Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

Wishing everyone a Safe and Happy New Year's Eve.
Be careful out there.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years EATS

I've started thinking about the New Year already.
Is your menu ready?  I'm planning my menu today.  Tomorrow I will consider new year resolutions.

When I say my family is from the south, I mean southern Sicily but I've decided on ringing in 2010 with some traditional American southern dishes ~with a twist~.
I'll be shopping for my ingredients today.
So far on my menu I have:

For New Years Eve dinner :
(this should be made the day before to increase the flavor, so I will make it tomorrow)

Lentil Soup with Sausage (Italian tradition)
This is an easy, robust vegetarian soup that tastes almost meaty. The rosemary in the bouquet garni contributes a savory, earthy flavor.
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrot, diced
2 stalk of celery, diced
1 lb italian sausage (browned, crumbled and drained)
Salt to taste

1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
8 cups chicken broth
A bouquet garni made with 1 sprig thyme and 1 bay leaf (or dried leaves)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan or Gruyère for serving
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup cooked elbow macaroni

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, carrot and celery, and a generous pinch of salt, and continue to cook for another five minutes until tender. Add the tomatoes and bouquet garni, and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils, water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the bouquet garni, and stir in the parsley and cooked macaroni. Serve, garnishing each bowl with Parmesan or Gruyère.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: This soup will improve overnight, and keeps well for three or four days, though you will probably finish it sooner. It can be frozen for a couple of months.

For New Years Day :
Black eyed peas with Ginger - served with Cornbread

  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas, rinsed, and soaked
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 slices bacon, 1-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup preserved ginger, chopped
  • 3/4 cup honey

Drain and rinse the beans; cover with fresh water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Add water to keep them from drying out, if necessary.

Preheat oven to 325°. In a heavy skillet, saute onion and bacon over medium heat until onion is golden and bacon is crisp. Drain off fat and stir bacon and onion into beans. Add mustard and salt and pepper, to taste. Add ginger; combine well. Turn into a 2-quart baking dish; drizzle with the honey. Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours. Remove the cover the last 30 minutes to brown the top.

Serves 4.

Collard Greens with Rice

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups collard greens, rinsed and chopped
  • pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper (optional)

    In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the rice, vegan margarine, salt and red pepper flakes.
Add the collard greens and bring to a slow simmer. Cover and allow to cook until rice is soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a dash of black pepper and more salt and red pepper flakes to taste. For a spicier dish, mix in a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper before serving.
Makes four servings of collard greens and rice.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2010 Reading Challenges Ready, Set......

I have finally set up all the Reading Challenges I have entered for 2010.

In 2008 I entered 4 challenges. I completed 49 books and 15,979 pages.
My challenge to myself for 2010 is to read 54 books and 17,000+ pages.

These are the 11 Reading Challenges for 2010 I have entered !!

A to Z  --  52 books , Titles beginning A-Z, Authors Last Name beginning A-Z
All but 2 of the books from all 11 challenges I was able to merge into the big A to Z Challenge. That took weeks of planning and moving books around.  The logic puzzle to get all those challenges to work together was a lot of fun for me too.

Chunkster  -- 4 books, over 450 pages - Level 2 Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big?
Colorful -- 9 books, Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, Rose, Pink, Silver, Violet
Support Your Local Library  --   34 books, Level 1 The Mini
TBR -- 12 books
Thriller & Suspense -- 12 books
What's In A Name  -- 6 books, Food, Body of Water, Title, Plant, Place, Music term
Young Adult --  12 books
Young Adult Through the Decades  -- 9 books, 1930s - 2000s ( I added 1910s)
451 - 4 books, Level 2, Ember

You can find each challenge by selecting the matching button in the far right column.
All my book selections are here:  Adventuring through Life Reading Books
I challenge you to join in on some or all of the challenges I entered.  You can select your own or read along with my selections.  A few of my books are original or out of print books since I purchased them at estate and library sales, but most can be found at your local library.

You can join in any time.  Why not start making a list of books to read !?
I can't wait to start !!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A New Look

I found this new layout and really liked the 'Notebook' look.  Hopefully, this will hold my attention for a long time.  I changed my look a lot last year because I couldn't quite get a comfy feel with what I had.

