Friday, June 27, 2008


If you haven't stumbled across the LOL CATS, aka icanhascheezburger?, you must (MUST) check it out directly:
Now, I am not the type of person that laughs at things that I read, or look at; I am a more laugh-with-people kinda gal. And then there was the lolcats. My god. I see these things, and just die. Here are a few examples of my faves:

And this one reminds me of myself:

This one is kinda creapy:

Just cracks me up:

I find them to be quite an uplifting part of my day--and there are literally HUNDREDS of them, so if you are new to it, you can certainly catch up.

Signed--Dena (We have decided to start signing our blog; altho it has been lots of fun confusing everyone, Tiff and I are now going to be nice and let you know who wrote who!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still on the Bread Kick

So how cool is this? One of the authors of the book I mentioned in the post below came in and left a comment! I mean, sure, it's likely a "form" comment, and he only found this through a google search.... but still!

Yesterday I made this variation: sun-dried tomato with parmesan. It didn't last in the house 24 hours. And there are only two of us :)

rolled out:

in all its crusty goodness:

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's Manna, I Tell Ya!

While sister has been one with the sewing machine (me? Hell, I just cleaned enough to get mine back on the table where it belongs!) and her oh-so-fresh veggies (I didn't try to get a CSA share until May, when they were all taken! Yeah, I'm an idiot.), I've been busy becoming one with the stove.

Fresh Baked Bread

Magical set of words, isn't it? Conjures up a yeasty, warm smell and the feel of crusty goodness surrounding pillowy softness slathered in butter.

I recently got this book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The subtitle is "The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking." Well, to this I say VIVA LA REVOLUTION!

The idea is that you make this giant pile of dough by merely mixing together water, yeast, salt and flour. Then it sits out for a couple of hours. Then it goes in the fridge overnight. Then you have enough dough to make 4 loaves. You just tear off a piece, form it into a ball with your hands. NO KNEADING! Let it sit for a bit, and bake it! I've made bread lots of times, but this is the easiest recipe ever. And the coolest thing? The book is FULL of recipes that follow the same plan, but for other types of breads and even for "sweets" like pecan sticky buns!

Dough mix in the "bucket"--this is after it had rising time of about 2 hours.

A loaf just out of the oven (I actually popped it back in for a few more minutes to give it more of a golden crust):

Oh, and I also got a hair and decided to make some flour tortillas this week:

Oh, and just to be extra annoying and make y'all hungry, I made tamales from scratch for the first time yesterday! Sorry the pic is so lousy, but my black countertops are just not conducive to taking fabulous foodie pics!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hooray CSA!!

I would like to spread the word about CSA's--aka Community Supported Agriculture--for those of you not in the know. A CSA is a bit like a "share" in a farm near is what you do: early in the season (I suggest February or March, or even earlier if you want to get a really good one) check out this website: for a CSA near you; most of them give plenty of info regarding what they grow, and how much the share is. My family (husband, daughter and me) gets a half-share; this lasts about two days, so if you want to have every day veg, I suggest a full share. The CSA growing season starts when the farmer's markets start--mayish--and ends either september or october. Most farms have a booth at the local farmer's market, so this is where you will pick up your share every week. If you are out of town, just email or call them, and either have someone else pick up, or tell them to cancel your pick-up. To give you an idea, here is my CSA:

Different farms offer different produce. Mine is big on root veg, and hardy veg--we have so far gotten radishes, strawberries, peas, kohlrabi, chinese radish, broccoli, cabbage, and lotsa flowers. Others have gotten lettuce, onions, etc. Some don't offer half-shares. A full share is around 500$--this is a big hunk of change, but you can have all the seasonal veg you can eat and don't need to go the grocery. It encourages better eating habits, and--if you have kids--it introduces the taste of fresh veg, which we all know rocks! Also, getting your kids involved in the prep of the veg is a great way to share some time and give a little education. A win-win. I received two big bags of peas today--sugar and snap--and my daughter and I shelled them all for our dinner, as you can see in the pics. We also got a huge head of cabbage, so tommarow I will be making bubble and squeek--wish me luck!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Told ya I couldn't finish one project without starting another!

