A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Daily Ramblings, recipes, photos and whatever else I like to share along the way.

New Refrigerator = Love

Yup, that is our wonderful new refrigerator and I love it to pieces!
It was delivered first thing this past Monday morning.
I was not expecting it until around 10 am but received the phone call at 9 stating they would be here in twenty minutes!
Talk about being frantic trying to get all the stuff out of the old one, moving some items around in the kitchen and cleaning up the breakfast dishes. *yikes*
We knew our other one was slowly going.
The handle broke about two years ago, the ice maker decided it was time to stop working and then late last month it was not turning on all the time.
When we came back from visiting with my parents it was barely cold, time to start looking.
We nursed it through one last week by opening up the freezer to have it turn on and pump out the nice cold air.
Last Saturday, we went to our local appliance store and found one we really liked.
The best part is that it was a special order for a woman, she changed her mind and they (the store) wanted to get rid of it - in other words a great deal!
This refrigerator is to sit flush with your countertop so there is no more sticking out.
Plus, it has an ice maker something that is a must have if you live in the south.


Good bye old friend, you did a wonderful job for the past fourteen years.


We actually have more room with this one than the last.
Notice how it sits back in just about flush with the countertop, it makes such a difference.



Oh! I discovered this pound of Mango Butter way in the back of the old refrigerator.
Looks like I can whip up a really nice luxury bar of soap with this, what a great surprise. :)
I had been wondering what happened to it, now I know.

Crazy Weather....

We have entered that time of year when our weather goes a bit wacky.
One day you can be treated to a wonderful warm spring day and the next tossing your winter coat on to head outside.
Yesterday and today we have been treated to rain (we still need so much more but will take this in a heartbeat) and tomorrow.... snow!
Yes, snow!
Perhaps up to three inches from Sunday in Monday. *gasp!*
Looks like a tiny bit of a bumpy ride for the next few weeks but in all honesty I'm ready!

Meatballs - Recipe

This week I actually made meatballs!!
Now this is a huge accomplishment for me.
You can read here about how I really wanted to reach this goal.
Anywho, dh wanted spaghetti this week with meatballs.
Oh boy, this was a huge issue for me to take over because I always some how managed to make the meatballs either too dry or burn them horribly.
I decided to check out the recipes over at Recipezaar and see if any interested me.
This is the recipe I decided upon, I opted to use garlic powder and cut back on some of the parsley.
These meatballs were wonderful and I will admit that I did not rush the cooking at all.
Dh and the boys said that they were great and enjoyed them. *sweet!*
I ended up freezing half of them so now I am set for the next time we have spaghetti.
Give them a whirl and see what you think!


* Exported from MasterCook *

Meatballs

Recipe By: Kim Wilson
Serving Size: 40 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories: Main Meal

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3/4 pound ground beef, extra lean
3/4 pound ground pork
1 tbl onion -- ground
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs

  • In a large mixing bowl add the meats and blend together with your hands.
  • Add the onion, parsley, pepper, and garlic salt. Mix again with your hands until all the seasonings are well blended with the meat.
  • In a bowl beat the eggs until well beaten. While mixing the egg into the meat mixture, add the bread crumbs 1/2 cup at a time until the meat begins to feel slightly firm.
  • Form the meat into 1 1/2" balls with your hands.
  • Gently place in cooking pan so that the meatballs are close but not touching.
  • Cook in pre-heated oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until browned.
  • The meatballs will not be fully cooked yet.
  • Add meatballs to your favorite sauce and simmer for one hour. (I usually use my Grandmother's sauce recipe, since this was her meatball recipe. I posted it under Spaghetti Sauce #79000 for anyone who would like it.).

Source:
"Recipezaar"
Yield:
"40 "
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 64 Calories; 4g Fat (52.0% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 23mg Cholesterol; 133mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

Serving Ideas :
  • Spaghetti
  • Meatball subs

NOTES :
  • wonderful meatballs



Cooked meatballs ready to be placed in the sauce.

Phew...

What a week it has been.
I have been going, going, going and going nonstop with little time to get anything else done.
I've been missing my blogging and no, I'm not holding out on you.
I have quite a bit of stuff to share but the time just has not been on my side to sit down and write. *grumble*
To say the least I am fried and looking forward to the weekend to chill a bit and get some serious blog time in.
So how fried am I?!
Dh and I took Spencer to soccer practice tonight, nothing overly special about that.
Spencer hopped out of the mom mobile and headed to the fields while dh and I parked the car.
Dh got out and started to walk around the front of mom mobile while I pulling the keys out of the ignition.
Once I had the keys out, I grabbed the key fob and hit the lock button.
I thought I was being so smart by locking the car since everyone was out.
You see however, I was still sitting inside!
D'oh!
Um... yeah, I'm ready for the weekend.

Pass the Lysol please...


Ah.. how true is this comic.
Last week, I followed Nate around with a can of Lysol to spray down everything he touched.
poor fellow..

Check out more Zits comics here.

More Beer Soap...



