Lots of basil!

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Cold in the AM – Low  37, warming to 68 by late PM

CLASS:  Chair yoga.  No swimming, as it is too cold
STEPS:  11,067

It was quite cold today walking.  I even saw some frost on the grass.  There was no wind, so the hike was very enjoyable.  I much prefer walking (fast) in cool weather, not hot.

While I was walking, I saw a beautiful dog sitting alongside the road.  I was a bit afraid as I didn’t have my walking stick with me today.  But, he just sat there staring straight ahead, as if he were waiting for his master.  He was like a soldier posed ramrod straight, at attention.  (More to this story tomorrow)

My basil plant is doing quite well.  It is still small, though, so I don’t want to start plucking any leaves yet.

Our friends Irene and Rob have several large basil plants/bushes so we went over to their yard and snipped quite a few leaves for dinner recipes tonight.

The highlight of the day was the start-up of a fruit and vegetable stand that will come to our clubhouse parking lot weekly.  We, along with a lot of Retama Village residents, bought a lot of good fruit and veg.  We bought RGV (Rio Grande Valley) grapefruit, lemons, and limes.  We also bought some green onions, squash, and garlic so I won’t have to go to the supermarket for a while.  Nice!

DINNER:  We try to eat a meatless dish at least once a week.  Tonight’s inspiration came from my “guy” Jacques Pepin again:


1 (28-ounce) can Italian style tomatoes whole
3 garlic cloves
1.5 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I used oregano and basil)
2 T olive oil
1 # ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
4 T chopped fresh chives (I used green onions instead)
6 wonton skins, each 6 inches square
1 cup grated mozzarella
2 T grated Parmesan

Heat the oven to 375.  Put the tomatoes, with their liquid, garlic, 3/4 tsp of the salt, half of the pepper, the olive oil and the Italian seasoning in a food processor and process until smooth.

Mix the ricotta, eggs, remaining salt and pepper, and 2 T of the chives in a bowl.

Put 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce into a rectangular baking dish.  Place a wonton skin on top of the sauce in the dish and spoon about 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture into the middle of the skin.  Bring 2 opposite sides together to enclose it creating a roll.  Repeat with the 5 remaining wontons, arranging the filled cannelloni in the baking dish seam sides down, so that they are lined up in a row.

Pour the remaining sauce over the cannelloni.  Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet, sprinkle on the mozzarella and Parmesan, and bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle the cannelloni with the remaining chives and serve immediately.

It was very good.  George loved it.


For a salad, I googled “ricotta” to find a recipe to use up some extra.  It was quite good too……The dressing is a combo of olive oil, minced basil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.  Mix ricotta and minced basil in a separate bowl.  Cut up a tomato or two and add some torn basil leaves to the plate.  Drizzle the dressing over the tomato/basil salad.  Finish with dollops of the ricotta/basil mix.  It turned out really well, too, and I ended up with some extra dressing that I can use another day.

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