Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Some "me" time

I have five days all to myself!  It's a slow time at work and I worked Christmas Eve so that others could be off.  Now it's my turn!  I'm off until Monday.

My time will be spent reading and spending time with the dogs, Morgan and Bailey, and the usual laundry, vacuuming, and general clean up.  I can sleep till, well, until the dogs think it's time for me to get up, I can wear my warm, comfy robe all day if I choose and not live by a schedule!

Life is good!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Quote for the Day

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. . . it pays no attention to criticism.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Entertainment in the pet store

I now know that I do not own the world's most spoiled dogs!

I was standing in the check out line at the pet store getting dog food. . . a large dog, mixed breed, came in.  It is customary in our area for people to bring their dogs into a pet store.

So an employee gave the dog a sizable treat.  Now, folks, any dog I've ever owned would have gobbled that up in no time without any hesitation.

"No, I am not going to break it up for you," the owner scolded the dog.

My jaw dropped and the owner couldn't help seeing my face!  She rolled her eyes and told me, "He wants someone to break it in half for him!"

Imagine, after over 30 years of owning Labs - 5 all together - seeing a dog that wouldn't touch a treat until someone broke it in half!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A great website I found

If you enjoy reading as much as I do, you will love  You can type in a genre, a title or author and find a lot of selections with multiple reviews.  If you are interested in a series of books, you can find a list of all the books in that series listed from first to last.

I have found books there that I would have never known about.  Yes, amazon has much of the same, with the added fluff to get in your way!

Check it out.  I think you will like it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Good morning from Bailey

Good Morning, Everyone!  Just taking a second out from playing with Morgan to wish you a Good Morning!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

And the warm weather continues!

Amazing. . . today is December 10 in the North Country and all I needed this morning for that long walk from the parking lot into my office is a sweater!  If this is what winter is going to be like this year, I'm happy!

The grass is still green.

Yes, snow is pretty, even I will admit that. But when winter just keeps hanging on and the pristine white snow turns dirty from mud and road spray, parking lots have huge "snow mountains" from plowing, well, you get the picture.

Rochester has not had measurable snow this season. . . neither has Buffalo, the Snow Capital of the World and just down the highway from Rochester.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Unseasonably nice weather!

Rarely can you go outside in Western New York this time of year without a winter coat and snow boots. . . If this is tone of winter to come, bring it on!

I took advantage of this warm weather to get out, dressed only in sweat shirt and sweat pants and my shoes, to cut back the dead blooms on the hydrangea  bushes across the back fence.  They need to be cut back, I believe the term is called "deadheading," in the fall so that the new blooms will come out in the spring.

Bailey, my yellow Lab puppy, is six months old already and growing so fast!  Already she has learned to control me with those eyes!  If I could get her to be still long enough to get a decent picture, I would post it here.  Keep watching, someday I may get lucky!

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.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I've discovered what's so great about quinoa!  I've used it before, mostly as a rice substitute in a meal.  It really is bland unless you dress it up with other ingredients.  But what it lacks in flavor, it more than makes up for in nutritional value.  It's one of the superfoods with superior health benefits.

After doing an online search of recipes, I came up with mild success.  So I asked a lady down the hall at work, who has mentioned quinoa before, to send me some of her recipes.  She sent me a treasure trove of numerous websites featuring quinoa recipes.  Aside from the recipes, there are endless ways to use it - in smoothies, omelettes, salads, mix it with vegetables.

Here is one recipe that I like.

Black Bean,Tomato, and Quinoa Salad

2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 can black beans (I used dried, soaked, and cooked beans)
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whist together the lime zest, juice, butter, oil, sugar, and salt and pepper.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.  Combine.  Chill.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jake!

Today my grandson, Jake, is 13 years old!  He has the same birthday as my grandmother and his great-great grandmother!

Jake is an active young man with a lot of interests.  He is on an Olympic Development Soccer team and travels all over the east coast playing tournaments.

I'm proud of him and his brothers, Kevin and Andrew.  John and Jen are doing a wonderful job raising those boys.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A new salad recipe

I love to find new recipes that are delicious and full of nutrition.  Here is one!

This Cabbage, Apple, Bean Salad is just great tasting and good for you.  Try it!

2 cups shredded red cabbage
1/4 cup mayo
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 medium apple, chopped

In large bowl, stir the mayo, ketchup, lemon juice and salt.  Add cabbage, beans, and apple and mix together.  Cover and refrigerate.

Another option would be to use green cabbage and red kidney beans.  Both of these recipes are colorful and inviting.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Catching up!

Yes, I'm still here!  It's been a whirlwind with "the yellow tornado", aka Bailey, and the fact that I haven't had internet connection at home for 10 days.  After months of poor connectivity issues with Frontier Internet, I finally canceled and tomorrow I will be hooked up again with a satellite internet provider.  Let's hope this is the end of my internet problems!

I remember when the internet first became mainstream.  I asked someone, "Why do I need the internet, what do you do with it?"

Bailey weighed 26 pounds at her last vet visit.  She keeps me hopping.  One afternoon this week when I let Bailey and Morgan out back, they were running and chasing each other.  Bailey took a flying leap and jumped right over Morgan! 

As frantic as the puppy stage can be, I really enjoy having two dogs.  There is never a dull moment!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Life with a Lab puppy

I should start a new blog totally dedicated to the antics of a Lab puppy.

Let's see, earlier this week, I sat down with my glass of wine after work and after taking care of the needs of Bailey and Morgan.  Immediately there erupted a dog fight in my lap, each one intent on getting my undivided attention.  Through all this, I managed to keep my glass of wine anchored to the end table without even one spill!

This morning, after they had their rough and tumble time in the living room as I drank my coffee and watched Fox and Friends, I got up to cook my breakfast.  Yes, I know you aren't supposed to take your eyes off a young puppy, not even for a second.  In less than a second, Bailey managed to latch on to the toilet paper on the bathroom wall and run at Olympic Gold Medal speed through the house.  She was so proud of herself with that excited puppy look and the tail going at the speed of sound.  You buy them expensive toys and they'd rather play with a roll of toilet paper.

