Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pepper Update

Remember the little green pepper we were growing (top picture)? I finally picked it the other day...we had had a cold snap, and the plant was looking droopy, plus the green pepper was turning red. I put about 1/2 of it into my tuna noodle casserole last night. I felt so "pioneerish" growing one of my own ingredients *LOL*.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Looking at houses

We are, thankfully, moving into a new phase since selling our house on 10/27 - shopping for a new home. Although we have a lot in Tarpon Springs that we want to build on, the idea of living in the RV for another year or so while that's going on is pretty daunting, not to mention the expense of renting the RV site and paying to have all our household items stored.

We decided to buy a small house to live in, reserving the majority of the proceeds from the sale of our home for building the new house to at least the C.O. stage. Since we are crazy people who are addicted to the DIY and HGTV channels, we want to buy something we can fix up and then at least break even when we turn around to sell it. As it turns out, this is easier said than done!

We have what seem to be reasonable criteria - 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage, 1500+ sq. ft. and priced below market value. We're probably naive, but we thought there would be DROVES of houses to look at, what with all the foreclosures on the market, but there are actually just a few, and we looked at them this weekend.

We've got 2 that we are considering, so I'll post updates as we go through this process.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

It's an annual tradition at our house. I think they turned out beautifully!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Picture of Procrastination

This is a picture of procrastination. Or perhaps I could call it "Wishing You Had a Frost-free Fridge Doesn't Make It So".

Friday, October 15, 2010

Twice-Baked Potatoes (aka Once Grilled & Once Microwaved)

When my daughter and I visited my dad, we pretty much cleaned out his freezer supply of twice-baked potatoes that my sister makes for him. K liked them so much, that she asked me to get the recipe and make some to keep on-hand for snacks. Baking the potatoes in the oven heated the camper up so much, that I adapted the recipe to do the cooking on the grill - works out great!

I buy a 5 lb. bag of baking potatoes, and make a HUGE batch - these things go fast at our place! Wash and scrub the potatoes with a brush, pat them dry, and rub a light coat of extra virgin olive oil on the skins. I place them on an insulated baking sheet on the grill, and cook them on low for 2 hours, turning them once after an hour.

Let them cool off for 10 or 15 minutes; Cut each one in half lengthwise along the skinny side so that there's a nice wide shell for filling.

Use a spoon to scoop out the cooked potatoes, leaving about 1/4 inch along the skin. In a large mixing bowl, mash the cooked potatoes to the desired consistency - I like to get rid of most of the big chunks, but I don't try to make it as smooth as mashed potatoes.

Add 1 cup of light buttermilk, and 1 cup of fat free sour cream. Now, this is where I kind of wing it, but it always turns out nicely...pinch a nice fistful of shredded 2% sharp cheddar for each potato you cooked (e.g. 10 potatoes=10 healthy pinches of cheese). I use the same haphazard measuring technique to add chives - use 2 or 3 chive leaves per potato, and snip them with kitchen scissors. Add one 3 oz. package of real bacon bits (Publix makes good ones.) And finally, toss in 1/2 tsp. of sea salt. (I forgot the salt in this batch, but it still tasted fine.) Mix the ingredients well.

Start with the nicest shells, and heap them full of the potato mixture. This particular 5 lb. bag yielded 24 filled shells. Stick them in Ziplocs in the fridge or for longer storage, the freezer. Microwave them when you're ready for munchies...they're wonderful. The teens around here rip through them like a swarm of locusts!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sign of Fall

OK, I'm having my first cappuccino since last spring, so fall must officially be here. I laid off cappuccinos when the weather got warm, since drinking anything hot made me feel like a human radiator.

I knew that when the first cool morning came, it would absolutely, positively need a cup of cappuccino to go with it. I frantically searched for a replacement for the little carafe that the (darned) cat had broken over the summer, and I finally found one online. Yesterday morning hubby kindly made me my first cappuccino of the season, and we sat outside enjoying our hot drinks, along with a couple of slices of toasted sesame Ezekiel bread for me (hubs says it's like eating dirt! LOL). It doesn't take much to make me happy :o)

What do YOU do that officially makes it fall for you? Leave me a comment - I would love to know!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I am so proud of my friend, John M. Floyd. He has just had his third book published, a collection of short stories, mostly mysteries, called "Clockwork". You can read all about the book on the publisher's web site at Dogwood Press.

I met John over 30 years ago, when I began working at IBM in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1977. When I first saw John, he had his then 2-year-old son Michael by his side while his wife Carolyn was in the hospital with their new son David. John and Michael were getting ready to leave the office and John had stooped down to button Michael into his coat. "Daddy, you need to put your coat on, too," Michael said. This tickled John. "Gotta take care of your old man," he said. My first impression was that this guy was a good egg, and I still think that 33 years later.

I had known that John was an avid reader and movie buff; his development as a writer has been a real delight to watch. I'm amazed at the mysteries and thrillers that come out of his head; sometimes I think I should tell Carolyn to sleep with one eye open :o)

"Clockwork" is a great read, as are his first two collections, "Rainbow's End" and "Midnight". Treat yourself or the book-lover in your life to an autographed copy by ordering direct from the publisher at Dogwood Press. You won't be disappointed!