Sunday, July 31, 2011

22 Uses for Lemon Peels - Planet Green

22 Uses for Lemon Peels - Planet Green

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Lazy camp lunch: salad (with dried cherries), cantaloupe and smoked oysters
Didn't forget my book-light this time. Yea! Got this book at our library's used book sale for a buck: The Best American Short Stories of the Century (John Updike Editor).
Only one slice of watermelon left that we brought from home, but Hubby was kind enough to share with me. He even gave me the HEART, no less. Now, that's love!
I've forgotten the name of this tree! All I can remember is that one of Hubby's childhood friends called it the "Son of a Bitch Tree," because it hurt like the dickens when a little boy walked too close to one unawares. 
One of the campground hosts was nice enough to plant some flowers in an unexpected spot. Hubby gets the best shots with his camera, but I have fun enough with my simple little camera. I used to be the shutterbug who wanted the fancy camera, but I ended up with a lifetime of shots without me in them. And I spent a lot of time behind a lens, maybe missing the real action. Now I just use my little camera to get what I get, and I don't sweat it much if I don't get the perfect shot!
Hope to find some time soon to share more of our camping trip in Ohio's Alum Creek State Park and our adventures at the Ohio State Fair. Meantime, have a fabulous weekend!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Veggie sides

Typical camp breakfast...gotta love it!
Okay, I know I have a lot of veggies that need to be cooked, but all I can think about is CAMPING!! Here are some recipes that I hope to make soon. Let me know if you try them before I do!
   And I sure could use some help figuring out what to do with this cucumber glut. Any ideas???

Monday, July 25, 2011

First official Meatless Monday debuted with Greek Mac and Cheese

I know, I know, when it comes to "eating the rainbow,"
my meal could use more green. I forgot the cukes and onions!
Greek Mac and Cheese, modified to suit ingredients on hand. 
Okay, I managed my first purposeful Meatless Monday. I personally did not eat any meat today, and though I fed cheese sandwiches to the visiting grandgirls for lunch, the DD and Hubby did eat some meat. Hey, gotta change me first, then the world, right? ;)
   For dinner (or supper as we southerners say), we had corn from the garden, deviled eggs (sprinkled with cumin instead of paprika), a fruit salad of cantaloupe, watermelon and nectarine, and my version of a Greek Mac and Cheese I found over on
     Turned out great...despite all my substitutions/deletions! I sautéed Swiss chard, onions, garbanzos, added 4 ounces of cooked shell pasta and mozzarella, tossed it all in a cinnamon/nutmeg/dill spiced Béchamel sauce, then added a topping of Panko crumbs and feta cheese. The garbanzos let me use less pasta, and we're not big on a lot of cheese, so I reduced the cheeses A LOT, as compared to the recipe.
   The fruit salad was marinated in a somewhat reduced mixture of 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
   The cantaloupe in the fruit salad was left on our porch by a kind neighbor. Gotta love that! Found any nice surprises at your doorstep lately? Hope so!!
When I was driving to town yesterday afternoon, I happened upon this dune buggy...been ages since I'd seen one. I always thought they'd be great fun! Anybody know if that's true?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Semi-scratch baking still says I care; Link love

Orange Juice Bundt Cake
When a friend's loved one dies, home-baked goods are my way of saying I care. As the timing for such bakings is often unexpected, semi-scratch recipes come to the rescue. Though I try not to bake it just for us because it's so addictive, Orange Juice Bundt Cake continues to be one of my favorite go-tos to bake and take.
    Orange Juice Bundt Cake
    Boil the glaze longer for a syrupy glaze.
    1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
    1 sm. box vanilla instant pudding
    1 c. orange juice
    ½ c. oil
    4 eggs
    ½  c.  chopped pecans
    1 stick (½  c.)  butter
    ½ c. orange juice
    1 c. sugar
    Grease a bundt pan and sprinkle pecans in bottom of pan. Mix first five ingredients and pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes (until it passes the toothpick test). Meanwhile, place glaze ingredients in a small pan, bring to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove cake from oven and pour glaze over the hot cake while it's still in pan. Cool in pan a few hours before turning the cake out of the pan.

