Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pudding = suet?!

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

If possible. Hmmm...can that be loosely translated? I'm not a vegan, but the thought of using the hard, flaky fat found around the kidneys of a cow...


I'm sure that it makes a lovely British pudding and I would even try it, if someone else had made it... So, I went with vegetable shortening and a sweet version (no surprise here!) called a Sussex Pond Pudding.

I had no idea what I was doing. Really. I have never steamed anything but veggies.

Normally, I research methods that I'm unfamiliar with, but lately, I haven't seemed to have the down time I used to, so this recipe attempt was a fly by my skirt kind of deal. Nothing like waiting till the last day...

To top it off, the recipe measurements were by weight, a much more accurate way to bake, I know, and fortunately, I had recently purchased a digital postal scale! Yay me! lol

The recipe wasn't difficult. Basically made pastry, dumped sugar and butter into the pastry, pricked a lemon and dropped it in, and covered the whole pile with more sugar and butter! Doesn't that sound grand?!

Here's the recipe and some (unprocessed) photos I took along the way (my notes are in red):

Pudding Crust for both Savoury Pudding or Sweet Pudding (using suet or a suet substitute):

- (250 grams/12 ounces) Self-raising flour (Note* If you cannot find self-raising flour, use a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder.) Didn't have self-raising flour, so I used 3 cups for this recipe of 1 cup of all purpose flour + 1 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 baking soda for every cup of self-raising flour.
- (175 grams/6 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
- (a pinch) Salt and pepper (Note* If making a savory dish, can be replaced with spices for sweet if wished.)
- (210 millilitres/a little less than a cup) Water (Note* You can use milk or a water and milk mix for a richer pastry.)

1. Mix the flour and suet (Crisco) together.

2. Season the flour and suet mixture with salt and pepper if savory and just a bit of salt and/or spices if sweet.
3. Add the water (milk), a tablespoonful at a time, as you mix the ingredients together. Make up the pastry to firm an elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. The liquid amounts are only an estimate and most recipes just say water to mix.
4. Don’t over handle the pastry or it will be tough.
5. Reserve a quarter for the lid and roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl.
6. At this point add your filling.. a couple of options are give below but have fun and go wild!
7. Roll the final piece of pastry out into a circle big enough to cover the top of the basin, dampen the edges and put in position on the pudding, pinching the edges together to seal.
8. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil – pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a steamer over boiling water.
9. Steam for up to 5 hours, you may need to add more boiling water halfway through or possibly more often. There is a lot of leeway in this steaming time and different recipes give different steaming times. Delia Smith says 5 hours for Steak and kidney where as Mrs Beeton says 2.5 for a similar dish! One way to tell that it is cooked is when the pastry changes colour and goes from white to a sort of light golden brown. It is also hard to over steam a pudding so you can leave it bubbling away until you are ready.

Sweet Pudding Options: Sussex Pond Pudding
- 1 amount of suet pastry (see recipe above)
- (120 grams/4.2 ounces) Demerara Sugar I couldn't find this, so I used Turbinado sugar. Demerara Sugar has a mild molasses flavor while Turbinado has been described as having a hint of honey.
- (120 grams/4.2 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 large lemon
1. Cut the butter into small pieces and put half in the basin with half the sugar.
2. Prick the whole lemon (preferably one with a thin skin) all over, using a thick skewer. I used a wooden chopstick.
3. Place on top of the butter and sugar in the basin.
4. Cover with the rest of the butter and sugar.
5. Finish building the pudding as per the pastry recipe.
6. Steam for 3 ½ hours, or longer (for a really tender lemon), adding more water if needed. I used my slow cooker. I placed a small plate upside down on the bottom and then placed the pudding bowl on top. Slowly added water until it was about 2/3 up the sides of the bowl and then covered the whole thing with another piece of foil. The steam does condense on the foil and drip off, so make sure to have a few towels. :) Mine cooked for about 4 hours.

7. To serve, turn the pudding into a dish with a deep rim, when you slice into it the rich lemon sauce will gush out.

This is what the pudding looked like after 4 hours. I was surprised to see that it had browned!

