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Reinvention Queen is Trifling with a Trifle

2022 Note from Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen as this came up in my memories. When I shared this memory, I wrote the following message as life is short, make the most of each day: Take time for the little ones; take time for the adult ones; take time for yourselves too. Life is about sharing times that children remember all their lives. The proof in this statement is if all of us think back on our childhoods, we will recall a certain food, or event such as fishing, sports, or times like reunions that a certain action was so special that your heart felt that memory. My aunt Willie Mae Ponsell baked the best Coconut Layer Cake that ever was, my grandmother Alliner Parker made cathead biscuits with white syrup that I never forgot; my other grandmother Lillie Holt Johnston made the best pickles; my Mom fried fish like nobody has ever bested hers; my Granddaddy brought me and my cousins watermelon and let us eat as much as we wanted and he also taught me how to combine eggs, meat and grits together. I almost cry when I make Cornbread Salad as it takes me back to Aunt Ludell Moore (I called her Aunt) with her smile as she told me where her cornbread salad was at the reunion table. I remember my FIL, Papa Smith, making the best potato salad, unmatched even with all my cooking skills, he holds the record, and my Uncle Buddy Ponsell making hush puppies that melted in our mouths. I could go on and on, but you have your memories too. The point of this thought is make time, make memories, make life happen for you and even better for others to sit down at some point in their later lives and remember how someone made something special or took time for you to show you how to enjoy life. Love to all!

Here is the original post from last year. The time is perfect for fresh fruit and this trifle can be made from peaches, mangos, grapes can be added too. Be creative and send me picture of your creations.

I found out our grandchildren were coming over for Sunday lunch. We haven’t seen them in a while due to camps, trips, etc. and we wanted to have them what they call “Nana’s Surprise”. I know how they love strawberries and blueberries and spotted the pound cake that would make a quick base for something delicious. A Trifle would be different that serving the cake alone. I thought I would video my efforts and just a hint, It was a total success! The children and the grown ups complimented it. The visual is incredible so if you want to have some colorful and tasty visual desserts, Trifle with a Trifle.

Basic ingredients which can be substituted or replaced according to your taste buds and availability in your kitchen. Here is what I assembled:

  • Fresh strawberries, 2 packages,washed and de-stemmed. I cut mine so they looked like hearts to display on the sides of the bowl.
  • 1 T Karo Syrup (clear)
  • 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • A large/high glass bowl to show off the layers.
  • 1 package of fresh blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
  • 1 large container of Cool Whip or you can make your own whipped cream but I find Cool Whip is easier to spoon over cake.
  • 1/2 or small pound cake cubed into bite size pieces. I used 1/2 of a large cream cheese pound cake but any pound cake will do.
  • 1 pkg of Instant Vanilla Pudding made with ingredients on pkg.
  • 2 T. of strawberry jam (you can use homemade jam or store bought jam)
  • 1 box Lorna Doone Cookies/Crackers with 4-6 cookies crumbled for topping

The video shows how I layered my Trifle but it is not set in stone. Nuts can be added, chocolate pudding, different jam flavor, graham crackers instead of Lorna Doone Cookies and the choices are endless so make it your own. I bought chocolate syrup to pour over it but I can assure you it wasn’t missed. I saved the chocolate syrup for my next surprise.

I used my phone camera as doing the video was a last minute decision. Overlook my amateur videoing.
Tip: Using a Tablespoon of Light Karo Syrup to coat fruit prior to sprinkling with sugar makes it stick to the fruit easier.
Some of the ingredients I used in the Trifle
If you watched the Jammin’ It Up video, you saw how Missy and I made the Carnival Jam and I used a couple of Tbs. in my vanilla pudding. Oh yeah, it worked great.
This is my Taste Tester Group who unanimously gave a big thumbs up. I took the photo before they ate their share and it was large enough even after 4 adults ate too to send some home. It made a huge Trifle. Nana scored a Big YES from these precious children.

Until We Cook Again…..Happy Meals to You!…….Arline Miller

Look for the next video with my special chef Missy Haas who is my daughter and loves to cook as much as me. Reinventing Pickles will be our theme.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if source is known, is listed for credit reference.

Reasons Why I Don’t Do Cooking Videos…Reinvention Queen

As much as I love cooking and baking, and yes, after being asked numerous times to do videos, I tried a few and it didn’t take long before I realized I am not cut out to do the step by step, measuring and attempting to work a video camera. My daughter who is a lot more savvy even saw how difficult it is. First of all, let me applaud all of you who have the patience to make them, I am impressed. However, I love to learn new tricks and I am enthralled by kitchen hacks, right? You are too. Here comes the BUT….I see so many mistakes and non preparation in these videos that it is hard not to become a critic. All in fun, but has anyone looked at the videos afterwards to see how they could be improved, or maybe in this time of instant recognition, some have a tendency to grab on to “stardom” and forget people are actually watching these videos.

Cooking comes second nature to me but the appeal of cooking is to grab a spice, or herb at the time of cooking and add it to see if that is the bomb. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but the talent of cooking is to have that inner talent of “fixing” a recipe. My daughter and I cook and bake a lot when she visits. We talk about what we want to try to make prior to her coming over. Missy and I may look at recipes but we never stick to a “formal recipe” as it is too much fun playing around with some of her preferences and my own take on the good combos of flavors. That kind of spoils a prepared presentation but allows us so much freedom of creating some powerfully flavored dishes.

