Tuesday, August 23, 2016

From NC to Ohio.....a long but beautiful drive

We left NC bright and early yesterday.  We knew we had a long ride in front of us.  Luckily we had a great book, A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett, to listen to during the drive.  We also had some gorgeous landscape and scenery to admire.

We also made a slight detour into the town of Mount Airy.  Mount Airy is the birthplace and childhood home of Andy Griffith.  Andy continued to have a home there and spend at least 2-3 months there each year with his family and friends to recuperate and relax during his working years.

Andy Griffith's old school has been turned into a playhouse, museum and actor's school.  We took a walk and saw what we could see.  Frank got a kiss from Thelm and I got a ride in the Mayberry side car.  We also got a chance to say "Hey" to Goober.

We stopped by Aunt Bea's, took a walk around town and stopped in the jail for a visit.  Otis wasn't there but he did leave his clothes behind.  We missed Andy and Opie too but it was okay because we ran into them as they were leaving to the "fishin' hole".

We enjoyed our little detour and it helped break up the long ride.  We got to the hotel around 9 pm and Frank ran out to get me some nyquil as I have some sinus/ear/throat thing trying to settle in on me.  I fell asleep while waiting for his return. He woke be up, gave me a slug of nyquil and back to sleep I went until 6 this morning.  I still feel pretty yucky.  I'll pop some Aleve after breakfast and then we hit the road for Jen and Randy's in Michigan.  Only about a seven hour drive today so I'm happy about that.  If I'm not feeling better by tomorrow, I will hit a clinic and get something to drive this bug out so it doesn't put a damper on our trip.

Have a great day everyone.

Monday, August 22, 2016

On the Road Again.....

Well we are back on the road, heading towards Michigan.  We won't make it all the way but hopefully we will make it halfway to our TC family which is our destination for tomorrow night.  One nice thing about road trips is it gives me plenty of reading time.  Since we left I have listened to The One in a Million Boy and read The Bookseller.

Image result for unravel by calia read

Then I started and finished Unravel by Calia Read.  I am not sure how to review this book without spoilers.  It is the story of a girl who is desperately trying to help out her friends who are having some terrible things going on in their lives.  So terrible that the girl, Naomi, ends up in a psych ward which is where this story begins.  It then flashes back to her childhood and young adulthood as she discovers her friends secrets and hardships and attempts to save them.

Image result for x rated

This book is what my friend, Miss Sue, would call an S& F book.  The S= suck and the F= well you get the idea.  This is not a book that you would want to share with your tween or teen.

I had this book pretty much figured out halfway through but still enjoyed it and was a little bit surprised at the ending.  I will give it a 3 out of 5 rating as I did enjoy it.

I have now started reading the Phryne Fisher series.  My friend, Kirsten gave me Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher which contains the first three novels in the series.  I am about a third of the way through Cocaine Blues.  These mysteries starring the elegant Phryne Fisher is written by Kerry Greenwood.  Have you heard of this series?  I am enjoying it thus far. What did you think?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Leg 3 of our Trip-Morehead City, North Carolina

We left Chuck's in the early afternoon on Thursday and drove through storms to North Carolina where we met up with some of our diving family from Anchor Bay Scuba.  We got settled into our room and then went with some of the group to the dive shop to register after which we had dinner in town.  We were exhausted and went to our room after dinner for a good night's sleep.

On Friday, some of us went to the aquarium while others went off for museums, shopping, sightseeing, beaches, etc.  I was glad we chose the aquarium, not only is it a nice aquarium but the outside temps were nearly 100* so it was nice to spend time indoors.  We all had a nice lunch on the water afterward.  Many of the gang were meeting up for dinner later in the evening.  Our friends, Mike and Mark arrived for the dive trip around 4.  They were starving so we joined them for an early dinner at a steakhouse not far from the hotel.

Saturday we were up bright and early....well it wasn't too bright at 5 am but you get the idea.  We were on the dive boat and headed to the dive sites by 6 am.  The weather was not great so we stayed closer to shore and dove two wreck sites, The Indira which is a landing craft that was used in Vietnam and then the JJF Tug and Tramp.  I am sharing some video with you.  Unfortunately the visibility was only 10' because of the storms that had come through.

Today, we were again at the boat by 6 am.  We headed out for the U352 that luckily we saw last year with great visibility.  We were anxious to see it again and many of our group were here for the first time just to see this German UBoat that was sunk 36 miles from our shores during WWII. It is a 2 hr. boat ride to the dive site.  When we arrived the current was too strong to allow diving so we boated another 1/2 hr to another WWII wreck.  Unfortunately the boat we were on had a problem that could cause a danger to divers. The dive was aborted and we traveled another 2 1/2 hrs back to shore.  The dive crew was as disappointed as we and we all received a full refund.

