Early July Morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spicy Vegan!

Afro-Vegan Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed
By Bryant Terry

This book came in the mail, and when I first opened the package my first thought was, "What a beautiful book!" As I flipped though the pages, I noticed that the vegan recipes Mr. Terry shares look amazingly delicious. He likes to use lots of spices and other seasonings, which are right up my alley!
Bryant thinks that "people of African decent should honor, cultivate and consume food from the African Diaspora." He also mentions how many people of African decent have strayed away from their traditional foods and have adopted a Western diet, leading to many health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, etc, all of which are preventable by eating healthier. This cookbook would be a wonderful addition for anyone trying to eat healthier.
I can't wait to try some of his recipes such as Grilled Corn on the Cob and Smashed Potatoes, Peas and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil. Doesn't that sound yummy?! Mr. Terry not only shares many exciting recipes, but he also talks a little about the different cultures that inspired many of these dishes, which makes this book not just a good cookbook, but a good read.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Needing Some Confidence In the Kitchen?

Kitchen Confidence
Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help
You Cook Anything
Kelsey Nixon
published by Clarkson Potter
$19.99 U.S. $22.95 Canada

Can I just say how excited I was to get this book....for soooo many reasons! First off Kelsey graduated from the same university I went to. I do not know her or her family personally, but yesterday I had company over for dinner and I had this book laying out. Our company got so excited, picked the book up and said, "I know her!" She told me she use to babysit for a member of her family...small world. By the way, she also told me that Kelsey came from an "awesome family."

Anyway, about the book. Wow! I love it. Having young adult children (three boys and a girl), who are beginning their lives on their own, I see this book as a great asset to people like them. In her introduction she tells how she grew up cooking alongside her mom and gaining that confidence in the kitchen (Hence the name of the book). When she left for college Kelsey felt very comfortable in the kitchen. Long story short, she was a broadcast major who really did not want to go into the news area, so she wound up on TV as the cooking host for Cooking Channel's Kelsey's Kitchen! It's really a pretty cool story. 

Kelsey tells you all the "essentials" one must have in their kitchens. Essential equipment, essential techniques and essentials needed in your pantry. After these great tips, Kelsey then dives into the recipes, and there are quite a few......100 recipes with 60 pictures. I love pictures in cookbooks, and as I sat down and thumbed through her book for the first time, I found myself wanting to make A LOT of her stuff, most of which had a picture to show the finished product. 

Throughout the book, there are more tips, for example, how to shop for a great knife and cutting board. Because of these tips, and the delicious and easy to follow recipes, I would recommend this book to anyone......AND, I think this would make a great gift for the newlyweds, or a student heading out to school for the first time, or anyone who likes quick, easy and yummy recipes.

Ok, so now I'm going to go in my kitchen and make her recipe on page 20 for breakfast...Baked Eggs With Smoked Bacon, Spinach, and Gaot Cheese. mmmmmmmm!

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dear Realtor Who Shows My House....

It has been eight months since we first put our house on the market. I know not many are moving to this nice little town in Western Kentucky, but there are a few. To those who are looking to buy a house, why not sell them our house?
When you bring people into my house and they ask why we have a pool table, tell them maybe because we like to play pool, but you don't have to put a pool table in this room. I know because of HGTV, many have ZERO vision. You have to help them "see" their stuff in this house. No, I don't have a sectional, but guess what! One will fit perfectly in the living room.
I will be the first to admit, this house needs new carpet. BUT, the carpet in the family room is new. There is not a lot of carpet in the house, just in three of the four bedrooms and on the stairs. You know...I bet we might could negotiate a flooring allowance! Then they can put whatever flooring they want...carpet? hardwood? whatever THEY want.

I know our house was built in the 1990's, but so were 99% of the houses in this town. You say our house is dated? Hmmm...not sure what you might be referring to. We have granite counter tops, hardwood floors, and updated light fixtures, new sinks, fancy mirros, etc. Oh, maybe it's the light fixture over the dining room table. Ya...we've only been in this house two yeas, and we never got to that. You can find a nice one at Lowe's for under $100! 
Speaking of the dining room...we took down the wallpaper and painted. Oh! and there is fresh paint in the two story entry, and the living room, and the kitchen. 
Someone mentioned they are worried about the age of the air-conditioner? Well, it's still under warranty, so, ya, they are not all that old. 
Hmmm...is there anything else? I know you mentioned you did not like our pictures, well, they are all gone. There are mostly bare walls now. 
Oh! and one other thing....yes, we are ready to move. Just because our furniture is still in the house does NOT mean, we don't want to move. You see, we can't afford TWO house notes. We don't have any place to go, so that is why our furniture is still there.
So, come have a look. It's a nice home. Everyone one on the block is shocked it has not gone. But of course since no one comes to look, you can't really judge. I know...you saw the pictures on the internet. You, know, you can't really tell much by pictures. I know, I've bought a lot of houses in my day. I usually sell the houses pretty quickly, but since we have HGTV they tell us that we all have to have PERFECT houses (by the way there is no such of a thing, even if you build), and the internet that we can go to and "see" the inside of the house, we feel we don't really need to look. 
By the way, if you make an offer on this house, you might be surprised that you might get it for a good price. But of course, we can't give it away...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bracelets From Old Guitar Strings

