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Snacking and projects

Trucking along here.  We didn’t get as much snow as predicted from the last storm since it moved farther east, thank goodness. However, we are supposed to get another 3-6 inches tonight. Yippee….not.

This mornings breakfast:



Halfway through breakfast and Pixie was very insistent for a lap. She has been the radiator queen lately and less on the lap, so I don’t know what made her that way today.



I was eating with one hand after this. I hate to say it, but there just isn’t room for her since she is a big kitty, but we work around it because we spoil her.  She was very content being like this until I went to work.

This cold weather is making me snacky. I feel actually stomach rumbly hungry, but it seems I shouldn’t be when I tally my calories. Kind of annoying. This is some granola I snacked on.



Not sure why I don’t snack on fruit, but it almost seems to cold to eat fruit! Isn’t that weird? Anyway, only 50 days until spring…

On the project front – I finished painting the bedroom:


This color looks more rose in real life and less purple. My phone just alters colors for some reason. I spray painted the old door knob gold just to freshen it up a bit. Our eventual plan is to replace all the hollow core doors in the house, but that is years off for that. For now, just a face lift.  And it looks a lot better than this:


  Now to work on the headboard for the bed and decorating the room.  I love practicing in here now. John also replaced the radiator valve and now the room is much warmer as well. It was stuck shut before and I needed a little heater fan in there when I practiced. Not now! Little by little on the projects.

I started tackling the second trunk. This one had some kind of paper covering that was really water damaged. Usually trunks are covered in canvas, but this had the paper cover:





That came right off and now I am scrubbing the trunk clean.



It’s only partly dry here, which is why the wood is darker in spots. This will get sanded down, stained and waterlox on it. I will also paint the metal trim black and put on new handles.  Then re-line the inside. I think it will look pretty when all spiffied up.

We felt like getting out tonight since we have been kind of cooped up lately. Off to dinner at Moes!



Welcome to Moes!  :D

And now to go to my new practice room and work on my guitar!

Recipe: Last minute chili

Cold weather and chili just go together, don’t they?  We were waiting for all the snow to materialize, but it come until Tuesday. However, it is still really cold. I like to make chili, but wanted something vegetarian for John and I stumbled across this recipe using Morningstar veggie crumbles on the website Full Plate Living.  It’s called Last Minute Chili because you can make in about 10 minutes!

Last minute chili


I scaled the recipe in half and added some tomato paste to help add a more long-cooked flavor to it.  The ingredients are simple and we had them all, so that worked out really well.


  • One 15 oz can of beans, drained and rinsed (whatever bean you like)
  • One  15 oz can of petite diced  tomatoes
  • cup (110 grams) Morningstar Farms Grillers crumbles (or use ground beef/turkey)
  • One 4.5 oz can diced green chiles
  • Two tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder 

Drain and rinse  the beans.  Add everything into a sauce pan. This means using the juice with the canned tomatoes as that is the only liquid you add:



Mix well and heat over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until thoroughly heated. Adjust seasoning to taste. We found it just right and since we didn’t use low-sodium beans or tomatoes, we didn’t add any salt.

Then serve:

Last Minute Chili

This was quite good. I think the tomato paste was key to giving it deeper flavor. That stuff is amazing.

We divided this into 3 large servings, but you could get 4 out of it. It’s pretty filling.

Calories when divided into 3 large servings:  397, 80 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat, 30 grams of protein. Stats will vary a bit depending on the bean you use and whether you use real meat or veggie substitute.



Neighbors and movies.

Ever have those weekends where you do so much stuff and all of the sudden it’s Sunday night? That was my weekend. I put a lot of miles on the car, too. 

Funny story. Way back when I first saw our house, it was because I was driving to a store and missed the turn. So when I drove further up, I saw the house. Anyway, fast forward over a year and the woman had moved her shop. She had an open house on Saturday at her new location and I went to it. When I got there, one other person was in the store other than the owner. She asked me if I had been to her shop before and I told her the original story about how we ended up with Radiance Manor. Then the other customer spoke up and said “You bought X’s house?” Turns out it was a neighbor across the street that we hadn’t met yet! He proceeded to tell me what a jerk the former owner was and how glad the house is owned by someone taking care of it. I don’t think we have run across a single person that had anything nice to say about the former owner. I told him to stop by any time to see the work we have done. Funny how small the world is.

