Saturday, June 23, 2012

Collections (including dust)

I am stuck inside all day!  I shouldn't complain as it is due to my own procrastination.  I am required to speak in church tomorrow and left the preparation for today.  I have been working furiously and my talk is finally all put together.
I have needed a few diversions and decided to create an 'album' if you will, of a few of my collections...or rather collecting habits.  I have some very cherished antiques and am crazy about them; mind you, they are just things; people are far more cherished and important to me!  Alas, seeing how I don't have anyone with me today aside from the kitten, I decided to snap a few photographs of a few of my favorite things instead.  Guess I could snap some photos of the kitten, but am currently upset with her for her constant interruptions and clawings at my legs and fingers as I attempt to type.  Not to mention the sharp teeth and scrambling over my keyboard causing havoc with my work or  making something go haywire.  I have three words for her; cute, mischievous, and, curious.  
Wait, this post was not supposed to be about her.  On to my dirty old habits.  

Part of my crock collection adorning the shelves in my living room.

This is my favorite shelf holding some pewter.  

An adorable china hutch containing my butter and salt crock collection.

One of my favorite benches.

Can't have enough pewter.  I love this stuff!

Last but not least is an old wind up clock I stole purchased for twenty bucks!  

Crazy quilting

As you know by now, I am not a huge fan of hand sewing.  I have been working on this crazy quilt for my daughter for a very long time.  I really enjoyed piecing it together and do love the finished product of a hand stitched seam.  I figured I had better create a post with a few of the squares and tell you I will post pictures of it completed within the year so I have a deadline for myself.  It is a great project I can grab and take with me when I go somewhere that involves some sitting down time.
I have learned a ton of embroidery stitches, some Russian punch needle, and have meddled in ribbon embroidery as well.  I like the crazy quilt because it is an old style of quilt traditionally done in dark colors.  I chose pastels just to be different and have liked how it is turning out.  The texture and busyness of the quilt are fascinating to me.  I even placed an embroidered spider on one square in keeping with tradition and good fortune.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Independence Day

The fourth of July is fast approaching and I took a few minutes today to put out some festive decorations.  Pillows are fun and easy to make; plus they add color and interest to a room.  I hooked one of these pillows with burlap and wool yarn, two of them were made by my Mom and two were purchased for a few dollars on an after the holiday clearance sale.
They adorn an antique European bench in my dining room.
Here is to hoping you have an excellent Holiday and spend time with loved ones doing the things you enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chocolate Cookie Bars

These bars are good.  I personally think they would be better with semi-sweet chocolate chips or even butterscotch chips.  I used milk chocolate and am going to try something new next time.  Problem is, I love trying new recipes and am unsure if I will ever make these again!  So, if you happen to try them and use a different kind of chip, would you let me know how they turn out?  Thanks a bunch!

Chocolate chip bars
3/4 C. butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoons vanilla 
2 cups and 2 tbsp flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips 

Melt butter in a large mixing bowl and stir in the brown sugar. Mix in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour, salt and soda and gently mix until almost combined. Add choc chops and stir in until just combined.  
Spread mixture into greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Bake at 325* for 30 minutes.
Cool and cut into small squares or rectangles in the pan.


I enjoy a very tasty lasagna.  This one has spinach and ricotta cheese.  I have combined several recipes into one.  Some lasagna recipes are much better the next day; that is not true of this one!  It is sooooo good!  My finicky kids even eat it and do not complain about the spinach.  Just get 'em to try one bite and they will gobble it up.

Marnie's Lasagna

2 pounds ground beef
1 cup frozen spinach
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 cans or 1 quart of bottled whole tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
2 Tablespoons dried basil
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1 package lasagna noodles cooked according to package directions

In a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, spinach and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, and basil.  Simmer for 45 minutes
Combine ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan, parsley, and salt. 
Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan. Spoon 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of sliced mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1/3 of the meat mixture over the top.
Repeat, ending with meat mixture. Sprinkle top generously with Parmesan.
Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Creamed peas, carrots, and potatoes

My neighbor is such an awesome gardener!  He planted his peas in February!  He let us come over this morning to pick them.  There is little that compares to that of a freshly morning picked pea!  He also gave us some carrots that are incredible; they are already about 7 inches long and have an amazing flavor!  Yum.  So, for breakfast, I ate shelled peas and a raw carrot.  Now it is lunch time and I couldn't resist making new peas and potatoes.  My kids absolutely LOVE this dish.  My Grandma used to make this quite frequently when we would pay her a visit in the summertime; she is an avid gardener as well.  My Dad grows a beautiful tasty garden too.  I have grown a garden every year but this one; moving to a new place with a very overgrown yard has been fun, but it will take me all year to get it ready for a garden.

Creamed Peas, Carrots, and Potatoes
1 pound small red potatoes
2-1/2 cups  shelled peas
2 cups carrots
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
2 cups 2% milk

Scrub and quarter potatoes.  Peel and slice carrots; place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add peas; cook 3 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, in another large saucepan, melt butter. Add onion; saute until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Drain potatoes, carrots and peas; toss with sauce. 

