I can’t knit just one…

This has been a very relaxing Thanksgiving holiday for my daughter and myself. Besides the daily cooking and other household chores we have done nothing. Well… I take that back our ‘nothing’ has been creative. I’ve been knitting and my daughter has been writing and drawing with her Wacom Splash tablet.

Knitted checkered washcloth_3


The past few days I’ve been knitting dishcloths for our house and this morning, I set aside a few hours and started knitting a few facecloths for a coworker. I drew her name and so I’m her Secret Santa.

Knitted checkered washcloth_2
I’m almost finished knitting the second checkered facecloth


I wanted something a bit fancy, so I decided to make checkered facecloths. I used my own pattern. The face cloths are a combination of purl and stockinette stitch done in small blocks, giving it a checkered appearance. You might recall that this past July, I’d knitted a checkered cowl. In that pattern I alternated between purl and seed stitch. Do you know that my daughter has already claimed that for her own? Now that the weather is cold, she wears it to school daily.

But back to those washcloths/facecloths…

Since I don’t know the color scheme of her home, I chose white cotton for my yarn. I must say, I really enjoyed knitting for a few hours today and since my project is small I easily completed one facecloth and am almost finished the second. Besides this present, I will add some homemade bath salts, sugar scrubs, a sew an embroidered bag to carry everything. I think this will make a very nice spa gift package, don’t you? We all deserve to be pampered now and again. I most likely will add a gift card too.  I’ll be sure to post a picture once everything is finished.

Nine Inch Nails – The Hand that Feeds

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!” is a saying I heard my mother say since I was young. She still says it occasionally about some people.  If you think about it, you do have people that prey on folks kindness, and will attack those that are helping them. I always thought that was a bit silly and destructive. Not everyone will be your doormat and let you continue that sort of behavior, I know I will not tolerate being treated in that way.

On the flipside, you can turn on the ones that are controlling you. Some people never find the strength to break free from that and continue to be abused by those who’d love to control them throughout their life.  It’s not always easy to break free…I say it’s better to break free and move forward, regardless of how difficult that might be. I’ve been in both situations, and they both happened when I was much younger. Both types of abuse stopped working on me years ago.


Nine Inch Nails is one of the many groups I enjoy listening too, so I was thrilled when they came out with a song that talks about this topic.


Nine Inch Nails: The Hand That Feeds

You’re keeping in step
In the line
Got your chin held high and you feel just fine
Cause you do
What you’re told
But inside your heart it is black and it’s hollow and it’s cold

Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?

What if this whole crusade’s
A charade
And behind it all there’s a price to be paid
For the blood
On which we dine
Justified in the name of the holy and the divine

Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?

So naive
I keep holding on to what I want to believe
I can see
But I keep holding on and on and on and on

Will you bite the hand that feeds you?
Will you stay down on your knees?

Zojirushi hot lunch jar; silicone cupcake liners work great

Silicone Baking CupsTowards the end of last week, I ordered silicone cupcake liners to add to my bento tool collection. I purchased them because I thought they’d be a colorful and creative way to keep dry and moist foods separate in my daughters Zojirushi hot lunch jar.

Silicone cupcake liner features

  • BPA Free and FDA approved non-stick silicone.
  • Great for muffins, cupcakes, cheesecakes, ice cream cakes, chocolate shell lined desserts and gelatin.
  • Standard size 2.5/8 inch diameter x 1.1/4 inch tall baking cups.
  • Temperature safe from -40 to +446 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher safe
  • Lifetime Guarantee!
Zojirushi hot lunch jar. Silicon liners_1
Zojirushi bread bowl stuffed with strawberries, celery, and goldfish


As you can see from the above picture, the liners make the perfect divider/compartment for a variety of food. My daughter was thrilled that everything remained in it’s cupcake liner. Thanks to the liners, her crackers didn’t become soggy from the moist produce. Perfect!

Cost savings and Eco-friendly

I didn’t pay too much for the silicone cupcake liners. They only cost me $8.95 for a pack of twelve. For something that is reusable and can be used to bake items, that’s a great deal. If I wanted bland colors I could have purchased the liners at a cheaper price, but my daughter and I both love vibrant color and so I was willing to pay a few dollars more for these cupcake liners.

The practical mom in me loves that using reusable items (which is very eco-friendly) such as the  Zojirushi lunch jar, means I’m not constantly purchasing disposable bags to store her snacks. The four containers included within the jar take care of that quite nicely. My daughter does regret not being able to use the embroidered sandwich bags, that I sewed for her, but I told her we’d find other uses for them.

