Wednesday, July 29, 2020

New Joys for week 30.

Weekly I create a list of the joys I find each and every day. Some days are more joy filled than others, but every single day has something joyful. Some days I have to look long and hard to find it, and some days the joy is so present it smacks me right in the face.
I hope on New Year's Eve when I read this compilation of weekly joys, I will find that in spite of death, Covid, and self isolation,  every single day had something worth celebrating.

Wednesday: A couple of my neighbors wanted to see if Mom had anything they could use in the new reading room they are creating for their older girls who are going to do remote learning when school starts back in August. They got a lovely small chest and a cute end table. I am glad they can use it. They sent me a picture of it underneath a huge picture of a cows head. I responded that the dresser was meant to live under a Cow's senior portrait. Whimsy is joyful!

Thursday: DlL3 went with me to Aldi again. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have someone else go with me, just for the companionship. It's kind of nice to have someone help me bag the groceries too!

Friday: According to Heather, my bank manager, I was the customer of the week for cashing in 215 dollars worth of coins. Now I begin the collection process all over again.
Son3 called his former band director, the guy who bakes those decadent cakes, and ordered another one. Again he was told to use us as guinea pigs for whatever skill he needed to practice on. We just wanted the delicious cake. He left it entirely white this time but practiced some swirl techniques. Delicious and beautiful, but did I mention how delicious it is!?!
We also had a Swedish feast complete with singing, thanks to my lovely DIL. I am going to have to learn some Swedish so I can sing along.

Saturday: I forgot to write anything about Saturday and now it is a blur. I know something wonderful was a part of the day, I just don't remember it because I am old, and if I don't record it, it didn't happen! I do know TheHub and I ran a couple of errands and we roasted (because it was 1,000,000 degrees outside) while wearing masks, but by crackie, we wore them! Oh and with that I do remember another joy. DIL3 has been making masks with some of the fabric from Mom's stash. She made me a wonderful reversible mask! The only thing better than a new mask is a fashionable new mask!

Sunday: The day's joy came from sharing time with our family. Son2 and DIL2 came over to join us for conversation and dinner.  I am so incredibly lucky that my sons choose wonderful women to share their lives and tangentially share mine. I was treated to smiles and laughs and the occasionally off color comment! Lenny Kravitz had nothing on my sons!

Monday: A man a plan Panama! Like this sentence the day was the same backwards and forwards. I did have a long phone conversation with my friend who is struggling with things no one can control right now and it truly is a joy to be someone's listening post. She has been a great friend for many years and been there when I needed someone. It is a gift (to me) to be able to return the favor.
Also TheHub decided we needed to carry the tradition of singing and schnapps with our traditional American meal, so we did.  Then we followed it by watching Hamilton. I can cancel my Disney subscription now!

Tuesday: The day was like any other day for the past 5 months. Are any of you old enough that you remember the old directions on a shampoo bottle: Lather, Rinse, Repeat. DIL2 came over for a visit and her sweet heart always makes everything better! I did watch Amazon's new show Radioactive about the life of Marie Curie. It was very enjoyable.

Wishing you a week of joys. They are there, both small and large. Just look for them!

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Menu That Wasn't

Since Son3 and DIL 3 are here riding out Covid I just made a long list of meal possibilities. I am checking them off as they are made and eaten, though hardly one meal has been created in its entirety . Such is life especially life around here.

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. 

Monday:Woo hoo, lucky me. DIL3 made us a delicious dinner!
Cheddar zucchini and onion quiche, salad
Harvest: 1'2 pound green beans, 2 cukes

Tuesday:  The day was just a crappy day all the way around. I was not happy and neither was anyone else in my realm. I know happiness can spread easily but the inverse is true also.  The grumps might be more contagious than Covid. Some of us ate and some of us didn't because we just did not want to be around each other.
Taco salad, mango cake with vanilla lime glaze
Harvest: none cause we were too pissy to check on it

Wednesday: It was a better day, and somewhat of a bonus day for Son2 and DIL2. I save change in a big container. It is generally for a savings account for Pip, but times being what they are and now a coin shortage (?) I told Son3 and DIL3 is they would roll it they could have it. They got a nice little payday for a small amount of work! And not to neglect Pip's account, I wrote the change total down and will make a deposit for the same amount into her savings. When she becomes college age she (her parents ) will appreciate this account.
Greek meatloaf, green beans, buttered rolls
Harvest: 1/2 pound green beans, 3 cucumbers, 3 pods of okra (it is starting to produce now__yeah! However, the chipmunks and bunnies found my lettuce garden. It's toast now! I will sacrifice lettuce if it keeps them from eating the tomatoes! Additionally the zucchini is almost through producing. I pulled a couple of plants and we will see about the rest. I could still plant another crop of them but I am not sure I want to. I might plant yellow squash instead.

