Thursday, February 28, 2019

Errands on Wednesday

Wednesday morning was off to a slow start, since I slept in!  By the time I had my cup of tea, replied to blog comments, and put away the dishes I washed yesterday, the morning was gone and it was time for lunch!  I had a salad for lunch.  I didn't take a photo of it, though.

In the afternoon, I ran some errands.  The pharmacy had sent a text saying two of my prescriptions were ready so, I planned my errands around that.  I first went to the bank (in the same shopping mall as the pharmacy).  Then, I went to the pharmacy.  Only one of the prescriptions for the lowered dosages was ready; the other item that was ready were the lancets for the existing blood sugar monitor.  How that was approved by the insurance, but not the test strips, is a mystery to me!

I asked about the second lowered dosage medicine (the earlier text, I received on Monday evening, had stated it was on order), but I was told to stand in the other line to ask the other pharmacist at the "drop off" counter (I was at the "pick up" counter) about it.  So, I paid for the medications that were ready and stood in the other line.  That pharmacist was very nice and put through the second medication, right then and there.  I also asked about the new blood sugar monitor, as I had been told the insurance no longer covered supplies for my currant monitor, and she said she needed to put that request through, again.  Oh, well, I have enough test strips and lancets for March.  I waited at the pharmacy until the second reduced dosage medication was ready.  I paid almost $50 for my medications, the antihistamines the doctor had wanted me to take (over the counter, so not covered by insurance), and the lancets.

Then, I decided to go to the grocery store that was in the same shopping mall to buy the milk I needed (instead of waiting to buy it on Thursday).  While there, I also bought some (four) bananas (@ $.59/lb) and a bag (12 oz) of frozen corn ($1.00) for myself (dipping into the March grocery budget!) as well as 10 cans of cat food for Dancer (@$.60 per can, plus tax).  

By the time I came home, it was 5:30 p.m.  I had a cup of tea and ate a banana.  Then, watched news and did some knitting.  Cousin P called and we chatted a bit.  

Dinner was leftovers - red rice, green beans, and mackerel curry, with some  homemade tomato chutney.  Still later, I ate a slice of bread with a spicy onion sambol.  

It was an overcast day, today, and, later in the evening, it rained.  There is more rain in the forecast for tomorrow and the weekend!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Helpful pharmacy staff
- The insurance covering the lancets!
- The rain holding off while I ran my errands!
- The rain watering my garden for me
- Phone calls and emails from family and friends

I didn't do the housework I had planned to do today, as I spent time running errands.  So, the to do list gets carried over to Thursday!

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

More Grocery Shopping on Tuesday

At 5:15 a.m., this morning, I wondered if it was even worth trying to go to sleep, but, eventually I managed to fall asleep and slept till almost 11:00 a.m.  I had just brewed myself a cup of tea when Aunt T called to confirm that I was coming to visit her this afternoon; she wanted me to bring some curry leaves and I offered to bring some lemons, as well.  I had called my cousin to see if she wanted to go with me to visit aunt, but, her daughter was off work and they had plans to go out to lunch.  So, I went on my own to visit aunt.  I took her a jar of my strawberry jam, in addition to the curry leaves and lemons.

I got to  aunt's house around 1:30 p.m.  Her caregiver had made lunch (rice, beef curry, green beans, and dhal), and they both insisted that I ate some lunch.  Later in the afternoon, cousin P and her daughter joined us, so aunt was happy because she had company. 

On my way home from aunt's, I stopped at an Indian grocery store, which was also a small restaurant, as well.  I went off my low carb diet, today, and bought two samosas ($1 each) for dinner:

Samosas and Mint Chutney
The samosas have a filling of potato and green peas.  I also bought a bag of frozen grated coconut ($2.99) and a box of kheer (Indian rice pudding) mix  ($1).  My daughter loves kheer and I plan to make it for her, this weekend.  My total at the Indian store came to $4.99, of which $3.99 was for groceries.

Frozen Grated Coconut and Kheer Mix
Then, I went to the dollar store and bought two brooms, three boxes of facial tissues, three boxes of food storage bags (different sizes, snack, sandwich, and quart), a package of AA batteries ($1.99), and four cans of coconut milk:

Coconut Milk

My bill came to $14.94 with tax, of which $3.96 was for groceries (the cans of coconut milk); the rest is from the household budget (dipping into the March household budget to pay for what I bought, today).

Dollar Store Receipt

Finally, I stopped at the grocery store and bought:

2 pineapples $.99@ = $1.98
1 loaf of bread = $1.99
1 bottle of salad dressing = $2.19
1 container of yogurt = $2.50 (the dollar store didn't have the big containers of yogurt, today)
Total = $8.66

Other Groceries

I also bought a 16 lb. bag of cat food, which was $9.99 plus tax (not included in the grocery budget).

Grocery Store Receipt

Today's grocery spending:
$3.99 + $3.96 + $8.66 = $16.61

February grocery budget = $75 + $5.55 from January = $80.55
Spent to date:  $5.00 + $7.80 + $10.51 + $9.30 + $29.04 + $16.61 = $78.26
Balance remaining in February grocery budget: $80.55 - $78.26 = $2.29

I need to buy half a gallon of milk ($1.99), on Thursday, before my daughter comes home.    There's just enough left in the budget for that!  Ha, ha.  I don't quite know why I didn't want to buy the milk, today, but, I can buy it Thursday afternoon.  I will probably buy a dozen eggs, then, as well (with the March grocery budget, as eggs are on sale for $1.49/doz. this week). 

There were several pineapple tops that had been broken off and kept by the side of the bin with the pineapples, and I picked them up and brought home with me!  So far, I have managed to root one pineapple top (I haven't planted it, yet) and I am hoping that these will root, too!  If they do, I might have the beginnings of my own pineapple plantation going, just like Nathalie at the ImperfectlyFrugally blog did (she has since closed her blog, so I am not providing a link to it, here; but she had several pineapple plants growing in her backyard).   

Pineapple Tops
After I came home and photographed and put away the groceries, I ate my samosas and had a cup of tea.  Later, I did the dishes, chatted on the phone with Aunt C and friend R, texted with cousin N, and video chatted with my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to visit Aunt T
- A safe drive there and back
- Treats from the Indian store
- Phone calls with family and friends
- Cousin N assuring me that she is able to drive me home from the eye doctor's appointment in March (I will have my eyes dilated and I will not be allowed to drive myself back).

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Tidy the house!
- Clean the bathrooms
- Water the indoor plants

How was your Tuesday?  How did you do with your grocery shopping this month? 

Mackerel Curry Recipe

Both Eileen and Nil wanted to know how I make my mackerel curry, so I am posting my "recipe".   I really don't use precise amounts of ingredients, but I tried to estimate how much of what I put in, because my daughter used to hate it when she'd ask me how to cook something and I'd say, "some onions, some tomatoes, some curry powder", etc.  (But now that she's been cooking for herself for over 5 years, she cooks the same way I do - some of this and some of that!  LOL.)

