Thursday, July 20, 2017

52 New Recipes Week 29: Sweet & Spicy Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

I started making my own salad dressing a few years ago.  Honestly neither W nor I can eat the store bought salad dressings anymore.  I have thinking of trying my own barbecue sauce for a while.  This week I picked a recipe - Sweet & Spicy Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.  W is a big fan of chipotle so I figured this was a good place to start.

I followed the recipe as written.  I thought that it was good but slightly sweet.  W thought it was too sweet and suggested that I leave out the molasses next time.  I loved that it was easy to mix up.  It thickened up just as nicely as store bought sauce.  The less I eat preservatives, the more I lean toward foods that do not have them.

I will make some minor adjustments, but I think this is a very good barbecue sauce.  W expressed interest in a mustard based sauce.  I have a couple of recipe saved and will be trying that in the near future.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


I had a few comments/questions over the past few weeks and thought I would share those in a special post.

Little Penpen asked if I was planning to try out the new kayak my husband is getting.  The short answer is No.  I am a terrible klutz on solid ground.  I should just skip the kayak and go swimming.

Terri asked about the source for my bay laurel.  I ordered mine and several other herbs from Colonial Creek Farm.  The bay was not large, but I was more than pleased with the quality of it and the other plants.  Everything arrived well packed and in excellent shape.  I would highly recommend Colonial Creek if you are searching for any unusual plants.

Rhonda mentioned the lack of drama on the British competition shows.  That is so true.  I love how the contestants on the Great British Baking Show encourage each other.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Weekly Goals Update Week 29

1.  Completely Finish the New House & Update Property
I was busy prepping for Vacation Bible School (VBS) at our church this week.  W spent time on the old house.  He got quite a bit of work done.  He uncovered an old pot in the attic.  I have no idea what it was doing there.  I cleaned it up and will keep it in our kitchen.

2.  Plan Ahead for Birthday & Holiday Gifts
I found out about an unexpected wedding shower.  My mom picked up a gift, and I will split the cost with her.  I took the money from the gift money envelope.

3.  Use the Garden to Be More Self-Sufficient
I have been neglecting to add here that I have a lovely compost pile at one end of the garden.  All of our tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, and vegetable peelings go here.  The chickens are free to get in it and scratch around - adding some fertilizer and mixing things up.  We also dump in some yard clippings and rabbit manure.  The compost pile gives free dirt to use in the garden.  It is much better quality than I could purchase.

4.  Take One Class a Month
Nothing here.  I was too busy with VBS prep.

5.  Pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes on a Budget
I have ?? washcloths left to crochet.  I did not get as many done this week as I had hoped but each one is progress!

6.  Boost Savings
I knocked out the last of the credit card debt from the new house.  I have a few things to pay off over the next two weeks, but this goal is right on track!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Weekend Book Reviews

Murder at the Puppy Fest by Laurien Berenson is part of the Melanie Travis Mystery series.  Melanie has her hands full with her children and her pedigree Poodles.  She agrees to volunteer at Puppy Fest, an annual fundraiser for a dog rescue.  Life gets more complicated when she finds the owner of the mansion where the event is being held dead in his office.  The mystery was interesting, but I did not enjoy the time spent on the dog shows.  I adore dogs but everything involved in pedigree dog shows is not for me.  I also found it a little odd that Melanie took her youngest son along when she questioned her suspects.  This is a good book but just not for me.

J.C. Eaton's Booked 4 Murder is the first book in the Sophie Kimball Mystery series.  Sophie/Phee is an accountant for a police department in Minnosota.  Her mother calls asking her to come to Arizona and help her book club with a "cursed" book that causing the deaths of those who read it.  Phee's mother is a handful to put it nicely so Phee has little choice but to give in.  This is a nice start to a new cozy series.  I would like to see Phee become a stronger character and her mother toned down a notch or two.  It has potential, and I look forward to the second book.

disclosure:  I received these e-books from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Weekend Book Reviews

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It by Rose Pressey is the fifth book in the A Haunted Vintage Mystery series.  I have read a previous book in the series.  While it is helpful, it is not necessary.  This is a paranormal themed mystery series and requires some leniency with readers' imaginations.  Cookie headed to the Kentucky Derby to help a client with her ghost, Charlotte, and her grandmother/cat in tow.  Add in two love interests, two additional ghosts, and one dead body for a full story line.  I do enjoy the Southern sayings sprinkled throughout the book.  This book is a very light, quick read.  That is not a bad thing - just be aware what you are getting.

The Windfall by Diksha Basu proves that no matter the culture everyone is focused on "keeping up with the Joneses".  Mr.and Mrs. Jha are embarking on a new life thanks to the sale of Mr. Jha's company.  They are moving from their tiny apartment to a new higher end neighborhood.  I enjoyed the characters and how similar the problems are to those here in America.  It is a nice reminder that people are basically the same.  I found the characters realistic and therefore likable.  Each had flaws, and I enjoyed how the relationships evolved throughout the book.

disclosure:  I received these e-books from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Frugal Friday

I took advantage of a couple of Amazon Prime Day deals.  I bought a gift card and earned a free $5 gift card.  The gift card was for a planned purchase of two seasons of "Elementary".  I used the $5 toward a large package of peat pellets - also a planned purchase.  I used the $5 book discount for a plant propagation book that has been on my book wist list for over 7 years.  I have recently gotten more interested in propagating plants, and my chosen book has excellent reviews.

We had some surprise rain showers one afternoon before my laundry was completely dry.  I quickly brought it inside and put it on drying racks to finish.

W and I had a full morning of errands planned.  I fixed a tuna pasta salad the day before so we could eat as soon as we got home.  Knowing that I had a meal planned meant we were not tempted by fast food or something extra from the grocery store.

I picked herbs, peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes from the garden.

I used old wash cloths as cleaning cloths rather than paper towels.  I do keep paper towels on hand for really messy stuff.  For every day cleaning I have found that rags work best.

A neighbor gave us a small grill that he had won but did not want.  It is the perfect size for grilling for two.

While out running errands, W wanted to stop at a store we do not always shop.  I decided to purchase some items from my list that would be cheaper at that store.  We decided to make a once a month trip to stock up on items that are significantly cheaper there.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

52 New Recipes Week 28: Pineapple Bars

I canned some zucchini pineapple earlier this year.  I had a jar of it in the refrigerator that I needed to use up.  The recipe for pineapple bars calls for crushed pineapple, but my zucchini pineapple swapped in perfectly.  My only other change was decreasing the amount of sugar to 2/3 cup.

I loved that it made a small amount.  This dessert was light and extremely moist.  I took it to Sunday dinner with my parents, and they both agreed it was delicious.  My family are semi-professional taste testing guinea pigs.  For any of them to say they loved a dessert is a big deal.  I will save this recipe to make again either with the zucchini pineapple or crushed pineapple.

Next week I plan to try a recipe for homemade barbecue sauce.