Archive for July, 2015

Rain + Heat + Tides = Mosquitoes

Rain + Heat + Tides = Mosquitoes  Ugh!!!!!!

Here in Florida it appears we have the “perfect storm” so to speak, for breeding mosquitoes!

The same ecological conditions that draw tourists and provide great fishing, boating and kayaking …also make for ideal mosquito breeding grounds! Ugh! These include our beaches, bays, salt marshes, rivers, tidal creeks and mangroves.

2015-07-31_14-26-55Some of you are saying that you only have mosquitoes at certain times of the year and that is true for Florida too….and the time of year in Florida is around our Monsoon Season, which is right now.

Ideally, when summer rains begin, they remain steady so breeding areas stay covered with water, thus preventing mosquitoes from laying more eggs on damp ground.  Having a consistent rain and standing water… also become habitat for fish that eat mosquito larvae. Yah!!!

2015-07-31_14-24-18However, once these areas dry back and re-flood, we have a perfect situation for breeding mosquitoes. 

Which brings me to mosquito repellent. I don’t know about you….but I will avoid spraying on mosquito repellent at all costs!

2015-07-31_13.22.44[1]The smell alone turns my stomach and who knows what chemicals are being used….I can’t even pronounce the ones listed on the can, let alone know what they are.

BUT, one thing I do know is that I have discovered essential oils mixed together make a great repellent and it does seem to work….at least for me. AND, it certainly smells good too!  

I am sure you have heard the talk about essential oils and I have been buying a bottle every now and then and experimenting with one of my favorites….lavender oil.

I was also able to get a recipe for the mosquito spray at the little shop I visit. 

There are many “recipes” for a mosquito spray, but I happen to like this one.

Mosquito Repellent Spray
2 cups witch hazel
15 drops citronella essential oil
15 drops lemongrass essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix oils all together in a bottle and shake well.  Do not spray directly on your face,…. spray in your hands and then rub onto your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth. 🙂

2015-07-31_13-44-21It’s sooooo easy to mix up at batch to keep on your patio or lanai and I used the little blue bottle (dark colored) little bottle that I purchased on-line… but you can use any bottle you already have in your home.

2015-07-31_13-48-342015-07-31_13-47-36Have you, my dear readers…. tried any of the oils for other uses?  If so, I would like to hear about it. 

Have a great day…and watch out for those little flying insects with the big bites! 🙂






An Old Staple Becomes New…..Again!

An Old Staple Becomes New…..Again!

The Captain and I are somewhat adventurous when it comes to eating new foods. Actually, the Captain more than I, but when it comes to rice and beans….we love whatever combination we can find.

Living in Florida has introduced us to Latin American foods.  We have visited Puerto Rico, …but the influx of Peruvian, Columbian and Cuban cultures in Southwest Florida has given us a different view of Latin American foods.  

This old staple of beans and rice (or rice and beans) has been around for years.  

There is Mexican, Cajun, Southern, Creole, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Columbian just to name a few, and with all the variations…there is the basic fact that this is definitely good eats, no mater what seasonings you use. 

2015-07-30_13.58.55[1]The next bit of good news is that the combination is a healthy choice (lots of fiber and protein) and the fact that you can buy dry beans and a bag of rice for very little money… really helps to keep the food budget, low cost. You will note in the above picture, I have pinto beans, red beans and black beans.  

2015-07-30_14.00.17[1]You have choices! Sometimes I mix black and pinto beans, depending on my mood…however, today I chose pinto beans.

Another bit of good news is that all ingredients go together in one pot…after prepping of course.  This allows the flavors to percolate and permeate and well, just meld together for good taste.

I hope there is a Latin American food market near you…which is where I found a salsa/sauce called Lizano Salsa.  (Sometimes Wal-Mart has items your local supermarket does not have.)

2015-07-30_14.01.06[1]Now, if you don’t have the Lizano Salsa (sauce)…just make your own by adding a about 3 tablespoons of Worchestershire Sauce and a teaspoon of Molasses to your beans and rice! 

