Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday night brights

.....Mirror, mirror on the wall...I am my Mother after all!...............
Mother has been gone for several years now, and as I look at myself and what I choose to do and the things I want around me, my Mother seems to come out.

Mother loved gnomes, even made some in ceramics class, fire glazed so they could be placed outside. When I was out shopping with my sister here a couple of weeks ago, I spotted this little guy. I remarked to my sister, "I kind of like gnomes" and she said, "me too".

And Mother always placed the cooled cookies "piggy back" on the edge of the towel. 

I shred a 2 pound block all at one time. Place the shredded cheese on a wax paper covered jelly roll pan and set in the freezer for 1 hour. Transfer to a large freezer bag, then when you need shredded cheese, it is right there at your finger tips. I have done this for years and really enjoy the convenience.

Time with Granddaughter today included the Children' Museum and then dinner and games at Grammy's house before heading home. They grown up so fast. 

In the garden department, we have not had a lot of sun, but things are growing.

. The raspberry hedge, we should get a good crop again this year.

Not a good shot, but these bees are working hard. Not a blossom is left out!

Lots of Strawberries, we should get some this year. They have overgrown the bed. 

Mint, I will make mint jelly this year.  Oh and this sounds tasty!

I hope you had a happy and restful weekend. As always I thank you for taking the time to stop and say hello.  


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Cafe, another nice day with family and friends

The weather was not the best, but we all had a good time anyway. Granddaughter got in two walks with her Papa between rain showers, then after dinner we all played Balderdash.

I like having the house set up for guests and this vegetable tray with dip was waiting.

Vegetable tray served with Yogurt cucumber dip.

These Salmon Patties have been left behind time and time again. These are so delicious. We will be having these for dinner in the future.

Salmon Patties with Bacon, served with the Yogurt Cucumber dip. 

I had wanted to try this Rachel Ray Combo, Honey Mustard Pork Chops with Potato Broccoli Cheddar mash. I found it difficult to saute the meat without it burning due to the honey. But everyone like this dish. The recipe called for a sweet gravy/sauce to go over the meat. I did not make that, I knew it would be too sweet for our tastes. 

Honey Mustard Pork Loin Chops.

Potato Broccoli and Cheddar mash.

OK, I did not make the baked Macaroni and Cheese balls, I ran out of time and work space to prepare them in, so instead I made up a large batch of Mac and Cheese for everyone. 

From scratch Mac and Cheese. 

When I chose this recipe I did not notice it was truly intended for the grill. The recipe included an oven variation.
Maple Dijon Chicken thighs in bacon. 

These cookies are delightful. I left some plain and dropped a spoonful of lemon glaze on the rest and let it fall where it wanted!
Italian Ricotta Cookies with lemon glaze.

We also had the Red Wine Stewed Prunes served with Mascarpone cheese. These were so good! 

There was a dish of sliced and sweetened strawberries, the last of the freezer stash from last summer. And while I was getting the berries from the freezer I found a lost container of the Raspberry Port sauce. This was offered to drizzle sauce over the plain cookies. There is just enough of that sauce to stir into some yogurt for my breakfast.

Thanks family, another great day!  

Hmmm, where did the men folk disappear to, when the camera came out? Kind of like being back in school, the boys on one side and the girls on the other. Some things never change!

Tomorrow is a trip to the zoo and time with the Granddaughter. I hope your weekend is great, and thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Prunes Pouched in Red wine, or "I like prunes, how about you?"

Sometimes I think we need to concentrate on the funny foods. Like prunes. Prunes are the laughing stock of food, and such a pity. I read a recipe years ago that tried to address that issue and then went on to give the the recipe a more glamorous name. Dried Plum whatever, instead of Prune whatever. I remember the content was aimed at younger cooks and the goal was to get the cook, cooking with prunes, I mean dried plums. The nutritionist wrote about the great food value in dried plums; the minerals, the fiber, the great taste, and the convenience.
But.....can't we just say prunes?
And mean prunes?
And know that they are delicious, available in your pantry at all times (unless you forgot them at the store, which would be such a pity) and make for great foods, both sweet and savory?

We can?! Oh, OK, great.

Today I am making Prunes Poached in Red Wine, for Sunday Cafe. The recipe states to simmer and serve, but I wanted to make this a day ahead and let the cinnamon sticks add more flavor. I only made one change I used 3 cinnamon sticks, instead of only 2. I used Merlot as the dry red wine, it is what I had open.

