Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 21, May 15, 2016

Thoughts and Quotes:  Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
                                                                                                Winston Churchill

Tea:  You might want to get a cup, because this is a really long post.

Tales:  I finished the last book of the Covington series and have really enjoyed the three ladies - Grace, Hannah, and Amelia.  At least I assume this is the last of the series.  The copyright date is 2009 and there haven't been any more books in the series for seven years.

Tasting:  Lots of it this week.  First, I tried a couple of new recipes, if you can call flavored tea a recipe.  

You mix 2 cups of instant tea powder with a package of unsweetened Kool-aid.  Store it in a covered container. Then mix 8 ounces of hot or cold water with 1 teaspoon of the mix. Sweeten to taste.

Then I made apricot syrup from dried apricots.  This really seems like more of a fall recipe, but I think you could use fresh peaches and make something wonderful.  I put it over pancakes and strawberries and it was a nice change form maple.

I also took some to my Cooking Club Sisters.  Never throw out a bottle.  They come in handy for lots of things.

(Possibly from Woman’s Day Magazine)

1 box (11 oz) dried apricots
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup light corn syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange

Cook apricots in water to cover until tender.

Drain.  Puree in blender or food mill.

Add 1/2 cup water and all the other ingredients and bring to a boil.

Simmer 10 minutes.

Store in the refrigerator and warm to serve.

Note:  I couldn’t find the apricots in a box, but used two 6 oz. pouches instead.

Tasting:  This month's Very Exclusive Cooking Club lunch was at Bev's. She really did an outstanding job.


Take a look at the napkin "rings".  Last Christmas we were going to get together and make cannoli.  I gave everyone the forms for making them as a Christmas gift, but we never could find time to get together, so Bev "repurposed" them.  This might have been a hint.


Napa Cabbage Salad

Pecan Encrusted Chicken with Bev’s Cream Sauce

Garlic Mashed Potato Pears

Green Beans/Carrot Flowers

Sister Shubert Rolls

Pistachio Layer Cake

Iced Tea



Two cups of pecans in a pretty box.



1 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
3-5 green onions (depending on size), thinly sliced
1 pkg Ramen noodles, without flavor packet
2 Tbs butter
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (optional)

1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs soy sauce

Pound Ramen noodles to break apart.  Brown them in the butter, then drain on paper towels and let cool.

Mix dressing and set aside.

Mix cabbage with onions (and seeds, if using).  Just before serving, toss with half the dressing.  Add more dressing if desired. 

Top with noodles.


3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
3/4 cup Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 6-oz container plain yogurt
3 Tbs olive oil or butter

Put each chicken breast between sheets of plastic wrap, smooth side down) gently pound with rolling pin or meat mallet until 1/2” thick.

In a shallow dish, mix the crumb mixture: bread crumbs, pecans, parsley.  Put the yogurt in a separate shallow dish. 

Dip the chicken into the yogurt and then coat it with crumb mixture.

Heat the olive oil or butter in a skillet at medium heat. 

Cook the chicken 8-10 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink and coating is golden brown.

Serve with Bev’s Cream Sauce, if desired (recipe follows)


3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup water
1 cup half and half

Melt butter in a skillet.  Stir in flour.  Add sugar, salt and pepper.

Stirring continuously, slowly add water; then blend in half and half.

Cook some onions and garlic in butter before adding flour.

Add a splash of white wine.

For Swedish meatballs, add 1/4 tsp nutmeg.


1 head of garlic
2-1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about five medium)
2 Tbs butter
1/3 cup sour cream
2 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup milk, heated
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup lightly crushed cornflakes mixed with 1 Tbs melted butter

Heat oven to 400°.

Cut 1/4” from the pointed end of the garlic.  Be sure the cloves are exposed. 

Drizzle garlic with olive oil and wrap in foil.

Scrub the potatoes and pierce them with a fork.  Put in oven for 20 minutes.

Put garlic in oven with potatoes and continue baking 35-40 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Garlic should be soft and browned.

Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the insides into a saucepan over low heat.  Squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins, into the potatoes. 

Add butter, sour cream and cream cheese.  Mash with a potato masher and add salt and pepper.

Gradually whisk in hot milk until potatoes are light and fluffy.

