Friday, September 30, 2016

My garden put the pep in my peppers!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Every year I plant a veggie garden. Some years we have good luck, some years ... not so much.  This year Mr. L dislocated his shoulder, and so the veggie garden went in late (in mid-June). I bought plants at the garden center, stuck them in the dirt, and hoped for the best.

The tomatoes have gone absolutely bananas ... but they're only just starting to ripen. If we have a frost, they'll be toast.  I bought two spindly pepper plants that did nothing until about a month ago--then they went bananas. Yesterday I picked 5 of them and there are still 5 or 6 small ones that may or may not get much bigger. I'll keep watching the weather and if it looks like a frost, I'll pick everything.

Meanwhile, it was time for Mr. L's recipe for ...

SAUSAGE-STUFFED GREEN PEPPERS
 Ingredients
4 medium peppers, with tops cut off and seeded
1 pound seasoned sausage, like Bob Evans hot, bulk, 1 pound roll
1 medium onion, chopped
½ tsp. oregano
1 cup mozzarella
2 cups (1 small jar) Traditional Italian Sauce

Directions

Blanch the pepper bottoms in boiling water for 4 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC, Gas Mark 6).   Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, and then add the sausage and cook until well browned, stirring often to separate meat.

Stir the onion and oregano into the skillet and cook until the onion is tender. Now, stir in the cheese.

Arrange the pepper halves, cut-side up, in your baking tray. Spoon the sausage mixture into the pepper halves. Pour the sauce over the filled pepper halves. Halfway through baking, poke the peppers so any extra juice can leak out (makes for less soggy peppers).

Bake 40-45 minutes until the peppers are tender.

While this recipe is NOT in The Cozy Chicks Kitchen (after all, Mr. L isn't a Chick), there are lots of great recipes you can try.  If you haven't given it a shot, maybe now is the time to do so!

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So, what are you cooking from your garden?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Does someone you love suffer from ‘Man Eyes’?




If so, our sympathies. This condition appears in many families. There is no cure. Or is there?

But what exactly is Man Eyes?  It is the condition when a normal, intelligent person (who has perhaps already had that cataract surgery) cannot see something that is right in front of him.  You notice I do not use the more politically correct pronouns ‘him or her’.  There is reason for that.
Symptoms of man eyes are when a ‘person’ cannot find black socks in sock drawer. 


Or gloves.


Or if his shoes are not where he thinks he left them the night before and now he’s going to be late for an appointment.  

‘Man eyes’ is at its most extreme in the fridge: perhaps there is something to do with the temperature and the bright light that makes most foods instantly invisible and leads the victim to bleat ‘But I can’t see it, are you sure we have mayo?’ 


 Medical science still hasn’t devised a theory to explain this phenomenon, but, trust me, it’s real.  It’s particularly difficult to find something if there’, say,  a small item in front of a larger one.

This morning, when searching for his shoes, my hubby confessed:  “I’m suffering from Man Eyes. I’m going to be late. Have you seen my shoes?

I just had to point.  There they were, on the floor, where you might expect them to be.

He muttered under his breath: “Women Eyes can see though steel plates. It’s like X-Ray vision.”

This is not entirely true, although we should get that spandex shirt with the big S on it.  I did not point out that shorts that are headed for the laundry hamper (shown here) should not be stored neatly folded on top of shoes.  




 I was in a good mood about my Woman Eyes and could afford to be generous. 

Of course, at some future time, I could post about men and laundry hampers.  Apparently, they’re hard to see too.

Full disclosure: I did mention to a certain person (who is very handy, helpful and generally ‘a keeper’) that I would do a post on ‘Man Eyes’ and apparently, we’re still happily married.  And he kindly failed to mention that my “Woman Eyes” prevent me from seeing those trash cans and recycling boxes when they’re ready to be hauled to the curb. 

 
What about you? Any stories to tell?  Come on over. We’re all friends here. Nudge wink.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Some just like to be Needled

Okay, I got my flu shot because getting the flu totally sucks. One bout with it made me a believer of doing everything possible to never get it again.

But mostly I try to avoid taking pills when I’ve got a problem. I think it’s because there are so many side effects. Like when I take my killer pills to get rid of migraines they do that but then I feel like I’m in a total fog for days.

