Monday, April 27

Good Eating Monday: Japanese Fried Rice

Greetings! Today the plumber is here to put in a new kitchen faucet, move the ice-maker water hose connection to under the kitchen sink rather then from the master bath (which means a copper line runs up the master bath wall, across the attic and down the kitchen wall behind the frig, which, to me, is just a disaster waiting to happen. Lucky it's lasted 25 years as it is.)
Also, I asked it he could fix the bathroom sink drain stopper thingy, so the lever would be connected to it again to make it go up and down.
I figure the best way to make use of an expensive plumber is to have a whole honey-do list for him!

Today's Good Eating Recipe is a tried and true recipe for "Japanese Fried Rice."
Now this is a Japanese home-style cooking recipe given to me by my Japanese room-mate in college. It's not fancy or elaborate. It just uses hot dogs, carrots, green bell pepper, scrambled egg, soy sauce & precooked rice! It's a good recipe for left-over rice or you can make steamed rice ready to use for this!
Actually, a majority of her cooking involved either hot dogs or hamburger and always soy sauce and rice! Her recommended brand of soy sauce was Kikkoman, by the way.
Fried rice generally is high on rice and low on the quantity of other ingredients!
My favorite Hot Dog Brand
Japanese Fried Rice:
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 - 3 wieners, minced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 green Bell Pepper, sliced into thin strips and minced into 1/4 inch pieces
3 or 4 green scallions, minced
1/2 cup of finely minced carrot
1 egg, beaten (use 1 egg per 2 people served)
            Dash of salt & pepper to taste
            Kikkoman Sauce Soy, low-sodium or reg.
 Precooked, steamed rice: 1/2 cup dry rice per person served
(For directions on making Japanese style rice, go here.)
Add oil to large frying pan or wok over medium high eat. First add minced carrots & stir-fry several minutes until starting to get tender, then add minced wieners. Stir-fry till starting to brown slightly, then add bell pepper & scallions. Stir fry a couple minutes, then push meat & veggies to one side: add your beaten egg(s) and scramble dry, breaking up into little bits, then mix into meat/veggies. Fold in your precooked rice, folding it in with meat & veggies until will combined and all is hot. Now splash the fried rice generously with Kikkoman soy sauce & stir in, so your fried rice is all coated with a light layer of soy sauce. Add salt & pepper as desired.
The purpose of mincing everything so fine is so it will cook quickly.
I usually do a chunkier version of this recipe:
 I use a 1/2 cup or so of match stick carrots instead of mincing carrots, which still cook quick, and frozen mixed color pepper strips that I coarsely chop up instead of a fresh green bell.
 Or I have often subbed in frozen peas & carrots instead of fresh carrots & pepper! 
 And I also often add fresh minced garlic to the olive oil at the start and diced or sliced onion instead scallions.
The neat thing about fried rice is you use what you have on hand!
That's it for today! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, April 23

Friday Finds: Mother's Day Gifts!

Today's find is Mother's Day Cards & Gifts!

Bright Floral Mother's Day Card
Mother's Day is Sunday, May 10th this year and the time is rushing by, here's some links to gift idea categories to get you thinking...

...Scroll down gift idea page the links to see more gift ideas by product category & Mom interests (i.e. crafts, tech, decorating, etc.)

Plus you'll also want to know what's on sale!
So stop by Zazzle's Special Offers & Coupons page!

The Tea Connoisseur Teapot
And, I've picked out a selection of products I've created that I think would make delightful Mother's Day Gifts in my store!
The cool thing about Mother's Day gifts is they can be anything you know your Mom might like: boxed chocolates, teapots, coffee mugs, t-shirts, accent pillows, watches, wallets, phone covers--whatever she's interested in! 

Just visit my Zazzle store and scroll down to look under the category files where featured products are displayed to see all my featured Mother's Day items, including my "Greatest Mom in the Galaxy" designed items that have an outer-space scene! 
That's all the finds for today! Stop back Monday for Good Eating!

Mama Kat Thursday: Worst Eating Out Experiences

The Mama Kat blog writing link-up prompt for today is, "What is an unpleasant experience you had eating?"
I can immediately think of two horribly unhappy eating-out experiences!
The first happened early-on in our marriage while we were still living in the Washington D.C. area in the early 1980's. We had decided to try a Chinese restaurant in College Park. It wasn't a buffet. Chinese all-you-can-eat buffets hadn't come into vogue yet. This was a traditional sit-down, order-from-a-menu, moderately expensive Chinese Restaurant.
 One of their specials that evening was "Chinese Style Crab." Now I had no idea what this was, but it sounded interesting, so I ordered it. What I got was a platter of small, nearly unrecognizable crab parts in a dark barbecue-like sauce. I picked through it, hardly able to find anything edible in it.
When we left, I told Hubby I was still really hungry and could we stop at a McDonald's? I'm pretty sure I gobbled down at least two fish sandwiches and fries! 
That was the first and only time I ever had to go to McDonald's to get full after a restaurant meal.

