Monday, February 28, 2022

Change of Plans

As usual my dinner plans and what we actually ate were somewhat different. I guess it is just what we do. Oh well! Everything in my life is subject to change each day anyway! I think following a plan completely is impossible for me.

This is what was planned:
1. Greek chicken, saffron rice, green beans
2. Grilled steak, baked potato (or cauliflower alternative) spring greens, asparagus
3. Lamb Kofta, rice pilaf (or caulirice pilaf) greek salad
4. Tuscan soup, salad, dinner rolls
5. Out to eat
6. Out to eat
7. Salad and sandwich

This is what we really ate:
Monday: We went out to eat more last week than we had planned and I had thawed chicken in the fridge that had to be used right away.
Greek chicken, saffron rice (or none) green beans, spring greens, keto toast or dinner rolls

Tuesday: I was not in the mood to cook and had made some pimento cheese Monday afternoon. The meal planned itself.
Tossed salad, pimento cheese sandwich

Wednesday: I had thawed the frozen ground lamb, but had no pine nuts so the planned entree had to change. It didn't matter, it was really delicious.
Greek lamb patty, rice pilaf (or none), tossed salad

Thursday: This was the night of one of those corporate events I generally avoid. However, dinner at a really fine restaurant cancelled any objection I might have had.  
Bottega's: Potato leek white truffle bisque, snapper with sugar snap peas, rice pilaf over a green pea puree, frozen lemon mousse on a spiced tulle cookie

Friday: Quick and easy was the name of the game Friday night.
Conecuh sausage with sautéed cabbage and onions

Saturday: We made plans to meet TheHub's brother, sister and SIL in Tuscaloosa for dinner.
Dillard's Chophouse: Surf and turf (TheHub ordered a filet, and I ordered red fish, then we split the entrees) wedge salad, asparagus

Sunday: Since we ate steak Saturday night, the plans for grilling a steak Sunday change.  We punted. Dinner was uninspiring but it worked and no one was left starving.
Bbq chicken (frozen cooked chicken with bbq sauce), leftover rice pilaf, pickled okra, biscuits

What is potentially up for this week:
1. Pancakes, sausage, baked apples
2. Steak, baked potato, tossed salad
3. Grilled tuna, rice pilaf, asparagus
4. Greek chicken, saffron rice, broccoli
5. Tossed salad, sandwich or soup
6. Cauliflower au gratin, tomato onion and cucumber salad, pickled okra
7. Take out

Have a good week staying on plan, going off plan, or within plan at all.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Joys for Week 8

 I am finding it is hard for me to post my weekly joys on Saturday. Generally The Hub and I spend it having a leisurely morning breakfast and talking about and making long and short term plans.  After that we get somewhat presentable and run a few out of the norm errands. It seems I get later and later publishing the joys.

Saturday: We woke and messed around the house for a bit before heading out shopping for some new duds for TheHub. We had some success and they should be altered and ready to wear by the end of the month. After clothes shopping we ran by a couple of other places. We needed to replace the hot pad I took to school my freshman year. Yes it has lived a long, long life and I am pretty sure I heard it singing "Don't Cry for me Argentina" when I finally bid it farewell. 
A take out dinner and Mrs.Maisel rounded out our night

Sunday: We have season tickets to the Birmingham Broadway Series. We have had them for so long and upgraded to better seats as they became available so that for the past 5 years we are dead center, 10 rows from the stage. Evan Hansen was playing when our city's Covid rates were sky high, and as much as I wanted to see it, I just could not see taking the risk just to see a play.  The positive test rates are under 10% now so we decided to join the world and see Cats. Of course we sat with our N95's on the entire time. 
It was so wonderful to be out doing something fun. So much so, that we were not ready to come home, and stopped at a small (almost empty) neighborhood joint for a sandwich for an early dinner.
We got home in time to see Son3's former roommate Toney Goins who has been cast as Phillip in the show Billions! Congratulations  Toney! Told you we were catching up with the series just to watch you!

Monday: This was the day I could double dip the free items at The Pig. The canned chili went straight into my food pantry donation box, but the Dawn dishwashing liquid will come in handy.  To get the free items you have to spend an additional 10 dollars, and other than oyster crackers and radishes I really did not need anything. However, TheHub brought me a beautiful bouquet of roses for Valentine's Day. The roses were spent, but the greenery and baby's breath were still lovely. When I was at ThePig I noticed they had a dozen roses for 13 bucks, so I bought myself a little treat. I came home, removed the seriously wilted roses and arranged the new ones in their place. When TheHub was on his way home he called to see if I needed anything from Publix. He was planning to stop there and do the same thing. I either saved him a trip or ruined his planned recreational shopping. Your guess is as good as mine, but at least he did not have to stop in the rain. 

Tuesday: I had a stay at home day. Though it was not raining, the day was dreary and I had a boatload of laundry  and a book to keep me occupied.  
I had trouble falling asleep Tuesday night and the day was unseasonably warm. I was sitting in the den with the door to the screened porch opened mainly to just get a little fresh air in the house. At about 2:30 I was still awake when I heard the owls in the back of the house . I really do love listening to them when they are "talking" to each other.

Wednesday:  My ring doorbell rang for only the second time since we installed it (mid January). Then I heard someone unlocking the door, which did not surprise me. My sister has a key and she always lets herself in after ringing the bell, but this time is was DIL2 (who also has a key). I was so happy to see her. She does OT home visits and was in my neighborhood so she stopped by to kill a little time before her next scheduled visit. I love seeing her!
BTW Ring doorbells are weird!

Thursday: The day was pretty uneventful, but we had a great night. TheHub had been invited to an event hosted by their corporate banker. We thought it might be a small event and they would cordon off the mezzanine at the restaurant. Instead the bank had booked the entire place for the night, so we had a delicious meal seated at a table filled with flowing wine and conversation. Fun!!!

