Thursday, March 23, 2017

HAVEN'T BEEN TO ONE OF THESE IN YEARS....


I promise this is my last food post until my regular weekly one.  It has been a week of going out for birthday celebrations and now, a gourmet cooking class.  



A friend of mine has been going to this one for six years.  She had told me about it and how much fun it was, and a few months ago she invited me to go with her.  It is a once a month class and yesterday was the first time it worked out.  


The lady who runs the cooking school is a gourmet chef and has been all over the world learning her craft.  Her home is gorgeous and well you know me, I couldn't not take any photos.  To get to her house it is in the countryside, and you have to drive down the longest dirt road I have ever been on in Virginia. 


We divided ourselves into small groups to tackle the three courses.  It was a haddock dish with a beautiful salad which you can see in my first photo.  It was a bit difficult taking more photos than these as being new I didn't want to be too cheeky.  


So much fun and sitting down to eat the meal we had all prepared was the icing on the cake, so to speak.  Including our host and my friend, there were ten of us.  I had been told by my friend how nice and friendly everyone was, and by the end of our meal I felt we had gotten to know each other very well.  I will look forward to going again.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ANOTHER BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION


Gregg enjoyed his second birthday celebration with our son and daughter-in-law last night.  I didn't take any photos other than the ones of our family and I am sharing a photo of the four of us that our waitress took just before we left. We had a super time as you might guess.  Our Babes, as I lovingly call them, are a joy to be with.   The evening couldn't have been more perfect.  The weather cooperated and we didn't even need a coat.  Even though the sun had gone down it was almost as if Spring had turned a switch.

Monday, March 20, 2017

MONDAY'S RECIPE - PARMESAN BAKED PORK CHOPS

First of all, I would like to thank you all for the Happy Birthday wishes for Gregg. He was very touched and enjoyed reading everyone's comment. You all added a very genuine warmth to this special milestone. 


Now for the recipe, a simple but very tasty way to cook pork chops. It came from "Just A Pinch" by Janet.  You can find her recipe here.  Thanks Janet!

Parmesan Baked Pork Chops
Serves 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

4 boneless pork chops about 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs (I used a blender to crumble a day old roll and added a good dash of Italian Seasoning)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

On a plate combine the last 4 ingredients.  Rub the pork chops with olive oil and dip each one into the cheese/breadcumb mixture.  Press the mixture over the pork chops to coat really well and completely covered.

Line a pan with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.  

