Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Tuesday 4

When I remember it is Tuesday I like to join in with the questions posed by Annie at  
Tuesday 4.  She asks 4 questions weekly using a theme for the day. This Tuesday we are digging in and talking about us. 

1. How are you unique or different from your friends or family?
We are all unique, some of us are just hardwired differently. I am neither a pessimist nor an optimist, but consider myself a realist. Even with my realist stance, I try very hard to find the upside of most situations.  
I am sarcastic, love to laugh and find myself an easy target to laugh at. Years ago a friend gave me a a birthday present. It is a lovely small shadow box with the following saying on it "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." I hope my strange sense of humor does lighten someone's day occasionally. 
I love a good verbal joust, but refuse to do battle with anyone who is unarmed.
I am kind but I am not sweet at all. I am thoughtful but scatterbrained, which is why a sympathy card might not get sent exactly on time. 
I consider and regularly describe myself as delightfully odd.

How typical are you? 
I was born with regulation equipment: arms, legs, hands, feet, digits, eyes, nose, hair, belly button. . . I live in the suburbs and drive a van even though my kids are grown. So I guess I am somewhat typical in a slightly skewed way.

2.  How do you spend your spare time? 
Asking me this during these Covid times hurts my heart. Pre Covid TheHub and I had a fairly full social life, which I no longer have. I read and watch TV but rarely watch network TV. I do spend time with my beloved sister, and have a couple of good friends who I keep in contact with regularly. I had just started rejoining the world but our local covid numbers are climbing at an alarming rate, so I am home with the exception of going to buy groceries or necessities.
At night, TheHub and I tend to watch either movies, documentaries, or some series either on Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. I am anxiously waiting for "What We Do in the Shadows" to return in September

3. What was high school like for you?
I enjoyed school, had a lot of friends, made good grades, and took way too much math. My dad believed females should take every higher math available to them to equalize the playing field, because traditionally males took more math courses. That would have been a great idea if I were even remotely interested in a career in math or the sciences. 
I was not in the A+ popularity group in high school, but was more in the A- B+ group. I knew just about everyone and just about everyone knew me. I was in several clubs,  the high school choir and ensemble, a high school sorority, a candy striper at Children's hospital,  and a volunteer hostess at an antebellum house. (There is no telling how many stranger's photos I was in. We had to wear full southern garb complete with hoop skirts and people always wanted pictures.) 

4. This question has multiple parts:
a. Handbag: designer style or any will do? I never carry a handbag. I am a full on back pack gal and even have a small "dress" backpack for nicer outfits.  For everyday I use a Vera Bradley bag, but I also have just ordered a new dual wear bag from Noha Nadler*.  
If I am dressed in evening wear, I carry either a black silk clutch  or a small tapestry clutch . I have had both for decades.

b. Pajamas or night gown?
Gown but I am very particular about the gown. I only wear very short gowns with spaghetti straps to bed. Sometimes, though, if we are watching TV late at night I will get comfortable and  throw on a lightweight gown (summer) or flannel gown (winter) over my short gown. But I have to take it off when I sleep. I can't stand anything covering my legs or shoulders when I sleep other than a sheet and blanket. I think it has to do with feeling restricted or confined. 
I do have flannel pajama pants that I wear with a sweat shirt around the house at night sometimes in the winter, but that is the only pajama wearing I do.

c. Shoes: sturdy or pretty ?
Comfortable and weather appropriate! If they can be comfortable and cute, fantastic! But comfort wins hands down every time. Flip flops are my go to shoes for everyday until the weather get really cold, but some of them are cute(ish).

d.Home decor: classic, modern, farm house style, traditional? 
In my foyer one of the first things you see when entering my house is a 3 foot chimp holding a serving tray. What more is there to say?

e. Movies: feel good, drama, romance, action?
It really does depend on my mood and if the screen writing is good. Bad writing is bad writing no matter how big the budget or what the movie genre is. The plot construction has to be believable and the soundtrack has to be well done for me to enjoy a movie. Good acting is an added bonus.
I am not a big fan of special effects that are added for shock value.

So come on and join in. Let me know a little more about you!

*I have known Noha since she was a little girl and ordered the bag to support her endeavor. I am also thrilled to give her company a plug. She is a lovely young woman with an eye for design and a wonderful heart.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Meal Planning Frozen For The Month

I have decided I need to use inventory from the freezer and have September be a mostly no shopping month*. Naturally the exceptions will be produce, bread and eggs, but I even have a pretty decent stock of frozen veggies and fruits to use in various ways. 

Instead of doing weekly meal plans, I thought I would just plan for the month. I am sure a lot of the side dish options will change, but at least I have some idea of the directions I want to go. I am only planning 25 meals for September because I know we will do takeout at least every Friday night, plus my birthday is in September and I never cook on my birthday. I am also having to include the meals for Monday and Tuesday because I always start my meal plans on Monday and they can't help that they were the tail end of August. 
You also might even notice a couple of Game Day meals, because it is a tradition we must honor! 
 Roll, Tide, Roll!  

