Thursday, June 27, 2013

More Rain



Do you have rituals?  Every morning when I get up I adjust the thermostat and open the front door.  We have Plexiglas on the screen door and I do love letting in the light!  When I stepped out this morning we had clear skies  and the air was fresh.  The storm last night just cleaned the earth.  I always stand there and watch the birds and squirrels...Back inside I make my coffee and read a bit before I turn on my laptop and check what emails I have and get on Facebook to find out what family and friends are up to.  It's like reading the local newspaper!

I was up a wee bit before 0700 and Jim got up an hour later. He's working today but first we had to run into Crescent City to drop Boo off for his grooming.  

Back home it was odd not to have Boo greet us at the door.  Jim headed off to work and for me it was time for breakfast.  I've been having watermelon because I was gifted a huge one and Jim doesn't care for it....so I'm doing my best to eat it all by myself.

Jim was home around noon having finished his job cleaning a cabin.  I had done the laundry and made the bed and was eating lunch.  After he ate we headed out to pick up Boo.  He's always thrilled to see us!  This gal isn't the best groomer but better than me.  We can't seem to get his nails cut.  He's slept most of the time since we got home!  Speaking of sleep...Jim was worn out and took a nap too....He missed the rain shower we had

Jim went to Thursday potluck without me...it's just to hot to  sit outside.  The rain did drop the temperature but it makes it humid

As the sun goes down, we're showered and settled in for the evening.  Right now it's country music but I expect we'll watch Foyle's War on Netflix.  It's another murder mystery set in early WW II England

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Recipe Wednesday

Haven't been doing much...we did pull an Ed Dray (love ya Ed!) yesterday when we went to 3 Banana's for lunch, closed on Tuesdays!  So we stopped in at Belle's Bistro and had a salad and sandwich.

This morning I watered my plants and pulled one tomato because it just looked pitiful!  The days are getting hotter and the tomatoes don't like it.  Jim putzed around for a bit outside.  We took Boo for a walk and then stayed inside for the next few hours.  We both read our books, Jim finished The Thief by Clive Cussler and I started My Beef With Meat by Rip Esselstyn.  Jim napped for a bit while I checked my eyelids for leaks on the Lazyboy.

Late afternoon we had a wild thunderstorm roll through. Power went off several times but all is quiet now.

For dinner we had Minestrone Soup and corn muffins



Minestrone Soup---my way

1 onion chopped


2-3 cloves garlic, crushed/minced


1 1/2 cups celery chopped, 3 ribs maybe


olive oil for sauteing if you want


1 can diced tomatoes


6 cups water


1 t oregano


2 bay leaves


2 t basil


2 cups veggies like carrots, bell pepper, potato....what ever you have


1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed


1 cup pasta,uncooked


1/2 cup parsley

cook! make sure your hard veggies are soft before adding pasta...
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Columbia



Last Thursday we decided to drive into St Augustine to have lunch at Columbia Restaurant.  Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr.  It is the oldest Florida restaurant and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world....read more of the history here,
http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/

We'd seen it on previous trips and learned more about it online and thought the menu was interesting.





We started with "Sangria de Cava, Spain's wonderful bubbling cooler made tableside with Jaume Serra Cristalino Spanish Cava (sparkling wine), Torres Brandy and Torres Orange Liqueur, with citrus juices"

I could drink this everyday!  Very refreshing...we ordered a pitcher..just right for our luncheon.  To get us started they brought out enough Cuban bread to make a sandwich with for each of us





The dining room was full of people so I didn't take any pictures except this one.  These tile pictures were everywhere and we were seated in what looked to me like a courtyard.  It was all enclosed but it had a skylight and fountain.  Perhaps at one time it was all open to the elements.

We decided to try a trio of Tapa's, 

Coca de Langosta
Coca, the Catalonian flatbread, is brushed with
our 1905 sauce, topped with Spanish chorizo,
diced vine-ripe tomatoes, Maine lobster meat and
Manchego cheese. Baked until crisp, drizzled with

Piquillo pepper alioli.  This was my favorite.

Shrimp and Crabmeat
Alcachofas
Baked casserole of shrimp, crabmeat and artichoke

hearts topped with grated Romano cheese.  This was tasty but very rich for someone who doesn't eat a lot of seafood or cheese.  Jim ate most of it

Albondigas
Ybor City was founded by Cubans, Spaniards and
Italians. Almost every meal, baptism, wedding
reception or any gathering featured Albondigas,
Spanish for meatballs. Our family recipe is made
with ground choice veal and beef blended with
our secret Columbia seasoning, simmered in a

mild Catalan tomato sauce.  Very light and fluffy meatballs and the sauce was yummy.

