Thursday, December 29, 2016

Seeing Circles in a Square World

This world is full of different shapes. Squares, circles, triangles, octagons, parallelograms... all around us, all the time. Yet most people only see straight lines. People expect things to go strictly from point A to point B. Line segments of varying length yes, but always A to B... and straight.

We know other shapes exist. But we rarely notice them. How many times have you looked at a stop light and thought, 'rectangle'? Or stop sign and thought, 'octagon?'  Do you ever see the route you take as a shape? Or that your closet is a cube?

No, I'm not talking about math or geometry. I'm talking about life. Specifically, how people go from day to day, week to week, year to year never realizing that it's not a strict progression going from point A to point B, but living their life as if it were.

Living life deliberately is living a deliberate life. Let me explain...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cataloging for the Next Generation

I am by no means, 'old.' I am however, not in the splendor of my youth.
I have a house payment, car payment, matching dishes and the big one, insurance.

I have insurance for health & wellness. I have insurance for the vehicles. But the big, screaming sign that says, 'I AM AN ADULT' is the insurance for my home and belongings and jewelry.

I am frugal enough that no money is spent willy-nilly. I track my finances, balance my bank account, and I've even started bullet journaling to help me keep track of daily things, goals, and productivity.

Just last thanksgiving while at my parents, my father gave me a sheet of paper. It had his and mom's personal information on it, along with bank account numbers, life insurance policy information, stock information and general after-death what-not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

& An Interesting History


This strange punctuation mark has a fascinating past. The ampersand emerged over 2,000 years ago as the Latin word "et" meaning "and."
The cursive writing of Latin scribes often connected the "e" and "t," giving rise to the shape of the ampersand.

The name did not appear until the 1830s when "&" was the 27th letter of the English alphabet.
The mark concluded the alphabet with "X, Y, Z, and per se" with "and per se" meaning "and by itself."
This final phrase was slurred by English school children during recitation and reborn as "ampersand."

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Irish ....Nachos?

I am of Scottish, Irish and German descent. Quite literally....and fairly recently, too.  I am first generation American on one side, and only third generation on the other. My non-American parent became naturalized in the 1970s.
So, my ancestry should lend itself to certain....proclivities. Like love of dark, room temperature beer, or potatoes, or even cabbage and sauerkraut.

Sadly, no. Although I am starting to like darker beers (thank you, husband), I just cannot get behind cabbage of most any kind, prepared in any way.
And potatoes are not far behind in that 'yuck' category.

My mother tells me when I was little, she would feed me potatoes and I would exclaim, 'I gotta go potty!' and run off to the bathroom...where I promptly spit them out.

This dislike of potatoes runs deep.

However, recently I have found that certain potatoes are okay, if doctored up enough. Most people would say I am masking the taste of the potatoes...but that's okay. I do what I want! :)

So imagine my surprise when, at my local Irish pub, I found nachos.


I do love me some nachos!

Apparently, traditional (and I use that term *very* loosely) nachos are made with fried potatoes, and sometimes even layered potatoes in a 9 x 13 pan.
Pish posh!

I wanted crunch! And beef! and cheese!

So, in the same fashion as my local pub, I used corn chips.

Let me tell you, these are fabulous. And easy. And if you ate corned beef and cabbage (to be correct, it's actually called a New England Boiled Dinner) for dinner the night before, make these nachos for lunch or dinner the next day. Your children will thank me.



Corn chips
Corned Beef
Plain yogurt
Shredded Cheddar
Nacho Cheese (optional)
Thousand Island dressing
Diced Onions
Diced Tomatoes
Lettuce ( I used a bagged salad, or you can use uncooked cabbage)
Bacon! (cooked crispy and diced)

The Process:

Layer chips on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle corned beef and shredded cheese (nacho cheese if you're using it) on top of the chips.
Bake at 350 until beef is hot and cheese has melted.
While that's baking, mix together 1/3 Thousand Island to 2/3 plain yogurt.
Once chips/beef/cheese is heated through, remove from oven.
Sprinkled lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and more shredded cheese on top.
(If you want to be sneaky, throw on some shredded uncooked cabbage for more veggie health!)
Using a spoon (or a ketchup squirter bottle thingy)- squeeze yogurt dressing over the top.
Add diced bacon.

Serve family style or on individual plates.

Morning Derp

It's very cold outside. Wind Chill (or more appropriately, 'real feel' temperature) is -25 degrees.
The husband went outside to warm us his vehicle. I made his lunch, coffee, etc.
When it came time for him to leave for work, I pull his hat further down over his ears, give him a kiss goodbye and he says, 'We need to start saving the bread know, for my shoes.'

I look at him puzzled. I have no idea what he's talking about.

He says, 'Bread bags on your the winter....don't you remember doing that as a kid?'


