Sunday, June 23, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  Everyone knows that Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons, that doesn't mean I don't love a lot that Spring and Summer have to offer. The sunflowers are all starting to bloom here, and they are gorgeous. Sunflowers have always been a favorite of mine. 

Where I've been:  I went to the library to find something light to read this week.  I need to get a photo or two, it really is cute and cozy.  I also stopped at the Farmer's Market for a few things.  This is probably the last week for local blueberries.  I have been freezing them for a couple of weeks and I hope I have enough put up for a while.  

Where I'm going:  There are no appointments, commitments or anywhere I need to be so other than work my time is open.  I love weeks like this.  I'm thinking maybe a day trip on Saturday would do us both some good.

What I'm watching:  Friday afternoon we watched The Holdovers and we both really enjoyed it.  I love Paul Giamatti and he was wonderful in this role.  We caught up on Master Chef generations and Chio House.  It isn't one of my favorites, but TBG enjoys it.

What I'm reading:  I started Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews.  I figured some good southern lit was a good choice for a summer read.  I've read a lot of her books in the past and enjoyed them.

What I'm listening to: Last year I found this toy for Binx.  It has a laser that swirls around, and he loves chasing after it.  For 10.4 pounds that little cat makes a LOT of noise but I love seeing him playing.

What I'm eating:
Fried chicken sandwich with a salad.
Beef sausage with green peppers and onions and cucumber, tomato and red onion 'salad'.
Spicy chicken and rice with a cheese roll up
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and sliced tomatoes
BIG salad
LO meatloaf, cheese and mashed potato 'pancakes' and a salad
Tonight, I'm making lambchops.  I'm not sure about the sides yet.  I'm craving coleslaw so that will be on the menu soon.

What made me smile:  We went to a fund raiser yesterday for the dance school that TBG shares a building with.  I love being around the younger generation because I always learn something.  I had never heard of a brookie.  It's a cookie base with a brownie cooked on top.  

You just put a heaping tablespoon of cookie batter in a muffin tin, add a heaping tablespoon of brownie batter and bake.  They really are pretty tasty.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday.  Stay cool if you're in this heat wave.  I have curly hair and I saw a meme that said check on your curly haired friends, they're walking around like alpacas, and I really felt that.  

Friday, June 21, 2024

52 Recipes in 52 weeks #12 Zucchini Tots

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

This recipe is my maternal Grandmother's.  They always had a HUGE garden and grew so many things including zucchini.  I'm sure she always had an abundance to use.

2 medium zucchinis, grated
1/2 tsp. salt, to pull out the moisture
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 large egg
2 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Grate zucchini and place in a bowl with the salt.  Let sit for 20 minutes to pull the water out.
Place the zucchini on a clean dish cloth and wring out the liquid.
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Grease a mini muffin tin. (These could also be formed into circles and baked on a cooking sheet)
Bake 20-25 minutes until crispy.

I think I may have made these years ago, or maybe I'm remembering them from my Gram, I'm not sure.  They are delicious and go really well with a big salad and make a nice side for most dinners. I can see me making these quite a bit in the summer when my counter is filled with zucchini to use.  We give them a solid 9.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  Electricity. It's that time of year when we are bombarded with reminders on the news and in articles to conserve electricity because of the burden on the power grid.  We got a flyer this week telling us to keep curtains pulled during the day, keep the thermostat set on a higher temperature and turn off lights, etc.  These are all things that we do.  The problem I have is why is our government and many others, promoting electric cars??  If our power grid can't handle the heat in summer with everyone's thermostat set at 76 why are we being led to believe electric cars are the responsible thing to buy??  

Where I've been:  I had Wednesday off so TBG and I took the opportunity to have lunch at Knuckleheads.  It was delicious and such a treat to be able to spend a midweek day together.  After that we went to the mall to walk around and get a bit of exercise since it was so hot out.  Other than that, I was at home or work.

Where I'm going:  I need to make another hair appointment since I cancelled the one I had last week.  My hair desperately needs it but I knew by Thursday that there was no way I was going to feel like going Friday at 6pm.  I know myself well enough I'm not sure why I agreed to that in the first place.  I also want to make a trip to the farmers market and the library this week.

What I'm watching:  Now that the dreaded two broods of cicadas have died, I'm able to sit out on the back patio more watching the birds and neighborhood critters run around enjoying the sunshine.  

What I'm reading:  I finished The Women and loved it.  Tomorrow I'm going to the library to find a couple other books to read.  I'm looking for a few light summer reads.

