Monday, August 31, 2009

Pale Pink's Recycled Bicycle Necklace

I was browsing ETSY this morning when I came upon the featured artist, Pale Pink. Based out of Denmark, she designs jewelry and notebooks from used bicycle inner tubes. The flower necklace shown is very simple and very chic.

I have thought long and hard about how to reuse bicycle tubes before tossing them into the trash. I just couldn't imagine another life for the things.

Pale Pink has a very visionary eye in my opinion. Take a look for yourself HERE.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Growing Allium From Seed

This will be a test of my green thumb. I am trying to grow allium from seed. Allium is the beautiful single stalk plant with the large circular shaped purple flowers. It grows to about 2 feet and is a member of the onion family.

Allium is usually started from bulb division. I am attempting to grow it from seed. The photo shows the faded flower petals with the seed pods.

The process is very slow. First, you dry the seeds. Temperatures cannot be above 94 degrees. The seeds then must endure a cooling period. For me, that means putting them in the freezer for a few months. After 6 weeks in the freezer, the seeds are planted. It may take up to two years for a flower to appear.

It's worth it. The flowers are lovely, although a bit stinky, and difficult to obtain at perennial exchanges.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yoga Necklace

This is such a serene looking piece of jewelry. It's made with glass beads, aluminum, silver, steel and a silk cord. I call it my yoga necklace. If you look closely, you can see the hammered silver that attaches the cord with the aluminum pendant. I have started experimenting with reshaping silver - sort of like how yoga reshapes your body.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mesquite Popcorn

Have you heard the latest? It's all the rage. It's spicy popcorn.

Rather than buy ancho chile peppers and liquid smoke, I took a shortcut. I used McCormick Grill Mates seasoning mesquite flavor to kick up my popcorn a notch. Emeril would be so proud.

I stocked up on several of the Grill Mates at Kroger when they were free after a coupon. Since I don't eat a lot of meat, it would take forever to use the mixture. Instead, I sprinkled the mesquite flavoring on good old popcorn.

Bet it would taste great on a fresh cob of corn. Maybe I could add it to a creamy salad dressing to perk up vegetable crudite platters. The possibilities are endless.

Here's a list of ingredients:

Salsa a la Jane Brody

There's so much talk about Julia Child right now with the release of the movie, "Julie and Julia" surrounding a blogger that prepared each of the meals in Julia Child's cookbook.

For me, Jane Brody is the person to emulate. My favorite book is "Jane Brody's Good Food Book." It features wonderful tips on kitchen essentials, hints for wholesome cooking and recipes. Her work is a lifestyle that embraces recipes from a wide variety of cultures combined with nutritional principles. Brody preached the virtues of whole grains long before the Food Network was created. My copy of her book is held together with clear packing tape. I wouldn't want a brand new version. This is a book that is loved, sort of like the velveteen rabbit, it's the real deal.

Here's her recipe for Salsa Dip with one slight modification - the addition of a clove of garlic.

Makes about 1-3/4 cups

2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped 1/2 cup chopped scallions 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons very finely chopped hot pepper or jalapeno pepper 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and chill for 30 minutes or longer before serving.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Return of the Cicadas

Sounds like a scary movie title doesn't it; The return of the cicada's. I was outside and happened to look at the north side of my maple tree when I spotted the cicada shells. Look carefully at the first and fourth photos and you'll see ants crawling on the carcass of one of the cicada's. After I took the photo, a hornet was trying to scavenge part of the carcass. It's all a circle of life.

Seeing these skins, or shells, lets me know we are entering the hottest part of the summer. Break out the sunscreen and watermelon. Time to take a siesta and relax. It's cicada season.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What to do with Yellow Cucumbers

A couple cucumbers from my garden got away from me and turned yellow. Happens to the best of us. You know, the large leaf that's hiding a large vegetable like zucchini or tomatoes or cucumbers. Growing up, we would never use yellow cucumbers because the taste would be too strong. For some reason, I felt that throwing away the yellow cucumbers from my garden would be extremely wasteful. So I searched the internet for recipes.

