Wednesday, June 30, 2021

June Photo Scavenger Hunt

I decided to join in with Mary-Lou @ Patio Postcards  for the 2021 Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt  Challenge. Below is the list of prompts for the month. This is my first ever, and my June post. I might be taking some liberal interpretations with the prompts, but that is just how my puddin' head works! 

June:   A Breakfast of Champions  
           Favourite Time of Day
           Something To Represent Home But Not The Building
           Head In The Clouds; shapes or interesting patterns
           The Art Of The Fold
June:   Something That Makes You Laugh or Happy
           What's In Bloom
           Window Views
June:   Something Older Than You  
           The Delivery Van/Truck Making The Deliveries
           The Shape of Round/Circular
           Something That Is Cause For Celebration
June:   Your Marie Kondo Moment – Or Not 
           Inside Your Fridge Or Cupboard
June:  Your Best Doodle Art (not public graffiti) 
           A Guilty Pleasure; Something That Recharges You
           An Exit
June:   Upside Down, Right Side Up  
           Steps, But Who's Counting 
           Decades Of Sharing; find something in your home that is from the 70's or80's or 90's or 00's

A: show off your  COVID safety; masks, cleaning, or other related supplies
B: a local landmark
C: the most beautiful landscape photo of the season

   Something That Makes You Laugh or Happy
TheHub went to parochial school and I saw this one day, bought it and gave it to him. He immediately named her Sister Rita. This weekend my SIL was here, saw it and said it reminded her of Sister Rita. Then both she and TheHub started sharing Sister Rita horror stories. My only regret is that when wound she no longer spits fire!

                                                          Upside Down, Right Side Up
You tell me! 

Breakfast of Champions

This is my breakfast of champions every single day. I am not fond of having food in my mouth until much later in the afternoon. Though I probably should not, I have 3 cups of black coffee each morning.

Something Older than Me

This clock is older than me, you, and anyone alive today. 

My Marie Kondo (or not) Moment

I don't have a dresser, but store all my folding clothes in an armoire. 
I try to keep it like this, but it requires straightening once a week. When I let it go a couple of weeks between tidying it gets pretty gnarly.

Best Doodle Art
Maybe not the best but the most recent
Sticky note art while "On hold" with AT&T to resolve an over-billing issue

So far this has been pretty enjoyable and requires nothing more than snapping a picture with my ever handy phone. This next round might be a little harder though!


Tuesday, June 29, 2021


I follow Annie at Tuesday 4 when I remember it is actually Tuesday. Covid has done a number with my timeline and often I have no clue what day of the week it is. I actually remembered today was Tuesday. Maybe I should invest in an old fashioned wall calendar?  

Today's topic is entertainment.

1. Do you have an actor or actress whose movies you hate to miss?
I do not have a favorite actor though I think many are incredibly skilled. I never watch a movie based on whom is starring, though I have ignored movies because I am not fond of the way some actors perform. 
I think one of the best things to come from all the original programing on various screening services is finding incredible actors who we might never have seen on big screen films, if not for this new platform for talent.

2. Is there a movie or TV program you could watch over and over again?
TheHub and I are a threat to watch The Godfather or The Godfather II anytime it comes on. We might watch the entire thing or just specific scenes, but if we are channel surfing and hear the intro music or a familiar line from the movie we will stop every time.

As far as TV shows go? 
There are none I make it a point to watch but there are shows I have seen more than once of course.
And anytime the pig man episode from Seinfeld is on I will watch it. It came on the night  after Son3 was born and TheHub had stepped out to grab some dinner. I had a C section and they were keeping me a couple of days so I was watching it by myself. It was the funniest episode I had ever seen but it hurt like crazy to laugh. So I continued watching and the floor nurse finally came in to check on me because instead of laughing I found  if I said a wavering HOOoooooo  ( not silently) I could satisfy my urge to belly laugh without self inflicted pain.

3. Do you have a list of books or magazines you are hoping to read over the summer? 
I always have a list of books waiting in the wings, as well as a couple of magazines I read religiously.
Books for July: 
           Beneath a Scarlet Sky
           The Astonishing Color of After
           Everybody Lies
           Shakespeare for Squirrels
           The Turn of the Screw (re-read)
           How to Have Kick-Ass Ideas
Magazines for July: 
           The Smithsonian
Drinks or snacks while reading? 
I always have something to drink while I read, usually coffee, tea or water. 

4.  What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
I like nearly all genres of music and listen to it every day. 
Jazz is my favorite, but I prefer bebop. Hard bop and fusion are close behind,  but I do not care for smooth jazz at all.

I like classic rock

C/W is ok but I prefer the older true country instead of most of the crossover country of today.

Classical music is gorgeous and I listen to it at some point every day. I especially like several of the Russian composers.

I do like listening to some of the arias from operas.

Showtunes are a love of mine and I find myself singing them all the time (mentally singing this one if I am in public) 

Rap, Hip Hop small doses__extremely small doses
Pop? I am so far out of the demo for it that I have no opinion whatsoever.

