Archive for Garden and Home

Mock Oriental Shrimp Recipe for One

Mock Oriental Shrimp Recipe for One

Okay, okay, this is a little off the beaten path for this blog.  But I do need to eat and sometimes I’m in a hurry!  I was scratching my head this evening trying to decide what I could do with about a cup and half of angel hair pasta that I had cooked two days prior. 

Then the thought hit me.  Shrimp!  (Food Lion generally has a has a good price on the frozen, cooked, deveined ones.) Hum. How should I fix it so it is something new?  I love shrimp but sometimes we get stuck in a rut and I wanted to get a little creative when I spotted a little bottle of McCormick Garlic Pepper Seasoning Grinder that my kids had purchased one year when they came to visit over the holidays.  (They surprised me by cooking dinner for the family. Awesome, huh?) Anyway, I digress.  Back to the meal for one.

I keep a lot of assorted frozen veggies in the freezer because I can use what I want out of the bag and then re-close the bag and slam the bag back into the freezer.  In this case I decided to use a little cauliflower and a few peas.  You could use any assortment of frozen vegetables you might like.  The shrimp I buy is fully cooked and deveined.

To speed up the meal I use the microwave.  I half thawed the 6 shrimp and the chosen vegetables, it is a small amount so with water added in a small blow I only heated the frozen shrimp for about 1 minute, full power.  The veggies about 2 minutes, full power.   Enough of the back story!  Here is the make shift recipe of a mock oriental shrimp dish for one.

This is what you need and here is what you do.  Takes less than 20-30 minutes to prepare.

Small 5-7 inch frying pan

2 TBS Olive Oil (just enough to coat the bottom of pan)

1/4 tsp dried Parsley

1/8 tsp Celery Seed

4 or 5 twists of the McCormick Garlic Pepper “Grinder”

4 or 5 dashes of Soy Sauce (to taste)

6 Frozen precooked deveined shrimp

1 1/2 cup left over pasta (I used angel hair)

5-6 frozen cauliflower florets

1 tsp frozen peas


First half thaw the 6 shrimp, barely covered in water using small bowl, 1 minute in microwave

Second half thaw the cauliflower combined with peas, barely covered in water using small bowl, 2 minutes in microwave 

Set both bowls aside till needed.

This will be very quick because you are almost done!!

Now place the small fry pan on medium high heat on stove top (number 6 on my electric stove)

Add the olive oil, parsley, celery seed, garlic pepper into pan first

Next drain water and add the half thawed shrimp, flip once to coat in spices, about 30 seconds on each side

Then drain water and add the peas and cauliflower, flip again, same 30 seconds each side

Add the pasta (mine was the angel hair), flip again to coat with all ingredients, 30 seconds each side

Last add your 4 or 5 dashes of soy sauce and flip a couple of times again.

Voila you are done!!  A meal for one that takes less than 20 to 30 minutes.  If you want to do it for more, like two, just double up on the ingredients. 

I wish I would have taken a picture but I was too hungry and I ate it before I thought about taking a picture or making this recipe public.  When I make it again, because it was yummy, I will post a picture.


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Yard Planter Project on Castors

The Planter Project on Castors

If you have read my blog before you already know I keep and maintain a small city garden. The one thing I always have difficulty with is quick growing, early spring and short season crops due to the fact that the sun is so low in the sky my home shades most of the garden. Our temperatures are pretty mild but the vegetation still needs a lot of sun.

So, I thought maybe I could get some sort of planter that I could move around. Plus I could save space in the main garden for vegetables that I can process and freeze. I could buy gardening seeded tape strips and grow smaller harvests of things like assorted lettuce and radishes. These veggies are so good but I generally end up giving most of it away since a row in the main garden becomes ripe at the same time.

I decided to check out various ideas on YouTube channels. I came up with an idea from three of the videos I watched and immediately sent these videos to my Project Manager (my mom’s hubby). I laugh because without his expertise I wouldn’t be able to begin to figure out what my needs would be. He said we could make one pretty easily. He would be the crafter – he has the tools – and I would be the helper.

We made our trip to Home Depot for the supplies we needed. Galvanized screws, two by fours, sealer, nuts and bolts and casters. When we came back and went to work sawing the lumber into the measured pieces.


