Monday, January 31, 2022

Kinda Like A Plan

Every Monday I try to come up with a meal plan for the week. Sometimes I mostly stick to the plan and sometimes the plan might as well not exist. This week I was fairly consistent with what we had vs. what was planned. Minor tweaks and a major head and body ache on Sunday was the difference.

What was planned for last weeks meals:
1. Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
2. Chicken tamale casserole, broccoli
3. Steamed shrimp, new potatoes, tossed salad
4. Mac and cheese, broccoli, Waldorf salad
5. Leftover lentil soup, cheese biscuits
6. Take-out
7. Conecuh sausage one pan meal (onions, peppers, potatoes and cabbage), corn bread

What we really ate:
Monday: Shrimp, new potatoes, tossed salad
Tuesday: Chicken tamale casserole, tossed salad
Wednesday: Mac and cheese, green beans, Waldorf salad
Thursday : Chili, coleslaw, pilot crackers
Friday: Takeout Taziki's Friday Special
Saturday: Leftover lentil soup and crackers
Sunday:  Mushroom soup for TheHub, hot tea for me (felt bad)

This weeks plan is virtually nonexistent. I hopped off the keto trail before Christmas and need to get back on it, so I am doing a severe plan to kick off keto, beginning Tuesday. It is a five day mainly soup plan with daily breakfasts. It does not sound particularly enticing, but it is only 5 days and is doable. I did tell TheHub he is on his own for dinner. There are  leftovers, things in the freezer, or he can stop on his way home and get whatever he wants. Since I will be on this beginning the 1st, it only leaves me with 2 meals to plan, Monday and Sunday night.

1. Spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad
2. Something grilled (weather permitting), tossed salad, baked potato (or none) and if the weather is bad we will cook a burger inside.

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with non plan at all!

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Week 4

This  4th week of the year has been a difficult week to find joys, other than the few joyful things that have happened around the house. I was busy feeling sorry for myself part of the week and forgot to keep a log of the daily things that made me happy,  so instead of doing a daily joy recount I am just going to talk about a few of the things that have given me joy this week.

When the new couch was delivered, I had the delivery guys move the existing couch to the downstairs den. As you know if you have been reading for a while, I had been covered up with furniture from the sale of the lake house and from Mom's. Though I was able to get rid of most of  it, when something happens like shuffling sofas, I wind up with excess pieces once again. The shift left me with 2 virtually new upholstered chairs  and no room to use them. (They were in a ground level room at the lake house which we rarely used) My initial thought was to try and sell them, but I honestly did not want strangers in the house looking at them. (Covid rates are still pretty high here) I got in touch with a woman we had given some of the lake furnishings to, who outfits apartments for homeless vets. She wants them, it gets them out of my hair, someone will really appreciate them, and it makes me happy they will find a needed home.

I had phone calls from all three sons this week and of course that makes me very happy, as well as my daily phone call(s) with my beloved sister. 

The business of finalizing Mom and Dad's estate has been a difficult process, but is not without some chuckles along the way. It seems that my folks had several small accounts that we did not know about and tiny sums appear out of nowhere. 
One of the most irritating (yet oddly funny) bits, was wasting about an hour of my time on the phone to legally find a way to have 107 dollars mailed to one of  us rather than to my parents address, which was the address on file. (Even though according to all the documents they have, it clearly states that MBS and I are to split everything.  I would be fine if they would just mail it to her and she can have the whole thing. I tried telling them that! It was akin to some sort of blasphemy that I would be willing  forgo a claim to 53.50) 

I cleaned out the coat closet this week. Some of you might be neat and tidy with your storage, but this closet is my catch-all and if someone is coming over and I have to stash something quickly it goes into the coat closet. I know it has been well over a year since I cleaned it out, and oh the things I found! I have been looking for my upholstery tack hammer for well over a year. Found it! I also could not find the box I keep Christmas gift bags in when I was wrapping gifts this year. Found that too. 
Now the closet is neat and clean and jam packed with coats. (Most are not mine) Just exactly how many coats are required for an Alabama winter?

Other than TheHub and my sister I did not see a single person this past week. (I am not counting drive through encounters at the bank or Starbucks) I have kept my tail at home and left the house only to go out in my own yard, or do a couple of errands I could do without leaving my car.  I understand the covid case numbers are on their way down, so I am ready to venture out a little (very little).

I suppose  the biggest joys this week are having a home I can hole up in, having enough food stored so I did not have to go to the grocery store, being able to be warm, having digital library books available, streaming video and FaceTime!  We finished Billions finally, just in time for Ozark's release so our nightly entertainment is set for the next week!

I hope everyone had a good week and I hope yours was filled with joys. They are there if you look for them, and I promise this next week I will keep a sharper eye out for them.

May all your weeds be wildflowers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Music, Music, Music

Today's Tuesday 4 is all about music. Thanks to Annie @Tuesday 4 for the questions this week.

My parents would go dancing often and every time my Dad would request this song for Mom. He also would play it at home and they would dance in the kitchen. This song is one of my earliest childhood musical memories.

What kid of music do you like best?
I like just about all music except for contemporary country, rap, and ska.

2. Does the radio play in your car and if so what station or kind of music plays?  
I keep Sirius  instead of a radio station going all the time. It stays tuned to the Broadway station.
Does music play in your home often? 
All the time!

3. What do you think of the music played in restaurants or stores?     
 In a restaurant it should be background so you can have conversations. There is a grocery store near me and they blast rap all the time. I refuse to go there.
Do you find it relaxing or annoying?
It depends on the music, volume and type of music.

