Pin Me ~ Week Six ~ from my Perhaps I Might Read Board

13 Feb

This week’s pin was selected from my Perhaps I Might Read board.

I first discovered Gail Carriger when a friend began reading her Parasol photoProtectorate Series. If you haven’t read it, drop everything and get thee to your nearest book store or pick up that Kindle or Nook and download immediately.

Gail is a funny, witty and intelligent writer that draws the reader in with engaging characters and fantastic Steampunk imagery.

That’s why I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her new series “Etiquette & Espionage.”

I’m a few chapters in but it is proving to be a great read and good fun with the main character and her side kicks. There is a wonderful little book trailer for it if you’d like to take a look.

Check out my Pin Me board to see what else I’ve been up to in my 52 week quest to do something with some of our Pinterest pins.

Pin Me ~ Week Five ~ from my Recipes Board ~ Pumpkin Cornbread

4 Feb

So I hadn’t planned on doing another pin from my recipe board so soon….but sometimes necessity wins out.

The motor on the furnace blew and it’s C-O-L-D. Making something in the oven at least heats up the kitchen a bit so that’s why I went in search of a yummy recipe. And I found one in this Pumpkin Cornbread.

If you love pumpkin as much as I do, head over to Sweet Pea’s Kitchen for all matter of yummy pumpkin goodness.

crumble with butter

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup cornmeal
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon molasses

Directions:

photo(3)

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8×8″ cake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, brown sugar, and cornmeal; set aside.

dry

Dry ingredients

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, lightly beat the eggs, and then stir in the pumpkin, oil, and molasses.

wet

Wet Ingredients

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined, and then pour the batter into the pan, smoothing the top.

mixed

Wet and dry ingredients combined

Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

baked

Fresh from the oven

Recipe Note:
This recipe makes 12 cornbread muffins, reduce baking time to 10 to 12 minutes

crumbly

Crumbly goodness

After trying it with and without a dab of butter, I decided to drizzle some honey over the top. YUM!

honey

Drizzled with honey

Happy Thang: Eating pumpkin….anything.

Week Four ~ from my Nifty Ideas Board ~ Repurposing the Cermanic Muffin Dish

1 Feb

I’m always looking for some cool jewelry holders. Yes, I have the jewelry box, but only so much of it can fit in there. Then, there’s the bracelet basket and the necklace hooks. I was using a gorgeous seashell dish I got at Z Gallery to hold stuff that I take off before I go to bed. The problem is that I tend to wear certain pieces according to the seasons over and over, so I don’t “put them away” in their permanent home but rather like to keep them handy for wearing.  And my little dish was filling up and I couldn’t find anything without dumping everything out on the bed. egg crate holder

I thought the Anthropologie-egg-crate-turned-jewelry-holder was a brilliant idea to keep my little treasures organized. I happened to be Marshall’s and found one just like it (in white). The only problem as I roamed around the store with it was that I didn’t see how it would hold any of my bracelets. I wear those alot and wanted them to have a place.

That’s when I went back to the bakery dish aisle and spied this little beauty.

A ceramic muffin dish that would be large enough to hold my bracelets. And it fits perfectly in my night stand. No more digging for stuff to wear in the morning. When spring comes, I’ll be rotating the bracelets and may add in a watch. The rings will stay as these are the ones that I wear on a regular basis. Although my necklaces would probably fit in here, I think I’ll keep them on the hooks so they don’t tangle.

ceramic holder

Happy Thang: Going to The Metropolitan Opera to see L’Elisir d’Amore which I saw two years ago in Venice with my Sweetheart.

Week Three ~ from my Recipes Board ~ Homemade Pumpkin Eggnog Donuts

22 Jan

plate full of donutsI’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this on my blog. If you follow me on Twitter, then you already know I love all things pumpkin. So it is no surprise when I found a recipe for eggnog baked donuts, that my variety would be of the pumpkin kind.

God bless my Sweetheart for buying up the pumpkin eggnog before it disappeared. I’m down to my last pint. It will be sad when it’s all gone, but that’s ok, I will just have to find other pumpkin goodies to occupy me until next Christmas.

So, it’s week three of my Pin Me ~ 52 Weeks of Actually Doing Something with my Pinterest Pins. I couldn’t resist making baked donuts. They turned out so good, that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to Dunkin’ Donuts again!*

My hat is off to Robin at Knead to Cook. Her donut recipe is divine! (Which according to her post is an adaptation from Ina Garten). I had a few little comments to add (you’ll see them in red below).

