Sunday, August 7, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: I enjoy summer.  I love sitting outside reading.  I enjoy pool days and of course the fresh veggies and herbs.  But September thru February is where my heart is.  So, I've already started roughly thinking about all of the up-and-coming holidays.

Where I've been: I worked Tuesday thru Friday.  Stopped at the Farmers Market and had lunch at Yellin Hellen's Saturday with the big guy.  They have THE best chicken salad sandwiches. 

Where I'm going: Next Saturday is Market Days at the park and we're planning on going.  One of my friends is coming over for dinner on Saturday.  That's all that's planned so far.

What I'm watching: I watched The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives on Netflix and really enjoyed it.  It's a group of women that have all been friends for the last 25 years.  I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the next season that is supposed to be coming out soon.

What I'm reading: I finished The Kitchen Whisperers and really enjoyed it.  Now I'm about halfway through My Place at the Table by Lobrano.  It's a really good read as well.

What I'm listening to: I listened to the Town Hall meeting at work this week.  That was interesting to say the least.  I'm very concerned about the state of health care in the US.

What I'm eating: 
Sloppy Joe's and oven fries
Fried chicken breast, red potatoes and salad
Whole roasted chicken, summer squash and green beans
Bucatini pasta with veggie and meat sauce, salad
LO Chicken with rice and pinto beans
Lamb burgers and zucchini chips

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

What I'm planning: Today I'm picking more herbs for drying and making another batch of basil pesto.  I have to look up the best planting days because I need to get more lettuce, carrots and radishes planted.  Other than that, it's going to be a pretty laid-back day.

What's making me smile: Every year the first week of August the paper lilies pop up overnight and are gorgeous.  They always make me smile.

Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Savory Drop Biscuits

 I have been making these biscuits for over 30 years.  They are quick and delicious.  The best thing I love about them is you can change up the cheeses and herbs that you use for the profile of the dish you are making.  Very versatile which is nice.

1 Cup Flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, diced (or use granulated garlic)
1/4 Cup cold butter, shredded or cut into small cubes
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 Cup cheese

Combine all ingredients.

Drop by a large spoonful on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake in 350-degree oven for 25 minutes.

Makes 6 biscuits

Options:  Various cheeses
                Various herbs
                Green onions
                Diced jalapeno peppers

Sunday, July 31, 2022

My Week

Can you believe it is the last day of July?  It's been a busy week here.  I've been dehydrating herbs and veggies all week.  I have to say that the Ninja's dehydrating setting is amazing and saves a huge amount of time.  Along with dehydrating everything I can, I made another large batch of basil pesto, 6 1/2 pint jars of Jalapeno pepper jelly and blueberry jam. I still have so much to do but I see a lot of deliciousness for the fall and winter in my pantry and freezer. 

Our new HVAC system was installed Wednesday without any drama.  It's nice to know we are under warranty for the next 15 years.  We had our airducts cleaned the day before it was installed and oh my goodness the amount of dust that comes out when they do that is unbelievable.  The air quality in the house feels so much better.

I'm almost finished reading The Kitchen Whisperers and am enjoying it.  The author talks about kitchen 'workarounds' that she has found over the years.  It was interesting that three of them are also in my kitchen.  Better Than Bouillon, Rao's pasta sauce and Maya Kaimal's Indian sauces.  She actually knows Maya and has worked with her. Nice to find out she is an actual person and not just a corporations marketing.  One workaround I've never thought of or heard of was to save the water that you soak your beans in as a stock for various soups, stews, etc.  Now why had I never thought of that? I have My Place at the Table to start next.  It's about creating a delicious life in Paris.  It should be a fun summer read.

Meals this week were pretty light and simple. 