Then there are those moments when she humbly crawls into my lap and looks at me with those "Can I have some loving?" eyes and falls asleep as I scratch her head and neck.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Poor Bailey

"Morgan started it and I'm the one that got sent to time out."

Friday, August 21, 2015

One man's trash. . .

. . . is another's treasure!  Someone threw this picture out at work one day this week.  I walked by and saw it and grabbed it!  Although the picture here doesn't show it, it is beautifully framed and matted with a wooden frame.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

At the range

I spent a short time at the shooting range this morning with my Henry Big Boy rifle.  It is fun to shoot.  Even from a distance, I can hit the target!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Costco or BJs? . . . there is no comparison

Costco finally opened in June here in Rochester.  I have been a member of BJs for ten years or more.  That membership ends this month.  When I joined Costco, the plan was to decide which one I liked the best, then drop the other membership.

Costco won!

Why?  Everything I had heard about Costco over the years was true.  They really are at the top of the warehouse store mountain.  They carry a more varied and better quality of merchandise and grocery products.  Their sales people are friendly and helpful, as opposed to the scowl I often see on the faces of BJs employees.  They don't carry any GMO grocery products.  Their fresh produce is top quality.  I found that by buying a large package of fresh spinach at Costco, rather than the smaller package at Wegmans, I not only save money, but I find more ways to consume the spinach before it goes bad. . . a healthy alternative.  There are smoothies, omelettes, salads, sautéing it with olive oil. . .

When I go to the check out, they put my purchases on the conveyor belt for me.

Years ago, I did all my grocery shopping at Wegmans.  I still shop there for certain items.  Now I buy my meat and eggs from a grass fed farmer.  And I buy a lot of items at Costco.  So far, BJs and Costco have stayed the same for gas prices.  There seems to be a gas war between the two.  Both are significantly cheaper than other gas stations in my area.

And finally, Costco is closer to my home and easier to get to!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jealous pup

I want the toy Morgan has.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bailey has visitors

These are three of the four children from across the street. . . the fourth is just a baby and I didn't trust a rambunctious puppy around him!  They came over to see Bailey for the first time.  It's kind of hard to say who was having the most fun here, the kids or Bailey!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Meet Bailey!

Bailey came home yesterday.  My thanks to the breeders for driving her to Buffalo for me and to my good friend, Nancy, for going with me to bring her home.  On the hour drive back to Rochester, Bailey slept in Nancy's lap most of the way and when she did wake up, she just wanted to be cuddled!

I want to say a word about the breeders, Patty and William Finch of Starlight Buckeye Labs in Ohio.  Not only did they provide me with a quality Lab, but they are just very nice people to deal with.

In the picture above, taken just a few minutes ago, Bailey is dragging around Morgan's favorite stick, which weighs almost as much as she does!!!

Every dog lover has their own favorite breed, but there is just something about Labrador Retrievers that I truly love.  Their personality, their looks, their playfulness, their temperament.  Bailey is my fifth Lab dating back to 1985.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Little Things

Sometimes it's small, seemingly insignificant, things that make the biggest impact on you.  Things that probably you wouldn't give a second thought to.

I haven't made it a secret that I'm bringing home a new puppy soon. . . very soon!

I drove 5 1/2 hours to the outskirts of Cleveland to meet with the breeders.  In my visit with them, it was clear they were the caliber of breeder that I had been told they were.  I gave them a deposit on the puppy and discussed when I would return to bring the puppy home.

While I made an effort to find someone to return with me to bring the puppy home, I ran into a roadblock at every turn.  There is no way I would leave a puppy in a car in the middle of August long enough to go to the restroom at a rest stop.  I found a way around that but I won't be specific!!!

This weekend my phone rang.  There was no name on the caller ID and I don't know anyone from Akron, Ohio, so I almost didn't answer.  But I did!  It was the breeder.  She lives out from Akron and when I realized who I was talking to, I laughed and told her I thought of not answering it!

She said, "We are concerned about you driving that far by yourself with a young puppy."  They offered to drive to Buffalo to deliver the puppy to me.  I quickly told her she had made me an offer I couldn't refuse!  We agreed on a location to meet and she will call me when they are close and I will head out down the NYS Thruway.  Meantime,  a close friend has agreed to ride to Buffalo with me.  She is a cancer survivor and didn't feel she could tolerate a trip to Ohio and back in one day, but Buffalo is well within her limits.

All this was heartwarming to me that the breeder would be that considerate of me.

But what happened next really melted my heart.

I quickly e-mailed a few close friends, telling them I didn't have to drive 10 hours (round trip) to bring the puppy home.  I was elated.

One of them e-mailed me right back stating, "I would feel comfortable if you would give me information on where you are going to meet the breeder, the breeder's name, address, etc.  I don't like you making a transaction of this level at a strange location."

Yes, I laughed at that!  I told her she sounded like me!  I'm not sure she was aware that I had already met these people and knew they were decent people.

She will get the information.  The fact is, whenever I go outside my usual route of "Work/Wegmans/Costco", I always tell someone my flight plane, in case the unthinkable happens.

I am truly blessed to have people that care about my wellbeing.  You know who you are.  THANKS!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tired pups!

Young puppies play hard for 15 to 20 minutes, then they collapse!  One of these will be Bailey, the one I will bring home soon.  I truly feel sorry for someone who has never had a Lab in their life.  It is their personality.  It is the way they can talk with their eyes.  It is their keen sense of perception.  They are just one of a kind.

Monday, July 27, 2015

New puppy coming soon!

Yesterday I drove to the Cleveland area to meet with a breeder of Labrador Retrievers.  Here is a short video of what I observed while there.

Three yellow Lab puppies, 7 weeks old, and full of energy.

I will be bringing my new puppy home in two weeks.  Yes, I am excited!  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Beef ribs on the grill tonight!

