Monday, March 20, 2023

5 Favorite-Sandwiches

I love a good sandwich so picking just 5 was a bit difficult because lets face it, there are so many to choose from. So many different breads, toppings, sauces, meats, cheeses.  YUM! After much thought, here are my top 5 favorites in random order.

The club sandwich.  One of my earliest memories is splitting a club sandwich with my Grandmother way back when I was a child and falling in love with them.  Honestly what isn't to love?  Turkey, bacon, ham, lettuce, tomato and cheese all topped on tasty toasted bread.  This one is from Drakes and it is always fresh and delicious.  The bread is a tasty wheatberry bread and the honey mustard they serve on the side is fabulous to dip in to.  I can never finish one now but I can report that the last wedge or two is in fact just as tasty cold.

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich. I can seriously eat my weight in these.  I have to admit that I am very picky when it comes to my BLT's.  I will only eat them with garden fresh tomatoes and Behrmann's bacon (which is a local brand), crisp lettuce and Dukes mayo. From the first of July through usually late September early October I get to enjoy them and I try to enjoy one every single week if I can.

Italian Beef with Au Jus on the side.  I can't remember where I had my first Italian Beef but I know it's been a favorite for years.  I make them at home from time to time and I'm happy to say we have two local restaurants that serve them and they are both amazing.  I like mine plain, no cheese, no giardiniera and the au jus on the side to prevent soggy bread. 

Yellen Hellen's Chicken Salad Sandwich.  I honestly was never a big fan of chicken salad sandwiches and rarely if ever ate one until I tried this one.  They use big chunks of moist chicken, just a light mayo dressing, diced celery and sliced red grapes with just the right seasoning. The buns are always so soft yet hold up well. So good!  

Lamb burgers  I know there has been a lot of debate on is a burger a sandwich.  I was almost swayed once by a discussion with a friend until I thought about a fried chicken 'sandwich' that is also usually served on a bun but still classifies as a sandwich.  I'm going with it.  I love a good lamb burger with a good melty cheese, garlic aioli or tzatziki sauce and sliced red onions. Beef burgers are ok but lamb is my top choice.

So what about you?  Any favorite sandwiches?   

Sunday, March 19, 2023

My Week

This was the longest work week in recent memory.  Between the time change and the return of super cold, windy weather, I was exhausted.  Now of course the weekend is flying by as they usually do.  It's snowing right now but the temps are supposed to go up each day so hopefully I will get my mojo back.

I went to get my hair cut this week and had him take three inches off of the length so I'm set for a few months.  My seed orders both came in so I'm in planning mode.  I decided to not grow the things I can always get at the farmers market like tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and grow the more difficult things to find like poblanos, radishes, lettuce, etc.  I'm widening my herb garden this year also so I'm busy making a list of ideas and things to pick up.  I'll be starting some seeds this weekend to get ready for Spring.  Bakers Creek included a free packet of seeds for Japanese Wasabi Radish.  Can't wait to try that.

Meals this week:

Lambchops, baked potato and asparagus
Pasta bake, salad and garlic knots
BIG salad
Beef tacos-we haven't had them in a LONG time and they really hit the spot.

Chicken, white bean spicy soup
Chicken breast strips, mashed potatoes and salad

Yesterday I made a pie crust so in a bit I'll pull that out of the fridge and make an apple pie.  I actually remembered to add ice cream to my pickup this week so we can have it ala mode.  I'm trying a new to me apple recipe from The Joy of Cooking.  It's only a bit different from the one I usually use so I'm pretty confident it will be delicious.

I caught up on just a bit of world news on Aljerezza and wow, there are so many that deserve a slap or five that I just can't choose one.  The US and the world as a whole is getting scarier by the day.  No more news for me for a week at least.  It's just draining.

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and I'm hoping it starts to feel a bit more like it.  I know we'll have a few more cold days but I hope they are few and far between.

What is happening with you?

Sunday, March 12, 2023

My Week

Happy Sunday!  I really wish they would end changing the time. There was a meme I saw on FB that said, "Only our government would think you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew in on to the end and think it makes it longer."  SO true!  I will either be taking a nap today or going to bed super early because 4:30 am is going to be brutal this week.  Whoever is responsible for this deserves three slaps.

It's been crazy weather here like so many other places.  Monday through Wednesday was in the 60's and 70's and then Thursday brought the wind, rain and cold temperatures back.  This has been the pattern the last few weeks.  Our forsythia tree is in full bloom and everything else is starting to bud.  I'm hoping these crazy low temperatures don't harm anything.  One of my two seed orders arrived this week so I'm almost ready for garden season when it comes.  One of the doctors that has been on the receiving end of my garden requested I grow some edible flowers.  He loves making gourmet dishes with them, so I included a few packets to give them a try.