       Gonna be another scorcher today here in western Kentucky...highs in the 90s with the possibility of some thunder-boomers. Hope things are more temperate in your world.  
       If you've got a minute, I'd love to hear what the weather's like in your neck of the woods. Or what have you baked/cooked this weekend??

    P.S. While I'm at it, thought I'd share a few sites that I've enjoyed lately...happy surfing!!

    The glazed cake cooling in its pan, a pan passed on to me from my mom some years back.

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Sharing the blooms, the vows and the blowout!

    The little wisteria sprig we brought back from my aunt's yard in Pensacola last year has grown like crazy and has been blooming in our western Kentucky back yard since the first of July! 
    I don't like to think of myself as a close-minded blockhead, but at 50, I do sometimes have trouble making changes stick. When it comes to being green, I fail as often as I succeed. When I fail at living green, most likely I'm failing at being frugal too. When I fail at being frugal, I'm failing to save money. *SIGH*
       Yeah, there's a reason for my whiny confession! I'm goaling to incorporate some green changes that I hope will make me THINK GREEN more often. Whether you join me or not, you're now my accountability partners, don'cha know!
       High time to ACT instead of just read about changing my life. A YES! Magazine article, 10 Ways to Change Your Life: Not Just Your Lightbulbs, has finally pushed me over the fence on two green changes. Witness here my solemn vows:
    1. Instead of serving all-veggie meals willy-nilly, I vow to join ranks with the Meatless Monday folks (like Jessica Simpson).
    2. Instead of simultaneously surfing/blogging while watching TV/movies, I vow to take a mini-"Eco-sabbath" for AT LEAST ONE uninterrupted 4-hour block of unplugged time per week...and work my way toward a 24-hour once weekly unplugathon. (Exceptions: fridge, freezer and air conditioner/heat pump.)
       Okay, baby steps, I know, but even baby steps can move you in the right direction, eh? Anybody else vowing any new baby steps lately? Feel free to share a link to your posts!
    Had a blow-out in one of my dishwashing gloves--the right hand, as always. I'll save the still-good left hand glove and turn it inside out the next time a right hand glove gets a nick & needs replacing. Thanks to Amy Daczyzn's Tightwad Gazette for that little repurposing tip.

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    On my mind: Chocolate Malted Peanut Butter Chip Muffins

    Dark Chocolate Malted Peanut Butter Chip Muffins
    On my mind: sneaking more whole grains into our diet. These muffins do NOT taste whole grain...just wicked good! I only stole one taste, and it is taking ALL my willpower not to eat a whole one of these bad boys 'til cheat day.
       The hubby, the mum, the pop, and the DD seemed mighty pleased and not the least bit guilty eating these muffins in front of me, but don't cry for me, Argentina, some Dark Chocolate Malted Peanut Butter Chip Muffins with my name on them are waiting out in the freezer!
       Anything healthy-ish sneaking into your diet this week?
      Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking 
    Dark Chocolate Malted Peanut Butter Chip Muffins
    Batter Ingredients:
    1 cup (4 ounces) whole barley flour
    1/2 cup (2 ounces) white whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup (2 ounces) unbleached bread flour
    3/4 cup (2 ¼ ounces) unsweetened Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
    1/4 cup (1 ¼ ounces) malted milk powder
    1 cup (7 ½ ounces) packed light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
    1 & 1/4 cups (10 ounces) buttermilk
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup (6 ounces) peanut butter chips
    Glaze Ingredients:
    6 Tablespoons (2 ¾ ounces) packed light brown sugar
    2 Tablespoons ( ounce) malted milk powder
    2 Tablespoons (  ounce) unsweetened Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
    1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
    1/4 cup (2 ounces) plain yogurt
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    To Make Batter:
    Whisk together the flours, cocoa, malted milk powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until the batter is evenly moistened. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Scoop batter by 1/2 cupfuls into a lightly greased 12-muffin tin.
       Bake in a preheated 375F degree oven 23-25 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.
       Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn muffins onto a rack to finish cooling.
    To Make The Glaze:
    Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and drizzle over the tops of the cooled muffins.
       Thanks, Rhonda at down-to-earth, for sharing this On My Mind concept. What's on your mind today? Share your link here or on down-to-earth. 

