Friday, October 30, 2015

Salmon Omelet

I had some salmon left from my baked salmon meal the other day and decided to turn it into an easy breakfast.  I looked at our go-to recipe for salmon cakes and used the basic ingredients from it – the fish was already seasoned.  I sautéed some chopped onion and red sweet pepper with about a tbsp. of rough chopped capers until the veggies were about soft.  I than added some chopped salmon and cooked until it was warmed through.  

In the meantime I had three beaten eggs cooking in a covered 10” skillet until the eggs were about set.  Note the bright yellow color from the farm fresh eggs that we're still getting for $2.50/dz - I almost feel like I'm stealing them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Our Coach And My Knees

Our Coach
I think I now know how this RV thing works.  We go on an extended trip or several short trips and when we arrive home, we do three things.

1.Call Karen to give it a thorough top to bottom cleaning, especially if we’ve been to the dusty West.

2.Call the RV repair guy to come down and deal with the issues that cropped up during the trip(s) (I do very little work on the coach myself).

3.Take it by the auto body place to get an estimate to repair the dings I put on it – this is only the second time for #3 and hopefully the last – both in a fuel station.

Of course I damaged the doors with the most complicated paint scheme.

My Knees
As for my knees, they are the main reason that I do very little on the coach.  If you’ve actually seen me, you know I’m an over-weight, out of shape old guy who barely hobbles around on his bad knees.  They’ve been this way for several years and I’ve been avoiding doing anything about them in hopes of a miracle cure that would prevent replacement – both of my knees are bone-on-bone and nothing seems to help anymore.

I realize I have to do something or resign myself to only enjoying what can be seen from the road on our RV trips – which I did this last time and am no longer willing to accept.  So I made my second visit to the surgeon and after convincing me not to do both of them at the same time, I have scheduled the right knee for Nov. 23 and to say I’m concerned is an understatement.  First reason is that I’m a big baby when it comes to pain and secondly I’ve been through therapy two times (right knee scoped) and it was hard when I was in better shape.

So I have one month to lose some weight and build my knees up as much as possible – fortunately I have stairs and a Bow Flex to help.  If the first knee goes well and I think I can stand the process again, I’ll do the second one and hopefully have this behind me by pretty weather.  I’m sure my blog posts in Nov will include a significant amount of whining.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Baked Salmon and Cauliflower Steaks

I keeping with my bacheloring plan to make dishes that generate leftovers, I cooked a 1¾ lb. wild sockeye salmon filet that we had purchased in Anacortes, WA during our recent western trip.  After reading Angela’s recipe for Cauliflower Parmesan on her Spinach Tiger blog, I decided to give it a try as the side dish.

Since it was cool here and the A/C was off, I decided I wanted to bake the entire meal in the oven – a one pan meal.  I looked on the web and settled on a recipe for baked salmon from Natasha’s Kitchen since I had all of the ingredients on hand.  I used the same ingredients (except my salmon weighed 1¾ #) and I amended the directions slightly.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

French Onion Tater Tot Casserole Ala Steph

Bev, Pat and two of their friends are off to Marco Island, FL for their annual two week trip to the beach and I’m minding the store and looking after the pups.  Starting in 2016, we’re scheduled to go later in the year and I may be willing to go with them, but I still refuse to go during the hot FL October when the cool weather I’ve been awaiting all summer is finally in East Tennessee.

Since I’m cooking for myself, my preference is to make simple dishes that generate plenty of leftovers so I can cook less often and this dish is a good example.  We had made this dish once before and decided it was a little overwhelmed by the French Onion Dip so I modified it this time by adding more potatoes and cheese.  Check out Steph's Plain Chicken blog for the original recipe and her shots.

French Onion Potato Casserole – Adapted from Plain Chicken

1½ (30-32oz) packages frozen tater tots
1 (10 3/4oz) can Cream of Chicken soup
1 (16oz) container French Onion Dip (Kraft)
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices pepper jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix soup, dip and cheddar cheese. Then thoroughly mix in potatoes.
3. Pour into prepared pan and top with sliced pepper jack.
4. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until bubbly.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Homemade Chili/Salsa Verde

When we travel out west, Bev’s favorite thing to eat is green chili on just about anything – usually a breakfast burrito.  After a lot of looking at recipes I think I understand the difference between Salsa Verde and Chili Verde with the former being made mostly from tomatillos with a couple of hot chiles and frequently used as a dip.  The later includes pork chunks, and about equal parts mild green chiles and tomatillos and like most chili, it’s eaten with a spoon.  You experts feel free to correct me here.

While we were in Denver on our recent trip, fellow blogger Heather (Rocky MountainCooking) gave us several quart bags of roasted Hatch green chiles and we decided to turn some of them into a green chile sauce.

