Friday, April 13, 2012

Why we have it coming...


There has been a resurgence of doomsday believers and prepping going on. From polar shifts, to aliens there are people out there preparing for the worst. I am sure that if you were to consult psychologists, they would tell you this growing interest group is stemming from the economic downward slide of our powerful nation. To tell you the truth, I find myself feeling a little nervous as well. All of these, "what if" scenarios have really got me thinking about how I might protect my family and survive certain plausible threats. While I believe aliens could exist, I don't see myself worrying about them being the reason I need to climb into a spider hole, or make a bug out bag. But lets say a catastrophic event were to take place here in America, where are we as a civilization? How would the average person fair? I'll tell you, many would starve, or be killed because "that guy" and his family are starving and "that guy" has a gun, and you don't. In all of these scenarios, I ask myself, what basic needs need to be met by me? When I start to think about this I realize how far we have strayed away from what we should know how to do. First of all, how many people know how to grow their own food? How many can take a seed, and cultivate it until it comes out a whole, edible, still in tact (not in a critter's belly) vegetable? That is an important factor if you plan to survive a pandemic, a solar flare, or an economic collapse. My grandmother knew this. She came from the depression, and she always stayed brushed up on her horticulture skills. I could walk outside any summer and find tomatoes, or a cucumber to pick. She knew, and if she were alive, I'm sure she would tell you, that knowledge is power and what you don't use, you loose. So with that being said, I will be purchasing Gardening Year Round for Dummies very soon. I won't be the one starving if it comes down to it, and if it doesn't I will have fresh food, free of pesticides, and save money in the process.

Another forgotten past time already is books. What are we going to do when an EMP takes out every bit of electronics we have? That nook, or kindle is not going to be able to entertain you, or inform you any longer. I heard the other day that Encyclopedia Britanica had ceased publication officially. I can still remember using an encyclopedia to do research projects on my mothers typewriter. I am not THAT old. But it just shows you how fast technology can change us as a society. I think books will be an important source of entertainment, and information if and when a catastrophe does occur. And I plan to have an arsenal of knowledge wherever I build or transform my future off the grid home. So lets add how to forage for forest edibles, and a cook book to help me use those edibles correctly in a dish to my list of books to buy.

Kids these days,...right? I learned from watching and analyzing my friends in high school which parenting style works and why. So, I plan on implementing serious family time with my kids from tot to teen. Hikes, biking, camping, game night, movie night, whatever it takes. I want to have a tight bond with my children and an open dialogue. I'm not the mom that wants to be their best friend, I'm the mom that wants them home every chance they get when their grown because its "home". But I think in an isolated post apocalyptic world, family and close friends are what you need to keep moral high.
So quick check list people,

  • Seeds, of all seasons
  • Books of all sorts for reference and entertainment
  • Board games :)
As for all of you saying, and?... I am sure there are lots of lost things we need to reclaim as a society. These are just a few very important ones I felt inclined to bring to light.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Image Transfer Shower Curtain




So in my exploration of Pinterest, (my newest addiction) I stumble upon a shower curtain that was a black and white print of a drawing of an Octopus. It was love at first sight. Alas, he was unattainable. Not only was he a costly $120, he was also on back order even if I could bring myself to purchase him. Sorry fabulous Octopus shower curtain. This mama is on a budget. So, my creative gears start turning. How can I make something similar myself? I remembered another Pinterest pin in which someone used acetone to transfer an image from paper to cloth and many other things. So I thought, what if, I draw my own line art of something I love, and blow it up really big, and transfer it to a pretty white shower curtain? Eureeka!!! Now to figure out the logistics. First, where and how much is an image this big going to cost? Secondly, will I ever find a plain white shower curtain that isn't heavily textured?...
I used Kinkos because they were the only place I knew of in town with a large enough printer to do the job. Their largest printer prints out images 3 feet wide at the max. The average shower curtain ( and the one i ended up with) measures 6x6 ft. So, I had Kinkos crop and square my image, and then split it down the middle to be printed in two pieces. The two pieces ended up costing me $30.
While I was waiting for my prints, I shot over to target to look at shower curtains. If i couldn't find a shower curtain, I was going to have to resort to a flat white sheet and make my own. I was hopeful but not feeling lucky. Looking online proved to be fruitless. I had a sheet in hand just in case as I approached the shower curtain isle. But there waiting for me was a nice, thick, white curtain with a slight pattern. Nothing that would hinder the process too horribly. It was one of the cheaper ones at $14.99.
So heres my list of supplies for my project:

  • White shower curtain
  • Large paint brush
  • one bottle of acetone
  • Print (made with toner)
  • wooden spatula
  • paper clips
You'll need to find a flat surface. I made the mistake of using my kitchen floor.I assumed the linoleum was flat. I did not consider the grooves of the pattern in the linoleum. Which later left a unpleasant pattern in my curtain where there was no ink. So, lay your curtain out, front side up, and place your paper on top, print down. I used the paper clips to hold the paper to the curtain.


    I clipped only one half of the image in order to have more room to work, Once it was clipped, I used one of my large paint brushes and coated the back of the image with acetone in small areas at a time. You need to be fast, after you've made a streak of acetone quickly grab your wooden spatula, and begin rubbing the back of the image to transfer the ink. If you wait too long it doesn't transfer as well. Also, don't over rub it. There's a few places I did and it cause the image to blur a bit. The acetone can get a bit overwhelming, so make sure to have some sort of ventilation. Once you're done with that side, its ok to remove the paper and being able to see the image you just made helps lining up the other side much easier as well. Repeat the same process for the other side. And Voila!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

country skillet :)

So on my trip to visit the Cavenah's in Oklahoma, we went to Branson MO. While there we visited silver dollar city. Its an amusement park that still has all of its shows in tact and very clean. I think Six Flags had the same goal at one point, and then they chose to focus on the rides. But, while there we ate lunch and instead of the typical chicken fingers and hamburgers for $20, there was a warm and very yummy skillet meal that rocked my world. Yes, I was hungry, but I truely thought this was amazing beside the fact. So I thought I would try to find the recipe, and I did! and then I made it tonight, and it was just as good. Maybe a little more spicy...lol So if you've never seasoned with cayenne pepper,...I suggest taking it easy haha. So heres the recipe!

If you have a cast iron skillet, I suggest using it instead of a normal frying pan. Both will work fine, but the iron skillet seems to taste better :)

So! in your skillet place 3 slices of bacon, let them cook down until the bottom of your pan is coated well, then set them to the side outside of the pan.

then add three cups of thinly sliced red potates, 1 cup of chopped bell pepper, and one cup of chopped onion. Allow them to cook on medium heat until the potatoes start to soften.

Once the potatoes start to soften, add in two cups of whole kernel corn (about a can), and already sliced andouille sausage (precooked).

Season with cayenne pepper and salt to taste, and allow it all to simmer until potatoes are throughly cooked.

There ya have it! I hope you try it :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mamamia!

