Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It was a Year....

of personal life's happenings

of weddings - Two granddaughters were married.

of births - A 7th Great grandchild was born. A boy. A Great nephew was born. A boy.

of deaths - Morris, a beach friend died. Babe, a beach friend died. Mary, a beach friend died in a car accident. Rolley, a 2nd cousin died. Jimmy and Floyd, older farmers and close by neighbors died.

Oscar, my sister's aged Golden Retriever died.  Guiseppe, my daughter's young Boxer unexpectedly died. Barkley, my nearby neighbor's aged Weimaraner died.

of new beginnings - My sister got a new Cocker Spaniel puppy, Amos. My daughter got a new Boxer puppy, Massimo. My nephew's family has a new Beagle puppy, Dhango. My neighbor has a new Pocket Beagle puppy, C. J.

of a retirement - My special friend retired at age 70.

of accidents - A young grandson broke his clavicle. Another older grandson broke his foot and ankle, really seriously.

● of homemade maple syrup from my brother and great tomatoes from my daughter - of delicious home grown corn from a neighboring farm.

● of costly repairs to truck - of necessary battery replacements in both golf carts.

● of unexpected visits from old friends and family.

● of a planned visit with special friend.

● of our Pal going deaf at age 14.

● of me starting to use a cane - of the Mister injecting insulin - of visits to the dentist, opthalmologist, pulmonologist, cardiologist, podiatrist, urologist, chiropractor, and I forget who else!

Time moves on! 

The year 2014 is almost behind and as we prepare for 2015 - we wonder.....and look ahead.



Monday, December 29, 2014

Wood Warm


So far it's been a warmer than usual winter. So far.

On a short trip this morning we saw that this family's woodpile hasn't gone down much since we passed this way a few weeks ago.
click to view larger
We' ve only had one propane gas delivery on December 6 since we ordered our supply on August 12. And, according to the news, oil has hit the 5 1/2 year low today.

Well, the days are getting longer and I'm getting older and weather seems to be more important than I remember; so does keeping warm.  


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Busy

Today I baked the very large smoked ham then, after lunch, I cut it up into slices for sandwiches and dinners. I cut up chunks for food processor work to make ham salad. I have a large pan of scraps and bones for broth. It took me two hours! I have put some in the freezer.  For dinner there is a corn casserole baking and we will have a piece of _ _ _ to go with it. Guess what!

Thank goodness my old electric knife is still sharp and has a LONG cord! It is important. Yes, my old hand mixer has a long cord as well. I have only one place to plug in these appliances for use and would not be able to get by without those long cords. 

After all that I played with photos of children who are adorable to begin with, but I changed them a bit. 

Title: DON'T CRY
Title: JOHN
 Title: JOHN-E
 Title: FOXI
click on image to view larger

Friday, December 26, 2014

"Twas the Day After...

...and the sun is shining! We haven't had a sunny sunrise for 19 days!  Yea!! Clap! Clap! Clap!

...and the hambone is on the stove simmering away for the next 8 hours. Split pea soup is a comin' soon.  Ham salad is prepared for lunch.  

...and there is another ham in the fridge waiting to be baked for another kettle of soup.

...and the frost has left our dirt road and it is a slippery, slimy and rutted trip in 'n outta here. 

...and all's well at Cabin Tranquillity. 

Oh Happy Day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Have a Piece of Easy Cake!

No, it isn't very pretty. Pretty doesn't matter. I didn't use pineapple rings nor maraschino cherries but it has all the rest and is as large as my cookie sheet. My top priority is to make a tasty and flavorful treat. Now to top off a piece (or two) with whipped cream. The real stuff. Tricky to make and messy, but ...


Click on image to view larger
As you can see, I used crushed pineapple. It's what I had on hand. I also used a white cake mix and whole eggs and all the juice without water. It works. Sometimes I don't follow directions!
k
Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (20 oz) pineapple slices in juice, drained, juice reserved
1 jar (6 oz) maraschino cherries without stems, drained
1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ yellow cake mix

Vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). In 13x9-inch pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange pineapple slices on brown sugar. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice, and arrange remaining cherries around slices; press gently into brown sugar.
  2. Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to measure 1 cup. Make cake batter as directed on box, substituting pineapple juice mixture for the water. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.
  3. Bake 42 to 48 minutes (44 to 53 minutes for dark or nonstick pan) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Place heatproof serving plate upside down onto pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake; remove pan. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store covered in refrigerator.

