Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Little Nap Never Hurts

Good afternoon everybody.  What a week it has been so far.  Exhausted -- I can't begin to tell you how much.  Not much sleep the last few days because of family sickness and life's issues. 


Yesterday, I went for some ultrasounds on my heart and my neck arteries to make sure nothing was going on that might be cause for mini-strokes.  Blood clots could be cause of my ocular migraines.  I know I am fine and when the doctor sent me for these tests I felt that it was overkill, that I am fine.  Nonetheless I went.  The tests took 2 hours and when you are there in the darkened room that long and looking at the ultrasound screen, it began to take a toll on me.  Is there actually something wrong with me?  Can I possibly be having mini-strokes at my age?  They didn't tell me they were going to inject saline.  Why is he taking so many snapshots.  What does that white color mean, the red color, the green color??  Why do we do this to ourselves?  I was totally mentally exhausted by the time I got home.


Later in the evening, my daughter texted that not only the baby had strep, my daughter had fever, and her oldest son, too.  My middle grandson had strep last week and now they are falling like dominoes.  Everyone over at their house was a little stressed.  And you know my motto, a mother is only as happy as her least happy child.  Last night my daughter was extremely worried about her daughter and her breathing and screaming.  Naturally, I was, too.  Finally, about 1:00 p.m. everything calmed down a bit at their house and the baby was sleeping.  Over here at my house, not knowing exactly what was happening over there, I couldn't sleep.  Mothers are like that, they worry whether the child is a year old or 40 years old.  It is what we do.  I wouldn't have it any other way.     


Finally, the dawn came and my spirits lifted just a bit.  Time has a way of healing or helping most things.  We just have to wait it out.  The children are better.  Daughter is better, and I'm doing ok.  But it is time to rest.........a little nap never hurts. 


I love you. 



Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lemon Shrimp Linguine

Tonight I made a wonderful Lemon Shrimp Linguine.  It was absolutely wonderful which I probably could never replicate since I didn’t use a recipe.  Basically, it was shrimp sautéed in olive oil and butter with crushed garlic.  I added about a half cup of white wine, juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of capers, half cup of halved grape tomatoes, and 3/4 cup quartered artichoke hearts.  Pour this sauce over linguine, top with shredded parmesan.  To add a little extra taste, top with a chiffonade of basil.  Delish!

But………..I forgot the Lemon Thyme………..the basic reason I made this dish.  I had thought all afternoon that the lemon thyme would taste great in this dish, but I forgot (chalk that up to old age),

Basil July 2015 009

My little herb garden.  Clockwise from Upper left – Rosemary,

Cilantro (which has gone to seed), Lemon Thyme, and Oregano

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Another pot of Greek, Mexican and Italian Oregano, but I have no idea which is which.

Lemon Shrimp Linguine

I love you!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Basil–It’s Perfect!

Basil July 2015 007My little basil plant, what’s left of it after picking.

If there is one herb that I dearly love, it is basil.  I love the beautiful shiny leaves, I love smell of it, and I love the taste of it.  It’s perfect.  If I could only plant two things, it would be tomatoes, and what goes perfectly with tomatoes???  BASIL. 

I love bruschetta and there are lots of “recipes” out there, but I love to put it together by taste–no recipe.  I add chopped tomatoes, the more juice the merrier, finely diced garlic (I cannot emphasize strongly enough the word finely), a little bit of olive oil, and balsamic, salt and pepper.  I just taste as I add the ingredients and if it needs a little more balsamic, I add it in.  Proportions of olive oil to tomatoes are up to you.  I don’t add much, maybe a teaspoon per 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, but again, that is personal preference.  I often reduce my balsamic to make more of  a syrup which sweetens it up a tad.  Also delicious.  I often eat this just like a cold soup, but traditionally it is served with baguette toast slices.

Another bruschetta I like is totally different.  Simple.  Toast baguette slices very lightly, in fact, just dried will be fine.  Rub a clove of garlic lightly over the toasted bread.  Add slices of fresh tomatoes over the bread.  Add a pinch of shredded parmesan cheese, just a little, and a few shreds of basil.  Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over the tomatoes, and a bit of sea salt.  Pop under the broiler.  Broil until the tomatoes are slightly softened.   The basil will blacken  so if you prefer, you can add the basil after cooking.

