Give Thanks for Those Who Inspire You

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

The last time I blogged on Houston Blog Network was about fresh fruits and vegetables. Since then my life’s circumstances totally put me in shock, made me numb. All of my blogging and writing stopped. My dad went into the hospital and started doing better after a few days. Suddenly, he was sent to ICU. The next day we lost him.

It’s been a difficult month for me, but this past Saturday I somehow snapped back to reality. I’m a blogger. I must get to blogging.

He was 90, yet I still called him Daddy. He was an old-fashioned preacher and was the pastor of a church when I entered this world. He was an amazing person who inspired those around him. It was the reminiscing of words and phrases he liked to say to encourage people that made me determined to get busy blogging.

This is a busy week with people rushing to grocery stores for turkey and all the ingredients for stuffing, casseroles, and pies. Stop to give thanks every day this week. Think of the people you will spend the holiday with and say a special thank you for a specific thoughtful deed or a kind gesture they have done in the past.

Daily this week I’m taking time out to think of the things I am thankful for. The person high on that list is my dad. He had a knack of pushing me to do things I felt uncomfortable doing – like speaking to a church youth group when I was 16 or 17, taking a speech class in college, completing my degree later in life, jogging and walking for exercise (he jogged/walked 5 miles several times a week until he was 85), going on a week’s fast, and so much more. Thank you, Daddy!

Is there a person in your life who has inspired you to step out of the norm? Inspired you to push yourself beyond what you could imagine and reach for higher expectations of yourself?

You can do what you set your mind to do. That was a motto that my grandmother taught my dad. It’s true. One of my dad’s favorite famous quotes was from Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give in.”

Holidays can be a terribly depressing season for people for various reasons. Look around you this week and pay attention to others. Offer a smile, be kind, invite someone over who doesn’t have any family nearby or take the time to listen. Someone will appreciate you greatly for it.

Will you take a moment to share in the comment section of this page? Share memories of inspiration you received from someone in the past that still encourage you today.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Benny McCoy

Daddy & Me

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables at The Fresh Market

 

THe Fresh Market

Grapes for Sampling

Grocery shopping is a treat when going to The Fresh Market in Houston – especially with your grandchildren. The market has an amazing concept, one I’ve never seen at a grocery store. When you walk in, it’s like touring a garden. A variety of colors in flowers beautify the entrance.

Next you walk into an area of fruit displays that are meant for sampling – with toothpicks included. There were apples, grapes, and pineapples.

The Fresh Market Fresh Fruit

Grapes on a Toothpick

To the right of the fruit section was the fresh vegetable produce. The veggies looked like they had been freshly picked that same day.

The Fresh Market

Fresh Vegetables at The Fresh Market

Nearby the fruit was a section of Halloween candy in abundance. What I found fascinating, though, is that my 2-year-old toddler grand didn’t even notice the candy but wanted the fresh fruit on a toothpick. This is proof that if you place nutritious snacks in front of children, they will eat them. Feed them lots of candy, and they will feel miserable later – just like you do when you eat too much sugary snacks.

The market had a huge section of fresh and organic snacks such as dried fruit and wholesome nuts and crackers. If you are looking for nutritious and organic appetizers for a party, this is the place to go.

The Fresh Market even has deli food that you can purchase and eat in a pleasant dining area. The store is a fun place to shop. At the back of the market is the meat section and definitely has some of the best steaks you’ll find. The next blog post will include an anecdote about Ribeye steak. Visit again soon!

Candy & Flower Shopping at The Fresh Market

Halloween Candy at The Fresh Market

Candy Galore at The Fresh Market

Shopping at The Fresh Market in Houston is like going to the candy store, especially during the week of Halloween. Look at all the candy – a variety that includes Jelly Bellies and Candy Corn, two types of candies that either you love them or hate them. 

The Fresh Market

Trick or Treat Candy

Pumpkins decorate both sides of the entrance.

The Fresh Market

Pumpkins at the Entrance

Flowers and more flowers…

Flowers at The Fresh Market

Flowers Everywhere!

Festive fall flower eye candy is in abundance with gorgeous colors.

The Fresh Market Flowers

Fresh Flowers at The Fresh Market

The best part of a grandma Grummy shopping at The Fresh Market is being with her lil granddaughters and picking out pretty flowers…

The Fresh Market Flowers

Shopping for flowers with the Grands at The Fresh Market

And then there is SOOO much Halloween candy (have you ever heard of Pumpkin Pie Almonds?)…

The Fresh Market Candies

How Can You Pass Up These Pumpkin Pie Almonds?

very tempting, but Grummy’s Halloween goodies are more fun to make with the Grand-girls (and what toddler doesn’t love a grandma’s homemade sweets?) – like fun recipes such as Candy Corn Hugs Pretzel from Patty Cakes Pantry…

Patty Cakes Pantry

Candy Corn Hugs Pretzels

but shopping with a little granddaughter who loves her stuffed animals, no way can you pass up fun animal crackers from The Fresh Market.

 

Thank you for visiting Houston Blog Network! I hope you’ll visit again Saturday. I’ll be blogging next on fresh veggies, fruit, and the best steak to purchase at The Fresh Market in Houston. 

