Monday, July 31

Hot Baby!

I got my new camera! I haven't had much time to take many pictures yet, but here is one. My baby jalepeno.

Saturday, July 29

Ode to my flute......

......or not; I don't really write odes.

BUT, I listed my old flute on eBay tonight to sell it. I played a couple notes to see how it sounds, and it made me sad to be selling it! But I haven't played it since high school. Has that happened to anyone else? I guess it just reminds me of my childhood, like I am selling part of it. If you could only see the home videos of my shrill rendition of the love song from Out of Africa. If only you could have been there. And then I brought out my that was something. But Reader, it's not good to live in the land of "If Only", so let go of the hope of seeing those videos. Ever.

Friday, July 28

New Link to Pictures...and a Challenge

If you look in the sidebar, I just added a section for photos on You can click on them and get to the albums I've made. I have more pictures to add, in time. I am waiting for a new camera to arrive and my picture taking will increase greatly!!

Here is a fun challenge with the World's Largest Photo, a 2.2 Gigapixel (read: 2.2 billion pixels) shot. There is a challenge posted to find a subject within the picture. Even if you give up finding the subjects, at least try the challenge and see how far you can zoom in! It's incredible.

Thursday, July 27

New Hummus, by Me

I just finished a second-making of a hummus recipe I developed. I haven't been able to have anyone taste the second round, but I didn't end up making many changes from the originally written recipe. I am ready to unveil it and have you try it!

New Hummus

This hummus is good at room temperature or chilled. The amounts given give it a nice, smooth kick; reduce or increase garlic and pepper according to taste as it is a garlicky hummus.

1 can garbanzo or chick peas, drained
2 gloves garlic, crushed or pressed
3/4 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/8 t paprika, scant
1/8 t red pepper flakes
1/3 generous cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 T white balsamic or regular balsamic vinegar
3 T lemon juice
3 T tahini paste
small handful fresh parsley or cilantro

Combine all ingredients in food processor, except the greens, and process until smooth. Add greens and process until combined. Serve with crackers, pita chips, or on toasted bread. Makes about 2 cups.

Additional tip: If you dislike the taste of raw garlic, boil the unpeeled cloves for one minute. Once cooled, peel and put through garlic press. Pressing garlic will avoid potential chunks left over after processing.

Monday, July 24

Quick eBay Devotions

Yes, I meant to confuse you with the title! Hahahahahaha.

Have you seen the Quick Change act? It's pretty entertaining! Still figuring it out.
This appears to be a great feature if you buy on eBay. It is a free search of listings that are misspelled based on the correct spelling you input. What that means for you is that someone else searching for an item with the right spelling may not find the auction with the wrong spelling = less bidders and competition. I recommend checking the "
Exclude the original word" box. This page shows what comes up if I search for listings where "Pottery Barn" was misspelled by the seller.
I was encouraged by today's reading from Spurgeon's Morning & Evening Devotions.

Friday, July 21

Does this sound right to you?

My grocery store, Giant Eagle, advertises that they have been lowering prices on hundreds of items. Awesome! That's all good and well until it's Not True. Example: I enjoy a carton of Dannon yogurt every day for breakfast (with Grape Nuts stirred in), so I usually stock up on quite a few. The yogurt used to cost $.50 (decent price around here). Then it went to $.57. Then to $.60. Today, it was priced at $.63 WITH a sticker that said "Everyday Low Price." Um, hello? Does anyone else see something wrong with this scenario?

There has been a 26% increase in the price of this product since they began advertising Low Prices! Sure, it's less than a dollar....but consider a 26% increase on your total grocery bill! Or Gas we already saw that, and then some.

Fortunately for them, I still bought my supply of yogurt. But I didn't like the price!

Wednesday, July 19

You Must Try This Salad!!

I just added a new recipe to my collection down below, under Salads, called Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing. It is from the most recent issue of Cooking Light. I was at my parents' for dinner, and my mom made this. I love it! I was slightly surprised to love it So Much. We only used half the amount of dijon mustard called for, and the potatoes ended up roasted more than the picture shows. I liked it just the way we had it tonight. There is a wonderful balance of mustard, sweetness and tang from the various ingredients, and I can't wait to make this myself and Eat A Lot of it.

