Spring Trip

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In IL visiting the siblings. We have great plans for my weekend. Of course some of our plans involve a bit of wine.

Everytime I come to visit we try to hit a new winery. This time we visited Star View Vineyards. They have beautiful grounds surrounding their events/tasting building. We tasted five of their sweet wines which were all quite tasty. We left with souvenir glasses and a bottle of wine for later.

While shopping in town we got more scrapbooking supplies. Beth and I have decided that our distant descendents will likely be putting the final touches on our wedding scrapbooks long after our deaths.

We also stopped by the international grocery to grab a sushi mat. I hope you’re looking forward to see photos from the sushi rolling tonight. I expect a delicious train wreck.

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After shopping we hung out at Rustle Hill Winery with a pitcher (or two) of their white sangria. Tom opted for a Gunslinger beer. After getting sufficiently spiffled we came home so Tom could catch up.

Beth and I slowed our boozing down with chocolate chip cheesecake dip, graham crackers and port. I made the sweet dessert dip earlier yesterday. It is so completely worth the 10 minutes it takes to put together. Want the recipe? Stay tuned.

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Hope your week is going just as well. We’ll be hitting the Giant City State Park trails midmorning and picnicking in the woods.

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Pinterest Discoveries of the Week

I have been debating writing a blog like this for some time. I have come to the conclusion that since no one is paying me to write blogs I should utilize that freedom and write about things I enjoy. So, as a dutiful reader, if this blogs is boring to you then just skip over it. No one is paying you to read my blog either. However, I make a piercing internal squeal every time I get a comment on like on my blogs.

I hope to make this type of post a weekly thing. Maybe some recipes, some inographics, pretty pictures or Farm-esque how-tos that I find on Pinterest. I won’t pick more than 10 because I feel like that this post will be entirely too long if I do so.

Sweet pins from Pinterest

Homemade Siracha Sauce
I mean doesn’t that picture just beg you to make it? I don’t know when I will get a chance to make this deliciousness. The recipe is

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pretty darn easy too. I’m sure you would dice everything tiny and strain it if you didn’t have a food processor.  I think if I made it myself I would use it more often in my recipes at home. I would definitely use homemade Siracha in my Spicy Thai noodles. Yummo! As soon as I read the blog title out loud Kit started searching for Fresno pepper seeds. Looks like we’ll e ordering them from Sustainable Seed Co.

 Adorable Blue Heeler Puppypuppypix
I think I pinned this one twice by accident. My eyes just keep dancing back and forth between his little fat tummy and his round puppy face. Although Kit prefers red heelers, this is the same type of working dog that he wants on the farm. Kit’s last heeler passed away before I met him. I don’t know how I will feel having a dog that is smarter than me on the farm, but they sure are sweet looking dogs.

creamersAfter finding some CoffeeMate seasonal creamers on sale at Kroger I got inspired to make my own. I knew Pinterest would have a copycat recipe so I went on the hunt. Yes, Pinterest is my Google-search for recipes. Don’t worry, Google, you’re still my go-to for stupid meme images that I want to share. Pinterest did not disappoint. After I gather a few ingredients I hope to be refilling my legit Coffeemate bottle with my own creamer. Here’s the link to my favorite Creamer Copycat Recipes pin.

warmupIt should come as no surprise that I have been pinnning some fitness/exercise stuff and going through some of the pins I already have. I have had to delete or repin some to make then link to the correct site. So hopefully if you go through my Fitness pinboard you will have an easier time of things. I accidentally ended up at a Pilates class the other night at the Y and my core/stomach muscles are still sore. Yes, two days later. Obviously, this is something I should do. So as to not bombard you with a armsivilliagethousand fitness pins I will just share one about Great Warmup Exercises and another that has several Arm Exercises with dumbbells.

Next up is a pin I just had to have after tasting it. It seems I do this a lot after just having visited my SiL’s house. We pick something online and I bug the crap out of her until she shares greekdressingthe recipe with me. This Greek Salad dressing is divine! I am hoping to switch over to all homemade dressing as soon as we run out of our store bought ones. Kit hasn’t tried this and is skeptical of many vinaigrettes, but I could also make him some ranch or blue cheese sometime.

Another pin I added to my Beautiful Things board was a pendant with a Shakespeare Quote on it. It comes from one of my favorite

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plays–Much Ado About Nothing. Sadly, this pin links to a website where you have to be a member to view the products. Ain’t NOBODY got time for dat!! Perhaps instead this could be an embroidery project. I would love, love, love to have this in a pendant though. sigh.

carrrots roasted

Another thing Beffers made for me during our last visit were carrots roasted in amazing. I believe it was honey and balsamic vinegar? I love carrots and generally cooked carrots scare me. People tend to want to overcook them and drown the in purse sweet stuff. Not how I like my carrots. These were cooked just right and the honey wasn’t the main player. Delish!