Ingredients:

Baking spray
Donut pans (I used mini size)
2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup of eggnog
2 tablespoons of butter, melted (always use unsalted so you can control your sodium)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Topping:

8 tablespoons of butter, melted on the stove over low heat source
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
**I used 4 tablespoons and 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and still had some left over.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your donut pans and set aside.

In you a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Sift the dry ingredients once.

In a separate smaller bowl, blend the egg, eggnog, butter and vanilla.  Whisk to combine.  Then add to the dry ingredients. Whisk until incorporated.  Then fill each donut well about 1/2 or a tiny bit more with the batter. I used my one tablespoon measuring spoon and this filled them perfectly. Bake.  For regular sized donut pans, bake for 17-19 minutes.  For mini donuts, bake for about 9-11 minutes.  When a toothpick inserted comes out clean, the donuts are ready.

Remove and let cool for 4 minutes.  Mix the topping ingredients in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Then dip one side in the melted butter and then dip into the cinnamon and sugar topping mixture.   Place on a platter and watch them disappear.

So I bought my mini-donut pan at Marshall’s for $9.99. This just might be the best pan I own. My thighs won’t think so, but my taste buds certainly do.

batterYou’ll notice in the recipe that it says to melt 2 tablespoons of butter. I thought I had done this in the microwave. It wasn’t a complete puddle, but it seemed soft enough that it would all go flat. It did not. So I ended up with little clumps of butter in my batter. This had me worried that the donut would come out bumpy or extra buttery or just weird. I’m pleased to say that none of those things happened. However, I would still recommend melting your butter to save yourself this kind of stress in the morning (especially if it happens before you’ve had your morning coffee).

The first batch needed a little help getting out of the pan because I hadn’t sprayed it too heavily. This resulted in me banging the pan against my hand to get the last hold out which then cool donutspromptly fell on the floor. (Notice my pan holds 12 donuts, not eleven).  The next two batches I sprayed the heck out of that pan and every one came out with ease.

Every oven is different but I found that mine were baked to perfection at 9 minutes. So I’d say set your timer for 9 and check on ’em. Your little darlings might need the full 11 minutes, but best to be safe than sorry.

I liked the donuts plain and with the cinnamon/sugar/butter topping. My Sweetheart preferred them with the topping. Good chance if your guy likes donuts, he’ll prefer it that way, too.

I wrapped them in plastic wrap (and by I, I mean, my Sweetheart did as after I popped four of them in my mouth — had to test two with and two without cinnamon/sugar/butter goodness — I left the house to meet a friend for lunch) and the next day (meaning this morning) they were still moist and delicious. Ha! Take that Dunkin’ Donuts.**

Thought you might enjoy a few other pics of the process.

half-full batter, remember tablespoon measuring spoon works well for this

half-full batter, remember tablespoon measuring spoon works well for this

here they are fresh from the oven

without cinnamon/sugar/butter topping

without cinnamon/sugar/butter topping

with cinnamon/sugar/butter topping

*You and I both know that I’ll be craving a donut and will be too lazy to make them, even though it’s totally easy. So the answer is no, I will most certainly, be going back to Dunkin’ Donuts.

**The truth of the matter is, I’ve never turned away a Dunkin’ Donuts donut, even if it wasn’t wrapped in plastic wrap and was a little dry the next day. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a donut I didn’t like. Scratch that. I have. Not fond of those jelly filled ones. But I make a practice of not ordering that kind and problem solved.

Organized Cleaning ~ I Hope

16 Jan

So every year I have this sort of unwritten resolution that I will be organized. This usually involves making more lists (you know how I love to cross things off my to-do list) and sometimes folders, color coded pens and decorative boxes or straw baskets.

Then I push the papers, folders and boxes/baskets around and lose all the pens in my purses around late January and I’m back to square one.

Well, I have found all my pens, my folders are in a pile next to my baskets and I’m trying a new technique this year.

I recently read an article where the professional organizer said don’t try to tackle it all in one day. Not even an entire room.

What?!

Yes, that’s what she suggested. Give yourself 15 minutes and vow to clear only the desk in the office.

OK. I was listening.gloves

Then, if you have 15 more minutes, do another task. Otherwise, be satisfied with having a clear desk.

