Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ramblings. . .

Not too long ago, I read an article online about things we know today that will be obsolete in the near future.  I don't remember all of them, but here are a few:  Blockbuster Video Stores, long term power outages, manual transmissions in cars. . . WHAT?  No more stick shift cars???  NO!!!

I was raised by a father that wouldn't have anything but a stick shift car, so therefore, that's how I learned to drive!  In those days, there was significant gas mileage savings with a manual transmission.  That is no longer true, I am told.

Driving an automatic transmission car, in my opinion, is boring.  Just like using cruise control.  I like to feel I am engaged in the driving process.

Over the years, whenever I sold a stick shift transmission car, I found that buyers were especially looking for a stick shirt.

As for the demise of long term power outages, the reasoning behind that is that new technology will allow power to be restored much quicker.  Tell that to blizzard and hurricane victims who are stepping over downed power lines!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A wonderful new salad recipe

Here is a great salad recipe I ran across recently.  It is colorful, has a nice blend of flavors, and is good for you!

1 cup green cabbage, chopped
1 cup red cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
olive oil

Combine all the vegetables and mix well.  Pour olive oil over, about 1/4 cup, and season with salt.  Chill to let the flavors blend.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Christmas Surprise!

A few weeks back, I ordered a shirt jac from an online retailer.  There were many color choices and I had a difficult time deciding on just one.  I went with the red plaid.  When the order arrived, I really liked the jac and planned, at a later time, to order another one.

Fast forward to this Christmas morning!  I opened my present from my son, Michael, who was here for brunch.  I couldn't stop laughing when I saw it!  It was the same shirt jac that I liked so much, only in another plaid, one in which I had considered in the first order!

Like minds think alike!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and may your New Year be bright and happy.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A snowy morning

We got about 6 or 8 inches of snow overnight and it clings to everything!  Late yesterday, the Sheriff asked people to avoid any unnecessary driving due to the conditions.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving in Virginia

I enjoyed visiting for a few days with John and Jen and my grandsons, Kevin, Jake, and Andrew.

The day before Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a hike along the James River in downtown Richmond.  It was a picture perfect day.

Their dog, Bingo, just loves to get attention!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Buttermilk Pancakes

Oh, the impact of social media!  I posted a few minutes ago on Facebook that I am going to make buttermilk pancakes for breakfast this morning and already someone has e-mailed me wanting the recipe!  Here it is and it is out of this world delicious!

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
butter to grease the skillet

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and butter.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spoon onto hot skillet.  Flip after about 30 seconds.

I use low fat buttermilk.  A purist would use whole buttermilk!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A great new kitchen tool

Can you guess what this is for?  It is approximately 4 inches square, two layers of smooth stainless steel rings.

It is a cast iron scrubber!  And it works great.  I have quite a few cast iron pans in my kitchen.  It does a fantastic job of quickly removing stuck on food and oil.  And it goes right in the dishwasher. . . unlike my cast iron!

I found it in Cook's World here in Rochester, a quality kitchen store.  I had never heard of it before and wondered if it was worth the hype.  It is!

I run it under the kitchen faucet when I'm done with it, then dry it with paper towels and hang it to dry completely.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Annual Cousins' Reunion is coming soon

Every Spring, my cousins' from my Dad's side of the family, get together on our "ancestral" land in rural Alabama!  My grandparents were farmers decades ago and the land has stayed in the family.  The property has been in the family ever since it was deeded from the government back in the 1800's.  In the 1960's, my dad and his siblings built a dam and a pond was formed from two natural springs on the property.

The reunion is on a Saturday, but a few of us arrive earlier in the week.  My cousin, Kenny, and I are "gun nuts" and we enjoy target shooting before the crowd arrives on Saturday.

We walk the land, some of us like to fish, we enjoy catching up with everyone, and yes, the stories get bigger every year!  We pull out the grills and cook hamburgers and hot dogs and enjoy the dishes to pass.

It's a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, but just as importantly, it is a time to get away from the rat race of everyday life, miles from civilization.

I suppose we are no different from any other family in that we have our share of colorful characters.  There is Aunt Ilene.  She is 94 this year.  When we had our first reunion in 2009, she said, "I'm just glad to get here one more time to the property."

I replied, "Well, I'm coming back next year so you may as well come back too."

"Oh, I'm sure I won't be able to make the trip next year."  She did and has ever since!

Two years ago, she said that would be her last time there.  "I will either be dead or out partying."  I wonder what her line will be this year!

I just have to get through another New York winter and then it will be time to pack up for the trip South!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Delicious Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin

I could never be a total vegetarian.  But there are so many vegetarian recipes that I love.  This is one of them.  Here it is, just out of the oven.  The top and bottom layers are thinly sliced sweet potatoes.  In between is a delicious layer of swiss chard combined with garlic, shallots, and fresh thyme.  Covered with a sauce of heavy cream, white wine and a topping of parmesan, this one is a real winner!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A delicious fall soup

Making my pear and parsnip soup recipe is quick and easy and tastes great on cool evenings.

2 boxes (32 oz.) Wegmans organic chicken broth (or use your own)
4 fresh parsnips, peeled and sliced
4 fresh pears, peeled and chopped

Prepare the parsnips and pears and combine in a large pot with the chicken broth.  Cook until tender.  Using a blender or hand held blender, puree until the pieces are well blended.

That's it!  It is now ready to enjoy.  You can add salt and pepper as desired.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A wonderful getaway afternoon

My friend, Nancy, and I decided to spend a few hours taking in
the beauty of Mendon Ponds Park this afternoon.  Mendon Ponds Park, often called the "Jewel of Monroe County Parks" is a great place to get away from
the rat race, whether you choose to hike the trails, paddle a canoe, cross country ski, or, in our case, we just sat and enjoyed the view today.

