WALL-E

EeeeeeVaaaaa Our Own Little Robot!!!

  Back in 2008…the Captain and I saw the Pixlar movie WALL-E!!!     We loved this little yellow robot.   You see, WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends […]

This Has Been A Public Service Announcement…..

This is really not a public service announcement but I feel that I should preface my post with that statement. Why? Because I want to talk to you about your basket or kit of first aid equipment and medication. You […]

Memorial Day10

Red, White and Blue….Oh Yeah!

Oh my gosh…..do you realize my dear readers that we are getting into all the red, white and blue celebrations? Yep! Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Labor Day and that means lots of celebrations and as you know, […]

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Cuppa This Cuppa That!

Picture this:  you are at work at the office, it is lunch time… the weather outside is frightful, the cafeteria has the same ole’ stuff which after umpteen years is getting monotonous!   The salad bar is a garden of […]

hello Dollies4

Hello Dolly…You’re Lookin’ Swell Dolly!

Confession time!!!! I have guilt about some things…..some are rational but most are not.   I am talking about something that sorta gnaws at your psyche whenever triggered by eyes, ears, nose or throat.    Let me start from the […]

 

EeeeeeVaaaaa Our Own Little Robot!!!

WALL-E

WALL-E
 
Back in 2008…the Captain and I saw the Pixlar movie WALL-E!!!
 
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We loved this little yellow robot.
 
You see, WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time. But during 700 years, WALL-E has developed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely.
 
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Then he spots EVE, a sleek and shapely blue and white probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission.
 
WALL-E, pronounced her name EeeeVaaa.   Drawing out the “E” and the “VA” in an effort to say Eve in his robotic tone. Smitten with her crisp blue and white coloring…he marvels at her swift, but methodical movements as she glides through the air.  You see, WALL-Eeeeee (as he pronounces his name) is unable to soar through the air…he is earth bound.
 
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In the movie, WALL-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.
 
My friends, meet our own little Eva….our pool cleaning robot who is also blue and white and glides through the water much as her sister robot, Eve.
 
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When we first brought Eva to live with us…the Captain used to watch her intently…He was trying to figure out her “algorithm”! It is fascinating to watch her work!
I must tell you that Eva is known by every pool service technician who has ever serviced our pool….and the pool is serviced on a weekly basis.
 
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And Yep!  They call her Eva too!
 
By that I mean, they ask me…
….”Do you want me to put Eva in for you?”
 
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OR, they might say…
….”I don’t think Eva needs to be put in the pool today,….is it ok if I leave Eva out?”
 
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You would think a pool technician would say something like, “do you want me to put the pool cleaner in?”….rather than call her by the name I gave her… 6 years ago, when she came to “live” with us here at Villa de la Luna!
 
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Yep! Each Pool tech (and there have been many over the years)…They all know her name.  They probably made a note on our Pool Service Account..
 
..weird woman has named the pool cleaner, humor her and call the pool cleaner by the name she has chosen….EVA, …which is after the robot in the almost 10 year old movie …WALL-E, which none of us have seen, as we are all either too young or too old or we just don’t like animated movies!
 
Yes, I know…I am weird, because I name everything!  I just like things to be personal.  I’m not sure where that comes from. 
 
Have a great Wednesday my dear readers….EeeeVaaa is in the pool and I think she needs watching, while I’m drinking a tall glass of iced tea…with lemon and mint. 
 
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This Has Been A Public Service Announcement…..

This is really not a public service announcement but I feel that I should preface my post with that statement.

Why?

Because I want to talk to you about your basket or kit of first aid equipment and medication.

You see, last week, I found myself in a predicament of sorts.

Yes, I know I have been in predicaments many times before, but this time I really outdid myself, soooo I have a story to tell.

As many of you know, I have been painting the kitchen. living room. dining room and kitchen nook…they are all one big giant room so you really can’t just paint one of them.

AND I have been painting the dark stained woodwork…WHITE!

Yikes!  I know some people will cringe at the thought of taking beautiful stained wood and painting it.

But I digress a bit.

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The Captain and I have this huge liquor cabinet…I mean this dude is tall (a little over 6 foot) and it is about four foot wide.  I bought this large piece of furniture mostly to fill a corner space in our open living area when we first moved into this house.  It stores wine glasses etc as well as a few bottles of….adult drinks.  I tell you that to tell you this.

I was on the floor behind this large cabinet….painting

….it had only been moved out about 2 feet from the wall..I know, what was I thinking?  But it was heavy!

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And I was painting the woodwork back there and I am not sure how…but somehow, I ended up from a kneeling position on both knees to a sitting position with both knees under my chin, faced with the corner of the wall in front of me and in back of me …. and the cabinet pressing in on one side…and the gallon paint can, glass of water and my cell phone on the floor close by.

Please don’t ask me to explain because I am not sure exactly what happened or how it happened….but the next thing I knew was, I heard and felt a pop in my left knee and I couldn’t move.

I was stuck.

And the pain in my left knee was excruciating!

A normal person, who has not had a torn meniscus and knee surgery on their right leg and arthritis in both knee joints could most likely have just popped up out of that position.

But I was stuck.