Thursday: I found out why I hate going to bed early. I had a slight headache and went to sleep around 11. I woke at 4 and could not go back to sleep. Bummer! I need to revert to my obscenely late nights since I hate being awake in the early morning hours. It makes the day last so dang long!
Variation on Sweet and sour chicken, brown rice, coleslaw
Harvest 1/2 pound green beans

Friday: I might have the best DIL's in the entire world. Not only is DIL3 a beautiful, kind, talented woman but she is a damn fine cook too. We were treated to a special meal that included singing and sips (shots for those braver than me) of aquavit in addition to a typical Nordic meal.
Swedish meatballs in gravy, filled potatoes, lingonberry preserves, pickles and cabbage slaw with a delicious dressing. And cake!
Harvest: 5 pods okra, 1/2 pound green beans

Zucchini Pizza boats, cucumber slices, and cake!

Sunday: I had out the lamb in the refrigerator to defrost and invited Son2 and DIL2 to come help us eat it. It was great having them all together.
Herb stuffed boneless leg of lamb,  potatoes, asparagus, lettuce wedge and of course cake! 
Harvest: 2 cucumbers, 1/2 pound green beans

And now I go into this week and a lot of the meals I had planned on cooking have already been eaten.  
Of course a lot of things that were not part of the plan have been eaten too.  When I look over the remaining meals on the list I am not entirely inspired by some of them. I guess I will just see how this week plays out.

Hope you all have a great week on plan, off plan or with no plan at all!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Vegetable Stewardship

As those of you who read this blog know, I have been covered  up with zucchini. The plants have stopped producing  (hurrah) and today I am pulling the remaining ones. After mixing up the soil I am going to replace them with some yellow squash plants. I really do like yellow squash much better anyway.

I have frozen a ton of zukes in various forms, but I still had a produce drawer full of them. Instead of freezing them I was looking for another way to use them. Fortunately I found suggestions all over the internet. (How did I ever function in the kitchen without immediate  ideas?)

So I asked myself a few quick questions. Do I like pizza? Sure! who doesn't? Am I willing to gamble on a different method of getting pizza flavor without the trouble of making dough? You bet!  Do I need to use some of the big ass zucchini hanging out in the vegetable crisper? Definitely!

Dinner became a no brainer. This is not a recipe but more of a formula. Use it as is, change it, make it your own. I was limited by tastes so these are a little simpler than I would have made if it had just been TheHub and me. (Son3 does not eat mushrooms or olives and is not fond of peppers. I was keeping it simple and made all of these the same so I did not have to remember which was for whom)

                                                                Zucchini Pizza Boats

I large zucchini per person
pizza sauce
cooked sausage or ground beef (I assume everyone has cooked sausage in their freezer, right?)
onions (and other toppings of your choice)
mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
cheddar cheese, grated
pepper jack cheese, grated
sprinkling of red pepper flakes (optional)

Wash the zucchini, cut the stem and the bottom of the squash off then slice it in half. Scoop the seed out to form a hollow, and place in a baking dish.Spoon  pizza sauce (Make your own, or buy it. the end result will be close to the same) into the hollowed out area, and sprinkled cooked sausage over it, followed by lots of finely sliced onions. (My heart was hurting that I did not add green peppers, olives and mushrooms here). Put in a 375 degree oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the squash is soft but still retains its shape. Remove from the oven for the final touch.
Add chopped pepperoni followed by a healthy does of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle generously with the grated cheddar and pepper jack. Stick it back in the oven until everything is all gooey and melted and bubbly. Let it sit for a couple of minutes then serve to everyone who is salivating because of the incredible smells!

This was a huge hit, and is keto (even though I am not doing keto at the moment, but I should be). Everyone here loved it, I have leftovers for lunches and it will be a permanent meal in our food rotation. Yes, it was that good.

Try it, it's tasty and a great way for additional veggie intake.  (And no one here missed the traditional pizza crust!)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

It's All Greek to Me

Son3 is in town and made a special request for dinner. When he was a kid I used to make him what we called Greek meatloaf, though it was a very unofficial name. Essentially I made a meatloaf but instead of the traditional seasonings I changed it to Greek seasonings and left off the tomato based topping.  I should have taken a picture but we ate it, except for one tiny slice and you really can't tell anything about it from the slice, so imagine if you will, a meatloaf with no tomato topping. It really is unimpressive to look at, but oh my, what flavor! 

