October Recap

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.

Doing

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!

Cooking

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.

Chicken

  • 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.

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

Reading

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.

Experimenting

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.

Introducing

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?

34 thoughts on “October Recap

  1. A great recap of all you’ve been up to – and obviously all this blogging has inspired your daughter. I think she might be on a winner with her blog – maybe she’ll be the next big thing in travel blogging? I’m off to check out her site so she’ll have a few more views to add to her numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, I asked her to write a couple of travel posts for me a while back and I realized that she is actually pretty good at it – both traveling and writing! I’m glad she decided to make it public, but I know she doesn’t have the time it takes to make it profitable. Her day job is all-consuming. Thanks again for your support.

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  2. Hi, Suzanne – Thank you for linking up to both #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge and #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge. Your contributions are fantastic.
    What’s In Your Glass sounds like great fun, and I’m delighted to join in. What’s been in my glass (or rather coffee mug) lately has been homemade lattes (both espresso ones and caffeine-free ones by Blume (https://itsblume.com/collections/latte-mix/products/rose-london-fog). I recently purchased a Latteo Milk Frother by Bodum (https://www.bodum.com/ca/en/catalogsearch/result/?q=latteo+milk+frother), and it literally changed my world. I believe Starbucks will be missing me.
    The link to your daughter’s site worked well for me. I’m off to visit there now. I could not get the link to What’s On Your Plate to work not sure if it’s just my computer being cranky!

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    1. Donna finally! Fourth time is a charm. For whatever reason, it just would not accept the URL. Your comment also went to ‘moderation status’, which is very strange. I’m thinking this one is on WP, not me. Anyway, all is well. Homemade lattes sound delicious. I am a black coffee kind of gal, but that frother might win me over.Too much fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: What’s On Your Bookshelf: Why Read the Classics? – Retirement Reflections

  4. Pingback: What’s On Your Plate – October – Mini-Cheesecakes – Retirement Reflections

  5. Again, a very varied month for you, combining relaxation, fun, friends, travel, cooking, and entertainment. I used to say “One day, I want my own house to display all my souvenirs.” These days, I say “One day, I want my own house to have a full bar with all my favorite bottles of liquor.” No variety of cocktails in our camper – we have some wine and beer and are allowed one bottle of liquor. Last year, Tequila won. This year, it’s back to my favorite: rum. Happy fall and happy Halloween!

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  6. Suzanne,
    I just copied the recipe for Honey Chicken and will use it next weekend for a neighborhood gathering. Thanks! After I mix myself a Stoli Martini (no cider…yet), I will move over to Morgan’s blog to see what she has going on. I’m happy to add her to my blog roll if that would help. I tried monetizing Easin’ Along, but it is a challenge. Have a great week, and remember, busy hands are happy hands, and you’ve been busy!

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    1. Joe, it is so easy and it went over big with our crowd. Garnish it with some chopped green onions or scallions to make it look pretty – I forgot! Thanks for taking a look at Morgan’s blog. Monetizing is a process for sure and I seriously doubt she has the time it takes to get there, but I admire her for trying. Even if she covers the expense of the blog host, it’s a win. Busy hands = happy hands, for sure. Take care and have a great week. Stoli in your glass is a good thing.

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  7. Suzanne, Looks like you had a great October, well balanced between being and doing. I hope you enjoyed The Miseducation of EE book. Thank you for the mention. I’ll use your honey chicken recipe soon and will visit Morgan’s blog. Have a happy Halloween weekend!

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  8. As soon as I saw your purple cocktail, I thought, “Empress Gin!” We first encountered that delicious (and beautiful) gin on a trip to Vancouver Island several years ago. We did a gin and tonic tasting at the distillery that creates the Empress Gin, and it was fun! You’ve inspired me to track down some Empress here in Apalachicola.

    It looks like you had a lovely and interesting October. We returned two weeks ago from our two-and-a-half month trip to North Carolina, so I’ve been adjusting to being back at home. The weather is gorgeous, and that helps!

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    1. Laurel, the Empress Gin website showcases a lot of interesting cocktail recipes. If you can’t find the gin locally, I’m sure it can be ordered online. You timed your return very well with the arrival of fall in North Florida. We got a little break this past week, but are still waiting…..

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  9. Loved reading your post Suzanne, and thanks for the mention and link to our #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge, I’m so glad you enjoyed Natalie’s post. Good luck to your daughter and her blog, it looks great!

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  10. October was an amazing and busy month for you, Suzanne! I have to admit to missing the warm sunny days near the beach now that our 30-degree temps are back here in Washington. Love those cocktails and now I’m going to have to check out the purple Empress gin! Wishing your daughter my best for her blog and travel planning endeavors–I imagine many people would be interested post-pandemic!

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    1. Terri, these next few months are why we suffer the heat and humidity of summer. It is an energizing time for us and we will make the best of it. Take care.

      P.S. I think Morgan’s itineraries will appeal mostly to young professionals who have little time to do research and want to make the most of their time in a new destination. The blog will be a good resource for those folks.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Christie Hawkes

    I loved this recap, Suzanne, and the cocktails look particularly delicious. I haven’t tried anything new in a while, but might be inspired to mix one of these. Happy November!

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  12. Well, you certainly knew how to enjoy October. You were busy, but had a blast along the way. The chicken and the cocktails look wonderful, but the smiles from the photo of the three ladies beats them all. Good friends are a true treasure. I’m headed over to click on your daughter’s site. I sincerely wish her all the best in her blog and travel endeavors. Talented genes run in the family.

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  13. I’m late to reading this post, but sometimes the last comments are the best ones. Just saying… 😉

    The chicken recipe looks delicious and easy enough. I like your idea of having a what’s in your glass feature on your blog. I haven’t mixed many drinks since Covid-19 and no socializing at home, but I do like a Presbyterian Cocktail. It’s bourbon + ginger ale on the rocks. Refreshingly simple, and a lovely color.

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