Friday: I had my morning coffee watching a pair of bluebirds gathering nesting materials and some purple finches battling over a female.
In the evening my SIL came to spend the night with us. We really did enjoy our night with her.

Now on to week 9

Look for your joys, no matter how small they are always out there!

May all your weeds be wildflowers!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


Annie@Tuesday 4 has once again asked 4 questions, this time calling it odds and ends. Come on and join in!

I thought since the first question was about gem stones a song by Saffire the Uppity Blues Women would be appropriate

1. Do you have a favorite gem stone?
I love sapphires and have a gorgeous sapphire ring that I never wear. When I was younger I loved jewelry but now I never wear gems other than my wedding ring. I suppose I will save the ring and pass it on to Pip at some time.
Why is it a favorite.
I had a sapphire jewelry a kid. It is my birthstone, but mainly I just loved the color blue.

2. Do you know and  understand the doctrines of your religious faith? I am Christian by faith and as anyone knows, the doctrines of Christianity are all over the place, from very liberal theology to painfully conservative narrow beliefs. 
I do know the disciplines of the Methodist church (My chosen denomination). I agree with some and disagree with some, but I figure I am never going to find perfection in organized religion. 
    If you are not religious, do you have a personal doctrine you believe and live? 
And even though I am religious I also have a personal doctrine that I heard years ago from one of our ministers that I try my best to live by: 
"It is a blessing to be a blessing."    

3. Do you have a favorite décor style... as in classical, traditional, modern, mid century, colonial, etc?
I like an eclectic look with a mix of styles. I like color and mixed patterns but I am not keen on florals. I also like to have things around me that amuse me. (The monkey butler in particular, or the giraffe applying lipstick while sitting in a stiletto )
If I ever had a house that was all one style (and if I could afford it) I would choose a mid century modern look, but that would also require a house that was a mid century modern design also. (Not at all how I live )

4. Are  there any books or movies you want to see this summer?
I have not been to the movies since December before Covid so I have no idea what is coming out. Mom was still alive and flu season had just begun here, and we decided to wait until after that so we would not accidentally carry flu to her. Little did we know then that the world would be changing in about the time we intended to resume going to the theater.
I am not a seasonal reader. I juggle books and read from the library selection of e-books. I can always find something to read, so I can wait until any new release becomes a little older.
This summer instead of concentrating on books and movies I just want to swim, cook outside, have people over, and see my family.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Winner Winner, Something For Dinner

The thing about keto is you cook nearly everything from scratch to try to make foods as close to the taste of what you are used to eating as possible. Though most of it is pretty good, it is just not quite the same as whatever you ate prior to ketofying it. I guess it's true. Ain't nothing like the real thing! Like breads! Those keto breads are nowhere near the yeasty deliciousness of real bread!

This is what was planned for the week:
1. Grilled lamb chops, new potatoes (or cauliflower rice) asparagus,  rolls,  mixed greens
2. Greek chicken, saffron rice, carrots, tossed salad
3. Hamburger patty, green beans, saffron rice (or cauliflower rice), coleslaw
4. Vegetarian street taco salad
5. Tuscan Soup or Buffalo Chicken soup, coleslaw, rolls or keto cornbread
6. Out to eat
7. Salmon with lemon butter sauce, baked potato (or none) tossed salad, broccoli

And this is what we actually ate:
Monday: I tried very hard to make us a Valentine's Day meal that I knew TheHub loved. Occasionally I actually do try to do something nice!
Grilled lamb chops, new potatoes (or none) steamed asparagus, spring greens, keto cheesecake (fine but not really cheesecake)

Tuesday: This was my day to experiment. I love to cook and love to try new things, even if they are not something I am ultimately crazy about.
Vegetarian taco salad (so-so)

Wednesday: When I asked TheHub what he would like for the week he asked specifically for this meal. It is very easy to make and I was more than happy to oblige.
Hamburger patty, green beans, Saffron rice (or none), coleslaw

Thursday: TheHub had already told me he was having a meeting that was going to run late Thursday. When I know it in advance, I plan something that I can cook and let simmer until he gets home.
Buffalo chicken soup, toast

Friday:We had wanted to take Son2 and DIL2 out to eat for Valentine's the previous Saturday, but we just could not coordinate plans, so they met us Friday night instead. We went late and the crowd had virtually disappeared.
Out to eat at Seasons 52

Saturday: I went clothes shopping with TheHub. He has some difficulty with colors (and styles) so I am his eyes. Plus I can see where alterations are needed. On the way home we passed our favorite fast food place, which had been torn down and rebuilt only to find out it was open and serving. Since we had been out shopping we decided to just grab dinner there.
Take out Jack's chicken dinner

Sunday: We had an event to go to Sunday afternoon and decided we wanted to extend our fun a little longer. The Electric in Bluff Park is a great little sandwich shop/bar.
Pastrami Sandwiches (Not a bit keto, but delicious___oops)

This week I already know we will be eating out twice. 
One of the banks in town has invited TheHub and guest for dinner (I guess they leave it open ended so people can take their friend, spouse, mistress, business associate, pet monkey, whatever) TheHub asked if I wanted to go and I am not stupid enough to turn down a free meal at Bottega.
We are also meeting his brother, SIL, and his sister at a restaurant in Tuscaloosa for dinner Saturday night. I am unsure where it will be, but if I were gambling I would put my money on Evangeline's. It should be fun!

