No matter how experienced (or inexperienced) you are in the kitchen, everyone can use a good tip now and again….10 good tips, or as we like to call them, Savvy Secrets, are just ten times better! Read more
Posts from the ‘Yes You Can’ Category
Vodka is known as one of the world’s most popular spirits. But did you know that vodka also has a long history of use as medicine? Over the years it has been sold to cure everything from infertility to colic and the plague. While not all of its touted uses over the years are viable, it is true that vodka has a wide range of potential uses beyond just being served as a social beverage. Read more
Growing up in England, it was very commonplace to see ladies, and gentlemen for that matter, in hats. My darling Mother wore hats all the time. A lot of luncheons she attended called for a hat and definitely when my parents went to the races, be it Ascot, the Derby or any other special one, she would always have a wonderful hat on her head with Father beside her in his top hat and tails. Read more
There are few things that all of us share as memories of childhood but it seems that play dough is one of them. There is something so soothing about playing with that smooth, soft dough. Rolling it into long “ropes” and squishing it between our fingers, many of us could pass many happy hours just playing with our play dough. Read more
We have all heard or sung this song hundreds of times throughout the holidays but did you ever stop to wonder what it is really all about? Partirdges in pear trees and maids a milking…very strange indeed unless you know the history behind this lovely carol. Now you will Read more
Christmas is one week from today. Are there still people on your list that you just can’t figure out what the right gift would be…an uncle, a grandfather, a niece or nephew? We have some ideas. Is there someone who has everything and you wonder what could you give them that would be special or meaningful for them? Or maybe your budget is wearing thin and you still have teachers or neighbors, the postman or gardener or babysitter you want to remember…we have some ideas for those gifts too. Read more
Oh golly, it is always so great to receive Savvy Secrets from all of you! Our dear Chum, Nancie, sent these to us so, with joy, we are sharing them with you.
Please, if you know of any Savvy Secrets that you think other people would be able to use, let us know. We will be glad to share them. After all, what are Chums for?
This being corn season, we thought we would give you an extra Savvy Secret this morning…..how to husk your corn!
Enjoy and may this add to the abundance in your lives!
Today I want to share with you one of my family’s favorite meals…..Chicken Stroganoff, a lighter version of the more well known beef stroganoff. It is simple to prepare, can be made several days ahead of the time you plan to serve it, (it just gets better as it sits), and is one of those meals that after tasting it, people always request to have the recipe. The way I happened to make it came about in one of those happy mishaps life sometimes gives us
As you all know, we love to share Savvy Secrets and invite you, always, to share yours with us to pass along. Recently, we were given these Savvy Secrets using things from one’s pantry from our chum Hilary. Although we have not tried them, we feel sure they will be helpful to one and all! Read more
Napkins have been around longer than you may think. The ancient Romans are known to have used cloth napkins to protect from food spill and to wipe the mouth. The guests at a dinner brought their own napkins and carried away left-over food in them. With the fall of Roman Empire, napkins disappeared from the dining table.
Everyone likes to feel wanted. That is why Jackie and I feel so strongly about using place cards when we invite anyone to a gathering where we will be sitting down to a meal. They tell the person whose name is on the card “we’re glad you are here and we planned on you coming.” Besides that, place cards can be just plain fun to design and make!
There are two kinds of English….the original, the one spoken in England, and the one we speak here in America. Your Two Chums have fun comparing words used that are completely different but mean exactly the same thing.
Jackie grew up in England and Robin here in Southern California. We thought it would be a fun exercise to show you, through two letters saying exactly the same thing, how two completely different words can mean exactly the same thing. The first letter will be the British English version and the second, the American English version. Here’s your chance to see how good of an English translator you really are. Read more
Over the last two weeks we have been linking our posts here at Two Chums, to topics that are in some way related to the Olympics. So, you might be asking yourself what coconut has to do with the Olympics or The Sweet Smell Of Success….a good question, so allow me to explain.