I love a simple Caprese Salad.  Sliced fresh mozzarella interspersed with fresh tomato slices arranged around a plate.   Reduce balsamic vinegar till syrup and drizzle artfully over the cheese and tomatoes.  Drizzle olive oil to taste over the cheese, too.  Chiffonade basil and sprinkle the shreds around the plate.

And PESTO!!!!  Another favorite.  There are all manner of pesto recipes on the internet, but the one I love the most is my sister-in-law’s recipe.  I made a double batch this week and put it in the freezer for future winter nights.  I may not put much more in the freezer this year because I have several left from last year.  I used some a couple weeks ago and it was still delicious.   Here’s the thing about pestos…………….they are laden with high fat ingredients.  So I try to only use pesto when celebrating with a special meal.  But if fat was not a factor, this would be on my table once a week, I love it that much!

Another new recipe I have acquired is a burger recipe with 1/2 cup basil.  What could be better……….gourmet burger deluxe.  We loved this recipe so much that it is now in my recipe file.  I have served these burgers twice this week and hubby loved them.

I could go on and on about basil……………a relatively new plant to me, but wait, I have.  So I will let you have your own dreams about basil.  How about adding some to your next sandwich or, better yet, how about making a basil aioli. 

Basil – it’s perfect.

I love you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Shrimp Cocktail Quest

Ever since leaving my sister's house in Mississippi, I have been craving shrimp.  Let me set this blog post stage up for you.  You see, at Georgia Blues in Brookhaven, MS, my sister treated me to one of the best meals of my entire life.......all 60 some odd years.  It was Cheesy Shrimp and Grits and I kid you not, I swooned.  Well, I made a contented sound.  I put that first cheesy bite in my mouth and knew I had TRUE southern comfort food....the one you always hear about.


Well, that experience just left my taste buds wanting more--specifically shrimp.  So the other night at a local Midwest City restaurant I tried a shrimp cocktail before my shrimp scampi meal.  See - I told you I was craving shrimp.  I got something that could resemble a shrimp cocktail if you looked really hard.  It was shrimp.  Six of them.  It had a dab of cocktail sauce, and it was in a teeny-weeny aperitif glass, almost miniature looking.  The restaurant was an old restaurant built in the 1980s so I thought I would get a "Shrimp Cocktail".  Now I will grant you, I haven't had a shrimp cocktail since probably 1975, but I was sorely disappointed.  Honey, back then you could get A SHRIMP COCKTAIL. 


Back before Alexis Carrington was fighting Crystal, you could get a SHRIMP COCKTAIL of magnitude.  It was a very elegant and special treat.  They came in a huge, usually stemmed, glass or specifically designed dish.  The shrimp, usually six, would be artfully arranged around the edge and the glass would be garnished with a frilly curled celery stick and a wedge of lemon.  Shredded lettuce would be placed in the bottom with a large serving of cold, cold cocktail sauce over the lettuce.  The more elegant restaurants had dishes that held crushed ice and the cocktail sauce was in a bowl inside the crushed ice, again with the shrimp artfully arranged around the edge.  When the waiter brought one out, it was a thing of beauty, a huge frosted stemmed cocktail glass on plate lined with a napkin.  It left other diners jealous that they hadn't ordered one.


So I guess technically I did have a shrimp cocktail the other night.  I guess maybe we have gotten so used to having these specialty treats that people of a younger generation see them as nothing other than something they add to the menu to appease the older generation.  The elegance of a shrimp cocktail is gone, at least at that one restaurant.


So I am still on a quest for shrimp; specifically a good old 1970s shrimp cocktail.  That experience left me wanting.....still on my shrimp cocktail quest.


I love you.


I tried making my own cocktail the other night, but the shrimp I picked up at Sam's Club just wasn't very good.  The flavor was lacking.........still craving shrimp.


 






Thursday, July 2, 2015

Chuck’s Chocolate Ice Cream

I made the following ice cream many, many moons ago and my brother-in-law loved it and he has mentioned it at least once a year ever since.  My hubby and I didn’t care much for it, but as a surprise for Chuck, I made it this morning and will take it to him tomorrow.  Sssh!  It’s a surprise!  I wonder if he will like it as much tomorrow as he did years ago.    

