Apr 292016
 

I lost my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, so I thought I’d give these a try. They don’t taste like I remember, but they’re very good. There’s something different about them though. I wish I could find my favorite recipe to compare.

I don’t know why, but they actually taste better when flattened. I tried them both ways thinking that not flattening them might make them softer. Flattened, they were just as soft, but somehow tasted better. Weird.

I added chocolate chips to some and meant to smooth them out to make a frosting, but I forgot. Oops.

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Apr 222016
 

Easy, creamy and disappears like magic!

This is a great recipe for large meals, holidays and potlucks. At potlucks, I’ve never had leftovers and sometimes didn’t even get a bite of it because it was gone before I got my food.

Want to make it extra special? Try adding ham and mushrooms, ham and broccoli or top with crumbled bacon. Even hamburger and green beans are yummy in this versatile dish.

Hash Brown Casserole

 Posted by at 6:00 am

Soda Cake

 Uncategorized  3 Responses »
Apr 182016
 

I’ve been seeing people posting about soda cakes, how moist and delicious they are. The idea is, you ignore all the ingredients on the back of the box of cake mix and replace them all with a can of soda (pop). Many, many posts from people using different cake mixes, different flavors of soda (pop) and even using diet soda. All positive. I haven’t seen anyone posting a bad experience one. The worst I saw was someone called it a “cheap” cake and that from scratch is better.

I guess that makes me the exception. I decided to try devil’s food cake mix with diet black cherry soda. I also found a recipe for frosting that used soda in the recipe. I figured that I’d wind up with a cherry chocolate tasting cake and a vanilla frosting with a hint of cherry flavor.

Devil's Food Black Cherry Soda Cake

Sadly, this wasn’t the case. The cake had no cherry flavor. It also didn’t rise correctly and didn’t hold together well. It was moist but crumbled into pieces. And the frosting also had no cherry flavor, but it was a little pink in color. It tasted like eating a spoon full of powdered sugar. 

I’m not sure why my experience was so much different. The directions are pretty clear. Just mix together the cake mix and soda, then bake. Maybe it would have been better if I hadn’t used a diet soda even though I saw countless people that said it worked for them. Maybe my cake mix was too old. Maybe I did something else wrong, I don’t know. I really wanted it to be good.

If you’d like to try it yourself, maybe you’ll figure out what I did wrong, here’s some ideas for cake and soda combinations.

Soda Cakes

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Apr 152016
 

I happened to have some toffee bits and pecans leftover from making Christmas cookies and candy. I didn’t want them to go bad, so I tossed the bits and nuts in my chocolate chip cookie recipe and Chocolate Chip Toffee Pecan Cookies were born. We liked them so much that it became a recipe of its own instead of a “leftovers” recipe, but I’ve never written it down until now. One of these days my memory is going to fail and I don’t want to forget this one.

Sometimes yummy things can happen with leftovers. And with my love of toffee, yummy it is!

Toffee Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

 Posted by at 6:00 am

Body Language

 Uncategorized  3 Responses »
Apr 132016
 

Whatever you do, please don’t over-animate your characters. Some writers have a bad habit of making their characters move and use body language every time they speak or sometimes every time they are mentioned in a scene. If your character is distressed, they might do one or two of the movements listed below, but they don’t tend to go through the whole list in a few pages.

This sheet could be much longer. For instance, I’d add “looking down and to the left” under lying and “gripping something so hard knuckles turn white” to anger, but this list can help you think of another body language you’ve seen people display under certain situations. As always, this is only a tool to make you think, not a comprehensive list…

body language

 Posted by at 6:00 am

Old T-shirt Rug

 Uncategorized  2 Responses »
Apr 112016
 

My mom has been busy, as usual. She’s been turning old t-shirts into yarn and crocheting rugs. I’ve been toying with doing something similar with some old pants, we only have a few old t-shirts, but I didn’t know exactly how I wanted to tackle it until now.

I searched YouTube for examples of how to make continuous t-shirt yarn and how to change colors without huge knots. I don’t know if this is the way my mom did it, but this is what I’m planning on doing. It looks like the same process will work with old khakis and jeans, so I’m going to try my hand at an old pants rug as soon as I finish a couple other projects. Sadly, all I have is the khakis and jeans, so I don’t have different colors to work with. Maybe I should play with dying some, too?

Pictured is the beautiful rug Mom made for me. Now I just need to go pick it up.

crochet shirt rug

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Apr 082016
 

This recipe is the marriage of two of my husband’s favorite things, deviled eggs and potatoes. After he came home from work, I handed him a plastic container with the deviled eggs that wouldn’t fit in the container I used for the rest of them and told him, “Because I love you.” Watching his eyes light up made my day. But when I told him that because of the added potato there was a lot of leftover filling he could eat with crackers, he asked me to marry him again.

I didn’t manage to fill them all pretty without a piping bag and tips. I also failed at keeping the paprika on just the filling, but no one seemed to care. They disappeared fast.

The extra filling is especially yummy on Wheat Thins Tomato and Basil crackers.

Potato-Salad-Deviled-Eggs

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Apr 062016
 

Award winning screenwriter (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) Michael Arndt talks about the 5 steps he learned at Pixar to write a good beginning and set your character off

Source: Michael Arndt About The 5 Steps He Learned at Pixar to Write a Good Beginning – mentorless

Like everything in writing, this isn’t the only way, but I think it’s worth a page in the mental Big Book of Writing Advice.

