Friday, July 31, 2009

Vinegar Acidity - There is a Difference

My sister mentioned that she only uses name brand vinegar. The reason was it has a higher acidity level. Sure enough, I checked my store brand vinegar and it was listed at 4% acidity. I had a bottle of Heinz vinegar and it had a 5% acidity level. Who knew. I thought vinegar was vinegar.

The 1% can make a difference in recipes you prepare. If a chef used 5% vinegar instead of 4%, the final product would taste different; tangy, zesty. And don't even get me started on barbecue sauce. The variation of a half percent could send cooks in a tail spin for the mopping concoctions.

I don't have stock in any vinegar manufacturers and have not accepted any compensation of any kind for this post. Just thought it was an interesting topic and it's making me look twice at my generic brands and their effectiveness.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anastasia Necklace

Here's the necklace I was talking about. I call it Anastasia. It's a delicate combination of abalone, seed pearls and obsidian, also known as Apache' Tears.

I love Apache' Tears. I think it's because I vaguely remember my Dad telling me a story of an Indian maiden and how her tears became these stones. I don't recall the full story.

This necklace falls mid-chest. It's constructed from fine silver. I made each of the individual links and some of the attachments. Have I mentioned that I love the look of this piece?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Maria Necklace

Getting back to basics.

The reason I started this blog was to showcase jewelry creations. My friend Stacy gave me some wonderful beads and findings for my birthday and I was inspired to make a few necklaces.
The inspiration was from a necklace Stacy was wearing with an offset focal point bead.

This necklace is called, "Maria." It's for all the people in the U.S. that are experiencing a heat wave. When temperatures sky rocket to 100 plus degrees, there is a tendency to wear less clothing. Or lighter color cloth in a looser cotton weave. Think white gauze blouses and dresses. This necklace adds drama when the fabric simplifies. A spark that catches someone's eye.

It's made with silver wire, abalone shell, glass, wood and metal beads and copper wire.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Words to Live By

It's not even close to being New Year's. Still, I am making a resolution. As of now, I am refraining from using certain words in my vocabulary. Words like basically, typically and look. These are crutch words. Words that don't have to begin a sentence, but many times they do. For example: "Look, here's what I am trying to say."," Basically, this is how the engine operates", "Typically, this is the way most people make coffee." If you listen to lawyers and other educated individuals, these terms creep into their speech more and more each day. I can't change them, so I am self-editing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Coneflower Redeux

Take a look at these stylized coneflower photos I took yesterday. Yes, I am still taking a photo each day. I just don't share all my photos.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Neighbor Salad

I helped an older woman with some yard work. In exchange, she gave me a quart of fresh raspberries from her backyard. Now, I love raspberries but the fruit would go bad by the time I ate an entire quart. What to do?

I gave half a quart to my neighbor. They were so happy, they gave me romaine lettuce and onions.

I decided to make a salad from the food people gave me. I used romaine as the base, added shredded, poached chicken breast, onion, raspberries and sliced artichokes. The dressing was the marinated artichoke oil. Delicious! And I have friends and neighbor's to thank.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Last of This Year's Rhubarb

Rhubarb is fading fast from the garden. This massive plant has delicious red stalks that look a bit like red celery. But it tastes nothing like celery. It is tart. Tart like a lemon. You can eat the stalks raw and their flavor is more prominent if you sprinkle salt on the fruit.

Only the stalk is eatable.

Ah, the stalks are wonderful. You clean the cuttings, trimming off the hard portions and slicing the fruit into bite-size pieces. My favorite recipe involves boiling about a 1/2 cup of sugar and a cup of water to make a simple syrup. Add sliced rhubarb to this concoction before it boils and stir the ingredients together to form a heavenly mixture.

As of late, I have tried to stay away from wheat products. And I really wanted to drizzle (pour) the last of my rhubarb syrup over a carbohydrate for dessert. All I could find was an unsalted brown rice cake. It worked! A fabulous stand-in for a biscuit.

If you can't use the rhubarb right away, freeze the fruit. They are good for about 6 months. A delicious winter treat.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Free Bumper Stickers from Annie's Naturals

I was scanning the Annie's Naturals site for new products when I found a link to FREE LOOT. It's not the food products, but bumper stickers. Follow the directions for a free sticker that shows people you care about the earth. Way cool!

Friday, July 10, 2009

After Coupons, Just $3.50

That's right, I bought all of these items for just $3.50 from Meijer. It helped that I had 2 coupons for Kashi products (up to $5 in value), a free candy bar coupon, a free DiGiorgno coupon, a $2 and $1.50 coupon for Starbucks ice cream and a free coupon for Burt's Bees lip balm.

So what did I shell money out of pocket for? The broccoli was $1 for a 16 oz. bag and the ice cream was 2/$5. Not bad considering before coupons this would have cost me almost $21.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pizzelle Cookies

I received some home-made pizzelle cookies yesterday. These are thin, waffle-like cookies flavored with vanilla and dusted with powdered sugar. Very light and delicate and perfect for dessert on a hot day. Think strawberries or blueberries on top with a dollop of whipped cream. Pizzelle's also come in anise, a licorice like flavor, lemon and orange. Why stop there? Why not try peppermint or chocolate? The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wiener Dogs on Patrol

Meet Crumpet and Sadie. My friend's pair of adorable dachshunds. They even have matching bandana's. I tried my best to get a portrait of the pair, but they were so active. (translation: they were running around the yard continuously). The only way I could get their undivided attention was to hold a treat in my hand while taking the shot.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Project 365

My friend Barb and her sister Becky are participating in Project 365. It's an easy venture. You take a digital or film-based photograph everyday for a year. You choose the subject each day. Maybe it's an object, a person, a plant. The focus is getting people to take photos. The more photos you take, the better artist you become. And in the process, you learn something about yourself. You learn what you truly value.

I started a couple days ago. Here are my first three photos.
Bluebells, my puppy and lemon-colored daylilies.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fireworks and the 4th

When did the Fourth of July become a battle of the fireworks? The neighborhood I live in set off a massive display only to be answered by the adjacent homes with an even bigger spectacle. When it comes to fireworks, there is no recession in my town. When it comes to shelling out money for this endeavor their mottos must be, "Forget paying the mortgage and spare no expense". All types, all colors, whistles, big-bang M-80's, you name it and they lit the fuses - literally.