So as requested, I am writing about my pizza making experience. I tell you, my husband can eat pizza just about every day. When we have the extra money to actually go out and get one, hes right there with his helpful suggestion of PIZZA! Well, the best pizza I ever had came from a small restaurant in Columbia SC called the Rhino room, or Elephant room, (one of those large creatures.) It was the sauce that ultimately made that pizza stand out above the rest and embed its self into my memory forever. What was so special about this sauce one might ask? Well for one thing, I could tell the sauce was fresh and handmade that day. Not from a can. So, striving to achieve a similar result, I attempted my own home made pizza sauce from a recipe I found online. Okay, lets get started. Go ahead and blanch your tomatoes of choice. I used 3 Roma tomatoes, and 4 regular tomatoes. If you don't know what blanching is, let me save you the time of looking it up. heat a pot of water big enough to fit all of your tomatoes in if you have one, and heat it just below a boil. Make a large bowl of ice cold water and set it next to the stove. You then boil your tomatoes for about 30 seconds, and place them in the cold water immediately. Let them sit for a few minutes, and then rub your fingers across the outside. The skin should pull away without much trouble. After my tomatoes are peeled I just let them sit in the water while I chop up the rest of my ingredients. Chop and de seed the tomatoes and place them in a blender or a bowl to be blended with an immersion blender if you have one of those instead. When I'm done with that I chop a small handful of fresh basil, and about two tablespoons of fresh garlic (take my advice, use gloves for this if you have any. My fingers smelled for days. ack!) after you're done chopping your garlic, place it in a pan and simmer it in a little olive oil. But keep it from browning. Then, once that is nicely sauteed, blend the tomatoes for a few minutes and pour them into the garlic/olive oil mix. Then add your basil, and a small handful of oregano. let this simmer down until most of the liquid is gone. I think it took me about 20-25 minutes. Stir every once in a while. Once most of the liquid is gone, re blend the mixture for a few more seconds and return to the pan for another 10-15 minutes. Now place the finished mixture in a heat safe bowl and place it in the freezer to cool if you plan to use it right away. Voila! pizza sauce from scratch! that doesn't sound so hard, now does it? ;) I cheated on the dough however, Pillsbury pizza dough worked just fine for me this time. But next time! I shall conquer the dough! If I had to try something different next time, I think I would make the effort to go to a local farmers market to get my tomatoes. I think they would have tasted much better :) Oh! and cheese. find a good mixture of cheese, I just used mozzarella, and was disappointed with the lack of flavor the cheese had. But the sauce its self was a hit! :) the pizza craving hubby loved it, and to me, that's all that matters.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Too fast, or too slow?

I was watching Anthony Bourdain with my usual wishful thinking and this time he was in the postcard perfect Venice. They were discussing the bad tourists vs. the good tourists. When asked what is a bad tourist, the Venetian responds saying the day tourists, the ones who rush. To Venetians rushing doesn't exist. This seems to be a common theme to many European countries so I've noticed. I started thinking, why do we rush? Why don't they rush? I recall as a small child I wanted nothing more than to grow up so I could do what big kids do. I rushed through every year trying my best to find a way to pass the time faster. When I became a teenager I found myself longing to be a carefree child, but torn because I still wanted to be an adult. So I still rushed ahead. And now, at 25 all I want to do is slow time down, and suck it dry of every memorable moment. I want to hold on to every sweet little laugh, and every hug of tiny arms, because I know in a few years, I will have to work and beg for those. :( But I think at some point when the kids are grown and moved out, and you're left with your left over goals and desires to achieve maybe we find ourselves rushing again. Rushing to see the sights and take in as many life changing memorable experiences we can fit in before we die. So I can understand the rushing tourist coming off a boat, and I can understand the Venetian who has lived their life around "the sites" cultured in true history. I mean, if I lived in Venice my entire life would I have the need to see more than an exotic beach here and a snow covered cap there? I don't think so. So I'll probably be the rushing tourist they hate, forced to fit as many sites in on a cruise because its what I can afford. :) But I'll make more of an effort to walk slower :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What will we be in 50 years?

I was just watching a commercial for Match.com, and they quoted that 1 in 5 relationships start online now. Don't get me wrong, I know at least 3 people off the top of my head that have met on E harmony and gotten married. I'm not knocking it, it works, but I feel like as technology grows, we loose a little bit of that every day magic. I know that finding your one true love in some cute made for TV way is difficult to come by. I mean, its not your run of the mill thing anymore, and I get it. But some part of me is sad watching those commercials. I'm sad that that is becoming our stories we'll tell our grand kids. Everyone wants love. They want that all consuming, reciprocated, doped up feeling. So if you can find it that way then so be it. But I cant help this small fear inside of me that that is going to be almost everyone's story they tell the grandkids. Eventually,...I'll miss the magic we base our sit coms off of.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'll begin my blog by explaining the title and my theory behind it.

Lately, I have noticed that finding shortcuts leads more often than not to lower quality. Whether it be with cooking biscuits, or your relationships. Doesn't matter matter what it is. The only time a shortcut benefits you is if you're saving time on a road trip. If more people took the time to honor their grandmothers methods in cooking, or talking their problems out with their spouse instead of brushing it off, we'd be a lot better off. So I'm on a mission to reinstate some of my grandmothers methods in cooking, take more time to listen, and find other ways to combat the fast pace of life I myself fall victim to. I want more quality, and I want to enjoy every minute i'm given with the people I love.