no sugar added, but tasted like a real pizza sauce. I could have stopped at the store and grabbed a jar of Rao's pizza sauce, but it is nearly 8 bucks a jar. Uh, no thanks! After googling and finding several recipes I chose this one at I Breathe, I'm Hungry mainly because it required no cooking. It made a tasty sauce (add a little more garlic powder and some finely chopped rosemary to make it perfect) and all it took was a quick whirl in the blender.  (Plus, I have enough sauce for 2 more "pizzas" living in the freezer) I am not posting the recipe here since I added the link and used the exact recipe.

Crustless Pizza

For the base layer

1 large head cauliflower, cut into small pieces (zap in the microwave til soft then press out as much moisture as you can. I did not do this step. Learn from my mistake)
1/3 cup EV olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl mix all together. Spray a 9x13 pan with non stick spray and press the mixture in the bottom.  Bake at 350 until set (about 15 or so minutes)

8 ounces grated mozzarella (divided)

Pizza Sauce of choice (there are some very tasty jarred sauces out there, or make your own)

Pizza toppings of choice. I used  browned ground beef, onions, red peppers, mushrooms and cheese because I had them on hand.

Spread the base with half the grated cheese followed by pizza sauce, add the toppings of choice, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and return to the oven for about 10 minutes until everything is nice and bubbly. I decided the oven time was not going to be long enough to cook the onions, peppers and mushrooms, so after browning the ground beef for the pizza I tossed them in the same pan and wilted them. It worked perfectly.

The verdict: We loved the flavor. After the first bite TheHub declared it was delicious. It tasted like we were eating pizza, but the consistency was not pizzaish. I will make this again, but I might add another egg and a little coconut flour to the base layer just to give it a little extra firmness. We will probably have this once a month to satisfy any pizza craving and still keeping it keto for me.

 Upside? Leftovers for lunch! 

Friday, March 15, 2019

It's A Caesar Thing

Every year on March 15, I call My Beloved Sister, lower my voice and very slowly say "Beware the Ides of March". Of course I did it today, and, as usual, she started laughing before I was halfway through. She hates March and has declared any bad thing that ever happened to her happened in March. She had an uneventful day today so the Ides must have left her alone.
It must be a little pissed off with me making fun of the day, because I just got back from the emergency room a bit ago.

I cook all the time, and know my way around a kitchen and how to use kitchen tools properly, and I know to curl my fingers under when chopping, so I am unsure how my index finger managed to slip out of it curled position right as I was chopping.

The upside is I did not need stitches to stop the bleeding because they could not join the skin together. Instead I got to burn the pieces it together with silver nitrate. The really cool part is I get to have a black fingertip for the next few weeks.

Damn Ides! Now I need someone to call me each year!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

It's About That Time

Since it is nearly St. Patricks's Day, I thought I would share an "only in Alabama" thing.
Please pay special attention to the artist rendering and the ancient Leprechaun flute.

And then, there is this video for your musical entertainment.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Plan vs.Real Life

This past week is the closest I have come yet to sticking to our meal plan, and even when I veered off of it I mostly just changed ingredients using the protein I had planned anyway. (i.e. grilled hamburger patty became Philly cheesesteak casserole because I found 2 bell peppers that needed to be processed immediately. Chicken divan was booted for similar reasons.) 

Last week's meal plan
1. Spaghetti and meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread
2. Chicken korma, rice, green beans
3. Some yet undecided Fat Tuesday meal
4. Chili, spinach salad, cornbread
5. Steak, tossed salad, broccoli, baked potato
6. Grilled hamburger patty, mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, cauliflower salad
7. Chicken divan,  tossed salad

Real life 
Monday: Chili, spinach salad
Tuesday: Jambalaya, coleslaw, pear slices, pig in a blanket rolls 
Wednesday: Chicken korma, green beans, rice
Thursday: Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, salad greens, rolls
Friday: Philly Cheesesteak casserole, tossed salad
Saturday: Chicken stew over rice or cauli rice, coleslaw, tomatoes and cucumbers
Sunday: Steak, baked potato or cauli mash, tossed salad, asparagus

As usual the planned meals may or may not happen, but this entire plan consists of things I have on hand already and should require no additional purchases. This week I have a lot of lettuce and cabbage leftover. I also have plenty of asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and cauliflower, along with an abundance of cheese, eggs and various frozen proteins and vegetables. (Do I think I will go to the grocery store anyway? )

