Friday, November 27, 2015

A First

About ten years or so ago I developed all sorts of tummy issues and like most folks, just suffered through.

Then my brother was diagnosed Celiac and (we suspect) my Dad was too before he passed.

So I gave up all things gluten about 5 years ago.  It really wasn't all that hard since I had never been a bread, cake, cookie and pie kinda girl.

Pizza was tough and I freely admit that every once in awhile a slice or two might pass my lips but I'd bounce back to my GF avoidance lifestyle.

And all my tummy issues went away.

I was making cookies for SM the other day and it occurred to me that I'd never really considered making myself some baked goods using almond flour which is the "Go-To" flour for GF folks.

I love almonds and almond flavored things, so I bought my first bag of almond flour and trolled around the Internet yesterday for some ideas.

And I made an Almond Lemon cake using this recipe.

Flourless Lemon Almond Cake

I skipped on the cardamom that the recipe asked for and used lemon extract instead of zest, but what emerged was downright yummy.  SM liked it too. 

Instead of leaving it at room temp, I cut it up and stuck it in the fridge.  
Even better.

Now I'm on a mission.
I want to try cookies next.

These Shortbread Chocolate and Orange and Cranberry look good.

 Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies in 3 varieties

Oh My...It's a good thing I've embraced my curvy, middle-aged self.

Mamma's gonna get a bit more fluffy before all is said and done.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


We had a bumper crop of winter squash this year and I (being the type to put off till tomorrow what I should do today) cleaned and stored the squash in our guest bedroom which is rather cool and dark.

The guest bedroom just so happens to be right next door to the main bathroom in the house so as you walk by, it's just natural to glance over into that room.

SM says it looks like a bunch of minions gathered together.  

I must say he's spot-on in his observation. 

Image result for minions

Too bad though.  Now that the weather is cooler and I have more time off from work, the "minions" will be chopped up and roasted in the dutch oven and then mashed with butter, salt and pepper to accompany our holiday meals.

Oh Yum...Minions never tasted so good.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tis The Season

We woke up to a hard freeze this morning.

Goodbye mosquito's.

Goodbye flies.

Goodbye spiders, fleas, no-see-ums and pretty much any other creepy-crawlies you can think of.

Hello fuzzy slippers.
Hello warm soft blankets.

Hello soups and casseroles.  
Hot tea, hot cocoa and hot cookies.

Hello to sticking my nose out the door to see if I want to take a walk at 5am and Hello to laziness and an extra 5 lbs when I decide not to.

Hello to sunny warm spots on kitchen floors with puppies sacked out sleeping.

Hello holidays.

I'm actually in the mood for you this year.
Shocking isn't it?
Go figure.

Are you?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tail Travails

We've been sitting in a soupy, foggy, drizzly mess for the past week.  

This means that the dogs have to be pushed off the back porch to do their business. 

You'd think they'd enjoy the "red carpet" treatment I have laid out for them.

But NOOOOOO...They hang out at the top of the stairs and look at me with their sad eyes as I yell "GO POTTY" for all the neighbors to hear.  

Even this has failed as a motivator and I've had to apply the old Foot to Back End technique as a prompt to get them out in the yard.

Said yard was (of course) looking like a wheat field, the grass was so high.

I got home the other night and jogged behind the mower in the twi-dark in an effort to alleviate some of their misery.  

I suppose squatting in the tall grass makes for a ticklish experience. 

Did it help?
Not really.
And today we are forecasted to have an all day hard rain event.

 Image result for dogs in raincoats and boots

Time for raincoats and boots?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Not Too Nice

My old cheap-ass stove has been on the fritz for over a year now.  

SM would constantly replace the gizmo that kept the electric coil from heating up but within a few months another one would fizzle out and I'd be back to square one. 

Plus the oven door was catty-wampus and wouldn't close flush so not only was I heating the house, I was baking at God knows what temperature.

So we went shopping for a new stove.
And found squat.

Oh, you can get all manner of smooth top glass electric ranges and don't think I wasn't tempted with SM whispering in my ear.

But I know better.
I'm a cook, not a re-heater.  
(That's way God made microwaves.)
And cooks come in all manner of shapes and sizes.  

My size is wide.
As in a wide splatter zone.
I tend to get messy when I cook.
Plus, I just knew in my heart that I'd have that pretty glass top ruined in no time flat.

So I refused to be seduced.

Since coil top electric stoves are so out of style, it was pretty slim pickings at the big box stores.  SM dragged me to Sears in hopes that Kenmore might turn my head.  

I stood there with my index finger pressing the metal top up and down with a sad look in my eye.  You could almost hear it pop.

"Are you sure you don't want to try an smooth top?"  SM moved down the line to a GE and opened the oven door.  "This feels nice.  Heavier."  SM said about the quality.

