Monday, November 30, 2020

November Balanced Life Goals Review and December Goals

November is coming to an end; time to review my November balanced life goals and list what I intend to do to strive for balance in December. 

As I've explained before, my monthly balanced life goals are similar to the spokes of a wheel, with the length of each spoke representing my satisfaction in that area of my life, from 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the spokes are of equal length and the wheel will roll along smoothly.  If the spokes are of unequal lengths, then, the resulting wheel will be lop-sided and wobbly.  My ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses, with the beginning of the month ratings in black and the end of the month ratings in blue.

Balanced Life Goals: 

November Spiritual (10)(10)The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life.
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to attend Temple prayer/blessing services online
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being generous and giving to the extent I am able

I continued with my daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, and I have tried to be positive and joyful, although I had a bit of a wobble with that when I was so disappointed that my daughter would not be able to come home for Thanksgiving.  However, I managed to do an attitude adjustment, eventually.  I have tried to be generous and giving; I was also blessed by the generosity of others, as well.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

December Spiritual (10)
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to attend Temple prayer/blessing services online
- Make the almsgiving donation to the Temple in lieu of having an almsgiving at home
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being generous and giving to the extent I am able 

November House (8.5)(8): The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming.
- Clean - Clean as needed
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Continue to declutter (goal = 30 items)

The house is being maintained although I haven't always kept to my cleaning routines and it shows!  I also did some decluttering, although I didn't meet my goal of 30 items.  The house is not in a bad shape, nothing that some clearing of surfaces and vacuuming can't fix, but, I am lowering the rating to 8 because I don't feel like I did enough in terms of keeping up with the housework, this month.     

December House (8):  
- Clean - Clean as needed 
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Continue to declutter (goal = 31 items)
- Decorate - Decorate to bring some holiday cheer!

November Garden (9)(9): The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant.
- Maintain (water frequently as needed, weed, fertilize)
Continue with landscaping the side yard

The garden is being maintained and I've harvested feijoa and pomegranates.  The peach tree has been pruned,  M planted some yucca cuttings, and there are some seedlings coming up in the mini victory garden.  I put down more flattened cardboard boxes in the side yard, too, and noticed that some bulbs are starting to come up.  I am keeping the rating at 9.  

December Garden (9):
- Maintain(water frequently as needed, weed, fertilize)

November Daughter (10)(10): The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her.
- Daily texts, phone calls, and video chatting, etc., to keep in close touch with her
- Be supportive of her and continue to be there for her
- Look forward to the possibility of her coming down for Thanksgiving!

Daughter and I continue to keep in contact daily.  Unfortunately, she was not able to come down for Thanksgiving and that was a big disappointment to us both.  But, we managed to share our Thanksgiving meal by visiting with each other online while we ate!  I am keeping the rating at 10.

December Daughter (10):
- Daily texts, phone calls, and video chatting, etc., to keep in close touch with her
- Be supportive of her and continue to be there for her
- Look forward to the possibility of her coming down for Christmas!

November Family & Friends (10)(10): The goal is to continue to have a close connection with family and friends.
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on family and friends

This month, I interacted with family and friends through phone calls, emails, texts, etc., and shared food with some of them.  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

December Family and Friends (10):
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on family and friends
- Try to get holiday gifts to them, if possible (contactless deliveries/shipped direct, etc.)

November Community (10)(10):  The goals is to be involved in my community
- Continue to participate in the various community groups to the extent possible

I participated in the blogging community and at least one other online community; I was also able to share my pomegranates with several of my neighbors, this month.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

December Community (10):
- Continue to participate in the various community groups to the extent possible.

November Finances (10)(10): The goal is financial security
- Continue spending mindfully, with purpose

I continued to spend mindfully in November.  I stayed within budget and paid my bills in a timely manner.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

December Finances (10):
- Continue spending mindfully, with purpose

November Health & Well Being (8)(8): The goal is good health

- Attend all of this month's medical appointments (2 scheduled - dentist and podiatrist)
- Continue to work on the same life style changes as before to the extent possible
- Continue to strive to attain a healthier weight 

I went to the dentist's twice and actually had a third appointment scheduled for November 30, but, when I called to find out if my partial would be ready today, I found out that the technician had been exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid and they were rescheduling appointments.  I also cancelled my podiatrist appointment because of the rise in Covid case numbers and the need to limit my exposure.  I am continuing to work on my life style changes (sleep patterns, exercise, better diet, etc.).  I have lost a little bit of weight, as well, although that keeps fluctuating.  I'm keeping the rating at 8!

December Health & Well Being (8):
- Attend all of this month's medical appointments 
Continue to work on the same life style changes as before to the extent possible
- Continue to strive to attain a healthier weight 

November Time Management (8)(8): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner.
- Continue to focus on making my schedule work for me
- Procrastinate less
- Spend time purposefully, mindfully

On going.  I continue to struggle with this area of my life.  I feel I have slowed down a lot since retirement and I am not sure if that is a good thing or not!  I am keeping my satisfaction rating to 8.   

December Time Management (8):
- Continue to focus on making my schedule work for me
- Procrastinate less
- Spend time purposefully, mindfully

November Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time (10)(10): The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Engage in daily joyful activities
- Daily piano practicing
- Do the crafts project I have in mind

I have been engaging in daily joyful activities and did several f the activities listed in my November Joys list.  I have been practicing the piano, too, and knitting.  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

December Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time (10):
Engage in daily joyful activities
- Daily piano practicing
- Do some holiday crafts/making gifts

November was a pretty good month, I think, and I was able to find sufficient balance.  Yes, some areas could have been better, but, over all, it was a balanced month.

How was your November in terms of maintaining balance among the different areas of your life?  How do you plan to achieve or maintain balance in your life in December?

