Monday, October 30, 2017

October Cooking - Slow Cooker Potato-Leek Soup

Ah, it is finally cool enough to make soup. This is an easy, old favorite. Enjoy.

Potato-Leek Soup (Slow Cooker)

4 cups diced potatoes
3 thinly sliced leeks
2 cans chicken broth
8-10 slices of bacon cooked, drained, and crumbled
1 cup evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese(Optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a Slow Cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours. 
Add evaporated milk and adjust seasonings during last 30 minutes cooking. 
PurĂ©e about 2/3 and add back into the remaining soup. Stir. Top each serving with cheese if desired. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October Thoughts

     “How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” 
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Friday, October 27, 2017

October Poetry

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells."
-   John Keats,  To Autumn

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October Goals

     Daily Reading

     Exercise DVD


     A Thousand Days by Arthur Schlesinger 
     Benjamin Rush: Patriot and Physician by Alyn Brodsky
     Without You There is No Us by Suki Kim
     The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

     Saturday -- CB Hash, CSC
Sunday-- Potato Soup
Monday-- Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Coleslaw 
Tuesday -- Chicken and Snow Peas Stir Fry
Wednesday -- Steak, GMP, Peas
Thursday-- Leftovers 
Friday -- Out  
     Month end Finances
     Indivisible Meeting

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Around OakMeadows

While September was our month for hummingbirds, October has been the month of butterflies.  We started our butterfly garden 5 years ago and it has truly born fruit/butterflies this year.  One of the best plants we have found for attracting bees and butterflies is called Blue Mist.  There are two varieties, one blooms in the spring and the other in the fall. And does it ever bloom!! We have daily Monarchs, Queens, Gulf Fritillaries, Common Buckeyes, several skippers, Giant Swallowtails, and today a Pipevine Swallowtail.  Joe and I go out on the walkway and just stand there watching all the butterflies.  

We had a lovely weekend trip to Washington, D.C. to visit our daughter. She has a 16 week old golden doodle puppy who is just a bundle of fur, energy, and love. We had a great time walking the puppy around the city and playing with her in the apartment.  Her name is Lucy. I must say my daughter is an excellent trainer.  We went to the National Gallery which is astonishing and we went to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I was very disappointed with the American History Museum as it was crowded and i thought the exhibits very jumbled. I did like the First Ladies exhibit of their dresses and China.  I liked Abigail Adams’ China best of all.  We met up for lunch with a dear friend from my high school days and that was just delightful. She is every bit the force of nature that she was in high school. 

I found a British mystery series on Amazon Prime that I am really enjoying. It is Endeavor. It is about Inspector Morse at the very beginning of his career and is set in the 1960s. Excellent!!

On the down side, Trump is still President and still embarrassing himself and everyone else. Oh well, as long as he doesn’t start WW III,  we will get through it.  I’ve been taking a break from my đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥ but plan to get back at it the first of November.  9 months down, 39 to go. 

That’s all the news from OakMeadows where the cats eat Fancy Feast and the people make do with leftovers. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Chicken and Snow Peas Stir Fry

An all time favorite. Excellent leftovers.

Chicken and Snow Peas Stir Fry

Marinade: 2 teaspoonfuls each soy sauce, corn starch, sherry, and water

1 pound boneless, skinless,  chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can sliced water chestnuts or bamboo shoots, drained
4 carrots sliced diagonally 
1/4 pound snow peas

Cooking sauce: 
Stir together 3/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons sherry, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch 

In a bowl mix soy sauce, cornstarch, sherry, and water. Mix well. Add chicken and garlic. Stir to coat all pieces of chicken. Refrigerate. 

Place large pan over high heat. When hot add 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken and stir fry until done. Remove from pan and set aside. 

Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Ad vegetables and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. 

Add chicken and cooking sauce. Cook, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. 

Serve over rice. 