Beef ribs on the grill tonight.  Great tasting.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Time to mix up more bbq sauce

I really don't have a favorite bbq sauce.  I have several that I like.  If I'm using it on pulled pork, then I like my Carolina style sauce.

This one is tomatoey and just downright delicious on bbq chicken.

It comes from my Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichen, copyright 2000.  I think he has come out with a new version since then.  But this one is filled with many great recipes.

6 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups ketchup
coarse salt to taste

Combine all ingredients except the ketchup in a large, deep, heavy, nonreactive saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat.  Cook uncovered until all the ingredients are dissolved, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the ketchup and bring to a boil, stirring well, as the ketchup has a tendency to spatter.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat slightly and gently simmer the sauce, uncovered, until dark, thick, and richly flavored, about 30 minutes, stirring often.  Use right away or transfer to jars, cover, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.  It will keep for several months.

Makes 5 cups.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's a double paddle canoe!

Someone that saw my post below asked, "You look like you are sitting on the floor of that canoe."

I am!

That is a Hornbeck Boat,  It is 12 feet long and weighs 12 pounds!  There is a foam pad installed in the boat and a foam backrest, even foot braces like a kayak has.  This model is known as the New Trick.  They come in varying lengths up to 15 feet.  The 12 foot is the most popular.

The way you get in and out of it is easy and unique.  You stand in the water with the top of the canoe resting behind your knees.  Then you simply sit down and land on the foam.  Next, you swing your legs around inside the boat and you are all set to take off!  It is easier than getting in and out of a kayak.

I love the ease in which it handles and tracks.  It is a real joy to paddle.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Paddling on Black Creek

My friend, Nancy, and I enjoyed a nice paddle on Black Creek today.  This section of Black Creek meanders through dense wooded land with a lot of wildflowers and birds from ducks to herons.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Last minute dinner plans

About 3:00 this afternoon, I realized I hadn't checked my phone since earlier in the day.  Hmm. . . Robert Lauterbach had called but didn't leave a message.  So I called him back.

"Yeah, I got my new smoker and wondered if you wanted to come over for dinner?"

It didn't take much to convince me!  Nancy had told me he was looking at smokers and I told her I highly recommended the one I have.

Now most people who are new to smoking meat would start with a chicken.  It is the easiest to prepare, one that any novice can handle.  Not Robert!  He used both racks of the smoker and had a pork shoulder on the bottom rack and a rack of ribs on the top!

It was an enjoyable evening and our conversation ranged from everything to the validity of taking down the Confederate flag to the crazy things I said as I was coming out of surgery several weeks back!  

Nancy and I have plans to go paddling tomorrow.  Robert is welcome to come along and use my kayak if he wants.

Nancy and Robert and I go back a long way. . . decades actually.  I have always valued their friendship.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

You have seen me mention grass fed meat on my blog several times over the years.  I believe you can have a healthy diet that includes beef, poultry, and pork. . . grass fed meat.

I eat a lot of vegetarian meals, not just for health reasons, but because I really like the recipes I make for myself and guests.  (I will be happy to send you my favorite recipes upon request)

A number of years ago, I was fortunate to find a farmer near Rochester that is a grass fed farm.  He took the time to explain to me what grass fed means and why it is important.  I visited the farm.  Upon driving up, I saw these strange, approximately 8 ft x 8 ft, wooden boxes that were maybe 18 inches high.  Inside were chickens and they were eating grass.  This "box" is moved twice a day.

Some people can tell a difference in the taste of grass fed beef over grain fed.  I really don't see that much difference.  But I can tell you, if I eat a strip steak from "my farmer," I am comfortably full.  If I eat a grain fed strip steak, I feel stuffed and bloated when I finish eating it.

Due to the medication I am on, I have to check in with my doctor every 4 months. My numbers have been great since eating meat from this farm.

If you go to, they explain better than I can, the health benefits of eating grass fed meat.  I encourage you to check out this website.

My farmer is Autumn's Harvest Farm, near Romulus, NY.  They are a young couple with small children running this big farm, almost entirely by themselves.  I got to know them as people and have developed a tremendous respect for the work they do.  When I buy a side of beef from them, I drive over and bring the meat home myself, with one huge cooler that fills my entire back seat and another medium size that goes in my trunk.  Their farm and property seems so peaceful and charming, although I understand the enormous hard work that goes into what they produce.

They come to Rochester two Fridays a month which is a big convenience to me.  When I order a side of beef, the cost comes out to much cheaper than buying a few packages here and there and I get to choose which cuts I want.  Oh!  And I must tell you what I get when I ask for soup bones!  Folks, you will never see soup bones or ham hocks like this in the grocery store, I promise!  They are bones COVERED in meat!  I make a lot of soup in the winter months.  After using the bone to make stock, I cut the meat off the bone and throw it back into the soup pot.

Bottom line, don't think you have to give up meat to be healthy!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Out of this world delicious brisket!


I have never cooked/smoked a brisket before.  Matter of fact, I don't think I've ever eaten this cut of meat.  My loss.

I scoured my cookbooks to find the right recipe to use in my smoker.  As you might expect, there were quite a few to choose from, and depending on which cookbook you looked at, there were a variety of ways to prepare it.

Big Bob Gibsons' BBQ Book had my final choice.  I made his Bare Naked Brisket on page 91 of the edition I have.

Here is the recipe (I'm modifying it to match the weight of my brisket)

I used hickory wood in the smoker.

It took 6 hours in the smoker.

Before I placed it in the smoker, I made a paste of:

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced (you can never use too much garlic)

My brisket weighed 5 pounds.

I spread the paste on the meat and then placed it in the smoker.  During the smoking process, I replenished the wood chips (which had been soaking for hours in water) about every 30 to 45 minutes.  After two hours in the smoker, I began using "Jeff's Mop Water" every hour:

1 cup water
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoons of Creole Seasoning

This recipe came from my "Smoking Meat" book by Jeff Phillips.

