Frigid Friday

I am not a fan of winter.  Some people love their snow and cold.  That’s not me. I chose the South because I just do NOT do ‘cold’.

But here it is…December…and, sure enough, it has decided to be frigid.  As in more than nippy… just not good.  So tonight I moved my tender plants indoors and covered the rest. Next week they can return outdoors.

The good news about freezing?  I am inspired to break out the crock pot, try new casseroles, and make soups/stews/chowders.  This is the new recipe for tomorrow:

Mango Thai Red Curry with Chicken - Restaurant quality, extra saucy, thick and creamy, 1/3 less calories, this Thai Red Curry is truly incredible.   We adore Thai curry…and this one sounds so good!

On the fantasy front…it IS Friday after all… and as I can’t have my dream of living where winter doesn’t exist… we might as well think of ways to stay warm.

Related image

Yep…maybe winter isn’t sooooo bad after all….

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Adventures in Thanksgiving

A crazy busy week that began on Saturday before my birthday and culminated today in a marathon of cooking and experimenting.  It was great!

Reesie invited her ‘sweety’ over to have Thanksgiving with the family. He got to meet AJ and the pets… he survived the shock, ha ha.

One of the goals I set myself for this new year is to not just eat healthier, but to explore new possibilities. What better time to indulge than today?

First up, a departure from the sugar-laden sweet potato casserole with its marshmallow topping invitation to diabetes… instead I made sweet potatoes with coconut sauce and fresh coconut which provided natural sweetness and a surprising crunchy contrast to the creamier sweet potatoes.

This was yummy … next year I am going to find the purple sweet potatoes. That ought to add a nice pop! to the table 😀

Instead of traditional gravy I made a lovely gravy with vegetable broth, sage, and apple cider. It turned out great, even the kids loved it.

Cider-Sage Gravy

And green bean casserole with its mushroom soup and fried onion topping was replaced with wonderful fresh green beans sauteed with a touch of garlic, caramelized onion, mushrooms (in this case brown beech mushrooms for their lovely nutty flavor, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms for their ‘meaty’ texture), fresh ginger, and a splash of my favorite spicy szechuan sauce and sesame oil.

I took some new ideas, tweaked them to fit our tastes, and what was available, and had so much fun in the kitchen this year.  Truly another reason to be so thankful this year.

Can’t wait for the next special occasion to see what I can come up with next.

Hope your Thanksgiving was extra special too.

Mochi madness

Now I admit, the first time I tried mochi I was …well, underwhelmed. My girls assured me we just got a ‘bad’ example.  A couple of months later we tried it again, different brand, different flavor, and ooohhh! Yumm!

Tonight  I was introduced to the next stage of mochi madness….mochi ice cream balls!!

ooooohhh!!! The bliss…sweet, creamy, cold middles (you can also use sorbet if you want to go dairy free…still mmmm!) and the nummy sweet deliciousness of a mochi coating.  Got to try this at home!  Mango is so amazing. Green tea is my favorite.  All the flavors are luscious. So, here is the recipe I am going to try asap.

April foolishness

A gorgeous day in the Lowcountry…mid 80s, clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Wisteria is coming back from the frosts that killed its first flush a couple of weeks ago, camellias and azaleas are offering a scant but determined final bloom and all around my neighborhood there are pinks, reds, corals, and soft purples rejoicing in Spring’s renewal. We have all the windows open every day and night and the fresh air is such a joy after the claustrophobic chill of winter.

The dogs spend a lot more time outdoors.  I spend more free time at the first wave of farm markets.  Last week’s excitement was over asparagus.  This week I am giddy over the prospect of first crop green (spring) garlic (as farmers thin their fields) and sugar snap peas.

Spring’s bounty in Asparagus, leek, and green garlic soup

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The bluebirds are nesting in the backyard. I love watching them skim across the open flight path between the azaleas on one side, the shrubbery on the other, over the ancient wisteria to their little houses along the back fence.  As we are contemplating the possibility of moving from this lovely old house to a smaller place the one thing I should truly miss the most is this yard.  Most people miss their homes…apparently for me home is the outdoors, not the in.

Which means I probably should not be surprised at little environmental themes that seem to be continually popping up in my writing. Who knew dragons had such an important environmental niche to fill?  (okay, so that doesn’t really surprise me as they would be an apex predator and as such a linchpen in their cycle…. I just hadn’t really given it much consideration till they showed up)  Glad they did.