Here is my lunch!  Delish!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Frosted Banana Bars!

I made these tonight for a pot luck.  They were all devoured within minutes!  I tried a new frosting for them and absolutely loved it.  They normally require a cream cheese frosting and it is a little too much at cream cheese frosting can be.  This new frosting does not overwhelm and is light and fluffy and perfect....wish more things in my life were this way!

Banana Bars

1/2 C. butter
2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 and 1/2 C. mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, vanilla, and bananas.  Add flour and baking soda.  Pour into a greased 15X10X1 pan and bake at 350* for 25 minutes or use the toothpick test.

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 C. white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 C. heavy whipping cream

In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then fold in whipped cream.

Yeah, I realize the photo is blurry...but by the time I had, they were all gone!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are one of my favorites.  The only problem I have found is that they are generally only good on the day you make them.  This recipe is probably not my favorite PB cookie recipe, but they are still soft the next day and the next and the next.
As you can see, I have put large chocolate chips on top; you may omit this step or use Hersheys kisses instead.  I have even frosted my PB cookies with chocolate frosting before and that is fabulous as well.
When you are finished baking these, pour yourself a tall glass of milk as is required for indulging in peanut butter cookies!

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 C. butter
1 C. peanut butter
1 C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream above ingredients together and then add dry ingredients listed below.

2 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Roll in sugar and bake on ungreased baking sheets at 370* for 10 minutes.  I flatten mine a bit before baking.  If you are placing chocolate on top, do so before they cool.

White Bread

When my daughter was little, she disliked stone ground whole wheat I made her a deal and told her if she would eat it, I would alternately make whole wheat and white bread.  It only took a couple of years before she learned to like whole wheat and I no longer had to make white.  
I was in the mood to make white bread yesterday.  I made a phone call to my trusty recipe source (aka, Mom) and she shared this recipe that she got from my sister in law.  It was easy and turned out to be delicious!

White Bread
5 C. hot water
3 Tblsp. yeast
2/3 C. oil
2/3 C. honey
1 1/2 Tblsp. salt
1/2 C. powdered milk
13 C. flour

Combine and knead in mixer for 8 minutes.  Let rise for 20 minutes.  Divide into 5 balls and shape into loaves.  Place in greased pans.  Let rise till doubled.  Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.
Enjoy sliced warm smothered in butter and honey.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunshine Award

Thanks to my friend Lynn at 
who nominated me for the Sunshine Award today.
It is fun to meet new people and hear some feedback or read comments about others and their lives.

As a nominee, I am asked to do the following....

1.Thank the blogger who nominated me.

2. Answer the 10 questions about my favorite things.

3. Nominate 10 blogs to receive the Sunshine Award and let them know they've been nominated. 

A few of my favorite things...

1.Favorite animal: Difficult to pin down...probably horses.
2.Favorite number: 8
3.Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Truthfully, water!
4.Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
5.My passion: His name...well, perhaps I will tell you later.
6.Getting or giving: Giving for sure!
7.Favorite Pattern: I generally make up my own patterns...I am weird that way. 
8.Favorite day of the week: Saturday.
9.Favorite flower: It is a toss up between an Indian paintbrush, sweet pea, and a lilac.
10.Favorite country: Grand old USA...possibly due to the fact I have never been anywhere else besides Canada.

Thanks again LYNN!!  It has been fun!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Life is a bowl of cherries!

I recently purchased a modest home and noticed that there were fruit trees scattered about the yard.  I am a big fan of growing food and was ecstatic at the prospects.  I was fairly certain about a few of the trees and their type and uncertain on a few others.  Now that they all have fruit clinging to the limbs I can tell for certain what type they are!  I have an apricot tree, two apple trees, two pear trees, two peach trees, and a cherry tree.  I am going to have to brush up on my pruning skills.  The only tree currently producing ripe fruit is the cherry tree.  Oh, my goodness!  Freshly picked cherries are divine!
They are so good and fun to be able to gather from my own yard!
Every time I hear or think of the word cherry, I think of my sister; she has the cutest way of saying, "cherries".
Here are a few pictures of some of the bounty we are basking in. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

These are very moist cake-like blueberry muffins.  

1 & 3/4 C. flour
1C. sugar
2 &1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine and make a hole in the center to pour the wet ingredients into. 
3/4 C. melted butter
1 egg
3/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Add to the hole in the center of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Fold in 1 C. blueberries
Fill paper lined muffin tins full.  Bake at 350* for 15-18 minutes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sickness :(

