I’m not sure how much blogging I’m going to do going forward, but the mood struck me today so here’s my first of the year.
Our lives have changed so much in the last year. Lee tore up his rotator cuff and had unsuccessful surgery. He had to sell all of the hogs because they’re just too much for him now. We have our small flock of sheep and the 2 remaining elderly ponies to care for. Lee has a lot of time on his hands these days….eeeek! I bought a couple of jigsaw puzzles to hopefully give him something to do on the cold winter days. So far we haven’t had much snow, so no snowmobiling for him yet.
I made a delicious cream of mushroom soup. Rich and satisfying. I adapted a recipe from eatingwell.com, but mine doesn’t resemble the original much. This is made in the slow cooker and takes about 5 hours.
1. Sautee 2 cups of diced shallots and 2 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil.
2. Add a little more olive oil and add 1 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms. Any kind you like. Continue to sautee until mushrooms are slightly browned and softening.
3. Add 1 cup of sherry and bring it to a simmer to burn off the alcohol.
4. Add 4 cups of beef broth. Pour soup into slow cooker vessel.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and 1 1/2 tablespoon of fresh thyme.
6. Mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and add to soup.
7. After 4 to 5 hours on low, add 1/2 pint of heavy cream. Bring to serving temp and serve.
It’s been a long and difficult summer. We did have some high spots, but also several lows.
One of the highs was the unexpected birth of our little kitten Henry. He’s been so much fun to watch and play with. The kids love going to the barn to play with him. He’s a barn kitty, but tame and not afraid of anyone. I plan to get him neutered when he’s old enough.
My daughter Kay, and granddaughter Regan were here for a week. They hadn’t been back to Wisconsin (they live in CT) for 4 years so it was great to have them. Our visit was a good one. Their trip was not so good as Kay’s suitcase was lost and never found. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures! I have no idea why I didn’t.
The summer has been long and hot, and humid. We’re now into mid September, and still dealing with temps in the 80’s. That’s not normal for Wisconsin. On August 28 Our area of the state was hit by a crazy storm system. When all was said and done, the weather folks counted 19 tornados in this area. One of them hit our farm and we lost lots of trees. An ancient black walnut, and an equally ancient giant maple tree. Several pine trees that we planted 30 years ago. Too many trees to count. The property looks so changed and because it’s been so hot, we sure miss the shade.
Oh my gosh, the mosquitoes! I’ve never seen them so thick. They rise up in heavy clouds with each step across the yard. The bites are numerous and itchy. We’ve found that the only relief is a 40% DEET spray. The regular 25% spray does nothing. We’re waiting for some cold weather to kill off all the nasty bugs.
Our old mini horse stallion died in July. He was nearly 31 years old and had lived here for 25 of those years. He choked and although we (with the vet) worked on him for over 2 hours we just couldn’t resolve it. He was also suffering congestive heart failure and our efforts to break up the choke just became to hard for him. We made the decision to euthanize him. It was a very hard day. Our vet was amazing. Artie was loved by all who knew him
I’ve been making recipes from Gina Homolka’s Skinnytaste website. I have one of her cookbooks also, which has lots of good recipes. Skinnytaste recipes are foods that we love, made nutritionally better for us. Lower in calories, and higher in nutritional value. Recently I made her General Tso’s Chicken and it’s just delicious, with under 300 calories per serving. Lee and I really loved this chicken and the leftovers were highly regarded as well. We had ours with rice, but cauliflower rice seems to be a big favorite of Gina’s followers. My next Skinnytaste adventure will be Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms.
I made this for dinner tonight. It’s from skinnytaste.com, and oddly, it’s made with bacon, hard boiled eggs, and asparagus. It is dressed with a light vinaigrette. We enjoyed it, and it was very filling. I’ve been using skinnytaste recipes often, and they never disappoint.
A new recipe from Taste of Home. Lots of flavor,light, and easy.
1 can quartered and drained artichoke hearts
1/2 cup julienned soft sun dried tomatoes
2 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Combine in a small bowl.
Salt and pepper 6 cod fillets on both sides. Place in sprayed baking dish. Spoon artichoke mixture over fish. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
I decided that I’m done expanding my Christmas village. I have filled my available space. Merry Christmas !
Shirley and I take an annual trip to Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, we stayed downtown.
Our hotel of choice was the Plaza, mostly because of recommendations. I’m going to give the Plaza a mixed review. Pros: the hotel itself was nice. The casino was fun and busy. Money was won. Restaurants were fine. We ate at Hash House a Go Go and the food was good, but portions were so large that we wasted too much. There is a food court in the hotel. Location was terrific. We didn’t have to do much walking and we enjoyed close proximity to other hotels, Walgreens, and the Fremont Experience. Cons: The elevators made scarey noises. Casino was smokey.
Our room was on the 6th floor, at the end of a hall, but the walk wasn’t overly long. The room was clean and the furniture wasn’t beat up, but one of the mattresses (on Shirley’s bed) was lumpy and uncomfortable. It needs to be replaced. The bathroom was pretty awful. The toilet and tub/shower were squeezed into a tiny room. Oddly, there was no towel rack in this room, and the hook on the back of the door was broken. Also, there was no grab bar and I felt unsafe getting in and out of the tub.Toiletries were a joke. There was a tiny tube of shampoo, and a tiny tube of lotion, and a single bar of soap. I’m not fond of sharing bar soap so I left a note for housekeeping the next day asking for more soap. She gave us one bar, so now we had a bar for hand washing at the sink, and a bar to share for showers. I gave up and bought some body wash. I was puzzled by the lack of mirrors. The only mirror was the one over the sink. No full length mirror, no make up mirror. Am I spoiled? I bought a make up mirror at Walgreens. Our toilet stopped flushing one evening and maintenance was prompt to come fix it. Although there were earplugs in the nightstand, our room was quiet so we didn’t need them. AC was working well.
We paid $244.00 for 4 nights and that included the resort fee and tax.
We took the Bell Trans airport shuttle because we purchased tickets when we bought air fare. They are just transitioning from Showtime shuttle and it was a disorganized mess.
We used the Loop Shuttle twice and highly recommend it. It’s free. We used the shuttle to go to the Premium Outlet Mall. The stores were almost entirely designer outlets and pricey. We did find the Cheesecake Factory so ate lunch there. We split an order of avocado egg rolls and we each had a slice of cheesecake. The shuttle also stops 2 blocks from Container Park, and I needed to go there to use a beef jerky groupon. It happened that we were there on the day the driverless shuttle began service so there were several TV crews there. The shuttle had a little mishap, a fender bender that was not the fault of the shuttle.
Being right on Fremont we were able to spend plenty of time under the canopy. We caught a couple of light shows and they didn’t disappoint. Some of the “entertainers”/buskers were just nasty. We saw way too much flesh. Saw lots of heart breakers too.
We ate at 2 buffets. Had breakfast buffet at the Fremont and it was just fine. Very large selection and the food looked appetizing and fresh. It was $8.49 for breakfast. We had dinner one evening at Main Street Station Buffet. WOW! This buffet is huge! Very good food and friendly servers. Dinner price was $11.99.
At the Plaza, we did well and it was our favorite place to play. Shirley found a Wonder Woman machine that was good to her. At the end I think she was down just a little by the end of the trip. I was up and down until I found my money machine on the last day. It was called Gigantic 7’s and I ended up with enough money to buy myself a new kitchen stove. It’s always good to win! We also enjoyed the casino at Golden Nugget.
All in all it was a fun trip. I might not stay at the Plaza again, but if I get a good offer, I might. I would just know that I need to bring a mirror and body wash.