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Monday, November 30, 2015

No-Guilt Eggplant Parmesan

Here it is — a recipe post that doesn't contain any chicken or turkey, which some folks may be tired of by now. As we celebrated Thanksgiving by dining out with family members, there were no leftovers for us to tire of eating. 

As we've posted about before, Grenville and myself are both on a weight loss plan. It's working, although sometimes we hit a few plateaus or stumbling blocks along the way. We're always looking for new ways to cut calories on some favorite recipes.

Eggplant parmesan used to involve breading and then frying the eggplant before assembling the dish. Delicious, sure it was, but calorie-filled too. Did it taste good? Yes! We  tried other eggplant parmesan recipes which called for cutting and baking the eggplant. The result was good and healthy too, but we missed the crunchiness of breading first. Until last week, when I found this recipe at Cooking Light online. After one try, it's definitely a "keeper" for us.

No Guilt  Eggplant Parmesan

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 2 C whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Cooking spray

Filling

  • 1/2 C torn fresh basil
  • 1/4 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 16 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten

Remaining ingredients

  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 C finely grated fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  1. Combine 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon of water in a shallow dish (cake tins work well). Combine panko and 1/4 cup Parmigiana-Reggiano in a second shallow pan. 
  2. Dip eggplant in egg mixture, dredge in panko mix, pressing gently to adhere and shake off excess. Place eggplant, 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. 
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes (if using more than one).
  4. To make filling, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).
  5. To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup of tomato cause in bottom of 13x9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. 
  6. Top with 3/4 cup of tomato sauce, spread half of ricotta cheese mixture over sauce and top with a third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina cheese. Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup of sauce.
  7. Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. 
  8. Remove foil and top with remaining third of mozzarella and 1/3 cup fontina. Bake 10 minutes longer or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts. 
Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Phriday Phunny

As Seen on Cape Cod

Does this mean only Chunky Monkeys are allowed here??????
Maybe Chubby and his honey Chubette live down the lane??

Happy Phriday to all. 
Hope that you've survive all those Turkey Endorphins!!
Enjoy your weekend and Stay Safe

Grenville[Looking for a Turkey Sandwich]

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Escape

Today, as many folks in the U.S are on their way to visit family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday, there were also a few others in a big hurry to leave the area.

Agnes and Edith were seen rushing along a field . . .
And were joined by their friend, Tom . . .

The trio were last seen heading very quickly out of the area.

The END.
We wish Everyone very safe travels AND a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Beatrice (Dorothy) & Grenville (Pat)

and from our special friend "Tom"
"Eat more beef"

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's Almost Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving. A time we should slow down and look at all we are thankful for. Thankful for all the blessings we’ve received. As a country favorite of mine says, “a log on the fire, dinner in the oven, and a good woman's lovin’ “. Beatrice and i are especially thankful this year to be celebrating with her immediate family. Something that has not happened for one reason or another in the past several years. 

In light of the recent tragedies that have occurred around the world, we should be especially thankful to be living in a country that values freedom, liberty, and justice. But there are others who hate those virtues, and hate those of us that hold them dearly in our hearts. Not since the Nazi movement in the 1930’s has any group forced their totalitarian culture on the world. During this time of love, joy, and happiness, it is very important to remember this. Please be aware of your surroundings and those around you. We get so involved with the joy of the season we sometimes miss the danger signs in front of us, whether it is a pick-pocket, a scam artist, a mugger, or a terrorist. The first three will most likely not harm you . The last, the terrorists, have harm and only harm on their minds.

The other day i read a news article, and would like to pass some of it on. Not a warning. Not a prediction, Not even a negative dread. Just a list of suggestions that might help you survive many different emergency situations. As someone who worked in the field of Public Safety for 27 years, my hope is that you will never need any of these suggestions. But if you do, they may help keep this wonderful festive season a safe one for you, your family, and those who might be around you. If you would like to read the entire article it can be found at http://bearingarms.com/ten-ways-avoid-killed-terrorist-attack/

