Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taking A Step Back In Time....

Let's take a step back in time for just a moment. How many of you can remember a small turquoise metallic radio with cream colored dials on it? Sears had it in their retail stores in the late forties. It was only about 8" x 5" and had a great tone. How do I know this? I got it for Christmas one year when I was about ten years old. It was my very first radio! I had it on every day, all day, after that Christmas. I had the radio long after I was married and finally had to give it up. It was shocking me and no one could figure out why. But for 21 years, it kept me company. Even though the last year, it shocked me when I turned it on or changed the dial, it was hard to give it up. 
How many of you have a memory from your childhood that brings back pleasant thoughts? Perhaps a favorite gift at Christmas or for your birthday or maybe just a good time you had with your family. Take a step back and enjoy those memories. They are priceless.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Flowers for 2011

This is one of my new plants for this year's patio garden. It is the red Hens and Chicks. I have never had the red ones before and decided this would add color and be something new for the area. These will send off runners and little chicks will start to grow. Hence, the name Hens and Chicks.


The red Begonia here was a fundraiser for an animal shelter. A certain % of the sales went to the shelter. Begonias always bloom well on my patio, so again, I was looking for some color to brighten things up a bit. It is a double begonia and will look like a very tiny peony when it blooms. Who could ask for anything prettier?
This is my second fundraiser plant and is a Hosta. They multiply like crazy and send runners all over the place. I learned that the hard way. They are perennials so I will have them next year as well. So I will contain them in a pot for sure. Happy Gardening!
Till next time......

Monday, March 28, 2011

Seed Time

If you haven't started your seeds for this summer's garden, it's time. I started mine about 2 weeks ago and these are my cayenne peppers. Looking healthy and will soon turn into lovely pepper plants. The second pair of leaves are just now visible on some of the seedlings. This was a pepper kit I bought at the end of the season dirt cheap, no pun intended. So I was thrilled it actually sprouted for me. The little starter soil pad is amazing. Whatever is in it, really gives the seeds a boost. As you can see, I just spritzed them with a little water. Get your seeds started now if you want to plant by the middle of May. You want established plants at that time.
Till next time........

Saturday, March 26, 2011

White Chocolate Cereal Clusters

This is a healthy snack to do with your grandchildren.

White Chocolate Cereal Clusters
1 1/4 cups cinnamon Chex cereal
1 1/4 cups Golden Grahams cereal
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups white chocolate morsels
Line 2 large baking sheets with wax paper. Pour cereal in a colander to sift out the small pieces. In a large bowl, mix cereal, marshmallows and raisins. Heat a medium sauce pan of water to simmering. Put chocolate morsels in a glass or metal bowl and place over simmering water. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the hot water. Heat the morsels, stirring until melted, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly. Pour white chocolate over mixture in bowl, until all dry ingredients are coated. Working quickly, drop by teaspoonful on wax paper. let stand at room temperture until dry to the touch, about 25 minutes.
Each little cluster is 88 calories. A veryhealthy snack for the children (and you ).
Till next time.......

Friday, March 25, 2011

Is This The Last Snow?



Here is the snow that arrived on schedule. It is a wet snow and won't last long. It is just enough to make the roads slushy and the cars dirty. You might know I just had my car washed. Perhaps that's what made it snow.
The second photo is a Junco bird high in the tree top ,waiting for me to put food out for him. They only seem to appear when it snows. so I call them my "snow birds".
Till next time......    
                                             

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winter's Beauty


I was out yesterday taking photos. It was sunny when I left but soon became cloudy, windy and cold. In the bleak of winter, there is still beauty to be seen. I noticed berries at the top of the tree, Who would expect berries to still be on the trees?

I liked this tree against the clouds; something about the clouds and bare tree drew me in. If a person looks for beauty, they will find it. Sometimes a tree, a patch of grass or a fallen tree.The trouble is, people don't look for beauty. It has to there in plain sight. But if you look for it, sometimes the greater beauty is hidden and just waiting for you to look.
Till next time.......





Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Robins

I was out early this morning taking photos and decided to take a run through the park. I was hoping to see some deer or a pheasant or two. But it was the red breasted robin that took my eye on the way out.
As I focused to take another photo ........ well you can see what happened. He turned on me and all I got was his backside. Do you suppose that is a "bird moon"? 
Till next time......

