Saturday, February 27, 2010

R.I.P. Willow

Today we lost the smallest member of our family, our beloved cat Willow. She was only 3 years old and suffered from leukemia probably since the day she was born.

Willow had been acting strange since we returned from Nashville three days ago, hardly eating and spending most of the time cuddled up in her favorite chair (my chair) in our small office upstairs.  This morning when I went down, I found her lying on the kitchen floor, something very unusual for her as she usually drove me crazy until I opened the door to the garage where her litter box is and where she was fed.  My daughter took her to the vet at noon and the news was not good.  She had water in her lungs and she was having a hard time breathing as well as other things, probably as a result of her leukemia. The vet and my daughter both agreed that it was best to put her down and that was what we did.  We buried her this afternoon in the woods between our house and the lake.

Willow came into my daughter's life three years ago, a stray that she fed for awhile until an ice storm hit Atlanta one night and Willow meowed herself into the house. She was the best cat I have ever met.

She will be missed by her Westie sister, Lucy, who loved to chase her around the house and by her Lab sister, Lily who adored her since the day she arrived. She will also be missed by her mother and me, her grandmother, who in spite of the fact she doesn't like cats, fed her every night.

You were a good cat, Willow and we will miss you very much.

New yard

That is the most beautiful bird I've ever seen

An armistice...of sorts.

You come one inch closer......

I wonder how long this detente is going to last...

Stop following me!

What do you see, Luce?

Hard Day's Night

There are no words to describe this

Good night, little angel...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hot Toddies, Roast Chicken And Brownies!

From the looks of it, winter isn't ending any time soon.  We are having friends over this weekend and I'm sure some kayaking is in the program.  It's almost worth it to brave the elements just to come home and enjoy one of these by the fire... nothing like a hot toddy after a few hours on the lake!

To simplify my life and be able to enjoy some time with my friends, I am planning on Roast Chicken With Red Potatoes and Carrots, one of my no fuzz Sunday dinners, with Brownies and Coffee Ice Cream for dessert.  How simple can that be!  The recipe is over at Lindaraxa's Garden, my main recipe blog.

Yield: serves 4

Time: 15 minutes


4 slices of red apple

3 cinnamon sticks

3 slices of orange

2 cloves

16 oz simple syrup (equal part sugar dissolved in water)

16 oz bourbon whiskey


Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and put over low heat. Slowly bring up to a simmer to infuse the bourbon, and keep over low heat for 5-7 minutes until the fragrance of the mixture becomes more apparent. Serve warm.

Weekend Family Dinner Menus

This weekend's family dinner menu has been posted on Lindaraxa's Garden.  Come check it out!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rib-Eye Steak With Black Olive Vinaigrette

These steaks are great on their own but the vinaigrette makes them extra special!

Serves 2-4


Rib-eye Steak:

1 2-inch rib-eye steak, boneless

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon herbes de Provence

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper  

Black Olive Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup black olives, pitted

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


For the Rib-eye: Preheat your grill pan on medium high heat. Coat the beef with olive oil and sprinkle with the Herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes a side until the meat is medium-rare, remove from heat, and allow to rest.

For the Black Olive Vinaigrette: Combine the olives, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until mixed. In a small pitcher combine the olive oil and vegetable oil. Drizzle the oil into the blender with the machine running. Transfer the vinaigrette to a serving dish. Stir in the parsley and serve with the rib-eye.

Adapted from Giada de Laurentis

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Scalloped Oysters

This old time favorite makes a delightful appetizer, particularly at this time of the year!

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


1/2 cup butter or margarine

4 1/2 cups crushed saltine crackers

2 (12-ounce) containers fresh oysters, undrained

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 1/4 cups half-and-half

2 tsps sherry

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce



Melt butter in a skillet; add cracker crumbs, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned.

Drain oysters, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Place half of crumbs in a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish; add oysters. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley, and remaining cracker crumbs.

Combine reserved oyster liquid and half-and-half, sherry and worcestershire sauce; pour over cracker crumbs. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Circus Zebra Escapes into Downtown Atlanta During Rush Hour-

Atlanta is full of interesting animal stories.  A couple of weeks ago we said goodbye to a panda, today a zebra managed to bring rush hour traffic to a standstill.

"The animal was first spotted around 4:30 p.m. in downtown Atlanta, said Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Monica Luck.

It made its way through downtown to the interstate highway that cuts through the center of the city.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the zebra was spotted "in the parking lot near the Richard B. Russell Federal Building, near Centennial Olympic Park, CNN and on the Downtown Connector."

Daniel Nance told the paper, "All of a sudden, a freaking zebra comes running down the street like a car. Five or six police cars were in hot pursuit. And a bunch of officers on foot. But then I got scared, thinking … what else is loose?"

Police cruisers blocked off all southbound lanes and were able to herd the zebra over to the right shoulder and off an entrance ramp, Luck said.

"It wasn't on the highway very long," she said. "But it was an inconvenient time for this to happen because the downtown connector southbound usually gets backed up on its own, that time of day."

