Sunday, June 26, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: 

Honestly my mind is all over the place right now.  I can't even articulate how I'm feeling about everything going on in our country, the entire world actually. The powers that be are continuing their goal of dividing us and controlling us and it is downright scary. 

Where I've been

I stopped at the farmers market for a few things and was sad to find out sweet cherry season is over and he was out.  I knew I should have bought more than 1.  Made a quick stop at the library to pick up the two books I requested.  Then Saturday we did a big shop at Fresh Market and Behrmann's.  

Where I'm going: 

Other than work, I don't plan on going anywhere this week.  I'm needing some down time at home.

What I'm watching:

Iron Chef on Netflix. 

What I'm reading: 

Blood, Bones and Butter by Garielle Hamilton.  She is very honest about her life and she is also a wonderful writer.  I'm about halfway through and I'm really enjoying it.

What I'm listening to:

Right now I'm listening to rain coming down.  I'm happy I don't have to water anything today.  I'm not sure if it's supposed to rain all day but I'll be happy either way.  It is so green outside from the rain, it's beautiful.

What I'm eating: 

I had my first BLT of the year!!  I do not eat grocery store tomatoes.  There just is no point as I find them tasteless. I patiently wait from the first of October to the middle of June for my next BLT.  This one was about as local as you can get.  I made the bread, local bacon, farm tomato and my lettuce.  The only thing I didn't make was the mayo.  It's a simple sandwich but so delicious.

Chicken chorizo, onions and peppers, rice and cornbread
BIG salad x2
Chicken legs, mashed potatoes and corn
Dijon, maple grilled chicken, deviled eggs, potatoes

Who needs a good slap:

Take your pick.  There are SO many that fall into this category.

What I'm planning:

I'm planning on a low-key week.  I'm tired, my soul is weary, and I just need some quiet time at home with the big guy and Binx.

What's making me smile:

Not much right now.

I probably should have skipped posting this week because I just don't have a lot to say but decided to go ahead because everything isn't always picture perfect.  Stay safe everyone!!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Maple Dijon Chicken

Last Saturday I tried this recipe from Maryjane Farms magazine.

Any part of the chicken.  I used 6 full wings and 1 boneless skinless chicken breast.  

3 sprigs of thyme or 2 tsp of dried
1 or 2 sprigs of rosemary or 2 tsp of dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
12-ounce beer
1/2 Cup Dijon mustard
1/3 Cup Maple syrup

Place chicken in a medium size bowl.
Add thyme, rosemary and salt and mix around to coat the chicken.
Pour in the beer, covering the chicken.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Whisk together Dijon and Maple syrup.

Remove chicken from marinate and discard.

Grill the chicken basting with the Dijon, Maple mixture.

This was so simple and delicious it will be going into our rotation.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: We HAVE to buy a generator this week.  Last week the temperatures were brutal.  Monday when I got up at 5 am it was already 80 degrees.  We broke all kinds of record high temperatures with a few days at 100.  Friday morning a bad storm rolled through with 70 mph winds and knocked down a lot of trees and of course the power.  The storm brought cooler temperatures so it wasn't bad in the house but I was worried about the food in the freezer.  After two hours I went and bought a couple bags of ice and stored everything that was in the fridge in a cooler.  After 12 hours the power was restored and I opened the freezer to check.  Everything was still frozen solid, even the popsicles so we dodged a bullet this time. I don't want to chance it again.  

Where I've been: Friday morning I made a trip to the library to pick up a book I had reserved and then went to the Farmer's Market.  My favorite farmer who grows everything he sells on his farm and doesn't use chemicals had zucchini, sweet cherries, hoop house tomatoes and a few other early crops.  His lettuce was gorgeous but I have a ton of lettuce growing here.  Today I'm making sweet cherry hand pies and I can't wait because the cherries are delicious.  I also stopped at The Hole Dozens food truck while I was there and picked up an apple fritter for myself and a cinnamon roll for the big guy.  AMAZING!

Where I'm going: I'm working all week and next weekend we have some shopping to do.  I'm hoping the other book I reserved arrives so I can pick it up because with no power on Friday I've already finished the book I picked up.