Oh and I forgot I love old Motown and Soul


Monday, June 28, 2021

Another Plan I Probably Won't Follow

Most of the time when I plan meals I veer from the plan. It is something I do without guilt, because life changes quickly and some times you just have to adapt to the changes. Other times whims take over. This may or may not have been a whimsical week
I knew we  had dinner plans out for 2 nights this week, so I planned only 5 meals to be eaten in.

This was the plan:
1. Philly cheesesteak casserole (have to use peppers immediately) green bean salad
2. Maurice salad or chopped salad, keto dessert (TBD)
3. Veggie dinner TBD by whatever is growing or available at the produce stand
4. BLT or toasted cheese sandwiches, green beans
5. Greek chicken, green beans, sliced tomatoes

And this was what really happened. Yikes!

Monday: TheHub and I are trying to swim each evening before dinner so I am trying to plan meals that can be prepped ahead of time and cooked quickly after a swim
Philly cheesesteak casserole, green bean salad

Tuesday: One of our friends organized a small get together in a private dining room at a very old, very popular restaurant. There were about 16 people there (all vaxed)  It is the first time we have seen any of them since before the quarantine began and it was truly wonderful
 The Bright Star:  Snapper, asparagus, salad (TheHub) Crab stuffed mushrooms, wedge salad (me)

Wednesday: We  both had dinner plans that were diametrically different. I met my book club (first time since Covid) at a local deli that has wonderful outdoor space. 
The Diplomat (me) Italian salad  Bottega's (TheHub) Something incredibly delicious but I have no idea what it was.

Thursday: I give up on me. TheHub got home early and we did some things outside then decided we would just run and pick up something for dinner.
Captain D's grilled fish for me, fried fish for TheHub  okra and coleslaw (both of us)

Friday: TheHub came home early and worked in the yard while I continued getting the upstairs ready for guests. He decided what he wanted for dinner and who am I to argue.
Hot dogs from Sneaky Pete's

Saturday: After visiting with my SIL and BIL all day, plus running to Tuscaloosa for a mini reunion we decided to just toss something on the grill for dinner.
Hamburgers (with or w/o bun) fixings, chips of none

Sunday: After the weekend garden harvest, dinner pretty much planned itself.
Veggie dinner, zucchini fritters, butter peas or green beans, tomato slices

So instead of eating out 2 nights and cooking 5 nights, We ate out/did take out 5 nights and cooked 2. Talk about flipping the program!

Planned for this week, maybe or maybe not
1. taco*** salad
2. Chopped pork*, collard *greens, caulitato salad, sliced tomatoes
3. Baked chicken tenders, asparagus*, tomato cucumber onion salad
4. Veggie meal TBD based on harvest and produce stand availability
5. Chicken vindaloo over caulirice*, green beans, some sort of salad
6. Keto cereal with blueberries (TheHub has a business dinner)
7. Grilled fish, either tuna** or snapper*, coleslaw, keto hush puppies, green beans, something else (?)

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

*'s  are just for my benefit so I will know where to find frozen items

*    big freezer
**  laundry room fridge freezer
***kitchen fridge freezer

Friday, June 25, 2021

Keeping Up With the Wild Child's Joys

And now the 25th week of the year has passed and once again I am listing my daily joys. They are still mostly small joys, but they bring me happiness anyway.  I did venture out a little this week and went to not 1, but 2 restaurants. 
I have heard the theory that covid vaccinations allows the government to track our goings and comings. If true, I feel so sorry for the individual assigned to me. What a lame report__"She went to Aldi once, her mother's house 5 times, CVS once, the paint store, out to eat twice, and she dropped off some donations at Goodwill." I don't believe it at all, but still it is fun to imagine how frustrating it would be for some operative to have to keep tabs on this wild child!

I really do like the Hammond organ  used in this song

Friday: The painters were almost finished, of course, when the last little bit will be finished___who knows? My beautiful DIL who works in home health care had some clients near me, so I got to visit with her a little bit. She is the kindest person I think I have ever met. I am so lucky!
TheHub and I had some nice swim time before we ate. It really is just lovely to be able to enjoy the water in the evening. 

Saturday: We had a rainy day in the house. When the tropical storm in the Gulf made landfall  we only  had heavy rains and wind, but the winds were not extreme which was a huge joy!

Sunday: The rains disappeared and we had an incredibly hot and humid Father's Day! Son2 and DIL2 came over to visit and then I made TheHub's favorite Father's Day dinner___grilled steak and salad, while having a phone call with a friend who makes me laugh! 

Monday: We did not go to Mom's except to check the mail. Huge joy. The day was pretty uneventful but TheHub and I did have a great pre-dinner swim. We had so much rain over the weekend that the water was cold. Talk about getting your motor running!

Tuesday: I had to do some running around to pick up supplies for handyman Jerry (Best handyman in the world, and having him to this work is an extreme joy)  He was repairing some of the damage to the sheetrock in the basement bath. (The wall paper removal took a lot of the sheetrock with it)
Afterward I worked upstairs to get the guest room ready for our weekend guests. Not a fun thing to do especially since it was loaded with TheHubs lake crap, but now it is done and everything is good.
Later we went to a party at a local restaurant. (Private dining room with all vaxed friends)
The most special joy, though was the monthly check-in  by one of my favorite bloggers. Wishing her nothing but joy.

