Thursday, December 9, 2010


I have a West Bend breadmaker that I've had for many years and love! During the holidays, it always gets lots of use. It bakes a traditional rectangular-shaped 1 1/2 or 2 pound loaf. It's very easy to use and came with an instruction book with great recipes (I've improved many of them and will be posting them on my recipe page). It will make traditional yeast breads and quick breads. The bad news is, it looks like West Bend doesn't make one like it anymore.

Most people I know who had a breadmaker that the loaf pan goes in vertically rather than horizontally, have since sent theirs to breadmaker heaven or disposed of in a yard sale. If you are looking for a breadmaker this holiday season, try to get a rectangular loaf that sits in the breadmaker horizontally, like the one below. They are more expensive, but worth it!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Try Accuchef - I Think You Will Like It!

AccuChef is a full-featured recipe organizer that starts you out with a collection of recipes and lets you add as many as you want (thousands available for free from our web site, millions available on the Internet). AccuChef can perform a nutritional analysis (including exchanges) of your recipes using the included USDA SR16-1 database and resize your recipes for up to 999 servings. Features include a spell checker (with support for over 20 languages); an e-mail utility that supports MAPI, SMTP exchanges and built-in PKZIP/WINZIP compatible compression. Search for recipes based on any element, even type in some ingredients you have on hand and let it suggest recipes you can make. A menu planner lets you add recipes for a day's meals and snacks then creates a shopping list of required ingredients in store aisle order (supports the Pocket PC shopping list program VOShoppingList too)! Before you head to the store, let it check the built in coupon database to see if you have any applicable coupons. AccuChef will import Meal-Master, MasterCook, regular text, or you can paste in recipes from any web site. Export Meal-Master, MasterCook, comma separated value or text. Export to individual text files using the recipe name as the file name, copy them to your PALM or POCKET PC and take them with you! You can sort recipes alphabetically by name, category, or main ingredient or jump to the area of interest using alphabetical tabs. Personalize your printouts by adding pictures of the recipe (BMP or JPG). You can print in formatted layout on plain paper, 3x5 and 4x6 index cards or any other sized paper your printer will support, print nutritional labels or completely design your own output! You can generate a web cookbook and upload it to the Internet to share your creations with the world! You can even print out double sided cookbooks of your recipes complete with a table of contents for sharing with the family, creating heirlooms or as a fund raiser for your Church or school!

An amazing buy at only $19.95

Monday, November 8, 2010


In 2004 I needed a surgery that would require a long recovery and restrict movement (not being able to lift heavy objects, etc.) I decided this would be a good time to gather up all the recipes that were floating around and enter them into a computer program. After doing a little research, I found Accuchef. It is an easy program to use and today I have over 100 recipes I've added to it. Okay, so it took me six years to do it, but it's worth it.

The reasonably priced Accuchef allows sorting of records by category, by recipe name or even by the main ingredient. Emailing a recipe to someone is a cinch and you can print one recipe or the entire cookbook on 8 1/2 x 11 paper or on recipe cards. I could go on and on as to what this program could do. When I purchased the software I also purchased the 145-page user manual. I'm not sure it was really necessary, as the program is pretty self-explanatory.

At only $19.95, it is a good investment. Order here:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kohl's 600-Count Egyptian Cotton Sheets - Recommend

I've been using Kohl's Luxury 600-Count Egyptian Cotton Sheets sheets for three years and absolutely love them!! I always purchase them on sale with a discount coupon. My first set was purchased on Black Friday at an excellent price. I've purchased one set a year for three years. I rotate between two sets for my king size bed and will be purchasing these for all the beds in my home. I would never have tried them at the full price as I'm very particular about my sheets and would not have wanted to take a chance. I think it's hard to judge a sheet until they are washed. I'm glad I was able to try them at a bargain price. They are incredibly soft, wash nicely and are now the only sheets I will purchase!

BEWARE - There are some brands selling for a low price whose label makes it appear that the sheets inside the package are Egyptian cotton. One label I've seen is JS Sanders Collection. It says, in very small letters, "with the soft touch as ..." and in very large letters, "...820 Thread Count 100% Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set". I washed a set and it is obvious they are not even cotton; they are polyester. They feel more like satin (which I know most people love, but I hate the feel of). I think the label is very misleading. Although the fact that the label also says, "Do not bleach, dry clean, or iron" should be a dead giveaway that these are not cotton. What do you think?

Go with the Kohl's Egyptian Cotton!

