Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #69–Zafrika Sauvignon Blanc

Zafrika

Zafrika Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa, 2010, $4.99, Trader Joes.  They say:  A crisp, dry wine of high quality with aromas of tropical flavors and hints of green pepper.  We say:  citrus, grassy, not as strongly herbaceous as most sauvignon blancs, crisp clean, full flavored from beginning to end.  Buy again:  at $4.99 a bottle, definitely yes!   (just wished we lived near a Trader Joes and didn’t have to drive down to Atlanta!)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bonus Coco!

Coco

This is a bonus Coco kitty picture for you all!  Since we are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this week, I needed to post it on Friday.  And I was afraid that for those of you that tune in here on Saturday to get your cute kitty photo fix, if there wasn’t a kitty, well….I just don’t know what might happen.  The world would suddenly feel wrong, tipped on it’s axis.  I can’t be responsible for that.  So.  Enjoy Coco. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #321 HERE!!!!!

Coco

Coco’s waiting and watching.

Patchouli

Patchouli is waiting too.

Smudge

And Smudge is on the lookout.

What are they waiting for?  All the kitties to join them today at Weekend Cat Blogging!!!!!  Right here!!   (and the kitties even said that if Thor would like to make an honorary appearance he can, since he is their favorite doggy and all).

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by SMUDGE, PATCHOULI, and COCO .

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Camera Strap

Camera Strap

I just realized that the summer is almost over and I didn’t post any pictures of my summer sewing!  That could be because I only finished two things.  A skirt and this camera strap. 

People with incredible memories (and that would not be me) may recognize this fabric from one of the aprons that I made for my daughters.   See, please tell my husband that there is a reason I never throw out any scrap of fabric!

This strap is really easy, it’s basically just a tube and if you google camera strap tutorial, you’ll find people much more adept then me showing you how to do it.  It slips over your camera strap, kind of like a duvet cover :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Tour: In Her Wake by Nancy Rappaport

In Her Wake

There are events that paint themselves onto our souls, forever coloring our lives.  Losing a mother at age four is one of those events.  Losing a mother at age four because she committed suicide takes it to another dimension. 

Nancy Rappaport’s mother had it all:  a husband, 6 children, a successful career, drive and ambition.  Unfortunately, she was also depressed and wildly impulsive.  This depression and impulsivity led her to commit suicide, in 1963, when Nancy was just four years old.   Now, some 48 years later, Nancy is still searching for answers, trying to make sense of it.  In her words, “In a sense I have tried to resurrect my mother, to know her as her youngest daughter..” and “I have pursued any lead that might give me a remote sense of who she was and to unravel the mystery of her death.”

She pieces together her mother’s life, her relationships with the people she loved.  This is not an easy task, her mother was a very complicated woman.  Very driven and ambitious, but also selfish and impulsive.  Personally, I did not find her very likable, but you have to wonder if she would have been so selfish and impulsive if her depression had been treated successfully.  Her bad decisions were not your everyday run of the mill bad choices…leaving your husband and 6 children for a 23 year old!, signing over custody of your children to your ex-husband so that you can get a settlement, trying to get your children back and then killing yourself when it looks like you won’t get them back immediately. 

Nancy Rappaport does not sugarcoat anything.  She portrays all of the members of her family, in what seems to be complete renditions.  They are good and bad, they make mistakes, they survive. 

This book was fascinating.  I really felt for her and her family as I was reading it.  I wondered though, will it be enough for her?  Will it give her the answers she is looking for?  I think she says it best, “Knowledge helps, even if we don’t reach conclusions or tie up loose ends.  The accumulation of details may never add up completely, but they do provide scaffolding for understanding.” 

You can find In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicideat Amazon.  Also, if you want to find out more about Nancy Rappoport, she has a website.

Book provided by TLC Book Tours, opinions are all mine!: 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Garden Tuesday–Rose of Sharon

 

Rose of Sharon

When my husband and I first moved into our house, 20 years ago, we planted a bunch of little twigs in the ground in a row, lining each side of our back yard. 

