Thursday, November 29, 2012

I've Had a Materialistic Girl Week -- and I Deserve it!

I have been working 50-hr weeks for the past month.  I am not complaining--I am super busy and time goes by fast.  But I have no time during the week to do anything other than work.

So when I checked my email at 5:00 a.m. on Cyber Monday, I could not resist the 50% off + free shipping from my favorite clothing site and I clicked it just to see what was available (even though I just told you all that I was not going to buy any more clothing).  Sometimes I lie :)

Can you believe I found quite a  few items that I felt  would work great in my current wardrobe? I know you are probably shocked,but I did indeed find all of these items:
Lots of layering pieces and one necklace. 

I also decided early in the week  to get my nails done as DH wanted to give that to me for an early birthday gift.  It's been two years since I removed my acrylic nails and I am getting tired of short ugly I decided to have them put back on.

Here they are against my current machine-quilting project--kind of a two for one pic :).
It's a pain to go every 2 weeks to have them done, but I really feel so much better with longer nails. 

The quilt is one I pieced a few years ago and was going to hand quilt.  I started to hand quilt it two months ago, but never returned to it.  I finally decided to just use the machine for some simple straight line quilting.  I don't seem to have the ambition to spend months hand quilting any more.  I guess it's better just to get them done on the machine so I can use them. I hope to get it finished this weekend.

I can't believe tomorrow is Friday already.  I do have to work a bit on Saturday, but after that I intend to go home and stay for the rest of the weekend.  Maybe I can find a place to hang that wreath I made on Thanksgiving day.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Asparagus Roll Ups

This is one of the veggie dishes I made for Thanksgiving.  They are impressive to serve, but quite simple to make.
You just open a sheet of unthawed puff pastry
spread it with any cream cheese flavor you like
Cut into strips (a pizza cutter works great for this)

Roll one stips around a trimmed asparagus stalk and place on a baking sheet.

Whip up an egg white with a fork and brush over the top of all the stalks. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake at  400°F  until pastry is lightly browned (15 -20 minutes)

Enjoy all the ohhs and ahhhs from your guests.  Only you know how easy they were to make! 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Wreath with Bird's Nest

Since I only had to make two vegetable dishes for our family potluck Thanksgiving dinner, I had plenty of time to putz around during the day.

It was 60 degress outside, so I spent an hour cutting down Sedum Autumn Joy (3 wheelbarrows full).

Then  I decided to make a Christmas wreath.

I put an artifical wreath on an easel in the basement and set about rummaging through boxes to find items to add.  I began with this checkered ribbon and some pinecones.

I added a dried allium seed head to the center of the bow.

 I found some fruit picks and more dried money plant and poked them in a few areas.  One box yielded my real bird's nest that I have  been using on my tree for a number of years.  I am not planning to put up a large tree this year, so I stuck the nest on this wreath.
I don't even know yet where I will put this. But it's ready to hang when I decide.

I still need to add a few more sprigs of lime green foliage.  If I can ever find it!  I searched and searched, but have not yet found the contaniner I stored it in last year.  Hate when that happens...
In my next post I will give you the recipe for these asparagus spirals:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Don't Buy Calphalon

 A few years ago I purchased a Calphalon stock pot.  I loved this 12 -quart stock pot---until a few months ago when I noticed that the hard ionized finish was wearing off.

Hmmmmmmmm.....has what I presumed to be pepper, really been slivers of the finish from this cookware?  I thought this was not supposed to happen with Calphalon.  I only use wooden utensils in this pot.  I googled and found that others had the same problem when cooking with tomatoes in Calphalon.  I cook with tomatoes all the time in this pot.  Nothing was ever mentioned prior to my purchase about tomatoes.

So I have sworn off Calphalon.  I have read that if you contact them, write a letter, send pics, etc. etc. you may get a refund.  That is way more work than I want to do.  Instead I will just post this negative review in hopes that it will prevent at least a few people getting taken as I did with this cookware and I will never again buy this brand.  If a Calphalon representative should read this and want to make things right, just send me an email.  I may then change my opinion.

