Friday, January 29, 2010

food day friday: homemade onion rings

One large onion (or two medium ones)
ice water
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 and 1/4 cups of buttermilk
1 egg
baking soda
cooking oil

Slice the onion and separate into rings.

soak the rings in ice water for two hours.

drain and dry with towel to remove excess moisture

mix flour, salt, baking soda, egg and buttermilk until well blended for the batter.

heat oil (I have no idea to what temp. I used my "super burner" eye on high and then adjusted the temperate as needed) -- side tip -- growing up when my dad would fry french fries or tater tots at home, he would drop a couple of popcorn kernels into the oil and when they popped, he declared the oil hot enough.

I mixed my batter in the same big bowl I soaked my onions in so it would be large enough to put all the rings in to sit in the batter while frying in batches.

I don't fry much. we never fry french fries or anything like that so I no idea about cooking time. but they cooked FAST. a couple of minutes on each side -- or until golden brown. As I said before, we don't fry much so I have little experience watching the "puff" of the batter while they were frying.

They were great with ketchup mixed with a shake of tabasco.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I love to crochet ...

... and I wish I knew how to read patterns ... and I wish it was easier for left-handed me to learn by watching the right-handed video on youtube.

that is all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

nativity scene: cayman islands style

It's a shell of some sort, hollowed out and the nativity scene decorated inside. [I should have asked of what sort when I bought it in the Cayman Islands] this one of the three nativity scenes I bought on the cruise that I've been talking about on the last two nativity scene posts. [the last one I'm saving for the final post because it's my favorite.]
the lid.
the inside. I love the bright colors. Mary also has a halo here too, as does Jesus and either the angel or Joseph. the mystery halo figure it looks like a man, but it wouldn't make much since for it to be Joseph. unless it was a MALE angel. ok. that makes perfect sense. it's a male angel. mystery solved.
Baby Jesus looks like he has the "prayer hand" post along with everyone else. and a face much wiser than an infant.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Food Day Friday: Egg Rolls

I'm the girl that when the situation arises to eat cheap Chinese food, I want an order of hot and sour soup, 4 egg rolls and about 20 packets of duck sauce. Yes, that's me. save your lo mein, your mongolian beef, your orange chicken. no thanks. I love egg rolls [and hot and sour soup]

Our local Wal-mart surprises me fairly often {remember the goose?} Recently we found egg roll and won ton wrappers [which we now use to make the easiest ravioli EVER] I was definitely excited about the egg roll wrappers.

think of all the possibilities of things you could put in egg rolls. endless. endless.

we typically use:
cooked rice [our first batch we used rice noodles, but they are WAY more expensive and our wal-mart or local grocery store doesn't carry them. plain white rice is an excellent substitute]
raw grated carrot [washed and peeled, of course. I think I use 4 or 5 depending on the size]
a bunch of diced raw green onions [we like the green onion bite here better than any other onion]

To me folks that is the perfect egg roll. but Husband, well, he likes protein. So this time [about a week ago] we used chicken. we're actually having them tonight [Thursday] and using shrimp.

imagine though: pork, sausage, steak, cabbage, peas, broccoli snow peas, those little corn on the cob thing . you could come up with so many combinations.

this is the grated carrots, onion and lentils. this batch is a little more carrot heavy than usual because it was a last minute dinner idea and my lentils hadn't really sprouted that well.

left is the chicken [leftover from the night before, and cut up finely] and right is the rice. I usually cook 2 cups of uncooked rice which is WAY more than enough. I just like rice.

our egg roll shells. we found them in the refrigerated section of the produce department. They are so easy to use. [and I've definitely spent my fair share of time slaving over filo dough]

Next we just followed the directions on the package. We stuffed the center of the wrap. Husband did this one and it's got WAY too much chicken in it for my taste. Wet two connecting sides with water. Roll and the water acts as a glue to seal the egg roll.

cooking. you could definitely deep fry them or bake your egg rolls, but we pan fry with a little bit of vegetable oil in the pan. The cook VERY fast so keep your eye on them and if you're pan frying, turn regularly until all sides are brown.

That's it. So easy. we always make about 2 dozen. so we get our fill for dinner and lunch the next day. leftover egg rolls are fabulous.

I top mine with a little bit of duck sauce [after reading the ingredients on the label, I may try to make my own soon] and Husband uses chili sauce.
If you're more of a soy sauce person I did this the first time we made them and it's pretty good:
is equal parts sesame oil and rice wine vinegar and triple the soy. or to taste. you get the idea. little oil and vinegar more soy.

lastly, my little helper. Daughter has taken quite the interest in cooking. well, she takes an interest in ANY that I [or Husband] am doing. She loves to announce "ME TOO" and get right to the business of helping. we let her stuff her own egg roll with what little carrot she managed to grate and a couple of handfuls of rice. she reported back that it was good.
btw, see that radio sitting on the counter? I melted it last week. I'm such an ace in the kitchen! [face palm] :-)

Nativity Scenes: a snapshot.

before I tell you the story of this nativity scene I'm going to share with you a cautionary tale.

