Such a failure

Gotta admit it’s not the first time in my life, but I’ve fallen off of the healthy living wagon. Again.

I didn’t lose any weight this week, I perhaps even gained an ounce or two. Heavy sigh.  I’ve been eating lots of comfort food and not exercising every morning.  

But I’m not too worried about it.  Back at the old fitness routine starting today.  

Not promising anything about the food intake, though.  I’m making lasagna.  Three different varieties.  And it all must be tested before storing in the freezer for guests that will soon be arriving.  Did I mention that lasagna is my all-time favorite food? And even I can’t screw up lasagna!

And there will be some muffins baked up this weekend to join the lasagna on a freezer shelf.  That’s a standard breakfast item, along with fruit and yogurt, for overnighters here at Perfect.  We are busy, busy, busy plus our guests get up whenever they feel like it.  Again, the delicious fluffy homemade muffins must be tasted before storage.  Wouldn’t want to serve my friends and family sub par food!

It’s Terry’s mother’s 90th birthday party in a few weeks.   Family from throughout the country are making plans to attend the big event. And our out of town kids will be spending some time here.  So excited!

Also excited about the Three Sisters Springs open house tomorrow.  After kayaking there last weekend, I’m even more interested in how to help save our springs. Hope all my local readers plan to attend!

Candy Bowl

I don’t suppose this bowl of comfort food has anything to do with my diet dilemma!

 

Easy Peasy Halloween Pillow

Easy Peasy Halloween PillowOnce upon a time in a land far away, I hosted an annual Halloween bash.  And collected boxes and boxes of fun Halloween décor over the years.  But that was a different life.  We’ve only had one Halloween party at Perfect and that wasn’t even supposed to be a party.  It just turned into one and fortunately I had decorated for the season.  But this year, I wasn’t planning on even getting those boxes of orange and black out. 

Until I saw these creepy little mice from Martha Stewart.

Creepy Mice

And I had to make a pillow!  Which means I had to drag all those other boxes out to keep that pillow company!

Now you might think that it’s too late to make this before Halloween but this is an easy peasy pillow that anyone can throw together.

Here’s the link to get the creepy mice template.

I picked a couple of those mice out, cut a piece of freezer paper the size of printer paper – 8 ½” x 11”–then printed them to the paper side of freezer paper.  I ironed the freezer paper onto black felt.

Freezer Paper mice

My printer didn’t like the freezer paper this time and kind of crinkled it a little.

The heat on the freezer paper makes a temporary bond so you don’t even have to pin the template.  If it comes loose while you’re cutting, just iron it down again.

Then I cut out B O O from that same felt.

I had a 16” square pillow that needed a new cover and some flannel and a bit of orange cotton fabric in my fabric trunk. 

I cut the flannel 16” x 40”   (32” around + 1 1/2” seam allowance + 6 ½” for coverage on the back. ) This should give me a 15” square—I like the case to be tight on the pillow.

Press under ¼” on each short end.  Then press under another ½”.  Stitch 3/8” from both edges.

Just to mark the center of the fabric, bring the short ends together and press the fold.

Cut the orange fabric 15 ½” x 16”.

Press under ¼” on the 15 ½” sides.

Fold together to mark the center and press.

Place the wrong side of the orange fabric onto the right side of the main fabric with the pressed centers of both matching. Top stitch close to the side edges of the orange piece.

Easy Peasy Halloween Pillow

The hardest part was deciding how I wanted to arrange my appliques.

Easy Peasy Halloween Pillow

Then I stuck them to the orange fabric with fabric glue!

Easy Peasy Halloween Pillow

The fabric glue says to leave it sit for 2 – 4 hours.  I had places to go and people to see so I let it set for several hours. 

I could have left them like that because the fabric glue is permanent but decided to do some top stitching around the edges because I like the look.  Totally unnecessary.  (If you do stitch, make sure the glue is dry or it will make a mess! Not that I’ve ever experienced anything like that!)

Fold the main fabric in at the edge of the orange fabric and overlap the flaps over the square. This should measure exactly 15” square. Plus that seam allowance on top and bottom.

Pin top and bottom and sew ½” seams.  Trim the corners.

Easy Peasy Halloween Pillow

Turn right side out and stick that pillow form in!

Here’s Maggie thinking, hmmmm, mom just went upstairs with her camera.  There could be a biscuit or two in this for me!

Maggie

Maggie and Pillows

That pooch loves to pose!

 Easy Peasy and SO CUTE!

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

I have a confession to make – I love Ben & Jerry, no really. One thing I love about them most is that they make one of my all time favorite ice cream flavors – Chunky Monkey. Oh, yeah you know the one. Full fat banana flavored ice cream with chunks of chocolate and walnuts,… all it needs is a cherry and some whipped cream. Oops, I’m drooling on my keyboard. 

Problem is it’s just too, well, chunky,…on my backside. Seriously. I could eat the whole pint myself. I can fix that though, the chunky part – I’ll still eat the whole pint of this one. Only, I won’t have to run around the world twice to work it off. Come on I’ll show you.