These are the 27 meals I have planned, in no order at all.
 1.  Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad (frozen meat sauce)
 2.  Hamburgers with fixings, corn, cream cheese and jalapeño side dish  (frozen patties, frozen veggies) 
 3.  Bbq ribs, caulitato salad, baked beans (Labor Day meal will buy the ribs already cooked)
 4.  Veggie meal, cornbread TBD based on produce stand and garden availability
 5.  Veggie meal, cornbread TBD based on produce stand and garden availability
 6.  Hamburgers with fixings (frozen patties)
 7.  Taco salad (frozen taco seasoned ground chuck)
 8.  Taco salad (frozen taco seasoned ground chuck)
 9.  Chopped salad with chicken (frozen cooked and seasoned chicken)
10. Pizza, tossed salad (frozen mini pizza crusts, frozen pepperoni)
11. Grilled chicken, brussels sprouts, garlic bread  (frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
12. Stuffed bell peppers, hash browns, coleslaw, green beans (frozen uncooked ground chuck)
13. Fajita baked chicken (thanks Belinda) (frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
14. Grilled steak, tossed salad, (frozen steak)
15. Garden salad, grilled cheese sandwich (lots of cheeses in the fridge)
16. Buffalo chicken, celery sticks, crudités with dip, fruit (frozen chicken tenders)
17. Butter chicken, rice, green vegetable (frozen boneless skinless thighs)
18. Peruvian chicken, mashed potatoes, green vegetable (Frozen boneless skinless thighs)
19. Cedar planked salmon,  mashed potatoes, some green veggie (frozen salmon) 
20. BLT, cucumber onion and tomato salad (frozen cooked bacon)
21. Grilled lamb chops, rice pilaf, green beans, side salad ( frozen rack of lamb)
22. Lamb leftovers 
23. Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes (frozen corned beef)
24. Corned beef leftovers
25. Philly cheesesteak casserole, salad (frozen browned ground chuck)
26. Philly cheesesteak casserole leftovers 
27. Soup and cornbread (frozen chicken broth)

I will copy and paste this list when I do my weekly meal roundup and we can see how closely I actually came to the monthly menu.
Do I honestly believe I will stick with this plan totally? No, but I honestly think I will use the frozen items mentioned in some form or fashion during the month. It looks like with the uptick in Covid cases we are not going to be going anywhere so I might as well commit to cooking from the freezer. (And cleaning. I guess I could commit to cleaning too, but I really hate to overcommit myself!)

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

*This is not being done so much as a budget thing, but my freezer is stocked to the max. However; if ThePig has some spectacular meat buys in September, I will do some stock up buying. I just don't know where I will put it!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Joys Are Overflowing

This week has been all about being with family and has not been a big blog week. I am sorry if I have not been leaving comments. I have been reading your blogs, but I am spending my time enjoying my sons, daughter- in loves, and even granddog! It is hard to pick specific joys because I have been overjoyed having them around, which trumps everything else. So this is just a small recap, but trust me, I have been laughing and grinning from ear to ear all week. I am thrilled they all have their own lives and are happily  doing what they want to be doing, but I have selfishly feasted on their presence. They have not left, yet, I miss them already!

Obviously I was thrilled because Son3 and DIL3 were here. They played in the pool and ran a couple of errands, while I just enjoyed talking with them and having someone here. Our neighborhood had a little block party with a taco truck so they wandered down, talked with some of the neighbors, and brought back dinner. Son2 and DIL2 came by, brought their dinner and we played a geography game TheHub and I bought. Of course we made up our own rules and laughed a lot at/with each other.

Saturday: More pool time between the rains plus lots of conversation and music (both live and recorded)

Sunday: Son2, DIL 2 , and Shelby the dog, came over to have a fish fry with us. We laughed and talked and played a really fun board game. We split into teams guys vs.gals. They said they won but I am pretty sure they cheated.

Monday: The day was beautiful so Son2 and DIL2 came over to have some swim time. They had both taken time off for the ill fated beach trip anyway so we all decided that we would pretend we were at the beach. We asked them to stay for dinner but Shelby was at their house and they had to get back to let her out of the house.

Tuesday: Son2 and DIL 2 were planning on coming back to swim but they had a little household issue. Their a/c broke and by 11 the inside of their house was extremely hot.  DIL2 ran some errands then brought Shelby over here so they could cool down while Son2 waited for the a/c repair guy. Of course when they gave him the time frame from 1-8 they came at about 7. After sweltering all day waiting on them all he wanted to do after they left and the house was cooling was to take a shower and stay home. I think DIL2 secretly wanted to stay and eat here.

Wednesday: Swim time happened a couple of times. I had to show the house midday and afterward DIL3 and Son3 went with me to the fish market. We came out loaded with all sorts of deliciousness for dinner. Son2 and DIL2 came and joined us for dinner. 
After we ate one of Son3's longtime friends came over to swim with them. 

Thursday: They did a lot of running around all day and had plans to meet with a few of Son3's best Birmingham friends. I think they had a good time and fortunately I did not have anywhere to go because I had no car!
TheHub came home for work early and we had a nice time hanging out on the screened porch.

So that is the small joys packed with the big punch of having some really special family time. I would give anything if Son1, DIL1 and Pip could have been here, but we will just curse Covid and be thankful they will sacrifice for her safety.
Go find your joys however large or small, and stay safe.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

It's a Little Late (Tuesday 4)

I actually remembered it was Tuesday today, but I was busy doing other things, so thank you to Annie @ Tuesday 4 for the questions this week.

1.What is/are your favorite meal(meals) to eat and to cook?
I don't know that I have a favorite meal to eat. I like a variety of foods but I  guess either Cuban or Thai foods are my favorite types of food.
I like to cook, but for meals I enjoy things that come together quickly. I rarely spend more than 15 minutes putting a meal together, though the physical cooking time might be a bit more.

