Thursday, December 18, 2014

A bit of cookery

   One of the things I do on my days off is cooking for the coming week. I'll prepare some large dishes. In general these days I'll make Stuffed Bell Peppers, Shepherd's Pie, and Spaghetti. Tomorrow I'll make the large batch of Spaghetti.  
   Of course there is a need to go to the store to get the things to cook. Here's the bike trailer with my groceries today. As you can see I do use the reusable bags. One of the reasons is I don't want the plastic bags to end up in the dump. The second reason is these bags work so much better in a bicycle trailer.


   After going to the store I was hungry so this was lunch. I just happen to love burritos smothered in green chili and cheese. It's probably a good thing for me that I never gain weight because I can sure eat. I've been having to live on really tight food budgets though that no longer applies as much. 


   Here is the Shepherd's Pie. I used 1 lb ground beef, 3 cans mixed vegetables, 1 can cream of celery soup. parmesan cheese, onion and garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, ground thyme. The ground beef I fried and drained before mixing it in with the other ingredients. The baking temp I use is 350 F.
   For the mashed potatoes I used about 4 lb of russet potatoes diced and boiled.  I also mashed in some margarine. I'd rather have butter but my food budget still isn't quite where I want it to be. The baking time was about half an hour and I just stuck it in with the bell peppers. The pan size is 9 x 13 and yes I have glass bakeware. I love the stuff as it works really great. I think I've had these glass pans for about seven years now. They last essentially forever.



   This is my version of stuffed bell peppers this time. On one of the food sites I'd seen where they had sliced them the long way instead of the way you normally see them so I decided to try it. I will say they were much easier to fill. The basic ingredients this time are three bell peppers, one lb ground beef, a small can tomato paste, a small can tomato sauce, the same spices I used with the Shepherd's Pie. For the rice I measured out half a cup of dry rice which I then cooked. I'm not quite sure how much it yielded.
   One thing that works really well is take any extra meat/rice mix and layer the bottom of the pan. It will help keep the peppers upright while cooking. Not only that everyone seems to love the stuffing so you might as well cook it along with the peppers. 
   For 45 minutes it's baked with a piece of foil over it, then I remove the foil and stick it back in for 15 minutes more. It's also baked at 350 F. 
   I have used tomato soup in the past. This time I tried something different and used the paste and sauce. The bell pepper is juicier and there is a lot more flavor as I'm eating the first one. It's to die for.


 After removing the foil one other thing I like to do is sprinkle some cheese on top for that last ten or fifteen minutes. If you decide to follow suit don't add the cheese any earlier because it will burn. Here I'm using a combination of grated parmesan and cheddar.


   A little later I'll take a little of both of these dishes and set up a couple of my lunches for the coming week. What's even better doing this is I won't have to cook when I get home from work. All I have to do is set up a plate and stick it in the microwave for about a minute and a half. It sure makes my life easy.
   Until next time happy cooking.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Home built bench

 Three years ago someone had thrown out a headboard and footboard. It caught my eye and I took it home. After a short while I decided to turn it into a bench which I finished with polyurethane. Below is the result of that recycling and repurposing project. It had been sitting in that place on the porch ever since until the other day when I finally brought it into the living room. 


This is the place I originally had intended for it. It looks really nice there. The only detraction is that it still needs a cushion for the seat which I initially designed it to have. Therefore temporarily I was using a pillow. While I kept looking at the bench I decided I liked the weathered distressed look. It seems to add a little something.


The other day I finally figured out what I wanted for a cushion. I soon ordered the foam and some suede material. While I was able to do part of the project with sewing machine there was still a lot that had to be hand sewn which is what I was doing in this image.


Here I am in the middle of the sewing part of the project. I happen to be nearsighted so when it comes to sewing I have to take off my glasses. 


 Here is the completed project. It really looks good now and is very comfortable to sit on. It's also quite the conversation piece if anyone came over to the house. A real one of a kind.


I come up with some really different ideas at times. This was one of them and I'm very glad I did it as I'm writing this while sitting on the cushion. Until next time have a great day.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Entertainment center

As many knows I'm into reusing, and recycling. I was needing an entertainment center of some sort and my funds are a little limited. Yesterday I had brainstorm and I had kept looking at those metal pieces from the sofa. 
   The racks at the back are from the seat and the back of the sofa when I tore it down. I took four brackets also from the broken down sofa. Then I used sheet metal screws to attach them. I still need to get the boards the right length to fit correctly. These will work for now though.


