Monday, January 31, 2011

Canned Soup Plus

How many of you have opened a can of soup recently and burst out laughing?  And I am not talking basic Campbells, here, I am talking fancy soups, such as Wolfgang Puck, Pacific, Progresso, etc, etc.

I refer to the laughter because there just is not much in that can but broth anymore.  The flavors are there, though.  So......I dump the can in the pot and then look at the picture on the label or read the ingredients.  Then I add more of everything.  And maybe things that I think would taste good in the soup.  Or stuff in my fridge that needs to be loved.  And of course more broth.

Take today.  I opened a can of Wolfgang Puck's potato soup.  It smelled really good.  It says "about" 2 servings.  The word "about" is the giveaway.....I have a small appetite and that can would not fill me up.

So I started chopping.  Hmmmm.....add some cooked chicken.  Chop up some celery and carrots in teeny little cubes.  Dice up part of a russet potato.  And, hey, what about some of the poblano pepper I finally got up the nerve to roast?   Add some broth.  And then some diced green onions.  It is simmering away right this minute.
I'll serve it with Sister Schubert's rolls.  Oh. Yeah.

I stirred in some chopped green onion tops and topped with some grated cheddar.  It was delicious.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

From Transistor Radio to Iphone

I had fun with these two pages.  It is a freebie quick page from a blog train.  I cut out the radio in the pic and replaced it with an iphone.

The photo is of me, many many years ago.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Real Job

I did have a real, full-time job a few times in my life. While Larry was in the Navy during the Vietnam War, we lived in Miami for a year. Since he made a grand total of $75 a month, I had to get a job. We arrived in Miami, rented an apartment, and had enough to live on for about 30 days. If I couldn't find something, I had to move back with Momma and Daddy. Oh my.

I checked the Want Ads and found an opening for a secretary in the Boy Scout Office in Coral Gables. I drove up for an interview and knew I would not get the job. Driving home on the interstate, I spotted the exit for University of Miami. I took the exit. Found the personnel office, was sent to the Bursar's Office and was hired as a Restricted Loans Clerk. Before I got in the car to drive home I stopped in the campus bookstore and bought the Cliff Notes (no Dummies books yet) for Accounting.

I found out later my boss had gone through about 5 clerks in 5 months. They decided since I was a Navy wife I had to have the money and would not quit. They knew up front I was only there for a year; guess they figured 12 months with one clerk was a good thing.

He was not such a bad boss.  He was an older gentleman and I think I reminded him of his daughter.  He did throw pencils and pens at people, but not at me.  I was pretty much given free rein to organize my job as I wished.  Computers were just starting up and we had a mainframe that I spent a year trying to reconcile that monthly readout with the account cards in my file.  Fun times.  I finally did it by the end of the year and they decided to merge my loans with the Student Loans and all that work went for nothing!

I dealt with a lot of Spanish speaking students from Cuba who were behind in their loan repayments.  They would come to the window and pretend to not be able to speak English.  Ha.  Two of the girls in the office were from Cuba...I would just signal one of them and the Spanish would start flying.  I loved it!!!

(Note:  I did later get a job offer from the Boy Scout Office; it was for another position there)
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A Whole Lotta Beans

I read a long time ago that starchy beans are best when cooked from dried.  I was never successful with all the quickie methods of doing the dried beans, so I defaulted to canned.  All the time.  I love black beans and one day decided to just do the soak overnight and cook for hours on low the next day.  It worked.  I cook them, cool them, and freeze them in small portions.  Yum.

I cooked these today and for lunch put some in a bowl with sliced green onions, diced fresh tomato, and sour cream.  oh my.

In fact this pan of beans is awaiting the bags and freezer.  Try the old fashioned method sometime and then enjoy really yummy dried beans.  I have red beans to cook next.  Red beans and rice, anyone?

My Favorite Asian Stirfry

This is a Thai type dish and is currently my favorite.  I do it a little different each time, depending upon what is in my fridge.  This time I had forgotten to put in any veg, so I quickly reheated some nice crisp fresh green beans. 

It is called Caramelized Black Pepper chicken and originally came from  I found it on a blog, because the instructions I printed off have comments and substitutions.  Anyway, click the link to find the recipe.  And remember it is just a starting point.  I use a dash of hot pepper sauce since I never have any kind of chiles in my house; dried or otherwise.

Color Change

Randomly digging through boxes of photos and found the old polaroids from my college graduation.  I had a graduation themed kit from Digital Scrapbook Premium Kits and the colors were wrong. So I laboriously changed the colors using various tedious methods in PSE.  Here it is.

Then I decided to try another approach.  I took one of the premade pages from the kit and used it as a template and pasted over each shape with all my new colored elements.  Which one do you like best?

I confess it is much easier to use somebody else's layout.  The technical aspects of PSE are about all I can handle.  If I want to create my own layout I do much better in MM.  However, I do need to learn PSE.  At least for awhile I am trying to not use MM.  Tough love and all that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Clone

This is a page I made of my own son.  His middle son, Sawyer, looked exactly like this at the same age.  I did not realize.  Going back into the old photo albums is a real eye-opener.

I cropped his head out of a really ugly photo and made a vignette.  The page was a free Quick Page and I just put his pic in the frames. 

Rock Your Face Off

My niece got a new camera for Christmas and did a photoshoot of her precious 4 month old baby.  She always titles her photo shoots and this one was "mama's got a new camera and she's gonna rock my face off" .  I actually made this completely in Photoshop Elements.  Used the camera and frames from Around the World MiniKit that I have mentioned before. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm not scared anymore

I have never roasted a pepper. The very idea terrified me. I don't have a gas stove to "hold the pepper over the flame. And i did not want to fire up my oven for a pepper. All the illustrations of the technique looked scary.

