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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cute Organization and another Yummy Pizza

Hi all.  I have been a busy girl this week, crafting and cooking.  I am going to jump right in, showing you what I have been up to.  Look at the picture above.  I think we all have mugs we don't use.  Sometimes, they are gifts; sometimes freebies.  My husband got this one at a training class he had to take for his job.  I made this one into something useful-an organizational mug caddy. 

    I used Simplicity 2450.  This has many applications.  It would work for a student's desk, kitchen counter, or even a bedside table.  It would make a nice gift with fabric that matches the recipient's taste.  You could use a mug you have or get one from the dollar store.  I love versatile yet useful things and I am a sucker for anything that keeps clutter to a minimum because I tend to be a clutter bug! 
There are pockets everywhere inside and out that could hold a multitude of things.  There are ideas on the pattern for dressing your caddy up with rick rack or using plastic mesh for the pocket.  Neat!

Speaking of organization, I ordered this bobbin holder from Amazon and it came a few days ago.  Clover makes it and it is easy to load up and takes little space.  I like it but I was hoping I could just add levels to it, but I can't find add-ons.  I may have to buy another whole set because I have just about filled this one up.  Oh well, it beats the box I had them in! 

I have to share what just may be my favorite of my homemade easy pizzas.  It is a white garlic pizza.  My oldest son is totally convinced that a pizza joint a half hour's drive from here has the best white pizza around.  I had to do something about that because I felt that was a throw down!  I started by cracking a couple of cloves of garlic and tossing them in a small saucepan with about 1/4 cup of olive oil.  I simmered it on a very low heat for a short time(about 6-8 minutes).  You should be able to smell the garlic.  Discard the garlic cloves.  Spread some of that garlic infused olive oil on a Freschetta or Boboli crust.  Sprinkle with shredded pizza blend cheese or straight mozzarella, whichever you choose.  Then I take small spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and dollop them on top of the other shredded cheese.  Don't go hog wild with this step.  You don't want to overwhelm the pizza with ricotta.  Sprinkle your pizza with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste(I go heavy on the pepper).  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  The color of the shredded cheese should be lightly brown like the picture.  It is so good.  My son agreed it tasted almost as good as his favorite pizzeria.  I like it better because it is not swimming in grease!  I hope you try it. 

I hope everyone has a great week with lots of creativity and crafting thrown in.  For those of you affected by Hurricane Irene, you are in my thoughts.  Take care.   Nancy  

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Countdown Begins

In a little over a week, I will be back to work.  I spoke with a friend today whose sister in law is a teacher and made an amusing and very accurate observation about summer vacation.  She likened summer vacation to a weekend: June is like Friday night, July is like Saturday, with all day and a night with the next morning to sleep in, and August is like Sunday, moving fast and with Monday to look forward to.   How true!

Some of my flowers are still looking good and blooming away.  My black-eyed Susans, pictured above, are spreading to a nice thick mass of bright flowers.  Gardening has been a bright spot in my summer break.  I learned all the names of the flowers I have.  This is a whirling butterfly in the back of this picture next to my house.   I think the name suits it. 

I have alot of projects on the go this week.  I have some sewing and some painting I want to do.  When the weather gets a little cooler, I will get back to my knitting and crocheting.  For some reason, my mind keeps drifting to Halloween projects.  I have always loved Halloween but I am surprised it is distracting me this year.  I haven't decorated much for that holiday in the last couple of years.  When my boys were little, I went all out but now, I just haven't gotten into the spirit.  I think I may have some fun with it this year. 

I wanted to share a project with you.  I forgot to take a before picture and I realize this isn't exactly a 10 on the difficulty meter, but I think this is a vast improvement.  I started out with a free vinyl footrest.  It was grey and my friend who moved out of state gave it to me.  The chair that went with it was cracked.  I then purchased a matching chair at a local drugstore for 14 dollars.  It was faded peach in color but the style was what I wanted-Adirondack.  I purchased a couple of cans of Krylon Fusion for plastic and voila-a matched set.

 My husband built me two wooden Adirondack chairs years ago and I painted them white.  They are very heavy to move around so they stay put out by our fire pit.  This is a nice light weight set to move around where I may want to read a magazine in the afternoon.  I can even drag them up on the pool deck.  The foot rest makes it a  very comfortable set.  That fusion spray paint is awesome.  I am looking around to see what other plastic thing needs painting!

Now on to something sweet!  I made cream cheese blondies today.  They are pretty darn good and totally satisfy that sweet craving plus they were super easy too!  Ready?  Take a yellow cake mix and add 1 cup chopped pecans and 1 egg and 1 stick of melted butter.  Mix well and pat in a lightly greased 9x 13 pan.  In the same bowl, take one 8 oz. pkg. softened cream cheese, 2 eggs and a 16 0z. pkg. powdered sugar and beat with a hand mixer until smooth.  Pour over the crust.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate.  Cut into bars and enjoy!

