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DETAILS OF THE LOST WEEKEND … THAT WASN’T!

Well, I got up early on Friday, so I could get my grocery shopping done and return home before the mercury boiled out of the thermometers around town. Also, I was racing against the possibility of a promised thunderstorm.

So I got up, dressed, had a quick slice of buttered toast and a cup of dark chocolate …

 

 

 

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If you’ll look closely at the cup of hot chocolate, you’ll notice a rather strand marshmallow floating on top. Actually, it one of those mini-Peeps I mentioned in another post a couple of weeks ago.  Who knows, maybe Peeps really aren’t little chickies, but really are little duckies.

I ate and then headed out the door to the nearest Metro Transit Center. You know, you meet the craziest people … and dogs when you travel by Metro Transit. Thankfully, it was very air-conditioned.DSC00280

Not only was I shopping to restock my larder, but I was also picking up hamburger and hot dog buns, but also the ingredients to make my mother’s fresh cucumber pickles. These were the things I was preparing to bring to my niece’s old-fashioned birthday barbecue on Sunday. So after I picked up the things I needed, and worked my way through the  checkout line, I was ready to head back to my Metro Stop. Along the way, I spied this cute little weak flower.DSC00274

While the flower was delicate and pastel, the stems holding it up were thick and woody. One of Mom Nature’s little jokes.

As soon as I got home I started on the fresh pickles.

 

MY MOTHER’S FRESH CUCUMBER PICKLE RECIPE:

*4 ripe large cucumbers — peeled and thinly sliced

*1 red or white onion sliced into thin rings. [Note: the red onion will give a sweeter taste to the finished pickles, but also a pink tint to the pickles. The white onion will give a stronger onion flavor, but will leave the pickle slices white.]

Place the sliced cucumbers and onions in a large Ziploc plastic bag and sprinkle with

*1 TBSP. salt

Seal the bag and shake to cover all cucumber and onion slices with salt. Refrigerate overnight.

The next morning drain all the salty water that has been drawn out of the cucumbers, and place them in a large bowl. My mother used to squeeze the salty juice out of the cucumber and onion slices.

Mix and dissolve together …

*1 cup granulated sugar

*1 cup white vinegar

Add …

*1 tsp. celery seed

*1 tsp. mustard seed

*1 light shake of  ground black pepper

Mix and pour over the cucumbers and onions and stir them all together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.

OPTION: My mother never used it, but if you want you can stir one 8 oz. carton of sour cream into your pickles before you refrigerate for 24 hours.DSC00315

I always serve my fresh cucumber pickles in  a Mason Jar with a large slotted spoon.  The recipe should make enough to fill to large jars. BTW, three of the ladies asked me for the recipe at the birthday party.

While searching for my mother’s recipe I also discovered the last cookie cutter that belonged to my grandmother.DSC00279My grandmother gave all of her cookie cutters from the early 1900s to my mother. And when my mother died, I handed out one each to my brothers and nephews and nieces. I saved the chicken for myself … I think I must have worn off the red enamel on handle helping my grandmother and mother cutout sugar cookies.

The party was a lot of fun.DSC00288

My great-niece Nicole (2.5) played doctor with my nephew’s new puppy, Stella. (9 months)

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And my great-nephew Luke (1.5) preferred higher dog safe areas where he could eat hotdogs, instead of being licked by the puppy.DSC00291He also does a great godfather impression.

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And that was my weekend that really wasn’t lost at all.

 

 

 

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YES, VIRGINIA, IT’S JUST ANOTHER GLUM UN-SPRING MONDAY!

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Well, the temps weren’t frigid, but the sky was totally gloomy with regular showers throughout the day. Colder air will be moving in tonight, followed by thunderstorms on tomorrow. Is there no hope for spring?

MONDAY’S ORCHIDS:DSC09307

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I actually took my chances of running between the potential raindrops and took a trip to my local stupid-market.

