Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Couscous and Shrimp

Over the weekend, we tried a recipe using couscous which is a pasta made from semolina flour mixed with water. The process of making it used to be labor-intensive, but now most is machine-produced. It's steamed and then dried and all that's needed is to "plump" it up with boiling water. It's nutritional value is similar to white pasta.

Couscous and Shrimp 

This is an easy dish that can be made within 30 minutes from start to finish. Many of the ingredients may already be in your pantry. Luckily, we usually have several varieties of nuts, including pistachios. 
(Recipe serves 4, so we had leftovers.)
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • ¼ C raisins
  • 1 C dry couscous
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • ½ C frozen peas
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ C shopped pistachios
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnish 
  1. Season shrimp with cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet. When oil is hot, add shrimp and cook for a minute on each side until pink, then remove from skillet.
  3. Add chopped onion and pepper and sauté until onion is translucent. Add garlic and raisins and cook for a minute.
  4. Add couscous and chicken broth to skillet and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and cook couscous for 10-12 minutes until broth is absorbed.
  5. Add frozen peas and cook for additional 2 minutes, until peas are defrosted.
  6. Remove skillet from heat and add shrimp. Garnish with pistachios and parsley.
While this dish was flavorful, we're planning to return to our favorites of wild and brown rice for future meal plans. That said, Grenville gave couscous two forks down.

If you've tried couscous, did you enjoy it and would you try it again ? 

Monday, January 15, 2018

What a Difference

A couple of days of rain and a day of temperatures near 60 degrees can sure make a difference in making snow and ice go away.

This was the view from our apartment window early Sunday morning.

Quite a difference from the view a week earlier on January 5.

Cold weather is returning this week, but there's no snowfall in the forecast, just some snow showers by mid-week.

Hope the weather is improving in your part of the world as well.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Funnies

Cold weather is definitely not enjoyed by many folks including these feathered friends.
These "snow" bird images were taken from a kitchen window vantage during wintry weather in VA a few years ago.
How many cardinals can you spot here?
They seemed appropriate in view of the recent snowfalls here in NH. Unfortunately, the apt window views while wonderful don't provide these same photo opportunities.
I'm returning to a project started in late 2017 which involves moving all of my photo images from CDs to external backup drives.
It's admittedly a (very) tedious and time-consuming project to look at the images and decide on which to keep or delete. In the process, it's been fun seeing many again.
Now like this (very wise) robin, I'm outta here.

(We're thinking of those affected by mudslides in CA and weather issues elsewhere.)

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone

Monday, January 8, 2018

In It to Win It

Did you hear the BIG news this weekend ?
A Powerball ticket matched all six numbers to win the $570 million jackpot. The cash value of the jackpot would be at least $300 million if taken as a lump sum. A Powerball winner can take the jackpot in 30 annual payments or a one-time payment in cash.
The ticket was sold here in NH. And we bought a ticket on Saturday before the drawing, because after all "you have to be in it to win it."
The prize drawing on Saturday night was the second-largest for a single winner in Powerball history and the seventh-largest in U.S. lottery history.
The winning numbers were 12, 29, 30, 33, 61 and Powerball 26.
Did we win?
We did not. These were not the numbers on our ticket — not a single one matched.
What are the odds of winning?
More than being struck by lightning it seems. The odds of being struck by lightning in the U.S. in a given year are about 1 in 1 million. By comparison, the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are estimated at 1 in 292.2 million.
We're out $2. 
Anyone want to float us a loan for the next time?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Outta Here . . .

That's the best way to describe the aftermath of Thursday's all-day winter blizzard that dumped 13-inches of fresh snow in Nashua. This snowfall was almost double the 8-inch Christmas Day snowfall that's still around due to continued frigid temperatures.
The view from our apartment window was much better yesterday morning despite the -5 degree temperature reading. Beneath that cover of white and the mill apartment shadow is the Nashua River.
Grenville, a former NJ firefighter, braved the cold to ensure that fire hydrants around the property were cleared of snow drifts. (He's a really good great guy.)

Frigid temperatures will continue here this weekend, but good news is that a warming trend arrives next week.  We hope that others affected by wintry weather keep safe and warm. Thanks to all for your comments.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Funnies

Oh deer! was the only thought that came to mind on seeing this truck hitch topper.
Do you have any comments too?

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.
We're digging out after another snowstorm. How about you?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Oh, the Weather Outside is

COLD and SNOWY ❄️❄️❄️ in Nashua today as a blizzard is hitting NH and many other U.S. east coast states with cold temperatures extending into much of the country. We won't be doing ANY of what's suggested in these Winter Wonderland ❄️ lyrics today:

When it snows
ain't it thrilling

Though your nose gets a chilling

We'll frolic and play
the Eskimo way
walking in a winter wonderland

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Nashua from 7:00 a.m. Thursday, January 4 to 4:00 a.m. Friday, January 5. Heavy snow expected is especially during the evening commute. Plan on difficult travel conditions. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 11 inches with localized amounts up to 14 inches are expected. Wind gusts as high as 40mph will cause patchy blowing and drifting snow.

