Sunday, March 27, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  The big guy received this letter from one of his students this week and I have been thinking about it ever since I read it.  It makes me sad that this ten year old girl feels it is necessary to learn to protect herself and her family.  Obviously she's a very bright girl and I think it is great that she wants to learn more about self defense but I also look back to my own carefree childhood when I was ten and it makes me sad that she is thinking about this.

Where I've been: This week work and home are the only places I've been. 

Where I'm going: Saturday we have a reservation at Firefly Grill that I am really looking forward to.  I also want to make a trip to the farm store for soil and a few things for the garden.

What I'm watching: Yesterday I watched the movie Patsy and Lorretta on Netflix.  I watched another movie about Patsy Cline years ago and found her so interesting.  This movie actually had me in tears at the end and I'm not much of a crier.  

What I'm reading: Sadly I haven't picked up a book all week.  I  thought about this and realized that I do most of my reading in the summer when the weather is nice and I can sit outside in the sun so I'm getting my reading list ready for that.

What I'm listening to: As much peace and quiet as I can get.

What I'm eating: 

Big salad with dutch oven bread two nights
Roast beef subs, au jus and oven fries
Chili Frito pie

Veggie pasta sauce over spaghetti noodles, salad and garlic cheese biscuits.  This is before I added the tomato sauce.  The smell of all these veggies sauteing in the pot was divine.  

Fried chicken strips, mashed potatoes, salad and cheese  biscuits

Who needs a good slap:  Everyone pushing for book banning.  I don't like it.  

What I'm planning: My garden.  It's almost time to get it started and I'm excited. 

What's making me smile: Our tulip tree and weeping cherry blossom tree are in full bloom.  How can this not make you smile.

How was your week?

I hope everyone has a great Sunday!! 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Friday, March 25, 2022


I had a beef soup bone with meat and a 3.5 pound beef shoulder roast to cook for dinner Sunday.  Sometimes I use my Dutch oven but I decided to put it all in the crock pot instead.

I lined the bottom of the crock pot with celery, carrots, a shallot, 8 whole cloves of garlic, a large piece of ginger and an onion.  Then I seared the beef bone which actually had a lot of meat on it and the roast.  After searing I placed both on top of the veg.  I added about 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce and then covered with water. The only thing else was a few cracks of pepper.  I don't like to add spices so I can spice it according to what I'm making later with it. It was all cooked on low for 8 hours filling the kitchen with a heavenly scent.

That beef bone makes the BEST beef broth!  We enjoyed the roast with mashed potatoes, the carrots and green beans.

For dinner Tuesday I used some of the beef and broth to make French dip sandwiches with oven fries.  This is one of my all time favorites.

While that was cooking I dealt this the left overs, so into the freezer went...

4 beef, cheese and cilantro tortillas individually wrapped for another dinner or lunches

A tray of beef stock to make individual cubes for later use.  Just transfer to a freezer bag once frozen.

3 Cups of beef stock in a jar.  I'll probably use it for a Thai noodle dish that we enjoy.

3 Cups of beef for BBQ beef sandwiches in the near future.

I love it when cooking one thing gives you so many options for other meals. It saves time and money while still having variety.

I'm excited for a three day weekend. Hope you all have a great Friday!!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

My Weekly W's

Happy 1st day of Spring!!  I have to admit this winter while cold, was a lot brighter and sunnier than it usually is and that made it more bearable.  This week was beautiful with bright blue skies and sunshine.  Temps were in the low 70's.  Friday did bring rain in the evening and a little cooler temp but all and all it was a wonderful move towards Spring.  We made it all week with the heat off at home and the flannel sheets are coming off today.  Woo Hoo!

What's top of my mind: Celebrating each and every day has always been on my mind but even more so with all of the turmoil going on in the world.  We are given this one life and I am determined to make the most of it. I see too many people wrapped up in things that really don't matter and end up existing instead of living.  I don't want that for myself or my loved ones. Rule your day or it will rule you!!

Where I've been: This week besides work, I went to pick up a couple of new outfits.  Saturday we went to a wedding reception.  It was very nice and we had a really good time.  It was catered by the VFW which in this town is famous for it's amazing fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, salad and garlic knots.  It was delicious.  One thing they did that I thought was so cute was they bought a really nice dark wood Jenga set and had a silver Sharpie for married couples to write advice on each piece.  That will be something they will really enjoy for years.

