Monday, June 29, 2020

Food, Glorious Food?

It is that time of the week to see how my food plan went. Did I follow it, boot it, or just give up and do take out all week? Since my days are full with all the exciting things I get to do now so much the same, day in and day out, I am slowly becoming a shell of myself.  I have taken on the  Rhett Butler mantra and "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" about much of anything right now.
Have any of you noticed that since Covid and the desolation quarantine, life falls into 4 categories: housework( I am counting working at Mom's in the housework category, even though not much is getting done at my personal home) , cooking, yard work, and Netflix.
And now I have whined enough and need to finish this post quickly so I can move on to my next fun event___repairing a toilet, and finishing the cleaning, then off to Home Depot to buy a screened door for the lake place.

1. Grilled chicken, grilled pineapple, zucchini fries, coleslaw
2. Mediterranean salad, rolls or keto rolls
3. Grilled steak, tossed salad, rolls or keto rolls
4. Zucchini gratin, sliced tomatoes, coleslaw
5. Seared scallops, asparagus, onion cucumber tomato salad, toast
6. Takeout
7. Greek chicken salad on lettuce leaves, toast or rolls

Monday: We worked at Mom's again. This time we were mostly in the finished basement. We were washing down several of the surfaces with a mild bleach water solution. After coming home, I took a shower immediately and still smelled like bleach, or maybe I just had the bleach smell in my brain and could not get it out. There was no way I wanted to touch or prepare meats.
Zucchini au gratin, coleslaw, sliced tomatoes, toast

Tuesday: We had planned on grilling out, but the rain declared otherwise. I had nothing else defrosted and was not going to cook a steak indoors, so . . .
Mediterranean salad
Harvest:4 zucchini 8 radishes, cukes are blooming like crazy and green beans are beginning to bloom

Wednesday:I finally cancelled my Misfit Market subscription. I was tired of getting spoiled produce, or whatever they decided was enough for two. In the last box I got a completely ruined butternut squash, wilted limp lettuce and 6 collard leaves. I am unsure who thought 6 leaves would be enough for two servings Obviously not someone from the south. After I had it cooked, there was about 1/3 cup, so we each got a couple of tablespoons. This is not the way we eat them!  TheHub stopped by Publix on his way home and grabbed a Mojo rotisserie chicken.
Rotisserie chicken,  squash, collards

Thursday: Finally it was evening and not raining. I took it as a sign that it was time to cook one of TheHub's Father's Day presents!  Son2 has been at Mom's a couple of days while we were sorting through things and has heard me declare I want no more stuff. I guess he took it to heart, and gave TheHub 2 gorgeous strip steaks for Father's Day.  Something consumable was the perfect present. Because we are a couple of old farts we do not eat as much meat as we once did, we stuck one in the freezer and shared one.
Grilled strip steak, salad, roll or keto roll

Friday: I had planned on cooking in but my cousin could not be at Mom's to pick up the items she needed for her friend until later in the evening. My sister and I worked sorting and pricing until they got there and it was after 6 when I finally got back to my house, TheHub was busy at work and had not eaten all day, so we decided to run out and pick something up.
Full Moon's pulled pork plate with collards and tomatoes
Harvest: 1 zucchini 

Saturday: TheHub and I spent the day getting things ready at the house for Son3 and DIL3's visit. I spent a lot of time at Mom's both before and after her death, and I have neglected my own home. I started in the laundry room and am moving backward through the house. Yuck! We decided we would have a quick dinner and focus on using some of this zucchini.
Seated scallops, zucchini fries, tomato slices, coleslaw
Harvest 3 zucchini

Sunday: Son2 had given me some yellow squash and after a thorough refrigerator cleaning I decided the squash had to be cooked immediately. After the squash was sautéed with some chopped onion I changed the dinner plans to something simple yet delicious (at least to us)
Squash, corn on the cob (or none) sliced tomatoes, coleslaw
Harvest: 3 zucchini, 1 radish (I pulled the radishes because the cucumbers are choking them)

I am doing something different with the meal plan this time. Son3 and DIL3 arrive here mid week and plan on staying a week and a half or possibly 2 weeks. Instead of doing a weekly plan I thought I would just list several different meal options, based mainly on what I have on hand.
These may or may not happen and most likely will be subtracted from or added to, based on what is or isn't happening with the garden, personal tastes, and what everyone is in the mood for.

1.   Herb stuffed boneless leg of lamb, rice pilaf, asparagus, tossed salad, rolls
2.   Hamburgers and all the fixings, zucchini fries 
3.   Chicken enchiladas, Mexican street corn, green salad
4.   White bbq chicken, coleslaw, green beans, Texas toast
5.   Pulled pork, baked beans, caulitato salad, pickles, buns
6.   Lady peas, corn, fried okra, cucumber tomato and onion salad, cornbread
7.   Grilled grouper, sautéed crab claws, tossed. salad, broccoli, Italian bread
8.   Ham, au gratin potatoes, collard greens, dinner rolls
9.   Steak, twice baked potato, tossed salad 
10. Snapper, zucchini fritters, sliced tomatoes, Greek bread 
11. Fettuccine al fredo, tossed salad. Italian bread
12. Greek chicken salad on lettuce leaves, crusty rolls or baguette
13. Squash, green beans, fried green tomatoes, coleslaw, cornbread
14. Grilled tuna steaks with mango salsa, zucchini fries, tossed salad, rolls
15. Bruschetta, tossed salad, assorted cheeses
16. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, green beans
17. Greek meatloaf, potatoes, tomato slices, green beans.

