Sharing Some Culinary Ideas from the Weekend

The coffee this morning is First Watch’s “Project Sunrise” that we bought at their restaurant Saturday. I normally buy beans so that “fillers” cannot be added, but was actually glad that we had some already ground as yesterday was just as busy as Saturday.

Yesterday, after the blog entry, I got up and worked on the laundry some, fixed myself breakfast, and then George and I went to the store for just a “couple of things” and some things that Mom needed. (I finally found her little Dr. Peppers.) We ended up with a buggy full of stuff. lol. Geez. One of the things we bought was a 24 pack of wine advent calendar box for the days leading up to Christmas. We had always wanted to do this but never could find one. Determining that the price per bottle was not that bad and that they were from France, Chile, Spain and other places, we figure it’s probably going to be pretty good (we shall see – maybe not). I’ll give you reviews. There is even numbered holes in the box where you stick you hand in and pull it out for that day. No pics yet. We left it in the basement, out of the way until Dec 1.

Once we were back, I rebooted the laundry, did the ironing for the week while talking and Facetiming Katy and River. He is pulling up on things already and crawling of course all over the house.

I fixed popcorn for a quick minute and watched a “Traveling Robert” show on YouTube. Then I set about to chopping up my veggies for the week (celery and peppers). And also I set about to making dinner which was Rotel Chicken Spaghetti.

I apologize ya’ll that I have not been taking many pics to share while doing things around the house. I normally do better than this. And take pics of everything but it seems whenever I want to take a pic my phone/camera is either charging or it’s on the opposite ends of the house and these days I’ve just said “forget it”.

But my kitchen endeavors yesterday turned out to be successes. And for the Rotel Chicken Spaghetti, after looking at several recipes and seeing possible ingredients, I decided to toss the recipes out and do my own version and it turned out to be a success. Matter of fact, I think you can use just about any ingredients and any sauces, to come up with a fairly successful version. So why not call it a pasta surprise, lol. No recipe here properly written but giving you the idea.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Pasta Surprise (Rotel Chicken Spaghetti)

I sautéed garlic, onion, and a nice looking fall orange bell pepper in olive oil until soft, and then added Rotel tomatoes (drained) to kinda breakdown the tomatoes a bit. Add any seasonings here – I added mainly salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.

I had already boiled the noodles, and it’s best to do them al dente since you will be cooking them again and don’t forget to rinse them with cold water in the strainer so they don’t continue to cook. I also use vermicelli. It cooks faster and it’s fun to eat the smaller version.

I got a big casserole dish out and sprayed with Pam (Olive Oil version) and put my noodles in, and then put the sautéed mixture on top, then put the diced chicken in (from my Rotisserie chicken we bought yesterday). I didn’t use all of it – it was a whole chicken but I used the rest for chicken salad.

After the layer of diced chicken I added about a half can of little green peas and then added the cream of chicken soup (not made, just the condensed version) and it took 2 cans and spread that out over the chicken, then add the cheese. I used Velveeta as recipes said to use it, but it’s changed somehow and it’s just too yucky for me. I think next time I will use regular cheddar for this dish. I think our tastes have also graduated above this processed cheese version.

That said it was still good but I scooted a lot of my Velveeta to the side. It had a hard time melting in the oven and I was thinking I didn’t want to put that stuff in my body and my arteries. So I’ll be changing that next time.

Everyone went back for seconds! I was happy. And here’s what I’ve been doing for a quick weekend breakfast that gives you energy and lasts long into the day so you can “get stuff done”…lol

Photo by Elina Fairytale on

Sonya’s Quick Breakfast Power Bowl for an All Day Feel Good Fix

I start by dicing a small potato and sautéing it – starting out with the oil on high or next to high setting to get the oil good and hot and sizzling, then quickly switch to medium or close to it. But the fun here is reaching into the freezer and throwing in either frozen (plain chopped spinach, not creamed) OR some of the frozen green and red peppers and onions mixture that I keep in the freezer. And then whisk up 2 eggs and pour in and scramble that along with the sautéed mixture til done and pour in a bowl. It makes a bowlful but that is your breakfast for the day! Add a piece of fruit and toast and you would be stuffed and probably not want to eat until dinner. If your spouse wants some, just throw in two more eggs and BAM it is expanded already. This is a very quick fix I’ve found. It takes hardly any time. And it is so filling. And healthy. Again no pics. I’m sorry!

Week Ahead

Looks like we have an eye appointment this week on Wednesday afternoon. They had to move it from Friday. So that is all the appointments that we are aware of anyway.