This is planned for this week but subject to change if I am just not feeling it:
1. Greek chicken, saffron rice, green beans
2. Grilled steak, baked potato (or cauliflower alternative) spring greens, asparagus
3. Lamb Kofta, rice pilaf (or caulirice pilaf) greek salad
4. Tuscan soup, salad, dinner rolls
5. Out to eat
6. Out to eat
7. Salad and sandwich

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

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Small Joys for Week 7

Wow, can you believe we are beginning the eighth week of 2022 already.  These are the daily joys for the 7th week of the year. As has been my usual during this time of covid, they are mostly small joys. However, the new infection numbers are dropping rapidly and I have started living (a small) life outside of the house and the grocery store. Trust me though, I will be the one wearing a mask with access to my ever present hand sanitizer!

Saturday: Another drop dead gorgeous day in the 60's! TheHub went to the office until about noon so I was able to do some serious laundry and a few household chores before he came home just in time for us to watch the second half of the Alabama/Arkansas basketball game. Bama won but played badly and eked out a win (got lucky)
After the game it was late enough in the afternoon that the lunch crowd was mostly over, and we decided to ride to a different section of town to find a restaurant that looked interesting. We wound up in Cahaba Heights at The Pita Stop, a locally owned Mediterranean restaurant. The tables were spaced far apart, there was virtually no crowd, plus their food is  always delicious. Win! 
Afterward we ate we stopped at Cookie Fix and bought a couple of small boxes of cookies to drop off to two of our friends who are recuperating from surgeries. Then it was home to finish the season of Yellowstone! Yes! We are done until next season and I don't have to think about the ranch anymore!

Sunday: What a difference a day makes! I woke to sun, gorgeous skies, wind, and 29 degree temps. It was not a flip flop kind of day even though when you just looked through the windows it was beautiful.
TheHub had a few errands to run and was gone so long I was really getting worried about him, when he walked in carrying a beautiful bouquet of roses. Wow and I though he was just running out to get him some buns for the Super Bowl meal.
I had been trying to be a good grandmother. Pip is now a Brownie Scout and had called me asking if I wanted to buy Girl Scout cookies. Of course I did, even though it meant ordering them to be shipped, and paying shipping charges. They were delivered Sunday in a gigantic box. Now what am I going to do with the eleventy zillion boxes of cookies on my dining room table and no room in the freezer?

Monday: This was the day when I can double dip at The Pig and get  their weekly free item along with their Monday only free special. I was fortunate to see Kenny, my new acquaintance, who was greeting everyone with a huge howdy and smile. 
After shopping I ran a small gift to a friend, then I delivered my Valentine's Day gift to My Beloved Sister and BIL.
For dinner TheHub and I exchanged cards and I did make him one of his favorite meals, though he did man the grill!

Tuesday: My sister and I headed to the bank to work out a few final details settling my parents estate. As usual there were a couple of snafu's and we were in the bank for about 2 hours. I have no idea why having an odd maiden name, spelling it over and over, mentioning how it is always misspelled, and still having it misspelled on legal documents can happen twice in the same meeting is possible. Glad that is over! And extremely glad that we can laugh about screw ups that happen.

Wednesday: The day was gorgeous, warm, sunny and I should have been working in the yard instead of sitting on the porch reading!
I had watched 3 seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and had told TheHub I thought he would enjoy it. Of course he could not be bothered watching it when it began, but decided he wanted to see it now. So I am rewatching it with him. It is amazing how much I had forgotten,

Thursday: What a difference one day can make. The temperatures were still unseasonably warm, but the rains were coming, followed by thunderstorms, with high winds, and tornado warnings. They did not hit around me but were on the ground about 20 miles east of here. I am not sure if a tree or a house a little behind mine got his by lightening, but something did. After the storm had passed I went outside to see what/if tree branches had fallen and could smell wood burning, then when TheHub came home he said there was a fire engine outside of the house where the explosion sound came from. I hope it was just a tree!

Friday: Another huge weather difference. It was in the 70's on Thursday and 24 Friday night! We met Son2 and DIL2 at Seasons 52 for dinner. It was actually our Valentine's celebration with them since they had plans the prior weekend. We do enjoy our time with them!

So go find your joys, however small. They are always out there if you just look for them!

May all your weeds be wildflowers,

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Vegetarian Taco "Meat" Alternative

 I recently saw a recipe for a vegan filling for tacos. I wish I had saved the site and I would share it here, but I didn't. It was a couple of weeks ago and I am sorry but I am just not willing to look through that much computer history to find it. I had remembered the main ingredients and how things were processed, but not the actual measurements or what the "real" ingredient list was, so this is my attempt to recreate what I remembered. To be honest with you, except for the nutritional yeast, this is what I use to season ground beef for tacos. The amounts are all estimates because I do not really measure seasonings, but I am pretty decent when it comes to eyeballing ingredient measurements.

1/2 head cauliflower, separated into small pieces 
1 cup raw walnuts 
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon powdered coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
couple of dashes of hot sauce

Put the cauliflower pieces a food processor and grind until you have a fine (almost powdered) raw cauliflower mixture. Add the nuts, stopping to scrape the side of the container and keep processing until the mixture feels pasty.  Add all of the seasonings and blend through. 
Now this is where it gets a little sketchy. I set the oven to 350 because I use it a my default temp for almost everything. I should have set it  to 325. 
Cover the bottom of a jelly roll pan with parchment. Put the mixture in the center of the pan, cover with another sheet of parchment and press or roll it to cover the pan.  Cook it about 15 -20 minutes then turn it over. I should've had another pan ready with parchment and transferred it to a separate pan because the parchment in the bottom of the pan I was using was damp and I think a dry sheet would have helped. Don't worry about breakage since the entire mixture is going to be broken apart anyway. Cook it another 15 or so minutes until it is nicely browned and somewhat dry. Crumble into pieces. Turn off the oven and out the pan back in for a few minutes to dry it out a little more. You want it to be approximately the consistency of cooked beef.

Now construct your taco salad however you want or put it in taco shells or tortillas. I did mine as a salad with green onions, tomatoes, avocado slices, cheese and sour cream. (I did not have dairy free alternatives on hand and was not buying them for this ) But you do you.

