Friday, March 24, 2017

This isn't about being hero. It's about surviving an unimaginable tragedy.
{Sharing an informative safety video today.}

Instead of food, books or ramblings I would like to share an informative video that I saw in a training session at work a few weeks ago. The training was about active shooters and how to react. It’s called Run, Hide, Fight and was produced by Homeland Security  & a funded grant.

 Maybe you don’t like firearms. Maybe you don’t like to read or hear about horrific events that seem to dominate our news today but….I would ask you to watch this interesting video.  As much as we read and hear about an active shooter in a workplace, on a campus or at a public venue……….. do you ever think about a plan of action if you were caught in such a horrible scenario?

 Our excellent instructor talked to us about brain mapping. The things we watched and were taught in class will float around in our brain and we will remember some of these good tactics.

This isn't about being hero.  It's about surviving an unimaginable tragedy. You will have to watch the video to see what I mean. This is something I hope none of us ever need to deal with but what a world we live in today. I thought our class was excellent and if you could see the instructor and some of the other videos he shared you would be impressed.


So.....did you click on the video and watch?  What are your thoughts? For starters I think it's a sad society we live in today that such a video needs to be produced.   Sad we had mandatory training at work for such a scenario.  Awful that children have drills to react if their school security is breached.

The training was good and I just wanted to share part of it.  Again, it's not about being the's about surviving an event.  Please share this if you you'd like.  Better to have that info stored in your brain and hope you never need it.

That's my public service announcement for March.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Grilled Salmon Dinner and bonus Salad
{Making up for the naughty indulgences this week with healthy chow}

What a week.  We caved and got ourselves a pizza earlier in the week and of course, shared a bottle of wine. It's been a month of appointments that I'll call health maintenance.  Since we are fortunate enough to have decent health care, we make sure all the parts and pieces are in good working order by getting an annual physical.

After a few appointments we decided to indulge with the pizza. It's always such a drag to schedule other appointments for followups on issues so....yeah.  Pizza.

Also, a coworker departed for another agency so there was a party.....which meant I ate 2 doughnuts.  Brilliant, huh?  After losing almost 12 pounds I eat two doughnuts.

Anyway..........we opted to stop and pick up some salmon for a healthier dinner one day this week.  It was excellent. A bit of soy and honey and turned once in a grill pan.  Served with healthy fresh steamed broccoli and baked sweet potato.  Now that's getting back on track!


There was enough salmon left to make a pretty good salad for the next day's lunch too.  I pulled stems off  fresh spinach, chopped some green onions and cut up the leftover salmon.  Dressing was an Onion Dijon vinegrette. (Forgive the blue plastic bowls.  They are the designated bowls for work)


Leftovers are the desired choice for work lunches.  Yellow rice with black beans accompanied our salads.  You wouldn't believe the number of people at work who eat lunch out every single day.  That can be expensive.  Sometimes we go out for Indian but it's not very often.


That's about it from our neck of the woods.  I am still diligently reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King and hoping to finish it soon.  Sometimes the reading time doesn't pan out.  This was my choice for a reading challenge theme at Girlxoxo this month.  Aja is still hanging in with us and enjoying her walks and rides to the park.  At work we had an active shooter class (not how to be one, how to react scenario kinda class) which I would like to share with you soon.  Good class and information.

 Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday. This week's linkup is HERE.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Crab Cakes, Books and Daylight Savings Time

First off, a shout to our friend Jo across the ocean.  Losing her husband and now a dear friend all within 3 months is horrible.  Please keep her in your thoughts. Let 2017 get  better for us all now.
Lots of 's to you Jo.

Today it's rainy and gloomy. It's also the first day of the time change, well...the first day we had to get up and go to work, feeling as if we missed an hour of sleep. It always takes us a few days to get used to that hour adjustment.  Aja thinks she is getting fed early so I don't think she minds it at all.

I finished up with the book Dinner with Edward.  It is the featured book at Cook the Books.  Do you want to join in and read the book then make an inspired meal?  There is still time. You need to post by March 31st.  My review is HERE and the meal photos are below.

Great meal and actually not too difficult.  It's more of a planning thing, allowing the time for the crab to firm up in the fridge.


Big chunks of crab in these cakes, lovingly coated in Panko.  Doug made the cheese grits and opened the wine while and I made a baguette and the crab cakes.


I have now moved on to Stephen King's book 11/22/63 and I am completely absorbed.  It's about a wormhole where you go back to 1958.  No matter how long you stay in the past, be it 10 minutes or 3 months, only 2 minutes have passed when you return to your time.  There are many components of this book to talk about but one big goal is to prevent the Kennedy assassination in Dallas.

Be warned, it's a fattie of 879 pages.  I am almost to page 300. My stack of books is a big one so I am not sure what I will focus on next.

