Monday, November 30, 2020

A Week For Thanks and Christmas Card Reminder

This week came and went with the beginnings of the holiday season. Along with the season this year I expect no parties, concerts or any of the traditional holiday festivities. Instead I anticipate a holiday season filled with time at home and time for reflection. Maybe it is what the season should be about anyway. 

The meals that were or were not:
1. Crustless pizza, salad
2. Some kind of soup (totally uninspired right now)
3. Melt in your mouth chicken, spinach salad, mashed potatoes or caulimash
4. Sliced turkey from the deli, dressing (bought frozen), green bean casserole, cranberry relish, collards (cooked  a couple of months ago and frozen), pumpkin roll (from Aldi) pecan pie.
5. Something cooked on the grill with a salad (Pretty sure I have a steak in the freezer)
6. Iron Bowl *meal. Potentially hot dogs and snack foods
7.Take out

 Monday: I spent a good part of the day at Mom's while the painters were there. When I got home it was late and I needed/wanted something that did not take a long time to cook and was easy to make. We are still getting green beans from the garden and I had strung them Sunday night and cooked them early Monday morning, so I knew they would be our side dish.  Since I had thawed some chicken the meal was a no brainer
Melt in your mouth chicken/ green beans/ tomato slices

Tuesday: I was still at Mom's with the painters and did not get home until after 5. I was so thankful for cleaning the pantry last week and finding a bottle of white pizza sauce. The meal virtually planned itself.
No crust pizza bowl/ salad

Wednesday: I waited all day for the painters to call before they got to Mom's. I waited all day for nothing! Instead I put up the living room Christmas tree and did a bit of decorating in the dining room. When TheHub called to tell me he was on the way home and asked what was for dinner was the first time I even thought about food. So I made a quick phone call and he picked it up. Best 10 buck (for 2) meal around
Hot and sour soup and egg roll

Thursday: Turkey day and that is enough said about the first ever Thanksgiving we have spent totally by ourselves. It was relaxing and since I had bought prepared food it was easy.
Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, pumpkin roll

Friday: TheHub had a gift card to a new restaurant and we wanted to use it before it possibly went out of business thanks to Covid. Since it was for more than we could possibly eat in one meal, we bought 3 dinners (take out only because I will not go to restaurants right now)
Meat loaf over lima bean puree with Brussels sprouts, or  paneed chicken with broccolini  

Saturday: We ran a couple of quick errands and looked at a car for me then came home to settle in for ball games. For dinner we split the extra dinner we had bought the night before.
Beef filet with new potatoes, tossed salad

Sunday: We were either going to have to toss the turkey meal  leftovers or eat them for dinner.
Leftover turkey and dressing, tossed salad

 DIL3 and Son3 are heading this way mid December to ride out the holiday here instead of in the city. She has never spent Christmas in the states so I am blowing out the holiday decorations. This week is dedicated to bows and glitter. Meal prep is taking a backseat and the menu reflects it! 

And going into the week's possibilities:
1.Soup and cornbread
2. Turkey sandwiches, coleslaw
3. Chicken broccoli casserole, spinach salad
4. Philly cheesesteak casserole, tossed salad
5. Chili, cornbread, coleslaw
6. Hamburger patty, baked sweet potato, green beans
7. Veggie meal to be decided later. (I am just not feeling it right now)

The Christmas Card Exchange is Over Tonight. If you want to join in it is not too late If you emailed me and have not heard back, it means I did not get your email and please send it again to  The rules are quite simple, You mail three cards to 3 different bloggers/blog readers, and get three in return. We hope you will join in the fun!
I am going to be emailing the contacts to everyone tomorrow night.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating and to those who are not Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Mulling Over the Days

 Every week for this year I have posted a list of the joys I find each day. Some days the joys are huge and some days the joys are small, but there is something joyful every single day if I just look for it. I will be sitting on the couch on New Years Eve to read all of the Wednesday posts so I can reflect on each day. Today makes the beginning of the 48th week of the year. I can't believe this much time has passed since 2020 began. Then again, it has been a difficult year for everyone so I guess I am happy to see it nearly over.

Wednesday: My class met but I understood we were going to be packing the non-perishable food for Thanksgiving boxes. I was wrong. I arrived with no book, wearing packing clothes. One of my joys is technology. I have a hard copy book that I take to class, but I also downloaded it because I like to read at night on my tablet. Since Kindle is synched to my phone it was easy to pull up the book and have it with me anyway. If you had told me this would be possible 20 years ago I would have laughed  and called you a liar.

Thursday: There is a certain joy in being able to give back to the community. I was able to help with a project our church does every Thanksgiving.
Later in the day it was my honor to be able to watch the participants of Independence Place of Alabama in their first live stream talent show. I was at my house watching it all alone and found myself grinning, tearing up, and applauding. I am putting the link to it here, though it might no longer be available. If it is and you are having a bout with the Covid doldrums give it a look. 
Independence Place Talent Show  The actual show starts at about 7:40

Friday: I waited all morning until the early afternoon for the painter to call me. He was supposed to be at Mom's house to do a little painting but was a no show. Hmmm. After calling him he said it would be  Monday. I guess I will see. Meanwhile, I got a lot of little jobs finished, but I would not start on the laundry room/freezer defrosting because I did not want to be in the middle of that project, then get called away to Mom's house. See how skillfully I managed to avoid that task!

Saturday: TheHub and I ran a couple of errands. The Peanut man was out in the parking lot on the bluff so we had to get some for game day (Roll Tide). Then we stopped at The Pig for a couple of game day essentials and headed home for a day of SEC football. Bama won so all was right with the world. And of course FaceTime with Pip  makes every day wonderful!