2. How often do you cook at home and what kind of  meals do you make? 
It depends. Some weeks I cook 6 nights and some weeks we do take out 3 or 4 times. In the summer we have a lot of vegetable meals or meat and a salad, and in the winter we have a bunch of soups or stews

3. When you go out to eat what foods do you find yourself ordering most?
Takeout (thanks Covid)  we do a lot of Greek or Mexican
In a sit down restaurant (I miss this badly) I generally order fish

4. Can you recommend a restaurant in your area? 
My favorite restaurant is Highland's Bar and Grill, but it has not re-opened since the initial pandemic shut down. According to their website they are scheduled to open again in late summer, but with the insane Covid case load here I am doubtful if it will happen.
The best food for the price is probably Tazikis but go to one of the 3 original ones before they started franchising.  The food is very good and it is very reasonable
Why do you like it? 
Besides having, hands down, the most delicious meals in town, Highlands offers a true dining experience that does not skimp on a single detail to make it perfect. If you go there prepare to drop some coins, but for special occasions it is absolutely worth it. 
The chef/owner also owns two other restaurants in town that are currently operational. Che Fon Fon, which is more like a Parisian bistro and Bottega, which is Italian inspired, but don't go there expecting a pasta restaurant. Both have food that is as delicious as Highlands, but the experience is quite different.

So come on and play along!

Monday, August 23, 2021

When Is A Plan, Not A Plan?

Another week has passed and I did go off the rails and hopped on board the crazy train this week, but I figured I probably would. Son3 and DIL3 arrived Wednesday night so all plans really went out the window. I try to accommodate their tastes and wants, and as I have mentioned before, I always have a huge stock of items in the freezer to choose from.

Original plans:
 Veggie dinner: corn on the cob, butter peas, okra, sliced tomatoes
 Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread
Grilled lamb chops, (grilled chicken for DIL who does not eat lamb) rice pilaf, Brussels sprouts, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers
Grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, coleslaw, pickles.
Veggie dinner: depends on what is at the produce stand 
Hamburgers with all the fixings
White bbq chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, sliced tomatoes

And what really happened:
Monday:TheHub had bought a couple of potatoes to microwave, but he had not wanted them. When I noticed them they were about to sprout, so they needed to be used or would wind up being tossed. Potatoes au gratin, green beans, sliced tomatoes

Tuesday:  There were several chores I had to do and really just lost track of the time. When ai got ready to cook I found some things I had cooked and frozen a while back. Bingo! A quick thaw and heat and dinner was ready.
Meatloaf, leftover au gratin potatoes, broccoli

Wednesday: Son3 and DIL3 were to arrive at 9 p.m. and I had the kitchen nearly spotless. There was no way I was going to mess it up cooking for us.
Take out hamburger from Jacks

Thursday:  Son3 loves a good veggie dinner and DIL3 is game for just about anything.
Squash casserole, butter peas, okra, tomato cucumber onion salad, cornbread

Friday I had forgotten there was a neighborhood street party planned so that dictated our meal.
Assorted food from the taco truck

Saturday: Son3 was routing around in the freezer Thursday looking just to see what was in there when had found one fo DIL's favorite foods. I love knowing I can make one of her favorites while they are here so I took it out to thaw and cook later. Saturday was the perfect later!
Corned Beef, cabbage, new potatoes, carrots, sourdough bread

Sunday:  A couple of months ago TheHub had gone on a fishing trip with some of his work cohorts. It was the first weekend of snapper season and they found a lot of them about 80 miles offshore. They divvid up the fish, and flash froze it is about 5 pound lots. I knew I would need more than just the two of us for dinner when I cooked it. Son2 and DIL2 were also going to be here so it was the perfect night to have it.
Fried snapper*, tossed salad, sourdough toast

Going Forward:
I am not making any menu at all for the week. I have some things I plan on using but how they are prepared and what side dishes will be served is truly anyones guess. 

Lamb chops
Hamburger patties
Chicken tenders
Grouper and crab claws
Veggie meal

*My long time, good friend C. told me a new way to fix (yes I am from the south and we fix food sometimes) fried snapper. Dampen the fish slightly, season (I used Captain Anderson's house seasoning but plain salt and pepper would work but would not be as tasty) and dredge it in rice flour. I had a large skillet with about 1/2 inch of heated oil  (about 350 degrees I am guessing) and just put the fish in the oil, piece at a time. Cook until the bottom is nice and crispy, flip and continue cooking until the fish is done and lightly browned. The coating was crisp and very light. It did not overpower the lovely flaky snapper at all.  We served it with lemon wedges and homemade tarter sauce. It was incredible. Thank you C, though I will call you in person when I finish this post to tell you how delicious it was.

Friday, August 20, 2021

It's The Little Things

I keep up with my joys each day so I can sit down on NYE  and review all the good things that happen each and every week.  I had high hopes that Covid would be mostly in the rear view mirror by now, but sadly that is not to be. I am still going almost nowhere and any place I do go (grocery or drug store) I go masked then leave, open the car door, grab the hand sanitizer and do the hand sanitizing routine before I even get into it.  So instead of talking about the joys we would be having on our beach trip (cancelled due to Covid) once again I will focus on the little things that make me happy.

And this has made me happy for a year or so!

Friday: Son1 and DIL1 use day camps for Pip's daycare during the summer. As a result she gets to do try a varied amount of activities each year. Friday they sent precious photos of her last day of cheer camp. Since we are Alabama fans, I had sent her a cheerleading outfit several years ago. On the last day she wore her Alabama cheerleading outfit complete with Alabama pom poms, not what you would expect to see in Oregon. DIL1 texted me later that morning and said she thinks it might be time for a new outfit, since she has been wearing that one for 3 or 4 years and it was definitely on the smallish side. I am pretty sure I can arrange that!