The fall colors aren't as brilliant this year as usual.  Some say it is because of the very hot summer with little rain.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The new snowblower

Ouch!  I was expecting a call from the shop to let me know the cost to tune up my 30 year old snowblower.  It was an Ariens and I had been told over the years, "they last forever."

That's not what I got!  "Quite honestly, Sherry, with the needed repairs, above the normal tune up, it is going to cost $500 for parts and labor for your snowblower and that is more than it is worth."  

"I need time to think this over," I told him.  "I'll be in in a day or two."

My choices were less than desirable. There have been numerous problems with people contracting with truck plows.  In fact, just in the last year, a contractor is now in jail for collecting money at the beginning of the season to plow driveways and then "forgetting" to plow them.  The plows often don't show up in time in the morning for you to get out.  Given that my driveway is long (my house sits back off the road), shoveling is not an option.

The shop I sent it to, actually, where it was bought back in the mid 80's, is reputable so I knew they weren't handing me a line.

There were a couple of 2015 models with a reduced price.  He wanted me to handle both of them "to see if you can operate them."  

WHAT???  Sometimes I can keep my mouth shut when offended.  This was one of those times!  I've been operating that old model Ariens for decades and you question whether I can deal with a new one???

Uhhmmm, actually the Ariens model was a bit heavy, BUT I COULD STILL OPERATE IT!!!  The Toro was lighter.

I am from the old school that Ariens is the best brand.  Not so anymore.  The shop has been carrying Toro blowers since the 90's and other than routine maintenance on them, they have had no problems or customer complaints.

The new one has a lot of improvements in the operating of it.  There are levers to make it turn automatically, left or right.  The intake area, that carries the snow up into the chute, is bigger and that function is guaranteed for life.  All you need is a deep, heavy snow to clog the chute and ruin your day!

Then I noticed there are 6 forward gears.  "Don't even think of using 5 or 6!" I was instructed.

It was delivered with oil and a full tank of gas.  Hopefully, in the coming weeks (or months?) when we get our first snowfall, it will do its job!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It finally died. . .

The snowblower I own, an Ariens 8 horsepower, was bought sometime in the mid to late 80's.

I've kept it maintained with routine maintenance.  Recently, the man came to pick it up to take to the shop.  Today I got a call.  I'm told the needed repairs on it will cost more than it is worth.  UGH!

NOT what I wanted to hear.

The shop I sent it to is reputable so I don't believe they are trying to deceive me.

"I'm going to have to give this some thought," I told the owner of the shop.  I told him I'd come in to the shop soon.  He has a couple new ones that are 2015 models that I can get a price break on.

I have a long driveway so shoveling is out of the question for me.  There are contractors you can hire for the season, some with a flat rate, others with a per-use rate.  I've learned that these guys are not always reliable.  They may not show up in time for you to get out on time in the morning.  In fact, in the last year, a contractor was sent to jail in Rochester for collecting up front money from unsuspecting clients and then "forgetting" to plow their driveway.

Never a dull moment. . .

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Football and Salsa

Has it really been this long since I last posted to my blog?  It must be true what they say about old age slowing you down!

I am all set to watch the Alabama Crimson Tide make mincemeat out of the Kent State team. . . I didn't even know Kent State had a team!

I've mixed up a really good salsa recipe, Blueberry and Pineapple Salsa, to munch on during the game.  When you live alone, you don't always eat three meals like other people.  But this salsa has fruits and vegetables, so that counts!  And the chips I use with it are whole grain!

I've accumulated quite a few really good salsa recipes.  Homemade is much better than the kind you buy at the grocery store.  Try this one:

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalepeno
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

I leave out the jalepeno - never been excited about them!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Making Ham and Bean Soup. . . so good!

Above are the beans I just put in the bowl to soak this morning and into the afternoon.  These are beans from Bob's Red Mill.  I am a huge fan of their products.  There are mung beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, cranberry beans, and lots more.  

This is a smoked ham hock that I get from my farmer.  This is no ordinary soup bone!  No!  It is covered with lots of meat that will go into the soup.  I usually get about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of chopped meat to put back into the soup.

I begin by making the stock.  This includes a LOT of water (probably 3 or 4 quarts),  chunks of onion, celery, and carrots, along with the ham hock.  Let this simmer for 2 or 3 hours.  Remove the ham hock and vegetables.  Discard the vegetables, but let the ham hock cool enough to touch.  Cut off the meat.

Place the soaked beans, the chopped meat, and whatever spices you choose (cloves, ginger, and of course salt!) into the stock pot.  Add a can of chopped tomatoes with the juice.

Simmer another couple of hours.  Enjoy the divine aroma coming from your kitchen!

I have to admit, the only thing I dislike about making this is packaging it into serving sizes for freezing.  That's a pain and the pot seems to have a never ending bottom.  But taking it out of the freezer to eat makes up for that. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Neighbors coming together

For about the last two weeks, a beagle was missing.  I first heard about it when my neighbor posted on Facebook mentioning seeing a stray dog roaming around.  You rarely see a dog walking unleashed where I live.

Our neighborhood has a Facebook page which has been very effective in alerting people to things relevant to us.  Posts began showing up of people seeing the dog but no one was able to catch it.  It was all around my house, but I never saw it.

I posted my phone number and asked anyone who saw the dog to call me as I seem to have a talent for getting dogs to come to me.  If I could get close enough to reach for his collar and tag, then most likely we could contact the owner.

Finally, yesterday word went out the dog had been caught and the owner notified.  She was very grateful to all of us who helped bring a happy ending to this ordeal.

I live on a quiet street.  Most of the people in this neighborhood work at the University of Rochester.  When the call goes out for help, as in this case, people join together to do what they can.

Occasionally, there are comical incidents that occur. . . as in the time I backed out of my garage and onto the street and saw a small group of people all staring at my house.  "Is there a problem?" I asked.

"Yes, that rabid fox is in your yard!"  I had heard there was one running around.