Sunday:  We had our usual streaming church service, followed by our Webex Sunday school class.  Afterward we had an argument that escalated. We both went to neutral corners (different levels of the house) and cooled our jets until we could apologize and move on. There is a joy in being able to disagree, mull it over and then apologize and let it go.

Monday: The painters finally came to Mom's house, but not early like I was expecting. Instead they came in the afternoon, worked a couple of hours and left. That would have been seriously irritating if my sister had not been there also. We went into her old bedroom which is our holding station for all those things we have to go through piece by piece. Mom had saved every single piece of correspondence she ever received. We went through boxes and boxes of cards, letters, notes, poems, and clippings. It was both bittersweet and hilarious. I found cards to Mom from Elizabeth Anne, which would have been before kindergarten when I dropped the Elizabeth permanently. We found notes we wrote to Mom, and school assignments for Mother's Days (lots of Mother's Day assignments). My favorite was one I wrote in the first grade: "My mother is sweet, My mother is beautiful, My mother can sing. Mother you're fat." Funny thing is Mom was never overweight, but I guess kids see things a little differently.

Tuesday: I waited on the painters until 2:30 when they called to tell me they were on their way. I had been showered and dressed since 7:15, and did have some big chores to do, but having no clue what time I would have to leave to meet them, I did not get them started. No way I could leave the freezer half defrosted. Again they worked a couple of hours then left and plan on finishing tomorrow!?! I suppose the true joy is the places where Mom snuck out of bed unassisted, lost her balance and dinged the sheetrock (including when her head went through it and another place her shoulder punched a hole in it) are now repaired and repainted. And we are now one day closer to having it on the market!
I also got a picture from one of my cousins who had come to Mom's and gotten some things she wanted. She sent me a picture labeled "Aunt N's. wreaths" which were hanging on the stair rail in her house. There were about five wreaths and a smiling grin on her grandson's face. The wreaths were cute, he was cuter!

Hope you all have a wonderful joy filled week and, for those in the U.S., lots of turkey and good things to eat.

And remember, time is getting close for the Christmas Card exchange. You send 3 cards to bloggers who join in, and receive 3 cards from others. It has been a great way to connect with those we read and have come to know through blogging. If you would like to join in we would love to have you. Email be your name and address :

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Chicken that Melts in Your Mouth

Sometimes when I am feeling particularly creative I throw ingredients together willy nilly and come up with something incredibly delicious. Other times I see something that looks good and decide to give it a whirl. The chicken is one of those give it a whirl trials. Here is where I found it, then changed it a bit to suit my fancy, since my fancy always needs suiting!

Melt In Your Mouth Chicken
1/2 cup mayo (it's too much)
1/4 cup(ish) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt*
pinch of black pepper
5 drops tobasco (optional but if there is heat to be had, I will have it)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Preheat oven to 350
Mix the mayo. parmesan, seasoned salt, black pepper, and tobasco
Lay the thighs flat in a baking pan, spread the mixture on top of them and bake until done. I used pretty small thighs and it took about 25 minutes. If you want to check the temp with an instant read thermometer. I think chicken is supposed to be cooked to 165 F.  Or you can live on the wild side like I do and just do the quick finger poke test. My grandmother lived to be 102, cooked every meal, and never had a meat thermometer. I guess I am summoning my inner grandmother, but I can tell pretty well when chicken is done. 

The verdict: We both loved the taste, but I think there was too much mayo. I will do it again and use half mayonnaise and half greek yogurt. Also, this is not a beautiful dish. It's not so unattractive that you need to eat it with your eyes closed, but it is definitely not something I would serve to dinner guests. It is a basic family dinner dish and I will make it again in the near future because it tastes so good. 
Try it and you might like it. I know we did.

* This is the seasoning I used for the chicken. I am not affiliated with them, but I do believe in sharing when products are particularly good. It is nothing like the traditional shaker of poultry seasoning you get from the grocery store, but it is so good. I use it on chicken and fish all the time. It is expensive for a blend, but I find the flavor and versatility is worth the price.

Monday, November 23, 2020

What's for Dinner

 As we being this Thanksgiving week (or week before this Thursday for the non-U.S. readers) I thought the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving theme might be appropriate.

Another week begun with the promise of a plan, and another week that I decided what sounded tasty Monday morning held no appeal Monday evening. And it all went pretty much downhill after that. 

This is what I thought our dinners for the week would be:
Spaghetti (TheHub requested), tossed salad garlic "bread" sticks
Melt in your mouth chicken, tomato slices, sautéed spinach
Chili relleno souffle, tossed salad
Beef and mushroom soup, coleslaw
Some kind of big salad dinner (nothing sounds really good right now)
Buffalo chicken casserole, green beans

And this is what we actually ate:
Monday: By the time suppertime rolled around, I realized I had several partially cut veggies looming in the crisper. Instead of tossing them they became the focus of our meal
Sautéed chicken and veggies in teriyaki sauce (You can find a pretty decent Keto teriyaki), tomato slices 

Tuesday: TheHub had to work late and gave me a pretty early heads up that he would not be home early. We had planned on running by Costco to pick up AA batteries. I have an overabundance of Luminara candles and they all needed them. Since my intent is to blow out Christmas this year, I plan on using all of them in all the places I could never use real candles.  
TheHub had already said he wanted to get the hotdog meal at Costco and since that was not going to happen I called a take out order when he left work for him to pick up on his way home.
Gyro salad from Purple Onion

