Friday, April 7, 2017

FLOWERS, DECORATING, RECIPES & GOOD READS


Beautiful Tulips (sadly not my own)

Hello April...and hello to all of you, my friends!  I have to say that we had a few days of feeling like spring was just around the corner, but that was just Chicago and Mother Nature hooking up in their devious ways again.  No worries here, it will come.  In the meantime we have good excuses for staying in, lounging around, reading, binge watching TV, and eating carbs.  We've had tons of rain all week, but that's what umbrellas are for.  Enough said.

My tulips are coming up strong; bright green leaves poking about 5 inches out of the ground, and soon they will show their colors.  Do you ever have that dilemma in wanting to cut them to bring indoors, or let them be as they are, free and beautiful in your yard or garden beds?  I try to plant a few dozen every fall but sometimes it gets late and my poor fingers can't take the cold.  If I could possibly amass a zillion colorful bulbs, I might not be so cheap about cutting them. ;-D



My first shamrock victim 

I feel like I'm nearing the end of this insane mystery of what sort of virus I have, how to treat it and how to get well from all of the infections I've had in the past 6 months.  No, the virus hasn't been determined and I was back at the hospital again yesterday, giving away my blood for free.  If it can be pinpointed there may be meds that can help with the weakness and fatigue.  I no longer take the medication that depleted my immune system, but I have no idea how long it takes for the body to recover.  And finally, the drug my doctor has been waiting for has now been approved by the FDA.  I will find out Friday if I'll be eligible for insurance coverage.  

Geesh, I meant to keep that short.  So many of you seem confused by what is wrong with me but I think I just made it more complicated.  Hopefully I will be healthy again within the next few weeks and my posts will be shorter and more simple.   



Appetizing or no?

I wrote in my last post that The Husband and I were eating a lot of frozen, store bought pizza's (among other frozen store bought items),  given my lack of desire to do anything but sleep.  I really do love cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients so this was sort of like waving my little white flag.  And then so many of you said, "Hey, it's okay.  We do it all the time!"  I had to show you a pizza that we really love.  Isn't the box insane?  And there are so many more varieties to choose from.  Brands and manufacturers have gotten wise about all the nasties we don't want in our store bought foods; preservatives, tons of sodium, artificial additives and coloring, etc.  So I guess  this isn't so bad if you want to have something on hand when you are tired (or have an incredibly hard to get rid of mysterious virus for which you are seeing 4 doctors, giving away 2 liters of blood a week, and have mastered the art of peeing in a plastic container the size of a shot glass.  



Simple and Healthy Artichoke and Bean Salad

Days filled with energy are meant to be grabbed like the tail of a kite.  Love them.  And I have to not only catch up on the cobwebs and dustballs, but also laundry that has sat in the washing machine so long it has mold growing on it.  Have you ever forgotten laundry in the machine so many times that you've had to wash it over and over again with copious amounts of bleach?  And in spite of the grocery store being my own personal little Disney World, I was scraping the dredges from the fridge and pantry to make dinners for my poor husband.  I was victorious when I finally made a few decent meals.  One of them was an egg quiche made with crumbs from the vegetable bins in the fridge.  I guess that's my measure for productivity these days.    

To get on the right track when I have these enthusiastic bursts of energy, it's a no brainer to eat more veggies and greens.  I love my beef, chicken and pork, but I'm no dummy that something like the above is much better for you.  Experiment.  I've been on a roll Pinning salads that are slightly off the board.  Beans are so full of protein, as well as cheese (as long as you are not eating it in chunks) and I love the texture they add.  This salad was simply a 5 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained, and slightly rinsed.  Brown them in a skillet with a little drip of veggie oil.  Add a clove or two of minced garlic and stir for a minute.  Toss with the Canellini beans and serve over fresh baby greens with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.  Top with shaved Parmesan cheese.  You can have this as a side salad or as a healthy dinner with a loaf of fresh bread.  



