Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Girl Can Cook!

A few months ago I purchased a Living Social deal for a two hour cooking class at Urban Kitchen on Cherry Street. I attended class this week to learn how to make one of my favorite foods, gnocchi!

Chef Candace Conley and her assistant, Natalia, were both very warm and welcoming. There were only five people enrolled, so we each had plenty of opportunity to assist in the preparation of the ingredients. The potato gnocchi were prepared with a green onion sauce, as well as butter and sage sauce.

Candace did an excellent job of demonstrating how easy gnocchi are to make. Before class, I thought "I'll enjoy the class, but will probably never make them at home." After class, my thought was "I'm making these tomorrow and freezing a batch!" They are easy, peasy.

Here are the gnocchi in the browned butter and sage sauce.
And the gnocchi being added to the green onion sauce. The stockpot behind the skillet is full of the boiling water for cooking the gnocchi.

Natalia told us that they refer to gnocchi as "little pillows of love." I happen to think that is a great description for these delicious tidbits.

We left class with these recipes, an Urban Kitchen apron, and the knowledge and confidence to make gnocchi at home.

Thanks, Candace and Natalia for a fun, educational evening. I'll be back soon for another class!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Happy

I go out to breakfast once or twice a week, prior to running errands or whatever else is on my schedule for the day. This morning I went to Old School Bagel, which is one of my favorite places on Brookside.

Here's the conversation at the counter, when I stepped up to order:

Me: "Good morning." 
Employee: "Good morning, how are you?"
Me: "I'm happy, thanks!" 
Employee (with a strange look): "You're happy?"
Me: "Yes, I'm happy!"
Employee: "Good for you!"

We then discussed how, if you set your mind to it, it's easy to be positive and happy every day because life is too short and most irritations really aren't worth the effort.

So, how about you? Are you happy?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Seen in Tulsa Traffic

I drove up behind this rig earlier in the week.

Let me give you a close-up of the sign.

I guess their motto is a variation of the old saying,
"Anything a man can do, a woman can do better."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hey, You Took My Fence!

Many years ago, between our house and the neighbor to the south, a new privacy fence was installed next to an old chain link fence.
Both old fences were removed today.
Hello, Neighbor.
Tonight, The Husband is digging up the "volunteer" tree roots that grew between the two fences.
 We've contacted our tree guy about getting this old stump (that we didn't know was there - bonus!) ground out.
More photos of this project tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heat and Shirtless Men

There are a lot of bad things happening as a result of this heat wave across the USA. Crops are failing, ranchers are having to sell off their cattle because they can't feed or water them, wildfires blaze out of control due to the dry conditions, highway surfaces buckle because of the unreleating heat and many men cease to wear shirts when working outside!

This is a major issue for me, people! It's not like these men (or the ones I've seen all over town) are young, fit and tan, with 6 pack abs. Oh, no. They are middle aged, lumpy (or worse) and pasty white. Particularly disturbing are those whose bellies droop south over their waistbands.

I understand it is a free country and men can go shirtless because society does not think a man without a shirt is obscene, even though a woman without a shirt would be considered so. If you think it is so hot that you cannot wear a tee shirt, I suppose I could grant you a summer time allowance to wear a wife beater shirt, even though I hate those shirts and their name. Still, it would be better to see you in one of those than with your belly hanging out.

My plea is for those men who go shirtless is to cease and desist. Please. My eyes can't take much more of this! Take the pledge! I did.

Heat Pledge:
I hereby do solemnly pledge to keep my middle aged, lumpy, droopy self covered with clothing despite the heat. Amen.

Managing The Basement

I spent yesterday morning working in our nine zone basement. Zones are:

1) Laundry
2) Wrapping Station
3) Food & Household Goods Storage
4) Yard Sale Storage
5) Seasonal/Holiday Decoration Storage
6) Cindy's Cupboard Storage
7) The Husband's Workbench/Small Tool Storage
8) Family File Storage
9) Remainder of The Husband's Mother's belongings (primarily photos & paperwork).

Yes, I'm that person who has nine zones in the basement. Don't you?

Given that we live in Oklahoma, I am grateful that we have a basement. Most Oklahoma homes do not have them, even though we live right smack dab in the middle of tornado country. Why? Who knows. But, I'm happy our house has one!

Since opening Cindy's Cupboard, I have purchased a number of holiday decorations at estate and garage sales -- St. Patrick's Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have not placed out of season holiday decorations in Cindy's Cupboard, but brought them home to the basement.

I decided that I will store newly purchased decorations near my existing decorations during the year. Approximately 3 months prior to the holiday, I will evaluate the entire collection to determine what I will keep for home use and what I will put in the Cupboard for sale 2 months prior to the holiday.

Yesterday's effort was to ensure all the holiday items were grouped together and stored with the existing decorations. Come September 1st, I'll be able to "pull the trigger" on Halloween decorations.

I love it when my basement is organized!

How do you manage your holiday decorations?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thrifted Glass Fruit & Vegetables

I've managed to put together this bowl of glass fruit and vegetables by attending three different estate sales. I didn't pay more than $1.50 for any one piece and I already had the bowl and aluminum tray.
I just figured out I've had the bowl for 34 years. How in the world did that happen?
Pretty, isn't it?

I'm joining Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality. Come on over and join the party.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Go West Restaurant & Saloon

The Husband and I had old friends over this weekend for a glass of wine and an appetizer, before heading out for dinner.

None of us had tried Go West Restaurant & Saloon, located at 6205 New Sapulpa Road, but all of us had heard good reports about it, so off we went to experience it for ourselves!

The inside of the restaurant is spacious and comfortable. I hate when tables are so close that you inadvertantly knock into the chairs of other diners and overhear their conversations (and they overhear yours). That is not the case here.