I use canned (tinned) mackerel packed in either water or brine.  I can find mackerel in water at the grocery store; the ones I buy at the dollar store tend to be packed in brine.  If I buy the ones in brine, I don't add any additional salt to the dish.  I don't discard the liquid the fish is in; I use that for my gravy.  But, you may discard it, if you prefer, and use fresh water and milk to make the gravy, or, only the milk (either coconut milk or regular milk).

1 can mackerel, packed in water or brine
1 small onion or half a larger onion, sliced (you can add more if you really like onions)
1 tomato, chopped or sliced (again, add more if you like lots of tomato)
1 green chili, sliced (remove seeds or omit if you don't want it too spicy)
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 small piece of ginger
1 sprig (several leaves) of curry leaves (can substitute a bay leaf if needed)
1 piece pandan leaf (optional, don't worry if you don't have it)
1-2 heaped teaspoons of curry powder (I use a mixture of dark roasted and yellow curry powder; my daughter tends to use turmeric instead of yellow curry powder)
1 tsp chili powder (adjust to how spicy you want the curry; can add less chili powder and add paprika for color, if you like); yes, I add both chili powder and green chilies to my curries
1-2 whole cloves
1-2 whole pods of cardamom
1/2 - 1 can coconut milk (can substitute regular milk, if needed)
1-2 table spoons of oil
1/2 lemon (or a lime)
Salt to taste (if needed)

Saute the onions and tomato in the oil, add the green chili, garlic and ginger, curry leaves and pandan leaf and saute for about a minute.  Add the liquid from the can (or water) and the coconut milk (or regular milk), add the curry powder, chili powder, cloves and cardamom, and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and let the gravy simmer for about 5 minutes.  I add the fish at the very end, and simmer only until the fish is warmed through, since it is already cooked.  That way, the fish stays whole (unless you wish to break it apart).  The final step is to add lemon juice.  I add lemon because I have lemons growing in my garden; one can add lime juice, if preferred.

Now, the short-cut method, which I've been known to use, occasionally, is to skip the sauteing of the onions and tomatoes, etc., just dump the liquid from the can into a saucepan, add all the ingredients other than the fish and lemon juice, bring the gravy to a boil, add the fish and lemon juice!  That's what I did the other night!  My daughter was shocked when I told her I did that, because she does the sauteing, etc., the way I told her to do.  I've even been known to omit the garlic and ginger, on occasion (often when I don't have these ingredients on hand).  It still makes a very good curry, in my opinion. 

I hope you make this curry and enjoy it.

Doctor's Appointment on Monday

I had my appointment with the Physician Assistant, today.  The appointment was for 2:00 p.m., but I was required to be at the clinic by 1:45 p.m.  The clinic is located in Downtown, so I planned to leave by 12:45 p.m.

This morning, I drank (or should I say I tried to drink?) a cup of plain tea, black, without any sugar, and failed rather miserably!  I managed a few sips, less than half a cup!  Later, I ate one scrambled egg for breakfast. 

I left the house exactly at 12:45 p.m. and reached the clinic by 1:30 p.m.  There was a line of people waiting to be checked in and then, another short wait afterwards, to be called inside.  I went prepared to wait and read the book I had taken with me.  My pressure was good, my blood sugar was good, and I weighed 10 lbs. less than I had at my previous visit on January 11, which was also good!  The PA was very pleased with my progress and, basically told me to continue doing what I have been doing!  But, I had questions I needed to ask of her, including regarding those phone calls that were never returned.  According to the medical file, however, her notes indicate that I was called back and told to continue to monitor the pressure and call back in five days' time, and to come in for more frequent monitoring in person!  Um, except she didn't call me back!  Unless she called my old office phone number and left a message on the voice mail there; I didn't pursue it, but I know I verified that the clinic had my home phone number, when I called to leave the message. 

But, we discussed the concerns I had about not taking any medications when the pressure was good and only taking medications when the pressure was high enough  (above 130/80), as I was going for a couple of days without any medications and then, needing to take them the next day, as that can lead to complications, as well.  We have now decided that she will reduce the dosages of two of the pressure medications I am taking and I will take the reduced dosages daily, but continue to monitor the pressure and adjust as needed.  I feel much better about it, now.  I have a follow up appointment in April, but I am to call and come in earlier, if needed.

By the time I left the clinic, it was 3:30 p.m.  I was just in time for rush hour traffic!  It was 4:30 p.m. when I got home.  I decided to treat myself to a hamburger on the way home!  Just the hamburger, no fries.  Followed by a proper cup of tea with both milk and sugar! 

Later, I chatted with cousin P on the phone, watched news, took the big trash can to the curb, and did a load of laundry. 

Dinner was leftover red rice, mackerel curry, green beans, and cabbage.  Both Eileen and Nil had asked about my mackerel curry recipe, so I will do another post with that, as this is long enough as it is!

Later in the night, I video chatted with my daughter.  She'll be coming down on Thursday night as it is her birthday weekend; we are trying to plan what we want to do to celebrate.  She wants to go to Little Tokyo (Japan Town) to lunch on Friday, so we'll do that.  She didn't want any type of party; I suggested she went out to dinner with her friends, but she didn't want to do that, either!  But, I think I've persuaded her to invite her friends over to our house to play board games and have dinner on Friday night.  She sent a text to her friends to see if they are free on Friday night. She doesn't want me to get tired, cooking, so, if they are coming, we'll order food from our favorite Thai place. 

Today, I spent $25 at the doctor's office for co-pay and parking.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another sunny day
- The doctor's appointment went well
- I had a safe drive downtown and back
- Blood pressure and sugar levels were good
- Chatting with my daughter

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Grocery shop for pineapples
- Visit Aunt T
- Put away laundry from today (hanging up to dry, overnight)
- Run the dishwasher

How was your Monday?  What are your plans for Tuesday?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Restful Sunday

It's been another sunny day, here, today.  I'm glad because more rain is in the forecast for later this week!  I opened some of the windows and aired out the house for several hours, this afternoon.  But, it gets cold as soon as the sun goes down, so the windows are shut, now, and the security devices, a.k.a. the broom sticks, are in place! 

It has been a quiet, restful day.  I exchanged texts with one of my cousins, this morning, as her second grandson was born, last night.  Later, I called my aunt to congratulate her on becoming a great-grandmother twice over.  And, I called neighbor T to check on her as she didn't call me as usual in the morning; she was fine, she said, but had forgotten to call.  Chatted with her for a bit and promised to call her again, later in the week.  My half-sister called, too, to check on me, which was nice.

I had a cup of tea in the morning, but couldn't decide what to have for breakfast.  So, I decided to have lunch, instead.  But, first, I had to cook:

Red Rice
Red rice is very similar to brown rice; the variety I have is partially polished so it is more pink than red!  Even so, it is considered to be better for some of us than regular white rice.

To go with the rice, I cooked a mackerel curry (using canned mackerel), as well as sauteed green beans , and, sauteed cabbage (both vegetables were cooked with curry powder and other spices).