What I'm eating:
Mediterranean spiced chicken, the first zucchini fries for the summer and sliced tomato
Meatball subs and potato 'fries'
Chicken fajita and rice
TBG has shrimp and grits with a small side salad and I had a big salad
Lamb burgers with side salad
Fried chicken and a salad
Tonight I am making beef empanadas

What made me go hmmm?  This is in our Kroger parking lot.  The containers have been there for a couple of weeks.  There are no labels or numbers or anything on the outside of the 15 containers.  Then Friday I saw eight of these.  Same exact color as the containers. ???  

What is making me smile:  We went to a baby shower yesterday and the theme was bees.  It was so cute with little bees and beehives decorating the tables and walls.  

I thought this was a cute idea that came with the invitation.  Books instead of cards.  We got them Oh Baby, The Things you will see by Dr. Suess.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and a good week ahead.  Stay cool if you're in the US.  It's supposed to be a hot week.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

52 Recipes in 52 Weeks #11 Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

This is another recipe from Recipe Tin Eats.  We don't eat macaroni and cheese very often but sometimes I really do have a craving for it. I made this in March when the weather was still that in between phase of Winter and Spring so it really did hit the spot. I have a number of recipes for mac and cheese that I use from time to time but wanted to try the cooking method of this one. The pasta is cooked right in the sauce so there is no chance of it getting that thick gloopy sauce or overcooked pasta that no one likes. 

3 1/2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups of water
2 1/2 cups of elbow macaroni noodles
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, colby or gruyere cheese
salt and pepper

1 tsp. garlic granules or powder
1/2 tsp. onion granules or powder
1/2 tsp. mustard powder

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
Add about 3/4 cup of milk and mix into butter mixture.  It will become a slurry pretty quickly.
Add remaining milk and mix to combine the slurry.  Then add the water and seasonings.
Add macaroni and mix.  Stir occasionally as it comes to heat.  When you see wisps of steam as you stir, lower the heat to medium low.
Stir regularly as it cooks for 9-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the macaroni is just cooked-tender but still firm.  It should still be saucy at this stage and thinner than you want.
Take it off the stove and stir in the cheese quickly.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately.

TBG isn't a huge fan of mac and cheese but did enjoy this as much as I did.  I liked the consistency of it and the flavor was spot on.

We had leftovers so I put them in a dish and sprinkled with a panko breadcrumbs and parmesan mix. and put the Ninja on reheat mode 325 for 20 minutes.  To me, it was good reheated but not as good as fresh off the stove top.

I give this a solid 8 out of 10.  I love the one pot method of cooking the pasta in the sauce.  

Sunday, June 9, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  My garden or should I say the lack of a normal garden.  Because of everything going on with TBG over the last several months, I didn't plant much of anything besides herbs and it feels strange after so many years not to have a true garden to take care of, but I am prepared to plant a fall garden when the time comes so there is that to look forward to.  I pulled up all of the garlic that I planted last fall, and it looks really good.  

I have three huge pots of basil because I like to use fresh in the summer and dry it and make pesto for the winter.  That is a must.

Luckily I have a wonderful farmers market nearby to get me through this year.  The two farmers that I buy from grow everything on their farms and do not use pesticides.  Because of all of the government red tape and fees they can't say it's organic, but it is. That first heirloom tomato that we ate yesterday was delicious.  Minus the garlic, this is what I picked up this week.

Where I've been:  Saturday we drove to a town an hour north and had a wonderful lunch.  There was a light rain all the way there, but it turned into a beautiful day.  

Where I'm going:  No plans or appointments this week other than a much-needed haircut on Friday.  I'll make another stop at the farmers market too.  

What I'm reading:  The Women by Kristin Hannah.  I have read all of her books over the years, and they have all been wonderful but the last five or six that she has written have been amazing.  She has a knack for really pulling you into the moment and being able to really see the characters and feel so much.  I'm almost finished with this latest and again, not disappointed at all.

What I'm eating:
Spatch cocked chicken on the grill, coleslaw and baked on the grill potatoes

LO chicken, veggies and mac bowls.  SO good.
Beef bulgogi with rice.
Stir fry chicken, veggies and cucumber, tomato salad
Bison, green pepper, onion and portobella mushroom pizza.
I was still full after a big lunch and TBG ate my left-over fried chicken with a salad.

Who needs a good slap:  Our local news station.  I've noticed over the last two or three years that the long-term people have all left.  Last week they announced they would no longer provide weekend news coverage.  Seriously? I give three slaps because apparently something is going on there that they can't keep enough employees to do even do the news.

