April 21, 2014

Potato Pie for Lent or Anytime ~~ Inspired by Kevin Dundon and the Great Freeze of 2014

Lenten MealPicture this:  it was the middle of Lent.  I need to make a meatless meal but did not want to have fish, grilled cheese, eggs, waffles, french toast, etc.  It was one of those days where green salads wouldn't cut it.  Too cold and not cozy if you know what I mean.

As it was still in the bitter cold range on the other side of my front door, I did not want to venture out in the, "Is the car lock frozen?" day.  Grocery store parking lots were for the most part, unplowed.  And driving amongst the pot holes on the roads is less fun than driving bumper cars at the amusement park. Meaning, not fun at all.

I said there must be something in the house to cook which will be hot, hearty, and taste good, too.   To have a think and procrastinate, I had a sit down on the couch with my tea and turned on the tv. Flipping channels as we do, I had a glimpse of some potatoes, cream, and puff pastry.  The program was nearly over, but I got the jist of it and caught the chef's name.  A few days later I searched online and found his recipe at RTE Food.

I was inspired to make it because this was so easy to prepare and cook.  It didn't take a lot of prep time, no boiling of the potatoes ahead and premade pastry made it faster to assemble.  I had unused puff pastry in the freezer from Christmastime and wanted to make something out of it as I was sick of seeing it every time I opened the freezer door.  I also had some mixed shredded cheeses waiting to be used.

On my next shopping trip I bought the Yukon Gold potatoes, a small container of Whipping Cream, a bag of fresh whole Carrots, and a small package of fresh Asparagus Spears.  I figured the potatoes on their own wouldn't be quite hearty enough so the roasted veg would be good sides.

Kevin Dundon inspired meal
If you look at Kevin's recipe on the newspaper site above, it's easy to follow.  I changed it of course, as I didn't have fresh herbs, I used dried and I added a handful of cheese to the potato cream mixture before it went into the oven.  If I remember correctly, he suggested adding cheese- and I did!

Because the recipe used only half of the cream, the following week I made the potato cream combo again, but added thawed cooked small shrimp and thawed frozen mixed veg.  I didn't bake it in the oven, or add cheese, but served it as a meal without a pastry crust.

I imagine you could add any cooked and cut up meat or poultry and veg to the potatoes and it would be pretty tasty.  A basic potato, cream, and herb combo that was easy to make and versatile, too.  Thanks, Kevin.

April 19, 2014

Wishing You Easter Blessings

Easter from the peeps

I want to Wish You 
Happy Easter 
May God Bless You 
Keep You Well
Give Peace to Everyone

April 15, 2014

Two Quick Tips: Help When You Hammer in the Kitchen (Bag It) and How Does Your Blog Look on Other Readers and Devices?

green kitchen, frugality, tenderize It was a glorious warm day on Sunday, 77 degrees. I opened the windows for a bit and enjoyed all the breeze that graciously came my way.  The only bad part of the day was all the noise.  It seemed that the weed whacker folks, the cutting the lawn before it's even grown folks, and the muffler free folks all decided that yesterday was let it all loose day.

Oh well, it still was nice while it lasted. Today it's back to winter.  That's right, 2-4 inches of the white stuff is predicted.  I hope the weather people are sun struck from Sunday and they are way off on their guess.

I have two tips for you.  First this one for the kitchen, see the photo above.  I wish I had thought of this trick before now.  I no longer have a production with layers and clean up and having little chicken bits shooting out of the layers onto me, the floor, or the appliances.  To use the recycled bag, I clean it out and when it's time to whack away, insert the meat or fowl, and hold the opening closed.  Only once a bag split open as  I took out a little too much frustration in my hammering.  But, it's all good.

Second tip.  If you want to see how your blog or site looks in a variety of electronic screens, (Kindles, Galaxy, Android, iPad, etc.) go to Quirktools to their Screenfly tab and type in your blog address or any website.  They will show how your site looks on a variety of screens.

I changed my blog header to show it better on a variety of tablets, phones, etc.  When I look at my blog statistics, it shows that some people are reading on gadgets other than a desktop.  I thought this may help readers see my page a bit easier.  It also helped to see how the images/photos line up on the gadgets.

Because I have vision issues, I don't like to scroll back and forth to read a blog post or look at the images, so I considered this in setting the overall width of my blog and now that I looked at it on Screenfly, I can see the variations in screen resolutions much better.  I know we can't please every gadget's requirements, but a couple of them might do.  Hope my little tips help.

March 28, 2014

Any March Lambs in Your Area and Pepper Me Crazy

Is March leaving like a lamb?  The view from my kitchen window gives the answer.

snow wind tree

I'm going to believe that by the end of April, the bulbs will be poking up and showing their colorful buds and that the forsythia at the back of my yard will be covered in yellow petals.  No matter what winter does and for how long, it will not last    f  o  r  e  v  e  r...