Friday, October 8, 2010


"Imagine" I went through the entire day before hitting "play" on the Google home page. When I did, as I'm sure everyone else did, "Imagine" by John Lennon played. When I was brought to the Google search that showed it was in memory as tomorrow would have been his 70th birthday, I actually got goose bumps! I love Google!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Black Forest Cafe - Amherst, New Hampshire

I've been to the Black Forest Cafe in Amherst, NH many times over the past few years -- sometimes for lunch, sometimes for dinner. It has never disappointed me. Last night I had two different soups - Curried Butternut Squash and Clam Chowder. I ordered the Squash soup and my husband ordered the Clam Chowder. I thought the Squash Soup was "okay" and my husband thought it was excellent so we traded soups. The Clam Chowder was different but a delicious sort of different.

The Caesar Salad was also a little different. It tasted good, but the dressing didn't even come close to a real Caesar dressing. The lettuce was fresh and plentiful, but the dressing made it an overall disappointment. The small loaf of homemade bread, served on a small wooden cutting board, always nicely compliments whatever is ordered.

My husband and I both had the Seafood Crepes. This is the entree that lures us to Amherst over and over! Topped with an orange sauce, it was as delectable as usual.

We decided to pass on dessert and instead bring something home from their bakery. My husband chose the miniature Black Forest cake and I the coconut cake. The Black Forest cake was yummy aside from the fact the cake was a little on the dry side. The coconut was much more moist and the cream cheese frosting topped it perfectly!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MBT sneakers / shoes

Guest entry from my friend Lynn:

If you're not familiar with MBT, it stands for Masai Barefoot Technology. These shoes are built to replicate the way we would walk when barefooted. This technology is supposed to cause us to burn more calories and build muscle. I did not purchase mine for the exercise aspect of these shoes -- I purchased mine because I have a severe case of plantar faciitis.

I've just purchased my second pair of MBT's. Well, you could almost say third, but I don't count the second pair. The first pair was the Chapa model which I purchased on eBay almost 2 years ago. Because of the plantar faciitis issue, these sneakers have been a life saver. Any time I deviated from wearing these, I paid for it that evening by being in excruciating pain. Since my Chapas were getting old, I decided it was time to find a new pair. By now, unfortunately, China has infiltrated eBay with fake MBT's.

My second pair was this past summer and another eBay purchase. It was not a smart purchase. I purchased from eBay user tuse1590 in China. I think I must keep those details for a post all it's own. (I would not recommend purchasing MBT's from China unless you want poor quality shoes that will more than likely make your feet stink.) Although my daughter tells me the funny email correspondence I received from this eBayer is worth the $130 I lost. Not sure I agree with that.

My third pair - I just purchased these from an online store that I found through the official MBT site. I wasn't taking any chances this time. I was able to get a $260 MSRP pair that was on clearance for $119 with free shipping. They are an adorable Mary Jane style in denim. They are not as comfortable as the Chapas. I sometimes wonder if my Chapas are so comfortable because they are broken in.

In closing - I highly recommend MBT's I just wouldn't recommend purchasing them from China or especially from ebay user tuse1590!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MS Office 2003 - Trouble Installing

It was frustrating enough to need to format my laptop, but when MS Office 2003 didn't want to install, I was ready to pull out my hair!!!

When I couldn't get MS Office 2003 to install after a couple different error messages, I was fearful my DVD hardware was failing. The CD sounded like it was hung up and kept saying it couldn't find files. I decided to do what I always do -- I googled the problems. One website mentioned that if my computer had come with a trial version of MS Office 2007, that could be a problem. I would need to delete that first. Since I had already uninstalled it, I knew I had to dig deeper. The Activation Assistant 2007 was still on my computer. I found another site that said the Assistant needed to be deleted before deleting the trial version of MS Office 2007. I downloaded the trial version of 2007 from Microsoft and attempted to delete the Assistant first. I got an error telling me something was missing, so I again uninstalled the trial version.

