World Water Day

Did you know today (March 22) is World Water Day?  Here is my water inspiration:

Our water feature we built last year, or as we call it – Radiance Falls. It’s mostly uncovered from snow now, but it will be a while before we can get the pump back in it and running again.  We are so, so fortunate to have clean water. Unfortunately, not everyone does. Still.

You can read more about problems for people without clean water at the CDC website.  And let’s work to keep our water clean. Speak up and let your representatives know that you want clean water.


I’ve been up to my eyeballs in stuff. I know I keep saying I’m busy like I am the only one in the world who is, but that’s why my posting is so sporadic and it is kind of an apology. It’s probably going to stay that way for a while, too.

We did get a chance to see a concert last night. The Boston Brass (quintet) were in town to do a master class for high school students and they put on a free concert in the evening. What a treat! They were fantastic and kind of makes me long for the days when John and I were in a quintet together.  The Boston Brass tour a lot, so check out their schedule and catch them if you can.

John has been doing meal cooking since I’ve gotten so busy. Tonight he made a potato crusted quiche. I’ll have to get him to post the recipe in the comments.  He used the spiralizer to make the potato rounds.

I should have mentioned to him to slice the potato part way down so that he would end up with chips instead of a spiral. He then had to cut them apart.

Delicious quiche!

The potatoes kind of rise up some, which I’m not sure is supposed to happen, but it’s delicious!  On the side is another of those Green Giant riced vegetables. Cauliflower, peas, carrot, green pepper.  This was also good, although I liked the sweet potato one better.

It’s back to work for a bit for me!


As I was getting ready to post,  yet again, more violence in the world. Hate breeds hate. Are we ever going to learn that?

Ditching cable

Spring is this week, but it’s still looking wintery around here.

It’s sunny, though!  The nice thing is the ground was warm from before, so walkways and driveways are nice and clear without being icy.

I spent a lot of time walking this weekend. Downtown and back quite a bit, about 10 miles worth. We were out for St. Patrick’s Day at our summer place, Mean Max Brewery.

Out with family. The group was okay, but way too loud. Or maybe I’m getting old, I don’t know LOL!

I spent a good portion of time taking pictures of product with John being my lighting assistant! Plus styling the little suitcase I painted last weekend.

Shelley has the design eye, so I sent her the picture to critique and she gave me some pointers to do. I’ll keep working on it. The wholesale show is a week from Monday, so I have time to play with it.

We did take time out for some coffee, though!

I think I am more busy now than when i was working my other job plus this stuff. At least I enjoy it.

We finally decided to cut the cable cord. The only thing that we really used of the cable was the DVR for Jeopardy and a few shows. We have Amazon Prime and a fire TV stick, so ditching cable is not a big deal since the main show we watch is on Amazon (Man in the High Castle). The only thing is getting as many football games as we did before, but I guess we will live. And Tour de France. That we can buy an internet package for if we want. We also signed up for Netflix again to stream some shows. We started watching Making of a Murderer and gosh that whole thing is so frustrating! We don’t know how the season ends or where he is now, so no spoilers please!  Overall I haven’t missed cable at all except we don’t get to see Jeopardy hardly ever.

— Another new food find! These are Nasoya vegetable dumplings with tofu:

These are quite good! John cooked them up by pan sauteing them and we had ginger dipping sauce on the side.  I tend to eat a lot more vegetarian at home with John going veggie.  This makes a nice alternative to omelets 😀

Any of you get rid of cable?

Snow and more snow!

That certainly was quite a storm yesterday.  Sometimes you get what’s forecasted and sometimes not. This time we got the Nor’easter. There was a state of emergency called, so the roads were very lightly traveled since a lot of people seemed to listen to the advice.

John shoveled once early and then we went out again after lunch to try to keep ahead of the snow since we don’t have a snowblower.  The snow was falling pretty hard during this.

Yuck! LOL.  That was the last time we went out because the wind began to really pick up and no way would there be any point to shoveling until it was done. Still snowing when we went to bed, too.

Normally Wednesday is Bagel Day, but I knew even if the roads were clear, we would still have to dig ourselves out, so we ate at home. I was so not looking forward to moving snow. Wouldn’t you know that some kind soul took a snowblower up the block this morning!

I don’t know who did it, but thank you!!! That is the really heavy packed stuff from the plows, which is just so hard to shovel.  That meant we only had to do the driveway and front walk.

Not exactly straight, but the mail carrier can get in.

I thought it was funny to see my flag signaling spring.

