29 years ago ….

I went on a blind date, and as they say the rest is history.

Way back when we bought our first home in Miami, we were not married. The sellers didn't really want to sell to an unmarried couple, so we ended up saying we were engaged to be married on February 7th (we were buying the house in May) which was actually the day we first met on a blind date. From that point on, we've celebrated that as our anniversary. It took a full 5 years before we actually did get married.

In Miami, it's difficult to get in for dinner on Valentines day like next week, so we just celebrate both our anniversary and Valentines Day on the 7th - that way we can have a no stress enjoyable dinner.

It's been awhile since we've had the Buick out.  By awhile, I mean at least 10 years.  We trailered it up to Central Florida about 4 years ago, and there it sat in the garage.  Last weekend after a little bit of work to get it running, we took it out to the Saturday night cruise-in in downtown Sanford.  The tires were squared but she got us there and back without issue.

Tonight we'll go out somewhere to celebrate.  Don't know where yet, but looking forward to it.

 

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This is what we refer to as the "first date" car, and since the anniversary of our first date is February 7th, we wanted to take it out.  It is pretty much original.  The plating is original, and the paint was probably re-done sometime in the 60's.  That being said, it needs to be freshened up - but it did get a lot of people looking at it and asking questions.

It was a great night …  It was great to get the Buick back on the road - it is one of my favorites.


Quick Chili

It was on the cool side in Central Florida this past weekend, so I figured the cooler weather warranted some Chili.  I've made chili many times in the past, and my usual Chili is a turkey/black bean chili.  But this weekend, I wanted something that I could put together quickly, but still tasted pretty good.

This one I make uses seasoned canned beans - it's quick to fix and has the right amount of kick.

Ingredients:

about 2 - 2.5 pounds ground chuck

2 cans Bush's Black Bean Fiesta Beans

2 cans Bush's Pinto's a  la Diabla

1 can Black Beans (I used Goya, but I prefer Kirby, but it's not readily available up here)

1 can Diced tomatoes

Chipotle Garlic McCormick Seasoning

Instructions:

Brown the ground beef, you can put some of the chipotle seasoning in now as well - drain and transfer to a 6 qt crock pot.

Add the canned beans - after draining off the obvious liquid - it doesn't have to be strained, but just pour off the liquid in the top of the can - otherwise the chili will be too liquidy.  Add the diced can of diced tomatoes (not drained), and some of the McCormick seasoning - how much is up to you - I'd start with a tablespoon and add from there.  Stir and cook on low for several hours so the flavors meld.

Below is a picture of the ingredients and the finished product.  The fiesta beans have some corn in it, and you end up with a mix of pinto and black beans.  The a la diabla beans have serrano peppers in it so it's pretty well spiced.  You can see that there is a pretty good proportion of beef to beans.  Makes about 8 good size portions.

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{P}Inspired - Lobster Chowder

I've actually taken a little hiatus from Pinterest lately - mostly because once Halloween hits, life gets busy with Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I'm back pinning again - I love finding new recipes and crafts to try.

I've been noticing that one of my pins (click here for the pin) has been getting a lot of action lately.  It's a lobster chowder that is low carb, gluten free, and with some minor modifications dairy free. 

It was cold this past weekend, and I had lobster already on hand -- not a live lobster, but a frozen variety - wild caught, all natural, sustainable, from Maine.

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so when it kept getting pinned, I figured I'd better try it.  

I did have to go to the liquor store and buy the Cointreau,  so I just bought one of those mini bottles that you get on an airplane.  The liquor store had a billion different mini bottles of alcohol, so I also bought a mini bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey. No … I'm not a bourbon drinker, but I have read the Stone Barrington novels by Stuart Woods, and it's one of the drinks Stone always orders - so bought it to try.  Haven't tried it yet, but will let you know when I do.  

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About the chowder … since I didn't have live lobster, I substituted vegetable broth for the lobster broth.  For the almond milk, I only had 2 cups in stock, so used heavy cream for 1 of the cups.  Cauliflower is used instead of potatoes so that keeps it low carb.  One of those bags of precut raw cauliflower you find in the produce section is just about 2 cups.

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My picture of it is not very pretty, but you get the idea.  It was pretty creamy and with the vanilla almond milk, and cointreau it had a very mild sweet taste - lobster has a sweet taste to it as well, so I expected that.  It was very tasty as is, but I think that next time, I will use a Chipotle Garlic Spice instead of just plain garlic powder.  I shook some on my bowl of chowder and it complemented it very well, and I do like spicy.

