Etsy giveaway winner

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement, for checking out the rhymeswithsmile etsy store, and for being a part of something really fun!  I'm excited to announce the WINNER of the iPhone sleeve and iTunes gift card is Stephanie over at Thrifty Hippo!

Keep the store in mind if you're looking for something that looks good and saves the world, too!  Haha ... ok, maybe that's enough shameless promoting for right now.  But seriously ... keep spreading the word!

Can you think of anything you'd like to see in the shop?


Pickled Jalapenos

Have you had a chance yet to enter my rhymeswithsmile etsy giveaway?  No?  Well, you've got one more day ... so jump on that bandwagon and win yourself an iThing and a gift card!

It's that time of year when we have more peppers than we know what to do with.  I've decided to try my hand at pickling ... yes, pickled peppers really DO exist, and not just in the peck that Peter Piper picks.  I'm going to use this lovely recipe from my friend SB - well, really it's her sister Cat that guestposted about them.  I can't resist.  I've known this family for decades (yes, decades ... plural) and they all have fabulous taste in food.  So, yes.  Pickled Peppers for us this week, courtesy of Market 2 Meal and Cat.

Did you notice the Chinese translation of jalapeno?  Love it.


announcement and giveaway

You've been faithfully and patiently waiting for me to make my big announcement.  Well, here it is: the Rhymes With Smile Etsy shop is now open for business!  I'm sticking with "Rhymes With Smile" because saying it makes me smile (and I hope it makes potential customers do the same!).  You can access the shop by clicking on the above link or by going to http://www.etsy.com/shop/rhymeswithsmile.

With hundreds of thousands of items for sale on Etsy, I bet you're wondering how the RWS shop is any different from the next one.  Some things are the same - like, my items are handmade (with love!) and the majority are for house and baby.  But what makes Rhymes With Smile different is the twist - most of my items are upcycled.  The standard definition of upcycling involves taking items bound for the landfill and repurposing them to keep them in use.  Think recycling + creativity + oomph = upcycling.  What it means in my shop is that most of the items contain fabrics that used to be sheets, pillowcases, clothes - including skirts, jeans, shirts, headbands, ties, dresses, and sweaters - blankets, curtains, and decorative items.  When they no longer served their original purpose, they were UPCYCLED into the items I now have for sale.

Take this iPod/iPhone cover, for example:

In its former life, it lived happily as a gray wool sweater and a green flowered skirt (the lining you can barely see).  But then, the sweater got a snag and a shrink in the dryer, and the green flowered skirt ended up out of season and unloved in a thrift store.  I came to the rescue, did a little snipping and sewing, attached some velcro, and shazam - an upcycled iPhone cover!

Well, thanks for sharing in my excitement - many of you provided the encouragement that helped me make it this far.  But the fun isn't over!  As a thanks to all of you, I'm hosting a giveaway of the little wool sweater that could - also known as the Upcycled iPod/iPhone Cover pictured above - along with a $10 iTunes gift card!  You have up to three ways to enter:

(1) Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect and leave me a comment saying so (if you're already a follower, leave a comment letting me know that);

(2) Browse through the shop and leave a comment saying which item you like;

(3) Share the news about the Rhymes With Smile Etsy shop on your blog, and leave a comment with the link.

The giveaway ends on Monday, August 29th at 5 PM - and the winner (hopefully that's YOU!) will be announced Tuesday morning.



The Clock Story

So, here's the Clock Story.  

I got this clock from my neighbor.  It was in her yard sale pile, and she is a nice woman, so she just gave it to me.  And, no, it wasn't 1:16 when I took this picture.  The clock had stopped.

I disassembled it (I told her that's what I was going to do, in case you're wondering).  I decided to paint the frame with some leftover paint from another project:

And I found an old papersource calendar that my college roomate had given me for my birthday, so I cut up one of the pages and fit it onto the clock face.  Then I found the wrench in the tool box, and made sure that it showed up in the picture so that you'd think I was really hardcore about my re-doing of household items:

Finally, I sanded off some of the paint from the clock frame and reassembled it, hung it on the wall, and tried to remember how to tell time when there aren't big numbers to help:

That, my friends, is the Clock Story.

