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It had been a long time since I had a use for macros, but recently I found myself working on some transcription files that really needed them.  Because of the formatting required and the number of participants, not using macros was really slowing me down.  I looked up directions on various websites and no matter how closely I followed them, nothing worked.  Finally, I figured out how simple it was on my own.  Since I had so much trouble finding clear instructions, I thought I’d share in case there is anyone else out there confused.

In the 2010 version of Word, you’ll need to record your macro.  Start by clicking on the “Developer” tab at the top of Word.  You’ll see your macro options on the left-hand side.

Click “Record Macro” in the options. A box will come up. You can name the macro if you want, or leave it (it will automatically be named Macro 1, 2, 3 etc.). I wanted a keyboard macro, so I chose the “keyboard”.

A new box will open and you will be able to label your short key. You’ll need to use something like Ctrl and a letter or number. For example, I’m using Control W here. You can enter this command into the box by actually typing it out (hitting the control button and letter sequence at the same time). Then click the “Assign” button.

Once you’ve done this, close the box will close and you’ll be back to your normal document. This is where it got confusing for me. If you look at the top of your screen, you’ll see that you’re actually recording a macro now. That means that whatever you type will record in the command you gave it. For example, if I am using a macro to insert a name all in caps to identify a speaker, I would now allow Word to record this by typing out: BETH:

Once you are done typing out what you want y our command to do, you’ll need to hit the “Stop Recording” option in the upper left. Now test your macro by hitting the key sequence in your document.

If you want this macro to be document specific, you’ll need to choose the name of your document in the pull-down menu button under “Store macros in” in the first box that pops up after you choose “Record Macro”.


In the past I’ve talked about where to find the best food and American foods in Germany and where to find bacon in Ireland.  Today I want to talk about finding professional baking items for the home baker.  In addition to my online work, I started baking cakes, cheesecakes, pies, pastries, etc. and selling them to local (Irish) restaurants, cafés, news agents and private individuals.  The busier I got, the more difficult it became to find the supplies I was used to working with in the U.S.  So today I thought I would pass along the locations I’ve found items and what I found.  If you’ve been trying to shop for baking items in Ireland, you’re probably aware of the fact that you’ll have to visit multiple locations to get what you want.

It probably would have been easier for me to find these things when I lived in Dublin, but I wasn’t do this then.  My kitchen and oven were too small in the last house and I had absolutely no storage.  I moved to Co. Leitrim nearly a year ago and suddenly had the space to do what I wanted.

Here is my list of “always searching for” supplies:

  • Gel food dyes
  • Wilton cake pans
  • Buttercream frosting decorating tips and bags (quality)
  • Wilton Meringue Powder
  • Flower nails

Of course there are many other things needed when baking, but those were the things I found it most difficult to find.  For starters, keep an eye on your local area Lidl and Aldi.  They don’t always have baking stuff, but when they do, it’s generally decent quality for a good price.  I purchased two of my favorite and most useful spring foam pans there a couple months ago and have been kicking myself for not purchasing more before they sold out ever since. 

There are many shops throughout Ireland that claim to be baking supply shops.  There is a shop in Cliffoney, Co. Sligo (about an hour and a half from where we live) that claims to be the largest baking supply shop in all of Ireland.  They do have a good assortment of things, but not everything.  I did find my flower nails and an assortment of gel food color.  Unfortunately, their Wilton products (food coloring) were very limited, so I had to go with a brand I was unfamiliar with (which also works just as fine). 

There are a couple of shops in Dublin too, but lately I’ve been finding the best shops seem to be shops that carry other products and don’t label themselves as baking or cake supply shops.  I do a lot of shopping at Whispy’s and Quidsworth (Q2) in Carrick-on-Shannon.  Be sure to check both locations for each (each has a downtown location, as well as a larger location in a different part of town).  You’ll find a lot of cheaper baking pans, fondant tools, cookie cutters and so forth. 

Heaton’s in Carrick-on-Shannon is another place that has a modest, but helpful, cake decorating aisle.  There you can buy a cake decorating turn table, decorating nozzles and bags, frosting spatulas and so forth.  You can also check your local Tesco. 

Also in Carrick-on-Shannon, you’ll find a good amount of baking supplies (pans, etc.) at Woody’s DIY.

I was shocked to find a good deal of baking and cake decorating supplies at Providers in Longford (Co. Longford).  Not only do they have some Wilton products, but they also carry a line of Cake Boss products.  You’ll find gel food colors here too.    

