Tag Archives: shrimp and grits

The vacation’s over

It’s a Sunday afternoon and a pretty good end to a vacation week. I’m sitting on our patio, under the oak tree by our pool, just enjoying a quiet summer Sunday afternoon.

The last three days of our vacation were uneventful. The weather was not ideal, generally cloudy and windy, with a few sprinkles.

This was a typical scene from our deck.

This was a typical scene from our deck.

Mrs. Poolman and I had a very nice anniversary (37th, thank you very much) dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Sundae Café. I had their Cajun shrimp and grits, and Mrs. P enjoyed lobster mac & cheese with broiled sea scallops. We enjoyed it so much, we went back for lunch the next day. Decadent, but hey, we’re on vacation.

The weather cleared up some on Friday and we got back out to the beach. But even on the cloudy days, we were totally happy just sitting on our deck with books in our laps. Enforced idleness is not bad.

We started moving stuff back to our house on Friday because I needed to be out the door early on Saturday morning. I didn’t want to leave Mrs. P with more of a load to move out than her own clothes and some of the leftover food.

On Saturday, I needed to assist my boss and his wife to take two couples on a visit to Wassaw Island one of our boat-access-only barrier islands. One of the couples had “won” the trip in a silent auction  that was part of a major fund-raiser gala for the University System of Georgia Foundation. We met up with them at 9 am and drove them to the south end of our island to meet our skiff and driver. The weather was cloudy with a few drizzles, but it wasn’t too bad. At least it wasn’t broiling hot with a ton of bugs. Our guests seemed to enjoy it. We saw nest with some juvenile osprey, a good size pod of dolphins feeding and more bits of nature on the island.

Our guide, Dorothy, in the hat, explains some of the island ecosystem.

Our guide, Dorothy, in the weird hat and blue shirt, explains some of the island ecosystem.

We did have the whole beach to ourselves.

We did have the whole beach to ourselves.

I was home by 4 pm and fairly tired.

Today I got the back yard and pool cleaned up and checked on my garden. I’m really happy with the way it is growing. After two previous unsuccessful efforts at growing tomatoes over the past several years, this little 4’x4’ plot seems to be doing well. Right now, we have more than 30 tomatoes in some form or another. None have turned red yet, but we are cautiously optimistic.

Grow, plants, grow!

Grow, plants, grow!

Hopefully these little fellas will turn red.

Hopefully these little fellas will turn red.

We also have two pepper plants that seem to be doing well. I’m really excited about tasting the first batch.

Back to work tomorrow. Sigh.

Politics, Hotel Indigo, Superbowl and a great chili

It’s been a few days since I’ve had the chance to sit down and actually write something. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot to write about.

I took a trip to Atlanta last week with my boss and our business officer to schmooze with politicians. This is an annual Chamber of Commerce “kiss up to the state legislature” event. We drove up one morning and spent the day tracking down various state legislators, shaking many hands and asking them not to forget about us (or, even worse, cut us out of the budget.) The day ended with a big seafood-barbecue feast with multiple open bars. I stuck to Diet Coke though. I say enough stupid things when I’m sober, I don’t need my tongue loosened when someone may actually be listening.

We stayed at a Hotel Indigo in midtown Atlanta. I had not stayed there before, although it is part of the Holiday Inn family. I usually stay in HI’s because I’m a member of their points program. In any case, the Hotel Indigo was nice, if somewhat different from your standard business hotel. It’s a smaller, “European style” (not that I’ve actually stayed in a hotel in Europe) hotel. The rooms were smaller, but quite stylish.

From the hotel Web site, but a pretty accurate depiction of my room.

The bathroom was very small. I could have handled my “business” while shaving and brushing my teeth if I had wanted to do so. Altogether though, I liked it, and I’ll be back.

On Sunday morning, Mrs. P and I did something we almost never do; we went out for a nice Sunday brunch. We should really do this more often. On a Sunday morning or mid-day, we may go to our favorite Mexican restaurant or to a breakfast place, but almost never to someplace where, for instance, you might actually think about ordering a mimosa or a Bloody Mary. We went to our favorite seafood restaurant. I ordered the shrimp and grits and was disappointed. It was good for what it was, but it was very mild and creamy. I definitely prefer it with a little kick to it. (See the recipe in the Food tab above.) Next time, I’ll stick with my favorite, fried shrimp.

Over the rest of the weekend, we ran errands and continued the clean up and clean out process around the house. We finally got all the boxes and extra furniture out of our family room.

To celebrate, we had a few folks over to watch the Superbowl. It wasn’t a big event, just some of our close friends. However, everyone brought food and we had enough to feed a small African country.

Mrs. P made here white bean chili, which is fantastic.

White Bean Chili

I have trouble getting my imagination and taste buds around a chicken-based “chili.” However, if I think of it as just a spicy, chicken based bean soup, it’s easier to handle.  The recipe comes straight from a Southern Living Cookbook and I’ve added it to the “Food” tab at the top of the page. Give it a shot. You will not be disappointed. Be sure to make sure you include the shredded jalapeno-jack cheese when you serve it. That is an essential step that is not to be omitted.

Shrimp ‘n Grits

By popular demand, I finally extracted the shrimp ‘n grits recipe from Mrs. Poolman. I have posted it under the “Food” page above.

So, Terri, how about that recipe for the ham, wild rice and cheese soup you wrote about last winter???  Fair is fair.

Thanksgiving week

It hasn’t been the most exciting week, but here are a few updates.

Mrs. Poolman’s shrimp and grits turned out great! Being a “born and raised” Yankee, this is a dish that I should not be inclined to like. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded disgusting.  At the time, I could tolerate grits, but wasn’t real excited about them. And shrimp in some sort of gravy on top of them just sounded gross.

Oh my, has my mind been changed. I had them a year or two ago at a restaurant and fell in love. Mrs. P’s dish is even better. She sauted the shrimp with some blackening spice and then made a spicy creamy sauce to go with it. The leftovers are dinner again tonight. As soon as I can get Mrs. P to write down the recipe, I’ll post it.

Our barrier island boony stomping expedition last week produced fruit today. Reporter Mary Landers wrote a nice article on the project and her editors put it on the front page of the Savannah Morning News. If you are interested, you can see it here.

Mrs. P and I are both off work through the weekend. No CCD class tomorrow night, so we’ll just be kicking back until heading down to Gainesville for the Gator season finale on Saturday.

We are staying home for Thanksgiving. We’ve managed to juggle schedules so that both our kids (Poolboy and Writer Princess), Son-in-Law and Poolboy’s GF will be able to join us for dinner. Some of our good friends, the W’s will also be here. Like us, they have no family in town, so we almost always do our holidays together.

We also keep an eye out for holiday “widows and orphans,” a practice Mrs. P and I have done since the early days of our marriage when we were moving around the country and never had family close. I know one nurse from Mrs P’s unit will be here. We might pick up another widow or orphan before it’s over.

Saturday’s Florida-FSU game should be a good one. FSU is a traditional rival. Also, it’s Senior Day, which means it’s the last home game for Tim Tebow and a pretty great group of seniors. When they introduce Tim T, the applause may register on the Richter Scale.

And finally, Gator fans can breath easy. Urban Meyer put the issue to rest; he is not going to leave UF to go to Notre Dame. I never thought he would, but the rumor persisted. He’s got a great thing going where he is. The grass isn’t always greener. As a matter of fact, in February in Indiana, it isn’t green at all. Ha!

We have much for which to give thanks. Life is great!