...I grew up in Southern California. I cocked my head to the side and said, 'Where the F did I grow up, honey?'

He laughs. 'Oh yeah....put bread bags on your shoes in SoCal and the other kids would mock you for days!'


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Who Wants $500 of Free Meat?

I love Zaycon. Good products, lower cost than most grocery stores. I purchase chicken a few times a year, and I *always* save money! I know one family that saved over $950 in one year by using Zaycon.

This is not an autobot post. I haven't been taken over by nanites. What I am is ecited at the chance to win $500 worth of free product from Zaycon!

You should enter, too!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pandemic A*holishness

I’m having back pain after moving a huge TV. My FIL is yelling at his daughter, while simultaneously babying his 27 year old asperger’s electrical engineer grandson. Neither of which deserve what they’re receiving from him.
I’m getting irritated. FIL is being rude and cruel, and I’m in pain. When it’s time to leave, my SIL and husband are in the kitchen, I stand up to say goodbye. But instead of giving my FIL a kiss on the head as I usually do, I turn to look at him and I raise my voice, “You need to quit yelling at her. And quit babying him. You are not doing him any favors, and he needs to grow up and get a real job!’ and I turn and walk out of the living room.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lemonade Truffles

I started today out with a healthy fruit salad. It wouldn't be right not to have a light sweet to balance out the day, now would it?

I was tromping through Pinterest like I am wont  to do ...daily. Yes, I'm a Pinterest junkie. Electronic hoarding at its finest! Well,  I came across a lemon truffle recipe, started to read the ingredients and then my tablet went wonky and I lost the link.
I didn't even get to finish reading it! All I remember is lemon cake mix and butter.

Anyway, I decided to try to come up with my own version when I realized I don't have lemon cake mix. Story of my life. I don't usually keep that type of thing around as it makes it too easy to eat poorly.
But, I did have a small box of Jiffy Yellow cake mix left over from a dump cake I made a couple weeks ago for a friend's going away party.

So I glided into the kitchen to make my own concoction.  I plan to take them to work...that way I can eat one or two and give away the rest. Great plan, right? See the pattern?  Make it and take it!

Ok- here's what I did:

1 box Jiffy Yellow cake mix
3 caps lemon juice
3 T Butter, melted
2 1/2 t Lemon Juice powder
Sugar for rolling (I used 1/3 c and had leftovers)

I forgot to take a picture until I was half-done rolling!
Dump your cake mix and lemon juice into a bowl. Mix well. Add lemon juice powder to melted butter, mix well, and add to cake mix.
Stir well until everything combines.

Add remaining 2 t lemon juice powder to sugar

Pinch about a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon mix and roll into a ball. Roll in lemon sugar.
Place on plate. Repeat until mix is gone.

These are good with coffee or tea, great for a luncheon or as a small treat to tucked into your husband or kids lunch.

Have fun!

PS- Lemon juice powder does contain corn syrup solids (NOT high fructose corn syrup!). You can substitute the lemon juice powder with lemon peel powder if you prefer.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Healthy Summer Fresh Fruit Salad

Oh how I love strawberries. I really do. When they are out of season, I purchase the big bag of frozen strawberries from the wholesale club.
I also love blueberries. Back when I was a wee lass, my family took our vacations 'back east' to Nova Scotia for mom's family reunions. I loved them. Especially since grammie had wild blueberries growing on her property. I remember many hours with grammie spent in her kitchen along with my aunts making blueberry jam from scratch. Yes, blueberries bring back fond memories for me.

Well, I was down to my last few frozen strawberries, a pineapple that desperately needed cutting up, and time on my hands.
I looked around at the fruit on hand and decided to throw together this simple, fresh, fruit salad.
It screams summer. It really does...and healthy?  Talk about getting your daily allowance of fruit! You'll need someone nearby to take the bowl out of your hands and spoon out of your mouth.

I find myself going to the fridge and grabbing a small bowl of this fruit salad at least three times a day. I hope you love it as much as I do. This salad is so versatile. You can use honey and add basil, you can add a pinch of cinnamon and honey. You could even add a dash of nutmeg or even some mint.

Amounts can be varied to your liking, but the basic is this:

5 strawberries, cut in half or quarters, lengthwise.
1 banana
3/4 c blueberries
1/2 fresh pineapple, sliced in small chunks
2T sugar (or sweetener of choice like stevia or honey)
Pinch salt

For the bananas, have a bowl of 1/4 c lemon juice and 1 c water handy. Slice bananas directly into lemon water and let sit until done slicing rest of fruits.
Slice fruits and place in large bowl.
Drain lemon water off bananas.
Add bananas to rest of fruit in bowl.
Add sugar and salt
Refrigerate for at least an hour. The sugar and salt helps pull liquid out of the fruit creating its own syrup. Which is fabulous, very lightly sweet and a perfect coating for the fruit.

