Review of Bow Tie Salad With Tuna

Being home most of the day now, I’ve been looking for easier recipes to make. Call it laziness ~ although, I am looking for NEW recipes to make during this coronavirus pandemic.

Seeing as I had purchased tuna in bulk (shouldn’t we be prepared for food shortages, after all?), I needed tuna recipes.

This recipe was quite easy to make and tasty.

It does require chickpeas. Chickpeas?!!! Yes, this is the first pasta recipe I’ve tried with chickpeas. And it came out quite good.

I did cut back on the dressing though as I thought it would be a little strong and was wise to do that. I also didn’t use cucumbers. Maybe next time … Since I had olive I decided to toss a few in there. So daring I am! Ha!

I decided to use Farfelle pasta for no other reason than it was on sale at the store plus I like the cute bows.

Farfelle Pasta

As I mentioned before, I cut the dressing in half using about 1/8 of the red wine vinegar and olive oil. I also used 1 tablespoon of the Dijon Mustard as I didn’t want it to taste too mustard-y.

Dressing for Bow Tie Salad with Tuna

This recipe was easy and quite good. I served it with toasted garlic bread.

Bow Tie Salad with Tuna

So ~ here’s the link to where you can find the whole recipe. And, enjoy!

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The Hoodwink Quilt

Early summer, my nephew who is in his 30’s, asked if I could make him a quilt.

I was surprised as he rarely shows much emotion about things but he was serious.

So I had him go through some of my quilt books and he picked a pattern called Hoodwink from the Charm School quilt book.

This book has quilt designs that you can make using 5″ squares of fabric. But my goal was to use up scrap fabric that I had. In actuality though, I used scrap fabric and material that I had purchased at JoAnn’s store awhile ago but hadn’t used yet. I just happened to walk by it one day and fell in love with the fabric and thought I could add it to the stash I already had at home.

Material Used for Hoodwink Queen Quilt

It actually worked quite well for what I wanted.

When I asked my nephew what color fabric he wanted he said “I don’t know. Maybe navy blue?” Well, that left me open to use whatever I wanted with blue as my dominant color.

This quilt came together quickly (well, once I had time to work on it). I did have to add material since my nephew has a queen quilt and the design is for a 69″x69″ quilt which is quite smaller.

After I made the blocks, I laid them out on the floor to see how I should lay them out on the final design. It takes me awhile to do this since I like to leave them on the floor for a day or so and come back to look at them from every angle. Since we moved to a smaller home recently, I have very limited space.

Hoodwink Quilt Blocks

After putting the top together, including the sashing, I thought I could do the quilting myself so purchased the backing along with Quilters Dream Cotton batting to get ready. For this project, I decided to use the Request which is the lightest batting that Quilters Dream Cotton has. This was my first time using it. It’s a lighter batting and so the quilt can be used year round.

Here’s a picture of the quilt on the table after I had pieced the top together.

Unfortunately, after I spent the time preparing it by pinning it together and started to quilt it, I noticed that it was puffing up in the back. I had to rip out the sewing I had completed.

Since we have a laminate floor, it was very difficult to pin the quilt without damaging the floor with the safety pins so, although I had done a good job, it was not good enough.

I would up taking the quilt to a local long arm quilter to have it completed.

One thing I did was wash the fabric before cutting it so I could have a crinkly look which I really like and that the quilt in the book shows.

But after looking at the picture above and the finished product, I’m not sure if that was the right decision as I think the crinkly look takes away from the beautiful blocks. It still looks beautiful though!

Tell me what you think by comparing the picture above (well it’s not quilted yet so you’ll have to use your imagination) and the pictures below.

Hoodwink Quilt
The Back of the Hoodwink Quilt

So ~ what do you think?

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Burmese Chicken Soup Review

For those of you who get the Costco Connection magazine, you’ll find in the January edition a recipe for Burmese Chicken Soup.

And I have to say, it is scrumptious!

The recipe is easy to make although you probably have to make a grocery run as most people don’t have some of the basic recipe ingredients in their cupboard.

What I especially liked is that it uses boneless and skinless chicken thighs which makes for a tender meat. And the spices ~ whoa!

The use of sweet potatoes with chicken in a coconut and chicken broth had not occurred to me before. The pairing was very good and we served it with garlic naan bread.

Here’s what the pot of soup looks like when it’s finished:

If you haven’t guessed by now, I give this recipe five stars. That’s five out of five. To see the recipe, click here.

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Amaryllis & Patience

Patience. I purchased this amaryllis in early December and thought it was dead as it was not growing. But I watered it once a week and, although I was ready to give up, my mother said “wait.” Then it started getting “leggy” and a bulb started to grow. It’s a beauty now. Just goes to show everything has its own journey even if it seems slow to us.

There are so many lessons I learn from God in nature.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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A Quick & Scrumptious Dinner

Sometimes I feel lazy and want a quick and easy recipe to make for dinner. Enter the website Cooking Light. I’ve made other recipes from this website before and most of the recipes are quite good ~ just like this one was.

The recipe I made was Pasta with Charred Broccoli , Feta and Lemon.

I didn’t char the broccoli as much as their picture shows but the recipe came out pretty good just the same.

Pasta with Charred Broccoli, Feta and Lemon

So ~ here’s the link for the recipe in case you’re looking for something quite good to make.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Have you ever wondered what to do when a new neighbor moves into your neighborhood?

