Perfectly Imperfect, Vintage

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Charcuterie - Cheese Board


Charcuterie (pronounced "shahr-ku-tuh-ree") is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and other meat products. But, many people use the term charcuterie to refer to an assortment of meats that are paired with different accompaniments, such as toast, fruit, cheese, and sauces. OR an over the top cheese board. 

I made this in less than an hour - during Christmas madness. I wanted the hors d'oeuvres on the dining table and I didn't want a lot of small plates. This was a hit. It can get expensive depending on what you put on the board. But your imagination is the limit.

On my board, I used a new cutting board. You don't have to go buy a board I just happened to see this board when I was out shopping at a bargain price. I had planned on using an old one. Either could have worked just as nicely.

For the meats, I used hard salami rolled around mozzarella cheese, regular salami, rolled ham, and pepperoni.

Cheeses, I used medium-hot pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese sliced. In two cups I used sharp cheddar cheese spread. In two cups I use spinach, artichoke, and parmesan spread. 

Then I added mixed sweet pickles and hummus in cups.  I have 3 types of crackers. Red and green grapes, blueberries and raspberries. Some fig preserves and some HOT jelly.  A handful of Hershey's chocolate and a little parsley for garnish. 








  
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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Brie and Fig Crostini



Brie and Fig Crostini

ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of French bread
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces of brie.
  • 4 ounces of fig preserves
  • candied walnuts (optional)

instructions:

  1. Slice the French bread into 1/3” – 1/2 “ slices lay on a baking sheet and sprinkle olive oil. 
  2. Place into a preheated oven at 400 degrees – bake 6-10 minutes
  3. Spread the brie on the crostini 
  4. Spoon on the fig preserves 
  5. Top with the candied pecans.

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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Cinnamon A Powerful Spice

Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years not just for its aroma, but for its powerful medicinal properties as well. The most important properties of cinnamon are those of its antioxidants. They fight free radicals, which might cause diseases like cancer, diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, dementia, and even age-related macular degeneration. It's a powerful spice. 

Today, cinnamon is inexpensive, available in supermarkets and found as an ingredient in various foods and recipes. Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of cinnamon trees. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed. When it is dried, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. These sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.

Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols.

Cinnamon has anti-inflamatory properties.

Cinnamon may improve some key risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

Cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels.

Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment.

There are two main types of cinnamon:
Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as "true" cinnamon.
Cassia cinnamon: The more common variety today and what people generally refer to as "cinnamon."  

Make sure to get Ceylon cinnamon or stick to small doses if you're using the Cassia variety.


How To Take Cinnamon
As Cinnamon Powder
You can use the powder in cooking. Just add a pinch of it while preparing your favorite dish. You can even add the spice to your morning oatmeal.
As Supplements 

You can use cinnamon supplements as well. Just ensure you check with your health care provider or nutritionist about the right brand and safety.
As A Liquid Concoction
Add a pinch of cinnamon to plain hot water and drink it up. You can even add a few drops of lemon. Adding a pinch of cinnamon to your morning tea or coffee also helps.
No matter how good cinnamon is, not everything about it is desirable. It does have its share of side effects.
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Friday, November 8, 2019

Black Magic Cake



Black Magic Cake

Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cups Dark Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • 1 Cup strong black coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven 350
  2. Grease and flour 2 9' round cake pans
  3. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla.
  5. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Frost with Mocha Frosting!!
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Friday, November 1, 2019

FREE Bag & Tote Patterns & Tutorials

Libby Lifestyle
One-use plastic bags are going to be banned - if they are not already banned in your area. 
Why fight it, get ahead of the crowd. Look around your home for an old bedspread rather than throw it away recycle it. They will make wonderful bags or if you want to use new fabrics pick up some clearance fabrics. 
Today I'm posting FREE bag & tote patterns and tutorials, all selected from a simple google search. Handbags, beach bags, messenger bags, tote bags, carry all bags, book bags, and grocery bags. Each contains step by step detailed instructions, with lots of photos, showing how you can make a bag for yourself.
DIY from Flash FitPretty easy to follow 


I really like this Jelly Roll Tote. Not for a beginner.

Inspired Wren has inspired me. 



