CHANGE OF SCENERY

12 Jul

Summer is moving right along and a little too quickly for me. June came and went like a welcomed Summer Breeze. Fortunately, I did attend my grandson’s graduation from High School and his fabulous graduation party at a lovely country inn, and spent 10 days visiting my son and daughter-in-law and their boys-actually one of the boys is interning in California, and I did miss not seeing him. I had a wonderful time and like summer the time went to quickly.

My grandson occupied me home on Amtrak departing from Washington. It was a fun experience and I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute if I had to do it again. The ride was very comfortable with reclining seats. It was very relaxing and an added perk, the train has Wi Fi . The coach was very quiet, no load chatter, because everyone was busy with their various electronic do-dads.

It was great to spend quality time with my son and daughter-in-law. On my son’s day we drove through some beautiful country and visited the historical Civil War Battlefields-this resonated with me because I enjoy reading novels baste around the old south and the Civil War. One of my old time favorites of course was “Gone With The Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, so you can imagine how excited I was when “ Scarlet “ by

Alexandra Ripley, the sequel to Gone With The Wind was published in September 1991                             and several years later “ Brett Butler’s People” the authorized novel based on Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind was published in November 2007. It felt like Scarlet and Brett were people I actually knew and I was anxious to know how their lives turned out. Standing on the grounds where so many died was chilling. We stopped for lunch in a quaint Historical Tavern on our way to West Virginia to spend some time at a casino-a plus, I came back with a few more dollars in my pocket.

What did my daughter-in-law and I do on our “Girls day out?” Shopped of course, and had our favorite salad at the same restaurant that we ate in last year during my visit, and would you believe we had the same waitress and she remembered us. We also spent a day visiting Hidden Brook Winery, one of the beautiful wineries that Virginia has to offer for some wine tasting and absorbing all the great information pertaining to wine. We had lunch, which included a selected wine on the cozy porch that overlooked the beautiful landscaping, and enjoyed the live entertainment and the wine of course.

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Battlefield

As the map depicts, the battlefields extend for miles and miles and is untouched land (sacred ground), a living memorial to the men who lost their lives in the Civil War.

Our wonderful afternoon at the Hidden Brook Winery.
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During the week when everyone was working Tassy (pet cat) who developed an attachment to me wouldn’t leave my side, so she and I hung out and just enjoyed doing nothing all day. I did make three dinners for the family, he made me feel useful and it was very well appreciated. We did however dine out several times an honestly I was afraid to get on the scale when I got home and too my surprise, I lost three pounds.

I really was amazed; especially after the delightful dinner my daughter-in-law cooked the night before I left. She wanted to try a new recipe for lamb meatballs with yogurt cucumber sauce and shish kebabs. She included a medley of fresh vegetables and a delicious cucumber sauce. The best part was that she cooked every thing on the grill in no time at all. Now if I call her tell her how much that I enjoyed her dinner, I think that she may share the recipe with us.

Daughter-in-law grilling her fabulous dinner
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Since I have been home, I am slowly getting back in the swing of things and the first thing that I did was restock my fresh vegetables because I just can’t bring myself to eat anything but fresh vegetables in season. Thank goodness that our Farmers Market has move to what we call Paradise Green, which is just down the street from me-well it is a long street. I bought so much, but I delighted my taste buds and used every thing that I purchased. I FEEL SO HEALTHY!

I do try to eat fish twice a week and what could be more refreshing than a Cod Cob Salad on a hot summer day. Also I used a left over chicken carcass from a rotisserie chicken that I made in my Set It and Forget It Rotisserie, I am sure that you have seen their Infomercial on TV-well I have had mine for years and I love it. I used the carcass to make a wonderful stock for my chicken soup with my carrots, zucchini and yellow squash noodles, which were made with my newest gadget the Veggetti.

