Welcome to Summer!
Holy mackerel! One Hundred and Five Degrees?! That's what Missy M's car registered when I got in it yesterday at 5:00 p.m. That's the outside temperature, not the inside temp...which was probably approaching "fry an egg." Her car had been sitting in the sunshine on the driveway on the west side of her brick house all afternoon, so I imagine we are talking a true reading here. Of course, the weather wonk said on the 11:00 news that the official high yesterday was 92, but that was at the airport...probably out of direct sunlight. And then you have to factor in the humidity...that's a whole other chapter.
Today...the first full day of Summer...is predicted to be 96, so we are in for another scorcher. If this be June, what the heck is August going to be like?!
I spend upwards of an hour each afternoon watering the garden and all the containers. Now, I know that it's better to water early in the day, but that isn't usually possible, given our present schedule. And watering in the late afternoon is preferable to the alternative of NOT watering, any day. And, I usually pull weeds in the raised bed gardens in the afternoon, as that's when it's coolest on that side of the house. Not yesterday...it wasn't cool anywhere...even at 8:30 in the evening!
One of the first things Missy M was told about living in Louisville was how late sunset was in the Summer. You see, Derby Town sits on the furthermost edge of its time zone. Check the map: Nashville, which is in the Central Time Zone, is farther east than Louisville...which is in the Eastern TZ!
Well, we are making our way through the first week of Take Your Daughter to Work Days. So far, so good. Missy M has done remarkably well getting to-and-from her office on her crutches...and with using her knee-walker while at work. She has doctor's orders, limiting her to 4 hours at work each day, but even her Disability Counselor recognizes being that precise just isn't always possible with some jobs...and hers is one of them. So, they have agreed to "more or less" take an average of 4 hours per day (basically 20 per week)...and call it close enough. Monday and Tuesday were more...today was less. She sees her doctor next week, so we'll see how the healing process is being affected by this new routine. Fingers crossed...toes, too!
Since I've been here, I've tried to fix some of M's favorite foods...you know, for comfort. It's terribly hot tonight, the new AC is working hard to keep it cool inside, and it's probably not the best night to heat up the kitchen for this one, but I'm making about the only casserole she has ever eaten. She has always called it Chicken with Sloppy Rice, although I believe the original recipe I got from a Lauderdale County cookbook was called Easy Chicken and Rice...or something along those lines. I've been making it for over 30 years, so I know it by heart...thank goodness. Plus it's a forgiving recipe, not requiring you to be so precise about measurements or ingredients. I can add some chunky veggies like carrots and celery, without offending my no-veg-shall-pass-these-lips daughter, so I can have a one-dish meal (protein, starch, & veg), and she can push the offenders aside. Of course, I can secretly hope that there might be some small transference of the veggies' vitamins into the sloppy rice...but that's a topic for another discussion. (Recipe shared below.)
M was so beat last night when she came home, that she took her meds and went straight to bed...and probably would have stayed there for the rest of the night if the peace hadn't been disturbed by fireworks after the sun finally set after 9:08.
Fireworks? On June 19? All we could figure was someone was celebrating an early arrival of the Summer Solstice. Wonder if there are any practicing Druids in the neighborhood?
Druid or not, Happy First Day of Summer (in the Northern Hemisphere...:)! If today is any indication, we are in for a long, hot one this year.
Chicken and Sloppy Rice
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, whole/cut in half
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
2 cans-ful water
2 cans-ful rice (uncooked)
2 Tblsp melted butter
1 tsp seasoned salt or poultry seasoning, more or less
1 tsp ground black pepper, more or less
8-10 baby carrots, whole (opt.)
Celery slices (opt.)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray inside a covered casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing cup, blend the soups, the water, the rice, the melted butter, and the seasonings together. Pour into prepared baking dish. Place chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture and sprinkle with more seasonings, especially cracked pepper. If you like cooked veggies, push a few whole baby carrots and/or celery slices into the rice mixture. Cover with tight-fitting lid and put in oven for an hour.
3. After 60 minutes, stir to distribute the liquid. If the rice seems to be drying too rapidly, add some hot water. Return to oven for 30-40 more minutes, covered, until the chicken breasts are done and no longer pink. Stir and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
4. Great served with a salad and some warm Italian bread. Enjoy!