Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Simple Trick for Hanging Up a Sweater

I have been storing sweaters all wrong. 

Today I am sharing a technique for hanging up a sweater that's so simple and so brilliant, I can't believe I haven't known it until now!

This is a really simple trick for hanging up a sweater

Have you ever put on a sweater, only to see that one or both shoulders had become badly puckered from being hung up? Sometimes it's even necessary to rewash and reshape the sweater to make it presentable

Friday, February 19, 2016

An Impressive Dessert Recipe: Easy Molten Chocolate Cakes

Have you ever needed a recipe for an impressive dessert? Did you consider baking Molten Chocolate Cakes, but decided they were too difficult? If so, I have the perfect easy recipe for you!

Mindy, a fictional character in a short story I have been writing, is the reason for my discovery of this recipe. In the most recent chapter, Mindy was preparing a Valentine's Day dinner for her boyfriend Ryan and hoping it would inspire him to offer her a marriage proposal. Due to unexpected circumstances Ryan may never

Saturday, February 13, 2016

An Unexpected Surprise for Valentine's Day

I think you may be surprised by what Ryan has in store for Mindy this Valentine's day. 
It's been a while since I have written a chapter of "The Mindy Story", but I am publishing one today! As with the rest of this short story, Words for Wednesday word prompts (provided this week on the blog Elephant's Child) are woven into this chapter. 
To catch up with "The Mindy Story" so far, here are links to all the previous segments: 
Part 1, Cleaning Products Don't Work Unless You Use Them
Part 2, A Perfect Match
Part 3, Fiction, Sangria, Roasted Red Pepper Spread and a Picnic
Part 4, Stitches and an Uncomfortable Surprise
Part 5, A Banana Relapse will Require a Repair
Part 6, Capturing Fruit Flies & Wine Glasses for Two
Part 7, A Coffee Date and Cathedral Windows
Part 8, Chicken Broth and Walnuts - - Oops!
Part 9, A Mystery and a Secret
Part 10, Blue Bird - Blue Bell - - Blue Bonnet!
Part 11, Lemonade and a Pleasant Conversation
Part 12, A Photo Album, a Lunar Event and a Furry Friend
Part 13, France and a Friendship  
 When you are ready, here is Part 14  ...

Another chapter in the unpredictable life of Mindy ...

An Unexpected Surprise for Valentine's Day 

The instructions indicated that she should grease the pans. Using a piece of waxed paper, Mindy carefully smeared dabs of butter to coat the bottom and sides of each ceramic ramekin completely. 

The recipe Mindy was following was one which her cousin had posted on Facebook. Apparently whenever she serves these warm Molten Chocolate Cakes, everyone says they are exquisite.

She was hoping that Ryan would give rave reviews after his first bite of hers, but she sort of doubted that he would. Ever since his return from Paris just before Christmas, he had just seemed so ambivalent about everything. It was like a light switch had been turned off. He and Mindy were still spending a lot of time together, but it always felt like his mind was somewhere else. The energetic, enthusiastic man he used to be seemed to have been replaced by a zombie.

“The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” thought Mindy grimly, as she got out her standing mixer.  “Or, so the saying goes. Well, I’m giving it my best shot.”

Mindy had spent a lot of time planning the elaborate Valentine’s Day dinner she was making for Ryan. She felt like it was her last chance at securing a future with him. If these efforts and the bold little pink dress and stiletto heels she planned to wear tomorrow didn’t aim Cupid’s arrow directly into Ryan’s heart, she didn’t know anything that would.

The evolution of their relationship from secure and comfortable to distant and uncertain had happened practically overnight. Mindy had been sure that when Ryan had returned from Paris on December 6th, he would have with him an engagement ring and be ready with a proposal. But, both Christmas and New Year’s were now over, and no little box had magically appeared.

Crossing the kitchen to get the cocoa from the pantry, Mindy nearly tripped over the cat. Scooping up her furry pet, she softly crooned, “Oh Eiffel, if only I could be sure he loves me as much as you do.” 

