Sunday, September 30, 2012

Project MCP - September

Here I am with my submissions for the Project MCP Challenge.  The themes this month revolved around going back to school and the entrance of fall. 

Project MCP / September / Back to School
September Week 1 - Back to School

I swiped some pens and markers from work (I returned them) for this challenge.  I always loved getting new school supplies!

Project MCP / September / Teacher/Teaching
September Week 2 - Teach or Teacher

This was tough!  I really don't have many willing models to use and this one seemed to require a person.  Instead, I took photos of words from the newspaper....and I taught myself a few things on the editing end.  This didn't end up looking as I had envisioned, but I spent way too much time on it as it was and this is what I ended up with.  Eh.

Project MCP / September / Signs of Fall
September Week 3 - Signs of Fall

In our yard, acorns are the first sign of fall.  Our driveway gets covered with them and it sounds like we are driving over rocks!  To my surprise this photo was featured on the MCP Blog!

Project MCP / September / Fall Color Scheme
September Week 4 - Fall Color Scheme (red, yellow, orange, green, brown)

This was taken on the Root River Parkway at the very end of September.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Recipe - Homemade Peanut Butter Sauce

I love peanut butter.  It's as simple as that.  Creamy or chunky.  Sandwiches, cookies, candy, ice cream.  Alone, on toast, with chocolate, with honey.  I'm even known to dress up pickles with peanut butter (don't knock it 'til you try it).  I should really by stock in Reese's  because Reese's peanut butter cups and Reese's Pieces are some of the few candies I eat.  Recently, I had a hankering for a decadent peanut butter cup sundae.  I really wanted something sweet, rich, and gooey.  Peanut butter flavored ice cream/custard would even suffice, however, upon checking, I realized I had just missed this flavor at Oscar's Frozen Custard.  I couldn't take it any longer and decided that there had to be a way to make my own peanut butter sauce.  I found a few recipes but this one was the only one I had all the ingredients for.  I didn't add all of the water mixture to the peanut butter because I thought it would make the sauce too thin, but I think it would have been just right (my sauce was a bit thick and not sweet enough).  If I'm ever in this sort of predicament again I will definitely whip up my own peanut butter sauce.  This at home sundae hit the spot and satisfied my craving.....until I requested peanut butter and chocolate chip waffles for breakfast two days later!

Peanut Butter Sauce

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. light corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter
Combine sugar, water, salt and syrup. Boil for 1 minute. Let cool a few minutes. Whip peanut butter in with wire whip. Cover ice cream with sauce.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Favorite Things: Fab Feet Shoe Cushions

For years I have been using products by Fab Feet, Foot Petals, and sometimes Dr. Scholls for Her.  These companies make various cushions and inserts for shoes that don’t fit quite right or pinch or rub.  I first bought a package of ‘strappy strips’ for a pair of flip flops I purchased to wear on my wedding day.  The shoes fit perfectly when I tried them on in the store, however when I wore them around the house a bit I realized that the strap was a tad bit uncomfortable.  I didn’t want a pair of shoes to ruin my wedding day (and I was determined to wear said shoes) so I found these little stick on cushions that would help to prevent the straps from rubbing.  They were the perfect solution!  In fact, I carry the remaining strips in my travel toiletry bag so that I have them just in case a new pair of ‘vacation’ shoes gives me problems.  

The product that I really love and use the most is the back of the heel cushions.  Virtually all of my high heeled shoes have these additions.  I know people think that maybe I should just get the right size shoe, however, if I purchased a size 6 my poor little toes would be scrunched up.  The 6 ½ always fits fine….until I try and walk at a quicker pace.  That’s when my feet start to slip out of the back of the shoe.  Placing these stick ons inside eliminates that problem.  I also find that they help me wear those new low profile ballet type flats easier (again, my feet tend to slip out of those shoes since there is so little shoe to grip to the foot…and a smaller size isn’t an option). 

In addition to these I have used a few other items as well:  Ball of the foot heel cushions which are good for higher heels.  Padded insoles for shoes with little cushion.  I like these for work shoes that I stand in all day, especially when the original sole has lost its cushion.  Ball of the foot/flip flop thong wrap around thingy (that I can’t find on either website) to cushion between the toes when wearing a flip flop with a heel.  It worked in a pinch, but they did slip around some.    If you have a pair of shoes that just aren’t fitting right I suggest you try out one of these awesome shoe add-ons before you send them off to Goodwill.  Depending on the product they will set you back about $5-6.  Well worth it for the lack of blisters or not falling on my face because I walked out of my shoe, in my opinion!  You can find these products almost anywhere (I get them from the grocery store sometimes!) but places with actual shoe departments (Target) will have the most selection. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Recipe - Pear Frozen Yogurt

This past Christmas I received a Cuisinart food processor from my mom.  I had a mini food processor but found it difficult to make salsa in such small batches.  I finally busted this baby out a few weeks ago for the first time!  I really wish I had pulled it out sooner.  I made salsa (so much easier in the bigger bowl) and used it to slice cucumbers thin for cucumber salad.  It would have been very handy in chopping all the veggies needed for my last recipe; Cucumber Tomato Salad with Zucchini and Black Olives in Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette

I browsed through the book/manual and it included many recipes.  Salsas, sauces, bakery/bread, salads, and soups.  One recipe that caught my eye was for Pear Frozen Yogurt.  One of my favorite yogurt flavors is pear.  I also had a container of plain yogurt left over from another recipe and I get free fruit at work so I didn't even need to make a trip to the store for the ingredients.  Though it required some planning and prepping, it was a nice light (and healthy) dessert for a summer evening and I would definitely try it again.

Pear Frozen Yogurt

-from the Cuisinart Instruction and Recipe Booklet


4 medium pears, peeled and cored
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice


At least 5 hours before serving, prepare fruit by cutting it into 1-inch pieces.  Freeze all fruit in a single layer on a baking sheet.

A few minutes before serving, process frozen fruit and sugar in food processor with metal blade, pulsing about 8 times.  Then process continuously until fruit is finely chopped, scraping work bowl and cover as necessary.

Add yogurt and lemon juice; process just until mixture becomes smooth and creamy, scraping bowl as necessary.  Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar as needed.

Serve immediately, or freeze for later use.  To prepare frozen mixture for serving, cut into 1-inch chunks.  Process with metal blade just until mixture become smooth and creamy.

Notes:  I added about 2 tablespoons lemon juice and a little more yogurt.  I think I might have had large pears.  Also, I think using frozen raspberries or blueberries would be great too.  And it would save time peeling, coring and chopping.  Any frozen fruit would probably work and the recipe is easily adjusted for taste.  As of this posting I have yet to try the 'leftovers'.  Chopping and processing it again seems like a bit of a daunting task for leftovers.  I'm wondering if all of that is really necessary though.  I'm thinking you can let it thaw a bit and stir it.  I'll let you know!