Sunday, July 31, 2011

What is a Jicama?

This was a question I posed to my husband last week? I needed a Jicama for a salad recipe I wanted to make for an upcoming dinner party. My husband is in a line of work that affords him opportunity to experience all food types; so, was able to answer. I placed Jicama on my grocery list and decided to learn more about this bulbous looking food. Here is what I discovered:

  • It is actually just that... a bulb and is part of the legume (bean) family.

  • It is primarily grown in Mexico and South America, though different varieties are grown throughout the world.

  • It has a crunchiness somewhat like a water chestnut.

  • Peeling it can be a pain. I learned that first hand as you will see in above picture. I tried to use a vegetable peeler. Not a good idea. The skin in tough and you will need a very sharp knife to peel away the outer skin.

  • It taste something like a cross between an apple and potato.

  • It is most commonly eaten raw though it can be cooked and eaten and prepared like you would potatoes.

  • It pairs well with salads and can be used as an appetizer for dipping. Just cut into strips and dip in a mango salsa. I noted that some suggest cutting and sprinkling with lime juice and chili powder. I even saw a picture where cookie cutters were used to cut out dipping shapes. Now that's a fun idea.

So how did I end up using this peculiar looking bulb? Below is the tropical black bean salad that I served this weekend for a dinner party. It was a hit and I loved the crunchy texture that the jicama added to the salad. By the way, the "J" is pronounced as "H"... hicama.

Monday, July 25, 2011

How about these apples...I mean potatoes...

Most of the nation has been under a heat wave. Michigan is no different. 90 degrees plus weather every day and NO rain in sight. Walking on grass is like walking on a bed of pickers. Even with A/C, I am trying not to heat up the kitchen unless absolutely necessary. I've been preparing simple Blimpy Girl summer dishes that don't require the oven. This was my mid-afternoon snack today. It's a garden fresh potato salad.

I've posted the recipe below should you want to whip up a batch for yourself. EZ to do and most of the ingredients can be found in your garden or fridge. If you don't have all the ingredients, improvise.

Garden Fresh Tater' Salad (Makes about 6 servings)

9 Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup of:
chopped celery
diced tomatoes
chopped red and yellow pepper (combined)
chopped sweet onion
diced cucumber
frozen baby peas (thawed)
diced baby carrots (about 4-6 carrots, thawed and diced)

All the different colors give this dish an awesome eye appeal when served.

OK, cook up those taters (peel and cube before cooking) just until soften. Drain, but don't rinse. Once cooled, add all the diced/cubed/sliced/chopped veggies listed.

Add the dressing (I like to mix into ingredients with hands so that the taters don't get smushed.

1/4 cup low fat or no fat mayo
1/4 cup low fat or no fat sour cream
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon relish (the sweet kind)
Salt to taste

I like to put my tater salad in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Totally up to you. Add some garden sliced tomatoes and you are good to go. A full cup of this garden goodness is about 100 calories. Hmmm... you could add a grilled chicken breast and still be under 300 calories. You can even reserve some of the tater dressing for dipping the grilled chicken.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mother Nature is Awesome

Fresh cut flowers from my yard. Even in this ungodly heat, flowers prosper. Mother Nature is awesome. Have briefly turned off A/C this AM to enjoy the music of birds and the smell of the outdoors. Thankful for A/C but sure miss a summer breeze through open windows. Our current summer breeze stops you dead in your tracks.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pick Your Discount Week

GoPlanet is offering several discount coupons this week. Pick the one that's right for you or use them all!

Mold Market's Funky Flower mold is a simple design that is easy to pour in dual colors. The flowers are deep enough to make a second color pour a breeze. Using GoPlanet's injector tool will help you keep nice clean lines around the raised flowers. Buy this mold and receive an injector tool for free. Key the following discount code at checkout FREETOOL4ME. We will include your free injector tool in the shipment.

Offer valid July 22, 8 AM EST through July 28 11:59 PM EST. If you don't key the code, you won't get the tool. No exceptions (so please don't ask :))

Buy one Mold Market Pebble Bar mold and receive a second one just $3.00. That's a $4.95 savings. Key discount code SECONDMOLD4ME at checkout. You must add (2) Pebble bar molds to the shopping cart to receive this discount. If you do not add two molds, the discount will be voided.

Offer valid July 22, 8 AM EST through July 28 11:59 PM EST. If you don't key the code, you won't get the mold. No exceptions (so please don't ask :))

Buy (1) soap cutting miter box and we'll take 50% off a Mold Market round loaf mold. A $6.38 savings. Key discount code HALFOFFLOAF at checkout. You must add both the miter box and the rounded loaf to the shopping cart to receive the discount. This discount will apply once the rounded loaf mold is added to cart. If you do not purchase the miter box, the discount will be void.

Offer valid July 22, 8 AM EST through July 28 11:59 PM EST. If you don't key the code, you won't get the discount. No exceptions (so please don't ask :))

Buy Mold Market Production tray (#111, #113, #115 or #236) and get a 20% discount off a double handled knife. Key discount code 20OFFKNIFE at checkout.

Offer valid July 22, 8 AM EST through July 28 11:59 PM EST. If you don't key the code, you won't get the discount. No exceptions (so please don't ask :))

Purchase $79 or more in product and receive a 5% discount.

Key discount code DISCOUNTME5 at checkout. Must key code to receive discount. Offer valid July 22, 8 AM EST through July 28 11:59 PM EST.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life Can Change in a Heartbeat

It is with much sadness that I write this post. Those of you following our Face Book page know that I returned from vacation facing devastating news. The letter below from my daughter explains the issues affecting our family.

I am very close to my son-in-law's family. They have been a part of my life for over 20 years. My daughter married Matthew 10 years ago after a courtship dating back to 8th grade. There is plenty of history and the fact that our families live just miles apart makes that bond even closer.

Blog posts may be minimal for the remainder of the summer as I try to help my daughter and son-in-law through this crisis. Someone needs to watch their kids as they donate time & pitch in wherever and whenever necessary. I will be placing soaping projects on hold until the Fall unless Sophie Soap Chick is able to assist.

For those of faith, I ask for your prayers. In just a heartbeat life has changed for our family.

My Daughter's Letter:

I would first like to thank everyone who has been praying for my brother in law. We all know that prayer can produce miracles…. And that is exactly what we need right now. I wanted to give you an update of what happened and his progress:

On Saturday evening, J**** was playing with the kids at the lake. He ran off the end of the dock to do a back flip (one that he has done a million times) and for some reason, he didn’t make it fully around. He hit his head on the bottom of the lake. He was conscious through the whole event. He knew he was under water, but couldn't move to get air. He was stabilized in the water until the paramedics arrived and taken to U of M knowing that this is where he would get the best care. He underwent surgery for his C5 and C6 vertebrae at 11:45 p.m. on Saturday. The surgery was completed at about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. The doctor said that the surgery went well and only time would tell his recovery.

Since then, he has feeling in his legs and feet, but no movement. He can move arms, but has very minimal movement in right hand and no movement in his left. He is alert and in good spirits. He will see the physical therapist for the first time this afternoon to start his therapy. He has a very long road ahead.

Family is looking at how to make J****’s house handicap accessible. We are thinking that he will be able to come home in about 6 weeks. The occupational therapist must approve his home to make this happen. He currently lives in a two story home with a top upper lever bedroom and bathroom. We are looking at different options so that he can reenter his home in the most "normal" setting possible.

J***’s wife has been a rock for him. I ask that you pray for her strength too. They have only been married for three years! She will need a lot of support to stay positive. We have a very strong, tight family. They will do whatever necessary to provide support.

I appreciate all your prayers. We have no control over this situation. It has been placed at the feet of our Savior.

I will give updates to my mom to pass along as they come.

To my blog followers and FB peeps, I thank you for your loyalty to our company. My staff will continue to process orders as usual. The only difference will be the time spent in the social media arena. I appreciate your understanding as our families work through this life changing situation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Treasured Family Poem

Below is a poem written by my Uncle while serving in WWII. What a treasure when you find family history and heritage of faith tucked away in a chest or shoe box of memorabilia. This poem was discovered in my 92 year old aunt's belongings upon her passing.

I Prayed to God That Night

In southern waters, one darkened night
as eight o’clock was near,
Emergency called us from our sacks, and filled our hearts with fear.
For under the shelter of night’s darkened skies,
a periscope rose on the right.
As I followed its wake, the earth seemed to quake,
and I prayed to God that night.