We also tried their famous 1905 salad,
"1905" Salad
®
The Columbia’s legendary salad
tossed at your table. Crisp Iceberg
lettuce with julienne of baked ham,
natural Swiss cheese, tomato, olives,
grated Romano cheese and our famous

garlic dressing. With their secret ingredient, Worcestershire sauce splashed on. Very tasty!

We did not finish our tapa's, but we tried!  And Jim decided I needed some flan for dessert...it was yummy!

If you visit St Augustine and want to treat yourself, this is the place!



El Galeon has contracted with the city to stay awhile. Someone has even booked it for a private party the 4th of July.

Before we drove over we stopped and got fuel paying $3.49 using the fuel perks from Winn-Dixie.  $.40 off the price is a good deal!
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Recipe Wednesday

Haven't done much of anything the past few days.  Jim worked over the weekend and Monday and Tuesday.  And when he was home he did chores around here.  He's off for a few days and so far no plans...

This is the pin that Sonsearae brought to me.  I love frogs and jewelry so it's perfect!  It's enamel on silver and did you know my favorite color is green?



Today's recipe is a refreshing summer drink!  I've not tried it but it looks simple enough to make.

Making your own soda can be easy.  The concept is simple syrup and carbonated water combining into bubbling bliss.  We have a soda stream and Jim makes his own sodas. The colder this bubbling beverage is served in summer, the more refreshing and sought after it is.  So, make a bottle of syrup, keep a bottle of well chilled sparkling water or club soda on hand and get ready to open your own soda station


Homemade Orange Soda

4 oranges juiced to make 2 cups
zest from 4 oranges
zest from 1 lime
2/3 cups honey or 1 cup sugar

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by 1/3, stirring frequently.
Allow mixture to cool slightly.  Strain the syrup through a cheesecloth to remove any large pieces of zest and pulp. Place in a bottle and keep refrigerated.

To enjoy orange soda, mix 1 part syrup with approximately 3 parts sparkling water or club soda depending on your personal preference.  Serve over ice.

recipe from Simple Bites


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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sonsearae and Chris Visit!

Last Thursday was chore day and it included defrosting the freezer...it was way over due and I don't know why I always put it off.  We spent the week prior trying to eat the excess food!  For such a small space I can manage to cram a lot of goodies in there.

Speaking of food did you know there's a website to help you find free food?  That's right I said FREE, www.fallingfruit.org.  See if there is something in your neighborhood

I've been reading Omnivore's Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.  Quite interesting...so far I've learned about corn, from the field to our plate and all points in between.  It's amazing how we've became so dependent on corn in all it's incarnations.  What are you reading?

On Friday Sonsearae, Chris and Sierra met us at Corky Bell's for lunch.  Sierra is their Godchild and visiting for a month.  They were on their way to St. Augustine.


Sierra and Sonsearae


Chris

They also brought gifts!  Jim got his Father's Day card with a restaurant gift card and I got a very pretty frog pin. They also treated us to lunch, thank you very much Sonsearae and Chris!  The food was good as usual and we enjoyed our visit with them.  All to soon we parted ways as they continued on to St Augustine and we headed into Palatka for some shopping.  

First stop was Lowe's for bird seed and hardware...Then we meandered down to Walmart where Jim found some windshield wipers and I picked up some  groceries.  We needed something to cook on our new grill!


Last night I cooked up a tray full of zucchini,  yellow squash, peppers and boiled potatoes. What more do you need for dinner?  Oh, Jim also had some leftover grilled shrimp from Corky Bell's 

We only have the one reversible grid and I think another one is needed.  If you want to cook pancakes or eggs you need a flat surface.  I'll also be able to do shrimp boils!

I hope all the dads out there enjoyed their day!
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Recipe Wednesday

We have a new grill!  Well it's more of a stove because it has two burners and multiple do dads you can get for it.  Our small grill is great for small servings.  But if we want to grill meat and veggies there wasn't a lot of room for both.  Hopefully with this set up I can cook more of what I like.  The brand is Camp Chef www.campchef.com if you want to see all the 'extras'.   It is heavy so we'll see about 'more stuff'.  Oh and this model has removable legs.  I first saw it at Gander Mountain and checked out their website and Amazon when we got home....cheaper at Amazon and no taxes or shipping (I'm a Prime Member).  The propane tank Jim found on Amazon and it also arrived today. Just need to fill it and we can start cooking!  
We're getting a cover for it too.  Should be here in a couple days.  The grill is reversible with a griddle on the other side.  Jim is ready to cook bacon and sausage on it!