November Meal Planning - Week 4 Review

November Week 4 included Thanksgiving Day.  I made a Thanksgiving meal using what I had on hand.  I had debated ordering a pumpkin pie and whipped cream for dessert, but, chose not to.  I'd have to order a minimum of $35 worth of groceries to qualify for free pick up and I really didn't need anything - I tried putting together a list of groceries, but, it only came to $20!  I didn't feel like paying the $7 pick up fee for just the pie ($5) and whipped cream ($3)!  As it turned out, I was blessed with another Thanksgiving meal by friend S and more Thanksgiving food by neighbor S, and both included pieces of pumpkin cheesecake!  I end the month of November and Week 4 with plenty of Thanksgiving leftovers and a stuffed freezer!

November Week 4 Meal Plan Options:

Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch:  Fruit, scrambled egg and toast✓, grilled cheese sandwich✓, French toast, pancakes, waffles✓

Dinner:  Spaghetti with meat sauce✓, pork chops✓, Thanksgiving dinner (roast chicken, mashed potatoes, corn bread, green beans or broccoli, cranberry sauce)✓, leftovers✓.

Snacks/Desserts: Fruit✓, nuts. Sri Lankan "cocktail mix" (a spicy snack mixture with pieces of murukku that is made with a type of lentil flour, nuts, chick peas, raisins, etc.)✓ pumpkin pie cheesecake✓  

Here is how it all turned out:

Brunch:  Grilled cheese sandwich
Tea: Almond Danish
Dinner:  Spaghetti and sauce 
Snacks/Dessert: crackers

Brunch:  Scrambled egg and toast
Dinner: Spaghetti and sauce
Snacks/Dessert: Jalebi, tangerine

Brunch:  Tuna salad sandwich
Dinner: Pork chop with stir fried vegetables; Spanish rice mix (from a box)

Tuesday Dinner

Snacks/Dessert - Tangerines, corn bread

Brunch:  Tuna salad sandwich
Dinner: Leftover pork chop, vegetables, and Spanish rice
Snacks/Dessert: Corn bread

Brunch:  Skipped brunch!
Dinner: Thanksgiving Dinner (Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, corn, cranberry sauce, corn bread)
Supper:  Ham sandwiches made from ham and biscuits given by friend S
Snacks/Dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake, cranberry sauce (I ate the cranberry sauce that friend S had given me, which had pineapple bits and walnuts in it, as if it was dessert, as it was so delicious).

Brunch:  Ham sandwich
Dinner: Leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner (roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole)
Snacks/Dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake

Brunch:  Sandwich made with the last of the tuna salad 
Dinner: More Thanksgiving dinner leftovers
Snacks/Dessert: Candied yam muffins, cheese and crackers

Candied Yam Muffins

Brunch: Stuffing Waffles

Stuffing Waffles

Dinner: Leftover Spanish rice, shredded roast chicken, and leftover corn mixed together to make a fried rice of sorts; vegetables given by neighbor S (a mixture of Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus)
Snacks/Dessert: candied yam muffin; Sri Lankan cocktail mix, tangerine

Monday (November 30)
Brunch:  Stuffing waffle
Dinner: Chicken "pot pie", made with the last of the roast chicken, gravy, vegetables, and mashed potato topping (that is the plan, anyway; haven't made it, yet; might turn out to be a deconstructed pot pie!  LOL).
Snacks/Dessert:  Tangerine and muffins, probably

I have either frozen or used up most of the leftovers (or, will have, once I have tonight's dinner), except for half a can of cream of celery leftover from the green bean casserole.  That can be used to make a soup or another casserole, later in the week.

Well, that ends my November meal plans!  I didn't always make what I had listed even as options (this week's dinners, however, worked according to plans), but, it worked out well enough for me.  I didn't go hungry, that's for sure!

Tomorrow is the start of December and I am debating whether to continue with meal planning or just "wing it" and make it up as I go.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

November Joys - Review

I had made a list of planned joyful activities for the month, at the beginning of November.  With the end of November in sight, I thought I will do a review to see how it worked out.  As I've stated earlier, it is not yet another "to do" list, but, rather, a list of joyful activities that I looked forward to doing during the month.  

November Joys:

- Craft projects/Play with fabric and/or yarn - I finished knitting the scarf I had been making and started on a sweater!

Sweater in Progress

- Music - play, listen, sing  - I have been playing the piano, listened to some of my CDs, and sang along!

- Art - draw, color, paint - Didn't feel like doing any art!

- Gardening - I have been doing some gardening, mostly watering and picking some of the fruit!

- Decorating for Fall/Thanksgiving - I didn't feel like decorating, this year!  I did put out my fall (autumn leaves) kitchen towel out, but, that was it!  

- Reading  - Not a lot of reading, this month, either.  

- Participate in the monthly photo mini challenge - I did that; have to post my photos, tomorrow.  I also participated in a Thanksgiving photo scavenger hunt.

- Baking - Yes!  Corn bread and candied yam muffins, among other things!

Candied Yam Muffins

- Flower arrangements - There have been a few of those, too, using garden flowers.  

- Candles - I have started lighting a scented candle in the evenings.  

- The possibility of daughter being able to visit for Thanksgiving - Unfortunately, it was not to be and I was disappointed.  But, I'm hoping she'll be able to come home for Christmas, instead!

- Being alive!  (Celebrate birthday #65!) - I celebrated my birthday with good wishes from family and friends.  Daughter insisted on staying online video chatting until midnight, the night before, so she could sing Happy Birthday to me at midnight!  

While I didn't do everything I thought I might enjoy doing in November, I think it was a joyful month, over all.  I am happy with how it turned out.

How was your November?  Did you make a list of joyful activities for November?  If so, were you able to do those activities?