I went to run my errand and then came home.  A few minutes later, I noticed two police cars on the street directly in front of my home.  A police officer was walking up my driveway with a shotgun in his hands!

"Is this about the rabid fox?"  I asked.  I could think of no other reason an officer would be walking up my driveway with a gun!

I didn't realize it at the moment, but the rabid fox was about 20 feet away from me and the officer asked me to go back in my house.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Love my Vitamix!

I've had my Vitamix now for a couple of years or more and wonder how I ever got along without it.  While it is a versatile appliance, I use it for making smoothies.

Yes, you can use an ordinary blender to make smoothies, but the blender doesn't do a good job with hard fruits and vegetables, like carrots or beets.  The Vitamix is much more powerful.

Smoothies are a great way to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet.  When I first got my Vitamix, I searched the internet for smoothie recipes.  Then I found that no matter what I placed in it, it came out good tasting.  So now, I go through the refrigerator and the basket of fruit on my kitchen table and take whatever is there.

I don't care for the taste of kale.  But put it in the Vitamix with other foods and you've got a delicious drink packed with nutrition.  Including things like apples or oranges makes for a sweeter drink.

Here are some typical combinations I like.  What you choose is limited by your own imagination.

2 fresh beets, peeled and sliced
1 orange, peeled
2 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 banana

about 2 cups of kale (or spinach)
1/2 to 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1 banana

And the best part is the clean up!  Simply rinse out the lid and jar with cold water.  Then put hot water and a splash of dishwashing liquid in it and put it back on the motor unit.  It cleans itself!

Maybe some day I will get around to trying the other options for a Vitamix such as soups, salads, appetizers, and sauces!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Knitting a poncho

Many years ago, I knitted and crocheted a lot.  Over the years, I made sweaters, both cardigans and pullovers, mittens, and afghans of all kinds.  Somehow life got cluttered and I got away from it.

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to get back into it because I always loved creating  things with yarn.  Except that about a year ago is when Bailey entered my life and with a new puppy in the house, there is no time for much else!

Now I'm back into something that brings me a lot of pleasure and softens the blows of the every day world.

I just started the poncho above.  I wanted something that I like and that wouldn't be too difficult for someone that hasn't picked up knitting needles in awhile.  I probably won't put fringe on it.  I'm not a "fringe" person!  But that decision can come when I finish working on it.

It was a surprise that I hadn't lost my skills!  I bought two books, one for crochet and one for knitting, that I use as a refresher.

I'll post pictures as I progress on this project.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Delicious pork tenderloin crock pot recipe

This one is so good!  I doubled the sauce recipe to cover the tenderloin in my crockpot.

one pork tenderloin (or two if they will fit in your crock pot)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the sauce ingredients and pour over the tenderloin in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

A delicious meal for very little effort!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pleasant evening with old friends

Had a very enjoyable evening with friends, Nancy and Robert Lauterbach - we go back a long way!  Robert smoked a chicken and Nancy had wonderful vegetables and potatoes.  Thanks, guys.  I truly had a wonderful time.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A new crock pot recipe

I have a cookbook, Easy Vegetarian Slow Cooker, that has a lot of very good recipes.  I'm trying a new one today.  It is a root vegetable stew and from the list of ingredients and spices, I just had to try it.  The house is filled with a wonderful aroma and I'm anxious to taste it.  The vegetables include onions, parsnips, carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, and carrots.  

Right now I'm off to pick up my meat order from my farmer.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Aren't we cute?

Sometimes things settle down around here and my two 
super active darlings need a time out.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The war on dog hair

Having two dogs in the house, it is a constant battle to keep dog hair at a minimum.  My worst complaint is on my clothes.  I have a polar fleece robe that attracts and holds dog hair like a magnet.  And with dogs that love to cuddle and one especially that thinks its fun to walk all over me when I'm sitting on the couch, that robe always has dog hair all over it.

Even when I run it through the washer and dryer, it still comes out with a lot of clinging dog hair.

Not anymore!

I found an article on attacking dog hair.  At first, I didn't give it much interest.  You know how the internet is full of how-to advice, much of which is worthless. . . like the time I found a homemade version of dishwasher detergent. . . I was thrilled at the thought of the money I'd save by making my own detergent.  Until the day I took a glass out of my cabinet and found dried on milk in the bottom of it!  Then I took another glass out and it too was "cloudy."

I decided to try this new idea for combatting clinging dog hair on my robe.  IT WORKED!!!

First, place the robe in the dryer for 10 minutes on air only.  Take it out of the dryer, shake it, and then place it in your washer and wash as usual.

At the end of the wash cycle, place in the dryer.  MAGIC!  The dog hair was gone!

The other hints given included using a swiffer cloth to clean hardwood floors, rather than vacuuming.  I already do that and it does work great.  I also keep an old sheet or an old tablecloth on my couch.  Not only does it help with hair, but when I see how dirty they get when I wash them, I'm glad the dirt got on the sheet rather than my couch!  When company comes, you can put away the couch cover.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

It's a Southern thing, ya'll

Living in the North, a lot of the things I took for granted growing up, have gone by the wayside in my mind.  But occasionally something will strike a chord that takes me back to my Southern roots. . . like tonight on Facebook, someone posted a photo of a banana something or other thing.  It looked like a cross between banana pudding (a Southern institution) and banana cake.

My thoughts turned back to my childhood in the South and Southern things!  Like boiled peanuts (they really are delicious), grits (now DON'T say they are like Cream of Wheat!), hush puppies and fried fish.  And pecan pralines (it is Pah-cahn, NOT pee-can).

And Divinity. . . that is the sweetest candy you will ever eat.  Black-eyed peas and corn bread.

Then there is sweet iced tea that Southerners drink year round.