This made sense to me.

I started to read other women’s blogs where they talked about not cleaning their entire house in one day. At least half of them didn’t even clean on the weekend. No, my friend, weekends are for fun. They just simply split up the cleaning over the week. Hmmm….

So, I came across a really pretty printable Weekly Cleaning List from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa’s blog.

I started on Monday. I’m three days for three days of keeping up with my small cleaning jobs. And, not feeling so overwhelmed, I’m adding in little bit of more organizing here and there.

In an effort to not have piles of Weekly Cleaning Lists all around, but wanting to keep a record of what I did, I’m gonna post it on my blog. Here’s this week’s tasks:

Monday: laundry, clean bathroom, dishes, wipe down kitchen countertops

Tuesday: dishes, laundry, wipe down kitchen countertops

Wednesday: dishes, wipe down kitchen counter tops & cabinets, throw out expired food from fridge, laundry, dust living room

Thursday: dust bedroom, dust family room, clear desk of paper, dishes, wipe down kitchen counter tops

Friday: dishes, wipe down kitchen counter tops

Saturday:  recycle magazines, shred papers, laundry, wipe down kitchen counter top, dust guest room

Sunday: water plants, wipe down kitchen counter tops, laundry, clean closet, bag up clothing donation, throw out old make-up

What do you do to keep organized? How do you break down your cleaning tasks?

Happy Thang for today: Going to see Bob Schneider in concert!

Pin Me ~ Week Two

14 Jan

blue polishSo for my second week of doing something with my Pins, I chose one of the selections from my Nail Polish board.

This is OPI’s “Nicole” line and it’s called “Stand by you Manny” and is from the Modern Family collection. I don’t watch the show, but I instantly fell in love with the color. It’s a very soothing sky blue with tiny reflective sparkles in it.

One coat is pretty sheer. There was a hint of blue, but I could completely see my nails.  Two coats gives you more sense of the actual color but still shows bits of your nail. I’m going to try a third coat when I get home today and see what that does.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go over it with a coat of Butter London’s Matte Finish Top Coat because I’m curious to see what the sparkles will look like in that kind of a finish.

My happy thang for the weekend was the NHL getting it together so we can have a half of a hockey season! Whoo-hoo! Let’s go DEVILS!

 

 

Pin Me ~ Week One

6 Jan

Well, for my first week of my Pin Me project ~ 52 weeks of actually doing something with my Pins ~ I selected a pin from my Perhaps I Might Read Board.

I had seen the promo video for Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway and thought it looked interesting.

My Sweetheart and I were out running errands one day and he agreed to buy me a book so I took him up on his offer and picked up Angelmaker.

I began reading it this week. I’m about three chapters in and I rather like it. Here’s the official description from the author’s website: Angelmaker

All Joe Spork wants to do is live quietly. He repairs clockwork and lives above his shop in a wet, unknown bit of London. The bills don’t always get paid and he’s single and in his mid thirties and he has no prospects of improving his lot, but at least he’s not trying to compete with the reputation of Mathew “Tommy Gun” Spork, his infamous criminal dad.

Edie Banister lives quietly and wishes she didn’t. She’s nearly ninety and remembers when she wasn’t. She used to be a spy, and now she’s… well… old. Worse yet, the things she fought to save don’t seem to exist anymore, and she’s beginning to wonder if they ever did.

When Joe repairs one particularly unusual clockwork mechanism, his quiet life is blown apart. Suddenly he’s getting visits from sinister cultists and even more sinister lawyers. One of his friends is murdered and it looks as if he may be in the frame. Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, he seems to have switched on a 1950s doomsday machine – or is it something even more alarming? Edie’s story and Joe’s have collided. From here on in, nothing will be the same – Joe’s world is now full of mad monks, psychopaths, villainous potentates, scientific geniuses, giant submarines, determined and extremely dangerous receptionists, and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe – and if Joe’s going to fix it or even survive, he must show that he can be everything Mathew was, and much, much more.

Joe is a guy I would want to have a beer with ~ easy going, he’s got an ongoing battle with a neighbor’s mean cat and he can make non-working gadgets work.

Edie is a hoot! She’s tougher than she looks and so far she’s opened up a can of whoop ass on three guys that were going to take her out. I’m hoping we get to see a glimpse of her in her early spy days. And she has a great side kick in her dog, Bastion.