We eat with our eyes first, so the appeal has to be considered when plating.

If we see the food bubbling or seeing the freshness of the ingredients, the appetite is heightened.

I will see I have a message on my phone and it will be her new version of a dish that she has thrown together for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I usually ask what’s in it and she has to stop and think what she added. When we discuss creating a cookbook, we have thought it should be titled, “A Little of This and A Lot of That” because that’s the way we roll. I thought I would give you my reason for not doing cooking videos and that reason may change as time goes on, but now, I would like to throw some pointers to those brave souls who attempt to be the next Paula Deen or Brenda Gantt. Here are my thoughts and they are valued at cents on the dollar and we all know how little that is now. Some of you who love to cook and who watch videos observe the same mistakes or at least I think you have observed these things too:

What to Check before cooking and/or Videoing a Cooking/Baking Show:

  • Check the background in your kitchen before you start videoing. I cannot tell you how much clutter and weird things we see which are distracting. The less that is visible in the kitchen area keeps the viewers’ attention on what you are cooking.
  • Semi-rehearse what steps you are going to take. Repetition of the same steps, over and over make the videos longer and sometimes very boring. The terms, this is how I like to do it, I, I, I, gets old after a while. An outline of the steps might be wise to create and try to mentally follow it. Natural is good but when I watch several of the videos from the same person, I cannot stay with it if it is the same old same old stuff.
  • Prepare a lot of the measured ingredients prior to video. The shows I enjoy the most are the ones who have measured the salt, pepper, seasonings, and the chopped ingredients. It is okay if you have a tip or shortcut for the viewer on chopping, but no one wants to watch five minutes of chopping, slicing, or mincing. I watched a lady peel about six large potatoes and then chop them just to demonstrate how to make potato salad. This may be a time that you pause the video after showing the first one.
  • Have space on counters for what is going to be done. Switching back and forth can work havoc on us ADD folks so keep the video smooth as possible and we know cooking is real and anything can happen so you cannot control every little step but you can control being prepared.
  • Choose non noisy utensils, banging in drawers, pots and pans, and any nuisance should be avoided. I have actually screeched watching videos and if I have, I guarantee it unnerves a lot of people.
  • Be aware of your appearance. I am not saying that only pretty people can cook but hair unkempt is not a good match to food prep, and clean nails, and clothes neatly worn are attractive and not distractive.
  • Conversations of personal stories should flow and should not slow down the cooking activity. We love the stories of the cooks as they allow us to get to know them, but it may be annoying when the cook/chef makes it all about them.
  • Make an impression by creating a good fairly short video instead of making your debut as a wanna be food network star. If people like the way you cook, your creative ideas, and your easy cooking talents, they will watch the next one.
  • I am no expert on this as I said, I don’t do videos unless I want to share the good times I have with my daughter in the kitchen which brings me to my last tip on videos. Just because you love your family and pets, it is not a good idea to have them continually say hello, help cook all of the time, and go over their adventures. Occasionally, this might be cute but if someone has tuned in to see how you make a cake, they are focused on the cake recipe, listening to you and your tips. There is no one that loves her family more than me, but my thoughts are Keep it Simple. As I said, occasionally, but watch overloading the audience with too much traffic during the cooking time.

I say all of this to possibly help some of you who are thinking about videoing. We are in a world of almost thinking it is okay to go with the person when they go to the bathroom and let nature take its course, but I am from the old school of there are moments to share and there are times for privacy. The videos can be entertaining more than educational. I think the combo is the preference for most of us. I have learned a lot of handy ideas and I appreciate someone taking the time to make a video. If you have tried to make one, you realize it is a big effort if it’s done right.

Live Life, Love Life, and Live and Love Life to the Fullest by taking a little time to prepare. Just loving to cook or trying to get it on video is sometimes not providing the full picture. The way I see it, if you don’t keep your kitchen clean, don’t offer to cook for me. Just Sayin’……Until We Cook and Clean Again….Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to the original author/location for credit reference.

SPEAKING FROM MY HEART

Speaking from my heart, the blog covers why we either show how much we care or why we put our needs ahead of others needs.

This past weekend was a super celebration of several recognition. My birthday was on Saturday, my daughter’s birthday was on Sunday, and we celebrated Father’s Day too. My mind has been collecting thoughts on how special these occasions are, not for presents which are great, but for the precious time for laughter, fun, reminiscing over past celebrations, and emotional tugs for those missing in our wonderful times.

We started out with a normal size family and now, today only my sister and me are still living. We miss those who are no longer with us.

Now, that the days of recognizing the blessings of being granted another year has passed, I wanted to speak from my heart on what I perceive as good qualities in people and what I feel is the loss of a great opportunity to create good memories by either selfish motives and/or ignorance of the importance of living in times that will not be repeated. It is up to people what is important but I felt very much love on my birthday, Missy had time with friends and us and it was great, and Greg enjoyed his Father’s Day too.

My daughter who celebrated her birthday with her Dad who she took care of for over two years who passed away. He was recognized as it was Father’s Day.

Let’s just get this out in the open as I know some people were lonely over this weekend, somehow forgotten on their birthdays, and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as well as all the other holidays are not recognized with even a phone call or card. In the past, I have seen the good, bad, and ugly actions and have heard of those who are alone and the hurt they feel. Are you guilty of placing your own priorities in front of your parents, children, and other members of your family to do things with friends, play golf or other hobbies?