Oops.  I give a lot of kudos to the road crews. They worked all night and look how clear the roads are after around 20 inches of snow. Bravo!

Bagel Wednesday will have to be Bagel Thursday this week. 😀

——————————————–

On to the next thing – another food find. Green Giant has come out with riced vegetables. They sounded appealing to me, so I picked up a couple different packages. This was one of them:

Microwave for 6 minutes and done. That’s easy!  I also like that there is no sauce or anything on these. I tend to not like pre-sauced veggies. Something about them tastes funny.

Mine was simple with a little butter and S&P. These were good! It almost was like eating rice. Served alongside a turkey burger. I’m not like Biz with the styling of the plate LOL!

Now it feels like winter all over again.  There were some tulip greens just pushing out of the ground and now they are covered. It will be a while before this all melts because temps going to be in the upper 30s and low 40s for the next few days.  At least it’s light later!

Mini suitcase project

Is anyone else really tired of these cold and windy weekends? Yuck! We won’t be biking for a while yet, especially as snow is heading in this week to give us a good dumping. Biking in February? Sure! Biking in March? Hmmmmm….

Anyway, I did get a chance to work on a little project that I’ve been wanting to do since last summer when I picked this up. Old vintage suitcase:

It’s not big, only about 15 inches across.  It didn’t smell at all inside, which was a bonus LOL! The fabric was good on the bottom, but the top was all ripped up and I removed it before this picture:

I thought this would be a nice prop for displaying my soaps and stuff. So, after cleaning it up a bit, I made a chalk paint to use all over it, including the fabric (makes it feel leathery). The color is Moonlight White, which is the paint color of our kitchen cabinets – guess where I got the paint?? 😀  It’s an off white. No quite cream, but not really bright white.


Looks much better now. I also painted the hardware flat black.  For the inside, I did a transfer of my logo on the inside lid.  I’ve done this before on a dresser, but the method was a little different since this is a smaller piece.  You need a shiny paper, like wax paper or something coated. My sheet happened to be an empty peel and stick label sheet, which has the perfect sheen and bonus that it fits in the printer.

I used Open Office to reverse my logo and print it out (inkjet) onto the shiny side:

Since the chalk paint is a matte finish, this works really well as a technique. I used a damp sponge to moisten the suitcase lid and then pressed the paper on:

I just rubbed it a bit. It’s sort of like a temporary tattoo.  Voila!

Now the surface of the inner lid was rough, which is why the print came out like that. I wasn’t sure I liked it at first, but it has that bit of vintage vibe to it.

After I got done, John said “It’s so you!” 😀 Now to style the inside with product.

Sunday was sister time!  I met up with my sis for some coffee. Multiple attempts at a selfie with not a ton of success.


My head is giant LOL!

Latte:

I don’t know if any of you remember the Super Bowl ad from last year where a small business won a free 30 second commercial? It was for Death Wish Coffee, a local company, and this is their retail store in Saratoga.

Good stuff.  It was good catching up, too.

Who else loves the evening being lighter as of today? Meeee!! Although I do hate thinking it’s one time and it’s another.  Now to get ready for snow…

Bananas Foster pancake

I guess Tuesday was National Pancake Day? I didn’t know that, but somehow I ended up making a pancake for breakfast 😀

You know I have had the love for Kodiak cakes lately:

This was super easy and delicious.  This serves one. No sharing!  I used an 8-inch oven safe skillet for this.

Turn on the broiler in your oven. Place pan on between medium and medium-high and spray with non-stick coating. Slice a banana in 1/2 inch slices and place in the pan.

I will hit this side with a little spritz of non-stick as well, just to keep everything mobile.  Cook for a couple minutes until you see the bananas start to become translucent on the bottom. Then flip.

Noms. These are good just like this on oatmeal, too.  I will put cinnamon on these as well. Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar on the banana slices.

Mix up a serving of Kodiak cake mix in a bowl. I used the whole 1/2 cup of water this time (normally I don’t for fluffier cakes). Pour evenly over the banana mixture.

Like with any pancake mix, lumps don’t matter. Now let this cook until bubbles form and you can see the edge puff up. It takes just a minute or two.

See how the brown sugar is oozing up with the bubbles? Yes, indeed.

Now stick the whole pan under the broiler.

Do not walk away. Don’t do it. It takes a minute or two under the broiler to cook the top. Don’t forget the oven mitt when taking the pan out.

Loosen around the edges and flip the pan upside down over a plate and the cake should fall out pretty much in one piece. You need to do this right away while the sugar is liquid. Otherwise it will stick to the pan.

