Friday, November 22, 2013

The True Value of Handmade Items

Crochet is the only needle work that cannot be reproduced on a machine, so anytime you see something that is crocheted, know that another person made that item with their hands, and a small metal hook one stitch at a time. Lace is particularly beautiful; and very time consuming. The lace edge on the pillow case closest to you is 7inches wide and 18 inches long. Likely took a month to make each piece (then again, they didn't watch tv, and sit on the internet the way we do now, so their time priorities were far different than ours!) 

The embroidered areas are bright and detailed and is also a skill that is tedious and unique. 

Based on the skills sets and clock hours, one might think these vintage pieces should be very valuable, but the reality is ... our culture no longer places value on these skills, and they would likely sell for a fraction of what a brand new pillow case would sell for!

 Be mindful of what really goes into getting that particular item into your shopping bag. Many hands are a part of that. Many skill sets. Every human the played a roll in you being in possession of that item has value, and by sharing their skills to create something, they provide necessities for their families, or better schooling options. 

Just a little food for thought when as we begin our holiday shopping season and go through the ritual of placing "value" on something, and gripe about how much it costs ... perhaps the cost is in the making, not it in acquiring :)

Saturday November 30th is Small Business Day.  Small business is the backbone of our American Economy! Lets support it!

Because Thinking Local. Shopping Local. Being Local!
It's all Living Well!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Tater-Tot Breakfast Quiche

I love to make this for any meal of the day, and the left overs (if there are any) are great!
It's great for taking to that family holiday breakfast.
It's easy, filling and delicious!

Lets get started!

I used a 9x13 baking dish (you can down size to a 9x9 for a 2-3 people, or go bigger, if you have a larger number of people! I have a 10x15 commercial pan I use for those family potluck meals!)

Put a single layer of tater-tots in the bottom of the pan and put that in the oven to bake. Pre-crisping the tots helps keep them from being a totally mushy mess in your end meal.

While the tots are cooking, brown up a pound of whatever meat you are going to use ... I used breakfast sausage this time, but chicken, hamburger, seafood and ham all work great too!

3-4 cups total of various chopped veggies:

I used swiss chard, all the colors of bell peppers, garlic, red onion, mushrooms, and tomato. I prefer adding leafy greens, spinach is great, kale would work. Zucchini is ok, but gets really soft and squishy. It is a high moisture content veggie, and may add too much water to your overall finished product. Broccoli cut in tiny flourettes would be fun! Use your favorites, and lots of colors! Other options: olives, green onion, sun dried tomato ...

Shred 2 cups of cheese. Less for the smaller pan and more for the bigger! The idea is to have enough to cover your ingredients about as thoroughly as you would for a pizza. Swiss cheese is great with ham, and makes a fun Easter breakfast! 2 cups of feta would be a LOT, but combined with other cheeses would be nice!

Mix 8 eggs and enough milk to make 4 cups. Again, less for the smaller and more for the larger ...
Remove the pan with the now cooked tots from the oven, and place on a hot pad close to where all of your prepped ingredients are. Evenly spread the meat over the tots.
Start arranging your beautiful colors!
More colors please!
It's like ART! So beautiful!
Add the cheese and then pour the egg mixture over the top.
Place your creation in the center of the hot oven ...
375 degrees is about right ...
Takes about 40 minutes or so ... But when the cheese is all bubbly and starting to brown, and get that amazing crustiness along the edges, its DONE! Take it out and let it set for a few minutes before cutting and serving!

Serve it with apple sauce, or fruit slices. A salad for dinner. Rootbeer. Whatever ... LOL And save enough left overs for breakfast!

Try it out and share with us about your variations, and how your family enjoyed it!
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Eating well is Living Well!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Getting the Most from your Sample Products

Who doesn't LOVE those pillowy little sample packets of lotion, shampoo, conditioner, soap?

Name your cosmetic.
They come in the mail.
They are on the counter at the gym, salon, or boutique shop.
They are on the counter at the hotel.
Maybe your grandma collects them, and that is all that is in her bathroom when you visit!

This nice little three pack was at my gym this week!

I couldn't resist the shiny green package (it reminded me of SPRING!) ... and the pretty lady with the silk soft hair ... I want silky soft hair ... If I use this product, will my hair be silky, soft and shiny, like the picture?

I couldn't resist ... I had to know. So I got one of the tantalizing packages after my workout and headed for the locker room.

Um ... Ya ... First you have to separate each of the three products: shampoo, conditioner, and a special 1 minute moisturizer. Once in the shower, I'm ready to wash my hair ... and with that microscopic little starter slit in the edge of the pouch, and wet hands, it was no easy task to tear the littlest corner off.

Needless to say, this was painfully and unnecessarily tedious! And my mind started searching through the vast memory banks, knowing there had to be a better way to deal with such things ... by the time I was dried off and headed out, I had my new plan! So I grabbed another packet and headed home.

Once home, I grabbed a coffee cup (please use plastic, since n this case you're headed for the shower!! and I don't want you to end up with broken glass in the bottom of your tub while you are barefoot in the shower!!).
Cut the tops off of each packet, and stood them in the cup (open end up of course!).
And set the cup on the ledge of the shower! YEAH!

NOW to figure out how to get ALL of the product out of the packet while squeezing with one hand and catching with the other! LOL ...

Always a problem to solve.
Always a solution to find!
Because that is what
Living Well is all about!


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Welcome Message

This is my first attempt at a video post, so please be patient with my editing!
But my message remains the same!
I just wanted to take a few minutes and thank you for being part of Living Well.
Thank you for sharing your successes, and your insights and our struggles.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share the insights I have gained from my successes and struggles.

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THAT is Living Well,