What is making me smile:

I made my first batch of fresh salsa of the season. It's so fresh and so delicious it just screams summer.

                                      Culinary Adventures with Lori: Salsa and some good news

Friday, June 7, 2024

I knew it would eventually happen...

I was standing outside yesterday talking to a co worker in the parking lot for a while.  I felt like something flew on me but then thought it was probably just my hair.  She checked my back and there was nothing so we continued to talk but I just couldn't get over the idea that something was on me. 

 I had on a collared sleeveless blouse and a light summer quarter length sweater.  I sat my purse down and took off my sweater and asked her to check my blouse.  She went to pinch the top of the blouse to shake it and grabbed what I was worried about to begin with.  YES, it was a cicada!! 

 I know this is a very minimal issue in the grand scheme of things but still, it totally grossed me out that that creature had been in my blouse for probably 30 minutes. Seriously, I can't be the only one freaked out by these little monsters. I will be so glad when they are gone.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

52 Recipes in 52 Weeks #10 Lamb Kofta Meatballs

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

I got way behind in posting new recipes so I'm working on getting caught up.

This is an easy sheet pan dinner that is very versatile.  You can serve this in warm Naan or as a rice bowl. With lemon yogurt or tahini sauce. It's as delicious as it is beautiful.  This recipe comes from Recipe Eats Dinner cookbook.  There are so many wonderful recipes in this book you may be seeing a lot of them here.

For Koftas

grate 1/2 white or yellow onion

1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup panko or bread crumbs
2 finely minced garlic cloves
2 tbsp. coriander/cilantro finely chopped

Kofta Spices
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. plain paprika or smoked
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F
Place the Kofta ingredients and spices in a bowl.  Use your hand to combine thoroughly then roll 16 large-ish meatballs. Spread them out on a large tray.

1 large red pepper
1 large yellow pepper
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 tbsp. EVOO
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper

Toss the vegetables with the oil, salt and pepper.  Scatter around the meatballs.

Toss a bit of EVOO on the meatballs.  Bake for 15 minutes then switch the oven to the grill/broiler on high and cook for 5 more minutes. 

Serve with a bit of chopped cilantro and a drizzle of tahini or yogurt sauce.

I highly recommend this recipe.  If you don't care for lamb it did say you could substitute ground beef.  You do want to make the meatballs a bit larger especially when using lamb to keep the meat from drying out.  We gave this a 10!  

                                                               Photo from Nagi's website.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

My Week

Happy June!!  I had a three-day work week, so I was able to get caught up on everything here at home and take time to just relax.  I could easily get used to working Tuesday thru Thursday.  😉 Things are on their way to getting back to our normal here and I couldn't be more thankful. I love my slow, quiet life.  I took TBG out to breakfast yesterday since it is his favorite meal to eat out.  It was good and it felt good to go after three weeks.

We are in the zone of the two different broods of cicadas immerging.  One is a 13-year variety, and one is a 17 year. There are thousands and they are EVERYWHERE and so loud.  Our typical variety that comes in July stays in the top of trees, are very rarely seen unless dead and sing loudly from dusk until dawn.  These creatures are flying everywhere during sunny days, run into you constantly and sing from only 10am until about 3pm.  

These are the holes they leave while immerging from the ground.  Great for aerating our yards. 

Did I mention, they are everywhere?

Did I mention, they are loud? This was 2pm on Friday.

Meals this week were...
Loaded beef cheeseburgers, potato wedges and macaroni salad.  Not the healthiest of meals but delicious.

BBQ chicken, macaroni salad and baked beans
The last bowl of beef chili from the freezer with all the toppings and cornbread.  We don't typically eat stews or soups during the Summer so glad to finish this up before it gets too hot.

Chicken fajita, veggie rice bowls with a cheese roll up.  
I had a dinner out with friends and TBG requested grits and eggs.  

We snack on a lot of popcorn, and I like to make it as healthy as it can be.  Here is my easy recipe for a tasty snack.

Heat up 1 heaping teaspoon of coconut oil in a pot and add in about 6 kernels and cover with the lid.  Once they pop, add 1/4 cup popcorn kernels.  Once it begins to pop, shack occasionally and turn off the heat.
Finish with a pinch of salt or favorite seasonings.  Think rosemary, cumin, paprika, cayenne.
It's delicious.  The coconut oil gives it a buttery taste with no butter added.  We love it.

