A Home Cooked 4th!

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I wasn’t planning on making potato salad, but when buying grass fed beef (trust me, it tastes sooo much better) for burgers, I saw a bag of potatoes and figured why not!  It’s not hard to make and if you know your way around the kitchen, you really don’t need to refer to a written recipe.

Knowing I wanted to get an early start, so everything could be nice and chilled for later today, I started at about 7:45 and was out of the kitchen with potatoes and eggs cooked, and dishes done by 8:30.  That’s with all of my usual distractions including making and drinking coffee, and taking photographs, too.  Here’s my morning prep:

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Scrub and chop your potatoes. I leave the skins on because there are more nutrients there.  (Totally staged shot, because I’m left handed. HaHa)

 

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Put eggs in a pan of cold water with about 1t of salt & 1T of vinegar (makes for easier peeling). Bring to boil and then remove from heat. Let sit for 20 minutes off heat.

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Add chopped potatoes to cold salted water and bring to boil.

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Bring potatoes to a rolling boil; reduce heat and cook for about 5 more minutes. Taste for desired doneness.

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Drain eggs; run under cold water and place in ice bath to halt cooking.

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Drain potatoes into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop further cooking.

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Wash up your dishes. I like to clean as I cook so there is not a big mess in the kitchen.

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Have a refreshing beverage, you earned it!

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I’m having cold brew iced tea.

 

Next steps for later in the day.

Potatoes and eggs are cooked and cooled! Now it’s time to gather our ingredients and make some potato salad – – –

Time to practice our knife skills – –

Peel and chop the eggs:

 

The ingredients are chopped,  so now we need some seasonings – –

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French seasoning mix, Italian dressing, mayonnaise, salt & pepper.

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Oops, almost forgot the dill.

 

Let’s mix it all together – –

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Add potatoes to large mixing bowl and season with the Italian dressing – about 2T

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Add and stir in the chopped ingredients. The eggs to the left are for Deviled Eggs.

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About 1/3 cup of mayonnaise

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Time for the herbs! Season with salt & pepper to taste.

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Mix well, place in lidded container, and refrigerate.  Correct seasoning prior to serving.

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Clean up the dishes and you’re done!

 

It took me about 35 minutes to chop, mix, season, and clean up. If I hadn’t been taking photographs during the process, it would have take less time. Added bonuses to your time spent in the kitchen – – tastes better than store bought, you can control the ingredients, the satisfaction and pleasure of making good food!

 

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Don’t forget to give your kitchen supervisor a treat.

 

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A Stick and Some Stripes

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Continuing a Patriotic Wall Hanging

Once you’ve decided on a stitch pattern for the Union (blue part of flag) you will also need to make the stripes and obtain a stick for hanging.  This is your project, so be creative and make it your own!

For my hanging stick, I took a walk outside and found a nice sized tree branch (no living trees were harmed in the making of this project).  Since the branch had been on the ground for a while, I washed and scrubbed it well then put in the lowest setting of my oven to dry and clean by heating the wood through.  My stick isn’t perfect, it has some bends and cracks and knotty parts, which makes me like it all the more.

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Carry a big stick and a bigger cup of coffee!

If you don’t care for the “rustic natural” look of a branch you could also use a dowel rod, broom handle, clothes hanger – the type with clips (or not).  Anything that will suspend the hanging will work!  I have a piece of copper tubing from another project, and I could use that (I just now remembered that I have the unused length stashed in my craft room).

Now that we have part of the display covered, it’s onto the STRIPES!!  If you weren’t good in history, the American flag has 13 stripes that represent the original 13 colonies. I decided to follow the standard U.S. flag.  Which means I will need the following:

  • Four short red stripes
  • Three short white stripes
  • Three long red stripes
  • Three long white stripes

For my hanging, I decided to use three different stitch patterns to make one of each of the standard stripes as noted above.

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A fourth pattern will be needed for the additional short red stripe, or repeat another pattern.  My long stripes are roughly twice as long as the short, but I did not measure the stripes or count rows.  If they come out a little uneven, that will just add to the charm of the project.