Where I'm going: Other than work I will probably pick up a few groceries and household items and we will be doing some work outside in the garden.  I'm also thinking it's time for a short road trip to Firefly Grill for a nice Sunday brunch. I really miss having a local place for breakfast.

What I'm watching: I started watching the Julia Child Challenge this week which is pretty good.  I also watched a movie on Hallmark Channel, A Taste of Summer.  It was a cute movie.

What I'm reading: I read a really good article about the moon phases and how they affect each of us.  My maternal grandparents did everything by the moon.  For years I've gardened by the moon calendar so this was right up my alley.

What I'm listening to: I'm trying to tune most things out and just enjoy silence whenever I can.

What I'm eating:

Taco quesadillas and salad. I took flour tortillas and put a thin layer of cream cheese.  Added shredded cheddar, cilantro, left over taco meat and salsa.  So quick and so yummy.

Left Over Calzones and salad
Chicken Veggie Eggrolls and rice
BIG salad
Grilled chicken breast with black beans and rice.  It was nice to fire up the grill again.

Nacho chicken legs with chips and salsa.  I made this a few years ago for the first time for the big guy and he loves it.  According to him I do not make it enough. I'll share the recipe later this week.  It's a good way to use up the crushed tortilla chips at the end of the bag.

What I'm planning: I'm continuing to really pay attention to how I'm spending my time.  We're all given the same 24 hours a day and I am trying to spend mine as wisely as I can and have a good balance in my life of work, fun and relaxation.

What's making me smile: The big guy had the local detailer come by yesterday and clean the inside and outside of my Jeep.  After a long winter it needed some love.  It looks so good now. It's all ready for a road trip.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Things That Make Me Smile


Came across this picture while I was clearing out my digital files.  Mel's is an awesome diner in Ft. Myers, Florida. It was one of our favorite places to eat breakfast or brunch. Mel's brought many smiles. I took this picture as we left there for the last time in 2005. Mel's is still open and going strong if you're ever in the area.

I guess as we approach our 17th year here in the Midwest I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for a place that was home for so many years.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna Rolls

12 fresh or dry lasagna noodles-If using dry cook in boiling water for 8 minutes, if using fresh pasta cook for 4.  Drain the water and spread pasta out on a lightly greased baking sheet to cool. The light oil keeps them from sticking together.


12 ounces of Ricotta cheese

1/2 cup of Mozzarella cheese-shredded

1 egg

1/4 Cup of Parmesan cheese-grated

Seasonings: When I have homemade pesto in the freezer I use 1 cube of basil pesto or you can use any of  your favorite Italian seasonings like basil, oregano, garlic. Sometimes I add them all.  Go by what you enjoy or have on hand.

Mix together and set aside.

To assemble:

Spread a thin layer of your favorite pasta sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.  Take pasta and spread a layer of the filling on each noodle.  Roll up and set up in the baking dish.  Continue until all are finished. 

Drizzle a little more pasta sauce on top of the rolled up lasagna and then sprinkle with a cup of shredded Mozzarella and a bit more Parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.  Approximately 10-15 minutes.

Serve with a salad and delicious bread and you have a delicious meal.


When I am making this for the two of us, I make up two smaller pans with 6 in each.  I cook one for us and wrap the other one in plastic wrap and place in a large freezer bag to cook another time. Just defrost in the fridge until ready to cook and go by the same heating instructions.  We have found that two of these are quite filling so we have the rest for lunches or another dinner later in the week.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

My Weekly W's

It was a cold week temperature wise here.  Friday and Saturday were brutally cold.  All of the snow we were predicted to get went about 30 miles south of us.  I was actually looking forward to one more snow in but that didn't happen.  Starting today the temperatures are on the rise.  Hibernation season is officially over until November.

What's top of my mind: Time. I work Monday through Friday until 2:30pm so that gives me 6.5 hours every day of free time.  I want to make the most of this time and use it wisely so I'm going to be paying more attention to what I do during this part of the day and make any tweaks necessary.   

Where I've been: Went to work Monday -Thursday. Tuesday I went for my dental cleaning  and got an all is well report which is always welcome.  I picked up a bit of dairy and veggies from the store then went to get a new door mat and a few things for the front porch to get ready for spring and summer. We went to a birthday party yesterday and I of course enjoyed the Indian food maybe a little too much.

