Monday, April 12, 2021

Empty Nest Menu #85

Salmon is fairly easy to prepare. 
My go-to is to remove the skin, place it on a well-oiled dish, sprinkle seasonings on, and cook at 400 for about 25 minutes.  This is enough fish for two people to have a good sized serving!
******
Monday - Leftover sliced Pork Tenderloin, collard greens, a small amount of corn casserole {need to pay auto tags this morning!}
Tuesday - Grilled Shrimp on chopped salad with pickled okra on the side
Wednesday - Fajita Bowl, easy on the rice!, with bell pepper and onion
Thursday - Grilled Chicken, Kale and Apple Salad {pay off my car!}
Friday - Salmon, steamed broccoli, 1/2 package baby potatoes {make menus out and shop after work}
Saturday - Free Choice {work on some projects up at Highlands}
Sunday - (freezer) Eggplant Parm, tossed salad

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Easter 2021

Well, Easter has come and gone, and though it was slightly more populated at my house this year than last, it still felt like a pandemic holiday.  I sure am getting weary of those.  I set the table for five and made a nice dinner.  Wine was enjoyed, games were played, a firepit and music was going, and the weather was perfect.  I don't really, truly, have any valid complaints.
No kisses on the cheek for anyone, but we gave each other virtual hugs.  And though we missed the ones who were not with us, we had a good time together.
Roll with it.
Where is that darn selfie stick?!  Hubby and I are so bad at photos lately.

Another goal for me going forward into the year - take more photos at family gatherings!  This week I have much to do around the house and we are meeting with a builder for Highlands on Saturday. {!}  I don't have time to feel blue about my empty nest, the pandemic, and all of the changes in life that I didn't necessarily plan for...onward.


Gina

Monday, April 5, 2021

Empty Nest Menu #84

I would like to think that I burned all kinds of calories while getting the yards back in shape after the winter storm we had back in February.  But I also know that I enjoyed non-diety food yesterday for Easter...
I'm OK with that!  But its back to our healthy eating plan for sure.

Monday - Grilled Chicken, skillet eggplant and onions (never fixed this), small serving of leftover corn casserole
Tuesday - Salmon, chopped salad with edamame {undecorate house from Easter}
Wednesday - Weeknight Lasagna Toss for two (never fixed this either!), leftover copper penny carrots {Hubby gets his first covid shot, grocery shop after work}
Thursday Crockpot Chicken with secret sauce*, mini potatoes, brussels sprouts {steam clean carpets}
Friday - Crockpot o' Lima Beans with ham hock, finish up the pico de gallo {replace air filters}
Saturday - Grilled Chicken thighs and veggie kebabs at Highlands {Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet}
Sunday - Quesadillas on while wheat tortillas with leftover grilled chicken, onions, and peppers

*this is going to be the leftover salsa crema in the fridge OR a BBQ sauce/Italian dressing combo OR something else I throw together using dibs and dabs of stuff in the fridge door I'm trying to use up.  Its usually a quite delicious one-off!


Gina

Friday, April 2, 2021

5 thing Friday - eating out, a diet-y meal, Easter table, lantana, Asian Lettuce Wraps

I think I have decided that one of our favorite restaurants (in the past) is a colossal pain in the patoot.  Its loud, dicey, and the quality food does not justify the hour wait time.
I'm not one for A. sports bars, nor B. crowds.  I mean I can get fried catfish at Short Stop, ok?
But. This. Tree. At. This. Place.
This glorious gigantic oak outside of a fantastic pizza place with NO wait, cold and tasty beer, and lots of outdoor space to spread out.  Now you're talking my language.  There was even a side door leading into a Baskin-Robbins from the shaded picnic area.  Boom.  New favorite place.
Diet plate #1000.  Grilled chicken breast and fresh broccoli.  It was actually good.  And pssst...I have lost a small amount of weight.  Slow and steady wins the race.
It turns out that The Girl and Teddy will not be joining us this weekend, which makes me all kinds of sad.  But kids grow up, get big corporate jobs, and rule the world.  At least she did.  No firm answer yet from Scout and Dutch.  Firstborn and LA will be here, as will Bubbie, and possibly his girlfriend, Delilah.  Regardless, please gaze upon my ultra fancy place settings on a tablecloth my mother bought in Greece, with plates we got for wedding gifts, wine glasses from Dollar Tree, the Cannary silver flatware, and chocolate bunnies.  I got a three day weekend and I am NOT stressing this. 
I spent about an hour on the lantana bed before work one day this week.
It will look like this mid-June, possibly sooner:
Lantana is a beast.
I don't think I ever posted a recipe for these Asian lettuce wraps we love.  Its basically ground chicken, green onions, garlic, fresh ginger, hoisin sauce, sriracha, and water chestnuts.  It is sweet-hot and cool and crisp and very very good with wine on a random weeknight.
Ask me how I know.


