Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial and Un-Memorable Vittles

I am sorry to subject you to this song, but I use the first tune that pops into my head. When I used the word vittles in the post title, my pea brain immediately went into cowboy mode. 

First of all, Happy Memorial Day to all in the states, and Happy               Monday to the rest of the world!

I know I had a meal plan for the week, but my plan and my actions so rarely coincide. This week was no exception! I had forgotten TheHub was going to be out a couple of nights when I made the plan and I am dang well not cooking for just me. If I had to cook for myself I would make one huge pot of something once a week and eat it every night until it was gone and then I would just cook another large pot of something else. Lather, rinse, repeat!

This is what I thought would happen:
1. Pasta salad or keto pasta salad
2. Meat sauce with spaghetti or zoodles, tossed salad*
3. Squash casserole, tomato slices, collards, keto cornbread
4. Fat head dough pizza crust with some sort of toppings*
5. Toasted cheese or BLT, Brussels sprouts *
6. Thai lettuce wraps
7. Taco salad

And this is what we really ate:
Monday: I had ground chuck seasoned with Italian seasonings in the freezer and a pint of mushrooms that needed to be used which made a spaghetti night critical.
Spaghetti sauce over noodles or cauliflower bits (zoodles just did not sound good) tossed salad

Tuesday: TheHub has been asking for pasta salad for weeks. Even though pasta is a no-go on the keto plan I caved and made it for him. 
Pasta salad or fake pasta salad (cauliflower salad)

Wednesday: At the last minute we decided to go out to eat in a real restaurant. It did take driving to 5 different ones before we found a place with very good food and a light enough crowd to accommodate my comfort level.
Taziki's salmon or pork loin, asparagus, greek salad 

Thursday: TheHub was on a fishing trip so I ate leftovers.
Something non memorable from a container in the fridge

Friday: TheHub was on his way home from the fishing trip but was not going to be here until late. I still had a doggy bag from Wednesday's restaurant meal.
Leftover pork tenderloin, asparagus

Saturday: We were out running some errands and wound up at the New York Butcher shop which is two doors down from Sexton Seafoods. Somehow or another we came home with lots of goodies Hmmm. That changed the weekend plans_ drastically. 
Grilled steak patties, brussels sprouts, tomato onion cucumber salad, keto toast

Sunday: When we were at Sexton's I was finally able to get what I needed to satiate my recent food itch. Sometimes a crazy expensive ingredient is worth it.
Crab cakes with remoulade sauce, tossed salad

Which now brings us to this week's plan (and I use that term loosely)
1. Pulled pork, caulitato salad, squash casserole, keto version of strawberry pretzel salad (which is a dessert!)
2. White bbq chicken, zucchini (lookout meal plan; the garden is on!) leftover caulitato salad 
3. Veggie meal dependent on what is available at the produce stand Tuesday. keto cornbread
4. Grilled steak, zucchini fries, tossed salad
5. Thai chicken lettuce wraps
6. Greek chicken skillet, sautéed yellow squash, tossed salad
7. Take out/eat out/ blt  (unsure at the moment)

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

Friday, May 28, 2021

Another Week's Worth of Joys

And now another week of 2021 is over. It still amazes me that the weeks are passing so fast. Now we have completed 21 weeks of the year, summer is in full force here and it is about time to start harvesting some of the veggies in the garden. I hope, when I look back over the days of this year, I find joys I had forgotten.

Friday: It was a perfect day with incredible breezes. Even though it was a little hot the wind blowing made it feel a little cooler. 
My Beloved Sister and I went to Floor and Decor to try and find the tile for the backsplash in the kitchen at Mom's house. I think we bought 9 samples, brought them back to Mom's house and made a decision in about 5 minutes of seeing each piece next to quartz sample, walls and cabinets!

Saturday:  Since I went to the Mexican bakery earlier in the week, TheHub had been jonesing for delicious cheap pastries. We started the morning there and this time I asked what the name was. It is La Conchita,  and their sign was up, but in an awkward place that I had never noticed. Now I know.
Afterward we ran some quick errands then wound up at the produce stand near us. Their strawberries were perfectly juicy and sweet, though a little tad small.  We came home and got ready for the NCAA Softball regionals. Alabama won and advanced to Sunday's finals.

Sunday: We sat on the deck sipping morning coffee while streaming church services. I am not sure there is anything better than enjoying the beauty of creation at the same time. Birds were everywhere, there were big fluffy clouds in the sky and stuff all around was blooming. later we watched the softball regional final. Bama won, Roll Tide!

Monday: Met My Beloved Sister and Jerry my handyman at Mom's and got his bid for all the odd jobs for the flip. My Beloved Sister  and I decided on things we needed to purchase for the flip. It is nice that we are on the same page and both agree that we do not have to choose things we wold choose for our own homes. She had found the "perfect" light fixture to go above the table and it was gorgeous. We would have loved to see it there because it truly was perfect for the spot, unfortunately it cost a little over a grand. Not happening!