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the beginning of Summer.  I will leave you with this picture of the neighborhood watch cat.  He is in one window or another probably 70% of the day.  He watches everything with great interest.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

My Week

It was a much-appreciated calm week here. Monday TBG had his follow up with his cardiologist and it couldn't have gone better.  He is 90% healed and all restrictions have been lifted with the exception of nothing strenuous with the left arm for 4 more weeks to insure the three leads heal well.  When we had our first consultation TBG asked the doctor if he would have a bad scar and the doctor replied no, I do beautiful scars.  We removed the outer bandages after four days like we were supposed to but left the square covering of sterile strips on.  When the doctor removed them, he laughed and said "See, a beautiful scar." It is a very small, clean lined scar so TBG was happy.

The work week was good, and I've continued to run errands and do housework in the afternoons, so my weekends are free.  I think that makes a HUGE difference.  It is nice to have the freedom to do whatever I want on my two days off.

We watched Mother of the Bride on Netflix with Brook Sheilds.  We both thought it was a pretty cute movie. Ciao House started a new season, and it looks like they have some really creative chefs on this year so we'll continue to watch it.  

Yesterday was my Birthday and I spent it with family. I love my brother and TBG but they really should just say Happy Birthday instead of singing the entire song.  😂😂We went to Yellin Helens for lunch and enjoyed their delicious chicken salad sandwiches and ice cream.  Last night I made steak, shrimp, baked potatoes and salad. Of course, we finished the night with wine and cake. Thankfully, my brother didn't light it up like he did on my 50th.  It probably would have set off the smoke detector.  It was a lovely birthday and I have a lot to be thankful for.

Someone sent me this on Facebook and it hit home.

Grocery prices are CraZy high but nothing here like they are in Alaska.  I follow someone on FB and this was the receipt she posted.  Our nephew lives in Hawaii and he has told us it's about the same there. 

What we ate this week...

BIG salad x2
Roasted chicken, pesto pasta and salad
Chicken and veggie pizza from left over Naan in the freezer.  It was delicious.

Pinto beans and rice with spicy chicken sausage.
Last night I made macaroni salad for today and tomorrow.  If you didn't know, I was probably 54 years old before I ever tried macaroni salad and I love it.  Dear Spo sent me a recipe a few years ago and it is my go-to because it is SO delicious.  

Tonight, we're having beef cheeseburgers with all the trimmings, macaroni salad and coleslaw.  Tomorrow for the holiday we are having a BBQ. 

Happy Memorial Day to all in the US.  Remember some gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  If you're in the line of bad storms today like we are, I hope you stay safe.  

Monday, May 13, 2024

Things That Make Me Smile

Thursday TBG has his surgery and so far everything seems to have gone well and I am SO thankful. Each day he is feeling a little better.  The shortness of breath is gone which is a relief. He still has 6 weeks of recovery, but I've been told it gets much better after the first two weeks.  Tomorrow we have to remove the dressing.  NOT looking forward to that.  Our friend said she would come and do it since I'm a big wuss I don't do well with that kind of thing.  I may take her up on it.

Friday night we were able to get this shot of the Northern Lights.  You could see some colors with the naked eye but using the phone to get a picture came out even better.

Sunday morning I opened the curtains around 5:30 am like I usually do for Binx to look outside.  I was a bit surprised to see three deer in our front yard.  They stayed there for about 35 minutes giving Binx an exciting morning.  The panther in him really wanted to get ahold of them.  There was one moment when they all saw him in the window, and I got a little nervous, but they didn't charge.  That would not have made me smile.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: May is such a pretty month here.  Everything is blooming and growing.  It does seem like it's hotter than normal, so we didn't get much of an air out the house season.  Last night we had a nice thunderstorm.  Nothing serious, just lots of wind and rain bringing in a bit of cooler air which I always welcome.  I garden by the Farmer's Almanac moon calendar so next weekend are the best days for May and I am ready to get all of my summer veggies and herbs in.  I bought enough seeds to fill the front porch planters with Marigolds.  I love how the red, yellow and orange flowers add so much color.  

Where I've been:  TBG and I went out to breakfast yesterday and ran a few errands.  Other than that, I was either at work or at home all week.  I love it when there are no commitments.

Where I'm going:  I'm working M-W and Thursday TBG is having his surgery.  I don't think we'll be going anywhere.

What I'm watching:  We've been watching Master Chef Junior and as always, I am just amazed at some of these children.  Some are as young as 8 years old.  It's fascinating to see such knowledge and creativity from such young kids.

