Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon from Martha Stewart Living December 2016 – You should really try this!

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon 

The ingredients I like were right there in the recipe title so I knew it had to be good and it was!  I planned to make this last week but mistakenly bought broccoli instead of Brussels sprouts.  Duh.  Later, I'll show you what I made with the broccoli. 

Ingredients and also the recipe from the December Living magazine.

Ingredient number 1 is 6 ounces thick-cut bacon cut into ½-inch pieces but I happened to have 2 packages of low-sodium regular cut bacon in the freezer as well as one not frozen in the meat drawer, so I decided it would have to do.  But next time, I will make sure to get the thick-cut since cutting regular slices into ½ inch lengths was no picnic.  Maybe I should have cooked the bacon first and then cut it into pieces or even broke it up into smaller pieces.  Live and learn!

Next you need 1-1/4 pounds of Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (8 cups)
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ pound spaghetti (I removed 4 ounces from a 1-lb box and used the rest). 
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
½ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

 Cook bacon in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; remove oil but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Or remove all oil into glass container and add 1 tablespoon back into the pan.

Here is my glob of cut bacon which luckily…

…browned nicely and spread apart!

After removing bacon and oil, add half of the sliced sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally until tender and browned, about 7 minutes; season with salt and pepper. 

Transfer to the plate with the bacon.

 If skillet is getting dark, as mine was in above picture, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water and scrape up browned bits from bottom, leaving them in skillet.)

Add tablespoon of oil, I used the bacon oil, repeat with remaining sprouts. 

Here’s my second batch which appears bigger than the first so I guess I'm not great at halving things.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 2 minutes less than package instructions.  Drain, reserving 1-1/4 cups of pasta water.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon oil if you still have it like I did),  and garlic to skillet and cook over low, stirring until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
Add pasta, reserved pasta water, and cheese; stir to coat, 2 minutes. 

Serve immediately...the pasta got some color from the browned bottom of the pan.

Don't forget to top with some of that bacon and Brussels sprouts you cooked first and more
cheese.  (I didn’t use extra cheese though.)  
Then say ‘ooh it’s so good!’

Monday, December 19, 2016

Greek-Chicken One-Pan Pasta from Martha Stewart Living December Issue

This dish, Greek-Chicken One-Pan Pasta is just one that was in the Every Day Food What’s for Dinner recipe cards.  The other three are also pasta dishes that I plan to make later starting with Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon.  Butternut-and-Boursin Shells sounds equally good too as does Baked Rigatoni with Mini Meatballs because the meatballs are made with Spicy Italian Sausage, one of my favorites.

Here are the ingredients for the Greek-Chicken which are 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth.  ¾ pound Fusilli, (I used rotini), 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling.  ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 4 teaspoons of fresh juice and more zest for serving.  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-by-2-1/2-inch strips.  1/3 cup chopped fresh dill and more for serving.  I only had dried parsley so I used it sparsely just to give the dish some color.

The first step is to combine the broth, pasta, oil, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoons pepper and ½ cup of water in a large straight-sided skillet.  Bring to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, 9 minutes.

Next step is to season chicken generously with salt and pepper, add to skillet.  Continue to cook, stirring until pasta is al dente and chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes.  I went 4 just for good measure and I also ate some of the chicken just to make sure it was done.  Yum!

I added more zest and lemon juice to my first serving but skipped the drizzle of olive oil, and let me add that you will be going back for seconds because it is so good!  The green beans are fresh organic that I picked up at Costco.  I ate a full plate of just those for lunch one day simply because I like fresh green beans steamed.

I'll be hanging on to these recipe cards to use again because anything pasta is my kind of food and I enjoy experimenting with different ways to eat it.  Thanks MSLO.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

News About My Sister

This was her favorite picture with our nephew’s two children who are grown now.  She was teaching them how to swim.

