Cherish Yesterday...Dream Tomorrow...Live Today

Monday, September 26, 2011

What a Week!

What a week it was!  I had the flu worse than I have had in years.  I came down with it Tuesday night and it was like a lost week.  My fever was so high at one point, I think I lost about a day and a half!  My husband's birthday was Friday and we didn't get to go away like we planned but we were able to make the trip Sunday.  I am on an antibiotic for an Upper Respiratory infection and I am feeling better every day. 

I took the opportunity to do some sit-down hand stitching on some scrap coasters for my craft room.  I got the idea from that cool felt craft book I got the fox pin out of.  They turned out cute and I had everything I needed to make them.  I used cd's for the shape.  I like a big coaster so that worked out well.  I used scraps from my sewing apron I made.  I love that fabric with the sewing machines, dress forms and most importantly-cats!  How appropriate for a craft room.  I used all blue felt but I like the example in the book where they used different colors. 

I was feeling up to having pizza night Saturday.  I made two kinds.  One was just a very simple Sloppy Joe pizza with ground beef browned with a can of Manwich sauce added.  Put that mixture on a Boboli crust and top with cheese.  Bake according to the crust directions.  It was a big hit with the boys.  The slice on the right was a garlic mashed potato pizza I saw on Joyful Homemaking.  I used caramelized Vidalia onions instead of red ones and I used a pizza blend shredded cheese but it was yummy.  It reminded me of pierogies.  Very different and very delicious.

I also wanted to show you a fantastic warm drink now that we are heading into Fall.  It is a hot malted milk and I got  the recipe from Claire Robinson's show on Food Network.  You just warm 4 cups of milk with a split and scraped vanilla bean.  Add 2/3 cup plain malt powder and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Stir until there are no lumps.  Pull out the vanilla bean and serve.  I love all those flecks of vanilla flavor.  What I like about this is that you can put the leftover drink in the fridge and warm it in the microwave as you would like it.  It hit the spot. 

I bought the cutest Halloween decoration I have ever seen when my husband and I were away yesterday.  I will take a picture and show you next week.  Normally, I do all my Halloween decorating the first of October but there is a big family wedding next Saturday and my birthday is Sunday, so I am hoping I can at least start it.  I have 2 cute Halloween projects I am working on now and I want to finish them. 

Dancing With The Stars has started up again for a new season and you know how obsessed I become with that!  It is too soon to pick a favorite, but I will be watching tonight.  Have a wonderful week and take care.  Nancy  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chair Rehab and Artichoke Recipe

Happy Sunday everyone!  The weather here in Northern NY is sunny and slightly cool.  I have been bookmarking all the wonderful Fall/Halloween ideas I am seeing on all of the blogs I follow.  You guys are sooo talented.  I am in awe!

I am sure you are wondering what that picture is doing at the top of this post.  This chair was a hand-me-down a couple of times once removed(if you get my drift).  I had no intention of letting it in my house, let alone my sanctuary(craft room).  Well, my husband purchased  a computer for me just for my craft room so I could blog a little easier.  I so appreciated that grand gesture from him, but I had to admit, my beautiful wing back chair that I had been using at my sewing machine, wasn't cutting it as a mobile chair to slide between my sewing machine and the computer.  My husband offered to buy me a new office chair on wheels.  I thought of the above chair and felt that, while enough money had been spent on the computer, I should be able to do something with that chair.  I purchased some heavy duty denim and a can of that awesome Krylon Fusion spray paint in blue.  The frame of the chair was metal, but the bottom was heavy duty plastic.  The paint can said it adhered to both.  I am very happy with the results. 
I now have my comfy wing back chair over by my closet so I can knit or do hand sewing and watch the little flat screen tv that is on the wall.  Sometimes when I am working on something, my boys or my husband come in and sit in the wing back and chat with me while I am in there.  That is nice.  I couldn't really have visitors before.  Also Mickey comes in and curls up and keeps me company.   Now can you see why it is my sanctuary? 

I want to share a great Bisquick recipe with you.  These Artichoke Squares are wonderful as a hearty snack or as dinner with a bowl of soup.  Here is the list of ingredients and the recipe:                       
heat oven to 375 degrees, spray 15x10 pan with non-stick spray
In a large bowl, stir together to form a dough:
3 cups Bisquick, 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, 2/3 cup water, 2 Tablespoons canola oil.
Beat 20 strokes and let stand 10 minutes.  Press dough in pan and up sides.  Bake 9-11 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups mayo, 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, 1 jar(7 oz) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped, 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 2 teaspoons garlic powder.  Stir in 2-14 oz. cans artichoke hearts drained and chopped.  Spread it over the partially baked crust.  Pop back in the oven 15 minutes.  Set the oven to broil and broil with the pan 6 inches away from the top element until golden brown.  Cut into squares and serve.  They are so good. 

