Sunday, January 30, 2011

Armchair Cover

 I seem to be in a sewing rut lately. This project is an armchair cover to hold my TV guide, pen and a few papers and pamphlets I like to look at or use daily. I have one for each arm so things are at my fingertips. My Mom used to make them for me. But it recently dawned on me. If I wanted a new one, I'd have to make it.
So I checked my quilted material and found a piece that would work. After all, you do want it to match your color scheme, right? Any way, I have it cut out and will find some time soon to sew it together.
I have also been working on a project for a fundraiser. I will share that with you tomorrow.
Till next time......

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cup and Glass Cozies

You know how "icky" the foam cups get when you are drinking a beverage from them? Here is a solution to that. A crocheted or knitted cup/mug cozy will eliminate the stickiness and also protect you from the heat of the beverage. These are so simple to make and take only a few minutes of your time. They are small enough to keep in the glove compartment of your car or in your purse for when you stop for that quick cup of coffee.



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This one is just a little different and is done in single crochet. It will catch any moisture from the glass "sweating".  This one was just a bit big for this glass, as it should fit down to the bottom of the glass touching the coaster. They are pretty and would designate who's glass is who's if they are made in different colors. This is a good winter project.
Till next time.........

Friday, January 28, 2011

Success....At Least I thought so. (Not so!)!

Sorry, I had to edit this post. I thought I had the right combination of ingredients on this salad dressing. It turns out, I didn't. Several months ago, I was given a sample of a salad dressing with an Asian flair to it. So I sat for several minutes trying to figure out all the ingredients. Once that was done, I had to figure out the proper amounts to get the taste I was looking for. I did come up with a great sweet/sour dressing, but not the flavor I was looking for. I will keep trying.
Till next time........

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Harry's Law on NBC Television

Have you seen the new legal comedy/drama on Television yet?  You have to watch it. Kathy Bates is hysterical. She plays a defense attorney in a poor neighbor hood. Her former job was that of a patent attorney and she claims to have little courtroom experience. Her court room antics are so fun to watch. She does things she knows she shouldn't do in a court, but somehow manages to get the information "on record". She has a young corporate attorney who pretty much hired himself to her office and she has a secretary that also sells shoes from the office. Sound crazy? Yes, definitely unorthodox but very funny. It's on NBC, Monday nights at 9:00pm  in my area.  Once you watch it,  you will be hooked on it. This is Kathy Bates at her best .The story lines are great and it is like no other courtroom show on television.  The supporting cast is also believable and funny. Check your local listing for time. You won't be disappointed!
Till next time......

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snow, Snow and more Snow......

And the snow arrived, a bit earlier than scheduled, but it did arrive in full force. This photo was taken in the evening when the storm was going strong.
 The snow ended last night about 10:30pm and the snow plows were out early getting the parking lot and roads cleared. The news people are saying it is 6° outside with a wind chill of -20° to -25° . That will definitely put a chill in your bones.
This is the morning after the storm and the skies are slowly clearing. It is bitter cold and pretty apt to stay that way for a while.
Till next time.......

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lifestyle Change

Hey, Everybody! After reading more about the resistant starch on the Carb Lovers Diet; I decided to give it a try. What I am finding out is; it is not really a diet. It merely tells you what foods are good for you. Then you eat in moderation and exercise. That makes perfect sense to me! I didn't have to go out and buy new expensive foods. I was able to adjust my meals with what I have on hand. That was a very pleasant surprise. Since I eat a lot of fish and chicken, it was mainly eating the right breads and veggies. Yes, I can have bread, how wonderful is that! This photo is a sample of my supper, which was way more than I normally eat. I was stuffed, hence, no snacking later on. I actually believe I can do this, not so much to lose weight as to eat healthier. If I lose a few pounds that would be a nice bonus. The trick is, once you find out what foods are good for you, then you keep the caloric count at 1,100 calories per day for the first week and then bump it up to 1,600 calories per day. That's where the weight loss comes into play. I don't do well with any kind of diet so this is a "lifestyle" change and perhaps I can deal with that. Chicken and three veggies are on the agenda for tonight.
Till next time.......

