Sunday, October 17, 2021

My Week

Good sleeping weather has finally arrived and my AC is finally off hopefully until Spring.  Friday night a cold front blew in and the winds were incredible.  We stepped outside and watched a ton of leaves fly off our neighbors tree only to land in our yard,  It was 37 degrees when I got up this morning but it was still 65 in the house.  I have a couple of windows open now to bring in all of that fresh air. This is my favorite time of year.

In honor of the cold front I made a big batch of chili last night and we had a chili bar for two.  Green onions, cheddar cheese and a small spoonful of sour cream are my favorite toppings. The chili was loaded with our poblano, serrano and tabasco peppers so the toppings helped cool it down just a bit. Instead of making cornbread like I usually do we used oyster crackers for a nice change.  So now I have 8 large servings of chili in the freezer. This one batch of chili made a total of 10 large servings for either lunches or dinners using 1 pound of local grass fed ground beef that was 5.99 .  Not bad at all.  You could even stretch it further if you used one serving and made chili dogs or chili mac for two people.  

We did our biweekly shopping yesterday. It was a cool but beautiful sunny day perfect for the ride.  So far in October we have spent 606.64.  That does include everything though.  Food, pet food, health and beauty products, cleaning products and alcohol.  The total this month also includes a 15 pound turkey for Thanksgiving.  I've mentioned before that I have a pretty substantial pantry with I'm estimating 4 months of the items we routinely use.  I'm not a hoarder or a prepper, I just like the insurance of having what we need in the event we can't or don't want to shop for awhile.  It was always important to do this when we lived in Florida and went through hurricane season.  Here it is important to do in case of a winter snow storm or bitter temps that just make you want to stay home. It is a good feeling to not HAVE to go out.

Dinners this week were...

Big salad
Beef Thai soup made with left over beef and bones from the huge beef short ribs I cooked on Sunday that were delicious.  We have 4 more servings in the freezer that all I have to do is add udon or rice noodles and whatever veggies we want.  When I make the Thai soup I don't like to freeze it with the veggies or noodles.  I don't think they hold up well or taste the same as fresh.
Chicken nachos
Bacon cheese burger and Japanese sweet potato "fries"
Tonight I'm not sure yet but it will be something with boneless skinless chicken breasts.

I have a small list of things I need to do today to get ready for the work week.  I also want to bake something but I don't know what yet.  This week I am going to try out a new schedule to hopefully give me a little more life/work/family balance.  Other than our biweekly shopping trips I want my weekends free of to do's and cleaning.  I think I've come up with a routine that will let me finish it through the week leaving my weekends free.  Wish me luck!

Stay safe and have a fabulous Sunday!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wednesday W's

 What's top of my mind:  Winter.   The locals are all talking about the persimmons and what they are predicting for this year.  If you crack open a seed from the ripe fruit and look at the shape inside, it can forecast the winter weather.  If you see a fork, that will be a mild year.  A spoon shape means a lot of snow and the knife represents frigid winds that will 'cut' like a knife.  This year everyone is seeing an abundance of spoons with a few knives, same as last year which had record breaking temps and snow.  We shall see.

Where I've been: Shoe shopping.  I am picky when it comes to shoes.  I want cute, comfortable and good quality.  I hate buying shoes that don't wear well or last long.  I scored two suitable pairs so I'm happy.

Where I'm going: Saturday we will be going out to do our grocery shopping and hopefully an outside table for lunch at Drakes.  We need an outing and I need someone else to cook me a meal for a change. The high temps for Saturday are supposed to be in the 60's so perfect outside eating weather.

What I'm watching: This past weekend I watched Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus to get me in the spirit of the season.  I usually watch Hocus Pocus every year but it's been awhile since I've seen Practical Magic.

What I'm reading: Make Your Bed: Little things that can change your life and maybe the world.  I've only just started and so far it's interesting.