Tuesday: We were very happy that the painters began painting at Mom's. It is going to change the look of the house. Tuesday was primer day.
I met them at the house to open it up so they could get started, then went to the produce stand for more strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers. Cucumbers become my crackers while I am doing keto, so I eat one each day.

Wednesday: My Beloved Sister and I went shopping to buy the things we needed for the flip. We had a red letter day and things seemed to fall into place for  us. In just a few hours and 3 or 4 stops we had found everything we needed. Bonus: I found a couple of things for my house and so did MBS.
The painters started with the actual paint! The den looks amazing!

Thursday: I had a mostly quiet day. TheHub is on a fishing trip on the Gulf, so I took a moderately self indulgent day and only did things I wanted to do. The have to do's could wait until Friday. I did get the winter curtains taken down from the den windows and changed over to the summer ones. It is so much lighter both for actual sunlight, but also darkness and heaviness of the winter fabric is gone. I would have done this earlier but I had decided to replace my summer curtains this year, and found these when MBS and I went shopping for Mom's house.
 I will love this look until sometime in late October and then the weather will start to change. That's the time I will bring out the afghans and prepare for winter (which will not actually come until some time in December)
I forgot to mention I had the unusual joy of being in total control of the TV remote. That never happens! I watched back to back home renovation shows, which really means I watch the 5 minute set up, then do other things, coming back to watch the reveal. I don't need to see the actual process since there is a YouTube video for absolutely anything I need to learn how to do.

  Look for joy and you can always find it, even if it takes a lot of looking! I hope you all have a glorious and joyful week as we head into week 23.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Time for Tuesday 4

When I actually remember it is Tuesday, I try to join Annie at Tuesday 4.  She asks 4 questions which always make me think, reminisce or a combination of both. This weeks questions are all about time.

Are you currently reading a book you'd like to tell us about? Maybe a TV program you can recommend to us? 
I am currently reading a book I read in the early 80's. At the time Serpentine by Thomas Thompson was on the NYT bestseller list. I remember really enjoying the book even though I found the subject of it horrifying. A couple of weeks ago Son1 told me I should watch the Netflix show The Serpent. About midway through the series I realized it was based on the same person as the book I had read. Then serendipitously, I saw it was available through Kindle Unlimited, so I am now re-reading it.

Are you a Jane Austen fan? So many seem to be. If you are what is your favorite book and who is your favorite character.  If you aren't a fan, is there an author you especially like to read? Favorite character...etc.
I am not a Jane Austen fan. 
I am not particularly author driven though I have read multiple books by the same authors.
My personal favorite book of all time is the very quirky A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. I am completely obsessed with the main character Ignatius J. Riley and his many flaws.  I read it in 1980 when it was first published and read it again every year for about 15 years. Now I just read it every 5 or so years and fall in love with it all over again. I am so crazy about the book that I had a guy at a local bookstore hunt for 5 years to find me a LSU press edition and at one time had 4 paperback editions to loan to friends without worrying about getting my LSU press edition back. (BTW none of the four copies were ever returned)

How do you spend your time during the day?  Do you set apart time to read, watch TV, study?
It depends on the day. I do not watch TV at all during the day, though sometimes I will turn a Netflix movie or show on the laptop then run it via bluetooth through Echo and will listen while I go about my business in the house. I will do the same with Master Class if there is something  I want/need to learn.  I am a night time reader so I rarely make time for reading during the day.

Have your beliefs changed in your life time? New religion.. new politics? Or are they the same as they were growing up? Do you spend time thinking over the important things of life to take stock in your life?
This is a hard question to answer. My core beliefs are still pretty much the same. I was taught to be kind to everyone, to respect my elders, to mind my manners, to be polite, and to always use the "Magic Words". 
As for day to day living . . . change is the only constant in life. 
I still attend the same church my parents attended, but it, like everything, has evolved over the years. My views on theology have broadened considerably since I was a child, and I continue to mature in my beliefs the older I get.
I think anyone who does not admit to thinking about the important things in life, setting and resetting goals, or deciding what is truly important to them is either overrun with the responsibilities of day to day life, or just not being truthful with themselves.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Summer is Here and We are Hungry

Every week I make a meal plan and then kind of ignore it because life or sheer laziness get in the way of the plan. This week was no exception!

