Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Red Beans & Rice!

I tried this recipe again today and I wasn't so much focused on the finished traditional product as I was just getting the beans right this time.  We've tried them twice, and they've still somehow come out almost crunchy.  No bueno.  I actually followed the package directions on the kidney bean bag (funny how that works!) and guess what?  They came out lovely.  The package told me to soak a one-cup bean to 3-cup water ratio for 6-8 hours or overnight.  I ended up soaking them for about 18 hours since I didn't want to fuss with cooking them last night.  I checked them occasionally, and while a few of them were splitting, they seemed to only be getting a tiny bit softer.  But I guess that's just the way they work because right around 9:15 this morning, I drained them, rinsed them, put them back in the pot with 4 cups of water per cup of beans soaked this time, brought them to a boil, lowered the heat, put the lid on and walked away for two hours.  Okay, I hovered for the first fifteen minutes or so because the residual heat was so much that with the lid on, there was still a steady boil going on even though the heat on the stove was all the way down to 2.  It finally calmed down and I could move onto more immediate tasks like clearing my email inbox and showering.  Somewhere around 30 minutes left I decided to season a bit (which I probably should have done at the hour mark, but oh well.  Next time.)  I threw in a bunch on minced dried onion, garlic powder, two beef bouillon cubes and a couple splashes of Liquid Smoke.  I know my measurements were probably a little off to the amount of beans but they came out pretty decent, I think.  Last minute rice and heated up the pulled pork I did in the crock pot yesterday afternoon and that was lunch!  I've never "pulled" a piece of pork before and it was interesting but after a few minutes I got the hang of it, under the watchful eye of the puppy, of course, hoping I'd drop a piece on the floor for her.  Next time, for the beans, I think I'm going to throw in actual chopped onions, seasonings, bell peppers and let the simmering process cook them to a perfectly soft texture and a little bit of hot sauce.  See if I can't get it a little more authentic to the flavorful recipe.  But at least now I know how to get the beans cooked right!  No more crunchy, chewy kidney beans for us :)  It's going to stay on my go-to budget recipe that's easy to prep and easy to cook.  

Oh!  The pulled pork.  My mother-in-law, Toodie, showed me when she was visiting last time what she does to make a quick meal while you're out running errands all day-she puts 1-2 pork butts on a plate, sprinkles both sides with Lowry's Seasoning Salt, puts them in the crock-pot and pours 1-2 cans of root beer over them and lets them cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Mine was 1 pork shoulder, so a little less meat, and we didn't have root beer but we did have just enough Coke and I found a few recipes that accepted that as a substitute, and also called for a tablespoon of Liquid Smoke (Toodie's method may have called for that as well but I can't remember..I should have written it down!)  Somewhere around the four-hour mark I pulled it it, cut it up into a few pieces, shredded it apart with a fork and dropped it back into the crock-pot.  If Toodie's feeding a huge crowd she leaves the BBQ sauce on the side  but if it's just the family crowd she pours in some Sweet Baby Ray's, buys some soft rolls to toast and make sandwiches with and calls it done.  Since I was going with Mexican style today I left the sauce out but of course, tasted it, and it was a teensy bit dry but when I reheated it today it was pretty good.  It's so easy.  Let your appliances cook for you!  :)  
What has everyone else been cooking lately?  Share!
Happy Cooking!

Allie H. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Solar Powered Steampunk Makes the World Go 'Round...

I received a neat little package today in the mail when I immediately recognized the handwriting I couldn't wait to open it!  My super glam girl  Rachel at Patina Perfected sent me quite possibly the most awesome earrings I've ever owned, ever!  I'd sent her these cool bottle caps from World of Beer a while back asking, pretty please, would she make me some sweet earrings out of them because they have the coolest sunburst design on them with their logo for the beer and I am so ecstatic at the result!  I'd merely asked for her to make them long and match any jewels or baubles to the beer caps and they are PERFECT! I love, love, love them.  She also included a handful of her business cards because she does, and they look like little Patina Perfected Trading cards (the easier to pimp out her business with-I've been handing out my business cards with her info on the back since I'd run out of hers!)  The front of them proffer pictures of her various creations and the back has all of her contact info and shop listings on Etsy.  She touts her jewelry line as "Romantic Whimsy with a Steampunk Twist" and these new earrings definitely fit the bill as they're so sweet and funky!  She can be found on Facebook as well and if you "Like" and follow her you can get special offers and sneak peeks.  It's worth the look, at least.  All of her creations come in cute little boxes nestled carefully in a sweet little bag that you can use to store them in or recycle for whatever you like.  Considering I've gone the purple route lately they might be cute to keep my store of business cards in...Hmmmm...Check out the unveiling process below!

