Hi Astronauts!

So, I do this thing. I go outside at night to spot satellites.

Tonight, I went out with my tea and a plan to spot at least one satellite, despite a wicked bright moon, before bed.

I spotted one right off. It was really bright, the brightest I’ve seen. And it was moving really fast, too fast to be a plane. I yelled for Quinn and told him the International Space Station was passing by.

We waved at the astronauts, I spotted another three satellites (one flared twice!), and we called it a night after the kids yelled at us.

If you want to see the ISS, check here. Spot the station will give you times it will pass overhead!

Tuscan Chicken

I took a risk and made this for the first time to serve to my mother-in-law. (hi Joan!)  It came out awesome with a half-hour’s worth of work, including prep.

tuscan chicken as served
I messed up and failed to notice that the peacock design was upside-down. Otherwise, this is one of the best presentations I’ve made for a completed recipe.

By itself it’s very keto-friendly, but it screams to be served with a pasta side.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

We made this in a 14″ cast-iron skillet, which was the perfect size.

Steps

  1. In a large skillet add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat until no longer pink, maybe 3-5 minutes per side.
  2. Set the chicken aside on a plate, wipe down excess oil from the skillet.
  3. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Whisk or stir over medium high heat until it starts to thicken.  Keep the sauce in motion so it doesn’t caramelize and burn into the pan.
  5. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes; let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.
  6. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Pairs very well with rotini or egg noodles.

Source: https://therecipecritic.com/creamy-tuscan-garlic-chicken/

In which Quinn is thwarted

Me: When this cup is completely empty, I will get ready for the day.

Quinn: Really?

Quinn: <casually gets up, stretches, starts walking towards me>

Me: <grabs the cup>

Him: <stares at me>

Me: <takes a little sip>

Him & Me: STAREDOWN

Him: WHAT?

Me: I can’t tell if you are going to take my cup and dump it out or not.

Him: <laughing>DAMMIT!

My almost empty coffee cup

Maine 2018

We made an impromptu trip to Maine with our friends Sam and Joanne.

There’s a back-story: we were supposed to be camping this week with Sam and Joanne (and others) but a conflict with school forced some to cancel, and eventually everyone canceled.  Since we all had the time off already scheduled I had the idea for a quick road trip with S&J.  Meghan made the arrangements when they bought in, so game on.

dock and reflection
Found this very stereotypical Maine view while biking on Friday morning

Day 1: Foul Weather, Destination Southport

We left home on Thursday.  S&J had the longer drive, but our house was on the way so we met up here and caravaned the rest of the way together.

A bundle of rain followed them from Connecticut, and would continue to follow us all the rest of the way.

Meghan and I neglected to pack until they arrived, as we were running around all morning doing chores, so they got in a short, much-needed break from driving in the rain.

We rolled into the Ocean Gate hotel around 5 pm.  We had rented three rooms: one for S&J and their son; one for Alpha and Beta; and one for Meghan, me, and Butter-the-dog.  We were spread across different buildings in the resort, but the girls were close to S&J so that was ok.

Our room, unlike the others, had a full kitchen — indeed, that was one of the selling points for us.  It was billed as “not having a view” but that was a lie: the view was, in fact, beautiful.

sunrise
Sunrise on Saturday morning. I didn’t mean to wake up at 5 am, but I’m glad I did since I got to see this.

We went out to dinner at a tiny-but-tony restaurant called Oliver’s at Cozy Harbor.  The food was excellent, btw.  Joanne went high-end and got a “lobstertini,” lobster meat served in a martini glass, but most everyone else went basic with burgers or fish-and-chips.

group photo
Sitting down to dinner at Oliver’s. Everyone was tired. and nobody but the server saw me taking the picture, which is why everyone looks bored

We did check out some of the “traditional” Maine sight-seeing, which is to say we took pictures of the fog:

foggy harbor
The very foggy view from Oliver’s [click to expand]

Day 2: Swimming, Shopping, Dinner at Home

Sam and I started Friday off with a bang: we went biking.  The kids started off with fun: they went swimming in the pool.  Meghan and Joanne started off with style: they took a dip in the hot tub.

After everyone felt ready to start their day, we packed into the cars and took a short ride to Boothbay Harbor.  It was hot so we had an ice cream lunch.  The girls shopped, while I took Butter on a walk up and down the main drag.  She’s truly an adorable dog and we stopped to talk to several people that wanted to “say hi” to her.

sam in kayak
Sam braved rumbles of thunder to discover that a nearby island is not, in fact, an island.

We all took a siesta in the late afternoon back at the hotel, except for Sam who ignored the impending thunderstorm and went kayaking.

After a brief downpour and a bit of lightning, we got going on our planned “traditional get together” dinner: spaghetti and sauce.  This is why the in-room kitchen was important, you see.

For years, when we lived near each other, we would gather at one house or the other and feed everyone with a simple pasta, meat sauce, and garlic bread dinner.  From time to time we do it even now, but the drive is much longer.

I made the pasta, Sam made the garlic bread, and the kids watched TV.  This was about as traditional as you can get without being home.

preparing dinner

After dinner I washed up while everyone else played a game at the table until bedtime.

Day 3: Freeport and Home

Our stay was intentionally short because we were trying a too-good-to-be-true hotel and everything came together last-minute.  Much too short.

After a big breakfast we packed up and rolled out, destination: Freeport.  Sam had only passed through Maine before, never stopping, and Joanne has never been at all.  Both wanted to see the main L.L. Bean store in Freeport.  Meghan is always game to go there.  I walked around with Butter while everyone wandered inside the store for an hour because I just can’t even.  We also made time for the Ben and Jerry’s store, of course.

We made our final leg home, where S&J paid us a final visit before making their way home as well.