When cool enough to handle, form potatoes into pear shapes and cover with cornflake crumbs.  Insert skewer for stem.  Brown lightly in oven.

You’ll find Sister Shubert rolls in the freezer section at your local market.  They take about eight minutes to heat and brown in the oven.

You can find the Pistachio Layer Cake recipe here.

Tasting:  Yes, there's more.  Some friends and I went to a tea room in Branson.  It's called Ruby Lena's Tea Room, and it's what I would call a "country" tea room.  Laying the tables would be a snap, because after the placemats and napkins are laundered, you just take the next one from the stack.  You only have to check the shape of the tablecloths.

We each had the sampler plate; soup, quiche, salad, muffin.  We all chose the mushroom soup instead of strawberry.  My quiche was bacon-Swiss, Joey had chicken-pecan, and Kathy had spinach-feta.  I chose chicken salad, they both had Oriental salad.  The muffins were raisin-spice, and then we topped it all off with coconut cream pie with mile-high meringue. Of course I forgot the photos.

There's a little gift shop with things all ladies love.

I've resisted these dish so far, but they always beg to go home with me.  There's no website, but if you do a search, you'll find the the address and phone number, plus they're on Facebook.

Togs:  After lunch, we went (or should I say waddled) to Bon Worth where the Mother's Day sale was still in progress.  Yippee!  I can't resist a sale, and you'll probably guess that I like brown.

Retail - $55  I paid - $16 (pants and jacket)

Retail - $35  I paid - $6

Retail - $20  I paid - $9 (Unfortunately, they don't match the jacket and yes, I know I'm too old to wear red pants, but too bad, I like them)

Retail - $82  I paid $50

They're called Barley, Straw, Taupe, Sand, and Nutmeg.  Glad I'm not the one who has to dream up the names.   Taupe I could manage.

Thank Yous:  So many gifts this week.  Bev found all these Susan Branch calendars at a Garden Club sale - they're in pristine condition; 2007-2008 and 2010-2015.  Don't know how 2009 was skipped.  She knows I love all things Susan Branch, so she bought them for me. And if you haven't yet been introduced to Susan's heart-warming blog, you'll find it here.

The next gift was from my chosen nice Terri.  I admired hers, so she bought me one for Mother's Day.  I know it's practical, but I love it because I will be the classiest shopper at Aldi.  And can't you just see it filled with a picnic or as a carryall when I travel?  Hand woven in Africa, I think.  It actually says "hand woven African basket".  Such talent, no matter where it was done.

And then Friend Kathy, who is downsizing, brought me these: Eight place settings plus an extra cup and saucer.  What a wonderful, special gift.

And so that I can display them properly, two like-new tablecloths.

Am I blessed or what?!

Tasting:  Yes, sorry, but there's more.  Friend Joey asked for my meat loaf recipe, and I don't have one.  When I made meat loaf this week, I measured as I made it.


1 lb 80-85% lean ground beef
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 egg
3/4 of an 8 oz can tomato sauce (just pour and save the balance)
20 Ritz-style crackers, crushed

Balance of tomato sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbs brown sugar

Heat oven to 350°.

Line a baking pan with at least 1" sides with heavy foil. Oil the foil.

In large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except topping and mix well with your hands.

Shape into 4-6 mini-loaves and place in the foil-lined pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes, depending on size of loaves.

Remove from oven and drain off the grease.

Mix topping and spoon over loaves.

Bake an additional 10-15 minutes.

Tips:  My experience with my windshield replacement was posted on Consumer Affairs. If you'd like to read it, click here.

Tasting:  Last time.  I promise.  Katie Sue and I had lunch at Panera Bread today; we both had Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup and Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad with Chicken.  If you know of a Copy Cat recipe for this soup, please let me know.

We had show-and-tell cards for the next five sketches.  Katie Sue on the left; Patsy on the right.  

The bright spot behind the dress is a reflection, as the purple paper is metallic.

I even found time this week for a couple of extras.  I don't know how Katie finds time to make the hundreds of cards she produces.

Textiles:  The local art museum has a display right now from their permanent collection. How convenient that it starts with T.  Here are some of the highlights.

Imagine a tapestry which could last almost 400 years and make its way from France to Springfield, Missouri

Note that it's 8-1/2 x 14 feet.  This is just a sample.

