What’s Cookin’?

What’s Cookin’?

This week’s topic for Think Write Thursday is to share my favorite summer meal ideas, including recipes if applicable. Are you all about the grill? Or maybe do you prefer salads. Do you use your crock-pot a lot in the summer? Or would you rather have sandwiches? Tell us what you’re eating and tell us how you prepare it!

Summer for me is all about fresh. Fresh from the garden. Fresh from the farmer’s market. Fresh.

Part of the challenge is to preserve ‘fresh’ to carry us through the months where fresh has been shipped in from someplace else.

Last night’s harvest

But, for me the best and most important “taste” of summer are tomatoes – there is nothing on this earth that tastes like a fresh from the garden tomato. Strangely, Steve hates tomatoes. I know… what the heck? Anyways, I have tried to alter this with zero success until I found this recipe for Tomato Jam. Really, it is so good and Steve loves it! I make it exactly as the recipe is written. And, trust me when I say that a bit of this in January brings summer rushing back!

The other thing I love are pickles – they are the perfect addition to Happy Hour and my favorite simple recipe is this one by Andrew Zimmern. My only addition to the recipe is ½ to 1 tsp of red pepper flakes to make them sweet and spicy. So good, and when you grow the cucumbers it is even better!

For dinner, tonight I am going to do a “southwest riff” on stuffed peppers. I will cut these peppers in half and fill them with a mixture of black beans, fresh sweet corn, onion, some of my tomato sauce, a little bit of ground beef, and some spices (I will use chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper). It is super simple, brown the ground beef. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they are soft. Add the spices and the tomato sauce. Heat through. Spoon over the halved peppers and bake in a 350° F oven for 35 minutes or until the peppers begin to soften a bit and the sauce is bubbly. Top with some low-fat cheese and return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve with an ice-cold beer.

What about you? What foods say summer to you?

You will find more good food here. If you want to join Carole and me on Think Write Thursday’s, you can sign up here.

Winter is coming…

Winter is coming…

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write about “what you do to beat the heat! We’re deep into summer here and some of us love the heat and some of us hate it but either way we all must cope with it. What do you do that works for you? Share your tips, stories, and more on coping with summer heat!”

There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. John Ruskin

This week has been hot and super humid – and honestly, this is not my favorite weather. You know, when you open the door in the morning to head outside and it feels like a sauna at 6AM you just know it is going to be a miserable day!

In this weather there are lots of things that I worry about – does the garden have enough water? Do the birds have enough water? So, the early morning is spent out making sure the plants all have a good drink and are prepped for the coming heat and I fill the bird bath a couple of times during the day. And, when it’s this warm out the porch and the pergola don’t get much use.

I am exceedingly thankful that we have AC which makes it much easier to sleep at night and to function during the day.

But, rather than complain about the heat, I am reminded of January and February. You know those days that are short on daylight where the temperature does not move out of the single digit zone…That is enough to still any irritation with the heat.

Sitting quietly with a good book is the perfect way to while away a hot day, sipping a big glass of iced tea.

What about you? What do you do to beat the heat?

If you want to see what everyone else does to beat the heat, you will find them here. And, if you would like to join me and Carole for Think Write Thursday’s, you can sign up here.

Three Good Things

Three Good Things

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write about 3 good things that happened this week. We all know that focus on the GOOD is GOOD for us so let’s do it!

Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

This might be the perfect topic for me, Carole made this suggestion and it was like she knew this would be a struggle for me – and really, that is a very good thing.

Okay, maybe in theory…however, reality makes this a challenge for me. Contrary to what you might think, I am not Suzie Sunshine every day. I know, right? But, that is the truth.

So, that quote and this post are going to be my reminder that good things and happiness go hand in hand.

I am going to take a little license and expand “this week” to include last week as well.

One very good (and utterly selfish thing, I admit) was that Steve had a work function last week and he was gone Thursday through Saturday. I know – completely selfish, but what can I say – sometimes a break is a very good thing! This allowed me to stay up as late as I wanted and Sherman slept in bed with me. Oh, and there might have been some marathon knitting time going on and listening to audio-books sans headphones and watching subtitled shows on Netflix. I was ready for him to come home late Saturday afternoon, even if he complained about the knitting and wondered what the heck I was watching! LOL

The second good thing was the nights of rain we have gotten, nice soaking rains. Good sleeping rains.

The third thing is something that I started at the beginning of the month. I was fortunate to get into The Balanced Life Sisterhood. To start, it was so hard and holy cow am I out of shape, but I have been persevering every single day and this week ::even though the workouts are still so hard:: I could do more repetitions and more things than I could the week before! This exercise is a very good thing! I am excited to do it! I feel so accomplished when I am done! AND…this is good for my mind as well!

Good things sometimes are selfish, sometimes replenishing, and sometimes are hard work. But, they do create happiness!

If you want to see more good things, you will find them here. And, if you want to join Carole and me on Think Write Thursdays, you can sign up here.

Hello, July!

Hello, July!

Our topic for this week’s Think Write Thursday is to write a post titled “Hello, July”.

For him in vain the envious seasons roll who bears eternal summer in his soul. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Old Player

July is the month that I’d like to bottle to open in the middle of January. Imagine it – all those smells of summer, and the sounds of the birds, and all the growing things. July should be preserved with the berries for she is sweet and heady!

And, here we are past the Fourth of July and I’d like to put the brakes on summer. You know, slow it way down and savor every finite detail. It just goes so quickly.

This month will see me complete not one, but two sweaters and perhaps will ring in a bingo or two.

Then there’s that Summer Bucket List that I need to start refocusing on – especially the walking, which has been sporadic at best!

And, maybe – just maybe, if I am lucky July won’t speed by after all!

Want to see what others have to say about July, you will find them all here. If you’d like to join Carole and me for Think Write Thursdays, you can sign up here!

Three Good Things

When I Grow Up

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write about what you wanted to be when you grew up. How does it compare to what you find yourself doing?

When I was a little girl all I ever wanted was to be exactly like my Nana. And, perhaps my favorite story about her was this: When my Grandpa was 40 years old he was diagnosed with MS and soon after that diagnosis was unable to work. And, my Nana who had been a “stay home mom” with a 5th grade education, went to Beauty School and became a beautician (they did not call them hairdressers way back then). So, for my entire life, my Nana had a “beauty shop” in her house.

When I was in high school I followed in her footsteps and attended Cosmetology School. I wish I could say that it was fun, but really – not so much. The terror I felt every time I even thought about taking a scissors and cutting someone’s hair was something I could not get over. The thought process of “you will learn as you go when you get into a salon” did nothing to alleviate those fears. Add to that, that doing my own hair was never “easy” and I always felt like I had 2 left hands trying to do anything with it! I never took the boards to get my license.

I have worked as a waitress, a travel agent, an escrow agent, a mortgage loan officer, a regional consumer loan specialist, a recruiter/trainer, and for the past several years I have had the luxury of working from home.

And really, my Nana was right, working from home is an amazing luxury! What’s not to love about working in your pjs and not having to hassle with rush hour traffic!!

Want to see what others had to say about today’s topic? You will find them all here. And, if you would like to join Carole and me for Think Write Thursday you can sign up here. We’d love to have you join us!

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