Curries to accompany the rice

I measured out 1/3 cup of rice (considered a serving) to my plate, and added the rest of the items:

Sunday Lunch: Rice and Curries
It was a good lunch and my sugar level was well under control when I checked two hours later. 

Later, I had a cup of tea and ate a handful of almonds as a snack.

I haven't had dinner yet, but I will probably have leftovers from lunch, with, perhaps half an apple for dessert.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Cousin's daughter had a safe delivery
- Phone calls with family and friends
- A restful day
- Rice and curry for lunch
- A working heater

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the physician assistant for a check up.  I need to ask her why she didn't return my phone calls and get a new prescription for the new blood sugar monitor that is covered by my current insurance.

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for the upcoming week?

Broom Sticks and Pancakes (and a Sweater, too!)

Friend M came over yesterday (Friday) afternoon, fully expecting to work in the garden, and found himself being turned into a security system installer, instead!  LOL!  Poor guy never knows what he is called upon to do when he comes over to my house to do the garden!  But, after I told him about the mysteriously opened window the other day, he willingly assisted me with securing the windows and doors.  He cut down broom sticks, an old PVC pipe I had leftover from a garden project, and even some branches from a tree in the garden, and we rigged up a way to prevent (or, at the very least, thwart) any accidental openings of the sliding glass windows in all the rooms, as well as the sliding glass door in the family room!  These broom sticks and other items have now been fitted into the windows in such a manner that the windows will not slide open, even if the latch is released!  I should have given him the handles from the old mops, instead of my brooms, to cut down, but I forgot them!  Now, I need to buy two new brooms (I keep one broom in the bathroom to sweep up the sand from Dancer's litter box; the other broom is for the kitchen and rest of the house).  Never mind; new brooms sweep better, they say!

Last night's dinner was a bowl of soup, followed by a part of the salmon steak and stir fried vegetables:

"Blackened" Salmon and Stir Fried Vegetables

It's not really blackened salmon with Cajun seasonings; I just pan seared it with onions and tomatoes until it formed a bit of a crust, because that's how I like it.  For dessert, I had some mixed berries - the last of the blackberries and blueberries.  For my midnight snack, I had the last slice of bread, toasted, with some cheese. 

I slept in, this morning.  I woke up when I felt a whiskery face brushing against my face and heard a rather purry, "Mreow?  Are you still sleeping?  What about my breakfast?  Mreow?"  I tried to ignore him, but his nose was cold and wet!  So, I got up, fed him and the garden cats, had a cup of tea, etc.

Later, in the early afternoon, I decided I wanted something that was more brunch-like than salad; after all, it was the weekend and pancakes sounded good:

Pancakes?  On a low carb diet?  Well, not your typical pancakes.  My daughter had mentioned that she tried making something called banana pancakes when she was craving something sweet but still relatively healthy, and it was just mashed ripe bananas and eggs (she found a recipe online).  She said they were so-so, they weren't as sweet as she had thought they would be and she still needed to put some maple syrup on them.  It sounded more like am omelette, to me, but I decided to try them, myself: one ripe banana, two whole eggs, and a drop of vanilla.  Daughter said she mashed the banana with a fork and it was still a bit lumpy.  I decided to use the blender to mix it up.  The "batter" blended smoothly and was even a bit frothy. I cooked them as I would crepes - melted a little butter in the pan, added a small amount of the batter straight from the blender jug, let it cook until done on one side, flipped it over to cook on the other side.  They weren't fluffy like American pancakes, but they were a little thicker than what I grew up calling pancakes (which most people know as crepes). 

Banana Pancakes/Banana Omelettes
The verdict: not bad!  I tried them plain, as they were, and they were very slightly sweet, with just a hint of banana (which was good, because I don't like the taste or smell of ripe bananas!).  Then, I cut up an orange from the tree and squeezed some of the orange juice over the pancakes and ate them that way, and it was good.  The amount of batter I had was enough for five pancakes.  I ate four of them for brunch and felt very full!  Two eggs are a lot for me to eat at one sitting (I usually eat just one).  I had the one leftover pancake, with some of the apple/cranberry jam, for dessert, after dinner, tonight, and it was quite good! 

I have one more ripe banana, but I am not sure if I want to make more of these banana pancakes/omelettes or try making banana ice cream with it (apparently, all you have to do is freeze the ripe banana in chunks, and then, blend it while frozen until it becomes the consistency of soft serve ice cream; one can then eat it as it is or freeze it until firmer).  Or, I could use the frozen banana in a smoothie. 

Still later in the afternoon, I sewed up my grey sweater:

Grey Sweater

I knitted it with 100% wool, worsted weight yarn that I had bought on sale back in November 2017.

I had bought five skeins of this grey yarn and I used almost four of them to knit the sweater.  I cast on 70 stitches for the front (and 70 stitches for the back) and knitted the garment with U.S. size #7 needles, including the ribbing at the bottom; but the ribbing on the sleeves were done with U.K. size #10 needles as I wanted the cuffs to be knitted a little tighter.  The front and the back have an all-over pattern called "Little Birds" according to my knitting pattern book; the sleeves are stockinette stitch

Close up of the stitch pattern

Here's how it looks on me:

Grey "Little Birds" Sweater
I've been wearing this sweater all evening and it is nice and warm!  I've already cast on another set of stitches for another sweater with some black wool I had bought, earlier. 

I forgot to include a photo of the other sweater I knitted in last month's Photo Scavenger hunt!  I'm not sure if I am allowed to include that photo for this month.  If not, I will include the photo of the grey sweater for Alt. B "Show and Tell - something you made".

For tonight's dinner, I had the last of the tomato soup and pasta "stir-fry":

Pasta Stir Fry
I boiled a little spaghetti, added the rest of the salmon and the stir fried vegetables from last night and heated it through with a bit of soy sauce and sprinkled a handful of roasted peanuts on top.  Next time I go grocery shopping, I shall look for whole wheat pasta. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another sunny day
- A warm, new sweater
- Banana  "pancakes"
- Secured windows
- Flowers in the garden

Along the drive way
They are at their peak, right now!

Osteospermum/African Daisies
How was your day?  Have you tried banana pancakes/omelettes, before?  Do you think it might be something you might try?

Friday, February 22, 2019

It's a New Day on Friday

It's a lovely, sunny day, here.  I am writing this at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon.

Last night, I fell off the low carb bandwagon!  I was after a wonderful dinner of soup, part of a pork chop with green beans and corn, followed by a piece of papaya.  Two hours later, when I checked my blood sugar levels, it was well under the "less than 180" guideline.  It was more like half of that (93)!  I didn't want to go to sleep and have low blood sugar, either, as that can be bad, too!  So, I ate some yogurt with palm treacle instead of the spoon of jam I've been having with it, lately.  Palm treacle is what we normally eat with yogurt, anyway, and it was lovely.