Wednesday: My beloved sister and I worked cleaning at Mom's. It seems that none of the workers can clean after they finish a job so we are left with a  ton of sawdust, dust, plastic sheeting, paint splotches, . . . residue of all kinds.  Other than having to clean all the time I am pleased with the results. Once we get it "staged", or as staged as a vacant house can be, I'll be posting some pictures of it. So what is the joy in cleaning? We only have to clean 2 more rooms and we are waiting on the electrician (June 30) for that!

Thursday: I had a lovely day mostly at home watching/listening to "Arrow" while I was working in the house, to finish getting it ready for houseguests. I pulled up Netflix on my laptop then run the audio via bluetooth through Alexa. I can crank up the volume and keep up with the shows while I do other things, and just glance at the screen as I walk by. I'm sure I miss out on some of the nuances of the series, but I just don't care.
I did manage to take a car filled with donations to Goodwill. It is not my preferred donation place. I had much rather donate to the Exchange Club, or King's Ranch, but Goodwill is much closer and sometimes I use "any port in a storm". The items were donated and out of my hair!

So go have a great week finding your joys, either large or small!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tuesday 4

When I actually remember it is Tuesday, which is rare now, (Thanks pandemic!) I join in with Annie at Tuesday 4. You might like to join also!

Just in case you have seen Shallow Grave you will recognize this, and hopefully laugh. If not just enjoy the lovely voice of Andy Williams

1. Do you have a favorite movie to recommend? 
One of my favorite movies is Shallow Grave. Recently I have been thinking that it is time to watch it again. It would be your classic dark comedy and is not for everyone but I really do like it.

2. Do you have a schedule for your day or do you wing it? 
I have a loose schedule that I keep if it involves things others are counting on, appointments, or things away from home. If I am here at the house all day, I wing it.

3. What are you  eating/cooking lately?
It is summer so we eat a bit lighter. I am cooking whatever we harvest from our small garden or what is in the freezer. Right now the zucchini and squash are not as prolific but I have green beans coming out of my ears. Now green beans are at the forefront of every meal. (We are gathering about a pound each day. I guess I am going to have to buy a pressure canner because I am about out of room in the freezer)

4.  Do you surf on your computer? Tell us about it, won't you?  
I am a threat to look something up because I need the information, but then I will follow rabbit hole after rabbit hole. Before I know it I have gone from reading about how to repair a pocket door, clicking on link after link, and wind up reading about Tuvan throat singing.
Every day I look at a couple of Youtube vlogs. One of my sons works at a recreational/social facility for adults with special needs. The participants there are so dear and I have missed volunteering since the pandemic. I accidentally (rabbit hole thing) found Autistic Interpretations and have been watching it regularly. It reminds me of some of the wonderful people at Independence Place.
The other Youtube vlog I watch is Matt's RV reviews. TheHub and I watch it together because we think we might like to get one and this gives us ideas about what we do and don't like.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Close But No Cigars

Each week I try and post a list of meals I plan on making for our dinners each night, and most weeks  every week it does not go according to plan. This week (with some minor tweaks) I actually came close! 

What I planned:
1. Stuffed zucchini, tomato slices, green beans, rice or none
2. Philly cheesesteak casserole, asparagus, coleslaw
3. Steak, grilled veggies, tossed salad, baked potato or none
4. Veggie dinner, pink eyed peas, squash casserole, keto fried green tomatoes
5. White bbq chicken, caulitato salad, sliced tomatoes, green beans
6. Some sort of sandwich, toasted cheese or BLT?
7. Takeout

This is what we really ate:
Monday: We forgot about the frozen peas after we made a veggie run Saturday morning and they were in a bag in the car for about 4 hours, They were still cold but very thawed so they had to be cooked. Veggie night!
Fried green tomatoes, squash casserole, pink eyed peas, tomato slice, cucumber slices, pickled squash

Tuesday: The day was a perfect day for grilling. I made sure to cook enough so we would have some left over.
White bbq chicken, green beans, caulitato salad, squash pickles

Wednesday: TheHub called and asked what we had planned for dinner. I told him food could wait__we were swimming! Afterward, we decided a big salad would be more than enough for supper.
Chopped salad with turkey and cheese

Thursday: The zucchini was screaming at me, so I had to use it right then just to get it to be quiet!
Stuffed Zucchini, tomato slices

Friday: After our swim (We are doing laps, and both of us can be a little too competitive so each of us tries to swim faster and more laps than the other. I may or may not wait until TheHub gets out of the pool, then do a couple of extra laps for the win.) We rinsed off, threw on some clothes and called our favorite Thai place for carry out.
Take out from Blue Pacific, pad Thai shrimp  (TheHub) or laap (me)

Saturday: I had planned on having sandwiches for dinner, but TheHub had one for lunch and can't do two sandwich meals in one day. So I altered the plan__ slightly.
BLT salad

Sunday: In the states this was Father's Day. TheHub began his day with pancakes and bacon, followed by a sandwich lunch and a very late dinner. 
Grilled steak, mixed greens with banana peppers and tomatoes, toast

Which brings me to this week's possibilities:
1. Philly cheesesteak casserole (have to use peppers immediately) green bean salad
2. Maurice salad or chopped salad, keto dessert (TBD)
3. Veggie dinner TBD by whatever is growing or available at the produce stand
4. BLT or toasted cheese sandwiches, green beans
5. Greek chicken, green beans, sliced tomatoes
We are going out to eat 2 times this week* so there should be no take out meals, but the jury is still out for the weekend.