Was there nearby, in days shortly past,
Had seven ships been lost,
and many a man for days and days
in boats and rafts had tossed.
“We’re doomed” came the cry of a nearby mate.
I wondered, “Could he be right?”
But sincere in need and steadfast in faith,
I prayed to God that night.

Then out of the skies
came roaring planes, an answer to my prayers.
In lightning speed, upon their prey
they dropped their bombs and flares.
The bombs gave forth a deadening blast.
The periscope sank from sight.
And there as I prayed, God sent us this aid,
and answered my prayers that night.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Meet Grandma: Treasured Quilts from the Past

Many years ago, my grandma gifted me with 16 unfinished quilt tops. Since my grandma's death, finishing some of these quilt tops has been on my bucket list. The patterns contain dresses both my grandma and great-grandma wore when I was a kid. I can identify material used to make dresses for our baby dolls. There are muslin strips made of feed sacks in some quilt tops from my grandparents farm in the South. Everything about these quilts scream family history. These quilts are right up there with my Great Grandma Duley's blue jean quilt made from the retired blue jeans of the farm workers. And now I have more history and memories in these newly fashioned quilts.

This month the quilt tops were crossed off my bucket list. I had four of my most favorite made into "tied" quilts. I knew that no one would take greater care and pride in completing these legacy quilts than my cousin, Jan. She makes, repairs, and designs quilts for a living. She did not dissapoint me. These will be gifted to some very special family members later this year. I think my grammy would be very proud that I make good on my promise to one day finish the quilts.

Melt & Pour Soap Making: Watermelon Soap

We used the Mold Market square loaf mold to make watermelon soaps. Layers of green, white, and red soap were poured and randomly placed within the loaf while pouring. A sprinkling of black strips throughout makes the watermelon seeds and clear soap was used for the full pour. This is just one of the many ways to make watermelon soap. I have given instructions for another version using Mold Market's rounded loaf mold. You will find that here.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Fourth of July Soaps from Sophie Soap Chick

I'm late in getting these pictures posted (sorry, Sophie). This is a loaf soap that Sophie Soap Chick made a few weeks back. I meant to have it posted pre-4th, but obviously that didn't happen. A half circle insert was created using one of our novelty loaf molds. The insert includes suspended glitter (use our suspension soap base). The half circle was then placed into Mold Market's square loaf mold and varying layers of red, white, and blue were poured around the insert. Sophie topped off the loaf with stars stamped out with cookie cutters.

Note the cute little stacked star soaps. They are connected with clear soap base. They look adorable displayed on a soap dish. Add a patriotic themed hand towel and your powder room takes on a festive look.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Warehouse #1 Reorganization Project

I'm a confirmed nut case. We are in a heat wave of mid-90 degree weather & I decide to install some new shelves in warehouse #1. It's long overdue and I've been trying to get this project on the books before I leave for vacation on July 9. Today, I solicited the help of my husband (he was gritting his teeth). I had to promise him some boat time later this weekend. It's a total mess as the pictures indicate. By day's end, we should have most everything in place (I hope as it's suppose to rain and we've pulled a bunch of shelves out onto the pavement so there is no A/C going). I'll leave all the reorganizing for my staff when they return to work next week.

Hope you're all having more fun on this Saturday than I am.

Holiday Savings: 25% Off Shipping & More

I am so geared up to enjoy this holiday weekend. Looking forward to family time, fireworks, and boating. But, before I sign out for the weekend, here are those holiday savings I promised!

25% off UPS ground shipping or 10% postal shipping when ordering $50 plus in product. Key HOLIDAYSHIP in the comment section at checkout. We'll review the order & apply discount manually.

Buy one and get one free on our discontinued molds. Make your free discontinued mold selection(s) in the comment section at checkout. Free mold is for a discontinued mold only, not regular stock molds.

10% off one ounce fragrance oils with $25 order (in product). Key coupon code FRAGRANCE1 during checkout.

No adjustments after order is submitted and not valid on previous submitted orders. If you fail to key the discounts, they will not be applied. If your free mold selection is sold out, we will substitute for another discontinued mold of our choice. These offers are valid through July 4, 2011, 11:59 PM ET.