“You’re retired so you can…”

I don’t think so! I very strongly dislike it when people start a conversation with that statement! Contrary to popular belief, not all retired people are sitting around in their rocking chairs waiting for others to tell them what to do with their time. (Usually it’s something that person doesn’t want to do themselves.) Shoot, most days I don’t have time to check my email, let alone work on this blog.
Since my last post we celebrated Michael’s birthday with a trip to the casinos in Tunica, MS. Considering the fact that the rooms and buffets are just about free, it’s really a cheap vacation as long us you set a gambling limit and stick to it. We weren’t as lucky this year as we have been in years past, but I still came home with some money in my pocket.
We came back to a very busy week, with an appointment every single day except Tuesday, and Kelton had a game that evening.
None the less, my cooking gene kicked in, partly because I hadn’t cooked at all the week before and partly in preparation for Easter. So, here we go!
We seem to eat a lot of pork, especially during grilling season. Sunday’s entree was Chipotle Crusted Pork Tenderloin. Although Michael did his usual perfect job at the grill, and the interior was moist and tasty, the outer crust was definitely over-spiced! Lesson Learned.
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Meatless Monday I kind of cheated by utilizing some of my freezer food, Baked Ravioli. Actually, it wasn’t cheating because I had decided on it when I made out my Sticky Menu Plan for the week. Who ever gets out of a Doctor’s appointment in a timely manner? Always consult your calendar when choosing your menu items.
Tuesday we had another cold snap. Around here they call it “Dogwood Winter”. Every year when the dogwoods are in bloom and you think spring has finally come the weather turns nasty. It was cold, rainy, and just plain gloomy, but it was also one last chance to enjoy a pot of soup. This time I made Smoky Split Pea Soup. Trust me, it tastes much better than this photo makes it look.
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On Friday Bay Scallops in Garlic Cream Sauce sounded much more appealing than the menu’s Tuna Salad Salads, so that’s what we had. I had gone to the store for Saturday night’s dinner ingredients and the scallops were on sale. The tuna salad was not yet prepared, so why not?
Saturday afternoon Aaron and his family came up for Easter weekend. Emily, Kaij, and Kelton joined us as well. We started the evening with a salad bar, followed by my Artichoke, Shrimp, and Mushroom Casserole served over Another Brown Rice Pilaf. I had promised to make the shrimp dish for Aaron the next time they came. It was OK, but some dishes don’t work as well if you try to double them. I tripled this one…not a good idea. The larger quantity didn’t heat quickly and evenly enough to prevent the shrimp from over-cooking. I pulled the casserole out in time, but the consistency of the sauce was off. Oh well…
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After dinner everyone got to the serious business of dying the Easter eggs. That’s Emily coming to Xander’s aid.  Kaij made some really pretty designs and Kelton’s fingers were purple for days!
At the last minute I decided that a Fresh Fruit Cobbler sounded good for Saturday night’s dessert. I used peaches that I had frozen last season and Emily picked up some ice cream on her way here. There wasn’t a bite left.
I prepared for Easter weekend in bits of time worked into our busy week, so when Easter morning arrived we were in pretty good shape. There was a loaf of Banana Bread as well as a blueberry coffee cake for the early risers. I wasn’t impressed with the coffee cake, it was really dry and didn’t have much flavor.  The recipe came from a magazine, and I’m trashing it.
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The Bacon and Hash Brown Egg Bake turned out well, though. One nice thing about this make-ahead breakfast casserole is that it is constructed in layers, making it easy for picky eaters to avoid certain ingredients.
Easter dinner was the usual overload of too many dishes, but a few had a new twist. We always have Baked Ham, although this years’ was a little dry, Lesson Learned. Michael likes his Mashed Potatoes, but this year I made Low-Carb Mixed Potato Mash. I think we like that version even better. I also changed out the green bean casserole by fixing Green Bean Casserole – Without the Cans. Kelton ate two helpings before everyone else was seated. Aaron and Jen rounded out the casseroles by making Broccoli Casserole, an old favorite, and Emily brought her famous Potato Salad, along with some really cute deviled eggs that looked like hatching chicks. I wish I had taken pictures of it all, but things were just too hectic, in a good way!
Everyone then tried to run off some of the meal by having an Easter egg hunt, or should I say scramble? There were about 50 eggs for the three kids to find. Some were filled with candy and some with cash. All three scrambled to find as many eggs as possible, although Xander got a little too much help. It was fun!
Of course, we couldn’t have a big family dinner without dessert. New York Cheesecake was topped with Blueberry Sauce to order. There was a new offering as well, Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Oh my gosh, was that ever good! We’ll have to make a choice though. Either I find a way to lighten the recipe or that dish is reserved for only once a year.
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By the time I got the camera out, this is all that was left of the pretzel salad!
All in all, it’s been a great couple of weeks! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend as well.
Be Thankful for what life gives you.
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