As I was becoming more annoyed by the minute, I decided to try installing Office choosing the "typical" button which showed as "recommended" rather than "complete" which I had previously been trying. It worked -- it was THAT simple! If you are getting error messages when trying to install, try choosing "typical" (rather than "complete") -- it just might work!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Band From TV, Fallsview Casino, Niagra Falls, Canada

Our trip to Fallsview / Niagra Falls evolved when my daughter told me about this band - "Band From TV" that would be playing in Canada. I had never heard of them, but they sounded like an interesting meld. Of course I had seen several episodes of Fox's House, so I knew who she was talking about, when she mentioned Hugh Laurie (the curmudgeonly Dr. House) and Jesse Spencer (Dr. Chase). At the time, I was not familiar with anyone else in the band with the exception of James(Jamie) Denton (but only because of seeing him on the ads for Desperate Housewives -- I had never seen the show). I had also never seen Heroes and wasn't familiar with Greg Grunberg (Grunny) or Adrian Pasdar. ER - nope, had only seen snippets while my daughter watched so I didn't know who Scott Grimes was either. Bob Guiney - nope never seen The Bachelor. Boy, talk about being out of the loop!

My husband and I agreed to the family trip to attend the show and borrowed a copy of the first season of Heroes, so we would become familiar with two more members of the band. My husband was not impressed with the first couple shows, but he begrudgingly agreed to watch with me. I think he was glad he did, once he was in the same room with Grunny and Adrian. I'll admit, the show is a little different, but it has definitely grown on me and I'm anxious to finish Season One. I think my husband is hooked, too (just don't tell him I told you).

Bob Guiney and Adrian Pasdar, by the way, are not very photogenic. Especially Bob Guiney. I Googled members of the band before the concert. I couldn't figure out how Bob could have become "The Bachelor". I didn't see one picture of him looking cute or handsome. Wow was I wrong! He is adorable in person with lots of charisma and a killer smile. Same with Adrian, too! Both are much more attractive in person, although Adrian was very quiet on stage.

My husband isn't really much of a concert-goer, so I was expecting him to not enjoy the concert especially since this was only a cover band. To my surprise, every time I looked at him, he was smiling. Our only regret was traveling so far and not having gone to the Saturday night show in addition to Sunday's show and not being able to purchase a DVD of the show. We couldn't even stop talking about how much we enjoyed the show almost the whole way home.

Before going any further, I have to say the Avalon is a great place to see a concert. I don't know how many people it seats, but it definitely has the atmosphere of a very small "hometown" venue. Just don't plan on taking pictures or using your cell phone for anything. My daughter sent me a text, commenting on how Hugh Laurie's stage entrance was very Kevin Griffin like and a security guard told her to put it away. If you don't know who Kevin is, he's the writer/singer for Better Than Ezra and could pass for Hugh Laurie's brother! But back to the venue, security was there to pounce if they saw you taking a picture.

Back to the concert - we had heard "Hoggin' All the Covers", which I have to say, is nothing in comparison to seeing them live. The CD pales to their live performance. Bob Guiney asked the audience for a show of hands on how many thought they would "suck". I didn't expect them to "suck", but I did expect ordinary. I knew there would be a bunch of talented guys on stage. It was far from ordinary! Grunny (Greg Grunberg) came into the audience inviting women to dance up front with him and even got two women up on stage. Those two had traveled 10 minutes and 20 minutes to get to the concert. Grunny was looking for people who had traveled more than 20 minutes to get to the concert, wanting them to come up on stage. I'm glad no one knew we had traveled about 8 hours because I'm just not into being in the limelight.

The voices blew me away - especially Scott Grimes, who also came into the audience singing and pulling women up front. Jesse Spencer's electric violin performance was a super addition to the band, especially during "Devil Went to Georgia" and The Who's "Baba O'Reilly".

What a bunch of amazing performers! This is the best concert I've ever been to! The audience interaction helped make it more fun. It was obvious these were a bunch of great guys just out having a fun time, doing what they love. Raising money for good causes is just an added bonus.

SET LIST - vocals from Sunday, March 7, 2010:
Hard to Handle - Bob Guiney
Mary Ann - Hugh Laurie
Mama Told Me Not to Come - Bob Guiney
Wild Night - Bob Guiney
Viva Las Vegas - Jamie Denton
Try a Little Tenderness - Bob Guiney
Walking in Memphis - Scott Grimes
Devil Went to Georgia - Jamie Denton with awesome violin by Jesse Spencer
Oh Darling - Scott Grimes
Don't Stop Me Now - Scott Grimes
Mary's Place - Jamie Denton
Circles - Hugh Laurie
Don't Try to Explain - Bob Guiney
The Letter - Bob Guiney
Baba - Bob Guiney/
Tail Feather - Greg Grunberg

If you have the chance to see this band, don't miss it! Purchase Band From TV CDs bandfromtv

Monday, February 8, 2010

Taylor Swift - Better Than Ezra's Breathless

I'll preface this by saying, Taylor Swift is absolutely adorable and... Congratulations Taylor on all the awards you've recently won.

