Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

Thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South and visiting with Bev and I this past year.  Blogger buddies are special and I look forward to sharing 2016 with you.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Souffle For Christmas Morning

For Christmas breakfast, we had this French Toast Souffle and since it can be made the day before, it was the perfect meal for the occasion.  We got the recipe from a friend who has served it twice at our wine club and we both really enjoyed it (Bev raved about it) – this was her first time to make it.  I found the recipe on line but it did not specify a type of bread so I will credit Susan with the recipe.

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Souffle (make the night before) – Susan Hussey

2 loaves Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl Bread, chopped with crusts removed.  Enough to fill a 9 X 13 greased dish.
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 oz. butter, softened
3/4 cup maple syrup, divided
10 eggs
3 cups half and half
Cinnamon Sugar

1. Placed chopped cinnamon raisen bread in a well buttered 9 X 13 dish. 
2. Mix cream cheese, butter and 1/4 cup maple syrup until smooth and spread on top of bread, leaving some openings through which to pour egg mixture. 
3. Beat eggs, half and half and 1/2 cup maple syrup, pour over bread and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 
4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
5. Bring to room temperature (about an hour of sitting out uncovered)
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 - 55 minutes (cover with foil if it gets too browned). 
7. Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serves 8 to 12.

Note - Bev made the recipe in two dishes so the shot below is a half recipe.

We topped with a little maple syrup and served it with Swaggerty’s breakfast sausage patties and Usinger's Smoked Breakfast Sausage.  It was a delicious way to start our day and if you like French toast, I’m confident you will really like this dish.

It has been really different from a weather standpoint and while I've spent some rainy Christmas days, this was the first one with temp of 70 - supposed to be 76 Saturday.

Final knee update:  I continue to be beyond well pleased with how this process has gone.  Thanks to good therapy, my knee is totally straight in one direction and I've reached the magic number of 125 degree bend.  Now it's just a matter of continuing to improve muscle strength and maintain the flexibility.  Last week I was walking limp-free without support and I began driving so Bev doesn't have to haul me around anymore.  I see the doctor on Jan 5 and will see if the left knee can be scheduled for late February.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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


12/25/15 event date

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As I did last year, I'm posting our Christmas Newsletter here for my blog friends.

Holiday greetings to our family and friends, we hope you’ve had a great year and here’s a little info about ours.  Last year we reported that we had had no big events but this year is a little different.

Things with our children are pretty much the same with the kids being in the same locations and jobs and the grandkids are growing like weeds with one of them now driving.  The major family change has been Madison’s moving back to live with her parents after nearly three years with us and we are hopeful this will be the best move for all of us – especially her.

From a travel standpoint, we made pretty good use of the motorhome with a four week trip to three places in Florida in January and spring trips to nearby Douglas Lake for a club rally then on to Charleston SC.  We then made a 69 day trip western trip with the primary goal of visiting Washington and Oregon.  It took us three weeks to get to WA with major stops in Cody, WY and Coeur d’Alene, ID.  We spent 18 days at three stops in WA and 14 days at two places in OR.  In both states, we visited wine country, the beach, the mountains, and many other attractions and bucket list places.  We then spent 16 days driving home with multi-day stops in Grand Junction and Denver, CO.  In addition to visiting places, we were once again able to meet up with several blogger buddies, which is always a major highlight.

It was a great trip but Larry hated that he was so limited by his knees which brings us to another major event.  In late November Larry had his right knee replaced with the intention of doing the left one as soon as practical.  The surgery went very well and so far so good – now it’s just a matter of following the rehab plan and getting ready for the next one.  We are really going to miss spending some time in the deep South over the winter but hopefully we can get this knee stuff behind us and be in much better condition for future travels.

The other big travel event was Bev and Pat’s annual two week trip to Marco Island along with four of their girlfriends and from what I here, they had a great time while I held down the fort and looked after the dogs.

Other than Larry’s knees, we continue to be blessed with good health and really are thankful for our lot in life.

That’s all to report from Almost Heaven South and our wish for you is a Very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year. 

Beverly & Larry Doolittle

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Few Tasty Chicken Dishes

We had some leftover chicken a while back and Bev decided to turn it into pot pie.  Since my favorite part of pot pie is the bread (crust), she used frozen biscuits on top.

It was delicious comfort food but since the biscuits were a little soggy on the bottom, next time we’ll just bake them separately and spoon the filling over them – it won’t be a pot pie then but it will still be delicious.

We rarely ever roast a chicken in the oven (I don’t think I’ve ever done one) so I was surprised when Bev came home with a big hen and announced she wanted to have roast chicken.  So I went on line, found Ina Garten’s recipe (who else would I go to), and cooked my first ever roast chicken.

It was very good and we had lots of leftovers for the next dish she wanted to make – chicken broccoli casserole.  So I went to the web and found a recipe that contained rice and measured the chicken by volume rather than number of pieces.  I turned it over to Bev and, of course, she worked her magic on it to come up with this recipe.

2¼ cups cooked chicken
3 cups cooked rice (1 cup uncooked)
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 large carrot, diced (mostly for color and will use two next time)
1 (8 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
8 oz French onion dip (for a little more flavor)
3/8 cup butter
1 cup or so of chicken broth or water (see note)
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese - divided

Note: Bev used our rice cooker and after mixing everything together, decided it was too dry so she mixed in a cup of chicken both).

1. Boil broccoli till tender; drain.
2. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 casserole dish.
3. Melt butter in large frying pan and saute onions till glassy. Add soup and dip and stir well. 
4. Add most of the cheese and mix till melted. Remove from heat.
5. Add all ingredients to a large bowl, mix well, and add broth if mixture is too dry.
6. Pour into the prepared dish.
7. Sprinkle more shredded cheese on top – Bev used Pepper Jack, Cheddar, and Mozzarella - I think we like cheese.
8. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly (Bev made it ahead of time so it was cold from the fridge – she baked it for 50 minutes covered with foil and 10 minutes uncovered).

The casserole was very good and will definitely go on the keeper list - I especially liked the use of the French Onion Dip.

Quick knee update - All seems to be progressing on schedule.  I walk with no aids around the house, but use the cane when I'm going for walks.  Everything I do to rehab my right leg I also do for my left leg so it should be much better prepared when it's turn comes for a new knee.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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


12/17/15 event date

Monday, December 7, 2015

Two Weeks And Counting

My knee replacement was two weeks ago today and I thought I’d provide a little update but first I wanted to say thanks for all of the words of encouragement from you.

After my first therapy session, I was experiencing some swelling and pain in my right foot which took us a couple of days to determine was a gout flare up most likely brought on by the surgery.  The pain from it made the knee pain seem like a minor ache but I finally got some meds and after a few of days I was back on track, but it definitely slowed down the recovery.

At this point I am really pleased with my progress and how well it has gone and can say it has not been as bad as I expected it would be and I’m having no reluctance to proceeding with the left knee as soon as I’m able.  The doctor removed the staples on Friday and said he didn’t need to see me for another month.  So now it’s just a matter of continuing with rehab, working on the left knee to get it ready, and losing some weight – only six pounds so far but I can tell my face is a little thinner.

Other than put my right sock and shoe on, I can do about everything for myself which feels very good and I’m getting excellent care from my live-in nurse – she’s really glad I’m more self-sufficient.

One of the things that has hurt the weight loss is the fine meals Bev kept making (sympathy food) like this pan fried pork chops and pan gravy over mashed potatoes which was delicious.

We have now backed off to more healthy fare.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Knee Therapy

Since the surgery, I've been doing exercises in my chair but today was the first day of real therapy - DAMN IT HURT :-)