This is my favorite - I love it. 8 bags from 1 duvet cover http://jembellish.blogspot.com/2014/04/shopping-bags-from-bedding-upcycle.html



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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Inside Here Lies... Everything Binder Grab and Go

For about two years I've been attempting to make a bullet binder, home organizer binder or whatever you want to call it. I did a lot of research on what other people have done, and what's for sale. But nothing I tried seemed to fit. For me, it must be uncompleted - simple a kind of all-in-one binder. I wanted something that I could use to keep track of finances, bills, and have those important documents in one binder. I'm so lazy about keeping up with paperwork that my filing cabinet literally ends up with everything in one file!! That's my next organizing project.

Nothing like a disaster to get you motivated. In September 2018, Columbia Gas literally blew up my community and took 2 others out as well. We're still trying to get our home back to where we were pre-blow up. And Columbia Gas is coming back to inspect (again) all the appliances they had to replace and work on fixing all the outside issues they created.

On that fateful afternoon, I was sitting at my desk right outside the closed-in area where our gas furnace and hot water heater and gas dryer are located. So, yeah I could have been blown up. What saved me was a post on facebook from my friend down the street stating strong order of gas. I headed upstairs and the smell of gas was overwhelming and then I heard sirens - all kinds of sirens. We were all told to evacuate our homes. Then we were told we had to leave the city. And I thought I'm screwed I don't really have all my stuff together - I don't even know where I put my homeowner insurance policy.

So here it is six months later and I've done enough research, collected all my paperwork and I'm ready to finally put together my all-in-one binder.

I purchased the binder at staples, it was on sale for 5.00!  I purchased this trading card plastic protector $4.99 for 10 sheets to store copies/original of drivers licenses, social security cards, insurance cards, credit/debit cards, etc.

And then I found a great site Moritz Fine Designs Life Management Binder to download forms that would help me keep track of everything and things I never thought of.  That cost was $24.00. And it's a bargain. It's a PDF download and it's mine forever. I can reprint sheets forever. 

Each sheet I place in a sheet protector. For example the insurance tracker - behind that I store my insurance policy. 

Here's a sampling of those tracker sheets I am using. Although I am not finished I'm making progress. This is a bigger job than one might think.
Utilities and Services - Bank Accounts

Home Maintenance Contracts and  House Update Tracker

Bill Tracker

Password Tracker
  
Birth Certificate, Drivers License, Credit Cards.
Donation Records
Insurance Personal Records

Take your time - do it right.  As I make this binder, I have found there are a few forms I need that were not available in that download and I'm going to ask the company to make those for me. 

So for about $30.00 I have my all-in-one binder!  And while my binder is not 100% complete yet, I have peace of mind. 

Update:
And here we are on September 27,2019 - we have another gas crisis. A smaller section of the city! A gas main was punctured. At about 3:30am those first on scene reported a gas plume rising out of the street. We received a call from a family member and were told go outside and shut our gas off - there is a serious gas leak. For several minutes it felt like September 13,2018. My grab and go binder was ready and in a bag. I actually had it on the kitchen table - ready. It was a small comfort. 

In 2018 we had access to the police scanner and we knew what was going - that was our only lifeline. The police scanner for the city has been encrypted. For police safety, we're told. I do not believe that is the reason for one second. If that were true then New York and Boston to name two cities that had terrorist attacks they would also be encrypted. In this city, it's all about 'controlling the message.'   Just like this last gas leak - we're told was the fault of Columbia but... it seems at this point

They set up a 'Code Red" App - which did not go off.  So... again they controlled the message.  

Updates when/as needed. 


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Friday, April 26, 2019

Crumb Coffee Cake


Coffee Crumb Cake

prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • Crumb topping:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • The cake:
  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus
  • more for pan
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

instructions:

How to cook Coffee Crumb Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Make the crumb topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and mix with a fork. Set aside. 
  3. The cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, milk, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Top with the crumb topping.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Turmeric Benefits - The Super Spice



Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to southern Asia, requiring temperatures between 20 and 30 °C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.

Turmeric is one of nature’s most well-known “healing” spices. The distinctive sunny color, has a centuries-old history of medicinal use, in addition to its widespread culinary use in everything from curries to condiments.


Here are just a few benefits.



Reduces Cholesterol
Research has proven that simply using turmeric as a food seasoning can reduce serum cholesterol levels. It is a known fact that high cholesterol can lead to other serious health problems. 