Creamed Chipped Beef

Now I hate to go all unhealthy on you but I've been craving carbs.  I usually avoid them like the plague as I know I have to work much more physically to burn them off.  But since I've been ill, I feel I crave them all the time.  Not the cookies and cakes and your decadent sweets...but rice, potatoes, bread and pasta.  When you are sick you sort of relish the doctor's orders to rest and that leads to just eat what you want as well (for strength of course).  I've not been much for making comfort foods as it has risen in popularity over the past few years (and not the 'healthy' versions either).  It's a heart attack in the making.  And recipes that cut the fat, carbs and calories leaves us with a shallow version of the meals we so enjoyed growing up.  So...let me give you permission to make a wonderful dish when you are feeling like you just want mama.  

Remember Creamed Chipped Beef?  My mother wasn't the best of cooks but she knew how to spread a meal out over the 7 of us.  I knew the basics of this dish but I wanted to get the measurements right for you so you can find the recipe here.  And this is my own photo.  I add peas (frozen) as my mom did...not sure why she did but I like it.  I also add more salt and pepper as a white sauce really needs a lot of flavor or it tastes like glue.  We like it served over toast.  Enjoy!   



In my last post I agonized over how to add something to my living room update which wasn't beige, beige, and more beige.  Call it fear of color.  I don't know how I had this revelation, but one night I envisioned something floral for my curtains.  My living room has tons of large windows, and that's really nice, but we need privacy.  And I simply can't have a bold or loud cold or pattern.  Not me.  I came across these panels at Overstock and I knew they were everything I wanted.  Subtle colors, a subtle pattern, a subtle YAHOO from me when I found them.  They arrived yesterday and I hope to get them pressed and up this weekend.  All I have left to do is find an area rug.  Oh man, my blood pressure just shot up.  



I wanted to give a little Happy Birthday shout out to my sweet Abigail Jane, our caboose, who turns twenty-six  tomorrow.  Here she is with her boyfriend of 8 years, Tom.  They are jetting off to sunny Florida tomorrow for spring break (they are both teachers).  I bought her luggage of her own as a gift so she can stop borrowing mine.  Aren't they the cutest?



Their sweet rescue pup, Squall, is doing well.  He makes an appearance on my Instagram once in awhile.  Aren't those eyes mesmerizing?   What I find so dear about him is that after being confined in a room with several other dogs for the first 8 months of his life, and in a crate most of the time, he's just happy as a clam when Abby and Tom come home (they have a dog walker twice a day when they are at work).  But he's conditioned to retreat to his cage on his own when he doesn't want to play or wants to sleep.  It's a sort of haven for him.  He's blessed to have them, and they are blessed to have him in their lives.  



This is my latest read, which I actually haven't started, but it has great reviews.  I'm really into suspenseful novels lately.  I'll let you know how this goes and if you've read it, let's hear your thoughts.  Find it here.

And speaking of suspenseful...I finished watching Big Little Lies, a series on HBO.  I wrote in a post a short while ago that I didn't like it after watching 2 episodes and trying to get into the book.  Well, I spoke too soon.  My dear friend Ellen, at Scribbler Unfocused, mentioned in a comment that she was enjoying the weekly show.  I think she has great taste in movies, books, decorating, cooking...you name it, so I caught up with the series.  Well, knock me over with a feather.  It ended Sunday night and I was floored.  Incredible.  I cried and then watched the episode again.  I won't even try to give a review...that's not my forte.  And with my tail between my legs, I hope I didn't dissuade anyone from watching it.  Opinions are okay, recommendations are a bit different.  ;-D



Finally, after all my moaning and groaning, I want to end with something nice.  A new pair of shoes for a new season (it's like that here in the Midwest).  I was with Abby at Marshall's and I asked her what sort of shoe I could transition into after all of the boot~wearing over the winter.  She glanced around and pointed at these.  Need I say more?  A soft teal suede, perfect with leggings or skinny jeans, even capri's as it gets near summer.  Abby never steers me wrong with shoes because we share the same size and can steal from each other.  We also exchange purses.  Now, if I were a size 2 dress...

Happy Weekend to everyone!

