Saturday, June 26, 2010

Key Lime Murder

By Joanne Fluke

A Hanna Swenson Mystery

I know that I am working on a masters degree in literature and I will go toe to toe with you anytime discussing Shakespeare, Austen, Wharton and Toni Morrison, but I still love my serial murder mysteries that have food or fiber arts themes. Joanne Fluke is one of my favorite such writers and Hanna Swenson is the best thing from Minnesota since Garrison Keelor. Hanna is the thirty something owner of the Cookie Jar who, to her mother’s chagrin keeps finding dead bodies. She has two great guys vying for her attention but she lives with the best guy, her cat Moisha. Each one of the Hanna Swenson stories has a great story and great recipes, and not just cookies. The Key Lime Pie Murder centers around the local fair and rodeo and what can happen when people are being judged for their roping, riding, beauty and cooking (not the same person doing all of those things, but that would be interesting, maybe a new reality show). I am also excited that I found out from Joanne Fluke’s website that she is going to write a cookbook with all of the Hanna Swenson recipes to come out next year.

Pick up a copy of The Key Lime Pie Murder from Amazon or have it sent to your Kindle (which is now a great new lower price if you don't have one already).



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Best Dinner Ever

I just made the best dinner ever.  I found a new cookbook at Half Priced Books yesterday called The Best 1001 Short, Easy Recipes.  I made Oregano Chicken on p. 262.  I put it in the crockpot this morning and when I got home the house smelled amazing.  I cooked a box of curried rice that I had in the pantry and some little green peas, had a glass of white wine and it was better than a restaurant.  Now I can't wait to really look through this book and find some other tasty, easy things.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Ok, so I lost my blogging mojo again.  Sorry so long.

I have an etsy shop: .  Check it out this is my first item and pattern to sell, isn't it cute; a blinged out coffee cup cozy.

I made the best dinner tonight-hot, out of the oven beer bread, pepper jack cheese, and an apple.  YUM!


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

This is where I went yesterday

And this is a picture of the goodies that I got.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Today we visited a great Local Yarn Store, The Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg, Va .  I bought the book Knitting Green by Ann Budd, a Harmony crochet edging guide and the current Vogue Knitting.  I also got 3 balls of frog tree bamboo blend yarn in a deep, deep red color.  I am going to use it to make the Sustainable Bamboo Scarf on page 99 of Knitting Green.  I also want to make the Commuter Knapsack on page 83.  It is made out of Pima Cotton and I have about 10 skeins of a pima cotton I got from Webs about a year ago to make a sweater that I never made.  So this is great I will be using my stash.  Back to the frog tree yarn. This company is a yarn ministry that helps families in Bolivia and Peru.  The company takes not profits, but instead creates micro-businesses in these countries.  It feels great to not only add to the stash, but to also help people create a life.

On the down side, my Yahoo e:mail address got hijacked and I have had to delete most of my contacts as well as write apologies to everyone else.  If you happened to be in my contact list and you got a strange e:mail I am sorry, this is just one of the perils of modern technology.


Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day, please pray for our troops

We have made it to our final destination, Williamsburg, VA and it is a beautiful day. This is the first time I have logged onto the computer since Friday. Am I having withdrawals? I don't know, I am glad to be typing right now. I have already made the family visit one yarn store in Hattiesburg, MS. I was called The Yarn Basket and it was small and very nicely arranged. I got a ball of SWTC Toffutsi and I have already cast on a pair of socks that are of my own design and I might just have to submit them somewhere to see if there is any interest in my original designs. We had only on mishap with the navigation feature on my phone. I typed in the address of the hotel we are staying at and we followed just what the little computer lady told us to do and ended up at some Navy Munitions Base that I am pretty sure we were not supposed to be at. We quickly turned around, switched to my son's phone navigation and had no problems.

Once my husband gets back from golf and my son gets up, we will be ready to start our colonial experience. It has been about 10 years since we last visited here and I can't wait to see what has changed.