Prunes in Red Wine
adapted from Kitchenography

1 pound pitted prunes (about 40)
1 1/4 c sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
2 1/2 c dry red wine

2 8oz containers Mascarpone cheese 

Combine in a large covered pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Transfer to a dish, cover and chill until serving time.

To serve place a large spoonful of the cheese on a rimmed plate or shallow dish, add prunes and drizzle syrup over.

Serves 8

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate it.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday and wandering about

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I am having a great time gathering these ideas and then sharing with you. My bookmarked list is very long! Full of so many ideas and recipes I will complete someday and as time or need dictates. But right now it is all about the sharing of these great ideas and recipes. Come along for the tour, won't you?

We will start in the kitchen and then move on,

Looking for a fun and tasty housewarming or cheer them up gift? How about a loaf of this Peanut Butter Bread and a jar of jam or honey.

Summer is coming, and when it finally does you will need some fresh ideas to serve along with that favorite grilled masterpiece. This looks so good and refreshing as well. Mint, just one of my favorite flavors.

And who does not love potato salad? This is beautiful and not a mayonnaise based dressing, so perfect for those out of doors meals. .

This intriguing recipe is on my list to try. I love mushrooms and look forward to serving this to family and friends. We are carnivores here, so I will probably add a couple of chicken breasts, cut into approximate size pieces.

Yes, another rhubarb recipe. I love fruit butters, and this one will be made this year. I especially like the condensed flavor of a fruit butter, rich and not too sweet.

For some non-food ideas look here,

This is a great idea, and might work well for your family. It could be you already participate in a similar project. If so, would you be so kind as to let me know how that works in your family group? Thanks in advance.

Here is a sewing project to recycle your old denim jeans and lighter weight denim clothes. This is a colorful and attractive rug that could be at home, just about anywhere.

Something fun to do with the kids. Everyone needs shoelaces.

And this one for those of us, returning to sewing after many years away.

As always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday night brights

My goal in May was more exercise and to get back to crafts. I have done a bit better with the crafts than the walking, but I will blame that on our weather. Rain, rain, hail and then more rain. Our weather this year is unusually wet and cold. Everyone is looking forward to some sunshine. The berry patch garden is growing, but slowly.  Which made it a bit difficult to brag up the garden, so let me show the crafts I have been working on.

Now keep in mind (please) I have not knitted in about 25 years. I started an infant coverlet, and dropped a stitch. Since I would like to give this as a little gift, and I do not know how to fix a dropped stitch yet, I took it apart. The yarn is very very soft, the very reason I choose it for the coverlet. I did not want to waste the unraveled yarn, but the softness of the yarn made it a bit "fuzzy" when unraveled. I felt that fuzzy look, was not what I wanted for a gift, yet the frugal part of me did not want to waste the yarn. Granddaughter asked if I was making the item for her, so I used the unraveled length to knit her a narrow winter scarf. Little necks are more comfortable with a narrow scarf, so it all worked out very well. Also starting with the scarf first helped me get the rhythm of knitting down and the coverlet is coming along nicely. I am knitting only, thereby producing a garter stitch, but I like that knobby texture, and the coverlet will be warm, yet light in weight.

Granddaughters new winter scarf.

The coverlet at about the 2 inch mark. 

What I am excited about however is the rag rugs I have decided to make. I have started with a pink one for my Granddaughter (hmmm, see a pattern here?!) and will make more as gifts. I remember my grandmother making rag rugs, and I still have her shuttles that fold the material strips before they were braided. For these beginning rugs I have chosen an easy to work with material, recycled tee shirts. I posted a little tutorial on how to cut the shirts into "yarn" and you can find it here. I made a small one for the bathroom first and I love the texture when I step out of the shower.

The start of a pink rag rug, when completed this will be a shag style rug for her bedside. 

More rag rug material! 

Then we dressed up the cat a bit.........

Agate had worn out his red leather collar, so it was time for a neck-kerchief. He does not seem to mind the soft cloth as much as he did the collar.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I love having company! Have a great Tuesday.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

The worlds best Oatmeal Muffins

 Breakfast anyone?

These muffins are tasty and the recipe is a starting point for so many delicious muffin varieties, just stir in your favorite flavor. Today I choose to make the basic recipe, they are that good. Especially with homemade jam, and I just happen to have some in the pantry.