What I'm watching:  I didn't watch much this week at all.  The big guy did tape a Julia Child special for me so I may watch that sometime this week.  I just don't find myself interested in watching much lately. I do most of my movie/tv watching in the winter.

What I'm reading: I finished My Life from Scratch and really enjoyed it.  I also finished Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love and Food.  It also was a good summer read.  I did get a new Mary Janes magazine a couple of weeks ago and finished it yesterday while sitting outside.  It was a good week of reading.

What I'm listening to: It's only 57 degrees out right now so I have the patio door open and I can hear all of the birds waking up and chirping away.  It's peaceful.

What I'm eating: 
Hebrew National all beef hot dog on homemade buns with fries.  This is my once a year indulgence with hot dogs.  I love them but they really aren't good for you.
BIG Salad x2
Chicken sausage, peppers, onions and potatoes with a cheese roll up.
Chicken legs, mac and cheese and salad.
Agave Mexican Restaurant...not very good.  We REALLY miss our favorite local Mexican place that didn't make it through Covid. 
Dijon maple grilled chicken, deviled eggs, baked potato and Texas toast.  This was a new recipe I tried and it is delicious and so easy.  I'll share the recipe this week.

Who needs a good slap:  The neighborhood squirrels.  I don't like them and I never will.  I have battled with them every year over my gardens.  This year they have eaten all of my arugula.  We had stopped feeding the birds because  it attracts them even more.  But the big guy filled the feeder to give Binx a chance to watch the birds from the windows.  The feeder is almost empty and we will only fill it during the winter from now on.  I give 2 big slaps to the little tree rats.

What I'm planning: I'm already planning next years gardens.  I want a larger herb garden and I want to expand on Spring and Fall crops.  I pulled out this years Botanical Interests seed catalog and have been making notes.

What's making me smile: Every day I wake up I have to smile and thank God for another day.

I lost my Dad when I was 24 years old so Father's Day is always a little bitter sweet to me.  I'm sure a lot of people feel the same.  Hugs to you that do.  Stay cool and safe and have a great Sunday!!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Beef Empanada's

I don't buy a lot of kitchen 'gadgets' but this one was well worth the 5 or 6 dollars I spent on it a couple of years ago.  

I make a lot of empanadas, pizza pockets, sweet and savory hand pies and breakfast pockets.  I used to cut the dough with a bowl and assemble.  Not that it was that difficult, but this makes it a lot faster.  You lay it out flat to cut your circles then put the dough on the top fill and crimp.  They all come out perfect.

There are many ways to make beef empanadas, but this is the recipe that an old friend gave me years ago and it is one of my favorites. 

Empanada Dough

2 3/4 Cup AP Flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 eggs
1/2 Cup ice water
1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Sift flour with salt in a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some butter lumps.

Beat together egg, water and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork.  Add to flour mixture stirring with for until just incorporated.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together.  Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap at least for an hour.

Empanada Filling

1 pound ground beef
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 peeled, diced boiled potatoes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
pinch of salt
pinch of ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped pimento stuffed olives

Cook ground beef and onions and then add the remaining ingredients.

Fill empanada dough with about 4 tablespoons of mixture and crimp together making sure they are closed.. Brush with egg wash and use a toothpick to poke four or five holes for steam to escape.
Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes.

Some people fry them, which is delicious but I prefer to bake them.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: Inflation.  While we're fine, I can't help but think of younger people just starting their lives, people with young children or the older population trying to make it on social security or retirement funds.  Gas is 5.29 here and seems to be going up every other day. Childcare prices are through the roof.  One of the doctors I work with needs childcare for two children under 5 and he's being told 31.00 an hour.  That is ridiculous.  We need to remember when we think just get a job, childcare may be the reason they really can't.

Where I've been: I stopped by the library to donate a pile of books that I've read.  Our town has Market Day's on the second Saturday during the summer at the city park so we went and walked around there yesterday, then we went and had a burger at Freddy's. 

Where I'm going: The farmers market is on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Friday I plan to stop and see what is available.  Thursday evenings during the summer they have food and music at Cedar Hurst Art Center so if the weather is nice we may go out there.  It's supposed to be really HOT so this is a maybe.