This batch I whipped up over the weekend before I left to head out of town.
It would not have been a soaping experience if there was not a bit of commotion in the background.
I had to make a quick S.O.S. call to a dear friend and fellow soaper to help me out of the corner I backed myself into. *rolls eyes*
I shall spare you the details. lol...
The batch did turn out fantastic and smells so good.
I used Yuengling Lager, a pinch of raw silk and Burberry London Type fo (it smells soo good- dh uses this eau de toillete *sigh*).
All I need to do now is clean up the edges and let it cure.
Can you tell I like making soap with beer?!

(my previous beer soaps - here and here)

Woodpecker outside the door....

I did not take many pictures while I was back home helping out with my dad but I was able to snap this Red-bellied Woodpecker!
I had just sat down to eat breakfast when I noticed this feathered friend out the window.
Slowly I got up, grabbed the camera and snapped the pictures through the glass doors.
This was the only time he/she showed up while I was there so I was thrilled I was able to get these pictures.


M&M's....


So there I was this afternoon standing in the kitchen munching on a few plain M&M's when it hit me.
I group the candy by the colors and then eat them.
I guess some time I thought about it but never really thought about it.
KWIM?!
I then tried another tiny handful to see if I could just eat them all together.
It was a mental struggle there was no way it was going to happen.
I ended up grouping them again before I could eat them.
Now I am left wondering...
How you eat your M&M's?!
Do you group them by colors and then eat them?
Toss them all in at once?
One of each color at a time?
Do tell.
I am really listening and want to know.

Hello.....

*waves at everyone*

I am back home again (rolled in late Tuesday night), trying to get everything in order.
The kiddos are back on their school schedule and dh is back to work.
Nate picked up some sort of crud along the way so he is hacking all over.
Spencer will be starting soccer practice tonight, so we have that thrown into the mix now for about ten weeks.
I have been busy running errands, cleaning the house, doing the laundry (even though I did some while we were away), returning phone calls, setting up various appointments, washing the dogs, and simply getting everything back in order. *phew*

Well, my dad is back home, doing as well as expected and is trying to take it day by day.
He ended up having a double bypass surgery along with a valve replacement.
Things will not bounce back asap as he would like (he is a man who never rests-always working/tinkering on something) and to have to take it so easy is not easy for him.
I think I will be taking the boys back up to visit during their spring break.
This way my mom will get a bit of a break (I can run him to his physical therapy and do some cooking) and help keep my dad's mind a bit off of it all.

It is nice to be back.

On the road

I am typing this as we travel back to see my dad.
Just doing a quick post to let you know that I more than
likely will not be posting much over the next few days.
I will post as I can but for now, I am heading home to give my dad a gentle hug.

Take care and big hugs to all.

Sewing Machine....


No, your eyes are not deceiving you that really is a sewing machine.
I finally pulled her out today to hem a pair of pj bottoms for Spencer and fix my long sleeved t-shirt. (only been oh...four months for the bottoms)
I really don't use the machine as much as I should.
It is mostly used to hem pants up or fix our shirts, seems like a terrible waste.
I have made curtains in the past - nothing fancy just some tab topped and simple curtains.
I'm thinking of whipping up an apron of some sort for myself; I like aprons but *pout* do not own one.
Along that train of thought I may tackle some cloth scarves for our bedroom windows. I just can't seem to find what I want and the windows are smaller than average... so, I dunno.
It was fun today hearing the zipping of the needle as I fixed the items up.
Perhaps this was the bump I needed to get back on track trying my hand again at sewing.
Then again, in my head I can make everything but in reality it is something really different.
lol..
Any words of hope or wisdom for me?!

Oh.. and I am really helpless with using a pattern. I normally end up cutting the material freehand and then stitch it together. Must admit that patterns frustrate me to pieces.

Homemade Vanilla Extract...

I have always loved the flavor real vanilla added to my baked goods but did not always want to pay the price for those little bottles in the store.
Then dh and I discovered the joy of making our own.
It is so very easy; you will wonder why you did not start sooner.
We like to use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla beans to make our extract.
So how do we do it?!
We purchase a bottle of vodka and place about ten beans in the bottle.
(The bottle above was a jumbo sized bottle of vodka from Costco that dh placed about twenty beans inside.)
We do not take the seeds out; simply pop the whole bean into the bottle and wait.
The bottle is kept in a dark closet and shaken every so many days.
The longer the bottle sits the stronger the flavor.
We have read to take the beans out and replace with new but honestly, we have never done it.
About three months into the process we start to use the vanilla.
I place some into a smaller bottle that has a few vanilla beans in to keep the flavor going along.

Easy and you can't beat the taste!

Oh! you can strain the vanilla but I like to leave the seeds in the bottom.
They add such a nice touch when you are baking or whatever you are making.

A touch of cleaning & a great find....


The weather was beautiful today that it gave dh and I a touch of spring cleaning.
We opted to tackle the garage.
Scary, I know and we did survive.
One large lawn and leaf bag stuffed with leaves and a few broken items.
This is the best find out of the whole cleaning experience.


