Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday

I have a ton of thoughts running through my head this afternoon. 

The lady across the street passed away a while back.  We have lived here for 7 years and would wave but never would we really even get the time of day.  I thought we lived in the friendliest city in America?  I don't know if it was because we were renters, not family (it is a couple of acres on the river with numerous family houses on it, some small and old, some large and ostentatious) or because we are an inter-racial couple.  Her son has been very talkative with Michael over the past few weeks.  They are putting a new roof on the house and that is pretty exciting.  I try to tell the husband all that is taking place in the neighborhood, someone has to keep track after all!  Sometimes I feel like Alice Kravitz on Bewitched...hmmm....

My beloved husband has a closing tomorrow!  You may know that he is a Real Estate Agent, and then again you might not know.  We try to not jinx ourselves since the house is not sold until they have the keys in their hands.  He had a closing go crazy the night before the closing a few years back so that was an important lesson!  This is a nice young couple from church who are buying their first home, we are so excited for them!  We are planning to bring food and drinks to them and their friends who are helping them move into their new place!  The sandwiches cannot be made until I receive the phone call telling me "we had a baby" meaning that the closing has happened .

We are going on vacation in a little over two weeks!  We are driving up to Wildwood NJ (it looks like the Myrtle Beach of New Jersey) for my husbands family reunion.  I thought my family was the craziest but his might just give them a run for their money.  The first time we went I wore yellow golf shorts and striped shirt and just felt so....I don't know.  Maybe country clubish, maybe really white.  His aunts made me feel right at home after they asked me what I thought was a trick question, after all how do you answer the question "are you a goodie two shoes?".  I had to think about this one for a while...fortunately I said no so they said "good well show you where the hooch is" and I proceeded to get snookered with my soon to be husbands elderly aunts on something that tasted like it was made with kool-aide.

I am pretty sure I absolutely blew my interview on Friday...don't ask me why....The district manager said he would call me today since he is going out of town this week.   I want to just call him and tell him I didn't get the job.  Let's just get this all over so we can all go back to our normal jobs.  In the meantime my boss is running two stores (actually only one) I am taking care of this one and still making the same money.  I have a job and for that I am thankful.  I am thankful I work for the company I work for and do truly enjoy what I do but...

So that's where I am this afternoon.  Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Miss Hamby's Shimp Salad

I suspect you might be tired of me talking about this recipe already.  If you make sandwiches it must be on store bought white bread with the crust cut off and than the sandwiches cut into little triangles.  It is pure heaven!

Miss Hamby’s Shrimp Salad

21/2 lbs. shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked and coarsely chopped
21/2 tsp. salt
2 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 cup mayonnaise (or just enough to bind the mixture)

Combine shrimp, salt and lemon juice. Add onions, celery, celery seeds, hot sauce and mayonnaise. Serve as a salad or use mixture to make shrimp salad sandwiches. Makes 3 cups of salad. 

Thanks again to Dorothy (who I think I may have met somewhere) for the recipe!

If I had a Bridge Club or something like that, I would serve it to the ladies.  Since I don't, I will just make it for us to enjoy! Off I go now to enjoy food from this afternoon's church barbeque.

A Light Healthy Meal

Well first things first, I believe I blew the interview.  Plain and simple.  I will have an answer tomorrow but I think I already know what it is so back to work and continue to grow.

This afternoon I opened up my blog comments and found the recipe for Ms Hamby's Shrimp Salad compliments of Dorothy Porcher Holland.  I will post it for all of you since I don't think you want to read back to February.  Thanks Dorothy!  I had the great pleasure of meeting Ms Hamby's daughter at friends house last month (yes there really is a Ms Hamby).  You have to try this salad, it is delicious!

Yesterday afternoon Michael and I went to our favorite spot on Sullivan's Island for some beach time.  If you know the island our secret spot is down by the Fort.  The only time there are a lot of people there is on the holiday weekends.  You get the ocean and the harbor, one of our favorite things to do (well mine actually but Michael plays along) is to figure out how many containers are on the big ships.  I look a tad like a well cooked lobster still today and will eventually get around to putting some aloe on my skin.

We came home hungry and I had taken out some Cod for dinner.  Doesn't sound that appetizing does it?  Off to the Internet I went, after all there were fresh South Carolina peaches waiting to be used.  I found a recipe for Cod with Tomato Peach Salsa on the Fitsugar website.  I of course made some adjustments to it and will make more next time.  The original called for way tooooo much onion and not enough lime juice for our taste.  We had this over cooked Cod and it is absolutely wonderful.  Peaches are just coming into season here and I know where to find yummy tomatoes so......


