Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Beep-Beep fast asleep

She's snoring too! I don't see how she can sleep with this incredible Kennedy Awards show that is blasting right now. Buddy Guy and Led Zeppelin plus all the out of this world players. Fabulous.

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies!

Obviously I need to hone my pretzel shaping skills. No plain white sprinkles so I used what I had in the cooking decorating stash. Qute! Taste test in about 10 minutes.

Lasagna - finished product and my oh my it smells wonderful!

Lasagna going in oven now. Rachael Ray lasagna bolognese recipe (altered slightly of course)

From September 2012 issue (I added ricotta, mozzarella, and a few spices)

  • tablespoons EVOO
  • ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • small onion, finely chopped
  • carrot, finely chopped
  • rib celery, finely chopped
  • clove garlic, minced
  • bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pound 85% lean ground beef chuck
  • can  (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 1/4 cups grated parmesan
  • 3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
  1. In a deep skillet or pot, cook 1 tbsp. EVOO and the pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook, stirring, until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes; push to the side of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tbsp. EVOO to the center of the pan and crumble in the ground beef; cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Break up the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups water to the skillet; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat; let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk in a steady stream and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking. Remove from the heat, stir in 1 cup parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
  4. In a pot of boiling, salted water, add the remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO and the lasagna noodles. Cook, stirring, until al dente. Drain and transfer to a bowl of cold water.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; add 34 of the cup meat sauce to coat. Add a layer of noodles, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup of the meat sauce, then a layer of noodles; add 1 cup of the bechamel, spreading to coat. Repeat the layers. Add a fifth layer of noodles and top with the remaining meat sauce; dollop with the remaining bechamel. Cover with greased parchment, then wrap the pan with foil. Bake for 1 hour; uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 14 cup parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes more. Loosen the foil; let stand for 30 minutes before slicing.

Oh my! Look!

Yummy too!

Soft Pretzels!

Going in the oven now. Not as pretty as some but I'm sure they taste better than most. Well, hopefully!

Chili on the left; sauce for lasagna on the right

I want to make homemade soft pretzels later today and also some chocolate cookies that LOOK like pretzels. Let's see how long I last in the kitchen...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Wonderland at Lowry Park Zoo

Tonight I spent the evening with Krystle and her adorable son Elijah. 

 My fav pic of the night - clowning around in the penguin photo board.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another knitting project. What will it be when complete??

Yes, four needles required for this project. It is called knitting in 'the round' and I find it difficult but I'm sure it will get easier. I have an expert teacher and I'm loving this new skill. I just need more hours in my day. Don't we all? When is 'real' retirement?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deer sightings during my road trip - what I learned on the road

I learned to keep my eyes open while driving when the deer may be active (early in the morning and then all through the night until late morning).  Photos below but this is what I saw on my road trip:
- 3 dead deer on I-75 north in Georgia
- 5 alive deer while driving winding roads through KY on my way to Campton (as seen in photos below)   One was walking across the road as I came around the bend and i wasn't ready so I didn't get a photo.  So, I stopped and got the camera out.  I went around another corner and there were 5 working their way across the road.  I pulled over and shot (photo!) a few.  Deer season was just ending as I arrived but they are a common sight to see in the hills.
- 1 dead deer on I-95 south headed home (Florida)
- 10 alive deer on I-95 and I-4 (2 sets of 3, 2 solo, and 1 set of 2 - they were all feeding along the side of the highway)

I think there were many more along the stretch of road between Jax and Seffner but it was dark, I was staying as far left as possible, and if i didn't see that it clearly was a deer, I didn't count it.  Many shadows.

I drove straight through from Asheville to Seffner and one thing that helped keep me away was the constant searching for deer standing next to the road.  I did not want one to jump in front of me.

Red bull, monster, rock stars, and a ginormous custom made coffee from dunkin donuts helped too!

Lyle Lovett - Release Me - at the Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville

Saturday, November 17th I headed north to Knoxville to see Lyle Lovett and his acoustic "Release Me" tour at the BEAUTIFUL restored Tennessee Theatre.  Sorry that some of the photos are sideways - again, this awesome blogger software will not let me rotate.  The show was fabulous.  Lily Hiatt opened and is adorable.  Just Lyle and the 4 guys - and they delivered as usual.
Photos of theatre below.