2015-07-30_14.00.27[1]This salsa/sauce makes the beans and rice have an almost “creamy” texture….just melts in your mouth. And if you want to add a little more protein to the meal…top the beans and rice with a fried egg.  Many Mexican recipes call for an egg or two on top.  

Experiment a little with different rice(s)….brown, yellow….white!

I just wish you were sitting at my kitchen table, right this minute, sharing this wonderful staple that is served at many Latin American tables.  

Really Yummy!




Cuban Rice and Beans
Serves 4
Rice and Beans are a staple in many cultures....I hope you try this is really yummy.
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  1. 1 cup long-grain white rice (or you can use brown or yellow rice)
  2. 1 tablespoon canola oil for softening the onion, peppers and garlic
  3. 1 cup of chopped yellow onion
  4. 1/4 cup of chopped red bell pepper
  5. 1/4 cup of chopped yellow bell pepper
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1 small (7 3/4 oz) can of El Pato brand tomato sauce (Wal-Mart has this brand)
  9. 2 cups of cooked pinto, black or red beans (or large can of your favorite beans, rinsed and drained)
  10. 3 tablespoons Lizano Salsa (you can always add a little more, keep tasting)
  11. freshly ground black pepper and dash of salt
  12. Fresh cilantro and limes for garnish
  1. Prepare rice according to package directions using water or chicken or vegetable broth (I use a rice cooker, but you can cook on top of the stove...just be sure to cover with a lid after bringing to a boil and let simmer)
  2. While rice is cooking, heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet (I use cast iron) over medium heat.
  3. Add onion, bell peppers, garlic and cumin, stirring until soft ...which should take about 3 minutes Add the tomato sauce and continue stirring and cooking for another 2 minutes
  4. Stir in your choice of beans with about a cup of water (or broth)
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmering until most of the liquid is reduced (about 5 more minutes)
  6. Carefully add in about 3/4 of the rice along with the Lizano Salsa and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and a bit of salt
  7. Cover and reduce heat to low.
  8. *I like to serve the beans and rice in an individual serving dish and then I take the remainder of the rice and place it on top of the mixed beans and rice mixture. I think it gives a bit more texture to the dish.:)
  9. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime!
  10. Delish!
  1. If using black beans, be sure to rinse well and can sometimes make your rice look "muddy".
  2. No Lizano Salsa? make your own sauce by adding 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of molasses.
  3. You can also turn up the heat with the addition of El Pato Jalapeno salsa in place of the tomato sauce, if desired.
Me and My Captain

How about Roasted Coconut Chicken?

How about Coconut Chicken?  

As many of you know, I love roast chicken, whether it be my own roasted chicken or one bought from the supermarket deli….it’s a perfect meal for any occasion. And I love the flavor of coconut milk so when you combine the two….Delish!

I am always looking for ways to use chicken in quick and easy ways. I have found a recipe that is sweet, salty, sour, spicy and fragrant!  

coconut chicken1

Believe me when I tell you this chicken recipe ticks all the boxes and because it is butterflied (cut in half) it’s cooks much faster.  

You can actually prepare the chicken the night before and then toss it in the oven for a quick week-day meal.





Roasted Coconut Chicken
Serves 4
This recipe is soooo good and so easy to prepare.
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  1. 1 whole chicken (free-range are nice)
  2. 1 lime or lemon, zested and juiced
  3. Salt and pepper
  4. 1 tbsp oil
  5. 1 shallots, finely chopped
  6. 1 chunk of fresh ginger, finely chopped (I use about a one inch chunk)
  7. 1 small red chile, deseeded and finely sliced (you can use the can of red chiles but I use fresh)
  8. 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  9. 1 teaspoon of sugar
  10. 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  11. 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary (optional but it really adds fragrance and taste)
  12. Chopped fresh coriander or cilantro, sliced red chiles and lime slices or wedges for garnish
  1. Rinse and dry the chicken
  2. Using kitchen scissors cut down either side of the backbone (which can be removed if desired) to open up and butterfly the chicken
  3. Turn the chicken legs out and place the chicken in a roasting dish, breast side up.
  4. Rub the lime zest and juice over chickens and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat oil in a pan and gently sauté the shallots, ginger, chiles and garlic.
  6. Add remaining ingredients (except those to garnish), stir and pour mixture over chicken.
  7. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for about 3 hours (can be left in the fridge overnight)
  8. Place shallow roasting pan in the lower third of your oven and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and the juices run clear.
  9. Garnish with chopped coriander, red chiles and lime slices.
  1. You can also use the red chili flakes from the spice rack. Use the temp you prefer on your oven. Mine gets hotter than most so I try to keep my temp between 350 and 375 degrees.
Me and My Captain