BUT this time I did finish!!

First, I would like to explain where all this time to do projects is coming from... I quit my blucky job! Actually, let me rephrase: I quit my blucky career! After too many years to count, I have been a dog groomer. This is not, as many seem to think, a rewarding and satisfying career. It is hard. It is exhausting. It pays very little. It produces scars on a daily basis. "Groomer Has It" on Animal Planet reflects those lucky few that have fallen into a great niche in an affluent neighborhood--don't take their lives or experiences literally (after all, it IS a "reality" show).

Now, I am fortunate enough to have a family that supports me in my choices; I am enrolled to start Graduate school this fall, so I do have something new to look forward to. Otherwise, it would be back to the dogs after my daughter goes back to school in August.

That said--I am now home for the summer (or until I find a job with the hours that work around my schedule) so I feel the need to fill every moment with something that will justify my mooching existence. My sister understands this--we come from a matriarchical guilt-indulgant family--and has the same issues. When we are at home, without work (she is a freelance and fiction writer), it weighs heavily upon us. Really the whole thing is crazy: she rock and rolls for weeks straight when she has work and completely deserves when she gets some time off; I am a mom, and therefore would rather stay at home then pay half my income to Kindercare. There is no reason to actually FEEL guilty. However, we do. SO--instead we try and compensate by tootling around the house, starting projects, cooking meals, cleaning, and--for me at least--pumping something educational into my child's brain.

Here is my daily project--it began many moons ago as this sheer light pink material that I loved on the bolt. I decided I wanted to make a shirt with it, so bought a pattern (which, much like my sister treats recipes, I tend to bastardize them so that by the end of the project they no longer look like they were suppose to, which probably defeats the whole purpose of the pattern at all) and cut goodies out. Now, I don't do sheer, so I got a similar-colored stretchy material for the lining. The shirt was supposed to be one of those frocky styled sleeveless jobbies--but I don't do sleeveless (hence the sleeves), and the frockyness just made me look pregnant, so I put in the elasticized band and shortened the whole thing considerably. It is a bit bulky thanks to the lining, but all in all it is very cutey on!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lotsa projects!

I am one of those people that tries on new projects, but has trouble actually getting to them. My drawers are filled with fabric, ricrac, patterns, beads, scrapbook supplies, and yarn...Tiff got me this rockin' turqoise yarn a while back, and I never knew what to do with it. My crochet knowledge has never gotten past single, double, and triple crochet--therefore lots of scarves. SO, I got a book from the library (which, I find, tends to encourage more projects)!

AND, I have started this! A flower! Hold the applause...I intend on making a few of those things that go on the table or counter that you set hot things on them. Are they called hot pads? Anyway, my initial plan was a big flower throw, but not too sure my interest will last that long. I will keep you all posted.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Mayo Saga

Last weekend I tackled the pantry. It had gotten to the point where if I opened one of the doors, I didn't know if I was going to make it out alive and with whatever foodstuff I'd been in search of in the first place. I needed a whip and a hat a la Indiana Jones. To continue the metaphor, some items were as lost as the ark. SRSLY... what IS all this stuff? I honestly can't remember the last time I made lasagna. Hell, I don't even like lasagna that much!

Here's the empty pantry.
Oh, and the chair isn't there for scale but so I can reach. (The pantry is so tall that, even with the wooden ladder, I have NEVER set eyes on the surface of the top shelf!)

neat & tidy pantry:
One thing that excited me and pissed me off (I reserve the right to feel both emotions simultaneously... so there) was this: See, a couple of weeks ago, Mr. RicRac and I decided to make the year's first batch of ice cream. For that, we needed vanilla beans. Have you priced these things lately? It would be cheaper to fly to Madagascar and harvest them yourself! At the market, we found two brands. One had 1 bean and cost $9.19!! The other contained 2 beans and cost $9.49! (We considered going to Trader Joe's, but it was late and we couldn't be guaranteed that Joe's would have them ... stupid us) Needless to say, we ponied up an extra 30 cents to get a second bean. And then I cleaned out the pantry and found this:

Another $20 or so of beans!! (and, of course, all from Joe's. Learned my lesson...)
And that brings me to the mayo (see, I told you there was mayo in this story). I decided last Saturday to make potato salad with the taters and eggs I'd bought at the farmer's market. Earlier in the day, the mayo in the fridge was about empty, so we grabbed a new jar out of the pantry. After I opened it, I had the moment of "Uhoh. Did I take a seal off of this? Did it have a seal? Are we gonna die?" The mayo looked fine, but there were a few tiny shards of blue plastic from the lid on the gooey spread. I picked them off, all smelled fine, and we took a chance. We lived--all limbs intact. And then I used it to make potato salad. Again, we lived. And then I woke up the next morning ... and found the pickles, mustard and mayo. OUT ON THE COUNTER! WHERE I'D LEFT IT ALL NIGHT!! sigh. Threw it all out and went to the store.
A word about the market closest to my house: It's icky. We don't go there unless we absolutely have to. And we only buy things that are hermetically sealed. (A friend calls it the "dirty baby kroger") I popped in, found the mayo, didn't even break stride picking it up, and went to the checkout. And paid over $5 for it. YES: FIVE DOLLARS!
Moral of the story: Clean out your pantry more often, and put things away!! Oh, and trust Trader Joe. He's your friend.
So now I've decided to try to make it myself. I'll let you know how that goes :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Show & Tell Sunday

This is my first time joining in on a Show & Tell Sunday, so be gentle with me! But when I saw that the theme this week was Trash to Treasure, I knew I had to jump in.

I have my share of old bits & pieces that I've salvaged and scrabbled for--some little, some big, some in good shape, and some not-so-good ... but most big and funky, much to the annoyance of Mr. RicRacSally.

This is one of my first finds. I love the chippiness and couldn't bring myself to "fix" it!

In fact, we now have a deal: I bring in a new old piece of furniture, and I have to take one out. That was the deal with this (I call it the divorce cabinet):

Sorry I don't have any "befores." But the veneer is shot on the sides, there were spiders living underneath it, the paint flecks off it all over (and I didn't primer it very well!), and it weighs about a zillion pounds. Oh, and it was meant for my craft room upstairs ... but our house rejected it (OK, we have a very narrow "servant's staircase" in the back of the house with a right angle in it--and that plus my fat ass just didn't work, k? sheesh! :)
But this--THIS is my baby. A craft buddy used to live down the block, and one day I walked into her back yard for whatever reason and found this!!

She'd been sitting on it, using these sad old pillows. The plan was to fix it up, but as she was moving and the 'hood was having its annual trash to treasure sale (yep, it's really called that here!--and it's next Saturday!) she was willing to sell it to me .... for $25!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mine! ALL MINE!!!! (We won't repeat what DH said when he got a gander at this.)
After some cleaning, a few coats of paint, a staple gun and fabric (to cover the springs), some sewing (I did the back pillows) and a visit to the upholsterer (to make the cushion that looks like an old French mattress), here's my beauty:

There are actually three colors of paint (a light aqua, a darker one, and white):

Every time I walk into the guest room, it makes me happy :)

Now I just have to figure out what to do with this:

Now, be sure to hop on over to visit our host, Analise, on her blog Sugar*Sugar to see a list of all of this week's other participants!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What about SELF?

After being busy bees for etsy, Tiff and I have come to realize that we are no longer making things for two very important peeps: selves!! Now, don't get me wrong, we LOVE to make things for our peeps, but after talking yesterday over the phone, we realized that it had been a while since we made anything that we could love every day...SOOO!!!! I made this wunderbar necklace! There is a bit of a story--one of my "mom friends" (Lynette) had this gorgegous necklace on MONTHS ago, and I have coveted it ever since, and she couldn't quite remember where she got it. Well, a couple few weeks ago, another "mom friend" (Katey) and I were at a jewelry party, and both eyed a similarly styled anklet in the brochure--and both of us mentioned Lynette's necklace, so have since decided to make our own, darn-et, cause we can DO this!! Now, I am certainly no skin model, so forgive the close-up, but here is my new fabu necklace!!