Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Super Bowl dip, lights and a recycling tip. (Now that’s poetry!)

This week, we have a couple of Super Bowl related ideas and a recycling suggestion.

“NO TELL” QUESO DIP RECIPE:  We love the Rotel Queso Dip you see on TV with the canned tomatoes with chiles and Velveeta. We decided to make it healthier. Our version uses light cream cheese and cheddar. It’s great to bring to parties because it can be made in advance and reheated in a microwave.

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Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of light margarine; 2 tablespoons of fine flour such as Wondra; 1 1/2 cups milk; one 8-oz. package of room-temperature light cream cheese; 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese; one 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with mild chiles, drained; 1/2 teaspoon chili powder; chopped tomato; hot sauce (if desired).

How to make:

  • In a medium sauce pan, melt margarine and whisk in flour to create a roux
  • Add milk and stir until mixture begins to thicken
  • Stir in cream cheese until melted and smooth
  • Add cheddar cheese, mix to combine
  • Add chili powder
  • Add drained tomatoes to cheese mixture
  • Lower heat and allow to thicken – about one-two minutes
  • Spoon into serving dish, sprinkle with hot sauce and garnish with chopped tomatoes
  • Serve with tortilla chips or the pita chips from last weeks blog (shown with dip in picture above). This also is delicious with a small French baguette. (Kevin likes this dip with mini-pumpernickel bread from the deli department at the grocery store.)

    PUT A LITTLEIMG_3099 LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT:                                                      In our home, we use festive party lights year round. We have lights for St. Valentines Day, St. Patricks Day and Easter and, of course, Christmas. During non-holiday times, we love the warm glow the lights give our home and patio(Think Tavern on the Green!)     For the Super Bowl, we’ve decorated our patio with our tomato                                                 cage trees emblazoned in blue and red Patriots colors!  Go Pats!!!

 RANDOM THOUGHT:

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RECYCLING AND ORGANIZING IDEA:                                                                                                       We often buy pre-packaged cold cuts from the grocery store. They come in small plastic containers similar to Tupperware. We recycle these tubs by using them to store our sewing and craft supplies. (Love our glue sticks!) They stack easily and are transparent, so we can easily find the items we need. These work out great!

Have a wonderful week!

Roy & Kevin

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Game Time!!!

This week, NFL football has reached the conference championships, with four teams playing to see who will go to the Super Bowl on February 1st. We thought we would share our simple napkin banner, and our tasty and healthy chip and dip recipes. Once the food and decorations are set, its up to the teams to do their jobs. I think you can guess who we’re rooting for. (See banner picture above!)

SIMPLE NAPKIN BANNER

Kevin came up with this idea a few years ago while looking for a birthday banner. He couldn’t find a one at the store, so he bought some napkins, placed them fold side down over a ribbon and created a great banner. We bought napkins for our favorite team this year and used this idea again. Easy way to celebrate any event or occasion that’s printed on a napkin!

You will need: 7 napkins with the design of your choice, one 5-foot piece of ribbon or string, tacks or clothespins.

How to create: Attach string to wall with tack or to curtain with clothespins approx. 4.5 feet apart, creating a slope for the banner. Place napkins fold side down on string. Space napkins evenly on string. These are directions for the banner shown above. Make larger or smaller banners to suit your needs using the basic method shown here. Fun, inexpensive and quick!

EASY PITA CHIPS                                                                                                                                  

These pita chips are a tasty, healthy alternative to potato chips, and they are easy to make!

You will need: one package of whole wheat pita pockets, cooking spray, parchment paper.

How to prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • With a small knife, split the pitas into 2 pieces. (The 11 oz. pkg has 4 pitas.)
  • Put the sides back together and cut into 8 wedges. This will result in 64 chips. (Want smaller chips? Cut more wedges. Can also cut into strips if you prefer.)
  • Place pieces in a single layer on 2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper.
  • Spray the pieces with cooking spray.
  • Bake the pita pieces for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes and put in a bowl. Variation: before baking, sprinkle chips with parm and/or hot sauce. Tasty!

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CREAMY PANTRY DIP

We created this dip from items we found in our pantry and refrigerator. We serve this with the pita chips shown above. Low fat and delicious!      

Combine: 1 cup light mayo, 1 cup non fat sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic herb seasoning, 2 tablespoons fat free zesty Italian salad dressing, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce to taste. Top with chopped scallions or chives. (Hmm, maybe turkey bacon?)

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Next week: A light cheesy dip and more!

GO PATRIOTS!!!

Roy and Kevin

Winter Warmups and thinking of Summer

Happy New Year 2015! Now that the holidays are over, winter seems to have gotten more severe and colder. We thought this week, we would share a couple of simple and helpful ideas, including directions for what has to be the easiest handmade scarf ever. We also have shared our tip for a ridiculously quick warm-you-up cup of soup, and a simple idea for storing Christmas decorations. But, before we deal with winter (in a good way), we invite you to take a look at some of the pretty flowers we grew last summer (shown above). It’s nice to remind ourselves that summer is not too far away. (That’s our story and we are sticking to it!)  OK, now for the winter stuff:

THE SIMPLEST HANDMADE SCARF EVER

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Years ago, when Roy was on tour as an actor, he thought of the basic idea for this scarf. He bought a piece of fleece fabric, and used it as a scarf and mini blanket to keep warm during the many long rides in the touring van. The thing that makes this scarf so simple is fleece doesn’t fray, so no sewing in necessary. For this project you will need: A piece of fleece fabric, scissors.   For the basic, simple scarf: Cut fleece 5 feet long X 8 inches wide. That is the basic scarf!               Add decorative fringe: Measure and cut 2 inches into each end of the fabric, 1/4-inch apart and tie each fringe piece at the base.

The scarf shown above on the blue teddy bear is one we made for an avid basketball fan from a fabric remnant with a basketball print. Fabric stores have a huge variety of fleece fabrics with many colors and prints, as well as your favorite sports team logos. Be creative, design your own scarf any length, width and print you like! They make great Super Bowl favors using team colors or logos. (Beware! If you sell crafts, you should look into the legal aspects of selling any items with team logos or other licensed logos.)

WARM UP!                                                                                                                                                                             IMG_3019 (2)                                                 

For a quick, tasty and warming low-calorie snack, try a cup of low sodium chicken broth with a dash of red pepper flakes. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

HOLIDAY STORAGE TIP                                                                                                                                IMG_3024 (2)

We store our Christmas decorations in plastic storage bins. We have lots of these bins in our storage unit and that sometimes makes organizing difficult. It can be confusing knowing which bin contains what. One thing we do is label all the bins with a piece of masking tape describing what is inside. To differentiate the holiday bins, we also put another small piece of red tape on the ends of each bin with the letter C for Christmas (shown). This helps us identify the right bins when we are trying to bring in our many Christmas decorations. We use same idea for other bins (H for Halloween, E or Easter, etc.).

No, we aren’t done taking down the decorations. What’s the problem? It’s not Valentines Day!

Stay Warm Everyone!

Roy and Kevin