Of course take out is always an option too. I guess time will tell how this all works out!

lettuce (depending on the garden)
lady peas
cucumbers (depending on the garden)
crab claws
Greek bread
Fried Chicken (I will buy that at Publix. It is better than mine anyway)
texas tost
dinner rolls

p.s. I am in desperate need of any and all zucchini recipes. Pretty soon I am going to be one of those crazy ladies who sits on the front steps with a basket of zucchini. If a car passes with an open window it might be a victim of a random zucchini toss. Just sayin'!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Magic Cookies

Now some of you are probably thinking, "Yum! Magic Bars! " like those ooey gooey bites of deliciousness made with sweetened condensed milk. Just stop! Nothing sugar free is ooey gooey. It just isn't so get over it. Instead concentrate of a tasty bite that is not too bad for you. These little jewels come in at slightly under 2 net carbs each, plus they are a snap to make. I honestly don't know yet how they freeze, but I stuck mine in the freezer anyway, because if they are on my radar I will eat them.

Magic Cookies

1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons erythritol (I use Swerve)
4 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup sugar free chocolate bite (I use Lily's)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Fill 24 mini muffin cups with paper liners. (Alternately put parchment on  a baking pan with sides) Preheat oven to 350
Mix the coconut oil and the butter, add the Swerve and stir well. Toss in the egg yolks and blend until they are smooth and creamy, then stir in the salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix everything together.
Fill the muffin cups to the top of the cup, or make mounds of dough on the lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. There will be a ton of melted oil in the bottom of the muffin tins or on the parchment. It is normal so don't worry about it.

 Let them cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack. Learn from me and do not peel the liners off the cookies until they are almost completely cool.

And the verdict? When TheHub asked me how they tased I told hime they were keto good. The translation of that is they are pretty good, bordering on  really tasty but not like the real thing.. He ate a couple and agreed they are not bad, then he fixed himself a hot fudge sundae, which he liked much better. Don't be dissuaded though. They were good enough that I ate 3 before I popped them in the freezer. I like them and depending on how they taste after freezing I will make them again. If they do not freeze well I probably won't make them because I just can't have this many around me. Before I know what is happening I will have eaten 6 of them.. If you are wanting something sweet but watching carbs or gluten, this recipe is  really good

Just added: They are much much better the second day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

25 Weeks Have Passed?

We just finished the 25th week of the year and now it is official. . .

Every week this year I stop and recount the joys I find each day. To be honest it is getting harder and harder for me, because the days are all the same. I am still not going anywhere except for a quick grocery trip or to Mom's. I wear a mask when I go out and now that it is so damn hot I will limit my outings even more, because that mask wearing thing is just sweltering.
I have read a few bloggers who write that the isolation is not bothering them. Well it is driving me nuts! I love having folks over for dinner, I love going out to eat, I love having people visit for the weekend, I love going to the theater, I love going to movies, I love hearing live music, I love volunteering, and I love being around people. Some down time at home is fine, but this excessive gardening, yard work and sorting through Mom's possessions hanging out at home is sucking the life out of me.

Wednesday: One of the joys for the day was the gift of not having to go to Mom's for anything except to check the mail, and empty the dehumidifier. While I was there, a cousin called and asked if we had a couple of items she needed for a former neighbor of hers. It is time for him to go into assisted living and has no family left to make arrangements, so they are taking over the roll of his offspring.  He will be in a studio apartment and needs furniture that has a smaller profile than anything he owns,  Fortunately we are able to oblige, so a bed, a small recliner and a club chair are spoken for. I did tell her it was silly to move it twice, so it will stay where it is until next weekend when they physically move him in. They are such a great couple to do this for someone who needs help. I guess there is double joy. One is being able to help them with their mission and another is that a few pieces of furniture are headed out the door.

Thursday: When we were cleaning out Mom's kitchen we found some things we both remembered from our childhood, that Mom had hidden placed in the deepest recesses of a corner cabinet. We both went home with treasures, at least treasures to us. I got a set of vintage  pyrex mixing bowls (red, green, blue and yellow) and my sister got a partial set of vintage pyrex refrigerator containers (blue and red).  The memories they evoke are priceless and I am pretty sure I can still smell the butterbeans Mom would store in the blue fridge dish!

Friday: I have no idea what joys were out there. Friday came and went with little fanfare. I did work in the veggie beds a little and was excited that the potatoes were finally shooting through the soil. Also I shopped at Aldi and found everything I was looking for, but I needed very little. so it was not a great accomplishment.  I did find a cute little pair of knock about flats for 4.99. Oh and something that might not be a joy to most but thrilled the entire street?  My next door neighbor was having some issues and was placed in a facility quite a while back. Her house has been empty with her son, who lives in Chicago, having her POA. I know things are difficult for him to handle from afar, but her grass weeds were about 4 1/2 feet tall. I did not mind looking at them, but they were blowing seed all over my yard, and I was tired of pulling imported weeds. While I was out working in the yard, he arrived and met someone who chopped the weeds mowed the lawn. Thanks to the yard guy's huge booming voice I heard he was going to be mowing it every other week. Wonderful! It will at least keep the potential weed seed from forming.
Following that we had our new traditional Friday night, because all our norms have changed. We had a quick dinner then watched another episode of The Man in the High Castle.

