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Wistful Thinking

July 2, 2014
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I couldn’t help myself.

I saw some crochet thread stored away and something inside of me was nostalgically compelled to crochet. I guess it is just in me to crochet. I have been doing it all of my life.  It is a part of me.

To satisfy my need for hooking, I crocheted these two baskets-

bejeweled baskets

I added a decorative design and beads to the top of the cover.

It’s not like I don’t have enough of these baskets already.

My passion for crafting and crocheting is gnawing at me.

crochet

Having so many ideas I have become manic. wink

Since yarn and other crafting supplies are so expensive, I need to sell some product in order to purchase yarn and supplies in order to satisfy my mania.

Phew!

It is all about confidence (which I sorely lack). Having confidence in oneself helps one to succeed.

Today’s Specials-UGH!

June 26, 2014
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Why dedicate almost a full post to food and cooking? Because that is all I seem to be doing.  At times, I feel like I am running a small restaurant.

Seeing that I pay for this domain and the name, I should be justifying the expense by posting something.  ANYTHING!

Lately, I have been craving fresh raspberries to put on a green salad with grilled citrus chicken drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette then sprinkled with semi-toasted almond slices. This evening, for supper, I satisfied that craving-

raspberry vinaigrette salad chicken

With vanilla ice cream and the leftover raspberries, I topped slices of the Torta di Arancia/Orange Cake I made the day before-

Torta di Arancia/Orange Cake

I had more raspberries in the bowl, but Brian ate most of them before I could snap a picture.

The Torta is a sponge-like cake. The recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I omitted ¼ cup of the all-purpose and used ¼ almond flour instead. It came out delicious and so moist. I use the recipe from this book-

la dolce vita

Because eating out isn’t in the budget, I do all cooking and baking here. Most days, it’s a lot of heavy cooking.  Beside, around here, the only restaurants and bakeries to speak of are McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Pizza Hut and many BBQ joints and supermarket bakeries…Well, you get the idea.

My daughter, who moved back to New England a few years ago, shipped down to us a quart of shucked clams and fresh haddock from Ipswich Fish Market in Massachusetts for Father’s Day.

The Friday before Father’s Day, we fried clams and haddock along with french fries and a side of coleslaw. Sometime we crave the tastes of back home. I froze the rest of the haddock and for Father’s Day, I made baked stuffed haddock. That’s the day I made fresh cinnamon rolls.

Last week I wanted a gyro. Knowing that I wouldn’t get one around this area unless I made one, I did just that-

gyro

Unable to get ground lamb (or any lamb) around here, I substituted the lamb with hamburger and ground pork for the meat. I made tzatziki and the pita bread.

A couple of days later, so as not to waste the leftover yogurt used to make the tzatziki, I made a Greek-type blueberry yogurt.  Into a coffee filter, I strained the plain yogurt into a strainer for a little over an hour until it was thick and creamy, added a little sugar and vanilla and added blueberries (thawed) that I had in the freezer.

Waste not, want not!

Also with the  frozen blueberries, I made a blueberry buckle-

blueberry buckle

I am tired I tell yah! Tired of cooking and tired of meal planning.  But, If I want something other than frozen or prepared foods, I have to cook and or bake. Like today, we are making homemade pizza. We have the pizza sauce all made. All we have to do is make the dough.

I am tired I tell yah!

Simply Irresistible

June 20, 2014
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Twelve days ago (on a Sunday night) while I was sitting on my front stoop, a guy holding a kitten asked me if this was my cat.  He said that it was crawling in and out of our fence.  It looked about 2 months old.  I said no and noted that the little thing had a cut on the side of his eye and looked to be infested with fleas and ear mites.  The fur on his back and his head was covered with a maroon-ish stain. The little kitten wiggled out from his arms and ran up to my front door.  I quickly picked it up for fear that it would run into the road.  While I was holding the kitten, I asked him what he was going to do about it and he said that he couldn’t have any animals and that he was going to let it go. I just could let that happen!  The poor little thing looked so helpless.

cat

Sooooooooooooooooooo, now we have a kitten.  We already have a cat and I was afraid that she would become infested with the fleas and mites plaguing the kitten. However, we took it in, fed and watered him and made a little box for his bed where he stayed all night away from my other cat.

The next day we took him to the vets where they gave him a pill for the fleas and medicine for the mites.  I was astonished, that within 30 minutes the fleas were falling dead from the kitten.  It took 4 hours for the kitten to be flea free.  After that, the little guy came to life and was doing everything a kitten would do.  Before that, he was somewhat listless. I had never heard of a flea pill before. The vet did confirm that it was about 2 months old.

