Monday, April 22, 2024

Freezer Clean Out Menu

I have always kept a well-stocked freezer.  I love having leftover meals and precooked ingredients ready to go.  It's great to come home after a trip to a nice homecooked meal without having to go to the store or order take out.

Cooking is a joy for me, but I don't want to have to do it every day just to feed myself.  I have embraced meal prep and keep the portions small, so I'm not stuck with a family size dish when all I need is 1- 2 portions.

What I do have to be careful of is keeping such a large stockpile that I can't use it before the quality suffers.  Spoilage is not usually an issue, but taste is. 

I don't like to waste food so a periodic clean out is necessary to keep everything fresh.

This week as I was preparing my shopping list, I realized that I had quite a bit of food that needed to be eaten before I purchased any more.  

With a few additional ingredients from the fridge and pantry I have over a weeks' worth of meals with very little preparation required.

I keep a file with recipes and photos for inspiration.  Time to make my new list and stock back up.

Sausage and Grits
Chicken Fried Rice

Smothered Beef Burritos

Chicken Broccoli Stew

Split Pea Soup

    Bean and Cheese Tacos

Tikka Masala

   Shrimp and Spinach Rice

Honey Bun Cake

Bon Appetit! 


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Peaceful Journey

Being on the water takes me away from the world, drifting in a sea of peace and calm.

Beautiful St. Lucia - Windstar Cruise

Thursday, March 7, 2024


There is nothing that spurs my wanderlust more than not being able to travel. 

I love being free to just pick up and go whenever I want.

This year will prove to be a little tricker, but I have no doubt I will manage to make it happen.

My list of the yet to be discovered is growing by the day and I can't wait to explore those fantastic new horizons!

Friday, December 1, 2023

Christmas Magic

It was just a few weeks until Christmas and I could hardly wait.

We had moved into our beautiful new house, and I had my very own bedroom.  No more sharing with my annoying younger brother.

Mom was busy decorating and getting ready for the holiday.  I’m not sure I had ever seen her so happy.  She finally met someone who treated her well and even liked us kids too. 

Buzz was a kind man, quiet and gentle with a warm smile.  Walking in with his dusty work boots, exhausted from work, he was never too tired to pick me up and give me a huge bear hug.

We were living a life I could never have imagined.  There was so much food in the house we had to put another refrigerator on the back porch.  We didn’t have to worry about moving in the middle of the night because we couldn’t pay the rent.  Life was very good.

“You are not going to start another project this close to Christmas.” I heard my mom telling Buzz.

He was always working on something.  He built a new patio with a rock garden for mom in the summer and a mini playhouse for me and my brother.

Despite her protests, he began working.  

It was unusual for him to be doing it inside, but it was winter, so I didn’t think much of it. 

Mom was beside herself with the mess.  She had worked so hard to clean and decorate the house.  He had even pushed the Christmas tree off into the corner.

I was surprised and confused when I came home from school and saw that he was actually tearing down the living room wall. 

He and mom almost never argued but this was different.  There were pieces of wood and sheet rock everywhere.  I was happy I had a room to go to where I could stay away from it all.

As the days passed, mom accepted that this was going to happen whether she liked it or not. 

Just a couple of days until Christmas now and I was more excited than ever.  This was our first Christmas in the new house.

Behind the canvas tarps, Buzz worked away, he looked like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.

He even enlisted my brother to help with his “secret project”.
I was a little jealous that I wasn’t included but I kept myself busy playing with my dolls and reading in my room.

Finally, it was Christmas eve.  I knew this year would be special, but I had no idea how much. 

After dinner, mom sent me and my brother to our rooms.  “We have something to do before Santa comes, so you have to stay there until we tell you to come out,” she instructed. “And no peeking,” she nodded to my brother.

Presents, it must be our presents we both thought. 

When she opened the door, she told me to close my eyes.  Gently guiding me, we walked into the front room. 

When I opened my eyes, I saw the most incredible fireplace I had ever seen.  

That is what Buzz had been working on.  Whoever had lived there before had covered up the fireplace with a wall.

