Sunday, March 26, 2017

Year 2, Week 14, 3-26-2017

Sorry, no post this week.  I've been in bed all weekend with some kind of bug. Yesterday my temperature was 101.2 and now it's down to 100.2, so I'm sure I'm on the mend. Be back next week.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Year 2, Week 13, 3-19-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: Yout body is a temple, not a trashcan. ????? 
I don't know who said this originally, but it's been used over and over on blogs. I finally saw it on Pinterest, and it really hit home. I've been given this wonderful machine to house my spirit, and I've been treating it like a piece of throw-away plastic. 

Our bodies are our most valuable assets. What is an arm worth? Would you take $100,000 for yours? How about a leg or an eye? And think what a brain is worth. Would you trade yours for $1,000,000? 

This quote will be my new motto, along with, "Sweets are treats". I've been treating them like meals when I'm in a hurry and need fuel. 

When I treat my temple like a trashcan, I'm being ungrateful for the wonderful gift I've been given. Time to shape up - literally and figuratively.

Tasting: Remember Mim's beautiful almond cake from last week? Thought you might like the recipe.






French Almond Cake
(CafĂ© Sucre Farine)
3/4 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond flour (meal)
3 tsps baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsps vanilla
3/4 cup sunflower oil, grape seed or canola oil

For the glaze:
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
3 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar plus more for sprinkling, if desired
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray; rub inside surface of pan with a paper towel to cover evenly with the spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and spray parchment paper lightly. Set aside.

Place almonds in a small baking pan. Spread to a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes or until just beginning to turn pale golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Combine the orange zest, orange juice, powdered sugar and extracts in a small bowl for the glaze. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Cover and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended.

Add the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt and extracts, mixing just until combined.

Add the oil and stir well. Don't worry, at first it will seem to separate, but keep stirring till smooth. This might take 2-3 minutes.

Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch in the center and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if getting too brown near the end and cake still isn’t done. Be careful not to over bake.

Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then turn it out of the pan onto the rack.

While cake is still warm, using a pastry brush, gently pat the glaze all over the cake. Just keep going over the cake until the glaze is gone. Some of it will drip off, but most of it will soak in. Sprinkle almonds over top of cake while glaze is wet and pat gently. Allow cake to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired and serve.

Tales: I mentioned a book I was reading which I found both fascinating and maddening. A perfect example of how our tax dollars are wasted. First, let me say that our Native Americans have been treated shamefully, and when I see them making big money from the stupid people who throw away dollars gambling (including myself on a small scale) in their casinos, I say, "Way to go!". But this book is about a tribe left with only a little over 200 acres where one lone lady lived in a shack until she died there in old age. 

Along came a wealthy lawyer who found an obscure law and with the aid of the lady's grandson and some politicians, expanded the tribal lands and built the largest casino in the USA (at that time). To qualify with the federal government as a tribe, you must have Native Americans living there continuously, follow the customs, have a written "constitution", etc. The lady died years before the granson decided to pursue his dream. The book ended with the tribe (many of whose ancestry was questionable) pursuing even more land to expand. I don't know if they were successful, but the casino is still operating. It's called Foxwoods and it's in Connecticutt. You can check it out HERE. I'd love to visit their Native American museum; it looks really interesting.


Tidbits: I was driving into our subdivision after dark this week, and the Bradford pears were still beautiful. I had to stop for this photo.


And then this gorgeous sunset the next day. So much beauty in this world.


Thank Yous: To Carrie and Katie who sent handmade cards for St. Patrick's Day, even though I was a slouch and didn't send even one card. I also got a sweet card from David, my dear friend in Ohio whom I met on a trip to China.



Tasting: I did, however, manage to cook corned beef and cabbage, and I'm still eating it.


Thrifting: On one of my almost daily trips to the market, I stopped off at a "new" flea market. It opened in August, but I just discovered it. I found a sweet little teapot, just the right size for a little girl, and will make a cute door prize for the Mother-Daughter Tea at the library in May. New and only $2.25. I thought these were teddy bears, but when I checkout, the lady said, "What cute little cats.". Either way, they're cute.


Then over to my favorite thrift store in Nixa where I found that since it was St. Patrick's Day, anything green was 30% off.


I found these cork-backed coasters for 70 cents for four. They're the perfect size for my little individual-size teapots.


