Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On cleaning house and planning a vacation...

Yeahhhh... if you walked into my apartment this instant, you might not know I was cleaning.  But I was - kind of more in a mental way, than a physical way.  The physical comes later in the week.  But mentally?  I'm almost finished.

There's a bit of a story in all this...

I spent more than a few years as a seamstress, sewing outfits for gals who showed horses in western classes - and because I liked to offer variety to clients, amassed a HUGE fabric collection.  "Addicted" might describe my relationship with fabric.  But I'm really close to clean.  I decided to make one last stab at selling what is in my stash, pulled out my favorites just in case a friend needs a rail shirt, and toss the rest.

Yes, I said toss it.  In the dumpster.

It represents a time in my life that was in some ways good - able to be a SAHM while my son was in school from 6th to 10th grade, a way to stay connected to horse showing, and a way to be creative AND get some cash for it all.  But it represents a bad time - a cheating husband who is now an ex, a broken leg, other health issues - and I really want that behind me know. 

So the best of that time is in a plastic tub in the closet, and if the urge to sew strikes me, then I'll do it.  In the meantime, I actually did do some physical cleaning, and found - *gasp* - my grandmother's silver.  It isn't the full collection, but it's a good bit of it.  The box weighs at least 5 pounds, and the silver is mostly .800 grade.  Worth a little cash!  And there's a piece or two of sterling as well.

The pattern isn't very pretty (to me) and I haven't even opened the box in 10 years.  I'm taking it for an appraisal tomorrow afternoon, and maybe sell it.  Not maybe, definitely selling it.

What will I do with the cash?  I'm going here:


Yes, after many years of working, I am taking a vacation to the delightful town of Breckenridge, Colorado.  By myself.  I found some great deals, I'm working with a trainer at the fitness center to get ready for the trip, and even found a like-new pair of women's insulated ski pants at the thrift store - the pants new are $150, I paid $6.50.  (I love a bargain.)

Ok, they're 2 sizes too small, but I have 5 months, and a training program, to whip me into shape!

So that's what I've been doing lately.  And school started, so it's early American History and Intermediate Algebra up the wazoo.

Now, if I can just quit daydreaming about that ski trip...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pinterest recipes - some good, some bad...

Today has been one of those wonderful, rainy, thunder-storm days that you just never get enough of... expecially in the summer, in Texas.  A cool front - imagine that! - is making its way south, and I for one am very glad for it.  I hate the heat.

So I've made a few recipes from Pinterest.  Some came out really good, others - not so much.  There was a lemon cookie making the rounds some weeks ago, and it came out nothing like the picture.  Epic fail.  I mean it tasted ok, but... it just wasn't right.

Then I tried the chicken/ziti/spinach bake recipe.  Made a few changes, and it turned out YUMMY.  The original recipe is here - and it's a good recipe, I'm sure, but I've detailed my changes below.  I cooked the whole meal on the stovetop, as I didn't want to heat up the kitchen.

This recipe is a keeper.

Wish I took pictures during the creation of the dish, but you'll have to settle for the final product.

The original recipe calls for olive oil and diced onions, baked - I used regular vegetable oil, and cooked the onions until translucent on the stove.  Instead of describing edits, I'll just list the recipe below  While it may look like a lot of ingredients, it really isn't, you probably have most of them on hand.

Ziti Chicken Spinach Stuff (yeah, real creative.)
...and I actually used penne rigatoni, not ziti.  You could use shells, rotini, any cute shape, I suppose.

This makes 2 generous servings, 4 if you have small kids.

Ziti/rigatoni/whatever pasta shape you prefer
Cooked shredded chicken - I used about 2 cups, maybe more
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 T oil
1 package cream cheese
Italian herbs (dried are fine)
2 t. chopped fresh garlic, or 1 t. garlic powder
A splash of wine
Spinach - either a package of frozen whole leaf thawed, or about 7 oz of fresh
Small can of diced tomatoes, or about 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Mix the cream cheese with the herbs and garlic.  Use however much or little you like, I used about 2 T of an Italian mix, and about 2 T of wine.  Mix it up really well, so the flavors can intermingle.

