Sunday, May 28, 2017

Week 75, 5-28-2017

Thoughts and Quotes:  In the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy.
                                                                             Karl Reiland

If this is true, there are two happy fellows running around right now. They're a couple of everyday heroes who made a difference in my life.

First is David at Resolve It Computers. Last week I said that I'd call my hero Ben, but it was David who answered the phone and came to my rescue. I took my computer in on Tuesday, and David ordered my new hard drive (which takes two days to receive), replaced the old drive, transferred my files, searched for and removed any viruses, and delivered my computer back by 4:30 p.m. on Friday and hooked it all back up so I could do my blog post today. You can find them HERE.

Second is Bev's (from my Cooking Club) husband, Bill, who spent two days painting my patio furniture to help me in my quest to "catch up".  It looks like new.

First the outside black furniture



And then the inside white furniture




Now I can enjoy the screened-in patio again and even barbecue on my expensive, state-of-the-art Walmart grill


Things that Grow: I haven't made much progress on the books, but this is what I've been doing instead:

The patio pots





I even found a patio tomato plant


I have three raised-bed gardens I'm planting. Wonder if I'll finish before winter?

The south one is flowers. The larkspur (I think) plus a couple of other plants came back from last year.


The opposite end is planted with tulips. If I put them along the fence, the moles eat the bulbs. I ended up with a few imposter daffodils which I'll transplant as soon as the leaves die back more. Moles don't like them, so they can go by the fence.


The north bed is vegetables. I think I overdid the turnips. They'll need to be thinned soon.


I planted carrots here, but I think I'm getting a nice crop of crabgrass. It sure doesn't look like carrots to me.


Still working on the middle bed. I put in some plants which were 98 cents at Aldi. Another tomato, a banana pepper and a jalapeno pepper. By the following day, the leaves were gone from the banana pepper. Squirrels? We don't have rabbits. All the green at the far end is crabgrass. Yuck!

I'll move the red storm lilies as soon as they finish blooming.


They do well over by the fence


Tips: If you dislike working in the yard as much as I do, make yourself a cute sun hat with a cheap straw hat, odds and ends of silk flowers, and a glue gun. Might as well add fun whenever you get the chance.


I didn't do very well on my National days. 
Last week: Chocolate chip day - 1/4 to 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 6 oz milk, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes in the microwave on high, and instant hot chocolate.


Coquilles Saint Jacques Day. I'm pretty much a purist when it comes to meat and vegetables, so I had seared scallops with boiled and buttered Yukon Gold potato, corn, and tomato wedges.



Cherry Cobbler Day: I had a jar of dark cherries, so I made Quick Cobbler. Since you put the batter in first and then the fruit, the juice turned my batter an ugly brown color. Tasted okay though.




No Dirty Dishes Day: I picked up Chinese - enough for two meals.



Quiche Lorraine Day: I made quiche, but not Lorraine. Mine was unique. Spam and green olives. The second theme lunch for June is Aloha Luau. When I did it in real time, I made macaroni salad with Spam, but I'm revising the menu for the book and I want something lighter, so thought maybe a tossed green salad with little Spam cubes.Then I had fried Spam and eggs for breakfast one morning and tossed the rest into the quiche. With the added green olives, it was very salty - right up my alley.



Quiche is so easy: An unbaked pie crust, 3 eggs, 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of grated cheese. Add whatever else you like, and any combination of cheeses will work. Bake the pie shell about ten minutes at 350 before you add the filling; bake another 30 minutes. That's it.

I was a total failure with last week's National days, even though they were fairly easy. Sorry.


Theme Dining: The first June theme lunch is Berry Bonanza.

The Invitations



The Table




The Menu


The Food



The Party Favors (Raspberry Candy Bars)


The Recipes

CRANBERRY CHICKEN

10-12 chicken tenders
1 15 oz can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 small bottle French dressing
1 envelope Lipton’s onion soup mix

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all but chicken in large mixing bowl, mixing well.

Add chicken and stir to cover each piece.

Dump into a 13” X 9” baking dish.

Bake 25-30 minutes.


Note:  For a sweeter version, use Catalina dressing.

RICE PILAF

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1 cup raw rice
2 cups hot beef or chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Toasted sliced almonds for garnish, optional

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan.

Add onion and sauté until transparent.

