No Bake Avocado Pudding Review


Trying to find new ways to use avocados, I came across the following recipe: . It seemed healthy and simple enough. I thought I would give it a try.

The avocado pudding was very easy to put together. Simply dump the avocado, coconut milk, and honey in a blender, give it a spin, refrigerate for a while, and it is done. My pudding came out on the thin side. Next time, I would use coconut cream or a thicker variety of the coconut milk than what I used. I also thought, after sampling a small bite, that it was a bit bland in flavor. I decided to crumble-up some graham crackers and place them in the bowl and add my scoop of pudding on top. Yes, that was just the something it needed. Now, it was actually quite addictive.

So, do I recommend this recipe? Well, yes, I would say I do, with the minor adjustments I mentioned above. Maybe even a spot of whipped cream. I suppose that makes it a bit more unhealthy, oh well.

As always, Happy Baking!


Potato Ricer


Being the Master Chef want-to-be that I am, I decided to try a new kitchen gadget (new to me that is…). The potato ricer.

Normally, I mash my potatoes with a little bit of milk and a potato masher. This has left me satisfied as I can mash the potatoes to the desired consistancy. However, after one use of my potato ricer, I may never go back to the masher again.

The reasons I love the potato ricer… It is so simple to use. Put the cooked (boiled) potatoes in, press down, and the potatoes are done. The potatoes do not require milk to make them smooth. They do not require the strength/effort to mash. The potatoes come out smooth and creamy and are way better than anything I’ve ever mashed. I’ve even heard that you can put the potatoes in with skins on and the ricer separates the skins so no peeling is required. I have not tried this myself, but this would save a step in the preparation.

Trying new things in the kitchen is always fun. In this case, I found a new favorite gadget. What should I try next? Any suggestions?

As always, Have fun in the kitchen!

Making Granny Squares at My Age

Projects, Uncategorized

I have been in love with granny squares since I was young. I have always wanted to learn to crochet, but could never get past a single chain. This being only good for shoe laces. I decided to give it a try again.

I got a book on crochet, however, I found it hard to understand the procedures through the pictures. Maybe as a refresher once I have the hang of it, but for a beginner, this did me no good at all. My next step, youtube.

A lot of people will try and teach “beginners” to crochet granny squares on youtube. I gave three a try. The first one went too fast. Yes, I did pause and rewind and all of that, however, it wasn’t working. Proof of this fact is the above photo. The white “blob” is my attempt with this youtuber’s help.

I was beginning to think that maybe I was too young to be making granny squares. Do you have to be a “granny” to make them? Surely that couldn’t be the case…

Moving right along, I went through various videos until I came across my HERO. Jayda InStitches was just what I needed. Her video was slow and she explanded everything so well. I actually made a granny square that looks like a granny square, with her guidance. THANK-YOU Jayda! (The three colored granny squares were made using the video as my teacher. They are arranged in order of making them. As you can see, I got better as I made a few. The blue/gold square was the last to be made and clearly the best.)

From this learning experience, I have come to the conclusion that not everyone is a good teacher for every person. Some people might have learned well from the first video I watched, but it wasn’t for me. Teaching and learning styles vary greatly from person to person.

As always, Happy Crocheting!

Drawstring Waist Dress


Years ago, while vacationing in Las Vegas, I purchased a very comfortable, soft, knit, sleeveless dress with a drawstring waist and front pockets. This was the perfect casual summer dress. A great dress to have for going to the beach or going shopping. Of course, one can never find the exact dress years later, so there is only one thing to be done. Make one.

I hunted on the internet until I finally found a similar (but not exact) dress pattern. It was the Connie Dress Pattern (from the UK Sewmag site and it was a free printable download. Nice! The only trouble with the download was that I could not get it to resize to the proper dimensions. It was supposed to print out with a test box a certain size. Mine did not and I could not get it to print properly. However, I cut it out anyway in a larger size so that I could account for the wrong dimensions. This worked and the dress fit beautifully.

My finished dress.

The pattern was so easy to make and I learned a couple of new techniques that I have a feeling I will incorporate into future patterns that I make. One technique was sewing the neck facing into the neckline. In this pattern, one shoulder seam is sewn together and then the open neck facing is put in place and sewn in. After this, the neck facing and remaining shoulder seam are sewn. Brilliant! No trying to get a circular facing to fit into a circular neck. I absolutely love this method! The other technique I learned was to use bias binding to form a casing inside the garment for the drawstring. Fast and easy.

Why is it that the UK has all the good patterns, merchandise, stores, etc… for sewing and knitting products? I am jealous. Anyway, thank-you for sharing via internet to those of us in the States.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Brodhead Wisconsin Highlights


Brodhead, Wisconsin is a small town located in the southern part of Wisconsin. If daytripping in the area, be sure to head to Brodhead to take in a few of the must-sees. Among these are the Kelch Aviation Museum, the Brodhead Historical Society Museum/Depot, and of course what trip to Wisconsin would be complete without sampling some local cheese. A great place to sample cheese being the award winning Decatur Cheese Dairy.

