Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Want to make your own "corn chips"?

I am never going to buy corn chips of any kind again because these are SO EASY and SO DELICIOUS to make yourself!  I don't do a lot of snacking but when I want to these are perfect and also  a great accompaniment to soups and guacamole among other things.  This was a recipe from Marlene  Koch's Eat What You Love cookbook.....my favorite...in all my life I have never liked so many recipes from one cookbook.  I'm sure she won't mind if I share as long as you go out and buy her cookbook.  You will buy it won't you?  And no, I get nothing for it and we're not related.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
slice corn tortillas into thin strips (or you can cut them into pie shapes like the ones in the store or whatever shape you want) and place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper (saves your cookie sheets and your time trying to scrub them clean)
spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt
bake for 10 minutes or until brown and crisp.  ENJOY!!!!

Marlene instructs you to turn once during baking but I don't have time for that! LOL!  They turn out great without that additional step.

Monday, November 22, 2010

As Thanksgiving draws near.......

This is my little cabin collection.  It reminded me of Thanksgiving and the villages that the pilgrims might have lived in.  The painting was done by a friend of my Mother's and the little Amish boy and girl are sort of like pilgrims and were given to me on my birthday many years ago by a very dear friend. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Paradise!

These are my "accidental"  pumpkins that grew from one that fell off my porch last fall.  There are certain pumpkins that are better for pies and cooking etc; but since I have no idea what kind of pumpkin this was I guess I'll just take my chances!  I've never done this before so it has been enlightening!  It's not hard just time consuming but does allow you to multi-task so that's a plus!  I cut them in half...by far, the hardest part and be careful!  They are tough!  But then, I just layed them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and baked them at 325 for an hour and VOILA!  The rest is easy!

I peeled the cooked pumpkin, cut it into chunks and threw it in my food processor and there you have it!  Pureed pumpkin in freezer containers...so far I have about 4 cups worth from the little and medium sized one.  The BIG mama-jama I'm tackling tomorrow.  They do say that the smaller or medium sized ones are best.  But my BIG one isn't that big so I am not wasting it!  I've been baking them in the evening after supper and then letting them cool overnight so I've been doing one pumpkin a day...not to worry....I only have 3.

Here's the seeds after being washed.  They are draining.  Actually, I have never tasted homemade toasted/roasted pumpkin seeds.  We had pumpkins we grew for Halloween but they always stayed outside until they rotted!  LOL!  Plus...as a career woman with 4 children on a farm....I was lucky I bathed regularly much less made pumpkin seeds but I did garden and can everything else...I think I was just too tired from canning and freezing garden produce by the time the pumpkins arrived.  In fact, I thought cleaning the seeds would be a really time consuming, difficult task with all that stringy pumpkin flesh mixed in but it was surprisingly easy to clean them!  Who knew???!!!  I'm on a roll!  Of course it is amazing how much patience I have now that I divorced my husband and the kids all left home.  I'm sure they'd be amazed at what a nice person I am now!  Ha! Ha!

Here they are all roasty and toasty!  And I must say DELICIOUS!!!  They are good for you and better than any snack I can think of!  WOW!  I wish I had grown more pumpkins because they are NOT going to last the season!  I took 1 1/2 cups of seeds and melted  1 Tbs of butter and a pinch of salt and mixed them all in a bowl.  I then tried as best I could to spread them on a parchment paper  covered cookie sheet and baked them at 300 for 45 minutes stirring several times during the roasting/toasting.  I sure hope that last big pumpkin has LOTS of seeds in it!  I am definitely having a pumpkin patch next year!  And I haven't even started with the pumpkin bread, that pumpkin roll with the cream cheese frosting in the middle and of course the pie for Thanksgiving and last but not least....I am going to try pumpkin butter!  I am loving this!  Mary Jane and Martha move over!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Look what Kim (alias Tabitha Lenox) sent me!!!!

I met Kim on Mary Jane's Farmgirl chatroom and she is a very talented multi-media artist....(little did I know!)  She's even been published....TWICE!!  Anyway...we got to chatting about how I love the art cards and tags that people make and swap but "I know nothing"...I've never even scrapbooked.  Although, I must admit I have bought some items to do it but really am not very creative unless there's directions! LOL!  Sort of defeats the purpose of creativity I guess.  Kim has faith in me though and despite it all she sent me these beautiful and inspiring gifts!  Now I have to do something with them....AHHHH!  Where do I start?  Look below.....

