Friday, January 18, 2019

Foodie Fridays: Grilled Cheddar, Turkey, and Green Chile Sandwich

Years ago, when we lived in the Colorado foothills, there was a little restaurant at the bottom of our road called Vern's Place.  We would stop there for lunch occasionally, and I always ordered the same meal, which was a grilled cheese sandwich filled with green chiles and your choice of turkey or beef (because of my red meat allergy I got the turkey).  This sandwich was absolutely delicious!  Alas, fast forward to the present day, and apparently Vern's Place has become modernized.  I am sure it is still a great place for a meal, perhaps even better than it was when we lived there, but sadly my favorite sandwich is no longer on the menu (I wonder if it can be special ordered?).  So, in memory of that beloved sandwich, here is the recipe as I remember it.  I can't say if it is authentic, but it is close enough to bring back fond memories.  May you enjoy it as much as I did back in the day (and still do)!

Grilled Cheddar, Turkey, and Green Chile Sandwich

2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread (I used whole wheat)
softened butter or mayonnaise
2 thick slices sharp cheddar cheese
3 slices oven-roasted deli turkey
1 whole canned green chile, drained and cut in half

Spread one side of each bread slice with butter or mayonnaise.  Place one slice, buttered side down, in a skillet over medium heat.  Place one slice of cheese on top of the bread.  Add the chile halves.  Top with the turkey and then the remaining cheese.  Place the other bread slice, buttered side up, on top.  Grill 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve hot.  Serves 1.

Note: If you like spicier chiles and you can find them, freshly roasted New Mexican Hatch chiles are great on this sandwich.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

This 'n That Thurdays: IndividualiTEA Photo Sharing Sweepstakes

If you are a tea lover like me, you may want to consider entering the IndividualiTEA Photo Sharing Sweepstakes for a chance to win $500 plus a year's supply of tea!  All you have to do is upload an image or video of your favorite tea - black, white, green, or oolong - with a short explanation of when, where, and how you enjoy your tea (you must have an active and non-private Twitter or Instagram account to enter).  You can read the official entry rules here.  Since I do not have either a Twitter or an Instagram account I sadly cannot enter the contest, but I can still upload tea images to my hear's content, and I may do so just to work on my photography skills.  The contest ends on January 31, 2019, so if you want to participate get started now!

One of my favorite ways to enjoy tea!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wish List Wednesdays: Playful Pup Cookie Jar from Anthropologie

Since we will be moving in the near future, I really want to try not to buy too many new items before then, but it seems that Anthropologie does not plan to help me succeed!  Dalmatian fanatic that I am, how am I supposed to resist their sweet stoneware Playful Pup Cookie Jar ($88)?  And lest you think that only Dalmatian lovers are being tempted, there is also a French bulldog version that is equally adorable - just look at that jaunty beret!  (For those of you who love poodles, corgis, and/or dachshunds, check out the Dapper Dog Cookie Jars.)  I do believe that resistance is futile, and that another Dalmatian cookie jar is about to enter my life!


Monday, January 14, 2019

Current Events: Little Donnie Trump's Vanity Wall

Created using SuperLame! with images from Mashable, Washington
Examiner, and TransparentPNG.

Little Donnie Trump is truly obsessed with his border wall idea.  He has dug in like a blood-sucking tick with his demand for a bloated 5+ billion dollars to build this wall.  But make no mistake, the border wall has little to do with border security and everything to do with stoking his ego.  It is his vanity wall.  So here's an idea - instead of concrete or even steel, why not construct the wall from smoke and mirrors, which is a much more accurate representation of how Trump's wall will function anyway.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weekend Wardrobe: What I Wore for Our 2019 New Mexico House Hunting Trip

New Mexico is colder and snowier than Georgia!
(image from City-Data Forum)

Packing for our most recent New Mexico trip was especially challenging for a couple of reasons.  First, the weather in New Mexico was about 50 degrees colder than our weather in Georgia!  We really had to scramble to find our warmest clothes, and then make sure not to dress too warmly for the trip to the Atlanta airport and back.  Second, the day we returned to Georgia we were scheduled to attend a mystery dinner theater.  We stayed in Atlanta from about noon (when we returned) to about ten PM, when the play ended.  That meant we had to dress before we left New Mexico (at 3 AM) for the dinner theater as we would not have a chance to change clothes!