I’m channeling the PW and posting pictures and instructions below just in case Chuck wants to make this himself.  Pretty simple.

Chocolate Ice Cream 016

3 ingredients:

1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

2/3 cup Hershey’s Syrup

2  cups Heavy Whipping Cream (Whipped)

Chocolate Ice Cream 014

Whip the cream till stiff peaks form.  Don’t over beat, Chuck, or you will have butter.  Remember that discussion?  Set aside.

Chocolate Ice Cream 012

In another bowl, pour in the chocolate syrup and the sweetened condensed milk.

Chocolate Ice Cream 017

Stir until well blended and looks like this.  Almost caramel colored.

Chocolate Ice Cream 018

Now add the whipped cream.

Chocolate Ice Cream 019

Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.  This is a slow process where you cut through the cream with your spatula and gently lift the chocolate to the top.  You do NOT want to rush this process or your whipped cream will loose its airiness.   (Don’t worry, this is the hardest part of the recipe.)

Chocolate Ice Cream 020

Keep folding and you think this might be done, but it is not!

Chocolate Ice Cream 021

See, I told you.  Look at that ribbon of chocolate.  Keep folding until it looks likeChocolate Ice Cream 022

THIS!!!  VIOLA!!!

I guess you noticed, I poured the folded mixture into a foil-lined loaf pan and will freeze for at least 6 hours. 

Chocolate Ice Cream 015

And here is the recipe cut from a magazine many, many moons ago.

I think I will rename it Chuck’s Chocolate Ice Cream.

See, Chuck, even YOU can do this!

 

Happy Fourth of July, Everyone

 

I love you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Just Plain Toast

I have been under the weather lately, but I feel so much better that I want to blog again.  I seem to thinking of food a lot so maybe I will blog about food this month.  Let's see, we could talk about corn, pizza, cheesecake, candy apples, ribs, coleslaw, fish tacos, or my all-time favorite - tomatoes.  So that I don't overdose so early in the month on the GOOD food, I am going to start real slow and talk about toast.  Who else but me would write a blog about toast??


For the last several days, I have been having toast for breakfast.  Toasted croissants, that is.  Split open and toasted in the toaster oven.  Buttered after toasting of course, because we all know that there isn't enough butter in these things already.  Yesterday, I decided to mix it up and add a slice of toasted white bread to my toasted croissant order.  I used a regular pop-up toaster and buttered it when it was golden brown.  You know what I discovered?  I like white bread probably a little more than I like the croissants.  French bakers everywhere are gasping right now, I am sure.


I think it all stems from childhood when I would stay with my Grandma Thompson and she'd fix toast in a pop-up toaster.  We didn't have a toaster so having that kind of toast was always a special treat.  My mom buttered the bread first and then put it under the broiler till the butter melted.  I am not going to tell you that it wasn't good.  It was and with all that melted butter (margarine) how could it not be?  But when I went to my grandma's house, that golden, crispy, white bread was the best toast ever, a special treat.  To this day, if I am sick all I want to eat is a piece of toast made in the pop-up toaster, just ask my hubby.


My mom had a toast every morning for her breakfast.  That's it.  Just one toast.  Mom had very little time to herself, but there was an or so after daddy left for work and before she got us up for school.  Her little special time of the day.  She'd butter her white bread and put it under the broiler.  I like to imagine that hot soft, buttery bread was a special treat for her to have during her most likely only "me" time. 


Kids, remember mom's stove and the broiler under the oven.  It was covered with foil for easier cleaning.  Mom would put 6 or 8 slices of bread in to toast while she'd fry the eggs and it'd be one of our jobs to watch it to make sure it didn't burn. 


Just plain toast, please.


I love you.


