Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Virus Warning

You’ve probably already know this, but, tomorrow, April 1st , this awful computer virus called "conficker "is supposed to wreak havoc on everybody’s computers. We’ve seen these kind of threats come and go causing different levels of trouble. You may be fine but, if you’ve ever had to deal with a computer virus, you will know that it is worth it to take a few precautions.
If you are using a Mac you are okay. This virus only affects Windows computers. Have a good backup. This is a good idea no matter what the circumstances are. You can use the Windows backup utility to make a backup or you can use an offsite backup like Carbonite or Mosy.

Install Microsoft’s patch http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-067.mspx

Update any virus protection you have. If you don’t have virus protection, a good online product is Panda Active Scan http://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/solutions/activescan/

According the Snopes, this one is legit, http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/conficker.asp

More Later.....

Monday, March 30, 2009

You Might Be A Southern Lady If............

I saw myself in way too many of these, I bet you will too!!

You might be a Southern lady if...........................................

1. You feel the urge to bake a pound cake after reading the obituaries.

2. You have had professional photographs made of your children barefoot and dressed in their Sunday clothes.

3. You believe that cocktail dresses do not double as church clothes.

4. You'd rather have a fight with your husband than with your best friend.

5. You have stolen magnolia leaves, or you know someone who has.

6. You have monogrammed the middle of your shower curtain.

7. You could live without Yankees who equate your accent with a low IQ.

8. You know better than to eat the potato salad at a family reunion.

9. You are socially conditioned to believe that tanned fat looks better than white fat.

10. Your children hide their Easter baskets and Valentine's Day candy from you just in case you have a dieting lapse

Just curious, are you doing anything differently in this economy? I have good intentions of cutting back. I remember reading about a Grandmother that had a sampler from the depression era that read "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." Uncertainty has me thinking of ways I can save. Going out for lunch less, staying away from amazon.com, keeping my ink pen habit in check and enjoying cheap(er) wine............, these are a few of the ways I am adjusting. Comment and share what you are doing to save.

Supper tonight was probably the most economical meal possible:
Soup Beans
Fried Potatoes
Cole Slaw

So, Until Tomorrow..............

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Evening Blues

Do you get the Sunday evening blues? I sure do. It sets in every Sunday night about 6:00. Just knowing that my weekend is gone brings it on every time. I remember taking my Mother to the hospital to visit someone many years ago and she ran into an old friend volunteering at the front desk. They chatted for awhile and Mother asked if she was enjoying her retirement.
I have always remembered what she said, "the best thing about retirement is not dreading Monday morning on Sunday night".
I know, I know, I shouldn't be complaining, at least I have a job, and a job I love.

Just a quiet Sunday here today. I have been fighting this infection for the last 10 days or so and it has just zapped my energy. So, today I just laid low and did some laundry, some reading and some resting.

Supper was simple and perfect for an early spring Sunday.

Lemon and Herb Salmon*
Baked Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus
Corn on the Cob

Lemon Herb Salmon

1 salmon fillet
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients except salmon. Let stand for 10 minutes. Spread over salmon fillet.
Bake at 375* for about 20 minutes.

So, until tomorrow..........

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's Springtime !!!!!!!!!!

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I know the spring (vernal) equinox actually occurred on Friday but today was the first day it really seemed like spring to me. I spent Thursday and Friday piled up on the couch with some sort of a bronchial flu. I am just beginning to enjoy this beautiful time of year.

I love it all, the daffodils, the tulips, the yellow bells (forsythia) and the japonica, even the tiny bit of green grass we are beginning to see. I can't wait to smell fresh cut grass, although Ronnie assures me he is in no hurry whatsoever. We have a love of all things that grow, even a few weeds around the house that we think are to pretty to cut down. We are thrilled to have a few wild trillium that are just beginning to bloom, I will post a photo for you soon.

Yesterday we hung our hummingbird feeder. Last year we saw our first hummingbird on April 1st. Our finch feeder has been out for a while but so far no finches. We had lots last year, but I don't remember the date they came. I did see a beautiful blue bird yesterday morning. He was faster than me so no picture.

Tonight we celebrated spring by grilling on the deck.

Morning Glory Burgers (recipe February 10)
Chili and Cole Slaw
Baked Sweet Onions
Roasted Potatoes
Caramel Pecan Rolls*

This recipe is so easy it feels like cheating.

Caramel Pecan Rolls

1 - 11 oz. can of refrigerated bread sticks (Pillsbury)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1 tsp. melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix brown sugar,whipping cream and butter in the bottom of an 8 inch round cake pan. Mix salt and pecans and sprinkle over top.
Unroll the bread sticks and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll back up and cut at peroration. Place on top of the brown sugar and cream mixture.
Bake at 350* approximately 25 minutes.
Invert into a serving plate and serve warm.

