Sunday, January 22, 2012

No Picnik

I was sad to read yesterday that Picnik was closing in April. Until they close they are offering their free Premium effects to everyone.
One of my goals for the year is to learn textures on Adobe Photoshop Elements. I played with a few of the textures offered on Picnik and I really like the way they look.

I took this picture of the chickadee on Friday and added texture and the frame on Picnik..

This winter I have been busy in the kitchen learning to make things that I would normally buy. Between the cost of gas and groceries, I am really having to pinch pennies these days. Even though I am southern and my grandmother and mother always cooked their biscuits from scratch, that gene kind of skipped me. I have always bought them frozen, (and even canned). I love to bake bread, so it really bothered me that I couldn't make decent biscuits. I think I handle the dough too much for them to be light and fluffy and rise like they should. Determined to make them, Saturday I tried two different recipes. One was acceptable but the second one was exceptional!The bad thing is that now I can't find the recipe online. I thought for sure I saved it to Pinterest. At least I have the ingredients penned on a piece of paper!

Speaking of pinching pennies, Jen, from Muddy Boot Dreams, is joining Brenda, from Cozy Little House, along with a few other ladies,  for a series on Thrifty Living 2012. I am looking forward to reading their blog posts on living more frugally!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lunch- Homemade Hummus

I started the new year off,  like I usually do, trying to eat healthier and lose weight. With us having had eight months of unemployment in 2011 and the price of food, (Anybody else get nauseated buying groceries these days? Wow!), I need to find creative ways of  keeping my grocery costs down.

I prefer snack type lunches and hummus is a favorite. Over the Christmas holiday I had the pleasure of eating authentic hummus made by someone originally from Syria. It was delicious and so much tastier than any store bought that I have tried! I knew I had to learn to make it and I knew it would be cheaper too! So, I used my new favorite internet source, Pinterest, to try and locate an authentic recipe, I was not disappointed. Desert Candy had a detailed blog post on hummus and an authentic recipe. The picture of the finished hummus, with the drizzle of olive oil and cumin,  looked like the one I had previously eaten.

The recipe was not difficult at all, the only thing that was difficult, well not really difficult, just time consuming,  was removing all of the skins from the chick peas. Most of them come off pretty easy after soaking overnight and the rest were picked off after the peas were cooked. From what I had read about making hummus, removing the skins is necessary for smooth hummus.

I didn't have tahini on hand, in fact, I have not made hummus before now due to the price of tahini. I was craving that hummus and I seriously  thought about making a special trip to the store and getting tahini, but I am really trying to limit trips to the store and save money on groceries. I had a bag of sesame seeds in the freezer and decided that I would make the tahini myself. After the seeds were lightly toasted I made a paste using  a coffee grinder, (only used to grind flax and sesame seeds for bread baking). I added a little drizzle of sesame seed oil and then just a little of the water the chickpeas were cooked in. Thankfully that worked and now I will save even more by making my own authentic hummus!

It is so good! If you like hummus you should try this recipe!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


We had a light snow today and the birds finally found my feeding station! I had not fed them much since spring and I wasn't sure if I would see very many of them this winter. Usually I have quite a few doves and dark eyed juncos but I have only seen one of each. I am sure they will find their way here when we get a heavier snow.

I hadn't seen many cardinals since last winter, but today I saw five females and two males, (at one time).

I'm so glad they came back! Not seeing cardinals during the winter would make me very sad indeed.

Once again this year I set up the swing frame as my feeding station. I wrapped it with fake greenery and also some branches from real Christmas trees.

It is next to the patio so the birds come right up to the house. From the warmth of my kitchen, I can stand at the sliding glass doors or sit at the table and take pictures and read. The pictures aren't as crisp since they are taken through the double pane glass door, but I'll take that trade off, especially on frigid days like today!

I only put a handful of peanuts out for the blue jays every day. I wait until they come to the house and start making a racket for their food, otherwise the sparrows eat them and I can't afford to feed peanuts to the house sparrows too.

It is pretty funny watching the blue jays when the peanuts are gone! They look so perplexed and they hang around all day hoping for more.

I am a little late but I wanted to wish you all a very....