Monday, December 31, 2007

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou! Happy New Year!

Have you all been enjoying the Bowl Games? We're biding our time watching OSU vs Indiana in the Insight Bowl. We're just waiting somewhat impatiently for tomorrow when the University of Hawaii plays Georgia in the Sugar Bowl (3:30 p.m. Hawaii time) at 5:30 p.m. here in Vegas. I'll wager that many of my Hawaii ex-pats will be hitting the sportsbooks in the casinos to place their bets on the underdog Warriors. If I were a betting person, I'd be doing the same. Since I'm not a basketball or baseball fan, I will go into mourning after the Super Bowl. But, as one Mountain West official said, "Football ends in January and starts in February." So I won't have to grieve for very long. At least we have wrestling to keep us busy for awhile.

It's New Year's Eve and as usual in our household, we're holing ourselves up for the night at home. We're all happy my husband isn't on duty tonight and will be home safe with us. I just don't feel comfortable out on the streets with all the party-goers and merry-makers tonight. We do enjoy watching the fireworks from our front door!

I used to think we were in the minority, the ones who stay home, but I've found there are many, many like us. Please, if you're brave enough to go out tonight, have a designated driver and drive attentively because there are way too many who do not. I don't want to lose any of my 7 faithful readers! LOL!

Don't forget to have your black-eyed peas and collard greens tomorrow!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm on Etsy!

Okay, you knew it would happen. I couldn't possibly use all of those cozies. Well, yes, actually I could. I'd just have a different one for every major and minor holiday plus one for everyday. I really enjoy making things for myself and for gifts but I figured that if I sold some, Bernie couldn't complain about my increasing stash. We'll see. You can see what's for sale on my sidebar - Etsy Mini.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More teapot/coffee cozies

Is there an award for best dressed teapot? My teapots have the cutest outfits now and do their jobs so much better because of them.

Wanna know why I stopped using my French Press coffee pot? Because by the time I wanted a second cup, it was cold! I'll just bet these teapot cozies will work the same with my French Press. If it weren't midnight, I'd make myself a pot of coffee right now. It'll just have to wait until the morning.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Coziest Teapot Cozy

Early this morning at about 2:30 a.m., I just had to make another one before going to bed. It turned out much better than the first one.

When I woke up this morning, I was determined to get it down as perfect (for me) as I could. This blue one is my coziest cozy, ever!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Mele Kalikimaka!

I hope everyone had a wonderful day. At my house, the presents have long been opened, played with and some cast aside. The sound of a new drum set assaults my ears from upstairs. But with it comes peals of laughter that makes me smile. The dinner dishes have been put in the washer, one pot of tea made and consumed, one pot of coffee will be made shortly. The Lake House is on. Can you believe I've never seen it? Everyone has settled into the four corners of the house and I'm enjoying some peace and quiet (in between drum beats, ha!) I still have a friend to call and talk to. Better run as she's in a different time zone.

Peace on Earth!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ugly But Cozy

Yeah, I know it's not attractive but it's just my prototype. I ultimately want to sew a quilted cozy but my yarn just happened to be sitting in my knitting bag right next to me. It works!

Okay, couldn't wait. Had to get to the sewing machine. This is not quite as ugly as the crocheted cozy but still not perfect. I'm actually pretty pleased with it but, of course, will tweak it until it's as good as I can get it. Good news is that for this 2 cup teapot, it only took one fat quarter and some thick polyester batting. I don't normally use polyester batting, but my friend, Pat, left me a good sized scrap of it after we made some tote bags one night. Next time, I won't take the batting all the way up past the drawstring. I do think that I'll have to use the polyester to keep that really lofty look, but we'll see. This one seems to keep the teapot hotter than the crocheted version, but I kind of expected that. Back to the drawing board. Oh yeah, and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mmmmmm...Zuppa Toscana

Aren't you glad it's soup weather? I am. I love soup. I love to eat soup all year but especially when it's cold outside.

My little one and I met our friends for lunch at Olive Garden the other day for soup and salad. Pat and I always get Pasta Fagiole, which I can replicate quite well, and her husband, Jim, always gets Zuppa Toscana, which I have never made but didn't believe it would be hard to do. I was determined to make my own version just so I could have Pat and Jim over for dinner and serve it to them. We love Italian food.