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

*I am still wary of restaurants but one night is in a private dining room and the other is al fresco.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Smallish Joys are Still Joyful

It is hard for me to believe that I have been recording daily joys for close to a year and a half now. It seems like just the other day when I began. I guess this past year has been consumed with covid  and Mom's house so that time is flitting by me with hardly a notice.
So here are the (mostly small) joys of the 24th week of 2021.

I think the only joy on Friday was actually having a day we did not go to Moms house. Simple joys are still joys!

Saturday: The Hub and I had decided to have an adventure. We were planning to go look at RV's and we started out to go see them. A phone call confirmed that a place fairly close to Birmingham had several on the lot. We headed south, but hit a huge traffic snag on the interstate. ( Unbeknownst to us there was a police standoff on the interstate and  traffic was halted both ways. ) After inching along at about 3 miles an hour for over 45 minutes we finally were able to hit an exit. There is always more than one way to skin a cat right? 
Since we were still several miles from the exit we would have taken and we had been stuck for so long, we decided to go ahead the grab something to eat.  We found a new to us place and had a nice lunch, then took back roads to the RV place, which we walked into then turned around and walked out of. Too much red tape when all we wanted to do was look through a couple of units. 
After our bust there, we made a couple of stops including me buying one of the ugliest swim suits I have ever seen. It  was only 20 bucks, felt great, fit well, and no one but TheHub or My Beloved Sister will ever see it, so who cares?

Sunday: Another Sunday for streaming services from our screened porch. It was lovely but by 9:30 when it was over the humidity and temps increased so much that it was not that pleasant. This could have put an end to our outside services.
Later in the day, I tried several new to me recipes that had zucchini as the star. I will give more feedback on them later.
Then we ended the day hanging out on the sofa watching a movie. To be honest I don't even remember what it was even though I watched it to completion. TheHub watched it with his eyes closed, his mouth opened, breathing loudly (he claims he does not snore, so I will honor his claim)

Monday: Handyman Jerry called to tell me he would be finished with the job by the afternoon. Of course My Beloved Sister and I thought of one additional project for him to do, but it would have to be later in the week or next week since he had scheduled his jobs already. Not a problem. He does really fine work.  
You know how choosing tile and grout is a crapshoot sometimes? Well the tile and grout looks fantastic with the quartz countertops!

Tuesday: Another day happened when we did not have to go to Moms house.  Bonus! Of course that also means another day the painters did not finish the job.
After he got home from the office TheHub and I ate dinner then rode to the bluff to see the sunset!

Wednesday: Still another day without painters and it is getting a little old. I know they want their money and I want to pay  them but the job has to be finished first.
On the upside, TheHub and I started swimming laps before we eat dinner. It means we want a lot less and we are more apt to just eat a salad. 
After dinner and swimming we drove to see the sunset again. Jazz on the radio and sunset is just about perfect. That is actually when I heard the song posted above.

Thursday: We actually had some forward motion at Mom's. We got the piano moved. Bless those guys who literally picked it up and carried it from the den and through the foyer to keep from scratching the hardwood floors. Later we met with the painter. It did not go terribly well__ because My Beloved Sister takes no prisoners. (I think I need to get her to listen to the song.) And after that debacle we met with the electrician, a super nice and incredibly reasonable fellow. I am thankful for small victories.
Nighttime swimming for the win!

Have a great week and look for whatever joy, wherever you can find it. It is there, even on crummy days.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Using the Green Stuff

It is now zucchini time at the old homestead. Ok, we really don't have a homestead. Instead we have a house in the suburbs with a small garden. But a small suburban garden can produce massive amounts of zucchini, which is coming in by leaps and bounds right now. I am having to find some different ways of using the stuff, while remaining true to keto. Thank goodness you can Google "keto recipes using zucchini", and more ideas than you can imagine pop up.

I found this one here

Savory Zucchini Muffins

2 packed cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 eggs
2 tablespoons basil finely chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used half cheddar and half Monterey Jack )

Preheat oven to 350.
In a mixing bowl, add the zucchini, butter, salt and pepper and mix well.
Add the eggs, basil and baking powder and mix well.
Add the coconut flour and mix until the batter becomes thick.
Stir in the  cheese.
Spray a silicon muffin pan* with pam, or use silicon baking cups to line a regular muffin tin.  Fill the cups to the top, smooth, and pop them in the oven.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the muffin tops are golden.
Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before removing them from the pan. Items baked with coconut or almond flours tend to crumble if they are removed too quickly.
I followed the recipe as given, with the two exceptions. I used basil instead of oregano because when I went outside to pick the fresh herb I forgot which one I was supposed to use. I like basil better so I just went with that. Good mistake on my part!

