Showing posts with label Dawn Rae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dawn Rae. Show all posts

Monday, January 14, 2019

Reviewing Sam's Pizza Crust Recipe

Pizza crust from scratch is easier than I thought.
Over the years I have tried to make homemade pizzas. And over the years I have repeatedly failed. But today I made homemade pizza, just the way I like it, using a pizza crust recipe from Sam's Place. My little pizzas turned out great and I can't wait to bake some more.


Sam's Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe

Sam's Place is a blog site with a collection of recipes. Sam's recipes are generally easy and tasty. He writes about his passion for "preserving family recipes and creating new ones". I visit his blog regularly and see that he shares quick and easy recipes. 

When I decided to try to make pizzas at home again, I went directly to his blog. I found his dough recipe here. I only needed yeast, oil, water, flour, and salt. 


I spread the dough out on the pizza stone - baking stones are great! I pressed the dough into a thin crust with my fingers. I didn't worry that they weren't round. On each pizza, I added sauce, mushrooms, cheese, and  coarsely ground black pepper. Yes, that is one of my little pizzas in the photo above.



Old Stone Oven Round Pizza Stone




Why I Tried Making Pizzas Again


Recently I was watching a cooking show on television. Lidia was making little pizzas for the grill. She gave me a craving for pizza. Grocery store pizzas are okay, but not my favorite. Pizzas delivered from a local restaurant are divine but expensive. And I never end up eating the entire pizza. Even if I try eating all the leftovers, I either forget or I grow tired of eating pizza and inevitably I end up wasting food.


In the past I have tried making my own pizzas. I don't remember making any pizza that tasted better than the cheapie pre-made pizzas in the freezer section. Frankly, I eventually gave up.


But after watching that television show with the grilled pizzas and remembering Sam's easy dough recipe, I gave it a try. I dug out my baking stone and started up my KitchenAid mixer. Also, I have had good luck using SAF instant yeast. Previously, I failed when baking anything with yeast. But between using the SAF yeast and the fact that my water comes out of my tap at just over 100 degrees, I have been successful making breads. And now I'm successful with making homemade pizza crust.


Imagine making your own pizzas, personal sized or extra large, thin or thick crust, just exactly the way you like them!



The second pizza I made today. Doesn't it look tasty?


Related Links:


Cynthia reviewed the Kitchen Aid Pizza Wheel. She recommends it because it is "strong, durable, and ergonomical". Take a peek at her review for more details. I need one of these.


I bought my KitchenAid mixer two years ago. I had always thought it was an extra and over-priced gadget that I didn't need. But since I have it, I LOVE IT!  This is a purchase I've never regretted. 


Heather has been a KitchenAid Artisian mixer fan longer than I have. In fact, her review helped convince me to get one of my own. Heather's article also includes information about the annual timing of sales on these mixers. Get that important information here

Sam also has a Fresh Tomato Spinach pizza recipe. I'll try that next. 

Because Lidia's Kitchen show is what started this recent pizza craving, I'm including a link to her Grilled Pizza recipe. Yum! 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Monday, January 7, 2019

Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-Stick Perforated French Bread Pan Review

Baguette loaf bread pan.
Years ago I purchased a bread pan that I really liked. Currently, with the cold and gloomy weather, I've been in the mood to bake some bread. I have a couple of bread recipes that I can rely on producing successful loaves of bread. The Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-stick Perforated French Bread Pan is the pan I depend on when I want baguette-style loaves of bread. 

The Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-stick Perforated French Bread Pan has nearly a 5 star rating on Amazon which supports my belief that the pan is a main reason I'm successfully able to bake these small bread loaves.

The first time I used the pan, I made a small Wheat Irish Soda Bread loaf. I was afraid the dough would stick badly in the perforations and I was afraid the loaf would break. I sprayed the pan very lightly with cooking spray. After the loaf was baked, I ran a spatula along the sides of the bread to make sure it wasn't stuck before I tipped the loaf out of the pan. I was concerned for nothing. The bread was not stuck to the pan at all.  Also, because of the holes and the shape of the pan, the loaves come out evenly baked, nicely shaped, and delicious. 

The Chicago Metallic Commercial pan is non-stick and clean-up is super easy. When I am finished baking and after the pan has cooled a bit, I soak the pan for a couple of minutes in hot soapy water, to get any bits of bread out of the air holes. I follow the soak with a rinse in hot water.

I'm not much of a baker and my skills at baking bread are fairly new. I started with Irish Soda Bread. It was my first success at baking bread because it did not require yeast. It was also a very dense, heavy bread. Later, I became really good at baking two different breads that require yeast: Peasant Bread and Patara's Bread Recipe

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this pan. I think that everyone who enjoys baking bread should have one of these highly recommended bread pans. I purchased the two-loaf pan but for those of you who bake more than I do there is also a four-loaf pan available.




