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Eclecticisms: February 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Type A Housewife (Guest Post!)

Thanks very much to Kiersten, for doing my first guest post! If you haven't checked out her blog, definitely do so! (And if you haven't entered the giveaway she is hosting for my Etsy shop... do that while you're there!)

Now on to the delicious recipe!

Do you remember that awful Canadian kids show that was on in the 1980s, You Can't Do That On Television?  One of the frequent punchlines on that show was the lowly lima bean.  In the family skits, the mom (who always wore yellow dishwashing gloves), would make lima beans for dinner and everyone would cringe at the thought of eating them.  Gross, lima beans!

Poor oft-maligned lima beans!  Personally, I always liked lima beans.  I don't know why so many people find them offensive.  My husband has never liked them either and whenever I want to make a recipe with lima beans, he instantly shoots it down.  So imagine my surprise when he actually suggested making something with lima beans as a major player--Lima Bean, Mint and Garlic Hummus from the September 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times.  As for me, even though I like lima beans, I have to admit I was a little bit skeptical about this recipe.  Mint and garlic?  Together?  Hmm…

I was wrong, though, because this recipe turned out to be really yummy.  It had a color and consistency similar to edamame hummus.  The amount of mint in the recipe was just enough to lend a bright flavor to the hummus, but not so much that it felt like eating a breathmint.  And the garlic was not overly assertive either.  This recipe makes enough for four servings--I served it with celery sticks and sea salt flavored PopCorners.  A perfect snack or light bento lunch!

Lima Bean, Mint, and Garlic Hummus (from Vegetarian Times)

1-12 oz. pkg frozen baby lima beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs. lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

1.  Cook lima beans in saucepan with 1/2 cup water 6 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes.  Rinse under cold water, and drain.

2.  Puree lima beans with oil, lime juice, and garlic in food processor until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and add mint.  Pulse 30 seconds to combine.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tickled Tuesday

This isn't a happy Tuesday by any means. My family suffered a terrible loss this weekend so I'm trying to focus on strength right now. My blog is definitely not the place to air personal things, but please don't think I've abandoned it if I don't post anything for awhile.

If anyone has any songs, poems, quotes, etc. that you feel are uplifting, I would love if you would share them here.

The video part isn't great, but this song is very uplifting. I figured it was a good compromise for TT.


Take care everyone, and have a happy day.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Welcome, to all my new followers! / Giveaway reminder!


     I'm super excited to say I have surpassed 100 followers as of this morning! I'm really hoping everyone enjoys my blog and reading my posts!

     If you haven't already entered the giveaway I am hosting, you definitely should check it out! Kiersten was awesome enough to host this for me and I'm so glad it's getting a lot of entries. To help celebrate my first time sponsoring a giveaway, I am also offering 10% off everything in my shop! Just enter the coupon code "GIVEAWAY" at checkout.

Thanks again to ALL of my followers, for your support!

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lemon, Poppy Seed and Rosemary Muffins

It might be because it is finally warming up and this stupid snow is finally melting, but I'm feeling spring creeping up around the corner! That could be part of the reason that my most recent obsession has been lemon poppy seed muffins. The cafe around the corner from my work has the best muffins, and lately these have been an option other than their usual raspberry or blueberry. (I have no comment on the banana ones, because bananas=gross!) I'm eating them just about daily, so I figured it was time I tried making some from scratch!

Surprisingly, there aren't a whole lot of recipes for these that I found, and many got bad reviews. The one I used from Joy the Baker had some people raving, so I decided to give it a shot. I do like them quite a bit, but think I'll try the using buttermilk in them next time, instead of the sour cream. My only real issue was that they tasted nothing like the yummy ones I enjoy for breakfast, and I'm a bit obsessed with recreating those. In the mean time, these are (and always will be) a different but delicious alternative!

You can find the original recipe here (along with a link to a printable copy!).

*The original recipe calls for a glaze, but I prefer mine plain. Check out the link above for those instructions.

2/3 Cup granulated sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 Cup buttermilk or sour cream ( I used light sour cream)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter, melted until browned and cooled
2 Tbsp poppyseeds
1 Tbs rosemary (My addition, not called for in the original recipe)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Line a 12 cup muffin tin and preheat your oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the center. The recipe calls for putting the muffin tin on a baking sheet (which I did) and I'm not sure why. I've made lots of muffins and not done this before, so next time I make these I'm going to omit this step. It's your call though!

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together until well mixed. (It will smell heavenly!) Next, whisk in the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.

Melt the stick of butter until browned. When browning butter, I find it helpful to occasionally stir it with a spoon or spatula, or gently swirl the pot around so it doesn't get too foamy. Once ready, it will be dark and smell a bit nutty. I always tend to burn mine a bit, only because I prefer the flavor. (Man oh man, do I love butter!) It's very easy to over brown it, so keep a close eye on the stove. Set aside to cool.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermillk/sourcream, vanilla and lemon juice. Once the butter has cooled, slowly whisk it in. (If the butter is hot, you might end up just cooking the eggs a bit, and that is most definitely not the goal here!)