These are really good for breakfast too with a cold glass of milk, (or coffee I suppose).

So, Until tomorrow...........

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Karen

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Top 'o the day to you on this St. Patrick's Day 2009.
No corned beef, cabbage or potatoes on the menu here tonight. In fact, there was no menu, the guys practiced tonight so I just fixed snacks for them.

Chips and Queso and Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks

Now on to the real news of the day. Today is my sweet sister in law, Karen's birthday. That is her pretty picture I posted up top.
I remember my mother in law, Barbara, saying they brought Karen to her after she was born with a little green bow in her hair.

We gave her one of my favorite new gadgets, a quesadilla maker. We loved having Karen, Tommy and Ryan for supper on Sunday to celebrate. The menu looked like this:

Mixed Green Salad w/ Cranberries, Pecans and Goat Cheese
Caramelized French Onion Soup Au Gratin*
Stuffed Cheesy Chicken
Mushroom and Rice Casserole
Butter Beans
Parker House Rolls (we really didn't have these, I forgot them in the oven)
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc

Caramelized French Onion Soup Au Gratin

3 large sweet onions - sliced thin
1 stick butter
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. sugar

Melt butter in olive oil and add onions, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook over medium low heat until onions are browned and caramelized, stirring occassionally. This will take about 30 minutes.
4 cans beef consomme
1/4 cup good red wine
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
dash of cayenne pepper

Simmer an additional 30 minutes. Ladle into oven proof bowls and top each bowl with:
sliced French bread
Swiss cheese
1 tsp. Parmesan cheese

Place bowls on a baking sheet and broil until golden on top. Watch closely.

We Love You, Karen, Enjoy Your Day!!!!!!

So, Until Tomorrow.........

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gray and rainy Saturday here. Perfect reading weather, a good mystery, a Diet Coke and a Reese Cup.......true delight, but this is the real world and laundry tends to get in the way. So, just a bit of stolen reading time.

I haven't cooked a lot this week. We had Ronnie's favorite taco salad one night and last night we went out to My Father's Pizza in Black Mountain. I was craving pizza and I didn't have everything on hand to make one. Ronnie had their steak sub, which is fantastic and I had a small My Father's supreme. I love dipping the pizza in their homemade blue cheese dressing. The bonus was there was plenty of pizza left for Ronnie's lunch today.

There are a million blue cheese dressing recipes out there and I love them all, but I grew up eating my Mother's which is a bit different than most. Give it a try and please, please let me know what you think. It is great as a dressing or a dip and even good on baked potatoes.

Betty's Blue Cheese Dressing

6-8 oz. crumbled blue (bleu) cheese
1 cup good quality mayonnaise (Mother used Duke's, I use Kraft)
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix well by hand (a mixer or food processor breaks up the cheese too much) and chill over night.

So, until tomorrow............

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring Fever Alert

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I have spring fever!!!! Long gone are the late winter blues. Only Buffett (Jimmy not Warren) and beach music on the Ipod. One of my all time favorite summer songs is Tin Cup Chalice from the A1A album, another summer favorite is Sweet Tea by a regional group Lacy introduced me to, Cravin' Melon. You can find them both on http://www.youtube.com/ . Listen and enjoy these warm breezy days with me.

Supper last night was so easy, perfect for these longer, lighter days. I tried something new (at least new to me), McCormick Honey Mustard Chicken Glaze. It comes in a packet on the spice aisle of the grocery store. I am almost certain I picked this up at BiLo. Anyway, for something so easy, it was pretty good. All you do is mix the packet with water and honey and pour over the chicken in an oblong Pyrex dish. The directions said 25-35 minutes but I kept it in the 35 minutes side as my chicken breast were a bit thicker than I normally buy.

So our sunset supper looked like this:

Honey Mustard Chicken

Mushroom Gnocchi

Tiny English Peas

Sugar Glazed Carrots

So, Until Tomorrow..........


Daydreaming of long summer weekends

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Is Here !!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe last Sunday it was snowing and this Sunday we had supper on our deck? Wonderful western North Carolina weather. We never know what March might bring us. March 13th 1993 brought the blizzard. No blizzards this year, please. All this week it supposed to be warm........yes, yes, yes, I love it.

So, for the first meal on our deck of 2009 we had:

Grilled Beef Tenderloin w/ Horseradish Sauce and A-1
Crab Cakes w/ Remoulaide Sauce
Steamed Broccoli
Roasted Potato Wedges
Garlic Bread

To keep things honest here, we would have had garlic bread, but I forgot all about it and left it in the oven . At least I did turn the oven off and didn't start a fire. Can you tell bread isn't important to us?

Last night SideStreet played at the marina to a great crowd. We had supper there and I had the fried green beans. They are sooooooo good. I rarely deep fry anything and if I do, it is in summer where I can plug in my deep fryer outside, so rather than try to re-create these I will just enjoy them at Bullfrog's. So, if you find yourself down near Black Bear try the fried green beans!!

