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Showing posts from June, 2015

Good Eating Monday: The Real No Bake Cookies!

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Sometimes you can have a bad experience with Pinterest recipes.  I have.  Usually it's because there's a mistake in the directions, such as cooking time or ingredient quantities or some such thing. This time it was misrepresentation of what the cookie recipe would look like when done---i.e. someone attached the wrong picture with the recipe.  The picture they attached is the one below: it's really a photo of a stack of No-Bake Cookies, which have sugar, cocoa, peanut butter & oatmeal, and actually come out shiny looking once cooled. It was attached to a recipe called  "Skinny Monkeys," which did require baking . You can see how the Skinny Monkey's I made came out in the second pic: dry, ugly clumps. The Skinny Monkeys recipe just calls for mashed bananas, peanut butter, cocoa, vanilla, applesauce & vanilla. It was hailed as a yummy, lo-cal, fat free cookie! I should've trusted my instincts. I had doubts that any cookie comprised almost e

Friday Finds: Pratt-Keeping!

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They say "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." This iconic scene from Jurassic World featuring Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, the Raptor trainer, holding off a squad of semi-trained Raptors has inspired Zookeepers world around and and, indeed, everyone and anyone else with a sense of humor to imitate!  It's called "Pratt-keeping!" People are "Pratt-Keeping" everything from zoo animals to pets to stuffed animals to Disney World characters and posting pictures! Finds for today are some of my favorite Pratt-Keeping photos: Pratt-Keeping Land Tortoises : Pratt-Keeping Tigers: Pratt-Keeping Emu: My Hubby's Favorite: Pratt-Keeping Chickens: Finally, Chris Pratt Imitating Himself by Pratt-Keeping Kids: Visiting sick kids in the hospital is something Mr. Pratt enjoys doing regularly in his free time. **** That's it for today! Hope you enjoyed! Come back Monday for Good Eating! 

Mama Kat Thursday: Say What?

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Today's Mama Kat blog writing topic is,  "Write about something that made you laugh this week." I call it audio auto-fill. You know like what your phone does, except this is what your brain does when your ears hear words you can't quite make out clearly, so your brain "fills" in with other words---sometimes with hilarious results. Hubby and I have had two of those this past week: We were eating dinner and I said, "Tomorrow I need to refill the bird feeder." Hubby's  fork stopped in midair as he looked at me like a horn popped out of my forehead. "What did you say?" he asked. I repeated. He chuckled. "I thought you said you had to sell some beer tomorrow." Another day we were eating lunch. Hubby likes to eat chocolate rice cakes with peanut butter and honey. Sometimes he makes a peanut butter rice cake sandwich with two rice cakes. I'd seen him slather one rice cake with peanut butter, then, when I looked

Garden Pic Wednesday: The Particularly Beautiful Day Lily

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After days of blazing heat and spot thunder showers, a cool front and rain came in last night, so it was actually quite temperate outside this morning and stayed overcast. Perfect for doing a number of outdoor chores! Out of nowhere my zucchini suddenly had a powdery mildew attack! I pulled up 3, salvaging what zucchini's I could (Hint: you don't have to wait for zucchini to bloom to harvest; pick them as needed.) Sweet & Purple basil The ones I pulled up had been severely ravaged by vine-borers anyway. I have 2 mature bushes I decided to try and save by removing outer leaves and treating them with Neem oil. I also have 3 immature bushes I treated. In fact, I treated everything that would benefit from Neem oil! After that, I moved seeding Basil and Balloon flowers various places. I put all the saved basil seeds I had from last years basil into a pot to sprout, hoping in particular for some purple basil. So far, only 2 purple. The majority of sprouts were Sw

Good Eating Monday: Quick Italian Cream Cake!

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I learned about Italian Cream Cake when I asked a college girl in our Bible Study, who would be leaving in the fall, what her favorite cake was and she said "Italian Cream Cake." Since I prefer a 9 x 13 pan cake, I looked through Pinterest for a recipe and found this one: I gave this recipe a test run with a few modifications, such as applesauce instead of oil, and it came out soooo delicious. It's a keeper! I've made it several time since! Here's my version of that Pinterest recipe: Quick Italian Cream Cake! Cake: 1 box of white cake mix 1 small package of instant vanilla pudding (3 1/2 oz) 3 whole eggs 2 1/2 Tablespoons Evaporated Milk 1/2 cup natural unsweetened applesauce (instead of canola oil) 1 1/2 cups water 1 cup flaked coconut Frosting: 2 Tbsp lite butter, melted 6 oz cream cheese, softened (I used 2/3 cup whipped kind) 1 Tbsp Evaporated milk (up to 2) 1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar (for a 9 x 13 pan cake) 1 cup fla