Boost Immunity
Turmeric helps stimulate the body’s immune system. Its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents also help strengthen the immune system. A strong immune system lessens the chance of suffering from colds, flu and coughs. If you do get a cold, a cough or the flu, you can feel better sooner by mixing one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk and drinking it once daily.

Heals Wounds
Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and can be used as an effective disinfectant. If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process. Turmeric also helps repair damaged skin and may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Helps Diabetes 
Turmeric can be used in the treatment of diabetes by helping to moderate insulin levels. It also improves glucose control and increases the effect of medications used to treat diabetes. Another significant benefit is turmeric’s effectiveness in helping reduce insulin resistance, which may prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes. However, when combined with strong medications, turmeric can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It is best to consult a healthcare professional before taking turmeric capsules.

Cooking 
If you love mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes, simply add finely grated turmeric. For the ground dried turmeric: add to your steak, Thanksgiving turkey or chicken rub, add a pinch to salad dressings, or mix into your marinara or hot sauce. Add dressing or sauce will easily accommodate a pinch without changing the flavor much.


Be careful when using turmeric since its deep color can easily stain. To avoid a lasting stain, quickly wash any area with which it has made contact with soap and water. To prevent staining your hands, you might consider wearing kitchen gloves while handling turmeric.
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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Chicken Pot Pie - Double Crust



Chicken Pot Pie


ingredients:

  • 2 pie crusts (9 inches) unbaked
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups chicken breast cooked and cut
  • into 1/2" cubes
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup green peas, frozen
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water

instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and add the pie crust to your pie pan. 
  2. In a large skillet add the butter, celery, and onions and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the onions are translucent before adding in the flour and whisking well for 1 minute. 
  3. Season with salt, pepper and celery seed before adding in the milk and broth slowly while mixing very well keeping the mixture smooth, simmering until thickened (about 6-8 minutes). 
  4. Add the chicken, carrots, corn, and peas to the saucepan and mix well with the milk mixture before pouring into the pie dish and topping with the second pie crust, sealing the edges. 
  5. Cut some small slits in the top of the pie crust, brush with egg wash (mix the egg and 2 tablespoons of water together to make this) and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cranberry Ginger Snap Pie



Cranberry Ginger Snap Pie


ingredients:

  • crust
  • 5 ounces gingersnaps
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • filling
  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, DIVIDED
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at
  • room temp and cut in pieces
  • garnish
  • sugared cranberries
  • fresh thyme sprigs or mint leaves

instructions:

  1. 1 Set oven to 350F 
  2. 2 Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. (this should be a heaping cup) Add the walnuts, and sugar and process again until everything is finely ground. Add the butter and process briefly to combine. 
  3. 3 Pat the crust into a 9-inch pie plate, and up the sides. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool. 
  4. 4 Put the cranberries, 1 cup of the sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan. Lower the heat and simmer the cranberries, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until they've popped and the mixture is quite thick. Let cool slightly and then puree until completely smooth. 
  5. 5 Whisk the puree, the eggs, yolks, salt, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup sugar together in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, this will take about 10 minutes or so. Stay by the pan the whole time and stir! 
  6. 6 Push the curd through a mesh strainer, using the back of a spoon to get it all through. 
  7. 7 Let the curd cool for a few minutes and then drop the room temperature butter in, bit by bit, while you stir to melt it. 
  8. 8 Pour the curd into the pie crust and smooth out evenly. Chill the pie until it is firm, about 2 hours or so.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How I Clean Everything

If you suffer from migraines or are allergic to just about everything including food as I am you know that all those chemicals will just about put you into a coma. And that I'm just one wrong move away from being covered in hives -  it's all connected. Too many smells at the same time is just setting myself up for a migraine.

So... I keep cleaning simple. Starting with the bathroom - the magic eraser. I have the worst water in my city. Everything turns red and I have bad calcium buildup. You know that white stuff. I use the eraser dry for the all the fixtures. I use the magic eraser in the shower while I'm taking a shower. I use it from top to bottom. I have clear glass shower doors and every drop of water shows so in between cleanings every person using the shower must use the squeegee. It makes a difference. Takes seconds to use.
From floor to ceiling walls and all - it's the magic eraser. There's a magic mop - too.
Yes, in the toilet bowl as well - suck it up clean often and use gloves - thick gloves. There are zero chemical smells when I'm done. 