SuperMoist® butter recipe yellow or white cake mix can also be used to make this popular cake. Make batter as directed on box, using 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice and 1/2 cup water instead of water called for on box. For white cake, bake dark or nonstick pan 42 to 48 minutes.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Off Kilter

A fellow blogger made a hand decorated Christmas cup using Sharpies. It looked like a fun and easy thing to make. I didn’t have a plain white cup or mug. I substituted.

Since I didn't think I had any colored sharpie pens here (I supposed they were left at the place in SC) I used Sharpie highlighters - on a Corelle dinner plate!  I had 12 plain white dinner plates and never use them all at one time anymore so one was sacrificed for my craziness.

I scribbled on it like the plastic plate I have kept that one of my sons made at age 4 in 1972. I wasn't really serious about my design at all. After baking in a 350° oven for half an hour and cooling in the oven, the end result was failure! Only the pink and the orange colors remained. I put it on the bottom of the stack in the cupboard and quit. Well, "never give up" is one of my quirks, I guess. This morning I put on my thinking cap, went digging in my craft stuff AND FOUND three old colored permanent Sharpies! I then took out the plate from the bottom of that stack and started over, right on top of the old “art.” 

I should have taken a picture before baking it this time. It was at first very colorful. After baking, it was muted and I couldn't tell the green scribbles(design?) from the blue ones. The upshot is that it will do. I need to rethink. 

Not to worry about losing more color in the dishwasher. I’m the dishwasher.

Click on image to view larger and get dizzy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Different Cookies

Easy and VERY good! Yes, that's my conclusion. I added one stick of butter, one egg and made 36 KEY LIME cookies!

They are supposed to be drop cookies. Just for fun and experimentation I rolled the last two dozen into balls and then into granulated sugar before baking. That's how I do snickerdoodles and it didn't hurt these at one little bit. I like the nice round shapes. Best of all, they taste like key lime pie!

Skill level: BEGINNER! The clean up was easier and that is a definite positive! 

It was a box mix! 


Click on image to get your salivary glands working!



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Playtime Finished

I've been fooling around too much, I know! This is what happens when the sun hasn't shone on my home for 11 days! Not once!


Sunny Forest

Housewarming

The Dock

Winter Stream - photo by daughter Missy

I made about nine or ten of these "creations" today and these are my personal favorites. They will show up best enlarged.

Well I must get up and become a cook and dishwasher now.

Overlook

I found a new way to manipulate my photos. Here are my "playtime" results today. This is such fun I could do it ALL DAY LONG

 Electric Icicle

"Overlook" (Please click on image and view larger!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Costly


I mentioned to my daughter that I had made pickled beets and eggs and she said she loved them (I didn't know that!) and wanted my recipe. I told her that she should be sure to use cinnamon sticks and not the powder as I was forced to do when I made my last batch. The powder gave the flavor but left little speckles on the eggs and the juice didn't have the clarity it should have had. 

I said I would bring a batch to her when we arrive for Christmas Day dinner.  I looked for the cinnamon sticks in Walmart last week and they didn't have ANY. Today I picked up a .75 oz. container at our local Shur Save market and was shocked at the price! I bought them anyway. I paid $7.59 for a container of 6 sticks! My recipe calls for 2 or 3. 

After I settled down I began a price check on the internet. This is what I found:

*Walmart sells them (.75 oz.)  $5.48
*Target  (.75 oz.) $5.59
This is what I bought.

*Sams Club (3.25 oz.) cost not given on line. I'm not a member.

*Costco (8 oz.) $7.40 There are no Costco stores in my area at all!

I will guard my recent purchase of 6 sticks with my life and be very stingy when using them. And to think I used to use them for decorating when making holiday crafts!

There are two types of cinnamon grown and harvested today: Ceylon cinnamon, which is also known as "true cinnamon," and cassia, which is usually sold and marketed as cinnamon in the United States. The two spices taste and smell very similar to one another, but they are grown and harvested in two very different places.  Source: Beth Asaff
I did learn that whole cinnamon sticks are from the bark of evergreen trees. They are harvested by peeling off the tree bark and allowing it to curl up in quills as it dries. The lower portion of the cinnamon tree, where bark is older and more flavorful is scraped down to become ground cinnamon. 

