Monday, May 23, 2016

The adventures of Bolty

Last spring, when Dave met me in Seattle for Easter weekend, one of the wheels on my suitcase was broken.  When we went to my niece's house, her man gave Dave a bolt, a washer, and two nuts to fix the wheel.  It wasn't a perfect fix, but it got me through the rest of that 3 week trip.  Once I got home, Dave fixed it and gave me the bolt and the nuts to take back to Beth's Man when I went down for the Baby Shower and to visit Beth's new baby.

A bolt, a washer, and two nuts.  I'm sure the Man wanted them back (insert sarcasm here)...

And Dave reminded me about 16 times, not to forget to give it back.  When I put it in my purse, he was worried that it wouldn't get through TSA, 'cus you can really be threatening with a bolt and two nuts (again, ISH)...

So the Chick and I decided to show Dave that not only did it get through TSA and we didn't forget to give it back to his home, we gave him a good time during the weekend.  We sent pictures, the whole weekend, of the bolt, doing different things.


Bolty made it through TSA, no problems.

At the train in the Seattle Airport.

Bolty buckled up and ready for the ride to Everett.

Trying to feel the baby kick.

Picking out dairy free ice-cream for the Chick.

Playing with Miss L.

Shopping for shoes.

Bolty at the candy store.

Lunch at Panera.

Finally home!

And with my man!

Miss E, because she is just so cute!

Yes, I know, feel very sorry for my husband.

1 year ago:   Penne with Asparagus

May 23, 2016  Sunrise 3:59 am  Sunset 11:40 pm  Temp H 52/ L 43°F

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Squeaky Shoe and Cheesesteak Sandwiches

I have a pair of work shoes that are very comfortable and only about 2 years old, but not really pretty.  They look like "grandma" shoes; wide toe, thick cushy soles, you know the kind of thing a grandma that needs orthopedics would wear.  I loved them, especially when I worked and have to stand all day.  For some reason I replaced them.  So, there they sat, on my shoe shelf, not getting worn.

I noticed them yesterday, sitting there gathering dust.  I decided that I would wear them, find out what was wrong with them (I forgot they squeaked), and either fix it or get rid of them.  I slipped them on, oh so comfortable, and went to work.  About 20 minutes into the day they warmed up and started to squeak.  Oh, that's right, they squeak.  I need to get rid of these, they are driving me nuts!

It was a cold rainy day, so instead of walking outside at lunch I walked in the basement of my building.  Back and forth laps with my squeaky shoe.  At one point I had to adjust the lift in my shoe (I need one after my hip surgery...what was I saying about grandma's with orthopedics?) so I stopped,  pulled off my shoe, adjusted the lift, put my shoe back on and kept walking.  About 12 steps later something felt weird.  I looked down and there was this brown something sticking out of the top of my shoe.  I stopped, pulled off my shoe, and pulled out the cardboard insert that shoe manufactures put in shoes so they retain their shapes in the shoe boxes.  I had been wearing those shoes for almost two years with that damn cardboard insert.  I shook my head at myself, put my shoe back on and continued with my laps...the squeak stopped.  It was the cardboard against the shoe when I walked.

I told my son this story on the way home from the greenhouse.  He laughed at me and said I would have something to write in my blog.
"No, I have to stop telling everyone all the stupid things I do.  People are going to start thinking I'm an idiot."
"No mom, anyone reading your blog already knows that."


So dinner is one area I usually don't look like an idiot.  Yes, I've had my kitchen mishaps, but for the most part I end up feeding my family pretty well.  We had these sandwiches for dinner that night.  We have a wok grill pan and whipped them up outside.  You can also cook them in the house, just cook the meat in batches so they fry and not steam in a full pan.  Yes, I might be an idiot, but at least I am an idiot that can cook.

Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Sandra Lee Grilling

1 1/2 pounds beef top round steak
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced thinly
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. onion soup mix
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 sandwich rolls
4 sliced provolone cheese

Freeze steak for 15 minutes, this makes slicing easier.
In a ziplock bag, place peppers, onion, and mushrooms.
Slice steak very thinly and place in a separate ziplock bag.