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ah Sweet Spring!

Ah yes, Spring has finally arrived. It is much too early to plant my herb garden, but my seedlings are doing great. My "hot house" may be a bit unorthodox (plastic wrap on casserole and plastic bag on pot). But as you can plainly see in the first photo. It does work. Those seedlings in the first photo are after 9 days in the pots.  The seeds sprouted in 7 days. Now they are outside of the plastic, as of yesterday, and are doing great. They are Cayenne Pepper plants. I have high hopes for them. 
The pots still covered are my herbs. The Sweet Basil and Parsley have sprouted, but the Dill is just barely pushing the ground up a bit. So I should see plants in the next few days. All in all, I am very pleased with my seeds and "hot house" attempt. Will "baby" the plants along and hope by May 11th, I will be able to have nice healthy plants to put outside in my new herb planter and have peppers by mid to late summer.
Till next time.......

Monday, March 21, 2011

Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those comfort foods from everyone's past. It's not something I want every week; but every so often, I have to make it. Yesterday was one of those days. I don't use a recipe and never have. I just toss things together and throw it in the oven. So it tastes different each time. But yesterday, it was so good, I had to write it down. I want to make it again and I want it to taste the same way.

 
Meatloaf
1 lb of ground beef 93% lean
2 eggs, not beaten
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup celery, sliced
1/2 of a roasted red pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp mustard
1 Tbsp Ketchup
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste 
1/3 cup BBQ sauce for topping
Saute the onion, celery and red pepper in olive oil for about 7 minutes. Then add them to the rest of ingredients, mix well and form into a loaf in a pan with an edge. Brush top with 1/2 of the BBQ sauce. Bake at 350° preheated oven for 30 minutes. Brush top with rest of the BBQ sauce. Bake for 15-20 minutes more or till juices run clear. Let set for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Makes great cold meatloaf sandwiches the next day.
Till next time.......

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Largest Commercially Sold Burger!

February 4th, I mentioned a large burger that was to be eaten in a short amount of time. Well, while perusing the web; I came across Fuddrucker's Monster burger. On May 20, 2006, it is claimed to be the largest commercially sold hamburger. It weighs in at 29.5 pounds. It cost $250 at that time and took the same amount of meat as 64 of their meat patties! It takes 50 slices of cheese,10 sliced onions and if I remember correctly 5 sliced tomatoes. The burger is seared both sides on the grill, turned with a pizza mallet and then baked in the oven for two hours. So you are basically getting a baked burger. You must give them 24 hours notice to buy one. I guess it's not the "drop by for a burger" sort of thing. I can think of an easier and better way to have a party. But then that's my humble opinion. For all you Fuddrucker Fans out there, I say "go for it."
Till next time.......

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sewing - My Life In A Nutshell

This is a toy sewing machine much like the one I learned to sew on  about age 6. As you can see, it is a hand crank and not dangerous at all. I would sew two pieces of scrap material together and felt I had done something special. As I progressed in age, I was allowed to use the treadle sewing machine.
 This is a Singer treadle sewing machine of the 1917 vintage. It is much like my Gram's except her's was in immaculate condition. She kept a towel over the top of it to protect the wood finish. At  about age 8, I was allowed to sew straight hems on tea towels and pillow cases, with Gram's supervision. I was thrilled to use her valued machine and  learn how to use a real sewing machine. I felt very grown up.
 By the age of ten, I had graduated to my Mom's Singer Featherweight 221 sewing machine. I made a pair of Kelly green pajamas. with small farm figures in the material. It may look small but it is a dynamo of a sewing machine. Although my Mom had several machines after this one, this Featherweight was always her favorite. So when I got married, this was my first choice for a sewing machine. It would even sew several layers of denim which is very hard to sew.
By 1974, I was ready for a new Singer machine and something that would do the zig-zag stitch. So I bought the Singer Stylist 774. This sewing machine is now thirty-seven years old. I would not trade it for anything. Cleaning and oiling it regularly, has kept it like new. But not far away, is my Featherweight machine (1938 vintage). I would not trade either machine for a newer one. I feel I have the "cream of the crop" in both of them.
Till next time.......

