Friday, September 13, 2019

5 thing Friday - another fiddle leaf, pretzels, rain needed, Bubbie cooking, Teddy

I found a smallish fiddle leaf fig at Target for $20, originally $30 and thought, OK, I guess I'm 100% on this fiddle leaf fig train. I'm getting it.  Not to mention its from Chip and Joanna, and I love trolling the clearance items in that section of Target.
 When I got to the register it rang up for $14.99!  I added the moss.  I lurve it.
The best road trip snack ever!  Found them at Ace hardware in Lampasas after a co-worker turned me on to them.  At $8 a bag, we are eating them in small servings and they live in the fridge at Highlands.  They're not exactly a health food, but go great with beer...
We were bemoaning the yellowed grass at Highlands and the lack of rain last Saturday, but then it came down in buckets on Sunday!  What we need is several sustained days of it there.  Makes me nervous from a fire standpoint.
Bubbie has been cooking for himself and actually took photos of a couple of my recipe cards so he could make the dishes up at college.  His first meal cooked for himself?  Dr. Martin's Mix, a family favorite.
 He even made himself some containers for lunches.  And sent me pics. 
I sure miss that kid.
Teddy made it into my first ever published article for Texas Wine Lover website.  Here he is relaxing on the oriental rugs scattered across the winery floors, looking ever so photogenic.  Go here to read the article!  My writing is truly a work in progress...
Happy Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Learning to cook for two...again

I'm still figuring out this "cooking for two" thing.  You wouldn't think it would be so difficult.  I mean, I did it for years before we had kids and I was cooking for a house full of folks.  And you might also assume its cheaper to shop for two, but I haven't notice a huge downturn in spending, and that's probably because I am feeding us slighter higher quality food.  Hubby and I still aren't dropping much weight, but I feel like we are focusing more on eating healthy foods overall - more veg, less red meat, and no junk food.  I still miss coffee creamer after all these months, but I have held the line!
One of my favorite things to prep is a dinner salad, using romaine, fresh tomatoes, some kind of cheese, and bits and bobs of other veggies.  Since I don't buy the Imperfect Produce boxes any more, I have to make sure to pick up plenty of fresh veggies at the store and USE THEM on a daily basis.  Meal prep takes more time when you are factoring in all of the fresh stuff.  But if I give it a few minutes each morning it is manageable - its done in the morning, all I do in the evening is heat it up.
Also, I invested in some glass containers for packing our lunches in.  I've been buying frozen steamable veggies and layering up in a bowl.  In goes veggie and some sliced chicken or pork from my grilling at Highlands.  Or, I will cook a meal like I was doing for four people, and just serve and store the leftovers right away for a future lunch.  I try to pack a fruit and cottage cheese to go along with, as well as something I can keep in my pocket to keep me out of trouble at the gift shop. 
Who knew that cooking for two required as much, if not more, prep for two people as it did for six?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Empty Nest Menu #4

Bubbie has settled in well to classes and his apartment.  I take it as a good sign that we don't hear from him too other news*, we need rain so badly!  The only thing thriving at Highlands is cacti, and even it needs WATER:
Monday - Conchitas con chicken**, lima beans
Tuesday - Pork Chop and pan gravy over rice, green beans with mushrooms
Wednesday - BBQ Lime Shrimp, zucchini medley, garlic toast
Thursday - Grilled Chicken Salads (romaine, pear, bleu cheese, pecans)The Girl's birthday!!
Friday - Bacon and veggie quiche (the 13th!  payday and put out stuff for Big Trash Day)
Saturday - Uuni pizzas (or maybe we will visit The Girl in Houston)
Sunday - Freezer Meal (its leftovers that I will heat once we get home)
*Super boring week so I think I'm going to work on a couple of small projects before I move on to a BIG one coming soon!
**This is a boxed pasta mix that I am adding chicken to

Friday, September 6, 2019

Friday shift change

I can tell the sunset is happening earlier in the evenings, as I walk to my car parked far away from  the very full employee lot!  And I won't have that problem today!
Today, instead of stopping at 10 a.m. to get ready for work, then leaving the house at 10:30, I get to go in later!  One of my co-workers is off, so I volunteered to work her shift, giving me a much-needed block of time in the morning to get some things done:

*get Subie's tire pressures checked
*get my hair cut
*take some books to resale and buy new ones, heck I might even go to the library!
*buy The Girl a birthday gift
*erase my ipod of Bubbie's music and re-load my own
*water my fig tree and the backyard potted plants
*clean out the red rocks and bag leaves
*do some minor filing
*maybe work on my cork project 

At 1 p.m., I plan to enjoy a lunch break AND a nap before getting a shower at 2 p.m. and heading to work.  I feel like its almost as exciting as getting a day off!  With any luck, we will be busy enough to make the time fly, and I will be tucked in my bed shortly after midnight.  Seems silly to be so happy about a change in shift, but I have gotten nothing done but chores this week.  And if I can start the weekend with an empty To Do list? 
 So much better.
Happy Weekend!

