Archive for the ‘dinner’ Tag

08-16-2015 Journal–Fall is in the Air!   Leave a comment

It’s beginning to feel like Fall already and I’m certainly not happy about that.  We’re just a couple of weeks from Labor Day and then it’s all downhill from there. Most of the smaller nurseries are already closing down except for veggies being shipped to the local grocery stores. 

One telltale sound  indicating Fall here in Maine is the sound of tractors pulling hay wagons down the road past our house.  It’s a distinctive sound which has been steadily increasing in recent weeks.  This is a common place scene in this area these days:

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The large  bales of hay covered in plastic will be appearing by the hundreds almost everywhere over the next month in preparation for Winter.  It appears to have been a great summer for hay production which should keep the animals happy and healthy until Spring.

We’ve been tending our garden more often of late because the veggies are ripening rapidly.  There are a few things every day that require picking as you can see:

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These items went from that basket directly to our table for dinner. The three white turnip looking items are kohlrabi’s. As I’ve mentioned in the past these vegetables aren’t available in stores very often.  Most people have never tasted them or even heard of them.  These were picked while they were still young and tender.  The larger they grow the harder they become to peel and eat.  As you can see by the photo, they grow fairly large but this is the best size for harvesting:

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This kohlrabi was immediately peeled, sliced, diced, and added to our salad for dinner.  They have a wonderfully mild flavor reminiscent of white radishes and are absolutely delicious.  I’ll be sure to return them to the list of plantings for the 2016 garden.

08-10-2014 Journal Entry – A Birthday Surprise or Two!   4 comments

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My last vacation of the summer has ended with the return of my better-half from her recent trip. She arrived late last night and fell into bed exhausted from all of the driving. She was wound pretty tight but dropped into a dead sleep within minutes of her head hitting the pillow. I knew I was in for a blow-by-blow description of the entire trip as soon as I woke up in the morning.  Boy was I ever right.

She was moving kind of slow in the morning but after a couple cups of good strong coffee she finally appeared almost human. I rolled out early myself to get my forty minutes on the treadmill out of the way.  As I came upstairs from the workout she surprised me with a belated birthday gift and a promise of a steak dinner with all the trimmings later on.  I honestly never expected that because I’m not a someone who’s a big birthday celebrator.

We started the day with a food shopping trip to refill the larders.  It was a nice day with sunny skies and warm weather and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together. We made a visit to the local Walmart, purchased a little of everything, and then just wandered around for a while to people watch.  It was then that I began thinking of the dinner she was planning and what I could contribute.

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As you’re aware if you read this blog often enough you know I’m a amateur winemaker. When we arrived home I went directly to my wine cellar to find a wine to compliment that beautiful steak she was going to prepare. I’ve been told by many people that homemade fruit wines usually loose their flavor after being bottled for more than two years.  I found a few bottles of a strawberry wine that I made in 2003.  At the time that wine was excellent and laughingly became known as the dancing wine.  If you drank more than two glasses you’d be overwhelmed with the desire to dance your ass off.  After eleven years I wasn’t exactly sure what we’d find.

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‘It Was a Very Good Year’

Upon returning home we moved to the deck for an hour of total relaxation slowly sipping on a glass of wine that smelled wonderful and tasted even better.  Two glasses each and we were aglow. I was shocked at how good the wine still was after all of those years in the bottle. We decided to take a short break, fire up the grill, and prepare the food for dinner.  The steak was cooked medium rare and melt-your-mouth tender. Aluminum foil wrapped vegetables from the garden finished the meal off rather nicely.  It was then time for a second bottle which went down even easier than the first.

It was great birthday celebration that was totally unexpected and I can report officially that we both were pleased with the end result. I just love happy endings. 

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It’s now the morning after and I have another tidbit of information to pass along.  That freaking wine while having excellent taste also brings along with it a mind-numbing hangover. I truthfully think I’m gonna die. Even the good coffee that usually saves the day isn’t working worth a damn. I’ll end this posting now because I need a power nap and a few dozen extra strength Tylenols.