This is what I planned:
1. Peruvian chicken with green sauce, potatoes (or not) tossed salad
2. Frikadellen (German hamburger patties) green beans, keto German "potato" salad
3. Chicken Tinga (3rd time's a charm?) shredded lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole
4. Sloppy Joes (ball game meal) coleslaw
5. Meat sauce over spaghetti or zoodles, tossed salad (TheHub's request meal)
6. Maurice salad
7. Take-out

This is what changed:
Monday: TheHub called about midday (which he never does) mentioning that he wanted to pick something up for dinner. I have no qualms about not cooking, but he has this wonderful way of letting you know what he is in the mood for without actually telling you. He started saying "I could pick up something from Captain D's or I could go to Purple Onion, or I could stop by Captain D's or I can call La Fiesta, or I can grab something from Captain D's.
Captain D's seafood platter

Tuesday: I was cleaning the fridge Monday  and found 2 portobello mushrooms that I had forgotten about. Since they had to be used, the plan was altered__again!
Stuffed portobello

Wednesday: I meant I was going to make the chicken tinga since it had been on the meal plan (unmade) for 3 weeks running.
 Chicken Tinga, coleslaw

Thursday: Tuesday I had run by The Pig to pick up some ground pork which meant I was bound to making the German hamburger no later than Thursday. This was the first time I had tried this recipe and it was really delicious. The consistency was more like a meatloaf patty than a traditional burger, but we were eating it as a patty anyway so it didn't matter.
Frikadellen, marinated tomato onion cucumber bell pepper salad

Friday: Ball game night! The first round of the regional softball tournament games began Friday. And if Alabama is playing a tournament game we will be watching.
Sloppy Joes on keto buns (shhh! Don't tell TheHub) lots of pickles

Saturday: Since the softball game was on early, we did not have to have a ball game dinner. Instead a different meal plan detour happened. The day was so gorgeous it screamed at us to use the grill for dinner. 
Sesame crusted grilled tuna steaks, asian coleslaw

Sunday: The day was another gorgeous day and would have been perfect for grilling.  We had watched softball during the afternoon, then TheHub watched the PGA tournament (Congrats to Phil Mickelson for being the oldest person ever to win it.) so we ate later than I would have liked to be cooking outside.  The meal was so good I am really glad I cooked inside even if it did heat up the kitchen.
Peruvian Chicken with green sauce, green beans, tossed salad

Summer is here now, so our meals will get a little lighter. This is the time of year we like to sit on the screened porch at night with a cold beverage listening to the crickets, katydids, and tree frogs. 

This is what is planned. Will it happen or not? Who knows!
1. Pasta salad or keto pasta salad
2. Meat sauce with spaghetti or zoodles, tossed salad*
3. Squash casserole, tomato slices, collards, keto cornbread
4. Fat head dough pizza crust with some sort of toppings*
5. Toasted cheese or BLT, Brussels sprouts *
6. Thai lettuce wraps
7. Taco salad

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

* The asterisk is just for my personal benefit to make sure I use things that are lingering and need to be used this week
shredded parmesan
brussels sprouts


Friday, May 21, 2021

It's a Whole New Week

As is my habit, I try to highlight the joyous things I find each day of the year, because even on the worst day there is something beautiful, joyous or humorous that happens. Sometimes I have to look very hard for it, but it is always there. 
Now here we are with the 21st week of 2021 completed. I would say I can't believe this much time has passed, but our high temps for the weekend are in the 90's, so whether I choose to believe it or not, all I have to do is step outside to find that summer is smacking me in the face.

Friday: I am not exactly sure what happened on Friday during the daytime. I forgot to write anything down and after a couple of days, one day melts into the next. TheHub came home from the office a little early so we could eat quickly before the SEC softball game. Woo hoo Bama won!

Saturday: DIL2 and Son2 came over to have hotdogs and watch the final game in the SEC championship, Bama vs. Florida. Alabama won  and the road to the softball finals is now on.

Sunday: We did stream our church services, but did not participate in our Sunday school class this week. TheHub had some work he needed to do and I prepared for an open house at Mom's. The turnout was a little disappointing but we did get a tentative offer on the house. Still I had a lot of laughs with my sister. Later that night TheHub and I went to the Mexican bakery (I wish they had a name posted above the door and I would start referring to it by name.) for a quick little treat.

Monday: The buyer opted out and some decisions were made for us. Mom's house is a beautiful home, but it looks like an 80+ year old woman lived there. My sister's job disappeared during the quarantine period and though she can, she had not planned on retiring yet. It would help her tremendously for us to max out the purchase price for the house, so we are going to do some quick updates to the house to make it a little more appealing to the younger buyers. We figured the 12K estimate will increase the value by 30K so it is worth the effort.

Tuesday: Met with the guy (my cousin) who will install the countertops at Mom's. The quartz is going to look great and I am ever thankful Mom was J's favorite aunt!  I might have to do some before and after pictures of the kitchen.
My beloved sister found a new landscape guy who did some major work in Mom's backyard. We had been diligent keeping the front of the house perfectly maintained, but the backyard is very private. It slopes to a creek and is a mostly an azalea filled natural area, that was a little (OK a lot) overgrown. After he finished the backyard looked like a perfectly groomed park. 

Three photos of Mom's tidied backyard

   And especially for EC the Creek bed before clean-up

Wednesday: I met a friend at the same Mexican bakery for coffee. They were doing some intense baking and the smell was heavenly. Though they did have sporadic customers the whole time we were in the coffee shop part, I have no idea why people are not beating their door down. Their pastries are absolutely delicious and cost anywhere from 50 cents to 1.99 each. The same thing at Starbucks would be 5 bucks. and would not be nearly as tasty. I decided that there are either too many people who have never noticed it before, or there are just a lot of idiots among us.
After leaving there I went to a local Mexican market. This was not the gigantic Hispanic market I prefer, and the owner will absolutely make sure you understand it is a Mexican market, with products mainly from Mexico. I  found two things I was searching for along with a jar of pickled cabbage that I have never tried before. At best it will be delicious and at worst we will have something interesting and new.

