Cooking with Tahoe girl!

Well, I decided to try something different so I videoed cooking a quiche.

It was lots of fun for me to do and I think I’ll keep videoing certain things like cooking and maybe some travel stuff.

Today is a lovely day and we are going to drive up to Tahoe. We haven’t been in ages ( all winter) so I’ll probably do some short videos. Anyway, it’s a new way to approach my blog, and plus it’s good for my brain to engage in something different.

My daughter has a tripod so next time I’ll use that instead of holding the iPhone.

Simple Sunday

It’s been a productive week with taking down the tree, shopping at Costco, swimming, the library and lots of cooking.

Out of the Le Creuset book, I made both the French onion soup and the cheese souffle. The french onion soup used a chicken broth as a base and I don’t think it had enough rich flavor. Next time I would do a homemade vegetable stock and/or a beef bouillon cube. Yesterday, my son surprised me after I got home from swimming by starting the Lodge and making biscuits and sausage gravy. We had fun together and he really likes Lodge cooking. I’ve actually never had biscuits and gravy and it was delicious.

Today is a home day with cleaning the living room zone and probably I’ll add the sunporch in. Actually, I think this week, which is a light week with no appts, I’ll do a whole house zone cleaning. I’ve done this a few times and I like it. I don’t do it all in one morning but 2-3 mornings.

I read Greg Mckeon’s book Essentialism this week and am finishing his latest book, Effortless. I liked them both and felt he has some really good thoughts on living simply and with your best intentions. I also read “Oh, William” by Elizabeth Strout. Very thought provoking, and written in a clever narrative.

Budget wise everything is paid for the month and the ginormous check for the tree is cashed. So it’s all good. I do hope the neighbor doesn’t decide to change his mind about the logs because then we’d be on the hook for them.

Our weather looks lovely and sunny for the next 10 days and then we leave Mother’s day morning to go down to Capitola. I still haven’t booked anything at Refugio and in October after were back at Capitola we are going to stay 3 nights in Napa at the Expo RV place we stayed in before and really liked. So I’m not sure at this point if Refugio is going to happen. I almost think I’d rather try and plan our trip to San Diego early next year. I’m not sure we could afford Refugio and San Diego. The camping spots are not expensive it would be the gas.

Update: I just got spot 35 which is on the beach and next to the one we had last year. It’s just as nice a spot as 34 although 34 is the best. Now we just have to figure out do we still go to Capitola and then Refugio or skip one. I think since we have both booked I’ll just wait on it and think about it. We would need a stop over going down and back.

I can’t quite remember when we got his poster but I’m guessing in the early 1970’s as the VietNam war was happening. Somehow this poster survived all our moves and was hanging out in the barn till recently. I asked B to bring it in so I could frame it. Right now it’s just on a bull clip.

Simple Sunday

We had a nice walk this morning. The sunrise was all pink and orange. No one else there but the guy who comes out of the woods( it actually used to be a Christmas tree farm when we first moved here in 1995.)

I’ve tidied the house and the bedroom zone is done. I washed and ironed the closet curtain( an old Ikea canvas one). Then I made the sourdough bread that had done a slow rise in the refrigerator. This one is just sourdough, no jalapeno or olive.

Then I put a chicken in the oven to roast and now that’s done sitting on the counter. I also have cut up 2 delicata squash that I bought at the farm last fall, russet potato, and sweet potato. Then I washed all the dishes and put them away.

This week is again not too busy. We need to get buggie( the VW) smogged this week. I plan on swimming Tuesday and then going to Winco. I do need a few things but not a huge amount. My menu for the week includes the roast chicken, tortellini with Rao’s sauce, potato and sausage bake with scrambled eggs, pizza night, and the rest will be ‘fill in the blank’.

I’ve been using my daughter’s old Coach bag as my purse and decided to buy a Coach wallet. I doubt I will replace my Louis Vuitton. I’m just in a different place now than I was then. Even though I never thought of it as a status symbol or anything like that because I dress in jeans and T-shirts. But I loved it and because it was the monogram one it always was discrete. Plus no matter how the settlement goes, a new Louis is @ $2,500. So I really doubt I would/could justify that. When Barclay bought that for me, I was 6 months out from my SCT and it was kind of a life reaffirming gift. I think he paid less than $1000 for it then. It has gone to many places including Florida, Hawaii, all our camping trips, Seattle, and lots more. Now unless I can find a used one, I sort of doubt I would buy anything new. Unless I win the lottery, which I don’t play, … so??