My husband celebrated Father’s Day with an added bonus of us going to visit the grandchildren with some ice cream. Greg’s son, Cory was cooking on the grill for his family and some of the grands had made dishes. Good going, Nolan, Jonas, and Elias for being helpful on Father’s Day.

Am I A Considerate Person or Am I Selfish?

I thought I would create a list of Dos and Don’ts for us to read and mentally check off this rather candid look in the mirror:

  • Do I check to see what my family members are planning for a holiday/celebration before I make personal plans?
  • How often do I make a phone call or even a text to find out how an elderly family member, friend, neighbor, and/or associate is doing?
  • Do I expect others to check on my health or well being instead of considering others’ health and well being?
  • Do I make plans without any consideration for my family?
  • Do I make the effort to recognize other’s accomplishments, special occasions, awards, or just a feel good text, message, and/or phone call?
  • Do I want to be encouraged by others or do I want to be the cheerleader?
  • Here is the big one….Is it all about me or do I feel better if I have done something special for someone else?

All of us are guilty of any of these at one time or another, or at least I know I have been selfish at times, but I am not proud of that. Let’s take a look in the mirror and start with Father’s Day that was this weekend. Did we go out of our way to recognize our fathers that are living? I can almost without fail say that those who have lost their Dads felt a void, wrote a message, posted pictures, but can we truthfully say we exercised every effort to be with them, take care of them, and show them love. Remember, no one lives forever and all of us will leave this earth. This is not in our control but we can control our actions while we are living and others too.

Nuff said, but I will add one personal note. When Mom was in the nursing home, my sister and I were very good to visit, shop for her, assist in her care when we were there, give her reasons to laugh, and provide all of us with precious memories. I worked all week, lived two hours away, but left each weekend that was possible to stay with her each weekend day, and only leave her for a few hours to sleep after she had gone to sleep. I don’t regret a second of that time. It gave me forever memories. My sister was faithful to go during the week. All this was out of love. When the New Year came near, I dreaded the traffic and thought I would wait until the second day of the new year to go for my usual weekend. I got up early that morning and packing my clothes in the car, ready to go and I received that dreaded phone call that Mom had passed an hour before. I cannot tell you how I replayed that call, that decision, and the cold fact I couldn’t see her one more time. She knew she was loved, but those actions or non actions can be long lasting so I say to everyone, if you can visit or see your loved ones, by all means, DO IT!

I turned 73 and I had the best presents…my daughter and my husband making my day special. I had so many Happy Birthday Greetings I had to group thank everyone.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if location/author are known for credit reference.

My Birthday Present Is A Day In The Kitchen With My Daughter

Today, I am 73 and a happy 73 at that. I quit giving aging a thought years ago and just enjoy each day. One of the best things is my daughter who has lived across the country up until 2017 and we have learned we are different cooks but have a lot of similar traits. We will celebrate with my husband, my birthday, her birthday, and Father’s Day as well. We have worked on our menus, Greg and Missy have shopped for different ingredients. Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to Missy, and Happy Father’s Day to Greg. Here is a post that I made in 2020 and I am adding my latest salad delight, Watermelon Salad with no recipe for now, but this will be in a future cookbook that Missy and I are working on.

Arline’s Version of Watermelon Salad (recipe will be in cookbook)

Original Post: I have cooked since I was 12 or 13 in the kitchen since my Mom worked and on Saturdays, I began cooking for my family. It wasn’t sandwiches as those were the days when meals were meals. I could fry chicken or pork chops and there were side dishes. At that time, I didn’t bake anything but rolls. Looking back now, at age 71, I may have survived largely due to the time in the kitchen as my therapy sessions. I love to cook and bake and simply adore a post that someone used one of my recipes. For those of you who cringe at the thought, another type of hobby can do as much for you if it is something you love.

Here is the clincher. I have diabetes II and have had to monitor and watch what and when I eat. So, my cooking and baking is not necessarily for me but I love to spoil people with the dishes they love. One of the things that has helped me the most in managing my diabetes is I eat very small portions on a regular schedule. I don’t go long periods without a small piece of this or that and only indulge in a high carb or sugary dessert as a rarity. Over the years, I found that a spoonful of a dish can keep me from feeling I have been deprived. Some people do not have the will power to do this type of eating but it works for me and my A1C is dropping to a healthier level. My doctor said he was happy and I replied, if you are happy so am I.

I plan on sharing some of the meals/dishes I cook and believe me, they are mostly Southern dishes. I throw in some healthy dishes too but if you want more of them, watch my tab Healthy Bites at the top of my blog. I will try to add more of the yummy recipes there for the ones who love to eat healthier.

Another tip for all of you whether you are watching your weight, your health, or your happiness. Pretty food provides a mental ploy. When you see a plate that is “dressed up” your mind will be better convinced that it is also tasty. Look at this variety of salad photos for an example:

I show you these for a reason, as I found that making food a display of colors is more enticing that throwing it together without thought. Sure, it all goes to the same place but how you perceive it going down can be therapeutic and more satisfying. It is hard to imagine that you are sacrificing when you see the brilliant colors and taste the freshness. Are you beginning to understand how taking a little time, receiving satisfaction from the creation, and then tasting your reward can be a wonderful experience while at the same time filling your belly?

