Sunday, December 20, 2009

From Coffee Beans To Carbon: How Big (or small) Is It?

Mini Science for the scientifically challenged and science aficionado alike!

The University of Utah has a zoomy window to demonstrate the different sizes of a few everyday items like a coffee bean and a grain of salt all the way down to the picometers of a carbon atom. In case you were wondering, they even have a reference table explaining that a picometer is a trillionth of a meter. In other words, really, really, ten-to-the-negative-12th mini small.

This. Is. Awesome.

It definitely helps put things in perspective and is a great learning tool to introduce the little things in life.

See it here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

:: Dreamflower Purple. A Delicate Bracelet ::

A delicate treasure trove of amethyst, shell, glass, silvers and Swarovski crystals. This one of a kind bracelet is designed and handmade by yours truly! The asymmetrical design breaks away from the norm in a subtle and glorious way. It's sure to please and makes a sweet stocking stuffer.

I fell in love with the look and feel of the little flower beads on this bracelet. It took me a month to find the right design and complimentary colors to go with the flowers until I came across the pretty purple glass beads and Swarovski crystal spacers.

Get It Here: etsy

Ooo, one more thing, don't forget my holiday special as mentioned here - free shipping and free gift-wrapping now through January 4th; anytime...anywhere!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jasmine Green Tea

"Let each man exercise the art he knows." -Aristophanes

Today I'm hanging outdoor garland intertwined with little colorful lights to frame my front door. I love Christmas. It's a gray, cloudy day but something about sipping hot Jasmine Green Tea and hanging Christmas lights makes life beautiful even on a rainy day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Homemade Turkey & Vegetable Soup

Soups On!

Decided on a recipe using my homemade turkey broth, I made up my own! I've been making vegetable soup from scratch the last few months because it's healthy, easy, and delicious. This is a new twist on my basic soup recipe:

While this is simmering in the kitchen it's hard to keep from taking a taste because it smells so delectable, like Thanksgiving all over again but easier because it's one pot cooking! The beauty of this soup is the homemade broth and made-from-scratch yumminess plus the fact that the turkey meat is pre-cooked so the soup doesn't take long to heat and serve.

Homemade Turkey & Vegetable Soup

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil (optional)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 parsnip, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 T chopped fresh sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts Homemade Turkey Broth
  • 3 C roasted turkey meat, diced, skin removed
  • 3 C mixed vegetables (peas, green beans, carrots, lima beans, corn)
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 T seasoned salt
  • 1 cube cilantro "bouillon" or 1 T chopped fresh cilantro/parsley
In a large soup pot, heat garlic in olive oil or a small amount of broth. Add minced onion, carrot, celery, and parsnip. Saute over Med-High heat until softened. Add chopped sage, bay leaf, and the turkey broth. Bring to a simmer. Add diced turkey and mixed vegetables. Bring back up to a simmer. Add black pepper, salt, and cilantro cube (or fresh cilantro/parsley). Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.

Serves 6

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What's Cooking?

I'm making homemade broth in the Crock Pot!

I've never made it from scratch before so I checked the interwebs and found out it was a very simple and easy process. My mom sent me home with the carcass of our 24 pound Thanksgiving turkey and I had a baggie of veggie scraps in the freezer just waiting to take a plunge in the slow cooker.

After completing the broth recipe I'll throw all the veggie scraps in the compost pile. I'm already planning on using the compost for my Spring Vegetable Garden. Spring planting begins as early as February 25th here in South Central Texas!

I can't wait to make a soup recipe with my homemade broth. I'll be sure to take some photos of the completed dish and share the recipe here on my blog. I plan on making something hearty and low-fat with tons of flavor. Haven't yet picked out the recipe because there are so many to choose from and I'm having trouble deciding. If you have a favorite homemade soup recipe including turkey meat and veggies, please comment below! I plan on serving the soup with a "crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside" slice of whole-grain bread.

To make the broth I freeze leftover veggie scraps in a large freezer bag until it's nearly full. Then it's time to make the broth! Because I just so happened to have a turkey carcass (skin, meat, and fatty tissue removed), I'm making homemade turkey broth today.

