Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tea on Tuesday: Upside Down and Drizzly

The mild weather we were having yesterday turned into cloudy, cold and drizzly weather today. That makes it an especially good day for tea.  Even better, tea with dessert.  Twinings Organic African Honeybush  & Lemon tea along with Upside Down Pear & Ginger Cake.
I've made this cake many times in the past.  So easy and always turns out perfect.
  Melt 1 stick of butter.  Drizzle about 1 TBS of the melted butter in a small loaf pan, sprinkle in some brown sugar, then layer sliced pears.  Mix together the rest of the melted butter with 4 TBS of brown sugar, 6 TBS of flour, 1 tsp of baking powder, 2 tsp of powdered ginger and 1 egg.  Pour your batter over the sliced pears.  Bake in 350 degree oven until golden.  Yum!

Uh oh!  I just saw lightning and the wind is howling.  Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

Monday, January 30, 2012

More Cooking than Crafting

I used to think making risotto took a lot of time and effort.  If you listen to chefs on tv, that would seem to be the case.  The other night, I decided to make mushroom risotto, no recipe necessary.
I sauteed mushrooms in a bit of butter, added the risotto and stirred until coated, then began to add vegetable stock in stages.  It doesn't really take constant stirring or watching.  Cook over medium-low heat, let the liquid cook out, stir, add more liquid, and continue the process until the risotto is soft.  Garlic powder, Italian seasoning, fresh parmesan cheese and some black pepper finished it off.  Delicious!

I also tried out a Lunchbox Muesli Bar recipe that I am sure I saw on someone's blog but unfortunately did not write that bit of information down when I copied the recipe.
 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup coconut, 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 stick of butter melted, 2 TBS honey.  Mix, press into greased pan, bake, cool, cut.  (I didn't have dried apricots and substituted dried cranberries for the raisins but think I'll try the original recipe next time.)

We've had mild weather for several days now.  Jingles likes hanging out on the balcony on days like this.
 But she doesn't like it when hubby closes the screen door while she is still out there.
Hope your week is off to a great start!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy at Home

That's what I was all weekend long.  Happy at home.  Inspired by Melanie's post about organizing her kitchen cabinets and drawers, I organized one of my cupboards.
Made a pot of lentil soup.  
To 8 cups of vege stock add 1 cup of red lentils, 1 onion roughly chopped, 1 carrot chopped, 2 small potatoes diced and boil until until lentils break up.  Reduce heat and simmer until desired consistency.  Add cumin powder, salt and black pepper to taste.  Squeeze in lemon juice and stir through.  Serve with fried pita bread.
And tried a new recipe (coconut biscuits) found at Tammi's blog Littlepoppa.  They were a hit here at home and at school today.
Speaking of Happy@Home, that just happens to be the name of Kim's blog.  She was baking yesterday too.

Hope your day is a happy one!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sympathies and Soup

My heart goes out to Jane at Mamie Jane's on the recent passing of her husband.  Bruce was only 54 years.  On Thursday he lost his battle with ALS.
Jane's blog was one of the first I stumbled upon early on in my blogging journey.  She is such a kind and very thrifty, crafty lady who is always inspiring.  She and her husband both remained so strong and optimistic since his diagnosis a couple of years ago.  My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.

We had a quiet Friday here that included a  little cleaning, crocheting and cooking on my part.  More of the same today.
Native American Cornbread:  1 cup of flour; 1/1/3 cups of cornmeal; 1 TBS baking powder; 1/2 tsp of salt; 1 cup nonfat milk; 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of honey; 2 TBS canola oil; 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional).  Mix dry and then wet ingredients til just blended then pour into a greased pan and bake at 400 til golden.
I made a simple vegetable soup.  Water, vege extract, a bag of mixed vegetables, vermicelli, black pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning all to taste. The organic vege extract I use already has salt in it and seasons everything perfectly.  I used to make this as a chicken soup by first sauteeing chopped chicken in a bit of oil before adding all the ingredients.  The Italian seasoning really gives it a unique taste and  it cooks up in about 10 minutes.  I felt like I was having a big bowl of Thanksgiving with the mix of the salty soup and the sweet from the cranberries in the cornbread.
 A big bowl of comfort on a cloudy day!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time to Catch Up

I'm so happy it is the weekend in my little corner of the world.  Although I enjoyed spending time with friends after school on Monday and Tuesday, it kinda put me off schedule for the rest of the week, so now I need to play catch up.
  Whenever I get behind, I get blah.  And when I get blah, my creative mojo takes a hike.  One of those vicious cycles we all deal with.  Hopefully I can do some cleaning and crafting over the weekend to get back on track.
 Hope all is well where you are!
And that you are having a productive, creative day!  Or at least a restful one!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No Tea for Me Today

I met friends for lunch at The Chocolate Bar, but instead of lunch, I had a skinny latte and a vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing.
Boy oh boy was it good!  Of course, that meant I needed something nutritious for dinner.  Thankfully I had cooked up a big pot of spiced lentil soup Sunday night.
I've shared the recipe before and am glad to hear that it has become a favorite for Val and Glor, too.

