Friday, February 17, 2017

PHOTO FROM LAST SUMMER AND A RAMBLE


This is a photo of one of the restaurants when we went down south last summer.  We have never eaten there but have walked down to see the boats tied up.  Occasionally a boat will come in and we watch them drag it out of the water onto a special flat-bed usually hooked up to a truck.  It's interesting to see the process for non-boat people like us.  

Son came over on his day off and helped his dad cart down an old desk out of his old bedroom from when he lived here, years ago now.  We had breakfast together, caught up on his week as we usually do and it was a fun get-together as it usually is.  I might be prejudiced but he is fun to talk to, is a wonderful conversationalist and has a great sense of humor.  His visits are a tonic. Next time we get together we're hoping we can go out as a foursome.  Because of his work hours he often has a day off when his sweet wife is working, so when we all do get together it is always a treat.

And talking about sweeties, my niece in Germany called.  We often have lovely chats thanks to Facetime.  Always bless this wonderful technology when we can talk face to face, next best thing to being in the same room and hard to imagine all the miles between us.  Our niece also has a great sense of humor, is a wonderful conversationalist and has us laughing many times.  An hour-and-a-half can go by fast.  We are sowing the seeds for getting together again.  Can't be too soon for me.

Yesterday we met up with a friend and had lunch.  A French restaurant I found on a blog and as it was in the same town as our friend, I suggested we go there.  I'll tell you more on Monday when I share photos of the meal.  It involved a lovely drive through the prettiest countryside to pick up our friend, a short trip to the restaurant and after our meal a cup of tea at our friend's house, and then another nice trip home.  Even though it was during rush hour we were driving against traffic and it was smooth sailing.  Put my feet up once we got home and took a nap!

One exciting trip to the dump to take said desk mentioned in my second paragraph, and filled the van up to the gills with items we couldn't give away but were recycled at the dump.  

Had phone chats with other friends and there you go.  That's been my week up to now.  It was a good one.  Hope yours has been too.




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A BIT OF GENEALOGY TODAY

When Gregg retired a few years ago, he had more time to get into our genealogy, not only his own but mine too.  We had a dear old friend who had been doing this for years, and he had encouraged us when we expressed our interest. There were already family members on Gregg's side who had done extensive research but none on mine.  Finding those long, unknown people who were related to me, has been a wonderful journey thanks to Gregg's diligence and enthusiasm.  He has enjoyed discovering them as much as I have.


These are the Perry sisters.  We only have information about one, Mary Elizabeth Perry who went by the name Polly, and I am not sure which one she.  She is my Great-Grandfather's first cousin's wife!  She was born in Enville, Staffordshire, England in 1891 and lived until 1970.  Like a light bulb that went off in the back of my mind, I remembered my father talking about Aunty Polly, but I am not sure if he was talking about an Aunty Polly on his side of the family or mother's side.  Polly's father was Francis and her mother was Eliza Louisa Preece.  There was also a brother named Arthur.  At least one of her parents lived in Sallop, Shropshire



She married George Archer Turley in Wolverhampton, in September 1916.  George was born in 1886.  We don't know what year he passed away.  I am curious about this photo with the trophies, a master gardener perhaps?  

He probably could tell you that England suffered from an oppressive heat that ravaged the whole country, from July through to September 1911, and that Edward VII was crowned in 1902.
In October 1903 the Women's Social and Political Union was formed to campaign for women's suffrage.  It was founded by six women, two of whom, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, soon became the most prominent.

There is a great timeline on British history at this link.

An added thought, if you want to connect with your grandparents, ask them "What was it like when you were a little boy Granddad?"  And remember what they say. I never knew my Mum's Dad as he passed away long before I was born. My Grandad, my Dad's father (or Nandad as we used to call him) was a rather scary fellow to me as a little girl, very Victorian in his way of thinking - children should be seen and not heard. But if only I had asked the right questions, I could maybe have connected, as I surely know the right questions now.  When we are young we think we have all the time in the world for such things, and might not even have the interest as we do when we get older.  Truth be told the clock is ticking and one day you will wish you had asked those questions.