DSC09505Just routine restocking shopping. Well, except for one item.DSC09506

I figure that if I limit myself to one sneak snack at 70-calories a day, I should empty the bag on the same day that the freshness expires. But that’s only if I don’t have any visitors dropping by before they expire.  I mean the donuts, not the visitors.

Hey, remember yesterday’s Origami Golden Goose? DSC09489

Well, the origami handbook scheduled a followup project for today.  What else, but …DSC09509

The goose had to lay, her GOLDEN EGG!  And trust me, folding gold foil paper into an three-dimensional egg shape is a real folding challenge. Hopefully, a singing golden harp won’t be on the list as tomorrow’s challenge.  If it is, I might be forced to eat two doughnuts.

 

Hope SPRINGS Eternal!

Supposedly we had a light snow during the morning’s rush hour that slowed down the morning commute.  I wouldn’t know, because Mlle. Renee stayed in bed until eight when the shrill ringing of the phone woke us up. Naturally, it was Anne from Credit Services pitching the latest scam spiel. No matter how many times they change her name, the voice always sounds the same. Unfortunately, because my mother’s name was Anne I was able to go into my usual rant of select profanities hoping someone human in Sicklesia, Arfgroanistan, or wherever these robo-calls originate is listening in and will be highly offended. Anyway getting back to the snow that I didn’t see, if it was for the weather wizard’s exaggerated reports I would have never know about it. It was as cold as Nome with a very strong, chilling wind. I did brave the chill to go out and refill the little birds seed dish. And lo and behold, what to my eyes should appear, but …

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THE FIRST SIGNS OF SPRING!!!

I know I could count the early robins, but their red breasts have been sort of blueish this year. Note that in spite of all the snow we had this season. We’re still suffering from the drought. The weather wizards say it was very dry snow. Go figure.

ANYWAY, HERE’S A DOUBLE DOSE OF ORCHID PHOTOS TO START THE SIXTH DAY OF SPRING:DSC09321

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Since I got up before the alarm could go off this morning I decided to make a hot breakfast this morning.DSC09421

Now, I didn’t make doughnuts, those are biscuits. I must have been half asleep and grabbed the doughnut cutter rather than the biscuit cutter.DSC09423But my mini-cinnis are the same. I just used pearl sugar to top them instead of frosting swirls.

Then I dressed warmly and went to the stupid market for a little shopping.

Now, I like ice cream and I love root beer. So naturally I thought … ???DSC09425

But it turned out to be SHOPPING MISTAKE #864. I’ll put them aside for when my nephews visit. They eat anything with COOKIE on the label.

On the good side of my shopping trip … DSC09427

I’m not crazy about saltines, but give me matzos for eating with chili or soup or just snacking.

MY ORIGAMI BIRD FOR THE SIXTH DAY OF SPRING:

DSC09432A PLUMP HEN OR SPRING CHICKEN

MY DAILY CALENDAR…DAY 284 – OCTOBER 11, 2013

MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR FRIDAY, DAY 284 OF 2013: Well, I woke up at a quarter to eight this morning with a stuffy nose that soon blossomed into a sneezey, wheezy runny nose.  I knew that I eventually would have to pay for my too cool for comfort outing last weekend. I definitely can’t blame it on lounging around in PJs all day yesterday. And I knew that  I couldn’t use it as an excuse for spending another day loafing around the house.  I wrote the checks for the monthly bills yesterday, and I wanted to get them to the post office today. I also had to do some grocery shopping. So I took the advantage of getting up early to do some early bird shopping for a change.

But on my way to my bus stop, I had to stop to visit the now fall front garden.  We had a great growing season this summer.  And the rose bushes and the Rose of Sharon shrubs are all about six feet tall.  The Rose of Sharon are in full seed pod form, and from the number of pods on each branch the busy bees really did their work this summer.

Any one want any seeds? DSCF0436 The Rose of Shanon is an easily grown from seed member of the hibiscus family and they survive cold winters and hot summers.

