Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Break Through To A New Year...done with my new Cutter Bee circle maker, and my new gel pens that I recieved for Christmas from hubby and daughter!!!

Have a wonderful New Years celebration, and break through to 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Cactus/Bromeliad Monday!!!

Hi everyone! Hope you are all continuing to have a wonderful holiday season! I am off through New Years Day, which is GREAT! My daughter, Mom and I are planning an antiquing trip tomorrow somewhere. We just sort of start driving and end up somewhere!!!

Wanted to show you what I purchased at our local green market today! Miniature bromeliads in a pot. I loved the color. The seller told me the type of bromeliad thay are, and I must investigate them. He said they will not get big, and can even put out their offsets in the same small pot. I was thinking I would need to repot them in time, but he said no. It will be a lot off fun to see what happens.

Are they not the cutest things youv'e ever seen? I have it in my kitchen window, of course! Everything else got moved to a new location, so this show stopper could have center stage!!! He showed me how to water them and how often, so I am optimistic that I might not kill them!!! :)

Wish me luck!

Friday, December 26, 2008

X-Mas Red Friday Morning Flora

I looked out and saw about 6 red passionvine flowers open on my fence, so had to run out for some pics on this day after Christmas! I decided to hunt for some more red stuff, and here's what I found! Have a happy day after Christmas everybody!!!

Christmas lunch

Well, here it is, Friday! Looks like the early bird shoppers are already out their doors to find some deals. Not me! I have always been a little too selfish for that. I'm either still asleep in my warm, toasty bed, or I am here on my soft couch with my warm Doozey!!! Seems the day after Christmas is all about ME! LOLOL!!!

Well, I worked yesterday, and I had to share my Christmas lunch with you! My friend and I worked and we actually got to travel together in one vehicle. We started to look for a place to eat, and found that EVERY restaurant was closed, except for the trusted Chinese buffets! We planned to go out to one of our most wonderful Chinese buffets last night with our families, so we did not want that for lunch! We ended up pulling into this gas station and buying a Slim Jim and cup of coffee! It was good for a laugh, and has gone down as possibly our trashiest Christmas lunch in our 50 some history of life here on earth!!! LOLOL :0

If some of you are diehard Slim Jim fans, then I apologize for my comment, but it had been at least 15 years since I had eaten one of these babies, and it was like biting into a grease stick with a thick skin! We ate them down anyway, and on a good (actually GREAT) note, the coffee was delicious! Hee hee hee!

It was a Christmas to go down in my memory banks as a lot of fun!!!
Happy Friday after Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Cactus Monday!

While I was out thrift shopping on Saturday, I came upon this very loosely woven wall hanging, with pictures in it made from what looks like burlap! There was a cactus in the mix, so I snapped a picture hoping to find information online about this very interesting art form! I have tried all kind of searches to no avail! Can anyone tell me if they know where something like this would have originated from? I am wondering if I should go back and buy it. Is it rare? It reminds me of macrame, but it is not. Hmmmmm....

Interesting Sunday flowers and a visitor!

When I took Doozey for a walk this morning, I came upon some really neat flowers! First is a huge yellow looks like TRIPLE hibiscus with a white center, lemon outer, with a light blush around the edges...oh my goodness, it takes your breath away! I found it about 1 block away in a neighbors yard.

Now, I came upon a wild poinsetta and it was covered in color! I like the look of the wild ones SOOOO MUCH! The sweet little bee vistor flew right into my picture and gave me a cute picture of himself as an added Christmas gift!

Now, my next door neighbor has this hibiscus. It normally has much more muted color, and there were a few other blooms on the bush with the muted color, and then there was THIS ONE! So vivid and sexy in comparison!

1st Mandala (if I remember correctly)!

