April 30, 2010

Honest Scrap Award and 10 Facts About Me

I received a lovely blog award from See Foxes?, the Honest Scrap award. Thanks, Foxes, I appreciate the honor! Here are the rules for this one ... I must share ten honest facts about myself and then pass it on to five other deserving bloggers. Here goes ...
  1. I love festivals, craft fairs and factory tours.
  2. I keep chunks of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate in the freezer for my chocolate fix. When I really need a lift, I dip them right into the peanut butter jar.
  3. I love to bake and have a small collection of baker/bakery figurines.
  4. The best new thing I've done in the last year is join a book club.
  5. I have a reading addiction - there are books in every room in the house (and I mean every room), I have subscriptions to at least 8 magazines, I own over 200 cookbooks plus knitting and craft books.
  6. I love Christmas! The Granddaughter and I watch Christmas movies year 'round - drives Hubby nuts!
  7. I adore Yorkies - Miles and Louie are my 4th and 5th Yorkies over the past 31 years. They don't shed, they're fierce, don't know they're little, make great companions and watch dogs, eat very little and have tiny poop.
  8. I cannot stand lying and liars. When my kids were small and even thought about lying to me, it would send me right off the deep end.
  9. My passion for the last 3 or 4 years has been knitting, although anything creative stirs the juices - scrapbooking, beading, writing, photography, cooking.
  10. I am so fortunate to be married to the man of my dreams - 25 years in July! I believe the key to a good marriage is daily laughter and being best friends with your spouse.
I am happy to pass this award on to ...
The Little Round Table
One Love Mama
Texas Monkey
Heaven is a Bookstore
and look forward to reading your ten facts!

April 29, 2010

What's Cookin' - Saucy Chicken Orzo

We love cooking shows, especially the challenges. If you've ever watched "Chopped" that airs on Tuesday night, you know they give the competing chefs a mystery box of ingredients to work with. Hubby keeps saying that we should have mystery box nights where we just pull a variety of ingredients out of the pantry and refrigerator and cook it all up. Last night, I decided to try it.

I had four small half chicken breasts to start with and I just started grabbing stuff. I had a package of cremini mushrooms and a shallot in the fridge that needed to be used so I chopped and sautéed them in a hot skillet with the last of a jar of minced garlic in water. (This is my favorite new thing. I always buy fresh garlic, but YD's BF cooked for us one night and brought this jar of minced garlic, then left it here. I have been using it more and more often because it not only tastes great, but it's so easy!) I am a huge fan of creminis and shallots - they produce such a wonderfully rich, earthy flavor together. Chopped the chicken breasts into chunks and threw them in the skillet, too.

Digging around in the pantry I found half of a 16 oz. package of orzo, which is tiny pasta that looks kind of like rice. I started that boiling. Also in the pantry, there was a 12 oz. jar of Heinz Homestyle Mushroom Gravy ... okay, that sounds good.

I wanted another vegetable besides the mushrooms, so I grabbed what was left of a bag of frozen corn out of the freezer and dumped that in the skillet. Then, the jar of mushroom gravy. Hubby walked into the house about this time and said it smelled great!

After I drained the orzo in a strainer, I mixed it into the skillet with everything else. We had bread and butter with it and, I have to say, considering I made it up as I went along just using up stuff that needed to be used, it was very good.

I read an article not too long ago about a family who, once a year for an entire month, does not spend any money except on perishables like milk and fresh vegetables. They clean out their pantry right down to the spices, using everything up. I think this is a great idea! And it's amazing what you find in the back of your cupboards that you didn't know (or remember) you had.

So, just for fun, try mystery box night ... and let us know what creative meal you come up with!

April 27, 2010

Post-It Note Tuesday - 04/27/10

Brought to you by

Here are my thoughts today ...

Happy Tuesday!

April 25, 2010

Scottsdale ArtWalk

For 30 years, the Scottsdale Art District has been holding an ArtWalk. Over 100 galleries open their doors on Thursday evenings and invite everyone in to view the artwork and meet the artists. Here is a little taste of our walk last Thursday ...
The Granddaughter and I each had a camera and these shots were taken by both of us. With all the photos we took, only a few were duplicated. There was just so much to see ...
One of my favorites was the Ostrovsky Fine Art Gallery. Both Victor Ostrovsky and his wife, Bella, have beautiful pieces like this amazing painting ...
It was cool out and sprinkled a little, which no one seemed to mind. Just knowing we are only a month or two away from searing Summer heat allows us to enjoy rainy days where we actually get to wear jackets.
And, of course, you can't wander through Old Scottsdale without a treat at the Sugar Bowl ice cream parlor, which is where we ended our evening ...

April 24, 2010

Yard Work

Spring yard cleaning ...

Grill Pan Love

My favorite addition to kitchenware lately is a grill pan. I seem to be using it more and more and I love the results. It's 12" and very heavy (I use two hands to pick it up - none of the fancy food flipping you see on TV with this thing).

For lunch recently, I used it to make some gooey grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Yes, those are Cheetos, but the baked variety so they're not quite as bad.
And for dinner, we used it to make grilled Jennie-O Lean Sweet Italian Turkey Sausages, then ate them on hot dog buns with pasta salad. (The sausages were very good, by the way.)

When we don't crank up the gas grill outside, it's a great substitute. Burgers cook beautifully in this pan.

I have a nice set of Vollrath pots and pans that I bought at a Home & Garden Show years ago. They're great ... but I am using the heck out of this grill pan. And the best part is that it was free. We shop several different grocery stores and Albertsons tends to run promotions for things like knives and cookware. This grill pan was one of their giveaways where we saved stamps from purchases. (Remember S & H Green Stamps?) It's Wedgwood Everyday cookware and the suggested retail price was $90. I have to say, I was thrilled to get it for free, but it's worth every penny of that $90.

I have given both daughters grill pans now as well and, from my experience, every kitchen should have one.

April 23, 2010

Singin' a Catchy Tune

As I was visiting blogs and reading Post-It Note Tuesdays a few weeks ago, I came across this very entertaining blog ...

... and a few days later, I realized I'd been singing the song ...

In my own little corner, in my own little chair
I can be whatever I want to be
On the wing of my fancy, I can fly anywhere
And the world will open it’s arms to me

When she was younger, the Granddaughter begged me to buy Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella" starring Brandy, Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg and Jason Alexander, so now we own the DVD. Brandy sings In my own little corner and it's just lovely.

It got me thinking about how you get a song in your head and it repeats and repeats and repeats - you get the idea.

When we lived near my in-laws, my FIL and I would play a little trick on each other. I'm not even sure how we started this, but we would call each other up - no hello, no goodbye - just sing a little snippet of a song, then hang up. And whoever the callee was at the moment, would just curse and laugh and be stuck with that song for a while.

There was a TV commercial for a donut shop out at the time and the jingle was the song, "Mama said there'll be days like this, there'll be days like this my Mama said ..." I called him many times with that one.

Some others that seem to stick in my head ... Jeremiah was a bullfrog ... Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ... Call me on the line, call me call me anytime.

What are the songs that stick in your head?

P.S. In My Own Little Corner, you are a marketing genius with a great blog! I received an award this week from The Scoop on Poop and would like to pass it on to you as you are a Beautiful Blogger!