A while back I started making jewelry from something a little different. Here are a few necklaces I made with guitar strings.
At dulcimer practice the other day, I had someone ask me to make her a bracelet from guitar strings, so....
Guess what I've been doing this weekend?
This one is made from old red telephone wire and hematite beads.
This bracelet is made from a whole set of guitar strings.
Old phone wire with an elephant charm flanked by hematite beads.
Here, we have three bracelets attached by abalone charms. The yellow wire is old phone wire.
 I made one with green phone wire, and kept the end on the string. That's the part that is wrapped when tuning.  I also made a bracelet using blue phone wire (on the left)...
and one that is patriotic, again, keeping the curliness of the part of the string that is wrapped around the tuner.
At the bottom you see one that I added glass pearls to with black wire. I made a very simple bracelet using copper and black wire.
Finally, I made this one with glass beads and different colored wire. It was fun being creative. 
As you probably remember, I made this fun bracelet several weeks ago using sari ribbon and lace wrapped around an old string. I love creating. I'll probably make some more, but since I spent the whole weekend making jewelry, I let the house get away from me, so I will be doing some laundry and cleaning tomorrow....

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Sure Hope It Only Comes In Three's

Actually, it has been four. Four what you ask? Well here we go...
If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know about our house. We have been trying to sell it since Thanksgiving. My husband started his new job December 1, and I am still here trying to sell this thing. This, is after we went through the same thing trying to get rid of a house before we moved here. Again, nine months of being separated because of a house not selling.
We have sold a lot of houses, but the last two have been impossible. You can go to my blog here about why I think things have changed as far as the housing market goes. 

Okay, so that's number 1. Number two, my son, who is a welder can't seem to find a job that will keep people. For awhile, it's all been temporary jobs. The last two jobs were permanent, but about a week before he was to get insurance, they laid off a bunch of people, then turned around and hired a bunch. The company gave no reason why they had to let these people go. Now, he is about to turn 26 this month, and will be off our insurance. It urks me to no end to listen to our politicians and the press talk about how these young people are so irresponsible because they are "On mommy and daddy's insurance." Well, maybe it's because the medical insurance is completely screwed up, and when they tired to "fix" it, it just made it worse. 

Number three. We have a 2006 Toyota Sienna. LOVE it! It has just over 100,000 miles, low mileage for a Toyota. We have owned several, heck our Celica has over 300,000 and still going good! :D
Well, the other day, I was headed to dulcimer practice when the air went out. As I headed home, I noticed a clicking, as soon as I got home, I got out to investigate. It was a very hot day, into the 90's, and the car was running between cold and hot, so that is pretty much normal. Then, "click" the engine light came on. I immediately called our mechanic (who is very trustworthy). He told me to bring it on in. They found that the anitfreeze had gone. "Bone dry." Really? We just had all the 100,000 mile hoses and fluids, etc done. He told me it had to have gushed out all at once. anyway, long story short, we had to get a new engine. The KBB price is only a little over $6,000, and the engine was going to cost about $6500. Well, we went ahead and sucked it up. It would cost a lot more to buy a new car, and probably a used one too, and we would not know what it had been through. 

Ok, now, number FOUR!!!! We are in the middle of fighting with my son's apartment over money that is owed to us. I'm not going to go into any details right now, but it is about $1000! We told them we would meet them less than that, but they wanted to go into arbitration with the college. During the hearing (on the phone), the apartment complex lied about A LOT of things. We wound up loosing. I am not going to let this go, and hoping that we can get something out of this. Anyway, if we don't I'm sure you will hear about it.

So....NO MORE, PLEASE. One can only take so much.  It is suppose to come in threes, mine has come in fours, so I think I should be done.