Well, I bought some poblano peppers today and they are not good raw.
So i puy them in my toaster oven on 420 and watvhed them blister. Put them in a brown bag. The skin lifted off like magic and yes, I CAN roast a pepper

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yes, I have children

I am finally getting around to making scrapbook pages of my own children.  I have put it off for several reasons:  I had made goals to make lots of Christmas gifts that did not include pics of my own kids; the colors of these old pictures is really bad; nothing is organized.  I do have some pictures in albums and will start there.  The boxes are daunting.  And I suspect a lot of Jason's pics are in the boxes of slides in the drawer.  Oh my.

So, without further ado, here is my first creation.  I scraplifted a layout from Sheila Doherty in the book Scrapbooking Digitally.  I made a template based on her shapes.  Then I used one of my favorite kits for babies, "animal crackers" by Gina.  And, yes, it tells a story.  Click on it to make it bigger so you can read.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Heart You

Playing around with clipping masks in PSE.

First I opened the heart element.  Then I made it  a solid color, then I put Malissa's pic over it and clipped it all together and voila!!  I sometimes step out of my comfort zone......

Telling the Story

Even as I try and learn to use the huge program that is PSE8, and love all the stuff it can do, I still prefer to "tell a story" with my pictures and when that takes precedence, I like to slip into my nice "cuddly pajamas", also known as Memory Mixer.  It is just so easy to use and I can get quick results that make me happy.

During our "bonus" trip to Houston, I was taking photos of Griffie with my new iPhone.  I ended up with this story.....

(thanks to Bellabeluga for the cute camera and other elements)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Simple Photoshop Elements Trick

I finally got the instructional videos for Photoshop Elements and am "going to school".  Now that I have fiddled around 'lost' in the program for several months, am going to try and learn it properly.  In that spirit, here is a before and after photo that I did using a simple selection tool and an adjustment layer.
This is the original shot

I used the quick select too to select that mesa and brought up the "sunlight" a little more.  Now I know why mag pics look better than my snapshots.  With PSE you can improve both on Mother Nature and on you own photographic ability, or lack thereof.
see the sun bouncing off that red mountain?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Make your own frozen fries

Found this idea in food network magazine. Go to their website and search for 'nistro-style fries. I plan to try this method soon with my frydaddy. It seems you partially fry them and freeze them finish them up from frozen as needed

Phoning it in

Ha. I figured it out. I blogging from my new iphone. Wheee anyway i wanted to tell anybody still reading my infrequent posts that a marvelous app for iphone is called paprika. It lets you download any recipe online into a database, rather than just a proprietory base like allrecipes or bigoven,etc. So when i see a recipe in a mag i just use paprikas browser to find it and download it sounds good to me

I have downloaded 4 from Good Housekeeping and typed one of my own in so far. New note: watching a food show.... Looked up the website with paprika app and saved it. Wow. Never moved from my recliner

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Chicken and Sweet Potato Skillet

This is what I had for dinner last night:

The recipe is loosely based on this one.  Very loosely.  I used 2 small gala apples and I used shredded swiss chard instead of brussel sprouts.  For seasonings: salt, pepper, cinnamon, coriander.  It called for thyme. I also put some chicken broth in way before it was called for; those sweet potatoes don't get tender by themselves.  The swiss chard was put in at the end and wilted down. 

I think I added a squirt of lemon juice at the end, for a splash of fresh flavor.  I don't think I will ever use brussel spouts.  The apple, onion, sweet potato makes a nice flavor combination.  The chard is not very bitter, but adds some color and a bit of bite.  Kale would be too bitter.  Oh, and bacon makes everything taste better!
(Bacon and onion was sauteed first.)

The more recipes I read the more they look alike, with tiny differences.  Remember what you like and substitute in these skillet dinners.  I also am trying to use my mom's old iron skillets more; they are nonstick after all these years and no worry about fumes.  This skillet is the smooth surfaced black that they no longer make.  Glad I saved it, all through the years of teflon.................

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Header and Expanded Concept

Yes, I have been ignoring my blog.  This summer I "crawled down the rabbit hole" of digital scrapbooking.  I started with boxes and boxes of photos and zero knowledge.  I bought Memory Mixer 3 and Photoshop 8, a lovely scanner and printer and lots of printer ink. 

I probably have made 400 pages.  Am scared to count.  I pretty much turned it into a full time job.  I joined a yahoo group that posts all the freebies that wonderful digital designers share with the digital world.  I made heritage albums of my and my husband's parents, and grandparents and us as children.  I made multiple minibooks for my grandkids of all their exploits.  The same for both nephews.  I learned techniques and pored over scrapbook you see why there was no blogging?

Yes, I kept cooking because I like to eat good food.  I just did not tell you about it.

For Christmas I got a nice, shiny, new iPhone.  With a camera.  I am going to try and remember to snap a picture of my plate every night and tell you about it.  Unless it is embarassing. 

The "expanded" scope of this blog is because my primary interest is in digital scrapbooking and I figure I will be more likely to blog a new scrap page I made every day than to talk about food, for now.  I have a scrapbooking blog, but want it all in one place, especially since this blog feeds into Facebook, so if my friends want to see what I am creating scrapbook-wise as well as food-wise, they can.  Or not.

I made this scrapbook page today.  I love old pictures and my mother left a lot of them.  This one was taken in Indiana in the days of the Model T, obviously.  I added the quote, which I think is as appropriate today as when it was made, back in the 19th century.  The scrapbooking part is a freebie Quick Page that I rotated to get a horizontal opening.  I am terrible at keeping up with the provenance of all the freebies out there, but this one is called Everyday Opulence.  I'll try to do better about that.