Once you remove it from the smoker, let it sit for an hour, covered in foil.

The results?  Just DELICIOUS!

I have a handful of smoking cookbooks.  The two I used here, are among my favorites and ones that I have numerous pages bookmarked.

From Bob Gibson's book, try the Memphis Style BBQ sauce.  And from Jeff's book, the Big Bald BBQ Rub is the one I use most.

Regular readers will know I began smoking meat last summer.  I've never had a failure yet!  It is something I love to do and found that I have a talent for.

I only use grass fed meat from my farmer, Autumn's Harvest Farm.  There are no additives or hormones in their meat (except that their bacon, by NYS law, must contain additives).  It is healthy and great tasting meat.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Front yard transformation

I am thrilled with the new improvements in my front yard.  After building my flower garden many years ago, I finally had a brick border installed, something I've wanted to do for a long time.  It really looks great!  For my readers in the Rochester area, I highly recommend the company that did this and will be happy to give you the owner's business card.

This new crabapple tree doesn't show up well in this photo with the other foliage behind it.  It will grow to about 10 to 12 feet high and in the Spring will have beautiful pink blooms.  This is planted where my Maple tree once stood.  It had to be cut down last year after several years of decline.  I was sorry to lose it.  It was a beautiful tall tree.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

In recovery

I had surgery on Friday to remove the hanging skin over my eyes.  Further down the road, there will be another one to raise my eyelids.  Usually this type of surgery is considered cosmetic and is not covered by insurance.  In my case, it had become a quality of life issue.

Prior to scheduling surgery, my surgeon had me play all kinds of Star Wars type games!  Really!  The first round, I was instructed to push a button as soon as I saw a dot across the domed shape screen.  Then my eyelids were taped up and we did it again.  This was to measure the improvement this surgery would have on my field of vision.

As with most surgery, you are denied anything by mouth after midnight on the day of surgery.  When I called to find what time I was to report on Friday for pre-op, I was told 10:00 am.  ARE YOU SERIOUS???  Are you telling me I have to go that long without coffee???  Surgery was scheduled for 11:30.

Some people like their coffee in the morning.  Then there are those of us who can be really nasty if we don't get our coffee. . .

My friend, Nancy, drove me to the hospital and stayed with me the first night at home.  Someone said they felt sorry for Nancy having to deal with me without coffee.  So I walked up to the check in desk and proclaimed, "Give me a cup of coffee and no will get hurt."  All that got me was laughs.  They just don't understand.

Enter the pre-op stage.  Multiple people walk up to me and ask me the same questions.  I was told this was a safety measure.  But when you are coffee deprived, you invent ways to get even.  After about a dozen times of being asked the same questions, when asked, "Can you explain in your own words the procedure you will be having today?"  my response was, "Well, they are going to rearrange my face."  The young woman laughed at me.

The surgery went very well.  I had very little pain following the procedure.

It will take awhile for the swelling to go down.  I'm told to lay low for a week.  I should be able to return to work on Friday.

I am blessed to have a world class hospital with exceptional health care professionals handling my case.  My surgeon, Mithra Gonzalez, is well known internationally for this type of surgery and he not only is a great surgeon, he is a very nice individual and was patient with me when I had a lot of questions.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chicken, carrots, and Dale's Sauce for dinner

It was a long day at work.  I was tired and a cloud hangs over my head for surgery I will have on Friday.  The last thing I wanted to think about was dinner.

Yet I knew I needed to eat a good meal.

Okay, what is the easiest way out?  I had chicken thighs I was going to put on the grill, but didn't feel up to dealing with that.  Into a baking dish, I put the thighs, sliced fresh carrots, and I topped this off with Dale's Seasoning (also referred to as Dale's Sauce).  I covered the dish with foil, plopped it in the oven for 40 minutes.  I must admit, the smell coming from the oven lifted my spirits.

What?  You never heard of Dale's Sauce?  Me neither until not long ago.  It's a Southern thing.  They have been in business in Birmingham, Alabama since before I was born.  In the South, you can buy it in the grocery store.  Not in Rochester.

This is good stuff!  You can use it as a marinade, on the grill, in stir fry. . . it is unlimited.  Recently I marinated a strip steak in it before putting it on the grill.  It was very good.

Granted, I wouldn't serve company this chicken and carrot dish without some sprucing up.  But it was good, easy and quick, and I got a decent meal.

Check them out at

Friday, June 12, 2015

A proud Grandmother

I've never made a secret of how proud I am of my three grandchildren and the exceptional way they are being raised.  All three of them, Kevin, Jake, and Andrew, excel in school and are active in wholesome activities outside of school.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from my daughter-in-law, Jen, their mom.  Jake's school had end of the school year awards.  Jake walked away with:

  • Outstanding Achievement for Math (top 10% in his grade level)
  • Excellence in Health and Physicial Education
  • Distinguished Honors Award (maintained all A's in all subjects for the year)
  • Mariner of the Year: Exceptional effort, attitude, teamwork and achievement  (This one is a BIG deal!)

Kevin's award ceremony is today so I expect another e-mail on his achievements!  Andrew's school isn't having an awards ceremony this year.

Jake is also a member of an Olympic Development Team in soccer.  He plays goalie, just as his dad did in his younger days and into college.  The team travels all over competing in games and tournaments.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Costco comes to Rochester

Until last night, I had never been inside a Costco store.  I had heard many good things about it from family that live in other states - Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

For a number of years, the news media in Rochester kept reporting on a new Costco coming here.  There was one obstacle after another.  The land it was going to be built on had once been a tuberculosis center.  There were underground tunnels and excavation was going to be a problem.  To be honest, I would miss the old, old buildings, long in decline.  Their quaint architectural touches from a bygone era always captured my fantasy.

Once construction began, word was Costco would open in "early spring."

Fast forward to June and here we are!

I really don't like crowds and avoid them most of the time.  But I couldn't resist going to see what all the hype was about.  I took the first available parking space I could find, which was quite a walk to the store.

