In Her Shoes – Movie Review

movie review

Last night we watched In Her Shoes, a movie based on the novel written by Jennifer Weiner. I am a fan of Jennifer Weiners novels and the movie did not disappoint.

Cameron Diaz (Maggie) and Toni Collette (Rose) play two sisters who have a falling out over a man. This being the final straw in a recently rocky relationship. Shirley MacClaine (Grandma), the long lost grandma, and her friends at a senior assisted living center in Florida step up to help turn around the lives of both the sisters. Francine Beers (Mrs. Lefkowitz) absolutely stole the show for me. She is the good friend of the grandmother and has some of the funniest lines. I was laughing aloud at her comments throughout the movie.

I highly rocommend In Her Shoes for a relaxing night at home. While the movie is full of humor, there are plenty of life lessons to take away from it as well. So pop some corn and enjoy the show.

As always, Happy Watching!

(Photo of Francine Beers (Mrs. Lefkowitz) and Cameron Diaz (Maggie) from cinema.de)

Now That’s a Spud!

gardening

I had not checked the garden in a few days. It had been so hot and I just wanted to keep out of the sun. However, yesterday, I braved the heat and made my way to the garden.

First, I picked another cucumber. That one got made into fried cucumbers per Nancy’s suggestion. Thanks again Nancy! They were great. Next, I picked more tomatoes than I care to count. It was while I was picking the tomatoes that I saw it. A potato just grazing the surface. What! I went running in to tell the boys.

After dropping off my tomatoes, I went back out and dug-up my first ever, home grown potatoes. They looked wonderful and I could not wait to cook them last night. After the long wait of growing these spuds, I must say, they were delicious. Freshest potatoes I have ever had, as they were picked and eaten the same day.

The good news is, there are still more in the garden. Now, I am having visions of moving to Idaho to become a genuine potato farmer.

As always, Happy Gardening!

Overflowing With Cucumbers

Cooking

Wondering what I’ve been up to lately? I’ve been up to my eyeballs in cucumbers! One plant in the garden is producing way more cucumbers than I had ever imagined possible.

I have never been super crazy about cucumbers. Yes, I ate them in salads, but that was about the extent of it. Something changed this year. Now I have a new love for the green vegetable. However, things have started getting crazy. I picked eight cucumbers yesterday morning. Upon returning to the garden to collect tomatoes, I noticed three more cucumbers hidden down below tucked under leaves. What! That made eleven cucumbers in one day. By the way, my refrigerator bin was already packed with cucumbers. My children wanted to know if they could be cooked. I didn’t think so, until I did a little research. Turns out cucumbers can be cooked pretty much like a zucchini.

My favorite way of eating cucumbers this summer has been as a little salad for lunch. I chop the cucumber, add halved cherry tomatoes, a dash of fresh ground pepper, equal amounts of extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, and sprinkle on some feta cheese. Oh yum! I also made a couple of jars of refrigerator pickles. I even turned to adding sliced cucumber in my water. Ah, refreshing! However, with all the cucumbers, I need some new ways to use these bad boys.

I found a recipe on-line for cucumber bread. It was yummy and used one whole cucumber (one cup). Let the baking begin! I did cut back on the sugar in the recipe. Instead of a cup of sugar, I used half a cup. I also left off the frosting. I didn’t want it to be too sweet. It tasted fine to me. The recipe can be found at: https://brooklynfarmgirl.com/sugar-glazed-cucumber-bread/

Have a great recipe for cucumbers? Please share them with me in the comment section. I need all the help I can get..

As always, Happy Cooking/Baking!

DIY Flatware Wrap Review

Projects

I was looking to make a portable flatware wrap. I wanted something that would not take up much space and that could easily be thrown into a bag and taken places. I find, when taking flatware to the beach or on a picnic, the flatware never really has a good means of transport. During these Covid times, when ordering take-out to take to a park or beach to eat, it is nice to be able to bring flatware that can actually cut the food without bending. Bringing reusable flatware along is also a good thing to help the environment by not using all that plastic.

I found the pattern at: https://www.bhg.com/crafts/sewing/how-to-make-diy-utensil-wraps/ . I LOVE this pattern SO much! It was incredibly easy to make. I was able to make it from scrap fabric I had around the house. The only item I had to purchase was the twill tape. So this cost me next to nothing to make and went together in very little time. Perfect solution!

The flatware is protected in the wrap and rolls up to a very compact size. I love this wrap! I am planning on making more for family members. These will make wonderful gifts!

As always, Happy Sewing!

DIY Travel Sewing Kit

Projects

My son is going off to college next month. I wanted him to have a little sewing kit to take with him, nothing fancy, just the necessities. However, everything I was finding was too feminine, too large, too expensive, or low quality. What’s a mom to do? DIY!

