Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Free Meals for Veterans 11/11

I thought this was wonderful information and I wanted to pass it on. Thank you to The Peaceful Mom for gathering this information on places serving a free meal to those who have served our country on Veterans Day. God bless you and your families.

Free Meals for Veterans 11/11

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Earl of Sandwich

For my fellow Disney lovers, sign up here for the Earl of Sandwich e-club and get a free sandwich on your birthday. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Living Social: Knork Flatware Deal

I recently purchased a sample Knork.  Not to be confused with a Spork which is a spoon/fork hybrid, a Knork is a knife/fork hybrid.  After trying it out my spouse asked me to pick up some more.  I've been waiting for some kind of special to purchase them and this one has just come along.  You can get $60 worth of Knork Flatware for $25 with this Living Social deal. 

In the interest of full disclosure, should three folks purchase through the link I posted here my Knork deal will be free.  You will also receive a personalized link that you can share and receive a free deal when you purchase.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew! October Holiday Sew Alongs

I've mentioned Sew, Mama, Sew here before.  I heard about a fun activity they have going for the month of October, their Holiday Sew Alongs.  If you're thinking of making placemats, napkins, an advent calendar or tree skirt you should have a look and see if it is for you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Whispering Canyon Cornbread (GF/Vegan version)

Just back from the Happiest Place on Earth, what better time is there to try some Disney recipes, right? Although Whispering Canyon wasn't a stop we made this time, their cornbread sure looked good when I read the recipe at Cooking with Mickey.  Naturally, I subbed egg replacer for egg, almond milk for dairy milk and Bob's Red Mill GF blend for flour.  I used organic sugar and also added a little garlic and onion flake for a bit of a kick of flavor.  Baked it all in cast iron.  The batter filled my Lodge cornbread pan, and 6" and 8" cast iron frying pans.

I decided mine needed to be smothered in sweet potato greens, which were featured at my CSA this week.  I'd never had them before, but boy were they yummy!  I love how we have had the opportunity to try so many greens we would never have otherwise discovered through this wonderful, organic source.  Thank you, farmer Paul!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: Reusable Lavender Dryer Sachets

I occasionally indulge and purchase the Lavender Dryer Sachets from Trader Joe's.  They're quite pricey in my opinion, around $4 for a plastic packet of four.  I dislike the idea of tossing that plastic in the trash and the bags degrade so they're not infinitely reusable, despite the fact that the scent seems very long lasting.  I've also had one pop open in the dryer and found my lint trap overrun with the contents.  Luckily nothing overheated as a result of that incident. 

Recently I found myself wondering what I could do to prolong the life of the two sachets I had in my laundry area and decided I would try emptying the contents into some fabric scraps and seeing how long the scent lasts.  I can tell you that these two little sachets have been going for months now and still have a light, pleasant scent.  I find the lighter scent more pleasing, I don't want heavily scented clothing, it will give me a headache, but I like having a dryer sheet substitute, since I'd never put one of those in with my laundry.  Between my wonderful wool dryer balls and these sachets, we've got it all covered.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lesson Learned: Tomato Sauce

I would have liked for this to be a Tasty Thursday feature, but instead it is a lesson learned.  These beautiful tomatoes are some of the last of the season's bounty from our CSA.  I decided to make some more tomato sauce before we left on vacation for five days.  I cut all the large red tomatoes, then thought I might throw in a few of the yellow cherry tomatoes.  Now, I've made sauce with red cherry tomatoes, red and yellow heirloom, red plum tomatoes, you name it.  But I've never used the yellow cherries.  For some reason they made the sauce taste 'off'.  We did eat it, but it wasn't the best.  Next CSA season I will know better. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Roasted Carrots

Set oven to 425F. Coat pan with Olive Oil spray. I used a 9x13 Corningware. Wash and quarter carrots vertically, then cut in roughly 2" chunks horizontally. Lay in single layer in pan. Sprinkle with organic dried onion flake and salt, or whatever seasonings delight you.

Place in oven, stir periodically and bake until browned and deliciously carmelized. For my batch, that took 40 minutes.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Crockpot Red Beans and Veggies

It's a rainy fall day here so that calls for soup, right? I had a crock pot lentil soup recipe I had wanted to try but when I looked in my bean stash I discoverd I had only red lentils and in my experience those tend to get very soft very quickly so I wasn't sure if they'd work for that recipe. But I did have red beans so this is what went into my crockpot:

1 bag dry red beans, rinsed
5 cups water
1 cup chopped CSA onion
3/4 cup chopped celery (have I ever mentioned I love cooked celery but dislike raw?)
1 cup carrots, sliced into half moons and quarters
1 tsp fresh CSA thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 garlic scapes, chopped
1/2 tsp Applewood smoked sea salt (I added more to mine at the table)

Cook four hours on HIGH, serve over rice if desired.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Schar $1 Coupon!