Thanksgiving Leftovers Makeover

Stuffing Waffle

I am usually very happy to eat leftovers as they are, reheated, without turning them into something else.  However, there are a couple of items I don't much care for, and that includes bread-based stuffing!  I will make corn bread stuffing if I am cooking a Thanksgiving type meal for others, but, it isn't something I would normally eat, even if I make it.

When friend S brought me some Thanksgiving dinner, the other day,  not only had she stuffed the half of the roasted game hen, but, she had also included a container of stuffing.  It looked delicious with bits of bacon and dried cranberries added to it, and I tried a spoonful of it, but, I still didn't much care for it.  

However, I am determined not to waste any food, especially during this time when so many are going hungry.  So, I searched for various suggestions for using leftover stuffing.  I found several, but, I wasn't sure if I would like the end results.

One suggestion was to use the stuffing instead of bread crumbs when making turkey meatballs, and that sounded quite reasonable to me.  The seasonings in the stuffing would flavor the meat and it would be quite good, I thought.  So, I froze a small baggie of stuffing to use when I next make meatballs. 

Another suggestion was making waffles with the stuffing and that sounded good to me.  I like to eat waffles with curry, etc., as a savory dish, in addition to eating it with syrup.  So, today, I decided to try making waffles with leftover stuffing.  I read a couple of recipes and watched a couple of videos online.  Then, I decided to attempt it, my way!

I put about 1 cup of the leftover stuffing into a mixing bowl (as usual, I didn't measure, so all amounts, except for the egg, are approximations) and added 1 egg to bind it and a little milk to make it of a batter like consistency.  Then, because I still wasn't sure if I would like the end result, I decided to add a little of the boxed pancake mix I use - maybe 1/2 a cup or a little less.  

This is what the batter looked like:

Stuffing Waffle Batter

After that, it was a matter of heating up the waffle iron (I used the medium setting) and buttering it (the recipes I read said to spray with cooking spray or grease with cooking oil - I don't use cooking spray and my waffle iron has not performed well with cooking oil for some reason).  I poured the batter and smoothed it around a bit, although not to the very edges (at least one recipe I read said the stuffing batter won't spread and you had to spread it to desired diameter, but, since I added a little of the pancake mix to mine, I think it spread a little bit).  Then, baked each waffle until the indicator light went off; the waffle was nicely browned and crisp.  I was able to make three waffles with the amount of batter I made, but, one was all I was able to eat (I found it to be very filling).  These waffles turned out to be quite delicious!  They were savory for the most part, but, there was a very pleasing bit of sweetness when I bit into a dried cranberry.

Stack of Stuffing Waffles

I am very pleased with how this experiment turned out!  I will definitely make more of these savory waffles with the rest of the leftover stuffing that I have!  

Today, I am grateful for finding a delicious way to use up leftover stuffing that I don't normally like!  

What is your favorite way to use up leftover stuffing?  

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020


Candied Yam Muffins

I didn't grow up with the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of November.  My first Thanksgiving was when I first arrived in the U.S. and one of my roommates invited me to spend the Thanksgiving holidays with her and her family.  I had my first taste of candied yams, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie at that Thanksgiving dinner.  Since then, I've had several Thanksgiving meals over the years, but, it had always been in the company of others - usually family and friends.  

Thanksgiving 2020 was a little different, of course.  I had been hoping that my daughter would be able to come home to celebrate with me, but, that wasn't possible.  Of course, I was disappointed, but, eventually, after moping about it for a day or two, I decided to make the best of the situation.  I would still make a Thanksgiving meal and I would share it with others who were also observing the day on their own.  

So, on Thursday, after I had spoken with my aunts and cousins and wished them for Thanksgiving, I prepared a meal with roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, and corn, along with the cranberry sauce and corn bread I had made earlier.  I took a plate of food over to my neighbor T and another plate over to friend R.  Contactless deliveries meant, I left T's plate on the railing by her door and friend R took her package from the trunk of my car.  But, both were happy to know that they were thought of and I was happy that I was able to bring a little happiness to their day.  

Afterwards, I came home and served myself a plate of food and ate it while video chatting with my daughter, who had also prepared a Thanksgiving meal for herself, but, with a Japanese twist because she prepared her chicken, potatoes, squash, etc. following Japanese recipes!  I opened a bottle of sparkling apple cider and my daughter had some peach nectar and we toasted each other.  

We had finished eating, but, were still video chatting, when friend S called; she and her husband had brought me Thanksgiving dinner!  As well as some disposable masks and a canister of disinfectant spray!  What a lovely surprise!  I quickly put on my mask before I opened the door to them and they stepped just inside the door (they were all masked up, too) so they could say hello to my daughter.  I gave them the last few pieces of corn bread that I had and two freshly picked pomegranates to take home.  I know they took a plate of food over to friend R, too, afterwards.

On Friday morning, my neighbor S called; would I like to have some roast turkey and mashed potatoes, with vegetables her mother had cooked and a piece of the pumpkin cheesecake her daughter had made?  How could I refuse?  I accepted the plate of food and the dessert, gratefully.  I froze the turkey for another day (maybe now I can make that tetrazzini with turkey, after all!).  Needless to say, I had leftovers for my dinner, last night.  They were even better the next day!

Today, I decided to do something with the candied yams that friend S had included in the dinner she brought me.  While I like sweet potatoes and yams baked or fried, I am not that fond of candied yams by themselves.  But, I was not going to let them go to waste, either.  Instead, I mashed them and added them to my favorite basic muffin recipe, tossed in a handful of sunflower seeds I had in the freezer, and baked a batch of candied yam muffins!  I took some of them over to neighbor S to thank her for always thinking of me and bringing me a plate of food just about every time they have a celebration.  I left them in her mail box and called her to tell her, so she could collect them.  We are getting good at contactless deliveries!  

