Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! Where Will 2015 Hit First?

(Updated for 2018 HERE!)

The New Year of 2015 is coming!

The first places to welcome 2015 will be Samoa and Christmas Island and the small country of Kiribati (the former Gilbert Islands). The New Year is coming to those small countries in the middle of the Pacific in (as of 11:38 p.m. Chicago time) 4 hours and 24 minutes, which is 20 hours before we will welcome 2015 in Chicago, in the Central Time Zone.

You can watch the world turn to 2015 at this link:

Time left before the New Year around the globe!

Actually, the whole Time and Date website is full of interesting tidbits.  I'm surprised I never came across it before.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday appetizers... Use those crescent rolls you bought on sale!

We just bought a big package of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls on sale at Costco, and I wasn't sure what to do with all of them.  But this Crescent Ring looks delicious and it would be a great holiday party appetizer... or even a full meal with a salad: 

Pictures found at the Pillsbury website

Crescent Rings:

This is one of many recipes (many from Pillsbury) posted by various Skinny Fiber weight loss people.  I must say that most of these recipes don't sound like anything you'd eat if you were really serious about losing pounds, but they sound good to eat.  This one sounds great, particularly around the holidays with so many people doing so much entertaining!

This crescent ring is loaded with all the delicious flavors of an Italian sub, great for serving at parties or during busy weeknights.

  • Prep time:  10 min  (sounds optimistic to me, I'd say 20 minutes)
  • Total time:  45 min
  • Ingredients:  7
  • Servings:  6  (or more if used as an appetizer)

  • 2 cans (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1/2 cup well-drained roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
  • 8 slices provolone cheese, halved
  • 1/3 lb deli sliced hot salami
  • 1/4lb deli sliced ham
  • 1/4lb deli sliced capocollo (Capocollo is an Italian pork cold cut)
  • 1/2cup well drained hot pepper rings (from a jar)


  • Heat oven to 375°F.
  • Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 8 rectangles. 
  • On ungreased 12-inch pizza pan, arrange rectangles in ring so short sides of rectangles form a circle in center. (Dough will overlap; half of each rectangle will hang over edge of pan. Dough ring should resemble a sun.  See picture above.)
  • Spread roasted red bell peppers towards center of ring on bottom halves of rectangles. Top with half of the cheese. 
  • Layer salami, ham and capocollo slices over cheese. 
  • Arrange pepper rings over top. Cover with remaining half of cheese.
  • Bring each dough rectangle hanging over side of pan up over stacked filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around sandwich until entire filling is enclosed (some filling might show a little but that is okay.) 
  • Sprinkle with black pepper.
  • Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until dough is golden brown and thoroughly baked. 
  • Remove from oven; cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into serving slices.

Other additions, suggestions, and substitutions:
  • To drain the roasted red bell peppers thoroughly, use a fine mesh strainer, then set on a few paper towels to absorb any extra moisture.  (Some have suggested using fresh green or red peppers as opposed to peppers from a jar.  Olives and onions have also been suggested).
  • If you don’t like it spicy, switch out the deli meats for a milder flavor, and swap in some ripe olives instead of the hot pepper rings.  (Read through the other suggestions.. Many people have suggested other combinations or meat, cheese, and filling that have worked.)  