Currently I am blocked at the library because I didn't turn in Ray Donovan (season 4 ) by the due date.  I can't stand it when I am blocked, love the library site.  But they open again on Tuesday and I will be back in business,  We just checked out Hacksaw Ridge (prior to being blocked) so we will watch it sometime this week.


Gardening plans just didn't get going....again.  But we are supposed to get freezing temperatures again, a low of 32 this Wednesday, so good thing the tomatoes weren't planted.  This year we are getting bags of manure and compost, hopefully we will get a good garden again.

That's it for me today.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

What's up in your world?

First off we want to send a shout out to our cousin Lee Ellen.  She wasn't feeling well and it's times like this that I wish we all lived closer.  My husband grew up with her but since meeting that branch of the family, I feel like I have known them all my life too. That's why she's our cousin and not just his cousin :-)    Lots of love ♥♥ ♥♥

Watching this week - Ray Donovan, season 4. It's a loaner from the library so we only have 1 week to watch a season. Starting off a good pace.   Last time we tried to watch a season (borrowed from the libray) we had 2 episodes of Longmire left before we had to turn it in.  That meant we went back on the list - finally finished that season of Longmire but it sure left you with a cliffhanger!


Reading - Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent and about to start Stephen King's 11/22/63.  Doug is starting Tana French's latest book, The Trespasser.

In the Kitchen - Now that we are both over heinous head colds we are back to cooking and eating normal meals. We have been eating 95% vegetarian but this week's menu had us adding a favorite recipe from Curtis Stone.  I called it Landlocked Paella.  It's so good and it's the first time I cooked meat in our kitchen since September of last year. Really.


Coming up on the menu are some inspired dishes from the book Dinner with Edward  (the featured book at Cook the Books Club).  If you'd like to join in click HERE and get the details.  You have until the end of the month to post.

Other menu items include a Spinach Ricotta Pie, grilled fish and possibly quesadillas or nachos. If we do quesadillas I may make this Corn and Black Bean salad (details below).  But I think we are leaning toward Nachos and Margaritas!

Anyway, here is the recipe for this salad I have made before and plan to do very soon.  I wanted to share it with Deb for Souper Sunday.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

2 ears of fresh corn or 1 (16 oz.) package frozen corn
3 or 4 green onions
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 fresh tomatoes, sliced and diced (about 1 ½ cups)
½ cup Mojo marinade (I didn’t use quite a half cup)
1 tablespoon honey

Cut corn off cob and set aside.  If you are using frozen corn, thaw first by placing in colander and running cold water over it for 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain and place in a bowl. Slice green onions and add to corn.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Easy, right?

Let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend. Stir and serve.

This is a good side salad and goes well with quesadillas or grilled foods. It's served cold but if you left the tomatoes out, heated the mixture just a bit and then add the tomatoes back in, that would be good too.

That's about it for me.  Nothing new and exciting.

I will be joining Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. This week's linkup is HERE.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bombay Lentil Soup for a Head Cold

It seems like 2 weeks that this head cold has been with me but the reality's only been a few days. It drains your energy level something awful so an easy fix for a hot comforting lunch was a convenience food from Tasty Bite. I doctored this packet of lentils up with some vegetable broth and it was wonderful.


 These little packets are meant to cook 1 minute in the microwave and would be good poured over rice. The quality of the product is excellent and it's packed with flavorful spices such as coriander, ginger, chiles, mango powder and turmeric. Obviously there are lentils, tomatoes and onion in there too. 👌

. lentil2

 Homemade is always the best but these packs are lifesavers for an emergency lunch or a tired cranky sick person.

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday Series.   This week's linkup may be found HERE.

. SouperSundays

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Current Events: Reading, Eating, Watching

Today I stayed home from work.  Sadly I caught the cold I had been trying to avoid all week.  An inconsiderate co-worker came to work last week sneezing, coughing and spreading germs so half my hallway is down with this mess.  My husband is directly across from her office so of course, he got the cold.  As did the guys in the next two offices.  My office is all the way down the hallway but....I have the mess anyway. Almost zero exercise today - I am trying to conserve energy to fight it off.

Other than that I have been enjoying the following.


Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson and Bad Boy by Peter Robinson were my latest DCI Banks mysteries.  Now I only have three books left in the series before Robinson comes out with a new book.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman :  I have to admit the beginning of this book had me on the fence as to whether I would finish it.  A DNF in my list of books.  I don’t like to read about such a negative person but then more was revealed about Ove and I couldn't put it down.  By the time I finished I had tears in my eyes. 

The Accountant. Wow, was I surprised at how much we liked this movie! This trailer doesn't do it justice. Once it was over Doug asked me who I thought had the higher body count - John Wick or The Accountant.  If you like action, don't be fooled by the early parts of this preview.

