cooking, empty nest, recipe

wafflewiches for one

I do enjoy a good fluffy waffle.

Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free waffle mix base, Mr. Right swirls the recipe to his liking and TA-DA……..perfect waffles every time.

If you have a bunch of people in your home (read that as hungry, hungry teenagers) you most likely double the recipe for a morning breakfast.

However, if you are like Mr. Right and I, we each eat 1 or 1 1/2 one waffles.

The dreaded left over Empty Nest batter issue!  This is a HUGE issue.  Why just yesterday I ran across an article about left over batter and how to get more vegetables into our diets.  This is big news!  

Usually, the lucky dog gets the one left over half. Now, what to do with all that left over batter?  The idea of so much left over batter almost stops you from making the whole batch to begin with.  Nobody wants to waste that much batter.

20150503_083315Once breakfast is over & before you put that waffle iron away,  grate a small zucchini, a carrot & a half of onion right into the left over batter.  Add salt and pepper & Italian seasoning mix.  You can even add a 1/2 cup shredded good quality European Cheddar cheese. Sometimes, I go hog-wild and put in a shake of poppy seeds!  I mix it well and continue making waffles.

This time, they come out all filled with savory goodness.  I use up all the remaining batter.

Let cool. 20150503_093433

Then wrap in wax paper and stack them all in a container in the freezer.

Today, around 3:30 when I am supposed to have a snack. Aren’t we are all suppose to have a snack in the afternoon?   I get out my green juice and pop a wafflewich into the toaster. I choose a jaunty straw for my juice as I wait for the toaster to create some magic.

20150503_093126Hello my toasty, savory, warm vegetable smelling beauty!   The savory scent of seasoning and the little tiny pieces of toasted & melted cheese grab you and start your mouth-watering before you even take a bite.

Here’s to our good health!

What’s your savory snack look like today?

empty nest, great marriage secrets, haPPY

hello again

While our boys were little, Mr. Right did quite a bit of traveling for business.  When he returned home, bearing gifts, the boys would be thrilled & excited to see what treasures he handed out.  I would be so happy.  The boys would be occupied for a bit and Mr. Right and I could smooch and smooch some more without feeling like we were ignoring the boys.  They were after all, busy figuring out and sampling their trinkets and goodies.

The gift bags, read that as plastic hotel laundry bags would include “treasures” that included: mini bags of pretzels and peanuts from airline flights, sometimes plastic pilot wings, or maybe a bag of snacks from the area visited. There would also be hotel pens, hotel note pads and a “do not disturb” sign now and then.  One time, they each got a plastic shower bonnet.  haha, yep, they put them on as they investigated the rest of their goodie bag.  There would be maps of the area or state & brochures with colorful pictures and sometimes even those tiny little pencils they give out at golf tournaments. Without fail, there would just happen to be a brand new Match box car in each bag.

I am not sure why kids and kids at heart, love doodling and drawing with a new-found pen?  Little pads of hotel stationery seem to be the perfect place to try out different designs or a new language you have just made up.  I know as the wife of said Mr. Right, I was delighted to have the extra time to chat with and yes, once again smooch with my boyfriend.

20150411_091321Fast forward a few years.  Mr. Right comes home from a business trip. (side note: golly I love that man & miss him like the dickens when he is out of town)  Notice I said “dickens” not chickens”.  ha

He always comes bearing gifts.  Now a days, home it is just the dog and I.  Oh, how times change. Oh sure I get a couple of smoochies and a t-shirt.  (have no idea when that started, but boy do I have a fantastic colorful, happy collection of amazing sleep shirts) The “gift wrap” is still a plastic laundry bag from a hotel, ha.  20150411_092224Sometimes, I get a piece of fun jewelry, or he brings home a new coin he received in change.  Of course there are brochures, magazines, books,  maps, pens and paper.

Strangely enough, while I am wearing my new t-shirt, trying out the new pen on the little mini stationary, flipping through the latest magazine……Mr. Right is spending his time, rough housing and saying hello again to the dog.

