Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Lunch Salad

I haven't been out of the house in about 8 weeks, so sometimes it's hard to remember to eat an actual meal instead of just picking at something, or even having a cup of hot tea to get through to "later".  Whenever "later" might be.  Because, you know, what day is it?  "Day."

Meanwhile, Patrick is finishing his last semester of his senior year of his accounting degree online, and cursing roundly about it.  But at least his having to do zoom classes a couple of times per week defines Wednesdays and...which other day was it again?

So, a couple of days back, I decided to make myself a better than average salad.  I took some spring mix, chopped up an apple, cucumber, mozzarella, a touch of leftover steak, and walnuts, and added balsamic vinaigrette.  It was inspired by a salad I had at Panera (which had chicken involved, so the connection is shaky, at best).

One of these days I'll be inspired to post and actual recipe.  Meanwhile, on my sewing blog, I just posted pictures of the dresses I made for myself and my beautiful granddaughters for Christmas.  Nothing like getting pictures out there on time, right?

Happy Wednesday (I'm pretty sure), everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Life in Strange Times

Well, it looks like I've been MIA for about 4 months.  Sorry about that.

Christmas lasted for almost a week, which is to be expected, given that everyone has their own schedules.  The good news is that the fun lasts longer, and the post holiday letdown is gradual, more like a sigh of exhaustion.  The bad news is that it's exhausting cooking many Christmas dinners.  Oh, well, I hope for many more.

For my Christmas present, my girls took me to Washington, DC for a ballet the first weekend of February.  It was wonderful; the ballet was beautiful, the weather was nice, we walked around plenty, and I got to spend 2 days with my girls.  They couldn't have done anything better for me.

And then the Corona virus hit.  Oh, Thatcher is delirious with joy; Patrick never leaves for school!  He stays home and plays!  It's a great time to be a dog!  Me?  Well, I don't like being ordered to stay home.  I didn't really have any place I wanted to go, but I don't like being told I must stay home.  So, while I've heard that everyone else is cooking like it's their obsession, I'm not motivated to do so.  Well, I was motivated on Pi Day.  I'm not sure why.  But I made a quiche for brunch, served with radish soup (which was great, BTW), then fish pot pies for dinner, and dessert was Apple Pie and French Market Pie.  The Best Pie Crust Ever was the star of everything.  Like I said, I got up early and just started cooking; it was weird.  Of course, the quarantine was only about a week old then, so I wasn't mad yet.

I've been walking Thatcher the mile down and back up our driveway every day, except when it's raining; Jeff gave me a long puffy coat for Christmas so I would be warm enough.  My first tree, a crabapple, is finally in bloom.

And I have these daffodils.  I managed to cut 2 batches of them from my yard.  A rare bit of sunshine in my breakfast room.

And I think I'm going to jump start my car and go to the gas station this weekend.  I'm pretty sure I have 1/4 tank.  But I'm going to fill it anyway.  And probably drive at least 5 miles up the interstate, just to be sure the battery's charged.

So, stay safe, everyone, stay well, and stay sane.  Go outside and get some sunshine; it lifts the spirits!  And remember, it's Friday!  I mean, Day!  Because they all pretty much blend together now....

Monday, December 16, 2019


Yes, I'm more than 2 weeks late.  But stuff happens.

As usual, we had a crowd for Thanksgiving.  Our family, our best friend's family (I guess after 30+  years, they're more like family, right?) and a couple of people who had nowhere else to go.

This year, we had our usual 2 turkeys, plus one deep fried by my sons in law.  One of them was a huge advocate for it; I didn't care, but specified that he had to do it outside, only in an electric deep fryer, and only a minimum of 30 feet from the house.  Yes, that's a lot of regulations.  No, I'm not having my house smell like fried food, nor do I intend to risk starting another house fire.

Random pictures from around the table, where we passed around my camera.

 (of course my youngest took a selfie.  Kids these days!)

Desserts, and the girls who were first in line!

 There was at least 2 of each kind of pie.
 Yes, I take my cake decorating inspiration from kindergarten, because why not?
Happy Monday, everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Steak and Ratatouille

Last night, I made steak and ratatouille for dinner, because I had eggplant.

The steak was done under the broiler, with the rack set at the top setting.  For 1/2" thick steaks, I broiled 3.5 minutes on the first side, and 2.5 minutes on the second side.  Lawry's low sodium garlic salt and pepper were my only seasonings.  The boys loved it.

For my ratatouille recipe, I refer you to my previous post here:
I quartered grape tomatoes, used vegetable stock, and it was delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Thanksgiving Planning

It's that time of year again, when I plan to feed all of my hungry hordes for the best part of a week.  It's nice to have everyone around, although I must confess that I have great twinges of nostalgia for not only when my children were much younger, but for my dearly beloved.  I'd have to say that I never miss him less, I just figure out how to cope.  That's something.

So, here's the shopping list.  The restaurant supply house is due in a couple of hours.  Turkeys are not on this list, because I'm picking them up from a local butcher on Wednesday.  I settled upon this method about 3 years ago, and I have to say that not having my refrigerators crammed up for a few days before Thanksgiving, but only for one evening, has worked out well.

And here's the menu for the week.  I have 3 arriving Sunday, 2 more on Monday, and the rest on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Oh, and the census for Thanksgiving dinner is 22 (subject to change, of course; could be higher).

