Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Original 100 Calorie Snack

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I always thought those “100 Calorie Snacks” were new creations, and I guess they are new in their pre-packaged, highly marketed forms. But the church cookbook proves that someone’s been thinking of 100 calorie portions for awhile now. Crazy insane how many rutabagas you can eat for 100 calories.

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The BEST Christmas Gift

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A long time ago, I was pilfering through my mom’s cookbook drawer searching for some recipe I’d loved as a kid. My mom hasn’t bought a cookbook in years. Nope, you won’t find a Rachel Ray or a Giada or a Barefoot Contessa book in her drawer. She does have plenty of old-school pamphlets filled with recipes promoting things like Philadelphia Cream cheese and Eagle Brand condensed milk and of course she has the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. (Does everyone have this cookbook? Naoto and I each brought one to the marriage and neither of us is willing to part with the copy we brought.) While I was looking through the drawer I found her old Methodist Church cookbook. I flipped through it finding all of the usual church cookbook fare: plenty of jello salads, punches and casseroles. I loved seeing familiar names from our small town and seeing which recipes my grandma and her church lady friends contributed. I told my mom that I wanted a copy of the cookbook.

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Since the cookbook was published in 1984, I knew finding one would be pretty impossible. I sifted through eBay listings of church cookbooks for weeks, but gave up and kind of forgot about it for awhile. When we were celebrating Christmas Thursday, I opened a box that had some new kitchen towels and new measuring spoons inside and there it was, tucked under a kitchen towel–the church cookbook! Apparently my mom told my aunt that she was searching for one and my aunt offered up her copy for the cause! (Thanks, Aunt Karen!)

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My mom and I spent a good amount of time looking through our books and discovering recipes that include outdated ingredients (Have you ever used Dream Whip before?), many cans of cream of mushroom soup, oleo (aka margarine) and lots of Jello. I’ve already picked out a few recipes to try. I’m starting with a Jello salad, since Naoto and I have been in a Jello groove lately and I’m super-psyched to see several lima bean salads and casseroles!! Limas are my favorite and who knew they were the star of so many dishes!!

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Monogram Tea Towel

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I whipped up a quick tea towel for my parents last night. It was a last minute craft, one where I didn’t even iron all if the wrinkles out of the tea towel…

I keep a stash of plain white flour sack tea towels in my closet for craft emergencies. (Mine are from Target, but you get the idea.) They are the first things I learned to embroider (I made a sushi towel for Naoto) and the fabric is thin but not too thin for little stitches. My mom has several of these towels that she’s had for years, and like most things, the ones made today are much thinner than the old ones. (They don’t make things like they used to.)

Because I wanted to keep things simple with a monogram (A for Adami, in case you didn’t put that together…), I just practiced writing a few cursive A’s until I found one I liked, then I traced the A onto the fabric with a Pilot FriXion Pen. I use the FriXion pens in my calendar, I love they way they write and the eras-ability factor. So imagine my delight when I heard from Mollie and read a great tip here that the ink disappears when it’s heated, making the FriXion pen perfect for embroidery and quilting (and probably other crafts). I didn’t have to worry about heating up my A to remove the lines because my 6-strand split stitch covered the thin (0.5) line perfectly.

Sidenote: I do have first-hand experience with the disappearing ink. I left my FriXion pen on my balcony on a sunny summer day last year and when I went back to use it again, the ink flowed clear instead of black. Huge bummer for me, but thankfully I had about ten back-up pens…

I think my parents liked it–my mom told my dad he should use it when he bakes bread–and I think the red variegated floss (Anchor #1206) matches their kitchen just enough. All-in-all I think a quickie tea towel makes a nice little gift, don’t you?

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A Little (Christmas) Day Trip

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This little gift is going to make its way out into the world tomorrow when I go to the little post office in the little town where I grew up. It’s heading out to a friend, but there will be other gifts in the back seat, too. Tomorrow Naoto & I are making the two hour drive down to see my parents and celebrate Christmas. Yes, Christmas…it’s downright embarrassing that we haven’t seen each other since Thanksgiving–December, January and February are somewhat of a blur.

