Thursday, July 5, 2018

Crystal

Tom and I went to see Cirque du Soleil's "Crystal" this evening.

This show was unique in that it was an ice show, like Ice Capades, but with a Cirque du Soleil twist. The acts were woven into a storyline about a girl who doesn't fit in, and while she's out ice skating one day, falls through the ice into a different world. I was very impressed with how they were able to showcase their usual types of acts (juggling, straps, balancing) into this format, and still add new acts, keeping it fresh. Tom commented that he would consider this one his favorite, after Allegria. For me, Kà and Dralion hold top spots, mainly because of the powerful music, but I think they've all been very good.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Weaving Bacon

Several years ago, I tried something new that I saw on Pinterest, and mentioned it in this post. Well, after forgetting about it for quite some time, I tried it again today. And once again, it was fabulous!

I took three slices of bacon, sliced them in half, wove them together, then cooked them. I was in awe of how well they fit on the sandwich - whoever came up with that idea is ingenious!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Salisbury Steak

Tom had recently had a television dinner that was Salisbury Steak, and it wasn't as good as he wanted it to be, so I planned to make it from scratch one day. I gave it a try tonight, using a recipe from the Betty Crocker website.

Salisbury Steak

Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup Progresso™ dry bread crumbs (any flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Directions
  1. Mix beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and egg. Shape into 4 oval patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.
  2. Cook patties in 10-inch skillet over medium heat about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown; drain. Add onion, broth and mushrooms. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until beef is done.
  3. Remove patties; keep warm. Heat onion mixture to boiling. Mix water and cornstarch; stir into onion mixture. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve over patties.
We both enjoyed the dish. I, of course, strained out the mushrooms and onions from the gravy for Tom, so I ate mushrooms and onions on the side of my meal. Paired with mashed potatoes, it was really filling, and will make a good second meal.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Diaper Bouquet

Since I'll be away next week, and JoAnne (my office-mate) will be returning from maternity leave the week after, I thought I'd have a "Welcome Back" gift waiting on her desk for her.

It's a diaper bouquet, made from the diapers that were left over from the diaper cake that I made for her baby shower. I saw some on Pinterest, and I thought it would be a good way to (1) welcome her back and (2) use up the rest of the diapers. It would have looked a lot better if I would have remembered to use different colors of tissue paper to simulate greenery and other flowers, but I worked with what I had, and I'll do better the next time I attempt one.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Beef Jerky

Lately, I've been wanting to make beef jerky, and today was the day! I used my American Harvest Snackmaster Elite, which I haven't used in forever, and the American Harvest Original Beef Jerky Spice and Cure that must have come with the dehydrater.


Tom was a complete nay-sayer when I broached the idea with him - he said he probably wouldn't like whatever I made. Boy, was he wrong, we both loved it! The flavor was great - not too much pepper, and just enough salt.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Ashley's Wedding Shower

This morning, at work, we celebrated the upcoming wedding of Ashley. For the breakfast potluck, I made Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine. I combined a few different things while putting them together.
I cooked the eggs in the oven in a muffin tin - it wasn't quite as easy as all of the web sites made it seem. The oven was preheated to 250°C. One tablespoon of water was added to each cup of a muffin tin. Eggs were cracked individually into a small bowl, then poured into each cup in the tin. The muffin tin was put in the oven and the eggs were cooked for 12 minutes - an average of the times from different websites that I researched. The tin was removed from the oven, and the eggs were allowed to cool for a few minutes. Using a spoon, the eggs were removed from the muffin tin. Now, they didn't come out of the tin as easily as I had hoped, and they were done more than I wanted, so next time, I would cook them for less time and use a small spatula to loosen them up before taking them out of the cups.
For the Eggs Florentine, I made Speedy Creamed Spinach, a recipe I got from the McCormick website. I've used this creamed spinach recipe for years, so it just seemed logical for the dish.
Speedy Creamed Spinach

Ingredients
  • 2 pkgs (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 4 oz regular or reduced fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • ½ t garlic salt
  • ¼ t onion powder
  • 1/8 - ¼ t ground nutmeg
  • 2 T butter
Directions
  1. Thaw the spinach and squeeze dry, reserving the liquid. Add enough water to the liquid to equal ¾ c liquid total.
  2. Place a 12-in skillet over medium heat until hot, add cream cheese, spinach liquid, garlic salt, onion powder, and nutmeg. Whisk until melted and completely smooth, about 2 min. Add spinach and stir until well-blended. Cook 3 min or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add butter and cook 1 min longer or until butter is completely melted.
For the assembly, I started with English muffins which were split, toasted and buttered. For the Eggs Benedict, the next layer was Canadian Bacon that had been warmed in a skillet, for the Eggs Florentine, about a tablespoon on creamed spinach. The next layer was an egg, and then each was topped with Hollandaise Sauce. For the Hollandaise Sauce, I used the Betty Crocker recipe, which follows:
Hollandaise Sauce

Ingredients
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup firm butter
Directions
  1. In 1 1/2-quart saucepan, vigorously stir egg yolks and lemon juice with wire whisk. Add 1/4 cup of the butter. Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly with wire whisk, until butter is melted.
  2. Add remaining 1/4 cup butter. Continue stirring vigorously until butter is melted and sauce is thickened. (Be sure butter melts slowly so eggs have time to cook and thicken sauce without curdling.) If the sauce curdles (mixture begins to separate), add about 1 tablespoon boiling water and beat vigorously with wire whisk or hand beater until it's smooth.
  3. Serve immediately. Store covered in refrigerator. To serve refrigerated sauce, reheat over very low heat and stir in a small amount of water.
The sauce was super easy to make, but a little too lemony for my taste. Either way, it worked well for my purposes. The dishes worked out pretty well, but they were overdone, since I assembled them the night before, put them in the refrigerator and reheated them in the oven while I was getting ready for work in the morning. I would definitely make them again, but not do the make-the-night-before thing.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Toga!

I finished my toga!

Tom and I are attending GeoWoodstock in Cincinnati later this month, and one of the activities is a Roman Festival, where 100 trackable medallions will be handed out at random to people who wear togas. After doing some Google image searches, I decided to lean heavily on the idea of a Doric Chiton. With a large tablecloth (for the garment), some curtain tie-backs (as a belt), gold crochet thread (I crocheted a headpiece), two large buttons (on the shoulders) and a sheer cloth remnant (the sash), I think I've come up with something that I can wear proudly. And even if I don't win a medallion, at least I had fun creating the ensemble!