BLT with chicken salt oven 'fries'
Chicken Tikka Masala (Maya's brand), rice, naan (I added diced zucchini to the chicken masala, and it was delicious)
BIG salad x2
Sloppy Joes, fried patty pan squash - delicious
Fried chicken, red potatoes, corn on the cob, sliced tomato with basil
Coho salmon, grilled summer squash and zucchini
Tonight, it's loaded chicken nachos for me

The storm door was installed Friday but not without drama.  Monday the installer called and set up an appointment for Thursday between 1 and 3.  At 230 he called and said he had a flat tire and could he reschedule for Friday at the same time.  We agreed.  Friday at 230 no one had shown up yet.  We called the installer and was told he had been by and knocked and no one was there.  NOT TRUE.  He said he would be here by 330.  I called Lowes and they offered to accelerate the issue.  I said no, it's already been accelerated once and that obviously doesn't work.  While on the phone with Lowes the installer showed up. 27 days to get it installed. The door is perfect but needless to say we'll be going to Menards from now on.

The big guy is in Chicago this weekend for his 9th degree promotion.  We didn't yet have Binx when we originally made plans to go together.  After a lot of thought on both of our parts we decided I would stay home with Binx.  Neither of us wanted him to be boarded for 3 days. That is especially hard on cats.  I'm going to facetime to be able to at least see the ceremony and watch him receive his belt so while not like actually being there it is better for Binx to be home.

I have the house to myself again today and hope to be as productive as I was yesterday but also with a bit of relaxation in the mix.

That's about it for my week.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and a relaxing week ahead.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: 

Herbs that are going crazy. Today I need to make basil pesto and more arugula pesto.  I will be picking rosemary, mint, basil and oregano to dehydrate.  The rosemary is 4 years old and planted in the yard.  All of the other herbs are growing in large pots.  I'm still planning my raised bed herb garden for next spring.  I know where I want it but I need to really think about how big I want it.  I grow a lot of herbs.

Where I've been: 

I picked up two library books that I had requested. I don't know if other states do this but if you request a book that they do not have, they request it from another library in the system and it is shipped to them, and you'll have it in two or three days.  I think that is amazing. I also stopped by the farmer market which was bursting with goodness.  Other than that, it's been work or home for me.

Where I'm going:

The museum in Springfield has been working on a Generation X exhibition opening in October.  I'm really hoping the Covid, Monkey Pox and any other virus that may pop up is low then because I really want to go.

What I'm watching: 

I haven't watched anything notable this week.

What I'm reading: 

The Kitchen Whisperers by Dorothy Kalins.  I am loving this book so far.

What I'm listening to: 

I'm still striving for peace and quiet every chance I can get.

What I'm eating: 

Banana Pudding!  A wonderful summer dessert.
BIG salad x2
Chicken sausage, veggie pizza

Cheeseburger and zucchini fries
Chicken and veggie egg rolls with rice
Manicotti and garlic cheese biscuits (I shredded a medium zucchini and put it in the ricotta, cheese filling. I have a LOT of zucchinis and it was tasty and add vitamins)

I'm not sure what we're having tonight, but it will include fried patty pan squash.  It's my first time making it and the woman at the market promised we'd love it.  I'll let you know.

Who needs a good slap:

Lowes.  On July 2 we picked the door, which was in stock, and paid the deposit for the installer to come out and measure to make sure it was the right door.  Three days later the installer came out, measured and called Lowes to tell them yes, the door was right.  Lowes called us to come and pay the remainder and it would be installed.  We paid but haven't heard anything since.  We tried to call the store and either got hung up on or were put on hold.  So, Friday afternoon the big guy went to the store.  No one knew where the door was or who the installer was and he was furious.  A store employee that he wasn't even talking to walked by him and gave him a toll-free number to call.  I called and it was the new store manager.  She listened to my concerns, looked at our account and said she would make sure this was taken care of by Tuesday.  She said she is working to get the store up to par and to please give her a chance.  So today I'm giving Lowes two slaps, if I don't have the door by Friday, they will get 5 slaps and I'm going to get our money back and go somewhere else.

What I'm planning:

 I've started my fall planting plan and my list of everything that needs done outside before winter.  Yes, it will be here before we know it.