I bought myself a compasss the other day at a fancy art store, and decided to try using it to make a mandala. It wasn't perfect, but that is another story. Anyway I just gave it a practice whirl and without any rhyme or reason (or decent color choices) I have made a semi decent shell of a mandala. Do not pay any attention to the fact that I haven't filled in my color all the way, but I did do a kinda fancy little trick with the pink Sharpie along the edges of the white with blue stripes section, which gave it an cool look (I think)! I just thought I would give you a little entertainment this Sunday morning! LOL. Happy day to you all.
Julie :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rootings, cactus and tumblers!

Good Saturday morning! I am doing laundry (since 6am), and drinking my coffee...getting ready by 8am to go hit some garage sales! I love it when my daugher has a driving 'NEED" to go do some shopping! She ordered a new ball- jointed doll for her Christmas gift from us (and Santa)...and it is very small. It wears clothes the size of a Kelly doll (Barbie's little sister). We have not been to lucky finding Kelly or her clothes anywhere this year! So, now we MUST go out looking on the streets!!! LOL. It will be a lot of fun, and we are taking my Mom also, so hopefully we can find some new treasures! I see in the paper that we have quite a few to choose from in the area...YEAH!

So here are some random pics of this going on here. First a shot of my attempt to root Angelwing Begonias in water. They are long peices, and I have lost a few leaves so far. It has been about 5 days, and no sign of roots yet...but I am still holding out that there will be many in just a few more days!!! :)
The other one is my cutting from a kalenchoe that has taken on well, and is really starting to grow nicely!

Can you believe all of the dark pink buds on this Christmas cactus?
My all white one, had 2 light salmon colored ones come on it this year. I do not remember them being there last year! Hmmm. They are pretty though, and I like them. They were some of the first ones to open up, so they are on their way out already, and then I will have all white!
You can see the two salmon ones right in the front of the picture below!

We have a Tervis Tumbler store here, and they are so popular in south Florida because they have double insulated walls, and a lifetime whenever I have one that gets messed up for any reason, I just drive over to our local store and trade out for a new one. Well, I had one with an angel in it that was allowing some condensation to build up between the walls of the glass, so my sweet Mom took it over and traded for me. I asked her to get me something bright and colorful, and here is what she picked! A Key West sort of house! Isn't it cute??? I am so happy with it.

The have so many designs, and I cannot have a coordinated set because I want one of each! That seems to be how it goes for me. I like variety in every area of my life, for some reason. And colors. Below are a few others of my Tervis Tumblers. I have about 15 of the larger ones, and then the 4 small bird ones. They are extra- specially nice also because they are dishwasher and microwave safe. I used to never want to drink out of plastic, but I have a big ol cup of coffee in one every morning and it is just heavenly!

There are different sizes and styles...out favorite is the short fat one with a handle (like the Key West house one). The bird ones you see here were a secret Santa gift from one of my neighbors 2 years ago (smaller without a handle). There were 4 different birds in a set. You KNOW I loved those!!!!! I just bought myself this green dragonfly a few months ago (couldn't resist)! If anyone is interested in checking out all of their designs, I use an online store that has free shipping anywhere in the U.S! You can find them here at The Tervis Tumbler Store. They will ship to APO addresses also, if you have anyone overseas in the military. I love to send a set as a gift because they can be personalized to the individual, with all of the different designs available! I have sent out Florida Gater ones, Army ones and a set of kitty cats to my sweet DIL over in Germany! Check them out, just for a little fun!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Prickly Pear Questions!

Hi everyone! One reader of my blog, Rick, asked a question. I don't know the answer. I was wondering if any of you know if there is a taste difference between young and more mature Prickly Pear cactus pads? I would also like to know if anyone had experimented with different varieties of Prickly Pear and if there are any taste differences between them. Thanks in advance, if you know and can share with us!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to cook Prickly Pear

The following information is from Desert USA, for Lisa at Flying Colors, when she asked how I might cook a Prickly Pear cactus pad. This site is very informative. I will be making one of these recipes in the near future, with a full review to follow here! Thanks for asking, Lisa!!!
Nopales is the Spanish name for Prickly Pear Cactus pads. Prickly Pear Cactus are members of the Opuntia genus, and produce both nopales, a vegetable, and tuna, a fruit.

