Friday, October 2, 2015

Martha Stewart and Company’s Vintage Décor Paint is Fantastic!

I remember when Martha introduced her Vintage Décor Paint a few years ago and I thought I would try it out on a light fixture.  Unfortunately, I forgot about the light fixture and never bought any of the paint until now.  Here's where I bought it:  Vintage Decor Paint  

I am signed up to receive emails from Martha Stewart Living and one day they talked about painting bushel fruit baskets with décor paint.  The ones they pictured were very nice and colorful.  I thought about buying a bushel basket and even searched on Amazon for one until I remembered an ugly brown basket that I have.  I never liked the color but wasn’t really keen on painting it either unless I spray painted it.

Here’s the brown basket 

I remember Martha saying the vintage paint works on many things such as metal, (my light fixture), and wood, (my basket), were two things.  Glass and cloth were the other two, so I ordered some paint.  I like green and so I chose the Eucalyptus color which looked good to me.

The inside of the basket seemed the best place to start so after I cleaned the basket up a little with a dry cloth, I tested the paint on the side first.  Unfortunately, my brush was a little small but I used it anyway.

Next I did the inside bottom and after it dried a little, I dabbed at some of the spots I missed...

... and then I finished up the sides.  It didn’t take a lot of paint because it covers so well.

I have a little table right behind me next to the computer so I simply turned my chair around and painted a little at a time and let it dry.  Before long I was done except for a few touch-ups this morning in a different light.

I think it looks pretty good and as soon as I find that pencil case I painted blue several months ago, I’m going to redo it with another color of this fantastic Vintage Décor Paint.  Darn, I am always misplacing thing!

Here is the basket before and after.

After putting two coats on the basket, I only used 1/3 of the bottle.  I marked the spot at the end of the paragraph and now I have 2/3 of a bottle to paint something else!  Hmmm, what might I decide on next if I don't find the pencil case!  Better get more paint first I think.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Family Birthday Party on Sunday

Our niece’s grandson Coby turned 10 on Monday the 28th but his party was on Sunday the 27th.  It was easy for most of the family to choose gifts for him because he is into collecting Pokemon paraphernalia.  I guess it is the rage again among school kids anyway.  From me he received new speakers for his computer and my sister gave him a Marlins official baseball shirt.  This kid is so big we were almost sure an XL would fit him okay and it did, albeit a bit long but he likes them long.  He loved it and the color goes well with his new Miami Dolphin’s cap that he got from his uncle.   He’s an avid Dolphin’s fan like his great grandfather was!

Here he is in his beautiful tee shirt.  We’re all hoping he slims down as he grows taller but he has always had an enormous appetite!

Even when he was almost 5 and ate plenty of fruits and veggies, he wanted chips and sandwiches too!

Here is one of Coby's stepsisters 3 year old Kennedy with her water cup.  She'll be 4 in November. There are kid gates up all over the place to keep the girls away from the front door, the dining room and/or the kitchen while grandma is busy.  They like to open doors and the 2 year old, Jaycee below, is curious about everything! 

I’ve been taking pictures of all the kids since they were babies so Sunday was Jaycee’s turn for revenge!  I hope no one ever gives her a digital camera - she already knows how to operate mine and my iPhone too! 

They stay here in their playroom those times when grandma is busy or she would never get anything done.  She dresses them alike or they would fight over outfits like they argue over cups.  If one has the green cup the other suddenly doesn't like her purple cup, she wants the green one instead!

 Here they are instructing each other on the use of the throwaway camera.  Turn the wheel and then push the button on top.  Whatever, they only know how to aim and push the button on top.

The camera on my phone is always more fun.  Jaycee especially likes to view the pictures and does all the sliding on the screen with her little fingers.   Pretty soon she’ll be teaching grandma how to use the computer!

Coby went off to his room to watch the Dolphins game and I returned home to watch it.  Miami got their butts beat by the Bills which pleased my son who was at the game and is a Buffalo fan.  I was more interested in the earlier game with New England and Jacksonville.  Sis received lots of points in Fantasy Football due to Brady’s excellent performance!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Campanelle with Zucchini and Mint from September 2015 Martha Stewart Living

Here’s the link to the recipe on Martha’s blog - Campanelle with Zucchini and Mint

First off have you ever wondered how many years your blog will stay online even if you should happen to not want to blog anymore?  Yeah, that is just one thing I think about while lying awake in bed at night.  Like who knows for sure how many years from now someone new will come across this blog.  So I'll keep blogging!  Another thing had me wondering why the heck the power went out last night right in the middle of watching Madame Bovary on Netflix.  Boy that ticked me off! 