This week's meal plan (in no particular order) 
1. Birthday meal for Mom (yet undecided)
2. Crustless Pizza, mixed green salad
3. Chicken crack, asparagus, coleslaw or salad
4. Ham, cheese and mushroom frittata, tossed salad
5. Pork chop/sauerkraut/potato bake, asparagus
6. Enchilada casserole, coleslaw, tortillas
7. Corned beef and cabbage, au gratin potatoes, steamed carrots, mint chocolate brownies

Friday, March 8, 2019

Bossy, Bossy March

Have you ever noticed what a bossy month March is? I know there are other months that arrive and present us with a lot of demands, but they usually give back a lot of fun equal to the effort the month requires. March is a different beast entirely.

It is windy and unpredictable. One day will be frigid and the next it will be hot. March demands your closet be prepared for multi seasons. Do I wake and wear shorts and flip flops or do I need a coat and scarf? Or better yet, will the day begin really cold and warm up to the 80's by mid day so you sweat all afternoon or vice versa, and you wind up freezing your tail off.

March means I have to get a lot of yard work done. All planting beds need to be cleaned and readied for whatever I decide to plant, roses need their spring haircuts, planters have to be filled with fresh soil, and the pollen__in about two weeks it will begin the annual pollen dump.  Gross!

March also demands any repairs to the exterior of the house or fences that were put off until the weather changed be done before the spring rains begin. It is just demanding over all with little payoff, except that it will be over in 31 days.

So hit me with your best shot, March. I am ready. (I think/hope) Meanwhile I have a little list of what I would like to happen each week during this bossy month. I am waging war with its demands and trying to carve some simple pleasures into it.

These are my aims for each week in March.

1.  Either go to or rent a movie to watch by myself
2.  Listen to a new album (thanks Spotify)
3.  Read a book
4.  Facetime with Pip
5.  Talk to each son and/or DIL
6.  Create something
7.  Rearrange a room (Can be full furniture re-arranging or just changing a few things)
8.  Get rid of one item each day
9.  Meet up with a friend/friends for fellowship (at least coffee but not excluding a meal)
10. Have a home cooked ethnic meals
11. Use the "good" stuff (china, crystal, silverware)
12. Burn candles (when cleaning out I found a stash of nearly 20 scented candles in varied states of prior use)
13. Spa Day (really means spa hour for some self indulgent "treatment")
14. Keep nails polished and at least consider wearing rubber gloves  Inspired by Susan  at Retirement Fun(ds) who has a daily goal of wearing lipstick.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

February Wrap Up

This is a recounting of some weekly joys I wanted to happen each week of February. I actually started counting the first week on the first Monday of the month, so this will go through March 3. On March 4th I will begin a new countdown. I might keep these same aims of might decide to do something else entirely. I guess time will tell.

1. Either go to or rent a movie to watch by myself . Most likely I will rent movies. Flu season is here and honestly I try to limit my exposure to it
Week 1: Rented The Wife (I see why Glenn Close is winning awards)
Week 2:  Rented Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Klansman (Both fabulous movies)
Week 3: Rented  First Man
Week 4: Fail

2. Read 1 book a week . Previously I wanted to read 2 per week and there may be some weeks it happens, but it is more realistic for me to aim for 1 per week, unless they are fluff books.
Week 1: The Senator's Wife (So glad this was a free Kindle book. 1 star because it is the lowest rating I can give)
Week 2: Fail. I was swallowed by the week and had little time for reading
Week 3: The House of Closed Doors
Week 4: Fail though I started 3 different books

3. Have one ethnic meal a week (home cooked) 
Week 1: Chinese New Year Meal
Week2 : Didn't happen
Week 3: Fail
Week 4:  Hungarian Goulash. This is a stretch but this is my blog so I am counting it.

