Friday, December 31, 2021

Out with the old, in with the new

This week I spent an afternoon going through my 2021 journal and setting up for 2022.  I was amazed at some of the things I had completely forgotten about.  I use a lined journal and write everything in it.  It's handy to have it all in one book instead of pieces of paper everywhere.  I don't remember where I got this from, it may have been the bullet journal website, but every year for the last 4 or 5 years I write this on the first page of my new journal as a reminder of what I want to track.  It really helps keep me centered.

I read 18 books this year, way up from 2020 but still less than I used to read.  My favorite book of the year was Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.

We completed 6 of the 12 projects I had written down.  Not a stellar number but considering the year it was I'm satisfied with it. 

The garden was successful this year with a high yield.  Much better than the disaster of 2020. I planted my large rosemary plant in the ground and so far so good.

I completed a soup of the week challenge from January to March and September to December with 6 new to me recipes along with old time favorites.  I think my favorites were the Detox Cabbage soup and the beef stew.  For a person that used to not like soup, I did very well.  I think the cold weather has a lot to do with it.

We paid it forward 12 times through the year which always makes us happy.

I created a much better work/life balance and am so happy about that.  It's made a huge difference in my life.

For 2022 my home project list has 10 items on it so far.  These are all things we can complete and not depend on outside help which is still in short supply.

My personal project list has three items on it but will grow through the year.

My goal is to read 24 books and make 24 new to me recipes.  Two a month of each should be a realistic goal.

Our breakfasts and lunches are usually meatless, but I am adding Meatless Mondays for the dinner plans.  

Weight is not a problem for either of us but I do want to get back into yoga, stretching and upper body strength training.  So my goal is three times a week yoga and three times a week stretching and weightlifting.  I know that isn't a lot, but it is more than I'm doing now.  I don't want to set the bar too high. I already walk quite a bit so I think I'm good there.

It's been two years since we have had a party for obvious reasons.  I really want to have an outside backyard BBQ this summer so I'm hoping Covid cooperates.

I'm hoping 2022 is the best year we've all seen in a long time!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Homemade Egg Rolls

I love eggrolls and have been making them for years.  They freeze well-cooked or uncooked and can be fried, cooked in the oven or air fryer.  I usually cook them in the air fryer now.  For reheating I recommend the oven or toaster oven.  I took some to work for lunch once and only had a microwave to reheat them in and they were not very good.  Microwaving makes the crispy wrap soggy.


1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into small cubes (they are usually made with pork but we prefer chicken)

2 cups shredded cabbage of any variety

1 cup shredded carrots

1 small shallot diced

1 thumb size nub of ginger diced

1 clove of garlic diced


4 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce or tamari

2 teaspoons of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of siracha

pinch of red pepper flakes

Stir fry the chicken in a tablespoon of olive or sesame oil.  Once cooked, put chicken in a separate bowl and set aside.

Use the same pan to cook the cabbage, carrots, ginger and garlic.  Cook on medium heat for a minute or two stirring occasionally.  Add the sauce and continue stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the chicken.  Combine well and let cool.

Once the filling is cool put about 2 tablespoons in the center of an eggroll wrapper, roll halfway, tuck in the sides and tightly roll. Roll in a bit of cornstarch, place them on a pan and chill for about 15-20 minutes.

Fry these in a shallow pan of oil about 2-3 minutes then flip for another 1-2 minutes.  

Bake in a 350-degree oven on a greased cookie sheet for 30 minutes.  Turning after the first 15 minutes.

Air fry at 400 degrees for 20 minutes turning after the first 10 minutes.

Serve alone or with rice. This makes 8 or 9 egg rolls.


Sunday, December 26, 2021

The last Weekly W's of 2021


Here we are, the last week of 2021.  This is the week that I use to reflect on the past year and look at what worked, what didn't, what I want more and less of in my life.  I have my new journal waiting and will begin to set it up this week.  2022...please be kind to us all.

What's top of my mind: My husband. AKA the big guy.  I am so blessed to have such a caring, considerate, hardworking and helpful husband.  He's the best and I need to remember to thank him a little more often for all he does to keep our lives rolling along smoothly.  