I rarely eat seafood up here.  When you grow up on the Gulf of Mexico and eat fish that slept in the Gulf last night, well, you just can't tolerate fish that has been trucked in.  You really can't beat the taste of fresh fish.  Or walking along the shore early in the morning at sunrise and catching crabs as they wash in with the waves!  Crabs are delicious to eat, although a pain to separate the shell from the meat.

And the other Southern tradition that I miss up here. . . the Blue Angels, stationed at Pensacola Naval Air Station (my hometown, Pensacola).  Imagine moving to Rochester many years ago and being told I had to pay to see the Blue Angels or the Air Force Thunderbirds perform!  No! No!  In Pensacola, you grow up watching them fly over your yard in practice sessions.  And to see their complete show, just drive over to Pensacola Beach and watch them for free.

I can count on one hand the number of times I hear someone here say, "Well, bless your heart,"  or "ya'll come, you he-uh?"

And while many people in the North are very friendly, the kind of people that never meet a stranger, you just can't beat that genuine Southern hospitality!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Brisket in the smoker with my family

Me and my grandsons, Andrew, Kevin, me and Jake.

Me and my little boy, John!

John and Jen and the boys and John's twin, Michael, were over today.  I smoked a brisket in the smoker and it was a hit!  John and Michael always ask for my potato salad and three bean salad.

Michael had already left when these pictures were taken.

Kevin just returned from two weeks at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.  He had a great time.

Monday, June 27, 2016

My cousin, Rita

My cousin, Rita, is a constant source of amusement!  Take the issue of dogs.  For about two years, she kept her son's dog.  Jeremy was living in an apartment and his job kept him away long hours. 

Rita was forever complaining about Stella did this or Stella did that.  Stella ran away numerous times.  She destroyed plants in the yard, She dug holes.  Anyone with half a brain could see the real truth here.  Rita and Kip were attached to that big bundle of energy called Stella, although she would deny it till the end of time.  Stella is a German Shorthaired Pointer.  These dogs need lots of exercise, destructive or otherwise.

Then Jeremy and Emily, who gave Jeremy the dog as a present several years ago, got married and moved into a house.  Stella went to her "new" home.  Right away you could see the withdrawal Rita was going through.  And those of us on facebook missed the endless "Stella Stories" that only Rita could tell!

"You need to get a dog of your own, Rita," I told her over and over.

"NOPE!  I don't need a dog. . . I'm too busy.  I don't want to be tied down."

Yesterday there was this cryptic facebook entry.  It was a picture of the eyes of a dog.  Rita said, "Kip is in trouble now."

I knew what that meant, although Rita left many of us hanging.  What followed were several facebook entries which propriety demands I don't include here.

Last night she texted me a picture of a beagle puppy with the caption, "Look what Rita's got."

"Tell me more!"  I texted back.

Turns out she's had this puppy since Tuesday of last week and she didn't bother to tell anyone.  One of Kip's customers had a dog with a litter of puppies.  She knew all of us who had heard the "I don't want another dog" lectures were going to jump on her. . . AND I DID!!!  Again, I can't tell you here what I told her, but I got the point across!

Now your life is complete, Rita!  You've got a little bundle of joy to keep your life "interesting."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stuart's Spices, THE place to buy spices!

You've heard me mention Stuart's Spices in this blog and on my Facebook page.  Yes, I think they are THE place to buy spices in Rochester.

Their website is and they are located at 754 Clinton Ave. S, in Rochester.

Some good friends told me about them.  "What's so special about a spice shop?," I asked.  "I can get spices at the grocery store."  Once in awhile, I'm wrong, not often. . . but this time, I was way off base!

They grind their spices on the premises and in small batches.  There spices don't sit on the shelf for long periods as in a grocery store where they have been shipped in.  They have the usual spices you would buy. . . oregano, cinnamon, all of those.  But they also have their own special blends!  How about Hog Rub or Road Kill or Memphis Dry Rub?  I also like their dip mixes.

If you are a new customer, they'll give you a free bottle.  If, like me once, I was there on a Saturday at the opening time, and the owner was a few minutes late arriving, they will give you a free bottle for your inconvenience.  They know the meaning of good customer service.

I'm not sure if they do mail order.  But if you live in the Rochester area, do yourself a favor and check them out!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wonderful baby back ribs

I've made good ribs before.  But these are great!  I found the recipe on, the Weber Grills people.  Weber created this recipe for using with a charcoal grill.  I adapted it to use in my smoker.

Rather than their rub, I used a rub I get at Stuart's Spices on Clinton Avenue here in Rochester.  It's called Hog Rub and it's excellent.

I followed Weber's recipes for the sauce and mop.  Here they are:


3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note:  Weber's recipe includes 1 teaspoon of molasses.  I didn't have any so left that out.


1 cup unsweetened apple juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bbq sauce (from above)

For the sauce and the mop recipes, bring both to simmer in separate saucepans and set aside.

The night before, or early on the day of smoking, rub the ribs generously with Hog Rub.  Put in the refrigerator.  Remove the meat and let it sit at room temperature an hour before going into the smoker.

Prepare the smoker and when ready, place the meat in it.  Keep the temperature below 250.  I used hickory chips over the hot coals for this, replacing them about every half hour or so.  (Soak the chips in water before putting them in the smoker.)

At about the one and a half hour mark in smoking, mop the meat.  Repeat several times till the meat is almost done.  For ribs, when the meat begins to pull away, exposing the bone about a quarter of an inch, it's done.

Before removing the meat from the smoker, brush well several times with the sauce recipe.  I left these two in the smoker a little more than 3 hours.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Where does time go?

I was not a helicopter parent.  Really, I wasn't.  Well. . . never mind.

My number one priority in my life are my boys and my grandchildren.  You mess with them, you don't even want to hear from me, believe me on that.

Last year, John and Jen allowed Kevin, my oldest grandson, to go to Germany.  WHAT?  NO WAY!  It was an exchange program through school.  Earlier, a young man from Germany visited in their home and then Kevin went, with a group and chaperones, to Germany.  But today's world is different.  There are bad people in the world that think nothing of hurting Americans.