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle…..

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle…..

Rain Rain Go Away….we have all heard that little phrase.  And we are definitely in the Monsoon season here in Florida.

2015-07-26_10.30.40[1]However, what usually happens, is it rains in the late afternoon for a bit and then the sun comes out.

This year is a bit different. We wake up to rain, and it has been raining almost all day and night for the last few weeks.

Yesterday morning after church, the Captain and I took a break in the rainy season…. to start to trim the jungle back. 

2015-07-27_09.15.14[1]Yes, I said “jungle”!  70 degree temps for 24 hours, plus rain every day, equals…jungle!

2015-07-27_09.14.04[1]So everything in our garden has taken on that “jungle look”! You can see the lighter green of the new growth everywhere!

2015-07-27_09.12.52[1]Luckily, there was no thunder or lightning….just drizzle, showers, heavy rain, drizzle and so on.

The Captain and I looked like drowned rats as we trimmed away at the bushes that had sprouted long thick branches in just a matter of weeks!

2015-07-27_09.13.41[1]The trimming is still not finished, but it is getting close.

We laughed about how long it takes in the Midwest for a plant or tree to grow…years actually, whereas down here, overnight is not an exaggeration.

2015-07-27_09.13.31[1]So in order for the Lion to sleep tonight…you know, “in the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight” song?…are you still with me? 😉

So in order for the Lion to sleep tonight, we still have a lot of jungle clearing to do….provided the skies don’t open up again.

2015-07-27_07.28.18[1]When we made a run to Lowes this morning….the sun was trying to peep through. 

Have a great Monday my dear friends.

Now, where did I put my safari hat?






The Burger Voters Know….

The Burger Voters Know….and even though the Captain and I did not vote on the best burger in the Cape…others did and we have to agree that this is one good hamburger.  

And it was voted best burger three years in a row….there is a sign that says so! 🙂

2015-07-25_13.04.18[1]The name of the place is Foster’s Grille, and it hangs out in a strip of businesses in Lighthouse Plaza, off Pine Island Road. Please excuse the pic….it was a rainy, dreary day 🙁 

2015-07-25_12.41.34[1]We started going to Foster’s soon after we moved to Florida and when we feel the need for a good burger…we head to Foster’s. 

2015-07-25_12.39.54[1]Ordering is pretty simple….you pick up a pencil and order form and make your burger a “have it your way” burger. 

2015-07-25_12.30.39[1]After taking the order form to the counter…you can choose to sit outside…

2015-07-25_13.01.32[1]Or one can sit inside the restaurant, beneath the upside down race car, or in my case…a booth off to the side. 🙂

(Not taking any chances, How would one explain a car falling from the ceiling?)  

2015-07-25_12.30.06[1]I particularly like a salad with my burger while the Captain prefers fries.

2015-07-25_12.37.05[1]The charbroiled burger tastes as if you grilled it on your grill at home.

2015-07-25_12.28.59[1]The server brings your order to your table. 

2015-07-25_12.38.40[1]She finds your table by these little numeric cards placed on a stand.  We were number “9”, but I noted number “81” was the booth behind ours and they received their food first. 😉

2015-07-25_12.44.58[1]The fries are fresh cut and home made and the Captain was kind enough to share a few with me.

2015-07-25_12.31.31[1]We seem to find good burger bars where ever we live, and one in particular I remember fondly is “LC’s” in Kansas City.  Yummy!

