Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Breakfast Casserole in the Rice Cooker

I had to try it!  I make a breakfast casserole that is really good, but wanted to know if I can make it in my Rice Cooker, rather than turn on the oven in the summer.  It worked well.

Rice Cooker Breakfast Casserole

serves four

4-5 C frozen has brown shredded potatoes
½ C cooked bacon broken up (I keep cooked bacon in the freezer for on demand cooked bacon)
6 eggs
½ C milk
3 T water
Butter bottom of rice cooker (and I tossed in a few dabs of butter just for the heck of it)
Toss in the shredded potatoes
Sprinkle bacon on top
Scramble eggs and milk and water
Pour over bacon and taters in rice cooker
Hit cook.   When it pops up, the eggs aren't quite done. I added another 3 T water and hit cook again.  Still not quite done, but I let the lid on while it was on keep warm, came back in 10 mins and it was cooked.
I sprinkled some cheese on top and let the lid on for it to melt the cheese a few more mins.
It's great!  No oven, no and no fuss! 
I may have been able to just leave the lid on and not hit cook again to let them cook, I will try that next time (tomorrow).
You can also sprinkle cooked sausage on this too if you prefer.

When I have a bunch over, I will just get out my other rice cooker and make two batches.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Travel tip for jewelry

If you are traveling with necklaces, bracelets and anklets that could get tangled...string them through a straw and latch them around it.  You can cut the straw to fit your anklets and bracelets. 
 Lewis N. Clark Toothbrush Holder, Smoke
If your charms allow, you can also slide these into a toothbrush holder to keep them all straight.  You won't have to waste precious sight seeing time untangling your jewelry!  (The toothbrush holder may even prevent theft, who wants to steal someone's toothbrush!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Preserving your vacation memories

This is a cute project for the kids, or even the adults!

You can keep vacation memories a little stronger a little longer with vacation memory jars. Filled with souvenirs collected on trips and pictures developed afterward, they are like little worlds that can be visited again and again. Kids can also add to them or rearrange them anytime they like. Bent wire can be used to lower and position objects in a thin-necked jar.

 here are a few more vacation jars I found online.
 If you travel often, you could have one for every trip! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Running A 5K (finally)

I have talked about this many times and now the gym I work at is offering a training session to help us in a 5K run in August.  My sister and I signed up for it.  It will be fun and spending time with my sister is a plus, we are close but our busy lives usually only allow for keeping in touch with phone calls and emails and occasional visits.  We also have a few friends who can't do the program but plan to run the race with us, so it will be fun, not to mention the trainers and the other's in the training group running the race, there will be plenty of support.

I have some great running books, I have mentioned them before.  Run for your Life was the first one I ever read, and it helped me to realize, I was running all wrong.It shows you how to run,  what shoes to wear etc.

Another great book on Beginner Running I have is The Runner's World Book of Beginning Running.  This is jam packed with what to eat and drink when doing a running program, and includes running training programs.  I also have a few more books, runners world magazine and books are mostly geared toward teaching you the ins and outs of running. It even has what to eat if you are dieting while running, because the fuel is very important so you have to eat right, but you can eat to lose, not to mention running is one of the fastest ways to drop weight off your butt and thighs!

Below are three of my all time favorite running books.  You can get them on Amazon pretty cheap and free shipping if you buy all three. (I think its 25.00 you have to spend to get the free shipping, its how I buy most of my books)


Free Martha Stewart Grilling Cookbook


Monday, June 21, 2010


 I've just discovered Nasturtiums. What the heck took me so long?   I can't believe I never noticed them before.  I was looking for something new for my herb garden, and  I got one at a garden center last week, its in the ground and already flowering!  I love it.  Not only can you eat the flowers, leaves and seeds (the seeds are larger than a peppercorn and can be ground and used as them), but they are great for keeping away garden pests (squash bugs and cucumber beetles, which we have had trouble with in the past.)

 I found this article on a site called Old Fashioned Living.  There is some great info on Nasturtiums here.

Nasturtium Flowers - How to Grow and Use Nasturtiums

By Brenda Hyde
Nasturtium plants were discovered in the jungles of Peru and Mexico in the 16th century. I can't say enough about them--they are easy to grow, edible, cheerful and they are great companion plants as well! Nasturtiums help deter aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and other pests. Plant them with tomatoes, radishes, cabbage, cucumbers, and under fruit trees. They come in vibrant colors, or muted tones-variegated leaves or plain-and some are fairly dwarfed while others can be used as a vine, climbing five foot or more!
The first time I read about growing nasturtiums the writer did not seem overly enthused about them, except as a flower that would lure the aphids away from other plants. While this is true, I have come to love nasturtiums for so many other reasons. They are a bright and cheerful flower that can be grown in containers, the vegetable garden or flower beds.

