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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Wedding Gift Wrapping, Finally!

Knitting is such a satisfying hobby.  Paper-crafting is a close second. I already showed the coasters I made for the wedding of friends.  Finally I finished the packaging.  Now I just need to get a good mailing address and ship the package off.

The box is the same hinged box I have made before, but I used a 12 by 12 piece of double-sided card stock.  The belly band is some embossed card stock.  It really is way prettier than it looks in the picture.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Munchie Monday: Quick and Easy Cornbread/Muffins

This week is Transfer Week.  This means Departing Dinner.  Sister J and I will be helping President and Sister B prepare the dinner. President B will put many racks of ribs in his new Traeger grill which we will warm up. We will bake potatoes, make coleslaw, prepare an ice cream "bar" with bananas, strawberries, nuts, and hot fudge sauce.  We will also make cornbread and cornbread muffins.  Sister J made some muffins with her recipe to take to Church for a Linger Longer.  She shared some with us, along with some fabulous honey butter. Yummy!  Really yummy.

My plan was to make one of the cornbread recipes that has creamed corn in it.  On the strength of that plan, without looking up recipes, I purchased three inexpensive cans of creamed corn.  I was speaking with Daughter M shortly thereafter.  She told me she had the BEST RECIPE EVER for cornbread!  Nice thought.  I am not much of a cornbread fan.  Usually it is dry, crumbly, and flavorless, so I was not holding out much hope. 

That being said, I was wrong!  Completely.  These were so good that I ate two of them immediately.  Rats!  This is the recipe she gave me.  Just look at the ingredients and you will grasp how tasty they are.

Quick and Easy Cornbread/ Cornmeal Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup melted butter
2 Tablespoons honey
4 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups whole milk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 by 13 pan.  In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, and milk and stir gently just until all the flour/cornmeal has been dampened.  Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 45 minutes.  M says you want to see some cracks and light browning.  Remove from oven and let cool.

What I did:  I cut the recipe exactly in half and use my silicon muffin cups--well not exactly muffin cups but little round cake cups.  (The difference is that the cups I have had straight side, not sloping sided like muffin tins have.) This half-batch made twelve fat cakes.

This is the muffins that are bottom-side up, just as I removed them from the the silicon pans.  I set the timer for 15 minutes to let the muffins cool before trying to remove them from the pans.  I have not had good luck in the past when I failed to let the food cool for 15 minutes before trying to extract them.

You can see that the sides are straight and the bottoms are nicely browned.  The tops were not as brown but still okay.  Will you believe me when I say there are no remaining muffins in our house less than 24 hours later?!  In our defense,  I did pass along nearly half of them to our other senior missionaries.  It makes me happy to think they will enjoy them.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Food Friday: Quick and Easy Best Hot Oatmeal Ever

Sometimes when you are researching something you need to know, other things catch your eye that you should really stop everything and review.  This is such a case.

This really is Quick and Easy!  And so good for you.  And it even tastes good.  This morning I was looking at ways to improve health through food.  Diet-food-health-they should go together, right?  So that is what I was researching.  Yet again trying to make changes for the better. I saw many testimonials by medical scientists indicating that if we just added oatmeal to our diets every day so many health improvements would take place.  Okay. I believe it.  And there, just below all those other presentations was an advertisement for the best oatmeal ever.  Maybe yes, maybe no, but it was worth trying.

This is the trick that makes this so good:  find a 2-cup storage container that has a lid. Add all the ingredients to it.  Put on the cover and shake then set aside until you want to use it...at home, in the office, on the job, in an airplane--any place you can get boiling water.

The mixture:

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
a handful of dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, whatever you like
1 Tablespoon ground flax meal or chia seeds
1 Tablespoon or less  brown sugar
1-2 Tablespoons chopped nuts or seeds (more if you are not using the flax or chia)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Put on the cover and shake well.

Boil water.  Fifteen to twenty minutes before you want to eat the oatmeal pour the hot water over it.  I put about 1 cup onto the oatmeal, covered tightly, then, holding the cover on with both hands, gave it a shake or two then set on the table with a spoon so we could eat it when we were ready.

This was our first bowl.  It was good.  We did not pour on any milk and it was still lovely.

Works like a charm!  So good.  And if a bowl of oatmeal can repair a fatty liver, diabetes, bad sleep, what have you, then it is an easy pill to swallow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Vegetation Near Us: Don't Know What It Is

There are many different kinds of trees and bushes here in Oregon than back home in Vermont.  I do not know what this one is but it does look vaguely familiar...perhaps my mother-in-law had one in her yard...?