Sauteed Cod With Tomato Peach Salsa
2 medium-sized cod fillets (about 6 to 7 ounces each)
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 onion (or red onion), diced
1 avocado, diced
1 peach, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 large jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1/c cup chopped cilantro
3  tablespoons lime juice, separated
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon of lime juice,olive oil, salt, and pepper over cod fillets. Chopping all the salsa ingredients and place in a bowl.  Add the remaining lime juice, sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Mix together and put in the fridge
  2. Heat oven safe fry pan with an additional 1 tsp of the olive oil in it.  When warmed place cod in it, cook on each side for 1 to 2 minutes.  Place pan in the oven for about 8 minutes or until fish appears done.  Serve with the salsa on top.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This Week

I got on to Blogger the other day and found the new page....I thought I dealt with change well but...for some reason this one threw me for a loop!  Where was all my info?  How did you do anything?  All that could be found right away was the blogs I follow.

So a few days later, I get up the nerve to go and play with the page.  Much to my delight, I have now figured out everything that was used before.  I suspect there is more to the page than is used but for now the only thing I need to figure out is how to reply to comment (sorry Kathrine). 

It's been a very hectic week at work.  It is amazing what a visit from the corporate office can do, suddenly you look at things from a different perspective.  My boss has been running the two local stores for a little over a month now so the location down here has pretty much been my project.  We survived, the store looks great and the visit is over.  Now everything that needed to be done is completed and we can concentrate on selling stuff which really is why we are there.  Matthew had charts to show how he increased his floor covering sales over the past 4 years, hard to follow up after that one!

Tomorrow I have a third interview for general manager, hopefully I will not get that deer in the road thing that I did when talking to my boss.  You know how that goes, starts off bad and goes to worse. 

I love that my husband helps me around the house.

I am not crazy about him doing the laundry.  I know I shouldn't complain but how can I get him to understand that we don't need to use hot water to wash the clothes and the dryer doesn't need to be put on eternal dry? 

Well, that should be it for today...thanks for letting me get in that last little rant!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Friend Mary

My dear friend Mary lost her Mother last Thursday to cancer.  Mary was with her Mom every possible moment, was there to hold her hand and to let her know she was there.  Mary is a very special person and I have been fortunate to know her since I got involved in the rescue.  Mary is just one of those people you want to know, those giving people, those loving people, those honest and true people.  I hate to see my friend hurting.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Little Around the Middle



I have always been on the scrawny side but a few weeks ago I noticed that I was starting to develop a little belly.  Why is that when we gain weight that is where it goes?  Not to our face, not to our little tush, not to our legs but straight to the stomach?  Someone needs to tell me the answer and fast!

I realized after thinking about my diet for a while (actually probably longer than a while) that we were (actually I was) having ice cream every single day, sometimes twice in one day.  We are not just talking one little scoop either. I had been taken in by the Harris Teeter Premium Ice Cream Devil, it was the buy two get three free that did me in.....so here we are 3 weeks later in a "No Ice Cream Zone".

Let me tell you it has not been easy shopping, when I went to the store earlier today I knew they had the buy one get one free deal.  I felt the call of the cream "Buy Me Eat Me".  Michael was not with me to help me be strong but...somehow I survived and came home ice cream less. 

We are going to Michael's family reunion next month and we both want to look good.  My goal is much more attainable than his is but we are going to make it.  One of the things we are doing is trying (very hard) to avoid starches.  I thought this would be harder than it really is, it is amazing that if you don't have pasta, potatoes or rice with dinner and just have more healthy vegetables you get up from the table still full but not feeling weighted down.  Our dinner for example last night was Grilled Salmon and Baked Stuffed Zucchini, there were bread crumbs in the vegetable but there were more veggies than bread.  Tonight is something with Shrimp.

I had a young lady write to me a while back about a weight loss site she was going to start.  She emailed me back yesterday that the site is up and running.  It really is worth a look, they cover diet, exercise and there is a fantastic support group to keep you going.  The site is http://slimkicker.com/ and it is definitely worth a look.

Tomorrow night we are going to a Slow Food event, this one is a pot luck at Crosby's Dock (the place the Mussels came from the other day) and best of all its from 5 - 8 so we get to see the sunset over the marsh.  If you don't know about Slow Food, here's the link http://slowfoodcharleston.org.  They do a ton of great work with kids and nutrition. 



Yesterday we made our pilgrimage to the Vegetable Bin in downtown Charleston.  I know I have talked about shopping there before, we get healthy, inexpensive, good tasting veggies for a portion of what we would pay at the grocery store.  Many of the items are local and some are organic.  This is what we brought home yesterday for about $25.00, sorry I don't have the weights of the items, I was cleaning out my purse and threw out the receipt!