Okay - so there's one place I will use a chemical and that's on the mirrors. I use a spray foam window cleaner - yup aerosol spray. Invisible Glass Automotive Glass Cleaner.  It's the only smell I can tolerate. I clean the mirrors last and leave the fan on or open the window and shut the door.










Cleaning the red water stains off the grout is still an issue for me. I try to keep up with the magic eraser but sometimes it needs more power. For that my husband will use CLR when I'm not around.
He transfers into a spray bottle. That also gets rid of the calcium buildup you see on your faucets. And keeps away that ugly mold.

So I have learned through trial and error that you can use the magic eraser throughout the house. Including the oven and even frying pans. Takes move elbow grease but for me, it's worth it.

There are certain scents I can handle and as time goes by I've been able to de-sensitize. Then there are times people walk by me and reek of some cologne and I'll get an instant headache.

I make my own (directions here) > Air Refresher because I can handle that scent. I don't know what I'd do without Downy April Fresh.

The whole point of this is I read an article something like 30 ways to clean your house and I thought wow - that's 29 more chemicals that I can't handle.

Think of all the money saved.

Next up candles. Boy do I love candles - but some brands I get an instant headache and some give you a nasty surprise - black soot all over your house. I've been researching...

Update
AND... One more the eraser works great on your glass oven door!!!

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Mother's Day Gift Basket Ideas


Sweet treats, savory snacks from Harry and David.com

New England Breakfast form GourmetGift Basket.com

How about a  DIY gift basket.


A traditional fruit basket - any fruit in season and you can find a basket at the dollar store.

Her favorite soaps, lotions, and spa products.


Mom did so much for you that it’s about time she got something that was just for her. 


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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover (Updated)

This is the original shellac cabinets with copper hardware.
About 10 years ago we sanded down to the wood, painted white and added brass hardware. But they looked like a home DIY project.

We decided they needed something more.  So we added molding to give some character to the doors and drawers. We used the same brass hardware - but we painted every hinge and door handle black.
I wish I had all those pictures to add to this story but a few years ago I lost everything on my computer. This is pretty much all I have on that remodel.

So... fast forward to this week.

After 10 years the cabinets needed freshening up. I'm not one to go out and buy new. I love the challenge of making old look pretty again.

Once again we took off all the hardware, took the doors off and sanded. If you're not going to take the time to sand - then don't bother painting. We washed the inside with Dawn dishwashing liquid.

We debated on the hardware
As you can see from the picture the black is wearing off and you can see the original brass. The question was do we want to (again) sand and paint or do we buy new. One important thing to keep in mind is to keep the same hole diameter on the handles otherwise you will have to fill each hole and drill new holes. Make sure to measure from the center out (CC).
We decided this time around to buy new - but they were expensive.
These are $5.99 each not including the hinges. The hinges were $2.99.

The total would have been over $178.00 if we had purchased from a local box store.  I spent a few hours on the internet looking for a better deal.  I found ours on eBay - for $68.99 with free shipping - they sell single and in packs of 25.
  For the paint, we used Benjamin Moore white semi-gloss.
They also sell cabinet paint.
A small foam roller and a paintbrush. I highly recommend using Benjamin Moore - it's a thick paint so no drips and it lasts.




 The next project is the backsplash - I hate that fruit but want to keep the white tiles

We have new tiles.
This will go behind the oven/stove.
Here's the update! Now all I need is a new stove. I'm looking for a good deal.
This will cover the individual fruit tiles.

One more improvement we made -  that I love. We ordered 2 more door handles that are 12" long and placed them in front of the sink for towels.


This spruce up was pretty inexpensive. The paint was $35.00 the new hardware was $68.99. The tiles ran about (I forget exactly) 19.99 for a 4 pack. I guestimate another $75.00 - still Not bad!! Every penny I saved goes toward the new stove!

Another update.
New stove and vent hood




On a side note: While I was researching how to just take off the gloss and not sand for another project. I read several articles about "liquid sanding." There are several deglossing products out there.  Chemicals are not a go for me so I began looking for more natural ways. Some stated vinegar and water (which worked for a small table) but I would not use on kitchen cabinets. Simple green was also a top idea. But then I started to read about TSP - which I thought you could use for cleaning the grease off and you can - ONLY if you are going to repaint immediately. Well, that was a big whoopsy for me - I used TSP several times just to clean. Which now answers the question as to why we had a gunk like mess of paint around areas we touch often - like the handles. And now know why the original paint job didn't last.






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