The next bread I want to learn to bake is a Subway Sunflower Crunch bread. Their bread is delicious. I feel more confident experimenting while using the Chicago Metallic Commercial pan. I hope I am able to find a sufficient copy cat recipe. Wish me luck.

Related Link: 

Sam on Ahead of Thyme blog shares a sunflower seed bread recipe. I have chosen this sunflower seed bread recipe to try first because the ingredients list seems to be the closest to what the Subway restaurant version tastes like to me.





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Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year’s Eve 2018

2018
It is New Year’s Eve. The last day of the year. Tomorrow turns the page into the brand new year. Beginning tomorrow, I will have to remember to write 2019 instead of 2018 on checks and paperwork. I will wonder where the years have gone and say, “Wow, time flies” at least once. Those are a part of my traditions during this time of year.

Each person, family, region, and country have New Year’s Eve traditions. A search on the internet will show those traditions; some familiar and some that seem very strange (red underwear).  Some involve food (12 grapes). Some involve drink (champagne). Most traditions involve how to celebrate and who to celebrate with.

As a younger person I attended New Year’s Eve parties at someone’s home. We drank, ate, talked, listened to music, and kissed everyone in the vicinity when the clock struck midnight.

Later, I sometimes attended public firework displays. In the US, many people go into the cities to see the fireworks. The dropping of the ball in Times Square draws many celebrants waiting to welcome the new year. It seems to be one of the most well-known celebrations worldwide but such a large gathering culminating in fireworks is not a uniquely US thing. I’d venture to guess that this is the most popular (worldwide) New Year’s Eve tradition.

More recently, I go to The Shack for New Year’s Eve. And by the time you read this, I hope to be there.  One of my superstitions is that whatever you are focused on as the New Year rings in is the focus of the new year. Therefore, my intention is to be at The Shack as 2018 ends and 2019 begins. I like to spend the evening close to nature and in the “home” I plan to live in soon. I also prefer to be off the roads and away from potential drunk drivers.

We have a wide audience at Review This! and it makes me wonder how our readers around the world welcome in the new year. On behalf of the Review This! team:

We wish you a happy and safe New Year’s Eve. 
We wish you the kind of celebration that leaves you with wonderful memories and continues welcomed traditions. 
Happy New Year's Eve!  


 Photo courtesy of Pixabay and Fotojet 



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Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve: Here Comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus
This is Christmas Eve. Cookies and milk will be set out for Santa and NORAD is tracking his progress.

Christmas Eve means something different for each of us. For some of us, it is a day of gathering family together. And last minute preparations; shopping, baking, and gift-wrapping after getting excited children tucked into bed. 

For some of us, it is just another day. Many careers are in the helping professions and people are scheduled to work on Christmas Eve (if that is you, we thank you). Maybe some of us don't celebrate Christmas and never have. Perhaps the kids have flown the nest and Christmas isn't as exciting as it once was. 

There are literally millions of ways to experience Christmas Eve. No matter how differently we celebrate this day the one thing we often have in common is the music. We have a favorite Christmas classic - that song that brings us good memories. We can all sing along, and sing together, the most familiar of the holiday songs. There are songs that bring us to tears and others that make us laugh. 

This video compilation of Christmas songs is the perfect background music for the day. I was fortunate to stumble upon it during a search for something else. I am enjoying the 3 hours of music and accompanying background visuals that change with each song. It is playing on my Roku TV as I write this (By the way, Here Comes Santa Claus by Elvis is at 1:19:04).



Personally, I love the story that Santa Claus circles the globe with his sleigh and flying reindeer. The mystery and magic of "here comes Santa" is such a fun thing.

This is Christmas Eve. And whatever that means to you the Review This writers wish you the very best version of Christmas Eve possible. 

Related Link: The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) monitors objects in space; including Santa's sleigh. Get your updates here.

Photo Credit: Santa Claus photo courtesy of Pixabay and CC0 creative commons




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Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Make Super Easy Gingerbread Cookies

If you have wanted to make gingerbread men but are too intimidated or short on time I have a great kitchen cheat for you! Even I was able to successfully bake these cookies with Wilton Gingerbread Man Cookie pans and Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix. However, please note that the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie mix is "limited edition". Perhaps it is only seasonal. So stock up now for your future gingerbread cookie-baking adventures.


Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix



I depend on cookie mixes. And have had really good luck with the Snickerdoodle and the Peanut Butter flavors. So it was an easy thing for me to buy the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix.


I followed the directions on the bag to make the cookie dough. The ingredients list is super short:

  • bag of cookie mix 
  • stick of butter 
  • one egg 
  • tablespoon of water.

