Although the eight inches of snow never materialized…

…the other day, ‘they’ are now predicting another eight inches or more by Monday (‘eight’ must be someone’s favorite number, huh?) accompanied by severe cold.

We’ll see if ‘they’ are correct.

It just seems to me that ‘they’ don’t realize it’s Winter, it’s January…we’re supposed to be cold and snowy here in the Northern hemisphere!

But…I’ll tell you, it’s not easy getting around in this

Soup Day-1

…or slogging through this without falling or being hit by a passing car!

Soup Day-2

It’s quite nerve-wracking, having to use a cane in Winter, especially here in Chicago, where many never shovel their walkways, or are kind enough to shovel out the bus stops.

I’m just thankful, after all the extra exertion, to come home to a warm apartment and a delicious bowl of homemade chicken soup–with Mrs. Dash’s Lemon Pepper seasoning, onions, carrots, turnips, and brown rice…and a good spoonful of my favorite…wild rice!

Soup Day-3

Oh…YUM!

(In case you’re wondering, those black lines on the bowl are hiding the Chinese character for SOUP!)

Last evening…

…I cooked a very untraditional Christmas Eve meal.

Lamb shoulder chop, rubbed with mint, dried minced garlic, and Mrs. Dash's Lemon Pepper seasoning, accompanied by brown and wild rice, cooked with onion, Crimi mushrooms, dried minced garlic, Campari tomatoes, dried oregano, a good bit of Mrs. Dash's Lemon Pepper seasoning and Greek olive oil. Really super tasty and very nutritious!

Lamb shoulder chop, rubbed with mint, dried minced garlic, and Mrs. Dash’s Lemon Pepper seasoning, accompanied by brown and wild rice, cooked with onion, Crimini mushrooms, dried minced garlic, Campari tomatoes, dried oregano, a good bit of Mrs. Dash’s Lemon Pepper seasoning and Greek olive oil.
Really super tasty and very nutritious!

While I was watching the very untraditional Christmas film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (wasn’t Audrey gorgeous?), a knock at the door was not from Santa, but my young neighbor, who presented me with this:

A very untraditional "Christmas Sweater" cookie!

A very untraditional “Christmas Sweater” cookie!

She and her Mom had been doing a lot in their kitchen (which adjoins my own), but I didn’t expect such a creative gift!

They are both very artistically-inclined…and I thank them for this wondrous little cookie, which is indeed delicious!

After reading until past midnight, I awoke at 8-ish, made a pot of fresh ground Italian Roast/Dutch Chocolate flavored coffee and took a look out my window.

Just a very light snow had fallen overnight, enough to brighten the ground...with ice still on the windows, because we're 'havin' a heat wave' of mid-20s degree F. weather today!

Just a very light snow had fallen overnight, enough to brighten the ground…with ice still on the windows, though we’re ‘havin’ a heat wave’ of mid-20 degrees F. weather today!

For those of you who’ve been running as late as I have, here’s one last E-card I just made.

Merry Christmas Potpourri

(I hope you can catch the aroma of pine and cinnamon in the potpourri?)

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL…MAY IT BE MERRY AND BRIGHT!!!

Mmm, mmm, YUM!

On Washington Street just west of Michigan Avenue, Toni’s La Patisserie windows are filled with Christmasy edibles!

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La Patisserie-3

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La Patisserie-4

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La Patisserie-6

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Okay, you can all stop drooling!

(I think I gained five pounds just taking these shots!)

Fit for a…

DOCTOR!

During my last appointment, I mentioned to my doctor that I was again baking bread, and made a ‘mean Challah‘.

He is Jewish, and quickly retorted, “I LOVE Challah!!!”

Well, yesterday was a warm, dry day–perfect bread-baking weather, and as his birthday was two weeks ago, I decided to give him a belated birthday gift!

And, I did–with these!

I took the pix quickly, as I wanted to get them delivered while the Challah was still warm, so they're not the greatest!

I took the pix quickly, as I wanted to get them delivered while the Challah was still warm, so they’re not the greatest!  But he was impressed, and thanked me twice!