What I'm listening to: We were able to turn the AC off yesterday evening so I enjoyed hearing all the birds on the feeders in the back yard.  This time of year we have such a large variety of birds and butterflies in our area passing through to reach their winter homes.

What I'm eating: I made beef short ribs on Sunday and used the left over meat and bones to make a spicy beef Thai soup last night.  I was SO good I'm having a bowl for lunch today.

Who needs a good slap: I must be feeling pretty mellow right now because I can't think of anyone.

What I'm planning: I'm still working through my fall projects list and cleaning out the garage is scheduled for Sunday.  We don't have much in the garage but it needs a good scrubbing before winter.  I also like to put out fresh peppermint tea bags to discourage the spiders or mice from making a home. They really do work well.  We had a very large spider in our mailbox and I threw a tea bag in to see if it worked and that spider immediately found his way out.

What's making me smile:  The big guy.  He has been making me smile every day for almost 37 years. I got really lucky in the marriage department. 

Stay safe and have a great Wednesday!!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

My Week

Mother Nature is confused this year.  It does NOT feel anything like Fall here.  It's been 10-15 degrees above average all week.  Today is supposed to break a record at 87 degrees.  Needless to say, soup, chili and stews are going to have to wait a bit longer.  Next weekend does look like Fall may make an appearance with cooler temps. and I will welcome them with open arms.

The Birthday luncheon Friday at work was amazing.  Goat curry, chicken and rice.  SO delicious.  I made naan, hummus and black bottom cupcakes.  When we finished lunch we all needed a nap. I'm so glad I had already planned to leave a couple of hours early that day.

Friday night we ordered pizza because my kitchen turned in to a chocolate chip cookie factory.  The big guy was holding a testing Saturday and I agreed to make 80 cookies for the 40 students.  I stopped at Hobby Lobby and picked up a package of individual self sealing cookie bags.  For $1.50 for 50 bags you can't beat it.  Plus it makes it look more professional.  One person even asked where we bought the cookies.

This weekend I pulled out a number of Halloween decorations and my kitchen witch has been hung. She has been around for at least 20 years or more and  makes me smile every time I see her.

Dinners this week:

Fajita chicken, rice, roll ups
Sloppy Joes, oven fries
Chicken sausage, cabbage, potatoes
Egg rolls, rice
BIG salad

Tonight we're having beef short ribs.

Picture with my hand to show how big these ribs are.  Local, grass fed beef is the best.  I will do a post this week showing what I make, how many meals we get from it and the cost per meal.  It isn't as expensive to eat local as some think. Not in our area any way.

We pulled out our collection of Halloween masks.  This is one I wore a couple of years ago with a solid brown t-shirt and brown leggings.  It was cute.  I won't be dressing up this year to hand out candy but I do have a number Halloween t-shirts to sport throughout the month.

Hope everyone has a fabulous week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Wednesday W's

Every week two of my favorite bloggers do their Wednesday W's and I really enjoy them so I thought I would start to tag along.  Sporeflections.wordpress and robzillanosd.wordpress I hope you don't mind me crashing the party.

What's top of my mind: My mother.  She has good days and she has really bad days. Dementia is such a cruel disease. I can't help but wonder if this too shall be my fate.

Where I've been: I actually went to a clothing store this week to buy some new pants.  Because of Covid you cannot try anything on at the store so when I got home I found out that all three pair of pants have to be returned because they are freakishly too long.  Now I'm worried if I'm shrinking.

Where I'm going: Besides returning the pants, nowhere but work.

What I'm watching:  The Great British Bake Off 's newest season.

What I'm reading: I'm still working on The Man Who Ate Everything.  It was a pretty rainy week last week and I noticed I didn't read as much since I couldn't go outside.  I need to remind myself to take the time to read even if it is inside. It's not like there aren't a dozen cozy places to curl up and read inside.

What I'm Listening to: Nothing much.  I enjoy the silence.

