Monthly Archives: March 2015

BASKETS – for both Easter and the Final Four!

Easter and the Final Four NCAA Championships are approaching. We thought we would share a few ideas for quick and easy Easter baskets. Kielbasa is a traditional Easter staple and we’ve included one of our favorite kielbasa recipes – make sure to have rye bread for dipping!

HATS OFF TO EASTER!                                                                                                                            When Roy was little, a friend gave him an Easter basket in a toy fireman’s hat for his birthday.   (His birthday is March 12 – let’s just say the candy did not last until Easter!) We did something similar by using this inexpensive Easter bonnet as a nest for these chicks, but we think it would make a great Easter basket as well!

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SIMPLE BASKETS

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To craft the basket above, begin by wrapping the coffee can with festive gift wrap. We fashioned the handle by wrapping a 1-inch wide by 10-inch long piece of cardboard from a shirt box and attaching it to both sides with double stick tape. Fill with grass and add jelly beans, eggs and the candy of your choice. Add a pretty ribbon to finish. This basket could hide a gift like a toy or piece of jewelry underneath the grass.

BOWL BASKET                                                                                                                                                 If you don’t have a basket, you can create a nice handle-free “basket” by putting the gifts in a bowl with some Easter grass and wrapping with seasonal cellophane. We put big decorative eggs in a yellow ceramic bowl. These large eggs can be filled with candy, coins, or whatever gift will fit!

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KEILBASA, BEANS AND RICE                                                                                                                       Keilbasa is an Easter staple in Kevin’s family, normally served sliced as an appetizer with mustard or horseradish dipping sauce. The delicious recipe below, which is quick and easy to prepare, makes kielbasa a main dish for Easter or anytime.

Ingredients: 1 Lb. of your favorite kielbasa (chopped into 1/2 in. slices), 1 tablespoon olive oil,   1 small onion – chopped, 1/2 bell pepper – chopped, 1 stalk celery – chopped, 1 can red kidney beans – drained and rinsed, hot sauce to taste, 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 2 cups cooked brown rice. (Roy pronounces it “Keilbasa”, Kevin says “Kabasi” – what do you call it?)

How to make: Brown sliced kielbasa in oil. Add onions, peppers and celery. Saute until vegetables are softened. Add beans and chicken broth, simmer until broth is reduced (about 10 minutes). Add hot sauce to taste. Serve over rice. This dish produces plenty of delicious sauce – grab that rye bread for dipping!

SPORTS UPDATE

It’s Final Four time as the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments drive toward their championships. It will be interesting to see if anyone can knock off Kentucky. The UCONN woman have not disappointed so far. We are Huskie fans – no surprise! In case you missed it, some of our Huskie decor is pictured below.

College hockey’s version of the Final Four (the Frozen Four) also is underway and the East Regional is at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in nearby Providence. Providence College won their first round game – go Friars!

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JOKE OF THE WEEK:  

How does the Easter Bunny stay fit? eggs-ercise and hare-obics!

Happy Spring!!!

Roy & Kevin

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Marching Madly Towards Easter!

We love March Madness, and we decorated our home accordingly. Sadly, the UConn men, 2014’s national champions, did not make it into the tourney this year. But the women are ranked #1 in the country! Go Huskies!!

Pictured above is Heather Huskie, our UConn Cheerleader doll, showing off her 2 Easter baskets. One is a basketball basket, the perfect combination of March Madness and Easter.   The other “basket”  is a cute Easter hat we got from a dollar store. Adding decorative grass makes this the perfect nest for these cute chicks. Plus, since they are from a dollar store, these chicks were cheap, cheap,  cheap!

We hung our UCONN Huskies blanket as a backdrop for our UCONN stuff. Time for a 3-PEAT!!!

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With what food should we cheer on the UConn Huskies??? Yukon Gold potatoes, of course! (Well, it sounds the same!) Here is a recipe from Jacques Pepin that he shared with Rachael Ray – It is delicious!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/yukon-gold-potatoes-jacques-pepin-style-recipe.html#!

We are fans of party stores like Party City. We love this centerpiece. Kevin’s family will recognize this centerpiece from Irene’s house. She was UCONN’s biggest fan.

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Enjoy the big dance – GO HUSKIES!!!

Roy & Kevin

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

We love St. Patrick’s Day! (See the subtle picture above.) For this post, we share a variety of things to help you celebrate this fun holiday.

BANNER:                                                                                                                                                      We make banners for everything! We took these St. Patrick’s Day wall decorations found at a dollar store, hole-punched the sides and strung them together with green and gold ribbon to make this banner. The hats are cardboard and the shamrocks are made of foam.                                   Cute, simple, & economical!

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CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE:                                                                                                               We put our new slow cooker to the test by making delicious corned beef and cabbage. Very tasty and really pretty easy. Here is Martha Stewart’s recipe:

http://www.marthastewart.com/274310/slow-cooker-recipes/@center/854190/comfort-food-recipes?xsc=eml_msl031115#1056546

MINTY CHOCOLATE PUDDING:                                                                                                              For a minty treat, add some peppermint extract (to taste) to instant or pre-made chocolate pudding. Want a more grownup dessert? Add creme de menthe. Top with whipped cream and  a sprig of mint! Delicious!!!

