Seafood soup, Rogan Josh and Southern fried chicken and slaw

Recently I had the pleasure of my son's company for an impromptu dinner. Doug was out of town for business and I knew my son was on his own with leftovers for a few days.  His wife is out of town and I thought it would be a good chance to catch up and combine all our leftovers for an international  meal.

I had planned to make Rogan Josh so I'd have a hot Indian meal for dinner and leftovers for lunch.  Additionally, there were a few pieces of fried chicken and Cole Slaw in the fridge.  Tristan had made a seafood soup tossing in ingredients here and there, so he brought his pot of soup over for me to try.  Behold the international dinner.


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I must say he did a good job on this soup with no recipe at all.  Since he was playing bachelor he could add in ingredients his wife doesn't care for like onions and bell peppers.  It was great!

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The seafood was a frozen mixed bag with crab, oysters, fish and mussels. His base was a jarred tomato pasta sauce, chopped onions, diced green bell peppers, tomatoes, salt and pepper. It made an enormous pot of soup so he was eating it for days and days.  I suggested he freeze some before he got sick of it.  Between all the food we had it was a feast.  Lots of fun.

I'm looking forward to him joining us again for dinner now Doug is back from traveling, have a family meal as we did when he was a teenager.

 I am sharing with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series and Deb for Souper Sunday
Check out Deb's Lentil vegetable Soup HERE. and join in!



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Taco Salads, Olives and Foxes

Here we are on a late rainy Sunday afternoon.  Tristan is coming over to dinner tonight so that will be nice to catch up with him.  I baked a French loaf and brownies so far.

Fox news - I think I am obsessed watching these foxes every night.  But I'm like that with the deer or the few turkeys we've seen, the occasional elusive bobcat.  26 years living out here and I never tire of the wildlife. We have watched a family come eat, sometimes it's only one fox, other times I see two large ones and a tiny one waiting on the sidelines until it's his turn,  Today I had the binoculars out and watched this area of toppled trees.  We had trees cleared a few years back and this place looked like cave the way the trees settled.  A big fox came out and walked along a tree laying over the "cave."  It was exciting,

Taco salad and martinis....This week was one of expectation and a bit of disappointment here and there.  Overall, it's a lesson to double check things ahead of time.  I was craving a taco salad so we went to one of our favorite restaurants.  We hadn't been there in a while so I ordered the taco salad I wanted but failed to read over the new menu carefully. 

Last time it came in an edible bowl but this time it was far too much lettuce and no bowl.  All plated up instead.  While it was good with a choice of beef, chicken or black beans (I opted for black beans) it left me wanting the tortilla chips or tortilla bowl.

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Next time I think I will try the taco salad at Peppers or El Jalisco.  And maybe I can make one at home sometime too.  Lesson here is, read the menu carefully or ask questions.  Still it was a good salad.

A martini.  I have been craving one since we watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith a few weeks back and finally grabbed a jar of fat olives for the garnish. Doug makes a great cocktail and this one was a beauty.  But I  forgot to check to see if that jar of olives were pitted.  They were not.  Insert frowny face now!

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 This horrific mistake has been rectified and I expect to have a great martini this evening after dinner.  Lesson here is, pay attention to labels.

The last two movie nights we enjoyed featured Casablanca and Indiana Jones.  For the Friday action flick (Indy Jones) we had bagels, Nova lox and sushi.  Fun evening!

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I've been spending more time reading and updating my book blog lately and afraid this old blog has taken a backseat. If I don't keep up regularly I may take a break for a while.  We shall see.

Hope all is well in your world. Now that we have proper olives all is well here.  Just baking breads, reading and working.  Looking forward to time at the bay near St. George Island coming up.

 I'm joining Deb at Kahakai for Soup Sunday this week. Check out her linkup HERE with the Potato Leek  soup with fried capers.


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Farm Stand Noodle Soup, Books and Walking

I am so lazy about updating lately.  What's up with that? The meals have been good, the crocheting is moving along at a glacial pace, we've watched a few movies.....nothing exciting.

The Dinner:   I had a happy accident with a dinner that wasn't up to expectations.

This farm stand pasta was meant to be the main course.  I used the food processor to shred zucchini and I used a sharp knife for the corn, tomatoes and onions.  When combined with these tiny tubular pasta it was meant to be a bowl meal.  Well, it actually was  a bowl meal but alas, it was too much of a lightweight dinner so....the obvious solution is - turn it into soup.
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That's a winner for us as we bring lunch to work 98% of the time. Healthier and more economical. This is also a nice way to welcome Deb back to the blogging world by sharing a new recipe.

