Showing posts from February, 2011

Mini-Post Thursday—No Energy ★ for Easy Bake Ovens

I'm gonna miss that 100-watt bulb!  

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home

The Spirit Goat & First Spring Flowers

First of all, I ❤ the name, The Spirit Goat, and second of all, I ❤ their boutique bath products.

Also, I ❤ companies that reach out and share their profits in ways that provide help where help is needed.

In addition, I ❤ hand-crafted items.  And, I ❤the local growers movement and support local cottage industries.

Finally, I ❤ goats, especially cute, little baby goats like the week-old kid in this photo taken at a farm owned one of Heidi's friends in Utah. They are munching on weeds from the garden out of a wheelbarrow.  Weed-eating goats would be a lot more useful than my grass-snarfing cats who like to throw up in the house.

The Spirit Goat is located in Nibley, Utah, and their artisan soaps & lotions are sold all over the U.S. by various retail distributors (the list is on their website).  What is cool about this company is that they help support a local family crisis center in Cache County, plus they support …

Tuesday's Cupboard—The Art of Marmalades & Rescue Chocolate Taste Test

Tom's SoCal Citrus, Heirloom Toms, & Wild At Heart Raspberry Ganache

A couple of weeks ago, our generous neighbor, Tom Sheridan, delivered three bags of wonderful fresh produce that included citrus from his property in Palm Springs and last season's frozen heirloom Brandywine tomatoes from his garden in Walnut Creek.  Tom knows that I am a canner, so he was kind enough to share his bounty with me.  Canning is all about sharing, and this weekend, I shall become the neighborhood Marmalade Fairy!

I was never a fan of marmalade before I started making my own.  Fresh homegrown citrus grown under ideal California conditions is indescribably delicious when it is made into marmalade.

Tom's Tangelo & Meyer Lemon Marmalade
First, I adapted an old HP orange/lemon marmalade recipe and added Meyer lemons from my own backyard tree.  The result was a golden ambrosia with hand-cut, thin slices of organically grown tangelos & lemons.  It is quite heavenly on toasted English muf…

Monday—The Reading Corner

Water For Elephants & Books That Make Kids Want to Read

I just finished reading, Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen

Superb characters, human & critter!  This is an engaging story about a young man who runs away and spends a year working with a traveling circus.  It is first-person narrated by the main character, Jacob Jankowski, who at the beginning of the story is a 90-year old (or 93, he's not sure of his age) man living in an assisted living facility.  I just watched the trailer, and the movie starts out with the old man wandering into a circus grounds.  This actually happens in the book in a much more interesting and satisfying way, but I won't tell you how.  Just read the book.  It's FANTASTIC and a great read!The circus setting is a rich sensory experience.  This novel was a NaNoWriMo book.The book was on the New York Times Bestseller List for 12 weeks when it was published in May 2006.There are some laugh-out-loud moments. A real page-turner!You'll le…

Mini-Post Thursday—What the Cat Drug In

At least, my cats don't do this!  Cat Burglar

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home

The Pens That Started It All, ala Forest Gump

Don't let anyone steal your pen...That's all I have to say about that.

Life is like a box of colorful alligator clips.  These clips eat ordinary paper clips for lunch.  Run, Forest, Run! to Staples to get some of these cool clips ($3.29 per 12 pack, medium-size)!

Colorful Soft-Grip binder Clips

Tuesday's Cupboard—Two EASY Comfort Foods!

Cozy + Healthy = Great!

