Porch Sittin’

It’s another dreary day in East Tennessee. We haven’t been able to see the mountains in a couple days. Rain, rain, rain. But we are thankful it isn’t ICE! February isn’t usually too wintry for us but we’ve had snow twice and colder than normal temps. Soon spring will be here! I was going to take a run up to Maryland to see the grandkids Monday but they are expecting nasty weather all week and ice is in that forecast so I’m staying home. We just had all our birthdays and I didn’t get to go up for the kids birthdays. My granddaughter had her 17th January 14th. Hard to believe! She has her driving permit now. My youngest boyo’s birthday was January 21st and brother Donald’s was the 31st. Then February 2nd was my oldest boyo’s (the one who lives with us), the 3rd was img_7720my daughter-in-law’s and the 4th was mine. A short break and then grandson’s on the 11th. He is officially a teenager now, 13! I keep trying to get them to move to Tennessee, but no luck yet 😦 The kids sent me these socks for my birthday!…

IMG_7755Vera Lynn, the dog, smelled every inch of the socks and the card envelope. I said I bet she smelled my daughter-in-law on them from her handling them. Vera loves her! Speaking of Vera, she just came over and laid her head down on the chair. It gets mighty heavy to carry around I guess!

Donald had his gall bladder surgery and is doing really good. The surgeon came out after surgery to speak to me and was amazed… the gall bladder had actually perforated at some point and had spilled out crud, but instead of him getting deathly sick the body had encased it! Had his aftercare appointment last week and the pathology report showed the gall bladder was dead and actually gangrenous! More amazement from the doctor! I know its just our loving heavenly Father looking out for him! My Maryland boyo said “so, actually, Covid pretty much saved his life!” If he hadn’t gotten Covid and gone to the emergency room… it could have ended badly! By this time his gall bladder was very infected and he doesn’t complain so we wouldn’t have known anything was wrong. So we are thankful for the Covid here! While he was having the surgery I went down to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. Had 63354542216__4478960C-5894-4730-8E78-5CE3C1B3259Cto wait for it to open and a line formed behind me of doctors and hospital staff. When they opened the door I let them all go in front of me because I figured they were on a time schedule and had to get back to work and I had time to kill. One gal said to me I must have worked at a hospital before and I explained no just knew they were on a time schedule and I wasn’t. When I went to the register to check out with my lunch I was given this note and told my lunch was paid for! I’ve never had that happen before! 


Have you been cooking anything new or different lately? We tried this wonderful recipe with beef shanks last Sunday. It was a huge hit and will be something we have again! I pick up shanks whenever I see them on sale. They make such lovely sauce and Vera Lynn loves the bone! 

Braised Beef Shank Pasta

  • 4 Bone-In Beef Shanks
  • 4 tablespoons Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1 large Onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Sea Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 28 oz Crushed Tomatoes 1 can
  • 1 ½ cups Water
  • 16 oz  Pasta 1 package (shape of your choice, we used penne)
  • Parmesan to top the pasta
  • Red Chili Flakes optional
  • Chopped Parsley optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
  2. To a large and heavy oven safe/cast iron pot over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of ghee.
  3. When oil starts glistening and gets hot, add the beef shanks without crowding them.
  4. Brown on each side.
  5. Remove the beef shanks to a plate when browned. Work in batches, adding the rest of the ghee as needed.
  6. Turn heat to medium and add the chopped onion, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Mix for about two minutes with a wooden spatula.
  7. Mix in the crushed tomatoes and use your wooden spatula to help deglaze the bottom of the pot.
  8. Turn the heat off.
  9. Add the beef shanks back in with all its juices from the plate.
  10. Add the bones. Move the ingredients around in the pot to coat the beef shanks with the tomato sauce.
  11. Add the water. The water should almost completely cover the beef shanks.
  12. Add a heavy and secure lid to the pot, and place it in the oven for 3 ½ hours. After 1 ½ hours, take the pot out and quickly make sure there’s still water in the pot so that your beef shanks do not burn. Add more water if necessary and place the lid IMG_7741back on. Put the pot back in the oven for the remaining time. The beef shanks should be very tender.
  13. Cook pasta
  14. Remove the bones from the beef shank pot 
  15. Toss the pasta into the pot of beef shanks.
  16. Top with parmesan cheese, and maybe some chopped parsley and some red chili flakes. 

A couple of recipes I’m looking forward to trying soon…


Finished reading The Woman at Belguardo by Margaret Erskine a while back. It was excellent but of the three I read in a row it was my least favorite. Harriet Warry was the ‘heroine’ for a lack of a better word, the one we root for and love. She didn’t have a big enough role! But it was still an excellent mystery and I think I would love any book written by Erskine. I’ve dug into a George MacDonald book I bought while I was in Scotland in 2015. It’s an over a hundred year old book and such a joy to hold in my hands! Gorgeous color pictures throughout. 

We are going over to some friends tonight for pizza and old movie night! I’m really looking forward to it. We are planning on a double feature. Dan and I both are old movie buffs so we are going to start doing this on a regular basis. He has a collection and so do I. I’ll let you know later what we watched! He has a wonderful Alfred Hitchcock collection I borrowed. We’ve watched Rear Window and The Birds this last week. I remember how The Birds scard me to death as a kid and I freaked out everytime a group of birds gathered. It was fun watching it with my boyo who had never seen it! I read that it was loosely based on an old book The Birds by Frank Baker, first published in 1936. I read it in 2019. Hitchcock took the premise and used it loosely in the movie. Baker threatened to sue Hitchcock when the movie came out in 1963. If your a Hitchcock fan and like The Birds I’d recommend reading Baker’s book and then watch the movie again! It cracked me up in the movie that Tippi Hedren never forgot to grab her purse even when they were fleeing for their lives from the murderous birds! Do you like Hitchcock? What’s your favorite Hitchcock movie? I really liked North by Northwest and Rope

I’ll leave you with a couple winter scenes from last week here in East Tennessee…

The Birds!

2 thoughts on “Porch Sittin’

  1. Such good news about your brother! He really was lucky!

    East Tennessee? I have a good friend who recently moved to Knoxville & loves it (after the high taxes in California!) Are you anywhere near there?

    And you have a border collie! Lucky lucky! I would love to have one but I live in suburbia, which isn’t enough room for that breed. And I suppose at my age I won’t be moving to the country, although I would dearly love to.

    And as always, thanks for the book review.

    Happy Valentine’s Day,


    • I am about an hour east of Knoxville! We go there to a wonderful used book store MacKays and while there always grab some Shwarma chicken and baba-ghanoush at Yassin’s Falafel House! Plate lickin’ good!

      Vera is my son’s dog and she is a border/husky mix. We didn’t want any dogs after our last Labs died but then He came to live with us and we fell in love with Vera. Always wanted a border collie too but was so leery of their intensity and need to be busy but she is a great dog. So smart and well behaved. She can’t have free run outside 😩 we don’t live out with lots of room but she does good. The rabbits and squirrels keep her occupied.

      Happy Valentine’s to you too, Kate! ♥️


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