April 6, 2019:

Hola!

The income taxes are finished and were taken to the Post Office yesterday to send out via certified mail, which now costs nearly $16 for two 8 1/2 11 envelopes with return receipt. Yikes! But worth it because I have proof positive once I get the little green cards back that the returns were delivered and received. And just in case, there are tracking numbers that I can also tap the U.S. Post Office for to verify that delivery was made. In these times, it's better to be safe than sorry

I have been working in little bits and pieces outdoors whenever a window in our crappy weather has presented itself. Today, however, was the first day where I was able to spend an extended period of time outside. First, I cleaned up areas on the sidewalk and driveway along the edges where pine cones and branches tiny branches blown off during the seemingly wind storms we endured over fall and winter 2018-2019. After resting for a bit, and removing the winter hat, gloves and jacket, I moved to the back yard because I'm sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at it through the patio doors in the dining room and window above the kitchen sink. This winter left it a true disaster zone. I worked steadily raking small areas and filled two trash can size black trash bags full of debris blown down from my arborvitaes and neighboring trees over the winter, in addition to about half a ton of nut shells. The nut shells are my fault because I feed all the neighborhood squirrels. They are so entertaining, and very smart! I also made a small dent in starting clean-up of the flower beds, where the "mild" (ahem) weather and thawed earth has encourages perennials to start popping through, whether I'm ready for them or not!

All in all, a somewhat decent start to making a larger dent in clean-up operations. I worked outdoors about 4 hours off and on. I didn't want to overdo it, and truth be told, I'm pooped! It's humbling to not be able to work as long or as hard as I used to. I can get it done, but I have to take lots of rest breaks so it takes quite a bit longer now. Good thing I'm retired

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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