In My Life, I've Loved Them All

These tomatoes can peel themselves. Practically.

It’s tomato season! Half a dozen just came in from the garden yesterday.

And I know I’m not the only person who won’t just bite into a tomato like an apple. I like them peeled, with all of that seed-gooky-stuff taken out.

Last year I tried the age old tip to remove the peels. It’s so easy, it’s ridiculous.

Now. A lot of projects/tasks on the internet claim to be “easy” and turn in to something so difficult or time consuming you want to cry or beat your head against a wall.
This is not one of those hurtful claims.

Self-Peeling tomato

Here is all you have to do:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Fill a small mixing bowl with water and LOTS of ice.

  2. Use a knife to cut an X in the bottom of each of the tomatoes.

  3. Working 1 or 2 at a time, place the tomato into the boiling water.

  4. After about 20 seconds, use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato from the pot to the ice water. (This stops the tomato from cooking any further).

  5. Once cool, take the tomato out of the water, and the skin should slide off practically on its own!

I was honestly shocked when I pulled my 1st tomato out of the ice water and 1/2 of the peel just shed right off. The rest of the peel comes off with minimal effort. Which is fabulous for a finicky eater like me :D

“Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty”

Truth: The key to getting an “A” on a paper in my 11th grade English class was to use a quote in your opening paragraph.  Not a quote from the book, necessarily, just one that contained a word that was a theme in the book. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations came in quite handy.  It was the 90’s, we didn’t have Pinterest yet. Or Facebook. Or Smartphones. Seriously, the Internet and Email were just catching on. And now I feel old.

Outside of English class, I am not one who particularly “likes” quotes or mantras. And thanks to the Internet, words can be copied and manipulated so easily, it is hard to tell who originally said what.  Or if that is exactly what they said, or the context of what they were saying… Abraham Lincoln said never trust a quote you see on the Internet.

But.  Sometimes someone at some point is able to articulate a concept that I feel but cannot quite explain.  “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty.”  Putting beautiful things into the world for no real reason.  Just because.  And doing something nice for someone else, without expecting anything in return.  Just because.  With all the chaos any negativity in the world, practicing kindness and adding beauty to the everyday helps restore some balance.

flowers Collage-kindness-450
Adding beauty to everyday life was the original intention behind the Etsy shop I opened 3 years ago.  It is also the reason I peruse the Manager’s Specials in the Floral Department at Kroger (grocery store).  This pretty bouquet of Pink Flowers:  99 cents.  Less than $1 to add some beauty and happiness to my home (re-using glass vases helps keep the flower buying/giving budget in check).  Just a little bit of care, these flowers will last a week, maybe more!

Small boquet of pink flowers

Add a bow, and for a couple bucks, you can give a “just because” gift to a friend or neighbor.

 flowers - Roses with Purple

Don’t have a lot of empty vases lying around?  Any piece of glassware can do the job… like a mason jar, or that tasting glass from your favorite Craft Brewery! [Shameless plug for Saint Arnold, Texas’s Oldest Craft Brewery]

 hydrangea in a beer glass

Now go do something beautiful and/or nice, for goodness sakes!  Literally.  For the sake of all thing good still left in the world.
Thanks :D

Reasons to love FALL (Christmas, you wait you turn!)

Do not be fooled by the Christmas commercials on TV or the unexpected snow fall around the country.  It is FALL!  Full of some of my favorite yearly things, including but not limited to the following:

Seasonal Beer  Fall means the weather is getting cooler an the beer is getting darker.  Excellent!  Some of my personal favorites are St Arnold’s Oktoberfest and Dogfish Head Punkin. -*I strongly encourage supporting Craft Breweries-

Turn on the Oven, Roast Everything!  There is a good reason we grill food outside in the summer time… keep the heat outside!  Why crank up the AC indoors if you are just going to turn on your oven and heat up the kitchen/house.  That is silly.  We don’t even run the dishwasher during the day in summertime.

Roasting may be my favorite method of cooking… oven is at 400 degrees+ and food gets a yummy char/caramelized deliciousness.  Roast chicken, turkey, potatoes, and even broccoli and green beans!

Barefoot Contessa Cranberry CompoteSage and Pumpkin and Cranberries, oh my!  Ah, the flavors of fall.  You should eat “seasonally” because the food tastes the best when it is in season.  Stores usually have A LOT on hand, so it is cheap too. Here is a list of healthy fall produce.

Just cool enough Not to hot and not to cold.  Pants and a Sweatshirt is just right… and cool enough at night for a blanket. When the weather gets to cold, I never want to get out of bed or even leave the house… I just want to hibernate.

Mimi's Corn ChowderSoup!  Salads are for summer.  Fall and winter means it is time for SOUP!  It keeps you warm and is very filling for not a lot ton of broth soups.  And despite my name, I recommend steering clear of canned soup!  It is SO EASY and INEXPENSIVE to make it from scratch.  Once you start making your own, you feel silly for every buying it from a can.
Here are a couple great soup recipes:
Mimi’s Corn Chowder
Best Cream of Broccoli

Leaves  Leaves are changing pretty colors!  And then falling to the ground… you don’t have to throw them in the trash… put them in the compost pile!

Thanksgiving  A Holiday centered around food, family, and being grateful for the things you have.  All of my favorite things!

Football & Basketball Sorry, but the Houston Astros were a bit of a let down this Summer. But the Texans are making things quite exciting this Fall! The Rockets season has started as well, but we have not been able to view ANY game because ComCast is blocking all home and away games for non-cable-subscribers. YAY Texans. Boo Comcast.

Is there anything I am forgetting?

Baking contest with AWESOME Prizes…

Ok, maybe I’m a little biased.

Do you have a recipe that uses caramel and white chocolate? Enter it in the “20 Going on 80” Iron Chef competition for a chance to win a custom etched pan from Name That Pan (InMyLife on ETSY) (and other great prizes)!

Recipes must be submitted by March 5th.

Go to for more details.

Household Hint: Keep Boiling Water Inside the Pot

A watched pot never boils.
So you walk away for a moment.
And like THAT the pot boils over and you get big sizzling flames lapping up around your pot.
Or it puts out the flame altogether and your kitchen now has a delightful smell of natural gas.
Anyone who has attempted making pasta has probably experienced this at some point.

The solution?
Boiling pot trick

A Wooden Spoon!

I originally saw this trick on Life Hacker, and it has been floating around Pinterest too. The above picture is my attempt (admittedly, I am a bit skeptical of “tips” I see online, and I just like testing ideas too). Wouldn’t you know, it did work.

A word to the wise though: The wooden spoon (or in my case, spatula with a wooden handle) becomes saturated with the boiling water/ foam and is therefore HOT to the touch. Also, it can cause the handle to warp, so you probably don’t want to use an heirloom wooden spoon passed down from your great great grandma. Lastly, the whole pasta-pot-foam-boiling-over predicament can be avoided all together by using more water in a larger pot, keeping the starches at bay.

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