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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Kitchen Gadgets

Of all the kitchen tools I use on a very regular basis I'd like to share the ones that are most important to me now. Here are my TOP TEN!

1. Campbells Soup "Pop N Pull" can tab lifter opener tool. Easy open with lid magnet.

2. "Top-Off" Jar and bottle screw top opener.

3. Wooden Spoon - well aged.

4. Measuring Spoons.

5. Shaker.

6. Blender.

7. Sugar Shaker.

8. Colander.
9. Funnels.

10. Egg Slicer.
Of course there are MANY others that I feel are very necessary here for me to use such as sieves, racks, sharp knives, toothpicks, and other well-used utensils besides the few tools pictured above.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Pea Soup

From a beautiful and naked spiral ham bone to two quarts of pea soup was the accomplishment yesterday.

I had simmered the bones and 10 cups of water for over ten hours the day before. After I had strained out the bones the kettle of broth was cooled out on the front porch to cause the fat to solidify over night. I removed the fat crust easily and then another simmer with a bag of split peas (not a thing else!) for another seven hours, stirring often. The broth needed NO spices and was both sweet and salty. You can be sure it is delicious! Yes, I tasted a bowlful. I don't even want to share, but will.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Wall

Doesn't everyone have a kitchen wall by the side entry door that looks somewhat like mine? 

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Saturday, January 2, 2021

The New Year Start

Well we're off to a power outage on the first day of the new year - well I should say night! The power went out about 11:30 pm and the stand-by generator kicked in and is still running as I write this at 9am January 2. The electric company says it is out due to tree damage and is expected to be restored by 1:00 pm today. We won't hold our breath! 

The best thing we ever did in July of 2015 was to have the generator installed. It has saved a full freezer of foods several times and, of course we have lights, water, heat and other necessities to be comfortable. The cable, land line telephone and internet were not affected either - this time.

I guess we'll grind up the left over ham for sandwich salad and save a few pieces to freeze for split pea soup making in a week or two ahead. Our ham didn't have a bone but our daughter's did! Of course she saved it for me.  

The dirt road around the lake has been covered with cinders due to the ice buildup and the ice fishermen were out there, this time with a tent. 

We understand conditions will improve but a new storm of snow is predicted for tomorrow. It is W I N T E R!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Wrap Up


2020 Wrap-up- Family, Friends and Miscellaneous


January - Seems like all I did was bake and cook!

February - Great Granddaughter #3 was born.

March - Former lake resident died. Start of COVID problems. Socially distancing. Dipper ducks arrived. Seedum and daffodils poking up from ground.

April -  Hummingbirds arrived. Face masks worn when out in public places. James wearing mask.

May - Yard man hard at work. Suncatchers creating lots of rainbows throughout cabin. (for hope) Started using new fermentation pot. 

June - Beach friend’s husband died. Doing lots of fermenting projects. I sprained knee ligament. Laid up for about 2 months. New metal roof project started. NJ grandson accepted to University of Tampa. Eldest daughter and husband moved to smaller home.

July - Potter surprised me with special mug. Lifelong friend becomes Principal of Kahului Elementary School in HI

August - Beach friend’s husband died. I had to be hospitalized for my first kidney stone to pass. PA tomatoes weren’t very good this year. NJ daughter’s were outstanding. Saved seeds. Tuberous Begonia I started from last year’s leaf flourished and flowered beautifully this year.

September - I helped local potter with design of a Baker Pot.

October -  Long time lake resident died. Local Grandson grew a huge pumpkin again!

November - Granddaughter’s fiancĂ© diagnosed with jaw cancer. Very serious. Father of twin boys. James has large torso holes. Woodpecker?? Will try to repair next Spring.

December - Daughter of family member died unexpectedly. Rain washout across property and road after first deep snow event. I don’t mind staying home at all. BUT never ate out even one time all year.


ME-Turned 84. Still slowing down while moving forward. Taking pictures mostly from golf car riding around home area. Several of my photos were selected to be shown on local TV slide shows. Shoulder received injections several times throughout year. Eyes still giving me grief with dry eye. Leg and feet circulation poor.  Lost weight.