She sent me these inspiring and beautiful books and magazines that are a true testament to the talented people inhabiting our planet!  I am going to start small....playing cards or tags and I have a few ideas and lots of pictures and acrylic paints and I am SO EXCITED!!!!   Please check out her blog.  It is oh so wonderful and inspiring!  Thank you SO MUCH Kim and I hope I make you proud!  Her blog is www.tabithalenox.blogspot.com.....she's AWESOME!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Waffles.....I forgot how much I love/hate them!

Some one on Mary Janes Farm chatroom (which I frequent) brought up the subject of waffles and waffle irons.  I LOVE waffles but never had any luck making them 30 or 40 years ago when I was a young woman.  I remember getting a waffle iron for a wedding present, trying it, making a big mess of the whole thing and selling it at my first garage sale, I think.  But a couple of years ago a friend had a garage sale and had 2 old waffle irons from my Mother's era (1950's) that she was trying to sell.  I said "No thanks...been there done that" but I was selling on Ebay at the time and she suggested I sell them on Ebay and she would give them to me for free if I would take them off her hands.  What could I say, I took them and stuffed them in the basement and promptly forgot about them.  With the thread about waffles and waffle irons on Mary Jane's website chatroom, my memory was awakened and I remembered those old waffle irons in the basement.  Sure enough, they were still down there so I brought them upstairs and assessed them.  The round one looked promising so before I started cleaning it up I decided to plug it in and see if it even worked.  One thing I noticed was the cord neatly corraled by a toilet paper roll.  What a great idea!  I plugged her in and VOILA....no sparks or smoke and it was a cloth cord....I've never used one of those but I had inspected it and it seemed in good shape.  There was even a light on top that actually lit up!  There were 3 settings; light. medium, and dark.  I cleaned her up REALLY good, made my waffle batter in a pitcher as I figured that would be convenient for pouring.  I sprayed the griddle with organic canola oil and turned the slot to dark.  I like things crispy.    I was excited!  I whisked my batter in the pitcher but it said not to "over mix" so once it looked mixed and I thought my griddle was heated up I poured on the batter.  So far, so good.  I closed it up and set the timer for 5 minutes which the "batter" recipe said to cook it for.  Well....it depends on how hot your griddle was when you poured in the batter because after 5 minutes I opened it and it wasn't ready.  I closed it quickly hoping it would be okay.  Meanwhile, I quickly googled waffles and found a recipe that said NOT to open until steam stopped coming out.  I waited and then opened it (it took 10 minutes so obviously my griddle wasn't hot enough when I put the batter in.)  It was done...bedraggled looking but I got it out.   The next one was too dark....evidently the griddle was hot enough now and I had waited for the steam to end and sure enough it came out just perfectly...no sticking!  I turned the lever to medium and the next one came out PERFECT!!!!  I figured I had finally mastered it!  I had one more to make eyeing my remaining batter.  BTW I resprayed the griddle each time before adding more batter.  This was the last waffle so I tipped up the pitcher to empty it all and POUFF!!!!  There was batter and underneath it a bunch of flour that had not gotten incorporated!  AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!   What a mess!  And it was a hot griddle so I just closed the lid and hoped for the best.
I did not eat that last waffle but the others were great and I froze a few.  I left the kitchen after unplugging the MONSTER and like Scarlet O'Hara I decided I would deal with it another day or at least much later.  But.....I learned a lot...mostly 3 key points I would like to pass on to future generations of waffle makers......1)  don't open until the steam stops coming out, 2)  give your griddle plenty of time to heat up before that first one and 3)  DO NOT whisk your batter in a pitcher...use a bowl and transfer to a pitcher after it is mixed that way if there is any remaining flour that has not gotten incorporated you will probably see it before you dump it on your griddle.  I talked to my youngest son later last night who gave me yet another tip (he's worked as a short order cook in the past)....he said instead of spraying which can be a bit messy for surrounding items in your kitchen....he used to have a little bowl of melted butter with a (previously unused) paint brush that he would baste the griddle with before each batch of waffles.  The reason I stated "previously unused" paintbrush is because funny thing...he is a painter now.  So.....now you have it...my entire Sunday Morning Waffle Extravaganza!  Tune in next week....will she attempt more waffles?  Will the griddles be discovered on Ebay or Freecycle?  Will she go on to be Queen of Waffledom?  Only The Shadow knows!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Not very exciting posting but I was thrilled!