1. Realize it WILL happen here – This isn’t a paranoid statement: it is a simple unpleasant fact based upon intelligence gathering efforts, expert opinion, and common sense. At some point, it is likely there will be a coordinated, Paris-type attack in the U.S. on schools, shopping malls, sporting events, or other mass-gathering areas.
2. If you are licensed, consider carrying a concealed firearm where legal – A concealed firearm in the hands of a responsible and trained individual is statistically one of the best tools available to stop mass killings.
3. Improvised weapons are within reach – If you cannot or choose not to carry a firearm, there are always effective weapons within your immediate area so learn to use them. Whenever unarmed in a public area, make it a habit (or game) to choose three nearby items that would make a good weapon if things turn dire.
4. *****Know where exits are located****** – Many people die during all types of emergencies because they don’t know where exits are located.  This should be the first thing you do, above all else, whenever situated in a public place.
5. *****Act decisively***** – The “immediate action drill” during an attack is either fight or flee. Don’t mill around, waiting for instruction or to gain a better idea of what is happening. Flee the area when you have an opportunity or instantly attack a threat if one presents itself. The old chestnut is still true: “To Ponder is to Perish.”
6. Be alert to people and unusual circumstances – Most folks wouldn’t see a large pink gorilla wandering down the hallway and certainly won’t see a suspicious individual fiddling with wires under a long trench coat on a hot day. You don’t have to glare at every passerby but simply maintain a loose focus for unusual patterns of activity within your surroundings.
7. “If you see something, say something.” – Cops everywhere have stories of witnesses who said after a crime, ‘I wasn’t sure what was going on and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.’  If you see people or objects that look suspicious, notify the authorities immediately. There is no punishment for being mistaken but there are huge consequences to being correct but not sharing the information.
8. There is usually one more bomb/attack/assailant – Experience has shown that attackers are increasingly planning not only their initially assault, but follow-up actions such as secondary or even tertiary explosives and attackers. Such actions not only increase the “shock and awe” of the incident but cause additional carnage and damage the emergency response system.
9. Have a basic understanding of trauma medical care – in the aftermath of a bombing or shooting incident, many people will be bleeding to death and you have two or three minutes to save lives.  This means you need to understand mass-casualty triage principals and some basic tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) techniques. Be ready to provide aid such as tourniquets, spinal immobilization and safe patient evacuation from threatening circumstances.
10. Trust your intuition – If something ‘feels’ dangerous or simply makes you uneasy, trust your inner voices. This inner dialog might be wrong, but then again, you may have subconsciously picked up subtle environmental clues that you “can’t quite put your finger on,” but are real nonetheless. At the very least, move to a safer position or relocate to where you can more easily escape a potential kill zone.
It is not hyperbole to state that we are all now terrorism responders because the avowed goal of Daesh (ISIS) and other such groups is to bring death and destruction to Mainstreet U.S.A. However, with planning and preparation individual citizens can sometimes prevent, often shorten and effectively respond to mass killing incidents.

The Department of Homeland Security’s website advises that we not change our plans for this Thanksgiving Weekend. BUT If you  see something….. Say something. 


Happy Thanksgiving, Stay Safe. Captain Grenville(Retired)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Funny

Admittedly, there hasn't been much joy in the wake of recent (and continuing) world events, but we should make time to smile. Life is unpredictable and so very fragile. 

Here's 2 for the Road for everyone and especially folks (including ourselves) who will be traveling next week to share Thanksgiving with family, friends and/or both.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

We are always on the search for easy (and tasty) meals. Sometimes, a first result turns out terrific. Other times it's OK, but needs a bit of "improvement."

This recipe falls into that second category. It was modified slightly from an online source. It's a quick one-pan skillet meal with lots of fresh ingredients; peppers, onions, garlic, zucchini, and basil. And, dinner can be ready in under a half hour  

Balsamic Chicken with Peppers, Onions, Zucchini
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips or chunks
  • Salt & pepper
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 C thinly sliced multi-colored bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green)
  • 1 C zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh basil or 1 TBSP dried basil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper; marinate in balsamic vinegar for a few hours.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté chicken in 2 TBSP olive oil over medium high heat. Turn once and cook for about 8 min or until browned; remove from pan.
  3. Clean pan, then add 2 TBSP of olive oil to skillet and cook, peppers, onion, zucchini. Stir often until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Stir in basil and balsamic vinegar, then return chicken and juices to skillet.
  5. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with a side of salad or rice. We skipped both and enjoyed a side of fresh-baked bakery bread instead. Perhaps not the best choice when watching our food intake, but at least the main meal was a light one.

Our opinion was that while we both enjoyed the recipe for its contents and low (314) calorie count, the dish needed more flavor. One reviewer suggested adding brown sugar and soy sauce. When (and if) we re-try this recipe, there will be more flavor add-ins.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's Beginning . . .