4. What part has music played in your life? 
Music is critical to my life. I listen to it all the time, TheHub and I listen to it at dinner, I play and all my sons play various instruments. We had a rule when they were kids that if they wanted to play sports they had to take piano. As adults they no longer play team sports, but they all still play music.
What kind of music played at your wedding?
We had only classical music played at both our wedding and reception
 or at parties you have been to?
Every kind of music under the sun! We have been to events where bluegrass bands play,  jazz bands,  classical groups, rock, oldies, and even some country music parties.

Monday, January 24, 2022

What's For Dinner

This was the plan for the week. It was not a particularly wonderful food week here, but I had everything on hand and knew I would not have to go to the store for anything unless I just decided I wanted to shop. This week 46% of the covid tests given in Alabama were positive, so I decided rather quickly, other than going to ThePig for free stuff, I did not need to go shopping. Most likely I am going to do the same thing this week though "they", whoever they are, predict that the positive numbers will track down. I am tired of staying in and really do need to be around people!

This was planned:
1. White chicken chili, coleslaw, cornbread (This is your fault, Kim)
2. Chicken roll ups, Brussels sprouts, Waldorf salad
3. Sloppy Joe's, caulitato salad, "fried" pickles
4. Lentil soup, tossed salad, crescent rolls
5. Takeout
6 Tacos with fixings,  guacamole, 
7. Eggroll in a bowl

 This was real life:

Monday: I had already made the sloppy Joes on Sunday, o I pretty much knew we would have them on Monday. I had everything on hand.
Sloppy Joe's, caulitato salad, plain pickles (I do still intend to air fry some one day)

Tuesday: I had a little less than half a bag of Pepperidge Farm corn bread stuffing left from our Christmas brunch casserole. I just wanted to use it and have one less things crowding my overstuffed pantry. Once again, I had I needed for meal prep (including one apple that had to be used right that minute)
Chicken roll ups, Brussels sprouts, Waldorf salad

Wednesday: This was a day I got to play a little mad scientist game. A couple of years ago I had soaked, cooked, then dehydrated some navy beans. I stuck the dehydrated beans in a ziplock bag in the freezer and forgot about them. I decided I would get them out and rehydrate them, just to see how they worked. I did put them in a pyrex bowl and covered them with boiling water. About 2 hours later I started the chili so I tossed them in the soup pot with the broth and chicken. Success!
White Chicken Chili, cornbread

Thursday: I had cooked some extra ground beef when I made the sloppy joe's and stuck it in the freezer. Since I had a head of cabbage and carrots in the fridge, along with onions, garlic, and ginger root, I had the makings of another meals.
 Eggroll in a bowl 

Friday: How glad are we that dried beans and lentils have an insanely long shelf life. I buy them, stick them in the freezer for a couple of weeks, then put them in jars. They will stay perfectly fine for a long, long time. I did have to buy kale when I went to The Pig on Monday. Other than that I had everything I needed.
Lentil soup, crescent rolls

Saturday: We ate a late breakfast, then a late lunch. When dinner time came I deferred to Campbells.
Tomato soup, oyster crackers

Sunday: I was cleaning the fridge Saturday and found a pack of sausage in the meat drawer that I had forgotten about. Since I was in a clean out mood, I also looked through the crisper for any odds and ends that needed to be cooked. Dinner planned itself.
Chicken sausage*, with cabbage, onions, carrots, corn

And now on to this week's plan: (Using as much as possible from food storage)
1. Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
2. Chicken tamale casserole, broccoli
3. Steamed shrimp, new potatoes, tossed salad
4. Mac and cheese, broccoli, Waldorf salad
5. Leftover lentil soup, cheese biscuits
6. Take-out
7. Conecuh sausage one pan meal (onions, peppers, potatoes and cabbage), corn bread

This week I need a head of lettuce and cabbage, bananas and mandarins and that should do it. I am trying to decide if I want to go to ThePig today for the two free items (with a 10 dollar purchase) but I already have extra dishwashing liquid and several bottles of salad dressing in the pantry. I guess it will just depend on how my day shakes out.

*Product review: This is strictly my own personal review of Trader Joe's Spicy JalapeƱo Chicken Sausage. I have tried and enjoyed a lot of products from TJ'S. This is not one of them.
I have mentioned before that I am a tactile eater and if things do not feel good in my mouth I do not like them. To me this sausage had the "feel" of Vienna sausages which is like eating something akin to baby food in a casing. The minute I took a bite I knew I was not going to like it, no matter what it tasted like__and I didn't. TheHub is not texturally averse to foods like I am, but even he asked that I not buy it again. Don't get me wrong, it was not inedible. We ate it, but did not enjoy it at all. I have enough left over for lunches a couple of days and I am not looking forward to it. 

Saturday, January 22, 2022

2022 Week 3

Week 3 is in the books, and around here the joys were pretty small. Honestly they felt non-existent at least one day, but on reflection I found several things that gave me joy. Maybe it was not the big whopping excitement I would have preferred, but still there were joyful things.  I hope sometime soon we can all look back at this pandemic and be glad it is over.

Saturday: We were out and about before the bad weather hit.  We had a couple of quick errands to run and stopped to pick up some lunch on the way home. As the rains started and the temperatures began to drop we both curled up in the den with books and blankets. It was joyful to be out of the weather with no where we had to be. 
After a quick dinner, we settled in to watch a couple of episodes of Billions/

Sunday; The day was another glusome (Mom's word) and cold day.  I woke prepared to watch our church service, but my internet had other ideas. We had no cable, internet or landline during the morning, As the storms rolled in  in the wee hours of Sunday morning I kept hearing transformers blowing in our neighborhood. Do I even have to mention the joy in having underground utilities, while the street right above ours does not. When I opened the door I could hear the sound of generators going. Thankfully we never did lose power, and none of the rest really mattered. We wound up reading unit things were working and then we watched another episode of Billions. It was a great day to stay inside!