2015-07-25_14-10-39Do you my dear readers, have a favorite “go to” burger place?

Have a great week-end where ever you are!

As for me and my Captain, we are just going to try to stay dry and savor our charburgers!




*Our meal was independently paid for.

I’ve BECOME a Softee….!!!!!

I’ve BECOME a Softee….!!!! A pushover…..A Doormat…..!

Yep! That is me.

One would think that as we age, we might become cynical….grouchy….irritable….and just plain onery!


You know, kind of like Maxine! 🙂

But I am finding that as I age…. I have become a bowl of jello!

Yep, just a great big softee!

2015-06-09_12-59-28You see I have always loved babies and puppies and kitties and yes, even tropical fish!

garden10I have always loved birds and bird watching!

2015-07-23_12-50-43You see, I cannot pass by a baby (when shopping for groceries) without stopping to coo at the little one. I talk baby talk and a make up sounds that sound like monkeys in a tree!

photo (2)And animals!!! If I see a dog or cat, I think of my little Jesse James and Kitty Kitty… and my heart melts.

1331[1]I have to stop and pet or talk to any animal, as if he or she  understands everything I am saying.

Usually, the owners are very accommodating  and let me act silly,,,,they probably chalk it off to that silly ole’ lady…. who we see every time we walk our dog.

starting to get nervousSince I have been driving from flip house to flip house, I started taking Jesse James with me to check on different projects.

1141[1]He thinks he is sorta in control as he follows me up and over mounds of dirt around a freshly dug pool! Or in an around paint cans when painters are painting walls.

So, I have named Jesse, the “Foreman”!

2088[1]I don’t even have to tell him when it’s time to head for the car…he just knows. (These lovely little creatures area smarter than many of us give them credit for)

Btw…the other day, we pulled up at a stop light and I do believe I impressed the policeman in the patrol car next to me when he saw Jesse was securely in his car seat and fastened in!!


Gotta go now, my dear readers…it is time for the “Foreman” and I… to go check the plumbing for the pool at Flip 4. 

Have a great blessed Thursday, my friends… and don’t be afraid to show a little softness when it comes to people and our pets!




Yes, I Already Knew That…..

Yes, I Already Knew That…..:) 

My Captain’s Birthday!

Yup, today is the Captain’s Birthday and we like to spoil each other for a full week…calling it a “Birthday Week”, because a one day celebration is just not enough! 😉

What our little “game” consists of is this: It is the responsibility of the non-birthday spouse to pick up the tab all week long…for the Birthday spouse!

So when the Captain arrived home from his tour of flying yesterday…I knew I was in for picking up the bill at all the events this week.

Of course, he is worth it.  I am so blessed to have him in my life.

And…..being the loving wife that I am….I took the Captain out for dinner, soon after he landed at RSW on Monday.

He likes all kinds of food, but he particularly likes Italian food, so of course I took him to Ceno’s Italian Restaurant and Grill.

2015-07-21_12-24-07However, when the waiter came to get our order….he reminded us that Monday’s were a buy one meal, get the other half price! (And yes, I must confess…I already knew that) 😉

But being the wonderful, sweet spirited, wonderful, happy to pay, wonderful (did I just repeat that?), person that I am….I volunteered to take us to breakfast on this,…. the Captain’s special day, Tuesday, July 21st!

2015-07-21_12-25-29And so I drove us to “First Watch” for breakfast! And lo and behold… if one belongs to the Sun Club, the birthday meal is free! 

(OK, I must confess….I already knew that) 😉 

However, lunch required some thought.  I didn’t want to just fix him a baloney sandwich for lunch…so I decided to surprise him with a trip to one of his favorite places.  

2015-07-21_13.12.28[1]Yep!!!! The Hot Dog Stand that sits outside of Home Depot!

2015-07-21_13.11.44[1]You see the Captain really likes those authentic, New York Style, Italian Hot Sausages!

2015-07-21_13.12.58[1]I figured only the best Italian Hot Sausages for an equally “hot” guy! 

Sorry for the mush and gush!

