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

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Trying New Things

Hi everyone and happy Sunday evening!  I want to start out by saying I am so sorry to those of you who have left comments that I have not answered.  I am desperately trying to learn more about blogging and how to do things more efficiently.  Some established bloggers are very generous to give tips on how to do basic things(like responding to comments) and I am trying to learn from them.  Please be patient with me and keep commenting.  I will get it in gear soon! 

 I want to start out buy saying that I have been a busy girl this week.  I read alot of posts about making laundry detergent and I was intrigued.  I decided to give it a go and combined several recipes and added a little bit of my own idea and here it is.  I used 1 1/2 cup Borax, 2 cups washing soda, 1 cup baking soda and 1 1/2 bars grated Yardley English Lavender soap.  I put 2 Tablespoons of the detergent in the machine with running water before I add my clothes and so far, so good.  I am doing the math as to how cost efficient it is.  I am presently researching a homemade fabric softener recipe .  It may be difficult to find one that works. 

I also mentioned I had a horrible cold last week.  I was not wishing to be put on another antibiotic so I was pulling out all the stops to feel better and get through it.  I came across this tutorial for shower vapor discs and had to try them.  They turned out pretty good.  I found they melted very quickly in the shower so I am letting them cure longer in the jar I have them in.  Taking a good whiff of the jar when I remove the lid has been very nasal-opening!  I am a huge fan of essential oils so this idea appealed to me. 

I remembered some cotton crochet thread I have had for several years doing nothing, not earning its keep in my yarn stash when I saw this cool washcloth crochet tutorial on Aesthetic Nest.  Her instructions and pictures are perfect for a crochet newbie like me.  The multicolor one(which is folded in the picture) is from her pattern.  The white one is done in half double crochet and I got fancy and did a crochet border around it like I saw on a You Tube video.  I swear, you can find such great instructions for so many crafts out there.  All you need to do is look.  I have no excuse not to try a new craft anymore.  I have two knitted scarves I am working on, but I am drawn to crochet.  I am really enjoying it. 

Lastly, I want to share a delicious orange jello salad with you.  I had a similar salad at a party at our neighbor's house when I was young and I have been searching for something like it(from what I remember).  This is close.  I took an 11oz. can of mandarin oranges and drained them, reserving the juice.  I put the juice in a 2 cup glass measuring cup and set aside.  I boiled water in my tea kettle and right before it was ready, I heated the orange juice in the microwave until very hot.  To that juice, I added enough boiling water to make 2 cups.  I whisked in 2- 3oz. packages of orange gelatin.  I took 1/3 of a half gallon of orange sherbet with a vanilla ice cream swirl and added it to the very hot and totally combined orange gelatin mixture.  Stir that until all the ice cream melts.  Add the reserved mandarin oranges.  Pour into a jello mold sprayed with non stick spray or a pretty glass bowl that you won't have to unmold.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours.  It is very refreshing and tastes like a Creamsicle.

I just learned how to turn off that annoying thing on my comments that makes you type in the fuzzy nonsensical codes to prove you are a person and not a spamming computer.  I didn't even realize I had it on there until someone politely told me!  I hope you all have a great week.  Take care.  Nancy 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Sewing Caddy and an Unusual Dinner

Hi and happy Sunday everybody!  I am excited to have tomorrow off from school so I will be sleeping in a little.  I am trying to shake yet another cold which is threatening to turn into a sinus infection.  Rest is probably going to do me good! 

I can't wait to share this adorable sewing caddy I made.  I got the idea from this tutorial from Flamingo Toes.  I love her blog.  It will be so handy to not have to get my sewing kit out just to grab a tool that I use frequently.  My husband cut the block for me out of scrap wood and I painted it and distressed it with a dry brush and sand paper.  I used little wooden spools for the legs.  I also used thumb tacks in place of the upholstery tacks she used.  I glued on buttons and a cute sewing machine button(shank removed) to dress it up further.  I love it and it will be handy.  I love cute things but I really love cute and useful things! 

I also wanted to pass along a recipe for pierogi casserole.  I love pierogies but it never occurred to me that a casserole of these flavors would be successful!  Think of it-potatoes and pasta?  I have died and gone to heaven!  Cook 9 lasagna noodles as the package directs.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl put 4 cups hot mashed potatoes(I used instant), 1/2 cup cream cheese spread with onion and chive, 6 thinly sliced green onions, 1/2 cup crumbled crisply cooked bacon, and 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and layer the pasta and the potato mixture.  On top, spread 1 cup shredded cheddar and another 1/2 cup chopped bacon.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until heated through.  Uncover and bake another 5 minutes.  Let sit for about 5 minutes and serve.  We used it as a main course and served it with bread(more carbs!) and a Caesar salad.  It was delish.  The bacon was enough meat for me, but if you bring this to a pot luck or other gathering, it could be a side dish.  Enjoy! 

I hope everyone has a nice week and manages to stay warm and well.   I got a charm pack of Nancy Drew fabrics for Christmas and I am dying to do something with it.  Take care.  Nancy

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Resolution Keeping and A Snowman

Happy Sunday evening everyone.  We have been busy around here lately-except for Mickey of course!  She has a life of leisure.  Every time my husband tries to lay on the couch to watch a game, Mickey is right there to stretch out with him.  I think he is as crazy about her as I am!  We have been very busy trying to organize our household.  I am a huge lover of organization and order, as is my husband so we decided to really try to make our life less stressful by making everything as neat as possible.  He has been tackling our desk and mountain of paperwork.  I can't get over how much we accumulate.  We are on the right track and things are going well.  A resolution that is actually being kept-who would have thought! 