What we ate this week:

Beef tips with au jus, mashed potatoes, asparagus and garlic, cheddar biscuits

BIG salad.  It's funny because the big guy has a few veggies that he claims he doesn't like yet I've been hiding those same veggies in dishes for years and he has always happily eaten them.  His newest thing is he doesn't like avocado.  So I diced up an avocado and tossed it in with the lettuce before adding all of the other veggies and toppings.  He cleaned his plate and said it was delicious...totally clueless.

Cheeseburger, oven fries
Cheese, pasta bake with salad and garlic toast

Fried chicken breast with a large salad
Chili and jalapeno poppers

Tonight, I'm roasting a whole chicken, scalloped cheese potatoes and asparagus.  

Work was work.  What more can I say? Spring cleaning has continued, and I'm convinced that the more you clean the more you find to clean.  I made one stop at Kroger to pick up fresh veg and milk.  Came across a good sale on TP and PT so we're stocked for quite a while. I also picked up a head of cauliflower for the new recipe I found in the book Israeli Soul for Cauliflower Shawarma that I'm making this week.  We finished watching the new series on Netflix Pressure Cooker and both really enjoyed it.  I loved the two that ended up in the finale.  Both of their menus looked amazing.  All and all it was a decent week.

Anything exciting in your world?
Have a great Sunday and a wonderful week!

Monday, March 6, 2023

In My Kitchen-February 2023

February came and went so quickly just like all months seem to do now.  I really think as you get older, time goes by faster.  I try to live in the moment, but man, the moments slip by with the blink of an eye. Here is a glimpse of a few things that happened in my kitchen.

I opened my last bottle of vanilla, so it was time to make another batch.  I picked up a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka and ordered Native Vanilla Grade A Bourbon vanilla beans.  So for $28.00 I have two large jars of vanilla in the back of the baking cabinet marinating until I need them. These also make wonderful gifts so if you want to gift them at Christmas it's time to get them made now.

I like to use wood or bamboo lazy Susan's in my kitchen cabinets to keep like with like and have everything neat and tidy and easy to access.  I picked up another one to organize some of our sauces in the top cabinet.  This one is bamboo and I found it at Target.

The freezer still has a very large bag of jalapeno peppers from the summer, so I decided to make a batch of Peruvian green sauce.  See my recipe here.   Culinary Adventures with Lori: Search results for peruvian green sauce  We enjoyed it on chili, lamb meatballs and a few other dishes.  It really gives a kick that I love.

While out shopping for groceries I came across this taco sauce.  I usually make my own taco sauce but wanted to give this one a try since the ingredient list is pretty clean.  I made soft shell beef tacos and gave it a try.  For a jarred sauce, it is actually very good.  So I will keep one on hand to use when I don't have time to make my own.  I love finding good quality cheats to help out in the kitchen.

Last but certainly not least, I tried a new recipe for chocolate cake with Chantilly cream that Sherry posted.  sherrys pickings: Forever Chocolate Cake
Wow, this is a delicious cake.  The big guy is not a fan of chocolate cake but loved this one. I followed the recipe completely and I used a cup of fresh coffee instead of the instant coffee powder because I didn't have any.  The coffee gives the chocolate an amazing flavor and the cake is so moist.  I think it must have been named Forever Chocolate Cake because when you try it you will want to eat it forever.  It's really that good.

Thank you again Sherry sherrys pickings  for hosting In My Kitchen.  I really enjoy seeing what others are doing in their kitchens all across the world. 

Sunday, March 5, 2023

My Weekly W's

Happy March!!  How are we in the third month of the year when we just celebrated Christmas?  Crazy.  I changed up "Where I'm going and Where I've been" because honestly, I'm bored with the same thing every week from my lack of going anywhere.  I may do away with my weekly w's all together, we'll see.

What's top of my mind: My best friend and her husband.  He suffered a stroke two weeks ago and will be in rehab until Wednesday. They both have such an amazing outlook on life and are handling this all with such humor and grace.  I don't know if I could do the same. Thankfully they believe he will make a full recovery, but it will be a while.  

What I've been doing: This week I spent a good bit of time in the evenings purging and cleaning and I dropped everything off at Goodwill.  I'm going room by room making a list of to-do's and things that I want to spruce up.  I've tried other ways of cleaning and honestly room by room works best for me. I did really well on doing yoga this week and meditation. We also went out to breakfast yesterday and really enjoyed the down time together.