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chapati

Chapati is the everyday bread of India. It is eaten with the accompaniments of the meal such as vegetable curries. It is also similar to the Mexican tortilla. The tortilla has a leaving agent that the Chapati does not have. It can be eaten filled or dipped into the curries or other accompaniment.
  

Chapati
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup hot water or as needed
In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the olive oil and enough water to make a soft dough that is elastic but not sticky. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth. Divide into 10 parts, or less if you want bigger breads. Roll each piece into a ball. Let rest for a few minutes. Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat until hot, and grease lightly. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough until very thin like a tortilla. when the pan starts smoking, put the chapati on it. Cook until the underside has brown spots, about 30 seconds, then flip and cook on the other side. Continue in this manner with the rest of the dough.
Till next time......

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Carb Lover's Diet by Ellen Kunes and Frances Largeman-Roth

Yes, this is yet another diet book! But listen....you can eat CARBS and who doesn't want to do that, right? This isn't a miracle book, it does teach you what carbs are good for you and moderation in portions along with exercise. Whoops, there's that nasty "E" word, exercise. Let's face  it folks, you can't lose weight if you don't exercise. That's a fact. One lady posted her progress on the Internet and lost 40lbs in 24 weeks. Here is the link to her website. www.thejenwestquest.com
Some carbs have what is known as "resistant starch". This is a good starch that resists digestion into the small intestine. It also keeps you full longer and boosts your metabolism. On this diet you can eat a sandwich on rye, pumpernickel or sourdough bread, 1oz of potato or tortilla chips for that yummy crunch we all like. You can have a small baked potato with light sour cream and also eat pasta. For a snack you can enjoy 5 Hershey dark chocolate kisses or a dark chocolate Reese's peanut butter cup. Your goal is to get somewhere between 10-15 grams of resistant starch for the day. You do that and you will boost your metabolism by almost 25%. A banana has 12 grams of resistant starch, so it is a great thing for breakfast to kick start your metabolism. This diet is not about deprivation but is about eating the right carbs and moderation in portions. It starts off with 1,100 calories per day the first week and then advances to 1,600 calories per day. The plan is for 12 weeks. I look forward to finishing this book and learning more about the good carbs.Who knew there were GOOD carbs?
Till next time.......

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rose Beads

My Gram had a necklace of rose beads and they always smelled so good. So I got curious as to how they were made and the origin of them. Beads made of rose petals, that have been cooked, mashed and molded by hand, trace their origin to India. The devout used them as a counting device while reciting their prayers. Thousands of carefully harvested rose petals simmer on stove tops for long hours until they become a mushy black goop. At this stage, it's difficult to recognize their origins or envision their final form. But the scent is a clue. These petals are on their way to becoming fragrant and enticing rose beads.
Eastern Christian monks adopted the use of rose beads in the third century and the beads were given official approval in 1520 by Pope Leo X. The term rosary was coined in the fifteenth century. Rosarium is the Latin word for "rose garden". The word bead is derived from the Middle English bede meaning "prayer". Many old rosaries were made from rose beads; while the scent gradually faded away to a memory, the beads themselves have survived for centuries.
Why am I telling you all of this.....because an inquiring mind wanted to know.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If You Really Loved Me by Ann Rule

This is the story of a truly controlling and manipulating man who had the power over his fourteen year old daughter and his seventeen year old sister-in-law. He was having an affair with the sister-in-law. Both of the girls were vulnerable due to the circumstances of their earlier lives. They were used by him to murder his wife. He convinced the girls it was up to them to do it and that it was best in order for him to stay with the family. If his daughter "really loved him, she would do it." You know right from the start who killed his wife and that he was having the affair. So the only thing left is; will he get by  with it and what lengths will he go to, to stay out of prison. It was just an okay book for me. At best, a 5 on my book scale of 1-10. This wasn't my kind of book and I probably won't read any more books by this author. I like more of a mystery surrounding the story. This book had little mystery right from the start. From what the book jacket said, this was a true story. Maybe that was why there was not a lot of mystery, the author already knew the outcome. 
Till next time........

Monday, January 17, 2011

Savory Crepes........