So it was fun to kick off my first week with a good book to read. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. In the meantime, I need to look for a Week Two Pin.

PS My Happy Thang for today: The NHL has ended their lockout. We’re going to have us a (half) hockey season. Whoo hoo! Let’s go Devils!

OK Winter, I’m Ready for Spring

2 Jan

There is something magical about the holidays being cold. And nothing beats having snow on Christmas morning. But by January 2, I’m ready for spring.

Which is a silly thing as winter is just getting started. salad

I have yet to find fabulous boots but I did score some pretty sweaters for Christmas and I have a plethora of gorgeous scarves and gloves to wear…but…I’m ready to pack it all away in favor of pretty Lilly Pulitzer dresses and coral painted toes.

Rather than wish winter away, I’m going to tackle it with lots of indoor projects that need to get done. Here’s a few that I’ll be digging into this month:

1 – repainting my bathroom door

2 – going through my clothes and making a donation to Good Will

3 – ridding my office of every single pile of papers

4 – editing manuscript

5 – finishing a birthday painting for a friend that is a year over due

It’s only day 2 of the new year, but already I’ve managed to keep stress at bay. I am also going to start eating some of these stress busting foods.

Happy Thang for January 2, 2013: Making an amazingly, delicious salad at Whole Foods (bonus: they had ranch dressing! Whoo-hoo!)

Page Turner Resolution for 2013

1 Jan

I’m pretty sure it was just last week when I was making my 2012 resolutions. Where did the last 365 days go?

Simon & Schuster tweeted a quote from one of my favorite country artists, Brad Paisley. It was a simple little statement but it stopped me in my tracks.

image

And I thought, “Yes!” It’s so true for everyone but especially for a writer. A clean slate. An unfilled notebook. A word of possibilities.

So here goes my New Year’s resolution: stress less.

What does that mean? I’m going to fill my new book with at least one thing every day that makes me happy. I’m going to call it my “happy thang” in honor of Mr. Paisley. While I’d love to say that I’m going to blog about it everyday, the reality is that life is going to get in the way.

BUT…

I will at least try to recap some of my “happy thangs” every week as I am embarking on another project. My 52 weeks of “Pin Me.”

I love me some Pinterest but I find that I pin away and then rarely go back to review or actually do any of the pins. Oh sure, I tend to pick up products I want when I’m out shopping. And I have made a few recipes here and there, but for the amount of things I had to pin because I didn’t want to forget them, I find myself not executing most of them.

That is all going to change in 2013. I promise to once a week do/make/purchase/ponder/engage in at least one of my pins. It might be a DIY project. It could be a new recipe or I may just enjoy a good quote, but I am going to start utilizing my pins.

So, with that said, be sure to visit my blog again where I will be posting my  “Pin Progress.”

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you today’s Happy Thang. Went for a late breakfast (1pm) with some friends and hung out for a couple of hours talking over coffee.

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!

PS…What is on the first page of your new book?

A Little Halloween DIY During Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm

29 Oct

So nothing like being stuck indoors to get the creative juices flowing. As we got ready for Hurricane Sandy and the great Frankenstorm to arrive, I broke out some stuff to get a little DIY Halloween going.

I had wanted to get a paper mache pumpkin, but Michael’s only had skulls. Turns out to be a good thing, because I had the coolest tissue paper from “Lucky Bones Backwater Grille” in Cape May, NJ.

Supplies:
Paper mache skull
Tissue paper
Mod Podge (I used gloss-lustre)
Sponge brush
Scissors
Wax Paper

I used the wax paper to keep my project from being glued to table. You could also use a grocery bag.

Begin by ripping pieces of tissue paper into various sizes. I wanted parts of their super cool logo to show (it’s of a lady wearing a BIG striped hat) so I ripped those out first and then used remaining paper to help cover skull.

Don’t be shy on using the glue. You wants lots and lots to hold the paper in place.

I started around the front of the face because I needed to fold paper into those holes. This is where the scissors come in handy. I used the tip to push paper in behind eyes, nose and cheeks.

The only two places I wanted to make sure to have specific pieces was at the top of the head (so you can clearly see their logo).  And I used the red part of their logo (which says Cape May, NJ) to highlight the mouth.

Other than that, I just randomly ripped pieces of tissue paper up and glued it to the skull. BTW, using tissue paper is super easy to glue to paper mache sculpture and also to yourself. Plan to have to remove some tissue paper from your hands.