Add rice and toast briefly, stirring constantly.

Add hot broth all at once.

Cover and simmer over lowest heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally after first ten minutes.

Garnish with almonds.

Note: You may add anything else you like: sautéed celery, mushrooms, herbs, etc. For Cherry Rice Pilaf, add chopped dried cherries with the rice.

 BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsps (1Tbs +1 tsp) baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 eggs
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
4-5 Tbs sugar for topping

Heat oven to 400°.

Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.

Mix the milk, oil, and eggs and pour it into the well.

Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fold in blueberries.

Fill greased muffin tins (or paper baking cups) 2/3 full. Sprinkle sugar over the tops.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

Note: Recipe makes 24 muffins – easily halved to make only 12 if you wish.

STRAWBERRY THUMBPRINT COOKIES

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, separated
1-1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup chopped almonds
Strawberry or other jam

Heat oven to 300°.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk in a medium bowl until fluffy.

Stir in the flour and gather the dough into a ball.

Chill several hours.

Roll level teaspoonful of dough into balls.

Dip in slightly beaten egg white and roll in almonds.

Place 1” apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Press an indentation in each and fill with jam.  They’re called thumbprint cookies, but my middle finger works much better.

Bake for 20 minutes.

This recipe works well with any flavor of jam.  Just be sure it’s nice and thick.  You can also skip dipping them in egg white and rolling them in almonds if you want a smooth cookie – no crunch.

BLUEBERRY MINI-CHEESECAKES

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
24 vanilla cookie halves (see note)
1 21-ounce can of blueberry pie filling, chilled in can

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line muffin tins with 24 paper baking cups and put a cookie half in the bottom of each with the fancy side up.

Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and lemon juice until light and fluffy.  Divide between the muffin cups, spooning evenly over cookie halves.

Bake 10-15 minutes until set.  Check at 10 minutes.

When cool, spoon the pie filling sparingly over each cheesecake.  Chill.

To serve, remove paper baking cup and place the cheesecakes on serving dish.

Note:  I used to buy vanilla wafers for the crust, but now they’re too small.  I buy a bag of cheap vanilla sandwich cookies and take them apart, discarding the filling.  If you only find chocolate on one side and vanilla on the other side cookies, save the chocolate sides for chocolate cheesecakes or whirl them in the blender or crush with a rolling pin to use for making a chocolate cookie pie crust.  Freeze the leftover cookie halves until you need them.

For the parfaits, simple layer strawberry pudding made from an instandt pudding mix, crushed strawberries mixed with sugar, and Cool Whip.

I hope I can finish the second theme lunch for next week. We'll see. Still working on things that grow.

MEMORIAL DAY
2017

REMEMBERING THOSE WHO HAVE FOUGHT AND THOSE WHO HAVE DIED FOR OUR FREEDOM

THOSE WHO ARE SERVING TO PRESERVE IT

AND LOVED ONES WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US

6 comments:

  1. Loved the table settings and menu for June, I loved the recipe for cranberry chicken.

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    Replies
    1. The cranberry chicken recipe is also good with pork chops. So easy. Sounds weird, but really good. You don't even brown the chicken first.

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  2. Hey there Sweetheart!! Sorry I've been absent this week. I'm so happy that you got your computer fixed. Yay for those wonderful helper folks!! And your patio furniture looks magnificent! Yay Bill! What a lovely place to have a BBQ meal. Perfection.

    And look at your little Patsy green thumb worker bee!! Everything is looking great. But my favorite is that gardening hat! ;) Brilliant.

    I love the theme meals. And that berry one is genius for making such a fun menu! I don't think I've ever met a berry I didn't like. Lol

    I just sent you an email too, with a bit of an update. Blessings to you Dear Friend. Hugs to Pepper! xoxo

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    Replies
    1. Missed you, but I understand. As you may have noticed, my postings have been shorter, but I'm making progress in the yard. Soon, I hope, I can do something which doesn't put dirt under my fingernails.

      Thank you for all your sweet comments. You're my girl!

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  3. I am lucky I have the computer specialist at home, my husband ! I love your furniture, would suit me too !

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    Replies
    1. When I lived in California, I depended on my son; now I just pay the bill.

      Now that the furniture is painted, you'll be seeing more of it - like on the June 4 post of the June tea.

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