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Travel Tuesday

I know it was just one week ago that I said I wasn’t going to continue with the Travel Tuesday feature, but I forgot about something I promised to report back on.

carry on cocktail kit

Nearly three months ago, when I was about to board our flight to Europe, I wrote about these adorable carry on cocktail kits.

Well, I’m here to report that they were as adorable and fun as expected, with one exception. Let’s just say that there was a Lime Situation. More on that later.

old

The first cocktail I made in-flight was the Old Fashioned.

old-fashioned

I “procured” our mini-bottles of alcohol from the complementary stash in our room on the cruise.

old fashion recipe

So all I need to ask the flight attendant for was a cup of ice and another empty cup.

old-fashioned

The drink was fun, easy to make and ever so refreshing.

old-fashioned-cocktail

Seriously delightful!

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October 4, 2016   No Comments

thank you notes and an upgrade

So many people to thank, so little time.

thank-you

First, I want to thank you all for the comments and encouragement on my new venture, Miscellany Shed. It took less than 24 hours for the Miscellany Shed Facebook page to get 100 likes and that is in big thanks to these lovelies for sharing, posting, tweeting and inviting others to like the page: Marissa Sandell, Tram Mai, Beverly Bertrand, Sloane Hansen, Whitney Cody, Sydney Wigle, Amy Kilpatrick, Lisa James and Cyndi Greening. You are all amazing and wonderful friends and I can’t really thank you enough.

Speaking of someone I can’t thank enough, at the very tippy-top of that long list is Cyndi Greening. Cyndi is the “Blogmaster” who set up this very site for me back in 2009. She has been my dear friend since we worked together on the Beach Balls for Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the mid 90’s. Cyndi taught me how to use my first desktop personal computer, the first computer we had in our home. I know, hard and strange to remember NOT having a computer. Flying Toasters, anyone?

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September 19, 2016   2 Comments

SUPER market and flap steak

Kim and Barb

At the beginning of June, Kim, Barb and I took a field trip to the new AZ International Marketplace on the corner of Dobson and Broadway Roads in Mesa.

flap steak

I meant to blog about it back then, but then … I didn’t. When I was making room in my freezer to freeze the rosé wine for the Frozé cocktail, I came across a package of flap steak (also known as Bavette steak) that I bought at the Marketplace. No better time than the present to cook up the beef and blog about the store.

mushrooms

When I go shopping to check a new place, mainly when it’s far out of my neighborhood, I call it a Field Trip. This was an especially good one! There were plenty of the things you would expect to find. Such as shelves upon shelves of dried mushrooms.

noodles

Aisles upon aisles of noodles, rice sticks, rice paper and the like.

interesting

And of course, many interesting finds – “Hello Kitty” seaweed anyone? (Oh, and we’ll be talking about that popcorn later, believe you me!!!)

laxitive cookies sweets

There were sweets of every variety, plus corn starch in lovely old-fashion boxes and even cooler looking boxes of psyllium husk. Love the packaging on that, even though I had no clue what it was used for. Turns out it’s a laxative. Well then, there you go!

dragon fruit and rambutan

The produce department was the most fun!

banana

So many exotic and tropical items to temp you.

jackfruit

Kim and I were extra excited about the jackfruit. Some of them are triple the size of your head! No joke! What to do with all that jackfruit? I have no idea. Before I go back, I’m going to figure it out and buy one. For sure.

full cart

Not to worry, I still filled up my cart. Here is what I brought home on this first trip.

coconut milk water

A wide range of coconut waters and milks. Some are roasted, others have pulp, all were delish.

scmilk, fish sauce milk tea

A can of sweetened condensed milk with a pretty label, fish sauce in a smaller bottle than you’ll usually find and three interesting drinks; Korean ginseng drink with root, royal milk tea and macadamia nut iced coffee. Thus far, I’ve only tried the milk tea. It was good and how cute is that blue can?!?

fun stuff

Cool triangular-shaped rice paper, Chinese honey in a sweet little glass, chrysanthemum drink, super cheap thin white candles, candied ginger and three pretty little boxes of ginger candies. I haven’t tried the chrysanthemum drink yet, I haven’t been brave enough. The candies are good though. 😉

curry and coffee

Two flavors of sardines (for my dad) a lovely can of Café du Monte coffee, a large tin of Madras curry powder, Korean BBQ sauce, green and red curry paste and sweet chilli sauce. One can never have too much sweet chilli sauce!

common

An inexpensive jar of tahini, garlic hoisin sauce, extra-thick noodles and panko.

sriracha popcorn

Next up: A cheap hat for yard work and the pool, a cool “ice stick” ice tray (which I used along with the candied ginger for THESE Peach Mules) and the very best thing that I bought – SRIRACHA POPCORN!  It is amazing! I can’t wait to go back and buy a case of it! Seriously addicting! A case may not be enough! I may go out there this week since now I can’t stop thinking about the popcorn!!! Anyone want to take a field trip with me?

dumplings and flap steak

Finally, the last tray displaying my purchases; frozen dumplings and pork buns. These were nothing special, I’ve found similar items at Trader Joe’s and they were about the same. And the flap steak.

Here is a great recipe for flap steak. I did not create it, it comes from one of my all-time favorite chefs and cooking teachers, John Ash.

john ash flap steak

Chef John Ash’s Grilled Flap Steak

  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 pounds flap steak, trimmed of fat

flap marinade

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August 24, 2016   9 Comments

We have our WINNERS!

Thank you to everyone who participated and left comments for the 7th Blogiversary.

My special guests arrived yesterday morning to draw the winning names out of the saucepan. I made two videos, one for the Grand Prize Winner and the other for the Seven Individual Cookbook Winners. Unfortunately both videos were too large to post here and I have not idea how to fix that, so I’ve posted them to YouTube. They are fun, so be sure to click on the links and watch.

tram ZZ

The special guests were Tram and her sweet twins, Zoey and Zak.

