Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday morning storm

Dean Martin, Let it snow...
     We woke to 35-40 mph wind gusts, then almost immediately, the skies opened and it has been pouring down rain ever since. A wonderful day to stay indoors. Even Gracie, our beloved and most independently spirited cat, insists upon coming indoors on days like this. She went out, got drenched, shook off her coat, and demanded that she come back inside and is now characteristically staring out the master bedroom window at the storm while Abby watches on bemusedly at her pacing and staring out the window and Gus ignores it all by sleeping.
Jeff has already cheffed up a hearty Sunday breakfast that befits a stormy day like today; leftover sirloin steak, country fried potatoes w/eggs over medium and French roast coffee. 
Laundry is getting underway. I have to begin gathering things to take on vacation, bring out suitcases, etcetera.
Jeff has put on a fresh pot of coffee for us to enjoy. The wind temporarily knocked the satellite off, it's back on now. My neighbor, across the street, oaktree has lost branches and are now littering the center of the street. It's pretty brutal out there. It's raining so hard that the ground is unable to soak up the water. Our front walkway is covered with water from both flower beds. So glad yesterday's shopping is over and we don't need to go outdoors...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Foodies R US

So, what do we like to do on get-away family vacations? Get plenty of face time with our adult children and grandchildren and EAT... food is a big part of our family whether we're on vacation, or just popping by to see one another.

I've created a Sutter Creek menu which is really fun as Jeff and Aims were professional cooks. Dave is killer and Erin and I can more than hold our own in the kitchen. It's all about talking recipes, food prep, presentation, sampling, interwoven with conversation. And a lot of laughter-- we have the best time! We have a really fun and adventurous family and we like and enjoy hanging out with each other.

Years ago, I began with a grocery list that contained whatever it was we would be eating... whether it was camping, or whatever, as a reminder to me what to take w/us. This evolved to meal menus as the family grew, married and grandchildren began arriving.

This time around Dave is in charge of appetizers and will be bringing his deep fryer and making his infamous apple pie (per my birthday request). Erin is in charge of the wine and preparing her to-die-for sweet potatoes recipe. Jeff will be cheffing up his signature Denver omlette. 

We arrive Monday... so let's begin there
Antipasto platter
Shrimp w/marinara cocktail sauce
Caesar salad
Cheesy bread sticks (curtesy of Pizza Plus)
Dessert: Pumpkin praline cheesecake
Assorted cookie tray: Classic shortbread, fudge stripped shortbread, gingerbread men, coconut waffers, butterscotch oatmeal, cranberry w/white chocolate chunks.
Hershey chocolate mint candy canes
Port wine

Tuesday breakfast:  My birthday
Bloody Mary's
Creamers: Half n Half, Amaretto, Peppermint Mocha
Denver omelettte
toasted French bread w/raspberry or black current preserves

Lunch appetizers:
Deep fried  (and breaded) mozzerella cheese sticks
  "        "              "                tempura battered zucchini
  "        "              "                tempura battered calamari
  "        "                               tempura battered mushrooms
Aisan Infused Humas/crackers

kids appetizer platter:
Cheesy nachos
7-Up (cherries optional)

Mid-afternoon luncheon:
Mashed potoes/gravy
Sweet potatoes
Cranberry sauce
Baby peas w/pearl onions
Dinner rolls/butter

Apple pie

Turkey sandwiches
Chips optional

Wednesday Breakfast:
Coffee w/assorted creamers
Linguicia sauteed in wine
Cottage cheese w/ fresh fruit: Pineapple, kiwi, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
Ottis Spunkmeyer muffins: Chocolate, Banana Nut and Blueberries

By reviewing my menu I never leave anything behind or wonder what I may be forgetting. It's foolproof...