Wednesday:  We did go to Costco. I have found if you wait until about 6:45 the people who were stopping by on the way home from work are gone and the folks who were shopping after dinner are not there yet. Since covid, I arrange all of my shopping trips everywhere for the least populated times. Normally I would go to Costco by myself in the morning, but TheHub wanted to look at a couple of things also. At least he agreed to my requests concerning crowds and timelines.
He did mention earlier in the day he no longer wanted the hot dog meal, but wanted fried chicken. I was planning on making chicken anyway, but I don't cook fried chicken. I just stuck a piece in the oven for me and we picked him up some of the good stuff for him on the way home.
Fried (or un-fried) chicken with caulitato salad

Thursday: I have no idea what happened to Thursday. The day zoomed by, but during one phone call from TheHub he mentioned spaghetti again. It was not a big deal because I had everything I needed for it, but I noticed a pattern this week. Normally it is like pulling teeth to get him to suggest something for dinner. This week he was pretty specific about his meal wants.
Spaghetti (or zoodles) with meat sauce. salad

Friday: Pre-covid Friday night was out date night. We went to a restaurant, had a drink then had a leisurely meal. We have continued to make Friday our date night, but now it is driving someplace and doing take out. We bring it back home, eat and then watch a movie or episode of The Crown on Netflix. 
Mooyah burger or Keto "burger".

Saturday: Game Day and Roll Tide!  After a couple of quick morning stops we settled in to watch football games. Alabama played at 3 and Auburn played at 6, so our dinner had to be something that would basically cook itself during the 4th quarter of the Alabama game that we could eat quickly as Auburn began its game. I have a hard and fast rule about dinner. We absolutely do not eat in the den in front of the TV. All meals are eaten at a table with music playing and the television off. I will make an exception during a football game and let it stay on so TheHub can hear what happens; hence the really fast dinner!
Chili renello casserole, salad

Sunday: We had online church, zoom Sunday school, and a spat. After skillfully avoiding each other for the brunt of the day (this is when I appreciate have a house that is too large for us) we both apologized, but by that time I had done a lot of anger cleaning, including the fridge and had started a pot of soup with anything lingering in the refrigerator.
Vegetable soup

And here are some possibilities for this week:
1. Crustless pizza, salad
2. Some kind of soup (totally uninspired right now)
3. Melt in your mouth chicken, spinach salad, mashed potatoes or caulimash
4. Sliced turkey from the deli, dressing (bought frozen), green bean casserole, cranberry relish, collards (cooked  a couple of months ago and frozen), pumpkin roll (from Aldi) pecan pie.
5. Something cooked on the grill with a salad (Pretty sure I have a steak in the freezer)
6. Iron Bowl *meal. Potentially hot dogs and snack foods
7.Take out

Have a good week on plan, off plan, or with no plan at all!

* Iron Bowl is the grudge match between Alabama and Auburn. It determines the superiority of the fans of the winning teams for a year, or so everyone thinks. Though I am an Alabama fan I am not sure how the play of 20 year old young men affects my life in any way other than having fun during the actual game. Roll Tide Roll! And life will continue no matter the outcome.

Remember, you still have time to join in the blogger Christmas card exchange. It's as simple as sending three and receiving three. There are no other rules! Just email to join in!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Souffle That Wasn't

 I honestly had every intention of making a chili relleno soufflé, but as the late afternoon turned into evening and I had done nothing to prepare I decided to change tactics and make the same dish just in a different format. I was really just being lazy and did not want to lug the mixer out just to whip the egg whites.I also did not want to run to the store to grab some poblanos to char and peel. Instead we had a variation on a theme of what was planned

Lazy Anne's Chili Renello Casserole 

2 cans whole chilis
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (like I  measured___NOT!)
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
2 eggs, beaten
1-2 tablespoons cream, or milk
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350
Brush a small baking dish with olive oil
Drain the chilis, cut them in half and cover the bottom of the pan with half of them
Sprinkle half of the cheese over the peppers
Add another layer of peppers followed by all but a couple of tablespoons of the remaining cheese
In a small bowl beat the two eggs, add the cream and the seasonings and blend well.
Pour it over the peppers and cheese.  Wait a couple of minutes for the egg stuff to find its way through the peppers and cheese. 
Pop it into the oven and let it bake about 25 minutes until it is set and browned. Remove form the oven and immediately sprinkle the remaining cheese over it. If needed stick it back in the over for one minute so it will be all melty and delicious. 
I probably should have let it set for a few minutes before cutting it, but of course I didn't. Top with salsa of your choosing and dig into some cheesy, slightly spicy deliciousness. . It was just enough for the tow of us, with nothing leftover, and was so good TheHub said he would like to have this often. Score one for the lazy cook who took the path of least resistance. As usual!

Give it a try, you might like it. And as long as you use a salsa with no sugar in it, this is also Keto. If you are not on a keto plan use any salsa you love and don't worry at all. If I had any, sour cream a dollop on top of the salsa would have been great.

I think during the holidays I am going to make yet another variation of this using chopped chilis and cooked bacon for a leisurely breakfast meal.  For breakfast I will probably make a fresh Pico de Gallo  instead of using salsa.

Remember, you still have time to join in the blogger Christmas card exchange. It's as simple as sending three and receiving three. There are no other rules! Just email to join in!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

And the 46th Week Is in the Books

 Each week I post joys specific to each day. I have found this year while I have been doing this (and especially since covid and very little contact with the outside world) that I am so much more aware of all of the small joys I experience on a daily basis. I am looking forward to New Year's Eve when I can sit and re-read every joy post.  And with that, here are some of my daily joys for this week.

Wednesday: I went back to the upholstery fabric store to buy enough to cover a Morris chair. I figured it would take 7 yards, but they only had 6. I bought it anyway and think I can make it work. I might have to cut the bottom section crossways instead of straight, but it will just add the the charm, right?  If anyone notices I will just declare it was a home fashion statement I intended from the get-go.   

