Friday, February 24, 2012

Yarn & Food, Two of My Favorite Things

This  (bread) bowl of yarn was once.....

....this sweater from Goodwill.

I know, you're thinking it can't be, as they aren't even the same color. Try as I might, I couldn't get the yarn balls to photograph right. It was a bit late in the day when I took pictures of the wound balls of yarn. The partially dismembered sweater above was actually a whole sweater when I bought it. I didn't think to photograph it bfeore I began the long and laborious job of deconstructing it.  I've recycled thrift store sweaters into yarn before, but never one as time-consuming as this. I was disappointed to find many knots in the yarn, too; hence so many varied sizes of balls.  Goodwill's sweaters are $3.49, but they were having a buy-one-get-one-free sale, so this sweater only cost me $1.75. I couldn't find another worthy of recycling, but I found a lovely chocolate brown zip-up cardi in great shape, which I think my daughter might  like.

The sweater's yarn color was much richer than it looks in the picture above. The color of it really jumped out at me in the store. I usually look for size large or extra-large sweaters, so I'll get more yarn. This was sized small, but such a pretty color. I'm thinking of knitting an infinity cowl with the yarn.   I realize winter is nearly over; but knowing me, it may not get  completed before next winter. It took me  a few days to get to this point with the yarn. I still have to wash it, then hang it to dry over the shower stall.  I'll weight the ends  to pull out the kinks in the yarn. I'll then wind it back into balls and be ready to get my knit on!

A little something to tempt your taste buds.

My son saw this dish being cooked on a morning news show earlier this week. He's not one to care about cooking or recipes, but he does know what looks good to him, and apparently this dish did.  I googled and found the recipe here. I'm not one to take someone else's recipe and pass off as my own, but I will type it out here, simply because I made some modifications, which I felt it needed. The original was the idea for it, though.

Crock Pot Soft Chicken Tacos
1)Put 3 or 4 chicken breasts (I used frozen) in your crock pot. Spellchecker reminded me crock pot is two words. I can never remember that. Yea for spellchecker!
2)Add  one can Rotel tomatoes (I use store brand equivalent).
3)You can add in a diced onion, or you can wait & use fresh chopped onion as you're making your tacos, which is what I did.
4)Add one can whole kernel corn, drained.
5)Add one can black beans, drained (I rinsed mine in a colander).

Sheesh, that was hard, huh?  Seriously, for starters, that's all there is to it. That makes the filler for your tacos.  All I did differently was to add seasonings. I did this after cooking it, when I realized it was somewhat bland.

I added about a teaspoon of cumin, and some onion  & garlic powders, all to taste.  You could probably even add a package of taco seasoning to the crock pot as you're cooking the chicken, but I'm trying to get away from using processed foods. I'm not there yet, but I leave them out when I can. Of course, you can also make your own taco seasoning, which I guess is sort of what I did.

To make the soft tacos, I buttered one side of corn tortillas, laid them buttered side down in a nonstick skillet on medium heat for a couple of minutes.
After removing from the skillet, I sprinkled mozzarella cheese on top.  You can use cheddar, but just sos' you know, it's nearly twice the saturated fat grams as the white stuff. Just sayin'.
I spooned the chicken mixture in a strip across the center of the tortilla, sprinkled a little more cheese on top of the meat, then carefully folded over the tortilla and returned it to the pan. You may have to hold it with a spatula to keep it from unfolding.
After a minute or so, gently turn it over to the other side.  This doesn't make the tortillas crispy like a store bought shell, but it gives them a slight crunch, and makes it easier to hold when eating.
Return the taco to a plate, then fill with whatever ingredients you like in a taco. Mine has diced tomatoes, diced onions, sour cream (nonfat), picante sauce, & shredded lettuce.   This meal was a big hit with Mr.Studley & my son. I used 3 chicken breasts in mine, and it made a LOT.

I celebrated a birthday last week. Well, celebrated might be stretching it a bit.  We live in a small town, with a handful or restaurants, and not a lot else. Eating out isn't a big deal since we do it through the year anyway, always at the same old places. We could've driven a couple of hours to big  D, but I just wan't feeling a road trip. Mr. Studley took me to a couple of thrift stores, waiting patiently while I looked to my heart's content, then we went out for some yummo  Chinese food.  Hardly an exciting way to commemorate my 56 years here on this earth, but a fun day for me, nonetheless.  I always have fun hanging out with Mr. Studley.

