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Scuba Scooby Doo!

Scuba Scooby Doo! For those of you who have followed me from the beginning on my Blog…you will remember my post about our “Pool Boy”. If you missed it and would like to read about a silly old woman waiting […]

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Shari, Kari and Lamb Chops!

Shari, Kari and Lamb Chops! Do you remember Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop? Shari Lewis was the ventriloquist who had this adorable little lamb puppet that had the cutest little voice. (her voice of course) I love to watch Lamb […]

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Red Sky in the Morning….

Red Sky in the Morning….Sailor take Warning. Red sky at night…Sailor’s Delight! I am sure you have heard this little “diddy” at one time or another throughout the years. This wonderful, beautiful Monday morning…I awoke as the sky was opening […]

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The Blue Bird of Happiness…Florida Scrub-Jay!

The Blue Bird of Happiness…Florida Scrub-Jay! No, that is not a Florida Scrub-Jay…that pic is a Blue Macaw Parrot! If you have followed my blog, you will note that I have posted about endangered and protected species in Florida.   […]

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Sniffing Away….

Sniffing Away…with Jasmine and Ginger! Have you ever had a sniff of something wonderful….something so irresistible that you just keep sniffing and enjoying, over and over the beautiful fragrance? I know…you are probably thinking I am a bit weird and […]

 

Scuba Scooby Doo!

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Scuba Scooby Doo!

For those of you who have followed me from the beginning on my Blog…you will remember my post about our “Pool Boy”.

If you missed it and would like to read about a silly old woman waiting for the first encounter of the pool tech…click on the link below. :) 

My Pool Boy….

Well, as it is with most things….”things” either need parts after a time or they break down completely. 

Lately, the Captain and I have encountered a few of these “breaking down thing-eys”.

  • First, one of the cars started having a “burnt oil smell” and of course, it needed several hundred dollars worth of work. (oil pan seal, etc)
  • Then the hot water heater started leaking…and yes, we needed a new hot water heater.
  • AND then the unthinkable happened…the beautiful blue uniforms of the Kansas Jayhawks College Basketball team started turning kelly green on the television! 

Yep! the Captain said the old television was a goner and we needed a new one…which was a good thing because I don’t know how much longer I could watch the Jayhawks play in green uniforms….which, as an FYI…they won their game last night. :) Rock Chalk Jayhawks!

But I digress…..the point of this narrative is…Last week, the swimming pool started losing water.

So how does one check for leaks in a swimming pool?

One hires a scuba diver! 

Well, the Pool Company we hired to do weekly maintenance,… keeps certified divers on staff and they dive a pool in search of leaks using leak detectors….AND they charge a $300.00 fee, just for the opportunity to dive in one’s pool. :)

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In the shallow end of the pool, checking for leaks in the intake/outtake valves …or whatever they call them.

Enter Lloyd Bridges…(not his real name)… stage left.30I never thought I would be watching a scuba diver in my swimming pool!

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I don’t know if he has been down too long or what….just look at his legs deflating! ;)

Yes, Lloyd Bridges did find a leak in the main drain at the bottom of the pool… 

25And for a few dollars more….(think $$$)…he “patched” the leak, and replaced the “flipper motor” on the Spa…just for good measure. :)

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“Lloyd Bridges” finishing his “dive”…turtle watching from behind

Oh, and yesterday, the built in microwave started humming a tune that I don’t recognize….all the while forgetting to “heat up the tea”, Silly Microwave!

But never fear, I have a little cheapee (think $39.00 from Wal-Mart) microwave that we have sitting in the outdoor kitchen on the Lanai.

Oh well, it gives me an excuse to relax on the Lanai!  

Someone has to watch to be sure the pool is no longer leaking! :)

Have you ever had “things” fall apart at about the same time?

Have a great and Blessed day my dear readers.

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Shari, Kari and Lamb Chops!

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Shari, Kari and Lamb Chops!

Do you remember Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop?

Shari Lewis was the ventriloquist who had this adorable little lamb puppet that had the cutest little voice. (her voice of course)

I love to watch Lamb Chop “talk” on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show.

AND I just happen to love to eat lamb chops.

Lamb Chops

If the butcher has not trimmed excess fat, use a sharp knife and trim to about 1/8th of an inch.