Yeah...not very appetizing, is it? That's the lemon in the middle and the sauce did "gush out."

8. Make sure each person is served some of the crust, lemon and tangy luscious sauce.

 Or just scoop some of the crumbly part into a dish, top with vanilla and whipped cream!
Final thoughts...this was an easy recipe, but I won't be making this particular one again. Not even the kids cared for it much...not even with the toppings! I think they were hoping for more of a volcano cake...chocolate with gushing fudge... Of course, this was my first steamed pudding, so I'm sure I could have improved in many places along the way! If you have any advice for me, please share!
The process was interesting and in the future I may try a different recipe - there were lots of variations from the other Daring Bakers!

Thanks, Esther for broadening my steamy horizons!

What have you been cooking?


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday Recipe on Saturday. on Sunday. Is it Monday? Lemon Pound Cake

Happy Monday! It's a beautiful day, so I'm going to whip this recipe out in a hurry...

Wonderful, easy pound cake with a light lemon flavor. I've added some notes at the bottom.

(This recipe adapted from Recipezaar.com #31500)

Lemon Pound Cake
3/4 lbs. butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sugar (original recipe calls for 3 cups)
5 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (I used bottled, original recipe calls for lemon extract)
3/4 cup 7up

powdered sugar
lemon juice - to taste & consistency, about 1 Tbsp.

1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. Grease/spray pans. (I used 4 3x6x2 inch loaf pans.) Cut parchment paper/waxed paper to fit the bottom of the pan and spray. Do not skip this step, especially if you use the full amount of sugar!
3. Cream butter and sugar together.
4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each.

5. Add flour and lemon juice.
6. Add in 7up.
7. Spoon batter in prepared pans.

8. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan(s) for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to help loosen the cake.

8. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice together and drizzle cake when cooled.

That's it! Enjoy!

Notes: The original recipe calls for 3 cups of sugar. This is how I made it the first time around.  It was delicious! Sweet and lemony, tasted very much like lemon bars without the lemon layer. Edges were chewy. Did not even use the glaze.

Second time made with less sugar...yummy! Lighter, with a lovely crumb. Softer edges. Heavenly with the lemon glaze!

This recipe would be very adaptable for other flavors...use a different flavor of fruit soda...let me know if you try any!

Happy baking!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wanted: Corvette Z06 3LZ in Crystal Red Metallic...can pick up today!

Happy Earth Day!

Budding tree in my yard (one of my Week in the Life pictures)

Nope, can't say that I am really into celebrating holidays just because...and this one, mainly, because I like to think that I celebrate the Earth every day.

We recycle, reuse and reduce. Ask my kids.

They'll tell you 50 things you can do with an empty gallon jug, and how to crush it with your bare feet to make it fit into the recycle bin, if you absolutely cannot use one more!

I have cabinets full of boxes, cans, plastic containers, frames, old books...anything that I think I can alter and remake into something lovelier than it's original mundane facade.

I would love to post some pictures of stuff I've altered, but alas, I am working on the recycle and reduce portion, so here is a card (gotta have more than one picture to go with the post, right?!)

I had given a sneak peek of it in February (in this post: http://makingmayhem.blogspot.com/2010/02/about-timetake-2.html ) This was made for my sweet cousin and her family.

(At the time I didn't have any matching ribbon - can you imagine?! If I had it would have gone at the bottom of the flower panel...I have since remedied the situation!)

Recently, I joined up with the local Freecycle group. I have mixed feelings.

It's a pretty simple concept:
1. You have something you want to get rid of...for free.
2. You post an OFFER: please come get it!
3. Someone responds and picks it up.

Done. You are a bit lighter in the stuff department.

Except that a majority of the posts that I've received lately are WANTED: i.e. I want a car for free.

About a week ago, I saw a Wanted for a used vehicle. Really? Do people just have that extra car just sitting around and then give it away to the first person that asks? Apparently it's gotten so that the moderators felt a need to post saying that Freecycle is not a wish list.

