Such Joy! We’re in Illinois.

I am so behind on my blog. We had excellent adventures in both Dallas and Liberty, Missouri. But those will take more thought and energy to write than I have in my weary fingers tonight.

Instead, I’ll give a quick rundown on our arrival in Illinois. We left Liberty Missouri this morning. We had our first ever Denny’s breakfast experience. Shame on me, I’ve been a lifetime Denny’s snob.

Denny’s was convenient and inexpensive, so we checked it out. Who woulda’ thunk they would have gluten free English muffins?  I have been avoiding carbs.  But GF English muffins were irresistible. I ordered mine “buttered in the kitchen.” The waitress, upon delivery, said, “The cook has never had anyone ask for a gluten free muffin buttered, only toast.” Huh? Butter is such great food group. Number two only after cream cheese.

Then we were on the road. We listened to Devil in the White City. I read it when it first came out. Jim rarely wants to read anything I read. Maybe he thinks I like “chick lit?”

I’m enjoying this book as much the second time around as the first. While absorbing the 19th century Chicago Worlds Fair and a whole lot of murder, I finished a scarf and began another.

We had to stop at Michael’s in Liberty for more yarn. This new scarf is for our friend JR’s girlfriend, Melinda. Plum, blue, cream. I’m looking forward to vintage button shopping in Chicago’s Andersonville and adding plum buttons to my collection.

We drove. We listened. We crossed the “mighty Mississippi” for the second time in one road trip. Pulled into our hotel about three p.m. We hadn’t had lunch, so we planned an early dinner. At about five I said, “Honey…can we eat soon?” Jim glanced at his self-winding watch and suggested we wait until closer to dinner time.

The self-winding had run down hours earlier. Jim was unaware of the time. I pointed out it was, in fact, dinner time.  I’m not a happy hungry person so Jim grabbed our “Miss Mamie’s” 10% off coupon ( after first checking out reviews) and we headed to dinner.

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It was yummy, and I have enough left over for tomorrow’s lunch. I have put a note-to-self on top of the cooler to remind us to take the chicken out of small frig in the morning. Along with Jim’s wee-teeny cinnamon bun. The pre-dinner bread basket included two. He gobbled the first before his meal; the second will be breakfast.

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My lemon chicken.  Delish.

 

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Jim’s ribs.  He said mine are better, but I suspect he’s buttering me up.

 

Our waitress, Elaine, has celiac sprue. She felt my pain at missing out on the bread basket. But I had the marvelous morning GF English muffin, so for a celiac that’s splendid.  She loved our service dog!

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The weather here is a fabulous 80 degrees. The grass is soft, not the saw blades of Floridian lawns. I adore living in Florida. But not in the summer and never the lawn.

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Tomorrow Chicago! We already have two Tate babysitting gigs lined up. Life is stupendous.

I finally learned to cook, thank you very much Ina Garten!

I love the Barefoot Contessa.  If you don’t use her recipes, start! They are all marvelous.

I used to be considered a terrible cook. My go to dinner party recipe was mom’s “Party Chicken”. Party chicken consisted of rolled up boneless chicken breasts wrapped in bacon,  then smothered with a mixture of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and sour cream.  I sprinkled on a dash of paprika to make it beautiful.  The recipe was very 70’s and evidently not very good.
There came a time when one regular guest announced he wasn’t coming to dinner ever again if I served “f’n” party chicken.  (Richie, you know I’m talking about you.)

Then I found Ina! Last night we had dinner guests. I served all Ina recipes. Oven roasted chicken with lemon and onions (See sidebar) .  As sides I served green beans gremolata and  herbed basmati rice (both also Ina’s recipes).   The chicken recipe came from her latest book,  Cooking for Jeffrey.

Yum Yum and triple yum. One guest gushed about how much he loves my cooking. Clearly he never had my party chicken.

I did go off the reservation and make key lime pie with Joe and Nellies key lime juice. Easy Peezy and always delicious. Made real whipped cream to top it and even zested a lime for garnish. Yes, I’m awesome. You will be too once you start making Ina’s recipes.

I love Ina.  Maybe I’ll write her a letter today.  Better yet, maybe she will stumble across this blog just as you have!

I know you are out there. It’s just a matter of time before you find me.

Now, on to finish my book club book–The Girls of Atomic City.  After you read Ina’s recipe, go read that book.  Very good read.

Barefoot Contessa

joe and nellies key lime juice

The Girls of Atomic City