We are going to have to resort to more contactless deliveries in the next three weeks as the announcement was made, yesterday, that Los Angeles County will be under a new "safer at home" order, starting on Monday and in effect until December 20.  I haven't read up on all the details as it won't impact me that much, anyway, because I have been staying home for the most part, only going to medical appointments and contactless pick ups and deliveries.  I have one more dental appointment scheduled for Monday and I am hoping that would be the last one, but, that's the only medical appointment until next January.

Today has been a quiet day.  I made the muffins, put water to the back garden, practiced the piano, etc., and relaxed.  

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for:

- The technology that enabled me to have Thanksgiving dinner with my daughter, online

- Being able to share my meal with a neighbor and a friend

- Friends blessing me with portions of their meals 

- Phone calls with family and friends

- Leftovers!

My joyful activities included video chatting with my daughter, sharing Thanksgiving with friends and neighbors in a contactless manner, and knitting.

How is your weekend coming along?

Friday, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt

Martha at Seaside Simplicity is hosting a Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt - the goal is to photograph one thing for each of the letters that spell "THANKFUL".  I chose to photograph something that I was thankful for that started with each letter.  

1. T  - Tea - my favorite Ceylon tea, in my favorite cup.


2. H - Home - it is small (until I go to clean it, then, it is too big!), it's old and in need of some TLC, but, it's my haven, especially these days!


3. A - Appliances that work and make it easier to cook and clean, etc.  Everything from the fridge/freezer to my rice cooker.  

Appliances (Rice Cooker)

4. N - Napkins - These are ones that I made, back when I was a teenager!  Hand embroidered and drawn thread work around the hems.  There were six, originally, but, one of the yellow ones got badly stained and got tossed!


5. K - Kitty - He's definitely in my heart to stay!


6. F - Fruit from the garden

Fruit from the Garden (Pomegranates)

7. U - Unicorns, of course!

Unicorn (wall paper border)

8. L - Leftovers:


Thank you, Martha, for organizing this Thanksgiving Photo Scavenger Hunt.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Eve


Cranberry Sauce

It has been a relaxed day, today.  I didn't go to sleep until 5:00 a.m., again, so I slept till 11:00 a.m. By the time I had my tea and replied to blog comments, etc., it was already afternoon!  

In the afternoon, I made my usual cranberry sauce, using a package of fresh cranberries.  I added some freshly grated orange rind to it, as well.  But, before I could make the sauce, I needed to open a new bag of sugar and refill my sugar containers.  Taking down the bag of sugar and the empty container from the shelf meant I could then give the shelf a quick scrub before I put the filled sugar container back.  I also had enough space on that shelf to store the boxes of tea I had bought from the Sri Lankan store.  

My daughter called in the afternoon, while I was making the cranberry sauce, to go over her grocery list with me before she placed her order.  She had been holding out on ordering groceries until she knew for sure that she wasn't coming down for Thanksgiving.  She will have the order delivered on Friday afternoon.

Later in the afternoon, friend A called.  She has invited my daughter and I to her home for Thanksgiving for the past several years, but, this year, of course, things are a bit different.  She sounded very apologetic when she said that she wasn't inviting anyone, this year, because of the pandemic, and I hastened to assure her that of course it was quite alright and I wasn't expecting her to do anything else!  I wouldn't have accepted an invitation, anyway, since I am not going anywhere!  We chatted a bit and I told her that we will look forward to next year, when, hopefully, we can be together, again.  

In the evening, I watched news, practiced the piano, and knitted.  Dinner was leftovers from last night's dinner.  Friend R called and we chatted for a bit and, later, I video chatted with my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to sleep in

- Phone calls from friends

- A sunny day

- Inspirational videos

- My home 

Today's joyful activity was video chatting with my daughter.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, here in the U.S.  Wish all my readers a happy Thanksgiving Day.


Rose in the Front Garden

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Playing Catch Up

I feel like I am playing catch up with my blog posts, these days!  Always a day or two behind!

On Monday, I slept in and spent a relaxed morning.  Brunch was a scrambled egg and toast.  In the afternoon, I drove over to friend R's to pick up some jalebi that she had ordered from the lady who makes all these wonderful treats.  Jalebi is a little like funnel cake - the batter is poured in rounds into hot oil and, once fried, dipped in a sugar syrup!  In Sri Lanka, we call them "undu wal" or "pani walalu" (which translates as honey bangles).  I'm sorry, but, I forgot to take a picture of them.  R also shared some home grown tangerines that a friend had given her.  I made a little flower arrangement to take to her, with yellow chrysanthemums and asparagus ferns from the garden, arranged in a little round basket that I had.  After I came home, I practiced the piano, dusted the living room, took the trash cans to the curb, watched news, knitted, and video chatted with my daughter.  Our county's new Covid cases for Monday amounted to 6,124.  Dinner was spaghetti and meat sauce and I posted my meal plan for the week.

On Monday, I was grateful for:

- Friend R sharing the jalebi and tangerines with me

- Flowers from the garden to take to her

- A safe drive there and back

- A working heater

- Being able to video chat with my daughter

Monday's joyful activity was eating jalebi!

On Tuesday, I spoke with neighbor T in the morning, just checking on her.  She sounded a lot better than she did on Saturday.  I brought in the trash cans, walked a bit in the garden, picked more feijoa (pineapple guavas), and practiced the piano.  I also took some photos for this month's mini photo challenge (the theme for this month is "Tools").  In the evening, I watered the front garden and the indoor plants, watched TV, knitted, called friend R for a chat, and video chatted with my daughter.  

Brunch was a tuna salad sandwich and I cooked a pork chop for dinner.  Yes, I know, I had a pork chop stir fry with the same vegetables last week, too, but, it is what I wanted to have!  I cooked a Spanish rice/pasta mix from a box to go with it:

Pork Chop and Sauteed Vegetables

With a Spanish Rice Mix

There's enough leftover for Wednesday night's dinner, too.