Saturday: TheHub and I made our usual run to the produce stand, then ThePig and Publix. Afterward we did different things around the house and yard to get ready for Son3 and DIL3. And for a really silly joy, we are finally getting some female blossoms on the cucumbers and I found a couple of small cucumbers forming. 'Bout time! 
Saturday night we were looking for something to watch and found the 6 episode series McCarthney 321 onHulu. If you grew up listening to the Beatles you might like it.

Sunday: We had another open house and had more traffic than we have had before. As usual my sister and I laughed a lot. After the open house I had phone conversations with all 3 sons, and a special call with Pip

Monday: I sold a cool chair that I really liked, but had no place for it anymore. I am so glad Bless suggested the August decluttering challenge. I am getting rid of one item each day for the month of August, but I think I will continue it well after this month. Taking stock of things I actually use and letting go of some of the excess is so freeing and makes me very happy.

Tuesday: I made major progress rearranging some rooms upstairs. TheHub helped me move some furniture that was just too heavy/bulky for me to do by myself. Things look so much better now.

Wednesday: We had an impromptu showing of Mom's house. I have no idea if anything will come of it or not but they looked and measured for quite a while. The bonus of the showing was watching their adorable 12 month old daughter crawling around the house.
And the best joy in quite a while was DIL3 and Son3 arriving. 

Thursday: I will confess even though it was a stormy day, having Son3 and DIL3 makes the rainy day not bleak at all.  They even managed to swim a bit between storms. My silly joy was while Son3 was looking through the big freezer he found a corned beef and mentioned that DIL3 loves it. I took it out to thaw, a future meal planned itself, and I gained some space in the freezer! It's a win all the way around.

So go find your joys. Large or small, they are around for the finding if you just look for them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Bells Were Ringing

I have mentioned before when I remember it is Tuesday, I try and play along with with Anne@Tuesday 4 by answering the 4 questions she posts each week. This week is all about weddings and such.

TheHubs name is not Bill but this is the first song about getting married that popped into my head and I always go with my first impulse. I had a friend when I was young who had a huge crush on a guy named Bill and she played or sang it all the time. I guess that is why it stuck in my brain. But now, years and years removed from her school girl crush, I like the instrumentation of the song and love Marilyn McCoo's voice.

1. If you are married would you share how your husband proposed to you?
We were married long before the big production proposals. He asked me to marry him and I said yes. I honestly don't even remember where we were. 
How long were you engaged before you got married? About 5 months

2. Did you receive an engagement ring? I am a southern female__of course I did1
Would you show us or describe it for us? I can't show it to you, but I wish I could. It was stolen from a hotel room years and years ago.  I can describe it though. It was a marquis cut solitaire diamond on a plain gold band with my initials engraved on the interior of the band. (We did replace the ring but it is different). Someone either removed the stone or someone, somewhere is wearing a ring with ASH engraved on it. Maybe whoever took it gave it to someone named Ashley? 

3. What kind of wedding did you have?  I had wonderful help with the wedding. I drew the dress I wanted on a napkin because I could not find anything that I liked. Mom and I made it from a sheet first because there was no pattern anywhere like what I wanted for a dress. After all the adjustments were made, Mom made the dress, then hand beaded it. In addition to all the buttons Mom covered for the back of the dress, I had 15 buttons from my grandmother's wedding dress. Mom's next door neighbor made the Juliet cap I wore, and my aunt made poie de soie roses to cover where the veil attached to the cap. 
My aunt had worked as a florist at one time and she did all the flowers for the church, reception and the wedding party. Like everything she ever did they were gorgeous
We were married in my home church with both a minister and a priest officiating. The church has a huge pipe organ and the organist played Baroque music before and after the ceremony. 
I had four attendants, my sister, my cousin, and my two closest friends. TheHub had his brothers, brother in law, and best friend as groomsmen. I guess that would be considered a small wedding by todays standards. There were about 230 guests which sounds like a lot, but both TheHub and I had large extended families, so we were related to many of them.  The wedding itself was simple but it was formal. We had your basic protestant ceremony which lasted maybe 20 minutes, then had a small reception following the ceremony.

4.Was there a honeymoon? Kind of. We were very young and still in school. We got married on a Friday night of a bye football weekend. (Yes, we actually planned our wedding based on Alabama's football schedule.)  Monday morning classes meant a very short getaway. In hindsight we probably should have waited until the winter break or even after the spring semester, but we didn't. I am glad we did not though, because it would have totally changed the trajectory of our lives. 
Where did you go how long did you stay?  Atlanta, for a short weekend, then we drove home Sunday night and began our life in married student housing (which is code for apartments slightly larger than a hamster cage). Our place was so small that if you were cleaning the bathroom and someone opened the bathroom door you would be knocked into the tub. Ask me how I know that! To this day I have no clue why anyone would design a teeny bathroom with an inward swinging door.

Thank you for these questions! I dug our wedding photo book out and looked through it. I had not looked at those photos in years. The wedding was lovely but it was just one day compared to the lifetime we have lived together since then.