Homemade Turkey and Vegetable Broth
  • Turkey carcass (no remaining skin)
  • 2 whole carrots, rinsed with skin on
  • 1-2 whole onions, rinsed with skin on
  • 1-2 celery stalks including leaves, rinsed
  • 1 head of whole garlic, rinsed with skin on
  • any extra veggie scraps on hand
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 1 herb sachet (any fresh or dry herbs you have on hand)
  • cheesecloth to wrap all the veggies in a neat package tied with butcher string
Combine all ingredients except the herb sachet into a large slow cooker, cover with water and set the cooker on low for 12-24 hours. 20 minutes prior to completion, add the herb sachet. Strain liquid into a large bowl or stockpot. Toss used veggies into the compost. Use broth immediately in your favorite recipe and freeze the rest in 1 gal freezer bags for later.

NOTE: If you'd like to skim off any remaining fat, chill the broth in the refrigerator overnight. Skim off the layer of fat which will form at the top of the broth for a low fat stock.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's better than free gift wrap?

Free Shipping and Free Gift-wrap for the Holidays and beyond!

Shop online and support handmade goods this holiday season. Sit back, relax, and browse at Biologie.

Receive your handmade jewelry in a homemade ribbon pouch & beautifully wrapped in a hand-folded sturdy paper gift box, all shipped to you for free beginning November 24, 2009 to January 4th, 2010.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Friday, October 30, 2009

Veggie Garden

In August I planted a vegetable garden. It was my first attempt at something like this and I've been meaning to blog about how things are going!

My husband built me a raised bed which I sectioned off like a square foot garden. I planted seeds of bunching onions, long thin cayenne peppers, bok choy, golden hubbard squash, bush beans, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and yellow squash. I used organic soil mixed with organic compost. The only things I transplanted were the pepper plants which I grew by seed indoors some months beforehand.

The bok choy were the first to show their cute faces to the world! They are very slow growers so I didn't expect to see them sprout first. The seed packet was a good one, practically every seed I sewed sprouted. A few days later the squash started sprouting as well as the bush beans (but I never did see a single bunching onion, the seed packet was old).

It didn't take long before the white-flies found my little garden plot. Here is an excerpt from my garden journal:

August 27, 2009
Whiteflies EVERYWHERE! It's awful. I spent pretty much an entire afternoon researching ways to kill them. I sprayed them with my soap solution recipe (it's for aphids but I read it will kill the whiteflies too). They are all over the leaves of my squashes and bush beans, plus the larvae on the underside. I hate them! I just read that the solution might be harmful to my squash plants so I may have killed them along with the flies. :(
I researched a few organic garden pest recipes. My dad used a pepper spray to protect his Tabasco and habenero peppers from being eaten alive by garden chompers. This is the recipe he used as he remembers it:

  • dishsoap
  • several cloves of garlic
  • 6-10 hot peppers (hotter the better!)
  • 1 gallon water
Place garlic, peppers and a small amount of your water in a blender/food processor and puree. NOTE: Avert your face when you take the lid off because the fumes are very strong. Strain the mixture and add the liquid to your gallon of water.

When you are ready to use the solution on your garden, fill up a spray bottle, add 2 tsp dishsoap, shake and spray every few days until the pests are under control.

Shake well before each use.
We had to leave for a few days in September. I left a soaker-hose attached to a timer so the seedlings would stay moist while we were gone. When we came home the garden was not only growing and alive, it was wild and the squash plants were huge! They pretty much took over the garden.

Next season I'm going to make a new bed where I can plant just squash separate from everything else! The bush beans and the peppers were still getting enough sun so I just let everything grow so I can see how things turn out. This is definitely an experiment in progress and I will have more pictures and info as the garden saga continues.

Additional photos of my Veggie Garden are found on my Flickr page.

If you are interested in building a square foot garden box like mine, check out Emily's instructions for making the garden box on her My Square Foot Garden blog: Build It!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Case of the Disappearing Anthill

Strolling in the backyard after the recent rains I found a neatly shaped anthill. I happened to have my camera with me because I'm always searching for things to take on my Macro setting (I love my Canon Powershot). Here it is for your viewing pleasure!

I wandered around and took a few shots of some rain lilies too. It was then that I heard a familiar, excited snuffling behind me. I turned around to find an anthill "Destructor" in my midst!

It is undetermined if there were any casualties, however, reports indicate they all escaped to the safety of underground tunnels. A few stalwart soldiers were seen in the area looking to take a fiery bite out of the fur-clad perpetrator. The following is the mugshot of the guilty party involved in the unscheduled demolition of what was once a beautifully shaped anthill.

