Thursday, April 23, 2015

Patti LaBelle's 7 Cheese Mac and Cheese with Lobster and Shrimp! Yum!

I definitely plan to make this version one day!  Not today though but I am going to do my simple version on the stove!  I'm going to miss Patti on #DWTS!

This is my stove top version of Mac and Cheese, 2 kinds today – sharp cheddar and Colby.  I use 2-1/2 cups of milk, usually No Fat, add ¼ cup of Flour and stir until the lumps are gone.  A whisk works well for that job.  Then I bring it to a boil, lower the heat and cook, stirring often while 12 ounces of macaroni finishes cooking.  Take milk/flour mixture off the heat and add 8 ounces of shredded cheese of your choice and stir until melted.  I like to buy block cheese and shred it myself because it seems creamier than the kind already shredded.  Once the cheese is melted off from the heat, I stir in the strained macaroni, season with salt and fresh pepper and serve, usually with peas or canned tomatoes.  It is my favorite but I plan to try Patti LaBelle’s with shrimp and maybe lobster although I prefer my lobster on the side with Clarified Butter!  

P. S. The brown in my picture is either from my iPhone or the stove light although my phone usually takes great pictures!  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is your monitor giving you a backache?

My sister has been in excruciating pain for over a week now and not well enough to go to the doctor.  All that pain really took a lot out of her this time even though she’s had the same problem before.  Sunday she was feeling better though and on Monday I managed to get an appointment with a rheumatologist for today and now her shoulder and upper back area is feeling much better.  The rheumatologist visit was recommended by her neurologist who said he couldn’t give her any more needle point shots until she saw a rheumatologist. 

The interesting part of our visit was that we didn’t actually see a doctor today but instead the nurse practitioner.  After she went through all of sis’s records and asked a zillion questions and then found the various places on her back and shoulder that hurt the most, she gave her a shot.  Actually, she used a syringe filled with cortisone and something starting with an M and injected it into her upper back in 15 different spots.  She was very gentle about it too and used some icy spray so the needle wouldn’t hurt too much while she casually jabbed away.  Normally when needles appear, I leave the room but they both made me stay this time so I sat and watched.  Hmm, I might even go back to have my knee checked and maybe get the same type cortisone shot, or maybe not because I’m such a chicken!  My sister has a much higher tolerance of pain than I do and good thing because she has pain all the time! 

I guess the good news was she doesn’t have rheumatoid arthritis but needs to have a bone density test taken because her bones are thinning even though she takes calcium with D vitamin.  Luckily, when she took that fall a few weeks ago, nothing broke although she lost a chunk of skin from her right arm.  I’m still changing the bandage on that boo-boo. 

The next best part of today’s visit was that the nurse and I both agreed that her computer monitor is too high and is probably the reason her upper back hurts so much.  I have told her that she needs to sit eye level without tilting her head back and she should not use that computer table where the monitor is up on another level.  Maybe she’ll be willing to make a change now that the nurse concurred with me!   

Anyway, my computer table is 26-1/2 inches high which is at a comfortable height for me to use the keyboard.  My monitor is set so that my screen is eye level at the imaginary line which is 2 to 3 inches from the top of the monitor.  I sit an arm’s length away and rarely have to move my head up or down to read the screen so it must be at the right level.  If I’m at the computer all day long I do get sore from sitting when I have a lot of typing to do but I don’t get back or neck problems!  Are you eye level with the imaginary line on your monitor?  

P.S.  I just had to add this 27 second video of Kennedy and Jaycee 'dancing'.  It was so cute to watch Jaycee copy her big sister!  Grandma is telling Kennedy to be careful.  Also, there are more videos from Youtube.  The little girl on Ellen dancing with her mother is cute!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The April and May issue of Martha Stewart Living - I'll call them vacillating!

Martha Stewart Living May 2015 

I wish I could put my finger on exactly what I don’t like so much about Martha Stewart Living’s recent issues, April and May in particular but it might be the colors.  The “What’s for Dinner?” section in the May issue did absolutely nothing to encourage me to make those recipes and I like pork, chicken and shrimp.  I just didn’t like seeing the food on those particular tablecloths, placements or whatever they used that had tangerine/peach/orangey colored backgrounds.  I am terrible at naming colors but as you might guess, pastels are not my favorite.  To me it’s the same effect as not being able to decide what centerpiece to put on your table when you are serving spaghetti to your guests so you settle for a white bowl filled with yellow pastel bananas!   February issue was nicely done in grays and blacks and my eyes were drawn right to the food on the plate.  March was okay but April in putrid green and May in…what is that color anyway, peach (?) left me not wanting anything actually.  Why do they vacillate so much?