What's making me smile:

 For the last three or four years we've had yearly trouble with our H Vac system. Wednesday evening I noticed it was leaking.  It was 10 minutes until 5pm so I called our favorite local guy.  He said to turn it off, shop vac the water up and he would be out the next morning.  At 8:30 he was here.  Long story short, he was able to get it working without leaking, but we made the decision to go ahead and replace it. It is a high-end unit that was installed in 2006. Because it does both heat and air he explained you have to double the age because it does double the work.  This is a smile because even though pricey, it was about $3000.00 less than I imagined, it will lower our monthly bill, he charged us nothing for the work he did and it will have a 15-year warranty on everything.  The owner of this company is meticulous with his work and it will be done Wednesday.  So I'm choosing to look at the bright side of this and smile.

I hope everyone stays cool and has a wonderful Sunday!!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Scenes of Summer in my corner of the world

Farmers Market

Cederhurst Thursday night live

Aquatic Park

Freshly mowed fields

Around our yard

Stay cool and enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Things That Make Me Smile

I always find a quote to put in my journal to focus on during the week.  I LOVE this weeks as it is exactly what I've been trying to do.  I do not know where this quote originated.  Happy Thursday!!

"Live in the present and make it so BEAUTIFUL it will be worth remembering."

Sunday, July 17, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:
The days go by so quickly and it is so easy to operate on autopilot and let the day run you instead of you running your day that I want to continue to be a bit more mindful of how I spend each day.  I want to celebrate all the joys, big and small that happen on a regular basis.  I know I've mentioned this before, this is more of a reminder to myself.

Where I've been: 
Monday I took Binx to the vet for his first visit.  He was so good and charmed both the vet tech and the vet with his shiny coat and confident personality.  He received his last initial shot and didn't even flinch but instead just looked at the vet after she gave it like "what are you doing".  Wednesday I went for a much-needed haircut. Saturday was the big guys birthday so we skipped going out of town for our usual biweekly grocery shop.  We have plenty and will stock up next week.  The big guy chose one of the local BBQ places for his Birthday lunch Saturday and it did not disappoint.

Where I'm going:
It is going to be a very busy week at work.  I have two new doctors that I will have to do orientations with so that is two days gone.  I also have to do payroll and everything else that comes up daily so it will be brutal I'm sure.  Saturday we'll head out of town to shop and have lunch.

What I'm watching:
I'm watching Binx grow daily.  He was 3.5 pounds when we brought him home at 12 weeks old.  Now after 6 weeks with us he weighs 6.5.  He is so tall and long, I think he's going to be a big kitty.

What I'm reading:
I didn't have much time for reading this week and am still on the same book as last week.  I will finish hopefully today.

What I'm listening to:
Quiet rumbles of thunder telling me it will be a cloudy, rainy day which I am oddly OK with today.

What I'm eating:
Sunday I grilled a whole chicken so it provided two more meals for this week along with one for my lunch.

LO-Moroccan lamb meatballs, rice and naan
LO chicken, mashed potatoes, tomatoes and arugula
LO BBQ chicken, zucchini tots, tomatoes
BLT's and oven fries
Beef sausage, peppers, onions, mac and cheese

Korean Beef, rice and naan

I baked a chocolate cake with butter cream frosting for the big guy's birthday.  The layers are a bit crooked, but it tastes delicious so that's what really matters.  I don't bake layer cakes very often anymore and I'm obviously out of practice.

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

What I'm planning: 
Nothing at the moment.

What's making me smile
Knowing I have an entire day to spend as I want with the Big Guy makes me smile.

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoys their Sunday!!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

I wrote this recipe down to try it over a year ago and I do not remember where I found it so I can't give credit where credit is due.  I finally made it on Saturday and this is a keeper. I served with Naan and it was a delicious meal. 

If you do not enjoy lamb, I think ground chicken or turkey would also work well.


1 pound ground lamb
1 grated onion with the juice
1/2 Cup Panko or breadcrumbs
1 Egg
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 tsp. cumin, coriander, paprika
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, cayenne, salt
1/4 Cup cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Let sit in refrigerator for about an hour if you have time to bring out even more flavor.
Bake in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes or Airfry at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Turning once half way through.
This time I baked them in the oven.