I hope you all like the look and feel of my new site and visit often.
I have a lot of fun adventures in the plans for 2010.  I can't wait to get started.
Hopefully, you can join along with me in some of them - Like the reading challenges.  I'm really going to challenge myself in 2010.  I plan to enter many reading challenges and hope you join in.  You can enter your own lists or read along with my selections.  I will show you all my challenges and lists tomorrow.

Stayed tuned :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to ALL

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  I won't be back online until after Christmas. 

We've baked our cookies.  My darling daughter and her boyfriend helped this year.  It's a lot more fun with many hands helping.

and they TASTE better too :)

Have a Safe and Happy Christmas everyone.

Merry Christmas to ALL and to all a GOOD NIGHT.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cast Your Vote

Did you read a lot of good books in 2009 ?  You can help make the decision for the best books of 2009.
Good Reads is an excellent site to store the books you've read and the books your planning to read.  You can create your own bookshelf, find reviews on books your interested in and even keep your TBR list going so you don't forget which books you want to read!  I love this site.

Anyway, they are conducting a survey HERE and you can vote for your favorite books of 2009.

I finally completed my Cake Decorating class.  Not perfect, but I am just learning ! plus it was a lot of fun.

It was four grueling days of baking cakes and making icing, using the icing bags and tips then washing them all each night.

But it was fun and I recommend taking a fun evening class if you ever get the chance.

The birds returned to torture my cat again!  this time in the back yard.

I could see my kitten shaking to get out.  I finally let her out to go play with the birds.  :)  she didn't catch any.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cake Deco Class

After the fun with the cookie decorating class, I jumped right into a cake decorating class.  This one is MUCH harder.  This class runs for 4 nights and requires HOMEWORK!  if I had know ahead of time....

The first day we went over basics and learned how to make the icing and how to use some of the 'tools'.
The second day, we had to show up with our own icing and practice with it.
We learned how to write letters and make stars and swirls.

Here's my practice board for the night.

Then yesterday, here is what I found when I got home.  A rendition of Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds' !!

All those birds together make sounds a loud sound with their wings. it was fascinating.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Santa sighting

We had breakfast with the Kiwanis and got my first sighting of the big man of the month. Can you see him?

How about now?  just a peak though, it's tooooo early for me.

Here's my next project.  this fabric is headed to my kitchen.  I plan on making simple, panels that will hang from clip on rings.

The fabric is a great winter weight.  I want to keep the chill from creeping through the big window during the COLD days of the LONG winter we have here.  I'm planning on a warmer, cozy kitchen.

A Christmas gift already ?
nope.  We're celebrating my nephews birthday today, so the curtains will have to wait a little longer.

Do you have time for some Sunday morning blog hopping?
1.  BlissChic - look for the Wild Woman poster to print out.  FUN
2.  A Green Spell

one more....
3.  Bringing up Salamanders - she's having a giveaway !

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sights and Smells

First... Reading with Tequila is having a huge giveaway! stop by and try to win a book.  I love books.  I'm hoping to win one!
Another busy week has gone by. 
My Etsy site was bombarded with sales.  Everyone decided to shop at once.  My inventory is getting low - I've got to get to work on uploading more jewelry this weekend which means I'll need to make more jewelry.  {{more fun}}  that wasn't a complaint!  My jewelry I've been selling at the gift shop on consignment has been flying off the shelves too.  I've had to focus on that first and bringing all my new creations there first.  Being able to touch and feel still has its advantages over online buying.
I meant to take pictures of the bracelets and necklaces I made for the gift shop but I've been so busy, just getting them finished and to the shop was enough.

I took a cookie decorating class this week - just for something fun and different to do.  (like I don't have enough hobbies already)
we learned to work with fondant and poured icing.  here's my decorating 101.

I froze a bunch of cookies and will decorate them the night before my knitting club meeting in a couple of weeks to share with the group.

Our plan to start walking more ended after the first day  :)  at least we got out there once this week. 

We went out to the Moosehead for dinner and G got a little silly.

I'm glad we got the tree up early this year.  It's helping me focus on the Christmas spirit a bit more.  Sitting by the fire with the lights on is so cozy now that it's cold out.