BUT, I have to confess that every time I serve lamb chops, I think of the little lamb chop puppet!

Growing up, my Mother made Lamb Stew…but perhaps she felt like Lamb Chops were not budget friendly because they are a smaller chop than say a Pork Chop….so we rarely had lamb chops.

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Season well with salt and pepper.

Personally, I like the tenderness of lamb chops and they are so easy to prepare.

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A screaming hot skillet with a bit of oil.

A little salt and pepper and a hot cast iron skillet and in about 8 minutes…(4 minutes per side) … lamb chops are on the table.

Serve a little mint jelly on the side and yummy-i-ness is ready to happen in your mouth and tummy.

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Brown for 4 minutes on each side….no more.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to the meat market…in the rain…to purchase some lamb chops.

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Let chops rest for a few minutes……

And can I tell you the Captain and I really enjoyed our dinner last evening. 

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Serve with mint jelly…yummy…and your choice of sides.

Because it was raining….I decided to make the meal even simpler by purchasing a twice baked potato and I already had frozen fruit in the freezer.

Waa-laaaa! instant  dinner and not fast food.

Sooooo good.

Do you like lamb chops my dear readers?

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Me 

Lamb Chops
Serves 2
Quick and easy...really tender lamb chops. A quick go-to entree.
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Ingredients
  1. 6 lamb chops, fat trimmed to about 1/8th of an inch.
  2. salt and fresh ground pepper
  3. 2 Tablespoons of olive oil or other vegetable oil.
  4. Mint Jelly
Instructions
  1. Trim lamb chops of any excess fat...most are already trimmed by the butcher.
  2. Heat oil in heavy skillet til sizzling
  3. Salt and pepper each side of chop
  4. Place lamb chops in skillet and cook for 4 minutes on each side for a total of 8 minutes.
  5. Let lamb chops rest on paper towel for about 5-10 minutes
  6. Serve with mint jelly.
Notes
  1. I can eat 3 of these little chops....yes, I can. :)
  2. You can also make a red wine reduction using chopped garlic and rosemary to use as a sauce for the pan fried lamb chops...but I just like them pan fried. :)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Red Sky in the Morning….

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Red Sky in the Morning….Sailor take Warning.

Red sky at night…Sailor’s Delight!

I am sure you have heard this little “diddy” at one time or another throughout the years.

This wonderful, beautiful Monday morning…I awoke as the sky was opening up to the most amazing colors of reds, pinks and oranges.

So pretty.

The air was warm…still a little cool, and the early morning was silent except for the occasional drip from the rain spouts, as if to announce that a light rain had fallen during the early, early morning hours. 

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Clouding up again…and the sun has disappeared in my Secret Garden.

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Don’t ya just love turtle doves?

Then I heard the familiar “cooing” of the mourning turtle doves that frequent my Secret Garden and all was right with the world.

At least for this moment in time. 

And then the rain started falling again, nothing heavy at first, just a drizzle… and Jesse James and I retreated to the house to get my grocery list.

The morning was turning “sun-less” with more rain on the way. (Sailor Take Warning)

I needed to get “out and about”…getting my “rat killing done” as my Farm-Life Mother used to say. ;)

early morning2I snapped this pic with my phone camera as I drove to the meat market…planning on making lamb chops for dinner tonight.  

I will be posting the recipe later. ;)

I just love the early mornings in Florida.

I am sure the quiet, early mornings are just as pretty in your part of the world, and perhaps my extra delight has to do a little bit with the fact that I don’t have to report to a job.  

Retirement is a good thing. :)

early morning1Do you, my dear readers, enjoy the early morning, “Come Rain or Come Shine”?

Yes, that is another song title. :)

Have a great beginning to your week.

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Me

College Basketball and Homemade Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

College Basketball and Homemade Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

It is Saturday and it is raining here in Florida.

Yep, a perfect day for one of my favorite cookies to pop in and out of the oven, sending the wonderful smell of fresh baked cookies throughout the house.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies…ok, I must confess that any day is a “perfect day for homemade cookies”… :)

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AND…the Kansas Jayhawks play basketball this afternoon and what better snack than a chewy oatmeal cookie and a cup of hot tea?

This recipe came from my cousin…”Charly”.