Now, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together. I reversed this step and mixed the dry into the wet, only because I have better luck doing it in this order. Folding is more gentle than mixing, and helps control the gluten from over developing. Here's one of many helpful links that explain it! I over mixed mine just a bit, and the consistency quickly turned very doughy (think bread dough). Be careful to not over mix!

Once you are almost done combining the wet and dry ingredients, add the poppy seeds and rosemary.

Fill muffin cups with batter and lightly sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees. My oven is sort of whimpy sometimes, so I baked these bad boys for over 20 minutes, while the original recipe calls for 15-18. Adjust based on your oven, since none are alike, just like snowflakes.

These tasty little guys will be golden on top and let a wooden toothpick out clean when they're ready. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then move to a wire rack.


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I missed Tuesday! Ugh- I'm sorry! (On a positive note, that means we are one day closer to the weekend!)

This week I'm bringing in the big guns... one of my favorite scenes from my favorite shows, 3rd Rock from the Sun. I had a HORRIBLE dream last night and needing to cheer up is what reminded me about missing TT this week!



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pickles in the PM

I know, I know. Another PM post and these really should be Pickles in the AM (P.I.T.A.). She's been visting me more at night though, thankfully. As much as a love waking up to my head being crushed by her dense little body, cuddling at night is preferred.

She was just snoring and both her arms were hanging straight out. Ah, Pickles.

Yes, I have Animal pajama pants. Word.


Saturday, February 12, 2011


I haven't been able to sleep because my logo still not being done was racing through my mind. I got SO many great tips but I feel like anytime I strayed from my original design that I wasn't being true to myself. It just felt wrong. I needed something simple but bold enough to stand out. I needed it to be original. I needed it to be ambiguous, because I wanted the same logo for everything. It will be both my label for my blog and Etsy shop, so it isn't just about beads. (Do you have any idea how GLAD I am that I picked the name BEad ECLECTIC? It works for both!!!)

Anyways, it may not be perfect, or gorgeous and it might not get recruiters calling me for designing jobs, but it's mine.

I hope everyone likes it! Now to make my button, redo my banner, order business cards, post more items on Etsy, make a veggie meatloaf for February's challenge, blog about it.... oh man. The list goes on and on. Still... this is a BIG step!

(The background box will be gone for everything other than my blog button- I'm going to need help getting rid of that!)

The sunflower is one I grew and took  a picture of a few summers ago. I love sunflowers!


Thursday, February 10, 2011


Addicted? I think so. I haven't blogged in 3 days and I'm  jonesing! I've been working on jewelry, my Etsy shop and my logo (to be revealed soon!) and it has me too busy to bake! It doesn't help commuting in this snow... my energy is really zapped by the time I get home. Still, the longing for (yeah... I did say longing for) getting to a new post is driving me nuts. The last time I posted (late Monday night) , I was so determined to get it all done I was resting my eyes while pictures uploaded because I was so tired.

Signs of addiction? Hell yeah. Then again, I have a typical addictive personality, diving into things and getting COMPLETELY hooked. I looked it up and apparently people officially diagnosed with addictive personality disorder are defined as having brain disease. So, I think this is the part of this post where I make it extremely clear to all my lovely readers that I have NOT been diagnosed with anything... it's just my personality.

Anyways, I wanted to pop in and say hello to everyone. I should be done with my logo very soon and can't wait to share it!!! If you have any requests for crafts or recipes you'd like me to try and post about, let me know!

Happy Thursday!

Chicago in the summer. Ah... I miss seeing GREEN!
Chrissy and I a few years ago. Ah, the beach!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Drinking Beer in the Name of Crafting! (AKA Bottle Cap Magnets)

  • Buy some bottled beer
  • Drink said beer
  • Save bottle caps
  • Make crafts
Ok, so it doesn't have to be beer and it doesn't have to be drank all at once, either. (P.S. Pop is crappy and terrible for you. Stop drinking it!) You can even find bottle caps online, if you're opposed to bottled beverages. (Weird-o.)

Bottle Caps can be turned into magnets, necklaces, collages, pins or earrings (though I haven't tried drilling them yet...). Let your imagination run wild with these!

*This is a kid-friendly project!

Bottle Cap Magnets


PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive) in gloss
Bottle Caps
Compass, or 1" hole punch
E6000 glue (Optional)
Micro Beads (Optional)
Misc images (The smaller the better)
              i.e. magazine clippings, old greeting  cards, clip art, collage sheets, etc.

This is my compass from Grammar School!

Start by making a 1" circle and cut it out. You will use this to trace circles on the images you will be using (unless you have a hole punch). It's a LOT easier than using a compass over and over, and you won't put a dent in the center of the image(s).

Choose your image(s) and cut them out using your 1" circle.

Put a dot of PPA in the magnet and press the image onto it. It's ok if a bit oozes out the sides, but you don't need a ton. The glue is just to ensure the image doesn't slide around. Let set for about a minute.

If you are using mircobeads, add a small amount of glue to the areas you want the beads to stick. Pour beads in the bottle cap to fill it, and pour out the extras. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Fill the bottle cap with glue about 3/4 of the way.

