Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- Augustine

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday's Menu

Wednesday is Homemade Cookies Day, so we will celebrate over here by making Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies. I know I am cheating. This is not a cookie or even a bar (which seems to get thrown in with cookies). I was looking for a good cookie recipe to try and I could not get this one out of my head. I decided that I would cave in and try it. Maybe I will make a cookie recipe for National Brownie Day.

Last week's recipe- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. It was very good. Nice and chocolaty. Definitely one to make again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Things to Celebrate

Since we overflow into October (my favorite month) this week, I wanted to let you know that October is Right Brainers Rule Month. Most of the people who use the right side of their brain are left handed and have learned to adapt to a right handed world. Celebrate your lefty friends (me included) this month. Left handed people are in their "right" mind.

September 27 - October 3

This week is Banned Books Week. Click on the link to check out what books are banned and which ones have been challenged. I was surprised to find out some of my favorites were on the challenged list.

September 27- Ancestor Appreciation Day
September 28- Love Note Day (you know you need to write one to someone you love)
September 29- National Mocha Day
September 30- National Woman's Health and Fitness Day
October 1- Homemade Cookies Day (we will be celebrating here)
October 2- National Denim Day
October 3- Change a Light Day

Friday, September 25, 2009

Amazing Artisan- David Trautrimas

This week's amazing artisan is David Trautrimas. Mr. Trautrimas is a photographer who uses his digital photos to recreate architectural images. He takes ordinary, every day items and takes them completely apart. His latest series, Habitat Machines, involves taking micro photographs of each disassembled part and reassembling them to create images of futuristic buildings. I enjoy looking at his photos and try to figure out what the different parts of each structure used to be. Mr. Trautrimas has a wonderful eye and wit to his photos. Examples of his work can be found at his web site, David Trautrimas, as well as several other web sites like LE Gallery, Photo-Eye Gallery, and Environmental Graffiti. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday- Albert Einstein

The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and then expecting different results.

- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- Me

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday's Menu

Since Saturday is Johnny Appleseed Day, I thought I would give a recipe with apples a try. I didn't want to make a pie (I didn't realize there were so many apple pie recipes!), so I went with something that used applesauce. Also, since some of us (Me) are all about chocolate over here, I thought something with chocolate would go down smooth. This is the recipe I will try this week:

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Last week's recipe: Creamy Double Decker Fudge. I plan on making this tomorrow. I bought all of the ingredients today, but didn't get around to making the fudge. I will be stuck home tomorrow, so the fudge will get made. I'll post a review when I give them a try.

ETA: The fudge was very good, but there was no way in the world I could have gotten 4 dozen pieces out of this recipe.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Things to Celebrate

September 20- 26

This week is National Flower Week. Go out and buy yourself a bunch of flowers. You need to treat yourself.

September 20- Women's Friendship Day
September 21- Miniature Golf Day (Putt Putt anyone?)
September 22- Ice Cream Cone Day
September 23- Checkers Day (King me!)
September 24- National Bluebird of Happiness Day
September 25- National One-Hit Wonder Day (My favorite one-hit wonders- "I'm So Sexy" by Right Said Fred, "Too Shy", by Kajagoogoo, "Our House" by Madness, and "You Get What You Give" by the New Radicals)
September 26- Johnny Appleseed Day

What are your favorite one-hit wonders?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Amazing Artisan- Nikki McClure

Tonight I went to a showing of the film, "Handmade Nation" by director/producer Faythe Levine. It is a wonderful documentary about artisans who create handmade goods and the indie craft movement. I was thrilled to see a large turn out for the viewing. Every seat was taken. If you get a chance to see the movie, please go see it.

One of the artisans featured in the movie was Nikki McClure. I was fascinated by Ms. McClure's art. Her paper cuttings are wonderful studies of human life and nature. She cuts her cuttings out of a single piece of paper using only an X-acto knife. It was interesting to see her create an image from a broad representation of an object drawn on the paper. Ms. McClure's website, Nikki McClure, offers a more detailed description of her work and where her work can be found.

Below is a video about Ms. McClure and her art. Enjoy.

Nikki McClure by Dicky Dahl from PatCastaldo on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday- Unknown

You don't have to see to believe, but you must believe to see.

- Unknown

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- What Is It About Countertops?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's Menu

Since posting that Friday is National Chocolate Day, I cannot get chocolate out of my head. I decided to look for a new fudge recipe to add to my repertoire. I make fudge and other assorted yummies to give as gifts each Christmas. It is hard to beat a microwave fudge. This one looks like it could be another winner.