I used to get migraines a lot and got sick of taking the pills so I decided to try acupuncture. It worked!! I mean really worked. No migraines for six months.

I have a friend with a bad ankle after two botched surgeries that made her nearly ready for a wheelchair, she said no more and turned to acupuncture. It worked! She goes back every six months for a treatment but is walking just fine.

When I have a cold I take vitamin C and Echinacea and it really helps. I’m a firm believer of exercise and am going to take up yoga to keep my old body flexible.

Even Cleveland Clinic is getting into the alternative medicine
game. Last year they opened a whole new wing devoted it. Fact is, I’m taking an adult-ed class on the subject where they bring in specialists each week to talk on such issues as chiropractic, herbalists, meditation and the like.

So for the next few weeks I’ll keep you up on what I learn and see if it works for you. Medication is often necessary but some of these alternative medicines go a long way in keeping us healthy.


So what about you? Are you into any alternative medicines? See a chiropractor? Take yoga? Have a sure-fired cure for a cold. Would not think of starting the day without meditating?  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wonderful Autumn Escape

by Maggie Sefton

The view from my hotel window

This past Sunday evening I returned from a four-day writers' conference in St. Pete's Beach on Florida's beautiful west coast.  Novelists Inc or NINC is made up of multi-published authors from every publishing genre imaginable.  Mystery, Fantasy, Romance, Historical, Paranormal, Science Fiction and Young Adult.  And there are blends of all those genres as well.



As you can see from the photos I'm posting, there was plenty of temptation to escape the conference sessions and wander outside in the balmy low 80s weather.  But---all of us stayed to attend the very interesting sessions that were presented on all aspects of publishing in today's competitive marketplace.  Believe me, we learned something at every session.  There were representatives there of publishing houses as well as literary agencies and all the important retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks/iTunes.  And some new ones attended that are located mostly in Europe like Kobo.


Look at the beautiful colors in the Gulf of Mexico waters

The sessions were fascinating as well as providing a chance for writers to get together and socialize.  That is especially fun.  Most of us would escape outside to the many cafes and restaurants scattered around, and even drive off to favorite spots.  We've all built some long-lasting friendships at these conferences.  And, it was especially fun to see fellow Cozy Chick Lorraine Bartlett there with her husband
aka Mr. L.  


Monday, September 26, 2016

VINTAGE COOKBOOKS ARE FULL OF SURPRISES


By Mary Kennedy                     
                                          
While cleaning out a few boxes in the basement, I came across a treasure trove of vintage cookbooks. Many were gifts, some dating back to my grandmother's time. Have cookbooks changed over the years? Yes, big-time. Some of the covers are historical, check out the Gibson Girl hair-do!
                                                                               
 
Some remind us that people loved to party back in the 50's and 60's when people had time to fix elaborate hors d'oeuvres...                                           
                 
 
Some (incredibly!) recall a time when women cooked and men ate (and served as food critics.) Oh dear...
                                                             
 
Some churches and community groups wrote and published cookbooks as fund-raisers (and they still do.)                                                             
Some cookbooks are handed down from generations ago. The plot in Dream a Little Scream, one of my Dream Club mysteries, includes a treasured family cookbook whose recipes might have been stolen by a celebrity chef.
                                                              

      I got the idea from seeing an old family cookbook like this one...
                                                                  
 
Another interesting thing about these cookbooks is that they don't include any nutritional information and people weren't overly concerned with the amount of saturated fat, sugar or carbs in a recipe.  It was a simpler time and people were interested in whether a dish tasted good. If it was easy to prepare, that was a bonus!
                                                            
 
How about you? Do you have some favorite cookbooks from years gone by? Or a folder of treasured family recipes? It's fun to dig in and explore some of these tasty treats from years ago And don't forget the Cozy Chicks' cook book and tea party book. We selected our very best recipes for them.
                                                              
 
 
Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to hear about some of your favorite recipes!
 
Mary Kennedy

Saturday, September 24, 2016

ALI BLAKE AND THE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

By Mary Kennedy                                
 
Hi ya'll, Ali Blake here from the Dream Club Mysteries. Summer is winding down in Savannah--although the weather is still beautiful--and we're trying out some new recipes at Oldies But Goodies.
 
