Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Day In My Life

It is almost impossible to find things to write about on these long winter days.   Today was a good example of how uneventful a lot of these days are.  I won't bore you will an hour by hour account.  It is get up, make coffee, turn on the news, watch the birds, wait for my dad to get up, give him his coffee, watch more news, blah, blah, blah.

It snowed a little today and the birds were very busy at the feeders.  I take pictures through the window.  So far I have so many pictures of birds, I will have to start deleting them very soon.  How many pictures does a person need of the same birds.

We did go to the feed mill to buy more shelled corn for the deer.  We bought 100 pounds so that should last for a while.

I imagine they thought this was really funny.

We went to the local Piggly Wiggly and bought the special deals.  Regular priced items, from the only grocery store within many miles, are very expensive.  Our store has a carry out lady that is at least our age or older.  I always feel weird when she puts on her Babushka to carry out our groceries.  Today we declined and said we could handle them ourselves.

Later this afternoon we went to the school to walk.  Tonight we did 18 trips around the school and I got over 4000 steps.   That was good considering I was down on my steps today.  We are usually the only community people walking.  That surprises me especially when the sidewalks and roads are so icy.

That's it for today.  Kind of boring but that's my everyday life.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Soup

This Tuesday's recipe is Slow Cooker Pot Roast Soup
Today was another one of those polar vortex days.  When I got up this morning the thermometer registered minus 18 without the wind chill.  It has warmed up to 8 degrees this afternoon, but it is still very cold.

We definitely need comfort food today.  At least it is sunny, so looking outside doesn't seem so cold.  It is actually bright and beautiful.

Although he is hunkered down slightly, this squirrel is just hanging out in the sunshine.

Despite the minus 18 temperature, the spring fed pond has not frozen over.

My recipe today came from the Wisconsin Beef Council.  It is called a Slow Cooker Soup but it is pretty thick and is more like a stew.  I used extra beef broth to make it more like soup.  This soup can also be made on the stove top and simmered until the meat is tender.  I made it in the Pressure Cooker and it only took 30 minutes to get the meat tender.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Soup

Beef Shoulder Roast Boneless (2-1/2 pounds) 
2 cups chopped onions  (I used 1 cup)
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions, undrained 
1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes (cubes) 
1 cup beef broth  (I used 2 cups)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I used a fresh garlic clove, chopped)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 
1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
2 cups broccoli slaw 
1/2 cup frozen peas
  1. Cut beef roast into 12 equal pieces. I thought these pieces were too big so I cut them into much smaller bite sized pieces.  Place in 4-1/2 to 5-1/2-quart slow cooker. Add onions, tomatoes, potatoes, broth, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 to 6 hours, or on LOW 8 to 9 hours, or until beef is fork-tender. (No stirring is necessary during cooking.) 
  2. Stir in broccoli slaw; continue cooking, covered, 30 minutes or until broccoli slaw is crisp-tender. Turn off slow cooker. Stir in peas; let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Basket Weave Fingerless Gloves

Fingerless gloves are really popular right now.  I made a pair for my daughter for Christmas a year ago.  My other daughter also wanted me to knit her a pair, and I finally did.   They would not be warm enough in this bitter cold weather we are having, but I noticed my daughter layered them over another pair of gloves for warmth.  There is a basket weave pattern in these.

The pattern for these basket weave fingerless gloves is a free Ravelry download.  If you aren't familiar with Ravelry, it is social networking site for knitting, crocheting, weaving and  spinning.  If you go to, it is easy to sign up.  It is a very useful site for those interested in this type of thing.  You can find almost any type of project and answers to questions related to fiber arts. 

This is the link for the free pattern.  You can also see pictures of this project that others have knit.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Baked Taco Bowls

Yesterday we decided to go out for some things we needed.  We knew it was going to snow and get very cold again later in the weekend.  It was a pretty nice winter day.  The first place we went was Menards.  For those who aren't familiar with this store, it is based in Central Wisconsin and throughout the years has grown into many many stores throughout Wisconsin and at least 14 other states.  I think they built their first home improvement store in the early 1970's and have been very successful.  They always have a gimmick to bring people in.  This weekend it was 14% off everything you can fit in a paper grocery bag.  We had fun filling it with stuff.  We bought mouse traps.  Yes even though I'm a wild animal lover, I do not like mice and don't feel bad when we kill them.  We bought suet cakes for the birds,  and we even bought 3 slabs of barbeque ribs.

The purchase that I wasn't so sure about was the Baked Taco Maker.  My husband thought this was a necessary gadget.  It was $3.99 minus the 14% equaling $3.43.   He likes taco salads but the calories in a fried taco shell bowl is almost 400 calories.  He thought that baking the shell would save a lot of calories.  So today for lunch we tried baking a flour tortilla and a low carb tortilla.

We baked them according to the directions in the package.  They said to bake them at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  We liked how they looked when they came out of the oven.

They turned out great and looked very good.

The salad looked even better.

As we all know, looks can be deceiving.  They tasted like baked cardboard.  I guess all the that fat is what makes those taco bowls so tasty.  I wasn't going to give up.  Next I sprayed both sides of a tortilla with Olive Oil spray.  I figured that wouldn't add very many calories, and it might make it taste better.  I also baked them a little longer.  It did make it slightly better.  In fact, I broke it into pieces and it tasted good with salsa.   I still prefer a tortilla in a wrap.  I think I will have to find another use for those cute pans.  At least we didn't pay a fortune for them, and it gave me a topic to blog about.  There is always a silver lining.