Head of green leaf lettuce
About 1 lb of snap beans
1 eggplant
1 jalapeno
A bunch of celery
2 large zucchini (for stuffing)
3 medium sized yellow summer squash
1 head of Cauliflower
A bunch of green onions
1 bag o onions
Around 1 pound of brussel sprouts
3 fantastic vine ripened delicious tomatoes
1 avocado
3 juicy South Carolina peaches

When you add this to what we already have in the house and the $60 spent at Harris Teeter this morning (mostly fish) we are more than good to go for the next 2 weeks. 



Friday, April 20, 2012

A Mouse Under The House






I am sitting here in the office listening to my husband try to set a mouse trap in the back yard.  It doesn't sound like it is going well, there is a lot a snapping and an occasional very soft curse word.

We have a rodent under the house and the neighbor tells us she saw it jump over the mouse trap.  The husband found the trap sprung, no mouse and no peanut butter left.

This is turning into a battle royal between Michael and the Mouse.  Bear is of course in the picture since the mouse hangs out in the backyard.  Bear is also obsessive about things and cannot nor will not forget about the mouse. 

Beware Mr Mouse.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Beary Good Day

It is a beautiful spring day here in Charleston.  The temperature is in the low 80's, the humidity is low and the sun is shining so Bear decided he and I needed an adventure!



Bear in the car (harnessed in since he cannot stay in one place) ready to go!  Where are we going? Only Mom knows, or in this case wasn't quite sure at the start.



 Our adventure started near the Coast Guard station at the Battery in downtown Charleston.  By the time we walked to the High Battery (I think it is called that because it is higher than the rest of the Battery) Bear needed a rest.




When we got back to Whitepoint Park (at the tip of Charleston and where people actually watched the bombardment of Fort Sumter from) he was one thirsty dog.  Not sure if it was the stroll or the number of people who petted him that made him so thirsty!


Fortunately there is an unending supply of fresh water!  A nice man from Germany (at least that's where I think he was from) tried to take Bears picture but for once he was not interested.


After we finished our stroll (planned to tire him out slightly before we headed to the beach) we went to Folly Beach for some play time and more walking.  The super nose missed nothing!


I think he is either watching a bird or some children near by.  As you can see he enjoyed the ocean which is remarkably warm already!



On the way home we stopped at Crosby's fish market on Folly Road to pick up some fresh Mussels for dinner tonight.  Michael has a busy day today and I think a special meal is in order!  Right now Bear is laying at my feet fast asleep. Probably dreaming about our next adventure, I'm thinking another walk on the Battery is in order tomorrow!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Garden

I am not the most talented gardener, most plants don't even want to come home with me for fear they will be promptly dead.  This year we moved the vegetables into containers which for the time being are vacationing out in the front yard where there is the most sun. 


Perhaps you remember the plants we bought last month


You didn't see them after they were re-potted.  The pots were a bargain at Big Lots!





There are actually 4 tomatoes hiding there!  Why the pictures don't look the way they look when I take them is beyond me!


Another tomato plant, no fruit yet but I think there are some buds there!  This is one strong plant...


The Thyme and Oregano, I have clipped much off them already and cooked with it.  Fresh herbs taste so much better.


The basil is another story....I bought this little planter with the seeds at the Dollar Store and it doesn't look good so far.  Guess we will be buying a basil plant...


And then we have Bear asking to be let in the house so he can go right back outside!

To end, a big hello to the readers in Russia who are out reading the US readers!  I hope you are enjoying this blog and the recipes!  Please leave some comments but most importantly Welcome!

Friday, April 13, 2012

An Odd Coincidence

I have this rosemary bush in the back garden that was planted I guess 5 years ago.  It is the only thing that thrives out in the back 40 because of the tides.  We live on what is called the Coburg Marsh and when it storms or the moon is full or there is no moon or when it feels like it the tide comes up into the yard. 

I decided that in order to keep the rosemary bush healthy I need to keep trimming it but being who I am, I can't just trim it, the rosemary must be used so I am on  kick to try to give away as much as I can.  One of the kids at work was recently the victim of a drive by rosemarying.  She did not actually receive it just because, we were discussing the bush/tree and she had commented that her Mom wanted some.  How perfect was that?  I had a rosemary victim and plenty to give her.  So...Monday morning at 0 dark thirty (I had to be at work at 5 am and had forget to go out back before that) out I trekked trying to avoid any of the gifts Bear leaves out in the back yard and cut a large bunch from the bush.  I awarded it to the young lady and I thought that was the end of that.