What I plan to do: I need to keep chipping away on my to do lists.  I want these projects done so I can enjoy the summer.  I plan on expanding the garden a bit and I've been reading a lot on dehydrating as I plan to do a lot more of that instead of freezing.  My Ninja does an amazing job on dehydrating, so I need to use that to my advantage and save on freezer space.

What I'm watching: I watched the final episode of Family Karma and teared up at Nick and Amrit's wedding ceremony.  It was just filled with love.  Yes, I know this is a reality show, but it is one that really sucks me in.  I love the entire cast.  I watched Julie and Julia again while cleaning the kitchen yesterday. Just the thought of cooking 500+ new recipes in 365 days gives me anxiety.  We also started a new series Pressure Cooker on Netflix.  It is a Big Brother type of show but with cooking competitions instead.  We're two episodes in and are enjoying it. 

What I'm listening to: Very little.

What I'm eating: 
Chicken legs, baked potato, asparagus and salad
BIG salad
Chicken Tikka Masala, rice and naan
Chili and cheese rollup
Calzones, salad
Pancakes and bacon

Who needs a good slap: Murdaugh.  Wow, what a train wreck of a man.

What I'm planning: No planning going on right now.

What's making me smile:  We bought a new bird feeder yesterday and more seed.  Binx spent HOURS watching the birds and squirrels in the yard.  Feeding nature and entertaining Binx, that brings me a smile.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:
I love the winter and I love hibernating, but the seasons come and go.  I noticed this week that the frogs are croaking away in the morning and the birds are loudly singing.  Spring is coming.  Our temperatures have been up and down like a roller coaster.  Last week after a rain storm this view caught my attention from the kitchen window.  I need to charge my camera so I can get better pictures than the phone does.

Where I've been:
I had a three-day work free weekend and other than picking up a few groceries and having lunch out on Friday with the big guy, we haven't been anywhere.  Apparently, he isn't in the mood to go anywhere right now either. Go figure!

Where I'm going:
Probably much of the same this week.  Work and home.  I've tried to think of places I want to go or things I want to do but I basically just enjoy being home right now.  If you would have told me a few years ago that I would want to spend so much time at home instead of traveling or going out with friends, I would have never thought that possible.  I don't know if this is a product of the pandemic or the state of the world, or that I'm just getting older, but I'm perfectly happy with this. 

What I'm watching:
We watched a few episodes of Firefly Lane's second season, and also watched the first episode of The British Bake Off, Professional series.  I don't know if I really like this one.  I need to watch more to decide.

What I'm reading:
I finished Midnight Chicken and really enjoyed it. I have around 10 recipes flagged to try soon.  Now I've started The Year of Miracles and I'm enjoying this one even more.  I've always been a fan of embracing the different seasons and living mindfully and this just reinforces that.

What I'm listening to:
Right now the house is totally silent and I'm loving it.  I can only hear the tapping of the laptop keys. 
What I'm eating:
Big salad with garlic and cheese biscuits
Cheeseburgers and oven fried potatoes
Wings for the big guy, steak for me with loaded baked potatoes and salad
Lamb meatballs, rice and naan.  I made Peruvian green sauce to go with it and that was delicious.
Hot turkey and cheese sandwiches with salad
BBQ chicken, corn and mashed potatoes

Who needs a good slap:
"Anonymous" who left the comment on last week's W's "No one deserves a slap. Violence is terrible."
Relax.  I do not condone violence and the slaps are virtual.  You won't even feel the two I've sent out to you.

What I'm planning:
I'm working on garden plans for the year.  Our last frost is usually the second week of April so time is of the essence. 

What's making me smile:

Every morning after I get out of the shower and start to do my face and hair, Binx lets me know he'd really appreciate it if I turned the water on for him.  I gladly indulge him.  

Wishing everyone a great Sunday and week ahead!!  Stay safe!!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

5 Favorite Restaurants

This was a very hard one to pick only 5 favorites for.  I've eaten at a lot of very good places over my lifetime.  What I used as my criteria is quality of food, atmosphere and the people and celebrations I had at these particular restaurants.  

Bob's Big Boy-Decatur Illinois

In the 1970's and early 1980's I spent a lot of Saturdays with my paternal grandmother.  We would do her shopping and any errands that she had to run.  Sometimes we would stop by Flavorkist where she was an Administrative Assistant to the owner and see her friends at work.  The day almost always ended up with us having lunch. My grandmother loved to have lunch out and since I was her eldest granddaughter, I was the chosen one to join her.  I remember Bob's Big Boy was one of her favorites. Thinking about her made me realize today would have been her 97th birthday.  She passed away 7 years ago and I still miss those days so much. 