Anyway, I am thinking of taking one of her classes. She repurposes stuff, which you all know I love, and one of her classes is to make a windchime out of silverware and such:


I thought that would be nice for the garden and I am going to see if the nieces want to do this as well.

Painting progress on the middle bedroom. I went with a rose color. It’s called Romantic Rose – imagine that.


No more red closet door, either.  Thank goodness.  I was going to do some stripes in this room, but after loving this color on its own and then John not crazy about the stripes, I think I will hold off on them for a while.  I can always add them later.

My sister and I went to see Selma on Saturday.



Have any of you seen this?  It was a good movie. It was pretty intense in parts and sometimes I think it dragged a bit, but overall good.  I just have to say that I don’t understand how people can hate so much. I like to try to see other people’s sides of issues to try to understand, but racism is  one I just  don’t get. At all. 

Sunday morning we were at Panera since Coffee Planet is closed…wahhh!!  Anyway, instead of a bagel, I tried the Power Up Oatmeal.  It has steel cut oats, quinoa and almonds.


This was really good, I have to say. And they don’t sweeten it, which is nice.  I put some milk on it. The oats are 290 calories.  I would definitely get this again.

I scored another deal on a trunk.  This one I will be fixing up and selling.  This one is probably from the 1890s and is a real dome-topped one.  Very fun.



Pixie says “This is my new bed!”   I need to cool my jets for a while on accumulating the projects. However, when a deal crosses your lap, you have to take it, right? Not to mention meeting a very nice person who sold this to me.

Speaking of projects, I need sign off and straighten up for some company coming over tonight.  :D I need one more weekend day… just one.

Ye Olde Trunk

How did it get to be Wednesday already?  We headed out for our usual Wednesday breakfast. We went to Spot. Our very favorite breakfast place, Coffee Planet, closed a couple weeks ago. They have another location, but it seems there just are too many coffee places to make it in this town. Or there could be another reason, who knows.  I am sad, though.  So, Spot it was.


It would have been nice to walk, but it was 3 degrees out and the sidewalks are horribly icy for a lot of the walk. Just not safe. It got a little warm and water flowed on the sidewalks and now it is frozen to a glaze of ice (not to mention those that haven’t cleared the walks yet… ). Probably be that way for a while, too. I miss that walking.

I have to say I am in an exercise slump a bit. I ride the bike at home. My gym membership is expiring shortly and I don’t know if I want to renew it or get a treadmill at home. I can lift weights at home, just not as heavy, but then I also don’t have to actually go there, which is kind of nice. It’s not like I do a ton of socializing at the gym anyway.  It’s this bitter cold, I think.

Anyway, I have been a busy bee lately with home stuff, work stuff and life in general. My latest find in bargain hunting:



This trunk dates from 1890 to 1920. The hardware patent on it is July of 1889.  It is so cool to see something so old. I picked it up off Craig’s list for $40 and it is in terrific shape.  It has all of its original trays inside, too.


I spoke with HMS Antique Trunks about how to go about sprucing it up without totally changing the trunk. Did you know there are businesses out there dedictated solely to restoring trunks? There is a niche for everything! I was told to use a toothbrush and some 409 and go over the trunk, and then use tung oil. If I want later I can always do more work, but you can’t take away stuff you do.  I will be lining the inside with some new cloth, but that is a project for another day once I finish the middle bedroom!

I do have to say that I kind of fell in love with the look of it. 


This picture actually looks cool :) . I want a trunk for a coffee table, but this particular one is ever so slightly curved, which isn’t good for a table top.  This one is probably going to be used in my practice room for holding music and stuff.  Or I might sell it once I fix it up a bit.

John and I looked at it and wondered where it has traveled over the years. What stories this trunk could probably tell.  It’s not a super antique, but a good example of a piece of American history!