We got past that.  Kevin had a wonderful time in Germany, even visited Austria.  He came home safe and sound.

I knew this was coming too.  He had plans to go to a special Scout camp a long way from home for two weeks.  NO!  NO! NO!  Not my Kevin!  Never mind that his grandfather went to this same Scout camp many years ago and loved it.  But it is a different world today!  Listen to me!

I was meant to be a mother and grandmother.  It is my place to worry.  Just ask my boys.  One of them, once he was grown, admitted, "We knew when we were growing up, if we screwed up and Mom and Dad found out about it, there would be hell to pay."  YEP!  You got that right.

Trust me, I really am happy for Kevin - he's even learned to drive a car with a stick shift, another one of my idiosyncracies!. . . if you can't drive a stick shift, you aren't anything. . . well, anyway. . . Can't I be happy for my grandson and be worried at the same time???

John and Jen have done a wonderful job raising Kevin, Jake and Andrew. . . and if you can meet MY standards in child rearing, that is an accomplishment!  But I still have a right to worry.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Bailey is one year old!

Morgan and I have survived Bailey's first year!  She has been ALL PUPPY, all at once cantankerous, mischievous, lovable, cute, and with a mind of her own. When she is out back playing and I call her, I get her "What's in it for me?" look. She is one big ball of nonstop energy.  The picture above was taken at the home of the breeder before I brought her home.

Here she is in her cage not long after I brought her home.

Bailey and one of her many sticks!

Look at me, I'm cute!

She loves watching football and basketball!  She learned early on that when the Alabama Crimson Tide is playing football, she has to be good or she goes to her cage.

Hiding behind Morgan.

I want to say a special thank you to her breeder, Patty Finch.  I'm very picky about where I will buy a puppy.  I had made arrangements with a quality breeder in Cobbleskill, NY to get a puppy.  But that dog didn't come into season in time to meet my time frame for getting a puppy.  Through networking, I found Patty down in Ohio.  I couldn't have chosen a better breeder.  She cried when she handed Bailey over to me.  I promised her I'd love Bailey and give her a good home.  She really cares about where her puppies go to their forever home.

And finally, everyone has their own ideas of what is the best breed.  To my way of thinking, the Labrador Retriever is the Best of the Best!  They are a major handful during the puppy stage.  Then they settle into the most loving, delightful dogs in the whole world.  I have owned a Lab continuously since 1985, five of them, Teri, Cash, Molly, Morgan, and Bailey.  I can't imagine my life without a Lab.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A lazy Sunday morning

Enjoying my coffee, the dogs, and Fox and Friends!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wegmans comes to Richmond, Va!

Wegmans (a fantastic grocery store for the poor souls who have never heard of them!) just opened their first store in the Richmond, Virginia area - and another one will be opening soon.  My son and daughter in law, both raised in Rochester, grew up with Wegmans.  They have lived down South for ten years and had to be without a Wegmans in their life!

Wegmans is 100 years old this year.  They started out selling fresh produce in a push cart in Rochester.  When I moved to Rochester in 1974, there were Loblaws and Star Markets.  They couldn't compete with Wegmans and have long since disappeared.

Recently, our local newspaper had a huge article on Wegmans in a Sunday paper.  Wegmans is trying to turn this area of the country into the Silicon Valley of food.  They have contracted with local farmers for both produce and meat.  Many of these farms will openly tell you, they would have gone out of business were it not for Wegmans.  The benefit to the consumer, fresher grocery items.

Today, Wegmans is managed by Danny Wegman and his two daughters.  As teenagers, Danny insisted that Nicole and Colleen work in the stores at the lowest levels.  He knew that by doing this, they would learn the business inside and out.

Wegmans has come a long way since I moved here 40+ years ago.  Today there are in store bakeries, flower shops, general merchandise, and more.  They know how to treat the customer.  A year or so back, when they made the top of the list of the Best Place to Work in the country, each store had a HUGE sheet cake to celebrate.  It was the size of a sheet of plywood.

If you go in a Wegmans and ask where a product is, they don't just tell you, they will walk you there.

More recently they have increased their private brands and most of these that I have tried are as good or better than the name brand items.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Getting started in smoking meat.

Below is a "tutorial" I wrote for a friend a couple of years back on getting into smoking meat.  Recently, several people have asked me how to get started in this great venture.  I've made no secret of how much I enjoy it.   So for the benefit of those who are interested, here is a primer on smoking meat!

My comments are related to the Weber Smoky Mountain Smoker.  They would be very similar to any other smoker.


Use a charcoal chimney with wadded up newspaper under it to heat your charcoal.  Kingsford is best.  You want a quality brand that burns the longest.  On Memorial Day, Fourth of July,  and Labor Day, Lowes sells their double pack of 20 lb (40 lbs total) charcoal for cheap.  That’s when I stock up.


Some meets need to be soaked in a brine (overnight in the fridge is best, but at least several hours or more).  The meat needs to be totally covered with water.


There are dozens of brine and rub recipes on the internet and any place else you look.  I use water, kosher salt, and brown sugar.  Most experts recommend letting your rubbed down meat sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before putting on the smoker.  This is the time I spend putting the smoker together and getting it ready.


To assemble the smoker, first put the white charcoal in the bottom, next comes the big bowl of water (filled with water almost to the top), then the racks.  I’ve only used one rack and I’ve cooked for a crowd.  Then the lid.  Spread a big handful of soaked wood chips over the hot coals.  You can put fresh herbs in the water to add to the flavor.  Near the charcoal area is a side door to add more coals.  I’ve only had to add more coals once.  For several hours of smoking, you probably won’t need to add hot coals.  Watch the thermometer on the outside of the lid.  The thermometer indicates the range you want to stay in.  Either open or close the vents on the lid and at the bottom of the smoker to adjust temperature.  There is also a rubber gasket on the side to insert a digital thermometer into the meat while it is smoking.  I’ve never used that feature.  After a few times, you learn to know when the meat is ready.  I always insert the thermometer before I stop cooking, though.  I recommend doing a whole chicken first.  That is the easiest, idiot-proof way to learn and also the quickest.  Keep the lid closed and don’t open anymore that really necessary.