And, most of you know how the rest of that phrase goes . . . (hint: a lot like Christmas)

It's scarcely a week after Halloween and a full 2 weeks until Thanksgiving. But, this week on Veterans Day not only the local mall, but nearly all the stores within were decked out.

Whatever happened to waiting until at least Thanksgiving as in holiday films, Miracle on 34th Street and Christmas Story?  Then stores (and Santa) did not appear until at least turkey day was near or later.

YES, Santa was already in the house mall this week. (This shot was taken during a lull in the steady stream of parents and children.)

Retailers have announced "Black Friday" sales well in advance of the day after Thanksgiving. Several major chains, who shall remain nameless herein, are opening doors at 6 p.m. on turkey day. Lest you think that's a benign motion, most have stated that "deals" will be available online starting early in Thanksgiving. Many will be open overnight into Black Friday.

KUDOS to those retailers who are bucking the rush to very early pre-holiday sales. BOOS to  one chain from many of its customers.

Photo credit: REI 2015 holiday closing
Outdoor retailer REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) announced that its stores would be closed on Thanksgiving and the day after giving the over 10,000 full and part-time employees 2 paid days off. Unlike other stores, REI is a "consumer co-op" and doesn't have shareholders to answer to. Its member customers fork up a one-time membership fee, and receive an annual dividend (usually equal to 10% of annual purchases). 


Photo credit: Nordstrom closing announcement

The Seattle-based Nordstrom chain is sticking to its long-standing policy of no holiday decorations until the day after Thanksgiving. Unlike other major retailers, its 118 U.S. stores won't be even open until Sat, Nov. 27.

Meanwhile coffee retailer Starbucks is facing a "red cup" backlash over its decision not to include holiday symbols, think reindeers or ornaments. This holiday season, coffee its cups are just red. 


Photo credit: Starbucks 2015 "holiday" cup
The company cites "purity of design" as its motivation. In a PR release, the VP of design and content stated: "we're embracing the simplicity and the quietness ... it's a more open way to usher in the holiday." No holiday symbols but, of course, the Starbucks logo is predominantly displayed on these simple red cups.

Our plans do not include shopping. We will spend the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend through visiting with family members in Pennsylvania. 

OK, rant over . . . What do you think of the ever-increasing holiday Retail Rush? 
Just wondering.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Land of the FREE, because of the BRAVE







Its November 11th. A day we set aside to thank those who have served in our armed forces so that we can live in a country where people cherish their freedom enough to fight and even die for it.

And if you are a Vet, and someone comes up to you and says "Thank You", just say "Your Welcome. Enjoy your Freedom".
And if your not a Vet and meet one on the street today (or any day for that matter) say thanks, maybe even give them a HUG!!!


Grenville


Monday, November 9, 2015

Re-Listing Time

Last week we were on the road again with a return to the VA eastern shore. That's also the location of this this blog's namesake, the Frog & PenguINN, our former home. For those of you who may, or may not know, we have relocated to an apt in a former NH textile mill. However, we continue to make regular trips back to VA to check on the F&P.


It was time for the annual fall maintenance to be done. A local company thoroughly checks and services the heating and cooling system each fall and spring. While there have not been any major problems in previous years, that was not the case this time as a freon leak was found in the 1st floor compressor. A costly, but necessary repair, which is now done.


While there, we did some yard work that included trimming and mulching the front floor beds now that the flowering season is past.


And, it was also time for a realtor change. During the past six-month listing, there were some showings, but no offers. Time for a change. The new realtor is enthusiastic about marketing and selling the F&P. He has also renovated and is living in a nearby classic older home. We like his enthusiasm and hope it's contagious to a prospective buyer. 


The Frog & PenguINN is ready for fall and a new owner who we hope will enjoy this old home as much as we have — and still do.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Funnies

We've heard of tailgate grilling, but this seems to be going to extremes.

Even the ambulance caution seemed very appropriate.


Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Walking Quietly

Fall colors are out in full display and nowhere is more famously noted for its color then the New England area. 

(Thanks for a couple of fellow bloggers who previewed this post a couple of days ago. It was to be a "scheduled" post but I inadvertently clicked to publish it, then removed it.)

Last week we didn't have to venture very far from Nashua, NH to find an explosion of red, yellow, and orange colors. We went to a place we've been passing weekly for the past year when we go to the supermarket.
There never seemed to be enough time to stop, but last weekend we didn't go shopping, but instead drive a few miles to this cemetery and walked its paths. We weren't the only ones being awed by the colors and the solitude as there were several others with camera in hand.

