Tuesday, September 27, 2016

a pause

Just letting you know that my posts will be few and far between for awhile. I need to focus all of my attention elsewhere at this time.

I do enjoy writing and showing photos here, so I will be on from time to time...just not on a regular schedule.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, September 26, 2016

roast beef - again

I keep a written record of my Sunday dinner menus...so I don't make the same foods too often. Some times I just look back through it to get ideas or even repeat a meal exactly.

Actually it hasn't been too long since we had roast beef, but it was so good last time, I thought my family would be ready to eat it again...and besides...the roast has been taking up a lot of freezer space!

We had roast beef, mashed red skin potatoes and gravy, Grands biscuits, creamed corn, peas and broccoli salad.

Dessert was a choice of chocolate pie or banana cream pie, topped with sweetened whipped cream.

I have quit trying to make a cooked creamy pie filling from scratch...too many disasters!
But, I have found the Jello Cook and Serve pudding mix makes a good filling that you can depend on not to turn watery. I use a half cup less milk than the pudding directions  (for the big box).

At least I made the pie crust from scratch.  I have never mastered the fancy fluted edges so my crusts aren't pretty, but my husband always tells me he likes them.

Hoping we get a good amount of rain today. I've really had to keep an eye on the plants I've planted this year to make sure they don't dry out. A lot of water bucket carrying!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

pears are popular

Not much for me to yammer away about today - but I do have some more of the Sasquatch's nature photos you might enjoy....

On his pear tree, a wasp enjoying pear juice. Not sure if they make a hole or just take advantage of one already there.

Some type of bee also seeking pear juice...

Butterflies like it too...

It must be delicious!

"Hello friend - there are juicy pears on this tree!"

This one just soaking up the suns rays....

And this giant furry caterpillar.  Not sure what kind or which end is which!

See the size of it compared to that Sasquatch finger?

Purple Heart vine...

And this little lizard he rescued from the pool.

Such nice photos!  Thank you Sasquatch!

Friday, September 23, 2016

busy days

Trying to keep my mind off of some worries and the best way to do that is to stay extra busy.

I have cleaned the fridge and freezer by taking everything out of there and washing all the shelves and reorganizing the contents. I washed the top and sides, pulled it out, vacuumed behind it...and vacuumed those impossible-to -reach coils.

I pulled a baggie of chicken thighs out of there, that weren't getting any younger, and made some chicken and broccoli soup.  No recipe...just stewed chicken, a bag of frozen broccoli, onions, carrots, celery, yellow pepper and chicken base, spices.

I worked a little on this baby quilt.  I will tell all about that later.

Found a good deal on mulch...$1.00 a bag (it's only 1 cubic foot bags - easy to handle though) It's really the wrong time of year to put it down...that's why it was cheap.  

Next, I started dragging all of the old landscape fabric out of this border.  I used to think it was the greatest way to suppress weeds. I bought rolls and rolls of the stuff. Now I realize that even though water goes through it, as the mulch on top breaks down it can't enrich the soil below...and the fabric gets pushed further into the ground.  A mess!  Spreading the new mulch as I get it cleared.

I had a nice dip in the pool. The water is a little cool but still swimable. Invigorating, really.

I may go back for more mulch while the weather is nice!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

what I've been sewing

I finally finished the quilting on Barbara's donation quilt.  I have the binding ready to put on and then I will be done!

See those little thread snips laying on top of the quilt?  My friend, Isolde, gave those to me, and they are the handiest things ever.  Quick to pick up and use, nice and sharp, and they can cut a thread right down close to the fabric.  Perfect to use when machine quilting!   Thank you, Isolde!

You might remember that all of last year I was showing the "Block of the Month" progress as I made this quilt.  I finished it in February and posted photos of it here at that time.

Well, another of the ladies in my group, Barbara, has finished piecing her quilt top from the same pattern...
and look how stunning it is in these gorgeous fall colors.

It's amazing how the same pattern can look so different.  The blocks may be arranged in a different order - but it's the colors that make all the difference.
Below is Joan's quilt. She was the first to try this pattern and shared it with the group.
It's a striking color combo too.

I think there are one or two members of the group still working on their version of this quilt. I will show theirs as they finish.

There is another Block of the Month going on this year...but I've gotten behind with mine.
But I'll catch up!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

family fish fry

My parents held their annual family Fish Fry just before we left for vacation last month so I never did get to talk about it here.  Well, it's not too late!

They have been having the fish fry for at least 17 years. No one can remember exactly what year it started.  There aren't a whole lot of us, so usually everyone tries to be at the gathering...and besides - the food is good!

I'll show you......
Hey, let me in there for a photo!

Maybe from this side.  Look at that golden crispy fish, home grown tomatoes, slaw, salads, corn on the cob, chips and baked beans.

My Dad fries the fish just outside the garage. Tables are inside, and all the food is set up on the work bench. Here is my very energetic brother, he was eating standing up.

There's Lonnie and my Dad...waiting in the food line

There is my other brother and his Sweetie.

There were more family members but a lot of my photos were blurry or eyes closed. 

And even though there were several desserts I got this special one...a doughnut with birthday candles.
It was my Dad's little joke...it's because way back on my fourth birthday, he had teased me a little...telling me that my birthday cake would be a doughnut with candles in it. I just barely remember it but apparently I got really mad and insulted.  It became one of those "family stories".

But, four-year-old-me actually got a big decorated birthday cake that year. I was all smiles at the time...and also last month when I got the doughnut with candles!

