Sunday, March 30, 2008

Oatmeal Cookies


This week my recipe is for Oatmeal Cookies. This is my husband's absolute favorite cookie. Everytime I start a batch of any kind of cookie he wants to know if they are oatmeal. I love any homemade cookie, but my own favorite is a homemade gingersnap and snickerdoodles are right up there in the favorite column too. Maybe that will be here another week.
My daughter makes these cookies for her Dad whenever she sees him and he is grateful. He says her cookies are better than mine. I had to call her up and ask her what her secret is! Too funny. My sister-in-law found this recipe in a magazine about 40 years ago. (hard to believe we're in our 50's now)

Oatmeal Cookies

cream together
1 c margarine
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
add:
2 eggs
2 c flour
1 t salt
1 t soda
2 1/2 c oatmeal

I also add about 3/4 c chocolate chips

chill before baking
roll the dough in a ball and flatten it some
bake about 8 minutes 350 degrees they will be light brown and chewy

My daughter says the dough needs to be sticky and that I (in my wisdom) add more flour and I shouldn't.

:-) so there you are. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earrings....handmade


You know... there are so many ways to make earrings and earwires. I owe it to my good friend Sharon Driscoll (rightturnartwerks) that I know how do do this. I used to buy earwires until Sharon taught me how to shape them and hammer them and finish the ends so they are smooth.
She does make the most incredible earrings because even though they are a small piece, they are tiny works of art. You may want to see her work at www.rightturnartwerks.etsy.com

Anyhow....I make these discs and they aren't perfectly mirrored in looks. The size is the same, but in my eye, I see any flaw, yet they make these wonderful funky earrings. A different style than many you see in shops, but often at art fairs. colorful handmade and one of a kind.

Monday, March 24, 2008

lampwork flowers


Do you ever wonder how someone makes a particular bead? Well, almost every bead design begins with dots. Surface tension can be used to make dots spread in a particular fashion. Odd to think of surface tension and glass, but glass is a liquid. Strange as that sounds.

Flowers can be made in all kinds of ways, but I like the flowers with petals with the hole going through the center. I tried to make these for a long time and it seemed so difficult, but for some reason (could it be practice?) they are much easier to make now. I like to sell these on Etsy because they are such a happy little bead with multiple applications for jewelry.

And yes.... they are made of dots. Dots that I squish with a special tool. After that skill has been mastered, then it's time to mess around with sets and with colors, and different sizes, number of petals, and whatever else I can think of to do. You can see why lampwork is never boring.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter Ranch Beans today!





Today we will go to a friend's house for dinner. I'm going to take ranch beans. This is a great dish to take to a dinner or potluck. We made them as a side dish for graduation parties too. Sometimes I would make them for my kids along with biscuits and call it 'Cowboy Dinner'







Ranch Beans

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bacon
1 c chopped onion

brown and drain

add
1 c catsup
2 cans pork and beans
2 cans kidney beans (drained)

add
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c white sugar
1 T vinegar
1 t dry mustard
1 t salt

bake 350 for one hour


I keep trying to type Ranch Beads.... haha

the disks above are listed on Etsy today. Nice colors. I had a great time playing with fire and glass all day yesterday!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

thinking of spring break


I just got back from a middle school teacher's conference in Greensboro NC, and certainly learned a bunch about North Carolina. One of the most fascinating sessions was about graveyards and the history you can learn by visiting them. I found out that on the coast of NC, the oldest graves had wooden markers because there wasn't native stone there. Now that's an interesting thing for a Michigan native to learn. There are so many glacial rocks in Michigan that one would never think of not being able to mark a grave with a marker.
The Piedmont area, where I live, had yet another type of marker, stone that was carved. The stonecutters/carvers were mostly German.
It's odd to be over 50 and living in a 'new' state. (besides the state of confusion, of course) Last year I learned what the state bird is. Isn't that something.

beads today..... thinking of summer beach days.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blueberry Muffins


This week's recipe. :-) I love muffins and had a real craving for blueberry muffins, so I bought a mix. Bad idea. Too sweet for me and even my husband, who isn't all that picky, said they aren't as good as my recipe. So next time these will be from scratch. It isn't all that hard, but I was too lazy to pick up some frozen blueberries. Usually, I freeze fresh ones in the summer by just putting them on a cookie sheet, unwashed, and then pour them into freezer bags when they are frozen. Then they can be used for pancakes and muffins or just eating, after they are taken out of the freezer and rinsed.
that said... here is my favorite blueberry muffin recipe. These are a tad heavy, and not real sweet, which I like, although I always sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar before I bake them.