I hope you will try to become a food artist and while you are preparing your pretty plates of healthy choices, take photos and then look through them. I hope you see the art of eating instead of the indulgence. Good eating my readers!

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved and to be used with permission. All third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen Is Reinventing How We Cook

Today, instead of showing several reinventions of meals, I thought I would give my readers an insight on how I think in my kitchen. I never think of only one meal when I cook, but how I can reuse the ingredients or even the whole dish in a new way that it takes away the sting of eating “leftovers” but a new dish with different and/or additional ingredients. I am going to list out my reinvention thoughts when I begin to prepare a meal. The list will be broken down into food categories and it may give more insight than showing recipes after recipes. I will continue showing you reinvented meals but let’s start with how it helps from the get go. Here’s the list:

MEATS

  • Seafood
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork

Each category offers flexibility in multiple uses and we will review how to choose, prepare, and store. I use shrimp a lot in reinvented meals but salmon makes an excellent source for my reinvented dishes.

Seafood such as shrimp or salmon can be cooked in larger quantities than the first dish and stored until it is reinvented. I usually begin with grilled, sautéd, baked and I will prepare the seafood to have at least three meals from the initially cooked meat. I am aware you are thinking why not prepare as you need it. Most certainly, you can do this. Maybe, I am hesitant about the multiple preps and cooking time. It makes sense if I am grilling, grill three times the amount in one grilling event, rather than prep three times and grill three times. When we are really “lazy” we buy the freshly steamed shrimp from our supermarket and work from the larger amount we buy. Salmon is prepped the same way, more quantity is bought, prepped, and grilled either on the grill, the air fryer oven grill, or sometimes in a pan, but always more is prepped and cooked than our initial meal.

The first meal was steamed shrimp topped with my homemade cocktail sauce.
One of the three follow up meals was this delicious Shrimp ala Arline Pasta. The shrimp were added after the cooking and blending and placed on top and covered to allow the shrimp to come to the same temperature as the other ingredients without recooking.

Beef is a common reinvention meat that several dishes are made from the initial prep and cooking. I will make meatloaf and work from that initial dish and reinvent another dish using rice or noodles. I have used my leftover meatloaf to make the best burgers or have used the meat in the base for spaghetti or soup. Beef roast becomes the main ingredient for a sandwich with other ingredients. Maybe the thought behind my reinvention queen mentality is what else can I make from the meatloaf or roast. Build from the first meat dish and I will remove and/or replace some ingredients in the next dish such as potatoes and carrots from a roast and make a pot pie from those ingredients with a different meat, such as leftover baked or stewed chicken. Use your refrigerator as a cold pantry instead of only thinking how many times will my family keep eating leftover meatloaf or roast.

Chicken is one of my favorite reinvention meats. I grill, I bake, I stew, and then I store the extra. If any of you have learned to reinvent, I will say you probably use chicken more in the recreated meals than other meats. I have stewed a pot of chicken breasts or thighs, or even both. I will store what I am not making the first day but don’t put it past me to recreate a new meal from the first dish too. Let’s say I make chicken and noodles the first day. Let’s put our Reinvention Hats on and think what could I make from that initial chicken and noodles? What if I add a crust which can be a store bought crust and use leftover potatoes and carrots from a roast I spoke about in the beef section. Throw in a can of sweet garden peas, even a can of whole kernel corn, some chopped or sautéd onions, and make a chicken pot pie. I would process the noodles slightly to encourage a thickened filling. Add herbs and seasonings to make the pie the preferred taste. How simple can that be? What about taking the breasts and/or thighs and either make a bbq sauce or use a bottled one and wallah, you have bbq chicken in a few minutes. Or what if you chop the cooked chicken and make a great chicken salad, adding celery, mayo, grapes, nuts, and seasonings. The ideas go on and on. The key is in the beginning. Don’t cook a small amount, think of the quantity of three meals/dishes would require. Cook the meat at the same time and a good tip is to invest in quality sealing containers. Never leave the extra meat out, but store immediately as this will give you a freshly cooked meat.

Pork is another great reinvention meat. Ham, oh sweet ham can be a great reinvention queen ingredient. I bake or Greg smokes the ham and I don’t do anything in the beginning as we want the presentation for the first meal. Greg will take the ham pieces off the bone leaving enough meat for a great bean or greens cooking. I make a base from cooking the bone until the flavorful broth is formed. Sometimes, and this is where I think about what can come next. I store some of this ham broth for multiple flavorful dishes. Never use the broth for one reinvented meal, think three if possible. I then will use the ham for breakfast meals with eggs or omelets. Some of the ham pieces can be used for a ham pot pie, or flavoring a soup, sandwiches, and even use in dips, or like deviled ham salad. I think you see what I am plotting and planning when I prep that ham in the beginning. Pork chops are a gift from heaven as they can be grilled, baked, and/or fried. After they are cooked, they can be eaten of course, but if you make enough, you can store the extra, chop and use in Pork and Rice, sau’te some of the chopped pieces with a mustard base with sautéd onions and peppers or a great sandwich and/or even a salad. I can go on and on many other ideas, but now is the time for you to get creative yourselves.

I reinvented the blue cornmeal muffins into my Cornbread Layered Salad and used a lot of the veggies and sauces I refer as my pantry staples. Reinvent, and recreate is my motto!