Saturday: We worked in the yard here, then went to the lake. TheHub worked outside but I did not. My knee was killing me, so I stayed in the cabin and did some inside work. The lake was hopping so I got to watch a lot of boats go by, then we stayed late enough to see the beginnings of the rose colored water that happens at sunset. Since we left late and had not eaten we stopped at Full Moon and grabbed bbq to bring home.  Small joys but any day without cooking is pretty joyful.

Sunday:  We are getting spoiled by our streaming church service. Do you think when church starts back full force anyone will mind if I go in my pajamas? We have established a new Sunday morning tradition; coffee and cinnamon rolls with God, and it is going to be a hard habit to break. I would be more than happy to take enough to share with everyone sitting on the same pew we are sitting on.
After working in the yard most of the day, we cleaned up and had guests. Son2 and DIL2 stopped by for a Father's Day visit. We were hoping they would eat with us, but they decided to get on back to their house. Too bad they didn't, because they missed a delicious meal!

Monday: We worked in Mom's finished basement and it was yet another day of finding out she never got rid of anything. We also found out that Dad had totally neglected his downstairs office which was totally different than the main floor office where he kept all of their personal info. We did find a few interesting things there, among all the work documents he had kept beginning sometime in the 50's. We found two newspaper articles about our great grandfather that we had never seen before and a permanent train pass for our great uncle (the oldest of our grandfather's siblings) and his wife that a issued in 1937. In addition to that we found a grotesque wooden scale that Mom would never throw out because "Margie sent me an arrangement in it". I hope I am never sentimental about crap. (Unless it is crap my kids made in school when they were young)

Tuesday: I was lucky to talk with one of Mom's best friends. She had been out of town staying with her daughter through quarantine and just returned on Monday.  She was always so kind to Mom and would call her regularly or drop by for a short visit. I really enjoyed our telephone visit very much. Other than that the day was__crickets!

See I told you I am having trouble finding joy, but by crackie, I am still trying. Since this week is the last week in the first half of the year, I am going to be more intentional about looking for joy and if I can't find it, I am going to create it! 

Monday, June 22, 2020

More Food Please

As usual I make a plan for our meals each week. Most weeks I pretty much ignore the plan, but this week I did a much better job staying at least very close to what I intended. I think it is a first for me. Our garden is beginning to produce. We got it planted late, but I had a few things that were more important than gardening until late spring, so from here on out I will have to make my plan based on what is growing. Right now things are blooming and just beginning to produce, so I am adding a little garden harvest when I recount what we ate for dinner. Unless it is really germane to our meal I am not counting herb harvest though. It gets picked and dried throughout the growing season.

This was my original  meal plan:
1 BLT salad
2 Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread 
3 Grilled lamb chops, grilled asparagus, sliced tomatoes,  new potatoes (or none)
4 Vegetarian stuffed poblanos, coleslaw
5 Chicken sandwiches, corn on the cob, coleslaw 
6 Takeout 
7 Ham Slice, leftover lady peas,  coleslaw, tomatoes and cucumbers 

Planted this summer: zucchini, radish, romaine lettuce, butter leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, carrots, green beans, okra, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, cantaloupe. yellow squash, butternut squash, potato, basil, rosemary, lavender, mint, dill, lemon basil, 

Monday: I wanted to try the air fryer again and had some breaded chicken patties (Red bag chicken from Aldi that tastes remarkably like the original chicken sandwiches from Chic Fil A) to test, just to see if they would crisp. They did with no additional oil, so I am calling it a serious win. I wonder what I can try in it tomorrow night?
Harvest: 1 zucchini, 5 radishes
Chicken sandwich, corn on the cob, coleslaw with lime yogurt dressing 

Tuesday: My sister and I spent the day at Mom's. There is just so much to sort through, and honestly, after I come home from there and unload whatever stuff I am bringing home, the last thing I want to do is think about dinner. I had a half of a ham steak in the fridge, some cooked cauliflower, and leftover lady peas. Dinner pretty much made itself!
Ham leftover peas tomato slices caulitato salad

Wednesday. I had taken a pack of ground chuck out of the freezer on Monday, so it needed to be cooked. TheHub (who really never requests much) asked for his favorite meal. It was nice to be able to cook without having to think "What's for dinner"
Spaghetti with veggie dense meat sauce, garlic toast

Thursday:  We spent another day at Mom's digging through more stuff. Just exactly how many vases exceed the legal limit for one household?  We tackled the kitchen and have it about 3/4 finished. Yay us!  We both found a couple of really cool items to bring home with us. They were things neither of us remember not being at Mom's and were part of daily meal prep when we were very young kids. I am glad we took them instead of selling, even though they are quite collectible.
Take out Thai

Friday: TheHub came home a little early and we worked some in the yard. Afterward I did not want to cook, plus we were hot. Supper was a no-brainer.
BLT salad and glasses of iced tea.
Harvest: 5 zucchini, 4 radishes, radish leaves to add to our salad

Saturday: We headed to the lake to do some chores, then headed home late. Since it was the summer solstice it was the perfect day to leave late, and did not become completely dark until we were in line picking up our food (about 2 miles from home)
Smoked chicken wings and coleslaw or bbq sandwich and baked beans

Sunday:  Our Sunday was hot and a little brutal. After the church service online we worked in the yard until about 5, came in and showered, then we visited with Son2and DIL2. Though we had enough and asked them to stay for dinner, they wanted to get home. Son2's work opens back Monday and he wanted to be rested and ready, but they really did miss a good meal.
Grilled lamb chops, tossed salad, new potatoes (or none)  toast.
Harvest: 5 zucchini, 9 radishes

So hooray for me. With the exception of an unplanned takeout meal, we actually ate what I had planned with a few minor variations. I think this is the first time I actually did it. Usually I am batting about 3 out of 7.

