Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jeepers, Creepers...

Here's for all those Peepers!

My kitchen window looking in...as requested by MamaPea and started by Mama's Minutia... here is my Peep!

As always you can see a dog and the occasional person eating at the counter.  Sorry the window screen obscured things a bit!

Join in the fun and show us a peep of Your Kitchen window looking in!

Enjoy the Peep!  How fitting for Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Without Further Adieu...

video

OK, so do you get the idea that my sock is lonely?

or...

Are you thinking I am a total dufus for rolling around on the floor???


Here's my problem - I have no idea what size needles I used,
where they are,
or if I even have enough yarn to do another one!  
Oops!  Another sheepish grin!

But I vow to you's, that at some point thru out the winter months,
I will warm the other foot...even if they don't match!

And it will no longer be lonesome!
Thank you, Thank you very much!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Return of the Hunters

Pig Pen made it home safe and sound!  The boys spent last week on their annual bird hunting trip.  This year they came home with the usual...and one unexpected trophy.

The first Turkey!

I think this was a real source of pride!  Now we wont be having this for Thanksgiving because ya know, it's wild and all.  So I suppose that means we will just have to eat it all by ourselves.  Darn.

What greeted me yesterday morning when we were finally able to get outside in the winds was this...
I thought to myself, "What the Heck?"

Then I remembered, that Pig Pen had to drop one of the boys off before he finally made it home and about 15 miles from the house he called and said he lost a tire.  Not thinking, I asked "Well can't ya put the spare on?"
"No hon, the tire fell off and the axle broke."

Musta looked like the 4th of July on those back roads he was forced to take!  Good thing it didn't happen 12 hours away!  He's a real Fix-It kinda guy, so now he has something else to fix! 

I think it was the year for boat issues because The Eliminator tried to sink his.  I wonder if he knows boats don't float with alot of water in them?  He does now and man I wish I had some pictures of that!

On the other side of things, he got to take all of yesterday off!  That is a real treat around here, let me tell ya!

So we went rootin' around the garden.  We harvested our LAST crops and came up with 30 lbs. of Sweet Potatoes, 10 lbs of Beets, a 5 gallon bucket full of Green tails and 12 lbs of Carrots. 

Do you have alot of clay in your area?  We sure do.  Here is a lonesome Pontiac Red we found:
Looks like a little Piggy!
And then there was this little "Ducky" of a Sweet Potato:

But they all eat the same!

I wanted to have a nice dinner ready to welcome him home.  So of course I wanted to show off my new Bread Making skills.  I found a recipe on TastyKitchen for French Bread.  I was working it as directed and wouldn't ya know it...the Power kept going out!  We've had ferocious winds here!  And of course, my oven is all digital. 

It really got my goat that I had went thru all the trouble and had no way to bake it!  Pig Pen has looked at a few outdoor bread oven designs but needless to say with sustained winds over 45mph and gusts into the 60's...lighting any type of fire probably wouldn't have been such a good idea anyway!

That's alright though, the power came on in the nick of time and I whipped together another loaf and Voila...

The worlds best-ever French Bread!  I chose this recipe because it said it was better than store-bought.  I love a good challenge!  Well, I can tell you the claim is sooooo true!  It was absolutely wonderful!  I gave it 5 mitts!!

Here is the link if you would like to give it a whirl:  Amazing French Bread submitted by theambitioushousewife.   Boy does she deserve a big hug for sharing that one!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Yumm!

Well, I finally got finished with all my pumpkins!  And MamaPea was probably right, I had enough to do me thru the year.  But I neeeever listen!  Noooo...I picked up 5 more at the Pumpkin Patch the day Julee and I tried to kill Holli on the slide.

I ended up with 18 pints of pumpkin in the freezer!  That oughta do me thru Thanksgiving...of 2012!  My body didn't take the beating it did when I had 25 of my own a few years ago tearing my rotator cuff, but man I think I have tennis elbow on the other arm now!

Pumpkins are alot of work!  I was talking to my cousin Paula today and she had read some where that you can pierce the pumpkin and cook it whole until tender and then cut and clean it.  I might have to try that next year.  But knowing me...I'd forget to pierce it and they would explode in my oven!!


Ok, those aren't my pumpkins...I eat mine!  But it was pretty funny anyway!

Here's our favorite recipe handed down from my Aunt Beverly:


Pumpkin Bars

4 Eggs
1 2/3 C Sugar
1 C Oil
2 C Pumpkin (*One Can)
2 C Flour
2 t Baking Powder
2 t Cinnamon
1 t Salt
1 t Baking Soda

Stir dry ingredients together.
Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients slowly.
Spread into bar pan/jelly roll pan.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let Cool.