What I'm watching: I've had Modern Family marathons on the TV in the evenings while I cook or clean up.  I've always loved that show. They are all different, they fight but in the end, they love each other and always have each others backs.

What I'm  reading: I finished The Last Bookstore in London by Madeline Martin and I LOVED it.  Thank you so much Betty for recommending it. I give it a 10 out of 10. I'm about halfway through My Life from Scratch by Gesine Bulluck Prado and am enjoying it as well.  It's a good light summer read by Sandra Bullock's sister and how she went from Hollywood to Vermont and created the life she wanted.

What I'm listening to: At the moment I'm listening to Binx run the length of the house over and over and over wondering how can a 4 pound cat make so much noise.  

What I'm eating: 
Last night I made a chicken fettuccine 'ish' meal.  I used butter, flour, very little milk and chicken broth with basil, garlic, oregano and pepper.  I didn't write down the measurements of course and it came out so delicious and light.  I hope I can recreate it again.

Beef tacos

BIG salad x 2.  Our lettuce mix is growing like crazy so we will be having a lot more salads.
Chicken and veg egg rolls and rice

Beef sausage, peppers, onions, red potatoes and corn

Who needs a good slap: This is getting hard to narrow down.  SO many need slapped right now.  

What I'm planning: Nothing at the moment.

What is making me smile: Binx.  This first week with him has been amazing.  He adjusted to his new home so quickly.  He is full of joy.  Equal parts play, fun and love.  As I've been typing this up he has run the length of the house at least 30 times chasing toys around.  He's only 4 pounds but it sounds like a horse is running through here. He also loves looking out into the backyard watching the squirrels and birds.  You can't help but smile seeing what a happy soul he is.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.  Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Coleslaw with a bit of a kick

I usually make the traditional style of coleslaw but a few years ago I came across this recipe and it brings a nice change to the routine summer time side dish.  

Shredded cabbage red, green or both
Shredded carrots
1 diced shallot (optional)

4 Tablespoons mayo
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar (I've also used apple cider in a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon favorite hot sauce

Mix the ingredients for the sauce all together in a large bowl.  Add the slaw in half of the slaw and combine.  Add the remainder of the slaw and combine well.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Things That Make Me Smile

I'm skipping my weekly w's this week because it's been a crazy couple of days and honestly, I'm a bit tired but very happy.

As some of you know we lost our 16-year-old cat Jet a little over four months ago and it was and still is a very sad thing for us.  I was in no hurry to get another cat but the Big Guy and the universe apparently had other plans.

Thursday evening I got a text with this picture saying if you want him he's looking for a home.  One of the big guys students works at a homeless shelter and apparently he's had her looking out for someone that needs a good home.

After spending the night and next morning weighing the pros and cons and looking at the above picture a dozen times, I decided yes, we can give him a good home.

This sweet soul was found wondering around a busy road when he was approximately 8 weeks old.  A kind stranger picked him up and took him to the no kill shelter where he's spent the last 4 weeks.  Because of his age they kept him in a 6 foot by 8 foot cage with a bed, litter box and a lot of toys.  He was taken out and held and loved multiple times a day but wasn't aloud to run around.

As soon as I was handed this bundle of love I was hooked.  We set off for home and he just peeked out of his cage happy as can be.  He's very quiet and never cried once on the 40 minute ride. His name at the shelter was Cole but we decided to change it to Binx as it suits him better.

When we arrived at home we set the cage down and opened the door.  He only hesitated for about 20 seconds and then jumped out.  He spent the next 7 hours exploring EVERYTHING.  Running from room to room and down the hall at top speed.  Playing on the cat tree and with all of his toys with so much excitement.  He seems to have two speeds, full speed play mode and loving, cuddling, purr mode. We pretty much spent that time with him just amazed at his wonderful personality. It was 5pm before he calmed down and even slept a bit. Last night he slept in bed between us and he slept hard he was so worn out. I think he was just so excited to be able to roam and run in his new house with his new family.

