Thursday, August 15, 2019

A trip to Ybor City Tampa

Last week we were able to head south and enjoy some time with Doug's brother his wife in Tampa. That was so much fun seeing them again.  

Believe it or not but it wasn't as hot in Tampa as it is in north Florida.  We were still hot, mind you, but it was easier to deal with the humidity there. Plus we had a pool at the AirBandB. 

I wanted to share a few photos from the trip but won't add as many as I did to Instagram.

The pool was great.  When it's hot there's nothing like a quick swim.


Of course Aja was along for the trip. We never leave her behind.


A beautiful gate in Ybor City, Tampa.


Here we are! This was taken during a walk around Ybor City.  



What a fascinating tour we had thanks to our sister-in-law Barbara.  She took us around the cigar factories and explained how the workers lived, showed us the cottages and more.  It was interesting and educational.


Let us get to the food. Oh my, the food was fabulous. We ate dinner at Arco Iris and enjoyed Pollo ala Plancha, Lechon and Masitas.  Another day we went to the Tropicana and I tried the Papas Rellenas.  See photo below. 

This lovely was a mashed potato filled with picadillo .  I am inspired to try and make this soon.  Hopefully this weekend.


Once we were home I was inspired to dig out Barbara's Picadillo recipe for a dinner.  So yes.....coming up I will try and duplicate the Papas Rellenas. 


We haven't  made this in awhile and I am glad I did.  Perfect with Maduros and Cuban bread.


Barb's Picadillo


¼ cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1 onion, chopped fine
1 green pepper, chopped fine
1 ½ pounds of ground beef and ground pork mixture
Salt and pepper to taste
A large can tomato sauce (about 15 oz. can)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon basil AND oregano
Roughly a ½ cup white wine
Sliced olives (I use a healing half cup)


Heat oil in pan and saute garlic, green pepper and onion. When they are softened add the meat and cook until browned.

I use a spatula to chop the meat up into a fine consistency as it cooks. Be sure to drain the fat out of the pan after the meat is browned. I hold my sauce pan lid tightly over the pan and drain the fat off into a coffee can or any grease catcher you might use.

Slice the olives and add as many as you like, per your taste.....

Mix in the tomato sauce and all other ingredients........simmer a half hour on low to medium heat. Stir occasionally.

We usually serve it over yellow or white rice and with plantains and black beans.

We ate well while being away.

Next is a healthy salad of grilled chicken breast over salad greens, black beans and feta cheese. Refreshing and cool with a balsamic vinegar dressing.


We enjoyed our visit and the plethora of Cuban restaurants and meals so much that I think we could live there.  It was very mice to be near family for a while.  But you know me, I'm always talking about moving!  Once I retire we will see where we end up.

I will be joining Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series and Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

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Sunday, August 04, 2019

Jamie's Chicken Stew

This stew was inspired by bits of leftover chicken from enchiladas I made this weekend. There was also leftover rice and a few loose veggies in the fridge so I’m taking it all and making a stew for I Heart Cooking Club’s  Potluck theme.  I always have good intentions of joining in and time gets away from me, except this week!

Chicken Stew
(adapted from 
Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 pound diced chicken
2 cups white wine

2 cups chicken broth 2 stalks celery ( I didn’t have any so I used was in the fridge - mushrooms!)
1 large onion
2 carrots
olive oil 1 heaped tablespoon all-purpose flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chop mushrooms, peel and chunk the carrots and slice onion.
Sauté in large pot on a medium heat using a few shots of olive oil.  This takes approximately 10 minutes. I had rice so that went into the pot too. 
Add chicken and flour. Pour in wine and broth, stir gently.  Season with salt and pepper.

Simmer slowly and add more seasonings per your taste. I added roasted garlic powder and it was a nice addition.

Getting in under the wire for Potluck at IHCC!

Sharing with I Heart Cooking Clubs for Potluck, Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking series and Deb at Kahakai  Kitchen for Souper 

Here are the enchiladas that provided some leftover ingredients 😉

Friday, August 02, 2019

In My Kitchen with Trader Joe's

This month my kitchen has had many old standbys prepared for dinner but we did manage to try some new items from trader Joe's store. Some were great and some weren't.

