Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Monday and Happy Halloween

Over the weekend I tried some recipes for some food I was planning on serving at my annual holiday party.  Let's just say I'm glad I tried them out on hubby instead of guests.  One of the recipes was for a creative "pork and beans".  Using mini muffin pans and bacon strips, I was to form bacon "cups" for some spicy beans.  The bacon cups were a disaster and a greasy clean up but the beans are delicious.  I think they would be an excellent dish for Meatless Monday, if you don't count the bacon.  

photo from Bite by Bite by Peter Callahan

In all fairness, I used thick bacon for the cups and the recipe calls for thin bacon.  I'll try once more.  You can view the entire recipe by clicking here.  I just bought the book Bite by Bite and it is a wonderful, creative inspiration for one bite hors d'oeuvres. 

Here is my "slightly adapted" recipe for the beans. 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 15.8 oz cans navy or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup port wine
2 slices thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 teaspoon chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder)
2 teaspoon coarse salt

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Bring beans to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until liquid is reduced by half.  
Beans can be prepared and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pinterest Halloween Inspiration

I can't believe October is almost gone and Halloween is on Monday.  Here are a few "pins" from my Pinterest "Autumn Inspiration" board.  Maybe you'll be inspired for some Halloween decor or costume.  

                                           Source: via Deborah on Pinterest

                                     Source: via Deborah on Pinterest

                                           Source: via Deborah on Pinterest

                                                      Source: None via Deborah on Pinterest

Happy Weekend

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Read, Recycle, Remuneration

I love to read and I love my books but sometimes enough is too much.

my library

My brother recently graduated from college and had textbooks he knew that he would never use.  He set up a seller account on and immediately began selling his used books.  Not only did he get them out of the house, he recycled and made some cash.  
With some gentle prodding, I decided to try it for myself.  It takes less than 10 minutes to set up the count and start selling.  Amazon does all the hard work, you just have to take the books to the post office.  I sold 2 books priced at $75 each and on Monday I sold 3 more books.  

Consider an seller account  to rid yourself of books (you don't want to be a hoarder!) and make some cash.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DIY Jewelry Display and Storage

I found these DIY jewelry displays on the blog, Mr. Kate.  

Start with a frame...
...add lace,

or those corks you've been saving,

or simply wire.

For a more earthy, rustic look, try burlap or chicken wire.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Books: State of Wonder

Our couples book club recently discussed State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

The newest novel by the author of Bel Canto.

Our book club met on Sunday evening to discuss State of Wonder.  The setting for the majority of the book is the Amazon jungle so to enhance the spirit of the book, our hosts dressed for a jungle expedition and served food from the rain forest.  

A quick synopsis of the book:  Pharmaceutical researcher, Dr. Maria Singh, is sent from her workplace in Minnesota to the Amazon to find the remains of a colleague who was reported dead while checking on a research project in the jungle.  The research project revolves around a tribe's reproductive habits, where women are conceiving and giving birth well into their 7th decade.  The head of the research project in the Amazon, Dr. Swenson, rarely communicates with the pharmaceutical company funding her research and for that reason, the company has sent staff to find the project director and monitor the progress of the venture.  Dr. Singh is also a past medical student of Dr. Swenson.

Patchett does a wonderful job of setting up the meeting between Dr. Singh and the elusive Dr. Swenson.  We are introduced to Dr. Swenson's guardians who protect her from intruders that would keep her from her work.  The descriptions of the tropical conditions will have you reaching for a towel to wipe your neck and a bottle of clean water to replenish your thirst.  You'll be feeling the bugs flying into your eyes and the searing sun on your skin.  You will be fascinated by the premise of the research and the work on the fertility miracle drug.  You'll encounter an anaconda, cannibals, emergency C-sections as well as loss and recovery of loved ones.  

Yes, the book is a bit far-fetched.  Some of the characters are hard and unlikeable.  You may have figured out the ending or never had a clue.  This book is well written and a good read.  
Please also consider reading Bel Canto if you have not yet read this best seller.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Musings

It was a lovely, colorful weekend here in southeast Michigan.
Probably the last week of colorful leaves.

No killing frost yet and I still have cilantro and lettuce in my otherwise barren garden.

I had my love seats reupholstered and I love the way they look in my living room.
I like the fall shoe trend of penny loafer pumps.  I think they look great with tights and skirts or pants and jeans.  I better get a pair before it snows and then all I'll wear is boots.

Hope you are refreshed from a great weekend and ready to welcome the week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekend Inspiration

I've had a busy week and I know you have too.  I thought this quote might inspire us all to take time to live a little this weekend and enjoy.  We'll be much better for it come Monday.