Now, if I had stopped there, it would have been fine.  But, no.  It triggered an urge to eat more!  Ideally, what I should have eaten was a salad.  Instead, I ate a piece of chocolate, a bowl of dry cereal, a bag of microwaved popcorn (yes, the entire bag!), AND a granola bar!  Sigh.  It was as if I couldn't stop eating!  One of my friends had warned me that this could happen if I deprived myself too much of carbs.  Well, I suppose it could have been worse!  At least, I didn't bake a cake and eat it all, with the rest of the container of ice cream that's in the freezer!  Got to look on the positive side of things, right?

Anyway, that was yesterday, this is today, and it is a new day.  I can't undo yesterday or do it over again.  I can only start from where I am and go forwards.  So, I am back on the low carb way of eating, again.

I didn't go to sleep until almost 4:00 a.m., again, and, although I woke up at 8:30 a.m. to respond to my daughter's text (she was giving a presentation at work, today, and I wanted to wish her good luck), I went back to sleep and slept until almost 11:30 a.m.  So, by the time I had a cup of tea, it was already noon; the cup of tea was my breakfast.  I checked my sugar level before I had my lunch, and it was fine, well within what they should be (between 80 and 130; mine was 116).   Lunch is a salad with some of the salmon I cooked last night:

Healthy Lunch
It's probably what I should have had last night; much healthier than microwaved popcorn, but, not as fun!  LOL.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The sunny day
- Getting back up on the low carb wagon
- The blood sugar levels have been OK
- The doctor's office called to confirm Monday's appointment
- A new day/a new start

I'm waiting for M to arrive so I can have him check the windows and plant the seedlings.  Dinner will be soup and the rest of the piece of salmon with vegetables. 

How is your Friday coming along?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

All's Well on Thursday

I didn't want to go to sleep, last night, but, finally, around 3:45 a.m., I felt tired and went to bed.  I had double checked all the doors and windows and made sure everything was closed properly.  I slept well.  Daughter's text, around 9:00 a.m., wishing me a good morning and asking how everything was, woke me up.  I texted back that all was well and slept for another hour or so! 

It was a cloudy, overcast day, but it didn't rain.  I had a relaxed morning, rejoicing in the blessing of a safe night, having a cup of tea, replying to everyone's kind comments, doing my own blog rounds, etc.  The grocery circulars came in today's mail, finally, and I took a look.  I really don't need anything, but, one store is having fresh pineapples for $.99 each, which is a good price.  My daughter loves fresh pineapple (she doesn't like canned pineapple) and she's coming home, next weekend, so, I might buy one, or maybe even two, and keep for when she comes home.

In the afternoon, I did a little paperwork, paid a bill, and read a bit.  Later, I aired out the house, walked a bit in the garden, did the dishes, watched the evening news, knitted, and cooked the salmon that I didn't get around to cooking, yesterday (kept one salmon steak in the fridge for me and froze the rest for daughter to take).

Lunch was a tuna salad sandwich.  I was hungry, again, by 6:30 p.m., so I decided to have an early dinner.  It turned out to be a three course dinner!  Tomato soup for a starter, followed by an entree of the rest of the pork chop which I didn't eat, yesterday, after all, with green beans and the last bit of frozen corn, and the last piece of papaya for dessert.  Later, I had some yogurt and almonds for a snack.

I've had a bit of a headache, most of the day, today, I think from all the tension from yesterday's excitement.  Or, maybe a lack of sleep.  I think I will try for an early night, today, meaning, being in bed before 1:00 a.m.! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- There were no unexpected surprises when I woke up!
- Doors and windows that were closed remained closed!
- A quiet, relaxed day
- Phone calls from family and friends
- Video chatting with my daughter

Plans for tomorrow include having friend M check on the pieces of wood I put in the windows and plant the bean and pea seedlings that have sprouted! 

How was your Thursday?  What are your plans for tomorrow and the weekend?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Things that Go Bump in the Night

Or, in this case, in the morning!

Window Screen and Other Items

I know it didn't happen in the night because I was up until 5:00 a.m.  But, sometime between 5:00 a.m., when I fell asleep. and 10:30 a.m., when I finally woke up, I heard a noise which woke me up, very briefly.  I wondered it if was someone breaking into the house, dismissed that notion as nonsense, and decided it sounded very much like Dancer was playing with something.  He will often chase a small box or a pen around the floor, batting at it, pouncing on it, running and knocking into furniture, etc., and making quite a racket as he imagines himself being a mighty hunter.  So, I went back to sleep!   

Usually, when my daughter is not home, I close the door to her bedroom at night, after I say my nightly prayers, especially in the winter when the heater is on because I don't want to heat an unoccupied room.  Then, when I wake up in the morning, I open the door to her bedroom to turn on the altar light, since the altar is set up on the top shelf of her closet. 

Imagine my surprise, this morning, when I found the door to her bedroom open!   And the vertical blinds of one of the windows (facing the street), all awry!  Not only that, the window was OPEN!  That is a window which we rarely open.  I know that window was closed when I went to bed, last night, because, as part of my nightly prayer rituals, I go around the house sprinkling blessed water and touching the closed windows and doors with a finger dipped into the blessed water, as I say a prayer of protection.  But, this morning, the window had been slid open and the screen mesh had fallen off!  The heater was on full blast because the window was open!

I immediately got my phone and took a photo.  At least, I thought I took a photo, but, apparently, it didn't take, because I can't find it!  (That happened, once before, during the almsgiving, too.)  Then, I closed the window, and checked around the house to see if anything was missing, if there was any sign of a break in.  Fortunately, nothing was missing,  There was no sign of anything out of place (other than the usual disarray of my house). 

Then, I went outside and took the photo above, of the window screen on the walkway leading to my front door and the two red items that can be seen in the photo - one is a red metal cookie tin (empty) and the other is a gift bag of stuff my daughter received last year.  They had both been on her desk, which is by the window. 

My theory is, I didn't close daughter's bedroom door, properly, last night, and Dancer was able to push the door open and go into the room.  Then, maybe he jumped up on to the desk and played with something?  There was nothing knocked onto the floor, but the desk lamp had been knocked over.  Maybe he spooked himself when the desk lamp got knocked over, and somehow, managed to knock into the window so that the latch got loosened and the window slid open and he knocked the screen out?  Along with the cookie tin and the gift bag?   Maybe he was trying to play with one of the garden cats?  He sometimes launches himself at them when they are outside the sliding glass door and they pounce at each other from either side of the glass door!   

At least Dancer didn't go outside through the open window! 

I honestly don't know what happened!  I debated whether to call the police, but I didn't, as nothing was missing and both Dancer and I are safe!  For which, I feel blessed.  I said a prayer of gratitude that we were both safe and nothing seems to have been taken.

I went from room to room and checked in the closets, just to make sure no one was hiding!  LOL!  Maybe not the wisest thing to have done, because I've no idea what I would have done if someone was hiding!  Freaked out, no doubt!

I went out to the garage, later in the afternoon, and got two leftover pieces of hardwood flooring (from way back when the family room addition was built!) and stuck them in the windows of my daughter's bedroom!  I probably should put them in all the windows, now that I think of it.   Not that a piece of wood would deter someone from breaking in, but it might prevent a very clever kitty from unintentionally unlatching and sliding open a window!  I think we might have to rename him Houdini!