So the plan is to make the pie crusts and cranberry sauce tomorrow, desserts Monday and Wednesday (I have a business appointment in New York City on Tuesday), and play the rest by ear.  Photos to follow, of course!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ice Cream

Who's going to tell me this isn't the truth?

Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Not Exactly San Fran...

...but when we were scheduled to go, there were fires and no electricity.  So we went to North Carolina instead.  How's that for a change of plans?

A few random pictures of me with Nora, and the family in general.  I bought an instant print camera, so she could have pictures of her vacation at once; 2 year olds don't have great long term memories, and I thought having an instant picture would make her happy.

 We went to an old farm, and this very friendly cow was so eager for company that she stuffed her head right through the fence.  Scared Nora, but Shannon tried to demonstrate that cows are nice.

We took a road trip to the Biltmore.  250 rooms, decorated with 74 Christmas trees.  I'm glad I don't have to clean that place!

And, finally, a sign outside a brewery in Asheville.  One of my favorite things from the trip.  Okay, maybe just my favorite sign.  Whatever.

Happy Weekending, everyone!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Cheater's Chicken Soup

Yesterday was chilly, and we got something like 2" of rain in about 6 hours, so Thatcher and I hibernated.  Along the way, I wanted chicken noodle soup, but didn't want to actually do the work.

Then my veggie box came in.

And then I had an idea: start with a can, and add some actual vegetables to it.  Done and done!


1 can condensed chicken noodle soup
1 can water
1/2 onion
2 carrot
1 rib of celery
handful of frozen corn (why not?)

Peel open the can of soup and add the water; stir to combine.  Mince up the onion and stir it in.  Dice the celery and carrot into small bits, then add those.  Lastly, throw in a handful of corn just for a pop of color.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Watch the dog dance around as he smells the food he just knows he's going to get some (or not, because I'm a meany....).

OK, so there's a lot of salt in canned soup.  But at 60 calories per serving and 2.5 servings per can, I figured that I could eat the whole can and be full and warm while not pigging out too much.  And it was easy, so there's that.  If the rain and cold doesn't stop today, I might do it again!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Chicken Cordon Blue-ish

I wanted chicken for dinner, and we had some random things in the refrigerator, so I decided that Chicken Cordon Bleu would be just the thing.  Except that I don't like pounding out the meat and whatever other steps might be involved.  So I did it my own way, but since my kids don't know the difference, it all works out.


Boneless, skinless chicken - 4 ounce pieces
sliced deli ham
swiss cheese
butter, softened
salt and pepper

If using chicken breast, cut them into smaller pieces.  Boneless, skinless thighs are just the right size.  Cut a pocket into each piece of chicken and dry it.  Soften the butter, and mash it with minced garlic.  Cut the deli ham into appropriate sized pieces, line the pocket of each piece of chicken with the ham. then add the swiss cheese (shredded or sliced - you choose).  Sprinkle in some chopped scallions, put small chunks of the butter/garlic combination inside the meat, then roll it closed and hold with toothpicks.

 If desired, sprinkle a little garlic salt over the top, and grind pepper over the chicken.  Place in a greased baking pan and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until done.

Serve with rice or buttered pasta.  Spoon the butter from the bottom of the baking dish over the chicken for added flavor.  This is how we had ours.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Book Sale!

I'm trying here, I really am.  But I'm not inspired in cooking, and there is so much still going on that life gets in my way.

So...I went to a used book sale with Ryan and Patrick, and came back with these prizes.  The brewing book is for Shannon's husband, who has set up an elaborate home-brew station in their house (and grows hops along their fence: talk about ambition!), the paperbacks are for me to take on vacation in a few weeks, and leave them for someone else to enjoy when I'm done.  After all, paperbacks are perishable!

And the rest I'll read while I'm watching TV.  Because after all, with the exception of Masterpiece Theater, there isn't much on TV that requires actual close attention.

And I love the re-usable bags they gave out at a book sale a few years back.  They gave me 2, and that tells me how many books I can buy.  There are rules, people....

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Blueberry Salad

Look at that: I was able to do something with blueberries other than eat them all as soon as they entered the house.  I really do love blueberries, so this was a real act of restraint.

We had a light dinner one night, and this seemed like the perfect side.  Of course, the boys picked off their blueberries and ate them before dinner, then complained about the blandness of the salad.  Sorry guys, sucks to be you.


Mixed baby greens or spring mix
slivered almonds
Vinaigrette dressing

Divide the greens among bowls; sprinkle generously with almonds and blueberries, and serve the dressing on the side.  No mystery in salads.  Sorry.

But it was beautiful!  So I get a point for that, right?

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Chicken-Veggie Stir Fry

This was a fast and easy dinner on a hot night.  Oh, sure, it didn't require much imagination, but I'm not that big on imagination these days.  And it was healthy and good, so 2 points in my favor


3 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1" chunks
Vegetable Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion
2 summer squash
1 zucchini
2 tomatoes
1 bunch broccoli
1 can mini corn
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cold water
2 tbsp cornstarch
sesame seeds

Cut all of the vegetables into bite sized chunks.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet and add the onion; cook for a minute, then add the minced garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Add the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the squashes and broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring so they don't scorch..  Add the broth and soy sauce, bring to a boil, then whisk the cornstarch into the water, and stir into the mix.  Cook until it thickens, add the tomatoes and mini corn, heat for another 2 to 3 minutes, then taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over a bed of rice.

The boys liked it, it was easy, enough said!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!