Mar 272016
 

I love it when spring dumps snow on top of my early flowering tree in the front yard. I feel bad for my neighbor and all the work she’s already put into her garden, but I can’t help but admire the pretty pinkish-purplish flowers covered in fluffy white. I just try not to let her see my glee.

I tried taking a few pictures before dawn, but they didn’t turn out like I hoped. I posted one anyway, but I hope to have a camera that functions better in darkness someday.

Mar 182016
 
Creamy Grape Salad
This is a really good kid friendly salad. What kid does not like grapes and there are lots of grapes in this one.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 2 pounds seedless red grapes
  6. 2 pounds seedless green grapes
  7. 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  8. 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. 1 In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until blended. Add grapes and toss to coat.
  2. 2 Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans just before serving. Yield: 21-24 servings.
Notes
  1. I made half of the recipe.
  2. Will try cutting the grapes in half, using only red grapes and adding cooked chicken for a sandwich next time.
Adapted from Taste of Home
Adapted from Taste of Home
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Mar 172016
 

Without giving away spoilers, I found myself wanting to ask Dean Koontz how the human genome project might have changed the narrative of Midnight. Probably not much if at all, but it was interesting to think about.

I’m not sure how I wound up with so many unread Koontz books, but I think they’re replicating. I’m almost out now, so they need to hurry up and get to making more! I don’t know how I’ll survive without more Koontz to read. I guess I’ll have to start reading other authors for a change. 🙂

Seriously, I’m starting to run out of books that I haven’t already read. I never thought this day would come. Soon I’ll have to start raiding my husband’s books and my parents bookshelves.

In picturesque Moonlight Cove, California, inexplicable deaths occur and spine-tingling terror descends to this “edge of paradise.” Growing numbers of residents harbor a secret so dark it is sure to cost even more lives.

Tessa Lockland comes to town to probe her sister’s seemingly unprompted suicide. Independent and clever, she meets up with Sam Booker, an undercover FBI agent sent to Moonlight Cove to discover the truth behind the mysterious deaths. They meet Harry Talbot, a wheelchair-bound veteran, who has seen things from his window that he was not meant to see. Together they begin to understand the depth of evil in Moonlight Cove. Chrissie Foster, a resourceful eleven-year-old, running from her parents who have suddenly changed and in whom darkness dwells, joins them. Together they make a stand against darkness and terror.

Summary from Amazon.com

Mar 162016
 

Like many households, every St. Patrick’s Day we have our traditional corned beef dinner. It’s one of our favorite meals I’m sure in part because it’s such a rarity. While I have Irish roots, I’m not sure if that’s what started the tradition or if was the sale on corned beef around St. Patrick’s Day. Either way, it’s been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember and I continued the tradition once I was on my own.

I’ve coupled the meal in the past with grasshoppers (a creamy adult drink), green bread and many different green colored desserts, but corned beef is the only staple. 

Simple, easy and delicious! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Slow Cooker Corned Beef
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 pound corned beef
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 3 potatoes, thick sliced
  4. 4 large carrots, thick sliced
  5. 1 medium onion, thick sliced
  6. 1/4 to 1/2 head of cabbage
Instructions
  1. Place corned beef in 5-6 quart slow cooker and cover with water.
  2. If there was a spice packet included with the corned beef, sprinkle over meat.
  3. Arrange potatoes, carrots and onion, in that order, on top of meat.
  4. Place cabbage, 1/4 or 1/2 depending on size and what will fit in your slow cooker, on top. Placing the cabbage on top keeps it out of the liquid and helps keep it from getting too mushy.
  5. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Notes
  1. Sometimes I use baby carrots instead of thick cut carrots. My local grocery store often has a coupon for a free bag of baby carrots around St. Patrick's Day.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Slow-Cooker-Corned-Beef

Mar 132016
 

I remember watching 2001: A Space Odyssey when I was a kid, but aside from a few key scenes, I don’t remember it. So when my dad offered me a copy of the book to read, I wondered if I’d remember more of the movie while reading it.

Now, I want to watch the movie again. I can’t say that the book is bringing back memories of the movie, but it is making wish I did remember it. If it’s even a fraction as good as the book, it will be one of my favorite sci-fi movies.

I don’t usually read a lot of sci-fi outside of my favorite sci-fi authors. Arthur C. Clarke is close to the top of my favorite sci-fi authors now. I’m having a hard time putting this book down.

Written when landing on the moon was still a dream, made into one of the most influential films of our century, brilliant, compulsive, prophetic, 2001: A Space Odyssey tackles the enduring theme of man’s place in the universe. Including a new Foreword by the author and a fascinating new introduction by Stephen Baxter, this special edition is an essential addition to every SF reader’s collection.

