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If Jim and Pam had a baby… December 6, 2012

Filed under: Made me laugh — bellsandthistle @ 3:11 am
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Zippy Cranberry & Pomegranate Sauce November 24, 2012

Filed under: Cooking trials — bellsandthistle @ 4:37 am
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So, here’s my fave recipe for Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce.  It’s actually Cranberry & Pomegranate.  I just love how the Pomegranate seeds pop in your mouth as you eat it!

Zippy Cranberry & Pomegranate Sauce

1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)

2 cups pomegranate seeds (use 2 pomegranates).  For instructions on how to de-seed a pom, click here.

1/2 cup Truvia baking blend  (or, double the amount for real sugar)

1/2 cup cranberry or pomegranate juice

Makes about 5 cups.

Combine the cranberries, sugar, and juice in a pot.  Cover and simmer on medium until the cranberries have popped, stirring frequently (about 15 min or so).  You can do this a day ahead – if so, stop here.  Give it a taste – I like mine a bit tart.  You can always add more stevia/sugar if needed.

Mix in the pomegranate seeds just before serving and enjoy!


How to de-seed a Pomegranate

Filed under: Cooking trials,Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 4:32 am
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So, I like pomegranates, especially around the holiday season.  But they can be sooo messy!  And stain your hands!  So I’ve tried out a couple of methods for you.

1.  Cut it in half and try not to get everything around you dirty.  Yeah, didn’t think you’d like it.  On to the next…

2.  The bowl of water method.

You’ll need a bowl.  I prefer clear glass so I can see clearly but a white bowl might work too.  Fill the bowl with cold-to-lukewarm water (remember you’ll be putting your hands in it so cold water isn’t great!).  Cut the pomegranate in half, and submerge one half.

Little hands wanted to help de-seed the pomegranate.  She liked washing her hands first and then dipping them into the ‘red beads’ of water.

You gently peel the seeds from their skin.  The seeds float to the bottom and the inside of the pom float to the top.  I used a strainer spoon to skim the top of the water first.  Then I strained the water off the pom seeds and put them in a bowl.

3.  The grater / smash method

I tried out the pomegranate ‘strainer’.  You cut the pom in half, and then score one side 4-5 times.  You put one half on top of the strainer (put a plate under the strainer).  Find a large spoon or flat implement and smash the pom down.  The seeds fall down onto the plate.

It was really quick!  And you get a little pom ‘star’ to play with…

So, which would I recommend? Method #1.  Why?  I’m a messy person to start, so smashing the seeds was not a good match for me…pom juice all over.  Plus, I would not want to do that with my little one around.  And she really enjoyed helping Mommy with the seeds in the water.


Foods from Chile November 17, 2012

Filed under: Cooking trials,Travel — bellsandthistle @ 3:54 am

So my friends the Full Belly Sisters hosted a dinner party sponsored by Foods from Chile.  Here’s the menu – yum!

To start… Chilean EVOO spiced with Merken

First Course…Endive salad with Chilean berries & clementines – isn’t it pretty?

Some nice Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir to accompany the Avocado soup.  Did you know Chile is the #2 Avocado importer in the US?

Main course…Almond and Merken Crusted Salmon

To finish…Cherry Berry Crisp!


So end it already… November 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 5:40 am
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Just a little fun for y’all November 1, 2012

Filed under: Arts & Crafts,Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 2:15 am
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Quick day trip to Muscat, Oman August 16, 2012

Filed under: Color Palette,Travel — bellsandthistle @ 5:11 am
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So, I stayed overnight in Muscat.  It felt more like the Middle East than Dubai, but still felt safe. We hired a taxi driver for the day, which was about 45 rial.  We went to the fish market, the mosque, the market and the diving center.  A beautiful city and a quick flight from Dubai.

Here’s a detail from their beautiful mosque, where they welcome foreigners and women.   I used the Sherwin Williams “chipit”…cool huh?


A very Tartan Wedding

Filed under: Color Palette,Wedding — bellsandthistle @ 12:42 am
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Here’s a Tartan color palatte for ya…held in Aberdeen, Scotland


Beautiful Wedding Palette

Filed under: Color Palette,Wedding — bellsandthistle @ 12:35 am
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Here’s a gorgeous Black & White & Pink eye candy for ya…the cake (and the bride) were stunning!


Oh, the places you’ll go! August 14, 2012

Filed under: Arts & Crafts,Cooking trials,Kid Stuff — bellsandthistle @ 8:05 pm
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A Dr Seuss 1st birthday party!

My daughter’s 1st birthday was a joint one with one of her (boy) friends H, so the red and turquoise theme worked well for both of them.  H’s grandmother is a school teacher, so we had lots of Dr Seuss characters to use as props.  I used a plastic picnic tablecloth and some wrapping paper to decorate.  We had a rather random buffet out, from savory foods to an ice cream buffet.  I also made some cards with Seuss quotes on them to scatter around, and a highchair banner for my little one.

I of course had to get her some cute outfits, and found the tutu and headband set on Etsy.  Also found the cute turquoise one-piece on Etsy but can’t find the link.

We set up a plain photo backdrop and had lots of props for guest to use…got some really cute photos that way!

I saw some wonderful cake ideas out there, but the reality is my 1 year old wasn’t really going to eat it.  So H’s mom made 2 yummy organic carrot cakes and we made cupcakes for everyone else.  I found inspiration for the cupcakes online (Pinterest wasn’t around a year ago, at least for me!), but decided NOT to use cotton candy as the hair…too many examples of FAILs online already.   However, I had my own fail in store…in the rush to prepare they were the last thing to get done (while guests were arriving!) so the frosting was not as nice as I would have preferred.  The frosting wasn’t thick enough.  But they tasted good!

…And now for the CRAFT FAIL portion of the day…

I saw some cute ribbon topiaries on Etsy for $30 each and I thought, heck, I can do that myself!  So I wanted to make 2, to flank the door.  And to top it all off I decided to through in a wreath.  A topiary tutorial is here, and the wreath is basically the same thing.   Let me tell you, these things are labor intensive and expensive!  First, you want to have ribbons of different colors and sizes…ka-ching.  Next, you have to cut them all into smallish strips.  Bor-ing.  Then, you have to glue them together and pin them in.  Ouch!  End result?  The ribbons kept coming loose so not only did I have bald spots on my creations,  I had sewing pins scattered around my house during my child’s birthday party! NICE.  {And my husband would add, now they are taking up space in the basement because I refuse to through them away since I spent sooo much time on them!} 

Needless to say, not something I care to repeat.   Think I’ll just have to reign myself in next year at NOT take Dr. Seuss’s advice: