From My Kitchen: February 2021

This is more of an update than a new recipe. Last month I tried Flatbread Mexican Pizza. If you recall, I wasn't too crazy about the flatbread. I knew I could improve on it! The second time I made it, I still used Mama Mary's, but I used the thin crust pizza. It was much better, but when I used Boboli thin crust, it was even better.
Here's what I did differently:
  • Used 1 thin crust instead of flatbread
  • Used 2 packages of taco seasoning (This resulted in more of a taco taste than just 1 packet)
  • Added a layer of salsa over the refried beans
  • Used 1 pound of ground beef
  • Used Chipotle Ranch dressing instead of the salsa/sour cream mixture
I think I've found the right combination of everything. I probably don't need to use the entire pound of ground beef. The last time I made it (using the Boboli thin crust) it was piled pretty high and was more like a pie instead of a pizza! I didn't have any complaints from CH or YS, though! 

I'm also not sure how much the refried beans actually add, except to add more carbs & calories. I'm going to try to leave that off next time and see if it gets noticed. I have a sneaky suspicion it won't.

Do you have a recipe that you have modified that is a family favorite? If so, please share!

A Clean Hodgepodge

 1. Your favorite cleaning product? Do you clean your own house or hire out? Most disliked household chore? What one chore do you not mind so much? 

Favorite: "Robbie". He's our iRobot & he does a fantastic job! I've hired a cleaning lady a few times. My experience has been that they do great the first couple of times, but then slack off.
I hate cleaning the bathroom. I think it comes from my childhood: that was my "Saturday Chore". I really don't mind washing the dishes.

 2. It's Canned Food you use a lot of canned goods? What are the three canned items you purchase most often? Last thing you made using a canned ingredient? 

I buy more canned items during the winter. I mostly buy "cream soups" (cream of mushroom/chicken) or tomatoes. I just made Mexican Pizza last night that used a can of refried beans.

 3. Can of worms, anything can happen, can you imagine?, as best I can, kick the can down the road, more than one can take, no can do, not if I can help it...choose an idiom and tell us how you currently relate.

Anything can happen. I believe in miracles!

4.The last Tuesday in February is National Spa Day. Are you someone who enjoys a day at the spa? Last time you visited a spa? Do you have a favorite spa? Are salons open for business in your area? Have you made changes to your hair and nail routine since Corona hit? In what way? 

I've only been to a spa once, during a Sisters' Weekend. It was heaven! Salons are open here; I haven't changed a thing!

 5. Believe it or not this is the last Hodgepodge of the month. In one sentence sum up your February. 

I would very much welcome 2020 back.

 6. Insert your own random thought here.

The mystery of the person who was parking in my spot has been solved...and resolved! I now have my spot back! :)

The Great Adventure 2019: Peggy's Cove

Fishing village with fishing boat on water
We left the AirBnB behind and began to make our way to our next stay. We were headed to The Ovens Natural Park for a couple of nights of camping. But since we had plenty of time to get there, we made a slight detour and headed for Peggy's Cove. CH kept talking about how the landscape of the Canadian Maritimes looked like Ireland, but I told him it didn't...until we got to Peggy's Cove. This looked like the Ireland I saw:

I think most people go to Peggy's Cove for the lighthouse; we just enjoyed walking around and enjoyed the scenery.

Once we walked into the actual village, there was a boat tour. We thought, "why not?" and jumped on in. It was beautiful seeing the area from the water. The rocks that were formed that appear to be haphazardly were incredible.

No seals, but we did see these birds. 
East Dover is another fishing village next to Peggy's Cove that looked equally as charming.

Just as we made our way back in front of the lighthouse, a staff member obliged us by taking our picture as we went by:
There is one other point of interest that we saw while there: 
We almost missed the William E. deGarthe Memorial. It is right next to a house, so it appears to be part of the yard. This monument is in honor of  the fishermen of Nova Scotia. The sculpture depicts 32 fishermen, their wives and children, St. Elmo with wings spread, and the legendary Peggy of Peggy’s Cove. It was absolutely amazing. And, yes, it actually is in someone's yard...William E. deGarthe. At his death, the sculpture was about 80% completed. 

After leaving Peggy's Cove, we continued on toward our destination. We stopped to eat at a place called rhubarb. It had great atmosphere; we were able to sit at a table on an enclosed porch and have a nice lunch. As it happens, there was a group of people from around Atlanta at a table near us. The accents sounded like home!
Continuing on, at one point we went around a curve and were absolutely struck by this view:
Seriously, it was so unexpected that it just took our breath away. Seeing Mahone Bay turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Unfortunately, we didn't stop and walk through "downtown" to see what all this town has to offer. This is one place that we want to return to and spend a full day or two exploring. 

I read about a little town called Lunenburg. The "Old Town" is a UNESCO Heritage Site so I was intrigued. But, we ended up being a little disappointed. We walked along the waterfront but there really didn't appear to be much there. We just didn't think it lived up to the hype I read about. You can definitely tell there is German influence in the architecture.

