Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's a Cold, Wet Day Today

It's been raining all day. . . sort of a slushy rain, since the temp is just above freezing. I have been inside all day, so it makes no difference to me.

I did venture out to the deck to get a picture of the two dozen turkeys that come by every day to pull up whatever they can from my garden. They are almost as bad as deer in garden destruction. A lot of my neighbors feed them , so they are around all the time. I try to ignore them. Whenever I look outside they are pulling up something from my gardens. It's the price I pay for living among wild life.

I did decorate the dining room today. I also pulled the cherry cake I made last month from the freezer and frosted it.
I thought it went nicely with the Easter table. I am not going into all of my Easter efforts here, , if you are interested, it's on my blog, Tablescaping, in the right column.

I also made this scalloped potato and ham dish for dinner.
I was concerned because my russet potatoes all sprouted and were tossed in the garbage, so I had only redskins to use. But it turned out quite good. Both DH and I loved it. I didn't think redskins would work for scalloped potatoes. I didn't have a recipe. I just threw sliced potatoes, onions, celery and ham together with a white sauce and baked it for a little over an hour. Then I topped it with a bit of cheddar cheese.

One of the nice things about having a blog is that you can toss up your opinions whenever you get the urge (compared to waiting until someone asks you).

I just had the urge.

I am watching a cake decorating show on FOODTV. It creeps me out when I have to watch people playing with food that others are going to eat. I understand that it must be done to decorate cakes, but for goodness sakes, must they have unkempt nails? They just did a close up of this woman's hands pinching and rolling the fondant and she has red nail polish that is 75% worn off. I can't help wondering if she has rolled it off into the fondant.

These women must know that the world will be getting a macro shot of their chewed up nasty nails. Wouldn't you think they would get a manicure or at the very least take some polish remover to their month old color?

Where's the Health Department? Aren't they supposed to wear food gloves when handling food?

I mean, really.......I'm just saying.............after watching that I could never eat that cake.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Deceiving Little Tulip Patch

Look, the tulips are breaking through the ground. Doesn't it look like spring?

Well, take a look just a few inches behind this little patch of bare earth.

Yes, there is still plenty of snow here and it's supposed to snow more tonight.

Even so I dug out my Easter decorations today. I can't wait much longer for spring weather to get in the mood. I set the stuff on the dining room table as I unpacked a few boxes.

That's as far as I got. I guess I just am not yet in the mood to decorate. Hopefully I will be tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Let's Start with Lumpy Brown Sugar

During my recent baking spree, I opened a new bag of brown sugar only to find it full of hard lumps. Don't you hate that?

Wait! Don't throw it away! I have a little trick that may help someone out there who thinks you have to toss out the lumpy sugar.

Put some water in a cup and the sugar in a bowl or jar. Put them both in the microwave at 15-second intervals. After each 15-seconds, give it a good stir and try to squash the hard lumps. Keep doing it until the lumps are gone. It took mine about a minute and a half.

The water will throw off steam, providing moisture to soften the sugar. With just a little crushing of the spoon against the lumps, you should be able to use the sugar.

There. My little brown sugar man is smiling again. Hopefully he does his job and keeps this sugar lump free now that it's in a covered jar.

Remember my oriental lady vase that I bought a few weeks ago for 70% off? I finally used it Monday night to hold some tulips DH bought me.

Isn't it just the most unique flower holder? I love it. If you want to see the whole table I did, just click on my tablescaping blog in the right side bar. (I'm too lazy right now to hyperlink it)

After work yesterday I had my nails done. I decided to match them to that pink/orange/white jacket I showed you a few weeks ago.

I think that's a pretty good match. I will have to wear it sometime during the next two weeks.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Wore Out Two Toothbrushes This Weekend

No, not on my teeth.

I used them for cleaning and I hit every crack and crevice in the bathroom and the kitchen. I removed all the bathroom curtains, washed, ironed and rehung them. Let me tell you, that's a job! The shower curtain has prairie points on two sides and each one has to be ironed front and back. What are prairie points you ask?

These little triangles. The window is covered with the same set up.

See this ladder?

I was up and down it all weekend, washing walls, ceilings, and all the cupboards with Murphy's Oil Soap. Everything on top was taken down, washed, and put back up.

