Saturday, November 28, 2009


I think I can explain...

One Christmas, when I was an impressionable young girl, a cousin and I gathered around the Christmas tree at my grandparents home to wrap our presents. The magic of the season was in the air or so it seemed with the carols playing, hot cocoa in festive mugs and a virtual ring of glitterati wrapping accessories encircled our smallish bodies. Our grandmother's tree was ornately decorated in a colored theme with lavishly wrapped presents adorned with carefully chosen patterned papers and ribbons underneath. Being the romantic waif that I was, I imagined there were the loveliest of gifts waiting to be handed out to us grandchildren. My brazen older cousin, who liked to ruin legends for me, did her best to break the enchanting spell by telling me that the gifts were only for decoration. It didn't work... I thought wow! I can't wait to grow up and wrap presents all fancily (I know that's not a real word) and arrange them nicely under the tree to stand in until Santa arrived. She thought I was stupid and I called her a mean jerk but my point is that my earliest memories are filled with ostentatious aspirations which I come by honestly, after all, my grandmother was every bit as silly as I am and so it's hereditary.

I know you're keen enough to follow this blog (^_~) or subscribe to the RSS for fascinating tips, recipes, and cleverness. Comments are always welcome.

With that said, I should mention that I have changed some, I buy sensible and you can believe sometimes extravagant gifts but whenever I can, I recycle pretty of flashy department store bags as gift wrap. Fold over the top, punch two holes near the center with a hole puncher and attach ribbon. Instructions to make your own puffy ribbon are here in the chance that you'll want to recycle something from paper. I still appreciate elements of the glorious wrapped presents, too, so I add tassels, origami cranes or wind mills made from scraps of wrapping pager or magazine pages or maps or stocks page of newspaper, or flowers or raffia. Or utilize beautiful pillow cases, one inside the other wrapped in a bow, sometimes filling them with the other pillow case fluffs them out and helps disguise the gift within.

I also thing that new and colorful dishtowels and oven mitts make for fun gift wrap stand-ins. As do knit hats wrapped with a lovely scrunchy or barrette. Luggage tags as ribbons, tool boxes as gift boxes...I hope I have got you thinking now.

Know what I think is fun? To have a re-gift Christmas party among friends. You must serve spirits at this event on the chance that you re-gift something someone in attendance gave you. I have just the thing, a signature drink saves you from having to stock your bar if you don't really want to and this Pomegranate martini recipe is just the thing. It's pleasing to the eyes and hopefully softens the blow of seeing your own thoughtful gift re-gifted.

Crate and Barrel will save your holiday gathering with their chalk glassware. I know that by the time I get near the bottom of a glass of spirits that wear a charm of remembrance, I will have set it down a couple of times and have completely forgotten whether I had the grape or the dolphin. Pick up some of these and wet your little chalk board and write names with chalk, the moisture will ensure names having some staying power or at the very least identifiable residue of the lush which held it. Use colored chalk, it may encourage your party goers to pay attention to their hand placement for the rest of the evening. If Jim has blue chalk and Mary had a blue hand print somewhere on her holiday dress this entire concept could prove revealing entertainment. Just saying.

Whilst searching for book gifts, because of course I think everyone should receive a good book for Christmas, I came
acrossthis Bookmark EyeGlass Case found (be sure to scroll to the right) . Currently, I'm an onlooker at "mature" people with reading glasses and though my eyes are still "immature", I know my days are numbered and for that reason I'm fascinated with make and model numbers of products to counter this particular manifestation of God's sense of humor which we know as Bi-focal-itis. Omgosh, are you saying that you could make this? It's only $12 but, hehe, the thought crossed my creative mind for about 2 seconds and for that reason I found and posted these directions to a similar thing.

this thingy - it's a Cable Roller. I have no doubt that you have been inundated with technology and along with it the need to manage the tangle of it's tentacles. So too are your loved ones in a knot over this invasion. Make yourself a hero of what everyone needs, give these little stocking stuffers and take a bow. Gift challenged? There a many places on the internet that are just a search away for gift ideas, saving coupon codes, too. One place I'm fond of is Red Envelope where they have all sorts of gifts which are just a click away - great place
for personalized presents for families like engraved candles or the little personalized puppy finger blanket for children shown here.

More gift ideas later. I'm glad you stopped by. Leave a comment if you see something useful.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


GET STUFFED!! With a turkey sandwich I mean; an international friend of mine from Italy or England, can't recall which, once told me that in her country that phrase had an entirely different meaning.

I love the feast of Thanksgiving but a while ago I came to realize that it tastes different from home to home. Having prepared a number of feasts myself, I have developed a list of favorites, however, I am going to talk about those leftovers. I don't know about you but I just really want a Turkey sandwich so that's where we're going with those leftovers. Soup? just an excuse for a Turkey sandwich. Schmancy? Ok, we'll do a fancy leftover thing but really - just a turkey sandwich. Here we go:

What?!! You don't follow this blog?? Really...really? I think you need to click on that RSS button or the Follower post haste!!

We need to think ahead, here, people. If you're going to make a sandwich you are going to need great bread, and most of you already have everything else you're going to need for that sandwich if you're a basic and easily amused person. The rest of us will need a little more.

About that bread, you can of course hope there are leftover rolls for this annual sandwich or you can make sure you h
ave exactly what you need by getting that special rye, 12 grain, french baguette or whatever your preference. I just needed an excuse to tell you about this bread machine crescent roll recipe I found. If you're going to go through the trouble of making this, be sure to brush with egg whites and sprinkle on something special like poppy seeds before baking so they're special.