Brown 1/2 cup of diced onions, 1/3 cup barley and 3 cloves of minced garlic in 1 TBS of olive oil.  Add 3 quarts of vege stock and 1 cup of brown lentils to the pot and cook til tender.  Stir in 1 can of chickpeas, 1/2-lb of spinach and 12 oz of salsa and warm through.

Kimmie is having a wet tea day in her corner of the world
so I am sending wishes her way for a warm and wonderful day.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lovely Lunch

Creamed spinach with feta and pine nuts on a croissant with vegetable soup.
Green tea
A gift
Knitted potholders
My crocheted doilies being put to good use under a bowl
 and a decorative pot.
It's nice to break up the routine of the every day.  Lunch with my friend, Shereen, always feels like an afternoon of pampering.

But every memory of friendship shared, even for a short time, is a treasure, like sunshine and warmth in our lives, like a cool breeze on a humid day, like a shower of rain refreshing the earth. - Author Unknown

Wishing you a wonderful new week filled with special moments.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Those Things With Holes

Seven years ago, I cut out processed foods, fast food and junk food from my diet. To my kids dismay, I started reading labels, watching what we eat, and no longer bought any of their favorite packaged foods or cereal.
However, I am a firm believer of everything in moderation (and once in a while I do give in just to make them happy). At least when you make and bake at home, you know what is going into your food and can cut back on certain ingredients (I almost always cut back on the sugar called for and don't make anything that requires more than a 1/2 cup of oil).
On Friday, I tried a baked donut recipe from Lorraine's blog With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart. Glazed chocolate with chopped pecans, powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar.
They were a hit!  Even better the second day.  I will definitely be making them again.  If you head over to Lorraine's blog now, you will also be tempted with a Triple Lemon Cheesecake, and other Improv Challenge recipes using lemon and sour cream.  You really can't go wrong with those two ingredients.

Sending warm hugs and sweet wishes your way for a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Chilly Celebration

Yesterday the clouds rolled in and the wind kicked up bringing colder air with it.
Today's sky was drab with just a bit of dust.
I met friends at Taal Indian Restaurant for lunch.
The decor is very warm and cozy.  Just what we needed on this cold and windy day.
Friends are a lot like the sun--dependable and warm, and they brighten your day.

Melissa's birthday was on Wednesday so we wanted to help her celebrate.
Happy Birthday, Melissa, my true blue friend!
Hope you are having a warm and cozy day in your corner of the world.

Friday, January 20, 2012

So Far, So Good

Good Friday morning! Last night while watching America Idol I crocheted another bowl.
The light colored yarn is Ecologico Camel made in Germany (15% camel hair and 85% new wool) and the variegated part is Red Heart Yarn sent to me by Jodie of Everything Vintage for my birthday last year, or was it the year before? My how time flies.
Our Friday has gotten off to a nice start with brilliant blue skies.  We'll just have to see when that predicted dust storm will start to kick up.  For now, it's a beautiful day.
Progress is being made on my baby granny stripe.  I'm using leftover yarn, though, and am afraid I will run out before I'm able to finish.  That's the only thing about using your stash.
Jan at A Journey asked about progress on the kids bedroom makeover.  Once we started back to school, my organizing mojo was interrupted so haven't done much else in there.  As you can see, I did get some things hung on the wall, although my oldest son asked that I not do so.
The caricatures were done of the boys when we were in Madrid about 6 years ago by an Iraqi artist who had been in Spain for years.  The one to the right of the window is of Zack.  And this one of Yusef is just above his electric drum set.
Yusef had a friend over yesterday who looked around and said "you have a lot of stuff."  Yep!  I hear that all the time.
Wishing you all a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weekend Wishes

Another weekend has arrived in my corner of the world.
Weather was nice today, but the predicted forecast calls for a wind or dust storm to roll in by Saturday along with a drop in temperature.

Hubby returned from a business trip to Jordan with January's O Magazine and Dead Sea bath salts and body mud.  
Crochet on the hook and American Idol on tv.  Looking forward to a relaxing evening.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Easy Bowls

Bowls filled with easy, healthy meals.

Sundried tomato couscous with onions, cucumber, chickpeas and feta drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Brown rice, black beans, salsa and sour cream served with tortilla chips and chopped avocado
A new recipe.  Curried green lentil soup served with seasoned croutons and feta.
And my first crocheted bowl (or basket).  Pattern found at Design Sponge.  I added a frilly ridge to the top.  Definitely will be making more of these.
I checked at work today and the pop-up window for comments works with Internet Explorer.  Seems that one little change in my settings has fixed the problem for those of you who were having problems commenting.

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!
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