This is our second year with Olympus Dive Center in North Carolina.   The crew is wonderful and we have always had great trips.  Our friends, who suffered an apartment fire and lost all their dive equipment, were a little unhappy due to the fact that they were quoted one price for rental gear and then charged much more than that quote, but overall we have been very happy with their service and look forward to visiting again. 

This is only half of our group.  The other half were on another boat and were able to get their dives in.   I don't know how it was for them as they are not yet back but I hope they had a great dive.

And I hope you have a great day...we are off to the pool to meet up with some of the others before dinner.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint for #CrazyIngredientChallenge

Our crazy ingredients for this month's CIC are Watermelon and Goat Cheese.

SAY WHAT???!!!

I know, I know, not too crazy but that is what the group chose.  See each month our fearless leader, Kelly of Passion Kneaded, puts out two lists.  Each list contains 3 items and the members of this group each choose 1 item from each list.  It's a democracy so the item with the most votes in each group wins, hence Watermelon and Goat Cheese for today.

I decided to make a salad....I know, it's a cop out but cut me some slack.  I am in the middle of buying a new house, selling the old , packing up and vacationing during this month so a salad it was.

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

Juice from half a lemon
2 T. honey
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
6 c. watermelon, cubed
handful of mint, finely chopped
1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese (I used Feta)

Place the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small jar with a lid.  Seal and shake until well combined.

Place the watermelon, mint and feta in a large bowl.  Add the dressing and toss gently to combine. Chill until ready to serve.  Print Recipe

More Watermelon and Goat Cheese Creations

Friday, August 19, 2016

Grilled Salmon Burgers with Caper Mayo for #FishFridayFoodies

Happy Friday everyone.  This is the third Friday of the month. Do you know what that means? You're right.  It's Fish Friday Foodies time.

FFF is a little group I started at the beginning of the year in an attempt to add more fish/seafood meals to my menus. I asked some of my blogging friends if they would like to join and they did! They also invited some of their friends and now we are up to 27 members.  Not all members post every month and our rules are pretty simple.  Each month one of us chooses a theme and lets the others know about it on our facebook page.  This month, Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen chose Fish and Seafood Burgers.   Should you choose to participate you just make your dish; blog about it, including the recipe; schedule it to go live on the third friday of the month and link up to the other posts.  We also post what we are making as a courtesy to the host and others.

Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies? We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month. To join our group please email Wendy at wendyklik1517@gmail.com.Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.

I found a perfect recipe for this event in my latest issue of Cuisine at Home.  It was easily adaptable to fit Phase 3 of my new eating plan. The only problem was that I am in the middle of selling, buying and moving households and my food processor is packed in the far back section of a filled pod.  This left me mincing and dicing everything by hand.  The recipe warned not to dice the salmon too small so I ended up dicing it too large.  The end result were messy burgers that stuck to the grill and fell apart but tasted absolutely divine.  Even my husband, who is not a salmon lover and had the nerve to ask if we couldn't just "get McDonalds", enjoyed it.  The Caper Mayo was sublime and, in my humble opinion, made the burger special.

As you can see, the burger kind of fell apart.

That didn't stop it from being utterly delicious.

I enjoyed mine sans bun so that it would fit into my eating plan.
It worked out swimmingly.
See what I did there?  Salmon...Swimmingly?
Ah....never mind.

Make sure you stop by and see all the other wonderful fish and seafood burgers that were created. Thanks Heather for this intriguing challenge!

Grilled Salmon Burgers with Caper Mayo
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #118


1/4 c. safflower oil mayonnaise
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. small capers
1/2 T. sweet relish
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Set Aside.

Salmon Burgers

1 slice sprouted grain bread (I used Ezekiel)
1 stalk celery
2 scallions
1 egg white
1/2 T. hot sauce (I used True Foods Veracha Sauce)
2 t. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb skinless salmon, diced
2 hamburger buns, toasted
Shredded lettuce
Sliced tomato

Place bread, celery, scallions, egg white and hot sauce in a food processor and pulse until minced. Add the salmon and pulse briefly.  Salmon chunks should still be visible.  Form mixture into 2 patties and place on a plate lined with parchment.  Coat both sides with cooking spray to prevent the burgers from sticking to the grill.  Grill over med high heat for 4 minutes per side.  Serve on toasted buns, topped with half the mayo, lettuce and tomato.  Print Recipe

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Apple Almond Coffee Cake with Honey Glaze for #BundtBakers

Good Morning and Happy #BundtBakers Day.

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

This month I am hosting....YAY and of course I chose the theme of Apples.  August is my birthday month and it is also prime harvesting month for apples here in Michigan.  When I was a kid, my parents had a small orchard containing, apple, pear and plum trees.  Each year for my birthday my Mom would make me this apple cake.  I am not much for frosting so this cake was perfect, topped with cinnamon sugar.