Where I'm going: The only plans so far are work and a wedding reception on Saturday.  They were actually married in December but because of high Covid numbers then they planned the reception for this weekend.

What I'm watching: I found a channel on Pluto that has Julia Child's show on 24/7 so I watched a few of those while I was cleaning and cooking this week.  I'm also looking forward to watching the new show tomorrow The Julia Child Challange.  It looks like it will be fun.

What I'm reading: This explains a lot this week.  EarthSky | Sun news: Big CME direct hit expected. Aurora alert!

What I'm listening to: As I type this I'm listening to the news.  I probably need to switch the station.

What I'm eating:

Beef tacos and rice.  I can't tell you when the last time was that we had tacos.

Lasagna roll ups and salad

BIG salad

Meatball pizza pie.  SO good.

Chicken, asparagus and mashed potatoes

Left over chicken, jalapeno poppers and BIG salad

Who needs a good slap: The Illinois politicians that have not put an end to changing the time every year.  It is ridiculous to put our bodies through this every Fall and Spring.  Only the government would think you could cut an inch off a blanket and stitch it to the top and make it longer.

What I'm planning: I'm still working on my cleaning and sprucing and probably will be for at least a couple more weeks.  I am aiming for lighter and brighter heading into Spring.  

What's making me smile: One of the doctors I used to work with has gone to Ukraine to provide medical help to the people there and another has gone to Poland to provide medical help and aid to the refugees entering the country.  People doing things like this REALLY make me smile.

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday and has a fabulous week!!

Friday, March 11, 2022

Things That Make Me Smile

 I've always loved this quote and well, I love cake too!  I made this banana cake yesterday and it is SO good. The recipe was given to me years ago from my friend Betty.

Banana Cake

2 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Butter softened
2 Cups of Sugar
1 Cup of Buttermilk
4 Ripe Bananas cut up
2 Cups of Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Egg Whites beaten

Mix egg yolks, butter and sugar with mixer.  Slowly add buttermilk and then the bananas.  Sift in flour, salt and soda.  Combine well.  Fold in 2 beaten egg whites.

Bake in 13x9 inch buttered and floured pan at 350 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes.


8 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup of Milk
1 to 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
Combine all ingredients adding milk or sugar depending on desired consistency.  I made it a little on the thin side to smoothly and evenly cover the cake.

I hope everyone is having a good Friday and enjoys the weekend!!

Sunday, March 6, 2022

My Weekly W's

The first week of March was very hectic at work. We have two new doctors joining our group so I spent two days doing orientation for them.  Two full days out of the week not doing my daily tasks really puts me behind. But I pulled it all together in the end.

The weather switched over Tuesday and we spent most of the week with highs in the 60's and 70's.  Another cold front is coming through today so now we're in a severe weather watch and tomorrow morning is supposed to be 29.  Crazy mother nature. 

What's top of my mind: STUFF!  Every year when I do a purge and spruce I find things to get rid of even though I bring very little in to the house anymore.  I realized this year that it really isn't about what I want to get rid of but more what I want to carry forward with  me in my current life and the future.  I have two large boxes already of stuff to go.  I typically donate but with what I've heard donation centers have raised the prices.  I may have a yard sale in May.  I could make a little cash and offer at rock bottom prices to someone that wants/needs something.  Of course I may just drop the boxes at Good Will too.  I need to think on this more.

Where I've been: One trip to the store and work were the only places I went this week.

Where I'm going: Other than work I have a dentist appointment on Tuesday and we have a birthday party on Saturday.  I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone and enjoying a few curried snacks.

What I'm watching: I really didn't watch anything this week.

What I'm reading: Nothing this week.

What I'm listening to: My inner voice.  I've always been a very grateful person.  I'm mindful and thankful for everything and everyone that comes my way.  It's not about stuff or money but about the basics.  Being able to take a hot shower and get into a nice clean bed and sleep peacefully. I'm very grateful for things like that.  Everyone should have that but they don't. 

What I'm eating:

Last Sunday I roasted a chicken and we enjoyed a typical Sunday dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls from my childhood.

