Saturday, July 31, 2010



I wish I had found this inspiration about 3 years ago before I got married. I inherited lots of handmade lace doilies from my Grandma Hoochie (no, she wasn't a stripper. Somehow, that's the way her name Ruth was pronounced in Brazil in the 70's. Or so I'm told!). Wouldn't that have been wonderful to walk down the aisle in my Grandma's handmade lace? Especially since she's not here with us anymore. But absolutely gorgeous...and handmade by the bride in less than 3 weeks! Complete wonderwoman! Wish I could direct you to the site, but it was a daily feature on a bridal site...if anyone knows where to link to this amazing dress, do tell!

Monday, July 19, 2010

No I haven't vanished...

I spent all last week frantically working toward my husband's birthday present...finishing the remodel we started last OCTOBER!  I am proud to announce that with the exception of 1 wall in a non-necessary room, it's finally done! Of course, then we had to throw him a birthday party to show off the new kitchen, so that ate up my weekend... And then I pinched a nerve in my back, missed a day of work and had a lovely cortisone injection. So I've been a little busy lately!

Stay tuned for a step by step update on how we built new walls, knocked holes in other and installed a new kitchen...mostly by ourselves! Heck, mostly by MYself! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chicken Basics: Thai Coconut Curry Soup

First, let me say this: I don't like coconut. However, I do like coconut milk in this soup. Without it's presence, this is a spicy monster of a soup. So don't discount this recipe just because of it's name. It's really good, especially when you come home with a cold in the winter...or in my case, the middle of summer!

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

  • Leftover chicken and rice, from Chicken Basics recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups or 1 can chicken broth
  • 1/3 can cocanut milk or cream (cream is thicker, milk has less fat. You pick your fav!)
  • One large or two small sliced carrots, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic-pepper sauce (found in the Asian section of the market)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red, orange or yellow peppers
  • Either 1 tbsp fish sauce or 1 tsp soy sauce (fish sauce lends a better taste to the overall soup)
  • Lime juice
  • Frozen cilantro cube or 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  1. In a saucepan, mix together chicken broth, garlic, garlic-pepper sauce and fish or soy sauce. Set to boiling on stovetop.  Add enough garlic-pepper sauce that the broth is just too spicy to tolerate. The coconut milk will tone it down considerably in step five.
  2. Clean and chop carrots; add to pot.
  3. Chop chicken breast and add to pot.
  4. Mix in the leftover brown rice.
  5. Add in the cilantro cube, coconut milk/cream and sliced red peppers.
  6. Stir to combine.  Taste broth at this point to check for spice level. If it's too hot for you, add a bit more cocanut milk, chicken broth or rice to take the heat off.
  7. Just before serving, add a squirt of lime juice and Sriacha hot sauce (if you like it REALLY spicy--like I do!)
  8. Eat!

This soup cures sinus congestion better than any medication I've ever tried. And with all the carrots, peppers and garlic, it's a nice dose of vitamins too! We eat this several times a month every winter, just for the warming properties the spices give it. Yum.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Homemade Hair Conditioner....I bet it's in your kitchen now!

I have fine, straight, thin hair. It doesn't do much, won't hold a curl to save its life and TANGLES.  I've had tangles the size of my fist, I kid you not. They just appear, overnight. When I was five, they got so bad despite daily brushing that my Mom cropped my hair into a boy's cut.  All the conditioner in the world didn't help them and always left the rest of my hair looking limp and greasy. Since my hair tends toward greasy anyway, the extra conditioner needed to prevent the tangles made it really awful!

So when I finally decided to give up shampoo and switched to a gentle castille based soap for hair and body, I was seriously worried about the tangles I was setting myself up for. Surprisingly, the monstrous knots didn't get much worse. But they also didn't get any better...and I was SO sick of ripping my hair to shreds every day just to leave the house looking presentable!  Then, whilst reading up on the no-poo method of hair washing someone suggested using a vinegar rinse to balance the hair's pH level.  Well, ok. I have vinegar...let's try it!  Added some vinegar to an old shampoo bottle, topped it off with water and squirted it over my hair in the shower one night. Wasn't too keen on the vinegar smell that wafted from my hair until it dried, but decided to reserve judgement until the next morning once it had dried and I could comb the tangles out...except for the first time I can remember (having hair longer than three inches in length), there weren't any tangles to comb out!  I couldn't believe it! I was so thankful I'd found something that worked and didn't leave my hair greasy, I just wished it didn't smell like vinegar! Coming out of the bathroom smelling like salad dressing was not  my idea of a relaxing shower experience. Fortunately, help was at hand over at One Green Generation!  She mentioned that she'd switched from apple cider vinegar to white vinegar with a vanilla bean pod in it for a prettier smell. DingDingDing-we have a winner! I started several different jars of vinegar with assorted flavorings to see what worked...and thus far, they ALL did! So I present to you my choice for smoooth and silky hair, naturally!

No-tangle, Shiny Hair Rinse

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Flavorings: cinnamon sticks, orange or lemon peel (just the colored zest from the peel-no white stuff!), mint leaves, vanilla bean pod, I've heard rosemary springs are nice, too!
  1. Add mint leaves, cinnamon sticks, lemon peel, vanilla bean pod, whatever-you're-trying to bottle.I've used leftover jelly jars, Tupperware, bottles with a cork...anything with a lid on it!
  2. Pour 1/2 cup (or more) vinegar into the container, add the lid and shake once or twice.
  3. Set it somewhere dark-ish where you're bound to see it once or twice a day. I used my snack cupboard. At least once a day for a week, shake or swirl the bottle/jar of vinegar and flavorings.
  4. Decant the vinegar out on day seven, pour into an old shampoo or squirt bottle and add 2 cups water.
  5. Use in shower like a conditioner. Apply, let sit a minute and rinse out for sleek and shiny hair!
After some experimentation, I like the lemon peel best during the summer. Come colder weather, I think I'll be switching to vanilla and cinnamon. I have a mint vinegar rinse marinating now, so check back next week for a review of the mint rinse!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Today was hard. Work was spent playing catch up from what didn't get done last night while customers yelled. :(  And then we got word that the courts have agreed with Schwarzenegger that state workers can be reduced to minimum wage until the budget crisis is resolved. So my husband's paycheck just got shorted 70%.  Add in I'm still working short work hours on doctor's orders, and our financial life just got real hard, real fast.
So now I can worry and stress and fuss about how we'll make ends meet next month when our combined income is less than our mortgage payment OR I can make tutus. Samster Mommy is running a tutu drive for the Princess Alexa Foundation that gives dress up clothes to hospitals and critically ill children.  Yes, I'm not 100% healthy yet. Yes, our financial picture is scary right now. But these are temporary issues that will resolve themselves, leaving us still standing. The issues these parents and kids are facing may not. And let's face it, right now make believe is right up my alley! (cause reality isn't so fun today) So I'm going to go make believe a few tutus into reality to send off tomorrow. Which means tomorrow already has one happy, glowy moment in it so it has to be better than today!
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