Monday  Very thankful for the small joys a day with no rain and slightly warmer temps provides. It was MLK day so I could not get my banking done. Instead I went to The Pig where I scored free Maxwell House coffee and a can of Manwich, I don't use canned Sloppy Joe sauce, but I will stick it in with the things I have set aside for the food pantry the next time I am by it. (Scored free is a relative term, I had to buy 10 dollars worth or merchandise to get it, so I bought fresh produce, tea bags, and a pack of breakfast pork chops Wound up being just a few pennies over 10 plus tax of course)

Tuesday The day was drop dead gorgeous with blue skies and temps in the 5o's. I got all dressed up and realized I had no where to go.  I guess I could have gone shopping but I needed nothing and Covid is really rampant here, so I stayed at home. Instead I did minor housework and worked on my finances for the year. 
I did not want or need slippers but TheHub gave me some for Christmas anyway  Until the last week or so I had not worn them because it had mostly wearing been flip flops in the house. By Tuesday, they had shaped to my foot perfectly. They are the best ever, I just did not know how much I needed them!
A few days ago TheHub and I had been talking about having one of our college friends for dinner., I had not talked to him in years, so I gave him a call, We caught up with each other 's lives and I invited him over to eat once this current covid mess is over. (Or lessens considerably)

Wednesday: It was a gorgeous day again, and I should have made plans to meet C. for lunch, but our state infection rates are seriously high and neither of us want to be out in the middle of it. She is still seeing her 92 year old mother regularly and the last thing she wants to do is carry Covid to her. Instead I stayed home, did some chores, and cooked a bit of food in advance. When I am bored I tend to cook___a lot!
What can I say? TheHub came home, we ate, then watched Billions!

Thursday: And the drop dead gorgeous days ended. The day started out on the coolish side and got colder and colder as the day progressed. I stayed home instead of going anywhere, because I did not need anything and going out would strictly be just to go out. Instead I attacked Mount Laundry and tamed it, then started organizing a couple of cabinets in the kitchen. I have done quite a bit of decluttering this week and that does bring me joy.
After eating we watched Billions. We are almost caught up just in time for the new season to begin. You have no idea how much we look forward to watching just one episode a week!
Late at night the storms came and the temps plummeted. I don't do cold well!

Friday: The day was bitter cold and damp but not rainy. I had scheduled the delivery fro my couch so I spent the morning moving the den furniture out fo the way for the delivery. Two extremely nice guys delivered it and also took the old couch to the downstairs den. I think it will work really well down there__eventually!
My beloved sister came by for a few minutes and said a couple of things that were so funny I literally fell off the loveseat laughing. I can not think of a better joy than possibly having the best sister in the world.
TheHub came home and we decided we did not want to get out in the cold, so I made soup, we stayed home, ate and then watched Billions.  (I am tired of Axe and Chuck). 
The upside of the night was the cold requiring an additional blanket, a flannel gown and a good book in bed! Nothing beats socking in to read when it is really cold!

Have a great week finding you joys, no matter how small. Thery are always there if we just look for them.

May all your weeds be wildflowers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tuesday 4

Annie @Tuesday 4 asks four thematic questions each Tuesday. When I actually remember it is Tuesday, I try and answer them. This week's theme is :Where would you go? Where do you want to go?

1. Is the farm for you? How about a ranch, a village or a city? Which is your choice and why?
Right now I live in the suburbs, though I could easily live in a very urban setting. If we had the money I would keep my home here, and have apartments in New York and in Portland, Oregon. I have 3 sons, one lives in town, one in NYC and the other in Portland.  I would love to have housing in all three places so I could visit whenever the mood struck me. Unfortunately I am not a gozillionaire!

2. A short auto trip for the weekend with friends or a long vacation? Where would you go?
See the above answer. We no longer go on vacations, but we go see our kids

3. The quiet life at home with a cuppa and TV or  a good book or a night out with friends? Which sounds good today?
Today our state's covid numbers are sky high so I had much rather stay home, watch Billions with TheHub and then read. In normal times I had rather go out with friends.

4. You have a choice of  dinner and a movie or a game of cards and snacks at the neighbors. Where are you going tonight?
I am not sure if my neighbors play cards or not, but I have some wonderful neighbors and would much rather spend time with them than go to a movie.

So come on and join in the fun! Let us know what your choices are!

Monday, January 17, 2022

A Less Than Stellar Plan

Each week I make a tentative meal plan, or let what is left in the refrigerator makes the plan for me. This past week featured a lot of leftovers and honestly we are tired of eating them. Fortunately they were all consumed and this week I can start on some new meals. 

This was what the universe decided I needed to eat last week:
Leftover Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
Leftover beef stew over noodles, tossed salad
Leftover collard green soup, cornbread or rolls or Orange ginger chicken, rice, broccoli
Chicken roll-ups, broccoli, something else but undecided right now (leftover dry stuffing) Chicken parm over spaghetti, tossed salad (using leftover marinara)
Ball game meal: heavy apps (Have tons frozen) 
Egg-roll in a bowl (everything is on hand but al least it's not leftovers)

And this is what we actually ate:
Monday: It was a ball game night so I hauled out several frozen apps and we had a game night meal.
Greek spiral, artichoke feta strudel, stuffed olives, raw veggies

Tuesday: I had some frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs, and a half a jar of Rao's.
Chicken parm (kinda, baked instead of fried chicken) tossed salad

Wednesday: This was one of those, ladle it out of the container into bowls and zap it kind of meals.
Leftover collard green soup

Tuesday: TheHub was home early, we had some work going on at the house so we did what we do best.
Takeout from Zaxby's I really do like the grilled chicken salad

Friday: Covid date nights leave a little to be desired, but there is nothing I can do about it.
Leftover beef stew over orzo, tossed salad

Saturday: The day was pretty cool then the night was cold. Perfect for this leftover!
Leftover Chili, coleslaw, corn chips (TheHub did not want cornbread)