Frosting

2 oz Cream Cheese -softened
1/4 C butter -softened
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
1 C Powdered Sugar -sifted
Combine all ingredients and beat smooth.  Frost bars.

This frosting recipe is already halved.  We don't care for mounds of frosting, but you may.  So double if you like.

*Note on the pumpkin:  My girlfriend Heather told me the other day that store bought pumpkin now comes in 15oz cans.  It used to come in 16 oz or 2 cup cans.  They charge the same price if not more!  I have some canned pumpkin that I stock piled due to the great pumpkin shortage the past few years.  So I went and looked.  I'll be darned if she wasn't right! 

Doesn't that just tick ya off?  It sort of goes along with buying everything big or in bulk.  Now they are down sizing because that's the "IN" thing to do.  And of course they don't drop the prices and most consumers don't even catch on.  Heck, I didn't notice the pumpkin can!  In my defense, where it not for the bad yields these past few years...there hasn't been a need for me to buy canned pumpkin.  (I didn't fool you, I know.  So I'm an idiot)  Have you noticed that some cases of pop (soda for those in the south) don't always come in a 24 pack any more? 

Dirty Rats!

Ok, enough rambling.  Don't even know how I got onto that!

If you love pumpkin, I hope you get to try these...they really are super yummy if you use canned or fresh pumpkin!  Yes, the 15oz can will be just fine.

Go on now...make some up!  But if you do, make sure you have some nice cold milk to go along with them!

Oh and Chelsi, you better have frozen that pumpkin I told you about!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is It Bad Manners or Bread?

Mahumisbredsralygut!!

Translation:  Mmm hmm, this bread is really good! 

And talking with your mouth full is bad manners, right?  Sorta like a good belch is a compliment to the cook I say! 

I suppose that when I set my mind to something I go berserk!  I finally got down to the business of bread making!  I have been wanting to get back to this for some time now and I know many of you are pretty good at it.  It has me motivated!  Most of my bread making experience is with a bread machine so I want to broaden my horizons a bit.

I'll need help here, so be ready!  There are questions in italics scattered thru out where I am soliciting your advice and expertise! 
 
A while back, MamaTea emailed me her recipe for Honey White/Wheat Bread and she later posted it HERE.  Everything she said I found to be spot on!  I didn't take many photos, but here are the before and afters:

The 'after' photo is really more about the vultures descending upon it!  aka Da Moms!

I ended up with 3 loaves and 4 mini's.  Mini's because I have to keep my Apple Dumplin's happy too!  Nana brought her a loaf and she didn't hesitate...or wait for it to be sliced!  One question for Mom...is that bed head or is she making a fashion statement?  Heheheee!
She had it for breakfast the next morning too!  This bread was really good toasted!
We also made homemade butter to go along with it.  Have you ever made it?  It was so easy I almost felt stupid!

Not stopping there, I had a Halloween Party to go to and needed something to go along with the Hot Pizza Dip I was bringing...
My Bro and SIL
So I made Focaccia! 

I've never made it and I am not entirely certain that I have even eaten any in the recent past.  I read that it is akin to pizza dough and judging from the texture, it was a bit chewy like a pizza dough.  Does that seem right?  It tasted great and sometimes that's all that matters, huh?

Hot Pizza Dip - Compliments of my good friend, Heather 

1 block Cream Cheese, softened
1 t. Italian Seasoning
1 C Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
3/4 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
8 oz Pizza or Spaghetti Sauce
4 T Green Pepper, chopped
4 T Green Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, sliced (I added that part)

Combine Cream Cheese and Italian Seasoning and spread in bottom of shallow baker. 
Layer half of the Cheeses
Peppers, Onions, Garlic
Sauce
Other half of the Cheeses
Sprinkle top with Granulated Garlic and Oregano (I added that too)
Bake in 350 oven about 15-20 minutes
Serve with bite sized pieces of bread

I doubled the recipe in a large round stone.  A brownie pan would work well.

Focaccia -Taken from Grit Country Skills Series "Guide to Homemade Bread" and Allison Martin

2 1/2 t. Yeast
2 1/2 C Water
2 T olive oil
About 7 C all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt

Mix all ingredients in stand mixer for about 5-6 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
Let dough rise 1 1/2 hours
Press dough into oiled pan.  I used my stone jelly roll pan.
Let rise 30 minutes
Dimple the dough w/ your fingertips all over
Brush with olive oil
Here's where I went off the recipe...I sprinkled the top with Kosher Salt, Granulated Garlic and Oregano
Let rise another 1 1/2 hours
Bake in 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes

Then because I needed something for breakfast, I made Jane's English Muffins!  You can find Jane's recipe HERE. 