Thursday: I got several things done that needed to be done around the house, yet somehow I am skillfully avoiding the laundry room. I really do need to get it completely clean and then defrost the freezer before the holidays actually start (which is way closer than I think it should be )
And for a serious joy, I was thrilled to hear some good news about one of my favorite bloggers health situation! 
And last of all I was overjoyed to have a little FaceTime chat with Pip. That girl owns my heart!

Friday:  I got started on my upholstery project and took several pieces apart to get ready for some serious cutting and tacking. Sometimes there is a serious joy in just starting a project you are dreading. 

Saturday: TheHub and I ran several errands. We have learned to be at the store that is generally the most crowded before it opens so we can do our business when there are few, if any customers. As it turned out, we were the only customers for our first three stops. Talk about joy! There was not so much joy at Home Depot, where we were returning a brand new staple gun which would not work. Everybody and their brother was at H.D. On our way home we stopped at Publix which had very few customers. We were laughing and talking about how they couldn't be crowded because everyone one was at Home Depot. Later we had several FaceTime calls with Pip.

Sunday: We had church services via the internet. Afterward I completed the first two of 4 upholstery projects completed.  later I met my sister and we got donations from Mom's house on her front porch ready for the Monday pick-up. And more FaceTime! I love that she will now call us herself rather than waiting on Son1 or DIL1 to do it for her. 

Monday: I had a call from a long time friend with a lot of catching up. Then I got Mom's sewing machine hooked up. I had forgotten how easy it is to use. The set up is a little complicated though. The upside is that everything is pre-computer so it is all manual. I had just never set it up completely before, because Mom had a sewing room and it stayed out ready to use all the time.

Tuesday: I spent the day mostly making pillows for the renovation I had not planned on doing; but the inherited rug in the living rooms seems to constitute a whole house change. So far only the laundry room has not undergone some sort of reno and it is probably only safe because right now it is too messy to add anything else. So there is joy in finishing the pillows. I have also started minimal Christmas decorations. TheHub and I are doing Thanksgiving by ourselves this year. Normally I begin the decorating after the Thanksgiving guests are gone and the kitchen is cleaned. Because it is just going to be us, we don't care if things are decorated for Thanksgiving or Christmas. There is just no reason to wait. TheHub and I were going to run to Costco after he came home and he had already decided he wanted a Costco hot dog for dinner, so I made no plans. Naturally he called right before he was supposed to be home and had not left, nor would he be leaving the office for a while. No Costco, no Costco hot dog meal, no dinner cooked! Instead He picked up something on his way home. So another joy was no cooking and a really late dinner.

No go and have a great week looking for your own joys, large or small! If you want to share something joyful that happened this week, all the better, and it will add to my joy!

Remember the annual blogger Christmas Card exchange is about to happen. If you feel inclined to join in the merriment please email me:
This is such a simple thing, you will receive 3 names to send cards to and will receive 3 cards in return. I have enjoyed both sending and getting cards from people I have come to regard as friends. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


On Tuesdays, I follow Annie at Tuesday 4. This week her questions are all about fun. Hop over and join  in!

Did you as a child or do you now like amusement parks, going out to places of entertainment? (theaters, themed parks, etc.)
As a kid/teen I loved amusement parks. As an adult I love theater and jazz clubs.

Which rides/parks did you enjoy the most or what snack foods do you enjoy when you are out and about?
When I used to frequent amusement parks there was no ride too fast for me and if it turned me upside down it was even better. As a kid I loved cotton candy. We generally do not get snacks when out and about now, but I am a threat to get a cup of coffee unless it is hot and then I grab iced tea.

When you were a kid what activities/games/places brought you the most enjoyment?
Honestly, when I was a kid we lived in a neighborhood with about 30 kids all within a four year age range. My happiest times were playing outside with them.  Whenever the weather was favorable we would gather in one particular yard after sundown and play kick the can or hide and go seek. 

Would you share with us a fun time or great trip that you've experienced? 
We have been lucky and have taken some wonderful trips but, one of our favorites was one in NYC. We were able to go to The Met and see Carmen, We saw Miss Saigon, and saw/heard jazz at 3 different venues (Got to hear and visit Son)

Monday, November 16, 2020

A Plan Gone With the Wind

Ok, let me be the first to admit, I am a little different, though I prefer to call it delightfully odd. I make plans and change them on a dime, because life changes quickly and change has never really bothered me.

I am one of those meal planners who really and truly rarely sticks to a plan. I tend to inventory what's on hand then plan based on what needs to be consumed first. But sometime during the week things I thought sounded good, no longer have the same appeal. It is an ongoing battle, but I do it anyway. Maybe one day I will be organized enough to follow a plan or maybe I am just one of those people who is always going to find a reason to paddle against the current.

This is what was planned:
1.Chili relleno souffle, salad
2.Pot roast with veggies, coleslaw
3.Italian wedding soup, cornbread
4.Some kind of dinner salad (Taco salad possibly)
5.Grilled steak, tossed salad, mashed potatoes
6. Take out
7.White bbq chicken, coleslaw, green beans

And this is what really happened:
Monday: I went out shopping for upholstery fabric with my beloved sister again. By the time we hit a few places, and I got home and started disassembling furniture, it was dinner time and I had nothing cooked. How glad was I that I keep cooked seasoned ground chuck in the freezer.
 Taco salad 

Tuesday  I knew I was going to be working around the house so I opted to use the crock pot for our meal.
Pot roast with veggies, sliced tomatoes

Wednesday  I had planned a veggie meal but TheHub needed to satisfy his inner caveman so he stopped at Publix and did that hunter/gatherer thing.
Rotisserie chicken, squash casserole, coleslaw