Monday, July 7, 2014


I was born in Southern California, when I was about four, we moved to Ft Worth, TX; we stayed there a short amount of time. The next place we lived was Huntsville, Al, and at the age of eight, my parents uprooted us for the last time and we headed to the Cocoa Beach, Florida area. 
I love the beach and I love the sun. I love the way the sun feels as it beats down upon my skin. That being said, getting a bad sunburn and the fever blisters on my lower lip is not something I am a big fan of. 
I remember growing up and going to beach. During the summer, that would be everyday. As the afternoon lingered, the storms came, and kicked us off the beach. Don't want to be on the beach during those lightening storms. 
By the time we got home, the storms were gone. We would grab a bite to eat and hop in the pool, where we would spend the rest of the day. I can also remember slathering baby oil on my skin so I could get a nice tan. Well, darker anyway.
I have never put any coloring on my hair...EVER! To be honest, I'm just too lazy. That being said, with the natural very light hair comes very light skin. I have always hated it, because I was teased and made fun of it all my life. Still very self conscience about it. Anyway, even though I did get a very dark tan, people didn't notice it as such, because I had to start from a much whiter tone.
Toward the end of my high school career, sunscreen started to show it's face. I can remember my dad coming home from work with all these pamphlets about the sun and how bad it is for you. I never listened.
Today, I do use a little bit of it, but I have always felt that too much of it can probably be worse...aren't sunscreens full of chemicals? 
So, when I'm out on the beach or cruising the Caribbean, I do wear it. But everyday? No. In fact when I head to the pool to do my laps, I don't wear it. I do get a little bit of sun, but not that much. 
Vitamin D is something that we all need, and most of us are not getting enough of. I had someone say to me the other day, that she would rather suffer the consequences of not enough vitamin D, than the skin cancer. Personally, I have wondered if sunscreen might cause some of the skin cancer we see so much of lately. As I mentioned earler, when I was growing up, we all laid out in the sun for hours with baby oil. You hardly ever heard of anyone getting skin cancer. Now, almost everyone has had some form of it removed. Granted, they say it is because it takes time to creep up on us, but there are so many young people with it too, and not all of these are sun bed people.
Today, someone posted a pretty interesting article about this very subject. Click here to read it. It pretty much sums up what I have thought for many years.
So, for me, I will continue to worship the sun. As far as dark tans from it, maybe not. I use self tanners for that. There are some pretty good ones out there, even had a doctor get onto me one time for being so tan. I get people telling me a lot that I look like I spend a lot of time in the sun, so, that tells me it looks natural. I don't get mine at the stores, I order them online and do pay a little extra, but I feel it is worth it.
So, whenever I can, you will see me enjoying the sun, BUT, I will be smart about it...moderation in all things!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Meet Gloria

A Mountain Dulcimer.
Why Gloria?
Because there are butterflies and Morning Glory 
sound holes her.
She's a bute and I love her.
She is made of sassafras with a walnut fret board.
Notice, I have numbers on my fret board. Why? Well, because I am just a beginner and they are my crutch. 
I "play by number" so to speak.
I am learning little by little not to look at my fret board, and some songs, I don't even need the music anymore. 
I've only been playing a few months, and I hope over time, I can get to sounding pretty good.
Gloria has four strings and currently tuned in DAA.
DAA is more traditional.
Today most people play with the DAD tuning. 
All that means is that the top or base string is tuned to D the middle string is A, and the bottom two strings are tuned to D 
(or in my case A).

If you want to listen to some beautiful dulcimer music, go to youtube.com and search mountain dulcimer.
Here are a few good links.

The mountain dulcimer has a gorgeous sound to it, 
and I love playing.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Today, the United States of America celebrates it's 238 birthday! Sounds like a long time, but actually, the USA is a very young country.
Even though we, as Americans, are going through some pretty rough times, the good ole U.S. of A is still a very good country. Why do you think so many people flock to get here?

I've really not been many other places other than the United States. Been to Canada, Mexico, and some of the island in the Caribbean, so I can't personally say how different it is in other countries. What I can say, is what other's have told me---we should be very happy to be an American.

Pride in one's country is probably something we all should have. Now that is not to be so prideful that we demean other countries. All of us should respect different cultures.

This morning, our dulcimer group played at the church I go to. We played a lot of different songs, but at the end we played several patriotic songs, and it was so nice to hear everyone chime in and sing. I could feel the love that everyone has for this country; and even though I love and respect other cultures, I can truly say, "I am proud to be an American!"

Happy Birthday, America!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recipe Book Review

The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts, and Drinks--100 Gluten-Free Vegan Recips!

By Tess Masters
This colorful, soft back book has 217 pages of yummy recipes and hints about purchasing and taking care of your blender, and other fun things for a healthy diet. 
 The retail price is $19.99 (US) and $23.99 (Canada).

Tess starts by introducing herself and talks about her journey toward a gluten free, dairy free and meatless diet; all because of her health. She then explains how to choose YOUR perfect blender and how to clean and care for it. She also discusses super-foods, sprouting, dehydrating and even how to make your own milk using nuts and seeds. 

Chapter three is where the fun begins...the recipes! I love the pictures in this book. They look so good, that I wanted to try them all. The first recipe I tried was on page 79, Onion and Herb Socca. It was quick and easy, and oh sooo yummy!!!!

One issue I have, and this is only because I live in a small town in Western Kentucky, is that a lot of the ingredients are hard to find. For example, I could not find chickpea flour for the socca, so I bought some dried chickpeas and made my own flour, with a cheap second hand coffee grinder. 

I would recommend this book to anyone vegetarian or vegan, or anyone else who wants more variety in their healthy diet. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review