The final recipe was one Beffers and I decided would be our next trial drink when we get together. We love Angry Orchard cider and mojitos. This might just blend those two things together nicely. Theangry mojito  The Angry Crisp Mojito. During my last visit we made Angry Aliens for my brother’s Alien Invasion themed birthday party. They went quite well with our screening of Mars Attacks. Oh yeah….I forgot to tell you all about my brother’s Alien Birthday. I should really work on that.

What cool pins have you discovered recently?

Would you like me to share more pins in the future??
About Cooking
Farm Stuff
Cute Pictures
Embroidery                       ?? Tell me, tell me.

**All photos belong to the original bloggers that I have linked.**

Playing with Scents

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Over Christmas, my SiL pulled out an awesomely smelifurous crafty thing.
Wadgie had been hanging on to tons of glass bottles with eyedroppers for just such an occasion. She also gathered all her essential oils and grape seed oil.
Then the smelling commenced. We got to smell the different oils and my other sister brought some tiny vials of fancy perfume that we got to whuffle.
Whuffle–To smell vigorously. As a dog looking for a treat hidden in bed covers.

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I would share some recipe, but it really depends on your individual likes. Put a desired amount of grape seed oil in a bottle. Add an essential oil you like drop by drop. It is easier to make the scent a little stronger by adding a few more drops.
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I mixed a bottle of lavender and infused it with leaves from a lavender bush in the front yard. My second bottle used one of the perfumes called Snapdragonfly. It has almost a vanilla and cotton candy sweetness to it. For my final bottle I used the grapefruit essential oil. That will be lovely to use once the fruit trees start blooming.
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Because we had so many smells flying around we had to make sure each one was perfect. We ran out of “clean” spots on our hands and wrists. We had to start using elbows for smell tests.

So how do you use it?
I mostly I put a few drops on both elbows and hands. My hands especially get super dry and cracked in the winter.  Rubbing it in takes just a second and the grape seed oil soaks in faster than many greasy lotions.
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My SiL also uses it for a nice relaxing soak in the bath tub. Just put enough drops in to satisfy your nose and hop in!

This was an awesome activity to get our noses working around Christmas. I tried to drag Kit into the mix, but as you can see it turned into a girls only smellathon. I can’t believe how much fun we had! May have to buy some more essential oils and do this again or at our next get together!

~Kat

Traditions: Black Eyed Peas, Kale & Ham

Have you heard of the Southern New Year’s Day tradition of black eyed peas and greens? Well, apparently it is a thing. Usually we were celebrating my sister’s birthday so there wasn’t much time for other random traditions. Now that we’re grown and siblings are moved far apart I feel a strong need to fill that gap in my celebrations calendar.

I guess you could say I want to make this soup for my sister…in a weird proxy celebratory way. However, this is a “normal” Southern thing. Don’t worry, I won’t be putting a dime in the pot. Check out About’s summary of the tradition, they even have some common recipes.

Some of my hopes for the new year are to try more new recipes. So what better way to start the year? I have wanted to try this recipe for years now and I’m excited to say that I have a few guinea pigs that are willing to eat anything. 

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Black-eyed Peas and Kale Soup

Big thanks to Jean on her Yikes Money Blog for sharing her recipe.
Her recipe inspired me, but as you will notice there are some variations between the two.

  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb dried black eyed peas
  • 8 cups of beef broth (possibly another cup of liquid)
  • 1/2 TBSP of rosemary
  • 4 cups of kale, de-veined bite size pieces
  • 3 cups ham, cooked and cubed
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Green onions, diced, for topping

Directions

My plan is to cook the beans in a pot or crock pot before hand and then cook them with the rest of the ingredients later. So I suppose step on is cook the beans. Another part of me wants to dump everything into the crock pot at the same time, but I’m worried the rest of my veggies will get too tender.
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
Dump all the rest of the ingredients into a crock pot and cook until veggies are tender.

Of course, if I start losing time, I will saute the onions and garlic first. Add carrots, tomatoes, celery, seasonings and broth and allow veggies to get tender. Add pre-soaked beans, cook some more. Add kale and ham last.

We’ll see how this all goes. I’m hoping to fix gingerbread cookies (for extra spice in 2014?) and cornbread to go with the soup. I am debating getting some cheap sparkling wine for some mimosas. I don’t have a cutesy reason….except maybe that mimosas are amazing.

What do you eat special for the new year?
Have you ever had Hopping John/black eyed pea soup?