Paderno Spiralizer Review

Okay, here is a longer post on the spiralizer now that I have played with it more. If you go to Amazon, you will see 2 different Paderno spiralizers. The  Paderno 4-Blade (my link) is the newer version, which is the one I got. I have never tried a spiralzer before, so I can’t really tell if it is better than the 3-blade one. However, the reasons I upgraded were:

A. It stores compact
B. It has 4 blades (with an angel hair one).
C. Designed for less waste.
D. I had a gift certificate, so I spent more :D

Here it is all compact:


Everything is stored inside and everything is washable. That red label is where the blades are stored (which are uber sharp, btw).

It all unfolds thusly:



It has suction feet to hold it in place, but I had trouble getting more than 3 of the feet to stick on my wood countertops, but I think that is because of their handmade nature. It sticks great to stovetop, though.

The blade slides in and out sideways in this model very easily:


Just cut the ends of each piece of produce to be flat. Push the center of one end onto the little peg you see above (above the blade). Then slide the handle until it grabs the other end:


Then just turn the handle. You don’t want to push the handle in. See that little lever sticking out at the bottom of the handle? That is what you use to guide the handle towards the blade.  It cuts just about like a knife through butter. Super, super easy – even with the hard sweet potato!

I did angel hair on this one:


That is the little waste stub that was left over.

Here is a zucchini with the spaghetti blade:


This was a small zuke and the noodle came out with more shreds. Also, if your veggie isn’t straight, cut it in half and spiral twice or it will get whonky. I just did this whole thing to have less waste.  Here is the waste end:


You can save these for soups or whatever. Eat them or compost them.  My zoodles:


I dipped these in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to cook. Served with grilled chicken and Alfredo sauce:


The chipper blade will do spiral potatoes or fruit.  Here is John demostrating an apple. The apple was cored for this:


See how his thumb is guiding the handle? That stablizes the machine and keeps you from breaking the handle.



Remember that sweet potato I did the angel hair with?  I put it on a big cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray, a little salt and pepper and baked for about 12 minutes:


Then following directions from – I mixed the cooked noodles (after they cooled a bit) with a beaten egg and used a ramekin with a can to press into disks:


Then dropped them in a pan and cooked to crisp up on each side:


Topped with pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese:

sweet potato pizza


Cover with a lid to melt the cheese. And serve:

sweet potato pizza

Little gluten free pizzas! The possibilities are endless here. You could use regular potatoes for these ‘buns’, carrots, butternut squash or any other starchy veggie (I think I am going to try parsnips).

It’s easy to clean. You need a brush to clean the blades and handle with hot soapy water. The sweet potato gave an orange tinge to the parts, but it scrubbed off. I imagine beets might stain if you leave the juice on it too long. 

This is a totally fun machine. I am really glad I decided to get it.  I certainly have been eating a lot more veggies and it doesn’t take up much space.


It’s on the counter now because I am using it a lot, but could easily go into a cabinet and not take up much storage space. I don’t know if the 3-blade one collapses like this or not.

So, be prepared, you will see a lot of spiralized food on the blog in the future!

**This is totally my opinion only. I purchased the spiralizer myself and was not asked to review it. I just like it. The above link is an affiliate link for me, though.

Friday Randomness

End to another work week!  I won’t have a 3-day weekend like a lot of people, but I may actually get 2 days off :D  A lot of time I pick up extra work on the weekends for extra $$, but I was productive enough today to make extra lines.  Yay!

I certainly have enough projects to keep me busy if I am not working. Today I  scored a deal on some cute little doors.  I found a goldmine of a group people to help me find vintage items and stuff and these came across my lap.


These are going to be used for a headboard for the guest bedroom. We have a trundle bed for that room (2 twins) and I wanted something for a headboard, but a full-size door would be way too big! These are probably cupboard doors or something, but the height and width work. I just need to attach them together. I will be painting these and likely do some kind of design in the panels. Now to get the room ready for these LOL!


More spiralizing – this time the zucchini!  


I wanted to try making an alfredo sauce and decided that zoodles would be a good choice so that I could save on the pasta calories.  Topped with grilled chicken and 1/4 cup of alfredo sauce:



Calories for this dinner are around 450. That much pasta would have easily added 200 calories to the dish.  I am stoked! – and I ate my veggies  :mrgreen: 

First official plant purchase for the new house, too:


It’s a floribunda called “Enchanted Evening”  and yes, I will be singing that all the time when I see it.  I am going to build a rose bed in the middle of the yard at some point, but I couldn’t resist ordering this one. I tried to order it a couple years ago and it got sold out, so I jumped on it.  It will arrive bare root in the spring and will probably have a temporary home in the existing sun bed for a while.  