 Mix together olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix and garlic powder.  Pour half the marinade in each of the ziplock bags.  Marinate in refrigerator for 1-3 hours.

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise and minced garlic.  Set aside in refrigerator until needed.  Set up grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat.  Oil grill wok when ready to start cooking.

Remove vegetables and steak from marinades; discard extra marinades.  Place vegetables in grill wok and cook for 10-15 minutes or until just tender.  Remove to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Grill steak 3-5 minutes or until cooked through, turning once.  Remove to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Grill sandwich rolls until insides are toasted.  Spread  with garlic-mayonnaise mixture.  Fill rolls with steak, cheese, and vegetables.  Place sandwiches on grill and cover.  Cook 2-4 minutes or until cheese has melted.

1 year ago:   Clams
2 years ago:  Fresh Cheese and Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Grill
3 years ago:  Butterfinger Martini
4 years ago:  Lemon Meringue Pie and the Cookbook Problem

May 20, 2016   Sunrise 4:09 am  Sunset 11:29 pm  Temp H 62/ L 48°F

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ruining the Suprise

I had been working on this surprise for Dave for MONTHS.   I arranged to have the curly haired boy and the DIL come up for Memorial day as a surprise.  The tickets were purchased, everyone else in the family knew, except Dave, and we were just waiting.

Well, the day I called 911 twice, on accident (I'll tell you about that later), and the whole day was kinda messed up.  I was really tired at the end of the day and when I walked downstairs to tell Dave I was going to bed, my guard was down.

Dave was working on the computer...

"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I was trying to order you a present, but they won't ship to Alaska," he responded.
"Just have them mail it to Zach and Manetta and they can bring it when they come up." I sleepily replied.
"When are Zach and Manetta coming up?" he asked.

I turned around and went right to bed.  MONTHS of planning out the window with that one comment.

Well, Dave followed me upstairs and wouldn't stop until I gave him the details.  Z and M are coming on Thursday morning before Memorial Day to spend the weekend with us.  We were all looking forward to the surprise for Dave, and I blew it.

All there is to do now is drink, and wait for that Thursday.

Drunken Watermelon
Sandra Lee

1 4-Lb seedless watermelon
2 cups tequila
1 cup Grand Mariner
Lemon-lime soda

With a knife, shave off the stem end of the watermelon, just enough so that it sits flat.  Cut about 3 inches off the top of the watermelon.  Using a melon baller, make melon balls out of about half of the watermelon; place on large baking sheet, on plastic wrap, in single layer and freeze.

Scoop out remaining watermelon with a large spoon.  Leave the rind intact to use as a punch bowl, if desired.  In batches, transfer scooped-out melon (not the melon balls) to blender and puree.  Push watermelon puree through a strainer to remove pulp.  Return pureed watermelon to watermelon-rind punch bowl or transfer to a large pitcher.  Stir in tequila and Grand Mariner.  Top off with lemon lime soda.  To serve, pour, or ladle, mixture into glasses, add a few frozen melon balls.
Makes 12 servings, or serves 1 if you ruined a surprise of your own.
Pizza Night...the kids are doing all the work.

1 year ago:   Updated Wedge Salad
2 years ago:  Bacon Burgers
3 years ago:  Compound Butter and the Joy of an Airline Upgrade
4 years ago:  BBQ Chicken Salad and Planning ahead

May 16, 2016  Sunrise 4:22 am, Sunset 11:15 pm   Temp H 50/L 40˚F

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What a difference a week makes

We've been camping a lot, Dave every weekend and I've been going when I'm in town.  The first weekend I went out there was snow everywhere.  A couple weeks later there was only snow in the shady spots and in the river.

It was really cool to watch the ice  break up and float down with the current.

One week later, all the ice and snow was gone.  The same spot in the river was clear.
In the morning there were little puddles of ice along the edge.  The dogs loved breaking them and drinking the water underneath.
Our little camp by the river.  Notice no snow.
Tucker loves his sticks.  He is always carrying one.  If I pick one up, he drops his and grabs mine.  