They advertise their food as "Contemporary Cowboy Cuisine" and I would have to agree. Their menu is full of traditional food, with a contemporary twist.

Our friends ordered the Iron Seared Salmon and the Chicken Fried Steak and raved about both of them. I had the Chicken & Dumplings, which were interesting because it was a grilled chicken breast with gnocchi. It was good, and I would order it again even though it was not my grandma's chicken & dumplings! The Husband ordered the Honey Fried Chicken, which was too sweet for him. It was good, but not to his taste.

The restaurant was full, but our service was good. Bobby had only been on the job for 2 days and did a great job taking care of us.

We will definitely return to Go West and sample more menu items. Perhaps next time, we'll eat in the saloon portion of the place. It sure did look inviting!

If you are looking for a new place to try, I recommend Go West!


Our bedroom has 10 windows. Ten. 10.

Six of the windows face west. Six. 6.

West! WEST! Where it's 110°!

Needless to say, the blinds on those six windows have been fully drawn for weeks. Recently, I've also started drawing the blinds on the four north/south windows, because it is So. Blasted. Hot!

All the blinds closed makes for a lovely, dark environment in which to sleep.




I'm planning to close the blinds in the guest room and the office beginning tomorrow. Anything I can do to help the air conditioner will be a good thing, since it is running approximately 20 hours a day!

What are you doing to beat the heat?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Lazy Morning

Sometimes I declare a lazy morning, stay in my pjs, take the newspaper and my mac back to bed and turn on The View, followed by The Young and The Restless.

Today is a lazy morning!

How about you, do you sometimes indulge yourself in this manner?

If you don't, I highly recommend it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

This & That

Where have I been and what have I been doing? A little of this and a little of that!

I'm spending a lot of time working on Cindy's Cupboard, which makes sense because it's a new venture. I will tell you that going to multiple garage and estate sales daily, plus lugging merchandise to the antique mall in this lovely Oklahoma heat is draining. Very draining. Additionally, setting the displays in the booth is physical labor. Reminds me of my first job at TG&Y. Setting counters is hard work!

The Husband and I ate out both Friday and Saturday night last week. I think the whole effort of cooking at home was too much for us in the heat.

The Sister had to take her youngest daughter to a birthday party on Saturday and she asked me to keep her oldest daughter. Miss Alison wanted to redeem an IOU I had given her on Valentine's Day. The IOU was for either a movie, a shopping trip, or a trip to the playground. I took her to Cindy's Cupboard to add a few pieces of merchandise and then off we went to a movie, Cars 2, which was cute and funny. Afterwards, we went shopping at Hobby Lobby and purchased a couple of art projects, one for her and one for her sister.

Sunday afternoon The Husband and I drove to Lake Keystone looking for blue green algae, but didn't see any.

Early Sunday evening, The Sister cooked dinner for her daughters, us and Mom. It was very tasty. I'm going to have to try her chicken recipe, which was like a home made "Shake N Bake."

On our way home, we stopped at one of our favorite Tulsa restaurants, The Brasserie, to say good-bye and good luck to Chef Justin Thompson. Justin will be opening Juniper at 3rd and Elgin in a couple of months. We can't wait to dine there and experience his skill in developing new recipes to delight the palate!

So, what have you been up to?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oneida's Queen Bess Silverplate Pattern

A couple of months ago, my mom gave me custody of my paternal grandmother's silverplate service. They had not been used in years (and years), so I cleaned them up and immediately used them in tablescapes here, here and here.

I tried a few times to identify the pattern, but with no success. (I think I made myself cross eyed a couple of times looking at so many patterns on-line!) In the tablescape posts, I always noted that I did not know the pattern name and needed to research it.

One of the great things about the internet is it connects you with people who know stuff you don't know! Bella commented on one of the posts and told me that she thought the pattern was Queen Bess, because she had the same pattern from her mother. Sure enough, I looked on-line for Oneida's Queen Bess pattern and it is the same as my grandmother's pattern.

This post is to thank my new friend Bella for identifying the pattern for me. I really, really appreciate your help!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Tablescape & Dinner

I threw together a quick 4th of July tablescape this afternoon. I started by layering one of my United States map tablecloths over the white one already on the table.

I used our Syracuse China restaurant plates. What could be more American than diner plates?
I added a flag motif paper plate along with the matching napkin.
I wanted to use my blue goblets, but I only had four and I needed five. My solution? Mix and match with red goblets!
I had the same issue with my corn on the cob dishes. I have four in the Star of David glass pattern and four in Shawnee Corn. So, again I mixed and matched those, as well as the butter dishes.
In the center of the table is a red, white and blue glass ice bucket, paired with pewter candlesticks. I must remember to pick up some blue candles!
We had ribs, macaroni salad, corn on the cob and fresh sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Yummy! I believe the ribs, hands down, were the best The Husband has ever smoked.
There was face painting.
There were sparklers.
There was a spirted session of "Red Light/Green Light" and, of course, we watched the big Riverparks fireworks show. A very good time was had by all!

How was your 4th?

USA Tablecloth: Christmas gift from The Husband
Syracuse China plates: Flea Market (owned by The Husband before our marriage)
Utensils: Paternal Grandmother's Silverplate
Red, White & Blue paper plates & napkins: Estate Sale
Shawnee Corn corn holders: eBay
Star of David glass corn holders: antique mall years ago
Blue Goblets: Goodwill
Red Goblets: Won in a BNOTP contest
Red, White & Blue ice bucket: Estate sale
Candlesticks: Flea Market (owned by The Husband before our marriage)

Happy 4th of July!

I Stayed Up Late To Make This:

Mom's Macaroni Salad.

It's going to taste great this July 4th!

Have fun and be safe.