Monday, November 30, 2015

turkey chili

After a few days of eating leftover turkey and mashed potatoes, I started hankering for something more spicy. I had just enough turkey left to make some turkey chili.

Not really a recipe...just using what I had on hand...great northern beans, black beans, rotel tomatoes. an onion, a carton of vegetable broth that was near it's expiration date, chili powder, cumin, bay leaf, salt & pepper...and left over turkey, shredded.

Oh yeah, and this lone sweet potato!

I chopped the onion and peeled and diced the sweet potato and browned a bit in olive oil.

Then I added everything else and simmered on low for about an hour.

When it was done, I smushed the sweet potato chunks against the side of the pan to break them up a little. They looked too big and weird in the soup. 

I hadn't put away my turkey dishes yet, and I thought it would be nice to use them once more, so I ladled the soup into the bowls that came with the set. They are usually just used as serving bowls on Thanksgiving.  

The soup was good but I wished I had some corn chips to sprinkle on top. My husband added hot sauce.   It hit the spot on a cold rainy day.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

how I spent Black Friday

By 10:00 am in the morning on Black Friday I had a major portion of my Christmas gift shopping finished!

All I had to do was meet the UPS man at the door...

Actually I did go out to the truck to help carry a few things in while he was rummaging around for the rest of them. His truck was jam-packed, so I am not the only one staying away from the stores and crowds.
  So much nicer to shop online, compare products and prices and have your merchandise brought to your house!

Goodbye Santa in a brown uniform!  You don't know it yet, but I have more stuff on order!

Instead of trudging from store to store, I used the time to do some sewing.  
I took a break from working on the Labyrinth quilt to sew up these two little barn quilt blocks (except they are houses).

 I had the one on the left finished but I kept thinking I didn't like it.
 I finally realized it was because of the fabric I had used for the was a light turquoise blue...pretty, but never a good color for the sky.  After I  ripped it out and used the blue with snow flurries, I liked it a lot better.

Next sewing session I will be back to sewing the Labyrinth quilt. I am ready to add the borders now.

Friday, November 27, 2015

the day after

I had good luck with my turkey dinner yesterday.  Every thing was done on time...and no disasters.

Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, Pillsbury crescent rolls, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, broccoli salad, and deviled eggs.

We ate all we could hold and then sprawled out on the front room furniture for awhile...until we had enough room for pie.

Plenty of pie! Pecan pie, pumpkin pie and cheesecake.

Later I helped Chopper and the Sasquatch load up containers of leftovers to take home with them and we still have enough food for a couple more dinners plus turkey for soup.

And then it was time to restore order in the kitchen!  Every surface was covered with drips and crumbs and dirty dishes. 

I am particular about things and such a messy cook that I really don't want anyone helping  me with the clean up.

It didn't take very long anyway and I won't be cooking for a couple of days - just heating leftovers.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

ready for Thanksgiving?

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

We are!! I did a few things ahead last night...

Cooked cranberry sauce...

Made pie crusts and baked pumpkin pie and pecan pie...

And because we all have our favorite "wouldn't -be-Thanksgiving-without-em" desserts, I made a graham cracker crust for a cheesecake (the Eagle brand kind).

Also boiled and peeled eggs for deviled eggs. The bread for my dressing has been torn into chunks and drying since Sunday.

I took out the trash and noticed we have the most gorgeous full moon...with a sort of colored halo around it.

It was hypnotizing!

But, I came back in and put an extra leaf in the table. Not because we are having more guests - because we need more room for food!

I always like to extend my table and see this neat-o gear thingy that allows the table to slide open smoothly. That's the two extra leaves stored right underneath the table.

Then I got my turkey plates out of the closet...

Now, quite a few things to do this morning.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

sunny but cold

Here it is, Thanksgiving week, and we had a yard full of turkeys yesterday morning.

They don't have anything to worry about here because I already have my Thanksgiving turkey defrosting in the fridge!

Later in the morning I couldn't resist working in my sewing room for a while. The sun was just streaming into the room, so bright I didn't have to turn any lights on while sewing. 

I have this much completed on the Labyrinth Walk quilt. I am finishing up the last of three blocks to make the last row...then it will get borders too. 

In the late afternoon, I was washing a window and I noticed a buck with antlers, just bounding through this field toward our house.  Well, you can't see it here...but this is how far he ran...

I thought he was coming right up in our driveway but he detoured and went across the front yard.

Of course I snapped this lousy photo right when he was near a tree branch, so you can't really see his antlers.