A recent trip to Wisconsin brought us to the Kelch Aviation Museum in Brodhead, Wisconsin. This was a spur of the moment stop on our way to find cheese and one of the highlights of our trip. The museum is small but mighty.

After walking in the door, we were greeted by a friendly docent who gave us the history of the museum and some interesting facts about the planes and pilots who flew the crafts. I was especially interested in the mail planes and their pilots’ facinating history. The museum focuses on planes of the 20’s and 30’s. Double wingers everywhere. The museum also showcased a few cars and a firetruck from the town. The docent teased that they did not have to worry about fires as the fire department would be sure to get there quickly as they were displaying one of their antique trucks.

The back doors of the museum were opened so that we could look out onto the grass landing strip of the airport. While no planes were coming in, it was nice to feel the fresh air and have a chance to see the area outside the museum. The docent told us that if we came back the next morning, they would be having a pancake breakfast. Planes were scheduled to be coming in for the event. However tempting that sounded, it did not fit into our trip agenda. Maybe next time.

The museum is not open every day, so be sure to check the website for current hours. The Kelch Aviation Museum is free and they even have postcards that they will mail, all for free (a little publicity for the museum—smart). My husband did add a nice stash into the donation box. It was well worth it. For more information:

After leaving the museum, a stop at the Decatur Cheese Dairy is an absolute must. While they no longer give tours of the dairy, they have a wonderful little store that sells cheese, cheese curds (in all flavors), and the best grilled cheese sandwhiches in a variety of cheese options with a special sauce. I had never heard of special sauce on a grilled cheese sandwhich before. The nice woman offered to put mine on the side. It was delicious. While I didn’t get the full recipe of the secret sauce, I did manage to find out that it contains mayo and mustard.

Be patient if going to the Decatur Cheese Dairy. The lines were out the door for service, but it was well worth the wait and the lines moved swiftly. There are tables outside to enjoy your purchases. For more information:

While we did not make it to the Brodhead Historical Society Museum on this trip, we have been there before. The museum is located in the old Milwaukee Road Depot. Inside the museum are many interesting historical photographs and items showcasing the history of the area. Two of my favorite exhibits included vintage broom making equipment and cheese making displays. Just outside the museum is a locomotive and caboose that is partially opened to peak inside. For more information:

Brodhead also boasts of hiking, outdoor activities, parks, and a covered bridge. A very enjoyable day can be spent in Brodhead, Wisconsin. As always, Happy Travels!

Making Lavender Wands


I have always admired lavender wands. They are so pretty with their beautifully woven ribbons. Having an abundance of lavender in the garden, I decided to make lavender wands myself.

Having never tried this before, I looked up the basic instructions and started my task. First, with scissors in hand, I marched out to the lavender plants and trimmed 10 long stems. This was my first mistake. (I’ll get to why later.) I set myself down at my table and laid out the lavender, gathered them and tied them together just under the blooms. Next, I took a spoon and pressed on the stems just below the ribbon. This step is important so that when turning the cage of the wand the stems don’t break. I carefully bent the stems down around the lavender to form a cage. I started weaving the ribbon. It wasn’t going so well. My unders and overs were starting to duplicate themselves, the pattern was broken. Had I gone under instead of over? What was going on here?

Remember when I said my first mistake was trimming 10 long stems? Well, what my instructions failed to tell me (when it said to trim 7-15 stems) was that the number trimmed had to be an odd number. This, I finally figured out on my own. So, I plucked out one of the stems and started over. This time, the pattern worked just fine.

As with most diy projects, the first one is usually a learning process. Now I know what I would do differently next time. I would cut an odd number of stems and I would leave a longer tail on my first knot to tie the bow with. Not bad for a first attempt. Live and learn..

As always, Happy Crafting!

12 Mighty Orphans – Movie Review

movie review

12 Mighty Orphans is based on a true story set in 1930’s depression era Texas. It stars Luke Wilson as Rusty Russell, an orphan himself, who moves his wife and daughter to an orphanage to teach and coach football. His wife, Juanita (played by Vinessa Shaw), while not excited at first, quickly adapts to her new family of orphans.

Of course, things are far from perfect at the orphanage. The boys are all in fear of the print shop teacher, Frank Wynn (played by Wayne Knight, best known as Newman of Seinfeld) and for good reason. Mr. Wynn likes to use a wooden paddle on the boys any time he feels the urge.

Russell wants to get the boys out on the field from day one. The big obstacle of getting the team in the league however, is that the boys must be able to pass a written academic test. Russell and Juanita spend time getting the boys prepped to take the test. Only 12 boys pass the test and are allowed to form the team.

