Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tucson Bound

Each year I take a couple days at the end of January, first of February to visit Tucson Arizona. It's the time of year to buy all the jewelry components I need to make jewelry from my handmade glass beads. A technique called Lampworking.

This year we'll take a couple of new girls with us, one from a town just west of me, and another from the area where I work.

Tucson provides silver, stringing materials, gemstones, crystals, etc. I incorporate all that into my jewelry, but the most important part of the trip is to get with like minded people, share creativity and fun. This group of ladies are all very laid back. I love them, they are all lighthearted, don't get their panties in a bunch about anything, you can just be yourself and enjoy your time with them.

We'll spend our time in Tucson this year. Generally we rent a huge suite in a hotel in Phoenix, then drive to Tucson every day to avoid the high cost of hotels in the area saturated with people coming to Tucson for the Gem and Mineral shows.

The first day is always spent at The Best Bead Show where lampwork artists from all over the world gather in Kino Veteran's memorial Center in Tucson to display their art. It is so inspiring. Most are kind, friendly and enjoy talking to you about what they are doing, or to greet you and welcome you back for another year.

It's a good time of great company, warm weather and great food. We spend this time away from the Midwest to get some much needed sun......the rest is just secondary, it seems.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicken Breasts with Cranberry Cherry Sauce

This was really good, we used boneless skinless chicken breasts, son and husband asked for me to keep this one and do it again.

Chicken Breasts with Cranberry Cherry Sauce
Start to finish: 20 minutes (20 minutes active)

Servings: 6


12-ounce package fresh cranberries

1/2 cup Port

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup dried sour cherries

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

11/2 pounds thinly sliced turkey breast cutlets

1 tablespoon olive oil


In a medium saucepan over medium-high, combine the cranberries, Port, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the water. Bring to a boil. Simmer until the cranberries burst, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the dried cherries and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, in a shallow dish, combine the flour, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Coat both sides of the turkey cutlets with the flour mixture.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the cutlets and cook until lightly browned on both sides and no longer pink at the center, about 2 minutes per side. Serve cutlets topped with cranberry-cherry sauce.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 324 calories; 28 calories from fat (9 percent of total calories); 3 grams fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 milligrams cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 6 g fiber; 419 mg sodium.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Books: How I love books

I am currently listening to "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. It was recommended by a reader at work, she and I like the same type books.(We both loved 'The Help').

This book happens to be an autobiography about a poor 'colored' woman. (directly from the book, not MY words) She died in 1951 at the age of 30 from cervical cancer. Her tumor cells were the first ever to be grown outside the body in a laboratory, allowing clinical advances in the treatment of cervical cancer, aids, polio and countless other diseases or anomolies. Her cells continue to live today in labs all over the world, she's been dead 60 years!

The story is interesting because the patient was not included in the decision to donate her cells, due to unscrupulous handling of her health information her name became public in connection to those cells called HeLa cells. This is where it gets convoluted.

Her family was in shock and disbelief when they learned. I urge you to get this book and read it, then if you are able to make a donation to the Henrietta Lacks foundation.

It has sparked a great deal of discussion on ethics, HIPPA, medical insurance, research, etc. If you belong to a book club this might be a great book for discussion.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recipe Friday Jan. 7, 2011

Made this for the nieces and nephews over the New Year, it's good. If you get little sugar lumps in this, strain it through a strainer. It will be fine.

Made this on 12/18/10, and 12/31/10 it is fabulous
• 2-½ cups Brown Sugar
• 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk - 14-ounce Can
• ½ cups Butter
• 1 teaspoon Vanilla
• ¾ cups Whole Milk

Mix the sugar and condensed milk together in medium saucepan, and cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved completely. Set aside.
Melt the butter in another small saucepan, and stir in the vanilla and milk. Leave to simmer on low heat until mixture is smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Slowly stir the butter mixture into the sugar mixture and leave to stand 3 to 5 minutes until mixture becomes thick.
Drizzle over apple crisp and vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!!

Pour caramel leftovers into a glass jar and store in refrigerator. Or grab a spoon and dig in!! It’s DIVINE! You’ll never buy another jar of caramel again!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1/1/11: Way to start the new year!!!! New Kitchen Cabinets

Our house is almost 9 years old now, the cabinets that were in the house when we ordered it are not the highest quality. They have served their purpose, but are not functional for me and how I use my kitchen. Today we visited a local lumber company to look at cabinets, peruse the hardware and try to wrap our brains around how we want the lay out, what to include for amenities, etc. I think we are on the way to making a decision. Next is measuring the space. We'll take it back, get the estimates and wait for a sale. It will be a huge undertaking, but I can't stand it anymore the way it is laid out now.

The existing cupboards are trying to come apart, the finish is wearing off and the layout isn't conducive to efficient use of the space.

I've thought and re-thought it for a long time now, it's time to get it cemented into my brain, on paper and get moving.