I wondered if someone had been shooting at him...the way he was running so far, so fast.
Those antlers make him more appealing to the hunters.

He is safe in our yard too. I definitely do not want to eat any deer!

Monday, November 23, 2015

southwest salad

Southwest Salad
chopped romaine lettuce (5 or 6 cups or more)
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2/3 cup "mexicorn" (I used store brand "fiesta corn")
corn tortillas

1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin

The corn tortillas are used to make crispy strips to top the salad. Just drizzle olive oil on 5 or 6 tortillas...stack them up and slice thin. 

 Bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes, or until they are crispy.

While those are baking, prepare the dressing. Combine ranch dressing with salsa, stir in chili powder and cumin.  Refrigerate until serving time.

Combine romaine, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar, and corn in a salad bowl.  Just before serving, toss with dressing and top with tortilla strips.

We had this salad for Sunday dinner, along with Kroger fried chicken, homemade drop biscuits, mashed red skin potatoes, white gravy, and buttered mixed veggies.

My younger son suggested that black beans would be a good addition to this salad. I think he's right. With the added protein it could be used as a main dish salad.
Or what about adding black beans and some chunks of chicken? That would be a good hearty salad.

We were celebrating Lonnie's birthday, and he requested Flourless Chocolate Cake.

That's what we had for dessert with a side of vanilla bean ice cream.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

machine maintenance

I have been sewing with my 1948 Singer 221 since about April...mostly just when I go to quilt group sewing and a few times out on the porch.

I had intended to clean and oil it before I even began using it, but it seemed to run fine so I kept putting it off...until now.

Fortunately, I found a website with photo instructions on proper oiling. It's a good thing, because I would have never located all the oil holes without it.

So here I am with the machine on an old towel and the website handy in the background.

First a few oil holes in the top...

When I swung the top plate open, I found some icky dirty old grease in there. Cleaned that out.

Removed the side panel...

The website sail to put a drop of oil any place where metal rubs metal.  

One drop on the bobbin race...

Also removed the bottom cover to get to several oil holes under there. I need an oil bottle with the little tube on it. It's hard to get to some areas with this little stubby one.

There is something in the manual about grease tubes in the electric motor that have to be replenished occasionally - but  I need to look into that a little more.

So it's all back together and working perfectly.

That's pretty darn good for a 67 year old!     

The machine, that is!   Not me!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

banana crumb muffins

This is another recipe right from  It's a good way to use up over-ripe bananas or bananas that have been frozen to prevent them from becoming over-ripe.

That's what I do...peel the bananas and put them in a freezer container. They do need to be thawed out until they are mashable to use in baking, though. Or else they will make your batter too cold to bake correctly.

Banana Crumb Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter

Stir the baking soda ,baking powder and salt into flour. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter.  fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture just until moistened.

Spoon into greased muffin cups (about 12 muffins)

For topping; in a small bowl combine brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, and cinnamon. Cut in 1 Tbsp. butter until mixture is crumbly.

Sprinkle topping over muffin batter.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Some people use the cupcake papers on their muffins. I always think it pulls too much of the muffin away when you peel them off.  
These muffins are very moist so you will probably want to keep them in the fridge to keep them nice and fresh.

They are my husband's favorite muffin.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

pepper spray

When we visited Washington DC a few weeks ago, there was an incident in which we felt threatened.
More so looking back on it than when it actually happened.

Things can happen so fast and takes a few seconds to fully comprehend a situation and react.

We were fine and nothing was lost but it did make us think more about self defense.

One of the things we decided on was buying some pepper spray.

Lonnie chose a cute little pink one for me. It coordinates so nicely with my phone case and camera case.

I have been watching some YouTube videos of people getting sprayed with pepper certainly looks painful.
The important thing is to spray them right in the eyes!

Also, it's a good thing to have handy if you're out for a walk and a dog tries to bite you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

can we put the lawn mowers away?

This is the second time I have mowed the backyard for the last time this year. Look how green it still is.

At least the the whole property didn't need to be's mostly gone dormant.  
I  did run the mower over the fallen leaves to chop them up a little.

We used to have more of a problem with leaves smothering out the grass when this big sycamore tree was healthy. It has been dying out over the past several years and doesn't produce all those huge wide leaves that it used to.

I have planted a new sycamore farther back in the field to replace it. It's a disease resistant variety, planted back near the sink hole. I hope it's roots spread out to help hold the ground in place.
Well, it's not much to look at right now...

A big toad stool I noticed back there...about six inches tall...

Is it gnomes or fairies that live in toadstools?  Maybe both, but I didn't see either!