    10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy by Jen Angel — YES! Magazine

    Okay, I'm smiling right now...after all, science says it will make me happy! Hmnn, don't feel happier...well, wait, maybe a little! ;)

    10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy by Jen Angel — YES! Magazine

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Not making my bed, well, not right away; Garden update

    When the top part of this set of sheets wore out, I gave them to Mom to use for quilt fabric. She replaced the worn fabric with new material and gave them back instead! She even used the same material to put some little decorative touches on the pillowcases. I really don't think new sheets feel as good as the ones they used to make, so I was tickled pink with the make-over.
       Ever since I was a little girl, making my bed was something I'd do the minute I hopped up in the morning. Not anymore! I read some book on homemaking that recommended a wait of at least an hour before making the bed, to allow the bed to air and any night-time sweat to dry. The author even talked about HOW MUCH sweat accumulates in our sheets overnight, though I can't remember how much.
       Well, gross, I've had the willies ever since. For the last couple of years, I've been waiting at least an hour to make my bed every morn...all because of a book whose title I can't remember.
       This annoys me greatly, because I like to do the annoying little chores first thing and then not have to think about them anymore. I did mention I'm lazy, didn't I? ;)
    By June 28 last year, our little western Kentucky garden was putting zucchini, Yukon golds and yellow tomatoes on our plates.
         This year, the zucchini plants are succumbing one by one to some predator bug, and Hubby refused to plant any potatoes due to potato bugs. On the bright side, we've eaten several zucchini and yellow squash, plus our first precious few yellow and red tomatoes, and with the help of a little fencing, the rabbits are no longer competing for our Swiss chard. Best of all, Hubby just ate the first two ears of corn. I call dibs on the next ones picked!
       How're things looking in your garden these days? Safer topic than asking about your beds, eh? ;)

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    The guy who wrote 'Beaten, Seared, and Sauced' had an epiphany--I want one of those!

    Life, blogs and cookbooks are the closest I'll ever get to cooking school, so I keep an eye, ear and taste-bud out for new ingredients, twists, easier methods. My southern potato salad improved ever since some sweet lolly (little old lady) 'fessed up her secret ingredients: diced pimentos, cayenne and a tiny amount of sugar.
    Finished reading Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America a major kick out of reading this guy's wild ride to becoming a chef. His tight storytelling grabbed me early on. Would he be yelled at today? Would he hold his tongue? Would he quit?
       Despite the boot camp-style torture of instructors constantly screaming at the poor students, how could Dixon not learn with teachers around who urged him to greater culinary prowess daily: "If one day you think that you haven't really learned anything that day, pick up a cookbook and teach yourself something. Otherwise it's been a waste of twenty-four hours."
       I don't have the AHEM to survive a rigorous culinary school any more than I'd make it through boot camp. What's worse, I don't have the drive, the determination, the perseverance to even become the best cook. I enjoy cooking, but truthfully, I'm lazy, almost always looking for shortcuts to produce the tastiest but easiest meal I can.
       While Hubby channel surfs, you'll find me flipping through a cookbook or a blog to pick up a technique or a new ingredient. Oh, the shame of it, I read about cooking more than I cook! ;)
       Though I'm happy enough to be who I am, I will admit to very much envying this Dixon guy his epiphany moment, that moment when all his training coalesces and transforms him from a guy who enjoys cooking into a chef.
       Dixon describes his lightbulb moment beautifully, "I looked the same, but my body felt different. My mind had had a bypass done on it. I felt able. I felt electrified. I saw school and everything about it as an opportunity to try and touch perfection, to hone efficiency, to find at every moment a chance to be better, no matter the external pressures."
       Gotta love that! Not even sure what life skill I should work on honing for my personal epiphany, but Beaten, Seared, and Sauced sure drives home the importance of always learning and improving oneself.
       I want to become passionate enough about something to feel "electrified"! Don't you?