But it turned out not to be such a bad thing after all...the power outage I mean.   I did have pictures on my camera and my phone that I needed to import and resize and so rather than turn my movie back on, I played with pictures when the power came back on.  I really like the Picture Gallery in Windows 10.  It imports all of my pictures from all of my sources and then from the gallery I can edit them and save what I want to my named picture files.

Okay now about that delightful dish named above.  I have a feeling it is going to be one of my favorites because the minute I tasted it, I couldn’t eat it fast enough!  It was so good.  I ate more for brunch today also.  Yum!

 The ingredients are few - Campanelle or your choice of a short pasta.  I used a new one from Barilla called Collezione.   Olive oil, 2 medium zucchini to equal a pound, minced garlic from 4 cloves, pepper flakes, Kalamata olives, lemon juice, fresh mint leaves I forgot in the fridge, (a really good addition), and ricotta salata cheese for serving.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any so I used semi-soft Garlic Basil Pesto Monteray Jack cheese which I already had and I shaved it with..... relatively new chocolate/cheese shaver.  The blade is quite sharp.

The steps are simple.

Cook pasta and reserve 1 cup of the water. Return to the pot.  Can you see the little fold in the pasta?

Next, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high until it shimmers, then add zucchini rounds.  Cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  

Some of the zucchini will get brown as you cook and it will also soften.  Funny how cooking works, eh!  That is when you add your minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of red-pepper flakes and olives.  Stir it all together for about 30 seconds until you get that nice fragrance!  Then you pour the mixture over your pasta, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and toss.  Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that because I was too anxious to taste it! 

The taste is unforgettable!  I really liked the mint and my cheese choice wasn't too bad.  The lighting wasn't great where I took this picture or my pasta would have been whiter looking.  See picture at top of page.  Still good though! 

For the record, whenever I post a Martha Stewart recipe I get hundreds of views which simply verify my own conclusion that Martha’s recipes are the best.  I am amazed at how MSLO cooks can use just a few items to create recipes that are so tasty.  I’ve tried a few of other recipes around the web but I always go back to Martha and basically because she uses mostly fresh ingredients and not always canned and the combinations of ingredients always work.    

Please try this dish so you too will experience the wonderful taste!  You might want to use the link at the top of this page so you can follow step by step.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Flourless Chocolate Cake. A YUMMY Martha Stewart Recipe!

This is from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living and I watched Sarah Carey make it in a video.  She is the one who inspired me to say – I can do that!  Flourless Chocolate Cake 

The thing is I’ve been talking about making it for a few weeks so yesterday afternoon, I just went into the kitchen and got it done.  I had all the ingredients I needed although I used Publix brand semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of buying anything I would need to chop.  I like those chips and use them a lot in the granola bars I make as well as in the microwave S’mores that I like even more!

These are the few ingredients that you need for the cake. 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan. 
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped.  I weighed my on my kitchen scale.
6 large eggs, separated (that was fun!)
½ cup granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Whipped cream for serving if you like.  ( I didn’t use any.)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees with the rack in the center.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  Set aside.  (I really like those pans!)

Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until completely melted.  Let cool slightly then Whisk in egg yolks.  (I forgot to take a picture of the melted chocolate.)

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually add granulated sugar and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form.  (Well, it looked like a peak to me!)

Whisk ¼ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture….

….then gently fold in remaining egg whites.

Pour patter in the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  (I was playing around with the marble effect so much I forgot to actually smooth it out very much.)

Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the center, 45 to 50 minutes.  (I watched it the last 10 minutes just to see if that would happen and it did.)  Sarah said it was okay if it cracked.  It's not like a flour cake.  Cool completely on a wire rack, remove sides of springform pan.  

Serve at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar and whipped cream if desired.  Do you think I have enough confectioners’ sugar?

THIS CAKE IS DELICIOUS!  I had to stop myself from getting another piece because the one I took was PLENTY big enough!  It’s a little like eating a pudding cake except even more moist and fudgy.  All I know is I will be making it again!  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lots of good things in the September 2015 issue of Martha Stewart Living!