"Yes it does.  I wonder if they make coil tops?" And asked the sales person that very question and received a blank stare.

Clearly I was speaking in tongues.

Once we got home I pulled up the GE site online and sure enough they make them, but finding a higher quality one at a retail shop was just not gonna happen.

I am not one to make a major purchase sight unseen.
But I did this time.
I bought the most expensive, highest rated GE electric stove that they had.
And spent a whopping $494.  
It was on sale. 

Lowes told me that it was a special order and might take a month to get in.  What's another 30 days...{shrug}  

While we were at it, I also ordered a Broan range hood that was also special order because I wanted it in black instead of stainless.  It seems to me that stainless is available in so many finishes I'd never be able to match it.

Well, the stove was delivered the other day along with the hood.  
Two weeks early!  Yeah me!

The stove top is heavy and firm.
The oven door is also heavy. 

I cranked that sucker up to 400 to burn off the manufacturer fumes and the surrounding area stayed cool.

SM and I decided to mount the hood this morning.  
Easy Peazy right?

The hood didn't come with mounting screws and was designed to be hard wired into the house.  We had a wall plug inside the cabinet.

Why is it that simple stuff turns into all day drama?  
You'd think we'd be used to that by now.

So back to Lowes we went.  

Screws, washers and nuts purchased for an under the cabinet mount.  

We then had to talk to the Dude to explain we needed a plug in cord on one end with a hardwire "pig-tail" on the other.  Dude walks us over to the garbage disposal area (huh?) and yoinks a cord off the wall.  

"Garbage disposals have the same issue.  Some houses have a wall plug like yours and sometimes it's a hard wire."

Fine.  So back to the house we go to get it hung.

We both stood back looking.

"How do you like it?"  SM ventured.


"Nice enough?"  SM asked.

"Not too nice."  I replied.  "If it was too nice then I'd have to re-do the counter tops and get a new dishwasher and fridge."

SM gave me that look.  You know the one. 

"As it is..."  I continued,  "You know we'll need to decide on a new back splash and once that's done consider new flooring..."  

My voice climbing louder as SM turns his back on me and walks away.

Somebody around here watches way too much HGTV.  @:)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Modge Podge

Modge Podge. a word used to describe a confused or disorderly mass or collection of things; a "mess" or a "jumble".

Well, that's a pretty spot on description of what's been happening in my life lately.  
It's been a Modge Podge out there my friends!

First off, my work life has been a blurr.  
One day was SO busy I seriously considered sacking out in reception.  
What was the point of going home only to have turn around and come back in?  

Good thing security throws us out or I'd have been curled up under my desk. 

I work with a great crew and of course we rocked learning all our new tech and I kinda think I impressed the clinical crew that came in to oversee us.  

Could there be a job offer out there in the future?  
But I wouldn't like all the travel.  
Every time I'm on an airplane I get sick and these folks live on planes.
No Thanks.

Secondly, there's been a bit of extended family drama that makes me appreciate how lucky I am to have SM.  

He's been a lot of things to me.  
Best Friend.  
Financial Advisor.  
Life Coach.

But best of all, he's a MAN.  

He knows what it takes to be a man and he steps up everytime.  

There are a lot of guys out there who "think" they're a man but they're not.
They don't have the stones to step up.  
And so they stay boys all their lives.

Thank God I got me a man.

And lastly we turn to the home front.  
I might finally have a weekend where I have the energy to get out to the garden and clean it up.  

We had temps in the low 30's here this past week.  
Ice on the car windshield and dead zinnias in the back garden. 

But SM bought me some Mum's to spark up the front door.

And he drove out to Hendersonville last weekend for our yearly apple supply while I lay at home in a work induced coma in my recliner.

And yesterday he announces that he bought not just ONE Autumn Blaze Maple trees, but TWO. 

One to shade our back porch and the other for the front yard.  
SM feels it's too plain since we cut down the birch last year

"And why didn't you pay the nursery to come out and plant them?"  I asked eyebrows in hairline as I went out to take a peek at our new additions.

"Hey...I can dig a hole." SM says.  "I hope your back is in good shape."

How did I get pulled into this?  I thought to myself wondering if SM had bitten off more than he can chew.

Look at the size of those root balls.

This is one of those times that I wish SM wasn't feeling quite so manly.

Monday, October 5, 2015

All Is Well

SM and I had last week off and rather than stick around here in the rain (we had no idea how bad it would get at the time) we took off for a road trip.

SM wanted to go to Boston.
I suggested New Orleans.
Hilton Head?  


I had been to Niagara and Toronto before on my own but SM had never been, so that's where we headed.

Canadian Falls and "Yes" it was cold.
Ripleys Aquarium in Toronto was stunning.