Remember the cruise I mentioned in my last Nativity Scene post? Well, I didn't have a digital camera at the time and my fabulous travel companion didn't either. I vaguely remember having a discussion about how we should just take one camera and then split the cost of film and developing the pictures. It seemed like a very logical idea at the time. only one camera to keep track of. We chose mine ... or I chose mine. probably the latter because I'm slightly bossy. Anyway. I took the camera. We used I think 6 rolls of film for our seven day cruise and had the best time. We got back home and headed straight to wal-mart. yes. STRAIGHT to wal-mart for film developing. one hour, of course. we were in a hurry to relive our vacation. We get them back. they were all blurry.

wow. I can't even begin to explain how mad we were. The wal-mart film developers were of little help and seemed to think we should have known there'd be a problem with the film.

it seems every time one of us carried that camera through the ship's metal detector we fried the film. seriously, we had no idea that metal detectors did that to film. On the he cruise line's website's FAQs was a blurb about don't worry if you forget film, we have some for sale in the store. but no warnings are taking said film OFF the ship. geez. I felt like an idiot for not knowing this because, sure enough there's all kinds of camera and film canisters that protect film from metal detectors.

so, I know most people have upgraded to digital, but in case you're still a film user [and you haven't heard this before] metal detectors are bad for film. seriously. lesson learned. the hard way.

SO. this is a nativity scene that was set up in Mexico right off the cruise dock. That's our ship in the background. It's hard to see the details [bc of the film blur] but it really was so neat to look at in person. It was after Christmas but still up because it was before Epiphany. yes, I count it in my collection.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I love store brands [most of the time]

I thought I loved Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion until I tried Wal-mart's version.

equate Ultra Restoring Skin Therapy Lotion is amazing and HALF the price, at my Wal-mart anyway. store brand prices vary by store.

Anyway, I love this lotion. We put it on the kids every night because of their especially dry winter skin (and Son's constant drooling) I use it on my elbows, hands and this little dry patch of skin I always seen to have under my chin. [what is up with that?]

It's great. It's got a nice clean smell ... no fruits or flowers. It absorbs great and it not greasy.

So unless there's a buy-one-get-one-free deal out there for the Gold Bond or you just like to spend more, save some money and get a product that's just as good (or better in my opinion)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nativity scenes: the one from Mexico

This is the last nativity scene that I put out for Christmas 2009. I got it in Mexico between Christmas Day 2004 and Epiphany (2005). Brooke and I were on a cruise and wishing we could just stay in Mexico a little longer [maybe a lot longer, that was a fun day] seriously. I could write a whole series of blogs about that cruise.

This one is probably the only one I have with obvious Catholic influence. [i.e. Mary has a halo.] it really is so beautiful. The pictures don't do it justice. It also has a larger cast that normal nativity scenes. A greater cloud of witnesses, if you will. It seems that Joseph is missing and two children(?) bringing gifts have come. I don't know if Joseph is missing because I bought an incomplete set or if he just wasn't included. I got it at an open air market for $6.
the kids. ? eh, maybe they are kids. Maybe they are kneeling adults. I don't know.
At first I thought this was Joseph. but now I think he's the shepherd, because he looks much older than Joseph would have been plus he has a shepherd's crook in his hand. I'm saying those three little lambs are his charges.
The Wise Men. check out the guy on the right's goatee. it makes me smile.

Baby Jesus. asleep. little red lips.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nativity Scene: childen's nativity scene, number 1

This nativity scene makes me smile. and it reminds me of two others I have almost identical to it. I also have the "white" version and the "mini" version which is just like this one except the pieces are all smaller than quarters.

This one came from wal-mart. it has the typical 12 pieces. I like the muted colors and warm tones. I also like that it's a child version. all the characters are children.

It was displayed on the sub-woofer for the record player speakers on the buffet in the dining room [that was a mouthful]. Husband was in charge of placement of this nativity scene so there you have it. all the characters are focused on baby Jesus, not really concerned that we are looking at them. I doubt Husband thought of any deeper meaning when he was arranging them, but I left them exactly as he did - focused on Jesus. except for the selfish donkey ... was wasn't interested.

