Friday, October 28, 2011

Birthdays Give Me Cramps

I had a birthday not too long ago. Do you ever get them? They seem to pop up more frequently than they used to. They are also much less welcome than they ever were.

Well, the most recent birthday was looming large on my horizon as I chatted with a friend about a concert I'd been to oh-so-very-long ago. And far away. Well, after our chat, I went nostalgia-tripping and looked up the band on YouTube. I was flat-out amazed to find actual blurry, grainy, footage from the very show I'd been to way-back-when in my old hometown. Really! I kid you not!

What... you're not impressed? Keep in mind that this was back in prehistoric times, when cameras of any kind were not allowed in shows and the video camera that was smuggled in on this occasion would've been a thousand times larger than today's mini-tech toys. So you can see why finding that footage was such a quantum leap back in time.*

Friday, October 21, 2011

Frugal (Yet Manly) DIY Shower Soap

As I switch over to homemade versions of store-bought versions of homemade household products (it does make sense, let it sink in a bit), I often have to practice a good deal of self-restraint. There are so many amazing ideas out there, and I want to try them all. Self-restraint. Must ask myself "Do we need it?"... or in this case, "Do we need it yet?".

And speaking of amazing ideas... have you checked out Pinterest? No? There's a red Pinterest button on the left side of your screen right now. Go click on it and wander around in there for a while. I'll wait.

Are you back? Did you see the possiblities? It is the only "social media" doohickey that holds any interest for me. And hold my interest it does. A little too much sometimes. Ahem. Cough cough.

One of my friends "pinned" a link for making liquid soap out of bar soap... it sounded so frugaliciously easy I wanted to make some immediately. Except we don't need any liquid soap right now. We've got most of a gallon jug we bought from Cost Co 12 years ago. O.k. last year. Anyway, I told myself I'd have to wait on making my own until we ran out... someday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Delish Dish: Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal with Berries
The truth... I made this fantastic baked oatmeal and photographed it a couple of months ago.  We're talking July people. It was summer and though we had an unseasonably cool one, the rest of the country was sizzling hot. So, I thought I'd put off posting about it until the seasons changed and things started to cool off.

The whole truth... right now, I don't feel like writing or cooking or photographing. At all. I could point to a dozen different factors that aligned to produce this current state of apathy but really, it just is what it is, and I've got to work my way through it. It's a good thing I had this oatmeal in my back pocket... so to speak.

Nothing but the truth... if I had the ingredients on hand, I would make this Baked Oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow. Or Sunday. Even feeling the way I do right now, I would rally just long enough to get this into the oven. It really is that good. Honest.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Herb Drying Made E-Z (Weather, Or Not)

Fresh herbs never go to waste at my house. What doesn't get used right away, usually gets hung to dry so I can use them throughout the year. Sometimes there's too much humidity in the air though (or not enough patience). Other times, I'll just have a handful of herbs to dry, not really enough to tie into a bundle. That's when hang-drying may not be the best or fastest route. And that's when I utilize this nifty trick. I happened upon it purely by accident, but it works so well I wanted to share it with you...

My Super E-Z Herb Drying Instructions:
  1. Lay the herbs in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Place baking sheet in oven before you go to bed.
  3. Turn oven light on.
  4. Go to bed.
  5. In the morning, check herbs. If they're crumbly-dry... you're done! Put them in an air-tight container and store them someplace dark, dry, and cool. 
If the herbs are still a bit bendy, repeat the steps (leave them in for another eight hours or so) until they are completely dry. Any residual moisture can turn into mildew/mold... and we don't want that. Store them in an airtight container away from heat and direct light. Crush them, crumble them, or grind them as needed throughout the year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lavender, Sage, Rosemary & Time

breathe deep the gathering bloom
Gardening was never my first love, I don't think it would even crack the top 20. In my dictionary, "garden" is a noun, not a verb. Nevertheless, I often find myself thinking about my dream-garden and what plants I would put in it.* Perhaps partly due to my aversion to actual hands-on gardening, my dream garden is what's known as a perennial garden.

Plants tend to fall into one of two camps: annuals or perennials.** Annuals are generally the ones you see making a big splash of color on racks outside the garden department of the home store. They are often bright, brash, and bedazzling. Picture petunias, pansies, marigolds and impatiens. They also need to be replaced every year. Annually. They are the pop stars of the garden. The flashes in the pan.

Long Live The Perennials!
Unlike annuals, perennials are described with words like consistency and continuity. Think of buddleia (butterfly bush), hydrangea, or peonies. They keep on keepin' on. Perennially. They are the Dave Brubeck of the plant world. They are Ella Fitzgerald in bloom. There is something so comforting about being in a mature perennial garden; a real feeling of stability and history. Perennials are survivors. Below ground are deep strong roots, holding the soil together and supporting the new growth and seasonal changes taking place up above.