Monday, September 19, 2016

orange chicken

I like to read cooking blogs and watch cooking shows on TV, but I usually avoid them because they always make me hungry!

Here is another recipe that I found on a blog. It sounded unusual and I looked for similar recipes on Allrecipes.com.  There were several there with a few variations on the ingredients - all with good reviews.  It's a very easy dish to prepare.

Orange Chicken
3 to 4 # of chicken breast tenderloins
10 oz. of Catalina salad dressing
10 oz. jar apricot Simply Fruit spread
1 1/2 pkgs. of Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Stir together apricot spread, Catalina dressing and dry onion soup mix.

Arrange chicken tenders in a baking dish and pour dressing mixture on top.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes ( slice open one of the chicken pieces at 45 to see if it needs to cook longer).

We had this for Sunday dinner, along with brown rice, stir fry veggies, Sister Schubert's rolls, and a green salad with mandarin oranges and pumpkin seeds.

I was afraid the Orange Chicken would be too sweet tasting but no one thought it was.  Also I thought the sauce got too thinned out with the juices from the chicken as it baked.  

 My husband really liked it. The Sasquatch said it's okay but he wouldn't care if he never eats it again.

Chopper said he wouldn't mind having it occasionally...and made the observation that the chicken pieces looked like big goldfish.   The sauce gave the chicken an orangey color!

Sugar cookies were for dessert.

Later on I took a walk around the property. Every growing thing is showing the signs of fall approaching... a few leaves falling, greenery turning dry and brown. Already the woods are not as dense with growth.

In the garden though, my eggplant is rebounding with the cooler temperatures and producing again.

That's a nice suprise!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

sewing machine maintenance

Mt Washington Quilting Bees had something different at the meeting last week.  The folks from Moore's Sewing Center came to our meeting to give us a lesson on sewing machine maintenance.

The two gentlemen who do repairs at the shop, Eddy and Steady Freddy, gave a short and funny talk.
One of them said an easy way to clean the space between your machine's tension disks is to fold a dollar bill and slide it through the opening...if you want it really clean - use a five dollar bill, ha ha!

Many of us brought our sewing machines to the class to follow along with the step by step cleaning instructions.
First, they had everyone refer to their machine manuals and remove the needle plate to clean underneath as they walked around the room to assist those who needed it.

Those who didn't bring their machine stood by to pick up some pointers.

Busy Bees!

That's Jan seated there in the middle. She made the arrangements for the lesson and supplied everyone with brushes and pipe cleaners for cleaning lint out of our machine.

A couple of the ladies brought their vintage Singer Featherweight machines in.

I didn't bring mine  but brought my 1984 Kenmore in instead.  It looks like I should have brought my Featherweight...Steady Freddy got totally involved with showing Linda how to maintain her machine and she got a free cleaning and in the process.

You might wonder why we have salt and pepper shakers on the table. It's because the tables at the Senior center where we meet, are always set with the shakers and centerpieces for the senior breakfasts they have there weekly.

I'm not sure who this machine belongs to - but Eddy now has it running smoothly - clean and adjusted.

We also received some hand out sheets with information about using good quality thread and choosing the correct needles and being sure you have them put in the machine correctly (they said the number one problem with machines brought in for  repairs is that the needle is turned the wrong way). 

Afterwards we had show and tell. Some of the members brought in these "Monster Bags"...tote bags that they had made in a class they had been to.   I really like these!  It made me remember that I have a pattern for a really big tote bag too - different than this one.  I need to get it out and sew up a bag !

Our new president, Jackie, gave out a bunch of door prizes. My name was drawn (yea!) and I got this cute pincushion that Jackie made.  I really like the long rectangular shape.

Fun meeting!

Monday, September 12, 2016

mac-corn-roni and cheese

This week I tried out two new recipes for Sunday dinner.   The first is one that I jotted down while reading blogs, and now I can't find it again to even link to it or see what it was called.
I remember the blogger said it was really good, though.

When I told Chopper what ingredients go into the dish, he immediately come up with the name....

Mac-corn-roni and Cheese
1 can corn (do not drain)
1 can cream style corn
2 cups un-cooked macaroni noodles
8 oz. Velveeta cheese, chopped into small cubes
6 T. butter, chopped into small cubes
3/4 cup milk

The instructions are easy...just put all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine.
Pour in to a greased casserole dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes...stirring half way through. 

We had this for Sunday dinner, along with Sadler's beef brisket, Caesar salad with asiago cheese, buttered mixed vegetables, and Sister Schubert's dinner rolls.

The mac-corn-roni was okay. Sort of sweet because of the creamed corn and the Velveeta cheese (which has a sweet taste too).  It definitely needed black pepper added.

I think it would be a good hearty casserole with some browned ground beef mixed in...and maybe a can of diced tomatoes.  Some members of my family liked it but another said it wasn't really an improvement over regular mac and cheese.  Not sure if I would make it again or not.

The other new recipe is a cookie recipe that Chopper found online and emailed to me. It's what we had for dessert. The cookies are good!

This recipe is a keeper and I'll show it later this week.

It was a lovely evening. Perfect for porch sitting.  I went out there with my journal, some catalogs, some hand sewing and my tablet.  Also my camera and a big glass of decaf iced coffee.

Of course, it's getting dark earlier now, so I didn't get around to the sewing at all, and only part way through the catalogs.
We'd better enjoy this nice weather while we can!