Monday, February 9, 2015

Two Plates

This was the year for epic Christmas presents all around. Lauren and Mike had the ingenuity and practicality to give Dave a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet and the cookbook, One Pan, Two Plates.  As the book says on the cover, it contains more than 70 complete weeknight meals for two. It is awesome!!
Dave and I had gotten into the lazy habit of just picking up something from the prepared foods section of the Teeter or Fresh Market, which is tasty enough, but probably not as fresh...and certainly not as these recipes.

So far we have had Sauteed Pork Chops with Sweet Potato, Apple, and Mustard Sauce; Veal Picatta with Brussels Sprout Hash and Apples; and Thyme-Rubbed Salmon with Shallots and Caramelized Cauliflower "Risotto". On tap for tonight is Sweet-and-Sour Stir-Fry with Beef, Broccoli, and Mango. Yum! (Photo to come.) The recipes call for all fresh ingredients, and everything really does happen in one pan. Hooray for easy clean up!

We have had fun with both of us in the kitchen chopping, slicing and searing.  And another side big tubs of leftovers. We are not big fans of leftovers, so not having to clean the fridge of science experiments has been great! Oh, and two more things I really am liking about this book...each recipe has a little aside entitled, "it's that easy", which gives cooking or preparations tips that are super helpful, and each recipe has the chef's wine recommendation. 

Cheers, and bon appetit!

Aunt B

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Year To...

I read somewhere years ago that each year a person should decide on one new thing to try or accomplish or learn, or maybe even a new place to travel to. It is a way of marking each year with it's own special "the year we moved to Charlotte" for example. Or it might be as simple as the year you took the gourmet cooking class or planted a new perennial garden. The idea is to be able to know one reason why each year is important instead of just wondering where it went. 2014 was the year I turned 60 and took the trip of a lifetime with Dave...a two week African safari. Absolutely unbelievable, but more about that trip another day.

This year is the year that I declutter and organize our home in Charlotte. No, it may not be as awesome or sexy as an African safari but it will definitely make for a memorable year. I cannot wait to clear out the cabinets where I have been "sticking" things for years, get rid of all unloved and rarely worn clothing, and especially completely clean out and organize our attic. I promise NOT to leave my children the chore of impersonating Sanford and Son as they empty our house one day.

I got hooked on this idea after hearing about and reading the New York Times best seller,

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing 

by Marie Kondo.

It's a quick read, and interesting and fun. Lots of "of course!", and "that makes perfect sense" sorts of stuff. I've just gotten started with my "tidying up"...the author insists that you begin with clothing. And if an item doesn't "spark joy", get rid of it. So far I have made it through workout wear, swim suits, and tops and sweaters (still one drawer left to go), and already have three huge trash bags ready for donation. Yes, part of decluttering consists of pretty much getting rid of everything you own. Hey, makes sense...if nothing's left, nothing ever gets messed up!

So, this will be the year of decluttering...updates and photos to come.

Aunt B


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It's Puzzling

I have really been into jigsaw puzzles lately.  Seriously, I would estimate that I...along with husband Dave and other family and friends who have passed through during the holidays...have completed a dozen 1000 piece puzzles since early October. Really, it is addictive. I often find myself seated at the game table saying to myself, "OK, I will find one piece, and then head to the shower...". Then, an hour and 20 pieces later...

It all started in 1986 when I was VERY pregnant with my oldest son Ryan. We had a large puzzle going on the dining room table...a great way to pass the cold winter and very pregnant days. The evening of February 11 found me in labor, sitting with Dave at that table working the puzzle and waiting, and waiting, and waiting...but at least distracted...finally heading to the hospital just after midnight. Ryan arrived just after noon on the 12th.

Fast forward to October of 2014. My daughter Lauren was having early labor contractions on September 30...which had started the day before...and did not seem to be progressing.  She tried everything she could think of to move things along...two days of mild contractions but still nothing. Frustrating!! I told Lauren and Mike that what was in order was a jigsaw puzzle! Distraction was needed. We headed to Toys & Co. and optimistically bought a 3000 piece puzzle and the two of them spent that evening setting it up. We spent the entire next day working on that HUGE puzzle, happily distracted. Late that day Lauren went into real labor, delivering baby James just before 11 pm. Hey, it's all in the puzzle, right?

Anyway, since then our whole family (along with other friends who have caught the bug) have had a puzzle going nonstop. I am picky about my puzzles, however. I have two favorite brands: Ravensburger and Piatnik. Super good quality and 100% interlocking pieces...and no annoying shiny glare in the light. (It does make a difference!) And my favorite is the 1000 piece puzzle...fits nicely on the game in a week or two. pregnancy required!

A 3000 piece Ravensburger (still under construction)...

A 1000 piece Piatnik...

                                                                 Aunt B

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Misadventures? Really?

When daughter Lauren suggested the name for my blog adventure I was a tiny bit insulted. I like to think that my life is really pretty organized and smooth-flowing. And then I began trying to navigate the process of setting said blog that was a misadventure! So...this will definitely be a work in progress, and will I'm sure, change daily until I really figure out what I am doing.

I've been advised to just write this as a journal, not a blog that I expect anyone else to read. Probably really good advice! I was also told that this journal of random musings would be fun for my grandson (and other future grand kids) to read back over in the years to come.  Maybe. And even though my life runs pretty smoothly, I do find myself in embarking on many adventures and a few misadventures. And my cute husband and I have found that having three grown kids and a son-in-law who are all very funny and entertaining has provided us with some fun, and at times, hilarious tales. It will be awesome to have a sort of record of those adventures to look back on. I'm not sure if I will find time or be inspired enough to write every day, or even a few times each we will see how it goes...

Let the fun begin!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Testing 1 2 3...

Hello blogosphere! I'm new here. More to come soon.