Later in the evening, I baked some corn bread:

Corn Bread

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:

- Guavas from the garden

- Weekly trash collections

- Prescription refills being delivered by mail, free of charge

- A working stove and oven

- Water for the garden

Tuesday's joyful activity was video chatting with my daughter.  

How is your week coming along?  

Monday, November 23, 2020

November Meal Plans Week 3 Review and Week 4

November Week 3 Meal Plan Options:

I started Week 3 with several leftover curry puffs, a little bit of mackerel curry, and some of the gravy from the potato curry.  These were the meal plan options I thought might work out for Week 3 - 

Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch:  Fruit✓, curry puffs✓, French toast, pancakes, sandwiches (cheese✓, tuna or egg salad), soup✓

Dinner:  Curry puffs✓, coconut roti with fish curry✓, spaghetti with meat sauce✓, pork chops✓, oven fried chicken.

Snacks/Desserts: Fruit✓, nuts✓. cereal✓, etc. 

And this is how it worked out:

Brunch:  Curry puffs with tomato chutney
Dinner:  More curry puffs, tomato chutney 
Snacks/Dessert: Pomegranate, cashews

Brunch:  Curry puffs, tomato chutney
Dinner: Curry puffs, tomato chutney
Snacks/Dessert: Pomegranate, banana, cheese sandwich
Brunch:  Banana
Tea: Vada (lentil snacks)
Dinner:  Coconut roti, fish curry
Snacks/Dessert: Cassava chips

Coconut Roti/Flat Bread

Brunch: Curry puff, tomato chutney
Dinner: Coconut roti, the last of the fish curry
Snacks/Dessert: Banana, raisins and cashews, small piece of halapa

Brunch: Banana, curry puff
Dinner: Pork stir fry with rice
Snacks/Dessert: Vada, cassava chips, 

Pork Stir Fry and Rice

Brunch: Chicken noodle soup; crackers
Dinner:  Leftover rice and stir fry
Snacks/Dessert: Stewed apple with ice cream; granola bar, chocolate

Brunch:  Roti with katta sambol (a mixture of onions, chilies, and Maldive fish, ground together with lime juice)
Dinner:  Spaghetti with meat sauce 
Snacks/Dessert: Pomegranates, cheese and crackers

I think it worked out quite well, although all I ate at the beginning of the week (from choice) were curry puffs!  LOL.  Obviously, I liked them! 

On to Week 4!  Week 4 includes Thanksgiving Day.  At the beginning of the month, I thought I might do another grocery shopping order closer to Thanksgiving, but, since my daughter will not be joining me, I think I will simply make a Thanksgiving meal using what I have on hand.  Although, I am debating if it is worth ordering a pumpkin pie and whipped cream for dessert.

November Week 4 Meal Plan Options:

Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch:  Fruit, scrambled egg and toast, grilled cheese sandwich, French toast, pancakes, waffles

Dinner:  Spaghetti with meat sauce, pork chops, Thanksgiving dinner (roast chicken, mashed potatoes, corn bread, green beans or broccoli, cranberry sauce), leftovers.

Snacks/Desserts: Fruit, nuts. pumpkin pie?  

Of course, since I am posting this on Monday, I've already started on Week 4 -

Brunch:  Grilled cheese sandwich
Tea: Almond Danish
Dinner:  Spaghetti and sauce 
Snacks/Dessert: crackers

Brunch:  Scrambled egg and toast
Dinner: Spaghetti and sauce
Snacks/Dessert: Jalebi, tangerine

How are you doing with your meal planning?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Playing with Flowers on the Weekend


Ikebana it Ain't!  

Same Flowers; Different Vase

Saturday, I woke up feeling a lot better than I did on Friday.  Friday, my sinuses were acting up a bit and I was worried I might be coming down with something (more in the lines of a sinus infection or head cold), but, I think it was a combination of the weather (warm, but, overcast and it always seems to affect my sinuses), a possible reaction to the disinfectant the dental clinic uses (I noticed it had a very strong smell and I remember having a similar reaction after my last visit, as well) and, yes, I admit it, feeling a bit dispirited and down because my daughter will not be visiting over Thanksgiving.  I think I was more disappointed than I thought I would be.

But, that was Friday.  Saturday was a new day.  The sun was shining, the skies were clear, my sinuses were happy, I was alive and relatively well, so was my daughter, and even if she can't come home this Thanksgiving, we can still video chat and look forward to her next visit whenever that takes place!  I'm sure there is a reason why things don't always work out the way we would like them to.   Maybe the Universe is testing us to see how graceful we are under less than ideal circumstances.  It is easy to be gracious when things go our way; not quite as easy when they don't.  I always hope I am graceful at all times, but, all too often, I look back and think, "I could have handled that, better!"  On Friday, I felt disappointed, but, on Saturday, I decided to look for the blessings.  My mother used to always say that we made our own happiness.

Neighbor T called me on Saturday morning.  I was surprised to hear from her because she usually calls me on Sunday mornings, but, I have a feeling she got her days mixed up.  I didn't say anything about it, to her, of course.  But, she has told me that she gets confused which day of the week it is and, honestly, don't we all?  Especially these days!  Anyway, we chatted for a bit.  She, too, was feeling a bit down with the holidays approaching as she will be on her own.  We discussed the merits of turkey pot pie and turkey tetrazzini (something I was not familiar with and had to look up what it was!) for Thanksgiving dinner (these are frozen meals that we were discussing, as T doesn't cook for herself, these days).  I like frozen pot pies and now, I am thinking I might try making tetrazzini, although, I will probably make it with chicken instead of turkey.  I am also thinking I might serve a portion of whatever I plan to make for Thanksgiving (probably roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and corn bread) and take it over to T to enjoy.  