Now, sit back with a nice glass of wine, close your eyes, and enjoy the aroma coming from the smoker.  One of life’s simple pleasures!


When you take the meat off, close all vents and let the smoker cool enough to handle (several hours).  Then clean the rack and the water bowl.  I use an SOS pad and my backyard faucet to do this.  Dry and put back together.  Make sure the charcoal is COMPLETELY dead and cold before bringing it in the house.  I keep mine in my three season room.  One night, late, I was letting Morgan out and I smelled a strange smell coming from the smoker.  The darn thing had reignited and was burning again, albeit small.  Not a good thing to do in a closed space!


I also keep a big plastic tote to store all my smoking supplies in – thermometer, wood chips, smoker manual, silicone gloves (you gotta have a pair of these).  Another neat tool is an injector.  It is a syringe you use to inject marinade into the meat before smoking.


There are all kinds of models and types of smokers.  When I was researching, I talked to a lot of people, surfed the web, read reviews.  For me, the Smoky Mountain is the best.  A lot of pros that travel the competition circuit use them.  I like the ease of use and the results I get for very little effort.  Once a year you scrub down the inside of the big cylinder part.  You don’t want to do this too often because that does add to the flavor.  But it should be done once a year.


Some recommend putting a pile of chicken skins and “throw away” meat in the smoker the very first time to season it.  I didn’t do this and don’t feel it is necessary.


One last “I wish I knew” bit of advice.  About the third or fourth time I used the smoker, it just wasn’t working.  I could not get the temperature up.  I couldn’t imagine what was wrong, when it had worked so flawlessly before.  Duh!  You have to empty the old charcoal dust from the charcoal bin or it will stop air flow!

Saturday, May 14, 2016


The lilac bushes lining the fence on the eastside of my backyard are slow to bloom this year.  Here is the prettiest one.

This one is about to open up in pink blooms.  The picture is a little blurred because just as I snapped it, a breeze came up!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy Birthday, Andrew

My grandson, Andrew Bennett, is eleven years old today!  Where does time go?

All three of my grandsons, Kevin, Jake, and Andrew have made me a very proud Gramma!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A fun Mother's Day for me

One of my twin sons, Michael, and I had lunch and then spent a couple of hours shooting at my gun club.  It was a fun time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Life with dogs is never boring. . .

Morgan and Bailey are put in their (oversize) cage in another room at night when I go to bed.  I could trust Morgan to sleep on the floor next to my bed, but Bailey isn't quite ready for that yet.

Last night just as I was drifting off to sleep, I thought I heard a rustling sound.  Then it stopped.  Okay, I was dreaming maybe.

I rolled over in bed and there were two sets of eyes and two wagging tails in front of me!  The "rustling" sound was their paw prints on the hardwood floor.  The bedroom carpet masked that sound.

"How did you get out of your cage?" I asked them.  They were so proud of themselves.

Never did figure out how they opened their cage door.  I walked them back to their cage and they stayed the rest of the night.

Monday, April 25, 2016

An exciting new salad recipe

I am always looking for ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my meals.  There is my fruit salad, made of chopped fruits of whatever I have in the house:  cantalope, honeydew melon, blueberries, kiwi fruit, grapes, strawberries, mango. . .

On the vegetable side, there are salads, stir fry, and my weekend, "clean-out-the-fridge-omelette" and don't forget smoothies.

Here is a new salad recipe I ran across today that caught my fancy so much that after work I ran to Wegmans to get the ingredients that I didn't already have.

Equal parts of:

roma tomatoes
red onion

Chop all of the above and place in mixing bowl.

Combine the following:

juice of one lemon
olive oil

Pour this over the salad and enjoy.

I like the blend of flavors, not to mention the high nutritional value.

Try it!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A brisket in the smoker today

There is a brisket in my smoker right now, slowly cooking to perfection!  My all time favorites to cook in a smoker are a brisket and a pork shoulder with Carolina BBQ sauce served at the table.

Here is the recipe I used today, although I have others that I also like.

Marinade for a brisket

1 pint orange juice
juice from 2 limes
juice from 1 lemon
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 cup olive oil

Combine ingredients with a whisk.  Score the brisket so that the juice penetrate s into the meat.  Marinate at least a few hours, or better, overnight.  I have a Tupperware marinating container that I've had for years and I like that because the bottom of each side has ridges so that the juice covers the underside.

About an hour before you are ready to put it in the smoker, take it out of the marinade sauce and lay on a large cutting board.  Use the rub recipe below to cover both sides and then let it sit on the counter for 45 minutes:

3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and rub into meat.

Until last summer, I never cooked a brisket.  I believed all the war stories I heard over the years about it being a junk piece of meat, "most often made into hamburger meat."  That can be true if you don't know how to properly prepare it!  Put it in a smoker for most of the day and you will have the tastiest and most tender piece of meat you could ever imagine.

One of life's greatest simple pleasures is smoking meat.  Sitting by the smoker, taking in the aroma, letting your mind rest from the stress of the everyday world, not to mention the wonderful flavor when your meat is done, it doesn't get any better than this!

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Thank You note. . .

. . . that brought me to tears.

I received the following handwritten note in the mail today:

Dear Sherry,

I cannot tell you how much we appreciate you planning your Alabama trip around the wedding!  It meant so much that you were there to celebrate this special occasion with Jeremy and Emily!!  Lots of good memories made those two days!  Take good care and get to planning next year!