This was a first for me too!  Jane must have known this was on my hit list and one of Pig Pens favorites!  These will be a goner!  And a KEEPER!  Is that possible??  I absolutely loved these!  P.S.  I used a fork!

Now that I am totally Carbohydrated up for a few days, I think I will try to incorporate some proteins or something else in my diet.  But alas, I love carbs so I think it should include something on a bun...Hmmm...wonder where that recipe will come from???

Thanks for sharing your great recipes...I'm having a blast here!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Teasin' Totes

Don't want ya'll to think I've been slacking.  And just want to keep you motivated!

I finished this one recently and thought I'd show ya! 

This one went to my SIL Meg's sister.  She said she would set the Vera aside and carry this.  Now, personally I would never set a Vera aside for this.  But she blew good smoke up my pretty little dress any way.  Riiighht...as if I wear dresses all that often!

There are a few other projects underway too, but darn it...they are Christmas presents and you just never know who might be peeking in!

I got smart this time and stitched the ditch on the entire thing as opposed to cross hatch.  Um, my seams sometimes don't meet up and that makes for a messy cross hatch.  There is always more than one way to skin a cat!
On another note, I really want to thank everyone for their awesome comments on my Dad's "At Ease Soldier" post in support of all our Troops and Veterans!  I feel truly blessed that we all can count on our Armed Forces, men and women alike and the families behind them.

You guys ROCK!

Monday, October 18, 2010

At Ease Soldier!

This weekend, we had my Dad and Connie up to celebrate birthdays.  You may already know that I call my Dad "The Tin Man".  It's not just a blog nickname.  I call him that because he had a heart attack and lived to tell.  Of course The Tin Man always wanted a heart.  Well, I feel like my Dad got his new heart, just like The Tin Man.  It was over ten years ago that my Dad got his new heart.

Something you don't know about my Dad, he is a Vietnam War Vet.  My Dad, a Soldier.  For years, Dad didn't always talk about it and of course the Vietnam Vets weren't always welcomed home the way soldiers from other wars were.  It wasn't until recently, that alot of our boys from that "Conflict" have received their due.  Try telling them it was a "Conflict" and not war.  I would never tell my Dad he wasn't in a "War".  He fought, friends died.  And thank God, my Dad lived to tell this one too.

Every year, I call my Dad on Veteran's Day.  I thank him!  I always want him to know how thankful I am for him as our Soldier.  This year, here's how I let him know:

video
I wrapped him in a big hug!  Now ya know my Dad is a bit of a crier.  And yes, like he tried to talk it out at the end saying "They take bets", we do.  We take bets on how fast we can get him to cry.  Terrible, isn't it?

The timing may have been a bit off as his Birthday was in July, but ya know the garden just threw me off a few months this year and I didn't get it done in time.  It took him a bit to realize what it was and seeing as how I only had 2 minutes of record time on my little camera, we had to push it a little to get him to the part that would just bust him up.  Terrible...  ;o)

So the quilt is done in all red, white, blue and gold.  Half-Square Triangles arranged in a Depression Block pattern.  
My MIL did a fantastic job with her long arm quilting!  Thank you, Jan...you make a wonderful partner in crime!  
I did my best to throw Dad off by saying, "We" were still working on his Birthday gift.  Pretty sure he assumed Pig Pen and I were building him something.  Little did he know the "We" was my MIL and I.  Sneaky, huh? 

The back of the quilt is the part that sealed the deal.  I special ordered the Army Crest fabric and of course, The Tin Man.  This is what made his little lip quiver:
My note to him: 
Nicholas G. Kallas – 589th Engineer Battalion – Vietnam 1967-1968
Every Veteran’s Day, I call to say Thank You. It’s not just on that day that I am thankful for the soldier that you were…it’s every day.
When I was little, you gauged things by if I could wrap my arms around you. This is how I will wrap my arms around you every day.
I hope it keeps you warm, surrounds you in love and comforts you. You deserve that and so much more for being our Soldier, my Dad, my Hero…my Tin Man.
“At Ease, Soldier!”
I love you, Dad!
And I extend this to all our Soldiers.  Thank you!  I may not know these Soldiers personally, but I do know my Dad.  Like him, you may not ask for the honor, you may not even agree with your orders, but you do it any way. 

