Friday, April 8, 2011

Beware: Warm Cookies

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr.Seuss

Another rainy day...which is o.k....because I've been in create mode! It's nice to feel connected and creative.

Sewing Project: Cut, Sew and Stuff doll (a birthday gift project given to my daughter in February)

 Below is the felted heart project I started months ago.....this was my first attempt...I learned how not to stitch it today. I have another one almost completed...need to felt it, cut the hearts out and stitch time I'm hoping for a less lopsided heart. It smells delicious..we stuffed it with rice and fragrant dried herbs. Heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and voila! Perfect for hanging in closets or stuffing into clothes drawers.

We made these yummy morsels after dinner tonight...if you like shortbread cookies don't make these because you will eat all of them after they come out of the oven.  Also, if you do decide to make these....I added a heaping 1/4 tsp of cardamon and cinnamon and about 1/8 tsp of cloves...the first time I made them I followed the recipe exactly and it definitely needed more spice

Chai Shortbread adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/2cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cardamon
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of cloves
dash of pepper
3/4 cup powdered sugar
10 tbsp of softened butter
1 tbsp of cold water

Combine flour and next 5 ingredients(through pepper), stir well with whisk. In a separate medium bowl combine sugar and butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture. Beat at low speed until combined....will be crumbly. Sprinkle dough with cold water and toss with fork. Divide dough in half. Shape dough into logs, about 6 inches long. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375
Unwrap logs and cut into thin slices. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for about 10min or until edges slightly browned. Cool on racks. 

These are super, super, SUPER yummy served warmed. 

We also made this yummy cauliflower side dish tonight for dinner. Very good...My advice if you try this, cut the pieces small so it will cook through. I didn't cut mine up small enough...and the larger pieces weren't cooked all they way through!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cloudy with Rain

I've just finished my shower and my oatmeal is cooking on the stove. The little one is still asleep....that doesn't happen often. I love the stillness of the morning. The birds are actively chattering....the skies are grey again and we are suppose to get rain. It looks like rain! Yesterday we were lucky and got a mid afternoon walk 6 year old daughter said to me, "Mom let's make a plant and insect book". It made my heart smile because I loved doing stuff like that as a kid. I loved nature so much and still do! So we collected pretty leaves, flowers, no insects and brought them back to the house so she could draw them. It's so cute I have to share a few pages with you.

 Today's plan: Spend a rainy day inside.... finish a knitting project I started a couple of months ago.( Knitted and felted hearts stuffed with rice and fragrant herbs.) This was was my first felting project...the felting was easier than I thought it would be. I could have put the striped one through the wash cycle one more time I think.

And my yummy breakfast....Oatmeal with blueberries, bananas, flax meal, and maple syrup. Have a great Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recap Wednesday

Time has gotten away from me and a week flew by. Today, that weather is back.... grey skies and there is a chill in the air. We are at studying and drinking coffee (which I haven't had in over a month), my daughter playing various games with herself. The coffee has me jittery and ready to run a marathon! Sometimes, I love that feeling! I'm eating grape tomatoes that I found at Trader Joe's yesterday....they pop in my mouth with a sweetness I love. I took my last test online this morning for the classes I'm taking in Sacremento at the end of the step closer to having my license!! I really miss working with patients!! When I'm working again...I will crave what I have right now...time!! Funny how we want what we don't have! So silly!

Last week we took a trip to the lake. It is 10 minutes tops by car! So blessed to have something so splendid so close to us. It was the first day of heat we've had so we put our bathing suits on with the best of intentions....but mountain lakes I have discovered are frigid cold this time of year! (Hopefully summer will be different.) My daughter didn't seem to mind though....I on the other hand...watched from the shore line!! The views all around us made my soul happy. To be able to swim in a lake again...even happier. Lakes in Florida have alligators and thanks! My daughter seems to think all lakes have alligators...I had to convince her the only alligators in California are in the zoos! I grew up swimming in lakes in glad to finally pass that on to my daughter!