Since it called for 6 eggs and it was the first time I had made this, I wanted to see if I liked it before committing to using so many eggs. I am not a big egg fan and was pretty sure the muffins would taste eggy. I halved the recipe for the trial.

Boy was I wrong. The consistency is not like a real muffin. It actually falls somewhere between a muffin and a baked omelet. (or at least what I think an omelet would be like if it were baked) The taste is outstanding. I am so glad I had not read the recipe thoroughly because the basil flavor was delicious.
These would be great for a grab and go breakfast, or delicious served as "bread" with a salad. I will be making these again and experimenting with some different flavors.

*I was making fewer than the original recipe and I only had one 6 muffin silicon baking pan. Yep, it is heart shaped, used to bake heart shaped brownies for Valentines Day one year. I figured it would work just fine and I was right. (I am correct so seldom that I will take small victories like this as a major win.)

If you are looking for a low carb option for using zucchini, or if you just want to try something tasty and different this might be a recipe you would like.

    Monday, June 14, 2021

    When is a Plan Not a Plan?

    The answer to the question in the title is___everytime I make one. Especially when it concerns meal plans!

    This is what I thought might happen for meals this week:
    1. Greek skillet chicken, sautéed squash, tomato slices
    2. Grilled steak, zucchini fries, tossed salad, dinner rolls or keto rolls
    3. Meat loaf, mixed squash medley,cole slaw
    4. Veggie dinner TBD based on the garden and produce stand
    5. Grilled snapper/caulimash or real mashed potatoes, green beans, tossed salad
    6. Chicken fajita salad
    7. Takeout or eat out

    This is what did happen:
    Monday: There are days we decide we just want something relatively light for dinner. Monday was one of those days.
    Chicken fajita salad

    Tuesday: I had planned on pulling a meatloaf I had made a few weeks ago from the freezer. However, Monday I found ground pork at The Pig for 99 cents a pound (clearance). I bought it, brought it home, stuck it in the fridge and forgot about it. Oops, I had to do something with it as soon as I remembered it Tuesday. I browned it to freeze, but left enough out for our dinner.
    Cajun seasoned ground pork medley with squash, zucchini, onions and tomatoes, coleslaw, toast

    Wednesday: I messed around doing other things and did not even think about what I was going to make for dinner. I needed something really fast, fortunately I had been to the grocery store and had bought some chicken thighs. I love dinners that are ready start to finish in about 20 minutes!
    Greek skillet chicken dish, green beans

    Thursday: TheHub called and asked what we were having for dinner. My reply was "Whatever you want to buy"
    Captain D's grilled whitefish, coleslaw, green beans or the 3 piece fish dinner

    Friday: I was just not feeling it and decided I did not want to cook, but we had done takeout Thursday so I felt morally obligated to make something for dinner. Fortunately I keep my freezer overstocked with things we had smoked earlier in the year.
    Pulled pork, brussels sprouts, cucumber slices, tomato slices hash browns (or not)

    Saturday: Every year there are a few food festivals that we have always enjoyed supporting except for  the hellish 2020 when life was cancelled. This year one of our local churches, St Elias Maronite Church, tweaked theirs to accommodate those like us, who look forward to it every year. They had a limited menu and it was takeout only, but the food was still delicious. 
     Lebanese chicken, green beans, spinach pies (TheHub) rice (or not)

    Sunday: TheHub goes out for lunch every work day. Yes, every single day he gets to eat whatever sounds good to him without regard to whatever is leftover in the refrigerator. But I digress.
    Occasionally he goes to a couple of restaurants where more than ample portions are served, and he brings the doggie bags home. So Sunday night was a gathering of the fragments type of night.
    Odd assortment of leftovers

    What might possibly happen this week:
    1. Stuffed zucchini, tomato slices, green beans, rice or none
    2. Philly cheeseeteak casserole, asparagus, coleslaw
    3. Steak, grilled veggies, tossed salad, baked potato or none
    4. Veggie dinner, pink eyed peas, squash casserole, keto fried green tomatoes
    5. White bbq chicken, caulitato salad, sliced tomatoes, green beans
    6. Some sort of sandwich, toasted cheese or BLT?
    7. Takeout

    As long as I don't waste food, I am pretty flexible about changing up the meal plan__ obviously!

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


    Sunday, June 13, 2021

    Quick Chicken Fajita Salad

    The one thing I really miss while doing keto is the simplicity meals can have if you are eating grains. I can find an imperfect solution to sandwich breads in the store, and can bake an acceptable dinner roll and cornless cornbread,  but things like tortillas or pita breads are virtually impossible to recreate.  (I have tried the egg tortillas and they taste just like eggs.  Bleh! The same can be said for the incredibly expensive cheese "tortillas" which are just thin round slices of cheese.)

