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Which Way?


Hubby captured this photo of a local law-breaker and the crime in progress in our neighborhood.
We're still laughing...

LAKE CHARGOGGAGOGGMANCHAUGGAGOGGCHAUBUNAGUNGAMAUGG...Yup!

It's AMAZING the things you can learn while sitting at a bar.

Last week we found ourselves at Shooters...seated next to a nice couple from Massachusetts. And when I asked them where they lived in the state, I had a very hard time believing their answer. But when I looked it up...this is what I found!

They live in Webster...on the shores of
Lake CHARGOGGAGOGGMANCHAUGGAGOGGCHAUBUNAGUNGAMAUGG


According to the article...Even the Official Sign is Mis-spelled!
Yes...You read it correctly.  And judging from the fact they could PRONOUNCE it, I'm guessing they hadn't been sitting at the bar for very long.

Read the whole story here...

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/20/national/20lake.html?_r=0

I LOVE bars...and the people who frequent them.
Even if I can't repeat what I learn!

A Rainbow on My Plate


Here is my favorite entree at Crazy Wok in Fort Lauderdale...


It's Chicken in Garlic Sauce.

It really is a Rainbow on my plate!

Leftovers? No Way!

The other night, I made roast beef and garlic mashed potatoes.


And if you're like me, a repeat performance (a.k.a. leftovers) is never as good as opening night!  So I was looking for another way to use up those left over potatoes and the roast beef.

My solution?



Homemade potato soup...and a roast beef sandwich with fresh tomatoes, mayo, Dijon mustard, horseradish sauce, lettuce,  and basil from my herb garden.  (I forgot to take a picture of the finished sandwich...because Fred and I split it and ate it TOO fast!)





Leftovers??  I don't think so.

Las Vegas Cuban Restaurant...Fort Lauderdale

Hubby wasn't coming home for lunch on Friday, and I decided to "broaden my culinary horizons" on a solo adventure. So I walked out the back door of our condo, and I walked less than a block. And suddenly found myself in...HAVANA?


We've lived in our Fort Lauderdale neighborhood for at least six years, and we must have walked past this restaurant on Oakland Park Blvd a thousand times, but I'd never set foot in the Las Vegas Cuban Restaurant...until today.

By the time I left the restaurant...there were NO empty tables.
The story of the Las Vegas "chain" of Cuban restaurants reads like a novel, so be sure to click on this link to their website for the amazing story of Antonio and Nilda Vilarino and their FIVE daughters!


My first impression?  The place was spotless...and all the servers looked very professional in their starched white shirts and black neckties. I heard very little English spoken by the customers or the waitstaff, although the staff DID speak fluent English to me.  It was like a trip to Cuba...no passport required!

I was seated immediately, and before I could open the menu, a smiling waiter appeared with a basket of warm, fresh, buttered Cuban bread.  



Another server arrived to fill my water glass, and to take my order and answer any questions I might have.  Since it was Friday, and it's the Lenten season, I wanted to find a fish dish on the menu.  I was happy to see one of their daily lunch specials was a fish fillet, served with rice and black beans, and fried plantains. BINGO! Order placed.


I was blown away by the quality of the food.  And although the fish tasted better than ANY tilapia I've had...I could only assume the fish was tilapia since the meal price was so low.  So imagine my shock and delight to be told the delicious fish was actually GROUPER...served with a fresh tropical slaw and a wedge of lime.  

My ENTIRE LUNCH was $8.95!!!

A grouper fillet of this size would cost almost that much by itself at our local fish market...And I would have to cook it, and create side dishes to accompany it.  So, for once, I was glad to have someone else do the cooking...and I did the eating. Gladly!


The seasoning in the beans was delicious, and the beans and sauce blended beautifully with the white rice.


And who needs dessert when these fried plantains tasted as sweet as sugar!  

A perfect end to a perfect lunch.  But don't be surprised if NEXT time I try their flan...and maybe a Cafe con Leche.  And I expect there WILL be a NEXT time.  Maybe as soon as next Friday.

What an awesome trip...only steps away from our condo.

Who KNEW!?

CORRECTION...Snickerdoodle Bars

For those of you who get my blog posts delivered as daily emails...I bet you're on pins and needles waiting to hear what to do with the OTHER HALF of that Snickerdoodle Bar batter!



(Maybe I just wanted to see how many people actually READ my posts!)

So here is the REST of the story.

After you place the first layer of batter in your baking pan, sprinkle almost all of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the batter.  Then spread the remaining batter over that layer, and that final sprinkle of the reserved cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 25 minutes.  Cool completely and top with the GLAZE as the recipe states.  (I've since corrected the recipe on my actual blog.)

I guess I was sort of distracted, because while I was typing the recipe, I was also fixing our dinner...


Roast beef with garlic mashed potatoes and gravy...YUM!
Maybe I'm just not cut out for multi-tasking...

Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodles were one of my favorite cookies when I was a kid, so when I saw this recipe I just had to give it a try.

I found this recipe SOMEWHERE online.  (I would love to give credit where credit is due...but I surfed the web on so many cooking sites I can't find my way back to the site!)

It's an easy recipe to throw together, so that's another plus in my book...