For the household, I did not get to vacuum and the floors need it so I will try to knock that out in the evenings.

After that I can focus on Christmas items and planning (what to get people) and also on getting through this list below which is hard to get to, but I always try. Plus I’ll be trying to find time to work on the next video.

The challenge is going well. I am making better decisions for myself when I eat alone and doing the best I can when I’m with others. It is hard when others don’t want to eat like you want to eat. lol But I knew this going in and that is why I had not planned for perfection but to just embrace it when I could without impacting others way of life.

The good news is that I went for a 20 minute walk yesterday in the neighborhood. It takes longer than 20 minutes usually as I stopped to talk to neighbors. lol. But I started all over so I could get my non-stop 20 minutes in!

Some of the habits are already sticking as far as drinking water – although I’m usually around 80’s instead of 90’s. I’m accepting that as ok as long as it’s at least over 75. And the not having a 2nd glass of wine unless I have had a glass of water works. When I finish the glass of water, I no longer want (or have time for) the 2nd glass of wine, lol. The difference b/w the 75 and 94 oz of water really boils down to how much water I drink after dinner and before bed. I try and I also have water at bedside and anything counts up to midnight. But I don’t push that last glass unless I really want it/need it.

So the habits are starting to stick. I do have to remember to get my fruit and greens in, so still having to look at my list some but even this is beginning to soak in. Now when I’m at the store I think of “greens and fruits”. Now on Sunday’s I think of “chopping” my veggies to fill up my three little containers for the week. Usually two veggies and a fruit.

So all is good. I find that I was already doing things for people on the “service to others” part of the portal. So I’ve not had to search hard to get that done. This time, I’ve given myself a break if I didn’t purposely set out to do something specific for that day. I just remember things like “oh I took out our bathroom trash this morning” as I have to do it every other day now instead of weekly. Or “I set out Mom’s hand towel for her”. I mean heck I fix coffee every morning so technically that could count for something, lol. But I do try to do some extra things for others. It might be refilling the coffee and silverware in the break room, reaching out to a friend, or simply thinking and looking for things that your Mom would like to eat for the next week and being her eyes at the grocery store. 😉

And that said, it’s time for me to get my hair and make up done and get out of the house and on the road. But that is all I know for now. I will see you all again on Wednesday, Lord Willing. Tomorrow is my early day to make up for the eye appointment afternoons once a month.

Hope you have a groovy week ahead. Wow, “groovy” – haven’t used that word in a long long time. lol

Our Day out in Hendersonville, TN: Sam’s Club Run, First Watch Brunch, and Yazoo Brewery

George and I had a meeting in Hendersonville with our financial advisor and as we do, we like to hit other things in the area – usually favorite shops, a brewery, a favorite liquor store for our wine and happy hour stash, and of course trying new or old favorite restaurants.

Yesterday, much to my surprise, George did NOT have a line up for us. And I got busy and also used to him planning things, so I didn’t really think much of it other than – “we’ll pick a place for lunch, hit a brewery, and Sam’s”. I think we both strongly desired to hit Sam’s Club. So we really ONLY had decided on Sam’s and the rest was up in the air. Totally not like us to not have a scripted plan of order – you know how we plan – and you know how we check off our lists. lol

So the meeting went well and we are thankful with all going on that we didn’t have to take off work or a vacation day for this meeting. As you know our life is a little crazy right now trying to fit it all in with the time we have. All the numbers are looking good for me to retire at 62 and George at 65. He’s three years older and we will retire at the same time. I can’t believe it is so close. In my side bar (or at the bottom, I think if you are on iPhone/iPad) I have a ticker saying how long it will be. Right now it’s 3.2 years away. 😉

After the meeting we went to this liquor/wine store in Hendersonville called Pour Vous and we got there just in time for the Saturday 1:00 wine tasting. We tasted 4 wines and bought one of them. The lady behind the counter was bubbly and talkative and very enthusiastic and also gave generous pours, lol.

Then we went to the restaurant pictured above “First Watch” also in Hendersonville, TN (laughing at the couple intently on their phones). That couple could be us except I’m probably just taking pictures of everything. lol

OH MY GOSH! I absolutely loved this restaurant! Loved the food and the vibe. We even had a mini brunch drink with our meal.

While there, I took pics of some of the wood for phone wallpapers. I’ve been looking for a good one for the fall backgrounds. You can snag them if you would like.