You can check out the article, but the video is full of examples from Pixar movies and well worth the watch. While I can’t say I adhere to a formula like this, I can see the benefit. It would be especially helpful when you have a character in mind, but not a clear cut story.

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Apr 042016
 

Last month, for my birthday, I received a new kitchen appliance and it’s been running almost every day since.

I’ve been wanting a dehydrator for some time now. Being able to store food in a way that takes up less space was very appealing. I love dried fruits and being able to make my own was also a big selling point for me. And while I haven’t made jerky yet, I’m anxious to try my hand at it. I’m just waiting for a good sale.

dehydrating-potatoes

Potatoes were one of my first forays into dehydrating. On my first try, I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t partially cook them first. They turned out hard as a rock and were inedible as they were, but I was able to use them in a recipe that called for potatoes.

dehydrating-tomatoes

My terrible tomato picture. Sorry, I’ll do better next time. 

Tomatoes were one of the things I was excited to dehydrate. We’re planting several tomato plants this year and I wanted to be able to store them for later use without taking up so much space.

After dehydrating, the flavor was intensified. I used some on homemade pizza. It worked wonderfully and didn’t add extra liquid to the pizza like adding fresh tomatoes would.

dehydrating-kale

I’ve baked kale before to make kale chips, but after trying dehydrated kale chips, I’ll never go back to baked. Dehydrated kale chips are crispy, just like baked, but they have more flavor. They even retain more color. 

I made the dehydrated kale chips the same way as baked, tossed with olive oil and spices. 

dehydrating-cabbage

Dehydrated cabbage surprised me. It didn’t taste much like cabbage anymore. It had a slight sweet flavor. I found myself munching on it as a snack, but I used a little in some soup I made. 

Pictured is a quarter of a rather large cabbage after dehydrating. It took up only about a third of a sandwich bag.

dehydrating-strawberries

It doesn’t look it in the picture, but these half strawberries are completely flat. They tasted like they were sweetened and reminded me of a fruit roll. I added some to my oatmeal and they plumped back up.

dehydrating-apples

The apples were especially delicious. I dehydrated three different kinds and all were so sweet they tasted like I covered them in sugar. The granny smith retained its tartness and the red delicious was tangy, but the macintosh was the sweetest. I couldn’t stop snacking on these every time I entered the kitchen.

dehydrating-bananas

While I knew bananas wouldn’t turn out like commercially dried bananas, they were the one thing I’ve tried that didn’t like at all. They didn’t taste much different and the texture was rubbery. I was more interested to see what happened when they were used in something, but they disappeared in overnight oatmeal. It’s like they were never there. Not even a taste of banana remained.

dehydrating-fruit-leather

I tried my hand at making fruit leather, too. They’re like Fruit Roll-ups. I made them for my grandson, so I never got the chance to try them, but I’m hoping my daughter will let me know how they were. These were half strawberry, half applesauce. I didn’t know at the time that he doesn’t care for strawberries because of the seeds, but I’m hoping the seeds won’t be as big an issue for him with the leathers.

I’ve also dried carrots and onions, but I failed to get pictures of them. I used the carrots and onions in the crock pot with a roast. The carrots didn’t plump all the way back to normal size, but they absorbed more of the flavor of the meat, as did the onions. 

So far the dehydrator has been a big success! 

 Posted by at 10:46 am
Apr 032016
 

Clive Barker is one of my favorite writers. There’s something fascinating about his beautifully twisted mind. From the first page, Clive Barker draws me in and doesn’t let go, even after the story is over.

Weaveworld is a perfect example of how words can be used to paint intricate, beautiful and horrifying pictures in the mind of the reader.

I’m trying to take my time reading Weaveworld, but I’m having a hard time putting it down.

Here is storytelling on a grand scale — the stuff of which a classic is made. Weaveworld begins with a rug — a wondrous, magnificent rug — into which a world has been woven. It is the world of the Seerkind, a people more ancient than man, who possesses raptures — the power to make magic. In the last century they were hunted down by an unspeakable horror known as the Scourge, and, threatened with annihilation, they worked their strongest raptures to weave themselves and their culture into a rug for safekeeping. Since then, the rug has been guarded by human caretakers.

The last of the caretakers has just died.

Vying for possession of the rug is a spectrum of unforgettable characters: Suzanna, granddaughter of the last caretaker, who feels the pull of the Weaveworld long before she knows the extent of her own powers; Calhoun Mooney, a pigeon-raising clerk who finds the world he’s always dreamed of in a fleeting glimpse of the rug; Immacolata, an exiled Seerkind witch intent on destroying her race even if it means calling back the Scourge; and her sidekick, Shadwell, the Salesman, who will sell the Weaveworld to the highest bidder.

In the course of the novel the rug is unwoven, and we travel deep into the glorious raptures of the Weaveworld before we witness the final, cataclysmic struggle for its possession.

Barker takes us to places where we have seldom been in fiction–places terrifying and miraculous, humorous, and profound. With keen psychological insight and prodigious invention, his trademark graphic vision balanced by a spirit of transcendent promise, Barker explores the darkness and the light, the magical and the monstrous, and celebrates the triumph of the imagination.

Summary from Amazon.com

Weaveworld

 Posted by at 6:00 am
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