It feels good to have it done. I haven't done a thing since I removed the Christmas decorations. The top of the china cabinet has looked like this since the end of December.

In the midst of all the kitchen cleaning today, I also baked a bunch of cinnamon rolls...the yeast kind that has to rise twice.
It's amazing how much work you can get done in between the one-hour rising times.

I just sent DH over to my Mom & Dad's with a pan full of the rolls.

I sure didn't do much sitting this weekend. I know it seems like a ton of work, and it was, but I don't work like this every weekend. A lot of weekends we go out of town and just have fun. I guess now and then 'ya gotta work hard, if you want to play hard.

I should sleep good tonight.

I decided to add the recipe to this post so I will have it for future reference.

Cake Mix Cinnamon Rolls

24 rolls
Prep: 40 minutes
Rise: 2 hours 45
from Midwest Living


• 2 packages active dry yeast
• 2-1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 degree F to 115 degree F)
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 package (2-layer-size) white cake mix
• 6 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 egg
• 1/3 cup cooking oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup butter, melted (I used 1/2 cup)
• 1 cup sugar - (I used brown sugar with a scattering of white sugar. I think I could have used more sugar. I will probably double this next time)
• 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing (see recipe below)

1. For dough, in a large mixing bowl, stir the yeast into 1/2 cup of the warm water; add the 1 teaspoon sugar. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is foamy.
2. Stir the cake mix, 1 cup of the flour, the egg, cooking oil, salt, and the remaining water into yeast mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining flour to form a soft dough. (Dough will be sticky.)
3. Cover and let rise about 1 hour or until doubled.
4. Lightly grease two 13x9x2-inch baking pans. Set aside. Stir dough down. Cover and let rise again until doubled (about 1 hour). Stir dough again. Divide in half. Turn 1 portion of the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Turn to coat lightly with flour. Roll the dough into a 12x8-inch rectangle. Brush with half of the melted butter.
5. For filling, in a small mixing bowl, combine the 1 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the filling over dough. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting from one of the long sides. Pinch edge to seal.
6. Cut crosswise into 12 pieces. Arrange, cut sides down, in a prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dough, remaining butter and remaining filling. Cover loosely; let the dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled (about 45 minutes).
7. Uncover pans. Place a baking sheet under each of the pans. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly brown and rolls sound hollow when lightly tapped.
8. Invert onto serving plates. Drizzle Powdered Sugar Icing over warm rolls. Serve warm. Makes 24 rolls. (I got more like 30)
Powdered Sugar Icing: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together 4 cups sifted powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir in enough milk (about 3 tablespoons) to make a drizzling consistency.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pepperoni Rigatoni

Oh, my I made a tasty dinner.

I have no recipe, but here is what I did.

First I boiled 8 oz. of rigatoni for about 12 minutes (until al dente). While the rigatoni boiled, I softened red & green peppers and red onions in a tablespoon of butter. I threw the pepperoni in at the end just to heat through. Just look at those gorgeous colors!
I drained the rigatoni and tossed it in the pan with the peppers, etc.
I sprayed 4 individual ramekins and put about a tablespoon of spaghetti sauce on the bottom. Then a big spoonful of the rigatoni mixture went on top of the sauce. I put about a tablespoon of cheese sauce (Ragu) on top and repeated the layers.
I put about 3 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce over the top and then mozzarella cheese. The pan went into a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes (half way thru I covered with foil to prevent over browning) turned out very good. I can't wait to have it again later in the week (of course, I made two night's meals, so Tuesday's dinner is done).

It's Been a June Cleaver Kind of Morning

It's Saturday morning, 7:00 a.m. and I have just finished baking two batches of cookies.

After the first batch I looked at the mess I had created.

I counted the cookies.


That's it. 26 cookies. I had to clean up this mess for just 26 cookies.

I do most things by determining if the outcome is worth the effort. I decided it wasn't. I had way too much of a mess for just 26 cookies.

So I made a second batch.

I used all the same equipment, so now I got double the outcome from just about the same effort. I feel much better.

The cookies are good, too. They are Cinnamon Snaps--sort of like gingersnaps, except there is no ginger. :) They are a bit crispy.

