Frozen Mango Margarita

Frozen Mango Margarita from Ellie Krieger at Food Network.Frozen Mango Margarita; Ellie Krieger

Warm weather will arrive, eventually, and when it does, I’m going to whip up this frothy, fruity, high-antioxidant, low-sugar concoction, grab a good book, find a shady spot, prop up my feet and sip away. When you follow the recipe link (up there),  don’t forget to check out the video.

Tip: If you don’t have superfine sugar, just put some sugar in a food processor and spine it around a few times. Voilà, you have super-fine sugar.

a few of my favorite 2012 gadgets and recipes

Happy New Year everybody. I thought I’d end the year by sharing a few of my favorite recipes and gadgets that I discovered in 2012. Here we go!

First the gadgets. I have a few rules for gadgets. They must WORK! They must not be too expensive or too large to store. They have to be practical and actually solve my problem, and be something that I’m really going to use.  Otherwise, why bother to spend money on something that’s only going to add to the clutter in my house?

This is the most recent gadget this year. It just made it in under the 2012 wire.

Beverage WarmerIMG_1076

I like my coffee or tea to remain hot to the last drop. I happened to mentioned that when I’m on the computer, my coffee always gets cold before I finish it. Voilà! I received this nifty beverage warmer for Christmas. I’m using it this morning and my tea stayed hot till the last drop. A Winner!

Salad SpinnerIMG_0476

This is probably my favorite thing to come down the pike in a long time. I’ve wanted a salad spinner since I don’t know when. I can’t stand  how wet lettuce dilutes the dressing, but I refused to get a salad spinner. Why? Because… where the heck do you store those ginormous things? This was yet another gift… earlier in 2012. I use it all the time. It collapses to about the size of a pie plate and it’s a couple of inches deep. Not bad!  And it really does the job. I love things that do what they’re supposed to do. See how it collapses? As my granddaughter would say, “magic!”

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Okay! On to my favorite NEW recipes of 2012. Twenty-twelve was a good year for trying new recipes. I had a few winners. These were my faves.

Peach Cobbler

The peaches were sweet and absolutely delicious at our farmers’ stand this year, and we took advantage of them by making several Peach Cobblers. Looking at this reminds me of the taste of summer. Can’t wait for them to be in season again.

peach-cobbler

Next

Crash Hot PotatoesIMG_8576

These Crash Hot Potatoes from the Pioneer Woman were a real winner. They’re soft underneath and crunchy on top. Yum. I’m not kidding. And easy.Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.IMG_8529

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between each potato.IMG_8555

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.IMG_8557

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)IMG_8577

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Source: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/06/crash-hot-potatoes/

And the winner is….. drum roll please!

Provençal Vegetable Tian vegetable-tian

My all time favorite new recipe of 2012 was Provençal Vegetable Tian. I hate to rave about a recipe because everyone has different taste buds and sometimes it just doesn’t translate, but I’ll stand by this one. It was the best recipe I’ve tried in a very long time. Again, I have to give credit to my terrific farmers’ stand. They have the freshest produce. I get it the same day it comes out of the fields. You couldn’t ask for better. Don’t let 2013 go by without trying this recipe.

Happy New Year, everybody!

gone about as fer as we can go…

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Doesn’t he look a little feverish?

I did a search on hand sanitizer, and I found a recent study because there’s a recent study out there for every “expert” who ever drew breath. I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but this reminds me of that time when my son was about thirteen or fourteen. He told me he finally knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. I was all ears.

“One of those guys who carries the cables behind the coaches on the sidelines at NFL games… or an expert.”

I figured it wasn’t a burning desire to tote cables that had him so inspired, but more likely an avenue to a boy’s fantasy of spending a lifetime on the sidelines of an NFL game – preferably only yards away from Dan Marino.100_1844

But an “expert”? What was that about?

When I asked…

He said, “You know, when they say ‘and experts say’ I want to be that expert they’re talking about.” As it turned out, he did not grow up to tote bundled cables up and down the sidelines of the NFL. He did, however, become an expert in something I don’t even know how to explain to my friends. I just tell them he’s doing well and that it’s all a mystery. Possibly CIA or something of that nature.

Anyway…

The hand sanitizer thing. You thought I’d forgotten? Not a chance. When I visited the doctor on Wednesday, I refused to shake hands with her, explaining that she really didn’t want to shake hands with me. Now that I think about it, she didn’t actually offer. She heard me coughing before she entered the examining room.