Let's Visit Another Blog

I've been enjoying Hannah G.'s blog ever since she was born in January. Her mom, Catherine, posts the greatest pictures with captions! I particurlaly enjoyed a recent post about a tea party Hannah hosted for her Friends. Take a look here. Check out the other posts sometime as Hannah has a great Laughing Face, as seen here (even though her eyes are blocked...which actually makes the picture funnier). Thanks, Catherine, for this enjoyment!

Sunday, July 16

Clowning around....literally

I can't resist putting another picture up from my delightful childhood. We had great fun getting[real] clown make-up put on by my dad at various times in our lives. If you know my family, you will have likely heard of my dad's love for the circus as he grew up (and continues today). I went to RBB&B circus each year throughout my childhood, and my parents even went on dates when they were younger to watch the circus being set up! If you've been to my parents' house, you may have seen my Dad's model circus trains, a hobby which began when he was 14 (building many from modeling kits in this house!). Good times.

Sorry to those who are afraid of clowns. :-)

Friday, July 14

It's Official!

I am now a recipe tester for Cook's Illustrated! My hopes, expressed in a recent post, have materialized. I received my first receipe to test.

I'm probably one of thousands, haha.

Thursday, July 13

So THAT is how they die

A question I have often asked myself is, 'Self, how do birds get hit by cars?' After all, they fly. Certainly they can get out of the way. The question has remained unanswered until this morning when two birds, having the Time Of Their Lives (near a cemetery, no less), met their doom thanks to my car. They were flying downward and SMACK, hit the side of my car. My heart sank as I heard it, saw it, and watched in my rearview mirror as one of the birds flapped around on the road, quite injured and near death. Should I stop and and help it? No, Alicia, you know that will do no good. Just like when you were house-sitting one summer and spotted an injured bird on the road while out on a walk. For some reason, you (yes, you were an adult at this time) felt it necessary to bring the bird back to the house-that-wasn't-even-yours and try to feed it water with a plastic syringe to make it better. Not only did you do that, but you tried to sanitize the syringe afterwards by boiling it in water on the stove. Not Only That, but you also forgot about the boiling syringe and let the water boil off and as a result, the syring melted and cooked to the pan. In the end, you had to place the still-living tiny bird back outside, far away from its mother, in the woods, to die. No, you do not want to try to help this newly injured bird.

And so I drove away, sadly, remembering how God says, "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will." (Matthew 10:29 ) Maybe that bird was a sparrow. I should go find out. Then I can see if it's ok and perhaps........nah. Let it be.

Another question that is not answered is Why do birds walk across the road? Why do they not fly? It's a simple humor for me to witness a bird walking across the road. Unfortunately, I do not have any life lessons to apply to this question. Yet.

Lastly, a brand new question from this morning's oh-so-eventful-11- minute-drive-to-work is, How fast do chipmunks run? I saw one run very fast across the road this morning and thought it ran as fast, if not faster, than me. But! this can be answered with yahoo (preferred by me over google). Well, the first 10 results yield nothing related to what I'm looking for. Have they really never been clocked? Maybe a policeman has a blog somewhere, haha. I will have to do some more searching.

Saturday, July 8

Looking back

I read through some of my archived posts and wanted to "highlight" a couple.

- I thought it worthwhile to go back to this post from December regarding fatigue.
- A couple short excerpts from J.I. Packer on God's wisdom
- Fascinating photo project found here
- I think the How Much Is Inside? write-ups are really funny. Start with paper towels.

Cheesecake Results

Well, Readers, I had success with the Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust. It didn't crack! I removed a piece or two in order to slice and slightly divide the rest of the cake for easier self-serving at the dinner. The cheesecake was worth making and is very good, but there is one drawback, discussed below. I would recommend trying it. The taste was Smooth, Lemony and Pleasant. I greatly enjoyed the Gingersnap Crust. The recipe was easy to follow, and the baking time was fairly precise. It is a softer, lighter cheesecake because of the presence of sour cream, though I prefer denser less mousse-y cheesecakes. The primary reason I wouldn't make this my default cheesecake is because of the number of ingredients it calls for: 5 packs of cream cheese, 7 eggs and 3 cups of sour cream. There are other cheesecakes I prefer more that involve fewer quantities of said ingredients.

