Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Updating the Pantry

Something you may not know about me ...
I used to sell Tupperware.
Way back when my middle kid was still a baby and I needed a night out, I went to a friend's Tupperware party and came home a consultant.
Imagine my husband's surprise when I came home and announced my new career.
My friend was far more successful with Tupperware than I was.  But I stuck it with long enough to be a manager.  And I accumulated a ton of product.
I still have a lot of the plastic stuff around my house.

This is how I store my flour and sugar ...
Now don't get me wrong.  I think Tupperware is a fine company.  And they have great products.
I'm just not sure if I want my food in plastic anymore.
Some of my Tupperware has changed over the years.  The colors are fading.  The plastic gets all gross and gummy.  I just wonder if any chemicals are leeching into my food.
I'm sure this is more of a concern if I heat things in the plastic containers.  Which I try not to do anymore.  But is it an issue with food storage?
I really don't know.

But I'm still converting all my pantry items into glass containers.
It just makes me feel better.
And it's way cuter ...
Look ...
I know, yes, those are marshmallows.  And yes, I'm on a super duper healthy eating lifestyle campaign.  But marshmallows are a great treat and just a necessity of life.  They make me happy.  And I'm not going to hide it!

I stole the green topped container from my mom.  It's pretty old and it used to hold coffee.  Now it holds tea.
I found the rest at Target.

I'm sure you can tell one of these houses popcorn.  The other one is full of raisins.  Which my daddy grew, dried and stemmed for me.  These are healthy snacks.

I need several more glass containers to convert everything out of the plastic.
But this is a start.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sharin' the Love ...

I seriously have nothing to blog about today.
I just haven't had anything to say for a few days now.
I'm stuck.  I'm empty.  Boring.
Some days are just like that.

So I decided to send you on a little field trip instead.

My friend Robynn over at Robynn's Ravings is having a contest.
You seriously need to check out her blog.
She always has something worthy to say.
She cracks me up every time.
She's witty and honest and entertaining.
I know you'll head over there and enter her contest.
Then hopefully you'll click around and read some of her past posts.
And then you'll find yourself nodding your head in agreement and laughing out loud.
And I'm sure you'll want to check back regularly.

So go on ... get over to Robynn's.

Thank you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This Year May Be Different

I usually find the Oscars to be way too long.  I usually haven't seen any of the movies nominated.  I usually only watch the Red Carpet festivities so I can say things like, "Why oh why did she pick THAT dress?"

This year may be different ...

I may be able to endure.

Monday, February 16, 2009


My oldest daughter likes to say,
That was random!
Usually when I say something out of the blue, with no precursors, totally unrelated to anything else we had been talking about at the time.

Like when we're talking about the latest episode of Heroes and I say, did you know I still have the same chipped toenail polish on since Christmas?

So have you seen that tagging thing going around blogs and emails saying to post the 6th photo from the 6th album in your digital files?

Well this is my version.
A bit of randomness, with a small rule.
I chose the number 9.
Number nine.
I like the number 9.

So here we go ...

This is the 9th photo from my 9th album.  It is July 2004 and we're at Knott's Berry Farm.  My oldest daughter was 10 and my son was 7.  And little did I know at the time, but I was pregnant with my youngest daughter during this trip.  I probably would not have gone on the roller coasters if I had known.  But no harm done evidently.

I looked at my spice shelf and this was the 9th one in line.
I love nutmeg.
I always grate it fresh.
My favorite is to grate nutmeg on chard, spinach or kale.

The 9th email in my inbox this afternoon was from my Father-in-law.
It was a link to this Fox News Story.
My Father-in-law would be my phone-a-friend on current news events.

Do you use Library Thing?
This is the 9th book I listed when I first started.
Awesome book ... check it out.

The 9th item on my pantry shelf is my favorite breakfast item.
No explanation needed.
And it's good for you!

The 9th movie on the DVD shelf.  I haven't seen this one yet.
But Russell Crowe is one of my favorites.
So I have high hopes.

The 9th song on my iPod when I hit shuffle is Everything.
If I knew how to add music to my blog it would be playing for you right now.

John Steinbeck ... I have all his works.
This is the 9th book on my Steinbeck shelf.
If you've never read Steinbeck, you should.
This is a good one to start with.

Finally ...
the 9th item in my Amazon cart.
Which means I hope to actually purchase it someday.
Do you put stuff in your Amazon cart and save it for later?
I think I had 93 items at last count.

I loved this version of Jane Eyre.
I love Toby Stephens.
I highly recommend you check this one out too.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Ultimate Valentine's Present

Valentine's Day is almost here.

Are you still looking for the perfect token of love for that special person in your life?  

I can help you out.

My husband and I exchanged gifts early and I'm here to share.

Here's what I got for my husband ...

How adorable is that?

Nothing proclaims my undying love to the man in my life like a new toilet seat.
Now normally I don't get too excited about Valentine's Day.  
Other than a few Hershey's Kisses.
It's really not an occasion I pay much attention to.  So hubby and I just don't buy Valentine's gifts for each other.
But this year was an exception.

We felt that after 18 years of marriage maybe we should take the time to really think about our relationship and what gift would really touch each other's hearts.

I knew exactly what I could get him that would show and share my love on a daily basis.
And when I told him I found it at Lowe's he gushed with appreciation.

Just look at how special this is ...
What man wouldn't appreciate it?

Then hubby's gift to me was this ...
A new knife block set!
Seriously, I really needed this too.
I can't believe how dull my old knives were.  It's almost embarrassing to admit.
Just look at all those blades?
I've been dicing, slicing and chopping anew.
It's like falling in love all over again.