Hmm...since it didn't say OFFER: Free Corvette, I'm not sure that anyone read it.

What did you do today in honor of Earth Day?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Warning! A few Peeps were melted and eaten during the writing of this post!

*Hosted by Peggy Hostetler*

FOR TODAY April 20, 2010
This past week has just flown by! I can't believe it's Tuesday already. Well, let's keep moving...

How to eat Peeps...this is the BEFORE picture.
The AFTER is, naturally, at the end!
I am wearing...jeans (surprised?), a green fitted t-shirt with shiny pink stuff. (Hmmm...maybe some inspiration to use my silhouette to design my own shirts...with bling, of course!)

Outside my window...maybe my lamenting tweet was heard yesterday. We have blue skies and warm, gorgeous sun!

I am thinking…that maybe I shouldn't have eaten the tuna salad for breakfast...better grab some mints!
I am thankful for...cinnamon toothpaste, blueberry pomegranate grape juice, (yep, another food item! I just figure if we have to do this eating thing, it should be good for you and delicious! And I am very thankful for the delish part!)...

and that every day I get to wake up and start over, try again, and make this day a good one!
I am remembering…going out to the garden with my mother. Seeing her in the dirt pulling weeds, calling us over to show us, to teach us about the goodness of the earth.

From the kitchen...made a lemon glazed 7up pound cake. Didn't actually glaze it - it was so good without it! Will post the recipe on Friday!

Still wanting to get back into the habit of planning weekly menus. Driving me crazy when I want to make somehthing, but I don't have everything I need. Still working to build up the pantry. Bought 25lbs. of bread flour...looking forward to making pizza tomorrow night! (We make a lot of pizza!)

I am creating...cards. Planning to play with my Silhouette and get to know it better. Weeding out the retiring SU! Colors and planning an open house to meet my neighbors and craft!

One of my favorite things…family time. I LOVE playing outdoors with the kids. I'm the mom that's climbing over the playground equipment, sliding down the slides, and playing follow the leader around the park. Mommy Monster is pretty fun, too! Can't wait to take them white water rafting this summer! Woohoo! Anyone in the Colorado area? Any place you'd recommend?

I am going...forward. Taking the time to consider my needs and those closest to me. Looking forward to a more purposeful living.

I am reading...nothing, yet. Looking for some time to make it over to the library...to make my monthly contribution and find something new!

I am hoping...to help those around me feel loved, appreciated and uplifted. Feeling so positive!

Around the house...well, it wasn't crocuses, but more day lilies! Ugh. Not sure what I want to do with my small patch of dirt and the mini roses and day lilies. I really prefer fragrant flowers and would love a butterfly garden, but haven't had a chance to stop by a local nursery to ask some questions...on the to do list!

The AFTER picture.
Poor peep.


I'm not sure what's up with my kids and microwaving food. They microwave peeps, cheese (just cheese...I like this one!), fiber bars...no joke.

Some Good Things from this past week...
* organized the desk (didn't take long for it to look lived in though!)
* salads...I love spring/summer food!
* pictures of my cousin's new baby boy!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
• Grill shopping...gotta get ready for BBQs!
• Daring Bakers' Challenge will be posted next week!
• Putting together plans to make a headboard for my bed...yep DIY!

What have you been up to lately?



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Look Ma - No Hands! a.k.a Brunswick Stew

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Stew. When the challenge was posted, I wasn't real excited. It had been warming up and it seemed like soup time was past. Obviously, I'm still getting used to the moody weather. Weather here has been on again, off again. One day it's gorgeous sun and the next it's biting winds. Lately, it's been the windy one more often than not. Brunswick Stew was beginning to sound pretty good!

Before our last move, I gave away all of my spices, herbs and generally, anything that came in a bottle, bag or tin that could be used to flavor food. I figured it was just extra weight and I could buy new after we settled in.


I forgot that we might want to eat real food...maybe even cook it once in awhile. Slowly, I have been building up my pantry sidekicks. I never realized how diverse my collection was. I rarely had to purchase much even when trying new recipes. I've signed up (again) with the Daring Bakers and this time with the Daring Cooks. Think my collection will be up to par soon!

