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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Two Days in a Row: Successful Food!

SO...supper was really yummy tonight. It was also ever so easy.  When I use the word "tofu" you will probably turn up your nose.  I know I used to do that, too.  That white slimy, pasty, tasteless bean curd really turned my mental stomach.  But that was then; this is now!

The name I am giving supper is:  Crispy Spicy Asian Sauced Tofu in a Rice Bowl.

Start by taking a 14-16 ounce block of firm or extra firm tofu and drain well.  Place tofu block on a plate that is covered with 4-6 layers of paper towels.  Put more paper towels on top of the tofu then put a plate or pie tin or some other flat dish on top and place a heavy can (28-ounce or so) on top. Let  press for at least 30 minutes. 

For the rice:
Put 1 Tablespoon coconut oil in a heavy saucepan to melt.  Add one cup long grain brown rice and stir well.  Break one ounce (or however much you want) of vermicelli or angel hair pasta into  one-inch pieces and add to the long grain rice.  Stir well and cook over medium heat until pasta is lightly browned and rice is sort of cooked-looking, but not more than five minutes tops.

Add 3 cups vegetable or chicken or beef broth. Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once boiling turn heat down to low and put cover on. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

While rice/pasta is cooking prepare the magic ingredients!  Have on hand a bottle of Sweet Chili Sauce for Chicken from your local Asian market.  To 3/4 cup of the Sweet Chili Sauce add 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos and 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil.  Stir well and set aside.  (You can lick the spoon to have a little preview of coming attractions; being careful not to lick out the whole bowl at this point....!)

Now for the crispy tofu:

Start a heavy skillet (I used a 12-inch cast-iron frying pan) heating over medium heat with 3 Tablespoons of coconut oil.  While the oil is heating to the shimmering stage, dice your pressed tofu into actual dice-sized pieces or whatever size suits your fancy and place in a large flat pan. I used a 10 inch by 3 inch cake pan.  Put the tofu dice in the pan and sprinkle with a little coarse kosher salt.  Shake pan to distribute the salt. After two minutes toss 2 Tablespoons corn starch over the tofu dice and  shake the pan to completely cover the tofu in the cornstarch.  Add 2 more Tablespoons cornstarch and shake again.  All the cornstarch should attach to the tofu dice.  Put the coated tofu carefully into the frying pan and start it "crisping".   Let is fry WITHOUT TOUCHING AGAIN for 6 minutes, being sure that the pan is on medium not HIGH heat.

At the end of the first cooking time the bottoms should be browned and the tofu should move rather than be stuck to the bottom of the skillet.  Turn the tofu over and cook for 6 more minutes.  Gently break up the browned tofu dice then pour the Sweet Chili/Soy/Sesame sauce over it right in the frying pan.  Stir well to coat the tofu. 

Place a serving of the rice/pasta into a bowl.  Spoon on some sauced tofu and garnish with a little sliced scallion.  Really yummy.  Easy to consume too much...

AND  the reviews are stellar, if you can believe it!  We will be eating this again.  The magic sauce is pictured below:

Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Food Adventure...

While at the local recycling center (a place I LOVE to go....though it is always a bust when I come home with more than I have dropped off....) some months ago I found a book called The Book of Children's Food by Lorna Rhodes which was published in 1992.  Finally last week on a lazy day I pulled out the book and began perusing the recipes.  Several of them looked really fun and yummy.  Due to vegetarian issues, lots of them will only have a chance if we are contributing to a potluck for which I don't mind making two dishes. I really think I will try the baked fish fingers for the grandkids who LOVE it when I bring them fried fish.  Theoretically this will be healthier...

Anyway, recently I purchased a bag of Bob's Red Mill Bulgur and had not broken into it.  After church I decided to do so.  There is a recipe in Children's Foods called Spicy Vegetable Bulgur. I thought we had all the ingredients so I made it while Dear One napped.  Upon querying me about the meal he thought it sounded iffy.  Not to me, so I persevered....

When he woke up from his nap there was a nice bowl (I prefer serving just about everything in a bowl rather than a plate) of Spicy Vegetable Bulgar waiting. He did eat a few bites then put the frozen pizza he had been wanting to eat into the oven...so we were both happy.

To see the actual recipe, go to Grammie's Kitchen and Bedtime Stories.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

An End and a Beginning...

My brother did not recover.  His last days were difficult for him and for the family.   He appreciated being in his own home.  Hospice is a valuable service.  Family members were able to surround him as he quietly slipped away.  It was so hard to watch my beautiful little brother but so sweet to hold his hand and feel his love.  He did not speak for a day or two before he passed the veil but he understood and his eyes spoke volumes of love.