Cook pasta according to package.  I used about half of a box.  And I didn't cook it until it was mushy, I left some texture to it, because it would get further cooking down the line.

Saute a cup of chopped sweet onions in 1 T of oil.  While the onions are cooking, thoroughly rinse and take the stems off the fresh spinach, or squeeze as much water as possible out of the frozen.

Drain cooked pasta.  Put it in a larger pot with all the other stuff, and stir.  Over medium heat, let everything get nice and hot, and if using fresh spinach, let it wilt a little bit. 

Plate it up, and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. 

And there you go!  Easy, tasty, and nutritious.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I've been BUSY!

Ok, I know it's been awhile, but I've been... busy.  I know, we're all busy - but I'm really really busy.  Working full time, going to school at night, two dogs, and life in general - busy! 

Earlier this summer I made the awful mistake of taking an algebra class - normally it's 12 weeks, but summer is two sessions of 6 weeks each.  Beat me up royally.  I mean, up til 1, 2 in the morning with homework.  But - I passed, and with a B no less!  Not bad for an old broad who hasn't had a math class in over 30 years, huh?  I came to my senses however, and for the second half of summer, it's art appreciation.  SO much easier!

I've actually come to really like a painting we've had a look at, and might purchase the print. It's a little more "modern" than what I usually like - usually I like "pretty" things - but there's something about this particular piece of art that I really like. There is a passion in it that... well, you take a look. Klimt's "The Kiss."

A month or so ago I had some spare time (rare!) and decided to take some of the bland beige out of my apartment.  I really like where I live, and intend to stay here for some time.  I have a short wall on which is the fireplace, and it needed something.  So I hiked it down to Lowes for some sage green paint, and what else did I find?  Translucent pearl glaze!  The wall is painted green, and I ragged on the glaze.  It has a really nice look, and changes depending on the light that hits it.  Now I just need something to go on it.  That's next month.  Here ya go.

Over Labor Day weekend I'm going to paint a long wall in my bedroom plum, and mix the same glaze in with the paint for a different look.  Ragging a 9x14 wall is too much work!

I'm going to mention a few blogs that I visit... you might like them as well.

If you love nail color, you will love this gal,  She posts often, almost daily, and gives honest reviews of the products she tries -

If you love nail color AND nail care, this is the blog for you.  She explains the science behind the product, kind of like how Alton Brown is to cooking, she is to nail polish.

For fun makeup looks, check out  She creates some awesome looks for eyes.  A little far out for this old dame, but I can be inspired...

Can't have a list of blogs without food!  I've listed the urls of the particular recipes I love - if you want to delve further into their blogs, feel free!

Oh, I love cranberries.  These are heavenly.

Chocolate and mint.  *thud!*

I love a good bialy.

I have bunches more that I follow, that's enough for now.  See all y'all later!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Great way to waste a few... hours???

Yeah, hours.  I spent, oh, five hours this weekend creating "sets" on Polyvore ( and publishing them to Pinterest.

What is Polyvore?  According to the website, Polyvore is "the web's largest community of tastemakers where people can discover their style and set trends around the world. Trendseekers and shoppers alike come to Polyvore to discover the hottest brands, products, trends and looks."

Basically, you drag and drop all kinds of fashion bits onto a scene, add some background stuff, and there you go.  They're really popular on Pinterest.  You can even clip stuff you see on other sites to use in your set.

Here are a few I've created.

Summer Love - the most recent, took about 30 minutes or so to do.  Once you get the hang of how to do all its, it's pretty easy.  You have to title these things....
Summer Love

Really kinda nice how the guy's orange boardies match the suits above.  As if that's what you're noticing!

Another one, I titled it Easter Sunday.  Funny how we come up with all these dumb titles.  I'd wear this if I were skinny enough...

Easter Sunday

Yeah, I'm a conservative old biddy.... but dang, I love those shoes!

Now this one I really liked.  I can totally see myself wearing this, and snuggling by the fire... um, with my dogs.  Yeah, that's all I have to snuggle with, and since it was 80 degrees today, there isn't much snuggle-weather left til next November!  Oh well....

