Monday Musings, Meals, and a Movie – Gran Torino

Well, it is Monday evening — the holiday weekend is ending — we start a short work week tomorrow…that is, except for those who work somewhere that is already closed or delayed because of the potential for some snow!   However much snow we get, it shouldn’t last too long – it is supposed to get into the 50s by Weds or Thurs!

Myra had pot roast on the special board today, so I had some for lunch — it was amazing!  In my attempt to do more cooking at home and less eating out, I haven’t been to Myra’s or Cafe 121 as much as I used to — I miss both!  But, I do need to stick to my plan — but “eat out less” doesn’t mean “stop eating out” – ha-ha-ha!!!

I went to Lowes Foods today to stock up on some things I’ve gotten low on.  You know how they say that you shouldn’t go to the grocery store hungry or depressed cause you buy too many impulse items and end up spending too much money?  Well, I need to find a happy medium somehow!  I go with the intent to get enough stuff to prepare meals all week and leave with little or nothing….take today, for instance:  I had a nice lunch at Myra’s, so I was definitely not hungry and I was in a really good mood (I just left Belk’s and bought myself a couple new outfits)!  So, I wandered up and down the aisles and nothing looked good or interested me — I ended up just getting the few things I knew I had to get and stuff to make a nice boiled dinner for supper tonight!  And I still have nothing to fix all week – that is, after the leftovers from tonight are gone!

Speaking of my dinner tonight — it was sooooooooo good!!!  My Mom used to make New England Boiled Dinners a lot — it used to be a cheap way to make a pot of food last us for at least a couple of days!  I was thinking about it the other day and decided to make it tonight.  I picked up a small chunk of ham, some red new potatoes, some carrots, an onion, and some spices.  Here’s what I did with it:

Cut the ham in medium – large portions
Clean and cut the new potatoes in half – leave the skins on
Peel and cut the carrots in chunks
Peel and cut the onion in 4-6 chunks
Place all in a large pot and cover with water
Add seasonings:  Pepper, Parsley, Garlic Powder, Celery Flakes, and 2 large Bay Leaves
Add a couple squirts of honey (best guess is about 3-4 tablespoons)
Bring to a rapid boil and reduce heat to medium
Let boil about an hour or hour and a half

Quantities of everything depend on how many people you’re serving and how many leftovers you want.  I made enough for 2-3 meals for myself.  And it was good!!!  The seasonings all permeated through the meat and veggies — it had the nicest flavor!!!


I also went to see “Gran Torino” today.  This is Clint Eastwood’s newest movie.  Clint plays Walt Kowalski – a recent widower, Korean War Veteran, and crotchety old man with blatant prejudices.  He is generally unhappy and angry about life and the mess his family (2 sons, their wives, and children) and neighborhood have become!  His sons are irritated that he shows his disapproval and disgust of the disrespectful way his grandchildren look and act at their grandmother’s funeral.  He is also angry about the change in his neighborhood demographics to predominantly Oriental with a strong presence of a Hmong Street Gang.  Through a series of events involving the Hmong Street Gang, he reluctantly gets to know the family that lives next door – a grandmother and widowed mother, neither of which speak English, a daughter named Sue, and a son named Tao.  Tao is at a cross roads to either join the gang or stay on the right path.  Walt takes him under his wing, teaches him things, and helps him get a job.  He also protects Tao and Sue from gang violence – until it escalates to a point where something drastic needs to happen!  In the process, he overcomes his prejudices and gets closer to Sue and Tao’s family than he is his own family!    It is a powerful story and sends a strong message about tolerance and acceptance of diversity.  The story is outstanding — where the film falls short is the acting — unfortunately, much of the actors (including Clint, himself) lack the emotion necessary to drive this story home!  The stand out was Sue, portrayed by Ahney Her — she is an amazing talent and carries the rest of the cast beautifully!  Until Sue came into full swing in the story, I was beginning to think it might be a mistake to spend time watching this movie.  The other incredible part was the ending — Walt manages to take the gang down, get retribution for the terror and violence they bring Sue and Tao’s family, and redeem himself for a past that has haunted him since his time in the war…..but does so at great personal sacrifice!  I rate this one a solid B — the story was amazing, but I thought the acting pulled it down for me…all in all, though, one I would recommend!

So – on to a new week – a new President – and the possibility of snow!  Have a good one!

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