    The other night when I was planning my menu for the week I was craving fajitas. My go to now when I am craving a particular food that is normally served in something delicious it to turn it into a salad. I know it is not the same but it does deliver the tastes to my mouth, and that tends to satisfy my cravings. (Kinda)

    Chicken fajita salad

    2 tablespoons lime juice
    2 tablespoons  olive oil
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon coriander
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    dash of hot chili flakes (optional)
    salt to taste  1/8 teaspoon (ish)

    Put all the marinade ingredients in a zip lock bag and swish the ingredients around to mix. Add the chicken strips, seal the bag and leave it alone for at least 30 minutes. It is best if you do this in the morning and leave it all day in the fridge but I never remember to do that!

    1 chicken breast, cut into strips and marinated* for at least 30 minutes
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 small onion cut into strips
    1/2 red pepper cut into strips
    lettuce, washed and shredded (you decide how much you want)
    1/2 tomato cut into wedges
    1/2 lime cut into wedges
    1/2 avocado cut into slices

    Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, when they soften bit toss in the pepper strips. Cook until they are crisp tender then remove the veggies from the skillet. Take  the chicken strips from the marinade and add to the pan. Cook until the chicken is done then remove from the pan. 
    From here on you can do whatever you like. Fill your bowl with shredded lettuce then arrange the topping your way. I find it visually pleasing to put the chicken in the center of the bowl then put the individual toppings around the chicken, but there is no right or wrong way to do it. 

    Serve with lime cilantro dressing. I confess I bought it prepared from a local Hispanic market, but I wanted it creamy so I stirred a couple of tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt in it. I found this recipe which was similar to the bottled one I bought.

    This is a really quick and tasty meal if you want a filling salad dinner. 

    Friday, June 11, 2021

    With a Little Bit of Joy

    And now 23 weeks of 2021 are over and I am continuing my habit of recording the joys I find each day. Covid has limited a lot (nearly all) of my comings and goings, so my joys are a little different than they had been in the past. But during this time of a quiet life, I have learned to find joy in much smaller ways. Sometimes it is something as small as watching cardinals who are nesting right behind my fence, listening to frogs after a rain, or just enjoying conversations with TheHub or with friends, either in person or via the phone. Life is good , and as much as I wish for life to safely open up sooner rather than later, I hope I can remain content celebrating the little joys that happen everyday. With a little luck and a lot of intent, I will.

    Friday: The day was the first day this week I did not spend substantial time at Mom's. Who would have thought there was a specific joy in just getting all the laundry done, uninterrupted.
    Son2 and DIL2 came over for dinner and ball games. First we watched the James Madison/Oklahoma State game followed by Alabama/UCLA.  Both JMU and Bama won. James Madison is the Cinderella team of the softball NCAA World Series and I hope they win as long as they are not playing Alabama, but when/if that happens I will have to pull against them.

    Saturday: My Beloved Sister and I had to go to a funeral Saturday for a childhood neighbor. It was a hot and muggy grave side service that lasted nearly an hour, far too long to have everyone standing in the hot sun. But I did get to see some of my childhood friends there and that was wonderful. The family was like my second family growing up. 
    It is funny how easily you fall back into familiar rhythms and patterns, and relationships seamlessly resume where you left them. I knew they thought of us as  part of their family too, when  we were invited  to go to lunch afterward with all of them. 
    Later in the day TheHub and I watched a few softball games. Though Alabama did not play, it did determine who they would play next.

    Sunday: We streamed church services while sipping coffee on the screened porch. There is something very spiritual doing it while experiencing the birds, plants and weather outside my door. 
    After the service ended we were very fortunate to have been invited to watch a Zoom meeting organized by a Swedish women's organization for their Swedish National Day. DIL3 performed and of course we love to hear her sing anytime. There were several talks also, but with the exception of an occasional word, we had no idea what was being said. It was fun just listening to the beautiful language. 
    Later DIL2 and Son2 came over to watch the Alabama/ FSU softball game. There was a long rain delay and while we were sitting in the den waiting for play to resume. Son2 told us about a Youtube channel, The Dry Bar.  It has videos of comics with no profanity or "adult" situations. It was surprisingly funny and all of us laughed out loud several times. We did watch only one guy so I can't speak to the rest, but if you are looking for some clean comedy it might work for you.
    The ball game resumed and FSU won. Oh well! Roll Tide!

    Monday: Hooray! The back-ordered sink for Mom's kitchen arrived and the counter and sink installation was done. (Even if it took all day to install it)
     Later we watched the NCAA softball semi-finals. Alabama played FSU. FSU won and moved on. Roll Tide! (Yep, I am not just a fan when they win)

    Tuesday: No one showed up to work at Mom's house (yes, I am talking to you, painters) so I had the day at home___all day (because I was waiting on you painters to call for me to unlock Mom's house.) .
     It was OK and I got some much needed laundry done along with some other odd jobs I had been neglecting because I was at Mom's, but I really wanted to go to the grocery store and run a few errands that did not get done. 
    After dinner we watched the first game of the NCAA softball finals. Oklahoma played FSU. Florida State won the first game.