One day, about 40 years ago….Wow!, that makes me seem really old!

Anyway, one day, several years ago :)…..I was visiting my cousin “Charly” ….as our two toddlers were about the same age and liked to play together.

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No, this is not one of our toddlers…I just like the KU knitted outfit this little one is wearing. That is team support! ;)

 

So while the little ones were playing in the front yard (we say garden these days), “Charly” and I were sipping on sweet iced tea and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that she had just made.

Yes, years ago I drank sweet tea, although if I took a sip these days…I would probably choke!  

Just too sweet!  I like a refreshing glass of unsweetened Iced tea when it comes to beverages.

However, I absolutely love the sweetness of the plump raisins in these moist, chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

I also like the chewy cookie, and so I asked Charly how she got them so chewy.

Charly told me she used butter in place of shortening and she melted the butter.

Well, I just had to have the recipe so she wrote the recipe on a piece of notepaper and I still have that notepaper recipe to this day.

It is a bit tattered and worn from the many times of folding and refolding and placing in my recipe box.

I make these cookies when I get a hankerin’ for a chewy cookie, particularly…oatmeal raisin chewy cookies.

AND….they make a great snack while watching your favorite team play college basketball.

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Did I mention that the Kansas Jayhawks, who have lost 3 games this season…:( are playing the Texas Longhorns this afternoon, on CBS? 

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Yep, right after the Kentucky Wildcats, (who remain unbeaten)…play the South Carolina Gamecocks on ESPN.

My friend, Winnie Wildcat is watching that game right this minute…I am sure. 

We have a friendly rivalry with our two teams.  

KU…….UK………blue and white….sorta the same, right?

NOT! :)

I will be a bit more energetic in my arm chair cheering (if that is possible)… because I will be eating these delicious oatmeal raisin cookies….;) 

Tell me dear readers, do you have a favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe? 

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! KU!!!

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Me

Charly's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
If you like soft chewy oatmeal raisin cookies dunked in cold milk or eaten as is....this is the cookie recipe for you. My cousin Charly gave me this recipe years and years ago and it is a winner to this day. A definite keeper in your recipe box.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of flour (all purpose)
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  4. 3/4 of a cup pre-melted butter
  5. 1 cup of packed light brown sugar
  6. 1/2 cup of white sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  8. 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
  9. 1 egg, slightly beaten
  10. 1 egg yolk
  11. 1 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats (do not use quick oats)
  12. 1 cup of raisins
  13. 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter for about 10 seconds in your microwave....each microwave is different, so adjust for yours OR melt in a small pan on the stove.
  3. In a large measuring cup (or small bowl), combine the dry ingredients, the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well
  5. blended.
  6. Add in the cinnamon, pure vanilla extract, egg, and egg yolk
  7. Next add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix until blended (do not over mix).
  8. Blend in the oats, nuts, and raisins.
  9. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop the dough (about 1/4 cup each) onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Please keep watching the cookies as they bake as you do not want to over bake or the cookies will be hard as rocks.:(
  10. The edges of the cookies should look brown and the centers should look slightly unbaked.
  11. Remove the cookie sheet and let the cookies cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet before removing them to a cookie rack. If you remove the cookies too soon...your cookie could either stick to the sheet or crumble. Also remember that your cookies will continue to bake after removing from the oven ...so don't worry about the center not being baked.
Notes
  1. I like to use parchment paper to line the bottom of my cookie sheets...it makes for a more evenly baked cookie.
  2. Do not bake in too hot of an oven or the cookies will spread more and be too done.
  3. Do not pack down the flour...If you want a chewy cookie, carefully ladle or spoon the flour into the measuring cup..do not level off with a knife. Think light and fluffy. :)
  4. You could use pecans or any of your favorite nuts. :) Variety is the spice of life.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

The Blue Bird of Happiness…Florida Scrub-Jay!

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The Blue Bird of Happiness…Florida Scrub-Jay!

No, that is not a Florida Scrub-Jay…that pic is a Blue Macaw Parrot! ;)

If you have followed my blog, you will note that I have posted about endangered and protected species in Florida.  

The links are below:

Little Burrowing Owls 

Gentle Giants…Manatees…Sea Cows…

Eagle Cam and Ozzie and Harriet

They Are Certainly Faithful!

