Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #343 and Happy New Years Eve!!

Coco

Coco said not to worry, even though the holiday season is coming to an end, there are still about 4,367 pictures of her by the tree.  You’ll be able to keep celebrating kitties and Christmas for months to come!

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Kashim, Othello and Salome

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pasta with Arugula, Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Pasta with Arugula, Feta, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Are you working on your New Year Resolutions?  Is one of them to find time to cook?  Well, look no further.  This dish from Fine Cooking Annual Volume 1, is perfect.  This was so crazy easy and so crazy good!

I found the recipe online, Shells with Arugula, Feta, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes also.  I’ll let you follow that link, save me some typing time (since I am busy coming up my resolutions).  But basically you boil some water for the pasta.  While the pasta is cooking you make a big salad in a bowl with the arugula, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes.   When the pasta is done, you add it to the salad and toss.  Fantastic.  The sun-dried tomatoes were sweet and chewy, the arugula added a little bitter bite, and the feta was all salty cheesy goodness.

This is going on a regular rotation.  With this in your arsenal of recipes, there is no reason not to cook on a weeknight!

 

 

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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How I got through the great computer crash of 2011

How I got through the great computer crash of 2011.  It is also  Wordless Wednesday on Thursday.  Don’t judge me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at December 5, 2009.

Individual meatloaf?  Some weird meatball?

It had some of this in it. Everyone loves a honey bear shot.

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Little Princes by Conor Grennan for TLC Book Tours

LIttle Princes

I fully admit that I chose Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepalby Conor Grennan because I like the pretty blueness of it.  Really, lately blue has become my favorite color and I am drawn to all shades of it.

Let me just say that I am so glad this book had a blue cover, because I loved it!  The book, that is, not the cover.  Well, I love the cover too.  Okay, I’m making this much more complicated than it should be.

As the title says, this is the story of One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal.  Sometimes these kind of, I-just-went-and-did-something-wonderful-for-the-world books, end up being written by people who are much too full of themselves.  Sometimes it seems like they’ve gone off to help others, simply so they can tell us how wonderful they are, all the sacrifices that they made.  Not so with this book.

As a matter of fact, Conor begins by explaining that he actually just wanted to go off on a year long adventure exploring the globe, but that sounded so pretentious, that he tossed in some volunteer work to make it sound more noble.  His volunteer work was a three-month stint at an orphanage in Nepal. 

This three-month stint opened his eyes to the reality that these children faced everyday.  He writes about the experiences, the playfulness of these children who have been through so much.  The food that he eats, the living conditions.  His writing is wonderful, simple and sincere. 

When, he finishes his stint, he can’t get the children out of his mind.  What turned out to be a way to justify a traveling excursion, has become a part of his life.  He sets up a non-profit organization called Next Generation Nepal (NGN) to reconnect trafficked children with their families, and he returns to Nepal.

A truly memorable and fascinating read from a truly memorable and fascinating individual. 

For more information:  Conor Grennan’s WebsiteNext Generation Nepal.

I received this book to review from TLC Book Tours, all opinions are my own.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Garden Tuesday ~ Orchids!

Orchid

A couple of years ago, my middle daughter, surprised me with an orchid for Mother’s day.  I have always loved orchids, but thought they were hard to grow, like you needed a greenhouse or something.  Well, apparently that is just a misconception spread by orchid growers trying to keep these gorgeous flowers to themselves.  My orchid grew and flourished and bloomed repeatedly. 

So, I got another.  Isn’t she pretty! 

And, yes I know it’s Monday.  And no, not blogging for a week hasn’t totally messed me up.  I have a book review to do tomorrow so it’s Garden Tuesday today!

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

 

Merry Christmas! 

From the Sidewalk Shoes household:  Tim, Pam, Smudge, Patchouli, and Coco!

I hope everyone has a blessed Christmas and may all your dreams and wishes come true!! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #342 ~ We’re Back!!!

Coco

Yes, we’re back!!!  Just in time for a Christmas Eve weekend cat blogging! 

Which much disgruntledness, (Spell checker please stop insisting that disgruntledness is not a word.  I was experiencing disgruntledness, believe me, it existed) we shipped off our PC back to Gateway.  After Googling Gateway Repairs, we do not have high hopes for it.

But alas, do not fret, because I am up and running with Maxine.  Maxine is my new, gorgeous iMac! 

I now know what all the Mac hoopla is about.  She is big and beautiful.  Responsive to my every wish.  I am completely smitten and in love. 

Merry Christmas peeps, it’s good to be back!

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Jules and Vincent at Judi’s Mind Over Matter.

Monday, December 19, 2011

No Blogging for Awhile or Why I Hate Gateway Computers

 

Over the summer, my Gateway computer started acting a little weird.  It was a little over 3 years old, and since the average life of a pc is 4-5 years, I figured I might as well get a new one, so I could switch over in my leisure and not in a computer crash kind of manner.