This is an applique piece; roof and logs made of corduroy.

The crazy quilt was my favorite.

I'm sure the daffodils are a "cheater patch".

This quilt is a combination of applique (pieces of fabric stitched on) and trapunto (cotton batting between the top and the lining and then stitched to create the puffy effect).

This quilt was made in Missouri in 1862 - Civil War time.  The area was divided between Union and Confederate sympathizers, so I wonder if the eagle was to demonstrate her loyalty to the Union.

The white sections on the sides each had a different design.  Very beautiful.

Perhaps this was the precursor to the autograph book.

Some crochet (the bonnet on the right)

Bead work

This really is a pin cushion

This shirt is decorated with cowrie shells.  Imagine trying to match the sizes.

It's a night cap

But you don't have to wear it to bed.

There were dresses with waists smaller than my thigh.

And a sewing machine for traveling.  And to think I used to complain when I had to carry my travel iron.

Luckily, this hat was in disrepair, so I could see how it was made, and yes, those are wires which make the rounded shape.

All in all, I thought this was a great exhibit for such a small city.  Remember, these items are from the permanent collection.

Tunes:  When we arrived at the museum, there were people milling around in one of the wings.  There was a reception desk, so we thought they were going to have a meeting. After we finished viewing the Textiles Exhibit, we headed for the gift shop (unusual things), and we heard singing and saw brochures on the reception desk which said "Mens' Chorus", so we thought they were rehearsing.  A lady saw us and invited us to come and listen and it was an actual performance.  They harmonized very well, but were a small group.  Each member had on black slacks, a white dress shirt, and a solid brightly colored tie.  I took another look at the brochure and realized that it's a gay men's chorus and the ties represented the rainbow colors. I don't know why we hadn't heard of them, and we only heard the last two songs.  Their next performance is December 3, so they're not very active.  Anyway, I put it on my calendar, because I liked their sound.  They're looking for more members, and the website is here.

Tired:  I'm sure you've had enough of me by now, and Tired will be my description next week.  I'm giving you a break, because I'm going to spend the next two weeks Tidying and working on Things that Grow.  Unless you want to see the before and after of my neglected house and yard, I won't have much to show you.


Your life is like a book.  If you haven't traveled, you're still on page 1.  Unknown Author


Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.  Seneca, Greek Philosopher


  1. What a wonderful full post, so much to take in. I loved the tearoom and enjoyed browsing some of the recipes. I am definitely going to give the meat loaf a try.

    1. I make four-six mini-loaves from one recipe. This week I made six. Sometimes the pound of hamburger is a little more than a pound.

      I also baked four potatoes and made a carrot and cabbage salad. I had one meat loaf and one potato for dinner with the salad and a serving of corn (out of the freezer bag and into the microwave - one serving only).

      The next day I took two loaves, two potatoes, some of the salad, two servings of corn (frozen), and some cookies to my friend who is recuperating and her husband.

      For dinner, I repeated the prior day's dinner. And I have two loaves frozen (individually) for later.

      That's a lot of mileage from one pound of meat. I hope you like it. You can alter the onion and pepper amounts to your taste.

  2. So many wonderful things, too much to comment on individually, but I have to say, gosh, how stunning those quilts are, they are amazing aren't they!

    1. And didn't you love the crocheted bonnet? And I'd never heard the stories about "cheater patches" for crazy quilts.

      It WAS a busy week; so much so that I still haven't read the Five on Friday from the 13th. I meant to start on my yard today (you ladies in England make me hang my head in shame when I see yours), but it was rain, rain, rain. I'm working on my next five cards, and hope to enjoy the F on F tomorrow, as more rain expected.

  3. A week has gone by and I meant to catch up with your news and comment. I'm glad you can live life to the full and it's reflected in your weekly post. Those quilts are so beautiful and the textile exhibition is fascinating. A lot to take in and I'll be back to take a second look. Enjoy your gardening. God willing I shall look out for your next post in a couple of weeks time.

    1. I just finished the Five on Friday from May 13 last night, and now (Happy Dance), I have another week's worth waiting.

      The textiles were fascinating, and I thought, amazing that a small city like Springfield (I live in a suburb) has all that in their permanent collection. Springfield is about 200,000 I believe. Don't quote me.