HE-Turned 85. Forgetful but able to complete general tasks and chores except for yard work. Using cane sporadically for stability. Fell about 15 times during year. Balance very poor. Hearing very poor. Good dishwasher and vacuum cleaner operator and very helpful. Does all of the window washing and driving. Good appetite!

WE-Are living within our means and don't have any debt. We are comfortable and still capable of being very independent and self sufficient. Started having Schwan’s delivery of foodstuffs.


New Stuff

  1.  SharkNinja Vacuum Cleaner
  2.  Clay terra-cotta pot planted with succulents
  3.  Red iron paper towel holder
  4.  Fleece throw for shoulders
  5.  Potter-made fermentation pot, cereal bowls, mug, and bread baker

Repairs (Professionally Accomplished)

  1. New metal roof on cabin
  2. New rain gutters
  3. Golf car relay replaced 


Crafts…..

  • Paper chain made with pearlized card stock
  • Corona Flower to keep virus away
  • Rain sticks
  • Leaf butterfly
  • Wire and beads hoop porch decoration
  • Two large hoop porch decorations with silky tails
  • Computer-colored 8 coloring book pages
  • Created some Christmas cards-scissors, glue, etc.
  • 63 Photomanipulations


Hobbies…..

Published 220 Blogs

Read at least 60 books

Research of many various items on internet


All of my various directories and calendars are updated for the year 2021 and I start all over.


“Count your blessings instead of your crosses.

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes.

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears.

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your full times instead of your lean.

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth.

Love your neighbor as much as yourself.”


Kindness and acceptance for all. SHARE! SHARE!


Out with the old....


IN THE KITCHEN 2020

I live in the kitchen! All dishes made from scratch.


4 Bread Bowl Cheese Breads

Lemon Poppyseed Bread

Banana Bread

Loaf White Bread

Zucchini Bread

Oatmeal bars

Peanut Butter Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Maple Syrup Chewy Cookies

4 Batches Oatmeal Cookies

Cinnamon Buns

3 Apple Pies

2 Pumpkin Pies

Gingerbread Cake and Lemon Sauce

Almond Pound Cake

Blueberry Sheet Cake

Lemon Sheet Cake

Peach Cake

Apple Cake

Mayonnaise Cake

Tomato Soup Cake

3 Bread Puddings

Peach Cobbler

Mandarin Orange Cobbler

Pineapple Chunk Cobbler

Dried Apples

2 Batches Applesauce

6 Cantaloupes

Mini Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Salmon Patties

Spiral Ham

Amish Ham Meatloaf

Beef Meatloaf

Pork Chop Bake

3 Roasted Turkey Breasts

3 Macaroni Cheese

Broccoli Velveeta Casserole

Butternut Squash Dishes

2 Asparagus Soup

2 Split pea Soup

Bone Broth Vegetable Soup

Fermented Cauliflower & Carrots

Fermented Cucumbers and Onions

Fermented Asparagus

Fermented Red Onions

Fermented White Onions

Fermented Chive Vinegar

2 Batches Pickled Eggs and Beets

Deviled eggs

Coleslaw 

Watermelon Rind Candy

White Chocolate Candy Bark


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Thumb Pressed & Jam

A longtime friend and neighbor dropped off three gift bags of homemade Christmas cookies last week. There were several varieties - a very delicious assortment! They were made with love and we are very grateful. There was one that really impressed me and I asked her for the recipe. It seems as she has experimented and the result is wonderful. My favorite of all. I'll be making these soon, but in the meantime here is the recipe:


Buttery Spritz Cookies (done differently)  LW

Beverly Launius, Sandwich, Illinois


1 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Food coloring, optional

Colored sugar or decorating candies, optional


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth, Beat in egg and extracts. Combine the flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, Tint with food coloring if desired,


Using a cookie press fitted with the disk of your choice, press dough 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets, Top with colored sugar and decorating candies if desired,


Bake at 375° for 6-8 minutes or until set (do not brown). Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield 7 1/2 dozen,


Done differently Instructions LW

Instead of using a cookie press, roll a spoonful of dough into a ball. Then just roll it in crushed walnuts and stick your thumb in the middle and fill with jam.  Continue baking as above. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Back at It...