Elams-Decatur, Illinois

Elams was a locally owned drive-in restaurant that had servers on roller-skates that brought your food out to you on a tray that hung on the car window.  Anyone remember these? This was a spot that my dad would take me to occasionally for lunch.  I LOVED the pork tenderloin sandwich that was as big as my head, onion rings and their famous root beer.  Once I got my driver's license, it was one of my favorite places to go with a few friends.  They closed in 1989 but Del's Popcorn Shop bought their root beer recipe, so it lives on.

Silver Spoon Cafe-Ft. Myers, Florida

Southwest Florida is filled with amazing restaurants that we frequented often but Silver Spoon Cafe was one of our top favorites.  They had amazing salads with the most delicious honey mustard dressing you have ever had.  We convinced them to sell us a pint more than once.  I usually had the jerk chicken, and the big guy loved their fish and their ribs.  It was where we celebrated a lot of Fridays, Birthdays and enjoyed many meals with friends there.  Sadly, it closed around 2004.

9th Street Grill-Mt. Vernon, Illinois

This restaurant opened around the same time we moved here in 2005 and quickly became our new favorite place to go.  The food here was truly amazing.  They made all of their breads and sauces and cooked everything to perfection.  The first thing they brought to the table with your drinks was a loaf of the most delicious poppyseed bread you've ever had.  Their blackened chicken sandwich on homemade chi batá buns was one of my favorites and the sauce they made for the fries is something I've tried to recreate many times.  Delicious pizza, bison burgers and salmon were also delicious choices that we enjoyed.  Sadly, they closed to move to another state in 2012.  We ate there the last night they were open and actually scored an awesome 7-foot-tall industrial bakers rack for 40 bucks, but I'd give it back in a heartbeat to have another meal there.

Firefly Grill-Effingham, Illinois

I've mentioned this one frequently on here. Firefly Grill is our go to spot now for a delicious lunch or dinner.  Sunday brunch is delicious also. This is pretty much where we celebrate all of our special occasions now.  It's a Farm to Table restaurant that does everything from scratch with local ingredients. They also grow a lot of herbs and veggies themselves right next to the restaurant. You can sit inside the gorgeous dining room, out on the patio or inside looking out at their pond that is filled with fish you can feed. Everything we have tried has been superb.  

Do you have any favorites now or from the past that stick out in your mind?  I'd love to hear about them.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  Lunch time at work.  Sometimes I have lunch with one of the doctors and occasionally we have lunch as a group but probably 85% of the time I have lunch by myself.  I typically take my lunch because hospital cafeteria food is not good.  Well, ours isn't anyway.  I've gotten in the bad habit of eating at my desk while I check emails or go through paperwork.  This week I put a stop to that and had lunch every day at the conference table and read for 30 minutes.  It was wonderful and I don't know why I haven't been doing this all along.  This is a new habit that will be easy to keep.  

Where I've been:  Well, another fascinating week that took me to work, home and trip for veggies.  I have to say I'm ok with this right now.

Where I'm going:  I took next Friday off, and the big guy and I are going to go out of town to do a bit of food shopping and have lunch.  I think he needs a day out.

What I'm watching:  The weather went from 70 degrees on Wednesday to 27 degrees and snowing on Friday was harsh to say the least.  It looks like another week of rollercoaster weather.  

What I'm reading: From Midnight Chicken.  "The world is so hard, and life is so short you must make things lovely where you can.  You have to make mundane things like packed lunches into something glorious and important and worth having.  You have to make ordinary days' worth having, is the thing-and investing a bit of time in what you eat and where you eat (which is really investing a bit of time in looking after yourself) is one of the easiest ways to do it."  This really spoke to me.

What I'm listening to:  I'm playing music in the evenings, and it really does help destress from the workday.

What I'm eating: 

Spicey chicken and white bean soup with a cheese roll up.
Valentines Day!  I made lamb chops, garlic mashed potatoes and a salad.
Beef sausage and veggie pasta, salad and no knead bread.

Chicken fajita loaded nachos.  YUM!
Pizza and salad
Beef stroganoff with garlic toast.  I cooked the meat in the crockpot all day and the smell was heavenly. 

For lunch last Sunday I made ham, cheese and dill pickle eggrolls.  OMG they were delicious.  Another eggroll creation to add to the list.  We don't usually eat deli meat but when I got off early friday it was cold and all I was craving was a hot sandwich for lunch.  I stopped by Kroger and saw Romanian style Pastrami so I bought half a pound.  A hot pastrami with cheese and dejon mustard made an awesome lunch.

Who needs a good slap:  There are just so many right now.  It's hard to choose just one.