Thursday: This was a red letter day. I had a fun phone conversation with one of my favorite bloggers! Made my day!
I do not know if any of you have TUBI as part of your streaming services. It is free, but you do have to sit through commercials (or go do quick personal business during them). 
I think Son3 may have added TUBI to my Firestick when they were in town and it just languished unused until I noticed they were having a Billy Wilder film festival. After watching The Apartment, Some Like it Hot, Sunset Boulevard, and Sabrina I started scrolling through regularly to see what was available. 
I have been missing theater badly. We go (or at least pre-covid we did) to several plays throughout the year. I did like tons of people did and ordered Disney plus so we could watch Hamilton, but that was not enough to hold me for the year. I crave the sounds of the orchestra and the audience applause.
Thursday night  while scrolling through TUBI's options, I found a 2015 filmed performance from London's Savoy theater of Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton as Rose. We sat and watched, and could at least pretend we were in a theater! It was a wonderful temporary fix. 
I saw that Broadway is set to re-open in September. I think a trip to New York might be much needed!

Hope you have a wonderful week finding joys! 



Wednesday, May 19, 2021

I'm Stuffed

We are not really the meat and potato type, and often have meatless meals. The other night was one of those nights. I found a couple of portobello mushrooms I had bought thinking I would toss them on the grill for a "bello" burger. Instead I stuck them in the crisper and promptly forgot about them until Monday night when I was cleaning out the refrigerator to get rid of anything that needed to be put into the garbage for Tuesday's pickup. And what did that mean? It meant I had to do something with them right away.

Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic,  minced
1/4 bell pepper, chopped
1 bag (8 oz.) fresh spinach, cut in shreds 
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cauliflower rice (only because I had it leftover)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 slices lightly toasted bread, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 of a 4 oz goat cheese log (mine was garlic/herb)
2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned with the gills removed (Use a spoon and gently scrape them clean. Toss the gills)
2 oz, mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350
In a large non-stick skillet add the onion to the olive oil and stir until it is wilted. Throw in the tossed garlic,  give it a couple of quick stirs before adding the chopped pepper. Cook until the pepper slightly softens then add the spinach and stir continually until is is soft and wilted. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower rice (optional) vinegar, crumbled bread and salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the mixture is somewhat dry and all combined.  Stir in the goat cheese until it is melted and incorporated throughout. 

Place the mushrooms cap side down on a parchment covered baking sheet. Divide the pan mixture in half and place it in each mushroom "bowl". Pop it in the oven for 15 or so minutes. Sprinkle with the grated mozzarella and return it to the oven until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

TheHub had eaten a pretty big lunch and I was not hungry, so the stuffed mushroom was all we had, but it was very filling and more than plenty for us. Plus it tasted really good. (Much better than it looked)

Give it a try. You might like it!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Plans Are Highly Overrated

And so begins a new week!  As usual I will make a meal plan and typical of me, most likely will abandon it along the way. Such is life in fast lane ! (Which I do not live, but it sounds better)

This is what was planned:
1. Veggie meal (squash casserole, coleslaw, keto cornbread, lady peas)
2. Black and Blue salad
3. Grilled lamp chops, rice or caulirice, Brussels sprouts,
4. Chicken Tinga, shredded lettuce, tomato slices, guacamole
5. Grouper meuniere, green beans, salad
6. Take out
7. Toasted cheese, tomato and onion sandwiches, mixed greens
Wildcard meal could be something Peruvian if I find something enticing.

And this is where life interfered and what really happened:
Monday: I had invited DIL2 and Son2 for Mother's Day lunch. I knew I had steaks in the freezer, but forgot my frozen stuff was still mostly in my sister's freezer. When I was rustling around in mine I found just 2 steaks. I also found a package with 5 frenched lamb chops, so I thawed them  and cooked them along with the steaks, just to make sure I had enough. What I did not realize was that one of the steaks was of Fred Flintstone's brontosaurus steak proportions. We had leftover steak and did not even touch the chops. Leftovers!
Grilled lamb chops, mixed veggies, Thai noodles (leftover from TheHub's lunch) or none

Tuesday: Our favorite produce stand is back in operation. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, they sell fresh picked produce from their farm and a couple of other farms further south that have formed a loose cooperative. And now I can look forward to buying from them weekly until the first frost late in the fall.
Squash casserole, green beans, coleslaw, tomato slices