Oatmeal Muffins
adapted from: original recipe source believed to be U.S. Army - scaled way back!
400 degree oven

3/4 c flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour - I use spelt
1 c oats
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T sugar
1 c milk
1/4 c oil
1 egg

if desired: 1 c of any of the following, berries, diced fresh banana, chopped dates, walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins, et.

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl, whisk well to combine.

Beat together milk, egg and oil. Pour over dry ingredients and stir gently to combine, take care to not over mix, batter should be lumpy.

Divide into 12 prepared muffin cups.

Bake 15 minutes or until done. Serve immediately.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

recipe rating:  Oh yes, will make again!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sunday Cafe menu, for May

I have been cooking a "cafe" type of menu for Sunday dinner for over a year now. I have also been blessed to have my family enthusiastically support my:
family connectedness
and cooking experiments at these Sunday dinners.
I keep learning as I go, and they keep helping me, by showing up!

Along the way I have selected many recipes to try and in the end either forgot them, cooked too many dishes and that last one was way to much and it got left behind or forgot an ingredient at the market and instead of substituting something else, I chose to not make it until I could make it correctly.

I think May will be the "make up" month for all dishes left behind, not made or not needed due to quantity of food already cooked. May is the perfect month for this, as we have no birthdays, anniversaries or other personal celebrations that would trump the "make up" idea. I am not counting Mother's Day as that is a national celebration and although celebrated and enjoyed, it is not in the same category as a special celebration for just one person.

May is also an "iffy" month in regards to weather. We could do an outside BBQ if is doesn't rain. We could have a lawn picnic if it is not too cold or windy. The weather here in May is fickle, and struggling to accept that the sun is suppose to shine, and the outdoor temperature is suppose to be warm.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese balls, granddaughter will love these. Offered by Jen @ bread and butter.

Salmon Patties with bacon, these have been "on the menu" more than once and left behind each time. Not this time! Offered by Carolyn @ tasting spoons. I will make these in a smaller size to offer as a starter.

The Salmon patties will be served with this yogurt based dip.This one is from, Urban Spork. I will divide the dip before adding the mint, and stir the mint into only half of the recipe. The mint portion will be served with Cherry tomatoes.

Main dish offerings:
It looks like it will be a bacon based menu! I rarely eat bacon at a meal, but love love love the flavor. Offered by Mary @ One Perfect bite.

I wanted to try these from Rachel Ray, each has flavor elements I enjoy and they are meant to be paired up. Broccoli and cheese smashed potatoes with Honey mustard pork chops. Sounds good to me. I think the potatoes will go nicely with the chicken dish as well.

Buttered green beans.

Tossed Salad.

And lets not forget dessert!
Ricotta Cheese Cookies from Lisa @ Italian Dessert Recipes.

I have wanted to make this delicious fruit dessert for some time now, and this will be the day. I think this will  pair nicely with the cookies. From Kitchenography.

For those that might enjoy a lighter prepared fruit with their cookie, a bowl of lightly sweetened sliced Strawberries.

As always thanks for  taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate your dropping by.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday and wandering about

Happy Wednesday to everyone!

With that said, lets get started, there is a lot to look at.

It is strawberry time, and what a way to enjoy your berries, take a look at how Rocquie prepares these. I visit her blog regularly, always great stuff. Thanks Rocquie, oh and I still love those cheese crackers.

And right after the strawberries, comes blackberries. Recipes like this are why I grow rhubarb. Such yummy treats to enjoy....

Father's Day is coming, how about these for breakfast? He will thank you, really.

Looking for more creative ways to use Quinoa? Look here, another great whole grain recipe.

These could be a pantry special. Elegant, yet the ingredients are right there ready to use.

Because there is more to life than food, look at this creative way to re-purpose furniture.

Do you have a plastic bucket? Do you like potatoes? You can grown your own, look here.

Bottle caps, and photos? Look here, these are great. Would make a great gift too.

And last but not least, I love things that make me think. This simply struck a cord in me.

I hope your week is going great, with it being Wednesday, the weekend is not far behind. As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, it is always nice to have visitors.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday night brights, LU

Honey's Portland Brother bought a boat as I have mentioned previously. It has become a joint project with  Honey busy on the woodwork, while the PB worked on the electrical. They each have shared in the task of the outside hull, which includes sanding and patching and general cleaning. Honey had been real excited about this little project, and I have been happy to see him spend time with the PB and help out. Anything that brings brothers together for some shared good times is fine by me.

But then out of the blue I started hearing "she" and now it is "we" and I thought maybe I should go have a little look at this "project" and make sure everything is on the up and up.

