Monday, June 30, 2014

fresh peach cobbler

It's the season for fresh peaches and they were on sale at the grocery so I decided to make a peach cobbler.

My favorite place to look for recipes is I found this recipe for Fresh Southern Peach Cobbler there and it had hundreds of good reviews.

Fresh Southern Peach Cobbler

8 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into thin wedges.
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cornstarch

1 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold butter
1/4 cup boiling water

3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

I used 11 peaches since they were small. 
In a large bowl combine peaches, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly. Pour into a greased 2 qt. casserole dish. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the dry dough ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in boiling water to form a soft dough.

Drop dough portions on top of hot peaches. (I used a cookie scoop).  Mix the sugar and cinnamon topping and sprinkle over all.

Bake about 30 minutes.

I started not to show this picture since it looks a little burned. It was only the sugar on top that burned though...maybe because I used my small oven and it was close to the top element? I even decreased the temperature the last 10 minutes. 

So pretend you didn't see that and look how good it looks when I spooned it upside down to serve!
Delicious with a scoop of Turkey Hill Natural Vanilla ice cream.

And Squirrel was delighted to get all those peach peelings. He seemed to really be savoring them.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

deciding on a border

I have this quilt top completely sewn and now I am trying to decide on a border. The border will be only about 3" wide all around - I don't want the quilt to be too big for a "couch quilt".

I had been leaning toward using one of these blue fabrics, but when I asked for opinions from friends at my quilt group meeting, most thought the black would look better.

Maybe they think there is too much pattern and color already?  I have a tendency to use more colorful fabrics. To me, they look cheerful and energetic. To some, they may be gaudy and distracting.

Here is another picture narrowing down the choices to the blue stripe or the solid black.

To me the black is just too somber and takes the life out of the quilt. The blue makes your eyes start searching over the blocks to find more blues.

I am using the blue.

It makes me wonder why I asked for opinions when I knew which one I liked all along. I guess I was just expecting others to agree! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Homemakers trip to Frankfort

A small group of us Bullitt County Homemakers went on a day trip to Frankfort, sponsored by the Extension Office, earlier this week.

A passenger van was rented and one of the Extension Agents was our driver for the day. Good weather,
not too hot...but sunny as you can see by my unattractive squint in this photo taken in front of our first stop, the Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory.

The factory is actually just two houses connected into one, a very small operation. They charge $4 for the guided tour, which is one room of of antiques, a small room where candy cooking is done and a larger area where the candy is dipped and wrapped. Disappointingly, no candy was being made while we were there.

We did each get a free Bourbon Ball...and of course they also sell candy there...and since the extension agent had thought to bring a cooler with ice...most of us purchased candy to take home.

The next stop was  lunch at "Jim's Seafood". Their slogan is "best restaurant by a dam site"...because the building overlooks this dam on the Kentucky River.

I had the Alaskan whitefish, which was good. Service was good, too. They didn't mind 9 separate checks and got the orders correct.  There was an outside eating area on a deck closer to the river that would probably be enjoyable in the evening or in milder weather.

Our final stop was Liberty Hall Historic Site, which features 2 historic homes built by Kentucky's first senator, John Brown.

First was the "Orlando Brown House" which  the senator had built for his son. There we watched an informational film.. Only 2 rooms and the hall were open to visitors.


Next door was Liberty Hall, where John Brown and his wife lived.
 James Monroe, Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor were all guests of John Brown in  this home.

This old catalpa tree was in the side yard.

Oops! I snapped this photo before they said " no pictures inside"   Fate punished me later by making my camera battery run down before I was finished taking pictures outside.

We saw several rooms upstairs and down, and also an outdoor kitchen. There was a well...

and  that's the smokehouse beside it....but that's when my camera battery died. 

There are large formal gardens in the back that are open to the public. Lots of things were blooming - so nice and inviting. I'd like to go back just to take time to wander through there.
Perfect distance for a day trip - we were back at the Extension Office by 5pm.