    Wednesday: It was a frustrating day dealing with both the handyman and the painters. I am ready for things to be finished and they are on their own schedules and in no hurry to be done.  I have money and am ready to pay them but they must not need it that badly.
    On a lighter note, before the ball game we drove around the lake nearest us. There was a flock of young ducks waddling  down the road in a straight line. They all had their white feathers, but still had a fluffy down cap on the crest of their heads. They looked like a gang of mohawk wearing teen age boys strutting down the street. It made both of us laugh out loud. 
    Later we watched game 2 of the NCAA Softball Championship. Oklahoma won this one.
    Evening rains mean a frog symphony!

    Thursday: Handyman Jerry got the backsplash installed ready for the grout on Friday. It looks so good! He hopes to be finished by the weekend. I hope he is too. 
    I was working at Mom's house and missed the final game of the NCAA Softball World Series.I am not a fan of mid-day games, especially not the final!  Oklahoma won, and now it is over for another year.
    A a fern we bought to hang on Mom's front porch is dead. After watering t a few days we could no longer water it anymore because a little finch built a nest.smack dab in the middle of it  We have been watching it every day and now there are 3 plump little balls of fluff living there. 
    In the late afternoon I had a fun phone call with my friend, some of you know as Sluggy!
    Singing frogs were doing their thing again. at night!  I love it!

    And now I will begin new week looking for happiness each and every day. I hope you all are able to find your joy this week. It is out there if you just look for it!

    p.s. All this lovely rain that brings out the frogs is a wonderful thing, but we have been having hard and heavy rains daily.. There has also been sun shining for an hour or so every day, and everything green is thriving. That is a joy__except for my lawn which was cut Tuesday and is well over my ankles already. I am not a fan of "twice mown" weeks .

    Wednesday, June 9, 2021

    The Great Zucchini Race is On

    As some of you may know, I love music, and am a threat to create lyrics for existing songs* as I go about my day.
    For example, when we were teens My Beloved Sister and I would sing different words to the old Fiddler on the Roof song "Tradition".
    Relentless, relentless, Rentless!
    Relentless, relentless, relentless!
    Who has to right to scrutinize her daughters
    Make them both feel guilty,
    Tell them they are wrong.
    And who has the right as the mother of the house
    To have the final say alone!
    The Momma! The Momma!

    I still create new lyrics to songs and hum the tunes, especially if I am angry with TheHub. He may think I am just humming the Armour Hotdog tune, but in reality my mind is singing (at the top of my lungs) some very rude lyrics about what type of jerk I might think he is at that particular moment.

    The other day after harvesting some regular zucchini, and one exceedingly big one, I started singing out loud (to the tune of What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor)

    "What do you do with a huge zucchini (repeat 2 times) Throw it at your neighbor"

    That would be a sad thing to do because I really do like my neighbors, plus the full on onslaught of zucchini has not started yet, so it is much to early for zucchini flinging!

    Since the rules of gardening declare I cannot let anything go to waste, and this one had gotten too big to be a delicious tender sautéed dish I grated it. Then I remembered a recipe I copied into an old handwritten cookbook I had when the kids were little and I found all new recipes in magazines. It must have been about sneaking vegetables into foods kids love because I had copied pages of veggie laden "treat" recipes. I did change it to make it keto but, other than the flours and the sugar substitute, it was the same recipe I had way before we had a home computer.

    Zucchini Brownies
    1 cup grated zucchini, squeeze all the liquid out
    3/4 cup almond flour (the original called for 1 cup flour)
    1/4 cup coconut flour (I might have done better with  3 tablespoons of coconut flour but the 1/4 cup worked ok)
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup cocoa
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 cup sugar substitute that has 1to1 measuring ratio with sugar  (I used monk fruit, or use sugar if you are not doing keto)
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Lily's sugar free)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Squeeze as much liquid out of the zucchini as possible. I stuck mine in a large sieve and pressed with the back of a spoon until it was almost dry. Set it aside
    Mix the flours. soda, salt and cocoa in a small bowl
    In a medium bowl add the egg, sugar substitute. melted butter and vanilla and blend very well. Use a mixer if you'd like but I prefer to just stir with a wooden spoon. Add in the flours and stir, stir and stir some more. When using the nut fours you don't have to worry as much about over beating because there is no gluten  to worry about. This stuff will be thick. Coconut flour tends to absorb a lot of moisture, so stir in the nearly dry zucchini and mix it well. The residual liquid will soften the batter some. Add the chocolate chips and stir to distribute.
    Grease an oven proof 8x8 pan (what am I talking about? I spray mine with Pam because it is easier, but you do your way) and spread the batter evenly into the pan. (An offset spatula really does help with this step)
    Bake for about 25 minutes, remove from the oven and let it cool. This is kind of a critical step when using almond flour. If you try to cut it and take it out of the pan while it is warm it tends to crumble.

    I served this with a small bit of Rebel vanilla "ice cream" which is an uber low carb product. Son2, Dil2 and TheHub all had it, and none of them are ketonians. Son2 had a second serving, which is the litmus test of how well received it was. 
    I thought it was really good, but did not particularly like it a couple of days later. Next time I will halve the recipe and make just enough for one meal's dessert.

    It was good, had a nice consistency for a keto dish, and passed the guests test. All in all, I would say it was a winner and I will do it again this zucchini season.