(And yes, I must confess….I already knew that)

The afternoon was spent in the pool…splashing each other like little kids.  You know all the adult behavior! NOT!!

I can sum up my Captain, by the sentence that remains on the bottom of all his outgoing emails!

“You have to make up your mind about growing up and being a pilot. You can’t do both”.

Which makes him so special to me….

(And yes, I must confess….I already knew that)

1618[1]Tonight…we are going to a pretty waterside restaurant for dinner, where we will sip some wine and watch the sunset.

2015-07-21_12-31-05And they just happen to have his favorite fish (Grouper) on the menu.

Yeah!  You know where this is going.  AND…I also have a coupon!

But then you already knew that didn’t you? 🙂

Have a great Tuesday….:)…and I wish my Captain a very special birthday for a very special guy!

But I already knew that! 🙂







“GGson” Show Off Time…..:)

“GGson” Show Off Time…..:)

Over the week-end, “GGson”….(Great Grandson in simple English) went to the Lake for boating with his family and his Grandma!

Below are a few pictures that his Gma (Grandma) sent his GG (Great Grandma)….that’s Me!

Don’t ya love taking in code? 

Well, it isn’t really code….you grandmas and great grandmas know what I mean. 😉

IMG_0675Testing out the waters of the Kanopolis Lake…..

If they would come down here to Florida…our Gulf waters are crystal clear and turquoise….did I just say that out loud??? ! 😉

IMG_066111I believe he is getting ready to drive the boat!

IMG_0662Ooops!  Better with a hat…who needs to see over the steering wheel?

IMG_0670 (2)Lookin’ good!  Especially the Kansas City Royals hat that my beautiful grand daughter is wearing! #ForeverRoyals….#Lets Go Royals!!!!! 

Sorry, you know I had to get sports in there somewhere! 😉

IMG_0669I think in this pic he must be trying to blow up his life jacket!

IMG_0667Or perhaps he is just trying to see over the poufy thing….I wasn’t there, so I am not knowing the exact circumstance. 😉

IMG_0663I think he must be checking out the seating arrangements of all his family, before starting the boat.

Speaking of starting a boat….It is Monday!!! , and I have got to get a move on.  Stripping the beds, doing laundry, putting a pot of soup in the crock pot, etc.  

Gosh, Monday was  always wash day when I was growing up….and Mom always had a pot of Soup on the back of the stove….click on the post below for the Ham and Bean Soup recipe and wash day musings. 

Monday, Monday…Wash Day and Soup!

Did your family have a special day for laundry, my dear readers?

Have a great Monday!




Shooting the Shell….

Shooting the Shell….

No, this isn’t about shooting guns or water pistols.

No, this isn’t about shelling, although I love to roam the beaches here in Florida and pick up shells.

This is about shooting a gunnite mixture that looks like cement…. out of a large hose that looks like a fireman’s hose…. and filling in the sides and bottom of a pool dig.

We are talking the making of a pool that the Captain and I are putting in at one of our Flip houses.

Several of our friends are fascinated with this process and I thought I would share it with you, my dear readers.

2015-07-07_10.05.12[1]This is what the pool looked like at Flip 3 last week. The big earth mover dug the hole.

2015-07-08_08.31.53[1]Then, the workers put up the framework and sides for the molded shape of the pool, bracing every few feet, and adding rebar.

2015-07-11_07.51.39[1]And this is what “shooting the shell” looks like. 

The gentleman holding the nozzle and hose controls the amount of mixture to water and the pressure, etc. 

2015-07-11_07.51.37[1]Their feet feel like lead as they “wade” around in this thick concrete mixture.

2015-07-11_07.53.45[1]The workers smooth and shape the top and sides and this is called “working in the hole”.

2015-07-11_07.51.30[1]They also shape the steps and benches that will be underwater.

2015-07-11_07.53.49[1]This is what it looks like when it is all smoothed out.


The pool is allowed to dry before the forms are removed and the bobcat comes in and back-fills the pool with the dirt and smooths the area out.

2015-07-17_09.21.23[1]You may be asking why there is water in the bottom of the pool…..actually it is dirty water but it is necessary none-the-less!