While I generally hate any offer that requires Facebook, this one I really can't resist and I hope you can benefit from it and pass it on too. A Schar coupon? When did I ever seen one before? Never! So I gritted my teeth and liked it on Facebook. Happy to say I got my $1 coupon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Italian Casserole

Recently I ordered five pounds of spinach powder.  The price was right and I had been under the impression it could be subbed out directly for flour in recipes.  This is my first attempt at cooking with it and I have to admit the results were delicious.

3/4 cup Bob's Red mill GF blend
1/2 cup spinach powder
1/2 a purple CSA onion, chopped
a couple of generous handfuls of fresh spinach from the farmer's market
egg replacer to equal 3 eggs
1 1/2 cups almond milk
a sprinkle of minced garlic
2 gorgeous CSA tomatoes, sliced
2 cups Daiya shreds
3 Tbsp Earth Balance
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350, coat 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.  Mix together all ingredients except for fresh spinach and tomato.

Line bottom of pan with spinach, top with tomato slices. 
Pour mixture over veggies in pan, spreading it out to all the edges.  Bake 35-40 minutes.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

Have you ever cooked with spinach powder?  Do you have any ideas you can share with me? I promise to play around with whatever I can and post about the results.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gorgeous CSA Eggplant

How can you not love something that looks like that?

I baked a few slices until they were nice and crunchy chips - SO good!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday's Tome; Magnificent Mind at Any Age

My good friend and co-worker Wilhelmina showed me some books she was reading and shared with me how interesting she thought this particular one was.

I requested it from the library and am currently about halfway though it. The descriptions of what each part of the brain does is absolutely fascinating! I plan to purchase several copies - one to keep for myself and others to share with family. I highly recommend it.

For the sake of disclosure, this is a personalized Amazon link.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Quinoa Pudding

What do you do with tons of leftover Quinoa?  Well, I'm sure lots of things and I'm hoping you'll leave me some quinoa ideas in the comments. 

I found the Quinoa Pudding recipe here.  Of course I played with it a little, here is what went into mine:

1 cup TJ's turbinado sugar
3 Tbsp vegan margarine
Egg replacer to equal 4 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup raisins
2 handfuls walnut meats, broken up small by hand over the mixing bowl
Dusting of nutmeg or pie spice for top if desired

Coat baking dish with non-stick spray, mix ingredients, pour into pan, dust top with spice, bake at 350F for 40 minutes. 

Here is the result, what do you think?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wouldn't You Love to Win One of These?

Sandee of Grace of Autumn is giving away one of her sweet frocks.  She crafts these lovely dresses from vintage fabric - perfect for Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, wouldn't you say?  Go on over, take a look and enter the giveaway!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What the World Eats

From Time Magazine - Part 1, Part 2.  I find this so interesting!  What do you think?

I wonder where Tingo and Ujjain are and whether the lack of processed junk represents a cultural orientation or an economical choice.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Kale Salad

This is a version of Kale Salad made by my coworker's daughter.  Hers is out of this world; I know it is one of those cases of the secret ingredient being love because I add the same things and although mine is yummy, hers is heavenly.  Thank you for sharing with me, Niya!
The particular batch pictured here was made with Lacinato kale.  Normally I use curly kale, but this week Lacinato was available at my CSA.  It was nice to have that variation on a salad I make every week to bring to work for lunch.

One bunch freshly washed kale, chopped
Just enough olive oil to cause the seasonings to cling to the leaves
Sea salt,  freshly ground pepper, dried minced onion to taste
A clove or two of minced garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (I really like the taste of nutritional yeast so I tend to go a little heavy on it)

Toss in a large bowl, cover with a cloth and allow flavors to blend, mixing now and then as you walk by it when you go in the kitchen.  Store what isn't consumed at the first meal in a glass jar in the fridge and enjoy a tasty lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Join Rayovac eClub, Get $1 Coupon

Click here to join the Rayovac eClub and get a $1 coupon toward the purchase of Rayovac products.  We have their AAAs in all our remotes since I got a deal on them a while back and I have been happy with their performance.

