Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Funnies

Branching out in many ways — imagine this as a jigsaw puzzle!

Here's the original photo without any effects applied. It's still quite involved.

There's a lot going on in downtown Nashua, NH this fall with downtown scarecrows back on Main Street lamp posts. We'll post some photos of these seasonal city folks. The inaugural event last year was quite popular with residents and visitors. 

Cooler fall weather arrived this past weekend and was SO welcome after some September temps in the mid-80s. Not a lot of fall colors here yet, but soon (we hope). 

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dancing in the Street

The weather was perfect this past weekend for a two-day Downtown Fall Music Festival here in Nashua, NH.There was no shortage of entertainment as local performers took to the stage on Saturday. On Sunday, musicians from neighboring New England states were the showcased performers.

All the entertainment was totally free and many folks brought their chairs or sat on the pavement. The main stage was set up in Le Parc de Notre Renaissance Francaise, which is right outside our mill apartment building along the Nashua River on Water Street. 

There was some dancing in the street as these festival-goers moved to a lively country/western performance.There was no age limit on having fun!

As I may have mentioned in previous posts, we currently live in a mill apartment very close walking distance  to downtown Nashua. For this festival, performances were held in Le Parc de Notre Renaissance Francaise, along the Nashua River on Water Street. The former mill building in the background is Clocktower Place apartments, where we currently reside.

We attended the festival all weekend. Grenville/Pat was manning a table for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program to recruit folks for a training program next weekend. (He's a good recruiter as I'll be one of the attendees for this 20-hour training.) 

There's a lot happening around here in the next few weeks. Autumn is a busy season throughout New England and the fall colors bring in the "leaf peepers." 

For us, this city has been the perfect relocation spot. Last week, we read that Nashua, NH has climbed from 93rd to 16th place in Money magazine's listing of Best Places to Live 2016. We couldn't agree more and can share some of the city's diversity in this 4-minute "Welcome to Our City" music video produced by a local public relations and design firm. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Painting on the Wall

I watched an art mural being painted at a Downtown Arts Festival last weekend. The mural was done by members of Positive Street Art, a nonprofit organization based here in Nashua, NH, and their goal is to transform the often negative associations of urban art. 

The supply of paint cans represented these artists painting media. At various times, three to five artists worked on this mural over an entire day. 

Positive Street Art coordinates, promotes and administers workshops, events and activities to create a safe and violence-free environment and create a positive approach to urban art. Some of the other actives include drawing, graphic design, photography, and fashion.

Positive Arts has been cleaning up some up some areas within the city's downtown by the addition of colorful and meaningful street murals. A large patriotic themed mural was completed earlier this summer.
This mural was completed in Renaissance Park which is within walking distance of our mill apt. It will most likely be relocated in the near future and perhaps even given a name. Meanwhile, we've been enjoying its vibrant colors during several morning walks.

Are there any street art movements in your area?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Penne, Asparagus and Shrimp

This hearty and healthy recipe is not only very easy but can be made on short notice, either for a quick dinner or when company is coming. All you'll need for the main ingredients are shrimp, pasta and asparagus. You can even substitute linguini, if penne is not in your pantry, or skip the pasta entirely and serve with a side salad and bread.

Penne with Asparagus and Shrimp
  • 1 C penne pasta
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C onion, chopped
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 lb asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bag fresh shrimp (I used medium)
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or basil
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook until al dente (8-10 minutes) then drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Stir in garlic and onion and cook until onion has softened (about 5 min. or less). 
  3. Pour in white wine and simmer for 2 minutes CAUTION: turn down the heat BEFORE adding the wine or it will splatter (as I learned first-hand).
  4. Stir in red pepper flakes, butter and asparagus; cook until asparagus is just tender (about 4-5 min.).
  5. Add shrimp and lemon juice, continue cooking until shrimp have turned pink and no longer translucent in center. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Toss cooked pasta with shrimp and asparagus mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and cheese. Serve and enjoy! 
    Yes, Grenville declared this recipe a "keeper."

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Funnies

We live in New England where "lobstah" is probably the #1 seafood. Maine lobster, also called "American Lobster," is found in waters between Eastern Canada and NC. Maine accounts for more than half of all lobsters caught in the U.S. with some really BIG ones.
Maine lobsters are clawed and have large, meaty claws.