As an adult my tastes have changed a lot...but I am still not a frosting fan, hence my love of Bundt Cakes that normally just have a drizzle of glaze on them.  For today's event I am sharing my adaptation of a recipe by the Deen Family.  They call theirs Uncle Bob's Fresh Apple Cake.   I switched out the walnuts for almonds and changed the procedure a little bit but basically stuck to the recipe as written.

I served this up first as dessert when we had friends for dinner and then with coffee in the morning to Frank's students who were attending his CPL class.  It was a hit both times and kept very well, wrapped in the refrigerator, as promised by Paula Deen.

You will find the rest of the #BundtBakers apple cake contributions following the recipe.  I cannot wait to check them all out!!

Apple Almond Coffee Cake with Honey Glaze
adapted from The Deen Family; Food Network.com


1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. honey
2 T. milk

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir until smooth.  Set aside


2 apples, diced (I used Organic All Fresh Michigan Apples)
1 c. sliced almonds
2 t. cinnamon
3 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. canola oil
3 eggs

Place apples and almonds in a small bowl and toss with the cinnamon and 1 T. of the flour (taken from the 3 cups).  Set aside.

Combine the remaining flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Set aside

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil and eggs. Turn the speed to low and add the flour mixture. When incorporated, turn the speed to med and beat until completely combined.  Fold in the apples and nuts.  Batter will be thick and stiff.  Scrape the batter into a bundt pan that has been treated liberally with baking spray.  Bake in a preheated 325* oven for 90 minutes or until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.

Allow cake to cool completely in the pan, about 1 hr.  Turn out onto a plate and drizzle with the glaze. Print Recipe

More Awesome Apple Bundts


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Rosemary and Garlic Brined Pork Chops #ImprovChallenge

Hello out there in blog land.  As you read this post I am travelling from my son's home in Portsmouth Virginia to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a dive trip.  Aaaaah, the beauty of the internet and scheduling programs on your blog.

This is my second time participating in a group I joined called The Improv Cooking Challenge.  This is much like another group I am in called Crazy Ingredient Challenge.  Both groups give the members two food items that may or may not be normally paired together and challenge us to come up with a great recipe to share containing said ingredients.

This month's ingredients are garlic and rosemary.  I make some killer roasted red skin potatoes with garlic and rosemary so, of course, that was my first thought.  However, when I was making this dish I was still on my new eating plan and potatoes were not on it.  I am taking a break from the plan while vacationing but hopping right back on board again in September.

I thought about some garlic and rosemary dinner rolls.  Doesn't that sound absolutely to die for?  I thought so too but......well see my paragraph above.

I was making this recipe on a Wednesday which is a Phase 2 day of the eating plan.  During Phase 2 you mainly concentrate on eating protein and green leafy vegetables.  Read meat and salad in this household LOL.  I had just gotten a whole hog that I had ordered from my friend, Vicki's, farm and my freezer is bursting with pork.  I decided to season some chops with garlic and rosemary.  Just for the heck of it, I added some sage because I love rosemary and sage together.  Okay, admit it, you are now singing in your head "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme".  Don't you just love that song...okay if you are younger than me maybe your not singing that song but say "rosemary and sage" to your mom and she will be.

I wanted the chops to be flavored by the rosemary and garlic. Normally I would have made a paste of olive oil, minced rosemary, minced garlic, salt and pepper. That is outside the realm of the eating plan so I decided to brine them instead.  I put all the ingredients into a zipper lock bag and then let it refrigerate for a couple of hours before grilling.  The flavor was there but very subtle.  Next time I will chop the rosemary to release more of it's flavor.

Once the chops are brined this is a very simple meal.  Grill over med high heat with the lid closed for about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.  They are done when reaching an internal temperature of 160*.

I served this up with Rosemary and Garlic Sauteed Cabbage in keeping with the theme.  You can find that recipe on my other blog, A Day in the Life on My Quest for Fitness.

Make sure you check out all the other Rosemary and Garlic creations following the recipe.

Rosemary, Garlic and Sage Pork Chops

3 c. water
2 c. ice
1/4 c. salt
1/4 c. agave syrup
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 stems rosemary
4 pork loin chops

Combine the water, garlic, rosemary, salt and agave in a zipper lock bag, shake to combine well.  Add the pork chops, seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs but no more than 6 hrs. (you may want to place the bag in a bowl in case of leaks)  Preheat a gas grill to med high heat.  Grill the chops for 4-5 minutes per side with lid closed until cooked through with an internal temp of 160*.  Let rest a few minutes before serving.  Print Recipe