Thursday: I had a boatload of leftover pot roast so I did a little reformation act to have something similar but not quite the same. (The rest of the roast went to the freezer to be used in soup)
Leftover shredded pot roast in keto gravy on mashed potatoes or caulimash, tomato onion and cucumber salad

Friday:  Our Friday's are still date night and even though we can't go anywhere, we can still do takeout.
Taziki's Greek Salad with grilled chicken

Saturday: We ran several errands, came home and watched the Master's Tournament before running out to look at a spa. TheHub mentioned our dinner plans did not sound good to him and the evening was gorgeous, so while we were out we stopped by ThePig to pick up something to grill.
Grilled steak, tossed salad, rolls (or none)

Sunday: The weather turned cooler so we woke to chilly temps.I  was busy finishing up an upholstery project and then had to run to Mom's to put a few things out for the Goodwill pickup we had scheduled for Monday morning and knew I needed to make something that could cook in the crockpot.   
Chili (I meant to have cornbread but forgot to make it. . . Oh well!)

Possible meals for the coming week:
Spaghetti (TheHub requested), tossed salad garlic "bread" sticks
Melt in your mouth chicken, tomato slices, sautéed spinach
Chili relleno souffle, tossed salad
Beef and mushroom soup, coleslaw
Some kind of big salad dinner (nothing sounds really good right now)
Buffalo chicken casserole, green beans

Hope you have a good week on plan, off plan, or with no plan!

Remember the annual blogger Christmas Card exchange is about to happen. If you feel inclined to join in the merriment please email me:
This is such a simple thing, you will receive 3 names to send cards to and will receive 3 cards in return. I have enjoyed both sending and getting cards from people I have come to regard as friends. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

It's About That Time Again

 It is about time to begin thinking of the annual blogger Christmas Card swap.  It is a pretty easy process.You send three cards and get three in return. There are no rules, you can purchase cards or make your own. It mainly is a way to connect with each other. If you are interested in joining in please email me  at, with your name and address. I will randomly assign each person three names and will give yours to three others. It has been so nice these past few years  to receive cards from folks that I know only through blogs. I know I need personal connections this year especially, so if you feel inclined to participate  please do. I will be emailing your card buddies by December 1, so we will have time to get them mailed and delivered. 

And yes I know it is not Thanksgiving here yet. I am not trying to rush the season, just trying to give everyone who wants to join in time to do it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Week 45 and Veteran's Day

First off a very special thanks and appreciation for all of those who have served in our country's armed forces. 

Each week I try to remember the joys I find each day, then record them so I can read them on New Year's Eve and re-live all the joy the year had. I understand 2020 has been an anomaly but it is filled with joys, maybe little smaller than past years, but joyous nonetheless. They are out there for the taking if we just stop and look for them. And trust me, there are days I have to look long and hard, but I still find at least one thing that brought me true happiness.

 My Wednesday class has restarted in a gigantic room. The room is set with tables connecting to form a square with about 12 feet of open space between them. The chairs are set up at 6 foot intervals plus every single person wears a mask. Personally I wish we were meeting outside, distanced with no masks, but this way it is saves tremendously on makeup time when getting ready! I really did enjoy the distanced interaction with other humans. 
After class I picked up My Beloved Sister and we went looking for upholstery fabric. I found one piece  (a remnant) for a small side chair but she found nothing. We immediately made plans to go other places after the weekend.

Thursday: I stayed home and got some much needed work done then framed 2 watercolors I found at Mom's. My powder room looks somewhat like a small gallery now. A very small gallery! 

Friday:  I had to run some errands and while driving I saw the first beautiful tree of the fall. Most had just started to color and several were beginning to show a little red or yellow, but this single tree was perfectly scarlet. It truly brought joy, knowing that others would soon follow. 

Saturday: We went to the lake on what was supposed to be a beautiful day. The meteorologists neglected to tell Mother Nature though. It was overcast and drizzling there. We have power now and had to reset the alarm system and check everything electrical. Everything was fine and none of the three uprooted trees on the lakeside snapped the underground line that powers the boathouse. And the biggest joy of the day was having FaceTime fun with Pip!

Sunday: We started the day by streaming church followed by our Webex Sunday school class. There is a certain joy in safely connecting with people who are outside our bubble. I am really feeling the social isolation and it is not good for me, but neither is Covid exposure.

Monday: My Beloved Sister and I hit the trail again to look at more fabric. It was great. We went to an out of the way place and both found things we wanted. Plus she found a rug for her dining room that will be very complimentary to the one from Mom's. (Edit: The rug is too large for her dining room) And the icing on the cake was that we had the entire second floor to ourselves until we had to call for sales help to cut some yardage.  On the way home the sun came out and the yellow and red leaves were popping out all over the hills. Gorgeous!

Tuesday: The day was a mostly average stay at home kind of day. It had rained a little bit in the morning and water had pooled in a couple of low spots on the swimming pool cover. Even though we do have a birdbath in the yard, it seems the birds prefer a much bigger area to do their splashing. I looked out the window while having coffee and counted 11 birds (4 different varieties) flitting in the shallows! A bird show beats housework for joy any day!

I hope each of you reading this find joy every single day. It is out there as long as we look for it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tuesday 4

I have been posting the answers to 4 questions each Tuesday. I follow Annie at Tuesday's 4. I like the questions because they usually make me think in a different direction than I might normally think about posts. Hop over and play along!

Do you put up birds houses over have a bird feeder or bath? 
I do have a bird bath but no longer have my bluebird houses up. 