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    On my mind: Not buying lemonade mix or Benedictine Spread

    Homemade semi-scratch Lemonade and Benedictine Spread
    Our packaging waste still weighs heavily on my mind, so add lemonade mix and Benedictine Spread to the list of commercial products I no longer buy.
       Besides, this homemade stuff is super easy!
       I use a food processor and just 3 ingredients for the spread. And while squeezing fresh lemons would be even better, I use concentrated lemon juice most of the time. Yes, I WISH I had a lemon tree in my back yard for a ready source of organic lemon juice, but even using concentrate, this lemonade tastes MUCH better than the packaged powders do. With homemade, just adjust the amount of lemon juice to suit your taste!
    I still haven't given up on trying to use ALL the garden produce, but boy, are the cucumbers ever hard to keep up with! Along with the usual cukes and onions salad, I made a cucumber spread, which consists of only 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 medium cucumber, seeded, and 1 teaspoon of onion salt. I could eat this stuff by the spoonfuls! Since I'm not eating crackers except on Saturdays, I use cucumber chips for dipping and get a double dose of fresh cuke flavor. For a variation on the theme, check out this Taste of Kentucky recipe.

    Semi-scratch Lemonade ingredients...double click to enlarge recipe.
    Finally got around to taking a shot of that cherry pie I made the other day. Hubby was impatient to eat his slice (imagine that!), so all I got was this fuzzy shot. I gave a couple of slices to Mom/Dad yesterday, so all but one frozen slice of the ugliest pie ever is gone.

       Hope everyone has an outstanding weekend lined out?!! Me? Kinda hoping Hubby goes to the farm tomorrow, so I can get some time alone! Y'know, some quality time with that piece of cherry pie waiting in the freezer for cheat day. ;)

       Thanks, Rhonda at down-to-earth, for sharing this On My Mind concept. What's on your mind today? Share your link here or on down-to-earth.  

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Saying goodbye to my first set of dishes; Trying not to eat this ugly cherry pie

    My very first set of dishes: Homer Laughlin Harlequin.
    With only one year of college under my belt, I moved out of home at age 18 and set up housekeeping in a two-bedroom apartment with my brother down in Nashville, Tennessee. These dishes were one of my first purchases toward that new life "out on my own."
       Some are chipped, a few are missing and the top to the sugar bowl has been broken and glued back together, but I still love these and never once thought about selling them, even after all these years.
       Languishing as they were out on a shelf in our garage, these dishes were standing in the way of my minimalist ideal. Hook, line and sinker, I have absolutely swallowed the idea that having fewer possessions will equal having MORE life. But boy, giving up some things is like giving up my past, my younger me. In some ways I liked her better than the me of today. ;)
       Our DD is not "into" these chipped remnants of yesteryear, so I have just given these dishes to a dear cousin, a vintage-loving gal who will cherish them just as much as I did.
       Likely the dishes will earn some new chips as they help to create another lifetime of memories. What better tribute can I pay to my past than to ensure it has a future?
    Ugliest cherry pie I've ever made, but BOY, do I want some of it! Too lazy to get out the recipe, I winged it and ended up using too much shortening in the crust.  Hubby says it tastes great, despite its ugly crust, so I will definitely be freezing a slice for me to eat on cheat day. Awfully glad I remembered to put a drip pan under the pie as it baked. After all these years, don't you think it's time I broke down and bought one of those nifty pie crust shields? Meantime, I'll wash and re-use the foil.
    We had a perfect rain here in western Kentucky yesterday...the kind where you sit on the porch swing and watch the rain come down as the sun shines and steam rises from the road and the roofs. Hubby's in the process of painting our porch columns. He just painted them not too long ago but the paint was old and had taken on a pinkish cast. Bugged him enough for him to paint the columns again!
       When I saw my cousin's eyes shining yesterday as she looked at these, giving them away was easy. I truly mean that and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but it doesn't stop me from mooning over my dishes a bit today. Anyone else still have that first set of dishes or something else that takes you back to your very first home away from home?