Wednesday: Between storms, working at Mom's, and sheer laziness and forgetfulness, I finally made it to my sister's Wednesday to grab my frozen foods and move them back into my freezer. I had forgotten how much I had! I intended to go to the fish market and buy grouper, but while I was putting things back in my freezer I happened on a package of scallops. Menu change!
Pan seared scallops, baked potato (or none) cucumber tomato onion salad

Thursday: It was a ball game night so we planned an easy meal. We do not ever eat anywhere but the table so the food had to be simple and something that could be eaten quickly between games. Fortunately I can do simple very easily.
Toasted cheese sandwiches (essentially cheese toast with grilled onions and tomato slices)
pickled radishes, bag of chips or bag of fake keto "cheese puffs" 

Friday: According to those who are sport superstitious, you can't plan anything for any game except the one you are guaranteed. Since Alabama won on Thursday we had another softball game to watch! I had a huge hunk of steak leftover from Mother's Day that had to be used, and it had to be a meal that could be eaten in 20 minutes or less, because of my "eating only at a table" rule. Glad I had this planned for this week anyway!
Black and blue salad, toast (delicious smelling real toast or fake keto toast)

Saturday: Bless his heart! TheHub had been drooling for a hot dog dinner since Thursday. It is not my favorite meal, but sometimes I have to remember I am not the only one who eats here and, occasionally, have to consider someone else's wants. (But I don't have to like it). I saved this for Saturday, knowing it was hit or miss whether Alabama would be playing or not. In the event they didn't I was planning on Chicken Tinga. Oh well! The upside is that Bama won the SEC tournament! Roll Tide! That means another ball game meal next week.
Hot dogs (bunless for keto), chips or keto cheese puffs, slaw 

Sunday: My beloved sister and I were at Mom's most of the day Sunday, and afterward I just did not want to cook. TheHub and I drove around looking at life, and decided to grab a quick meal while we were out. 
Wing Stop for the win! I love their lemon pepper wings and raw veggies

I still have-not begun my tour of local ethnic markets, but this week I am going to start. I might even begin today. The weather is gorgeous and other than a messy house I have nothing standing in my way!
And now on to this week's plan: 
1. Peruvian chicken with green sauce, potatoes (or not) tossed salad
2. Frikadellen (German hamburger patties) green beans, keto German "potato" salad
3. Chicken Tinga (3rd time's a charm?) shredded lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole
4. Sloppy Joes (ball game meal) coleslaw
5. Meat sauce over spaghetti or zoodles, tossed salad (TheHub's request meal)
6. Maurice salad
7. Take-out

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

Friday, May 14, 2021

Joy Finds Me Again

As is my usual for the week, I try my best to keep up with some of the daily joys I experience, and freely admit the some days during the past year, joy has been terribly hard to find. Still I look for it each day and manage to find something joyful or joyous each day.

 I am fully inoculated and am taking baby steps to rejoin the world, however, I am doing it at my speed, fully masked. Sue me.

Each week now, I intend to do something I would have done pre-covid. I have put my toe in the
world and will try to safely go out among the living again, reserving the right to retreat if I feel uncomfortable. 

Now here is my list of joys for the 19th week of the year, including my big leap back into the world. I have actually worn real clothes and make-up three times this week. That is more than I did the entire month of March. Look out world, I am taking a walk on the wild side!

 Friday: A dear friend had called me and asked if I would meet her for coffee and conversation. Like me she has been contained in her small bubble and was in desperate need of socialization. There is a relatively new Mexican bakery/coffee/ice cream shop near us. TheHub and I had dashed into it before and bought some pastries and I had noticed it was a very large shop and the coffee/ice cream side had always been virtually vacant. It was the perfect spot for both of us to test the waters, since neither of us had been seated inside anywhere since March 2020. I can't begin to tell you how much I needed it, and plan to meet another friend at the same place next week. 

Saturday: For the first time since the beginning of the year TheHub did not go into the office at all on the weekend. We decided to get up, get dressed and run a few errands, including one to get my Mother's Day present. You have to understand I am pretty practical and have asked for paint, new garbage cans, hedge trimmers, etcetera, and TheHub is happy to oblige.  And this year's winner was a 2x2x6 foot galvanized horse trough. I know it sounds like an odd gift for a horseless house, but I have great plans for it. 
We continued our errands, then went on The Great Lantana Hunt. I don't know why it is so hard to find lantana this year. (I had lantana that came up in the same planter each year, but for some reason TheHub "cleaned" the planter and threw it out. I guess its was the same reason he "cleaned" the mint and parsley planters)
I kept telling TheHub we needed to go to Myers first. It is hands down the best nursery in town and they have absolutely everything. Yes, it is a tad farther and a little pricier, but driving to the four other places we went to looking for it cost gas and time, and we wound up there anyway!  Even though my "I told you so" remained silent, there was a certain glee knowing I could have said it!

Sunday: Mother's Day grilled lunch with Son2 and DIL2. I love seeing them and spending time with them!

Monday: Occasionally, when Son1 is taking Pip to school, they call me. Monday they called and I got to   join in her early morning  (10 o'clock here) silliness.

