Hi everyone! We are having a gloomy rainy day here in the upper Midwest. I woke up around 5:30 a.m. to thunder and lightening. And believe it or not, that's a sign of spring to me, just like seeing the robins and sparrows and watching the daffodils poke their little green heads up out of the wet soil. I am so dreaming about gardening. I was sorting the books on the shelves in the den and I leafed through some of my old gardening books. Though I use the Internet so much now for quick referencing of different flowers and plants...these books are my old friends. And while I'm paring down; in fact I'm trying to really clean out the clutter in this den, I couldn't help but look at some of the new gardening books on Amazon. And yes, gulp, I may have ordered one or two. I will always love gardening books as much as I love cookbooks and decorating books. I gobble them up. It's my nature to find out every little thing I can about whatever interests me at the time. And nothing beats curling up with one of these books and a mug of coffee and getting lost in ideas. There will always be new recipes, new decorating trends and new ideas in gardening. I want to stay on top of it all!
I wanted to make a spring banner. And I did as you can see above. I still had my stencils from my Christmas banners and a nice variety of fabric paint colors, so I made a trip to Michael's because I wanted just a little bling and also decided to use clothespins this time.
I think it looks pretty sweet. The blingy thing is a little round piece of silver with a glass blob on it. It's a brad so it poked right in. And I didn't have to monkey around with fabric tape or glue with using the clothespins (they're already painted like this, isn't that cute?). And I'll remind you, this is about as crafty as I get! :)
The banner got me excited about bringing out a few bunnies. This little gal sits on the bed. I love her bunny slippers. Every night when \The Husband is getting ready to go to bed, he flings the throw pillows all over the place. But I did notice that he has been carefully placing Bunny Girl in the same little plant stand in the corner. I think I see a little TLC here!
When I was at Michael's Monday I tried really hard to walk by this one. Really, really hard. Oh, it was love. He's made out of a nubby sort of linen and I think he's filled with beans or something. Very cute.
The tray I showed you recently has made it to the coffee table until I use it to hold desserts on Easter Sunday. That's a little bird sitting on a cage with a tealight inside. And that's just a bowl of candy that The Husband devours every evening and I refill the next day.
No recipe this time, just one of the little tricks up my sleeve that I use to make a quick dinner that looks and tastes like I fussed a lot. I'm a big fan of spice blends...I buy the McCormick and Lawry packaged seasonings all the time. Is that cheating? The chili ones are great, and they are all simply herbs, spices, salt and pepper, Nothing weird. I have a nice spice selection because I use them all, but the combos are great for someone that may not use a certain spice more than twice a year. Why invest in a whole bottle (and any spice you have over 6 months needs to be tossed out)? And lately I have been looking at some of the blends right there with the individual spices. I came upon this one and thought it might be fun to play with. I didn't realize how versatile it is.
I put a generous amount of the blend on both sides of chicken breasts and browned them well in vegetable oil (which really heats up higher than olive oil). This seals in the juices. They are peeking out of the middle of the dish above. In the same oil I tossed around some onion and green and red peppers just to pick up a bit of the flavor and soften the outside of them. Into the oven for 1/2 hour on 350 and it was good to go. And...I didn't take a picture, but I made a pot of brown rice and when it was almost firm, I added a teaspoon of the seasoning and about 1/2 cup of jarred salsa. It was a great Mexican meal. And even though I used the same spice in everything, you never would have known it Sometimes it's all about quick and easy, right? Do you have any spice mixes you like? I've been poking around at the ones by Mrs. Dash. That woman has expanded her line of salt free seasonings! There is one for green salads that really takes it up a notch. I've also been experimenting with my own spice rubs and I'm going to do an upcoming post on some of them with some cute ways to store them.
I wanted to end with some great info I picked up in a magazine last night about a very helpful App for IPhones. If you don't have an IPhone...just borrow one for a second to check this information out. First, let me tell you that as of January 1, we started a new health insurance plan with a very high deductible we had to reach before the savings would pass on. So until then we are paying full price for our prescriptions. Gulp. Our broker suggested we shop around for the best prices as they vary from one place to another. Well, how time consuming is that? So I read about an App called GoodRx. It's free. You simply type in your zip code so the little satellite can locate you. Then type in your prescription name. Up pops a screen with every Walgreens, CVS, KMart, Target...you name it, in your immediate area and the price they have for that particular drug. Some are a few cents different and one of mine actually had a $40.00 difference between 2 pharmacies. I'm not planning on running all over town, the majority of my particular prescriptions were the least expensive at Target (Now, I will have to go in with blinders on if I don't want to blow the savings on something else!). Anyway, I wanted to pass that on.
Tomorrow is Friday. I don't know what our weather forecast is and I don't want to know. Have a great weekend and I will see you back here next week! :)