Monday, December 16, 2019

The Holidays are here & looking forward

The Holidays are here!  Are you stressed yet?   Ready for a vacation? Done and over with the rush and hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping? 

I'm not.   Want to know why?  Because last year we had a house fire on Christmas Eve.  That event put a lot of things into perspective.  It reminded us about what matters most in our life and in what energies we expend.

2019 is coming to a close, and with 2020 looming, we want to build on more of that foundation.   We grow our own, we shop local, we gift handmade items, we make our own stuff when we can, we try to buy things with less packaging, we use fresh or whole foods, we use less toxins, have converted to a lot more natural cleaners. We also put a lot of stock in adventures and creating memories, not just buying materialistic things.  At the end - are we happier?  Yes.  If shit hit the fan and the world markets crashed - we could survive!

I've been so busy that I've not written out a bunch of recipes.   But I have some favorite things I've made in the last few months I'll make note of. 
Gumbo Night was another success!   Ribs, gumbo, fried green tomatoes, homemade sour french bread - oh so good!   My Gumbo is a prawn and andouille sausage version.  It's got a few "secret ingredients" and lots of love! It freezes well so I can't wait to have some for Mardi Gras!

It's not fall until we make a big pot of Harvest Tomato Soup!   It's what it is - tomatoes fresh harvested, roasted, and made into wonderful soup!  It's a fantastic soup that pairs well with some crusty bread!

Trying to lower your carb intake?  How about our Sheet pan Spicy Apricot Chicken with Mushrooms and Green Beans!   Combining our own Apricot Jam with some Thai Sweet Chili sauce, cooked chicken and green beans and sliced mushrooms - YUMMY!!!

Growing up my mom always order "Pollo ala crema" at Ixtapa Mexican restaurants, and since she will not eat mushrooms - I always got them!    This recipe was sans the mushrooms, but for my first try, we really enjoyed it! 

You may be able to tell, but we like to have a Mexican inspired dish at least weekly.  "Taco Tuesday" is our nod to the hispanic and latino cultures that are part of Americana today.    B likes hardshell tacos, I prefer soft.   So we can properly enjoy the hardshell tacos, I bought "Taco" plates.  They were on clearance for $2.00!   Taco Plate nights are some of our favorites!

Sourdough/French Rolls.    Sounds amazing right?   I can't tell you how many of these I've thrown out.  If you don't use just enough sugar for the yeast to sourdough ratio, or enough salt, they taste blah.  But when you get it right, they are DIVINE!    I would eat these daily if I could, but alas too much wheat and I go into autoimmune overload!   Thus I keep a bag in the freezer, ready to warm up as needed!

Speaking of wheat - my other favorite... Pasta.  Fresh Pasta.   Fresh Egg Pasta made with backyard chicken eggs. These were the three pastas that my nephew, niece and I made over the Thanksgiving holiday.  It was their chicken's eggs, and their first time making pasta.   I gotta say i wasn't sure how eggy spaghetti would turn out - but it was great!  To keep things simple we used jarred sauces.  The Kids choose spaghetti (marinara( and large macaroni (alfredo), with me choosing bucatini (pesto).  Spaghetti with Marinara was the winner!

With tiny bits of snow trying to make it to ground, today I picked a bunch of rosemary from our 8 year old rosemary bush.  I'll dry several pieces and might just infuse some Olive Oil with it for those rolls I have in the freezer!

Now you're caught up on my cookery items!     How about the Books?!

I've been so busy that I've also not read as much this summer. I know, I have the coolest little reading nook and I've just not used it.   Maybe it's cause the Tablet with netflix is so easy to use while being in the kitchen, or when cleaning.   But reading really helps focus me on only the page in front of me and it really helps quiet all the jumbled thoughts that go in and out of my head on a daily basis.  Am I crazy? Nope.  Unfortunately I've been really noticing that the words I speak are not what I think.  There appears to be correlation for when there are times I don't read or speak much.  For my job I don't talk during the day.  I talk to myself, in my head - but not really to others.   So with all of that, it's no wonder my hubby looks at me when I say thermometer instead of speedometer.  Yikes!

So what's up on the reading list?  How about Nora Roberts "The One" series.  It's her delve into apocalyptic fiction, and so far so good!  I've also caught up on the "Kendra Michaels" series by Iris and Roy Johansen and a few other Amazon finds.  It's hard to use my tablet as an e-reader, so my Liliana Hart series is just going to have to wait.

Once the snow hits, I can't wait to cuddle up by the tree, with a hot cup of Barry's Irish Tea and a book.   So happy and merry holiday season - cheers to a wonderful time with friends, family, and lots of memories made!

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