Tuesday: I had a wonderful phone conversation with a friend I have not heard from in quite a while. Sure friendships are beyond joyful.

Wednesday: Mom's accountant called and her taxes were finished. I was able to run by his office, sign them and have them filed electronically. It was bittersweet, because it is the last time I will ever have to do that for her, but there is joy knowing I will not have to keep up with her tax documents again.
Also, the SEC women's softball tournament was on TV. I love watching them play, and wish it had been around  as a sanctioned sport when I was younger. 

Thursday: Produce should not cause such great joy, but our local produce stand has real honest to goodness freshly picked tomatoes and strawberries. According to the farmer/market owner all of his crops are at least two weeks ahead of their normal schedule. Oh my goodness! It tasted like putting summertime in my mouth!
Alabama played Kentucky in the SEC softball tournament. It was a great game. Roll Tide!

Have a great week finding you joys wherever they are or whatever they might be!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Signs of the Times

 There is currently a "sign war" going in in one of the suburban cities in the Birmingham Metro area. I thought I might share them with you for some giggles.

Warning: Photo dense post

Monday, May 10, 2021


I have seen this written often, usually making fun of a southern accent. The first time I saw it, I had no idea what it was until I said it out loud, and then of course I knew. 
Yes, we had collards and peas
Just in case some of you had no idea what that meant, Geet? = Did you eat?
Personally I never say "Geet?" but then I have no accent. It's the rest of you who talk funny! 

 The J.B.'s "Pass The Peas" featuring the trombone antics of Fred Wesley 

Even though I declared I was going to start going to different markets every other week, I did not make it to an ethnic grocery this week. In fact, I did buy food of any sort other than a quick stop at a produce stand. So I am going to have to begin my ethnic store explorations this week. I am still going to go to the Latin market first, mainly because I am out of a few things I usually buy there. Plus I really do like to shop their Peruvian section. I love Peruvian food but do not make it regularly and need to hone my skills.

Speaking of eating, this is what was planned for the week:
1.Takeout (that is a given)
2. Grilled steak, tossed salad
3. Gussied up grilled cheese, coleslaw
4. Chicken Tinga with guacamole, shredded lettuce
5. Smoked pork, coleslaw, caulitato salad
6. Some big salad meal or veggie meal (depends on what is available at the produce stand)
7. Shrimp scampi, tossed salad

And this is what actually happened as opposed to the plan:
Monday: I have been actively trying to use everything currently in the freezer before I get all my frozen stuff from my sister's freezer. (Secretly I hope she and BIL have used some of it) I had a small package meat I had smoked during the holidays and it needed to be used.
Pulled pork, coleslaw

Tuesday: There was a small package of ground chuck in the freezer, and for some reason I had about 5 bell peppers in the fridge. Dinner decided itself.
Philly cheesesteak casserole, coleslaw (had some leftover from Monday's dinner) 

Wednesday: Happy Cinco de Mayo using more of those bell peppers!
Fajitas with tortillas or over crumbled cauliflower

Thursday: TheHub had eaten a big lunch at one of those business luncheon things. I was hungry but did not really want to cook
Grilled cheese sandwiches on regular or keto bread, copious amounts of dill pickles

Friday: You know you have been to a particular curbside restaurant pickup too many times when you go late and the waitress who normally brings you your food is getting off work for the night, calls you by name, stops to talk to you,  tells you she was glad you did not get all the Cinco de Mayo madness, and tells you your order is still being prepared, and she will see you next week. 
Takeout La Fiesta

Saturday: We had some errands to run and ate lunch very late. Neither of us were hungry for dinner so we just grabbed something to nibble on.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich or 1/2 leftover grilled cheese on keto bread

Sunday: Son2 and DIL2 came over to eat Mother's Day Dinner in the late afternoon. It was a perfect day with perfect guests.
Grilled steak, asparagus, baked potato, croissants, tossed salad, grasshopper mousse

Which moves us to this week's possibilities:
1. Veggie meal (squash casserole, coleslaw, keto cornbread, lady peas)
2. Black and Blue salad
3. Grilled lamp chops, rice or caulirice, Brussels sprouts,
4. Chicken Tinga, shredded lettuce, tomato slices, guacamole
5. Grouper meuniere, green beans, salad
6. Take out
7. Toasted cheese, tomato and onion sandwiches, mixed greens
Wildcard meal could be something Peruvian if I find something enticing.

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

Friday, May 7, 2021

Can You Believe 18 Weeks Are Done?

I am one of those people who listen to music nearly all the time, and lately I have been listening to it loud and dancing my head off. Well, dancing as well as my creepy knees will let me. 
Even at my prime I was not a graceful dancer, looking somewhat like a drunk baby elephant. But let me be all alone when no one can see me and in my mind I rival any move Paula Abdul can make!  
The song below is one of my all time happy songs, and is fabulous for the awkward happy dance one might see if I were ever daring enough to dance in front of other humans or the windows. 