(This is a personalized lnk.  I will get a coupon as well.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gorgeous Farmer's Market Onions and French Breakfast Radishes

Are these veggies beautiful or what?  Just thinking about the fact that the Farmer's Market and CSA seasons are half over is making me sad.  I recognize that I enjoy being in the environment of our CSA farm and the local Farmer's Market as much as I enjoy eating the fruits of the farmers' labor.  It is such a blessing to have access to healthy food and the diversity of what you find at a CSA or Farmer's Market is so much more interesting than going to the local big box grocery chain for the same old, same old.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Quinoa Loaf

I was in the mood for some kind of loaf yesterday.  I thought I could come up with something interesting on The Magical Loaf Studio but I didn't have enough tofu to make what the Studio came up with.  Regardless, The Magical Loaf Studio is a fantastic tool.

I took inspiration from this recipe for a Quinoa Loaf and was happy with my result with only one exception - it doesn't stay together as well as I'd like it to.  I think I should have added more lentils or maybe a Tbsp of egg replacer or a bit of mashed tofu.  What do you think?

It goes without saying that these ingredients are as organic and local as possible.

2 cups quinoa, cooked in veg broth if you  have it on hand
1 cup lentils, mashed
1 cup garbanzo beans
2 heaping tablespoons horseradish
chopped fresh parsley in an amount to your liking
a couple of squirts of ketchup
1 Purplette onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos

I baked this in my highly adored Lodge cast iron loaf pan at 375 for 30 minutes.  It is DELICIOUS.  My only disappointment is that it didn't bind together to the point that I could slice it and put it in the toaster oven for a snack.  I was hoping for a loaf that was bound more tightly whereas this is fluffy and loose.  And oh, so delicious. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Empty Water Bottle Through Security

Yes, I know everything is expensive at the airport.   But did you know that you can bring an empty water bottle through the security checkpoint?  I do it all the time.  Instead of having to purchase a drink in an expensive post-security gift and sundry shop, just find a water fountain and fill the empty bottle you brought with you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Chuang Yen Monastery

If you are traveling in upstate NY this summer, the Chuang Yen Monastery is a wonderful, peaceful place to pay a visit.  I can remember bringing my children there years ago to see the largest Buddha statue in the Western Hemisphere.  It was so odd to see this giant Buddha sitting out in the middle of the woods - the statue was erected, then the building went up around him.  The kids also liked watching the tutles in the pond.

On weekends you can get an inexpensive vegetarian meal there, but a visit any day of the week will leave you feeling refreshed and serene.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: Library Bag

This was a really cute polyster blend shirt that my daughter didn't find comfortable.  Apparently I was supposed to know that by her throwing it back in the laundry after I had already washed it that I was supposed to put it in the donation bag.  So after getting snapped at for re-washing it and putting it back in her laundry pile I decided I was going to play a little trick on her. 

I loved the print and the two little pockets near the hem and thought it would make a cute grocery bag.  I pinked off the sleeves and was going to sew it up into the bag and put it back in her laundry pile, then when she snapped at me I was going to reveal that it was now a bag.  The plan failed, however, when she walked in as I was sewing it up.  Kids.  They tend to do that to you.

Once I had it in the bag rotation I realized I really prefer my grocery bags to be cotton and this is not.  It is a great bag, though!  It is my favorite bag for library books and mail and is so often found on the passenger seat of my car filled with goodies coming from or going to the Post Office and Library. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday's Tome: The Tipping Point

I found The Tipping Point very interesting, especially the concept of 'Broken Windows Theory'.  Now that could be because I lived in NYC during the time the phenomenon was occurring, but nonetheless, the book is quite a good read.  You'll learn why Blue's Clues shows the same episode five days in a row, that Sesame Street originally planned to never show the Muppets in the same scene as the humans, how Hush Puppies became a 1990's fashion trend and more.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Zucchini Corn Fritters

A bonus item at the farm last week was a HUGE zucchini. It reminded me of the gigantic ones my grandpa used to grow. Miss you, Grandpa! Wish you could have tried our fritters with us.

So, it seems that after grating up one cup of zucchini for the zucchini bread recipe my daughter and I modded to make GF/vegan we still had three cups of zucchini left over. I searched our CSA's website and found a recipe for zucchini corn fritters. Here is our modified version:

Egg replacer to equal 3 eggs
3 cups zucchini
2 cups corn
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped purplette onions
1 cup all purpose GF flour mix
1 1/2 cups Daiya mozzarella (we had planned to use Daiya cheddar but when I got the bag out I saw mold. :( )
A little freshly grated pepper

We rarely fry anything so the thought of a fried treat was really appealing to my daughter. But I also wanted to try them baked in my cast iron corn bread pan.