Nasturtiums grow quickly from seed and one packet is plenty. I've found most packets have about 25 seeds. Space your seeds 8-12 inches apart in the ground, and a little closer in containers. In zones with freezing temperatures wait until after the frost, and in the mild southern climates they can even be planted in the fall for "winter" blooming. I've found the trick with nasturtiums is to keep them watered during the entire growing season. Especially when they are in containers. They love full sun, but they don't do well in drought-like conditions. As long as you keep them watered and give them room for the air to circulate they are a prolific flower. The soil shouldn't be too rich because you will get more leaves than flowers. The soil can even be slightly sandy and they will thrive. You can use barrel planters, window boxes or porch boxes too. Pick the blooms freely once they start coming, and you will have many more during the summer. I water mine once in awhile with the water from our fish tank, to give them a little boost. If you do notice aphids you can spray them with a safe soap, alcohol and water mixture. Remember, as with herbs, you don't want to use chemicals on your plants.

 Why do I consider nasturtiums an herb? Because the entire plant is edible! This peppery plant is perfect for salads, herb vinegars, appetizers and garnishes. Try mixing assorted greens such as romaine, radicchio, spinach and arugula with a handful of nasturtium blooms topped with your favorite dressing. Bake a batch of spice cupcakes, frostwith a cream cheese frosting and top with a single nasturtium bloom for a luncheon treat.

Nasturtium vinegar is wonderful as well. Add several blossoms and some leaves to a jar with a clove of garlic. Fill with vinegar and allow to sit for 4-5 weeks. I also like adding it to other herb vinegar combinations for a nice peppery addition and it colors the vinegar a lovely shade.

It's important to keep your nasturtiums free from any exposure to chemicals. They do trail and spread, and so be aware of this if anything nearby is treated. I think of them as a flowering spicy green, and grow them as such. The leaves and blooms can be added to any salad, used as garnish, or chopped into pasta salads.

The seeds were ground during World War II as a replacement for pepper and you can still do this. Wait for the seeds to dry-they are larger than peppercorns-and grind them in a grinder. You can add this mixture with herbs to make a savory herb salt as well. Store in tightly closed bottles.

The fresh seeds can be pickled as a type of substitution for capers, which are fairly expensive. After the blossoms wilt and form seed pods, pick the greenish pods off the plant for this recipe:


1 quart white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons pickling salt

1 thinly sliced onion

1/2 teaspoon each allspice, mace and celery seed

3 peppercorns

nasturtium seed pods

Keep the solution refrigerated in a sealed bottle and drop the seed pods into it as they are ready. Keep them refrigerated and later use in place of capers.

Nasturtium and Potato Soup

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 large sweet onion, finely chopped

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

25-30 nasturtium leaves, stems removed

4 cup chicken broth (or water)

1 1/4 cups milk

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

nasturtium blossoms for garnish
Melt the butter in a stock pot. Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and nasturtium leaves and continue cooking until the leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and milk to the stock pot. Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Serve garnished with fresh nasturtium blossoms. Makes 6 servings

Nasturtium Butter

1 pound butter, softened

1 quart nasturtium blossoms

juice of 1 lemon
In a food processor or blender add the butter, nasturtiums and lemon juice and process until completely mixed. Use on seafood or vegetables. You can also add minced garlic to this if you wish for a variation.

Nasturtium Mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp. finely minced garlic

2 tsp. coarsely chopped capers (or pickled nasturtiums)

1/3 tsp. grated lemon peel

2 tsp. chopped nasturtium leaves
Combine all ingredients well. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Use on seafood or on any sandwiches in place of regular mayonnaise.

Nasturtium Canapés

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

3 tablespoon finely chopped chives

3-5 tablespoons milk

2 loaves bread of your choice (see below)
Mix the cheese with the chives and 3 tablespoons of milk until smooth. If this is too thick add more of the milk. Using a serrated knife, trim your bread. You can use a baguette and slice thinly, leaving the crust. Or use a hearty wheat, honey wheat or even oatmeal bread and remove the crust then cut into small squares. Spread the cream cheese over your bread piece, not quite to the edges. At this point you can place on baking sheets and chill for up to 6 hours, or use immediately.

