Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club

Kalanchoes + a Cyclamen.
'Twas a dull, grey and stormy day.  Almost dreary enough to have me grateful I was indoors, at a trade show, (almost) vs. outdoors, doing what I do best. (Nothin' much!)

Seeing as how it's the depths of winter, I've started a Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club. Oh, not one of those ultra spendy ship 'em from the grower via Fed Ex schemes. Those are delightful and, truth be told, I would much prefer that ~ provided someone else is paying for it.
No, no, my Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club come from the local supermarket. Tiny pots of Kalanchoes plus a misfit Cyclamen on sale for $3.99 (like I'm gonna pass that up...)

Kalanchoe Growing Tips:
They love warmth and sun and pretty dry soil. (Because, you see, they are succulents.) They do not appreciate fertilizer. Flower best when root bound. Will re-bloom every year on a sunny window sill. Pronounced Kah - lan - ko - eeee.....

Instagram pics are taken on the fly, with my iPhone. {Plz forgive the poor quality.} These are the little pretties currently gracing my kitchen window. How are you keeping cheerful this winter? Got any cool plants to share?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: 20 Feet to Stardom!


I sooooo hope it wins! It was amazing!

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Fresh Out of Luck

Geez I hate it when I'm being tested. I doubt anyone relishes these times, though it's not like we can escape them. Such instances happen to all of us, even the very lucky. Those times when it feels as if we've used up every ounce of luck we have and we're running on empty.

There are lots of times when I feel like I'm super lucky. Blessed, even. Though not lately.

In fact, earlier today, I planned to sit down and blog a bit, take my mind off my troubles vs. focus on them. But, I accidentally sliced my index finger on an envelope and it has been bleeding like you wouldn't believe. Bandage after bandage. For a paper cut? Sheesh I can't even have a normal, run of the mill injury these days?

I put in a new furnace. Had to. No choice. They haven't even billed me for it, yet. So, imagine my dismay when I got the call that a pipe had frozen, and burst, and it's deep down in the frozen ground and I can't even find anybody to fix it.

Yet another thing going wrong during this month of wrong things... & I handled it oh, so, immaturely. I walked into my bedroom, where the cat looked all comfy and cozy, and I thought to myself: Now that's not a bad idea. So, I curled up with the cat, and wished the entire world would disappear.

It did not. Disappear, that is. But, it is kind of remarkable how a little nap can put a whole new perspective on a very dark day.

Orchids, Azaleas, & a cute little Christmas Cactus
As I sit here contemplating my troubles I'm realizing there's really only one way to go from here. And, that's up. It's not like anything else could go wrong. Seeing as how everything already has.

Hopefully soon, the black cloud hanging over this house of problems, will catch a breeze and move on down the road.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just hunker down and enjoy my winter [indoor] garden.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Wile E. Coyote, Jr.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Nasty Ass Flu

 That nasty ass flu that everyone is so worried about getting? Well, it got a hold of me and I've been lying in bed all afternoon, playing computer games and dreaming about Downton Abbey.

 Wouldn't life be grand if all I had to do was ring a bell, by my bedside, and a member of the [imaginary] kitchen staff would scurry upstairs, delivering Lady Kate some hot tea with lemon + honey?

Yup, I could definitely go for a lady's maid. And, a stable hand!

Sick as I was, I knew I had to check the temperature because we're stuck in the middle of a perfectly horrid & bitterly cold weather pattern. And, I'm Mom to 2 horses who need me.

Sure enough, it was already 2 below zero. Which is unbelievably cold around these parts. And, destined to drop to 10 below zero by midnight. With no snow cover ~ which serves as a thermal blanket ~ there will be some serious winter kill in my flower garden.

So, I pulled on my coat and schlepped my aching body over to the horse corral to bundle them up for the evening.

And, boy were they excited to see me!

Typically, when people work with horses, they put a halter on them and tie them up to something so they can't run away. But, I don't do that. I figure if I'm going to all the trouble of paying you a visit and bringing you a nice, warm blankie, the very least you can do is behave.

They didn't move a muscle while I bundled them up. Still as statues while I buckled them into their toasty warm coats. I was so proud of my girls!

Then I bee-lined it back to my own toasty warm blankets and here I shall stay until the weather warms and the flu says bye-bye.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Sunny Room

Orchids in the kitchen window
 Oh, yay... The deep freeze of last week is over. Winter has released us from it's icy grip. It's 32 toasty degrees and I'm feeling like I'm in the midst of a heat wave!

If you've visited my humble blog before, you might remember that there are big mountains outside this kitchen window. But, you couldn't see them last week. Heavy frost covered the window panes, climbing ever higher as temperatures plunged toward zero.

I probably handle winter better than most but I gotta say... when I saw that it was warmer in Alaska than it was in Utah? Well, that made me a tad cranky!