And that is honor.   
Your honor, our honor. 
It doesn't matter how you vote, what your political views are or anything else, Our Soldiers are there for us.  I for one am thankful for that.  
Here is a photo of my Dad's reunion held just this past month.  He got to see his "brothers" after 40 years!  Pretty.Darn.Cool.
To all the Soldiers and Vets out there, this hug is for you too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Are We Bad??

Today I went back to the local Pumpkin Farm with my best friend Julee and her two crumb snatchers.


Holli actually got bit by a goat.  Ooops!

But what made my day, was the slide.  It's a pretty big jungle gym.  Julee had to stay down with Colton, who is just a little over 1.  So like any good Aunt, I climbed up with Holli, who's 3.  I settled her little butt in place and told her when to go and said, "Mommy will catch you!"

Now granted, Julee and I have never been the brightest, but today our combined IQ was ... one brain.  Holli took off like a torpedo!!  And...Mommy did not catch her!  She skipped like a rock on water across the sand and onto her butt!

I wish you could have heard the other Mom's and the intakes of air, the Oh's!, the heart palpitations and the pure unashamed tenth of a second it took Julee and I to bust.out.laughing!

I can't speak for Julee (well I can), but it just happened!  And it was so darn hilarious!  Holli didn't cry, not a flinch...nada! 

So, Are We Bad??

My only regret was not having the camera on record, so you could all see.  You'd have been right there with us - laughing!  But I did get it the second time which was uneventful...unless of course you listen thru to the end.

video
Wait...What did her Mother just tell me to do???

O-K, so I did. 

Onto other Fall fun!  I promised MamaPea I would get off my duff once my huge mum bloomed and take a picture so she would know what color it is.  It's just one plant, so it's what?  Purple albino?

My mom got her Fall color yesterday... 

Gonna pay for that one!!!

And then this is what greeted me yesterday morning when I got up: 

Notice anything off about that? 

Did I tell you guys I got the cooooolest pumpkin ever ever this week??

I need to remember that tactic, it seemed to have worked well!  ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three Little Monkeys

That's what we were called!

Now, I'm just sayin', that the long-cold winter months must have been pretty busy for our folks.  What else was there to do?

All Three Little Monkeys have October Birthdays!  And since this month is loaded with Birthdays, I decided one post could serve as a catch-all.

So you know who's who, seeing as how we may have changed just a bit over the years (lots of years)! That's my brother Donnie...in the middle.  My brother Tim...on the left.  And me...on the right.

What??  You expect anyone to get it straight?  Hell, we couldn't even all look in the same direction for this picture let alone get our own names straight!  Well, unless you count Tim, he was looking in two directions at the same time.  Hehehee!

OK, so in order it's Donnie, Diana, Tim.  And that's the way our Birthdays fall this the month too!  As a matter of fact, Donnie and I are 3 years and 9 days apart.  Tim and I are 1 year and 9 days apart.  Weird, huh?  Tim and I were almost Irish Twins!  He out grew me pretty fast, but it worked out OK because Donnie was there to whoop some butt when Tim's britches got too feisty with me.

I loved growing up with brothers.  I think that's what made me tough enough.  Although I never learned to play 500 very well and they both hated when it was my turn at bat.  I had to throw the ball up like...500 times!  That wasn't the way it was played.  Sorry Bro's!

But we always stuck together.  Fiercely.  And to this day, they are the best brothers a girl could ever want! 

Donnie, thank you...for always being my Big Brother.  Making sure houses never fell on me at the farm-literally, for the best Christmas present on four-wheels when I had none (ignore that part Josh), for always playing catch with me...and mostly for the two little kids that light up my life as my niece and nephew.

Tim, thank you...for always being my Little "Big" Brother.  You are like my own personal body guard, cuz who the heck in their right mind would mess with you?  For always clearing out my fridge and being my toughest food critic even though I will always cook better than you!  You always make me laugh with your totally inappropriate jokes!  I'm sorry I tried to burn you with my curling iron.  :)

Happy Birthday, Donnie and Tim!

Then we have this little guy...
My first nephew and the first grand baby in the family.  This is Josh.  He's not that cute any more.
 
He's cuter!  He turned 18 this month!  I honestly get scared when these numbers just slip away so quickly.
Do you think they know? 
Did we? 
My Dad always said, "The older you get, the faster time flies."  I remember vividly the night Josh was born.  It is forever engraved into my heart.  It was happy -and there were lots of tears.  He's a special kid to me and the first one I ever loved as my own.  Even though he probably doesn't care about his ole Aunt much any more, I still love him hard. 

Happy Birthday, Josh!  Be careful, you are legal now.  (Sorry, had to be said.)