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sewing and Poll Results

I've been keeping busy doing a bit of ironing and some sewing. I have to balance the work with the fun it seems. I have come across a pattern for a "Poopie" Bag for dogs. It is a fleece bag to carry those little plastic bags with you to pick up your dog's "poop-poos". I want to make one up and see if it is worth making anymore of them. It is a novelty item and they are always fun to play with. Well, I must get back to my sewing and having fun.
Till next time...... 

 What Is Your Favorite Beverage Poll results:

 Water - 1st place 
 Coffee and Tea - tied for 2nd place
 Soda Pop/Alcoholic Beverage - No Votes

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 
May the good saints protect you,
And bless you today.
And may troubles ignore you, 
Each step of the way.

Till next time......  


www.publicdomainpictures.net

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Seed Pod

Sometimes the simplest thing makes a great photo. This seed pod that some how survived the winter ; just lays on the wood decking asking to have it's photo taken. The knot in the wood is a bonus and I hope you enjoy this photo as much as I did.
Till next time....
www.publicdomainpictures.com.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hearty Potato Soup

Potato soup is a wonderful soup. It can be eaten plain with a chunk of Italian bread or "doctored up" with all sorts of flavors. You can add one of the following to it, diced ham or mushrooms. You can  garnish it with crispy bacon, chopped chives or cheddar cheese. Let your imagination go when it comes to Potato Soup.

Here is a basic recipe for this amazing soup.
Potato Soup
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into chunks
Combine broth, potatoes, onion, celery and spices. Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender. Mash a few of the potatoes to thicken soup. Reduce heat to low and add cream cheese chunks. Stir often till cream cheese melts. You can put this soup in a blender for a smooth creamy soup, if you wish. I like to see and eat the potato pieces in my soup. Garnish bowl with bacon crumbles and shredded cheddar cheese. Makes 4 nice servings. For a Lenten soup, use vegetable broth and omit the bacon garnish. It's as simple as that.
Till next time.......

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Starts Your Day Each Morning?

What starts your day each morning? For me, it is a pretty simple ritual. I  get up, brush my teeth, comb my hair, get the coffee pot going and get the Morning paper. Then I read the front page, one of the middle sections and the Living section. Then I fold the paper to the crossword puzzle, get my second cup of hot coffee and start to solve the crossword puzzle. Between the caffeine in the coffee and making my brain cells work on the puzzle ...... I seem to wake up.
Do you have a morning ritual that gets you moving each day? Or do you just thank the good Lord you woke up. (I do that, too.) It's always nice to face another day; whatever your morning ritual may be.
Till next time.......

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tuna Croquettes

Here is another Lenten fish dish. It is a very easy recipe and makes 4 servings. It only takes minutes to mix up and will add some variety to your Lenten meals. If you want to spice it up a bit, you can always add a smidgen of hot sauce to the sauce portion. (according to your taste)


Tuna Croquettes
Mix 2 cans drained and flaked tuna (7oz. each)
1/4 cup Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
3 teaspoon lemon juice
Make 8 croquettes, roll in crumbs. (I like Panko crumbs for a crispy coating)
Cook in 2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil.
Sauce:
Blend remaining soup with:
1/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Heat and pour over croquettes. Top with chopped fresh parsley and serve.
Till next time.......

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sandhill Cranes

Once a year, the Heartland is blessed with the presence of the Sandhill Crane. This is a very narrow migratory path for this amazing bird. They nest on the northern edges of North America and on into Siberia. They winter in some of the southern states, like Texas and New Mexico. So each spring hundreds of thousands of these great birds migrate back to the North to nest and stop here in the Heartland to rest and gain energy to continue their trek to the North.
This spectacle occurs from late February through April and 80% of the world's  Sandhill Cranes will go through this path. It has been reported that approximately 500,000 cranes will go through this very narrow migratory path to the North. It is a breathtaking sight to see.
Till next time......

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sakana Tempura..........

