Pick up Groceries

I may fall in love with this…I hate shopping, you guys all know that.

My favorite thing is mail order.  I get some grief about that, but hey!  I’ve tried shopping locally, but usually after the 2nd or 3rd stop trying to find something I just go home and order it online.

I get grief about using Self-Check out too.  But I like using my own bags, I like my bread and bananas on top, and cans and boxes on the bottom.  I just like to bag my own stuff.

I like the way Aldi does it, they check your stuff from your cart to another cart, then you take the cart to a counter and bag your own stuff.  I also like the way Aldi does the cart issue; put a quarter in to release the cart, get the quarter back when your return the cart to the cart station. Carts always available right where you need them.

So on to the Pick Up Groceries.  Since I have been having so much trouble with my back I am finding it harder and harder to get through the grocery store.  Today I decided to give the Pick Up Groceries idea a go.

I’ve spoken with a few people about the whole Pick Up deal and they have been pleased, they get good produce, and really that’s the fear area, I mean a box of crackers is a box of crackers, but an apple, well that is something different entirely.

Ordering online was fairly easy once you accustom yourself to the interface.


They gave me a variety of options for pickup, anywhere from the next few hours to the next few days.

I received an email letting me know my order was ready, so off I went.  It wanted me to check in once on my way but that would have required downloading the app,  I opted not to do that.




Pretty easy to spot the PickUp Area6181B4B3-6208-46EE-B0EF-EC30A39661C4

I’m not the only one utilizing the Online Ordering!0084EFA1-603F-4DF2-8FB9-554F2E73CA25

So pull in to a spot and give them a call.F955C0D6-F605-48CB-9753-70A8F36B7080

then BAMM, out comes your stuff6FEE1114-ED84-48F9-9AD1-1BC2DE30BA3E

Yep, it’s mine!8ABAD970-CB1A-4BA8-A8FC-E49BD50E0FA7

Then just get it home and check it out!2747973C-0540-4625-81CF-34D3B958CFB3

Disadvantages, yes there are a few.

#1 Plastic Bags.  The delivery guy was great and helped consolidate to fewer bags.  We always need a few for picking up after the dogs.

#2 And if you are like me, you don’t accurately read the description and get things pretty close to what you were after but not exactly – low sodium Club Soda?  yep, that was user error, but who knows it may be good!

and I got spinach and ricotta ravioli rather than tortellini, ah well, I can make do with that.  I wanted the tortellini for a party snack!

#3 Items that are unavailable

overall a positive experience, and out come.  No impulse buying, but also no markdown deals.

I just may need to download that app!

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A mixed media ceramic/pottery sculpture

I have been taking pottery classes at the Visual Arts Center here in Richmond VA.  I have taken classes in various techniques; my last class was a Mixed Media class. A number of interesting techniques, and experiments were tried.

The following piece I decided was a failure after the bisque firing because it distorted and cracked.    It sat on my shelf through much of the class.  Then close to the end of the session we were doing a saggar firing, so I decided what the heck, let’s see what happens.

Anyway, the saggar created some interesting colorations and I decided it was worth pursuing this piece as a prototype for more.

It is a 2-sided piece. based on a piece of art I saw in a Sci-Fi show. So based  on my faulty memory this on what I remembered seeing; although the piece I saw was a flat one dimensional, without a stand or headdress.

I bought some diamond bit drill bits and drilled the holes in the top,   used a copper foil to create the feathers, and glued the copper tube legs in to place.

Then Tom made this amazing base for me.


I am quite pleased with the way it turned out and will definitely pursue making more.


so which is this?  ceramic sculpture, or pottery sculpture?  According to the all knowing internet – Ceramics are not only made by clay but also other materials like glazes, while pottery is made up of only clay. 2. Pottery is a form of ceramicsCeramics is a broader aspect of molding certain materials into something artistic or something of use.

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Cranberry, Orange Biscotti

My friend Reg, down in Merida, Yucatan, MX recently posted a recipe for biscotti.

I’ve never made biscotti before and thought these sounded particularly good.   So I decided to give then a try; sort of!

This is the recipe as it appears in the link above:

Biscotti with Ginger, Cranberries, Orange, and Cashews

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 large eggs or 4 medium
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, cashews, ginger, and cranberries.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the dough into two flat logs on the parchment paper. It spreads a little, but not much, so make these slightly smaller than the width that you would like your biscotti to be.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely before slicing into ~1/4-inch-thick slices.
  8. Lay the slices flat on a baking sheet (you can use the same one, with the parchment), and bake for 7-10 minutes, flip each one over, and then continue to bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 24 pieces.

I made a few modifications;  I used coarsely chopped almonds instead of cashews, I used all All Purpose flour, and I added the juice of the orange because the dough was not holding together.   This is a very thick sticky dough.

I decided to make these about an hour before we were to be at a neighbors house so I did rush the process a little bit.  Some of my biscotti did not cook completely, and I neglected to wait for a full cool down before proceeding to  cutting;  Therefore some of mine are not completely crunchy.   But these taste SO GOOD, I will make more and actually follow the cooking instructions

These things ARE GOOD!   Thank You Reg!