I split the dough in half - using one half for each pan - and dropped by small spoonfuls into the pans. 





Wilton Gingerbread Man Cookie Pan


When I saw these adorable cookie pans at a local big box store, I could not resist. I'm not at all skilled with baking, but I really wanted to try these shaped cookie pans. I have had a great time making these cookies and I think these would be fun pans to use when baking with a child.

The pans are nearly 12" tall! They are non-stick (I still used a very light coating of spray cooking oil). And the pans have raised details that create slight indentations in the finished cookies. The indentations can be guides for icing placement. I left mine plain (I tell myself that because I left the frosting off the cookies were a "healthier" version of cookie!)


Big Gingerbread Man cookie pans by Wilton



Super Easy Gingerbread Cookie Pros and Cons



The best things about these super easy gingerbread cookies are that they are quick, easy, and tasty. Minimal time is spend in the kitchen and the cookies are oh so good.

When the pans are filled using the "dropped by small spoonfuls" technique the cookies are big and soft (similar to a brownie). I prefer that type of cookie.

My picky-eater friend said that the flavor was very good. I agree.

The possible "cons" of these cookies are that these are not the gingerbread cookies your grandmother made. If you are looking for original gingerbread men, this may not be what you are looking for. 

These cookies were not the "crispy"/"crunchy"  original style of gingerbread men. 

I have made these cookies using these pans three times. I have learned that the gingerbread dough does not "spread" during baking as much as some other cookie dough. So my first attempts resulted in the hands and feet not being fully formed. On my most recent attempt, I dropped small spoonfuls of dough in the cookie pans feet and hands. That created fully formed hands and feet.

My next attempt will include pressing the dough down into the pan to see if the result with be the thinner and more crunchy cookies. 




Related Link:


Do you love Snickerdoodles? 
Do you prefer super thick, cake-like cookies?  

Me too! 

Check out my Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie recipe. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Monday, December 10, 2018

Snowglobes are Great Gifts and Seasonal Decor

Holiday snowglobes on Review This!
There is something magical about snowglobes. It doesn't seem logical. After all, Snowglobes are simply water-filled globes of glass (or plastic) encasing some sort of item or scene. Shake the globe and the little flakes begin to "snow". But there is something special about that frozen moment in time surrounded by the movement of falling snow.

At this time of year, snowglobes always come to my mind. They are a wonderful part of holiday decorations. Because holiday snowglobes are offered in such a wide variety of styles they can also be very thoughtful gifts. Each one individualized to reflect special interests of the giver or the receiver. Snowglobes range from the tiny plastic trinkets that you can find at just about any souvenir gift shop to high-quality pieces of seasonal art that can be enjoyed and passed down for generations. 


Santa Claus Snowglobes



This review came to mind after recently purchasing a beautiful snowglobe depicting Santa's workshop. There was a piece of synchronicity that led me to thoughts of how special snowglobes can be. 

Scenes with Santa are my favorite snowglobes. And there are MANY Santa scenes to choose from:
  • Seated in his workshop with the elves, making toys. 
  • Flying in his sleigh through the snowy sky. 
  • Dressed in his suit with the huge bag of toys slung over his shoulder. 
  • Seated with a child seated on his knee
Santa's Workshop - musical snowglobe


Musical Snowglobes


Some snowglobes come with a music box option. Typically, the music box key is under the base of the snow globe. Simply turn the globe over, turn the key a few times, then place the snowglobe on the table to watch the snow and listen to the tune.

Tunes that are as familiar as Jingle Bells and as traditional as Oh Holy Night can be found with some snowglobes.


Religious Snowglobes



A variety of religious scenes are depicted in snowglobes. From angels to the nativity scenes (simple and ornate) a snowglobe reminding us of the "reason for the season" can be found.


Nativity - musical snowglobe



Snowglobes and Nature Scenes



In the areas of the world that have four seasons and the possibility of snow during the holidays, snowy naturescapes are reminiscent of Christmas. Trees drop their leaves and make unique silhouettes against the sky. Native backyard birds are easier to see against the white background of snow. Polar bears, penguins, and white hares are wildlife that are often associated with a winter wonderland. 


Penguin snowglobe - plays "Let It Snow"



Baby's First Christmas Snowglobe



Special occasions, such as baby's first Christmas, can be commemorated with an engraved snowglobe. And those globes can last a lifetime.

Baby's 1st Christmas snowglobe



Snowglobes with Favorite Movies, Places, Things



Perhaps your family has made a tradition of watching the Nutcracker during the holidays. Or watching the Wizard of Oz has become an annual event as the holidays approach. 

Maybe you've traveled during the holidays and want a reminder of those special places.