Blueberry Muffins

400 degree oven
2 c four
3/4 t salt
1/3 c sugar
2 t baking powder

I actually do sift this. Not often do I sift, but it's good for this recipe

beat in a separate bowl
2 eggs
add 4 T melted butter
3/4 c milk

stir in the dry ingredients using a minumum of stirring there will be some lumps, but if you over stir muffin batter, they won't be as light.
stir in gently
1 c blueberries (they can be frozen)
and if you like 1 t grated orange rind (I rarely do)

put into muffin papers in a muffin tin and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar

bake 18- 20 minutes test them to see if they are done by pushing a toothpick into one and taking it out, if there is batter stuck to the toothpick, they aren't done.

hide a few before everyone in the house smells them and tastes them, so you'll have some for yourself!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring in North Carolina


Wow What an incredible place to live! The trees are blooming with blossoms, the daffodils are up, the grass has already been mowed once, and leaves are starting to appear. I certainly don't miss the snow that we had in N Michigan. Haven't had to scrape snow off my windshield all winter, just used the windshield washer fluid to clean off some frost. How awesome.
In the meantime, in the home we are trying to sell in Michigan, we just had the propane tank refilled to keep the house at 55 degrees. I keep sending those positive thoughts to the realtor! I got a note from her today that they sold 60 houses since Jan 1, and 55 of those were homes repossessed by banks. Ouch. Apparently there are some bargains to be had.
It's bound to sell sometime, I hope! In the meantime, the move to NC has been wonderful for us. Thinking of planning some time at the beach!
A new listing today on Etsy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

color theory





Wow I had a 'huge' weekend. Went to Michigan for the Bead Bonanza show. Sharon Driscoll and I set up our Glass and Such booth to sell beads and kits and silver. We had a pile of fun although we were both so tired. The time change was a definate factor, but so was the long drive from Detroit to Northern Michigan on Saturday and then back to the Detroit area on Sunday very early, which was earlier yet due to having to change our clocks.
Then after the show, my flight with good 'ole US Airways was cancelled. I think sometimes when I book a flight for Sunday night some airlines think that means Sunday-ish! They offered another flight for Monday around noon. Ummmm.... no! I had to be at work. So the best laid plans often don't work well when you have to fly.
I was able to fly to Greensboro, arriving sometime around midnight. and then my husband had to drive two hours there to get me and two hours back..bless him, he drove both ways.

It has taken me until today to feel normal!

Today I am listing a link for color theory. It's pretty neat. You upload a photo and this site generates a palette of colors for you to use. I put the image of the above beads into this color page and tried it out. The results were pleasing, soft and comfortable. Not as vibrant as I like but it could be a very handy tool.

http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/colors.php

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bead Bonanza


Sunday! Bead Bonanza in Southfield Michigan. Maybe I'll see you there!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Chicken Soup and Matzoh Balls



I have this good friend, Rosalie. She is on a discussion group that I'm on and we've visited for, I think, about 6 years. Her group name is Foodmaven, if that gives you a clue about what a good cook she is. We had this discussion about chicken soup and she says it is 'Jewish Penicillin', and she adds dill to her soup because that's what makes it great. She also makes her matzoh balls from scratch. No mix for her family! :-)
She has celiac disease, which is basically an allergy to gluten (if I have that right), so she has two versions for her matzoh balls, the second one is gluten free.
They sound great. It makes me want to go visit Rosalie and sit in her kitchen for a chat while enjoying her soup.


FLUFFY MATZOH BALLS

Yield: About 12 large, soft matzoh balls

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil (healthy)
  • 1/2 cup seltzer or club soda
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Mix the eggs well with a fork. Add the oil, soda water, matzoh meal, and salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

2. Dip your hands in cold water and make about 10 balls slightly smaller than Ping-Pong balls.

3. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and place the matzoh balls in the water. Cover and simmer about 25 minutes or until soft. Do not lift cover to check before.

Note: To reduce the cholesterol in this recipe,use 2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs.

GLUTEN FREE MATZOH BALLS/w/o wheat

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 olive or canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt or less to taste
  • 1 cup instant potato flakes
  • 1 envelope of chicken bouillon (I use no salt) in 1/4 cup water. Seltzer or club soda will make it lighter. Beat eggs and oil, add salt to potatoes and add to the eggs. Add , mix well and chill for 20-30 minutes. Wet hands and form into balls; drop in simmering soup or just boiling water for 20 minutes)with cover on.

You can experiment and make it with 1/2 ground almonds and 1/2 potato and they turned out ok. Sometimes you have to add a lot more potato and almonds to make it stiffer, so fiddle around with the quantities. also fat free thing, try with just egg whites.