Now on to this week's possibilities:
1. Grilled chicken, grilled pineapple, zucchini fries, coleslaw
2. Mediterranean salad, rolls or keto rolls
3. Grilled steak, tossed salad, rolls or keto rolls
4. Zucchini gratin, sliced tomatoes, coleslaw
5. Seared scallops, asparagus, onion cucumber tomato salad, toast
6. Takeout
7. Greek chicken salad on lettuce leaves, toast or rolls

Hope everyone has a wonderful week either on plan, off plan or no plan.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Week 24 Joys

As I have done since the end of the first week of January, I am  keeping a list of the everyday joys I find. My aim is to reread them on New Year's Eve, because we do not do NYE parties anymore. We have gotten into the comfortable "Let's put on something soft, watch a good movie, have a glass of wine and welcome the new year gently" phase of life.
 I am reminded of Mom and Dad's celebrations however. When we were kids they spent NYE at home with us. All of the neighbors had kids about our ages and everyone stayed home with their children. Since we live in the south and the weather is kind,  the neighbors would congregate outside near midnight. There would be a few fireworks, horns, and "Happy New Year"yelled at the top of our kid voices. Dad had a big bell and he would ring in the New Year which became a neighborhood tradition.
We moved to a different neighborhood when I was about 12 and life changed. We had friends and we wanted to do things with them, so Mom and Dad stayed home just in case we needed them (rescue mission maybe) but time does not stand still. We hit college age and suddenly Mom and Dad were free to do whatever they wanted to do. Birmingham has a private dinner club on the side of Red Mountain with a spectacular view of the city. It also had a multicolor dance floor that is lit from underneath. It sort of resembles the old electronic game "Simon Says" where they spent 30 plus years of NYE's dancing the night away followed by a conga line right after the countdown to the new year.
Then like everyone, they opted for an easier night. Don't get me wrong, they still went dancing at TheClub, just not as part of the New Year's craziness. So until the year before he died, Dad would go outside on their deck, he and Mom would count down to midnight and Dad would use the same bell and ring in the new year. I am not sure who has the bell now, either Son2 or my sister, but I hope whoever has it rings it with gusto January 1 and 12:00.10 a.m.

Wednesday: My sister and I spent a good bit of time at Mom's sifting though baskets in her sewing room. At first glance it seems to be basket after basket after basket of fabric, which is in addition to drawers and drawers full, not to be confused with the shelves of fabric in the sewing room closet. We were just getting ready to stack the baskets side by side on the floor when a small little tchotchke fell out. Closer examination was demanded! We found pictures, papers, seasonal decorations (for the minor holidays) untold sewing items, a Bedazzler, (Which we howled about! Mom was not a bedazzled woman ever, so no idea why she bought it. Maybe it was a gift she never wanted, which would be why it was stashed away) but what we really laughed about was a composition about apples I had written in the third grade. Evidently the sum total of my wisdom and knowledge of apples was summed in the single sentence "If you have a loose tooth, eat an apple."
Trader Joe's here is taking the number of people in their store at one time quite seriously. One person leaves, another enters and the line often extends 40 people deep. It is on the way home from TheHubs office so a few times a week he drives through the parking lot to see how long the line is. Wednesday he drove by and the line was only 3 people deep. By the time he parked and got in line he was number 5 so he felt like a true winner.  The only problem with him going is he can't find anything in the store, so I have to be on the phone with him walking him through the store for each item. He did manage to get each and every thing I asked him to get, even the relatively new item which he had to ask for help to find. (Gasp!!! And, contrary to his thinking, after requesting assistance, the world did not implode)

Thursday: . One of my joys for the day? Trader Joe's Chili Onion Crunch. (brand new to me) I rarely
eat breakfast, but I was hungry so I chipped a bit of ham and about half cup of cauliflower and a teaspoon of ghee in a non-stick pan and cooked it until the cauliflower was done. Then I stirred in a teaspoon of the chili onion crunch. It was so good. This may become my go to condiment.
And my huge joy for the day was bookclub. We had it at my friend C's patio so we could distance. The night was perfect, with a light breeze,  low humidity and conversation with friends. Perfection!

Friday: First, we bought a new reel mower for the backyard and I used it for the first time. The fenced portion of the back yard has very little grass  and a lot of hardscape. The grass there does best if it is mowed about every 5 days, and this new mower makes it very simple. Additionally there is no motor so I can cut it early in the morning coolness without disturbing my neighbors.
Later in the morning Son2 came by Mom's and helped my sister and me move a few things, plus he took my grandmother's rocking chair home with him. It has been in the family forever. My 94 year old uncle has no childhood memory of it not being at my grandmother's house, so I am calling it at least 85 years old. After we finished at Mom's, Son2 came up to my house for a late lunch.
The third joy of the day?  Pizza! Last week we were having a distanced visit with our neighbors when she told us about the seasonal offerings at a local pizza restaurant. I decided it was well worth a day off  keto to try it before it goes off the menu. Delicious!

