Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 23, May 29, 2016

Thoughts and Quotes
If you would plant for a day, plant flowers.
If you would plant for years, plant trees.
If you would plant for eternity, plant ideas.                        
                                                                           Unknown

Things That Grow:  Looks as if eternity will have to wait, because I stuck to my plan and worked in the yard.

Interesting things in my back yard this week.  First of all, these black birds kept coming each morning, and as if they'd formed a search party, they spread out and marched across the yard, each pausing at times to snatch a bite.  I don't know if they were eating seeds or bugs, but they seemed to have a plan which worked. 


Take note of the weeds growing behind my fence. I back up to a hay field and the weeds are a constant nuisance.  Also note the bushes which need to be pruned and the grape hyacinth remains which need to be trimmed.  I took this photo from my bedroom window and the roses had not yet bloomed.

Here we are a few days later.  I used my secret weapon to move things along (money).  I had my mowing guys here one day and Steg trimmed my bushes and the others helped with all kinds of things.  Take a look at the roses now, and the spiffy-looking bushes.  There are still some daffodil remains because I need to know where they're planted as I'm moving bulbs from my raised bed to the fence, and the weeds behind the fence have been chopped down.



More Things That Grow:  Turn your back one minute, and the turnips get this big.


Miscellaneous T:  Turtles migrate from our little lake and sometimes get under my gate. Then they can't find a way out, as the backyard is fenced all the way around.  I have to get a shovel and move them to Martha's backyard (not fenced), so they can be on their way. They just stay in their shells and wait to be airlifted.  They don't try to come out and jump off the shovel, but I often wonder what goes through their minds as they take a ride on that shovel.


And I routed out the cutest little toad while I was pulling weeds in the raised garden.  He was exactly the color of the soil.  I wanted a photo, but he hightailed it out of there when I went for the camera.

So - interesting T's in my backyard this week:  Turnips, Toads, and Turtles.

Things That Grow: In the Tanger Outlet Mall parking lot.  Joey and I both loved this plant, but we haven't a clue what it is.  My best answers come from the internet, so help!  Does anyone know what this is called?



And speaking of Tanger, we were returning a sweater Joey bought on the last trip, and we both bought more Togs.  No will power - not even a little smidgen - when it comes to a sale.

Time for Others:  I got rained out one day, so I made 4th of July cards.  For our cousins in other countries, that's our Independence Day - the day we flew out of the nest.  


I also made up packets for Katie's card class.  Ladies - they're already at Katie's, ready for pickup.


And I finished my five cards for the Katie-Patsy fixed layouts, but I stole one to use and had to make another.


Another Miscellaneous T: Things That Fly:  Artivities, the art studio on Commercial had a program this month called "Orange is the New Green".  The purpose is to call attention to the plight of the Monarch butterfly, whose numbers are declining each year due to diminishing habitats.  They're promoting the planting of milkweed seeds, the blossoms of which the Monarchs prefer for feeding.  I missed the fashion show, which highlighted the Monarchs, but Joey and I stopped by yesterday for the art exhibit and the paper Monarchs hanging from the ceiling.  



There were butterfly trees



And wall hangings



Even a ceramic butterfly bowl


If you're seeking an art class or want to learn how to use a potter's wheel, the web address is here.

Tips:  A quick one.  To cook bacon in the oven, start with a cold oven.  Put the bacon on a cookie sheet, put in the oven, turn to 400 degrees and put the timer on for 17 minutes.  It worked for me.

Togs:  As promised, they're the last item this week.  Remember, I don't always wear these on the day I take the photo.  I'd hardly want to wear white pants while working in the yard.  I will, however, only show clothes which fit me NOW.  This will be my motivation to take off some fat.  My summer uniform is white pants, black pants, navy pants, with an occasional beige or bright color thrown in.  And I wear only ankle length.  Too old to show these tired old legs. 

Day 1, May 23


Day 2, May 24

I wore this the day Katie and I went to the Textiles exhibit.  I told her that I felt like an impostor.  I wanted to say to people, "I've misplaced my yacht.  Have you seen my yacht anywhere?".


Day 3, May 25


Day 4, May 26 

Difficult to make out, but there are black beads.


Day 5, May 27

I wore this to Wal-mart to buy more mulch.  A good Wal-mart outfit, but not a good idea to wear white pants when loading bags of mulch.


Day 6, May 28

Wore this yesterday when Joey and I went to Neighbors Mill for lunch and forgot the foodie photos AGAIN.  What's the matter with me?


Day 7, May 29


Next week will be another short post.  Moving from Things That Grow to Tidying.  My house is long overdue.  I still need an hour a day in the yard to finish up, but mostly I'll be washing windows and cleaning carpets - things where you need to open the windows.  I want to finish before the summer heat arrives.  Then fun - fun - fun.  I can scarcely wait!