  

Monday, June 29, 2015

It's Never Too Late to Make Memories

Did you see the beautiful fluffy clouds in the SW this afternoon around 4:00 p.m.?  It was the same cloud formation we saw last year on our trip to the Grand Canyon.  We had stopped at the Painted Desert and had gotten out of the car to get a closer look at the desert.  We piled back in the car and drove on around to the Petrified Forrest.  You can't get that close to the Petrified Forrest and not get out of the car despite those ominous looking clouds; you just can't!  Once you are on the trail, one tree draws you to the next and the next and the next.  Before you know it, you are 1/2 mile from the car..............and that cloud is getting darker and darker and darker.  And that is exactly what happened to us; we got much further away from the car than we thought or even cared at the time.  We decide to start back to the car because it is coming........it is definitely coming, the rain is coming.  We hope we can get to the car without getting soaked.  Then the lightening strikes in the distance; we walk a little faster.  The storm clouds gets closer and darker (and believe me, it can feel mighty lonely out there in the high desert), the lightening streaks across the sky and snakes down to the ground, the thunder rolls, and we walk even faster, faster..........faster.............faster.  Then the drops start.  Large drops!  Huge drops!  Oh, but the earth smells so good, so fresh.  We see the rain coming across the plains heading more our way.  We start to run, but too late.  Our drops are no longer drops, but sheets of rain blowing sideways into our faces.


We made it back to the car.  We dove inside, laughing all the while.  We were drenched.  What a wonderful memory and one we made just last year.  I'm so glad we made that trip.  I am so glad we got out of the car.  I am so glad we took that walk.  I am so glad it rained on us.  It gave us memories and they are so precious.  We reminisced about that trip this afternoon all due to the beautiful cloud formation we saw today.  It's never too late to make memories. 


I love you.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I Need Help

Nothing much happening here except a little rain, hmmm like 5 inches in last 15 hours or so; making a total of 20 inches or more just for the month of May and we have another week to go.  No, nothing at all.  So we are setting here on our computers almost bored; me looking at Pinterest getting inspired.  

I looked up over my readers and the hubby asked "What?".  "Oh nothing, I was just decorating in my mind."  "Good place to start", he replied and put his head back into his computer.  So that is exactly what I am doing, decorating in my mind using all the cool Pinterest pins.  The problem is I don't have any decorating sense.  I need help.


I love bright southwestern inspired rugs.  I love Asian rugs.  I love simple designs.  I love prints.  I hate prints.  I love the cabin look.  I love French country style.  I love vintage 50s furniture.  I love modern sofas.  I love traditional soft deeply-cushioned sofas.  I love 70s furniture.  I love wicker.  I love the comfort of recliners.  I hate the look of recliners.  I love traditional style.  I love red.  I love, love, love turquoise.  I am afraid of the color turquoise.  I love wood floors.  I don't have any wood floors. 


The list of my lack of style could go on and on for I have no style.  I see a picture of a traditional room and I want that.  I see a picture of a sleek vintage room styled on the 60s and I want that.  I see a rustic cabin and I want that.  I see a Greek inspired room with billowing sheers over the windows and I want that (especially if my house overlooked the Mediterranean Sea--some place I would like to see).


So come on over this rainy day and help me decorate.  Help me find my decorating style.  Maybe there's an app for that.  Come to think of it, there probably is.  Help me find my decorating style.  I need help.


I love you.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle and Saturday Morning 039Honeysuckle and Saturday Morning 005

Good morning everybody.   Here it is Memorial Day weekend, and, of course, it is raining in Oklahoma once again.  I doubt many people on the lakes this weekend.  

These pictures were taken a couple weeks ago so my honeysuckle is now almost gone, but if you step outside you can still smell it.  It would be hard for me to cut a bouquet now because almost all of those white blooms have turned yellow and are falling off the vine.  It is most fragrant when there is lots of white still on the vine.  Honeysuckle always reminds me of Grandma Dawkins and I cannot think of a more pleasant memory than of her.   

Hope you enjoy the pictures, and I hope you have pleasant memories of someone special in your life this Memorial Day.  I have lots of memories of special people in my life. 

I love you.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Give Me the Keys

Just a quick little howdy this morning.  I stepped outside to get the paper early this morning and the air was so crisp and clean, I almost thought I was in Red River.  This crisp air is exactly what the folks at Red River, NM, experience every summer morning.  Can you imagine such a life?  Cool, crisp, fresh mountain air......all summer long.   


Give me the keys, I think I will head to Red River.


I love you.

Autumn

Cherri

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