Come on spring!!

The next room

For those interested in the rehab of Radiance Manor, here is the next project.  I have now moved upstairs!  John is working his way into the basement :D

This is the middle bedroom.  It is going to be the guest bedroom, although no one wants to stay in it now :D  It is also my practice room for guitar, but it really is not inspiring at all, I have to say.



Out of all the wallpaper patterns in the house, this one is the least offensive in terms of color and pattern, but it is in the worst shape of all the rooms.

I am not exactly sure what was going on here. At first I thought it was just patched paper, but it is layers of paper over the same wallpaper with what seems like drywall compound in between? 



The wall could be messed up under this, so it should be interesting anyway…

There was a roof leak (anyone remember the slate work we had done in the fall?) and some of the wallpaper had gotten moldy:



Then there is this, and I don’t even want to think about what happened here.



And then there is the red closet door because why not?


Of course, there is the other door.  



Sure no one wants to stay here?? Again, I have to remember that the reason we were able to afford this house was because of how poorly it was treated.  Poor Radiance Manor.

 I do practice in this room, but like I said, it isn’t very inspiring right now.  It does have a big bright window, though.


This picture was taken over a year ago when we were first looking at the house. I think it was one of the subsequent checkup up visits we did because I see snow and there was none when we first saw the house. I just can’t believe how much time has passed.

Anyway, this room should be pretty straight forward. Wallpaper removal – which has been really easy so far – then patch and paint.  New window coverings, painting the closet door, new light fixture and replacing the missing door handle.  Seriously – what happened to the door handle?? Still working on paint color ideas, but I am leaning towards a mauve or rose colored room.  Or possibly light blue.


It was so nice to see the sun today.


After the last episode of Downton Abbey, there was a show about the Queen’s garden. It got me really hankering for spring!  It will be a long time before I can get working out here:


It has been a gray winter thus far, but those times when the sun comes out it feels like maybe we can get through winter.

I think my job also has been playing a role a bit as well, not to mention all the crap stuff going on in the world lately. One of the accounts I work on is a hematology/oncology account and for the  past couple of months it has seemed busier and busier with cancer. Everyone has cancer. Of course, I realize that they wouldn’t be seeing the oncologist if they didn’t have it, but with report after report coming through  it seems like no one can escape it.  The hardest part is that you will sort of get to know a patient when they come in weekly or more often for therapy for many weeks. It’s hard to watch people go through the treatments and not get any results or the side effects are just too much and they quit chemo, knowing full well what that means.  Some days there are many more clean bills of health and those days are good, but this holiday season it seemed like there were so many more new diagnoses at the holidays of cancer.

Anyway, that is neither here nor there and it’s just a part of my job. This is about as close to patients as I think I could deal with emotionally. I don’t know how doctors and nurses do it day after day.

On a good note, my spiralzer arrived yesterday.  This is pretty nifty, I have to say. I think I will talk about it further in another post because there are a lot of nice things about it, but here was the first thing I did with it:


This was a sweet potato. It spiraled super easy.  I have a bajillion recipes to try, but I stuck to simple pan sauteeing for these for the first time. It took about 10 minutes or so until they were softened, which is pretty fast cook time for a sweet tater!  I tossed them around in the pan and that broke the strands, but the taste was good:


Served along side salmon for me, veggie patty for John.  We both really liked these and definitely will help us eat more veggies.  I have to admit that I cannot wait to try frying some LOL!

After a gym workout last night, I got home and made a snack with the spiralizer. I used the ‘chipper’ and put a pear in it.  I didn’t core the pear. I just pulled the stem out and the blossom end. 


Check that out! There was no waste core left on the pear at all and just the end, which I will show you after I took a bite out of it :D


I might get a corer to deseed the fruit, but it sliced right through any seeds.  And sad Bronco nails, which I removed today… just like the Broncos did with their head coach!

So yea, I like this tool and the newer version is compact and has less waste. I defnitely need to do a better review of it when I get some time.