He very confident and isn't afraid of anything. I think he thinks he's a panther.  He's super loving and so playful.  Even though he's only 12 weeks old he knows not to put his claws out, has eaten well and used the litter box with no problems.

We've had a number of cats over the years and this honestly was the best transition ever. It's always scary when you bring a new pet home because you really don't know what their personality is going to be and you have no way of knowing if they're going to be happy.  Binx seems to be so thankful to be here in the house with us and I know we're going to have many happy years together.

Monday, May 30, 2022

It's a beautiful morning

It is a beautiful early morning here today so I snapped a few pictures from the patio area of our back yard. I'm still in my PJ's so the flowers in the front will be another post.  Neighbors don't need to see me right now.  

This is my 4 year old rosemary that we planted in the ground last spring.  She survived her first winter and seems to be doing pretty well.  

These beauties were about 6 inches tall last summer.  They came back with a vengeance.

This is my new lavender plant.  I can't wait for it to spread its wings and grow.

Betty, these are the chairs that I bought from Target.  They are very sturdy and very comfortable because of the thick padding.  They lay almost all the way back.

I have a few things to do around the house today and  I need a mani, pedi before the work week starts tomorrow.   I'm making Spo's macaroni salad, coleslaw, deviled eggs and grilled chicken wings and kabobs for dinner today.

I hope you all have a great week and are enjoying good weather wherever you are.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: When he was no longer young, the great naturalist John Burroughs wrote, "I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." I quite agree.  Time is the one resource that as I get older I feel I do not have enough of.  I want to continue to make enjoying every single minute one of my top priorities.

Where I've been: Friday we headed out of town to do our grocery shopping.  Saturday we had a wonderful lunch at Firefly Grill. Other than that I've been at home mostly outside.  The weather has been so nice.  Sunny and warm but with low humidity and a cool breeze. Our gardens and flowers are all looking so good.

Where I'm going: I'm spending my last two days of my mini vacation right here at home which is exactly where I want to be. 

What I'm reading: I finished reading The Lake of Dead Languages and I have to say I enjoyed it as much as I remember when I first read it.  It's a very intriguing story and I did not remember how it ended and I was pleasantly surprised.  I will choose another book today to take outside and start. 

What I'm listening to: Peace and quiet.  We technically live in town but I'm amazed at how quiet and peaceful our backyard always is.  Sometimes I wish we wouldn't have gotten such a big lot but it really is my favorite place and it's worth all the work.

What I'm eating:

BIG salad and roll up X2 one with chicken one without

Beef Empanadas-I love making these and will share the recipe next week.  They're surprisingly easy.

Chicken, mashed potatoes and corn
At Firefly we shared the BEST carne asada tacos I've ever had.

The big guy had fish and chips that he said was delicious and I had an amazing Philly Cheese steak sandwich. 

Who needs a good slap: We all know there are SO many people that need a good slap right now I'm just going to leave this one blank this week.

What I'm planning: The end of July we will be going to Chicago for a TKD celebration.  The big guy is receiving his 9th degree black belt and I couldn't be more happy for him. He started his TKD journey while he was stationed in Korea for four years while in the Army and it has become a life long passion of his.  This is so well deserved and I'm looking forward to our trip.

What's making me smile: The big guy is such a wonderful friend and husband and always makes me feel so loved.  I also received so many texts, messages and cards from friends this week it reminded me just how blessed I really am.  The doctor that is moving brought me a bottle of wine and a handwritten note thanking me and ended saying he considered me family.  I had so many smiles this week.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Chapter 55

Yesterday was the beginning of Chapter 55 for me.  In the morning I decided to go out and do a little shopping.  I usually do most of my shopping now with the big guy which I do enjoy but sometimes it's fun to go out on your own.  I started at Menards where I needed to get a large bag of potting soil and a few more bags of garden soil.  Of course six new perennials jumped in to my cart.  Funny how that always happens

After that I went to find a couple new summer tops at Carls which is a local family owned shop. I was pleased to find really cute ones so I should be set for the summer with these additions and what I already have.

I came home and worked in the yard for a while.  Of course I didn't get enough garden soil so the big guy will pick that up this morning and then I can finish the new corner flower bed sometime today if the rain holds out.