I must say it is great that Taylor exposed Better Than Ezra's Breathless nationally and maybe even inter-nationally. I have heard she's a big BTE fan. I don't mean this to be a nasty comment, but there's no getting around it -- it was a bit of a massacre. BUT, if you liked the way you heard it on the Haiti show, listen to Better Than Ezra's version and you'll be blown away! Maybe I'm all wrong, maybe I'm just used to hearing it in a man's (Kevin Griffin's) voice, but I thought she sounded like an amateur who was singing it on American Idol. If I were an American Idol judge hearing it, two thumbs down. Sorry Taylor.

I hope I'm not sounding anything like Stephen Colbert when he said "Justin Timberlake may have brought the sexy back, but Susan Boyle sent it away again" at the Grammy awards, because I really do not intend to be mean or nasty, I simply think Taylor butchered the song. I think Stephen Colbert's comment was a really mean and unnecessary (joke) comment.

You be the judge:

Purchase Better Than Ezra CDs BetterThanEzra

Purchase Better Than Ezra CDs BetterThanEzra
Purchase Taylor Swift CDs TaylorSwift

Monday, January 18, 2010

Seth Glier - an amazing performancer!

Click here to purchase Seth Glier's music SethGlier

I traveled 2 hours to see Seth Glier perform in Greenfield, Massachusetts and it was worth every mile! I have one word to describe his performance - WOW - he is absolutely amazing! I don't quite understand why Seth was not the headliner at this show. 45 minutes of Seth was definitely NOT enough. Two hours of Garnet Rogers...well...did someone say torture? I suggested we leave during Garnet's intermission and terribly regretted that we didn't. I would have loved to have listened to Seth for 2 hours!

If you have a chance to go see Seth I would highly recommend it. Do it now before he becomes more famous and the tickets are a gazillion dollars! At the young age of 21, it is amazing to hear how he controls his voice.

This is not from the Greenfield performance, but I thought it was cute, fun video to share:

Ok, so this is the REAL SETH!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cuisinart Food Processor

Just before Christmas I decided to retire my 17-year-old Braun food processor. I decided it was time to be on the look-out for a new one, since some of the plastic parts were breaking. This food processor has been really good to me. If I hadn't heard that Braun was no longer making them for the US (which I'm not sure is true) I would have bought one in a flash!

I was not looking forward to spending lots of time researching which food processor might be the best, so I decided to cheat. A friend of mine had recently purchased a Cuisinart and I knew she had put a lot of time into researching them. I happened to see an ad on television that Macy's had the Pro Custom 11 for only $99. Aside from Macy's, the lowest price I could find on this 11-cup processor was about $150. Given the savings, I decided to purchase it.

With all the cooking and baking I did during the Christmas season, I was able to give it a pretty good workout. The motor is nice and quiet. I was disappointed that it did not come with very many accessories. It came with 3 discs: a shredding disc and the 2mm and 4mm slicing discs. It also came with a spatula, knife blade, dough blade and flat cover. I keep the knife blade inside because it does not have a holder for it like the Braun. The food pusher cover does not come completely apart for cleaning.

I do believe that Cuisinart has become the leader in food processors and I'm not so sure I understand why. I wish I had looked around before I purchased this one and I believe I would NOT have purchased a Cuisinart.

UPDATE: Every time I use my Cuisinart food processor I find another reason I dislike it. Since I was using it and my stand mixer today, much of my counter space was taken up. The Cuisinart food processor's chute is in the back. It fits nicely under my cabinets, but not while using it. It must be pulled out fully from under the cabinets to put anything in the chute. This is a big disadvantage when you need extra counter space. Also, there is also only one speed.

About Me

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Lydia Blogg is a decorator/designer who specializes in designing and fabricating custom window treatments. When Lydia realized she loved her weekend remodeling jobs more than her office job, she made a career change. Through years of hands-on experience, she has become expert in decorating, custom window treatments, interior/exterior painting, tiling, sewing, refinishing furniture, flower arrangements, home and office efficiency solutions, home repairs. She has years of experience in accounting and the list goes on.... Lydia loves to write and is currently working on a weight-loss book. If you have a blog you think Lydia might like to follow, please email her at lydiablogg@gmail.com. Lydia's motto: "It's just as easy to be nice as it is to be mean and rotten!" PLEASE NOTE: The artist has a copyright on all art work on this blog - Thank you for not copying them.