Monday Recap: November 16, 2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writing

There’s been a whole lot of cooking going on this week at Cook and Count, with plenty of new recipes–plus some Tech Talk and a Small Success at CatholicMom. And don’t forget my Sunday Series for Diabetes Awareness Month.


conquering twitter in 10 minutes a day coverTech Talk: Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes a Day

Your Twitter account isn’t going to grow itself. If you’d like to learn to use Twitter to better promote your business, organization or project, try the lessons in Katharine Grubb’s new ebook, Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes a Day. I road-tested the advice in this ebook and described the results.



Small Success dark blue outline 800x800Small Success Thursday: Better Late than Never Edition

Standing in once again for the usual Small Success hostess.

At Cook and Count

double choc mm cookies T C (8)

Giant Double Chocolate M&M Cookies

pork chop cider mustard roasted veg (2)T C

Roasted Vegetables with Apples

pork chop cider mustard roasted veg (6)T C

Pork Chops with Apple Cider-Mustard Glaze

Giant sugar cookies with sprinkles (8)cT

Giant Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles


Frugal Fridays: DIY Spice Blends

measuring devices (1)c

What’s Different about Cooking for Diabetics?
The answer just might surprise you!

Small Success: Small is Beautiful

Small Success dark blue outline 800x800Thursdays at begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

  • Thrifting: TheKid is in (another) show, playing (another) prince. In the past 6 shows he’s been in, he’s been a prince twice and a butler twice. Fortunately, we already had a crown on hand from the last time he played a prince. So he only needed a pair of black dress shoes (which we also already had) and black dress pants. I stopped at Goodwill the other day and found just what he needed–and they were half price. $1.99 for the whole costume–that’s the best I’ve ever done.
  • (Death by) Meeting. I was asked to be the parish respect-life representative and to start a group. No, we didn’t already have one in the parish. I went out on a limb and had a meeting and didn’t die of embarrassment or anxiety.
    My Cookbook Shelf. It holds a lot of books, but many new cookbooks are too tall to fit. Time to rethink this!

    Around the House. I bagged up 2 big bags of clothes that no longer fit TheKid (and I suspect there will be more). I cleaned out 1 big bag of things from my own closet (if they don’t fit, flatter, or feel good, they are OUT). And I decluttered the kitchen table and covered it with my favorite vintage tablecloth. I abandon less stuff on the table when it’s covered. I’m thinking about hauling a bookcase into the kitchen for my cookbooks, because a bunch of them are too tall for the one I have in there already. I’ll have to do some measuring first, though. The kitchen is 10×10, so there’s not much wiggle room.

Share your Small Successes at by joining the linkup in the bottom of today’s post. No blog? List yours in the comments box!

Eat, Drink and Evangelize: A Book Review and a Recipe

catholic drinkie bookIn just one book, you’ll get Church history, Gospel stories, patron saints, prayers, quotes from G.K. Chesterton, social-media advice and recipes for beer. Sarah Vabulas has managed to blend all of this–and more–together to create The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism. And she puts it together in an entertaining manner, with plenty of good humor and common-sense advice.

I definitely get where Sarah is coming from in section 3 of this book (Responsibly and Successfully Building Community.) My own love language is food. I love to cook and bake for people. But while I love recipes, I love her message about evangelization even more (and I think a lot of it applies to food as well as what Jeopardy refers to as “potent potables”).