Right about Wednesday we were watching late night TV and here comes a report about Joaquin.

I sat up straight when I saw they thought the track might go through Charlotte.

Needless to say, we dodged a bullet there.  Neighbors tell me that we had several inches of rain but NOTHING like whats going on in SC.

On the way home we did swing by Cleveland's West Side Market for the smoked meats and delicious cheeses that we just can't get locally.  We packed our cooler full and then went back in for fresh eating.  SM munched on pickled eggs and bratwurst.  We both shared a Neapolitan and I found heaven in a lemon macaroon.

We finished up our travels in Columbus.  It just worked out that SM's brother Ron was having his 72nd birthday party this past weekend.  Great party and a nice surprise for Ron who didn't know we were in the area.

I've got today off for doing laundry and cleaning the house.
Maybe mow the overgrown lawn.
Back to the grind tomorrow!

Monday, September 28, 2015

In The Mist

We've finally hit a patch of rainy weather.  

Well, mist actually.  

Maybe some heavier drizzle from time to time. 

Unfortunately, it's misted every day this weekend so no outdoor fun occurred around here.

In fact, another storm system is supposed to push out the drizzly clouds that's been sitting on top of us in favor of some honest to goodness rain.

It's forecast to rain everyday this week.
Can't imagine how tall the grass will be by the time we can finally mow it.
I might need to borrow a goat or two.

This flowering vine has taken off and is crawling all over the deck.  I cut it back a bit but it's going bananas with the rain.

SM calls it a Hummingbird Vine. 

I don't know if that's the true name of it but most days we see a small male hummingbird flit around the flowers.

Even in the misty rain.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dry and Drying

No kidding...but it's been dry here.  Fall is usually our driest season and with little to no rain this Summer, the lawn has finally reached the crispy stage.  

We've been mowing once a week up until now but moving forward, I think we'll catch a break on that at least.  

I noticed our neighbor de-thatching his lawn and raising up a dust storm while doing it.  This is the season for over seeding the lawn around here.  Hard to believe anyone would want to be chained to twice daily watering but there you have it.

Even I've vetoed a Fall garden because of the dry spell.  Who wants to have to baby a garden space like that?  I've even passed on planting Mums and Pansies. 

I must say it been rather pretty outside.  
Cool mornings, warm to hot afternoons. 

Zinnia production is way down right now so I've taken to saving the flower heads and drying them for a seed save.  I've planted them in the same spot for years and can't seem to get them to re-seed year over year on their own.

I'll try saving this batch and planting them in a different spot and see if I can get them to grow.

SM has been out enjoying his Man-Cave.  Football season in high gear!


What's Fall like in your backyard?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Beauty And The Beast

Sorry for the silence on the blog.  
Everything's fine.

It's just that August wiped me out heat-wise.  And humidity-wise.

If you enjoy breathing through a hot, wet washcloth then Charlotte, North Carolina is the place for you to be in August.

So I went into blah mode.  
At least from a creative writing perspective that is.

Life still chugs along but it's been mostly work related activities that have occupied my time.  (I've got new Tech to learn this month (Online Training) and Clinical's start next month so it will be a busy Fall.)

So...Lets wrap up the Summer Garden of 2015, shall we?

August could best be described as The Beauty and The Beast month. 

We had tons of butterflies in the Zinnia patch.

It's been a hot summer and very dry so everything died off early.  I'd been accumulating cardboard in my trunk to lay in the beds so one day I asked SM to help me clear out the dead vines.

And that's when we found The Beast(s).

While I was fascinated with the masses of squash bugs we found hiding under all the dead vines, I was also freaked out and pissed off that they were there.

So I looked up how to eradicate them and dragged the Shop Vac out to the garden, filled it with few inches of soap water and proceeded to vacuum my garden.  (I'm sure the neighbors had a good laugh.) 

Word got out as I sucked those bastards up and suddenly the ground and fence posts were in motion with the Evacuation of the Squash bug.


I will say the Shop Vac/soapy water combination worked beautifully.  I went out the next day to inspect the garden and there wasn't a squash bug in sight.  

I have no idea where they went but suspect I'll be invaded with them next year.  Sigh.

In other news, SM is in full football mode now and has set up his Man Cave on the back porch.  We've purchased a small TV that we take in and out as needed.  SM also bought a swivel rocker that was on sale and hung some cord lighting around the edge of the deck roof.  

It's pretty sweet back there although with the heat I'm like a butterfly myself fluttering in and out.

I'm sitting outside now as I write this.  Believe it or not...It's 57 degrees out this morning.

Yeah me!  Fall is FINALLY on it's way!  
One more week of upper 80's and then I'll be in my favorite season of all.