The big question was Mac or PC.  I was starting a photography business and everyone said go Mac.  But I have been a PC person for probably longer than some of you have been alive.  They have all been Gateways.  To give you an idea of how long ago that was, my hard drive was 123mb, and I thought that was huge.  I lived on Compuserve and Prodigy. 

Deciding to switch to Mac was too scary…the whole “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” frame of mind. 

So, I got a Gateway.  As soon as I unpacked it, I noticed how cheap it felt.  The keyboard and mouse were a joke.  They were so cheap feeling that I am still using my old mouse and keyboard.  But whatever, it was loaded with Ram and a 1gb hard drive.  I was good to go.

Until now.  Until yesterday.  My Gateway hadn’t even celebrated it’s 6 month old birthday  (that will be on Dec. 21), and it was dead.  Not quite dead, more like floundering.  The fan comes on for a second, shuts off, then the power light comes on for a second, and then shuts off.  This cycle repeats itself about every 5 seconds.  The rhythmic pulsing light is actually kind of soothing, until you stop for a minute and realize that it’s not soothing, it’s taunting you!!

So, I call Gateway customer support.  Here’s the deal.  Yes, it’s under warranty.  So, what I can do is find a box and box it up very carefully. And then go to a UPS store or FedEx, and pay for shipping and insurance to send it to Texas.  (During the holidays!  What fun!)  They will look at it, and if they decide that it truly is their problem and not something I’ve done to it, they’ll fix it and send it back to me.  (Still during the holidays – the turn around should be quick!!  Right?!)  But if they think I have messed it up, then they will just send it back to me or hold it until I pay for repairs.  OH…and by the way, they might reformat my hard drive, so be sure and copy every thing off of it (I would if I could, but if my computer actually booted up, I wouldn’t be sending it to Texas, now would I?)

I am livid. 

I am not sending it to Texas.  I am taking it to a local shop and have them look at it.  I know it’s under warranty, but I don’t care. 

And, if it was not the week before Christmas, I would be at the mall in the Mac store.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #88 ~ Elementos Tempranillo and Garnacha

 

Elementos, 2008, Tempranillo and Garnacha, Spain, $5.99, Whole Foods.  They say:  with exuberant youthful red fruit and smooth satisfying finish.  We say:  fruit, a little sweet, a bit of spice and leather, smooth, medium to light body.  Buy again:  Yes!  Very drinkable.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #341

Coco

Are you tired of seeing kitty cats and Christmas trees yet?  I hope not.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by  Billy Sweetfeets Gingersnap.

Friday, December 16, 2011

DIY Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

I’ve posted about making my own vanilla extract before.  I was just getting ready to start a new batch, so I thought I’d post a reminder.  This is so ridiculously easy, and you end up with a big, beautiful bottle of pure vanilla extract.

There are different methods of making vanilla extract.  I use the easiest (why are you not surprised?!).  I simply take two or three vanilla beans, slit them lengthwise, and put them in a dark bottle (Grolsch beer bottles are perfect – they are dark and have a ceramic stopper – consider this your permission to go buy some), top with some good quality vodka, seal and place in a dark pantry.  Some people say to shake it.  I don’t bother.  I leave it sit for about 2 months.  Some people strain it at this point.  I don’t bother straining.  I just leave the beans in there as I use the extract.  It just gets better and better.

Now, I have a cycle going.  As soon as my first bottle was ready (at the 2 month mark), I started a second bottle.  As I am using the first bottle, the second bottle is steeping.  By the time I have finished the first bottle, the second one is more than ready.  I begin using the second one, and taking the first empty bottle, begin another batch.  So, at any point in time, I have a bottle I am using and a bottle that is steeping.   I have been doing this for years. 

I just finished a bottle and was getting ready to start a new batch, and I thought….this would make a perfect Christmas gift.  Give it to the recipient, explain that all they have to do is stick it in their pantry for a couple of months, and then you can even explain the whole cycle thing to them if you want. 

Now, go make some vanilla extract!

 

 

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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pasta with Kale Pesto

Pasta with Kale Pesto

I have mentioned before how much I love Eat Your Books.   At that time, I was telling you how excited I was that they had just added blogs and magazines.  I can not begin to tell you how even more wonderful this has made it.  It’s like the whole foodie blogsphere has been placed on my cookbook shelf.  They have recently added even more of my favorites:  Kalyn’s Kitchen, Tinned Tomatoes, and Food in Jars to just name a few!   Disclaimer – I have none!  I am not raving about Eat Your Books because they are compensating me in anyway, they don’t even know who I am, I am just spreading the love, because it is so very, very awesome.

