Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Making over flopped Amish Friendship Bread; Free garden seeds at TreeHugger

My Cranberry Walnut Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce is a riff on Charlie Trotter's Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding with Vanilla Anglaise. Actually riffed on his Cinnamon-Cranberry Bread Pudding recipe but couldn't find the recipe online, and you know I am too LAZY to type it up myself! I used 3/4 cup of dried cranberries and 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts with the last of the Amish Friendship Bread that was in the freezer. I'd screwed up one batch of the Amish bread by forgetting to add oil, but the bread pudding recipe made DRY AS TOAST friendship bread into something moist and yummy! (My vanilla sauce recipe is much simpler than Charlie's: Put 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup canola oil, 1 cup milk, 1 tsp. vanilla extract into a small pan, add 1 cup sugar with 3 tablespoons flour whisked into it. Cook and stir 'til the sauce thickens and coats the spoon.)
Hey, check this out over at TreeHugger's site: "5 Ways to Get Free Seeds for Your Garden." Okay, time for me to get off the computer and do some seriously mindless activity for awhile. Such a BUSY brain could use a rest! *wink* What mindless activity is in store for you tonight?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Make Over: Pimiento Cheese to Cheesy Baked Onions

Did Hubby REALLY put all that roasted garlic on his hotdog? Oh, yes, he did. Ugh!
Hubby finds my fondness for Cincinnati chili just as gross!
Just to prove hotdogs aren't all we eat--this pork loin came off the grill tonight. We'll eat it mañana, and of course, the leftovers from that meal will likely go into another three or so minimal-meat meals.
Made Blackberry Farms Pimiento Cheese recipe again. First time I used vinegar 'cause I didn't have any pickle juice on hand and we LOVED the stuff. Well, guess what? I don't like the pickle juice version as well. So, using the pimiento cheese and a bit of olive oil, I made Cheesy Baked Onions for Hubby, who is more of a pickle lover than I am.
Cheesy Baked Onions
Any leftovers being transformed over at your place?

Monday, January 23, 2012

You're either getting better--or you're not

"I challenge everyone to
consider the direction and the value of your days–
because like it or not, those days are going by and
either you're getting better at something, 
getting stronger and more experienced…
or you're not."
Steve Richert, Living Vertical

Trying to improve upon the original Cherry Swirl Coffee Cake (which we like but always room for improvement, eh?), I subbed blueberry pie filling for the cherry filling and added grated orange rind for my Blueberry Swirl Coffee Cake. Less sweet than a regular "cake," this is perfect for breakfast. Mighty fine for after dinner dessert too!
Roasted a chicken yesterday...
will get at least four meals out of this bad boy.
On surfing the top ten adventure blogs (link shared yesterday), I came across the quote above and absolutely fell in love with it. I figure "you're either getting better or you're not" applies to just about everything, including recipes. Never had a problem motivating myself to tinker with recipes. Wish I could say the same when it comes to motivating myself to exercise!
   Any tinkering going on over at your place lately?
Had planned to make chicken pot pie using some of the chicken leftover from the roasted chicken, but since we had Grandbaby today, I didn't have time to make a pie crust. So, we had Chicken Pot Pasta instead. ;)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Boomerang stuff interferes with my journey to minimalism