The salmon and sprouts were a success and absolutely delicious. Doug grilled both and it was an excellent meal.


Orange Chicken is a customer favorite at Trader Joe's and it's certainly one we will purchase again.  I added a bag of stir fry veggies to the chicken as it cooked and it was better than the take-away we usually buy for a Friday evening.  Thanks to my friend Stacey in Texas for telling me about this Orange chicken. We also made pot stickers and it was a perfect meal.


Below:  These were the non-winners in the kitchen this month.  The Creamy Pink Primavera pasta sauce was listed as a T.J. customer favorite so we gave it a try.  Oh, it was so bad.  I mean the kind where you are about to scrape your tongue it was such a bad taste.  I should add, this is our opinion and taste buds. :-) Obviously for it to be a fan favorite someone loves it.  We resorted to opening a jarred pasta sauce that's in the emergency supplies to put on the remaining angel hair pasta after binning the original meal.

The Crunch Rolls used to be good but this batch was dry.  Probably I am done buying them.


Hummus! I love hummus. Here is a sandwich I made with a tomato basil hummus spread.  Lettuce and tomato on toasted bread.  Easy lunch to take to work.


I'll share this sandwich with Deb for Souper Sundays.


Linking up with:

Beth Fish reads Weekend Cooking Series
Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sunday
Sherry at Sherry's Pickings for her IN My Kitchen Event

Sunday, July 28, 2019

July Update

Well hello hello to me in my journal. I used to keep paper journals for years and this digital version has replaced it, well about 10 years ago actually. I missed writing in it, on it, whatever.

 The cataract surgery I had went very well. I can’t say enough good things about this ophthalmologist, especially when I hear about other people‘s experiences with different doctors here in the Tallahassee area. Anyway, having to adjust to drugstore readers has kept me from a lot of online processes.

Today I wanted to start a new post as if I’m starting over again. The break gave time to evaluate which social medias I still enjoyed & be a little reflective. I haven't been active on the few I'm linked to, occasionally l shared music selections on my morning commute with Twitter.

When I couldn’t read for almost a month that was a little depressing. I did manage to watch a whole lot of movies though. Lots to be said for passive entertainment.

 Hotel Mumbai was excellent. Based on true events and kept us riveted to the screen.
Mrs. Wilson was also very good, a true story about the elusive Alexander Wilson, Iain Glenn plays this part and how can you not like him.  Three one-hour epsiodes from Masterpiece Theater.

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We also watched a few oldies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Armageddon with Bruce Willis, Total Recall & Seinfeld.

 My reading list is short as I’m halfway through my first book for July, One Little Secret by Cate Holahan. I had finished Into Thin Air by Jon Kraukauer early into July. Apologies for my lack of response and participation with Cook the Books.

 Lots of cooking, grilling and creating in the kitchen. Here’s a start back to food blogging with for Deb’s Souper Sunday event.  This is a simple Black bean and rice soup with chunks of chicken, onion and tomato added.  Thin this with vegetable or chicken broth.  I used chicken broth this time.


Served with fried maduros (plantains), garlic toast and Sofrito from Goya (can't go wrong with Goya brand)


 Check out Deb's Hot and Sour Soup at Kahakai Kitchen this week.

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Saturday, July 06, 2019

In My Kitchen July

Let's take a look at what is in our kitchens this month.  I love that Sherry hosts this event and we get a peek into kitchens around the world.  Some items/foods I can't get in Florida but it's interesting to see the variety of Australian goodies presented.
New knives
This purchase was long overdue.  We had ancient steak knives, the serrated sort.  These are smooth blades and very nice.  Doug found them on Amazon, decently priced. 

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A trip to Trader Joe's store and we scored these cookies.  They are better than Oreos, in my opinion.  No high fructose corn syrup and less expensive than Oreos too.


More deals that made it to our kitchen

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A new wireless mouse which I use when I sit in the kitchen and use the laptop.  Isn't it cute?  A little pink fox.  There were other varieties such as koala bear, birds, hamster, lion, panda and American flag. 