They have such a happy, energetic, fanciful reunion……..I really don’t mind.  I am occupied looking through all my new-found treasures………..hey, wait a minute!

cooking, empty nest, fresh, wellness

food fast

refrigerator 3I’m hungry.  Oh, every mother/wife/aunt/godfather/uncle/babysitter on earth has heard that once or twice.  I bet, most of you have actually seen someone in your family, stand with the refrigerator door open, their arm draped over, gazing into the big huge box.  What is there to eat?

It took some adjusting when the empty nest really was empty.  It was a trick to learn to cook for two normal eating adults, as opposed to two normal eating adults and two ravenous teenager boys.  One bowl of brown rice with veggies and cashews and almonds and pumpkin seeds could feed three to four average adults or ONE teenager.   Portion sizes needed to be adjusted.

I have a couple of friends who are cooking for one these days.  That is tricky, too.    Here’s the thing, no matter how many at your dinner table (YES, set the table, even for one. ) Make it an event, worthy of your time and your health and wellness.  We all are worthy of a meal made with pure goodness.   Even if you are too “busy”.  Oh, how I loath that word.  If you are too busy, adjust your schedule.  Let go of some things that are not worthy of your time. You are not too busy to plan a few days worth of meals.  Make extra, it will get eaten.

Even if you have all day long to cook, sometimes, well you just don’t feel like creating wonderful meals.  This is where FOOD FAST, comes into play.

I bet like me, you have gone into a wonderful deli or market that has a sparkling clean glass case full to overflowing with bowl after bowl of ready-made salads, marinated vegetables, grilled mushrooms and roasted garlic filling white presentation bowls.  Everything, I mean every single bowl has a garnish to make even the savviest caterer swoon.

That is the goal.  The moment you open that refrigerator door, the light magically goes on and there before you is an array of fresh, colorful jars filled with juice, green onions cleaned and standing tall and perky in glasses of purified water.  A ceramic pitcher of amber-colored sun tea, just waiting to be splashed into a glass.  Everything in there has purpose.  It is not out of date.  The lids are not crusted with one month old condiment drippings.  Everything is worthy of your choice.

I remember growing up, a friend said, you can tell how a person keeps house by the crumbs in her butter dish.    Today, I can tell you how a person values themselves and their loved ones by what is inside their refrigerator.

Right this moment, our refrigerator has a white ceramic bowl of hard-boiled (colorful, free range, organic FRESH eggs I gathered), a big bowl of Quinoa, a big bowl of Four Bean Salad, an enormous bowl of Pineapple Fried rice and enough cut up fresh pineapple to make anyone who sticks their head in there want to have a sample.   There is also a container of Miso soup ready to indulge.  By the time you read this, there will be another big huge bowl of FRESH cut up Watermelon, just perfect for snacking.  I spy with my little eye, a bowl of  Lentils  that were cooked with gobs and gobs of garlic and onions and carrots…. oh my.

refrigerator salad 2I have friends who have big jars of Kimchi fermenting and just waiting for someone to dish up a few spoonfuls.  I have friends who have in their refrigerator, right this moment,  tomato cucumber salad marinating in pure goodness.

Are we going hiking?  No.  Are we chopping wood?  No, We are living our normal life.  We all want the same thing.  Food.  Fast.  Sure, sometimes, we all like to cook a wonderful meal that takes effort and time and thought and planning.  However, there are those times in life, EVERYDAY, where you want to build a lunch for tomorrow or sit down and have a big bowl of already to go, bowl of Quinoa.  We are supposed to be eating 5-6 meals  (not snacks) daily.  We need to have some “timber” available and ready to go.

By making the choice to prepare ahead and fill the refrigerator for you and your family, you are screaming to the world you are WORTH IT.   Heck make a big bowl of something amazing and divide it in half.  Trade with a neighbor or friend.  Ta Da…….you instantly have another worthy, beautiful, luscious choice available.  Make next Friday the salad trading day?!!! (lets all make this Friday, clean out & gussy up our own refrigerator day.  Fill it up people!)