Jane x

35 comments:

CJ said...

Gorgeous curtains, perfect for your lovely room I think. I enjoyed Big Little Lies when I read it, I shall look out for the series. I love the look of the artichokes and beans, I shall give it a try. Sorry you've been so under the weather, I do hope you improve soon, it's horrible feeling exhausted. CJ xx

NanaDiana said...

Sorry to hear you have been sick, Jane. I hope they can get it all figured out and the proper treatment underway. Love the curtains, too. A great choice for pattern without being 'loud'. Hope you have a great weekend-xo Diana

Vee said...

All this giving of blood...yikes! Hope that your doctors get to the root of the problem. Creamed chipped beef...that's a dish I have not thought of in many a year. Those shoes are cute. I was watching the QVC show on shoes last night and had myself convinced that I needed several pair. I actually don't have such good luck purchasing shoes sight unseen so I resisted temptation. May spring come soon for us
all. We 🌷need🌷it!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Overstock is a treasure and I have bought too many things from them. I have liked them all. Your curtains are lovely and something that I would choose.

I will be making that salad soon. It sounds perfect for my vegetarian family.

I don't have HBO so I have not seen Biig Little Lies but I have heard very good things about it. I will watch it when HBO has one of their free weekends.

I love the shoes.

I hope the new medicine will help you and give you back your energy.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh my word, hope you are feeling better soon, being sick is for the birds.

It's me said...

Hi Jane ....like your shoes...happy weekend enjoy ...love Ria x ❤️

podso said...

Oh my I remember chipped beef. We called it dried beef. My mother served it to us for breakfast like once a week, and also for a light dinner. We had it often as poor newlyweds. I can understand your carb craving when not feeling well.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I love chipped beef on toast! We make it here about twice a year. Hoping you feel better soon!

Sarah said...

I'm sorry that you are still fighting this thing. I hope they can find a workable solution soon so you are back on the road to a healthy life.
Salads are a staple here. I will try this one.
Take care and get better soon. Happy Spring!

Kathleen George said...

Chipped beef! Dang, been decades since I had it, mostly for dinner back in the 60s when I was a kid. Your daughter and boyfriend are wonderful to rescue Squall, he knows he's loved:). Your health is number one to take care of and I pray for good health and days for you. There is so much you can do in a day, ready meals are good. Read good books and cuddle with your cuties, all three of them;).
Kathleen in Az

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has forgotten there was a load of laundry in the machine. I think it's my subconscious tellling me I shouldn't do any.

Don't you just love it when you find that perfect item? I know you do cause you let out a yahoo! ;) I think that pattern is just perfect. Not too busy, but enough color and pattern to not be boring :).

I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to not know what exactly is wrong with you. Giving blood, peeing in a shot glass...not fun. I so hope this is resolved and soon!

I've never had chipped beef. I am sure it's delish, but it's something that just doesn't look appetizing to me. Just as well, because heaven knows I have plenty of other things I love. Maybe too much lol.

As for tulips, I don't even try to grow them. It's like candy for the numerous deer we have. Guess you don't have them in your neck of the woods?

xxx

Susie said...

Blondie, I love the shoes. :):) I am so sorry you are not feeling 100% yet. I hope you get to be yourself soon. I used to make that beef stuff. I called it dried beef gravy. My girls loved it. Your mom made it her own dish with the peas. I have been making salads with anything and everything. I told Ted we need to eat more beans as they lower your blood pressure..which we have not issue there , but hey how nice. Your daughter is sweet. I hope she and her beau have fun. Take care and enjoy your weekend. Blessings, xoxo, Susie
p.s. the dog's eyes ..wow.

Scribbler said...

I hope you will be all chipper and perky very soon, and kick that bug to the curb!