My sliver and gold monogrammed charm!!
*does happy dance&
You might recall that I finally fixed it last spring and then I wrote how I lost it.
Apparently, it fell out of a blanket we had placed on our freezer when we got back home.
(We take the dogs beds and blankets when we go away but they sit in the car. Family members tend to drive us around when we visit.)
Anywho, it was by the side of the freezer and I never noticed it due to the *cough* tiny pile of packing peanuts*cough* sitting on top of it.
I was sweeping them (peanuts) out when I noticed the silver sticking out.
I am thrilled beyond words to have it back.
You never know what you might find when cleaning out the garage.

Heart Hopefulness.....


This is my favorite mug.
I reach for it whenever I make myself a cup of tea in the morning.
The heart shape today made me hopeful.
You see for the past4 8 hours my life has been upside down and my heart breaking.
I received a phone call on Tuesday from my mom that my dad was admitted to CCU.
He was having some tightness in his chest-turns out that he had some major blockages.
This meant he needed a double bypass and as it turned out a new valve this was done today.
My dad has always been so healthy only a cold here and there.
It was hard to wrap my head around all that is/was swirling about.
I spoke with my dad every night to let him know I was thinking of him and to keep his spirits up.
I will be speaking to him daily once he is feeling better and up to handling the phone.
My mug was my hope today that all would work out.
The surgery was a success and I still have my dad.
Remember to give the ones you love an extra hug.

Lift & Shake Salt and Pepper Shaker


Now this pair of salt & pepper shakers made me chuckle.
A great little gift for that body builder in your life or just for a conversation piece.
You can find the Lift & Shake shakers here.

Hug Salt & Pepper Shakers

We all need a hug and now we can have an extra one all the time.
I thought they were totally cute and wanted to share.
You can find them at Generate Design.

Kolachi Cookies - Recipe


mmm..... these wonderful tasty cookies go quite well with a hot cup of tea or a cold glass of milk.
I can recall my mom making dozens of these during the holiday season as a kiddo.
I make them every so many years and really wanted them this year.
The nuts, a nice rich soft dough mixed with the touch sweetness from the powdered sugar means they are oh, so good.
This recipe is the one that has been used in my family for years and years.
Can't say they are very heart healthy but they are such a wonderful treat. :)

Kolachi Recipe:

2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 lb butter
1/2 lb cream cheese

Mix all together by hand, divide in half and chill overnight.

Filling:

1 lb walnuts ground
milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla (you can omit)
  • Slowly add the milk to the nuts, sugar and vanilla.
  • Add only enough milk to make a stiff paste.
  • Make this right before you roll out the cookie dough.
To Make the Cookies:
  • Bring out the dough and roll out very thin on surface covered with powdered sugar.
  • Cut dough into 2 inch squares. ( A pizza cutter works great!)
  • Place a teaspoon of nuts in the center of each square.
  • Pinch opposite corners together tightly.
  • Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 400 for 7-10 minutes
  • Sift powdered sugar over top.
mmm...

Healthy Fired Up Buffalo Wings - Recipe


I dusted off this recipe this past weekend (Super Bowl=mega food night) and treated the family to some spicy goodness.
Dh loved the recipe, I made them quite frequently until the point we had the boys. Then I just stopped making them, dh asked if I could make them again.
No problem!
They are easy to make, quite tasty (you can add more or less of the spices depending on your taste) and actually not too bad for you. :)
Grab the blue cheese dressing and enjoy!



* Exported from MasterCook *

Fired Up Buffalo Wings

Recipe By: Richard Simmons
Serving Size: 4
Categories: appetizers

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 pound chicken thigh, no skin, R-T-C
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 teaspoons paprika -- divided
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • In a Ziploc bag, combine the thighs,, hot sauce, 1 tsp paprika and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Seal bag and shake to coat the chicken.
  • Refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes. (I like to do it overnight.)
  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag, place on a shallow baking pan in a single layer.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining paprika.
  • Bake 10 minutes and then flip for another 10 minutes. (can bake longer if needed)

Source:
"Farewell to Fat"
Copyright:
"1996"
Yield:
"4 "
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 67 Calories; 3g Fat (44.4% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 27mg Cholesterol; 435mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES:
  • Great with blue cheese dressing.
  • Can use wings and drumsticks.






Martin Guitar - Inside the Factory Tour


This is the second post about my trip to Martin Guitar in Nazareth, Pa. This post is about the factory tour, you can go here to read about the museum of Marton Guitar.
It is a totally amazing factory and quite interesting to see how these items are made. I had a hard time selecting which photos to post but I think I did a good job.


The wood is ready to be cut, shaped and made into a famous guitar.


Just a few of the beautiful wood selections that are offered to those who purchase
one of their guitars. There is a whole wall of wood options, heck, options for all sorts of items you can have on your guitar. It is truly amazing.



What the inside can look like and again options. What is on the inside
affects the sound that is produced. I learned that while on the tour.


Various sizes of guitars offered to buyers.





Sites from the tour.


The time and dedication that is put into each guitar is admirable.



These are the centers cut our from the guitars.
You receive one of these discs as a souvenir at the end of the tour.




This is one of the custom guitars that was being worked on while we were there.
What detail and look at the wood.


Each guitar is played and tuned before moving on to the next step.



Some banjos that were made by Martin that are on display in the work area.


These guitars are ready for their happy new owners.


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