After standing in line for about an hour to get my membership card, I finally entered this giant of a store.  It was bright inside.  The sales people were friendly and helpful.  I wandered down each aisle just looking at the merchandise and noting prices.  Wow!  A large container of fresh blueberries for THAT price???  The variety of grocery products was impressive.  I'm told Costco does not sell GMO food.  That's a plus.

One thing that stood out was the number of opportunities to sample food.  My son proclaims people actually go to Costco for dinner with all the samples available!

After awhile, the crowds were getting to me.  It had been a long week at work and my brain was about to shut down.  At the checkout register, I was confused.  It appeared each register had two lines, one on either side.  I began putting my few purchases on the conveyor belt.  That's when a sales lady told me they take your purchases out of your cart and place them on the counter.  Hhhmmm!  Wegmans and BJ's don't do that.

I think I'm going to like this new fangled store in town.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

My flower garden

It doesn't look like much now, but in the coming weeks, this should be a kaleidoscope of color!  I don't remember the name of the tall plant in the center, but it has bright red blooms by mid-summer.  In the front are Black-eyed Susans, that soon will be covered in bright orange blooms with dark centers.

This is the beginning of a bloom of one variety of Shasta Daisy.

Another variety of Shasta Daisy.

A single bloom on one of the coneflower plants.  Later in the summer, these plants will be tall and covered with purple blooms.

I have to plant deer-resistant plants in my front yard.  But "deer-resistant" doesn't mean deer PROOF!  So I sprinkle grated Irish Spring bath soap and human hair around my plants in my never ending war with the deer!

Watch for later updates on my garden this season.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I love this coffee maker!

I am a coffee snob.  I like good coffee.  Do not interrupt me when I am enjoying my coffee in the morning.  Even Morgan knows that.

After much time sitting at the computer going through coffee maker reviews and talking to a few people, I chose the Kitchen Aid 12 cup thermal coffee maker.  "Thermal?"

How can a metal container keep coffee warm without a warming plate underneath.  "I would never go back to a glass pot," someone wrote on my Facebook page.

This morning I enjoyed my first three cups of coffee from this wonderful machine!  There really is a difference in coffee makers.  Suddenly I was sitting in a 5 star restaurant enjoying a truly remarkable cup of coffee. . . okay, I was really sitting on the couch in my cozy robe and slippers with Morgan in my lap.

May God grant that this coffee maker lasts as long as I do!

The features I like about it:

  • removable water tank for easy cleaning
  • two settings for either regular or bold taste (I chose BOLD!)
  • easy programming capabilities
  • well constructed, thick pot
  • it can be programmed to turn on anytime (good feature for weekdays)

If I had to choose one less-than-desirable thing about it, it would be it's size.  It borders on "massive!"  That is a small price to pay for the results.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Another super avocado recipe

You all know I'm hooked on avocado.  It packs a lot of nutritional value and can be used in so many ways.

I'm not sure if you'd call this one a salsa or dip.  Whatever you want to call it, it's great!

2 avocados, peeled and diced
2 tomatoes, diced
4 oz. kalamata olives
1 4 oz. can mild green chilis, diced
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
generous dash of garlic powder

Combine the first four ingredients.  Mix well.

Pour the juice of one lemon over the mixture.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and really sprinkle on the garlic powder!

Serve over chips or crackers.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to everyone who is privileged to be a Mom.  These are the flowers my kids sent me.  They are beautiful.  The photo doesn't do them justice.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

New Children's Hospital in Rochester

When I was in the third grade, I was hospitalized with an appendectomy.  I was placed in "the children's ward" as it was called.  My hospital bed was among 12 others in a large room, each in a tiny cubicle.  The bathroom was down the hall.  The walls were bare.  Nothing about the atmosphere spoke of positive reinforcement.  My hospital chart was hooked at the foot of my bed, open for anyone walking by to take a look.

Times have changed!

The new Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong is about to open its doors to the community and what an upbeat, patient and family friendly place it is.  When you enter the lobby, you know you are in a welcoming place.  There are play areas for siblings of patients.  What really is behind that secret wall???  There are quiet areas with comfortable furniture.  Each floor has a theme.  The first floor features waterways and there are delightful panoramas of regional lake and streams.  Another floor features meadows.  Still another displays cityscapes.

Each patient room is a private room with views of the city.  On the eighth floor, you can actually watch planes land and take off at the Rochester airport several miles away.

The rooms have a bathroom with a shower.  On each patient floor there are inviting lounges, some adults only, others for teens.  They even included a family kitchen for parents to prepare snacks or light meals.

The hospital planners spoke with families of former patients to get their feedback on design and amenities and it shows.

What a dynamic place to serve the needs of sick children in the Rochester region.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A chicken in the smoker today

It is an absolutely beautiful weekend here in Rochester.  A perfect day to fire up the smoker this afternoon for the first time this year.

I got into smoking meat last summer and wish I had tried it years earlier.  It is so very easy and the result is moist, delicious meat.

There are a lot of excellent smokers on the market.  Being a Weber fan, I went with the Weber Smokey Mountain and I've been very satisfied with it.  I even managed to assemble it by myself!

Right now my chicken is soaking in brine in the refrigerator.  I use a simple brine recipe:

4 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar

The chicken needs to be totally covered in water, so I triple the recipe to accomplish this.

Soak a couple handfuls of wood chips (hickory, apple, whatever you like) in water.

About an hour before I'm ready to place it in the smoker, I will take it out of the brine, pat it dry with paper towels and then rub it down with olive oil, followed by using this rub recipe:

4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of oregano
a pinch of thyme

Be generous in spreading the rub on the chicken.  When I'm finished, I leave it sitting on a cutting board at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.  During this time I set up the smoker.

Light up the charcoal.  When it is ready, place it in the bottom of the smoker.  Throw in the soaked wood chips.

