Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An E-Book Review

I received an e-book a couple of days ago with a request to look it over and let the author know what I thought. It is about glass etching, a craft I’m only familiar with because the basic etching creams and patterns are usually carried in craft stores. My crafting skills do not extend to that area because I’ve done primarily needle crafts for many years, but I agreed to check it out.

The title of the e-book is “How to Etch Glass”, and it was written by Eric Robert. Within the 24 pages of the book you’ll find several sections. Section I covers etching types, from creams to sandblasting, with a thorough, well-written explanation of each. Section II contains many project ideas, as well as numerous photos of completed projects (be sure to check out the gorgeous bowl on page 7). Section III is a full tutorial, again with photos. At the end you’ll find Free Extras and special offers.

I found the instructions and tutorials to be thorough and informative, and this e-book would be a good addition to your craft book collection if you are interested in learning about glass etching.

Currently the author is offering the e-book for free, and you can download it here:
http://www.glassetchingsecrets.com/howtosteps.html












Also, check out his website:
http://www.glassetchingsecrets.com

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

National Pie Day

Today, January 23, is National Pie Day. As I’m sure you all know, there are many types of pie, both sweet and savory. From good old Apple Pie to Zucchini Pie, with small hand-held pies somewhere in between. If you aren’t familiar with them, these are pies made by folding dough around a stuffing, often made of a variety of meat, cheese, vegetables or fruit.   One of these treats is commonly known as an “empanada” in Latin America, Southern Europe and Southern Asia and as a“pasty” (pronounced same as either “nasty” or “PAH-stee”) in Great Britain.

In honor of the day, I just took a Peanut Butter Pie out of the oven. It looks and smells delicious, and I can hardly wait for a slice. The recipe was in an archived post titled "Family Reunions", dated September 5, 2012. Please check it out there, and if you can’t find it let me know. I’ll email it to you!






























I also have a meatloaf in the oven. Normally I bake them a bit early so they can cool enough to cut easily without falling apart, then just reheat a bit to serve. This recipe is from the small cookbook that came with the Perfect Meatloaf pan, which is terrific. The loaves slide out easily without sticking, and all the grease stays in the bottom of the pan, well below the meatloaf. I’ve used several different recipes with this pan, and they all work well, but I particularly like this one.

CLASSIC MEATLOAF WITH RED SAUCE AND ONIONS

 
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup grated (or finely chopped) onion
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together beef, onion, bread crumbs, milk, eggs and seasonings until well combined. Shape into a loaf and place in prepared pan. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, mustard, ketchup and onion; spread over loaf.
Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
 
(Recipe from “Perfect Meatloaf Recipe Guide”)
 
Of course, this recipe could be prepared in any type of pan. Give it a try – it’s delicious!

Grandma’s Apron

How many of you remember your grandmother or mother wearing an apron? Do you wear one? It seems that aprons are making a comeback – I’ve seen many websites selling them, and patterns are available everywhere for those of us who sew. Truthfully, I haven’t worn one in years, but have several in my small “collection”. I have one my daughter made in Home Economics, as well as several made by my mother, some of which are adorned with rickrack, buttons, etc. They are definitely special treasures.

A short time ago I found the pattern for the apron I made in my Home Economics class many years ago, and here is a photo of the pattern envelope:
Apron Pattern Envelope
Can you believe that price? 45 cents!

I’m sure a lot of you have received the email that’s going around pertaining to “Grandma’s Apron” but for those who haven’t seen it, here it is (copied from the email I received):

“The History of 'APRONS' I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few and because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons required less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.”

Author Unknown.

My sister collects aprons, and the perfect gift for her is always a lovely apron found in an antique store or estate sale. She has even used several for curtains in her sunporch.

So let’s pull out those aprons and start displaying or wearing them proudly, for they have a history and nostalgia that shouldn’t be lost.

And if you’d like to share your apron stories, please do so….we’d love to read them!

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

Peace

I hope you’re having a peaceful day. For some reason this word has been in my thoughts all day, possibly because I feel anything but peaceful at the moment. As do most people these days, I find myself with too many things that need to be done, too many things I want to get done, too many demands made by other people - and much too little time.

Our lives are so full, so busy, so “connected” these days. We live with so many electronics and gadgets that connect us to the rest of the world that it sometimes becomes difficult to just find quiet time. But we all need time for ourselves so that we're able to accomplish what needs to be done. As it's often said, "If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of anyone else".

Caregiving lends its own demands and requirements to the schedule, and sometimes becomes very difficult. Having someone elderly living in your home and needing care many years after your children are grown tends to tie you down and add to the daily "busyness". Any of you who are caregivers will understand the difficulties involved.

All these things make it a little difficult sometimes to appreciate your life and be thankful for the blessings in it. Take a break. Have a cup of tea or chai. Turn off the news. Read a good book. Watch a great movie. Rest and recharge. Think about all the good things in your life, both the large and the small things. Don't feel selfish....you deserve it.

I think I'll take some time now! Enjoy yours!

Your suggestions and comments are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Birthday Lunch

Our daughter's birthday was Monday and, since we knew her husband and sons would take her out to dinner, we invited her for lunch. It was nice to sit and visit with her - she's become a terrific woman and a great mother. Unfortunately, as she gets older we get older! :-)

She tries to make healthy food choices, so I decided to make a fairly light lunch. The menu included homemade chicken salad and tuna salad on mini croissants, green salad with mushrooms, dried cranberries and mandarin oranges, and Strawberry Pineapple Fluff. For dessert I baked a sugar-free pound cake to be served with Splenda-sweetened strawberries and fat-free whipped topping.

This chicken salad was quite tasty - adapted from two recipes from Taste of Home and My Recipes:

Dressing:
1/2 cup light salad dressing
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

4 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded (I poached 3 large chicken breasts in chicken broth with onion, poultry seasoning and pepper, then cooled and shredded it)
1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion

Mix dressing ingredients, then stir in chicken and remaining ingredients. Chill until serving time.

This was a new recipe, but I'm sure I'll be making it often! The sour cream and lemon juice lend a slight tang to the salad, the pecans, celery and onion add a crunch and the grapes add a delicious sweetness.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!

I’m wishing everyone a very Happy New Year – a year of renewal and rejuvenation. And I hope we all have a year of happiness, health, love, peace and prosperity! May we all strive for our best selves in everything we do and with everyone in our lives.

Many resolutions have been made, and many will not be kept, but that doesn’t indicate failure! Just keep moving forward as best you can and giving your best efforts to all you do.

That's all for now....I'm off to take down Christmas decorations and start our traditional New Year's Day dinner. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!