I texted daughter and called cousin P to tell them about what happened with the window.  Later, I called friend R, too.

My old trash bins had been picked up and the new, replacement bins had been delivered.  They are so nice and clean, I hate to put any trash in them!  LOL! 

I had a cup of tea this morning, but didn't have any breakfast.  Later, I made more tomato soup:

Tomato Soup for Lunch
I only used two large tomatoes, this time, and a can of chicken broth (need to use up the broth as it has passed its "best by" date!)  This time, I added a green chili to spice it up a bit (much better!), a couple of bay leaves and a bit of dried basil.  I removed the bay leaves before I blended it, and this time, I blended it a bit more, so the soup is smoother in texture.  I had a bowl of it for my lunch. 

After the excitement of this morning, I didn't feel like doing anything productive this afternoon!  No kitchen cabinets were cleaned!  No paperwork was done!  I responded to blog comments, read and commented on other blogs, and just took it easy. 

I had another cup of tea in the evening, and will cook the salmon in a little bit.  Need to do the dishes, as well. 

It was a cloudy, overcast day; the rain, however, held off until later in the evening, although friend R said it rained on and off throughout the day in her area.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being alive, unhurt, and unharmed
- Dancer and I are safe and well
- Nothing has been stolen or damaged
- Dancer didn't escape from the open window
- As far as I can tell, nothing and no one came in from the open window!

I am not of a nervous disposition, in general, but I have a feeling that I will have a hard time falling asleep, tonight!  I pray that doors and windows that should be closed will remain closed, that Dancer and I remain safe, unhurt, and unharmed, and that nothing shall go bump in the night!. 

How was your day? 

Grocery Shopping on Tuesday

2/19 Groceries

I am glad I waited until today to go grocery shopping.  It was another sunny day, but it was a little warmer, today, and, even more importantly, it wasn't windy. 

Last night, I felt that I was having a bit of a relapse from my cold and cough.  I felt a bit stuffed up and achy.  I boiled some coriander and let it steep to make coriander tea, which is our cure-all for colds.  I added some preserved ginger to it, since I didn't have any fresh ginger, and drank it before going to bed.  I even got to bed by 1:00 a.m., which is early for me!  I didn't fall asleep, immediately, but, slept for a good eight hours, so I had a good night's rest, and woke up feeling much better.  I'll probably have another cup of coriander tea before I go to sleep, tonight, too.

I spent a relaxed morning, having my morning cup of tea and replying to blog comments, putting away the laundry from yesterday, etc.  I brought the trash can in (and put it out, again, later in the evening, along with the damaged recycling bin, for them to collect the old bins and give me replacement bins, tomorrow - they wanted the bins out by the curb by 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning and I know I won't be getting up in time to do that!).

I checked the mail box to see if this week's grocery ads had been delivered, but they hadn't been.  They are usually delivered on Tuesdays, but, sometimes, they get delivered on Wednesdays, which is when the prices go into effect.

In the afternoon, I went to the Armenian grocery store for this week's specials and a couple of other items. 

While I was at the store, I took a couple of photos of some different kinds of vegetables, which, I know aren't commonly seen in most grocery stores:

Chinese Okra/Ridged Gourd
Chinese Okra is soft and edible when it is young.  Left to mature and dry on the vine, it turns into what is known as a loofa.

Bitter Melon
Bitter melon, as the name implies, is very bitter! 

I didn't buy either of these vegetables, today.  Instead, I bought:

2 cucumbers @ $.20 = $.40
Broccoli @ $.49/lb = $.27
Sugar peas/Snow peas @ $2.99/lb = $.39
Tomato @ $.79/lb = $3.57
Green Beans @ $.99/lb = $.40
1 lb. bag carrots = $.39
2 lettuce @ $.50 = $1.00
1 papaya @ $.89/lb = $1.97
Apples @ $.49/lb = $.57
6 salmon steaks @$4.99/lb = $19.98
Total = $29.04

2/19 Receipt

February grocery budget = $75 + $5 from January = $80
Spent to date:  $5.00 + $7.80 + $10.51 + $9.30 + $29.04 = $61.65
Balance remaining in February grocery budget: $80 - $61.65 = $18.35

I think I am doing well with this month's grocery budget.  I need to buy some bread and milk, next week, and, probably more fruits and vegetables.  But, $18 should be enough for that.

The majority of the salmon steaks are for my daughter to take back with her - I will cook them, tomorrow, and freeze them.

I bought extra tomatoes to make another batch of tomato soup.  Other than that and salads, I don't have a meal plan as such for this week!  I usually buy whatever is on a special sale that week and take it from there.  I have cooked chicken breasts and cooked roast beef in the freezer that I could thaw for dinners during the week, with the vegetables I bought today and what I still have in the fridge from my earlier shopping.

I hadn't planned to buy any papaya, today, but there was one perfectly ripe one and I decided to buy it:

Ripe Papaya
After I came home and photographed the groceries and put them away, I cut the papaya and had a piece.  Later, around 5:00 p.m., I had a scrambled egg on toast and a cup of tea.  Dinner was part of the pork chop I had cooked earlier, with some steamed green beans.  I couldn't finish either the pork chop or the green beans, so the leftovers are in the fridge for tomorrow's dinner. 

Both Aunt T and Aunt C called, today and I chatted with them.  Later, I watched news and another show on TV and knitted (still working on the sleeve of the grey sweater).  Still later, I video chatted with my daughter.

By the way, Dancer wants everyone to know that he is not slacking off on his duties; he still carefully inspects everything that has been bought:

"What did you buy this time, Mummy?"

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny, warmer day
- Being able to do my grocery shopping
- Weekly specials
- Phone calls from aunts
- Video chatting with my daughter

According to the weather forecast, we are supposed to have showers both Wednesday and Thursday!  Well, I don't have plans to go anywhere, so, it doesn't matter if it rains.

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Bring in the new trash cans when delivered
- Cook the salmon
- Make the tomato soup
- Organize the rest of the kitchen cabinets
- Paperwork/filing

How was your Tuesday?  How is your February grocery budget coming along with another week or so left to go?  What are your plans for Wednesday?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Organizing Behind Closed Doors on Monday

It was a sunny day, today, but I just could not get warm!  I woke up, feeling cold, this morning, and turned up the heater and never turned it off, all day!  I'm bundled up in a sweat suit and a knitted cardigan, with a wool scarf around my neck, and a pair of socks on my feet, and still feel cold!  I had planned to go grocery shopping, today, but I decided not to.  I only went outside, wearing a jacket over my cardigan, to take the bag of the kitchen trash out and to take the big trash can to the curb!

I spent a relaxed morning, having a cup of tea, responding to blog comments, reading and commenting on a few other blogs.  Daughter, too, could sleep in as it was a holiday, here, today (Presidents' Day) and she didn't have to go to work.