Ready, set, go. London is ready and the world is waiting to see the Opening Ceremonies of the XXX Olympic Games tonight. Televisions are tuned, DVR’s are set to record, sofa cushions are fluffed and eyes agog! Everything is ready. All we need now is a Gold Medal snack.
This week we are looking at things that can be transformed with paint….walls, furniture, bathtubs….wait…bathtubs? Well the bathtubs aren’t exactly painted in the traditional sense, but they can be transformed with a technique that looks like painting and gives the appearance of a whole new tub!
If you are growing herbs in your garden or in a terra cotta pot kitchen garden, you may not need to store them as you can cut just as much as you need for any given meal. But if you are buying herbs at the local farmer’s market or the grocery store or Trader Joe’s, you will want to store whatever unused portion is left to have for another day. Below are some tips for how to best store a few common herbs and keep them fresh as long as possible. Though you can wrap and store them in the refrigerator, I have found that keeping them in a cool place in one inch of water in a small glass keeps them fresh long enough for you to use them. If you think they are about to start wilting, use them up with some of the suggestions listed below.
If you have some ideas or experience with herbs you are willing to tell us about please write to us by clicking on the little envelope icon at the right side of the website or leave a comment in the comment section. We want to share your good ideas with all our chums for more joy, more love and much more abundant leaving for all. :)
Basil and Mint
Storing it: Keep at room temperature in a glass of water for up to a week
How to use it up: Mince and combine with sugar for an aromatic fruit topping.
Storing it: In a sealed plastic bag in the crisper for 1 to 2 weeks.
How to use it up: Chop and combine with softened unsalted butter; drop chunks on top of just-cooked steaks, pork chops, or fish.
Cilantro or Parsley
Storing it: In the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for up to 5 days.
How to use it up: Puree 1 cup leaves with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 clove garlic to make a pesto; use on pasta or as a dip for bread.
Storing it: In the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag for up to 5 days.
How to use it up: Whole branches make a perfect bed for roasted vegetables, or tuck them into the cavity of a chicken or other bird before roasting.
Storing it: In an unsealed plastic bag in the crisper for 3 to 5 days.
Use it up: Saute in butter until the butter browns and then store in refrigerator as a sauce for pork or chicken.
Storing it: In an unsealed plastic bag in the crisper for up to 1 week.
How to use it up: Add chopped leaves to a skillet of sausage or bacon.
This week all of our posts will be about herbs in one way or another. Today we want to talk about how to grow herbs. Growing herbs is not hard at all, in fact a child can do it. My 8 year old grandson, Jeremy, actually planted the parsley plant pictured here on my kitchen window sill. He started the plant from seeds in a little dixie cup and as they sprouted and began to grow, we transfered them to this terra cotta pot. In he walked, one day after school, and beaming he announced, “Lolli (my grandma name) this is for you. I planted some parsley and I wanted you to have it because you love to cook and I thought you would really like to have it in your kitchen.” He was so excited and I was so proud of him. There is something very satisfying, no matter what your age, about putting some seeds in the dirt, adding some water and in a few days watching the little sprouts pop their heads up out of the soil looking for some rays of sunlight. I love Jeremy and I love having this special reminder of him in my kitchen greeting me every morning.
When most people hear the term “barbeque” or “barbecue” or just “BBQ” they think of someone standing over a grill with flames, flipping burgers or steaks. Yet as anyone with southern origins will tell you, that is “grillin”…..REAL barbeque is something very different. Real barbeque is a slow method of cooking that involves smoke and a lot of time and eventually produces tender, succulent, flavorful goodness that can’t be rushed. Depending on where in the south you are, pork or beef will be the meat of choice and of course there is the difference in sauces regionally as well. But at the end of the day any meat slow cooked and infused with smokey flavor is delicious no matter which part of the country it comes from.
Opps! Check back Tuesday for this menu and recipes….see you then
(We’ve added the video that should have been here earlier:)
Yes, we have done a lot of painting in our time! On the walls, on furniture, on clothing, you name it, we have done it. When we had our little shop called Chums, we were often out faux painting a customer’s walls in this way or that.