1 Cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, diced (or use 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder)
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until using.

Curry rice:

1 1/2 Cup Basmati rice
2 1/4 Cup chicken or veggie stock
2 carrots, grated
1 Cup peas
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 tsp. ginger, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 tsp. curry
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. corianter
1/2 tsp. cayenne

Rinse the rice well, drain
Add all ingredients and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat.  Cover and turn to low for 5 minutes and then take off the heat and let it rest, covered for 10 minutes.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

My Weekly W's

 Good Morning and Happy Sunday!

What's top of my mind:  The garden and the local produce.  It's getting that time of year that I'm pulling something out of the garden daily.  The tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and herbs are all doing very well.  The squirrels didn't eat all of the arugula like I originally thought.  We've been eating it for a week or two and I actually had enough to make arugula pesto yesterday.  I love that in winter soups, pasta dishes and on pizza so I'm happy.  I'll probably get more this fall also.  I also dehydrated all of the dill yesterday.  Next on the list is oregano.  The basil is going crazy and I'll be making pesto out of it soon.  But first I must make a tomato, basil, motz. pizza.  My favorite. The blueberries and cherry tomatoes are from a friend and so good.

Where I've been:  This week I didn't go anywhere except for a quick trip to the store for milk and bananas and a stop at the farmers market for a couple of large jars of honey.  I try to keep local honey in stock at all times. I use it in place of sugar in a lot of things.

Where I'm going:  Tomorrow Binx has his first visit to the vet.  He had all of his shots and was microchipped when we picked him up but he didn't weigh enough for the rabies shot plus I just want to get him established.  I'm sure he'll do fine.  Wednesday I have a much-needed hair appointment for a trim.  Saturday is the big guys birthday.  Per his request, he did not want a party but wanted to go to Drakes for lunch so that is the plan.  I will be making him a cake and have all the decorations needed. Other than that, it's a full work week.

This was yesterday.  Binx has grown SO much in the last 5 weeks.  He's such a joy.

What I'm watching: I watched Bridemaids again while I was working in the kitchen one night.  It always makes me laugh.  

What I'm reading:  I'm about halfway through Khabaar and am enjoying it.  I need to reserve another book or two this week so I have something when I finish.  I can't be without a good book, especially in the summer.

What I'm listening to:  I'm focusing on my inner voice and the people in my circle.  The outside world may be spinning out of control but I can only control what I do.

What I'm eating:  
Baby back ribs, chicken kabobs, mac salad, stuffed mushrooms and texas toast
Left over wings and steak from Saturday, mac salad and corn on the cob
Left over ribs, chicken kabobs, salad and roasted red potatoes
Beef chili-I don't usually make this in the summer but the big guy requested it.  He had a craving.
BIG salad
Moroccan lamb meatballs with curry rice, naan ( I will post this recipe this week.  It was amazing.)

Tonight, I'm grilling a spatch cocked chicken.  Sides to be determined.

Who needs a good slap:  All of the keyboard warriors.  I don't go on FB very often but it never fails when I do there are so many posts complaining about this company or that person.  I just scroll on but can't help but wonder why they are putting this all on FB.  I just don't get it.  

What is making me smile:  Yesterday we had rain off and, on all day, so I was forced to stay in and do things around the house.  I ticked a lot of things off my to do list which always makes me smile.  Today, it's sunny but cooler so the outside windows are all getting done.  I'm going to fertilize all of the trees and bushes.  Then I'm going to relax in my chair outside and read.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

BIG salads

I've had a couple people ask what I mean when I write BIG salad on the menu.  We typically have one or two BIG salads a week for dinner with small side salads with other meals.

BIG salads for me change with the seasons.

Above is an example of a summertime version.  This had lettuce and arugula, cucumber and radishes from the garden. Cherry tomatoes from my friend and sliced red onions with a hard-boiled egg and a sliced fried chicken breast between the two of us.

The goal of it is to pack as many veggies on the plate as possible.  

In the winter they will include a lot of carrots, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, Bok choy, cabbage. Any veggie that is tasty raw and in season is used.  