Hope all of you are having a great holiday weekend.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mashed Potatoes and Barbecued Roast from More Dinner's in the Freezer
(I had mashed potatoes and Bocca Chikn nuggets)

This was the menu tonight (I know nothing green, but my son did not do the dishes and I was working with the pans I had).  The guys loved the roast.  It was very simple, I prepped it on Saturday from the recipe.  The barbecue sauce is made with catsup and a bunch of other spices.  I put it in the crockpot this morning and it turned out great.  I know that you will all be shocked, but I make my mashed potatoes with instant flakes.  I fix them according to the package directions and add garlic powder.  I topped my with cheese and all in all it was a very comfort food meal.  I love Bocca Chikn nuggets.  Eat something you love and knit only the things that you love.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dinner tonight consisted of eating out at Chili's.  I had some running around to do and did not have time to cook.  The good news is that I can see, yea.  My new glasses arrived and it is wonderful.  It is amazing how much my vision still changes from one year to the next.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dinner was a bust tonight.  On Saturday when I had my artist date of planning my menu, studying cookbooks for idea, shopping and cooking most of the day so that I would have starters in the freezer to make the evening meal a snap, I boiled some chicken breasts and cut them up and portioned them in ziplocks.  I have done this for years.  I put them right into the freezer.  Well tonight I was going to have chicken curry and when I took the bag of chicken out of the freezer and dumped it into the skillet it smelled bad.  I have mentioned before that I am not much on meat so I thought maybe it was just me so I continued on with the meal.  When my son came in I had him smell the bag and he said that it smelled bad and he would not eat it.  That was enough for me.  I had a can of vegetarian chili and brown rice from the pantry and he has gone to the mall for Chinese.  The curry sauce smelled wonderful.  It was from the same cookbook as last night's meal, More Dinner in the Freezer and I will make it again with chickpeas instead of chicken.  Oh well, my chili was great.

Hoping for better luck tomorrow night.


Monday, May 24, 2010

I have my cooking mojo back.  Tonight we had a great ground beef vegetable soup from Don't Panic More Dinner's in the Freezer by Martinez, Howell and Garcia.  This is the first week I have cooked from this book.  This weekend I assembled several of the meals and put them in the freezer so all I have to do is move one to the fridge in the morning and I am ready to go in the evening.  This recipe, Saucy Vegetable Beef Soup p. 111, was even easier, I put it in the crockpot this morning and when I got home all I had to do was make cornbread and we were ready to eat.  It was a hit with the guys as well, but I did have enough for one container to be able to take this week to work for lunch.  I even had enough cooking energy left over to make a brownie for my dear husband to take to work in the morning so that he will be the most popular person there (he is already, but the brownie just sweetens the deal).


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Twitter Shawl Update
This is all of the yarn that I have left of the first skein of Noro.  I am sure that this shawl will take three skeins.  I am still enjoying working on it.  I just love watching the different colors of the yarn unfold.

If you have been working on this, please send pictures.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Morning Book Review
A New Way To Cook
by Sally Schneider

Since I am concentrating on cooking more and more healthy meals for my family I thought that I would start out our renewed Saturday Morning Book Review with a cookbook. A New Way to Cook won both the James Beard and the IACP Cookbook Awards. The cover states:

New Techniques
New Flavors
A Whole New Way to Eat
More Than 600 Recipes

I came across this book several years ago when Barns and had these classes with authors. You had access through chat rooms with other students and the books author. There were weekly assignments and projects and they were designed to work through a book. I did not get to complete the course because we had to take an unexpected trip to my aunts due to family illness, but I learned enough that I have continued to use certain things that I learned. One such item is found on page 552, it is a recipe for an Aromatic Pepper. It is a mix of different pepper corns and spices and since the first day I put this blend together in my pepper grinder I have continued to use it. These are the kinds of things that are taught in this book, recipes for different ways to add spice, marinades, salad dressings, flavored oils and vinegars. There are also instructions on how to put together ingredients in simple, flavorful ways and how to cook these ingredients in ways that are healthier and tastier. I plan on spending some quality time this morning with this book, refreshing the ideas in my memory and then I am going to plan my menu and shopping trip for the week and by this afternoon I hope to be home with great things to feed my family.