This bush or tree is in the median between parking lots near our office building. I have enjoyed watching it go from dead-looking to buds then blossoms then full bloom, and now the last of the blossoms and the first of the leaves.  So enjoyable to watch.

Temperate Rain Forest

After visiting the Tulip Farm Festival we headed south and east (I think) to Silverton and the Silver Falls State Park.  This is the site of a temperate rainforest.  That is a term we all need to look up in the dictionary, I think!  Elder J has spoken of it several times.

We arrived there, paid our fee to park and then headed for the South Falls.  Fortunately I had my new Bi-Mart walking sticks so I walked confidently on the trail towards the falls.  At the top there was a very nice stone wall that we could look over.  Yikes!  Bad idea.  Vertigo just about got me...so I stepped back out of view of the cascade.

After the others had had their fill there we started down down down the trail to take pictures of the whole falls, and the brave people hiked on down and behind the falls.  I was not in that crowd.  I hate to be a chicken but the thought of falling and having to bring in a crane to get me back to the top was so repellant that I went back up to the top after taking a few pictures and waited for the crew to return.  In the meantime I was mistaken for a volunteer and asked about a large group of Russian and Slavic  tourists.  I am a volunteer, but not for the forest service.  Plus I had seen no Russian-speaking people as far as I knew.
South Falls from somewhere down the trail...

This picture is an example of what the trees and bushes look like in a temperate rainforest.  It is really so eerie looking.  Sister J. says if we had gone on the five-mile hike where we would have seen seven waterfalls, we would have found the foliage really truly amazing, and almost scary.  If I get into condition perhaps later on we can try it again.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm Festival

On Saturday three of us senior missionary couples piled into the mission van and headed south for the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm's festival.  It was a pleasant ride.  The tulips were stunning!  Completely!  I took so many pictures of the tulips that there was very little battery left on my phone to take pictures at our second stop of the day!

Just one view of the 40-acre field, and not even a good view.

Elder C and Elder J at the wooden shoes.  You couldn't have gotten me into them on a bet!  I would surely have fallen over...

It is too bad I am not a good photographer.  The flowers were magnificent.

We saw these in tubs as we barely entered the fields.  Someone said to me that there were more further on....

These deep colored tulips were so gorgeous.

If I was a little kid, I would have loved a ride in the wooden shoe train!

There were many transportation options available!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Munchie Monday: Chili Lime Popcorn Cauliflower. Yes! Cauliflower Popcorn!

Our daughter sent this recipe to me some time ago.  I have made it three times now, and really like it.  This is not popcorn that you need to sit down and eat three bowls of with butter and salt to be satisfied.  This popcorn is something that you can put on your desk in a covered storage container and when you are beginning to think about food, and trying to hold off eating some bad-for-you food, you can open the container and pop a couple little pieces of tasty, really flavorful goodness into your mouth. I let it sit there for a while to enjoy the burst of deliciousness on my tongue, then eventually chew it up.  The desire for bad-for-you food leaves me and I continue on with work.  You might want to try it.

You will need: 

a dehydrator
a big head of cauliflower
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon chili powder (or more if you like that)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 large bowl
1 good knife
a spoon

On a cutting board, cut up the cauliflower either into small-sized florets or into 1/4-inch slices.  Put into the large bowl.  Drizzle the olive oil over it and stir with a spoon until all the pieces are coated.  Squeeze the lime over the bowl ( I have a yellow lime/lemon squeezer that I love to use for this.  I squeeze the first side then the second side of each half and get plenty of lime juice.) then stir with the spoon until that is all over the cauliflower.  Next put into a small bowl the chili powder and salt and mix well.  Sprinkle over the cauliflower then stir well until all pieces are nicely coated.

Place on two or more racks in your dehydrator and set the temperature for 135 degrees F. and let dehydrate for 6-8 hours.  Take out and enjoy a few pieces.  Put the rest in a tightly covered container.  I cannot tell you how long this lasts because we have consumed it all.  This is the royal "we" here, though Dear One has been known to eat a bit.  Other people at a function found it went down very easily!

This is the leftover little bits of cauliflower that I suspected would dry up so small that they might fall through the spaces in the dehydrator sheets.  All right, if you must know, I was dying to have a taste.  I decided to call this bit "chili lime cauliflower salad" and ate it for breakfast along side of my oatmeal.   I ate them with a spoon.  So good.

One note:  as with all kitchen/cooking work, your hands should be freshly washed before you start, and washed many times while cooking.  In every instance where I stated up above to use a spoon to stir, well...I don't do that. I use clean hands. I feel like they do a better job and you have a better feel for the situation with the food.