Pick your nasturtium blooms and gently rinse. Place one bloom on each piece of bread, or careful separate the petals and arrange in a design on top of the cream cheese. You can also add small herb leaves, such as thyme, oregano or chive stems to decorate. Serve your canapés on a pretty plate or platter lined with a paper doily. These are great for summer tea parties!

Related Features
More Nasturtium Recipes

Borage Blooms

Chives: Edible Blooms

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her
husband and three kids.  She is also editor of StandBesideHer.com and has a family friendly blog, On the Front Porch.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rice Cooker Creamy Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese

 I made this up using variations from several recipes from the rice cooker and pressure cooker.  Its great for a hot summer day when ya dont' want to cook...throw some hot dogs over the pasta before cooking and buns on the top tier (If you have the tiered steamers that is)
It takes less than 10 mins from start to finish!

Rice Cooker Creamy Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese

2 C macaroni
1-3/4 C water
1/4 c hot sauce

hot cook and stir occasionally
When it goes to keep warm (in about 5 mins time), right away, open lid and add 1/4 c milk, 2 T butter, 4 oz cream cheese, 1/4 c parmesan cheese, and 1 c cheddar cheese.  You may add extra hot sauce here if you would like.  Shut the lid and let it all heat up, hit cook if you want to speed the process, just stand there and stir often, its done in no time.

You can really play around with this.  Add any cheese you like, omit the hot sauce and sub water,  stir in cooked chicken if you like. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Effortless Pressure Cooking...Delicious Meals!

I have raved about my pressure cookers many times in the past. I have two of the Wolfgang Puck Pressure cookers (among other appliances of his that I adore).  The electric pressure cookers are no brainers....you toss it in, hit the cook cycle and its done in no time..no explosions...no problems ever!  Just perfectly cooked foods.  I never use broth in my soups and stews, I just use water and let the ingredients flavor the water, because they flavor is better than any broth couldmatch, and with no sodium!  You can throw it all in and leave the house, it goes onto keep warm when its done cooking and you can come home from sporting events or whatever, and your dinner is ready!  Pressure cooking is very healthy and fast too!

Well, Deb Murray, who is his right hand woman always comes out with amazing cookbooks with great recipes for his appliances.    I have all of her books, and just got her newest one, The Pressure Cooker Book. It's not available on Amazon, you must go to HSN to purchase this.  Get one while you can!  The Pressure Cooker Cookbook (link to it) 

Before I forget, she has a website that she has some of her recipes on. Cooking With Deb.  She also has a newsletter you can sign up for.  She has a blender cookbook too, that shows recipes for ice cream and such.  This gal is a genius!

 I will just name a few of the recipes she includes in her book...all look amazing, but I can't sit and type out all of them.
Pizza Soup, Potato Leek Soup, Lobster Asparagus Soup, Tomato Florentine, Chicken and Dumpling Soup, Pork and Apple Stew, Beef Bourguignon, Black eyed pea burgers, Warm Potato Salad, Spicy Chipotle Chicken Burrito, Turkey Ropa Vieja, French Dip Sandwiches, Corned Beef Reuben Sandwiches, Creme Caramel (like flan), Gluten Free Banana Bread, Chocolate Pots de creme, Orange Upside down Cake, Cheesecakes galore, including but not limited to Key Lime Cheesecake, White Chocolate Cheesecake, I could go on and on! 

Did I mention, Deb cooks very healthy!  She is a star!  I love this woman! Deb and her family are a big part of Wolfgang Puck's life.  Her beautiful daughter Nevar worked along side of Wolf at the Oscars!
I am always so proud to call Deb a friend!  To know her is to love her! 

A few of her other cookbooks....most are available on HSN...

Let's Celebrate with Debra Murray Wok Wonders Cookbook with Debra MurrayPanini & More with Debra Murray

Free Cookbook......California Olives

A great offer from California Olives....free cookbook. 

I am not sure what is in this, I just ordered mine...I am hoping for the fried olive recipe that I had at a local pub.  I hate olives, to be honest. lol.  But fried olives are out of this world....but then again, isn't anything fried good? ☺

There is a link to sign up for a free newsletter also that offers recipes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why having bee spray is important!

My husband and I argue all of the time about bee spray...because we don't use pesticides etc, but I arm myself with bee spray!  Bees are my worst nightmare...but this is a new use for bee spray!