5 thing Friday - a jetsetter, clean room, traffic, patio set, disco lights

My jet set girl was home for a bit, flew to LA for a couple of days, came home for a few hours, drove to Fredericksburg for a few days, then back home for more visiting, collecting Teddy and heading back to Houston.
It was nice to see her and we took she and Ted to a couple of breweries and a winery, which you can read about here.  That growler she's enjoying iced water from is really nice - I think we need two of them, please!
When the dust settled from moving Bubbie, I did some touch up paint in his room, cleaned the carpets, put clean linens on his bed, added a lamp and a plug-in air freshener and CLOSED THE DOOR.  I will go in there every now and then to water the plants, though.
My only goal was to dust and clean so he has a nice space for when (and if) he visits!
 Traffic in Austin...
 I took a couple of pics with my phone as we were headed to the B52's concert.
 I guess folks who work downtown are used to it?
Hubby and I came upon this patio set, thinking it would be great for Firstborn but he declined.  So we snapped it up for Highlands.  A couple of coats of black spray paint and it will live on the barn's patio.  It was marked down from $130, so I think we got a deal!
Silly nightime picture of something I like to call Disco Fireplace - ha!  The same kind of fun light bulbs they have at one of our favorite wineries - looks a little like lights rippling through water and is very relaxing...
Its the little things, ya know.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Weekend re-cap: Highlands, RWD, projects, 7 Creeks

We started our weekend early on Friday night, as we plan to do from now on, I guess - packing up our Friday dinner and heading to Highlands.  We miss the sunset, but we get there in time to enjoy an adult beverage as we eat dinner and look at the stars.  
Its pretty sweet.
The next day we headed to Hamilton (about an hour and a half away) to attend the 6th anniversary party at Red Wing Dove.  We ate yummy tacos..
...worked on their jigsaw puzzle...
 ...relaxed on their patio listening to music...
 ...and just generally relaxed.  Then we headed to Highlands to make Porcini mushroom ravioli alfredo with some acorn squash!  YUM.
 And that evening we got to enjoy the sunset. (and a tiny sliver of moon...)
 The next morning, we had a few projects planned, including painting the patio set we scored for $30:
 {which came out looking like wrought iron!}
and grilling the marinated chicken for future Camp Rustown dinners and lunches.  We finished up just as it started pouring, so we sat on the barn's patio a bit, plotting our next move, and decided to head to a new-to-us winery in Burnet, 7 Creeks Vineyard.  We really enjoyed talking to one of the owners (its a family affair) while enjoying a tasting inside. 
Then we ordered a charcuterie board and a bottle of their Alicante bouschet and headed outside to sit under a group of giant oaks just across from the vines.A nice breeze was blowing and we watched a storm slide past us.
This vineyard is very new but they have big plans to expand and the vines looked great!  Plus, all four of the owners - dad and mom, son and wife - came out to deliver our snacks and chat.  Such a nice group of folks!
This varietal was a first for us - usually a blending grape, French, that was popular during Prohibition. It tasted to me like berries and vanilla bean with a touch of spice - SO GOOD.   These grapes were from the Texas High Plains and the wine was crafted by established winemakers who are assisting this new winery and really know their stuff.  We are looking forward to visiting this one again!
And with that - poof!  Weekend over.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Empty Nest Menu Monday #3

This is a new-to-us brewery out by the airport. We sat under the oaks, watched a plane or two fly in, and enjoyed some delicious beer on a very hot day!

Monday - Chili Lime Chicken Burgers (bun-less), smashed reds, green beans (I have to work, but I will earn 8 hours PTO and will spend my Old Navy Super Cash!)
Tuesday - Pork rub rib chops, peas and carrots, Jell-o with fruit
Wednesday - Beef Fajita Salads with corn, black beans, cotija cheese
Thursday - Grilled Chicken* with onions and peppers, mushroom risotto
Friday - Pulled Pork Nachos, homemade pico de gallo
Saturday - Eating a picnic at the Westcave Cellars pick-up
Sunday - Tilapia tacos with pico, sour cream, monterrey jack, cabbage slaw (pick-up at Wedding Oak in Burnet)

 HefeWizen was the bomb!

*this batch of grilled-at-Highlands chicken breasts included Spicy BBQ, Sriracha, and Soyaki flavors


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