My sister was running a high fever on Election Day, November 8, 2016 and so I called the paramedics who took her to the hospital for the fifth time since last November 24, 2015 when she broke her knee cap.  She passed away peacefully in hospice on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016 from complications of COPD.  She was 85.  I kid myself and say she picked those days just so I wouldn’t forget…as if I would. 

It’s been quite the trying year but I would give almost anything to hear her yell out for me if for no reason except that I left the room for 10 minutes and she wanted me to come back.  She wanted me by her side constantly and so that is where I tried to be until I could get her to understand that I needed to pay bills, or wash some clothes or fix dinner.  She had dementia which most everyone concluded was probably the reason she broke her knee in the first place.  She got so disoriented at times she didn’t know she was in her own house and would try to get out of bed because she needed to get out of this ‘damn’ place.  Unfortunately, her legs never got strong enough to stand, let alone walk although the therapist and I tried several times.

Near the end she had stopped eating except for a bite or two but could drink Ensure until that last Tuesday when I couldn’t even get water down her with a sponge at the end of a straw.  I was getting quite worried but she screamed at me when I mentioned the hospital.  I was in so much pain from a pulled muscle or pinched nerve from trying to move her away from the rails on the bed that I wasn’t sure I could tolerate walking the halls at the hospital.  Over the weekend I was constantly putting ice and then heat on my hip and thigh or heat and then ice but lying down in bed was the only thing that helped.  Of course I could not just forget everything and stay in bed.

Almost the minute my sister was to leave for the hospital, my pain went away and my son said it was probably so much tension that had finally been released.  I think he was right.

As much as I loved my sister and she me, we had our share of squabbles with being in the same room for so long with limited conversation and the TV always loud because her hearing was bad.  When the Golden Girls and Lucy went on hiatus until January 2, I thought I would go into mourning because they helped keep me sane with their antics.   My sister couldn’t see the TV anymore due to her Macular Degeneration so I would put speakers on her and let her listen to Judy Garland on Youtube with my iPad.  Those Garland loops were a Godsend.  In hospice she listened to Mama Mia music from my iPhone and would move one foot to the music every now and then.  That was her favorite movie.

Since we have a big house, my son is going to move in with me for awhile which will be good because I can barely stand to be home alone.  Every sound makes me jump.  I am thankful to have my nieces and nephew and I’m sure the youngest niece will continue to visit the most and bring her three grandchildren, which always makes me happy.  She is the same niece who came over throughout the year and sat while I ran errands, and she does a good rendition of my sister calling out “Trish” at the top of her lungs!  It makes me laugh.

One day my pain will lessen as it has done in the past when I’ve lost a loved one but I know it will never go away completely.  To paraphrase Rose Kennedy, ‘to keep us sane our minds cover our wounds with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.’  I truly believe that and intend to keep busy so hopefully I will build up some scar tissue.   I’m going to need a lot this time.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Galaxy Phones for the Little Ones

Three year old Jaycee has been working cell phones and tablets since she was 2 and now at 3, she’ll be 4 in February, she has her own Galaxy phone and can work it better than her grandmother.  My son downloaded the aps she's allowed to use but she also follows links on Youtube to get to the pages she's allowed to visit.  My son also gave 4 year old sister Kennedy and their 11 year old brother Coby one each.   He had his own phone already but likes the Galaxy better. 

They stopped by yesterday and here’s Jaycee on Youtube doing a building game but I have no idea what Coby does with his ‘phone time’.  Wrestling and baseball is his main interest.

I’m thinking of trading off my iPhone and getting a Galaxy and if I have any problems figuring it out, I’ll just ask Jaycee or Kennedy for assistance.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Update on Transplanting pups from my Sago Plant 2/3/14

I can't believe it's been over 2 years since I transplanted a pup from an original Sago plant shown below in picture #2.  The transplant is the 4th picture down and I actually just noticed the below new growth the other day.  I haven't been doing any gardening for quite some time and last year with many complications related to my sister's broken knee has been a blur. 

