Thursday, August 24, 2017

Picking The Perfect Tomato

It is full bloom tomato season, and we all know that those home grown tomatoes taste better. So here are some tips on picking the perfect tomato.


Choose firm tomatoes with unblemished skin, a red wine-like aroma, and color that's lighter at the stem and end than at the bottom. The color gradation is a sign that the tomato has ripened naturally, rather than artificially with ethylene gas which usually results in a telltale uniform color. Keep in mind that heirloom tomatoes come in a variety of colors. And well red may not mean flavor peak.


Store your tomatoes stem side up, and away from heat or sunlight. Use them within four days if possible. Don't refrigerate your tomatoes. At temperatures below 55 degrees, the water in tomatoes expands and the sugars convert to starch. This creates a meaty texture. And FYI most refrigerators are set to 40 degrees or below.


Peel off the tomato's skin before making a sauce, since the skin can toughen during long cook times. The easiest way to remove tomato skins is submerge the tomato in boiling water for 115 seconds, then pop it in a bowl of ice water to cool. The skin should slip right off when cut away the core.

So do you have any tips on pick the perfect tomato that I've left out?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hey Violet

When I was out the other day, I decided maybe it was time to pick out some new music. You know music that I have never listened to. I saw a Cd by a band called Hey Violet. I'd never heard of them, but I thought maybe I should give them a try.

When I first saw the album, the cd I thought this is going to be one of those pop bubble gum bands. But then I thought to myself, I am judging a book by it's cover. And decided to listen to the lyrics. And I was pleasantly surprised. This is a teenage band singing about some of the problems of youth, but there was a song called Guys My Age. The singer is singing about immature guys, who just don't get what she wants from a relationship. I thought to myself this is going to be something she faces her entire life. Some men just don't understand what women want no matter how old they are.

After, I listened to their music, I decided I wanted to know a little more about the band. And I was surprised that the band was not exactly new. They were a band called Cherri Bomb up until a couple of years ago. And they had opened for some serious acts like The Smashing Pumpkins and Foo Fighters. Not bad for a young band. Cherri Bomb split, and Hey Violet was created out of most of the members of that band.

If you looking for a band with an alternative pop punk feel then this one is for you. Keep in mind that some of the lyrics are a little explicit. So if that offends you beware!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What Is The Greenest Choice Soaps

Making good choices for the environment can be challenging. You want products that work well, but you also don't want to have to auction off a kidney in order to pay for them. I decided to provide a little information on soaps, and which is the green choice. It's one little thing that can make a difference to the environment.

At the core of many arguments around soap and the environment are two chemicals. dioxane, and triclosan. These are words that don't come up in every day conversation, but they are important. Dioxane is used as a sudsing ingredient in some soaps, and you got it is considered a carcinogen, in the state of California. And Triclosan is an antibacterial that is used in many soaps. It is believe to contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

But how do I choose between these two?

When you go to choose your soap? It's easy less is often better. The bar of soap is actually the greenest choice. It will usually contain fewer ingredients, and requires less packaging. And they usually don't contain that nasty chemical triclosan. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday's Star Blog Hop

This Monday is a big one. It's the day the eclipse takes place. I don't live in the direct route of the eclipse, but I'm hoping I can see whatever there is to see of it in my area. But when in the mean time, it's time to enjoy the blog hop.

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

WELCOME to the August "You're the Star" Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share from my blog:
Have you ever had one of those days when you just really need to get rid of some stress immediately? Then make sure you check out my post I need to Destress Now! 


WELCOME to HOME feature week of the August "You're the STAR" blog hop!
Meet your HOME week Hosts
by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHome_zpsvjqg4aib.jpg
This week is HOME feature week
Swing by the Home Hosts' Blogs:
Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn
Heidi @ Heidi's Wanderings
This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!
There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear - this is NOT a themed party - you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The "theme" occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#4 HOME - recipes, home d├ęcor, antique/DIY &/or travel (this can include anything about your home - even history posts - all while remaining family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg

(All features were chosen from the July "You're the Star" blog hop)

Guest Bedroom Reveal by Rickety Pickets
Twin beds in guest bedroom

The Art of Collecting by A Day of Small Things....

Thrifty Decorated New House by Thrifty To Nifty

Our First Camping Trip by Mille Fiori Favoriti

If you've been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

We are in need of more Cohosts (click HERE to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts).  For HOME feature week we  need 2 more Cohosts.
If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click HERE & fill out the form.


All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn't be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post - rest assured - we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES - other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Thousand Star Hotel

Thousand Star Hotel is a book of poetry by the poet, Bao Phi. I usually don't gravitate toward poetry, but this book caught my eye. I'll tell you why when I tell you what I think of the book. (Hint, keep reading!)

The Poems

Phi's poetry tells his experiences as an Asian American immigrant. His life growing up in Minneapolis. He writes about how the color of his skin has affected his life. His views on the world are based on his experiences. He shares his dreams for his daughter. And he shows how different the life she is leading than the one he shared growing up. He shows a world most of us don't think about often. 

What I Think

I enjoyed reading most of these poems. First, because I lived in Minnesota as a child. And the Asian community of immigrants in The Twin Cities is a big part of that time. As I read some of the poems where the writer describes having racial slurs thrown at him, I thought to myself, I didn't know these individuals had to go through that. I knew, but it didn't really sink in until I read the poems. Yep, I felt a little ignorant.

Racism is a huge issue in this country right now. And sometimes it feels like we are being beat over the head with the conversation about racism. But the I think these poems reminded me, that there are two types of knowing. There is the kind of knowing that is in your head. It's the cognitive knowing. And then there is the knowing that is in the heart. That's the emotional knowing. I think you need both in order to really confront issues of racism. And Bao Phi has managed to write poetry that makes those connections in Thousand Star Hotel.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

2000 Calories

2,000 calories is the standard set by the USDA for food consumption. It's pretty liberal, you can eat quite a bit of food throughout the day if you eat healthy.

Now, I am not a calorie counter. I eat things that I like, and I try to make sure they are healthy. If it sounds tasty, I will give it a try. And I enjoy a wide range of foods. This makes things pretty easy when you go to a restaurant.

So as I browsed through the menu at a local restaurant recently, I thought to myself that this creamy pasta dish sounded wonderful. It had cheese it had cream it had meat, it had everything including the kitchen sink. And then I looked to the side of the description of this pasta dish. It said 1960 calories. I exclaimed 2000 calories! My dining partner asked what? I pointed out the item, and asked isn't that all of the calories you are supposed to eat in a day? So when the waitress came I ordered one of the items with 730 calories. And I had mixed feelings about the way that dining establishments had begun to put the calorie count beside items on their menus.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Crap Car

Have you ever owned a crap car? One that no matter how well you treated it, just seemed to give you trouble right and left? I did. It was this car.
It was cute. It was sporty. It was something every college girl needed. But I owned it three days and something went wrong. The water pump went out. This was the beginning of a cycle. Once a month I took that car in for repairs. I was determined that the crap car was not going to get the better of me.

It just never worked on a regular basis. But I stuck with this cute little car. I racked up credit card bills right and left repairing this vehicle. I paid my monthly loan payment. I dream of the day when this car would be paid off.

I put a new engine in the vehicle, and I of course thought it will be paid off someday. Someday, there will be a time when I will no longer have payments on the crap car. And it did happen, I paid the car off two months after it emitted it's last fume.