We’ll begin with the Grand Prize Winner drawing.

The eligible contestants are: Amy K., Nancy B., Amy G. and Sheila C.

zoey

Please click on THIS LINK to watch the drawing and discover who won.

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August 19, 2016   6 Comments

Happy 7th Blogiversary to me!

Incredible! This blog is 7 years old! Last year, on the 6th Blogiversary, I was on a “wedding break” so I missed that celebration. That means that this year we need to go all out!

7th blogiversary

As such, there will be Seven Individual Prizes and One Super Cool Grand Prize.

Before I explain how to enter and what exactly it is that you can win – a little history.

figure tape holder

Two and a half years ago, I posted THIS… all about how I cleaned out and reclaimed a large part of the kids’ playroom upstairs as my new craft room. At the time, Connor still lived here, so about half of the room had his stuff in it. Three months after the reclamation, Marissa and Jeff got engaged.

wedding

Photo

Slowly but surly the room became the dump-room for all things bridal shower, wedding and after-wedding brunch related. In other-words, I trashed it.

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August 16, 2016   16 Comments

lucky 7

big day

There will be a contest.

contest

For Prizes!

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August 15, 2016   3 Comments

1800 Europe bound

gin tonic kit

This, my 1800th post, is being written at Sky Harbor International Airport at 7:00 PM on July 15, 2016. Dave and I are waiting for our British Airlines flight to London, continuing on to Munich to start our 2-week vacation.

gin tonic recipe card

By the time you read this, we will be done with Munich and on our way to Switzerland. We begin a land tour in Zürich and Lucerne before boarding an 8-day river cruise down the Rhine River which ends in Amsterdam.

I hope to write blog posts intermittently, but you can also follow our adventure on my Instagram page.

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July 20, 2016   2 Comments

worth the wait

  • Carboy – a large glass bottle, especially one of green glass, encased in basketwork or in a box and used to hold and transport liquids.
  • Demijohn – a large narrow-necked bottle usually enclosed in wickerwork.

As you know, I’m pretty much addicted to the monthly Sweet Salvage sale events. At the April weekend, an extra-large carboy caught my eye. It cost more than I planned to spend, so I passed it by.

sweet salvage storefront

It was still there at the May event – at the same price. I took a closer look and saw that it had a spigot, which is unusual for carboy or a demijohn. I asked an employee if she knew if the spigot worked. She didn’t know and since it was the first morning of the sale and the place was packed, I didn’t pursue it any further and again walked away.

You guessed it, it was still there last weekend at the June sale. This time I had to know if it was functional, so I asked Kim, the owner of Sweet Salvage and she let me take it outside and test it with a hose.

patio

It worked perfectly and now it is mine!

pool

Isn’t it a beauty?

buffet

So unique, not encased in wicker like your standard demijohn, but instead with a metal cage and with that fabulous spigot.

chairs

Plus, it’s HUGE! Just look at it next to this chair!

Okay, after hauling it all around the backyard in 118 degree weather, I’m taking it inside to show you the lovely details.

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June 23, 2016   1 Comment

bugs and such

Well, that’s not much of a title for a cooking blog, is it? Sorry, it can’t be helped, I’ve been dealing with a variety of bugs recently.

hot tea copy

I’m recovering from my third bout of summer pneumonia. No, not three illness this summer, but the third time I’ve had pneumonia during a hot Arizona summer. Go figure! And, I know, it’s not officially summer yet but … more on that later.

The first time I was diagnosed was over the 4th of July weekend, back in the late ’90’s. I specifically remember that date because we had to cancel our annual 4th of July Pool Party. The first and only party I’ve ever cancelled.

best med copy

The second time was during the last week of summer cooking classes in 2009. That was the sickest I think I’ve ever been. I still taught the classes, but if not for my son, Connor, being my assistant and the fact that I was no longer contagious, that would have been the first and only summer session I would have had to cancel. I made a deal with my doctor; Connor would do all the setup while I stayed in bed. I’d get up to teach the 3-hour classes each day and then go back to bed while Connor cleaned up. I was supposed to stay there until the next day, but that was impossible. I had to do some of the setup and prep, but Connor did the bulk of the work that week. It was pure misery.

And here I am again. It came out of nowhere over the weekend. But three days of antibiotics and I’m on the mend. I’m not feeling great enough to cook up a storm. Not that I even want to cook – it’s too damn hot to think about anything but cold soups and salads and as many liquids as I can tolerate. Look at the forecast for the coming days. I mean … Seriously!!!

crazy hot

That’s what I’m talking about. It may not be officially summer, but in Arizona, official seasonal starts and stops make no difference whatsoever!

pom perfect

OK, so illness is not the only bug I’ve been dealing with, the other is an actual creepy-crawly bug. I have a beautiful pomegranate tree that produces big beautiful pomegranates each and every year. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

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June 17, 2016   2 Comments

around the yard

IMG_3930

The weather is quickly heating up around here, so I thought it might be nice to share a few quick photos before everything turns, well you know, brown and dead.

Pom

Later this week I’ll tell you about an experiment I’m in the middle of with my pomegranate blossoms, like the one above, to try to actually get some edible pomegranates from my tree this year.

trees

succulent

snapdragon

purple

IMG_3945

This is one of the few plants that will still look this good come July and it is my favorite image here. Proving, I really am a desert girl at-heart.

potato vine

Postscript: In a comment below, Betsy asked for a list of the plants pictured, I’ve not only added that in the comment section in response to her, but also at the end of the post. Thanks for asking Betsy!

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April 25, 2016   2 Comments