On a Personal Note: I have realized that I have a really warped relationship with food and I know that is why I am heavy. My goal now is to learn how to feed myself good healthy foods that I don't have to think about or feel guilty for eating. I think that dieting really contorts your view of food. I am going to dive deeper into this issue if only to heal myself.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dinner-Night Three

This does not look like nights one and two:
Brown Rice
PF Chang's new at home meals-Orange Chicken
This is the first time we have tried the new PF Chang frozen skillet meals. The Orange Chicken was very good and we had it over the brown rice. I liked it and it was very easy, all you had to do was cook in the skillet for about 15 minutes, but it was not all that cheep. Each bag was $6.99 and it only serves two so I had to get two bags for the three of us, that comes close to $14.00. That is terrible for an at home meal, but it is still cheaper than our average restaurant meal of between $35 and $40, and about the price for just one entree if you were actually eating at PF Changs. So, all in all, still a reduced price meal and we were able to eat it at home. I think that I will pick this up again for something totally different from anything that I would cook from scratch, but no more than maybe twice per month.
I am now three for three with fixing dinner and eating at home. Let's see how long the string can continue.
P.S. I am also three for three on my home yoga practice. YEA!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dinner Day 2: No picture tonight because it basically looks like last nights.

Taco Casserole

1 lb ground beef, browned
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa (I used Picante Mild-dear husband can't take heat)
6 TBLS Ortega Taco Seasoning or one package Taco Seasoning

Place all of these ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

flour tortillas
grated cheese

Spray Pam in 9X9 inch pan. Place a layer of flour tortillas on bottom. Put half of the meat mixture and half of the grated cheese. Place another layer of tortillas, meat mixture and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

This was very, very yummy. Tomorrow I am going to have to come up with something that looks totally different.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Cooking Dinner-Day One

I probably need to work on my food photography, they say food is one of the hardest things to shoot. Anyway this is day one of my cooking more at home experiment. This is the recipe:

Ravioli Bake

1 bag frozen cheese ravioli, cooked according to package directions

1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used Giadia's new sauce from Target)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 bag Morning Star Farm meatless crumbles

Cook the sauce, tomatoes and crumbles in a sauce pan while the ravioli is boiling, about 15 minutes. Drain pasta and stir in sauce. Be careful stirring so that the ravioli does not break. Pour into a 9X9 pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Cover with Mozzarella and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

It was very good and the house smells like an Italian restaurant. All 3 of us ate and I think there is enough for me to freeze to take for 2 lunches. This would be a great dish to make to take to a pot luck. I will make this again.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Shopping Trip

I made my plan and I went to the grocery store, but as soon as I got out of the car I realized that I just don't like meat so why would I spend money on it and have to deal with it. So I went into the store and revamped my whole plan, but I did buy food and I am ready to prepare really good meals next week. In fact I have already started. I just made some great whole wheat, yogurt scones for breakfast and they are so good (I could not wait for breakfast).

Speaking of the scones I have to let you know about my new favorite thing where I got the recipe: The Whole Foods App for the Ipod touch, Iphone or Ipad. This app is great. You don't need the Internet after you download it and there are recipes and a grocery list that you create and then you can check the items off as you put them in your basket and they disappear. This is the best grocery list I have ever seen. If you want to make one of the recipes, you tap "put ingredients in list" and it automatically populates the grocery list with the items to make that dish. I highly recommend that you go to the Itunes App store and check it out. (By the way, you can you it at any grocery store because you create the shopping list.) Oh, and did I mention that it is free?

OK, so I am on my way. My pantry, fridge, and freezer are stocked and now all I have to do is come home, put the meals together and cook them. There is so much less fat, sugar and salt, not to mention calories in these recipes we have to feel better and lose weight. I also got lots of fresh fruit and sugar free yogurt for snacks, desserts and to take to work.

