Sunday, October 29, 2017

Stitching and Cooking on Sunday

Whew!  It's time for me to take a small break.  It's been a busy weekend.  I've made Sweet Potato Hummus, Beef Stew, Garlic Parmesan Potatoes, and decorated some of the cookies for the birthday party at work on Halloween.  Here are the pictures (well some of them since you already saw some in other posts).

The recipe, idea said to partially cover the nutter butter cookies but I'm tempted to totally cover them (at lest on the front).  What do you think?

I also managed to get some crafting in.  Remember that mini wall hanging I talked about in my last post?  I am stitching on the binding now.  I left off the bats which, to me, made it more Halloween than Fall. 

I am also in the process of taking off the blue markings on one of my Aida cloth so I can reuse it.  Since it would be blank Aida cloth I decided not to take a picture.  It is one step closer to getting back into some cross stitch which is nice too. 

Speaking of cross stitch.  I had ordered a double floss container from Amazon and it arrived today!  That was exciting.  Unfortunately one of the handles to one of them (I ordered two).  So I went on Amazon's website, went through the clicks to say I wanted to return one of them and why and much to my surprise (and delight) they are sending me a replacement and I do not need to mail back the broken one.

What broke was about a one inch piece of the handle.  Since I don't have to send it back, I'm going to try and gorilla glue it back in place.  Either way I will be able to use it!  Another thing that I that I wanted to share with you is a cross stitch journal that one of the ladies in one of my Facebook groups shared.  I hadn't thought of doing this, although have attempted to do them before for quilting, and thought some of you might be interested in seeing it.

I doubt that I can keep something that neat but it is a great idea.  :)

Time for me to get back to sewing on the binding to the little mini quilt.  Perhaps I'll get it done tonight and be able to hang it up tomorrow.

Everybody have a great night/day.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

cooking day

Usually I do my cooking on Sundays but I got a head start today when I decided to make Sweet Potato Hummus.  Yes, another hummus.  I decided to do this recipe since it was so cold in the apartment.  Heating up the apartment by cooking the sweet potatoes in a 450 oven seemed like a good idea...and it was!

So once I was committed, and not THAT kind of committed, I just HAD to finish the hummus, right?  That isn't the only cooking I will be doing.  I will also be making beef stew in my crockpot later.  Maybe Parmesan potatoes in the other crockpot or instant pot.  This should lead nicely into the second week of my FutureLearn course. 

I was looking into other courses of FutureLearn and found some interesting ones.  These are the courses which interested me.

Food as Medicine:  Food, exercise, and the Gut
A History of Royal Food and Feasting
Military Ethics:  An Introduction
Agincourt 1415:  Myth and Reality

So now it is time to turn my brain towards crafting.  I am working on the Happy Birthday Banner/table runner.  I have two more letters done.  It shouldn't be a problem at all to get it done by the end of the month.  YAY!

I was going to do some cross stitch after that but then it happened!  Most of you can relate...I saw another wall hanging that I want to do.  It's a seasonal one so of course I must get it done like NOW!  Ok, I'm delusional. It's a Halloween wall hanging and it's obviously not going to get done in 3 days or however many days it is away.  BUT, and this but is about as big as mine, I think I can convert it to a winter or fall scene if I just leave out the bats.  Otherwise it is a tree that doesn't have any leaves on it with a moon in the background.  It's called Moon Rise and it should finish around 12 1/2".    It was offered for free from Connecting Threads.

I'll think on it more as I eat some beet hummus with red wine vinegar over the top.  That's a healthy snack right? Beets are healthy right?  Plus it's a pretty color.  LOL.

I'll update you later and in the meantime have a great weekend!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Update - forgot the picture

It's me again.  I forgot to add the picture of the three hummus dishes.  Left to right they would be:

beet - Italian - classic

I think that with a little more tweaking, the beet one would be great to take to a holiday party.  It already looks festive.  Has anybody tried to use some food coloring on a classic hummus?  It looks so pale it needs some decorations too.  LOL.

NOW I really do have to get back to work.  Bye.

My surprise gifts!!!!!!!

I was so surprised to find out that I was gifted 3 HAED cross stitch patterns.  They are part of the The Lady and The Unicorn series.  A couple of days ago I posted one of them up and that one was "touch".  Here are the ones that I received from Sue.  Thanks Sue!

