Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm inspired.....

I just got to thinking about all the clippings of poems, inspirational thoughts and memos.... all the little things I've gathered over the years....  have been bunched up into little plastic covers and plastic coupon keepers.... what I really need is a place where I can find it in one place.    So when I want something then it will be in one place.  

So.... after I find my desk... ha ha.... this is a project I plan to do.   Make a book.   Make it cute and full of art.  How neat!   I can't wait.  Well...I can.  ;)  

And who inspired me?   Well you know who you are.  ;)  

Got to get busy with organizing all the mess on my desk.   Get it all placed where it needs to go.

It will be a nice project to work on when the weather obviously isn't enjoyable.   We're looking at really cold temperatures.  And more snow.   I don't remember putting in an order for snow!

Have a good morning or evening....where ever you may be.  :o)

Hug, Mary

The Month After Christmas

Twas the Month After Christmas
 and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.  The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste at the holiday parties, had not gone to waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number!!  When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared; The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared.
The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese and the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."    As I dressed myself in husband's old shirt and prepared once again to do battle with dirt-- As I said to myself, as I only can
You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!!

So--away with last of sour cream dip, Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip  every last bit of food that I like must be banished till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have a cookie--not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.  I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie, I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore-- But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

If you like Lavender

Several years ago I had a home-based business of making soy candles.   I still have lots of candle making supplies left over.    Including fragrance oils, tea light holders, molds, soy wax... the list goes on and on.   I'm not sure what to do with everything.   Some oils have higher flash points than others making it difficult to send in the mail or whatever.      Anyway I mentioned that to point you in the direction of my Lavender page.    I used to get lots of requests to make lavender candles.    


What a nice surprise!


What a nice surprise to find in my mail box!!   This is such an awesome gift.   Thanks to Pat M.  for thinking of me.   I so appreciate your thoughtfulness.  You did a great job!  Smile



I have already started filling up the pockets.   Thank You.  ♥


Now all my misfit recipes will have a nice place to live. Smile


♥♥ Mary

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ripe tomatoes

This is from last summer.  Not bad.   Not sure what causes splits in the tops of the tomatoes.   Do you?   Would it be the hot dry conditions.   I welcome your comments.  ;)

Planting time

Wouldn't this be nice to see in your garden...a full row of beautiful corn stalks.   This reminds me of what I would like to see in my garden good healthy looking plants.   
One year we did grow a very small row of corn, because the plot wasn't all that big.   I'm telling ya, we did get a few good ears of corn to cook for dinner.   Sweet, sweet corn.   Sooo good.    The rest of the ears had those nasty little earwigs.    

Since then we decided to stick with vegetables that we knew would do well.  Or hoped would do well. ;)  

Green beans

Let me say this.... want to keep nasty buggy critters out of your veggie garden, without using harsh chemicals?   Plant catnip plants.    In our garden we have not one, but two big plants.   They work great to keep Japanese Beetles out.    And believe it or not, I never do see any cats hanging around.   Interesting, huh?   
Petunias actually attract good bugs to your garden.  So plant those as well.  You will be happy with the results.   And the added flowers will beauty to your veggies.  ;)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My favorite Rice Steamer

I received this as a gift this Christmas.   Let me say I Love this steamer.    The top part is for steaming veggies.  It does an awesome job!     I used to have another rice cooker that we got in Japan.   And it did a good job of cooking the rice...however the only problem that I didn't care for was having to wipe down my cabinets each time I used the thing.    It would spit, spurt, splot out a slimy mess.  Yuk.   
This cooker will make up to 3 cups of cooked rice...great for a smaller household.   Cooks fast.   

 Baby carrots in the top.  Used about half the bag.  At the end of cooking time, the carrots were nicely steamed and tasty to boot.
Here's the rice just about to bubble.  Just season your rice as you like.
The rice will cook to slightly sticky.  
Each piece cleans nicely.  Wash by hand.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Egg Spin

How to tell if your eggs are hard boiled.

After I uploaded this video, I had no idea how many others out there had thought of the same thing.  Oh well... here it is again.  :)

I had made another video of a potato soup recipe.  However, once it was uploaded I didn't realize it was in so many segments.  So I won't be able to show that one.    I did take a picture of the finished product.  Glad I did that.  


My husband loves pancakes.  He can eat breakfast foods anytime.  
He says this is the best recipe he has ever tried...he's got this one memorized. ;)  

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray

Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".   Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.    Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk.  Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface.  Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Try this one out on a Sunday morning and see what your family thinks!  ;) 

Here's a picture of the pancakes hubby made this morning. (Saturday)  

These are light and fluffy.  
And this is what happens when you have unexpected guests! lol

Friday, January 3, 2014

Easy Macaroni and Cheese

Here's a comfort food, that will become a favorite to make.  Just a few ingredients that you probably have in your pantry.   Don't worry, you'll not have to climb a mountain in Tibet to find these lists of ingredients.  ;)

Makes 6 servings

8 ounces of dry macaroni noodles
12 ounces of low-fat evaporated milk
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of dry mustard... I've had a hard time finding this ingredient at the store, so I squeezed a little dijon mustard and it came out fine. 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups  reduced -fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese (we have used mild too)

I add in this list of ingredients:  a pinch of dill weed; a pinch of Mrs. Dash; a little bit of ground black pepper; and a tiny bit of paprika

I love to add in herbs to all my dishes.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Be careful not to overcook. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the evaporated milk and the next 4 ingredients over medium heat.  Whisk until the mixture thickens and bubbles form.  Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until melted and creamy.

