Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My New Jeep

I've been watching a used 2015 Jeep for about a month or two now.  Finally I decided to take the drive up to test drive.  I received an e-mail early yesterday morning that it was still there.  But it wasn't.  Usually I would have gotten pissed off that I was basically "tricked" into driving an hour away, but after the deal I got on a brand new Jeep, (it had less than 1 mile on it when I first took it for a test drive) I couldn't pass it up.  This will most likely be my forever car.  They are installing running boards on it, so that when I do get old, I'll still be able to get into my Jeep.  The best part .... it's stick shift - and no one else in my house can drive stick !  Now to think of a name for her.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Flying Like the Wind

Anyone that knows me, knows we are a swimming family.  Maybe because I am a Pisces I love the water so much, but I love everything about water, pools, baths, the ocean, the lakes, give me a body of water and I'm jumping in.

My kids all swim too.  At one time or another, they've all competed on a swim team.  Two of them still practice year round, 5-7 times a week.  For 3 hours each practice.  So yes, our life pretty much revolved around swimming.  Until now.

Adam decided out of the blue he was going out for the track and field team at his middle school.  Since I threw both shot and discus in high school, I'm sure we've talked about it, but never did I think I'd have a kid follow in my footsteps.  So a month ago, he went out for the team.  It was right before Spring Break, so I figured I'd buy him a discus so he could practice, seeing as the other kids have already been doing this for 2 years.  I showed him a few pointers, and he went from 40' right before Spring Break to 68' by the time Spring break was over.

This past Tuesday was his first track meet.  I can't tell you how proud I am of him, his first meet, and he won.  He practices after school every day, then most days goes on to swim practice.  Here is his first winning through of 88'1"


Early Garden

There is really nothing I like better than working barefoot in my garden.  It's still pretty cool here at the Jersey shore, especially for May.   Right now Alexa tells me it's only 57*, with a high of 61* and a low of 48*.   Great weather to work outside, but not warm enough for things to really grow.

I do have some things going - my planter that I got from Sam's --- love this, makes having lettuce and herbs right outside my door both accessible and attractive.
As I pull the lettuce or kale out, I can simply replace with smaller plants or seeds.  I keep it really close to the house, so although it does get morning sun, it's in shade for the hottest parts of the day, and that helped all the herbs not to bolt last year.  The only downside is that it doesn't hold much water, so watering every 3rd day or so is necessary.

Also loving the look of my step flowers this year.  
They are quickly growing right up the flower trellises I purchases.  I bought good metal ones that I can use over and over.  I think I need a new bright welcome mat though !  You can also see my little lemon tree up on a stool and there are a few extra tomato plants in containers that didn't fit in the garden.

I have raised beds for a garden here.  Not enough space for a full on fenced garden, but it's enough to keep me happy, and provide some fresh veggies for the family.  
By the time Sham gets home from Columbia, the lettuce will be ready to be picked.  The pepper plants behind them look sad ... so cool out, they'll grow when it gets warmer.  There are 2 more rows of lettuce that should sprout soon, succession planting keeps us in fresh lettuce for about a month.  My garlic is doing wonderful.  I planted a lot of that this year - I'll take more photos later... but if you've never tried fresh garlic - I highly recommend it, you'll hate going back to grocery store garlic after using fresh !

Travels to Columbia

Most know that my husband loves to travel.  He usually travels alone, since the kids are still in school and not old enough to be left alone for 6 weeks at a shot !

Anyway, for the past 4 weeks he's been in Columbia, exactly 2,222 miles away from me (I can still track his iPhone... how cool is that!)   He has another 2 weeks before he travels home.  I have to say that I am ready for him to be home.  We are self employed, so that means when he travels, I get to do my job, his job, and be mom and dad to the kids.

He spent the first few weeks in Bogota with friends, and now is traveling through Bucaramanga.  He went to Columbia last November for 6 weeks, so he knows his way around the country pretty well.  While it might be somewhere I'd consider retiring to, he knows if it's not really close (like walking distance close) to the water, I'm not moving !   


Monday, March 20, 2017

Peggy's Quilt





Peggy's Quilt - Peggy is the BFF of my "sister" Gige.  Peggy has had some shit thrown at her for sure, but she still is smiling every single time I see her.  She often comes with Gige when they come take one of my kids out for their birthday.  She does that, no matter how tired she is, so that Gige never has to drive alone.  Peggy's husband committed suicide - that would be hard enough to live through, but then her son, Scott, also committed suicide.  I can't imagine.  He was only 30 years old.  His entire life ahead of him. There is so much to learn about mental health and so much more we could do to prevent the pain of loosing a loved one ..... I personally know the pain of depression, and the angst that depression can cause on loved ones.



Anyway - Gige asked me if I would take Scott's clothing and make a quilt out of them.  Peggy still had them all in a tote.  They dropped off the tote during one of their birthday visits.  It was hard for me to go through them, and I didn't even know him.  But I do know Peggy - and her favorite color is purple.  She LOVES purple.  Funny thing is that Gige hates purple.  Peggy also celebrates her Irishness.  With her flaming red hair, who wouldn't ?   So I tried to incorporate both traits in her quilt top.