So, Until Tomorrow..............

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lunch at Stoney Knob - No Supper Tonight

Yeah, its true, I didn't cook tonight. Actually there was no need, so I went shopping instead.
Ronnie and the band were practicing downstairs in the studio and I knew they wouldn't take a break until somewhere around 9:00 so I had plenty of time to see what Homegoods had. Trust me they had plenty.
I found the cutest Easter centerpiece. It is a twig basket with a birds nest in the top and beautiful speckled pastel eggs situated in the nest. I also found two little bunny votive holders for each side. When I get it all together I will take a photo and post. Lastly I found a glass fruit bowl that matches my Mexican glass canisters. I just love Homegoods.

So, I made it back home in time to make sure the guys had some of the wonderful almond pound cake that I bought yesterday at Cakes by Jane ( www.cakesbyjane.com ). Bet you didn't know that yesterday was National Pound Cake Day, did ya? Their cakes are really good, but if I am being totally honest with you my friend Cyndi actually makes a much better pound cake. She makes hers with Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. Trust me it melts in your mouth.

Snacking for supper tonight was in order for me anyway. Michael's Christmas gift to our entire staff was lunch (with dessert) at Stoney Knob Cafe in Weaverville. We choose today because it was such a beautiful day to be out and about. The food is always wonderful and today was certainly no exception. I had the gyros platter with pork medallions and their incredible tzatziki sauce. Deb had this great looking salad with talapia and mango salsa, Cyndi had the spanakopita platter, Lynn had the grouper sandwich and Michael had the meatloaf with creamed potatoes and green beans. Needless to say I wasn't hungry in the least at supper time.
Thanks, Michael for a wonderful lunch. I love saving Christmas presents for later in the year.

So, Until Tomorrow............

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday's Chicken

Supper tonight was a recipe that I haven't made in years. I had chicken that I needed to fix so I decided on Chicken Lazone. The original recipe came from Brennen's in New Orleans and can easily be found on line. I made a few changes minor changes that lighten it up a bit, believe it or not.

Chicken Lazone*
Four Cheese Risotto (from a mix)
Green Beans
Cottage Cheese

Chicken Lazone

4 - thin sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp.seasoning salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
1tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup half and half
1 packet Lipton Cream of Chicken Cup of Soup

Sprinkle chicken with seasoning salt. Lightly brown in olive and remove from pan. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Melt butter and add chicken stock, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and sliced mushrooms. Cook over low heat approximately 5 minutes. Add half and half and Lipton Cream of Chicken Cup of Soup. Return chicken to the pan and continue to cook over medium heat approximately 8 minutes.

So, until tomorrow.........

Monday, March 2, 2009

Finally,........... ............we have snow, (thanks, Toni). It was so beautiful this afternoon with the sun sprinkling diamonds in the ice. I worked from home as our driveway was a sheet of ice this morning. Needless to say, it was a wonderful day. There are times when Ronnie and I wonder about the wisdom of having a wall of west facing glass, today was not one of them.

Certainly March came in like a lion and hopefully she will go out like a lamb. I would love an early spring. We had our first daffodil to bloom last Thursday, daffodils and tulips are favorites of mine, along with pansies, callas, hydrangeas and peonies.

It is well documented here that I am a summer kind of girl, but spring sure does come in a close second. Especially those first warm days, the air smells so good, no coats to contend with, the first warm spring rain........... I love it all!!

Now, regretfully back to winter.

Yesterday I cooked breakfast, which was unusual for me as I do not like food of any kind in the mornings as a rule. We had bacon, cheesy eggs, biscuits and gravy, with milk and grapefruit juice. So when it came time for lunch we weren't interested in the least. We had the quesadillas with guacamole and chips I had originally planned to have at lunch for supper.

Tonight I fixed a recipe from my mother-in-law, Barbara, a kind, gentle woman whom I loved dearly. Sadly, she passed away in 2001.

Swedish Meatballs*

Creamed Potatoes

Butter Beans

50s' Style Banana Pudding

Barbara's Swedish Meatballs

1 lb. ground chuck

1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs

2 egg yolks (reserve egg whites)

1/2 cup milk

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. seasoning salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 medium onion - chopped

1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cans golden mushroom soup

2 cups milk

1/2 cup water

Combine ground beef, cracker crumbs, egg yolks, 1/2 cup milk, onions, nutmeg, seasoning salt, and pepper. Roll into 1 inch balls, then dip in slightly beaten egg whites and roll in cornflake crumbs. Coat 9x13 inch baking pan with the vegetable oil. Place meatballs in the pan and bake at 375 degrees turning once for 30 minutes. Combine the golden mushroom soup with 2 cups milk and water. Pour over meatballs and return to the oven for 15 additional minutes.

So, Until Tomorrow........................