Monday, August 16, 2021

Plans, Hopes, Life

As usual I make a plan and have every intention of following it. This week was no exception

This is what I thought I might do. Obviously I suffer from some delusion that if I write it down it will happen. 
 1. Veggie meal: Leftover zippier peas, corn on the cob, coleslaw, air fryer "fried" green tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, cucumber slices
2. Chicken salad with lettuce, tomatoes and banana peppers
3. White bbq chicken, caulitato salad, sliced tomatoes, green beans
4. Veggie meal: Squash casserole, green beans, tomato cuke and onion salad
5. Italian sausage, tomato, onion,  bell pepper, banana pepper, zucchini one dish meal
6. Take out
7. Grilled cheese sandwiches (Because I have a loaf of keto bread and have been sandwich hungry) coleslaw, chips or my keto version of cheese puffs**

This is what I really did:
Monday: I began the week feeling like Snow White with birds singing and critters doing my housework eating my tomatoes. Yes this was the week I was going to stay true to the plan and keto.
Veggie dinner, either zipper peas or green beans with mushrooms, sautéed squash. corn on the cob (or none), coleslaw, cucumber peach salad, toast or keto toast 

Tuesday: TheHub had to work late so I deviated slightly from the plan and cooked the chicken indoors rather than outside, but it was a very minor deviation.
Baked chicken, caulitato salad, green beans

Wednesday: Our pepper plants have been producing abundantly and I had a few bell peppers that needed to be used, though I had planned the menu knowing I would cook them this week.
Italian sausage with onions, peppers, tomatoes and zucchini, mixed greens

Thursday: I had such high hopes. By Thursday the plan was clicking like clockwork. I had planned to use some chicken from a weekend Aldi purchase. (Chicken legs and thighs in a 10 pound bag for 4.90. It had all been cooked and frozen except for enough to top a dinner salad.)
Huge chopped salad with chicken and cheese crumbles

Friday: Throughout our marriage, Friday nights have always been date nights, even if it meant just taking the kids to McDonalds. Once the kids were grown it was the two of us going out to eat, and now with Covid we are back to doing take out 
Takeout and I don't even remember where we went or what we got, but I do remember Keto and I parted ways for the weekend.
Saturday: TheHub worked in the yard and I worked around the house. After a hot blistering day neither of us were particularly hungry and neither had any clue what we wanted. You know how I said the meal plan was clicking like clockwork. It still was but now the clock was a cuckoo clock__with busted springs 
Chick Fil A sandwich or grilled nuggets

Sunday: My Beloved Sister and I had an open house at Mom's and TheHub had to do some work from home. I got home just as he was finishing. Instead of just having a salad or something similar here TheHub declared he was in the mood for a fish sandwich. I will never argue about not cooking.
Fish Sandwiches from Captain D's. 

And now what may or may not happen this week. Son3 and DIL3 will be here Wednesday so this entire meal plan is subject to change (like every week I plan):

1. Veggie dinner: corn on the cob, butter peas, okra, sliced tomatoes
2. Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread
3. Grilled lamb chops, (grilled chicken for DIL who does not eat lamb) rice pilaf, Brussels sprouts, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers
4. Grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, coleslaw, pickles
5. Veggie dinner: depends on what is at the produce stand
6. Hamburgers with all the fixings
7. White bbq chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, sliced tomatoes

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

Friday, August 13, 2021

Funky Joys

Everyone who reads this blog knows I keep up with the joys I experience each week. Sometimes they are big joys and sometimes they are small, but I keep up with them just the same, and am grateful for them all.  So here are some of the joys I found in the 32nd week of the year!

This is not a recording of the gig on Friday, but was an old one I snagged from Youtube. They did play this song Friday night though,

 Friday: Son3 was performing at a venue in Brooklyn which offers the option of purchasing a ticket for streaming. We really did enjoy the show. It is not the same as being there but it's a great alternative. And after all who does not like a little funk on a Friday night!

Saturday: TheHub and I ran around and did a couple of errands, then had a relaxing day. We ended it by watching the men and women's marathons. It was a good way for us to end the Olympics.

Sunday: My beloved Sister and I held an open house at Mom's. Later Son2 and DIL2 came over for his belated birthday celebration dinner. Since Son2 is not eating sugar, instead of birthday cake, we had Keto ice cream bars. Worked well for me!

Monday: I had some surprising news fairly late at night on Monday. My cousin, S. had a great call from her doctor and wanted to share it with me. S and I were always the closest of all the cousins and spent weekends with each other from the time we were toddlers until we left for college. There is no time of day or night I would not welcome a call from her!

Tuesday: School started here and the sounds of kids playing outside went with it. I love hearing children's laughter and I missed it during the day. I did get a few things done for our upcoming houseguests but it was a pretty uneventful day. I had a phone call from another of my cousins. I always love hearing from her. We are having a family reunion at the end of August and she is planning on coming. I did tell her I am not going and will hate to miss seeing her. She lives in Texas and I generally just get to see her once or twice a year. 
I love my family dearly, but with the rise in the Covid rates here and knowing that several of my relatives do not believe in the vaccination, I am staying at home.
TheHub works in health care and as of this week they reported (to the State Health Department and the CDC)  a 25% positive rate for Covid testing. Back in November ( their highest month) they only had 12% positive. 

Wednesday: My Beloved Sister came over for a swim, but a sudden thunderstorm/downpour squashed that plan. Instead we sat and visited. I thought it would be over in a few minutes and we would head out for a swim but the lightning stayed around for a couple of hours. Oh well, I still enjoyed being with her.

Thursday: What started a boring day turned delightful. First I had a long phone conversation with my friend C. We have known each other since we were in high school, and have maintained a close friendship for decades. 
After it ended I got a few things done, then was surprised when my phone rang again. It was not someone wanting to sell me a car warranty or save me from the police, who were on their way to arrest me, by calling a specific number and giving then God knows what information and money. Instead, it was my friend and fellow blogger Sluggy. What a wonderful person and what a wonderful treat!