October Thoughts

     “The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” 
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Saturday, October 21, 2017

October Poetry

"The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on."
-   Emily Dickinson,  Nature 27 - Autumn

October Goals

     Daily Reading

     Veggie Tray
     Fruit daily

Quilting — Borders

     A Thousand Day’s by Arthur Schlesinger 
     Benjamin Rush: Patriot and Physician by Alan Brodsky
     Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim
     Earthly Remains by Donna Leon

     Saturday -- Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
     Sunday-- Schwan’s Beef Pot Pies 
     Monday-- Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Coleslaw 
     Tuesday -- Schwan’s Chicken Stir Fry
     Wednesday -- Spaghetti and Meatballs 
     Thursday-- Leftovers 
     Friday -- Out 

     Thursday—Flu Shot & Blood Draw for Annual Physical
     Pick up quilt

Thursday, October 19, 2017

After the Wildfire by Brian Alcock

After the Wildfire by Brian Alcock

I am reading a very interesting book After the Wildfire: Ten Years of Recovery after the Willow Fire by Brian Alcock. In 2004 a tremendous wildfire burned through large areas of the Mazatzal Mountains in Arizona. The author lives in Tempe, Arizona and one of his favorite hikes is along Deer Creek which was severely burned in the wildfire.  The book follows him through 10 years of recovery along Deer Creek. It is very interesting as he discusses the flowers and trees and small animals, insects, and amphibians of the area. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Around OakMeadows

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I am a planner/list maker. Several years ago I made a Plan for Travel List that I really like. It takes away the anxiety of getting ready for a trip and worry that I have forgotten something. Here's my List:

Travel Planning/Prep

Flight information 

Hotel/Lodging information 

Things to pack in suitcase

Dental floss
Dental threaders
Scooter charger
iPhone chargers
Ear buds
Extension cords
ZipLoc bag with medications 

Things to pack in purse:

Ziplock bag with HandiWipes

Take coat

Take insect repellent 

Things to do:

Get Cash
Make arrangements with Awesome Paws
Make arrangements with Lone Star Pet Lodge
Put key in ZipLoc bag 
Call Ricky about mail
Set up feeding stations for cats
Clean out litter boxes
Remove lift bar & Charge scooter
Check in and print boarding passes

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October Thoughts

     “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
― Elisabeth KĂ¼bler-Ross

October Poetry

The harvest moon hangs round and high
It dodges clouds high in the sky,
The stars wink down their love and mirth
The Autumn season is giving birth.
Oh, it must be October
The leaves of red bright gold and brown,
To Mother Earth come tumbling down,
The breezy nights the ghostly sights,
The eerie spooky far off sounds
Are signs that it's October.
The pumpkins yellow,. big and round
Are carried by costumed clumsy clowns
It's Halloween - let's celebrate."
-   Pearl N. Sorrels, It Must be October  

Monday, October 9, 2017

October Cooking — Shrimp Jambalaya

This is a favorite around here. Makes great leftovers.

Shrimp Jambalaya 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces Andouille Sausage
1 onion, chopped fine
1 rib celery, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper,  stemmed, seeded, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes 
1 (8 ounce) can chicken broth
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the Andouille Sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. 

Add the onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook, scrapping up any. Downed bits, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in rice, salt, and thyme. Add the tomatoes clam juice, broth, and shrimp. Bring to a boil, lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let stand for about 10 minutes. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Goals for Week of October 8-14; 2017

     Daily Reading

     Good food


     A Thousand Day’s by Arthur Schlesinger 
     Benjamin Rush: Patriot and Physician by Alan Brodsky
     Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim
     Earthly Remains by Donna Leon

     After the Wildfire: Ten Years of Recovery by John Alcock

     Pancakes and Canadian Bacon
     Shrimp Jambalaya 
     Schwan’s Chicken Lo Mein 
     Schwan’s Beef Stir Fry

     Get ready for trip to Washington, D.C.

October Thoughts

     “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” 
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October Poetry

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away."
-   Robert Frost, October

Thursday, October 5, 2017

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent emails to Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am concerned about the Republican tax plan. I want to advocate for poor, hardworking Americans who need cuts more than corporations and people earning over $200,000 per year. Advantages like pass-throughs, estate tax breaks, and write-offs for charitable giving only benefit the most affluent. I expect to see your support for an ethical, fiscally-responsible tax plan that helps our struggling neighbors, not Trump Tower cronies. Thank you.

