Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week 62, 2-26-2017

Thoughts and QuotesDon’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality.  If you can dream it, you can make it so.
                                                                                Belva Davis

She should have added, "If it doesn't kill you first". Or maybe, "If it doesn't bankrupt you first". That's how I'm feeling about these books. I was so tired one day this week, I went to bed at 9:30 p.m., read until 10:00 p.m. and got up at 8:00 a.m. And my grocery bill this month looks like I have a family of eight. But - I'm making progress on the books.

Tablescapes: I finished the purple one. I've decided to call it Passion for Purple, because it certainly is purple. When Joey learned that I was looking for purple flowers, she brought me a beautiful bouquet. When I got out the dishes, I discovered that sometime in the past I bought a garland of purple flowers and put it in the box with the dishes. So now the dilemma. Do I use the real flowers or the fake garland? I hope you'll give me some feedback on this, please.

Real flowers

Silk flowers

Theme Dinners: I already had photos of the table, which aren't great, but I think I'll use them anyway. It's Buon Appetito.

I had photos of the party favors - a book about Italy, which I found at Dollar Tree. You can see them (wrapped) beside each plate.

And bookmarks I made. I'm probably the only one who read the book.

I redid the menu and left off tiramisu because no one really likes it, and I added the faux wine. It's actually cherry juice made by Juicy Juice and really good. Jucy Juices don't have added sugar.

Took a photo of the invitation

But I didn't have photos of the food, so I had to make it again.

I'm not posting the lasagna recipe, because it's a whole lot of work and not that great. I'll work on it later; can't look another bite of lasagna in the eye right now. However, I found a recipe for panna cotta made with sour cream, which I do really like. Here's the LINK.

And I think you'll like making the breadsticks because they're so easy and really good.


Refrigerated breadsticks
Melted butter
Tea leaves, Italian seasoning, rosemary, chives, sea salt, Parmesan, lavender, garlic or onion powder, sesame seeds, etc.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Brush breadsticks with butter and sprinkle with one or more of the above.  Go easy with the salt.

Bake on parchment or foil lined cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes.

I'm working on the Cardinal Tea, I still have to do Scarlett's Favorites Theme Dinner, and the Yearning for Spring Tablescape and only two days left in February. 

For Muffin Tin Monday, I made the Morning Glory Muffins again. They're so good, and full of things which are good for you - pineapple, apples, carrots, raisins, walnuts, coconut. I posted the recipe on Year 2, Week 7. They're rather a pain to make, but worth the work.

Tidy Up Tuesday was another Lick and Promise cleaning. Poor house, patiently waiting for a good deep clean.

Where to Wednesday, Bill, Joey and I went to Joplin so Bill could see Sonny's paver at the Veterans Memorial. It was a beautiful sunny day and Becky had taped a red rose as a marker so we could find it easily. I took lots of photos of the Memorial which I posted on Year 1, Week 47. I did take one photo which I somehow missed before.

Jim met us for lunch in Joplin, and this is what you see the minute you walk in the door.

They sell a lot of pie.

This is in the lobby, but your eye somehow goes right to the pies.

For Try Something Thursday, I tried making my lasagna without pre-cooking the noodles. My daughter does it, my brother does it, my nephew does it, the lady at Walmart does it, and I tried it. The corners where there wasn't much sauce were crispy, and the bottom layer where there was some overlapping were cooked, but not as soft as I'd like them. When I work that recipe over, I hope I can figure it out, because it would certainly save time.

Friends Over Friday happened on Thursday, when friends came to eat the Buon Appetito dinner. I hit the wall on Friday and dragged around all day.

Tasting: Thursday was Very Exclusive Cooking Club lunch at Bev's. We're down to three members now, so could add a fourth if anyone is interested. 

We had "Mouse" salad

Beer and cheese soup with popcorn croutons

Sister Shubert rolls

And chocolate cake with four fillings: Chocolate, almond, peanut butter, and cherry.

She made the cake in a "'Fillables" pan

This is the first time I'd seen one of these pans, but I discovered that they come in other shapes, as well. Here's the LINK, and click on Pans.

We got yummy peanut butter fudge in these sweet little boxes as our party favors. I took a photo of the fudge, but didn't notice the page of names, addresses and phone numbers of Bev's Bunco Club next to it, so can't show you. I need to learn how to crop photos. Later.

And Mim brought me these sweet little salt and pepper shakers. I love them.

The Pepper Report: I left the front door ajar Thursday night, so Joey, Robert, and Bill could just come on in, since I was busy in the kitchen. It blew open, and then Robert closed it, but it blew open again before Bill arrived. Somewhere in between, Pepper decided to go outside. We looked all over the house, but thought he probably went out because when he's inside, he wants to be where the people are.

I called him in the front. I called him in the back. No Pepper. We finished dinner and were playing dominoes with the door open since we'd had a day in the upper 70's and the evening was still warm. After a bit, Pepper came walking in the front door. Guess he truly has become a house cat. Later I discovered why he came in. He needed to go to the bathroom.

The Unexpected: Thursday we were running around outside in short sleeves. Today was overcast, and suddenly this:

My poor daffodils

And then it melted. By the time I went to the market in the late afternoon, it had all disappeared.

I'll finish February this week and March will be much easier - and I want to finish a book I'm reading by accident so I can tell you about it. Fascinating read.








Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week 61, 2-19-2017

Thoughts and Quotes:  Burp!       Me

Another week centered around food. This has to stop, but it's so much fun.

