Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I Learn Something New Almost Daily…and today’s lesson was to never answer the phone if the caller is YOU!

Caller ID is a good thing!

When the phone rang this morning and the caller ID indicated the call was coming from our own number, I decided it was some kind of spam because logically speaking; no one can call themselves on their own phone!  My sister in the other room could not have made the call even as a joke.  When I saw the name on the ID I told her we apparently just got a call from one of us because our number was on the ID.  She laughed but then we both wanted to know how that happened. 

My intercom phone.

Luckily I am not one to answer the phone until I have a look at who is calling.  The names don’t show up clearly on the above phone which is in my bedroom so I never answer that one unless my sister is calling on the intercom which has a different ring.  If I feel like answering a phone call though, I will go to another room to check the ID first.  Otherwise they can leave a message.

After this happened, I got on Google to find answers and this is what I typed in the Search box:  “I received a call on my landline with my own caller id showing – how is that possible?”  At the top of the list of answers was a link to the Federal Trade Commission – Consumer Information.  The article said the call is actually a scammer making an illegal robocall.  Good to know so I’m passing that information along to those who also didn't know.  Here is a link to that article FTC Consumer Information which tells you what to do and what not to do.  For instance, don’t pick up and start pushing buttons as you might be instructed to do.  It might allow the robocall jerks to listen in on all of your calls where they will most likely steal information.  P.S. The FTC did not say 'jerks'.  

Will the day ever come where everyone can feel safe, and I’m not just referring to the telephone!  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Martha Stewart Living Magazine Collector’s Issue, December/January 2015

What a beautiful edition this Collector’s issue is and Martha is looking gorgeous on the cover!  She was painted by Will Cotton who doesn’t just use paint.  Think sugar, flour and egg whites too!  Yeah, it took me a few minutes to digest that information also but equally interesting was reading about the inedible substance he used to embellish Martha’s Valentino dress without ruining it.  I think she looks fabulous and the photos shown of Will at work clearly depict ‘genius at work’!  I have enormous respect and admiration for artists.  I could never paint anything let alone a picture of a person! 

I eagerly read the magazine with a bunch of ‘yum, that looks good’ and ‘wow that tree is really pretty’, and ‘maybe a little bit of copper might look nice in my kitchen’ as in those copper colored stainless steel measuring cups on page 45.  That page starts the Gift Guide section which pages I thought were quite cleverly displayed across from ads on the opposite page which also include possible gift items.  I’ve said it before that if I hadn’t seen something in an ad, I might never have known about it so ads are good things!  I like the Frosted Feast display from Pier 1, a place I rarely visit because it’s across town but I might have to have a closer look at all of those goblets and glasses.  I also like a snowflake cookie cutter from William Sonoma. 

The next section is Beauty & Style and among many other good things are directions for making sleep masks.  For years I’ve been going to make one of those but haven’t so far.  This could be the year and I think I have all the material I need.

How do orange slices with green olives in lemon juice and EVOO spooned over the top with a finish of fresh mint, sea salt and red-hot pepper flakes sound?  Yeah, that got a yum out of me too! 

I will flash forward through the Food and Gatherings section because there are just too many good recipes to mention, but don’t you dare zip past it in your copy!  I have got to try the Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Meyer Lemon, and Quinoa Salad and the Puff-Pastry Cheese Straws.  And maybe the Green Beans with croutons and mustard vinaigrette…

Next is a Good Living section with some craft ideas for the holidays from a designer and boutique owner, Jenni Kayne and a couple of her friends.  I like that they used fallen pine branches and pine cones for a garland and a wreath and they also topped their wrapped gifts with a sprig of evergreen and pine cones. And to think my neighbor across the street has a pine tree!  Maybe when I return her pine needles that I am always raking up, I’ll pick up a few cones on the way home.  Just kidding about returning her pine needles but not about getting some pine cones! 

Next there is ‘A Cookie a Day’ Advent style calendar in honor of the magazine’s 25th anniversary.  They chose their favorite from each year and all you do is open up the doors and compare the number to one in the How-To-Handbook section to find the cookie name.  Number 1 is a French Macaron from the year 2014 and you’ll have to type in a link to Martha’s site to get the recipe.

‘Visions of Sugar’ is all about the cover and this most interesting article was written by Amy Conway.   You will want to read it!  The next few pages are all about sugar and the recipes to make such delights as Salted-Caramel Whoopie Pies are in the Handbook.   All yummy looking.  How many yums is that so far?