Don't they look yummy all ready to go in the oven? Our zucchini bread was already baking at 350F so we just popped this in alongside it.

The finished product -

Baked version.

Fried version.

We had a little taste test and to my surprise, she preferred the baked ones! We plan to make another - double - batch of baked fritters today since they only lasted through dinner and the next day's lunch. She went to the farm yesterday and picked up another Grandpa sized zucchini. There was also fresh corn this week so we will have the added deliciousness of that instead of frozen corn. I can't wait to share these tasty treats with my coworkers!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's in the Crockpot Wednesday? Mango Beans

I am not only in love with my crockpot because it lets you make something fantastic while you're not even at home, I am also in love with it because it lets you cook something yummy without further heating up the house when it is 96F outside.

Yes, we're in the middle of the toasty days of summer. So when I saw this recipe for Mango BBQ beans I knew I would not only be modifying it to what I have on hand at home, but would be putting it together in the crock pot.

My version contains:

can of organic black eyed peas

can of conventional kidney beans

can of organic black beans

a bunch of organic green beans picked by my daughter at our CSA farm yesterday, cut into pieces

two yellow CSA onions, chopped

two purple CSA onions, chopped

four cloves CSA garlic, chopped

five cloves CSA garlic, whole

can of organic tomato sauce (I know, I should have used CSA tomatoes. I realized that after I poured the can in.)

Trader Joe's frozen mango halves

a little tap water

a couple of shakes of pumpkin pie spice (we seem to have run out of Allspice and I felt that was as close as I could get)

I plan to add the liquid smoke later. Not sure if I will need any agave, will taste test later in the day.

Can't wait to try it later.

UPDATE:  Added liquid smoke and some Agave/Maple syrup.   Not too great calorie/carb wise, but the beans do taste delicious.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday's Tome: An Edible History of Humanity

I recently borrowed the audiobook An Edible History of Humanity, by Tom Standage, from my local library.  It was an interesting 'read' that shows how food is linked to power, population, politics.  I don't know that I would have made it through the book as before bed reading but as a commuting listen it went quickly.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Farm Rainbow Chard and Scallions

A small bunch of beautiful Rainbow chard from our CSA.  I chopped up a few scallions and tossed it all in a cast iron frying pan with a little tap water. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Win a Stay at Residence Inn

Saw this in Woman's Day Magazine.  Enter to win a four day, three night stay at the Residence Inn of your choice, including transportation.  Who wouldn't enjoy winning that?

Good luck!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Organic Chinese Cabbage and Scallions

The HUGE head of Chinese Cabbage I picked up with our CSA share this week has my pot overflowing!  I combined it with a couple of CSA scallions, added a little Simply Organic dried ground ginger and a bit of tap water. 

I have to confess that I rarely use fresh ginger - I can't buy a small enough piece for it to get used before it goes to waste.  Has anyone reading here dehydrated ginger?  Can you tell me about your experience?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wondering on Wednesday: Thyroid Scan

So, I had my yearly thyroid scan to check on the numerous cysts I have had for years.  They caused me no problems, but the doctor watched them for growth.  Today after the scan the Radiologist called me in and showed me the prior year's scan next to this year's.  There was a big surprise.

Every one of the cysts has disappeared.  At first I thought it was some of the yoga I've been doing, but one of my children pointed out what I believe is the real explanation.  I gave up my 20 year diet Coke habit in February and drink only water with a lemon slice or herbal tea if I'm looking for something warm.

Wow, is about all I can manage to say.  Thank you, God.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Recyclebank Green Your Vacation Challenge

Enter the  Recyclebank Green Your Vacation Challenge  through this link.  In the name of full disclosure, I will say that I get 10 Recyclebank points for everyone who enters through that link.  Who wouldn't  love a $14,000 Galapagos vacation?

Good luck!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Get Out and Exercise! Golf Balls For Shipping Only

For most of us, getting enough exercise can be a challenge.  This time of year (in my region) we're all trying to get outside more while the good weather is here.  Although I don't play, I do know folks who do and say golf (without a cart or caddy of course) is good exercise.  Plus you're out in the sun getting your Vitamin D too!

