Friday, June 29, 2012

Obsessed or Inspired?

Hubby says I need to stop watching The Food Network.
He thinks I am obsessed with food.
Most of the time I am making the old standby's.
Soup is consumed year round, no matter the weather.
Quick, easy, healthy, filling.
Watching Chopped, Iron Chef and Extra Virgin inspires me to want to cook at home.
But the real inspiration usually comes from other bloggers.
Carmelina's post on homemade thin crust pizza made me run to the kitchen to make my own mini pizzas.  Olives and onions with fresh grated parmesan.  Sundried tomatoes with feta.  And zatar.
Using fresh ingredients.
Making do with what's on hand, rather than always buying more.
Salads are easy to prepare.  A splash of olive oil and balsamic for dressing; salt, pepper & garlic powder for seasoning; and lunch is served.
Yesterday I came across a recipe for microwave blueberry banana oatcakes.
So that's what I made for breakfast this morning.  (Yes, hubby rolled his eyes.)
It couldn't be easier.
Mix together one mashed banana, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 2 TBS of brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Fold in 1/4 cup of blueberries.
Spray a microwave safe dish and spoon your batter in.
Microwave for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 minutes.
Let rest for a few minutes, then cut and serve.

The last of the banana cake was eaten the other day while crocheting.
So when I saw Angeliki's post entitled Crochet and Bake where she credits me for inspiring her to crochet (a credit card case) and bake (shortbread cookies) ... well, what did I do?
I went straight to the kitchen and made another batch.
Using my last stick of butter.
And an old jar of pineapple and mango jam that was shoved to the back of the fridge.
I don't think I'm obsessed.
I'm inspired.

If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.
(Fernand Point)

Have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Inspiration Give and Take

As much as I enjoyed my walks last week, I had to stop.  I have an allergy to the sun that causes me to break out in itchy, red bumps that take weeks to heal.  Very aggravating!
Although I can't enjoy the sun, my moss roses certainly do.  Each and every morning, their little pink blooms pop out to say hello and then close up when the heat of the day settles in.
  Since I'm stuck inside, instead of doing what I should be doing (cleaning/organizing), I am doing what I like to do (crochet, cross-stitch, cooking, baking, blogging).
Recently, Val at Yarni Gras posted about the jar covers she crocheted that were partly inspired by some I made in the past.  It's nice to inspire others and then find that you are once again inspired to create.
Recycled jars are getting new life with cotton yarn in pretty colors.  
And last month, LaTeaDah at Gracious Hospitality posted the daisy dishcloths she was crocheting that were inspired by my March post entitled Chocolate, Crochet and Tea.  She is still happily crocheting away and inspired me to make more, too.
Obviously I wasn't really paying attention when I made these.
Same pattern, different sizes.  I think I got a little carried away.
Even though I really didn't need to, I swung by the craft store the other day for more yarn.
More yarn = more projects.
That means I need to get to work!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Time for Tea

There's been a whole lot of baking going on around here to accompany afternoon tea.
On Friday I made jam shortbread cookies.  By Saturday they were gone (some were given to friends).
On Saturday, I made pecan shortbread with chocolate, covered in powdered sugar.  The last few have just been eaten while drinking a nice cup of rooibus with cinnamon and ginger and reading my new little book of tea stories and quotes.
... the real wealth of the tea table lies in its ability to enrich the everyday, gild the moment with importance, and celebrate the loosening of the day's demands.
(Catherine Calvert from "Having Tea")

Last week, I made apple cake.
3/4 cup flour; 1 tsp baking powder; pinch of salt; 1/2 cup of sugar (or a little less); 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup milk; 1/4 cup canola oil; 1 egg; 1 peeled & diced apple.
To top it off, I mixed together a little sour cream and mascarpone cheese with a tiny bit of powdered sugar and a dash of cinnamon.

And yesterday, a banana cake.
1-1/2 mashed bananas; 1/2 cup sugar; 1 egg; 1 cup flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp baking soda; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/4 canola oil; 1 TBS water.
For the icing, I blended together powdered sugar, honey, 1 TBS butter and lemon juice til smooth.
It goes perfectly with organic honeybush & lemon tea.

Today I'm joining Kimmie at Art in Red Wagons for Tea on Tuesday.
Have a terrific day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

More Baking and Gift Bags

Yesterday while I was in the kitchen, I decided to bake up another batch of shortbread.  This time, instead of jam centers, I added chopped pecans to the mix, filled the center with melted chocolate and then coated them with powdered sugar after they had cooled.  My family may not like all my food experimentation in the kitchen, but they certainly never complain where sweet treats are concerned.
 Astri at Apple Blossom Dreams wrote a post the other day entitled Shortbread Cookie Monster in which she shares her different takes on shortbread (lemon poppyseed and chocolate dipped orange).  Oh my!  You can bet I'll be trying out even more combinations in the future.