We recently moved to Illinois and our neighborhood has walking trails nearby so we would go walking but the people would not be responsive to our “hellos.” I was getting quite discouraged that we wouldn’t make any friends.

One day while I was napping, my husband heard a knock on the door and I heard him calling “Norma, Norma.” So I got up and went to the front door where he was at. Standing outside was a young couple with a child in their arms.

“We want to welcome you to our neighborhood,” she said. Then she extended her hand and gave us a tin and a bag. We thanked her and stood at the door talking for a few minutes. After they left, I set the tin and bag on the kitchen counter and opened it up.

Homemade chocolate chip cookies, cleaning supplies and a candle ~ what a nice surprise!

They also put their contact information inside in case we had any questions about the neighborhood.

During Halloween, this same couple knocked on our door with her 2 year old and some friends. Later she texted me and apologized for not having time to talk. No worries I assured her. Maybe we could meet up for coffee or something, I told her.

Then, I received a surprise invitation to dinner at their house. We accepted and had a pleasant chicken dinner.

Now it’s Christmas and I had planned on taking over a gift for their little girl along with cookies but … another knock on the door. They had brought us some homemade popcorn for the holidays.

How nice!

Now, this is a nice way to say “welcome to the neighborhood.”

Have you ever done anything like this before? It seems like nowadays people are so caught up with social media that they don’t have time for one-on-one relationships.

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Of Glimpses and Visions

New Mexico Organ Mountains

C.S. Lewis wrote: “A glimpse is not a vision. But to a man on a mountain road by night, a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon.”

It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? Visions are good to have but sometimes we focus so much on them that we are paralyzed with taking the step right in front of us.

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Of Geese and Fake White Cranes

Our new house in Illinois is near a walking trail which is about 1.25 miles long.

The first time I walked this trail I noticed the beautiful white cranes sitting next to the fountain in the middle of the pond.

The second time I walked the trail I again noticed the cranes ~ so elegantly sitting next to the pond. They must like the fountain I thought.

By my third walk, I looked a little closer and noticed that the white cranes weren’t moving. That seemed suspicious to me. I started laughing as I realized that the white cranes were fake. I couldn’t help laughing all the way home.

Come to find out, fake white cranes scare away geese. You know ~ geese who leave their poop all over the place.

As I explore my neighborhood, I see more and more fake white cranes and few, if any, geese. The fake white cranes are working as decoys as geese do not get along with them.

Not til l moved to Illinois did I think this was possible. I wonder why Minnesota, where I’m from, has not figured this out yet. There the geese are protected instead of discouraged.

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Eight Things To Do To Sell Your House Quickly

After living in Minnesota for 9 years, we decided to move back to Illinois to be closer to my 93 year old mother.

My mother has never driven and has always walked or used public transportation to get around. Do you know anyone else who has never driven? There are few people left who fall in that category.

After we put our house on the market, we had an offer in 4 days. That was unreal. Here are eight things we did that I feel helped to sell our house quickly.

  1. Declutter. We went through the house, room by room, and removed any items that we had not used in the last couple of years. We took these items to the second hand store.
  2. Next we went through our clothes closet and got rid of anything that we had not worn in awhile. It’s amazing how many things stay in a closet for years just sitting in the back not “bothering anyone.” Get rid of it! Someone else can enjoy your 10 year old flannel shirt that you haven’t used in awhile.
  3. Clean the flower beds and weed. Anything that is dead should be removed. The yard should have a fresh and inviting look.
  4. Power wash the outside of the house and deck. Those cobwebs that you see in the front of the house that don’t really bother you might signify to someone else that you don’t maintain your house. Yes, I know it’s a little thing but little things not only add up but they make a big statement.
  5. Clean the inside of the house. Again, go room by room and make sure everything is clean. Wipe down kitchen cabinets and appliances. Our house was on a well and it took a lot to get the toilet rings removed, but it was important. (Although, when the photographer comes to take a picture of the house, make sure those toilet lids are down. It just looks better). Clean the inside of the stove and refrigerator (throw out leftovers).
  6. Clean your garage. Anything that you are not going to take with you should be donated. And make sure that if you have a two car garage that two cars actually fit in it. Wipe the garage floor and shelves clean.
  7. Make sure the driveway is swept. Remember, this is your first impression to buyers.
  8. Lastly, minimize what you have in your house. You need your rooms to look bigger so that buyers can visualize their furniture in your house. It’s okay to put things in a corner of the garage if you have the space. Box them up if possible so it will look neater.

There are some homes that have very bold paint colors on their walls. If it’s possible, the walls should be painted a neutral color but quite honestly, we had yellow walls through the main area and the bedrooms were a gray-ish blue and it looked fine because the colors would match anyone’s furniture.

Is there anything else you can think of to help sell a house quicker?

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A Beautiful Day In Our Neighborhood

Walking out the front door to go for a walk, I breathed in the fresh air as I walked across the street to the nearby park trail.

What a gorgeous day it was!

The trail is a little over a mile and I only saw one other person around who was sitting on a bench.

As I continued walking, I looked up and saw the beautiful blue sky and it reminded me of the song by Fred Rogers on his TV show “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Because indeed, it was beautiful!

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