As a true Reinvention Queen, I found stocking my pantry and refrigerator with what I call filler foods. Mushrooms fresh and canned, onions, garlic, herbs, peppers, cheeses, cream and buttermilk, seasoning bastes, vinegars, balsamic vinegars, seasoning salts, and dried herbs, honey, sugar, cream of whatever soups, broths vegetable and meat, vegetable bouillon as well as better than bouillon, bread crumbs and crackers to make crumbs, flour (I use White Lily) WL corn meal, and specialty mixes for quick breads, and BUTTER as well as EVOO, and even shortening. That is a short list but it helps to have it on hand instead of trying to make a list every time for each meal.

For some of my reinvention meals, Search on my home page search for Reinvention Queen and several blog posts should come up for you to go one on one with me in my world of reinvention. Use What You Have and a philosophy I believe is WASTE NOT, WANT NOT! Have fun, try new things. Mix it up and create your own dish. Until we reinvent again………..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen 2022.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and permission reserved. Third party materials, if known, are sourced to original location/author for credit reference.

RAMBLIN’ THOUGHTS, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Sometimes, I find my thoughts rambling from either news events, personal occurrences, or then sometimes it is just plain rambling. I don’t make a lot of serious decisions during these times, but once in a while, what comes to my mind will linger and I will retrieve them while I can use them. I heard the term used in a negative meaning, “I think I am overthinking this.” Come with me this morning into Arline’s way of under-thinking.

Why does everything have to be life shattering these days?

What happened to funny times with friends and family?

Why is everything politicized?

Why did people quit fishing like we used to do?

What happened to family reunions and Sunday visits?

When did we stop seeing gray instead of all black and white?

When did almost naked women and men become the center of commercials?

Why does anything not matter any more or nothing matter so much?

source for photo (click on link)

If we don’t ask why, we can never understand anyone’s reasoning. If we don’t understand anyone’s reasoning for thinking a certain way, we can never have a reasonable conversation with the other person. (ALM 2022)

I am not sure why I love diving into a problem, see it from both sides or almost see everything from both sides as there are a few things and/or beliefs I don’t get, but after considering why the other person sees or feels the way they do, I may not agree with their thinking but I can understand how they came to their beliefs.

Life is sometimes a cesspool of thoughts, but if we remember the clean feeling that comes after a good shower or bath when we have gotten so muddy, we actually feel the mud has become a part of us. It is sticky and clings to every crevice we have.

I am not writing to give any credit to my way of thinking as it is only my way of thought processes. As I get older, I have learned to go deeper but with less stubbornness. I have learned to listen, even feel empathy, amazing I can feel sympathy easier. I have learned that listening is just that. Even listening to persuasive people, very intelligent people, professional people, savvy and interesting people, we have one thing in common…..Guess what that is? All of us have ears and can listen. Does it mean we have to agree with each one or all of them? Absolutely not, and if they feel we are required to agree or think like them, walk away. I feel I have grown wiser listening more and learning why I want to think for myself, but only after considering all sides, accepting that all others are not going to agree with my beliefs and thoughts. Whether their thinking is good or bad, the end product is it’s my choice, my mind, my life and I have no one to blame how it turns out but ME.

In closing on this subject, I want to say to each of you reading this blog. It is never my way or the highway. I love sharing thoughts, but they are only my thoughts and not meant to do anything else but open your thought process. I used to go 100 mph in both action and thoughts. I felt if you didn’t want to know how I felt about a subject, don’t ask. Times have changed, I find that less people want to talk with someone but rather, everyone seems to talk at each other and not listening. I heard that expression if God had wanted us to do more talking than listening, He would have given us two mouths instead of two ears. Right?

Today, I choose to find adventure whether it be in cooking something new, read something interesting, have a good conversation, stop and look at our tomatoes growing, check out our flowers/plants blooming, and yes, I will thank God for forgiving this ole stubborn gal for all those times I wasted on idle conversations talking at folks instead of really getting to know them by listening instead of gabbing. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE AND LOVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST BY LISTENING TO THE SOUNDS OF GOD MORE THAN THE CHATTER OF FOOLISH MEN AND WOMEN.

A-Z QUOTES, image courtesy of Neale Donald Walsch

Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known to original location/author for credit reference.

STAGING A HOME REVISITED

Note from Arline Miller on why I am reposting this blog message now: This is a time when home prices are soaring but for how long. If you are looking to sell your home, you may want to read how important staging a home can affect the price you are offered. Lately, my husband wanted to get a better view from his desk in his office/retreat so I took a look and it was amazing with a few small changes/rearrangement of furniture, his office looks at least twice as big.

This a post I wrote before we moved to Tifton, but yesterday I was reminded how staging a home especially before posting or listing is so important, I decided to repost this helpful blog. It is important in every day living, less is more.

STAGING A HOME IS LIKE STAGING LIFE. My husband and I are in the process of transitioning to his hometown and for any of you that follow the blog realize that is where our hearts are….Grandchildren and of course two of our children. It is even a great idea for my daughter who lives in California as her Dad’s home and ours will be closer for her to go in between. In preparation, I always stage our home prior to showing it and I feel that this process with my tips I have learned may be helpful to others. Of course, I will tie this experience to a life lesson at the end so watch for it.

