Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fall River Vegetable Soup

First off let me give a shout out to a friend who is going through a difficult time.  Mrs. L,  you have been in our thoughts.  Wish we could hand deliver this soup to you ♡♡♡

Soup.  That word is conjured up as a comfort food, don't you think?  It is certainly soup weather now here in the northern hemisphere.  I know my food buddies in Australia and New Zealand are enjoying summer but....that's not the case here!


 When it's chilly and the wind cuts through you as you are walking the dog back from her usual think about hot comfort food. Also, in spite of my husband and I being Government Drones, a workplace one would think has basic amenities like HEAT.....not always the case.

Last Monday we arrived to very cold offices. At 8:00 a.m. the thermostat read 59 F (15 C).  It did get up to 64 before we decided to take leave time and go home.   It's just not acceptable when you are sitting at a desk most of the day.  Everyone was wearing a coat, some had hats and I tried to type wearing gloves.  That went as well as one may think.

I should mention that was an unusual day and while it is cold at work in December and January, that was an extreme.


So...comfort food.  I made a vat of soup for lunches during the week.  This is a recipe I had been wanting to prepare.  It had been languishing in my file of recipes to try.

 Here is the recipe I copied (via the iPhone) from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.  It gives a bit of background about the area which I found interesting.  I used a bit less wine than called for and it turned out well.


For Jo........

    . cwtch
 Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday Series.
 Deb's linkup for Souper Sunday this week may be found HERE.  Join us!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Brown Soda Bread

Guess what I made recently?  Brown Soda Bread from a recipe in the book Stir by Jessica Fechtor. It was a hit.  Moist and flavorful.  Perfect with coffee and dangerous to have around with only 2 people in the house.

This Brown Soda Bread recipe challenged me because this was one of the few times I managed to use our digital kitchen scale.  Thanks to my husband's assistance - it was measured properly.  This came out well and I will most certainly be making this again.


 So.....a digital scale. It's always confused me, especially after I thought I measured the correct amount of flour one day only to discover, I didn't convert from a liquid measurement. Way too much flour. This is disappointing when you've already mixed up multiple ingredients so you have to toss it.  Wasteful.  But this time -  a stunning success!


I highly recommend this recipe and can say, the digital scale saved the day.  If I had measured using my measuring cups I would have used too much flour.  It would have been far too heavy a loaf.


Here is the recipe from the book Stir by Jessica Fechtor.


 There are other recipes in this book that we've prepared and so far, all are keepers.

This was the book featured at Cook the Books and I am happy Deb chose this one. Remarkable story and great writing style.  If you want to know more about it at my other site click HERE.


Try this one - you won't regret it.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Notebooks and Social Media
{An Informational Post}

The subject of notebooks and journaling came up the other day. I never thought to write about it as it seemed a mundane subject. But when interest was expressed I thought – why not?
 For what it's worth, I think it's mainly women who have a fascination with notebooks.  Not to stereotype -  I just don't find males are that interested in office supplies - LOL.


One of the things that keeps me organized is a decent notebook.  I actually have more than one for different projects but there are only two I use for daily reminders and lists.

Embarrassingly enough……..I can’t stop acquiring them. I mean, you can always use a notebook, right?

My larger notebook has lists and ideas. Things I need to do, purchase, reminders of weekly events and linkups on blogs and things like this. The small pink one that rides in my purse is more of a diary. What we eat, menus, books we are reading, movies……you get the idea. It's great for when I make a grocery list and menu planning ideas.


Also,  I write down the names of books I want to read and if I saw it on someone’s website, I note where the recommendation came from in the event I review it. Then I can link back or give a mention.


Another constant on one of my lists is about crochet hooks I own. How many times in the past have I dithered about which size to buy, only to find I have duplicated it….again.

Honestly, since I discovered the Clover bamboo from Japan I probably won’t buy another brand since I have so many of the other ergonomic types.

And now on to Social Media ...............
 Every blue moon I need a break from social media. Once I  tire of it and find I am not keeping up, I know it’s time to deactivate for a while.