Yes! I keep one of these at every entry door both in the house and in the shop. I am ALWAYS armed but who knows when........

You can see its not too heavy so you could carry one on your walks. Will stop hornets, dogs and two legged varmints in their tracks!! Jim

Wasp Spray

I know some of you own GUNS but this is something to think about...---

If you don't have a gun, here's a more humane way to wreck someone's evil plans for you. Did you know this? I didn't. I never really thought of it before. I guess I can get rid of the baseball bat.

Wasp Spray - A friend who is a receptionist in a church in a high risk area was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection. She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.

The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. She keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn't attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection. Thought this was interesting and might be of use.

On the heels of a break in and beating that left an elderly woman in Toledo dead, self defense experts have a tip that could save your life.

Val Glinka teaches self-defense to students at Sylvania Southview High School . For decades, he's suggested putting a can of wasp and hornet spray near your door or bed.

Glinka says, "This is better than anything I can teach them."

Glinka considers it inexpensive, easy to find, and more effective than mace or pepper spray. The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home, Glinka says "spray the culprit in the eyes". It's a tip he's given to students for decades.

It's also one he wants everyone to hear. If you're looking for protection, Glinka says look to the spray. "That's going to give you a chance to call the police; maybe get out." Maybe even save a life.

Please share this with all the people who are precious to your life

Did you also know that wasp spray will kill a snake? And a mouse! It will! Good to know, huh? It will also kill a wasp.!!!!

Thanks Christa for that great use!  I am going to get 10 more cans!

Coney Island Sauce

This is tried and true. My mom made this often. It was sold in her old boyfriend's sandwich shop and very popular. It is even good on salads with tortilla chips (a taco salad). He sold a lot of those also.
It's a huge batch, below is a broken down version of this same recipe.

You serve the burgers with stewed onions and this sauce and the hot dogs get raw onions, mustard and this sauce.  And of course, you steam the buns.

Coney Island Sauce
15 lbs ground beef

6 handfuls chopped onions

6 T chili powder

6 T garlic salt

3 6 oz cans tomato paste

3 8 oz cans tomato sauce

2 12 oz bottles chili sauce

5 c water

9 c water (yes, this is right)

12 T beef bullion

Cook burger, onion, chili powder and garlic salt,

brown together. Mash with potato masher.

Add tomato sauce, paste, chili sauce and 5 c water.

Boil additional 9 c water in separate container,

add bullion and dissolve.

Add to burger, simmer 1½ hours and add black pepper to taste.
Okay and here is the breakdown...
Coney Sauce Breakdown

5 lbs ground beef

2 handfulls chopped onions

2 T chili powder

2 T garlic salt

1 6 oz can tomato paste

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

8 oz bottled chili sauce

1¾ C water

3 C water (yes, this is right, lol)

4 T beef bouillon

Cook burger, onion, chili powder, and garlic salt, brown together.

Mash with potato masher or food processor.

Add tomato sauce, passte, chili sauce, and 1¾ C water.

Boil additional 3 C water in seperate pan, add bouillon and dissolve.

Add to burger, simmer 1½ hours and add black pepper to taste.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Coke Bottle Hummingbird Feeders (Pepsi, wine tequila, whatever ya got)

You can make your own hummingbird feeders very inexpensively  for less than 1.00 using a  cork stopper with a hummingbird tube in it. ( Below is where they are available for 10.94 for a pack of 12! and the link above takes ya there too )

Use up those CocaCola Bottles (or Pepsi if ya got em) and decorate the yard.  I love to have glass in my yard and have some blue Milagro Tequila bottles out there just for the color.  I also was given a tiny blue glass ball from a friend, and it looks so nice out there just sitting in a pot with some flowers.

The sky is the limit..they have screw on cap hummingbird feeder attachments if you have screw bottles you want to use.  There are links in My Favorite Things in the Garden section on my Amazon store to get parts to make them also.

Here are a few ideas I have come across.  I have some great feeders in my yard but had to make the coca cola bottle one, as coca cola is a reminder of my childhood, when they had the glass returnables.  (I am aware they have glass bottles now, but they are not as thick, or inexpensive)
This person made one with a bottle and a tube that drips. I would be refilling it constantly at my house and it would attact bees to the ground so I don't do this method, but its an option.  Just take a ice pick and punch a hole in the lid.  I am only posting it to show you ways to hang them in general.