Right now I have decided to buy stainless steel like this Cuisinart 10-qt. stock pot that I just ordered. It has no black finish to wear off.

I hope I really like it. A good stockpot is a necessity in my kitchen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apple Pie Baked in the Apple

What a fun dessert and quite easy, too. 

All you do is hollow out the number of apples you want (I used 4).  Remove the core pieces, but keep the rest of the the innards.  I squeezed a bit of fresh lemon juice over the apples to keep them from browning. Toss the apples with a bit of sugar, cinnamon and just a pinch of nutmeg. 

 Put a dab of butter on the bottom of the apple shell and then refill with the small apple pieces.
Just to make it look nice,  I used a flower cookie cutter to cut a piece of puff pastry.
I  put the pastry over the apple top, cut three air vents with a sharp knife and baked in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
 Did you see those little pieces of pastry around the flower cutter? Don't waste them!  Puff pastry is quite expensive, so I made sure to use every little piece.  I just piled the leftover edges on top of two apples
They won't be as pretty, but they will taste just fine.

A few weeks  ago I cooked a turkey breast.   Yesterday I made turkey and dumpling soup from the leftovers.
I won't be cooking for Thanksgiving, as we are invited to my SIL's for dinner.  So there won't be any turkey overload for us next weekend.

Yesterday DH and I cleaned two closets. It all started because I had to find a place to store the new floor sanitizer.  We ended up getting rid of two big bags of shoes, clothes and a few old coats.  One of the coats had a nice wool lining so I made myself a pair of wool mittens:

Before you start thinking what a frugal girl that Zoey is, I am going to share this with you:

While in the clothing closet, I was searching for a particular jacket that I thought I had ordered last spring.  I could not find it, so I went to my computer to look in my file where I save pics of most of the items I buy. Sometimes I can't remember if I bought an item or if I just thought about buying it.

 Yes, I do own every one of these items (all purchased at rock bottom outlet prices). I guess you can see why I have to clean out my closet fairly often.  Saying it is jam-packed is an under statement.

I did spot the jean jacket  I was looking for, so I knew I had indeed purchased it.  I found it stored in a bin in the basement.  I thought I had brought up all my long-sleeved items last month.  I don't plan to buy any more clothing for a while.  I think I have enough.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

One flower Brightens my Day

Last Friday I got this big bold Gerbera daisy bouquet from one of my work customers. She has a group of people who come monthly for a banquet luncheon meeting.
Attached was this sweet little card:

What a pleasant surprise.

I added the flower to this bowl of fall gourds.
Every time I walk by, I smile.

Later today I need to get outside and bury these perennial pots in the ground next to the foundation. 
The first two are Crocosmia.

The last time I tried to grow them, they died out during the winter. It will be a lot warmer next to the foundation, so I am hoping they will survive and maybe even look like the ad next year.  I have had very good luck overwintering  ligularia (the third container) here. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Haan Review & Productive Saturday!

You can get a lot done when you get up before 3:00 a.m.   Especially if you fall asleep at 8 p.m. as I did last night.

By 7:00 a.m. this morning, I had finished machine quilting my Christmas tree skirt and used my Haan steamer to clean 3 floors and a bathroom.

I spent the afternoon cooking and made chocolate chunk cookies, chili, and  Michigan upper peninsula beef pasties (meat & veggie pies).

