Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chock Full of Veggies Tortellini Salad

Want to make your summer party guests jump for joy?

Then make this:
 Five Cheese Tortellini Salad!

It's very easy and here's how:

Cook tortellini according to package instructions, 
(cook for 2 minutes in salted water.)
and then rinse in cold water to cool:

Blanch (lightly steam) asparagus.
Slice grape tomatoes in half.
Add chopped celery and one can black olives also sliced in half. (Not pictured)
Use about 1/3 of the jar of artichoke hearts - cut them up a bit.
Add about 1/3 bottle of Brianna's Creamy Balsamic Dressing
or more to taste.
A little S & P to taste.
 I added a little Tony Chacere's original creole seasoning, 
but that's optional.

Enjoy the flavors of summer!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Mitered Dishcloth/Potholder Mania Continues!

And this time there is evidence that I have been joined by friends:

 My friend, Sandra, is the best hot pad dishcloth buddy. :-)
Not only does she crochet beautifully, but she has the most
beautiful blog, as well.
 Visit her here.
Her photos are out of this world!
These are so fun and addictive!!!

Perfect to make while TV watching or even out and about
 as the pack easily into a handbag.
Once you have made a few it's
likely that you no longer need to count.
I make these for gifts and have a bit of a stockpile right now.
They fit so many occasions.
It's always nice to try and coordinate with one's kitchen.
I recently gifted a cherry dishcloth with a bowl of fresh cherries.
(The bowl was part of the gift - Red and white polka dots!)

Join the fun:
The mitered dishcloth pattern can be purchased here.
A free shell edge tutorial can be found here.
A free cherries pattern can be found here.
A really cool rose done in the round pattern can be purchased here

And if you think that's the end of these for now...
well think again! ;-)
There are more to come.

I'm going to try to make an effort to only post about crochet every other post.
Trying to moderate my obsessive ways....
We'll see how that goes!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Protein Packed Huevos Rancheros in Bulk

Now for something completely different:
About once a week I take a day and prepare bulk freezer meals.
(Boy, I'll tell you, for us, this is key to eating healthy and living with less stress!)

Since the NVO lifts weights he prefers meals high in protein,
so today's bulk meal is:
Freezer packs of
Protein Packed Huevos Rancheros
(This is a little too heavy for me as I am trying to shed a few lbs.
I'm more of a rice-protein, almond milk, flaxseed, kale smoothie type of gal...for now,
but this will make a great maintenance breakfast for me, when the time comes.)

 We have been trying to focus on breakfast lately, 
as we have been told to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper.
Seems to be working for us.

So this is how it went down:
First gather up eight containers.
I purchased these online.
(300 of them for about $68 - bulk containers for bulk meals!)
I fill them, microwave them and send them through the dishwasher.
They are great..stack easy, perfect size even look nice,
as I like white!

OK, so now fry up 16 corn tortillas.

 Place two in each container.

Smoosh some re-fried beans on top of the tortillas.
Homemade would be better, but this works  - in a pinch.

Gather up some eggs, cheese and this yummy almond milk.
(Extra protein!)

Put them in a pan with a little melted coconut oil.
Then add sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic and oregano.
(I don't know why I use oregano, it seems Italian....hmmmmm.
I think a "South of the Border" recipe called for it once, so I continue it.)
No fresh oregano this year :-(
Our garden had some issues that we are still trying to figure out.
It's been a weird garden year.

Stir it up -  right in the pan.

Continue cooking until eggs are set.

Put eggs on top of smooshed re-fried beans.

 Time for the sauce:
Combine some yummy tomato like substances and spices of choice.
This is what I had on hand so it's what I used.
I was thankful for the hot enchilada sauce,
it was key to that spicy result that the NVO likes.
Salsa would be good too,
but just plan old enchilada sauce by itself would work, as well.

Pour sauce on top of eggs.

Sprinkle a little cheese on top of that.

 Luckily, cilantro grew this year,

so cilantro was the finishing touch.

Mmmmmm...lots of yummy protein 
(beans, eggs, almond milk with protein, and cheese)
to start the NVO's day off like a king!
I wonder if this might be gluten free, as well?
We have not jumped on that bandwagon,
but many folks do and swear by it!

Oh and what do you think of one of these served on top of this meal?
In my dreams I would add sour cream...or plain Greek yogurt, too.

 Eight total:
Six to the freezer and two to the refrigerator for this weekend's breakfast delights!