These are mine, in a jumble – Reg did a much better job with his!

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Time for a breather

My Fall Ceramics/Pottery class ended last week.  Next one doesn’t start till Jan 7.

Time for a break; my hands really need it.  Working in clay destroys your nails, and cuticles, plus it really dries your skin.

This past summer I made a healing salve using dandelion flowers and…something, I can’t remember,  and can’t believe I didn’t blog it, but it has shea butter, beeswax, almond oil…It is great!   Really helps.  I use it every night.

I do have some extra clay so will make some things till it’s gone.

But I have a few other artsy things to keep me busy; I have my jewelry making, polymer clay sculptures, cyan o print, and kitchen goodies.

In fact I just bottled some herb infused oils that I will give as holiday gifts.IMG_3805IMG_3806


And of course I want to show some of my most recent pottery


I also keep making little snack tray sets

It’s like I keep telling people, I am still making crap, but it’s getting better.   And my fabulous friends keep taking pieces; and using or display them – I love my friends!



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Cooking with Pear Shaped Puffball Mushrooms, aka Lycoperdon pyriforme

L pyriforme habit NEMF GE

So yesterday, on our walk in the woods with the dogs, we found a cache of lovely little Pear Shaped Puffball Mushrooms, aka Lycoperdon pyriforme.

We only took a small amount because I have so many dried in storage from last year.

We field clean mushrooms so that they aren’t a real pain to clean at home; all that leaf debris, dirt, bugs…  Just a quick rinse and ready to go, oops, I see one not properly field trimmed down there!clean puffs

When you start slicing you need to watch out for yellowing centers,   this is an indication that the puff is old and will not be good.   Puffballs, all edible types, should have a beautifully white interior.

old puffs

these actually are beautifully white, just bad lightingsliced puffs

The texture of puffballs is like the texture of a marshmallow.  A bit of a toothy soft chew.

The flavor is mild, it does get a bit more pronounced once dried, then rehydrated.  They absorb flavors really well.

So I decided to do 2 things with the harvest –

Marinated,  and Parmesan Puff Crisps.

For the Marinated –

I used the smaller for the marinated which meant mostly just halving, then sauteing.

Ingredients,  I’d say I used

  • 2 C cut up puffballs
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • tsp each chopped thyme, and rosemary
  • lg pinch of chili flakes, plus s&p to your taste
  • abt 1/2 c water,  if I’d had some white wine open I’d have used that.
  • abt a Tablespoon of cider vinegar.
  • olive oil

Start with a very hot pan, I used cast iron, add enough oil to cover bottom and ripple when moved.  Add the mushies, and brown, then toss in some fresh herbs and garlic, I used thyme and rosemary, I also tossed in some red chili flakes because everything tastes better with a little kick..  Once the garlic softens the oil should be just about gone.  I then added a bit of water, enough to reduce for a broth.  Then I added about a T of vinegar and let the acid burn off just a bit.  Taste your broth and season as needed.   If you can taste a bit of acid from the vinegar this should last a few weeks in the fridge.

sauteeing puffsgarlic herbs puffs

Marinated Puffballsmarinated puffs

For the Parm Puff Crisps

I followed the same instructions as with the marinated.  I used the larger puffballs so sliced them into thick slices, same amount of garlic and herbs except I used rosemary and oregano.  No vinegar or chili flakes were used.  I let the water boil off till the pan was nearly dry.  I removed the pan from the heat, spread the mushrooms out and topped with a generous amount of shredded parmesan cheese.  The heat left in the pan will melt the cheese.  Once the pan cooled a  bit so that I could pull out pieces and they would hold their shape I set them on a silpat to cool and dry.

I think making quarter size crisps would be a great party tray addition

Puffball Parmesan Crisps

parm puffspuff parm crips

If you find a really large type puffball (Calvatia gigantea, commonly known as the giant puffball), these recipes still work, just peel them and cut as desired.  I have heard that some people are sensitive to the skins on the giants.

here’s a great video on large puffs

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Some new pottery pieces

I have come such a long way in one years time.   I am now finally making some things that I am quite proud of.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the previous stuff is ok: and I have amazing friends who have taken, and use pieces.  But I definitely see the imperfections – ohhhh,  I am hearing John Legend,

“.Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections…”

Here are 2 recent pieces that I am really happy with –

This one is from my Mixed Media class; incorporating found items with our pottery work.


This piece is from a series of medium sized rectangle plates I’ve made with a variety of leaf patterns.  We use the plates daily.  When I made this one I left the wide rectangular uneven edge.  I will definitely make more of these!




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I finally did it!

I’ve been threatening myself that I was going to drop FaceBook, and I finally did it!

Sort of!

I kept it for my Foraging resources, and for Local Events.


I did unfriend all my Friends.   Nothing personal,


Posted in Everyday Stuff | 4 Comments