Week 3:  4. Have one day (OK an hour, maybe) dedicated to pampering myself. (Facial, at home manicure/pedicure, or some similarly indulgent thing requiring potions or lotions)
Week 1: At home pedicure
Week 2: At home facial
Week 3: Much overdue manicure
Week 4: Manicure refresh and another facial

5. Have some sort of outing with TheHub at night. Coffee and conversation/ dinner out/ concert or play/ can be anything as long as we leave the house, so even going to Walmart would count as long as we shop together. (If we are in a hurry and go separate ways in the store to gather and get out as quickly as possible it will not count) 
Week 1. Warm night so we went out to eat bbq
Week 2. Valentine's dinner at Satterfields
Week 3.  Went to a wine tasting at a local grocery store. Enjoyed talking with the                  wine rep and a couple of other tasters, tasting, and buying a few bottles                  of new to us wine. Plus we had an unexpected dinner out on Friday
Week 4: Saturday night we went to the Heart Ball (underwhelming)
                Sunday we saw Beautiful. It was beyond fantastic. If you get a chance, see it!                   
 6. Spend time in quiet meditation
Week 1; fail
Week2: Done
Week3: Partially 
Week 4: Done

7. Tackle a room or closet to declutter/rid of excess
Week 1: Dining Room
Week 2: Living room
Week 3: Fail
Week 4: Foyer (cleaned, decluttered, and rearranged)

8. FaceTime with Granddaughter 
Week 1: Watched her open her Valentine box plus talked about important things like dance class and school
Week 2: Had a fun conversation
Week 3:  Fail. She was busy and our time difference makes it difficult sometimes, but I did have some phone time with her when she was in the car going from one place to another. Also learned some important information.  Gummy worms are probably not made with real worms so I can eat them without being scared. Good to know.
Week 4: Played a protracted game of Rock, Paper, Scissors via FaceTime

9. Talk via phone with all 3 sons and/or wives
Week 1: Done
Week 2: Done (BTW I have 3 wonderful DIL's)
Week 3: Done 
Week 4: Done

Monday, March 4, 2019

That Was Then, This Is Now

As usual I start each week with decent intentions to follow a meal plan, and it goes awry. Sometimes the week gets crazy and things fall apart and sometimes when it gets around to cooking time, nothing I thought would taste good  when I planned the meals actually sounds good at all.

This is what I thought our meals would look like:
 Spaghetti and meat sauce, tossed salad, asparagus, garlic bread
2. Seared scallops, mashed potatoes, asparagus, mixed green salad
3. Chicken Korma basmati rice, green beans
4: Soup and sandwich (unknown what kind yet) coleslaw
5. Cooked beef patties with brown gravy, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts
6. Turkey tetrazzini, coleslaw, broccoli
7. We have to go to a charity function and will eat there  (I am betting it will either be some form of rubbery chicken or tough steak. As with every single charity thing I have even been to,  you don't go for the food.)

And in real life this what happened:

Monday:  This was a lovely day. We had some  sunshine and very temperate weather, which made me want to be at the beach instead of being in Birmingham. As a small tribute to that beachy feeling (It was not a true tribute to the weather, I had scallops in the freezer and this was a planned meal anyway.) we had a little beachfest.
Pan seared scallops, asparagus, mashed potatoes, mixed green salad

Tuesday: This was book club night. We have been together nearly 20 years and used to host it at our homes on a rotating basis. Through moves and such we are now down to 5 members and are older and wiser. We choose to go out to eat instead. Sometimes we even talk about the book! This particular night we were eating at Tacos and Tequila, a small locally owned restaurant. I picked it because their fajitas are not only keto friendly (as long as I tell them to leave off the beans, rice and tortillas) but they have live music and a fun atmosphere. We were unprepared for any drama, but it happened. The table next to us got up and walked out without paying for their drinks (They had already been comp'd the meal after complaining continuously about everything) and the bartender followed them out telling them they still owed for the drinks. I am assuming they might have had one too many because they followed the bartender back inside yelling, screaming, cursing, ( using every word I have ever heard as every part of speech.) flailing, threatening, and finally stomping out wearing furrowed brows, beet red angry faces and righteous indignation. The entire restaurant broke into applause and laughter when they left. I blame it on the over use of peroxide. It must have penetrated their scalps and caused brain cell damage.
Out to eat with the gals

Wednesday: This was a glorious day. I began the day with my weekly class, then decided to run all the errands I had been putting off for a while. No one wants to take a trunk load of donations to be dropped off when it is pouring down, not to mention the countless other small errands I needed to do. Most importantly though was going to the grand opening of Ollie's Good Stuff Cheap. I must have liked it because I came out of there 89 bucks lighter, but had 5 Christmas presents in addition to a lot of other good cheap things. I think like any discount store you have to know your prices. Some things were great deals and some things I can buy at Publix when they have them BOGO for less. After  buying out the store perusing Ollie's I did the grocery shopping rounds, ran by Mom's and finally made it home at about 5:30. I fully intended to make turkey tetrazzini but forgot 3 rather critical ingredients, so I opted to go another route to use the leftover turkey.
Turkey chowder, rolls