My sister had a number of LV’s but of course, they are all probably going to the daughters as they should. Although, I used to joke with Heidi to ‘bequeath’ me her LV wallet which I did love.

I’m working on another small load for the hospice thrift store. It worked out great to drop off the Fiesta ware there and they were very friendly. I plan on giving them my two vintage fans and my original Waring blender circa 1985( which still works great).

some cherry blossoms from our tree.

The Pantry Challenge

I always like a bit of a challenge so I decided to do a $100 a week grocery challenge. That’s for 4 adults. Usually, my grocery bill averages $700 for the 4 of us so that’s a $300 difference. So that means using lots of pantry and freezer items. We’re in a good place to do that as both are filled although the freezer is only about half full that’s ok. I think if you didn’t have a well-stocked pantry $100 a week for 4 adults might be hard.

My plan is to keep a list of what I’m using and where I’ll replenish it like Costco or Winco.

So far I’ve spent $30 at Winco and .48 at Bel-air. The Winco shop was almost all veggies and salad stuff plus milk and a half and half.

The meals this week have been:

Smokey Lentil Soup with cheese quesadillas. The lentil soup is a favorite from NYT.

Sheet pan nachos. This is a new way( for me) to make nachos that I took off of Mavis Butterfield’s blog. She makes her nachos this way in the oven. It’s a great way to do it and very easy and clean up is a breeze.

An Ina Garten recipe for Bouef Bourguignon. I made it in the crockpot and that was a winner too.

Tonight is a big salad and grilled chicken /tofu. We use to call this the Kitchen Favorite because back in the 70’s the original vegetarian restaurant in Auburn was called “The Kitchen’. Of course, it didn’t have chicken but basically, it was salad, grilled tofu, and avocado slices. They made the best blue cheese dressing which I’ve never been quite able to duplicate but Trader Joe’s blue cheese dressing is close.

Tomorrow will be homemade pizza. I have everything I need.

Saturday, I’m planning tofu burgers with all the fixings and fries.

Sunday will end the week out or begin the week depending on how I look at it. Maybe a spaghetti night.

Midweek Musings

B’s dental appt for his wisdom tooth extraction went well. He does seem to bounce back from these things very well. His next appt is to try and reattach the crown that fell off. I’m not sure about a new crown since they are expensive. The co-pay on the extraction was just over $500 so not cheap.

We’re almost done watching Season 2 of The Witcher. It’s a great series if you like that kind of stuff, which we do. I also just started reading the book and the author is Polish and the writing is good. We need a new series to watch as we finished what we were watching. I guess we could go back and rewatch some things.

Our beautiful weather continues and afternoons are really nice. I didn’t swim yesterday as I wasn’t feeling 100% for some reason. I plan on swimming tomorrow though.

I made another boule of sourdough this time with asiago cheese. It came out perfecto!! Last night I made a chile Relleno casserole with some of the hatch chiles I froze this summer. It was quite good and much easier than traditional rellenos that require whipping the egg whites first. Tonight I plan on a simple meal of burgers(impossible and maybe meat) and spicy coleslaw.

I found this poem by Mary Oliver on someone else’s blog. I mean, how wonderful is that!

Snowmageddon

I am now going crazy with NOT being able to go swimming much less walk.

SNOW, SNOW,SNOW……….

I had planned to go down to Roseville today to swim but again it’s snowing and I don’t want to be on the freeway getting stuck with a billion semis that are lining the on-ramps. Oh well, not much I can do about it. Maybe later we will walk from the house down to the park. The main reason we don’t do this regularly is our driveway is about a 45-degree angle. I can easily walk down but coming back up is difficult. Oh well, I guess since there’s nothing to be done about it, I’ll just accept it as Mother Nature’s way of saying take a break.

I made some yummy black bean burgers last night for dinner. The recipe is PioneerWoman’s and is simple and quite excellent. Everyone liked them.

