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! 

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

Feb 082016
 

I tried to imitate Mister Underfoot’s pose, but I hurt my neck waiting for him to figure out how to work the camera.

This is the “Phhtt! I refuse to wake up and move” position. While utilizing this superpower, Underfoot somehow gains fifty pounds, turns the cuteness factor up a hundred and is nigh immovable.

This is a valid excuse for not getting anything accomplished today, right?

Mister Underfoot Raspberry

Jan 032016
 

Starting off 2016 sick sucks, but I refuse to take it as a bad omen. Instead, I choose to think my “Christmas cold” has changed to New Year’s flu and I’m alright with that. I’ll take the body aches and fever over a head cold anyway. I’d rather be well on Christmas and not get anyone sick or miss out on the fun. After all, if I was sick on Christmas this year, I would have missed this…

Zander Xmas Bow 2015 - Picture by Sandy

Picture by Sandy

I decided to go ahead a make a New Year’s resolution this year, but it’s the vaguest resolution I’ve made to date. I resolve to do more. Do more things I need to do, more things I want to do and more things I love to do. That means more writing, more blogging, more photography, more reorganizing the house, more gardening, more yard work, more exercise… just more of everything.

To do more, that means I have to do less of a few things. Less time wasting, less eating, less (fewer) distractions. Like many people, I distract myself with Facebook and other social media. YouTube can take hours from my day.  All forms of procrastination I engage in, I aim to identify and aim to do less.

I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I wanted to in 2015, but pushing myself to accomplish a long list of objectives won’t work. If I focus on doing certain things more and certain things less, I think I can accomplish a great deal without the pressure.

So, how about you? Any resolutions for 2016? 

Nov 302015
 

It’s the last day of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and I almost forgot to post! I would have been pretty miffed if I posted all month only to fail on the last day.

I feel like I was lazier this year than last. While editing pictures and posting recipes don’t happen instantly, I posted very few personal posts this year. I think a lot of the prompts were just a bit too personal or would have taken too much time away from NaNoWriMo.

I’d rather do NaBloPoMo during a different month, but I think of November as “writing month” so I wind up doing both at once. I’m not sure which month would be better for me, but I’m going to see if I can make myself participate during some other month next year. 

As always, it has been a good experience for me. Forcing myself to dedicate time to doing something every day for both NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo proves that I can still do it. 

Now, it’s time to get back to work on my novel! Thanks for joining me for NaBloPoMo and I hope you stick around to see what happens next.

~Christy (Kryson)

Nov 262015
 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for all of you reading this right now. Thank you for your support or just for simply reading my blather. 🙂 I appreciate it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a big piece of this today…

Image from PhotoXpress

Nov 172015
 

Asked and answered. This is what I’m eating for dinner. Yummy Salsa Chili Dog!

After looking at statistics of my posts on both the website and social media, it appears that posts about what I’m currently eating or drinking have been the most popular. So, when I was asked what I was eating for dinner tonight, I decided to take a pic and post it.

Salsa Chili Dog

Nov 092015
 

Mister Underfoot loves me. I love him, too. Now can I get some sleep?!

Recently, Mister Underfoot has decided that I’m not allowed to sleep for more than a couple hours at a time. I’m not sure what he’s actually doing, because I’m half asleep, but I wake up with his face a half an inch from mine, his whiskers tickling me.

It was cute… at first.

After days of getting a few hours sleep here and there, always waking up to the tickling of his whiskers, the lack of sleep finally caught up with me. Yesterday, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t function anymore. My calves were killing me like they tend to when I stay up too late and I couldn’t concentrate on writing. I decided to take a nap knowing that I wasn’t going to get more than a few hours sleep thanks to the Whisker Bandit, but I needed to get some rest so I could make word count.

As expected, two hours after I fell asleep, the Whisker Bandit struck again. This time I groaned, rolled over and covered my face with the sheet. I wondered why my addled, half asleep brain hadn’t thought of this before. I was just about to drift back off to sleep when Underfoot stepped up on my head and sat down!

A muffled, “Ahhhh!” escaped me as I pushed him off. Now that I’m awake, I realize how lucky I am that he didn’t freak out and leave me a few painful reminders on my face, his new chair. I’m not sure how I wound up on my feet beside the bed, but I must have tossed the covers off and jumped out of bed. Wide awake now, I gave up on sleep and turned on the light to get dressed. This is what I saw…

underfoot-glare

I don’t know how he wound up wrapped up in the quilt. Maybe it happened when I tossed the covers off or maybe he crawled in there. I couldn’t tell if he was mad at me or if his feelings were hurt. I grabbed my phone and took this pic while explaining to him I wasn’t mad at him, but my face was not a proper place to sit. He just glared.

As I type this he’s in his normal place, on top of my arm trying to prevent me from getting anything done. He’s fifteen pounds of bulk and muscle, but he feels more like fifty. So, he’s not mad at me anymore, he never stays mad for long, and I hope he’s learned his lesson about sitting on my head, but I don’t hold out much hope for more than a few hours of sleep anytime soon.

I wonder if I burn more calories typing with his extra weight on my arm. New writer’s workout? Strengthen your arms and burn extra calories! All natural cat weights!

Nov 042015
 

I thought I’d share the answer to a feedback question I received and ask the same of all you writers out there…

What music do you listen to while writing? I’m looking for something different to add to my playlist.

It depends on what I’m writing and that’s not a helpful answer. Certain scenes and certain characters have their own playlists that can be from almost any genre.

But I tend to lean toward ambient music (usually dark ambient) because it sets the mood and is less distracting. My favorite playlist when I don’t have a specific type of music in mind is all Midnight Syndicate tracks. Give them a try and see what you think. If you have more specific music types in mind, let me know.

Nov 032015
 

For some reason, my challenge post didn’t pingback to The Daily Post, so I decided to try again. My original post was the treat I made myself for doing well on the first day of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), Pumpkin Egg Nog Mug Cake.

This time, I’ll post a few of my favorite treats. It’s hard to choose just a few, but the first one was easy.

Baby Blues Getting to see my grandson

Mini Chocolate Chip CheesecakesMini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes – Yummy!

ReadingA good book

Banana BreadWarm Banana Bread

Tea and Tea Cookies

Fall FoliageThe fall color change

Pumpkin Egg Nog Mug CakeMy I did good on the first day of NaNoWriMo treat to myself

Weekly Photo Challenge – Treat

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