Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Wednesday W's

What's top of my mind: Recipes.  I have three folders filled with recipes from over the years that have been given to me or that I tore from magazines.  I pulled them out this week and plan to tackle them.  I've started sorting out the ones that I no longer want to try and tossing.  This week I am going to start making one or two each week.  The ones that turn out to be keepers will get placed in my recipe binder.  So expect a lot of new recipes over the next year.  It will be a mix of sides, main courses and desserts.  This will be a fun project.  This has been a project on my list for quite a while and I want to get it done.

Where I've been: Work and home.  Life is very different now.

Where I'm going: Saturday is our bimonthly shopping trip.  We also plan on eating lunch at one of our favorite places which we didn't get to do the last time we went.

What I'm watching:  This past weekend I watched a few Halloween movies again.  I hadn't seen Beetlejuice in many years.  Still a cute movie. I also watched Scream again. I haven't seen it since it came out in 1996.  It is a pretty cheesy movie but I did enjoy it.  The film revitalized the slasher film genre in the mid 1990s, similar to the impact Halloween (1978) had on the late 1970s film, by using a standard concept with a tongue-in-cheek approach that combined straightforward scares with dialogue, that satirized slasher film conventions.

What I'm Reading:  I'm still reading Cooking As Fast As I can.

What I'm Listening To: I've been enjoying more silence lately.  It makes it easier to listen to my inner voice.

What I'm Eating: During the summer we eat a lot of light meals and a lot of fresh veggies.  Now that Fall is here the last couple of weeks I've been doing a few batch cooks of meals and I plan on continuing this.  It is nice to have left overs for a lunch or dinner that you can just pull out of the fridge or freezer. It's a huge time saver.

Who Needs A Good Slap: All of the people bashing Alex Baldwin.  I don't know much about him but I believe the terrible accident that happened does not warrant some of the horrible things being said.  I mean some of the meme's people have created are just horrendous.  How did society get so cruel?

What I'm Planning: I've started planning out November and December.  These are two of my favorite months with a lot of seasonal activities that I really enjoy.  I want to make sure and really embrace them as time seems to fly by if I don't pay attention. 

What's Making Me Smile: The cool air, the bright blue sky and all of the fall colors on the leaves.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

My Week

 Happy Sunday!  How is it already the last week of October?  

This week I tested out a new routine and it went quite well.  By just adding a couple of things off my to do list to my weekday routine I was able to spend a lot more time this weekend just relaxing or working on other projects that I have going.  Just being mindful of my time made a big difference.  Friday I came home at 12 and I actually took a nap.  I NEVER take naps but it was gloomy and chilly and perfect for curling up in bed and taking a long one.

The weather here is like a roller coaster ride.  Cool, cold, warm, hot.  Our first frost date is October 15th and we have had none. Today it is supposed to get up to 80 and then storms bringing in a cold front.  Between 10pm and 6am tonight we have the potential for some severe weather which I don't care for.

I still have a lot of lettuce and herbs growing.  Today I am going to go out and pick most of it just in case we have high winds.  This Spring I planted my large rosemary plant in the yard.  It grew quite a bit this summer and looks really good.  I hope it makes it through the winter.  We are in the proper zone to have rosemary year round but with the crazy weather lately I hope we don't get an unusually cold winter.

Monday evening I made brownies.  I used the Ghiradelli cocoa, walnuts and a little flaky Maldon salt on top and they were so good.

Yesterday I made an apple pie.  I cheated and instead of making a top crust or doing the lattice work I used an apple cookie cutter to cute out dough for the top.  It worked well and filled out nicely after baking.  Sadly the big guy cut into it before I got a picture of the baked pie. Warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream is perfect for a fall dessert.

Dinners this week:

Chicken fajita with rice and a cheese, cilantro roll up.

Left over sloppy Joes, oven fries

Left over chili, cornbread

Bacon and waffles.  This is the same yeast waffle batter I've posted before.  I usually make them in the Belgian waffle maker but decided to use the regular one because these waffles freeze so well and can easily be reheated in the toaster.  We ended up with 8 for the freezer to enjoy throughout the next week or two.

Cod, scalloped potatoes and coleslaw

Beef sausage, mini penne pasta and salad. This was my favorite dish all week, it was that good.

Well, I'm off to start my day.  I'm making buttermilk pancakes for breakfast then heading outside before the rains come.

Have a great day and stay safe!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Wednesday W's

What's top of my mind: Routines.  Somehow in the last few years I have gotten out of a solid routine and I'm working hard to get that straightened out.  I'm really focusing this week and probably next to see just how I can best make use of my time and have the work/life balance that I used to have. My work schedule has me home by 2:30 every afternoon and I accrue quite a bit of PTO so this should be more than doable.

Where I've been: I went to the library this week to pick up two books that I requested.  Other than that I have been only to work and home so far this week.

Where I'm going: Saturday we are going to the pumpkin patch.  I want a few more pumpkins to finish off our front porch. We always carve one for Halloween but the others usually make it through Thanksgiving unless there is a deep freeze. I love having a festive and inviting front porch.

What I'm watching: I've been watching the new releases of Great British Baking Show which are always fun.  I also re-watched several episodes of The Chef Show on Netflix.  If you haven't watched this series you should.  Roy Choi and Jon Favreau visit many different chefs in a type of cooking travelogue. Their friendship started when Jon Favreau had Choi mentor him for his movie Chef. My favorite episode is when they visit Christina Tosi at Milk Bar.  She gives amazing tips on making your baking even better. If you don't have Netflix I think this series is also on You Tube.

What I'm reading: One of the books I picked up this week is Cooking As Fast As I Can by Cat Cora.  I've only  just started but I can tell it is going to be a pretty good read.

What I'm listening to: My inner voice.  It has been reminding me to embrace every single day and to celebrate each and every day.  It's so important not to get caught up in the mundane meaningless b.s. that seems to be increasing by the day here in the US.

What I'm eating:  Now that Fall weather has arrived my soup, stew and chili challenge has restarted.  A big bonus to this is I try to make freezer friendly varieties and the left overs on nights I want to save time on cooking are a big bonus. 

Who needs a good slap:  Blogger.  Typing this post out has been more difficult than it should be. 

What I am planning: This week, other than my schedule and my routine, I'm not planning anything.

What is making me smile:  The Full Harvest Moon.  I love the fall and winter months because the moon can easily be seen  coming up from most of our windows.  Then in the morning it is shining right outside my office window at work.  Last night and this morning the moon was amazing!

Hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying their week!!

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!!