Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My annual trek South

Before long, I will be heading South for my annual cousins' reunion.  This will be our eighth year getting together on the old homestead where my grandparents raised cotton. . . and four children.  It is a fun time and one in which we look forward to all year.

We enjoy target shooting, walking the land, fishing, and just telling tall tales that get bigger every year.  Like the time when we were kids and there was a dead white bird with a long neck at one end of the pond.  Someone used a small branch to prop up the bird and Kenny, who was at the far end of the pond, shot it with his rifle.  "YOU GOT IT, KENNY!"  From his view, he thought the bird was alive and for a short while (well, depending on who you believe), Kenny thought he had hit it!

It is a two day drive down and two day drive back for me.  Yes, I am tired after that.  But it is a welcome change of pace for me.  I drive along on the interstate and watch Spring come alive the further South I drive, listening to my satellite radio, and enjoying the scenery.  I drive through or around 8 large cities but out on the open highway, it is a relaxing drive with no schedule to meet and being my own boss.

It is important to keep in touch with your roots and believe me when I tell you, nobody has the kind of crazy, colorful relatives that I was blessed with.  There will be a lot of laughs.  Political correctness?  What's that? 

Watch for pictures in future posts.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Apple, Cauliflower, and Grape Salad

This one's a sure winner.  You will love the blend of flavors.  And it is a nutritious lunch or part of a dinner meal.  Take it to your next potluck!

2 sweet, crisp apples, chopped
1 small head cauliflower
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup grapes

Combine the above.


1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon horseradish

Combine the dressing ingredients and then stir into the salad.

I couldn't wait till it chilled!  It's good without sitting in the fridge.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Green for St. Patrick's Day

Some of my co-workers and I wore green yesterday for St. Patrick's Day

We had treats in the conference room, all green - and ALL delicious!  And earlier in the day we had a contest to see who could find the most pennies hidden in the hallway.  All were hidden "within plain sight" but trust me, it wasn't that easy to spot all of them.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A super great salsa recipe

I have several salsa recipes but this one is the best!  It tastes even better than it looks.  

2 cups black beans
1 papaya, chopped
1 mango, chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped with the juice
juice of 4 limes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

I think the original recipe called for a jalepeno pepper, but I'm not a jalepeno person.  Pepper is good enough for me!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Looking forward to another season of smoking meat!

This will be my third season of smoking meat in my Weber Smoky Mountain Smoker.  Folks, good eating just doesn't get any better than smoked meat!

My all time favorite is, well, actually I have two big favorites!  One is pulled pork with Carolina BBQ sauce.  The other is a brisket.  I can just taste both of them now as I sit here writing!

And the nicest part, it is so easy to get wonderful results.  For a long time I wanted to get into smoking but had this vision of it being complicated to get good results. Finally, I decided to buy a smoker and give it a try.  The hardest part was getting it in my car!  The box barely fit.  Next I took everything out of the box and spread it across my living room floor.  Putting it together was easy. I have the 18 inch model.  There is a 14 inch and a 21 inch (that refers to the diameter of the smoker.)

So give it a try.  You'll love the results.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Bailey is 9 months old today!

Bring a Lab puppy home and your world will never be the same again!

I have owned Labs, okay the truth is Labs have owned me, for over 30 years.  There is something about a Lab that will grab your heart and never let go.

Each one has their own personality and quirks.  Bailey is no exception.

I am a fanatic about choosing the right breeder.  In searching for my next puppy, I had decided on a breeder in Cobbleskill, NY.  But the dog from which she had chosen for me to get a puppy, never went into heat on my schedule.  I didn't want to bring a new puppy home in the middle of a New York winter.

I began networking.  I knew of a breeder in the Cincinnati area but she wasn't going to have puppies for another year.  She put me in touch with a breeder near Cleveland.  That breeder had just had her first litter of puppies.  That was a red flag to me.  First time breeder?  Not sure I wanted to go that route.

Another "Lab person" friend of mine assured me, "If Alicia says she is reputable, she's reputable."

So I arranged to go meet this new breeder, who lives near Akron, Ohio, out from Cleveland.  I drove down on a weekend.  I wanted to know what kind of people this couple were, how were the dogs being raised.  It didn't take long talking with them to know they knew what they were doing.

I was their first customer and it wasn't easy for them to let go of this puppy!  That told me they were not in the business to make money.  They genuinely cared that their puppies went to a good home.  They gave me an old towel, with the scent from the litter,  when I brought Bailey home.  This went a long way in helping her adjust to her new home.  That first night, she only cried when she woke up and needed to go out.

Bailey is definitely one of a kind.  The first week I had her, I turned my back on her for just a second, to pour a cup of coffee.  In the blink of an eye, she grabbed the end of a roll of toilet paper on the bathroom wall and ran through the house at the speed of sound.  Morgan, my other Lab, looked at me as if she were thinking, "Geez, I never thought of that!"

Bailey is my first counter surfer. . . a trait I am trying diligently to break.

She never meets a stranger, a common trait of Labs.  As rambunctious as she is, she has learned if she sits quietly while I am eating and looks at me with those eyes, she will probably get a last bite of my food!

To my way of thinking, if you don't have a Lab in your life, your life just isn't complete.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Cast Iron Breakfast!

Someone I work with has heard me preach on the virtues of cast iron cooking for so long that she recently bought her own skillet.  She arrives at work almost an hour before I do so I decided to have some fun this morning.  As my breakfast was cooking, I snapped this picture with my iPhone and e-mailed it to her right in front of my stove!  It made her day!