Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Designing with a Sharpie

Look what you can do with an oil-based sharpie and a plain, white coffee cup. It becomes a one-of-a kind Valentine's gift. All right, maybe not a Valentine's gift, but really cool. And it's permanent. If you are nervous that the design might disappear in the dishwasher, don't be. It's called "Permanent" for a reason. Design away!

Monday, February 1, 2016


After getting a great deal on some organic limes, I decided to make Limecello, my version of the popular Italian aperitif limoncello.It's based on a recipe from Epicurious.

  • 10 limes*
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) 100-proof vodka
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 5 cups water
Wash the limes, then peel them so there is no white pith on the peel. To a 1 gallon jar add one bottle of vodka and lime zest. Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least (10) ten days and up to (40) days in a cool dark place. After the mixture sits for a desired amount of time, it's time to make the syrup.  In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; cook until thickened, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the Limecello mixture. Allow the syrup and vodka/lime mixture to rest for another 10 to 40 days. After the rest period, strain and bottle: discarding the lime zest. Bottle and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Winter Barn Scene

It's snowing gently as I write this, so I thought I would post yet another winter watercolor. Can you imagine how prolific I will be once summer is here?!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Great Deals at Salvation Army Thrift Stores

Woohoo! Check out this outfit. The entire ensemble cost $11.50. That's right, eleven fifty. The top is Ann Taylor, the skirt is Athletica and the booties are all leather. Who says you can't find great deals. They are at your nearest Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ginger Syrup and Candied Ginger

Rather than using ginger ale when you make your Moscow Mule, try ginger syrup . It's easy. The syrup is a result of making candied ginger. Here's how you make the candied ginger:

Peel and slice a pound of ginger very thin, or dice into small pieces. 

Place the ginger in a non-reactive 4 quart saucepot with 4 cups of water. I like the enameled cast iron version. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Drain and repeat.

After draining for a second time, mix 4 cups of sugar with 4 cups of water and the ginger. Heat the mixture to 225 degrees F.

Once it reaches 225 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat. Drain the syrup and save it. Let the slices cool for about 2 hours. 

Place a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a bowl and place the ginger in the sugar, coating all sides.

Place candied ginger in tight fitting jar. 

Once the syrup has cooled, place it in a clean bottle. I like the versions with a resealable cap.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Democrats, Republicans and the Health of the Economy

When I speak of health, I refer to unemployment and spending by consumers. Both parties tout how strong the economy is doing and the United States is workforce back on track. Stronger than ever. Lowest unemployment record in years.

Have these economists or experts visited a Salvation Army, Goodwill or other thrift store lately? Thrift stores are packed. On weekends, the wait to check-out is a half-hour or more. One of the nations' largest Salvation Army locations is in southeast Michigan. In fact, the metro Detroit area boasts a bevy of resale shops.

And this is happening when Walmart, Macy's, Sears and Kmart are closing retail locations.

Unemployed workers have fallen off the official records. They still need jobs. They still struggle. More and more houses are becoming rentals. Food banks and food pantry's are limiting the amount of food available.

If numbers don't lie, ask the people looking for work this question - "How healthy is the economy?"

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

David Bowie's passing and Iggy Pop

David Bowie was an amazing artist. He was multi-faceted and inspired many people including Michigan's Iggy Pop. You can hear the influence in much of Iggy's music after he left the Stooges. And Iggy's musical style is evident in Bowie's music.

The world lost a shining star when David Bowie lost his battle to cancer.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Puppy Enjoying Winter Snow

Maybe she contemplating the gentle snowflakes falling. Or maybe she's planning her attack on villainous squirrel! Whatever caught her attention, puppy decided to stare out the window for over a half hour. She does like to eat snow on our walks. It's like she's eating a snow cone, she's just that excited over the frozen stuff.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Polenta Fries

Not the best photograph I have ever taken. But, the taste is delicious! These are my Polenta Fries. I thought I would share the recipe after seeing Polenta Croutons featured on, "The View". Pretty much the same theory - you make polenta and let it set-up, cut it apart, and bake it.

I use one cup grits, three cups water and one cup of milk. You could use four cups of water if you prefer. Salt is optional, although most people prefer it. Stir the mixture over medium heat on a stove top for about 10-15 minutes. Let the mixture "set" for about an hour. Spread the Polenta onto a non-stick baking pan about a half inch thick. Sprinkle garlic and paprika on top. Score the Polenta lightly about 1/4" so it looks like a french fry. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit  for a half hour then flip the Polenta over and bake the other side for an additional 30 minutes. Let it cool slightly and cut the creation to look like fries.