Maybe Lonnie and  I will drive over there one day. It's been years since I visited the State Capitol Building and I'd like to see that again, too. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

what I am reading

With longer daylight hours, bedtime gets pushed back a little later and I can't read very long each night before I get sleepy.

I did make it through this book from the library discard shelf.
"Trail of Crumbs" by Kim Sunee.

This book is a memoir, which is mostly my favorite type of book.

 The author was born in Korea but was abandoned at a marketplace there when she was 3 years old. She was adopted by an American family and raised in New Orleans, where, at an early age she developed an interest in cooking and a love of food. Only about 20 pages of the book are about  her life up to college age and much of that is spent explaining how she never felt as though she "fit in" school or at home.

While in college, Ms Sunee was able to live in Europe through a study program and it is there that she began to feel more at home - but still felt disconnected, knowing nothing about her birth family and why she had been abandoned.

This disconnected feeling  is a cloud that always hangs over her...even after she meets and begins a long term relationship with Olivier, the wealthy founder of  L'Occitane , a bath products company. In spite of seemingly "having everything", the author insists on constantly looking inside herself  to find that spot of unhappiness.

Overall, the book is well written but is a downer to read...especially when there are so many inspirational memoirs written by those who overcame huge obstacles to work toward what they wanted in life...they worked toward happiness.
It was interesting to read her experiences but difficult to have sympathy for this intelligent and beautiful author who is unable to appreciate a lifestyle and a relationship that most people could only dream of.  Being in her early 20's, perhaps she was just too young and inexperienced to realize what she had. Maybe she is just one of those people who can't ever be happy.

So, I can't say I would recommend this book - just because of the gloomy outlook on things.

Food and cooking is a theme throughout the book and there are recipes at the end of some of the chapters.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

how our garden grows

We are enjoying our little gardens. It's easy to keep them watered and the weeds can be removed quickly.

First, I'll talk about Lonnie's onions...the ones he planted from onion sets. Two of the four that he planted developed a big flower head. 
I read online that that means the underground part will not develop any more - so just take them up and see if there is anything that can be used.
There wasn't on the two flowering ones...but he went ahead and took up the other two also. They did have bulbs on them and we sliced them and ate them on hamburgers.

The blooms were kind of pretty though. I think they would be fine for decorative planting. You sure wouldn't want to put them in a vase in the house  - really oniony smelling.

This is my crowded bed. That's zucchini in the front left and I believe butternut squash behind there. Next is kale, cherry tomatoes and potatoes. somewhere there are 2 small pale cucumber vines. They aren't getting enough sun.

The potatoes are a huge surprise. I really didn't expect much from them but they are thriving. They have pretty little blooms on them too.

The kale is producing. The young leaves are fine...but they get bitter as they get larger.

I noticed a tiny zucchini this may be ready to pick tomorrow or the next day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

roasted chickens

This recipe for roasted chickens makes a good Sunday dinner. It's fairly simple and the chickens turn out flavorful...except the breast meat can be a bit dry.
You have to plan ahead because the chickens must be prepped the night before you want to serve them.

Roasted Chickens
2 whole chickens (about 4# each)
4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder (I leave this out)
1 tsp. thyme. (I use poultry seasoning)
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 onions quartered

Rinse chickens and pat them dry with paper towels inside and out.  Mix spices in a bowl. 
Rub each chicken with spices inside and out.
Place quartered onions inside the body cavity. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

In the morning preheat oven to 250 degrees, remove plastic wrap. Bake chickens uncovered for 5 hours.
Allow to rest in pan drippings about 15 minutes before serving.

Looking at this picture, I see why Junior likes to help take the food to the table. He has the things he likes down at his end...rolls, peas, cranberry sauce. He put the carrot salad and the red potatoes far away.

When we are having broccoli, my older son likes to set that down near my younger son's annoy him because he doesn't like the smell of it .  (Sigh)...I guess it's just what brothers do.