Later in the morning, I tidied the living room a little bit.  The boxes of cat litter and cat food were still sitting out, in the living room and I moved them to the spare room, which is now officially the store room!  All the extra stock up items are stored there!  With reports of stores running low on items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer/disinfectants, and paper towels, again, as the Covid case numbers continue to increase and additional lockdowns are anticipated, I am very glad I stocked on these items during the summer!  

In the afternoon, I walked in the garden and picked some pomegranates.  Neighbor E was out in his front yard with his wife and son, working on a project, and we exchanged greetings.  I walked across the street and left a couple of pomegranates on the top of the gate post for them; then, quickly walked away because none of us was wearing a mask!  

In the evening, I washed the sofa dust sheets and covered the sofas, again.  I've discovered that one sheet isn't quite enough to keep Dancer's fur off the sofas, so, I've started putting two sheets!  Admittedly, they are old sheets that are worn rather thin.  I also watched news and knitted.

I cooked spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner.  I added onions and grated carrots to the meat sauce to extend it and froze half of it for another day.  Freshly picked pomegranate for dessert.

Later, I spoke on the phone with friend R, video chatted with my daughter, exchanged emails with a friend, cleaned the litter box, played several games of Sudoku online and, eventually, went to sleep at 5:00 a.m.!  

On Saturday, I was grateful for:
- Feeling better
- My mother's sayings
- Chatting with neighbors and friends
- Being able to share pomegranates with neighbors
- Video chatting with my daughter

My joyful activities of the day included knitting and video chatting with my daughter.

This morning, I woke up at 9:30 a.m.  I spent a relaxed day, watching TV (mostly cooking shows and some news), chatting on the phone with my sister and friend R, and playing on the computer.  I picked some flowers from the garden and tried a couple of flower arrangements.  The first arrangement didn't quite work out (I think the stem of the rose was too long and I didn't want to cut it shorter; plus, I didn't trim the lemon leaves sufficiently to get it to look like an Ikebana arrangement), so, I just redid the arrangement in a vase!  

In the afternoon, neighbor S called me; she is taking next week off from teaching piano for Thanksgiving, so, no piano lesson, tomorrow.  However, she printed off the sheet music for Silent Night, so I could try my hand at it.  She also gave me some Armenian kufta, along with the broth in which to warm them up, and a piece of Danish which had an almond filling and which I loved!

Kufta and Broth (in the jar at the back)

Danish with Almond Filling

I froze the kufta to share with my daughter whenever she comes home because she loves them and enjoyed the Danish with a cup of tea!  I gave S a pomegranate I picked from the tree right then and there.  

Afterwards, I watered the back garden with the garden hose.  My friend the mockingbird was perched on a branch of the calamondin tree, again, and, although I held up the hose to "rain" on him/her, he/she didn't choose to have a shower.  It was both later in the evening and colder than on the previous occasion, so, I suppose the time and weather weren't conducive for a shower!  

Later, I did a load of laundry and sat down to write this blog post.  Dinner, tonight, will be leftover spaghetti and meat sauce.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Flowers from the garden
- Neighbor S bringing me more delicious food and treats
- Being able to share pomegranates with her
- Time spent in the garden
- A working washing machine and dryer

Today's joyful activity was playing with flowers!  

Tomorrow's To Do List includes some housework and piano practice.  There might be a visit to pick up something from friend R, too, as she has ordered more Sri Lankan treats! 

How was your weekend?  What are your plans for tomorrow?

Saturday, November 21, 2020


Friday has been a quiet day.  It was a low energy day for me (I woke up feeling just a little bit under the weather) and took it easy as a result.  I spent the morning replying to blog comments and spent the afternoon catching up on reading several blogs.  I walked in the garden for a bit, in the afternoon, and checked on the plants.  I was able to pick a few more feijoa (pineapple guavas).  This year's crop of feijoa is nothing at all like last year's when I had a bumper crop of them.  But, I am grateful for every single fruit I pick from my garden.  

Friend M came over in the evening to tend to the garden.  He brought me a plant cutting that he potted up for me and he planted a few more vegetable seeds.  So far, other than the radish seeds and four peas, only weeds seem to be growing in my little victory garden, but, I am hopeful that some of the other seeds will also start growing!  He also pruned the peach tree, looking over each and every twig and carefully pruning them.  We also discussed additional plants for the garden - maybe a nectarine tree and another orange tree.  Afterwards, I made us a cup of tea and we drank it, sitting socially distanced, before he left.

I spent most of the evening watching news and news programs until I felt I had my fill of news for the day and turned off the TV.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The fruits I am able to pick from the garden

- M bringing me another plant cutting

- Being able to take it easy when I don't feel energetic

- Video chatting with my daughter

- Phone calls and emails with friends

Today's joyful activity was relaxing.

Plans for tomorrow include watering the back garden and doing some laundry.

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

Friday, November 20, 2020

5,031 on Thursday

That is today's new confirmed Covid-19 case number in my county (Los Angeles County).  I couldn't find a break down by cities within the county, but, at this point in time, does it even matter?

"What you typing, Mummy?"

  "Dancer type, too"


Thank you, Dancer!  Very clever of you to type with your chin!

Effective Saturday, several counties in the state with "purple" status, including Los Angeles County, will have curfew restrictions placed on certain non-essential businesses from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.  Also, if the daily count of new cases continue to be high, with a five-day daily average of 4,500 new cases, then, a stay-at-home lockdown could go into effect on Sunday (currently, we have a two-day daily average of 4,500 new cases, I read).