In the afternoon and early part of the evening, I went through several of my kitchen cabinets, sorting through and organizing them.  I don't know why I am organizing things that are behind closed doors, as they are not visible to anyone - it's not like I don't have plenty of stuff that is visible which could do with some sorting and organizing - but, some of the cabinets have had stuff shoved into them and they get to a state where it is all a jumble and I can't find anything!

The cabinet next to the dishwasher, for example.  I store a couple of appliances there that I don't use all the time - the spare rice cooker, the old crock pot, the big mixer, etc.  It is also where I keep the extra boxes of kitchen trash can liners, the extra rolls of foil and cling wrap, boxes of zippered storage bags, kitchen sponges, a container of rice, and other bits and pieces.   When I put the rice cooker back, after the almsgiving, the cabinet was a mess!  Today, I pulled everything out, wiped down the shelves with a damp sponge, and put things back in a more organized way, which, I hope will stay that way!

I still have several other cabinets to organize, including the under the sink cabinet, but, I'll do them another day.

I also did a load of laundry and hung it up to dry, inside the house.  It will dry overnight.

Lunch was the last of the plum sauce glazed chicken drumsticks (just the drumstick as that was all I wanted), and a serving of diluted orange juice.   Dinner was two of the ground beef-zucchini burgers, with corn (1/3 cup, measured while frozen) and a side salad (the last of the lettuce and cucumber, almost the last of the carrots):

Dinner (2/18)
There were four more ground beef-zucchini burgers left and I froze them. 

Friend R called in the evening and I had a bit of a chat with her. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- A working heater
- A sunny (if cold) day
- Daughter had a day off from work
- Getting some of the kitchen cabinets organized
- Phone calls and emails from friends

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Grocery shopping
- More kitchen cabinet organizing

How was your Monday?  What are your plans for Tuesday?

Prayer Gathering on Sunday

Sunday morning, it seemed that the day would live up to its name, as we had bright sunshine.  It was cold and windy, but it was sunny.  And then, the clouds moved in and it started raining in the afternoon!  Oh, well, the weather forecast did say scattered showers.  At one point, it was both sunny and rainy, and, later in the evening, there was a beautiful double rainbow!

One of my friends hosted the monthly prayer gathering at her home, today.  I had told cousin P that I could give her a ride to the prayer gathering, so, she came over at noon and we left a few minutes after that.  My friend lives about 40 miles away and the drive took me a little over one hour.  It was a relatively small gathering , today, just eight of us.  After the prayers were said, we sat down to a lovely lunch.

My friend had prepared quite a feast!  I hadn't mentioned to her that I was trying to eat low-carb; I was going to eat whatever she had prepared to the extent I could and, if it meant eating some carbs, then, that was fine with me.  She had prepared a baked pasta dish and a potato gnocchi and vegetables dish,  But, in addition, she had spinach salad, roast chicken breasts, and baked salmon, as well!  So, I could have easily kept to my low-carb diet.  I don't care much for gnocchi, so I just took the vegetables from that dish, but, I did have a small amount of the baked pasta, as well.  For dessert, my friend had made a fresh fruit salad, as well as flan and pomegranate flavored agar-agar.  

We had a nice visit and it was past 4 o'clock when we left to come home.  It was on the way home that we saw the double rainbow.  If I hadn't been driving, I would have taken a photo of it, it was so vivid.  

After I came home, I had a cup of tea and chatted with my neighbor T.  Later, I did the dishes and cooked the pork chop I bought, yesterday.  I also wiped the shelves of one kitchen cabinet and organized it, a bit.  I wasn't very hungry for dinner, so I ate a portion of the pork chop and had some yogurt, afterwards.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe drive to my friend's house
- Being able to give my cousin a ride there and back
- A pleasant afternoon with family and friends
- Seeing a double rainbow
- Video chatting with my daughter

Plans for tomorrow include doing more grocery shopping and a load of laundry.  

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for Monday?  

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Grocery Shopping on Saturday and a Mystery Revealed!

2/16 Groceries

Today was a sunny day.  It was good to have a break from all the rainy days.  I spent a relaxed morning, replying to blog comments and checking my emails, etc.

Shortly after noon, I noticed that an orange had fallen from the tree in the back yard and went out to pick it.  While I was out in the back yard, I heard my nextdoor neighbor's dogs barking and a woman shouting no.  I waited to see if a cat came running over the wall (those dogs bark at the garden cats who sit on the wall, just out of their reach, and ignore them), but, no cats appeared, so I went inside.  I had just cut up my orange when I saw friend M walk across my front garden and heard him knock on my front door.  I opened it up and M stood there, as well as the lady who lives in the house behind my nextdoor neighbors's house (M does her garden, as well).  They asked if I knew if there was anyone was home, nextdoor (the gate is locked and no one can go to tap at their door and there is no bell to ring), but their cars were not parked outside and I hadn't seen anyone.  Apparently, the neighbors' dogs were trying to jump over the wall to attack this lady's dog and she wanted to talk to them about it.  I know they have two smaller dogs that used to squeeze through the railings of the side wall and come into my front yard,  I haven't seen them, recently, but then, again, I haven't been outside much, with all this rain we've been having.

After all that excitement, I finished eating my orange and went to put gas to the car and do some of my grocery shopping.  Before I left, however, I called cousin P to see if she needed anything (she had asked me to let her know if I was going to the dollar store; I wasn't planning to go to the dollar store, but I thought I'll see if she wanted to go to the other grocery store), but she said she didn't need anything.  So, I went on my own.

First, to the gas station to fill up the tank (I was down to about half a tank).  Gas was $3.05/gal.  It cost $23.09 to top off the tank.  I will drive cousin P and myself to the monthly prayer meeting, tomorrow (unless it rains, heavily), so wanted to have a full tank of gas.

Then, I went to the Kroger-affiliated store across the street from the gas station for a few items.   I went there mostly to buy butter at $2.99/lb.  Not a good stock up price, but, I am down to half of my last packet of butter, so, needed to buy some.  I will keep an eye on the grocery ads to see when butter goes on sale at a stock up price ($1.99 to $2.50/lb), and stock up then.  I also wanted to buy a bag of cat food, to have on hand.

I bought:
1 pork sirloin end chop @ $.99/lb = $.69 (yes, just one, fairly large, chop)
3 bananas @$.49/lb = $.44
2 lbs. butter @ $2.99/lb = $5.98
1 bottle salad dressing = $2.19
Total = $9.30

(In addition, I bought a 13-lb. bag of cat food for $9.49 + $.90 sales tax, which brought my total spent to $19.69)

2/16 Receipt

February grocery budget = $75 + $5 from January = $80
Spent to date:  $5.00 + $7.80 + $10.51 + $9.30 = $32.61
Balance remaining in February grocery budget: $80 - $32.61 = $47.39

I am planning to go to the Armenian grocery store on Monday or Tuesday, to take advantage of their weekly specials - more salmon steaks for $4.99 (daughter asked me to buy more so she can eat some while she's here and have some to take back with her!), iceberg lettuce for 2/$1. broccoli crowns for $.49/lb, cucumber for 5/$1, Granny Smith apples and D'Anjou pears for $.49/lb, chicken leg quarters for $.69/lb (Tuesday, only), and yams 3lb/$1.  OK, maybe not the yams as that is a starch!  In addition to the weekly specials, I also want to buy more carrots and, probably, green beans, as well.