Monday, June 23, 2014

a walk in the park

My husband has been walking in our town's little park several times a week. It has nice walking paths that go along the Salt River.

I went with him one day last week. He said the river was higher than usual.
This river gets it's name from the natural salt deposits in this area.  A salt works was established near here in 1779...huge kettles of water would be boiled over fire pits until the water was evaporated and only salt remained. A vast surrounding area was deforested for wood to fuel the fires.

But back to the walking path...sunny in some spots, shady in others. 

They keep the park maintained but allow areas of native plants and trees to remain. 
I noticed a lot of walnut trees. I can identify them for sure by smelling the leaves which have the same smell as the walnut hulls when they are green.

These Elderberry bushes were in up the shady places.

A pleasant place to get a little exercise.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

demolition - day two

Sasquatch  Junior was back on day two to finish tearing down the horse barn. If anything, it was more humid than the day before. This photo was taken early and his clothes are soaked with sweat already. 

Those boards on the ground in the front left of the picture seemed too good to burn. They are in good shape except for nail holes in the ends...really heavy and hardened with age. 

The same kind of wood is in the doors ( those sections with the barred top). We saved those out too...maybe to sell.  But I am getting an idea about using them to block the truck body shed there.
Maybe mount them to posts and plant some blooming vines to climb up them and twine around the bars?

But back to the demolition....He used his car to pull the last wall down in one piece. 

And we burned it right where it fell. I wish I would have gotten more action photos, but I was taking care of the fire. That black post in the foreground of this picture was a dilly to get out of the ground. It was in there deep and it was heavy! Cedar.

The next morning and every thing is burned. Metal going to recycling on that trailer there.
 Nice work!

We are thinking of putting up a building of some sort to replace it. Checking into different options for now.

Friday, June 20, 2014

horse barn demolition - day one

This sad looking little horse barn was here when we moved to this house in 1986. It looked a little better then - but not a lot. Lonnie put it to good use when he owned two Morgan horses, Sky King and Miss Lily.

He would let them in the stalls every morning and night to eat their serving of grain or sometimes bring them under the overhang to groom them or have their hooves trimmed.

The door on the right was to a good hay room that also had a few shelves to store grooming supplies. 
The building had electricity but we removed the line a few years ago when it was sagging and the horses had passed on.

For awhile now it has been leaning, leaking and the roof sagging. The floor was buckling upward in the hay room was like stepping onto a sliding board in there!

It wasn't really worth fixing and we were concerned it could collapse and hurt someone - plus it was just so danged ugly.

So, we asked my younger son if he would like to take it down. He agreed and began the job on a broiling hot day.

Here, he already has the over hang off. The posts came up easy but the roof didn't crash down like he expected. It needed a few boards removed.
( this almost looks like that Sasquatch sighting picture, doesn't it?)

He kept the job site tidy...stacking metal for later recycling...putting aside some decent heavy oak boards that someone might be able to use. Everything else came to the burn pile that I was watching and feeding.

It was too hot to work out there more than a few hours. Better to split the job up and start again the next day in the cooler early morning hours.

Unfortunately, this reveals another ugly thing. A truck body on concrete blocks that we use as a shed.
Maybe a good pressure wash and a coat of  paint will help it out. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Banana Pudding

At my quilting group potluck dinner earlier this month I ate some unusually good banana pudding that my friend Pat made.

Knowing that she always makes good stuff, I had asked Pat what she had brought that day, then jokingly I asked "It isn't fattening, is it?".
She started talking about how she sometimes uses sugar free pudding and so forth so I really wasn't expecting it to be that good.

After the first bite I knew Pat wasn't telling the whole story. She smiled and told me it had cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in it. Definitely fattening but really good.

She gave me the recipe and I made it for Sunday dessert. Everyone liked it.

Banana Pudding
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
5 oz. vanilla instant pudding mix
3 cups milk
1 t. vanilla extract
8 oz. Cool whip
4 or 5 bananas, sliced
 Vanilla wafers ( roughly 8 to 10 oz.)

