Triple Booked Again…..

I genuinely do try to not schedule more than two events in a single day, but there are times when things converge. In the case of tomorrow, the third event popped up while we were on our trip and even if I had known prior to leaving I would have been committed anyway. The day will begin at 10:30 a.m. as the longest event (an annual one) I always cover in a dual role. It is somewhat related to Homestead Center for the Arts and I write the article for the paper. I will then dash home to change clothes to run by another annual event; Military Appreciation Day. Hubby is very much involved in that one and will be at the venue part of this afternoon for set-up and all day tomorrow through closing. The time on that means he can’t attend the third event which is part of the housing area we live in. That is close by though and I would ordinarily walk to it, but my plan is to drive because as soon as it’s over, I will go to Krab Kingz where I will order take-out for dinner.

Although we had discussed doing a slow cooker meal, the back-and-forth timing is likely to be a bit tricky, so carry-out will be easier and we haven’t had seafood yet this week. As I think I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had this “plus-up” of seafood places and the Krab Kingz is the one run by a very lovely couple who were the first in place. We have tried the other two which are more sit-down and therefore have a certain type of appeal. I do like to support Krab Kingz though and this will work out well.

Catch-up Time……

The trip back from Abita Springs went as smoothly as these things do with no rain, minimal construction, and the few accidents we saw didn’t affect the traffic flow on our side. We did call it quits after nine hours of driving and spent the night in Ocala. They have a couple of “motel clusters” although the only sit-down restaurant within walking distance where we were was a Cracker Barrel. A while back they started serving beer and wine although the choices are limited. Still, it works.  I had chicken fried steak and Hubby did a trout dish which I should have done myself considering everything else I’d been eating during the trip. Anyway, we did make it back Friday afternoon. I built in an extra day for being gone until Saturday since I wasn’t entirely sure how the trip would unfold between travel and tasks.

I managed to keep up with only minimal emails and am therefore spending much of the weekend catching up on the things I wasn’t able to handle before I left and a few I postponed as they came onto my “to-do” list during our absence. I did actually unpack the suitcase yesterday and start on laundry. That has been known to languish for as much as a week after a return.

While it is Mother’s Day, I think I’ve explained before we don’t go out for these occasions any longer as it tends to be rather crowded. Hubby picked up containers of lobster bisque which we will have as a starter, then he’ll grill the mahi at the same time I make the Everglades sauce we enjoy. Several months ago he started buying the frozen “crispy green beans” and later the carrot version. Since he had a rice dish last night we’ll probably do potatoes along with the beans in the oven for sides. We do still have a bottle of champagne in the fridge.

Texas Trip, Louisiana Side….

We said our goodbyes to sister and brother-in-law yesterday and drove east to Abita Springs. My brother and his wife lived a few miles from there previously, then to Mandeville and now back at what was her mother’s until recently. Her mother made it to a little over a hundred and one of the two brothers was determined she would be allowed to remain in her home. While they each did different things, a great deal of the care giving fell to sister-in-law and brother. Anyway, the place was in need of repairs and updating, most of which are now completed. They are mostly moved in and will turn more attention to preparing their house in Mandeville to be sold. We simply didn’t have the energy to make even the short drive to go see their place and will do so in the not too distant future.

On to Abita Springs, which is a small town a bit northwest of New Orleans that features two or three main things. The Springs are historic, another of those “out of the city” places people would travel to when the summer heat and humidity made New Orleans very oppressive. In the more modern time, it’s part of Tammany Trace, one of the “Rails to Trails” projects that cyclist, walkers, and even horse riders enjoy. ( We appreciate such things, but for us, it being the home of Abita Brewery is more important. That was one of the beers Emeril Legassee made famous on one of his cooking shows as he would often serve it to guests. We were able to stay in the Abita Springs Hotel again, a two-minute walk from the Brew Pub. Brother and  sister-in-law came in – it’s like six minutes driving from their place – and we had a lovely dinner. All seafood of course with a “bucket” of fried catfish, shrimp, crawfish tails, crab ball, and yes hush puppies. Brother had a different shrimp dish and sister-in-law went with a redfish special that I thought Hubby would go for. The beer was of course excellent.

Texas Trip, Day 3……

Shoe shopping was successful in the sense I do now have two pair of closed toe and heel casual shoes for those times when I go to climates where such is necessary. They did not have as much selection as I hoped, but at their prices it was just as well. Lunch at Escalante followed; a local Mexican chain with excellent food and they make their guacamole fresh to order so you can leave out or add extra of any of the ingredients.They used to do a table-side production and stopped that during COVID.