Monday, February 13, 2017

MONDAY RECIPE POST - MONGOLIAN BEEF WITH RAMEN NOODLES

My first photo is of two deer on the 17 mile drive, Pebble Beach in California.  My sister-in-law has said I can share any photos she sends, which I appreciate very much. I send my thanks as it is a real pretty photo.  I believe it was taken yesterday (Friday the 10th).  I am writing this on Saturday the 11th).


Now to this recipe found at Jo Cooks.  Thank you so much Jo, she has also very kindly said I could post it on my blog.  The original recipe can be found here.



There used to be a great Mongolian Barbecue restaurant we visited about once a month.  It was in one of the local shopping malls, a fast food type of a barbecue but it was excellent.  It reminded us of a restaurant in California, where we first tried this excellent dish..  


As we get older we have more chats about the 'old days', part of which are fond memories of our time spent in California.  This was in the early days of our marriage.  We spent many years in the state, living in three areas; first San Diego, then up to Long Beach, back to San Diego, up to Monterey, and finally back to San Diego.  We were living in SD when Gregg retired from the navy.  Shortly afterwards we came back to Virginia, and have been here ever since.

Anyhow, Gregg was lamenting the fact that our fast-food Mongolian Barbecue place had closed (going back a couple of years), and how much he enjoyed their food.  I do what I usually do, searched online for a recipe.


I surprised him today.  We both stepped into the kitchen to prepare.  I am happy to say that we both enjoyed this delicious dish.  


Mongolian Beef with Ramen Noodles

Serves 4
Calories per serving approximately 941 (quite high but if you eat light for the rest of the day, doable on the calorie counting)

(This is a copycat recipe from P. F. Chang's Mongolian Beef with Green Peppers and Ramen Noodles).


1-1/2 lb. flank steak (I had a two thirds left of a large rib-eye steak in the fridge and decided to use that)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips (I used a red bell pepper as we prefer it to the green)
8 oz. dry Ramen Noodles 
3 green onions, chopped or thinly sliced


For the sauce:

2 tablespoons sesame oil
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup brown sugar
1-1/4 cup chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I might try adding 1/2 teaspoon next time to make it a little hotter)


Slice the steak into small, thin pieces, against the grain.

In a large Ziploc bag add the cornstarch and the beef.  Close the Ziploc bag and shake really well until each piece is coated well with the cornstarch.

In a nonstick skillet heat the oil.  When the oil is hot, add beef and cook until browned.  It may take two or three batches because you don't want to the steak pieces to stick to each other.  Also, if you need more oil after each batch, add a little more if you want to.  

Remove the beef from the skillet to a plate and empty the oil from the skillet.

Add bell pepper to the skillet and saute for a couple of minutes, just until it gets soft.  Remove the pepper from the skillet onto a plate and set aside.

In that same skillet add the sauce ingredients; the sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, chicken broth and red pepper flakes.  Stir and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens a bit and reduces by a quarter.  This may take up to 10 minutes.  You don't want to reduce it too much because you need more sauce for the noodles.


In the meantime cook the Ramen Noodles according to package directions.  I ended up adding an extra packet of noodles as suggested.  There were leftovers for another meal the next day.



(These are the noodles I used.  You throw away the flavoring packets that come with it, that aren't that good for you anyhow.  Also you can buy noodles that come baked and not fried as these are.  I didn't have time to go to our Asian grocery store, so used what was available at our local supermarket.)

Return the beef and bell pepper to the skillet and pour the sauce over all.  Add the cooked Ramen Noodles and fold them into the other ingredients.  


Top with the green onions and serve.  We used slices of avocado and thinly sliced radishes for garnish.  They were a nice addition.

My photos don't do the dish justice but you can go to Jo's blog to see hers.   We will definitely be making this again.

It was mentioned that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can varies greatly based on products used.


Thanks again Jo.  This is a link to her blog and I am also repeating the link to the original dish.