Well I could not believe my eyes, She does exist and her name is LU, probably short for  Lulabelle or some such nonsense! Oh and she is from Oregon. So apparently it is fairly serious, because my Honey is crossing a state line to spend time with her. He said she is 30 years old. Now I don't want to sound put off by this whole thing, but if you ask me, She looks a lot older than 30!

Honey was explaining that he is having a blast with her, best time he has had in years. He said that it is not that he doesn't have fun with me, but she is built for the water, and well I am not. Honey said I could come along when she is all pretty and ready to go, but come on, what else could the man say?

It is open water or bust! And that is the way it is going to be, period.

Honey did indicate that as soon as they can, he and the PB are going to get her moved to her own little place. Some nice little quiet spot, right on the water. She has some special needs, for one thing a place of her own that will allow her mast to be upright and on her. Right now it is on the ground behind her. Oh and easy access to get to her, and then of course out to the water.

A man and his boat, it's a wonderful thing!

I kinda like LU, she is a lot like me actually. Not perfect and just wants to have a little fun with Honey!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop by and read today's little chapter, it was fun to write and give a little slant to the story! 


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Graham Cracker Crumb Cake

Deciding what to make this morning, did not come easy. I have been stricken with little appetite, a very rare occurrence for me! Usually I cook more than two people can eat, and then eat more than one person should! But I am sure my old appetite will return momentarily, it always does!

This morning, I have once again turned to my little black book, deciding on the Graham Cracker Crumb Cake. I think this originally was clipped out of a Sunset magazine, many years ago. I always keep graham crackers in the pantry. Granddaughter loves them and I have had a fondness for them for years, not in the usual "milk and graham crackers" way, but as little peanut butter sandwiches. I still take little graham cracker and peanut butter "sandwiches" as my lunch. Oh and lets not forget buttered. Crisp, lightly sweet cracker with creamy, mild salty butter, yum. Cake anyone? Lets get started.....

 The easiest way to make the crumbs, is to use the grater disk on your processor.

Graham Cracker Crumb Cake
adapted from Sunset Magazine (I believe)
350 degree oven

1/2 plus 1 T flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c butter
2/3 c brown sugar
2/3 c sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 c buttermilk

Combine all dry ingredients, stirring well and set aside. Cream butter, add sugars, beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla, 1/2 dry ingredients and 1/3 of the butter milk. Mix well. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and 1/3 of the buttermilk, mixing well. Mix in remaining buttermilk bringing any drier ingredients up from bottom of the bowl.

Pour into a prepared 9 inch square pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes.
Serves 8-10

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate it. Have a fun day.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cheeseburger Scalloped Potatoes, some days, dinner like this, will do

Some days/weeks are better than others. And along that same thought, some days/weeks are busier than others. I had one of those weeks! How about you?

Warning: the following words are a feeble attempt to convince the family that this is a "good" dinner!

That seems to be the constant theme; across the blogsphere, myself included. I am (hopefully) on the brink of many changes, change I have worked for and hope will culminate in a final outcome that is, recognizable to my "blueprint" of the original thought. I know I am not alone in the change lane, for one thing is absolutely true. Change is going to happen, regardless of our own personal opinion. We change or are left behind in the change.

Now you might ask, what on earth does that have to do with dinner? Well as the title suggests, some days a dinner like this will do. The focus is on feeding the family a good meal; and sometimes that needs to be a simple affair, so that other tasks can be completed as well. Often I have landed on a blog or article that talks about simple meals, and that author is brave enough to put it out there. By that I mean they tell you what they are eating, and give you the nitty gritty details. Sometimes it is not pretty, but when you look at the sum of the parts, why would it not taste good when put together? Today I took a step toward brave!

Cheeseburger scalloped potatoes
a slow cooker meal - I used a 6QT

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained of excess fat
6 potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thin (peel if that is your preference)
3 T flour
2 T dried onion
rounded 1/2 t thyme leaves, crushed
garlic salt
1 1/2 c beef stock
1/2 c milk
2 c grated cheddar cheese - divided

Slice 3 of the potatoes and place in the bottom of a slow cooker, sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper and half of  the flour. Add the ground beef, sprinkle with the thyme and dried onions. Slice the remaining 3 potatoes and layer over the beef. Sprinkle with the remaining  flour, more garlic salt and pepper. Bring stock to a boil, add milk and pour over the mixture. Sprinkle with half (1 c) of the cheddar cheese, cover and cook on high, 4 hours. 