I’m using the 2nd one I posted right now. I love wood. I don’t know why but I love natural colors and textures and not so much a glass type of person like my Mom. She loves ritzy bling and glassware and shiny things. I like rustic but I do love the look of lace against wood. Anyway here is my first two “phone pages” of apps with this background. I’m pretty fond of decorating my phone since I’m on it so much!

Afterwards, George and I went to Sam’s Club. And do you know how entertaining this was? lol lol We had a blast. First of all, all the sample people were there! Yay! It was a VERY COSTLY entertainment though. I think this was a $497 excursion. However, George picked two pair of jeans, underwear, and socks for me to wrap up for Christmas. He also bought all kinds of vitamins, supplements, deodorant and soap. I bought a big huge thing of laundry detergent, a bunch of Dove hand soaps, multiple tomato basil spaghetti sauces, multiple cans of chopped tomatoes. We bought olive oil, bubble waters, mega amounts of crackers for the holidays, a bottle of Quilt Wine which was only $29.99 for the holidays (used to be about $44) and Katy and I have a story about our $80 purchase of Quilt in San Antonio. Friend Lauren had suggested this wine once when I was in Oregon – didn’t get to have it in Oregon but bought it when we got home and have loved the complexity of the flavors. (Good call Lauren). So the Quilt just brings back some memories and laughter and is a special occasion wine- for us anyway.

I texted Katy that we have Quilt Wine, so she must come for Christmas!

So back to Sam’s, we bought all kinds of meats, that were on the bottom there – chicken, pork of all kinds, and you know – I think we didn’t buy any beef. It was very expensive, but we did buy lamb. Lamb was cheaper than normal as was the chicken. We bought like 10 chicken thighs in a huge pack for $5 and then separated them into two packs when we got home.

We bought enchiladas for dinner that were already made and just ready to be cooked. I bought a big thing of pimento and cheese for $5 b/c it’s about that much in the store for a small one. And I bought “loaded potato salad” already made b/c I knew Mom would love eating off of it this week. I also bought a couple of salad kits.

George bought some sushi. And we bought Mom some of her Welches bubbly drinks that are popular this time of year. She’s asked for them for over a month but no one has had them. Well Sam’s did and we bought the red and white and apple cider so she has enough to last til summer of next year, lol.

Also we bought her some of those good frozen hamburgers which they had not had last time. You just microwave them but they taste like a burger out somewhere. They are Angus and so good. We are hoping this helps Mom with her burger cravings as she is not driving up here to leave and go get them. No burgers are not good for you, but when your 77 year old Mom asks for one, you provide. She has not been asking for much, so I try to think of things that will make her happy while she is here for these last few weeks. Their shelves were VERY WELL stocked, unlike our grocery stores. We also bought River a toy/book. So we may have to go to Sam’s sometimes and get her the chicken she likes from there as well as her burgers, lol. Anyway needless to say we stocked up!

We packed and loaded the car with all the Sam’s treasures and packed everything in two coolers with ice. Then went to Yazoo and had a beer and headed home. I got the flight. We enjoyed the outside at 65 degrees but as the sun went lower in the sky and the shade and hefty breeze took over, we retreated indoors. Happy that the tables were spread out.

It looks like a lot when you get these flights. I think it was equivalent to a couple of beers. But I like getting the variety of flavors. And I really find I enjoy a couple of IPA ones now – even the crazy and hazy ones. lol.

So we went home and unloaded into the various freezers and fridges, lol. Mom’s freezer is in the basement and while we have eaten well and eaten a lot out of her big freezer and our medium size one, and our normal freezer that is in the fridge and also we have another fridge downstairs that we keep overflow in that also has a freezer. We are well stocked for a long long time. We keep eating but we keep restocking with good deals when we see them because we keep hearing the prices will soar or that things won’t be available. So I feel good about our finds. It would not have been so expensive if we were not also Christmas shopping.

And then when we got home, I had this wonderful card from Terri, a blog buddy from across the years. This was so sweet and just warmed my heart. Thank you Terri for your kind words inside!

When you get something like this, just because, it just makes you have faith in human kind again. To know people genuinely care enough to address, stamp, and mail a card! It made my day and my day was special too already. So thank you again Terri! I will repay your kindness!