Here's the easy recipe:

Cinnamon Snaps

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar (I used light, but either light or dark would be fine)
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional Sugar

In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in another bowl; slowly add to creamed mixture. Roll into 1-in. balls, then roll in additional sugar.
Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set and tops are cracked. Remove to wire rack to cool. Yield: 26 cookies.

These weren't the only cookies I made. I visited a new blog last week called Twirl and Taste.

Libby posted a recipe for peanut butter sandwich cookies. I made them last night and they are big, soft, full of peanut butter and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The recipe is here.

This recipe takes a lot more effort. I froze all of the cookies to use later for a light dessert. I believe Libby served them for a lunch dessert. They are a large cookie and would make a dandy dessert for peanut butter lovers.

Off now to change the bed linen.

I hope you all enjoy your Saturday. I plan to fully enjoy my low key weekend.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fromage Heaven?

Have you seen these new gigantic ?
Can't really judge the size by these pictures? Well, O.K.. how about this? (The things I do in the name of blogging!)
Now that's a mouthful!

You can eat 8 for only 150 calories.

It's the first day of spring, so I changed my header. That's what my rockwall garden will look like in May...late I do have a while to wait.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Have a Gardening Post!

It's been months since I have had anything remotely related to gardening to post.
Yesterday it was in the 50's here and the snow is melting quickly. I was even able to open my sliding glass door to the deck. When I did, I saw this:

My herb pot that I leave outside all winter right next to the door. The whole deck has had over three feet of snow for months. It is beginning to melt back from the house and now this pot is exposed. It was a good feeling to see this.

DH and I went to Walmart. I was so excited about the melting snow/warmer weather, that I felt like checking out the garden department. I even bought one package of white calla lilies.

I have dozens of yellow callas, but I don't have any white callas. I never have much luck with callas that I buy, so I made sure to check the corms to make sure they all had eyes.
Oh, these look promising! I must now find some bagged soil and plant them, I think I will have better luck if I get them in soil right away.....hopefully this weekend.

It's such a good feeling to know that spring is on its way!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pick up any Good Books Lately?

Way back in the early years of my Internet surfing, I came across a site that suggested leaving books you have finished reading lying around for complete strangers to find. I can’t even remember exactly where on the net I was, but the free-book-mystery premise has stayed with me and ever since I have been dropping off books in places like hotel lobbies for others to find and enjoy.

I only seem to find time to read when we travel. Usually DH drives and I read in the car. If we are on a weekend trip, I can usually be found reading in the hotel lobby for at least an hour or so in the late afternoon. If I finish the book there, I just leave it on the table in hopes that someone else will find it and perhaps enjoy it during their stay or on their drive home.

I made up some bookmarks that I leave in the book so whomever finds it will know it’s not lost (I remember something about doing this from the site whose concept this is). I think they have some sort of system where they even track where the book is, but I don't bother with any of that.

I just leave the book behind with this special bookmark on top.

I make these on my computer, print them out and keep a few in my suitcase.

Without the bookmark, people would just think the book was lost and may turn it in to the front desk. I want to make sure they are instantly aware that the book is for whomever happens upon it with the interest to read it.

So if you ever happen to come across a book with this bookmark, now you know who put it there!

Friday, March 13, 2009

From the Jewelry Vault

Well, O.K. it's not a vault. It's just an old tin on the closet shelf that has been collecting my costume necklaces since 1978 when I started acquiring jewelry to match my romper sets. Well, O.K., perhaps I was just a tad older than that.

I go for months, perhaps over a year, without even looking inside.

As you know I've been on an old jewelry binge for the past few weeks. Last night I pulled the old tin down and began looking for a long necklace. I was looking for something green, but when I came across a long gold fish necklace, I decided that was just the item I needed.

What do you think?

Here is a close up of all the gold scales.
Don't you just love it? :) Well, maybe many of you don't. I can see where it may be an acquired taste.

I am amazed at how my taste is changing.

This big bold bracelet is an antique that was given to me by a now deceased lady who said it belonged to her mother. I was so honored that she wanted me to have it. She was a large lady and I was pretty tiny at the time. She said the bracelet was meant for a small wrist.

I tried to wear it once, but I felt self conscious because it was so big. I thought it was a beautiful piece and I kept it just because she gave it to me.