Hubby and brother-in-law were of course back well before we were and we puttered around a bit in the afternoon before he went for a walk around the neighborhood. By the time I caught up on emails and a few tasks I couldn’t delay, I didn’t have time to walk since we planned an early dinner. The Saltgrass Steakhouse is only a couple of miles from where my sister lives. It too is a regional chain with good food and a fairly standard menu. They do a beer bread as a signature and the usual variety of steaks. My sirloin was cooked a perfect medium and the cognac pepper sauce I did for an add-on was quite good. Hubby opted for the T-bone, sister the small filet. Brother-in-law had the Cajun redfish which meant topped with a sauce that included a shrimp and couple of crawfish. I’m saving my seafood night for tonight when we are in Abita Springs. We’ll head out about 9:00 this morning.

Texas Trip, Day 1……

This is the road trip we have to take to Houston to handle one part of my father’s estate. It’s a tight time of year to go, but there aren’t any better “windows” so I spent all last week trying to either complete extra tasks or arrange for them to hold until next week. Anyway, the itinerary is we departed yesterday and will arrive in Houston mid-afternoon or so. We take care of that piece of business Tuesday and head to Louisiana Wednesday to see my brother and his wife, then start back Thursday or Friday depending on a couple of factors.

The advantage to traveling on Sunday was skipping the big city traffic of not having to leave at 6:00 a.m. to miss Miami traffic and avoiding Orlando and Tallahassee traffic. There were some slow-downs on I-75 after leaving the turnpike, but nothing too bad. There were also stretches of rain in the same way. Not too prolonged and not too much of an impediment. With it being daylight savings time and crossing into Central time zone, Hubby felt like pushing on to Mobile. While we prefer to stay somewhere with a restaurant, when the industry moved away from that with Hampton Inns, Expresses, etc., that’s more difficult to find. The cluster of choices at this particular I-10 exit only has one motel next to a restaurant and it wasn’t one of our preferred brands. There was a Ruby Tuesdays a little over a mile away and since they closed the one we had in Homestead, that seemed a reasonable choice. Their salad bar is still good and I enjoyed one of the chicken dishes while Hubby had their bourbon glazed salmon. As I think I’ve mentioned in other posts, when we are on long road trip it’s strictly a fast food close to a gas station choice for lunches. Anyway, it was an 11-hour day and that used to be easier in our younger years. That puts us about seven hours for today.

New Market in Town…..

Homestead has another first with a Sprouts Farmers Market that opened a few weeks ago. I made a quick pass through there trying to line up an interview for the paper. The very nice manager referred me to their Corporate PR department who hasn’t answered back. I’m not sure why one advertising and then doesn’t want free publicity in the local paper, but they are based out of Phoenix. (

My impression was of a smaller Fresh Market which we almost always stop at when we go up to Total Wine near The Falls. The fresh meat, seafood, and produce all looked good. They had some nice prepared meals and I found cornichons in the condiment aisle. If we still needed coffee, they had bins of beans, too (we now use the Black Rifle Coffee Club delivery as I have posted about before) and they do have a bakery. Hubby went today instead of going to Publix to check them out. He got salmon and swordfish for dinner tonight plus some other items, but they don’t carry many of the things we usually buy. So, we will treat them in the same way as Fresh Market which will be go there for special occasion stuff (or something like the cornichons). It’s certainly much closer and I’m happy for that. While we do buy organic at times, it’s primarily if we need something specific and organic in that item is all that’s available at the moment. However, for my friends who do care about buying organic Sprouts makes for a good option. I don’t know for sure they have a larger selection than the big Publix although they might.

It is a brand new store laid out well and the staff certainly seems friendly. We’ll see how they do as community partners.

Aromas of Slow Cooking….

I have posted before about we enjoy our Instapot, although I don’t actually use it. This is like when we had the bread machine and it was Hubby who could manage it. We haven’t tried the Instapot in the slow cooker mode as we have a nice slow cooker that we don’t want to feel neglected. It’s been a while since we did a roast and Sunday was the day. One of the advantages of Instapot is you can sear, then cook all in the same pot. With a slow cooker, that’s still a two-pot action and with a 3-pound-plus roast, you do have to be careful with the turning to ensure all parts of it are seared. Once you make everything happen though, it does take a few hours for the aroma to kick in. At that point, you now have another few hours until it’s ready to eat. In the case where you set it up to have the dish cook while you are out of the house and to be greeted with this wonderful smell, that’s both comforting and practical. When you’re in the house during the process though, waiting for enough time to elapse can bring on the urge for eating. That of course applies with any long-cooking dish no matter the technique used. The difference between being in the slow cooker and say a stove top situation it does seem to be easier to taste – and hmm, a little bit later maybe I should taste again. After all, maybe the seasoning isn’t quite right yet and another spoonful is needed. The one other thing about either the Instapot or slow cooker is I always add in too much liquid, especially if I will be out of the house. I envision a ruined meal no matter how often I read the recipe that calls for less liquid. On the other hand, having extra delicious sauce means it can be the base for a soup.

