Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Cookbook Giveaway

Last month when I posted about our anniversary and wedding, I shared that our wedding favor was a family and friends cookbook.  A few of you commented on what a good idea the cookbook was.  We still have a few extra copies, so I thought I’d give one away. 

Just let me know in the comments if you’re interested in having one.  I’ll draw a name on Saturday, and announce the winner on Sunday.  Make sure you check back so you can send me your address if you win.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Music Monday: Bobby Pickett - Monster Mash

With Halloween practically here, I decided Monster Mash just had to be the song for this edition of Music Monday.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

We Walk For White Flowers

I’m a little late in posting about it, but we participated, along with Chuzoo and Duke, in our local Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 29th.  The fundraising goal for our local chapter was higher this year, since it was quickly exceeded last year.  The higher goal hasn’t been reached yet, but we have until the end of the year, so there’s still time.

If you’re not familiar with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, one of the features of the walk is a promise garden.  All registered participant’s receive a flower, and each color signifies a different meaning, as explained on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website:

Blue represents someone with Alzheimer's or dementia.
Purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease.
Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
Orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

Sadly, purple flowers seem to dominate, closely followed by yellow flowers.  

White flowers will one day signify Alzheimer’s survivors.  

Currently, there are no white flowers, and no survivors.  We walk to change that.  We walk for white flowers.  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Throw Back Thursday - The Duke With Four Legs Edition

Those of you who are long time visitors here at Sweet Tea Reads may remember that our dog Duke started off as a foster dog, and that he came to us heart worm positive, and with a bum leg.

Saturday, October 20th, was five years since we brought Duke home.  The memory showed up on Facebook, along with the first pictures we took of Duke, back when he still had four legs.

It’s actually a little weird seeing pictures of him with all four legs.  He gets around extremely well, and just doesn’t seem to be lacking in any way.  Well, possibly manners, but certainly nothing he needs to live a full and happy life. 

We had Duke for about six months before his leg was amputated; long enough for him to get through the heart worm treatment, and become healthy enough for the surgery.   It was also long enough for us to become too attached to ever give him up, so he became the second in a long line of foster failures

Duke recovered quickly from the amputation, and gets around much better than he did before it, as you can probably tell from this picture of him at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s last month. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Answering Questions

I’ve noticed when it comes to blogging that about half of the bloggers I usually visit seem to respond to each comment on their blog, and about half don’t seem to respond to any, at least in the comments section.  I’m never really sure which one is best.  I don’t know if people actually check back, so I very rarely respond to anything in the comments section. 

I also don’t write many (any?) posts that are going to inspire much debate, or raise very many questions.  There’s only so much discussion possible when it comes to recipes or cat pictures.  That being said, there is an occasional question in the comments section, so I thought I might start periodically doing a post with responses to those. 

I’ve skimmed over the last several posts, and these are the ones I noticed:

On Throw Back Thursday - The Baby Howard Edition, Liz asked if Howard still tries getting into places that are too small for him. 

Not really.  Howard is “portly” as the very nice nurse at the emergency vet once described him, and has been for a while.  I think he’s used to not fitting very many places.  He’s also twelve now, so doesn’t do nearly as much climbing around as he used to. He does like to squish himself into the smallest pet beds possible, but I think that’s probably just for the warm, cozy feeling.  Howard is super cuddly, and is happiest when he’s cuddled up to someone else.

When I posted my Cheap Steak Fajitas recipe, and lamented my inability to make beef stew, Bijoux made the comment that she thought I needed a Crock Pot until realizing that the recipe was a Crock Pot recipe.  

All of my failed attempts at beef stew have been in the Crock Pot.  I usually have great luck with Crock Pot recipes, so I’m not sure what the problem is when it comes to beef stew.  

Betty asked if I’d like a recipe.  

I’d love one!  If it claims to be simple or foolproof, I can definitely put that to the test.  

When I posted my Tzatziki sauce recipe, Cat asked for possible substitutions for dill.  

I’ve had it without dill, and it’s good.  That’s actually how we were taught to make it in the cooking class I took.  Honestly, I prefer it with dill, but it’s still really good without it.  If you’re looking for a substitution, though, I would probably try oregano or mint, since those are typically already found in the types of food you’re likely to be having with Tzatziki sauce.  

And I think that’s it for posts that had any kind of questions.  Like I said, I don’t seem to post very much that raises questions or leads to much debate.  

So, how do you handle questions and comments on your blog?  Do you respond to every comment, or just questions?  Or do you do something else entirely? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tzatziki Sauce

I love tzatziki sauce.  It’s one of my favorite things about eating any kind of Greek or Mediterranean food.  The food is already amazing, then you top it with an incredible sauce, and it just gets better.

We’ve taken a few cooking classes at a local Mediterranean restaurant, and one of the things we learned how to make was tzatziki sauce.  I was surprised at how simple it is to make.  I thought anything this delicious had to be at least a little bit complicated, but it’s surprisingly simple to make.

It’s also very easy to customize to your particular tastes, likes, and dislikes, so don’t be afraid to experiment.  This version is the result of my experimenting with a version of the recipe we were taught in class, and a version we tried at another restaurant out of town.

