Sunday, January 25, 2015

What to bring to an office potluck???

I have been trying to decide for a week what to bring for my Division's Potluck Lunch at work tomorrow.  It has to be something that travels well since I have quite a walk, in snow and ice, from the parking lot.  At a past event, I brought in a hearty crock pot soup.  But even in a zippered case with the lid supposedly clamped in place, it was kind of a mess!  Actually, not "kind of a mess", but "a mess!"

Finally, this morning I sat down with one of my Southern Living cookbooks, idly turning the pages to find inspiration.  Ahhh!  That's it!  Hummingbird Cake!  I've never made one but many people over the years have told me it is a real winner.

The list of ingredients would charm anyone:  crushed pineapple, mashed bananas, cinnamon, chopped nuts and a cream cheese frosting!

I want to put in a good word for the Southern Living cookbooks.  I have several of them and every recipe is a sure winner every time.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nice day for a road trip

I had to drive to Erie, Pennsylvania yesterday.  Pennsylvania no longer recognizes my multi-state concealed carry permit.  Instead, I needed a Pennsylvania permit.

I had no problems with that except for the fact that in the winter that section of I-90 from Buffalo down to Cleveland can be treacherous and is sometimes closed due to snow and ice.  And I wanted to stay on interstate highway so going to another county in Pennsylvania wasn't an option.  Only certain counties in the state issue non-residents carry permits.

The weather and driving conditions couldn't have been better!  I could see Lake Erie from a distance and it had huge sheets of ice on it.  It was even warm enough that I didn't need my heavy winter jacket and gloves.

It was a simple matter to apply for the license, I was in and out in a half hour.  I was told I should receive the permit within a week, in plenty of time for my trip South this Spring.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jackie!

If you happen to be in Pensacola, Florida today and run into Jackie Ward, wish her a Happy Birthday!

Jackie and I have been friends since way back in the third grade at Myrtle Grove Elementary School.

As a teenager approaching driving age, I was jealous that Jackie turned fourteen before I did!  Yes, in the olden days in Florida, you could get a restricted driver's license at 14, and then at 16, she had her full license four months before I did.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cataract surgery

I am pleased to report that my cataract surgery went very well this morning.  All the agonizing I went through was for nothing!

There was no pain and the hospital staff, from the secretary that checked me in, the patient care technicians, nurses, the doctors, everyone was top notch and treated me just wonderful.

Cataract surgery has come a long way from the days of long hospital stays and unpleasant recovery.  I was in and out of the operating room in a half hour and on my way home in less than an hour in recovery.

In two weeks I'll be back for the second eye, without the anxiety I went through this time!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The dead of winter

Winter has settled in for a long visit in Western New York.  With it has come frigid temperatures, slippery going, strong winds and gray, overcast days.

A great time to settle in on a Saturday morning and finish a good book I've been reading.  Have you read any of Debbie Macomber's books?  I love her Blossom Street books and have now read three of them.

I'm also crocheting an afghan with 6 sided granny squares.  I wasn't sure how knitting and crocheting would work with a dog in the house that loves my undivided attention!  Morgan just curls up on the couch beside me and takes a nap while I'm working with yarn.

This week I will have ambulatory surgery to remove a cataract from one eye and two weeks later, they will do the other eye.  Yes, I'm a little nervous about that but everyone I know that has had this surgery has assured me it has come a long way over the years and recovery is quick.  One person said she didn't feel anything but she could hear the surgeon singing a country song while he was working on her!  I just haven't figured out how I will survive without my cup of coffee before going to the hospital.

The harsh winter won't last forever and soon I will be on my way South for our annual cousin's reunion that we all look forward to.  This is year #7.

And I'm really looking forward to smoking meat again when the weather warms.  Last spring I bought a Weber Smoky Mountain smoker and truly enjoyed it all summer.  You don't know what you are missing if you have never tasted smoked meat right out of the smoker!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A nice thought for the New Year

"If more people knitted and crocheted, the world would see fewer wars and a whole lot less road rage."

That quote is attributed to Lily Chin from Lily Chin Signature Collection.  Think about it.  Knitting and crocheting are art forms handed down from generation to generation.  Working with a crochet hook or knitting needle in your hands, causes one to be calm and, at the same time, proud of the creation taking shape before your eyes.  I have a lot of friends that knit and crochet.  They all tell me the same thing, it is relaxing and almost spiritual in the effect it has on you.  My friend, Nancy Lauterbach, has even taken her knitting on canoe trips we have taken to remote wilderness areas!