Above is my picture of the cover of MSL and on page 90 you can learn how to make the shelving pictured.  We have shelving similar to this but we don’t have those neat cut-outs where you can fit in a couple of pencil holders or a flower vase.  I am always knocking over the pencil cases on my computer table which mostly contain scissors and sharpies now.  I keep the pens and pencils in a tin container except for what I use most often.

I really like this issue and it is one that I will go through more than once.  Tomorrow I’m going to decide which recipes I want to make and as I decide and jot down the page number and the name of the recipe, I will also make a grocery list.  That has to be better than being in the store and spotting a can of coconut milk without remembering what I wanted it for.  I have one in the fridge now which may never get used.  That reminds me of a bottle of Hoisin Sauce years ago that I ended up throwing out.  I never did figure out why I bought it.

In ‘What’s for Dinner?’are four garden-fresh pasta dishes calling my name and I think I will answer to the one with zucchini and mint first.  I will also get extra zucchinis just to make the crisp zucchini panko fries on another page. 

If you like Biscotti like I do, you are going to love the easy recipes for more than one flavor of that classic and on the next page, ta-da, a PB&J Tart.  Yes, peanut butter and jelly!  To top that off, or besides topping that tart off, you can even make your own jelly or jam and there are several recipes to choose from.  They called the section “Preserving Made Easy” and it’s on page 81.  There are pickles such as dill to make or you can pickle cauliflower with chiles.  They gave us several recipes so easy to follow and since I have never made jam or jelly or pickles, I would be nuts not to try making one of these small batches of something.  The recipes are all small batches. Maybe I’ll make the sweet pickles since I have most everything except for the Kirby cucumbers and white onion.   Costco has the Kirby’s.

The gardens of early author Helena Rutherfurd Ely are fabulous, especially her cultivars of dahlias that she left behind.  And ‘furd’ is the correct spelling unless the magazine has a typo.  The dahlias have been carefully tended to for over 100 years which is definitely something to think about.   There was no record of the names of the dahlias and so they were renamed which is another mind boggler.

A farmhouse that was rebuilt and designed by a young couple is also something to admire.  Some people are just so talented!  They even built a pizza oven!  

 Above from the Martha site, you will find this pretty nifty clip art from a link under Good Things in the magazine for dressing up those uninspiring looking school text books or any book for that matter.  You will need to download and print the designs on adhesive paper which are paper clips, erasers, thumbtacks, etc.  Note to self:  Get some adhesive paper and butcher’s paper too if I can find it.  The idea is to put the butcher paper on the book first and then the stickers on the butcher paper.  

No doubt all you dessert lovers are really going to want to make Martha’s Layer Cake which she made with crepes.  I have yet to make a crepe but I must admit her Green-Tea Crepe Cake looks pretty darn good! 

I was a little late getting my copy of the magazine this month so I’m sure many of you have already been enjoying it.  Maybe you have done some of the crafts already that I didn't mention here.  I sure would like to read your thoughts and also what else you plan to make from the issue.  Please feel free to comment if you like!  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

If I hadn't been watching Kathie Lee and Hoda....

It’s surprising what goes through one’s mind after watching Kathie Lee and Hoda and I mean that in a nice way although I only happened to be watching it today.  As I sat there drinking my coffee and munching Oreo’s, yeah I know, not a good breakfast, I missed who won the best curb appeal job because the power went out.  My vote went to Kathie by the way, but not only did the TV go out, my computer which is on wifi shut down too and then Windows 10 decided to do a slew of updates when I turned it back on, so I had to wait around for that.

 While I was waiting I decided it was a good time to make a phone call because I needed a new lawn mowing service.  

I never just make a phone call unless I have a good reason and the timing has to be right because I dread telephones!  I fired the second lawn guy yesterday who lasted one month more than the first guy.  I just didn’t think it was too much to ask him to use the weed whacker on the few cracks in the driveway where weeds grow and to take 5 minutes to rake the fronds up that were all over the lawn from the Madagascar tree!  It was fine with me if he wanted to bill me extra even though he agreed to do those things when I hired him.   I guess it was too much extra work though because he got all bent out of shape when I brought it up and now I’m hunting down another crew.  He was a crew of one and now I want a crew of two.  One will need to rake up the fronds and weed the driveway!