Not sure when I'll get them into a rotation to do but I'm excited to get them.  So many patterns, no little time.  One thing is for sure...I'll never be bored!

I am typing this during my lunch hour so I need to stop soon.  Before I do, I wanted to mention that I made three types of hummus last night and brought them into work to taste.  I made Italian Hummus (which I already knew I love), classic hummus, and beet hummus. 

The Italian hummus is the best of the three.  I had some packets of Olive Oil Blend from Subway so I used half of one to dribble over the top of the Italian.  That turned out well.

I used the rest of the packet to put it over the Classic hummus which also enhanced it a bit.

My surprise was the beet hummus.   It certainly needed to be well chilled for the beet flavor to come out.  It still needed something so I search my office frig and found another Subway packet (I knew there was a reason I had taken those).  This one was a wine vinegar one.  I a little bit that over the beet hummus and think it worked out well.  I'm wondering what it would be like with a drizzle of ballistic vinegar on it.

Tonight or this weekend I will be making more pumpkin hummus.  :)  Yes I'm on a hummus kick.

Gotta get back to work now.  Have a great day!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Finishing an UFO - almost

It's a beautiful thing when you finish a UFO.  I am soon reaching that goal.  I have had a Happy Birthday Banner (table runner) for a bit now and only pick it up occasionally to work on.  In my reorganization, I found it again and opened it up.  Much to my surprise I am almost done with the top.  I only have the word Happy  to stitch down and then stitch the icing on one of the cupcakes.  That means I hope to have this UFO ALL done by the end of the month.  That will be a good feeling. 

I know that I posted my new cross stitch patterns the other day but I think that I forgot to post the set I picked up right before that.  I just love the cute dragons (like in Couch Dragon) that HAED offers.  Eventually I will get all of them.  They just make me smile and that, if for no other reason, is justification enough to get them.

That's about it for this posting.  The bells tolls and that means it is time to turn my attention to Excel Files, budgets, and work emails.  

I hope everybody has a good day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Cross Stitch Patterns for my collection

That's right.  I am starting to call my Cross Stitch patterns a collection.  Especially when they are from Heaven and Earth Designs.  Here are my latest.

I didn't forget about my quilting.  I did another fabric box but this time from different fabric and a different size.  I pulled out two 10" fabric pieces I had and sewed them.  The box is bigger and was easier to sew.  I could also sew the insides down more.  I am thinking that these might be nice to do in groups of 2 or 3 matching colors and give as a present.  What do you think?

Lunch time is over so I must get back to work.  Have a great day/evening!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ups and Downs of Normal Life

 Everybody has ups and downs and I am no exception.  This week has already seen some ups and downs from cooking to sewing.  In the cooking category the up portions were getting a bit more organized, crockpot cooking, making hummus, and stocking the freezer.  The down parts were having to do dishes (no dishwasher except for me) more often, alternating what to cook in my 2 crockpots, eating the hummus too quickly, and running out of room in the freezer.  I adjust though and carried on.  I only have the freezer which is part of my old refrigerator so I can only fit so many containers in it.  Guess that means I will be having more soups and such this coming week because I like to cook on Sundays.  New additions to the freezer have been

Ground Sirloin and mushroom marinara

black bean soup
15 bean soup
navy bean soup

(Do you get the idea I'm in a soup mood?)

My hummus didn't stick around long enough for me to freeze it.  I finally broke down and bought some tahini but only after I did some research on would it be cheaper to make it or to buy it and also found out that it can be frozen.  The cost to make it vs. buy it was about the same so I decided why make more work for myself so I bought the pre-made tahini.  Wouldn't you know that the first hummus I tried to make on my own didn't even use tahini?  It turned out great though.  If you need some ideas on different types of hummus to make here are a few that I found.


 You might have to download the pictures so you can enlarge them to read on how to make the hummus.  Off to the store to get the ingredients for the Italian hummus which turned out great!

While I was at the store, I decided to pick up some small containers of spices and knowing that some of the recipes only called for 1/4 teaspoon of certain spices I finally discovered jello shot containers with lids.  They were the perfect size to put my spices in.  The problem came when I tried to get off the top of the lids of the .5 oz size containers so that I could put the spice in its new home.  After spilling a lot of my allspice, I managed to figure it out and now have smaller, easier to use and see, containers.

Flushed with victory, I decided to try and do some sewing also.  This cat pattern (Pins and Paws from MSQC) is going to be a mini wall hanging for a friend for Christmas.