Whatever your holiday traditions include, chances are good that there is a snowglobe that gives a shout out to those special memories.

design courtesy of pixabay.com

Whether you are looking for long-lasting holiday decorations or a special gift for that special someone, snowglobes are a great choice. 

My love of snowglobes was recently renewed during an incident of coincidence. Or maybe it wasn't coincidence at all. I'm not completely sure. If you would like to read about how I came to own my most recent Santa Claus snowglobe you can read about it on my personal blog. 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Monday, December 3, 2018

Reviewing the Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore Review
Anker is becoming a brand name that I trust and depend on. And the PowerCore portable charger is no exception. Whether you travel and do not want to have the security risk of plugging in to public charging stations or you spend time off-grid but still want to keep that cell phone charged for emergencies, the Anker is an excellent choice for portable, secure, and dependable charging.

I bought one for myself but I think this little gadget would be a great gift idea.


What is an Anker PowerCore Portable Charger?


My description of the PowerCore is a rechargeable battery that is small enough to fit in my coat pocket but holds enough power to fully recharge my phone (and Kindle) many times. 

Even though it is an electronic gadget, it is foolproof. 

Three easy steps:

  1. Plug it in to charge the battery using the USB cord (using my laptop or the same plug I use to charge my phone and my Kindle)
  2. Remember to put it into my purse, coat pocket, or camping tote
  3. Plug my phone (or Kindle) into the PowerCore to charge as needed.



The Description from the experts:

  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (24w) with Anker's proprietary PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology - fastest possible charge to almost any USB device. 
  • 7 days of power (fills the iPhone 7 almost seven times, the Galaxy S8 more than four times, and iPad Air 2 one and a half times) 
  • Quick Charge input, a full recharge is over in half the time of standard portable chargers. (written by Anker about the PowerCore 20000 Quick Charge 3.0)

Why I Chose the Anker PowerCore 20000 Quick Charge 3.0


I go camping at my cabin for days on end. I own the Anker PowerPort Solar charger and love it. It is dependable and perfect for off-grid living (see my review here). Perfect, except for when it isn't. 

This year was a record-breaking rainfall year in my area. Rain means solar charges aren't able to work properly (if at all). Lack of sunlight was causing either no charge on my phone or a walk (in the pouring rain) to the Jeep to charge (slowly) my phone. Due to all this rain, I bought the PowerCore "battery".  I charge it fully at the apartment, throw it into my camping tote, and I have a dependable way to charge my phone - rain or shine.

I depend on the Anker PowerPort Solar charger - except during a season of record rainfall.

I chose the 20,000 based on the higher number of charges it provides (compared to some of the more compact PowerCore chargers) and the price tag was as high as I wanted to spend that day.  

My PowerCore came with the charger, the USB cord to charge it, and a slightly padded travel bag. It did not come with the plug that is used in a wall outlet. But I already had several of those. 

There are many Anker PowerCore choices, smaller/less expensive and larger/more expensive.  I love that Anker provides so many options.





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Monday, November 26, 2018

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah - Book Review

Book Review on Review This!
Summer Island by Kristin Hannah, the audio version, has been playing during every free moment for the past few days. This story has kept my attention. I am so glad to have discovered this author following the recommendations by two of our Review This writers and one co-worker. Kristin Hannah has a large fan base. And it is easy to understand why. Summer Island is a story about families: mothers and daughters, and how our memories about the very same thing can be so wildly different.

While they were still young girls, Ruby and Caroline Bridge were abandoned by their mother. Caroline, now a wife and mother, has begun working at building a relationship with her mother. But the thread of trust between the two is new and fragile. However, Ruby remains angry and unforgiving. She masks her pain with humor, a struggling stand-up comedian. 

Nora, their runaway mother, has spent the years becoming wealthy. She is a famous giver-of-advice, with a newspaper column and a radio show. She is a modern day "Dear Abby". Her focus is on giving relationship advice. Nora's fans know nothing of her abandoning of her children. Until, the tabloids publish the photos of her affair while married to Ruby and Caroline's father.

We meet the family at the time the tabloids publish the scandal. And the readers follow along, as this angry and broken family are pushed back together through illness and car accident. Ruby and Nora have the most work to do to heal. 

To me, the story is realistic and the voices are clear. It is a sample of difficult mother-daughter relationships. And the fact that parents are humans too, complete with flaws. Also, that they too were at one time someone's child. Summer Island gives us both Nora's version and Ruby's version of what happened. Will they come to an understanding? Will they agree to meet in the middle and find some common ground? Will fences be mended before it is too late.


"To you, it was the beginning of the story. To me, it was deep in the middle" Nora Bridges says to Ruby about her disappearance.


