Friday, December 30, 2016

It's All Gravy

December 2016 - Orlando FL

When I was trying to think of a title for this post related to Christmas and food and I came across "it's all gravy".
What’s the point of mashed potatoes, turkey, or poutine without a rich dolloping of gravy. This phrase originated from an Old English saying. Life, it explained, is meat and potatoes, and the luxuries are gravy. So essentially when you say "it’s all gravy," you’re saying "it" is all the awesome, saucy goodness in the world.

Saturday we went out to lunch at Joe's Crab Shack, my favourite chain restaurant.

Garlic mussels to start with!

Then we stopped to get some mural photos, will be posted soon.

And to get some grapefruit.

My Florida snowman! BTW at $1 each these were not a bargain since we had to throw two of them out.

Then we watched movies on HBO, it was nice to see Cast Away again as neither of us remembered much about it other than WILSON!

Dinner was Chinese. When we were little our family would always go out for Chinese on Christmas Eve. Why? Because it was the only places open. We went to C'est La Vie in Montreal.

Gluten free from Whole Foods, the General Tao was awful but the dumplings were great!

I made our own dipping sauce.

Christmas Day started with a toast and pancakes.

I don't think I have ever made pancakes from a mix before! I did add fresh blueberries.

 It was a quiet day with a great turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Boxing Day saw John golfing and then it rained on and off in the afternoon.

Tuesday we headed out the Holocaust Museum.

Then John had an appointment for an oil change so I had brought my book along.

Wednesday Leu Gardens and Museum were on the agenda. As usual, traffic was heavy on I-4.

Click here for more photos.

"Welcome to beautiful Leu Gardens! Explore an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to further our mission: inspire visitors to appreciate and understand plants. The Leu House Museum located in the heart of the gardens reveals turn-of-the century living for the families who once called this home. The gardens and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane."

This is the museum and garden entrance, not the Leu home.

The camellias are the most important collection of plants at Leu Gardens. The foundation of this collection are the cultivars of Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua originally planted by Mr. Leu and his workers. Today, over 2,000 plants and 230+ cultivars are displayed throughout the gardens, including displays of Camellia sinensis, which is the Tea Camellia, and other Camellia species. This collection ranks among the largest in the United States and is one of the largest documented collections in the southeast.

Just a sneak peak of the 11 room house decorated for Christmas.

By now we are hungry and head into downtown Orlando looking for somewhere to eat. We park at Church St. and go into Mary's Hamburger's before wandering around.

John had a chicken salad and I had sliders.

It then took us over 2 TWO DOS II hours to get back to the condo, traffic was just crazy everywhere!

Thursday John golfed at Mystic Dunes Spa and Resort and was not impressed with the course.

Spotted some wildlife as we read outside.

Then we ran out to pick up some stuff for the weekend, not wanting to do this on Saturday with the hordes. Grapefruits was only 69 cents each.

Will need a run to Whole Foods on Saturday for a roast and NYE stuff and some of their GF bread that John likes.

Friday - boy, we had a cold front move in overnight! It was only 48F when we got up!
We did some packing, had lunch and then headed out to the Morse Museum which houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including the artist and designer’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows; his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall.

As for the chapel, check back on Sunday!

The traffic, as usual is nuts.

Just a tease of the magnificent Tiffany pieces we saw.

 Drive home... 33 km or 20 miles and it takes an hour!

John then arranged the trunk of the car with winter stuff we wouldn't (shouldn't) need until we are heading back home.
Packed up some of the food stuff.

We headed over to Old Town around 6PM to check out the lights and cars.



We Are Unprepared was a good if uninspired read. It does make you wonder how much we really need. It's a global warming apocalypse.

Ash and Pia's move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia's marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with "preppers" who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools.

A guilty pleasure for the holidays, a Maggie O'Farrell read Instructions for a Heatwave.

A portrait of an Irish family in crisis in the legendary heatwave of 1976. It's July 1976. In London, it hasn't rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta's children — two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce — back home, each with different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share.