Lobstermen in Maine catch almost 1 million pounds of lobster annually. Most lobsters are caught between June and December. A lobster fisherman must catch about 150 pounds of lobster daily to cover the cost of bait and gas. A workday starts before 5 a.m. and goes till dark. Lobsters are night-owls.

A BIG one caught Grenville at The Taste of Maine restaurant in Woolwich, ME last month.
It takes a BIG fisherman to catch a big lobster.
Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

We're Falling . . .

Into a bit of cooler weather now in NH now, so it was time to get out the fall decos. 
Scarecrow, Simon and Cyrus, are once again outside our apt door a second autumn. 
There's also seasonal flags and a placard. The mini scarecrows, pumpkins and a bag of leaves were purchased at Dollar Tree. The garden flags are from our VA home. 
It's fun changing the apt entry way for the seasons and holidays, plus there's no worry about weather damage.
It's also not very costly. This year's expenses were $3 for a couple more pumpkins and a bag of leaves. Everything else was recycled from last year. 

Soon enough, we'll be re-decorating the entryway for the winter/holiday season. Last year, we really had a lot of fun! But then it seems some retailers are gearing up for the Christmas holiday early. Here's what was seen in a local Hallmark store 2 weeks ago.

This is way too early for us. we're going to enjoy autumn colors, Halloween and Thanksgiving first!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Do you Zoodle?

By spiralizing your veggies.
Not "spiraling" down something, like these stairs . . .
or even like these . . .
This post is about using a spiralizer kitchen gadget. These are available in different types from  smaller hand-held ones to larger counter-top models. The compact models resemble an oversize pencil sharpener; larger ones are about the size of a toaster. 

How do they work?
It's like using a pencil sharpener. Spiralizing is a way of turning vegetables and fruits into noodles using this new and, if you believe advertisements, must-have kitchen gadget that originated from Japan (although most of them are made in China). 

On smaller spiralizers, the vegetable is twisted by hand, whereas on larger ones, turning a hand crank makes the gears work. The end result is a pile of curled vegetable (or fruit) ribbons.  Here's a pile of zoodles we made last week using yellow squash and zucchini. It's quite colorful too.
We read that health conscious folks like using the spiralizer because spiralized vegetable pasta, for example, is gluten-free, vegetarian, low carb friendly, nutritious and a more wholesome way to eat. 

So, who doesn't want to eat healthy, have kitchen fun and buy a new gadget too?

That said Grenville and I have climbed onto jumped into this new food prep method and bought first one, and then a second, larger spiralizer.  

Our spiralizing fun started with buying a small spiralizer that looks like a stubby pencil sharpener. Accessories included a ceramic peeler, small cleaning brush and carry bag. While we were having a good time playing with prepping vegetables,but learned we couldn't do ALL veggies using one type or spiralizer. Any that were rounded, like onions, didn't work in the smaller one. So Grenville upgraded to a larger model. (Isn't that what guys do?)

The above photos are not an endorsement for either product since you can find comparable ones in stores or online. These are just the ones we purchased and used.

And, did I mention, that it's fun to make noodles. There's a LOT of veggies and fruits than can be spiraled,  like: apple, beet, bell pepper, butternut squash, carrots, cucumber, potatoes, parsnip, onion, rutabaga, zucchini. We haven't tried them all — yet.

Finding recipes is easy as there's a LOT of online websites. You can also buy spiralizer recipe books or you could just have fun in the kitchen, like we've been doing.

Which leads me to the post title. We've done several batches of zoodles the past 2 weeks; it's the the term for spiralized zucchini noodles. We sautéed these with olive oil and herbs; others were topped with tomato sauce. There's a lot less calorie guilt with zucchini pasta! 

You could slice and shred vegetables into ribbons with a julienne peeler or mandoline slicer. Being kitchen nerds and foodies, both are in our kitchen arsenal. But using some other gadgets can be more time consuming and not nearly as much fun. 

Have you ever zoodled?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Never Forget

Friday, September 9, 2016

Special Remembrance

Today is usually a Friday Funnies photo post to start the weekend on a smile 😄 or two.