There had to be some support for the legs on the bottom where the casters would be placed so we used some 1 x 6 inch board to make the legs stable. Most of the time I was holding or moving things around but my Project Manager did tutor me in using a drill and learning the electric screwdriver because I need practice with those tools!


After we got all the pieces cut then we started to put the box together. The Project Manager had left over sheathing from a previous shed project so that saved on some of the cost. This is the material we used for the walls of the box.



Then we ran into a little snag. I was a little too short for the planter. Well, I suppose I would have been close enough to eat the veggies right out of the box! Laughing to myself.


Anyway, not to be demoralized we continued on and made the legs shorter. Project Manager, also, made the allowance for those castors that had to go on the bottom. This little delay didn’t take very long to fix. Just a few drilled holes. Oh, I forgot to mention that we drilled all the screw holes first before using the screws so we wouldn’t split any wood.


Here is a view from the top before the bottom was put on as this last piece would have to have a drain hole. The second picture is from the side before the castors went on.



This is where we placed a cross beam for extra support because after the dirt is put into the box and water is added it will get heavier.


The drain hole was put into the bottom. As one of the YouTube videos pointed out, I will be able to place a bucket underneath to catch the water and reuse it to water again. Neat huh?


Inserted into the hole is a wired drain catch that you can buy at most Dollar Stores. I will put some small pebbles into the catch before I put the dirt into the box so that I don’t loose to much soil while the water drains out.


After we were finished putting everything together the Project Manager and I lifted the planter onto the truck bed and drove it to my home.

My next job was to paint with two coats of sealer and two coats of exterior paint. This turned out to take a little longer because the weather forecast called for rain. The sealer and paint had to have temperatures in the 50’s before it could be applied. I did get the first coat of sealer on the box and then moved it into the patio to keep it out of the weather. The humidity would take the second coat longer to dry but nothing would get wet from rain.


The sealer I used was purchased at Home Depot and is called Henry Sealer and Damp Proofer. It will not make the soil toxic as far as I have read. Painting this puppy was a little tricker that I thought because I felt so much like a contorsionist. A few aches and pains but I will get over them for a project well done.


Voila with two coats of sealer and two coats of exterior paint and a movable planter box is born! Tomorrow I will be able to add the dirt and plant the seeds.


Measurements of this planter box are approximately 47 1/2 inches long, 16 inches wide, 36 inches high and the box itself is 12 inches deep.

Thank you for reading my blog.

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Re-purposing German Lace Curtains

Re-purposing Lace Curtains

I have a lot of really nice lace curtains that were made in Germany so the type of hanger system isn’t quite the same as here in the United States.  Over the years I have figured out how to use them with various hooks, they even worked well with a finagled shower curtain loop.

When I moved into this home, however, I found that these lovely curtains would not fit to many of the windows without resewing them.  I did find smaller panels when I first moved in but since they have been hanging on the same windows for at least 15 years the panels have been damaged by the sun and constant cleaning.  It was time for them to go.

The project has an extra day! I inherited this Bernina Record sewing machine from my Aunt, who was a professional seamstress.  Well, it took me an extra day figuring out how to use it.  Thank goodness the “basics book” was with the machine, inside the console.  I must admit that the machine sewed like a champ once I finally got it going.  I did have to make a run to the store and buy some more needles because I wasn’t careful and broke the only one I had.  *blushing now*

Bernina Record

Preparing the fabric.  First I had to release the ruffling string on the top so I could get some solid measurements by laying the fabric flat.  My living room was almost too small.

german lace

I must have measured the window and lace ten times because if I didn’t leave enough allowance for the rod casing there would be no second chance.  Since the curtain came with a hemmed weight in the bottom I knew I wouldn’t have to sew a new hem at the bottom.  But the top would have to be exact.


First step was to cut the top.

german curtains

Then I needed to fold the lace in half because I would be making two new panels to cover four windows, two windows on either side of the room.

german lace curtain

The next step was to seam the top rod casing.  Pinning and measuring then ironing the lace where the seams would be sewn.  I allowed enough fabric to make a one inch ruffle on top and enough room for the rod to slide through.  Total of about three inches.