And four napkins for 35 cents total; smaller size for a tea table.


And this beatiful votive holder for $1.05. One of the petals has a small chip, but I'll give it to Katie's husband, John, to smooth out. He can fix anything.


Not green, but this nice tablecloth for $3. I think it's one of those you don't have to iron. An added bonus. I'm not sure what I have to match it, but I know something in  my "stash" will. I just have to find it.


Theme Dining:  Tulipmania Brunch is finished.

The Invitations


The Table




The Menu


The Food



The party favors were some wooden tulip baskets I painted blue and filled with cinnamon candies. One at each plate, seen more clearly in the first photo.


OMELET IN A BAG

For each omelet:
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Optional additions:
Diced ham
Chopped green onions
Chopped green pepper
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Chopped mushrooms
Sliced ripe olives
Chopped parsley

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Beat eggs, add cheese and any other additions. Pour into a resealable freezer bag. Easier if you push the bag down into a drinking glass and fold the top over the rim of the glass.

Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag.

Place up to 8 bags at a time in the boiling water. They can be clipped to the top of the pot with clothespins.

Cook exactly 13 minutes.

Open the bag and the omelet will roll out onto your plate.

Top with sour cream and/or salsa, if desired.

Note: Write each person’s name on his/her bag with a Sharpie.



HASH BROWNS CASSEROLE
From: Simply Potatoes

1 pkg Simply Potatoes shredded hash browns
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces

Heat oven to 375.

Spray an 11 X 7 or 8 X 8 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Stir together potatoes, salt and pepper.

Spread half in bottom of pan and top with one cup of cheese.

Add remainder of potatoes and top with remaining cheese.

Mix chicken broth and cream and pour over.

Dot with butter pieces.

Bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes.

Note:  To double, use a 13 X 9 baking dish, double each ingredient, and increase baking time.


To make Yogurt Topping, just mix plain or vanilla yogurt with sugar or artificial sweetener and Cool Whip.

Next week I'll do the I'm Going Green lunch and then March will be finished. Right on schedule now.

Togs: Weekend sale at Bon Worth, so Joey and I went to Branson to celebrate our birthdays (finally). She got a great deal on two pairs of Clark shoes and then we hit Bon Worth, on to lunch at The Sugar Leaf, then a stop for card supplies at Scrapbooks Forever, and more supplies at Tuesday Morning. We got lots of bargains, but the clothes were my best buy. I'm all set for my trip to Cajun Country in early December. These jackets are fleece, just the right weight for that time of year, and the camel pants are also fleece, just right for comfort when riding on the bus.

Khaki and red: jacket, top, and pants. Retail $61.97 - I paid $18.75


Camel: Top and pants. Retail $70.00 - I paid $9.00


Same pants, add a top from my closet and jacket - Retail $35.00 I paid $5.25



Olive: Jacket and pants. Retail $61.00 - I paid $15.00


Chocolate Jacket: Retail $35.00 - I paid $5.25


Butterscotch Jacket: Retail $35.00 - I paid $3.75


Basics: 3 pants, 4 tops Retail $88.93 - I paid $46.49. Only the cobalt pants were on clearance, so not as much saved. 



My Monday-Saturday schedule has gone all kitty-wampus, so will abandon it for now; especially Muffin Tin Monday, due to this week's quote.

We will, however, continue our lunches out once a week, but moving to Tuesday due to some scheduling conflicts. 

This week: Tuesday at noon. Hula Hawaiian Kitchen which was cancelled last week because of weather. Hope to see lots of you there.

CELEBRATE THE SPRING EQUINOX ON MONDAY

JOIN ME IN A NEW LIFESTYLE OF EATING RIGHT

ELIMINATE SUGAR FROM YOUR DIET, EXCEPT WEE LITTLE TREATS OCCASIONALLY

EAT YOUR APPLES

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

AND TEA

THANK YOU FOR SHARING MY LIFE












           





Sunday, March 12, 2017

Year 2, Week 12, 3-12-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.       William Penn

Muffin Tin Monday: Blueberry muffins to use up what I had in the freezer, as they're on sale this week and I can restock.


BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsps (1Tbs +1 tsp) baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 eggs
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
4-5 Tbs sugar for topping

Heat oven to 400°.

Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.

Mix the milk, oil, and eggs and pour it into the well.

Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fold in blueberries.

