Saturday, November 28, 2015

I love my panini sandwiches!

I haven't made a panini in awhile but this was another way to use leftover turkey.  So I pulled my griddler out of storage and went to work.

Here's what I used:

Pain de Campagne bread fresh from Wegman's bakery
fresh spinach
fontina cheese
sliced tomato
marinated artichokes

I slathered melted butter on the outside of each slice, let the griddler do its job and in a few minutes I had a wonderful sandwich.

You have to try hard to ruin a panini, short of leaving it in the griddler too long and it burns.  I learned from the cheese counter at Wegmans that you can use any mild cheese because it melts quickly.  I had always used sliced mozzarella but today I went with fontina.

Use your imagination in deciding what to put in it. . . avocado, any sliced meat, whatever you like.

If you have a favorite panini that you make, I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The white stuff

A noise woke me up in the early morning hours.  It is unusual for a big truck to come down our street at this hour.  Opening my eyes, I saw the unmistakable sight of a rotating light. . . the snow plow.  There isn't enough to plow, but it was making "a salt run."

Ugh.  Can I just roll over and pretend this isn't happening?  I really thought we'd get through November without this nuisance.  Just last week, people were walking around in shirt sleeves, even a few in short sleeves.

But this is Western New York, adjacent to that big snow machine, the Great Lakes.

This is Bailey's first snow!  Like any other puppy, first she stared at it, then sniffed it, then ran with unbridled joy!

Depending on which "authority" you want to believe, we will have a mild winter or one with above average precipitation.  I think we deserve a mild winter.  The last two have been brutal.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Garlic Mushroom Quinoa dish

I try to incorporate more quinoa into my diet since quinoa has so many health benefits.

Here is a recipe I found that is good.  It would make a light lunch or a side dish to a meal.  I like to use Bob's Red Mill tri-color quinoa.  It makes an attractive dish.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Cook the quinoa in the water until it is absorbed, about 10 minutes.  Let stand covered.

Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms and prepare the garlic cloves.  Combine with the thyme.

Pour the olive oil into a heated skillet.  Saute the mushrooms, garlic and thyme for a few minutes.  Mix in the quinoa and cook, stirring another 2 or 3 minutes.

At the table, add the salt and pepper and Parmesan.

As a side note:  In my opinion, you can never have too much garlic!  The recipe calls for 5 cloves. . . I used 7.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday night at home

Just me and my girls at home tonight, chilling after a long week

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bailey, Star Puppy!

Bailey earned her Star Puppy award tonight!  We've been in obedience training for the last six weeks.  A judge was brought in to evaluate the dogs.

She can do all the things required of a Star Puppy, but she does play by her own set of rules.  When the judge called her up, she snapped to and performed beautifully.

All my Labs (all 5 of them!) have been intelligent dogs.  However, Bailey has shown a higher level of intelligence.  She caught on to housebreaking sooner than I expected.

Now if I could just get her not to take a flying leap at my face from six feet away when I first sit down with my coffee at 5:30 in the morning!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Out of this world delicious!

Today is only the second time since Bailey arrived on the scene that I've used my smoker.  She's not even five months old yet and I just couldn't deal with her being around the hot smoker.

This was also the second time that I've smoked a brisket.  The first one was good, but I wanted to try a new recipe for marinade and rub.

I used a marinade recipe that I found online.  It has orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, and olive oil.  The rub came from Stuart's Spices, a local store that mixes up their spices on site.  I have been satisfied with everything I have bought from them and they are very customer service oriented.

Surprisingly, this time, I found Bailey was actually afraid of the smoker!  That is not her usual personality!

If you have never tried smoking meat, just DO IT!  For a long time, I was afraid to try it.  It seemed complex and beyond my skill set.  NONSENSE!  Anyone can easily learn to be a pro at it.  The results are just fantastic.  I have never had a failure yet and this is my second year as Master Meat Smoker of Doncaster Rd!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Little things from years past

Sometimes it is the little, unplanned things, insignificant things really, that can bring joy.  Tonight, my cousin, Rita and I were texting about something current and totally unrelated. . . but one thing led to another and it led me to remember things that happened decades ago - even before Rita was born!

My mother was dysfunctional. . . I was raised in very rigid circumstances.  Many, many years ago, my cousin, Gwen (Rita's mom) and I would go fishing.  Now all Gwen had to do was throw her line in the water, not even three feet away from mine, and immediately, the fish would bite her line, while I sat waiting for a nibble.

There was a pond across the street from where my grandparents lived in rural Alabama.  So one morning, I woke up just as dawn approached.  I decided on a whim, to get up and go fishing.  There was a small row boat on the shore.  I took my fishing pole and bait,  got in the boat and went out to the middle of the pond.  I sat there fishing, minus any bites from fish, for I don't know how long.  What I wanted was to catch a fish, all by myself.  It was peaceful and quiet. . . . until my mother woke up and discovered I was missing.

Somehow, in my adolescent mind, I enjoyed seeing her go ballistic.  For once, I had dominion over her.  I had done something she couldn't control.  "SHERRY, get back over here RIGHT NOW."

Part of me wanted to ignore her.  But in those 1950's days in the South, I knew better.

Was that the beginning of my free spirit mindset, of taking control over my own destiny, of standing up to whatever authority clashed with me, of making my own way in the world, no matter what my parents, or anyone else, thought and no matter what obstacles I encountered?

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ok, it's a picture, I never promised perfection!

If you want to know what total frustration is, try getting two dogs to cooperate for just one nice picture. . . this is the best of the worst!

Bailey is 4 months old now and "all puppy!"

Yes, two dogs, especially when one is a rambunctious puppy can drive you nuts sometime, but I really do enjoy having two dogs. . . I really do.

When I come home from work they are both overjoyed to see me.  I let them out back and they run and run.  Then I say, "Who wants to eat?" and they come running.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Happy Birthday, Kevin!

Fifteen years ago today, in the early morning hours, long before daylight, my son, John, called me.  The conversation went something like this:

John:  "Mom, are you awake?"

Me:  "YES!  Am I a grandmother yet?

John:  "Are you sure you are awake?"

Me:  "YES!  Has Jen had the baby yet?"

John:  "Are you sure you are awake?"


No, the baby hadn't arrived yet, so I still had time to get to the hospital!  I was dressed and in the car in record time!

My first grandchild, Kevin James Bennett, arrived just after day light on October 3, 2000!

Kevin, and his two brothers, Jake and Andrew, have made me a very proud grandmother.

Happy Birthday, Kevin!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The old Sacred Heart Hospital

This is the old Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida.  Even though they built a new hospital in 1965, this building still stands and is used for other purposes.
I was born in this building and it was a part of my life for as long as it served as a hospital.  As a child, I was mystified by the architecture.  My mother worked there as a nurse in my very early years and later she managed the pharmacy on the first floor.  I made several trips over the years to the Emergency Room.  And I had a tonsilectomy and appendectomy there.
I am proud to see such a stately building still standing and being used for worthwhile purposes.