Monday, March 30, 2015

Shrimp Jambalaya

This recipe is taken from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I have made a few modifications (such as less salt and more thyme).  I make this about once a month. It makes awesome leftover lunches. 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 rib celery, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, chopped fine
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (uncooked)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, untrained
1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice
1 can (2 cups) chicken broth
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the Andouille sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot. 

Add the onion, celery, garlic, and red bell pepper to the fat in the pot.  Cook, scrapping up any browned bits, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. 

Add everything else to the pot: rice, salt, tomatoes, clam juice, broth, sausage, and shrimp. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Stir in parsley just before serving. 

Makes about 6 servings. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Meditation

What can you do to promote world peace?  Go home and love your family.  Mother Teresa

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there,
  of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there,
  a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade. 

And I shall have some peace there,
  for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning,
  to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer,
  and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings. 

I will arise and go now,
  for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping
  with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway,
  or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core. 

Goals for Next Week

     Daily Bible Reading

      Sit and Be Fit
      Cut way back on sugar

Quilting: Block #17

     Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith
     Eat Sleep Move by Tom Rath
     The Gift of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

     Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Cabbage
     Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
     Beef Noodle Soup

     Buy new towels and washcloths
     Clean out and organize video cassettes and DVDs

     Start looking for spring clothes. 
     Class Reunion project

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blooming Spring

Here on the Texas Gulf Coast spring is bursting out all over. Here are some of the things that are blooming at OakMeadows. 

Bridal Wreath Bush with Redbud Tree in the background

Mexican Plum Tree 

Mexican Plum Tree

JMM sorting stamps with his trusty lapcaf

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

OK, I am the only person in America who has never read a book by Anne Tyler.  But I happened to hear Diane Rehm interview Anne Tyler about her new book, The Blue Spool. Now I don't generally like multi-generational family sagas because they are usually too long and I get lost in the complicated genealogy. But I decided to give it a try and I was not disappointed. 

The book is about three generations of the Whitshank family of Baltimore.  The really strong point of the book is how well drawn each character is.  They are people you know or might meet at the grocery. The down side is that the story is not well defined. You sort of walk into the family, move backward and forward in time, and then just walk out. 

It was a good read and I will probably try another of her books. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Around OakMeadows

Around Oak Meadows

I am finally over my head cold. It is so nice to get my head out of the Kleenex box and not spend my nights in the recliner. 

There is a feral tabby cat in our neighborhood and on one of the few times my Misty got outside, the tabby must have been lying in wait for her and bit her back left leg. When she fled back inside, she looked ok and we didn't realize she had been injured. Well, the bite formed an abscess and by the
time we noticed, she was one sick little cat.  I took her to the vet who cleaned it out and put in a drain, gave her a long acting antibiotic injection, and 5 oral syringes with analgesics for pain.  $475. I told my daughter that if I had it to do over again, I'd send her to vet school. Anyway, cat is much improved and I hope she has learned her lesson about how going outside is not all it's cracked up to be. 

We are dog sitting our daughter's dog, Daisy, this weekend. So between Daisy's 3 meds and the cat, I am running an animal hospital. 

I am on block #15 of the monster quilt....41 blocks to go....ack!

Spring has arrived around OakMeadows.  The Bridal Wreath bush is blooming.  The Mexican plum tree is blooming. And the azaleas are just beginning to bloom. Lots of bees on the Mexican plum, the salvia, and Mexican heather. The trees are all leafing out and the weeds are taking over the flower beds. The down side to all this Spring beauty is the oak pollen. It is so thick some years that I literally
sweep it into piles. I am not very sensitive to it but a lot of people are. 

I heard Diane Rhem interview Anne Tyler about her new book, A Spool of Blue Thread, and it sounded interesting. So I bought it for my Kindle.  And it is excellent! I'm not finished but so far so good. I am still reading Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith with the GoodReads History Group; just excellent!  And I have started Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.  Yes, I am a biblioholic. 

Lots of good cooking this week too. I baked an Applesauce Raisin Spice a Cake with a vanilla cream cheese frosting. So good. I had some sausage that needed to be used up so I just baked it and made garlic mashed potatoes and green beans to go with it. And I made cutlets and cream gravy with the leftover potatoes and green beans.  Nothing fancy but all good. 

The swallows have returned. We saw the first scout about a week ago but this morning I noticed that
the whole boisterous crowd of them were back.  It looks like about 30 of them made it back.  I
wonder how many baby swallows we will have this year?  Last year we had a record 15 babies survived to fly from the nest.  So far I've only seen one hummingbird. I have the feeder filled and out but so far only one.