Add the pasta, stirring until well blended.  Sprinkle with pepper and the other herbs listed. 

To turn this into a meal, just add in cooked chopped chicken.  Serve with green beans or salad on the side and you're in business.  


Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Just let me say... if you love peanut butter cookies (traditional kind), then you are in for a treat... these are delightful in taste and moistness.   Just try them for yourself.

Makes 24 cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup Splenda granulated sweetener
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg* its critical to use a large egg for this recipe.

Combine the peanut butter, sweetener, brown sugar, baking soda, and vanilla in a medium bowl and stir until well mixed.  Add the egg and stir until dough in formed.

Shape the dough by level tablespoons into 1 inch balls.  Place unto an ungreased baking sheet and flatten balls with a fork, forming a crisscross pattern on each cookie.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on the bottom but still slightly soft in the center.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes.  Remove to wire racks or paper towels to finish cooling.

** This recipe takes out the fats but leaves in the flavor.* 

Whipped Cheam Cheese Frosting

I'm including this recipe not because I have tried it.  Sadly I cannot eat cream cheese.  But I used to love cream cheese dips.  Oh what a yummy thought.   Anyway this is for all who love cream cheese and want to use it to frost cupcakes or those chocolate chip bars.  

Makes 2-1/4 cups.
8 ounces of tub-style light cream cheese
4 ounces of nonfat cream cheese
1/4 cup Splenda granulated sweetener
1 cup light whipped topping

** Be careful you may find yourself eating right out of the bowl. ;)

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheeses with a mixer until smooth.   Add the sweetener and beat for 1 minute longer.

On slow speed, beat in the whipped topping and beat briefly, just until combined and fluffy.

I would love to know if this actually made it to the top of your cake, or were you tempted to keep it all to yourself?

Chocolate chip bar cookies

This bar cookie recipe has been a favorite in our household.  When the thought of baking cookies doesn't excite me, I reach for this recipe time and time again.   Easy.  And its a good for you recipe too.    

Chocolate chip bar cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Use Pam cooking spray to coat bottom of  13x9 inch baking pan.

6 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened  (not melted)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg   (this recipe works best using the large egg)
1/2 cup Splenda granulated sweetener
1/4 cup prune puree (I use just one small baby food jar of apple/prunes)  
1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cups of chocolate chips
* You don't have to ice these but I do.   I use a simple chocolate icing recipe.  In the summer months these bars are good served with ice cream.  Yummy.  
In a large bowl, with mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.   Add the egg, sweetener, prune, and vanilla and beat until smooth. 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir together by  hand until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.  Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until light brown and center feels firm to the touch.

* I will say it can be just a touch difficult to get the mixture to spread out at first but keep working at it and will come together fine.  
* Great to tote to your next social gathering.  

more kitchen tips

Warm egg whites.  They'll whip to a greater volume when at room temperature.  Place in microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high to remove the chill (2 whites about 15 seconds).

Juice citrus fruit.  Citrus yields more juice when slightly warm.  Microwave on high 20 seconds or until warm to the touch.

helpful hints

Wiping you refrigerator gaskets with vinegar can help eliminate mildew and odor.

Place a bay leaf in flour containers to discourage weevils.

Two tablespoons of vegetable oil in the water in which you're  boiling noodles, rice, macaroni or spaghetti will keep them from sticking.

Out of butter?  Try pouring a little light olive oil onto your rice and mix through.   Not only does it provide a little moisture to the rice but it adds just the right flavor.   And its not as fattening as butter.

Leftover baked potatoes can be reheated if they're dipped in hot water and baked again in a moderate oven.


Homemade egg noodles

Here's another recipe my mother gave me.   I used to make these all the time when hubby and I first started our married life.   Yup, these are very good.   There's nothing as good as homemade.  ;)
You'll not need any pasta machine to make this.  Just roll out until you've reached the "thick or how thin" you like your noodles.  

2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
add a cup of flour and gradually add in more flour until your able to form a ball.  If you have a sticky dough add in more flour until almost "stiff".   Then roll out onto a lightly floured surface.

I should make these sometime to give you a step by step process.  Sometimes pictures makes it easier to know what to do.

Then you use a pizza cutter or knife to slice out the noodles.  Then add homemade noodles to your favorite dish.  And cook until tender.

Double Chocolate Snack Cake

This is one of my favorite snack cake recipes.  A nice moist cake that doesn't use any eggs.   
1-2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pam cooking spray into an 8x8x2 inch pan.   
In small mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.   Add in water, oil, vinegar and vanilla, beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack .  Cut into squares.   Makes 6 to 8 servings.

This is also good served with cool whip or ice cream.

Mom's Veggie Soup

Here's a basic soup recipe that was given to me by my mom.   She doesn't really have a "set" recipe she follows.   Its just one she remembered.      

This one can be made in crock pot.  
You'll need:
beef for soup- remove fat
beef bouillon cube- no salt
1 medium onion peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
2 carrots - chopped or diced
1 or 2 cans of mixed vegetables with potatoes
6 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
add in noodles of any kind

This recipe is easily adaptable to how much you would need to fix for your family.  
For a recipe that uses less salt I would use frozen veggies instead of the canned.   

I hope you will like this recipe.  I have eaten this many times and its very tasty.  You may want to add in more herbs to your liking.