We finished our month-long stay at the beach and returned to my MIL’s home on October 17th. Those last two weeks were filled with much the same activities as we had been enjoying; bike riding, golf, tennis, beach walks, and sunsets. It was a restful, reflective time and a great place to take a break.
Since returning home, we have been busy getting on with life as usual for this time of year and making/revising plans. Temperatures are beginning to drop and signs of Fall are in the air – just in time for Halloween.
Malcolm spent several hours taking down a Magnolia tree that was very close to the house and had a root system that consumed too much of the front planting area. We now have a clean slate in which to begin redesigning that space. That will happen next week.
I have been busy planning a Mahjongg Tournament for a group of sixteen. As one of three on the planning committee, my job is mostly logistics, rules, and organization. It suites me, as most of the work can be done on my computer. The lady in the middle handled the procurement, while the one on the right was responsible for decorations. It’s amazing that work doesn’t seem like work when you combine the right skill sets among friends. By all accounts, we threw a good party and that’s what matters most – friends having fun!
I contributed a platter of Honey Chicken to our Chinese-themed Mahjongg party buffet. It is a simple dish to make but can get a bit messy. If you don’t like frying, this dish is not for you.
- 3 large chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs, cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- vegetable oil (about 2″-3″ of oil in a skillet pan with sides)
Mix dry ingredients (flour and seasonings) together in a container. Pour milk into another container alongside. Dip chicken pieces into flour, then milk, then back to flour. Drop pieces into hot oil and cook until golden. Rest on paper towels to drain excess oil. Do this in batches, until all pieces are cooked. Place cooked chicken onto a serving platter and make the honey sauce.
- 1/2 cup Honey
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water (add more if needed to thin)
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
Mix together the first six ingredients and pour them into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir the cornstarch and water together and slowly add to the bubbling mixture. Simmer for about five minutes. The honey sauce should be thick enough to stick to the chicken, but if it gets too thick, just add a little water. Remove from heat and drizzle over chicken, tossing lightly to coat. Sprinkle with chives, chopped green onions, or toasted sesame seeds and serve. Pair this with white rice or vegetable fried rice for a complete meal.
Inspired by What’s On Your Plate
Lately, I have been relying on book recommendations from bloggers who host a monthly post titled, ‘What’s on Your Book Shelf’. You can find the cohosts Donna, Sue, Deb, and Jo by clicking their links. I selected several titles from each of their suggestions this past month, but the one I want to share came from Natalie the Explorer. One of her recommendations stood out for me as being something I might not have selected, if not for her recommendation. The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, by Matson Taylor.
Evie is a sixteen-year-old girl and much of the book is narrated in her voice, which is decidedly precocious. She sets the tone on the first page with the following self-description; “A dog-loving, celery-hating, never annoying, always enjoying, at times corduroying, (brackets-deploying), daughter of Arthur and the fastest girl with a milk bottle in East Yorkshire.” It is 1962 and everyone has a plan for Evie’s life, except Evie.
This coming-of-age story moves along as fast as Evie in Arthur’s MG roadster, and at times with the same recklessness. Evie is determined (by whatever means) to help Arthur see the error of his ways as he plans to marry Christine, ‘that scarlet woman’ as Evie refers to her. We find out quickly that Evie isn’t alone in her quest and is surrounded by a strong supporting cast that includes her dead mother.
Beginning this month and continuing through the holidays, Malcolm and I are introducing ‘What’s In Your Glass.’ Sometimes that might be an appetizer or a delicious dessert, but more than likely it will be a tasty cocktail that represents the festivities of the season.
This month we have selected two cocktails, both of which remind us of Fall and the first holiday of the season, Halloween. Treats aren’t just for kids!
On the left is our Apple Cider Martini. It is made with 2 ounces rum (light or dark), 3 ounces apple cider, and a teaspoon of honey. Add ice and the three ingredients to a martini shaker. Shake and pour. Garnish the drink with a slice of dried apple. The middle drink is a straight shot of Bourbon and embodies the rich golden color of Fall.
The drink on the right is an Empress and tonic. Empress Gin has a rich purple color and purple represents the magic and delight of Halloween. To make this drink, pour 2 ounces Empress Gin, and 4 ounces quality tonic, over ice. We used a mold to make a single block of ice in a round shape. Using a single piece of ice maintains the flavor of the drink for a longer period of time. Float a slice of pink grapefruit for additional color and sweetness.
If you have a favorite cocktail or something special that you like to serve in a glass, please tell us about it in the comments. Also, if you write about it on your blog, please feel free to share a link to your post which includes the recipe and photos.
We passed on our love of travel to our daughter Morgan and couldn’t be happier that even with a full-time, very demanding job, she still takes every available opportunity to have an adventure. She has become so adept at planning (the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, (Malcolm), that friends, family, and coworkers regularly ask her for guidance and recommendations. So much so that she has decided to create a blog to share her itineraries.
Morgan’s style is luxury with a side dish of frugality, as she uses all the tricks to obtain lower rates for hotels and flights. She is intending to monetize her blog at some point but to do that, she needs page views (aka traffic). And that is where you all come in.
I hope you will take some time to visit a few of her posts which will tick her numbers up to an acceptable range (more views = ad attention). At the very least you will be entertained by her beautiful photography (I’ll take credit for that) and at most, you may discover a destination that piques your interest.
Visit The Weekend Hedonist here
That’s a wrap for October. What’s happening in your corner of the world?