Being the methodical person that I am…I assessed the situation.

  • First the Captain was flying and would not be home for 3 days. Check!
  • Second, Jesse James my little pom had proven many times before that he was no “Lassie”.  I knew he could not go for help! Check!
  • Third, I remained calm, knowing I had my cell phone within reach and could call the fire department for a rescue, …embarrassing as that would be.
  • But fourth….I looked down at my painting attire.  I had on a large oversized black T-Shirt splattered with paint that said Heroes Wanted…apply here in lime green lettering. (I kid you not) and….well, well…oh golly, I am embarrassed to say this, but only my underwear. Remember, I told you the T-Shirt was extra large, it covered my bum completely! And I was not expecting company, just a day of painting.

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Thoughts raced through my head….knowing full well that fireman and paramedics had most likely seen worse, Still, I quickly pushed a rescue from public servants to the bottom of my methodical list….and worked at trying to unwind myself from this silly predicament. 

Finally, somehow I managed to get my one good leg/knee sorta stretched out (actually it is the one I had surgery on and in reality it is not “good”)…but at this moment it was the better of the two legs. ….but the other knee would not move one way or another….without sending out sharp-shooting-stabs-with-a-knife-kind-of-pain. 

Slowly, I inched my way backwards toward open territory, scooting on my bum, left leg still bent like a grasshopper and using my good leg for a pusher/off-er….like Katherine Hepburn in the movie, African Queen, used a long wooden pole to help move the boat through the muddy reeds. 

Sighing heavily, I rested on my back on the floor with one leg stretched out and the other knee throbbing in pain….and said a little prayer.

I wiggled toes and feet to assure nothing was broken….but I still could not move my bent knee.

Luckily, I had the ladder close by…you see, I was prepared for such a situation.

I was in Girl Scouts! So I scooted on my bum over to the ladder.  I was getting good at this although I did not see myself using this mode of transportation for the rest of my life.

So I thought I could work my way up the ladder with my hands, keeping my one leg bent (I couldn’t straighten it if I wanted to) and use my good leg for balance.

AND it worked. 

Once I reached a standing position, I again tried to straighten my bent knee, and although there was pain, I was able to finally get both legs on the floor.

Whoopee!!!  Now, all I had to do was get to the freezer for the ice paks as my knee was swelling like a balloon.

AND to our medical basket for the heating pad and Ibuprofen.

I thanked my efficient self for hanging two walking canes near the garage door, how handy was that?

The Ice Paks were in the freezer in a drawer all their own.  how handy was that?

Now on to the Medicine basket in the Master Bathroom linen closet.

I reached for the basket and grabbed the Ibuprofen and began the search for the heating pad.

It was not where I usually kept it and I quit patting myself on the back for having everything handy.

It took a bit of searching while balancing on a cane but eventually I found it in another basket on a higher shelf….and I made a resolution that I would re-organize the medical basket as soon as I was on the mend.  I also noticed out dated medications and an empty band aid container.

Well, at least I had not cut myself, but it was obvious my medicine basket was in need of updating.

So my question to you my dear readers.

Have you updated your first aid kit or medicine basket recently or have you been like me and have a basket full of empty band aid containers and/or unraveled gauze and a stray heating pad? 

The American Red Cross recommends you check your kit and replace perishable stock every six months. http://www.redcross.org/

Oh, I am walking a little slow but putting hot and cold compresses on and the doctor said take two ibuprofen and see him tomorrow.

Well, that is not quite accurate…I couldn’t get in to see him for a week.  Appointment is Tuesday!  I am not too excited about his prognosis.  It will most likely be the same as the other knee.  We shall see how things go.  

Have a great beginning to your week!

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Red, White and Blue….Oh Yeah!

Memorial Day10

Memorial Day10

Oh my gosh…..do you realize my dear readers that we are getting into all the red, white and blue celebrations?

Yep! Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Labor Day and that means lots of celebrations and as you know, I really love to decorate and celebrate.

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Soooo, I am getting my “act” together and assembling all the red white and blue I can find….and I still have a huge box in the garage I need to pull into use. Ugh!

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But I enjoy it so much.

Below I have a quick recipe for Kung Pao Chicken which has nothing to do with our red, white and blue theme other than it is a quick and easy recipe and I hope you enjoy it.  

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It is one of those recipes you can whip up for a quick evening meal and not feel a bit guilty because it is soooo delish.

It is especially good for me and the Captain because I am back at the “painting”….my goodness this dark woodwork takes a lot of TLC to get it to be a bright white and so I don’t want to overdo so I am really taking my time. 🙂

OK, I am being a bit lazy and allowing a lot of time between coats of paint.

….well, it really does need time to cure.

The paint I mean.

OK, so it does not necessarily need time to cure between coats…I am taking a few liberties here!

But it’s my paint party and I’ll let dry if I want to.

OK, bad pun from an old song. 🙂

Just make this recipe below….it is a printable as usual.

I promise it will make you smile as you eat it.

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Now, just how much of that box of red, white and blue stuff do I have room to set out? 

Hmmmmmm???

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Blessings to all and have a great week-end.

I can hear the band playing John Philip Sousa’s Patriotic March….can’t you?