Stove - Top Mac & Cheese
Serves 4 (1-1/2 c. servings) to 6 (1 c. servings) 

Nutritional info:  Per 1 cup serving—285 cal, 9 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 23 mg chol, 665 mg sodium, 36 g carb, 2 g fiber, 15 g protein, 288 mg calcium.  Note:  To reduce fat, use lite butter or margarine & non-fat milk; to increase fiber, use whole wheat flour — Weight Watchers, In One Pot, 2003.
1 T. lite butter (or margarine or real butter)2 T. all-purpose flour1 14.5 oz. can diced Italian-style tomatoes1-1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (mild or sharp)1/2 c. low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk2 T. grated Parmesan cheese1/2 t. dry mustard1/2 t. kosher salt4 c. cooked elbow macaroniPrepare elbow macaroni, as directed on package.Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Add flour; combine & stir constantly until mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 min.Add cheddar cheese, Parmesan, milk, mustard & salt, stirring constantly until cheese melts & the mixt…

Valentine Monday—10 Literary Ways to Say "I Love You"

1.  "Adieu - Dearest, most beloved little wife - Take care of your health - and don't think of walking into town. Do write and tell me how you like our new quarters - Adieu. I kiss you millions of times."  --Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 17 Oct 1790.  Letter to his wife, Constanze

2.  "Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together - Be calm - love me - today - yesterday - what tearful longings for you - you - you - my life - my all - farewell. Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine
ever mine
ever ours"

--Ludwig van Beethoven, 7 July 1812.  Letter to his "immortal beloved," Antonie Brentano

3.  Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'…

Mini-Post Thursday—Rescue Chocolate

Saving Critters With Ingenuity & Chocolate

Here's a way to get something yummy for your sweetie and help with animal rescue efforts all over the country.

She's young, she's an entrepreneuer, and she's from Brooklyn—Meet the founder of Rescue Chocolate, Sarah Gross

Wednesday—Good for The Home & Good For You

Outsmarting Cats & My Parents Were Cool

I have 3 bottles of spray in my pet cupboard—No Mark, No Scratch, and No Stress.  I'd drink the last one if I weren't afraid that I'd grow a fluffy tail and start meowing in my sleep.  If the first two actually worked, I would have no need for the third.  But, none of them work, so I'm constantly looking for ways to out wit, out play, and definitely out last my darling felines.

Today, I'm going to talk about clawing, the bane of every cat owner.  I have 4 clawing posts in the house, enough for each kitty to have his/her own State of Clawness.  When they're not out terrorizing the back yard squirrels & blue jays, our beasties are happily digging their needle-like talons into these clawing posts.  But, clawing posts can be so boring when you're a cat.  Why shred a cheap piece of carpet tacked to a pole when there's a tender loveseat calling your name...Here, Kitty!  

It's been a battle, to say the…

Tuesday's Cupboard—i ❤ Cheese Fondue

A Fun-Do For You & Your Sweetie

Three-Cheese Fondue with Champagne 
Serves: 2 to 4

4 tsp. cornstarch
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1-1/4 c. dry (brut) Champagne
1 large shallot, peeled & chopped

2 c. coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 7 oz.)

1-1/3 c. coarsely grated Emmenthal cheese (fancy Swiss cheese, about 5 oz.)
1/2 c. diced rindless Brie or Camembert cheese (about 3 oz.)
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground white pepper

1 French baguette, crust left on, cut into bite-size chunks

Be sure to remove any rind from the Brie or Camembert.  It will not melt properly, otherwise.  Mis-en-place everything else, except for the nutmeg & white pepper.
Stir cornstarch & lemon juice in a small bowl until cornstarch dissolves; set asideCombine Champagne & chopped shallot in a medium-size saucepan; simmer over medium heat for 2 mins; remove pot from heat.Add all cheeses to saucepan; stir to combineAdd cornstarch mixture to cheese mixture; stir to combine …

Monday—At the Movies

10 Good Reasons to See, TRUE GRIT

It is a Coen Brothers movie (there is always something extra great about a Coen Bros movie)It is nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actor, & Best Supporting ActressHailee Steinfeld, the girl narrator & a relative unknown, delivers a totally compelling performanceIt has a very satisfying endingIt's a good WesternIt's fun to compare it to the 1969 original with John Wayne, Kim Darby (Mattie), Glen Campbell (Le Boeuf), Robert Duvall (Ned Pepper) & Dennis Hopper (Moon, the guy who is shot in the leg)It's way better than the originalYou can read the book by Charles Portis, published in 1968There are no scary partsJeff Bridges disciplines some kids who are tormenting a mule...Coen-style

Friday Bonus—Wanna See Something Cool?

