Step Away from that Bottle!

Hey everyone!  I'm about to take a bloggy break, but thought it would be fun to share a bit of "motherly pride" and some doggone good info to help get you through the summer.  We all eat a lot of salads and especially during the summer, right?  Well, the following link is to an article on TODAY Food -- all about dressing your greens.  The chef who is quoted is, you guessed it, our son!  Hope you enjoy the tips and information.  I've included the entire article, but you might find other good stuff on this link.
Food  Step away from that bottle: Here's the only salad dressing recipe you'll ever need!
July 10, 2014 at 3:26 PM ET
salad with homemade dressing
Joerg Beuge / FeaturePics.com
This summer, do your farm-fresh greens a favor: Ditch the bottled dressing. Making your own salad dressing is easy and cheap—and you can create endless variations if you follow some simple rules 
and the foolproof recipe below.

First, it helps to know the basics. If you're making a vinaigrette—just an emulsification of acid and oil, with optional flavorings like mustard or herbs—a good rule of thumb is one part acid to three parts oil, plus salt and pepper. “From that simple base, endless possibilities,” says Michael Stebner, a member of the culinary team at Sweetgreen, a rapidly growing chain of fast-casual restaurants specializing in—yes—salads. Here are his tips for making perfect salad dressings at home.

Choose the right oil: “We use neutral-flavored grapeseed oil as the base for most vinaigrettes,” says Stebner. For a Mediterranean-style dressing, he might turn to extra-virgin olive oil; for a dressing with an Asian profile, he uses sesame oil in combination with the grapeseed. Nut oils, such as walnut and hazelnut, can also replace a portion (or all) of the neutral oil.
Add an acid: Vinegars of all types are the obvious place to start. Try experimenting with balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar or Champagne vinegar, or incorporate acid in the form of fresh citrus juice 
(lemon, lime, orange—even grapefruit).
Customize your dressing: Stebner’s favorite addition is garlic. “I like to use a garlic press to crush the cloves,” he says, “which really allows the flavor to bloom.” Mustard aids emulsification and contributes flavor. Try a grainy-style Dijon mustard or, for something sweeter, honey mustard. For a Mediterranean-style dressing, Stebner might add minced olives and capers, or, for an Asian spin, miso and minced ginger. Finely chopped fresh herbs—like parsley, basil, chives and tarragon, or even thyme or rosemary leaves—add freshness and brightness. If using mustard, Stebner whisks it in with the acid, since it’s also acidic. But he combines all other mix-ins with the oil first, then blends the infused oil with the acid. “The oil carries the flavors better,” he explains, “and herbs will stay green if you add them to the oil, rather than the acid.”
Make it creamy if you like: “For a creamy dressing, use yogurt and buttermilk in place of some of the acid, or blend in some soft, mild goat cheese or mascarpone,” says Stebner. Want a creamy dressing that’s dairy-free? Stebner suggests finely ground nuts, nut butter, or tahini paste, which is made from sesame seeds. Puréed avocado also makes a great base for a creamy dressing.
Memorize this recipe: To make one cup of basic vinaigrette, whisk together ¼ cup acid (vinegar or citrus juice) with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons mustard in a small bowl. Crush a clove of garlic (preferably with a garlic press); in a separate bowl, stir the garlic into ¾ cup of oil (try a mixture of grapeseed oil and extra-virgin olive oil) and add in any desired flavorings, such as minced fresh herbs. Combine the oil and the acid by gradually whisking the oil into the acid mixture. Since the dressing will separate if it sits too long, whisk again to combine before using. The vinaigrette will keep, refrigerated, up to three days; let it come to room temperature before using it.
Up your game with these tips: Stebner encourages playing with the standard oil-to-acid ratio, for instance by mixing one part acid with two (instead of three) parts oil: “Adding flavorful ingredients to a dressing allows you to reduce the amount of oil,” he notes. And instead of a whisk, Stebner uses an immersion blender to create a strong emulsion and ensure the dressing doesn’t separate. When it comes time to make the salad, Stebner drizzles on the dressing and uses his favorite tool—his hands—to gently toss.

I'm just taking a bit of a break but hope to return all fresh and renewed!



Crochet -- Not a Dying Art!

Hey everyone!  Hope y'all had a terrific 4th of July and captured lots of family memories!  So, tell me, do you knit or crochet?  From what I've been seeing here in blogland, there are quite a few younger adults taking up the hobby (or maybe it's an art form).  Speaking as someone who is not "young," I am thrilled to see this hobby continuing on through the generations.  Now, just so you know, I am an absolute novice when it comes to knitting and crochet.  I've "dabbled" over the years, first with knitting (I was truly terrible at that) and currently with crochet.  I love crochet but am still not very good at it, but I enjoy it so much that I am willing to forge ahead.  Anyway, I thought I would share some of my little projects.

I adore this cotton yarn.  It's perfect for many of my projects.

This was some inexpensive yarn that I already had and created a needle case with it.