For me this was an experiment, and one I will most likely not do again, only because I am not a vegetarian .The flavor profile was very similar to traditional taco meat, but I found the mouth feel different. There are some really good meat alternatives out now that mimic the "feel" of beef very well, but they are very pricey. If you wanted something on the cheaper side, this works fairly well. That being said, I had about 3 pounds of walnut pieces hanging out in the freezer. If you had to buy the nuts just to make this the price might be close to the same as purchasing a meat alternative. 
Dunno! The jury is still out with this one!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022


Today is Tuesday Four time where Annie poses 4 questions. Today it is all about our earlier lives.

1. What was life like for you as a child of elementary school age? interests? 
I went to an elementary school in our neighborhood which was loaded with kids. We all walked to school in the mornings and walked home together in the afternoon. On my street alone there were about 20 kids our ages, so we never lacked for playmates. After school everyone had a snack then met outdoors for games. In the summertime it was sweltering so our play was usually something in the shade, but summer nights were glorious. Everyone would eat dinner then meet at the lamp post for whatever game was going to be the big neighborhood game of the evening. We played a lot of Capture the Flag, Kick the Can, Hide and Go Seek and Freeze Tag.

2. Moving along to the teen years would you mind sharing some of the same things with us? 
We moved to a different house when I was a pre-teen and our neighborhood changed. There were still some kids in the neighborhood, but we were not good friends with many of them. But that was the time when school and after school activities start becoming more important than hanging out with the neighborhood kids. 
What were you interested in? 
As a teen, like most girls I was interested in boys, also books, and my social life with friends.
I was a pretty good student and did not have to study a lot to make good grades, so I didn't!
My first two years of high school were at a huge school. Our suburban town then established its own school system and I went there my last two years. It was essentially a splinter school from the overcrowded large school I went to my freshman and sophomore years, with no real difference because it had the same people I had known all along, just a smaller school.

3. Would you share your college or young working years with us?  
I met TheHub when I was a freshman at Alabama. We married the following fall and lived in married student housing. I think for both of us, our interests were just finding out where and what our futures would be. We had a lot of friends that we hung around with, until we had an unexpected change our lives
We had only been married 11 months when our first son was born, so we shifted rather quickly from a fun loving newlywed couple to parents, and then everything became about the baby. 
After TheHub graduated, we moved to a different city, lived in apartments for a couple of years, changed cities again, bought a house, and had another son. And it was off to the races!

4. And lately... what are the topics occupying your mind right now?  
My family, the pandemic, threat of war, divided nation, inflation. . . name your poison!
How have things changed in your life in the not too distant past. 
To start with, I lost both of my parents, our remaining two single sons were married, my knee and TheHub's back do not work like they once did, the pandemic caused a complete shift in our normal activity, TheHub did not retire, and it looks like he will work until they cart him out in a pine box, we sold my parents house, my sister and I tighter than ever  
Are you okay with the changes?
It does not matter if I am Ok with the changes or not. The only constant in life is change which is going to happen whether I want it to or not! Plus, some of the changes have been fabulous!

So come on and play along. I always love to hear your experiences!

Monday, February 14, 2022

Where's The Chocolate?

Sorry I tried to upload Ella's version but it did not work!
That's Ok because Sarah is pretty spectacular also!

Well, first of all, Happy Valentine's Day! This is the day associated with love, hearts, flowers, and most importantly CHOCOLATE! Unless you are doing keto! Bummer! Maybe I should have begun this eating plan the first of March instead of the first of February. Oh well! Maybe I can have a sugar free piece of chocolate after dinner.

Speaking of dinner, this is what  had planned for the past week:
1. Conecuh sausage with sautéed vegetables, roll or keto dinner roll (If I get it baked)
2. Artblink filet (we shared one meal Sunday night so one is left), scalloped potatoes (TheHub), salad
3. Lasagne in a bowl over noodles or zoodles, salad
4. Cauliflower au gratin, black eyed peas (TheHub) cherry tomato cucumber onion salad
5. Out to Eat
6. Salmon with lemon garlic butter sauce, asparagus, new potatoes (TheHub) cauliflower rice (me)
7. Grilled chicken with white bbq sauce, caulitato salad, possibly baked beans (TheHub) Keto corn bread

And this is what we actually ate:
Monday: I had some loitering vegetables in the crisper along with about a half a pound of smoked sausage in the fridge. They had to be used pretty quickly.
Conecuh sausage with sautéed cabbage, onions, yellow squash, and bell peppers, dinner rolls or keto cornbread, pickled okra, pickled pepper rings

Tuesday: When I picked up the free items at The Pig on Monday, I found a pack of Italian sausage deeply discounted, meaning it had to be used immediately. That sealed the dinner deal. 
Lasagna in a bowl over noodles or zoodles, green beans

Wednesday: When we picked up the meals for Artblink, TheHub and I had one left over that had to be eaten or tossed.
Leftover filet meal, tossed salad, asparagus spears, olives and pepper rings

Thursday: The day was beautiful and I could have grilled the chicken out, but TheHub got home from work much later than usual, so I just cooked it in the air fryer
Uneventful chicken, broccoli and cauliflower mix, rolls or keto roll

Friday: We had planned going out to eat at a small restaurant near us. They still have their tables about 6 feet apart and are not usually crowded. We got there about 6 thinking we had beaten the crowd, but we were wrong. There were no tables available, so we left. Rather than go to another restaurant we decided to just go home and eat something that required little prep.
Wedge salad

Saturday We went out for lunch and happened on a place with a fantastic menu (lunch prices too!) so we ate what would normally be our dinner in the late afternoon and just had a bowl of soup for dinner. I am counting our restaurant meal as the main meal of the day.
Grilled grouper or grilled tuna, tossed salad, (rice pilaf, pita and hummus for the non-keto) 2 thumbs up for The Pita Stop