The cover was okay if you like peas.  The recipe is probably chicken with peas but it looks more like peas with some chicken.  I just checked and it’s a roasted chicken bread salad with peas.  Build a Better Meal starts on page 81 and you will just have to see it.  All I can say is I would not want any one of those items for breakfast.  Page 82 is a little more appetizing with toppings on brown rice cakes.  The candleholders with vellum in Good Things are nice but I’ve done that already and even blogged about it.  I might still download the new Cinco de Mayo clipart.   

I’m sorry to say but it just doesn’t look like Martha’s magazines anymore although my understanding is that they continue to supply the content to be published by Meredith Publishing.  The pictures just aren’t as beautiful as they once were and they are what drew me to the magazine in the first place.  I didn’t grow up with that kind of beauty but rather learned it from Martha through her publications and television shows but I’m not too inspired anymore.  I used to wait impatiently for the magazine every month but not so much lately.  Sorry MSLO.      

Also, I know there are many employees at the company yet the only one usually mentioned in the magazine is Kevin Sharkey.  Kevin is a cool guy and I enjoyed hearing him on Sirius radio a couple of times but how about introducing us to some others once in awhile.  Where are the craft people, the test kitchen folks, and the ones who decide what dishes to use for photo layouts?  There are many editors listed that help get the magazine ready for print every month yet we never hear about them.  I’m just curious about that!          

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pictures from places I frequently visit.

About the only places my sister and I frequent are doctor’s offices, Costco, grocery stores and online shops, mostly Amazon.  I have never liked shopping in malls!  Anyway, she has to be home every 4 hours to take her breathing treatments and usually her portable oxygen tank will need refilling so we never go too far.  If you’re a smoker, you might want to quit now!  COPD is not fun!

So below are some pictures I’ve taken along the way and most I have posted on Instagram also.  <- -That is the the link to my page but I only have a few pictures since I just recently signed up to Instagram.  I wasn’t sure I would like it but I actually do and even more so than Pinterest.  Who knew!

 A beautiful tall orchid at the front desk of doctor’s office.  A little blurry from my unsteady hand on the camera!

Artwork from a gallery near a Boca post office.

 Blue fern inside a medical building in Boca.

Tree ferns outside the same medical building in Boca.

Another view of the tree ferns.  I like ferns!
All I know about this flowering bush is that I like it!

Once in awhile I photograph an interesting recipe from a magazine in the waiting room.  I can zoom in from my file to read it.

Sometimes I stop off at Palm Beach Bagel for a chopped salad with grilled chicken and add as many additives as I want…feta cheese, egg whites, black olives, banana peppers, etc.

That container held at least 3 servings this size.  I ate a really big serving for dinner!

Breakfast on Sunday – a version of Eggs Kevin except I like my yolks cooked and I use regular tomatoes.  Eggs, melted cheese and tomatoes.

These hard cooked eggs were cooked in my NuWave oven for 13 minutes on power 300 which is button #7 if you have this oven.  (I just noticed they are selling this oven for $149.00 buy one get one free deal here  I just might buy another to give as a Christmas gift.)  Anyway, just place raw eggs on the rack and hit power and they end up cooked as in my picture.  The top one still has the shell on it.  I will never boil an egg again unless I want a soft-boiled one!

That’s all for now folks!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Be careful of how you type! CAPS police are watching!

I’ve been upset for a few days over an incident on Amazon in one of the forums.  A reader of my blog happened to read one of my books and then she left a review which I noticed on Amazon and so I thanked her.  I guess it was a few days later that she went to one of the forums and mentioned my book again with similar words to what she wrote in her review.  She also typed her comment in all caps which never bothers me to have people type in caps but the folks on the forum jumped all over her.  They even accused her of being a relative of mine and then later they accused me of being her and that we were in fact one and the same and I should promote my book somewhere else.  The thing is she just so happened to find my email address in my book sample on Amazon and sent a copy of the forum conversation to me but I actually thought the message came from Amazon.  Thank God for those folks over on the forum for their quickness in letting me know how things work in forums!  How have I made it through life this far! 