I seldom get sick.  I am sooooo sick right now and as I am lying here in misery, I began thinking about the times I have experienced sickness in my life and who has been there to care for me.
When I was a young child, my Mom was a good nurse.  We had a "sick bed"; a fold away cot that she set up close to the kitchen where she could keep an eye on us when we were not feeling well.  My favorite memory is when she would make homemade custard for me....mmmm comfort food.
As mentioned before, I seldom get sick, but did have the chicken pox when I was in third grade. I also experienced a few nasty bouts of sickness accompanied by high fevers.  When I do get really ill, my temperature spikes!  I remember a few times my fever caused hallucinations.  I still recall to this day what I was hallucinating about; not fun.  That brings to mind a time when I felt awful and my Mom was not home for the day; this meant Dad was in charge.  He was having me do my normal chores for the day and I was trying not to complain.  Mid mopping the floor, my Dad walked by and noticed I did not look well; he took my temperature discovering it to be 106 degrees.  Needless to say, he had me lie down and I got out of the rest of my chores for the day!
I do get really sick when I am pregnant.  I am seriously sick for five of the nine months and moderately sick for the other four.  I feel bad for my poor kids when I am in this condition.  I smile at some of these times and am grateful to have them as memories I cherish.  On one such occasion, I was pregnant with my daughter and had been 'losing my lunch' subsequent times when my then four year old brought me a large slice of bread smothered with mustard; hoping to help me feel better!  It was such a sweet gesture and I loved the kindness behind his actions even if it made me lose my lunch yet again.

Being a mom, ensures that there is generally no time to be sick and I can guarantee that I much prefer waiting on the sick as opposed to being the sick.
Who takes care of you when you are sick?  Do you generally plow through the day and try to ignore the fact that you are ill?  Or do you pamper yourself and stay in bed all day?
Do your kids bring you mustard sandwiches, or do they ask you to get up and make things for them?
Perhaps this is not the best topic for what happens to be a blog mostly about food.  Ha, ha, I do hope you still find the ice cream appetizing! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Homemade Raspberry Ice Cream

This is my Mom's recipe for ice cream.  I made some last night due to the uncharacteristic sweltering weather we have been experiencing!  It tasted wonderful and was simply refreshing.

3 C. sugar
juice of 3 lemons
juice of 3 oranges
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries blended
3 cans of evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream

Combine sugar, cream, and evaporated milk.  Add juice and raspberries.  Pour into ice cream tub of an electric ice cream maker.  Fill the tub to 2/3 full with milk.  Freeze according to directions using ice and rock salt.
You may use peaches or other fruit in place of the raspberries.

Perfect for a hot summer day!....not that it is even officially Summer yet!  You would not have known today, with rain and highs in the 60s, that last night was scorching hot and still in the nineties at ten o'clock at night.  Bi-polar weather is what we are experiencing.

Chicken Stuffed Crepes

I tried this new recipe last night and liked it.  Of course I changed the original recipe and will write what I did.  My choosiest child even liked these; what is not to like about a crepe!  I have my grandmothers crepe recipe and generally do not try new ones as I am frequently disappointed.  This time, I was not disappointed in the least.  They were easy to make and very delicious.  Crepes freeze well so you could double the batch if you wanted to freeze some for a later date.

1 1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup flour
4 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon salt

Mix well. Pour 3 Tablespoons batter into pan that has been sprayed with Pam (or nonstick cooking spray).  I use an electric crepe maker and I love it!

Chicken Filling:
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
8 oz of fat free sour cream
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken

Combine cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Split in half. Combine one half of the mixture with the chicken and reserve the rest. 

Mushroom Sauce:
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 small chopped onion
Diced bell peppers (optional)
1 cube chicken bouillon
2 tablespoons water
 5 or 6 sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Melt the butter and saute the onion and pepper in it.  Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes more.  Add the water and bouillon cube.  Combine with the reserved portion of the soup mixture.  
Line crepes with filling. Roll up and place in pan like enchiladas. Pour sauce over top. Cover with foil.  Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle top with grated cheddar cheese and return to oven for 10 minutes. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Motorcycle Riding

I enjoy riding motorcycles.  I have been hooked since I was about nine years old and learned on a tote goat.  There was a time in my life when my children were young that I did not ride much at all.  Now they are grown, with my youngest being eleven, I have been going on more rides.  My daughter and I went with some friends to their cabin in Bear Lake a few weekends back and had a great time.
I paid a visit to the coast over Memorial Day as well.  It was enjoyable.  
I do not have a gas gauge on my bike and cannot always tell when I am running close to empty.  Once I have run out, I cannot get it to start again on reserve.  This has been my fate twice in the last thirty days!  You would think I would learn.
In California, they have men in emergency vehicles driving around assisting stranded folks such as myself.  I was on the side of the road for less than one minute when one such vehicle pulled up and gave me a gallon of gas.  It was really neat.
Another funny memory of that trip is in two or three of the places we stopped, tourists would marvel, admire and snap photos of my bike.  It is a beautiful bike; however, I was riding with three Harley riders who's bikes probably cost near if not more than $20,000.  Mine, was under $3,000.  Made me smile.
Here are a few pictures of my recent adventures.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dreamsicle Cookies

Nothing compares to a plump cookie.  These are fun for a summer day!  I found this recipe on the 'our best bites' website; a link to their site is found on the right side of this page.....okay, I just checked and cannot find the recipe for these again.  I am fairly certain that is where I got it....but it may have been from the 'six sister's stuff' site....ooops, my apologies.  I can't seem to relocate it.

Orange Dreamsicle Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest 
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.