Monday, July 5, 2010

Plan B Bacon Blueberry Muffins Recipe

Well, the hubs wanted Eggs Benedict.  But after I ruined the Hollandaise... (got it too hot!) and didn't have enough eggs to try a second round... we went for plan B.
I had bacon in the oven and I've been playing with bacon in muffin cups.  Hmm... what to do, what to do?
He mixed up some pancake batter and I tried an experiment with the bacon, the pancake batter and some fresh blueberries.
They sure didn't look like anything special, though I could see the bacon grease bubbling around the edges of the muffins.
And so I peeled off the foil and...
Well... I was a little busy to take photos at that moment.  Well... the bacon grease kind of caramelized the outside of the muffin, the inside was juicy because of the blueberries, the bacon was... well... mmmm....   bacon.  (And that's as it should be.)

I finally decided that the way to serve these little buggas was with some really good maple syrup.  I bought some of the grade A stuff a while back and never really appreciated it's overbearing flavor (except in recipes) until I drizzled a tiny bit over one of these.  Then... that sweet maple flavor was the perfect counter balance for the salty bacon and warm blueberry.  I suspected that they'd taste greasy, I was very wrong. 
I hate to admit how many of these I've eaten this morning.  I'm going to need to hike all day long to make up for it.  But no matter what I have to do to burn off the calories... this was worth it!
What do you think, too much?  (Yeah, visually that didn't really work.)  Te He!

Plan B Bacon Blueberry Muffin Recipe:
1 package of smoked bacon.  
1 batch of pancake or muffin batter
Washed and dried fresh blueberries
Good maple syrup

Line muffin tin with foil muffin cups, cut 12 slices of bacon in half and arrange one half bacon strip in a circle in each muffin tin.  Line a pan with foil and arrange the rest of the bacon on that, cover it all with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the bacon is cooked the way you prefer. 

Mix up a batch of pancake/muffin batter.  We've got a bag mix that you just add an egg and some water, very easy and better than the scratch recipe we'd been using! (don't you hate it when the mix is better than a scratch recipe!?)

Wash the blueberries and set them to drain.  Always wash your fruit, chemicals on there can harm you!

When the bacon is still hot and bubbling, add the batter in on top of the bacon, then toss three blueberries on top.  Pop them back in the oven to finish them up, I'm guessing I baked them 8 - 10 more minutes before taking them out.

Peel off the foil, I liked the way they looked upside down with the bacon showing.  Serve them warm with fresh blueberries for garnish and really good maple syrup.

Bon Appetit!

Now I don't mind a bit that I screwed up the Hollandaise!

Try it and let me know what you think, ok?

Savor the Flavors,
-Carmen Rose

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer Time Jewelry

Aren't these Venetian glass beads the cutest thing ever? I love that foil lined bead look!  And these are much nicer than some I've worked with.  The shape is nice and round and consistent and the hole is much smaller making a far nicer bead than other hand made beads I've worked with. 
I got nine of these little marvels from and used seven of them in a summer time bracelet. 
I used two strands of heart shaped chain, added these venetian glass beads and some other accent beads and a few silver charms that say "peace."  The purple swirl beads are hand made polymer clay beads I made ages ago.  I love the color combination, and if you look closely you'll see the alphabet beads also spell out "PEACE."  I really love the  bracelet, but the EARRINGS are my fav:
The earrings use the same glass beads, in the 10 mm size and the 6mm size. has a great selection of glass beads in general, and venetian glass beads in particular.  They are so pretty that it's hard to choose!  And they have this style bead in a variety of colors, I also like the peridot and aquamarine!

But my favorite thing about the earrings is the little cluster of tiny little silver flower buds!  The individual bead charms look like this:  They are an adorable little silver flower with a loop on the back. 
I played around with them some, unsure of how I was going to use them, but when I saw how cute they were when they were all stacked together... I knew that was how I would use them!  I used four of the tiny flowers plus a bud on each earring, and they are SO fun to wear! has tons of charms to choose from, and as I was looking through their selection, these little ones were the ones that jumped out at me.  And since has so many colors to choose from on these Venetian glass beads, this pair of earrings could be made in a variety of great colors.  Wouldn't they be cute in a combination of aquamarine and peridot?  I think so!  
FTC disclaimer: I received some of the products shown in this blog from free of charge, I have not been paid for my endorsement of these products and I am reviewing the products honestly.
Happy Beading,
-Carmen Rose

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pizza on the Grill & Recipe

I recently saw an episode of Alton Brown's "Good Eats" where he grilled pizza.  I knew I had to try it.  He used a pretty specific pizza dough recipe but hubs just whipped up a batch of pizza dough in the bread machine, same formula we usually use. 

1 1/4 cup warm water
2 cups white flour
1 cup wheat flour
2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t yeast
2 T oil

Place the ingredients in the bread machine in this order, put it on the dough setting.  Watch it to make sure that it mixes everything together properly.   (Course you can just go pick up a ball of ready made pizza dough at Wally's for 99 cents.)

After the machine was finished with the dough, I took it out, divided it and worked it into two balls and let them raise on the counter under a towel.  Then I stretched them out into pizza shapes.  I preheated the grill and put some olive oil on a paper towel to wipe the grill.  I used a bit of cornmeal between the dough and a cookie sheet so that it wouldn't stick and just slid the dough on to the hot grill.  I adjusted it a tiny bit once it was on, but for the most part the heat of the grill will start to make the dough into crust pretty quickly.