Despite all the struggles of forming the team and getting the league to allow them to join, the orphan team still has to overcome their own struggles with themselves and each other. In the end, the boys succeed despite their smaller size and learn to work together and become a family, the only one they have.

I very much enjoyed 12 Mighty Orphans. It is a period piece, which I love. It has the underdog that can be embraced and a heart warming story of courage, determination, hope, and positivity.

As always, Enjoy Movie Night!

Master Chef Jr. Season 8


If you’ve visited my blog before, you will already know I am a fan of all the cooking shows starring Gordon Ramsay. Well then, it will be no surprise to you that I am watching the latest Master Chef Jr. Master Chef Jr. features kids that really know their way around the kitchen.

When they say junior, they mean it. These kids are ages about 8 to 13 years old. Eight!!! Yes, eight years old, cooking without recipes, and plating like pros.

Some of the junior contestants have parents who own restaurants, or have taken cooking lessons; others are self taught or influenced by family members. These kids have cooked octopus, eel, Scotch eggs, etc.. already on the show. Octopus! Eel! I would not know where to begin with these things and honestly, I have never even eaten a Scotch egg before. Nothing stumps these kids though.

Not only does the show highlight these young chef’s amazing skills, it is also quite entertaining to watch and funny, at times, as well. They are only into week four, so if you haven’t already, tune-in next week. You will not only be entertained, but you may even learn a thing or two about cooking. I know I have.

As always, Happy Cooking!

Photo of Freddy:

Lavender Adds a Refreshing Taste to Baked Goods


If you haven’t tried baking with lavender before, I highly recommend it. Lavender adds such a suttle yet inviting taste to baked goods. Fresh and inviting is how I would describe it.

I purchased a package of dried lavender for baking. I tried a couple of recipes using the lavender. The first was for lavender scones. The scones had lavender in the batter and infused into the glaze. The second lavender goodie I tried was a lavender shortbread cookie. Again the lavender was in the dough and the glaze.

I really liked the lavender glazes and have decided it would be very easy to add the lavender into cakes and frostings as well. To make the glazes, it is a very simple process, just allow the lavender to seep into the warmed liquid (milk or water) for a few minutes, then strain it through a fine sieve before adding it to the dry ingredients.

Springtime, lavender baked goods, and a cup of tea….now doesn’t that sound wonderful!

As always, Happy Baking!

My Green Vest, Just in Time for Saint Patrick’s Day


I decided to knit the Visit Vienna vest pattern by DROPS Design since vests were “in” this year. I finally finished a couple of weeks ago. Just a bit of time left to wear it before summer is in full force. I must say, I am as pleased as punch with the outcome, although, I had my doubts in the beginning.

I have been knitting for years but am probably an intermediate knitter. Beyond beginner but not in any way advanced. The Visit Vienna pattern seemed easy enough. Things always seem easy though don’t they.

The free pattern can be found at: . They do a wonderful job of explaining how to substitute yarn on this website. I did substitute the yarn for a cotton/linen blend. I thought that the needles would be the same since I followed the chart and all, however, when I started knitting, the vest looked a bit wide. My fault, I did not take the time to make a swatch to check the knitting gauge. Should have known better. One can’t cut corners when knitting. So I ripped-out the stitches and started over on MUCH smaller needles. I used a size 1 and size 3 instead of the 4 and 7 that the pattern called for. The website was very prompt in answering a question I had about the gauge. They were on top of things.

This pattern called for adding an edge stitch on the sides of each row. I had never run into this before so I had to youtube this to be sure I was doing it correctly. The pattern does not include these extra stitches in the cast on number, which was confusing to me at first. The edge stitches did make the piece lie nice and flat.

I also had not done a couple of the stitches in the pattern before. Knit twisted and purl twisted were new to me. Again, thank-you youtube for videos explaining these stitches, which were very simple to learn. The pattern itself is very easy (why I chose it 🙂 ). Basically if one can knit and pearl, go for it. The twisted stuff can all be found on a youtube video.

The armholes are all finished when knitting. The only stitches that need to be picked up and knitted after the vest is assembled is the neckline. This was easy enough to do.

I must say, this is probably my best knitting attempt to date. I LOVE my little green vest. It is meant to be a bit short, so if one wants a longer vest, add a few rows to the pattern. The reason it turned out so well was that I took the time to swatch my knitting gauge so that it fits perfectly. Trying to cut corners never works, lesson learned. I also took the time to watch videos and learn what was needed in order to make the vest correctly.

So glad I finished this when I did. Now, I will have something green to wear for Saint Patrick’s Day. Finding something green to wear (on this day), as a kid, was always a problem for me. At my school, kids loved it if someone wasn’t wearing green. The punishment for this was to be pinched. Some kids would even pinch you if you didn’t wear enough green. What! That wasn’t fair!

Would I make this pattern again? You bettcha! I might also check-out the other patterns from the website.

As always, Happy Knitting!