Thanksgiving 2017

It’s here!! With my departure from work today, well, after a luncheon where I almost fell asleep in my chair, the Thanksgiving weekend has officially begun!  This strange, nervous frenzy comes over me this time of year.  It’s excitement and urgency to make sure all preparations are done: the shopping, cooking, baking, cleaning, and decorating.  It’s a lot to plan for, to do, and hopefully, to delegate.   We’ll see about that last one.  So off to the congested busyness of Costco, then to 1st Place Sports to pick up our race packets for the Thanksgiving Distance Classic.  It’s a fun race we’ve done a before with lots of participation and people dressed like pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys.  Good times!


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Cozy Days


Winter comes to Florida like a roving marauder, doing his damage and moving on up the road.  He has visited us the end of this first week of the new year with temperatures cold enough to freeze the bird bath in the back of the house, but not the front.  These are the days we complain and layer, wear our boots and make a fire, and stay inside and make soup.  Cozy days!  We were planning to have our grandson this Saturday, but ended up not, and felt like a couple of prisoners set free from bondage.  We made a fire in the fireplace, curled up on the sofa, and were generally lazy.  It was fabulous!

Our coffer pickings were pretty slim, but I really wanted to make minestrone – the perfect soup for coffer raiding.  I love this soup because there is no set recipe – it’s a peasant soup traditionally made from whatever you have.  Perfect, because I didn’t have much.  I just started taking stuff out of the fridge and pantry – a can of diced tomatoes, a can of cannellini beans, a couple of onions and the rest of a bulb of garlic (about 5 cloves – hey, I like garlic, don’t judge!), 4 celery stalks, 5 carrots, a cube of vegetable bullion, some water, salt pepper, and Tuscan Sunset spice.  The meat layer in our family insisted upon the addition of a few slices of bacon, so that went in at the end,  plus a bit of romano cheese rind (just a Tbsp. or so) and a thawed container of frozen spinach.  It was just the right proportion of everything.  Hot, steamy, and just right on this cold January evening.


And then we had some Cole’s garlic bread in the freezer that we didn’t use at Christmas and added some cheese and salami for dipping deliciousness.  Heart and soul warming coziness!!


Tomorrow the temps will be back up a bit, and up in the 70’s by Wednesday.  So long for now, Mr. Winter, give me back my flip flops and tanks tops!


Welcome to The Blue Bandana.  I’m Judi, and I am here to tell stories of adventures.  Life is a grand journey full of excitement and I want to explore it all.   It happens fast and I often forget so much because it goes so quickly and I move on to the next thing before I get a chance to write it all down.  So join me as I travel, cook, eat, design, run, cycle, push myself to the limit.  I am interested in SO MANY things, and I will explore those here also –  everything from poetry, wisdom, love, and beauty in all its forms.  Hop on board!



This shot was more – I don’t want to say painful – more achy is more like it – than the first shot.  I could feel it going down my leg and I needed more ice than the last time.   This morning I woke up very early (4:00 a.m.) and have lots of energy and Pain free!  But there has been no running yet, and I can’t do anything physical until tomorrow.
So today I scheduled for Maddi and I to go have a little spa day to recover.  At  One Ocean.  A total splurge!
My plan is to start tomorrow with my yoga sequence, continue the juicing and back supporting diet, and spin and stair climb, then get in the pool and aqua jog for on hour.  No impact, more cardio than I’ve done in over 2 weeks because of being sick.
And I made a Pink Lemonade Cake because my husband saw a guy come out of the market with one item in his hand – a pink cupcake.


What I ate yesterday after THE SHOT:
7:00 –  1 cup of coffee (1/2 caff, sugar and cream)
12:00 –  1 piece of Ezekiel Bread with Sunflower Butter
1:00 –  10 Triscuits dipped in mustard (for the delicious)
3:00 –  24 oz. Juice
Carrots (for the Vitamin A),
1 whole red pepper for the Vitamin C),
3 handfuls of Spinach, (for the A again),
2 lemons (for the C, and I like the sweet/tartness it gives
7:30 –  Sautted Kale (A again) with Onions, Garlic, and Sesame Seeds (Manganese, Zinc and Copper),
Crispy Cornbread, and 1 small pice of shark steak covered in Datil Pepper Sauce, 1 glass red wine
10:00 –  And,  my go to dessert,um, some chocolate and honey roasted peanuts, and another glass.

