Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sour Cherry Galette

We had leftovers for dinner tonight so that meant I had all this extra time, just kidding, but I did clean out the fridge and found a pie dough that needed to be used. A couple of cans of cherries - one in water and one in syrup, rained and popped in the free form pie shame on a sheet pan.
Free form pie also called galette, around sweet and tart cherries (sweet are the dark while the light are sour), tablespoon of sugar in the raw and a 1/2 tablespoon of butter 
Baked in 400° F oven for 35 minutes, shorter bake time because there is no second crust 

The cherries are a lovely combination between the sweet and sour 

While the galette was baking, I reduced the strained liquid from both cans into a thick and tasty sauce. I added a teaspoon of agave to sauce while it was on the stove but you can add orange or lemon zest for some freshness. A slice was dusted with powdered sugar, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle of the cherry sauce. A surprise for hubby and perfectly paired with a coffee. Sometimes you don't need to wait for a special occasion for a special evening.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Easy Cinnamon & Orange Sugar Pull-A-Parts

These delicious pull a parts are quick and simple to make, and we had everything on hand so this was today's Brunch treat
A can of flaky pop-can biscuits, each cut into quarters (while still cold from the fridge)
Meanwhile in a bowl combine sugar, cinnamon and zest of one orange, mix well
Dunk each biscuit quarter into melted butter, then into the sugar mixture
Place randomly into a buttered cake or bunt pan until the bottom is covered
I used one can of biscuits but if you're feeding a crowd or using a bunt pan you will need another pop-can
Bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes or until you see the flakiness and there is no remaining uncooked dough. Let them rest out of the oven for at least 10 minutes to avoid lava heat burning of the sugar and enjoy with a coffee!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Funbits - Googly Eye Push Pins

Work in progress

  • Push Pins (300) from Dollar Tree
  • Assorted Googly Eyes (125) from Dollar Tree
  • Hot Glue Gun from Dollar Tree
  • Glue Sticks from Dollar Tree
I saw some adorable googly eye push pins at Dollar Tree but each time I stop by, they are MIA so this is for all the friends, subscribers and followers who can now make their own. BTW - the original package of googly eye pins was only 25 in the box, with these supplies you can make A LOT of push pins.
Premade push pins, 25 in the box. They used trickery because 2/3 of the box is filler cardboard
Assorted googly eyes separated by size
Practically lifetime supply of Thumb Tacks, available in silver tone (which I got) and in brass. The base of these are great for all sorts of embellished pins, bling, flowers, buttons, epoxy covered photos, the possibilities are endless. I'd love to hear what you would add to yours.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

As Seen On TV Stone Wave from Dollar Tree

The first time using this, I gave my YouTube viewers a choice between tree dessert recipes to make on video, the Baked Banana won hands down
I picked up two of these, with the intent to use for French Onion soup (Paulie's favorite) but discovered that there a few enticing recipes that will be highlighted in the coming weeks
Each crock has a vented lid and a hollow handle (to limit heat transfer) but is only intended for use in the microwave. Although I am pretty sure if these were fired in a kiln at 1,200° F the possibility of using them in the home oven exists
One banana, a little brown sugar, a dash of rum, sliced almonds and cinnamon with a pat of butter and 45 seconds in the microwave (recipe called for 30 seconds but the butter hadn't even melted so I ran it for an additional 15 seconds which was perfect). Topped with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream and it was perfect*.
* If you are making this for children, substitute the run with vanilla extract but only 1/4 teaspoon

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Perfect Little Nacho Bites

Paulie was craving Nachos so I made some tasty ones at home rather than go out and not know exactly what is in them
White Corn scoop style chips filled with sauteed organic grass fed beef with my homemade fajitas seasoning, a couple of strands of cheese on each and popped under the broiler for 3 minutes 
Love the crispy cheese threads 
Time to dress these up - Sour Cream, Peach Salsa, fine chopped Scallions/Onions, fresh diced avocado and lime wedges 
Perfectly ripe avocado (purchased 4 days ago) 
All dressed up and not an ounce of grease, enjoyed by both of us!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Pen Sets Collection for my Planner(s)

WOW, not sure if this is all of them or not but will be putting them to live together in one container so I can best use the one just right for the job or paper weight. 
Stack up nicely, lol 
Varsity Disposable Fountain Pens (7). Nice on heavier paper but bleeds through terribly on Filofax and 60 lb and lower weights. Review with paper samples.