I caught a commercial on the Science Channel for a free sleeve of three Polara golf balls for the price of shipping.  Since I don't normally buy balls I don't know what they go for, but I put the free golf balls in my cart and without entering any address information it came up as $5.95 shipping.  So depending on the regular price of golf balls, this may or may not be a deal. 

Folks, give me some feedback - what do golf balls cost?  Is this 'free' offer worth the cost of shipping?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Play-n-Squeak Ball of Furry Fury

Our cats recieved the Ball of Furry Fury, pictured here, second item down.  It looked like such a fun toy for them.  I was disappointed to see that it is made in China.  I almost didn't give it to them because of that - we lost two cats to the Melamine in cat food horror - but it looked so fun I finally did.

The tone of the squeak can get to you if you have a headache.  The cats were initially enthralled, however that lasted all of about half an hour, then it became just another of the moutain of toys they occasionally look at but mostly ignore.

Most disappointing about this toy is that the squeaker worked for less than a week.  $9.99 is way too expensive for something that short-lived.  I say save your money, sew up a little scrap of fabric into a ball, stuff it with catnip and watch the cats have a great time.  Cheaper and you'll be recycling fabric.

UPDATE: I emailed the company regarding how fast the squeaker burned out.  They advised me to return to the store and exchange it, which I did.  This toy's squeaker seems less sensitive, so I imagine it will last longer, but the cats don't seem interested in it at all.  I appreciate the company wanting my cats to be sastified with their gift, so I give them an A+ on customer service, but I give the toy a D. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Towel Animals

 As a guest at a Disney Resort you can expect to find all sorts of towel art surprises in your room.  This is a favorite - the Octopus.  I get such a kick out of seeing how enthusiastic the Mousekeepers are in making these - adding stickers, rubber bands to hold parts in place, etc.  It really makes me smile.

A friend took a cruise a couple of years ago and told me she had taken a towel animal making class on board the ship.  I would love to take one someday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Home Grown Herbs

This is one of the window boxes on our deck.  The chamomile on the left is grown from seed I got as a promotional offer from a tea company a couple of years ago.  Who knew it was a perennial?  It just keeps coming back.  What a nice surprise.  

On the right is organic parsley bought from our CSA a few days ago and transplanted to the box.  It is yummy.  We like to pass by and take a leaf to eat when we're coming home.  

Good stuff.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gorgeous Farmer's Market Garlic

There is a new farmer's market in my area.  After yoga today one of my fellow students mentioned they were headed over there.  I hadn't remembered that in addtion to Saturdays, it is also open on Wednesdays.

I reallly enjoyed strolling around and made a few purchases, the most delicious one of which was this fresh garlic, which I roasted in the oven with a little olive oil.  Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

That's some dill drying on the towel around it.  I never liked dill until I tried some at the farm.  It's amazing how different freshly grown organic food tastes as opposed to what I had been buying for most of my life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Courtyard Portland Airport

Recently we took an overnight getaway to the lovely town of Portland, Maine.  We traveled at the last minute and arrived in Maine needing to book a room.  I had a free night with Marriott I needed to use before it expired and I like Courtyards in general so we went with the Courtyard Portland Airport

The Front Desk staff was quite wonderful.  We booked with the Marriott Rewards line while sitting in the parking lot and the gentleman at the desk was happy to give us an early check in when we walked up to him less than ten minutes later.  Now when I say early check in I mean four hours early, so I feel it was quite generous of him.  He made pleasant chit chat with us and smiled when we passed him whenever we passed through the lobby.

The Portland Airport is a typical Courtyard property, clean, well appointed rooms and lobby.  We did not visit the pool or exercise areas, but we did purchase some fruit and beverages from the convenience mart.  The prices were typical and the fruit was fresh and appetizing.  We checked out before breakfast hours, but worth noting is that breakfast is not included in the price of your room, unless of course, you purchase a breakfast-included rate, which I did not see on the list of options when we were looking for a room that particular night.

This location is about a fifteen minute drive from downtown Portland and two minutes from the airport.  We had a great stay and would stay there again based on the hotel experience, but I think if we go again we are going to try a hotel in the downtown area for the view.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tasty Thursday: South River Certified Organic Chickpea Miso

My local health food store recently began carrying South River Certified Organic Chickpea Miso.  I have been on a chickpea jag for a few weeks now so when this caught my eye, I managed to not let the $12 price tag deter me from trying it. 