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“Dedicated Chiefs Fan” has her IPad out trying to take a picture and a Florida Scrub-Jay lands on her head. ;)

Last week, the Captain and I were at a remote part of Cape Coral to see the the Florida Scrub-Jays with our friends from the Midwest….

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Florida Scrub-Jay fluttering in the Scrub Bushes.

And yesterday,  I went back to show another friend, My Chocolate Cake Buddy… these beautiful, friendly birds!

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I had just opened my car door and down swooped a beautiful Scrub-Jay and perched on my car door. I took this photo with my phone.

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Isn’t he (or she) magnificent?

Being friendly, is not a good thing as many people lure the birds with food and this interrupts their breeding cycles.

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This Florida Scrub-Jay landed near my feet…so I snapped another pic with my phone.

The parents are overfed and the poor little chicks are born early…before any of the seeds, berries and caterpillars are abundant.

Consequently, many chicks die of starvation or are malnourished.

The Florida Scrub Jay habitat has been reduced dramatically, causing them to be declared a threatened species in 1987. 

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I love all birds…as you who know me will attest.

I particularly love blue birds….perhaps it is the Blue Bird of Happiness that draws me to these beautifully colored blue birds.

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My favorite is the Mountain Blue Bird, a small bird…canary size and the blue is more turquoise in the New Mexico Sun…..we built bluebird houses for these little guys.

While living in the mountains of New Mexico, we had many birds come to our feeders situated very close to my dining room table…including Western Scrub Jays, Mountain Blue Birds, Steller’s Jays, Pinion Jays just to name a few of the “blue” birds.

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Western Scrub Jay

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This Steller’s Jay was a frequent visitor to our feeders in New Mexico

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Loved the turquoise blue of our peacocks. We had about 6 on our ranch high in the Manzano Mountains in New Mexico.

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We did not have Blue Jays in New Mexico…but they are here in Florida and visit my Secret Garden often. 

But, did you know that blue birds are not really blue?

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “The colors in the feathers of a bird are formed in two different ways, from either pigments or from light refraction caused by the structure of the feather.  Tiny air pockets in the barbs of feathers can scatter incoming light, resulting in a specific, non-iridescent color. Blue colors in feathers are almost always produced in this manner. Examples include the blue feathers of bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Blue Jay’s and Steller’s Jays.  If you find the feather of a Blue Jay or Steller’s Jay you can see for yourself how this works. First, observe the feather in normal lighting conditions and you will see the expected blue color. Next, try back-lighting the feather. When light is transmitted through the feather it will look brown. The blues are lost because the light is no longer being reflected back and the brown shows up because of the melanin in the feathers.”

Just thought you would like to know. :)

Have a great day and enjoy our wonderful birds, no matter where you live!

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Me

Sniffing Away….

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Sniffing Away…with Jasmine and Ginger!

Have you ever had a sniff of something wonderful….something so irresistible that you just keep sniffing and enjoying, over and over the beautiful fragrance?

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Jasmine

Ginger Flower of the Ginger Root

Ginger Flower of the Ginger Root

I know…you are probably thinking I am a bit weird and for those of you who follow my Blog….you would be right!

Well, that happened to me last week.

I was actually browsing one of my favorite shops…The World Market, searching for tall drinking glasses to match my shorter drinking glasses.

I am preparing for another dinner party (and it is coming up fast on my calendar)….or I would have ordered on line, as that is my preference.

Not finding the desired glasses…I couldn’t help but wander the rest of the shop, which luckily…was not very crowded. 

As I passed the “bath shop”….there was a display of lovely soaps, and there it was!

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That beautiful, wonderful fragrance that I just couldn’t stop “sniffing”.  

However, the display had several fragrances and it was up to me to determine which of these bars of soap was calling out to me.

It didn’t take me long to discover it was the Jasmine and Ginger bar.

Can I tell you that I stood there sniffing through the cellophane…. just like a kid in a candy store. 

As I held the cake of soap in my hand…close to my nose…eyes closed, I was already seeing the picture unfold before me.

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FYI…That is plastic ice in the ice bucket on my bathtub…I ‘stage’ every room! :)  I know, kinda weird! That is real wine which I change out from time to time…

 

I would be immersed in a bubble bath, strains of Clair de Lune playing softly in the background….you know my connection to the moon!

