Quick, Easy and (somewhat) Healthy…

From time to time, I get into a food rut. That’s what I’m in right now. I feel hungry, yet have no idea what I’m in the mood for. I get tired of the same things over and over again. The other day an idea popped into my head, and yesterday I made it.

My new creation is very simple. The exact ingredients can be tailored to what you want. First I cooked white beans. I had the dry ones on hand. I had soaked them overnight, then yesterday I cooked them in the crockpot with some chicken bouillon broth. Once they were done, I mixed about 3 cups of cooked rice with them. And then I added a jar of mushrooms and a can of peas.

It’s very tasty, and I like it a lot. Though I must admit, it is somewhat bland. So just as you can change up the kind of beans (dry or canned) or the amounts of the other ingredients, feel free to season this dish how you want. I have had it for two meals so far. One time I put a little bit of honey mustard salad dressing on it, and the other time I used that red sauce from the Chinese restaurants. It’s sweet and sour sauce, I think.

So…experiment! While this meal won’t rock your world, it’s tasty and pretty easy to make. Also, it seems to freeze well…

How do you say thank you?

I sit here, with my two cats…watching my GO TO show – Forensic Files. I have just finished watching two hockey games, and my heart and soul – wrestling. From the outside looking in, others might think it boring. Routine. Not exciting and certainly not a wild and crazy, amazing night. Still, for me – I am happy. Very much so.
To my Dad, in heaven – I must say thank you. Because of this man, I have developed an interest in sports that, to this day, has made me happy, and has helped me through tough times. Honestly, without what you’ve given me – where would I be? My heart soared way back in 1980, the day after my Junior Prom – when MY JT (and make no mistake, as a fan – I DO claim him) connected with Bob Nystrom, etc. and CHANGED NEW YORK HOCKEY HISTORY – Rangers fans, aside hahahaha – can’t compare, never will be able to, but I digress – don’t care, it does not matter – whatever team, I am – we are – lucky. Given the best memories, good thoughts, happy smiles. No matter what the team,it’s all good – whatever team you LIVE AND DIE FOR if they make you …FEEL…how can that influence be diminished?
It feels like 100 plus years, but now – today…I must say,to a point – I am in LOVE with the Tampa Bay Lightning. I never, EVER thought a bunch of men or players could break through my orange and blue skin – but they did. I could not love this team more if they were the 79-80 Islanders – and that is saying a lot. It really is. When I hear Imagine Dragons on the radio, singing my song, our song – I more than feel the thunder. Lighting, feel the Thunder. That is me, that is this area. And I couldn’t be happier and more proud. I love it here, and even more – I love this team. Tears in my eyes, I want the Cup for this area.
Thank you, Dad…I love you.

Ending Number Fourteen

This is being posted late, as I was writing this as I flew home to Florida after attending my fourteenth Wrestlemania. As usual, it was a trip that had drama. Some good, some bad but all fun. It’s always been one of best times of the year.
I flew to New Jersey so I could fly with Christine to New Orleans. We have always traveled together, and me having relocated to Florida – I didn’t want that to change. The trip started with a BANG as Spirit Airlines didn’t have my reservation. Now the jury is still out on who’s fault this was, but the bottom line was I had to spend $350+ to get to Jersey in time. Six hours later than we had planned, but I made it there. We got next to no sleep as our flight left Philadelphia International VERY early. But once you’re up, you stop at Wawa for coffee and you realize you are on your way, you wake up fast!
We arrived in NOLA on a good flight with no issues. Taking an Uber from the airport (it was a Mercedes Benz with one of the nicest drivers we have ever had), the Cubby we rented was wonderful. Our host/owner was Cecile, and she was just the sweetest woman. Our rental was close to all of the fun things NOLA has to offer. Despite being there for Wrestlemania 30 in 2014, Cecile was able to point out new things for us to do. In our residential friendly rental neighborhood there was a great place we had breakfast at a few times. Called Horn’s, it was both delicious and reasonably priced. Going to Bourbon Street at night was a challenge. This time more than last, the crowd seemed very young and very inexperienced with their drinking. And trust me, I am a very tolerant person so for me to say it was bad – it really was. Staying on Decatur Street near Cafe DuMonde (with their famous beignets and cafe au lait) was a better choice for us. The locals were very nice to us. They made us “Universians” feel at home and very welcomed. We took a swamp boat tour with a great guide who even offered us the opportunity to hold a baby aligator (we declined).
The wrestling (which should be at the forefront on these trips but sometimes ends up taking a back seat) left quite a bit to be desired. The Hall of Fame Ceremony at the Smoothie King Center was long, boring and way too drawn out – coupled with the absolute abuse at the entrance gates for those who didn’t have the correct size purse or bag. Rules are rules, but they didn’t need to be as rude as they were. Wrestlemania itself lacked excitement. It really did. After attending so many of these in the past, you know which one is good and which one isn’t. This one wasn’t.
The Raw after Wrestlemania was good. In past years, it was great. And none of this is really meant to be a knock on the industry, or in any way a clue that we won’t be going anymore. We will. Without a doubt. In fact, we have hotel rooms booked for next year in New York.
A highlight of our trip – we missed one of our favorites at the Fan Axxess section. We were sad, but what can you do? Leaving the gift shop at the airport on our way home, there was a man in an Elias shirt. I looked at him, smiled and said “yes, walk with Elias.” He smiled back and said “I better walk with him, he’s my son.” We ended up taking to him and his wife (and his sister and niece came over) for a while. What a highlight! Such a nice family! They were kind, friendly and oh so proud of their Elias (real name Jeffrey). We left NOLA with big smiles on our faces.
Was this trip perfect? No, not really. Was it good and are we glad we went? Yes, absolutely. We had fun, the food was good, I was with my best friend, and I was also with my people – the Universe. Here’s to you, WWE, New York, New Jersey and Met Life Stadium – see you in April!