Bein' all girly cute to snuggle by the fire....

So that is what Polyvore is all about.  Head on over there and make a few sets for yourself, it's lots of fun.... and incredible time user-upper!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, etc., etc., etc....

So in honor of this festive week, I decided to make that good old Louisiana classic, red beans and rice, with sausage.  Nothing fancy, in fact it's nice and hearty for a chilly February evening.  And if you have leftovers, it's even better the next day.

I'll add I'm home today with a horrible chest cold.  And to anyone else who has the galloping crud, well... it's awful, isn't it!?! 

Oh!  One more thought - if anyone recognizes this dishware pattern, and has some they'd like to get rid of, let me know!  I purchased it from Target about 15 years ago, and have since lost a few pieces, and would love to replenish it!

(Picture quality isn't so great - snapped it with my phone!)

Anyway, here's how I make this yummy, easy, hearty, add adjective here, dish.  I would add one word of caution - check the ingredients on your can of kidney beans, as some contain quite a bit of sugar!  I prefer the red beans from Aldi, you get more "bean" taste, and not "sweet" like in other giant superstore brands.

Redbeans, rice and sausage

1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 can red kidney beans
salt and pepper to taste
cooked rice
sausage - I used keilbasa, sliced and fried up separately

Optional - tabasco, jalepeno, or other pain-inducing food items.

In a 2 qt. saucepan over medium high heat, add oil, onion, garlic, and celery.  Cook this until the onion is translucent and a little limp.  Dump in the can of beans, including liquid.  Turn heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring a few times.  You can add a few drops of hot sauce, however I don't care for it, so this is a pretty mild version

In the meantime, cook your rice - remember the 2:1 ratio, 2 cups of water to 1 cup of dry rice.

After awhile, uncover your beans and check the texture by mushing a few against the side of the pot with a spoon.  If they're still firm, let them simmer another 10 minute, covered.  If they're fairly soft, then mush a few more - this helps with the thickening of the beans.  Uncover, stir, and turn the heat up to medium-ish for another 5 or 10 minutes, or until the beans thicken.

While the beans are in their final boil-down, slice your sausage and fry it up!  Just warmed through, or dark and crispy, however you prefer.

Now plate that bad boy up.  I like to put down the rice, then the beans on top, then add sausage.  Some like it separated.  It's up to you.  I like that about food.

Enjoy this nice, filling, and relatively healthy meal!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dust storm's a-comin'!

...or so says NOAA.  In north Texas, it's 73 degrees and sunny, but windy, so the windows are all open, and fresh air is blowing in my quaint apartment.  Guess this means I'll have to put off cleaning, boo hoo.

My absolute favorite fruit is now on sale at Central Market.  I love Blood Oranges!  Been looking for recipes that use them, I'll post some in the next day or two. 

Kind of tangy, definitely orange, but with a rasberry note.  I love it in sorbet, juiced, or just sliced and chomped.  Don't wear light-colored clothing around these yummy bits of deliciousness, they stain something awful!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another year past, and a new one ahead!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year's celebration.  I was in bed, asleep, by 11 p.m.  And I'm ok with that!

Any resolutions?  For me, it's the usual eat-better-lose-weight-save-money deal.  I'm starting school in a few weeks to finish my degree, and I'm sure excited about that!

So, do I have to post only my own food stuff, or can I share?  All credit will be given appropriately... there are just some things out there that MUST be shared!  Like... cinnamon swirl pancakes for one, and cranberry fudge, and... well, just look for yourself.  (So much for the weight loss resolution!)

Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes, from (see, there's the credit) and the recipe is here:

And Cranberry Fudge - from Taste of Home, I love their recipes - nothing too fancy, and just about always good!

Personally, since the cranberries and nuts aren't stirred in until the very end, I would substitute white chocolate chips for the walnuts, or maybe some of the other "Craisin" products.  I think they have blueberries.  That would be incredible!

Time to put on one last Christmas CD, and take down the tree.  I'd like my living room back again, thanks!  Although this tree was indeed a good one, and I'm thankful for it.