Saturday, the family and I drove around some neighboring cities to L.A. to look for a potential new home. We like where we are but the commute is too far for my husband.... He spends hours of his life in traffic! The little one was not thrilled....we literally spent the entire day in the van driving around. We are planning another drive this Saturday! So far we are considering Simi Valley and Pasadena. We are going to check some nearby cities to Pasadena. I never thought I would be so close to L.A. I'm a country girl so you can imagine how out of place I feel. It will be nice to have a space of our own again. Living in an apartment...well it's no fun...I miss having a yard and a kitchen with space!

I made some homemade applesauce for the first time daughter had some fillings done at the dentist so we bought ice cream and made applesauce for the occasion. She was brave and went to the back all by herself. You never know what will freak a kid out....I was pleasantly surprised when she came back out and the assistant said she handled it well...she didn't like the noise but who does? The recipe I used is easy and very good! Try it.....I made mine in a slow cooker for 4 hours...I tripled the recipe with great success. Next time I will use less cinnamon and add a pinch of cloves and allspice. I'll use a different apple as well. The apples I bought at the local grocery store weren't the best.

And, before I homemade shampoo results. I wasn't overly thrilled with the results of the first shampoo recipe. I found it to be too clarifying and kind of gross! My hair was very matted and felt terrible after I rinsed it out. The consistency is very watery so it was hard to use. I actually did two treatments in a row because my hair is long, thick and needed it. I had to use a conditioner afterwards....which I was trying to avoid because of my build up issue! On a positive note....since hair is very shiny! I am avoiding my hot irons and only blow drying my hair until I get my hair back to healthy. I am using a store bought clarifying shampoo until I make the second recipe....and using the coconut oil for conditioner....I LOVE the coconut oil!!! I started using it on my daughter as well....the coconut oil will be part of my regime from now on! My hair is softer and shinier. And as thick as my hair is I don't have to use much at all! I'm also using Witch Hazel between washes. I spray it on at the roots and do a quick blow dry to freshen my helps with oil build up at the roots in between washes. I can go 2 days in between washes now. I'm hoping by next week my ends will look healthier. I'm trying to avoid getting inches cut off my hair to make it healthy again. I like my long hair!! So, yeah that was too much about hair, huh? Sorry!

This week I am reading about drying herbs! The herbs I am growing in containers have taken off in the past month!!! My parsley and rosemary are out of control....I think I may need bigger pots for some of them. I have limited space for my containers...which is frustrating because they are doing so well. I am afraid their limited space may kill them. I have no idea if it is too soon to start cutting stems and drying them. If anyone from the southern California area knows anything about this I would love advice! I've been unsuccessful at growing my favorite herb here....basil...any suggestions? I've killed two basil plants so far. Successes so far are of course my Italian flat leaf parsley and rosemary, also my greek and italian oregano, dill and lavendar. The Lavendar is gorgeous. I want to dry it and use it in a soap or some herb sachets I've been making. I've never made soap before. I've done a little reading about it. Can't wait to try it!

So that is my week...sort of! I think I'm driving my husband nuts....with all of my household changes...he has been a bit reluctant to change. Some pictures (click for better quality) from the past week, recipes from the last week and a good song:

Trader Joe's Egg Pappardelle with Quick Bolognese Meat Sauce

8 oz. TJ's Egg Pappardelle pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups marinara sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over moderate heat. Add beef and saute until lightly browned and crumbly. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are transparent. Drain fat and return mixture to pan. Add red wine and marinara. Stir and simmer 10-15 minutes to blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to cooking instructions. Drain well, add pasta to sauce. Heat pasta and sauce together on low heat 1-2 minutes.
*And add some freshly grated parmesan!!! Oh, and drink the rest of the wine!! Quick and yummy!

Applesauce....see link in blog for recipe

And this blog wouldn't be complete without music:
Remember the Squirrel Nut Zippers.....I love this song "It Ain't You"