Native Americans used Nopales to poultice bruises and dress wounds. They also boiled and crushed the pads, then added the sticky juice to mortar or whitewash to increase adhesiveness.

Nopales have been more popular as a food source in Mexico for hundreds of years. Recently, they have gained increasing popularity in the United States as well.

As a vegetable, Nopales can be used in salads, casseroles, soups, grilled and prepared in a variety of other ways. Nopales are somewhat tart and have a green bean- or asparagus -like flavor.

Nopales are often compared to Okra, because of the sticky substance they release when cooked. This should be rinsed off before serving or before further preparation as an ingredient.

Nopales can be purchased year-round in Mexican markets and some grocery stores in the U.S. They can also easily be harvested from your own Prickly Pear Cactus growing on your property.

Selection & Preparation
Select small or medium sized, firm pads. Make sure the pads you select are not wrinkled, soggy or too soft. These pads (or paddles) are modified branches, which range in color from pale to dark green. They also contain sharp, thorny needles, which are modified leaves.

These, thorny needles must be removed with a knife or vegetable peeler before cooking. Remove any nodules, the thick stem, and trim the edges off of the pads as well. Make sure you wear rubber or leather gloves when handling Nopales to avoid injury from the thorny needles.

Wash thoroughly and follow the recipe instructions below. Nopales can be tightly wrapped and stored in a refrigerator for one to two weeks.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size 1 cup raw (142g)
Calories 60 Calories from Fat 10
Amount Per Serving % daily value
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars NA
Protein 1g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 32%
Calcium 8%
Iron 2%

Nopales on The Grill

Prepare the cactus pads as described in the preparation section above. Once you have removed the needles, nodules and thoroughly washed the pads, they are ready for the grill. Cook each pad for approximately 10 to 12 minutes on each side. While grilling, brush each side of the cactus pad with olive oil or a flavored oil of your choice. Pepper or garlic-flavored oil are often used on grilled Nopales.

Scrambled Nopales

1 or 2 cactus pads
8 Eggs
1/4 lb. of cheese (your choice)
salt & pepper to taste
Prepare the cactus pads as described in the preparation section above. Once you have removed the needles, nodules and thoroughly washed the pads, slice into bite-size pieces. Sauté the sliced pads in a small amount of butter for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl; add shredded cheese and the sautéed cactus pieces. Pour the egg mixture into a skillet and scramble. Serve warm with salt and pepper to taste.

Nopales Rellenos (Stuffed Cactus Pads)

12 tender cactus pads
3 cups of water
6 slices of Machego or Panela cheese
1/4 onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 clove of garlic
Salt to taste
1/2 cup of flour
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups vegetable or olive oil
1 can of tomato sauce (12 ounces)
Prepare the cactus pads as described in the preparation section above. Once you have removed the needles, nodules and thoroughly washed the ads, boil in 3 cups of water with the garlic, onion, and salt. Drain.

On each of 6 cactus pads place a slice of cheese and 3 to 4 pieces of onion. Top with another cactus pad, secure with wooden toothpicks and coat with flour.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add the yolks and beat for 1 to 2 minutes more to create a batter.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, dip the stuffed cactus pads into the egg batter and fry until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve drenched with cooked tomato sauce.

Nopales Salsa

1 lb. cleaned cactus pads
1/2 lb. tomatillos
1 small white onion
2 garlic cloves
2 poblano peppers
1/2 tsp. of salt
2 tsp.of fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp.of cumin
2 Tbs. cilantro
Prepare the cactus pads as described in the preparation section above. Once you have removed the needles, nodules and thoroughly washed the pads, grill for about 7 minutes on each side. Slice the grilled pads into strips. Place tomatillos, cubed onions and garlic in a baking dish, then cook in a 450-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Roast poblanos on grill or under the broiler, then peel them and remove the seeds. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until well chopped. A little water may be needed to moisten the salsa. Serve chilled with chips or use to season tacos, burritos or other Mexican dishes.