 Greek(ish) Meatloaf
1 1/2 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
5-7 cloves garlic, minced (7 if they are really small 5 if they are average size)
1 teaspoon  dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
salt and pepper to taste (maybe 1/2 teaspoon of each. I don't know because I am not a salt fan)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup olive oil 
3 tablespoons lemon juice 
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon mint
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix together right as you take the meatloaf out of the oven

Mix all the meatloaf ingredients  together very well and form into a loaf shape in a baking dish or put it in a loaf pan (my preferred method)  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until done.  Remove from oven, drain the grease (Be careful) and pour the topping all over the hot meatloaf. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan to a serving dish and spoon the pan juices back over it. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

I've got that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart

If any of you remember that song in the post title from childhood Vacation Bible School or Sunday School days feel free to sing along.
As usual for my Wednesday Post I am recounting the joys that happen each day. I suppose this might be my online gratitude journal. Joys happen daily, somedays large and some days small, but they do happen regularly. Somedays I have to look a little to find them, but they are always there. I think finding  something wonderful on even the darkest day might even be the ultimate joy. So here goes the list for week 29.

Wednesday: It was a lovely day, hot but lovely, and I got to do mostly what I wanted to do. I did have to run to the grocery store and DIL3 went with me to Aldi. She is a lovely woman who grew up in Switzerland (probably because her family is European, huh?) . The minute we walked through the doors she said she felt like she was back home. Aldi for the win!
As an aside, I have been telling her to quit asking if she can have something or look for something, but to treat this like it is her house. She finally is! I am thrilled! I want all of my DIL's to feel at home enough to just grab whatever they want or need when they want or need it.
Then to top off the day, DIL3, with Son3's chopping help, made us a delicious Swiss dinner.

Thursday:Watched more Killing Eve. The writing and acting on the show really does bring me joy. I adore well turned story lines and fine writing.
Did more stuff, have no idea what.

Friday: Officially turned the keys and title to Mom's car over to its new owner. Hooray one less thing to worry about. Also sold sherbet dishes on a group Facebook site. Then went on a little road trip intending to stay overnight at the lake. That kind of fell through, but the lake was beautiful for the couple of hours we were there.

Saturday: Hot day in the summertime! It was very hot and humid and muggy and the kind of day that makes mask wearing hard to handle. My option was the stay home or be hot. TheHub and I ran a couple of errands and it is amazing how fast we can get them done when we are wearing masks. No dawdling, just hit and run then make a beeline to the car for a little sanitizing and de-masking.
Later Son2 and DIL2 joined us for dinner, and laughs.

Sunday: TheHub and I woke, had coffee and streamed church. That always brings me joy, especially since they are working so hard to maintain church services and safety for those of us who don't want to sit outside in the sweltering sunlight to be part of the "live" service.
TheHub and I sat on the back porch and watched a thunderstorm roll in. I love feeling the drop in temp and the wind as the storm begins. Then unless the lightening is right on top of us we stay and enjoy the whole thing. We may or may not both have fallen asleep in our respective chairs.

Monday: A woman who had been thinking of buying Mom's bed bought it (finally) and took it home. Yay! Another thing out of the way.

Tuesday: The day was a darker day than most and filled with some angst, but there were still some joyful moments. One of my cousins received a difficult diagnosis that broke my heart. I did talk with her Tuesday night and she sounded so much better. That filled me with joy and hope. None of us get a perfect day or life so I am trying as hard as I know how to hang onto the bright moments that happen.

I hope your 29th week of 2020 was a good week and I hope you find joy every day for this new week.  
Today I begin the official 30th week of the year, and I am looking for all the brightness the week has to offer. Does that even seem possible that we are on the downside of the year?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Food for Thought for the Unthinking

Before Son3 and DIL3 arrived for their visit I had made a list of meal possibilities. Some are getting made and others are kicked to the curb. Such is life. I rarely stick to a plan anyway and never the exact plan. Exact planning feels restrictive and I rebel against restrictions (Except masks! Wear your blooming mask every single place you go and no whining, even though they are hot.)

This is the list of possibilities

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.