I just finished The Widower's Wife, having stayed up till the wee hours the last two night reading. (You will love it -- I think it would make a fabulous movie!) I made Ray put on a sleep mask so I could keep the light on and read. I wasn't sleeping away, and I deserved it, I am sure you will agree. He has been painting the MBR prior to the new carpet being installed next week. We have been sleeping up in the guest room, and I didn't sleep anyway, what with a knee in the kidney or an elbow in the nose. Twice I almost fell off the bed! (Q size) because he sleeps right in the middle. We are back in our own bed tonight (K size) so at least I have a fighting chance. The room looks pretty sad at the moment, because only the bed is made up -- minimally -- and everything else is piled in the LR. The paint job looks good, though

I don't think I have ever seen that brand of frozen pizza. I am supposed to be eating only complex carbs, blah blah blah. I have tried a few new recipes, including one for a stir-fry brown rice from the NY Times food magazine that comes each week.

It was good, but I need red meat!!!

Hang in there -- getting older is not for sissies, as I am discovering. We went to a barbecue joint today for lunch, and I got a little tiny quesadilla with a miniscule amount of chicken -- very sad.... when what I wanted was a big rack of ribs!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Dear Jane, I hope they find out what is wrong with you, so you can get to feeling better. I was tired and dragging around and my thyroid was low and after the Dr increased it, have a lot more energy. Hopefully they will find out and get you back on track.

Love your drapes, they are very pretty and will look terrific. Nice soft color.

Yes, your grand dog is very cute and those eyes - WOW. Are you doggie setting?

Love the shoes and they are perfect for Spring and Summer.

Take care of yourself Jane abd hope your feeling much better.

Hugs,
Mary

Kathy Moreland said...

Love your curtains. I made some potato soup the other evening for dinner. It was good,and very simple.

I'm back down with bronchitis. One

$115.00 for 10 tablets! Infuriating! Hope the Docs can figure out your problem. Sorry for the short comment, but I think I'll hit the sack!

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Those are cute shoes, Jane, and love your new curtains, too. It must be so frustrating and disheartening waiting for tests and drug approvals while you languish at home trying to keep up your stamina. I'm so sorry that you are going through this. It sounds like you are being a brave little trooper, though, always thinking of everyone else and worrying what they are eating when you don't have the strength to prepare a meal. The pizza looks really good - I will have to look for that one, and your artichoke dish sounds wonderful. I have been craving carbs lately, too. I think it is the darn weather. It's been so miserably rainy here. I always gain at least 10 lbs every winter and then have to work it off all summer, only to start all over again. I don't quite lose it all.....The little dog is sure cute with the blue eyes, and glad he found his forever home. yes, I've left loads in the washer for days.....Hope you can get this health thing figured out and start to feel better. xo Karen

Lynne said...

Jane ~
Thank you for chipped beef memories . . .
Some sort of a staple in my growing up years . . .
I think having to be frugal brought on chipped beef on toast . . .
(Another white sauce staple on toast . . . in our Wisconsin home . . .
was Golden Rod Eggs . . .
I happened to find that recipe a few months ago. I share too.)
Thank you also for the Overstock reminder . . . (looks like a perfect drape find BTW)
Happy Birthday adorable daughter, and boyfriend, sweet looking teachers . . . enjoying spring break . . . )
And the food thoughts . . . artchokes and cannnellie beans, sounds good.
Quad triple ANDS . . . I hope those four docs knock their heads together
and come up with a plan for you and that virus . . .
All I can think is, You poor dear . . .
One more and . . . you write the best posts.
I am happy the virus hasn't robbed you of that talent of yours!
I just read Big Little Lies . . .
which made me think a ton . . .
WOW
On a lighter note, if you have Netflix
catch Grace and Frankie during your not so feelin' good days. . . .
I think it will make you smile, giggle, enjoy . . .
Wishing you a "please no more virus" springtime . . .
Love ~
Lynne

Lynne said...

Begin at Series One with Grace and Frankie . . .
Series three just came out . . .

Rita C. said...

It's good to hear you're at least having some burst of energy days, Jane, and hope they can figure it out (or send you to Cleveland Clinic or somewhere that can). Love those curtain panels. A perfect amount of pattern in neutral! Believe me, I know the struggle with rugs, paint, etc. As for cutting your own landscape bounty, I completely understand that too. I typically never cut mine, but always wish I had more, more, more so I could feel freer to do it. Maybe if we had Martha's kinds of gardens....
Have a Happy Easter, Jane.
XO,
Rita

Kim said...