But, this date marks what would have been my late mother's 95th birthday 🎂.  Mom enjoyed her birthday celebrations, especially the one for her 90th year milestone. Making that day more special was great-grandson Bobby helping to blow out the candles.
Thinking of you, Mom, with Love ❤️
Enjoy your weekend, Everyone. 
Cherish ⌛️time spent with family and friends.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Herbed Pork Tenderloin

It's September and that means we will resume using our oven for meals. While we cook a lot of chicken and fish, we also like pork tenderloins, an easy meal to prep with lots of seasoning choices too. Lately, we've been trying out various herbs and rubs. Not only is a pork tenderloin easy to prep; it cooks quickly too. 

And, this recipe was so easy. Just mix the herbs together, rub on the pork sear it, then roast for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Herbed Roast Pork Tenderloin 
  • 1-1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. Mix herbs in bowl, rub over pork and press in meat.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, stir for 1 minute add pork. 
  3. Cook pork for 10 minutes, turning to sear each side.
  4. Transfer to roasting pan; cook 20 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes; cut and serve.
The meat was flavorful and tender even without a gravy or sauce. We had side veggies: a combo of steamed green beans and red peppers and sautéed mushrooms.
Did I mention HOW easy this recipe was to prepare?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labor Day "Labors"

Bad Really nasty weather resulting from downgraded former Hurricane Hermine was expected to pack a wallop in rain, winds, and high surf to many U.S. states. It dampened the holiday spirits of many folks this Labor Day weekend.

Labor Day is a U.S. public holiday always celebrated on the first Monday in September to honor the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the country's strength, prosperity, and well-being.  

We helped celebrate those workers this weekend.


By supporting American workmen and buying USA made items that were also sold here in NH stores.

First, we bought a dining room set. We had been without one since selling the pub style table and chairs we bought after moving here 2 years ago. Luckily, friends who were moving to a larger apt needed one as they didn't have a dining set and bought ours. We waited a couple of months until new apt windows were installed and used a small table for 2 that usually sat near the windows for river view dining.

This is the new dining set that will be delivered next week. Now, we can finally invite folks for dinner! If you're planning to come, just let us know in advance and tell us what dinner you'll be bringing over.

By now, we were on a shopping spree, and decided to replace our current BR set bought from a local warehouse 2 years ago (where we bought the "old" DR set). While not the best wood BR furniture, it served its purpose, temporarily and we always planned its replacement with a better set within 3-5 years. 

That happened sooner this weekend thanks to some great holiday sales incentives. Here's a current BR furniture shot, followed by one of what's on order. Each set has a queen platform bed, 2 nightstands, and 2 chest of drawers (his and hers).

As you can see, not only are there differences in color and style, but quality and construction as well. Our current furniture was wood constructed, but not USA made. The new set will be built in NC; expected delivery is 6 weeks. 

Then since we bought a quality BR set, we splurged and treated ourselves (and our backs) to a new quality, also USA made, Simmons Beautyrest mattress. It will also be built after order placement; expected delivery is less than 3 weeks. 

We can wait, even if a bit impatiently — quality and USA built are worth it to us. And, as many of you know, these days that's can be a tough combination to find.

If you are a fellow U.S. blogger, how did you spend your Labor Day weekend?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Funnies

Imagine a Surfing' Safari without the Beach Boys or Jan and Dean. 

Last weekend, we were driving on highways through our home state of NJ returning from a weekend in PA. And, we noticed this car, definitely was not a "woodie"
Instead, it was a Honda sedan but it was carrying 2 surf boards on its roof.

We stayed a distance behind in traffic and watched the boards move slowly downward.
These boards seemed to move lower on the back window during the time we watched them.
They did NOT fall off.

Still, we were glad when the driver turned off an exit ahead of us.

Enjoy the U.S. Labor Day weekend, Everyone.
If traveling South, take caution due to tropical storm activity.
A word of caution from Grenville "Standing water, turn around, don't drown."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

End of August

A final August 2016 sunset was scene or seen, last night from our 5th floor apt window.
(FYI: This is an exact rendition shot with an iPhone. The best camera is the one  with you.)

Spelled either way, it was a beautiful and colorful end to a month — Welcome September.