Nopales Salad

2.2 lbs. Nopales (cactus pads)
1 onion, halved
4 cups water
2 Tbs. salt
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 green chiles - serrano or jalapeno - chopped
Prepare the cactus pads as described in the preparation section above. Once you have removed the needles, nodules and thoroughly washed the pads, chop into bite-size pieces. Place the chopped Nopales into a pan with the 4 cups of water, halved onion and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes or until tender. Drain Nopales and combine with remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. This dish gets better if you let is sit a few hours in the refrigerator before serving. Serves 4 or more.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Happy Texas Cactus Monday!

Well, I am back home. I found Frisco, Texas to be devoid of cactus and succulents except for a few growing prickly pears (not in natural habitat) at a Pioneer Plaza Park there! You can see some of the bronze-looking cattle (Texas Longhorns), statues in the picture. Some had cowboys riding them! There were many of these all around the park and at a shopping center across the street. See a write up (and more pics) about the park HERE. The cactus there were needless cactus, and if I had seen them earlier, I would have taken a few pads to her house, and cooked them up for dinner!!! YES!

I took several pics with my cell phone camera, and the rest never came through and got deleted from the camera. Can you believe I went to see my sister graduate from her Masters program, and I very meticulously packed my camera with 2 sets of spare batteries, only to find out my memory card was absent! Thats when I started taking pics with the cell phone. Amazingly my sisters gratuation pics turned out very well!!!

We had full intention to visit a cactus nursery there and, that was scrapped to visit a huge electronics store called Fry's. That place was amazing! WOWZERS!!!

It was a nice quick visit at my sisters house, and we enjoyed seeing them and my 2 nephews. I have to say I am happy to get back to my little house again, cozy and ready for a good nights sleep with my Doozey!!!

Happy Cactus Monday everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Will be gone a few days!

I will be out of town through the weekend starting tomorrow. Am not taking my laptop...will be visiting with family. Hey...I am going to try and read a book too...a short little paperback called 90 Minutes in Heaven, by Don Piper. I have had it a few months already... so hopefully it will be good to read on the plane.
Everybody have a great Friday and weekend, and I will be on the lookout for the greatest Cactus Monday post of all times!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Some fungus for ya!

I came upon some actual fungus today, after telling Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants to let's look out for some mushrooms this weekend, I came upon these. Such a lovely shade of my favorite color! When my eye hit them, I actually gasped and scared my Mom and daughter! LOLOL. I found them at the Morakami Museum in Delray Beach, Florida. All of these pics were taken there!

Now this next picture is absolutely amazing! I swear to you that I have not done one thing to it! It just happens that as I was snapping the picture, the sun came out from behind a cloud and caused the shadows made by the railings of a bridge we were standing on to suddenly lay over top of this beautiful heron, and look what it did to the photo!!! LOLOL. You can actually see the lines in the water too! This is one of the most amazing photos I have ever taken!!!

And just one shot of a beautiful solitary Azalea flower!

It was a beautiful day!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jelly Pen Ornament...LOL!

Inspired by Lisa of Artsy Endeavors, I decided to draw and color a Christmas ornament. She is painting one a day! I picked this rather torn-down old thing off the tree, and realized I only had a ton of colors of jelly pens to do it with. What happened to all the GOOD colors of colored pencils???? Crap, where did they disappear to??? Anyway, I promiced Lisa I would post an ornament tonight before I would go to bed....but I must warn you that they best way to view this is QUICKLY, and maybe you won't notice what a...well...cruddy...I mean horrid job I did on it. It was a quicky for sure. I forgot his pink cheeks! Oh goodness. I will try and improve upon this one ornament as time goes by. I will get some proper colored pencils for this project and begin again soon (hopefully while it is still holiday season)!!! OK...go ahead and look...try not to laugh too hard! Oh the things I elect to show you guys. It is sad really. Ha ha hah. Hope you can sleep after viewing it! LOL. Good night!