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Kung Pao Chicken
You don't have to go to your favorite Chinese restaurant for this quick and easy chicken recipe.
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Marinade
  1. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  2. 2 tsp Chinese rice wine vinegar
  3. 1½ tsp corn starch
  4. 2 chicken thighs or 1 lg breast, diced
Sauce
  1. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  2. 2 tsp soy sauce
  3. 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  4. 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  5. 1 tsp molasses
  6. 1 tsp corn starch
  7. 1/t tsp sichuan peppercorns (toasted)
  8. 2 tbsp veg oil
  9. 1 tsp red chili flakes
  10. 3 green onions finely sliced
  11. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  12. 1 tsp ginger, minced
garnish
  1. red chiles, finely sliced
  2. frrsh coriander
  3. dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  4. lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Prepare the chicken while the rice cooks.*see note below on making coconut rice or you can make rice of your choice.
  2. Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar and corn starch for the marinade. Cover the chicken with the marinade and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  3. Over a medium heat in a non-stick skillet toast the Sichuan peppercorns until they are slightly colored and fragrant. Crush them in a mortar and pestle if you have one or use rolling pin and cutting board
  4. In a medium bowl mix the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, molasses and corn starch. Add the toasted sichuan peppercorns to this mix.
  5. Place a non-stick skillet over a high heat. Add the vegetable oil and fry the diced chicken quickly, tossing occasionally, until slightly brown and almost cooked through. (About 8 minutes) Add the minced garlic and ginger and cook for additional 1-2 minutes
  6. Add the sauce mix to the pan and toss to coat the chicken. Add the dried chili flakes and stir.
  7. Serve over rice and garnish with chiles, coriander, peanuts and lime wedges
Notes
  1. *Place the rice and coconut milk in a medium sauce pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to minimum and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. Add a tsp of black onion seeds at the end if desired.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Cuppa This Cuppa That!

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Picture this:  you are at work at the office, it is lunch time…

the weather outside is frightful,

the cafeteria has the same ole’ stuff which after umpteen years is getting monotonous!  

The salad bar is a garden of browned edged ice berg lettuce and a few slices of cucumber and one last cherry tomato.

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And the grill cook is that grumpy dude/dudette with the opaque colored hair net that doesn’t quite get all the wispy/stray hairs under the cap and you wonder what is the purpose of the hairnet…

… who scowls at you, as you look over the same menu hoping to find something just a little bit different

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and

….you think about the PB&J you left on the counter at home.

OR 

You did bring left overs from home

…and you put the lidded container of 3 day old chop suey next to some one else’s open container of mac and cheese that is beginning to look like a science project the in the company fridge.

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You open the door to the fridge and quickly close the door of the fridge….thinking what is a girl to do?

Oh sure, you could go out and brave the elements.  It certainly would not be the first time you ran in the rain or slushed through the snow for lunch.

Sooooooo how about Pizza?

In a cup!

Really!!

Yep, we have all seen the quick recipes for cake in a cup, but how about pizza in a cup. 

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Of course, thinking of pizza in a cup is not going to help you on this particular day, but you can plan for it tomorrow because you more than likely have all the ingredients in your pantry at home.

Do a trial run for that quick snack or meal at home tonight.  You know when you don’t have much time and you have to get to the soccer game or the book club?

There are many different recipes floating around in cyberspace but the ingredients are basically the same.  Just the toppings are different.

Here is how it works:

Add all dry ingredients to your microwaveable cup 

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Add milk and olive oil and mix well

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spoon on tomato sauce, herbs, cheese and pepperoni

Microwave for a little over a minute…microwaves vary 

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Eat and enjoy!

If you are planning on making this at work, you can use plastic baggies for dry, wet ingredients and toppings. I would suggest buying a small carton of milk and either drinking it with your pizza or storing the carton in the fridge.

Hey, my friends….it is something different and it really does taste like a quick pizza.  

Does it replace that ole wood fired pizza from your favorite pizza place?

No, but it is a quick solution to lunch, snack or even dinner at home on those busy nights when you just don’t have time to cook.

Blessings and hugs

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Cuppa Pizza
Use what ever toppings you like for your cuppa pizza...just like making it in a pan...only a single serving.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  2. 1/8 teaspoon baking powder (I used a pinch)
  3. 1/16 teaspoon baking soda (I used a pinch)
  4. 1/8 teaspoon salt (I used a dash)
  5. 3 tablespoons milk
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  7. 1 tablespoon marinara sauce (I used a squirt of tomato sauce in a tube)
  8. 1 tablespoon shredded mozzarella cheese (or a little more if you prefer)
  9. 5 mini pepperoni (or full sized pepperoni cut into fourths)
  10. 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (or use oregano)
Instructions
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large microwavable mug, being sure to scrape the sides well
  2. Add the milk and oil (it doesn't have to be copletely smooth)
  3. Spoon on the marinara/tomato sauce (do not stir it in)
  4. Sprinkle on the cheese, followed by the oregano and the pepperoni
  5. Microwave for 1 minute plus about 15 seconds, or until the pizza is all bubbly
3 small baggies
  1. If making this at work, just put all your dry ingredients in a small plastic baggie, the olive oil, oregano and tomato sauce in another...and the pepperoni and cheese in another..Now, the milk could be in another baggie but if you have milk at work for coffee...you could use that. Or be creative and purchase a small carton of milk to eat with your pizza. Just sayin'
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Hello Dolly…You’re Lookin’ Swell Dolly!