Sent Thank You to OMB Dir. Mick Mulvaney for his memo reminding senior officials to honor their fiscal responsibility to taxpayers by choosing commercial travel over private charters—even when approved and within the law. I appreciate your respect for hardworking Americans.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am calling because funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program lapsed this Sunday, Oct 1 which risks leaving 9 million kids without coverage. I expect you to act quickly reauthorize CHIP funding and protect kids’ health!

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent postcards to Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cruz and Cornyn:
The president’s bullying of San Juan’s mayor, Carmen YulĂ­n Cruz, on twitter is insensitive, antagonistic, and disgraceful, especially in light of the climbing death toll. I would like you to make a public statement condemning the president’s words and expressing support for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.
P.S. Can you believe he tossed rolls of paper towels to people whose homes had been destroyed?? Just incredible!!

Sent Thank You cards to Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA):
Thank you for holding Jared Kushner’s feet to the fire on his undisclosed email account. I appreciate your thoroughness and persistence in getting to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 elections, including the role the president’s son in law may have played.

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

I really wanted to love this book but I ended up having very mixed feelings about it.  The history of Burma from just before the Second World War was something I knew little about and today’s headlines about the persecution of the Rohingya people piqued my interest. It gets off to an interesting, well-written start so I thought it was going to be a real 5 Star. Soon, though, I was slogging my way through overthought out, over written introspective prose. Every page has endless description of every facial expression and thought and every change of thought and every thought about the thought. A second and equal problem, perhaps more irritating, is that there is no ending. After three hundred pages with these people, it just ends. No epilogue to explain what happened to this family that you've learned so much about and grew to care about. Most unsatisfactory end. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

September Life Around OakMeadows

Yes, this life form is here too. 

September Life Around OakMeadows 

     Ruby-throated Hummingbirds 
     Barn Swallows 
     Red-tailed Hawk
     Collared Doves 
     White-winged Doves
     Mourning Doves 
     Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 
     Black Vulture 
     Black Swallowtail 
     Gulf Fritillary 
     Giant Swallowtail 
     Little Sulphur 
     Red Admiral 
     Painted Lady
     American Snout 
     Eastern Pondhawk 
     Blue Darter 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Podcasts ( in no particular order) that I like:

Audio Dharma
An Organic Conversation 
KEXP Presents Mind over Matter
PRI: Living in EarthMSNBC Rachel Maddow 
The Book Review
Open Source
The Frontline Dispatch
Right, Left, Center
Stay Tuned
Pod Save America
Fresh Air
Climate One
TED Radio Hour
Nature Podcast
The Atheist Experience
Tara Brach 
Stuff You Missed in History
Hidden Brain
Planet Money

I can always find something interesting to listen to from this selection. I’m sure there are others that I haven’t come across. If you have a favorite, please let me know. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows 

Good news and awful news. First the awful news. 

Another mass shooting and the NRA lobbies for silencers. Maybe the next mass murder will at least be quieter. I’m so annoyed by this nation that I’ll say no more. 

Good news: I have discovered podcasts and Stitcher. Probably old news to many but new to me.  I’ve been listening to individual podcasts but since discovering the app for Stitcher, I’ve found many interesting podcasts and a simple way to keep them in one place.  If you like podcasts, give Stitcher a try. 

That’s all the news from OakMeadows where the cats have decided to let the dog live and the people are wondering when we will stop the madness. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October Menu

October Menu

1.  Slow Cooker Beef
2.  Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
3.  Chicken-Rice Bake
4.  Steak, GMP, Peas
5.  Leftovers  
6.  Out
7.  Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
8.  Pancakes and Canadian Bacon 
9.  Shrimp Jambalaya 
10. Chicken Tenders, Beans, Coleslaw 
11. Meatloaf, GMP, GB
12. Leftovers 
13. Out
14. Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
15. Slow Cooker Chicken
16. Tuna Salad Sandwiches 
17. Schwan's Chicken
18. Pizza
19. Leftovers 
20. Out
21. Scrambled Eggs, Canadian Bacon 
22. Potato Soup
23. Baked Fish, Beans, Coleslaw 
24. Schwan's Pot Pie
25. Spaghetti and Meatballs 
26. Leftovers 
27. Out
28. CB Hash CSC
29. Schwan's Beef Stir Fry 
30. Fried Shrimp, Oven Fries, Coleslaw 
31. Stuffed Wieners, Corn