So if you give gifts for Valentine's Day, I'm really thinking you can't go wrong here.  Flowers and candy are so over-rated.

Don't you think?

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Bestest Pasta Dish

I have a favorite pasta dish.
I invented myself.
Most likely I saw a recipe somewhere and thought, I can make that, and then attempted to do so, but ultimately ended up doing my own thing.
I do that a lot.
And thus, created my very own favorite bestest pasta dish.

Wanna see?
Here's the necessities ...
Pasta ... I like penne or bowties.  These were mini penne (say that 3 times fast).  Ideally I like the normal sized ones.  But when it's dinner time and I still haven't made dinner I usually find out normal isn't going to happen.  So you go with what you've got.

Bacon ... no explanation needed.  Bacon equals happiness.  I've done the research.

Garlic ... once a month I roast about 6 heads of garlic.  Then I have to open all the windows, turn on the whole house fan, light candles and wash my hair.  But it's worth it.  I love the flavor of roasted garlic.  I would usually use about 6 roasted cloves in this dish, but I only had 3 left.  Guess it's that time of the month.
You know what I meant.

Sun-dried tomatoes ... these babies just ooze love.  My dad dries a bunch of tomatoes every summer and I julienne them up, stick 'em a canning jar and cover with olive oil.  But I ran out, so these are from the store.

Cannellini beans ... aka white kidney.  Or you could use great northern, or navy beans.  The key is that they're white beans. Whatever floats your boat.  I like the cannellini ... nice size, texture and flavor.

Parmesan Reggiano cheese ... I buy it by the wedge and grate it or shave it myself.

Pecans ... I use raw.  But you could toast them first if you feel like it.

Basil ... yeah I know, it's not in the photo ... I didn't realize that until later.  Basil is one of my favorites and a must in my herb garden.

But there is this in the photo ...
It's not in the dish, it's just for fun.

Ok ... so I don't have a recipe.  I just basically toss it all together.  You start by frying up the bacon and boiling the pasta.  I dice the bacon and fry it in my cast iron skillet.  Then drain the bacon but leave the good little yummies in the skillet and add a bit of olive oil and the rest of the ingredients, except for the basil and cheese.  Drain the beans first of course.  You just want to heat everything up.

Then shave some of the Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top,
 and tear the basil and add it at the very end ...
there it is! 

You'll want to season with fresh ground pepper ...
Don'tcha just love my gigantic pepper mill?  I got this when I worked at Pottery Barn.  Love it!

Then you toss all that yumminess with the pasta and serve it up in a really fun dish like this one ...
And of course you totally neglect to take a photo of the finished product because by now, even though it only took about 20 minutes to make this dinner, you are still late getting it on the table ... 
because someone needs to go potty and someone else forgot to set the table and someone else didn't finish their math lesson yet and ...

everyone better get in here for dinner now!
And when you're done eating, you realize you forgot to take a photo.

Well it doesn't really matter because you've already had that glass of wine, so it's all good.

Plus, you can just take a photo of the leftovers you had for breakfast ...
I love leftovers for breakfast.  Especially when it's my favorite, bestest pasta dish ever!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Secret Garden

Our home school group has a drama club.
We put on a production every spring.
This year we are doing The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden has always been one of my favorite books.
So I'm very excited about our upcoming play.
The kids are amazing.  We really do have some very talented actors in our little group.

I am honored to be working on costumes this year.  I will also be assisting with sets and props.  This is a home school group remember.  So parents have to do all the work or it just doesn't happen.  This can be a lot of fun but it's still a lot of work.
I find myself dreaming, literally, about this play.
I see costumes and sets designs in my sleep.  This isn't always pleasant or restful.  Actually it creates a bit of anxiety.  I wake up and can't remember what I'm sure was the perfect costume or set design idea.

I have viewed a few of the movie versions of The Secret Garden.
Some are very good.  Some are just OK.  Of course none get exactly what I saw in my head when I read the book.  Isn't it interesting how we all see something different?  But I still appreciate other's creative effort and vision.
I'm just hoping our creative efforts with our production of The Secret Garden will please the audiences that see it.
I'm sure I'll post more about our progress as the season goes on.
We are allowed to tape our production so I can even share video!

So do you have a book to movie where you think they got it right?  Or maybe they went tragically wrong?  What's the best book to movie you've seen?  The worst?


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spring has sprung ...

The weather is warming, the birds are singing, the sun is shining.
Spring is in the air.

You know how I can tell?
My patio has fresh green growth!
In the winter I seriously hibernate.  I do not do outdoor activities.  And it's obvious by these photos, I do not pull weeds.

Just look at the height on this one ...

My 3-year old brought this one to my attention ...
look mommy, a flower!
I hope my garden grows with as much gusto!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Juice!

Living in the Central Valley of California there is always an abundance of fruits and vegetables right in my backyard.
So last year I bought a Jack LaLanne Juicer.
This thing is awesome!
I checked out a few juicing books from the library and found recipes for all sorts of health-inspiring juice combinations.

You need energy?
Want to boost brain power?
Heal from disease?
Improve your circulation?
Cleanse your colon?
Juicing can do that for ya.  Of course I don't remember exactly which fruits and veggies do exactly what, or in what combination, but they all do something important.

I do know that beets are great for cleansing.  Trust me.

I just juice whatever I happen to have on hand.
So I never know exactly what I'm going to get.

Antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes ...
it's all in there and it's all good.

Do you juice?