We have now completed 18 full weeks of the yearBesides my solo dancing these are some of this week’s joys  

Friday: I did not feel well at all, but the joy was knowing that I could indulge myself by resting (and medicating) and anything that did not get done was really not going to matter. Of course having TheHub pick up a really spicy dinner that I could actually almost taste did not hurt either!

Saturday: I woke to an incredibly gorgeous morning and felt a bit better, not back to normal, but better, and better beats feeling horrible any day. In fact I felt good enough to put on some early morning music and dance around the kitchen. (See the Youtube video above for one of my favorite "get your tail moving " songs). TheHub and I did some running around to get some plants. Even though I abhor yard work some things just have to be done, so now most things are planted and coming up. I can almost taste the okra already.
Afterward TheHub and I went to the bluff to watch the sunset.

Sunday: This was the day for church streaming and our Webex Sunday school class. Later in the afternoon we did a little work around the house then went out just to ride around and do some curbside comparisons of real estate that is for sale near Mom's house. We did have an offer but it was a lowball offer by a contractor who wants to flip it. 
We will put a few grand in it and flip it ourselves before we take an offer so far below asking.

Monday: I know something wonderful happened. Oh yes! It was a great and laugh filled phone call with Sluggy, Kim, and Sissie! Made my day and I grinned all through the night! Now I just have to get them to head south. Blog party at Anne's! Anyone interested?

Tuesday: I woke in the morning to find a morning that fit one of Mom's descriptions. If a day was beyond gloomy but not quite gruesome Mom's term for the day was a "Gloosome Day", and Tuesday morning was just that. 
Most days I wake and sip my coffee while listening to the songbirds, but the sky was foreboding, the air was still, the humidity was high, and the birds were silent. Most likely it was because storms and rains slightly less than Noah proportions were on their way.
The joy was a small joy, but a joy nonetheless. I met my cousin at Mom's to get a bid for a little project we need to have done there. He called me and we met right as the rain had stopped, I showed him what I was talking about, he took the proper measurements, and then we left right as it started sprinkling again. I made the two minute drive back to my house and was halfway between the car and the front door before the bottom fell out, so I was only partially drenched when I got through the door. I quick towel dry of my hair and a top change were all that was really needed. 1 minute later and it would have been much worse!

Wednesday: The day came, the day went with little excitement, but the weather was gorgeous and the geraniums on the front porch are beyond beautiful. After a kind of lame Cinco de Mayo meal, TheHub and I watched The Serpent on Netflix. It is a BBC series based on true events about a gem merchant/serial killer, Charles Sobhraj. The first episode was the set up episode and was slow and drawn out. The second one we watched on Wednesday was very interesting.

Thursday: The morning was just drop dead gorgeous and the temperature was dang near perfect. I was able to open the house and exchange the air. So nice! Especially since I woke teary for Thursday was the anniversary of the day Mom died and the brilliant day was a tremendous lift.
Then when TheHub came home we ate a quick dinner so we could dash up to the bluff to catch the sunset. We go see it as often as we can and even the “ugly” sunsets have beautiful moments. For us it is such a peaceful 20 minutes and waiting for the sun to fall becomes a meditative  experience.
And last but not least, the third episode of The Serpent was outstanding. 

So go enjoy your day and look for the joys that are in it. They are always there!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021


A week or so ago we had an abnormally cool day and night and I decided to forget about grilling as planned and make something inside. Unfortunately I had nothing thawed, except a package of sausage and a leftover chicken breast. 
For some reason, and I am not exactly sure where it came from, I decided to make jiffy Jambayla. It was unusual for a couple of reasons. I rarely make it ,and when I do I cook is long and slow. Desperate times and all that, huh?

So not only was I going to cook it fast, I had to make it keto using just what I had on hand. I knew I had onions, peppers, and celery on hand which is the beginning of anything Cajun. I had no shrimp, crawfish or crab, but knew I could easily make it without it. No green onions, fresh parsley or cilantro to top it? Details!
So what I finally came up with as a bastardized version of Jambayla, not as delicious as normal, but still a tasty very low carb dish that actually tasted pretty close to the real deal.

Faux Jambayla
1 green bell pepper cut into strips
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 small onion julienne cut
3 ribs celery chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound smoked sausage  cut into "coins"(would have used Andouille but I didn't have any)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup broth (I used chicken because it was already opened and in the fridge)
1 cooked chicken breast cut in pieces
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2  tablespoon cajun seasonings (I used Tony Catchere's, the amount is your personal preference)
cauliflower rice, or regular rice

Heat oil in a sauté pan then add the onion. Cook until it is slightly soft before adding the celery and the peppers. Next toss in the smoked sausage, stir and cook through. Quickly add the minced garlic and stir it around for about 30-45 seconds. The trick is to get it wilted without burning it. Then toss in the broth and continue stirring while adding the rest of the ingredients, except for the rice. Stir well and let it cook for a few minutes until everything is nice and bubbling.  Because TheHub does not do keto I split this the two of us and just put his on top of hot cooked rice, then I stirred my cauliflower rice into the pan. (because the caulirice was straight from the freezer)

I like something fresh on top of it, but as I mentioned earlier I had no green onions, parsley or cilantro. Instead I chopped some of the celery leaves and sprinkled it on top of mine. Taste 10, looks 3! When I do it again, I will have a combo of celery leaves and green onions to sprinkle over it.
This was pretty darn tasty and is something I will do again (with the addition of shrimp and a bay leaf ) Plus it is very easy to make to accommodate the two different ways of eating. It would have tasted better and more authentic with the addition of seafood but that is life isn't it?