I did a pantry check and wrote down what I have in the house and what I need. I still have to go out to the barn to do the prepper pantry. I have used most of what’s out there except a few things and I need to go check that out as I don’t quite remember. I think I have 2 bins of food plus the long shelf life of dried foods. Those I won’t use as they are true emergency food items. I’m not sure we will ever need them but they’re fine in one bin. or two. Most of the cleaning/non-food items I’m moving into the laundry room. Since it’s been redone it has two nice big shelves for those items. I still have some beans and oats in mylar bags and those too are long term so they’re fine in the storage bucket.

I’ve definitely gone thru some mental change in regards to a prepper pantry. I don’t feel the need to hoard a year’s worth of food or even 6 months. If the apocalypse is coming well, then it’s coming and me having a year’s worth of food isn’t going to matter. That being said, I have always ( 47 years now, since1975, have bought in bulk. Back then it was rice or beans, honey, flour, etc. I just always felt it was easier to have a supply on hand and then I didn’t need to think about it. So plus this last year really helped me focus on what we eat and what was just ‘hoarding’ or ‘what other people were doing. So that’s that.

I plan on making some scones this morning. I have a King Arthur Eggnog scone mix that’s definitely holiday-ish. I think I’ll do spaghetti with sauce tonight maybe a meat sauce but probably not as that means defrosting something. I’ll see how I feel later. I have some salad stuff that needs to get used up and some garlic bread. Yeah, that sounds good for tonight. Less thinking about it and it’s there to be used from the pantry. I have a nice bottle of red wine too!!!

Snow…

Whoo Whee…it is cold. We woke up to snow on Tuesday morning and it kept going off and on. We usually get a sprinkling of snow at our elevation a couple of times during winter. This was a big snowstorm for the Sierras and is much needed. Needless to say, I didn’t venture out to swim. I probably would have been fine on the freeway but with Caltrans discouraging any travel, I didn’t feel I needed to add to it.

It’s bright and clear this morning and 27degrees. So the trees in the park were very frosty.

I went into Winco after swimming yesterday for a few things. And next week I’ll hit Trader Joe’s for a few things including fondue, which is our traditional Christmas eve dinner. So far even with Costco, I’m under budget for food/alcohol( mostly wine). If my calculations are correct, a total of @ $550 is really quite good. So if I add the TJ’s trip at about $100 that brings me under budget. Of course, there will be the run to the market here for the odds and ends before the end of the year but usually, that’s not too much. Shopping at Winco and the new Trader Joe’s, and of course, Costco has definitely made a difference from shopping just Safeway.

Other than that there are no unusual budget expenses for the rest of the month. January is a NO SPend month so no projects or Home Depot trips. Anything that the house might need is excluded like vacuum filters or the filters for the air filter thing.

Today I’m planning on taking the couch covers and washing them. I do this around every 3 months. This Ikea couch has been absolutely fabulous and I love it. When it’s time for a new one I’ll definitely do Ikea but maybe a bit more of a midcentury look. I’ve been waiting for the two chairs forever( since the beginning of the pandemic). The Poang chairs still look good and quite comfortable.

My son is headed to Yosemite today and is going to be there a few days. It should be quite beautiful as it got a lot of snow.

I need to go make some pizza dough and I was going to make bagels but the Barley Malt I ordered from Amazon was lost in the mail so I need to find it in a store. I haven’t been too inspired with cooking lately but maybe over the Holidays or not???

My minimalist Christmas decor.

Saturday’s musings…

Yesterday was busy with going to Target for a few things, then the Goodwill dropoff, and then the pet bookstore dropoff. My daughter helped with it all as the books were a lot. Plus we had a bag of DVDs and that was heavy too. Lots going out the door. I held back the Beatrix Potter dishes and put them on our local buy group. I kind of doubt they’ll sell but I’ll try. If not that will be the beginning of a new load.

We used the Ooni last night and it came out great. I read an article in the WP about whether the Ooni was worth buying and the guy said absolutely. But he did say with the pellet one like I have you need to feed it for about an hour to get the stone up to a super-hot temperature. I had been getting the oven up to 900 degrees but not letting it stay up there for a period of time so the stone will char and crisp the bottom. It came out perfect. The second one needed more time and was good but the bottom wasn’t quite as crisp. So after maybe 40 pizzas, I’ve learned a thing or two about the Ooni. I’ll probably put it away for winter in the garden shed.