Don’t come to my impending funeral, you’ll be disappointed. Happy Birthday to me.

12-25-2012   Leave a comment

This may be the best Christmas morning I’ve ever had.  My better-half with help from my nagging stayed in bed until ten o’clock.  We left the bedroom only for calls from Mother Nature and to refill our coffee mugs.  We laid there like two fat, dumb, and happy morons celebrating the fact that the holiday was over for us. It was lightly snowing at the time but by days end we had our traditional White Christmas.  I think we could have stayed in that warm and toasty bed all day but my better-half had her engine running early and was getting a bit antsy.  She forced me from the bed and the room which kind of  “harshed my Christmas morning buzz” a bit.  Dammit!

For most of the day we were on the phones, on the computers, or on the IPads wishing good cheer to the whole damn planet.  She spent a few hours reviewing all of the photographs that she’d taken over the holiday (about 600), erasing the bad, and burning the good to CD’s for other family members. It was still a lazy and relaxing day, it was great.

It took me a little longer than I thought to clear the Christmas debris from the house because I was busy eating goodies left over from last night.  I’ll tell you right now, it’s going to take me a few months to get rid of all this Christmas cheer that showed up just north of my belt buckle. We had a quiet dinner, just the two of us, where we devoured a rib roast that was to die for.  Fat and sassy after the meal we repaired to the living room for movie night. 

Here’s my take on the movies we watched.  Katherine Heigl in ‘One for the Money’ wasn’t too shabby.  She was supposed to be a bounty hunter which took a real stretch of my imagination to believe but then seeing her semi-nude made it almost worth the wait.  I give it a C+ for story, B- for nudity. 

Then we fired up the movie (using the term loosely) ‘Horrible Bosses’.  It was well named because it was really horrible.  How anyone convinced Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Anniston to even consider being in it was beyond me. Dumb, and Dumber meets Police Squad.  I give it an F- for story and an A- for nudity when I got to see a little more of brunette Jen than ever before. Trust me, if anyone tries to give you a gift of that movie, give it back, and remove them from your list of friends.  Just freaking awful.

The better-half was in bed early with a 4:00 am wakeup call looming.  I found it necessary to stay up for a while longer and to kick Tiger Woods ass in an eighteen hole X-box tournament.  It felt good to crawl into bed finally and to put another Christmas behind us.

Onward to New Years and 2013.

Posted December 26, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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12-24-2012   3 comments

It’s finally Christmas Day.  I’m still lounging around in bed and I plan on staying here as long as humanly possible.  We had a great holiday celebration last night and the kids and their new son are now on their way to northern Maine to celebrate with his family. Snow has started and I’m sure we can expect quite a few inches over the next two days. I hope they get there safely.

Last night was fun with really excellent food and great company. We drank liberally, ate shrimp until we couldn’t eat anymore, and even got in a few hands of cutthroat Hearts.  I suffered an embarrassing alcohol induced loss that I’ll never hear the end of.

The new grandson behaved like a little angel.  Except for a couple of feeding trips to Mom he slept the entire evening.  I was strong-armed into wearing a ridiculous red Santa shirt with matching hat and was officially dubbed a member of the Santa Helper’s Brigade.  It was the baby’s first Christmas and my first time being Santa. There were enough really embarrassing pictures taken with the baby to haunt me for years to come.

I have to say we all received everything we could have ever wanted and then some.  I probably won’t have any meaningful conversations any time soon with my better-half since she’s huddled over in the corner taking sweetly and softly to her new IPad.  Now she won’t give me so much grief about paying more attention to my IPad than to her.

It may take a better part of the day to clean up the wrapping debris that seems to be everywhere. We heard the cat a number of times through the night rummaging through wrapping paper and having a great old time.  He even received a few gifts which he appears to like a lot.  He now has two mechanical mice to chase through the house when he becomes bored with playing with us.