Serve with or without whip cream. (I prefer mine without.)
This is also a great side dish to burgers or bbq!

PS-Why lemon water? Well, it helps keep the bananas from turning brown and adds another layer of fresh.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Drastic Plastic...a way to contain the mess within.

Everyone has plastic bags in a bag, right? Or is it just me?  I used to have one of those rectangular kitchen bags with elastic at the top and bottom for holding the bags....but the elastic was no match for the sheer number of bags I kept stuffing into that thing!

Honestly, plastic bags are bulky. But they are good for so many different things.
I use them to line my small bathroom trashcans. Or to iron together to make plastic 'cloth'. I haven't yet, but I hope to try to make a plastic rug out of them one day. One day.

In the mean time, my kitchen plastic bag holder went kaput. I have plastic bags in a plastic bag hanging on the rack near the back door for some time now. NO MORE!

Yes, I'm a nerd. Or a geek if you prefer. But seriously, 42 bags in a nut container? Wow! Talk about saving space. I thought about using a large plastic pickle jar...but I don't eat pickles so I don't have a plastic jar. Of course if I did, it would absolutely be holding plastic bags...and I would decorate it, too. Maybe wrap it with some contact paper? The possibilities are endless.

Monday, March 21, 2016

One Question Leads to Another

So after eating at a local sub shop the other day and having their black bean soup, I decided I *must* make a version of that soup. It was smooth, chunky, sweet, hot, and all around wonderful.
They called it Sriracha Black Bean soup. And apparently, it's a hot soup right now.

So I went to researching the ingredients, which lead to another research on the origination of food products.
Sriracha is named so for the area in which it was developed. One source lists Sriracha as being made from red jalapeno's, another from any chili pepper (usually the yellow Madame Jeanette and red cayenne peppers).
That search lead me to the Grand Exchange (aka Colombian Exchange)...because when I research a topic, it snowballs. Literally.

Did you know that before the Colombian Exchange, there were no oranges in Florida, no bananas in Ecuador, no paprika in Hungary, no potatoes in Ireland, no coffee in Colombia, no pineapples in Hawaii, no chili peppers in Thailand, no rubber trees in Africa, no tomatoes in Italy and no chocolate in Switzerland?
Fascinating stuff...this exchange and trade system.
Today we call it economics.

I mean, I knew some things, like potatoes were not from Ireland; that they were from the America's....but the sheer magnitude of foods we continue to think of as an inherent part of a country (tomatoes and Italy? Come on!) has all been a lie! (j/k)

Go. Read about the exchange. Not because you must, but because knowledge is good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Just a Bit of Fun

Because what's life without a little whimsy, right?

Last year I painted a few wine glasses for a gift and was so pleased with the result, I decided to make a few of my own.

I'm not really a painter. But I am a bit crafty in the arts kind of way. I have so many art supplies I'm thinking of giving them away. Why give them away? Because I have a horrible habit of trying something to see if I can do it, to enjoy doing it, to pass the time, whatever, and then not having the time to go back and continue doing it.

One year, I spent months painting a plaster christmas village. Dry-brushing is easy-peasy and doesn't take a lot of time in and of itself.  But once I did that village, I sort of lost interest in painting little houses.
But I at least still have the paint. Or most of it. A lot of it has dried.

Although over several occasions when my stepson would come over, he and I would take time and paint glass ornaments. We decided to focus on a different color each year. One year we did blue, we've done red, silver, etc.

So, back to the wine glasses....

Monday, February 22, 2016

Vanilla Bean Paste

I went to make some vanilla bean paste because making it is so much cheaper than buying it...have you seen how much they want for that stuff? Sheesh!

And So I started playing around with making my own....and I had one batch....and the husband knocked it out of the fridge onto the floor.

Huh. Guess I know why it's so expensive.

I'll try again another day. With pictures. Promise.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Chicken Epiphany

The other day a local morning news show had a live 'remote' at a nearby cheese shop. One to which the husband and I have frequented. We couldn't wait for this place to open, being such cheese-nerds that we are.  Once it did, it took us two weeks to get there. (Bad cheese-nerds!)

Anyway, the last time we were in we picked up some three spice gouda that was absolutely to die for. Seriously. It was really freaking good.

Seeing the morning news show at that same shop, we were reminded it was there and decided to stop in for some cheese....any cheese that caught our eye.

Well, I got this epiphany while in the cheese shop (what? that's not where you get your epiphanies? huh...)... what if I were to use the three spice gouda, along with some sun-dried tomatoes and stuff it inside chicken breast, wrap it in bacon and bake it? Oh how good would that be???

...and then I made it....and forgot to take pictures. And the cheese melted out.
Some epiphany. :P

Friday, January 29, 2016

Asiago Bisque- More Than Just Cheese Soup

I needed something for lunch today so when I got up at 0400, I decided that a quick cheese soup was on the agenda.