The bible says your domesticated animals are to eat before you do since they cannot provide for themselves , what pets do you have and when do they eat?
After our last dog died, we have been without a pet. I love dogs and would love to have another, but TheHub is not as big a fan as I am, so I just love on everyone else's dogs now. I am still not giving up hope of finding a lovable rescue

Do you feed the birds in winter?
I used to feed them during the winter until I noticed the next door neighbors cat use the feeders as his personal bait station. That cat has moved on but now we have a new neighborhood cat, GrayGreg, who is a murdering little fellow. So far I have only seen him attack chipmunks and lizards, so I might put my feeders back out. But I will watch them and make sure he is not using them to trap birds.

How can we show kindness to others? Suggestions? 
Love like a dog does. Though sniffing each probably should be optional!
I think the kindest thing we can do is to treat others like we would like them to treat us. And the best thing about kindness is that it is contagious.

Monday, November 9, 2020

I Just Can't Explain

Each week I plan meals for that week and each week I change my mind, usually by Monday evening, which is kind of amazing since I don't post this plan until Monday morning. One would think because I plan it the day I put it on this blog that I would at least start the week with dinner made according to the plan. Obviously one would be highly mistaken. I would like to think there is some reasoning behind it, but . . . .

This is what my pea brain thought we would eat for the week:
White bbq chicken caulitato salad, green beans
2.Vegetable beef soup, cornbread
3. Philly cheesesteak casserole, tossed salad
4. Take out
5. Chicken scampi, pasta or zoodles, broccoli, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers
6. spaghetti over noodles or zoodles tossed salad
7. Veggie meal (depends on the produce stand availability)

And this is what really happened:
Monday:  I spent the day doing random house chores and did not think of dinner until TheHub called to say he was on his way home. By that time I did not have time to cook the cauliflower and cool it to make caulitato salad, but I knew I had to use the chicken in the fridge. Punt time!
Chicken with artichoke hearts and spinach in cream sauce, sliced tomatoes

Tuesday: We thought we would be watching the election results all night so I had cooked quite early during the day.
Vegetable soup, crackers

Wednesday: I had spent the day out of the house all day doing some shopping looking for upholstery fabric, because now with the new facelift in the rooms some of the chairs are going to need to be recovered.  (Yeah, this is just what I want to be doing right before the holidays) 
Take out Basil chicken, sautéed spinach from The Red Pearl

Thursday: Mom and Dad bought local art (generally water colors) from every place they traveled. Each piece was beautifully and thoughtfully framed and when we started emptying the house we thought about selling them, but art was very personal to Mom. My Beloved Sister's husband is an artist by profession and her house is already covered with painting, drawings and sculptures so I inherited most of it. I found by changing some of the mats and frames I was able to incorporate a lot of it into my home even though Mom and I had a very different aesthetic. (My powder room is almost a gallery now) Since I was home all day messing with art, making dinner was a piece of cake
Spaghetti with meat sauce, rolls

Friday:  TheHub called sometime during the day and told me he was craving a particular meal. It was not a problem for me, since he would pick it up on the way home from work.
Hot and sour soup, egg roll

Saturday: We had to run to the lake place to check everything after the power was restored. Then we HAD to get home to watch Georgia/Florida  and Clemson/Notre Dame. I would blame this on TheHub but I like to watch college football as much as he does. Intense ball game watching requires an easy meal.
Leftover vegetable soup 

Sunday:  Saturday on the way back from the lake we were going to run into Aldi to pick up a couple of items. We stopped at the one closest to the lake but it did not have what we were looking for. No problem, there was one more on the way home. As we neared the second store my favorite girl called to FaceTime. I never turn that down, so TheHub ran in the store by himself while I talked about dragons and school things . He did pick up what we could not find at the other store and also found something else he wanted to try. I guess he forgot what we had for dinner on Monday.
Artichoke stuffed chicken, sliced tomatoes

And now on to this weeks list of potential meals
1.Chili relleno souffle, salad
2.Pot roast with veggies, coleslaw
3.Italian wedding soup, cornbread
4.Some kind of dinner salad (Taco salad possibly)
5.Grilled steak, tossed salad, mashed potatoes
6. Take out
7.White bbq chicken, coleslaw, green beans

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

Friday, November 6, 2020

What's Happening After Midnight


I don't know about the rest of you, but the lack of sunshine and the time change really affects my body, mood, outlook, and sleep patterns. Normally I stay up until dark thirty. My creative juices seem to go crazy after midnight and fortunately I have enough room in the house that I can do my thing without bothering TheHub's sleep. But for a couple of weeks after switching from daylight savings time to standard time, I fall asleep on the loveseat before 9, then wake about midnight and of course I can't get back to sleep. So now I am in the transition period and just woke from an uncomfortable, unintended nap raring to go. 

I decided midnight plus is a great time to process some ground chuck I bought. To get the really good sale price you have to purchase the family pack and because there is just the two of us eating, I get a minimum of four meals out of each pack. And since I bought 3 of them I had some serious processing. 

For most of it I just pack about 3/4 of a pound in freezer bags, flatten them out to remove any air and stick them in the freezer. But I like to have some prepared things on hand all the time. So I decided to go ahead and make beef chorizo. It needs to be refrigerated so all the flavors will marry before I put it in pint size bags for the freezer. Since I am making it anyway I might as well share the making part with you. I am not sharing pictures today tonight because it is nothing but spiced and seasoned raw beef right now and that is just not very exciting. The excitement part comes from eating something delicious later. It might not be pretty but it is delicious. 

You might ask why I make it rather than just buy it since I can find it at any store. It is made the same way whole hog sausage is made and I don't buy that either. I prefer to know the cuts I am eating. I am sure hog cheeks and salivary glands are perfectly edible, I just don't want to eat them. And because I am an ingredient checker I see things that I can't unsee. So I make my own, buy butcher made sausage, and only buy kosher hot dogs. Additionally I had rather use beef than pork for this mainly because I can buy really good ground chuck but I have to grind my own pork. Yeah, I admit it is the path of least resistance that drives my choice here.