“Lost a Week”…..

Or so it seems since I haven’t posted. Things have obviously not slowed down at all and at least some of it has been for fun. Not for diving unfortunately and if Mother Nature doesn’t let up on the wind, I might not make it out in March. I am keeping fingers crossed though. That’s what happened as I saved today hoping to go. Hubby had to take his student to Jules and they did have something special – a sea horse! I haven’t seen many in all the time I’ve been diving and never one around here. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some hammerheads have been hanging around in different spots. None on the more popular reefs yet so we’ll see if they head on their journey or other people have a chance to spot them. Our bud Richie Kohler and Katy were in  last week doing all really deep which is why I didn’t go with them. They did come up last Saturday along with some of their friends – one of whom we also know and two of our friends joined in. Richie had fond memories of the Redland Hotel and wanted to enjoy it again. There were nine of us which worked out pretty well other than running late for a couple of reasons. Anyway, the food was excellent and great conversation, plus the “extra” couple we met have the potential to be future companions.

On an entirely different subject, I’m making at least some headway with my father’s estate in the sense of gathering information and getting various instructions. There are certain aspects that cannot be done electronically and thus extra time will be required. I really hope to have everything done by my birthday in August – or at least have everything that involves others done. His taxes for last year and the estate taxes will mostly involve me and the lady I’ll be working with. The woman who did his taxes in 2020 is seasonal and she has referred me to one of the only staff who is year-round.


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day….

As luck would have it, an event scheduled earlier in the year was re-scheduled and they either didn’t have a choice about dates or picked this evening without realizing it was Saint Patrick’s Day. We have to cover it for the paper and even though it is at a place with a really nice restaurant that part is only open Fri-Sat this time of year. In light of what time we’ll be done, we won’t be able to get anywhere to eat until a little late and it’s not as if we have Irish pubs around. Although a couple of places are doing special dinners, they’re likely to be really crowded by the time we arrive. We decided to swap our usual Thursday pasta night and did that last night to save the lamp chops and mashed potatoes for tonight. We’ll prep everything before we go and it will be pretty quick once we get home. Granted, I normally do a nice Shepard’s pie, but things have been really hectic this week and I simply didn’t have the energy to juggle that.  I think there’s one or maybe two Guinness in the fridge and a Smithwick and I did go get a bottle of Jameson as we are almost out. Not sure yet if will go on the rocks or in Irish coffee.

A friend whom I lost track of was about as Irish as can be – Boston, former cop, and played the bag pipes. We met my first summer ROTC camp which was at Fort Riley and we overlapped for two summers. He was great fun and played the pipes well. In one of those ironic placements, his ROTC assignment was in Alcorn, MS – about as far culturally from Boston as one could be. He did have some adjustments to make for sure. I hope he’s doing well and having a great time tonight.


Good Food With a Little Whimsy……

Yesterday was another of a couple of extra tasks thrown in when we already had multiple tasks to handle. The additional began to verge on “juggling” instead of handling, although the extra did mostly include fun.

I read about, then was told about Royd’s being open; something new for Redland, the historic agriculture area where markets pop up periodically. The individual who wrote them up in the weekly Redland View said he’d been keeping an eye on the place because he was curious as to what was going on. A family – still not sure if it’s just husband and wife or if there are two generations involved – have one of the farms and decided they wanted something more to share with people. Royd’s has a set of swinging saloon doors of The Gateway with the store front of The Jail and R l Everglades General Mechandise to the right and City Drugstore to the left; in the Western Store style. It’s actually open on three sides, but has overhead covered with picnic tables inside and the area set up with the mechanical bull. The kitchen truck (might be two) are outside and servers take orders and bring the food. It’s a breakfast and predominantly lunch place closing at 5:00 Wed-Thurs; 7:00 Fri-Sun and opening each day at 8:00. It’s a blend of American and Cuban dishes with sandwiches and full entrees plus desserts. And like most places in Redland, milkshakes are a big draw.

I had the hamburger and brought most of the fries home to Hubby and resisted ice cream. Well, I resisted asking about it because I thought the temptation might be too much. There is also supposed to be a petting zoo or at least animals to see on weekend. I’ll find out more about that when I talk with one of the principles on Monday.