It's been a crazy month and although I planned and prepped to make this recipe, I didn't actually have time to get it together until today...with that said, I did make a few adjustments, accounting for items I didn't have readily available and those I didn't read correctly!

Thankfully, Wolf gave plenty of room for interpretation and 2 recipes to choose from. I took the path of least resistance for this one and used most of the ingredients from the more time consuming recipe and basically tossed it all in the slow cooker on my way to work. I must say it was good!

Mmmm...slow cooker potatoes...

Recipe One, the Long Way-From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Serves about 12

1/4 lb / 113.88 grams / 4 oz slab bacon, rough diced (Forgot to thaw it! Didn't use.)
2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
1lb / 455.52 grams / 16oz rabbit, quartered, skinned (Didn't have any turkey or rabbit. Although, I suppose I could have snared a few from the neighbors bushes...it is spring time and the bunnies are everywhere!)

1 4-5lb / 1822.08- 2277.6 grams / 64-80oz chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / ½ oz sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
2-3 quarts / 8-12 cups / 64.607-96.9oz Chicken Broth (used Organic Free Range Chicken Broth - it was on sale.)
2 Bay leaves
2 large celery stalks
2lbs / 911.04 grams / 32oz Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz carrots (about 5 small carrots), chopped
3 ½ / 804.72 grams / 28.266oz cups onion (about 4 medium onions) chopped (I only used 1/2 a baseball sized onion)
2 cups / 459.84 grams / 16.152oz fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears) (used canned - I was getting ready for work!)
3 cups / 689.76 grams / 24.228oz butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen (used canned limas - working on the pantry items, remember?)
1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained (used diced...didn't have time to squish the chunks!)
¼ cup / 57.48 grams / 2.019 oz red wine vinegar (oops! did it say VINEGAR? I thought it said vino...)
Juice of 2 lemons (totally forgot this one until I started working on the post LOL)
Tabasco sauce to taste (prefer and used RedHot...is there such a thing as too much garlic?)

The only thing I added to the recipe was Italian sausage...was craving it. Used two sweet links and one hot. Thinking when I reheat it tomorrow that I'm going to add some spinach. haha. No, really.
Recipe directions taken from the challenge:
1-In the largest stockpot you have, which is hopefully larger than the 5 qt ones I have, preferably a 10-12 qt or even a Dutch Oven if you’re lucky enough to have one, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.

2- Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Remove to bowl with bacon and chiles, add more bacon fat if needed, or olive oil, or other oil of your choice, then add in chicken pieces, again, browning all sides nicely. Remember not to crowd your pieces, especially if you have a narrow bottomed pot. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon, chiles and rabbit. Set it aside.

3- Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, chicken, rabbit, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours. Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of chicken or rabbit floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.

4- With a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and rabbit pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.5 After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones. Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften.

5- Add in your onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender. Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.

6- you can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side.

And basically what I did was...poured the broth into the slow cooker, turned it on high, then...
1- browned the chicken and the sausage with some seasonings, the onions and the serranos. Cut the meat into chunks, toss the whole mess into the broth.
2- Deglazed the pan with the vino and poured it all into the cooker.
3- Chunk the fresh vegetables. Put them in.
4- Open the canned stuff (drained the corn and limas) and add it to the mix.
I know, it doesn't sound glam, but trust me! I left it on high for an hour and then switched it to low on my way out the door.
When I got home the plan was to make a salad and some quick rolls for sides, but after only 4 hours of sleep and a skipped lunch, I figured that was a little much.
Eaten "as is." Yum.
(Now there is a bit of a test with Brunswick Stew...does your spoon stand up? Mine did in the slow cooker...and the bowl!)

I didn't really believe the whole "spoon standing in the stew" bit, so here's my practice with a plastic spoon!
(pictures taken after we had eaten...I was hungry!)

This is with a heavy metal spoon...hum with me now...I'm still standing!

I'm already looking foward to the next challenge. Thanks Wolf!

What have you been eating lately?