If you have seen this hairy male please contact the Anthill Police immediately. It is not known if there was an accomplice although a surveillance camera did capture this image of the suspect with an unknown white female not long after the crime was committed:

Sources later confirmed the young miss to be completely innocent in The Case of the Disappearing Anthill. She was recently seen enjoying a romp in the backyard with a huge grin of utter happiness.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rockport, Texas: Flying South for the Winter

A little town on the coast of Texas, Rockport is the place to visit if you ever plan a trip to nearby Corpus Christi.

The beach I visited this summer with my mom and my nephew was clean, beautiful and the water at that time of year is calm and warm. We left at sunset and I took this picture of their little painted amphitheater.

This September 17th through 2oth, Rockport is holding it's annual Hummer/Bird Celebration. The birds begin flying South for the winter and bird-lovers from all over the country come to see them off. There are tours, seminars, artists, bird experts, and beach-goers intermingling for a wonderful September celebration at Rockport.

If you saw my recipe for Hummingbird Cake you know that the teeny "Hummers" have been on my mind lately. It's raining outside due to the tropical disturbances and they flit around in the rain like it doesn't bother them at all. I saw them this morning. I think I have about 6-8 hummers visiting my feeders each day (or it seems like that many).

Click here if you'd like to visit the Rockport-Fulton area website.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbirds are so tiny. They are amazing little creatures. At our local zoo there is a display of various bird eggs in an indoor bird sanctuary. I always look for the tiny hummingbird egg and imagine the little nest it calls home.

I have two hummingbird feeders in my backyard. The tiny birds visit daily and I've become used to hearing them buzz near me when I'm out watering my newly planted fall garden (more on that later)! To me, the hummingbirds with their infinitely moving wings sound like miniature U.F.O.'s hovering in my airspace!

In honor of the little cuties I now present this yummy recipe:

This cake is called Hummingbird Cake because when you take your first bite you say, "Mmmmm." And then when you take your second bite you say, "Mmmm!" And eventually after doing so for several more bites you sound like a hummingbird! Or, maybe it got it's name because it's sweet and delicious. If a hummingbird could eat cake, this is the one she would choose.

The recipe is from my mom and is in our Family Favorites cookbook. My mom omits the shredded coconut garnish so I listed that particular ingredient optional. Hope you enjoy!

Hummingbird Cake

Cake Batter Ingredients & Recipe:

  • 3 Cups flour
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ Cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapples with juice
  • 1 Cup chopped pecans
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed

Mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Fold in eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, pineapples with juice, pecans, and bananas. Blend well and divide into 3 nine-inch cake pans. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes. Cool cakes completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients & Recipe:

  • ½ Cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons chopped pecans
  • 1 Cup shredded coconut (optional)

Fold together butter and cream cheese. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Add vanilla and lemon juice and stir well. Apply to the top of all 3 cake layers. Stack layers. Apply remaining frosting to the sides of the cake. Garnish with pecans and coconut.

Mmmm. Mmmm. Hum..mmm. Num..mmm.

Note: For a lower fat version, you might prefer the following recipe from Lightened Hummingbird Cake

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

Yes indeed.

The design I was telling you all about in a previous blog post is now complete!

In high school my photography teacher told us to take black and white photos. He handed me some film and off I went! I took a lot of pictures with my parents camera. There's something mysterious and magical about taking your own photos: blindly loading your film onto a reel in complete darkness, heading into the darkroom to develop the film, making a contact sheet, and finally, perfecting the enlargements. I didn't know at the time how special the subject of my photos would be until later.

One of the pictures I took for my assignment happened to be of the blossoms on a tree near my house. They were cherry blossoms. When I developed my film in the photo lab and presented my work to my instructor I didn't include my blossom photos. There was not enough contrast between the black and white (just shades of gray) for that particular photo. Even so, it was my favorite picture out of the whole roll.

Now I have a new way to show my love and appreciation for these beautiful flowers:

Please view my Handcrafted Cherry Blossom necklaces on sale at an introductory price to celebrate the launch of my new line at

Friday, July 31, 2009

Silver and Gold

We've been praying for rain because we've been in a drought for a long, long time. Still in the drought but we did get some rain yesterday! I noticed the clouds rolling in and took advantage of the overcast day to play soccer with my doggies in the backyard. They love to chase the ball and it gives me a reason to run around chasing after them. It makes me laugh aloud to see them bounding after a bouncing ball.