Tools used

  1. Zojirushi SL-XCE20HG Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tiffin Box
  2. Baking Buddies Reusable Silicone Baking Cups
  3. Food Picks & Forks / Bento Decoration (Animals) 10Pcs


What the…Black Eyed pea burgers?

Black eyed peasSome of my earliest memories of black eyed peas involves my mother cooking them. They were highly seasoned and usually accompanied with pieces of some type of meat. I remember my mother favored seasoning the beans with ham hocks or neck bones. Thinking back, the addition of the ham did add flavor to the beans. My mother is an amazing cook and her black eyed peas, along with many of her other dishes rarely lasted.

Switching to a Vegan diet did not mean I give up on the “down home cooking”  I experienced from my youth. I call it, down home cooking with a twist. 😉 I always knew that plant based foods could taste great if prepared correctly. My mother started letting me help prepare meals when I was four years old, and so I took on this “new way of cooking” with a lot of enthusiasm. Although I had always eaten healthy as a non-veggie I really had not explored all the amazing things you could prepare with plant based foods until I made that transition.

It wasn’t long before I started preparing the standard vegetables like dark leafy greens, carrots, potatoes, peas, and beans in a variety of new ways. Surprisingly enough I experienced unique tastes from vegetables that I’d originally written off as “bland” and unappetizing. I learned quickly, that preparation is everything. Vegetables and fruit now had the starring role in the dishes I prepared and I had a lot of fun creating recipes in my kitchen. Naturally in those early days, they weren’t all winners but over time I perfected them, and learned how to prepare the numerous vegetables and fruits that graced our table.

However, somewhere in the process I forgot about black eyed peas. I abandoned them for years. While they were pushed to the side, numerous other beans made their way into my kitchen, and I enjoyed whipping up tantalizing vegan creations that satisfied my desire of creating good home cooked meals and in the process I impressed some of my non-veggie friends that happened to stop by my home.

About ten years ago, I started using black eyed peas again, and I was instantly transported back to my mothers kitchen, preparing food, sitting around the table, and spending time with family. The last dish I made with black eyed peas was in September 2013. It was spicy black eyed peas with veggies and herbs. Recently, I’ve been craving them so this time around, so I do believe I’ll make some Black eyed pea burgers.

I say tok tok, he says pok pok…

Cookbook Pok Pok by Andy RickerA few days ago I stumbled upon a Thai based cookbook.

I can’t remember how I found the book, but I can say that I was drawn to it because a mortar and pestle graced the cover. I love my mortar and pestle, it gets plenty of weekly action in our home.  Guess what? Andy Ricker’s cookbook,  and his restaurant, are both named  ‘Pok Pok’. Andy says, pok pok is the sound that the pestle makes when you grind the ingredients into the mortar. I say it sounds like tok tok. 😉

That aside, I was intrigued by the reviews I read about in on Amazon. While I don’t follow cookbooks for any of the meals I prepare at home, I do become inspired by observing others. Amazon has an amazing option available to authors that lets potential buyers take a peek at some of the books contents. It’s something I enjoy seeing, since that usually determines if I’ll purchase the book.

One of the recipes he shares, Kai Kapharao Khai Dao (stir-fried chicken with hot basil) is similar to two dishes I prepare at home; meat and a vegan version. However while I do use basil, I don’t use ‘hot basil.’ Andy’s description has me intrigued and so I’ll be checking to see if I can purchase the seeds to plant in my garden next year.

Based on Andy Rickers writing style, along with some of the delicious recipes presented by him within this book, It’s safe to say that this book will be gracing one of my book shelves soon.


Satisfying cravings: Chicken & vegetable egg rolls

Last week, my daughter asked me if I would make Chicken vegetable egg rolls for dinner.

I’d made vegan eggless eggrolls towards the end of October, but have not made any since that time. Since I knew I didn’t have any chicken breasts, I stopped by the grocery store (on my way home from work) and purchased a few pounds.

Once I arrived home, I cooked the chicken breasts in my 8 qt. Presto pressure cooker. While the breasts were cooking I started grinding my herbs, spices, garlic and ginger into my mortar and pestle. Into my wok, I added a variety of vegetables and sauteed them for about two minutes. By that time the chicken breasts were finished and so I added a small amount of the breasts to the wok.

Eggroll filling chicken vegetables.11.18.13


Once everything was cooked, I set aside in stainless steel bowl. I then prepared the filling for vegan egg rolls, once that was cooked, I set aside and started adding the chicken filling to the non-veggie egg rolls. I first pan fried the vegan vegetable ‘eggrolls’ into the skillet, followed by the chicken and vegetable egg rolls.

Egg rolls.11.18.13


My daughter loved both varieties! Of course the next day, a few ended up in her Zojirushi lunch jar.