Where I've been: Thursday we went out to breakfast.  Not good.  Friday we went to a birthday party.  It was held at a new cafe, Cafe Bloom.  It was so beautiful!  The atmosphere and the people. We knew most everyone there but also met some new people and had great conversation. I'm so glad we went.  And I ate my weight in Indian food. Yes SPO, a LOT of curried snacks.

Where I'm going: We both have the week off.  We know we'll take a day trip or two and have lunch somewhere.  Other than that, it is unplanned bliss.

What I'm watching: A LOT of Christmas movies this past week.  We ended the Christmas movie watching yesterday with Christmas Chronicles 1 and 2 and of course A Christmas Story.

What I'm reading: I'm still reading the book I started last week and I have two new Mary Jane Farm magazines to read as well.  Also the seed catalogs are coming in.  So much to read.

What I'm listening to: Nothing much this week.  

What I'm eating: Meals this week were

Left Over Chili, loaded and cornbread
Left over Sloppy Joes with air fried potatoes
Chicken, black beans and rice
BIG salad
Lamb burgers and air fried potatoes
Roasted turkey, lamb meatballs, mashed potatoes, bacon and parm roasted asparagus, deviled eggs and yeast rolls.
Today will be a smorgasbord of leftovers

Who needs a good slap: On pause, due to the holidays.

What I'm planning: As I said above, this is the week for relaxing and planning my goals for 2022.

What's making me smile: So many smiles this week.  All because of people and not things.  There are so many wonderful people in my small little circle and I'm thankful for each one and also each one of my blog friends. 

How was your holiday week?

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.  I hope your day is filled with peace and love.  I'll be back tomorrow with my Weekly W's.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

I finished everything for the year and am officially off work until January 3rd and I couldn't be happier.  The group I work for spoils me so much around the holidays.  I think I can live off of Gift Cards for quite some time.  One of them always send me a flower arrangement and as always, this one is so pretty the picture doesn't do it justice.  

Even though I've been very mindful of time and doing small things each day to celebrate the moment it is still hard to believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  I hope the next 10 days slow down a bit.

So far today, we went out for breakfast for the first time in two years and it was horrible. I really wish we had a nice breakfast place here. Our Cracker Barrell is not a good one. Since we got home I've done a few things around the house and whipped up the fruit salad that I love.  One of my grandmothers used to make this and it has always been my favorite.  It is fresh diced pineapple, sliced bananas and marshmallows.  I don't always add the marshmallows, but the big guy had a bag in the cabinet for his hot chocolate, so I added them this time. Something about pineapple and bananas, I could eat this every day.

Tomorrow afternoon we have a Birthday party to go to.  We're having lamb burgers for dinner and plan on having Christmas movies in the background as we play Scrabble.  It's funny to think back pre covid at how different our lives are.  We have really slowed down and I think we both like it this way. The big guy is just excited as I am to have 10 full unplanned days to do as we wish.

I'll leave you with a picture of Jet all snuggled up in his chair last night taking a cat nap.  He's just too cute.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

My Weekly W's

                                    My Thanksgiving Cactus at work is blooming.  It's so pretty.

What's top of my mind- Enjoying the Christmas season.  I've been being mindful of my time and of the season and am embracing all that it brings.  I've been lighting up the house each evening with the fairy lights, tree and SO many candles.  It just makes a cozy setting. I have a few days of work left and then have 10 days off to enjoy it all even more.  The big guy always closes the TKD school for the holidays so we will have a lot of time to relax and have some fun.

Where I've been- Other than home and work I picked up a book I had reserved from the library.  I went to Kohls to use up my Kohls cash.  Yesterday we went to do our holiday food shopping so we should need nothing until after the New Year.  Last night we drove around armed with large mugs of cocoa and looked at neighboring Christmas lights.  I wish I would have taken my camera because at one of the nativity scenes at the church down the street there was a deer wandering through. Seeing deer roaming our neighborhood is nothing new but the fact it was sniffing around the nativity was pretty cool.