Sunday: We had some chicken leftover from our lunch Saturday, so it was only a natural that is became dinner.
Leftover Chicken, tossed salad

Which brings us to this weeks possibilities:
1. White chicken chili, coleslaw, cornbread (This is your fault, Kim)
2. Chicken roll ups, Brussels sprouts, Waldorf salad
3. Sloppy Joe's, caulitato salad, "fried" pickles
4. Lentil soup, tossed salad, crescent rolls
5. Takeout
6 Tacos with fixings,  guacamole, 
7. Eggroll in a bowl

I do not need a single thing for the week, though I might run to Aldi because they are supposed to have a 10 pound bag of leg quarters for .49 a pound, and I do need to add to my frozen chicken stock. Other than that and a 10 dollar run to ThePig to get 12 ounces of free Maxwell House coffee, I plan on being conspicuously absent from the grocery stores this week.

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

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Week 2 Joys

The second week of 2022 is over and here it was another week of large covid numbers. As is my usual when things are like this I mostly stay at home unless there is something I absolutely must do. Therefore there are no large joys here. And since I vowed to do better this year, I figured if I was stuck at home I might as well try and be somewhat productive. I have been in sloth mode too long!

 Saturday: TheHub and I woke and finished a few odd jobs before getting dressed and heading to my favorite furniture store. I cannot remember when we bought our den sofa, but it was probably about 6 years before Son3 was born. He is now 27 so, doing the math, it is an old couch. I had it re-covered twice, and knew I would either have to do it myself ,have it done again, or bite the bullet and buy a new one. After looking at fabric and getting an estimate to have all the springs re-tied, new batting, down, and foam, not to mention the actual labor cost we decided it was time to go furniture looking so we could make the best decision . 
The store was getting rid of their 2021 stock to make room for the 2022 items so I was able to buy a brand new sofa, for about 100 bucks more than re-doing the old one. I did buy one they have in the warehouse, so it will be delivered brand new ( not the showroom model). 
As we were leaving we crossed the street and noticed a small joint called Gus' Famous Fried Chicken. It was not terribly famous since neither of us had heard of it before, but the smell from outside was like a sirens call and it drew us in. We walked through the door and there were about 5 tables with diners which we took as a sign that it would be a decent choice. 
Obviously we are tragically unhip and out of the loop, because before our order came every table was full. (Thankfully they are still spacing the tables several feet apart). It was some of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten, and they claim their pie is ever better. We will have to find out another time, but we will be going back.
An episode of Billions and a FaceTime with Pip, who wanted to show me her new skis, finished the day.

Sunday: The day was as dreary as Saturday was gorgeous. TheHub and I had done all of our running around Saturday, anticipating the thunderstorms and rain. We are still watching our church services online and I was having a relax in my pajamas type of morning. I heard TheHub say something to someone and I got caught. Son2 and DIL2 came by on their way to purchase some instrument string. Son3 had told them they could have a music stand he no longer needed so they were going to grab it while they were on this side of town. I did excuse myself to my room to throw on some clothes. Loved seeing them but hated getting caught in my flannels!

Monday: Monday was the day of the NCAA national football championship game.  We settled in to watch a mostly boring game which Georgia won.  Congrats to all the Dawg fans, and Roll Tide Roll!

Tuesday:: It was a drop dead gorgeous kind of a day.  I had some errands to run, and pulled into my driveway  right as my neighbor was walking out. We had a very nice visit and made plans to get together for dinner in the next few days. Later that night we watched Billions, then I read until I fell asleep.

Wednesday: I had lots and lots of housework. I decided a deep cleaning was due, so I launched an attack. Finally, the laundry room is very  clean and Pip's former bedroom has turned into a craft room for DIL3. I also got the large cedar closet cleaned ( no small task). I felt pretty scuzzy from all the cleaning and took a long shower after we ate but before watching Billions. I found some lavender lotion which not only provided much needed moisture to my skin, but the scent made it so easy to turn my mind off when it was bedtime.

Thursday: Once the cedar closet was cleaned, all the Christmas decor that had been taken upstairs and just left hanging out  was packed into containers, and stored for next year's holiday season. I had a FaceTime call with Pip which is always a joy!
Oh, and another episode of Billions!

Friday: Another beautiful day.! I woke and was having my morning coffee at the kitchen table while I looked out the window. I was very surprised to see prints on the pool cover going from one side to the other. I am not sure who our overnight visitor was but it was definitely bigger than a squirrel, but was not a raccoon print.  Game camera maybe? 
In the afternoon I had a quick phone call/laugh with Sluggy which always makes me happy!
Date night consisted of eating leftovers and watching two episodes of Billions.

So I guess my week was spent trying to avoid contact with others, since our Covid numbers are raging right now. Gotta find your happy where you can find it! So look for your joys, even small joys are worth reflection.

May all your weeds be wildflowers!

Monday, January 10, 2022

Copycat Recipe Slutty Vegan Burger

 A few weeks ago I was looking at an article about new restaurants opening in the Birmingham area and saw Slutty Vegan is supposed to be opening this year. Woo Hoo! An alternative burger joint is always a welcome thing and with a name like that, well to say the least, it's worth checking out. So I did a not so deep dive (It seems like everyone who has ever been there loves the place) here and decided it would most likely be somewhere we would try. My next trip was to a couple of Youtube videos where folks were making a copy cat version of their burgers. 

Serendipitously, Publix had Impossible Burger BOGO for the week. I figured the universe was directing me to give it a try, so naturally I did.

This is my take on the Fussy Hussy burger. I did not have access to Slut Sauce (their secret sauce) but I had The Pig's dipping sauce which looked similar, so we used that. (It was not vegan, but I am not vegan so it did not bother me that the sauce had egg yolk as an ingredient). I did buy vegan cheese, though, to keep things as accurate as possible.