Over a year ago I deleted my Twitter account and turned out I regretted it. By the time I decided I wanted it back, it was too late. Completely purged. So I started a new one but the interest isn’t strong now. And as I said, when you don’t check in on it the feed seems unmanageable.

 (I'm not on all of these above)

 I say this as an announcement so no one thinks I have “dumped” them when I finally get around to deactivating. They need hibernation for a bit so, if I am not around, you were not dumped.

That’s about all I have to say today. We have been eating well, continuing to walk each morning, reading and watching movies.  I’m almost done with a scarf that I have been crocheting off and on for a while. I know Doug would love for the weather to be decent so he can get a telescope out. It's been rainy and now it's cold.

Oh! Doug bought me this cool loom which should assist me in making hats. I am very excited about that and hope I’m not too dense to figure out the instructions.

Updates will be forthcoming.

PS - I am cross posting this to Novel Meals as I have two followers that read both sites.

Just a FYI post here.

Friday, January 06, 2017

The latest outings: St George Island, riding and eating, Cuban Cuisine

Over the holidays we decided to take time off.  Best idea ever - we love being off work.  Who doesn't, right?  Every year our annual Christmas Eve ride is planning according to the weather.  This past December 24th we decided to take a long ride to St George Island and get some seafood.

The weather was great all the way down highway 65 and quite warm.  Once we turned on Hwy. 98 we ran into fog.  Lots of fog.  The temperature dropped fairly dramatically and we were actually cold.

 Normally you can see the water and the long bridge connecting the island to the mainland from quite a distance.  This fog was so dense.  Here is what it looks like on most days, photo below.


It was rather ghostly with the fog.


So, the plan to sit on  the patio at The Blue Parrot and stare at the Gulf waters and sandy beach was thwarted,  You couldn't see the lower deck where people were dining.

 I snapped this from the trike as we were rolling down Highway 65. I love the trees lining both sides of the road.  As a matter of fact, I was able to get a video while we rode by and the curve of the fender made it look like a fast moving Ferris wheel of trees.  Quite pretty.  I don't know how to upload that video here.


As we all tend to do on vacations, we ate out a few times, probably more than usual.  Bonefish Grill is a nice upscale restaurant in Tallahassee so one day we decided it would be fun to eat at the bar, sip a beer and enjoy.  Doug had a burger and I had fish tacos.  It's my mission, evidently, to try fish tacos wherever we go.  In search of the perfect combo.  This definitely ranks in the top 2.


Another place we have eaten recently is the Habana's Boardwalk Cuban restaurant. I was always on about Gordo's restaurant but lately, they have gone downhill. Habana's in AHmazing. This grilled fish dinner was not expensive and you get fresh seafood, quality ingredients.

A good portion of fish with peppers, onions and tomatoes in a wine sauce.  Plus black bean soup and Maduras for only $14.99.  A bargain.


Lately I have been spending more time on my book site but I want to keep updating here as I would a diary.  Also, I am a sucker for journals and recently had quite a few very cool new notebooks given to me.  So focus had been elsewhere.  But I'll be  Hopefully more often.

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday and with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Snow in Florida
{ It's a cheat.....but it was fun! }

Many, many years ago I lived where there was snow. Sometimes LOTS of snow and as a kid, that was just plain fun.  I am an exiled Pennsylvanian living in the north of Florida. I grew up outside Philly and enjoyed roaming the freshly shoveled sidewalks in Brookhaven and Parkside.


My husband didn't have the annual winter experience of snow ball fights, sledding or making forts using milk cartons packed with snow then iced down to make a formidable wall (that's where you stash the snowballs and start a war, ducking for cover and getting soaked).

He and I thought about moving to a part of the country that has four distinct seasons, sometime after we both retire.  I don't think that is going to happen as we can be big ol' babies about the cold.  It's a nice thought, in theory....moving to Tennessee or Idaho or Utah.


This snow you see here is a cheat.  We drove to Havana one evening, as we usually do to walk Aja, and we saw all this snow.  They had brought in a truck and used some sort of blower to manufacture a winter wonderland.  I wish we had known about it earlier.  It felt like the real thing, you could pack a snowball.  Very cool.