Speaking of food-- it's time for me to get dinner started...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

weekend morning shenanigans

 Ahhhh, the weekend mornings... thoughts of sleeping-in tantalize me during the work week... usually about the time I'm pulling the covers off to get out of bed...and then Saturday and Sunday arrive and Abigail, our chocolate Himalayan cat has other plans,. Which usually begin w/ Jeff getting outta bed in the very early morning hours. I need more sleep or think I do. Once Jeff has walked out of the room and Abigail can hear the sounds of the electric coffee grinder... it's game on.
She will race through the master bedroom, running behind the dresser onto the window sill, down onto the chair, onto my pillow, off the bed, onto the club chair, the other window sill, then onto the dresser, on top of the DVR, behind the TV, back to the first window sill and chair, then jump onto Gus (our orange DD tabby), repeat the process one more time with the final jump onto Anna Chan, waking her up. Whew! And then... I scoop her up and place her into the foyer where she happily runs off to find Jeff. I return to bed, get myself comfy, about to drift when the lions begin to roar (wanting their breakfast). 
Meanwhile Jeff has settled into the living room at the table trying to enjoy his cup of coffee while watching some WWII b/w movie of days gone by and then he has the kittens to contend with; Leif, Waldorf and Amaretto literally climbing all over him (to say good morning). It's like he's catnip. They adore him and want him to hold them. He places one down, the next jumps up and that process is repeated. Except for Amaretto who thinks she's a parrot. She will jump onto his shoulder and stay, don't bother getting her off because she will climb back up and perch herself there until Jeff has finished his coffee. He calls them "the melty cats" as they lean against and melt into him to be petted.
It's about this time that I join Jeff for coffee and convesation and the indoor gang begins their indoor soccer game. Life is not dull in our household.

Friday, November 23, 2012

it's all good...


Yeah... the above photo... I'm so not there... and I'm okay with that. I did dash into town to
pick up miscellaneous house cleaning products and stock up on cat food. My neighborhood is alive w/ neighbors out walking w/ their pets. I must have passed half a dozen or so on both sides of the road, we don't have sidewalks... the boys are back out playing football. Some of the neighbor's are bringing out their Christmas decorations, one has hung garland w/ beach ball sized ornaments on their white picket fence.

The sun is glorious, temps in the mid-60's, cool breeze and everywhere you look is decked out it bright autumn colors; reds, golds, sage and olive greens-- all backlit by the sun.

I cleared off one of the bookcases flanking the living room fireplace, boxed them and moved them aside as best I could w/out Jeff's assistance. The indoor gang is napping on the over-sized bowler bay window sill. Christmas songs playing in the background. The beans are almost finished while I snack on leftover creamy ranch dressing/Ruffle potato chips while sipping Sierra Mist w/ a splash of cranberry soda pop... merrily blogging away. 

I love the holiday solitude-- I don't know if this stems from being an only child or Swedish, or both. Gram and aunt Bette fiercely guarded their privacy and I find myself following along. You know, nordic island people, long dark winters... I find contentment in these moments, must be a genetic thing.

I began reading Killing Lincoln late last evening after dinner and after watching The Godfather. We then watched a documentary about RFK and Alabama segregation.

Think I'll pick up where I left off in the Lincoln book and read until Jeff gets home, it's an early afternoon home for him.

                                                     Funny Farm, fishing scene w/ Chevy Chase

Black Friday? I think NOT!

The wild turkeys of San Andreas are breathing a sigh of a relief now that yesterday has passed and are content that it is US who are stuffed and not themselves. Today is one of my fav days of the year. Why? you ask... well, it isn't because of the crass commecialization that commences and bombards us via radio and television commercials today. The large advertizing agencies can keep that little goodie all to themselves-- It goes without saying that tonight's newscast will have at least one headline story w/ interview of someone being stampeded while trying to outpush someone else to get that bargain that they feel entitled to that is calling their name. It's one of my fav days because... wait for it... Christmas songs begin today...on our radios... and tv's. I'm listening to Holidays & Happenings via Direct TV. It makes me such a happy girl.

I woke at 6 AM, Jeff was already up and on his computer (checking out the world scene while waiting for his French bread dough to rise) I walked into the kitchen to grab my creamer, then walked out to the living room, to our coffee station. While pouring my coffee and saying good morning to the indoor gang, I remembered. I opened the door to the computer room and asked Jeff if he knew what I was having w/ my coffee. What? he asked. Christmas music. He got that (O dear God) bemused look on his face. Exactly, I answered. Then happily glided down the hallway to the master bedroom and flipped on the tv. And there it was...