1 pack Impossible Burger (serves 3)
Angelo's steak seasoning
Vegan cheese shreds
1 small onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1/4 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
dill pickle chips
hamburger buns

Spray a non stick griddle with your favorite non stick spray (critical). Put the onion slices on the griddle to begin the caramelization process. You need to start this about 30 or so minutes before you plan on cooking the burgers. Cook on a medium low heat until the onions are soft and caramel colored. Remove from the griddle. Spray the pan again. Make 3 patties from the Impossible Burger. They will be very close to the same size once they are cooked so do not worry about much shrinkage. Season however you choose. Angelo's steak seasoning is my go-to beef seasoning. Put the patties on the griddle on a medium heat and begin the cooking process. I cooked them about 5 minutes, then flipped them to finish cooking for maybe 3 more minutes.  As soon as I turned them, I topped each burger with the vegan cheese shreds so it would melt on the burger. 
I put the buns (2) on the griddle along side the patties so they would toast a bit while the patties finished cooking. When everything was done I spread the sauce on the top and bottom of each bun then layered the cheese covered burger, onions and pickles on one side of the bun and the lettuce and tomato on the other.

This is very much like a beef burger, and was a delicious alternative to meat.  The consistency is the same as ground beef, the taste just slightly different but not anything to be off-putting. The only real con was that it was very messy. We wound up using a knife and fork after the first couple of bites. I did notice when looking at photos of people eating the real burgers, they were served in a paper lined foil wrap. I understand why now.

I can't wait until they open here! We will be in the first wave of customers! Yes it was that good!

Leftovers Again

This week was a pretty uneventful week so it was pretty easy to go ahead and commit to cooking. It did save money since I had to buy very little for the week. However the downside (or upside depending on your point of view) is I cooked too much and we have. boatload of leftovers___again. Planning for the week just meant looking in the fridge and seeing what was left that needed to be used. Lots! 

This was what was planned for last week
1. Tazikis copycat lemon chicken soup,  cuke tomato and onion salad, toast
2. Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
3. Collard soup, cornbread
4. Slutty Vegan copycat burger, "fried" pickles, blackberry mayo sauce
5. The Best lentil soup, tossed salad, rolls
6. take out
7. Spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad

And this is how the week played out:
Monday: I used the chicken bone broth that had been simmering  in the crock pot for a couple of days. (Leftovers mostly eaten for lunches)
Taziki's copy cat lemon chicken soup

Tuesday: This did not use any leftovers, but I had all the fixings in the fridge or freezer, so no additional purchases were required. TheHub did not want cornbread, but chose the corn chips instead. We had those from one of his recreational shopping trips. (Lots of leftovers)
Chili, coleslaw, corn chips 

Wednesday: I had a ton of collard green and black eyed peas left from our NYD meal, plus I still had a good bit of bone broth and a small bag of cooked frozen cajun sausage in the freezer. (lots of leftover soup)
Collard green soup, cornbread

Thursday: I had meatballs in the freezer, and a jar of Rao's marinara in the pantry. I only used 1/2 jar of Rao's  so it has to be used this week somehow)
Spaghetti and meatballs, salad

Friday: I ran to Aldi to stock up on some things like toilet paper, and a couple of other things we use regularly. They had a package of marked down stew meat, and I had a bunch of produce in the refrigerator. 
Beef stew, coleslaw, dinner rolls

Saturday: We had spent the day doing some running around and found a new to us place where we ate lunch. There was no way I was going to cook, so dinner was every man for himself)
 Bits and pieces of leftovers

Sunday: This was the only meal I planned that I knew would require purchasing ingredients I do not normally keep on hand. The Slutty Vegan is supposed to be opening a restaurant in town this year, and Publix had Impossible Burger BOGO this week. I thought I would try it and see if it is somewhere we might want to go once it is opened. (Their burgers there are too expensive to try if we didn't like the meat alternative.) We will be going!
Slutty Vegan copycat burger

And since we had so much leftover from last week, the meals this week are not what we really want, but it is what we are eating anyway! The only exception might be the collard greens soup and I may decide to freeze it.

Meals for the week in no particular order
1. Leftover Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
2. Leftover beef stew over noodles, tossed salad
3. Leftover collard green soup, cornbread or rolls or Orange ginger chicken, rice, broccoli
4. Chicken roll-ups, broccoli, something else but undecided right now (leftover dry stuffing)
5. Chicken parm over spaghetti, tossed salad (using leftover marinara)
6. Ball game meal: heavy apps (Have tons frozen)
7. Egg-roll in a bowl (everything is on hand but al least it's not leftovers)

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

Saturday, January 8, 2022

And so it begins: Week 1

Because the year officially ended on Friday and my 2021 posts were from Friday to Thursday  it left The NYE post either as a solo post or it. had to be included in the first week of this years joys. I did not want the day to have an inferiority complex nor did I want it filled with self importance that might come from getting a post all its own. My solution was to combine it with the first week's post and now all the days of the year will share equal footing. For the rest of the year, the weeks will be Saturday- Friday.
Friday: TheHub and I did a little NYE  morning running around, buying a few things for NYD. We came home in time to watch one episode of Succession then had a call from Son2 that they were headed over here to watch the Alabama Cincinnati football game. Alabama won and we were pretty happy. 
Other than that,] I did do several things I do every NYE.  First I can't go into the new year with dirty clothes, so I made sure all the laundry was done. I also have to have all dishes done, the kitchen cleaned and mopped, clean sheets, beans soaking for NYD and something cooking on low in the crockpot. This year I decided it would be bone broth, so I had 2 crock pots filled with chicken bones, water, salt and a dash of vinegar. I planned to get 10 more pounds of chicken quarters (on sale at The Pig) and to make more Monday (because it has to simmer for about 2 days)

Saturday: New Years Day came and went with little fanfare. TheHub and I watched bowl games then had our "lucky" traditional NYD meal between games. Arrrrrgh, new leftovers! 
After the daytime games we watched a couple of Succession  episodes. We  both wanted Veggie pizza. I know I could have made it but we had a coupon and Marco's has the best thin crust out there!
After our quickie meal, it was time for The Sugar Bowl. I do love college football, but I will be thankful on the 10th when it is over for the year!