  The pup originally had 5 fronds and this is what it looks like now.  I better get some fertilizer on it now that I've noticed it is growing, slow as that may be!

Sometime after the holidays and after reading one of Martha’s blogs about planting cycad pups, read her blog here,  I decided new pups were the reason my sago plant was getting a little misshapen.  I didn’t think about those new fronds as being from pups, I just thought they were wayward and I was going to just cut them off. 

Here’s how the front of the sago looked at the time.

And here’s the back after I dug around and cut out the pups sometime in December.  I hurt my leg around Thanksgiving and couldn’t do it then like I had planned.  I read if fronds get yellow, they lack nutrients so palm fertilizer is needed or we can water with Epsom salts.  Since I had fertilized this plant, I'm not sure why the fronds turned yellowish.

There were two pups and they both had an extensive root system so I immediately planted one by the street in a hole I had ready with peat moss and perlite.  

You can see how wayward the 5 fronds had been on the mother plant.  (See an updated picture above showing how this has grown.) 

I put this smaller pup in a pot near the front of the house.   It only had 3 spindly fronds.  Sago plants are slow growers so I'll have to wait awhile to see real results.  (This one didn't take.) 

As of today, both seem to be doing okay but the roots might still rot out.  Hopefully not but I’ll keep an eye on them and water with Epsom salts every now and then.

We’ve had a lot of rain and since Sago plants don’t require a lot of water, I was worried that my transplanted pups would brown out quickly but so far, they look okay.  Maybe the dirt that clung to them from digging made them feel right at home in their new spots.  Time will tell.  Right now I need to shore up the soil around the mother plant which I neglected to do earlier because of my bum leg.  My leg is much better now though so off to Home Depot I go!   

Friday, June 3, 2016

A week of Dolly and Dollywood on Home & Family/Hallmark

Home and Family/Dolly at Dollywood - I tried to share a video but it wouldn't post so above is a link to the Home and Family site.

What a fun week it was to watch Hallmark’s Home and Family from Dollywood with Dolly Parton!  It brought back so many good memories of the weekends I used to spend there and after seeing all the new things introduced over the years, I’m itching to go back for another visit.  I recall many of the places they featured on the show during the week including The Dixie Stampede but I never got a chance to visit everything.  Our weekends were so busy with…

… benefit concerts twice a day, (here she is with Kenny Rogers).

 Then there were fan gatherings or a luncheon.   Above is what she wore at the very first picnic luncheon back in 1988). 

And the rest of the time we followed her around the park just to take pictures, often outside the Celebrity Theater by the ‘Butterfly’. 

Or we’d watch her make a commercial…

…Or introduce a new ride like the Carousel or a new attraction.

 Lots of times we waited outside her apartment just to get a picture of her going upstairs or coming down.  Here she is with her best friend Judy Ogle.   

The food was always delicious and we ate a lot of it at Aunt Granny’s which I’m not even sure is still in existence.  No doubt they’ve built something bigger by now like they did her museum.  I need to get in touch with my friend Mark and have him bring me up-to-date on a few things.  He still attends the Grand Opening every year and often sends me pictures but I haven’t spoken to him in quite some time.  My sister is still bedridden and I spend most of my time taking care of her which leaves me little time for much else.  Getting to watch Dolly all week was uplifting for both of us!  Dolly will always be special to me!     

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Nice Cover on Martha Stewart Living for June 2016...but

Unfortunately and as much as I hate to say this, the cover and the recipes that go with the pictures are about all I like about this issue.   The magazine is just not the same anymore even though I thought it was getting back to excellence after the Collector’s double issue of December and January came out. 

I cannot believe they used some kind of toweling or cloth napkins as the backdrop for six pages of photos starting on page 100.  It was nice material but did nothing for the desserts pictured.  The pictures alone were quite awful!  