The bare table in my kitchen has been driving me crazy so I sewed a table runner. 

Isn't he cute?  I got the idea from Amy at Sew Incredibly Crazy .  I had to make one snowman instead of two like she did because my table isn't very big in the kitchen.  I also omitted the arms.  I am very pleased with how it turned out. 

I got in a hurry to finish it before dinner and wasn't paying attention and sewed it together face to face with the batting in the middle.  Have you ever done something silly like that when hurrying?  I was kind of annoyed with myself.  It ended up taking me longer to rip it out and redo the stitching.  Now I have a zillion tiny white bits of thread all over my floor.  Lesson learned-take your time!  All's well that ends well because with a little vacuuming, my craft room will be back to normal and I love the finished runner.  Finally my table has some color and character. 

I mentioned some time ago I would share my cream of broccoli soup recipe.  Because it is not a real recipe but a concoction I just throw together, I will give you the general idea and I am sure if you choose to make it, it will be fine.  I just cook frozen broccoli and baby carrots in chicken stock until tender.  Sometimes, I use water flavored with chicken bouillon cubes(quite a few) to cook my veggies in instead.  The result is saltier but that can be a good thing!  I cook whatever veggies I would like.  Sometimes I add potato cubes or cauliflower in the beginning and I almost always add frozen corn towards the end of the veggies cooking.  When everything is done to your satisfaction, you can add half and half to taste.  If you go this route, add a couple of pats of butter and you are done.  It is a thinner soup, but very delicious.  If you require a thicker soup, make a roux with 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons flour and slowly add 1 cup half and half.  I like to add shredded cheese blend if I intend to thicken the soup.  Add the thick cheesy goodness to your chicken broth based veggies and stir until thickened.  Either way it is awesome.  It is a great way to use up vegetables and I love that it is customizable for whomever you are feeding.  My oldest only likes potatoes in it-which makes it cream of potato soup! 

Our weather has been bizarre this last week.  I feel that Easter should be around the corner with the balmy temperatures we have had!  Maybe the madness will end and Winter will continue.  I have some snow days to hope for!  Take care.   Nancy

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year

I hope this Sunday evening is finding everyone doing well.  I had a good and fairly uneventful weekend-just the way I like it!  We put away our Christmas decorations and I put out all my snowman stuff.  Every year I try to make some things to add to my collection.  This year I will be making a snowman table runner for my kitchen table.  Actually that is in the works.  Today, I stitched a cute little pillow hanging I saw in a magazine. 

It is made of felt.  I used 4"x4" squares for the front and back and just traced a very simple snowman onto white felt. I used blanket stitching and basic embroidery for the features to finish him up.  I love the button color I used.  I had some satiny black rope trim that I used to hang him up and there you have it.  I can't remember what magazine I saw this in, but I recalled how cute I thought it was and thought it would be quick to make. 

He fits in quite nicely with all my snowmen!

I also found time to get in the kitchen this morning and make a yummy coffee cake.  It is a pecan cherry coffee cake and it was easy.

 Turn your oven to 400 degrees and spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.  Melt 5 1/3 Tablespoons butter in a small saucepan.  Pour that melted butter in the bundt pan and swish it around up the sides.  Sprinkle the melted butter with 1/3 cup brown sugar, 6 oz. whole maraschino cherries, and 1/3 cup pecans.  Set aside and prepare your batter: 2 cups Bisquick, 2 Tablespoons white sugar, 2/3 cup milk, 1 egg and 2 Tablespoons very soft butter.  Mix it by hand until smooth and spoon it over your sugar mixture in the bundt pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Immediately flip onto a plate.  Cool for a bit and glaze as desired.  As you can see from the picture, I desired much glaze! 

I have a tip for you about Bisquick.  A long time ago, when I was single and didn't bake as much as I do now, I went to make a Bisquick Impossible cheesecake for a party at work, and discovered my Bisquick had become "buggy" in the cupboard.  I had to run out to the grocery store and purchase a new box to make my cheesecake.  I talked to my Mom and she shared with me that she had experienced that once with oats so she kept her oats in the fridge from then on.  I decided to keep my flour, oats and Bisquick in the fridge and have done it ever since!  It has never affected the performance of any of these ingredients, and I feel better using it.  I used to keep my Bisquick in a clunky plastic container that poured and I usually made a mess trying to measure it for a recipe.  Well, I found something better!

This container is made by Oxo and I found it at my local Bed Bath and Beyond.  It was kind of pricey but it has been a lifesaver!  Measuring out my Bisquick is easy and mess free.  I just keep it on the bottom shelf of my fridge-right next to the canister of flour and the cardboard container of oats!

I also wanted to pass along a killer hot drink idea I found on another blog. 

  This is a picture of a hot caramel apple cider float and it is beyond good!  I found it on Shaken Together and had to give it a try.  I am not a coffee drinker and due to my newly discovered chocolate allergy, I had to give up hot chocolate.  I love my tea and my chai but sometimes you need something special to warm you up.  This is it!  The only problem I had is that I wanted one every night!  Proceed with caution-you will be hooked! 

I have several projects in the beginning stages, so I hope I have time this week to work on them.  It has been wintry here which is different from last winter.  It makes curling up in the evening and watching tv really cozy.  I suspect I will want to knit and crochet more instead of sewing.  The snowman table runner I am making should entice me back into my sewing room!  Stay warm everyone and take care.   Nancy