Sunday: I forgot about the Super Bowl when planning our meals. TheHub requested our traditional ball game meal to eat at halftime.
Hot dogs, (bunless for the keto one), coleslaw, veggie tray with dip

Dinners came and went and it was time for a new plan. As I do each week, I asked TheHub if there was anything particular he wanted. This week he actually asked specifically for two things which is a bonus when planning the week. (see meals 2 and 3)

This is the plan for the week.
1.Grilled lamb chops, new potatoes (or cauliflower rice) asparagus, dinner rolls or keto rolls, mixed greens
2.Greek chicken, saffron rice, carrots, tossed salad
3.Hamburger patty, green beans, saffron rice (or cauliflower rice), coleslaw
4.Vegetarian street taco salad
5.Tuscan Soup or Buffalo Chicken soup, coleslaw, rolls or keto cornbread
6.Out to eat
7.Salmon with lemon butter sauce, baked potato (or none) tossed salad, broccoli

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

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Joys for Week 6

And now the 6th week of 2020 is officially in the books, and the Covid rates are dropping rapidly. That in itself is a huge joy. I have still been very selective about where and when I go places (the grocery store and the drug store), but after this week I think I might venture out a little. (Still masked and carrying my ever handy bottle of hand sanitizer)
So once again I have my days filled with small joys, but they are things that make me happy nonetheless.

I woke much earlier than I would have liked to, but I was in bed much earlier than I usually go to sleep. After a dismal weather day Friday, I woke to a drop dead gorgeous cold day.  TheHub and I sat and had coffee together before he went into the office for a few hours. 
Normally I dislike him going in on Saturday, but this particular Saturday it was fortunate. Winn Dixie has a store near there, but there are none close to our house. He was able to stop on his way home and pick up six NY strip steaks at their weekend only sale. We split a steak when we grill so it turned out to be enough steak for 6 meals for 30 bucks. Now when the weather gets a little warmer all I have to do is remember to take one out of the freezer.
After he returned we ran a couple of errands, taking the scenic route instead of the most direct. The day was so beautiful we just wanted to wander around a little and enjoy it. It was made even more enjoyable by one silly luxury. 
Heated seats are the bomb! We had a very warm winter last year and I never used them. TheHub has them in his car so he was the one who turned them on. I guess you never miss what you didn't know you had, and I did not even realize they were part of the car. Every cold day when I am driving from now one will have a warm seat!

Sunday: We had a lazy day at home. TheHub had mentioned he wanted to go clothes shopping (I have to go with him because he has a little trouble with colors and can't tell the difference in shades of blue, green and gray) About mid day he decided he did not want to go, so we settled into an afternoon of Yellowstone. Later we split one of the meals we picked up for the ArtBlink fundraiser. 

Monday: I go to The Pig on Mondays because they offer one free item as their weekly special and a separate Monday only special. It requires an additional 10 dollar purchase and I use the butcher shop at The Pig almost exclusively, so it is easy to fulfill my 10 buck minimum there. (But I only go if the free items are something I want, need or can easily be donated to the food pantry). This Monday the free item was a family pack of Angel Soft toilet paper. Of course I went! 
As if the free tp was not joyous enough, when I was taking my groceries to the car, a young man came up to me and told me he would like to return the buggy. (That is a shopping cart for those of you who do not live in the south). 
The Pig has a few differently abled folks who work there, and he was one of them. When he approached  and he told me his name, I introduced myself and ask how his day was going. "Fabulous! This is my best day ever". After hearing that I was grinning from ear to ear. We chatted for a few more minutes in the parking lot and if you are ever at The Pig and a delightful man approaches you to help with your cart return, tell Kenny hello, and that Anne says hi too!

Tuesday: It was another gorgeous day!
I spoke on the phone with Son2 who has a wicked sense of humor and shared some wickedly funny things about his day with me. 
TheHub and I watched another episode of Yellowstone and the Auburn/Arkansas basketball game, with some Olympics thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday: I had a few errands to run and I could not have chosen a more beautiful day to run them. The sky was blue and cloudless with temps in the low 60's. I am pretty sure it was the definition of a perfect day! I also talked to 2 of my sons, which makes a great day even better.
After dinner The Hub and I watched and episode of Yellowstone (I am getting tired of it) and then watched the Alabama/Old Miss basketball game. I know it seems like I watch a lot of sports or nightly tv, which it true. I was the sole female in a house of 4 males. I had to learn to watch, understand and eventually enjoy sports or be left out of something they loved. Plus you can fold a ton of clothes while watching a game!
The icing on the cake for the day was hearing my friend who is battling covid, is doing better and could possibly be released from the hospital next week.

Thursday: I got all dressed up but had nowhere to go so I read a book. The day was gorgeous and I sat on the screened porch to read. It does not get a lot better than that! 
That night I stayed up late watching the Olympics live. I really don't like watching replays of the events.

Friday: It was another drop dead gorgeous day. Do I have a lot of yard work I could be doing? Yes. Did I do it? No! The porch and I have become friends so I started another book. I'm not sure I really like it but I am reading it anyway. The book is "A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003-2020. I have read David Sedaris many time before, often guffawing while reading them. This one seems self indulgent without his usual humor. Oh well it is due for return in a couple of days so I have to finish it quickly.
TheHub and I decided to go to a small local restaurant. I understand I have to return to the land of the living at some time, so I figured Friday night was as good as any. I also knew this particular restaurant had spaced their tables fairly far apart, and it had a wedge salad that works well with a keto plan. We got there right at 6 and not only was every table taken, but they were all still waiting for their meals. I guess the universe was telling me no! Instead we came home, ate and watched Yellowstone. At least I looked nice!

So go out and find your joys, however large or small. They are always there if you just look for them.