Without knowing anything about forums, I had gone over to read what was going on and couldn’t believe my eyes.  They were thanking one another for letting them know about me promoting my book on a forum and they will be sure not to read it.  They also told the person who started the conversation to get her caps lock key fixed and why was she or he over there promoting my book.  Also, I must have been the one who instigated it which proves I’m the same person.  HUH!  They also pointed out that she only wrote 3 reviews, two on my books and one on a niece’s book.  SO WHAT!  That’s what I thought anyway.   

One of those persons mentioned he has been on the computer for around 40 years and knows a lot about emails so I explained to him one more thing about emails.  I’ve been on computers for over 30 years and when one gets called out of the room in the middle of opening up an email, and then they come back to a black screen and hit enter a few times to light up the monitor, they don’t even remember opening the page.  The gist of the email is what will show up boldly and that is why I thought it came from Amazon.  They just needed to know how I happened to be over there and they thought someone must have emailed me and told me about the conversation.  They were right but I didn’t realize it at the time.  To make a Federal case out of it though was ludicrous!

As far as I’m concerned, anyone who reads a book can write a review in their own fashion and if they want to use caps to do it, whose business is it except the one writing the review!  I’m really tired of ‘Caps’ police!  One person said it hurt her eyes to read things in all caps and don’t even ask me how I wanted to answer that one!  (Be nice Trish!)

For the record, I am not writing this now to promote any of my books.  I published those books because I finally got the material off my chest for posterity, not to be a famous author or one who sells a lot of books.  That won’t happen anyway but anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t think that way either.   I actually told those folks over on the forum that I really didn’t give a hoot if anyone bought my book.  I’m not going to live forever and I had things I wanted to say and so I said them just to get them out of my mind.  It works to that degree a little bit but no one really stops thinking about certain things. 

I’m aware that I made several typos in my book and used a wrong name a few times which my publisher will correct as soon as he gets back in town.  There were many names I needed to change in my story to make it fiction and I typed most of them from memory.  Next time, I’ll make sure to write each changed name down next to the real name and maybe I won’t be calling Pauline Paula!  The end.        

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Two-Story House at the end of Peterson Street

A soldier I know who fought in Vietnam

Once in awhile I just have to write a little story and this is what I came up with yesterday.

The Two-Story House at the end of Peterson Street
By Trish Castro

The two-story house at the end of Peterson Street just before the turnaround is the oldest in the neighborhood and so are the owners, Jack and Barbara Arlen, who are now in their early 70s.  Most of the younger folk who reside in the more modern looking houses on the street know the Arlens from their childhood.  They are not only neighbors but also close friends of the family and especially of their son Jack Jr.   

They often reminisce about the childhood baseball games they played in the field behind the Arlen’s house and the basketball they played using the backboard affixed to Mr. Arlen’s garage.  Jack often came to their houses to mow their lawn or rake up the leaves whenever he was asked.  He was a hard worker, friendly and available when anyone needed him and then one day after high school graduation, he joined the Army and went off to war in Vietnam.  Everyone on the block gathered at his house to bid him farewell.  Hugs and kisses were exchanged, hot dogs and cake was eaten and the following morning Jack left for basic training.    

The neighbors rarely saw Mr. or Mrs. Arlen outside after their son went away and then late one afternoon some weeks after his departure, Mr. Arlen walked to the end of their driveway to pick up the evening newspaper.  He waved and his neighbor waved back and everything seemed normal again except that Jack Jr. was still off to war.    

Summer came and went and the war in Vietnam continued.  Mr. and Mrs. Arlen were always eager to share any news from their son and the neighbors were always anxious to hear the latest but letters had become scarce over the years.  With Jack, Jr. being on the frontline, everyone did their share of worrying and then the thing they dreaded the most happened.  Jack Jr. had been wounded and would be spending several months in the hospital as he healed.  The Arlens had spread the news among their neighborly friends and then like before, they went into seclusion inside their home.  There was nothing they or anyone could do except to wait for any news about their son.