Mama Kat Thursday: An Awkward Moment

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T he Mama Kat blog writing prompt topic for today is, "Describe a awkward moment." I had an awkward event happen right in front of me this week. I didn't cause it. I try to avoid that.   I just was there when it happened.  Awkward moments are generally like a toilet overflowing--you can't stop it. It's gonna do what it's gonna do and poopy water will be hitting the floor! This particularly noteworthy moment occurred at our Tuesday night Bible study we hold in the Airman's Center. The people who attend are largely 19 to 24 year old active duty Air Force plus a smattering of civilians employed on the base. For the past few weeks we've been studying the Bible book of Daniel and to make it fun, when a chapter involves a dream or a vision, we break them into small groups with crayons and poster board to let them express their own creativity. Sometimes the main drawing gets accessorized by a Jeep grill or Sponge Bob and all sorts of oddities of imag

Garden Pic Wednesday: Ceramic Cats In Flowers

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Today I finished the last section of the yard for mowing and cleaned up day lily stems from beds.  It was stifling out. A couple days ago I was checking my corner rain garden that's full of Bugleweed to make sure the Hydrangea in the middle is clear---and guess what I found! A tiny baby Box Turtle! It was just a little bigger then the size of  a quarter!  I'm thinking it hatched this year.  Probably right there. Today I put a couple small watermelon rinds under that hydrangea for baby. It's cool, shady and sheltered under all that Bugleweed. I noticed this past week something was drilling into my Zucchini and eating it on the inside, so I lost 4 or 5. I had sprinkle the squash with Sevin dust.  Tomatoes are starting to get ripe. Time to start thinking what I'm going to do with them!  Tacos, spaghetti sauce, tomato-basil soup and pasta salad will soon be on the menu! The last of the blackberries are getting ready to ripen and once they're done---jam!

Good Eating Monday: Slow-Cooker Baked Sweet Potatoes!

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Today's Good Eating recipe is  "Slow-Cooker Baked Sweet Potatoes." This was a Pinterest recipe I tried out--and it works fantastic! I love baked sweet potatoes, but they take so long in the oven and I don't like using it in summer. So, I read this recipe for baking them in a slow-cooker. Tried it. Loved it.  Have used it twice already.  I decided baked sweet potatoes with a Birdseye Steamable veggie would be my lunch Mon. thru Thur. this week! Ingredients: 4 to 6 medium sweet potatoes. (5 - 6 inches)  Directions: Spray slow-cooker with cooking oil spray, because the sweet potatoes release juices while cooking. Scrub/wash sweet potatoes thoroughly to get rid of exterior roots & dirt. Dry. Poke with knife or fork several times, so steam will vent. Put in slow-cooker. Cover. C ook 3 to 4 hours on high.  (Mine, which were small, were done within 3 hours.) Serve how you like. You can split them or peel them. (The skin peels off easily o

Friday Finds: The Art of Simple Shapes & Text

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In 1915, Kazimir Malevich painted a single solid black square on a linen canvas and called it art. He called his abstract style "cubo-futuristic," leading the way into a movement later called, "suprematism art."  Abstract art is art that is the opposite of realistic, so suprematism art was an abstract style comprised of just basic colored shapes, such as squares, lines, rectangles or circles and so on.  A sample of Malevich's art: The German Bauhaus school of design was influenced by this Suprematism art style: Here's an example of a Bauhaus graphic design. Here you see basic shapes of color combined  with black text design: When I recently redesigned my Zazzle store category thumbnails, I set out to create designs consisting of just a interesting black text accented with nothing but a few simple colored shapes.   Once done, I like this look so much , I was inspired to expand some of those same designs for broader use on fabric, wall a

Mama Kat Thursday: A 10th Grade Memory

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Today's Mama Kat blog prompt challenge is to write about, "A 10th Grade Memory." Cheech & Chong: Then & Now Wow, 10th grade? That would be 42 years ago, back in 1973. The radical 70's. That time just past hippy and but not quite disco, when ties and pants were super-wide,  the Watergate scandal and impeaching President Nixon were hot topics and Vietnam was coming to a close. Oh yeah, and getting high on pot or drugs was the in-thing. Because this was true, our school system decided it was important for all students to go through a drug education course, so they could understand the dangers of using drugs. Which brings me to that 10th grade memory. I was in that drug education class then. Mr. Walton was the instructor. He was also the wood shop teacher, so he was pretty laid back and many of the boys knew him well. As I recall, we seemed to have plenty of time for tomfoolery in that class.  Cheech & Chong with their marijuana themed humor

Garden Pic Wednesday: Night Blooms,Veggies & Box Turtles!

