Saturday, January 28, 2012

Baked some cookies last night........

I wanted to get some Christmas cookies out to some of the local businesses where the people are especially nice but I never quite made it so I thought instead I would get a headstart on Valentine's Day.  Unfortunately, I made the dough the other day and chilled it like your supposed to only I didn't get back to make the cookies until last night and by then it was a little dry.  I wrapped it in Saran wrap but it didn't seem to help much...maybe 2 layers next time.  Anyway, I guess I'll just have to eat these myself!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Finally finished the countertops!

Tah Dah!  Then I looked up and realized I had forgotten to clean above the cupboards on that side of the room!  Oh well, there's always today.  Plus, you haven't seen the other side of the kitchen or my table! (I made a little mess over there!)  But then this is not something you do every day.  This is major cleaning.  I took everything off the wall, spice cabinet etc, and washed each item.  Plus, I did a little remodeling! I took out the appliance garage! LOL!  I had my microwave on a stand across the room.  This takes up my counter space but is much more convenient. 

This is the "before" picture of my appliance garage.  As you can see, I can't even fit my Kitchenaide Mixer in there.  Plus the "door" to it fell off awhile ago! LOL!

Here's the "after" 
Yeah, I know there's no wallpaper there but maybe I'll paint that little corner.  I'd love to paint the whole thing but I have got to get the house on the market...that's my goal...not redecorating the whole thing.  I keep having to remind myself of that as I would love to slap paint on just about everything in this house and rip up the carpet...but I must focus on my goal which is to get it on the market first and foremost.
Here's the rest of the counter top.  I wish I could get rid of the drainboard but I'm always cooking and baking and there are things that just can't go in the dishwasher so I really use it.  Unless I'd start drying dishes...oh, let's not go there!  Maybe if I actually had people coming through the house I could hide it but for my daily life it will remain where it is.

I need a new cook top also as there is a grill and griddle on one side which I never use and 2 burners on the other side of which only the small one in the back works.  I have a grill on an enclosed porch and this one in the kitchen is a bear to clean if you use it.  I would never have one myself and especially since I have the other, I can grill whatever the weather.  It's built in on the other side of my fireplace.  Now that one is handy!   I'm saving for the cook top as we speak.  I'd prefer gas but haven't looked into how much more that would cost to run the lines.  Another "to-do"!

And there you have it!  The counter tops are done and most of the area above the cupboards.  How long has this taken me?  I better drink more coffee!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yesterday was bread making day...yum!

     I usually make my own bread.  I used to do the kneading and all that but since I got RA it's a little hard on my hands so I went to a bread making machine but it wasn't the same and then I found this wonderful, easy method for exactly the type of bread I love and it does not require kneading!  It's from Mother Earth News.
It is a great website with TONS of wonderful information from gardening (they have a planner that I will be investigating soon) to building, to raising animals to making your own "anything" from scratch.  The only problem is their website is slow so keep trying and once you get it, print it off.  I highly recommend their magazine, books, and website. Anyway, back to the bread making.
 This is my "batch" of dough that I keep in the frig.  It will make 4-6 loaves depending on size and keeps in the frig for 6 weeks but it never lasts that long.  This basic dough can be made into anything!  How about some homemade caramel pecan rolls this Sunday?  YUMMO! As you can see there's some dough  missing....

This is the dough which I just grabbed from my frig container, formed into a ball and put it on a parchment covered cookie sheet sprinkled with some corn meal.  They call for a stone and pizza peel but I don't have them and this works just fine.  You let it "rise" for 40 minutes.

  After the 40 minutes you sprinkle it with some flour and make some "slashes" in it with a serrated knife  and then pop it in the oven.

About 20 minutes into the "rise" of the bread I put a water filled pan on my lower oven rack and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  The water keeps the bread moist yet with a crispy crust.  I was raised on Italian style breads so doughy, soft breads are not my favorite but this is!  The bread bakes for 30 minutes and VOILA!  You have homemade bread EASY PEASY!


YOu're supposed to let it cool before slicing but who doesn't want a warm slice fresh from the oven?  I wait a little...but not much!
This bread is great toasted, for sandwiches and dipping in olive oil and parmesan cheese.  You name it and this bread fits the bill!  I live alone so I just make a small loaf but you could make a larger loaf or 2 small ones to fit your needs and your family.  This IS the easiest and fastest way to make bread and it's all natural.  There's also a recipe for wheat bread made this way and additional recipes on the website.  Please try will never again buy store bought or even use your bread maker this is that easy!  
Have a great day! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My plants are happier today!