After we settled down it started to sprinkle. Here are my two dogs getting wet in the rain while they stare at me taking their picture. I imagine they are wondering why I stopped playing soccer and am now squatting in the rain with my camera.


I find it very interesting that when the flash goes off, my white dog's eyes reflect a silver blue color while my brindle's eyes reflect gold amber! For a closer look, please click on each picture to be directed to my Flickr photostream.
I love their sturdy stance and alert, steady gaze.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hurray for Crochet

...and Embroidery too!

I graduated from college with a bachelors of science degree in clinical laboratory science. Many people are curious to know exactly what the job entails. Here are just a few of the responsibilities:
  • Identifying abnormal blood cells
  • Identifying toxic agents, such as anthrax
  • Detecting a cancerous tumor with DNA techniques
  • Performing cultures and identifying bacteria and viruses
  • Assuring safe transfusion of blood products
  • Correlating test results with patient condition
  • Selecting and evaluating laboratory equipment and new test methodologies
  • Monitoring the quality of testing
  • Supervising support staff
  • Managing laboratory operations
In a nutshell, Clinical Laboratory Scientists juggle a lot of body fluids, bacteria, DNA, microscopes, paperwork, phone calls, data-entry, machines, hospital staff, and more!

If the mitochondria is the power-house of the cell then the CLS is the power-house of the hospital.

So the body fluid part, what is that all about? Well, it sounds unpleasant and really is occasionally stinky but also very important to analyze for our health. It includes urine, feces, amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, serous fluids, and seminal fluids.

Yep, sounds pretty crazy but, not to worry, the tests are done in a sterile, professional environment requiring an extremely small amount of fluid.

SO...when I saw Tillie Ellie's Giveaway for a crocheted sperm cell (defined as the haploid cell that is the male gamete) and matching embroidery, it didn't phase me at all. As a matter of fact, I wanted to win! I signed up right away. I thought to myself, "Heck! Maybe if I win it will be a sign that we will conceive a baby!"

While I know it isn't up to me, or "luck", I was hoping and praying to be the grand prize winner. As soon as the giveaway ended I received notice from Tillie that I won!

By the way, you will all be the first to know (after my family) if we happen to conceive a bambino sometime soon.

In the meantime, here's my little Tillie-made, crocheted haploid cell (sperm) nestled in the pages of my "Fundamentals of Urine and Body Fluid Analysis" text book [author: Nancy A. Brunzel], cute as a tadpole with a little smile on his face.

Crocheted Haploid Cell, a.k.a. sperm

Tillie also offers great crochet patterns as well as "mature" embroidery and adorable Jelly Babies. My favorite is the Cherry Jelly Baby, you can see it here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mushroom, Ricotta, and Olive Pizza


Got your attention, yes?

This recipe is from The Complete Low Fat Cookbook but despite that fact (which some people might take as bad news) this pizza is really quite yummy.

It makes me hungry just looking at the picture. I tried my best to make it look like the one in the recipe book!

Mushroom Riccota and Olive Pizza
  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 teaspoon caster (aka, superfine) sugar
  • 7 g (1/4 ounce) dry yeast or 15 g (1/2 ounce) fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml/4 fl oz) skim milk
  • 1 3/4 cups (220 g/7 oz) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 750 g (1 1/2 pounds) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup (250 g/8 oz) low-fat ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • small fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 210° C (415° F/Gas 6-7). Put tomato on a baking tray covered with baking paper, sprinkle with salt, cracked black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are starting to darken.
Stir yeast and remaining sugar with 3 tablespoons warm water until the yeast dissolves. Cover and leave in a warm place until foamy. Warm the milk. Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the yeast and milk. Mix to a soft dough, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Leave, covered, in a lightly oiled bowl in a warm place for 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic and onion until soft. Add the mushrooms and stir until they are soft and the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out to a 36 cm (15 inch) circle and transfer to a lightly greased oven or pizza tray. Spread with the ricotta, leaving a border to turn over the filling. Top with the mushrooms, leaving a circle in the center, and arrange the tomato and olives in the circle. Fold the dough edge over onto the mushrooms and dust the edge with flour. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Garnish with basil.
Serves 6

Nutrition Info: Protein 15g; Fat 7.5g; Carbs 30g; Dietary Fiber 6g; Cholesterol 20mg; 1100 kJ (265 calories)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

I love cherry blossoms.