Oh, and that made a lot of sauce, 
AND I have some leftover tortillas and cheese...
I'll use those excess ingredients for some 
enchiladas for tonight's dinner.
Perhaps I'll add some chicken (protein).
We'll try to eat very little (pauper) and eat early. ;-)

Do you have a healthy time saving meal that you enjoy?
Please share. :-)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bucolic New Banner

I had been thinking lately that I wanted a more *bucolic banner for the blog.
Something that would represent 
"Tales and Dreams from the Empty Nest" 
(while still including apple blossoms. ;-) )
Something that would represent a lot of different topics
 or any topic, for that matter. 
As an empty nester I have a lot of interests
 and more time than I had in my former full nest days.
(well...more time...hmmm, not sure???)
But I do have a lot to share.

So I engaged a lovely long time acquaintance to help me with a new banner
 and this is what she designed:
I love it!
She captured exactly what I communicated to her,
all via email, which is still amazing to this old timer. ;-)

Check out this special touch:
  That's me and the NVO in our empty nest,
talking about the dreams that came true and dreams to come,
which is what we do quite often.

It's likely that I am the one on the left,
I'm trying to be a better listener, but he is such good one...
hmmmm....on second thought, maybe I'm just waiting for food.

I've been blogging now for nearly five years 
and it's been a dream come true!

This is my third banner and I think it fits in very nicely with this phase of life.

My wish is that no matter what your situation or phase in life
you feel welcome here!

And here's to you, my bloggy friends for your assistance
 in making one of my dreams come true:
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
for all your love and interest!
In hopes you are following your dreams!

*not a word I knew until yesterday, when the Little Bug taught me
 after seeing the new banner and calling it bucolic. :-)
I hope you look up the word, if you don't already know it.
Let me know if you think
it's a good adjective for the new banner.
I have now added it to my vocabulary repertoire
 and you'll be seeing it again, I'm sure! 

Thanks, Little Bug!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mitered Dishcloth Shell Edge

Due to popular demand...haha...
(actually no one asked, but I think someone may have wanted to ask ???),

I've created a free photo tutorial for the shell edge on the mitered dishcloth pattern.

It looks like this:
 And this is how it's done:
First you will need to start off with a mitered dishcloth made from the
instant downloadable and chock full of photos pattern found here.

These differ a bit from the pattern as the ones pictured are worked in both loops of the sc,
just like a regular sc, for a flatter surface for the cherries to rest upon.

If you use this yarn it makes a pretty thick dishcloth.
I actualy prefer a lighter yarn (dk-sport) for a dishcloth and then
I double up two dishcloths with a sc join together if I want to use as a hot pad.
This yarn makes them almost thick enough for a potholder...
but be careful not to get burned unless it's super thick.

Here's an option for a bi-color dishcloth:

If you would like to change color midstream then do this:

  Pull the new color through the last sc of your row:

 Then continue as usual:

Until you get the desired number of rows:
  Then weave in all your ends.

 You could stop here, and you would still have a
mighty fine dishcloth, but that is not what this post is about! :-)

  So, here it goes with the shell edge:

Join the yarn at the base of the "loop":

ch 1

jump over to the area as indicated in the below photos and sc:

ch one:
  sc here:
  keep doing this all the way around,
to the base of the other side of the loop.
Do you see where I went in for each sc?

If not, does this help?:

When you come to the two bottom sides, just skip a st in between each sc 
(don't forget to ch in between the sc's.)
It's easier on these two sides. :-)

It's kind of difficult to see this in the following photo,
 but in the corners, don't skip stitches:

When you get to the loop,
sc all the way around.

then join with a sl st to the beginning ch.

Now, sc in the next st

Then place 4 dc in the ch space from the previous row:

sc in  the next ch space:

Keep doing this alternating 4 dc and 1 sc in each ch space from the previous row.
(This is fun, huh?)

The corner will need to be played with a bit,
try not to skip any spaces so that your corner will be flat.

Here are a few more corner shots:
(They are all slightly different,
and I like that!)

Keep going until you get to the base of the right hand side of the loop,
sl st to join.

And that's it!
Oh, you may want to weave in the ends.
Weaving is fun because you can correct and tighten the beginnings and ends a bit,
with some clever weaving. ;-)
You could stop here if you like....


Do you want to make that cute cherry embellishment?
Then go to the lovely Next to Nicx blog 
and the free pattern can be found by clicking here.
You might want to stay there a bit.
It's a wonderful place!
I used Knitpicks Comfy Fingering in Holly Berry and Peapod.
Found here.
I imagine a sport or dk weight would work too.

These are addictive little buggers!

In my out-of-control state,
I made the following:

This could happen to you!
You've been warned!!! :-)