True cinnamon usually grows in Sri Lanka and South India. 

Cassia cinnamon comes from a different plant. It is native to Southeast Asia and can be found most often in Indonesia, Vietnam and China.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well now you know more about cinnamon!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Spice and Ice

First the Spice! 
These are sooooooo good! (recipe below)
Please note that I saved three for you and three for me.  Also note that my Christmas plate was a gift to me in 1972 and was created by my youngest child.

Now the Ice! 
The icicles are forming. I've stopped the Mister from knocking them down this morning because I would like to photograph them when the sun is shining. They might be longer then, and prettier!

click on image to view larger

Spicy Raisin Cookies

21/3 C. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 C. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 egg
2 tsp pure vanilla
1 C. raisins(softened by soaking in water 10 minutes then drained.

Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl.
Beat granulated sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla - mix well. 
Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.
Hand mix in the raisins until they are well distributed throughout the dough. 
Drop teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 350°about 9 minutes. Let cool before removing to rack.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cookies Are Good For You


As I watch the snow covering my outside world, I'm back at it - making cookies. The cookies of choice this time are molasses raisin, You do know to soak the cup of raisins in water then strain them before adding to the dough, don't you?

Referred to as nature's candy, raisins are simply dried grapes. Raisins are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They're rich and have concentrated sources of energy, vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals. In addition, they are packed with several health benefiting anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, and other phyto-nutrients.

Molasses is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium, and a very good source of magnesium and manganese.

That's all I'm sayin'!

Today I followed this recipe that was my mother's. I didn't roll them in sugar - just dropped on cookie sheet. They were soooo good!

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies  (Raisins Optional)                            
(Delicious! The perfect cookie-soft and chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside. Yummy with a cup of tea!) Makes between 32 and 42 cookies, depending on your ball size. ;D
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Cream together shortening and brown sugar.
  2. Stir in egg and molasses and mix well.
  3. Fold in dry ingredients and stir.
  4. Cover and chill till firm (1-2 hours).
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Roll dough into small balls and roll in white sugar.
  7. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes.
  9. Leave on sheet one minute until set.

     They weren't as brown as they look in the picture! I didn't burn any! Made 36 and we already ate 6! It is only 10am.


    Click on image to take a bite

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Again and Again

I win! I make the best quiche. Mr. says so! I say so!

This is spinach with pre-cooked Perdue chicken breast pieces. It was wonderful and we topped it off with brownies. 


Comfort food for cold weather.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Why?


I have a gold pin that was my mother's. It is a pin yet it has the loop on the back to make it a pendant - but doing so would have it upside down from how they are usually shown. This makes me wonder. The only thing I know for sure, is that the Lily of the Valley was my mother's very favorite flower and fragrance. They grow here still - in the old flower beds surrounding the cabin front porch. She said it was her father's favorite flower. The pin must have been a gift to her and I'm sorry I never asked who gave it to her before she died.  After some research I'm more befuddled. The following three paragraphs are taken from different internet sites. 
Lily of the Valley symbolizes sweetness and humility and “You’ve Made My Life Complete” is the hidden message connected to the flower.

"Fleur de lis is French for “flower of the lily” or simply “lily flower.”  I have no real notion of the symbolic meaning of the fleur-de-lis, other than that it is associated with France and, in a nod to the French origins of Louisiana, it is the logo of the New Orleans Saints NFL franchise. Not only does the fleur-de-lis pre-date the establishment of France, it goes back about far as you can go, to the first region permanently settled after the Flood: Sumer, in Mesopotamia. - It is reported to have a dark history."

"A traditional fleur-de-lis, which means "lily of the valley" in English, has many meanings. The most common is a representation of French royalty which symbolizes life, light and perfection. There is no traditional symbolic meaning, though, for an upside down fleur-de-lis."

"The fleur-de-lis symbol evolved from the ancient symbol of the bee and represents the same thing: the "royal" families. It was and still is used extensively by the blue bloods."

Well, I'll just say it was a gift to my mother and represents her favorite flower and fragrance. I too, like the fragrance - very much!  As for wearing the pin upside down - well, maybe.

I scanned the pin and the backside isn't as clear as I would like, but you get the idea.


Here are pictures of others I found on the internet with the same loop which would cause it to be hung upside down.