Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tasty Treats

I have had a number of homemade bread failures in the last few weeks. I decided to get to the bottom of it. In my trials I ran out of whole wheat. No problem. I have a grinder and a bucket of wheat seeds, which keeps forever if sealed properly. I did some grinding. If I grind wheat on a regular basis, I might get a little more tone in my forearms!

My issue was solved by just adding a bit more flour. I was reluctant to do that because the exact recipe worked beautifully for ages. I was afraid adding more flour would make it too heavy. Nope. It was fabulous! I put some sesame seeds on top this time in celebration of such a nice rise.

I made some banana nut muffins this week. I put them in these cute Valentine paper cups. The cups looked much brighter before cooking, but it still added to the enjoyment. It feels a little wasteful and un-green to use paper cups, but right now, I want extra joy in my life and I am not going to feel guilty. Really. I mean it.

Grapefruit was on sale this week. I bought a humongous bag. They are sooooo good. We have been eating them all weekend.
I did a lot more cooking this weekend, but didn't take photos of everything. I think I need to quit work so I can devote more time to cooking every day.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

More flowers!
This time I added a little sugar to the water. Martha Stewart says that will help them stay pretty longer. I couldn't find her article on keeping flowers fresh, but I did find this helpful article.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Little Kitchen Upgrade

I'm spending more time in the kitchen these days. I'm trying to eat more real food, as Michael Pollan recommends. His motto is, "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much." When he refers to real food, he means not processed. He's all about getting back to cooking from scratch and staying out of the middle aisles of the grocery store.

I decided that I would give myself a little entertainment for the times when I'm in the kitchen by myself. I bought a TV. It has a built in DVD player and I hooked up a VCR as well. Now I can play my favorite movies while I cook.
Don't you just love Moonstruck?

Next, I decided to get back to flowers. I went on a kick a few years back where I kept fresh flowers in the house. Andrew Weil, the health guru, highly recommends them. So does Christiane Northrup - the Dr. who is frequently on Oprah. Check out this article on the health benefits of flowers. There's something about them that makes you feel wonderful.

My inspiration for getting back to them is the blog, Heart of Light. I have become obsessed by this blog. I'm reading my way through all of Rachel's posts. She's young, but so inspiring. Her posts on cooking have connected with my recent discovery of Michael Pollan and thanks to both of them, meals around our house are getting better. Rachel also gets fresh flowers every Friday and posts about them. They are always lovely.

I bought some simple, almost played out tulips for $2.50. I must say, I am enjoying them soooo much. Why did I ever stop keeping fresh flowers on hand. I can't wait to add more flowers to our garden. Is it Spring yet?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cry Me A River

I took a number of pictures and none did a good job of showing just how much water was flowing downhill.

There were streams - almost rivers - flowing down towards the pond from every direction. The pond overflowed. In the photo above, what looks like a driveway is mostly a stream. Just behind the trees you can see another river.

The ground is just too saturated to take anymore. We aren't in the midst of a drought anymore.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Recent Finds

I've had pretty good luck recently with thrifting. I have an iron picture/plate holder - thingie. What are those called? Just last week I was wishing I had more. Voila! I found two on my next consignment store excursion.

I used the tallest one to hold the picture I framed recently. This is the photo I won from Little Red House. It looked wonderful in a frame propped in place, but now it looks even better.

I used the shorter one (which is pretty tall) to hold my framed January quote. My photo, unfortunately, is not clear enough to read the quote.

“Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”

~ William Arthur Ward
The tall iron what-cha-call-it next to the quote is also a recent thrift store find. I intended to use it as a door stop - it's unbelievably heavy. I set it on the counter after I brought it home and just fell in love with how it looked there. It serves no purpose other than to make me happy. It's door-stopping duty will just have to wait.

Another fabulous find is this denim slipcover. It's made by LLBean. I got it at Goodwill for around $4. When I held it up, I knew it was a slipcover for a chair, but had no idea what size. That didn't really matter. We have a number of chairs that need slipcovers. If it didn't fit any of them, I could alter it to fit one. It ended up on the chair in the guestroom which is upholstered in the ugliest 80's style fabric imaginable. The chair has paint on it and claw marks all around the bottom. The chair itself is a family heirloom and is in line for reupholstering as soon as we win the lottery. Meanwhile, it has a perfectly acceptable slipcover to wear. One of these days, it will get a pillow upgrade.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dish Mat becomes a Drawer Liner

I never was won over by the mat for my dish drainer. After a few days of trying to love it, I discovered that it happened to fit almost perfectly into one of my kitchen drawers.

My kitchen drawers were lined with that rubbery liner stuff. It looks nice - I love the deep red - but it just doesn't stay in place like I'd hoped. I did not want to tape or glue it into place. It had to be adjusted practically every time I used the drawer. Needless to say, it was on my list of annoying things I planned to do something about.

It stays in place and looks pretty, too. It won't need replacing like normal drawer liners because this one is completely washable. (Disclaimer: Just because the liners won't NEED replacing, doesn't mean that they won't be. Who's to say that somewhere down the road I won't end up with a scrap of fabric that would look just wonderful in those drawers?)

The new liner worked so well that I decided to make two more for the other drawers with the sliding-liner issue.
The new ones are not as fancy. I used only one fabric for the top. I didn't bother to put piping around the edge. All are backed with terrycloth and they sit right on the original rubbery liner.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Fluffy Blue Bed

Thrift Stores are such a thrill. One of my finds this week was a fluffy blue bed.

When I browse my favorite thrift stores, I leave no corner unturned. Even though I have no 2 legged children in the house, I still browse through the kid's section and have found a number of wonderful things there. Today I found a fluffy blue bed. It's original life was as a kid's beanbag chair. It's smaller than a typical beanbag chair. The cover is something like a bathroom rug. It zips off and is washable. The color is cheerful. The minute I set eyes on it, I knew our 4 legged children would love it. I was right.

Since plopping it down in the floor, it has seldom been empty. All the babies wanted to take a bit of a nap.

Even Lulu enjoyed it.

Never underestimate the importance of a good place to nap!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Y'all, It's Cold!

I live in Georgia. When it gets cold down here, we get excited. This week, we've had quite a cold spell.

We had a bit of snow, which meant that just before it came in, the grocery stores were a zoo! The bread and milk aisles were left empty. All the ingredients necessary for making chili were wiped out. Somewhere in the Georgia law books, it says that if it gets really cold, you must have a pot of chili on the stove.

The temperature seems to be staying way below what we thin blooded southerners are used to. What happened to global warming?

By the way, I sure am getting tired of my photos not being turned the right way. I rotated this one and saved it in my photo program, but apparently that's not good enough for Blogger!@#$!

Back to my story - It stayed so cold that our pond has frozen over solid. We threw some rocks onto the ice and it makes such an unusual sound - sort of a mix between a tuning fork and birds chirping.

I hope we get some more snow this winter! I have a feeling we will.


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