I want everybody to try this cool"tilt-shift" effect (fake miniature photography)!

To get started, you'll need to run out and buy Photoshop CS (Creative Suite) for about $650.  If you already have Photoshop, you can buy an upgrade for less than $200.

I'll wait...Meanwhile, watch this amazing vid!  On the You Tube menu, set the resolution to 720HD, then click the full-screen setting (it looks like a bunch of arrows in a box).  These are real pix of Epcot using the tilt-shift effect.

How to get this awesome effect using Photoshop CS:

For PCs using CS2 or later:

For Macs:

Photo credit:  Steve Nelson, Miniature German Village, Epcot

Mini-Post Thursday—Send Milly A Valentine

From the fun Twitterverse

Thanks to the folks at...

and Pee-Wee Herman for posting this valentine request!

If you're a fan of the Del Rubio Triplets (Milly is the last one standing), or a Pee-Wee fan, or a fan of cool, campy retro stuff, you should help Milly celebrate her 90th birthday by sending her a valentine.  ❤

I'm going to, and you should, too!  The valentines are in c/o her friend, Allee Willis.  Don't forget to give our blog friends at RetroRoadmap & our twitter friend, Pee-Wee Herman, a nod and write, "Thanks, RetroRoadmap & Pee-Wee!" on the back of the envelope.

Milly, c/o Allee Willis
11684 Ventura Blvd Suite 430
Studio City, CA 91604

Write this on the back of the envelope:Thanks, RetroRoadmap & Pee-Wee!

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home

2 More Ways to Make Things Easier!

Here are two new items that I tried this week that go hand-in-hand because one helps you get organized, and the other one helps you relax after doing all of that work!

Eco-Fabric China & Stemware Storage Cases
These eco-friendly boxes come in a variety of sizes, both in square (saucer, salad, dinner, tall stemware & cup) and round (11", 9", 7.5", 5.5") shapes.  They are reasonably priced, and they are hard-sided for extra protection.  They are somewhat stackable, but stack light things on top because the lids are canvas-covered cardboard, and they will sag over time.  I like the modern, sophisticated style.

Eco-Fabric Round Plate Storage Cases

Eco-Fabric China Storage Cases

What's really neat about these storage boxes is that the exterior fabric consists of 76% polyester made from recycled plastic bottles and 24% cotton.  The inside of the boxes are lined in polyester.  As Steve pointed out, purchasing products like thi…

Tuesday's Cupboard—Meatballs!

Something to break up the winter mealtime doldrums 

Turkey Meatballs with Fresh Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Prep time:  30 minutes
Cook time:  40 minutes
Serves:  4  (Makes about 30 meatballs)

This Indian-spiced meat mixture makes great hamburgers, too!  Try them on folded naan with a spoonful of chutney and sliced Roma tomatoes.  Adapted from Sunset, January 2011

I don't eat cute, fluffy baby animals, so this recipe which originally called for lamb had to be adapted!

Turkey Meatballs
1 tsp. each ground cumin, ground coriander & ground fennel1/2 tsp. each black pepper, cinnamon & kosher salt1/4 tsp. cayenne 1/4 tsp. tumeric1.25 lb. ground turkey1 lg. egg or 1/4 c. egg substituteMix the above ingredients in a bowl and let it firm up in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Cooking spray 

3 T. of 0% Fage (pronounced, "fay-eh") nonfat Greek yogurt (Safeway carries this)1 tsp. peeled fresh ginger, cut into small chunks or cubes1/2 medium-size red, yellow or orange bell pe…