Chicken pot pie….the ultimate comfort food

On my way home from work I got a phone call from my dad asking how my day went.  I decided to stop by his house for a cup of coffee and on my way I called him to see if they wanted Zesto for dinner.  If you don’t know Zesto then you don’t know fried chicken, but that is for another blog.  Anywho, no need for take out because Yuri’s diner is open!

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Home made chicken pot pie with a side of asparagus.  Soooo delish!  Yuri makes her crust from scratch, of course.  It is so very flaky, you can just about peel apart the layers.  I could just eat the crust by itself!

I though I was getting a cup of coffee but instead I was presented with a plate of utter deliciousness.  Yep, I hit the motherload tonight folks.

Vincent Andreolli

On October 15th 2017 at 5:16 a.m. Donna’s step father Vinnie passed away.  I was in Vinnie’s life for the past 9 years.  He called me “Ginny” instead of Jenn, which was kind of cute.  That sounds strange because cute isn’t the word that would come to mind when you think of Vinnie.  He’d make me laugh when he’d use the word “buck” in place of another word that sounds exactly the same.  For example:  “What the buck is wrong with the t.v.”  Get it?  That’s Vinnie.  Everytime we’d come to visit from S.C. he’d go get us buttered rolls and coffee from the deli for breakfast.  He loved his dog Sadie and John Wayne movies.  He was not always the easiest person to get along with but he was ours and we loved him.  Rest easy Vin, you will be missed…xo

Lake Wallenpaupack

Yesterday before going going to Alyssa’s tennis match we had some time to kill, so Donna wanted to check out the lake.  With the fall foliage upon Pennsylvania in full force it looks like a Bob Ross painting has come to life.

20171010_143937Lake Wallenpaupack is man-made and was built in 1927 for hydroelectric power, similar to our Lake Murray in South Carolina.  It is absolutely breathtaking.  We plan to come back in the summer when the kids are on break so we can take advantage of the boat tours.

 

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There’s no ailment that a clam boat and sundae can’t cure

Friendly’s restaurant was an institution for me growing up.  After concerts, school plays and softball games Friendly’s was the destination to hang out with classmates and eat ice cream.  Being I went to North Babylon Senior High School the location on Deer Park Avenue was our go to.  They closed all the locations near my home on Long Island and there aren’t any in South Carolina where we live now so you could imagine my delight when I saw an ad for Friendly’s in the “things to do” book given to us at our timeshare in PA.

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Donna with her sister Suzanne and her niece Alyssa.

On the ride over we taked about what what kind of ice cream we were going to get.  Suzanne didn’t even need to look at the menu as far as food goes, she was getting the “clam boat”.  She loves that clam boat!  The kids got hamburgers, Donna got a turkey melt and I also got the clam boat.

 

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The famous “clam boat”

 

Now for the ice cream.  Oh, the glorious ice cream.  My favorite is a reese’s pieces sundae with black raspberry, mint chocolate chip and hunka chunka pb fudge ice cream.  I went with the 3 scoop being I can not longer put away the monster 5 scoop sundae.

 

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Is this heaven?  No, it’s Friendly’s.

 

I barely got it all down but in the end I was victorious!

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All gone!

 

Alyssa actually put down her sundae at one point then picked it up again and finished it like a champ.

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Alyssa proud of her accomplishment.

Donna was the first to devour hers!  She got a 2 scoop mint chocolate chip sundae with hot fudge and strawberry topping.

 

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My Donna 🙂

 

All in all we had a great time.  The food was just as we remembered it, the ice cream was delish but being there with Suzanne and her girls was definitely the best part of lunch.  We couldn’t ask for anything more and are grateful for the memories made today.

 

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Me, Suzanne, Alyssa, Amber & Donna.

 

 

Venison….the other “other” dark meat

There is a guy at work, Gordon, who is kind enough to always share the fruits of his garden with Donna and I.  Zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow squash, etc.  In return I have gifted him with various foods that Yuri has canned.  For example:  jalapeño pepper jelly and jalapeño relish.

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Muscadine jelly, jalapeño pepper jelly & jalapeño relish

One day we were talking and he asked me if I ever had eaten venison.  I replied no.  Gordon told me he’d bring me some if I wanted to try it.  Being the adventurous food blogger that I am, of course I said sure!

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Frozen venison 

I don’t know the first thing about venison or how to cook it so I consulted with my cooking mentor, my step mom. Yuri had worked with venison before and said it was very lean so she didn’t like to make burgers with it.  Chili it is!