What do you think should be the first thing we cook on it?  Any favorites you want to share with me?

Jim worked Saturday, Sunday and Monday so I've been holding down the fort.  Today we head to St Augustine for his endoscopy. He's had one before so this should be a breeze and I get to drive us home!

I've been picking tomatoes and bell peppers almost daily and I don't see any more tomatoes forming.  During the hot days of summer the blossoms just fall off and the season is over.  So far the bell peppers are still making little peppers so I'll find out how long those plants will last.  No new cucumbers even though there are a lot of blossoms.  

Today's recipe is very tasty!  I discovered it at www.bushbeans.com I love black beans and mangoes so this is perfect for me

Black Bean and Mango Salad
 4 servings

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced mango (about 1 1/2 but two would be just perfect!)
1 cup diced sweet red pepper
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 T olive oil (I didn't use any)
1 seeded jalapeno, minced
salt if needed

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, toss and serve!

Couldn't get any easier.  Jim thought the mango was mushy and I think firm peaches would probably work just as well

We had a brief thunderstorm roll through before dinner last night and at one point we had rain and sunshine at the same time but I didn't find a rainbow.  For dinner I fixed a baked enchilada dish that we like.  Real easy, corn tortillas, refried beans, spinach and enchilada sauce.  Fix like you would a lasagna,nuke it for about 12-15 minutes.

We spend most evenings watching Netflix, Midsomer Murders is our current favorite.  Who doesn't like a good British murder mystery?
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Tropical Storm Andrea

Hurricane season officially began June 1st and here in Florida we got it started with a bang!  Tropical storm Andrea formed in the Gulf as a low pressure system and gathered strength enough to get named.  We had several days of intermittent rain and yesterday was mostly rain.  As the TS was battering the West Coast town of Cedar Key we were in St Augustine attending to business.  To me it looked like the center of the storm went ashore just north of Cedar Key. For pictures and information, check out Pat's blog, Every Miles a Memory, http://everymilesamemory.com/blog/ 

As I type this the sun is out and we have sunny skies,not a cloud to be seen.  I haven't checked the weather, but I'm sure the worst of it is over for us, as this system heads north up the Atlantic coast.

We checked the weather before we left at 1000 and Jim decided there would be no danger to our awning so we left it out.  My only concern was possible streets flooding.  As we got to the intersection of hwy 309 and 17 we were directed to turn right instead of left to get to St Augustine.  There had been an accident and all traffic was being rerouted by law enforcement officers standing in the pouring rain, some with no hats!  And let me tell you the detour was through some country back roads and without guidance I'm not sure we could have made our way on our own!  At every turn was this drenched officer pointing the way.  I guess they don't have detour signs in this area!

Finally after 15 to 20 minutes we were back on Highway 17 and heading to the turn off for St Augustine. Normally we wouldn't go out in heavy rains but Jim had a doctor's appointment and we had made plans for shopping and having lunch.  Other than the detour we encountered no other problems.

Our first stop was Camping World as Jim needed some sewer supplies for the rig.  After that we headed to a restaurant we saw on a previous visit for a Japanese Hibachi lunch....it was closed and only opens for dinner.  So we checked the phone and found another and it's closed permanently....Jim asked if we could eat elsewhere and apparently from my disappointed tone he decided to find a Japanese restaurant!

So we continued to drive around in the rain retracing our route and ending up back near Camping World. I'm not sure how many miles we drove in a complete circle to arrive at Sushi Bistro but it was well worth the drive and we both enjoyed our lunch very much.  No hibachi tables but our meals were from the hibachi menu.  I had a cucumber roll (I really miss sushi) and a veggie tofu dish.  Jim had shrimp and scallops.  Both meals came with soup, salad and fried rice.  We had hot green tea to drink.  The only thing we didn't eat was my fried rice which I brought home.

Next stop was Diane's Natural Market for my coffee cream and other items I can't get in our area.  This market is small and expensive but I don't usually buy much there.

Our next stop was Jim's appointment.  He needed to talk to a doctor about his GERD.  The problem is not resolved and his meds are about to be finished.  He had a good visit and likes this doctor who scheduled him for an endoscopy next week to see what's going on.