She was not my regular doc but she was very nice. She had a bottle of hand sanitizer beside the computer, and she must have hit that pump at least a dozen times (no exaggeration). I was beginning to feel a little leper-ish hence my search on hand sanitizer. The search landed me on BHG. (Don’t you get all your latest research from Better Homes and Gardens?) The “recent study“ revealed, as most recent studies do, the obvious.

… alcohol-based gels lose their germ-killing power within two minutes of application — a finding that took many consumers by surprise. … they’re made to eliminate germs on contact, much like soap and water do, says Megan T. Sandel, M.D., a nationally recognized “expert” on both healthy housing and teen health. BHG
“Took many consumers by surprise?” I demand to know who these consumers are. Do you expect your hand sanitizer to protect you from germs you have yet to meet? I use it after shopping to kill the germs I probably picked up in the store, but how could I expect it to protect me two hours later when I snuggling with my grandchild? Who pays for these studies? Don’t answer that. I’m so afraid it’s you and me.
Now then…
I’m compelled to mention something you probably already know, but something I find fascinating. Is anyone besides me totally clueless about how far thermometer technology has come since every little boy wore a coonskin cap, and his mother placed a mercury-filled thermometer under his tongue? I know there’s been improvement (ear thermometers), but thermometers are now the height of swank, don’t cha know?
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I had to use that antiquated instrument in the photo above this week. After I had it in my mouth, I thought to ask my husband if he was sure it wasn’t the rectal thermometer I used on my son when he was a baby. I knew he wouldn’t know the difference between a rectal thermometer and a bicycle. The rectal one sports a slightly bulbous business end. Thankfully, he had grabbed the right one. I mean, who needs 1974 poop in their mouth?
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But…
would you just take a gander at this baby below, and I don’t mean the child. I bet all of you already have one. Forget about jewelry, I’m getting one of these in my stocking.consumer-photo

The nurse rolled this bad boy over my forehead. It has some fancy software that enables it to determine your temperature by measuring the balance between the tissues warming from arterial blood and tissues cooling. Within seconds she had my temperature.

So impressed was I that I contemplated slipping it into my purse when she left the room. I will never again hold a mid-twentieth century thermometer under my tongue for three minutes while unable to breathe through my nose. Luxury, thy name is Temporal Artery Thermometer. My personal Santa already ordered the Exergen TAT-2000C.

It doesn’t seem to matter how far we’ve come, some things never change while others can’t stop changing. Soap and water are hard to improve upon while technology can’t seem to stop improving upon itself. Evolution is the essence of its nature. However, I must concede that the mercury-filled thermometer does work and always has, but there’s no turning back. It’s the twenty-first century. I’m going swanky, guys.

Have you bought your ticket yet?

The Powerball winning numbers are worth $550 million. The odds that you will win the jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510. You have a better chance of dying from a bee sting, and you’re three times more likely to die from a coconut falling on you head. The only thing less likely than winning the Powerball is congress learning to behave like adults.

We only buy a lottery ticket a couple of times a year, but Herm said he’d get a ticket while picking up a few things from the store tonight. Just in case he buys the winning ticket I did a little research. This is what I found.

Tips on how to survive winning the jackpot!

  1. Breath. Deeply. Gather your thoughts and take a minute.
  2. Sign your ticket and put it in a safe place. A safe deposit box is a good idea.
  3. Zip it! Don’t tell anyone until you’ve done #2. People have killed for a lot less.
  4. Secure a professional financial adviser and/or lawyer. They will advise you on how to claim your winnings (annual payments vs. lump sum), how to invest it, secure it and avoid taxes.
  5. Make sure you have a photo ID and your SS number when you go to claim your winnings.
  6. This may be the most valuable tip you will receive. While you’re thinking about how to spend your winnings, consider setting aside a portion for a therapist. You will need to protect your mental and emotional health. There will be many challenges ahead. Family members and friends will crawl out of the sewer and beat you with ginormous guilt bats until you give them chunks of your money or crumble into a mass of sniveling pain trying to resist. Many past winners report that  their quality of life decreased after winning life-changing amounts of money.
  7. Enjoy a trip or new house or car, but set a budget before you go any further. The National Endowment for Financial Education estimates that “70 percent of people who land sudden windfalls lose that money within several years.”
  8. Create or donate a portion of your winnings to something that will make the world a better place.
  9. Take a look at who and what matters to you today because – win or lose – that’s what will matter to you tomorrow.
  10. Bookmark this post because you may need it! Good luck, everybody!

Water Damage, Air Movers, Bacteria, Mold and Other Creepy Things

Our lovely, moldy subfloor!