How am I supposed to become a minimalist when DD keeps bringing back stuff that we'd given to her? When DD went off to university, we furnished her condo with stuff collected over the years. These rainbow glasses I'd bought at an auction for only $7 bucks (in a box full of other stuff!) no longer fit in DD's life now that her home includes rambunctious kids. (We later came across a set of these at an antique store for $20 per glass.) Though I love these as much as she still does, I know I won't use them, so they've gotta go. *sigh*
As she was growing up, each year on DD's birthday we included a "good gift," something she could use later in life. For instance, we got her a couple of crystal lamps for her second birthday. Even though she hasn't kept all those gifts she received through the years, she's commented to me that she wished we still did that. Yet another birthday "good gift," this key caddy sat at DD's back door until Grandbaby's high chair recently claimed its floor space.
I'd been wanting a new fireplace tool caddy for ages (though it never made the priority list), so froggy turned the trick!
DD doesn't always bring me cluttering stuff; she brought me this turnip last week. Where she works, people often bring in produce to share. Determined not to let it go to waste, I peeled the turnip right away and cooked it in my small slow cooker with a little sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Oh, happy day--my seed order arrived yesterday. I'm still finding it hard to believe that Hubby (chief gardener around here) agreed to add starting all these seeds to his to-do list!
To brighten up this gray winter day, I'm looking for adventure, so this is where I'm headed next: Top 10 Adventure Blogs. Where are you headed next?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate chip cookies I can't eat; Buffalo Garbanzo Dip I can

Have to give up caffeine for awhile, so these Lazarus Chocolate Chip Cookies made with dark chocolate are off limits to me. No need for Hubby to suffer!
Cookie dough in the freezer now--yea!
Subbed out garbanzo beans for the chicken in my meatless version of Add A Pinch's recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip, which we both love. Thanks, Add A Pinch!
Aren't you proud of me? I finally found a way to disguise my last bag of those won't-buy-again mock "meat crumbles." They actually tasted good hidden under the Buffalo Garbanzo Dip on my taco. Honest! 
Hope everyone had a fabulous Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Make do: Fix broken powder makeup

Don't even want to think about how many of my face powder compacts have crashed and burned in my years of wearing makeup. Wish I'd known all along that there IS a way to salvage the shattered mess and keep from wasting my good money!! If interested, check out: How to: Fix your broken powder makeup. Just found a video on youtube too, if you'd like a tutorial of the general process. Happy saving!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Take with frozen doughnuts; Extreme Frugality guy is back!

My ear's still pounding like the ocean during a hurricane, despite two nights of steroids/decongestants-induced insomnia. Though I'd hoped to get by with a phoned in RX, guess I'm gonna have to go see the doc after all. Meantime, I will wonder about these possible causes found by googling: injury caused by earphones at too high a volume (bought these in hopes to avoid that problem in future) or prolonged hyperextension of neck (a problem for bicyclists and maybe couch-sitters. When I spotted this cause, I realized that since rearranging the furniture, I've got a lot of tension in my neck when watching the telly). Oh, well, it's always something!
On a brighter note, Extreme Frugality writer W. Hodding Carter is back. Used to follow him back before Gourmet Magazine went defunct, but just now realized he's back writing for Gourmet Live. Yea! If looking for some motivation in frugal living, check him out: Extreme Frugality: Well, Nobody's Perfect.
   Time for me to go get updated on the heartbreaking, ongoing saga over at Our Simple Lives. Mark's blog has been amusing me for some time now, but now his loving family is threatened by discrimination/deportation. Thanks, Practical, for giving me the idea to share his story here. Now, why didn't I think of that? (His four beautiful children's faces are enough to compel me to get off this couch and write a letter of support to Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528.)
   Hope everyone has a splendid weekend. And for all those couch sitters like me: Be Careful Out There!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wish I hads and had nots

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
Carl Sagan
Wish I had not been wishing there were more hours in the day. Woke up this morn at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep. Ugh! Blame it on the decongestant I'm now on. Guess the bright side is my loss of appetite. I cooked a soup at lunch (a riff on La Cuoca Ciccia's Chard Chick Pea Stew recipe), so I ate a protein bar for supper. As you can see from his plate of Venison Stir Fry, Hubby had something better in mind.
Wish I had bought this motion-sensing nite lite years ago for night trips to the mud/laundry room. Now I don't have to turn on the multi-bulb ceiling fluorescent light when all I need to do is put one little thing in the washer. Btw, LOVING my new camera (Sony Cyber-shot; sure beats the TWO that I tried and then returned. Wish I had bought this one first!
Wish I had tried growing mung bean sprouts long before now. Soo easy--some of these are destined for our salads at lunch today. Not sure if the leaves should be discarded. Anyone know? Guess I'll find out soon enough!
Hope your wish I hads and wish I had nots grow fewer and fewer every day...and I wish the same for me!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winter blooms freak me out!