Fill the water bowl almost to the top with water and place that in the smoker.  I use silicone gloves to do this since the charcoal is really hot!  You can get creative here by placing chopped fresh rosemary in the water bowl.

Next place the prepared chicken on the grate, close the lid, open the top and bottom vents about half way.  From this point until the chicken is ready - about 2 1/2 hours, but check with a meat thermometer - all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the wonderful aroma coming from the smoker.  Occasionally check the inside temperature of the smoker and adjust the vents to keep the thermometer within the "gray zone."  On my smoker, the thermometer has a marked zone which is optimal for smoking meat.

Avoid opening the lid during the smoking process.  Towards the end of the smoking time, I will lift the lid and insert a digital thermometer to test for doneness, but actually, after you've done a few chickens, you can tell when it's ready by looking at it.

The Smokey Mountain Smoker has an opening on the side to insert a digital thermometer so that you can gauge the temperature during the smoking process.  I've never used that.

When you remove the meat, close all the vents, leave the lid on and leave the smoker to cool down completely and I do mean COMPLETELY!  On one occasion last year, I brought the smoker inside the three season room when it was cool to the touch and I was "sure" all the coals were dead. . . WRONG!  Now I leave it outside overnight to remove all doubt!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How many Moms are guilty of this? I am!

How many of these did you say to your kids when they were growing up???

Sunday, April 26, 2015


When I became interested in homemade smoothies back in the winter, I carefully scoured the internet for recipes.  As I made each one, I made a note of the ones I liked and the ones I didn't care for.

Then I got adventurous with what I put in the Vitamix.  And THAT'S where the trouble started!  When I found one of my own concoctions that I liked, I would forget to write down what I put in it and of course, the next time I pulled out the Vitamix, I couldn't remember what the last one was made with.

It is true that just about any fruit and/or vegetable you put in a smoothie is tasty and very nutritious, which is why I got into the smoothie craze in the first place.  But everyone has their own likes and dislikes.

I just put together a very good one, which I am drinking as I write this.  Here are the ingredients:

about 2 cups of loosely chopped kale
one orange
one small Empire apple
chopped mango
a scoop of raw honey
a scoop of coconut oil

How big is a "scoop", you ask?  Well, I stick a teaspoon into the jar and whatever I come up with is a scoop!

You really don't need to fuss with exact measurements with a smoothie.  And while I do have some that I like better than others, you really can't go wrong with what you throw in the blender.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Where the buffalo roam

I had hoped this would be a lighthearted post that would draw laughter.

Sadly, it won't.

When I learned earlier today that a herd of buffalo had escaped from a farm near Albany, New York and crossed the New York State Thruway, all kinds of comical scenes popped into my head!  Imagine driving down the Thruway and thinking you see a herd of buffalo on the major highway that runs across New York.

Just now I have learned all the animals were shot and killed with the blessings of the New York State Police and the owner of the herd.  It was agreed that there are no acceptable cages to corral the animals to return them to the farm.  Obviously, a group of such large animals running loose is a danger.

I'm not sure why buffalo are raised.  For food?  I don't know.  It is sad they needed to be put down.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Avocado Heaven!

I am on an avocado kick these days.  It is highly nutritious and if you look around, there are many ways to prepare it that are really good. 

My newest discovery is avocado toast.  A quick internet search brought up a lot of different varieties.  It is quick, good for you, and filling.

Here are just a few that I like.  I would love to hear from you on your favorite ways to use avocado.

  • Toast a thick slice of bread of your choice.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Combine mashed or finely chopped avocado, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  Spread on the toast and enjoy.
  • Cover a toasted slice of bread with olive oil.  Combine avocado, chopped coriander, a dash of hot sauce and salt and pepper.
  • On a slice of toast, still hot from the toaster, place thinly sliced cheddar.  Then cover the cheese with sliced avocado.
Another way I eat avocado is sliced on crackers sprinkled with salt.  Goes great with a glass of wine.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A scam I was unaware of

I wasn't going to put this on my blog.  It certainly doesn't fit the tone of my posts.  But if it alerts someone else, then it will be worthwhile.

Recently, I drove to my annual cousins' reunion down South.  The first night I was in a Hampton Inn in Kentucky.  At 3:30 am, my phone rang and woke me from a dead sleep.  A "friendly" male voice on the line apologized for disturbing me.  He explained the hotel computer had crashed and they had lost all their registration information and "I just need some information from you."

"Can't this wait until the morning?" I asked in a not too pleasant voice.

"No, I'm awfully sorry, but we need this information now."  He asked for the credit card information I used to pay for the room.

When I continued to resist, he became more assertive.  I was told if I could not come to the front desk right then, he would send Security to my room to escort me.

THAT is when I hung up!  I would have hung up much sooner had I not been asleep when the phone rang.

The next morning I checked with the front desk.  They told me they would never call my room at such an hour.  But the more disturbing piece of information was when they told me the call had to have come from inside.  It is not possible for someone outside the hotel to call directly to a guest's room.  A guest who overheard me talking to the desk said she had heard of this type of thing.

No real harm was done, other than disturbing my sleep.  If this man's motive was to get me to leave my hotel room at that hour, he failed.

When I travel, I will smile and say hello to anyone who I have eye contact with.  But beyond that, I don't get involved with strangers, no matter how "safe" they may appear.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cousins' Reunion 2015

Unbelievable!  Emily threw her line in the water and in seconds, pulled this one in!

Little Brileigh is not afraid of anything!  Fish, big dogs. . .

The last of the burgers on the grill.

At 93, Aunt Ilene is still pulling weeds!  "You've got to stay active" is her advice.

Kenny adjusting the scope on my rifle.

After the reunion, some of us spent a couple of days "at the river."  Kip's parents let us stay at their vacation home and we really enjoyed the tranquility of sitting by the water and watching the world go by!

These pictures don't begin to capture the fun we had.  This was our 7th reunion and we'll be back next year for more.