So today….after this blog, I’m showering, heading to the store, and making Chicken Rotel Spaghetti Casserole – I know we had the big Sam’s run but I need Rotel and Velveeta particularly for this recipe. George was fixing a roast for tonight and me the Rotel casserole tomorrow night. But we bought a rotisserie chicken at Sam’s for me to slice up for the chicken. We figured we should let me do that since the chicken was already cooked. Oh and Mom has a few things on the list too that she needs so need to go to the regular grocery store and I can’t seem to find little Dr. Peppers so I may have to get big ones for her.

I also have to finish laundry, change George’s sheets, iron, reset my vitamins for the week, and vacuum, clean bathrooms, and such. I hope to find a bit of time for doing things on my agenda but we’ll see. I’ve already done my devo for the day. I do that every morning with coffee – prayer journal and devo in my chair corner of course. I look forward to it every morning. I do admit that sometimes I wish I could dive into the blog but I’ve made myself put God first. And it’s been a good habit, and the best habit of the year I think.

So I will probably be back in the morning and post pics of anything today. I can’t believe how fast a weekend goes by. I’m going to leave you with Fancy girl, who has been a real sweetheart during her stay. She is very much my Mom’s girl. She doesn’t want to leave her side. A very loyal dog. But lately she has taken to 1) Getting more excited when we come home from work, which I take to mean she has accepted us as part of her “pack” 2) Going outside with me instead of having to have Mom there too 3) Coming to check on me and say hi at various times of the day. I’ve been giving her more food off my plate, saving her bites, and making sure her water bowl is filled at times. I think she has noticed and has started to appreciate me a little, lol. She is sweet so I’m leaving you with her pic today. Oh I just noticed you can see Mom’s reflection in the window there. Oh well.

Two Trips Planned and My Nutritious Eating Strategy, and

The mornings have been foggy on the way to work. Tis that time of year. And are you ready for the mid-week update? lol.

Can you believe we have booked our Texas trip to go see Little Roo (and his Momma and Daddy of course). Flights are booked. We are still waiting to see if we can stay on the ranch. I hope we can since we are paying for flights and cars. If we have to pay hotel too it starts to get expensive and then we won’t get to out there as often. I think it was around $700 ish for us to both fly out both ways total. The car is going to be way more than that. But we can zip around where we want and need and be able to get to and from airport and ranch. Two hours from Dallas/Ft Worth. So not a cheap trip for not even a full week. But I just despise that 14 hour drive. We split it up but still. It’s the drive back that is the worst. I’m glad we are flying.

And much to my surprise we have scheduled ourselves for a trip to the mountains in East TN and West NC in December. We want to see Family in Maryville if they are home when we come through, and we want to go to Waynesville, NC and Asheville, NC. We have already turned in our PTO’s for the rest of the year and first of 2022 and they are approved. We have not booked hotels yet for East TN but we kinda know where we want to book. We will also be able to see family in East TN, we hope. As our dates our pinned in and penned in as well, lol – if they are busy that week we will have to visit an additional time as that is the week we have selected and are going. It’s also a Christmas shopping trip. We’ve not checked with anyone yet in East TN as this is a new trip that we brewed up – but these are busy crew so we’ll see. George and I will have fun whatever we do as we have a lot of places we want to go and few undiscovered yet as we like to explore. The fact that we have two trips in the works, excites my soul. Thank you, Lord!

Here’s a few things I took to work to help meet my goals. I have made a promise to myself for the next 55 days to have something green and have fruit. So this will help. I needed something a little more natural for my crunch/salt addiction thus the chic peas. While I had pretty much given up potato chips, I still allowed tortilla chips and veggie chips. During the 55 day challenge I’m attempting to cut back on that – unless we have a taco dinner. I’m pretty much eating whatever is fixed including cornbread for dinner but that is ok. Because for the most part I’m embracing the whole food approach – especially when eating on my own where there is more control. Since others are involved with dinner I just have to do the best I can. I’m not turning down corn bread. It’s in!

Mom said at the table she was taught to eat whatever was set in front of her that someone has cooked. However, I doubt she would follow her own advice if George set venison or lamb in front of her. lol. I just smiled and told her I had mixed feelings about her rule on that. If I don’t like something I’m not going to want to eat it. I shouldn’t have to. It’s my body and we GET TO DECIDE what to put in it. Who wants people to throw up if they are detested by something they don’t like? There is no point in feeling forced to eat anything. But there is no need to be ugly if you decide NOT to eat something-You don’t broadcast “yuk” through the household – you have to be discreet. Of course at our table George watches my plate like a hawk. He’s very sensitive to see if I eat it or not. I wish he wouldn’t do that. If I don’t eat something he will question me “was it not good?” or “Did you not like it?” or the one that makes me feel bad “I cook for you and you don’t eat it” and sometimes I have to explain myself when he says “WHY didn’t you like it?” and if he doesn’t like my answer he will give me a hard time about it. I get it that he doesn’t want to cook things people don’t eat so it’s ok from that standpoint if he’s trying to adjust. But aside from that, the last thing I need or want is a hard time over what I eat. I’m not five years old and I’m responsible for my own nutrition now. So I don’t want to be treated or made to feel like five.