Martha's article was nice about her father's lavender that she grew from a packet of found seeds dated 1964.  It was quite a nice crop and she showed his technique for making bundles for drying it and also gave instructions on how to grow it.  I think her father would have been pleased. 

I was quite surprised to find the recipe cards upside down in What's For Dinner.  Before I even read what was pictured, I tried to figure out why everything looked so funny.  It was a first for me - no harm done but mistakes are noticed.

The tropical fruit section was okay as was 'Stick Shifts' or food prepared or grilled on skewers.  The pictures are very drab, no food porn to speak of and frankly, that is the one main thing I miss about the magazine!  Simply put, I don't drool over the food or much of anything else anymore and that's not a good thing!                    

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I wrote a story called Mildred's Ethylene Machine - have a look!

I thought I would do a revisit to this blog about my 'book' that is on Amazon in case anyone is looking for a Mother's Day gift in the form of a short story.  It's a quick couple hour's read for busy moms and just maybe she'll enjoy it!

Blog Original published 5/30/14:
I wrote Mildred’s Ethylene Machine about 25 or 30 years ago but never thought I would be publishing it on Amazon Kindle…yet I did.  It’s been on there awhile and I’ve sold quite a few copies and garnered even more readers through my free promotional periods so it is getting exposure. 

Last year, after about 6 months when sales were pretty slow, I unpublished the ‘book’ for awhile, (I say book but it is actually a relatively short story), but then I noticed some authors keep their books on there for years, and eventually the reviews pick up.  So I’ve decided I can wait a few years for a few more reviews especially if they are like the ones I’ve received so far which are eight 5-stars and two 4-stars.  How about them apples!  Here’s a link to Amazon if you’d like to read a few pages of the book and thanks if you do!  Mildred's Ethylene Machine

All in all it’s been great to be called a creative writer with an interesting story which most of the comments have said.  None have been too critical which is a bonus but I don’t mind critical.  Even if someone says my story was a little wordy in spots, I’m still going to be a little wordy in spots in anything I write.  It’s just the way I write because I don’t know of any other way.  I did not take any courses in writing so whatever I come up with is done on a wing and a prayer!   I’m not looking for fame, I just like to write. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My New Favorite Vegetable Soup Courtesy of Martha Stewart and Company

This delicious soup called Everyday Vegetable Soup is similar to the vegetable soup I make except…it tastes way better!  

Who knew tossing a couple of teaspoons of Italian seasoning in with 2 cups of chopped onions could taste so good sautéed!  Well, I guess Martha and company did and now I do and so will you unless you already knew that.

I don’t get to the store lately as much as I would like and so the only fresh vegetables I had on hand were carrots.  I do have potatoes but the can of Veg-All mixed vegetables I opened up had plenty of potatoes in it already.  I also didn’t have any dice tomatoes so I used my favorite San Marzano which I cut up.  I like corn in my soup too so luckily I keep frozen Bird’s Eye sweet corn on hand.  It heats up in the microwave in about 5 minutes and tastes just like fresh corn.  Yum!

I bought this Robert Irvine Mandolin slicer on HSN for less than $20.00 and sliced 2 carrots in about 30 seconds.  I’ve been playing with it for a few days now.  It’s a nice little gadget to have on hand and I also like my mini Black and Decker food processor to chop up onions.   I had my veggies ready in a flash and this soup is so good, my picky sister likes it!

Below is this recipe from Martha’s site and you can be eating lunch or dinner in a matter of minutes once you get everything assembled.  Happy soup day!

Martha Stewart's Everyday Vegetable Soup...Yum!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions or thinly sliced leeks (whites only)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 cups mixed fresh or frozen vegetables, such as carrots, corn, green beans, lima beans, peas, potatoes, and zucchini (cut larger vegetables into smaller pieces)


  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions or leeks, celery, and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, and 3 cups water to pot; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes.
  3. Add vegetables to pot, and return to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Let cool before storing.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 114 - My Sister’s Kneecap Has Healed But…!

