Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12


My sons were recently talking about a time they cooked steaks at Chopper's house a couple of years ago. They used Alton Brown's method, and said the rib eyes were some of the best they had ever eaten.

Chopper generously said he would pick up some big Rib Eye steaks at Kingsley Meats for Sunday dinner...whoa!...nearly one pound each!
The Sasquatch brought over a couple of his cast iron skillets to use since they are essential for this combination of pan searing and high temperature baking.

Below, you see the pan searing step. The method calls for heating the pan in a 500 degree oven, then placing it on a stove burner while each side is seared.
I was worried that the super hot pan would crack my glass stove top, so we used a hot plate burner instead...placed on the stove top so it would be under the exhaust fan.


Then the pans go back into the hot oven for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. The Sasquatch helped me with moving the pans in and out of the oven. I did the flipping of steaks and Chopper helped with the timing and took photos. Lonnie cheered us on!






They came out melt-in-your -mouth delicious!   


I think we could have got better outside browning during the searing step with a gas stove or regular electric burners, but overall, we were all happy with our big steaks!  
Thanks for the treat, Chopper!


Later that afternoon Lonnie walked out back and heard baby crows squawking for the parents to feed them...so he gathered up all the fat scraps from the steaks and pitched them out in the yard for the parent crows to gather up.

The Black Vulture must have got a whiff of the delicious treat and soon he landed in the yard to see if anything was left. He was too late - the crows had cleaned up every bit,  
Then he walked over by the pool and kept spreading his wings.  I really think he wanted to take a bath but eventually gave up on that idea and flew away.



Other cooking...I made this casserole for a week night dinner...no actual recipe....stewed chicken with broth, thawed frozen spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, whole milk, mozzarella cheese.salt, pepper, oregano...baked with shredded Asiago on top.  It was pretty good.  Rich and filling.



And one Sunday, when we had breakfast for dinner, I baked scones with a packaged mix that I bought at World Market.  The Sasquatch brought his cast iron scone pan for me to bake them in and we ate them with a thick spread of Double Devon Cream and Raspberry- Jalapeno Jam (also from World Market).
It was a perfect combination...so good!     




I also tried a recipe that Chopper found online and suggested as a dessert for a hot summer day...Strawberry Pretzel Pie.   A crust made from crushed pretzels, then a layer of sweetened cream cheese mixed with whipped cream, topped with a strawberries in Jello mixture.
A good dessert!  Lonnie said he likes it better than a regular strawberry pie. 



Gosh, it looks like all we do is eat!   But we do other stuff too....

I went to Guitar Emporium one day with Chopper.  He is a bass player and had seen a bass guitar on their website that he was interested in and wanted to take a closer look at it.

Wowzer...look at the variety of basses thay have to choose from!  Everything from beginner instruments to rare collector ones that cost thousands of dollars. The opposite wall was just as full with regular guitars.  A really nice store.



So Chopper tried out the bass and immediately liked everything about it.  He did some bargaining on it with a trade in, and took it home.


Also in the store - this old "Voice-O-Graph" recording booth.  About the size of a phone booth, one could step inside, insert some coins and make a short recording that would be dispensed on a 45 rpm record.   This one apparently still works...except now they charge $15 instead of the 35 cents that it cost back in the 1960's!.   
It was fun to look at though.



Still haven't had a lot of sewing time...here is where I am at on the sailboat quilt...

Well...that's a sunbeam in the middle of the photo.  I'll be adding more dark blue blocks and a few red ones.

And I did order a quilt pattern  book...


I specifically wanted this pattern. I saw a quilt made like this on a blog I read. It just really appeals to me. A lot different than what I usually make.


After looking through the book, though, there is only one other quilt in there that I think I would ever make, so I might just make notes of the fabric cutting instructions and list this book right back on Amazon to re-sell while it's still popular.  That way I'll recoup some of the cost and not have the book stacked up in a pile gathering dust.


Well, we finally got brave and cancelled our cable TV.  We had to have it when we moved here in 1986, because the local channels had horrible reception...and we've had it ever since. But lately, nearly every time we turn on the TV we go directly to Netflix. We were hardly watching the cable channels at all.

It wasn't easy to get our cable TV shut off.  The first time I called, they offered me a better deal and I was weak and said okay to it.  Then after thinking about it for about an hour, I called back and told them I wanted to cancel after all.  
They asked a lot of questions about my reasons, then finally said they would cancel.

Well, the next day we still had cable TV...so I called for the third time, answered all the questions again but I was mean and nasty this time (apologized to the representative at the end of the call).
So then - it was turned off  right away.

