Monday, February 28, 2011

On Sale........Clearance!.

Today has been a great day! I had lunch with good friends and then stopped at a local store to see if they had a pair of slacks I was looking for. The store was having a clearance sale! Wow, I just kept seeing bargains all over the place, I was like a kid in a candy shoppe. I came home after a frenzied shopping spree; with the slacks I wanted, two vests and two blouses. All for less, than the original price of slacks. Yowser!  Now that's what I call bargain shopping.  Now I'm ready for a cup of coffee and to put my feet up. Whew!
Till next time........

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Comfort Food......

It's just plain cold here today. It started snowing yesterday afternoon and light snow continued through the night. The wind has picked up so it is just plain COLD. We only got about 1 1/2 -  2 inches of snow at the most. So I am thinking comfort food for sure. I took out some chicken breast halves and Chicken Pot Pie comes to mind. Thank goodness, I don't have to go outside and kill a chicken to enjoy such a savory comforting dish. That would definitely spoil it for me. I may even make a dessert if I don't get busy doing something else. That happens to me more often than not. Maybe I have an attention deficit. I do tend to flit from one thing to another with the greatest of ease
Till next time........

Friday, February 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Bites

This was a recipe on "Down Home With The Neeley's" food network show recently. It is yummy good so had to share it with all you fine folks. They said to dip half the ball in  chocolate and drizzle chocolate over the top with a fork. Now, come on folks., we are talking chocolate here. Who wants half chocolate on anything? So I dipped the whole thing in chocolate. Forget drizzling the top, unless you want to drizzle it with white chocolate.

Frozen Peanut Butter Bites
1 (18ounce) jar creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups csonfectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and confectioners' sugar together until smooth and stiff. Beat in the vanila extract. Shape the peanut butter mixture into 20 (1 inch) balls and place on wax paper or parchment paper lined sheet tray. Place the tray in the freezer for one hour. Add the chopped chocolate to a small bowl and set over gently simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir to melt. Remove chocolate from heat. With 2 forks or skewers carefully dip the chilled peanut butter balls into the chocolate. Let excess drip off, and lay onto the paper lined sheet tray. Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let the chocolate set. Have a chocolate peanutty day!
Till next time.......

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Progression

 The Coptic binding book I started a few days ago is progressing nicely. I have the fabric painted for the front cover and the background material cut for both front and back covers. So it won't be long I will be measuring the areas to be sewn.  It is moving along fairly quickly.



This is a close up of the front cover piece. When I got done painting it, I decided it looked like the "Night Sky" so that is the name of my book. I was really pleased with the way it turned out. This will get sewn onto the front cover after I put the background material on it.
Till next time........

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Re-Decorating.......

 Spring is just around the corner and I am getting the urge to spruce things up a bit. Get rid of the old (well pack it away) and bring in the new. These are two contemporary art pieces that really took my eye. The colors are perfect. They are different shades of blue and chocolate brown. Perhaps I will do a couple of small paintings to keep them company.
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 The wall I want to put them on is in the hallway and will be the first thing you see as you enter my home. So you will get the feeling right away that I enjoy a contemporary look to my surroundings. I cannot wait to get started on the re-decorating. First this wall and then the patio. 
I have a new planter idea for my patio. So everything will get a new look. Last year, I re-did my kitchen in a vibrant red, black and white. So pretty. The year before that ,was my bathroom. So bit by bit, I am re-decorating what I can.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Book

 I'm starting a new book with a sewn binding. The first step is making the cover. So as you can see, I am only on the first step. I have started painting part of it, but I am not done with the painting. It reminds me of  a night sky over the ocean. This piece will be the focal point of the cover. Not sure what the background will be. I seem to design it as I go along. It is more fun that way.

One thing about painting, if you don't like it, just repaint it. I am using a Luminere paint, so it has a bit of a sheen to it. It is also water soluble, so clean up is easy. Something I always look for with paint. I want to use soap and water to clean up. I have the signatures folded and ready to sew once the cover is finished.
Till next time........

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps are so fun to make. They are decorative to put next to a salad or to just snack on. Basically, it is fried cheese.
Parmesan Crisps
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. A silicone baking sheet is highly recommended. Repeat with the remaining cheese, spacing the spoonfuls.about a 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 3-5 minute or until golden and crisp. Keep an eye on them as they do burn easily. Cool.
Till next time........

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Textures

 I am intrigued by different textures. Here are just a few that I like. Each one is different and interesting in it's own way and represents it's own unique look. This first one is very coarse, rough and fairly thick; almost like a rope.
 This shows the different striations in rock. No two rocks are the same. This specimen is very smooth in some areas. Other areas are like an emery board or a wash board. Rock has many textures all in one piece, which makes it interesting to see.
Where do I begin. The dirt, rock, wood. and debris....it all creates this rough texture.
Till next time..........