I also wanted to let you know I tried a brioche recipe for my bread machine and it was perfection!  I can never find Brioche locally when I need it for a bread pudding or French toast recipe.  Well now I can make my own.  If you are interested in the recipe, you can get it here.  It turned out so buttery and rich, it was awesome.  The crust was crepey just like the bakery Brioche I have had in the past.  The butter content is not for the weak of heart though, but this is not an everyday "bread with dinner" recipe. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.  Hubs is celebrating his birthday this week.  He wants to visit a casino/resort nearby.  I look forward to the beautiful colors of fall in the landscape as we drive there.  I hope everyone can find the time for some creativity this week.  I have several projects in the hopper.  Take care.                         Nancy 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bacon Makes Everything Better

Hi everyone.  I wanted to jump right in today with an awesome bacon recipe.  This lusciousness pictured above is called bacon biscuit cups.  All you need to make these beauties: 6 oz. softened cream cheese, 1 lg. egg, 2 Tablespoon milk, 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, 1 chopped green onion, a 10 oz. tube refrigerated biscuits, and 8 cooked bacon slices-chopped.  Preheat your oven to 375.  Beat the cream cheese and egg.  Add the milk and beat until smooth.  Stir in the Swiss and the green onion.  Meanwhile, grease a 12 section muffin tin.  Flatten each of the 10 biscuits with your fingers and put one in each muffin tin, pressing them in the bottom and up the sides as much as you can.  Divide up the chopped bacon evenly among the 10 cups.  Spoon the cream cheese filling over the bacon.  Bake for 22 minutes.  If you wish(and I did), sprinkle more chopped green onions on top and slightly press them into the tops of the cups.  Serve and enjoy!  They are amazing. 

I also had to show you this adorable pin I made to add to my sister's birthday gift.  She and I are true animal lovers and ever since we were children, we have been drawn to whimsical animals as toys and books-you name it.  This picture doesn't do it justice but it turned out really cute. 
I bought this awesome new felt book and there are a million great ideas in there(well maybe not a million, but alot!).  I am going to work on some coasters for my craft room today that are in this book.  Also, there is a cute sewing machine cover that I may make for my serger.  You should check this book out if you get a chance.

I have been on a Krylon kick lately.  I bought that Fusion paint for my plastic Adirondack chair and foot stool.  Now, I felt it was time to try the chalkboard spray paint.  I don't know what took me so long!  I am one of those people who likes to leave reminders and notes all over the place for me and my family.  I had a dry-erase board in my craft room.  I don't know if it was ever pictured in the background on this blog, but it was not working very well.  I purchased it very inexpensively at Walmart.  It was for a high school kid's locker and it was a dark royal blue.  I thought it would look nice in my blue craft room.  The black dry erase marker didn't show up at all on it.  It was already screwed to the wall and I wasn't sure how to fix it. 

Well, with just a gentle sandpapering for tooth, it was sprayed with the chalkboard paint.  Now it is functional.  I love that it also retained the magnetic quality it had as a dry-erase board.  Now, just like the fusion paint, I am searching for something else to make into a chalkboard!  I do have a Halloween project in mind I saw on a very crafty blog-I will show you later. 

Our weather here in the Northeast is becoming a little more fall-like.  The evenings have been cooler which makes sleeping comfortable.  It was wonderful to have my husband remove all the window AC units.  I love having the windows open.  The house just feels fresher, not so stale. 

My thoughts today are going back 10 years, as I am sure many of you are doing the same.  I have no words that could adequately express my sorrow for those who lost a loved one that day.  I guess I can only continue to hope we see no more such horrific acts.   Take care.    Nancy   

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back To School

I hope everyone is doing well on this muggy, humid Sunday.  It is officially back to school Tuesday for me after a couple of staff development days last week.  I had to show my most recent shoe purchase.  While I was ordering my younger son's back to school sneakers, it seemed a shame not to take advantage of the buy one get one half off deal at Famous Footwear.  So, I just happened to find these adorable Aerosole grey suede booties.  You know how I am with my shoes!  I have an upcoming family wedding that I plan to wear a fringed slim grey plaid skirt and I can picture these shoes with the outfit. 

I am particularly happy with a recent project.  I love it when I make something that turns out to be really useful.  I found the instructions for these neck pillows here.  At first I thought they looked difficult.  You can't see it from my picture, but they are three-sided.  That slightly intimidated me.  But they are really easy.  I love how easy they are to position behind your neck with the ribbon handles at the side.  I have a herniated disc in my neck and these are awesome!  They make reading or watching tv in bed or on the couch so comfortable.  I also love that you can choose your fabric to personalize them as a gift.  Sew4Home is a great resource for cool ideas and the instructions make the projects doable.  Check them out. 

I am also quite excited about a recent purchase.  I bought this Food Network bread machine from Kohls of all places.  I got a good deal on it.  I have been wanting to buy a bread machine for some time.  When I was first married I had one and loved it, but I sold it.  I am thinking we needed the money.  That was over 20 years ago and bread machines had just come out and they were over $200.  We were a one income family and I probably got a chance to sell it and thought it was the right thing to do.  Anyhow,  I paid less than $100 for this and I am loving it!  It is staying in my possession!  I have been making bread like a mad woman.  There are so many places to get great bread machine recipes.  I remember with my first one, I kind of stuck to the recipe book that came with the machine.  Now I have found so many on line, including a brioche recipe I am dying to try.  I made a delicious honey wheat bread that was wonderful toasted.    
This recipe calls for 3/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup yogurt, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 pkg yeast.  I substituted sour cream for the yogurt and honey for the sugar.  It was fantastic.  Now I just have to do some rearranging in my kitchen, because I do not want it left out on my counter.  It is quite large.

I hope everyone has a great week ahead.  I am still excited about Halloween this year and I have collected many great ideas from all of you.  I have been hitting the blog link parties and more and more Fall and Halloween ideas are coming in.  Take care.                   Nancy