And this is what happened:

Monday: First thing out of the chute I met my sister at Mom's for a post estate sale wrap up. There are still so many items leftSomething else went on, but I don't really recall what so I have no asides about the day. It came, it went and we ate! 
Mojo marinated grilled pork tenderloin, saffron rice, green beans

Tuesday: I did a mountain of neglected laundry, watched some Killing Eve, then went to the produce mart for some veggies.
 Lady peas, "fried" okra, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, Nana's squash casserole, corn bread.
Harvest: 1/2 beans

Wednesday: Had to go back to Mom's,  then went to Aldi. Son3 and DIL3 took over the dinner prep. What a treat! No cooking for me and a delicious dinner is a serious score in my playbook!
Assorted Flamm kuchen  (Swiss/German dish that is somewhere between a pizza and flatbread )
Harvest: 2 zucchini, 1/2 lb green beans, 4 cucumbers

Thursday: No idea what happened. The day came and went and a good time was had by all. Or not, maybe everyone was grumpy and I just didn't notice. Who knows?
Turkey breast, broccoli, toast

Friday: We left for the lake about mid day and stopped at our favorite little produce stand near the lake place, then went to a seafood market in Clanton and finally went to this little touristy place called Peach Park. It was a tad out of the way but Friday was National Peach Ice Cream Day and we felt it was our moral obligation to observe the holiday. We got to the lake and Son3 developed an issue which required some tending. Instead of staying we turned around and drove home.  At least I knew what we were having for dinner.
Grilled grouper, Greek style snapper, scalloped potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, toast
Harvest: 1 pound green beans 2 cucumbers

Saturday: TheHub and I ran a few errands. We needed a couple of things from Walmart, but I will not set foot in one of their superstores because idiot abound. Fortunately there is a Walmart Neighborhood Market very near our house where people are much more intentional maintaining distance and wear masks.
After we got home Son2 and DIL2 came over to have a masked visit then dinner in the dining room where we can maintain more distance.
White bbq chicken, corn on the cob, coleslaw, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, toast, DIY ice cream sundaes.
Harvest:1/4 pound green beans, 4 cucumbers, 1 zucchini

Sunday: We had a laid back Sunday kind of day.
Grilled asian glazed tuna over chili spice peanut butter noodles, cucumber slices
Harvest: 1/2 pound green beans, 3 cucumbers, 2 zucchini

And now I begin the new week with a plan that I might or might not follow, but we will eat and hopefully enjoy the company, weather (even though it is damn hot), and the food.
Have a great week staying on plan, off plan or with no plan! 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Just released today

IF you have a minute please watch my beautiful and talented Daughter In Love's just released music video. I can't tell you how much I have loved having them here and watching her creative processes in action. What a talent wrapped in a truly sweet spirit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Joys for the 28th week of the year.

As has become my weekly Wednesday post, I am listing the daily joys I had for the week. The aim is to review them at the end of this most hellacious year. I honestly hope the joys improve for everyone, but I look and find at least one joy each and every day. And if I am honest I have more than one joy daily, but some days I forget to write them down and by the time I do my daily post I don't remember to add them.
I have several friends right now, both in my 3-D world and in my blog world who are struggling right now. I count it as a joy to know them locally and virtually and include them in my daily thoughts and every prayer.  Life is good, and I am blessed beyond anything I deserve.

Wednesday: We are calling this our "Let them eat cake"day. Son3's former high school band director has been using the isolation time to hone his cake decorating skills. I think it was accidental honing though. Since his wife is pregnant with baby4 and he had 3 other kids under 7, they played it safe and stayed home. All of their celebrations occurred during quarantine, so he made cakes for the kids' birthdays, his wife's birthday and for their anniversary with a set of decorating tools he and his wife bought pre-kids. Like with much of the world, post children life and working leaves little time to try decorating cakes. During this time with no school he tried all sorts of techniques and his cake pictures were posted on Facebook. When I asked him if he was selling them, and if so would he bake one for us, I got an immediate yes! Pretty cakes are pretty, but delicious beautiful cakes are THE BOMB!

Thursday: Mom's house was ready and everything was out and displayed for the estate sale! We even had a couple of pre-sale buyers who called and asked if they could come by early. Since I love Allison and Laura it was easy to say yes.

Friday:  The first day of the estate sale was done. It was a little slow in the beginning but we did have one person who more than made up for anyone who was not there early. She stayed about 2 hours and bought a huge amount of stuff. Thank you Miss 2 Hours. Also 4 of my cousins came so we got to visit with them a little bit.

Saturday: End of estate sale. It is over, done with and we don't have to do it again. I will try and sell the furniture via Facebook Marketplace, and whatever does not sell we will donate. As a special joy on Saturday people were at the sale specifically to look at the house. We got the names of two people who are interested in buying it right now. Woo hoo!
Also 3 cousins came on Saturday. 2 of them had been the day before and I had a little more time to spend with them during a lull Saturday.
After we got home, Son3 and DIL3 had company who stayed and ate dinner with us. Son3 did most of the cooking which was an added joy.

Sunday: I woke in time for our online church service, then had a wonderful lazy day filled with "Killing Eve".

