Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Thinking that the Memorial weekend would be a good time for a salad (you know...warm weather?), I planned a shrimp & pasta delight. I got a 2 lb bag of large uncooked shrimp (21-25 to the pound) at Costco. The day I made this, it was cold and rainy, so I served it warm.

I used orzo (the small rice-like pasta) and boiled it in water until it was almost done. Yeah, this is another one of Ina's recipes. (You could use a larger pasta or cut spaghetti.)
I roasted one pound of shrimp drizzled with olive oil on a cookie sheet at 425 degrees for only about 6 minutes until they are just pink. I added them to the warm cooked orzo, (about 1 cup of dry orzo makes enough for 2 people for 2 meals!) I added about 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (this is a key ingredient so don't make this if you don't have a juicy, fresh lemon) and an oil based dressing of choice (Parmesan or Italian works good) along with scallions, red onions, some halved cherry tomatoes and a diced, seeded cucumber. (I skipped the feta cheese cubes called for, as Mr. A doesn't like feta.)

Toss well and let it sit out for an hour so the dressing & lemon juice go into the pasta. Then you either want to refrigerate it for later or heat it for immediate use.

Served on a bed of shredded fresh spinach with a nice slice of baguette makes a good lunch or dinner. Good hot or cold!


Got a big bag of Vidalia onions on sale at Freddies...
Since I usually can't use up that many onions before they start to sprout, I had to think fast.

Ina Garten's (aka the Barefoot Contessa) recipe for onion soup would be perfect for another cold May day and using up onions! So I shed a few tears and let the food processor do the work.

I used 5 onions and cooked them on medium high to caramelize them.

Brandy and white wine are the secret ingredients, along with beef STOCK...not broth. I also add chicken broth or stock. A bay leaf is good too. (Ina calls for veal stock instead of chicken but when was the last time you saw veal...much less veal stock...in the supermarket?)

A little crispy bacon and Parmesan toast on the top makes a great lunch on a chilly day. Mr. A pronounced it "Excellent!"

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Chris & Susan paid us a quick visit over the first part of Memorial Weekend. They took us out to Wild River Brewery here in Medford for a nice casual dinner.

Chris ordered the "sampler" of various beers that they make.

Susan helped with the evaluation of the brews with her refined palate...don't think she liked this one! Or maybe she's just deep into her tastebuds!
Anyway we had a good time...Mr. A drove Big Hank (Chris' big diesel pick up) home as the sampler beer sizes were extremely generous!

Monday, May 23, 2011


One of the genes I got from my mom was the "hanging out clothes" gene! Nothing is quite as nice as line-dried sheets...they haven't been able to chemically reproduce that fresh air cotton smell, try as they might.
So the problem was that we didn't have a place to string out a line unless we put some posts in the ground, poured concrete, etc. I saw this clothesline on the internet from a company called "Hayneedle." Stupid name but seemingly clever device. (Fabrique in Chine of course)

What I needed was 86.5" of wall space in order to install the nifty 70' of clothesline on a folding frame. So I picked the spot: a. I had some concrete, b. close to the laundry room as I could get, c. not directly under the big trees. We decided the smaller window in the great room would work.

It folds down out of the way when not in use. You just grab it and rotate it up until the struts click into place when you feel the urge to hang out something.
It seems fairly sturdy and we were able to assemble & install the whole thing in about 30 minutes.
Yes, "I feel like a queen!"

Friday, May 6, 2011


Even tulips on the front porch aren't safe from the munching deer. They do love tulips and just snap the heads off...they won't eat the foliage. Well, at least they were past their prime when the deer found them.