Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

I got a free stencil from the Better Homes & Garden website. They had the most adorable pet stencils this year. I altered the poodle template to look more like my poodle Little Star. We all enjoyed our carved pumpkin. It's in the house right now, so some hoodlum won't smash it on the road tonight.

Thanks to my Internet friend Jan at "The Poodle (and dog) Blog" for bringing these templates to my attention. I've never been one to dress up my dogs, but I'll most certainly carve their likeness on to a pumpkin.

Off to try and hide the candy from the poodle. That dog amazes me every year what she can find and how the heck did she get it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Don't bother hiding the candy. I'll find it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Karen's Thai Chicken Soup

This recipe was created by my friend Karen Hawkins. She was telling me years ago about a restaurant (La Bou) that had a delicious Thai Chicken Soup. So, we went to lunch there and had the soup. She was right it was so good and when the weather gets cold it more than hits the spot. It's smooth tomato broth slides down your throat and warms you from the inside out. She decided that day she'd try and recreate it. This recipe is SO close that I don't think I could tell the difference. Although I probably could as the restaurant version is so spicy hot I almost couldn't eat it. That's how good the soup was... I was willing to endure pain to eat it. Mine is a lot cooler in the spice department.

Karen's Thai Chicken Soup

2 celery sticks, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 large chicken breast, cut in bite sized pieces
1 - 14 oz. can low fat coconut milk
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 - 14 oz. cans chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked rice
Thai Chili Paste to taste

Saute' celery, onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is soft. Add chicken breast and cook until done. Add coconut milk, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken broth. After bringing to a boil add rice and Thai chili paste to taste depending on the amount of heat you like. Simmer until rice is cooked.

Lynne's note: I like to low fat coconut milk I'm sure the full fat version would be fine. I also like to use the petite cut canned tomatoes. I don't like the large chunks of tomato in this soup. In last night's version of the soup I had 4 chicken thighs that needed to be used. After the celery/onion/garlic was sauteed I added the chicken broth only. I then added the 4 chicken thighs without their skin. I simmered the thighs until cooked through. I removed them let them cool and cut into bite sized piece. I added the chopped chicken back to broth along with other ingredients of the recipe. I used reduced sodium chicken broth and the soup needed some added salt in my opinion.

As for the heat in this soup it does need some zing so don't skip it. I had this odd hot sauce in the fridge that my husband and daughter like to use to season food. My son and I have tender tongues and don't add hot sauce to anything. For the recipe though I do like a little heat. I've used chili oil in the past as I usually have some on hand. Last night I thought I'd try above sauce I had purchase for DH at the grocery store. It was recommended on the Food Network as being very flavorful. I just take DH's word for it. After quizzing him on exactly how hot was it I started by stirring in 1/2 teaspoon. Then I tasted. I ended up adding 3 teaspoons all together. I probably could have stopped at 2 1/2 as my nose was running quite a bit. BUT the soup was good! Didn't slow me down a bit.

Note: Dh hubby and I had leftover soup for lunch. As I ate mine I got to thinking it was so much better than the night before if that is possible. I wondered would I ever make a batch of soup and then save it for the next day before eating? The soup still had the wonderful tomato broth that feels so good going down one's throat, but it was thicker more like a stew. The rice in the soup had really absorbed the broth and thicken the soup. I was a little worried that the soup might be spicier since I used a new hot sauce, but it was just right.
DH called me from work and asked me if I had eaten my soup. He then went on to say it seemed so much better the next day and would I consider making the soup and waiting a day to eat it. I laughed as I had just visited that idea when I ate my soup.

In The 'Hood

I had to go to the part of Sacramento referred to as the Hood. An area where you need to be aware of your surrounding and what is around you. It can be a dangerous rough area. As I was heading to my destination I saw a sign that said "Monster Bus." I thought, "OH MY! This neighborhood has really gotten rough if they refer to riding the bus as the Monster Bus." In another block I saw this bus and had to chuckle. OK maybe things aren't as rough as I thought. An area of Kmart's parking area was cordoned off for rides on this adorable bus. Not so scary after all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Allison at Homecoming

Allison went to a dance with friends. All are from the Cross Country team except the tall girl in black and white. She's on the golf team. So, it's a group of athletes.

This is the 2nd time Allison has worn a dress since she put her foot down and said, "No dresses" when she was about 3 years old. Sometimes Allison will see a picture of herself in a dress in the first three years of life and complain, "I can't believe you made me wear a dress." I remind her the minute she had opinions about her own clothing choices I let her take over.

The last time she wore a dress willingly was when she was the flower girl at her Aunt and Uncles wedding. She was very happy to be asked to do that for them. She was up to the responsibilities like wearing a dress. No complaints. Fortunately, they let her pick out anything she wanted. I guided her as to what would be proper for a wedding and she made a great choice and it was a great day for all.

As for the Homecoming dance everyone looked great and I hear everyone had a great time.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Quickie Cell Phone Purse

My daughter agreed to go to the Home Coming dance with her friends. She also agreed to wear a dress. This is the 3rd time she's worn a dress in her life. So, I knew carrying a purse was going to be out of the question. I decided to quickly knit up the tiniest bag just big enough to hold her cell phone, student body card and her money. I lined it with a little piece of cotton fabric. She wanted a gold button. I learned how to make an I-cord on my Toyota bulky 650 knitting machine and knitted a long strap she could just drap around one shoulder and not have to mess with all night. This is the best picture I have right now. I'll get a better one when it comes back from the dance.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's the little things...

It's October and my favorite hokey decorative items come out. My candy corn guys really make me smile. I love candy corn and I love October. I love fall and I love Halloween. It might be because my birthday is in October.

I saw these little guys hanging in my local Beverly's craft store many years ago. I took one look at them and had to have them. It was a craft project that looked like it would be fairly easy to do. So, I took pictures of each guy with my Palm Pilot. Yes, these guy have been part of my house for quite a few years. Cell phones did not have cameras at the time. With pictures in my purse I bought 3 (3 1/2"X 3 1/2") pots, some jute and came home to see what paints I had. I was pretty sure I had all the paint I needed and I did.

I painted each pot with stripes of white orange and yellow. I then used a sponge with the orange paint to blur the lines between the colors a bit.
After the paint had dried I went in with red paint and painted those adorable noses and cheeks. I then let that dry.

I was going to paint the black details on when I got to thinking I wonder how a Sharpie would work. I figured if it didn't work I'd paint over it with black paint. As you can see the details I put on with black Sharpie are and crisp and clean as the day I put them one. So, it worked out great. After the Sharpie was dry I went in and put a little dot of white on their eyes to complete their cute look.

Next I cut jute in three different lengths. I knotted each length at one end and pulled it through the hole in the pot. After jute was pulled through each pot and I knotted the 3 jute cords together at the top.

For their legs I had some scrap yellow cotton fabric that I torn in lengths long enough to have a knot at each end and hang down from inside each pot. I hot glued the legs to the knot inside the pot. They are hanging in my kitchen. They make me smile every time I see them, which is probably about 50 times a day.