For the second year, unseasonably warm temps have forced blooms on this bush in our side yard. Here in western Kentucky, daytime temps have been see-sawing from 50°F one day to 30°F the next. Unexpected blooms in winter freak me out. What if the same happens to our fruit trees? And what will happen to fruit prices if "global weirding" burns all the blooms on trees across the nation?
DD finally gave up some of her beloved, old ratty t-shirts. Around the house (whether hers or ours) she would wear shamefully worn out clothing. Awhile back I finally convinced her to let her Grandma repair the underarm on this blue T...she was wearing it even tho' it had holes in it! I'm of the "always dress nice 'cause you never know what'll happen" school, so you will NOT catch me wearing holey anything. Goes without saying maybe, but I did the happy dance when DD brought these old Ts over. I quickly cut them up into rags, so she won't have a chance to change her mind! ;)
My cousin's barbecued pork was the star at our family get together over at my folks house Friday evening. That man can grill!! Pot lucks are actually my favorite kinda parties--informal feel and delectable food!
   Time to end this post. I'm headed over to Apartment Therapy next, to read "Start 2012 Off Clean: Best Cleaning Tips for a New Year." Please let me know if you come across any URLs worth sharing!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Maybe we'll all eat more veggies than meat in 2050

Had this Cashew Chicken Stir Fry right where I wanted it...until I remembered some leftover restaurant Chicken Pad Thai in the fridge. *sigh*
Last time I bought cashews in bulk, we ate them all toot sweet and none were left for stir fries when needed. So, this time I packed some up for the freezer in snack-sized plastic bags I'd bought years ago...before Hubby retired and I stopped working outside the home. Before I started watching money more closely. Before I started watching how much plastic we used. These will be washed and reused ad infinitum--then NOT replaced. (Also in pic: my baby mung bean sprouts--too young for this stir fry!)
Oh, yes, I did wait until 2012 to buy a calendar so I'd get one 50% off!
This is how my stir fry ended up once the leftover Pad Thai was added. Knew Hubby was sick of the Pad Thai, as he'd already eaten it TWICE; yet, there was still about a cup and a half left.  Believe it or not, I ordered and ate some at the restaurant--that's how much freakin' food they gave me! Though I liked my stir fry better before incorporating the leftovers and adjusting the seasonings to boot, it felt good to know nothing would go to waste.
   Stumbled across "What We’ll Be Eating in 2050" over on and learned a thing or two. Did you know that "Around the year 2000, the world’s population surpassed 6 billion, and then added a billion more over the next 12 years." I knew we were at 7 billion, just didn't know how quickly we managed to add a billion. The article is at once hopeful and scary, but I agree with the one guy that "we’ll be eating lots more veggies than meat in our meals of the future."
   What do you think we'll be eating in 2050? More veggies? More meat? Soylent Green? ;)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My New Year's Resolution: Do it up right this year!

Captured this gal with her tea tray at an historic hotel in Cincinnati. Pretty sure this was at The Cincinnatian, where we ate lunch in 2009 but didn't have the reservations needed to partake of this tea.
Well, yeah, I made some New Year's resolutions. Just because I rarely keep 'em doesn't mean there's no value in shooting for better habits! So, for what it's worth, here's my list:
  1. Do it up right in 2012...meaning: put out the necessary energy to eat better food, enjoy better-planned vacations and host more get togethers, all while spending as little as possible and saving as much as possible.
   Okay, that's it for my list. Impossible in the chasing windmills kinda way? Mebbe, but what have I got to lose by trying?!
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