We will all be looking for new fish recipes; at least for the next few weeks. So I will try and help you out, with a few out of the ordinary recipes to add some variety to your meals. This one is Sakana Tempura. It is deep fried fish balls and can be eaten hot, room temperature or cold. It is nice for a buffet as you don't have to worry about keeping it hot. My children liked the leftovers in their lunches to eat cold. So it is a versatile dish to be sure. This is not your ordinary fish ball. It is much tastier. Hope you enjoy it!
Sakana Tempura
Mix: 
3 cups ground raw fish
1 cup cornstarch
3 eggs, not beaten
In another bowl add the following:
2cups water
3 teaspoons salt
6 Tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons Ajinomoto (MSG)
Parboil:
1 carrot, cut in thin strips with a peeler
1 large onion, chopped
Mix together all ingredients and add slowly to the first mixture. Spoon mixture out of bowl with a teaspoon and drop into hot deep fat carefully. Cakes will turn a golden brown when cooked. Drain cakes on brown paper bag before serving. These are good hot or cold.
This recipe is from a Hawaiian friend and has been used many, many times in my family. We really enjoy it.
Till next time.......

81% got the poll right. Tofu is made from Soy Milk.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Weekly Fish Fries

As you are well aware of; Lent started yesterday. The Lenten Fish Fries at the local churches will start tomorrow evening. Every year it is fun to go to the different churches and sample the delicious dinners they so lovingly prepare. The proceeds from these dinners; go to special projects for each parish. So not only are you enjoying a delightful meal with friends, you are helping out the parishes with their finances. Sometimes the proceeds go for school supplies, assisting families with tuition, or for repairs in the parish, so the money is well spent. Who doesn't like a nice fish or shrimp dinner on Friday night?
Till next time........

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Grease Can

This may take you back a few years. It's the kitchen grease can, every kitchen has one in the refrigerator. What's that? You don't have one. Well, you are a youngster! 
This was my Mom's grease can and now is mine. It has a very special place in my refrigerator just waiting for me to flavor, french toast, fried potatoes, potato salad, green beans. Well, you get the idea; everything is better with bacon.
My Gram's grease can, was a Folger's one pound coffee tin. Yes, coffee came in tins years ago, with a metal key attached to open it. Oh, the key....well it had a slot in it and the tin had a metal strip around the top.  You inserted the strip in the key and twisted the strip around the top of the tin with the key. That's how you opened the tin. 
For years my popcorn tasted a bit like bacon and was so yummy as bacon grease was used to pop it. People didn't buy cooking oil in depression times. They recycled their bacon grease. My question to you today....is how many of you remember a grease can?
Till next time.......

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras Means Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. People all over the world are getting ready for Lent and Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time of sacrifice and giving up many of our indulgences. Today many millions of Fastnachts will be fried, sold and eaten. Fastnachts (meaning fast night) are a type of doughnut made with potatoes. Making them was a good excuse to use up fat and sugar before Lent and to indulge in the deliciousness of fried dough. There is an old folk tale that says, if you fail to eat a Fastnacht on Fat Tuesday, you will get "boils". Well, let's hope that's not true!
One of the big celebrations will be in New Orleans, LA. called Mardi Gras. The partying is a several days affair starting with the Orpheus Parade and lots of eating, drinking, throwing and wearing of beads, celebrating and loads of other stuff. As they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler, or Let the good times roll!
Till next time.......

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rum Sauce

Are you looking for something to dress up that bread pudding or banana ice cream? Sometimes you just need to add an extra "punch" to something to make it special. This will do just that. This is a simple sauce that is sure to "wow" your family and friends. It is only six ingredients but very good. I use salted butter as I like the added salt it gives to the recipe. But which to use, is your choice.
  

Rum Sauce
1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Melt the butter in saucepan. Stir in sugar and stir until it dissolves. Whisk in  whipping cream, corn syrup, rum and cinnamon. Simmer a few minutes so the flavors can blend. Take off the heat and cool slightly before serving.
Till next time........

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lest we forget....

This morning as I read the paper, I read a story about a young soldier's letter home. It was the first letter home in almost 6 months. His Platoon had lost 12 men in 2 months. He is stationed in Afghanistan. For long stretches of time, he lives in a space with sandbags for walls and a tarp for a roof. No running water, no reliable electricity, internet connections, email, computers, etc. The men walk one after the other in the same footprints so as not step on an IED. As I read this, I had to stop and say a prayer for all in service. I sat there in the comfort of my home with heat, electricity, food, a hot cup of coffee and my daily hot shower when I wanted to take it. This young man in service had not showered since October 2010. Can any of you imagine, even for a moment, the sacrifices these men and women are making for us. Then on top of the living conditions, they have to carry heavy equipment, a gun, fight a war, worry about staying alive and hope their family at home is doing well. May God bless them and bring them safely home.
Till next time........