All those fringed flowers I've been making with leftover yarn needed to be used for something so I crocheted some gift bags with cotton yarn and then attached the flowers to the front.   It's always nice to give a gift bag that is a gift of its own.
 “Happiness . . . it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wishing you a happy, creative day!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Lately I'm hooked on the Food Network shows Chopped and Iron Chef America.  I love seeing what celebrity and every day chefs are able to produce, especially when presented with the oddest of ingredients.  Unfortunately, my family is not always so impressed with what I come up with in the kitchen.
Last week I made whole wheat spaghetti with broccoli and a spicy peanut sauce.  I loved it but the boys gave the dish a thumbs-down.  Oh well!  More for me!
On Friday, I made cheesy polenta with spicy shrimp.  Hubby rolled his eyes and said "where do you come up with this stuff?"  Ha!  They all liked the spicy shrimp, but no one liked the polenta.  Once again, I loved it!  (I don't think they have working tastebuds.)
Today I made gozleme which I've made many times before and everyone loves.  Hubby was supposed to bring fresh spinach home but wound up with something else that turned out to be quite bitter.  We still ate it, except for Zack.  For him, I made zatar fatayer using the same dough as the gozleme.
Munch, munch, munch.  Mmmm these greens are good for lunch.
I've also been experimenting with yarn and a coffee can (I've saved tons of them).
I think I need to add more flowers.  I have a real problem with empty space.  What do you think?

Have a super Saturday!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Butterflies, Blooms and Baking

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly,
"one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
~Hans Christian Andersen
Today I have been playing with leftover bits of yarn.   The butterflies were made using a free pdf download.  You can find similar ones at Little Birdie Secrets (which is where I got the idea for tying yarn around the middle).

The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly.
~Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun
  The flowers are similar to ones I've made from one of my crochet books, but Ingrid at ing-things brighten up my day also shares a pattern on her blog.
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued,
is always just beyond your grasp, but which,
if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I did take a break from my yarn to do some baking since we were going to visit friends this evening.
Shortbread with raspberry jam centers.
The recipe was taken from Jellywares and is so very simple.

Mix together 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and one stick of softened butter.  Roll into balls and press lightly into mini muffin tins.  Poke a hole in the middle (but not all the way through) and add either jam, chocolate, nuts or curd.

For real blooms and butterflies, you can visit the following lovely bloggers:

And if you'd like to make your own jam, Meredith shares a how-to today on her blog one sheepish girl.

Have a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Staying In

Words to describe the weather: hot, hazy, humid, dusty, dreary, drab.
So today it's all about indoor activities.
Crocheted jackets were made for yesterday's rocks.
And then were added to my growing collection.  Aren't they beautiful?
I just love seeing them all together like this.
Brownies were whipped up,
and served with oreo and coffee ice cream.  Delicious!
Have a lovely Thursday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Walk

Good morning!
I headed out for a walk after breakfast.  The only one crazy enough to be out there.
Hazy skies meant that the heat was not so overbearing.  Of course, the last few blocks home were the worst.   No trees, no shade and 106 degrees (it's 113 out there now).
 This row of corn used to be so tall and green but has burnt to a crisp in the heat.
I was on the hunt for rocks again and came home with three. The great thing is they don't have to be absolutely smooth or perfect since yarn can be manipulated to fit nicely no matter the shape or size.
Back home, after a quick shower, a healthy snack is necessary. Fresh cherries, raw almonds, dried fruit, organic tea or orange juice.
A great way to start the day.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Can't Believe

I completely forgot about this.
On Saturday, I met friends for lunch at my favorite Italian restaurant, Viaggio.  We ordered and shared rocca salad with parmesan and sundried tomatoes; caesar salad; fettucini with shrimp; penne with salmon; ravioli stuffed with ricotta; saffron risotto;  and tiramisu for dessert.  Everything was delicious!
Oddly enough, I took pictures of all the food, but none of the friends.  Oops!

Melissa gave each of us homemade cake pops and I just remembered I had them in my purse.
So now I am enjoying them with a cup of tea.

There was no walking this morning. Skies are completely white which means a sandstorm is brewing.
Instead, there was a whole lot of cleaning going on.  Boo!

Have a terrific Tuesday!
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