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This morning I did some morning, but it was gray like a thunderstorm was looming and I could hear distant thunder, so I just did the north side and quit. But nothing came of it and a couple hours later it was sunny again--still I hear distant rumbling even now, when it's nearly 4 pm  It's that time of year. I did later go back out to collect blackberries and tie up tomatoes. My front flower beds are a vision of loveliness at night, thanks in particular to all those 4 O'clocks! So today's first Garden Pics are of my blooming night garden: These photos are at 9 pm last night: Above, my red Petunias, yellow Million Bells and yellow Paint 4 O'clocks all stay awake at night to feed the moths! I saw in Burpee a white night blooming flower called a "Moon Flower," that looks like a Morning Glory. It needs at trellis, so it's a vine like that. Next: My Veggie Bed Tomatoes, Zucchini & Melon. Also, a couple baby watermelon plants

Good Eating Monday: 2 Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies!

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Greetings! Another steamy week of June! Today I cut some of my basil, Greek oregano & chocolate mint to put in the dehydrator to dry! Luckily a ton of basil came back from seed by itself ! The garage smells delicious. My other outside task was hedging up the last 3 Azalea bushes in the back yard and also the Gardenia topiary tree, which has finished blooming.  The Azaleas all needed treating with Neem oil as well--scale has been a problem this year. Then, when Hubby came home, we grabbed dinner at the Panda Express because Panda was contributing proceeds from every meal today to Feeding America. We fed 24 people by eating there today. Today's Good Eating Recipe is one I've used before, saw on Pinterest and decided to make again for Air Force Bible Study group on base tomorrow night. It's called, "Two Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies." They were moist and yummy last time I made them and it's a such an easy way to make a chocolate treat that's

Mama Kat Thursday: Again And Again

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Today's Mama Kat topic is:  "Write a post that ends with the word: Again." When I used to work at a flower shop, customers often said to me, " It must be so wonderful working with flowers all day. " In reality, that job made my clothes and hands stained & filthy, involved lifting dozens of heavy buckets of water daily, I was standing on my feet all day long and, on holidays, it was really high pressure. Now I work at home as a graphic designer creating art for printable products for an online print-on-demand company. On the upside: I don't have to stand on my feet all day and there's no pressure. I work when I want. On the down side, nothing is as simple as it might appear. There 's a learning curve involved with applying art work to these various products and getting it fitted just right; especially new products I've never tried before. First I design the art in my graphic software, then I upload it to Zazzle, then put i

Garden Pic Wednesday: Red & Pink Hibiscus!

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We had a nice, much needed little thunder shower yesterday! I recently replanted a mix variety of lettuce seeds in a pot of rich garden soil that I put near the front door in the strawberry bed. Also a short row of radish seed.  The strawberries don't like the end of the bed near my front door, so I use it as an auxiliary garden. I didn't find the lettuce seed performed that well in the veggie bed. Not sure why. Maybe the sun is too intense. But I have gotten good performance from it in a pot--usually one that's more shaded. That's a trick about gardening in Florida--things that like full sun further north, needed partial shade here. Today's Garden Pics are my gorgeous Hardy Hibiscus! This is not the tropical form, which is a shrub, but the tall upright variety that dies back in winter and returns from root every spring. They average 4 to 5 feet tall and run in a variety of shades from light pink to deep burgundy red, plus white and I believe a pale

Good Eating Monday: Creamy Layered Lemon Squares

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Greetings! I have a flock of Purple Finches visiting the feeder now--it's two pairs of parents bringing their kids to the restaurant!  Driving back from the fitness center this morning we can see an active Osprey nest in a bare tree overlooking the bay. One of the parents was sitting in it. They are a breed of hawk that dines on fish. Very common around here. They mate for life and this particular pair built their first nest in this tree months ago and I've been watching them every time we drive by to the fitness center. My observation impression is this is their 3rd round of off-spring. It looks like they just build a new nest on top of old and go again. Though, I'm not sure about the habits of Osprey.  Today's Good Eating recipe is a no-bake recipe from Honeymaid Graham Crackers that I tried called, "Creamy Layered Lemon Squares." It came out looking just like the picture, but I thought the layer of strawberries in the middle lent an unpleasant sour