I recently learned several polymer clay techniques and I immediately fell in love with doing "appliqué" to make a miniature work of art on a bead. First and foremost, pink cherry blossoms!

Here, I share with you my sketches and a few of my new designs in the making. I love the look and style of Chinese disc beads. The soft, flat circles are pleasing to the eye and feel good to the touch. Add a chocolate brown branch of beautiful pink cherry blossoms and I'm hooked!

By definition, appliqué is a decoration or ornament, as in needlework, made by cutting pieces of one material and applying them to the surface of another. In my case, I've made a stone-effect disc bead and instead of cutting out a branch or flowers I hand-sculpted a branch of miniature cherry blossoms and applied it to the bead.

I make the pendants out of white or gray polymer clay with inclusions of art sand to mimic a stone disc bead. I began the design using a gray stone-effect, however, subsequent experiments lead me to prefer white because I think it's a better background to show off the pinks and browns.

I had no idea of the time and tedious effort it took to use an applique technique on polymer clay but I'm in love with the results. I certainly have a higher respect for sculptors and other artists who work in fine detail than I ever have before in my life! In addition to working with this new medium, I am now learning the art of Chinese knots so I can showcase my precious pendants from a pretty satin cord.

Next up, dogwood?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Grillin' and Chillin'

I love to grill!

A few weekends ago we grilled some turkey dogs, steak medallions wrapped in turkey bacon, and Cajun boudin. I added some soaked oak chips to the coals just before I laid the meat on the grill. Smoking the meat and veggies with oak, mesquite or pecan chips is a must in my opinon.

Everything looked so good I had to take pictures! The summer we bought our first grill I went to Half Price Books and bought the book How To Grill by Stephen Raichlen. It's a very useful book for newbie grillers. I highly recommend it!

We immediately fell in love with grilling and literally grilled every single weekend for about two months straight. Every time I grill my husband raids the fridge looking for every single piece of meat and vegetable that is even remotely grill-worthy to add to the grill. It got so crowded on our grill, we eventually ended up buying two grills: one for veggies and one for meat!

I've never tried a gas grill because I love grilling with charcoal. Currently, we use plain old briquettes but I'd like to try natural wood lump charcoal because I hear it's the best choice. As you can see from the pictures, we make enough food to feed an army even though there are only two of us. We grill it all up and refrigerate the meats and veggies so we can eat them throughout the week.

My favorite things to grill: portabella mushrooms, button mushrooms, peppers, onions, salmon, and last but not least, marinated steak!

My favorite thing to do while grilling: sitting on the patio in the shade listening to the radio while drinking a beer and chatting with my husband.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Lanai Above

Free yet unsure.

It's late and my parents and brothers are asleep in their beds. I slowly slide open the door and step out on to the lanai. I breathe in the fresh air and wonder at the twilight. My nightdress flutters softly in a warm, comforting breeze. I step up to the rail -- taking in the view.

Lights twinkle.

I see the dark, hard silhouette of a Diamond in the distance. The black expanse of the ocean opens up before her. I recall this afternoon's cheerful waves running up the beach to chase coconut-scented friends playing in the surf. I can still taste the salt on my lips and feel the bright, sunny sand beneath my feet.

Tonight the sea is a new creature. I can see it. Black as ink and far beyond my reach it broods quiet and mysterious in the darkness. Intriguing. She pretends to be peaceful but I see her edge of danger glinting in the distance.


The breeze touches my face, reminding me. I'm high above the streets that bustle in the morning rush. The night noises of a sleepy city below me are faint.

I drink in my surroundings.

Uninvited memories come fluttering. A distant ache returns, back to haunt as if they never left. I grimace in a spasm of pain and disappointment. They are a part of me. They make me understand. I'd rather not have known them. I'd rather not anyone know them.

What a bittersweet reunion.

I can see the stars above me twinkling a hello. They remember me! I look for my friend, the Moon. He is always there for me. He smiles softly.

I smile back.

Such a sweet, dreamy inhale. I lean over the rail and peer down into the streets below. It's a miniature scene of tiny streetlights and trees lining the roads. I hear a whisper of the night-calls drifting up.

I see you.