Here's WHY as shown in these views over a few hours this morning.

View from our apartment at 9 a.m.

View from our apartment at 10 a.m. 
View from our apartment at 11 a.m. 
It's an official snowstorm as schools and other public offices closed well before the storm. The City of Nashua declared a snow emergency starting today until Friday January 5 at 6:00 a.m: "If you don’t need to be out on the roads, please stay off them for your safety. We recommend residents limit travel, if possible.  Residents should only expect primary routes to be cleared initially during this storm. Residential side streets will not be plowed immediately. Regularly plowed sidewalks will not be plowed until crews have a chance to clear primary and residential streets."

Yes, we're heeding that advice by staying safe and warm indoors today. Thankfully, our vehicles are parked safely in the underground parking here. And, to celebrate this first 2018 snowfall, we've invited neighbors to a Post-holiday and blizzard wine-down this evening. (Everyone lives in the mill apartment building so travel isn't a problem.)
Fresh out of the oven for serving tonight

❄️ Winter Wonderland was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). It's been said that Smith, a native of Honesdale, PA, wrote the song after seeing his hometown's main park covered in snow. The tune is popularly regarded as a Christmas song, but the holiday is never mentioned in the lyrics. Through the years, it has been recorded by multiple artists. (A previous post contained more info on this and other holiday songs.)

How is the weather where you're located, here in the U.S. or other countries?

Sunday, December 31, 2017

What's Been Happening

Thanks to everyone who wished us well on the very long-anticipated sale of our home on the Virginia Eastern Shore, The Frog & Penguinn

Here's an update. 

Unfortunately, we're still homeowners and while we were hoping to start the new year being "home-less" (in a good way) that's not going to be the case. 

We left NH at the end of November and were "on the road" for 3 weeks. Most of our time was spent in VA, but we also had overnight stops in NJ, a weekend and concert with friends in Washington, DC, and a 1st birthday celebration and visit with friends in PA.

While in VA as Grenville and a friend completed minor repairs resulting from the home inspection and appraisal reports. The original closing date was set for mid-December and as we would thought we'd be spending the last holiday in VA, we recycled and decorated a Christmas tree which we also enjoyed every night.  And, of course, a tree needs presents as mentioned in the I'll Be Home for Christmas standard.

We hoped the tree would welcome the  new owner in time for the holidays. She met us at the house and was excited about house and the tree (and we liked her as well). Since the transaction is still pending and this holiday season is nearly over, maybe she can celebrate Christmas in July.

Briefly, the delay is an extension requested by the mortgage company which should bring a closing sometime in January. While "Santa" didn't fulfill our 2017 Christmas wish, we remain optimistic and hopeful.

That said, we did get another Christmas wish fulfilled and celebrated Christmas at home for the first time in several years. For the past several years, we've been away at the holidays mostly due to family situations including a passing and a new arrival. This year, not only did we return home before the holiday (even if just a week before) but also set up two (little) trees, exterior and interior.  
We also went about making our apt as holiday festive as possible in a short time. The decorations included many a lot of snowmen from wall hangings to those on shelves.

Teddy bears and penguins shared some of the shelf and table space too.
Santas, reindeer and snowmen hung around on doorknobs and our stockings were "hung with care" even if we don't have a fireplace or chimney. 
We have angels in various sizes and a Nativity with special meaning. The pieces are from my late mother's set and had been displayed in my parent's home previously. 
I still mail holiday cards and those we received were opened on our return home and then displayed by the front door. It's something I enjoy doing to remind us of friends and family's well wishes all season long. How do you display holiday greetings? 
We don't know about Santa's other reindeer, but Rudolph appeared to be in good spirits.

Mother Nature and Father Christmas gave us the beautiful present of a White Christmas.

Thanks to all our blog friends for your visits and comments throughout this past year. 
We appreciated all of them. See you in 2018.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday Funnies

Did the holidays have you climbing a wall, maybe like these guys?

The wall climbers are on the side of The New England Pirate Museum in Salem, MA. 

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone. 
It's the final one of 2017 — Have a safe one & Happy New Year 🍾

🥂 Beatrice & Grenville

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry "After" Christmas

Many folks living in New England didn't dream of a White Christmas, they had one. Here in Nashua, NH, we had an 8-inch snowfall that started shortly after midnight on Christmas Eve and went until noon on Christmas Day. Overnight temperatures are expected to drop into the teens  this week, so the white stuff will be staying around for awhile.
Grandson Bobby & granddaughter Ellie celebrated with a Christmas snowfall in RI.
But, granddaughter Lilliana saw no snow in PA when she opened gifts.
How was your Christmas Day ❄️ or none?
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