Sunday: Woo Hoo, TheHub and I finished season 3 of Succession! Now we have to catch up on Billions (season3-5) because one of Son3's former roommates has been cast in the upcoming season. We have only met Tony twice, but I have spoken to him several times while talking with Son3. I am not sure if he is in the second half of season 5 or in season 6, but we wanted to get caught up just in case. 

Other things happened Sunday, but nothing excited me more than finishing Succession without hearing any spoilers. Now we have to wait another year to find out what new treacherous acts the Roy family members  have in store for each other. 
And an unexpected huge joy__snow! 

Monday: Of course the snow did not last, but I was able to wake and have coffee while looking at it. You know how it's the little things that make us happy? 
The Pig's free Monday item was a dozen eggs (with an additional 10 dollar purchase) . As if free eggs alone was not worth celebrating I needed a few items anyway and while I was getting them, I found one grocery item that was a true impulse buy.  But once I saw it I could not pass it by. I bought T.O.E. Jam. It is a tangerine, orange, elderberry jam which might be really good or really bad, but when I saw the label I knew it was coming home with me. I am counting it as part of my fun for the day!
I also had a brief visit from My Beloved Sister and we had a couple of laughs which is the best medicine out there.

Tuesday: TheHub works in the medical field, and gets daily reports on the numbers of patients seen at each of their clinics. Though this is not a true joy there is something joyful about knowing how things are tracking. And they are not tracking well here. Positive Covid numbers have to be reported to the CDC daily. You know things are tanking when the CDC calls because they thought the number of actual positives might have been a clerical error. No such luck. But at least I know to keep my butt at home whenever it is possible and to mask and hand sanitize when I am out.
When TheHub got home (but not until he got a covid test) we watched another episode of Billions.

Wednesday: My Beloved Sister and I had a conference call with the investment company Mom and Dad did business with. Things were to be divided equally, but they had everything set up in a specific manner so the divisions are a little complicated. We spent nearly 2 hours on the phone with one of their "specialists" to try and divide a small checking account (one we did not even know existed). I know the expert is very young, but I do worry about the future of our country when an expert cannot mentally divide in half $2,090.53. She was trying to tell us a 50/50 split would be $1,056.30 for one and 1,034. 23 for the other, with us telling her it was 1,045.26 to one account and 1,045.27 to the other. or she could just toss all the change into either. She finally got her calculator (?) and decided we were correct. And this is why rote memorization serves you so much better than math "strategies".
After the call that lasted forever, we warmed up the chicken lemon soup, ate together, then had a ton of laughs.

Thursday: Again I was going nowhere so the day was pretty uneventful and really dreary. I spent the morning over coffee while reading at the kitchen table. As I was reading I kept seeing a lot of motion out the window, looked out and saw one of the redbud trees covered with different species of birds. In about 20 minutes they had stripped all the remaining seed pods off the tree. I quit feeding the birds several years ago because the cat next door thought my bird feeder was his bait. He has not figured out seed pods on the tree function the same way. I am glad about that!
BTW Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl (former editor of Gourmet magazine) is a fine read.

Friday: The day was as glorious and Thursday had been dreary. I got things done in the morning, ran some errands, bought groceries and had just come home and sat down to eat my lunch (late lunch) when I got a phone call  from Sluggy!  It is such a treat to talk to her. She was talking about France while I was eating French Fries. Coincidence? 
She told me about their small snowfall__about 3 inches. Three inches of snow would shut my entire city down!
Though I missed the sunrise Friday and was not at our usual sunset watching spot,  I could see the gorgeous apricot colored sky from my kitchen window.
TheHub came home a little earlier than normal, so we watched an episode of Billions while dinner cooked. After we ate we watched another episode, except one of us fell asleep midway through. Guilty!

As you can see the first week of the year went by with little excitement (My sister's visits and Sluggy's call were the exceptions) but it is just the first week!  Revivng my engines  and looking forward to week 2.

Look for your joys, they are there even in the short winter days (or long summer days, depending on your hemisphere)

May all your weeds be wildflowers!

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Pretty Darn Close To The Real Thing

 There is a restaurant that began locally after Keith and Amy Richards spent some time in Greece. Keith had been in the restaurant business here prior to the trip and soaked in the food and food preps there. When they returned they opened a small (very small) restaurant in Birmingham. Taziki's Mediterranean  was a huge hit and soon they opened opened another, and another, and another, and finally partnered with a restaurant group to begin franchising. Now you can find locations all over Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee,  and in select cities in Mississippi, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Ohio, Indiana and Idaho. (If I left a state out I am sorry)

We have been going there since they first opened the tiny place and still go at least every other month. Though I would not say the food is the most delicious in town, but if you are considering the price, taste, food quality, and value it is one of the best restaurants around. (I can't say that with certainty about the franchises, because I go to the ones still originally owned )

I am not a creature of habit and will try something new there nearly all the time, unless I am eating lunch and then I always get a 1/2 soup, 1/2 salad plate. Their Greek lemon chicken soup is my all time favorite restaurant soup, and I have tried to recreate the broth for a long time. This is as close as I can come without knowing all of their secrets. But trust me it is delicious and unless I was eating both mine and theirs at the same time I could not tell the difference

I think learning this dance (knee permitting) will be the new thing I learn this month

                                   Almost like Taziki's Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

2 cups shredded chicken (I use leg quarters because I make my own broth and dark meat creates a richer        broth)*

1 1/2 quart chicken broth

1 large carrot (should be shredded to be like the restaurant but I cut mine into thin "coins")

1- 1 1/2  teaspoon finely chopped dried rosemary (matter of taste here, I use the heavier amount)

1 teaspoon Greek seasoning (I use Cavander's. It has salt and I am not a fan of much salt so I do not add more,)

1/2 -3/4 cup fresh lemon juice 

Cooked basamati rice to go in the bottom of each bowl (about 1/2 cup per serving. If using leftover rice make sure it is hot)

Toss everything into a soup pot except for the lemon juice and the cooked rice. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Right before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Ladle into bowls holding hot rice and serve it immediately. 