I poured on some olive oil and brushed it out into a nice even coat.  I flipped it over and while the fire was browning the other side, I put olive oil on the baked side and brushed it around to an even coat.  I put some garlic through the garlic press and tried to evenly distribute that over the surface, I followed that with thin sliced onions, peppers and fresh chopped basil.  Then some cheese, mozzarella and some extra sharp cheddar.  I had to work quickly because the fire was browning the other side of the crust in a hurry.   

Then I closed the lid for a bit for the cheese to get a chance to melt.  When I decided it was done, I slid my cookie sheet under it and took it off the fire.  I cut it with scissors and got a very satisfying sound of crunchy crust along with the melted stringy cheese.  Yum!

I'm looking pretty pleased with myself, I'll tell ya.. I hadn't tasted it at that point but I had certainly smelled it!  I helped myself to a slice while I started the second one - YUM!

Believe me, you want to have everything you need right there beside you because it doesn't take long to put this together and you don't want it to burn while you're running back to the kitchen to get the cheese.

The second one was more of a rectangle... a very ugly rectangle... but I added some pizza sauce (highly over rated) and pepperoni to this one.  It took a little longer for the cheese and pepperoni to warm so I ended up getting it a little dark on the under side.  Oops... but still yummy!

It had a very satisfying crunchy crust and the kiss of the flames had worked their magic on the flavors.  The crust cooks quickly and it can't be over loaded with toppings.  It's all about texture and flavors!  It was thin, crunchy and smokey... yum yum yum!

You have got to try this!!  Make sure to gather everything you need around you while the grill is heating.  Here's a list,
Hmmm... let me see:
Pizza dough.
Olive oil and a pastry brush to distribute it all over the crust.
Tongs for flipping the crust when it's half way done.
All the toppings, thin sliced veggies, pressed garlic, basil, good cheese, salt and pepper.
Cookie sheet or a pizza peel.
Scissors or pizza cutter.
Plates,and or napkins.
Something cold to drink.

Is there anything I missed? 

With the size of my grill and the size of the recipe of dough, next time I think I'll divide it into three instead of two.  That way maybe I can have two side by side on the grill and just do them one right after the other.  That may work to serve more people at once, can't you just see grilling up a bunch of these for guests?  I can, that would be FUN!

We may never make pizza indoors again.

Fire up the grill and let me know how it goes, ok? 

Savor the flavors,
-Carmen Rose


I'm still working at my genealogy, trying to get these hundreds of names organized in a way that makes sense in my head.  Working at this online was growing increasingly frustrating and I ran out of patience with the huge sheets of paper so I just started printing the compiled information from the website ( and taping them to the wall so I could start to make sense of things.

I labeled my generation "A" and my parents "B" and on back through the generations. At this point on the wall there is one Q and his name was Klaus Guttan (which later became Good) 1435, Switzerland. Hans Broennimann (1500, Switzerland) and Jacob Ryff (1507, Switzerland) are the only other two I've traced back to the P generation. That's the 16th generation! Can you believe that? It's difficult for me to believe! 

You really have to watch the information, for a while I had a guy born in 1770 as the father of a man born in 1435.  The names and locations were a perfect fit, but clearly it was the wrong guy.  You really have to pay attention to the details! 

On my father's side there is a man named Christian Wenger, 1698 - 1772, born in Switzerland and immigrated to the US.  On my mother's side is the same man, only instead of nine generations back, it's eight.  My parents are cousins!  Distant cousins, but cousins.

I have now found all the names I can going ten generations back.  It seems like a lot of names, a possible 510 names, I have 295 of them.  Which doesn't seem like much, just past 56%, but I'm amazed that this much information is available about my family line.  It's really amazing.

I have photos from dinner to share, maybe I'll get around to that later.

Happy heritage hunting,
-Carmen Rose

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I met an artist friend of my Mom's yesterday at an art show.  She's a lovely lady and it's always fun to catch up with her.  She asked what I'm doing with myself these days and so I told her about my little project tracing my genealogy.  A bit later she was back with the same question, only she wanted to know what I was doing artistically.  I thought about it for a moment and realized I'm not doing anything artistic at all at the moment.  So I told her I was in a creative slump.  She said good, before long I'd be back at it with more energy than ever.  I think she's right and I trust that when the time comes, the familiar creative juices will flow.  For now I am continuing to research my family lines. 

My grandmother always said she was from North Georgia (only she pronounced it "Georgee.")  She would often say that the further you went up the mountain, the meaner they got.  She said her family lived at the very top!  I pictured hard working gritty gun-toaten mountain folk.  I compared notes with my cousin and realized that all this time I've spelled my grandmother's maiden name wrong.  I was missing one little letter.  I entered that change at  Suddenly a whole world of information opened up and I kept finding more and more.  My grandmother was always a question mark in my genealogy, I know my other three grandparents were ethnic Swiss Mennonite but she was raised Baptist and came to the Mennonites after she married my grandfather.  He was a chef, she was the head of service at a restaurant in Atlantic City.  They married and he decided to return to his Mennonite roots, bought a farm in Rockingham County, Virginia and farmed for the rest of his years.  He died two years before I was born, my grandmother sold the farm and had a home built just outside of Harrisonburg where she lived the rest of her life.  She died on Valentine's day, a number of days after her 90th birthday. 

My grandmother's ancestors are from Philadelphia, North Carolina and Virginia.  Beyond that they are from Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  This continues to be an interesting process.  At times the process is tedious, at other times the discoveries are very interesting.  I am enjoying the journey!

One of these days I'll get back in the studio, but for right now... this is exactly where I need to be.

Here's to heritage, the known and the unknown.  
God knows.
-Carmen Rose
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