I learned to knit and crochet decades ago.  At one time, I was quite skilled.  I made cardigan sweaters, afghans, ponchos, to name a few.  I used the cable stitch (my all time favorite), the seed stitch, and numerous pattern stitches in the items I made.  Then a busy life took over and without realizing it, I slowly got away from it.  In a cedar chest in my basement is a rather large, never finished afghan using triple crochet stitches that I used scraps of different color yarn over the years.  It is large enough that all I really need to do is bind off the stitches and possibly put a border around it.

One of my goals for 2015 is to get back in to knitting and crocheting.  I doubt, at this point, if I'm capable of the cable knits I did years ago, but I will work up to that.

Life can be frantic, demoralizing and unfair.  I've chosen a productive and pleasant way to walk around the storms.

Watch for posts on my progress!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Another year has come to a close and we are at the doorstep of 2015.

For me, 2015 marks 30 consecutive years of owning a Labrador Retriever!  And later this year, I plan to bring home another Lab puppy.  Since Molly died in March, I really miss the craziness of having two dogs in the house. 

First there was Teri.  She was a very loving dog.  I had other dogs in past years, most were mixed breeds and one was a purebred from champion lines.  With Teri, I knew that a Labrador Retriever was the only dog for me. When she was about 5 years old, I got Cash, a yellow Lab from the same breeder that Teri came from, Gladys Rodgers over in central New York.  Cash had a mind of her own and there was never a dull moment with her around.

Next came Molly.  Cash was getting on in age and by this time, I knew my life was not complete without a Labrador Retriever in the house.  And most recently, Morgan came into my life in 2012.

I really feel sorry for people that don't know the joy of owning a Lab.  Yes, they are hyperactive, rambunctious puppies that can test your stamina.  But somewhere about the two year mark, they turn into wonderful, loving members of the household.

Morgan and I look forward to bringing home a new yellow Lab puppy sometime in late summer to early fall this year.  I found a very good breeder in Cobleskill, NY, Four Seasons Labradors, where Lab #5 will come from!  Still tossing around names for the puppy, but that is normal for me!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Kale Chips

Okay, so you think you don't like kale.  Not only is it a highly nutritious food that I include in smoothies and soup recipes, but if I blindfolded you and gave you kale chips to eat, you would swear you were eating seasoned potato chips.

There are dozens of kale chip recipes out there.  I like this one.

4 or 5 handfuls of fresh kale

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Rinse the kale leaves under water and then dry very well, using paper towels.

Tear them into bite size pieces, eliminating the stems.

In a large bowl, combine the salt, paprika, and garlic powder.  Using your hands, carefully mix the kale into the salt mixture.

Place on a cookie sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Bake in a 350 degree oven.  Check at the 9 to 10 minute point.  They should be crunchy and still green. In my oven, 9 minutes was adequate.  If baked too long, they turn brown and develop a bitter taste.

Remove from oven and cool slightly before eating.

These are not good the second day, so only make enough for one time.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A kid in a candy shop!

I had heard of a restaurant supply store recently that sells to the public.  Hhhmmm. . . anyone who has ever been in my kitchen knows I am a kitchen junkie and spend a lot of time there.  I enjoy all kinds of cooking, whether it is a simple bacon and egg breakfast, a crock pot delight, stir fry, baking, grilling, using my Weber smoker, and more.

Today I ventured inside to take a look.  Wow!

"May I help you?" the friendly sales lady asked.

Already I was deeply absorbed in looking at all the "toys."  "Oh! I just want to look for now.  My daughter-in-law told me about your store and said I should come in."

"Would you like a basket?" she asked.

"Oh, no, thank you.  Don't think I'll buy that much!"

It was a fun half hour or so and I bought a few small kitchen tools and a large cutting board.  While a lot of their merchandise is geared to the restaurant industry, there are a lot of things for the home kitchen too.

If you live in the Rochester area, it is called Innovative Restaurant Supply and it is in the Regional Market on Jefferson Road.  Check it out!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A wonderful day

My daughter in law posted on facebook today, "If you value your sanity, do not go to Pittsford Plaza today."

Sometimes it is good to hibernate, away from the crowds, away from the craziness of the world. . . and that is just what I have done today.  I have been reading a good book, The Shop on Blossom Street, by Debbie Macomber, and I wanted to finish it today.  And that is just what I did, with Morgan laying beside me on the couch for most of that time.  Morgan was two years old in July and is shedding much of her wild puppy ways and turning into a very loving companion.

I have always been an avid reader.  But too often in recent years, I have shoved that aside because there is always work that needs to be done and never enough time to do it.  Fortunately, I have learned that sometimes you need to step off the non-stop treadmill of life and do something just for yourself.

Do something nice for yourself today.  It will work wonders for you!