Monday, July 30, 2018

Mealplan Monday #204

Monday - Cowboy Stew, served with tortilla chips and grated cheese
Tuesday - Deli Sammies, potato salad, melon chunks
Wednesday - Leftovers, or pizza
Thursday - Skillet Pasta with kielbasa, salad
Friday - Stuffed Sole (the last of it!), Sunshine Corn, coleslaw
Saturday - TBD
Sunday - Tacos al Carbon, beans, Spanish Rice, creamy jalapeno dip*, coconut cream pie

*Place these things in a blender: 1/2 pickled jalapenos (reserve some jalapeno juice to adjust the consistency of your finished dressing), 1 packet buttermilk ranch dressing mix, 1/2 c. buttermilk, 1 cup mayo, 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed.  Blend away.  Store in a mason jar in the fridge and use as a dressing or dip.  This time around I will leave out the cilantro since Firstborn is one of those folks for whom cilantro tastes like soap!  ):

Friday, July 27, 2018

5 thing Friday - scrubs, kittens, beer, lake, walnut trees

I recently bought a couple new pair of scrub pants and 4 new tops and holy cow, stop me from buying any more work clothes!  They are taking over an entire rack in our closet!  But I love that I am not having to do work laundry in a panic on Sunday nights like I did when I worked in an office or in retail.  And there's literally nothing more comfortable than scrubs.
Dressing for work couldn't be easier.  Just like wearing pj's.
The Girl is really into fostering kitties.  She claims not to be a cat person, but I don't think you can say the same for Teddy.  When she sends me photos like this, it makes me want a kitten of my own...
The decals we put on our glasses at Save the World are still holding up.  And you can see by their beer club glasses that they are a popular place.  We waited in line for beer for maybe close to 20 minutes, but the owners are so friendly and never rush you.  Plus, people talk while in line.  And Hubby and I met a nice couple who also have 4 kids and are the owners of a popular burger joint with live music in Burnet.  So guess where we are having dinner tomorrow?
Buchanan Lake is feeling the pinch of not enough rain.  We aren't on the lake proper, but our hill looks out over the Council Creek arm.  Driving along 137 last Sunday we could see lots of 'sometimes islands' and receding lake. 
I recently installed an app on my phone to help me identify the various trees and such.  From the photo above I discovered we have a grove of American Walnut trees next to the barn.  I'm not sure how they originally came to be there, but they are young trees, just now producing fruit.  If we live long enough, we will get walnuts from them someday!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Freezer Meals #18

I had a lot of empty space in the freezer, so it was time to put together some freezer meals - it's been awhile.  I went through my old recipes and picked out a few to do.  I bought the groceries on a Monday morning, worked all day, then came home after work to assemble them.  Sounds like a lot of work at the end of the day but it went fast!
I started by setting out all of the things I would need, along with my recipes.  It helped to keep me organized.  I loaded the dishwasher as I went along, so by the time I was finished I could wipe down the counters, store the bags, and be done!
It helps to label the bags in advance, so that's what I do before I assemble each one.
This time around I made:

Buffalo Chicken - 1 c. buffalo wing sauce with 3 tablespoons (1 packet) ranch seasoning and 2 T butter over 3 large chicken breasts, each cut in half.  Cook on low in crockpot for 7-8 hours and serve over rice.

BBQ Pork Ribs - I put pre-seasoned country style boneless pork ribs in a gallon zip loc and added about a cup of sriracha BBQ sauce.  Will cook on low 7-8 hours. (These we have already had and they were soooo good!)

Apple Garlic Pork Loin - I used a pound or so of pork tenderloin and added that to the bag with 2 peeled and chopped gala apples, several smashed cloves of garlic, 2 t Italian seasoning, 1/4 c. olive oil, S&P.  This makes its' own juice so I didn't add water this time.  It can cook 7-8 hours on low and I will slice and serve with mashed potatoes.

Roast and Gravy -  I mixed a can of cream of mushroom soup with a packet of onion soup mix and poured it over a 3# chuck roast in the bag, then tossed in some frozen chopped mushrooms from the freezer. I will cook this on low at least 8 hours and serve with mashed potatoes.

Tacos al Pastor - I LOVE this recipe.  Cut up 1 pound pork tenderloin into 1 inch chunks.  Add to a large zip loc bag with one 8oz. can drained pineapple chunks, 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro, 1 medium chopped onion, 1 T. chili powder, 1 t. cumin, 1 t. oregano, 1 t. black pepper, 1 t. chopped garlic, 3/4 t. salt.  Freeze.  Day of cooking, thaw.  Cook mixture in hot oil in a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until pork is cooked.  Serve with warm tortillas.
Cowboy Chicken - This is a recipe from The Girl.  I did make homemade salsa for it and used some leftover corn off the cob from a recent cookout.

Cranberry Onion Chicken (not pictured) - I made this to use up a can of cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving.  Of last year.  My bad.  I added a packet of onion soup mix to the canned cranberry sauce and poured it over three chicken breasts in a gallon zip loc.  I will cook it on low 7-8 hours and serve with rice.