To cut to the chase, I had a bunch of kale, and not much else.  So, I search for kale and pasta (because I always have pasta in my pantry) and find Pasta with Cavolo Nero Pesto at Food52.   Now, you may notice that the title of my post says, Pasta with Kale Pesto and not Pasta with Cavolo Nero Pesto.  It’s not that I’m insulting your intelligence or anything, but personally, I had no idea what Cavolo Nero meant.  After some googling (and plus the fact that I found the recipe based on a search for kale), I learned that it is also known as Lacinato Kale, Tuscan Kale, and Black Kale. 

Kale

No matter what you call it, my kale was not black kale.  I think it was just plain old kale (if there is such a thing), but that didn’t stop me from using it.  And that didn’t stop this from being amazingly easy, totally wonderful, and really good for you!  I think kale is a super food, right?  If I didn’t already have about 10 windows opened on my desktop, I would search it out, but I’m pretty sure it is.  If it’s not, then it probably should be.

I’m not going to retype the recipe, follow the link above to Food52.  What is so genius about this recipe is that you blanche the kale for a few minutes in the pasta water before cooking the pasta, I love that!

P.S.  Don’t you love my pasta picture in front of my Christmas tree!!  From now until it comes down, expect to see blurry Christmas lights behind everything!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at November 22, 2009.  Some sort of black bean soup? 

With some sort of tomato rice?  Attempted to make fancy with a hastily placed sprig of parsley?

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Garden Tuesday or Show Me Your Christmas!!

 

Christmas Cactus

I’ve shown you individual pictures of my Christmas cactus, I thought you might like to see them all lined up.  I have two pink and one creamy white.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.   Remember you can also link up any Christmas decorating pics that you have!

Monday, December 12, 2011

All About Roasting Giveaway Winner!!

 

The random org generator has spoken. 

The winner of the All About Roasting by Molly Stevensis comment number 37: 

Wearinbeads!

Please email me your address and this fantastic book will be in your hands in a few short days!! 

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #87 ~ Moselland Riesling

Mosselland Riesling

Okay.  It was wine in a cat bottle.  I couldn’t resist.  I picked it up, showed it to my husband, and he just sighed.  He knew there was no way he was keeping it from going in the cart.

Moselland Riesling, Mosel-saar-Ruwer, 2007, $12.99, Cost Plus World Market.  They say:  cat bottles are funny give items filled with good quality Riesling wines.  We say:  very light, not unpleasant, but nothing great.  Buy again:  probably not, unless I find it in black, then definitely. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bonus Kitty Saturday for Saturday Pet Blog Hop

 

Coco

You know the drill.   Whenever I host Weekend Cat Blogging, I post a bonus kitty picture on Saturday.  Because I know that things would simply not be right with the world if you didn’t see a picture of my kitty cats on Saturday.  Your whole day would feel off somehow.  You wouldn’t be able to put your finger on it.  Until very late, Saturday night, as you are lying in bed trying to sleep, it hits you.  You didn’t see a pic of Smudge, or Patchouli, or Coco today!  So, you leap out of bed, turn on your computer, and look at the previous weekend to get your kitty fix.  To keep all that from happening, here is your bonus photo of Coco.  You’re welcome.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #340 HERE!! Link Up!!

 

Coco

Christmas is Coco’s favorite time of the year.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by US.  Link up below!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All About Roasting by Molly Stevens ~ COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!

 

All About Roasting by Molly Stevens

If you are wondering if Molly Stevens (gasp) or her publisher (slightly smaller gasp) contacted me about doing a book giveaway, they didn’t.  I am doing this all on my own for you.  Why?  Because I feel like I have been a bad blogger lately.  I have been so busy getting my photography business off and running (or off and doing a slow jog) that I have been negligent on my blog reading.  I miss you all.  I really do.  And I wanted to make it up to you.  To make you like me again. 

So, I am giving away a copy of this wonderful cookbook, my latest and most favorite addition to my cookbook library.  You will seriously love this book, I promise. 

Now, I want you all to see what I have been working on, and why I’ve been neglecting you, so you are going to have 5 chances to enter.  First of all, just leave a comment on this post telling me that you want it.  For extra entries:

  • Visit my Pamela Greer Photography Facebook Page and like me and come back here and leave a comment telling me you did so.
  • Visit my Pamela Greer Photography Web page, check out my blog and leave a comment on one of the posts, and then come back here and leave a comment.
  • Tweet about this giveaway and comment that you did.
  • Post this giveaway on your Facebook wall and comment that you did.

I have a very vague knowledge of Google and SEO stuff, but I think if a lot of you visit my pages and comment, Google will think I am more popular than I actually am, and it will shower it’s Google Goodness upon me. 

**Unfortunately this is only open to residences in the United States, because I am shipping this straight from Amazon, and I have no idea how to do that internationally.

And for those of you still reading, you can leave an extra bonus comment because I love people who read all the way to the end.