Aside from an occasional hello, we noticed that others, like ourselves, were relatively quiet when walking along the paths.

Even though a major roadway was just outside the gates, there was a feeling of peaceful beauty and solitude within the cemetery.



Many headstones were quite old and there were numerous family plots. However, this gathering was definitely the most unusual we saw that afternoon.

Have you ever explored a cemetery. If so, was it in your area or while traveling? 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cauliflower the Other White Vegetable

Cauliflower isn't just for boiling and serving as a side dish with butter. It's much better when cooked in low-sodium chicken broth and garlic, then drained and mashed.

It's a great low-calorie and healthy substitute for mashed white potatoes. 

We've also roasted cauliflower and recently learned that it can be served as a white rice substitute too. This was great news as we've been avoiding pasta and rice in recent weeks.

It's not that don't enjoy those foods, we do. But, carbs don't fit in with our current weight loss campaign, which is working, even if a bit slower than we would like. Here's a couple of easy (and delicious) cauliflower recipes that we've enjoyed the past couple of weeks and maybe you will enjoy them too.

Cauliflower Rice


This easy recipe is a triple header: low calorie, gluten-free, and diabetic friendly. It can be served as a side dish or as a base for other dishes, like stir fry or curry.
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Spices, herbs, or veggies of your choice
  • Food processor
  1. Wash, remove core and leaves, trim and coarsely chop cauliflower. Remove any brown or black spots with a paring knife. Chop cauliflower into small florets or pieces small enough to fit into your food processor.
  2. Process (pulse) until cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice. Put florets into food processor in batches. Don't over process or pulverize the cauliflower until it's mushy — you want a rough chop.
  3. Heat olive oil in large frying pan. Add onion and saute until soft. If adding other dice vegetables include with onion.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high. Add cauliflower to frying pan. Cover and cook approx. 5-6 minutes, stirring often until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on outside, but tender on inside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add-ins to Cauliflower Rice

Curried: add 1 TBSP turmeric or curry powder
Herbed: add 1/4 C fresh basil, parsley, green onion or other herbs of your choice
Spanish: cook cauliflower then add 8 oz. can of chopped tomatoes and hot sauce
Vegetable: add favorite diced veggies, sauteed with onions
Lemon: add lemon zest and lemon juice

Roasted Cauliflower
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice (or half a lemon)
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Lightly oil a large roasting pan or baking sheet. Cut cauliflower into florets and place in a bowl. Toss with minced garlic. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Drizzle with olive oil and toss so that florets are lightly coated with oil.
  2. Spread florets in a single layer on roasting pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Place cauliflower in hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Use a fork to test for doneness; tines should easily pierce cauliflower when done.
  4. Remove cauliflower from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cookies and Costumes

This is fittingly be the final post about the final day of October — Halloween.

Thanks to everyone for comments on the previous two posts about the downtown Nashua, NH decorations and the Home Depot "scaries."

This past Saturday we were in RI for a visit with grandson Bobby, granddaughter Ellie and mom Shannon. The afternoon was filled with coloring, cookie making and decorating, then costume prep. We didn't stay for the entire evening outing of neighborhood trick or treating. 

There were freshly-baked green "zombie" cookies to decorate in the afternoon before costume were donned.
Bobby and Ellie were great cookie decorators. Thankfully, everything needed came in a package from the cookie mix to the decorating tubes.




Their mom Shannon and grandpa Grenville supervised and joined in the fun.
When the decorating was done, the eating began and most "zombies" quickly lost their heads or other "body" parts.


And then the costume preparation began for Miss Ellie, who was going out as "Pinkie Pie" one of the main characters of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. And, no, we didn't know much about this character before Ellie's transformation and now we know more than we need (or wanted) to know. Sorry, but there are no photos of Bobby costume prep, which was made from an adult raincoat and work gloves stuffed with packing materials and a plastic jar. His mom bought the materials and assembled this unique and original costume.



Soon afterwards both grands were ready to meet their public.


Hope you had a great and unscary weekend. 

(As old fashioned folks, we know that the official countdown until Christmas doesn't start until after Thanksgiving. But for those who shop early, there are just over 50 days left. Grenville said to mention that we could send our Amazon wish lists to anyone who wants to add us to their gift buying list.)
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