So, I have been told that I could get local channels by hooking up an antenna so I shopped online for one.  First I tried out this indoor one. Chopper helped me hook it up but we could only get one channel...and that was with me standing in the front window and holding it up.

It sure looks different than those old set-top "rabbit ears"!


This one will be returned and we'll try an outdoor one. 
We could do without it but it would be nice to have some local news channels available.


It looks like some hot summer weather for this week.  Perfect for outside work in the mornings and evenings and maybe some sewing during the middle of the day.
Nothing wrong with that!



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30


Not a lot of cooking going on here, No new recipes but I did make a dish I haven't made in a few years...Santa Fe Rice Salad.


It's pretty good but not really a favorite of ours.  It can be used as a side dish with a Mexican meal, or just scoop it up with tortilla chips like salsa.



I had to take my string trimmer in for repair earlier this month. Same problem as before...broken drive shaft...covered under warranty again...no charge.
This big dog (lab/shepherd mix) is always at the repair shop to greet the customers.

When I dropped the trimmer off,  she came from the back with a red ball for me to throw for her.
I threw once and she retrieved it...but when I threw it again I accidentally bounced it off a stack of boxes. 
She gave me a funny look then picked up the ball and took it to the back room!   Ha! 
It's like she didn't want me to embarrass myself with such bad throws!



This time she had a big Nerf Frisbee.  She did let me throw it but only once.



I can't remember ever seeing one of these Giant Leopard Moths before.


They come out only after dark, but this one had gotten trapped in the screen porch somehow.
It didn't want to fly at all, so I nudged him off my hand onto a tree trunk.

Please excuse my chipped nail polish

One day I glanced out a window and saw my Purple Smoke Tree looking like this...stripped to it's skeleton!  What on earth?


It was these...some kind of small purple caterpillars.  I picked them all off, then tried searching the internet to see what they could be.  Not many results for purple caterpillars.  Maybe eating purple leaves caused them to turn purple?


See that small beetle in the photo below?  There were a couple of those on the tree too.  Not sure if they are related to the caterpillars in any way?  

Not being sure if these were good bugs or bad bugs, I decided to smoosh them.  Probably they are the larvae of some rare and beautiful butterfly.


The last time I planted peas in my little garden, a deer chomped them down just after they started blooming. So this year, I just planted a few snow peas right up next to the back porch.


 I think they are such a pretty plant anyway. As good as any decorative plant you could buy...and all I need is a few peas to add to a salad.


On Memorial Day, I rode over to Evansville with Lonnie to visit his parents grave site.  We are such clods, we didn't even think to take any flowers for the urns.  We haven't done this before and it just didn't occur to us to take any decoration.



After visiting the cemetery, we drove around looking at Lonnie's former homes, schools and other landmarks.  
As we drove past this subdivision entrance (below), Lonnie remarked that it was the spot where he and his older brother sold newspapers when they were kids.

For fun, we stopped and got a picture of Lonnie with some church newspapers he happened to have in the car.  He emailed the photo to his brother Don to see if he can figure out where it was taken.


I don't think there were flowers planted there back then...only grass, but Don might recognize the concrete structure.

Not much sewing lately.  I did finish up all the sailboats.  I will show those next time.







Thursday, May 18, 2017

sail boat quilt started and other stuff

Sewing...
I had been planning to make a baby girl quilt...just in case...but it turns out that I will be making another baby boy quilt.

For a while now, I've been thinking I'd like to use some fabric from my stash with an anchor print, and what could be better than a nautical themed quilt for a boy?
I sketched up a possible layout, including some blocks made from pieced sailboats.

Piecing the sail boats was more difficult than I expected, so I finally paid $1.50 to download a paper pieced sailboat block pattern online.


It's been awhile since I've done any paper piecing so there was a lot of sweating and swearing and seam ripping as I got the hang of it again.
It's gotten a little easier now that I've completed five of the boats.    I'll probably make about four or five more, and then make some simple blocks to alternate with them in the quilt, using the fabrics in the photo below.




Outdoor project....
I think we found a solution to our screen porch door problem.  
We have replaced the original doors twice already. No matter how nice the doors are when we hang them, they end up sagging and coming apart at the corners. We have tried reinforcing with "L" brackets and turnbuckles with no luck.

Then I saw this one day on Amazon's Lightning Deals and thought it might be worth a try.