 

The loaf at top left is the one I presented to the doctor. The smaller loaves were baked in little oval pie pans--I gave each of the nurses one, and also gave one to the wonderful phlebotomist who draws my blood every month! She dove right in, proclaiming the Challah excellent, and asked for the recipe, which I will print out for her!

The loaf at top left is the one I presented to the doctor.
The smaller loaves were baked in little oval pie pans–I gave each of the nurses one, and also gave one to the wonderful phlebotomist who draws my blood every month!
She dove right into the loaf, proclaiming the Challah excellent, and asked for the recipe, which I will print out for her!

Of course, I had my camera, and took advantage of the lovely small Hibiscus in the center planting of the circular drive of the building, which I processed today and turned into Watercolors!

Small Red Hibiscus-1 Watercolor

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Small Red Hibiscus-2 Watercolor

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Small Red Hibiscus-3 Watercolor

N.B.:  I am so behind in viewing blogs I follow, so I ask you to please excuse my tardiness.

The breads were kneaded by hand, and required three risings, so a lot of time was spent on that, which is very hard on the fingers.

I found that by 7:00 last night, I had no energy left to do much of anything, and typing became very painful…so I’ll get to your blogs ‘little by little, bit by bit’–thanks!!!

After last evening’s glorious sunset…

...the temperature, which had been around 88 degrees F., had suddenly dropped over thirty degrees!

…the temperature, which had been around 88 degrees F., had suddenly dropped over thirty degrees!

 

This morning, it was 55 degrees F. at hal past 5:00 AM, when I awoke to rain, fog, and a chilling north wind!

This morning, it was 55 degrees F. at half past 5:00 AM, when I awoke to rain, fog, and a chilling north wind!

 

Breakfast time, and what better way to ward off the chill than a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, with fresh blueberries and a good-sized dollop of Greek yogurt!

Breakfast time, and what better way to ward off the chill than a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, with fresh blueberries and a good-sized dollop of Greek yogurt!

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I hope your weather is greater than this, a typical June day here in Chicago!

‘Playing’ with ‘Baby Grapes’

It’s nice to know the grapes are coming along beautifully this season, possi-/probably due to the rainy Spring!

After a lot of distorting and cropping, I finally got the images sorted out quite well, and wanted to show a different filter on each.

Baby Grapes, the first...

Baby Grapes, the first…

 

...and with the Ocean Ripple filter

…and with the Ocean Ripple filter

 

Baby Grapes, the second...

Baby Grapes, the second…

 

...and with the Poster Edges filter

…and with the Poster Edges filter

 

Baby Grapes, the third...

Baby Grapes, the third…

 

...and with Vertical and Horizontal Grain filters plus the Crosshatch filter

…and with Vertical and Horizontal Grain filters plus the Crosshatch filter

 

Baby Grapes, the fourth...

Baby Grapes, the fourth…

 

...and with the Accented Edges filter

…and with the Accented Edges filter

 

Baby Grapes, the fifth...

Baby Grapes, the fifth…

 

...and with the Angled Strokes filter and a .25 pixel Gaussian Blur

…and with the Angled Strokes filter and a .25 pixel Gaussian Blur

The filters in Photoshop (TM) can be overused very easily…I prefer lower, more subtle settings to add just that little touch for a more dramatic effect.

(Also, I get bored rather quickly with ‘run of the mill’ images!)

Let the YUMS begin!

A few ambitious, young gardeners began early this season, first taking out half the old soil from their small raised bed at the local Community Garden, then replacing it with compost and weed-free soil.

About a month ago, in spite of Chicago’s cold, late Spring, they planted seeds and a few hardier vegetables.

Here are some of the results, as of last Saturday:

Golden-ribbed Swiss Chard

Golden-ribbed Swiss Chard

 

Broccoli

Broccoli

 

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

 

Kale

Kale

 

Hardy Chives, with gorgeous blossoms, ready to be pinched back--or not?

Hardy Chives, with gorgeous blossoms, ready to be pinched back–or not?

 

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

 

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage

 

Popeye's favorite--Spinach

Popeye’s favorite–Spinach

 

Green Leaf Lettuce

Green Leaf Lettuce

 

A huge Strawberry plant--the flower buds are forming in that dark area!

A huge Strawberry plant–the flower buds are forming in that dark area!

I have to say, “I am GREEN with envy!”