Always fun to catch up with you, Jane. I really do hope you're feeling better super soon. xo

Carol Stebner said...

I am so sorry to hear you've been sick, Jane; I am such a bad blog friend! It sounds like maybe you over-do on those days that you have those bursts of energy, but I have done the same thing at times. I know how you feel about the tulips, but I have yet to figure out the right time to plant bulbs here in the AZ desert...I think the window of opportunity in this climate is pretty short. Those curtain panels are lovely...neutral pattern = win win. That salad sounds delicious, & I might just have those ingredients on hand.

Get well, sweet friend...prayers and positive vibes coming your way!
Hugs, Carol

Lorrie said...

The chipped beef is new to me, but I remember my mother making a white sauce with leftover chicken or turkey cubes and frozen green peas, and serving it over biscuits. Oh, the carbs. I'd love to have a plateful of that right now!
I hope the doctors are soon able to diagnose your problem and prescribe a solution. Having no energy is no fun at all!

Katie Clooney said...

Love your new shoes, Jane. Greatest part is you didn't pay full retail. That always makes me feel good. I loved the series Big Little Lies and glad that you gave it another chance. I also really enjoyed The Widower's Wife. Hope the new meds make you feel better. There's nothing worse than feeling run down. Keep the carbs going!

Theresa said...

Happy weekend to you dear Jane. I pray that you will feel all better real soon. I keep freezer foods for busy days when I don't have time to cook or just don't want to. Sending you a big HUG and prayer this morning.

Maggie said...

Hi Jane I so look forward to your chatty blog posts, it's like being in the room with you! Sorry you're still not feeling better, I pray that very soon your Doctor will have the solution to what ails you, sweet friend.
O.k. love the curtains, chipped beef recipe, & shoes (so cute!), the jury's still out regarding Big Little Lies. I really enjoyed the book, the TV series not so much but I shall continue to watch it because it sounds as if it comes right at the end.
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Oh, I like your new shoes! I definitely have to wear something comfortable. It seems like everywhere I go...it's a hike! lol I hope you have nice weather this week. Not sure when we will travel to NC, it's so beautiful here in Florida right now! Sweet hugs, Diane

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I think your selection for your window treatment is going to look great when they are up and I know that the perfect rug will find its way into your home before long. Hope that being off the medicine and perhaps a new one will have you feeling better real soon.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Hi Jane, I love your new shoes! Our Marshall's isn't all that big a store, so the cuter shoes there are pretty much snapped up the minute they are on the shelves. I like your new curtains, too. Choosing new window treatments always gives me a headache...lol! I need something new for my large LR window, but I keep putting it off because nothing really looks right to me.

Hope you get some good news soon from those doctors. I know you are tired of feeling tired. My eye problem you asked about is the beginnings of macular degeneration. I have one more shot to go and I hope it helps slow the progression down as it's supposed to. I always thought of this as an old person problem and was surprised to hear that I had it. Guess I'm getting there! :)

Loved your newsy post as always! Take care and I hope that spring has sprung in your part of the midwest!

xo Cheryl

Mary said...

Dear Jane, I'm concerned for you and so hope all these health issues will be correctly diagnosed and you can start feeling better with the correct diet, meds etc. I have similar problems lately and am not feeling up to par - tomorrow hopefully I'll get some questions answered when I see a new doctor! I'm really tired of doctors in general lately. My primary care doctor's latest thrust seems to be on getting a handle on food additives called 'emulsifiers' which can do great damage, and of course she always says to cut down on carbs. Sometimes one doesn't know what the right thing is to get healthy and feel good again!

Those shoes are cute and look very comfortable - wish I were closer and we could take a few nice strolls and have a chat now that springtime is here. Take care my dear - hugs to you andA.

Mary XX

Dewena said...