Whether you buy this book or rent it from the library like I did, it is a story I recommend. At this point, I plan to read Kristin Hannah's entire collection.  




Related Links:

Brenda reviewed Home Front: a novel about a women who is sent off to serve her country and the family she leaves behind; holding things down at home. It is a story of "love, duty, honor, commitment, sacrifice". Brenda recommends this emotional book by Kristin Hannah. Please see Brenda's review for more details: Home Front Review. 

Brenda writes in her Home Front review that The Nightingale is the book that led her to read more books by Kristin Hannah. The Nightingale is set in occupied France during World War II. Both Brenda and a co-worker, describe this story as "excellent", a "favorite", and highly recommend it. 

It is because of Renaissance Woman's review of The Great Alone that caused me to finally pick up a Kristin Hannah book. Set in an off-grid cabin in remote Alaska, the story appealed to me on the setting alone. We joined the Allbright family as they were chasing peace. The descriptions of the family and the setting pulled me in. Please read Renaissance Woman's Review of The Great Alone for a better description of why you too should read this book.




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Monday, November 19, 2018

Easy Beef Stroganoff Crock-Pot Recipe Review

Easy Beef Stroganoff from Crock-Pot.
Easy and filling meals are a must at my place. Cooking this Easy Beef Stroganoff recipe in the Crock-Pot while I'm at work, or while I'm busy with chores on the weekend, has been a meal that I look forward to. It also makes enough to provide delicious leftovers. 


Easy Beef Stroganoff in the Crock-Pot


Crock-Pot Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes is a little cookbook with super easy recipes. One of my favorites from this little cook book is the Easy Beef Stroganoff.  With only 5 ingredients (if you include the water) and served over either noodles or rice it is a meal that could not be much easier. I have served this over rice. But I prefer to use "Amish Noodles" with this recipe.



I do adjust this recipe just a bit. I like more meat and less "gravy". So I use more than 2 lbs of meat and only 2 cans of the mushroom soup. Sometimes, I use beef roast instead of stew meat. I buy the cut of meat that is on sale. Stew meat results in bite-sized chunks of meat and the roast results in a shredded meat and both versions are delicious.

Whether you use the same Crock-Pot cookbook I have, or search for Crock-Pot recipes online and other slow cooker cookbooks, I'm sure you can find your own favorite recipes. Clearly, I'm a fan of the ease of slow cooker cooking and highly recommend giving a slow cooker a try.


Crock-Pots


Between work, a slow commute, and my lack of skills in the kitchen, it isn't always easy to find meals that meet my needs and are tasty. I depend on my Crock-Pot. In fact, I like using slow cookers so much that I own 2 of them (a large 7 qt size and a small 2 qt size). Cooking in a Crock-Pot seems to leave less room for error. It also provides significant cost-savings (taking easy, tasty comfort food leftovers to work for lunch is much less costly than purchasing a lunch each day). 

My favorite Crock-Pot meals include pulled pork, shredded chicken, roasted beets (I've shifted from making them in the oven to the small crock pot), stews, chili (including white chili made with the shredded chicken), and squash "lasagna".

Related Links:

Louanne shares instructions for making her healthy Vegetable stock in a Crock-Pot

My next Crock-Pot will be the portable version; with the latches to hold the lid tight. And the travel bag. I have co-workers who use these for the potlucks at work and the locking lid and bag are GREAT ideas!






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Monday, November 12, 2018

Biscuit Egg Pie Recipes

Egg and green bean biscuit pie on the grill.
Somewhere on one of my social media groups I saw a photo of someone's beautiful biscuit-egg casserole. It looked delicious. And easy. Well, the crust didn't necessarily look easy. I think I saw the photo on one of my homesteading groups; with the biscuit/crust made from scratch. It didn't take me but a minute to think of a shortcut; using Pillsbury refrigerator rolls for the crust.  However, it seems I'm behind the times, as usual. There are many versions of these "egg pie" recipes and I'm going to list a few here.

My Egg Pies


I have made these in a variety of flavors. And both at the apartment in the oven and at The Shack on the grill.  I especially like egg pies at The Shack.  I have a hard time making fried or scrambled eggs on the grill. Egg pies are a super easy way to make breakfast on the grill.

My two favorite recipes are: green bean/egg/sriracha and egg/refried bean/salsa. No matter which ingredients I choose, I melt Kerrygold Butter on the top. 

I have used pie pans, casserole pans, and my favorite small dutch ovens. I have found that the deeper dishes cause trouble with getting the eggs cooked completely. Now, I'm sticking with the shallow Pyrex pie plates.