Not bad for a beginner!

You will quickly start to see a pattern here.........

Everything is a square or rectangle and for very good reasons.

#1 -- I've gone crazy for these crocheted dishcloths!  Have you ever used one?  They are 
fantastic!  All of these are my own personal collection that have been used and washed repeatedly.

#2 -- I cannot read a pattern.  No, seriously, I get all those little letter codes and "repeat from last stitch, blah, blah, blah" all mixed up.  I have been watching some ladies on YouTube, and may

Feel comfortable enough to go from squares to something with a curve or even a......SLEEVE!
EEK......that's pretty scary!

I really had fun making the potholders which are double thickness.  I will be giving some of the potholders and coordinating dishcloths as little "thank you" gifts to some of our friends who are providing lodging for The Man and I on our vacation this summer.

I really do like the edging on this one, but it may be a bit too much

For a dishcloth......but maybe not.

Yep, I'm crazy for color!

The best thing about making these dishcloths is that I get to practice different stitches.

I've had so much fun mixing and matching!

Here are a couple of scarves that I've made.

This one is made with that super-soft, chenille-type yarn and it's an infinity scarf.

This yarn is really soft, too, and is just a very long narrow scarf.

You knew, of course, that I would have to have some Christmas dishcloths!

This is a very pretty and soft yarn that I am making a scarf out of for someone special -- can't 
say anymore!

Now this is a lap-size afghan for me to use in my "Momma-Cave" some time in the FAR, FAR
future when and if it ever cools down here in AZ!

Adding the pompoms was just for fun.  On a lark, I picked up a set of pompom makers at Joann's one day.  They are super-simple to make, and my mind is spinning with some ideas of things
I want to make using pompoms!

It's a "Pompom Crazy World!"

Thanks for letting me share my novice endeavors.  It can be really hard to teach an
old dog new tricks, but I'm keeping on, keeping on!

If you are super-good at crocheting, then you might be rolling your eyes at my "less than
stellar" display of projects.  To you I say, "Well, bless your little heart and keep up the good work!
I do like learning from the best." 
I sometimes like to party with these amazing bloggers:

Cindy at Dwellings--The Heart of Your Home for Amaze Me Monday
Maria Elena at Our Home Away from Home for Tuesdays at Our Home
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life  for Inspire Me Tuesday
Suzy at Worthing Court for The Scoop
Richella at Imparting Grace for Grace at Home


Tag, Your It!


I've been tagged by my sweet and beautifully pregnant friend, Vel at Life & Home at 2102.  SO here it goes...

1.  Are you named after someone?  
      Nope, just a good old fashioned Southern name -- like really old!

2.  When was the last time you cried?  
      June 9th, when my son and his family left for the airport to begin their new life     
       in Washington, D.C.  I literally sobbed!

3.  Do you have kiddos?
      Yes, a son and a daughter -- both in their 40's.
4.  If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?
      I hope so!
5.  Do you have a guilty pleasure?
       A Caramel Macchiato Coffee Smoothie -- don't even want to know how many calories
       are in this baby, so it's a "not very often" splurge!
6.  Do you like handwriting?
       Yes, I do, and my handwriting is very good!  It's very "old school" but something I'm not willing to give up!
7.  What is your favorite cereal?
      Bite-size Shredded Wheat, but I do very small amounts so it doesn't get soggy!

8.  What's the first thing you notice about people?
       Hair styles -- sorry, but some people really need an update!

 9.  What's the color of your eyes?
        Hazel but more green than brown.   

10.  Scary movie or happy endings?
        Neither -- I prefer "action & drama."  Love the "Bourne" movies with  Matt Damon!

 11.  Favorite TV shows?
       Major Crimes, Chicago Fire, Downton Abbey, & Blue Bloods

Photo: We tackle every blaze head on. #FlashbackFriday
12.  Summer or Winter?
         Definitely Winter -- hello.....I live in Arizona! 

13.  Hugs or kisses?
        I think hugs display more emotion.

14.  Do you have a special talent? 
        Well, it's kind of weird, but I see detailed pictures in my mind of how to make       something, especially in sewing.  I am then able to sketch it out on paper.
15.  Where were you born?
         West Monroe, Louisiana.  Give me a couple of glasses of wine, and I can sound as Southern as any of y'all!

Yep, same place as these yayhoos, but please don't hold it against me!

16.  What are your hobbies?
         Sewing, scrapbooking, crafting, decorating & organizing.
17.  Do you have any pets?
         Oh, yes!   This is our sweet little Abby! 

18.  Favorite movie?
        There are several, but Robin Hood with Russell Crowe is my fave!


19.  What color is your car?
        It's a white Toyota Camry XLE.

20.  What do you want to be when you grow up?
         I truly love being retired, but when I was much younger, I would love to have been a professional organizer.  It would have been fun to teach classes on getting your  home and life organized so you could enjoy it more.


Now I'm tagging these awesome bloggers next!

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