Arline’s tips for staging a home:

  1. Get rid of clutter. Too much of a good thing is too much. A possible buyer is not interested in your belongings, groceries, trash, etc. Eliminate the extras by packing, throwing away the trash, has beens, junk, etc.
  2. Do not display personal photos if possible. The future homeowner wants and needs to envision themselves in their “new home” and not be reminded this is “your domain”.
  3. Extra furniture, even though it may be an essential piece in your home may prevent the buyer from seeing how spacious your rooms are and how easy they can fit their furniture in. This is a time that less is more.
  4. Clean, clean, clean! There is nothing more distracting or unattractive for the prospective buyer than to see anything but sparkle. Dust, scrub, touch up places, and replace those items that are old and need removal.
  5. Smell your home before people arrive at showings. I bake cookies and offer them to visitors. I keep baking sheets I have prepared so it is fresh home baked aroma throughout the showing. It reminds them of the fun they will have in the kitchen. Do not use heavy disinfecting spray right before the showing. It will give the impression of trying to mask odors.
  6. Pay attention to drawers, cabinets, shelving so that all is neat and organized. I recently viewed a home and was really impressed the towels in the linen closet were neatly rolled. I opened the matching linen closet and it was a totally different look and was disarranged. People notice those little things so don’t overlook them.
  7. Taking photos of the home staged is vital. Do not wait until the last minute and take photos from different views. A person decides from the web site whether this is a good fit for them. I am going to show some photos from different realty websites without disclosing where these homes are listed for a Do and Don’t Do Comparison. I will use the ones I have staged in our home and possibly you will see what I am referring to in what to do and what not to do.
  8. Make sure windows and blinds are sparkling clean.  A good view to beautiful scenery and/or a great front or back lawn makes the buyer feel at home. Nothing is as distracting as film on windows or dust on window blinds/sills.
  9. Kitchen sink under-cabinet staging. Display organic, non-chemical cleaners and no roach or rat preventive items. Keep items to a minimum and have clean sponges, brushes, pads, etc. As a home owner, it is easier to show the home without having to have discussions about pest control. Tip: Maintain your home at all times to be pest free so this is not even a concern.
  10. Pet Staging. Many of us love pets, dogs or cats and even some other varieties of animals. Carpets should be cleaned often if pets are present and vacuumed frequently. Bathe your pets regularly and use the natural fragrances to keep them smelling good. Litter boxes have to be religiously emptied and cleaned and open windows frequently to allow fresh air in your home. Any pet that is not house broken should be crated until you can trust them to be out. Carpets and area rugs should be cleaned and deodorized to prevent the paw tracking from pets going in and out.
  11. Window blinds/curtains should be opened for better lighting if possible. Some of my friends prefer a darker ambiance but most people love to see lighter rooms. If a window cannot be visible, make sure lights are on. Dark corners do not reflect bright, cheery atmosphere so keep it in mind even if you are Dracula’s descendants and love the dark.
  12. Staging is important but your attitude is what counts as well. If you have an agent representing and showing your home, please do an attitude check on how they feel about your home.

Helpful tip from me on Staging A Home Photos: Before you list or post photos, do yourself a money making favor. Even if you put the items back on the counters, sinks, furniture, or even clutter on floors. Before you take the photo remove all personal or even a mountain of figurines, dishes, vases, etc or children’s toys……A little less is always best and they can see your home above the rest! When I had Interiors by Arline, light touches were highlights and not distractions in trade shows. I see so many beautiful homes that if de-cluttered for the presentation it would mean a higher price! When we sold both of our homes, you better believe I staged the poster pictures. No one cares about your collections or personal shampoos, etc. but they want to see walls, counter space, and living spaces. Clean and neat can’t be beat! Just sayin’ to help!1 Co

I posted this tip with these Before and After photos to make a visual point of comparison.

Here are some photos I wanted to share for the DO’s and DONT’S for staging a home:

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DO: Minimal items on counters; clean and wiped cabinets, sinks, and appliances allow buyer to see backsplash and space in kitchen.

Don't kitchen

DON’T: The busyness of this kitchen takes away from the counter tops and size.

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DO: Simple accessorizing helps to accent a feature like the fireplace. Greenery can be used but dust free if used. I used this photo for a reason. I left the cabinet open to show the TV but this is an option and it looks nicer closed for showings. I am posting another Do for a Living Room and this one is from a realtor website. Good job.

Do Living Room

DO: See how minimal accessories allow you to see the walls, fireplace and just how much furniture is possible. Nothing personal.

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IMG_0376
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DO’s: These bedrooms are staged with clean appeal, accessories, made up beds, and clean carpet.

don't bedroom

DON’Ts: Toys, boxes, “junk” have to go or be displayed in an attractive way on shelves.

In finalizing this thought of staging, I thought about less is more when preparing a house for someone else to like what they see enough to spend time and maybe make it a home place.  I thought about the same when we go to choose a mate for life. Look away from the material things and look at what I call the “bones” of a home. If we choose to spend our life with someone, it should be because it has an attractiveness, a cleanliness of body and spirit, room to grow both emotionally and wisely. In other words, maybe we look to see if our future mate has the ability to shine and sparkle without overdressing and speaking. Allow the person to win you over like a good, solid home does by being themselves and standing out from the crowd.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location when known for credit reference.

