Friday, September 23, 2016

The Weekly Menu for September 24-30

I hope you are all having a Fabulous Friday. I spent the day repacking the pod, straightening the house, baking in the kitchen, working the food pantry, lunching with friends and napping. I was trying to get some reading in there but it turned into a nap LOL.  A Fantastic Friday for me.

Tomorrow, Frank is taking a friend's son up for a flight in the morning.  We will sing at 4pm Mass and then the Little Miss is spending the night.  Sunday we are taking her to the Renaissance Festival where we are meeting up with friends.  She is going as a princess or a fairy, not sure what her Mom decided.  I am going as a Lady (yes, a real live Lady...stop laughing) and Frank is going as a Viking. Yes we are those people!!

This was a few years ago.
Stay tuned for this year's photos.

On Monday, and for the next few months of Mondays, I will be attending training at our church and dinner is served before the sessions so Frank is on his own.  The rest of the week will just be spent packing and picking out flooring for the new house.

My #fmd eating plan has pretty much gotten way laid here.  I am going to be kind to myself.  I will try to eat cleanly and healthily but will wait until after the move to rededicate myself to the program.

I have a couple of big blogging events happening.  Monday starts #AppleWeek.  I will be posting some wonderful apple recipes for you each day except Thursday.  The following we starts #PumpkinWeek.  Some of the recipes you see on the menu for this week won't be posted on the blog until then.

Braised Pumpkin with Crispy Pork
Red Rice

Ren Fest

Dinner at Church/Leftovers for Frank

Pumpkin/Leek Soup

Pot Roast (moved from last week)

Hot Beef Sandwiches (with leftover pot roast)

Date Night

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Guest Room: An Audible Book Review

Wow.....all I can say is Wow!!  This latest novel by Chris Bohjalian is mind boggling and frightening...not Stephen King scary, more like John Grisham OMG, these things really happen right under our noses and we are oblivious to it.

Image result for the guest room audiobook

This novel, about the very real and ongoing problem of Sex Slavery.  Every day, young girls are taken from their homes and lives and turned into slaves that are used to provide sexual release to men who either don't realize or don't care.  I had, of course, heard about sex slaves and I know that there is a sex crime ring that is located in a neighboring State but I never really understood.  Oh sure, if something was mentioned on the news or in the media....I would tsk tsk  and shake my head at the evil in the world.  I know that many young girls run away from disfunctional families and wind up in the hands of men who exploit them and use them for monetary gain.  But listening to these narrators, who were so excellent and who drew you into the story so well, was like being hit between the eyes with a brick.  It was the difference of knowing that cancer is a terrible disease and then having someone you love or yourself get cancer and KNOWING it is a terrible disease.  

Chris Bohjalian is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. In this novel he brings  to life a young woman who was forced into prostitution.  It also tells the story of an average American, middle class family and how their lives were torn apart by the sex slave trade as well.  I normally prefer reading a book myself over an audible book but I can't believe that I would have enjoyed reading this book nearly as much as I enjoyed listening to it.  Mozhan Marno and Grace Experience did that tremendous of a job.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Black Bean Salsa for #CrazyIngredientChallenge

Time for Crazy Ingredient Challenge, the fun little cooking challenge that happens on the 20th of each month.  At the end of the month prior we all vote on ingredients and the top vote from each list wins.  This month, the ingredients we got to work with were black beans and mayonnaise.

I tossed around a lot of ideas:  soup, quesadillas, salad, enchiladas but it came down to a matter of timing.  I got busy with packing, closing on houses, celebrating our grand-daughter's birthday, going out of town, etc. and lost track of time.  The next thing I knew it was September 19th and I needed to make a dish fast.  I decided on a black bean salsa that we could snack on before dinner.

Just because this recipe is fast and easy doesn't mean it is not good.  In fact, it just jumped into the perfect recipe category...easy, peasy and delicious.  It is even more perfect because you can make it with whatever ingredients you have on hand.  I added some tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. This recipe is perfect for the Fast Metabolism Diet during Phase 3.  Of course, I am on Phase 1 right now but I made an exception for this yummy salsa. I served it up with brown rice crackers.  It's a keeper.

