Monday, August 17, 2015

Fairy Doors

I've finally stepped away from my yarn and crochet hooks for a little while. I'm not done with them by any means, but I've been wanting for so very long to pull out my polymer clay to start creating in a different medium. I cleaned off my work table a few weeks ago, and have been happily sculpting little doors and portals since then.

Here are three completely finished ones I've listed on Etsy:
Blueberry Charms Fairy Door

Purple Dreams Fairy Door

Woodland Hideaway

And here are three more that need to be cured, glazed, stained and glittered.

I'll add more details after they're completely finished. I'm curing them today.

More market craft projects, part 2

Friday, August 14, 2015

Projects for Craft Shows and Markets, Part 1

I need to get photos of some of my work all in one place (besides Facebook), so I'm going to be putting them here in a series of posts.

Felted Wool Bowls/Baskets

Crab Amigurumi

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cheese that goes crunch! Really!

Over the years I've had a lot of success losing weight with a low-carb lifestyle. I've done it on my own, I've done it at a weight-loss clinic, I've done it on this last fad diet I was on (which I'll be starting up again on Monday). I always gain weight back, but I never go through a maintenance phase - I just head right back into "normal" eating. I hope this time will be different, and I'm going to work toward that, but I still have a long way to go before I get to that point. Mostly I just want to get back to a more normal weight and am working toward that goal.

What I miss most about eating low-carb is the lack of crunch. I can live without potato chips. I can live without popcorn (but not without complaining). I can live without corn chips, although I crave them and it is a struggle. In the past, whenever the urge for crunch becomes too much to bear, I always fall back on pork rinds. I know that grosses out a lot of people, but I like them and it satisfies my need to hear my food as I'm eating it.

So this week I was craving crunch. Muchly craving crunch. I've looked in three stores for pork rinds, but can't find them anywhere. Maybe they're more a southern thing? Although I've lived in Maryland most of my life, and I remember my father eating them when I was a child. But right now? Not a rind to be found. So what's a crunch-crazed girl to do?

Enter crunchy cheese.

Crunchy cheese - food you can hear!
These puffy, crunchy morsels started out as a lowly piece of yellow American cheese. The kind you can buy in large presliced bricks at any discount box store. Not the sort wrapped in plastic - they taste like plastic and I don't know if they'd work here.  The sort of cheese always on sale at a local grocery store.

 I simply cut each slice into 9 little squares. I arranged them in a circle on a small piece of parchment paper, leaving a little room in case they decided to spread. Then microwaved them for about 38 seconds. They puff a little, spread a little, and dry out a lot, toasting a bit from the center out. After they cool (which takes about 20 seconds), peel them off the parchment and put them on a towel lined plate for further cooling. And taste testing.

And whenever I crave crunch? I eat a handful of these. I'm staying low carb, and even if I eat 18 of them (which is a lot for one sitting - usually 9-10 do the trick for me), I've only eaten the equivalent of two pieces of cheese, and maybe 2-3 carb.

I love them.

Friday, March 27, 2015

O Spaghetti Squash, I Used To Hate You So ...

I've never been a fan of spaghetti squash. You know how sometimes when you eat a certain food it coats your teeth and makes them feel furry? Yes, that.

But my daughter and I have lost quite a bit of weight these past few weeks (see this post about the chicken insanity inspiration: and I'm looking for low carb meals to enjoy while we're on the weight-stabilizing phase of our eating plan. We love pasta, but neither of us enjoy how we feel after we eat it - me especially. Wheat is an inflammatory food, and my knees always hurt muchly the day after a pasta dinner.

So I've convinced myself that I'm going to learn to like spaghetti squash. I'm going to look past the furry teeth and try to move beyond the slippery noodles that don't hold the sauce and learn to love this low calorie, low carb vehicle for pasta sauce.

This is the dish I made earlier this week. (Link to recipe here - this is not my original recipe or my excellent food photography:


And you know what? My teeth didn't feel furry, the sauce clung nicely to the squash strands, and I almost felt like I was eating pasta! My middle grandson (who is 5) loved it. We didn't tell him he was eating squash until he was finished, but he guessed. I'm pretty sure he'll eat it again. Maybe it wasn't cooked enough when I've had it in the past? Maybe I just wasn't old enough? (Although if  5-year old can eat it and like it, seems like being in my 50s would be plenty old enough.) The 3-year old didn't like it, but oddly enough, he ate the squash, not the chicken and sauce. And the 14-year old would eat the guinea pig, the Chihuahua Brothers and the cat if I cooked them and served them with ketchup, so I wasn't surprised he ate this.

Whatever the reason I like spaghetti squash now, I'm glad. Because tonight, we're having this:

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Chickpeas
Except I'm subbing Italian turkey sausage for the chickpeas. (recipe here because this is also NOT my recipe or food photography:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Reason to Make Cupcakes!

Easter is coming soon. We don't do anything big - the kids get baskets and they'll probably go to their other grandmother's house for dinner with their parents. Or not - I don't know what the plans are at this point. Their preschool parties are this week: Mace's was Wednesday and Gavin's is tomorrow afternoon.

So this happened Tuesday evening for Mace's party:

And this happened tonight for Gavin's party:

Mace's comment: I ate some of my cupcake, Grammy, but I didn't like the crunchy stuff on the top (which was just yellow cake-decorating sugar). Gavin didn't seem fond of them either - he inhales sugar, but didn't want to try these.

The Peeps are hollowed out slightly, and the chicks are sitting on a chocolate egg and some spring-colored sprinkles, which will be a fun surprise when the kids eat them. The frosting is a slightly sweet cream cheese frosting, whipped until fluffy, and the lick of it I had was heavenly. I'm really hoping Gavin likes them ...

I love making cupcakes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Little Chicken Insanity

So my daughter and I have been on this diet lately. It's a fad diet, so I won't go into the details, but I will say we've both lost a good amount of weight in a short time. And I'm all about the instant gratification of seeing scale numbers go down on a regular basis. The food choices are very limited, though, and we've been eating chicken quite often. A LOT of chicken. And since vegetable choices are also limited, I've been searching and searching for ways to prepare said chicken, so you might say I've had chicken on the brain these past five weeks.

And when I have one thing on my mind for a long amount of time, something like this invariably happens:

Front view
Side View
It's been rather gray and dreary here, too, as late March is apt to be, and I've been longing for the colors of summer. Thankfully the chicken we've been eating doesn't come in these colors, although I do wonder if it would taste more like cake if it did ...

Pattern available here:

or here:

The End (hahahaha!)