After all the fleas died, I washed and rinsed his back and head with a little baby wash, and it appeared to be blood from another animal. I can just imagine how he got that blood on him.

Luckily, my other cat didn’t get any fleas on her or mites and took to the kitten without a problem.

Brian named him Frankie, but I wanted to name him Mr. Clawsby.  So, his full name is Mr. Frankie Clawsby.

Taken a couple of days after his arrival. This picture shows his little cut on the side of his eye. He likes his little blanket I crocheted for him.

frankie1

This one was taken a few days after the previous one. He is looking much better and the sore on his eye has healed.

frankie2

An added expense that we really can’t afford, but I couldn’t let the little thing suffer.

For father’s day, I made homemade cinnamon rolls
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The Simple Things In Life

June 7, 2014
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Some of us have heard the saying, “The whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead!”  But, white bread taste so darn good!   That’s not to say that I don’t like other types of bread, but white bread is my all-time favorite.  

The Italian Semolina Bread I made the other day was delicious.  This bread is an artisan peasant/rustic type bread cooked on a pizza stone.

Italian Semolina Bread

Many agree peasant bread in any of its incarnations is extraordinarily good comfort food. It can be served in hunks or slices with hearty soups or stews, and is excellent for dipping into sauces. With the near limitless recipes available for various renderings of this simple bread, you’ll find plenty of ways to experiment to make your own bread. –source

The book which includes this recipe and many more can found here.

bread book

Such breads are known for their hearty crumb, a bit of stiffness and crustiness, and generally for their coarseness as compared to breads made with more refined flours. You’ll find numerous recipes online for these rustic breads, with many different suggestions on ingredients. Most are very simple, though, with yeast, flour, water and a little salt being the predominant ingredients, and many are shaped into round loaves. –source

Peasant Italian Semolina Bread

This is a no-knead bread mixed with a spoon in a lidded, plastic food container.  After mixing, you let it sit out for two hours, cover loosely with lid then refrigerate. This dough is best used the next day as it is really sticky and would be too hard to handle. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 10 days.

refrigerated dough bucket

Rustic/peasant cooking and baking are simple, easy, and delicious using minimal and inexpensive ingredients.  That’s what rustic/peasant cooking is all about and what my Italians grandmother would call “Cucina povera”. 

The simple things in life are the best of life.   

Tutti mangiare!

Bread, Thread and Sauce That’s Red

June 4, 2014
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I changed my site around a little by adding a background I made (using psp7) and changing some of the css. My blog was looking cluttered. I got rid of some of the sidebar contents and made some little social icons-using templates I found online-to replace the content that I took down. I still have a little more tweeking here and there to do.  Then maybe, I will just leave well enough alone.

“La donna è mobile.”

It has been one frustrating endeavor to put meals on the table as I had mentioned in an earlier posting. Pricing being a factor then compound that with trying to find the ingredients you need for a recipe in the grocery stores.

Yesterday, we made a large, basic spaghetti sauce/marinara sauce, meatballs with Italian sausage. I can get two meals plus enough of the sauce to freeze for pizza, etc. for another time.

Tom and Brian had spaghetti-

spaghetti

and I had penne.

penne

I love spaghetti, but spaghetti doesn’t agree with me-I just can’t seem to digest it since my two stomach surgeries.

Tonight, I am baking bread using a recipe (Italian Semolina Bread) from this book-

bread book

The recipe calls for semolina flour, of course, the grocery stores here don’t sell pasta flour/semolina flour here (I was hard pressed to find rye flour until I saw that they stocked it in the ethnic section in 2 lb. bags only.  It is some off-brand, organic type that I never heard of before) I had to order-the semolina flour- online from Amazon-FREE SHIPPING. A 2 lb. bag cost 11 cents an ounce, which is cheap enough, but the downside is that for that price I had to buy 6 bags. We wrapped the other 5 bags and put them in the freezer for later use.

As I had mentioned, my passion for crocheting or crafting had waned. However, the other day I came across a crochet project I had worked on and picked it up again a couple of weeks ago. It’s an infant dress crocheted using #20 cotton thread. I just about have the yoke complete-

dress

Yet, for some unknown reason, I have put it aside again. I want to finish it, but I just can’t seem to settle in one place-my mind wanders all over the place.

But, hey!  At the very least we’ll have bread and pasta.  cooking

Pineapple Cake

May 31, 2014
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Added a plugin for embedding tweets.

Looks delicious!

Yay!  It worked!