Place the pork chops on the pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 45 minutes.


~~~~~~~

I forgot to take a photo the first night, and can't remember now what we served it with, but we must have had potatoes for one side dish. The next day we shared the leftover pork chop for brunch, with leftover potatoes that I sauteed in a smidgen of olive oil, a fried egg and a broiled tomato (not shown), also a little Branston Chutney.  This second pork chop dish was delicious.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

GREGG'S 70TH BIRTHDAY


Gregg joked this morning that he is now the Village Elder.  Happy Birthday My Love!



It is 5.04 p.m. and starting out late, as is our way these days, we drove over to Tysons at about two o'clock.  It's a bit of a drive but always worth it, especially today.  Lovely time, starting off with a meal at Seasons 52.  We had a very nice waiter and the food was excellent. (This is our second time here. First was with our son and Gregg's sister when she was in town and wanted to do some shopping afterwards.  The mall here is very popular and the restaurant is inside the mall.) 

Gregg ordered the scallops and I the rainbow trout.  Menu here.  I like the fact that they have the calories for each meal.   Wasn't paying much attention to them for this special meal, but thankfully everything we ordered was reasonable.

We shared an appetizer, the Shrimp Scampi Skillet which I forgot to take a photo of.  It was on what they called bomba rice, which was different and very tasty.  



Gregg's Caramelized Sea Scallops that came on a narrow plate, accompanied with rice and asparagus.



My order of Wood-Grilled, Boneless Rainbow Trout with crushed potatoes, heritage carrots, and a grilled lemon.


My other personality took over (my non-introverted side) and I told the waiter it was Gregg's 70th birthday.  He was very sweet and offered him a complimentary glass of champagne.  Gregg declined but then was offered a complimentary dessert, which he accepted. 



We were to choose one each of these pretty concoctions served in small glass containers, which was the right size for us.  None of the portions were over the top, just the right amount.   We probably wouldn't have eaten a desert otherwise.   Gregg's choice was a key lime pie concoction (neglected to take a photo) and mine......



 was flavored with chocolate and espresso. 



Their coffee was very good and you can see I am enjoying it.




 During his meal Gregg was happy to receive several Happy Birthday messages.  He returned calls after we were out of the restaurant but sent texts telling everyone he was enjoying his birthday meal.  He is answering one to our son here.




Back home and Gregg is watching his basketball game.  It has been a great day.  On Monday evening we celebrate again with our son and daughter-in-law.



Friday, March 17, 2017

WATER-LILY



Water-Lily
by
John Chipman Farrar

I'd like to be a water-lily sleeping on the river,
When solemn rushes whisper, and funny ripples quiver.
All day I'd watch the blue sky, all night I'd watch the black,
Floating in the soft waves, dreaming on my back,
And when I'd tired of dreaming, I'd call a passing fish,
"I want to find the sea!" I'd shout, "Come! You can grant my wish!"

He'd bite me from my moorings, and softly I would slip
To the center of the river like an ocean-going ship.
The waves would laugh upon me.  The wind would blow me fast,
And oh, what shores and wonders would greet me as I passed.
Yes, if I were a water-lily, I'd sail to sea in state,
A green frog for my captain, and a dragon-fly for my mate!



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

TODAY'S POST WITH THANKS TO MY SISTER-IN-LAW.....

who sent a few photos when she was in Phoenix, Arizona recently.  

Starting off with breakfast.

and a walk around the grounds of her hotel.







A Gambel Quail is in the center of the photo below.
















Monday, March 13, 2017

MONDAY RECIPE POST - CHEESY SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP WITH PITA CHIPS - AND ABOUT BLUE APRON


Thanks to our sweet daughter-in-law's recommendation, we recently have been having meal delivery service once a week from Blue Apron.  



It provides us with three meals every week, delivered in one box.  In that box are all the ingredients you might need for these meals.  



We are into our third week now and it has introduced us to foods that normally we wouldn't think about. In that sense it's been wonderful.  All the produce is super fresh, you only get what is needed for each recipe, and best of all it's great portion control.  


I also like the fact that nothing is left in the fridge or thrown out because of buying more than is needed.  We have the two person delivery plan but sometimes you can get leftovers, enough for the next day.

All that being said, one of the recipes had a very tasty accompaniment and we used it with our favorite appetizer, which you can see here.  It is for a hot Cheese and Spinach-Artichoke Dip.  



You are given the written recipes from Blue Apron and if you like a meal enough you can replicate it. One of those recipes came with Pita Chips, which I have used a couple of times since and it is so easy.  We love them and they can be used with soup, this dip or even just for a snack.

Take one pita bread, the pocketless kind, and cut, as you would a round cake, into six pieces. (You can also leave it whole and cut it later.  I tried both ways and found leaving it whole was easier, dividing it after it was toasted).  Place on a sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat thoroughly, and toast in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, or until lightly-browned and crispy. Remove from the oven, serve and enjoy.  



Easy peasy!  Ours came out a little darker for the time given but still tasted great.  You just have to watch carefully.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