The sun is bright, the wind is whipping and I'm cozy and comfortable. I'm watching the ribbon/stick creation I made last year spin and flutter wildly from the porch beam just outside the dining room window. I see several brave fishermen out on the lake withstanding the cold weather conditions, catching fish from their holes in the ice. To each his or her own is what I say.

So I went back to one of my favorite pastimes - photomanipulations.
Before and Afters........
This activity may go on all day! I don't feel like being a baker or cook today - At ALL!

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

James is Wounded!

I was holding back to show you his wounds until after Christmas. He wanted me to tell you that he'll be OK after the season changes to Spring. You see, Mother Nature was all discombobulated this year due to the Corona virus and some bad things happened. First it was discovered that her yellow jacket critters were living in James's lower section and when our yard guy was applying his preservative coat, they showed themselves in anger, being disturbed. They were soon taken care of and the application was completed. He had another change of scarf in November and then when I put on his winter/Christmas outfit, I discovered that another one of Mother Nature's creatures had been busy and no one saw or heard it happen! 

Now, James is a sharing and caring guy so when he is asked to share some of his assets, he gladly obliged, never thinking it would hurt. 

The beggar was greedy and sneaky. A surgery is planned and is scheduled.  Perhaps his life will be more comfortable then and he'll be around a few more years. After all he is ten and has withstood a multitude of weather events and still stands guard. What do you think?

This is his center front

This is his center back
This is under his lumpy right ear
Suspect has been spotted in the area for several years







Friday, December 25, 2020

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Books

I was reading the Harris Farmer's Almanac 2021 and came across a piece of nostalgia which triggered so many memories of mine from when I was a child. On page 106 there is "Ode to Baking" by Marianne Banes.  It was a nice explanation of why baking gives us a sense of well-being when times are tough.

There was another one on page 112 entitled "The Sparkling Curse of Christmas" by Vicki Cox. The story is about tinsel. It tells about a German company creating a lead-alloy foil, bonded with tin in 1904 and how she remembered how her brother and she handled the stuff in the 60's.

Well I remember it a bit differently and much earlier. It really is a wonder that people my age weren't affected if the stories about lead are true!

Yes, we played with lead tinsel in many different ways. We also played with mercury from thermometers. Our basement furnace and pipes were covered with asbestos and so were the pipes in the grammar school in the low level where we had to practice air raid drills. There was lead paint used everywhere. Our family all drank out of the same glass of water that was next to the faucet at the kitchen sink. Why are we still here??

The message I'm trying to send is that there are thought-provoking articles in the Almanac and I would encourage its reads. It was loaned to me by my daughter when I ran out of library books. I went to the library and this morning saw a wonderful tree. I didn't take this photo and there are no photo credits to give but I HAVE to show you my beautiful library's tree!


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Bone Broth

When trying to make room in the big freezer I saw that I had saved not one but two bags of turkey carcass bones. It was time! Into the covered large pot they went with water to simmer from 10am to 5pm yesterday. Then, after dumping the bones into the colander, the hot broth was returned to the kettle and then placed outdoors on the gravel-covered dirt floor in the carport with a crate over it. The crate was to discourage critters from getting burned. Yeah, them trying to get into it is more like why it was covered when set out overnight to cool. I did that because this morning I brought it in and removed the thin hard fat layer easily. 

After chopping three large carrots, three large stalks of celery and one medium onion, the broth was brought again up to a boil and I put in half a box of Uncle Ben's whole grain brown rice. A slow simmer of about an hour with some garlic powder, salt, pepper, bay leaf and poultry seasoning caused an aroma that was really nice in here. Of course we then had some for lunch. I had to cool it all down again somewhat before bottling in my quart plastic jars for the freezer, leaving head space. It really was worth the effort. You cannot buy bone broth vegetable soup in the grocery store. 