So as I continued to drool over the sweets, I flipped through the pages of trees and stopped on page 120 to closely check out the ‘High (Wire) Style tree created by Marcie McGoldrick.  Wait until you see it…very unusual, eye-catching, pretty actually and it suspends from the ceiling on wires.  I love it!

Flip, flip more pages to learn about candles and darn if I didn’t spot item No. 8, a candle adhesive called Stick-Um, and Michaels has it.    I need some!

Now, get ready to brake because the food pictures that follow will blow your mind.  I wanted to taste the first one, a Turkey B’Steeya so badly and then I turned the page and was immediately mesmerized at seeing the Apple-Stuffed Pork Wellington.  That photo has got to be the most beautiful food photo I have ever seen!  Not kidding!  I believe I will be purchasing a duplicate copy of this issue so I can tear that page out along with the one next to it which shows it being served with ginger rutabaga puree and studded red cabbage with raisins and pistachios.  Wow and OMG.  I still can’t stop looking at it!

I’m not a fish lover but as good as the fish on the next page looks, get ready for another stare-fest on the page after that with the Potato Wrapped Beef Tenderloin.  It was served with sautéed mushrooms and vegetable bundles and will be in my dreams tonight along with the Pork Wellington!

I must stop now because my hunger pangs are in high gear!  I wish I could show you pictures of all the goodies in this issue but for many reasons that is impossible.  It’s actually a good thing because you are going to want your own copy of this gorgeous edition which happens also to be a collector’s item!       

Friday, November 6, 2015

Food Network Magazine for Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

I tend to buy a few extra magazines around the holidays just to get new ideas for meals or for gifts or to just look at the food!   When I noticed Food Network magazine had a section on 50 Great Grains in the November issue, I had to buy it.  I love rice, quinoa, farro, barley and bulgur and of course there are several recipes for each of them.  Most interesting to me is the Slow-Cooker Squash Risotto with 3 cups of chopped peeled butternut squash and a cup of grated Parmesan.  I might make that first as soon as I get more chicken broth and Arborio rice.  I am always buying chicken broth because I use it so much.  I might as well get some jasmine rice also because the tropical rice also looks good. 

Here is the Tropical Rice recipe:  Bring 2 cups each water and jasmine rice, one 14-ounce can coconut milk, 3 wide strips lime zest and 1 teaspoon each sugar and kosher salt to a boil.  Cover, cook over low heat until rice is tender, 20 minutes.

This picture is on page 3 in the magazine.  You can see 'Food Network Magazine' above the Contents.  Doesn’t it just whet your appetite?  It does mine!  Starting at the top is Cornbread-Andouille Stuffing, Lemon-Pepper Turkey, (I make lemon-pepper chicken a lot), Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce, Classic Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans with Garlic and Rosemary.  Page numbers to the recipes are included.   

On page 117 is a tasty looking Humble Ham Casserole that I would like to try simply because I have never made a ham casserole.  I think I’ve seen ham already diced in Publix so I’d basically only have to slice the potatoes and layer the casserole dish with the sauce, cheese and breadcrumbs.  I think it would make a great New Year’s meal since the two of us never plan anything extravagant for that day.  

Do you also buy extra magazines around the holiday and make some of the recipes?        

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tom Turkey plays Ollie the Ostrich and a few ghosts come out of hiding! SO WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME!

I drew this little turkey the other day and named him Tom of course even though last year he pretended to be Ollie the Ostrich.  I had to draw him from memory since ole Tom went into the oven last Thanksgiving.  We did think it was kind of funny that he pretended to be an Ostrich though!  I plan to give this to our niece on Thanksgiving.  She’ll probably ask if we cooked an ostrich for real – really!

It took me a couple of days to paint this basket but the results were worth it!  I think it goes great with my tablecloth and candles!  Those are fake pumpkins inside and I guess this is the ghost of the basket who might be keeping an eye on the pumpkins.  “The ghost of the basket kept his or her eyes on the pumpkins to make sure they did not move and disturb the rest of the ghosts who were sleeping.  They needed their rest if they were to catch the wicked witch at midnight...”  (Not to be continued!)

Anyway, these two ghosts are out of their hiding places also.  Well almost.  I see one still halfway in. 