Wednesday 8/26/15:  Just an additional note to mention that I hired the guy that I talked to and texted Tuesday.  He gave me what I thought was a very reasonable price for what he says he will do in my yard which includes raking up the fronds, weeding the driveway, as well as pulling the weeds in the garden.  Yay!  When he found a weed in front of my ixora bush and said he would cut that, I figured he knew the difference between foliage plants and weeds.  Some lawn guys don’t such as the first one who killed all of my coleus plants.

 While we were looking at the garden, I spotted the above bloom on my elephant ear plant for the very first time.  I didn’t even know they bloomed.  Not your regular type bloom but I think it is a flower just the same.  My Easter Lily used to bloom like that but not anymore yet a few of my houseplants do.

 This brings me to the best thing that was ever invented; the smart phone which I think we all love for browsing online and for texting and okay, for phone calls too!  

Unfortunately, when the power went out this morning, so did wifi on my phone which I assume is the reason I could not text, but maybe not.  Either way, I kept getting that annoying error code when I tried to send my address to George at the lawn service.  He has a thick accent and couldn’t understand where I lived when we talked on the phone so a text usually prevails in those cases.  The funny thing is he is the one who left a flyer outside my front door.  

When my texts failed to send after 5 or 6 tries, I got to thinking about another time my phone was acting up and I remembered what my phone service people told me; turn the phone off and then on again so things can reset themselves.  That worked again today and in a matter of seconds, I was able to send and answer several texts from George.  I might not have thought of that had I not been setting up the TV channel for my sister to watch her soap at 1 P.M. and if the power hadn't gone out near the end of Hoda and Kathie Lee’s show which I had gotten interested in.

I still have iPhone 4 because it fits in my pockets but there are some new apps that it can’t handle so I might be forced to get the newer, bigger version...maybe!  For today though, for those of you who may not know, if you have trouble at all with your phone, try resetting it by turning it off and then on again after 3 or 4 minutes.      

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We love it when the little ones come for a visit!

The two little girls in the family who are getting so big stopped by this morning and we looked at hundreds of their pictures in my files.  It was difficult to tell them apart when they were babies but I know who is who!  Their grandmother didn’t even recognize one of Jaycee when she was 4 months old.  Kennedy, who is 3, would see one of 2 year old Jaycee and say, “that’s me”, and I’d have to tell her it wasn’t but luckily the next one in line would be of her.  Every time they guessed the right picture, they jumped up and down and squealed, “That’s me, that’s me.”

Here they are looking at a slide view with about 200 pictures on a flash drive.   That was before we went to my computer room to look at hundreds more in my files.

Kennedy stopped off on my bed to check out the flashlight I keep on the nightstand.  Jaycee already tore the bed up earlier when she spotting my headphones over by the pillows.  Both of them are nuts about flashlights but their new Hello Kitty ones were in the other room packed up to take home.  I figure the batteries will be dead in those before nightfall though!

Jaycee is heading back to my computer room to check out a box she hadn’t seen before.  She’s the curious one and just wanted a look-see.  I watched to see if she would take anything out, which she did but then put it all back.  I guess she decided my big jar of thread in the hallway was more interesting.  I was just glad she couldn’t open it!

Both of them watered my plants on the patio and Jaycee wanted to water some more but couldn’t get the sliding door open.  She gave up the struggle when I told her the plants were taking their nap now.  Whatever works!

Kennedy decided she didn’t want her picture taken and so she is looking off at something else.  When she finally smiled I wasn’t ready and that picture came out blurry.   I take my chances with them – sometimes a hit, sometimes a miss!

Kennedy still pensive but they always leave us with something to smile about.  Today when Jaycee, the two year old, went into the living room she wanted to know where the puzzle was.  My sister and I had a completed one on the coffee table but after  Kennedy took it apart and most pieces ended up on the floor, I decided to throw it out.  But it was always on the table and so Jaycee asked about it.  Later, Kennedy wanted to know where the binoculars were.  They are so heavy I thought I should put them away but Kennedy wanted them and can handle them so I told her they were in the basket in the dining room.  She immediately got them out.  Those two never forget anything!    

We’ll be heading to their house next visit to watch them slide into the pool on their new slide.  See you then sweetie pies!   

Friday, August 14, 2015

“Make Your Place”, a book written and illustrated by Raleigh Briggs

This is one of those books that is not only cute, but quite funny in some of the descriptions and informative as well.   I say cute because everything was written neatly by hand including the content section and the pictures were drawn and not professionally photographed.  It truly is a handmade book about the homemade.  Some of the captions made me smile such as a coffee pot with a bubble above it saying “oh thank you” in response to someone cleaning it.  I like the small size too which will fit in my purse.  I’ll take it over to my niece’s house and show her how to make dry shampoo for her cat. 