Monday: We sold Mom's car. They got a really good car, a great deal and as soon as the check clears, we are done with it forever!
An added surprise was Lola. She is not a showgirl but is Son3 and DIL3's cat. Lola and Ella are relegated to the upstairs portion of the house because I am allergic to them. I am a late night person and was sitting on the couch in the den when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked over toward the stairs and saw nothing, then a little black and white head popped out between the stair rails staring at me. She did it about 5 times, looking and surveying but not moving from her position midway down the staircase . I let them know they had an escapee and as soon as she heard them she made her way back up. She really is a cute cat. Ella, on the other hand, hates me and wants to eat my face!

Tuesday: One of the items I took from Mom's house is called a Turks Cap pan. I had no idea it even had a specific name until a local cast iron specialist came by Mom's house to look at things none of us wanted. We always just called it the corn muffin pan. It was the only piece I wanted, I guess because I remember eating those corn muffins made in that pan when I was a kid. The pan itself was dated (by the cast iron guy) as being from the early 40's which meant it was most likely my grandmother's pan first. Tuesday night at dinner I used it like Mom always did, including putting about 1/8 teaspoon of bacon fat in the bottom of each "cup" and heating it in the oven before adding the cornbread batter. The results? Cornbread perfection!

Now go into the 29th week of the year and look for the joys, large and small. They are there and are worth finding!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Stuffing Our Bellies

Since Son3 and DIL3 are here I had planned several menus as possible dinner options. True to form I have never totally stayed on plan. Even if we have a main dish there are alterations in the original plan. Sue me!  it works for us and if you look at us closely (or from far away) you will notice we have not missed any meals!

This is what I thought might happen:
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.

And this is what actually did happen: 
Monday: We did something but I have no idea what. Dinner was really simple plus I tried a new recipe for keto enchilada sauce even though I was not doing keto.
Chicken enchiladas, coleslaw
Harvest: 4 gigantic zucchini for dehydrating, 1 pound green beans (BTW zucchini dehydrates really well)
Tuesday: We worked down at Mom's (I say down because she lives down the hill from my house)  Fortunately I had a ham defrosted living in the fridge and instant mashed potatoes.
Ham, mashed potatoes, green beans
Harvest  3 zucchini, 1 cucumber, 1/2 pound green beans
Wednesday:  I remembered I had about 5 pounds of ground sirloin in the fridge and had to cook it all immediately. Most went into freezer bags, but some of it became dinner.
Spaghetti with veggie/meat sauce,  rolls and cake. Did I say cake?  (grated zucchini makes a delicious addition to spaghetti sauce)
Thursday:After working at Mom's all day getting ready for the estate sale, I was thrilled to come home to a meal cooked by my adorable DIL. It was so kind of her plus it was delicious.
Ginger honey chicken, ramen, green beans.
Friday: We worked the estate sale and I was hot, dirty and tired, so it became a take out kind of night. 
Blue Pacific take out. Best Thai in town!
Harvest: 4 zucchini, 1/3 pound green beans
Saturday: The estate sale was in the books. Geeze we still have so much stuff to get rid of though. This week I start the blitz on Facebook marketplace sites
Grilled steaks, tossed salad, au gratin potatoes, grilled bread, Caramel cake
Harvest: 2 zucchini, 1/2 pound green beans
Sunday: I slept in and woke about 8 in time to stream our church's service. It was a nice partly stormy(really stormy when it was raining) lazy day and I loved it! I had planned on cooking one thing but DIL was using the oven to bake polymer clay earrings. No big deal! I can punt cook  pretty easily.
Black beans and rice with conecuh sausage, sautéed zucchini and onions, tossed salad
Harvest:  1/2 pound green beans, 2 zucchini

If you are in town ride by my house and I will pelt you with zucchini! Hope you all stay on plan, veer off plan, or have no plan at all!
Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Joyu, Joy, Joy!

This week has been a joyous week, even with some of the trials cleaning out Mom's house brings. My hope is that when I am rereading the accumulated list of joys on December 31, I will remember this week with a big grin on my face.

Wednesday: Son3 and DIL3 drove from NYC to Birmingham and got her a little after midnight. After unloading the things that needed to be out of the car before morning temps would make the car feel like an oven, we had some brief conversations, they ate a little then hit the sack.

Thursday: One thing I never think about as joyous is the ability to cook outside whenever I want to. On his first full day here Son3 wanted to grill. There was a special joy seeing him excited about cooking and another joy only having to prep the fixings to go with the burgers. Additionally I did not go to Mom's to clean out stuff!

Friday: Went to Mom's house to do more shuffling of stuff. Son3 came along and picked out some things he wanted to keep.  Later we had Son2 and DIL2 over for an outside safe distanced meal.