In Dublin, I was impressed with a shop in Blanchardstown called Inspiring Ideas (http://www.inspiringideas.com).  This is essentially a large craft shop with a café in the back.  They not only have a baking section, but they carry a good amount of Wilton products.  They had quite a selection of specialty fondant tools and rolling pins, gel food colors, cake decorating turn tables, pans and so forth. 

I’ve also been told that there is (or was) a baking supply house in Athlone and that I should go to Enniskillen in Northern Ireland (about 40 minutes from me), but I haven’t made it to either of those yet.  You’ll find some moderate supplies in little shops in downtown Sligo too. 

So if you’re in Ireland and you’re looking for a place to buy baking supplies, check out these places.  If you know of a place I haven’t mentioned, feel free to leave it in the comments below.

If you’re curious about what I’m doing, like me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AmericanDessertsinIreland) or visit my website (http://www.letseat/AmericanDesserts).


So I got this great idea that I was going to make crockpot chili.  It’s been a long time since I had good chili and ground beef is cheap at Lidl.  I found a recipe online and followed the spice measurements exactly.  I was a little put off by the 1/2 a cup of chili powder, but I went ahead and put it in anyway.  I smelled the mixture and thought that I could hardly smell any spice at all, so like like an idiot, I added MORE spice and THEN I decided to try a small spoonful.  Well that hairbrained idea didn’t get me far.  I mean, I like I spicy, but this literally scorched my mouth.  Not the kind of spice I was looking for!!

After some research and talking with Tony (a professional chef), here are some tips for other people out there battling this very common problem.

You can add sugar.  Of course, adding enough sugar to completely tone down the spice may make your dish gross.  You can also add more vegetables and broth to try to spread the spice out.  You can also prepare the same recipe, minus the hot stuff and mix it together with the spicy batch.  This will create a much larger batch, but hey, it’s better than throwing it away!

Natural acids can also help neutralize spiciness.  Try lemon juice and wine vinegar.  Coconut milk or other dairy products can help.

Have you had a similar experience?  How did you handle it?  Leave your tips and tricks below.

UPDATE

I added coconut oil and honey to the chili and it was still way too spicy.  I drained it and used coconut oil and honey as the liquid and left for about an hour.  It was still too spicy, so I drained it again (saving the liquid) and rinsed with cold water thoroughly.  I put the meat mixture back in the crockpot/slow cooker and added one can of condensed tomato soup, water and a small amount of the coconut liquid I had saved.  It seems a lot better.  There is still a kick to it, but I think with crackers, shredded cheddar and sour cream to serve, it will do.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m putting together homemade meals and freezing them to make my own TV dinners.  Unfortunately, I’m already running out of freezer space and wish I had a second freezer.  It’s definitely on my list of things to search for.

I just finished making eight mini breakfast burritos and I took pictures as I went through the process.  Let’s start with the ingredient list:

7 strips of bacon

8 breakfast sausage links

4 eggs 8 slices of processed cheese

Shredded cheddar cheese

8 small soft tortilla shells

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: I started by frying the bacon on medium-low temperature (so as not to overcook it).  I chopped up the breakfast sausage into small pieces and fried it on medium-low temperature as well.  When the meat is done, I remove the pans from the heat and drain the bacon on paper towel.  You can drain the sausage too, but I did not.  I cut each strip of bacon in half lengthwise and then chopped into small pieces or bits.  I scrambled the eggs in the same pan I fried the bacon in (drain any grease beforehand) and salt and peppered to taste.  I added a small amount of milk to my scrambled eggs too.

Building a Burrito:

I laid everything out on the countertop and I built them all at the same time, so that the ingredients were evenly spread between each burrito. DSCF8070

DSCF8071

I tore one piece of processed cheese in half and laid one near the bottom and one near the top of an open tortilla shell. Next, I added equal portions of egg on top of the cheese.  Please note that you can sprinkle a bit of shredded cheddar around at this time as well.  The cheese will help keep everything together.  Finally, I spread equal amounts of bacon and sausage on top and finished off with more shredded cheddar cheese.

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Folding: I started by folding the bottom up first.

DSCF8073

While holding my first fold into place, I fold the top down.

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While holding my first two folds in place, I carefully roll from one side until to the other and firmly press down (without breaking the shell) so the rolled burrito stays rolled when set down.

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Storage:

I wrapped each burrito with tinfoil and then plastic wrap.  I wrote today’s date on each one, along with what it was.  I filled out this same information on a gallon size freezer bag and placed all eight breakfast burritos in the bag and into the freezer.  All of my ingredients were cooled by this time.