What I'm eating:  Friday we are having a luncheon for one of the doctors Birthdays.  It will be 'authentic" Indian fair made by one of the good doctors wives which I LOVE.  I am making the dessert.  I think I've settled on black bottom cupcakes.

Who needs a good slap:  Scammers.  I had a text message supposedly from Chase telling me my account needed validating.  It's sad that people do get caught in these traps. 

What I'm planning:  The big guy will be gone for most of the day Saturday so I am planning on having the house all to myself.  I have a number of projects I want to complete before the end of the month so this is perfect timing.

What's making me smile: All of my herbs and lettuces are still growing well so I will get another batch of pesto and more dried herbs before the end of the season.  

Play along in the comments and stay safe!!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

My Week

 Good Morning.  Can you believe we are in October?  The sunflowers in the back yard are at their peak.

The cool weather we had for a week has warmed back up.  It was low's in the 60's with highs in the 80's this week.  Not too bad but I'm ready for a bit cooler so I can open the windows and turn off the AC.  It will be here soon enough I suppose.

We enjoyed our share of BLT's this summer.  This was the last one until next July.  

This week I watched the two new episodes of The Great British Bake Off.  I always look forward to the new episodes.  

I'm still working on finishing the book The Man Who Ate Everything.  Plus I've been searching through my cookbooks for new fall dishes to make. 

It was cool enough last night to eat outside.  The big guy set the table and did a pretty good job of it.  The lamb chops were the last ones we had in the freezer.  We will see what the prices are next spring.  This spring even ground lamb was pretty pricey.

Dinners this week:

Chicken chorizo gumbo and skillet corn bread
Fried chicken breast strips, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob
Cheese burgers and oven fries
Cod, baked potatoes and salad
BLT and zucchini chips
Lamb chops, 3 cheese mac and cheese, salad and dinner rolls

Yesterday we went food shopping.  We actually hadn't been to a store for anything but milk in three weeks.  I'm back to keeping track of what I spend.  I do not break it up though so my totals include food, health and beauty, cleaning supplies, alcohol and pet food.
At Walmart we spent $204.07and at Fresh Thyme we spent $131.10.  I love Fresh Thymes receipts because they break it down into categories such as produce, meat, dairy, etc.  We don't buy any packaged or processed foods except for probably crackers so our items are all staples and ingredients for meals, desserts, snacks.

I've mentioned here before that at least twice a year I go through everything.  Every cabinet, closet, drawer, etc.  Well it is that time again. I'm not exactly a minimalist but I do not like a lot of stuff.  Memorabilia and family items that have been passed down are the one thing that is a bit hard for me to get rid of.  I don't like having things that we don't use.  I have a number of items that haven't been used in awhile.  Since 2020 and 2021 was a bust as far as BBQ's, parties, etc.  I am going to keep certain items and if by the end of 2022 (assuming it will be a bit more 'normal') they haven't been used I will let them go.
I know a lot of people sell items on different sights or heaven forbid have a yard sale but I keep a large bag or box that I put things in throughout the year.  When it is full I take it to our local Good Will.  I had one yard sale probably 8 years ago and I promised myself I would NEVER do that again. 
In my closet, I do the turned hanger trick.  If any hangers haven't been turned around with in the year that item goes.

Jet turned 15 on Wednesday.  Where does the time go.  Sometime I'll do a post on Jet's life.  It's been pretty interesting. Happy Birthday buddy!

Enjoy your Sunday and stay safe!!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

My Week

Happy Sunday!  The weather this week could not have been any better.  Low's in the 40's and highs in the 70's with sunshine and a bright blue sky.  This week we are supposed to be in the 80's but the humidity will not be bad.  Everything is that deep fall green.  Our peak fall leaf time frame is the end of October so we have a while to go.

We skipped the local Fall Festival yesterday and I'm glad we did.  In the pictures I've seen no one had a mask on. This is an event that brings hundreds of people from nearby counties so we'll see if the numbers of Covid go up again in a week or two. I understand wanting to 'go back to normal' but we are still in a pandemic with a strain that is worse now than it was in the beginning.  