I had eaten the orange that fell from my tree for breakfast (along with my morning cup of tea), before I went grocery shopping.  After I came home, I ate a banana.  Later, I ate a salad and had a cup of tea.  Dinner was leftovers - the last of the shrimp stir-fry, followed by half a pear for dessert.  I checked my blood sugar level after 2 hours and it was good.  I treated myself to eight almonds after that - they are the unshelled ones I bought on sale, and it takes both time and effort to crack them open and so, takes me longer to eat them.  By the time I get to the last almond, I feel like I've eaten more than eight of them!  I wasn't hungry, as such; just wanted to munch on something!     

Today, I am grateful for:
- A day of sunshine after all the rain
- Emails from friends
- Fresh oranges from my tree
- Weekly grocery specials
- Video chatting with my daughter

Sunday's To Do List:
- Attend the monthly prayer gathering at my friend's house

Well, want to know what the mystery pods are?  Mary Ann, who asked if they were edamame, was quite close to guessing what they are!  These are being called the "new edamame"!

Fresh Garbanzo Beans/Chick Peas in Pods!
Yes, these are the fresh pods of gabanzo/chick peas!  We are most familiar with the dried garbanzo/chick peas or the canned ones.  But, these are the fresh ones, still in their pods.  The garbanzo beans inside are a pale green in color, actually,  a little like green peas!  There are one or two individual beans inside each pod.  These fresh ones don't have to be soaked prior to cooking!  Just remove from the pod and cook!  They taste a little like edamame, at this stage.  I didn't buy any, today, though, but, I might buy some next week.  Mystery solved.

How is your February grocery shopping coming along?  How are you doing with your grocery budget?  Have you seen fresh garbanzo beans/chick peas, before?  If you see any, do you think you might buy them and try them?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Mystery Pods

Do you know what these are?  Can you guess?  Has anyone ever seen them before?  I'll give you a clue - I found them at the grocery store. 

Mystery Pods!
I will reveal the answer in my next post.  I want to see if anyone knows what they are or can guess.  *smile*

Friday's Doings

Guess what?  It's raining!  LOL!  Yes, I am still grateful for the rain!  It is not one continuous rain, but showers on and off throughout the day.  I took this photo yesterday, but it could have been taken on Wednesday or today:

It's Raining!

I had a relaxed morning, today.  I responded to blog comments, played several games of sudoku online, read news, etc.  Cousin P called me in the morning and we chatted for a bit.   Later,  I had one of the baked chicken drumsticks for brunch (just the drumstick, by itself).

In the afternoon, I did some paperwork and filing and tidied the living room.  Then, I washed the dishes I had allowed to pile up, yesterday. 

When M came to do the garden, it was raining, again.  I told him to take the day off, but, he asked if I needed anything done inside and offered to do the vacuuming for me!  Of course, I took him up on the offer!  LOL!  So, he vacuumed the house for me and told me that I had a very cozy home.  Ah, he is indeed a good friend!

After he left, I made myself a salad and had a cup of tea, after that.  Then, I watched a couple of cooking shows on TV, watched the evening news, and knitted.  I've finished knitting the first sleeve on the grey sweater and have started on the second sleeve. 

Friend R called in the evening for a chat.  Then, daughter called, as she usually does after she gets home from work; she said it's raining up there, too.  Still later, cousin P called again and we chatted some more! 

Dinner was two of the leftover ground beef-zucchini burgers with freshly cooked broccoli and a carrot:

Dinner: Beef-Zucchini Burgers and Veggies

I had a glass of diluted orange juice with my dinner.  Even so, my sugar level was good when I checked it, two hours after dinner.  So, I ate some yogurt with a little apple-cranberry jam for dessert. 

"You are going to post this on your blog, aren't you?"

Today, I am grateful for:
- Yes, more rain for the garden!
- Chats with family and friends
- M doing the vacuuming for me
- Being told I have a cozy home
- A relaxed day

Saturday's To Do List:
- Grocery shopping
- Put gas to the car
- 15 minutes of paperwork

We are supposed to have a sunny day, tomorrow.  Then, more rain on Sunday!

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rainy Days

Happy St. Valentine's Day! 

Wednesday and Thursday have been rainy days, here.  We have been on alert for mudslides in the hillside areas that burned, last year, as the ground is saturated and there isn't enough vegetation to hold the soil together.  Fortunately, I don't live near a hillside, so there is no threat of a mudslide near me.  More rain in the forecast for the next several days!  The garden is thriving!  So are the weeds growing in the garden!  LOL.

I had another bowl of my tomato soup for lunch, yesterday.  There's just enough left for today's lunch!  I ate the last banana for dessert.

Later in the afternoon, I washed the covers of the second family room sofa.  Both sofas in the family room have had their slipcovers washed, now.  I just need to keep them covered with old sheets to keep the amount of cat fur that gets on them to a minimum! 

I baked the chicken drumsticks with a soy sauce/plum sauce glaze, for dinner, last night.  While the oven was on, I roasted part of the cauliflower I had, as well.  Then, sauteed some green beans to go with it:

Wednesday Dinner
The roasted cauliflower was quite good, actually.  I seasoned it with some garlic salt before roasting it.  Yogurt with a spoon of my apple-cranberry jam for dessert.  Later, around midnight, I ate a slice of whole wheat bread, toasted, with butter, and a handful of almonds. 

I called one of my aunts, yesterday, and had a nice chat with her.  Later, in the evening, I called friend R and checked on her.  Called another aunt, this afternoon.  I'll be seeing some of my cousins this weekend, at the monthly prayer gathering, that will be held at a friend's home. 

I thought the City's sanitation department was going to take away my old, damaged trash bins and give me new, replacement bins, yesterday, so I kept the bins out, by the curb, late Tuesday night (the cans were supposed to be out by 6:00 a.m. and I knew I wasn't going to wake up early enough to do that!).  But, for some reason, they weren't collected, yesterday, so I called the sanitation department, again, this morning and, apparently, I misunderstood - the bins are scheduled to be picked up NEXT Wednesday, the 20th!  Oops!  I brought the trash cans in, again, and will put them out, again, next week! 

I am having my lunch of tomato soup as I type this.  I will have some yogurt, again, for dessert, I think.  Dinner, tonight, will be leftovers.  I think, the leftover shrimp and stir-fry.  And, part of the Bosc pear for dessert.  If I feel hungry between lunch and dinner, I will eat a salad.

Today, I am grateful for:
- More rain!
- A good, non-leaky roof! 
- Conversations with my aunts and friends
- A working heater
- Leftovers!