2 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper (I use the already ground stuff)
5 tablespoons ancho chili powder (sometimes I use 2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder instead)
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (you need the acid but you won't taste the vinegar)

The best way to mix this is wearing food safe gloves and just mix and mix in a large bowl until everything is incorporated. Stuff it into a food safe bag and let it rest about 24 hours.  After that I cook it crumbled, let it cool then pack it into freezer bags for future use. It is delicious and adds so much flavor to so many dishes. Next week I plan on making a chili relleno soufflé  and will use some of it! 

Since I now have to clean the kitchen again anyway, I might as well make meatballs for Italian wedding soup. I will be so glad when my body adjusts to the new time! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Joys for Week 44

As any of you who read this regularly know, I keep a list of my daily joys. The plan is to curl up on New Year's Eve with a cup of coffee or a nice adult beverage and re-read all the joys, large and small that happen every single day. 

Once again I feel compelled to tell you why I chose this song. This week while we were feeling the effects of Zeta, I would walk around the house singing. "No Phone, No Shows, Not Yet __I Ain't Got No Internet" 
So naturally when I started writing this post that was the only song that came into my knuckle head.

I found exactly how much I have come to rely on the conveniences that are part of my daily life. Although I had power and could do pretty much what I wanted to do, I would take my shower then ask "Alexa! What is the temperature?" Crickets!  Or "Alexa! Play Motown on the main group" Dead silence. And blogs! And my recipes that are so neatly stored in my bookmarks, were not accessible. Even though I did not really need them, just knowing I couldn't get to them bugged me.I could read your blogs through my phone, but I am not a clever enough texter to do much commenting. I tried with a couple before realizing my fumbling fingers are no match for the tiny keypad, unless I did my usual text responses, OK or thanks.

Now on to the joys for the week:

 Wednesday: I met with my painter to talk with him about doing some work at Mom's as we get closer and closer to putting it on the market. He is a very reasonably priced man whose crew does a very nice and careful job. There is a true joy finding a really nice man who cares about his crew, his clients, and his work.

Thursday: Zeta hit us from about 1 am until 4. I stayed awake the whole time watching the treetops spin, lightning flash and thunder boom. The lights flickered a bit and then everything except about 4 houses near me were in total darkness. My joy for the day was electricity, because I had it while everyone around me had none. We lost our tv, internet and phone services but I had lights and my refrigerator and freezer stayed cold.
Later in the day I met my sister at Mom's and we got two of her bathrooms deep cleaned (I am talking about the scrub brush in the grout clean) Not particularly joyful doing it, but extremely joyful to have it done.

Friday: Took care of some of Mom's lingering business, then had a long FaceTime visit with my favorite girl. She was very excited and wanted to share her Halloween plans and to talk about dragons.
Later TheHub and I watched a previously unopened DVD. Thank you, Denzil Washington, for providing us with a little entertainment. We enjoyed watching Man on Fire.

Saturday: Our services were still out, it was Halloween, ball game day, and a full moon ,so I put 70 candy bars (yes I am the big candy bar lady) in a tote, with a pair of tongs and a note to please be kind and just take one, then we took off for Son2' and DIL2's house to eat and watch the game (Roll Tide) I loved seeing how Mom's things have meshed with theirs, and loved being with them.
When we got back home all the candy was gone. I figure it lasted until the first group who came by without a parent got here.
About 10:30 which is 8:30 for my favorite girl, I had a long FaceTime call as she inventoried her Halloween loot! Reese cups for the win! I think she had about 12 of them, followed closely by KitKats!

Sunday: We received  a call Friday morning from a neighbor near the lake place and knew Zeta had left an ugly mark there. We could not go Friday because we had live wires across the yard and the driveway so there was no way to get into the house. They were still live Saturday morning and by the afternoon when they were taken care of, it was too close to the ballgame for us to go down just to survey the damage and make it back in time to watch it.  (Priorities, right). We went Sunday and found there were a lot of trees down but no structural damage to the house other than having the power lines to the house ripped out by fallen trees, and the screen door to the porch kind of shredded. Lucky!!!
I am also joyful that I learned long ago to empty the ice maker and turn it off before we leave. It's true that we lost everything in the freezer and refrigerator, but we kept very little down there and I did not have to deal with water from the ice maker pooled everywhere. 
When we got home I had another FaceTime visit with my favorite girl who was playing with her doll, Audrey. We decided Audrey was on a trip to Hawaii and riding in her boat (a rainbow striped sneaker).

Monday: I spent the day at home, mostly catching up on the laundry I did not do during the weekend. I know I have said my living room and dining room got a bit of a facelift by incorporating some of Mom's pieces with mine, which made me look at the den more critically. It is looking a bit sad and dated but I am not willing to buy new furniture. I have had the den sofa for about 30 years through one upholstering incarnation, but we plan to move sooner rather than later and have no idea what any new home will look like. I had rather wait until then to buy new or even have the current one redone again. (It really does have good bones) Instead I bought slipcovers for the couch and love seat and was able to get them fitted. I like the look but I have loose back cushions and the slipcover fits them oddly. After some critical thinking Monday, I decided to purchase an additional slipcover (for fabric) and make covers for the back cushions. They should look purposeful instead of a little wonky. So I guess my joy for the day is twofold. One is the simple joy of making a decision, and the other is inheriting Mom's sewing machine. (Which is an excellent one, and should make the sewing part so much easier. It is so much better than the one I had)

Tuesday: It is Election Day and I have the wonderful privilege of casting my vote. I was not thrilled by the choices, but still feel it is important to be a part of the process. Now that the die is cast, my hope is for some semblance of national unity. No matter what the outcome is I intend to be kind, live my life and love other people. 