SWEET FACES


More revisited photos of deer.  It always feels magical when in their company and it has been too long.






Hello Sweet Things!



Friday, March 10, 2017

NEST IN A TREE

"Nature is not a place to visit, it is home."
~Author Unknown~


I haven't been out to take any photos since our trip to Frederick, so I will be sharing repeat photos from my old blog for a while.  


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

AN OLD FAMILY PHOTO

We only recently came across this wonderful old photo.  They crop up on Gregg's Facebook page, sent by various family members, for which we are always grateful.  Each is like a gift, especially as now we are more and more interested in our genealogy.  The photo is of Gregg's grandmother his father's mother, with several of her siblings.  She is the little girl standing in the middle behind one of her brothers.



Sunday, March 5, 2017

FREDERICK, MARYLAND


I posted a similar photo shown above in my previous post, but in this one there are two extra people on the left.  One of them is staring at something on the wall and my attention was drawn to the object that took her attention.




A Duck!  It took me a few moments to realize that it was another painting, and when we finally walked around to the other side, I got a closer look.  These artists are very talented.




Here's one of the real ones swimming up and down.



Here are those painted bricks I talked about in my other post.  If you missed that one you can find it here.


The stories behind the symbols are on this page of the website.  I didn't take photos of every symbol on the bridge, and could not match up a few to what I read on their page.  However, I have posted what I did find.


Neverending Knot

"This knot reminds me of the spirit of the community for many reasons: because it represents a continuum, it closes the loop, it is like a hand-off from one to the other.  It is like a spiral, always overlapping, yet it never ends.  It is a symbol of energy."

~Thomas Sterner ~ also Alicyn Cratty  

I didn't get the following information about the coins on the above website, just a general search on Google.

The Lincoln Cent 

The Lincoln cent, sometimes called the Lincoln penny, is a one-cent coin that has been struck by the United States Mint since 1909.  The obverse, or heads side, was designed by Victor David Brenner, as was the original reverse.




The Indian Nickel

The Buffalo nickel or Indian Head nickel, is a copper-nickel five-cent piece that was struck by the United States Mint from 1913 to 1938.  It was designed by sculptor James Earl Fraser.  As part of a drive to beautify the coinage, five denominations of US coins had received new designs between 1907 and 1909.


The actual time it took Mr. Cochran and his ten assistants to paint all these amazing works of art was a total of five years. The ivy fascinated me.  I learned that one of William Cochran's assistants took six months to paint those ivy leaves alone.   



Passing by one of the columns I almost missed the sunflower.




Here are more of the symbols.



This one of people entwined comes from an actual design adapted from The Book of Kells.




Begging Bowl




Sheaf of Wheat




Children playing, climbing trees.



Heart


Hand helping another



Chameleon
"The Chameleon has the ability to alter to suit its needs.  A community should be able to change in order to suit the needs of the people involved."  Julie O, 16, High School Student.



"The spirit of community is a sense of sharing and intimacy among those with common challenges.  Enclosed is the logo for the Frederick County Commission for Women.  The thistle - sometimes tender, sometimes prickly - grows undaunted all over the country."  Sandra West, Myersville



A few more symbols to end this part of my post.



Another view of a bridge with the decorative clock that you may have seen here.   



There were a couple of policeman patrolling the area on their Segways.  This is one of them in front of the very nice building that is the local library.  Must go in there next time.  If anyone is unfamiliar with a Segway, you can see one here.  There are different types these days.  There are Segway tours offered in Washington DC, and I daresay in many other cities around the world.  I would be interested to find out how popular they are.  A few years back when they were first being sold, we saw a man park his outside our local coffee shop.  I haven't seen any around here since, only when visiting DC.  It was fun to watch people in groups go by, and though they look like an enjoyable way to get around, I have my doubts that I could balance on one successfully.  I can be pretty klutzy truth be told.



At this time of year when there are hardly any people on the Riverwalk, it is an ideal place to run with your four-legged friend.



We walked over these metal grids with an oak leaf design.  I guessed that they covered a draining system down to the water, and its 'tiles' could be removed for easy access.  You can see my feet just in view.  I make no apologies for my scruffy shoes.  I take scruffy above style any day when it comes to comfortable footwear, at this stage of my life.  In my youth I remember spending a large part of my weekly wages on a pair of green satin, five inch stiletto heels with a pointed toe (winkle pickers was the term for them), and actually could walk in them quite well.  I loved them but they were a chiropodist's dream!  This was a few years before I met Gregg.  I wish I had kept them.  I would have had them in a glass case on a shelf somewhere.   Maybe just as well and I have no memory of where they went.  




And that is the last of my photos from our trip to Frederick.  I am looking forward to going back in the warmer months, as I have seen photos of the water lilies and other flowers on the Riverwalk.  Gregg also wants to go to Gettysburg, which isn't too far away.  It has been several years since we went to Gettysburg.