Saturday, November 28, 2009

A sewing day

Been in the mood to sit at the sewing machine.  I finished a new purse today (bags and purses are my favorite things to make.)  It's from McCall's pattern 4936.  I made it from scraps, so I only purchased a zipper and the little "feet" for the bottom -- a new purse, for about $5!   I'm pretty happy with it, but havn't really used it yet, so we'll see.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm Reading

Liar is highly recommended.  I will be thinking about this book for a long time.  Can't wait to discuss it with someone who has read it -- I'm going to start recommending it to my teens!

Now I've chosen The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.  Lots written about this book -- no need I say more.  The reason I'm reading it NOW is because I made it to the top of the list at the library -- there are over 300 holds on this book, so I need to read FAST.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Soup Week

We love soup.  And I really like to try new soup recipes.  On Friday, I made Chipotle Chicken and Tomato Soup from my new Cooking Light  cookbook (Pictured here).  Go easy on the Chipotle in Adobo -- they are really hot!

On Saturday, the kids were home, with their "significant others," so I made two soups because my son doesn't like sea food.  I made Crab Bisque (my own recipe) and Broccoli Cheddar Cheese from my Is it Soup Yet? cookbook.  First time I tried this one -- a very basic, simple recipe.  Both soups were a big hit.

Last night (Tuesday) I tried a recipe for Beef-Barley Soup from Cooking Light that I've had my eye on for a while.  It turned out very tasty.  I used lean stew meat, chopped really small.  I also left out the bay leaf and put in some oregano and parsley.  I added more barley that it called for, but still didn't seem like enough.  (I also added about a cup extra of beef broth.)

I recommend all of these!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

We like to have "breakfast for dinner" once in a while.  Not very healthy-we had scrambled eggs with bacon and cheese in them, and hash brown potatoes.  But we also had waffles made with my Whole-Grain Waffle Mix from Taste of Home.  I always mix this and keep it in the refrigerator and use it for pancakes and waffles.  We think they have a really good taste -- they are more than just a platter for syrup!  By the way, we use homemade syrup  -- 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. maple flavor.  If you can't get real maple syrup, this is much better than the bought stuff made with corn syrup.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving stitching

I bought this design from Embroidery Library and decided to make myself a t-shirt for the festivities this week.

A sad time . . .

Our 2 1/2 year old dog, Oscar, was hit by a car and killed on Friday.  What a shock it is, and how weird it feels to not have that warm body around.  It was his own fault -- he was a great dog and always minded -- unless a bunny was in site, and then he couldn't resist.  He took off in the dark and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was a stinker sometimes, but we loved him.  His best bud, our 3-year-old shepherd has been wandering around confused for the past few days.  She will have the biggest adjustment to make.  I'm posting a couple of the last pictures that were taken of Oscar, last weekend when we were camping. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Next read . . .

The Summer I Turned Pretty was good.  I think teens would like it better than I did.  I was confused by how it keeps jumping back in time (you have to notice the chapter headings) but that might just be me. Some of the characters (Taylor) were not very well developed.  The ending is somewhat predictable, but satisfying.

Now I'm reading Liar by Justine Larbalestier, which is about a compulsive liar (duh.)  I love the cover.  Just recently learned that she's married to Scott Westerfeld.  What a team!  I'll keep you posted . . .

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time for a new book .. .

The Knife of Never Letting Go gets a mixed review.  First of all, it took me about 150 pages to really get interested.  Secondly, it is the first in a series, and it's one of those series that require to you read all the books.  This story doesn't end.  There is no resolution of conflict.  Fortunately the second book is already out, but I'm so mad that I might not read it JUST FOR SPITE!  The book becomes very exciting, with the main characters narrowly escaping death over and over again.  Great for those reluctant readers, but a bit unbelievable for me.  So, yes it was exciting and eventually kept me captivated.  But more appropriate for the younger crowd.

Next on the list is The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han.  She also wrote Shug, which I haven't read but heard is good.  Sounds like a heartwarming, feel-good read, and I'm looking forward to that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last Night's Dinner

I made Shrimp Pad Thai, a Cooking Light recipe.  I have several recipes for Asian shrimp with a nutty noodle sauce, and this was a good one.  First time I used Sriracha (hot chile sauce) and of course my husband had to add a bunch more to his portion.  Some other recipes I have tried call for match stick carrots, and I think that would have been good in this recipe too.  I used whole wheat angel hair spaghetti, but didn't have any "low-sodium" teriyaki sauce, so I used the regular.  As I was cooking the peas, I thought it got kind of dry, so I added about 1/2 cup of chicken broth.  I recommend you give this a try!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Sewing Project . . . Finally!

Got the sewing machine back, finally.  Here's my first project.  It's from an Embroidery Library pattern, that I bought for 50 cents on sale!  I thought these earrings turned out pretty cute.  I bought a ghost pattern too, but didn't get the machine in time to make those.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beef and Vegetable Potpie from the new cookbook

Here's a link to the recipe. It was a good hearty meal, easy to make, with lots of vegetables but needed SALT!  The herbs just aren't enough for us.  Even though it has worcestershire sauce, that still didn't add enough salt.  It's an attractive dish, but I think I might also brush the top with melted butter or margarine after it comes out of the oven.  Served it with a green salad made with fresh spinach out of Mom's garden.  Made an apple crisp using apples from the farm too.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Latest read

Little Brother  was the best book I've read recently.  It was a little bit far-fetched, but the technology and security discussed and the history of those issues kept me rapt.  I would highly recommend this book to any gamers or geek kids out there.  The book will keep me thinking for a while, and I like that in a book.  There are two afterwords that add to the sinister feeling.  Very "Orwellian."  I need someone to read this so we can talk about it.  I gave it to my husband; I think he will like it.

Next on my list is The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.  Might be a good complement to Little Brother, since it's about a society where everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts.  No privacy whatsoever.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Love a new cookbook

I picked up a new cookbook at our school book fair.  Cooking Light The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook: Over 350 delicious, easy, and healthy meals.  It is arranged into two sections -- weeknight dinners and weekend meals.  The weeknight section is divided by soup, poultry, fish, meat, etc.  Each page contains the main entry and a picture (yeah!) and directions for a simple side dish on the side of the page.  I marked a bunch of pages, and now I need to cook!

Update:  Going to pick up my sewing machine tonight -- so hopefully I'll be posting some sewing projects soon!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The latest novel . . .

Burn My Heart  was a really good book about a period of history I knew nothing about.  It was somewhat painful to read about the oppression of the people of Kenya in the 50s and 60s.

I've begun Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow.  It's a book about a teenager's fight to conquer a government out of control after a terrorist attack.  I think it is sort of a modern-day 1984.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday dinner . . .

One of my husband's favorite Campbell's soups is "Bean and Bacon."  I made homemade Bean and Bacon Chowder from a cookbook I have called "Is It Soup Yet?" by Dot Vartan, Among Friends, and Shelly Reeves Smith.  It called for canned potatoes which get puréed for thickening -- I just boiled a few potatoes -- I've never used canned potatoes, and predict that I never will.  I also used chunks of ham instead of the hot dogs the recipe called for.  It was a winner.

To go with it I made Absolute Mexican Cornbread which is my new favorite cornbread recipe.  Try it!