Pulled Pork - your basic pork roast with a spicy BBQ sauce poured over.  I will cook on low 7-8 hours, shred the meat, and serve on buns.
The day after I made all of these, we got a shipment of seafood from The Girl - the annual company gift she gets but can never use so she sends it our way.  Our freezer is very full now and I can look forward to some easy grocery budget weeks!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Mealplan Monday #203

Monday - Beans and Franks, garlic toast
Tuesday - Pulled Pork on onion rolls, fried okra, melon
Wednesday - Chicken Pot Pie
Thursday - Fajita Mac, freezer veggie
Friday - Lemon Butter Shrimp (skillet), couscous, sugar snap peas with carrots
Saturday - TBD
Sunday - Steak Bites with garlic butter, baked potatoes, salad, rolls
This week I am using up dabs of freezer items: leftover franks from July 4th, a package of cooked and shredded chicken, a baggie of cooked pork fajita meat, and some of my homemade pie crust.  Plus, I found a bag of breaded okra in there!
{p.s. Can you believe - no oven dinners!}

Friday, July 20, 2018

A day off is nice

My schedule at work is such now that I don't have quiet, FULL days to putsey around my house, doing errands, the odd chore here and there, and just "fluffing the nest".
So, on Wednesday I took a mental health break from work and did some things I had been meaning to do, but just haven't found the time. 
 I got my first (in a series of two) shingles shot, picked up some air filters and a couple of tee shirts at Wally World, did some sewing repairs, threw a couple loads of laundry in,
 dusted our bedroom and put the new-to-me quilt out that I got last time we visited Brenham,
 wrote a couple of letters, watered my fig tree, and vacuumed and washed my car.
 Hubby worked late, so I even ate dinner with Bubbie:
Which only ever happens on Sundays...If I blink,  I miss him on the daily.
It was a nice day - a reminder that I am lucky to work, but even luckier to have a weekday off now and again.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Weekend re-cap: home chores, 4th tap, Deckhands, patio

This past weekend I was on call, so we planned to stay at home and get a few things done.  One of them being "clean the gutters".  I realize that's a spring project...but procrastination is also a spring project.  I figured I was going to "help out", but it turned into a full-fledged project requiring my active participation in 90 something degree heat and humidity.  UGH.
To effectively clean the gutters we had to trim the oaks out back - some of the low hanging branches were scraping the roof.  So ladders were involved.  {Side note: we are getting too old for this} Hubby and I worked for HOURS in the heat - I don't know why we can't seem to stop doing that.  Absolutely brutal.  We made a gigantic mess of the backyard and many more bad words were said at top volume.  I'm sure the new neighbors were impressed.
Bubbie helped us bundle up what we trimmed and we managed to get it by the curb, all ready for brush collection today.  We filled several lawn bags that will go out, too.  And we also took out a shrub that was dying:
That giant empty spot is where it lived.  There are big empty spaces there, in general, that I need to do something about.  I will wait til the Fall, though.  {I need some suggestions for how to proceed if you happen to have a green thumb!} Anyhoo, around 4:30 or so, we called it a day, showered, and headed to 4th Tap around 6 p.m.
You wouldn't know by Hubby's smiling face the level of exhaustion.  We both felt like beer would make us feel better.  We were right.  They had a big air-conditioned space with cold beer and games to play - a nice place to wind down. We stayed there a while playing cards until we decided dinner out would be just the thing.
 So we headed to a favorite seafood place to enjoy fried clams,
Shrimp Pad Thai, and catfish stuffed with pico de gallo, bacon, and monterrey jack cheese.   It was all so good!  It was all we could do to eat, drive home, and collapse.  The next day we did a whole lot of nothing - I made a donut run, stitched, read, made cookie dough, did minor housework putseying, ordered pizza for lunch.  Hubby got dressed and declared he was not doing any chores whatsoever.  We did nothing to take a pic of or write about - just spent a nice day at home.
In the evening we sat on our newly cleaned patio, iced down some wine, and played more cards.  It was 96 out there, but the breezes through the patio are so nice and we barely noticed the heat.  I put a new chicken dish into the oven, sauteed some squash with red bell pepper and onion, baked some potatoes.  Hubby and I ate dinner on the patio as the sun went down, and slept like babies that night. 
I never got called in, so that was nice.  We have several 100 plus degree days ahead of us, so we aren't working that hard this coming weekend.  If at all.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Mealplan Monday #202

Monday - Pork Ribs in Crockpot, freezer veggie
Tuesday - Rotisserie Chicken Salads, Rock Island Tea
Wednesday - Leftovers or Pizza
Thursday - Crazy Beef Pasta*, salad or veggie
Friday - Lemon Garlic Tilapia, Broccoli Rice Casserole
Saturday - TBD (but I will fix the party rolls in advance so Sunday dinner will be EASY)
Sunday - Ham and Cheese Party Rolls, melon, chips

*I am making this one up with dibs and dabs of mismatched pasta, some marinara and a pound of ground beef I found in the freezer, along with plenty of grated mozzarella!