You ask about waste.  What if I make this huge bowl and some doesn’t get eaten.  I say, WAY cheaper than buying fast food take out and paying for it and the medical bills to follow.

pineapple fried riceMake the effort to clean out and “pretty up” the “deli” counter in your home.  Make those shelves sparkle.  Cut up some vegetables and fruit to have ready.  Garnish !  I tell you, garnish that Asian dish with some wooden chop sticks.  Make a beautiful “tree” out of  a green onion for a lunch.  Make an effort.  You will be so happy you did.  The moment you see your spouse or kiddos, reach for fresh made goodness, you will secretly smile.

That moment around 8:30 pm when you need a little something…………you walk over, open that magical door and have to decide which glorious bowl looks better.  You will thank yourself.  You are so worth it.

Having the refrigerator well stocked with food that is worthy of your health and wellness is just good housekeeping.  I am worth it.  Are you?  What do you have waiting, garnished and looking gorgeous ready to dig into?  Do you have a potato or cole slaw salad just waiting to dig into?  Do you have a beautiful quiche just waiting?

A couple days ago a blogger wrote the following statement.  I adore how she phrased my thoughts exactly.

Go out and nourish your body so you have the energy to create the beauty in the world that you are meant to do. 

What is in your refrigerator?

eggs, empty nest, fresh, grace, grateful, haPPY

welcome to our home, please make your own omelet

I will let you in on a little secret, I am not a morning person.  Nope, never have been.  When the boys were little and I needed to be up and at ’em bright and early, I had to have a plan of attack.  Before going to bed, I would measure out ingredients for pancakes or waffles.  I would write huge sticky notes that said ADD 1 EGG or ADD 1/2 CUP of MILK.  Everything as easy as it could be.  I would set the breakfast table the night before.  Not kidding.

So to let it “slip” that I do not possess the culinary skills to fry an egg, might not come as a surprise many of you.  Both boys left for college, “hating” eggs.  Gee, that’s funny?  I wonder why?  Both have since “seen the light” and cook a mean breakfast including eggs.  See, I was just trying to encourage their creative spirit, when it came to: frying, scrambling, poaching  etc…. eggs.  No, I did not earn my 100 pleated chef’s hat.  I can’t even really cook one kind of egg.  Oh, I take that back, I am EGGcellent at steaming fresh eggs for 20 minutes then plunging into icy cold water…. TA DA, hard-boiled eggs!

Son #1 came to visit for a couple of days.  In the morning, I would set the table, pick the fresh chives, pick the fresh mushrooms DSCN4023(yes, I am growing my own mushrooms thanks to a kit I received), I gathered the fresh eggs, purchased and set out,  Irish Cheddar cheese & fresh-baked Sourdough bread.  It was a lovely presentation.  The All-Clad was set on the stove ready for action.   I was trying my best to inspire our house guest to make their own.   Look kids, it is all set up and ready for you to feel good about yourself! Think how proud you will feel by making your own breakfast!DSCN4030

Oh, you made an extra omelet for your mom? 

Don’t mind if I do! Please and Thank You!

Please come back and visit any ol’ time.

 

empty nest, ethics, good behavior, good manners

lunch date with a friend

One of the things that happens when you are barely 20 and start having kiddos, is that it is serious business.  I remember working hard everyday, to set a good example.  Making sure everything was just right.  We worried all the time.  I read aloud so much some days, my voice became hoarse.  We took our children out daily in the fresh air.  We made sure they were taught respect and manners all along the way.  We took them to museums when they were young for 20 minutes at a time.  We built up the time as the years slipped by.  We taught and taught and explained until I was a puddle of goo.  I remember asking Mr. Right, if he thought we would ever, EVER have a meal where we did not correct someone’s manners, or mannerisms or behavior.  He said he didn’t think so.  (come to find out later in life, when the boys both were sitting at our table with their spouses, we all had a meal and not once did I correct a person)  Raising children was serious, hard work.  Or so I thought.  I took it very seriously.  We were aiming to raise well-balanced, respectable, considerate, highly intelligent, good common sense, curious adults.   It was our focus.  We meant business.