Yes, you CAN be fashionable shopping at a thrift store!

It is widely known that I will buy any and all things at a thrift store – I’m a big second hand, previously owned item lover. I especially love getting a fashion bargain. I think a precursor to this “idea” is a show that was on a few years ago. It was called “The Look for Less.” Elizabeth Hasselback was the host. She showed designer-type outfits, and then showed how these same type of items can be found for a lower cost. Usually she went to off-price stores – stores like Marshall’s and Ross Dress for Less (both stores that I also enjoy shopping for bargains at). I have taken this to a different level in copying and duplicating outfits I see on tv, in magazines and in mall store windows by recreating the outfits I like at thrift stores.
thrift sign
What I usually do when I am in search of an idea, an outfit – is to get it all set up in my mind. For the purpose of this post, my idea was as follows – jeans, a sweater, boots, a bag, and a few accessories. This would not be hard to copy at all. Of course, it will not be exact, and that’s not what we want. We want close. We want it to look like this.
Jeans – thrift stores are filled with jeans, and many of them are in nearly brand new condition. Since the distressed style is in fashion (and some even have holes and rips), your choices are unlimited! Lately, my stores of choice have been Goodwill and Salvation Army. These stores for the most part have set prices for jeans, and you should be able to pick a pair up for an average cost of $5.
The underneath top could be up to you – a thin tunic, a lightweight top or even a lightweight sweater. Again, at the stores I go to you could find a top like this for $5 as well. In my case, in trying to copy this outfit I would more than likely choose something lightweight (since it has a sweater/jacket as well).
The sweater in the picture could even be considered a jacket of some sort, which could increase the cost a little bit. I still don’t think it would end up costing much more than $8 or $9.
Boots can be had at thrift stores at any time of the year. They really can be (even in warm weather climates). Tall boots go for $10 or so, but if you wanted to change the outfit up a bit, you could even go with booties which aren’t much more than $5 usually.
Shoes at Thrift Store
The accessories in the picture could be fun picking out. Oftentimes things like belts can be had for as little as $1 or $2. If you don’t have any jewelry to match, have no fear. Accessories like these can also be found for very reasonable costs. Being a purse/handbag kind of girl, I am sure I already own one I could use. But I will never turndown a cute bag that could complete the outfit more to the way I would like it to be.
So, give or take – for well under $30 you could copy an outfit like this one. Brand new or even in off price stores, it would be a much higher cost. For sure. And for someone like me who hates paying full price for anything (even while thrifting) I would take my time duplicating this during the days when the stores have “half price days”, increasing my savings even more.
See – you really CAN dress well for less!

And tonight I had a second date…

…with Jeff. Again. He was supposed to have worked OT today but his boss sent a text saying he wasn’t needed after all.
So we went to the movies – I had not been to an actual movie in a theater since the ex and I took my nephew to see Bad Grandpa. So yes, it’s been a while. Besides his obvious good looks and wonderful personality – Jeff is like me. And that goes a long way towards getting along. Since he lives an hour away, we made plans to meet at the theater. He asked me if I could bring along a big purse because he planned on getting some snacks in advance at the Dollar Store. I said of course – and that I had done that all the time when I had been more of a movie goer. When we met, he had the largest bag of popcorn I’d ever seen so that was a challenge figuring how to get that in, but the two bottles of Cherry Coke and the Twizzlers fit just fine. We saw Samson, which was a great movie. I really liked it a lot. Some of the “off with their heads” scenes had me a bit uncomfortable, but then again it gave me the opportunity to snuggle up against his shoulders.
After the movie, we sat outside in the beautiful Florida nighttime and listened to old time music from a bar there – Frank Sinatra (my mother’s biggest crush), Dean Martin. Then we went into a different bar and I had my first Moscow Mule. Loved it – ginger beer mixed with vodka and a lime. Mmmm mmm good.
After that we took a ride through Clearwater Beach – looking at the fancy houses just off the water, and took a walk on the beach. We didn’t walk too far but did manage to get some kissing done in the sand before we got nervous and went back to the car. We didn’t want to get caught by the cops – not that we were doing anything wrong, but still. He played tour guide and we drove around before stopping to take another walk along the water’s edge. Just walking and talking and laughing. What a perfect Monday night.
I told him that he REALLY rated because just about every Monday night for the past nineteen years I have spent it at home. Watching Raw. Knowing how much of a wrestling fan I am, he was impressed. I told him to have no fear, that I did record the show and I wouldn’t be missing anything of it. My viewing was only delayed and not denied.
Our next date is scheduled for Sunday. We are going to Spring Training to watch the Yankees vs. the Phillies. Stay tuned…

