May 20, 2018:

Hola!

Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...

Jan

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Easy Shepherd's Pie

Hola darlings!

Here's a recipe I created all by myself.  I'm no expert cook, for sure, but after cooking for a long time and having eaten many other versions of Shepherd's Pie, I came up with my own take on this classic dish.

It's easy to put together and I like that when I arrive home dragging my butt after a long hard day at the office!  I remembered to take some photos of my progress through the dish.

Okay, here's the recipe - 4 ingredients plus your favorite seasonsings!

1 pound ground beef
1 16 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
1 can tomato soup
2 - 3 cups mashed potatoes (I use instant but left-overs work great)

PREPARE frozen vegetables according to directions, drain, and set aside.
Brown ground beef and season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Optional:  Add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion and cook with the ground beef.
Drain browned ground beef and add tomato soup to meat, mixing well.
Add drained cooked vegetables to beef/tomato soup mixture, mixing well.
Turn out mixture into 9" pie plate.
Optional:  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or your favorite cheese. OR lightly sprinkle with grated Parmesan/Romano cheese.

Grated parmesan/romano cheese lightly sprinkled over the top.

Add mashed potatoes.  If using instant, prepare according to package directions.  Or used left-overs that have warmed up outside the fridge to room temperature while your other prep is going on.  Imagination rules when adding your potatoes.  Drop them on in a pattern, cut some into the pie body itself, spread over the surface in waves, mountains, spikes, get all fancy and pipe them on, etc.  The entire pie does NOT have to be covered with potato topping.  If you're decadent (like moi), sprinkle a wee little bit more shredded or grated cheese over the potatoes.  If you use more than 2 cups of potatoes, you may have to adjust your cooking time by another 15 minutes -- you'll want to see a little browning on your potatoes and bubbling around the edges of the pie.

Instant mashed potatoes were first "plopped" on top if the pie, then cut
into the pie surface with a fork; and the remaining potatoes were thinly
spread around the top with a fork and poked into mini-peaks to
catch some browning action :) It's not necessary to cover the full pie.

BAKE in preheated 400 F oven for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on degree of browness desired on potatoes.  And check - it - OUT!

Bubbly tomato and meaty-rich sauce bubbling up around the sides,
some browned peaks.  Cool for about 20 minutes before cutting into
if you want this pie to hold its form; otherwise, scoop out with a large spoon!

Goodbye, purty pie: I ate a quarter of you last night and another quarter tonight.
Store leftovers tightly covered in fridge for up to 4 days. (Usually not much leftovers for this dish...)

January 6, 2014: 45 below zero windchills around here today.  I thought you might enjoy this quick and easy recipe, that I'm sharing at The Dedicated House Make It Pretty Monday! 

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