One recipe was for a sweet relish. Now I never liked sweet pickles so sweet relish was out of the question. One recipe added the cucumbers to a soup with octopus. No octopus in my refrigerator at the moment so that recipe was nixed. The third recipe was an Indian recipe for yellow cucumber curry, Gunter style, called Dosakaya Koora. I made a few adjustments and the dish was delisioso!

There are 2 parts to the recipe; the koora and and tadka. The koora consists of 1 large yellow cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped into bite size pieces, 1 medium onion, 2 green chilli's cut into 1/4 inch pieces, 2 tomatoes, 1 cup yogurt (I used non-fat and it worked fine), 1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot sauce. The tadka is 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried mustard, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon curry powder, and 1 teaspoon Frank's Red Hot sauce.

Here's the fun part. And it's so easy. Heat the oil on medium heat. Add the tadka. Add onions and chilli's. Stir in tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients except the yogurt. After a couple minutes, stir in yogurt and turn off heat. Serve over rice or lentils.

This is truly a one-dish wonder. Perfect for a hot day.

Zoe Earrings

These are fun chandelier earrings made with silver and crystals with a single pearl at the top. The crystals are lavender, light pink and dark pink. Simply luscious and unexpected.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Harley the Yorkie

Yes, little dogs can be tough. Except this little guy is a lover with a tough name. Isn't he sweet? This is my friend's Yorkshire Terrier named Harley. The top photo features Harley in a chicken costume.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Antipasta Salad

I am definitely eating lots of salad lately. Yesterday was antipasta. More fresh ingredients from my neighbor including romaine lettuce, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. My garden had fresh basil and rosemary. My garden is waiting until mid-August to provide produce. Take a look at the photo which also includes fresh mozarella cheese and salami. I love summer!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gypsy Bracelet (from Dreamin of Beadin)

Did you ever see something so lovely you had to tell everyone about it? I just did. It's my friend Stacy's bracelet design called, "Gypsy Bracelet." It made with Swarovski crystals and it positively sparkles. Want to read more about her creation? Go to Dreamin of Beadin on

Cool Eats for Hot Nights

The temperatures are rising in Michigan. Who wants to cook over a hot stove on a humid day? Not me.

My neighbor gave me more fresh romaine lettuce from their garden and I decided to create a version of Nicoise' salad.

It starts with a bed of romaine lettuce in 4 bowls. Place slices of 1 or 2 tomatoes and 1/4 cup jalapeno peppers on top of the romaine leaves. In a separate bowl combine 4 oz. of albacore tuna, 1/2 cup sliced fresh cucumber, 15 oz. can of rinsed black beans, and 1/2 cup sliced green olives. Mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise with a splash of red wine (I used Shiraz), a teaspoon or so of yellow mustard, 1-2 tablespoons fresh dill, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir the mayonnaise dressing with the tuna combination. Top each bed of lettuce with the tuna mixture.

It's cool and spicy and flavorful. Just the right amount of kick to a hot night.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Matzo Toffee courtesy of "Everyday Food"

This recipe is courtesy of the April, 2009 "Everyday Food" magazine with a slight variation. The original recipe called for 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips which was way too sweet for me. I cut the amount in half and added some white chocolate baking chips.

2 cups coarsely crumbled matzo crackers
1-1/2 cups chopped almonds
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sale
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate baking chips

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix matzo crackers and almonds together in a bowl. Melt butter, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons water to a boil (medium to low heat). Stir mixture constantly so it does not burn. Quickly drizzle matzo mixture with the syrup and toss. Using a metal spatula, spread mixture on baking sheet. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle semi-sweet and white chocolate chips on mixture. Let cool for about 5 minutes and spread chips. Let cool 20 minutes then refrigerate. Break into pieces and serve. Store in air tight container.