I'm going back to growing sprouts because I love what they add to a salad. 

Sometimes I add cheese sometimes I don't. They do not always include meat but if they do it is typically chicken or on the rare occasion we have ham I will slice it and add.  I always make my own dressing.  We seem to go between creamy Italian, honey mustard and ranch but I love trying new ideas to give a lot of flavors.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Saturday!!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins


I read Kitchen Yarns by Ann Hood a few weeks ago and she had this recipe in the book.  I'd never heard of Jordan Marsh Bakery but the recipe sounded so good I had to try it and it did not disappoint.  I've tried a number of Blueberry Muffin recipes and this is by far my new favorite.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons for the muffins' tops

2 eggs, room temperature

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup milk, room temperature

2 1/2 cups blueberries

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
On low speed, cream the butter with the sugar until it's fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time until blended in.
Sift the dry ingredients, add to the mixture, alternating with the milk.
Mash 1/2 cup of the berries and stir into the mixture by hand.
Add the rest of the berries whole and stir by hand.
Grease 12 muffin tins or use paper liners.
Fill each cup to the top and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

My Weely W's

What's top of my mind:

  I have been going through all the closets, drawers, etc. for the last couple of months and there is a good amount of stuff that I want to get rid of.  There are a lot of brand-new items, mainly gifts, that would probably bring in a little cash but I've decided time is money and I don't really want to give up an entire Saturday to have a yard sale so it is all going to Good Will Tuesday where hopefully everything will find a new home.

Where I've been: 

Friday I went to pick up a few things at the farmer's market.  Saturday morning, we ran a few errands and stopped at Lowes to get a storm door for the front door. We've never had a storm door on the front because we have a gorgeous red door with a stained-glass window and I've never wanted to take away from the look but I found the perfect one that will still let our front door shine and offer another layer of protection.  It will be installed this week.

Where I'm going: 

It rained all day yesterday which was a nice change of pace but I'm hoping for sunny skies today so I can sit outside and read for a while. 

What I'm watching:

We finished Stranger Things this week.  I always enjoy that blast from my past with all the clothes and hairstyles and scenes from the 80's.  

What I'm reading: 

I'm almost finished with Blood, Bones and Butter.  Next on my list is Khabaar...An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory and Family.

What I'm listening to:

My inner voice which is telling me to focus on what's important to me right now.

What I'm eating:

Jalapeno chicken sausage, peppers and onions, mac and cheese
Beef and cheese roll up with zucchini chips
Chicken tika masala, rice, naan
Veg omelet, potato and toast
Big Salad
BLT zucchini chips
Today I'm making pasta salad, coleslaw and deviled eggs.  Tonight, we're grilling a steak for me and chicken wings for the big guy.  Tomorrow will be chicken kabobs for me and baby back ribs for him.  These sides along with corn on the cob and stuffed portabellas and jalapeno peppers will be perfect for the next two days.
Again I noticed it pays to buy local.  The baby back ribs were 31.00 at the grocery store.  Our local meat place had the same size for 14.00.  BIG difference.

Who needs a good slap: 

Right now there are just too many people to choose from.  Take your pick.

What I'm planning: 

I'm continuing with my project list.  There is nothing quite as satisfying as checking items off.

What's making me smile: 

Sunflowers are my favorite flower and they're all starting to bloom.  How can anyone look at a sunflower and not smile?

I hope everyone has a safe and peaceful Holiday weekend!!

Friday, July 1, 2022

Cherry Hand Pies

I honestly can't believe it is July 1st!  We are halfway through 2022 and I really wish time would slow down a bit.

Sweet Cherry season is over here in our area but I did get to make at least one batch of these delicious pies.  I will make a note to plan better next year and have some to freeze.


2 1/2 Cups pitted sweet cherries
1/4 Cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon Corn Starch
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir constantly. Six minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool completely

Cut out 8 circles of pie dough and fill each with 3 large Tablespoons of the filling.

Brush with egg wash.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

Let cool and glaze with powdered sugar glaze if desired.

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.