My grandfather farmed this land and my dad and his siblings grew up here.  It is a refuge to gather and just be ourselves with no political correctness required and a brief escape from the stress of the everyday world.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Road Trip!

Every year in early Spring, my cousins and I converge on a small rural Alabama town where we own land that has been in the family since it was deeded from the government many, many years ago.  Our grandfather was a prosperous cotton farmer decades ago on the land.  I remember remnants of the cotton field when I was a small child.

My next post will have pictures of the day.

This is a trip I look forward to all year.  Some of us arrived on a Thursday, some arrived on Friday and by Saturday, all of us were there!

A few of us were at the property on Friday. I arrived first and was there by myself for about an hour before anyone else showed up.  I quickly unpacked my guns and target shooting stand and began hitting the bullseye!  If you are new to my blog, maybe you don't know that I am a "gun nut!"

Saturday was the big day.  There was fishing, more target shooting, hamburgers on the grill, and walking the land.  Our Aunt Ilene is 93 this year and just as feisty as ever.  We really have to watch her.  While she is in her right mind for someone that age, she thinks nothing of walking off by herself, through the bushes, briars, over downed trees, and mud!

Now I have to tell you this one!!!  It's true, too. . . A handful of us were target shooting.  Then Kenny says, "Okay, everyone gets one shot."

"Huh?" I asked.

Everyone gets one shot and whoever gets closest to dead center wins.

I could feel the adrenaline flowing in my veins.  Did I tell you I was one woman out of 5 guys?

I beat out the guys!  Yes, that made my day, especially when you consider Kenny is a sharpshooter!!!

I don't know where the time went.  In the blink of an eye, it was time to pack up and head out.  Not fair.

My cousin, Debbie, and I spent a couple of days at Rita and Kip's place on a large lake, about an hour drive from the reunion.  Kip's parents own this and it's a vacation home.  It's a nice home overlooking the lake with a covered deck right off the living room and a much larger one down the steps and over the water.  Kip took us on a boat ride up and down the lake on Sunday.  Then he grilled steaks for us.  What a treat!

Another fun reunion (this was number 7) was over and I drove north again for the two day drive back to Rochester.  Yes, a two day drive down and a two day drive back.  I really don't mind that.  I'm not a big fan of flying and with the gear I carry, flying is out of the question anyway.  I like to watch the end of winter up north turn into Spring, the further south I drive.  Ohio and Kentucky are particularly scenic.  Ohio, with its vast farm lands and old barns and Kentucky with its rolling terrain.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Graduation night at the Citizen's Police Academy

I'm really going to have withdrawal pains!  One night a week for the last two months, I have attended the Brighton Police Department's Citizens' Police Academy and what a joy it has been.  Last night was our "graduation."  We received our certificate and a mug.

Throughout eight weeks, we learned about the police department and the criminal justice system in New York State.  We toured our County Jail (admittedly, that was too graphic for me), we toured the training center for police and fire fighters, we had a presentation from the Monroe County District Attorney and the Public Defender, we saw the firearms and tools used by the police, and we came up close and personal to a German Shepard Police dog, and so much more.  In between, we talked one-on-one with the Police Chief and Sgt. Bruzda, who led our group.

I came away with a renewed respect for the police and the work they do.  We even learned interesting bits of information you won't see in the news about past and current crimes that made the headlines.  One night, an undercover drug enforcement office spoke.  He told about close encounters he's had with the sleazy drug dealers in our county.  Someone asked, "How does your family deal with this?"  He said, "I don't tell them things like I've told you tonight!"

Yes, I loved being part of this group and may even attend again in future years.  Many police departments have this type of program.  If there is one in your area, I urge you to attend.  It's great!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Marinated Vegetables

This is a wonderful recipe I got from a co-worker.  It tastes great and is an excellent way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.


1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dill weed
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
ground pepper to taste

Mix the marinade recipe together and pour over the following cut into bite size pieces:

1 bunch broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 - 1 pound mushrooms
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts
1 cup kalamata olives

Chill in refrigerator before serving.  This is a real taste treat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I love my Griddler

My kitchen is my "playroom."  I love all kinds of cooking, from smoking meat or grilling outside, to stirfry, roasting, crock pot cooking . . . I love to cook and bake.

One of my kitchen tools that I especially like is my Griddler.  I've had it quite a few years now and use it a lot.  It has reversible plates, one side is flat for frying, the other has ridges for grilling.  And the nice thing, they go right in the dishwasher!  There is even a hidden tray to collect run off grease.

It makes great paninis and grilled cheese sandwiches.  In the winter, I use it to grill steaks or hamburgers, when I can't fire up the grill in two feet of snow out back.

Mine is one of the original models that came out.  It is just basic, big enough for me, no frills, but it does a great job in the kitchen.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring time in Rochester, NY

The view out my front door this morning.  Just when I was thinking it was safe to put the snowblower in summer storage!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Another great salsa recipe

Salsa was never one of my favorite foods until I discovered homemade salsa!  Here is a batch I am going to make tomorrow.  I have the dried black beans soaking overnight.

2 cups cooked black beans
1 papaya, chopped
1  mango, chopped
1 cup chopped pineapple, juice reserved
4 limes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Run the limes through a juicer.  Combine all ingredients and mix well.  This is a real crowd pleaser.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A grilled cheese sandwich with pizazz!

I found this recipe posted on Facebook and decided to give it a try.  I love it!  As you can see from the recipe, there is room for your own ideas.  You can vary the cheese, the type of bread, or possibly add another ingredient.  Here is the way I made it.

Two slices of multi-grain bread
softened butter
olive oil
sliced mozzarella cheese
a slice of tomato
sliced avocado
salt to taste

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.  Brush the other side with olive oil.

On the olive oil side, spread cheese, avocado and the tomato.  Sprinkle with salt.

Top with the other slice of bread.

Grill on a preheated Griddler or panini press for about 5 minutes.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

A real jolt

I think I am a strong, resilient person, having proved that through trials and tribulations over the years and always landing on my feet.