Allow to dry overnight (often takes longer, depending on how much glue you use).

When they're dry, either glue the magnets to the back of the caps or just stick the magnet on. Not using glue will allow you to mix and match them! (You can also glue on a pin back, wrap it in wire to make a pendant, or anything else you can think of! These are super versatile!)

Have a fun Tuesday!


Tickled Tuesday

This Tickled Tuesday sticks with my baking theme. I had a whole idea for this week's post, but am having trouble figuring out where I downloaded the pictures to. Oops!

Anyways, here is my FIRST pie, circa 2001. I was so excited!!! (It was crustless on top, to make it healthier.)

And a few quotes, in the spirit of my originally planned post. It's still coming, just not this week. :)

P.S. I did NOT go to Notre Dame. I bought that shirt in a thrift store for about 90 cents when I was in highschool and wore the shit out of it. I LOVED that shirt!


The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.  ~Author Unknown
If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.  ~Buddhist Saying
I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.  ~Author Unknown

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

BEadECLECTIC gets a Facebook page!

Hello, All!

So, I finally made a Facebook page for my bead business, BEadECLECTIC!! I have lots more items to add in the coming week or so, but give me a "Like" on Facebook, if you have a profile! I have a coupon going right now, and will use FB to update everyone on future specials and giveaways.

Thanks SO MUCH for your continued support!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard - 2011

The madness began Jan 31st, 2011. A blizzard was headed towards Chicago, covering many areas of the country, leaving people stranded. We'd experienced these storms before in 1966, 1979 and 1999. 1999 was the first year I drove (16 years old) and I remember it quite vividly. That's probably part of why my storm-anxiety had set in days before this, as soon as I heard the weather forecast.

Lake Shore Drive, after they closed it. People were stranded for up to 15 hours and how it was handled is a point of controversy right now. Picture via The Chicago Tribune.
 Our CFO told the people in my department to head out early to make sure we got home safe, especially given that two of us have an hour-long commute on a regular day. Well. Leaving downtown Chicago with thousands of other panicking people is NOT something I want to ever experience again. (Honestly, it could have been way worse, too.) I got to Ogilivie (Metra station) around 2:45 for a 3:30 train... which was not there. Apparently, trains were leaving as they filled up, leaving conductors behind in the confusion. The next train headed to my stop was at 4:05, and the announcements of cancellations and trains having already left early cued me to get as close to the platform as possible, in hopes I would get a spot. As close as possible didn't mean close. We waited in a mass, stressed and anxious, for the doors to open. As we were finally herded like cattle towards the 4:05 train, I was called an "effing-b" (full words) by a woman who was about 65 years old when I asked her nicely to stop pushing me. (After she started yelling, I did upgrade that to, "Can you please stop rubbing your gentials against me?", as she was full body pushing me forward in the mass of at least 150 people going to the train.) I'm not claustrophobic... but I sure was that day.

Once my area of the massive crowd made it around the sign displaying the train time and stops, I ran to one of the furthest cars and made it on.. barely. Panic ran through my body as  I jumped on with everyone else, bodies fully pressed against each other, no man-space to speak of. (I'm a big fan of man-space.)  The doors closed and locked, and we sat there for about 5 minutes, unsure of what would happen or how long it would take the train to pull out of the station. A pregnant woman started having a panic attack and we couldn't get the doors open. People later pushed around to make way for her to get to the stairs, so she could at least sit down. We finally headed out around 3:45. We needed to stop twice at each stop to let people out, as the train wouldn't fit on the platforms (due to so many extra cars) adding even more time onto the trip. We welcomed each stop though, as the doors opening meant gushes of crisp, ice cold wind filling the cars and cooling us off. Those of us pressed again the doors (the "Do not lean on the doors" announcements were not made that day!) occasionally rubbed off some of the condensation on the windows to view the storm outside.

Have you ever heard thunder and seen lightning while it was snowing? I have!

Luckily, I was standing near two men who were cracking jokes and making us laugh. They really helped me get through that ride. My stop came (after a 2.5 hour commute!), and they joked, "This isn't really anyone's stop.. these people are going to warm up at the bars!", since my stop is near about 5 of them. The walk home form the train felt shorter than I expected, even with the freezing cold wind at my face and the snow collecting in masses on my hat, coat, and in my purse. I was just glad to nearly be home. I ran into a man shoveling who I knew immediately was Eddie's brother. I said hello and introduced myself, and we chatted for a few seconds. I'm glad to have finally met him!

Finally home!

Here are pictures I took that night, and the next morning when I let Foose out. The snow is still causing havoc and I was able to work from home again today, something I am extremely grateful for! I'm a bit anxious about commuting in tomorrow, but it will be interesting to see how it goes.

Wish me luck!

Foose was afraid of the wind...

Our front door. Brian had to dig his way through snow to get to it, when he got home from work around 6:30 AM.

I really think this one says it all...

It's a good thing I don't drive much!
Pooped from playing in the snow!
I hope everyone is safe and warm at home!