Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mugged


Mugged

On January 14, 2012, I received two 15 oz. mugs I had designed and ordered online from Shutterfly. I chose this pattern because it was simple and red and white - the cabin's theme colors. I also like a large mug with a large handle so I can insert four of my fingers through the large space.  Tea, coffee, soup, milk, these are my mug beverages because hots stay hot, cold stays cold.

The first two mugs depicted my cooking and baking photos from the year before. The first one had three photos: applesauce, pecandy pie and persimmon pudding. The second one showed my ginger snaps, horse puckey fudge, and oatmeal raisin cookies. 


I loved these mugs and have used them for exactly one year, when I saw a "special offer" on the site for the price of mugs. I guess the sale is on because it's after the holidays. The price was right so I ordered four more to have a complete set of six. 

Number three had photos of tube pan carrot fruitcake, spice cake with icing and pumpkin pie.
Number four included meatloaf, turkey noodle soup, and barbeque roasted chicken tenders.
Number five showed a pot of bubbling barbeque sauce, baking soda biscuits, and corn bread muffins.
Number six consisted of iced spice cupcakes, raisin cookies and chocolate chip cookies.

So you see, I planned to have a nice set!

When they came I immediately saw a difference between the first two and the last four and wasn't happy. 

First two 

Second four 

Different    

I went to the site and had a nice live chat with customer assistance and explained my dilemma. She researched both orders, understood my problem and referred me to the technical team because she had determined that there was a manufacturing error in the first order - from a year ago! 

When I explained it to the next customer service person, she IMMEDIATELY re-ordered my first two mugs and there was to be no charges at all. That was two - TWO days ago. The new ones came today! How good is that service??? Free mugs - Fed Ex delivery overnight - no returns of first two - WOW!

I have great reasons to love Shutterfly. They promise 100% satisfaction guaranteed and they keep their promise. Oh what to do? I now have two "extras!"

Matched set


(click on photos to see detailed versions)




Thursday, January 24, 2013

Concoction Cookie


My Concoction Cookie

Yesterday it was -5° at 8AM. My bedroom thermometer where my computer is stationed read +56° so I cleaned house a bit and then read a book. Today it has warmed back up to -2° at 8AM.


This morning I had a different activity. When checking the cupboards I discovered I had a lot of brown sugar left and raisins galore. These items are remnants of the holiday baking sprees I had back in November and December.  What to do.....what to do?????

As I only have ambition and stamina very early in the day, baking is labor intensive so I decided to use up these leftovers. 

The recipe for these cookies is one I made up and was delightfully surprised how wonderful they turned out. I had to experiment with the timing of each batch and finally on the last two, got it right. ( I didn't write it down, but just put ingredients I knew should go into cookies into my vintage big bowl and mixed them well.) 
I call them Brown Sugar Raisin Snaps

The old GE hand mixer I use was sure groaning because the batter was very thick throughout the process. I just knew it wouldn't accept the addition of raisins. I had a helper hand-stir in the raisins. I love this old appliance because it has a VERY long cord and plug in locations here are few and far between. I baby it and give it plenty of rest periods when mixing so it won't burn out.

Ok so now you know why I'm "plump." We LOVE home made cookies and they go fast. It's hard to keep to our ration of only 4 each per day. If my down-the-road neighbor walks by later today with her dogs, she will be the recipient of a few - just a few. Selfish me. 




Concoction Cookie Pyramid


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Shopper - Part 2


The Shopper - Part 2

On January 13, I told you about my husband and his recent TV shopping experience. After the first TV went back, he came home, reset up his old TV and was back in his groove.

I was sure he'd go again and he did! He wanted a TV that would accommodate his wireless headphones and would allow the football scores and downs to be fully displayed on the screen.

This time he knew he had to get one with audio output ports. A trip to Walmart (once more) was in order. The one he purchased three days ago was 42" and had them! Whoopee!  It was a little bit too large to suit him but it did fit into the space where it had to go. Ok - Perform the whole operation again of unpacking, setting up, hooking up, attaching everything and then get ready to have it all. Did it!