Some of the least expensive of the bunch $1.49 or all 10. Not the most slick pens but absolute workhorses for the daily use particularly on write & toss adhesive paper or notepads. 
Glitter all the way - Atyou Spica add that little something. Juicy so not the ideal for double-sided writing but nice on card stock tab dividers for a little bling. I picked these up from
Frixion erasable pens*. I like using these for longer lists or journaling on blank pages to give myself some piece of mind in case I mess up. These are from Amazon.
*if you are using printed pages, any lines might be erased in the process of removing writing
Staedtler - my favorite, smooth, skip free, nice point, barrel is triangular so they won't roll off your desk if you take them out of the case (I tend to open it up and flip the cover backwards for easy access and prop up as show on the cover). Minimal bleed through, best results on lighter colors but that also depends on writing style. Some people tend to be 'heavy' handed vs. others have a 'lighter' stroke. 
I have had these for over 15 years, used them to correct homework (taught English as a Second Language) but apparently have forgotten about them in the back of my desk drawer. Time to use these up. Really like the 0.3 mm tip. Great for smaller spaces. I tend to compensate to the free space I have to write. Give me an entire page and I'll use broad strokes vs.  gum wrapper would yield tiny print.
Last but not least are a couple of Calligraphy sets, the ZIG (in the foreground) are Chalk for darker color paper or on Chalk labels, the smaller 3 pen set is from Y&C and are Chisel Tip in 2.0mm, 3.5mm & a whopping 5.0mm. These are by Yasumoto company and are made in Japan, distributed by Y&C. Also antient, from the back of my desk. Since I don't do Calligraphy that much unless requested by customers for invitations, these will last a while.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Skeptical Reality TV Viewer

Reality TV, how 'real' is it really? As I am sitting and editing the daily vlog on a Friday evening after a date night with hubby I wonder. The TV is tuned to Discovery Channel and at 10 pm EST they are showing the latest episode of Alaskan Bush People - a family of 9 living in the wilds of Alaska, off the land and with some interesting accents (I can't really identify a single one).

Now I am a veteran of Reality TV, the excitement of Survivor Season 1 now almost 15 years ago was unlike anything else on TV at the time. It was the thing to watch, I even recall planning around the hour show on CBS but now you can barely turn the channel and not trip over a new 'reality' spin.

Between Wars of Everything and Housewives of Havana, there is little left that has not had a camera aimed at it but I've always been rather partial to survival type of shows and where you have to use your wits and skill to make it another day.

This is where my skepticism steps in. The Bush People show in particular, only because it's on right now but there are several others, that I question how it's possible to live in the wilds of Alaska for a large family with little provisions and not even a climate worthy shelter. I have a difficult time accepting that the clean appearing, leather wearing, designer jean clad clan of nine is sleeping under a dug out tree or a lean to. I expect production to be done around any 'reality' but how far does it get stretched when this family appears to have the worst luck possible - fires, neighbors shooting at them while they sleep, house boat sinking while somehow the same clothes appear on the family pre and post 'loosing everything'.

Having vlogged daily off an one for nearly a year and a half (2014 plus several month long stints in 2013) I am aware that exciting or dramatic things don't happen daily or even weekly. Even if you take into consideration that filming is done over the course of several months to cobble together the edited show, there is bound to be mundane moments but apparently not on 'reality' TV.

Have we become total cynics? Is it possible to still be pleasantly surprised by reality shows? There are dozens of shows on these days, many spin-offs from those that proved to be ratings gold but how many times can you make carbon copies (does anyone even remember this reference? lol) before they stop resembling the original entirely?

I'd love to hear your opinion on 'reality' TV, Do you watch? Do you admit to watching it? I won't tell but I am really curious.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Zesty Cheese Kale Chips

Incredibly tasty homemade Zesty Cheese Kale Chips - kid & husband approved (recipe below)

Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 cups raw cashew pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Ponzu or 1 teaspoon sea salt (vegan version)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 a red or yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 a poblano pepper
  • 1 tablespoon No Salt Seasoning (it has great additions of orange zest and lots of herbs)

Mix all the ingredients in a blender or #Nutribullet till combined. Trim out the thick stems from a bunch of Kale, soak in water, wash and spin dry in a salad spinner. Transfer Kale to a large bowl (stainless or glass is best) then pour on the Cheese sauce. This is where it gets a bit messy but fun, massage the sauce into all the nooks and crannies of the kale leaves. Then place in single layer on dehydrator trays, set to 135° F for 10 hours or until crisp. Store in a sealed container or zipped bag for 2-3 days. To extend their life, if they last that long, you can pop them in the refrigerator. If they start to get limpy (humidity plays a big part), pop them in the dehydrator for an hour to re-crisp. Enjoy!
In the Dehydrator 
10 hours later 
Satisfying and fresh without any preservatives and didn't cost $4 for 2 oz. Next time I'll try a tablespoon of Sambal!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mushka & Samantha - A Love/Hate Relationship

Dog and Cat relationship as seen through the eyes of Mushka the Chihuahua and Samantha the Cat
Mushka: You are not allowed to be within 3 feet of me Samantha: Whatever! 
Mushka: Your tail is touching me CAT! Samantha: Whatever!
Mushka: Dad, she's touching me again! Samantha: Whatever!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Past Week's Meals

Lemongrass Chicken with Coconut Ginger Sauce and Lime Basmati Rice
Paulie's favorite - Brats, Dill Potatoes, Sauerkraut Salad (cold) and Horseradish Beer Mustard
Steak Fajitas with all the fixings, mushrooms, onions, peppers, salsa, jalapenos, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and lime on onion Nan (non traditional)
Oven backed chicken wings, green beans with lemon and garlic, whipped sweet potatoes with ricotta cheese and celery & radish salad
Meatless Monday - Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Pan seared Salmon with dill potatoes and ginger carrots
On Friday night we went out to Sushi but otherwise I cooked the rest of the nights.