Friday, October 24, 2014

5 thing Friday - blood moon, house pride, disaster zone, Trader Joe's, and chilequiles

On October 8 we had a blood moon.  While I'm not 100% sure of what that is, and am too lazy to look it up, it was spooky and pretty!
 I'm sure Scout got better photos!
 All of the rain we had a few weeks ago is much appreciated by my yard and landscaping.  Hubby mowed and I trimmed and it looks super pretty.  I am ready for cooler weather, though.  I would like to sit outside more often.
 It will surprise no one that I am not completely done with the project that started out looking like the above photo.  However, I am plowing my way through this stuff, which is organized and in neatish stacks in the spare room.  I had high hopes of getting it all done this week.  I made headway, but not gonna lie...I am not done.
 I discovered that Trader Joe's has some really yummy choices for lunch.  Scout and I split two different wraps and some rippled swet potato chips.  It was really good!  And yes, I had wine with mine as I also bought a case of Two Buck Chuck.
Hubby and I had such a good time on our weekend away.  I miss going out to eat breakfast with him every Sunday when we did not have kids.  That was 'our thing' and I'm sure we will do it again someday...we enjoyed fabulous chilequiles at Fuzzy's...
yum...makes me want another big plate of those!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A little bit of Halloween is all I had time to do...

I am busy today getting groceries bought and laundry done.  But I did tell Scout that I would put put up some Halloween.   So, after I got caught up on my To Do list, I put a bit of it out.  We don't go all out like we used to, but we have some things we like to see every year...
 I think I need another much bigger mum in a pot here - I love mums!
Most of this other stuff was from Walgreen's or Target.
 I'm considering hanging a sign in his hands that says "Put up your laundry, or else!"
These trick-or-treat pumpkin signs are from when all four of mine were still trick-or-treating.  They make me smile every year! There's a few other things here and there inside the house.  What about you - do you decorate for Halloween?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mealplan Monday #133 and we clean up nicely

 I'm kinda partial to the boys in this family being all cleaned up and smellin' good...
 and I think the girls are, as well...
 {Even tho I didn't get Bubbie's dates' input, I bet she would agree}
They are starting to look more and more alike to me.  And more and more like gentleman.
This week needs to be easy, dinner-wise.  I have work and a lot to do before Friday, there's stuff going on for band, Hubby is studying for a test, and there is a campout, so...
Monday - Cheesy Honey Mustard Chicken, sauteed eggplant, rice
Tuesday - Taco Night - beef soft tacos with guacamole, sour cream, cheese, etc., black beans
Wednesday - Lentil Soup with Beef, garlic rolls
Thursday - Chicken Taco Casserole, salad (will post recipe, too)
Friday - Game Night - Pizza
Saturday - yoyo
Sunday - Mediterranean Pot Roast, French bread, carrots
Dessert this week is Iny's Prune Cake from The Pioneer Woman.  I got a good deal on organic dried prunes and this cake is moist and wonderful!
Sometimes Hubby and I clean up ok, too...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Freezer Meals #11

Next week, I am getting my janky knee fixed.  I'm sure I will have loads of time to complain about it later....for now I want to get some freezer meals stocked up so I can just throw them into the crock pot while I lay in a Vicodin splendor, reading on the couch.  I'm going to baby this knee and get it back to 100% - that's my plan.  Here's what I put together Wednesday:
 While I unloaded all of my groceries, I started up a crock of black beans,
 and one of chicken breasts.  I just sprinkled some lemon pepper on six large breasts and put a small amount of water in here.  I will use them for three meals:  Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Taco Soup, and Chicken Casserole.  Two big breasts will make enough for each meal to feed four people.
Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup
1 onion, diced
1 can chili beans, undrained
1 can black beans (or make your own, like I did)
1 can corn, drained
1 can tomato sauce
1 can chicken broth
2 can Rotel
1 packet taco seasoning (or make your own)
3 c. cooked and cubed chicken breasts.
I will cook this all day on low and serve with tortilla chips and grated cheese.

Find the Chicken Pot Pie Recipe here.  I have a pie crust all ready to go in the freezer.  The casserole recipe is one I found in a magazine.  I will share it when I make it!
The sauce for Tender and Tangy Pork Chops are from here.  It's a good recipe I've had forever.  We can serve these with coleslaw and rolls.

Mediterranean Pot Roast 
One 3# chuck roast
1 cup drained green olives
1 cup Italian dressing
I tossed all the ingredients in a big freezer zip loc to freeze.  I will cook this from frozen all day in my crock pot.  We can have it with hot French bread and a veggie.  I've never made this before but it sounds good!
 I discovered I didn't have Italian dressing so I made my own with olive oil, vinegar, salt, seasonings.  I think I added parsely and a teaspoon of pesto to this, too.  I was wingin' it.
Chicken Cacciatore (my recipe)
2 med. onions, sliced thin
3# chicken (I used boneless thighs)
2 garlic cloves, mineced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
8 oz. tomato sauce
salt, pepper
2 t. Italian seasoning
1/4 cup red wine
Cook 6-8 hours on low and serve with pasta.  I have made various versions of this dish in the past - last time I used the McCormick packets.  But this is a simple recipe.

Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops
6 boneless pork chops (I used the thick rib chops because YUM)
1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
1 can cream of soup
Mix the soup and dressing.  Slather over the chops in a big zip loc and freeze.  Cook 6-8 hours on low and serve with mashed potatoes and a salad.
 I also cooked 3 pounds of ground beef with onions, drained, then added taco seasoning and a can of diced tomatoes. 
This Taco Meat got divided into two big zip locs to freeze for tacos or whatever. 
 And I couldn't pass up this $4 package of smoked turkey wings to cook in a couple of big pots of beans.  I separated them out into two packages.  I will clean the beans and add to the crock with water and seasonings, then turkey wings.  It usually takes 8 hours or so and halfway through I can add some chopped veggies like carrots and onions.  I also made a big batch of Baked Shells - one for this Sunday and one for later. get caught up on laundry and such...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Where it stands - the master closet clean-out

I feel a little under the time gun with this project.  For the short term, I want to get The Lounge cleared out of all the stuff that was transferred from this closet - The Girl is coming to visit this weekend.  For the long term, there's my knee problem, which God-willing will be fixed soon, and the impending holidays.  I won't have the time or the ability to finish it if I don't do it now.  Ever notice how things go into warp holiday speed after Halloween?  So, here's where I'm at, and please pardon the crappy pics:
The top shelves have been cleared of photo albums and assorted items.  I will be hanging the portraits and certificates that I have no where else in the house to hang.  It will keep them from harm's way, plus we'll still get to enjoy them.
I need to clear old textbooks off these shelves and see what all is up here.  A lot of it can just plain GO.  There is a typewriter up there, and out-moded software. 
 I put some of Hubby's tees and winter things that rarely get worn in storage boxes above the hanging jackets.  I had a ton of Christmas stuff stored up there before - it went back to live in the laundry closet, where I can reach it better anyway.  And by the way, I bought a new rod (what happened to the old one?) which is why it's so light in color.  Now our suits and jackets have a place all their own.  Those flat envelopes have certificates I would like to hang, when I figure out where I will have unobstructed wall.
He still has this little hidden nook for some schtuff.  Also, all of the shelves got thoroughly dusted and a fresh coat of paint.
Half of the metal shelving gone - oh, happy day!  The scout stuff will get organized in the garage on the other half of the shelving.  I'm going to need storage boxes for that project, too.  Eventually that printer will go away forever and we'll get a wireless one that will live in The Lounge.  But probably, all of the ham radios will stay, as the cables for the antennas go into the attic from this corner of the master closet.
Here is the best pic I could get of the light fixture, which I really like.  I think I may change the bulbs out - they give a weird blue cast to everything.  But before this fixture we had a ceiling fan in here.  So this is a nice touch. 
There is still plenty of room for hubby's pack and various tote bags of stuff he doesn't want to store in the garage.  And moving the suits made for more room and less wrinkling of his dress shirts.  A good project would be to have him go through his clothes and get rid of some.  The man has more clothes than I do, and some of it he doesn't even wear.
 Overall, I am pleased with the extra space and organization in here.  Just seeing it makes me feel less stressed!  I added a plug in air freshener, so it smells good, too.  It's the little things, right?
However....I have the items I removed to deal with.  They need to be organized and stored elsewhere, preferably the garage. 
 That's where the rest of the shelves come in.  Hopefully I can get it done in a day so he doesn't freak out seeing the mess.  He does that.  Then I have to remind him:  I have a vision.  Calm down.
Photo albums I have no idea where to put.  But I will figure it out!  I have a lot left to do...guess that means I better make the most of the next three days off.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mealplan Monday #132 and Flat Creek Winery

 As part of our 29th anniversary weekend, Hubby arranged a trip to  Flat Creek Winery.
 I have never been to a winery before.  It was quite the education in how wine is made, not to mention what foods to serve it with, and how to decipher wine labels.
 It is a gorgeous place and the weather was perfect.
 Out in the hill country of Central Texas in Marble Falls - can't get much prettier.
 We took a wine tasting  class in the afternoon that included a tour of the winery.
 It's amazing what all goes into it.  This winery processes grapes for other vineyards, too.
 My favorite part was this room - super chilled and smelling of oak - I wish I could bottle that scent!
 Two peas in a pod:
 Hubby doesn't even really like wine - he said he planned it because I do...awww...
Monday - Tilapia with tarragon-lemon breadcrumbs, Sunshine Corn*, salad
Tuesday - Parmesan Chicken, scalloped reds, butternut squash
Wednesday - Miz Helen's Baked Sandwich, tots
Thursday - Chicken Taco Casserole, salad
Friday - Game night
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Garlic Pork Chops, masheds, green beans
Dessert?  I dunno.  But I'm tempted to go get something pumpkin-y from Trader Joe's.

Sunshine Corn - Melt a tablespoon of butter to a skillet and add 4 oz. of cream cheese and 4 T of green chilies til the cheese melts.  Add a bag of frozen corn and simmer until the corn steams.  Season with salt and pepper.
 That evening we attended First Saturday Wine Dinner.  
A three hour long food and wine fest!
The food and wine were excellent.  Smoked Shrimp Bisque, Wood-fired Lobster Tail with Wild Mushroom Gratin, Akaushi Beef Chuck Roast with Green Peppercorn Cream, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and more.
The chef was very informative about each dish he served and which wine to drink with it.  And the owner came and gave us a mini lesson on how to drink red wine.
It was held in a huge dining room with about 50 guests - so you could get to know your table mates while you were learning about the wine.
Can't wait to visit there again, and I would love to try out some other wineries, too.
And what a nice anniversary that was!


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