May all your weeds be wildflowers,

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Lasagna In A Bowl

 TheHub loves Italian foods and since he was on his own for meals last week I thought I might make something specifically for his tastes. At the same time it had to be something I could ketofy for me with little trouble. Lasagna in a bowl was the perfect compromise.

This is cooked in one of those old corning ware 1 1/2 inch deep small baking pans. It worked but I did have to spoon it out onto the plate. Kinda messy (see pic below) An oven proof bowl would have been much better!

Bottom Layer
Noodles or zoodles*
Cook the noodles and/or the zoodles then place in a ovenproof bowl/bowl

Next layer
1 cup  marinara sauce (I used Rao's because it is a low carb sauce and I had it in the pantry )
1 pound (total)  ground chuck and Italian sausage mixed (or use either one, your choice)
1 small onion diced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, chopped in smallish bits
1 carton sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning ( I did use more but we like highly seasoned food)
dash dried red peppers
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef and Italian sausage (I take the casing off of the sausage and cook it crumbled but you do it however you like). Add the onion to the mix, then spoon off any grease before adding the garlic just to wilt it. Toss in the zucchini, stirring all the while then add the mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes then stir in the marinara sauce. Add your additional seasoning, stir well and let it simmer on low while you make the cheese center.
Split the mixture between 2 bowls and spoon on top of the noodles or zoodles

Cheesy layer
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan
1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Using a spoon just stir and mix everything well
Divide the mix and spread it over the meat mixture in the bowls .

1/3 cup marinara sauce
mozzarella cheese, grated. (I used very little because the dish already had more than enough cheese for me)
Spoon the sauce gently over the ricotta mix. 

Pop the bowls** in a 350 degree oven until it is hot and bubbling, then add the grated mozzarella. Run it under the broiler until it is as melted as you would like it to be remove and eat.  It was really tasty and satisfied TheHubs love for Italian while allowing a keto compliant dish for me.

Unfortunately thisdid not come out of the pan very neatly, and the cooked zoodles left a lot of liquid in the bottom of the dish. Still it was very good!

* I used fusilli for TheHub, and cooked about a cup of noodles. You know how much pasta you want so cook it according to your wants. 
I zapped the zoodles in the microwave, but did not cook them enough to get all the liquid out. (My mistake)
Then, this morning I was looking at a keto Facebook group I belong to and someone posted about having Alfredo sauce over an egg wrap that had been sliced thin like fettuccine noodles and was raving about the texture. I think I will try that next time if I can find the egg wraps at Aldi.

** It turns out even with all the kitchen stuff and dishes I own, I have no small oven proof bowls.  I did have some small corning ware casserole dishes, so everything was baked in those. I swore I was going to buy no more dishes, but now . . .

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Tuesday 4

It is that time for Tuesday 4 again, brought by Annie. This week's questions are all about food, how and what we ate. Come on and join in the memories!

1. What was your favorite meal as a child?
I honestly do not remember having a favorite meal. My mom was not an adventurous cook and our meals, though not bad, were never spectacular. 
She did make on thing she called a beef roll that was a spiced ground beef mixture she spread on a pie pastry and rolled like a jelly roll, then baked. It was really good. I have made a version of it and the family always liked it. She also made a great meatloaf, fantastic baked beans, and a star worthy cooked chocolate fudge icing .
When I was very young we went to a church that sometimes had communal dinners where everyone brought dishes to share. Mrs. Mac always cooked something she called porcupines and I loved them. They were the most exotic food I had ever eaten at that time. (I made them once as an adult and they were nowhere as delicious as my little kid memory of them was)

As a teen? 
I loved a hamburger cooked over a charcoal grill, and I loved fondue.

 As a young adult? 
I married quite young and by the time I was an adult I was doing all kinds of cooking experiments. I have no idea if I even had a favorite meal.

Cuban or Thai foods

2. What did Mom make for breakfast? 
Mom made us eat eggs until we were old enough to revolt (6 or 7 maybe) I have always hated eating breakfast, but Mom would not let us go to school without eating. After the great egg revolt, my sister an I would eat the same thing every morning for a couple of months, then we would move to something different. (cheese toast, corned beef hash, cinnamon toast, instant breakfasts are a few of them that I remember)  
I don't remember lunches before I was school age, because they were most likely not memorable. When we took our lunch to school we had a corned beef and cheese sandwich (one slice Carl Budding corned beef, one slice American cheese, one pickle slice, on white bread with mayo) an apple or orange, occasionally a small lunch pack of Fritos, and a napkin) I was beyond ecstatic when we were allowed to start buying our lunch from the school cafeteria.
We ate whatever was on sale that week, or whatever she found at the farmer's market. During the summer we ate mostly fresh vegetable dinners. However we did eat all dinners at the table with either classical music or show tunes playing in the background, and table conversation was required (even when we were surly teens)

3. How was dinner time as a young newly wed? 
We were married, living in married students housing. It was a tiny little apartment with just enough room in the kitchen for a tiny table and 2 chairs. TheHub was on an athletic scholarship, so he either practiced (off season) or had games well into the night. We ate at our tiny table whenever he got home. I cooked most of our meals,(college student budget, but I was already a pretty good cook so most of the time the food was pretty good) though occasionally my MIL would send something our way, or have us to dinner at their house, which was always delicious and most appreciated!

4. Is it important for family to eat together at the table in the evening or for breakfast?  
Since I hate breakfast I will say a big no to that! My kids all preferred cereal to a cooked breakfast so they ate that for a quick bite before going to school. TheHub was already headed off for work most days before they ever came downstairs.
We ate dinner every night at the breakfast room table (TheHub and I still do). As the kids got older and their schedules got a little crazier, we missed a few nights here and there eating together, but not often. I think it is just a casual time to reconnect!

