Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tossing Out Stuff is Hard

Larry is painting the guest room closet and has completely emptied it.  I have to decide what goes back in and what is tossed.  The problem is, this is my craft closet.  I have been sorting and tossing stuff in that closet ever since I became immersed in digital scrapbooking, since I don't need that stuff for digi.  But there is a LOT left.

My first urge is to toss it ALL.  However, I know myself too well and in a couple of years I will not be an engrossed in digi scrap and will cycle back through my other crafty loves.  (I tend to run in 5 year cycles, so I have 4 to go).  Will I be sorry to have tossed some of this stuff?  Yes is the answer.

But, that is not actually the point of this blog entry.  Tossing stuff out is hard because I just KNOW I can find a way to repurpose so many things.  Or recycle, if you will.

I was going through the huge container of buttons I inherited from my mom, that she inherited from hers.  Mom made all her clothing and mine for years and years and buttons were her favorite part.  She kept them all.  And I mean all.  I have hundreds of white buttons, just to scratch the surface.  But again, those buttons are for another post.

In among the buttons was a bag of miscellaneous jewelry.  My old charm bracelet, but just three charms...will see if it is real gold and sell it.  Some Civitan pins mom collected....I tossed those.  However, there was a pendant that I have had in my hand to toss many, many times.  It had ended up in this bag due to my indecision.  Again, I could not bring myself to toss it.

I looked at it more closely and the cameo part was chipped.  I picked at the chip and it turns out that the "cameo" was a white china type thing that had been painted with pearly paint.  So I finished flaking it off, gave it a good wash and suddenly had a brilliant "repurposing idea".

I have a cross-body crochet purse that I probably found at Good Will.  Look what I did:  Stylish plus a memory intact.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Cioppino is a fancy name for fish stew.  I love it but have actually not made it before.  And you rarely see it on menus.  Trader Joe's has a frozen version but it is a very tiny amount in that package and you have to add a bunch more things to get it enough for two for dinner.

A few months ago I bought a frozen package of "mixed seafood" from TJ's....scallops, shrimp, calamari.  No clue what I was going to do with it.  Last night I finally decided to try and make cioppino, since the seafood blend was perfect for it, along with a chunk of white fish that I had in my freezer.

All the recipes I had seen for this dish included fennel.  Fennel is reminiscent of licorice and I dislike it very much, although admit it tastes good in the cioppino I have eaten in the past.  But....

I looked over several "fish stew" recipes and realized that they were all actually very basic.  So I went to my kitchen and chopped some onions and garlic and started sauteeing.  I added some celery (hey, it looks kinda like fennel), then diced up some carrots and potatoes.  This IS a stew after all.  Tossed in some seasonings that struck my fancy:  oregano, italian seasoning, coriander, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chopped fresh cilantro.  Added a large can of tomatoes, some water, and some clam broth I had frozen that was leftover from a TJ's frozen bag of steamed clams we had awhile back, covered it and went to get on the computer.

An hour later I chunked up some cod into the stew, covered it again and left for awhile.  Just before we were ready to eat, I put about half the package of frozen mixed seafood into the pot.  As it simmered, I tasted it and it was a bit flat.  I had not had a green pepper.  So I shook in some hot sauce, squeezed some lime, then a dollop of balsamic vinegar and, finally, some white wine sitting on the counter.

To serve it, I dipped out a couple of cups into each bowl.  Then for the final 'ta da', I chopped up a small tomatillo and some more cilantro and sprinkled the mixture on top of the soup serving.  Yum.

Here is photo of cioppino (not mine).  Follow this link to the source of the photo for another take on cioppino that uses a jar of red pasta sauce.  Might try that sometime; it would be a richer broth for sure.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Here is a page I made tonight using pictures from 1968 Fraternity House Party  at the Jack Tar, a motel that was just a beach walk away from where our beach house is today.  It always makes me a bit pensive when I sit on our deck on the dunes and think about being here all those years ago.  Still with my 'date' for the frat party weekend.  Still love him dearly.

Zucchini CAN taste good!

The Charlotte Observer ran a recipe for zucchini and it seemed to cover all my preferences....olive oil, fried, vinegar, herbs.  I had gotten a pretty good sized zucchini at the market, so decided to make it last night.  The platter was so pretty I took a photo before we ate it.  (and used a iphone app to snazz it up)
You can find the original recipe here.  I confess to not following it too closely, just in spirit.  I did not slice on the diagonal.  I used garlic powder in the dressing and garlic paste in the marinade.  I did not actually measure.  I hate fennel so no seeds.  Did not turn it into a salad; no ricotta, thank you very much.  The marinade barely covered the bottom of this platter, so the zucchini did not get overwhelmed.  Try your version; it is more a method than a recipe.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Buying Fish

An upscale fresh fish store opened in South Charlotte this past year called Fresh Catch.  I had read a lot about it but never stopped in to see what they had.  It is all fresh, never frozen, and arrives by plane from all over the world.  I finally stopped in today.

I am used to going along with the guys to Buddy's Seafood in Panama City, FL, and pointing out what I want and am familiar with the gulf offerings.  This shop was a whole 'nother ballgame, however.  The nice man took me on a quick tour through the offerings and it went in one ear and flew out the other.  There were gorgeous slabs of fish ready for portions to be cut, plus whole fresh fish, some of them really big. labels and no prices.  When there are no prices, it means you should not be worried about the cost.  Ha.

I was overwhelmed with my lack of knowledge, as well as the prices he quoted (I never really pay attention to the prices at Buddy's....we are on vacation after all, and it is gonna be cheaper than a restaurant, whatever we buy).  However, I did not want to leave without buying something, after all I had to find something to cook for dinner.  So I bought one fillet of Sunfish (looks exactly like tilapia).  It is raised in ocean pens off the coast of Hawaii.  $10 a pound.

I brought it home and seasoned it and grilled it off quickly on my electric griddle.  It was good, but I honestly like Harris Teeter's thawed from frozen tilapia in their fish counter better.  Thank goodness; it is a lot cheaper and the store is closer!

Next time I go I will take Larry with me.  He would have swooned at the fresh "log" of tuna they had.  And the fresh wild salmon looked pretty good to me, too............

Monday, August 08, 2011

King's Kitchen

Had a nice outing today with a group from Harris YMCA. We rode the Lynx train uptown and walked to King's Kitchen. One of my very old friends happened be in the group, which made the day even better. The restaurant is famous for their pan fried chicken, and justly so. Best I have had since my mom's. Now if they could just fry it in melted Criscoe instead of healthy oil...........

King's Kitchen description from their web site. "We’re a not for profit restaurant serving up southern cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients from right here in our community. And the proceeds go back to the community, helping to feed those in need. So, come on in. Because when you dine, the whole community thrives.

The restaurant is beautiful and at Monday lunch was absolutely packed. For $9 I got a fried leg and thigh, creamed corn, green beans, and stewed squash. You choose your meat and then get three vegetables from a list. Or you can skip the meat and get four vegetables.

A wonderful concept; you get to eat wonderful food and at the same time give back to the community.