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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chicken Salad E-a-s-y

Chicken Salad is not only easy to prepare, but even better when you don't have to cook the chicken. That's right. No cooking — doesn't that  sound easy?

No, it's not uncooked chicken but rotisserie-cooked chicken bought from the supermarket. We usually buy the largest one available and find ways to use it in 3 or 4 meal plans during the week. In many ways, it's easier than cooking chicken several times a week. 

The recipe isn't unique. An online search found ones that added lemon or lime juice, even turmeric or curry power. Those were not my style.

Instead, I opted for one that would use pantry staples I already had available. And, I learned about thinning the mayo with tarragon or white wine vinegar. (Luckily I already had at least one of those vinegars.)

Chicken Salad with Cranberries & Walnuts
Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • 4 C cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 lb
  • 1 C walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 celery rib, diced into small bits (1 cup)
  • 1 C dried cranberries
  • 2/3 to 3/4 C mayonnaise
  • 3 TBSP tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped fresh tarragon/herb of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Here's the uncomplicated mixing directions — toss all ingredients together lightly in a large bowl until combined well. Refrigerate until serving.

There are numerous variations possible. For example, some include Dijon mustard and dill — I know we'll be trying others this summer season. 

We enjoyed this version over a bed of spring greens with some apple slices added.

Dinner made easy and (very) simple. This is our favorite type of warm weather meal planning.

Monday, May 25, 2015

There Was a Parade . . .

Yes, there was one today to celebrate Memorial Day 2015 in Nashua, NH.


It's the first such event we've attended since relocating here and we were happy to join many others on Main Street. We both grew up in NJ towns that celebrated national holidays with big huge parades (at least they always seemed bigger when we were kids).
Since then, patriotic or holiday parades have become not only infrequent but practically non-existent in many towns and cities. And that includes celebrations for Memorial Day, the federal U.S. holiday that's celebrated annually on the last Monday of May. For many folks, it's just a long 3-day weekend until the next summer holiday on July 4.
Memorial Day was previously called "Decoration Day" and was first observed after the Civil War on May 30, 1858 to honor those who had died in that conflict,  Today, it's a day to honor all Americans who have lost their lives in military service. To many people, ourselves included, it's a day to celebrate all those who served.

We were honored to celebrate; also thankful that Nashua, NH recognized it was an important holiday to remember. Did you attend any similar ceremonies or events?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Funnies

These captions came to mind for this photo . . .
Can you hear me now? or Disconnected?

Do you have any others?

Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend — the traditional kick-off to summer in the U.S.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Anniversary Dinner

Thanks to all for the best wishes on our 1st date anniversary. We celebrated over the weekend while in CT for a family event.

If you have ever dined Outback Steakhouse®, you will recognize this as one of the restaurant's signature appetizers — the Bloomin' Onion.

According to the menu it's an Outback original: our special onion is hand-carved by a dedicated bloomologist, cooked until golden and ready to dip into our spicy signature bloom sauce. Made us wonder about the job training: cut onion and fry in hot oil until crisply done?

It was a special treat for us because this is not something we order often. As you can see, Grenville was ready to dig in and I helped, of course.


Curious about how bad this treat really was for us, I did an online check and learned that there are 1946 calories in 1 Bloomin' Onion order, which supposedly equates to 6 servings. And, a person would need to walk 509 minutes to burn those 1946 calories. Well, we did walk from the nearby hotel to the restaurant, if that counts.

We also had dinner: broiled salmon and sweet potato for me and lamb chops, sauteed veggies and garlic mashed potatoes for Grenville.




The evening was capped off by watching a 2009 "rom-com" (romantic-comedy) film, "He's Just Not That Into You  on network TV in the hotel. The all star cast included Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, and Scarlett Johansson. It was enjoyable except for the numerous, repetitive, and very long commercial breaks. It made us appreciate not having any TV service, aside from streaming on Netflix or Acorn TV.

Cleverly, the commercials didn't start until at least 30 minutes into the film, which was enough to "hook" us into the plot. So, we muted the commercial interruptions every time and enjoyed some mead wine.  We had purchased it during an earlier visit to Moonlight Meadery, a local NH meadery.

It was perfect to cap off our 18th, 1st date celebration.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

18 Years Ago

Today, is our special day !
penguin clip artpage 13
No, it's not our wedding anniversary.

It is the date of our 1st date — 18 years ago.

Happy Anniversary to US !

(Our wedding anniversary is in August, and was 2 years after we first met.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

On the Move

That describes our experiences this month. Unfortunately, it hasn't included any adventurous road trips (although we DO hope to take one of those soon).

An earlier post described our nearly week-long stay in our home state of New Jersey. We weren't there to visit, but to help load up a very large dumpster with unwanted or unneeded items from my late mother's home. 

Last week we returned to VA to pack up more "stuff" from our home, The Frog & PenguINN, to transport to our new apt residence in New Hampshire. 

After 4-1/2 days spent packing and loading up a small trailer in VA, we were ready to head to NH. It's a long trip (10 hours) so we made an overnight stop in PA to visit family. 

We're not sure why, but there seems to be a time warp whenever we travel through PA. What the GPS indicated would be a less 7 hour trip took over 9 hours (and that's after our overnight stop). 

We finally arrived in NH and after a night's rest, were not quite ready to begin the fun (it's really not) of unloading the trailer. This was our third trailer load of "stuff" and our last. Our bikes didn't fit in this trip, but Grenville has a car bike hitch for that eventual pickup this summer. Maybe, when the F&P finally has new owners? (we can only hope)
This U-Haul trailer (5x8) is the next smallest one available. It's the third one we've rented and all were this same size. 