I had a very good night of sleep and woke up at 5:00am with lots of energy! : )


What’s this?  Is it a flag, or dessert?  Is it sweet, or salty (BOTH!) How can this be?

 My Italian mother passed along to me not just the love of baking, but the Italian gift of needing to feed people.  I can’t help it.  The gooier the better.   I stole this this recipe from her, adapted it a bit, and have been making it for Independence Day ever since.

I mean, what says Happy Birthday USA better than salad/dessert???

Here’s the deal:  The original recipe says to start with the pretzel layer and go up.   After time crunched fails where the Jello was too hot and I poured it over everything and then it sunk to the bottom and made the pretzels soggy, here’s what you do:

Take the Cool Whip out of the freezer and put in the fridge the night before you make this.

Take cream cheese out of fridge and put in your pocket to .

Make the Jello first.  Let sit and cool.

Turn on oven to 350.  Spray some Pam into your 9″x 13″ baking dish.

Put the butter into a pan on low to melt.  THEN crush the pretzels while the butter is melting, add the sugar to the pretzels, and pour butter over pretzels and sugar and mix round, until evenly distributed.  Pour into 9×13″ pan and press down evenly.

Bake at 350 for about 9 minutes and let cool.

Put the cream cheese in your mixer and make it creamy.  Add the sugar, mix, then fold in Cool Whip.  Spread onto the pretzel layer ( make sure it’s cool, and careful not to bring up the pretzels as you spread) put in the fridge (I’ve done the freezer too) for about 2 hours.

Before you’re ready to make the flag, slice your strawberries.  I had a little help with this.

Michael and the ever vigilant Jimmy by his side.

When the cream cheese layer has set, take out of the fridge and place sliced strawberries and blueberries on top of the cream cheese layer in an American flag pattern.  I recommend mushing the fruit into the cream cheese layer.  Otherwise when you pour the Jello on top of the fruit the fruit can float out of position.  If you look again at the pic at the top, that’s exactly hat happened down in the bottom right-hand corner.  Oh well……

Here is the pre-Jello fuzzy view.  I really need to learn how to take a picture!

I mushed as many blueberries into that square as would fit.  Maybe it really doesn’t look like stars are peeking through, but you I don’t think anyone is going to mistake this for the flag of Puerto Rico or anything.

Also appropriate for the upcoming Labor Day celebration, y’all.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the crust:

1 1/2 C. pretzels (I like little pretzel sticks)

1/2 C/ unsalted butter, melted

1/4 C. sugar

For the middle:

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 C. sugar

1 8 oz. container Cool Whip

For the top layer:

Strawberries, sliced


Large box Wild Strawberry Jello


Peachia Smoothie

SOMEONE thinks that this bright, clean, and tastiful treat needs a makeover – a please remove the chia seeds because they remind me of my bad experience with flaxseeds makeover. I said get over it and offered to make chia seed pudding for him.

We have been seeing peach peddlers on the side of the road and have wanted to make this Peach and Almond Cake from one of my favorite new blogs,

I really wanted to pick up some peaches.  And support local farmers.  So we stopped.  5 spot in hand, I get out of the car.   Surely 5 dollars would buy me some peaches from the roadside stand, right?  NOT.

I promptly return having shelled out $12 for what I am assured are the most succulent of spring’s harvest.  I was a little embarrassed that I actually paid $12 for 10 little peaches, especially when I knew I was going to get a ribbing (albeit good-natured – this, after all, is the man who went to the book store to return books to get a credit to buy more books then ended up spending over $50 on more books, btw)

So I had BETTER make good use of these peaches!  So I made a smoothie this morning.

2 peaches

1 cup of crushed ice

1 Tbs. of chia seeds

1/2 C. almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you drink, you just need some moisture)

It was DElish.  so there.