While I love, love, love Miso soup, I have to admit that I haven't  tried this as soup yet.  It makes an amazing spread on crackers, wraps and sandwiches!  I have even spread it on veggies, both raw and cooked. 

The first jar lasted a week and when I asked the family if they liked it as much as I did, I was told no one else had tried it.  That means I ate an entire 16oz. jar completely on my own in a week!  I'm going easier on the second jar - it is $12 after all - but I don't expect it will last much more than two weeks.  The taste is wonderful; tangy, aged chickpea mash, just delicious.

If you are a fan of chickpeas highly recommend you give this one a try.  I just goodsearched and found the company has an online store.  Yikes!  They don't ship during the summer months.  I'm going to have to hit the HFS and pick up whatever they have on hand ASAP. 

(I was not compensated by the company for this post, I just like the stuff and wanted to share my enjoyment.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: Cotton Baby Ball

I made this ball on a small round wood loom with two strands of Sugar 'n Cream yarn that had been in my stash for a few years.  The ball is filled with waste from my stuffing bag such as serger trimmings. Since the tiny bits would slip out of the open loom knit stitching I loaded it up into the foot of a no longer wearable pair of tights.  The end was tied off and I put a few stitches in the knot to be extra sure it won't open when some little sweetie chews on it.  It is fully washable and I'm proud to say it kept scraps and a bit of microfiber tights out of the waste stream.

This is a donation for Online-Angels.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday's Tome: Truly Seeing

While stuck in traffic and feeling my stress level start to build, I popped in the Truly Seeing audiobook.  It was so pleasant to listen to Thich Nhat Hanh's speaking.  Although there is audio feedback a few times during the two disc duration, it is brief and well worth the blip.  The ringing of the bells at periodic intervals was very calming for me.  Well worth a listen.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Portland Lobster Company

We recently took a very pleasurable weekend trip to Portland, where as staunch as I am about eating lobster being repulsive, I really couldn't deny my spouse the pleasure.  Considerately, a lobster roll was ordered as opposed to a whole lobster, so I didn't have to see a crustacean carcass while I tried to eat my salad. 

The roll came with French fries and cole slaw and got two thumbs up from my spouse.  It is 'market price', which was $14.99 on 6/4/11.  I ordered the House salad.  It was your typical spring mix with some cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots and a Balsamic dressing served in a little paper cup on the side.  Everything was fresh and appetizing.

The nicest part of this, however is the atmosphere.  You order inside the little hut you enter from the street.  There are three or four small tables inside, but don't eat there!  You'll be given a lobster shaped pager; take it out to the seating area on the wharf.  Plenty of seating there, from picnic tables, to tall bar style-tables to bar seating along the railing facing the water, which you can see in the photo above.  We enjoyed the sunshine and got to listen to a duo playing bluesy-rock guitar music. 

Well worth a visit, even for a vegan, just for the Maine experience.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: Sun Tea

This might sound silly to some, but I always thought that sun tea had to be made in a huge jar.  My Mom never made it, my parents were coffee drinkers, so I only knew what I saw in recipes and those were for gallon jars or larger.

I've tried making it that way a few times but I couldn't seem to get the flavor right.  No matter what I did to try and tweak it to my liking it just never worked and the tea ended up being discarded.

Does anyone have any uses for leftover tea?  I wonder if it is good for watering the garden or something like that.  Maybe I could have done something with those failed batches.
Today I saw some interesting tea while I was picking up some groceries (have I mentioned how excited I am that our CSA farm opens this week?) I spotted some tea I thought would taste yummy as sun tea.  It is a warm day and I thought what the heck, let me try again.

This time I took a different approach.  Who says sun tea must be made by the gallon with eight tea bags?  I put my single Green Tea with Red Antioxidants in a quart Ball jar.  It is delicious!  And nothing went to waste.  Yay, me!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Tome: Go Green Live Rich

I recently borrowed  Go Green Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying from my local library.  I do most of my non-internet reading by CD in the car.  Several days a week, I confess, I am non-green as I have to make a 120 mile (round trip) drive.  'Reading' books during this time is an activity I truly enjoy.