Remove cover, pierce top potato layer. If tender, cover with the remaining cheese, recover and let rest 30 minutes before serving. If potatoes are not tender cook addition 30 minutes then sprinkle with cheese, cover and let rest. Serves 4 - 6

Serve with something green and something fruit and dinner is done! Simple and tasty, yes a brave dinner!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I do appreciate your time.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

This post is linked to Make it from scratch.

This post is shared with:

Sad Saturday @ An Oregon Cottage

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday and wandering about

Why I did not think of this middle of the week display of links sooner, is beyond me.

There is so many tasks I must get done with work and a house to keep. But beyond that, there are so many things I want to do. These are the ones I have begun to think about more and more, the want list. Everyone needs to have a little fun! So lets get started.

If you want to learn how to knit (or return to knitting), this is a great feature at Suburban Jubilee. Many years ago I taught myself to knit, I made a sweater vest for my son and a poncho for my daughter. I am looking forward to knitting once again.

Also at Suburban Jubilee, re-purposed curtain. A great idea. This idea goes hand in hand with picking up a curtains at your favorite thrift store and re-purposing the cloth.

Mending and patching are coming back, as are many of the lost skills from years ago. This is a great tutorial on patching, from Firesign Farm.

For general fun and great ideas, check out That Artist Woman. She is an elementary school educator, with a great flair for art. A great resource, and lots of photos to help along the way. All posts are age appropriate.

Homemade spill resistant drinking cups. A great idea for any age. Personally I don't (usually) spill, but an open top drinking glass will let your drink become contaminated, especially if you are outside in the beautiful sunshine.

Because everyone loves a whoopie pie. That is what these are, Carrot cake whoopie pies!

Healthy snacks that are also delicious, bring them on. These are also easy as well as thrifty.

Looking for a new way to cook those beautiful beets that arrived in your CSA? Look here.

Puffy pizza casserole, I hear Saturday afternoon calling for this one. Knife and fork pizza, sometimes I don't want to eat with my hands.

What did you find in your travels this week?

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding Cake

The weekend was quiet and delightful. I was treated to a wonderful home cooked dinner, the kids made grilled pizzas and it was a lovely day. Sunny, surrounded by family and having a nice meal together. As I have said before, I have been blessed as a Mother, a big Thank You to all my kids!

Some of the wonderful gifts received, all my favorites, cookbooks and hand picked flowers. 

Saturday offered a bit of time to go thrifting and I found this birthday celebration plate. The honored guest will be served on this plate in the future! 

It is still chilly and rainy here. Honey left this message for me this evening. It will be nice to sit and enjoy a fire tonight. 

If you look close, you can see the 20+ foot branch that fell from the tree. The green boughs filled a large yard recycling can. So far we have been real lucky, no one has been present when these have fallen. We will cut this up in a few days and put it in the camping wood pile. 

Honey is reading this book on sailing. His Portland Brother now has a boat, and they will be sailing as soon as is possible. Honey is very excited, he wants to camp from the boat. The man loves the water!

Speaking of the boat, Portland Brother is rebuilding all the electric stuff and Honey is rebuilding all the wood stuff. This is one of the drawers from the galley. It looks like there is no bottom in the drawer, but it is rebuilt with plexi-glass as the bottom. Since galleys tend to be darkish, this will help when trying to find something in the bottom of the drawer.

Agate is usually camera shy, but while trying to capture a shot of the sailing book, for some reason He wanted to be in the thick of things. This shot of him turned out fairly well.

And now something more! 
I had mentioned this crockpot pudding cake on Friday. I even gave the link to the recipe. And then I made it! I ate some warm, and honestly I did not like it. For some reason I do not like the flavor of warm peanut butter. But when this cooled, YUM!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pudding Cake
Use a 4 Qt cooker

1 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 t baking powder
 1/2 t salt
Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

1/2 peanut butter(warming the PB in the micro for 30 seconds will make this easier)
1/2 c milk
1 T oil
1 t vanilla
Carefully whisk together in a medium size bowl. When smooth pour over the flour mixture and combine. 

Spray the cooker insert with Pam and spoon the batter into the bottom. Smooth the top. 

1/2 sugar
3 T cocoa
1 c boiling water
Carefully stir together until smooth, pour slowly over the cake batter in the cooker. 

Cover and cook on high 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Let cool, serve with ice cream.
Serves 8

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for taking the time to stop and say hello! I do appreciate your time.