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My son and his fiancee came home this weekend — for the first time since mid-February. They were due to visit a few weeks after in March, but the state was placed in quarantine. It's been a long four months ...

David has been going to work every day and was afraid that while he hasn't been sick or showed any symptoms — his temperature is checked daily on his way into work — he could be a carrier and pass it to me. A risk, he claimed was due to my "advanced age." (Thanks, kid!) His fiancee, Casey, has been working from home like I have. David calls me almost every day, but it's not the same as being in the same room, talking face-to-face. I hugged them when they first arrived and didn't want to let them go!

David and Casey, like many engaged couples, have had their wedding plans turned upside down. Once an upscale ceremony and reception at a beautiful country club, their wedding will now be a small intimate affair with only immediate family. The wedding rehearsal dinner, once slated to be a sit-down dinner at a nice restaurant, could very well be pizza and beer in their backyard. And Casey's bridal shower, postponed twice, ended up with only her parents and siblings actually attending — I was Zoomed in.

Seeing them again was right up there with the return of the prodigal son. I was willing to kill "the fattened cattle" but they settled for tacos one night and kielbasa on the grill the next night. Food hasn't tasted so good in four months — it was having them across the table that made it so good.

While they were here, David did a few much-needed chores around the house and surprised me by clearing out a corner of the backyard that had become overgrown. He also unboxed a memory foam mattress I had ordered before Christmas ... It's a long story on that, but well worth the wait! So comfy! He also fixed a cabinet door that had fallen off.


The latest recipe to be added to my hit parade is a very simple one I got from my friend, Nancy, who got it from a Jamie Oliver show. Really quite simple: Take chicken breast tenders or a boneless chicken breast, cut into strips, and sprinkle liberally with Chinese Five-Spice powder. Place on the grill and grill until almost done. Brush with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, flip strips and brush the tops, flipping after a couple of minutes. Remove from grill and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Best served over thin rice noodles with grilled vegetables.

And as long as you have the sesame seeds out, try this Bok Choy Salad. The recipe comes from a coworker at the North Adams Transcript, who brought the recipe from her home in Minnesota.


Put in large bowl:

1 bok choy, chopped

1 bunch green onions

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Brown in 1/2 cup butter:

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 Ramen noodles, uncooked (toss the seasoning packet)

Cool to room temperature and add to bok choy mix.


1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Toss just before serving. Good leftover; doesn't get too soggy.