Except this couldn't be just ANY soup. Nope. Nosirree. I had to make it AB Normal, like me.
Don't get me wrong, regular cheese soup with or without broccoli is fabulous. But I wanted something with a little HA!, and a HIYA! and a kicker! (my kicker is when I ended up walking out the door and forgot to TAKE my newly created soup for lunch! Doh!)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cabbage Rolls. An Experiment. On the Husband.

I am not a big fan of cabbage. I know, bad Irish girl. But I'm just not into the whole eating stinky feet smelling food thing. Call me crazy.

However, the husband *loves* cabbage. So tonight I tried making my first ever cabbage rolls.
Let me tell you...easy and hard all rolled up in one. (see what I did there??)

Now, all I've ever done with cabbage is slice it like wheels, cover it in garlic, parmesan and some olive oil and bake it. Or slice it for cole slaw. Which I don't eat, either. Chances are if it's cabbage I'm not eating it. But I will make it for the husband.

I went with THIS recipe. And while mostly easy, it takes a bit to know when to take the cabbage leaf OUT of the boiling water before it falls apart. Yeeeah. I can cook a gourmet seven course meal, but cabbage throws me. Go figure.

After a bit of fine tuning, I let the cabbage leaves soak in hot water in the sink for about 10 minutes..because I obviously couldn't be held accountable using boiling water.

It seems to work like a charm. All I really needed was the cabbage to become pliable so when rolled, it wouldn't break apart.

Once again, I wish I took pictures. But, if you really want to see it in action, go to the link and make the cabbage rolls yourself.
The husband pronounced them, 'Fantastic and fabulous!' and said I can make them again.
Of course, what he doesn't know is that since I am not eating them, he has two more servings ready to go in containers for lunches this week. I'm sure his coworkers will hate me when that cabbage comes out the other end, but one ever said cabbage was glamorous.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Beef Bourguignon...ok, Beef Noir

I attempted Beef Bourguignon tonight.  I say attempted because while I made something, Beef Bourguignon is probably not what it should be called in reality.

I got up early this morning and chopped up celery, carrots, onions, and the beef...then marinated it in Pinot Noir (same grape, less expensive wine since Burgundy wine *must* come from the Burgundy region in France to be called Burgundy)...

I took pictures of the ingredients, the veggies,

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How does THAT work? Why Essential Oil and Baking Soda Freshens the Air

When I spoke of chemicals the other day, it got me to thinking....what if I tackle a question every so often that everyone is wondering, but not many people know the answer?
I'm not saying that I know everything. FAR from it. What I am saying is, I have a lot of smart friends. Like neurobiologist, lawyer, chemist type people. If I cannot figure out the answer, one of them usually knows. And trust me, I go to them a lot. Like, a lot, a lot.

And yesterday the question popped into my head--if baking soda is used as an odor absorber, how can people add essential oil to it and call it an air freshener? Wouldn't it absorb the smell of the oils, too, and NOT freshen the air?

So I went to my handy dandy chemist friend...and here's the answer....

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chemicals and the Toxicity of Everyday Things

I am one of those naturalist type people who love to make things myself. Lotions, soap, sugar scrubs, laundry soap, you name it. I do so because I like doing it.  I like saving money. I like challenging myself to make new things. I don't do it because I am afraid of 'chemicals' in my laundry detergent. Here's why:

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Best Low Carb Pizza You'll Ever Eat

I am not kidding about this title. Oh, I know people have raved about the cauliflower crust pizza. Mine didn't turn out so well...besides not really liking cauliflower, it was too wet, soggy, floppy and it spread like a bad rumor.

A couple days ago I posted about carb-free crackers- which were fantastic, by the way.

Today, I am posting about using that same  cracker

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Chicken Shawarma Shawonderful

Today I found a chicken shawarma with avocado lime mayo recipe. It was fabulous, once I made a few modifications. Sound familiar? I just cannot seems to make a recipe as is the first time, even though I know I should. The problem is that there are many things I don't like eating so as often is the case, I have to modify the recipe so I would even consider eating it.

Paleo / Whole 30 Crackers

I came across this recipe for paleo crackers that also work for being Whole 30 and gluten free diets.

I made them and they tasted great except for one thing.... I noticed they had little to no taste if you didn't get a piece of cracker that had salt in it.

So I set out to make my own version of this cracker with a bit more oompf and taste.

The Best Darn Curry Powder You've Ever Tasted!

I'm not usually a huge fan of curry. I like it. I don't necessarily love it.
At least, not until I started making my own curry. In Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine, each region, and sometimes family, had their own recipe for curry. It's about as diverse and varied as your Uncle Jim's bbq rub he swears is the best.
Same with curry. Every region/family made