Bell pepper craziness resumes...

bell peppers

Come to think of it, maybe that's why "March Madness" got its name, the weather makes you long for spring and basketball is basically an indoor game.  Now, if they could only stop the constant sneaker squeaks on the gym floor, those will make you a bit loopy.

March 25, 2014

Surprised by Mother Nature

What would you call this?  Surprises, Bonuses, Quirks? Mother Nature surprised me twice last week with vegetables growing inside the outer layers.

First, it was a pretty little red pepper inside.  So cute, like a heart.  I took it as a good sign after facing surgery and health issues recently.

Have you ever seen anything like this?

Or, have you ever seen anything LIKE THIS?

The pretty little pepper turned out to be 3 pretty little peppers, not just one!  They were all snuggled up and attached to one another.

A few days later I opened up a bag of carrots to find 3 carrots growing inside this large carrot.


I don't know what these veggie bonuses mean, but winning the lottery was not on the cards.

One last thing, years ago my Mom had double yokes in the whole dozen eggs in a carton. Simply amazing.

Have you ever gotten under the skin and found something fun- no not insects.  I think that's why I don't like to shuck corn, all the little surprises you find in the cornsilk.

March 18, 2014

The Irony of Spring Cleaning, Why I Was Absent

NJ lake and mountains

Yesterday I said I'd tell you why I've been absent from the blog and keeping to myself, not replying to emails or reaching out in any way. There are a few reasons why, and some I can now talk about, but others not yet able to.

When I had that kicked in the gut feeling back in January, it wouldn't go away.  I tend to dwell on things and examine long and closely sometimes, so I thought this was the reason for me not feeling well.  I was wrong.

To make a longish story short and skip over details- I had a brush with cancer:  had tests, had surgery, and been told it was all removed.  (About four years ago I had the same symptoms, had surgery but no cancer.)

The doctor said I'll need tests again in a few months, biopsy, and see where things stand then.  I got an injury in the hospital and had to have treatment for that- totally unrelated to the cancer! Plus some of the medication made me ill and I had to recover from that.  I guess the universe is sarcastically knocking me about this way.

When surgery was scheduled, I only fell apart for about three quarters of a day, and I think that was due to the uncertainty- what lay ahead.  After that I pulled myself together and faced it calmly, after all, there is no one but myself to rely on***- that's for another post.  If things were not this easy, this "got it all in one surgery" I hope I would still be strong, but I don't know.  I'd do what I had to and keep a stiff upper lip, at least try to.

All in all, knock wood, I am doing well considering that cancer was a surprise visitor, a crummy way to begin the new year.

I'm going to make this a short post and hope to be back soon.  I hope all of you will soon be getting a break from the cold weather (those of us in North America) as I know this will make me feel a lot better.  Throwing off the layers, sweaters, vests, coats, cardigans, long sleeves, and knee highs!  Bring on sandal weather please...    

Thanks for sharing this with me.  I want to apologize for not answering emails or keeping up with Pinterest boards.  I shut down the blog I was not updating and deleted my inactive Twitter account- these were giving me guilt not joy and I need a bit more joy going forward.  I guess you could call it Spring Cleaning all the way around, inside and out.  

***Edited to add:   I was able to pull myself together because I did have Someone to rely on and in my process of getting thoughts and words together I simply didn't say.  Faith.  There's no way I would have kept moving forward on my own.  I had Someone to usher me through the process, to keep me calm, and to see me through it all.  I might feel alone, but I'm not alone.  He's helping me through the trials and the good times, too.  

March 17, 2014

It's Okay to Talk About It Now

altered image from www.morgue file.com

Should I tell them?  This was on my mind off and on for the past few months.  In this instance, "them" are you- my blogger friends and readers.  It began like this:

The holidays slid right by and New Year's was met with its usual subdued flair.  I was ready and waiting to get dug in to 2014 with renewed determination and hopefully some energy supplied by a committed determination to get on with things and make the changes I so want to make.

The first week of January I heard some sad news about the unexpected death of a blogger.  This hit me in the gut and stayed with me for some time. Throughout the year I had been saving some figurines to send to her.  Time and again I lost my nerve to contact her to get her mailing address.  I talked myself out of talking to her for any number of reasons, all imaginary on my part as the blogger was a lovely person who sometimes commented on my blog as I did on hers.

It was a strange feeling to be so moved by someone half a world away, whom I'd never met, but who I wanted to send this set of trinkets to since I knew how much she loved such things.  Not having sent them, she'll never know she was on my mind and I lost out on making her a little bit happy for a while.

That got me thinking about our blogs and that one day they will be abandoned.  We're no longer here to keep writing and responding to comments.  Do we leave them up if we have the choice or do we ask someone to make a final post saying to enjoy, but that the writer is no longer available to comment?!

Tomorrow I will tell you why I was absent from my blog all these weeks and why I have not replied to emails (I'm sorry for that.)

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