Having measured it if need be I can actually fit a 32" television in this unit. With the way it's easy to get to any connections you need to and run wires it's almost the ultimate of entertainment units. On it I have my TV, cheap DVD player, and the new stereo. 
   Unfortunately for me the TV is rather old so it doesn't pick up over the air signals very well not that I watch any broadcast TV shows. The TV was made in 2010 and isn't up to date with the present channel tuners. It works well with a DVD player hooked up to it.
   The stereo just arrived today. I hooked it up and it worked great. So far I've played some of my jazz CD's, listen to a radio station, and connected with my phone via Bluetooth. The speaker just happen to be the perfect height to get decent bass response in this house.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Built in book shelf.

Between the kitchen and the living room on the east wall there was a little partition. It really doesn't serve much of a purpose other than looks and to hide the refrigerator. Soon after moving into the house I opened it up and found this open space. There's a lack of room in the house so turning it into a built in book shelf crossed my mind immediately. For a long time the shelves consisted of 1x4's with a space between. They just didn't work well. 

There was a shelving unit I'd taken apart. I kept all of the materials from it. Today I cut the shelf boards to fit the space. Right after I painted them. The paint is a light blue paint called Haunted Hue. I like it so much all of the walls in the living room and hallway will receive the same color.


This is tonight. I found out CD's stand up perfectly on the top shelf. The rest is my DVD collection. It sure helps me to utilize the space more efficiently. The entire house has only 600 square feet of floor space. In many cases if you want additional you need built in's. There's really no other options.
   In the next couple of weeks I'll be getting the rest of the paint up in the living room. It will make a big difference in this house. I'm going to see about getting some new curtains too. A little later on will be the new closet organizer, and the finishing touches on the bathroom. I will of course post pictures here on the blog.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Something new from my good friend Melina Turner.

 Pieces Of Mel (Pieces Of Mel Poetry Collection Series) BOOK 1

Publishing:
29th December 2014

Blurb:
The darkness…The light…The happiness and sadness…Where would we be without such raw emotional being?

Open the pages of international award-winning poet’s “Pieces Of Mel” and step into many of the portrayals, opinions, hopes, and beliefs the author expresses so deeply.
From the raw emotions to the miniature poetic stories you will find the proof of the author’s passion and soul.

You can pre-order your copy on ebook today for 0.99 cents at

As you can see it’ll also be in paperback

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Old Betrays (Old Blood Series) Book 0.5

EBOOK ONLY

Publishing:
November 2014

Blurb:
Old Betrays, a dark paranormal short story which introduces a future series about an old ally who becomes a very dangerous adversary bent on revenge.

This piece is free on GoodReads now at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17340406-old-betray

And will also be available on smashwords for free soon



A little bit about the author:



   Hi I’m Mel aka Melina Turner, I’m an international award-winning poet and live in Australia in a little town called Gympie. I began my writing at an extremely young age starting in primary school in year 3 when I heard about Write4Fun, a school international writing competition. My first piece was called “Wild Brumbies” published in 2003 when I was in year 3. I soon after moved from Nambour to Gympie an hour away, where I was influenced by an amazing English teacher to continue writing. In 2005 when I was in year 5 I was awarded “honoured writer” for my poetry in which I continued and still do. In 2013 I was awarded, “Best Poet of 2012” and put into a poetry book that is now in the library of Congress.
   After I began poetry I soon wanted to branch out thus starting “The Deathly-Roses Volume 1” a flash fiction narrative-prose piece, original and first of its kind, to be published 2014. I then gapped it out and wrote Volume 2 in 2007 to be published also in 2014; the third to be written in 2014 and published 2015. My goal with these books (TDR Volumes) was to make it short and poetic-like to gain non-readers interest and I believe I have done that.
   As of 2012, I slowly branched out and started helping co-author for an independent film company called Timothy Mitchell Films, helping with scripts for movies.
   As of now I am beginning to write my first finished novel ever. As of now I will be finishing my novels and aiming for traditional publishing.

You Can Catch Mel At
Her face book author page
Her The Deathly-Roses Volumes Page
Her twitter account
Her blog link
Or add her on face book
Her Goodreads link