Author David Bach has a nice little book here,  although I doubt anyone will get rich reading it.  I would say this book is great for someone just becoming environmentally aware or someone who needs a financial incentive shown to them in order that they might make Earth-positive changes in their habits.  For a more seasoned Greenie, give it a flip through at the library before deciding to invest in this one.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tea & Heart Lover's International Swap #3

Swap-bot swap: Tea & Heart Lover's International Swap #3
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I love tea. I really love trying teas from other places so I thought this would be lots of fun. Here is what I sent my partners:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ultimate Year of Happy Mail #95

Since there is no link, here is an excerpt from the instructions:

#95 Instructions-please send your partner one set of instructions. They could be for:

a game
assembling something
any kind of instructions
Sender's choice

These swaps are intended to be sent in a small envelope with a single stamp. When I went on a mission to find instructions I could part with I came across the box from an old Ditto drive in the attic. That led to me noticing and trashing a ton of old boxes we had up there and freeing up a big space in the attic. Now my Christmas tree is no longer blocking the center path. Yay for swapping causing decluttering!

But that box also yielded an envelope with instructions, old promotional stuff from Microsoft, etc. I kept the envelope and the instructions to use for this swap. Since it was already bigger than a regular envelope and would require extra postage anyway, I decided to fill it up. I hope it was a fun surprise for my partner.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

EnVeLoPe SwAp!!

Swap-bot swap: EnVeLoPe SwAp!!
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This one should be fun!

Here is what my partner will find when she gets her package:

I ended up adding a packet of Passover peanut snacks and a few apple tealights after I took the photo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: World's Raggiest Boxer Shorts Edition

This is the story of a pair of boxer shorts. They are cotton with an exposed wide elastic waist that says Old Navy and very soft. They were given to my son but at the time they were a size too big so he didn't want them.

Since I wear hand me down boxers for pajama shorts in the summer I appropriated them. I don't care if they're too big, they're comfortable. They were worn and washed hundreds of times until finally the elastic gave out. No problem, they were too big anyway, right? I simply cut off the elastic, serged the top of the fabric to keep it from unraveling, then folded it down and sewed the fold in place for a very easy casing which I filled with a slim elastic that I tied together at the ends. I wanted to be able to replace it easily if this elastic wore out as well. I planned to wear these for another bunch of years, until they were nothing but threads thank you very much.
Well, the time of the threads is beginning but I'm not ready to let go. So, out come the pinking shears. I cut a couple of patches from a little boy's shorts project gone wrong (the rest of the project went into my box of fabric scraps for Karen's Online Angels quilting projects and the waste into my stuffing bag) and sewed them over the disintegrating areas of the boxers.

You can see the edge of the waistband elastic in this one.

I plan to add patches as needed until there is no more room to patch. ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thought for Tuesday: Rickrack

I love rickrack. My mom used it a lot on clothes she made for me when I was small and I've continued to enjoy it since. While going through a drawer of notions I came across this package of pink metallic rickrack today.

Do you notice the word colorfast on the label? Would you really expect this metallic bit of trim to be colorfast? Well, I wouldn't. It isn't meant, in my world, to be used on clothing that you will wash. It is more a crafty trim item in my world.

Now look more closely:

Notice all the pink staining coming through the label? That was what I saw when I first picked it up. In my opinion, no one should expect this type of thing to be colorfast, so why say it on the label...and then see the bleed right on it? Not the best photograph, I know, but it is reasonably easy to pick out if you try. You can see it a little in the other shot as well. This package has never been wet or abused in any way. I picked it up at a clearance and put it in a drawer, where it has stayed for a few years.

Poor labeling choice, Wrights. I love your products, but this makes me question how truthful you are.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew! May Giveaway Day

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Congratulations, nicmowat!  Check your email when you can, please. 

The Sew, Mama, Sew May Giveaway Day is here! Thanks for clicking through from there to drop in on me. I won a couple of cute things last year and was eager to participate as a giver this year.

Here is what you can win:

You'll receive two of my recycled grocery totes. I make them from all sorts of materials that might otherwise have wound up in the trash - stained tablecloths, curtains that no longer suit our decor, vintage sheets, fabric remnants, even no longer used clothing.

What I think is much nicer about my bags than the ones you buy at the store are that mine are fully washable. Just toss them in the laundry (I drop them in my towel load) and you've got clean bags for every shopping trip. They're especially great for use at the farm - the ones made from tablecloth are a nice heavy cotton that keep the moisture in leafy greens.  At our CSA I bag them and they go straight into the refrigerator in the same bag.  So convenient.

* To enter, please follow my blog and leave me a message letting me know how you're following- in a reader or directly through Blogger.

* I love tutorials, especially ones that help keep something from ending up in the trash and create soemthing useful. For an entry please leave me a link to your favorite tutorial.

* I have been thinking about maybe selling these on Etsy. Do you think $3 each would be a fair price? Tell me in a separate comment.