I've done a little fall decorating and found a gorgeous purple mum for the front porch.  Today I'm going back to pick up a couple of orange ones that I saw driving by a roadside stand. The purple and orange will look nice together.

This week I finished reading Finding The Flavors We Lost by Patric Kuh.  It is about Artisans reclaiming American food and was very interesting.  Yesterday I started The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten.   I'm really enjoying his essays.  It is part cookbook, part travelogue with medicine and science all rolled up.

Dinners this week:
Ribs, steak for me, scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob
Butter chicken masala, spicy rice and a roll up.
Chicken, mac and cheese and salad
Chili, cornbread (first pot of the season and it was so good)
BLT, zucchini chips
Loaded beef nachos
Fried green tomatoes and salad

I use a lot of different cheeses and fillings when I make roll ups but this combo is the big guys favorite.  I spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the bottom, add diced poblanos, cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese.  Roll them up, lightly coat outside with olive oil and bake for 5 minutes on each side.  YUM!

I hope everyone has a restful day.  Stay safe!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Things That Make Me Smile

I was sitting outside earlier reading and looked over to see this hawk land in the yard.

He found a worm.

                                        I never knew they had so many feathers on their legs.  

Sunday, September 19, 2021

My Week

 Happy Sunday!  It was a warm sunny week but this week we are supposed to get a cold front with lows in the 40's and highs in the low 70's.  I'm ready!  

Quite a bit of herbs and lettuce is still growing but the last tomatoes, peppers and zucchinis have been picked. The garlic has been planted for next year.  All in all it was a very good growing season. My freezer is full of pesto, veggies and fruit for the next few months. 

I have quite a bit of chicken in the freezer so I stocked up on beef and seafood.  We've been ordering our seafood from Sea 2 Table for quite a few years.  I like seafood from the US and other than local catfish our stores sell seafood from other countries. I ordered 14 servings of  a combo of Maine Red fish, Pacific Cod, Dover soul and Coho salmon. They even included a large cloth insulated bag this time for no extra charge.  We get our beef from a local farm  ( ) that raises 100% grass fed beef.  I can't wait to cook the beef short ribs next weekend.

The hummingbirds have been very busy lately.  I'm sure they're fueling up for their long trip. I finally got a picture of one sitting on the hook.

While picking up the beef at the farmers market Friday I picked up our first pumpkin of the season.  We're going to the pumpkin patch next weekend so will get the rest from there.  This is cute on my dining room table though.

Dinners this week:
Chicken wings, chicken kabobs, mac and cheese, asparagus
BIG salad and cheese rollups
Stuffed shells, salad, garlic bread
Roasted chicken legs, potatoes, corn
Chicken sausage, peppers, onions, spicy rice
Veggie, pepperoni and cheese cazones, salad
Main red fish, baked potato, salad and garlic knot

I also made a loaf of cheddar and bacon bread this week.  Friday for lunch I made BLT's on it and it was very tasty. 

I picked up my once a year bag of candy corn.  I know people either seem to love it or hate it.  From as far back as I can remember this was a staple on my fathers parents table in the fall.  Gram taught me the proper way to eat it.  First it had to be Brachs candy corn (other brands are horrible) and you equally mixed it with Red Spanish peanuts.  To me it tastes like a payday candy bar.

So how was your week?  Are you a fan of candy corn and peanuts?

Stay safe!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Things That Make Me Smile

Last night I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and it felt like someone was watching me.  I looked over to see this.  Such a goofy cat.



Sunday, September 12, 2021

My Week

Happy Sunday! 

It was technically a short week at work because of the holiday but man did it seem LONG.  It's difficult to see everything that is going on with and in the hospital right now and not feel terrified. The staff shortage is going to get worse this week when the deadline for the vaccine arrives.  Plus the ones that did get a medical waiver are now protesting being tested once a week so we may loose them as well.  We're back to no visitors for the patients which is so sad.  I can't imagine being in the hospital and unable to have someone with me.  Elective surgeries have been postponed because of the bed shortage.  It's just a lot right now to process.