Where ever you are I hope you are a happy camper!

1 year ago:    The new Camper

May 10, 2016   Sunrise:  4:43 am  Sunset 10:54 pm  Temp: H 68/ L 39°F

Friday, May 6, 2016

Chicken Marsala

Dave has been camping every weekend since the middle of March.  I've gone out with him 3 or 4 times, I really don't want to miss Saturday morning coffee with Donna.  Sometimes I drive out Saturday morning after coffee, spend the rest of the day and night out in the camper and come home Sunday in time to fix family dinner.

It is still pretty cold at night, I am very thankful for the heater...really, who am I kidding, if there wasn't a heater I wouldn't be going.

One weekend, Dave went out on Friday after work.  He met out niece and nephew and I was going out Saturday after coffee.  Dave takes care of all the camping prep.  He fills the camper with gas, propane, dumps the tanks, fills the fresh water, does the shopping and the cooking in camp, I show up and relax!  Well, this particular weekend, Dave was getting everything ready and checked the levels of water and propane while it was parked in the driveway.  Everything was about 2/3 full so he was good to go.  He loaded up the dogs, the groceries, and off he went.

Once he got parked and unloaded, he checked the water and propane levels again, turns out the propane was only 1/3 full.  The camper is at an angle in the driveway.  He had a bit of of a cold night that night when the propane ran out, even after he turned the heat down to 45° and cuddled with the dogs all night.  He knew I wasn't going to be very happy with a cold night in the camper, so Saturday morning, before I got there, he drove back into town, filled up with propane and back to his spot by the river.  He swore everyone to secrecy so I wouldn't give him a hard time.

I arrived later that afternoon.  We had a fun time, great dinner and played some card games with our niece and nephew.  We cuddled under the covers after Dave turned up the heater for me and I told him I was getting to really like the COW.  That is when he confessed.  I told him I didn't know why he wanted to keep it a secret, but I was sure thankful he drove back into town for the propane!  I know that mistake will never be repeated!

During the week, we play a bit of catch-up.  We have to get all our spring stuff done, our regular stuff around the house done, and clean out the camper and get ready for the next weekend.  So dinners have to be quick.  I am still working to find some chicken dinners that Dave enjoys (other than fried chicken).  It is an uphill battle!  This dish is fast, easy and was delicious.  And enough to keep you warm on cool spring nights!

Chicken Marsala
Ellie Krieger, Comfort Food Fix

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Four 5-oz. skinless boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely minced
1 1/2 lbs. white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 T sp. unsalted butter
4 tsps. finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Combine flour, paprika, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper in a large sealable plastic bag.  Add 2 pieces of chicken and toss in the flour mixture until well coated.  Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off any excess, and repeat with the remaining 2 chicken pieces. Reserve 1 Tbsp. of the remaining flour mixture.

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a very large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and cook until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes.  Add half the mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes.  Then add the remaining mushrooms and cook until they release their water, about 5 minutes.  Add the reserved 1 Tbsp. flour and stir until the flour is dissolved into the mushroom mixture.

Add the Marsala wine to the pan and bring to a boil.  Cook until about half the wine is evaporated, about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken broth and remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and bring to a boil.  Continue cooking until the sauce is reduced slightly, about 2 minutes.  Add the chicken, spooning the sauce over to cover, and cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a serving plate.  Cook the sauce to the desired thickness.  Add the butter and stir until melted.  Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and garnish with the parsley.
Makes 4 servings.

Kitchen fail...I chopped the parsley and forgot to add it.  I found it after dinner when we were cleaning up.
1 year ago:    Summer Salad and Catching Up
2 years ago:   Strawberry Mousse and the Strawberry Marathon
3 years ago:   Cherry Tart and the Weight Loss Challenge
4 years ago:   Hiving the Bees and Bee Cupcakes

May 6, 2016   Sunrise 4:57 am  Sunset 10:40 pm  Temp. H 63/ L 39°F