After a record breaking cold polar vortex week in Minnesota, we finally broke through to a beautiful day of fog.
I love how the oak leaves contrast beautifully against the trees.
The first meal we tried was the One Pot Creamy Chicken Chowder which was delicious!
Our second Home Chef meal was the Penne Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato Cream. This meal is also shown as “mild” for spiciness but I have found that if I use all the red pepper flakes in the recipe I will suffer since I don’t enjoy spicy food.
So with this particular recipe I reduced the red pepper flakes to 1/4 of the packet. That gave the meal a “friendly” hint of spice without being overpowering.
I have to say ~ the Home Chef meals, although “appearing” to be small in portion size, are quite hearty and very delicious. This meal was no exception. Even the mushrooms (and I’m not a mushroom fan) tasted great!
To view the recipe click here.
Our niece recently started getting Home Chef meals and gave us a code so we could get $30 off our first order.
So ~ we decided to try it.
Our first meal was a One Pot Creamy Chicken Chowder with poblano and crispy tortillas.
The meal itself looks small, i.e. not enough to fill us ~ perhaps because we usually have an entree, a salad and a vegetable with almost all of our evening meals.
That being said, this meal was quite hearty and very very good. It is not dairy free as it uses a light cream and chihuahua cheese.
The recipe states this meal is mild although it uses 1 poblano pepper.
Since I do not like spicy food at all, I used 1/4 of the poblano pepper and half of the chile and cumin rub. It turned out perfect. Just a small hint of the poblano pepper flavor.
So ~ I recommend this meal. It was quite tasteful and filling for us.
To see and try the recipe, click here.
If you’re interested in getting the code for $30 off, just contact me and I’d be happy to provide it for you.
Mostly ~ enjoy this recipe. It’s delicious!
I’ve been searching for snack-y foods for a friend to munch on that was paleo friendly and came across the Grain Free Paleo Puffs at Whole Foods. Why not try it? I said to myself.
Although they don’t look very appetizing (beige food never does), they actually tasted quite good to me. There’s a small hint of cheese although there is no cheese in them.
Reviews varied though ~ out of four people who tried them at our house, 1 said “quite good,” another “alright,” the third said they weren’t good and the fourth said “okay.”
So ~ it will be up to your taste buds as to whether you like them or not.
As I was reading the Sunday paper awhile ago, I saw an article about a barn quilt trail. Hmmm …. I said to myself. What is a barn quilt trail?
As I continued reading the article I learned that it’s like a “tour” of barn quilt, and I was inspired to head on out to see it. Turning to my husband I said: “Let’s go for a drive today.” Poor thing. He didn’t know what he agreed to ~ at least not initially.
My expectation of what a barn quilt trail was is quite different from what it actually is. First, not all of the barn quilts are on barns. Actually, none of the ones I saw were on barns. Second, although I expected to see real fabric hanging from a “barn” (why would I think that?), the quilts are mainly painted on the side of buildings.
Off we went to the Chisago, Minnesota area.
Below are some of the ones I took pictures of ~
See the first one in the top right corner?
The colors are so vibrant on this one, eh?
Some of the barn quilts were smaller than I expected.
This next one seems kind’ve bland to me ~
I really like the pattern on this one. I wonder what the story behind it is …
This next barn quilt pattern reminds me of many I see on “regular” quilts. This one was located at the Chisago Lakes Area Library.
Do you like this blue and yellow pattern?
The simple pattern and vibrant colors on this barn quilt make it stand out against the beige building.
The one below is one of my absolute favorites.
It was a pretty unique way to spend part of an afternoon.
Sabbath – a day of rest and gladness.
As the end of summer nears, the air has gotten crisp with deep blue skies overhead. A walk today at Afton State Park is the perfect way to enjoy one of Minnesota’s “top ten days.” The label is given to days that are almost perfect.
The sound of small waves crashing onto the small beach is quite refreshing to the mind ~ a stark comparison to the “noise” in the world that leaves one with a feeling of unrest.
It’s good to hear the laughter of people on their boats in the water.
People walking dogs, animated talks among friends as they stroll down the trail, a couple looking out at the water and enjoying a gentle breeze ~
Quite a respite on the Sabbath.
Who could argue that God “got it right” when he said “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the Sabbath day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work … ”
The last year I remember so many acorns falling was when my mother and aunts were visiting about 5 years ago. We’d sit on the porch and it felt like it was raining acorns.
The walk to the mailbox down the long driveway is rather crunchy now. I’ve spent many hours sweeping up these acorns and one thing I can tell you ~ in bulk, acorns are quite heavy!
At first, I thought that perhaps we were the only ones in the neighborhood having the oak babies falling but then I saw a news feature and it’s happening across Minnesota.
According to the article, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says this is quite normal. It’s called masting and means that oak trees are having a bumper crop this year. One thought is that oak trees drop a bumper crop every now and again so that the squirrels (and any other critters who eat acorns) will not be able to eat them all so that baby oak trees can grow.
Perhaps this is God’s way of making sure trees continue to grow in spite of all the trees that are cut down.
About 3 years ago, I had quite a few saplings growing and had them all removed. We already have so many trees that we didn’t more.
Are there other areas that are having bumper acorn crops this year?
I was recently gifted the Instant Pot Duo ~ well, 3 months have past since I was gifted it but that’s another story.
The Instant Pot looks more complicated than my rice cooker but so far it appears to be easy to use.
I did have to deal with a psychological block: when we were at a friend’s for lunch a few years back, she had used a pressure cooker to make her lentil beans and while we were waiting for them to cook, the pressure cooker blew up in her kitchen and we spent lots of time cleaning lentils from the walls, cabinets, ceiling and floors.
So ~ with that small (uh, large) remembrance in mind, I stealthily tiptoed around the Instant Pot making sure I read all the directions.
There is one very small piece of instruction that I believe they left out ~ well, I can’t find it in my User Manual. When you start the Instant Pot (once everything is in the pot and the lid is securely closed), it has to warm up before it actually starts. The “Keep Warm” button was lit when I started my recipe and it didn’t turn off until the Instant Pot reached its desired temperature to begin.
That made me a little nervous because I assumed I had done something wrong but two recipes later and that seems to be a pattern ~ well, okay, two times is not much of a pattern but it’s what I’ve got right now.
The first recipe I made was one I found on the internet for a beef stew. In our household the reviews were mixed “it was okay” to “it was very good.” Of course, when I make a new recipe I usually introduce it to the family with “you will love this!” I find the brain has a funny way of enveloping what it’s told although quite honestly, my husband’s brain is a little harder to deal with (laughing).
I have to say that I deviated a little from the original beef stew recipe by Damn Delicious. I didn’t add Worcestershire sauce, caraway seeds nor celery. I tend to like my soups less complicated. I also replaced the all purpose flour with tapioca flour (a habit from my paleo days). In spite of that it came out great!
Looking scrumptious, eh?