Easy chicken dinner:  This is a toss together meal from the fridge and pantry.  We had a jar of green olives, tomatoes, onions and feta cheese hanging about.  The chicken thighs baked for 45 minutes, glazed with olive oil and paprika.

The relish is a cold one.  I combined the above mentioned ingredients (Except the Feta) with a dollop of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Once the chicken baked we spooned some relish on top then sprinkled with feta cheese.


Sharing with Sherry's In My Kitchen July edition and Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking series.


Wednesday, July 03, 2019

🎵 I can see clearly now 🎵

July.  Can't believe half the year has passed.  I have had a lot going on these past few weeks so the planned June update just didn't happen. 

Something New:  The cataract surgery finally happened.  What a miraculous change. Honestly, I was so anxious about the surgery because it's my eye 😬 ! But all went well.  For what it's worth, if you are extremely nearsighted as I am, it's a life changer.  The left eye was done first making me farsighted.  Knocking a lens out of my old glasses didn't work for me though.  Being farsighted in one eye and nearsighted in the other made me non-functional. I couldn't drive, read, use a computer or crochet.  #sadface

I could watch a movie from across the room, letting my new eye take over for clarity.  That's it.  I missed reading very much and am about to start back soon.  They scheduled the right eye surgery the following week as I was a sorry case.  Now I am healing and taking it slowly using a computer so I don't strain my new eyes.  So if you haven't heard from me and I haven't linked up with you - this is why.

Pet News: Last month Aja was stricken with Vestibular syndrome and needed medical treatment.  That was a bit of anguish to our nerves and wallet.  But she is well now, thankfully.

Sharing recipes: A shout out to Carole at Carole's Chatter for trying the Oregano Lemon Chicken.  Glad you enjoyed it!
Prior to my surgery I posted about Hawaiian Chicken and was planning to link up with Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking series.  But I couldn't see or use the computer linkup.  If you want the recipe it's HERE.  It's good!  Soon I will be linking with Sherry's In My Kitchen for July.  That's coming up/

Watching:  We had more TV time this past month. We watched Everest and it was excellent.  It's the second time we have watched it and this lead to Doug and I both reading Into Thin Air by Jon Kraukauer. 
Disappointments were The Kidd with Chris Pratt Captain Marvel.  We had looked forward to those and they were just Meh
Cold Pursuit with Liam Neeson was surprisingly good with some dark humor.  We almost sent it back to the library without watching it as I thought it would be a rerun of his other movies. 
We also watched Master and Commander and an interesting documentary about The Egg with David Attenborough.

Reading:  I finished Kate Morton's The Distant Hours but I had started that one in May.  In June, prior to surgery Doug and I read Into Thin Air and I read Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce and The Tuscan Secret.

That's was June and now we move on to hot, hot July.  
I'll be visiting around here and there in the near future.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Hawaiian Chicken

I think this was dubbed Hawaiian Chicken because it has pineapple in it. You know how that goes - if something uses olive oil and/or olives it's considered Mediterranean.

This is one of those recipes in the overloaded folder that we have tried, and forgot about for years.  It looks a mess cooking but it's very good.  It's a one pan dish except for the rice you will want to serve along with it.  There is so much sauce and it's very good on the rice.


Hawaiian Chicken

4 legs and 2 thighs (but I use 6 thighs)
a little bit of vegetable oil 1 cup BBQ sauce
2 tbs cornstarch
6 ounces crushed pineapple
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Eventually you'll need to cover the skillet so select one with a lid. Brown the chicken pieces. Mix the other ingredients into a bowl or 2 cup measuring cup.

  Warning - it will look seriously unappealing and you'll give a thought about eating such a concoction. Sally forth and pour this over the chicken. Let it simmer, cover the skillet but check on it now and then so it doesn't burn. While this is simmering make your rice and side dish.

Depending on the brand of BBQ sauce you use this can have a slight kick. It's easy, fast for those workday evenings and reheats well too.

Sharing with Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking Series. 


