Friday, January 13

Friday Finds: Whimsical Gifts!

With Valentine's coming up, I'd thought I'd feature some super cute Charm-themed jewelry by Zazzle Maker:
Robert Winenger is the CEO of this Alpharetta, Georgia based company and they have wonderful, unique Charm Necklaces, Bracelets & Watches themed on interests such as shopping, nursing, dentistry, dogs, religious, purse-lovers, beautician, casino lovers, teacher, teen girl & summer fun!
I've selected a just few to show you, but you can go HERE to see the full collection!

Casino Charms

Purse Lover


Shoe Shopper

That's it for today!  See you for Good Eating Monday!
And do pay Whimsical Gifts a Visit!

Thursday, January 12

Mama Kat Thursday: Icy

The Mama Kat blog writing prompt I chose today is to share a blog post inspired by the word, "Icy."

I grew up in Indiana where long, graceful icicles were a common sight along the edges of our roof during winter.
I saw a news story on TV recently about something that happened to a foolish group of people in Minnesota standing at the base of the frozen Minnehaha Waterfalls in Minneapolis, looking up and admiring the giant frozen waterfall "icicles" when a big chunk suddenly broke off and fell on right on them. A Park Ranger pointed out that these people ignored all the warning signs not to go down there. 
I said to Hubby, "You know, my Mom taught me to know better then stand under icicles."
She taught me that because, as a general rule,  hanging ice is heavy, sometimes sharp and can do you great harm if it falls on the uninformed.

However, here in Northwest Florida, ice is a much rarer sight. Except in January 2014, when temps  dropped to -17 F. and everything got a solid coating of ice!
So, in memory of the Deep Freeze of 2014, here's a photo of our thickly ice Cedar tree in the front yard!
It made everything pretty and wintry looking. 

Thanks For Visiting!

Wednesday, January 11

Garden Pic Wednesday: Daisy Mum

I have 3 things I'm sad about this week:
* The hard freeze last week burnt everything sensitive to deep cold in my flower beds and containers! Despite my trying to cover some.The problem is, it rained first, then froze hard. So much for fabric coverings.
One bell pepper plant did survive--and that's good news! Plus it's warmed back up again.

*  My friend, Megan, whom I've been having dinner with every other Thursday for 10 years now, is moving to Lancaster, CA to work at Edwards AFB. She leaves next week. The new job option came only 10 days ago, so it's been a big rush! 

* My camera broke. Actually, the memory card slot spring broke, so it won't take a memory card anymore and it won't work without one. Repair proved unfeasible. Just no one local to do it and Nikon wants a blank check credit card number to charge whatever they see fit for repair and I'm not doing that. It'd probably cost more then I paid for the camera originally anyway--but I do need a camera professionally for my art and my blog.
So Hubby said, "Get a new one."
Well, Nikon doesn't sell this particular model anymore. (It's only 3 years old!) And I didn't like any of their new options. I like THIS camera. So I ordered another, just like it, "used--like new" from Amazon.
So, I am pretty happy about that. It will get here later in January. 

Today's Garden Pic is the happy smiling face of one of my Daisy Mums from mid-December 2016:

Chrysanthemums come in numerous shapes and types: daisy, button, pin-cushion, spider, football and many more variations in a variety of colors: white, purples, lavenders, lime greens, pinks & yellows!
Their stems absorb dye colors easily, too, which is how you get the blue, hot pink and other unnatural colors you might see in grocery bundles.
When I worked in a flower shop and people wanted arrangements with "daisies"in it, this is what we used as a florist, because each 36 inch stem had a nice cluster of multiple bloom heads & buds near the top!
It's  not the the wild white Daisy that pops up across mid-west lawns & fields on a single stem, about 6 to 10 inches tall, that's more of a weed. That kind of daisy is actually quite stinky, scent wise--if you've never sniffed one.
But, if you want nice white daisies for your garden or landscape (that aren't mums) you can get Shasta Daisies, which are cultivated form of daisy, good for naturalizing and cutting. 

And Gerbera Daisies, despite their name, are NOT related to daisies at all, but rather are members of the Sunflower family.
So now you know a little bit about daisies.