A slice of my egg pie - salsa and refried bean version

I have used both Pillsbury Grands and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  I thought I'd prefer the crescent rolls, but I have come to prefer the Grands or the Flaky rolls. I pop the can open and use each roll after peeling it in half. The rolls are easy to press into the bottom of the pie pan - creating the crust. Sometimes I used any extra roll pieces on top. Sometimes I bake the extra rolls separately. 

Typically, I do not use recipes. In preparation for this post, I looked for recipes. It seems that people have been making "egg pies" with these biscuits for a long period of time. For real recipes, check out the links below.

Pillsbury Cheesy Southwest Egg Bake - combining the flavors of sausage, eggs, peppers, Mexican cheese, and biscuits. Yum!

Cheesy Southwest Egg Bake

Pillsbury Sausage and Egg Biscuits - small, individual sausage, egg, and biscuit pies. Such a great idea! Such a fast and easy, hot breakfast.

Sausage and Egg Biscuits

Pillsbury Sweet and Savory Mini Hand Pies - apples and sausage baked in biscuits. Individual breakfast pies that would be great on-the-go.

Apple and Sausage mini pies




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Monday, November 5, 2018

Reviewing the Teamoy Tunisian Crochet Hook Case

The Teamoy Tunisian Crochet Hook Case
Organization is not my strong suit. So I'm really happy when I find something that helps me to be more organized. I have found the Teamoy Tunisian Crochet Hook Case and I'm thrilled about how roomy, well-made, and helpful this little case is. Not only does it hold my brand new Tunisian Crochet Hooks, there is plenty of room for my other crochet hooks and other small supplies. 


Teamoy Tunisian Crochet Hook Case


This case is tall and thin; made to hold Tunisian crochet hooks (crochet hooks that are very similar in length and size to a single knitting needle). 

This little soft-sided case has two main zippered sections, Within each of those sections there is a variety of pockets and elastic bands that can organize longer crochet hooks (or knitting needles), traditional crochet hooks, as well as smaller supplies such as my locking stitch markers.

Not only are the crochet hooks held in by elasticized straps, the ends tuck in under flaps. This awesome design is going to prevent my clumsy self from accidentally dumping the contents out onto the floor each time I open the case. At this point, I can't imagine anything falling out accidentally. The zippers seem like quality zippers; not those cheapo zippers that are on many items.

This case is made from a "high quality and durable material, water-resistant and easy to clean up". There are also several colors/prints to choose from. I chose the cute cat print. 

The BEST feature about this case was the small price tag. It cost only $16.99 ! 

The only small complaint I have about this case, and it may be a complaint specifically to me, is the smell of the case when it arrived. It was wrapped in a sealed plastic bag. The smell of the "durable material" was strong when I opened that sealed packaging. It had an oily, "plastic" smell that bothered me (I am very sensitive to some chemical smells). I wiped off the case with a damp, slightly soapy cloth and then let the case air out before I spent time checking out all of the little pockets. There is no lingering odor.

If you crochet (or knit) and are in need of some organization, Teamoy may have a case for you.



If you'd like to see my first Tunisian crochet project (with gorgeous DK Colors yarn) check out my post here

my first Tunisian Crochet on Treasures, Travel, and Tales 




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Monday, October 29, 2018

Jesus Always by Sarah Young Book Review

Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence
I seem to be able to manage stress and chaos less well as each year goes by. And I am very aware that when I meditate or pray I am able to feel more peaceful. Thing is, I'm not so good at the praying part. I have been looking for ways to slow down and find joy and peace. 

Recently, I was wandering around a Christian book store, looking for something I might like to read. This was probably the third time in my adult life that I've ever entered a Christian book store. I picked up Jesus Always and flipped through a few of the short devotionals. It was written in a way that was easy to read and it spoke to me, so I bought it. And thus far, I'm reading it daily and enjoying it. 

Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence


Susan Young is the author of the Jesus Calling series. She writes to help people connect with Jesus and the Bible. She and her husband were missionaries. They currently live in the U.S and she has written this series of devotionals.

Jesus Always consists of an entry for each day of the year. This devotional is meant to "bring joy for each day" and  "strengthen your relationship with Jesus" (from the author's website)

The hardcover version I purchased has easier-to-read print than many devotionals offered and is a well-made book. The book lays open, not quite flat, and includes an attached ribbon book mark. The book feels as though the paper and the cover will last for many years.

Why I Choose This Devotional


There are MANY Christian books for sale. Shelves full of devotionals, Bibles, testimonials, and more. So why am I recommending this particular book?

It is easy to read. Bible studies and reading the Bible alone feels too far over my head. Despite all of those years in Vacation Bible School as a child, I just "don't get it" when I read most of these types of books. I can't focus and it feels too much like work.