You see as the pool drys, it must be kept sitting where it was dug.  If there were no water in the pool…it would “Pop the Shell”. …which in simple language means it would bounce up out of the ground as if it were in water itself.


This would not be a good thing. So the water anchors the shell and “holds” it in place. 

In case you are wondering about the size of this pool….It is 28 feet long, 12 feet wide and almost 6 feet deep.

I will post pics later, of the next process, ….before this pool can be filled with water and ready for a “dip”.

2015-07-11_07.54.40[1]Meanwhile, I have to show you the Limes growing on several lime trees on this property. I told the workers to take as many as they liked, which I am sure ended up in the long neck of a bottle of Corona!

2015-07-11_07.56.30[1]I took some home and made Limeade…..she says tongue in cheek! 😉

And that my friends, is shooting the shell. 

Have you ever watched this process of building an inground pool?

Have a great Friday!




Chocolate Cake…. Wowser Wow Wow Wow!

Chocolate Cake…. Wowser Wow Wow Wow!

That is what I said after tasting the chocolate cake oozing with hot fudge icing!

But, I am getting ahead of myself.

The Captain and I like to frequent a chain restaurant for dinner …..”Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen” and it has proven to be pretty consistent in flavorful foods.

2015-07-16_10-42-03The service is excellent and the food plentiful.

2015-07-15_13.11.38[1]Last week, my Chocolate Cake Buddy and I decided to try the lunch menu.

I had not eaten lunch at this restaurant, and I certainly had not eaten desserts….not because I didn’t think they looked good, but with the dinner menu….there was no way we could squeeze in a dessert…that is, until last week.

I knew from past experiences with my Chocolate Cake Buddy, that chocolate cake would be either eaten separately or at least shared. In the past, she and I have shared and sampled many a chocolate cake!

I found the lunch menu not much different than the dinner menu….as far as portion size goes…always large portions.

2015-07-15_13.12.49[1]I decided that a salad and their wonderful dinner roll (croissants) would be plenty for me, if I were to save room for chocolate cake.

2015-07-15_13.12.22[1]Now, here is the confession:  I just couldn’t resist having TWO of those light, airy, buttery delicious croissants!

2015-07-15_13.15.39[1]My salad was so good and the drizzling of Bleu Cheese dressing didn’t hurt it one bit! (I always order my dressing “on the side”… so I can determine just how much I will put on my salad…and then I put it all on my salad!)

I know, I am a bit weird! 😉 

And the croissants!  I mean, look at these melt in your mouth croissants!

2015-07-15_13.13.10[1]Ohhhhhh Sooooooo Good!

2015-07-15_13.12.56[1]Sorry, I digress…as usual!

2015-07-15_13.20.16[1]However, let us move on….My Chocolate Cake Buddy chose Chicken Fried Chicken as her entree.

2015-07-15_13.18.51[1]As you can see, this consisted of wonderful fresh, green beans cooked in bacon and onions, home made mashed potatoes with cream gravy….and enough food for her to take home to the Fisherman,…her husband.

When the server asked if we wanted dessert…we both said in unison…”YES”!

2015-07-16_11-12-47And Wow! We were surprised to see a giant piece of chocolate cake surrounded by scoops of ice cream, all drizzled in Hot Fudge Sauce on top of the most decadent fudge icing!

We shared the melt in your mouth fudgy cake, and when neither of us could eat another bite…my Chocolate Cake Buddy asked to box up the remainder to take home to her hubby.

“Cheddar’s Casual Cafe” originated in 1979 in Arlington Texas…and later changed their name…. in some states, at least….to “Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen”. These restaurants are located in almost every state….so there just might be one near you. 

So, my dear readers…have you eaten at “Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen”?

And more importantly…have you eaten the chocolate cake? 

If not, this cake sorta takes the cake! :)…and yes, pun intended!

Excuse me, I have some more leg exercises to do! 

Have a great Thursday…and Let Em’ Eat Cake! 🙂




*This meal was independently paid for by “Me” and my “Chocolate Cake Buddy“!



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