P.S.  How is July already half over?!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Five thing Friday - rainbow, plumbing, snack mix, easy summer meals, My CPA

Last Saturday it rained while the sun was still out - very freaky when that happens.  Our reward was a gigantic rainbow. Not to mention the rain itself!
At one point it was a double rainbow.  I had parked at HEB in just enough time to snap a pic of it, and people were coming out of the store to do the same.
Hubby and I worked on getting water to the inside of the barn last weekend.  We really have got to stop trying to do these types of things in this heat.  It was brutal.  But soon we will have a sink in there and a faucet closer to Mabels' door.
I made taco snack mix on Tuesday night.  I don't know what possessed me to be so industrious - I was super tired.  But the boys will all enjoy snacking on it.  And I feel like I barely make them treats anymore.
I also made Ham Salad for dinner one night - it was so good chilled and served on warm toast. This is a little different than the batch I made before - I added chopped poblano pepper, red onion and pickle relish, along with chopped celery.  So crunchy and delish!
Please excuse the blurry pic of The Girl's new profile for her job - she has passed all of her CPA exams and the ethics class so she is a full-fledged CPA!    She sent a note with this that said  "Look what we did!".  I cried with happiness for her and her(our) monumental achievement - she has always made me so proud.  I knew my girlie would do whatever she set out to do!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Weekend re-cap - Historical Road Rally losers

*Technically, this happened during the week, and it so happens we didn't do much the following weekend, so I'm counting it for my re-cap...*
One of the wineries we enjoy visiting had an event planned for July 4th that sounded like fun to me.  I convinced Hubby to go, since the boys were going to be otherwise occupied.  In hindsight, I realize how flawed the whole plan was...
 We started out early so we could stop halfway and eat breakfast.
In Lampasas we ate at the Country Kitchen - a diner style restaurant serving basic breakfast grub.  It wasn't super cheap, but there was a LOT of food and we left thinking we could probably make it to lunch, putting it mildly.  The service was distracted and haphazard - we will likely not eat here again.
 Chicken fried steak is my latest craving.  And grits with butter cannot be beat!
 The trip to Hamilton from Lampasas is about an hour through some pretty Texas countryside.
 And we arrived at the winery early, but it gave us time to review the plan:
Get a map.  Plan on the drive time to be around 2 hours.  The rally will start at Red Wing Dove, continue to Fiesta Winery where you get a 15 minute pitstop and must buy a glass of wine for the navigator.  Find and document historical markers and sites along the way.  When you return to Red Wing Dove, grilled burgers and a glass of wine will be served.  You need one driver, one navigator, and photo proof that you found all of the sites (9).  The winner gets a bottle of wine and the title of Road Rally Champion.
We hung out at RWD for a little while, working on a puzzle until all the participants arrived and were assigned a departure time.  We were the first there, so first to leave.  We had Google map going and were figuring out the clue map along the way - it wasn't labeled, so you had to figure out what blue dot on the map represented what landmark and find it. That should have been the first clue that this was going to be challenging.
First stop - a cemetery.  A bad omen...
 San Saba Peak marker, Dam and Well marker in Goldtwaite.
We found every one of them, though we were sorely tempted to give up before we were done. We have zero knowledge of the area highways and byways, giving us a distinct disadvantage.  
At Fiesta, we ran into a road rally couple who had decided to just quit and were leisurely enjoying their wine, instead of gulping it in 15 minutes like we did.  In hindsight, I wish we had done the same. {and not just because that was an expensive winery}
The skies were looking ominous, but we were only halfway done and it was getting to be past the 2 hour time estimate.  We only got turned around once, for about 10 minutes - but it felt like we had entered a time warp.  I blinked, looked a the clock again, and it was 3 p.m. And we had three more sites to find...
The Shive, Texas marker and the Atherton School marker. 
We were so focused on getting the photo proof that we didn't get to read a single sign or learn anything of historical value.  It became a race to find that marker, get the pic, jump into the truck, and race off to the next.  Many bad words were said.
Schoelten Railroad marker
We didn't arrive back at the winery until 4:10 p.m.  We were the last ones to make it back.  No one even asked to see our pics so who could know whether we found every marker or not.  We ate a hastily (read: rare) grilled burger, paid our tab, and drove back 2 hours without stopping so we could be home in time to fix grilled hotdogs* for Scout, Dutch, and Firstborn. It was raining by then which was just as well - no one was in the mood to fight crowds to see fireworks.  And although it was no one's fault but our own, we decided not to revisit Hamilton for a while - the whole road rally thing was a good idea on paper, but I wish we had done something different with our holiday. 

*Our July 4th menu: Grilled Dogs, crockpot carmelized onions, Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad, chips, melon, and sangria!  I had most of it fixed in advance.  Thank goodness.  (:


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