Considering all of the different clothing requirements for this trip, I think I managed to do pretty well with my packing.  I did leave a pair of comfortable shoes in our car, which we left in the airport parking garage, so that I could finally change out of the boots I wore for the entire New Mexico trip.  Comfortable as they are, I knew I would get tired of wearing the same shoes for so many days, and the boots would be a little too warm for a day in Atlanta.

Here is what I wore for the flight from Atlanta to Albuquerque:

Clockwise from top left: Fair Indigo Tey-Art Niobara Intarsia Alpaca Fair Trade Cardigan (no longer available); Olivia + Joy Zap Zoom Tote in Black (no longer available); Turtle Fur Bang Band Chelonia 150 Classic Fleece Headband in Black (similar to mine); Columbia Lake 22 Hooded Jacket in Black (similar to mine); Southcombe Mabel Warm Lined Leather Gloves in Black (similar to mine); No Nonsense Women's Flat Knit Crew Socks in Black; Bombas Women's Merino Wool Calf Socks in Charcoal (I also packed a pair in Black); Skyway Tieton Carry-On Spinner Luggage in Blue Paisley; Sorel Women's Whitney Camp Boots in Black; L.L. Bean Women's Plain Front Comfort Waist Stretch Bayside Corduroys in Dusty Olive (similar to mine); Land's End Women's Relaxed V-Neck Supima Cotton Long Sleeve T-Shirt in Charcoal Heather (similar to mine).

The headband, gloves, and wool socks were packed in my tote bag to wear when we arrived in frigid New Mexico at almost 10 PM.  We had to drive north from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, and the temperature just kept dropping - I think the low that night was 8 degrees!  Luckily my quilted coat and especially my alpaca cardigan were warm enough.  I highly recommend an alpaca cardigan for anyone traveling from a warm to a cold climate or vice versa.  When it is buttoned it really holds in the warmth, but if the temperature starts to rise just unbutton the cardigan and all of that heat will escape so that you will not feel too hot.

These are the items that I packed:

Clockwise from top left: Great American Leatherworks Tuscany Scoop Stud Triple Entry Crossbody Bag in Black (similar to mine); Land's End Women's Crew Sweatshirt in Pewter Heather (similar to mine); Sterling Silver 20 Strand Liquid Silver Necklace (similar to mine); Hudson North V-Neck Fair Isle Sweater in Black (no longer available - similar to mine); Duluth Trading Company Women's Longtail T Long Sleeve Crew Neck T-Shirt in White (similar to mine); L.L. Bean Women's Favorite Fit Straight-Leg 1912 Jeans in Vintage Black (similar to mine); Chico's So Slimming Juliet Ankle Pants in Black; Land's End Women's Sweatpants in Pewter Heather (similar to mine); Coldwater Creek Tailored Denim Trousers (no longer available); Land's End Womens Relaxed V-Neck Supima Cotton Long Sleeve T-Shirt in Rich Red (color no longer available - similar to mine); Center: Coldwater Creek Long-Sleeve Ribbed Sweater in Robin's Egg (similar to mine).

I wore the sweatpants and sweatshirt for sleeping, and the extra warmth was definitely needed!  On our first day of house hunting I wore the red long-sleeved tee with the denim trousers plus my alpaca sweater, and on the second day I wore the black Fair Isle sweater with the white long-sleeved tee and black jeans.  For the return flight and later the mystery dinner theater I wore the ribbed light blue sweater, liquid silver necklace, and the knit pants (which are very comfortable and were perfect for that long day) plus the alpaca cardigan (I removed the latter when we arrived in much warmer Atlanta).  I did pack a couple of extra long-sleeved tees and another sweatshirt which I did not wear.  Other than that, I wore everything else I brought so I consider my travel wardrobe to have been just the right number of items.  I feel that if I cannot carry my own luggage on a trip then I am bringing too many clothes, and I am happy to say that I had no trouble toting my own bags around!