Lonnie was skeptical at first, but after using it for a few days he told me to go ahead and order another for the other door.
It was quick and easy to put up...but I am going to add a few more nails/tacks for extra hold around the edges.

You just part the magnetized middle strip with your arm, walk through and the magnets snap it closed behind you.
It will make it a lot easier to get in the porch with a tray of plates, drinks, and food for the grill, too.




Those baby squirrels are getting bigger and exploring every square inch of the yard.

"I'm the king of the world"
In the kitchen...

One Sunday, the Sasquatch brought over something interesting for us to try...these unusual drinks from Jamaica.  One peanut flavor and one vanilla.

Both were rich and creamy, but the peanut was the best...a taste kind of like that "Mary Jane" chewy peanut candy.

Fun to try something unusual and different!  These were marked down in price. He's hoping they will go on "clearance" and he will buy more.



And....
In the early 1900's, my Dad's grandfather opened a saloon on Market Street in Louisville.  He was a great believer in advertising and had a variety of give-away items made up to promote his business...mugs, match cases, watch fobs, miniature jugs and so forth.  
There are a few of these items still in the family.

Earlier this week, Chopper and the Sasquatch made a stop at one of those antique/junk malls and came across one of the old advertising mugs for sale. The price was right at $3.

They emailed me a photo...


It's weird because they had mentioned the possibility of finding one as they walked in the store!  Pretty exciting for them to come across something with their great-great grandfather's picture embossed on it!  

Other family members have found them on ebay and at flea markets too. I've never found one myself, but I was given one by my parents.


What would George Deckmann, saloon owner, think about his descendants buying back his give-away promotional items?
Here he is in a photo taken behind the bar at his establishment...


And another - at a different time and with a mustache. ..


One more...


Nice that he made the effort to have these photos taken. Not many are fortunate enough to have photos of ancestors from that time period.

Chopper liked these old photos so well, he had copies framed and they're hanging in his dining room.
What would his great-great- grandfather think of that?





Sunday, April 30, 2017

April has flown by

Spring is such a busy time...it just flies by with weekly mowing, sprucing up flower beds, washing windows, and so forth.

I had started some seeds indoors...a few things for the vegetable garden, some hyacinth bean vines and seeds from a couple of different trees.

A couple of days after I had the seeds in their little cups, I came down stairs one morning to find dirt scattered and seeds missing.

It had to be the work of a mouse!


I found the hoard of seeds behind my stand mixer...some chewed open.  I just tossed them out, sanitized the whole area, replanted my seeds, and set mouse traps.
I caught two of them. I think that's all there are for now.


The pool guys were out and opened up the pool...





None of us have taken a dip yet, but I did have to scoop a poor drowned opossum out of there later that week.


I threw him over in the field not really thinking about it, then a couple of days later we had vultures flying low through the yard as they came in for a landing to have a tasty possum feast.

One was this black vulture, which I'm pretty sure is the one that was hanging around last summer. He seemed to remember that he could get a drink at the birdbath...



Then he studied the pool for a long time...    Please, no swimming!


Well, sorry to show you dead animals and scavengers!  Here is a cute baby squirrel to change things up. There's been about 4 or 5 of them scurrying around eating helicopters (maple tree seeds).


Not much time spent in the sewing room lately.

In the kitchen...a couple of new recipes.
I made these bars twice. Once for dessert on Sunday, then again for Lonnie to take for a potluck dinner at his bible class.


The recipe came from a Land O Lakes butter box so as you might imagine - it takes a lot of butter.
Really good though, sort of a toffee flavor.  Probably would be a good Christmas time treat too, but I think it's better to spread out the goodies throughout the year! 



And,

I bought a 10 pound bag of frozen chicken wings at Sam's, then searched the internet for ways to make Buffalo wings/hot wings.  

I knew I didn't want to fry them so I decided on this recipe " Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings ".
Basically, you toss the thawed wings in a mixture of baking powder and salt. This helps to draw the fat out of the skin so it will crisp up.  Bake at a low temperature for a while then at a high temperature for longer.

I wouldn't exactly say mine came out crispy but they definitely weren't soggy or greasy.


I had to order wire baking racks to use for this recipe.  I balked at buying a new kitchen item...I've done without them all this time.  But now that I have them I'm sure I'll find other uses for them.

We had the wings for Sunday dinner. Just before serving, I tossed them in a mixture of Frank's RedHot Sauce and butter.   My family liked them and there were plenty left over to send home with Chopper and the Sasquatch.

So, that about winds things up for April.   Rain in the forecast this week so maybe I will do some sewing.