Share your stories of foods you love at The Fresh Market in the reply section. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Today’s linking party:

Full Plate Thursday

 

Texas Blue Law Memories

Houston Autumn

Fall day in Houston

It’s a beautiful Fall Sunday in Houston – only 68 degrees early morning with a high of 88 today, no humidity in the air. This morning I was thinking of the Blue Law years ago in Texas. According to Britannica.com, the Blue Law forbade certain buying and selling on Sunday, and blue referred to “rigidly moral”. It was considered the Lord’s Day and a day of rest.

Heroes Cafe, Cleburne, TX

Everything is big in Texas – especially the hamburgers like this one at Heroes Cafe in Cleburne, TX

Stores weren’t open for shopping back in those days due to the Blue Law, but a few restaurants were. People did still have to eat. In the East Texas town I lived in, if you considered hamburger joints like Dairy Queen and Dairy Circle Inn (you had to order at the window).  On Sundays, though, a cafeteria opened for a few hours which made it nice for my family. Dad was a pastor of a church, and we had morning and evening services. We were usually the last ones to leave because people would want to talk to the pastor after church.

I don’t remember my mother cooking much on Sundays, although I recall going to homes of people in the church for Sunday dinner. Many of the people were farmers. Two particular foods stand out in my memory – chicken and coconut cake with white frosting. The reason for my chicken memory is that all of the farmers had chicken houses. One Sunday afternoon the lady cooking the meal we were invited to had to go out and kill the chickens we were going to eat. She grabbed those chickens and wrung their necks. That stuck in my brain’s media file forever. How in the world I ever ate chicken again after that day, I do not know.

The cake memory is the best one. I can picture it now. The farmer’s wife had prepared a coconut cake either on Saturday afternoon or early Sunday morning. When we arrived after the morning service, she was cooking the meat, vegetables, and rolls. However, the only thing I focused on was the beautiful big white coconut cake set in the center of the table. That was all I cared about but had to wait until after eating the main meal.

Life is so hectic now that families nearly have to make appointments to eat meals together. Bringing back the Blue Law could have a positive effect on families today (not that I’m promoting the Blue Law).

The first time I visited California, I went with my friend to the mall one Sunday and felt so strange shopping that day. That was in the ’70s. Boy howdy, haven’t we come along way, Texas?

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Fall Festivals and Events in Houston

Houston events

Fall Events

It’s fall finally, and I’m happy that it has arrived! This is my favorite season. Summer seems to last way too long. Cool weather, colors changing, fall festivals, holidays around the corner – those things make me grateful for autumn.

Houston has several activities planned for October and November. Houstononthecheap.com lists 25+ events to choose from. The fall festival at Calloway’s tomorrow sounds like very much fun for the family with crafts and pumpkins. Pearland Arts & Crafts on the Pavilion is another fun event on this weekend’s agenda. If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow or Sunday, there are several options to choose from.

When you attend any of the fall festivals or children’s events in Houston, take pictures and blog about your experience. Houston Blog Network is accepting blog contributors. If you are interested in becoming a part of a network of bloggers who blog about Houston living, email Houston Blog Network at houstonblognetwork@gmail.com for more information.

 

 

Dress Up Like a Cow on July 14th for FREE Food at Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A FREE Food

Cow Dress Up

People looking for a free meal or to have some fun, tomorrow is dress-up-like-a-cow and get free food at Chick-fil-A. Fully dress up as a cow, and get a free meal. Dress up partially like one to get a free entree. Houstonians, go have some fun and free food for your family – eat chicken!

There are over 1900 locations in 42 states and Washington D.C., and the highest number of greater Houston locations mentioned on cfahouston.com is 68. Find the nearest one, and “moo” on over there for your free food.

While you’re at Chick-fil-A tomorrow, consider ordering the limited-time old-fashioned “yummy-licious”-looking peach milkshake. That is, unless you’re watching nutrition. However, if all you care about is how much protein is in it, then you’ll be happy to hear that it has 12 grams of protein.

You know what else looks good on the menu? Frosted Lemonade! It must be the summer heat making the milkshake and lemonade look so enticing. The good news is the Frosted Lemonade has low numbers overall on the nutrition scale (except the sugars, but they do have a diet one).

Got a community-related event? Chick-fil-A Houston is community friendly. You never know ’til you ask, so call them and ask how to plan your youth or local community event.

 

Weekend Texas Shopping and Historical Road Trip from Houston

Road Trip from Houston

Texas Road Trip

Are you new to Houston and thinking about taking a road trip for a weekend? Living in a state that is so large, bigger than some countries, is kind of like living in a state within a state. When traveling on a plane from Houston to LA, almost half of the journey is over Texas. Houston to El Paso is 741.4 miles, and El Paso to LA is 804.9 miles.

If you haven’t lived in Houston long and are interested in seeing more of Texas, mini vacations are wonderful. Plan a weekend road trip.  Read more

That Was So 6:45 – Still Dizzy from Plane Travel

A small desert airport with a restaurant famous for their breakfasts designed their waiting area with seats like in an airplane.