Better day today!

Well, I made it through my Friday at work! Yeah! It was very busy from start to finish, but it kept me busy and out of trouble, and for that I can be thankful, right???

Tonight we went out to dinner at a new diner-like place. I had a small salad so I could have a peice of their homemade butterscotch pie! It was fantastic...I believe it is my favorite kind of pie! It has inspired me to try and make a sugar free one, just for kicks! (Made with Splenda or Sweet N Low).

Tomorrow I am attending a doll collector meet-up with my daughter, which should be interesting. Something different. It is at a Japanese museum, which is always beautiful. She will take a lot of pics of her doll, and others will too, all around the gorgeous park there....for a photo contest.

I am thinking of going out and throwing up some Christmas lights on my bushes in the front yard. The question is, do I have enough energy left today??? Hmmmmm.....we shall see!

Have a red and green jelly belly happy weekend!!!

Good morning!


If anything could have gone wrong, or just mischieviously happened yesterday, it did! It was as though the stars were aligned for craziness! It lasted the whole day, and today I am praying for a sort of opposite kinda day, if you know what I mean! I got a parking ticket, through no fault of my own (emergency at work)...then I drove into an area I was not supposed to...missing the detour...and they had to stop traffic to back me out (BUT in my defense it was due to the traffic ticket which I was still kinda upset about). I am just going to send them a check and forget about is too short. I had a friend die, (suddenly and kind of without warning), and the list goes on and on! It seriously went on all the way till I placed myself and Doozey in bed.....then I slept for 6 glorious hours, and I am on my way now to start all over again! I know how much work I MUST accomplish today, and am just praying for smooth sailing. I think it will happen! Looking forward to the weekend!!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Whoa...look what I got!

My daughter, who is studying to be a graphic designer, made me my new blog banner!!! Isn't it just great? I took this picture yesterday of my Kalenchoe tomentosa (or common names of Panda Plant, Pussy Ears or Chocolate Soldier), and she incorporated it into the banner! I love the addition of the spider!!! Thanks Carolyn!!!!! XOXO

I feel rich!

You never know what you don't have, until you don't have it! Our naval orange and pink grapefruit tree were taken out by the repetitive hurricanes back in 2004-5. We haven't had our own citrus since then, except fruit given to us by friends and neighbors, or very rarely from the grocery store. My sweet Aunt Dot from the west coast of Florida, brought us bags of her own pink grapefruit, tangelos, and oranges!

Tonight I did my master citrus peeling on them! LOL. My Mom taught me this method a few years ago, and it works so well. Peel the citrus, cut it right down the middle, then hold the half in your hand (cupped), and using the knife very carefully cut out the whole center core. Then turn the half orange (or what ever it is) sideways and just cut it in half or thirds, depending on how huge it is. The sections will break apart when you stir it, or you can just use your fingers to break them apart. I usually get them all halved and all the centers cut out, and after I do them all, I go back and start cutting them sideways.

Now I am ready for breakfast in the morning! I love COLD cut up citrus fruit! It is so juicy and delicious! Just thought I would show you how fortunate I became when my Aunt Dot brought me all of this wonderfulness!!! I feel rich now!

Cactus bud starting to peek open!

You know this little cacus gives me so much happiness! It is so adorable, and fun! The one little bud, is starting to open. I hope once they all open they will stay that way for a while so I can see them all open at the same time! The beige color is kinda boring, but I think it will look really pretty next to the ultra white spines! I have turned into more of a beige lover the older I've become. My last car purchase was a shade of beige, given a more luxurious name by the car company, of course!!! And to think I always hated beige in my younger years! LOL.

As I was coming in from the tire gardens, I nioticed these neglected jars of distilled water given to me by my cousin to use in my streaming appliances. I haven't used any yet and they have been out there about 2 years already! Ha ha ha! I was gonna say that I have heard of 13 bottles of beer on a wall, but never heard of 13 bottles of distilled water in a driveway before! Anyone need a bottle or two???