Archive for May, 2016

Peace of Mind and Fireplace Reveal…

My dear readers…I hope you are feeling a bit refreshed after such a nice long Holiday week-end.  I know I am.

I just can’t help feeling blessed as I look around me.  I find myself smiling as I focus on beautiful thoughts.

The world these days, is full of so many negatives and unfortunately so many of them affect our very being without our even being aware.  Of course, we can not stick our heads in the sand and ignore those hurting…however, my Bible Study….particularly Philippians 4:8…which says: 

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”….

….this verse has really spoken to my heart these days.  

And that seems to spill over to those round about me.

Have you ever noticed that when you hear or read about some of the horrifying actions of some very bad people….that it is difficult to remove certain images from your mind.  I believe that is why the above Bible scripture is so profound. 

So while I am smiling and thinking good thoughts….several of you have asked me to have a room reveal!  

Yes, you have been hearing me talk about painting for a few weeks, but I am not finished with the decorating.  I have been shopping my home for items to use in my Summer Decor.  Can you believe this is the beginning of Summer already?

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Anyway, the Captain and I have repainted our great room which consists of kitchen, entry, kitchen nook, dining room and living room in our home…. and I have been moving furniture and artwork from this room to that room and also digging through boxes in the attic for treasures.  

I have to confess that when I say the Captain and I….I should probably say the Captain….as he does most of the painting and the attic shopping.  

I was doing the woodwork until I injured my knee (see that post from last week  ….This Has Been A Public Service Announcement…..)  …then I more or less supervised and worked on packing and unpacking boxes from the attic

The items in the boxes are really not actual treasures, but old items that become new again for two reasons.  One, they have not been used in several years and two, I have been grabbing my handy-dandy paint brush and revitalizing them.

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 For instance, I took two lamps that had dark lamp stands and swished on a bit of white chalk paint.  I love chalk paint because the only prep is to wipe the piece down with Simple Green and slap on the paint.  Now how easy is that?  I use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint but there are other paints on the market. 

This fuzzy pic below is one of many before pics of the fireplace and mantle.  I say many because I am always changing the decor on the mantle for the Seasons.  This one is one of the Christmases past.  The reason I included it in the pics is so you could get an idea of the dark colors in the room.  The Plantation shutters included.

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As you can see, the walls were a Venetian plaster and the wood stained just about as dark as it could get.  It was called dark mahogany.  This was shortly after we moved in 6 years ago….what was I thinking with all those components on that shelf? tsk tsk!  Thank goodness, I removed most of them several years ago.

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This is another Christmas pic.

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Now, the walls are lighter (SW Agreeable Gray) and the woodwork is SW Eider White.  Sooo much brighter as you can see. 

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It was difficult to get the same angle for this “after” pic… because I still have stuff moved to the middle of the floor for the painting….ok, I am a bit slow in getting things re-arranged. 🙂

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The clock came from the kitchen nook….and I thought it should go above the fireplace….I have always liked that it is rather large.

Now, my question to you my dear readers is this:  

Should I paint the beige tiles around the fireplace or leave them as is?  There are products out there that allow for painting tiles.  

Thoughts?

I am still arranging and re-arranging the furniture and setting out little vignettes, but I wanted to give you a sneak peak at what I have been up to these past few weeks.  I promise I will show more pics as I progress further.

Until then….Have a great week ….and think happy thoughts!

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Memorial Day Quotes

 

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I hope you are having a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Week-end.  I am sure you are enjoying cook outs and fun at the lake or beach or perhaps just relaxing at home with family and friends.

I would like to take just a few minutes to say we must never forget.

Let us never forget those who died to make us free!

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Here are 15 memorable quotes that remind one of how precious freedom is:

1. “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain

2. “Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.” – Bob Marley

3. “The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” – Minot J Savage

4. “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell

5. “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” – General George S Patton

6. “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” – President Franklin D Roosevelt

7. “We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.” – Francis A Walker

8. “For love of country, they accepted death.” – President James A Garfield

9. “I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.” – President Ronald Reagan

10. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – President Thomas Jefferson

11. “On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!” – Thomas William Parsons

12. “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.” – President Calvin Coolidge

13. “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” – President Dwight D Eisenhower

14. “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” – President George Washington

15. “Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” – Daniel Webster

 Have a safe day of reflection and enjoy our freedom!