Then we jump the border to the Out-Law side.  You've met Jen before!  She too had a milestone Birthday this month!  The Big 3-0!  Her folks must have been all cold and bored too!  She grew up with two brothers and no sisters also!  But, I think I could take her...
The horns only make her look mean!  She's always game for something fun!  Just like the sucker says!  I know it's her birthday and all, but look at this email order-up she put in last night:
I am going to start dropping off supplies on Monday so that I can come on Friday to pick up my canned veggies, jarred applesauce, bread and buns, yogurt, dehydrated fruit, jerky, and a new purse. Just sayin...
I thought it was pretty funny.  So, should I?  Hmmm...Wait for it.  HA! 

What I love and appreciate most about Jenny, can be described in one word.  Comfort.  When families come together by marriage, it isn't always a family at first.  But, when you are quiet and when you are willing, you can be alone in your thoughts and realize...Comfort.  And that my sister, is family.

Happy Birthday, Jenny!  ;)

Last but certainly not least, I want to say a special Happy Birthday to my friend, Heather!  She had a milestone this year too, but we wont say which one!  I am ashamed that I don't have any pictures of Heather and I together.  We are always too busy cooking something up and not thinking about taking pictures!  She's my one friend that shares a love of cooking, canning, sewing, gardening...and neither of us thinks that's weird!  Happy Birthday, Heather! 

And I want to thank my Mom, Dad and Step Mom. 
You did alright with us. 
This little country girl loves you very much!
Who mixed the Play-Doh with the Lego's???
Put the sugar in the sugar bowl, then put the sugar away.
You don't have to respect me, but you darn well better be afraid of me.
Never start a fight.  But if it happens, you darn well better finish it.
Gloves!  Gloves!
Shhh...Frankensteins Footsteps!
You don't need sugar in that cereal!
Click.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Harvest

Ok, so this is what I have been waiting TWO years for...

Seriously!  Our first summer here, we had close to 25 pie pumpkins.  In the years that followed...none!  Not ONE!!  And let me just tell you, I love anything pumpkin!  Especially these two little punkins!

So to my utter delight, this year we have these from our garden:

The itty-bitty one on the end cracks me up!

Wont get me too far, but I am ecstatic none the less!

Last week, I went to the local pumpkin patch with my in-laws.  I thought about getting some pie pumpkins there, but decided to wait and see just how much these little guys might 'put up'.  I have a feeling that when I go back to the patch on Friday with my friend...I'll be paying $3.00 per pretty little pumpkin after all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Obsession Confessions

I took some friendly heat for not blogging about "My Obsession" of late.  I suppose that might be - because I'm a little embarrassed by what does obsess me. 

So here goes...

I admit...I love True Blood!  But it's not my fault! 
I mighta kinda sorta maybe thought she HAD to have these!
It's hers!  I am guilty of feeding her obsession and she graciously returns the favor.  I have two SILs that love this and one who is gagging right now.  Sorry, Meg!

See, it all started like this:
My MIL went ga-ga over her Nook.  She swore I would love it.  So she lent me hers and I read one book on it and was as good as a gone!  Nope, I don't miss the feel of a book in my hands at all.  If anything, it has gotten me to read more -way more.  You just download, easy as 1-2-3.  The eBooks are reasonably priced too.

You know what comes next, right?  Yup, got one to call my own.  It's awesome!

I love to read.  Smut.  Another confession.  I will admit also to reading all the Harry Potter books, except the last one.  Who does that??  Then I read all the Twilight books.  I got tired of the whole 'kid thing' and hit Google looking for something more Adult.  Now listen, I don't mean X-rated, just aimed at the adult reader, ok?  Get off me!  I'm bleeding here!

Anyway, Google turned up a few good thoughts.  I started with this series:
The Night Huntress Series - Jeaniene Frost

Exxxxceeellent!  I've read all Six so far.

Then I moved on to this series:
The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series - J.R. Ward

Grrrrrrr....  I'm on the Eighth book.

And let's not forget this series:
The Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series - Charlaine Harris
A.K.A - True Blood
I've read all 10!

Oh, and I have watched Seasons 1 and 2, thanks to my friend Caitlin, who never complains about my failure to blog about True Blood! 
(A-hem!)

All I gotta say is, "Yes, you can bite me there."

I've also read a few other series which roughly brings my Summer Reads to about 30 books.  Sleep is pretty over-rated.

Y'all know my other obsessions:
Gardening, canning, sewing, cooking. 
Now you know the crazy ones too!

C'mon...fess up!  What do you read with a passion or what are your other embarassing obsessions?

And pray tell - if you follow True Blood...
Eric   or   Bill