Saturday: After doing some chores at home we headed to the lake to do more chores. Instead of going straight to the lake house we drove a little farther down I-65 and hit a produce stand. We bought gorgeous tomatoes, peaches, okra, and peaches and cream corn. Makes me happy because other than some tiny squash my garden is really not producing yet and we wanted some summer veggies.
At least one gardener is  having some success because TheHub left his office for lunch on Friday  and when he came back he found a basket filled with squash and zucchini on his desk. Veggie dumping has begun!

Sunday: We woke very early to begin work in the backyard, then came inside to watch our church service online. We had just enough time to do a couple of chores and then it was time for our Webex Sunday school class. Afterwards there was more work outside, an unintentional nap on the porch, more work outside, a quick shower to knock off the grimy outside work, followed by dinner and another episode of The Man in the High Castle. It was a really good day and though I loathe yard work the backyard is looking so much better. One true upside? Lugging 40 pound bags of soil around they yard does make sleeping through the night much easier.

Monday: I talked with my sister early and we decided to wait until Tuesday to sort though Mom's house. I spent all weekend doing outside chores and my house definitely needed some inside attention. Delaying just one day was a terrific joy. Cleaning the house___ not so joyful, but necessary.

Tuesday: We worked at Mom's all day again. This is the new normal right now, but each day we find some hidden treasure, We found programs from my first piano recital, picture of Dad that my sister had drawn on the back of a brown grocery sack, every newspaper article or program my kids had ever been involved in, and a dress that had been my great grandmothers prior to my grandmother's birth. (who was born in 1898).
Later there was more yard work and we had our first garden harvest; a single zucchini and 4 radishes, but judging by the looks of things there is  promise of many veggies  in the very near future.
I also talked with Son3. He, DIl3 and my grandkitties are coming for a visit to escape the confines of the city. They will be here in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to seeing them.

I hope all of you have a nice week and can find joy every day! Look for it__I promise it is there somewhere!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Food for Thought(lessness)

As is my typical fashion I check and see what foods are available, make a plan to go with said items, then totally mostly ignore it. One week I am going to go by it entirely__ maybe. Or perhaps my aim should be to just make it through Monday night's dinner and still be on track.

1. Steak, mashed potatoes or caulimash, tossed salad
2 Hamburger with all the fixings
3. Big broccoli salad, rolls or Keto toast
4  White bbq chicken, “ fried” okra, coleslaw
5. Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread 
6. Keto vegetarian stuffed  poblanos
7. Takeout

Monday: My sister and I worked at Mom's until about 4:30. I came home and did the chores here I did not get done while I was down there. All of a sudden it was about 6:30 and I had not even thought about dinner. Trader Joe's to the rescue. While staring in the freezer looking for something that would defrost quickly, I spied a box of chili lime chicken burgers (really just well spiced ground chicken patties), grabbed them and called it done.
TJ's chili lime chicken patty, potato (or none) cuke tomato and onion salad

Tuesday: I had some broccoli that demanded to be eaten right away, plus I could make this in the morning and be done until dinner time.
Broccoli salad, toast

Wednesday: We worked at Mom's all day and I truly intended to make the vegetarian poblanos. When I went to the refrigerator in the laundry room where I stored the peppers  I found a large package of ground turkey I had totally overlooked when meal planning.
 Mexicanish ground turkey with pepper jack cheese, coleslaw, corn (or none)

Thursday: Bookclub meal out on friends patio.

Friday Ever since our neighborhood visit last week I had been craving  pizza form a little place in Homewood. Friday seemed to be a great night for take out,
GM's Pizzaria Conecuah Sausage and peach pizza

Saturday: TheHub and I went to the lake place and stopped at a truck farm  on the way.  After doing out lake chores we came back home with some delicious looking produce.
Hamburger with all the fixings, corn on the cob, sliced peaches

Sunday: I ordered an air fryer, and it arrived during the week. I bought it specifically for one food. We love fried okra so we are growing okra in the back yard. It is not producing yet (we got it planted late) so we bought some from the truck farm. It was a good day to try the air fryer. (For the record, it works really well)
Lady peas, squash and onions, fried okra, toast

Meal possibilities for this week.
This may or may not happen, but I have everything I need for this plan already at the house with the exception of lettuce

1 BLT salad
2 Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread
3 Grilled lamb chops, grilled asparagus, sliced tomatoes,  new potatoes (or none)
4 Vegetarian stuffed poblanos, coleslaw
5 Chicken sandwiches, corn on the cob, coleslaw
6 Takeout
7 Ham Slice, leftover lady peas,  coleslaw, tomatoes and cucumbers

Wishing  everyone has a great week, whether you stay on plan, have a plan, or don't give two hoots about a plan.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Joys of the 23rd Week of 2020

And now we have finished the 23rd week of this year. It hardly seems possible that this much time has passed, especially since most of us non-essential people have spent it in a virtual prison. I am unsure of what the rest of the summer  year will bring but I have a feeling a lot of isolation will continue. So as I have done I will continue to jot down my daily joys so I can reread them at the end of the year, even though the joys are getting smaller and smaller. I am really missing meeting up with friends, live music, theater, people watching, and eating in restaurants.

Wednesday: Lots more sorting and finding and hauling and trashing___lather, rinse and repeat.
We think Mom wins the award for best packer ever. Her house always looked very neat and tidy, but what lies beneath the surface is unbelievable. Meanwhile my sister and I are finding damask napkins, cotton napkins, cocktail napkins, linen napkins, Battenburg lace napkins, hand loomed napkins, cross stitched napkins, and embroidered napkins, just to name a few. I think my joys for the day are that we have all of her silver trays in order, all of her crystal and barware are sorted by type, all sheet sets are  matched and tied by sets with ribbon. The living room is now in some sort of order, all blankets, comforters, coverlets, quilts and throws are in one place. Baskets by the millions are all together, and the really nice Christmas items are bunched. Once we get the rest of the things we dumped in the living room  completely ordered  we can bring all the junk I sorted from the sewing room into it__maybe. Drawers and drawers of fabric anyone?