The Age of Miracles another global warming conspiracy. What an odd book, I'm reading along and suddenly she goes from 12 years old to 23 years old and the book ends.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life--the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.


Michelle LeBeau, the child of a white American father and a Japanese mother, lives with her grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin--a small town that had been entirely white before her arrival. Rejected and bullied, Michelle spends her time reading, avoiding fights, and roaming the countryside with her dog Brett. She idolizes her grandfather, Charlie LeBeau, an expert hunter and former minor league baseball player who is one of the town's most respected men. Charlie strongly disapproves of his son's marriage to Michelle's mother but dotes on his only grandchild.

This fragile peace is threatened when the expansion of the local clinic leads to the arrival of the Garretts, a young black couple from Chicago. The Garretts' presence deeply upsets most of the residents of Deerhorn--when Mr. Garrett makes a controversial accusation against one of the town leaders, who is also Charlie LeBeau's best friend.


One of the challenges of cooking in a timeshare, besides not having a stocked pantry, is managing the quantity of food bought. We were in this condo for three weeks and then are moving on Saturday to another for one week. Trying not to waste food is difficult when there are only two of you and you don't have the luxury of freezing for the long term.
As well. on the day you move you typically have the food sitting in the car for at least three hours. We have coolers and use water bottles as ice packs to help. Luckily the weather has cooled for a couple of days so we should be fine.

Saturday Christmas Eve Chinese
Sunday Christmas Day turkey, gravy, roast potatoes cheesy cauliflower brussel sprouts
Monday turkey leftovers
Tuesday hot turkey sandwiches with brussel sprouts
Wednesday cheese, pate and crackers
Thursday frozen pea soup
Friday pizza for John and Australian meat pie for me - in freezer


Friday Photo Journal

Weekend Cooking hosted by
Beth hosts Weekend Cooking where you can post anything food related.
Amanda’s Books and More
West Metro Mommy Reads
 Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy

Weekend Snapshots


  1. Lots of great sights, the big orange is too cool.

  2. I loved that big orange, too....and I have fond memories of eating Chinese food on Christmas and/or New Year's.

    Enjoy your New Year, and thanks for sharing. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. The holocaust museum is particularly poignant.

  4. December is a great time to visit Orlando, at least as far as the weather is concerned! Too bad about all the traffic congestion. Seems like a lot of other people had the same destination in mind as you did. I've heard of Leu Gardens but never visited them when we lived in South Florida. If you're ever in the Miami area, you'll enjoy Fairchild Tropical Gardens too.
    Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog today. I'm looking forward to more of your photos in 2017.

  5. December in Florida sounds wonderful to me! We were hoping to go this past October, but it didn't work out. Oh well, maybe next year!

  6. You are so right about cooking in a temporary rental, even when it's well-equipped. I have my own basic list of things that one can buy in small quantities to obtain good flavor -- like lemons, which give a boost to almost any meat, fish, fruit, or veggies. Sometimes I put a couple of baggies with spices in my suitcases, too. Then there's always the rotisserie chicken at almost any supermarket (or cheap at Costco).

    Have fun during the rest of your trip!

    best... mae at

  7. You guys know how to live! When Doug and I have traveled, that was long ago, we would cook a little I. Our cottage or rental but not much. I love the seafood shack you went to, looks like fun. Too bad we were 5 hours away from you as you were in Florida.
    I like Maghie O'Farrell too and have read the Heatwave book. There was another one with Esme in the title that I liked too.

    Happy new year!

  8. So much great in this post! Happy New Year!

    Bummer on the grapefruit, but glad you found a GF mix (though I'm with you on pancake mixes). Looks like you had lovely weather for your adventure. I love that Tiffany daffodil piece -- just gorgeous.

    Books: I loved both Instructions for a Heat Wave and Wingshooters. I still haven't read We Are Unprepared, but it's on my list.

  9. I miss my camellias from my old place. Thanks for reminding me of them. Happy New Year from Carole of Carole's Chatter


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