Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Greek Salad Recipe

I wasn't disappointed in this 'Greek' salad. It was fun to have my own feta cheese to put into it. I didn't have my favorite kalamata olives to use, but used some barely-tolerable canned kalamata olives that are in a water-vinegar solution. I prefer the ones soaked in oil. In fact, the most delicious olives I've ever tasted are black Moroccan olives, which look like they're dried and then soaked in olive oil. They're kind of leathery and salty and moist and delicious! If you're lucky, they might have free samples at Whole Foods.

If kalamata olives in oil or the Moroccan olives had been available at my local grocery, I would have used them, Since they weren't, I had to settle for what I could get. I think you will find this salad very flavorful and filling, but try to track down the better kalamata olives.

Romaine, Feta, & Kalamata Salad

1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
Several plum tomatoes, halved
3 mini cucumbers, washed and cut into chunks
1/2 red onion, chopt
1/4 c. olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c. pitted and sliced Kalamata  or Moroccan olives
Combine first four ingredients in large bowl. Drizzle oil and vinegar over. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Mix in feta cheese and olives. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Recipe source: Bon Appetit

Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Normal Instructor in 1931

Actually, the secretary who 'coronatyped' all day in 1930 would have been exhausted too! She wouldn't believe how easy it is now to express our thoughts digitally. In fact, I sometimes think we can express our thoughts far too quickly. At least the old Coronatype machine gave one time to ponder and perhaps retract, as they reached in to untangle the clump of keys that were stuck together, tried to get erasures out of the machine, or tried to patch a hole in the paper made by the eraser.

 Teacher poised to begin toothbrush drill!

Floating around the internet last fall was an article from the Washington Post with a copy of an 8th grade exam from 1931. 

I've tested the link. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Here's the address if the above link doesn't work:
With only 33% of Wisconsin's 8th grade students reading proficiently at grade level today, it is hard to imagine a time when schools successfully taught children reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history and gum massage! :-)  on a much smaller budget, I might add.

I found these two photos in a 1930 issue of Normal Instructor and Primary Plans.

Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
Check out my handcrafted soaps at Soap'n'Such

Friday, March 25, 2011

London Modes of Transportation

 Taxi and Bus

 The Tube: Gets you almost anywhere!
And when those doors open, be sure to 'Mind The Gap.'
Just pay attention to the tube map on the wall, so you get off at the right spot.

 The amazing Tube Map
which, in many places, bears little resemblance to distance reality

 Tottenham Court Road Tube Station
Fun mosaics

 The Escalator at Westminster Tube Station
Clean and tidy for the M.P.s

 Weary Cheeseheads
And you thought it was the cast of  'Fargo.'

Train at King's Cross Station
Transporting us to Cambridge

 Transporting us above London

Our transportation to Greenwich

Outside Buckingham Palace Gates
Transporting the police from hither to yon

The Queen's Guard
Last but not least, the most dependable mode of transportation 

Have a great weekend, everyone! :-)


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making Feta Cheese

I don't know if you remember my post on Making Mozzarella Cheese, but when all was said and done, it was great fun, nice to have my own fresh Mozzarella, but no savings. The same is NOT true for  Feta Cheese. For one gallon of whole milk, I got 24.5 ounces of Feta Cheese, that's about six times more than my little package of Feta crumbles I buy at the store. So, it's a great savings and very easy!

How did I learn to make Feta? By watching 'How to With Keila' (See video embedded below) - on YouTube, of course. YouTube is also where I find how to do knitting stitches, crochet stitches, and watch eagles on their nests above the Mississippi River. It's amazing!

I took my instructions from Keila and ordered supplies from

 Feta Supplies and equipment

Whole milk, 30% Calcium Chloride, Liquid Rennet, Mesophilic A Starter Culture, Salt, Mild Lipase Powder - Thermometer, tool to cut the curd, slotted spoon, stainless steel pot

 Milk with all ingredients slowly stirred in, heating on stove

 Keeping track of where I am in the procedure

 Curd gently scooped and placed into cheesecloth-lined colander

 Curd hanging in cheesecloth overnight

 Unwrapping the cheesecloth
Yea, it's Feta Cheese!!

 Final product

I put some in the refrigerator and put the rest in about 6oz. blocks in the freezer to use later. This, I felt was a huge success, considering the savings involved. I hope to barter for some fresh goats' milk to use next time.

I would really like to get my own goats, but I think it would put Bridger in a perpetual state of high stress.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

Knitting Baby Hats

I had so much fun knitting the hats pictured below.
First is the watermelon hat:

The Watermelon Hat

I found this free pattern on Spud & Chloe but didn't want it to be as pointy or as pink as the one pictured on their site. I used size 8 Addi Turbo 16" circular needles, size 8 double pointed needles for all three hats and the following yarns for the Watermelon Hat: Wool-Ease 140 Rose Heather, 180 Forest Green Heather, and 402 Wheat.  For the seeds, I used bits of another Wool-Ease, some variation of dark brown.