Friday, February 18, 2011

Elk Ridge Village

I had the opportunity to have a delicious lunch with some friends today and take a tour of the beautiful Elk Ridge Village in Elkhorn, NE. The Exec. Chef came out after lunch and talked to us about the food and the different ethnic dinners they have once a month. He said, "To think of it like a docked ship, stopping at different countries." They have had Italy, Greece, China, and German dinners and will be stopping at the Philippines this month. It is truly luxury living  at it's finest and a lovely place to live your retirement years. It is complete with a beauty shop, exercise room, sitting room w/fireplace, billiard room, theater, computer/library room,  convenience shop area for household staples and a very large dining room looking out on a lake and has underground parking. They have one and two bedroom apartments. It is decorated in Contemporary styling with lovely works of art on the walls and modern sculptures sitting around. You most definitely feel you are in the 21st century when you walk into the building. Needless to say, it is a non-smoking  and a secured building. The staff today was very friendly and cooperative.
Till next time.........

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Pink Sunrise

I get up very early each morning. In fact, it is still dark when my eyes open and I manage to get out of bed. This was the sight that greeted me this morning; a lovely deep pink sunrise. It was only there for a few minutes. About fifteen minutes later it was gone, the sky was blue and the sun was bright. Many mornings when I arise, Mother Nature will have a surprise for me. Sometimes, it is just an incredibly blue sky. The kind only seen in the Heartland of America. 
Till next time........

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. That's why I mention her today. One hundred ninety one years ago today, she was born. She started out as a schoolteacher. But she soon followed the footsteps of her family into activism. In 1852, she joined the Women's Rights movement and was a leader of this movement in the 19th century. She campaigned for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to vote and to own property. She was also an activist for Women's labor organizations. In 1900 Miss Anthony persuaded the University of Rochester to admit women. She never married but was always an activist for Women's Rights. It was the Susan B. Anthony Amendment that gave women the right to vote.
 
 In 1999, a special dollar coin was minted in her honor. She died on March 13, 1906.

So when you go to the polls to vote, you can thank Susan  B. Anthony for that privilege.
Till next time.......

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

Happy

Valentine's

Day!


Till next time......

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Last Minute Valentine Idea....

There is still time to impress your special loved one. What's that, you say you are on a strict budget. Well, here's an idea that is sure to please. Who doesn't  like a chocolate chip cookie, especially one expressing your love? If you don't have a heart shaped cake pan, not a problem, simply use a square pan and cut your cookie into a heart shape while it is still warm. After it has cooled write your message and decorate it with frosting.  If you turn the cookie so the back of the cookie is on top, it will give you a smooth surface to frost and write on. Valentines don't have to be expensive, if it comes from the heart, that's all that matters. One of the nicest valentines I ever received was a handmade card. If you take your time to do something for someone else, that's what matters. So get busy , tomorrow is Valentine's Day.
Till next time......

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another Idea!

We don't all have a lot of money to spend on Valentine's day, so here is another idea. You can rent a movie (or watch one on TV), get some take-out, pizza comes to mind. Then just spend the evening with that special someone. Although gifts are nice, they really aren't necessary. Perhaps you can cook the meal for your Valentine. Cooks come in both genders, so it is an idea for both. What is more thoughtful than cooking a favorite meal and opening a bottle of wine? Get creative and make it a special day for that special someone. You only have a few more days to formulate your plans.
Till next time........

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Last Minute Idea

Are you having a small get together with your Valentine? It doesn't take a lot of planning. Just a phone called, some food, a nice wine and maybe a candle or two. Did I mention a gift, that's always a nice touch. Not a bouquet of roses, a single rose says just as much. Guys, a word to the wise, don't send them to your girl's office. That just says "look at me, I sent her flowers". Take a single rose and show up at her door. It will mean a lot more, than showing off to her co-workers. Ladies, don't forget your guy, he's special, too, right. Maybe tickets to his favorite sporting event. Don't buy a bottle of cologne or after shave and think you have it covered. You don't, and he won't be impressed with it either.
Whatever you decide to do, put some thought into it and enjoy your day, evening or night. After all, the 14th IS Valentine's Day.
Till next time........

