Thursday, February 14, 2013

winter storm nemo and lots of free time!

so i'm on an impromptu winter break this week, with so much time on hands that i've been reorganizing all my stuff, making lists, and planning lots of wonderfully fun new things!

let me backtrack...

in case you've been under a rock over the past few days:  the u.s. northeast, and particularly new england, where i reside, was hit by a major blizzard last friday night, covering many areas, including my own, with upwards of 3 feet of fluffy white snow!  while it's been beautiful to look at, it's been unbearably awful to experience, as we were trapped in our home 2 1/2 days!  but 2 days only seems like a lot, until you consider that some people in my city, the largest in CT, mind you, are still waiting for the plow to come!

the arches at bridgeport's seaside park, on monday-- the city hadn't plowed yet, but UB had done some sections of the road, including here.

downtown bridgeport during the height of the storm (photo credit:  benjamin henson)

when entire cities are shut down for days, so are the schools!  this means that for an entire week and a day i've been home with my children, who are eating me out of house and home and driving me absolutely bonkers!!  lol!  so you can imagine the pleasure i'm getting from disappearing every now and then into the the laundry room or my studio, to do housework or declutter!  and anyone who knows me knows how much i like to plan and make lists, which is exactly what i've been up to!

yikes!  there's a car under there somewhere...
my husband and son headed to the store on sunday, shovel in hand since the road was not yet plowed, after we ran out of bread, milk, and eggs-- it was slim-pickings at the gas station down the street, though!
"hmm, how do we get outta here?!!"

i've been thinking of new ways to present my crafts, recipes, and other ideas, as well as to build my business.  i've also been thinking of new products to create, as well as old products to retire, as i continue to hone a niche for handmadecows.

though i've already been slow to get back into the blogging game, i am taking a hiatus for the rest of the month, to reorganize my thoughts, create some new things, and bring you an all new blog.  it will focus on ways to create fun and innovative items as well as delicious and easy recipes, without spending a ton of money.  i am a teacher, so of course i know how to be thrifty!  haha!

until then, enjoy 20% off at handmadecows, during my winter clearance sale, with the code HEART13.  but hurry-- this offer expires february 28th!

see you soon!
rhonda :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

rainy day blues

i was supposed to take the kids to a birthday party today, but the rain postponed our plans.  instead, i am thinking of making some sort of crock-pot concoction with chicken and vegetable broth-- i'll let you know how it goes...

here are some other things i've made in the kitchen recently, while bored:

simple and yummy!

ever have one of those mornings where nothing in your pantry will suffice for breakfast, and all you REALLY want is a big, fat hunk of chocolate cake?  that's what happened this morning, only there was no cake!  instead i started the day with chocolate for breakfast:  nutella on wheat bread and a huge amount of ovaltine powder in my coffee!  a delish way to start the day!  the only downside is that my 5-year-old wants to eat this every day now!

this lunch cannot be good for me-- but it sure was yummy!
i had a bite of grilled cheese sandwich with pesto at a festival earlier this summer.  if you like pesto the way i like pesto, then you're probably drooling right now!  and since i had an open jar of pesto in the fridge, i decided to dress up my sandwich at home.  just a smear of pesto on either slice of bread, two slices of deli american in the middle, and tons of butter on the outside = YUMMMMMM!!  and i added some fried plantain to my plate, also cooked in butter, to, um, round out my meal...  ;)

pesto pizza and fried ravioli, with pizza sauce for dipping

more pesto!  this time, the hubby requested pizza like his favorite, the mel cooley, that our local two boots restaurant no longer has on the menu-- it's a white pie with peppers, onions, pesto, and probably a few more ingredients.  my pizza came out pretty good, considering i had limited ingredients on hand.  actually, i wish i had taken a picture of the entire thing, because it truly was a specialty pizza:  the crust was made with a canned dough, which i spread with pesto on one half and pizza sauce on the other.  i covered the entire thing with shredded mozzarella cheese.  then i put pepperoni on 1/2 of the red side and thinly sliced bell peppers and vidalia onions on the entire green side and baked to a golden perfection!

and yes, i did say fried ravioli, a la tgi fridays!  i figured:  how hard could it be?  but just to be sure, i looked up a recipe online.  it called for buttermilk, which i did not have, so i used egg and milk instead, followed by plain bread crumbs, which i seasoned with dried basil, salt, and pepper.  i fried them for literally 60 seconds, turning once, in super hot canola oil-- they really cook up quickly!  also, the recipe, which i did not follow, suggested sprinkling them with grated parmesan while still hot.  i didn't do that, 'cause i thought this meal was rich and fatty enough, thank you very much!

oh, gotta go check on that soup...

rhonda :)

Friday, August 17, 2012


so pinterest has sucked me in-- deep!  for the past few months i've been constantly pinning and pinning!

i have 38 boards, almost 1800 pins, and over 200 likes.

i have a ton of breakfast, dinner, and dessert recipes, menus for any party theme you can think of, tips on how to clean and organize my house from top to bottom, ideas on how to decorate my home inside and out, dozens of inspirational quotes, hundreds of exercise regimes to flatten my tummy, firm up my thighs, lose 20 pounds, hairstyles, manicures, outfits, shoes, jokes, pretty pictures of nature, nostalgia from my favorite books, movies, tv shows, toys, teaching ideas, crafts, kids' crafts, patriotic crafts, halloween crafts, christmas crafts...  phew!  

will i EVER paint my nails like this? doubtful!