Well, no one can have it all. Yes, the wireless headset was plugged into the correct ports and would work - IF - IF the sound on the new TV was turned all the way down. It didn't have the ability in the program to be turned OFF so it wouldn't annoy others in the room, but it did go down. Then, the headphones had to have the volume adjusted by turning the knobs on the headphones and NOT by just pushing the button on the remote hand controller up or down as the old one would; that annoyed him to no end. He said he could live with that, BUT..........

He also was very displeased with the quality of the picture and no matter how ALL picture adjustments were changed and tried many different ways, the picture was BLURRY - well, not actually blurry, but lousy. He had 7 screen choices and NONE made the picture sharp and clear either. I agreed.

Today after the tearing down, repacking and resetting the old TV back in place, he again took the 60 mile round trip back to Walmart with the second new TV for completion of his second return. The second credit IN FULL was applied to his credit card and he "seems" to be happy again, sitting in the old lounge chair, hearing and seeing everything in the way he likes.


The old, large JVC TV was purchased December 7, 2009! It's time for a new TV, don't you agree?

Monday, January 21, 2013

For Sweet Potato Lovers...

It must be the time of the year! Sweet potatoes are on the mind - who knew?

I follow a blog called "Chickens in the Road." I admire this gal soooo very much. Today she posted a blog containing a recipe for a spiced sweet potato nut cake. As much as I abhor sweet potatoes, this cake sounds OK and I just may try it! 

Here's a link to it for all you lovers of the orange tuber:

http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/spiced-sweet-potato-nut-cake/

May I also recommend her blog? She is so "earthy" and "real!" I have read every one of her category blogs for quite a long time now. There are cooking, house & garden, country living, barn, forums, and recipe sections. Some of the barn blogs are explicit so be forewarned. This about living the country old ways - to the hilt.

http://chickensintheroad.com/


The sweet potato was officially designated the North Carolina State Vegetable by the General Assembly of 1995. 
The sweet potato is high in vitamins A and C and low in fat and was grown in North Carolina before the European colonization of North America.



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sweet Potato Vine Project


In October when we were in SC, a beach friend and I were discussing the value of eating vegetables and the sweet potato. It's the only vegetable I simply cannot stand, no matter how it is prepared. She has promised to make a sweet potato pie that she calls "awesome" the next time we get together and I promised to try it. I love pumpkin pie, and if it tastes the same or close, I most likely will devour it.  

Anyway, this conversation led to my old brain pulling up a memory of growing a sweet potato vine when I was a young girl. Now that's a LONG time ago! What I remembered was all sorts of containers of sweet potatoes lined up on the windowsill in my 1st or 2nd grade classroom and each potato had toothpicks stuck in their middles. Then I also remembered that my mother had the same thing growing in a water glass on the sill over her kitchen sink. I had to try it.

My friend bought some for themselves to eat and gave me one. It traveled 764 miles back with us to PA on November 1 and laid on the countertop for a couple of weeks. 

Really not doing much with it, and wanting to use only my memory to start it, I cut off the bottom, poked toothpicks into its body and found a container to suspend it over tap water. The container having just the right opening happened to be a single wine glass that I had kept from my mother's things. 

The real story is now in these photos. I changed the water about every two days, but don't know why. Maybe, because we have well water here I thought I was feeding it minerals. Anyway, it grew. I plan to take a piece of it back to SC in a month so I can give it to my friend to plant at home. Project complete! I have since learned from the internet that I didn't have to cut off the bottom. 

One more thing...please don't ever use the word "veggie" in my presence. I despise that word.
Please click on photos to view larger.

November 18, 2012 - Two weeks until sprouts appear.
December 1, 2012 - Sprouts growing slowly.
December 1, 2012 - Main root started.
December 7, 2012 - Sprout springing up.
December 7, 2012 - Total view.
December 14, 2012 - Roots developing well.
December 14, 2012 Top leaves growing well.
December 14, 2012
December 14, 2012 - More sprouts coming on.
December 21, 2012 - Second sprouts doing well.
December 21, 2012
December 28, 2012 - Time to wean first branch.
December 28, 2012 - Standing alone.
January 4, 2013 - More growths.
January 4, 2013 - Main potato doing well.
January 4, 2013 - First slip doing fine.
January 4, 2013 - Roots on first slip developing.
January 12, 2013 - Main potato still producing.
January 12, 2013 - Main potato and first slip doing well.
January 12, 2013 - Time to pot.
January 19, 2013 - First plant is potted.
January 20, 2013 - Main potato went to live here and grow more slips.
Grandson helped neighbor build one like this geodesic dome solar greenhouse two years ago.



Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Lied

Remember that I wrote a couple of days ago about I having now used the last of the Louisiana sauce I made, doing up eight pounds of boneless skinless chicken tenders? The zip-loc bag with the contents diminished by about 1/4 that same evening and the rest was to be be frozen for future yums. Yeah! Right! I lied. The future I meant was not again, two days after.

We had it again last night! Now there is only about 1/2 left for down-the road someday. It was wunnerful-wunnerful. It was served on an oven-warmed brat bun slathered with butter too! How bad is that! Homemade applesauce was dessert. We eat good here in the winter. Good? Bad? anyway............



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Back in the Kitchen

It's a good day to bake. The snow that came in last night is only measuring 4 inches but the man of the house is out there blowing snow paths for the mailcarrier and the propane delivery man and the dog.

Today it's a pumpkin pie to make and later on, Bar-B-Q marinated chicken tenders for supper.

I have now used the last of the *Louisiana sauce I made, doing up eight pounds of boneless skinless chicken. The zip-loc bag with the contents will diminish by about 1/4 this evening and the rest will be frozen for future yums. 

And, no, my oven isn't unlevel - my trip to it with the filled crust was shaky - to say the least! It's a good thing I had put foil under the pie or I'd have had a real mess. 

Come on over and we'll have some pie! My man just came inside to tell me that we're now have freezing rain! Yuk! 

Now for the big cleanup! Oh well...what else do I have to do?

*LOUISIANA BAR-B-Q SAUCE          

1/2 Cup (1 stick) BUTTER
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 Cups dark brown sugar (packed)
2 tsp. celery seed
2/3 Cups lemon juice (from real lemons)
3 Tblsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 Cup French’s horseradish mustard
1/3 Cup Worcestershire sauce
2—4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1-14 oz. bottle Heinz catsup
1/3 Cup Heinz chili sauce

In heavy pot, melt butter, add garlic cloves & brown lightly.

Add all of the rest and simmer at least 45 minutes. (I simmer very low for about an hour.) 

• Pour into qt. jar and age in refrigerator at least a week before using.

Keep refrigerated.
Will last several months.

This recipe came to me from a long time girlfriend in 1960. Her mother had traveled to Louisiana with some ladies and they ate in a high class restaurant. The sauce on the meat was so delicious, she asked to see the chef. She convinced him to sell his recipe to her, because he wouldn't tell it. She told my girlfriend that she paid a lot for it and had to promise that she wouldn't give it to anyone else. Well...she did; she gave it to her daughter and her daughter then gave it to me. Because I believe in sharing I have passed it on the many others to enjoy. 

It is especially delicious on chicken and ribs, topped on meatloaf, and can be used as a hot dip for anything. I have even marinated chicken tenders in it and then baked them in the oven. Personally we like to dip finger foods and then fingers!

The key to making this is to use a very heavy pot.  •Then it can be funneled into several small jars when hot and saved in the refrigerator. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Record Keeper


Keeper of Records -Me

The Franklin Recliner Chair was purchased on March 1, 1991 at Montgomery Ward in Johnson City, NY. It cost $799.99 and I purchased it on sale for $399.00 plus tax. My final cost was $417.29.  That makes it to be over 22 years old! It also makes the cost of having this quality chair has been $18.97 a year! About $.052 a day!!  Works fine. Lesson here is that you get what you pay for.


Other examples:

The Kenmore gas grill that is used at least twice a week - every week - was purchased at Sears on July 2, 1984 for $258.00 plus tax. Yes! it is almost 30 years old! Sits out on the porch, day in, day out. Works fine.


The GE Microwave oven was a gift from my husband and some of our kids as my 1985 Christmas present. I never even wanted one of these. I love it and it is used several times a day every day! I have no idea of its cost, but we had to replace the oven bulb a couple of years ago and that little sucker cost $23.80 s/h incl. My point here is that I had kept the model number, serial number and instruction manual all these years - 27 years, in fact.


