Friday, November 16, 2018

A good house guest

Teddy has been with us for about a month while The Girl was in a busy time at work.  But she will be headed home in a couple of days!  We will have a nice, long visit - doing Turkey Trot, eating our favorite Thanksgiving foods, and enjoying the firepit - 
Teddy is really a people dog - loves to follow me around from room to room, nudging against me and my desk or the kitchen counter for attention.  Jumps on the bed and pounces on me in the morning like he wants to play first thing.  Ate ALL of his kibble (which he rarely does, so The Girl ordered him more to be delivered), enjoyed lots of evening walks with Hubby, and just generally behaved himself.  No accidents.  No getting into the recycle bin.  No chewing on anything.  No barking.  In short, just a really good house guest.  But I am sure he would totally rather be with his human.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hearty Beef Soup

This is the soup pictured on Monday's menus:
We had it one day last week when I was feeling puny and it sure hit the spot.  Soup weather is upon us here - we had our first freeze last night.  Seems like summer was over with the rain, now fall is over, and cooler temps mean I will will cook more comfort food.  I can't remember where I found this recipe, tho I have mentioned it in previous menu plans.

Hearty Beef Soup
1# lean ground beef
15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
13-14 oz carton veggie broth
14 1/2 oz can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1/2 t. dried parsley, thyme and rosemary mix (use some creative license here)*
1 bag baby spinach
grated parmesan cheese

In a soup pot, brown the beef in a little olive oil.  Add beans, broth, tomatoes, and herbs.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.  Gently stir in ALL of the spinach until it is well wilted - it WILL all fit.  Continue simmering a few minutes, then serve with a sprinkling of parmesan and some garlic toast.
*I rarely ever follow a recipe card to the letter.  Sometimes I will make substitutions, add a little extra something extra, or cook it a different way to fit our schedule.  But this recipe is definitely a keeper as is!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Mealplan Monday #219

It's soup weather!*
Monday - Brinner
Tuesday - Spicy Teriyaki Chicken Bites with broccoli and ramen
Wednesday - Freezer pizza, salad
Thursday - Orange Marmalade Chicken salad on croissants
Friday - Meatball and Rice Skillet with peas
Saturday - YOYO
Sunday - Beef Taco Night!
*But it's not on the menus this week...

Friday, November 9, 2018

5 thing Friday - He and She, knife, Celis, water woes, Tech Week

Teddy is staying with us while The Girl has a "mini" busy season at work.  She is taking on new responsibilities and is doing a great job in her profession - I am super proud of her!
One day last week, Teddy sat in front of the living room windows and growled/barked softly to himself as some moving guys were unloading the house next door.  A fine guard dog he is!
I'm sure both of them miss each other, though...
She will be here on the 17th...just 8 more days!
I took my mother to lunch last Friday, along with helping her get groceries and other errands done.  At the restaurant, this was the knife they included with the silverware. We used it to butter our rolls, but I could kill and skin a bear with it. 
Seriously.  Overkill.
Hubby and I have slowly gravitated over to the beer world and its been a good break from wineries...can't believe I said that! One of our fav places is Celis.  He likes the raspberry, I like the oatmeal stout.  We both love the quiet taproom with lots of tables to play cards.  And its literally 3 miles from our house.
Austin's Great Drinking Water Crisis of 2018 is at end.  I don't think it was handled all that well by either the city or businesses, let alone consumers.  People about lost their minds.  And some of the sign placements in the hospital just did not make sense.  On some of the faucets it actually stated you should not wash your hands.  WHAT.
This week is National Rad Tech Week and so far it's been rather lackluster.  We've been super busy at the hospital making it near impossible for the bulk of staff to enjoy the lunches and breakfasts and all around fun stuff.  On Tuesday night I fell, walking to my car after work, bruising the he** out of my janky knee.  And all week I have battled a cold.  Then Wednesday night I got sick after eating a deli salad I had purchased at HEB for lunch.  So yesterday, I called out.  ):  Calling out is not something I enjoy...especially on a week we are celebrating our profession.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Done for now