Rose of Sharon

They were Rose of Sharon’s.  They were from one of those catalogues where you get 20 plants for something like five dollars.  We didn’t have high hopes and felt silly lining up our 8 inch twigs.  But we have been rewarded a hundred times.  They are gorgeous, huge, and filled with flowers.   I love their old-fashioned sweetness.

Rose of Sharon 

Just for fun, I did a little “Retro” action on one.  All desaturated and pale pink. 

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blueberry Infused Vodka–the update

Blueberry infused vodka

Do you know what today is?  You’ll never guess, I bet.  It’s the last Monday of my summer vacation!  

Where did the time go?  I didn’t accomplish at all what I wanted to accomplish.  For those of you paying attention…No I didn’t get my garage cleaned out.  I made lots of headway on things, but still lots to do.  This whole starting a photography business thing could easily take 24/7 of my time.  And now school is back!  Ack!!  Not only that, but we lost 1/2 a special ed teacher in 7th grade.  I know.  It sounds silly even as I type it.  So, now not only do I have to do my 8th grade inclusion, I have to pick up the slack in 7th grade.  Oh, and did I mention that I was already stretched thin in 8th grade.  Fun times this year, I bet.

So, anyway, the point of all my whining is that I may take it easy on posting this week.  Maybe be a little lazy.  Maybe just post a pic or two, a word or two, and call it a day.  Maybe not.  I do post 365 days a year, come rain or shine, so I feel that perhaps you could cut me a little slack.

For today’s lazy post, I thought you might like to see an updated picture of my blueberry infused vodka.  Nice, huh?  It’s finished and is just aging away, getting better every day.  Also, I stuck those vodka soaked blueberries in a jar in the freezer, and spoon a couple into my water or iced tea, for a nice little pick-me-up!

In case you forgot, this is what it looked like when it started out.

Blueberry infused vodka

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thistle Dew Chardonnay-Verdelho–Weekend Wine Reviews #68

Thistle dew

Thistle Dew Chardonnay-Verdelho, Australia, 2009, $6.99 at Cost Plus World Market.  They say:  This wine presents bright aromas of melon, orange and cherry blossoms with a delicate hint of vanilla leading to savory fruit flavors that balance perfectly on the palate.  We say:  light, a bit of melon, a touch of citrus, not very full flavored, not much to it.  Buy again:  hubby was not too crazy about it, but I liked it.   So, it’s up to you.  Whose opinion do you value most.  I know you’ll make the right decision :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Smoked Turkey Sandwich with Salad Topping

Sandwich

This may surprise some of you, or not.  Perhaps you actually don’t go around contemplating what foods I like or dislike, prefer or don’t prefer.  Well, if you do, and if you’ve wondered…I’m not a huge sandwich fan.  I know.  Weird huh?  I usually get tired of my sandwich before I finish with it.  Or more truthfully, I get tired of the bread, and end up just eating the filling.  So, after I eat a sandwich there is usually a pile of discarded corners and edges and parts of a sandwich, leaving my plate looking like some picky 3 year old ate from it.

My point.  And I do have one.  Is that I prefer the stuff in the sandwich.  The more interesting the stuff, the more interesting the sandwich.  So, after smoking a turkey breast the other day, I couldn’t deny the fact that some of that turkey would become a sandwich, it would be sacrilegious not to.   Knowing that my favorite smoking cookbook, Smoke & Spice - Revised Edition: Cooking With Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue also had recipes to use up your smoked goodies, I turned to it.  I found “Smoked Chicken Sandwich with Summer Confetti”.  Smoked chicken/smoked turkey pretty much the same thing in my book.  I used the part of the recipe dealing with the salad topping.

It was stuff.  Stuff for my sandwich.  Good stuff.  So, even though there were scraps of bread left all over my plate, I managed to eat every last bit of this salad topping.

Salad Topping

  • 2/3 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 1 small red ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion (I don’t like raw onions so I omitted)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped pepperoncini peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate. 

Spoon on your sandwich and enjoy your stuff.

 

This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

 

 

And for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ecoStore USA Plant Based Body Wash

Eco Store Pant Based Body Wash

I am offered lots of things to review.  Usually I turn them down.  One – I only review items that I would normally use or buy, and two – I’m always afraid I won’t like something and then have to write a bad review. 