BUT BACK TO SHOPPING:

Along with the run of the mill pantry shopping I also got myself something special.

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I’m partial to dark chocolate, and I bought a variety pack of treats that will be rationed from now to Christmas. The Chili Chocolate is out of this world.

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I also bought some Pumpkin Spice coffee.  Another fav!

When I got home from shopping, I let Renee out into the yard and discovered that when I wasn’t looking she had carried another one of her toys out into the yard to become a yard toy. She does this when she gets bored with the toys she has in the yard.DSCF1139

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Oh, and here’s the Mensa Puzzle for the day … it’s a tough one.DSCF1140

OMG! I THINK I’M BECOMING A HOARDER.

Yesterday, I went shopping to my ultra exclusive neighborhood shopping destination … Mémoires de Cible.  I had a somewhat varied shopping list that took me up and down the many store aisles. While passing through the Easter section they were setting up, I spied something on the bottom shelf of the last end cap … the stocking lady had just added the Holy Grail of Easter treats!DSC06072

FIVE … count them “5” bags of BLACK Jelly Beans.

Do you know how rare BLACK jelly beans are these days? You hardly ever see them any more. And when you do, it’s only in a highly ethnic shopping area. By ethnic I mean area with a high percentage of people of Germanic and Scandinavian heritage. I mean, who else like anise flavoring these days. Well, the Italians sort of do … but only if they think it’s fennel. So, I picked up two of the bags and added them to my shopping cart.

I turned my shopping cart at the end of the aisle and headed down to the checkout lanes. Halfway there, I came to an abrupt stop. What was I thinking? Each bag only contained  18 ounces.  That was only two and a quarter pounds … barely enough to fill my old confectionary style candy jar. In other words, only enough to get me through a year if I limited myself to a single jelly bean every day. So I turned my cart around and headed back to the Easter display.

I arrived at the end cap and looked at the bottom shelf. Thank, God, the three bags were still there. I looked right and left … no one was in the area … and quick as a flash I grabbed two additional bags,  added them to my cart and raised back to the check out area. But standing in line I suddenly realized … oh my God, in addition to being a black jelly bean addict, I also now qualified as a hoarder!

Oh, hell, what difference did that make. I’ve been called worst things. And I’ll only eat one or two a day. So who would know? And if some busybody happens to see my blue black jelly bean tongue, I can always say that I was bitten by a mad Chow Chow or one of those other Asian dogs with a blue tongue. DSC06058

My filled confectionary candy jar!

Noticed I even folded a napkin into an Easter Bunny head to ward off black jelly bean pilferers!

IT’S MY LIFE

AND WELCOME TO IT!

BUT HANDS OFF THE BLACK JELLY BEANS!

AND THEN THE SUN CAME OUT …

After a couple of days of gloom, snow and frosty weather the sun finally came out on Saturday. And since I had to replenish the bread and milk I purchased in advance of the weather, I had to go shopping. But before I could do that, I had to clear a path from my front steps to the street.DSC05654

Not wanting to exert myself, I only cleared a path wide enough for me to walk through. The stores were really crowded. Guess people were either replenishing like me, or stocking up for the next snow storm that’s expected to arrive on Tuesday. Luckily the weather wizards are expecting rain and thunderstorms on Monday, so most of the snow on the ground now will be washed away by the time the new stuff arrives on Tuesday. Sounds like déjà vu all over again!

After picking up my groceries, I stopped at the Golden Arch’s for some take-out for lunch.DSC05655Yeah, I finally had to try the Fish McBites. Surprisingly they weren’t molded from some pink goop like the McNuggets are. The bites are actually breaded cubes of fish fillets that looked like that once swam in Alaskan waters. I only bought the snack-pack size, but once I got home I realized I should have opted for one of the larger offerings.  Renee smelled the fish as soon as walked into the house, and followed me from the front door to the kitchen where she sat on the floor and made moaning-growly noises at me. Yes, I shared with her, which is why I wished I had bought the larger size. Renee did not like her McBites dipped in tartar sauce.