Only one little bit stuck on me. I’m not sure how this picture looks, but trust me – this is so good! It’s got 14 grams of protein, too! Woo!

Cat grass

It sure went from really warm to really cold, literally overnight on Friday!  We woke up to this:

What you can’t see is how windy it was. We went out and it was bitter, bitter cold. Yuck!  Indoor exercising, that’s for sure!

We went to the Troy farmers market for something different and when the wind gusted while we were walking, it took your breath away.

The market was nice. There were a lot of artisans there as well. In fact, one of our business customers sells there, so it was nice to get to talk to them a bit. I would have loved to stroll around Troy a little more, but the cold and wind. Nope. I do have to show you a picture of one store we stopped in. It’s a bookstore and they have the best couch there:

I love it! New upholstery and it would shine. Our sofa actually kind of looks like this, which is why we chose that one since I love that style.

At the market, I bought a bowl. I just can’t resist pottery!

I really, really need to stop buying bowls. Need plates now 😀  It would be nice to have our dinnerware all handmade pottery.

I also picked up something for Pixie – cat grass. When we take her outside, she will eat some — and not to mention she will eat any seedlings I try to grow. So, I figured she would probably like it.

Oooo – What’s this??

….

Nom, nom, nom! I was a little afraid she was going to gorge and barf, but she just gorged LOL. I don’t know how long this will live for. I guess it depends on how much she eats of it.

It was a nice day. It seems both of us are working 6 days a week right now, so we are trying to take advantage of Saturdays.  I’m a bit behind in my social media reading, so sorry about that!

Insomnia and camera playing

Let’s see… where was I?  Just busy.  I’m pretty immersed in business stuff right now, which isn’t really of interest.  We’ve been eating easy meals like the tomato soup with added pasta and I also had some frozen turkey burgers. I haven’t had those in so long and decided I don’t really like them that much. It’s way better to get ground turkey and make my own. Sometimes convenience pays off, sometimes it doesn’t.

My insomnia seems to have gotten a little worse lately. Waking earlier. Today I was up at 3:30 and when you don’t go to bed until 11:00, that’s just not enough sleep.  I need lots of coffee.

Maybe I should triple up on melatonin. My PCP had told me to double my dose and that seemed to help for a while. I’m getting in exercise every day as well. Sigh.

I have had my uber camera out working on product photos. I took some editorial shots and was pretty happy with how they came out.  Here is my set up – don’t laugh!

I didn’t use my light box because I wanted a background. The base is also extra cork floor boards from our kitchen remodel 😀

Out of many, many shots, I got one that I liked and it was just the soaps.

Here is the finished picture:

The colors really pop. I was holding a light over my shoulder in one hand and clicking the shutter with the other. I couldn’t find my remote shutter control, of course. It sure would be nice to hire someone for these. And I will never complain about photographer fees – they earn every penny. This stuff is hard to do, especially when you don’t really know what you’re doing!

Here’s hoping for a good night’s sleep tonight. I’m due for a crash and burn 🙂

Biking and burgers

February is almost over and winter seems to be making another appearance. However, the temperatures on Saturday were quite warm. There was rain forecast for the afternoon, so John and I suited up for a ride after breakfast.

Ah yes, washing my fleece tights with other clothing items and It’s lint city. Oh well 😀

The roads were a little drier than the other day and we decided to check out the path and see how it looked.  Oops

Started okay, but then got too sloppy to keep going. So, road riding it was. After about 9 miles or so, it seemed the wind was really starting to pick up. It was quite a head wind for a bit. That was the start of the cold front moving through and the rest of the day was soooo windy. Good thing we went out early or I would not have been a happy camper.  We ended up with about an hour of riding, which was pretty awesome!

Having a weekend day with no work and no projects meant getting out for the day. We went down to Saratoga and had lunch out. I don’t remember what restaurant closed, either TGI Fridays or Pizzeria Uno – some chain restaurant, whatever, but in it’s place went a Red Robin.

We haven’t been to one in years. We used to go somewhat regularly when we lived in Colorado and Illinois (I think?) It’s funny, I remember either the evening of our wedding or the day after, we had dinner at Red Robin. 20 years ago LOL! I seem to remember my hair being done up, but wearing regular clothes. Anyway, it hasn’t changed all that much. My favorite burger was still on the menu, the bleu burger:

This has steak sauce, blue cheese and little crispy onion strips on it. It was really good. John got a burger, but substituted a veggie patty and he was a happy camper with that.