Food and Plane Trips

Airports and Food

Flying on Southwest recently, a flight attendant carrying a bag of honey roasted peanuts asked each person, “Lunch?”

Two things are important to me when I travel on a plane – food and taking something to read. I try to eat breakfast early before a plane trip. It’s the ideal meal because you may not get to eat until late in the evening. That is unless you consider Honey Roasted Peanuts and Ritz Snack Mix 100 Calorie Pack snacks lunch.

Another reason to eat breakfast early before flying is if you have connecting flights these days, you won’t have time to eat at one of the airport foodie places. You’ll barely get to the next gate in time to board. On a good weather day at least. If the airport is DFW when snow is on the ground, you’ll have plenty of time to hang out and enjoy several meals including breakfast. Read more about flights to DFW on snow days from the blogger at http://flightsfromhell.com (“THE CREW THAT WON’T FLY”).

I enjoy reading on flights. On a recent Southwest flight to Houston, however, my plans to read my new iBlog magazine changed. Conversation with a girl beside me kept me entertained throughout the flight. She was going to spend her holiday week with some of her family. The friendly, comical tween/teen girl said she likes soccer, music, and people but doesn’t like it when kids at school bully other kids. By the end of the flight, my young neighbor had me laughing ’til my eyes teared up with her sense of humor. She explained that when she gets mad at friends or kids at school, they will later bring it up. She tells them, “That was SO last week,” “SO yesterday” or “SO 6:45!” It’s a switch from hearing the normal “Get over it” or “I’m so over it” comments often heard. Every time I hear someone say, “I’m SO over it,” it’s usually because the person is NOT so over whatever the problem is. Next time I think I’ll reply to such a remark, “That was SO 6:45!”

Reading and sleeping were definitely not possible on that trip. The girl (middle seat) and I (aisle seat) had to get up once because the friendly gentleman by the window drank a couple of Bud Lights and asked us, apologizing, if we could let him up.

Adding to my flight experience on this trip was a look through the window as we neared Houston. Just one glimpse was all it took to make me suddenly feel dizzy. That was almost two weeks ago, and I’m still dizzy. Vertigo. Spinning. When – will – it- stop?

If my friendly young plane trip neighbor reads this, thank you for the interesting conversation. Good for you on deciding to change from speaking your mind every time someone makes you mad. Just think “That was SO 6:45” – and you’ll be over it.

 

 

Make a Pet Happy on Change a Pet’s Life Day

Pet Adoption

Adopt a Pet for Your Children

National Change a Pet’s Life Day is Saturday, January 24th. The purpose of this national pet day was to encourage people to adopt homeless pets. It’s hard to resist taking a pet home from an animal shelter.

Adopt a Pet

Visit Your Local Houston Pet Adoption Shelter

I remember the first pet my husband and I ever adopted. Her name was Jenny. She quietly looked up at us with sad huge eyes. We couldn’t resist – and didn’t. Jenny became a part of our family that day. She was the center of attention in our family.

One day I was in the kitchen when Jenny excitedly jumped up at the window. She ran toward the back door and back to the window. Obviously, she wanted me to see something. When I met her at the back door, I looked down to see a squirrel she had killed and brought to me. I praised her, and I’ll never forget how happy she was. She was a pit bull and hound mix and looked and acted more like the hound breed. Jenny added much joy to our family.

This evening two blogger friends and I talked to a lady whose lost dog had been found after four years! A white Bichon Frise, known for their friendliness to strangers, the pet’s chip had brought him back safely to his owner. Amazing after so long.

Pet adoption is not for everyone. If you prefer not to own a pet, there are other ways you can change a pet’s life. Visit an animal shelter and offer a donation of money or pet toys. The shelter will appreciate your donation. If you do decide to adopt when you visit the shelter, you’ll make a pet happy by giving it a home, love, and attention.

Adopt a Rabbit

A Rabbit as a Pet Adoption Option

Apple and Chickpea Dip Recipe

lean foods

Apple and Chickpeas Dip

Looking at my January lean food list this evening, I chose the following ingredients and came up with a recipe good for dipping crackers.

  • apples
  • chickpeas
  • lime

These additional ingredients not on the lean food list were also added:

  • cilantro (handful)
  • celery (2 stalks)
  • sour cream (3-4 heaping Tbsp.) – optional Greek yogurt
  • freshly made guacamole (I used about 2 Tbsp., but you can use avocado, tomatoes, and jalapeno instead)

Directions:

Chop apples, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, and squeeze a little lime juice in. Next chop the cilantro and celery. Add the sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and guacamole and stir. It’s a meal in itself. I included a few blueberries on the side.

I will be creating and trying more new recipes using some of the ingredients from my lean food list. Doing this reminds me of Improv games. Come up with words or phrases, the first ones that come to your mind. Then use those words and phrases in some sort of game. Creating the list of lean foods for the January Organizing in the Kitchen would fit the first step of the Improv game. Next would be creating a recipe using one or more ingredients from the food list. The interesting part of it would be the results – meeting the tasty test!

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