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sundry Sunday

 Did I tell you that our new (August 2020) Sharp Ninja vacuum cleaner bit the dust? Well, after a couple of calls to the company, it was determined that the head needed replacement because it wasn't jammed and just would not make the brush rollers roll! It was working one day and then the next, nada! Since it has a 5 year warranty, a new head arrived today via Fed-Ex and there was NO charge for anything at all! And, we don't have to return the failed part. Ordered on Dec. 14 arrived on Dec. 20. Now that is good service and customer relations! (I did have to call twice because I couldn't understand the first person as he talked way too fast. The second call was a woman and she really took her time helping to solve the issue.)

Our yard, lawn and snow assistant asked for a gingerbread recipe and I had just the thing for deliciousness! It is a tried and true recipe and he sent me proof that anyone can bake them! He and his wife made them together and that made me so happy! They have four teenagers at home and I'm sure they will all be devoured soon! These are their photos.

The little guy (great grandson) won't be two until February but he has joined the family of very hard workers. I guess his twin brother was hiding.
The next two are sweet shots and I'll be sure to show his brother another time.

The next picture is from a couple, Laurie and Paul Lobbregt, who specialize in landscape and wildlife photography near Milford PA. It is especially beautiful because of the thick fluffy coat the deer sports. The caption says, "On Thursday morning after the snow storm there were White-tailed deer searching for food in my backyard."

                      Their Facebook page is -

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In case you forgot to save it earlier.....
RECIPE for the Chewy Easy Gingerbread Cookies

CHEWY GINGERBREAD COOKIES


Ingredients


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar (I use dark)

1 egg

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2/3 cup granulated or coarse sugar (I used Demerara coarse sugar as I didn’t have white coarse sugar)


Steps


1. In large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg and molasses. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the sugar. Cover; refrigerate for at least 2 hours!


2. Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. (I have parchment paper, it only takes one sheet for entire batch.) Put the sugar in a small bowl. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls (about the size of a walnut) and roll in the sugar. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.


3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until set and soft in the center. (10 minutes worked for me and I used a timer.)  Cool 2 minutes and then transfer from cookie sheet to cooling racks. Store tightly covered up to one week. (I stacked them on a covered cake container and they will not last one week, I know it!)


Makes 60 cookies! 








Saturday, December 19, 2020

Appreciation

We have great gratitude for the gifts that are coming our way this week. A granddaughter in Florida sent a precious bell with a message that means a lot. She lost one of her adult daughters last year and it has been difficult for all to recover from that trauma but she is moving forward bravely. 

A nearby daughter visited today, bringing all kinds of treats. She made cookies for her dad, brought pretzels stuffed with peanut butter and more treats. She also brought a very colorful large snowflake for us to enjoy along with a box of great frozen foods and miscellaneous delicacies from another daughter who lives in another state. What a wonderful feeling to know our family is doing its best to take care of us! No other visits will happen this season, except from this one particular daughter. We are cautious and self-protective and definitely looking forward to a much better year for all.
Rainbow colors! Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo violet!

 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Miscellany

I would like you to see the new angel of 2020. My friend, who still goes to "Our Beach" in SC, creates and sends me a hand-made angel or another Christmas tree ornament every year. This year she made this darling little shell angel. I have a wonderful collection of her annual gifts. (The annual cookie/candy assortment is now gone!)

Below shows a few from the past that she has made.
Now the next piece of news is that the deer at our daughter's home are very evident. Her son and his partner went to help shovel/plow/clean out the snow around their home and she shared these photos. The road had not been plowed very well as they passed through from the hillside and down into her yard for a drink from the pond behind the house. There were many more shown throughout the day. Deer hunting season is over and the survivors are now the hunters for their sustenance. We have tracks all over in the snow beside and behind our cabin as well. 
Even though the Mister did most of the cleaning out of the snow, we still had to have our lawn/yard man come and continue with the work with his ability to use the snow shovel so well. He is a school teacher but schools are closed today so he will be finishing work at several other places around here today.
We remember when the personal snow-plowing jobs were a part of our lives for so many years. Actually it was an essential supplement for our family income and we depended on it!  Remembering back, the Mister was a heavy equipment operator working for the County Road Department and was a very competent driver of large snow plow vehicles 1964-1969.
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