Thursday, July 20, 2017

Reliving my childhood summers

Oh, the lazy summer days of childhood, I have so many good memories of my childhood, and I’m recapturing some of those days here in middle Tennessee.

It wasn’t an easy childhood, but it was a happy one and the pleasures were simple.  My memories are so vivid lately,  it’s amazing at how many things I remember.  

We lived in a little house by my beloved ditch on a dirt road, we didn’t have air conditioning or an inside bathroom or even running water, but what we did have were shade trees and we lived in a valley so there was always a breeze,  We had a great little front porch where I spent many hours playing with my dolls, sitting in the porch swing reading an endless supply of books while drinking iced tea.  My memories are so strong I can still hear the swing creaking and the sound of the screen door slamming shut when I went in and out the front door. 

Our house faced south, but it was so shady the sun didn’t hit the porch, so it was always cool, even on the hottest of days.  It could get dusty when the cars drove by and it was such a small community, I knew every car that passed.  Sometimes I would run in the house until the dust settled, it would be thick and if the wind was blowing toward the house the grit would get in your eyes and they would feel like sandpaper.  And when it rained, oh it was wonderful, the smell of the dust mingling with the rain, we lived for summer rains and the cooler temperatures that followed.

I loved the fence row across the road, the dappled sunlight and the way the big trees swayed in the wind, and I would sit and watch the trees, listening for the train to curve down Appel's hill.  My playmates were dogs and cats, and the birds, the crickets and the frogs were all familiar sounds.

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Fast forward to this summer.  Our house faces north, but we have a great little porch, and the ferns have gotten so big that they totally shade everything.  When I look across the street there is a fence row of trees, and I watch them blowing in the wind.  We always have a breeze, and so I sit on the porch, with Maggie beside me, reading an endless supply of books, drinking glasses of iced tea, listening to the old familiar country sounds of birds, crickets and frogs and occasionally glancing at the cars that pass by.  Even though the days are hot, I welcome the warmth, and the cooling breeze coupled with the nature sounds just transport me back to that simple life in our little house by the ditch.

It’s like a gift, being able to have this glimpse of my childhood after all these years and I treasure every moment.  And as I remember those years, I’m very grateful for what I have now, running water, bathrooms, appliances and air conditioning.

So many similarities, that I wouldn’t have thought possible even last year.  It’s never to late to discover new things, there are adventures awaiting us around every corner.

And who says you can’t go home again, in a way I have...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Phillips Air Fryer XL Review

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Those of you who follow me know that I love kitchen gadgets.  I love to research and buy the highest rated versions because quality gadgets last a lifetime.  But when everybody started jumping on the Air Fryer bandwagon, I wasn’t that impressed.  And then I started reading more about them, the seed was planted and I was off to the races.

I did my research, and while there are cheaper versions of air fryers there were many complaints, one of the primary ones being that the finish came off of several models, but Phillips invented the air fryer and they have remained the industry standard.  So I bought one from Williams Sonoma, because they have a great return policy and always take care of their customers if they have any issues.  I bought the XL, you don’t want a smaller one, even for one person I would want the XL, the smaller ones just don’t hold enough food.  The price was spendy - $300, but I had a 25% off coupon and free shipping so that helped, and I knew since I bought it from WS that I could return it if I didn’t like it.  

It just didn’t seem possible that food could get that crispy when you fried it with no or little oil.  But boy was I in for a surprise, this thing is a rock star.  The first thing we made were french fries, then fried veggies, hubby wanted fried pies, so we made those, and everything turned out great.  He loves hash browns fried in it, I do drizzle the with a little oil, and while they aren’t grease laden like regular hash browns, they are still delicious, very crisp and so easy to cook.

The unit heats in two minutes, I line the basket with perforated parchment paper to make cleanup a breeze, you don’t heat your kitchen, it’s so fast, so easy, I would rank this as one of my very favorite kitchen gadgets.

My kids are critics, my son Ryan was here with his family last weekend, and he was very skeptical.  After using it just a few times he said, “Mom, you know I’m going to have to buy one of these.”  And that’s high praise from a foodie.  We fried pork chops in it today, it took 18 minutes and they were so good, juicy and flavorful, no oil and no mess!  Hubby thinks it’s great and he can be a hard sell too, but the man does love fried food and this makes it a lot more guilt free than frying it in oil on the stove.  And did I mention that there is no mess, your kitchen stays clean and you don’t have to heat up your oven.  Of course I mentioned it, but it’s worth repeating. ;)  That’s one of the best parts, not having to deal with a greasy stove.  We haven’t fried food often for years because it’s just not healthy, but this thing is a game changer!

There are several groups on FaceBook that give you great recipes, lots of cookbooks, too, even Paula Dean is on the bandwagon with her own brand of fryer and a cookbook.

So, if anybody has mad money and thinks they might like one of these, I’ll give you the link and also the code I used for the 25% off.  I don’t know if it still works, but they gave it to me this month, so there is a good chance it will.

Here’s the link

And the code:

USE CODE RHJP-KKX9-MH3P

 

Oh, this one is a winner winner chicken dinner for sure!

 

~ Jan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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