So you can enter this drawing up to three times, once for following, once for a tute link and once for your opinion.

I will ship internationally.

Please leave your comments by 11:59PM Eastern, Wednesday, May 25th. I will select a winner on Thursday using and contact them immediately for shipping information.

If your email address isn't available by clicking through your comment, please include your email address or I will have no way to contact you and will have to draw a new winner.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Cinqo de Mayo, late report

Late report on my spouse's Cinqo de Mayo meal. I guess the report being late just follows the course, since the meal itself wasn't prepared on May 5th either. It was a day late - I was working on the 5th and got home way after dinner time.

This was so simple to make. We like to buy the guac kits from Trader Joe's. With me being allergic to peppers we simply leave out the peppers they include and add extra garlic. I'm such a garlic junkie and due to a very smart purchase of two pounds of dried garlic cloves at the end of the farm season we have had delicious farm garlic all winter. Never one to let any food go to waste, I save the peppers and use them for other meals, obviously ones that I do not consume.

These were two boneless chicken breasts, bought on sale for $1.99/lb. I remember when I wouldn't buy chicken breast unless it was .99/lb. Now my price point is $1.99. Do I sound like someone's mother or what? But enough reminiscing like an ancient soul.

I poured a tiny bit of olive oil in an oven safe dish and placed the breasts on top. I sliced the peppers up in matchsticks and laid them, alternating colors, on top of the chicken, then dusted with local garlic and onion powders and some freshly ground black pepper.

Cover with foil, cook on 325. I wish I'd had an after photo to show you but as soon as it came out of the oven he dug in. It got rave reviews. Something so simple to prepare yet he talked about it for two days, asking where I got the ingredients, the idea, etc. I have to say, I think the simpler the idea the more interest there is in it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: UnPaper Towels

I haven't bought a roll of paper towels in years. Now don't let me give you the wrong impression - I can't seem to prevent my spouse from buying them for use in his car, but I have not brought a roll of paper towels into the house in probably five years, maybe more.

But instead of buying fabric to make UnPaper Towels with, I like to take the recycling approach. Surprise, surprise, huh? The sweet fall leaves fabric you see here used to be a pair of pajama pants. Yes, it's true, all our old pajamas become UnPaper Towels. It is hard to see in the photo, but the pile on the left is the reclaimed fabric after I cut out all the seams and ironed it flat. The pile on the right is the finished product, serged all around with wooly nylon. I use the serging process to make built in loops at each corner. I use those loops to secure the towels to the paper towel holder over my sink. The towels are in the same place everyone is used to them being. They work for all the same things, only they're much prettier and don't create waste. In fact, for quite some time they are keeping themselves out of the waste stream.

When they become too soiled they get put in the rag bag. Once there they can still be used many more times, until they do eventually get tossed in the trash. But even then I feel good about how much work I've done with them as UnPaper Towels and as rags.

Do you use UnPaper Towels? Do you make them or purchase them?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Hats for Online Angels

Two strand acrylic foldover brim toddler hat made on the red loom. The pink yarn was from the OA Breast Cancer progressive lot auction from a few years ago. I still have a bunch more of that yarn. It is really nice to work with. The multi was from a package of yarn someone sent to me to be used for charity crafting.

Four newborn acrylic two strand hats from the blue loom. The sparkly yarn is in Christmas colors. I got the yarn on sale at holiday time a couple of years ago. These are self-brimmed in a different stitch. In the lower right corner there is a rollover brim preemie hat, also off the blue loom, made from a soft nylon I got in an OA auction lot.

You should visit their auctions when you can, there are great bargains to be found.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quick Pick 5 Package Swap #3

Swap-bot swap: QUICK Pick 5 package swap #3
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Here is what my partner found in their package:

This is what I found in mine:

Are those socks AMAZING or what? I can't wait to wear them. The Post Its are coming to work with me - no more plain boring notes stuck to my desk. The stamp says 'laugh' - I should bring that to work too. ;) I may even share the beads with my daughter. It was such a fun package to receive. What a sweet partner!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Send me a Tote and a Note #3

Swap-bot swap: Send me a Tote and a Note #3
I swap with Swap-bot!

OK, OK, before you ask why I would send a tote that has Crime Scene Cleanup on it to a perfectly nice lady, let me say that her profile listed quite a few crime shows as her favorites. So in addition to two of my recycled curtain totes I included that one. I hope she gets kick out of it.