 STRAIGHT FROM DUBLIN AIRPORT:  Who knew, right?                                                                                                                         

March 17

JOKE OF THE WEEK:                                                                                                                                       What do you get when you cross poison ivy with a four leaf clover? A rash of good luck!

A GREAT SONG:                                                                                                                                               We love the song “Four Green Fields” by the great Makem and Clancy. Check out this video:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+4+green+fields&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=3A2EF7242B92FED05EBD3A2EF7242B92FED05EBD

AN IRISH BLESSING:                                                                                                                             Kevin’s mom, Irene, who we lost on April 3rd, 2014, sent us this traditional blessing in a                 St. Patrick’s Day card in 2010.

 We extend this beautiful wish to you!

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We hope you all find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Enjoy!!

Roy & Kevin

Change is good!!!

TRANSLATION OF PICTURE ABOVE: “Don’t forget to change your clocks ahead 1 hour!”             (May not be grammatically correct, but it gets the message across!)

Daylight savings time is upon us, meaning this weekend, we set our clocks ahead 1 hour.     Some folks are not happy losing the hour of sleep, but we’re looking forward to the extra hour of sunshine at the end of the day. We decided that change is a good theme for this week’s blog entry. Change can be difficult, but sometimes change can be fun! You can be creative by changing and adapting things. In honor of upcoming March Madness, we changed some UConn Huskies coasters into a banner! (What a surprise!) We also offer our recipe for Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers. It’s a quick and easy change-up of a classic recipe.

After this winter, the change we are most excited about is Spring! It’s just around the corner!

SPORTS BANNER FROM COASTERS

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We’ll make a banner out of anything! This time, we used a hole punch to string blue and white ribbons through these UCONN coasters, creating a simple and festive banner! Go Huskies!

DECONSTRUCTED STUFFED PEPPERS

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Kevin’s mom made great stuffed peppers. It was one of her go-to dinners. This one-pot meal brings to mind her classic stuffed peppers, but with a lot less work. It’s delicious and uses canned and frozen vegetables to good advantage.

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 medium onion chopped, 1 lb. lean ground beef, one 16 oz. package frozen multicolored pepper strips, 2 cups cooked brown rice, 2 cups crushed tomatoes, one 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste.

In a skillet, saute onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft, add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess fat. Defrost pepper strips in the microwave for 3 minutes; add to beef and onion mixture. Add both types of tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, garlic and oregano. Add rice and mix well. If mixture seems dry, moisten with low-sodium chicken stock or water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Easy and tasty!

A FEW DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME FACTS (source cnn.com) : 

  • The idea for daylight savings time was conceived by Benjamin Frankin in 1784, to reduce the cost of candlelight.
  • About 70 countries around the world observe daylight savings time.
  • In the US, Hawaii and most of Arizona do not follow daylight savings time.

Remember what the Brady Bunch kids sang in their classic song :                                             “When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange!”

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

 

If we wanted to live in Minnesota, we would!!!

We are posting this blog watching yet another Sunday snow storm hit New England. There’s no way around it, this winter has been a challenge. The snow has made driving and parking more difficult, delayed and cancelled many events and caused all sorts of household problems. Personally, we are dealing with ongoing roof leaks in our apartment, and as managers of a storage facility, it has made our jobs much more difficult. A positive is that we are saving money on gym memberships. Chopping ice and shovelling snow are exercise enough! But, we are trying to be patient, looking forward to spring, and finding ways to enjoy ourselves now.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

One of the things we look forward to each year is March Madness. We are fans of the UCONN Huskies. Some of our UCONN gear is pictured below. Great win against SMU today guys!!!  Next up are the conference tournaments, the men’s and women’s selection shows and March Madness.

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IMG_2247GARDENING Last year, we had a great patio garden. We enjoyed planting flowers and had surprising success with our first attempt at growing container tomatoes, especially the cherry tomato varieties.

IMG_3320 (2)Here are a couple of pictures of our gardening efforts. The picture to the left is our patio last June. Picture below shows our tomato buckets. Loved it!! IMG_2408

 

The picture above is our patio today!!!  (We much prefer the other images of our patio!)

 

ENJOY NOW

We were thinking of ways to enjoy the winter. Some folks love this kind of weather and enjoy skiing and outdoor activities. We both broke our legs skiing – enough said!

A few Ideas for enjoying the winter:

COMFORT FOOD

Leek & Potato Soup: As a nod to our unfortunate roof leaks, we decided to make Leek & Potato Soup. It is a delicious and comforting meal. The link for Rachael Ray’s recipe is below.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.food.com%2Frecipe%2Frachael-rays-leek-and-potato-soup-197008&ei=vYvzVKbzIYy1ogSnk4LYDg&usg=AFQjCNGaeUWsNl3K55jKSy3UfuUSCoqgUQ&sig2=RHwNUjEwf3DZHrtY86H9vQ&bvm=bv.87269000,d.cGU

CREATE SOMETHING

Draw, paint, write, do crafts, make a banner!

GO TO THE LIBRARY

We are very fortunate to have a great local public library. This year, Roy is taking a class at the Warwick Public Library based on the book, The Artist Way, by Julia Cameron. He is enjoying it very much and it was free. (It’s a great book – highly recommended!) Check your local library websites, they have free or inexpensive classes, shows and discussions – and great books, of course!!!

STAY WARM – AND HOPEFUL

Daylight Savings Time is next weekend!

Roy and Kevin