Posts Tagged ‘best potato recipes’


I’m sure if I consulted my horoscope for November it would state Scorpios such as myself are having a busy month according to the cosmos. Between my phone, the computer plaguing me with emails with work related requests, and friends and relatives in various states of meltdown it has been a crazy start to the holiday season. Ho, ho, holy cow.

“Take a deep breath”, my subconscious is telling me, “relax”. Being a bit of an A personality, relaxing does not come easily to me. When Rick and I pause to watch a movie I’m usually up and down five times during the first half hour getting or doing something. I believe this trait was passed down to me by my Energizer Bunny of a mother, who has all of her bones intact and not one of them could be described as lazy.

I admire this trait in her. We all have traits to be admired, and those less popular with those around us.  Again, this is what makes us unique in a world of so many like beings. I have certain personality types I know I could not live with. I’m sure there is a list of people out there who have met me and after doing so kept on looking down the line for their perfect match or best friend. Such is life. All of us are flawed in one way or another. This is what makes us human. Those who believe they have no flaws, need to put on their glasses when looking the mirror. I don’t strive for perfection. First, because I have no idea what that encompasses. Secondly, far better people than I have tried to reach such a goal and not succeeded. Instead I aim to be the best version of myself, a task I am not always successful at and is currently a work in progress.

I do have several traits that drive me a bit out of whack. One are people who are always late. I don’t mean five minutes late, or even a half an hour. People who are habitually hours late every single time you plan something with them. According to Dr. Phil (expert or not, your call) being perpetually late is often an indication things in your world tend to revolve around you. When I’m planning a meal, probably including appetizers and a little down time with my guests before getting rolling, I find it extremely irritating when someone arrives hours after the appointed time. Dinner is generally rushed, appetizers cold, and the hostess has lost her rosy glow.

Another personality tic getting on my last nerve is hovering. Once I had a relationship with a guy who followed me so closely I felt like Peter Pan with my shadow sewn to my heels. In retrospect, unless on bright sunny days, my shadow spent less time with me then this man. Every time I turned around I would trip over him, to the point when once I came out of the bathroom I found him sitting outside on a chair reading. This, as one can imagine, was the last encounter I have to recall about the gentleman. Undoubtedly, he is somewhere out there writing a blog about my irritating habits as well as we speak. Smile.

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while the “new car smell” wears off a bit. Couples settle into the business of learning to cohabit with one another on a below the surface level. Tolerance, love, and understanding rather than the original animal attraction come into play. Though you want to retain the animal magnetism while managing the rest for good balance. Our truest selves emerge, I believe, once our relationships progress beyond the first year. The beginning version we display of ourselves is often not the most accurate, at least in my experience.

Perhaps we are afraid to expose the under layers of our being for fear what is found there will not be accepted or loved, if you will. It is stressful to strive to be other than who you are and in the end probably not successful. Sometimes I think we expect so much of one another. Many people expect a partner to make them happy. If you are not happy already, someone else cannot create this for you in my opinion. You must create your own joy. Others can enhance your life but I don’t believe they should be responsible for making it a successful one one way or another. That, most likely, is your job.

My oldest granddaughter, a gifted writer and blogger wrote a very incisive blog recently about labeling. Placing a tag on people such as fat, stupid, black, white. Stopping at the exterior of a being before ever taking the extra step to explore the being itself. She expressed a fear that if she wrote such things people would not want to hear it or find her opinions objectionable. I told her everything you write will not be well accepted. Many times I have written things on this trusty old blog that have put people off or caused readers to stop reading. The point of writing is to be true to who you are. Debates, such as the ones going on in our country as we speak, are about differing opinions and opposing points of view. Without discourse there would be no harmony. Yin and yang. Our world has not been built on everybody agreeing with one another. Wars would not have existed if we all felt the same way about the world around us. Discoveries would not have been made if someone didn’t have the fortitude to dig below the surface despite those telling them telling them there would be nothing to be found there.12190997_10153270100471089_798124156591747940_nSo for today I celebrate diversity. Our differences and our ability to accept differences in others and leave room in our busy minds for ideas other than our own.

Also, I am begging people who habitually text and drive to think about the other drivers on the road. Twice while out yesterday a car drifted in my lane. When I passed both cars I could see the drivers looking down at their laps busily texting with their phones reflected in their windows. I honked and each driver took time off from their keyboard to offer me the universal signal of annoyance. Sorry, this one is a personal irritant. Was I an oyster I could make a pearl out of it.

These yummy potatoes, however, are never irritating.

Hasselback Potatoes

3 Tbsp. bread crumbs
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. salted butter, melted
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper

2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
2 Tsp. salted butter, melted
1/3 cup chicken stock

Sour cream and chives.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Slice potatoes crosswise in thin slices nearly all the way through. Spray 8 x 8″ baking pan with cooking spray. Place potatoes in pan and gently splay the layers open. Place crumb mixture on top and gently press in between layers. Drizzle butter over top. Pour chicken stock on bottom of baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hr.