The best part of these moving trips have been getting to see this view — an empty trailer.

Yes, there's no denying that despite all the loading and unloading that was a lot of work, this Do-It-Yourself project was so much less costly than if we had hired a moving company. We had considered that option. But based on where our VA house is located, it was hard to find one willing to do the job. WHY? A town of 500 people is far from a major metropolis and local moving companies were not accustomed to a 10+ hour move.

So, Grenville and I did it ourselves; we don't plan on relocating anytime soon again. Now, we're busy working on downsizing and trying to figure out where all this relocated stuff will fit in our much smaller apt. Donations are a very good thing. We had some help this last trip from our friend, Ramon.

Don't worry folks, he asked begged to help out. And, don't let that wheelchair fool you folks, Ramon is excellent at handling containers and even managed a 26-inch TV.

Thanks, Ramon, for all your help and ready smile, both were SO much appreciated. We're planning a pay-back dinner, after working through all these newly-deposited containers and boxes in our apt. Downsizing from a 2-story Victorian home to a single-floor (much) smaller apartment is challenging (a major understatement on my part).

This weekend, we're on the road again as we head to neighboring CT to attend a memorial service for Grenville's Aunt AnneSoon, we hope to plan a FUN trip for a very welcome change from these recent road trips — which have been (too) MUCH work and NO fun.

And, that's why blog friends it's been hard to keep up with much posting and reading. But we wanted you all to share in our experiences, even though you missed all the fun (NOT) of packing, loading and unloading.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone — have some fun too!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Funnies

Pick up and go?

That phrase that came to mind after seeing the "handle" on this car.


Enjoy your weekend, everyone, and keep smiling laughing

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dumpster Dumping

Yes, you read the post title correctly. We were not taking stuff from a dumpster, but filling one —  a very BIG dumpster. This one at 8 ft x 20 ft x 5.25 ft x was the next size down from the largest dumpster size of 40 cu. yards.

We were dumping in NJ for the better part of last week. Last December, I posted that my mother passed away in my home state of New Jersey. A long and very rough winter kept Pat, myself, and my brother from going there to clear out her home. 

Last week, we gathered at my childhood home to clear out STUFF gathered during both my parents lifetimes. My dad, who predeceased my mom by over 30 years, was a self-employed electrical contractor. In addition to the house contents, there was a two-car garage loaded with many of his tools, equipment, and paperwork.
Like many of their generation, my parents were hesitant to part with things that they felt could be needed someday.

For those who might be thinking "estate sale." We explored that option as we met with several estate sale companies in early April; all had advised us not to discard anything
before they came (even though we knew better in the case of broken items). After reviewing the house contents (the garage was excluded), several told us they didn't see that they "would "make enough profit." Others would have done a sale regardless; a couple wanted to bring in other items to "seed the sale."








After evaluating all their feedback and fees (zero up front, but $1250-$1800 or 25%-40% of gross sales, whichever was greater), we decided that an estate sale would not work out. Still, it was an education as we learned that my parents art deco/waterfall pattern bedroom and mahogany dining room furniture were not sought after vintage pieces.


Yes, it was a major task for the 3 of us to clear out the accumulations of so many years. Sorting through items in the house and garage, while time-consuming, provided my brother and I with the chance to find items once important to our parents, some we had never seen while growing up. And, we found ourselves reminiscing about our family and finding out that we each had special memories  trips down memory lane, priceless.

Of course, NOT everything could be saved. Some items were kept by my brother or myself, some were donated to area thrift stores or given to friends of my late mother. A lot was were set aside for future sale, including nearly all the furniture. The house and garage will cleared out and eventually sold. We will be making a future NJ road trip(s).

We've been on the road quite a bit a LOT in April and May both in NJ and also VA to re-list our home, The Frog & PenguINN with Coldwell Banker. This week we're back at the F&P as we prepare to pack a small U-Haul trailer-load of stuff and return to NH. As many of you may know, (and maybe some learning now) we relocated last November and are renting an apt in a former textile mill (more details on that later). Yes, downsizing is an ongoing challeng as we purge stuff both before and after moving it!

And, blogger friends, this explains why we haven't had much time for blog posting and visiting in recent weeks. But, we have read and enjoyed your comments on a few recent posts. Thanks to all.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Funnies

Your choice of caption . . .


Here's some of our thoughts:

Cut a rug, snug as a bug in a rug, called on the carpet, sweep under the rug, beat a rug, pull the rug out . . feel free to add your own.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Look for the funny side of life — it's there.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Remembering Anne

This week marked a sad event in our combined families with the death of Pat's Aunt Anne who died on Tuesday at 87.

We fondly remember special times.  

Aunt Anne loved celebrating holidays. She always sent a card and, despite a limited income, always gave small gifts. When folks excitedly thanked her, she was even happier.

Small joys are the best.

More than anyone, Aunt Anne enjoyed her birthday celebration. She would forewarn family members months in advance of the November date.

No one ever forgot her special day.

Aunt Anne's special passion was a (very) large magnet collection. She delighted whenever someone brought her a new one for her ever-expanding collection displayed on metal boards. Every one was special and she made you feel special because of her delighted comment, "I love it" always said when she received a new one.

And we all loved Aunt Anne. She remains in our fondest memories.

(Comments are off; our family appreciates your condolences.)
Dorothy (Beatrice) & Pat (Grenville)
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