It looked like something out of a fairy tale – the fire was glowing with twinkles of light reflecting on the hearth.

Under the tree were two boxes, one for me and one for my brother. 

We didn’t usually get to open any gifts before Christmas morning, so this was another unexpected surprise. 

My box was not wrapped, so it was easy to just open the top.  As I did, up popped the most beautiful little gray kitten in the world.  

Immediately I began to cry, as I carefully lifted her out of the box.

“Is she really for me?” I asked in disbelief, petting her gently. "I think I'll call her Thumbelina because she's so tiny," I said.

My brother grinned at me and began opening his package.  It was a toolbox with real tools to build things, he was thrilled.

Mom smiled and watched quietly as we laughed and played.  Buzz reached down from his rocking chair and lifted me, still holding the kitten, into his lap.

It was truly a magical Christmas.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Baking Time Again!

I like to bake when the weather begins to cool down.  Of all the foods I love, fresh baked bread is one of my favorites.  There is something very satisfying about creating something so delicious with just a few ingredients.

These bread rolls are easy to make and instead of taking all day, they are done in under an hour.  I modified the recipe to make a small batch, perfect for 6 - 8 dinner rolls.


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (1/2 – 1 cup additional as needed for dough)

1 package Rapid Rise Instant Yeast

2 Tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup warm water

2 tablespoons oil

1 egg


Heat oven to 400 degrees.

·   Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt in medium mixing bowl.  Add water, oil and egg.  Stir until well combined.    

Knead until dough is soft and smooth.  Use additional flour if needed.

Cover and set in a warm location for 20 minutes.

Form dough into 8 balls and place on a greased sheet pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

It's the Little Things

 I have been traveling for 6 months now and I am always amazed and delighted by the wonderful people that I meet along the way.

Today as I went out for a few errands, I encountered many who were just going about their day.  Most were in a rush and not particularly pleasant, one was very rude.

When I arrived back at the hotel, I asked the housekeeper for some coffee to take back to my room.  She was so helpful and polite I wanted to give her a small tip. 
Inadvertently, instead of giving her two single dollars, I gave her a twenty-dollar bill and a single.
I paused for a moment before realizing that not only did she deserve it, but I hoped it would be a nice surprise when she sees it later.

Here in the US, wages for service workers is abysmal.  Honestly, anyone who will clean up after me deserves more than I can give them.

I hope she remembers the gesture but not my room, I want her to be able to accept this very small token of my appreciation for all that she does.

Monday, January 23, 2023

More Soft Food

Eating after oral surgery can be very challenging.  The chewiness and texture of foods that were never an issue before can be beyond painful. At the same time, you crave good, comforting food.

Nutrition is essential while you heal, but so is satisfaction.  So, going into yet another round, I am trying to think of some new soft meal options for my recovery.

I'm hoping to enjoy a larger selection of food and flavors this time around.  Here are some of my favorite foods, soft diet style.

Mexican - Huevos Rancheros, Refried Beans, Red or Green Chili, Sopa, Rice, Tres Leches Cake.

Indian - Vegetable Tikka Masala, Curry, Tarka Dal, Palak Paneer, Rice, Mango Lassi, Gulab Jamun.

Italian - Fettuccini Alfredo, Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, Risotto, Tiramisu.

American - Eggs, Baked Fish, Bread Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Yams, Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Whipped Cream.

Asian - Egg Foo Yung, Rice, Sweet and Sour Tofu, Egg Drop Soup, Miso Soup, Rice Pudding.

Spanish - Poached Fish, Gazpacho, Tortilla Espanola, Paella, Flan.

Irish - Potatoes (Soup, Mashed, Colcannon, Champ), Shepards Pie, Baked Beans, Salmon, Mushy Peas, Cabbage, Carrots, Parsley Sauce, Trifle.

Mediterranean - Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Lentil Soup, Orzo, Feta Cheese, Shakshuka, Cream Cake.

Depending on your procedure, you may want to prepare these at home so you can control the ingredients and texture to suit your needs.

Disclaimer:  These meals were approved by my dental provider and were specific to my procedure. Please follow post-op instructions provided by your dentist.