After wandering around for a while we decided to grab a pizza from Oscar's place and go home, watch some of Longmire Season 4.  If you've seen it, don't tell me what happens!  I know there will be 2 more seasons and that will wrap up the series.

Here is a picture of the pizza - it was oozing cheese.  We had spinach, Roma tomatoes and fresh mushrooms. Fantastic combination.  Open a bottle of Dreaming Tree Crush and that's a fine movie meal.


While we walking around, waiting on the pizza to bake, we looked in shop windows and the holiday displays.  This one below moves.  Santa lifts the hammers and works on a toy, moves his head around.  Very cool - reminded me of all the magical displays in Chester when I was a kid.


So, Christmas is over and we are going to be packing away the tree and decorations this week.  We had a bit of rain recently and that puts a cramp in the walking and riding but this week - perfectly nice warm weather.

Here is my granddaughter playing in puddles. She is a water baby for sure, loves the water.


Hopefully everyone had a nice holiday, we did.  New year's eve is approaching fast but I don't think we will make a special dinner this year. In the past I made corn fritters, bacon wrapped shrimp and asparagus risotto but I don't know what we want this year.  Maybe pizza or Chinese takeaway.  Or seafood, that's always good.

I've been working on my book blog recently so I'm not sure if I'll be back here before the new year.  So, I wish anyone reading to have a safe and happy celebration, whatever you are planning!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

A very simple salad

Sometimes a very simple salad is the best thing you could have on the dinner table. It was a side to the main meal but had a starring role all the same.

 It's been a long week with festivities at work and naughty foods and mounds of paperwork that makes me feel like I am in Dilbert-Land.

 Then we get home and life begins. Healthy food, relaxing atmosphere, a laid back pace. Sometimes a bottle of wine gets opened.  Just sayin'.


This is a salad that feels like a cheat as far as recipes goes.  The superstar ingredient is a warm egg.

These eggs come from  free ranging yard birds who are pampered, having their treats of sweet potato, tomatoes, grapes and such cut in small pieces so they can feast.  These chicken don't know what stress is and thus, they provide wonderful large eggs with deep orangey yolks.


My coworker has chickens and when I give her enough warning, she will bring me a dozen fresh eggs from her spoiled hens.  What a deal as she charges me only $3 a dozen and these eggs are days old at the most.

I place them in water and after the boil, let them go about 4 minutes.  The results are yolks that aren't cooked all the way through, just enough ooey-ness to compliment a spinach salad.

While I am tearing up the spinach leaves I am also sauteing  halved cherry tomatoes and mushrooms in olive oil.  Toss in some oregano and them combine the cool spinach, hot tomato mixture and the semi boiled egg to make a wonderful marriage of flavors.

This is something we don't want to get tired of having so I can't make it as much as I want it.  Make sense?  This salad will continue to grace our table in 2017 with healthy meals.

I've fallen off the wagon a little between good bourbon and chocolate and the occasional pizza but we all need to cut loose sometimes.  Moderation, that's what it's all about.  Looking forward to sharing more good meals and experiences with you in the new year.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday and with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.  Deb's linkup for Souper Sunday this week may be found HERE.  Join us!


Monday, December 19, 2016

We didn't hit a deer

We have had quite a bit of rain lately. As luck would have it, last Saturday the weather cooperated so we were able to take a ride. Yes! It had been a while since our last ride due to rotten weather. Instead of heading toward congested areas, especially with the Christmas shoppers driving about, we chose a long rural road and headed towards Sopchoppy. It's always nice to go on long stretches of country road and see hale bales, cows and pastures.


Important event: There is a very small white tailed deer alive today thanks to Doug's riding skills. We are headed out of Sopchoppy picking up good speed when we crossed paths. Well, it was alive on Saturday, just after running in front of the trike !