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Venison/ground beef chili

Yuri mixed the venison with ground beef, so I couldn’t even taste a difference.  It was very delicious!  My sister Kelly wouldn’t even taste it because she said it reminded her of Bambi.  Oh brother….  Yuri and I asked her what was the difference between eating a deer and eating a cow or a pig or a bird?  She wasn’t having it.  After brow beating her for 15 minutes straight she finally tasted a spoonful.  Results?  She couldn’t taste a difference but still refused to eat a bowl full.  That’s okay, more chill for me!

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My non adventurous food crawl partner in crime laughing at us trying to convince her to eat venison

To finish off the chili Yuri also made cheesecake bites dipped in chocolate.  Oh my…

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These chocolate cheesecake bites are dangerous!

The best thing about when Yuri makes dinner is the fact she makes enough for an army!  And you know what that means?  Leftovers!

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Guess who everyone was jealous of at work that day?  Me!

USC football, family & food…

I just started following the USC football team this year and my sister Kelly and step mom Yuri are teaching me all the ins and outs.

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Baseball, basketball and hockey I can follow no prob but football is Greek to me.  Throughout the entire game I asked questions and they answered, educating me on touchbacks, downs, incompletes, etc.  I hope that by the big USC vs. Clemson game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving I’ll be able to follow it like a pro!

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Dad and Molly relaxing
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Kelly multitasking…crocheting while she cheers our Gamecocks on!

Yuri’s diner was open for business tonight for all of our tailgating needs! What was on the menu?  Home made teriyaki & buffalo wings, floppy chips and beer battered onion rings.  OMG!

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Thank goodness I wore my sweatpants, along with my Carolina t-shirt & hat of course, because I was stuffed by the time I was done eating.

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Beer battered onion rings
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Teriyaki wings
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Floppy chips

Everything was delicious but those onion rings.  Oh lawdy!  Talk about addictive.  I asked Yuri what made these onion rings so good and she said it was the onion itself.  She uses Vidalia onions.

You know what I hate?  When you bite into an onion ring and the entire onion separates from the breading and you are left with an onion hanging from your mouth.  Yuri’s onion rings don’t do that.  Vidalias, that is the trick.

Well, our team won thanks to my new favorite player, Deebo Samuel with his 97 yard touchdown.  I am very proud to be a member of Gamecock Nation and look forward to cheering our guys on every Saturday.  Go Cocks!

 

 

Gratitude….

As a recovering alcoholic of almost 26 years I know the importance of being grateful.  “A grateful alcoholic is a sober alcoholic”.  This is was what I heard, over and over, early on in my sobriety and it stands true today.

Today I am brimming with gratitude for my life.  Nothing special or out of the ordinary happened today and I didn’t win the power ball last night.  But all the same I wouldn’t trade my life for any other.

I am off today due to issues with my back.  My job has been extremely supportive with my injury, as they have always been with any misfortune that has come my way.  A good job is nothing to take lightly and the goodness is not just measured by how much money you make.  My Home Depot family genuinely cares about my well-being and success in and out of the workplace.  I have spent 19 plus years under their employ and they have always taken care of me.

 

I have to admit that I am not the best patient and I can be as stubborn as a mule when it comes to asking for help.  I would like to think that I have gotten better in this department but I guess you’d have to defer to my caretaker of the past 5 days of my back being out.  Accepting that I am powerless was another lesson that I learned early in my sobriety.  At that time it was being powerless over alcohol and now powerless over my injury and having to ask for help for things I currently can’t do myself.  Thank goodness for Donna.  She is the best medicine for me, whether I’m injured or not.  Over the past 9 years she has learned the ins and outs of Jenn Kirby.  When to nod in agreement and then just wait until I come to my senses and finally agree with the rational decision she posed in the first place.  To allow me to grow as a person through failure and success all the while being my number one cheerleader, rallying me on.  And if I crash and burn she is the first one there to pick me up after I’ve fallen and encourage me to try again.  Donna makes me a better person and I would be lost without her.

As far as where we live, it’s like being on a permanent vacation.  Living right on the Congaree River is just amazing.  I get to sit back on my patio and watch the folks float down stream in their kayaks and inner tubes.  Or occasionally I’ll see a fly fisherman knee-deep trying to catch the big one.  There are fan boats and boats with small out board motors out on the water.  I always get nervous when the river is very low that they might hit bottom being that there are many large rocks hidden right below the surface of the water.   Then there are the birds, the beautiful birds!  Egrets, swans, seagulls, ducks, etc.  Every time I wake up, open the blinds in my living room and see that river I just sigh to myself and say “How lucky am I”.

So, as you can see I have much to be grateful for this Sunday.  I do hope you all can find what you are thankful for and hold it close to your heart…