Where I'm going- I will be going to the office Monday-Wednesday. We have a birthday party to go to on Friday. I'm sure we'll eat out a time or two over the 10 days we're off but I'm purposely making no solid plans.

What I'm watching- A lot of Christmas movies.  This week I watched The Enchanted Christmas Cake, Holiday in Santa Fe, My Sweet Holiday and Stepmom.  I know that isn't technically a Christmas movie but it wraps up on Christmas day, so I counted it.

What I'm reading- Life from Scratch by Sasha Martinn and I'm really enjoying it.

What I'm listening to-While in the car I am listening to Christmas music.

What I'm eating-
The last two servings of Brunswick stew with crusty homemade bread
Beef picadillo, rice
Bacon, scrambled eggs, potatoes and biscuits
Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans
BIG salad
Last night I made homemade cheese ravioli with tomato sauce.  YUM!
I'm not sure about tonight but it will include Chipotle, Jalapeno chicken sausage that our store makes in house.

Who needs a good slap-Any and all corporations that treat their employees like numbers and not people.  

What I'm planning- I'm planning on taking the remainder of the year to slow down and just enjoy.  Before we know it the days will be getting longer again and the season will be over.

What's making me smile-A lot is making me smile but for some reason Trader Joes Christmas bags really made me smile.  They are just too cute.

 I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!!

Sunday, December 12, 2021

My Weekly W's

For a while I was doing Wednesday W's and My Week on Sundays which was a bit redundant, so I've decided to do My Weekly W's on Sunday to recap my week

What's top of my mind: I'm focusing more than ever on each and every day and just trying to stay in the moment and make it all special.  Too often we let thoughts of the past or the future creep in and it takes our focus off of just enjoying the here and now.  So top of my mind is living in the moment.  A little planning for the future is one thing, I just don't want to live there yet.

Where I've been: Work and home are the only two places I've been this week.  Wild and crazy I know.

Where I'm going: I need to pick up my requests from the library tomorrow.  I am going to pop into Kohls for a couple of things and use my $40 Kohls cash.  Next Saturday we need to do our grocery shopping for the holidays.  This is my last full work week of the year.  Woo Hoo!!

What I'm watching:  Christmas Movies!! This week I watched A Sweet Christmas Romance, Almost Christmas and A Christmas Story.

What I'm reading: Other than cookbooks, I haven't read much this week.

What I'm listening to: On the quick trip to and from work I've been listening to Christmas Music.  I love everything from Stevie Nicks version of Silent Night to Mariah Carrey's All I want for Christmas is You and everything in between.  

What I'm eating: 
This week's dinners were:
Mexican chicken, rice and roll up
Left over Brunswick stew and bread
Meatloaf, loaded baked potato and salad
Pasta and salad
Pizza and salad
Air fryer chicken legs, mashed potatoes and corn
Sloppy Joes and Air fryer potatoes

Who needs a good slap: I know there are many, but I must be in the holiday spirit because no one is sticking out in the top of my mind.

What I'm planning: I still need to narrow down the menu for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, NY Eve and NY day.  I want to keep it simple but festive and for some reason cannot decide what I want to do.  I have this week to figure it out before we shop next Saturday.

What's making me smile:  This time of year always makes me smile.  I embrace December thru February and really slow down. It's my hibernation season.  I love the shorter days, the candles lit, twinkle lights, movie nights, game nights, snuggling up and reading. As much as I enjoy all of the seasons, this is my favorite.

How was your week?   Stay safe and enjoy today!

Saturday, December 11, 2021

13 in 1? Yes please!

We have never had a microwave.  Well technically we did in our house in Florida but only because it was built in and came with the house.  We never used it.  I have always preferred a toaster or convection oven.  I think they crisp and heat better than a microwave.  

Our toaster and our convection oven were still in working condition but both about 10 years old so I went on a search for something to replace them both.  I also have been wanting a dehydrator for my herbs and veggies.  I had seen commercials for the original Ninja Foodi oven and was smitten but then they upgraded to 13 functions in 1 appliance, and it flips up when not in use, I knew it was perfect for us.