Not So Chunky Monkey

1 lb Frozen Bananas (about 4 cups, or one tray, or 5 or 6 bananas…this is why I weighed this one out)

1/2 Cup Low Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk (about 1/2 can)

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Vanilla Paste * optional, not everybody has this in their cupboard.

1/3 Cup Walnuts chopped

3 or 4 Tbl Home Made Magic Shell, check out that post here

Step 1:

Step 1, Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

Get out all the goodies

Step 2:

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

Measure out those frozen banana slices. I buy bananas and keep them in the freezer in a ziploc  for smoothies.

Step 3:

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

In a food processor, add the bananas, milk, vanilla.

Step 4:

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

Give it all a whirl, pulse it so that all the pieces get a chance to be mashed up.

Step 4a:

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

There – now it’s a frozen treat. I can’t really call it ice cream – even though there’s cream in it. Hmmm

Step 5:

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

Get it into a freezer safe container. I like a stainless bowl because it freezes quick.

Step 5a:

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

Drizzle on some of that Magic Shell – you did see that post, didn’t you. On that post I showed you to put the chocolate on a plate and freeze to have larger crunchy bits to fold into ice cream. They’re good to have because the drizzles aren’t always thick enough to be considered ‘chunks’. Don’t forget to fold in those walnuts too.

Step 6:

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

Cover it with plastic wrap, right ON the ice cream so has to keep the bananas from being freezer-fied. Get it chilled until firm – at least a couple of hours.

Finale:

Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle, Not so Chunky Monkey

That’s it ! A Low Fat, high flavor and all around good-for-you treat. Not banana flavored ice cream – it’s actually bananas !!! So good – and still has an ice cream texture. Enjoy!

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

My friend Connie asked me if I wanted to join her on a kayaking adventure to Three Sisters Springs on Sunday along with her BFF Susie from Colorado and Susie’s daughter Mary Scott from California. 

YES!

There’s not a lot better then a day in Florida in October.  The only way to make it better is to spend that day on the water!

YES!

I lost my waterproof camera over a year ago while kayaking the Weeki Wachee.  I was very sad.  I’ve been planning on getting another one and did a bunch of research and picked up a Fujifilm XP70 on Saturday at Target.  I didn’t have much time to read the manual–I had it just long enough to charge up the battery and stick the SD card in.

And here’s some pics!  Very happy with my new little camera!

Mary Scott

This is Mary Scott. Second time kayaking, first time on the Crystal River and has never seen a manatee! So you know what she’s looking for!

The manatees come to the numerous springs for the warm water in the winter.  Most of them are still out in the Gulf but will headed back as soon as the weather starts cooling down.  But there are usually a few hanging out in the local waterways.  

Bridge

Here’s the bridge that we go under to get to the Springs.

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Connie’s our fearless leader and guides us through the barriers that keep the big boats out of the Springs.

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Very cool roots. I seem to take a lot of pictures of roots. And bridges.

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

So beautiful!

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Crystal clear water.

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Can see the sandy bottom plus all the little fish.

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Here’s Connie and Susie just chillin’.

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

That’s the Three Sisters Springs National Wildlife Refuge. You can see the boardwalk.

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Here’s a group shot of all of us. Yep, that’s my toes!

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

We’re headed out of the Springs area when a boat captain points out a manatee! Mary Scott is the first one to catch a glimpse. Incidentally, that guy in the water is from Russia and is filming the manatees for a movie!

There were several boats any many kayaks in the area but not too bad for a Sunday afternoon.  But as soon as someone spots a manatee—-

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Suddenly a crowd!

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Not just one manatee! Mama and baby!

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

Makes that new camera so worth it!

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

How about that for a spectacular view? Blue has always been my favorite color!

And one last pic just for grins….

Kayaking Three Sisters Springs

A Sail Canoe!

I want to remind everyone that Saturday is open house at the Three Sisters Springs.  You can catch a shuttle at Kings Bay Plaza on US 19 in Crystal River.  Paula Bateman, my friend from the acoustic meetup group, is performing plus there will be mermaids!  And Saturday will be another beautiful October day in Florida.

Out and About. PJ’s Auto World in Clearwater

So where were you Saturday morning in this perfect “top down” weather?

We were at PJs Auto World in Clearwater.

PJ's Auto World

Hanging with Mr. Wayne

Mr. Wayneand Elwood and Jake Blues.

The Blues BrothersWe went south to Clearwater with the Citrus County Corvette and Camaro Club.  Just checking out the available inventory…

Old CarAlien mobile

Out and About. PJ's Auto World in Clearwater

Would have bought this one but it was the wrong color–“All Corvettes are Red”! But I really liked that stingray!

Out and About. PJ's Auto World in Clearwater

And in case there just wasn’t enough inventory at this PJs. There was another one a couple of miles away!

Out and About. PJ's Auto World in Clearwater

Lots of cars to choose from, but we’re sticking with our little red Camaro! (for now!)