THEN I decided to push my luck and work on a small fabric box.  The instructions seemed easy enough.  I started and finished it last night.  I did have a small scare during the last step but I missed my finger so wasn't injured.

The fabric box started out around 8" and ended up around 3".  I have it in my office today and it is holding my paperclips.  The first pre-cut fabric (I was being lazy) my hands found was denim so I thought I'd use that.  It worked out great but by the time I was done hand sewing on buttons and the flaps down on the inside, my fingers were TIRED!  Tonight I will make one with lighter fabric and see how it goes.

This is a small size (3") but it is just the right size to hold my stork scissors as well as my larger clips.  I will experiment with different size squares and see how they turn out.

That's my report today.  I have to get back to work.  I do have a cute picture to share with you.  My friend Simon has an adorable puppy dog.  His name is Maximilian or Max.  This picture is taken at the vets office where he received a clean bill of health.  He now weighs 55.8 kg or 123 pounds.  Doesn't he look happy?

I hope that picture made you smile.  I know that I smile whenever I look at it.  Have a great day everybody!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Food as Medicine

I really enjoyed doing the cooking class at HyVee.  It was a nice prelude to my 3 week free online course through Future Learn on Food as Medicine.  The last email from Future Learn had the Course philosophy listed and I thought I'd share this with you.   I put a link at the bottom of this post in case you are interested in learning more about Future Learn.  I have taken around 6 courses through them.  They vary in length and time but I like to keep my brain busy learning new things and this is a great way to do it.

We hope that the areas of foods and nutrition we have chosen will be useful to the majority of learners and their families, and that you can start using foods as medicine.

Course philosophy

In this course we can only provide a taster of the exciting world of nutrition science. We have tried to pick areas of greatest interest as well as areas applicable to the majority of learners, and as ‘food’ is such a large area, we unfortunately will not be able to cover all diseases, symptoms and foods that potentially can be used as medicine.

Things to do before the course starts

To get you thinking about using foods as medicine, I’ve created a list of foods that have been investigated for their potential role in keeping us healthy.


Cocoa, cacao and even the ever popular food chocolate, have been investigated for their potential health benefits.


Curcumin is the active ingredient and bright yellow pigment found in the spice turmeric, and more recently in some supplements.

Green tea

Green tea, a drink enjoyed by many people around the world, contains numerous components with antioxidant activity.


The smell of cooked garlic is enough to make many people’s mouth water, yet we are learning more about the potential role of garlic and health.

Seaweed (Wakame and Mekabu)

Brown seaweeds such as Wakame and Mekabu contain many bioactive compounds, such as omega-3 fatty acids which have been associated with having cardio protective effects.


Ginger has been associated with reducing nausea in both pregnancy and chemotherapy induced nausea, when compared with a placebo. This may be a helpful strategy in reducing nausea in some people as there are also initial reports that ginger may not have many side effects. It is important to understand that further research still needs to be conducted to understand the best form and dose of taking ginger to reduce nausea.
If you would like to use it more for its potential anti-nausea properties speak with your healthcare professional who will advise on dose and source of ginger to try.
To learn more about FutureLearn go to:

Cauliflower Tabbouleh


1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 inch florets (I thought using pre done riced cauliflower would be great since that is what you would be doing with it anyway)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup tightly packed coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped tightly packed mint
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved


1.  Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket and steam until just tender-crisp, 5-6 minutes.
2.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
3.  Place the cooked cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 15 times, until the mixture is fine, with pieces about the size of rice grains.  (I think using riced cauliflower that was already made for you would be great.  Cut out these three steps).

4.  In a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
5.  Add the cauliflower and toss well to coat.  Taste and adjust with a couple of pinches of salt if needed.
6.  When the cauliflower has completely cooled, fold int he parsley, mint, cucumber, and tomatoes.  Serve at room temperature.

NOTES:  We didn't let it set and give the spices time to mingle very much since we had a limited amount of time for the class.  It was still good but I thought the lemon taste was a bit strong.  I couldn't tell there were cucumbers in it at all and the mint and parsley combination was overwhelming.  I'd cut back on it and chop it REALLY fine so you don't get stems like I did.