So go find your joys. No matter the size there is something joyful every single day! All you have to do is look for it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Oops I forgot! And Tuesday 4

I am unsure what is going on with my current Blogger reading list.  Notices sometimes are not there and sometimes they appear out of sequence from when they were posted, and some never show up at all.  I missed the post with the questions for Tuesday 4 , so I am adding it to the bottom of the photo hunt. (Missing the photo hunt deadline was not Blogger's fault though. It was strictly my forgetfulness.

In June I followed Nil and Bless, and joined in the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt at Patio Postcards. I found it was fun to take pictures using the photo prompts she gave to us. Unfortunately if I had not seen My Two Cents this morning I would have forgotten all about it. Fortunately I had been taking some pictures all along, so I only had to take one picture today, which will be tomorrow when I get this posted.

These are the prompts that were provided.
June:   A Breakfast of Champions  
July:   Favourite Time of Day
           Something To Represent Home But Not The Building
           Head In The Clouds; shapes or interesting patterns
July:   The Art Of The Fold
June:   Something That Makes You Laugh or Happy
July:    What's In Bloom
July:    Window Views
June:   Something Older Than You  
           The Delivery Van/Truck Making The Deliveries
July:    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) 
July:    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

                                                                 So here we go!

My favorite time of day is twilight. We were sitting on the deck the other night and it was a perfect twilight evening. I only wish you could hear all the crickets and katydids who were singing en masse when I snapped this shot. 

In my world the art of the fold is to ignore folding completely and just roll!

Lots of thing are in bloom right now, but I think this lantana is such a pretty color that I chose it. My grandmother had lantana planted at the side of her yard all the way down the length of her house.  I keep it planted because it reminds me so much of her.

The views out my windows are pretty typical of most suburban neighborhoods and are just streets filled with houses overlooking a valley, so I decided I would show a view looking at the inside of one of the breakfast nook windows. My table sits in an area formed by a bay window. I am not much of a curtain guy so I have curtain rods hung over the windows but have things that make me happy attached by gold thread hanging down at varied lengths. This one is the fancy dancing man complete with tux, top hat, dancing spats and a monocle; though I could have chosen a hippo in a tutu, a fairy stuck in the middle of an apple, a monkey marionette, or a giraffe sitting in a high heel while applying lipstick. 
I am somewhat embarrassed by this photo. Because I have no window coverings bugs are attracted to the lights at night and bump into the window panes. Some meet an unfortunate demise on contact and leave little squashed bug body goo on the glass. Others meet their death by falling prey to the spiders who build webs in the corners of the windows. We knock them down and then 24 hours they are back. This was the emergency photo I took today and did not realize how bad the windows looked until I looked at the photo well after dark.
Oh well.

The shape of round are these stackable vintage Pyrex mixing bowls that I took when we cleaned out Mom's kitchen. It is one of the few items I felt particularly sentimental about. They had a photo of me at 2 1/2 standing on her kitchen stool with an egg beater mixing something in the green bowl. I figured it was meant that they come live with me, and now I use them almost every day.

This is my guilty pleasure. 

Tuesday 4

I follow, or at least try to follow the questions posed int he blog Tuesday 4
This week has a Western theme (kinda1. 

1.Reading anything good lately? 
 Currently reading the book Surviving the Flood.
How about magazines? Do you buy any?
I subscribe to Smithsonian and Wired, plus we get a couple of business magazines TheHub subscribes to at work but brings to the house to read in the evenings. We never buy them off the stands.

2. Do you belong to any clubs, societies, or do you meet with friends regularly to chat?
Post covid the only thing I belong to is my book club and we have been meeting for over 20 years. We still meet outdoors but not during the Alabama summer.
I have another group of friends I met for lunch every month and we were ready to start back until the Delta variant reared it's ugly head.
The same goes for a class I have been a part of for over 15 years

3. Where are you from originally and if you moved why did you move?
I was born in Birmingham, have lived in Tuscaloosa and Montgomery before moving back to Birmingham

4. Do you like a good Western Movie? 
I am not a fan of westerns
Who was your favorite movie/TV Cowboy?
I always liked Hoss Cartwright. I thought he had pretty eyes.


Monday, August 9, 2021

Phish Food

Like most weeks, I am beginning this one with a plan that may or may not be followed. A lot depends on my mood, or how things go during the week. I have to get the upstairs ready for Son3 and DIL3 who are coming to visit on the 18th, and it is a wreck.  When we sold the lake place a lot of the furniture that was there came to live upstairs at our house, which means a lot of rearranging and redoing. As much as I prefer to do things myself without asking for help, some of the furniture is too bulky or heavy for me to move myself, so maybe the person (TheHub) I asked back in February will finally help me. 

Meanwhile I will be doing all I can do by myself using silicon sliders. I anticipate a stream of expletives coming out of my mouth tomorrow, which begs a philosophical question. If there is no one here to hear did I really say them at all?

The song today is in homage to my sons' love of the band Phish. I first started listening to them when the older two were in their late teens, and I found I really liked their music. This is one of my favorites, but it is a very odd song.

But that is enough about Phish, now on to the meal [plan that didn't happen, what really did and what still might!

What I thought might happen last week 
1. Salad, chopped or garden salad
2 Veggie meal (depends on what is available) green beans
3. Veggie meal, okra and whatever is available, green beans
4. Burger patty, green beans, caulitato salad
5. Grilled chicken, green beans, tomato cuke and onion salad
6. Grilled fish, coleslaw, air fryer keto hushpuppies, green beans
7 Takeout

Monday: I woke and cooked the squash for the casserole at the same time I was brewing tea for the day. If I get things cooked early, the kitchen is not quite as hot since it gets no morning sun. Then when it get to be dinner time a short trip in the microwave heats what need to be hot.
Veggie meal, squash casserole, green beans, air fryer okra*, tomato cuke banana pepper and onion salad.