Now it is time to move forward, letting grief soften.  Knowing all my brothers, and our parents,  will be waiting to welcome me home to heaven some day is a very sweet hope.

A friend contributed the cherry lumber and several friends and family members made this gorgeous casket for Billy.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Preparing for Death...

This time let us talk about death as it relates to real people, people that you dearly love.

My baby brother turned 55 years old in March.  The next day he was in the emergency room and then the hospital for two weeks where they discovered he was afflicted with a glioblastoma.  Much of it was removed but not all. 

After weeks of radiation and chemotherapy he had another MRI test which the medical personnel compared with the first MRI test.  The tumor had gone from 3 inches across to less than the size of his little fingernail.  He had always been very optimistic during all the hospital days of waiting for surgery and recovering from surgery.  This news was very good.

Fast forward to this week in July.  He had terrible headaches for three days and finally went to the emergency room again.  After two days of testing they discovered the glio cells had moved to his spine.  Medical personnel say he has no chance at all of recovery and that he may have a few weeks or perhaps months but there is no chance.

How do you prepare to say goodbye to one you have loved for 55 years?  How do you support his wife and children?  What can you do at all to help?  Can you keep on doing the regular activities of daily life?  Will trying to be normal help?

I don't know. 

I do know that I shall continue spending time with him.  I will spend time praying.  I will try not to cry.  At least not in his presence.  Probably a vain hope...

I love you little brother.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Food Today: Berry Parfaits

Yesterday was the birthday of Child #5.  Life got in the way and there was no birthday cake. It turns out Child #5 does not likes sweets very much so the missing cake was no problem.  In fact,  Child #5 was missing, too!  Other fish to fry.

So...today I made a new thing:  Berry Parfaits.  They look sort of nice, at least they looked nice in the recipe advertising photography.  Mine are significantly less attractive.

This is how you make them:

Soften 8 ounces cream cheese.  Thaw one 8 ounce carton of Cool Whip (though I believe real whipped cream would be better.) 

In a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment on your mixer, thoroughly cream the cream cheese until light.  Gradually add in 1 1/2 cups of cold milk.  When that is smooth, and it will take a LONG time to smoothen out, pour in a 3-4 ounce package of instant vanilla pudding and continue beating until thickened.  Fold in one cup of the thawed Cool Whip.

In the meantime, coarsely chop 24 vanilla wafers, and assemble your favorite berries. I used blueberries and raspberries since it is the season for those delicious summer fruits.  I have seen peaches, nectarines, mangoes, and other sliced fruits.  We just missed strawberry season or I would have used some of them, too.

In nice parfait glasses, layer the fluffy pudding with the cookie crumbs and fruits to make it as pretty as you want.  This is supposed to make 8 parfait glasses.  We do not have parfait glasses so I used our 16-ounce tumblers.  This filled 3 of them.  Way too full.

 I was tempted to use our 8-ounce glasses but did not in the interests of just getting the job done.  Probably that was a bad idea.  I know that I cannot possibly eat that much.  Maybe Dear One will eat my leftovers....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Knitting Today: Three Scarves, Two Done One On The Needles!

When Dear One and I were at Michaels on a day when I was in need of some size 10 1/2 bamboo needles, I came across a sale bin of yarn.  I simply CANNOT resist looking at sale bins of yarn, even though I have no need of even one more centimeter of yarn.  On this day there were three skeins of some odd-looking, but ever so soft pompom sort of yarn.

Since they were on a VERY GOOD sale, I did not resist the urge to purchase them.  Since a little granddaughter is coming to visit I thought these would make a nice scarf for her.  Well, three nice scarves, SO the granddaughter who is coming to visit and her sister who is staying home, and the local granddaughter will receive these soft pouffy-looking scarves soon.  I will have to think of some other scarves to make for the remaining granddaughters, I think!

Here they are:

I hope they appeal to the recipients!

 Two of the balls had plain white bands of paper wrapped around them in the sale bin.  The ball band which actually came with the other skein of yarn was tossed before I thought of writing this post so I do not really know the yarn brand.

UPDATE:  It turns out that the yarn was Red Heart Pomp-a-Doodle but it seems to have been discontinued...which would explain the sale bin yarn!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gardening Today: Garlic Update!

The garlic we planted back in October is coming along beautifully!  It is so exciting to watch it grow. I am getting edgy to yank it (gently, of course!) out of the ground and give a taste.