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Quilters of Gee's Bend

Gee's Bend is a small rural community located in the curve of the Alabama River, southwest of Selma, Alabama. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to go to an International Quilt Show in Chicago, IL There were three of the Gee's Bend quilters lecturing at the show. I had the honor of listening to their lecture and I got to meet the three quilters, Mary Lee Bendolph, Arlonzia Pettway and Annie Mae Young. They told their story and then answered questions from the audience. All three of them were so sweet and each had an amazing story to tell of how they got started, the history of Gee's Bend and the story of their quilts. After the show we bought this book. It contains the history of that area, the history of the many quilters and photographs of their awesome quilts. They made quilts out of any material that they had, dresses, work clothes, etc. The quilts are gorgeous. It just goes to show, you don't have to have a fancy pattern or expensive materials to make beautiful quilts. If you get a chance to read this book or see the Gee's Bend quilters or their quilts, don't let the opportunity pass you by. Here is a link to the website of their history and to photos of their quilts. I think you will enjoy reading about them and seeing the photos of their gorgeous quilts.
Gee's Bend Quilt Photos 
Till next time........

Friday, March 4, 2011

Georgia Entertains.........

I was going through my cookbooks, counted cross-stitch books and my quilting books today. I was trying to weed out the ones I didn't need or use anymore. When I came across some photocopied pages from Georgia Entertains. This is THE BEST cookbook for Southern cooking. The recipes are the kind you would find in fine dining but simple enough for the home cook. It is a book like no other. I had looked for this book for years and finally found a copy of it. It is a 1988 vintage so not everyone carried it. But one book became available and I was lucky enough to buy it. Some things are just meant to be. I so enjoy the recipes in this book and I am sure I will continue to enjoy this amazing book in the future. Funny what you find when you start cleaning things out.
Till next time..........

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu, is a delicious French classic dish. Don't you wish you could make it and serve this classic to your family? Well, you can, it is so simple to make and has three ingredients besides the seasoned bread crumbs and oil for the breading. It is chicken, ham and Swiss cheese.  You pound out the chicken breast a little, lay a piece or two of thin sliced ham and the same of Swiss cheese. Then fold it up, tuck in the ends and finish folding it. Use a tooth pick to hold it together if necessary. Pat it dry with a paper towel, then roll it in the oil and then the seasoned breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish, bake in preheated oven at 350° for 40-45 minutes and serve with a Mushroom or White wine sauce.  There you have it and you did it all by yourself. Congratulations!
Mushroom Sauce

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup heated half n' half
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt and white pepper to taste.
Saute the mushrooms in butter, add flour for a roux, Add the half n' half, the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Stir and cook till the sauce thickens a little. Just a few minutes. Then pour over the baked and sliced Chicken Cordon Bleu.
Till next time........

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Raise The Bar.....

How many people, do you know, who just go through life perhaps not doing much, learning much or expecting much. I think, it is time to Raise The Bar. Raise your expectations for yourself. Pick up a book, do some research, learn something, even if it is just finishing the morning crossword puzzle on your own. Take a walk and identify each and every leaf you find. Don't let those brains cells just take a nap; use them. They say, "if you don't use them, you lose them." That will most likely come soon enough, so let's not rush it.  Start questioning things, get curious! Ask yourself "why is that" and then find out why. Well, that's my thought for today, Raise The Bar and then achieve whatever goal you have set for yourself.
Till next time.......
www.publicdomainpictures.net 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Polls and Voting.........

I decided to add a little fun to my Blog. So I inserted a poll for you to vote on. Knowing me as I do......they will be silly polls most likely. But the whole idea is fun. So take a brief moment and click on the answer you think is right and click on Vote. That's all there is to it. The polls will run from one week to two weeks. Have fun with it and I will be watching the polls. Let your voice be heard.
Till next time.........