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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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!
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.
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.
Yes, Lloyd Bridges did find a leak in the main drain at the bottom of the pool…
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.
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.
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.
Personally, I like the tenderness of lamb chops and they are so easy to prepare.
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.
Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to the meat market…in the rain…to purchase some lamb chops.
And can I tell you the Captain and I really enjoyed our dinner last evening.
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.
Do you like lamb chops my dear readers?
- 6 lamb chops, fat trimmed to about 1/8th of an inch.
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil or other vegetable oil.
- Mint Jelly
- Trim lamb chops of any excess fat...most are already trimmed by the butcher.
- Heat oil in heavy skillet til sizzling
- Salt and pepper each side of chop
- Place lamb chops in skillet and cook for 4 minutes on each side for a total of 8 minutes.
- Let lamb chops rest on paper towel for about 5-10 minutes
- Serve with mint jelly.
- I can eat 3 of these little chops....yes, I can. :)
- 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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, that is another song title.
Have a great beginning to your week.
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:
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….
And yesterday, I went back to show another friend, My Chocolate Cake Buddy… these beautiful, friendly birds!
Being friendly, is not a good thing as many people lure the birds with food and this interrupts their breeding cycles.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
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.
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.
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!
I looked at the price and stepped back a bit, but laid it gently in my basket anyway.
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.
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….;(
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!….Movie Review.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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….
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.
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!
- 2-3 Avocados, halved, pitted, and sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Lay out the tomato and avocado slices on a plate.
- 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.
- Add additional salt and pepper...not too much, just enough to look pretty.
- Arrange the tomatoes and avocado on a pretty plate and garnish with a mint sprig.
- Remember that dried or bottled spices are stronger than fresh.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The end result is a “dome” of potatoes (and onions) for a beautiful presentation when turned upside down on a platter after baking.
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 ready to serve….just pop in a 350 degree oven and reheat.
Do any of you, my dear readers…. like French cooking?
- 4-6 medium russet potatoes, unpeeled
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 small onion, sliced to use as one layer
- Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Using a mandolin (or sharp knife) slice potatoes in 1/4 - 1/8 inch slices and set aside
- Slice the onion, same size and set aside
- Brush an ovenproof 10-inch cast iron skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter.
- 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.
- Brush with butter and season.
- Repeat for two additional potato layers
- Drizzle any remaining butter on top of potatoes.
- 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.
- Remove from oven and run a thin spatula around edges of potatoes to loosen.
- Carefully invert onto a plate and cut into wedges.
- Do not place sliced potatoes in water; the starch is needed to bind the layers.
- You can also use a nonstick skillet or pie plate.
- You may also use sweet potatoes alternately with the white potatoes and onion.
- If you prefer to peel the potatoes...please do so.
- Be very careful if using a mandolin to slice...always use the protector cover when the potato or onion gets smaller in size. :)