Here is my version:
Michelle's Zuppa Toscana

1 lb. mild Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 bag (1 lb.) Southern Style Hashbrowns, frozen
1 can chicken broth
2 cans cream of potato soup
2 cups water
3 cups milk
1 bunch kale, chopped

In stockpot brown sausage, breaking into pieces as you cook. After sausage is browned, add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Sprinkle flour over sausage mixture and stir to incorporate, cooking for a couple of minutes to get rid of that raw flour taste. Add hashbrowns and all liquids. Simmer 10 minutes. Add kale and simmer until wilted. Mangia!

As per my usual M.O. I'm still working on Christmas gifts but I'm not stressing myself out this year. I'll have a bunch of cookies done and boxed for those "Uh Oh, I Forgot You" gifts. In fact, I'll make more tomorrow, and a bunch of Easy Peasy Fudge as well and maybe some brownies. Yum!

Mele Kalikimaka!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hot Buttered Goodness and other drinks

Last night I was given this recipe for Hot Buttered Rum at a friend's party. I tried it with the rum but I'm not such a fan of alcohol these days so I prefered it in a cup of hot coffee instead.

Hot Buttered Rum

1 lb of butter (do not substitute!)
1 box of dark brown sugar
1 lb of powdered sugar

1 quart of softened vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix in a large bowl. Place 1 to 2 tsp of mix in a cup. Add a jigger of rum. Add boiling water to fill the cup. Keep mixture in freezer.


These recipes are for my sister, Sherry, with whom I share my immense love of coffee.
They also make great "gifts in a jar".

Spiced Mocha Coffee Mix
1 c. instant coffee granules
1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 c. powdered instant dry milk
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. dried orange peel

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl until mixture is well blended. Store in an airtight container.

To make one serving:
1 Tbsp. Spiced Mocha Coffee Mix
6 oz. (3/4 cup) boiling water

Place the coffee mix in a mug. Pour boiling water over the mix. Stir until completely dissolved. If desired, garnish with shaved chocolate.

Viennese Coffee Mix

1 1/3 c. instant coffee granules
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. powdered coffee creamer
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 dashes ground allspice
2 dashes ground cloves
2 dashes ground nutmeg

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container.

To make one serving:
4 heaping tsp Viennese coffee mix
8 oz (1 cup) boiling water

Place Viennese coffee mix in a mug. Pour boiling water over the mix. Stir until the mix is completely dissolved.

Cappuccino Mix

1 1/4 c. powdered coffee creamer
1 1/4 c. powdered chocolate flavored drink mix
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container.

To make one serving:
2 Tbsp. Cappuccino mix
6 oz. (3/4 cup) boiling water
Whipped cream and shaved chocolate, optional (NOT optional!!!!!)

Place cappuccino mix in a mug. Pour boiling water over mix. Stir until the mix is completely dissolved. If desired, garnish with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The University of Hawaii is PERFECT!

WAC Champions, the Hawaii Warriors just beat the Washington Huskies 35 to 28, which left them undefeated (12-0) and awaiting news of whether or not they'll get to play in a BCS bowl game. The speculation so far is that they'll get invited to play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Hawaii quarterback, Colt Brennan (perfect quarterback name!) was breaking NCAA records left and right, and is a Heisman hopeful, though most are calling him a long-shot.

I don't know how my kids managed to sleep near me in the living room while I screamed and whooped it up during the game. In fact, they're both snoring away right now.

My older son competed in a wrestling tournament today and lost both of his first two matches. The tournament was over at that point for him. The state championship football game was played today as well, but seeing as how we lost the semi-final match in Reno last week, he and his friends had no interest in going to the game. Many of them also wrestle so they used the tournament as an excuse not to go. I don't know how they felt when they found out that the team that beat them last week lost in the championship game today. I was happy that it was a Las Vegas team that won. I'm not worried. I'm looking forward to our team winning state next year!

I was able to do some knitting today at the tournament. I brought my sweater project with me and was so glad I did. I had hours to wait between Anthony's matches. I brought the same project with me last weekend during our 7 1/2 hour drive from Vegas to Reno but since we were driving home at night, I wasn't able to work on it on the drive home. I'm using the Bad Penny pattern by Stefanie Japel as a basic guide for my sweater.

Okay guys, almost 1 a.m. and time for bed. Hope everyone's college teams won today and their NFL teams win on Sunday!