It will be nice to see them.

It will be nicer to get these stale Christmas presents out of my house.

(Just kidding, Mom!)

Another *SNOW* Post

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It’s SNOWING again! And it’s a downright snow day for many people–schools are closed, church BINGOs are cancelled, people are going home from work early (or not going at all)…I, on the other hand, will be heading out to work later. But until then, I’m happy to curl up on the couch and watch the snowfall.

Yesterday I spent a good part of my day digging around in the guest room. It’s gotten to the point where I need to take another trip to drop off a carload of donations (yay!) and I really need to get rid of a chair and three desks before I consider things DONE, but as far as getting the stuff organized, I’m almost there.

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I also have this little plan going on in the living room. I have three handmade papers all ready to go in frames on the wall.

Yay for progress…no matter how slow it is!

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Cocktail Perfected: Brandy Alexander

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Naoto has been spoiling me by filling our liquor cabinet with bottles of booze that have been on my wishlist for a long time. Last weekend it was Chartreuse, this weekend it was dark creme de cacao (among others which shall be shared soon). I’ve been talking about making a Brandy Alexander for a long time and this weekend I finally did.

Do you ever enjoy after-dinner drinks? When I was little, I remember my grandma ordering a Grasshopper after a family dinner at the Duck Inn. It was so green and pretty that I couldn’t wait to grow up and try one. When I was in my twenties, I ordered one at a restaurant and the bartender had to look it up in a book before he could make it…I had no idea it was so old-school! In spite of being a grasshopper-making novice, he managed to make a deliciously minty-rich cocktail.

On Saturday, after a quick trip to Michaels to pick out more frames for the rest of the artwork floating around here, I invited the neighbor ladies over to try a Brandy Alexander with me.

Brandy Alexander

1 1/2oz brandy

1oz dark creme de cacao

1oz half-and-half

1/4t nutmeg

In a shaker filled with ice, add brandy, creme de cacao and half-and-half. Shake until chilled and pour into cocktail glass. Garnish with nutmeg. Enjoy with your neighbors on a chilly winter night.

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The Brandy Alexander was a hit, but we could only drink one–it’s rich and dessert-like…so Naoto opened up a bottle of wine and made up this fancy snack for us to enjoy. (Sorry for the weird angle of the cell phone picture!) The green cheese is a pesto gouda from Trader Joe’s–perfect for St. Patrick’s Day and so tasty!

This week, I am going to finish off the spare room and hopefully get the rest of the frames off of the floor. It’s supposed to snow six more inches tomorrow, so I have a good excuse to stay home and tackle my March to-do list. Maybe I’ll have some progress to share soon!

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March-ing On

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Usually February drags on slowly for me. The brutal cold, the dirty snow that won’t melt away, holidays a distant memory, the fresh start of the new year wearing off…February might only be 28 days, but usually it feels like two months rolled into one.

Not this year. February flew! I think it had something to do with the Week of Indulgence, Naoto’s surgery and the fact that it hasn’t been overly cold or snowy this winter (so far!) The charm of the chill and the snow hasn’t worn off quite yet. (But take note, Spring…I’d love to see you soon!) Whatever the reason, I cannot believe March is already here!

In March, I’d like to…

…get back into our gym routine (We broke our habit while Naoto was recovering–I have no excuse–and now we need to work back into a good routine.)

…try out some new recipes (since every stand-by in our repertoire is off-limits until Naoto heals completely)

…finish an embroidery project (because it’s been too long)

…finish the bathroom & share it here on the blog (again, it’s been too long)

…finish clearing out the guest room (oh, how this project has dragged!)

…finish my framing & hanging projects (are you sensing a theme here?)

…plan a little birthday celebration (that includes something sparkly, like champagne!)

How about you…any plans for March?

 

Calendars: Rifle, Heather Lins Home and K is for Calligraphy

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