Tuna Cakes with Cajun Mayo

Tuna Cakes with Cajun Mayonnaise
makes 6 cakes

Cajun Mayo:
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 tsp. cajun seasoning

Tuna Cakes:
3 (5-oz) cans tuna
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
2 beaten eggs
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice

6 slices of bread, toasted
6 lettuce leaves
6 slices of tomato

Stir together ingredients for cajun mayonnaise and let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the tuna cakes.

Stir together all ingredients for the tuna cakes until well combined.  Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  When hot, scoop 1/6th of the mixture into the pan, and pat it down with a spatula to about 3/4" thickness.  Repeat two or three more times (however many cakes can fit in your frying pan) and let cook for 4-6 minutes or until crispy and brown on one side.  Flip the cakes and let them brown on the other side.  When crispy on both sides, remove cakes to a paper towel and keep warm.  Do the same for the second batch (if you had a second batch).

To serve, spread each piece of toast with 1-2 tablespoons of cajun mayo (don't skimp.  You need this).  Top with lettuce leaf, tuna cake, and the tomato.  Serve immediately.

I don't think it's every little girl's dream to grow up and find creative ways to use canned tuna.  But, I find myself in possession of lots of canned tuna these days, so I'm constantly trying to come up with delicious creations that don't scream "CANNED TUNA!" during the meal.  Yes, it's been a challenge.  But not too long ago Southern Living featured something similar to these tuna cakes - so we tried them, and loved them.  (Yes, I said "loved" in the same sentence as "canned tuna.")  I misplaced the magazine but figured it wouldn't be hard to recall, so we whipped these up last night.  The tuna cakes were about the same as I remembered before, but I think we must've accidentally quadrupled the amount of cajun seasoning that the original recipe called for (we remembered the mayo still looking rather white the first time we tried it ... this time, it was definitely red because of the amount of spices).  All that to say, though - it was perfect.  The Mr. and I agreed that it was just the right amount of dressing to add moisture and a kick to the sandwich, but it wasn't too spicy or overwhelming.  We liked the nice balance of flavors.

I can't believe it.  I found a tuna recipe - nay, a CANNED tuna recipe - that I liked.


Dutch Baby Pancakes

Dutch Baby Pancakes with Lemon and Sugar
from A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg (have I mentioned that I'm loving this book?  L.O.V.I.N.G. it!)

2 Tbsp. butter
4 large eggs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. half-and-half
1/4 tsp. salt

Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 425.
Put the butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet and place over low heat.  As the butter melts, use a pastry brush to coax it up the sides of the skillet.
Meanwhile, in a blender, mix together the eggs, flour, half-and-half, and salt until well blended.
Pour the egg mixture into the warmed skillet.  Slide into the oven, and bake for 18-25 minutes.  The mixture will rise and puff around the edges, like a bowl-shaped souffle.  The Dutch baby is ready when the center looks set and the edges are nicely risen and golden brown.  
Remove from the oven.  Drizzle - or splash, really; abundance is good here - with lemon juice and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.  Serve immediately.

A few updates:
Have I mentioned recently that I'm enjoying this book?  Especially after that seven-month long drought that sucked all literary life out of me (I've talked to a number of people who read that same book that took me seven months to read - and none of them liked it.  I wonder why it was so popular?), I'm savoring the relaxed read, the short chapters, and the invigorating style.  I'm a Wizenberg fan.  How did I not know about her and her blog, Orangette, until recently?

I'm working on the QUILTING BEE project - it's coming along nicely but it's not together yet.  I've got the top and the back pieced ... mostly.  Progress is being made - but August 1 came and went, and the quilt wasn't finished.  Sorry to those of you who have been sitting on the edges of your seats in eager anticipation (yeah, right - like would happen!)

Baby Rhymeswithsmile is scooting around.  She hasn't mastered forward motion, but she can go backwards like it's her job.  Well, I guess it is her job.  So she's doing great.  As I type this she's at my feet, on all fours, rocking back and forth and searching for little bits of dog hair on the carpet to put in her mouth.  This is fun.

And last but not least, the secret surprise announcement I've been teasing you all with for a while is coming.  Soon.  I'm working on it - as much as possible - and you'll know about it soon.  Cross my heart.