Black Bean Salsa

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. diced onions
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 c. mayonnaise ( I used safflower mayo for FMD)
Juice from 1/2 a lime
dash of cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1/4 t. cumin

Place beans, onion, tomato  and jalapeno in a bowl.  Whisk together the mayo, lime juice, cayenne, salt and cumin.  Pour over the bean mixture and toss to coat.  Print Recipe

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Wonderful Amazing Years........

How did this happen?

How can my Angel Face be 2 tomorrow??

Wasn't she just born a minute ago?

Wasn't she just 1 yesterday?

I can't seem to remember what life was like without her!

She is one of my greatest blessings!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Gravelly Bordeaux for #FrenchWinophiles

I had never heard of Graves nor Entre Deux Mer wines when it was announced that these were the wines we were showcasing this month in our French Winophiles group.  It turns out that both of these wines are districts in the Bordeaux area of France.  Now, Bordeaux is a wine with which I am familiar.

Normally, when I think of Bordeaux, I think of a rich dark red that I love to have with a nice juicy steak.  This was what I had in mind when I headed to the City to buy my wine.  When I arrived at Cost Plus Wine Warehouse, I spoke with the owner and found that he carried one Graves and no Entre Deux Mer.  That made my decision very easy.  The Graves that he carried was a white.  There went my juicy steak!!

Graves, literally means, gravel soil.  This wine is named after the soil in which the grapes are grown. It is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is a wine with which I am familiar and often enjoy.

When I think of Sauvignon Blanc, I think of hot summer days on the deck with a seafood salad.  I knew I wanted to serve this wine with seafood and, as luck would have it, we were celebrating Stuffed Fish and Seafood in this month's Fish Friday Foodies.  I decided to serve this wine to our friends, Kim and Kurt, when they joined us for dinner where I served up a Crab Stuffed Flounder.

I shared the recipe for Crab Stuffed Flounder with you yesterday but if you missed it you can link to it here.  The wine that I was able to get is from Chateau des Perligues.  Fortunately, this winery is known for "producing classic Graves of extraordinary quality, at very reasonable prices", according to Vision Wine.

This 2013 Graves was very affordable at $14 and was bright and crisp like a Sauvignon Blanc but the blend of the Semilllon was apparent.  It paired very nicely with the Crab Stuffed Flounder.  It poured a pale yellow and was clean and grassy on the nose.  Flounder is also a light fish which makes it perfect for stuffing.  The stuffing was a little bit heavier which made it a wonderful match with this wine.

I enjoy, so much, being a member of the French Winophiles. Prior to joining this group I was not familiar at  all with French wines sticking mostly with California wines with an occasional foray to Washington, Australia and Chile.  The more French wines I try the more I like them. I think that this will not be the last Graves I enjoy.

Each month, the French Winophiles gather on their blogs and on twitter, illustrating the best in French food, wine and travel. We are finishing up our visit to Bordeaux, and we invite you to join the following writers and bloggers:

French Winophiles Tackle Graves

Illustrating the best in food, wine and travel from these spots are the following writers and bloggers: 

Join us Saturday, September 17th at 10:00 am central for a live twitter chat using #Winophiles and share your favorite food, wine and travel experiences featuring Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers.
Join us for our upcoming tours:
October 15th – Jura
November 19th – Cahor and Beaujolis

Friday, September 16, 2016

I've got a minute

Today was quite the day. This morning we closed on the sale of our home. I remember the excitement when we bought this home. It exceeded any dreams we had ever had of the kind of house in which we would ever live.

It has been a happy home, filled with laughter and love. It was never meant to be our forever home. We knew one day we would be downsizing and I am ready for this move. I'm excited to start this new chapter of our journey. So, why then am I writing this with tears rolling down my face?

So many of my dreams were fulfilled in this home. I was given the opportunity to raise hens, chickens, turkeys and hogs. I had a kitchen that is every cooks dream with a professional Viking Range and a Koehler Pro Cook Center. I was blessed with exchange students from all over the world. We had room enough to host every family reunion, give refuge to family and friends in need and move my parents in when they could no longer live on their own. 

I am looking forward to creating new memories in the new house and I know that they will be good memories because the house we're leaving and the house to where we are moving are just places. It is Frank and I, along with all our family and friends that make it a home. 