All that said, I am trying to do better with the nutrition and I told him I was on this challenge and Mom too, at the risk of being sabotaged (not intentionally) so that they might be mindful of it but they are not on the challenge so I don’t want my eating better to “have to” rub off on them. And there are some things I’ve decided not to give up ever – pizza, burgers, hot dog, tacos, corn bread, and cheese. However, we are having them less and less often. Rare occasions.

Most of the week I’m eating better and making better choices and enjoying it. I’ve truly enjoyed the challenge. It’s only been a little bit of effort to try and hit the check marks.

So I had to give the Skinny Girl dressing away. It had something in it that was a sugar alternative that was not natural – aka artificial sweetener. I hadn’t realized it when I bought it. So I gave it to some one who gave me a yogurt flip to try – which was almost like a dessert – that key lime pie flip. It had 17g of sugar. Technically it was a dessert by definition of the sugar alone, but I tossed it off to being breakfast. But I can’t buy those at the store, that is for sure. Too much sugar. But I had Key Lime Pie for real that same night so that was the Dessert day I guess. I have a shower to go to this week and now I can only have two bites of a cup cake. Oh well. I’ve had my dessert already this week. I forgot about the shower.

When I was talking about being sabotaged. The plan actually suggested that you NOT tell people because if you mess up they give you a hard time of it, especially if they are not on a nutrition plan themselves. They want to rib you over it. “I thought you were on a challenge” ha ha ha and make you feel bad and point out your failures. One of my family members already did that – I think the night of the key lime pie. My answer was I’m not going for perfection, just improvement and I’ve allowed myself a dessert a week. Not that I really owe anyone an explanation. But the plan was right, it does make you feel bad. I thought it would be nice to tell people so they give you support, but honestly, I think they just like to test your will power and tempt you and give evil grins when you fall in the traps. lol. So yeah, maybe it’s best to just keep it to your self (and your blog buds, lol).

This works pretty good for a wrap. The taste is not perfect but it was fresh. That is my thing – trying to find a healthy wrap that is not like cardboard. This did the trick.

I count the BEA Mango as a fruit because of the fruit juices and vitamins it has in it. It’s enough to count! Love using my Southerland water container. I think it’s 25 oz or so. I pour from it to a clear plastic drink cup – the kind they use at wine parties. The cup or glass is important. It helps you drink more.

So the bagged salad is good to munch on all week along as you can make side salads or throw it on top of sandwich meat and make a wrap. I did put olive oil mayo on the wrap. I was ok with that for a little fat and flavor.

I also made a rice and bean salad with a bit of vinegar, honey, olive oil and spices. I have eaten from this the last two days as well. It’s been about two servings that would fit in the dish. Perfect for work!

And I’ve got to find more of this mineral water. I think it must have been at Aldi’s. Kroger and Publix doesn’t have it. It’s so good. Only slightly bubbly and not really many minerals to it but it has a taste I love and also am craving, believe it or not. It helps me get more water down. I only will allow about two of these a week b/c I mean the expense of having one every day is just a bit much. But I’d spring for a couple a week for my efforts.

I had more to blog about but it’s time for me to head to work. I’ll have to share more on Friday. But I am excited to get a few things done. I had an Rx problem to solve as there was a communication issue b/w doc office and pharmacy, so had to go pick up my BP meds Monday. George and I got the flights and car rentals done. I gave him some retirement figures for 401k George needed, ordered some Probiotics and B vitamins, and ordered a Christmas present already. I sought out Christmas wish lists from Cody and Katy. Also have to give some to my Aunt Martha for us that she asked about.

Need to find a bow for the bridal gift, call the police dept for that police report, try to figure out why my iPhone is slow slow and fix that, get mammograms scheduled for me and Mom, get a birthday card in the mail, and finish planning trips and book the hotels, then I can work on videos some. I’ll be working on them anyway for an hour in the morning.

But now it’s works turn to have a piece of me so I better get ready and down the road. What’s on your to do list today? Are you busier now that fall is here?