Much love,

Folks, I work in a high stress environment where I am often "kicked in the face" figuratively.  Rarely, does anyone say thank you to me, much less in a handwritten note.  My work life is so PC oriented that it is disgusting and throw in the politics. . . well, I'm sure you understand.  I know I am not the only working stiff that experiences this type of thing.

Thank you, Rita.  You made my day a lot brighter.

And I was honored to be invited to this storybook wedding.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


I still find myself laughing and thinking about things that happened on my trip last week.  There is Aunt Ilene. . .94 years old and can still get out on the dance floor. "I'm not coming back next year [to our cousins' reunion]".  We have heard that since year one.  In 2009, our first reunion, she said, "I'm glad to be here one more time [on our property where we hold the reunion]"

It is warm this weekend in Western New York. . . warm and sunny.  The dogs have enjoyed spending more time outside running and fighting over sticks.

It is nice to see people again around the neighborhood.  People walking dogs, or riding bikes, or pushing baby strollers.

"You were gone last week, weren't you?"  My next door neighbor called across the fence while I was sitting out back with the dogs.


"Your trip down South that you take every year?"

"That's right!"

After the third day when the front door outdoor light wasn't on and she never saw any lights in the house, she figured I was gone.

Drum roll, please. . . Tomorrow I'm going to cook baby back ribs on the grill!  All of you know how much I enjoy cooking outside, whether it is ribs on the grill or smoking a chicken, or better still, a brisket.  One of the joys of smoking meat is sitting by the smoker, looking up at the white puffy clouds moving across the sky and taking in the aroma coming from the smoker.

I made my usual pilgrimage to Costco a little while ago.  I really love that store.  I'm finding out many of the Kirkland brand of products are top rated.  Their dog food is one of them.  Their laundry products are comparable to Tide and Downy and a lot less expensive.

Enough of my chit chat. . . the dogs are letting me know it is time to feed them!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cousins' Reunion, Part 2

On Thursday, most of the cousins' had arrived.  A few couldn't make it and they were missed.  Next year!

I arrived before anyone else and went about trimming back the overgrowth and weeds along the road in and around our "gathering space."  When Pam and Aunt Ilene got there, they joined me.  Yes, Aunt Ilene is 94 years old this year and she pulled more weeds than anyone else. . . really!

This year I stumbled onto an idea of bringing beach balls to throw into the pond and use for target practice.  That was the most fun!  I had 4 inch diameter and 12 inch diameter.  By accident, I discovered if you aim just below the ball onto the surface of the water, the ball goes flying into the air, staying intact for another round!  "Hell, Sherry, why'd you get 12 inch diameter?  That's like shooting a fat boy at close range."  Yes, that's Kenny!!!  One  ball floated into an area that wasn't safe to shoot at due to the flat terrain and the possibility that a stray bullet could travel far enough, even through massive trees and bushes, to hit something or someone in the distance.  I'll bet that one is still there next year, if we can get to it.  Some parts of the pond are heavily lined with bushes.

On Friday, we headed to Pell City, Alabama, out from Birmingham for the wedding of Jeremy (Rita's son) and Emily.  To say it was a storybook wedding is an understatement.

This is me and Lynn.  Lynn and her husband and children have been friends with Kip and Rita for years.  She is our adopted cousin!

Isn't this a beautiful setting for a wedding?  The weather was sunny and warm.  This is Applewood Farm in Pell City.  The reception was held in the Chandelier Barn just out of view of this picture.  Had it rained, the staff was ready to instantly set up in the "barn."  Thankfully, that wasn't needed.

Emily being escorted to the altar by her Dad.

Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Wiggins!

You can click on these pictures to get a better look.

Just like all the other cousins' reunions, every year since 2009, this one was just a wonderful time, well worth the two day drive each way.  I am so fortunate to have the crazy, fun loving, wacky cousins that I have.  

Friday, April 8, 2016

Another great reunion has ended

Our eighth annual cousins' reunion is now over.  It was a fun time and one I will not forget!  It had twists and turns of the unexpected that will give me a lot of laughs going forward.

I decided to arrive in the small Alabama town a day earlier than usual just to spend quiet time on the land that has been in my family since back in the 1800's.  After driving twelve hours the first day and eight hours the next day, it was a relief to arrive at my destination.

The property is out in the middle of no where, miles from civilization.  I like it that way.  It is a true escape.  "I don't like you back there all by yourself," more than one of my cousins said to me when they knew of my plans.

The old road, actually, it is more a "path" than a road, leading back to the property was ragged with weeds and branches slowly covering it.  I pulled out my folding chair and planned to read my book.  But I found myself really taken in with the solitude, the peacefulness.  All around me were tall trees, mostly pine, a quiet pond, bright skies.  The only sounds were the birds singing and the breeze blowing in the trees.  Occasionally a car drove by on the paved road, about a quarter mile from where I sat.  I could feel the stress of the everyday world draining from my body.  My work life is frantic, full of politics and conflict.  Even the strongest soul needs to escape this routine once in awhile.

"Ping!"  That meant a text.  Two of my cousins found every excuse in the book to text me to check up on me.  I didn't mind that.  It's a good thing to be able to escape the real world but still be connected "just in case."  And it is comforting that somebody cares.

Once or twice I got up from my chair and walked around a bit, imagining the scene a century ago of my dad and his siblings playing on this very land and helping out in the cotton fields.  My grandparents farmed this land with animals and cotton fields.

When I finally decided to leave and return to my hotel, I was "attacked" by two big dogs running at me as I got out to close the gate to the property.  I know dogs and I knew these were not vicious dogs.  One of them jumped up on me wrapping his legs around me, clamoring for attention, his tail wagging back and forth.  His owner came running after him, embarrassed that he had jumped on me.

"I saw you go back there and was so worried about you being back there by yourself!  There are snakes back there!"

Laughing, I said, "Yeah, I get the same thing from my cousins."  Truth is I have never seen a snake on the property.