Look at these colorful veggies --potatoes, rutabaga, celery, carrots
that go inside the pastie
We like these with beef gravy, but a lot of people prefer ketchup.  We had them for dinner tonight and I froze 4 for meals later this winter.  I make them without a recipe, but you can just google "Michigan pasties" to find a number of recipes as well as the folklore behind this old miner's lunch recipe.
I am getting a lot of use from the Haan sanitizer I ordered two weeks ago. 
Such a lovely slender work of art...
I am happy with this purchase, except for her tendency to topple over
although if she had not fallen over, you would not see  the 15 steam holes that seem to be quite a positive feature with this brand. :)
You can push these two buttons
to release this hand held unit which is easier to maneuver around areas like bathtubs,

countertops and even commodes.

Do you see the steam at the top?  I am hoping that it is sanitizing as it claims to do.

I think this steam sanitizer is just that....something to use if you only want to sanitize otherwise clean surfaces.  I don't think it would be very useful if you have very dirty floors, etc. It does a good job picking up little spots of spilled coffee like this
I have used it three times since I got it just over a week ago.  After using it on the kitchen, hallway and bathroom floor this morning, the cleaning pad looked like this:
You just toss the dirty pad in the washing machine/dryer and it's ready to use again. It definitely picked up the dirt from the past three days since I used it last. It is way easier than cleaning on my hands/knees as I have done for the past 30 years. 

So far I am happy. It even matches my other favorite cleaning machine--my Dyson vacuum cleaner.
I just hope it holds up for at least a few years to justify the $185 price (which included four extra cleaning pads).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Who from the House of Reps is Reading my Little Blog?

It appears that someone from Philadelphia posted my 2009 maggot-in-canned-tomatoes post to facebook....

and someone from the US House of Reps stopped by to read it.  Look at the bottom two entries....
 Can you imagine?  It must have been a dull day on Capitol Hill!! ( I have whited out the IP addresses so whomever it was could not be identified.)  Since they checked in at 1:53 pm, I hope they were on their lunch hour.  I would hate to think our tax dollars are paying for them to read my blog.  LOL.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vintage Thanksgiving Ads

I love advertising from bygone eras.   

 These beer ads capture the pink and grey color trend in the early 1950's.

Notice how formally dressed everyone is. Do any of the men at your Thanksgiving table wear a suit and tie? 

Another example of the popularity of the color pink.

This ad is more modern (1960's probably).  Dad still wears his tie!

How about this yummy salad for the day after?
When I first saw this, I thought YUCK!  But after careful examination, it is probably cranberry gelatin with fruit as the outer layer for a turkey salad filling.  What goes better with turkey than cranberries?  It might just be delicious.

The most shocking ad of all is this one from the 1930's advocating a Camel cigarette be smoked between each course do help digest the meal!

FOOD EDITOR — Miss Dorothy Malone says: “It’s smart to have Camels on the table. My own personal experience is that smoking Camels with my meals and afterwards builds up a sense of digestive well-being.”
THE BEST MEAL I ever ate would be a disappointment if I coldn’t enjoy Camels,” says William H. Ferguson, salesman. “I smoke Camels as an aid to digestion. There’s nothing like Camel’s to set you right.”

picture source-- click to read the full ad

Old Gold got into the turkey day action, proclaiming at the end of this ad, "You'll thank the day you bought your first carton."
I hope you enjoyed seeing Thanksgiving from bygone eras as you begin to think about your own holiday meal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pinecone Christmas Decor

While searching for some new Christmas decorating ideas, I came across these rustic pinecone items at the Horchow site.
This year decorating in a rustic style is somewhat appealing to me.

I think I could easily make my own by gluing cones to this topiary form (that I used in a previous year for a candy theme):
I also have a number of  paper mache reindeer that I could use.   
I think I remembered these  deer being smaller than they are.  Now that I see the picture, I don't know if I want to devote that much time and effort to changing their appearance.  Gluing sounds easy, but I think it would take many hours to get them on just right. I may have to be happy just admiring a rustic woodland holiday theme in other people's homes. 
Are any of you decorating yet?  I know it's early, but this is usually when I begin mine.  I get it all done, but don't turn the tree on until the day after Thanksgiving.  This year I plan to cut down on the decorating.
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