PLANT SOME MILKWEED

EAT THE RAINBOW COLORS OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

GET SOME SUN BUT USE SUNSCREEN

ON MEMORIAL DAY, REMEMBER THOSE WHO DIED FOR OUR FREEDOM AND ALSO OUR LOVED ONES WHO ARE WAITING ON THE OTHER SIDE 

 THANK YOU FOR SHARING MY LIFE




Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 22, May 22, 2016

Tickety-Boo:  Pain au chocolat in an instant.  Lorrie at Fabric Paper Thread shared these in her Five on Friday blogpost last week.  Take a look here.  Scroll down to the fifth item.

I promised you a break this week, so here goes.

Time for Others:  I resolved to send more cards.  I made up my five from our fixed layouts, but will post those after Katie and I get together when she returns from her trip.  I made three others while I was in the mood.




Tidying:  I spent so much time looking for things that I decided to reorganize my papers, stick-ons, and backgrounds.  I spent two days at it.  I had no idea that I'd accumulated so much.  Time to Share:  I made up some packets for Katie's seven card students.  Each one contains this:


Card Ladies, if you're reading this, I'll get the packets to Katie in time for you to pick them up on June 1.

And then I gathered some overstock for Katie's classes:


 There's a lot more here than you'd think.  I'll bet it doesn't miss weighing 3 pounds by much.

Tidying:  There's more.  The organizing bug really hit me.  I started on my clothes.  I need lots more time to do clothes.  I gathered up some which I'm too fat to wear and took them to Friend Kathy who recently lost a lot of weight.


And I told Friend Joey that I could go weeks without wearing the same outfit twice.  We talked about this a bit, and then I got curious; so much so, that starting tomorrow, I'm going to put together a different outfit each day and see how long I can go.  I won't cheat.  If it's too small, I won't use it.  This should give me some incentive to lose weight.  I have some really pretty things I can't wear.  Also,  I'll use some things twice.  I certainly don't need enough black or white pants to go with all the tops.  And I might use a top with different pants, or scarf, etc., but no outfit will be a duplicate.  This doesn't mean that I'll wear each one that day.  I'm not going to wear white pants to work in the yard or a sequined top to clean house.  By the time I'm finished, I'll have my clothes all organized and this will seem like a game and won't be so overwhelming as doing it all at once.  Of course, photos, but I'll put them at the end of the post so you can skip over them if you wish.

Thank you:  I kept getting books in the mail which go with the set I'm collecting.  I had just ordered some books, but I'm making up three sets for others, but I didn't remember ordering some of the ones I received.  As it turned out, Brother Danny surprised me with the last five to complete my set.  I'm only missing Sporting Scene because I doubt that I'll be doing any deer, pheasant, quail, or wild turkey hunting.  Isn't this exciting?  What a thoughful brother.


Things that Grow:  Now I'm working in my long-neglected yard, so next week will be another short post.  Those ladies from Five on Friday post photos of their gardens and got me inspired.  If you haven't checked them out yet, go here.  Amy has this all organized.  She's the dearest, sweetest lady you'd ever hope to meet.  After you see her Five, there will be a lot of names.  Click on the first one and view her five.  Close that window and you'll go back to the list for the next name.  You'll see why I'm feeling like a second class citizen with my yard of weeds.

Travel:  Actually former Travel.  I told you I'd share some of the photos from the Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa.  If you've never been to one, please put it on your list.  The street sweeping is lots of fun.











This little guy had enough and threw his broom down.

I was on a bus tour and we also went to John Wayne's birthplace and the Amana Colonies. The tulip festival also included a flower show and I toured the home of the founder of the city.  If you're interested in more, let me know and I'll put more photos in next week's post, because it will also be a short one.

Sorry, I forgot to tell you to make a wish on the Flower Moon on May 21.  I'll try to do better in June.

Thoughts and Quotes:  Most worthwhile achievements are the result of many little things done in a single direction.
                                                                                                Dr. Nido Qubein

 I'll try to remember this tomorrow when I'm pulling weeds.

MISERY LOVES COMPANY - WORK IN YOUR YARD



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.


APRICOT SYRUP
(Possibly from Woman’s Day Magazine)

1 box (11 oz) dried apricots
Water
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.

THE TABLE



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.

THE MENU

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

THE FOOD 









THE PARTY FAVORS


Two cups of pecans in a pretty box.

THE RECIPES

NAPA CABBAGE SALAD

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)

Dressing:
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.

PECAN ENCRUSTED CHICKEN

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)

BEV’S CREAM SAUCE

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.

Variations:
Cook some onions and garlic in butter before adding flour.

Add a splash of white wine.

For Swedish meatballs, add 1/4 tsp nutmeg.

GARLIC MASHED POTATO PEARS

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.

MEAT LOAF
Patsy

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

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

Heat oven to 350°.

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

Shape into 4-6 mini-loaves.

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

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.

PLAN A LITTLE TRIP
  REMEMBER

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

and

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