This makes enough for 4 big bowls of soup (plus a couple of lunch size cups of soup) and is perfect for these cooler nights 

*I make my broth by tossing about 8 leg/thigh quarters into a big pot of water with a little salt, a carrot, and a couple of celery ribs. When the chicken is cooked through I remove it, take it off the bone and refrigerate part of it, freeze the rest then chunk the bones back in the pot. I cook it on high for about 20 minutes, then transfer it, bones and all, to my largest crock pot, add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and cook it on low for almost 2 days. So technically I make bone broth, but any chicken stock will do, including any bought broth.

p.s. Do not combine the leftover rice and soup in the same container. The rice gets a little gummy and the broth gets cloudy.(See picture above) Though, if I speak the truth, I probably will combine them because when I am eating warmed up soup I don't really care about the aesthetics and softer rice does not really bother me plus storage space in the fridge is always a premium here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Sheets and Giggles!

When I remember it is Tuesday, I share Annie @Tuesday 4 's post.  She asks 4 questions and this week the questions revolve around white sales and linens. Join in and let us know what your thoughts are.

This lady is a liar!

I would need a 7 foot wingspan to do this with king bed sheets

1. White month is January when towels, sheets and household goods go on sale.  Do you replace old sheets and towels each year?

Nope! I don't replace linens until they wear out, and it takes a long time for them to become unusable. I should replace some of the towels in my Master Bath, but they still function and the only ones who see them are TheHub and me.  As it is, each time I take them out of the dryer, before folding them I trim any errant stringy edges, fold them and put them away. Ugly towels dry us just as well as pretty new ones.

2. How many sets of sheets  and towels do you feel a household need and how often should they be changed on the bed and on the bathroom towel rack?
I change our sheets weekly, but usually change the pillowcases mid week. I have three sets of sheets for our bed, but the other beds have just one set per bed. We do have overnight guests occasionally but it is so easy to wash the sheets before they come and put them back on the bed. Plus all the other beds are the same size so unless I have a boatload of guests I can always take a set from an empty bed for any emergencies.
It is kind of embarrassing but I have about 50 bath towels, 20 or so hand towels and maybe 30 wash cloths. TheHub uses the same towel for about 3 days, but I am one of those clean towel at each shower type of people.

3. Do you think the January sales are a bit too close to Christmas when people have spent their money? If you do, what month would be an ideal time to replace linens and things in the home?
I had really never thought about it until this question was asked, and truly have no opinion.

4. There is something so lovely about a linen closet with beautifully folded sheets, towels and blankets. Some place lavender in the closets for a relaxing beautiful scent.   What do you do to make your linens nice? Fabric softener? Lavender? Special folds? Of is you linen closet in serious need of some tender loving care right now?
My linen closet looks really good all the time unless TheHub is the one who puts the towels in the closet. I fold them in thirds then roll and put them in the closet very neatly with folded edges facing outward. TheHub does not stack them, he just shoves them in and has raw edges facing out. They don't stay that way because as soon as I see them I fix it.
My sheet sets to my bed are bundled very neatly on the top shelf along with 2 stacks of pillowcases, all identically folded.
Sometimes I have a sachet in the closet and sometimes I don't. I currently do because one of the presents from Son2 and DIL2 was a packet of sachets. 
I use no softener on the towels, but I do use a lavender softener on the sheets.

p.s. The best way to avoid having to fold sheets is to put them back on the bed straight from the dryer or clothesline.


Monday, January 3, 2022

Planned Overs

I am fully back in the planning saddle again, trying to buy only what we really need and using leftovers to keep from creating more food waste than is necessary. This was the attempt to use the remaining Christmas foods, making the uneaten feel like new meals. 

1. Scalloped ham and potatoes, asparagus (using leftover ham)
2. Meatball sliders (using leftover dinner rolls and cocktail meatballs)
3. Grilled Cheese sandwiches, coleslaw (using assorted leftover cheeses)
4. Breakfast dinner, fried apples,  possibly broccoli (leftover breakfast casserole and leftover fried apples)
5. NYE: steak, potatoes, and tossed salad (weather permitting)
6. Traditional NY Day meal: black eyed peas, collards, ham, cornbread
7. Something__Anything but leftovers!

Monday: There was nothing inspiring about dinner Monday night. The casserole needed to be eaten or tossed and I hate to waste food, so. . . 
 Leftover breakfast casserole (finished) fried apples (finished) Brussels sprouts (finished) hash browns 

Tuesday: We do not usually keep sliced bread here, but had a small loaf that needed to be eaten, along with a lot of cheese.  Before Christmas both TheHub and I bought several different cheeses without the other knowing, and suddenly we had a dairy drawer filled with them. A lot of the hard cheese could be frozen, but some of the opened ones and some of the soft cheese needed to be used.
Grilled mixed cheese sandwiches, coleslaw (bread finished, some cheese used but not all)

Wednesday: Leftovers were reformed just enough that supper tasted like something new and different.
Scalloped potatoes with ham, steamed asparagus (ham finished)