We’re both looking forward to a lazy day of relaxation and a really nice standing rib roast for our dinner this evening.  All in all it was a great holiday and well worth the time spent in preparing for it.

We hope yours was the same.

Posted December 25, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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12-23-2012   1 comment

The countdown is at two days.  In 48 hours I can stop writing about all of this Christmas happiness for another year.  Today was a continuation of our traditions in the preparation for Christmas eve dinner.  We’ll get together around mid-day to relax a while, watch some X-mas movies, and generally enjoy each others company. 

Our Christmas dinner is to be a little untraditional and will be served in the early afternoon.  The menu is varied and consists of a pot full of (clean & eat) shrimp, vegetable platters with dips, and crescent rolls filled with jalapenos and cheese. Next a sheet of walnuts wrapped with dates, then wrapped in bacon strips and broiled until crispy. Yum!  Other scrumptious desserts and high calorie goodies will follow because “pigging out” is required to show proper appreciation and respect for the chef.

Today requires running errands to collect of all the items and their ingredients needed for tomorrow.  We were up early and on our way to IHOP for a hot and filling breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast and coffee.  We took our time eating in order for our next stop to be open for business.  A short leisurely ride to the Portland docks to buy a few pounds of a shrimp fresh off the boat.  Thank God it was high tide which helps keep that wonderful Christmas harbor smell from wafting over the city.

Another quick stop for a bottle of really good French brandy, a few groceries, and were on our way back home.  This is the best part of Christmas for both of us.  She turns on her Christmas carols nice and loud and begins to preheat the oven for the baking marathon to follow. She’s trying something new this year, an apple and raspberry tart, which I’m really looking forward to.  Calories be damned, it’s freaking Christmas.

The kitchen is smelling wonderful, the tree looks great, and the brandy is even better than I’d hoped.  Things are looking good for tonight and tomorrow will be even better.

Posted December 24, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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11-22-2012   2 comments

Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year but for a change I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Since I’m not a religious person the holidays of Christmas and Easter don’t get me all that excited.  I participate in the activities but only because I care for the family members who go dog-shit crazy over them.  New Years was a great holiday when I was younger when drinking and carousing were the rule of the day but that ended a while back.

The Fall of the year is my favorite season.  It’s that old harvest time mindset in Maine that really attracts me.  Every weekend from Labor Day until Thanksgiving will find people at Town Fairs, Farm Shows, and festivals of all kinds.  Home made foods, home made gifts, and farm animals are the order of the day.  It’s still a place where many Maine families carry on the tradition of visiting one of our local tree farms for picking out the family Christmas tree.  It’s even cooler when you’ve had a fresh snow fall and you get to walk out in the woods with a saw in one hand and your kid hanging onto the other. It just makes the seasons feel more meaningful and it gives those kids a life-long memory to enjoy.

I’ve been fortunate over the years to have attended many family Thanksgiving gatherings with my family and the families of others.  That’s really what makes Thanksgiving mean more to me than any of the other holidays.  It’s the tradition of the day more than the food that makes it extra special.  The fact that the Pilgrims created the  first Thanksgiving is nice but so what.  What’s important to me is the family members making the effort to be together and be thankful for the things and people in their lives.  Our celebration this year was a small intimate family group with the new grandson enjoying his first Thanksgiving. He was the lucky one who didn’t overeat and got to sleep through the meal.  The food was great and the company was too.  I was in charge of the bird this year and (patting myself on the back) it was delicious.  That bird made the ultimate sacrifice and we all appreciated it.  I’ll appreciate it again over the next month or two when we can snack on those homemade pot pies he’s going to be a part of. Yummmm!

I hope all of you enjoyed  the day and your time with your families.  We’ve lost a few family members this year and have welcomed a new arrival as well.  Keep them all in your thoughts.

Posted November 23, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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