Tuesday: This was just another one of those throw together meals. I think it took about 15 minutes for start to finish, but I will confess I had already strung and trimmed the green beans Tuesday morning.
grilled chicken, sautéed green beans with garlic, tomato slices, cucumber slices

Wednesday: I had intentionally left a little okra uncooked so TheHub could have it again Wednesday. All I had to do was pop the okra in the air fryer and cook the peas. The rest was bits and pieces of assorted leftovers that were nuked on the plate. When we ate it looked like we had been through a cafeteria and chosen completely different foods
Zipper peas, air fryer okra and assorted leftover veggies

Thursday: TheHub had a dinner meeting and I was not about to cook for just me, plus I had some veggies that needed to be eaten.
Sliced banana peppers with cream cheese and Everything But The Bagel seasoning

Friday: Pre-Covid, Friday night was our date night when we went out to eat. We have continued our covid variation which is to run do a curbside pickup, bring it home and eat it.
Take out from Taziki's TheHub had the Friday special and I had the grilled lamb with a greek salad. Usually I think whatever I order is better, but his looked delicious!

Saturday: We did our usual Saturday running around(the produce market and Publix, ‘cause we are wild and crazy folks). While we were in Publix we hit the deli and dinner planned itself
Rotisserie chicken, tomato slices, cucumber slices and sliced banana peppers

Sunday: Last week was Son2’s birthday.  We wanted to do something for him but he and DIL2 were Phishing all weekend, so we had them over Sunday evening for dinner
Hamburgers with all the fixings, corn on the cob, caulitato salad, and Keto popsicles.

Maybe This week:
1. Veggie meal: Leftover zippier peas, corn on the cob, coleslaw, air fryer "fried" green tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, cucumber slices
2. Chicken salad with lettuce, tomatoes and banana peppers
3. White bbq chicken, caulitato salad, sliced tomatoes, green beans
4. Veggie meal: Squash casserole, green beans, tomato cuke and onion salad
5. Italian sausage, tomato, onion,  bell pepper, banana pepper, zucchini one dish meal
6. Take out
7. Grilled cheese sandwiches (Because I have a loaf of keto bread and have been sandwich hungry) coleslaw, chips or my keto version of cheese puffs**

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

*I found a different way to cook my okra because the normal way I cook it has a cornmeal coating which is not compatible with keto. Sunday, TheHub had cooked sausage patties in the air fryer. For some reason, known only to God, I assumed anyone who had cooked something in the air fryer would actually wash it after they used it. Yeah, I was wrong. He only washed the cooking rack.
I tossed my plain okra onto the rack and spritzed it with olive oil (thanks Misto)** About halfway through the cooking process I smelled sausage and realized what had happened. I never would have begun cooking it if I knew the air fryer still had sausage grease in the bottom, but it did add a fantastic flavor to the okra. The next time I am cooking some just for me, I might cook a sausage patty intentionally right before I cook my okra.

** I am in no way, shape or form affiliated with anything or anyone. Any product I mention here is something I use and recommend, but it is also something I bought with my very own money and get nothing for endorsing it. I use this mister every single day!

*** TheHub buys the small individual serving bags of regular crunchy snacks at Costco. They live in a huge basket in the butler's pantry and scream at me every time I walk through it to get to the laundry room. The School Yard snacks do not scream at me, but they at least muffle the noise the real (delicious) chips make.
They are a crazy expensive alternative to potato chips and are not as delicious, but are much better than having nothing crunchy. I have bought them twice. The first time I bought sour cream and onion, because they had only two options and that was my preferred choice. Since then, they have added additional flavors so I bought the fiery hot and cheddar cheese flavors. I eat a bag very rarely so I have a lot of bags in my keto stash. I am just glad they have a decently long shelf life. I am not sure if I like the fiery hot or the cheddar best, but both of them are better than the sour cream and onion. I would like to try the other two flavors but until I eat most of what I already have here that is not going to happen. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

Green, Green Laughter

I am going to have to do a little explaining about the song I used today. My Beloved Sister has a strange, yet wonderful sense of humor, and while we were in a lull at Mom's open house she told me she had a surprise for me___a new summer theme song.

But first a little back story about us knowing the song. I was in a very bad car wreck right before my 16th birthday and was in the hospital in traction for a little over a week. In addition to breaking stuff, I had pretty decent head injury.  Evidently I was a bit confused for several days and still have no memory of anything until about the 5th day I was there, which was my actual birthday. Probably the only reason I remember it was because I distinctly remember arguing with my parents who would not unhook me to let me go take the drivers test to get my license. After all, it was only my left leg that was in the cast up to my hip, and everyone knew I gassed and braked with my right! And the other stuff that was damaged? Pffft trivial. I only needed one hand for the steering wheel.*

My folks were pretty good about keeping my friends away, but one of my Mom's friends came by to sit with me and spell Mom for a bit. Evidently in my confused state, when asked if I needed anything, I told her I would love her New Christie Minstrels album. (Of course I had also called my best friend and told her I was riding a tricycle and fell, told the ambulance driver I was a 25 year old actor, and told my cousin I fell off the monkey bars at the park and was being kept as punishment for skipping school.)

Needless to say I was not in my right mind, but dear sweet Mrs. L came to the house after I was released from the hospital bearing not only The New Christie Minstrel album, but also Don Ho's version of Pearly Shells. I do remember looking through her albums when I was a kid and we would be at their house when Mom and Dad played cards with Mr. and Mrs. L but I never listened to either of those. I was much more interested in their older daughter's music. 