GARDENER’S GLOVES IV

During this burst of Spring, we have planted the herb planters and it is such a sign of future life and freshness to our meals, I decided to pull this popular post. I love seeing my friends getting into the garden phase and also getting our yards in shape with new straw, fertilizers, new plants, and trimming up for maximum blooms. It makes me remember those are not here any more like my Mom who spent her days in her garden beds. Sweet memories and I cherish each of her plants that live on in our yards. Have a beautiful spring and don’t forget to get some soil on your hands or as this post suggests, Gardener’s Gloves. Good gardening produces tasty and healthy foods so we can make great salads and other dishes. I sometimes return to older posts for refreshment of thought. I dedicated it to a great gardener Linda Christian and who is genuinely missed by so many of us

A nice way to reward the family is with a salad from your own garden.
Contained garden to keep out unwanted guests who like to serve themselves.

THE GARDENER’S GLOVE was a popular message and I love the lessons behind it. We have a beautiful growing container garden this year. I have mentioned our garden before but in watching our “crop” grow, I am amazed at how the rain, the pruning, and the feedings affect the amount of growth. It led me back to how proper care of ourselves can affect our growth and especially our health. Stay tuned and when we begin the harvesting, I will share some recipes and photos.



TODAY THE WORDS are THE GARDENER’S GLOVE This topic may seem a little strange coming from a lady whose husband does all of our landscaping and who considers herself blessed to not have to pull weeds (but he doesn’t do a lot of that with his routine weed control). I have several FB friends who grow beautiful gardens (Linda Christian whose birthday is today and she can make us envious of her gardening skills and beautiful spirit of sharing with others) , some who are in their rose gardens and flower beds, and there are my friends who do not like the outdoor gardening at all. I love flowers and there is nothing better to eat than fresh home grown vegetables but I think my resistance stems from my childhood.


Let’s return to my childhood to give you my thoughts. In order to make some money, my Mother grew turnip and mustard greens in our back garden. Before school, and sometimes in the bitter cold, we would go to the garden, gather the greens which were ready, clean them off and bundle with string. Off to the grocery store they would go and off to school we would go. It wasn’t the work as I had too much energy; we didn’t use gloves. In those days, you used your hands (maybe others had enough money to buy gloves; not us). It was the smell of the greens on my hands and mind you, I washed my hands several times and they were as clean as they were going to be. I see my husband prepare, by putting on gloves, before he goes out to do yard work, gardening, and/or pruning. He is very particular about how the gloves have to fit as a proper fit will not slow him down. He jokes with other guys that his wife does yard work. He says “She tells me where to put everything and walks back in the house.” He smiles when he says it but I know he loves being in the yard and in control of its beauty. I am usually the one who is in charge of the interior of our home and I love doing it.


Now for the deeper thought….as important as gloves are to a gardener or landscaper…..gloves of life are as important to our being. Gloves are a protective covering to avoid scratches, cuts and sometimes bites from insects. They wrap around the hand and fingers securely and when properly fitted, are an extension of our very bodies. They become a second skin in other words. Our “character” is a pair of gloves of life. We start, at an early age, to develop (or put on) our character which comprises of several things: our personality; our integrity; our work ethics and our moral ethics (may be the same or sometimes not); our nurturing persona; and our spirituality. With the proper gloves of life, we can garden our souls and protect ourselves from the scratches, bites, and burns which the garden of life brings. I am not discounting God’s influence in our gardens, but we as His Children, need to put on our gloves and protect ourselves too. Good gardening, my friends, and don’t forget your gloves.

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:Genesis 2:9

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material, if known, is sourced to the original location for reference.

REINVENTION QUEEN HAS BEEN BUSY REINVENTING LEFTOVERS

While I played nurse to my husband who had a total knee replacement a month ago, we were homebound except for physical therapy and follow up visits. Since we work from home, I have cooked a lot for us and I love finding ways to reinvent a meal to eliminate that dreaded “leftover” syndrome. If it looks the same, we have a tendency to feel the Oh No, not that again. It has become a challenge, a fun one, to see what and if I can make it look new. Here are a few of my latest reinvention meals to share with you.

Remember, I am not trying to give you recipes but I want to encourage you to use what you have, try a few tricks of my trade, and waste not, want not. Open the door to your imagination, feel flavors, sense what will go with what, and experiment.

STUFFED BELL PEPPERS FROM LEFTOVER PORK AND RICE

My husband wanted to give me a break as I have cooked the three square meals while he recovered, and he made some awesome pork and rice in our InstaPot. He used cream of mushroom soup, can of mushrooms, chicken broth, salt and pepper. The rice, which I suggested he use Success Rice made in microwave and added at the last few minutes to prevent the rice from getting too soft or mushy. It was great but it made a lot so I thought what can I do to make a new dish.

Look at how great the InstaPot Pork and Rice made by Greg Miller looks and tasted.

I thought about some bell peppers I had in the fridge which needed to be used. Hmmm, remembering how a recipe I had created making stuffed peppers had rice and tomatoes and how could some yummy chopped pork not add flavors?

I cut the bell peppers in half, cleaned out the insides and coated with a small amount of EVOO and placed on the pan with a rack on top.