I’ll leave you with this shot of Pixie. 


John said she looks like she is relaxing in an innertube :D

I have a date with the bike trainer tonight.  We wanted to go out, but it is bitter cold and even coffee can’t entice us out!  Instead, I will be riding and listening to Serial.  I am the last one to finish this podcast? I have listened to 9 episodes so far.

Bye Broncos


Supporting my team!  I do the dots with the head of a pin dipped in nail polish.


Too bad it didn’t work.  Broncos – the only home team to lose this weekend.  In a way it’s better than facing the Patriots in Foxborough next week.  I just hope the Packers beat the Seahawks.  Good thing we aren’t hosting the Super Bowl this year :D  

On the home improvement front: The foyer is finished.  

Back in the day (that is our realtor in the shot):




Last week the wallpaper was finished and this week I got the wall and most of the trim painted.  Some around the window will have to wait until warmer weather when I can open the windows, as well as painting the radiators, which can’t really happen while they are in use :D


The color is Golden Mushroom by Olympic. It is the same color as the upper part of the wall in the dining room so that it gives some cohesion when you look from the living room into the rest of the house:


Now we move to the upstairs!  I think the next room is the middle guest bedroom. We will be having an overnight guest in the spring, so that room needs to get finished and decorated for that.  

I also did some work on a dresser I bought a couple weeks ago for $50.


I used Restore-A-Finish on it and it looks better, although still a little sun faded.



I forgot to put that drawer back in before taking the picture LOL. The Restore-A Finish took all the scratches out really well. Or covered them up, I shoud say.  No so good on the fading, but for now it will do without stripping the whole piece.  This is a waterfall style dresser probably from around 1930s or so.  John is actually going to appropriate this for himself LOL!  I got the bigger of the 2 closets in the master bedroom, so I will give him this dresser.  Now I need to find another one.

Getting ready for the spiralizer to arrive tomorrow.  I tried doing a zucchini with a veggie peeler and used it as noodles:


It was pretty good.  Way better than using spaghetti squash, IMHO.  I just dipped the strips in boiling water for about a minute to get hot and that was it. 

I guess getting the spiralizer will be the excitement for the week now that my football season is over. :D

Trying to stay warm!

Holy Freeze, Batman!  It has been sooo cold here.  Woke up this morning and it was -10 degrees (-23 celcius).  That is before any wind chill and that certainly doesn’t make me want to go to the gym. No way.  Good thing we have the bike trainers at home.

Good morning to stay in with a hot breakfast!


This is cream of wheat cooked with a mashed banana and some egg whites (added at the end).  Good stuff.  I really have made some good habits since we moved, one of which is not eating breakfast at my computer.  I do still look at my phone, though LOL!  

I have to post this that floats across my pinterest feed periodically (including today) and it makes me laugh every single time:


I have been there, doggy. I feel you :D

Pixie has been finding the radiators too hot for her now.  With this super cold, they run longer and get hotter, so she lays on them for a while and then lays on the floor near them.  I decided to move her bed near the radiator so she wouldn’t have to lay on the hard floor and she seemed pretty happy about that.  



Now she alternates being on this radiator and then in her bed.  Of course, it is kind of in the tripping zone, but the things we do for our pets…

I am eating different veggies per my 2015 ‘project’.  Dinner tonight was roasted butternut squash with my chicken:



I know some people call that a starch, but it’s a veggie to me:lol:   I am thinking about getting a veggie spiralizer to make veggies more ‘fun’ – since I apparently need to make them fun to eat more of them.  I have a gift certificate to Amazon and have been looking at the Paderno spiralizer.  Have any of you tried it?

With this cold weather and the fact that I work from home, it is really hard not to become a complete hermit.  We did want to get out of the house tonight and having to check to make sure the pipes at the old house hadn’t frozen was a good excuse.  John dropped me off at the library while he checked that and then we hit up the coffee shop:


You might or might not remember that I am looking for an old trunk to use as a coffee table.  I have actually been coming across a fair number of trunks, but they aren’t quite right for the coffee table. However, they have a lot of potential, so I might just get one and try to restore it just because. Maybe sell it or keep it somewhere else in the house. Cause I really need another project, right?