Here is a photo from last week:

Notice how the garlic scapes have come up with a lovely hook?  The blossoms still are inside.  At least, in my ignorance, I think there are blossoms in that kind of triangular bump towards the top of the scape.

Now we have a picture of the garlic THIS week!  Notice we are moving ever closer to harvest.  (I understand that when the scapes stand straight up then it is time to harvest, though son 3 mentioned we need to see the bottom five leaves turn brown.  You can see that is beginning to happen....)

It will be wonderful to see blossoms on the tops of those stems.

In other gardening news, the sugar snap peas that survived the woodchuck have about 10 pods coming along.  These are our first ever sugar snap peas.

Our zucchini plant has some itty bitty zukes which I am trying to look at but not touch!  I would love them to get up to 5 or 6 inches before I harvest.

We have a volunteer from last year's garden which I think is cilantro, but am not sure.  Can anyone out there recognize it?  Thanks!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Food Today: Fermented Vegetables/Easy Sauercraut

Recently we were at the temple.  In the middle of the afternoon I had the opportunity to go to the lunchroom to eat my boring lunch.  I was blessed to sit with Sister Miller and others.  The conversation came to fermented vegetables.  Sister Miller told us all how to do it.  I decided I would give it a try so when we got home I purchased a cabbage as we did not have one in the house.

A week and a half ago I went to North Carolina for a week to stay with my sister for a wedding in her family.  I knew it would take about two weeks for the vegetables to ferment so I decided to make some vegetable mixture up quick like a bunny so they would "work" while I was gone...making the waiting easier to handle

So...before I left on the Friday before, I used my Cuisinart food processor and chopped up cabbage (half a cabbage), some carrots and some celery. I mixed it with enough salt to please my tongue and then put it into a 2-quart canning jar.  I had squeezed the vegetables pretty hard with my hands so the juice would begin to extrude, a very important step in the process.  When I had done as much as I could and put the vegetables in the 2-quart canning jar, the juice was more than halfway up the jar.

Fermenting vegetables!  They need the dark and room temperature.

On top of the vegetables I placed two or three of the outer tougher cabbage leaves to be a sort of cover for the vegetables and pushed the leaves down hard to be in contact with the chopped and salted vegetables.  I  then filled the jar to the top with plain water, which covered the outer cabbage leaves.

If I had been home I would have checked every few days to see if I needed to top of the liquid with plain water.  Dear One was not very committed to this project due to his rather mild interest in vegetables so I did not ask him to check while I was away!

 Next I covered the top of the jar with a towel which I secured with a rubber band. I put a dark towel around the bottom of the jar and secured that with another rubber band,  then walked away and let it sit for 14 days on the kitchen counter.

When I got home I saw that the liquid level was down a little bit so I added water and let it continue percolating until it was the full 14 days. I could not wait any longer!

Cabbage leaf cover still in place

Covering cabbage leaves removed

I have just now eaten a whole wheat tortilla with some lettuce from our garden, a little bit of tuna and mayonnaise, some of the percolated vegetables with sliced Vidalia onions on top.  It made a superior sandwich. 

Tortilla sandwich loaded and ready to wrap.  And eat!

First use of fermented vegetables...the eating was ever so delicious1

Now I have put the actual cover on the jar and am storing it in the refrigerator.  I will be able to eat it whenever I want.  It is sort of like a mild sauercraut. I believe I could eat it plain  as a side dish or on top of all kinds of things, like a baked potato, scrambled eggs, a Reuben sandwich, almost any savory thing.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Death in the House...

When one goes away from home for more than a day or two, things can happen.  In this case, there was a death in the house.

Some years ago I learned that after using green onions I could put the root end into a cup of water.  Within a very little while new shoots would appear.  I love having these fresh greens on my shelf to go in scrambled eggs, salads, sandwich fillings, soups, you name it, I like them. 

On this recent trip away from home I left two cups of scallions growing.  When I arrived home, this is what I found:

Of course, this could have been avoided if I had "filled" the cups with water before leaving....It is no huge loss.  I can handle this kind of death in the house.

New scallions are easy to find, and in the meantime I have some lovely chives growing in the garden, and five more garlic scapes I can use.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Food Today: Breakfast Quesadillas

Another day, another couple extra ears of cooked corn on the cob!  This time I made some breakfast quesadillas.