Yesterday was a beautiful day here with lots of sunshine and high 60's temps.....SO.......since I had failed to get my repotting done in the Fall when I usually do it, I did it yesterday.  I like to do it outside because it's such a "dirty " job....get it..."dirty"!  Ha! Ha!
Some are a little limp today.  I think after all the neglect they're still in shock to have fresh soil, food and water! LOL!  Plus, I divided my shamrock plant (not sure if that's the real name for it) and it is a very delicate plant but needed to prepare it for it's big show and flowers come St. Patty's Day!  Does anyone know the real name for it?  How often do you repot your plants and how do you get them to look so full and healthy like the ones at the store?
This is the "before" picture...

This is the "after" picture...I looks worse but they'll perk up...won't they?

Here's the rest...I have more to do but these were the ones that needed it the most....

I just started using Picasa but I'm having a little trouble getting the pictures uploaded to my minute they're there and the next minute they're not so bear with me while I figure out this new way of posting pictures.   Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Yesterday morning I took a nice hot bath first thing to ease my aching joints into the day. I'm not much of a 'girly-girl" but I do love Philosophy's Amazing Grace fragrance products.  They're fresh and clean smelling and not over powering.  I love the "philosophy" that's written on their packages too.  Here's one of them: 

                       " How you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain and so it is with  life, which for many of us is one gigantic test followed by one gigantic lesson.   In the end, it all comes down to one word, grace.  It's how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light."

Next, I changed the sheets on the bed and did some ironing.....

There was laundry and supper to make.  I made a soup recipe that I got from Velma at Down Our Country Road  It was her Cheesy Chicken Chowder and just wonderful!  She has angel biscuits with hers but I didn't get that far! LOL!  The soup was really's a keeper for sure!  Thanks, Velma!

And who can forget dessert?  I know this looks like a giant serving and it is but it was the last bit of this dessert and I needed to make room in the frig for the soup pot.  REALLY!!!!  and of course the ice cream had to be in proportion to the dessert which was dump cake....I can't remember if I ever posted it before so I'll post it here for you now.  This is not a "health" dessert by any means but when you need a "go-to" dessert that is fast, easy and delicious......this is the one to fix!

You can double this recipe for a rectangular pan but the amount of butter remains the same regardless.
375 degrees for 45 minutes
This recipe uses an ungreased 8 X 8 pan
Throw a can of any pie filling or fruit not drained into the pan.  Next sprinkle 1/2 of a cheap yellow cake mix on top of the filling or fruit. Take 1 stick of butter and slice into 16 pats and place on top of cake mix in pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of nuts on top and bake for 45 minutes.  Oh, and if you haven't guessed yet....serve with a massive amount of your favorite ice cream!  (double up on your cholesterol medicine after eating kidding..DO NOT do that! LOL!  But if you don't take medicine for your cholesterol might want to think about starting after eating this! Ha! Ha!) (Paula Dean would be so proud of me!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Is this too much or what?

I love living alone, although having a few locally close friends would be nice and the reason I say that is because when you're alone you have no "barometer" to gauge your behavior by or your physical appearance.  I could be really whacky in the head....FOR REAL but who's going to tell me???????  So, blog's up to you!  Should you decide to accept this mission...well, you know how it goes.  WARNING!!!!  This will not be easy though as I tend to laugh things off most of the time so you'll have to be vigilant!
So, here's your first assignment:

First of all I have to tell you that I pride myself on "no-nail" construction....long story but I have several of these "no-nail" construction projects around my house.   Scary, huh?  What you can't see above the pots and pans is a broomstick on top of the 2 cupboards (a good 7 inches on both cupboards) from which those pans are suspended by GIANT  "S" hooks.  I used 6 of the 12 hooks I bought.  I think that's enough weight but if I want to hang more there is room for another broomstick!  But I don't want the cupboards to come off the walls either so maybe one is enough.
The little wire "whatchamacallit" below the pans is the back of a kitchen shelf that I had gotten free at a sale as it was falling apart.  I dismantled it and only used the back part.  I couldn't use the shelf part as it was wider and wouldn't fit between the cupboards.  When I held up the wire part to see if it would fit I sort of shoved it in between those cupboards and miracle of wedged itself in there buckling a little at the sides but fit nice and snug...It was an accident actually...I was just "puttering around" to see what it would look like.  And get did not scratch the side of the cupboards!  Another miracle! 
Here's a better picture of the pot and pan hangar.