Susan Young has written Jesus Always as though Jesus were the writer. The daily entries are short - only a page in length. The writing is in a conversational and friendly tone which makes it very easy to read. 

Corresponding verses are listed. Each devotional is followed by several verses from the Bible that correspond with the entry. My skeptical side doesn't have to wonder how much of the writing is personal opinion - the verses repeat what was written in the entry. I like that. And there are not so many verses that it feels like homework.

My Birthday Entry. I sampled many of the devotionals on the shelves of that bookstore that day. Flipping through them, flipping specifically to my birthday, and considering each book. Some had print that was too small to read. Some had writing that was too much like a Bible study. Some used very formal language. Then, when I flipped open Jesus Always to the September 5th entry, I found this:


"Joy is a choice. You may not have much control over your circumstances, but you can still choose to be joyful."

That is exactly what I am looking for. A way to let go of my anxiety and grouchiness, and find joy. The photo below shows the remainder of the entry that spoke to me (and there are more samples on Amazon in the "look inside" feature).




Related Links and Other Books of Faith:

Our Bev Owens wrote a review of Mary's Message to the World. Bev writes, ".. if you are open to spiritual growth and want to grow in your faith; I recommend that you read this book." The book she reviews documents Annie Kirkwood's reported visits from Mother Mary.

Cynthia reviews the Bibles that make the best gifts. In her article she recommends different versions; from a family Bible, to a pocket version, to a study Bible, and more.

Olivia recommends watching The Young Messiah movie. In her review, she explains why she recommends this movie, especially during the upcoming holiday season, despite it being a work of fiction. 

Finally, in my search for peace, joy, and finding balance I am combining learning to pray with mediation from a variety of approaches. I have found meditation beads and chants (Christian and OM mantras) to be helpful. You can read my post about those things here. When I meditate, I am significantly more relaxed. And now I have added the Jesus Always daily devotions.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Monday, October 22, 2018

What Have You Done Book Review

Book Review: What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell
What happens when you are a forensics specialist and you realize that you are the prime suspect in a brutal murder of the woman you were dating? And how would your brother, a homicide detective, be able to help you? Or maybe he would be of no help to you. What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell is a psychological thriller full of twists and turns. It kept me awake at night, reading. And that says a lot about any book.

What Have You Done

Liam Dwyer is a forensics specialist in Philadelphia. The impact of his own childhood trauma follows him into adulthood - unwilling to take a bath so great is his fear of water. Unwilling isn't the correct description. He's terrified of the bathtub. For good reason. Liam is married to Vanessa and that marriage had been on shaky ground. But they've gone to therapy and are trying to repair their relationship.

Liam had been cheating on Vanessa but broke it off recently in an attempt to save the marriage. Then his girlfriend suddenly pops back into his life - as a murder victim at a brutal crime scene. Liam is the prime suspect not just because he dated the victim, but because of the evidence. His fingerprints are at the scene. And Liam has no memory of where he was or what he was doing during the murder. But he remembers the paper flowers his mother made when he was young. Why are they showing up now?

Sean is Liam's older brother. Sean has always taken care of his baby brother. And Liam turns to him now for help. Sean is a homicide detective so he has contacts within the department to help investigate Liam and the murder; before the assigned detectives figure out the connection between his baby brother and the murder victim.  Don is one of those connections.

Don is Sean's partner. He is juggling his job and looking after his ailing, aging mother. Don has mentored and looked after the Dwyer boys over the years. He's a good guy, but when Sean asks him to bypass procedures to buy Liam some time, he does. 

I chose this book from Amazon Primes' First Reads. I like getting free books. 

I do not normally gravitate toward police procedural and crime novels but I do like psychological thrillers. In this story, I liked the twists and turns. Near the beginning of the book, I thought I knew the "who did it". But the twists and turns threw me off. In the end, I wasn't fully surprised as my initial guesses were on track but even so I liked the journey of finding out the truth.

This was a quick read and interesting plot. It wasn't the most expert writing, but it kept my attention. I found myself wanting to know what would happen next and how the murder would be solved. I wanted the cover-ups exposed. And they were.

I believe What Have You Done is Matthew Farrell's debut novel. I look forward to his next book I Know Everything, due to be released in August 2019. 







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Monday, October 1, 2018

Reviewing Vistaprint for Business Cards

Business cards from Vistaprint
I am in the process of starting a small business. An Etsy store to offer my crocheted items to an audience beyond my circle of friends. In this beginning stage of the process, I quickly decided that I wanted a "business card" to include with my sold items. I chose Vistaprint and am thrilled with the service and product they provided. So thrilled that I'm writing this review to share the information with you.


