Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lost a Jean Button?

Dritz® No-Sew Bachelor...

As I write this blog I would hope that it isn't only my husband and I that have lost the button on a pair of our favorite jeans.  If I'm honest with myself it probably means that either I have grown out of them or that they are just too old to continue wearing.  However, I was not ready to assume defeat and therefore needed to figure out how to repair them.

At first I thought it would be a complicated process involving some sort of "bedazzle" machine.  I was pleasantly surprised, though, that when I asked a worker at JoAnn's how to remedy my jeans, she lead me to the, what else, button section.  It turns out all I need was a hammer and a pack of jean buttons (I got a pack of 6 for $3.79) and I was good to go.  I will caution you to get a good quality button, as the flimsy ones bent as I was hammering them in.

So there you have it.  A quick and easy fix to get those favorite pair of jeans back on your booty.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ask and you shall recieve

As I started my 45 minute drive to Terre Haute today to do some errands I heard one of my country radio stations running a contest called "Dakota's easy teasy question" for a Gloriana CD.  Now I love this band and have wanted their CD but try not to buy things I "don't need".  I thought, what a great opportunity to get something I really want!  I listened to the question, called in, and after a few tries, I called in and got the answer right!  My first ever radio win!

Fun huh?  Ask the universe and you shall receive ;-)

(as soon as I figure out how I will upload the segment from my iphone)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cleaning Bathroom Mirrors

I always dreaded cleaning my bathroom mirrors because it would take so long to get those pesky specks of hairspray off.  One day after my husband showered without the fan on I went to clean the bathroom while the mirrors were fogged up and, to my delight, they cleaned with ease!  The fog acted like a pre-soak  and softened up the hardened spray and other bits.  Now every time the bathroom mirrors fog up I do a quick swipe with my a small spray of window cleaner and, wha lah!  An effortless clean every time.

To Splenda or not to Splenda?

Splenda Logo Vs.

That was the question posed at breakfast a few Sundays ago by a close friend of mine and Greg's.  I had ordered coffee and immediately opened a packet of Splenda to add to it.  When Chris asked me why I used Splenda, I hesitated and said, "because I hardly have to use any in order to get the sweet taste I desire in my morning coffee".  Embarrassingly I hadn't comprehended the fact that I had opened and used a packet of artificial sweetener in front of a sugar beat farmer.  That is like making mashed potatoes from a box in front of my potato farming husband!  NOT a good plan...

I had always wondered how Spenda was made and if it truly was safe but had consciously decided to be ignorant and not look it up.  I truthfully didn't want to know because I liked the taste and the fact that it was 600 times sweeter than sugar.  I had consciously decided to be an uneducated consumer who bought into the marketing effects of Splenda.

Chris later went on to tell me that he had learned that Splenda was created by washing sugar in a bath of chlorine.  Of course I was shocked by his claim, but decided that it was finally time to do my own research on the product that had claimed it was made from sugar.  Here is what I found.

I went to impartial websites and to Splenda's website to do my research.  In conclusion I discovered that Splenda is made "through a patented, multi-step process that starts with sugar and converts it to a no calorie, non-carbohydrate sweetener. The process selectively replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms."   I further read that "Chlorine is a natural part of salt, which is found in many foods, like lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, melons, and peanut butter, and chlorine is added to most public water supplies. Chlorine is also a part of more complex molecules found in such things as lentils, peas, and potatoes. It is a part of daily life. In the case of sucralose, its addition converts sucrose to sucralose, which is essentially inert. The result is an exceptionally stable sweetener that tastes like sugar, but without sugar's calories. Sucralose isn’t broken down for energy, and is not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate".  

In conclusion, I have decided that, although it has been deemed safe and not harmful to any functioning systems in the body, I don't like the idea of putting something in my body that it doesn't recognize.  (not to mention there are only 15 calories per teaspoon in sugar) That is my own personal decision and I do not judge anyone that does use Splenda.  In fact, I still have a lot of packets in my household and will try to use them up slowly over time.  A little in my coffee for a sweet treat some days or I could use it on cooked carrots with a little butter like my mother-in-law does.  One of my brother-in-laws calls this carrot dish "carrot crack" because it is so tasty.  

I feel good about the research I did and about becoming an informed consumer.  My question to you is this, "is there anything in your life that you are being ignorant about because you just don't want to know the truth or are too scared?"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tators in Sullivan County

When I visited my husband Greg in the field the other day there was a photographer there taking pictures of them planting potatoes. I didn't ask questions but just gave the guys the the snack I had made for them (hot dogs stuffed with cheese and baked in a crescent roll) and went on my way. To my surprise Greg brought me a Sullivan County newspaper this morning with a picture of him holding seed on the front cover.

Apparently farming potatoes in this area isn't common and the newspaper was writing a story about the Walther Family Farm. It was really exciting to read the article and it was a really proud moment for Greg I'm sure. The only unfortunate part about it was that his hairdresser (me) hasn't given him a hair cut in over a month and, well, he looks a bit young in the picture :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's for dinner?

Have you ever had those nights where you just don't know what to cook? Well I do quite often and for the life of me I can't think of one darn thing that sounds good. If I don't have inspiration for what I'm making for dinner than I don't put love into it and the taste reflects that. One night while discussing my dinner rut with my sister she told me how she keeps dinner ideas at her finger tips. Every day she writes in her planner what she made or is going to make for dinner. If she ever has one of those nights where she can't think of what to cook, she references her calendar and gets inspired from a previous weeks meal. I loved her idea and started using it myself. I like using the monthly planner page to record my dinners so I can see all my previous dinners at a glance. Try it for yourself and never again have a "I just don't know what to cook" moment!

German Chocolate Cupcakes

My first memory of baking a cake was with my cousin and it was from a box. We were probably 16 years old and the cake was a disaster. It was completely uneven and the looked quite inedible. I wasn't sure if I could ever recover from that but finally, after almost 20 years, I have succeeded in baking a cake. I started small with cake mix from a box and frosting from a tub. After my cousin and I succeeded in baking and constructing that I decided I was finally ready to tackle the big one...cake from scratch. Of course I didn't start with a simple white cake or yellow cake, oh nooo, I started with German Chocolate cake. (my husbands favorite) In honor of my brother-in-laws birthday I decided to make them into cupcakes that are portable for my farming family. This multi step cake included steps on the stove top for both the cake and frosting. With all of the work and love that went into them I was just praying they would turn out and, to my surprise, they did! The guys loved and devoured all of them. All I can say is Go Me! Now I have to decide what to tackle next...

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-pecan Frosting
Yield: 16 servings; Prep Time: 30 minutes (Ready in 2 hours 50 minutes)
From "Pillsbury Best Desserts"

This cake takes its name from the German brand sweet cooking chocolate with which it was developed

4oz. sweet cooking chocolate, cut into pieces
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk*
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup margarine or butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour three 9-inch round cake pans.  In small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate with water; cool

2. In large bowl, combine 2 cups sugar and 1 cup margarine; beat until light and fluffy.  Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in chocolate mixture.  Add all remaining cake ingredients; beat at low speed until well combined.  Pour batter into greased and floured.

3. Bake at 350 F for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centered comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes.  Remove from pans.  Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.

4. In medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup margarine and 3 eggs; mix well.  Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; stir in coconut, pecans and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Cool 30 minutes or until completely cooled.

5. Place 1 cake layer, top side down, on serving plate.  Spread with 1/3 frosting.  Repeat with remaining cake layers and frosting, ending with frosting.

*Tip: To substitute for buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to make 1 cup