Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?


You’re looking at October 18, 2009.

Some sort of ribs.  Which reminds me.  It’s been ages since I’ve had ribs.  Must remedy.


****What Was it Wednesday – My attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Garden Tuesday ~ Christmas Cactus


Christmas Cactus

Like the media, my Christmas cactus apparently can not wait until Christmas.  Next year, it will probably start blooming on Halloween.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, November 28, 2011




Belk’s had a sale on Fiestaware.  Enough said.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #85 ~ La Vuelta Unoaked Chardonnay

La Vuelta Unoaked Chardonnay

La Vuelta Unoaked Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina, 2010, $6.99, Total Vine and More.  They say:  This fresh, crisp wine holds in perfect harmony the flavors of tropical fruit, green apple and pineapple.  We say:  very light, tart, pineapple, refreshing.  Buy again:  yes.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #338 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop


Last week Smudge showed you a back view.  Today for your viewing pleasure, he presents his profile.



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Jules and Vincent at Judi’s Mind Over Matter.

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ina’s Mexican Chicken Soup

Mexican Chicken Soup

I know.  You were probably expecting some wonderful post about what to do with all your turkey leftovers.  Except that it’s only the Friday after Thanksgiving, and if you’re like me, today is just yesterday warmed up, or maybe made into a turkey sandwich; you’re not really into the whole using the turkey meat for something else yet.

So, then this post is kind of timely, because you could easily make this with a turkey carcass or a turkey leg or two.  I used a couple of my rotisserie chicken carcasses that I have always have readily available in my freezer.

This soup goes by many names, usually I refer to it as Tortilla Chicken Soup, but Ina calls hers, Mexican Chicken Soup.  No matter what I call it, or whose version I make, I always love it.  I think for me it’s the topping…who doesn’t love that trinity of Mexican goodness – avocado, cilantro and cheese?!  

I pretty much followed the recipe in the above link, except that I made mine in the slow cooker.


This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.



And for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at August 9, 2009.  Looks like green beans, onions, and maybe potatoes or mushrooms getting ready to be roasted.

****What was it Wednesday? – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Betsy-Tacy Treasury for TLC Booktours

The Betsy-Tacy Treasury

When I received The Betsy-Tacy Treasury: The First Four Betsy-Tacy Books by Maud Hart Lovelace, the first thing I noticed was the illustration of the girls on the cover.  As a lifelong reader, I immediately recognized the work of Lois Lenski.  I loved Lois Lenski books and read them over and over again. 

Then I started reading some of the blurbs from other authors:

“Slipping into a Betsy book is like slipping into a favorite pair of well-worn slippers:  It’s always a pleasure to live in Betsy’s world for a little while, to experience her simple joys but also her (thankfully short-lived) sorrows.” – Meg Cabot

“There are three authors whose body of work I have reread more than once over my adult life:  Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Maud Hart Lovelace.” – Anna Quindlen

And then I became confused.  How had I missed these books?  How could I be this far along in my life, and just now discover them? 

I don’t know how I missed them before, but I am so thankful to have discovered them.  It is just like Meg Cabot states, they are a joy to slip into.  So simple, so sweet.  It was so nice to leave my stressful everyday life and follow the adventures of Betsy and Tacy and Tib.   The joys of having picnics and tea parties, trips to the big city, plays to put on.  I enjoyed every second of these books. 

I plan on reading all of the other books in the series, I can’t wait to watch Betsy grow up and get married.

Follow the other TLC Book Tours for The Betsy-Tacy Treasury here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Garden Tuesday on Monday!! Fall Leaves.

Fall Leaves

Perhaps I love these so much because my job is to take pictures of them, not rake them.


Garden Tuesday is on Monday this week because tomorrow I am doing a book review. 

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #85 ~ Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Chardonnay

Kirkland Sonoma County Chardonnay

Kirkland Signature, Sonoma County Chardonnay, 2008, $7.99, Costco.  They say:  sleek with vibrant ripe honeysuckle, spicy pear notes, and concentrated opulent tropical pineapple fruit notes.  We say:  soft creamy mouthfeel, honeysuckle, pears.  Excellent!  Buy again:  yes!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #337


Sometimes they cooperate and sometimes they don’t.