No, I'm not showing you my clean sink...although it is nice and clean isn't it.  I thought I'd throw in "a few of my favorite things" for the kitchen.   This one (and I have several of these because when they're dirty I just throw them in the dishwasher) is a wire mesh drain "picker-upper"?  It keeps things from going down your drain that you don't want to.  I took out the ones that came with the sink, those metal twist ones that never work for me.  For years I would use them, fill up my sink with soapy water only to turn around to discover it had drained out.  Now, I use a plastic dish tub that fits right in my sink (I got mine at Dollar General) and I don't use the metal sink drainers at all anymore.

Below is what I use to store my vegetable brush, a scrubby and extra drain catchers.  Of course, it's a little something I picked up at a sale years ago.  It's a planter but I never use anything for what it was meant to be used for and it's yellow...need I say more?

The gadget below is the "bees knees"!  It cost like $2.50 at Walmart and it allows you to rotate the head of the faucet to reach all areas of your sink plus if you pull down it sprays and if you push up you get a steady stream.  I love it and it was LOTS cheaper than buying a new faucet!  And actually I prefer it to the sprayers that are separate from the faucet that come with some sinks.  I've had those before and never again.  Sometimes simpler is better.

And last but not least is my Mrs. Meyers counter top cleaner which is really her all-purpose cleaner diluted
and put in a spray bottle.  I LOVE her products, they're natural for one and smell divine and do the job!  It's so  much better than store bought chemical stuff and it makes cleaning a joy...literally!  She has all kinds of scents and some are seasonal.  I love basil and sweet pea and in the winter I use pine but it's the Christmas tree pine and it's called Iowa Pine.  The 2 products of hers that I cannot live without is her all purpose cleaner above which I buy the big size and you dilute it 1/8 cup to that spray bottle and it lasts me a year or longer.  I guess I should clean more often?  The other are her candles; they are soy, and they really don't smoke or turn the container black, come in reusable cute jars, are reasonably priced,  burn right down to the bottom each and every time and smell divine! can leave your comments about my decorating sanity by posting "anonymously" if you don't want to identify yourself.  I can't afford a therapist or a brain scan so it's up to you all! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Moving right along in the kitchen.... area #2 done

I can't even remember what challenge this was but out of 52 weeks of organizing, week #1 was kitchen counters.  One would think that in 1 week I could get my kitchen counters done but noooo...not I!!!  Today is the last day and I'm still not done.  Am I the only one that gets off tangent and into wild forays of decorating and rearranging that make you question your sanity????  I am even staying home from craft group today (we have severe weather looming here also so this reorganizing may be all for naught if "the big one" hits but on a brighter note it's a sign of Spring!).  This counter wasn't too bad except I just had to go get my Keurig that I have wanted for 2 years but was waiting until they got the "bugs" out and the reviews got better and they did...hopefully.  So, having purchased it I had to set up a "coffee and cocoa bar"  like Brenda over at Cozy Little House .  I'm also trying to cover up that UGLY wallpaper.  Not sure putting the signs in back is the answer.  Any suggestions are welcome!  I'm also thinking maybe a tray to corral supplies would be better than the little chair etc.'s what it looks like so far....oh....and should I remove the lamp and instead put that little chair I got the other day with a plant on it?  Am I anal or just looney?  You don't have to answer that last question.

The white coffee and tea cannisters hold my "K" cups for my Keurig and yes..the coffee one holds the coffee K cups and the tea holds the tea K cups....ingenius huh?  Cream (coffeemate) and sugar are on the little bench and the jar with marshmallows guessed it....for the hot cocoa K cups and actually I added another tin with those after I took this picture.   

I also put cup hooks up underneath my cupboard and hung my favorite mugs which freed up some prime real estate in my cupboard.  Speaking of, have you ever looked underneath your cupboards?  DON'T!  Things splash and guess where it goes?  OMG!   Gross!  But that's another project for another day.   Sometimes I think there's nothing wrong with "blind ignorance".