Serve with sour cream topped with chives.

Serves 2

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Sometimes I wonder what Boo, the Queen of Cats, is thinking. What malevolent thoughts lie beneath that innocent looking white furry exterior. Boo is a creature of habit. Structure guides her days with us. When I decide to put my feet up, this is her signal to hop up on me for a look around. Once up, she makes herself comfortable, draping herself along the contours of my body. In her wake she leaves a coating of white fur to remember her by. I am probably her person, if you will, of the two of us. Often I think this is not because of my sparkling repartee but rather I offer a flatter exterior on which she can recline. Rick, as many of his gender, has the build often seen in men as they get a bit older. Two thin arms, two thin legs, and one tummy that enters the room about 5″ prior to the rest of him. Cats are funny creatures. They often chose one individual to lavish their affection on. Fickle by nature you never really know from one day to the next. Once settled on top of me, she gazes adoringly at my face as though a lovelier visage than mine has never graced the cover of Elle magazine. I have to admit it’s a nice feeling being adored. I don’t hate it. Once you pass forty you don’t see that look as often as in your salad days.

It is 2:00 a.m. Boo is lying next to me as she often does when I write in the wee hours. If she tires of having my attention directed at the screen she’ll stretch out a paw to distract me. Mostly we just quietly share space. Normally I sleep well. I do go through periods here and there where my thoughts nudge me awake before it’s time. Quiet this time of night, writing fills the gap until it’s time to get up. If not in a writing mood I’ll pick up a book. I always have several paperbacks lying around. Tongues of bookmarks stick out on end tables as if encouraging me to open them up and catch up on the story line where I left off. Always I’ve been a reader. I would suspect most writers are. It’s the love of words and putting them together urging us to want to pursue them in such a way.

Wherever I am you’ll find me reading something. Sitting in the doctor’s or dentist’s office I catch up on National Geographic or Parent’s, the latter of which has little to offer me at this juncture. Word is you shouldn’t read magazines while waiting to see a doctor. Sick people most likely held them before you pick them up. If I listened to every suggestion made about how to live my life I suppose I’d be hiding in the back of the closet waiting for my last breath to arrive.

As a kid I read Honeybunch stories, The Bobbsey Twins, and my favorite of all Winnie the Pooh. Milne stole my heart before any other man outside of my grandfather had claimed it. To this day Pooh quotes still show up in my writing. Like the following quote, he wrote lovely truths to children and adults which hold steady far beyond the 100 acre woods today.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

As the years passed I went through all the volumes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, many of the classics such as Alice in Wonderland, Moby Dick, Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. While pregnant with my daughter I read every Earl Stanley Gardner book in print. No wonder she pokes and prods at her life these days exploring every nook and cranny of it.

Habitually, I saturate myself with one author before moving on to the next. Stephen King caught my fancy when I was in my twenties. I read every word he’d written before I hit thirty. He weaves a story with such artistry. To this day I can’t watch Pet Cemetery. The story taken from an incident in his life haunted me so long after I’d read the last page. At times I didn’t think I’d ever be shed of it (pardon the pun). Of the sci-fi or horror writers I like Koontz as well but Clive Barker I can’t read without company close by.

I so admire writers able to impact their audiences year after year. Stories which never lose their charm or become dated. My mother read Green Eggs and Ham to me. I read it to my children, and they to theirs. Tales of the Grinch and the Who’s will carry on I’m sure long after I’m gone, held dear in the minds of children not yet born.

Perhaps one day I’ll sit down and write a novel. Several half-finished volumes lurk in drawers and closets around the house threatening to be completed. Writing keeps me sane at times and provides a release for my thoughts often muddied about in a big tangled knot beneath my blond locks.

It is so good for my heart to know that people stop by for a read. It’s not paramount as I would write anyhow if only for the joy I get from doing so, but it means a lot to me that occasionally others find something in my words as well.

Fall is here and along with it my craving for sweet potatoes. These touched with a kiss of orange were delicious.

Twice Baked Orangey Sweet Potatoes

8 large sweet potatoes (equal in size)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Garlic salt
1 small can mandarin oranges
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub skins of potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Prick with fork. Place potatoes in shallow dish and bake for 60-70 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork.

Drain oranges reserving liquid. Place oranges in small food processor and pulse several times quickly.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise keeping skins in tact. Scoop potato into mixing bowl. Discard 1/2 of the skins. Place four remaining skins in baking dish.

Add butter to potatoes in bowl. Mash with fork. Add 1/3 cup of pureed oranges to mix and 1/3 cup of juice. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper.