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Add broth and more veggies to the pot. I sauteed garlic, more corn and onion and tossed in leftover green beans. It was perfect for a work lunch and transported well. Nothing hard about this "recipe". It's not vegan as I added Parmesan cheese but I did use vegetable broth so...vegetarian friendly.

Bookish stuff: Doug is reading Genghis Khan and it sounds very interesting, the bits he's shared with me so far.  I was just about to start The Dry by Jane Harper but the library just notified me of the latest Rachel Joyce novel I had on hold.  Guess I will start that book once we swing by the library.

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Exercise: Still walking every day and getting loads of steps in.  Aja takes us on a whirlwind walk in the mornings.  Once home we dry her feet and chase her around house as she runs, toy in mouth and flying around corners.  Then we walk for another half hour.  Plus the FitBit reminds us to get up and walk when we get to work.  Maintaining weight in spite of getting pizza once a week. #win

After a big walk and run she is ready to sleep.  Not too spoiled, right?

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Soup and Chowder: I'm making gumbo again soon so I will be sure to share that, it's a favorite.  Also, we have been freezing the leftover grilled fish so looks like another chowder is in order.  Nice winter meals.

I am linking up with Deb for Souper Sunday.  Check out her Miso Soup with chickpeas and pasta HEREWelcome back, Deb!


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Looking forward to Kahakai Kitchen coming back

I've gotten to know some good people through this online journal.  Deb at Kahakai Kitchen is one of those very nice people and this post is dedicated to her.  I am looking forward to her returning to her blog, writing cool book reviews and hosting her famous Souper Sunday series again.

Now what else could I bring to nourish Deb but a big bowl of soup made with fresh veggies. Tuck in....it's hearty!

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I make a different version of this soup not too long ago but this batch was a real treat.  It was creamier but I know why - I added some half-n-half.  Not a lot - but probably a good half cup.  A version of this soup may be found HERE and it seems almost a cheat to be posting about this again but there are a few differences.

My veggies this time are celery, carrot, garlic, onion, zucchini and green beans. After adding flour to the cooked veggies I added that half a cup of half-n-half, some vegetable broth and Silk almond milk.  Rice and potatoes were in the fridge but I opted for rice again.  Liberally salt and pepper the soup, serve with a homemade loaf of French bread.

Bon appetit, Deb! If you need anything let me know. 😉

So besides making soup and bread, you know what else I've been doing. (besides reading) I have been crocheting hats. My granddaughter liked the gray one I made her and requested a pink one.  This soft pink yarn was easier on the eyes than a hot pink color, so I am thankful she likes the softer tones.  Next hat is in progress, a burgundy one that hopefully fits me.

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Happy Tuesday to all.  Deb, we will see you when you are feeling better! Aloha :-)


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Cheese loving Aja, the night sky at Oscars, Snow in Tylertown
and of course....books

I had not intended for a week to go by before checking the blog but....here it is Thursday again!  Quick update from this part of world, 24 degrees this morning near Havana, Florida.  Wind chill to make it feel 17 F.  My friend in Alaska texted me to say we were 9 degrees colder this morning than it was in Eagle River Alaska.  Yikes!

The night sky around 6:15 in Havana Florida.  We had stepped out of Oscar's Pizza to walk Aja a bit before the pizza was ready.  Takeaway and movie night organized before the rain arrived.  This photo doesn't do it justice, the clouds were silky midnight blue and there was orange just above the treeline.

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I will, perhaps, sit for you if you give me cheese.  This one is loving the cold, cold weather.  She walks so fast and shows such joy in her eyes when it's bitter cold.  I'm sure it's tougher on a dog with a double coat in the hot summers we have.  But it's her time of year now. We get back from a walk after battling a biting wind and she still runs to the back door to get back out. Crazy.

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Speaking of cold - it snowed again in Tylertown Mississippi!

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What a beautiful sight, this pasture covered with snow.  It would be so nice to enjoy a coffee with Aunt Ellen and our cousins, looking out at this scene.  Much thanks to Lee Ellen for sending the photos.

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On the bookish front, I started the next book in the Frieda Klein series, Tuesday's Gone.  Good start to it, I can tell I will read all in the series.  Also just read that a follow up book to Silent Sunday will be published so I'm stoked about that. It's called The Day of the Dead and will be out in July of 2018.  Maybe I will be all caught up by then and read the other books on my Kindle.