Yesterday I put on a blue blazer with a chunky blue necklace. I was trying to find a bracelet, but everything I had was too tiny. Then I remembered this bracelet. I was not sure it would still fit my wrist, but it did and I wore it. This time I felt good wearing it. A few people even commented on how they liked it.

I wish I knew more about it. Does anyone know anything about it? How old it might be, what the blue material is, etc.

Here are a couple of pics:



Thursday, March 12, 2009

What a Lovely set of Orbs

Don't you think?

Yesterday we had an hour to kill before our appointment to have our taxes done. I convinced my dear husband to take me to Joanne's. He does not really like to take me there. ? I can't imagine why not.

He probably felt like he owed me considering all the loving care, snow shoveling, and roof ice removal that I have had to do for the past month.

He would be correct.

So he took me there with no hassle. He sat in the car while I went in to shop.

I came across a shelf with a big 70% off sign. The squeal of my cart tires could be heard at the opposite end of the store.

I have been admiring these red and aqua orbs for some time, but at $10 each, I decided to admire them from afar.

My mind did a quick calculation--70% off of $10 is 3 bucks. YES! Into my cart they went.I spent another five seconds wondering if I should also grab the 4 gold-colored orbs they had and the cute oriental rust female bust that is actually a flower vase. I mean, really, how cool is that?

Well, I am sure you won't be surprised that I bought them all. One never knows when a gold orb will be just what is needed. Until then I have placed them on my these shelves.
I can't wait to do an oriental tablescape so I can use the bust with one big canna in it.
Just adding this little $2 orb to this vase display really lightens up the display, don't you think?

I am so thrilled with my bargain purchases!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm Having Dinner with Orville

Redenbacher, that is!

Dh had leftover meatloaf and twice baked potato, but I was not in the mood for that. So I threw a bag of popcorn in the microwave.

When it was finished popping, I tossed in a handful of cheddar cheese,
closed the top and let it melt slightly.......MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, delicious!

O.K. fess up. What sort of different dinners do you like to have?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Boy, I am into BRIGHT lately!

Not only bright hair, but clothes, too.

I have taken a liking to pink, orange, and red clothing and purchased a jacket that has all those colors.

During one of my recent overnight trips, there was a jewelry sale in the hotel lobby and I picked up this beaded bracelet. It's just an inexpensive stretchy bracelet, but I think it is going to be great fun with the multi-colored jacket behind it.

I also recently bought this orange shell necklace, which just happened to go nicely with the jacket.

I am not sure I like the bracelet with the necklace. I will probably wear them at separate times. I have another longer tassel necklace ordered that I hope will also work with this jacket.It should arrive next week. I have been having a ball shopping the internet outlets. I wait for free shipping promotions. With cheap prices and no shipping, I can't go wrong.

I have not worn this yet. I am waiting for some spring weather. I don't know what I will wear it with. White pants/capris would be perfect, but I don't do white on my lower half. It would be cruel to subject the public to that image. Maybe jean capris.

I have worn the necklace with a different outfit.
This jacket has a lot of red and orange in it. I am not sure you can see the colors. The necklace is indeed eye-catching!

I hope you are all having a great weekend. Tomorrow I plan to stay home all day and get a little work done. I have really been slacking off in the housework department this winter.

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead tonight.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blondes are wild, brunettes are true, but you never know what a Redhead will do!

OMG, I have RED hair!

I have always had dark blond hair. Two weeks ago I went to have lighter blond and red highlights put in. I picked a nice mellow strawberry blond.

When it was done, I had nice blond highlights, but nobody could even tell I had any red. My hairdresser offered to redo the red and today was the big day.

My hairdresser, Cindy, said that she was thinking about it and she had an idea on how to mix the "potion" so it would be more red. I was a tad apprehensive, but hey, we only live once. Let's go for the gusto! I told her to go for it.

I think the red took, don't you?

It looks pretty stripey here because it is not yet combed out. Here it is combed out.

On my monitor the red does not look as bright as it really is, so I am not sure what you are seeing. Does it look red to you?

I have some pretty bright red highlights, and I think I am really liking it. I think it's going to be fun!

I will have to wear a lot of lime green for a while. Don't you think lime green goes nicely with red hair?

As my 78-year old co-worker says, "What's life if you don't have any fun?"
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