How I wish I could write a post as doggone interesting and funny as you do when I'm not feeling well. My brain turns to mush then but yours must turn all sorts of creative juices loose.

It will be wonderful to sometime learn that you are well once more but you sure make the best of a rotten situation, or are just determined to make us feel better because I always do feel better after reading your posts.

I grew up with a mama who made chip beef gravy for all us too! And I still fix it once a year on my birthday, and maybe once on a cold winter day if our sons are coming to breakfast so I won't eat too much.

I think I'm going to have to search the frozen pizza isles but I suspect that your stores there offer a wider range than mine.

Take care, Jane,
Dewena

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

S.O.S. Shit on a shingle. That's what we called creamed chipped beef on toast. I just had a big bowl of what I consider comfort food -- pumpkin pasta with roasted brussel sprouts. Yummy! Sorry to hear you are still struggling with health problems. No fun at all. Certainly not good to keep taking medicine that isn't working. My husband has just been for an endoscopy for stomach problems and heartburn. Although he eats everything I make, he still eats way too much bread and cheese, bread and cheese, bread and cheese. He also eats way too fast. Breaking him of those habits ain't easy. I just told him he needs to think about his food intake instead of taking a bag full of medicine the doctor gives him. A doctor that didn't even talk to him; only issued a medical report. :/ Wishing you all the best, Tammy

La Table De Nana said...

Your daughter is adorable:)
And most of my non Costco clothes purchases are w/ my DD too.. I like their suggestions.
I've lived in leggings all winter..it was a surprise to see how snug my jeans were..my skinny jeans LOL.
It sounds encouraging..what you are saying about the next few weeks and your health..I hope your dream comes true.. a friend sent me this quote..I love it:"Do not give up before the miracle happens".

Never heard or had chipped beef..but I would have bought that pizza..yet we make our own:)
Fun box..

Take care..:) I love happy dog stories.
There is a French tv show we love..Vivement Dimanche..the host's dog..is always by his side..always..

Happy Easter to you and your lovely family.

Benita Roberts said...

Jane, bless your poor heart, I do hope you get better soon! I know it is so frustrating to be sick and to not know exactly what is wrong with you!! And all those visits to the doctor...that would be enough to put me to bed for months on end. I hate doctors, needles and plastic pee cups!! Being cooped up in a house and not having any energy just makes the entire scenario 10 times worse!! Please take care of yourself, which I know you are!

I've always believed that our bodies tell us what we need and while those carbs are not great things, they are good when you are burning energy like you are. Your body probably wants them to replenish what you are burning to fight off the virus. So indulge for just a little while and help your body along. That is one thing I learned from being sick.

You were so right when you said that you and I had similar tastes. While I love bold colors and love seeing them in other people's homes, I just cannot bring myself to use them in my home. I'm a neutral palette kinda of chick at home. I love those curtains and you made a great choice!! So pretty!

Big Little Lies was a great book and I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the series. I just finished reading "The Woman in Cabin 10". Good read but not all that and a bag of chips. I'm just starting "What She Knew". So I'm with you on the suspense novels right now. :-)

Feel better and take care of yourself! Love and hugs!!

Silvana Joanne said...

Hello dear friend. I'm so sorry to hear you aren't feeling well. I had no idea as I have not been very active in blog land lately...I completely understand about the frozen food. Don't feel ashamed because I do it all the time escpecially during the week when I get home from work and I just don't have it in me to whip up a meal from scratch let alone when I'm not feeling well! I'm not sure what kind of virus you have exactly but whatever it is your body needs rest to be able to fight it off. So just sit back, relax and enjoy your frozen pizzas that's what I say! Sending love and get well wishes xoxo Silvana by the way love love love the shoes. Great spring color.

Kathleen Grace said...

The curtains are beautiful, and they will give you a chance to pull some of the soft colors into accents if you want to. I sure hope you feel better soon, I hope the days you feel energetic you aren't overdoing and setting yourself back again. Still, I know the work needs to get done one way or another.
I haven't had chipped beef on toast in years and years. I know I used to love it. Thanks for the recipe!