Here are some comments from readers for making this work better... or just changing things a bit:
  • Add black olives!
  • "I made it for lots of hungry guys watching football, so I added way more meat. I even threw some pepperoni and turkey in there. I placed the peppers in between a the meats so it didn't make the bread soggy. I also added a spicy mustard. It was a huge hit! I can't wait to play around with different variations next time I make it.... Turkey cranberry Brie? Perhaps?"
  • "I cooked mine at 325 for 20-25 mins and it turned out perfectly. I let it cool for about 10 minutes before cutting. It was cooked all the way through, not a mess and easy to eat."
  • (A solution for some who complained about soggy crescent rolls:)  "I just put mine back in the oven and cooked about 15 minutes longer after having this same problem (soggy rolls).  I was thinking maybe cooking the crescents for about 5 minutes prior to placing the other ingredients? Worth a shot I guess."
  • "There are so many things that you can do with it. You can do pizza flavor with fresh mozzarella, sundried tomatoes some pepperoni and a marinara sauce dip, you could do turkey and swiss with bacon and a dark mustard right on it with no dip...the possibilities are endless and it is inexpensive, quick and looks great...Thank you."
  • "Marinara or ranch (sauce) would work. Also, you could slather the top with a garlic butter once it came out. Last, I would recommend putting some grey pompon on the inside prior to closing the ring."
  • "Not a fan of Pepper Ring but will replace them with thin slices of tomatoes, a diced green pepper, diced dill pickles and some sliced black olives; and brush the crust with soften butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese and Oregano.  I think this recipe will be one that I will make using several different combos such as a Reuben or bacon, ham, turkey & Swiss! Possibilities are endless!!"
  • "I will try this with bacon, cheese, eggs, and ham."
  • "18 minutes is not long enough. The bottom of the dough was not fully cooked."  (See above.. Many are suggesting at least 20-25 minutes.) 
  • "We did this last weekend with the Turkey, Stuffing, and Cranberry sauce. It was Good, Good, Good."
  • "Great way to handle holiday leftovers. Just layer it in and yum. Our family enjoys a Swedish Smorgasbord Christmas Eve. I've layered leftover ham, fried potatoes, assorted cheeses and tiny Swedish meatballs."
  • "I'm going to try it! But with fresh red peppers roasted in my oven lol and hot peppers from my farmers market." 
  • "Try adding a sprinkle of oregano, a little garlic, and some marinara sauce."
  • "Brush the top and sides with a beaten egg so it browns up nice."
  • "Just made it with pepperoni, dry salami, & ham w/ mozzarella. Delish!!"
  • "We recommend using deli thin sliced meats.. took a bit longer to cook with deli meat."  (I assume they meant with thicker deli meats vs. thinner sliced deli meats.)
  • "It's good with roast beef, turkey, ham, Swiss, and grilled onions."
  • "I have to add some Italian spices and olive oil."
  • "Do same thing but use taco meat and make all the rolls point out."

All of these comments? From the Pillsbury article itself and from here: 5,000 comments on Facebook can't be wrong!

Monday, July 14, 2014

No More Roundup: Weeds Away!

An environmentally-friendly answer to weeds in patios and walkways? 
(Updated for Summer 2016)

Get rid of weeds in patios and in edgings without using harmful, poisonous Roundup or other herbicides!  (Though the photo below, from Beaufort Online, names this recipe "Weed-Be-Gone", please be aware that there is an Ortho herbicide on the market named "Weed B Gon".  The following recipe is NOT the same product.)

Don't need a gallon?  Check below for a conversion to a smaller quantity.  And the common salt is called EPSOM salts, not EPSON.

Great discussion of the pros and cons of this recipe at the link.  The crux of the controversy is whether or not Dove is needed and, if so, whether or not it is also a dangerous product due to the policies and procedures of its creator, Proctor and Gamble.  First, use only Dove blue original, nothing anti-bacterial; second, Dove blue, the product that I bought does not contain phosphates.  If you are still concerned about Proctor and Gamble's products or issues such as animal testing, etc., (which are real concerns), you might want to try substitutes or see if this product works WITHOUT the Dove at all and report back.  Based on the comments, some weedy plants do contain oils, and the soap in the Dove will get rid of that.  

Other people want to make it clear that this recipe will kill all plants with which it comes in conrtact, so don't use it in a flower or vegetable bed.

So.. If you want to try this, but you don't need a gallon of it, try this reduced recipe:

  • 12 oz. vinegar
  • 3/8 cup epsom salts  (6 Tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon Dove
My review:  I did try this, and it did work... to some extent...  

However, I needed much more than the reduced recipe I printed above just to do a few weeds that popped up between my patio blocks.  Initially I just used a spray bottle, but ultimately, I just poured the stuff on the weeds.  That did the trick for most of the weeds, but it took several days before I noticed any effect.  I did a second batch for the stubborn weeds that didn't succumb the first time.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Daylight Savings Time Starts Sunday March 8, 2015! (Updated for 2015)

Finally!  This long, miserable winter may....just may.. be over.

And Daylight Savings Time in 2015 starts Sunday, March 8th!  One less hour of sleep that night, but one more hour of sunlight Sunday evening. Enjoy!


Turn your clocks FORWARD Saturday night, March 7th, before you go to bed.  Spring ahead!!
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