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Confession time!!!!

I have guilt about some things…..some are rational but most are not.  

I am talking about something that sorta gnaws at your psyche whenever triggered by eyes, ears, nose or throat. 

 

Let me start from the beginning.

Yes, as you might have guessed….I have a story to tell.

Picture this:  1980 and I have a brainstorm!  I am going to put together a cookbook of recipes from all  my friends and family. 

So, I start my campaign by calling and talking to anyone and everyone and asking for 3 recipes….  An entree, a side dish and a dessert and if they happen to have another recipe they would like to throw in the pot….great!  The more the merrier so to speak.

Thankfully, I was inundated with recipes…and I hauled out my typewriter….(I did not have a computer back then) and I began to type recipes, two to a page as I compiled my cookbook.

If you had seen my dining room table, with me typing away, a pencil stuck in my messy hair bun, recipes strewn stacked in piles around the table….sipping on a glass of iced tea, you might have thought I looked a bit like Jessica Fletcher in “Murder She Wrote”!

First confession: is I did get all the recipes typed.

Second confession: is I did make most of the yummy recipes myself just to see if they were really as good as they looked.  And they were! 

Third confession: is I made an executive decision to not include recipes that looked as if they had been an afterthought by the person providing the recipe….such as open a can of corn, add pimento and put in a pan and heat on stove.  I wanted recipes that shouted “Make Me”!

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I know, I know…. my bad!

Oh, and 4th confession:  I did finally get the little booklet of recipes put together.  I made a front and back cover of Kelly green construction paper cut in half and I held the recipe pages together with two bright gold brads.  I then used my Calligraphy pen to scroll the title …FAMILY AND FRIENDS FAVORITE RECIPES….but unfortunately there are a few people who did not get a copy because as in the real life of book writing and publishing…well, sort of publishing…and sort of book writing….I know, I am taking liberties here…..a major crisis happened and everything went all topsy-turvy. It was a very unfortunate time in our lives and what happened really is not relevant…the fact remains that a few friends and family did not get copies of the home-made cook book.

So fast forward to last evening….my baseball team, KC Royals… had their game postponed, so I used my time to search through my recipe files for recipes to share with you, my dear readers.

And you guessed it, I came across one of the recipes that I had deemed an “afterthought” recipe…handwritten in Helen’s handwriting.  

And I smiled because I have indeed made this recipe many, many times and found it very rich and delicious,… but her recipe did not make the “cut” to the cookbook.

The name of the recipe you ask?

Hello Dollies!

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Do any of you remember the song Hello Dolly made famous by the pretty blond lady named Carol Channing?

Ok, let me tell you about this recipe just in case any of you have not heard of it.  

It is made by just adding 7 layers to a baking dish, much like a 7 layer taco dip (which did make the cut, by the way)…go figure.  I am sure I thought the ingredients looked and sounded better in the taco dip than the ingredients in the Hello Dollies!  I don’t know….who knows my state of mind 36 years ago????  Anyway, you toss the layers in and bake and that is it.

But the actual recipe is much older than that.  At least 50 years old.  It is believed to have appeared in a 1965 magazine called “The Week” that featured a recipe submitted by young 11-year old Alecia Leigh Couch of Dallas, Texas, called Hello Dolly Cake, that contained these same basic ingredients. Alecia said that the recipe was from her grandma, and she liked the musical “Hello Dolly” (which appeared on Broadway in 1964), so that is the name she chose for her recipe.  However, it appears that an Oklahoma newspaper had earlier that same year, already published Hello dolly Cookies, with similar ingredients. And there are those that have said the recipe (called Magic Bars) appeared on the back of a can of Eagle Brand condensed milk, long before 1965.

Most likely, you have heard of this recipe.  Some of the names are: 7-Layer Bars, (including 7-Layer Cookies), Chewy Delights, Chocolate Graham Squares, Graham Chips Squares, Washington Cookies, and of course, Magic Bars, and these days there have been a multitude of variations! There is also the white chocolate version with dried cranberries, drizzled with raspberry or strawberry jam that you might see at Christmas time.

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So what are these magic 7 ingredients you may ask?

1. Graham crackers

2.Butter

3.Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

4.Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

5.Butterscotch Chips

6.Flaked Coconut

7.Chopped Nuts

You can add peanut butter chips, chocolate chunks, chocolate graham crackers, cinnamon sugar graham crackers, crushed pretzels, dried cranberries, chocolate covered peanuts, M&M’s, white chocolate chips …just go wild with whatever you have on hand or would like to have in your “Magic Bars”

Soooooooo last evening, the Hello Dollies recipe triggered that old guilt feeling….

NOW….final confession and apology:

“I am so sorry Helen that I did not include your Hello Dollies in my little cookbook 36 years ago.  It was not an afterthought recipe and just because I did not like coconut (at that time…I love it now) or for whatever reason I deemed the recipe an afterthought recipe, it is definitely a winner and should have been included in the cook book….I so award it this day, one of the easiest and best tasting recipes to whip up when company appears at the front door.  Please forgive me!” 