The other unhappy eating experience happened to Hubby. It's so memorable to him he won't have anything to do with a Thai restaurant. We were in Panama City Beach and pulled into a small, local Thai restaurant. This was back in the mid-1990's when there wasn't a whole of eating options in the area yet. 
The restaurant wasn't very busy. We were almost the only people there. (A sign probably.)  They had a "fish with garlic & lime" listed on their chalkboard as a special, so Hubby ordered that, while I ordered a regular menu item. My meal arrived a short time later, but Hubby's didn't. I finished my meal. He still didn't have his fish. We waited and waited. The server wasn't attentive and communication with her when she did appear tended to involve a bunch of darting back and forth to the kitchen. We couldn't get any definite information on his meal other then it, "was cooking."
Nearly two hours passed before the server finally presented Hubby with a long foil-wrapped object on a platter. 
Hubby opened it to find a whole fish that had been steamed with lime slices and garlic staring up at him with it's glassy dead eye and Hubby stared back, aghast. 
One thing you never give Hubby and that's a whole fish.  He can't stand it. His limit on fish is actually McDonald's fish sandwich--if must eat fish.
But there we were---he was starved, so he unhappily picked what meat he could off it. 
We should have been told right away what this "fish special" was, how long it would take to prepare and whether we wanted to wait that long.
Hubby surely would've ordered something else if he'd known. I think, though, it was only of those situations where both the servers and the cooks didn't speak English very well.

So, there you have it---our two worse memories of eating out!
What's the worse eating our experience you've ever had?
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, April 22

Garden Pic Wednesday: The Remodeled Bat House

Greetings! Another fine spring day! Rain has finally let up and it got nice and cool for working outside!
I had a dream last night that I was inside a yellow house looking out at the back yard that was a standing pool of water that seemed to be looming close to the foundation and I was worried about being found.
In reality, my house is tan; not yellow and the only place water stands is in the various rain gardens I've built (where water was standing anyway) and even then, it's gone within a few hours.

Today's Garden Pics are of the old bat house I remodeled into a bird house and a nice photo of my Pinks!

First, the house.  
It looks tres`chic now, but as a bat house it was hanging on a pine tree, so weathered it was split from roof to base with an inch wide chunk of wood gone and the slat-panels for bats on the inside were falling out.
Never once had any bat taken up residence!
So, we took it down and I began the process of gluing and nailing it back together. The house itself is made of sturdy redwood, so it was worth saving.
I used the slat panels to repair the inch-wide split, then applied spackling patch to fill in over the top, so the surface would be even, then spray painted.
I also used a painted slat panel on the bottom for a door on a hinge that I can open at season's end to empty the house of any nesting materials.

Since the roof was terribly worn and still had a hole, I screwed an old license plate to the roof, which is common trick for roofing bird houses I've seen on Pinterest.
 You might also notice all the elegant pottery shards I've glued on the front--these are not merely for decoration, though they certainly add a posh look! No, that trail of pottery running from the hole to the base actually covers the inch-wide spackling patch I used to fill the repaired split with and I put the pottery there to help protect it. The pottery around the hole is there to protect the entry from squirrels trying to enlarge the opening--which is something they will try to do to bird houses.

I researched hole size and cut a 1 1/2 hole to make this house suitable for Downy or Red Bellied Woodpeckers, though Cardinals or Mockingbirds or any other larger size bird of that ilk could use it. No one's moved in yet. It will take some time for it to get "noticed." Hopefully, the house will hold up a couple years. It's more sheltered from sun and weather in this location, then it was in it's previous one.

Next: Pinks!
Also called "Dianthus," they're a member of the carnation family, since "dianthus" is the family genus name for all carnations. They're exact designation is "Dianthus Plumarius or D. Plumarius."  Regular Carnations designated as Dianthus Caryophyllus or D. Caryophyllus) 
Did you know Sweet Williams are also a carnation family member?

They can be annual to bi-annual. I planted these particular pinks last fall. They bloomed, then their greenery wintered over and they bloomed again this spring, so they are bi-annual, at least here in the deep south.  I hope to let them go to seed and save some and also see if they self-seed. 

I've noticed my Pansies, which are coming to the end of their season here, have made 6 seed heads, which I plan on saving. Perhaps I'll be able to grow my own Pansies for winter this year?
That's it for today! Next Wednesday I'll show you the steps for sprouting your seeds indoors in a wet paper towel in plastic, which is extremely effective for either small or fine seeds or old seeds to find out what will grow and what won't!
So you'll want to come back for that!

Tuesday, April 21

Polyvore Tuesday: It's In The Eyes

I went to my Gentle Yoga class this morning, then came home and puttered around the garden a bit, planting some seeds I saved from last year, such as Bachelor Buttons & Sunflowers and now I'm working on lettering some poster board for our retreat this week, so people will know where "Registration" is. :)

Today's Polyvore set is one I did for one of their general unsponsored contests that was themed on "blue eye liner" and came up with this!  It has an element of fantasy to it with the ocean surf effects along the bottom and the butterfly. I got a couple compliments from my Polyvore community, which is why I decided to feature it here.
Would I ever wear blue lipstick? Hmmm...maybe to a science fiction convention for a cosplay, but for real life purposes---no. 
I used to be in a Star Trek club and had some shiny green lipstick I wore with my uniform that was part of my character/persona I'd created for the club.
Would you wear blue lipstick? 

It's in the Eyes

It's in the Eyes by madamdreamweaver 

That's it for today! Stop back tomorrow for Garden pics of my new bat-house turned to bird-house!