Supper: Pot Pie & Eggnog Cookies

stove recipe  boxSeveral years ago, my mother in law gave to me and my husband a cute box of recipes belonging to Kit’s Aunt.
I have browsed through it but never took the time to pull out a recipe and collect up the ingredients. There are some from magazines and some from memories long ago. Getting into the season of epic cooking, I took another look through the recipe box and have decided to try and pull one or two recipes out a month and give them a whirl. I would love to do one each week, but knowing me, I will fail at it if I make promises.

open recipe boxIsn’t that recipe box just darling?

So, what have I chosen for my first tester recipe? Eggnog cookies. I never knew such a thing existed, but I’m excited to try it. The chicken pot pie is a recipe that I found online. Apparently, I never wrote down the recipe that I used for last year’s pies. I have a stellar crust recipe and I know the veggies and chicken are just keep throwing it in until you run out of room. However, broths and gravies always make me a little nervous. Seasoning and consistency mostly. The recipe I chose to follow is one I found through Pinterest and the source is Instructables. I love that website and had no idea they had Instructable recipes. I can’t vouch for the recipe as a whole, but if you use recipes as a guideline then it will be perfect for you too. Here is the link to the chicken pot pie Instructable recipe.
I plan on adding broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, squash and whatever other veggie I can find to the pot pie. I plan on serving the pot pie with fresh spinach salad. A nice crunch to go with all that chickeny goodness.eggnog cookies recipe card

Apparently Eggnog Cookies are just a Google search away. How have I never heard of them before? I’m kinda pumped because from the recipe it looks as like an amped up, more flavorful version of sugar cookies.
I can tell ya right now, that I will be increasing the amount of cinnamon. Much like garlic, they don’t list enough on recipes.

Hubbster and I had the great debate trying to decide if we wanted to try Eggnog cookies or Oatmeal cake. Oatmeal cake looks dead easy so it will be on the menu sometime soon. This aunt loved her cakes and pies, that is most of the contents of the recipe box. There are some savory recipes, some sides and several pickle recipes that we will have to try next summer too.

Have you ever made eggnog cookies before?
Do you have a go-to recipe for pot pie or do you mix up the veggies each time?

Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken {Recipe Revealed!!}

spicythaiprogressMy SiL made this for me when I went to visit her down in Illinoise and I finally got brave enough to try it myself. I will link to my pin of the original recipe and below is my version of the recipe.

Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken

Ingredients:

2-4 chicken breasts (depending on size)
Salt, garlic powder and curry powder to taste
1/2 box of angel hair or linguine
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of dried red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon of sesame seeds
1 whole sweet onion, diced
1 medium sized green pepper, diced
4 carrots peeled and grated
6 Tablespoons honey
6 Tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Grill or cook chicken with desired spices (I sprinkled mine with salt, garlic and curry powder). Allow to cool and chop up the chicken. Add to pot last along with the noodles.
Start boiling pasta, follow box directions for cooking and drain to prevent overcooking.
In a medium sized pot, cook oil, red pepper, sesame seeds. Once you chop up the onion and peppers throw those in as well. Continue to cook on medium heat ntil desired tenderness is reached.
Peel and grate carrots and add to pot once veggies are cooked.
Whisk together honey and soy sauce then add to pot and allow to simmer together for a few minutes.
Add drained pasta & cooked chicken to pot of sauce and veggies. Combine well until all the noodles are covered in sauce. thaispicenoodlesThe best thing you can do is let it sit overnight. You might even consider making a whole box of pasta just so you have the delectable leftovers the next day. spicy thai noodlesThis is the darling recipe card that the original blogger made for her readers. You will notice that I omitted several things. I didn’t feel a need for the toppings so I left them out. I also reduced the amount of oil and added sesame seeds to olive oil because I didn’t have any sesame oil. You might even consider playing with this recipe some more and add even more veggies or add tofu instead of chicken if you fancy that.

I love, love, love this recipe.
Hubbster got one bite of the leftovers, because I refused to share more.

~Kat~

Date Movie: Army of Darkness

armyofdarknessKitandKatOkay, maybe this isn’t the best date movie for every couple….Yes, it is.

Big shout out to my siblings, they were gracious enough to foot the bill for a late supper and the movies!! You guys rock!!
Bruce Campbell at his finest in this cult horror-comedy was being shown in the city as a midnight movie!
We both look a little raggedy in this picture because we were really exhausted. We tried and failed to both, nap mid afternoon and then chugg lots of caffeine as the night wore on. Even sleepy, we had a great time! It has been a few years since I have seen Army of Darkness so every line was a roll on the floor laugh again!

Apparently there was no mention of watching horror or any Halloween movies on my Fall Bucket List—SO I FIXED IT. I feel like it was very seasonable and a great excursion. I realize that there are people in the world who have not seen this film. Skip Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Big Lebowski. This is where it is at.

Hail to the King, baby

~Kat~