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ongoing Friendly Battle

 I want to share with you the saga of my Christmas cactus. This is a single bloom on my Christmas cactus and no other buds in sight. You see, for years it has not bloomed profusely as it should. Each year, I threaten to throw it in the trash, if it doesn't bloom. Last year, I got three blooms, so the plant got a reprieve for another year. This year, it has given me this ONE bloom. This is truly "the battle of wits" going on and I am determined to win. It is a lovely bloom, but one! I do believe it is a bit stingy by only giving me one bloom.
But again, it has a reprieve till next year. It is almost like the cactus has a life of it's own and is laughing at me. This cactus is definitely teaching me patience. So I will water, nurture and care for it for another year.I have been told it needs darkness to bloom. That it needs 4 weeks of 40° temperature to set the buds and many other stories. But this cactus does not want to bloom. It teases me every year so I don't throw it out. It's just not fair! 
Till next time.......

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spring.........Where Are You?

Ahhh, Spring, where are you? It is so far below zero this morning, I don't even want to talk about it. The wind chill is almost -30° degrees below zero. So, as you might imagine, I am really thinking Spring on these cold mornings.
This is a clay pot planter I found on the Internet that I want to make for my patio this year. It is different from any I have seen and provides space for 3 pots, in the space of one. So perfect for a small patio.
These are my chosen herbs for the above planter. I have the seeds and will start them soon in the house. Hopefully, I will have good luck with them. If not, the nursery will be seeing me later on. There is nothing like picking fresh herbs in the summer to cook with. At the end of Summer, I will dry any that are left over. But for now, think Spring.
Till next time........

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Tacos

You know how you take a crispy corn tortilla and fill it with that great taco meat and all the toppings and then with the first bite the tortilla breaks and all the filling goes on your plate? Well, I figured if it was going to go on my plate anyway, why not start there. So I took a bowl, some slightly broken corn chips and built my "taco in a bowl". It was much easier to eat and no mess. The taste was just as good as fighting with the broken corn tortilla. You can still add the tomato, lettuce, onion, cheese, salsa and sour cream. So the complete taco flavor is there. An easy way to serve tacos at your Super Bowl party today.
Till next time......

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Windows....

I am always curious about windows and doors. I was fascinated by this one. Why was it boarded up? Did a storm break the window? Did someone break in? Is it to keep the homeless out? Hmmmm, a person just never knows for sure. But it definitely gives you "food for thought". I wonder about a lot of things, but definitely about windows and doors. I always have an eye out for windows and doors that might be a bit different.
Till next time........

Friday, February 4, 2011

1.5 pound Burgers...WOW.

It seems there is a restaurant in Afton, Wyoming that sells 1.5 lb burgers. That is equivalent to 6 quarter pound burgers. It would appear that it is becoming a popular contest in several areas to see who can eat burgers of this size. My question is, "why would you want to?" There must be a jillion fat calories in the burger slathered with cheese and not to mention the carbs in the over-sized bun. I guess this is a macho thing and I just don't understand. This is not just in Afton, Wyoming. Just recently someone tried to eat a burger containing the following. 
1 regular sized bun
6 meat patties
6 slices of cheese
6 fried eggs
12 pieces of bacon
fried onions, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, pickles and peanut butter.
In addition you have to eat an order of fries with it. 

This burger as you can imagine, is very tall. The rules say you must eat it all, cannot go to the bathroom and have to sit at the table for 10 minutes after you finish. All of this sounds a bit much to me, but to each their own.
Till next time.......

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chinese New Year

Today is the Chinese New Year. Much celebration and decoration will be seen in Chinatowns all over the nation. It is the year of the Rabbit for the Chinese. But if you aren't into celebrating the Chinese New Year; perhaps you are into the Super Bowl and football. Here is a recipe for beer-cheese spread that can be used for either occasion. Enjoy!

Beer Cheese Spread
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion tops
1/4 cup Leinenkugel 1888 Bock beer (seasonal January to March)
Or other Bock beer
1 tsp. horseradish
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Microwave cheeses for 2 1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Time may vary with individual microwaves, so watch it closely.)
Gradually beat in remaining ingredients. Cook covered for another 1-2 minutes, stirring twice. Serve with pretzels, crackers or veggies.
Note: Bock beer is full-bodied and slightly sweet. It is brewed in the fall and aged in the winter.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Instant Oatmeal Mix

At one time or another we have all used the instant oatmeal packet. Either for ourselves or our children, it has been a real time saver. While I was reading today's paper, I saw a recipe for it. This mix will have less sugar and salt and more dietary fiber than the store bought mix. Do I have your attention yet? It sure got mine. Here is the recipe.




 
Cranberry Oatmeal Packet
1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
3 Tablespoons sweetened dried cranberries
1 teaspoon non-fat milk powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients together in a zipper-lock plastic bag and set aside until ready to prepare. Store individual packets in an air tight container for up to 4 weeks. When ready to serve, combine with 1 to 1 1/4 cups boiling water in a heat safe container or bowl. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until oatmeal thickens.
Till next time........