    *I blame Mad Magazine and my neighbor Bobby C. for this lyric habit of mine. When we were kids our parents played canasta with his parents sometimes and we were too young to leave at home, so we would go with them to the house and sit quietly and amuse ourselves. Bobby had a huge collection of Mad Magazines and I was a reader, so the entire time the adults played cards, Bobby would build model cars and My Beloved Sister and I would read.  I do not know if it was the brilliance of the satire in the magazines or inhaling  the airplane glue fumes, but one of the magazines had some altered words to songs I knew. For some stupid reason, to this day I still remember Mad's altered words to "Hello Dolly" AKA "Hello Deli" and "Moon River "AKA "Chopped Liver" 
    And I have not been right in the head since then!  (Ok maybe Mad and airplane glue is not totally to blame for my skewed outlook on life, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

    Monday, June 7, 2021

    Stuffing Our Faces

    Each week I make a meal plan and most weeks I actually make 3 or 4 meals from the plan. This week was no exception. The only meal I am almost positive to honor every single week is the take out meal! We are masters of take out.

    What was planned:
    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)

    What we actually ate:
     Monday: TheHub took the day off for Memorial Day and we just did some general yard work and got my horse trough ready for planting. I suppose we could have smoked some pork, but I had packs in the freezer from a previous smoking event, so why bother? 
    Pulled pork with Ollies sauce, caulitato salad, sautéed yellow squash and onions, keto pretzel salad

    Tuesday: TheHub wanted to go to Costco after work so we did. One the way home we called our favorite Mexican restaurant, placed the order, then grabbed our dinner  there.
    Take out from La Paz. Fiesta salad  with chicken or the Mexican dinner plate

    Wednesday: I intended to have a veggie meal but found the leftover crab cakes in the fridge. Normally I would have eaten them for lunch, but I had been doing work at Mom's each day and skipped lunch. There was no way I was going to throw them out.  Warming them is why every single home needs an air fryer. They tasted just like they did the day I made them. This was a strange meal that did not go together at all, but it fed us.
    Leftover crab cakes, squash casserole, collards

    Thursday: I was not in the mood to spend much time cooking and this quick meal was on my menu plan anyway.
    Thai chicken lettuce wraps, cucumbers, tomato slices

    Friday  DIL2 and Son2 were here for some ball game watching and a quick dinner.
    Pizza or crustless pizza, keto zucchini brownies w/ keto 'ice cream"

    Saturday: Neither of us wanted a big dinner 
    Turkey and ham sandwiches or deconstructed breadless sandwich 

    Sunday: Son2 and Dil2 came over for more ball game watching and lunch. As luck would have it the ball game had a long rain delay and was not over until about 8:30. After they left we made a mad dash to Arby's for a 2/$6 meal.
    Arby's Greek Gyros (If you have not had this, I recommend giving it a shot. We thought they were really good fast food)

    What we might have this week:
    1. Greek skillet chicken, sautéed squash, tomato slices
    2. Grilled steak, zucchini fries, tossed salad, dinner rolls or keto rolls
    3. Meat loaf, mixed squash medley,cole slaw
    4. Veggie dinner TBD based on the garden and produce stand
    5. Grilled snapper/caulimash or real mashed potatoes, green beans, tossed salad
    6. Chicken fajita salad
    7. Takeout or eat out

    I have got to start using more from my freezer. It is about to be harvest time, which means I will be putting a boatload of summer produce in it for the winter. I need space, so every meal on the plan this week utilizes freezer items. 

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

    Saturday, June 5, 2021

    Thai Time

    Want something that sounds exotic, tastes great and takes just minutes to make? Then this is the dish for you.

    Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

    1 tablespoon olive oil (can also use coconut oil)
    1/2 onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced ( Except I don't mince. I use a garlic press. Shhh__don't tell)
    5 scallions, sliced in rounds
    1/2 pint mushrooms, chopped in small bits
    1 pound ground chicken (use turkey if it is easier to find)
    1 tablespoon Sriracha
    2 tablespoons coconut aminos (can use soy sauce instead)
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    sprinkle or more of dried red peppers (I love hot stuff but you can eliminate this)
    clean dry lettuce leaves (Boston Bibb, butter, or red leaf all work well)

    This is about the easiest thing you can make for a quick dinner that tastes like you actually slaved over it.
    Put the olive oil in a skillet, bring to medium high heat, and add the chopped onion. Cook until it is translucent than add the garlic stirring quickly so it will not burn. Toss in the scallions and mushrooms and stir until they are soft, then add the chicken cooking it until there is no pink. Add all the liquids and the red pepper flakes, cook for a couple of minutes stirring the entire time. Turn the heat off and let it sit for a minute or 2, plate it with lettuce leaves, serve and enjoy!

    There is no right or wrong way to form your wraps. I tend to fill mine in the middle like a burrito and tuck the ends in. TheHub makes a neat little package with his.  It doesn't matter because it tastes the same either way___delicious.

    Thai wraps, sliced tomatoes and cukes with a sprinkle of Everything But the Bagel* seasoning and called it a meal.

    * You can buy it at Trader Joe's, Aldi has a version with a different name, or make it yourself