How is your day going?  What are you grateful for, today?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Ground Beef and Zucchini Burgers

Tuesday Night Dinner - Ground Beef and Zucchini Burgers

Usually, when I buy ground beef and cook it to add to spaghetti sauce or for the filling for curry puffs, etc., I add some vegetables to it; usually, onions, celery, and carrots.  Partly to extend the amount of ground beef and partly, to get more vegetables into me!

Last night, when I made my ground beef burgers, I added some minced onion (about 1/4 of an onion) and one grated zucchini!  I squeezed out as much water as I could out of the grated zucchini before I added it to the ground beef, added the minced onion, some garlic salt, a little regular salt and pepper, and some soy sauce, mixed it all well to combine, and made the burgers.

This was the first time I have added zucchini to the burgers, and wasn't quite sure how it would turn out, but, it turned out really well!  The burgers were very flavorful and best part of it (to me) was that I couldn't taste the zucchini in it!  Which is a good thing!  LOL!  The more vegetables I can sneak incorporate into my meals, the better! 

I cooked some broccoli and 1/3 cup frozen corn to accompany my burgers and it was a very filling dinner for me.  Much later, when I got the midnight munchies, I ate another small burger, by itself, and the papaya I had planned to have for dessert, which I didn't have, earlier, and some almonds.  Since I didn't go to sleep until after 4:00 a.m., I had plenty of time to digest my midnight meal!  As I told my daughter, I have my breakfast before I go to sleep! 

I woke up to the sound of rain, this morning, and strong gusts of wind rattling the windows.  I am planning to stay home, today, do another load of laundry (I did one load, last night - the cushion covers of one of the sofas in the family room; will do the covers of the other sofa, today), maybe knit (I unraveled what I had done on the grey sweater sleeve, and started over, again, last night), wait for the new trash cans to be delivered, and maybe sew.  I need to cook the chicken drumsticks, too.  Yes, I am procrastinating doing housework and paperwork! 

Have you tried adding zucchini to your burgers?  Do you think you might try it? 


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tomato Soup on Tuesday

I am so glad I ran my errands and went grocery shopping, yesterday.  Today is a cloudy day.  No rain, but no sunshine, either.  I guess we are building up to the rain that is supposed to come, tomorrow.  But, it is a relatively warm day, with a high of 68F, although the lack of sunshine makes it look colder!

I ate another slice of bread, last night.  The problem with eating dinner around 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. and not going to bed till 3:00 a.m., is, somewhere around 12:00 midnight, 3 hours or so after dinner, I get hungry again, and I don't always want to eat a salad then, or cucumber sticks with salsa!  I debated between eating a piece of fruit or a slice of bread, and, I'm afraid, the bread won!  LOL.  Then, around 2:30 a.m., I munched on a handful of raw cashews (good) and dried cranberries (not so good, because they were sweetened, but I ate only about a table spoon of them, so, I guess it was OK; at least, it was better for me than having a piece of chocolate). 

Today, with the weather being so gloomy, I didn't feel like having a salad for lunch.  Instead, I wanted something hot.  Soup.  But not just any type of soup, either.  I was craving tomato soup!  At one time, I loved the canned concentrated tomato soup, but, the last time I had some, I didn't much like it.  It gave me acid indigestion!  So, I've stopped buying the canned stuff.  But, tomato soup sounded very good, so, I decided to make some.  I'm afraid I've never made tomato soup from scratch, so I looked up a few recipes to get an idea of how to go about it.   But, I didn't really follow any one particular recipe. 

I knew I had some cut up tomato in the freezer (I buy fresh tomatoes, cut them up, and freeze them, to add to curries, etc.):

Frozen Tomato
That looked like it could have been two large tomatoes or maybe three medium tomatoes (no, I didn't write the amount on the freezer baggie).   I dumped it in the pan and added one can of low sodium chicken broth, partly because I didn't have any homemade chicken broth, and partly because, the can of broth needed to be used up soon due to expiration dates and so on (kept on hand as part of my emergency supplies, but, because it isn't something I normally use for every day cooking, it has been sitting in the cabinet a bit too long!).  If I didn't have any chicken broth on hand, I would have added water and either chicken bouillon powder or vegetable bouillon powder.  Then, I added a handful of frozen sliced onions and a handful of frozen sliced celery, a large grated carrot, a half teaspoon or so of the minced garlic (I probably could have added a whole teaspoon and it would have been alright), and two stalks of parsley from the garden (basil might have been good, too; I don't have any growing in my garden, but I have some dried basil; but I didn't think to add it at the time).  I debated adding some green chilies, but decided not to (but I should have; next time, maybe). 

Tomato Soup in the Making
I boiled everything for about 15 minutes, until everything was cooked and soft.  Then, since I don't have an immersion blender, I put the soup into my regular blender, in batches, and pureed it:

Tomato Soup (Pureed)
It wasn't exactly smooth and pureed, but that was fine with me.  I suppose I could have blended it a bit longer to get it smoother.  I added a little pepper and lemon juice, as it seemed to need a little something extra, and heated it through, again.  Then, had a bowl of it for my lunch:

Tomato Soup for Lunch
Maybe I should have added a sprig of parsley on top to make it look pretty!  Or stirred in a little cream (didn't have any!).  As I've said before, I'm not a food stylist, at all!  This is a two cup (16 fl. oz) bowl, if filled to the brim.  So, what I have there is about one cup of soup (I didn't measure).  It was good, but, it seemed to still be lacking something for my taste.  It needed more seasoning, but I wasn't quite sure what.

I waited about an hour and decided to have a second serving of soup, as I was still a bit hungry. 

One of our friends had given my daughter (who loves spicy food) a bag of ghost pepper tortilla chips:

Ghost Pepper Tortilla Chips

I took one of those chips and crumbled it over the second bowl of soup and, YES!  That was the flavor it was missing!  LOL!  I knew I should have added some chili to the soup!  NOW, I can say that it was the best tomato soup I've had, if not ever, then, in a very long time!  I have about two more servings of soup, left.  It will make a good midnight snack (with perhaps only half of a ghost pepper chip, just in case I get heartburn!) or, of course, for lunch, tomorrow.  I'm glad I was able to make this soup with ingredients I had on hand in the freezer, fridge, pantry, and garden!

I haven't had dinner, yet (it's just five o'clock, and I am going to have a cup of tea in a few minutes - it is brewing as I type), but, I am planning to cook the ground beef for dinner.  Hamburger patties, with either a salad or some cooked vegetables to accompany it, maybe some corn (no more and 1/3 cup) and broccoli.  Papaya for dessert, before that goes bad!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another dry, mild day, even if it was cloudy and overcast
- A relaxed day
- Being able to make tomato soup with items I had on hand
- Being able to play around in the kitchen and experiment
- A good cup of tea!

Since I haven't yet done anything that was on my to do list for today, I am not going to make one for tomorrow!  Unless I manage to get a few items crossed off that list, tonight!

How was your day, today?  Have you made home-made tomato soup?  If so, do you have a favorite recipe?