I think I will get back to straightening my craft room.  My husband installed a regular door on my craft room to replace the bifold door(big improvement at keeping my kitty out when I am using my iron!) and we found some storage for the games that were taking up most of the top shelf of my storage so I have been happily rearranging.  I hope everyone has a great week.  Take care.  Nancy 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

More Footwear and a Twist on a Classic

As I try to enjoy my last few weeks of vacation, I have been reading about all the copycat McDonalds icy coffee drinks and I was jealous.  I don't drink coffee.  Then I remembered that iced chai tea is amazingly refreshing so I ordered some Pacific green chai tea mix from Amazon(I can't find it locally) and it has been my afternoon beverage of choice.  That and a good afternoon read make me feel like I really am on vacation.  My son is done with his summer job so I can sleep in on days we don't have an annoying appointment! We have a teeth cleaning appointment this week and my son has a hair cut.  I used to love teeth cleanings but that was before I had so much tooth sensitivity and my dentist began deciding he wanted to "replace" some of my old fillings.  I wonder if my family is secretly putting one of his kids through college!

This week I made some slippers from a pattern.  They were a little fussy to sew the soul
on and ease it all in neatly but I think they turned out cute.  I got an idea on another blog to put minky in as the lining.  How cushy would that be?!  Flannel would also be a good lining or even terry cloth for some spa slippers.  Now that I have made one pair, I am sure I won't wait too long to make another.  

Lately, I have been trying out alot of new recipes.  I have been increasingly daring with altering even new recipes and making them my own.  So far, my family has been pretty happy with my efforts.  I must say, I am very lucky that my husband and younger son are not picky eaters and love a good experiment.  My older son is like me-he's a little fussy.  I don't eat much meat and he eats very few vegetables.  At any rate, I believe this taco chicken mac and cheese I came up with was a winner all the way around.  Are you ready?  Here we go:  Cut up 1 large red bell pepper and a couple of scallions.  Cook those on low heat with a little butter and salt and pepper.  You just want them soft.  Meanwhile cook about 12 ounces of rotini or your favorite pasta.  Drain the pasta and make your cheese sauce.  In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Add 1 tablespoon flour and cook and stir until you feel you have cooked out the raw flour taste.   Whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder and a pinch of salt.  Add 1 1/4 cups of milk and whisk until smooth and starting to thicken over low heat.  Add 2 cups of shredded monteray jack cheese.  You can use whatever cheese you want but this was good for us.  Stir until thickened.  Take off the heat and add the reserved cooked macaroni, the pepper and scallion, and some shredded rotisserie chicken.  You can serve it from here but I chose to put it in a greased casserole and crush up tortilla chips on top.  I put it in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.  If you worry that it will dry out in the oven, add a little milk to make it creamier before you put it in the casserole.  I was making cornbread to serve with it, and I didn't want the mac and cheese to cool off while we waited for the cornbread to finish.   Well, there you have it.  It was very good and the leftovers were good too.  That is always a plus! 

Have a great week everyone.  I have some back to school shopping to do along with those errands.  Here's hoping my dentist finds nothing to replace!  Take care.     Nancy

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer is Flying By

Good morning everyone and happy Sunday.  Now that August is here, this is where the time really flies!  I will be back to school soon so I am trying to make the most of my time.  First I want to share something that made me VERY happy on  My wishes have been granted.  My most favorite craft book is coming out with a sequel! December...
I can't wait!  You know how I loved the first book.  I hope this one is as great.  It looks like it will be. 

I wanted to share a project I made last week.  I was blog wandering, as I do in my spare time, and came across The Mother Huddle.  She made the cutest fabric flip flops.  What a genius and easy idea!  I had to make them.  Being a little more picky than the average person, I couldn't have frayed edges on my fabric so I followed her suggestion to get the sewing machine out.  I used a fat quarter, which for some reason I am buying a ton of lately.  I split it into 4 strips lengthwise and made tubes, right sides together.  I then turned them right side out and continued with her instructions.  I made only one knot instead of two.  They are so light and comfortable and the sky is the limit.  

Now to share a knock-out recipe with you.  I made a Bisquick breakfast casserole that was pretty incredible.  We had it for dinner one night because I love serving breakfast any time of day.  It definitely was hearty enough for dinner.  Set the oven to 375 degrees and  spray a 13x9 pan with non-stick spray.  Put 1/4 cup butter in prepared pan and place it in the oven to melt.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, put 2 cups baking mix, 1 cup milk, and 2 eggs.  Whisk until there are only tiny lumps.  Pour over melted butter in pan.  Layer 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, 3 cups cubed cooked ham, 6 pieces cooked chopped bacon(or more to your taste), and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.  In a large bowl, mix 1 cup milk, 6 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard and a dash of ground nutmeg.  Pour over the whole casserole.  Bake 35-40 minutes and let stand about 10 minutes before serving.  It is fantastic.  The leftovers were even better the next day.  This would be great to bring to a brunch.  Enjoy! 

I wanted to show you a picture of what I saw when I was watering my garden recently.  We have been using the AC alot lately so our house has been closed up tight.  When we get a chance, we like to open the windows and let fresh air in so it doesn't feel so stuffy.  Mickey heard noises outside and had to take advantage of the windows being opened.  I talked to her the whole time I watered the garden.  She has never been outside so she acts very cautious but her curiosity gets the best of her! 

I hope everyone has a great week ahead.  Take advantage of what is left of summer.  Take care.  Nancy