Friday, April 9, 2010

Spinach Pesto

{ETA: Hey, folks! Recently I decided that I wanted to improve our family's health by cooking healthier, so I joined up with a few cooking groups to relearn some cooking skills and to have fun with it. Today, I was catching up with some friends and heard about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. He's about healthy food and healthy kids. Check out his website - after you try the pesto! :) Check your local listings...it's on tonight!}

Spinach. Can't say that I'm really a fan, if it's cooked, but if it's fresh and mixed in with other green leafies, I'm good.

Pesto. So easy to prepare, store and serve. Love it. The fresh kind...leaves of basil, garlic, olive oil and most importantly...toasted pine nuts. Mmmmm.

Unless you grow your own, fresh basil for pesto can get a bit pricey, especially if you're throwing a dinner party for more than just your own. And then there are the pine nuts. Truly seeds from a few types of pine trees! Basil and pine nuts make my favorite pesto!

In my last SW (Simple Woman) post I mentioned that I had come into a lot of spinach! The kids love pasta and we had a busy week coming up, so I figured we'd whip up some pasta and pesto and call it done.

Seriously, there isn't much to making pesto - good food processor and fresh ingredients. I tend to be a recipe follower when I'm making something for the first time. After that, it's mostly tossing a bit of this, and a tad of that...using whatever we have on hand. As in, had a bunch of spinach and walnuts (no fresh basil or pine nuts!), so Spinach Pesto coming up!

(Note: Spinach pesto made with walnuts will taste different than Basil pesto with pine nuts. I know, it seems pretty obvious, but you know there are just some people...so I'm just saying! If you get a chance make the basil...it's lovely!)

The ingredients are approximate. This really is a taste as you go kind of recipe. I'm sure if you needed more exact measurements, you can google it!

2 big handfuls of stemmed, washed and dried (as in 'with a towel') spinach leaves
    *spinach leaves can be pretty gritty - wash spinach a couple of times!
3-5 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. of dried basil leaves, crumbled (mostly basil and a pinch of mint is good, too!)
couple pinches of salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (toasting is optional, but definitely recommended!)

1/2 cup of parmesan (You can use the canned stuff, but the real stuff is much more flavorful! I use parmesan and romano cheeses.)

Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to make this in a few batches and then combine it all in a larger container. (I have to make mine in 2 batches.) Throw in some spinach, some garlic, the basil, the salt, some nuts and a little olive oil. Using the pulse button, pulse until the spinach is minced fine, adding olive oil, as needed to keep a smooth consistency...you don't want it too chunky or green, goopy paste!

Just keep repeating until you use all the ingredients. Combine it all in another container, if you had to make it in batches, and then mix in the cheese. Add salt to taste, if needed. To store it, pour it into a clean, glass container and pour olive oil to cover. (Keep topping it off with olive oil, as you use it.) Store in the fridge.

I don't like to heat the spinach pesto, so if we're using it for leftovers, I heat those first and then toss the warm pasta with the pesto.

That's it! Easy peasy.

Here's how I ate it the first night...with chicken, crumbled bacon and spaghetti.

Pesto is also good on toasted bread and as a base for pizza (with or without the red sauce) with canadian ham or chicken.

Let me know, if you try it or change up the recipe. I love to try new variations!



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Silver & Cream

FOR TODAY March 22, 23, 24, 25 & 26…. April 2, 2010…uh…today is the 6th.

Started this post on Sunday, March 21. Okay, copied the template and started typing. Didn’t get very far the first day, or the second…for that matter or the third or fourth! Each day I’d fill in a section and figured I’d leave what I had already wrote. Newer thoughts added in here and there. This week’s post is truly a compilation of my thoughts from these past weeks.

Silver Lining
made by J. & G.
(yes, that's chicken wire!)

'Silver Lining' is a frame that I picked up in a thrift store in Europe and dragged back with me to the states! I got it for a couple of bucks and just knew what it was going to be. Of course, I never found the time to give it a make over...but lucky girl that I am, J. and G. finished it for me as a belated birthday gift! I use the SU! Mini Library Clips to hang up whatever inspires me at the moment.