I spent a quiet morning, today.  I texted cousin N and a short time later, her mother, my aunt C called and we chatted a bit.  Last week, aunt had said she and cousin might drive by to drop something off for me this morning; today, she said they might come by next week.  But, if there is a stay at home order, then, of course, there won't be any visits to drop anything off!  

I had a banana and the last curry puff for brunch.  Then, I practiced the piano and walked in the driveway.  I am still not brave enough to walk even up and down my block, but the driveway and the sidewalk in front of my house is my safe zone.  

My daughter texted me in the early afternoon saying that her friend has decided not to drive down for Thanksgiving, especially since the Center for Disease Control had issued travel restrictions.  We are both a little disappointed, of course, (we were holding out a little hope that she would still be able to make it), but, better be safe than sorry.  In any case, she has taken three days of vacation time off, next week (Monday through Wednesday; Thursday and Friday are holidays), since she hasn't taken any time off work since early March.  

I watched news in the evening and started knitting another sweater with some 100% wool I had bought, last year.  I thought I bought 5 balls of wool, but, I found only 4 in the yarn bin; I hope I have enough for a sweater!  If not, I might have to mix in some leftover grey or blue wool and make a pattern!  

Today, I cooked a pork chop for dinner.  Well, at least, I started out with a pork chop, but, I marinated it with some teriyaki sauce while it thawed and then, I cut it up and made a stir fry with it!

Pork Chop Stir Fry

Served Over Rice

I had half of it for dinner and kept the other half in the fridge for tomorrow's dinner. 

Later in the evening, I chatted on the phone with friend R and video chatted with my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Dancer's help with typing this post!

- Chatting with cousin, aunt, friend R, and my daughter

- Being able to walk in the driveway and spend some time outdoors

- Daughter being able to take some vacation time off, even if she is unable to come home

- My yarn stash!

Today's joyful activity was knitting.

Plans for tomorrow include a little housework and tending to the garden with M.

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Tuesday and Wednesday


Pomegranate Tree in the Fall

Pomegranate Tree

I've been enjoying all the pictures people are posting of autumn leaves.  The pomegranate tree is the only tree in my garden with leaves that change color in the fall.  

Yesterday, I received an email notification that my grocery order from the Sri Lankan store was ready for pick up.  So, after a fairly relaxed morning, I drove over to the store and picked up the groceries I had ordered and also bought two packets of frozen grated coconut that I couldn't order online for some reason.  Each packet contains four smaller packets.  

Then, I called friend R and drove straight to her place to give her the items I had bought for her - one of the packets of frozen coconut, a packet of coriander seeds, a packet of sesame candy, and a packet of cream crackers.  In exchange, she gave me more vada (lentil snacks) and another Sri Lankan treat, called "halapa" she had ordered from the lady who makes all these treats:

Halapa - Wrapped in Banana Leaves


Halapa is made with the flour from finger millet (Eleusine coracana), which we call "kurakkan".  The flour is mixed with grated coconut and treacle (or sugar) that has been cooked together and then, spread in the middle of a leaf and steamed.  In Sri Lanka, it was traditional to use a type of leaf called "kanda" (Macaranga peltata) to make halapa, but, when kanda leaves are not available, banana leaves (cut into circles) can also be used.  Both types of leaves impart a flavor to the food wrapped and cooked in them.  As a child, I was especially fond of halapa.  But, I haven't eaten any in years!

After I came home, I disinfected the groceries and put away some of them.  I bought more tea, different types of curry powder, some chili powder, spices, coconut milk powder, snacks/treats like cassava chips, fried breadfruit chips, land sesame-jaggery candy, and some jars of seeni sambol (for my daughter) and chow-chow (chayote squash) preserves:

Chow Chow Preserve

What I really wanted was a jar of pumpkin preserve, but, they didn't have any; so, I will use chow chow preserves instead, when my daughter comes home for the holidays and we make the special cake that is known as Love Cake (I've written about Love Cake in old posts).

Later, I practiced the piano, watched news and some other TV programs, did three loads of laundry, and made my bed with freshly laundered sheets.  I also received the delivery of the two bags of cat food we ordered.

For dinner, I made coconut roti (flat bread), with frozen grated coconut and whole wheat flour.  I made six rotis, but, ate one before I took the picture!  

Coconut Roti/Flat Bread

Dinner was roti and fish curry.

Yesterday, I was grateful for:

- The Sri Lankan groceries were ready for pick up

- A nice drive to the store and back (the car started and had a good run, too)

- Being able to bring some treats to friend R

- Friend R giving me some treats in return!

- Freshly laundered bed sheets

Yesterday's joyful activity was visiting friend R for a brief minute.  

Today, I spent some time in the garden, walking up and down the driveway for 20 minutes, then, watering the front.  Later, I practiced the piano.  In the afternoon, I accidentally knocked over an empty glass jar which shattered on the kitchen floor!  So, I swept the kitchen floor and mopped it for good measure.  Afterwards, I did some paperwork and watched news.  

In the evening, I went to my dental appointment.  My appointment was at 6 o'clock, and I got there a few minutes early, but, the small waiting room was full!  Everyone was wearing a mask, but, at least two of them had their masks on below their noses, which is less than ideal.  The chairs were not set six feet apart, either.  So, as soon as I had signed in, I told the receptionist that I would stand outside until it was my turn to be seen.  Which I did from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., which was when they called me in!  Then, they only took another impression of my bite!  They took an impression of my bite the last time, too, but, apparently, they needed another impression!  I do have a rather odd bite, but, still!  I was hoping to have my partial ready to be fitted, today!  Needless to say, I was not very happy!  I wouldn't have minded if we didn't have a pandemic raging, but, every time I go out in public, I am aware that I am compromising my health!  I now have another appointment at the end of the month!   Sigh.