There!  I feel better, the guilt has eased some… although I am not sure Helen will feel better.  You see, she didn’t get one of the cookbooks either, so she doesn’t know that her Hello Dollies recipe did not make the cut 36 years ago. (After my “crisis”, she and her family moved to the country and then we moved and then…..well, you know how that goes).

Until now, that is… if she is reading this.

Call me Helen.  We need to talk!

Blessings always to all!   (Especially Helen)

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Hello Dollies or 7 Layer Magic Bars
There are so many variations of the "Magic 7 layer bar" You can add any other chips, dried fruits or candies and any flavor of graham crackers. The main ingredients are the graham cracker crumbs, butter and Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed milk.
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Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (about 8 whole graham crackers)
  2. 1/2 cup butter melted (1 stick)
  3. 1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed milk (do NOT use evaporated milk)
  4. 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  5. 1 cup of butterscotch chips
  6. 1-1/3 cups flaked coconut
  7. 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Crush graham crackers to a fine crumb (use processor if you have one) and add the melted butter
  3. Add parchment paper (for easy removal) and press the crumb mixture firmly on the bottom of 13×9-inch baking pan.
  4. Pour Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture.
  5. Begin layering the chips, coconut and nuts and press down firmly.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes and cool slightly
  7. Cut into squares and carefully lift out of baking pan by the edges of the parchment paper.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.
  9. Store covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. This is a great quick dessert that is very rich and delicious. Loved by all.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Grillin’, Shrimpin’ and Pink Gold…Really Good Eats!

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I love love love to grill outside!

I don’t care what it is….corn on the cob, asparagus, tomatoes, pineapple, steaks, fresh salmon, shrimp, chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers…..you name it, for some reason these foods taste so much better on the grill.

Don’t ya think?

AND eating outside is the best.

Here in Florida, eating on the lanai is commonplace.  

In fact, when the Captain and I go out to eat…we ask for outside seating…and almost every restaurant has outside seating and if you are seated by the water….well, it doesn’t get any better than this.  

I guess it is because we lived in the Midwest for so many years and the cold, windy and/or snowy days prevented us from being outside for most of the year.

However, yesterday…Beautiful grand daughter #3 and her honey made grilled chicken on their grill…. outside….in Kansas….

AND creamy deviled egg potato salad….and fresh green beans…..and sent me the pics. Yummy!!!!

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I mean….COME ON!!!!!!!   

And of course It made me very hungry as I salivated over the pics….especially since I had chili cheese dogs for my dinner.  You see, the Captain was flying and  I quickly made something simple so I could watch the Kansas City Royals win their baseball game against the Atlanta Braves !!! #Let’s Go Royals!!! #ForeverRoyal!!!

Sorry, I got a bit carried away!

Today, I ran to my fish monger and bought some of the most beautiful fresh shrimp! 

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That is an advantage of living close to the Gulf of Mexico! We can purchase fresh shrimp/fish straight off of the boats.  People around here call shrimp… pink gold! 

BTW, the Key West Express boat in background of above pic, leaves daily for a Key West day trip (or an overnight stay) in Key West.  Such fun as the express catamaran will ferry you at 36 mph speeds, slicing through the Gulf of Mexico…down and back.  It leaves at 8:30 am and comes back at 5:30 pm)

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A bit of trivia for you:

“The shrimp fleet of San Carlos Island offloads more Florida pink shrimp than anywhere else in Florida. Connoisseurs consider this indigenous Gulf of Mexico species among the sweetest in the United States.”

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I think you will like the recipe below, it is so easy and I was able to take advantage of my herb garden.  

Don’t ya just love herbs?

I grow rosemary, thyme, dill, chives, oregano, cilantro, peppermint, spearmint, parsley, Italian basil and purple basil among others just outside my kitchen window. 

I have a confession….

….when I am in my Secret Garden, sometimes I just sniff the herbs, inhaling their beautiful fresh scents, much like one would sniff roses and other flowers.

And then I snap off a piece of mint, and put it in my tall glass of iced tea!

What more could one want? Life is good.

Try the shrimp recipe below….it works just as  well with flash frozen shrimp…just takes a few minutes and tastes oh so good!

Have a Blessed day!

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Grilled Shrimp with Herbs
A perfect spring/summer recipe that is so easy to make and tastes so good. go to your herb garden and cut whatever herbs you like or buy them at your supermarket.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 pounds large fresh unpeeled shrimp
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. Juice of 2 lemons
  4. Zest from 1 lemon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  8. 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
  9. 1/4 cup fresh chopped chives
  10. 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  11. dash of hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl except for the shrimp.
  2. Peel and clean the shrimp leaving on the tails....this is not only a pretty presentation it helps to stay on the skewer
  3. Place the shrimp in the marinade mixture, and allow them to marinade for at least 30 minutes or longer
  4. Make sure your grill (or cast iron skillet if you are not grilling outside) is very hot
  5. Skewer 5 to 6 shrimp and grill on each side for about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Brush the shrimp with the marinade while cooking. Do not overcook..the shrimp will cook very fast
  6. Can be served hot for cold, garnish with a few with lemon slices, halved grape tomatoes and fresh dill
Notes
  1. This Shrimp recipe can be used when making linguine, or shrimp and grits or just "as is" along with a side salad.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Eaglet (E8) Update!