No, my mind raced through my favorite instrumental music and Obsession Confession by Sting on the Spanish Guitar… which was played at the wedding of Me and My Captain….came to mind.

No,…. the romantic music should be Lonely Island by the great pianist Ernesto Cortazar, also played at our wedding.

Well, it would be one of those lovely melodies.

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Yes, that would be the background and I would sit this French Bar of soap…right beside my glass of wine and let all the cares of the day drift away!    

Well, I decided I had to have this bouquet of Jasmine and Ginger for my aromatherapy. 

I have Jasmine and Night Blooming Jasmine growing in my Secret Garden… and Ginger on my Lanai in a huge pot…never thought of the combination! ;) 

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I looked at the price and stepped back a bit, but laid it gently in my basket anyway. :)

Note the blue nail polish in support of the Jayhawks! :)

Note the blue nail polish in support of the Jayhawks! :)

After arriving home…..I had to tear a little corner of the wrapper off so I could completely be engulfed in the “sniffing” of my new favorite.

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Have you my dear readers ever been enamored with something as silly as a bar of soap? 

We really do need to stop and smell the roses…or the Jasmine…or the Ginger!

Right now I have a closet to clean out….;(

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Me

PS

If you would like to hear the lovely relaxing and soothing piano strains of Ernesto Cortazar…just click on the “featured video”, upper right corner of my Blog. :) Yes…it is romantic! You know me…..

American Sniper

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American Sniper!….Movie Review.

American Sniper

A few days ago, the Captain and I went to see the movie, “American Sniper”.

As you most likely know, or have heard….this movie is based on the life of Chris Kyle, a Navy Seal trained specifically to be a sniper, specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chris Kyle did have a special skill with a rifle…acquired as he grew up as a cowboy in Texas.

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But most importantly, he was a true American hero, dedicated to protecting his brothers-in-arms.

His pinpoint accuracy saved countless lives and soon Chris Kyle had a nickname…he became known as “the Legend”, which he played down with much humility. 

It wasn’t long until his reputation spread behind enemy lines and a price was put on his head ….making him a prime target of insurgents.

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Chris Kyle served four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan…..his dedication to his country and the SEAL Creed….”Leave no man behind” drove him to face the danger each and every day, hours on end, sprawled in a prone position atop a building , protecting American troops from enemy snipers.

Chris Kyle was in the middle of all the action, including the March on Baghdad.

During his tours, he was shot in the helmet and in the back.  He witnessed the death of his two closest friends, who were also Navy Seals…as they fought in a war where the “Rules of Engagement” only allowed for precise surgical strikes at the heart of a well-trained and well-organized opposition force, which had virtually no “Rules of Engagement”.

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Kyle earned seven medals for bravery, including two Silver Stars.

Bradley Cooper plays the role of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. History.  He had to gain about 40 pounds to play the part of this heroic American. 

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Chris Kyle’s wife said that Bradley Cooper captured every essence of her husband.

 

If I were asked who should play Chris Kyle in the movie, I most likely would not have chosen Bradley Cooper…However, after seeing the movie…in my opinion, Bradley Cooper was the only actor who could have played the part …to show the true nature of the man, Chris Kyle. 

The Book, American Sniper

The Book, American Sniper

This movie is a must see…and certainly, the book a must read.

I recommend that you, my dear readers….go see this movie.  It will certainly give you a good perspective.

Have a great day….

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Me

Avocado and Tomato Salad

Avocado and Tomato Salad!

The Captain and I entertained out of state guests this week-end. And we managed to get a visit in to a Farmers Market.

I love fresh produce and you can’t get much fresher than from a market right on the property owners land.

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I picked up some garlic and green onions and some of the most beautiful tomatoes…

As I held each tomato, my crazy little brain was imagining each dish I would create using these lovely tomatoes.

Of course, one has to grill a hamburger and place a large thick slice of tomato and sweet onion on the top of the sizzling burger.

BUT…there was also another simple recipe that immediately came to my mind.

The Simple Avocado and Tomato Salad…which really isn’t a salad at all.  

It is simply sliced avocados and tomatoes…tossed in a little olive oil, lemon or lime juice, oregano and salt and freshly ground black pepper!

