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Mac n’ Cheese days and other random thoughts

Lots of people complain about cool, rainy days.  Especially once we start to head toward the middle of May.  In my area it’s a good thing to have them because we got barely any snow this winter and I’m worried we’ll have problems come summer due to the lack of melt.  So I’ll take rainy days when they come our way.  Even without fear of drought I love a good rainy day, the kind of day where you curl up with a book (or e-reader) and a cup of tea.  The sort of day where you make cookies, casseroles or soups.  In honor of today’s rain and my second full day of not having a job I made mac n’ cheese.  11-year old cheddar from the Thousand Islands, some ‘green’ (or non aged) cheese which is like a mild cheddar with onion, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, butter and yummy panko breadcrumbs.

It just came out of the oven and tastes wonderful.  God, I missed cooking.

Yesterday I read The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts. I love me some La Nora.  Yeah, the stories are predictable and it’s the same basic plot over and over but I love relationship novels and she writes a hell of a relationship.  This was also a friends to lovers story which is wonderful to read as well.  So I’m looking forward to the next one which is out in November.  She cranks them out quickly but not quickly enough!!!!

What else?  The girl child has driven the car to school both days this week.  It still kind of freaks me out that she’s old enough to drive.  Her prom was last weekend and I nearly lost it during the grand march.  She looked so grown up and I can still remember when I took her home from the hospital.  I’ve got a picture of her in my head when she was about a year old.  She is in diapers and a t-shirt with my toothbrush – using it to brush her hair and looking at me with this sweet, innocent smile.  She still looks at me with that sweet, innocent smile but while wearing shorts and a sweatshirt and while asking to take the car to the mall!  Time flies.

Speaking of time flying – there are not too many mac n’ cheese days left before summer settles in so if you don’t mind…I’m going back to eating.

Category: 4 Stars, Cooking, I read too!, Scraps  Comments off

321 – TWDP – Weekend in New Hampshire

This weekend I went to see my BFF in New Hampshire and Saturday turned into a baking free for all!!!  Her son helped, I helped and we cranked out some awesome cookies.  After baking – though we had plans for some yummy food for dinner – it was time to get out of the kitchen!  We headed to Olive Garden (one of my favorite restaurants!) and then off to see Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.  Great movie!

I’m so glad to see the way Robert Downey, Jr. has cleaned his act up.  For me it was like he turned up his nose at Hollywood and said….I can beat this and I can come out on top.  Makes me respect him so much more as an actor and as a person.

It’s always wonderful to see my friend and I don’t do it nearly enough.  She lives 4 hours away and while that’s closer than my friend who is a 24 hour drive away – in Texas – it’s still tough to make the trip.  One of the things I am working on is making more friends that actually live near me.  My two BFFs are deeply ingrained in my life.  They know me better and have known me longer than my husband.  They are my family, the sisters of my heart.  For years the though of having other friends that know me even half as well has been scary.  It felt like a betrayal in my heart if that makes sense.  Yet I am coming to realize that I need the female companionship, the daily camaraderie that I simply can’t get from them because of the distance they are away from me.  I’m the dysfunctional one because they both have other friends they hang out with.  LOL  And lately I’ve been coming to realize the depth of my dysfunction.  How much of it was the depression, how much of it is my personality I’m not yet sure but it’s something I’m working on.

So about the cooking.  Here are the recipes we used and they were AWESOME!

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343: TWDP – Journal Prompt – Journal about a bad cut you received

The Writing Daily Project – now shortened to TWDP because, man, it makes for a long title!  LOL

Let’s try out a journal prompt today since I’ve never used them before.  Courtesy of Personal Journal Writing Prompts.

This is not so much about a cut as it’s about the worst sliver I’ve ever had the misfortune of having.

From the age of about 11 through 15 or so I lived on a golf course.  My parents had become partners with my Uncle (dad’s brother) and Aunt and we moved from our little city neighborhood house to the club house.  The golf course started at 9 holes and expanded to 18 holes.  During our entire stay there we lived in upstairs in the club house.  Living there is a whole other story for another day though.  LOL

One major advantage of living a.) on a golf course and b.) in the club house is that my house was the hottest destination for all my friend.  One of our favorite activities (once we out grew roller skating on the dance floor) was to wander the golf course at night in the dark.  Why? Damned if I know.  We were kids and then young teens.  It was cool and while not expressly forbidden it was not encouraged.  At that age I suppose that was plenty of reason to want to do it.

This particular weekend my BFF was spending the night.  After eating food from the kitchen (my mom and aunt made amazing food!) we decided that 10 at night was the perfect time to take a walk on the golf course.  It was early fall – we were still in school but it was cool enough at night to walk around outside.  After running around and shrieking like idiots for awhile we settled down for a walk and reasoned it was not only a perfect time to walk it was the best time ever to swim in one of the several ponds on the property.  Don’t judge.