E8

E8

My dear readers, if you remember my post last week about the Great Horned Owl incident…you will know that E8, Harriet’s 3 month old eaglet had been knocked from a limb by a large owl and the worst was feared as the one of the few enemies of Eagles is Horned Owls.  This was on the evening of May 7.

The other eaglet (E7) was found the next day as he managed to get back in the tree…but E8 did not appear.

Until….Friday.

The headline in our local newspaper read:

“A juvenile American bald eagle “strongly believed” to be E8 was found in critical condition near the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam on Friday, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife said”. (CROW)

The eaglet was very thin, dehydrated and weak as one would imagine after being gone for almost a week.  No one knows if the little eaglet was always at the bottom of the nest tree or if he managed to get there from somewhere else, but it has been confirmed that it is indeed E8.

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CROW officials, the same agency who tended to E8’s leg (in February, see above pic) that had become entangled in fishing line, said E8 had surgery to fix a fractured femur Saturday.

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You will note that the eaglet that I refer to as “little” is just a bit bigger….but as eagles go, he is still considered little, though he has donned feathers….he is still only 3 months old.  

Also, this is the same agency who tended to Ozzie, Harriet’s mate before the dreaded encounter with Harriet’s current mate, M15.

Officials said they used a pin to hold the bone in place. E8 woke up after and is on strict cage rest.

This nest, which in the past as been an interesting “watch” by the eagle cam….has for the last few years been mostly uneventful as Ozzie and Harriet tended the nest and their hatch-lings. 

However, tragedy has been the norm for this year.

First Ozzie was injured supposedly flying into a train and was in hospital for 3 months.

Meanwhile, Harriet took on a new mate not knowing what had happened to Ozzie.

When Ozzie was returned to the wild…Harriet’s new mate attacked him and a few days later, Ozzie died.

Then one of the two eaglets became entangled in fishing line and the agency (who normally does not interfere) took the eagle from the nest, removed the fishing line and mended his leg.

And then the Great Horned Owl incident.

I just wanted to give you an update….obviously, more to come.

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Elephants Can Retire In Florida too!!!

elephants

elephants

My dear readers…apparently Elephants can retire too!

AND I am happy to note that these huge, beautiful animals have recently retired from the circus.  

No more leg chains and long, nightly train rides in the middle of the night followed by daily performances, and prods with elephant hooks. 

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You see, The elephants from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus officially retired at their new home in Polk County, Florida. The retirement of these animals came at the request of animal support groups.

The Center for Elephant Conservation welcomed the parade of twenty-one elephants and rewarded them with a huge welcome home buffet!  Eleven of these enormous pachyderms are the last of the performing circus elephants. The overall plan is for 39 elephants to retire in Florida, which would be the largest Asian elephant herd in the Western Hemisphere, according to the Center for Elephant Conservation.

I was so happy to hear that there would be lots of food and veterinary care on the 200 acres ….and lots of room for elephants to be elephants, by joining their own social groups while enjoying an abundance of grass and areas to graze.  In other words a great retirement home!  

Soooo as  my thoughts drifted to someone perhaps driving down a country road someday, near the Conservation Center…. and perhaps they would catch a glimpse of an elephant or two.  I could imagine their shock at seeing elephants grazing in Florida and it reminded me of a story I wrote not long after I started my Blog several years ago.

The title was “It’s a Jungle out there!”  and I would like to share it with you again:

I was stopped at a stop light a couple of days ago and out of the corner of my eye I saw a large object move.  I turned to look and saw a man leading a camel.  A Camel in Florida? 

 Really not that unusual,  especially since the circus was in town and had set up a huge red and white striped tent in that same pasture beside the road on the outskirts of town.

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circus tent

Have you ever seen something…. which triggered a memory and then you laughed out loud? All by yourself? I do that sometimes! 

LOL

Well, I laughed out loud at the sight of the Camel! I will tell you the story behind my giggling.

Several years ago, my Oldest Son and daughter-in-law, (love her,… she is a special daughter-in-law)

just thought I would throw that in…you never know who is reading this post! 🙂

Just kidding! Just bein’ Me!

Seriously, it is all true… My daughter-in-law is special!

Anyway…back to my story!  So Oldest Son, daughter-in-law and my First Grandson were traveling from Salina, Kansas to visit me in Kansas City. (See map below for clarification!)

photo

Salina is about 180 miles from KC…which is about a 3 hour drive…give or take a few minutes!

 The interstate can be quite boring as the cities and towns are mostly off the highway…so all you see….is pasture after pasture after pasture of flat lands with very few trees.

more flatlands

Well,… it can get monotonous. Really monotonous! I was born and raised in Salina…I know of which I speak…but I still love Kansas! 

Believe me, I have traveled that highway many times over the years and I actually looked forward to those annoying orange barrels signifying road work! 

orange barrells

the barrels broke the monotony, bringing a little excitement to the landscape!  