Soooo pretty and soooooo good!

I know the weather, in most parts of our country …is not being very cooperative. Cold, snow and ice.

But you can still have this salad and let your thoughts drift to warm sand and sunny beaches. ;)

Simple salad for a simple lifestyle in sunny Florida! Yum!

The printable recipe is below.

Have a great Monday!

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Me

Avocado and Tomato Salad
So simple and so good......drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and a little salt and pepper, sprig of mint....yummy
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Ingredients
  1. 2-3 Avocados, halved, pitted, and sliced
  2. 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Lay out the tomato and avocado slices on a plate.
  2. In small pitcher (or measuring cup), combine olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle over avocados and tomatoes, carefully turning each to coat.
  3. Add additional salt and pepper...not too much, just enough to look pretty.
  4. Arrange the tomatoes and avocado on a pretty plate and garnish with a mint sprig.
Notes
  1. Remember that dried or bottled spices are stronger than fresh.
  2. It is easy to pit an avocado, just cut carefully around the length of the avocado and with your hands, twist the two parts apart. Using your knife, carefully "hit" into the pit (seed) and lift out of the avocado flesh. Then use a large spoon to gently scoop out the flesh from the rind, place the slippery avocado on a board and slice each half into slices.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

A Little Bit of This…A Little Bit of That!

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A Little Bit of This…A Little Bit of That!

Good Morning my dear readers…

What a beautiful morning in our part of the world.

The temp is a little cool for Florida, 63 degrees at 11:00 a.m., but it is Winter after all. ;) And it is overcast…no sun in sight, but tis promised by mid-day.  

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The Captain and I started the day early, in our Secret Garden…. enjoying our “Quiet Time”!

… and we especially enjoyed the soft cooing of the Turtle Doves in the early morning silence.

…and the fancy-in- flight, Cloudless Sulfur butterflies.

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It was such a beautiful sight… as these pale yellow butterflies flitted and fluttered among the large, red Hibiscus flowers. 

We decided to go out for breakfast and ended up at one of our favorite cafes …where we chatted with most of the staff and caught up on the news happening in their personal lives.

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It is nice when they recognize you and feel comfortable to share.  :)

(You should know I give them “pet names” also.)

We took “friendly guff” from “Shell”, which the dictionary defines as: 

  1. trivial, worthless, or insolent talk or ideas.

…AND teasing from Kat” over my “regular” choice of pancakes, eggs, onions and pickles! (Another story for a different time)

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We also promised to pray for “Windy Sue’s” sister in Michigan, who is going through a tough time.

The Captain had meetings this morning, so I decided to take a short drive down the coast.  

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What a beautiful sight looking out over the Gulf of Mexico waters, at this time of the day. 

I just wanted to take a minute to breathe in and appreciate living in South West Florida.

The Sea Gulls were chattering and dipping into the calm sea.  I am truly grateful :) 

Arriving back home, I checked my email before working on this Post and saw that SeaHawk Fan” (from Seattle) had sent me a quiz to determine “a true fact about you if you answer 10 unusual questions”

I normally don’t bother with quizzes like this one, but did it for grins and giggles.

According to this quiz…My True Fact is that I am Sincere!

It went on to say ” You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends. You are also unconventional and unimpressed by authority. Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives. You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You’re quite the storyteller!”

Really????? ;) Not me!

Lets move on please…..

coke life

Did you know that in November of 2014, the Coca-Cola company introduced a new product called Coca-Cola Life?

Anyone who knows me, knows that my choice of sodas…should I drink one…is Coke!

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So I was excited to try this drink at 60 calories per 8-oz. glass bottle!  

It is sweetened with cane sugar and stevia, with no aftertaste.

Of course the best drink is water….but I have to admit, I did like it. :)

Finally, I would like to tell you about my fortune cookie.

The Captain and I had Chinese Take-Out a couple weeks ago and I do read the fortune cookie messages even though I don’t base my life on them.

To me, it is just something “fun” to do.

Anyway, I have to confess….this fortune cookie message was right on… and Yes, I believed every word.

Here is the message inside the cookie.

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Even the writers of the “fortunes” have a sense of humor!  

I love it!