DustinWhen your babe (age 32) comes home to visit, you observe the most interesting things.  They really did listen.  Shocking.  They really are polished gentlemen when they need to be.  They really do open every door for their mother as well as strangers, they speak to waitresses and sales people with friendly manners and look them in the eyes. While they can most certainly hold their own in business and in a light conversation, they wait with respect for their father to speak his mind first.    They politely wait their turn.  They are well read and suggest books “the old people” may enjoy. Your heart melts, when your babe points out each house in their new neighborhood and explains who each person is and what they do for a job….. “oh, the Johnson’s live there, they are retired and such a nice couple…………oh that is so and so, he (the policeman) and wife have a couple of kids, friendly folks, etc.

Somewhere along the line, all your effort and strictness paid off.  You end up with adult grown children who are well-educated, with finely tuned funny bones, concerned and involved parents who miss their wife and kids.  You watch as your “kid” leaves the restaurant to talk on the cell phone to say Goodnight to each girl just prior to bedtime.

I look back and secretly wish, I would have made it more fun for us, the parents.  More carefree.  Nothing about us was carefree.   I can’t tell you how many people told us (oh and I am sure talked behind our backs) how we were too strict in our parenting roles.  Oh yeah, lots of people were willy nilly about giving us their opinion about what we were and were not doing right.  Maybe we should think about relaxing a little.

I am here to tell you, we did the right thing.  We were not their friends.  They had bushel of friends.  They did not need one more friend.  They needed strong parents who took their roles very seriously.    We said NO a million times.  We knew everything about their teenage business.  We guided their clothing choices and choices of friends.  We exposed them to a Higher Being.   We introduced them to interesting and well-educated human beings.  We opened their minds to artists and patriotism.  We taught them about loyalty.  We taught them the Pledge of Allegiance.  We taught them to love animals.  We made them go to museums and family trips.  We made them play board games.  We made them make choices.  Do you want cable television for the summer or swimming passes?  Guess what they decided and chose?  We made them accountable.  They came to the dinner table every single night, with a clean shirt on.  They stood before I sat down.  They removed their baseball hats at the table.  They came to the table with a discussion topic.  They thanked me for each and every meal (even if it wasn’t their favorite.)  They asked to be excused.   We corrected them and helped them to be well-rounded people.

lunch datePeople with whom you would like to have lunch with.

Guess what I did yesterday?  I had lunch with our oldest boy.  He treated me to lunch.  We laughed and talked non stop.

Yep, he was someone I would choose to go to lunch with.

empty nest, grace, grateful, haPPY

here birdie, birdie

What was that?  CRASH.  It was the adorable bird feeder we have been watching all winter.  dang it.  It was a tough one to fill and hang properly, so maybe it was meant to be.   Even though we are not retired senior citizens living in a nursing home, we love to feed and watch the birds.  Somehow, it seems like an “old person” hobby.

Right after I found out I was sick, a friend gave me a huge Bird Guide.  It has since stayed near or on the coffee table.  It is so fun to identify the new birds that fly into our backyard area.  The chickens end up with the dropped bird seed and the squirrels always get their share as well.  It is a regular Wild Animal Kingdom out there.

bird feeder 1For some unexplained reason, I love watching them wait in line for their turn at the feeders.  I love watching them flit about.  The dog lies on her bed with her muzzle propped up on her pillow watching the activity outside. bird feeder 3

I know that Spring is just a few days away and the birds really don’t need much help from me, here in the Pacific Northwest.  However, I love to watch them.  So the hunt is on.  To make or buy a new bird feeder.  I think I will put it on the Christmas wish list.  We will tell the kids.  They are always searching for a gift idea or two.

I guess we have reached the age, where receiving a new bird feeder would make us really happy.  When did that happen?

empty nest, grace, grateful, great marriage secrets, haPPY, pure goodness

married people don’t fight

Before Mr. Right marries a new couple, they usually have a few “get to know you”, meet and greets.  Sometimes, I am there, other times I over hear a conversation in the other room.  I always, always hear “the” question asked and answered.   Can you guess what “the” question is?