I think my faux wood candles look nice on my table with the colorful place mats I decided to use as a runner.  I’m always finding ‘stuff’ I haven’t seen in awhile in the back of my linen closet.  I pulled the fall leaves off an artificial bouquet so I could toss them around the table for an autumn look.  We don’t have this kind of beautiful leaves in South Florida.

Another view of the table.  Tom turkey was just there for me to take a picture.

And another view with basket moved, napkins added and Tom Turkey gone!  Lol.    The candles light up so nicely at night.  I bought extra but notice I did not remove my mercury glass candle holders just because I said I may never take them off the table!  I put some acorns around them instead.   

For Christmas I think I’ll buy a new tablecloth so my other ones can have a rest.  I always give myself an excuse for buying things! Happy Halloween!    

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mario Batali’s Linguine (or spaghetti) with Lemons – Yum!

I like lemons and I love pasta and in my eyes, Mario Batali is the connoisseur of pasta dishes so I figured this recipe had to be good.  Believe me, it was and you can find it here at Mario Batali recipes.

The ingredients are few as seen above – 4 lemons, preferably Meyer or Sorrento, Kosher salt, 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 pound dried linquine, (I used spaghetti),  and ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving.

I didn’t have either of the lemons mentioned nor did I have fresh cheese or linguine but the finished dish still tasted darn good to me!  I’m thinking the Meyer or Sorrento lemon might be a little less tart than the brand I used but instead of eating my lemon sections, I simply squished them down with my fork to get the juice out of them and into my spaghetti. 

First, I grated and squeezed the juice from 2 of the lemons and then cut the peel off the other two and sectioned them by cutting around the pith.  I ended up with sections of a sort so I guess I did okay although I’m not real good at that sort of task.

While the pasta was cooking, I combined the lemon zest, olive oil and butter and heated it on medium-low heat until the butter melted.  Then I set it aside until the spaghetti was cooked.

Here I am adding the cooked spaghetti to the lemon juice mixture.  I tossed and stirred it on medium heat with some of the pasta water I had saved…

 ...and then stirred in the lemon sections and the cheese, a little more water and quickly served up a dish.

I used the same bowl I had cut the sections over since it still had some juice in the bottom.  I didn’t add any extra cheese but instead put a splash of olive oil on top.  It was very, very good and so quick and easy to make!  Thanks Mario Batali!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Don’t Worry When Running Late…It might be for a good reason!

I was trying to get over to Publix early on Sunday so I could get back to watch the rest of the football game and even though I was ready to leave around 2 p.m. a few things prevented me from going out the door.  The phone rang twice, I forgot to fill my sister’s oxygen tank and I had to hunt down my list which I had left in another room.  Later on I decided all of that was for a reason.  Not because there was an accident I managed to avoid but because I was where I should be when someone needed me.

I guess it took me about 20 extra minutes to get a move on and once at Publix, I stopped off at the service counter to see if anyone had turned in a black cane.  I sometimes use it when it is raining and I remember the last time at Publix it had been raining.  Anyway, the woman behind the counter checked one box with no luck and then she disappeared for a few minutes and came out with my cane.  I keep saying my cane when in fact it belongs to my sister.  She was the happy one when I brought it home, and I was pleased that a Good Samaritan had found it and turned it in!

It’s a wonder I didn’t leave my favorite umbrella behind too but I was probably using it that rainy day. 

I followed my list to a tee while shopping and then hobbled out to my car because one knee is still on the fritz.  Another thing I had done earlier was park at the opposite end from where I usually park and as I crossed an empty parking space, I noticed something in the top part of a shopping cart in front of my car.  It was a woman’s small purse packed to the brim with what felt like everything but the kitchen sink.  Surely I exaggerate! The first thing I thought was ‘darn’, I don’t feel like walking back inside to leave it at the service counter but I’m sure not going to leave it in the cart either.  I trust myself but not exactly everyone else so I put it in my cart and then went to my car to unload my groceries…and wait.  I knew whoever lost it would eventually return to look for it!

It took between 10 and 15 minutes before I saw a woman cross over from her car and look inside a cart and then she looked around kind of frantically so I casually asked her if she lost something.  She answered yes, my purse.  So I pulled it out from under mine in the cart and said, is this it?  I’m sure you can imagine the happy look on her face!  I know I heard her sigh of relief from where I was leaning on my car 3 spaces over. 

