I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Good morning Garden!

These are Suyo Long cucumbers that were picked on my morning tour of the garden. Each one weighs over a pound! Soon they will become half sour pickles.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Breakfast for dinner ....again.

Bacon...mmmmm, potatoes, onions and peppers all cooking in the bacon fat.
Light and flufy frittatta with fresh spinach and a hint of nutmeg just out of the oven.

Rob is working late and my plan for a romantic dinner for two fell flat due to the work schedule of an executive chef at a private club. I had even splurged BIG on grass fed steaks and wine. He only has a few days of freedom before the onslaught of opening a new facility and snowbird season and I had hoped for a nice dinner together. Alas-the wine is waiting and dinner for tonight is shelved,and will be prepared tomorrow when he is home for his last real weekend evening of freedom. Since the dreaded call came at the last minute it took pulling bacon, cheese, peppers and onions from the freezer along with the addition of eggs, a potato, spinach and nutmeg to round everything out.  

For a last minute meal it was amazing! Unfortunately, I stink at remembering ingredients used in recipes and also tend to misremember amounts and cooking temperatures. Sadly, my foods are thrown together and Chef Victor forgive me, but I really don't taste much as well. (Chef Victor was an amazing Culinary Instructor at Johnson and Wales while I was a student. He was unbelievable and makes the TV chef's like Ramsey look like wussies.) Normally, my cooking turns out well but there have been a few frightening instances that were questionable at best.  

Next week begins Jo's Friday night dinners for one and evening projects to keep occupied. Maybe I will be sewing but more likely baking or canning to keep occupied. Who knows? There is always a lot that can be done. 

Happy Friday!!!


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Asthma and Stuff

Allergies, asthma and bronchitis are making me crazy. By the time I get home after every trip I am either suffering from allergies or struggling with asthma. This last trip was no different, after getting home on Thursday the coughing started and I was on the couch sleeping with the bags left unpacked in my office. Thursday night saw a lot more coughing so Friday saw a trip to see my favorite P.A., a steroid shot, and countless Rx for Bronchitis. Since then my life has revolved around using the nebulizer, sleeping on the couch and relocating to the bed. My brain can't focus on too much so the news websites on my phone have been my entertainment, along with a couple TV shows.

I have not been sleeping except in bits and pieces due to the coughing and I am so far past exhausted it is unbelievable. Along with that I apparently have not been paying close enough attention to what I consume. My allergies are a long a** list and include: Eucalyptus, Wheat, Grass, Palm Trees, Oak, Peaches, ... and on and on. After the doctors office visit I picked up cough drops and a few misc. comfort items. While sucking on a cough drop I noticed the bag read "menthol." And where does menthol come from? In this case it was eucalyptus. Sigh. Not to mention the cough drops were cherry and cherries are a relative of peaches. Not totally terrible yet not good. Then at 4:45 this morning I was making Sleepy Time tea to soothe my throat and decided to read the label just to be sure. The third ingredient...lemongrass. Double sigh. I dumped the Sleepy Time tea and got out pure peppermint instead.

When I was first diagnosed I read everything and the lately have gotten lax. As often as I get sick I really have to read labels better and go back to researching the botanical families of food if I am uncertain.We make  so many of the foods that I am allergic to or buy items that are gluten free as a precaution. If it is processed it is questionable. If it is something that I have not had before it is off limits until research is done on the item. Foods are always researched before going out to eat and usually before we hit the restaurant so it is not awkward at the table with everyone else when it comes time to order.  

The P.A. suggested acupuncture as we have exhausted all avenues for asthma short of a surgery that introduces heat into the bronchial tubes to in effect "cauterize" the tubes to stop the asthmatic response.
I am all for anything that avoids major surgery even if it involves sticking pins in me at regular intervals.
Back to bed I go...I am done!

Friday, October 30, 2015

There is nothing wrong with Ironing...

My husband has new chef uniforms for work and the uniforms do not look professional if they are not well pressed. Tonight, one of them was ironed while getting clothes ready for travel to Tallahassee next week. The white chef's jacket now looks nice and crisp with sharp creases on the sleeves. Don't misunderstand me, my husband does know how to iron and does not expect me to do the ironing simply because I happen to be female. Since the iron was already hot and he needed it to be done for work next week the uniform was ironed.

There are many tasks and jobs that I choose to do that others sometimes classify as "old fashioned", "women's work", or in one case even one was labeled as "bizarre." (See the sewing machine story below). Ironing is a case in point. Friends, coworkers and even family have said they don't even own an iron.To me that lack of an iron in their lives is perfectly o.k. What do I care if they have an iron? Many times the statement of a lack of an iron is accompanied by the statements; "Why even bother?",  "I don't iron." or "Everything is taken to the cleaners." Once in a great while the statement comes along with a faint tone of scorn for my simple choice to iron some of the clothing we own.

It happens with gardening as well. "Why garden when you can go to the store and buy fresh fruits and vegetables?". Sewing; "That is too much work." Canning; " How long does that take?" and on and on.
A coworker once pulled me aside after I had excitedly shared about the purchase of a new sewing machine to tell me not to "....say things like that too loudly people might take it the wrong way...." Unfortunately, I did not have the self confidence back then to ask her what the hell that statement meant. My job was as a Food and Beverage Manager in an upscale private club, but seriously what would they think....that maybe I could make my own curtains?  Or, hells bells, spread my wings and...GASP... make a pot holder or goodness gracious maybe, just maybe, a skirt? 

Today you can call me amazingly unapologetic for my hobbies and abilities. Ironing happens not because I love to iron but because I would rather do it myself than look wrinkled or pay someone to iron the clothes needed for meetings. Paying someone to press my clothing is not on my agenda unless something else comes up that is MUCH more important, like a trip with my husband or a day with the grand kids. Hell, when retirement hits I may not even have an iron! Even if I somehow happen to become iron less there sure as heck will not be anything but praise for someone who works to save money or for someone who simply likes to iron.

These things that I do in my free time are done mainly for my own personal enjoyment or because it doesn't hurt me in any way to do the task and I have the ability necessary. There is enjoyment for some of us in simply seeing the fruits of our labors- regardless of if it is in a freshly ironed shirt, an overflowing garden or rows of gleaming jars of jam on a shelf. These same tasks not only, remind me of my grandparents who did almost everything themselves but also provide a sense of shared history and a link to the family that is no longer here with me. This simple manual work, performed by my hands is full of meaning and value. If one person finds value in an item or a task it does not necessarily mean others will feel the same. However, if a task, like ironing, has value to me that is enough.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Gave up and gardened

After starting a pity party post I realized how pathetic it sounded. While reading it through prior to posting a burst of energy overcame me and I simply said screw it to the pity party! The result of the burst is a clean house, a garden bed cleared with pole beans planted and even the trellis for the beans is up. Go me!!! The best medicine out there is gardening!!!!
Garden as of today...don't look too close.
A few of the seeds that went in this year so far.

Monday, September 7, 2015