 

Something Sunday

It was a lovely day today…a bit too cool for my liking, but positively balmy compared to so many places.  The week looks to be warming wonderfully to right around 80….then plunging precipitously on Thursday…just in time for my Little A’s birthday.

No worries, it will move indoors for Thursday and hopefully be warm again for his party on the weekend.

It is, of course, SuperBowl Sunday.  We used to watch it… okay, David watched it, sometimes some of the children watched with him, mostly I avoided all of it by staying in the kitchen making a mountain of snacks for hubby and the kids and then a special dinner and more snacks.  My only foray into the living room was to watch the Budweiser commercial.

This year… well, we don’t get tv any more, and even if we did none of us have any desire to watch the Patriots, who are beyond boring.  Poor David.  All the football fandom died with him.  However, there will be a couple of special after-supper snacks…just for fun.  And… watching the Budweiser commercial on the computer.  😀

Meanwhile…back on the ranch, or in this case at the old homestead…life goes on. I did weird and unusual things to the ‘stroganoff’ for supper…curious to see if they eat it based purely on my calling it by that name, lol.  Hey, ya work with what you’ve got 😉

(postscript… picky 7 yr old and suspicious 16 yr old just came through asking for seconds 😀 SCORE!)

The edits for Khyr will be completed tonight.

consider...:  Well…okay, my edits.  Next up…get a couple of beta read-throughs. Fix whatever they find….and in the meanwhile, work on my current wip, which is a fun mash up of eco-punk, fantasy, and who knows what else?  😀

14 Fashions That Put The Steam In Steampunk:

 

 

 

Freezer Friday

Okay…not literally.  This is still the Lowcountry, after all.  Still, after three glorious days of bright sunshine and 80s, to drop into cold rain and 40 was depressingly ‘wintery’.  Tomorrow we shall rebound to 60 and it is all better from there.  Before long this long winter shall finally be a memory and we can all bask in the glory of summer.

Cait came by today and we made Red Shrimp Curry for supper…while the teens ordered pizza.  Too bad for them, we got all the good stuff 😀  Since Cait surprised me with that meal, the supper I had planned gets pushed back to tomorrow.  Mushroom and pepper alfredo… which may not be exactly traditional…but I love the flavor the cashew milk adds to the garlic and spices.

I have the hankering to bake.  Something I loved to do and gave up when Reesie was diagnosed with celiacs because I couldn’t find a way to make anything come out ‘right’ with what was available back then and I refused to make something we  all couldn’t enjoy.   Now there are a lot more options and it is possible to make at least some of my favorites in a GF/vegan friendly version…  I really want to give it a go.  Maybe next week when the groceries for this month are gathered I can get the ingredients to enjoy playing with some old favorites once more.

Spent some time yesterday working out the final (okay …right this moment final but could still be changed on a whim when I commence, LOL) patterns for the little rocking chair.  Some of them I like so much I may very well turn them eventually into clay ‘stamps’ for future use on pieces of pottery.  A rather random and ecelectic mix that speaks to my own whimsy and our heritage… a bit of Gullah, a bit of Celtic, some Native American inspired, and a squid….because…well… SQUID.

Now to this week’s FANTASY inspiration for Fantasy Friday… I have reached a turning point in the story, and looking out over a scene rather like this and deciding which way to follow.  Where would you go?

misty waterfalls

Marvelous Monday

Reesie brought me home last night.  We made salmon croquettes (a favorite)  and hung out. A pleasant afternoon.  Today we ran errands…. the ones I can’t get done because of the lack of car situation.  We went to Staples, the bank, got gas for her car, I wrote letters to be mailed tomorrow, we got some groceries … then home in time for dinner.

I made chayote to go with supper.  A different recipe than I usually make, but well suited to the meal and went wonderfully with the roasted pototoes and the cranberry sauce.  So simple:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • chayote squash, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar or stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes   (I used more…but we like spice)

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

You put the oil in a skillet, brown the onion and garlic, toss in the chayote and seasoning.  Brown for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the lime juice (you may need a dash more if you have a large chayote as I did tonight) and cook another 2 – 3 minutes till done, but still crisp.

YUMM!