So I am drying my tears and focusing on the excitement of moving and turning the new house into our home. I hope you will join me on that journey. 

Each journey starts with baby steps. The first baby steps were the closings. We should be making the move in a few weeks. Lots to be done before then but we still have to eat so I'm sharing the Weekly Menu. 

We are heading to an Aircraft Owners Conference as I write this. We will be attending a Hangar Dance and having dinner out. We drive home tomorrow afternoon and will stop for dinner en route. 

Sunday is Melody's second birthday celebration so we will be eating at the party. 

Monday I have meetings for church all day long, 10am, 4pm and 6:30pm. Frank is on his own. 

The rest of the week is typical so I will share our dinners for those days.   

Dinner out 

Dinner at Mel's party 

Fending for ourselves 

Chicken and Rice

Pot Roast

Beef vegetable soup 

Fish Friday
Grilled Salmon Salad

Crab Stuffed Flounder and a Book Review #FishFridayFoodies

A while back I won a copy of  The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones.  This is a coming of age book for a young woman who had suffered a terrible tragedy shortly before the second terrible tragedy of losing her mother.  These two tragedies caused her to shut down from those she loved and who loved her in return.  She fled to Alaska to escape those relationships, where, through hard work and determination she was able to find success, attain goals, love herself and allow herself to love and be loved by others.  I really enjoyed this novel.

The protagonist finds work first at  a Fish Hatchery and works her way up to the top of ladder when she finally lands a job as a King Crabber.  This book was very timely as we are celebrating Stuffed Fish today at Fish Friday Foodies and I decided to stuff my fish with crab.

Our friend, Sneha of Sneha's Recipe, is hosting this month over at a little group I started called Fish Friday Foodies.  Each month one of us chooses a theme and the rest of us make a recipe that fits the theme. We post said recipe on the 3rd Friday of the month. Sneha chose "Stuffed Fish" for September's theme. Want to join us next month?  Just pop me an email ( or reply to this post with your blog url and I will gladly add you to the group.  This group really is a joint effort. Besides taking turns hosting we also share each other on social media and our friend, Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen created this wonderful graphic for us to use.

Sneha invited us to stuff any fish or seafood, whole or fillets, with any stuffing that called to you. After reading this book, crab was calling to me loud and clear.  I wanted to make a dish that would not only be delicious but also be FMD friendly for my eating plan.  I was initially going to stuff some sole fillets but there was none to be had at my local grocers so I bought some flounder instead. I'm glad I did since the dish turned out so well.

As you can see, one of my rolls popped open which is fine because it allows you to see all the wonderful goodness inside these fillets.  It is a quick and easy dish to put together and was wonderful to serve to company.  The flounder was light and flaky and the fillling was chock full of wonderful crab claw meat.  The entire dish was Phase 3 Friendly making it perfect for every Fish Friday.

Thanks Sneha for choosing such a great theme!  

Thanks to the ladies at The Book Club Cookbook and HMH for sending me The Alaskan Laundry to read and review.  

Thank you for stopping by to read my blog and share this meal.  Please scroll past my recipe to see what the others from #FishFridayFoodies have dished up today.

Crab Stufffed Flounder (Phase 3 Friendly)

2 t. olive oil
1 stalk celery, minced
1/2 small onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. crab claw meat
1 slice sprouted grain bread
2 lbs. flounder fillets
lemon pepper seasoning to taste 
sea salt to taste
Juice of 1 lemon

In a small skillet, over med high heat, cook celery and onion that has been seasoned with salt and pepper until tender and translucent.  Set aside to cool.

Place bread in a food processor or blender and pulse until it becomes fine crumbs.  Place in a medium bowl.  Add the crab meat, that has been picked over to remove any cartilage or shells. to the bread crumbs along with the seasoned, cooled vegetables. Stir to combine.

Divide the crab meat mixture between the number of fillets placing a dollop of each onto the center of each fillet and rolling up crosswise.  Place seam side down in a baking dish that has been treated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning, sea salt and the juice of 1 lemon.

Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your fillets, until fish is flaky and cooked through.  Print Recipe

Let's see what the others are serving up!