Fill greased muffin tins (or paper baking cups) 2/3 full. Sprinkle sugar over the tops.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

Note: Recipe makes 24 muffins – easily halved to make only 12 if you wish.




Tidy Up Tuesday: My mouth, not my poor neglected house. Time to get my teeth cleaned. Things have certainly changed from when I grew up. My dentist's office was upstairs, and my knees would be trying to buckle by the time I got to the top, because I knew what was coming. Back then, we were only sent to the dentist if we had a problem. The dentist would whip out that needle and jab it into my gums with no pre-treatment of any kind. No wonder I was terrified. 

This week I took this photo in the hygienist's section. It was like flying first class.


Where to Wednesday: Ruby Tuesday is advertising that their salad bar has been expanded, and we wanted to see for ourselves. The only thing I noticed was that the cucumbers are now chopped instead of sliced, they've added thinly sliced bell peppers, there are some new salad dressings, and the plates are smaller. It's all you can eat, but maybe this way they can cut down on waste. Some people load up and then find they can't finish. 

Try Something Thursday: I tried to get a new battery for my car, but had to wait for one to be ordered in.

Friends Over Friday: Joey came over Friday, but not to be entertained. She brought my birthday "cake": my favorite - cherry pie.



And some flowers.


And the gift bag she made.


Holding the dies she used to make it.


And some new stamps.


Getting older just got better.

Tasting: Our VECC lunch was at Mim's this month, and she made an Italian feast. 

The Table


Tossed Salad


With homemade Italian viniagrette


Sausage and Peppers


Polenta


With Homemade Marinara


Fresh Asparagus


And rolls and butter


Almond Cake and Ice Cream for dessert



I wish I had some right now.

And begonias for our party favors




Thank You: To Chosen Niece Terri for my beautiful flowers.



And to all my friends and family for the gifts and cards, some handmade:


Thank you: To Katie for inviting me to her card class where we made three awesome cards.


Tablescapes: Finally, the last February table is finished. "Yearning for Spring".






And March should be easy-peasy.  I've done all four Tablescapes already:

Turquoise Spring



Ivy



Red Tulips
(I purchased the paper napkins at the tulip festival in Pella, IA, and just had to use them)



Pink and Green Ruffles




The March Tea is finished. It's the one I posted on Year 2, Week 5.


So that leaves only two Theme Dining meals. "I'm Going Green" lunch and "Tulipmania" brunch. Whew! Then I'll be on schedule. Hope to finish both by next week, and I'll have two weeks to clean and work in the yard. 

Theme Dining: I've decided to add Baked Ziti as an alternative to Lasagna for the Buon Appetito dinner.

BAKED ZITI

Olive oil or butter for greasing baking dish
1 lb hamburger, optional
8 oz dried ziti
16 oz ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 350°.

Grease bottom of a 13” X 9” baking dish.

Cook ziti in boiling water about 8 minutes to al dente stage.

Mix ricotta and half the mozzarella in a large mixing bowl and add ziti and toss to cover.

Spread half the spaghetti sauce in the baking dish.

Add ziti mix and cover with remaining sauce.

Sprinkle remaining mozzarella over top; then sprinkle Parmesan over.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until bubbling around the edges.

Note: If adding hamburger: Cook, drain and stir into spaghetti sauce.



The Pepper Report: When I went out to feed the feral kitties (Stormy, Sunny, and BJ), Pepper slipped out the door and didn't want to come in. I just let him sniff around and it wasn't long before he was sitting at the door, wanting to come back inside. It was a cold day and after all, he IS a housecat now. 


Tips: My son found this on the internet - a way to save money so you can eat out more often. Click HERE  and then giggle.

Transferring: Where to Wednesday to Tuesday. This week at Hula Hawaiian Kitchen at noon. It's at 1730 East Repulic Road (the Southgate Center just east of Touch). Click HERE.


HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY

HOPE YOU FIND THE POT OF GOLD

GET READY FOR SPRING

CELEBRATE SOME NATIONAL DAYS
Monday is Good Samaritan Day
Tuesday is Potato Chip Day
Wednesday is Pears Helene Day (for recipe click HERE)
Thursday is Artichoke Hearts Day
Friday is Corned Beef and Cabbage Day (of course)
Saturday is Sloppy Joe Day
Sunday - take your pick:
Poultry Day or Chocolate Caramel Day

THANK YOU FOR SHARING MY LIFE