On the moon, an enigma is uncovered. So great are the implications that, for the first time, men are sent out deep into the solar system. But, before they can reach their destination, things begin to go wrong. Horribly wrong.

Summary from Amazon.com

Mar 072016
 
Baked Cheesy Bacon Grits
Serves 6
If you like breakfast, casseroles, grits, cheese, and bacon this is the dish for you. Very cheesy and rich in bacon flavor.
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped
  2. 1 1/2 C. water
  3. 1 1/2 C. chicken stock
  4. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  5. 1 C. quick-cooking grits
  6. 6 oz. process cheese (velveeta), cubed (little over 2 C.)
  7. 1/4 C. butter, cubed
  8. 1/4 C. milk
  9. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  10. 1 C. (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, cook b acon over medium heat until crisp. Stir occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
  2. Add water, stock, garlic powder and pepper to bacon drippings. Bring to a boil. Slowly stir in grits. Reduce heat to med-low. Cook covered 5-7 min. or until thickened. Remove from heat.
  3. Add process cheese and butter. Stir until melted. Stir in milk. Slowly stir in eggs until blended.
  4. Transfer to a greased 8" x 8" baking dish. Sprinkle with bacon and shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 40-45 min. until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted.
  5. Let stand 10 min. before serving.
Notes
  1. Can be frozen unbaked - cool, cover and freeze. Remove from freezer and refrigerate night before. Remove from freezer 30 min before baking. Bake as directed except increase time to 50-60 min. Thermometer should register 165° near center of casserole.
Adapted from Taste of Home - Fall 2014
Adapted from Taste of Home - Fall 2014
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Mar 062016
 

I’ve been looking for a new dark fantasy series to throw myself into when I ran across this book at a local discount store. Deciding it was worth a try, I picked it up.

I’m enjoying the story so far. The setting is realistic, vivid and enchanting if wetlands with lots of bugs can be called enchanting. I’m anxious to see the main character in action. I haven’t read a book with a necromancer as a main character that I can remember.

Talking about a book in the middle of reading it might be out of the norm, but I’m terrible at reviews. First impressions are more my forte.

Symir — the Drowning City. home to exiles and expatriates, pirates and smugglers. And violent revolutionaries who will stop at nothing to overthrow the corrupt Imperial government.

For Isyllt Iskaldur, necromancer and spy, the brewing revolution is a chance to prove herself to her crown. All she has to do is find and finance the revolutionaries, and help topple the palaces of Symir. But she is torn between her new friends and her duties, and the longer she stays in this monsoon-drenched city, the more intrigue she uncovers — even the dead are plotting.

As the waters rise and the dams crack, Isyllt must choose between her mission and the city she came to save.

Summary from Amazon.com

Mar 042016
 

I saw a table runner my mom made and commented on how much I loved the design, so she made me a lap quilt like it for my birthday. It’s gorgeous!

There’s only one problem… Mister Underfoot thinks it’s his. I spread it out and snapped a quick picture of it while he was occupied filling his belly. Otherwise, there would be a big fuzzy in the middle of the picture. So, I didn’t get it perfectly square for the picture and it’s a little fuzzy, but at least you can see the whole thing. I wanted to get the picture posted today, so I opted not to fight Underfoot and post what I had.

Click on the image to see more detail and the fuzzy right side.

Lap Quilt by Sandy

Mar 012016
 

In the spring, as a part of spring cleaning, I make and freeze tons of pasta to save on cooling during the summer. I always freeze several bags with 2 cups of macaroni so I can make this recipe. My little 1.5 quart slow cooker doesn’t heat up the kitchen much, so this gets made often when the temperatures soar.

Consider adding crumbled bacon or ham for a yummy main dish.

Serves 2-4 depending on how much you love macaroni and cheese.

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
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Cook Time
2 hr
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups al dente cooked macaroni noodles
  2. 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine, melted (or 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil instead)
  3. 1 cup evaporated milk
  4. 1 cup shredded cheese
  5. 1 Tablespoon minced onion
  6. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Grease 1.5 quart slow cooker with butter, margarine or olive oil.
  2. In a lidded bowl, toss cooked macaroni with butter, margarine or olive oil.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stir and pour into slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours.* Stir every 30 minutes.
Notes
  1. *Not all slow cookers heat the same. It's a good idea to check it at 2 hours and see if the cheese has completely melted into a creamy, not stringing, sauce. If you overcook it, the cheese starts clumping together forming little cheese balls.
  2. You can use any cheese you like. I use a colby and jack mixture most of the time. I've also used Italian blend, Mexican blend, half cheddar and half provolone, but my favorite was sharp smokey cheddar.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
slow-cooker-mac-n-cheese

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