Saturday: July 4th meant one thing:swimming, bbq, and family. We had all of us over for a hot steamy 4th, but it was still fun!  We distanced, talked and laughed. It was a great day and I am so blessed to have such wonderful folks to love!

Sunday: TheHub and I watched or online church services and then had our traditional cinnamon roll breakfast when Son3 and DIl3 came downstairs. Great joy? They cook in the air fryer in 10 minutes and there is no oven heat! Win!  Later we all donned masks (in our own home) to meet Charlie Rose, one of Son3's great childhood friend's new baby! She is a doll!

Monday: Finished the remaining basement closet at Mom's and were ready to tackle the shop and unfinished basement. DIL3 tried on a swing coat Mom had made for herself years ago and it looked so beautiful on her that she is taking it with her. Mom would love that! She also picked out several more things she wants to take back to New York. I am glad they feel free to "shop" at Mom's.

Tuesday: Had a young friend call and ask if she could come by Mom's to look at things for her lake house. I was glad to let her and she found quite a few kitchen things she thinks she will need. Hooray! Less things we have to get rid of!

That about wraps up this weeks list. I know there were other joys that happened but I have been a busy beaver this week and have not really been keeping up with them, so these are the highlights. I hope each of you finds joys during the coming week and takes the time to reflect on all the good things life brings. And now I am off to Mom's for another day of sorting, cleaning and pricing!

Monday, July 6, 2020

food food food

For the past week and the week after I made a list of possible meals. Son3 and Dil 3 are now here for a longer than usual visit, and I truly intended to have this list and just let them decide what sounded good, knowing I can whip up a meal pretty quickly. And now we can see just how impossible the possibilities seem to have been.

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.

Monday: We worked at Mom's until almost 6. I pulled a couple of chicken breasts out of the freezer and had every intention of making something delicious. Instead I sprinkled it with Cajun seasoning and pulled some leftover cooked veggies out of the fridge. Oh well!
Baked chicken, broccoli, squash
Harvest: 3 zucchini

Tuesday:I worked in the house all day to try and get things straightened before Son3 and DIL3 arrived.  When TheHub got home I had made absolutely no plans for dinner. He suggested we do takeout from our all time favorite Chinese restaurant. 
Basil chicken with a side of spinach from The Red Pearl.

Wednesday: Again I was working both inside and outside my house. Son3 and DIL3 were supposed to be at our house shortly after midnight. I fully intended to cook but TheHub wanted to get something that would be delicious warmed up when they finally arrived. If the truth be known I am pretty sure it was just something he had HIS tastebuds set on.
Costas Mediterranean  baked ziti, tossed salad

Thursday: Son3 declared he wanted to cook on the grill, so I was very happy to oblige him.
Burgers with all the fixings, chips
Harvest : 5 zucchini, 1 cucumber

Friday:  We had a nice day of swimming and nibbling, then Son3 and I want to ThePig to buy pork butts and ribs. After we came home Son2 and DIL2 came over for dinner (and yes we ate at a distance outside) I had really not planned on them eating with us and had also not planned dinner. We decided to pick up a family meal instead of cooking, even though I did put about 17 pounds of pork butt on the smoker to do its thing.
Capt. D's fish, shrimp,  okra, green beans, coleslaw

Saturday: Happy 4th! We had our family over for a safe distance bbq.
Pulled pork, ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, toasted hamburger buns, pickles, coleslaw, peanut butter stuff

Sunday: Son3 and DIL3 met some friends for dinner on their deck. It is surprising how one can endure hot nights and bugs for some food and conversation while maintaining safe distances. Because TheHub and I were going to be here by ourselves for dinner we just ate leftovers. It was not a satisfying meal, but it was much better than throwing it away.
Leftover Captain D's, coleslaw

This week we need to kill the take out beast and cook in all week. Goodness knows I have nearly everything I could possibly need for really tasty dinners, except tomatoes. I need tomatoes! Will it happen? Who knows? But if I were putting money on it, I would probably not bet on me following through.

So the list stays the same minus the 2 meals we actually ate in (Well mostly, because I am always going to change something. I can't help it that I just don't follow rules, or plans, or nonsense laws, like speed limits, very well.)

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Not Mama's Fourth of July Dessert

We were having family for a distanced 4th of July meal. I had smoked pork butt, cooked ribs and had planned the sides, but I forgot about a dessert. I needed something fast and I did not want to use the oven because I had 1 or so pounds of pulled pork warming in said oven. I searched for a dessert that was 1. Easy, 2. No Cooking, 3. Cold, because it is pretty dang warm here. TheHub was kind enough to run to the store for the things I did not  have on hand and a few minutes after he got home I had thrown this together.