Now I need to go back to BJ's Warehouse Club to get some more of the lobster, so I can have a lobster roll (which is what I bought it for in the first place.


Sick Kitty

Our little girly kitty Mattie is sick.

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We came home on Monday and she couldn't bear weight on her hind legs.  It's so sad to see her flopping as she tries to walk.  We called the vet immediately Monday night and since she had feeling, he said we could bring her in Tuesday, which we did first thing.  They did X-rays and labs, and so far haven't figured out what is going on - all they could say is that she was a little anemic, and had some signs of arthritis, but not significant to cause the problem - they also found she has a heart murmur.   We've got her on antibiotics as a precaution in case it is an infection, but still no real improvement.

Today, I've got to talk with the vet to see what our next course of action is.  Of course, I've been checking out the internet and will be asking some very specific questions to make sure they've checked all possibilities.   She's 12 years old, and even though she doesn't seem to be in pain, it's heartbreaking to watch her struggle.


Addicted to Peanut Butter

I admit it … I think I have a little Peanut Butter addiction.

This week, our local grocery chain Publix, has Peter Pan Peanut Butter on BOGO (buy one get one), and I do love a good BOGO, so I stocked up.  

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I had seen somewhere on the internet that sales repeat about every 12 weeks, so I figured this amount might last until the next sale - or maybe not.  These are the smaller size jars.

All through elementary school, I took my lunch to school, and each and every single day, I had a peanut butter (creamy) and jelly sandwich.  No … my mother was not forcing me to eat only PBJ sandwiches - it was my lunch of choice.  Occasionally she would mix up my lunch with my brother's lunch … the horrors … his sandwich had crunchy peanut butter, which I despise, so the teacher would walk me to his room to trade out to the right sandwich.

I grew up on Peter Pan, and it is still my favorite brand.  

Peanut Butter can be good on a low carb, high fat diet, but I still have to be careful because there are carbs, and even low carb, in order to lose weight it's still calories in vs calories out.  It does make a great snack though.

The new sale starts tomorrow, so I've got to decide if I want to get just a little bit more.  The shelf life is pretty long, 2017, so even if I don't use it all before the next Peanut Butter sale, it won't go bad.


Blogging VS Facebook

Do people still blog ?

I think they do.  In fact, I like reading blogs better than the Facebook feeds. 

Well, I view Facebook as the readers digest version of a blog.  You get the gist of the post, and if you want to read more it will connect you to the blog.  Sometimes the first few sentences of a blog doesn't give you the big picture of the post, so you might miss out on something interesting if you don't click through.

My friends and I used to blog regularly.  We were at a recently at a scrapbooking crop and I said I was going to start up my blog again, and one thing lead to another, and then they both started blogging again ... they actually got their first posts up before I re-started mine.  They're blaming me - I think.  We all checked out our old sites, and I hadn't blogged in several years, and neither had Linda or Ginni - many of my friends no longer blog - I know this because I looked some of the links I had and many had been abandoned.  It's weird if you think about it.  Little snippets of peoples lives out there on the internet, just left dangling - gone ... but still there.  I think we all were amazed that the blogs were still there and live, even though we hadn't been paying for the hosting service in years.

In the scrapbooking world, blogs were big mostly because people posted their work - layouts, cards, designs, and also tried out for design teams which for most you had to have an active blog - that's what started the whole thing for many of my friends. 

For me ... I stated because I wanted to participate in a blogathon to raise money for charity.  I stayed up 24 hours and had to post every half hour I think.  That was a long time ago (2007), and my biggest supporter at the time was my mom - actually at the time she was pretty much the only reader of my blog.  If there was another blogathon, I think I'd do it again - I'm up all night anyways.

And now, it's gone full circle - I'm back to blogging.


Bringing Back the Blog

It's been awhile since I've posted on my blog - a little over 2 years in fact. WOW … didn't realize it had been that long.

Some things have changed, and some things have stayed the same - such is life.

I still scrapbook but haven't made it to many crops, 2016 will be different (Thanks Linda for scheduling crops on the right days).

I've lost thirty-five pounds (so far) and now follow a Paleo/Primal low carb high fat diet. My blood sugar numbers are in the normal range (without any medication). Because of the diet - I cook more - which means trying new recipes and coming up with my own versions of recipes.

I still have a slight Pinterest (and Facebook too) addiction, but I'm OK with that. My tastes run to DIY, Crafts, Recipes, Prepping, and Frugal Living/Cost savings.