I'll continue with my adventures in following posts!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Snow in April?

I forgot to put my car in the garage last night and look what happened!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

DOGS. . . Ugh!

I wanted to see if Bailey is mature enough to give her a nice dog bed that is much more comfortable than the old towels I throw into her cage.

Last night I put two old bed pillows covered with two old pillow cases in the cage.  At night, both Bailey and Morgan sleep in an oversized cage.  Morgan doesn't need a cage, but it prevents me from stumbling over her if I get up in the middle of the night.  Also, it allows me to get out of bed in the morning without being attacked by an over excited dog. . . Yes, Morgan, I love you too, but could we hold off on the claw marks and wet tongue on my face the second the alarm goes off???

Things went well.  I noted there was less moving around in the cage during the night.  This morning both pillows were intact.  I was proud of them both.

Maybe I judged too quickly.  A little while ago, I put them back in the cage so that I could get some work done around the house without worrying about the two of them getting into trouble - you know,  the "when things get too quiet" syndrome.

I was busy in the kitchen when I heard that unmistakeable sound.  Going to the bedroom, I saw it.  Bailey was ripping away at the pillow and the filling starting to come out.  Now that is all I need for her to swallow a big chunk of that!

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!  

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day!

Aren't these just the cutest cupcakes you've seen in a long time?  A lady I work with made a big batch of these and brought them in to share.  The eyes are marshmallows.  They are much cuter in person than this pictures shows!

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Vegetarian Sandwich

My motto could easily be, "she who dies with the most recipes wins!"  Many of you have heard of my "legendary" cookbook collection as well as the many binders of recipes I've found here and there.

I have a lot of recipes that I make often.  But I am always in search of something new.  Although I will never give up meat. . . are you kdding?. . . give me a nice cut of meat and my smoker and I can create a masterpiece. . . I do eat a lot of vegetarian meals.  I can remember, back in the day, when vegetarian meals were boring - sticks and pebbles, actually.  Those days are long gone.

Recently I did a search online for vegetarian sandwiches.  Wow!  I found some real winners!  Here is one.  It is a chickpea salad sandwich.  This is similar to making tuna salad.  There are many ways you can make it.  Here is how I did it:

2 cups dried garbanzo beans
chopped red bell pepper
pumpkin seeds
about a rounded tablespoon of mayo
about a rounded teaspoon of Dijon mustard
juice of one lime
1 to 2 teaspoons of dill seed
salt and pepper to taste

Soak and cook the garbanzo beans.  Rinse in a colander.

Mash the beans, leaving a handful whole.  Combine all the other ingredients and stir well.

Chill until ready to serve.  Use a nice whole wheat or artisan type bread for the sandwiches.

I found that I prefer my sandwich warm, so I put it in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

You may as well laugh at it. . .

Chaos. . . that is the word that comes to mind when I think of the commute in to work this morning.  I had a commitment at work today so I couldn't just stay home.

Although I only live a mile from work (in a straight line), it was very treacherous driving on roads that were not plowed and then pulling into a parking lot that had not been plowed.  One of our secretaries e-mailed me about 45 minutes ago that she was leaving work and going home.  Just now she called me.  She parks in the same parking lot as I do.  That lot is plowed, but there is the part from the plows that piles up in front of the cars.  And between cars, the snow is building up.  In other words, it's going to be a mess just trying to get inside my car when I do go home!

So far, this winter has been very mild in Rochester.  Now we are catching up for lost time!

Even in the worst storms, if the roads are plowed and salted, you can get where you need to go.  That definitely was not the case this morning.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

If you don't like Rochester's weather. . .

hang around a bit, it will change!  That is an old Rochester proverb that is so true.

We have had a very mild winter this year, for which I was very grateful.  Just this weekend, I was out running around in a shirt jacket and regular shoes and was very comfortable. . . My snowblower has not been used on my driveway this winter. . . I was actually feeling sorry for Bailey because, in her first winter, she has not experienced the fun of running in deep snow. . . There have been winters, where I had to dig a path in my backyard for my dogs to go potty.

Yes, I pay attention to the weather forecasts, well most of the time.  This morning, I decided to wear a skirt and top.  THAT was a mistake!  By the time I walked from the parking lot into my building, I wasn't sure my legs were still there. . . they were frozen!

This weekend the temps are forecast to be in the single numbers.  I can almost bet there will be school closings tomorrow due to the frigid temperatures.

But this is mid-February and Spring is not far off!  I'm very much looking forward to my annual trek South to my cousins reunion (this is number 8!) and this year there is a wedding to go to in addition to the reunion!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A new avocado dip recipe

Our group at work had a Super Bowl party this week.  I love these events.  People bring in their very best recipes.  I brought in deviled eggs. . . is there anyone that doesn't like deviled eggs?

One lady brought in the most wonderful avocado dip.  Not only is it probably one of the best dips you've ever had, it is also nutritious!

4 ripe avocados
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon each:  garlic powder, onion powder, salt
2 limes juiced

Mash the avocados.  Add the sour cream and stir well.  Add remaining ingredients and combine well.  Adjust the ingredients to your taste.

Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill till ready to serve.

And on another note, you may have noticed I haven't posted on my blog as much as usual these last months.  There is a reason for that and her name is Bailey!  Yes, having two Labs in the house, especially when one is a rambunctious puppy, is a handful.  Just today I noticed she is bigger than Morgan.  Morgan is 3, well, 3 1/2!  Bailey is 8 months and still growing.

It's a constant battle with dog hair, dust, breaking up (playful) fights, and now that there is no snow, keeping the tracked in mud at bay.  Oh, and there is Bailey's love of grabbing the end of the toilet paper roll and taking off through the house in the blink of an eye. But I wouldn't trade these two dogs for a spotless house and less work, or anything else for that matter.  If you spend the time with proper training, to my way of thinking, the Labrador Retriever is the most wonderful dog in the world.