Brussels Sprout Slaw With Cranberries and Walnuts


3/4 lb Brussels sprouts
1 Fuji or Gala apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (or 1/4 cup regular lemon juice)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


1.  Trim bottom from sprouts and remove any loose or bruised leaves.
2.  Place shredding disk or fine slicing disk in food processor, and using feeder tube, gradually shred Brussels sprouts; there will be about 4 1/2 cups.  Transfer shredded sprouts to mixing bowl.
3.  Add apple, cranberries, walnuts, salt, pepper and lemon juice and stir with a fork for 1 minute to combine well.
4.  Add oil and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate slaw for 3 hours to overnight.  Re-stir before serving.  The slaw is best served within 24 hours.

NOTE:  In class we cut the Brussels Sprouts in half and then roasted them.  I would have cut the Brussel Sprouts into quarters instead of half.

Chia Oatmeal Porridge with Blueberry Compote


1/2 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup chia seeds
10 tablespoons hemp seed
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
3 1/2 cups of nut milk or more as needed

Directions:  Heat nut milk then add all ingredients.
Cook 5 minutes or until soft

Blueberry compote:

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
1 teaspoon Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all compote ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture bubbles, pulls away from the sides of the pan, and becomes syrupy.

Spoon a dollop over the oatmeal/porridge.

Turmeric and Cinnamon Masala Chai

As requested, here is the Turmeric and Cinnamon Masala Chai recipe.


1 oz water
8 oz. almond milk
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup peeled fresh ginger, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Pinch of Black pepper
2 teaspoons Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup


1.  In a small saucepan, combine the water, almond milk, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper.
2. Allow the chai to gently cook over the medium low heat for 2 minutes, or until small bubbles start to appear.
3.  Cover, and simmer for another 3 minutes.
4.  Turn off the heat, stir in the maple syrup, and allow the chai to sit for 5 minutes, then pour into a cup

Sweet Potato Hummus

As requested, here is the recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus.

Sweet Potato Hummus

3 sweet potatoes
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained (reserve liquid) and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Poke holes all over sweet potatoes with a fork

Roast sweet potatoes in the preheated oven until soft, about 45 minutes; let cool.  Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise

Combine garbanzo beans and olive oil in a blender and pulse several times to mash.  Scoop flesh out peels and add to the blender; pulse to combine.

Add tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, white pepper, and sea salt to mixture; blend until smooth, adding reserved garbanzo bean liquid as needed to make a smooth, creamy hummus.  (We ended up adding some of the garbanzo bean liquid).

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Happy Friday Eve!

Or Friday if you are in another timezone.  :)

I had to get back to work on Wednesday but I wish I could have stayed home a couple more days.  It did have a fun time off (even if I did have to clean in the first half of it).  I managed, as you know, to play with my Instant Pot and also put away some soups in the freezer.  I am loving that it is getting into soup weather.  I am making ham and bean soup for tonight.  It actually is in the crockpot (so it doesn't think I don't love it anymore).  Soaked the beans last night and put it over to cook while at work.  I'll put a couple of containers of it in the freeze also. 

I did manage to get my mini wall hanging done and it is now up at work.  I like it there.  I also like that I have something up that isn't seasonal so it doesn't have to be changed soon.  :)

It now joins my other quilted wall hangings on the wall. 

It's about time to change out some of them but I need to buy more command hooks so that I can get them on the back of the wall hangings. 

Did I also had to snip some more chives and sage today so they will be joining my refrigerator collection. 

I will probably use the chives tonight.  I am having fun with cooking again and made some applesauce over the weekend.  I need to get more apples and make some more.  I also want to make some sweet potato hummus.  I went to an event at Hy-Vee (grocery) store last night that was put on by their Dietitian.  It was entitled:  Dietitian Cancer Fighting Foods Class.  There was a brief discussion about foods and then we paired up to make 5 dishes and then we got to sample them.  The recipes were also given out at the event.  I think that the sweet potato hummus was the best but I might have been a tad biased since I made it with another woman.  :)

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Cranberries and Walnuts

Sweet Potato Hummus - YUMMMM

Chia Oatmeal Porridge with Blueberry Compote

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

If anybody wants the recipes, let me know.  There was a Turmeric and Cinnamon Masala Chai that was made also.  It was added at the last minute and I forgot to take a picture of it.  I was probably too busy eating.  I was surprised that I really liked it.  It was made with almond milk, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, pepper and Dark Amber maple syrup.  I might have to make that sometime when it's cold outside because it certainly warms you up and the spices are good for you too.  