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Durned hot day calls for cukes, cookies and closed curtains

    Yeah, I got lazy and didn't take the time to roll my cookies into a perfectly uniform round shape before cutting. Hubby won't care...neither will he care that these don't have a lovely pecan half atop each. He loves the hicans, the hybrid mix of hickory and pecan, that he painstakingly picked out of the shells in 2010. The nuts stay fresh stored in the freezer until I need them. Just used a standard sugar cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking then added the little extras.
      Sugar Cookies sprinkled with hicans and raw sugar. Not gorgeous but they'll tempt Hubby alright!
    Decided to marinate a couple of cukes, sliced onions, fresh mozzarella and diced tomatoes in a quick zesty Italian dressing. Too lazy to hunt down a recipe, I used a cheater mix, but since this is my last packaged dressing mix, I'm gonna have to start from scratch next time. After taking the pic, I remembered the half can of garbanzos in the fridge left from the other night's Squash Tomato Garbanzo Medley and added them as well.
    Okay, this picture is dark...well, that's the point! I walked near this door and could feel the heat coming through. Definitely a day to close the curtains, at least until the sun goes around to the other side of the house. Triple digit temps expected today, and the humidity, OH, the HUMIDITY!! The air conditioner doesn't kick on as often if I block out the day's heat.
       You doing anything different to beat the heat today? For our friends down under, guess it's getting colder. I never would have thought of that if it weren't for blog hopping. I love it that reading blogs gives me a broader view of our great world! Don't you?

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    We have high cholesterol--the good kind--maybe because of foods like this

    Last night's Minimal Meat Meal: Squash Tomato Garbanzo Medley
    Yeah, branching out from always calling things a "mish mash." ;)
       Despite the pics you saw yesterday of some of the road food we've eaten at locally owned joints in the last year, we seldom eat fried foods. Mainly because I am too lazy to clean up the mess in my own kitchen.
       Our blood work tells the tale: we eat fairly healthy most of the time.
       Hubby and I have both been tested and told we have high cholesterol...of the GOOD kind, the HDL. Though I couldn't point to just one thing, I think our abundance of good cholesterol may be attributed to the fact that we consume plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and raw nuts, ground flax seed and LOTS of olive oil. I cook up primarily minimal meat meals, and the lion's share of the protein nowadays consists of what Hubby brings home, including wild turkey, wild caught fish and venison. If, for instance, we have grilled venison steaks one night, the leftovers will be cut up into a stir fry of mostly vegetables for the next night. Minimal meat meals save us both time and money!
       We eat dairy too, including cheeses. These days I eat 6 ounces of organic whole milk plain yogurt daily. I often cook with butter, never margarine. Hubby drinks whole milk. We eat the skin anytime I cook a humanely raised chicken. We sometimes have whole eggs for breakfast, and in the last year or so these eggs have been organic and certified humane.
       Hubby's cholesterol improved once he retired, but my HDL moved up to "amazing" even before we switched to leaner, organic meats. Maybe because I love fish, eat minimal meats & eat ground flax seed on an almost daily basis??? I'm also addicted to sweets, but that's probably not at play here. ;)
       I may have mentioned this before: A few years back, I quit buying "low fat" products after reading REAL FOOD: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck. Her book just made sense to me, and then a few year's later I learned that Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food also validated the principle of eating real foods. For the most part, we just aim to follow Pollan's mantra to eat the way our great grandparents would have eaten.
       Now, it goes without saying: I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV. Can't say this method of eating would work for anyone else, just sayin' what works for us. Capiche? ;)

    (Ingredients in the squash medley: olive oil, sliced sweet onion, zucchini and yellow squash, minced garlic, about a half cup of cooked organic sausage, dried oregano, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons of chicken base, half a can of garbanzo beans, pimiento-stuffed olives, plus about 14 ounces of chopped, fire-roasted tomatoes. Added a little bit of cornstarch and water to make a bit of thickened sauce, and added about 3 tablespoons of minced fresh basil at the end.)