Vistaprint - The "Everything to Market Your Business" Site


I see the Vistaprint commercials frequently. This constant advertising is why I checked out their site first. Sheer laziness on my part. I ordered with some skepticism - as some businesses that advertise the most are not the best. But I am glad I ordered my cards from Vistaprint. Before I start rambling, the mini-review is:

  • Super easy-to-navigate website
  • Many business card styles to choose from
  • Choices ranging from completely designed by you (including your own photo) or use one of the existing designs
  • Preview function that shows you exactly what you have created
  • Fast service (ordered on 8/22 and received on 8/29) even with standard shipping


My Business Cards


I knew I wanted a somewhat "rustic" design. The purpose of the card would be a thank you and continued advertising with my store URL. I needed a thicker paperstock as I would be punching a hole in many of the cards and attaching them to my handmade item with a ribbon.

I was able to choose rounded corners (to avoid snags in my yarn), "standard glossy" front of card (to add to the durability of the card), and print on the back of the card (for a more personal message). Not feeling creative enough to design my own card, I quickly found one of their templates. The overall front design of the template was not adjustable, but I could add customize with my store name.  I could also choose a couple of color variations.  Scroll to the very bottom of this article to see a very small sample of some of the designs. 

The back of the card allows for print. So I added the personalized printed message I wanted. The back of my card is not glossy paper.


I had expected to receive flimsy, poor-quality business cards (like the ones we have at work). Instead, I received cards that I am thrilled with. I paid $25.58 for 100 cards and shipping. 

I will continue my orders with Vistaprint, adding fabric care cards to my packaging. I have also begun to consider purchasing postcards for advertising after seeing all of the fantastic design possibilities.

If you are in need of business cards and other paper products for your business, I highly recommend Vistaprint

finished and ready for delivery - with card attached


Related Links:

Our own Tracey (The Savvy Age) recently reviewed a free online logo maker called DesignEvo. If you feel more confident in your creative abilities than I do mine, DesignEvo Free Logo Maker may be a great site to use. I LOVE the logo she created in "2.5 minutes". 

My Etsy Store. My goal is to retire at The Shack; tending my garden, chickens, and land. That retirement dream includes sitting in a rocking chair on the deck and crocheting. If that crochet adds a very small bit of retirement income (aka more money for yarn) all the better. 


an extremely small sample of some of the existing business card designs on Vistaprint




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Monday, September 24, 2018

Reviewing Mrs. Meyer's Soap

Reviewing Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products.
My son and daughter-in-law use Mrs. Meyer's soaps and cleaning products. It has been during visits to their home that I've used Mrs. Meyer's products. I like the soaps and have ordered my own. Mrs. Meyer's is a line of cleaning products and hand soaps that are made with essential oils rather than harsh chemicals. I like products with essential oils - and try to avoid chemicals if I can.


Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day


Mrs. Meyer is a real person, not just a brand name/gimmick. Her site lists her as an Iowa homemaker and mother of NINE. The story goes that her daughter was shopping household cleaners and wanted something that "cleaned like the dickens" and smelled good. Oh boy, I can relate to that. I want clean, but why does the chemical stench have to come along with the clean?  Good news, it doesn't.
"Lets make cleaners that smell nice, like my mom's garden, but still work like the dickens on daily dirt and grime." - from Mrs. Meyers - Our Story
While visiting, I used Mrs. Meyers hand soap (sunflower) and the Lemon Verbena dish soap. I liked both very much and have since ordered my own. The dish soap worked well with degreasing. And the hand soap did not dry my hands. And like many essential oil products, the scent is "nature" and does not trigger my migraines.
radish

My daughter-in-law has since added "radish" to her collection and lists that as her favorite. Because she has such good taste in cleaning products, I've ordered radish dish soap for myself. 

I prefer natural products for not only my health, but also for the environment. When camping, my used water is thrown out onto the ground. While I am slowly making the transition to more chemical-free products in my apartment, I use natural products almost exclusively when camping. I am thrilled to add Mrs. Meyer's soaps to my supplies.

Important note: You can order your Mrs. Meyer's soaps directly from their website or from Amazon. I ordered from both sites. I do want to recommend that you check out the prices on both sites, as I saved several dollars ordering from Amazon.  I saved $3 with the coupon and $6 on shipping with Amazon Prime. 


Related Links:

My preference for soaps made of essential oils began long ago with my love of Dr. Bronner's Castile peppermint soap. For my review of that soap (I most often use it for bathing, camping chores, and migraine relief) click here

Our Louanne is our Arbonne essential oils expert. Maybe you are farther along in the essential oils and aromatherapy journey than I am and need a regular supply of essential oils. If that is the case, check out Louanne's Essential Oil Holiday Set article or scroll down through her list of articles to find information about specific oils or a variety of uses for the oils. 





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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