Doug just finished Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and has Tana French and Andy Weir books on hold. Has anyone read Artemis by Weir?  I am looking forward to that too.

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That's about it for now.  It's been too cold to ride but I have been making lots of soup and bread.  Heats the kitchen and it's good homemade food.  Hope all is well in your world.  I hope to be back before next Thursday :-)

It's Thursday - only 1 more get-up till the weekend!
{Random thoughts}


I have some great books lined up for January and February.  Soon I want to get back to the Nicci French novels, I've read the first and last one so far.  I just finished The Chalk Man and it was a page turner for sure.  As soon as this author comes out with another book, I'm on it.  The perfect balance of leaving a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter but not keeping you waiting too long to get back to it. I had participated for the first time with Sheila's First Book of the Year and actually stuck to it.

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The second week of January brings us a mixture of weird weather.  High temperature today is 70 degrees but back to cooler temps by the weekend.  I wore a hat, scarf, gloves and heavy coat to walk around Havana about 4 days ago.  Now I'm in short sleeves.  You can't put clothes away for a season.....except in summer.  Then  you are certain the heavy winter clothes won't be needed.


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James McMurtry is saving my sanity at work.  I listen to the album Saint Mary of the Woods and Complicated Games quite a bit while I'm working. I listen to lots of Mark Knopfler and Alison Krauss too. The cacophony of conversations that qualify as pure noise can dominate my end of the hall sometimes. I am thankful for a door I can close and create my own peaceful environment.

What's been cooking?  Well, some of our old standby meals such as this Spinach Tortellini with Chardonnay, eggplant and shepherd's pie.  Pizza is on the radar for this weekend.  We love to have pizza and a red blend during movie night.

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For now that's it.  I just wanted to be sure I journaled this week.  The weekend plans include starting a new book, starting a new crochet project (pink hat was requested by the granddaughter) and making myself get the vacuum out and do some housework.  I sure hate housework but alas.......it must be tackled. <big sigh> 

If the weather cooperates we may ride somewhere to eat lunch.  Definitely getting photos of that if it happens.  Doug pulled the trike up to house so he can get a charge on the battery, it's been working well so far.  The cold and lack of riding sure will kill a battery. Riding for lunch is always fun.  Hopefully I won't fall asleep afterwards. That happens most times.

Wish me luck on the Lucky Money draw with Friday's lottery.  It could change our stars to be sure!

The first week of January - It Snowed in North Florida!

On my last post I mentioned I was growing restless with the blogging. After 10 years I was torn about continuing and realized, I will just start journaling again instead of doing "event" type posts. Not to say I won't link up here and there with I Heart Cooking Club, Weekend Cooking Series and the like.  It's a good thing to be sociable and I have certainly met lots of nice folks.  Anyway, here is my first post of the year, journal style.

It snowed in Tallahassee! I think it must be more than 10 years since it snowed here.  Quite an event.  The interstate closed down because of ice and hazardous conditions.  The exit we get off for work was the last one headed eastbound that remained open so traffic was snarled.  Lost of semi trucks getting rerouted. By the time we got to work the snow had stopped so we weren't able to walk in it.

Our birdbath.  Love the Celtic design.
ice1 I like this birdbath too there is an illusion of fire or a light bolt edging upwards. Behold the chill factor here, this was the forecast 2 days ago.  ice2ice3


In this weather I am content to stay inside and read or crochet.  One of my coworkers is pregnant and I thought it would be cool to make a hat for the baby.  It came out well, if I may say so, and now I want to make a green one. In my overflowing stash of yarn I have a soft, lovely green skein of yarn. Maybe I can start on that this weekend.

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Blue seems to be the theme as I upload photos. I have recently finished the first book in the Frieda Klein series by Nicci French, Blue Monday.  Seems I did things backwards as I read book 7 (Silent Sunday) in the series last month.  Doing so gave me a few spoilers but not enough to ruin it for me,  I plan to read all these books. Speaking of books, I was surprised that my little corner of the bookish internet has gained me 203 followers at Novel Meals.  That was just an off-the-cuff outlet for book ramblings and I didn't expect that at all.  Cool :-)


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What would my journal be like without a foodie paragraph or two?  Haha.  As we indulged ourselves  with some higher fat foods over the holidays it's back to healthier fare.  It's been very cold here (yes, in Florida) so I made a warming Korma complete with rice and naan.  Recipe may be found HERE.