Thursday: It rained and was dreary. I was beyond thrilled I had done all that running around the previous day. I looked over my weekly plans for February and realized I did not want the chicken korma, since we had turkey the night before and TheHub gets a little antsy when I have fowl two days in a row. I found 2 peppers , one red and one green, that were a little wrinkly so I knew I needed to use them. Though Hungarian Goulash is not what anyone thing of as ethnic anymore than pizza is considered ethnic now, I am calling it my ethnic meal for the week. And I did actually get the recipe from The Dracula Cookbook Authentic Recipes from the Homeland of Dracula. (I bought it years ago for a dollar and though I rarely even look at it, it sits front and center in the kitchen every year during the Halloween season. Going by Marie Kondo rules, it brings me joy.
Hungarian Goulash over rice, slaw

Friday: We had another bleak day and I got to spend a rather nice portion of it cleaning up a rather large mess I created the evening before. I was freezing some more chicken stock and had put it in the fridge to cool before bagging it in freezer bags. For frozen broth I use standard freezer bags that have a double seal so the broth will not leak. I had already bagged 3 quarts of broth and put them in this handy dandy freezer cube . (I really do like using this to freeze bags. They freeze relatively flat and can be stacked easily once frozen. Also, I have no affiliation with Amazon or anyone else. If I ever link to a product it is just because I use it and like it.) I noticed a large air bubble in one bag so I took it out to remove the bubble before the broth froze.

Mistake number 1. I did not take the bag into the kitchen so I could put it in the sink and contain any possible spillage. Mistake number 2. The freezer is in the laundry room and I decided putting the bag on the ironing board would be a great thing. Since it was a flat surface I thought I could just "burp"the bag then slide it back in the freezer cube. Mistake number 3. A mattress pad I had just washed and dried was on the end of the ironing board. Mistake number 4. All my recyclable shopping bags hung on a hook affixed to the end of a cabinet next to the ironing board. Mistake number 5. My shred pile was in a bag beneath the ironing board. Mistake number 6. I only THOUGHT I had resealed the bag properly. Mistake number 7. I grabbed the bag to put it back in the freezer.
After I watch the broth spew everywhere, I mopped the floor and wiped down all the broth covered surfaces immediately, and washed the ironing board pad and cover with the mattress pad. Then I walked out of the room just like Scarlett O'Hara knowing I would deal with it another day.

When the next day arrived this lovely super dense stock remnants required multi scrubbings, washings and moppings to finally clean it all.  And that created a snowball laundry room cleaning which should not normally take an entire day, but my laundry room is a very large (messy)  room. It functions for laundry, sewing, and has some creative space. It is still not completely clean, but I did make some major headway.
After dealing with the crap I created, I did not really want to cook
Leftovers: TheHub at meatloaf I had frozen, cauliflower mash and steamed spinach. I had leftover turkey chowder and steamed spinach. Friday nights are usually date nights here, so this was pretty underwhelming.

I had planned nothing for Saturday's meals since I knew we would be going to the Heart Ball. As usual for every single charitable event I have ever been to I could have predicted the entree.
Zucchini salad, chicken with sautéed vegetables, grit cake, assorted small bite desserts

We had matinee tickets for Beautiful. It was too early for us to eat lunch and by the time it was over we were pretty hungry. We stopped on the way home and picked up some bbq. Since we ate so late it functioned as breakfast, lunch and dinner.
BBQ sandwich (TheHub) smoked wings (me) collards

Now this leaves me with another week of plans, which most likely will not happen. Such is life.

Meals ideas in no particular order

1. Spaghetti and meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread
2. Chicken korma, rice, green beans
3. Some yet undecided Fat Tuesday meal
4. Chili, spinach salad, cornbread
5. Steak, tossed salad, broccoli, baked potato
6. Grilled hamburger patty, mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, cauliflower salad
7. Chicken divan,  tossed salad

I am taking bets on how close I will actually come to following this plan!