                                                        Delicious Peanut Butter Stuff

1 package Nutter Butter  sandwich cookies, crushed
2 packs instant vanilla or French vanilla pudding mix
4 cups milk
8 Reeses cups (singles) chopped in small bits
1 container cool whip, thawed
1/2 cup peanut butter, melted
Additional chocolate for garnish (optional)

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
Crush 1/2 pack of Nutter Butters and sprinkle in the bottom of the pan
Mix the first package of pudding with two cups of milk according to package directions. Wait a few minutes for it to thicken a bit more. Using an offset spatula spread the pudding mix over the crumbs. Drizzle 1/2 of the melted peanut butter over the pudding, then sprinkle half of the chopped Reeses cups over the pudding layer.
Mix the second package of pudding with 2 cups milk and set aside.
Sprinkle the remaining Nutter Butter crumbs over the chopped Reeses cups to make an additional crumb layer. Pour all but about 2 teaspoons of the peanut butter into the pudding mix and stir to incorporate it thoroughly. Spread it over the crumbs, sprinkle with the remaining chopped Reeses cups. Spread the cool whip over the chocolate. Drizzle the remaining peanut butter over the cool whip and garnish with chocolate curls (if desired)
Stick this in the fridge for a few hours, serve and enjoy.

This was so easy to make and everyone enjoyed it, except for Son2 who declared he could not taste anything and needed another serving and a half just to make sure it was as good as everyone else thought it was. Yeah, we all fell for that line!

Try it! It's easy, tasty, can be made a day ahead, and it's cold!  Oh for the record there is nothing even remotely keto about this!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

It's the 4th

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends, and to friends in other countries, Happy Saturday or Sunday!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Low Carb Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

As any of you who read this blog know, I am up to my ears in zucchini. This is the first time I have ever grown it because it is not my favorite squash. I much prefer basic yellow crookneck squash, but TheHub accidentally brought home yellow zucchini instead of yellow crookneck. A mistake anyone could make right? (NO!) Especially since the package said yellow ZUCCHINI, not squash. But I digress.

Now I am having to find interesting ways to use the zuke, while maintaining a keto diet. It has not been easy and I think I have about 10 of those suckers in the crisper right now.
 I decided to try my luck with zucchini bread, but not just any recipe. Instead I opted to use a keto recipe. I am copying the recipe as given, but will share afterward what I will change next time I make it. I feel the the given recipe is kind of like the first draft of a movie script. The basics are perfectly fine but it needs a little punching up to make it good.

Keto Zucchini Bread

2 medium zucchini grated
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
3 tablespoons confectioners Swerve
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon apple pie spice  (3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 t.nutmeg, 1/8t. allspice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 beaten eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350
Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment and generously grease the sides of the pan
Put the grated zuke in a colander and squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can.
In a large bowl mix the flours, Swerve, baking powder, spices, and salt.
In a smaller bowl mix the eggs, melted butter, cream and vanilla extract. Stir to blend well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine completely. Add the zucchini and mix well.
Spoon it into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula
Bake about 50 minutes, but check after 30. If the top looks too brown cover the pan with foil to finish cooking.
Remove form oven and let it cool. Take it out of the pan, place on a cutting board pan and cut into slices, I halved each slice because the is how I wanted it. You do you and slice it however you want to., I cut mine into 8 slices, then cut each slice in half

I was underwhelmed with the finished product but it has some potential. It was not bad, in fact it was almost tasty, but was just a tad too bland. This is what I will do next time. Son3, who is not keto at a slice and declared it "not bad".

The following changes should make it good. We will see.

Variation 1: Add 1 tablespoon brown sugar Swerve
Add a dash of ginger to the spice mix
Add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts with adding the zucchini

Variation 2: Omit the spices add all the above additions  (except for ginger) and also add 1/4 cup sugar free mini chocolate chips.

Update: I put a smear of cream cheese and a dab of sugar free apricot jam. It turned so so into something seriously tasty. Experimentation is the key to life I guess.

I have so much zucchini I am probably going to try at least one of these versions again tomorrow

Thursday, July 2, 2020


I actually remember the summer of 69. It was not the best time of my life. It was also not the worst time of my life. I was not old enough to do anything really  fun and certainly not old enough to get into trouble, unless being sassy to your mom constituted trouble. In my house__it did!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Half of the 2020 Joys Are Done

The year is halfway over. Can you believe it? And what a year it has been! And I mean that not in the
best way possible. I do not like to hurry time, but I am glad we are on the downhill side of this year.
When I look at the daily joy posts for the year 2020 I hope I will see a dramatic difference from the first half of the year to the later part.
 I am still busy looking for the daily joys that occur knowing that each day has something joyous but also knowing some days I might have to look really hard to find it.