Our big news is that we finally found our dream retirement house!  We are under contract and in the process of dealing with all of the paperwork (which seems to have multiplied exponentially from the last time we bought a house).  If all goes well we will close late in February, and then we will start making decisions on when we will sell our Georgia home and begin the moving process.  Life will be very complicated but exciting for us this year.  My blogging schedule will probably become rather erratic, but I will start posting more information about our new home as soon as it is ours, so stay tuned!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Foodie Fridays: Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Once again I just had to try a recipe from the Half-Baked Harvest website (one of my favorite food blogs), this time for the Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins.  These light and tasty muffins come together quickly and the unique combination of ingredients make them unlike any other muffins I have ever made.  I made only a few minor changes to the original recipe (used different flours, used different types of oil and honey, used a regular instead of a Meyer lemon, and used part skim rather than whole milk ricotta, based on what I had on hand).  Next time I will probably increase the spices, perhaps even doubling them, because I like lots of sweet spice flavor, and I would like to try the Meyer lemon or double the amount of regular lemon for a more intense citrus flavor, but these muffins were still good just the way I made them.  I do not usually butter muffins, but next time I may even try making the Lemon Poppyseed Butter recipe that was also included in the original post!

Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins

1 C. white flour
3/4 C. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. oil*
1/2 C. honey**
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 C. ricotta cheese (I used part skim)

Thoroughly combine the first nine (dry) ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Blend the oil, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the lemon zest and juice.  Add the ricotta cheese and whisk until no large lumps remain.  Gently stir in the dry ingredients, then mix just until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated (do not over-beat).

Divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin tin cups lined with paper liners.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.  Serves 12.

*I used Bertolli Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil.
**I used Kroger Private Selection Vanilla & Nutmeg Infused Honey (which no longer seems to be available).

Thursday, January 10, 2019

This 'n That Thursdays: Agatha's - A Taste of Murder Mystery Dinner Theater

From TripAdvisor

If you ever find yourself in Atlanta and have transportation plus a free night, be sure to book a reservation at Agatha's - A Taste of Murder.  My husband and I received tickets as a Christmas gift to this comedy murder mystery dinner theater for this past Saturday, which is the day we returned from New Mexico.  The timing was a bit awkward, but we arranged to have our pet sitter stay a little longer and spent the whole day in Atlanta until the show began.

From TripAdvisor

We had heard of this dinner theater before and had been wanting to attend for a while, but until our friend sent us tickets we just never got around to it.  We are so glad we finally got the chance!  The venue dΓ©cor is perfect, with a sort of Victorian vibe and photos of famous actors and actresses pretty much covering all of the wall space.  The food was tasty (the butternut squash soup was fantastic) and you will get a complimentary glass of wine (okay but not great quality, but it is free!).  The staff did a good job of welcoming us in and letting us know what to expect, because participation is part of the experience, with either a "starring" cameo role or as part of a chorus (there will be singing, so brush up on your singing voice!).

From Facebook

The best part, of course, is the murder mystery.  We got to see a hilarious play written by the creative director, who also portrays some of the characters.  The Christmas-themed play, called "It's Beginning to  Look a Lot Like Murder", is loosely based on the movie "Top Gun", and it was very well acted.  We had a lot of fun participating, and even more fun watching some of the other attendees tackle their cameo roles.  At one point I was laughing so hard tears streamed from my eyes!

Having gotten up at 3 AM to catch our very early morning flight out of Albuquerque, I wasn't sure we would be able to stay awake (especially my husband, who did all of the driving), but the play was so engaging we had no trouble and enjoyed ourselves immensely (lots of tea and coffee with dinner helped a lot too!).  We did spend a bit of time lost in Atlanta as we wandered around town for hours until Agatha's opened in the evening, and traffic on a Saturday is never pleasant, but the play amused, relaxed, and energized us enough for the long drive home that night.  We both highly recommend Agatha's - A Taste of Murder to anyone who enjoys participating in dinner theater play antics - be sure to arrive with a sense of humor!

From TripAdvisor