I'm still a sucker for "Reality" TV.  I still attend car shows and cruise-ins.  I still have cats.

I've become a Florida black bear "defender" since the October debacle of the 1st bear hunt in Florida in over 20 years, and as a byproduct of this fight I'm learning lots and lots of information on how the Florida government works or rather doesn't work.

So, why the blog ? I like sharing the stuff I've learned … a new recipe, a great product, a card tutorial, bargains I've found, ways to save money, and ways to save Florida. I have eclectic tastes - it won't be a blog on a specific topic, but more a blog on a variety of topics that I hope you find beneficial and then of course there will be pictures of cool cars and very cute (if I may say so myself) cats.

Will it be a daily thing .... knowing me probably not, but I should be able to find something to say at least a couple of times a week.  I hope you'll come along for the ride and share a piece of my world.  If you do stop by, I'd appreciate a comment, even just to say hi. 


Neon Challenge

I was playing along with one of the Challenges on the Kitchen Keepsake board.  One of the monthly challenges is to do something inspired by a Pinterest Pin.

Here is this months pinspiration:

So, we were supposed to do something using Neon colors - which is quite a stretch for me.  I did have some Neon foam letters and while walking around Michaels, found large clothespins in Neon colors and hatched an idea.  That's how it goes ... one thing leads to a thought ... which leads to a plan ... which sometimes leads to creative action.

So here's my Neon creation:

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Altered clothespins used to be a big thing several years ago and I guess they're making a comeback since they're back in the stores.  This one will grace my desk at work - I might make another for my scraproom desk too.


Fun and Games ...

I play games ...

They entertain me in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep, or when I'm a passenger on my daily commute to work.  I believe it also keeps my mind young (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

I play Words w/Friends (almost came out Fiends, which some of you are very viscious and don't let me win once or twice - LOL) , Matching w/Friends, as well as lots and lots of Scramble (if you don't play, it's like the classic board game Boggle).  I also have a pretty strong Bejeweled addiction.

And now ... I have fallen into the black hole of Candy Crush.  It's a game linked to your facebook friends which I started awhile ago but didn't play often - but now, I've started playing again.  My sisters play, my friends play, my co-workers play, so I went along for the ride and started playing and it sucked me right in.  I am thinking Candy Crush is more poplular than I even imagined because now I'm seeing commercials on TV for the app (both for IPhone and Android). 

The games are harmless enough ... but they do want your money.  You can buy more lives, and you can buy helps.  I am being strong and haven't succombed to pull of playing longer or getting through a level.  Not to say that I haven't payed for the privelege of playing games (I do buy hammers for EggBreaker [another Facebook game - don't ask] - but at the moment, I am resisting buying into Candy Crush. 

As you go to higher levels in the game, it gets harder and harder.  You only get 5 lives, and you lose a life every time you fail at a level.  I personally believe that you should get more lives the higher you go, but then I was thinking about it, and 5 lives is really the perfect amount to keep the obsessed functional members of society.  I can blow though 5 lives in about 5 minutes - and then it's 2.5 hours for them to rebuild again.  Works perfectly.  Play on the way to work, then play on break, then play at lunch.  At home, I can actually cook or God forbid clean between life refills.  If not, I think my life would go on complete shutdown in order to finish a level.  Ahhh ... the addictive personality.


{P}inspired - the Radish Debacle

I wanted to make a recipe I found on Pinterest here.

Simple enough.  Slice the radishes, cover w/olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper, then bake.

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So on my first pass, I think I sliced them too thin.  Some were overcooked, some were undercooked. Some were just right .. sounds like a fairy tale.  I will say this ... the ones that were not burned - well ... they were fabulous.  I found I liked them a little to the well done side (but not burned).  The ones still a little white, tasted OK, but were limp - so I liked the texture of the browned ones.

So I did what anyone would do.  I made a second batch.  These, I used the mandolin on a thicker setting, so they weren't so paper thin.  I took them out of the oven and all was well.  Then since I'd been tasting and eating the first batch, I put them back in to get a little crispier.  And that was my mistake - I should have just left well enough alone, but I had to temp fate.

So here is what I ended up with:

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Burned to a crisp.  This is no way a reflection of the recipe - it was all me.  I just didn't set the timer, or didn't hear the timer, I don't quite know what exactly happened - but I burned them - and they looked so good just a little bit ago - I wish I had taken an interum picture - but you'll have to believe me.

Although I did have more radishes, I was over it, so didn't try a third batch.  I might try again in the near future - they were tasty.