What we were looking to make was more of chili verde but to be used as a sauce (like we get in western restaurants) without the big chunks of meat so after reading many recipes, I decided to just amend Lea Ann’s (Cooking On The Ranch) recipe which we had made and loved. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 Western Trip – Wine From Our Trip

When we planned the trip one of our goals was to visit some wine producing areas and we knew that WA and OR both had some very good ones and were surprised that Colorado’s western slope also produced some quality wine.

We didn’t taste or buy as much as I expected but we did end up with 41 bottles when we got home and we probably drank another 10 on the road, so we bought around four cases.

The 41 bottles I’m sorting through are from nine different wineries with our biggest purchases being a case each from Carlson Vineyards near Grand Junction, CO and Paradisos Del Sol Winery near Yakima, WA.  Our best purchase was sparkling wine from Argyle Winery in Dundee, OR – would have bought more had it been a little cheaper.  The biggest surprise for me was that we bought a case of fruit wine from Carlson – peach and cherry (it didn’t taste like cough syrup as they often do).  Bev bought it to use in three drink recipes we tasted at the vineyard and really enjoyed.

Carlson Cherry Lemonade
2 bottles Carlson Cherry Wine
12 oz can frozen lemonade
Mix in pitcher and serve. If you have time, make ice cubes with some of the wine blend for even more flavor (yes it will freeze).
Optional - add fruit, like orange slices or a handful of blueberries or raspberries.

Hot Peach Cobbler In A Mug – my favorite
1 bottle Carlson peach wine
4-6 T. pure maple syrup
¼ t. cinnamon
¼ t. vanilla
Add all ingredients to a pan and heat without boiling – serve warm.

The third one was to dip about ¼ of the rim of a glass ¼” deep in good dark chocolate, fill the glass with cherry wine and drink it over the chocolate.

All I can say is we needed more wine like we needed a you-know-what – I guess this will mean we’ll just have to drink more of this good stuff and less Almaden from a box.  If you’d to sample from our replenished wine cellar (not really a cellar), just drop on by.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


10/10/15 event date

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Store List – Which One Are You

For years I’ve known there was a major difference between how Bev and I go to the grocery store but I never completely understood it until today and it boils down to the role of the store list.

For me the store list is the plan and when I go in the store I forget everything else and move through the store picking up the items on the list and buy nothing else except the rare impulse buy from the stuff blocking the aisles.  So for me the list is pretty much the maximum buy list.

But for Bev, the consummate shopper, it's just the opposite and the list represents the minimum amount of items to buy and those that should not be forgotten.  So she goes from aisle to aisle buying those items she knows we need (even though they are not on the list) but being sure she gets those items that are on the list.

This explains how we can go to the store with the same list and I get ten items while she gets a cart full – can’t believe it took me 30 years to figure this out.  I'm not sure if it’s a left brain/right brain thing, being the person responsible for meals showing up on the table, or something else that accounts for the difference.

Which type shopper are you and what do you think makes us so different.

Ain’t it great to be re-tared and have nothing better to do than contemplate and write blog posts about something like this.  Life is good here at Almost Heaven South.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


10/7/15 event date

Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 Western Trip – Recap

Since I'm sure you've read every word of every post during this entire trip I'll keep the recap fairly short J

First a few stats:

Departure Date:  Jul 24
Return Date:  Sep 30
Duration:  69 days
Distance in the RV:  5828 miles plus a couple thousand more in the car – no wonder our butts were sore.

States we stayed overnight:  KY, MO, KS, NE, WY, MT, ID, WA, OR, UT, CO

Friday, October 2, 2015

2015 Western Trip – Days 68 & 69 – The Final Two Days

Our final two days for the trip began in Oak Grove, MO and we got on the road a little before 10am.  First let me say that Kansas still wins the I-70 road condition prize and like CO, MO was working to get it better.  For the whole trip I never complained about delays due to infrastructure repair – it’s direly needed.

We took I-70 east, then I-64 & I-270 around St. Louis and finally I-55 to Sikeston (good road and light traffic).  We arrived at our overnight stop at Hinton RV Park, for our third time there, and once again found it perfect for an overnight stay.  The site was level and long enough to not require unhooking, the utilities, cable, and WiFi all worked fine – it's convenient to I-55 and a service station with big vehicle pumps - definitely recommend this place.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2015 Western Trip – Day 67 – Hanging in Oak Grove, MO

Our plan was to pull out of Oak Grove on Mon, but I was still very tired on Sunday and my foot was acting up so we decided to stay an extra day.  Basically, we just hung out and I took some anti-inflammatory pills that Pat just happened to have with her.

For supper we opted for take-out from a locally famous place called PT’s Family Restaurant which is known for its breaded pork tenderloin and onion rings.  Since ours was take-out I didn’t get any shots so I lifted some from their website and since we had also eaten there our first night, I know they are accurate.

These are their famous huge onion rings – about 6” diameter x 1” thick and very good.