Thursday: Found a bag of Trader Joe's cruciferous veggies in the produce drawer of my fridge and had to deviate from any plan I had. Fortunately I always keep smoked sausage in the refrigerator also (For the record I do not think Monroe is as good as Conecuh). I also had a large apple that was getting a little long in the tooth too. Oh well at least I avoided some waste.
Sausage and veggie saute, Waldorf salad

Friday: When I planned the menu I was not thinking about a football game day. This was a great day to use the leftover heavy appetizers. Instead of a meal I just kept pulling stuff out of the fridge and freezer, to load the den coffee table. (Ball game playoffs are the only days of the year we eat in the den. I am generally a stickler about eating meals at the table)
Dip and veggies, sausage balls(finished), steamed shrimp (actually bought NYE morning because TheHub wanted it) ) Sandy's meat balls* (still a few left), crackers and cheese (some finished), assorted cookies (all uneaten cookies were tossed)

Saturday: Gotta begin the new year with our traditional southern lucky meal! Did I mention this meal left us with a ton of brand new leftovers?
Black eyed peas, collard greens, baked sweet potato, ham,  cornbread

Sunday: And what did I do but create more leftovers
Impossible chicken broccoli pie (not bad but definitely not great. I guess this will be my brunch for the week)

The plans for the week took a turn when I was reading the forecast.  It has been abnormally warm here and we even turned the a/c on briefly a couple of times. Sunday I woke burning up and tooled around the house in flip flops and shorts. I went to bed and woke Monday morning to a light dusting of snow. Cooler weather is on tap for the week which is the perfect time to plan meals based on my love of soups. (TheHub refuses to have soup meals if the weather is not at least coolish.)

Planned for this week
1. Tazikis copycat lemon chicken soup,  cuke tomato and onion salad, toast
2. Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
3. Collard soup, cornbread
4. Slutty Vegan copycat burger, "fried" pickles, blackberry mayo sauce
5. The Best lentil soup, tossed salad, rolls
6. take out
7. Spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad

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

* These are the easiest cocktail meatballs ever. I make meatballs when ground chuck is on sale and freeze them for  emergency meals. I used some of those for the cocktail meatballs I had made for Christmas. I had put the leftovers in the freezer and only had to  pull them out for a quick thaw and warm up for the ball game table. 
1 bottle bbq sauce (I use spicy hot bbq sauce but you do you) 1/2 jar pineapple preserves. Heat them together in a medium size pan until the preserves melt. Toss in room temperature meatballs. Stir and let them simmer for a few minutes. Thats it! 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Word For The Year: Purpose

Since Covid and the lockdowns, other than the small amount of time Mom was still living, and selling the two houseI have moved through life pinging off the days much like the ball in a pin ball machine. I have been bouncing along the bumpers and obstacles without a true path. Though Covid variants are still a concern, it is time for me to live each day with purpose. Now I only hope I can stay out of my own way

Don't get me wrong, I am still going to go about each day being careful, masked in public, maintaining distance and picking and choosing times I will go places. But there are things I miss doing that gave me a sense of purpose that is missing from my life. So these are a couple of things I am ready to begin again.

1. Volunteering at IP. I miss seeing and interacting with all of the participants there.
2. Wednesday class. I went a couple of times and felt strange because people sat next to me. I will go, stay masked and sit on the outer reaches of the room. I don't mind explaining my actions to the rest of the people.
3. Bookclub. We met in December and it was wonderful. We are all of a certain age and have all been extremely careful about where we go and who we are around. (Two members still have their 90+ year old moms living and they are being even more careful than the rest of us)  There are a few restaurants nearby that still have distance between tables and we can go on a Tuesday night (low crowd night)  and be together.
4. Entertaining in my home. This one is dicey but I miss having folks over for dinner.  I am going to start inviting just a couple to dinner at least every other month (Would prefer every month, but . . .)
5. Theater. We have season tickets to  our local Broadway touring performances. They have established a mask mandate for the year so we plan to continue going. 
6. Events at the Alys. The Alys is the best small performance theater in town and they not only require masks but they are selling only 1/3 of the seats. The tickets are a little pricier than they have been in the past, but to me it is worth paying a little more to make up the difference in what revenue they are losing just to keep the audience a little safer. Kudos to them.

But purpose does not mean just the fun and external. I have been lackadaisical about my days when I am at home. It is more than time for me to step up my days instead of having a pity party that life is not what it used to be. On days when I have nothing going on outside of the house I need to have a plan for the day rather than letting the day plan me. So for the year on unstructured days I need purpose also.
I decided I need to have an organized (yet flexible) daily list, and this is what I am thinking.

1. Eat one frog each day (Do some chore I don't want to do) preferably the first thing I do.
2. Tidy (Sweep, vacuum, clean as needed)
3. Make sure whatever needs to be thawed is actually out of the freezer
4. Maintain laundry (either actual washing or sorting into various baskets waiting for a full load)
5. Practice an instrument (piano or ukulele)
6. Self care
7. Read
8. Meditation and prayer
9. Fun

The same applies to both weekly and monthly plans
1. Make master list of appointments/meetings/ aims for the week
2. Declutter
3. Clean at least one closet/drawer/pantry
4. Clean fridge and inventory cold food needs for the week
5. Shop for groceries and necessary personal items
6. Work in the yard
7. Create something (this is left open to whims as long as something is created)

1. Make a list of known appointments/meetings/ social events/ monthly aims
2. Do one unpleasant chore (ex. clean the oven)
3. Run a cleaning cycle through the washer, dishwasher and Keurig
4. Inventory pantry, fridges, and freezers
5. Learn something new
6. Establish contact with at least one person I have not seen/spoken to in a while

And now I am beginning this year with a purpose. At least this week I am. I am hoping if I have to answer to someone other than myself I will be a little better staying on target.  Do y'all mind being my monthly "someone"?

Here's to purpose filled days!