Monday, January 9

Good Eating Monday: Maraschino Cherry & Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

This recipe was a new holiday cookies recipe I tried from Pinterest for the 2016 holiday season! It's a shortbread, so it's a mild, buttery cookie with a festive touch of Maraschino cherry and rich semi-sweet or dark chocolate bits!
They're a "refrigerator cookie," meaning you mix it up, roll it up in wax paper, refrigerate then cut and bake a couple hours later.
They're best made in advance before serving--as much as 2 to 3 weeks and should stored in the refrigerator until you're ready to put them out.
They do get a richer flavor over time!
Shortbread cookies should be made with real butter for best performance & flavor!

Maraschino Cherry & Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature. (that's 2 sticks)
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 cups all-purpose Flour
2/3 cup Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup Maraschino cherries, chopped, then spread on a paper towel to absorb excess juice.
 (Cocktail Maraschino Cherries that come without stems are easiest. Or you can sub dried cherries.)

Mix flour & salt & set aside.
Cream butter and confectioners sugar together, then add Vanilla and stir until well blended.
Add flour/salt mixture gradually stirring in until dough forms clumps.
Stir in cherries & choc chips
On a sheet of wax paper, form the dough into a log shape about 2 inches thick, pressing firmly so there are no air bubbles. Roll up in wax paper, turn ends under so no air gets in or wrap additionally with plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours.
When ready to cut and bake: spray a cookie sheet with oil spray or line with parchment paper, then cut the log into 1/4 inch or 1/3 inch slices. 
Arrange on cookie sheet with at least 1 inch between each cookie and bake 10 - 15 minutes--or until they're faintly light brown on top and around bottom edges.
Let cool 5 minutes on sheet before moving to cooling rack.

My observations on this cookie, having made it:
 I think it would be a good idea to reduce the amount of Vanilla amount to 1 1/2 teaspoons and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Maraschino cherry juice, which still equals the 1/2 Tablespoon, and the cherry juice would enhance the festive cherry-ness of these cookies plus give them a hint of pink color!
 Also I'd use a full cup of cherries and a full cup of chocolate chips!
That way, they'd come out looking more like the picture, full of cherries and chips!

Thursday, January 5

Mama Kat Thursday: My Top 12 Blog Posts!

The Mama Kat prompt choice I'm doing today is list of my,
 "Top 12 Blog Posts for 2016!"

Drum roll, please....and the winners are:

#1)  My most popular post ever with 566 visits:

In search for the perfect Ramen Salad, I combined ideas from several Pinterest recipes to come up with this gem! 
It's a great summer side I use often!

#2) With 114 visits:

  I wrote this as part of being on a guest blogger link-up about how, I a woman over 50, got into blogging. 

#3)  With 89 visits:
 My Favorite Cat Quotes!

A selection of my favorite sayings about cats!
Inspired by a Mama Kat prompt.

#4) With 88 visits:

A recipe given to me my a friend that uses ripe bananas & sour cream!

#5)  With 82 visits:

This is a recipe from a collection of muffin recipes from Country Crock I mailed off to get years ago and is a great recipe for those Bran Flakes or Wheat Chex in your pantry!

#6) With 79 visits:
A recipe from a fellow food blogger I follow on G+ that I tried out and really liked!

#7) With 77 visits:

Remembering 7th Grade!

A journey down memory lane back to 1970 when I was in 7th grade inspired by a Mama Kat prompt.

#8)  With 67 visits:

Slow Cooker Velveeta Mac & Cheese!

A Pinterest recipe I tried out that was very good.

#9)   With 65 visits:

Assorted trivia about Coffee.
Inspired by a Mama Kat prompt

#10)  With 60 visits:
Slow Cooker Asian Beef & Vegetables!

Another recipe from a fellow food blogger friend in G+ and, by far, one of the best slow-cooker recipes I've ever tried!  Tender & slightly sweet!

#11)  With 58 visits:
My life and times growing up in rural Indiana! 
Inspired by a Mama Kat prompt.

#12)  With 52 visits:

My view of life as a work-at-home graphic artist!
Inspired by a Mama Kat prompt!


If you missed any, just click the links back to the original post!

Thanks for Visiting!