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Aja, a BLT and June events

Have you ever made plans for hooking up with other foodie blog events, camping, celebrations and such then have things go spectacularly awry due to unforeseen circumstances? June is one of those months that it will happen to us. And it did. Ugh.

Here is a lovely photo of Aja taken June 7, enjoying some music and sucking down biscuits, hanging out with her mom & dad (us).  We had been planning a camping trip to Stephen Foster state park for our anniversary weekend. Today is actually our 35th anniversary and we were meant to be sitting under a canopy, enjoying the wildlife and anticipating a grill steak dinner.

Thursday evening Aja stumbled as a drunk person would, her hind legs going a different direction than her front legs. She crashed into the fridge, the safe and stumbled down the hall into my arms. Then 5 minutes later she was walking fine. WTF?!

Cutting to the chase here, Aja developed Vestibular Syndrome which is treatable but what a scare it gave us all. Just a little over 800 dollars later we learned she would regain her balance and behave normally within 3 days to 2 weeks. She has quite a few medicines to ingest over the next few weeks. The diagnosis was given on Friday.  We were meant to pack and head out camping on Saturday but had to cancel. No one was sleeping well, Aja couldn't`walk without swaying and her eyes were twitching back and forth as if she were watching a fast paced tennis match.  It`s called nystagmus - the constant twitching of the eyes, back and forth.  Obviously this would make one dizzy and nauseous.

By the way, this happens to people too and we have met someone who suffers from it.  Bam, it just comes on and you need to sit down.

As I mentioned earlier I wanted to hook up with a few cooking events but laid plans. One of the days we were home watching over Aja we made simple BLT sandwiches. It wasn't a cool and unique offering for Deb`s Souper Sunday event but I think I will bring it to the party after all.

Obviously you don`t need a recipe for a BLT. I like to load them with fat tomato slices and use the Trader Joe`s bread. That makes such good toast!

I see that Deb had her own health issues with her cat Max so I am sending sympathy your way, my friend. These furry children really tear us up ♥
It seems like we have been on the same wavelength with a few meals in the recent past such as the gnocchi in soup and curry...crazy that our pets had issues the same time. Yikes. Anyway, I hope everyone is well.

Sharing with Deb for Souper Sunday - go check out her Peanut Ramen Soup!

Friday, June 07, 2019

In My Kitchen - June Edition

Happy Friday!  I am pleased the weekend is about to kick off.  Long week......
We've had good food prepared and consumed in our kitchen and off the grill this month so let's see what photos I have to share. 

We are fans of Trader Joe's store and picked up some good deals there recently.  The produce is so fresh and the prices are very good.  Can't beat the deal on Beaujolais or cheeses so we stock up on those when we can shop.


 Balsamic onions - these are very good roasted along side a chicken. Recipe may be found HERE.  You can spend a fortune on balsamic vinegar (I don't).  I don't buy the cheapest brand but wait until a nice one is on sale.


The center of a roasted onion is so tender, I highly recommend it.  This one also has Dijon and lemon butter base brushed on it, then drops of balsamic.


 A few posts back I shared the grilled asparagus.  Can't see as I can eat asparagus now any other way. Ok, maybe in quiche - but grilled asparagus in quiche would be good too.

Anyway, Jama made a comment about "rafting" the asparagus with skewers so they wouldn't fall through the grill slots.  Brilliant!  Shout out to Jama Rattigan for a great idea.


The outside kitchen is the big Weber grill. I celebrated a birthday recently and that means I get to pick the meal. I had been wanting kebabs for a bit so, Doug skewered the asparagus and tossed the kebabs on the grill together.


 Just what I wanted!


Here is the actual kitchen where we eat most of the time. Weather permitting we like to sit outside but it's been so very steamy lately.  We haven't reached official summer yet so hope this isn't a sign of a long blazingly hot summer.  You can see Aja snuffling around near the oven area.


That's a wrap for In My Kitchen.  Thank you for hosting, Sherry.

Sharing with Beth Fish Reads for the Weekend Cooking series.

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A trip to Ybor City Tampa

Last week we were able to head south and enjoy some time with Doug's brother his wife in Tampa. That was so much fun seeing them again....