There are recipes for items such as homemade shampoo and conditioner as well as facial cleansers and toners!  It seems the author was quite satisfied with what he learned at a DIY Academy and wished to share three topics in a book, this book.  They are “Health and First Aid”, “Non-Toxic Cleaning and Body Care”, and “Gardening”.  I especially like the section on Pest Control as well as ways to test your dirt for planting!

I’m sure most people know how to clean their coffee pots by now but I know some who don’t know the first thing about it.  And even though I know how to make a few household formulas that actual do what they are supposed to do, I don’t know everything and so I bought this book to see what else I might learn.

I like doing things the natural way and I also like to make stuff so this book turned out to be perfect for me.  I won’t mind trying some homemade shampoo or deodorant or even bleach for washing clothes.  All ingredients are quite safe but there are people who apparently like to taste things that smell good so the author included cautions also.    

This book is available on Amazon and has plenty of positive reviews for anyone who might be interested.  It was first published in 2007 and has had many reprints through 2014 which sounds like a winner to me.  Anyway, I found the link to it on Pinterest and I’m simply passing it forward!  I think it would make a perfect gift for just about anyone such as a college student for instance or a newly-wed.  Check it out!   Here’s the link: Make Your Place - on Amazon    

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Some words about our beloved friend 'MW' who passed away a week ago today.

This is MW who often commented on my blog.  Here she is at our house several years ago toting her favorite beverage!

She was a most generous and compassionate person who gave of herself whenever and wherever she was needed.  She was like a mother hen who watched over everyone and although we are sad, just thinking about that part of her makes us smile!  The following poem fits her to a tee and if she were reading it today she would probably say, “You need to put that in a book!  When are you going to write your book?”

Love Is
Trish Castro

 Love is to give, to forgive and to savor how it feels. Love is family and friends, the strongest love that heals.

Love is holding on to dreams, creating all things new. Love is earth, togetherness our whole life through.

Love is thanks for what we have and never wanting more. Love is never saying no to friends but opening up our doors.

Love is showing love to one who doesn't know what love is. Love is feeding hungry mouths, whether yours, whether his.

Love is harmony beneath the sky, that roof above our heads. Love is giving of oneself ‘til everyone is fed.

Love is me; love is you and sharing all we know. Love is planting loving seeds so everyone may grow.

Love is seeing those who are weak and giving of our strength. Love is not to measure love but to explore its immeasurable length.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pasta Fruit Salad from Mr. Food Test Kitchen

My sister usually watches the news at noon and just before they sign off, they have a cooking segment that she asked me to watch.  The guy called 'Mr. Food' makes some interesting recipes and so I decided to try the fruit salad he made the other day.   I actually have never made one with pasta and since pasta is one of my favorite foods, it sounded like a winner so I made it.  One regret is I wish my cantaloupe had been riper.  I bought one last week that was super delicious but the one I used for this salad could have ripened a little more.  The strawberries, pineapple chunks and grapes were good though!

Above are the ingredients you will need which are listed in the recipe here - Pasta Fruit Salad.  The recipe actually suggested corkscrew pasta but naturally there wasn’t any at the store I went to so I settled for Mezze Penne which I had in my pantry.  If anyone wanted to take this to a picnic, the corkscrew pasta would probably make a prettier presentation.

This is what it looked like before the dressing of pineapple juice, peach yogurt, honey, and sour cream.  It wasn’t one of the sweetest dressings so you might choose to use one of your own creations. 

After I mixed in the dressing which I think needed a little Cool Whip also, I had a taste before adding the strawberry halves.  Not bad but could have been better with a riper cantaloupe.  I ended up taking the strawberries off to mix with some sugar and the rest of the strawberries I had bought.  I ate them later on vanilla ice cream which was ‘sooo good’.  That’s what the guy always says at the end of his segment.

I’m not sure I would make this again unless I tasted all of my fruit first and I might even skip the pasta.  I don't think it added anything but filling but then, the corkscrew pasta would have been nicer looking….maybe.  I’ve seen other dressings such as honey and lime juice that sound good.  I suppose if all else fails, you could just eat your fruit plain!  I’ve been munching plain grapes for days!

Feel free to tell me about your fruit salad recipe!