I had a date tonight…

…and despite the fact that I am fifty-four years old, I feel like a teenager.
His name is Jeff, and he is fifty-six years old. Between the two of us, we have been around the block, so to speak. We met at the restaurant and stayed there a LONG time. Not wanting the night to end, we drove to another place to continue the night. Meeting at just before 5 pm, my night ended when I arrived home just after 2 am. And while I write this post about what a good time I had and what a nice night it was, I’m getting texts and sending him texts.
He likes me. I really think he likes me! Isn’t that what Sally Field said?

And another thing about beer…

There aren’t too many things that I am passionate about. Put beer on the top of my “list.”
I had a date tonight. This date was with a man who seemed to have it all. Over the course of the past week or so, we talked about what we would do when we finally got together. Deciding on dinner, the conversation had gone to drinks. He asked if I had ever had one of these two drinks he had mentioned. I had not had them, but ok – I was game to try them. At the restaurant, the server said the bartender didn’t know or wasn’t familiar with these two particular drinks. So to my complete delight, Jeff says “would you like to have a beer with dinner?” Oh yes, yes I would. My heart soared when he ordered Stella, and not Miller Light or Bud Light. The night was going good before this, but – he’s a beer guy.
We spent several hours together – things went well (I think). We enjoyed each other, despite the fact that my makeup was running like the Rocky Horror Picture Show (he was too much of a gentleman to mention it. I had noticed when I was in the restroom).
As a female beer drinker, I want equality. I want the cute little memes on Facebook – the ones who make it so cute to be a wine drinker. All that mumbo jumbo of “real women have curves” yada yada yada. My thinking is “real women drink beer” and we need to be represented!
Who’s with me on this? I know I can’t be the only one…

My favorite four letter word. BEER.

I have written recently about how I HATE certain four letter words. Specifically, COLD. SNOW. There is not much in this world that I like less that those two miserable situations.
That being said, it is time to focus on what a GOOD four-letter word is. BEER.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved beer. I believe it started back in the day…with my beloved Dad. At where else, but – at our hockey games – at Nassau Coliseum. Watching my Islanders during their glory days. Nothing was better than that.
When I first started to enjoy beer, I drank whatever they were selling at the hockey games, or whatever my Dad had at the house. Going to parties and get togethers with friends, I always chose beer when drinks were offered. In the recent past, however, I have come to appreciate what I call good beer over bad beer. I am to the point that if I have the opportunity to drink a beer that’s not on my “list” so to speak, I choose not to have any at all.
Currently, I have three favorites. There was nothing like drinking one of these favorites (Guinness) in the country of its’ origin, Ireland. My sister and I were lucky enough to have made a trip there this past November. It was wonderful and it was perfect, and we loved it. The beer tasted especially delicious there. My total and complete favorite is a beer called Molson XXX. It is a Canadian beer that is very strong – 7.3% alcohol. It has a smooth taste, and I can drink and digest it very well. For some odd reason, it is not sold in my new home state of Florida. When I travel between PA and FL it’s time for me to stock up. I get spoiled drinking a beer that is just so…good. It is hard to describe it any other way. My last favorite is a recent find. Having no way to get my XXX in Florida, I came up with an alternative to it – and it is good. Not as good, but close. It is also strong but smooth – called Steel Reserve, I like it very much. The only frustration I have with it is that it is only sold in four or six packs. I like my beer – I would like to buy a case at a time, not having to have all these six’s in the fridge.
And that’s it – how I like my beer. Excuse me while I go crack open a cold one…

And my number three…Christopher

Christopher John. My last baby. Our last son. The final hurrah, as they say.

What a joy, what perfection. But, it wasn’t easy. Not in the least. As a family, we got through the rough patches with what we needed to do – and here, here is our boy. Our last boy, but our perfect, healthy and happy boy nonetheless. Someone up there was looking over us.
The pregnancy wasn’t easy, but we got through it. Remembering the day we found our third (and final) was going to be a boy – we were thrilled. Always having wanted a girl, a daughter – at his point, we were thinking that their wives would be the girls we might be searching for. We were never happier than having been Fred MacMurray and My Three Sons than at this time.
After diabetes education and insulation injections, he was born. Early. Even a month early, this boy was perfect. Chris has never failed to be a complete joy.
Wise beyond his years, we couldn’t be more proud. We all attended his college graduation last Friday – his parents, brothers, grandmother, and future sister in law’s and their families. Life is good.