                                             Perry Como singing I'll be home for Christmas

How can one not be happy while listening to Christmas music? Put aside thoughts of the count down to Christmas, gifts to buy, crowds, the holiday craziness.... fuh gedda bout it.... just enjoy the sounds, sights and scents of the approaching holiday. 

Some of my favs are:

(obviously) Christmas music
Salvation Army bell (corny but true)
holiday cookies
fresh scent of pine
Christmas ornaments
holiday incense
scissors cutting across wrapping paper
opening Christmas cards
Santa Claus
Christmas lights
Christmas tinsel
Classic holiday movies

                                                  I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus, Jackson 5

                                                 Baby it's cold outside, Dianne Reeves & Lou Rawls

So, go forth and conquer, my overly stuffed post Thanksgiving Day revelers and greet the
upcoming holiday madness w/ cheer and don't forget to check in w/ your inner child, it's the best season to be a kid again...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Our leaf-littered patio terrace this morning.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving Day? I am immediately thankful to being able to be home today w/Jeff; our indoor/outdoor gang of furry hooligans who share their lives and moment to moment adventures with us. Watching The Macy's Day Parade which is just beginning while enjoying a cup of French roasted coffee flavored with peppermint mocha creamer (gotta love the holidays) as I blog.
It's a beautiful holiday morning; the sun is out, the sky is clear w/low temps. The air is damp while the pavement is glistening as it sprinkled on/off during the night. So VERY lovely. While feeding the outdoor gang their holiday breakfast of Friskies, I snapped a couple of pics of our backyard oaktrees that have that wonderful southern vibe that I love so much...


I am also thankful that Amanda, Sam & Crickett are safely on their way home after dropping Landie off to meet w/her dad-- Phoenix and Drako are waiting for them at home. And that Dave & Erin, Emma and Zach are having a wonderful time with her family in Paso Robles, Dave and uncle Mike were about to put venison sausage, linguicia, etcetera on the barbie for brunch.
What else am I thankful for today? That I don't have to rush out anywhere. I plan on hunkering down, discovering relaxing activities that do not require me to speak more than I have to w/this laryngitis thing I have going on. Our BIG turkey day takes place in 2 weeks, so Jeff and I can just graze, kick back and just enjoy whatever today brings our way.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!
The Thanksgivng Song, Adam Sandler

Sunday, November 4, 2012

sunday morning goings on

                                                                         When Harry Met Sally

                                                    Have you remembered to set back your clocks?

It was so great to wake up and wander into the living room to our coffee station and say to Jeff who was sipping his morning coffee, I didn't sleep in too long it's only 7:34 AM-- to which Jeff replied, No, it's 6:34 AM. Music to my ears, I never seem to have enough hours in a day anymore. It's funny, when the kids were small and I was torn in a dozen different directions at any given moment, I thought to myself, someday when they're grown and on their own I will have time... and yet... not so much. Life is as busy as ever, if not more so. Who knew?

It's an absolutely glorious autumn Sunday morning; leaves of red, gold and muted greens are appearing everywhere. The late morning sun is casting long shadows onto the patio terrace. The temps are checking in and holding in the mid 50's range. Blue skies and sunshine.

We've been busy in the kitchen. I made a BIG pot of beans while Jeff and his kitchen-aid mixer have created French bread dough (to go with the beans for dinner this evening). The bread is rising, the beans are simmering on the stovetop. I sliced strawberries and covered them with brown sugar to go on top of double vanilla ice cream  to then be drizzled with chocolate sauce for tonight's dessert.

The kids are busy; Aims & Sam selected their photo's for their Save the Date reminder to be sent out later to fam and friends. They're on their way over to Dave and Erin's where Aims is going to make sushi as her pre-brithday gift to Dave. I still haven't tackled last month's Vanity Fair and just picked up this month's copy. That should take up some of my afternoon. Jeff is re-reading The Twelve Caesars... he's only on Augustus... he has a ways to go...  Later on towards evening we're going to hunker down and catch up on Scandal, I think we have 2 episodes to watch. Beyond that, anything is possible....

                                                                   Bebel Gilberto, So Nice