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Talking about warming food, here is a vat of vegetable soup I made while the Korma was bubbling.  When I cut the veggies for the Korma I sliced a bit extra and tossed them in a pot for soup.  We brought this to work today to help warm our bones.

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I'm guessing I don't need a recipe for this as we all make vegetable soup with our favorite veggies, just saute them and add broth and spices.  This time I used zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, carrots, leftover green beans and rice.  Lots of salt, pepper and basil.


I will be joining Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series - her linkup with a Lucky New Year Noodle Soup may be found HERE.  Join in, there is still plenty of time to share your soup, salad or sandwich creations.  Happy first week of 2018!

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Avocado Chickpea Salad makes a good sandwich
(especially on homemade bread)

New Years Eve.  Time for partying, time for reflection.
I have been blogging on this site since December of 2007. Ten years. I was just telling my husband that I am tired of the blogging and yet curiously addicted to it. Wonder why that is?

I've always kept a journal, long before the electronic age of blogs and internet was around.  The very creation of Squirrel Head Manor is an extension of that and for a long time I was quite active.

Meh.....I'm just grousing.  Next year I will probably plan my posts better or only update on say.....Thursdays.  When you enjoy writing you don't just stop.  I'm just pondering this out loud, or on this page as it happens. Haha

So, today I wanted to share a nice chickpea and avocado based salad that makes a dynamite sandwich.  It's that time of year when people start thinking about eating healthier,  If you like vegetarian based meals you will probably like this little recipe. We've been on the mostly vegetarian meal plan for well over a year (this time) and I can say, lunches can be problematic when  there aren't any leftovers.  I try and pack our lunches every work day as it's healthier as well as economically sound.

This sandwich spread, this salad, makes a filling lunch and it's made in under 2 minutes!


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I found this recipe through a Weekend Cooking event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. The contributor is Patrick Looney and his original post (and great photos) may be found HERE.

In the morning, after only one cup of coffee, this combo was easily tossed into a bowl and smashed together. Absolutely simple and I love it.

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INGREDIENTS

1 large ripe avocado
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup packed parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
juice from one lime

INSTRUCTIONS
Put everything in a bowl and mash together.
Serve on a sandwich on a bed of greens.


I will be joining Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series - her linkup with a Red Pepper Tomato Soup may be found HERE.

I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series and Meatless Monday




Happy New Year, folks!



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Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie to warm your bones

Christmas is over and I imagine the traditional fare and leftovers are all gone.  We didn't do a traditional meal this year and kept with the usual dinners - grilling fish, spaghetti and so on.  Next year we will probably get back into the groove.  We didn't get the tree out and decided after a while it wasn't worth climbing into the attic.  Then we saw a very cool, pre-lit tree for half price at Walmart.  So we bought it and on Christmas eve - we put up this tree.  It took up almost all of the Subaru with the seats let down.


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It had been unseasonably warm here for quite a bit but now we are getting very cold temps.  A few frosty mornings, nothing like what folks in Minnesota or Wisconsin are getting.  Thankfully.

When the weather is cold, we enjoy a vegetarian version of Shepherd's Pie. Healthy and easy to toss together plus it's a comfort food.  Warming.

The prep isn't complicated but I sure messed up the kitchen with multiple dishes and pots.  My mixer is a dream to use but I like to get that metal bowl cleaned right away so nothing sticks.

So how easy is it?  I sauteed onions, garlic, corn, tomatoes, a can of beans (your choice of small white beans, kidney, red beans or black), a good dose of Worcestershire sauce and a small can of tomato sauce.  Get the mixture bubbling while the potatoes are boiling.

Turn the veg mixture into a small casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese.  This time I used sharp cheddar.

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After ladling potatoes on top of the vegetable mixture you just pop in the oven at 375 F for 25 minutes.  I took advantage of that time to read my new book.  (Just discovered Nicci French and the Frieda Klein series.  Loving it so far.)

The mixture of white potatoes, cheddar and paprika makes a pretty sight once it melts together.  I suggest letting it sit 5 minutes before digging in so you don't burn your mouth.

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Coming up I have a fast and healthy lunch to share.  It's also vegetarian fare and a great go-to if you are short of time for a lunch idea.


I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

Seafood soup, Rogan Josh and Southern fried chicken and slaw

Recently I had the pleasure of my son's company for an impromptu dinner. Doug was out of town for business and I knew my son was on his ...