Thursday: I finally have no more stitches__yay and only one more visit. Double yay! As a plus, I suited up with mask and gloves stopped by Aldi on the way home from the doc and scored 2 sets of solar powered uplights for some shrubbery ambiance in the front yard.

Friday:  One of Mom's sitters has 3 kids and no washer and dryer. When she was sitting we had told her it was fine with us if she brought her laundry and did it there. In the blink of an eye she lost a job and laundry facilities. After Mom died she called to see if she could buy them. She was so good to Mom that it was a no brainer for us to tell her she could just have them. It took a while for her to find a truck, but her husband finally got one and picked them up . Woo hoo! Double joy! She can do her laundry in her own home and we have 2 more things gone.
I have one more huge joy. I was pulling into the driveway after meeting T's husband to get the w/d when I saw a couple of my darling swimming neighbors out for a walk. I  had an old conga drum that I was ready to get rid of, and already had their Mom's permission to give it to them. They were as thrilled to get it as I was to get rid of it. About 10 minutes after they left, I got a few videos of the girls playing it. It made my heart happy.

Saturday: TheHub and I ran some errands, found gorgeous begonias and impatiens, and a gorgeous bright green ligustrium for the front of the house. After working in the yard for a while we showered, dressed and went to another neighbor's safe distance get together. I really do like visiting with them.

Sunday: We managed to knock out some more work in the backyard. It is not joyful for me because I hate yard work, but the after effect was really joyous. Later we grilled dinner then started season 2 of The Man in the High Castle.

Monday: More work at Mom's = one day closer to having it all organized and ready for an estate sale. That gives a certain amount of joy, but all the stuff that still has to be sorted through  kind of negates some of the joy. And as a small joy, I was not feeling like cooking (translation: I forgot to take anything out of the freezer) and stared wistfully hoping something would leap out of the freezer fully thawed. ( not really because that would mean the freezer was on the fritz, which would be a major problem) While I was looking I saw a box of chili lime chicken burgers from Trader Joe's. Whoo hoo! Easy to cook without thawing! Saved by the trader!

Tuesday: Went to Mom's again today to do a little cleaning/sorting and got stuck there when a fierce storm came through.  While I was waiting it out I started sifting through Dad's old junk drawer. I found about 30 tie tacks, 15 or so tie clips and his college ring. We had not seen it in years and I was so happy to find it. Also, I heard my cousin was released from the hospital and that is a huge joy.

I wish each and every one of you a chance to find the joy in each day! Now on to week 24!

Monday, June 8, 2020

The I Am Sick of Cooking Week

These are the dinner meals I had planned for the week. I did not stick to the plan, and frankly, I don't care. We ate every night, some nights better than others and bought take out 3 times. We even talked about take out again Friday night, but decided we were both fine having a sandwich made at home. (Thank you Aldi for the ultra low carb bread. Even though it tastes like eating a sponge straight from the bag, it is surprisingly tasty either toasted or grilled). I love to cook but I am just tired of cooking. I know we could go out to eat now, since restaurants can operate at half capacity, but I am not ready to do that yet. So our dinners are getting a little bleaker and bleaker, and I really don't care.

This is what I had planned for the week:
1. BLT sandwiches, caulitato  salad
2. Greek chicken salad, pickled Brussels sprouts
3. Hamburgers, chips or not, coleslaw
4. Unknown package of chicken stuff take from the freezer over rice or caulifice, cucumber onion and tomato salad
5. Takeout from somewhere
6. Pork tenderloin, broccoli, something else (uninspired right now)
7. Keto meatless stuffed poblano peppers, salad

And this is what we really ate:
Monday: Monday we worked at Mom's most of the day. I got home just a few minutes before TheHub called to say he was headed home. I did not want to cook and knew I had a couple of small chicken breasts in the refrigerator. It was pretty easy to decide it was the perfect time for the Greek chicken salad. 
Greek chicken salad, tomato slices, dilled Brussels sprouts

Tuesday I would like to say that I had a busy day and just ran out of time, so I resorted to making a quick sandwich for dinner. The truth is that I did not want to cook. Tuesday morning I had cooked 4 pounds of bacon in the oven. I take it after it is cooked, put it on a baking sheet and pop it in the freezer. After the slices are frozen I put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer and we use them a slice or two at a time (nuking them in the microwave to reheat them). When the bag is nearly empty I do the oven thing again to refill it.  I had planned to use it for sandwiches over the weekend, but___.
BLT sandwiches, caulitato salad

Wednesday:  I still was not feeling the call of the kitchen. When TheHub phoned home to tell me he was on his way I may or may not have suggested if he wanted to eat he needed to grab something.  He is a smart man and called me from Publix to tell me to warm up a can of green beans.
Rotisserie chicken, green beans, sliced tomatoes (I sliced them because I wanted them)

Thursday:  Once again I did not want to cook. We decided to run out and grab something from Zoe's at about 5:45. When we got there it was closed up tighter than a tick. Hoover, a suburb right next to our suburb,  was under curfew at 7, but some of the other areas had a 6 o'clock curfew, so restaurants were shutting down early to give their workers time to get home before the earlier curfew.  We tried a couple of other places before we found one still open. BBQ joint to the rescue.
TheHub had leftover Chinese from his lunch the day before (bbq did not sound good to him) and I had takeout smoked wings and coleslaw. 