What I'm planning:  No planning right now.  I'm working on my project list for the year.  We ordered a new garage door and opener which should be here in 4 weeks.  I'm glad to check that off.  We weren't having trouble with it yet, but it was installed in 1992 and probably just waiting for the worse time to croak so I wanted this done.

What is making me smile:  We almost always celebrate Valentines Day with a nice dinner at home and a small gift.  This year was chocolates for me and a really sweet card from the big guy.  It was perfect for us.   

I hope everyone is well.  Enjoy your Sunday!!

Sunday, February 12, 2023

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  What is going on in our airspace?  High altitude objects?  We'll probably never know the truth.

Where I've been:  I stopped and picked up produce and dairy on Friday after work.  I get off at 2pm so I was able to beat the crowds.  Saturday, we packed up Binx and ran to the bank.  We're taking him on quick trips, so he doesn't associate his carrier or getting in the Jeep as anything bad.  I bought a leash for him so he can go out in the backyard with me.  He was fine with the leash but a bit uncertain about going out.  He did make it out onto the back patio but was ready to go back in when the neighbor's dog started barking.  I think after a few trips out he'll learn to love it.

Where I'm going: No solid plans for the week yet.

What I'm watching: I was watching CBS Sunday Morning and they had a story on the history of love songs.  I had forgotten how many great love songs there have been.  I do need to start playing music again more, especially when I'm home in the evenings puttering around the house like I used to.

What I'm reading:  Still working through the King Arthur Baking Class and Midnight Chicken.

What I'm listening to:  Nothing much.

What I'm eating: 

Chicken Fajita, rice

"Hot chicken wing" cauliflower and salad.  This is so good even the big guy enjoys it.

Lamb burgers and oven fries
BIG salad
Chili from the freezer and cornbread muffins
Spicey chicken soup with cheese roll ups.  I used goat cheese with cilantro and a touch of pepper jelly, and they were delicious. 

Who needs a good slap: The kids and school administrators in the NJ school where the 14-year-old girl was beat up, bullied and then committed suicide.  The school failed this poor child and it's heartbreaking.

What I'm planning:  I was planning a big party for the big guy's Birthday, but he doesn't really want one SO now to plan a simpler way to celebrate him.  Ican understand because I'm not big on parties for myself anymore either, so we'll figure out something.

What's making me smile:  We've had some really beautiful sunny days.  The sunrise and sunset has just been gorgeous all week.  

I have been slacking on posting new recipes and hope to find time to do that at least once a week. I hope everyone is well.  Enjoy your Sunday.  

Sunday, February 5, 2023

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: Too much loss.  Almost everyone I talk to has unexpectedly lost friends or family in the last couple of months.  This week the big guy lost a friend that was only 51.  Death is always sad no matter the age or circumstance but for so many people to pass lately that are relatively young really makes you stop and put life in perspective.

Where I've been: We did go out to breakfast yesterday and really enjoyed it.  Other than that and work, I didn't go anywhere.

Where I'm going: Other than work, no plans as of yet.  I don't think we'll need any groceries as we are pretty stocked up.  The weather is supposed to be pretty decent this week so I may venture out into the backyard.  lol

What I'm watching: I had Modern Family on while cooking this week.  I just love that family.

What I'm reading: Midnight Chicken

What I'm listening to: Keeping it quiet when possible.

What I'm eating:

Cheeseburger egg rolls, air fried potato wedges
BIG salad
Chicken fajita, rice and cheese roll up
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and salad
Stuffed shells, salad and garlic knots.  I cut leftover meatloaf into cubes and added it to pasta sauce and made two pans of stuffed shells. One is uncooked and in the freezer for another meal. Each pan gives us a dinner for two and a lunch for me.

Coho salmon, rice and brussel sprouts
Tonight, I'm roasting a chicken but haven't decided on sides yet.

I also found some beautiful and delicious Florida strawberries that I made into a batch of jam.  It is SO good.  I tried a pectin free recipe for the first time and even though it was just a bit looser than normal, but it was good and I'm going to experiment with a bit more lemon juice to see if I can get the consistency I like.

Who needs a good slap: China officials.  They seriously said that the US overreacted by shooting down whatever it really was that they sent into our air space.  Unbelievable. 

What I'm planning: The big guy's birthday is in July and I'm planning a party.  We don't usually celebrate with parties, but I think after everything that's happened the last three or four years, we need to this year.

What's making me smile: Eight months ago yesterday we rescued Binx.  I can't believe he'll be a year-old next month.  Binx is unlike any cat we've ever had with more energy than I've ever seen.  This winter he has started snuggling though which is nice.  He's definitely brought a lot of love and laughter into our lives.

How was your week?

I hope everyone is doing well.  Stay safe!!