Sarah is honest and real about the pitfalls of social-media use and all-the-time evangelization that isn’t backed up enough by personal prayer. As an introvert, I am in awe of her ability to

“go out to dinner and strike up a conversation with a neighboring patron, acknowledging his dignity and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my words and actions. This is the call of the New Evangelization. This is how we say ‘yes’ to the Lord in our everyday lives.” (p. 99)

Sarah describes her hobby of homebrewing beer as another way to build community. It can be a group process, which makes the job more fun–and she also finds opportunities to share her faith with her friends during the process. It’s also an opportunity to make gifts for others, sharing one’s own talents and interests while paying attention to what our loved ones enjoy so that we can craft the perfect gift.

spent grain 2 cRegarding the section of the book that includes recipes for homebrewed beer, I do disagree with Sarah’s assertion that you can’t brew 5-gallon batches of beer in an apartment. My older son does this–and he’s the reason I had a container of dried spent grain at the ready to experiment with bread recipes. Spent grain is a by-product of the beer-brewing process, and frugal brewers have discovered that you can use it in cooking. My own experiments in baking with spent grain affirm what I’ve read online–you can’t make the spent grain much more than 10% of your recipe’s total grain content.

Brewing beer actually has quite a bit in common with baking bread, and not just because both of them involve yeast and grain. They also both involve what Sarah refers to as “hurry-up-and-wait activity,” but when you brew beer, you have to wait a couple of weeks to sample your finished product!

spent grain bread (5) CM FII created this recipe for spent-grain bread as an homage to Sarah’s work. If she lived closer, I’d share a loaf with her. There’s a reason many of my bread recipes make 2 loaves: one for the family, one to share!

Spent-Grain Bread

makes 2 loaves

1 3/4 cups warm water
2 TBL butter
3 TBL honey
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup dried spent grain
1 TBL active dry yeast

Add all ingredients to your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Use the dough cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough to a floured surface. Divide in half and shape into loaves. Place loaves in prepared bread pans. Cut 2 or 3 diagonal slashes in the top of each loaf. Allow to rise 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 and bake 35 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

spent grain bread (6)c

Order your copy of The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism using my affiliate link and you’ll support my reading and cooking habit with your purchase–but you pay nothing extra!

The Razor Department: Where Fools and Their Money are Soon Parted

Home from college for a few hours, Middle Sister grabbed a few grocery items and tossed them into a plastic bag, asking, “Do you have any of my razors?”

linen closet AFTER
It had to be in there SOMEWHERE…but no. The right kind was not in stock.

I started rummaging around in the linen closet, where I keep those things, to see what was in stock. I found refills for a few varieties of razors–none of which were her preferred brand.

She likes the ones that come surrounded by their very own strip of lotion or soap or something that turns gooey when it’s exposed to water for very long.

You pay extra for that. It’s a feature.

K T Cat examined the 2-blade versus 5-blade men’s razor. But men’s razors have nothing on women’s razors, which are really just men’s razors with glitter.

I have a pink razor handle but I’m using a men’s razor refill on it, because those refills fit the handle, and I got them on sale, with a coupon. They were still expensive.

venus olay
There is a sucker born every minute. $1 per blade for these razors.

Yesterday I was at ShopRite, and I had a coupon for $6 off Middle Sister’s favorite brand of razor refills. I texted her to make sure I was picking up the exact variety she likes the best.

You know the razor refills are going to be expensive when there’s a $6 coupon. And they were! They were on sale for $19.99.

4 in the box. For $19.99.

And it turns out that my coupon was only good on boxes of 6 or 8. So I didn’t get to use that coupon.

That’s a $5 razor blade right there. $1 per blade. And she’ll toss them as soon as the gooey lotion runs out, which is well before the blade goes dull.

But, you know, they’re named after a goddess. So there’s that.

My cheapie razors contain only 3 blades, and they might or might not do as great a job as the ones my daughter prefers. And maybe if I was 19 and beautiful and athletic and had great legs like Middle Sister, I’d care about that. But I’m none of those things, so 3 blades do me just fine. I don’t need that built-in lotion. This is how I use up that bottle of conditioner nobody likes, but that smells really good.

Note: this post contains an Amazon affiliate link for Middle Sister’s favorite razor blades, in case they happen to be your favorite too. If you buy razors through my affiliate link, I get a little bonus in the change jar that will go toward my website expenses, or my next purchase of razor blades for Middle Sister.