Crepes for dessert are divine to say the very least. There are all sorts of them, bananas foster, strawberry, cheesecake, etc. But have you thought about having them for supper? A nice savory BBQ chicken crepe with asparagus and roasted red peppers is so good. Crepes can be filled with almost as many things as a tortilla if you think about it. You can top them with sour cream, cheese sauce or a nice herb sauce. The possibilities are endless. Make a ham and cheese one for breakfast with a little  sweet potato hash. Crepes are NOT just for dessert as many people might assume. But I have to admit, my favorite is a strawberry cheese filling with a warm strawberry sauce. Yummmm!
Till next time.......

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Beating the Doldrums........

I am still finding ways to beat the winter doldrums. Sewing is always a good way to take my mind off of whatever the weather is doing. So out came the materials, the quilting foot, rulers and the cutting board. I never quite know what it will be till I get started. So who knows. But I can escape the bitter cold and clouds for a short time at least with my sewing machine. Yes, the fireplace is burning, I wouldn't have it any other way. If time permits today, I will make a savory chicken and roasted red pepper crepe for supper.  That's another way I escape from winter's frigid temperatures. What do you do to escape the winter weather and take your mind off of the cold?
Till next time........

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Playtime......

Yes, I have playtime, just like the children. Playtime is just having fun, so I don't think we ever get too old to have playtime. Yesterday I finished a project I had been working on. The photo is just a section of it. The chili pepper was part of the project. I made it out of Sculpey clay, which entails molding it into the desired shape, then baking it for 15 minutes and finally painting it. It is a fun medium to work with and you can make many things from it, like beads, medallions, buttons, figurines and decorative ornaments. It is the perfect thing for days when you are shut in because of the weather. Today I will be cutting and sewing. I have another project I want to start. According to the weather man, we are in for more cold, sleet and snow for the next few days. So I have had to get creative on things to do. I have read four books and that's enough for a while. I am like the children.....I love playtime!
Till next time.......

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Doldrums.....

 When the snow flies, the roads are icy, the wind is howling and  the wind chill is -20, what is a person to do? Well, first off, I turn on the fireplace and find several books to read; as you can see by my book reviews. Then I progress to sewing and "playing" with art stuff. Finally, when I run out of everything else to do, I end up in the kitchen baking or cooking.
This is a lemon pound cake with blueberry sauce. Since I halfway try to watch my weight, I froze half of the cake for another time. Perhaps tomorrow I will show you what I was "playing" around with yesterday.
Till next time...........

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bleachers by John Grisham

Bleachers is the story of a popular football team in the town of Messina. Some of the football players are drawn back to their hometown after fifteen years because their coach is dying. They've all had different interactions with the coach; some good ,some bad. They are all there to pay their respects to a man who had a great impact on their lives. But before the coach passes, they reminisce about a championship game in the bleachers. Each of them sharing stories about the game and the coach. Sharing what he has done for each of them. When the story ends, the quarterback finally makes peace with the coach and gives a eulogy for him. At that point the quarterback is able to move on with his life. It is not a legal thriller like most of his books. It was just okay for me.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter's Beauty.......

There is beauty in every season of the year. The snow has fallen and the birds are looking for seeds and other things to eat. It was too cold to fill my feeder. (temperature +3°F and wind chill -20°F) So the birds got seeds on the patio floor and lucky to get that. The juncos and cardinals came in groups to eat the smorgasbord of seeds. At one time, I had 8 cardinals.  So I set up my camera in the living room, looking out my glass doors and decided to try and take photos of them. The cardinals are a bit bashful and fly away at the slightest movement. So I had to be still and patient. This photo says it all. My patience paid off and I got several nice photos. I really enjoy watching the birds!
Till next time........ 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowfall

 It's been snowing for two days now and I have about 13 inches of snow in my yard. That's not counting the snow drifts. School has been canceled for two days now while the plows get the roads cleared. These are a couple of photos I took from my doorway this morning. Some of the  snow has started to slide off the roof as you can see and icicles have formed.
Needless to say, I will be staying inside today. Before the children play in the snow, it is so pristine and pretty to look at. Once the footprints are all over it, it looses that look. It is in the single digits this morning with wind chill below zero. So it is definitely cold! The children are having fun making "snow angels". Something children and adults have done for generations. I still remember my Mom  making snow angels with me.
Till next time.........