Wednesday: Talk about a tiny joy! I was outside on the front stoop dead heading a hanging impatiens basket when I saw something move. I am so glad I had my phone in my pocket so I could capture a picture of a lizard that was less than 2 inches long from the top of it's snout to the tip of its tail. I watched it watching me for several minutes.

                                For scale this blossom is slightly larger than a silver dollar.

Thursday: I have mentioned before, four absolutely darling girls  live 2 houses down the street from me. A lot of times if I am on the screened porch having coffee, I can hear and see them playing. I don't think I will ever live in a retirement home unless one day I am forced into assisted living. I love the sounds of kids playing, the thump of a basketball on a driveway,  the giggles when a group of kids ride by on their bikes, or the sounds of the toddlers and babies who are out for walks with their parents and asking a million questions. Fortunately I live in a mixed age neighborhood so I get to see people my age, older than me, younger than me, and children on a regular basis.
I found a snow cone machine at the lake place when I was cleaning it last weekend. It has outlived its usefulness for our home, and needed to live elsewhere. I asked the girl's Mom if they could have it, and she said they would be very excited to get it.  I also found 2 nearly full reams of copier paper at Mom's that had been shoved into a cabinet and the ends  were curled. Since I could not use it to copy,  I figured it would make great art paper for  the girls. Later in the evening  I received  pictures, sent to my phone, of them having snow cones while drawing. Made me very happy!

Friday: My cousin  was coming to Mom's to pick up the furniture her neighbor needs for his transition into assisted living in the early evening.  It was a small joy, but it meant my sister and I could wait until later to go to Mom's. I was able enjoy a couple of cups of coffee without rushing and get a few chores done at home without having to leave to run to Mom's. An added joy? In addition to the things D. had asked about, she took a toaster, a few wind up toys,  and most importantly a table that had belonged to my grandmother. Neither of us wanted it, but we wanted it to stay in the family, so now that is done and we are happy!

Saturday: I spent most of the day working in the house to get things in order before Son3 and DIL3 escape from NYC to have a couple of weeks lounging around the house. I can't imagine being quarantined in a 2 bedroom apartment since March with my main escape either dashing to the grocery store or sitting on the fire escape. Here, they can swim, hang out in the yard, grill food, and have friends over for a distanced patio visit.
I guess my biggest joy for the day was getting the laundry room fridge completely cleaned out, and making a huge dent in the rest of the room. I have too much stuff!

Sunday: After watching our online church services, I started tackling the kitchen. I needed to completely clean out the cabinets and drawers, fridge and pantry. Things look really nice now and that brings me some joy. We also watched a couple of episodes of The Man in the High Castle. We finished the series because we wanted to be through with it when our Son and DIL arrive. That makes me happy, but I do admit the final episode was pretty unsatisfying.  I am not crazy about story lines that are portrayed as important and vital to the tale which are dropped when a hurried ending is needed.

Monday: I spent the day cleaning, but I have find something joyous to do when I have tasks. I take my tablet and pull up a Netflix documentary. I turn the volume up and just listen as I clean. Works like a charm and I don't feel as isolated, except when vacuuming of course.
I had one other very small joy but it was a true one. I love to go to sleep reading with classical music playing in the background. TheHub has always needed complete darkness and silence in the bedroom. (I don't understand it because he falls asleep every night in his chair in the den with the lights on and the TV going) Now with my iPad set on the black screen I can finallynread in bed without disturbing him, but silence has been a must.
I always go to bed much later than he does and. make as little noise as possible while I am getting into bed. Last night I  was brushing my teeth and came out of the bathroom to the sounds of a thunderstorm. I was not surprised because we had them a few times during the day and evening, but it turned out that he had found white noise on the Dot, so I got to read then fall asleep listening to thunder and rain. I loved it!

Tuesday: My sister and I finally tackled the walk in closet in Mom's finished basement. Now the room is nicely displayed and looks like a Christmas shop. I knew Mom had a lot of decorations, I just had no idea how many. I am pretty sure she was over the legal limit for Santa's. There were a couple of finds that thrilled my sister and I beyond belief.  We found two old molded light bulbs that were on the tree when Mom was a young girl. Of course they no longer burn, they never have in my lifetime, but I was overjoyed to find them. We will each have one for our tree this year. We also found some ornaments that hung on every tree I can remember from childhood on, and an ornament from Mom and Dad's first tree. Priceless!
Added bonus? We emptied about 90 percent of the closet. Next stop is the unfinished part of the basement and Dad's workshop. Thankfully the basement was dad's domain and Dad was very organized so everything is neat and neatly labeled.

Hope you all find some joys this week. They are out there if we just look for them!