One day Mr. Arlen sat down next to his telephone and began making calls.  Jack would soon be coming home and he and Mrs. Arlen wished to give him a cheerful welcome.  Would they be willing to come over to share some food and beverages with Jack on the day he arrived.  Of course everyone said they would be there and they came early too with banners to put over the garage and signs to adorn the lawn.  Mr. Arlen already had the coals heating on the grill and the neighbors brought covered dishes and cold beverages.  They all loved Jack Jr.

When the black car pulled up and a man in uniform got out and walked to the passenger side, a hush went over the crowd.  When the man opened up the passenger door and then the door just behind the passenger seat, a few stepped forward for a better look.  Silence prevailed as they watched the wheelchair being removed from the back seat and they continued to watch as Jack slid along the car seat and down to his wheelchair with minimal help from the uniformed man.  Mr. Arlen had already walked over to the car to give Jack a hug, and was now shaking hands with the man in uniform who then turned to face Jack and to salute him.  Jack did the same and watched the man as he got back into the car.  The man drove to the turnaround and made his exit, and then everyone raced over to Sergeant Jack, Jr. 

Mr. and Mrs. Arlen let the tears flow as they watched the others try to hug Jack, Jr. all at the same time.  “Give him some breathing room. “  Jack’s best friend Ted Wilson exclaimed.  He was the one holding a basketball.  “Care for a game, Jack?  He asked.  Jack nodded and then asked, “Who wants to push my chair so I can shoot?”  Of course everyone wanted to push!     

As you might have guessed, life for those on that street went back to normal that day except of course for Jack who now had to get around with no legs.  No worries though because his neighbors were there anytime he needed them.  Everyone loved their friend, Jack, Jr. who still lives with his parents and also his lovely wife and two children in the house on Peterson Street just before the turnaround.    

The End

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ground turkey bargain at Costco for burgers and chili

While at Costco the other day I noticed ground turkey on sale for something like $1.67 a pound so I took a closer look at one of the packages.  I was there on the 7th and the sell date on the package was the 8th.  Hence the sale but of course I was iffy.  How long had this turkey meat been sitting here and would it spoil before I could use it.  It did NOT but instead tasted great so I got a super bargain at $6.68 for a package of 4 one-pound units! 

That same night I made turkey burgers which we ate on Rye bread.  I don’t remember when I last had a turkey burger but I remember not liking it and now I remember the reason.  It had too much seasoning in it like oregano and garlic and onion, etc.  This turkey burger tasted much better with only salt and pepper while cooking and then condiments before eating added the extra taste I like.  I used mustard, dill relish and my bread was buttered first and in my opinion, it tasted so much better than one highly seasoned. 

Last night I decided to make turkey chili with black beans which is another recipe I don’t remember ever making.  I usually use beef and pinto or kidney beans.  Anyway, after tasting the turkey in a plain burger the night before, I decided to keep my seasonings to a minimum.  Score!  My chili was delicious even if I say so myself.  The black beans were ideal for taste and color so I’m content I chose them over the white beans.

I hate chopping onions so I used my trusty Black and Decker food processor to chop up a medium onion but kept a few pieces large and then I sautéed them with the turkey in olive oil because I’m out of Canola oil.  (Sorry for the green lighting - the stove light does that.)  I added 2 teaspoons of salt and a lot of fresh pepper and then ... 

...two  14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes and the can of black beans plus 2 tablespoons of chili powder.   

I let it simmer on low for about 15 minutes and that was it. 

A pound of turkey is quite a lot so more tomatoes and less beans was a perfect combo for me.  I think I’ll make a meatloaf next to which I might add more seasonings such as garlic and dry mustard although I normally only use crackers, salt and pepper, ketchup, and an egg. 

 Try the chili if you like turkey.  It really was quite tasty and so was the buttered rye!  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter with the kids but a day later!

We wanted to see the little ones on Easter Sunday to take pictures of them in their new dresses but sometimes the best intentions just never work out. 

We had these baskets to take over to them too but luckily they were able to stop by our house for awhile on Monday evening to get them.  They had a great time coloring and running through the house!  They both love hats so these were perfect with beach hats fastened to the bottom of the baskets. 

