Make the world go round

Archive for January 2011

Oak Tree, Conroy, South Carolina Black beans seem to be the ingredient of the year so far… In October of 2010 the family took a trip to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina to attend the Long Course Triathlon Halfmax National Championship. (my husband competed and qualified for the World Championships!) While there we had the pleasure of fitting in some sight-seeing and we went to a small town called Conway to experience the traditional southern small town. We visited the cemetery, took a driving home tour and were able to see homes from the late 1800s, and we saw the largest and oldest oak trees I’ve ever seen in my life! They call them Live Oaks and they’re as impressive as the older homes. So while we were there we had to indulge in some fine southern food and found a place called The Trestle Cafe and my daughter ordered sandwich with black bean soup. Apparently it was the best black bean soup ever! I’ve tried two different recipes and neither one captured the flavor of that one. Tonight’s attempt was the Black Bean Soup recipe from the Our Best Bites blog. One thing I’m learning is that I LOVE Black Bean Soupblack bean soup. Daughter may not be as happy as I am, but my taste buds are loving this new addition to our dinner options. To her credit, it’s not that she isn’t enjoying the soups, it’s just that none of them are the same as the one from The Trestle. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying!

Tonight’s recipe was delicious, the lime really made a nice touch, and although I liked the pureed version, my daughter prefers the chunky version. If you want a quick, easy and healthy dinner, I definitely recommend the black bean soup. We served it with corn bread and called it done. It was perfect! Thanks ladies from Our Best Bites!



We’re planning a tie dye party in March so I’m starting to find ideas and get inspiration wherever possible. One of my favorite books is What’s New Cupcake?, my hubby got it last year for my birthday, and it has the cutest things in there! One of the things it has for Christmas is candy stars that you make out of melted jolly ranchers. I just knew I could use the same idea to come up some tie dye hippy candy. So today we broke out the jolly ranchers and the cookie cutters and set to work. All in all it only took us about 20 minutes to make the candy, you can’t beat that! You break the candy into small pieces, spread it out on a foil lined cookie tray, bake at 350 for 3-4 minutes until it melts, take it out of the http://www.hellocupcakebook.com/oven and use metal cookie cutters that have been coated in cooking spray to create shapes in the melted candy. Push the cookie cutters all the way in, as many as you can as close together as you can. Cool until it’s hard (stuck ours in the freezer to make it go faster) and then very carefully break off the edges that are not in cookie cutters and break apart all the cookie cutters and push the candy out if it gets stuck. Be very careful as you’ll end up with sharp edges and if the candy is thin in places it’s very fragile and break’s easily. But in the end we got about half a dozen beautiful stained glass candies and a bunch of extra pieces we can re-melt or just enjoy as is.

Here’s a  close-up:

Hippy Candy Closeup

We’re on a scientific expedition around here, rumor has it that there is a new life form waiting to be discovered. An explorer was able to sketch a glimpse he caught, and  now we’re on a search to be the first to find this new creature! He’s been dubbed an Ultra Terrestrial. Keep your eyes open!

Ultra Terrestrial

A while back my husband expressed interest in introducing more vegetarian dishes into our diet and leaning more toward becoming a pescatarian. So, being interested in cooking and willing to try new things I was excited about this new adventure. Problem being, I didn’t know where to start. Luckily for me, I was having my regular lunch date with a girl friend (my mentor at work and an all around amazing lady). She’s a vegetarian, so I knew she’d have something for me to try. She sent me a few recipes and I had to try one of them right away.  It’s called Cottage Cheese Roast and it’s a vegetarian meat loaf. So I made the recipe, not sure how it was going to turn out, but totally game. I served it to the family and dug in. My first bite was a pleasant surprise, second bite was even better. I loved it! My family didn’t feel the same. (Why is that you find a recipe you love and no one else likes it?) I had to share the results with my friend, so I called her the next day and gave her an update. She said that her husband likes it even better the second day, just like meat loaf, he likes to make sandwiches out of it and eat it cold. I’ve never been one for that, but it gave me an idea to serve the leftovers as a dip with chips. My family loved that, go figure.

Cottage Cheese Roast Stuffed Apple DinnerIt’s been months and I decided to try the recipe again, but this time, at the suggestion of my husband, I was going to stuff green bell peppers with the cottage cheese roast and bake it that way. I hate green bell peppers. So when I was shopping I got a green apple for me and green peppers for everyone else.  Since it was a first for me, I stuffed the fruits and vegetables and then put the leftovers in a baking dish and baked it like the recipe calls for, so we would have both versions. When all was said and done, I still love it, and had to restrain myself! They liked it better, but no one went back for seconds. My daughter is looking forward to tomorrow and the leftovers with pita chips. So at least there’s that.Cottage Cheese Roast Stuffed Apple

If you’re interested and want to try it, let me know and I’ll post the recipe, I highly recommend it, not that my opinion is popular around here!