                                         Source: via Deborah on Pinterest

Have an inspired weekend everyone.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hostess Gift Ideas from Etsy

With several holidays fast approaching, there will be invitations to dinners and parties and other events.  Be prepared by stocking up now on some hostess gifts.  Here are a few suggestions from Etsy.

Wine tags REDSTARinc $5

Whipped Body Butter from NakedButter $12

Woodgrain, acorn and leaf placemats  Foodphyte $17

Wooden Board Game mrhudon $85

Bakelite handle carving set  madmrsrochester $5

Mulling spices in muslin bags  GustoSpice $6.25

The Four Seasons (tea) Towel  baileydoesntbark $28

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wine and What To Do With The Bottles

Yesterday I was lucky enough to tour the Alexander Valley Vineyards winery.  My cousin is married to a son of the founder of the winery.  The wedding took place at the vineyard several years ago and let me tell you it was an amazing venue and celebration.  

It's harvest time 

Lots of winners.  My favorite is Cyrus, a luscious red.

With the popularity of wine, what do you do with all the empty bottles?  My cousin, Lauren,  suggested a post with some ideas for the empties.  

A Plant Nanny and a wine bottle will water your plants while you are on vacation.  Lauren's outdoor plants survived her 2 week vacation with the Plant Nanny.  That's her lemon tree.

Buy a Hummingbird Feeder Tube and create your own hummingbird nectar feeder.  I saw this example outside a shop in Healdsburg.

Cut the top off of a wine bottle to make a drinking glass.  

Build a bookcase.

I posted this last year...lights in an empty bottle for a holiday decoration. 

How do you recycle empty bottles?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Unique City Park

 I visited the home and garden of Luther Burbank today in Santa Rosa, CA.  This one acre historic landmark is a city park.  It was the home of Burbank and the site where he did most of his work.
The self-guided tour affords the visitor a view of some of the over 800 strains and varieties of plants developed by Luther Burbank. 

This is quinoa, a food staple of Peru, growing in the Burbank gardens.

A small plot of land can support many quinoa plants.  

This spineless cactus was developed to be cattle feed.

I couldn't resist a shot of this most perfect rose.  The roses in these gardens have a lovely fragrance.
Immature pomegranate 

Among Burbank's most successful strains and varieties is the Shasta Daisy, Freestone peach and Russet potato.
As you can tell from the photos, it was a gorgeous day in Santa Rosa, warm and sunny.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Seattle Weekend

Our weekend in Seattle was a perfect mix of relaxing, visiting, and celebration.  

Sunset on Puget Sound

Crumpet and macchiato from the Crumpet Shop near Pike Place Market 

Fresh shellfish cocktail to go

Amazing floral bouquets with dahlias larger than my hand for $5.

"Wheelbarrow" with wooden bowl-like bed outside of a wood products shop.  It looked like a giant salad bowl on a wheelbarrow frame.

I hope you had a lovely weekend.  Happy Monday.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Getaway to the West Coast

I'm leaving today for Seattle and then on to San Francisco.  I'll be attending a wedding and visiting with several family members.  I feel like a need a break and I can't wait. 

                        Source: via Deborah on Pinterest

                     I saw this sign on Pinterest and it expresses my mood exactly.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Colorful Carrots

My local Farmer's Market is over for the season.   I'll have to travel to a neighboring community for fresh, farm produce, but oh, so worth the effort.  
One of my last purchases was these gorgeous, colorful carrots.  

To taste the true carrot flavor, I roasted the carrots at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.  Adorned with only olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin seeds, they were caramelized, sweet and tasty. 

Are you a Farmer's Market shopper?  What is your favorite food purchase at the market?
Have a delicious day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lost and Found

Yesterday I was walking the puppy at a large athletic site.  While I was there, my cell phone fell out of my pocket and I did not realize it was missing until I arrive home.
I went back to the field twice, using another phone to call my cell phone but to no avail. 

Then I remembered that I had Mobile Me.  I googled, mobile me find my iphone and got the Mobile Me website.  All I had to do was enter my id and password and the gps in the phone was identified and displayed on a map.  I went to a different view and saw it lying in the grass on the soccer field.  Hubby retrieved the phone while I made dinner and we are living happily ever after.
This is not an advertisement for Mobile Me but maybe it will help you find a lost phone some day.  
AND I am not putting my phone in my pocket again, I'll carry my big old purse with a cell phone pocket inside. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Something Scary

Eleanor Roosevelt said "Do one thing every day that scares you."

This would take care of me for about a week.  Yikes!  Have a great day, nothing too scary.


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