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Yes, it’s that bad boring! 

flatlands

Back to my story….So Oldest Son, in an effort to help pass the time on ANY long trip has always suggested that the family play a game by looking for animals and birds…with Oldest Son (being the driver) awarding imaginary points to the one acquiring the most sightings.

I never did know what the prize was. It was probably imaginary too! 🙂

Sooooo as I  said, … points were given for the usual Midwest animals like raccoon, coyote, skunk, possum, red-tailed hawk and so on.

coyote

Coyote

(You get the picture).

However, IF it was a rare sighting of an animal or bird …such as an Eagle, a few more points would be added to the person’s tally.  

By the way….I hope I remember my facts correctly as I tell this story, …;) … or Oldest Son will let me know! 🙂

eagle

Eagle

The story goes like this….the trio stopped for gas at a filling service station just on the outskirts of the Interstate,… in other words it was way off the highway. After leaving the station, they had to motor through a small section of a residential area. They were moving rather slowly and suddenly Daughter-in-Law speaks and she says:  

“Do monkeys count?” 

monkey

Reportedly, … Oldest Son said something to the effect…..

“yes, …  if you saw a real monkey!”  emphasizing the word “real”.

monkey2

“I saw a monkey on the front porch of that house back there” Daughter-in-Law said quietly.

“Really?”  Oldest Son said incredulously,  “A real live monkey??” 

“yes,” Daughter-in-Law replied.

So Oldest Son turned the car around and backtracked to Daughter-in-Law’s sighting.  

Sure enough!  On the front porch of a house sat a monkey! Apparently a pet!

I don’t remember the part of the story regarding: Did the monkey have a leash and collar? But, I do remember that Oldest Son said it was a real monkey!

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So Daughter-in-Law was awarded points for the monkey sighting as Oldest Son and 1st Grandson carried on a conversation over how ridiculous and unlikely it was to see a monkey in the middle of Kansas.

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Fox

Back on the highway, 1st Grandson and Oldest Son kept sighting various animals and birds common to Kansas and accumulating points.

About an hour or so down the highway, Daughter-in-Law spoke again.

“Do camels count?” 

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“What?” Oldest Son said his voice raising and accenting the end of the “T” in “what”.  If you know oldest son, you can almost hear him speaking this word.

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Daughter-in-Law pointed to a pasture and said: 

“there is a herd of camels in that pasture”

Oldest Son quickly pulled the car to the side of the road and they all stared out at the pasture at ….yep! …  a small herd of camels were grazing and walking among the cattle!

Daughter-in-Law was awarded more points…

camel2

Later, Oldest Son…being the investigative type of person, found out that the camels had been purchased by the large land owner as a hobby or perhaps it was an effort to see if camels could survive in Kansas.

Sorry, …I don’t remember that part of the story! I have selective Memory… on some things!

However, I would hope the owner would put the camels in heated barns! Those harsh Kansas winters are horrible!  

You know me….always thinking of the cold!! 🙂

And laughing out loud! (My First Grandson would use the acronym LOL!)

I always thought LOL meant love ya lots!  

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Birthday Princess

holly irvin

I couldn’t help but think of beautiful grand daughter #3 when I saw the above quotation from Holly Irwin, famous painter.

4th birthday

And I couldn’t help but think of the relationship my grand daughter has with this pretty little girl, who just turned 4 years old…

If you could see them together and listen to their chatter….it would melt your heart, just as it has melted my heart and Only Daughter’s heart too.

Forgive me if I do a bit of bragging…but my grand daughter made this little Cutie Pie a Barbie cake for her birthday.

birthay

Isn’t this cake adorable?

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And you can tell, by the big smile on Cutie Pie’s face that she loved her cake.

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She also loved her day with the bumper cars…

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And if you can believe it…she loves to play soccer!  Yep! that’s my girl…getting involved in sports early. 🙂

But do you know what this little Cutie Pie loves the most?

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Baking with my grand daughter….See the cute little apron? Only Daughter made them matching aprons for Christmas and when those two get in the kitchen….wonderful things happen.

Every evening, Only daughter, Beautiful Grand daughter #3 and I text back and forth while watching the Kansas City Royals play baseball.  And we talk about food.  And Alex Gordon…and Salvadore Perez and did I say desserts? 

Uh huh!…and many times we are seeing pictures of something wonderful from the oven from Cutie Pie and my grand daughter. Which makes me hungry.  I love their creativity with mixing up different ingredients for cookies or cinnamon rolls or …well, you get the picture. The little acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. 🙂

And that takes me back to the Holly Irwin quote above….Cutie Pie loves to have my grand daughter shampoo and comb her hair, because she does it so gently and lovingly.  Yes, these are acts of creativity and love.  What greater gift can one bestow upon another?

birthday

I am so excited because the first week in July, this wonderful family, Cutie Pie, Her handsome brother, Daddy and my Beautiful grand daughter #3  are coming down to Florida to be with the Captain and I !!!!  Hip Hip Hooray!!! I can’t wait and I am marking the days off on my calendar!

I am truly blessed.

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Primers, Paint And Fish!!!

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My dear readers….I seem to be on a painting frenzy AND a fish recipe frenzy!