We’ve been walking a little later at 6:20am getting ready for daylight savings to end on Nov 7th. Plus it’s been great that we only encounter AH once or twice and then he leaves. So win-win. Actually, he’s really been unintrusive and he’s now wearing a headlamp so we can see where he is. That was one of my real issues with him. It’s dark out and when you cant see someone it’s dangerous. So all in all, it’s working out ok.

Sunrise in the park.

Yesterday I went to the farm and bought some leeks for potato leek soup which I plan on making today. I also got some garlic and a few more hard squashes. I also picked up a bag of salad greens and super greens which I think had mustard greens in it. So they will be part of dinners. I still have some radishes left from last week and a small amount of broccoli. It’s been fun going over to the farm and buying local. They really are doing a great service for the community and surrounding areas.

Last week we decided to go walk down at the park next to the pool and it was nice. It’s about a mile loop and paved. I’m not sure we’ll do it often but once in a while. Then we went to Winco and picked a small number of things including another turkey roast. It was convenient and fun!!! Then we stopped on the way home to check out a trail I read about locally but it was narrow and dirt. That won’t work for me as I don’t feel stable enough going downhill into the canyon on a dirt trail. If it was a fire road it would probably work.

Today I’m going to make in addition to the soup and a small macaroni and cheese as I have shredded cheese to use up. I’ll probably put that in the fridge for tomorrow though.

Simple Sunday

I finished reading the sweetest little book called ‘Pottering, A cure for Modern Life”. Being British it’s pottering, here it would be puttering. I think I like the British spelling better. A very sweet book with lots of good ideas about how to slow your life down and really just a reminder for those of us who already live slow life, to keep going.

We had a nice walk this morning. No one was there till 6:05 and then of course it was AH. Later a couple showed up with 2 dogs and he (AH) had a hard time controlling his dog. It lurched at the other 2 dogs growling. He had to use both hands on his leash to control it.

Today I plan on doing refrigerator pickles with the ones I got at the farm. It’s only 4 cucumbers so maybe a small pint jars worth. I need some celery seed which I don’t normally keep in my spice basket.

Yesterday I made a King Arthurs scone mix, blueberry sour cream. They were very good and I’d buy the mix again. For dinner I made Ikea sauce, Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes. The sauce was delicious. B had a Dr. Praeger burger with the sauce.

This coming week is somewhat busy. We’re going to look at another truck down in Roseville, I have my appt in Sacramento, the Santa Fe is going into the dealer for a recall fix it, B has a video dr appt, and it’s our anniversary. I had hoped we could drive up to Tahoe but with the smoke and all the Forest Service everything closed, it doesn’t seem like a good idea. This happened last year with the pandemic, everything shut down and this year it’s fires and the pandemic.

Friday things

I guess we’re never going to see blue skies this summer. It’s all hazy and smoke filled from the Caldor fire over near Placerville. That’s about an hour away from us over Hwy 49. The Eldorado National forest is all closed and many parts of the Pacific Crest trail is closed. What a summer.:(

I’m going in for my labs in about 45 minutes. I should have the important tests back by next Wednesday when I see my doctor. I guess it’s just a waiting game. I have a feeling that my remission is going to be short lived but who knows. It’s just a feeling.

I went to the farm stand yesterday and bought tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, radishes, lettuce( I was surprised by that), and local bread. It came to $31. I’m okay with paying more since it is all grown right there in the fields. They actually had some lugs of tomatoes out for $20. so I may do that next week.

Last night I made a NYT recipe for corn chowder. It was delicious.

The bread was the one I bought from our local baker. The jalapenos are from our garden and we do have tons. This weekend I’ll probably do 2 more jars of refrigerator jalapenos.

I don’t plan on any grocery shopping till next week or later. I need to write a list of what I want/need to get.

I plan on swimming tomorrow as normally I’d go today but with labs that’s not happening. After my labs we’re going to look at a truck. It’s becoming clearer that we will have to have a truck to pull the Rubicon. Things are pretty high priced but I saw some used under $30K. Expensive,but there’s not a lot of choice here. So we want to check out Toyota Tundras and Chevy Silverado’s. I think that will give us a good idea of what we’re after.