The JVC 27" TV was purchased on December 7, 1999 at Circuit Stores in Vestal, NY. $399.99 incl. tax. It's over 13 years old. Works fine. Its capability for today's faster electronic changes is lacking now. 



Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Shopper


My husband is frustrated with our old large TV because he can't read the football downs and scores on some of the channels. They are posted on the far upper left side of the screen and we don't have a wide screen TV! He has a cable box hooked up already so he can see the Speed channel for his auto races. That had to be done when there were some of them being run on an channel that isn't in our cable plan. He didn't want to upgrade to a better channel selection just for that one channel due to increased costs. A digital box was installed a couple of years ago.

I think by now you're getting my point - he watches a lot of TV in the wintertime. Every time we go to Walmart, a 60 mile round trip, for grocery items that we can't get here, he heads to the back of the store to check out TVs. The last time we went he came home and said he found the one he wants. He then told me he was determined to have it and will put it on the credit card! That is supposed to be used only for emergencies. Oh well, I gave in. After all, I have my computer to keep me busy and he only has an old TV. 


The very next day, he left early heading to Walmart. He really must have had itchy britches, you think?  He returned several hours later with a large, but not heavy box. Or so he said. It reminded me of this quotation "He's not heavy, he's my brother." 

It took about 3 more hours for him to set it up. The stand stood empty because the first thing he did was to put the older TV in the middle of the living area floor. When I asked where he would move it to later, he said nothing. All the input/output wires from the cable box, CD player and VCR were attached and it functioned perfectly after being programmed.  He loved his new TV. The only thing yet to do was to attach his remote wireless headset. Oops! No output port ANYWHERE!

Nadda! Nuttin! NO WAY! He cannot use his wireless headphones and charging cradle with his new TV.

You see, he is VERY hard of hearing. His hearing aids pick up too much of surrounding noises and annoy him to the point of taking them out. The next thing he did was call for customer support. The answer was that he needs a TV that has an audio output port. DUH! 

Next day.........New TV all repacked to perfection, loaded in truck and a trip back to Walmart.

The only ones they have with the necessary hole are too large, too expensive, or not in stock.

After returning home, he completely reset up his old TV, and today is sitting comfortably in his lounge chair, headset on head, watching football. A credit IN FULL (no re-packing charges) has been applied to his card and I'm sure, this will all start over very soon.  


He has been one very busy, very frustrated fellow. 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Pecandy Pie


No, I didn't spell incorrectly - 
It IS CANDY PIE!

If I could give you a piece
you would surely agree.

I put the old pot again into service.
This pie is made by using another OLD OLD recipe that came to me from a friend of a friend, of a friend. 


It's a bit labor intensive now for me - I never used to think so - but well worth the work! I used to make my own crust, but now a frozen one from the store works - not excellent, but OK  and not as messy.


I even drool just thinking about it sitting on the counter even though I've already had a piece, just one tiny one to see if it came out all right; it always does. Here's the recipe in case you'd like to make your own. I love how the pecans just float right up to the top when it's baking. 

Pecan Pie

1 3/4 Cup light brown sugar (packed) or dark OK
1/4 Cup dark Caro syrup
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) BUTTER
Bring above ingredients to a rolling boil. DON'T over boil.
Pour INTO 3 beaten eggs. Stir.
Add 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (not imitation)
Add 1 Cup chopped pecans (I GRIND them)
Add pinch of salt. Stir.
Bake in pie shell 3/4 hour at 375˚

Hint: wash your pot and other utensils right away - it sticks like glue if you leave them unwashed for very long.                                                                                               


I grind the pecans very fine now so they don't get stuck in our teeth. Funny how we adjust as we age.

Winterscape


A necessary roadtrip to another town to buy groceries, is taken about every three weeks and I never bring the camera. The main reason is that there is no pull-off to take photos when I see something special because the narrow roadway is usually fairly busy with trucks and other assorted farm and business vehicles. It's dangerous to slow down or stop. Determined to photograph SOMETHING, the camera came along yesterday and I got a break on one section and snapped a few just to give you an idea of the beautiful Pennsylvania landscape in the country wintertime.
Click photos for larger, clearer views.






It reminded me that even though we don't ice skate, sled, ski, snowmobile, ice fish or play in physical winter activities any more, we can still enjoy the beauty of our winter months as the days go by.