Our weather has been mild, and I'm starting to see a lot of these. They always make me smile.  Be blessed!

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
~1 Peter 4:8 Amplified Bible

Friday, February 3, 2012

Just Thinking....

I've mentioned before my lack of computer expertise. I'm not what you'd call a geek or a nerd,  titles I'd happily wear. I do thoroughly enjoy my computer, though. I love looking at knitting patterns on Ravelry.  I spend countless hours each week pinning recipes, crafts, & decorating ideas at Pinterest.  My first destination  online each morning  is  Facebook, to see what my friends & family have to say.  And of course I can't forget the fun of blogging. I've met so many neat people over the years that I'd never have otherwise had the privilege, if not for the internet.  I know there's much evil and demoralizing content online, but the places I go fulfill me. I can't imagine life without it.

Sometimes I think back to  what life was like before we went 'online'.  What did I do to fill my day?  Okay, maybe my house was a little cleaner, and probably I read more books, and I was busy homeschooling my young daughter back then.

I remember being at the homes of friends when they showed us the things they did "online". Studley & I ooh'd and ahh'd over their access to this exciting new world.  We  were like a couple of little kids watching another kid play with his new toy, and wishing desparately that we had a new toy, too.

We finally got our new toy about 14 years ago when Mr.Studley was sent a laptop by his company for job use. Studley needed it through the day, but after about 7 or 8 at night, when he'd finished using it for his job, the laptop became mine.

Oh, the thrill of hearing  the sound the  dial-up made as I logged on to the internet (which was really a screeching, rather repelling sound). The first thing I did was look for homeschooling related sites. I don't think Google was even around, or if it was, I didn't yet know about it. I used a search engine called dogpile. The first place I discovered and landed was a homeschooling message board forum~slash~used curriculum sales.  The Homeschooler's Curriculum Swap, more commonly known to regular users as "the Swap".  It became my second home.  Being mostly at home at that time, the friends I made  there, known as Swappies, gave me the social contact I craved. My family teased me mercilessly about my "imaginary friends". Yet, let one of them have a question none of us could answer, and they were the first to  suggest, "ask the Swappies!".

The Swap has seen changes over the years; passing into fresh new hands as the old hands determine they've fulfilled their duties and are ready to move onto other things (usually because they're no longer homeschooling). I and another Swappie, my friend, Marilyn, were a couple of the 'old hands' (figuratively speaking) who ran it for six years. It came with it's challenges, but overall, was quite rewarding.

Even though many Swappies have come and gone over the years, there are still many there who were resident when I first discovered the Swap.  The forums have a feel of family, a family who is always eager to accept new family members with open arms. The love of God, and instilling godly values in their children while training them in academics, is at the heart of the Swap. It's been over ten years since I finished homeschooling my daughter, though I did stay on there long after she was an adult. I don't spend much time time there now, simply because my life is running in a different direction these days, but I always feel right at home whenever I visit, just like going home to family.  Of course, I see much of my Swap family on a daily basis on facebook. ;-) I still recommend it to new (or old) homeschoolers, though. There's MANY years of homeschooling experience there, and they are more than willing to answer questions and steer newbies toward the things they need.

I didn't set out to write about the Swap today. I was  merely contemplating how different life is with the internet; a life most young people today have never experienced, just as most have never known life without a cell phone. Since the Swap came into my life at the same time as the internet, the two bring up the same memories for me.

I'm changing the subject, but I believe I was a bit confusing in my last post about the greens. I mentioned I hadn't taken a picture of the purple colored greens, then my last picture posted was a sack of kale. Some thought that was the mystery greens. No, I knew that was kale, but here's a picture of the mystery (to me) greens. They're purplish on the front side, and green on the back. They're soft, not sturdy like kale. Can anyone identify them for me?

I'm very excited. I used Christmas money I got from my mom to order an e-reader this week. I can hardly wait to get it. Meanwhile, I've downloaded the free Kindle app on my desktop computer, and have already started reading one of the freebie books available through the Kindle Store at Amazon. After asking a lot of questions of friends with e-readers, I  determined the Kindle Touch would be a good fit for me. I love that it's easy to read outdoors in the sunlight, it has a long lasting battery life, and it's slim and lightweight.  Of course I still love the feel of a real book in my hands, but I think I'm going to love the feel of my new Kindle in my hands, too!

Remember, do something nice for someone today.  God bless you all, and have a great week-end!

Is it summer yet?

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits.

~Romans 12:16 Amplified Bible