Turns out she thought she tossed it in one of her bags and when she realized she hadn’t, all she could think was oh no, I must have left it in the cart.  She got back as quickly as she could and I said, “Well I’ve been waiting for you and was hoping I wouldn’t have to walk back inside to leave it at the counter!”  She grinned and then started to tell me about everything that was in her purse, credit cards, medical cards, etc.  She even unzipped the top to show me and I said, “I see your glasses are in there too!”  I’ve never seen such a little purse packed so full.  I carry a bigger one as seen in the cart above with only a few things I need.  I can’t even stand receipts in it but my wallet has everything I need and I certainly would not want to lose it!    

I decided that my delay at home put me in front of her empty cart at the right time to keep an eye on her purse.  She wanted to reward me with money I suppose but I wouldn’t hear of it.  She then asked for my name and when I gave it to her, she said she would include me in her prayers at night.   I smiled and thanked her, Susan was her name, and then we left for home.  I felt good all day and I’m sure she did too!  Maybe we’ll run into each other again over at Publix’s.  That would be yet another good thing!    


Friday, October 16, 2015

The very colorful October and November 2015 issues of Martha Stewart Living!

I think we all know that the minute Halloween rolls around, it’s almost Christmas. Thanksgiving is simply a breather in between but not really when you think of all the cooking going on and making preparations for out-of-town guests.   No wonder my mom was always tuckered out by the time a few of us arrived at her house the night before Thanksgiving.   It was a long drive for me so I usually got there the day before but was always up early to help get things ready.­  I miss those days.

As much as I like Thanksgiving, Halloween is just another day for me.  We usually drive over to see our niece’s grandkid’s costumes and then get back early just in case a few goblins stop by.  Our house is in a spot where kids don’t like crossing because of traffic on two corners so in a way that’s a good thing.  More candy for us even though my son yells at me for eating any!

I’ve been looking through the October and November issues of Martha Stewart Living and copied some of the clipart.  They have the best clip-art and most every month if not every month you can find some great designs to print.

 The October issue has a link to the cats seen above on my monitor that I will print to use on top of chocolate muffins in place of cupcakes for the kids.  They don’t need all that cupcake frosting!  All you do after printing is cut the cats out, fold in half and hot glue to a toothpick.  Then make a collar out of one of your craft punches and stick the toothpick through it under the cat and onto your cupcake or muffin.  Here’s the link to print the cats.   

The November issue has the above pictured Harvest gift wrap for small boxes and wine bottles, candles etc.  I think I’ll use the ones for wine around a couple of my battery operated candles that are white, a color I bought purposely so I could decorate them for the holidays.  I also bought some faux wood ones that I will use now for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Here are some of my battery operated candles.  They flicker and have 5 hour timers on them.  They all come on at a certain time and go off on their own too.  Cool!

And you can find the above mentioned November clip-art here in case you don’t have your copies of the magazine yet.    

Could be you are already busy decorating your pumpkins as seen on the October cover and no doubt licking your chops as you look at that 'lacquered' turkey on the November issue!  There is also a tasty looking recipe for Farro soup with mushrooms that I know I would like because I love mushrooms.  Martha made it on the Today show last week I think it was and all the lucky tasters said it was delicious!

Happy Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving too!  I’m off to make my grocery list for German Sausages with Quick Kraut and Curry Ketchup.  The recipe is in the October issue along with some other goodies!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Part II of Martha Stewart’s Vintage Décor Paint

I finally located my blue pencil case that I had previously painted in satin craft paint.

I wanted to try Martha’s Vintage Décor Paint called Smoke on it and I’m glad I did.  What a difference in coverage - it goes on effortlessly!

Here's the first coat - you can still see a little blue.  I used one of her sponges and was done in no time with two coats without dripping or running.  Those sponges are so nice to use and they also come out of their holder to clean. 

 I bought another of her stencils while I was shopping for paint and sponges and tried it out on one side of my pencil case using Eucalyptus paint.  I also waxed it and may give it another coat of that before I buff it.  I see some red trim showing around the inside cover also so I’ll add a little paint with a Q-tip and maybe extend the stencil design too.

 I think it turned out nice and I have a feeling a few other items are about to get stenciled and/or painted also.  I think her craft products are the best on the market!  

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 months 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!