Gina

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Spring 2021 is well underway!

Seems like it is suddenly spring!  I used some time at home this past weekend to start getting the yards in better shape.  The pillow for that Adriondack chair got cleaned and the whole thing wiped down.
After I pulled weeds and raked the back yard, Hubby mowed.  It almost looks decent out there, but I know we need to apply weed and feed - maybe after Teddy leaves from Easter weekend.  My Wandering Jew is slowly creeping back and at the base of the fig tree there are big leaves.
The hawthorn shrubs in the front landscape bed did not survive, and the varigated Lariope looked very puny, so out they came.  In their place are now 6 Ligustrum.  Here's hoping they survive!  I moved the small Lariopes to under the oak and will mulch everything as soon as the oaks stop pollinating and dropping out those crackly things.
All of the solar landscape lights got new batteries.  The beds will look sparse until the shrubs starting filling out.  At which time, I may add something else to the spaces.  But honestly, I feel done.  Hubby and I have been talking more and more about selling Rustown and starting our build in Burnet.  The asparagus fern I had in a big pot below was toast - the plant died and the pot was cracked into pieces from the freezing weather.  It was too big to move and I never thought to cover it.  So now the olive tree lives here and I may move it a little closer to the sun.  I mulched it with some of the millions of wine corks I have and perched my owl close by to discourage the squirrels who looooove the mulched area.  There were quite a few baby pecan trees in there as evidence!
Next chore: getting the rest of the leaves up from the front yard and the red rocks out back, and figuring out how to restore the grass.  And since we will be home this weekend, too, that might be how my Saturday goes.
Happy hump day and rest of the week!


Gina

Monday, March 29, 2021

Empty Nest Menu #83

We haven't seen our peeps much this year.  And it's starting to give me the sads.  I'm not going to get on my I Hate The Covid soapbox here...just know that for this mom, being apart from my peeps that mean everything to me is so hard. And it feels pointless.  And the worse thing to do is transfer those sads onto them.  So I am hopeful that we can all be happy and together this Easter.  
Because isn't that what Easter means?  Hope.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Monday - Lemon Garlic Chicken, broccoli, tiny bit o' rice?
Tuesday - Tilapia with zucchini and green onion, the last of the twice bakes {off, taking my mother to the eye doc}
Wednesday - Sausage Bean Pot, with onion and cilantro
Thursday - Asian Lettuce Wraps, maybe some fruit (replace air filters}
Friday - Weeknight (turkey) Lasagna Toss, skillet eggplant and garlic
Saturday - TBD {probably pizza!, I need a haircut/trim})
Sunday - Pork Tenderloin, Corn Casserole, Copper Pennies, deviled eggs, rolls, Nana's Lemon Pie with sliced strawberries and a kiss on the cheek to each of my sweet peeps!


Gina

Friday, March 26, 2021

BBQ plans

This is the after: 
A place to put all of the BBQ equipment at Highlands with pavers underneath to drain rainwater and give a solid surface to stand.   Admittedly, its been on our list to things to do up there for a while!  {But remember, Highlands is basically a raw piece of property.  The only buildings up there is the barn, (and that's a storage unit built under a metal roof) and the pumphouse.  Well, ok, the storage unit, too.}  You can't see them here, but we also hung those Edison-style patio lights above for light while we are cooking at night.  

This is the during:
We're not a couple of engineers over here, so our site prep only involved cutting back the thicket a bit, removing stumps and what we call "stickie ups", removing umpteen rocks, and raking and grading the soil.  Plus lots of measuring.  Then to Lowe's we went for the pavers.  As the pavers settle a bit, we will adjust them by adding more sand underneath.  Its not a permanent structure and the pavers will eventually settle in a stable way.  Now we have a pile of rocks to deal with, but that's ok.

This is the before:
Above, you can see the two tall trees that flank the area - that's where the lights got strung across. That metal table was here when we bought the place and its virtually indestructible!  Hubby added wheels to the bottom of the metal box underneath the table - that's a place to set cast iron Dutch ovens in for cooking - it is leftover from Scouting days.  We cleaned up all of the racks for the various BBQ pits and got rid of the old electric smoker.  We have enough equipment here to cook for an army, and more stuff at home, but there's room for all of it so it stays.

This is the why:
Butternut squash, okra, pork chops, jalapeno chicken skewers

Grilling delicious things at Highlands is something we both look forward to doing!  We often daydream out loud about how when we get the house built we will invite our peeps, family, old friends, and new neighbors to enjoy a meal with us "out in the yard" - pour the wine and turn up the tunes.
Can't wait.


Gina 

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