DSCF8077

 

Serving:

These can either be microwaved or baked.  To bake, heat oven to 350 degrees and bake until tortilla shell turns a light golden color.  You can bake in the tinfoil, but I would remove all wrappings.  To microwave, remove foil and plastic wrap and wrap in a wet papertowel.  Microwave on high 5-7 minutes or until cooked through.


There are not very many TV dinner choices in Ireland.  Stores like Iceland have a decent selection, but Iceland stores are not everywhere and they are not where I am currently living.  Even the cheapest TV dinners are not very inexpensive (in my opinion) compared to what you can pay in the U.S., but we have a lot of need for something quick and easy to throw in the oven or microwave, so I decided to make my own.  And I thought I’d share what I did with my readers. 

To start, I need to buy some foil baking containers.  I had hoped to find some smaller, rectangular-shaped shallow containers, but only found deeper ones.  I bought a five-pack of the deeper ones.  I also cleaned out our freezer of any of the meat products we don’t seem to be eating.  I’m either making recipes out of those products or baking them off in the oven to be re-frozen for later use. 

Here are some of my thoughts on things I could make and freeze:

  • Meatballs:  Tony’s mother gave me this idea a few years ago.  She made some amazing Swedish Meatballs and would cook a bunch of them off and then freeze them so when they wanted something easy, all she had to do was heat them up. 
  • Lasagna:  Although, this takes a bit more preparation than some other ideas, homemade lasagna is much better than store-bought.
  • Spaghetti:  Very simple, because you can get away with store-bought sauce (jazz it up a bit) and pasta is cheap and easy.  When you’re ready to make it, butter two sides of sliced bread and sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper, salt and a small amount of Italian seasoning and bake until golden.  Add cheese for cheese bread. 
  • Meatloaf:  Meatloaf is great, because it can be heated up with mashed potatoes and buttered corn or individual slices can be frozen and thawed for meatloaf sandwiches. 
  • Pot Pie:  You can make beef, chicken or turkey.  I used a mini springform pan to make my pot pies, because I didn’t have any mini pie pans.  Once the pie has cooled for 15 minutes, you can separate the springform and carefully remove from the bottom.
  • Various Chicken Dishes:  There’s a lot you can do with chicken.  You can season it various ways and bake it, stuff it with cheese, bread it—any number of things.  Serve with frozen vegetables, mashed potatoes or more.
  • Potato Wedges:  I had a bag of potatoes already and picked up some garlic potato wedge spice.  I’m going to bake them off in the oven and use them as sides with my meat dishes.
  • Burritos:  Burritos are excellent for the freezer.  I’m making breakfast burritos, but you can also do enchiladas, baked chicken wraps and more.   
  • Pizza:  Who doesn’t love pizza?  I guarantee your frozen homemade pizza will knock store-bought frozen pizza out of the park!

Since I don’t have enough baking dishes for everything, I’m going to create five meals using the aluminum pans, a few pot pies, homemade pizza and some breakfast burritos.  I’ll be taking pictures of the food I make and posting recipes, so check back for more.


Hello Everyone,

You may have noticed I skipped yesterday’s post.  So not long after I published my last post on this subject, I became so hungry, I had to eat something.  I figured it would be okay after 6 full days of nothing.  I had a very small snack.  Just enough to make my hunger pangs go away.  Within a few hours, I was seriously ill.  The stomach cramps were not fun and I was sick.  After that, I had a glimpse of what it will be like when I start putting food back into my belly and I realized that going from eating nothing to solid food is going to be painful and make me feel very ill.  I don’t want that.  So, I’ve been eating small amounts each day since.  Not full meals.  I have to work myself back into regular food.  I’m hoping to be back to somewhat regular eating on Monday.  


Hello Loyal Readers,

I will be the first to admit that today is the first day I’m really struggling with not eating.  I’ve been fine all day, but now as I sit here and the evening carries on, my hunger pains are that much stronger than they have been.  My energy level is fine.  I started telling myself a little bit ago that it wouldn’t kill me to eat a few slices of cucumber, an orange or a banana, but I’m struggling with myself.  I feel like if I take one bite of something, I am likely to not stop and may give up on the cleanse four days early.  

I’m also curious to see how many centimeters I actually lose on day 10.  One thing I can recommend is making sure you use real maple syrup.  Maple syrup is rather expensive here, so for the first couple of days I bought pure maple syrup, but then had no choice but to switch to golden syrup maple flavored.  It definitely gives it a crappier taste and I’m finding it more difficult to want to drink it.  

That’s all for now.  I’ll let you know how it all goes tomorrow (whether or not I ate anything).  Have you tried this master cleanse?  If so, did you make it through the ten days?  What was the outcome?

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