That's it for now.  I just wanted to share some of the things I accomplished this week and to remind you to smile!  The weekend is almost here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Gasp! The apartment is still clean.

That might not be great news for people but considering that I'm starting to craft again, that is pretty good news to me.

I haven't done much today except cook and think about what to make.  On the cooking front, I did some corned beef in the Instant Pot, some vegetables in the liquid from the corned Beef in the Instant Pot, a 15 bean soup in the crockpot, and planned what to make tomorrow.  Then, of course, there was the clean up and putting things away, etc.

In between that I ironed some fabric for a wall hanging that will be given as a Christmas present.  I haven't cut out the fabric yet, will probably do that tomorrow, but I did find a t-shirt that I remembered I wanted to turn into a little mini wall hanging to be hung by my work desk.  It is only 15 inches but I didn't want to just get rid of the t-shirt (it is way too large for me) so I decided to make the mini.

Hmm.  Maybe I will go peel some apples and make applesauce.  Will let you know how it turns out (the mini) as well as the applesauce.  :)

Later everybody.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ohhh. what a wonderful day!

Yep, that's right.  It's a wonderful day today.  I finished getting the sewing room done.  Of course I still have my living to "re-clean" but that's ok.  My "get rid of" area is getting larger and I am happy with it.  In my living area is a lot of fabric that I want to cut down into squares.  That's ok.  I can do that at my leisure.  So what does it look like? 

That's not the only thing that makes it a wonderful day.  I got great things in the mail today.  My INSTANT POT arrived.  It arrived really quick.  I put in the order for it YESTERDAY!  I must have just timed it right.  According to the website, it can:

  • Instant Pot Duo Mini, the ideal companion to the Instant Pot Duo, the number # 1 selling multi-cooker, combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1, Rice Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer.
  • Perfect for smaller families or to make a small dish for two, side dish or while traveling such as camping, traveling by RV, boating, sailing, hotel excursions Cooks up to 12 Cups of rice (Cooked), 6 Cups of rice (uncooked)
  • Features 11 Smart Programmable digital controls – Rice, Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Sauté, Porridge, Steam, Slow Cook, Yogurt, Keep Warm, and Pressure Cook
  • Note: The Instant Pot Duo Mini max capacity is 6 cups uncooked rice (12 cups cooked), please use the rice measuring cup that comes with the Duo Mini.
  • Up to 24 hour delay start, automatic Keep Warm up to 10 hours, and sound ON/OFF.
  • Stainless steel (18/8) inner cooking pot, food grade 304, no chemical coating, 3-ply bottom dishwasher safe.
  • Accessories include: Rice measuring cup, stainless steel steam rack without handles, rice paddle, soup spoon, condensation collector and recipe booklet. To maximize performance of cooker only use genuine Instant Pot accessories.

But wait, there's more! At least that is what the commercials usually say.  Two of my three orders for yarn came in.

Now off to go relax and play with my mail goodies.  LOL.   Everybody have a great day/night!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

More work on organization

I still will have boxes/containers that aren't organized as I want them to be but I'm getting closer.  My body only allows so much bending over and moving things at a time.    I am still making progress though.  I finally decided that I needed to take down one of my white folding tables.  For some strange reason, I couldn't get it to cooperate enough to totally fold down but the legs are put in and I have it leaning against the wall.  That will work since it couldn't lean against the wall totally flush because of a baseboard heater that I never use.

The other stack that seems to be growing is my "get rid of " stack.

That stack includes clothes I can't wear any longer and other crafting stuff that is either broken or I don't want any longer.  I am forcing myself NOT to quilt or cross stitch until I get the apartment back into some sort of order.  I am, however, crocheting some pot holders to replace the ones Mom had given me.  She taught me how to crochet these so it's good that I make some periodically and don't forget.   This is one that I finished.

They are nice and thick so they can double up as heating pads.  This one is nice and bright.  The other one I'm working on is in camouflage colors.  I had forgotten how much I like making them so I thought I'd order some more yarn.  These are the colors that are being shipped to me.

That's about it for a report right now.  I have to clean off my bed so that I can GO to bed and my pain meds are starting to kick in.  My body and I should, hopefully, sleep well tonight.  I will have to take it easier tomorrow or else I won't be able to get to work.  LOL.

I hope everybody has a safe and great day/evening.