As a college student being stuffed into a small dorm room with two complete strangers, my son will have zero space. Every item brought has to be thought through and essential. While he did not think a sewing kit was essential, I thought he should have one in case he pops a button, or needs to make a quick repair. Better prepared than not I should think.

I had a small hinged tin that came with tea bags I had bought once. Perfect! It is even smaller than the Altoids tins (which would also work). It measures about 3 inches x 2 1/2 inches x 3/4 inches. Since I did not think he wanted the image that was on the tin, I made an artistic collage on top. Inside this tin, I have stuffed 8 bobbins that I wound with thread in colors to match most of his clothes, various sizes and shapes of buttons, safety pins, needles, and pins. I used the tiny plastic bags that contain buttons on new clothing to contain the bobbins and safety pins to keep them together. I cut a small square of felt to stick the pins and needles through. It turned out incredibly awesome if I do say so myself. Also, by doing it myself, I got to chose exactly what went inside and not have random useless items enclosed. The family concensus was that the DIY sewing kit was a thumbs up.

Other uses for a sewing kit this size would be: tucked inside a handbag, popped inside the glovebox of a car, packed for a vacation, etc…

The contents: Bobbins, buttons, safety pins, needle and pins
It all fits!

As always, Happy Sewing!

Coconut Pancake Review

Book Reviews, Cooking

First off, I must say, I am not a super big pancake gal. I am a bit picky on my pancakes. I like them thin and crispy. I am also not a fan of maple syrup, never have been. While flipping through Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking cookbook, I came across a recipe for Coconut Pancakes with Mango Slices and Lime Syrup. The picture looked good so I thought I’d give them a try.

The recipe makes about 16 small pancakes. I was just making these for myself, so I cut the recipe in half and then in half again. It made about 4 – 5 pancakes this way, which was the perfect amount for my appetite. While I followed the pancake recipe, I did not use Chef Ramsay’s toppings of mango slices and lime syrup. Sorry Chef. I would probably be thrown out of the kitchen for this move, however I made the bold move of using my own toppings. I chose to top the pancakes with honey and chopped almonds. I would have used macadamia nuts as the topping of choice, however almonds were what was on hand.

The pancakes came together easily and I did add a mixture of coconut milk and water to thin the batter a bit. Chef Ramsay did say that water or coconut milk could be added to the batter if it was too thick after its fifteen minute rest. I preferred to add both.

The pancakes cooked beautifully in my cast iron skillet heated with canola oil. I cooked them for about two minutes on each side at a medium heat. After removing them from the skillet, I drizzled them with honey and sprinkled the nuts on top. They had nice crispy edges and were light and lovely. Oh my! I devoured these pancakes. They were the best pancakes I have had in a long time, perhaps ever. If not a huge fan of pancakes, give this recipe a try anyway. They are sure to change your mind about pancakes. https://www.gordonramsay.com/gr/recipes/coconut-pancakes-with-mango-slices-and-lime-syrup

As always, Happy Cooking!

Why Do I Keep Stepping on Scorpions?

life

I got up in the middle of the night and felt something under my foot. Since I have stepped on scorpions in the house before, I had my suspisions. I turned on the light. I was correct in the assumption. EEEEEEK!!!!

This is maybe the third time I have stepped on a scorpion. Most times, these things seem to (luckily) be dead (or maybe just playing dead). This one, however, was not. It did not move for a very long time, which was a good thing, as I needed to round-up someone at midnight to help me get rid of it.

My husband was the first person I went to, however, he was sound asleep and not to be waken. Drat! On to my son, who was still awake. My son seems to be the one who winds up helping me in catching animals/insects in the house. Remember when the lizard got inside? (Check-out my post…https://anotherdaywithjulie.home.blog/2020/05/04/friday-was-not-just-another-day-with-julie/) In any case, we were at it again. This time, I dug into the recycle bin for a yogurt container. My son got the yogurt container over the scorpion and then slid a piece of cardstock underneath. I taped the cardstock to the container with a little artist’s tape. My son flipped it over and took it outside.

Needless to say, I did not sleep very well directly after all this excitement. I checked under the sheets before getting in as an added bit of precaution. My foot felt wierd even though I did not get stung. Today, I checked out the internet on scorpions and their stingers. Should not have done that as they can give you all sorts of symptoms and it is more information than I really want to know. I will just be glad it didn’t sting me and that we caught it.

As always, Be Careful Where You Step in the Dark!

Street Skating Competitions – Tokyo Summer Olympics 2021

life

Well, did you catch the street skating competitions at the Tokyo Olympics? I have come to the conclusion that I will never qualify for the olympics. There are several reasons for this.