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Husband by Dean Koontz

A Husband by Dean Koontz is a book that grabs your attention right off with a kidnapping and a murder. It is the story of a young gardener making a mid five figure income, who gets a call saying his wife has been kidnapped. and they want two million dollars Then to show him they are serious, a sniper murders a man right in front of him. Where can he get two million dollars? They intimidate him by letting him know they are watching his every move and can hear his phone calls. He doesn't know who to trust. The kidnappers toy with him for a while setting the stage to incriminate him in the murder of his wife if he doesn't follow their instructions. The author spins this web full of mystery, murder, intrigue and other criminal elements. It is definitely a ten on my book review scale. Is the young man able to rescue his wife or does she get murdered despite his best efforts?
Till next time........

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Confession by John Grisham

It's time for another book review. Keep in mind, this is only my opinion. I finished reading "The Confession" by John Grisham. I normally love his books. But this book was just okay for me. It is about a serial rapist/murderer who confesses to a minister early in the book that an innocent man is about to die for something he did. Then the story very slowly takes you on this road trip of the two of them in an effort to stop the execution. This takes the first half of the book. At this point, I am getting bored with the story line as it drags for me. Then they arrive in Texas and proceed to try and convince the local authorities that he is telling the truth. They only have a few hours at this point to get them convinced. Do they save the young man from execution? Is the real rapist/murdered arrested and executed? For that you will have to read the book. On a scale of 1-10, I would give this book a 7. Sorry, but I had a hard time staying interested in this book and struggled to finish it. 
Till next time......

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Soup


It's been very cold here and some days pretty windy. This morning I decided to dig out a meaty beef shin bone and make some beef barley soup. Here is the fruit of my labor and also my supper for this evening. I can't wait to dig in and enjoy all the flavors of this summer's bounty. The fresh onion, tomatoes, carrots, celery, peas and of course the beef and barley smelled so good cooking all afternoon in my slow cooker. Now it is ready to eat. So will stop for now and enjoy all that goodness.
Till next time........

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Deer in the Park

It was a brisk and cold day at the park. I was lucky enough to get a photo of one deer crossing the road. There were 4 of them, but I only got a photo of the one. No matter when I go to the park, there is something new to appreciate. Seeing any wild animal there, is always a bonus for me. To see four deer was amazing, thanks to a park official who alerted me.
The lake was frozen over but the beauty of nature is always there. The thought of taking a running start and sliding across the lake always occurs to me when I see it frozen like this. That's something I would have done as a child. Now I have a few more brain cells and realize that would be very dangerous.
Till next time........ 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Explorations in 2011.......

 Here it is....another year to look forward to. My New Year's word for 2011 is "Exploration". I choose a word instead of a resolution as it seems to work out better for me. A resolution, I generally break before the first week of the new year is up. By choosing a "word", I work on it all year and I can't fail. It seems silly to set yourself up for failure. Last year, I chose "Learn" and I learned so many things. This year I hope to explore many places, foods, books and anything else that might be out of my realm of normalcy. I always said, I would never eat squid/calamari. To me, it is just glorified fish bait. Yuk! But if I am to explore, I cannot put limits on what I will do, see or eat.
So, as you can plainly see in the first photo, squid is an ugly thing sitting in that cooler. It is plainly fish bait. In the second photo, it has been glorified and is now called Calamari in restaurants. It is hard for me to get past the first photo as I used to clean squid for fish bait. But this year, as I explore different things, I might have to eat my words and at least taste Calamari. The thought of it is not something I want to dwell on. Yuk! Here is looking forward to more pleasant explorations.
Till next time........

Monday, January 3, 2011

Leftovers from 2010....

I am having some really strange meals since New Year's Eve. I suppose all of you are, too. After all, those leftovers from the parties have to be eaten up. I cooked pork and sauerkraut  on  New Year's Day, for good luck in the New Year. But then in the evening I was eating crackers, spreads and fruit cup for dessert. I also have some shrimp dip and Asti left over.
I guess that is the menu for this evening. I have eggnog leftover so it will be turned into ice cream before long. Boy, aren't you glad the holiday season is over.Now we can get back to normal meals and our regular schedule. Personally, I will be very happy when all the leftovers are gone as well! They are not my typical menu.
Till next time.......