After this we headed home and arrived just before 1700...Boo was really happy to see us and once I fed him he calmed down.  We had a cup of coffee and decided to skip the Thursday night pot luck.  The rains had mostly stopped by then with just a few light showers passing through.

People pay the doctor for his trouble; for his kindness they still remain in his debt.  ~Seneca

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Something Different

Today I'm going to start something different on this blog. I want to share recipes with y'all and I hope you'll check back every Wednesday to see what I've posted.

Yesterday Jim and I headed into Palatka for lunch at Chili's and some shopping.  Our lunch was very good and relatively cheap for us.  If you discount the $9 for our beer we ended up paying just $14.60 for our meal.  Jim had ribs and I got a salad added onto his meal for just $2.99! My salad was the Santa Fe chicken salad which I ordered without meat or cheese.  I also had an email (just sign up at Chili's) coupon for a free appetizer or dessert.  We had the chips and dips, guacamole and salsa.  We didn't finish those or my salad....but we had no leftovers to cart home.....

Stopped at Walmart for some glues Jim needed for repairs around the house.  Then a stop at Publix for a couple grocery items.  

Despite the size of the city of Palatka there isn't much there except the big box stores.  We haven't even been to the mall because it's pitiful 

Since tomato season is starting up across the south and heading north I though I'd post this recipe I found at Cook's Illustrated.  Jim and I both like it and it's a great way to use stale bread and extra tomatoes!

Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)

Panzanella recipes benefit from the juices exuded by the tomatoes soaking into the bread. Though it may sound like a lot of work to make this salad, it isn't, just make your croutons, or buy some before hand

6 cups rustic Italian or French bread cut into one inch pieces (1/2 - 1 Pound)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes, cored and seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 T red wine vinegar
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced thin
1 shallot, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh basil,chopped


  • 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss bread pieces with 2 tablespoons oil and ¼ teaspoon salt; arrange bread in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Toast bread pieces until just starting to turn light golden, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • 2. Gently toss tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt in large bowl. Transfer to colander and set over bowl; set aside to drain for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • 3. Whisk remaining 6 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon pepper into reserved tomato juices. Add bread pieces, toss to coat, and let stand for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • 4. Add tomatoes, cucumber, shallot, and basil to bowl with bread pieces and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

  • I made my croutons before hand as I had a lot of rolls to use up before I had to toss them.  And I'm sure if you bought them already made it would save time.  It makes a lovely meal and reminded me of Bruschetta....just served in a bowl!
  •  Let me know if you try this and what you think of it!

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Picking Tomatoes!

    I took these pictures just a few days ago of my potted garden.  I have planted some cucumber around a tree but they aren't ready for their debut.

    I have picked maybe a dozen tomatoes, one green pepper, some radishes and one Armenian cucumber




    These five plants are my producers!  three tomato plants and two pepper plants.  One pot was a patio planted pot.  It had tomato, basil and oregano in it.  The oregano is going gangbusters while the basil and tomato not so much.  As a matter of fact I've already cut down the basil and tomato as the weather is getting hot.  If they bounce back, great if not I still have the oregano!


    The left pot has several cucumber plants.  I should have thinned them down to one or two.  It seems to be doing ok with flowers but not many cucumbers.  The two pots center and right have radishes and scallions


    This little guy posed for the longest time!  He's on a plant that was given to me and when in bloom has the  prettiest purple flowers

    The other day Jim and I went to Deland, Florida.  About 40 miles south of here.  It's a college town, home of Stetson 
    University, Florida's oldest private college and home to under 30,000 residents. What a lovely town!
    After we parked the truck we saw this restaurant and the end of the lane....Pizza!  LOL
    We decided to check out Bellini's and it smelled great when we walked in so decided to have lunch.  Everything we had was wonderful and if you're in this area check it out!  We started with 1/2 an antipasto plate that included salami,pastrami, cheeses, black and green olives, pepperoncini's, lettuce, tomato and onion slices and for some reason potato salad. Jim ordered a small pizza which really wasn't very small.  I splurged and ordered a pastrami sandwich with cheese and it was huge!  I took half of it home and Jim came home with two thirds of his pizza. Of course we had a cold beer with the meal.



    After lunch we decided to stroll the main drag which happens to be Highway 17.  Restaurants and shops line several blocks and we both want to go back and check out the restaurants!  The shops are a mix of junk, antiques and clothing.


    There were potted flowers on the corners, very colorful and welcoming.

     


    Some interesting architecture


    Read more about the city here: http://www.deland.org/Pages/DeLandFL_WebDocs/about

    If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.  ~James Michener
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