My wish is for everyone to look for  and find joys every day. They are there! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Tuesday 4 About School

I have been following Annie's  Tuesday's 4. This week's is all about school and some of the memories of that time. Hop over there and join in the fun!

1. Share a story of your school days that you think may have helped shape who you are today
I was in the 12th grade and lived in perpetual fear of not making really good grades.We had a pop quiz on the book Lord Jim. Not only had I not read the first few chapters that were required, I had not even gotten the book to begin reading. I specifically remember the question: "Describe, in detail, the incident at Bangkok" Having not read a single page I had no clue, but I was not about to turn in a blank sheet of  paper. So I filled it with a tale of a fight that started when an orderly wheeled his elderly charge off the end of the pair for not sharing his cotton candy then was attacked by two drunken sailors, leaving a hurdy gurdy man and his monkey to rescue the chap in the wheelchair.  It was a story filled with absurdities, but was fun to write. After she graded them, the teacher returned mine with a note telling me how much she loved the story and it had made her day to read it. Then she had a huge zero circled in red. I think that was the day that I learned that there were more important things than a single grade on a single paper, to let some of the small stuff go, and that there was always something to laugh about, even with an absolute failure. 

2. Did you have a favorite teacher and what made them special to you.
Mrs. Barnes (6th grade) who believed in me and told me I could do anything. After my 5th grade nightmare year, it was such a relief.  I was the exact height I am now when I began the 5th grade. I was almost a head taller than the other girls in my class and she sneered daily about how "different" I was, and pointed out to everyone in class regularly that I was probably going to be 7 feet tall. I dreaded every single day of that school year. 
Miss Holland (12th grade English) who challenged the class and presented us with scenarios that caused a tremendous amount of thought and creativity. (see above)

3. Did you enjoy the rituals of school. . . new clothes, pencils, notebooks, etc.
Mom made all of our clothes, so I never got to do the back to school shopping thing,  We got one  new pair of serviceable shoes to start school and didn't get any others until our feet grew too big to cram into the existing ones.
I loved new pencils and 3 ring binders. I also loved new crayons even though the most I ever got , and it only happened once, was a box of 48,. I craved the 64 crayon box with a built in sharpener and gold, silver and copper crayons. I loved to draw and liked really sharp crayons. (As a joke, my sister gave me the 64 box for Christmas when I was about 30. Now if she would just get me that pair of white go-go boots  I never got either, my life would be complete)

4. Did you walk to school or ride the bus
Until high school we walked to and from school. It was about 8 blocks and a very easy walk to school (downhill) but not so great going home. Through the 10th grade Mom drove us in the morning but we took the bus home.  Then for my junior year our town started its own school system and there were no buses so we carpooled with the neighbors. By my senior year I drove most of the time.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Food, Just Food

This week I am planning for meals based mainly on what I have on hand.I have not been going not the grocery store lately except for a quick pick up for small necessities. Instead I have been just going to a small produce stand that operates Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and grabbing fresh local produce. They operate until the first frost then will be closed until their spring garden starts coming in. 

Also every Saturday a different gentleman sets up a peanut stand near them to sell freshly parched peanuts. So we have been buying them every Saturday. They have a brick and mortar store on Morris Avenue, The Peanut Depot, that has been in operation since 1907. TheHub prefers them plain, but I am a huge fan of the Cajun peanuts, so we buy both. The next time I am downtown I am going to stop by the actual store. I understand they do a bloody mary flavor that is wonderful, but they only sell it in house.

This is what I had planned for the past week:
Monday , our anniversary, takeout.
2. Corned beef and cabbage
3. Philly cheesesteak casserole, tossed salad
4. Halloween traditionally  hot dogs, but this year Halloween is also on a ball game night, so maybe a takeout chicken dinner. Who knows? Could be either.
5. Veggie meal (depends on what is available at the produce stand)
6. Low country shrimp boil, coleslaw 
7. White bbq chicken, caulitato salad

And this is what really happened:
Monday. Anniversary celebration with limited take out options, because we did not want to spend much for take out food.
Green chili burger and chocolate shake from Whataburger

Tuesday: I had bought some canned corned beef and decided to experiment with it. It pretty much looked like dog food but tasted fine. In the future though, I will add potatoes and have hash instead.
Corned beef and cabbage, sliced tomatoes

Wednesday: Something, but I forgot what we ate.  Must have been pretty uninspiring

Thursday: I had worked at Mom's house cleaning and getting stuff ready to put it on the market. I did not feel like cooking, fortunately TheHub likes to do take out.
BBQ, collards and coleslaw from Full Moon

Friday:  I had chicken in the fridge and a couple of bell peppers that needed to be used. Dinner pretty much planned itself.
Teriyaki Chicken with onions and peppers, sliced tomatoes, cucumber slices

Saturday: We usually invite Son2 and DIL2 to our house for ball game days and either cook out or have a meal here. Saturday our cable and internet were still not working, so we went to their house instead.
 KFC with a delicious apple pie and ice cream thanks to our wonderful DIL2

Sunday: We had to go to the lake place to survey the damage cause by Zeta. After a brief clean up (need some heavy duty chainsaws to so more) we headed home for a veggie dinner.
Butter peas, air fried okra, tomato slices, cornbread

And this is what I think might happen this week. . .maybe.
1. White bbq chicken caulitato salad, green beans
2.Vegetable beef soup, cornbread
3. Philly cheesesteak casserole, tossed salad
4. Take out
5. Chicken scampi, pasta or zoodles, broccoli, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers
6. spaghetti over noodles or zoodles tossed salad
7. Veggie meal (depends on the produce stand availability)

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan or with no plan at all!