Sorry for the one graphic picture but I wanted to show how badly my sister bruises.  There is more further up the leg but I thought this picture was enough.

When she fractured her kneecap in November and began wearing a knee brace, we thought she would heal up in a couple of weeks and be up and around again, but instead she developed blood clots in her lungs from lack of mobility.  The physical therapist hadn’t made an appearance until 6 days after her fall because it was Thanksgiving weekend, so back to the hospital we went in December.  After almost 24 hours in the emergency room she was given a room in ICU.  The next morning they put a Vena Cava filter in her neck to prevent further clots.  After 5 days in the hospital she was home again and back in bed where she was to take it easy...therefore, no physical therapy.

Here is part of her leg ready for new bandages in the doctor's office after Thanksgiving...

...and all bandaged up in the emergency room on November 24th while she waits for a leg brace.  Her face on the right side was also badly bruised.   She only remembers trying to find her medicine and ended up cartwheeling it across the room!  

Here is the leg brace at home.
In January she began bleeding profusely from her mouth which scared the daylights out of both of us and gave extreme concern to the paramedics who came to transport her to the hospital.  During that hospital visit she had an endoscopy and a bone marrow test to rule out cancer.  They wanted to do a colonoscopy but couldn’t because of her age.  After 3 days and 2 pints of blood, she was home again and back into bed.  By then her physical therapy visits expired although the wound care nurse stayed on because the wounds from her fall in November were still open.

In January she had bladder problems and her stool had turned black which meant internal bleeding.  This time they diagnosed upper G.I. bleeding from her esophagus and her hemoglobin was quite low so they gave her a pint of blood.  The next day, they gave her another pint of blood and after 4 days, she was home again.  I should mention that through all of these ordeals, she ate only tiny bits of food until the medicine for her G.I. bleeding finally began to work.

When she began eating better she of course got stronger but unfortunately, on Sunday February the 28th, she had a mini stroke and spent 4 more days in the hospital.   Luckily I found the name of the home care people who took care of her back in 2011 when she spent 11 days in the hospital without ever getting out of bed and was unable to walk then.  The PT from that particular home care facility had her walking in a couple of months and she continued walking just fine until she broke her kneecap.  I’m just happy that the same PT was still working at the same place and so I requested him when the doctor’s orders from the hospital came through.  He’ll be working with her 2 or 3 times a week as he tries to get her to sit up and then later, hopefully start walking again.    

Physical therapy of any kind is so important when a person cannot walk but even our regular doctors don’t always order it or by the time they do, it’s almost time for the patient to return home.  Once home it takes another several days for the home care nurse to make a visit to evaluate the patient which means by then almost 10 days have passed without any help with sitting or walking.  The paper work takes hours to fill out and then maybe in 2 or 3 more days another nurse will stop by to take vitals.  In the meantime, the PT comes and sits in the same room as he writes up his evaluation and a few days later, he stops by to start an exercise routine.  The entire process is so time-consuming and the home care facility can only blame Medicare for all the paperwork they have to do.  Medicare no longer fills orders quickly for new hospital beds even if the old ones are almost 10 years old, or for wheel chairs like they used to and paperwork is ridiculously long.  Apparently too many people have abused the system and so now we all must suffer!

One of our nurses tried to get a new hospital bed for us when the remote fell apart where the wires connect but no luck so far.  I finally took the remote apart entirely and stretched the wires out so they would connect with the other 7 in the cord.  I merely matched up the colors and twisted them together, then used hot glue to keep them from pulling apart.  It doesn’t look pretty but at least I don’t have to use the hand crank to raise and lower the bed in six different positions!

Ed, the PT guy is a gem as far as I’m concerned.  Together sis and I will do exercise sets he has set up for us and hopefully she’ll at least be sitting before long!  One can never lose optimism no matter how many disappointments appear to darken our days!  I think we all have had at one time or another ‘the best of times and the worst of times’!

P.S.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!