Doug said if it hadn't slipped in the mud on the side of he road, it would have most certainly collided with the trike's front wheel and all three of us would have been in trouble. He watched it slip and skid then skitter straight out in the road- this was all processed in seconds. As the little deer slipped across the road, trying to run (I think it injured itself when it fell), I heard and smelled brakes, then saw the terrified look in the deer's eye. The fine tan hairs on it's face were easily defined - yes, that close. Thankfully Doug reacted quickly and skillfully.

Before that encounter we walked around the three blocks of town. Here is a unique door bell of sorts. It appeared someone lived in store that was on Main Street, such as it was. There was paper taped up in the large display windows but it looked as if someone had taken up residence there.


Sopchoppy Pizza is the only place to dine and yes, that is a large gorilla standing sentinel outside. The point was getting a ride in, not a meal destination after all.



Here is a display set up in front of the Chamber of Commerce. The figures honor our veterans and aren't life sized but fairly large all the same.


And.....that's all there was to see. So, we headed home, had that deer encounter, arrived home in time so Aja could get some afternoon sun. Had coffee then relaxed and read a bit.


I have some nice photos to share from our recent experience at Habanas restaurant in Tallahassee. Great Cuban cuisine at reasonable prices. Next time...........

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Reading, Eating, Watching and Planning
{Sweet Potato, Lentil and Spinach salad}

What a week! Last week my poor husband was stricken with a horrible stomach virus, our exercise was off due to illness and heavy rains and I gained some weight back. Bah! But, this week sees much improvement in all areas of our quiet life. We have been listening to music, watched a few movies and started new books.

Reading... I finished All the Colors of Darkness (#18 in the DCI Banks series) and The Girl in the Castle. Doug finished Lee Child’s latest novel, Night School. Currently we are reading A Yorkshire Christmas by Kate Hewitt and Abandon by Blake Crouch.

nightschool  I also browsed through the Outlander Kitchen by Theresa Carle-Sanders and enjoyed all the stories as well as the recipes. That is scheduled over at Novel Meals this week.

Watching……Christmas movies! My favorite of all times is It’s a Wonderful Life. We also watched Love Actually, Bad Santa (yeah, I know), and were only disappointed by one movie, Independence Day: Resurgence. They shouldn’t have done a second movie, in my opinion.


Exercising…continuing to walk roughly 6 miles per day, with the exception of last week. Feeling good and eating well. Doug has lost almost 20 pounds and I’ve lost 12.

Planning…..As I have the past few years I have linked up with the British Book Challenge and new one called 2017 Month Motif hosted at Girl.xoxo Also in the plan for this month is a full cleaning out of the downstairs closet. That will be a chore.

Eating…… We’ve had some good meals such as Mushroom, Zucchini & Black Bean Enchiladas, Cassoulet and seafood.

One good recipe I would like to share with Deb’s Souper Sunday series is this Sweet Potato, Lentil and Spinach salad.

 (Not my photo, the one I took at work isn't this pretty)

 It’s so easy I can put it together in the morning to take to work. Canned lentils are always in the pantry and we usually have sweet potatoes so – winner!

Sweet Potato, Lentil and Spinach salad 


A large sweet potato
Half a large red onion (I say half because I have never ever seen a small red onion)
8 oz Brussel sprouts or a large handful of spinach
1 tsp honey
1 cup cooked lentils
Feta cheese
Olive oil


Peel the sweet potato and cut into slices or ½ inch cubes. This will help them roast quickly. Combine the sweet potato with Herbes de Provence, 1 tsp. of honey, salt and pepper and a large drizzle of olive oil.
Once this is mixed up cook the potatoes in a 425 F oven for about 15 minutes. OR use a lower temperature if you aren’t in a hurry for the cook time.

 I used canned lentils, the Goya brand. If you aren’t using canned follow these directions: To cook lentils drizzle olive oil in a pot, add the red onion, and cook about 5 minutes. Add lentils, stock and enough water to cover lentils by an inch.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cook about 15 or 20 minutes. Drain cooked lentils, add salt to your taste, and return to pot. Add Brussel sprouts or spinach (I used spinach) and cook until done. Maybe 5 minutes.

The sweet potatoes should be cooked by now. You are going to mix all this up together and top with feta cheese.

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday and with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.