THINGS YOU’D NEVER KNOW …

IF YOU DIDN’T ORDER TO GO!DSC05657While I ate, I read the back of the carry-out bag. Did you know, the favorite Mickey D item in India is theMcALOO TIKKI potato burger? Guess this is a preferable option to order horse-meat burgers. And I’m sure they wash their lettuce twice.

After I ate, I decided I should also give my little feathered friends something to eat, too. Except for Renee’s footprints, the backyard is still covered with snow with a frosted crust of ice. Since I didn’t want to put my snowshoes back on, I decided to just fling the bird seed on top of the snow from the back deck. The little birds didn’t mind at all.DSC05664

The ones with white cheek patches are the rare Eurasian Tree Sparrows that only exist in parts of the Saint Louis area. (They’re also almost extinct in Europe now.)  The birds are ordinary house sparrows more commonly known as chippies.

  DSC05670   DSC05663   DSC05666  I liked how they even climbed down into Renee’s foot prints to get any seeds that had fallen in them.

This is called enjoying the nice side-effects of a snow storm.

WAITING FOR THE STORMS TO START

“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”*  But that sure doesn’t stop her from fooling around with us. Yesterday she sent the temps up to 74F and cloaked what should have been a mid-winter treat with fog, damp and gloom. She also left me a bit under the weather. You know that semi-queazy feeling that automatically makes you think about the dreaded norovirus and makes you limit your food intake to chicken noodle soup, toast and tea. Well, when I woke up this morning I was hungry, and there wasn’t a thing in the house I wanted to eat. And that, despite the fact that yesterday I had gone to my local stupidmarket and restocked my cupboards and freezer with wonderful edibles. Though I don’t know what inspired me to buy … DSC05227Probably the same thing that drove me to buy …DSC05232

Anyway I then over compensated by adding ….

DSC05228  …to my cart.

Then I read the ingredient list on the side of the bag.

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OMG! I found a lot of those ingredients listed on the bag of wild bird seed I bought to feed the birds. It was rather tasty with my chicken soup last night and I now know what triticale is. It’s a hybrid cross of wheat and rye that was originally created for animal fodder. It’s also lower in gluten and higher in protein than wheat flour.

But I digress in my search for something to eat for breakfast. For some reason frozen pizzas and fish fillets did not inspire me. Neither did the two cubed steaks in the fridge that might become country-fried steak for dinner tonight. You know what it’s like when you’re really hungry, but nothing you see appeals to you … and you really don’t have anything chocolate in the house.  So I decided to improvise and dip into my emergency food supply! (Surely, you have a cache of food in the cupboard should you have a power failure and can’t cook. Though I don’t know what you could cook with sardines.)  But you can cook with a can of …SPAM

 

So I opened the can cut a couple of slices which I then diced and popped into my skillet to brown. Then I went to the freezer for the bag of diced potatoes. (You can use them for a lot of other things other than making hash browns.)  I added a handful to the skillet to cook with the cubed meat. When the potatoes were cooked through and starting to brown, I got an egg from the fridge which I scrambled in a cup with a little milk and salt and pepper. I poured this over the Spam and potatoes and cooked until the egg mixture was set.

DSC05198My SPAM HASH SCRAMBLE!

And it was perfect brunch for a day when you’re hungry and don’t know what to eat!

It’s my life …SPAMAnd welcome to it!

* It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature© was a line originally written in the early seventies by D’Arcy Advertising Agency for a television commercial for Chiffon© Margarine.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLrTPrp-fW8 Chiffon was a whipped margarine made from cottonseed oil that was packed in a plastic and promoted as a butter substitute. While Chiffon has disappeared from the dairy counters, the line lives on as a colloquial expression. SPAM© by the way is celebrating 75th Anniversary which makes it older than I am.