This project is representational art so go with what works for you.  If you really need everything to be exact, then measure and count away.  Want more or less stripes, not a problem – – this is your project (which is why I’m not writing a pattern just giving a general project outline).

I’m still working on my stripes, but this is what I have finished so far – –

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Up next: Assembly and Display

Happy Crafting!

Flying the Flag

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Making a Wall Hanging for the 4th of July!

This is not my original idea, but I was inspired by a photo I saw on Hillary’s Hook Crochet Along Group, a sister page to Hillary’s Hook on Facebook.

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Flag Hanging from Hillary’s Hook

However, Hillary was also inspired by another image from Meg Made With Love.  Click photo for Meg’s project information.

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Flag Hanging from Meg Made With Love

Instead of just copying what someone else created, I decided to use their idea as an  inspiration for my own hanging.  My project is currently in the works, and began with a little bit of research on the American Flag and reviewing stitch patterns to utilize.

planning[1]The Union, that’s the blue field with 50 stars, is part one of my version and is stitched with the Arcade Shell Stitch.  This stitch can be found on page 58 of Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula.

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I wanted to have 50 “stars” in my version, so following pattern instructions I chained 38.  While creating the fabric, I realized that I goofed because the first complete row of “stars” was one less than I anticipated.  To get 50 “stars” in this pattern, I should have chained 44.  My prototype flag hanging will have a “star” missing.  Opps!

 

 

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So, that’s the first part.  Now to begin the stripes . . .

Until later,

Happy Crafting

World Cancer Day

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Today, February 4th is World Cancer Day.  I imagine that most people have been touched by cancer in one way or another. They may have had cancer themselves, or been through this life-changing event with a loved one. Perhaps you know a neighbor, church member, or student who has had cancer.  Thankfully, with today’s advances in medicine the prognosis for cancer patients is improving. However, it all depends on catching the cancer early.

In January 2009, my father was diagnosed with late-stage throat cancer. he had ignored the signs and would not see a doctor until the cancer was quite advanced.  By mid-February we said our final goodbyes at his memorial service.  Later that same year, I too was diagnosed with cancer, fortunately my outcome was different.  I knew something was wrong, but not what and went through test after test, all with negative results until an ultra-sound finally uncovered what was wrong; I had bilateral ovarian cancer.

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With my mom, in 2010 after chemo-therapy. We are both wearing teal for ovarian cancer.

Today, I consider myself one of the lucky ones in that my cancer was discovered at stage 2, which is still an early stage.  Only 20% of all women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at an early state.  Yet, an early diagnosis means a world of difference and an amazing 94% 5-year survival rate.  Unfortunately, there are no tests for early detection. Instead, it is important to know the symptoms and your body.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge from your vagina that is not normal for you.
  • Pain in the pelvic or abdominal area (the area below your stomach and between your hip bones).
  • Back pain.
  • Bloating.
  • Feeling full quickly while eating.
  • A change in your bathroom habits, such as having to pass urine very badly or very often, constipation, or diarrhea.

If you experience one or a combination of these symptoms, and they persist for several weeks then you should see your doctor for an evaluation.  Being aware may save your life or the life of another woman.

For more information on ovarian cancer, please visit the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) or the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA).  You may also click on the link below to open a PDF file with information provided by NOCC.

http—ovarian.org-docs-NOCC14.08_PDF

It’s National Chocolate Cake Day

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A Day Honoring a Favorite Dessert!

I can never quite decide which I love more a luscious deep-dish apple pie fragrant with cinnamon, or a rich, melt-in-your-mouth slice of dark chocolate cake.  It never entered my imagination that there would be a special day for Chocolate Cake, until a good friend sent me an e-mail with a recipe for a microwave cooked Chocolate Cake in a Mug in honor of today.

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Watching my cake cook!

Of course I had to try the recipe, which is quite simple. The result is a somewhat spongy cake, with a pancake like under-taste. Not bad for a super quick cake to satisfy an craving for chocolate cake.   I am wondering how the recipe might fair if a rising agent were added, or perhaps self-rising flour were used, which I do not keep on hand as a staple.