Since my sister Taylor and I believe that "you can never have too much chocolate," I'm experimenting with a recipe for a chocolate mug cake. The customers seem to love it, and I might expand the idea to include other flavors. Somehow a nice mug of chocolate cake just hits the spot with a cup of hot tea (or a glass of iced sweet tea) or latte when you take a break from sight-seeing.
 
If you want a tasty treat for your friends or family, here's the recipe.
 
Ingredients:
 
2 Tablespoons Bisquick
1 Tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
1 Tablespoons white sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon oil
2 Tablespoons chocolate chips (you can use one Tablespoon of chocolate chips and one Tablespoon of white baking chips, or you can use Milk Chocolate Toffee Chips, if you prefer. You can't go wrong with any of these!)
 
  Directions:  Mix the first five ingredients until combined and then add the chips.  Microwave on high for one minute. Let stand for a couple of minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if you want. Delish!     
 
Don't forget to plan a trip to Savannah, it's gorgeous in the Fall, or in any season!                                                                                                                                    
       Mary Kennedy                                                                                                                                          

 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Yum yum -- pot pies!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

I don't like winter. There--I said it. But the ONE good thing that comes in winter is hot COMFORT food. Is there any better comfort food than a wee pot pie? (Or even a BIG one?)


Mr. L LOVES pie. Fruit pies. Me? Not so much. I like meat pies. I make a pretty mean turkey pot pie after Thanksgiving, and have even started buying turkey parts other times of the year so that I can have them whenever I want. I also make a lot of chicken and leek pies. Yum-Yum. Perfect on a cold winter's night.

My aunt makes a really, REALLY good steak and mushroom pie, and when I was in England, every pub had some kind of meat pie on the menu and that's what I always chose.

Of course, the weather report for today is NOT for cold weather, so I'm going to wait a couple of weeks before I make one ... but it's giving me something to look forward to.

What's your favorite kind of meat (or other) pie?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Read, sleep, dream, repeat




 
Around here, we’re a bit like Goldilocks:  two beds ago, we bought a firm mattress with a pillow top.  Somehow, this combination felt like sleeping on a bed of ping pong balls.  Not such a happy time for us and by the time we realized that we were not going to get used to the ping pong balls or even come to like them, it was too late.  We’ll call that the Papa Bear Bed.

Next time, we got a medium-firm bed with a cushiony top.  We must be slow to catch on, because it took a long time to acknowledge that we didn’t like this one either. It was actually way too soft. By then we were in the middle of a health crisis and a dramatic move and Mamma Bear’s too soft bed was the last thing we were worrying about.  We did buy a 'topper' to firm it up and give it a bit more support, but that only improved things a bit.

Mamma Bear can keep her bed

Then on our recent trip to Newfoundland, we had the best beds ever in four of our accommodations (We won't talk about the others.)  The accommodations were pleasant, but not palatial, but we loved the really firm mattresses.  Now we knew exactly what they were supposed to feel like. 

Back home again, we decided that at least one of us was spending up to a third of our life sleeping or napping in our bed (more if you count reading) in a bed that caused tossing and turning.  

So what if the other bed was still in good shape? It was making us miserable.
 
It was time. After a fun filled shopping trip to exactly one mattress store, now we are the proud owners of a FIRM mattress that is very comfortable and made even more comfortable by the fact that it was in a half-price sale.  We found a willing taker for Mamma Bear’s bed and this time we learned that if we are not happy we can exchange the bed.  I’m not crazy about the idea of where those exchanged beds might go.  I don’t want to buy one!   But the whole thing is moot (as they say in the legal dramas) because we are in love with Baby Bear’s bed:  it’s just right. 

Of course, we are a bit worried that we may wake out of our fabulous sleep some morning and find three furry faces frowning at us and complaining about their porridge and broken chairs. But you know what?  It’s worth the risk!

We’ve both found ourselves going to bed just a bit earlier and giving up our crime drama Netflix binging because this bed just feels right.  

The lesson to us was to know what we want, shop wisely and make sure the terms are right. It took long enough, but we’re happy sleepers now. Like the cushion says, read, sleep, dream, repeat.


What about you? Soft bed? Medium?  Really firm?  Let’s make it a slumber party and chat. 

All tips for a good night's sleep are accepted with gratitude!