Spoon filling back into shells. Top with a small pat of butter. Return to oven for 20 mins.

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I spent a good part of yesterday sitting in the doctor’s office. Well, lying down in the doctor’s office, to be more accurate. In my usual accident prone way I managed to take what should have been a quick look out the front door at a couple of baby deer and stretch it into a major production. Rick knocked on the living room window pointing toward the door. Opening it slightly to see what he needed I was to look to my left. Two very tiny deer were making short work of some recently liberated shoots on my azalea bush. So tiny and dear, or deer, whatever the case, I couldn’t bring myself to be too angry even if they were consuming my landscaping. We stood and watched them for a bit until mother came and moved them along to the next yard. Turning to go back inside, I absently ran my hand down the side of the door. Apparently, there was a long splinter of wood looking for a hand to insert itself in. Mine proved to be the perfect host. Wow, that hurt. Totally surprised to find myself in pain trying to close the door, I was even more surprised to see a large piece of it protruding from my palm.

Rick totally freaked out, letting loose of Lecture 47 from his 2014 Lecture Series on why I need to watch what I’m doing lest I do not make it to my next birthday. Directing his attention to my now throbbing hand, he pulled the spear out leaving half still imbedded beneath my skin. OW! Damn, I’m sure that’s not how that was supposed to go. Remind me not to frequent this facility again.

For a person who loathes going to the doctor, I seem to be spending a lot of time there of late. Deciding to ignore the problem and see if the splinter fairy might appear during the night and remove it, I went to bed. Disappointingly in the morning the offending object was still in place and my hand was starting to look upset about the situation. Reluctantly I put a call into my doctor. No same day appointments were available. What do people do anymore when they’re sick? I do suppose my splinter wasn’t exactly the highest priority on their patient list. The receptionist suggested I go to the urgent care clinic down the road from them.

Going to a new doctor’s office is, if possible, more annoying than going to one already familiar with your frailties. A book of paperwork is handed to you on a clipboard and you’re asked to recall your medical history, your families medical history, your allergies, surgeries, affairs, positions you’ve been fired from, and recent felony convictions. By the time you’re done they have more information on you than your mother is privy to.

Urgent care is done on a walk-in basis. A good rule of thumb on figuring how long you’ll be there is to count the heads sitting in the lobby as you enter. Figure at least 15-20 minutes apiece and that is approximately how long you’ll be reading your book before hearing your name called by a nurse. Five people in front of me and two hours later, I was shown to an examination room.

The staff was a lovely group, all very friendly and welcoming. They have such cute scrubs these days. When I was a dental assistant they were white and quite unattractive. They’d just begun to show some colorful uniforms with designs before I left the field.

Shortly, the doctor came in. Ladies I must admit the splinter was worth the floor show. If all doctors looked like this gentleman, the wait would be 6-8 hours minimum. Smile. As nice as he was attractive he said he would have to remove the splinter and give me a tetanus shot. Oh goody.

A nurse followed with enough equipment to do a set up for a heart transplant. It’s a splinter. I don’t need a set-up really. A pair of pliers should suffice. She explained they’d have to numb the area and then perform the removal in a sterile environment lest I contract an infection. Looking for an exit, Dr. Eye Candy returned. Gently taking my hand in his gave me an injection directly in heart of my palm. He became far less attractive as the syringe depressed. With all the advances in technology couldn’t they either knock you out for absolutely everything, or invent something that numbs the area by simply hovering above the spot? Someone get to work on this.

After some maneuvering the splinter came out. Life is good. The doctor told me to hang tight until the nurse came with the tetanus booster and to bandage my hand. Left alone in a prone position with a long week behind me my eyes closed. About an hour and a half later I was awakened by a nurse who was apologizing for forgetting me. Apparently everybody had gone to lunch and left me on the table. That’s fine. I had an excellent nap. I suggested they install a mini-bar for such occasions as I was hungry and was offered a delicious blueberry muffin before being sent on my way.  On the way out I noticed the office plants were doing very well. Always a good sign according to Erma.

So, I have a big bandage for a small incision, and thankfully medical insurance because I’m sure all that prep came dearly. Another day in the life.

In an effort to keep frying at a minimum, I created this delicious alternative to stove top prepared home fries.

Oven Baked Home Fries

3 large red potatoes, sliced in 1/2″ slices
2 medium onions, sliced thin
4 thin slices red bell pepper
4 thin slices green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 cup Mexican style cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray 9″ square pan with cooking spray. Place all ingredients but cheese in large bowl. Cover and toss well to coat.

Line in three rows in pan alternating vegetables as you go.

IMG_6529 - Copy

Seal tightly with tin foil. Bake for 30 mins. Remove cover. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 20 mins. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese over top. Return to oven for 10 mins. or until cheese is melted.

Add additional salt and pepper as desired.

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