But first, lets talk about paint.

I remember the Primer books in 1st and 2nd grade, when as children, we were taught to read.  The Primer books were sooo cool to me.  

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I loved reading about Father getting all the lawn furniture out of their basement, washing and painting them up in fire-engine red, sunny yellow, bright blue and kelly green.

I loved reading about Dick and Jane and Spot and Janet.

I certainly didn’t identify with the Spring ritual of painting furniture, because growing up…we didn’t really have actual lawn furniture….and we certainly didn’t paint our chairs bright, bold colors.   When we sat outside, we pulled furniture from inside the house to sit on. 

Perhaps the reason I loved reading about “run, Spot run”….was/is the same reason I love to read today.

Reading takes one away to a different place and time and the romantic part of me places me right there,  whether it is Mowgli running through the jungle or Agatha Christie solving mysteries on the Orient Express. Soooo therapeutic.

And painting is also therapeutic for me. Everything gets a new lease on life.

Which leads me to my story of my paint store experience.

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My Secret Garden started out with muted colors which evolved into a few yellows, red, blue and green in the chairs that sat around the outdoor dining table.

color7  Pops of color started emerging everywhere.

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color

Then the hot pink mandevilla flowers entwined in and about the pergola

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and the bright red hibiscus

morning

and the terracotta orange concrete steps bordered by balustrades. 

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And then the mosiac multi-colored Mexican tiles on the stair risers.

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Yep, quite a plethora of colors.

So I am standing in the middle of the paint store looking at paint colors for outdoor furniture.  Yep, just like Father in the Primer Books. 😉  

I had already decided on the bright blue color for the potting bench…see the link below for the potting bench bright new color.

Not Quite a Potager…But Close Enough!

but I had a brainstorm after picking out the blue paint.

The seating bench could use a “sprucing up”…I mulled this over and over in my mind, luckily the cover for the cushion had just been replaced…with the same bright orange cover. (I bought two of them when I purchased the bench several years ago)

BUT…what color should I choose for the wooden framework?

I kept imagining a bright yellow, but dismissed it when thinking about the orange cushion…and so as I stood there taking up space, trying to do a MacGyver process in my head, I realized I just couldn’t make up my mind.

So I started doing a deduction process. The Secret Garden already had bright blue and bright red and ok, I won’t bore you with color details….but as I was getting ready to give up and go home and forget about painting the seating bench…I suddenly had an idea.  Why not use an espresso brown color…just like the window shutters.  Yes, it would be a “safe” color as that color was already on the shutters on the back of the house and it would be good with the orange color. So I grabbed up the espresso paint along with my blue paint for the potting bench and headed home.

All the way home, I second guessed my choice of espresso….so the first thing I did when I got home was to go out to the Secret Garden and take another look at the seating bench.

I stood there laughing at my silliness.  The Captain had met me at the door and followed me out to the Secret Garden and now he asked why I was laughing….I said:

“look at the NEW paint color I bought for the seating bench!”

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A frown furrowed on his brow and he said….”what is new about it? It is the same color isn’t it?”

Alas, yes….it was the original color of the bench.  I wasted all that time trying to picture colors that might work with the orange seat cushion when the original color was the exact same color I purchased.

Oh, well…I also reminded myself of the 3 brand new nail polish bottles sitting on my manicure table.  They are not only the same brand…they are the same color of coral nail polish. I pick one up when I spot a new color in Walgreens.

I must like coral….and espresso!

Which leads me to catfish and my childhood. (how did you like that for a segue?)

We may not have painted any lawn furniture when I was growing up, but we did eat lots and lots of catfish.

I have always liked catfish and my favorite way of preparing it is pan frying it in a cast iron skillet.

Which you can do out on your grill….while you are painting your lawn furniture. 

“Look Jane, Father is painting your chair blue!”

“Run, Spot Run”

The handy dandy printable recipe is below.

Hugs

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Catfish in a Cast Iron Skillet
I love fried catfish and this recipe is so easy and with the use of Panko bread crumbs....soooo easy....and did I say Delicious?
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Ingredients
  1. 4 to 6 whole catfish fillets
  2. 1/3 cup cooking oil (I use canola but you can use vegetable)
  3. 2 large eggs
  4. 1/3 cup flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning (optional)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  9. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  10. 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  11. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  12. 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  13. 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Instructions
  1. Rinse catfish and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat or you can put a cast iron skillet on your outdoor grill.
  3. Set up 3 dredging stations (I use aluminum pie plates) and in the first combine the flour, salt, pepper, Creole or Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, paprika, onion and garlic powder.
  4. The second add the beaten eggs The third pie pan add the parsley to the Panko crumbs
  5. Dust the catfish in the flour mixture, then dip in the eggs and lastly roll in the Panko mixture Place the breaded fillets on paper towels
  6. Fry, in batches about 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through.
  7. Drain on paper towels and serve with tartar sauce, lemon wedges
Notes
  1. I love catfish with just about any potato or rice there is....and if you add a green salad or cole slaw, you have a great meal
  2. * If you don't catch your own catfish, flash frozen ones are just as good. I particularly like the farm raised catfish in the U.S.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
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