 Here, when I saw the little light bulbs through the bag, I literally squealed like a little girl.  Thank goodness the guys had already come for lunch and gone again! 
 And here they are, looking fabulous!
Her photo-finish Perfected business cards.  Adorable, right?!

I never even thought to incorporate the energy theme and she added these sweet little light bulbs.  I'm freaking out, they're so cute!  It's official, I now have WOB earrings with a cool twist :)  Dare I wear them with my new shimmery skirt?  They're at least going to ROCK with jeans and a tee.  It's the little things in life that make me happy~
What new little surprises in your life have you received lately that have made you giddy?  Please share!
Happy Treasures, everyone!

Allie H.

P.S. Come look!  It's Patina Perfected's contact info, all right here! Check her out and say hi :)

Here's My Skirt!

I don't know anyone who can take a cell phone photo of themselves without a full length mirror and have it come out good so I waited for Kris to come home and had him take one for me.  The first is, of course, so you can see where the skirt hits and the second one is how I'm wearing it today!  I know it's a little blurry but I'm feeling very shimmery today :)
Happy Shimmering, everyone!

Allie H.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Apparently Wednesday is for Sewing...

It was time for a craft.  I've been going through a current little snag of writer's block and something creative had to be done.  I've been trying to amass enough bravery to tackle one of those paneled t-shirt skirts I've been wanting to do for years but I can't find the one t-shirt I want to include in it.  I did, however, run across a dress from one of my Broadway Revues at the Wharf that I was lucky enough to keep (probably because I was one of the only tall skinny girls who would fit into it!)  I've got a couple like those but this one was glittery, spaghetti-strapped and v-neck.  Very theatre or costume party glitz.  I haven't worn it since and when I picked it up and held it up to me I thought, "Skirt!"  Yup, I converted it.  Not the best sewing job in the entire world but I'm pretty pleased and once I summed up the power to grab my scissors and cut the dress into two very uneven lengths, there was no going back.  And it took me quite literally 20 minutes.  I held it up to me to figure out where the waist was going to be, eye-balled the pins all the way across and went to town!  I put a few pins in place the secure the alignment of the lining material and flipped the skirt inside out, folded a quick hemline all the way around and pinned in place, and went to the machine.  Yes, I know I used blue thread.  I can't find my gallon-sized ziploc bag of color-wheel inclusive colors.  I'm pretty sure it's the same thread I used for Chloe's WOB cape.  Keep in mind that this dress was very clingy on me with a bit of stretch to it so I thought I'd go ahead and sew, and if I needed to come back with some elastic later to tighten up the waist I could, but I think from the way it's fitting, that it will be just fine.  And yes, I remembered to take pictures this time!  I'm learning, I swear.  Check it out.

 I know it seems like a VERY small amount of fabric leftover from the top but this dress, hanging on me, was was about five inches off of the floor.  And I was determined to make it floor length so I needed as much fabric as I could get!
 I was pondering folding it over again but I'm currently having fun just wearing it as it is.  If I find more than a bobbin full of black thread, I'll put it on my to-do list.
And here it is!  I'm pretty happy about how it came out and I figure I can dress up or down.  I think it would  be perfect with a black t-shirt or tank top and flops for a casual day when I'm feeling the need for a little sparkle :)  Makes me want to hit some thrift stores and see if I can find some more dresses that need separating from their tops.
What is everyone else crafting this week?  Share your posts.
Happy Up-cycling!

Allie H.