Lion Brand Yarn Hooded Baby BlanketI haven’t been posting as often because I haven’t had as much to share while I focus on one bigger project. It’s a great project, however it doesn’t leave me much to talk about when I’m crocheting the same pattern night after night. I thought it was far enough along at this point that I can post a picture and show you what I’ve been working. I’m working with the Lion Brand Pound of Love to make a Hooded Baby Afghan. I borrowed this image from http://lionbrandyarn.com/  to give you an idea of what I’m working on.  I just knew this would be adorable when I saw this in the store, and now that I’m working the pattern, it’s so easy, but I love the way it looks! I definitely want to make another one for me to have a nice blanket at my desk for those days when the air conditioner is running too cold, even though it’s 90 degrees outside! I’m not sure what color I’ll go with when I make mine… Now that I think about it, this might make a good Christmas/Birthday gift for other office dweller’s… Of course, I will probably leave the hood off, though I think it would be pretty awesome if we all had our hoodies to wear it work, I can just see the group photo now!

Hooded Baby BlanketSo, for my version of this I’m using Turquoise to make it, and the image I took does not do the color justice in the least. The blue here looks more like a sky blue, but the color is a really a good gemstone turquoise color and is great for a little boy! I think this stitch would also make a good beanie… Maybe I’ll have to try my hand at that. I’ve never made a crochet item without having a pattern for it. The intended recipient was born in October last year, but he lives in Seattle, so it’s my hope that he’ll still be chilly enough to enjoy it when I finally get this in the mail to him! I’ll try to get an action shot when all is said and done, his mom and dad both love to take pictures, I’m sure they’ll help me out with a great shot of him all bundled up.  My only concern is that their kitty Merlin will like it as much as baby does! My cats have sure been enjoying it while I’ve made it, but there is that thing about cats and a ball of yarn, so that cold definitely have something to do with it.

My other project recently has been setting myself up to have an easy way to communicate with my friends that are not local, I think I’ll call them KIT’s (Keep-In-Touch-Stock). I want to be a better friend and stay in touch better so I was trying to figure out how to do that. I came up with a pretty simple idea, so simple that it’s ridiculous. I went and bought a few of those assorted greeting card multi-packs so I now have 24 cards. I picked the three friends that I want to send stuff too, I picked friends that don’t use email or technology to communicate or who are going through some tough times. I printed out address labels and return address labels and bought a book of stamps. I pre-stamped and pre-labeled all the cards, and now I have them ready to go. So once a week I’m going to take 10 minutes to write a personal note and drop it in the mail. I really want to include something special too, so I’ve been keeping my eye open for comics, quotes, articles, or anything else I can slip into the note before I send it off. I think it’s going to be great, and if I send one card a week to each of my three friends, I’m good for two months, just with about an hour’s worth of prep time. I’m keeping the cards in my desk at work, so when I’m on a conference call and waiting for it to start, or on hold for something, or one of our systems crash and I am waiting for it to come back up I can just pull out a card and write it out quickly while I have the free time. Should be great! I hope they like it and Keep In Touch!

Lion Brand Yarn Hooded Baby BlanketI haven’t been posting as often because I haven’t had as much to share while I focus on one bigger project. It’s a great project, however it doesn’t leave me much to talk about when I’m crocheting the same pattern night after night. I thought it was far enough along at this point that I can post a picture and show you what I’ve been working. I’m working with the Lion Brand Pound of Love to make a Hooded Baby Afghan. I borrowed this image from Lion Brand Yarn (link: http://bit.ly/hvosyg)  to give you an idea of what I’m working on.  I just knew this would be adorable when I saw this in the store, and now that I’m working the pattern, it’s so easy, but I love the way it looks! I definitely want to make another one for me to have a nice blanket at my desk for those days when the air conditioner is running too cold, even though it’s 90 degrees outside! I’m not sure what color I’ll go with when I make mine… Now that I think about it, this might make a good Christmas/Birthday gift for other office dweller’s… Of course, I will probably leave the hood off, though I think it would be pretty awesome if we all had our hoodies to wear it work, I can just see the group photo now!

Hooded Baby BlanketSo, for my version of this I’m using Turquoise to make it, and the image I took does not do the color justice in the least. The blue here looks more like a sky blue, but the color is a really a good gemstone turquoise color and is great for a little boy! I think this stitch would also make a good beanie… Maybe I’ll have to try my hand at that. I’ve never made a crochet item without having a pattern for it. The intended recipient was born in October last year, but he lives in Seattle, so it’s my hope that he’ll still be chilly enough to enjoy it when I finally get this in the mail to him! I’ll try to get an action shot when all is said and done, his mom and dad both love to take pictures, I’m sure they’ll help me out with a great shot of him all bundled up.  My only concern is that their kitty Merlin will like it as much as baby does! My cats have sure been enjoying it while I’ve made it, but there is that thing about cats and a ball of yarn, so that cold definitely have something to do with it.