Because of Christmas sales I knew this would be the best time to buy so I have been watching the Ninja website, Amazon and Kohls for the last month.  Finally, Kohls had a deal I couldn't pass up.  The original price was 279.00.  I got it for 229.00, free shipping and 40.00 of Kohls cash and I couldn't be happier.

Look at the extra counter space now that the toaster and convection oven are gone.  Amazing.

This one appliance air fries, air roasts, broils, bakes, toast and bagel, dehydrate, reheats, sear crisp, rapid bake, griddle, fresh pizza and frozen pizza.  It came with a sear pan, air fry basket, removeable crumb tray and wire rack.

To give you an idea of its size, it can bake 12 cookies, a full size pizza, a 4 pound roast, etc.  So it is a good size.  It also goes up to 500 degrees so perfect for searing and crisping at the same time.

I'm sure I'll be sharing a lot of what I make as I experiment in the coming weeks.

Horrible storms passed through the area last night and I know Kentucky was highly impacted by a huge tornado.  My prayers go out to everyone that was in the path of this horrific storm.  

Today I'm spending the day making Christmas cookies.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday!!

Sunday, December 5, 2021

My Week

Here we are at the beginning of the Holiday season, and I couldn't be happier.  Mother Nature hasn't gotten the memo because temps this week were in the 60's.  The work week had a couple of hiccups but all in all it was manageable.  The Christmas Movie marathon has started.  Since last weekend we've/I've watched...

This Christmas
Bad Mom's Christmas
Holiday In the Wild
Four Christmases
Christmas Vacation

There will be many more Christmas movies over the next few weeks.  I also have our 'activities list' filled out with things we want to do during this season.  I want each day to be filled with a little Joy.  Not just this month but always. 

I decorated the office tree.  It's hard to get a good picture because of the windows. 

At home, the tree is decorated. It's filled with a lifetime of ornaments that are special to us.  I showed some of them on this post last year. Culinary Adventures with Lori: It's beginning to look like Christmas  I still have to get out a few things and do the entry way bench and the dining room table.  That will be done today.  

We took off early yesterday morning to do the grocery shopping.  We stopped at Panera and picked up a couple of bagels for the ride.  Their bagels just aren't what I'm used to.  In Florida we had Bakin Bagels and they were pure heaven.  I haven't had anything even close here.  The crowds were small since we started so early which was nice.  I always make my own salsa, but I found a local brand and decided to try it.  It's from Home -  We used it last night on beef nachos.  I should have bought medium or hot but instead picked up mild.  It was a bit sweet for me but with all of the jalapenos that were on the nachos it worked.  I like the ingredient list and will probably try a hotter version when we return.  It will be nice for New Year's Eve appetizers.

A bag of Chicago style popcorn found its way into the cart as well.  This is made in St. Louis and is always so fresh.  If you haven't had the combo of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn, you need to give it a try.  It's delicious.

I also made a trip to Hobby Lobby and picked up all of the boxes and tins and bags for Christmas treat gifts.  I will start Christmas baking next weekend doing the ones that freeze well and making the ones that need to be fresh closer to the holiday.  I plan to have them all ready for delivery by the 21st. or 22nd.  I'm keeping it simple this year and only making four different cookies.  Well I say that now but always end up doing more.  We will see.

Meals this week...

Pasta and salad

Cheeseburger and oven fries

Chicken and rice

Big Salad and a couple for the next day's lunch

Hot ham and cheese on homemade buns and onion rings.  They were so good last week I had to make them again.

Beef nachos

If the day goes as planned, I am going to make Naan and Skillet Chicken Shawarma for dinner tonight. I've been craving it for a couple of weeks.

Today is going to be pretty low key.  I'm going to finish up the decorating, do a bit of laundry and just get myself physically and mentally prepared for the week ahead.  I'm having a hard time deciding what to cook for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  What is on your menu for the holidays?

Stay safe and enjoy your Sunday!!