I know this probably isn't the most interesting posting I've ever done but lately my priority has been finances and cutting back (forget the previous posting at the thrift store....that was a little slip-up on my budget) and I have also been trying to eat healthier, exercise and all that good stuff.  I was planning on making broccoli cheddar soup so I went to the store to get a few items for that and LO & BEHOLD......they must have just filled the cart for reduced items and it was the same rush of adrenaline I get from ANY good bargain.....WHOOSH!  I got all those vegetables for $2.50 plus 4 grapefruit for .59 but I had washed those and put them away already.  Have I just not been paying attention (very possible with me) or are these wonderful prices? And the stuff is not rotten or even bad.  The oranges maybe one, the turnips (those are turnips aren't they?) not at all.  The eggplant is perfect....unless I cut into them and find they were accidentally frozen or something.  I mean REALLY..,,,considering the cost of fresh produce nowadays I felt like I'd won the lottery!  Now....what do I do with it all....let's see....grapefruit for breakfast and zest the peel from those and the oranges for putting in with your coffee brewing in the  morning and is that ever tasty!  Eggplant parmesan for sure, turnips and potatoes with a roast chicken?  And the oranges are just pure pleasurable eating unless I want to make an orange chicken dish but I think not....I'll just eat them!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shame on me...a few thrift store items!

Actually it was sort of an antique/consignment store and I didn't want to go BUT the gal I was with did and I knew if I went in that I WOULD buy something....and I did.  But in my defense I have wanted some of these old fashioned cookie cutters for years and never saw any.  They were just laying there on a table practically begging me to buy them....so I did....just to shut them up!  Can I use these?  Can I wash them?  Will they rust if I wash them?  Are they sanitary?  Any and all advice appreciated.

This was just TOO CUTE to pass up!  And cheap!  $3.50......bargain of the day in my book!  I haven't cleaned it yet as you can see.  I haven't cleaned my kitchen floor either which I am hoping you can't see.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sorry I haven't posted or visited....

I've had a little cold...not much but it slowed me up a bit.  I did have my class for the pillow wraps and got the Christmas one done at least.  I also finished up block #6 of my Folk Art Quilt.  I finally got a new rug shampooer...a Hoover with attachments for upholstery.  They had it at Walmart and I came home and looked up the reviews and they were great so I went back and got it.  I did my bedroom and it turned out great!  And it was dirty with the dogs laying in there every night.  This carpeting is 30 or more years old but it was good quality and it cleaned up very nicely.  Hoover has a pet shampoo that deoderizes and neutralizes any leftover "accidents".  It smells fresh and clean...not for long probably but anything was an improvement!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Good bye summer......we had our first frost!

The last of my roses.....

It amazes me how the different types of roses have different scents....the white ones smell totally different than the pink ones.....but they all smell WONDERFUL!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Poinsettia class at our local quilt shop.........

Taking shape.....literally

The finished product...what a beauty!

A work in progress....by a student...I did not sign up for this class...like I need another UFO!  But I did stop in to see everyone since I know the owner of the shop, the teachers and several of the students.  I just snapped pictures and got them some lunch.

This is Sue.....working hard or hardly...I can't quite tell.

Do you recognize these 2 partners in crime?  Yes!  It is from left to right, Margaret, President of our quilt guild and Jennie, Vice-President of our quilt guild.  They are THE BEST teachers.....if they could teach me to quilt believe me they are good!  Nice picture girls! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Country Quilters Quilt Guild yesterday.........

We couldn't meet at our usual place which is North Arkansas Electric Cooperative so the First Baptist Church let us in....Amazing, Grace!  They have a HUGE room as you can see.  This is Iris who shops for us and gets us great discounts on quilting and sewing supplies.

This is Pat who bought this quilt from an "up and coming" quilt artist but Pat does beautiful work herself.

Here is our BELOVED (and I mean that!) President, Margaret who made this gorgeous Christmas quilt that I did not get a picture of!  DRAT BATWOMAN!  I think she did the ones on that table too.  She was my first (and only) teacher along with our Vice - President, Jenny.....they are great teachers and I learned so much from them and still do.  That's Joann in the chair and she is the head of the other group I attend....Fit n' Sew.

This is Linda...our "Hostess with the Mostest"....she does the best door prizes and drawings and there are her beautiful cockscomb flowers that I have seeds from if anyone wants any.  There's our official insignia too...hanging on the wall.  Have insignia will travel!  I missed pictures of so many great quilts because I was doing the library and the Opportunity Quilt tickets.  I will post our quilt we are raffling off tomorrow.....GORGEOUS!  There's still time to buy your tickets!  $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.   It goes to replenish our coffers for the guild.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!!! I celebrate the WHOLE month of October........