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is in town this week. The circus also had a group of elephants corralled Thursday in a downtown Atlanta parking lot.

It's not the first time a zebra has been spotted along a metro Atlanta highway. In April 2008, a 2- to 3-month old zebra was found injured along Interstate 75. Authorities said at the time they thought the young zebra had likely fallen from a truck passing through Georgia and was then hit by a car.

The zebra in the 2008 incident was rushed to the veterinary school at Auburn University in Alabama, where he received several operations. He was then taken to the Noah's Ark animal rescue center in Locust Grove, Ga., where he was named Evidence and still lives today."

AP/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Skate with brown butter, honey and capers

This is a great recipe to have on hand  for a quick and easy way to prepare fish. If you cannot find skate, you can substitute halibut steaks or fillets as well as fillets of black sea bass, red snapper, grouper or other firm, white-fleshed fish. The substitution is not perfect, but each of those fish responds beautifully to the same treatment

Yield 4 servings

Time 20 min


Flour for dredging
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 skate wing fillets, about 1 1/2 pounds total
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons capers, drained, or to taste
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish


1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place some flour on a plate, and season with salt and pepper. Put oil in skillet so that it coats the bottom well, and turn heat to high. When oil shimmers, dredge skate lightly in flour, shaking to remove excess, and add it to pan. You may need to cook the skate in two batches.

2. Cook until skate is nicely browned on first side, about 5 minutes, then turn. Cook on second side, adjusting heat so fish does not burn, until it is firm to touch, 3 minutes more or so. R

3. Add butter and honey to pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbly and brown, about 2 minutes. Add capers, and swirl them around, then pour sauce over fish. Immediately add vinegar to pan that butter was in, swirl it around, and pour it over fish. Garnish with parsley, and serve.

Adapted from Mark Bittman

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Weekend's Family Menu...Lipton's Meatloaf With a Twist!

The entire menu is up on Lindaraxa's Garden.  It is one of my family's favorite meals and very simple and easy to prepare.  Check it out!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chinese New Year...Minced Chicken with Walnuts in Lettuce Cups

This week we are hitting the trifecta of the food world.  Valentines Day, Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year.  If you publish a food blog, you could easily be a good candidate for a heart attack.  Fortunately Im not celebrating any of them in my house this year, but if I were, I would be sure to have plenty of these on hand.  They are delicious and a good alternative if you are trying to cut back and get ready for the big one, Valentine's Day!

This is my version of a favorite banquet dish that's often served on festive occasions as a symbol of longevity. The crisp, chilled lettuce makes a wonderful contrast to the warm filling, and the sweetness of the hoisin sauce.  If you like Chinese food, I encourage you to try won't be sorry!

4-6 servings

6 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms (or dried black mushrooms)
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or duck meat
1 tablespoon oyster-flavored sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 clove garlic
 scallions chopped fine
1 small carrot, finely minced
1 small stalk celery, minced
1 cup diced water chestnuts
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine OR dry sherry
1 teaspoon sesame oil
vegetable oil
Hoisin sauce
Soy Sauce
12 small iceberg lettuce cups


Clean mushrooms, discard stems and chop caps.

Spread walnuts in a pie pan. Toast in preheated 350-degree oven, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let nuts cool, then coarsely chop.

Cut chicken or duck into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a bowl with oyster-flavored sauce; stir to coat. Let stand 10 minutes.

Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add vegetable oil, swirling to coat sides. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add chicken or duck and stir-fry 1 minute. Add carrot, celery, scallions and water chestnuts; stir-fry 30 seconds.

Cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Add wine and sesame oil; cook until heated through. Add walnuts and toss to coat. Add 1 TB soy sauce and 1 TB hoisin sauce. Toss to coat.

To serve, spread hoisin sauce on a lettuce cup, spoon in some of chicken mixture, in lettuce cup and eat out of hand.

Photo: Serious Eats

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lake Lanier Awakens to a Winter Wonderland!

This morning I woke up fully expecting the snow to be all gone but there it was!

OMG it's still here!

Time for my UM sweater

Tough to follow tracks in this stuff

Let's hit the road, folks!

On the way to the lake

Neighbors! nice

You silly dog!

How many times do I have to tell you!!

Silly dog

She never listens to me...

The next header???

Our cove from the dock


Tough choices!

Okay, time for tea!

My Florida living room in the snow!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The South Gets ITS Snow!

Vancouver move over...It's OUR time now!

My granddaughter's first taste of snow!

From our dock

Our cove on the lake

Our dock

Wait for me!!!

See? real snow!

In case you don't believe me....

the neighbor's cat under the birdfeeder

Our cat watching Lucy watching the neighbor's cat under the bird feeder!

I can wait...

Where that dumb cat go??

Okay, just one...I've got things to do!

Try going up that hill now..

Our front yard

Tea time!

Time for a fire

Someone forgot to arrange that pillow!


Related Posts with Thumbnails