We recently had a problem with our A/C, which was repaired a few weeks ago. A week or so later, I tried to open the door to the powder room, and it would not pass over the area rug in the foyer. When I looked at the hardwood floors, I realized they were cupping – turning up on the edges. In fact, the entire floor had risen… just enough to prevent the door from passing over the rug. We had sustained water damage when the A/C overflow pan had overflowed. It affected the floors in the powder room, too.

toilette!

Next we experienced a flurry of repairmen, water damage experts, estimates, insurance adjusters and scary scenarios of dangerous bacteria and mold and other yucky things that could occur if this mess wasn’t taken care of immediately. When we asked how long all this would take, we were told, “Longer than you’d like.”

The workers came a couple of days ago and pulled up the hardwoods in the foyer. That’s when we learned that the kitchen floors sustained water damage too and must also be replaced.

kitchen floor, foyer floor and very noisy air mover

 We have four of those “air movers” situated around the foyer and two in the garage. Looks just like a fan, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it IS a fan – a heavy-duty fan, but still a fan. The pros prefer the term “air mover.” Who am I to argue with professionals? We also have a dehumidifier in the foyer. The sub-floor was WET which caused the hardwoods to warp. I’m told these noisy “air movers” will dry it out but it will take days.

Then the floors will be treated with mystery  chemicals. Things I don’t want to think about.

Just so you know (and I’m sure you do), you MUST have all water damaged areas (floors, walls, etc.) removed and/or dried and treated for mold. Mold can grow under there, and that can cause all kinds of nasty health issues.

Symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Allergic-type reactions
  • Headache
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • General feeling of malaise

I’ve had that last symptom since the Carter administration.

Nasty bacteria can also get in there, but we’re not going into that. Mold is enough to scare the bajungies out of you. Stay tuned for further updates: deciding whether to upgrade, choosing new flooring, installation of new floors, etc.

Note: The carpet on the stairs looks so clean in that first shot. Don’t believe your lying eyes.

Shocking Proof That the Sun Makes You Age Prematurely

My daughter-in-law sent this astonishing example of unilateral dermatoheliosis or photoaging to me in an email. This is a sterling example of a cautionary tale. It hammers home the argument that we should wear sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats and sunnies and maybe flannel shirts over our faces when exposed to the sun.“This guy is 69 years old, but half of his face looks much, much older than that. He was a trucker and, for 28 years, his face received much more sunlight on the left side, resulting in premature aging.” [continue]

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

May is American Stroke Month. Familiarize yourself with the sings and symptoms of stroke and act FAST. FAST is a memorable acronym to help us recall the signs of stroke during an emergency and remind us to act quickly.

What should you do?

FAST

F is for face. – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A is for arms. – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S is for speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can the person repeat the sentence correctly?

T is for time. – If the person has any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. For every second you wait, precious brain tissue is being lost, which increases your chances of disability or worse, death.

Source: HealthCentral By Deanne Stein

Signs of a Stroke
Common Symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Signs of a Heart Attack
Common Symptoms

  • Chest Pain, usually radiating toward the left shoulder and arm. The arm may be tingling or numb.
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Cold sweats, shortness of breath and lightheadedness
  • Feeling of indigestion
  • Dizziness, weakness, and fainting
  • Abdominal pain

Learn more @ HealthCentral.

Random Tips

If you like useful, commonsense tips that make life easier or help you keep some of that change in your pocket, you’ll like Really Random Tips!! Check these out.

Expanding Frosting (Who knew?)
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it
with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You
get to frost more cake/cupcakes with  the same amount. You also eat less sugar/calories per serving.

Reheating refrigerated bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place
them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will  keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Newspaper Weeds-Away
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet
newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go,
cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic, they will not get through wet newspapers.

Broken Glass
Use a dry cotton ball to pick up little broken pieces of glass – the
fibers catch ones you can’t see!

No More Mosquitoes (I’m going to try this one.)
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes
away.

Life Hacks: Domestic Hacks

Check out thegeekpub.com and their new series of posts entitled Life Hacks: Domestic Hacks! This is what they have to say about it!

“Life Hacks are ingenious ways to do everyday things, while making life easier, more convenient and more fun!  They require little to no effort, but can cumulatively make a large difference in your life.”

My daughter-in-law always peels her bananas that way, and I always leave my car keys on top of my leftovers at my brother’s house, especially at holiday meals. I put them right in the fridge with the leftovers. When I get to my car, I realize I’ve forgotten something. I go back and get my leftovers and put my cold keys in the ignition. Works every time.

Click on the image to go to the original article!