Here is a snap of the left and right side of the room with the finished lace curtains that have been adapted to a standard curtain rod.

lace curtains


In with the new and out with the old.  Project done.  Thanks for reading.

old lace

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Happy Holidays

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OPSail 2012 – Participation

Participation in OPSail 2012 in Norfolk, Va.

What a great weekend.  Thousands of boaters escorting Tall Ships in the parade of sail.  This year the event OP Sail was held in conjunction with Norfolk’s Harborfest event. 

I was lucky to be able to sail in with the crowd of ships because I know the Captain so well.  I took pictures and amateur video.  So this is a combination of slide show and video to keep the time line correct.  Fireworks at the end came out pretty good even though my battery ran out! 

I’ll have to get scotch tape to keep that Canon Power Shot wheel in the proper place for shooting video next time!  Camera is a little tricky and some of the video was in low quality, sadly, but I patched it all together to make a YouTube movie anyway.  It was fun to eat the food, listen to concerts, see all the ships and visit with lots of family and friends.

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2012 Gardening Progress

Gardening Progress for 2012.

This is a small picture chronicle of this year’s garden work.  Spring clean up is always the hardest, I think.  But the Tiller Joe got me started off to a good start. If you want to see the video just click that Tiller Joe link.

First you have to clean up the bushes and prune back some of the fruit trees.  Plant the seeds and wait to see them grow.  Weeding in between, yuk!  But reaping the harvest is the best.

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Atlantic City … I’d never been there!

Atlantic City … I’d never been there!

It was a new adventure for me.  I wanted to do something different this past Christmas, 2011.  I consulted with my adult children and proposed going to Atlantic City instead of celebrating the holidays at home. Traveling to Atlantic City over Christmas was out of the norm so I wasn’t sure how they would take the idea but when I spoke with them they agreed and arrangements were made.

I did have to make some preparations.  One was getting a cell phone (I had never owned one) and buying a Garmin gps system. Last time I drove a long distance reading the maps when traveling alone became a REAL challenge!! The Garmin was a real bonus and the cell phone from Walmart was for security in case I had a problem on the road.

I drove up to Atlantic City taking the route that uses the Cape May Lewes Ferry. Another new adventure as I had never been the primary driver when boarding a ferry!  I was talking with a friend and she recommended I check the ferry’s schedule on the internet.  I’m sure glad I took her advice because I had no clue that you might need a reservation to board.  So, I did just that. I arrived a bit earlier than intended so I was able to board because there was still room. I made a Youtube of the Ferry ride which I thought was great going to Atlantic City.

Coming back was totally different.  I didn’t think we were going to be able to board because the water was so rough.  I wish I would have been able to hold the camera coming back but it was all I could do to hang on to the hand railings to walk around! Getting a pretzel and coffee was a challenge in that rough water. When we finally landed my car was covered in salt. Washing the car was certainly in order the next day!

Arriving in Atlantic City was pleasant but I had typed the wrong address into the Garmin and missed my hotel by two blocks, lol.  The kids arrived a few hours after I arrived, since I was ahead of schedule.  I haven’t got a clue where my car had been parked with the valet service of the Tropicana.

You really don’t have to leave the hotels in Atlantic City to enjoy yourself but we did go out on the board walk and walk and walk and walk.  We checked out the decor of many of the other casinos and hotels.  I did wonder about the crazy push carriages. I even asked the kids why don’t they use golf carts? When I noticed the photos on the walls in my room I realized that the wicker push carts were some sort of historical nuance that is a totally carried on tradition in Atlantic City today.

We walked to a converted pier that was transformed into a shopping mall. One of the kids noticed that they had a water and light show going on daily.  We couldn’t stay because we had a reservation but we did go back the next day.  More walking but this time in the rainy mist.  The water display was well worth the walk and I was able to record a good portion of it from the seats we had, hence the railing.

When we left it was raining much harder, I ,suddenly, realized what the covered wicker push carts had value!!!  We rode back to the Tropicana in style and stayed dry too.

The trip was a little different but I think we all had a great time even though I lost at gambling, at least the kids came out ahead.  Really great food too!

My last words… I’d go back.

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