Monday, February 7, 2022

Back to Planning

 Well the Wicked Witch of the West A.K.A. the keto quick start diet is dead, and I can plan actual meals. I have decided, as much as I did not like eating the soup all the time, I will most likely eat it for lunch everyday. It a fast and easy way to get some substantial veggies into the diet. So, since I will not be eating the leftovers,  I need to either cook just enough for the two of us to eat or I need to cook enough for a second leftover meal. I have a lot of vegetables on hand to use with whatever I dig out of the freezer, so unless there are some super deals to be found, I don't even need to go to the grocery store this week. 

Because I ate the quick start diet last week and TheHub either ate leftovers or picked something up on his way home there is no reason for me to post what we ate last week. It went according to our plan so everything worked out.

The plan for this week:
1. Conecuh sausage with sautéed vegetables, roll or keto dinner roll (If I get it baked)
2. Artblink filet (we shared one meal Sunday night so one is left), scalloped potatoes (TheHub), salad
3. Lasagne in a bowl over noodles or zoodles, salad
4. Cauliflower au gratin, black eyed peas (TheHub) cherry tomato cucumber onion salad
5. Out to Eat
6. Salmon with lemon garlic butter sauce, asparagus, new potatoes (TheHub) cauliflower rice (me)
7. Grilled chicken with white bbq sauce, caulitato salad, possibly baked beans (TheHub) Keto corn bread

I desperately need to put on my ski gloves and go through the freezer. It has reached max density and needs to be rearranged (think Tetris) so everything will fit. I plan on having some baking time this week to get a few keto items ready to eat and will need some freezer space. Or I could just have a dinner party for 50 of my closest friends! That would clear up some much needed space.

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

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Keto Quick Start Review

Tuesday-Saturday I did a brutal quick start to get myself back in a state of ketosis. I followed this to the letter, using just a couple of the recommended substitutions.

Each morning I had  3 cups of black coffee with the last coffee of the morning being the bullet proof coffee I typically drink my coffee black with no sweetener so the bulletproof coffee is a little thicker than I really care for, but I drank it anyway. 
Later in the morning early afternoon I had my breakfast. 2 hard scrambled eggs, 2 slices of bacon, and 1/2 of a small avocado. Since I do not care for eggs, the breakfast was not particularly tasty so I saved the bacon for last to end the deal with deliciousness.

The morning of day 1 I made the soup which is the daily meal for both lunch and dinner. It is basically a chicken and veggie soup in a clear chicken broth. Aldi had a great price on cauliflower so it was substituted it for the celery root, and the pack of collards in the freezer replaced the Swiss chard. I did forget to put the green beans in  it though. 
Oh well. It was still soup and I don't think just the added green beans would have enhanced the flavor greatly.

The plan also suggested tuna salad and egg salad for daily snacks. I can choke down scrambled eggs but there is absolutely no way I am ever going to voluntarily eat egg salad. I do like tuna but not just plain tuna salad. Add a few crackers or put it in a sandwich and all is good. Not allowed with this though. Fortunately since I do like coffee, the daily snack option of another bullet proof coffee worked well. I did use decaf for an after dinner "snack". That term is in quotes and loosely used because there is nothing remotely snacky about coffee with butter and mct oil. Snacks should either crunch ( like potato chips) or or melt (like chocolate)

Did it work? Yes, and better than I thought it would. I was able to get into ketosis in 3 days and dropped weight every day. I am pretty sure it was just water weight since the physics of weight loss mandates you have to lose the water before losing the fat. Plus my one hour bladder was working overtime for a few days.
Other than  telling TheHub and My Beloved Sister I will not say how many pounds disappeared but let's just say it was better than I expected. But still don't ask, OK!

I never experienced real hunger, but my mouth wanted lots more. The first couple of days I wanted chips or popcorn really bad. At  day 3 cravings began for some cheese or meat and some kind of veggie. The last two days I really wanted diet ginger ale and salad, but I did not cave at all.

I have all the ingredients to make another pot of the soup and intend to make it Monday. It will be portioned into 10 meal size container for the freezer. Right now I plan to do this diet one day a week, and if there is a plateau lasting over two weeks, I will do the whole plan again. So please keep your fingers crossed that it does not happen! 

I would recommend this to anyone who needed a quick reset. The biggest help for me was having leftovers and a partner willing to completely fend for himself. I don't think I could have been successful if I had to make food for him. And even though my meals were not great, we were still able to sit at the table together, eat, and have dinnertime conversations. 

And I am so damned glad it is over!

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Week 5

Week 5 of 2022 is now in the books. I know it was a rough weather week for a lot of North America, and according to Punxsutawney Phil we are due for 6 more weeks of winter. I live in Alabama, so I am not buying that prediction. We will be well into spring before that, but I will feel sympathy for those in the more northern places. I know this last blitz with freezing rain and ice was not fun at all.

Once again my joys are small because I have been keeping mostly to myself, but on the upside, the new cases of Covid have seriously dropped in our area, so maybe we can all go about our business a little easier. 

Saturday: I messed around the house during the morning because TheHub ran into the office. When he returned we made a few plans for the month/year researching a few places we would like to go on long weekend trips. I am married to an accountant by trade, so we do extensive research. (Think hours) When we had finished looking at virtually the same thing over and over at all the interesting sites that we could find, we were getting hungry. I am normally not fond of restaurants, but I agreed to go to one if it was not crowded. Since it was about 2:30 I figured the crowd would be gone. We went to Ash, an out of the way wood fired grill. There were only 7 other customers and we were all spread out in a pretty decent sized space. The lunch was good but being out somewhere I felt  safe was wonderful.

Sunday: Sunday at about 2:30 in the morning I woke from a dead sleep feeling not so great. I was freezing and had a miserable headache, so I got out of bed and went into the den, sat in the recliner with a hot pad and a ton of blankets. I finally fell back to sleep (sitting up) at about 8 and slept for a couple of hours. TheHub got hot water ready for a cup of tea, which helped a little. I spent a lazy day in yoga pants and a hoodie watching ballgames, Yellowstone, and Ozark while sipping on hot tea. One of the biggest joys of the day was digging out a wonderful throw DIL2 gave me for Christmas several year ago. It was a perfect (and perfectly warm) feel better blanket. 

Monday: The headache and chills were gone and that was a huge joy. Top it off with a drop dead gorgeous 66 degree day, and things were looking wonderful. I had a small grocery list and managed to find almost everything at Aldi. Nothing beats finding most of the items at the store with the lowest price in town.  
I called my good friend C. and caught up with what has been happening with her.
TheHub and I had intended to watch the Auburn/ Alabama basketball game, but it was a runaway (Auburn is really good this year) and kind of boring so we watched an episode of Ozark instead. I am thrilled this is the last season because it has gotten a little long in the tooth!
After the game, and 3 oatmeal cookies (notice how successful I am at carb loading) I was ready to go to sleep, then begin the keto thing.

Tuesday: I got started on the 5 day keto intensive soup diet.  The soup actually smelled delicious when it was simmering. It was not delicious when I ate it for lunch, but it was not bad either. While stirring soup I had a nice conversation with my Texas cousin S. It is always so nice to talk with her! 
I never eat while I read, so I planned  to do a lot of reading during the five days of the soup diet. I love to read anyway and was able to read a book Tuesday. (Anything to keep me out of the kitchen)
When TheHub got home from work we watched Yellowstone. I am still undecided if I like it or not.

Wednesday: I had to have my car at the dealership early for its checkup. I am so thankful that My Beloved Sister could meet me there. I left the car and we came back to my house for coffee and a gab fest. We were not here but about an hour when they called to let me know the car was ready. Wow! I was impressed!
 Day 2 on the keto quick start was a little more difficult, so I read  most of the day.
After our respective dinners, TheHub and I watched Billions and Yellowstone. I think I may have glared at him when he brought a popsicle in the den to snack on.

Thursday: Somehow I actually listened and got dressed early so I could get my errands run before the rains came. When I asked Alexa what time the storm were supposed to start she told me it was to begin at noon. I was out and about early and home by 11:45. Though it rained some during the morning it was not bad, and I was settled in with laundry to do and a good book to read. The weather did get a little crappy later in the day, but unless a tornado is actively headed to my house, I  tend to ignore it.
Oh and did I mention how much I am enjoying TheHub being on his own for dinner? I could get used to only having to zap my personal bowl of soup.
After dinner we watched an episode of Yellowstone and then watched some of the Olympics.

Friday: Had a spark of light on an otherwise dreary day! I enjoyed a long conversation with Sluggy, which was great, plus it kept me out of the kitchen. 
This keto soup diet is doable for five days, but my mouth wanted anything but soup and eggs. I was even craving something as simple as cucumber slices. Oh well there is only one more day and then I will transition to an eating plan that will keep me in ketosis.
BTW this quick start really does work.
We go every year to Artblink, UAB's fundraiser for cancer research. Because of Covid for the past two years they have transitioned to an online auction with a "take out" meal. After TheHub got home from the office, we drove to Homewood (neighboring burb) to pick up our meal. They are smart enough to have it chilled and packed in containers to be warmed at home. (Filets, some type of potato, salad, a small charcuterie tray and two bottles of wine) It will have to stay in the fridge until Sunday since I am still in the land of eggs and soup!
After we got back to the house we both had a bowl of soup. I wanted TheHub's. It was just tomato soup but he had it loaded with delicious things. Mine was like soup from a gulag. But it is working so I can't complain too much! After our delicious meal we watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
And the best and most joyous part of my day was hearing that one of the participants where I volunteer is doing better and is off the vent! Damn Covid!

Have a great week and look for joys wherever you can find them. They are always there if you do a little searching

May all your weeds be wildflowers,

Friday, February 4, 2022

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Last week I tried something a little different for dinner. I knew I was going to start back with a keto diet, so much like an addict, I went on a carb bender. Though I can fairly easily ketoify this recipe, I wanted the meals for the week to be deliciously real, with full flavor and consistency.

Start one recipe of real cornbread. (This is my go to method or making cornbread, but I only wanted enough for us, so I halved the recipe. The amount below works with the the half recipe.) You can use your own recipe, or even a mix, but for all that is holy please do not use a recipe or mix that is essentially cornbread cake. (I am talking about you, Jiffy mix.) The base should taste more like a tamale mesa than a dessert.

Sorry there is no picture. There was one piece left and I was zapping it so the cheese would be bubbly , but I nuked it too long and it kind of exploded.

For the base
Cornbread mixed but uncooked
1 egg
1 small cans diced chilies, drained
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup corn (optional. I had some leftover in the refrigerator.)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup grated cheese

Mix the cornbread together but do not bake yet. Add the additional egg, chilies, sour cream, corn, and cumin. Stir until well blended then add the cheese and mix it well. 
Spread in a greased oven proof baking dish (for this amount an 8x8 pan) Bake at 375 for about twenty minutes, or until it is set and slightly golden at the edges.

For the middle:
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
1 cup simple enchilada sauce or a 10 ounce can of bought enchilada sauce. I make mine, but you do you!

Mix the chicken and enchilada sauce and spread it over the cornbread crust. Return to the oven until it is hot and bubbly.

1 1/2 cups grated cheese. I used just cheddar because that is what I had. Next time I will use half cheddar and half pepper jack, but you can use whatever you would like. 
Sprinkle it over the hot chicken and return to the oven until the cheese is nicely melted.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro. I had no cilantro so I did not use it. Oh well!

This is really tasty and a very easy dish to prepare. The leftovers are pretty dang good for lunch also!