Off came our shoes and we started running again, across the very old wooden bridge under the Sycamore tree.  And OWW OWW OWW – I slid my foot and got a sliver.  Crumpled into a sobbing heap on the bridge in absolute agony.  Remember, we were running and obviously I had picked up  my foot very well.  It deep and it hurt like hell and oh man were we going to be in trouble for being out there barefoot.

I think it took almost an hour to get back to the club house because I couldn’t walk on the foot.  So I jumped, then I would crawl.  Sometimes my friend would help me hobble.

When we did get back home my father had just gotten back from work (he worked 3-11 outside the golf course) and both of us crying our eyes out – we told him the story.  I ended up on my stomach on the floor and my friend on the couch next to my dad – who had a wicked pair of tweezers and the dreaded hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic creme and band-aids.

Trying to get the sliver out was an EVENT of epic proportions.  I cried, I yelled, I swore.  My dad yelled, he swore and after digging around for what seemed like hours pronounced the sliver removed.  It had come out in several large pieces, I was suitably doused in hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic creme and bandaged up and sent to bed.

It was a week or so later.  Maybe more? I’m not sure but I do know I was in chorus which happened to be right near the nurse’s office.  My foot was throbbing and it had been increasingly difficult to walk on it.  Being a teen I had adopted that attitude that ignoring it would make things better and had been quite determined to live by that rule.  However I simply could not take it any more, excused myself from chorus and hobbled to the nurse.  She got my sneaker and shoe off and gasped.  Infected she said, what had happened? After telling her the whole sorid story she got me on my stomach on the cot and came at me with tweezers.  I passed out.  Plain and simple the pain was so much I passed out.  When I woke up she showed me the sliver she had dug out.  It was the width around of a number 2 pencil.  Old, brittle wood.

Let’s say I ended up on my heavy duty antibiotic, had my foot probed at yet again by my doctor and NEVER, EVER ran around the golf course barefoot again.

Category: 344 Day Writing Daily Project, Cooking, Scraps  Comments off

And … on the other side of Thanksgiving!

We spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws this year. It was the first time in many years that we actually had all three of our children, both of my brother-in-laws, one of my sister-in-laws and their kids. Full house and a wonderful time had by all.

My contribution to the party – besides my offspring – was an amazing Fresh Green Bean Casserole and a Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyère.  ZOMG! They were both good and are on my list of repeats.

The internets are amazing!  I was thinking one day, man, I’d love to make a sweet potato dish that’s like scalloped potatoes.  Lo and behold that day what did I find in my feed reader?  The amazing recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker.  It totally delivered and I saw my kids go back for more.  🙂  Thank you Brown Eyed Baker!

Because we ate ‘out’ for Thanksgiving we’ll be missing out on the left overs so I just put my locally raised turkey, from Sweet Grass Farm, in a brine and I’ll be cooking it overnight tomorrow night.  Of course I’ll be doing the side dishes as well, another batch of Green Bean Casserole, stuffing, gravy and pies!

I’m so thankful that it seems I’m on my way out of a dark place I’ve been for the past several years and am starting to want to participate in life again.  It’s been a long road and I don’t doubt it will continue to be a journey but at least I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

Category: Cooking, Scraps  Comments off

The beauty of a rainy day

The past few days have been hot and humid – a marriage made in misery.  To say I’m not a fan of either would be an understatement!  So while I’ve always loved a cool, rainy day it’s especially welcome following the sticky weather we’ve had.  There are, I’m sure, quite a few people upset because today is a holiday and not exactly beach weather.  This weekend is the unofficial end of summery and I’m throwing my party hat in the air!  Good riddance heat and humidity.  Bring on the crisp, cool fall days and nights.  Bring on the apples, pumpkins and Indian Corn.

But rainy days…ahhh…they are beautiful to me.  The kind of days made for curling up with tea and a book or for baking in the kitchen.

I’ve got some Zucchini in the kitchen and an awesome recipe I want to try out.  I’ll report back on my success or strike out.

Recipe courtesy of Good Life Eats:

Zucchini Apple Spice Muffins

  • 5 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 1 cup grated apple
  • 3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • couple dashes of ginger
  • Zest of 1 medium orange

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix in the grated zucchini and apple and then the melted butter. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Add these dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Fold in the orange zest.

Line muffin cups with paper liners. Divide batter evenly among cups – I used a scant 1/4 c per muffin. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes (if you can wait that long!).

Note: this was a double batch from the original recipe, in addition to a few other changes. Recipe made approximately 3 dozen.

Category: Baking, Cooking, I read too!, Scraps  Comments off