Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Did I Ever Tell You How Much I Love My Toaster Oven?

I have been the chief cook and bottle washer in my home for most of my life. I must admit I had a little resistance to most new advances in kitchen technology. I didn't want a microwave or an ice maker, or a water filter or a 190 degree water faucet for making hot drinks or a slow cooker. Do you believe I didn't even want a dishwasher when they first came on the scene. Our first one was  not a "built-in". I'm really not sure why I resisted but I was just happy with the way things were and didn't see any reason to change or to spend $$$$ on an appliance when it would be better spent on a pair of shoes or a purse.

After I was seduced into adopting each one of these appliances, I came to a sudden realization "how could I have ever lived without this?" And, much as I hated to do it, had to tell DH - "you were right about..........."

Well, we always had a toaster. We received one as a wedding gift. It took me eons of years to jump from the toast dark ages to purchase a toaster oven. When we first began homemaking, I cooked for two, then three, then four and then five. We regressed the same way. From five, to four, to three............ I finally made the toaster oven switch when I started to cook for one.

here she is - Miss T.O.

In my new little toaster oven, I toast, bake, and reheat. Some things just beg to be reheated in a toaster oven rather than the microwave. The microwave makes pizza soft and mushy but the T.O. makes it taste brand new. Same with empanadas. There are some things you want to be soft and mushy, like spaghetti and meatballs or soup. But pizza and empanadas want to be hot, toasty and crisp. So does an apple crisp. I even baked these little apple crisps in the T.O. I put the extra ones in the fridge and when I want one for dessert, It warm it up in the T.O.

Apple Crisp

I toast a half bagel in the morning in T.O. I make pizza from an Indian Naan, slathered with my marinara sauce, mozzarella and basil in little T.O. I "fried" bacon in her the other morning. Just layed a few slices of bacon on the foil lined tiny tin that came with her and cranked her up to 450 and in just a few minutes I had nice crispy bacon. So much more economical that heating up my BIG oven to 450 for the bacon or making a mess of the stove top by splashing bacon fat all over it and the adjoining walls.

As you can plainly see, this advance in kitchen tech has made me very very happy.

Monday, January 19, 2015

How To Make a Brown Paper Lunch Bag Scrap Book

I just returned from a week long holiday and I wanted to gather my photos and mementoes all in one place. The best way for me to cherish this snippet of time was to make a paper bag scrap book.

With this type of scrapping, no need to run to the craft store and buy any supplies. Almost everyone has brown paper lunch bags in the house. One of the greatest advantages to these little memory savers is you get a few envelope type openings on the pages into which you can insert menus, tickets, notes and other little souvenirs of your holiday.

Gather the pictures you want to have in your book. Count them. The sum of the photos is how many pages you want in your book. Each paper bag - folded in half - will give you 4 pages. Therefore, if you want to include 12 photos in your book, you'll need 12 divided by 4 = 3. If you want a blank front and back cover for your book, you'll have to add one more bag. Of course you can embellish these covers any way you like.

Here's how it's done.

Supplies: brown paper lunch bags, glue, scrap embellishments, scrapbook paper, ribbon

Fold each bag in half separately

With a hole punch - punch a hole on center fold from top and bottom

Lay bags in opposite directions so you won't have too much bulk - line up the holes

I bound the book by threading raggedy ribbon through the 4 pages of punched holes

Here you can see I've used scrap embellishments and the pocket opening for notes

Book view of open ended pages where mementoes can be tucked

Front cover with title and scrap suitcase embellishment

I used a square of scrapbook paper glued on, to cover the inside of each page before placing a photo on the page. Sometimes I had room to journal right on the page. Sometimes I used a tiny ribboned tag to journal. I slipped those into the open ended pages. I also slipped in a menu from the restaurant where we had birthday dinner and a tiny note that my littlest granddaughter wrote to me.
This type of scrapbook makes a perfect remembrance of an occasion. Some occasions you might want to memorialize in this way would be a baby or wedding shower (making a gift of the book for the guest of honor), a birthday party, a holiday (like I did). This is not the type of scrapping where you record years and years of a persons life - but just short little snippets of memories you don't want to forget. I've even done these for a "girls day out" where we've gone to a museum then lunch and all the scenery in between. Such sweet memories. Savor them ♥