At the onset of our sub-zero days, I grabbed the warm coats from the tack room and marched up the hill toward the horse corral.

Sable, my sweet Appaloosa, (black) who can't seem to grow a thick winter coat, whinnied happily and trotted toward me. Meg, my other mare who fluffs out like a polar bear, (red) ran the other way.

There is a great debate in the horse world about whether to blanket or not to blanket. They don't need blanketing! Scream the know-it-alls ~ of which there are many and why are those folks always so loud and bitchy? The deer don't wear blankets so why should the horses?

Yeah, well, the deer probably would if they could. That's my point of view. As humans, aren't we here to make our animal's lives a little easier? During a lingering cold snap, I bundle up both of my beloved horses. And, in spite of Ms. Megan putting up a little fuss, both seem quite grateful for the added warmth.

Bad Dog resting in the Sunny Room
So, what do you do to avoid cabin fever? I cleaned this shack, from top to bottom! I even cleaned the nooks and crannies that most people never see!

I feel proud enough to let you take a peek: This is my sunny room. I can't call it a sun room since it is also my living room.

Sweet little Christmas Cactus
Even on the coldest of days, the sun pours in through these windows and the temperature hits 75 or 80 degrees. Everybody naps in here. Dog, cats... even me!

Azaleas happy to be on the inside, looking out.
Everything flourishes in the sunny room. Azaleas, Calla Lilies, Orchids, Poinsettias. Even boring stuff, like lettuce and onions, basil and cilantro. (Because when it's this cold, I make a lot of soup.)

Yep, that's a dead Hydrangea blossom posing behind this multi-colored (and old as the hills) Poinsettia. Long story about how that got there... suffice to say I saw a sale. Long after I should be buying transplants for an autumn garden.

Anyhoo, that's pretty much all that's happening around this joint. What's new and interesting with you?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cauliflower Tater Tots

Oven Roasted Cauliflower Tater Tots
I made a commitment in 2012, to drop a pound a month. I didn't succeed, though I got pretty close! I lost 10 pounds and it has made a world of difference in my energy level.

Diets don't work, at least not for me, but sadly admitting what it is that makes me fat? Well, that seemed to do the trick this year. Because it's not the cakes and cookies that create a problem for me. It's the bread. And, potatoes. I'm slowly evolving into a potato. I get rounder and plumper every year. :(

So that's what inspired me to get creative with veggies. This recipe, which was adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, is about half the calories of regular tater tots and it tastes better than the potato version! At least, I think so.

Cauliflower Tater Tots
1 large head cauliflower
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Deer Valley Oomph*

Begin by turning that head of cauliflower into 'rice.' Pop this raw veggie into a food processor and chop it up very fine, into teeny tiny rice-like pieces. If you live in the desert southwest (like I do) the air will dry out the cauliflower bits rather quickly. In more humid climates, spread the little cauliflower bits onto a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture.

And, then... Put the Cauliflower rice into a bowl, whisk an egg, pour that onto the cauliflower, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Using your hands, shmoosh these goodies into tater tot shapes. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake @400 degrees (F.)

* TIP: Do not use low fat, low sodium cheese.  That's just bad, bad stuff. Fat and sodium contribute mightily to the flavor and texture of cheese. If you want to go that route, skip the cheese altogether. (I worked for Healthy Choice for many years and I know a thing or two about what goes into that crap.)

** Deer Valley Oomph is a southwestern seasoning that gives veggies a great flavor kick. I live in Park City, just down the road from Deer Valley Ski Resort, so this is an easy seasoning for me to find. If you're looking to create your own, try something like this:

Southwestern Seasoning Ingredients: 
  • 1/4 cup EACH: chili powder and onion powder 
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: ground cumin, ground coriander, dried oregano, dried basil, & garlic powder.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Baby Dendrobium

Baby Dendromium Orchid, 
basking in the afternoon sun. 
(She's hanging in a wooden pot.)

So, how's everybody coming on those New Year's Resolutions?

At Starbucks, yesterday, I announced to Beverly that I was resolving to become a better person. She laughed. "You said that last year! And, the year before that!" Yeah, well, maybe I should resolve to have coffee with strangers who aren't so hip to my tricks.

Not much happening around this joint ~ other than an intense bout of cabin fever since it's zero degrees out there.

Stay warm, my friends.

TIP: Dendrobiums like more sun + more consistent moisture than the Phalaenopsis Butterfly Orchids that you see for sale in supermarkets & Homer Depot.

I put the Instagram logo on certain pictures, because I'm taking them with my iPhone, so they're not really up to snuff with the typical photos you see on the blog. I'd hate for you to think I'm a lousy photographer... :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays: New Year's Visitors

  They show up every winter. Hang out in the meadow behind my house. Scares my dog half to death. And, sometimes me, too! :)

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