If you like Jambayla and would like to make a small batch quickly, this might work for you, like it did for us.


Monday, May 3, 2021

A Weak Week of Meals

Last week is read this post from the blog Sam, Coffee, Money, &Thyme. She was talking about exploring a different ethnic grocery store and her finds there which inspired me to do the same. At least every other week I plan on going to some of the wonderful markets around here and planning a meal each week using the items I find there. Since Cinco de Mayo is this week it just makes sense that I would start with a local Latin market. There is one fairly close to my house which is gigantic. I tend to go  shop there about 2 times a year, so I am due for a visit anyway. 

What was planned:
1. TheHub will be out of town so popcorn maybe?
2. TheHub will still be out of town so cereal perhaps?
3. Crab cakes with remoulade sauce, coleslaw, green beans, keto dinner rolls
4. Grilled tuna steaks,  broccoli, tossed salad, toast or rolls
5. Big salad meal (No clue yet what type)
6. Grilled burger with all the fixings, caulitato salad or some kind of chopped salad
7. Take-out

What was eaten:
Monday: While visiting with my cousins Monday, the one staying with our uncle brought containers of pulled pork that was leftover from their previous nights dinner. I was going to be the only one here for dinner and had already decided I was not going to cook. Luckily for me I did not have to eat just popcorn
Pulled pork sandwich 

Tuesday:  TheHub's flight was not getting in until later at night and there was no way I was going to cook. 
Cheese and crackers

Wednesday: It was a pretty day, in fact, a perfect day for firing up the grill.
Grilled tuna, roasted broccoli, cucumber slices and pickled radishes

Thursday: TheHub had specifically asked for a ball game meal. I assumed incorrectly that Alabama's women were playing a softball game he wanted to watch. For us a ball game meal is anything that can be scarfed down quickly since we do not eat our meals anywhere other than either the kitchen or dining room table. Stupid me! Instead we ate our hamburgers really fast so we could watch the NFL draft.
Hamburger with fixings (sans bun or not) cauliflower salad or chips

Friday: Earlier this week, my beloved sister and I were at Mom's doing a little sprucing up around her backyard patio. We had moved her gigantic rolling garbage bin to the backyard to make cleanup a little easier, so we could just toss debris in it then take it to her curb for the yard trash pickup. I found an old galvanized garbage can they used to collect yard waste filled with what I thought was pine straw, so I upended it into the bin. Only the first half was pine straw. The bottom half was some unidentified dark powdery residue that exploded into a cloud of gray. I have no idea what I accidently inhaled while emptying the can, but I have been coughing ever since. By Friday, I was feeling like a tank ran over me and nixed our plans for dining al fresco as our weekly date night.
Take out from La Fiesta...Chili poblano

Saturday: We had intended to have crab cakes Saturday night. I have been craving them for over a month but had just not made it happed, so late Saturday afternoon we headed to our local fish market to grab a pound of lump crabmeat__just at the time for a moratorium on crabbing so they can lay their eggs. I understand completely, but my mouth was disappointed. Crab cakes will have to wait for another few weeks. 
Neither of us had eaten and had planned to grab something on the way home from the store, but we had bought a pound of shrimp and had it steamed so we came home and ate shrimp and a tossed salad for a late lunch. When it was time for dinner neither of us was really hungry which changed dinner plans completely.
Keto toast or peanut butter filled pretzels

Sunday: A few weeks ago, I was buying groceries at The Pig and was looking through the spice section for dried chives when I spotted Captn' Anderson's seafood seasoning. It is one of our favorite restaurants when we go to the beach and the food there is always delicious, so I bought it. 
Because of our late lunch and no dinner Saturday night it made sense to cook what we had bought for that meal. The bonus was being able to use the seasoning I bought beforehand. 
Broiled tile fish, tossed salad

I have no affiliation with anything or anyone , so any product I recommend is simply something I have used and really enjoyed. If you don't have a store that stocks this bottle of deliciousness you can find it here.

And now for this weeks possible but not probably meals:
1.Takeout (that is a given)
2. Grilled steak, tossed salad
3. Gussied up grilled cheese, coleslaw
4. Chicken Tinga with guacamole, shredded lettuce
5. Smoked pork, coleslaw, caulitato salad
6. Some big salad meal or veggie meal (depends on what is available at the produce stand)
7. Shrimp scampi, tossed salad

Now go enjoy your week staying on plan, going off plan or with no plan at all.