SNICKERDOODLE BARS

2 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 2 T. white sugar-combined

Mix softened butter with white and brown sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Mix well.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Spread HALF the batter in the baking pan. Top that layer with most of the cinnamon sugar mixture, then spread the remaining batter over that layer.  Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for approx 25 minutes.
Cool completely...then drizzle with

GLAZE

1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
3 T. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla



Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the batter.


Spread the remaining batter over the cinnamon sugar mixture.


(I also added a light sprinkle over the second layer of batter.)


Bake at 350 degrees for approx 25 minutes.


Cool completely and top with a drizzle of GLAZE...



The result?


The taste takes me back to those awesome cookies in my childhood.
Really.

My TROPICAL Marinade for Chicken

Let's face it.  Sometimes we ALL get tired of plain old boneless chicken breasts.  And today was one of those days.  So I created a marinade filled with tropical flavors, using all the ingredients I had on hand.

MY TROPICAL MARINADE 
(As usual...amounts are approximate.  Taste and adjust to YOUR taste...and make it your own! Hate an ingredient?  Leave it out!  Love an ingredient?  Add more!)

1/4 c. orange juice
1 T. Key Lime juice
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. ketchup
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. molasses
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients, and then reserve about 3 T. for basting the chicken later.



Pour remaining marinade into a zip lock bag with a whole boneless chicken breast.  Marinate for at least several hours.  Turn chicken several times to coat all sides to allow the marinade to penetrate.

When ready to cook, DISCARD the marinade that was in the bag with the raw chicken.  Place about 2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a non-stick skillet.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken breasts and place in the hot skillet.  Cook on first side about six minutes.  Drizzle some reserved marinade over chicken as it cooks.  Flip chicken and baste with all  remaining sauce until chicken reaches an internal temp of about 150 degrees.  (If you want more sauce, add about 1/2 cup of broth or water to the skillet and let it reduce while the chicken finishes cooking.  Remove from the heat and cover pan with a lid.   The chicken will continue to cook to at least 160 degrees or until juices run clear.  Let stand for AT LEAST ten minutes for this to occur.


If you're lucky like me, step out your back door and pick some fresh herbs to finish the dish...


To serve, drizzle the chicken with the warm pan juices.  I served the chicken with a seven grain mixture and a huge salad...


A simple, healthy dinner...



And with temps like these on the horizon, I think we'll be heading out to the grill when dinnertime rolls around tomorrow.  And maybe the next day...

Meteorologist Betty Davis looks shocked by her own forecast!
I know...I know...
We're VERY lucky...In SO many ways, and I'm not just talking about the weather.  
And believe me, we appreciate EVERY ONE of them.

Mail Call...

When Fred walked in last night with the mail from our mailbox, he handed me a large brown envelope addressed to both of us.  We were thrilled to discover it was from our granddaughters in Indiana.

Inside, we found these AWESOME drawings...


And what "Meemaw" wouldn't like a drawing that says,

 "Meemaw, You Are A STAR!"

Our refrigerator door has never looked better!

And THANKS to the anonymous person (???) who helped them mail that letter.  It truly warmed our hearts...

Beautiful Trees...

Our condo property is home to some beautiful trees...
And palm trees are not the only variety.


I'm no tree expert...but I THINK these are ornamental olive trees...


I love the sculptural shape of the limbs, and the rough texture of the bark...


And a closer inspection reveals "air plants" hitching a ride on the branches.
Beautiful...

It's ALMOST Time...

While browsing in a thrift store the other day, I saw this...


And my thoughts immediately turned to 

This...


And THIS...


And THIS...


And THIS...

And THIS...




And THIS!

And THIS...



Ahhhh...

It's amazing what memories a wall hanging in a thrift store can evoke...

And after the winter they're enduring up North...BRING IT ON.  SOON.
Those Boys (and Girls!) Of Summer...

PLAY BALL!

The CATCH Of The Day...Blue Crabs!

Now that our FRIGID (??) weather is gone, it's back to the 70's and 80's for us.  And today I noticed our neighbor, Tom, removing his crab trap from the water, so I walked down the dock to see his catch of the day...


SUCCESS!  Caught THREE!


And here is his cooking kettle...full of beautiful BLUE CRABS...



Tom says the hardest thing about catching them, is trying NOT to be bitten by those HUGE claws as you remove them from the trap...and they do NOT come out easily!


Then back in the water with the trap...and into Tom's condo to boil those little beauties.

Not a bad day's "work" for Tom...with a delicious reward for his efforts!

Ahhh....

This morning, our temperature in Fort Lauderdale was 40 degrees...
And, believe it or not...In spite of the fears of our local TV "weather woman"...
WE SURVIVED THAT ARCTIC BLAST!



My Office Space...

Back in my days as a cruise specialist, I wore high heels and business suits to meetings.  But these days...


our annual meeting of our condo home owners association is held by the pool.  And as president of the condo board, I presided over the meeting while wearing flip flops and a tee shirt.


That's MY kind of meeting...


And this sunset view sure beats a corner office...just about anywhere!

Meeting adjourned.  And Happy Hour can commence.

RED Oranges? Who Knew!

Our neighbor, Joyce, made a trip to New River Groves to buy oranges to ship to family up North. She brought us several oranges of a variety I've never seen before.


It's called a RED NAVEL Orange...



And if all oranges were as delicious as THIS variety...I would absolutely eat more fruit every day!