Anyway to make a long story even longer, My Beloved Sister and I thought my addled brain song requests were so bizarre that we would play them sometimes and die laughing. When we were going though all of Dad's music we found those two albums that made the cut of albums we actually kept, just because we laugh every time we think about it.

Now fast forward to this past Sunday when we were sitting in Mom's breakfast nook. MBS, at full volume, burst into her altered versions, singing "Green Beans they're green I say, and her pot is very filled. . . " I don't remember what came next because I snorted Diet Coke!

 My neighbor called and asked if she could bring her daughters to swim. I love hearing them laugh while having fun. Later in the day I had a phone conversation with Sluggy which is always a treat!

Saturday: TheHub and I ran out to do a couple of things, came home and ate a quick bite. I had just finished eating when I got a call from a couple wanting to see the house. I was locking the door after showing it to them when a car pulled up and slowed down. I asked if they wanted to see it so I got a two for one trip showing.

Sunday: I streamed our church service. It is not the same as being there, but I will accept it for what it is. We held an Open House at Mom's. Even though it was not well attended, we had a ton of laughs.  When I got home I saw the green beans TheHub had picked. There were almost 4 pounds, so I strung, snapped, blanched and froze 6 packs of green beans

Monday:  Generally nice day, with a bonus_____only 1 pound of green beans  were harvested

Tuesday: Had an unexpected showing of Mom's house. The weather was much nicer with a lower dew point. Hurrah for small gifts! Also I am into the Olympics. My new favorite races to watch are the steeplechase races.

Wednesday: I have been enjoying the Master Class subscription Son2 gave us for Christmas. I began watching instructions on writing and decided to begin my day as per his advice, so I sat down at the laptop to write 1000 words. By the time I thought I was about there I looked at the word count and I was well over 1800. So woo hoo!  
It was a much nicer day again. Lower humidity is always wonderful! Though not much happened because I am staying at home because of the uptake in the Covid numbers, I still had a lovely day by myself and got several tasks I had been ignoring done. After dinner TheHub and I  made some short term and long term plans for a few things we would like to do. We have decided to rent an RV in September and take a trial trip just to see if we like it or not. I

Thursday: I had a successful 1000 word morning again. I will most likely not do it every single day, but for now I am going to continue. 
I had an almost Sluggy like day today, and went to the dreadful CVS. I bought a few things I use daily and was out of. I used coupons and their buy 1 get one 50 percent off, plus bonus bucks and walked out with 13.28 cents in CVS cash to use next time. I figure I will get some of the coupons from My Beloved Sister since she does not use them and repeat the deal using my bonus bucks. I had rather stock up and go ahead and get rid of them.

So go find your joy, whatever it may be, and if anyone out there needs either of these two albums, we have a gizmo Dad bought to convert analog to digital.  Just sayin'

*I finally got my license 6 months later when I no longer needed crutches. But shortly before that, there was the Peggy Lee album incident when the folks thought I was losing my mind again and were debating whether it was a good idea for me to have a license or not. Lucky for me the mystery was solved. It turned out my grandmother knew I loved music so she sent in a bunch of  Corn Flakes box tops plus 1.00 and had it sent to me. I did love music, but at the time I was 16 and Peggy Lee was nowhere in my wheelhouse, she wasn't even near it!  (I kept that album from Mom and Dad's record stash also.)

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Too Hot To Cook

Have you ever seen "Good Morning Vietnam" when Robin Williams talks about how hot it is? Well, trust me, with all the humidity "It's Hot! Damn Hot" is about the nicest thing you can say about the weather.

Hot weather does not inspire cooking at all, so this is going to be a throw it on the grill, in the air fryer, the crock pot, the microwave, or eat it cold type of food plan for the week.

What was planned for last week:
1. Grilled lamb chops, rice or cauliflower rice, green beans, tossed salad
2. Veggie dinner subject to what grows (green beans) and what is on hand
3. Pesto chicken, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, green beans
4. Veggie dinner, subject to harvest, but I know green beans will be served
5. Another veggie dinner, because things are growing__like crazy
6. Takeout
7. Super salad meal (depends on what is growing!)
What we ate during the hottest and steamiest week of the year (so far)
Monday: It was hot and we wanted cool stuff
Chicken salad or tuna salad

Tuesday: We had a lot of produce in the fridge so dinner decided itself.
Veggie dinner, okra, sautéed squash, lima beans, tomato cucumber and onion salad

Wednesday: Fortunately one night when the kitchen was cool, I had cooked chicken with pesto sauce, plus I had all the side made. A quick zap in the microwave and dinner was done
Pesto chicken, green beans, caulitato salad, keto peach crumble

Thursday: It was still hot and neither of us were particularly hungry
Chopped salad

Friday: TheHub was craving bbq and we can buy it all over town. Full Moon to the rescue.
Pulled pork plate with collards and coleslaw
Saturday: We made our weekly trip to the produce stand we frequent
Veggie dinner, corn on the cob, leftover lima beans, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers

Sunday: It was still a miserably hot day but we did not want veggies or a salad. This is why I like having a gas grill.
Hamburger with all the fixings

What I think might happen this week 
1. Salad, chopped or garden salad
2 Veggie meal (depends on what is available) green beans
3. Veggie meal, okra and whatever is available, green beans
4. Burger patty, green beans, caulitato salad
5. Grilled chicken, green beans, tomato cuke and onion salad
6. Grilled fish, coleslaw, air fryer keto hushpuppies, green beans
7 Takeout

I guess we will see if it does work as planned. Hope you all have a great week staying on plan, going off plan or with no plan at all.