We have talked a lot this week about being sure to hold onto your joy throughout the weeks and months leading up to your wedding and today we are really stressing that point as, inevitably, some things will go “sideways”, as they say, and you want to be in a position, emotionally, to handle those moments well. Read more
Oh my goodness, you have decided to get married and are planning for that wonderful event to take place. It might be months away, it might be two years away but the first thing you are going to want to do, especially if you have relatives and friends coming from all over the country and globe, is to send out “Save The Date” cards. Read more
Happy Mother’s Day to all of our Chums! Whether you are a mother or not, we feel sure that you all have wonderful mothering qualities that you use to bless.
The Post you got this morning gives you a taste of what’s to come next week!
With love from you Two Chums.
What fun! You have decided to give a dinner party …… now, what will you wear?
When you are in the planning stages of an event, one of the things you will think about is what you would like the “dress” to be. The “dress” sets the stage for the type of evening you are going to enjoy. You know, years ago, in the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire days, when people went out to dinner, they more often than not, wore “Black Tie”. By “Black Tie” it is meant that the gentleman wears a tuxedo and the lady wears a dressy dress – not necessarily a long dress but a party dress, as we like to call them. We have often had parties where “Black Tie” was the attire and, oh boy, have we loved having them! There is something rather special when everyone who comes in your door has made a huge effort to dress up to come to your party. It denotes an elegance about the evening. Very rarely these days does one get invited to a dinner party that is Black Tie but, on the other hand, many weddings are still “Black Tie”. When you see “Black Tie” in the bottom right corner of your invitation, be sure that your husband, boyfriend, partner, wears a tuxedo and that you dress up accordingly. When those two words are written on an invitation, there is not an option. He must show up in a tuxedo! If he does not own one, be sure to help him rent one. If, on the other hand, your invitation states “Black Tie Optional”, your hostess is letting you know that the occasion is a special one and that, ladies, you need to dress up. Gentlemen, if you do not own a tuxedo, no need to rent one – a dark suit will do just as well.
If you would like your dinner party to be a little bit special, you might say “Cocktail Attire” which would mean that dressing up is in order! Until a few years ago, “Cocktail Attire” would automatically have meant a jacket and tie for the gentlemen. Today, especially here in California where we live, things are a little more casual and a lot of gentlemen do not don a tie very often. There are certain private clubs which still maintain a “jacket and tie” rule so if you are giving a party at a private club or have been invited to such an evening, make sure you know the dress. These clubs usually have jackets and ties on hand to lend to a gentleman, should he turn up without them but how much better for him to be in clothes of his own choosing!
As hostess, you will set the tone. If you have told your guests that it is a casual evening, be sure that you dress casually. Otherwise, your guests will feel very uncomfortable.
Choose something that you feel great in. If you are having a problem thinking of something, remember what we said about the “little black dress“! Certainly, that is always appropriate. If you are the one doing all the cooking and serving for your dinner party, make sure you are in something that is comfortable and practical. Do not wear a top with long, flowy sleeves, for example, which might catch on fire when you put the peas on to cook! That top is better saved for an evening when you are out and being served!
My father’s job, as I was growing up, required a lot of entertaining. It seemed that most evenings, my darling parents were entertaining or being entertained. My mother had a wonderful wardrobe full of stunning dresses which she wore extremely well. Fortunately for my father, my mother loved it all and did it beautifully – always with a smile on her face and love in her heart. I am grateful to have learned from her – she taught by doing herself!
Make sure, when you are giving you next dinner party, that you add to the love, joy and abundant living in the world!
Years ago, when we were engaged to be married, one of the things that we invariably did was choose a china pattern. It was wonderful fun making the decision and imagining all the fabulous dinner parties at which you would be using these beautiful pieces. I know, these days, many young ladies prefer not to spend the money on fine china but, definitely, up until not too long ago, it was a “must”! Certainly, if you think you will never use it, then it really is a waste but if there is a chance that you will want to have special dinner parties or holiday meals, it is always fun to bring out your best and set a beautiful table. Read more