Springtime flowers

March 20, 2013 § 2 Comments

My friend Cheryl recently repurposed some beautiful shot glasses into flower vases.

Flowers 1

They make much better vases than shot glasses, and are perfect for holding Cheryl’s spring blooms.   Cheryl has a beautiful garden, and there’s always something in bloom.

Flowers 2

She lives in a condominium at the water’s edge, and in front of her home, there’s a plot of land about 15 feet by 10 feet.  It’s always bursting with blooms, and whenever Dave and I go there to visit her, we marvel at her gardening skills.



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Week in review: 7/27/2012

July 27, 2012 § 3 Comments

This past week, I drove twice to San Antonio, twice to Austin, and twice to Houston.  Amazingly, I only used two tanks of gas, but that’s because I drive a VW TDI Jetta.  It’s a diesel, and it gets amazing mileage.  It was many hours on the road, but I’m completely fine with that.  Don’t think that I was driving dangerously because  I took a picture while I was driving…I think the two vehicles that you see in this picture are the ONLY vehicles I saw on the road the entire time…yes, the road was just that empty. 

I attended an Army graduation ceremony in San Antonio for the daughter of two very good friends.  She’s in her second year of medical school, and everyone is so proud of her.  I was happy to be her “family” member in the audience (even though I’m technically not related to her, I’d like to think that I am).  Before graduation, she was able to spend two days in Houston with me and Dave, which was especially nice.

When I wasn’t in San Antonio and Houston, I was in the Austin area with Dave’s birth family.  Dave is adopted.  A few years ago, I found his birth family.  They have been very much a part of our family ever since we found them.   Dave’s mother and I made chicken enchiladas one afternoon, and they were so delicious.  She’s an accomplished cook, and it was such fun to collaborate with her in her well-equipped kitchen, which is TWICE the sice of our farmhouse kitchen.

The next day, we made Dave’s dad’s Mexican eggs for breakfast…so, so, so tasty, and very easy to make.  The recipe is here, if you’re interested.

Libby’s cousin, and a trick for red beans and rice

February 27, 2012 § 3 Comments

Libby’s cousin whisked through town this weekend.  He’s one of our most favorite people, and we always look forward to seeing him.  We weren’t sure what time he’d be arriving, so out came the ol’ crockpot and Libby’s Red Beans and Rice recipe.  We like Red Beans and Rice because it’s easy to prepare, and it’s something that you can start in the morning, and then pay absolutely no attention to during the day, and it will turn out fabulous.  After making it so many times, it wasn’t until this time that we discovered that its texture and taste is so much better, if you just take the time to mash the beans 1-2 hours before serving.  Who knew?  At any rate, it turned out to be the best red beans and rice we have ever eaten (and we just updated our recipe accordingly).  But of course, this may have ever-so-slightly had something to do with the Prosecco we sipped on the patio prior to eating.  For those unfamiliar with Prosecco, it’s a pseudo-champagne.  It’s bubbly, unpretentious, delightful, and perfect with Cajun food.

Before dinner, we had snacks on the patio.  It was chilly (48 degrees), but with all of the twinkle lights, it seemed much warmer (and just look at that view of the beautiful duckpond).

Of course, we were wearing heavy sweaters and down vests.  Plus, the Prosecco made us feel warm, too. This is a very grainy picture, but not bad for an iPhone.  Yes, I should have taken a picture with the regular camera, but by the time I made it back inside, found the camera, and then hauled it outside, the light was gone…so this is the best I could get.

You know?  This is the life…it really is.  It doesn’t get much better than this.  Beautiful view, delicious food, decent wine, and good friends.  Who could ask for more?

Ok, Creative Noshing…here you go

February 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

Creative Noshing tagged us in her blog….don’t know if you’ve found her yet, but she writes about food.  Fabulous food.  Check out her Gorilla bars. Dave and I are going to make them this weekend.

So, evidently, we are being requested to answer a few questions, and we have to tag someone else (we’re going to tag Wuppenif, because we love reading about their life, adventures, and food).  So, Wuppenif, it’s your turn now.