Complete oblivion. You are on the lanai just below. You are covered in a thin blanket, stretched out and relaxed in slumber. You stir and turn on your side, sleeping high above paradise.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Big Huge Labs

Not big huge, adorable Labradors or big huge, smelly Lab Rats...

I've been playing with Flickr and it's 3rd party applications. Big Huge Labs is a site featuring "fd's Flickr Toys". I'm liking the Mosiac Maker. It allows you to make a mosaic from a photoset, favorites, tags, or individual digital photographs/images ~ including ways to customize colors and layouts ~ !

The only drawback to this tool is you must have a public photostream. If you have pictures listed specifically for friends, family, or private photos on your photostream you won't want to use the Mosaic Maker because the application accesses all your Flickr photos.

It's great fun and an excellent tool for bloggers!

Pictured here:
Black & White Doggie
Blue Planet Clusters
Crystal Sky Clusters
The Sentry

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Cheerful Candle: Green Tea Goodness

It was a dreary rainy day until I went to check my mail. I recently placed my very first Etsy order for a soy candle handmade by Buzzabee. The package arrived today!

Buzzabee is a fellow Etsian and blogger who makes yummy soy candles and awesome bookmarks.

This is my "Thank You" photo for Buzzabee. The 7.5 ounce candle with the cute little bee is called Green Tea Goodness. I don't know her formula but, to my nose, the candle smells warm and comforting; green and down to earth. My husband says it smells fresh, like a "day in the hammock" or "a cool breeze". Interesting! We don't even own a hammock but the scent brought the vision of relaxing in one to his mind. It just goes to show how good it smells! Also pictured is my blue tea light votive holding a "freebee" and my celadon glazed teacup and teapot. My mom and dad gave me the teapot and set of cups for my birthday last year.

I've heard a lot of good things about the benefits of choosing soy over traditional paraffin wax candles. I'm no expert on the matter but apparently there is a lot of debate over which type of candle is best for your home. If you were to walk into my house today you would sniff out a number of different types of candles. In the past I never gave a second thought to what kind of candle I was buying, however, I've decided I prefer soy or beeswax candles for no other reason than because I like them!

I love getting packages in the mail, even if I know they are coming because I ordered them! I especially enjoyed this package because the seller sent me a note right away to let me know when to expect it to ship. The shipment came via USPS Priority Mail and the candle comes in it's own cute little box, wrapped securely. As you open the box the scent of the candle greets you. I was delighted to find the "freebee" too: a Sweet Summer Melon tea light candle from Buzzabee. What a nice surprise!

Now I'm eyeballing the Rejuvenating Mint Julep! ^-^

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

From Biologie's Kitchen With Lovin'

These guys are called Fries but in reality they are tasty Baked goodness.

I heard a rumor about Baked Sweet Potato Fries and how yummy and amazing (not to mention healthy) they were but I was a bit skeptical about the whole mess.

Plain baked sweet potato fries might be great but not exciting enough for me so I needed something more! How about adding a bit of finely grated Parmesan cheese, fresh rosemary, and a dash of garlic powder?

After pulling a batch out of the oven my first bite was taken with a moment of doubt followed by a quick "taste bud check" to evaluate the finished product. My taste buds said:
"More please!"
The recipe is simple and healthy. It's a sweet-savory treat!

Rosemary Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 5-6

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • Fine sea salt, to taste (hint: a little goes a long way)
  • 2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 Cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

3. Peel the sweet potatoes

4. Cut sweet potatoes into strips about 1/4 inch wide

5. Place cut strips into a large bowl and add oil, salt, rosemary, and garlic powder - toss to thoroughly coat

6. Set aside 2-3 T of grated Parmesan cheese in a small container to sprinkle on after they are baked

7. Add the remaining Parmesan to the bowl of sweet potatoes; toss thoroughly to coat

8. Spread out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer

9. Bake 10-15 minutes, then turn them over and bake an additional 10-15 minutes

10. Fries are done when browned around the edges (or until desired crispiness)

11. Sprinkle reserved Parmesan cheese on hot baked fries

12. Serve immediately

I'm telling you ~ these are Yum!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Morning Herb Gathering

Singing The Praises Of Fresh Herbs:

I planted a bitty container garden of herbs this spring. The plants are doing great and I'm reaping the benefits of fresh herbs in my salads, soups, sandwiches and pretty much any thing I cook these days! I love black bean tortilla soup and I always add chopped cilantro.