Shopping: I think you're going to want avocado slices if you're a vegetable lover or just love the feel of something fattening in your mouth, avocados will take you there. Cheese beckons for some and with turkey, I say try Gouda or a thin baby Swiss, or light Jarlsburg or even Brie (softened at room temperature for easy slicing) if you are wanting something flavorful to meld your sandwich together. I like to have a jar of roasted peppers on hand because they add a little bit of a salty pop and a great deal of personality to any sandwich. You'll need a spread I like a poupon for many things but let's face it, turkey sandwiches call for a mayonnaise or a creamy salad dressing spread. You may want lettuce and if you're a pseudo sissy girl like me,
fold your lettuce neatly into a square so you're not trying to wrap your face around this sandwich to fit it into your mouth. If however you're a rouge, enjoy yourself and remember to use your napkin when you're done so the rest of us don't think you're saving some of that which is on your face for later. Get tomatoes if you must, and red onion if you dare play with breathy things but let's put it together, shall we?(Turkey Panini image and recipe courtesy of Foodnetwork.)

A Panini is really nothing more than a compressed, grilled sandwich. You could buy a fancy Panini press or dig out that George Foreman grill like the rest of us.

You have guests for the holiday? They may feel a little shy about ripping apart the bird for sandwiches at your house so why not take a large round of bread, slice it in half and pull out much of the inside. Then fill it with leftover turkey and stuffing and cranberries and put the lid on. Slice it, or bake it, or panini it. Should look something like this:

Wraps, focaccia bread (recipe), and my favorite artsy fartsy pansy thing to do to turkey leftovers is to wrap it in puff pastry and make a Wellington for lunch...what the? Like this Beef Wellington recipe here:
By the way, this isn't difficult just roll together and bake: purchase Puff Pastry dough (refrigerator section), wrap up your ingredients, add thin strips of pastry or omit and bake the roll in 180 degree oven for an hour covered in foil and then remove foil and cook for 35 minutes more.
If you're watching your calories, to save room for dessert and all, try turkey lettuce wraps like these 5 spice turkey lettuce wraps at Teamsugar

Be sure to recycle the food
containers your meal ingredients came in. Thanks for stopping by - leave a comment, I'd love it =)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


A favorite tv commercial popped into my head today and I must say that it's true - sometimes you feel like a nut ... mind wanders... Nuts are meaty jewels loaded with protein.. hmmm, let me try again since I'm laughing so much as I write this because, well, my mind is wandering.

Ahem, seriously, I think we all enjoy nuts in various fashion from time to time, such as cooked in main dishes, salads and deserts, during the winter holidays in a ready bowl, and even in our little pranks.

If you have a nut allergy, you take some Benedryl before reading this =) and I'm sure you know how to adapt a recipe to avoid allergens so no need to leave just yet.

I'd love it if you followed this blog and consider you pretty nice if you left a comment.

I try not to share the mundane with you because I am sure you get enough of that so here are some nutty
things just east of the beaten path...

Something fun to do is to open a walnut and remove the nut meat, replace it with a dollar bill and seal shut. Some lucky nutcracker will find the surprise hidden inside.
First, you'll need to get those nuts naked (giggle! ... sorry...clears throat) and when you don't want to do it by hand these toys should prove useful: On the left we have the Jack Forte nut cracker in satin, champagne colored metal is a wonderful nutcracker with a strategically located bite ensuring you get that nut (oh, laughing, I'm not sure I can finish this). This walnut key from Cox and Cox really their name, just slip it in and viola.
Almonds, slivered are a nice replacement for walnuts in banana bread. They have a nice crunch and I only request that you do not put chocolate in your banana bread, that's just blasphemy to fill something moderately healthy with fat. If you substitute the fat ie. butter/oil in your banana bread recipe with plain low fat yogurt, you have a moist, rich bread that's relatively fat free. You can also try light sour cream as fat substitute and the taste goes from the usual to the remarkable.

Do something really incredible, almost sensual and definitely aromatic with almonds: prepare this Almond tea with puff pastry lid. Recipe calls for almond powder and ginkgo nuts which can be found at Whole Foods and Asian markets. Aw, come on, have the uh, courage to visit the Asian market - you won't regret it. You may however need to ask questions of the English speaking shoppers. Make this in a cup with a chai tea latte and add the puff pastry lid for something more familiar! I think you'll love it. Place cups inside pyrex dish for easy baking (^_~).

Since you're in the mood for something Asian, I just know you are, I recommend you try this recipe for Chicken with Chili and nuts. It's rather spicy and if you haven't the ... uh, if you're a wimp, just cut down on the chili's. This dish is made with peanuts but you can substitute almonds if you have a peanut allergy and you'll have the same crunch.

This recipe Almond Flower Cake made by LHJ is a visual treat
of a light milk-chocolate icing made light with confectioners sugar, lightly toasted slivered almonds and mini candy coated chocolates as daisy center, is made with low-fat buttermilk, giving it that taste sensation which spews forth the coveted question revealing delight "Mmmmm, what's in here"? How you answer that question is entirely up to you but I think they'll know it has nuts. Sometimes I use a box cake mix as a short cut, why not decorate it this way and also, try this with a store bought cake which is already iced (^_~) still thoughtful even though you're cheating.

Joke ...
Really bad joke:
Q. What do you see when the Pillsbury Dough Boy bends over?
A. Doughnuts.

Thanks for stopping by =)