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Billy Sweetfeets Gingersnap.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Millet and Cheddar Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

Oh my gosh.  This recipe was a revelation.   Have you ever had millet?  It looks like bird seed.  As a matter of fact, I think it is bird seed.  But you know what?  Those birds know a good thing when they see it.  In this recipe millet is cooked in a manner similar to polenta and what you end up with is something similar to polenta, but not quite polenta.  This not-quite-polenta is so good!  It’s creamy, but with a bit more chew than regular polenta. 

Then you take this wonderful polenta and top it with a lovely assortment of fall vegetables, and you have a vegetarian dinner where no one misses the meat.  One of those dinners, where you pause frequently, to comment on it’s wonderfulness.  Using my Eat Your Books program, which now indexes magazines, I found this in Fine Cooking, and you can find it online:  Millet and Cheddar Polenta with Roasted Vegetables.

Millet and Cheddar Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

And…why yes…I did notice that my placemat is in focus and not my food.  Did you stop to think that maybe I wanted it that way?  Maybe I wanted to show you my cheap, two dollar placemats and not my fantastic bowl of fall goodness.  



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Gift From my Mom


This is my Wordless Wednesday post, except it’s on a Thursday.  So, I actually had to use words to explain it to you.  So it’s not even really a Wordless Wednesday post. And it’s on a Thursday.

I’m sure you understand.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Was it Wednesday ~ The Tomatoes Edition


You’re looking at August 23, 2009.  Tomatoes.  Obviously.  Look at the deep red goodness.  The kind you get from tomatoes at their prime. 

You might also note, that apparently, my porch has needed to be painted for quite some time.

****What Was it Wednesday  -  my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Garden Tuesday ~ Hardy Cyclamen

Hardy Cyclamen

I have posted about these diminutive flowers before.  They are so lovely and delicate.  They are only about 4 inches tall, and I am practically lying on the ground to take this picture, and I guess I could simply not be bothered to move the branches and sticks out of the way.  Do you see the the curled fronds of the ones that haven’t opened yet? 

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pasta with Kale and Fontina

Pasta with Kale and Fontina

There are certain things in the world that cheer me up, no matter how stressed, or depressed, or worn out.  What would this miracle drug be?  No drug.  It’s bacon.  Seriously.  Bacon makes it all better.  And this recipe from, Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast: 250 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Any Time of Day (Everyday Food) proves once again, that it doesn’t take much.  Four strips of bacon for four servings, and yet, that’s all you need.  I’m calling this my Almost Meatless Monday.  It was quick and easy, and nutritious with all the kale.  I guess it would have been even more nutritious if I had used the whole wheat pasta that it called for, but I haven’t found a whole wheat pasta that I like yet.

And guess what?  I don’t even have to type it in because you can find it on Martha’s site:  Whole-Wheat Pasta with Kale and Fontina


This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by HoneyB of The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honey Bunch .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #84 ~ 365 Sauvignon Blanc

365 Sauvignon Blanc

Before you get all excited and think that I, a resident of Tennessee, can actually buy wine in a grocery store, think again.  I bought this in Georgia.  Please, Tennessee, wine in grocery stores would be so lovely.  365 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Paso Robles, California, Whole Foods, $8.99.  We say:  tastes mores like a chardonnay, has a bit of a grassy finish, honey and buttery, sweet.  Buy again:  yes!  (The next time we’re in Georgia!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bonus Coco for Saturday Pet Blog Hop!


I know that some of you visit my blog on Saturday’s to see my kitties.  I’d like to think it is also to read my words of wisdom, but alas, I think it is the sweet kitties that are the draw.  Since I had to post my kitties yesterday because I’m hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this week, I give you a bonus picture of Coco.  I love her little tuffs of hair at the tip of her ears!

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #336 ~ HERE!!! Link up!!


In continuing with my theme of showing you how Smudge helps us around the house.

You know that he helps with Wine Drinking.


And TV watching.

He also helps with bed making.



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by US.  Link up below!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Winter Solstice Brew


Winter Solstice Brew

According to the weather forecasters, it’s going to be a cold and snowy winter.  I’m ready for it.  I made this Winter Solstice Brew from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon towards the end of the summer.   I’m kind of like a squirrel, only instead of nuts and berries, I tuck infused alcohol into every nook and cranny of my house. 