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Breezing by the chains on my way to local joints for happy surprises in food, gifts

    Ms. Becky's, Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Hubby was in such a hurry to get to his fried fish that I didn't manage to get a shot showing all of the huge fish fillet hanging off the edge of his plate. And yes, not ashamed to admit I ate a "chuckwagon" sandwich, aka "country fried steak," which is pretty much a fried hamburger. It was a cheat day after all!
    Kuntry Kutter, Stanley, Kentucky. We happened upon this sweet little shop one day when out cruising on the motorcycle and have been making our way back ever since. Gifts, antiques and collectibles may be found in the red caboose and in a lovely little shop right beside it at the back of the owner's home.
    Jerry's Cajun Café, Pensacola, Florida. Whenever we're lucky enough to be visiting family in Pensacola, we're sure to include a stop at Jerry's Cajun Café. Jerry's HUMONGOUS "Gulfaletta" sandwiches are loaded down with fried shrimp, fish and oysters on New Orleans Gambino's bread then smeared with New Orleans Central Market olive salad. I always buy a jar of the stuff to take home, so we can make our own muffulettas. Guess I should mention that the portions are so large that we split the sandwiches among several people!
    Can't remember the name of the joint in Louisville, Kentucky, that served up these Scotch eggs. These sausage-encased eggs were not properly cooked, but now that I know I love the concept, I'm going to try my hand at making my own. I'll let you know when I get around to trying this New York Times' recipe.
    Cruisers Classic Diner, Owensboro, Kentucky. Some of the best fried sweet potatoes around! When I say I'm "going to town," I'm referring to Owensboro. With a population of only 55,000+, Owensboro's the biggest town in our region of western Kentucky and folks from Indiana shop there as well. Owensboro lays claim to being the barbecue capital of the world, and people from around the world have enjoyed barbecue at its finest at Owensboro's International Barbecue Festival.
         Anyone else passing up the chains for the local joints these days? Feel free to share a link to your favorite local haunts!

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Thanks, Annie and NOVICA, for the great scarf!

    I now own a lovely scarf made in Bali, thanks to Annie and her Novica gift certificate giveaway over on Real Life Living. In association with National Geographic, Novica provides a market for artists and artisans around the world. I thought the background of the scarf would be beige but it is more of a saffron color, which I think I like even better! (When I hand washed the scarf, the water turned yellow, but the color did not "bleed" into the other colors of the scarf. No worries there!) By the time this load of laundry washed, my lovely new scarf was dry and ready to wear. Thanks, Annie and Novica!

    Living a Little Greener shares a fun new way to view a blog

    Living a Little Greener just shared a "bit of fun" to be had when reading Blogger blogs; type /view at the end of the URL and see what happens. For instance, try typing:

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    On my mind: Edible landscaping and using up zucchini!

    Okay, I'll give this edible landscaping a a little bed at the front entry no less! To an existing bit of blue rug juniper, a couple of small bushes, some chives, white phlox and a mum, I've added red cabbage, fennel, thyme, Greek oregano and Texas tarragon. Added a couple of non-edibles: two coleus whose variegated leaves will add a blend of green plus the deep red color as found in the cabbages. I figured I'd let this bed grow a tad and then fill in with some types of flowers once I decide what more color is needed to keep it from just looking like a vegetable patch. Wish me luck!
    Toted my plants bought on clearance home in the marine cooler that pretty much lives in my car. Absolutely LOVE having a cooler ready on hand whenever I need one!
    Hey, I'm keeping up with the zucchini so far!! Used up the harvest today with a zucchini gratin and a crustless zucchini quiche. I love pie crusts, but trying not to eat anything but "slow carbs," except on cheat days.