I am wearing...jeans, a pink fitted t-shirt and black hoodie. (I did change my clothes every day…lol)

Outside my window...swirling wind, icy snow, frosted windows…umm…awesome snow storm! (sunshine, blue skies and balmy…such fickle weather here! And now we’ve got clear skies and cold days…sigh)

I am thinking…that I shouldn’t have waited until 10pm to make cookie dough truffles. Usually the job of cleaning out the bowl goes to the kids, but they’re asleep and so that leaves me typing out this post with the cookie dough spatula in my mouth and the (very dirty) bowl in my lap! (They were good, but not great. Think I’ll look for another recipe…got one? Send me the link…or the recipe…or the truffles! )

I am thankful for...men and women in the sphere of my life that don’t wait for an invitation to step up and offer a helping hand.

people that do the right thing, just because it’s the right thing to do.

people that don’t take advantage of others when they are vulnerable, but help to strengthen and build them up.

people that give more than they take…

I am thankful for the good people in my life.

I am remembering…

Who I was.

Who I am.

The woman I want to be.

Ever evolving.

 Working towards a better self to be a better partner, mom, sister, and friend.

From the kitchen...meatball hoagies - smeared some olive oil on the rolls and popped them in the toaster…mmm…layers of romano, marinara and mozzarella, sprinkled with crushed red pepper. Worry about the toaster later. Lazy evening – thought about fried potatoes and a spinach salad, went with Kettle Cooked chips instead.

(Food didn’t get any more complicated this week!...or the week after. I had unintentionally bought a huge bag of Spinach (note to self: next time specify which size bag of spinach the child is supposed to pick up) so I have been looking for spinach recipes. So far, we’ve had lots of salad and Spinach Pesto - look for a recipe post on Friday!)

I am creating...time to create. Feels like lately I have to schedule everything…time with loved ones, time for the house, time for me…if I don’t it just won’t happen.

One of my favorite things… for now it’s Strawberry Limeade and Happy Hour at Sonic...what can I say? Addicted to sugar, ice and fruit! (Is my favorite thing usually a food item? lol The kids and I started making our own fruit slushes! Love the ‘ice crush’ button on my blender!)

This one didn't make it into the slush mix...and yes, I'm eating whipped cream topped strawberries at my desk...the simple pleasures in life!

I am going...don’t know. Been feeling a bit like Alice on the road with the Cheshire Cat. (Been contemplating “Live Your Passion”. Feeling the need to be creative, but in what arenas?)

I am reading...Piers Anthony…one of my fave authors when I was a teen. This series is an easy read and punny, too! (Warming up for a reread of WoT. Finally signed up at the local library. They have late fees. Hmmm…I support libraries. Usually monthly. haha)

I am hoping...to get my work flow mojo a movin’. There are so many projects in the craft room, around the house, the yard, with the family…etc. that I’m having a hard time prioritizing what to do first, second and so on. (Of course, family is always first!) Need to find a clipboard for the list!

Around the house...plants, flowers and more plants. The last owners planted lots of mini rose bushes and day lilies in front of the house. During the fall we brutally pruned the bushes (they were so overgrown!) and pulled most of the lilies. Something’s growing in the beds. I suspect they are crocuses, but only time will tell!

Some Good Things from this past week...

* visits from K.
* comfort food…curry, kimchi, chocolates (not together!)
* my new inspiration frame – it’s a masterpiece! (Thank you J. and G.!)
* photo booth love!

A few plans for the rest of the week:

• make my Daring Cooks recipe and set up the post with pictures (on the schedule for tomorrow. Ingredients already bought, recipe printed…watch for this post on XXX. Will be working on the Daring Baker’s challenge next!)
• organize my desk (took a break from this one to work on this post.)
• get my sewing area set up and start some projects! (the sewing area is now a work in progress…meaning the desk and sewing machine are set up…now where did I put the bobbins?!)

(Think I’m feeling a little Spring Cleaning coming on…)

What have you been up to lately?