Monday night was my date night with Steg (Sally's husband) and the restaurants were jammed. I think everyone figured that Valentine's Day on Tuesday would be busy, so they went out Monday. We ended up eating burgers at Red Robin.

I made the food so I could take photos for my Theme Dining book. And I redid the menu, so Winter Wonderland is finished.

Baked Alaska is easy and makes a nice presentation. After experimenting, I found that this method works best:

Need to start the day before serving

1 cake (scratch or box) baked in a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan
 1 rectangular box of ice cream
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cut cake into squares or circles, or any desired shape.

Cut a 1” slab of ice cream horizontally; cut circles with the same cutter used for the cake, or squares same size, from slab.

Spread thin layer of jelly over cake.

Top with ice cream and put in freezer.

Beat egg whites until frothy.  Add cream of tartar and continue beating until foamy.

Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.   Beat in vanilla.

Frost “Alaskas” and return to freezer overnight.

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Just before serving, bake “Alaskas” 2 or 3 minutes or until browned.

Serve surrounded by fruit puree or chopped fruit.

Note:  Recipe is for individual “Alaskas”.   Make a multi-serving round or square “Alaska” (using only one layer of cake) by the same method.  Height of cake or ice cream is your choice in either method.

To make the strawberry puree, I just chop up fresh strawberries, mash them a little, and add sugar. No need to get out the blender.

And since I had all that food, Steg, Sally, and Martha joined me for dinner.

Lunch out on Wednesday, Dinner out on Wednesday, lunch out on Friday and I grabbed a sandwich at Subway on Thursday. Saturday I made Mexican food (my version - Mexicans wouldn't recognize it): Chicken enchiladas, hearty Spanish rice (made with hamburger and topped with sour cream), chile relleno casserole, bean salad, and tortilla chips. 

When I was a teenager, my friend Linda would make this Spanish rice (the recipe was on the Minute Rice box), and we'd have it with a can of green beans and bread and butter. Life used to be so much simpler.

From Minute Rice box

1 lb hamburger, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 green pepper, chopped
2 small onions, cut in half and thinly slice
2 cups Minute Rice, uncooked
3 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 8 oz. cans water
Sour cream, optional

Brown hamburger in a large skillet.

Add rice.

Add green pepper and onions, mix.

Add tomato sauce and water.

Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until right amount of liquid has been absorbed.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

And that's not all. 

Muffin Tin Monday: I had one banana which was really ripe, so I made half a recipe of banana muffins.

The three V's: Very Quick, Very Easy, and Very Good. Here's the recipe.

Bellevue Women’s Ministry-Joy Garcia

1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 tsps cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil

Heat oven to 400°.

Grease muffin tins (makes 18).

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

In another bowl, mix wet ingredients and pour into well.

Mix just until moistened.

Bake 15-18 minutes.

Note: Use spoon to mix wet and dry ingredients. Whisking makes them tough.

Tidy Up Tuesday became Friends Over Friday.

Where to Wednesday was back to Beth's Bake Shoppe. No, it's not in New Mexico; it's in Springfield, Missouri.

The eating area is surrounded by cake replicas.

So Robert decided to just have a cup of broccoli-cheese soup

So he could eat cheesecake

Joey had quiche, soup, and slaw

I had a chicken and cucumber wrap

And Martha had chicken salad on a croissant.

Try Something Thursday found me back in the kitchen. I made Carrie's Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake. You can find the recipe on her blog HERE and scroll down.

Friends Over Friday happened on Tuesday, and on Friday it was back to Beth's where Mim and I took Bev for her birthday.

She had the half chicken salad sandwich on a croissant with slaw.

Mim had the chicken salad on raisin bread

with half a lovely spinach salad (yes, this is a half salad).

I had bacon and cheese quiche with half a pear salad. They also added slaw. I brought a quiche sample home to Pepper. He loved it.

Then they brought Bev a complimentary cupcake in a Happy Birthday container.

There was a sweet little yellow flower on the side.

Then we got mints with our check

Lots of Tasting this week, so now you see why my quote is "Burp"!

Tales: I just finished Lawrence Sanders book called McNally's Luck. He's written several books where McNally is the main character and each one is pure delight. Sanders has written some other books which are a little strange for my taste, but the McNally books are priceless. I wish he had written a hundred of them.

Time for Others: Some of my friends took time to make me a Valentine, and aren't they lovely?




I received some pretty store cards also, but I know cardmakers like to see what others are creating, so they can get ideas,

My January book goals are now complete, but here it is February 19, and I have lots to do for February.

I'm going to use the table from the Quack, Quack lunch for one of my tablescapes (plus the red and black snowman table I showed you last week).

That means that I still have all of this to do for February:

Two Tablescapes: Yearning for Spring; Lavender and Lace

Two Theme dinners: 

Buon Appetito: I can use the table photos, but must make the food and photograph it. Redo the menu and photograph. Photograph the invitation. Input recipes for lasagna, breadsticks, tiramisu, and/or panna cotta.

Miss Scarlett's Favorites: I have to redo the table, make the food, make a menu, and photograph all the above plus the invitation. Input recipe for Cheesy Grits Casserole.

Cardinal Tea: Do it all from start to finish.

Nine days left in February - I don't think so. And we're going to Joplin on Where To Wednesday so we'll be gone most of the day. However, March will be easier, so maybe I can play catch up then.