This season I have the following herbs growing in my backyard: rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, chives, mint, Italian flat-leaf parsley, cilantro and sage. I also have holy basil but it's an ornamental.

Minted Fresh Fruit Salad is excellent and I adore making it in the summer using fresh mint. I'll be blogging about it the next time I make it so I will include the recipe. It's very simple and refreshing. I want some right now!

Something I learned in my Botany course in college that I've always found interesting about herbs: the ones in the family Lamiaceae (mints) have square stems rather than round cylindrical stems!

There are about 3500 species in the mint family including basil, rosemary, savory, thyme and sage. The family keeps growing, however, because mint can easily hybridize. Very cool.

In the morning after breakfast I go out and water my little green culinary buddies. I take a few clippings of the herbs I want to use for the day and store them on the counter top in a little jar with water. So pretty! It's just like having a little flower for your bud vase except with the little herb sprigs you can gaze at them and anticipate using them in your cooking throughout the day. My herbs add a level of bright and fresh yummy to my food that I don't get with dried herbs.

The "herbs of the day" in their cute little jar.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Special Delivery!

Yesterday the door bell rang and when I opened the door there was a little square package sitting on my front porch. I was delightfully surprised! Upon opening the box, this is what I found within:

Cajun essentials from Louisiana for me and my husband were packed inside the box. The care-package was from his mom and her husband. The last time they came to visit us they told us about these great Cajun products so we are excited to give them all a try. It arrived in perfect timing for the cookout we are having to celebrate my husband's birthday this weekend.

Bon CaCa!! seasoning: A homemade seasoning blend for Cajuns by Cajuns! The makers of this product live in New Iberia, Louisiana. After years of using their special blend to season their food at cookouts and having friends and neighbors beg for more of the "good stuff" they decided to sell it in the local markets. It's a great seasoning because it's blended as "not too salty, not too hot, just the perfect blend to use on everything!" That's some Bon CaCa!

"Slap Ya Mama" Hot seasoning: No joke, this stuff is HOT. If you are a fan of fiery hot sauces and enjoy eating hot peppers straight out of the jar, you're going to love this seasoning! I took a little taste on the tip of my tongue and said, "Whoo Eeee! That's hot stuff!" Here's a quote from their website:
Wilda Marie Fontenot gave birth to the creator of the award winning "SLAP YA MAMA" seasoning blend. Every time she uses it, she receives a loving slap on the back and a kiss on the cheek thanking her for another great Cajun dish.
Tabasco Spicy Pepper Jelly: If you ever visit New Iberia, Louisiana you have to take a trip to Avery Island and tour the Tabasco pepper sauce factory. The island is surrounded by swamps and is a nature reserve for indigenous plants and animals of southern Louisiana. Their pepper jelly is the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. We will be using it as a glaze for grilled chicken breasts this weekend! Yum.

Gumbo & Etouffee Mix by Louisiana Fish Fry Products: When you are pressed for time and want to whip up a quick one-pot meal, gumbo is the way to go. We enjoy seafood gumbo several times a month. When it's time to indulge, our absolute hands down favorite thing to make is crawfish etouffee. We also love shrimp etouffee! These mixes by Louisiana Fish Fry Products are staples in our house and the only store-bought brand we use for our gumbo and etouffee.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

These are a few of my...

Favorite things on Etsy!

The amount of talent found at is boundless. There are just too many wonderful artists out there! I can't even scratch the surface but I wanted to shine my little bitty blog spotlight on just a few of the favorites I've found on Etsy. Check it out!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I love sandwiches.

I absolutely love sandwiches. One of the simple pleasures in life.

The Sandwich.

One of my favorite masterpieces consisted of the following:

· toasted pumpernickel, very thinly sliced
· fresh guacamole
· sliced tomato
· salt and pepper to taste
· provolone cheese
· german mustard
· red onion, very thinly sliced
· cucumber, thinly sliced medallions
· smoked turkey, fat free deli sliced
· black forest ham, low-fat deli sliced
· green leaf lettuce

On the side:

· side salad
· big glass of ice water with a slice of lime

Okay, so to make the masterpiece:

Toast the bread slices and spread fresh guacamole on one slice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place tomato slices on the top of the guac. This is important! Tomatoes must snuggle up to the guac for the best flavor combination (in my humble opinion)!