Of course the biggest reason I will never skate in the olympics is that I was a late starter to the sport. Having said that, I already feel like I won my gold medal when I learned to cruise on my board. A huge accomplishment for me. The next reason I will never skate in the olympics is that I can not do tricks (nor do I want to, to be quite honest).

The street skating at the olympics was amazing. The tricks, in my opinion, seemed a bit dangerous. Every time a skater’s board hit the rail I was like, ‘Does their mother know they’re doing this!?!’. And then there were the falls. Yes, even qualifying olympic skaters fall. When I saw them go down and summersault, I think I held my breath until they got up. One skater was limping afterward, but most just went on like nothing happened. I guess they are used to taking a fall. My goal is not to fall at all, as I don’t want to break anything.

Of course, I was cheering on Team USA. However, I also caught a glimpse of the finals and was wowed by Kelvin Hoefler from Brazil. He did a trick where the nose of his board hit the rail and then he twisted so the other end of the board hit the rail all in the same trick. I was like “Wow! That is amazing!” (There is a name for that trick, probably a fakie something or other.) So Kelvin had a fan from the US as well.

Maybe I should be a skating talent scout. As Kelvin took the Silver in the men’s division, I must have a nose for talent. Way to go Kelvin Hoefler! Team USA’s Jagger Eaton, who also impressed my with his fakie nose grinds, took home the Bronze. Way to go Team USA! Of course, Japan’s Yuto Horigome cleaned up with the Gold medal.

For the women’s skate, Japan also took the Gold Medal as well as the Bronze Medal. Thirteen year old (yes you read that correctly- thirteen year old) Momiji Nishiya took home the Gold. Japan’s Funa Nakayama the Bronze. Brazil’s Rayssa Leal took home the Silver. Team USA’s Alexis Sablone came in 4th place.

If you missed the competition, youtube is bound to have some videos for you to catch-up with. The park skating is still to come. We shall see if Japan and Brazil do as well in the park competition.

As always, Happy Skating!

Summer Olympics 2021 – Skateboarding

life

It’s finally here! Skateboarding competitions at the Tokyo Summer 2021 Olympics. As a newbie/oldie skateboarder myself, I am interested in watching this new competition.

First off, there will be two types of skateboarding competitions to watch. One is street, the other is park. The park skateboarders will have 45 seconds to impress the judges performing their tricks, skating in the deep concrete bowls. They will have three attempts at their best score. The street skateboarders will be skating on an “urban” course made up of stairs, benches, planters, rails, etc. that will simulate the terrain of the average street skater. They have to skate the course two different ways, are timed just like the park skaters, and have tricks as well. Oh boy!

At last, there is no competition for newbie/oldies, such as myself, who are just proud to be doing kick turns and cruising around. So, I will continue to enjoy my laid-back skating and cheer on the competitors. I am especially interested in my fellow street skaters’ competitions. Go Team U.S.A.!

The Men’s Street competition is on July 25th, the women’s street on July 26th. Women’s park will be on August 4th and Men’s park on August 5th.

The U.S. Olympic Team competing in park are: Jordyn Barratt, Cory Juneau, Heimana Reynolds, Bryce Wettstein, Zion Wright and Brighton Zeuner. The U.S. Olympic Team competing in street are: Mariah Duran, Jagger Eaton, Jake Ilardi, Nyjah Huston, Alexis Sablone and Alana Smith. Good-luck everyone!

As always, Happy Skating!

Steel Cut Oats

Cooking

I normally enjoy a bowl of old fashioned oats for breakfast. Trying to be a bit healthier, I recently added steel cut oats to my breakfast repertoire. But what is the difference?

Old fashioned oats take less time to cook. They take a total of three minutes on the stove top. Nice! Who doesn’t have three minutes to spare in the morning? The reason for the quick cook time is that the oats are steamed and flattened when processing. This process does away with the bran and other nutrients that take longer to absorb water when cooking.

Steel cut oats take 15 to 20 minutes on the stove top. Oh, well that is a bit longer, isn’t it. Why do the steel oats take longer to cook? It has to do with the processing of the oats. The steel cut oats are made by chopping hulled oat grains into small pieces with a steel blade, hence the name – steel cut. This allows the oats to retain bran which needs more time to absorb the water when cooking.

Steel cut oats, while creamy, are chewy and hardier than the old fashioned oats. They also have a nutty texture that reminds me of eating bulgar, but creamier than bulgar. By the way, steel cut oats are also known as Scottish or Irish oats.

My take on steel cut oats…It’s a thumbs up from me. I like the texture. I like the bonus nutrients. I do not even mind the extra time. I have gotten used to putting them on the stove before I start fixing my other breakfast items. Oh yes, I have quite a spread for breakfast. I think it may be my favorite meal of the day.