Recommendations if you make it:
- 2T packed lemon zest requires 3 lemons
- If you adapt recipe and use a 10" instead of 9" springform pan, I recommend making 1 1/2 times the crust with no change in the filling
- Follow the instructions regarding cooling and covering...I believe that might be the key to no cracks
- secure foil around pan before laying and baking crust; it's easier to be able to flip the pan upside down and mold the foil to the pan if it's empty
- use a dry measuring cup to press the crumbs down in the pan to make the crust; less sticking

It doesn't have the consistency of cheesecake which I personally love. However, this may be the ideal cheesecake for someone else. One I very much enjoy and have made several times may be found here. I like the combination of chocolate and cheesecake, and the recipe linked is for a Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake. It is very good and often requested! I also intend to try this recipe from Cooking Light, which I friend recommended I try.

Friday, July 7

Soccer! and Cheesecake!

Here are some fun clips from various team moments during the World Cup. I am not really a soccer fan, but these clips are fun to view. Click "Watch Video" on any of the teams displayed.

I am making this Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
tonight from Bon Appetit for our fellowship dinner after church this week. The reviews look good, though sketchy regarding pan size and depth of lemon flavor. After reading all the reviews, I decided to use a 10" springform pan vs. the 9" it calls for, and I think I will add extra lemon zest. There are 7 eggs, 5 packages of cream cheese and 3 cups of sour cream in this monstrous cake! I may subsitute one of the two cups of sugar for Splenda, and I have a couple 1/3 less fat cream cheese blocks to use in addition to regular.

Note to bakers: never bake with fat-free cream cheese. Results = not so good.

Wednesday, July 5

Yes, a post about bugs

....except it's a question: How do worms find my flowers? I am on the third floor balcony of my apartment building and have several pots of [growing and not dying] flowers. Seriously. How do they get to my flowers? Do they climb the brick, hoping to find something to eat and Wa-la! Alicia's flowers? I really don't get how they arrive at my balcony, day after day. I pick at least three off my wave petunias each day I look for them. And for your viewing pleasure, I posted a picture of the kind flower Mr. Green Worm is eating, not Mr. Worm himself. I don't like him enough. But really, again, how do they do it? Do you think they know where to go to come back to my balcony after I hurl them over the railing? Should I squish them? Enough questions for you, Reader.

Monday, July 3

My Life With Bugs

Good times, good times, on Mondays, with the occasion of a spider somehow arriving on my head, making me think I had a wisp of hair loose. Yes, that was his intention. That was not a wisp of hair tickling my ear, my friends! He's dead now. Heart, return to normal rhythm. Hand, stop checking head for more spiders. It is highly unlikely another one will visit you so soon. The first spider is most assuredly dead and will not rise again from the floor to greet you from the air as he did just moments ago. Don't bother sorting how long he was there before you knew he was there. Just don't imagine that terror. And even though he fell from the side of your head to your shoulder where you could view his approximately-one-inch-leg-span-and-orange-colored-body-and-his- lack-of-three-inch-long-fangs-ready-to-devour, I am sure he wasn't a malicious sort of creature that would pounce at your face, disappear into your nose and abide with you forever. He's just not like that. At least not anymore. Since he's Dead.

And reader, no need to check your own heads. Really, what is the likelihood that at the moment at which you are pre-ordained to be reading this post would a spider happen to visit your head? Well, if it pleases God to do so...I think that's where I would again appreciate His sense of humor.

Sunday, July 2

Big Puddles & Pretty Pictures

There are some flood pictures on the main page of A Walk Through Durham Township, which is a site I have in my permanent links over on the left side under Photography. There are some interesting flood pictures, and the bulk of the entire collection by this photographer is quite nice to view. This page contains a gallery of "best pictures". The photo named "Colorful Field" is beautiful...see if you can find it (answer here).

The real test is related to the cow in the
"Colorful Field" picture: do you think it was really there?