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Apples, Pears and Chayote!

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My Mother gave me her cookbooks and among them was a cookbook published in 1944.  It was called the Wartime Edition of the Victory (binding of the American Woman’s) Cookbook.

 

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I can remember my mother searching through this thick olive green book in search of recipes all through my childhood.  

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The cookbook shows a lot of wear and tear and is in fact held together by duck tape.

I mean duck tape fixes everything doesn’t it?

When I glance through this cookbook, I am always finding recipes, tips and hints that I have never heard about before.

Here is an interesting page on the automatic freezer and automatic refrigerator!

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And this day, I flipped to the back of the cookbook because I remembered a Triple Lemon Pie recipe that my Mother had hand written into the back page.  She had made this recipe many, many times and I thought I might make it too.

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But then something…a recipe, caught my eye. Chayote!

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The name of the recipe was Chayote!

Say What?

Now I have to admit the recipe above the Chayote recipe would catch anyone’s eye too.

Carrots Baked in Sauerkraut Juice? Ahhhh yes!  NOT!!!

But I focused on the Chayote.  My thoughts ran wild…I needed to look up this veggie… so off to the internet.  

The Chayote sorta looks like a pear but tastes more like a tasteless apple or so they say.

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According to freelance writer/editor. about.me/dannosowitz:

“Imagine a vegetable that is handheld, and very tough, which makes it easy to ship. It is versatile, used in cuisines from Mexican to Indonesian to south Indian to Australian to Louisiana. The entire vegetable is edible — skin, flesh, seeds, shoots, leaves, flowers, and roots. It can be eaten raw or steamed, boiled, baked, stuffed, fried, and marinated. It is quite good for you, and is high in vitamin C, folate, fiber, and various trace minerals.  This vegetable is the chayote, and basically nobody likes it….given the right circumstances, it grows like a crazy weed and produces a huge amount of edible fruit (the squash/melon/gourd family members are all botanically fruits, not vegetables).”

I then focused on Wilipedia:

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“In Australia, where the Chayote is called choko, a persistent urban legend is that McDonald’s  apple pies were made of chayotes, not apples. This eventually led McDonald’s to emphasize the fact that real apples are used in their pies. This legend was based on an earlier belief that tinned pears were often disguised chayotes. A possible explanation for the rumor is that there are a number of recipes in Australia that advise chayotes can be used in part replacement of canned apples to make the fruit go farther in making apple pies. This likely arose because of the economies of “mock” food substitutes during the Depression Era, shortages of canned fruit in the years following World War II, and the fact apples do not grow in many tropical and subtropical parts of Australia, making them scarce. Chayotes, on the other hand, grow extensively in Australia, with many suburban backyards featuring chayote vines growing along their fence lines.

Another possible reason for the rumor of McDonald’s apple pies containing chayotes was that it was thought that apples would degenerate and become soggy and inedible in a McDonald’s pie, whereas chayotes are well known to retain their firmness and consistency after cooking, freezing, and reheating. It was thought that the “chunks” of apple in the pie were in fact chunks of chayote, and the sauce and filling were simply a spiced, apple-flavored concoction.

And on still another note:

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Mummies:

Due to its purported cell-regenerative properties, it is believed as a contemporary legend that this fruit caused the mummification of people from the Colombian town of San Bernardo who extensively consumed it. The very well preserved skin and flesh can be seen in the mummies today. The wall street journal reported on this belief in October 2015 –http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-this-small-colombian-town-people-love-their-mummies-1443664421

And apparently, there is a spiny version:

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Aaaah…ok!  I think I will pass on this veggie.

OK, dear readers, have any of you heard of Chayote?  And more importantly, have you ever eaten Chayote?

I would love to hear from you if you have.

Until then, I think I will just make the Triple Lemon Pie recipe.

Blessings to all!

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EeeeeeVaaaaa Our Own Little Robot!!!

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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!

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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!

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!

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!

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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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