The rest of the day I read, played a few hands of cards with the big guy and just puttered around the house in a relaxed way.  It was a really nice day. Thinking back on chapter 54, all and all it was a good year.  I have a lot to be thankful for and I am.

I always make a to do list on my birthday of things I want to focus on in the coming year.  Not projects like I do on my New Years list but things that will bring me joy and hopefully make me a better person.  In reviewing last years list I am pretty happy with how I did. I am going to keep this same list for this year because it really keeps me focused on how I want to live each day and what is most important to me.

1. Make 12 new to me recipes Done

2. Make 12 desserts (this big guy will love this one) Done

3. Do 12 random acts of kindness (strangers) Done

4. Do 12 random acts of kindness (friends) Done

5. Do 12 random acts of kindness (family) Done

6. Read 12 books (I used to triple this amount but lately haven't come close) I read 20

7. 12 day trips with the big guy We did 8

8. Continue to be grateful every single day Done

9. Continue to stay mindful of each moment Done

10.Continue to pay attention to the little things in each day Done

I made steak, parmesan butter pasta and a salad for dinner along with a slice of the bread I made.  It was delicious. So all and all it was a wonderful start to this next chapter.


Sunday, May 22, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: Who doesn't have the weight of the world on their mind right now?  There is so much going on everywhere it is hard to not think about it all and wonder how this is all going to work out. Talking to a coworker from Ethiopia and hearing the horror going on there right now is heartbreaking.  I've been having a lot of bad dreams this week and I must have tossed and turned a lot last night because I woke up feeling like I have been hit by a truck.  

Where I've been: Work, home and one dinner out are the only places I've been this week.

Where I'm going: We are supposed to meet a large group tonight at Agave for a going away dinner but I'm rethinking this due to the Covid numbers rising in our area again.  Next Saturday we do have a reservation at Firefly but that will just be the two of us. 

What I'm watching: I watched the movie Dumplin this week.  I watched it when it first came out in 2018 and it is such a cute movie I decided to watch it again.  I was not disappointed.  It's the kind of feel good movie that I needed this week.

What I'm reading: I'm still reading The Lake of Dead Languages along with the Summer issue of Mary Janes Farm.

What I'm listening to: I listened to the classics of Elton John this week while doing housework. 

What I'm eating:

The non gmo corn on the cob from Florida is in season so we enjoyed that a few times this week. I froze the rest for future dinners.
Lamb burgers, oven fries and spicey coleslaw

BIG salad and cheese roll up
Italian chicken sausage, mac and cheese and corn on the cob
Coho salmon and salad
Dinner out at one of the local Mexican places.  Their chicken fajita taco salad is SO good.
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.

Who needs a good slap: There are so many people out there that need a good throat punch I can't narrow it down this week to any one particular person or group.

What I'm planning: I'm only working Monday and Tuesday this week giving me 6 glorious days off.  I have a lot to get done in those two days but it will be worth it.

What's making me smile: One of the doctors that has been here for the last seven years is leaving and moving his family to Florida so Saturday I made chicken shawarma, rice, hummus, naan and a Hawaiin pineapple cake for the group. We have become like family over the years and I'm very sad to see his family leave but I realized how much I have learned from him over the years that will carry on with me for the rest of my life and that makes me smile.

I hope everyone is staying safe and doing well.  Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

Anyone that's been reading for a while knows how much I love to use egg roll wrappers.  I did a search on my blog and I've shared 7 different ways to use them so far.  The possibilities are endless.  I always make a large batch because they freeze and reheat so well for lunches or dinners down the road.  This recipe made 20 egg rolls but you can always cut the recipe in half if you don't want that many.


1 pound ground beef

1 onion diced

1 Cup diced dill pickles

1 1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook ground beef and a little salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool a little bit while you dice and shred the remaining ingredients.

On an eggroll wrapper add about 2 tablespoons of beef, a little onion, a little diced pickle and some cheese.  Roll up and pan or deep fry until golden brown.

Dipping sauce:

2 tablespoons of mayo

1 tablespoon of ketchup

1 teaspoon of pickle juice along with a little of the diced pickles