For a microwave baked product, it is good and should be a hit with younger kids especially if they are watching through the microwave window when the cake starts to rise like a souffle!  It is puffs up quickly – almost like magic.  Make sure you use a LARGE mug; you only want the batter to fill about halfway up you cup.

My mug is now empty, as I was enjoying my cake as I was typing this review.  Hmmm, I haven’t had lunch today so maybe a second helping is in order.

Chocolate Cake in a Mug Recipe

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Mixed and Ready to Microwave!

Combine: 4 T flour, 4 T sugar, 1 T cocoa

Add to dry ingredients: 1 egg, 3 T milk, 3 T oil

Mix well. Bake 3 minutes in microwave. Cool and enjoy!

Optional Ingredients: 1 T of chocolate chips, or chopped nuts, or coconut

Let me know if you try this recipe and what changes you make!

Happy Microwave Baking!

 

 

 

 

Love to Craft and Love Supporting NOCC

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Ever since I was a young girl I have loved to make things. My parents bought me crafting kits, oil paints and canvas to keep me busy. Remember rock tumblers, bottle cutting kits? I had those and more.

These days I prefer to work with items I have on hand. As a result I usually have a wide selection of materials from which to choose. Recently I found the Madly in Love crochet hat pattern from Moogly that I wanted to make, so I just went shopping in my yarn room for yarn. I used to call it my craft room, but in reality it is mostly yarn right now. I freely admit to having a yarn addiction and having a problem with passing up a yarn sale (but I’m working on it – LOL).

Asymmetrical Blush & Gray Set

Recently I’ve added jewelry making to my list of crafting passions. Hmm, must have started with that rock tumbler kit because I recall that there were jewelry findings in the kit. I’ve learned techniques from some classes on Craftsy and Annie’s and just played around.

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Most all of my pieces are unique and one of a kind, although I must admit to using a kit when I wanted to learn a more complex beading technique. I’ve included a few of my pieces in this post. I hope you like them!  You can see more at my ETSY shop, MarvelousMeows.  50% of all shop proceeds, until October 31, 2015, will go to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). Enter code TealPower and get free first class shipping to anywhere in the United States.

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September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

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At the beach in N.C. with my mom shortly after finishing chemo

This year I celebrated 5 years of being cancer free after my diagnosis, surgery, and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Ever since my diagnosis and while going through treatment I did what I could to spread the word about ovarian cancer, its signs and symptoms. You see, while I had my annual PAP test and breast exam (oh, the joys of mammograms) I knew nothing about the early signs of ovarian cancer. In fact, I knew nothing about the disease.

Before my cancer was found I knew something was wrong, but not what.  For months, and months, and months I went to doctor after doctor and had test after test. I was checked for celiac disease, had my gall bladder tested, had blood work, I even had an abdominal ultra-sound (not pelvic), but all of the tests and exams were negative.

I was ready to give up and just live with my symptoms, but my husband pushed and pushed, so I kept going to doctors. It was only because of an abnormal PAP that my cancer was finally found by means of a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Please, please, please remember that a PAP test does NOT detect ovarian cancer.

So what are the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or Abdominal Pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urgency or frequency of urination
  • Changes in bowel movements

If you have one or more of these symptoms on a persistent basis, please, please, please go see your doctor.

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I was lucky, my cancer had not spread beyond my two ovaries and one Fallopian tube and I have survived. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are not so lucky; 70% of my teal sisters do NOT survive five years.

On Sunday, September 20th I will again walk in the Central Maryland Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Run/Walk in order to raise earlier awareness about this deadliest of gynecological cancer and to support more research.  Please consider lending your support to help educate others and save the life of a mother, daughter, grandmother, sister or niece.

2014 NOCC Walk Run Event

2014 NOCC Walk Run Event

Team Teal’s Team Page for the NOCC Walk/Run

In order to help raise awareness and help fund further research, I am donating 50% of all proceeds, through October 31, from my ETSY shop to NOCC. In addition, you can get free first class shipping to anywhere in the United States. Just enter the code TealPower at check-out.