Place the provolone on top of 'matoes and spread mustard on cheese. Layer the turkey and ham in folds (like how the deli does) on top of the cheese.

Lastly, add very thinly sliced onions and cucumber on top of the lunchmeat and top with the green leaf lettuce. Don’t use iceberg! That's not lettuce, that's bland water masquerading as lettuce and lacks most of the nutrients and goodness found in green leaf lettuces like romaine.

You now have a Masterful Sandwich of Yumminess!

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Wings

I check in with the off-duty policeman with the mustache, show him my park badge. His blonde lady-friend who visits him and flirts isn’t there today. He says hello and tells me to have a good day.

Two little boys at the broken water fountain: spraying each other with the high-powered nozzle and trying to drink from it. Their mommies are standing and chatting; paying no attention to them. One mom stands laughing with a baby on her hip. Between squirts, the boys discuss whether they will play in the sandbox again and look at each other before heading over there, dripping wet.

I start my jog, slow and steady. Smells good, fresh. I breathe in the scent of damp shaded, cool earth under the trees. It’s one of my favorite scents in the entire world.

Chiseled-face gentleman is there, looking like an ex-military general with ball cap and sunglasses; he is Man with 2 Dogs…now down to one. I’ve never spoken to him until today but he is a regular at the park. On the jogging track, I stop and unplug myself from my music to ask where the other retriever is…she’s passed away; leaving what I learn is her sister, also an old dog. He smiles sadly as he tells me how she took it hard when her sister died. I look at him and know that he took it hard too.

Back to jogging, I look at the trees; watch the squirrels…one digs in the dirt, little paws working quickly. He’s so busy he ignores me as I run by but keeps one cute beady little eye on me all the same.

British Man with English Sheepdog is there, walking his route around the perimeter of the park. I wave as I pass by when we make eye contact. He waves back. He’s a regular too. Maybe someday I’ll ask him what his name is so I don’t have to call him British Man with English Sheepdog. He has a yellow suede cap and looks very distinguished. He wears it everyday.

There are grackle birds pecking around on the soccer field, they hop away as I get near…I swerve into the field, chasing them and grinning. The field is damp and soft beneath my feet. The flock squawks and flies away like a black cloud. I laugh, knowing they will be back as soon as I return to the trail.

A new person drives up and parks. Gets out and heads to the courts with basketball and a little lunch bag. His baldhead is shiny in the sun. He shoots a few baskets, then puts the ball down and starts walking on the trail. He won’t look at me when I jog by going the opposite direction. He stares at my feet every time I go past. He’s strange and either shy or unfriendly. The third time I pass him he looks at my face quick then down to my feet. I chuckle a little when he’s out of earshot. I don’t know why I chuckle. He makes me uncomfortable.

Another new person arrives wearing grey sweatpants tucked into his socks. That’s funny looking! I dub him Man Committing Fashion Mistake. He looks like he’s ready for PT. He stretches by the track, and then does jumping jacks for a bit, then some pushups on top of the stone picnic table. He starts walking around the track, jogging a little. He has a big belly and is very tall. He wears dark sunglasses but nods a hello when I give him a little wave as I run past him. He only goes a few times around: walk, jog, walk, jog. He checks his watch and leaves. I think to myself, “That’s it?”

Man with Black Dog arrives in his red pickup. He walks the perimeter of the park like British Man. I can’t remember his face, just his dog’s face; it’s black with cute triangle ears and a white tuft of hair on its chest. It has a fluffy tail.

I’ve gone three miles, the last stretch my favorite song comes on and I begin to sprint. The blood rushes through my veins and my heart races as I feel as if my shoes sprout wings. I fly. The song crescendos, sending me into one last burst of speed before coming to a slow jog and then a quick walk the rest of the way around the trail. I float back down to earth and grin. Give a silent goodbye to the familiar strangers in the park and ride home, looking forward to another Jog In The Park.

Thursday, May 7, 2009 Mini-Grand Opening!

Come one, come all!

I'm pleased to announce the mini-Grand Opening of my new Etsy shop, featuring my creative adventures in handmade jewelry at

I love all things handmade.

My current collections are:

Clusters Series
Fishers Of Men Series
Mother Earth Series

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

What is Esty? It's an online marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade. As stated on the site:
Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell and Live Handmade.