Have a great day, my dear readers! :)

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Me  

Pommes Anna…Midwest Style

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Pommes Anna…Midwest Style

Yes, Pommes Anna is a French recipe, sorta combined with another French recipe,  Lyonnaise Potatoes… to come up with Pommes Anna…Midwest Style.

Confused yet?

Allow me to give just a bit of background on this dish that I have modified.

The original Pommes Anna recipe is found in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” vol 2.

By the way, both volumes are huge and each recipe usually requires page after page of steps….not so fun, …and many recipes like “Shoulder of Lamb stuffed with Kidneys and Rice.”..just are not my cup of tea  ;)  

But, I do like the “Pommes Anna” recipe.

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Wash and brush the potatoes, I love this little potato brush.

This is a potato dish…but Pommes are not potatoes.

Because Pomme means ‘apple’ in French.

And this recipe does not have apples in it…although that might be another modification for the future! :)

However, pomme de terre….means ‘apples of the earth’ (in French) AND….therefore, the description for a potato is “apple of the earth”!

I looked up the second part of the French name…‘Anna’ of the “Pommes Anna” recipe, and found it refers to the era of Napoleon III, where many culinary successes were named after famous “cocottes” ..or ladies of the night, to put it kindly.  Probably too much information! :)

OK,…enough background, let us talk about how simple this recipe actually is.

Using a Mandolin, slice potatoes and onions

Using a Mandolin, slice potatoes and onions

In the Midwest, many cooks…my grandparents and mother make a simple fried potato dish and add chopped onion and lots of black pepper and salt of course.  Yummy!

These Midwest potatoes resemble Potatoes Lyonnaise, …another French recipe which means pre-cooked potatoes, coupled with caramelized onions and cooked together in a frying pan.

Mandolins are very sharp...

Mandolins are very sharp…

I decided to modify the Pommes Anna by adding a layer of sliced onions with the layers of sliced potatoes…which would result in Pommes Anna…Midwest Style.

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Butter the inside of heavy skillet

Layer potatoes first

Layer potatoes first

The neat thing about this recipe is you slice the potatoes and onions and layer them in a circle in a heavy cast iron skillet, drizzle butter over each layer, which gives a delicious buttery flavor throughout the potatoes….and pop it in the oven for 40-50 minutes.

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Add melted butter to each layer

The end result is a “dome” of potatoes (and onions) for a beautiful presentation when turned upside down on a platter after baking. 

Place in a very hot oven

Place in a very hot oven

The good news is this classic French “dome” of potatoes can be baked ahead of time (up to 8 hours) and put in the fridge.

When potatoes are done...invert on a plate

When potatoes are done…invert on a plate

When ready to serve….just pop in a 350 degree oven and reheat.

Do any of you, my dear readers…. like French cooking?

Enjoy!

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Me

 

Pommes Anna...Midwest Style
Serves 4
Potatoes and onions layered into a dome shape...what a pretty presentation. Ane the taste is good too.
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Ingredients
  1. 4-6 medium russet potatoes, unpeeled
  2. 6 tablespoons melted butter
  3. 1 small onion, sliced to use as one layer
  4. Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Using a mandolin (or sharp knife) slice potatoes in 1/4 - 1/8 inch slices and set aside
  3. Slice the onion, same size and set aside
  4. Brush an ovenproof 10-inch cast iron skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter.
  5. Starting in center of skillet, arrange potato slices in a circular pattern...either flat or standing on edge.Work using a circular pattern, covering the surface. Brush with butter and generously season with salt and pepper. Make another layer with the onion slices.
  6. Brush with butter and season.
  7. Repeat for two additional potato layers
  8. Drizzle any remaining butter on top of potatoes.
  9. Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook until butter in the skillet sizzles (about 4 minutes) Transfer skillet to oven and bake about 40-50 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  10. Remove from oven and run a thin spatula around edges of potatoes to loosen.
  11. Carefully invert onto a plate and cut into wedges.
Notes
  1. Do not place sliced potatoes in water; the starch is needed to bind the layers.
  2. You can also use a nonstick skillet or pie plate.
  3. You may also use sweet potatoes alternately with the white potatoes and onion.
  4. If you prefer to peel the potatoes...please do so.
  5. Be very careful if using a mandolin to slice...always use the protector cover when the potato or onion gets smaller in size. :)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
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