Creamy Double Decker Fudge

Last week's recipe: Don's World Famous Gumbo

I didn't make any gumbo this week. Even though it was rainy so much this week, it is still too hot to eat gumbo (at least for me). I will be making it soon. I love it so.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Things to Celebrate

September 13- 19

This week is Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week. Go out and appreciate those subs everywhere. It takes someone special willing to be in classrooms with 12-18 year olds.

September 13- Positive Thinking Day
September 14- Eat a Hoagie (or Po Boy if you are from round here) Day
September 15- Make a Hat Day
September 16- Collect Rocks Day
September 17- Citizenship Day
September 18- National Chocolate Day (it will be a big day at our house I can tell you)
September 19- International Talk Like a Pirate Day (The whole world will be saying "Arrrr"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday- Jean Nidetch

It is choice, not chance that determines your destiny.

~~Jean Nidetch

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- High 5s All Around

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday's Menu- on Tuesday

Having Neither Rain nor Snow Day this week has me thinking about food I want to eat when I want to stay indoors and hunker down. I am mainly focusing on the "snow" part of the day, since it is unusual for us to see the white stuff. Gumbo is something I love to eat when it is cold outside. Years ago when Phillip and were first married, we would have occasional pot luck dinners with his friends from work. One guy, Don, would make wonderful gumbo. He gave me his recipe and I have been making it ever since. My favorite version is chicken and sausage, although I love turkey gumbo right after Thanksgiving. It is a great way to use up all that extra turkey when you just can't eat another turkey sandwich. Here's Don's recipe...

Don's World Famous Gumbo- with Merry's version at the end

1 medium onion
1 bell pepper
1 pkg. celery
3/4 c. oil
3/4 c. flour
1 lb. sausage (or more if you want)
1 lb. chicken (or more if you want)
2 4 oz. cans of tomato sauce
5 1/2 c. chicken broth

Seasoning mix
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves (dried)
1/2. oregano leaves (dried)
1 tbsp. minced garlic

Combine chopped onions, peppers, and celery in a medium bowl. Set aside. Mix together the seasoning mix and set aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat, until it begins to smoke (about 5 minutes). Gradually add in the flour, whisking constantly with a whisk. Continue whisking mixture until the roux is the color of a paper bag (about 2-4 minutes). Turn off the stove immediately and add half of the vegetables and stir well with a spoon for about a minute. Add remaining vegetables and cook for 2 more minutes. Add seasoning mix and stir well.

Meanwhile place the chicken broth in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Add the roux mixture by spoonfuls, stirring well with each addition. Add the 2 cans of tomato sauce, sausage, and chicken. Reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim oil from the top. Serve over rice.
Merry's version- If you would rather do something other than chop veggies, use fresh or frozen mix from the grocery store (I do this one).

I use 3/4 chicken stock and 1/4 water to make up the 5 1/2 cups of liquid needed.

I don't use an oil and flour roux. Down here you can buy dry roux. It dramatically cuts down on the amount of oil you have to skim at the end. There are directions for making dry roux on the Internet. I mix the roux with equal parts of chicken broth and stir until smooth. I just throw everything in the pot at the same time.

To add a little kick, I also add a couple of capfuls of liquid crab boil. Do this by small amounts if you decide to do this, cause you can go too far very easily.

I usually double the recipe and freeze some for later. It freezes very well.

Last week's recipe- Shortbread cookies
These cookies were very good. Everyone loved them. They are artery cloggers tho. The recipe makes 20 cookies and used 2 sticks of butter. I will probably pass on making these again. If I am eating something bad for me, it better have chocolate in it.

Two week's ago- PA Chicken and Waffles
This was good, but not great. I doubt I would go to the trouble to make it again. It has been a long time since I had made a gravy and it took a whole lot longer than I anticipated. Everything else was cold by the time it was ready. I would order this in a restaurant if I ever saw it to see how close the recipe came to the original.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Things to Celebrate

September 6 - 12

This week is Improve Your Home Office Week. In my case, I'll focus on what we call the "computer room" and try to put some of this chaos in order.

September 6- National Coffee Ice Cream Day
September 7- Neither Rain nor Snow Day
September 8- International Literacy Day
September 9- Wonderful Weirdos Day (Okay weirdos, this is your day. I know you are out there.)
September 10- Swap Ideas Day
September 11- Make Your Bed Day
September 12- Chocolate Milk Shake Day (I am so in.)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Handmade Louisiana Craft A Long - Louisiana Life

Handmade Louisiana is hosting a Craft A Long contest for its members. The theme for this month is "Louisiana Life", and we have some wonderful entries. I have a pair of earrings entered. It is my nod to the colors of Mardi Gras, LSU, Saints, and Tulane.

Please come on over to our blog and vote for your favorite. The poll is located on the left hand side. Handmade Louisiana

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- Should Have Been Our Christmas Card Pic