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy, add sweetened condensed milk, instant pudding mix, milk and vanilla, beating well after each addition.

Fold in half  of the cool whip.

 You can use any dish that's big enough to layer the ingredients. I used a large 9 x 13 clear glass dish.
Cover the bottom with a layer of vanilla wafers, then a layer of sliced bananas. Pour half of the pudding mixture over this.

Repeat the layers with your remaining vanilla wafers, bananas and pudding mixture.

And spread the other half of the cool whip over the top.

Chill for several hours so it's deliciously cold and the vanilla wafers get a little bit soft. 
Use a big spoon to serve. All you will hear for the next few minutes is spoons clinking on the plates as everyone gobbles theirs down. 

I sent the leftovers home with my sons so I am not sure how long this holds up after the first day...but I would guess it would begin to get watery and the bananas would darken.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

that new car smell

Ahhh...that new car smell. It's coming from these new floor mats I got for the Jeep!

They aren't really there to protect the carpet, more to hide it really. They are molded exactly to the contour of the floor so it's a nice snug fit.

I had been thinking about getting some floor mats for awhile - then I had to order a new door handle/latch for the passenger door...and I needed a new door pull for the inside of the driver door (but they come in a set). By adding the floor mats to the order I was able to get free shipping.

My younger son removed the door panel and installed the new handle. Nice to be able to use this door again! It would open from the inside but it was an annoyance to have to go around and climb in to open it every time.

The new pull handles for the inside aren't on yet...the hardware wasn't in the box. I called the company (Quadratec) and they are sending another pair of door pulls, and they said don't bother returning these because shipping expense would make it not worthwhile to them. 
I have had a jury-rigged strap on there for awhile so a few more days won't matter.

I hope I'm not tempting fate by spending a little money on the Jeep!

Monday, June 16, 2014

family reunion

Saturday we went to Lonnie's family reunion in Nashville.  We had very nice weather..pretty warm, but we were under a shelter for shade and someone had brought a portable generator to power some fans.

Here is Lonnie with his brother Jimmy, with their sister Terri .

There were lots of family members and all seven brothers and sisters were there, but everyone couldn't make it, of course.  
 There were a lot of kids there, cute and sweet and well behaved.  
One little 4 year old boy kept calling me Uncle Darla ! He asked his mom if they could have a party at their house so Uncle Darla could come and see his toy monster truck. Funny! It makes me nostalgic for my sons were little! 

Here is Lonnie's sister Mary and his brother Don.

I missed getting Brother Charlie and sister Betty in a picture. Betty organized the event and planned out every detail...from tablecloths to band aids.

Instead of everyone bringing a dish like usual - they decided to have barbecue, beans, and coleslaw brought in by caterers. We all brought beverages, chips and desserts. That worked out nicely without as much leftover food.

I had an unfortunate failure in the kitchen when I was making a dessert to take that morning...with not enough time to make anything else.  Of course that's when it would happen.  Dough blopping over in the oven and not cooking through inside...sugary mess burning and smoking...but at least the smoke alarms didn't go off.
I am not sharing a picture of that disaster!

Lonnie had to buy a pie at the grocery! There were plenty of desserts there anyway.

Friday, June 13, 2014

baby bunny

What could be any cuter than a baby bunny?

He is a little bit hard to see in the photo...he blends in...and he is standing very still!
 I have seen two of them in the yard recently but this one was just racing around in the mulch bed by himself this evening.

I took these pictures from my kitchen window. He is getting a little nervous and zoomed off after I snapped this photo. He is really hard to see here... he is still between the rocks.

Minutes is skunk. He certainly doesn't blend in. He has been coming up in the yard fairly regularly. So far he has been a bullying, no spraying.
Just comes to look for dropped seeds at the bird feeder and to get a good long drink of water.

I've also been seeing a big raccoon , but it's darker when he comes out and I can't get a good photo of him.

It sure was a  lovely early summer evening. I always enjoy this view to the east.