Speaking of action movies, we ended up watching the latest Jack Reacher movie, Never Go Back, in spite of the fact that Tom Cruise is not at all suitable for Reacher's character description. He is not 6'5" nor is he blonde. Just watching it as an action movie was great though.  Lots of gunfire, explosions and excitement.


Eating Probably too much pasta (is that possible?) and now I need to make a lighter menu plan for next week.

 Crafty stuff
 I tried to keep up with the #YarnLoveChallenge on Instagram but failed to make the posts on the appropriate days.  It's just a fun thing to share with other yarn lovers but I let it slide.  Right now I am working on a hat using a loom.  That is a throw back to my Cumbrian ancestors who were weavers but I'm sure I have it way easier. They did it for a living whilst my pursuits are purely pleasure driven.

That's it. I don't feel great so I just wanted to post a quick update and now I am going to eat more pasta (a slow cooker spinach mushroom lasagna) and settle in with Longmire season 4.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pea Soup ....more like Pea Sludge
{It's important to diary about kitchen fails. That way I learn from it.}

Good morning and Happy Wednesday! The best news for me to report is my leg is much better. My walking is almost back to normal, just the occasional twinge. I'm sure this won't be the last time it locks up and causes me grief. Yet another perk of getting older :-)

The weather has been up and down, you can't count on temperatures staying within a norm for winter here. But in cooler months I like to have a bowl of soup for lunch so, despite some days reaching 78 F/ 25 C, I want soup.

It makes a good lunch and is usually low calorie.  Well today I am going to tell you about a Fail in the kitchen.  It's an Ina Garten recipe.  I have cooked from her books before and had relatively good success but this time....I don't know if this wasn't tested or it was "user error".

Here is the photo of the soup brewing.  All is well.  It smells good.  Behold the brothy texture and the colorful vegetables simmering in harmony.  This has Excellence written all over it, my kitchen has a lovely aroma.  My stomach is growling in anticipation for a bowl of this light brothy soup.


Now look at this photo below?  WTF?!  No matter how much broth I added it would absorb.  Like pancakes soak up became a sludge.  Yes, I did eat it and bless his heart, my supportive husband ate it too.  It tasted fairly good considering the texture was like hummus.


We had to use bread to scoop it, like hummus, rather than soaking up the non-existent broth.  Too weird.  Why am I sharing this dumpster fire of a meal?  Beacuse we learn from mistakes in the kitchen and I know I don't want to make this recipe again.

I have made Split Pea Soup before.  Using a slow cooker I made this recipe HERE and you can see (photo below) it was successful.  Guess I should have used a slow cooker.  Oh well, live and learn!


If you want to check out the Ina Garten recipe click HERE and it will take you to the Food Network site.  Please do write me and tell me if you have success with this recipe.  Maybe it was just me.  Probably :-)

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series.
 This week's linkup may be found HERE. SouperSundays

Friday, February 10, 2017

My crown, a sore leg but best of all
{Tortellini with Spinach}

Part one: Wah-wah

While last week started like gangbusters ( lots of good walking and moving about),  my old yoga injury flared up,  locking my leg into a straight position so.....hardly any walking.  I also had to get a temporary crown on a broken tooth.  Once the numbness wore off those  injection sites were tender, causing a dull pain in my mouth.

What a week. Rant over. Let's move on.....

Part two: A very nice thing that happened was a dinner with our son. We hadn't planned it, just worked out well.  I needed to make a quick meal since we had gotten home late so I turned to this easy  Tortellini with Spinach.

There is probably a recipe written down somewhere but I wing it when cooking.


In under 25 minutes you have a great meal.  I am a big fan of pasta so this one is a hit for me.  You use those refrigerated packs of tortellini (found in the dairy case area in the market).  You'll need the tortellini, spinach (or kale), milk, Parmesan and garlic.


Chop several cloves of garlic and slice the stems off approximately 1 pound of spinach.  You can use kale if you'd like, but we aren't fans of kale so I use spinach.  Cook the garlic and spinach in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Add oregano and salt.

Once the veggies are soft add a cup of milk. (I used almond milk)  Add about 3/4 cup broth.  To keep it more vegetarian in style I used vegetable broth but you can use whatever you like,  Add tortellini and let it simmer for 8 minutes. Since we had 3 for dinner I opened a second container of tortellini and added almost half of it.

8 minutes later it's all cooked.  What I do then is sprinkle some Panko and a 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the top and place in the oven at 375 F for 5 minutes.

If you don't have a pan that goes from stove top to oven then don't worry about the browning. But do add that Parmesan, it's a good touch.

Since I tweak a recipe and add a little of this and that, I don't always measure properly, but I think i wrote out exactly what I did for our dinner.  This is good with a side salad and bread.

Sharing with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

She is waiting near the bar. Somehow she knows when she hears ice hit a glass, she gets treats. Huh. aja