Now - off to the quilter, once I lint-roll it for threads and cat hair.  I had no pattern for this quilt - I pieced it together as I went.  I didn't even know what size it was until I went to put on that last border - it ended up being 100" by 102"  Big enough for a king size quilt.  I will update this post when I get it back from the quilter.

I linked this post to the Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times.  Go check out what everyone else is working on !

Adding a photo of the finished product -- now that the receiver has gotten it and loves it. 



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

IP - Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

 These were pretty good.  I'm not a big fan of cabbage, but I ate 2 of these.   I don't know if I would have went through the trouble if I had to make rice as well - but seeing as we had leftover rice from the night before - it wasn't too much work - and clean up will be a breeze.  There is plenty of sauce on the side too - so I served it with the rest of the leftover rice - easy and healthy meal




Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown or long grain white rice
  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced then "pasted"
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 3/4 lb. ground pork*
  • *You can substitute all ground beef for the pork if you prefer
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, then "pasted"
  • 2 (14 1/2 oz. each) cans diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon low sodium instant beef bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire black pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon cold water
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Directions
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  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Fluff with a fork and set the pan aside.
  2. Fill a large deep pot half full of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Remove the core from the cabbage and place it, core side down, in the boiling water. Cover and let the head of cabbage boil for 7-8 minutes. Remove the softened outer leaves and place them on a plate to cool. Cover the pan and cook the cabbage for 6-8 minutes, checking and removing the outer leaves as they soften, placing them on the plate to cool. When you get down to the center of the cabbage and the leaves are too small for rolls, cover the pan and cook the cabbage until crisp-tender. When done, remove the cabbage from the heat, coarsely chop it and set it aside.
  4. For the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to turn light golden brown. Add the garlic and cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire (or black) pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat. Stir in some of the chopped cooked cabbage. Set the sauce aside.
  5. For the filling, in a large bowl, beat the egg, then stir in the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and cooked rice. Add the ground beef and pork and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until all the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Lay one of the cabbage leaves flat on a work surface with the stem end in front of you. Take 2 generous tablespoonfuls of the filling and place it at the bottom of the cabbage leaf. Fold the 2 sides in and roll away from you, making sure filling stays in the center and away from the top edge, until you reach the top of the leaf. You can secure the roll with a toothpick if you like-I don't find it necessary. They stay together quite well once rolled, and if they do start to unroll, they can be easily tucked back together.
  7. Repeat this with the remaining filling and cabbage leaves. I usually get 15 rolls out of the batch of filling.
  8. Place the rack in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Pour in 1 cup water. Place 7-8 cabbage rolls on the rack. Cover the rolls with about 1/3 of the sauce. Add a second layer of rolls to the pressure cooker, alternating the direction of the second layer. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the rolls. After adding the last bit of sauce, take a plastic spatula and gently go around the outer edge of the rolls to allow some of the sauce to drip down around the rolls. Make sure not to overfill the pressure cooker. It's easy enough to cook these in 2 batches, if necessary.
  9. Lock the lid in place, choose High pressure and set 18 minutes cooking time. When the beep sounds, turn off the pressure cooker, unplug it, wait for 15 minutes, then use Quick Pressure to release any remaining steam.
  10. Gently remove the cabbage rolls from the pressure cooker to a platter.
  11. Select "Sauté" and bring the sauce to a boil.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  13. Serve the sauce over the cabbage rolls. Makes about 15 rolls.
Notes
Pressure Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls adapted from Mr. Food magazine May/June 2000. Sauce adapted from Miss Vickie's Big of Pressure Cooker Recipes.

Recipe From - http://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/pressure-cooker-stuffed-cabbage-rolls/

Monday, January 9, 2017

Egyptian Rabbit, Rice and Molikia

The day we picked to get married was also the same day that God decided it would be funny to drop over 3 feet of snow as a wedding present to a guy who had never before seen snow before.... who said God didn't have a sense of humor.  Anyway - as a surprise for our anniversary dinner this year, I had planned to make Egyptian rabbit, rice and molikia for my husband.  God again decided to throw a little snow into my plans (only 6" this time) so dinner was postponed until last night - but after all was said and done -- dinner was amazing, the kids and Sham both said it tasted just like his mom used to make ... which made me happy !  I used 2 Instant Pot to make dinner quickly ... and it was extremely easy.  

For the Rabbit - I took 2 frozen rabbits, threw them in the pressure cooker with some water, onions and 3 bay leaves.  Pressure cooked for 20 minutes (next time I'll only do 15, but they were still good)  Took them out, strained the broth, used 4 cups of broth and 4 cups on rice in another pressure cooker (One that I save for just yogurt and rice and other non-spicy foods).  Hit the rice button and then used the rest of the broth to make the molikia.  Just brought the broth to a boil on the stove top, added 2 packages of frozen molikia and allowed it to thaw/cook until it was all bubbling.  Browned the rabbit a bit on the saute function in Instant Pot # 1 and dinner was ready.  So quick, so easy, so good, I'll certainly be making this more often !

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