Then I took a 2 hour tour of our county jail as part of my Citizens Police Academy.  Wow. . .

It wasn't pretty and it was unsettling, to put it in delicate terms.  We came up close and personal with multiple individuals who had totally trashed their lives.

What feelings did I come away with?  I am grateful that I had a better foundation in life, that I own my home, that I have family and friends that care for me, I have a job, I am educated and capable of making wise choices - well, most of the time, that I have known the love of dogs that think I am wonderful and eagerly look forward to me coming home, that I am free to come and go as I please and do whatever I want.

As I listened to one of the guards speaking and letting us know what to expect behind the next door, I couldn't help saying to her, "My heart goes out to you."  She looked at me with a forlorn look and said, "Thank you."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

37, 43, 42, 37, 38, 39

So you are thinking, "Sherry won the lottery and these are the winning numbers!"

No, it's even better than that!  The numbers are the projected high temperatures for Rochester for Monday through Saturday this week.  Please note that they are all above the freezing mark!  That's a BIG deal when you have endured the winter we have had this year.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Quote for the day

Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says, "I'm possible." . . . . Audrey Hepburn

Does this mean I can push a button and immediately it will be Spring and all this (expletive deleted) snow and ice will go away???

Monday, March 2, 2015

And so it is March

Rochester suffered through a harsh winter and there is still a 2 foot wall of snow on either side of my driveway.  But we have something to show for it. . . February was the coldest month on record.  For just 6 hours during the entire month, the temperature rose above the freezing point.

The question is, what will March bring?  March in Rochester can be an extention of winter or the days can be warm and sunny.  So far, it is an extention of winter.

I look forward to wearing short sleeves, sending my winter coat to the cleaners, going to the gun range, smoking meat in my Weber smoker and sitting by the smoker enjoying that wonderful smell, inflating the tires in my bike and taking off for points unknown. . . anything that invovles being outside again.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Citizen's Police Academy

I am really thrilled with the Citizen's Police Academy that I am participating in for eight weeks.  We are learning so very much about the workings of our town's police department and the criminal justice system.

Being a gun enthusiast, I really liked the night they showed us their firearms.  You may remember in a post from last summer where I told about the police walking up my driveway with a shotgun in his hands!  I walked out the door and said, "Is this about the rabid fox in our neighborhood?"  They found it in my yard.

Another night, our county's District Attorney and the Public Defender spoke to us.  I didn't know that the DA's office has outreach programs to reach inner city youngsters at an early age to hopefully start them on the right path so that they never end up in the criminal justice system.  The idea is to encourage reading and to let the children know the police officer is their friend.

Recently our two town judges spoke to us.  Another new thing I learned, these two judges are on call 24/7 to be called in for arraignments.  The first question someone asked, "Why do you have to do an arraignment at 2:00 am?  Why can't you do it later that morning?"

The judge responded, "That's what my wife asks everytime the phone rings in the middle of the night!"

When someone is arrested on a felony, they need to be brought into court immediately to be told what they are charged with.  Our town police department only has a holding cell.  There is no way to provide for a prisoner.  Therefore, they need to be arraigned and then carried to the jail downtown unless they can post bail on the spot.

In an upcoming class, we will see the police dogs used by the City of Rochester.  I will have to curb my natural tendency to walk up to them and put my arms around them!  These dogs are not meant to be cuddled and played with!

Many police departments hold these classes, so check with your area to see if they are offered.  I highly recommend them.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

It takes all kinds of people. . .

to make this world.

I had to take my Honda Civic in for its 20,000 mile check up.  Can you believe it, the car is three years old and it doesn't quite have 20,000 miles on it.

Anyway. . . they told me it would take three hours.  I was going to ask for a loaner car, but decided instead, I'd take the book I'm currently reading and wait in the customer waiting room.

I arrived at 8:00 am.  There were only two or three other people, all involved in either a book or their kindle.  It was quiet.  That's what I wanted.

Just as I was settling in with my book, a large woman came barging through the door.  "WHERE is the coffee?" she demanded.  Everyone ignored her.  "WHERE is the coffee?" she asked once again, in an irritated voice.

"I'm not sure, ma'am," I replied.

She wandered around until she found it, then came back into the room and sat down near me.

"I don't like this waiting room," she said, to no one in particular.

When no one even looked up to acknowledge her, she seemed to settle down somewhat.  Secretly, I was hoping she was only there for an oil change and would soon be leaving.

After a short while, a man from the Service Department entered the room and called her by name.  Her reply, "Oh, God.  This can't be good.  AM I GOING TO BE UNHAPPY?" she demanded of the poor man.

Ignoring her question, he proceeded to tell her she would need a new radiator.  They both left the room and she never returned.

It was a rather pleasant wait from then on and they finished with my car in two hours instead of the three they initially estimated.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Learning to use my new oven!

I've never had a convection oven before.  In fact, I even asked the sales person why I needed a convection oven!  The new oven can be used either as a conventional oven or as a convection.

So I opened the owner's manual and followed the directions.  But no matter what I did, the convection oven came on (that's my side of the story).  Finally, I sent an e-mail to the sales person at Charlotte Appliance.  She responded, giving me the same instructions as I had been following.

"What am I doing wrong?" I asked myself.

When I turned the knob for conventional baking, I immediately heard a sound that I swore was the fan for the convection oven.  Only this time, I opened the oven door and stuck my hand inside to "prove" that the fan was on. . . except that the fan was not on!

I can laugh at it now, but I was getting really frustrated for awhile. 

I cooked a roast, using the convection setting one night this week.  It turned out great.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yes, it's winter!

This is the beginning of yet another storm headed our way.  Can you see the big puffy flakes in the picture?  We are under a winter storm warning through Tuesday.

This is a view down my street from the side of my driveway.  Yes, it's pretty.  But by this time of year and with all the snow we have had to deal with, we are tired of it and are anxious for Spring!  You can click on these pictures for a larger view that really shows the snow flakes falling.