Friday:Neither of us really wanted much for dinner, so I punted and fixed one of our favorite comfort meals.
Grilled cheese made either on regular bread or keto bread, pickle slices

Saturday: We worked in the yard then visited at a distance with neighbors .  We got home at about 8 which was another excuse to not cook.
Chick Fil A for the win. 

Sunday:  After online church I straightened my closet, then hit the outdoors. I did a few things to the back yard. Then we decided to have something grilled. This is when I am most grateful for a stocked freezer.
Grilled  tuna steaks, potatoes or caulimash, greens with avocado dressing

Planned possibilities for this week:
1.Steak, mashed potatoes or caulimash, tossed salad
2 Hamburger with all the fixings
3. Big broccoli salad, rolls or Keto toast
4  White bbq chicken, “ fried” okra, coleslaw
5. Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread 
6. Keto vegetarian stuffed  poblanos
7. Takeout

The only thing I can guarantee with total certainty is that there will be takeout! Everything else is weather or attitude dependent, mostly attitude!
Hope y'all have a great week, great meals and great attitude!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Tasty Cool Dinner for a Hot Night

Monday I spent the day at Mom's cleaning out a little more. My word, what are we ever going to do with all her stuff? As soon as we get her house finished, I need to start paring my home by at least half. Or I could leave it as is, believing I will have the last laugh when my sons have to get rid of all of this junk I own. I can't imagine they will want any more of my things than I want of Mom's.
I got home fairly late and decided to have a very quick meal. I had two cooked chicken breasts that needed to be eaten immediately so this is what I made.

                              Greek Chicken Salad

   for the salad:
1 cup (ish) boned chopped cooked chicken
1 large cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped (I added more because I wanted it to be veggie denser)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup sliced olives drained

   for the dressing:
1/4 cup mayo
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried mint
4 smallish cloves garlic, minced
ground pepper to taste
healthy squeeze of fresh lemon

   for the garnish:
An additional 10 or so olive slices  (I did not do this and wish I had, because it would have been prettier)
Sprinkling of fresh minced parsley (I had none)

In a large bowl mix all the salad ingredients until everything is incorporated
In a small bowl mix all the dressing ingredients thoroughly. You all notice I used no additional salt. The feta and olives are salty enough for me. You might need additional salt since saltiness varies from person to person and I have said before I am not a salt fanatic.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Mix and place in a tightly covered dish to sit in the fridge for several hours. Spoon over a lettuce leaf and garnish with olive slices and parsley.

This made enough for both of us for dinner and enough left over for my lunch the next day.

It was so good and so refreshing. I know it worked for us when TheHub declared he would love to have this often this summer. It is dang near the perfect summer nighttime meal.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Joys Amid Chaos

As usual I am keeping a weekly list of joys. I plan on sitting down on New Year's Eve and rereading each weeks joys. Though I can find something joyful every single day, I believe on that day I might just decide that, even with the daily joys, 2020 has not been a fun year.  I am not yet ruling out the possibility of a zombie apocalypse, vampire attacks, or an Alien invasion!

Wednesday: Sometimes grief comes out of the blue and hammers you. I had one of those days on Wednesday.  I think the biggest joy I had was Son2 who stayed on an accidental FaceTime (Pip organized a group call then left us) and let me cry without trying to "fix" anything. He just talked to me and did help me to see that my sister and I had done a lot for Mom for years, and circumstances beyond our control were such that we could not be with her at the end. I still feel guilty though and well up just from thinking about it.

Thursday: We sold some more tablecloths from Mom's vintage stash which was nice and my sister and I organized the clothing donations. OK we organized her hall closet and her dresser drawers, which only leaves the closet in her room and the closet in my sisters old room which is crammed with clothes. And no, we have not even begun to go through the boxes and boxes of shoes. We did find several vintage (I'm talking early 50's here) very dressy dresses. I think we are going to donate them to the costume department of one of the local theater companies. Mom and Dad  had season tickets there for years,  and loved their productions. She would love that some of her clothes might be used in a play.

Friday: What is better than waking up to a cup of coffee? Having that coffee while talking to a blog friend, that's what!
I finally got all of my thank you notes written and just as I was going to walk them to the mailbox, who should drive up but the florist delivery van. I do appreciate the  beautiful flowers, from my cousin, and now I am not through writing my notes. BTW the delivery man has been here so often, he  and I are now on a first name basis. Today Donald told me he could not deliver flowers without stopping at my house first. I am surrounded by fantastic, kind, loving people. So much more than I deserve.
Later my four adorable neighbors and their moms came to swim. One of them has a severely compromised immune system so the entire family is in strict lockdown. I can shock the pool the night before they are coming and they can have a pristine pool all to themselves. Maybe it will give the moms a sanity break, have somewhere for the girls to burn off some energy, and feel like they are getting to go somewhere instead of just walking two doors down.  I love morning swimming, but if they want to swim I can do laps later in the day.