I got these years ago and I have 2 trees in front and a ghost hanging from each one.  Those are tin cans at the bottom that clang when the wind blows.....ooooooowww......scary!

Okay...so it's daytime and you don't really get the whole effect but I could break my neck in that pumpkin patch if I go out at night!  Plus...it's scary out there....didn't you see those ghosts?

Here's the tiniest pumpkin.....

Here's the medium sized one...but get ready for.....(drum roll please)

THE GREAT PUMPKIN.....just what Charlie Brown has been waiting for!  But will it be ready by Halloween?  Stay tuned!

Here's my ceramic (so much easier to carve..let me tell you!) pumpkin with it's reflection in the window.  Told you it was scary!   Happy Halloween everyone!   Let the frightening begin!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New bedspread and books I'm reading......

This is my new bedspread!  I call it my "happy bed" now...isn't it delightful?  I love chenille bedspreads and this one is brand new and it came with the shams.  It was on my "wishlist" for over a year and then I found out they weren't going to carry it anymore so I HAD to buy it before it was lost forever!  It is a pale yellow with yellow chenille dots.  Oh!  Did I  mention I love dots too!

I found this book at the library tucked away and it is so awesome!  Laura was one wise woman!  These were her articles she used to write for the newspaper in Mansfield, Missouri in the early 1900's.  She could be writing it for today...it is all still very relevant.  I'm going to try and purchase this book if I can find it somewhere.  It is one of those books that makes you feel good and like you are living in that time.  My Mother grew up in that era and it gives me a glimpse of what things were like at that time in history.  Wonderful book...I am savoring each article!

Another book from the library (I'm trying VERY hard not to buy any books and that is really not easy for me since I love owning them).  This book is current and, as it states on the cover, it is the search for the science of spirituality.  It is very well written and very interesting reading.  Science and spirituality are coming closer and closer together.  There are interviews with prominent scientists and spiritualists and religious leaders.  Excellent book! 

I just have to say that I have long been an admirer of Adriana Trigiani.  I bought my first book by her and it was her first book  also, I think, as a remembrance of my vacation through North Carolina and at that time she was a local author,  so I bought it.  It ended up being the best and funniest and some of the most wonderful books I'd ever read....I think it was Cherry Holler or Big Stone Gap...I can't remember now but there is a Trilogy and you should read them in order if you can.  The last one was Milk Glass Moon I think and it was good too.  This book is totally different and not as funny and takes place in New York City.  It is good but I loved the setting and characters in her first 3 books and I have to say.....I miss them!  But I know we need to grow as authoresses and as readers so I am enjoying this book too.  I just seem to be attracted to books with a rural theme as opposed to a city theme.  Either way she a is a fabulous writer!  I'm not sure that she was really a local author in North Carolina at the time or ever but it was written about that area and I think she might have grown up there.   Just don't quote me on anything....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall pics with my new camera!!!! Now, about the photographer....

Okay, I haven't read the manual yet but I will!

LOVE the colors of Fall.......

I planted and nurtured heirloom tomatoes all summer and they got tomato hornworm and are no more but the pumpkin that rotted and fell off the porch well looky here!!!!  LESSON?????   I guess I 'll just throw some tomatoes out there next year .....probably have more luck!

Maybe I do need to read the manual...a little blurry

Tell Charlie Brown I've got The Great Pumpkin...it's just not quite ripe yet.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I'm my own "sou" (sp?) chef.............

 I always get these pictures in backwards....this is the last picture....anyway the pre-prepping worked really slick.  The only drawback is the extra dishes but I have a dishwasher so it's not that big of a deal and even though I was tired when I came in, I had the motivation to throw it together since most of the work was done.  Before this, if I came in and was too tired I would end up snacking instead of eating a decent meal.  So....I will most probably be doing this from now on....problem #564,962 solved...now on to the remaining 564, 961 problems...LOL!
Here's the recipe and picture of the black bean soup I was making.
Ok...I have a problem having the  motivation and energy to cook supper after working outside all day so I decided I would take a tip from the chefs and cooking shows and prep everything BEFORE I started cooking....in fact, before I went outside and started working.  That way, when I came in and was too tired to "start" something...all I had to do was mindlessly throw it together.  Mindless is good for me! Here are my prepared ingredients.