I came home, afterwards, resisting the temptation to buy a pizza (the dental clinic is located in a mini mall, with a pizza shop a couple of doors down from it) or pick up a burger from a drive through.  After I changed out of the clothes I wore to the dentist's, I ate a banana and later, I ate two more coconut rotis with the last of the fish curry for my dinner.  Dessert was a small piece of halapa, followed by a handful of golden raisins and raw cashews (both bought from the Sri Lankan store; at this rate, all the cake ingredients will be gone by the time my daughter comes home to make the cake!  LOL!). 

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunny day

- The garden to walk in

- Being able to drive myself

- Yummy treats

- Fresh fruit from the garden

Pomegranates from the Garden

The pomegranates are ripe and I've been picking them, a few at a time.  I am hoping that my daughter will be able to come down in time to enjoy them.

Today's joyful activity was spending time in the garden.

Plans for tomorrow include relaxing and getting some housework done.  

How was your day?  What are your plans for tomorrow?

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

November Meal Plans - Week 2 Review and Week 3

I am late with my weekly meal plans!  Better late than never?

I started out Week 2 with a few leftovers that had to be eaten - a piece of baked chicken, a small amount of canned corned beef, potato curry, fish curry, and stringhoppers.

These were my November Week 2 Meal Plan Options:

Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch:  Fruit, French toast, salad, toast✓, sandwiches (tuna or egg salad), milk rice with fish curry✓

Dinner:  Baked chicken with salad, string hoppers with fish curry and potato curry✓, fried rice, "breakfast for dinner" (pancakes waffles or scrambled eggs on toast✓), spaghetti with meat sauce, leftovers✓

Snacks/Desserts: Fruit✓, nuts. cereal, etc.  Maybe cornbread or a pie, if I feel like baking!

And this is how it all worked out:

Brunch:  Toast, butter, homemade strawberry jam
Dinner:  Scrambled egg on toast 
Snacks/Dessert: Grapes, pineapple guava (feijoa), a piece of chocolate

Brunch:  Toast and seeni sambol
Dinner: Chicken noodle soup
Snacks/Dessert: Grapes; grilled cheese sandwich
Brunch:  Stringhoppers with potato curry and seeni sambol
Dinner:  Macaroni and cheese
Snacks/Dessert: Apple, toast and seeni sambol, a piece of chocolate

Brunch: Milk rice and mackerel curry  
Dinner: Baked potato
Snacks/Dessert: Grapes, apple slices with peanut butter

Brunch: Leftover milk rice and seeni sambol
Dinner: Chicken noodle soup
Snacks/Dessert: apple slices, cereal

Brunch: Stringhoppers, seeni sambol
Dinner:  Waffles, fish curry
Snacks/Dessert: Creme brulee

Brunch:  Leftover waffles and seeni sambol
Dinner:  Curry puffs filled with a mixture of leftovers (baked chicken, corned beef, potato curry)
Snacks/Dessert: Tres leches cake

Leftovers Curry Puffs

Well, that was a bit "hit or miss", wasn't it?  And, did I mention that I was on a seeni sambol (sweet and spicy onion relish) kick?  It seems I had it at practically every meal!  

November Week 3 Meal Plan Options:

I started Week 3 with several leftover curry puffs, a little bit of mackerel curry, and some of the gravy from the potato curry.

Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch:  Fruit, curry puffs, French toast, pancakes, sandwiches (cheese, tuna or egg salad), soup

Dinner:  Curry puffs, coconut roti with fish curry, spaghetti with meat sauce, pork chops, oven fried chicken.

Snacks/Desserts: Fruit, nuts. cereal, etc. 

Of course, November Week 3 has already started.  

Sunday: I had curry puffs for both brunch and dinner!  Snacks included a pomegranate from the tree and cashews.

Monday: Again, curry puffs for brunch and dinner!  Snacks included a banana, another pomegranate, and a cheese sandwich.

Tuesday: I had a banana for brunch and some vada (a fried snack made with lentils and spices) with my afternoon tea.  Haven't decided what I'll have for dinner, yet (it's a little after 6:00 p.m. as I type this).  Maybe I'll make the coconut roti to have with the fish curry, tonight.  

How are your weekly meal plans coming along? 



Garden Flowers

Another lovely, warm day, today, with a high of 89F.  Needless to say, I was happy!  

Today, I dusted the living room and the dining area.  Then, I picked a bouquet of flowers from the garden - yellow roses, paperwhites, yellow chrysanthemums, a few sprigs of rosemary, and some asparagus fern fronds to add a bit of greenery - for the altars and the living room mantel.  I love being able to pick flowers from the garden and bring them indoors to enjoy; I just have to make sure to keep them out of Dancer's reach.  

I also picked two more feijoa (pineapple guavas) and a pomegranate.  

I had my piano lesson this afternoon and it went well.  I received an A+ for both 'O Sole Mio' and 'The Entertainer'.  'Amazing Grace' still needs more practice.  I also received two new songs to learn: 'Greensleeves' and 'Joy to the World'.  

Later, I took the trash cans to the curb for pick up in the morning.  As I was placing them in position, cousin P and her daughter, who were driving by, pulled up to greet me.  They were on their way to the grocery store and asked if I needed anything.  So, I asked for a loaf of bread and some bananas, which they brought to me, a bit later.  Of course, they wouldn't accept any money for the items, but, I will be baking something to give them, later this week.

Today, the two bags of kitty litter my daughter ordered for me were delivered, just as I opened the last of the bags I bought, earlier.  I am now waiting for the bags of cat food we ordered.

In the evening, I watched some TV, including news and the semi-finals of Dancing with the Stars, spoke with friend R, and video chatted with my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Another warm, summer-like day

- Cousin and her daughter picking up some groceries for me

- A good piano lesson

- Deliveries of kitty litter, etc.

- Flowers from the garden

November Flowers

Today's joyful activity was picking flowers from the garden.

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