I will announce the winner on Monday!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at October 18, 2009.  Couscous?  Some sort of couscous pilaf?  Maybe some sort of dried fruit in it? 

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Garden Tuesday ~ Show me your Christmas!

Christmas Cactus

Okay, last week I showed you my Pink Christmas cactus, here is my other one, a sort of creamy white, but with a fabulous hot pink stamen (I think it’s called a stamen)!

I have an idea peeps!  It is really cold here, and I am not getting outside much to take pictures of my garden, and some of you might be in that same predicament.   So, if you are, and you have no garden photos this week, I’d love to see how you are decorating for Christmas.  If you’ve taken pictures of your tree, your cute centerpiece, your awesome outdoor lights, link up.  So, garden pics or holiday decoration pics, either one will do!

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blogging Friends! Chelle and the Fingerless Gloves

 

Fingerless Gloves

I don’t know what I expected when I started blogging.  Actually, I had no expectations at all.  I was completely amazed when I received my first comment.  But even if I had expectations, I can assure you that making friends would not have been on that list.  How do you become friends with someone you’ve never met?  Turns out it is quite easy and absolutely wonderful.

Last month, I posted on my Facebook page that I was getting ready to go do a photo shoot, that it was cold, and wouldn’t it be nice if my daughter, Kate, would knit me some fingerless gloves.  Well, a dear, sweet blogging friend, Chelle of Queen of Kafooster  posted that if Kate wouldn’t make me gloves then she would!!  Then Kate weaseled in on the deal and asked for gloves too.  And then Chelle, in her complete and utter awesomeness, said that she would knit some for both of us!!

What makes this so amazing is that I have never met Chelle.  She lives in Hillsboro, Oregon, which by the way, I have no idea how far it is from Soddy Daisy, TN, but it’s far.  Really far.  The odds are pretty good that we’ll never meet.  Though, if I win the lottery this year (and it was my resolution, so it better happen soon), she will be my first road trip.   Chelle and I became friends over many email conversations.  She has two delightful sons, both with Asperger’s, and I’m a special ed teacher, so we bonded over that.  She has offered me lots of advice along the way.  Eventually we became Facebook friends, and now we are fingerless gloves friends. 

 

I love blogging.  I love the friends I have made.  I love Chelle.  I love my fingerless gloves.  I love both pairs, but I suppose I will give a pair to Kate.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #86 Loosen Bros Riesling

Loosen Brothers Reisling

Loosen Bros, Riesling, 2009, Dr. L, Mosel, $8.59, Costco.  They say:  fruity with a refreshing crisp taste.  We say:  nectar like, peaches, creamy, floral.  Excellent!  Buy again:  definitely!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #339 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Coco

Coco.  Resting.  Conserving energy for the next stealth attack of the Christmas ornaments.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by iMeowza.

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Banana “Nice” Cream

 

Bananas

Do you remember in June when I posted   Banana Ginger Granita?  That post was such an eye opener to me.  I could have a creamy ice cream like dish every night of the week if I wanted, and not only was it good, but it was good for me.  Since then I have taken that concept and ran with it.

Whenever I go grocery shopping, I buy a bunch of bananas.  I bring them home and chop them up two at a time and put them in lidded containers in the freezer.  As we sit down to dinner, I bring out one of these perfectly proportioned containers and sit it on the counter.  Then after dinner, I toss the bananas in my food processor, add a couple of tablespoons of liquid (milk, sometimes keffir, sometimes yogurt), and whirl them up till they’re smooth and creamy.  Amazing.  Sometimes I toss in a few other frozen fruits like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries.  Maybe I’ll had a drizzle of chocolate syrup.  You are only limited by your imagination.

Now, go make dessert.  It’s good for you.

 

 

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

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Basic Roast Chicken

 

Roast Chicken

Remember a few weeks ago, when I mentioned that I just gotten All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Artby Molly Stevens?  At that point, I hadn’t even made anything out of it yet.  Well, I decided to begin with the most basic of all – a basic roast chicken. 

Bring up roasting a chicken among foodies, and it’s quite the conversation starter.  High heat, low heat, wet marinade, dry rub, brine….everyone has their own opinion.  I, being somewhat wishy-washy and easily swayed, can be encouraged to try them all. 

Molly Stevens brings to the table high heat and seasoning ahead of time.  She encourages you to buy a smaller bird so that you can use a high heat and presalting.  I did both.  My pan was a little deeper than recommended which is why I only got good browning on the top – the sides of the pan kept the wings from getting good air flow.  The presalting left the chicken wonderfully seasoned all the way through.

I’m not going to type in her whole recipe here…for two reasons.  One it’s long, she goes into detail explaining what to expect every step of the way, and two – I love this book so much that I have decided to offer a give away next week!  So one lucky reader will win their very own copy of this book! 

So, tune in next week for a roasted potato recipe and a chance to win this book!!