My other project recently has been setting myself up to have an easy way to communicate with my friends that are not local. I want to be a better friend and stay in touch better so I was trying to figure out how to do that. I came up with a pretty simple idea, so simple that it’s ridiculous. I went and bought a few of those assorted greeting card multi-packs so I now have 24 cards. I picked the three friends that I want to send stuff too, I picked friends that don’t use email or technology to communicate or who are going through some tough times. I printed out address labels and return address labels and bought a book of stamps. I pre-stamped and pre-labeled all the cards, and now I have them ready to go. So once a week I’m going to take 10 minutes to write a personal note and drop it in the mail. I really want to include something special too, so I’ve been keeping my eye open for comics, quotes, articles, or anything else I can slip into the note before I send it off. I think it’s going to be great, and if I send one card a week to each of my three friends, I’m good for two months, just with about an hour’s worth of prep time. I’m keeping the cards in my desk at work, so when I’m on a conference call and waiting for it to start, or on hold for something, or one of our systems crash and I am waiting for it to come back up I can just pull out a card and write it out quickly while I have the free time. Should be great! I hope they like it.




Banana CookiesToday I was determined to make something with the three brown bananas I had before they were so brown that I couldn’t use them. I really didn’t want to make another loaf of banana bread or even banana muffins, so I did a Google search and found a yummy sounding recipe for Banana Cookies. The recipe was quick and easy to make, and it turned out a lot like muffin tops. I added in dark chocolate chips instead of pecans. Our stove tends to run a little on the cool side, so I had to bake them a little longer than the recipe called for, but once they turned golden brown I pulled them out and they were ready! We  cooled them for a few minutes and couldn’t wait to dig in. I loved them, and have been telling myself not to go have another, because although they are banana, they are still cookies! The flavor was delicious, especially with the spices and the hint of chocolate every so often. I will definitely make these again, I think they’d be a great surprise to take at the holidays, or to a pot luck, something a little different and yummy! But most of all, I know have something else to do with brown bananas which I always seem to have come weekend!

 
Chakra Chain
Chakra Chain

I’ve been wanting to make a nicer chain for my quartz crystal, but everything I’ve tried that was a true chain always ended up catching and breaking. I finally took inspiration from the rosary I have and combined that with the traditional colors for chakra’s so that I could easily have a way to focus my energies appropriately and came up with this. I threw in some hematite too, I’d heard it was good for healing. It’s more of a rainbow than I expected now that it’s all said and done, but I like it much better than the plain old black cord it was on. Since I just wear this chain at night to absorb the energy of the crystal I think it’ll be okay. I have no true knowledge of this stuff so I’m going on faith that if I believe it, it’ll work for me. And to some extent, it certainly has. I haven’t done much with the chakra’s themselves, but there are meditations in the book I have, and in the old days when I used to have trouble sleeping at night the meditations were extremely helpful to me and allowed to me relax and let go of the all the useless noise in my head that was keeping me awake. My hope is that by having the colors of the chakra’s represented in my necklace I will find a balance that I’m still seeking….

Jewelry Repair

Jewelry Repair

I had some broken jewelry lying around so since   my tools out to make the chakra chain I went ahead and fixed all of them, so I got two of my most favorite necklaces back in action, and wore one of them to work today. 🙂  Two of them we inherited bought pieces and the one in the middle is one of the first necklaces I ever made. I really should do more with the small beads and seed beads, I end up liking those necklaces the most. I haven’t seen a lot of them out there, but then again, I’ve never intentionally looked for them, so maybe I could find a lot of inspiration if I just looked.

Black Bean Couscous Salad

Black Bean Couscous Salad

Last but not least, in any way, is the new Black Bean Couscous salad I made for dinner. Again it comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Desperation Dinners. I have some staple recipes that I always use in the book but I was in the mood for something different so I stumbled across this one. The weather is unseasonably warm, over 80 today, so I was also trying to plan for some easy cooler recipes, as opposed to the warming comfort food I was making two weeks ago. So this one calls for couscous, black beans, corn, evoo, red wine vinegar, cumin, green onions, green bell peppers (I didn’t use them, I substituted extra corn), fresh lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. I had a few issues with the couscous being overly watery, so I’ll have to figure out how to get it to cool down for the salad without soaking up that much water, and my daughter wished it had more flavor, so next time I think I’ll throw in a packet of taco seasoning to the water before I make the couscous. We served it with fresh avocado and pita chips (it called for blue corn chips, but we had the pita chips on hand) and it was a hit. I definitely think I’ll take this to the next potluck instead of the typical pasta salad. This one will be added to our easy summer hot night recipes list for sure. It was delicious and I can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow when I see how well the flavors melded together overnight. Yum!


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 38 other followers

On Twitter

Archives