i try to only pin things that i'm actually capable of and willing to do.  i'm not pinning crochet projects when i don't know how to crochet, nor am i pinning elaborate recipes that require hours in the kitchen or exotic ingredients.  my expectations are fairly realistic:  yes, i can make baked potato soup in the crock-pot;  yes, i can build a planter out of cinder blocks;  yes, i am certainly able to harvest and dry sprigs of rosemary and maybe even make infused olive oil with them!  i'm hoping that in this lifetime i'll get to actually try out all these recipes, tips, ideas, and lifestyle improvements that i have bookmarked, but at the rate i'm going, it's likely to take decades!

what i love most about pinterest is that i see fantastic recipes and projects, and then i get inspired to experiment, put a different spin on them, and make my own stuff!  here are some things i've made recently-- it helps that i've been on summer vacay for the past 7 weeks!  :)

baked french toast casserole, aka heaven on a plate!

baked french toast

this is a paula dean recipe, so you know that not only is it delish, but it's also really bad for you!!  here's the recipe, but basically, you soak slices of french bread in a concoction of eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and spices overnight, spread a fabulous layer of sugar, corn syrup, more spices, pecans, and 2 entire sticks of butter on top, and bake to a nutty, caramel-ly goodness!  i added sliced bananas on top and decided to forego the maple syrup that paula dean suggests-- no need for any extra sugar in this dessert-type breakfast!

it seems so counter-productive to deep-fry quinoa!

cheesy quinoa cakes

i've been buying lots of quinoa lately, trying to eat things that are healthier and full of the vitamins and nutrients that my snack cake and tortilla chip diet was severely lacking!  these quinoa cakes were absolutely yummy, though they did not taste the least bit healthy, in any way, shape, or form!  here's the recipe, though i altered it a bit, by using red quinoa instead of yellow, havarti cheese instead of fontina, and chives instead of green onions, or is that the same thing?...  i also did not make the accompanying aioli in this recipe, opting instead for a cilantro lime greek yogurt dip that i had on hand from a previous recipe.  it was a lot lighter than a dip made with mayonnaise, which was good, 'cause these cakes are very greasy!

peach cherry crisp = a healthier dessert alternative!

peach cherry crisp

i am constantly looking for ways to use up all the overripe fruit in my kitchen-- needless to say, my family eats a lot of muffins, banana bread, smoothies, and fruit crisps.  only having ever made apple crisp, i wasn't sure how this recipe would turn out, but i had to too many peaches and cherries on hand not to try it!    i used sliced peaches, sliced cherries, lemon juice, cornstarch, oats, flour, sugar, butter, and cinnamon.  here's the recipe i loosely followed-- i used regular enriched, unbleached flour, regular granulated sugar (and less of it), and bottled lemon juice, and i had no nuts on hand, so i did without.  it was super tasty while piping hot and still crispy on top, especially with a dollop of whipped cream on top!

next up:  i'll post some things i made without the help of my fellow pinners...  yes, there is life beyond pinterest!  

rhonda :)

must give credit where credit is due:

  • giraffe manicure photo is from
  • though the food pics are all my own, the original recipes are from,, and karma-free-cooking. com, respectively

Thursday, August 16, 2012

it's been WAY TOO LONG!!

sorry i've been away so long!  facebook and pinterest, work, and of course momhood have totally consumed me!!  what's been up with me in the past year and a half?  to sum it up:

  • i never finished my 30-day challenge...  but i plan to start a new one real soon!  here's a fun one!

  • i grew out my relaxer (it's been 27 months!) and am now obsessed with natural hair!  i'm even contemplating making my own natural hair products and trying to figure out a way to make it onto "the curly cruise" next april...

  • i bought a new, more reliable, more efficient car-- did i mention it was NEW?!!

  • since pinterest has reared its not-so-ugly head into my life, i've been doing lots of experimenting in the kitchen and the craft room.
painted flower pots for teacher appreciation week

warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa for breakfast

  • and of course, i'm maintaining my stagnant jewelry business online-- staying afloat, even though my heart is not nearly as much in it as i would like...  i am still looking for my "niche"...

see you soon-- i promise!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

30-day challenge: day thirteen

picture of your favorite band or artist

lisa loves cake AND pie as much as i do!  <3

anyone who REALLY knows me knows that i love, love, love lisa loeb!!  she's been my favorite artist since i saw her live in 1994!  i went to a $2 concert my freshman year at nyu-- the artist was kept a secret, but for $2, who wouldn't go?  at that point, she was an unsigned artist on an independent label who also happened to have the very first ever grammy for being said unsigned indie artist, for a little song called "stay" (from the reality bites soundtrack!)  i bought her album, "the purple tape," at the concert and fell in love!  i guess lisa was my first girl crush!!  lol!

she sings a mix of folk and rock, with a very poetic feel.  and she sings from the heart, about real life stuff.  there's nothing ordinary about her music, and her voice is absolutely infectious!

since then, lisa has released over 10 albums, including 2 children's cd's, a digital ep, and a rerelease of "the purple tape," which you can finally get on cd or mp3!  she also had a reality show on E, a cooking show with dweezil zappa (her ex) on the food network, and a bunch of guest spots on various tv shows!  and she currently has a super cute line of eyeglasses.  AND i'm seeing my 3rd ever lisa loeb concert in exactly 2 weeks, and i'm super psyched!!!

rhonda :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

30-day challenge: day twelve

picture of something you love

i absolutely, positively LOVE going to the beach!!!  if i could retire tomorrow and move to a tropical place where i could just lay on the beach all day, every day, i so would!!!  i love to just bake in the sun, reading, listening to music, eating snacks, swimming in the ocean, digging in the sand, searching for shells or hermit crabs, walking along the boardwalk, eating ice cream, checking out the occasional horseshoe crab, snapping photos...  oh, why can't summer be here already?!!

rhonda :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011