Knitting on Sunday

This is what you will need to bring next Sunday and you can get it all at Michael's,

Clover Size 8 circular knitting needles, 16 inch circulars are fine:
One skein of either one of these yarns. I have not knitted or crocheted with the Bamboo Ewe yet, but I have patted it a couple of times and it is very soft.

I will put together some great goodies for ya'll. We are going to start with a garter stitch scarf. I will have instructions and pattern. You all are my first victims, I mean students, so we will be learning together.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

I have been wondering what I really want to blog about and I think I have it. I am still going to have book reviews and posts about my works in progress, but the main thing I want to work on in my life and for my family is how we eat. I realized that if I spent all of the time and money that I currently spend on trying to lose weight, which is going no where fast, I could have the time to plan healthy meals, buy the groceries and cook. I love to cook, but I just quit doing it. I thought that if I did not focus or deal (read prepare and cook) food, I would break my addiction and lose weight. Well, I did lose 25 pounds, but that is it and my husband and son have eaten horribly and I am missing that creative outlet. So now I am going to redirect all of that effort into making great, low-fat, healthy, tasty meals at home. Tomorrow afternoon I am going to sit down, plan out a menu, go to the grocery store and have my items ready for the week.

So what does all of this have to do with the blog. You are going to go on this journey with me. I hope if you are not cooking on a regular basis now you will join in. If you are one of the lucky ones who have this all figured out, then I hope that you will offer advice and support. Maybe we will save money and lose weight.

Can't wait to get started.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book Review
Dracula, The Un-Dead
by Dacre Stoker

Do not read this unless you have already read the classic Dracula by Bram Stoker.

When I saw this book at the book store my first thought was that some relative of Bram Stoker was trying to cash in on the success of all of the current vampire hype, Twilight Saga, and that was a shame. I kept coming back to it though and finally gave in and bought it at I had recently listened to the classic Dracula and had loved it even though I had read it many years ago and had seen all of the various movies. I was so surprised. Dacre Stoker picks up several decades after the original story and continues on the the same format. Each of the main characters tells his or her story via their written diary. Frankenstein is also written this way as well as The Color Purple. All of the old characters are back plus a couple of very important new characters; one good and one not so good. The plot is a little contrived and too coincidental, but the suspense is better than the classic. There is more violence and sex in this sequel, but I think it probably had to be there to attract today's readers. This is no Twilight. I did enjoy the story of all of the Twilight books, but I don't think anyone would say that they were high literature. Dracula The Un-Dead is as well written as it predecessor. This book is also read very well on the Audible version. Summer is about to begin and who doesn't need a little dark, scary tale to read by the pool. Just remember not to get too lost in the story or you might end up as red as the blood the vampires feed on. I have added this selection to my Amazon picks at the right so order a copy and enjoy. I am also working on adding an button so that you can jump there and find some wonderful things to listen to so keep looking to the right for this new addition.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Twitter Mystery Shawl

Here is a picture of how far I have gotten on my Twitter Mystery Shawl:

I have not had a lot of time to work on it, but I am about 1/2 the way through the skein of Noro. I think it will take at least 2 skeins so buy 3 just in case. These colors are so pretty together. No one dyes yarn like Noro.

Send links to your pictures if you have started the shawl and let me know how it is going.



Monday, May 10, 2010

New Venture

I just started Tweeting and I love it. I never got addicted to facebook, but I am addicted to Twitter. My handle is @hippieista so follow me. I am currently tweeting about my shawl kal. Follow me and join the kal.

Long post later.


Monday, March 08, 2010

I started a new challenge last Friday to cook five more meals a week than I usually do. Well, in my case, that would just be cooking five meals. So far I have eaten every meal at home, two have been frozen dinners, but the rest I have cooked. I want to see just how much I can cook and how much my family will actually eat at home. I told them tonight that I had fixed something that they all like and that they needed to eat before they went to school instead of buying some burger on the way and eating it in the car. We will see if it works. Hopefully I will update as this little experiment continues.