A few days pass and next thing I know it is Wednesday (where the heck does the time go).  In comes the young lady to close with me and she has a surprising tale to relate.  She gave her Mom the rosemary, her Mom made dinner with it and was relating the story of the rosemary to her boss at work. Somehow, someway, through some sort of a strange coincidence it turns out that the boss is..........JuJu.  One of the wonderful people who blogs here on Blogspot and who's writing and pictures I enjoy.  Odder still is the fact that JuJu married this young lady and that she is the person who will be taking care of the house while JuJu heads on her next adventure.

Charleston gets smaller each and every day!!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

My friend Dena

Over the years living here in Charleston, I have grown to have more friends than I probably had in my entire life before.  Friends have grown from the Low Country Golden Retriever Rescue, work at World Market, Saint Stephens Episcopal Church, The Elks and goodness knows where else.  Friends bring more friends and I remember hearing that "A stranger is a friend you have not yet met" or something like that.

A few years ago Michael and I started going to St. Stephens.  He had been to many churches when he moved down here and couldn't find one that was right.  I was a Catholic who had wandered away from the church, probably due to some slight disagreements (like birth control, and woman and gays in the church to name a few), I had also been married to a man who I think really has no belief.  It is so strange to type that, to actually realize that someone that you were married to for over 25 years never expressed a belief in God.  After we separated, in an attempt I think to get me back, he told me that he had started reading the Bible and had found God.  I thought, He was never lost but whatever floats your boat.  Our daughters hold varying religious beliefs and I respect that, religion is a deeply personal thing and no one can decide that for

Anyway, through some friends at St Stephens we were introduced to this remarkable lady named Dena.  Now Dena is a live wire, you had best be ready when you met her, she is involved in so many thing it exhausts me just talking to her.   The most important thing about Dena though is that she is loving and the second most important thing about her is that she is a fantastic cook (and a great friend).

We spent late Easter afternoon at Dena's house for dinner.  Now dinner there is not just dinner and we all contribute to the meal (my job yesterday was appetizers).  I do not think I could have possibly eaten another bite, I hardly touched my dinner for all the wonderful snacks (including lamb chops which no were not my contribution) that we had earlier.  While we were there we had the pleasure of meeting Kimberly Brock Brown who I believe is the ONLY Black Female Executive Chef in all of South Carolina.  She delighted our taste buds with a wonderful cheesecake.

Dena is probably the person who inspired me to try new cooking techniques, to try new and exciting foods, to try (when the budget allows) to buy organic.  She is a avid gardener and has as awesome variety of plants in the ground already.  She introduced us to ushering at Spoleto (I will tell you about that another time). 

I think the one thing I love about my friend Dena is that she is not afraid to speak her mind.  One day I hope to grow up to be just like her!

In the mean time for brunch yesterday we had the most delicious, healthy (somewhat) meal that is from the Eating Healthy website.

Artichoke Scramble Eggs Benedict

Ingredients

  • 8 canned artichoke bottoms, (1 1/2 cans), rinsed (see Shopping Tip)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, divided, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 1/3 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufch√Ętel)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss artichoke bottoms with 2 teaspoons oil and 2 teaspoons oregano. Place them top-side down on half of a large baking sheet. Spread pancetta in an even layer on the other half. Roast until the artichokes are just beginning to brown and the pancetta is crispy, 12 to 14 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice and water in a small bowl until smooth. Beat eggs and egg whites in a large bowl.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, folding and stirring frequently with a heatproof rubber spatula until almost set, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in cream cheese, the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and salt.
  5. To serve, divide the artichoke bottoms among 4 plates. Top each artichoke with equal portions scrambled egg, crispy pancetta and creamy lemon sauce. Garnish with oregano sprigs, if desired.

Nutrition

Per serving : 282 Calories; 19 g Fat; 6 g Sat; 7 g Mono; 333 mg Cholesterol; 9 g Carbohydrates; 17 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 737 mg Sodium; 171 mg Potassium
1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why?

When the husband and I arrive home after a long day at work we discuss how our days went.  We try to find the positive and uplifting events that effected our day and let the negative sort of go to the side (most of the time).

He tell me about his adventures and how his Real Estate business is going, catches me up on what happened in the office and that sort of thing.  Usually he throws in some current events (sports included) and then it is my turn.  This is the tale of one such conversation.

Yesterday we opened the store early to let in some shoppers.  Through the door first was a pleasant lady about my age, she asked some questions and I left to get her the answers.  She was the kind of customer that asks many questions (which I don't mind) so we got as many answers as possible and than off she went wondering through the store.