The Ten Questions:

1.Describe yourself in seven words.

Libby: An Asperger’s scientist foodie interested in everything

Dave: disorganized (Libby wrote that), innovative, and complex

2.  What keeps you up at night?

Libby:  my PhD dissertation, and wondering if Otis is stealing out of the kitchen trash again

Dave:  ideas

3.  Whom would you like to be?

Libby:  me

Dave: me

4.  What are you wearing now?

Libby: business professional

Dave: same

5.  What scares you?

Libby: nothing

Dave:  nothing

6.  What are the best and worst things about blogging?

Best: both of us doing something together, and figuring out what to write about next.

Worst:  Libby’s darned camera that takes lousy pictures (we’ll be getting a new one, soon)

7.  What was the last website you looked at?

Libby’s company webpage.

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

We both kind of like the way we are now, thanks.
9.  Slankets, yes or no?
Very disturbing.

10. Tell us something about the person who tagged you.

Interesting foodie.

Dianne’s chicken soup

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friend Dianne invited me over for lunch recently.  It was chicken soup that she’d simmered for hours, a beautiful salad prepared the very best way (crunchy, with those little tomatoes that pop in your mouth), a crisp dry white wine, and for dessert…snappy little ginger cookies.  The food was healthy, beautiful, and delicious, but just as good was the tour of Dianne’s new home.  Her last house was destroyed in Hurricane Ike, and she and her husband were fortunately able to rebuild on the same site.

Dianne’s new home is perfectly designed (a washer/dryer in the Master closet, which is EXACTLY what Dave and I have been wanting for years), a large main living area, and no formal dining room (a formal dining room is the most useless room in an entire house, if you ask me).  And the kitchen…the kitchen was wonderful.  It was part of the main living area, and outfitted with white cabinetry, subway tile, double refrigerator units, a large gas cooktop, built-in microwave, built-in trash container, lots of storage with plenty of very strong and deep drawers for hiding everything.  There were also two granite-topped islands, a big deep stainless sink, and open shelving along one wall for glasses.  The kitchen, like the rest of the house, was floored in luxurious planked hardwood, with a dark stain and and a beautiful grain.  Adjacent to the kitchen was a dining area with a large table (which seats 12) with those industrial looking metal chairs that I have been in love with ever since I saw them in the Home Decorator’s catalog.  They were pretty comfortable, too.

I felt as if I was in a Martha Stewart photo shoot, but this was better, because I got to eat Dianne’s soup…which she gave me the recipe for…which she said I could share with you here.  And by the way…do not forget the lemon.  Dianne says that the lemon really makes the meal, and I certainly agree.  In fact, Dave, who says he “hates” lemon misses it when I forget to spritz it on important things like soup.  It brightens the flavor somehow.

Dianne’s chicken soup

1 whole chicken (giblets removed)

2 onions

4-6 ribs celery

Water

2 carrots, peeled and sliced (or a handful of baby carrots, sliced)

2 potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the chicken in a stockpot.  Cut one of the onions into large pieces and add to the pot, along with 2-3 ribs of the celery, also cut into large pieces.   Add water to cover.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked through, and the meat falls off the bone (about 1 to 1-1/2 hours).  Remove pot from heat, and allow to cool.

Remove chicken from broth, reserving cooking liquid.  Separate meat from the bones and skin, shredding the meat and placing in a large plastic bag or covered bowl.  Place the chicken meat in the refrigerator overnight.  Strain the chicken broth and return it to the pan.  Cover, and place broth in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, skim off the solidified chicken fat that has risen to the top of the broth.   Place pot with the broth on the top of the stove and bring to a gentle simmer.  Add 1 chopped onion, the remaining celery (chopped), carrots, the diced potato (if desired), and salt and pepper to taste.  When vegetables are almost cooked through, return the chicken meat to the pan.  Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until chicken is heated through and vegetables are completely cooked through.  Adjust seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro, and wedges of fresh lemon.

Serves 8-10.

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