Theresa E. Conner is a saltbanking schooner, designed to preserve the fish in saltwater. It was in service from 1938 to 1966 and is now a museum. It was the last saltbanking schooler to run out of Lunenburg.
(Information from Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.)
Memorial to Fishermen:
View from the park on top of a hill to the harbour:
St. John Anglican Church. The 2nd Church of England built in Nova Scotia (1753) and the 2nd oldest remaining Protestant Church in the country. The original congregation was comprised mostly of German Lutherans. The same foundry that made Big Ben and the Liberty Bell made the original bell.
When it was built, the wood came from King's Chapel in Boston, which was disassembled from the inside. The wood was carried through the window and shipped to Lunenburg.
The stars above the altar are said to be a mystery. Some believe the stars depict the sky the night that Jesus was born, as it looked in Lunenburg on that night.
Lunenburg Academy opened its doors in 1893 and is a National Historic Site. This building was built after a fire destroyed the current school. It served as a school until 2012 when concerns over the cost of maintenance caused the school board to turn it over to the town. Renovations began shortly after we visited. The building is used for a library and music school, as well as space rented out to businesses as offices.
If we knew at the beginning of the day what we knew at the end, we would have spent more time in Mahone Bay. But I think that just means we'll have to go back! 
Next stop: camping at The Ovens Natural Park.

Lovin' the Hodgepodge

Where does the time go? I completely forgot to answer the questions on Tuesday, so here I am, early Wednesday morning, typing away! Luckily the questions weren't too difficult so I didn't have to think too much to answer them.

1. Something little you are loving right now? 

The Bible in a Year Podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz. You don't have to be Catholic to enjoy this! He reads a chapter or 2 from 2 different books of the Bible, as well as a chapter or verse from Proverbs or Psalms, says a prayer, and gives a reflection on what he read. And all of that in around 20 minutes or less! The podcast started out as #1 on the Apple Podcast list (regardless of genre) and stayed there for 17 weeks.

2. Red roses or pink peonies? Red wine or pink lemonade? Red lipstick or pink polish? A cotton candy colored sky or a fiery red sunset? A book-movie-song you love with the word red or pink in it's title? 

Pink peonies; red wine; pink polish; both (how can you make a choice when God is showing his artwork?). I can't think of a book-movie-song, but I do really like Pink, the singer. She has spunk! 

3. What's something you currently have your heart set on doing-going-seeing-or experiencing?

More of Europe. I want to experience the German Christmas Markets, Oktoberfest, and see Rome as well as other parts of Italy.

4. Who would you most like to have a heart to heart with right now? Is that possible? 

My mom or my dad. It's not possible, so I have to pull up my big girl panties and be an adult!

5. Write an acrostic for the word L-O-V-E. 

I just finished my quiet time with Jesus, so all I can think of is the acronym I use for my journaling. This is from Sonja Corbitt, and it helps me focus on scripture and apply it to my life:

Listen, Observe, Verbalize, Entrust

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Valentine's Day: UGH. What a waste of a perfectly good day. I've never been much of a fan. When I was in 3rd grade, we didn't get to have our party because there was a riot at the Small Town High School. (Read more about that here.) I always felt like there was a lot of pressure on VD, whether or not I had a boyfriend. I know some people go all out and really enjoy the day, but I'd rather just skip it! 
What are your feelings on Valentine's Day?

Shadowy Hodgepodge


1. Feb 2nd is Groundhog Day in the US of A. Tell us about one day you wouldn't mind living over again, and why you chose that day. 
May 18, 1984. The day I married CH!

 2. Something you know beyond a 'shadow of a doubt'? 
God is in control and He has a plan for every one of us.

3. Give us an example of history repeating itself in some way, in your own life or the lives of your children.
Who would have thought this would have been such a hard question? 

4. Snowed under, snow job, not a snowball's chance, snowbird, on thin ice, snug as a bug in a rug, tip of the iceberg, snowball effect, run hot and cold....choose a wintry idiom and tell us how it best applies to your life right now. 
Snowball effect. I'm just going to leave it at that.

5. Your favorite sign of spring? 
Jonquils. Hands down. I love seeing those yellow flowers busting out of the ground.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
We didn't get a lot of snow Sunday night into Monday, but I did have a snow day and then a 2-hour delay on Tuesday.  It snowed most of the day but didn't get any traction on the ground. Some of my students said they played in the snow, so I guess some areas in the county actually had some. We have another chance in a few days. Fingers crossed!

The Great Adventure of 2019: Dartmouth

After a mostly full day in Halifax, we decided to just take a day to chill and see what there is in Dartmouth. This town reminded me a lot of Asheville, NC: an up-and-coming town in its own right that is artsy.  

We started our day at a crepe place just up the street from the above picture.  I didn't take a picture of the place or of what we had though. The owner was super nice (he's Canadian, so of course he's nice!) and the conversation was wonderful. 

A place of business in Downtown Dartmouth
Dartmouth boasted beautiful murals.
View of Halifax Harbour from Downtown Dartmouth
I think this was the entryway to a restaurant. I really liked all of the flowers and greenery in front.

We had a very relaxing day and geared up for slowly making our way to our next destination in this Province. 

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