This is one that I am really excited about.  Who doesn’t love a good infused brandy, especially one infused all wintery with cinnamon and oranges and vanilla.  I imagine this is in hot tea, or in one of those cute brandy snifter glasses that make me feel all Masterpiece Theatre as I swirl my brandy around in them. 

I also have to say, that I posted this because in my notes on my calendar, it says “Post winter something for Blogher.”   I have no idea what I meant by that.  Anyone on Blogher care to enlighten me.  I really must take better notes, make sure they are complete, the old brain is not what it used to be.

The good news is that this infuses for about 5 weeks, so if you start it now, right now, you can have it in time for the holidays. 

Winter Solstice Brew

  • 4 cups brandy
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 (8-inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 (8-inch) piece vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
  • 4 small sweet navel oranges, scrubbed, dried, and chopped into 4 to 6 pieces
  • 24 black peppercorns

Combine all the ingredients in a clean, odor free wide-mouthed glass jar (all the better if you have a wonderful old canning jar).  Label the jar, cap it tightly and store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking daily.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter.  Return the infusion to it’s jar, recap it, put it back in a cool, dark place, and let it continue to mellow for 3 more weeks.

Refrigerate or store in a cool dark pantry almost indefinitely!

Makes 4 cups.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

Beef Salad

You’re looking at August 8, 2009. 

I’m guessing a Thai Beef Salad.  What do you think? 

***What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Watershed Year by Susan Schoenberger for TLC Booktours

A Watershed Year

For me, one of the things that makes a fiction book good, is if it makes me think.  If I stop and pause, relate it to my life, take away something, that elevates a book.  Susan Schoenberger’s A Watershed Year: A Novel was one of those books.

The main character of the story, Lucy finds herself redefining her life after losing her best friend (and should be lover) to cancer. You see his illness from her side, what it’s like to love someone so much that you simply refuse to give up and let them die.  You see the illness from Harlan’s side, what it’s like to be 33 and dying. 

After Harlan dies, Lucy receives an email from him.  He has set up a program to send her an email at the same time and day every month.  This allows him to say the things to Lucy that he was never able to say in person.  In one of the emails, Harlan talks about what a wonderful mother Lucy would be.  This idea takes hold in Lucy and she begins to look at adoption, eventually pursuing the adoption of a 4 year old Russian boy.

As an adoptive mother of 3 girls from Vietnam, I completely related to the task of adopting and trying to build a relationship with an older child (mine were 5, 8, and 9 when they were adopted).   The trust that has to build, the relationships that have to develop. 

Besides having strong, believable characters, the novel is also very well written.  In one part, Lucy is contemplating how other’s see you.  How you can never really know how other’s perceive you.

“But year and years of self-assessment in mirrors and photographs gave you only the barest clue of how others perceived you;  of how your mouth twisted slightly just before you smiled, of how you had a tendency to clear your throat before speaking, of how your hair flew out in back when you rode a bike, of how you peppered your speech with “you knows” when you were nervous, and how it seemed as if you were trying to hard when you wore lip gloss.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it.

Susan Schoenberger’s website:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Garden Tuesday ~ The Early Edition ~ Fall Mum’s


Yes, I know.  I’m a day early.  But see, tomorrow I am doing a book review for TLC Book Tours and I couldn’t very well skip Garden Tuesday, could I? 

And, yes I know it’s gorgeous outside and the colors are fantastic, so why am I showing you some mums sitting on my table?  Well, for one thing, can you kind of, sort of, make out the rain on the window?  And, I have been busy with my photography business, taking pictures of people, and not leaves.  Though I hope to have some time soon to get out there and get some pretty shots. 

And, I just happen to like my mums.  All through the fall and winter, I buy a cheap little bouquet of flowers at the grocery store.  Nothing warms up a home like a simple little jar of flowers. 

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #83 ~ Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Mad Dogs & Englishmen, 2008, Shiraz, Tempranillo, and Carignan.  This was a gift from middle daughter’s darling boyfriend.  Can we pause for a minute and say that our admiration can totally be bought by giving us wine.   They say:  ripe raspberry and black fruit aromas and flavors with hints of black pepper, cinnamon, and vanilla oak.  We say:  dry, light, black pepper and berry, nice and complex.  Buy again:  yes!! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #335 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop


Coco is loving the cooler fall temperatures.

And she wears her “fall colors” all year long.



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Kashim, Othello and Salome.

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!