32 2How long have you been married?  As if by some type of cosmic energy, that energy or good karma will somehow magically brush off onto them, the fresh-faced young couple eagerly wanting to sign up.

I don’t honestly know if they are looking for a certain number of years.  I do know, that not one couple has said, oh never mind we will go to someone else.  Sometimes all sorts of other questions follow.  Really?  How did you do it?  What’s your secret?  Really?  To the same person?  Do you have any tricks or suggestions?  Is it wonderful all the time?  Were you brought up the same town with the same religion?  Did you both want kids right away?  Who is in charge of the money?  Do you ever fight?

First of all people who have been married 32 years don’t fight.  They have really intense well-educated discussions.  Yes, to the same person.  We both have equal say with our money.  No, we do not have separate checking or savings accounts (if you have separate checking accounts you need a marriage counselor not a financial counselor, just saying).  No, it is not wonderful all the time.  No, to the same town.  No, to the same religion.  Yes, we have a million tips and suggestions.  I am guessing you will most likely not want to hear any of them.  Most folks don’t.32 marriage quote

How can I describe it?  Okay, got it.   One time, the US Army “invited” Mr. Right to travel someplace else.  I was all of a sudden in charge of mowing the lawn.  As you can imagine, it was very orderly and perfect before he left.  Not so much while he was gone.  Being a single mom with kids and a dog and a cat and homeschooling and church…..etc……you get it, it is hard, really hard to juggle …  I was out in the front yard one day, I was bent over and pulling that dang cord over and over and over and over.  I just couldn’t make the lawn mower start.  From behind me, a huge arm came around, pulled the cord once and it started.  I SCREAMED THANK YOU, but didn’t dare shut it off.  Some Army guy, was driving by, saw me, stopped, got out, fixed the problem and drove off.  done.

Yeah, that is how I would describe being married sometimes.  I can do lots of things for myself.  However, sometimes, the other person does stuff.  Yes, I do know how to start and use a lawn mower.  I just don’t have to.  Yes, Mr. Right knows how to wash his own clothes and iron his work shirts, he just doesn’t have to most of the time.  I am quite capable of putting gas in our car.  I just don’t ever seem to need to do that chore.  Being married and respecting the other person means you have a partner (like a cowgirl or cowboy who rides along for support) in this whole messy thing called life.   Most of the time, it is fun and happy and amazing and messy.  However, there are a few chaotic, stupid, sad, hard times and yes, having a cowboy along for the ride does make things a whole lot better.  The trick is to figure out who is better at neatly folding laundry (he is), cleaning out the refrigerator (he is), hemming pants (I am), cleaning up after animals and kiddos (I am), remembering to send correspondence (I am), vacuuming (he is).    Being married means you divide up the fun stuff and the icky stuff.  There you go, cross stitch that saying!

daffodilsYes, I can get mushy.   I can tell you that he is generous & thoughtful (one time he gave me 250 Daffodils to celebrate the day!), smart, honest, curious, funny, loyal, strong, gracious,  well-educated and open-minded and that my friend, makes me want to do & act the same.  I can tell you he plays a wicked game of Scrabble and I have to bring my A game.  Because sometimes partners want to beat the tar out of the other Scrabble player and do a victory jig.

This morning I was reading one of my favorite blogs.   Her topic today?  What I learned my first two months of marriage.  http://highheelsandshotgunshells.com/2014/03/11/what-i-learned-my-first-two-months-of-marriage/  If you have a moment, go check out her writing.  She is gifted and funny and sweet.  At the end of her chat today, she said, Marriage is messy, chaotic, fun and amazing.

I wrote her back.  Yes, Marriage is messy, chaotic, fun and amazing.  I am here to tell you 32 years later, I still feel that way.

Hey, Mr. Right, want to go another 32 years?  I’m in.

Happy Anniversary to us!