So, when I was contacted by ecoStore USA and offered a chance to review two of their products, I hesitated.  On one hand I am trying to go green with all of my body products, so this sounded fabulous, on the other hand…what if I didn’t like the product. 

I went to the site and chose the Coconut & Vanilla Body Wash and the Orange & Patchouli Body Wash

Let me preface this by saying, that trying to go green with body products and cleaning products has been rather hit or miss.  Mostly miss.  I want something to mimic or be better then the chemical laden product that it is replacing, and apparently that is not easy to do. 

Well, I am thrilled beyond belief to tell you that this body wash is fantastic.  Seriously fantastic.  Most green body washes that I’ve tried just don’t suds enough, I end up using gobs of it, and still not getting that same feel.  Not so with this.  It is wonderfully sudsy – not big airy suds, but rich foamlike suds.  It really does leave your skin feeling soft and moisturized.   Love it!  It’s not heavily fragranced, just a soft gentle hint of fragrance.

And best of all, it has NO toxic petrochemicals, No lauryl or laureth sulphates, NO propylene glycol, NO cocamidopropyl betain, NO cocamide DEA, NO parabens, NO dyes, and NO synthetic perfumes.  I have no idea what most of those are, but I’m pretty sure that I’m glad they’re not included!

Highly recommend, 5 stars, standing ovation, and whatever else good things I can say about it.

***Disclaimer, in case you couldn’t deduce it from the above paragraphs, I received these bottles for free.  However, my completely justified and hugely impressed opinion is all my own.    

You can also find ecostoreUSA on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

Bread

You’re looking at June 11, 2009.  Bread.  Obviously.  Which reminds me, I haven’t made bread in ages.

****What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through a backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garden Tuesday–Trumpet Vines

Trumpet Vines

More trumpet vines from my sister-in-laws garden.

Trumpet vines

She loves them.

Trumpet Vines

And so do I.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dark Cherry Liqueur and Bourbon Soaked Cherries

Cherries

Sweet organic Bing Cherries were on sale last week at Whole Foods.  So, I bought some.  A lot.  When presented with a lot of fruit, many people turn to jams and jellies, or bake some pies.  Not me.

Bourbon Soaked Cherries

I turn to liqueur.  Homemade liqueur that is.  I found that I had a hard time using up jars of jellies and jams – I don’t eat much toast or many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  On the other hand, I found that I had absolutely no difficulty whatsoever using up liqueurs.  None.  They are gone in a flash.

Liqueured up cherries!

So, I googled and found:  Bourbon-Soaked Cherries at Food Woolf and Dark Cherry Liqueur at Homebrew Underground.  They sounded like just what the doctor ordered.  My cherries and various and assorted liquors are resting right now.  Getting ready to make me very happy in the near future. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #66 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve, Chardonnay, 2008, $14.99.  They say:  Spice and floral nuances.  Monterey fruit brings Meyer lemon and lime to the nose, while Santa Barbara’s County’s Santa Maria Valley provides tropical fruit and pineapple.  Barrel fermentation give overtones of toasty oak, woodspice, and butterscotch.  We say:  we pretty much agree with everything they say.  Citrus and butterscotch.  Very nice.  Creamy.  A hint of spice.  Buy again:  yep.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #319

Smudge

Smudge enjoying the dog days of summer.  He wants to know what that means, anyway.  Why not the cat days of summer?

 

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging In Honor of Sher – hosted by -  Billy Sweetfeets Gingersnap.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Raspberry Ice Pops - For an Ice Cream Social!!

 

Raspberry pops

Do you think I’m social?  Well I’m not.  I’m the most boring homebody you could every find.  Much to my husband’s disappointment, I don’t go out much.  I’m not a big party person.  As a matter of fact, I once spent about an hour at a party telling some acquaintance how much I preferred to stay home, I’m sure he would have preferred I stayed home too!

That’s why blogging is perfect for me.  I can go to virtual parties.  I don’t have to put on my make-up, change my shoes, or worry about making small talk.