A while later we met up again, she was in the Gourmet department talking to the lead in that area.  She couldn't help but share a story with me.  She was getting the DNA results back while she was shopping about a little baby girl that may or may not be her granddaughter.  Expectantly she was very excited and in the end she found out she is a grandma.  She was over the moon!

I related this story to Michael last night and he asked me "why do people tell you their most intimate secrets?  People you do not know, you have never met and probably will never meet again"?

I have been there for a customer who just left her husband, a customer that was dealing with a very close death, customers that are getting married.  People who are experiencing life changing events.   Why do people share with complete strangers their deepest secrets?  Why do they tell me?  Do I have that kind of face?  Is it that I stand there and listen?  Why?

Why do customers that come in the store seek me out?  Why do they think I am their dearest friend?  Why do they share what they have been up to and how their family is doing?  I have to admit many of these customers do feel like friends especially after being in the store for 5 years.  We live in a small town (yes Charleston is small) and I run into many of them around town so they know my husband, some know my daughters and some of them are friends that we know from outside the store.  I received many hugs and warm holiday wishes at Christmas, they ask what we are up to, how Bear is doing. 

Why?

Are strangers friends we have not met yet? 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spinach and Shrimp Lasagna Rolls with Alfredo Sauce



Sometimes you just have to cook something special!  Michael called yesterday afternoon and was in kind of a funk.  Knowing that showing affection through food is something that will often cheer him up I went on a search for a special recipe.  You all remember the great Lasagna episode from last week...well I had some cooked noodles left over.  In the freezer was also 1/2 a bag of spinach and some shrimp so off to the Internet I went! 

Red sauce doesn't always cut it for me, for some reason it often makes us get up from the table feeling over full so the thought was a white sauce.  I perused many, many recipes but none worked for me.  Either the ratings just weren't good or after reading the ingredients it just turned me off so, using a bit that I had read (mostly the cooking time and suggestions on the amount of cheese to use) this recipe was born.  I was going to include pictures of the new herbs growing merrily in their new pots but the camera has decided it once again needs new batteries.

Ready to go in the oven!

Spinach and Shrimp filled Lasagna Roll Ups with Alfredo Sauce

Lasagna
6 lasagna noodles pre-cooked (do not use no cook noodles)
1 box frozen spinach (cooked and squeezed to get all the water out)
¾ lb raw shrimp (de-veined, peeled and coarsely chopped)
1 ½ cups fat free cottage cheese
1 cup Mozzarella shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon basil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups (or more) Alfredo sauce

Alfredo Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups fat free milk

Prepare Alfredo sauce, to do so melt butter in a medium size sauce pan over a medium heat than add the flour. Allow flour to cook for about a minute while stirring it. Add about half the milk, stirring constantly. Add remaining flour and reduce heat to a medium low temp stirring constantly until sauce starts to thicken. While stirring, add the cheese and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

Mix all ingredients together except noodles and sauce. Stir thoroughly to incorporate all ingredients.
Lay noodles out on wax paper (made clean up much easier) put a good sized spoonful of the mixture on each noodle and spread down the length of the noodle. You want to leave some space at the top of the noodle to allow for closure. Roll the noodles from the bottom up and place open side down.

Cover the bottom of the pan with about ½ sauce than put the noodles in the pan with the open side down once again. Pour remaining sauce over noodles (you can add additional cheese at this point if you would like). Cover with foil and place in 350 degree oven for ½ hour, remove cover and allow to bake an additional 25 minutes or until the tops begin to brown.

Yes that is a new dinner plate in the picture.  Have you ever noticed that when you have something you don't care for it never breaks or tears! That was my old dishes....they weren't really ugly, I was just tired of them.  There is a sale going on at World Market right now on dinnerware, buy 4 mix and match and get 20% off.  That alone was not enough to tempt the cheapskate in me but when you add in my 40% discount and the $10 off coupon that I had, I was sold!  I have been debating about these dishes for more than 2 weeks.  I couldn't decide whether to get all 8 matching or mix an match.  I knew that the salad plates just weren't coming home with me but found some great green plates that worked.  The old dinnerware is packed up in the car ready for the trip to the youngest daughters house. 


Monday, April 2, 2012

A Lazy Monday Afternoon

Princess Tat of Tinkle Shed's beautiful picture

The windows are open blowing in the warm sweet air, everything is turning green here and we are in full spring/summer (it's 90 out).  The humidity is low and the sun is showing dappled through the old oaks in the yard.  The plants are doing well, having been re potted last week into these great planter purchased at Big Lots.  Dinner is in the fridge ready to go and Bear is somewhere napping. 

Life is good!