Saturday: We woke relatively early to get out in the yard. The day was gorgeous and birds were singing everywhere. When it got really hot we took showers and went out to do a couple of quick errands.  I found some beautiful plants at HD. We were in the store just a brief minute, and spent most of the time in the outdoor garden center, carefully observing social distancing.  After that we ran by an open air produce market then hit Aldi for a quick shop (probably no longer than 5 minutes)  Mooyah Burger is in the same shopping strip as Aldi, so we phoned in our order and picked it up on the way home. We spent the remainder of the daylight outside working then ate a quick meal, took another shower and watched The Night Manager. (Amazon Prime Video)

 Sunday: We started the day with streaming church services followed by a Webex Sunday school class. After working hard Saturday, we had slower day.  Son2 and DIL2 stopped by for a visit (I have really missed seeing them) and he planted  potatoes for me along with a couple of squash plants he brought me. They are a wonderful couple and it makes me so happy to see them.

Monday: This was the day for My Beloved Sister and me to sort through another set of drawers and closet. We have decided Mom was the best packer in the world. Her house was always neat and tidy, but the sheer amount of stuff she had squirreled away in every available space is phenomenal.
As of right now, we have cleared out her bathroom, the hall bathroom (except for one shelf in the bathroom closet filled with flower vases) her bedroom dresser, chest, night stands, and closet (except for about 40 boxes of shoes) and the guest room (except for her dressy dresses and coats which we will try and donate to either a local theater company or women's shelter when the weather cools). So my joy would be that another space has been emptied. I am also joyous that we have no set time limit to be through, or to put her house on the market.

Tuesday:  I had listed several things on a local FB selling site. We decided it would be fun to see if we could sell anything, plus we have to get rid of some things before we can even think about having an estate sale. We still have many more rooms/closets/cabinets on the main floor, plus a finished basement, a two car garage, and a workshop to go through, and we are running out of space to put things. Ei yi yi!
I sold 4 chairs, rollator and bath seat, with a sale pending for 5 glass Christmas trees and a bed alarm. This brought the total to 12 sales in 3 days.  I am happy to be rid of it, and mostly happy the woman who bought the rollator really needed it. Win/win! 

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Drudgery oof Dinner

I have been trying to keep a meal plan going and I am pretty sure I am flunking planning. Either I forget to take something out of the freezer or I just don't want anything on the plan. As I have said before my plans are merely possibilities.

This is what I had planned:
1. Steak, tossed salad, rolls
2. Hot and Hot Fish Club's tomato salad and okra bowl (take out)
3. Leftover ziti, tossed salad
4. Huge chopped salad, or Chef's salad, rolls or keto rolls 
5. Grilled scallops, caulimash or real mashed potatoes, tossed salad
6. Greek chicken salad over rice or caulirice
7. Grilled burger, tater tots (or none) coleslaw.:

And this is what we really ate:

Monday: This was Memorial Day, the day the rest of America enjoyed bbq, unlike us. After working in the yard I didn't feel like cooking.
Leftover ziti, tossed salad, toast

Tuesday:I fear this will be the last week for take out here. This is normally a tony place where the beautiful people hang out. Though it is not one of our regulars, we do go there occasionally and love the salad. We decided we had to get it at least one last time this summer because I am not going to restaurants yet.
Hot and Hot Fish Club's famous tomato salad, okra box with lemon herb aioli

Wednesday: I had a really blue day and cried off and on all day,  plus I started back with keto on the exact day I needed to drown my sorrows with chocolate. I didn't and opted for something cheesy and gooey.
Buffalo Chicken and cauliflower casserole, shredded lettuce and red cabbage, keto toast

 Thursday:  I spent the day running around and gathering necessary paperwork to end Mom's benefits, cancel her car insurance, and a few other details we needed to take care of. Afterward, I met my sister at Mom's and we did more sorting and emptying and trashing. I did not get home until shortly before TheHub did and had forgotten to take anything out of the freezer. Punt meal!
Conecuah Sausage and mushrooms, steamed squash with onions, coleslaw

Friday: Today started off with a bang. Coffee and a Sluggy phone call! I was full of ambition which left about as quickly as it came. At least I got the backyard tidy and did laundry. I did remember to take something out of the freezer today which I am counting as an accomplishment.
Steak, roasted potatoes or radishes, tossed salad

Saturday: We worked out in the yard and we were hot and sweaty. I came in and pulled some leftovers out of the fridge, added some salad and called it done.
Leftover ziti or leftover buffalo chicken cauliflower stuff, tossed salad

Sunday:  It was gorgeous here, but a tad hot. I really wanted to fire up the grill but couldn't find anything that sounded good. While digging in the freezer I did find 2 small lobster tails and 5 frozen scallops.
Scallops and lobster potatoes or none, tossed salad, dilled green beans, toast

Now on to this week's possibilities:

1. BLT sandwiches, caulitato  salad
2. Greek chicken salad, pickled Brussels sprouts
3. Hamburgers, chips or not, coleslaw
4. Unknown package of chicken stuff take from the freezer over rice or caulifice, cucumber onion and tomato salad
5. Takeout from somewhere
6. Pork tenderloin, broccoli, something else (uninspired right now)
7. Keto meatless stuffed poblano peppers, salad

I have been working at Mom's house cleaning out closets and drawers. I have never seen so much stuff in my life and just dealing with it makes  planning meals or anything else take a back seat. We will see how close I stay or how far I stray form this plan.

Meanwhile I have a question . Do any of you have air fryers and what is your opinion of them? Our okra is springing up and to be keto I will have to coat it in almond flour for frying. I want one that does a good job of getting things really crispy. Let me know your thoughts!