So, a blogging Ice Cream Social ---- I am sooo going to attend.  Any excuse to make a frozen treat and see what other delicious frozen goodies others have made is perfect!   This ice cream social is at Kitchen Bouquet  and it’s this weekend!! 

This year, I went simple.  Really, really simple.  I found this recipe (and it’s not really a recipe) in Pops!by Krystina Castella. 

Raspberry Soda

The idea is that you take any flavored soda that you like.  Pour it into a container and let sit for 5 minutes to let the bubble dissipate.  Then pour it and some matching fresh fruit into your pop molds.  Freeze.  Eat.  So, when Whole Foods had some fresh raspberries on sale, I immediately ran to the beverage aisle and found some raspberry soda.  It doesn’t get any easy then this, people.

And this is also for

 

 

This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Granddad Ken’s Crispy Grilled Trout–From Jamie Oliver

Crispy Grilled Trout

You know, it’s funny, but when it was time for I Heart Cooking Clubs to choose a new chef, I made sure I voted for Jamie Oliver.  I wanted my voice to be heard.  And then.  Well, I think this is the first thing that I’ve participated!   I really need to get my act together and cook regularly from Jamie, because he never disappoints.  Everything is simple and lovely.  Like this trout.  Just look at it.  Isn’t it gorgeous!  And I am happy to say, it tasted every bit (if not more) as good as it looked.

I found this in Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook.  The only thing I changed was that Jamie has you make it under the broiler.  I just went on ahead and grilled mine.  Since I grilled them, I left off the knob of butter at the end.  I can’t remember, and of course I didn’t take notes, but I think I just grilled it for 3-4 minutes per side.  A quick google of grilling trout should give you an idea.  Of course, if you googled grilled trout and landed here, well, please just admire my pretty picture, read the recipe, and go on to your next google hit for grilled trout.  Thankyouverymuch.

Granddad Ken’s Crispy Grilled Trout with Parsley and Lemon

  • 2 10 1/2 oz whole trout, scaled, cleaned and gutted (mine were minus the head)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • a large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 2 lemons, 1 zested and sliced and one halved
  • a few knobs of butter

Preheat your broiler. Slash the trout with a knife about 10 times on each side (oops forgot this).  The slashes should be about 1/4 inch deep, rub on the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Stuff the cavity with the parsley and some lemon slices. Place the fish on a rack in a roasting pan.

Put the lemon zest on the fish and place the lemon halves on the tray.  Dot the trout with butter and broil for about 6 minutes on each side. 

Squeeze the roasted lemons over the fish and serve!

Serves 2

This will be my entry for I Heart Cooking Clubs!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

Heirloom Tomatoes

You’re looking at June 10, 2009.  This is an easy one – heirloom tomatoes!  One of the things I really miss by not joining a CSA this year!

****What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Garden Tuesday - Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

Do you have terms of endearment for you pets?  My kitty cats are:  sweet potatoes, pumpkin pies, love buckets, goosebumps, silly goose, puddin’ pop, and sweet peas. 

Rock City

My kitty names have nothing to do with Garden Tuesday, other then over the 4th we spent some time at my sister and brother-in-law’s house and they have sweet peas.  And I can’t think of sweet peas without thinking of my kitty cats.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kelly Moore Camera Bags

Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag

You know I like to take pictures, right?  And you know I like to look good, right?  I mean, I know I’m old, but I still like to think that I can on occasions look fairly put together.

Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag

One of the best ways to get good at taking pictures is to take lots of pictures.  And that means, carrying your camera around with you.  Not fun, if you have a boring, old, ugly camera bag.  I needed to do something about that.

Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag

After much research, I found Kelly Moore Bags.   And then I fell in love.  They are everything I want in a camera bag…cute and stylish with plenty of room for my camera, a lens or two, my phone, keys, whatever. 

Me with my Kelly Moore Bag

Best of all, it doesn’t even look like a camera bag, does it?  I can carry this into restaurants and it just looks like I have a big purse…I don’t scream “food blogger” – or at least I don’t until I whip out my camera and make everyone wait to eat until I have taken my pics.

No disclaimer needed – I totally purchased this camera bag, though if someone would like to send me some others to review…please feel free.