Monday, February 23, 2009


Inspiration came by way of Parisienne Farmgirl, Ang, last week, as she re-vamped her pantry area.
Hmmm, I thought.
What could I do to mix things up around here without it costing me anything?
First off, I found the black metal CD stand in the garage.
Took the little rubber feet off'en it.
Had Farmboy figure out how to get it on the wall and able to hold some hefty grains, legumes and spices w/o tumbling down.
(that's what studs are for...Hey get your mind out of the gutter. I wasn't talkin' about Farmboy the Stud, but the studs in the wall!!!)

Back to the garage where I hunted down the 3 cases of old, glass topped Ball canning jars purchased at an estate sale a couple years back for a couple bucks a case.
Cleaned them up.
Filled them with organic red lentils, yellow split peas, coarse ground black pepper, dried chilis, and on and on.
Used some shipping labels to write down the contents.
The end result is a space on the wall getting filled up with stuff I use on a regular basis.
The cupboards where this stuff USED to hang out is much less crowded, and therefore at least APPEARS to look neater and cleaner.
And I got to spend a few hours doing what I love to do most...
putzing around my kitchen!

Who's inspired YOU lately?
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pitiful...Jest Pitiful

The winter garden in Michigan is pitiful
Tho there are signs of life, if you are so inclined to look for it.
Thyme, planted several years ago, can be found fresh and green, even in the worst that Michigan dishes out. Just brush the snow away, and voila!

Here is my Lemon Thyme in the foreground, and in the back you can still see some nice, green Sage.

Oh how we Michiganders crave something green in winter.
The slow growing evergreen pictured here, will do just fine in this pot for several years.
Once it outgrows the pot, we will plant it along the property line with some others we have as a west wind break.

I like to keep my grasses un-cut for the winter. They offer seeds and shelter for the birds, and besides that...
by the time October rolls around, I have had just about enough of the garden and have proven to be too lazy to chop them down.
So there.
See that itty bitty patch of snow in this photo?
By this time tomorrow we will have several inches with near blizzard conditions predicted.
Last week at this time it was 60 degrees.
Michigan is a tease.

As REALLY bad as this all looks right now, I know in a few short weeks, I will be out there, garden tools in hand, getting the earth ready for the 1st sowing of arugula, kale, and baby romaine.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.

What are YOUR hopes for your garden this spring?
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dolled Up Rice!

Tried another winner last evening!
So very simple, yet so very tasty.
In these difficult times, we are always looking for a new way to jazz up an old stand-by.
Got this off of Food Network last week and thought it would be a great accompaniment to Parmesan Chicken.
I was right.



1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups long grain white rice
1 TBL kosher salt


1/4 cup or less, olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry


To make the rice: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan with a heavy bottom or small Dutch oven. Add the rice and the salt and stir to coat. When the rice starts to appear opaque and chalky, add enough cold water to cover the rice by the width of 2 fingers (about 1-inch). Bring to a rapid boil, and boil-without stirring!-until the water level reaches the level of the rice. ( I KNOW! THIS IS INSANE!!!) Stir the rice once and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the spinach mix: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, stirring so it doesn't stick, and cook until fragrant. Stir in the spinach and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the spinach is just heated through. Don't overcook or the spinach will discolor.

Once the rice has finished cooking, fold the spinach into the pot. Fluff the rice so that the spinach is evenly distributed. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. If you like, add a couple of drizzles of olive oil to give the rice a little gloss.

Now, I have cooked many a pot of rice in my nearly 38 years of marriage, but I have NEVER cooked rice in this manner, until yesterday.

I think I many never go back.

This rice was tender, fluffy, and NOT sticky and gummy!

And, best of all, the combination of the rice, garlic and spinach was fabulous!

Bon Appetit!

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Monday, February 09, 2009


I couldn't find "Embroidery for Dummies" at our local library, but I think I found the next best thing!
It's called, "Doodle-Stitching...Fresh and Fun Embroidery for Beginners", by Aimee Ray.
Things being what they are, an funds being, well, short, I am finding staying at home to be rather fun! Last week I finished knitting some potholders, which I then felted.
And this week I am learning some simple embroidery stitches!
I am also going to work on some simple burp clothes for our newest grandbaby, due the end of this month!

What are YOU doing to keep your fingers busy this winter?
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Sunday, February 01, 2009


"Company" napkins

Used to be, cloth napkins were brought out for holidays, anniversaries, or "company".
With the economy the way it is, and prices the way they are, and incoming income smaller than outgoing bills, we are looking for all possible ways to stretch a buck.
So...we STILL have "company" napkins,
BUT....instead of paper napkins...
Everyday napkins

We have everyday napkins!

Company napkins are washed/ironed/folded/tied up pretty, just so...

Everyday napkins are washed/folded...and put in the napkin bowl...
and used more than once if still relatively clean.

So, in one fell swoop, I am saving money, AND helping keep my environment cleaner.

What changes are YOU making 'round your home?

PS...ALL my cloth napkins have come from tag sales, thrift stores, birthday gifts,(Joy) or Goodwill.
Last week I bought the "good" napkins in the 1st photo for ten cents a piece!
Vintage napkins, for heavens sake!
Ten cents a piece!
Does it get any better than that???

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