    Little grandgirl hands were a big help when adding herbs and layers of zucchini, onions, panko crumbs & dairy to the gratin.

    I thought I had heavy cream in the fridge, but Hubby had used it all for his coffee! Had to fall back and punt: used a mixture of sour cream and mayo instead.
       Isn't it fun to be in the thick of summer nowadays? For those of you down under, I guess the reverse is true: likely you're happy to get a bit of a cool down! Wherever you are, hope today shone brightly upon you, whatever the temperature or weather!!
       Thanks, Rhonda at down-to-earth, for sharing this On My Mind concept. What's on your mind today? Share your link here or on down-to-earth.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Let freedom ring while repurposing beauty products; Baking flops still better than store bought goods

    Happy Red, White and Blue!! Ringing in Independence Day with Crumb-topped blueberry Muffins. Just HAD to try a new recipe, even tho' I have one I like. Found these tasty but not as tender as I like, but DD pronounced them AMAZING. (NOTE: Just discovered an online reference about this recipe I'd found in Kentucky Monthly Magazine, and 1/3 cup of vegetable oil was left out of the recipe they'd published.)
    Strawberry Cobbler made from frozen berries that I thought Mom had already sweetened. NOPE, not sweetened! I did wonder about this, but not being hungry, I couldn't make myself try one of the thawed strawberries. So this baking stumble could have been prevented. My cobbler topping is as sweet and tender as ever tho', and a little ice cream or drizzled honey will sweeten these strawberries right up! (The hot cobbler is pictured on the floorboards of our car, en route to where Hubby was yesterday...I don't have one of those lovely carriers that they make nowadays for toting hot dishes, so I make do.)
    I just CANNOT make myself toss out products, even if I don't like them for their original uses.
    • Bought this defoliator on final clearance for $5 bucks, but when I used it to remove my leg hairs, this handy dandy sander removed a bit of my skin too! Now I use this device for smoothing my rough heels. Works beautifully!
    • I forgot my lotion on our trip to San Diego, so I ended up bringing home this lotion that's scented too strongly for me. I use it instead to "wash" my hands after I get hairspray or makeup on them during my morning routine. Keeps my hands from getting dried out during repeated washings! 
    • This facial mask is one that DD left behind unused. As my skin is too sensitive for face masks, I use this as a body scrub instead. Works wonderfully well!
       I also use unwanted hair conditioner as shaving cream, and I know others do this too. My brain just isn't working this morn, but I know there are a gajillion ways to repurpose beauty products. Care to share any of your favorites?

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Here comes the sun: Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

    Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. By the time I got around to taking my pic, the olive oil had pooled a little. I would stir the pesto again before serving. I was actually making this for later, but I couldn't resist taking a taste. Wow! Got this recipe from a relative at a BIG family was the most requested recipe among all the goodies that showed up. No one remembers where it originated.
    Couldn't be simpler with so few ingredients and a food processor. Took me longer to pick and wash the basil than anything else. This basil came from one of our flower/veggie excited to experiment with more basil this year. We've got 5 plants out there for me to keep up with! (See below for recipe.)
    Looks like this after grinding the first five ingredients in the food processor. If I didn't like olive oil, I'd stop here and spoon the stuff over pork chops or something else to bake! 
    Double click to enlarge. This recipe stayed in my purse too long after I copied it. (*The two little boxed off areas are just grocery reminders!*) Hope you can read this...a little tight for time right now, but I could translate my "chicken-scratch" later if need be!
       If you can believe it, I think I'm going to try a little of this pesto on Gorton's Breaded Tilapia Fish Fillets. (Not a paid endorsement. In fact, I know I should be embarrassed to admit we eat ready-made frozen, breaded fish fillets! Um, we do cook them first. ;)  
       Feeling too lazy to cook tonight! What's for dinner over at your place?
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