I mixed the pork and rice in a bowl. In my small chopper I combined a can of drained fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, chopped shallot, some leftover yellow onion pieces, chopped fresh garlic, seasonings and blended. This became the filling once mixed together with the chopped pork and rice. I added some grated Havarti cheese with dill too. Of course, I added some mirin, tamari sauce, and even a tsp of Worcestershire sauce. I added some goat cheese on top with fresh cilantro. I filled the peppers and baked on 350 degrees for 30 -40 minutes. See the photo for the results. For my summary, you could do this with leftover chicken and rice.

Here are the reinvented peppers I made.
Now, here is how I think when I make a dish, what can I do with the leftovers even from a reinvented meal….I placed the leftovers in one of our food saver bags and we sealed this for a future meal from our freezer. Free food…Love it.

Garden Peas with Leftover Spam Made Easy

I have made this easy breezy lunch all the way back when my daughter was in college. She makes it often without the meat, but this was my first time adding leftover Spam and it was delicious.

A quick summary as this is so easy, you don’t need a recipe: I can of Garden Sweet Peas, 1/2 macaroni, Spam which I had in fridge, butter 2 tsp., 1/4 cup half and half, Seasonings including Onion and Garlic Salt and enough chicken stock to cook macaroni. Saute’ Spam to give it a browned taste in pan, add butter and chicken stock and when hot, add macaroni. After about 4-6 minutes, add half and half, seasonings, and then add garden peas. Cook for same amount of time or until macaroni is cooked but don’t overcook macaroni. Cover and allow to sit for a few minutes and liquid will reduce into macaroni. This is cooked in less than 15 minutes. You can add boiled eggs, pimentos, and even cheese.

This doesn’t need a recipe. I seal leftovers such as small lima butterbeans cooked with leftover pieces of baked ham in our food saver bags and frozen. I had the cheese muffins leftover and thawed the butter beans and heated in pot. I added chopped shallots and chopped chives as a topper. This meal tasted fresh and took approximately 10 minutes.

I hope you will begin to experiment with leftovers by adding cheeses, meats, seasonings, make fritters from leftover veggies, and I am contemplating reinventing some of my great salmon patties into a breakfast dish with eggs so watch out for more from Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright, 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known to original location and author for credit references.

Art of Any Kind Is a Display of Love

I was reminded this morning when I posted a photo of eggs I had cooked in the egg rings my daughter had given me, cooking can be an art as many of you food lovers and chefs can attest. I had a dear friend Betty Burkhalter, who loves to cook post that she takes so much pride in how she prepares her husband’s eggs each morning and has mastered flipping them perfectly. It gave me pause thinking how sometimes I am kidded and sometimes praised for how I plate food. Then it hit me, I treat, as some of you do, cooking and baking as an art.

This is the photo that inspired this blog post. My daughter bought me egg rings since I have a tendency to spread eggs all over the pan.

Let’s think about what we perceive as art? I had not placed cooking and/or plating as an art form but I am a member of a group that displays table scapes and one particular setting caught my eye (all of the ones displayed are gorgeous) because of the use of a rare item, the knife holder. The friend I mentioned above called my attention to the fish flower vases and I zoomed in on the dining room which is quite tastefully decorated. It struck me that Maria Prather decorates as a painter paints a masterpiece with colorful blends of attractive interactive pieces. I love to think that she signs an imaginary signature to her work.

This beautifully set table scape invites the guest/family to gaze on its beauty and the love put into the display. Maria Bryan Prather shared this photo on a group on FB, Southern Tablescapes which is full of similar masterpieces.

I have a page on this blog called Decor Haven and will soon update it with Spring decors from my friends who post them on Facebook and allow me to use them. Watch for the update soon but now for the focus of this blog message.

Some can sing, some can write, some can paint and/or sculpt, some can build, some can invent, some are great chefs, and some are great speakers, and some can put the oddest things together and create a masterpiece of decor. Some can fish and importantly catch a lot, some are inventors, and some are great people who are service oriented and volunteers. Are they artists in their own right?

A pie can be a work of art and this one is special as Missy, my daughter made it for Greg and me to enjoy. It was almost too pretty to cut but the taste was as pretty.
The perfect grill marks Greg masters on the steaks he makes looks like art. Thanks Greg Miller for your artwork which always amazes me.

I figured out a great piece of Life’s Puzzle when this thought came to me. God is the most gifted artist ever. Every sunrise, sunset, river, ocean, mountains, pastures, and rainbow has been created by the Master. Now, for that piece of the puzzle….He also created each of us….A One of A Kind piece of Art, unique, and he signs an imaginary signature to us. He gives us talents to make our own pieces of art. Whichever form we choose to exhibit, he smiles. Whether it is a grandchild that loves a cake, cookie, or like I love to do, is make it where they smile when they see that piece of love art that they can eat. One of the most rewarding things I made were banana dolphins and Eli wanted to save his. He wanted to keep it and not eat it. I felt like Michelangelo for a minute. Then we decided it wouldn’t keep.

These are the banana dolphins I made (I have made them a couple of times) and they were pieces of art to the grands.

It is a good time to reflect on your pieces of art and love that you have shared with loved ones. We are not all meant to be in the public spotlight and fame doesn’t come to each of us. What we can relish in is the knowledge we are in God’s spotlight and He wants us to shine in The Love He Gives Us so others might find their talents and spread His Love.

Live Life, Love Life, and Live Life To The Fullest by loving what you do, what you can share, and to know you are a piece of God’s Art and Beauty.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced, if known, to the original location/author for credit references.

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