I used some of the leftovers for BBQ chicken sandwich's, fries and coleslaw on Monday.
Eggrolls and rice.  I had 5 egg rolls that I made a couple weeks ago in the freezer.  I spritzed with avocado oil and cooked them in my Ninja.  They turned out crispy and delicious.  I'll write more about the Ninja 13 in 1 soon.  I'm really glad I bought it.

Sloppy Joes, fries and coleslaw
Spicey chicken chili and cornbread
Calzones and salad-SO good!

Big Salad
Tonight I'm making samosas and either rice or a salad 

Who needs a good slap

What I'm planning: This week should be a little more routine at work so I hope to get ahead on a number of things there.  At home I plan on continuing to purge and spruce keeping only the items that make our lives easier or better. 

What's making me smile: My clean and organized fridge, freezer, cabinets and pantry make smile. I'm thankful for having what we need and the knowledge of how to use it to keep us well fed and satisfied.

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday and has a wonderful week!!

Saturday, March 5, 2022


This post is for my own record.  If it helps you in any way, then that is a bonus. I was going to write it in my notebook but thought I type quicker than I write so this would be easier. I've always kept a well-stocked house.  I've never liked to shop much and with storms, illness or whatever it always pays to be stocked up. Now, between the prices of everything and the instability of the world I'd like to keep a minimum of 6-8 months of food in rotation.  

So far this month we have spent $202.10 in groceries, toiletries and household products.  I spent a good part of the morning doing an inventory and straightening out the pantry, baking cabinet, spice rack, fridge and freezer.  I'm happy to report nothing is out of date or even close so that is a good thing.

I do see that we do not need to buy anything but dairy, veggies and fruit (we also do have a meat order to pick up in a couple of weeks) for at least the rest of this month maybe a bit longer and still be well stocked.  I want to make sure to use what we have wisely, and just keep an eye on things moving forward. I don't want to over stock and we only buy a couple of things we don't regularly eat. See below. :)

It's hard for me to calculate just how much the two of us go through.  So this may be a bit give or take but a pretty good starting point.

PANTRY: 6-8 months worth stored:
Variety of Pastas
Variety of Udon and Rice noodles
Basmati and Jasmine Rice
Variety of canned tomato products including 3 jars of Rao's marinara sauce
Variety of canned fruits
2 large cans of chicken, 4 cans of tuna, 2 tins of sardines, 6 cans of Ravioli and 6 cans of tomato soup (these are kind of emergency foods I keep on hand that we don't regularly eat but will if they get close to expiration date )
Variety of Jelly
Peanut butter
Apple Sauce
Variety of dried and canned beans
Condiments, spices, herbs, salts, vinegars, oils and butter
Variety of Crackers
Variety of Coffee, Tea, Soda, Water

BAKING CABINET: 2-4 months worth stored:
Variety of Flours
Sugars-White and Brown and Powdered
Baking powder
Baking Soda
Corn Starch
Cocoa powder
Chocolate chips
Variety of Nuts
Coconut Flakes
SO many sprinkles 

FREEZER: This is what I like to really make sure we're rotating through.  I don't like things that are frozen for more than a few months.  I would never thaw meat, cook it and then refreeze.  I'm picky that way.
Variety of Peppers
Variety of Veggies
Variety of Fruit
1 pnd. Pecans
3 Large chicken sausage links
2 pounds Behrmann bacon
2 Behrmann beef bones (large)
1 Beef shoulder roast
6 bscb
10 pounds ground beef
Coho salmon
Ice cream
Package of English muffins
Home made extras in the freezer:
2 calzones
1 veggie pizza
6 buns
2-3 servings of meat,veg sauce pasta dish
2 servings of beef chili
2-3 servings of sloppy joe
Chicken and Beef stock
6 Pesto cubes

Our fridge has a variety of dairy, fresh veggies, eggs, variety of cheeses, won ton wrappers, condiments etc.  I don't worry much about it because I'm really good about using this all up in good time.

I'm really glad I decided to do this today and will print this list out. I have a clean fridge, freezer, pantry and cabinets and I feel a lot more organized and now can keep track of what gets used and what gets brought in the house.  That will give me the opportunity to fine tune just how much of each item do we really need.  Saving time and money is always good.

If you weren't bored out of your mind and made it to the end I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Things That Make Me Smile



                                                                         Happy Friday!!