I did reconnect with a very old friend this week.  We've known each other since we were 19 years old.  The last couple of years we didn't talk.  There hadn't been a fight or disagreement or anything.  We just kind of grew apart and the phone calls got fewer and fewer.  It was nice to talk to her.  There is something comforting in having a conversation with someone that has known you for so long.  We both agreed to make more effort to keep in touch. So that is something positive.

Dinners this week...

Ribs, steak, macaroni salad, corn on the cob, deviled eggs
Beef roast potatoes, carrots and asparagus
Chicken legs, macaroni salad and zucchini
Beef sausage, peppers, onions, roasted Japanese sweet potatoes
BLT's and fried asparagus
Red beans and rice with cornbread
Tonight is still TBD

Red Beans and Rice
2 tbs. e v o o
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound dry red kidney beans
1 large smoked ham hock
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large deep pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the peppers, celery and garlic and saute 3 more minutes.  Add the beans, hock, chili powder, thyme bay leaves.  Cover with water.  About 8 cups. Bring to a boil and partially cover and cook for 30 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the bay leaves and the ham hock.  Remove any meat on the hock, shred and add back to the pot.  Simmer for 30 more minutes.

Serve over rice with your favorite hot sauce.

You could also do this in a crock pot but I highly recommend cooking the onions, garlic, celery and peppers before putting it all together.  

I hope everyone has a great week.  Stay safe!

Some of my favorite hot sauces.  The one on the left is homemade and WOW what a kick in the mouth.

Monday, September 6, 2021

My Week

 Happy Labor Day to those in the US.  It is 55 degrees out right now and I'm sitting here with all of the windows in the house open.  The fresh air is amazing.  All week the highs will be in the low 80's and I have to admit this cooler weather rejuvenates me.

I worked on the garden a bit.  The tomatoes are still producing but the pepper plants are almost done.  Today or tomorrow I will pick what is almost ready and take them out.  The second round of lettuce, basil and arugula are all doing well.  It was a successful season which I desperately needed after last years brutality.  Yesterday I found more non GMO local corn for 2.50 a dozen so my freezer is now stocked for the winter with corn.

September is kind of a transitional month for me.  I spend most of my time getting the inside and outside of the house ready for the new season.  I like for the house to feel cozy for the fall and winter months.  I'm looking forward to all of the holidays.  Since Covid started I've been using my PTO for three or four day weekends since we can't plan a trip so I think it is time for a long winter break.  I am taking December 23 thru January 3 off.  It will be nice for the two of us to spend this time at home.  I'm looking forward to Christmas movie marathons, reading, cooking, baking and spending time with the big guy.  I hope we have snow.

Today we're grilling a steak for me and ribs for him. I will stuff a couple of poblano peppers and have that with deviled eggs and macaroni salad.  The macaroni salad is a new recipe I'm trying from my blog buddy Michael at  I can't believe I've just recently found out how good macaroni salad is. 

I made a batch of walnut, chocolate chip cookies yesterday.  I used Ghirardelli cocoa chips.  OMG they are so good.  I usually use Toll House chocolate and it is good but these are one level up.  They will now be my go to cocoa.  

Dinners this week:

Fried chicken, red potatoes, corn
LOADED beef nachos
Beef sausage, peppers, onions and red potatoes
BIG salad
BLT, zucchini chips
Chicken fettuccine alfredo
Butter chicken and rice

Well I have a few things to do around the house this morning.  Then I want to sit outside and read this afternoon. My days to soak up the vitamin D are fading away.  I picked up the book Finding Freedom by Erin French and it is really good.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and a productive week.
Stay Safe!!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Things That Make Me Smile


                                                            Jet makes me smile every day.