Looking back, Mindy realized she had been happier during the three months Ryan had been away in Paris then during the two months since his return.  Taking cooking and dancing lessons with Barb had made the days go by quickly. She had kept the lessons a secret, hoping to knock Ryan off his feet when she demonstrated her skills; but she had told Ryan about adopting the cat. He had seemed to fully approve, and had even suggested she name him after a French monument

Since Christmas though, Ryan had shown no enthusiasm for her new talents or her pet. He discouraged her offers to cook French meals for him, saying they were too heavy for his taste.  He had ignored all her suggestions to go out dancing, and lately, he barely ever paid any attention to her cat. 

Eiffel had been licking a smudge of butter from Mindy’s finger with his rough tongue. With a sigh, she set him down and went to the sink to wash her hands. While she was drying them, the phone rang. Glancing at caller I.D., she smiled when she recognized Barb’s number.

“Hey you, I was just thinking about you,” said Mindy into the receiver.

“Really - well, I’ve been wondering how your fiendish scheme to tempt a marriage proposal out of Ryan is going? Have you set the table and are the cooking preparations underway? Did you remember to strain the Port-Rosemary Sauce for the beef tenderloin steaks the way we were taught? Do you plan to let him have just a bite of the lobster, and then take it away and refuse to give it back until he pops the question? Or - maybe you will just wait till he gets a whiff of those terrific chocolate cakes?” Barb giggled as she fired off these questions. Mindy appreciated how she was trying to encourage and help her to relax.

"I’m hard at work Barb. This better work. If not, I’m just not sure how long I can last with things the way they are,” said Mindy.

Mindy heard a beep. “Oh Barb, I’m sorry - I’ve gotta go. That’s Ryan on the other line.”

“Sure Mindy, I understand. I hope that boyfriend of yours has come to his senses and is calling to say he is absolutely smitten with you. Have fun tomorrow sweetie - and call me with a full report!”

Mindy laughed. She ended the call with Barb and connected with the other line, saying, “Hi Ryan, I was just on the phone with Barb, but I’m off now.  What’s up?”

Without even saying hello, Ryan abruptly began, “I know that you are planning something for tomorrow, but what I have to say can't wait. I can't celebrate Valentine's Day with you, knowing that you went behind my back while I was gone. I should have said something as soon as I found out, but I just couldn't believe that your adaptive behavior to my absence would be to start seeing other men.”

“What - ," Mindy interrupted. “Ryan, is this a joke? What a ridiculous thing to say!" 

“Hear me out!,” roared Ryan. “This is the angriest I have been in a very long time. I’ve been so mad and hurt and humiliated that I haven’t even been able to confront you until now.  I had grown to really like you - actually, I loved you Mindy - and then I find out that you betrayed me. I couldn’t believe that it was true, but now I'm convinced.  I’m sorry to do this on February 13th, but I really think it is over between us.”

“Ryan - what are you talking about? Wait …” wailed Mindy, as the phone went dead.


The Words for Wednesday word prompts supplied this week on Elephant's Child were:

grease, ambivalent, fiendish, exquisite, terrific, evolution
tongue, adaptive, angriest, furry, bold, zombie

Why do you think Ryan is so angry? 

What will Mindy do next?

A little information about Words for Wednesday:

Words for Wednesday was a meme originally created by Delores of Under the Porch Light. She used this weekly writing prompt to encourage others to write something creative. When she could no longer continue to host it, Elephant’s Child took over for a while and then organized volunteers to share the responsibility. 

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Saturday Suggestion: A Simple First-Aid Trick for Cooks

It is quite common for someone who cooks a lot to occasionally burn or cut themselves. One simple first-aid trick helped me remain productive when I injured myself.

I am not always as careful as I should be with the sharp tools in my kitchen, and yesterday while cleaning the blade of my food processor I somehow sliced my pinkie finger. The cut wasn't really deep, but bled enough that it required a snug bandage to staunch the flow.

It is common for a cook to need a little first-aid

I was in the midst of preparing several recipes, and a band-aid on my finger was quite an inconvenience. From past experience, I knew it was likely the band-aid would slip off whenever my hands got wet. I also worried that if I began to bleed again, I could contaminate the food that I was cooking. That was something I really did not want to happen. With my nursing background, I am