They are so good about not touching breakables too but Jaycee, the 2 year old, ‘found’ a brand new sprinkler head still in its package and brought it to me with a big smile.  I said, “Oh how nice you found my sprinkler head right in that basket over there all covered up with a cloth napkin!”  She just handed it to me with a big smile and then took a crayon to go color on the wall.  Grandma had a fit but I didn’t care.  I’ve cleaned crayons off walls before!

 Here’s 3-1/2 year old Kennedy sitting in the same chair her mom used to sit in when she was her age.  The other chair goes to a little school desk her mom and all of her cousins sat in too at various times.  I can’t believe we’ve had those 2 little chairs for over 25 years.  I used to have cushions on them but they probably faded from the hot sun and I most likely tossed them.  Jaycee left her chair to go exploring…her favorite activity!

And then she came back to play with big brother Coby’s jelly bean freeze pop holder.  She can’t get at the jelly beans but she knows she’s supposed to lick a freeze pop!  That's Kennedy coloring at the table on the left and big brother Coby with the Dolphin's shirt on.

Kennedy stopped coloring when she noticed Coby’s ginger ale and pizza crumbs!  Luckily grandma remembered her sippy cup filled with water!  When she spotted pepperoni on Coby's plate, she didn't want any pizza!  Good thing - I gave them vanilla pudding instead!

I don’t know why Kennedy continued to color with a plate in the middle of her page but I think I know what Jaycee is thinking.  “This looks like a nice color for that yellow wall behind me!”

Here she is in her hat and I took the picture quick before she ran off.   I have more blurred pictures of her than any of the kids!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Flashback Friday, Good Friday and I Hope You All Have a Nice Easter!

I’ve been rather busy lately and have not done any decorating for Easter so I thought today seemed perfect to post a Flashback Friday blog.  I’ve been looking at old pictures off and on all week and didn’t actually realize how many pictures I had until I started burning copies of my files.  That took awhile but now I’m almost done with labeling each disc.  I have just one more to verify and then I can stop worrying about losing any of them….unless I lose the disc!        

Not that I’ve had tons of time to browse pictures but it helps to be familiar with my files.  I even find those pictures I’m actually looking for in them!  I always miss Throwback Thursday for posting old pictures, so Flashback Friday works for me!  I hope you get a kick out of some of these oldies.  I did!

I can’t believe sis allowed me to put this up.  She is taking her final dive before getting her certification.  My son probably took the picture since they took the same diving course.

 My 3 year old son insisting he wasn’t in the sugar…it just spilled all over the table!  Check out that furniture in my efficiency apartment!

Cowboy wannabe at 4

But he chose to be an armed Security Guard instead!

But not before the Navy got him!  Saying goodbye the morning he left!  (The girls finally stopped calling!!)

Here I am on my 27th birthday.  I can’t believe I ever wore that dress!

 Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone!  


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Time for some Pesto…or another version of Caprese Salad.

Caprese Salad with mini tomatoes and pesto.  I was going to have some but decided to save it for dinner.

I saw a picture of mozzarella cheese online this morning and remembered I had some in the fridge that needed to be used before it spoiled.  I do that a lot though…buy cheese, use it once and then stick it in the fridge.  I have some cheddar in there too as well as a block of parmesan and some Colby.   Macaroni and cheese tomorrow sounds like an idea!

For today though I decided the mozzarella was the oldest and needed to be used first and maybe in a caprese salad, except I didn't have any basil.  I did have some parsley left over from the spaghetti with tuna I made last week so I decided it would have to do.  Unfortunately, parsley is not as tasty as basil unless… make pesto with it and so that’s what I did.

After pulling off all the parsley leaves which gave me a cupful, I took my pine nuts out of the freezer and toasted them in a frying pan.  They are so tasty toasted!  I also shredded some parmesan which is one of my favorite things to do, shredding cheese, and along with some olive oil and salt...

I made pesto in my little Black and Decker food processor. 

 After halving the grape tomatoes and making little chunks out of the mozzarella, I stirred in some balsamic and oil mixture I keep on hand for my salads.

 I then spread it out on a platter, dotted it with pesto and tossed in the extra toasted pine nuts and the extra shredded parmesan.  The fork was for my little taste. Yum! 

Here it is chilling and covered in saran wrap.  I'll have it tonight with the rest of the pesto on some spaghetti.