What I'm reading:  I think I'll be reading Gone With the Wind for a while.  It's a LONG book. 😏

What I'm eating:  

BIG salad x 2 
Lamb meatballs, rice and naan
Chicken sausage, peppers and onions, pinto beans and rice with cornbread
Chicken, roasted garlic and parmesan alfredo with a small salad.  I added a cube of pesto from the freezer and it turned out to be the best dish of the week.
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans.

This is something I want to make this week. Doesn't it sound delicious?

Who needs a good slap:  The maintenance department at work.  I heard on Monday that certain areas of the hospital would be without power for 6 hours on Tuesday and that if you were in one of those areas the manager would be notified.  I wasn't notified so I didn't think about it until the housekeeper came in and confirmed that this office would be one of the areas.  I immediately emailed the man in charge of the project to confirm who never responded before the lights went off at 8am.  I give 3 slaps.  The department that is responsible for seeing 90 percent of the patients in the hospital should have been notified.

What's making me smile:  The power outage was to install solar panels.  That is something that will save the hospital a lot of money so that is a good thing.

If you don't hear from me for a while, don't worry.  I don't know how much computer time I will get over the next few weeks with TBG's surgery. The recovery time is up to 6 weeks. I just pray that everything goes smoothly and that he recovers quickly.  It's been a stressful 5 months for him.  He's had so many appointments and tests and then dental work on top of it all.  It's been a lot for someone that has never been sick.  We'll be glad to have this done so that hopefully things can start to get back to normal for us.

Take care and have a wonderful Sunday!! 

Sunday, April 28, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  Everyone knows that Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons, but I also feel the beauty and joys of Spring and Summer.  I've always been the type of person who lives according to the seasons because it provides a solid rhythm to my life along with marking time in a gentler way than just ticking days off the calendar.  It's a comfort to me to know I can look in my backyard to know exactly what month it is.  Or to plan seasonal meals by what's growing or not or what the temperature is.  Comfort food for Fall and Winter and lighter meals for Spring and Summer.  I think it does our mind and body a lot of good to live in harmony with the season.

Where I've been:  I made one trip to Kroger to pick up a bit of dairy and fresh veggies and fruit. I also stopped by Rural King to stock up on food for Binx and a few things for the garden.  I went to lunch with TBG one afternoon.  Other than that, I have blissfully been at home piddling around the house or yard.  One of my favorite things to do.

Where I'm going:  I have no appointments or commitments so far this week which always thrills me.  Wednesday I'm off work and I'm not sure yet how I'll spend that day but a midweek break from work is always something to look forward to.

What I'm watching:  Today is a marathon of Housewives of New Jersey and I have it on in the background.  Modern Family is my weeknight go to for background noise.  I can't really remember watching anything else.

What I'm reading:  One day last week I thought about the fact that I have never read or even watched the movie Gone With The Wind.  It was one of my mother's favorite books so much so that my brother is named after the character Ashley.  That was long before it became a popular name for girls.  I knew I had a copy so I decided to finally read it.  I also have The Covenant of Water on my Summer reading list.  I watched an interview with the author last week and decided to buy it. 

What I'm listening to:  Every day as I'm walking from my car to the hospital, I am serenaded by all of the birds waking up and starting their day.  It's one of the small joys of it being Spring.

What I'm eating:

Left over roasted chicken with pinto beans and rice and a cheese roll up.
Stuffed shells and salad
Fried chicken sandwich with oven fries and slaw

Stir fry veggies and beef sausage bowls. When I make any stir fry the veg portion to the meat portion is double.  I think I had 7 different veggies in this one and it was delicious.

BIG salad
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and carrots

Who needs a good slap:  No one comes to mind.

What is making me smile:  The new Medical Director has made a HUGE difference in my responsibilities at work this month and I couldn't be happier about that.  I'm glad I toughed it out while we were without one.  
Also as always Binx.  He still has a very HIGH level of energy and needs to have physical and mental stimulation frequently.  One of the latest toys I found to help with this are these fish.  You just drop them in water, and they very realistically are swimming around.  Before I have anyone saying "You let your cat on the counter?"  Typically, no he has no desire to get up there, but he quickly learned he can get up there to see his fish in the sink.  I'm so anal about cleaning my kitchen counters dozens of times a day I'm not worried about it.  Plus, if we ever get a mouse in the house, I want him to know he can go anywhere he needs to, to kill it.  😍

Enjoy this last Sunda of April!!