The fries there are bottomless, but honestly they are just kind of meh. Certainly not on par with 5 Guys or BurgerFi, so no point in having more brought out. Not worth the calories. Also, the burger was really filling. It ended up being the only meal I ate the rest of the day!

We did stop for a treat later, though. A ginger cookie with lemon buttercream.

I guess this was dinner LOL. Seriously – I think this is my favorite cookie. It’s usually devoured on a long ride day. Of course, we only did an hour of biking and a few miles of walking. Not really enough to balance out the burger and the cookie, but the food was good.

We walked around downtown Saratoga and into some of the nearby neighborhoods. I love the architecture there. Actually, I love it all over our area. This is a group of buildings called Franklin Square. They are mid 19th century and Greek revival style.

Some of the buildings house offices and retail and others are just apartments.

They are quite impressive.  I just love looking at old buildings. Makes you wonder what stories they could tell.

Thinking about that burger I ate and how full it made me, portion sizes just are too big most of the time.  I have to share this ridiculous item I saw while grocery shopping this morning. These are muffin tins.

Jumbo muffin tins and they aren’t kidding. Look at how deep they are:

That’s a good 4 inches deep. That’s not a muffin. It’s pretty much mini cake size. A muffin that big would probably run 700-800 calories easy. Who needs one that big? I guess you could share, but if I want a muffin, I don’t want to share it LOL! I’d rather just have a smaller one.  Just when you think maybe people will be more conscious of portion sizes and this product comes out.

February biking!

It sure doesn’t feel like February lately. We got all that snow around Valentine’s Day and now it has been very warm. Temps got into the 60s!

I’ve been working at paying more attention to my eating again after our Mardi Gras party. I just love food. That’s what makes it hard. Yes, I stress eat, but I also just really like food LOL!

Breakfast of cream of wheat with a mashed banana and eggs whites cooked in topped with PB&J.

450 calorie breakfast.

There are still some leftovers, particularly the red beans and rice.

This is one of those dishes where the leftovers are better than the original day.

On Thursday, it was just so nice that we had to get the bikes out. That meant uncoupling mine from the trainer and dragging it down the stairs. Of course, I am not going to put it back up there now, so it’s out to stay.

Normally the first ride of the year has a lot of starts and stops as you get the equipment (and yourself) going, but this ride was super smooth in that department.

The good thing about riding the trainer is that it keeps my sit bones conditioned for riding. It doesn’t help my hill and endurance legs, but at least there’s that.

The roads are pretty clear now. The shoulders are another story.

Some places there was snow in the shoulder or standing water. This road was dry, but the shoulder is covered in sandy grit, which can lead to flat tires as it works its way under the rims.

There were a lot of spots where the roads were quite wet with melting snow and we ended up getting a lot of spray. My bike (and my legs) were filthy after the ride.

That was on the front of my legs, too. Ick.  It was a great first ride, though. 12 miles. Woo Hoo! Not sure when the next ride will be, but can’t complain about getting out in February!

My garden has something peeping through the snow:

This area gets snow slide off the roof so this was really buried for a while. Can you feel spring coming?

The other thing with warmer weather is the bugs start waking up. I posted this on FB, but Pixie was having fun chasing a stink bug around.

Seriously – where do these things come from?

Mardi Gras party

It’s that time of year! Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, so it was time for our party. We had it a little earlier than usual because of scheduling conflicts with next weekend, but it’s all good in the end.

We had a good lineup of food, but then again, whenever we get together – there is a lot of food LOL!

John made vegetarian red beans and rice (from scratch).

These were very good. I’ll have to have him post the link to the recipe because I don’t know what it was.

Top: Shrimp and grits. Cheese grits topped with shrimp cooked with bacon. From Bobby Flay. This was really good.

Left: Tabasco biscuits (from my sis). Recipe here. Nice and spicy!

Right: Baked chicken with a creole sauce.  I did the chicken and sauce separate in case John wanted some sauce with his meal. Here is the recipe for that.  It’s really good and chock full of veggies.

There was game playing, although I didn’t partake this time because I was finishing up the dessert. Bread pudding.

On one of our first trips to New Orleans, I took a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. It was a fun class and we got to eat at the end! I loved the bread pudding recipe and it’s the one we always use. You can customize it 10 ways to Sunday with different flavors like chocolate, peanut butter, pineapple, etc. This time, the raisins and coconut were omitted (I don’t think we have ever put in raisins) and it was just the basics. This dessert is so worthy. Hello pound that I lost last week, but I don’t even care  😀

Masks are fun, but they are kind of scary at the same time.

Any favorite cajun/creole dishes you like?