Baby Jesus is asleep, covered in a blanket.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

nativity scenes: the musical

This nativity scene was a gift from my in-laws for my birthday one year. It's beautiful. It's a one piece barn scene and besides the straw roof that doesn't seem to belong, I think blends so well together.

and best of all? it plays music. O' Holy Night. Like a music box minus the box. It was on the buffet in the dining room for Christmas 2009 and Daughter loved winding it up and dancing to the song.

the thing that cracks me up about this nativity scene is one entire side of the box is devoted to the makers and their history. "Fontanini Brings Italian Artistry and Tradition to Your Family" then there's a family picture of attractive Italian men. Then, "Fontanini figures are crafted in Bagni di Lucca, a charming Italian village nestled in the hills of Tuscanny" ... "yada yada" then you look at the bottom of the box and it says, "MADE IN CHINA" maybe it's just the box. Anyway, the company's website is

Baby Jesus. awake. smiling. arms open and inviting. with just a swatch of cloth to keep him modest.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

nativity scenes: international bazaar

This Nativity Scene is fantastic. it was a gift from my Aunt and Uncle the Christmas they found out I'd started collected them. it's so unique. Notice all the cut out windows (and the star) in the buildings? it's because they are votive holders. there's a place in the back to put a lit votive. They light the whole building up. it's beautiful. I also like the lack of color. it wasn't needed, I think.

There are 11 pieces and it was on the center of the mantle for Christmas 2009. it doesn't have an angel, but the cross on top of the building makes up for it. there's a shepherd holding a lamb and another standing lamb.

I tried about 10 times to get a picture with the buildings lit but just couldn't pull it off with my camera.

Baby Jesus. sleeping. legs crossed. not really swaddled.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

nativity scenes: immediate family only

I love this nativity scene. mainly for its simplicity. It's only one piece with only Mary, Joseph and Jesus. I got it at Wal-mart a few years ago for $3. Everyone is white ... just like in the Bible. [snicker, snicker] it made it to the mantle for Christmas 2009.

interestingly enough, Joseph doesn't have his hand over his heart, as it appears at first glance. that's his left hand and it's on the right side of his chest. there's no heart on that side.

fair haired baby Jesus has his arms open and inviting again. I like that.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the Adventures of Son: sitting and standing [not in that order]

I told Son that all I wanted for Christmas was for him to sit up. He was almost 8.5 months old. I didn't think I was asking too much.

seriously, for the previous month he'd been pulling himself up to stand in his crib and on furniture and crawling like someone was chasing him but STILL no sitting!! I'd never heard of pulling up to stand before sitting. craziness. Son is already a rebel. rule breaking kid.

Then on Christmas afternoon, after lunch, we were all sitting around. Son had just woken up from his nap and was enjoying Nanny and Papa love. We put him on the floor so he could crawl around and check out his new toys. He crawls over to Daughter's new jump rope, grabs it and sits up like he's been doing it for weeks!

and he was polite enough to wait on me to grab the camera before he started crawling away again. [such a sweet considerate boy]

this is a picture of Son standing up against the love seat tonight . I love it because you can really see 2 of his 6 teeth.
ah, Son. He's a fabulous person.

the Adventures of Daughter [and Gracie]: bedtime

Gracie has different sleep spots in the house. She'll sleep in the same place for weeks, then BAM ... she's ready for a change and she'll find a new place to sleep for weeks.

Gracie has slept under the Christmas tree, on the couch, on my pillow, on top of my feet, on top of the fridge, in the bathroom sink, on a kitchen cabinet ... pretty much anywhere she wants.

When Daughter was about 6 months old we found her sleeping in the opposite side of Daughter's crib that Daughter was sleeping in. That was just one night, but we documented it on the handycam.

Daughter loves Gracie [or EE as Daughter calls her] We've even taken to calling her EE.

We figured it was only a matter of time before EE found Daughter's bed for the night.

and it's happened.

Gracie's been sleeping in Daughter's bed for almost two weeks now. I finally got the courage up to sneak in and take a picture. it's not a big deal to sneak into your child's room to watch them sleep, but it is a big deal so sneak into a pitch black room with a camera and flash a picture.

This is Thursday night. Gracie had settled in but not gone to sleep yet.
Last night, Daughter went to bed before EE was in there. Daughter was upset and kept telling Husband she wasn't ready for bed because EE wasn't in her bed. Husband reassured her that EE would be there soon. "O-tay" Daughter laid in bed waiting. About 5 minutes later we saw Gracie walk into Daughter's room and soon after heard, "EE! EE! YAY! tom bed EE"

so cute. I sneaked in last night and got another picture.
This morning Daughter woke us up by coming into our room screaming, "EE, EE, EE, EE, EE, tom see" Husband took Daughter's hand and followed her into her room where EE was still asleep on the bed. Daughter was so proud. "look, EE sleep bed"

she loves that cat. and the cat is very tolerant of her love.