 The Apple Hat

The apple hat pattern was also a free pattern, this one by Sara Galley, which I found at Knitting Pattern Central. I wanted a deeper red, and wanted one without wool, so I used Vanna's Choice 180 Cranberry for the apple, Simply Soft's Dark Sage for the leaf, the dark brown for the worm and stem. Rather than knitting a rolled brim, however, I did 5 rows of K2P2 ribbing. The worm is not part of this pattern, but is simply about 3" of I-cord with eyes sewn in.

My new wonderful stainless Hiya Hiya dpns which are SO much better than the nasty plastic dpns I had been using. They come 5 in a pack, so the fifth one must have rolled under the package just before I took the picture.

This hat is a variation on a theme. Found as the adult hat in the Stitch'n'Bitch book don't blame me; I didn't name it by Debbie Stoller, I cast on fewer stitches and did several rows of seed stitch, then made the crown taller than it would have been for a baby hat so that it could be turned up. Okay, to be honest, the taller crown was a mind-wandering accident. But it turned out to be perfect for folding the brim up. Stitches are picked up at the bottom of the turned up brim, then earflaps with I-cord are knitted on. Wool-Ease 402 Wheat for the main color and 107 Blue Heather love that color of blue!! is what I used for the stripe.

I like seed stitch because it looks the same front or back. (Knit 1, Purl 1).You should have seen my first attempt at seed stitch. I kept losing track of whether I was supposed to knit or purl. (I was watching Downton Abbey for the umpteenth time!) Finally, when I learned to recognize the difference between a purl stitch and a knit stitch, which is explained so well in Stitch'nBitch, I was able to look away from my knitting to watch the amazing Maggie Smith, then look back and actually be able to tell which stitch I was supposed to do (a very useful skill.)

So now that spring has sprung, I've at last learned how to knit winter hats. Oh well, there's always next year!

P.S. If you do nothing else, be sure to go to Spud & Chloe and see the cutest sheep ever outside of Yorkshire! He's the project-after-next on my knitting list. :-)

Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
Check out my handcrafted soaps at Soap'n'Such

This post is linked to: Making the World Cuter Mondays
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and Thrilling Thursday
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and I'm Lovin' it Friday
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Castle Bolton, North Yorkshire Dales

Castle Bolton, west of Leyburn in the Yorkshire  Dales

Castle Bolton, just west of Leyburn, in the heart of Wensleydale

I thought the various layers of stone were so interesting!

Looking across the valley toward Pen Hill

American Tourist in Castle Courtyard

Bolton Castle was built by Sir Richard le Scrope, Lord Chancellor of England to Richard II. The licence to crennelate [build a fortification, evidently] was granted... and building commenced in 1379 and was completed in 1399. The family had raised to prominence a generation before under Sir Henry Le Scrope who was Chief Justice of The Kings Bench, Chief Justice of The Common Pleas and father of Sir Richard. - from

The portcullis. Wouldn't it be cool to have one of these in your home!

Mary, Queen of Scots fled to England after losing The Battle of Langside in April 1568. She landed at Workington, travelling from there to Cockermouth and from thence to Carlisle. Scrope was at court at the time, but hurried north with Sir Francis Knollys to take charge of her. They moved her to Bolton on 16 th July. She arrived only with the clothes she stood up in. Sir George Bowes sent her tapestries and turkey rugs to make her stay more comfortable. The Earl of Northumberland sent her venison. Scrope wrote to James Stuart, Earl of Moray, asking him to send on Marys' belongings which she had left behind in Loch Leven Castle. He sent pack horses and several car loads but 'there was but one gown of taffeta, the other riding cloaks and the such-like'. Scrope wrote again and the remainder of her belongings were despatched. This next consignment contained 'Her Cloth of Estate, ' which she hung in the Great Chamber. - from

Mary Queen of Scots
Imprisoned at Bolton from July 1568 to January 1569

It was during Mary's stay at Bolton that The Commission sat at York to discuss what should happen to her. The Earl of Moray wanted Mary returned to Scotland to face a charge of being involved in the murder of her husband Lord Darnley. ibid.

Apparently no one was fond of cleaning toilets back then either.

The amazing maze as seen from the near-roof of Bolton Castle

The gardens with Pen Hill in the distance

And just in case you want to build your own Bolton Castle out of Legos, I found this cool web site:
Legos are wonderful things, unless you accidentally kneel on one.

For more of the account of Mary Queen of Scots and her imprisonment at Bolton Castle, read here.

Won't someone please clean that toilet!

Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
Check out my handcrafted soaps at Soap'n'Such


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