(This post is more or less for me to re-cap for myself...)
On Saturday, Hubby and I came to a stopping point on the front landscaping.  Lack of time and an abundance of rain this fall has really foiled our plans for getting it done the way we envisioned.  Oh, well.  Can't fight nature. 
First we removed the old boxwood shrubs that were on either side of the (super dirty) walkway. They were getting very wonky looking and I HATED their boxy weird shape.
 In the above left you can see roots...we had to use a saw to cut those out...then the rain started up and filled the holes with water...the soil here is gloppy with clay hard to work in.  We had to let it dry out before we could proceed.  And meanwhile, all of that lariope had to go.  It sat in a plastic wading pool for over a week in our front yard.  I'm sure the neighbors loved seeing it.
 Another set of big roots on the other side, and you can see the lariope that was out of control, choking out the sprinkler pop-ups.  Getting the roots out was brutal!  Maybe the hardest part of the whole project.
 Roots and lariope GONE.
 I would work on it whenever I had an hour here and there.  The sun seemed to never shine on the weekends when I had more time.  I felt frustrated with lack of progress.
 We got to walk past holes and dirt for what seemed like forever.
This was midway through the project - moving those lariope to the backyard.  That was actually a good thing as they will help beautify the space along the back of the house.
Shortly after that, we had a couple of sunny days to grade the area and plan what to plant. (notice dead lawn in the background above!)  Unfortunately, getting the sprinklers fixed and getting some rain came too little, too late.  ):
 I settled on a couple of cleyera on either side of the walkway (not gonna show a pic of it)  I know, that was not one of my original choices.  But I thought I had chosen a shrub that would do well in either shade or sun with the type of soil we had in this area.
Unfortunately, it was the "bigfoot" variety which was going to get to 15-20 feet tall and way too wide.  UGH.  That will not work here.  So back to the nursery they went. (side note:  the shrubs we went with were cheaper, so we ended up with three instead of two!)
 Meanwhile, this nonsense started up.  MOLD.  You could sweep it away and it would be back within the hour.  It was like sci-fi mold.  People were tracking it into the house.  I tried scrubbing it with bleach water to no avail.  Once the sun came out again, it seemed to die off.  Hubby and I finally had a weekend we could work on this together!
That lantana in the bottom photo was so random.  It had to go!  And we like the look and low upkeep of the deer-resistant salvia - I'll probably buy more of those.
We headed over to the nursery one last time and chose:
 Three Snow White Indian Hawthorns.
One for either side of the walkway and one for the very end of the long bed.  They get to be about 4 feet by 4 feet, and have a mounding growth habit instead of the square looking boxwood.  Also, they will have white flowers which will look pretty against the brick.
They are small, but will catch up fast, especially since it will probably be a wet fall overall.  We moved some of the salvia around, hoping it will survive being transplanted, mulched just a little, and powerwashed the red bricks and walkway. 
In the spring, I will maybe add some more salvia and some of the tall lariope (Big Blue) that doesn't spread - you can't see it, but there is one at the end of the bed.  And with that, we called it done for now.  I ordered the paint for the front door, so I am looking forward to completing that task.  Then I will put off until spring any other outdoor projects - I'm over it.
Note to self:  Must plan these projects better in the future, allowing for weather, work schedules, and volunteers to help!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Mealplan Monday #218

Monday - Crockpot BBQ Ribs, coleslaw, seasoned pinto beans
Tuesday - Grilled Cheese on sourdough with bacon, leftover coleslaw, chips
Wednesday - Lemon Chicken, teriyaki green beans, mac and cheese
Thursday - Hearty Beef Soup, garlic toast
Friday - Crispy Crusted Tilapia (with onions and peppers), brussels sprouts
Saturday - YOYO
Sunday - Pesto Chicken with Penne, zucchini
*Note - making bacon jam this week, too!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Weekend re-cap: West Cave Cellars, Highlands, Bent Oak, Oskar Blues

On Saturday (after yelling at Hubby in the front yard over the planting of the shrubs - more details later), we decided to skip our usual trip to STW and make another trip to Westcave Cellars
We had to get there a roundabout way as part of the road they are on is still underwater from the torrential rains and flooding.  The owner was so happy to see people who had trekked that far that she let us sample an extra couple of wines with our tasting. 
We bought a bottle to enjoy out by the vines, then took a walk through them.  The weather was sunny and gorgeous - seasonal affective disorder from the rain gone!
There were only a few other people there, so it was like having it all to ourselves.  She said they are roasting a pig the second weekend in November - people to bring potluck sides.  Can't wait!
We only ate a cheese plate so we were starving mid-afternoon.  Sonic to the rescue.  Then we headed on to Highlands. 
{I spy a buck, ambling through our hilltop clearing.} We had an evening under the stars, and I didn't head in to bed until the coyotes started up their nonsense.
The next day I was up early for a walk around our loop. 
Took a few pics and got dozens of chigger bites to start off my week.  I really have to remember to start spraying myself with Cutter before I go exploring!
Around noon, we headed to Bent Oak for their pick up party and lunch al fresco.
They had wood fired pizza, salad, sangria, and cake.  Plus live music and a raffle.  The owners are so friendly as were our tablemates.  There wasn't a lot of seating and we had forgotten our folding chairs, so we called it an early afternoon.  And after a nap at home we ventured out again - this time to a place hidden away in an industrial park not far from our house.
They had great live music, too, and some tasty beer!  And we might have split a burger from their food truck...
We sat inside and played cards for a couple of hours or so, then headed home to cook dinner.  It was a relaxing end to a weekend that didn't start out so relaxing!
And hopefully this one will begin a little differently...


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