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My grilled chicken salad contained just about all my left over pieces of this and that in my refrigerator, fruits, vegetables, nuts and Feta cheese. I also served the salad with marinated grilled chicken tenders and a strawberry and raspberry vinaigrette. Delicious!

WHO NEEDS A RECIPE FOR A SALAD? Actually that was a comment on Face Book when someone posted a recipe for a salad. So instead of recipes, I am just going to throw out SOME IDEAS.

For the Cod Cob Salad, I used chopped boiled egg, chopped fresh tomatoes, and oven baked panko breaded Cod cut into one inch pieces, cucumber chopped and crumbled bacon. I served it with a ranch dressing with added sweet pickle relish and crumbled blue cheese.

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For the Grilled Chicken Salad, I used chicken tenders marinated in an Italian Dressing-oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. I grilled the chicken inside on my handy, dandy cast iron grill pan. I tossed my fruit (strawberries, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries) nuts and Feta cheese gently with mesclun (mixed baby greens) and served with a homemade strawberry and raspberry vinaigrette by placing the berries, a tablespoon of Sorrel Raspberry All Fruit Spread, a splash of olive oil and vinegar in a processor and pulsing until of desired consistency.

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The chicken vegetable soup was a no-brainer. I picked some of the chicken off the carcass and reserve it.   Placed carcass in a large soup pot and covered the chicken carcass with cold water and let it simmer for at least a half hour. I strained the stock in another pot and removed the carcass and bone remnants and returned it to the original pot. I added a peeled onion, celery and parsley tied in a bunch and seasoned to taste. I simmered the stock on a very low heat for approximately 45 minutes. To add additional flavor I added 1 to 2 cups of unsalted boxed chicken stock (I use unsalted Kitchen Basics) and added the vegetable noodles and any pieces of chicken picked from the carcass. Cooking until vegetables are tender. I served my soup with a Whole Wheat bagel sprinkled with a small amount of shredded mozzarella cheese and topped with a fresh large tomato a splash of Italian dressing, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and a thin layer of mozzarella cheese and broiled on low until the cheese was melted.

SEE- NO RECIPES, JUST SUGGESTIONS!

I Certainly had a veggie explosion this week eating through my farmer market’s purchases of zucchini, yellow squash, green beans that I prepared in my Ziploc Steaming Bags with a pat of Smart Balance, Herbal Seasoning-I make my own no-salt seasoning, but try Mrs. Dash Salt-Free which is readily available in most Super Markets-you just microwave for a few minutes-directions on the bag. They are great and everyone that I recommended them too just loved them. I also bought corn, blueberries and lettuce and

Cherries.

Cherries are in season and they are so delicious and oh so good for you especially if you suffer from arthritis or gout. Excess uric acid in the blood is what causes pain, swelling, tenderness and inflammation. It seems that uric acid can be considerable reduced by eating cherries. Cherries can also fight cancer because the deep red color of cherries comes from flavonoids, the powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body and helps keep cancer cells from growing out of control and the deeper the color the more beneficial they are. Also drinking a glass of tart cherry juice before bedtime will induce restful sleep.   Cherry juice contains melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. At one time I would have to go to a health food store to purchase my cherry juice, but to my delight, I have been able to find it in most Super Markets.

Kara from Connecticut is in my CREATIVE CORNER today with her healthy patriotic delectable fruit tray centerpiece for her 4th of July buffet- yummmmm! You can join us in our CREATIVE CORNER by sharing your creative endeavors with our readers-cooking, crafts, decorating ideas or whatever you think would be of interest. It is fun and as one participant shared in an e-mail “ I told all my friends and I felt like a celebrity” well I wouldn’t go that far!

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Don’t miss my blog for a great Yogurt Blueberry Muffin recipe and my member’s only blog for a great zucchini bread recipe that makes two loaves. Not a member? Just follow the directions on the bottom of the page. It is free and only means that you receive an e-mail blast when the site is updated and as a member you have access to my members only blog.

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