Tzatziki Sauce:

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Scant 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber, seeded (or use seedless, it’s much easier)
1 garlic clove, pressed
½ tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried dill
Salt to taste, usually just a sprinkle or two

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix well, and serve chilled.

You can use plain regular yogurt, if you prefer, or if that’s what you have on hand.  The sauce turns out just fine.  It’s a little thinner, and I assume somewhat less authentic, but still delicious.  You can also leave the salt out if you prefer.  I don’t recommend that.  I love salt, and I’m convinced there’s very little food that isn’t improved by the addition of salt, but that’s just my opinion.

The sauce doesn’t keep very long at all.  You’ll need to use it within about 24 - 36 hours of making it.  That’s really not a problem, though, with a sauce this good.  It’s great on pita chips, gyros, grilled or baked Greek seasoned chicken, Greek omelettes, basically anything that pairs well with a creamy, garlicky sauce.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Music Monday: Bill Haley & His Comets - Shake, Rattle & Roll

Saturday night was fairly cold here, and it really felt like fall, so we decided to watch a slightly Halloween-ish movie.  We decided on Clue, with all three of the endings.  This song is in the movie, and has been stuck in my head since Saturday night, so I thought I’d share it with you for Music Monday.

Does it feel like fall where you are?  Have you been watching any Halloween movies?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Music Monday: Elvis Presley - Can’t Help Falling In Love

I’ve been an Elvis fan for as long as I can remember.  My childhood best friend, Dani, and I were completely obsessed when we were four.  My mom had a few Elvis movies we loved to watch, and Dani’s mom had a cassette tape we loved to listen to.

Over 30 years later, I still love to listen to Elvis.  It’s practically impossible to pick a favorite Elvis song.  He had so many great ones!  This one is definitely at the top of the list for me, though.

What about you?  Are you an Elvis fan?  Do you have a favorite Elvis song?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Throw Back Thursday - The Teapot Edition

These are from last year’s visit to The Charleston Museum, in Charleston, South Carolina.  It’s America’s first museum.  You can read more about it here, and I’d highly encourage you to take the time to visit it if you’re ever in the Charleston area. 

The Charleston Museum has so many great displays, but the teapots really caught my eye.  I think these two are so pretty. 

The pineapple one was definitely my favorite.  The pineapple is a symbol of welcome, and pineapple decor features heavily in Charleston.  As I’ve said before, offering guests sweet tea is a huge part of hospitality in South Carolina, so I loved the pineapple teapot as the ultimate symbol of hospitality.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Easiest Apple Crisp Ever

Even though it doesn’t really feel like it, it’s officially fall.  I’m very happy for the warmer weather to hold on for as long as possible, but I do love the flavors of fall.  Enjoying fall flavors and warm weather suits me just fine.

This apple crisp is incredibly easy to make, and it’s perfect for fall, whether you’re savoring the last bit of warm weather, or have already moved on to fall weather and activities. 

Easy Apple Crisp:

2 cans apple pie filling (any brand will do, typically Aldi has apple pie filling this time of year, and it’s great, as well as inexpensive)
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter, butter melted
½ cup sugar

Spread pie filling in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish

Melt butter in a glass mixing bowl in the microwave.  Combine cake mix and sugar with the melted butter.  The consistency will be a little bit like cookie dough. 

Drop and spread over the apples.  Don’t worry about it if there are a few gaps; it will spread out as it bakes.

Bake at 350 for 50 - 60 minutes, until it’s a nice golden brown.


I think it’s best served warm, with a little vanilla bean ice cream. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Music Monday: Faith Hill - It Matters To Me

Faith Hill’s It Matters To Me was one of the first CDs I ever owned.  The whole CD is great, but my favorite song on it is It Matters To Me.  I love the song. 

Fourteen year old me was obsessed with the song.  That was also about the time that I discovered the repeat feature on my CD player.  I played this song over, and over, and over, for hours at a time.  Oddly enough, the rest of my family hates the song.  They disagreed with me about how much of a good thing was too much.  I’m pretty sure my parents and sister would do just about anything to make it stop if someone started playing this song on repeat. 

I hope you enjoy it, even if you only want to enjoy it once.  Personally, I think it’s best played a few times in a row. 

Are there any songs you like to listen to over and over? 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We Failed. Again.

It’s the good kind of failure, though.  We officially foster failed and adopted Charlie and Mortimer

It only took them a few days to work their way into our hearts.  They’re so sweet, they get along well with the other cats, and are fine with the dogs.   I hated to think of them going back to living in a cage, and it broke my heart to think about them being separated.  I couldn’t imagine one of them being left behind if someone only adopted one of them.  So we adopted them both.

We now have six cats and two dogs; half of them were foster failures.  We’ve decided that we’re just not cut out for fostering.  I don’t seem to be able to let them go (Tara, Duke, Cookie, and now Charlie and Mortimer were foster failures), and it wouldn’t be a good idea for us to have any more pets.

We’re very happy with our newest additions, and everyone is getting along and happily coexisting, so we’re calling it good.  There are worse things to fail at.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Music Monday: Augustana - Just Stay Here Tonight

I first heard this song on a TV show a few years ago, but I can’t remember which one.  That probably means the show wasn’t that memorable, but the song is great.  I think it’s happy and peppy, without being loud or annoying.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Have you found any great songs from TV shows?