Breakfast Corn Quesadillas

Corn cut off one ear of corn, about 1/2 cup
Shredded pepper jack cheese, about 1/2 cup
2 eggs, fried to taste or scrambled
3 flour tortillas

Because this was an experiment, I made one quesadilla with two flour tortillas and the other with one tortilla that I folded over on the ingredients.  This worked very well, except when I was transferring the one folded-over tortilla to the plate, I carried it on the pancake turner across the kitchen to the island where I had the plate.  Sadly, the turner tipped just as I got to the island and the quesadilla slipped to the floor.  It is a good thing that Dear One kept the floor in good order while I was away!  I followed the three-second rule and immediately picked it up and slapped it on my plate, sans turner this time!


Two-tortilla plan:

Heat a heavy skillet to medium high heat.  Place one tortilla in the pan.  On top spread the cooked egg, half the corn kernels, and half the cheese.  Place the second tortilla on top.  Stand over the stove with your pancake turner/spatula so you can flip the quesadilla when the bottom is nicely browned (rather than involving yourself in other projects, because these babies can burn rather quickly and are nowhere near as nice to eat when burned.  Not being in the wasting of food mode, someone has to eat them.....).  Cook on other side the same amount of time.  HAVE THE PLATE NEXT TO THE STOVE, then remove the cooked quesadilla to the plate and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter.

One-tortilla plan:

Place tortilla in heavy hot skillet.  Place egg on one half of the tortilla.  Top with remaining quarter-cup of corn kernels and cheese.  Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the filled half and cook until the cheese is mostly melted and the bottom is nicely browned.  Carefully flip over and cook the other side.  Cut into 4 wedges and enjoy.

When I make these again, I will divide the cheese and put half of the amount for each tortilla on the bottom, then the egg and corn, then the remaining half of the cheese.  I think this way the cheese will rather better "glue" the quesadilla together.  Just a thought.

Sorry there is no picture.  They were eaten too quickly!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Food Today: Homemade Corn Fritter-like Pancakes

When I returned from a week with my sister, Dear One had purchased several ears of beautiful Butter and Sugar corn from our local market.    He was ready for corn on the cob, and since he had called me at my sister's home to learn how to cook corn on the cob, he was able to provide.  He cooked the whole batch so there were a few cobs left over for other purposes.

Corn fritters came to mind but since we are watching the fat intake, I thought I would try something similar but not as greasy, thus this recipe.

Several years ago I found a handy corn cutter to use with corn on the cob.

Top of OXO corn cutter showing the opening where the corn is collected

Business side of the corn cutter which cuts the corn off the cob

Corn Fritter Pancakes

1 cup corn, cut off cobs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic

Mix all together then fry in a little oil in a  hot frying pan, using one-quarter cup measure or portion scoop to put the batter onto the pre-heated skillet.  I used our heavy cast iron pan and let it get hot, then poured in a little canola oil and let THAT get hot.  When it shimmered it was time for the batter.  The pancakes cooked about one minute per side.

Corn cut off two cobs of sweet corn, about 1 cup

Corn pancake batter ingredients, sans milk

Corn pancake batter mixed with a wooden spoon and ready to cook

If you do NOT preheat the pan and the oil, you will have a mess on your hands and will be unable to flip the pancakes.  This something I learned a very long time ago, but still have to re-learn every so often when I am in a rush.  Don't pass up the steps of preheating pan and oil!

Corn pancakes cooking on Mother-in-Law's wonderful cast iron frying pan.
Corn pancakes cooked with very little oil

Left-hand side shows corn pancakes more along the fritter line, cooked in 1/4 inch hot oil...not real fritters which take deep fat.

This recipe was the corn from two cobs and made 6 pancakes.  Some people pour Vermont maple syrup over the top.  Others serve them with a fresh and lovely pico de gallo or even sweet pepper relish.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Knitting Today: Wedding Dishcloths

Dishcloths and washcloths are very good things to have around.  I enjoy making them.  Having said that I like making them, I need to mention that I don't always like to make every one of them identical.  It is useful to make them with different colors of yarn.  It is useful to make them with different patterns.  Most recently I have tried using different numbers of strands of yarn.

For a recent wedding I made up three dishcloths holding two strands together.  They seemed really nice to my hands.  I used the Grandmother's Favorite dishcloth pattern:  cast on 3 stitches of worsted weight yarn using size 8 (or 7 or 6, depending on your preferred tightness of stitches), knit 2, yarn over, knit to the end of the row.  On the first row you knit 2, yarn over, then knit 1. 

Normally I keep working up until I have 43 or 45 stitches on my needle, the begin decreasing stitches.  While making these dishcloths holding two strands of worsted weight cotton together I knit up to 35 stitches then began decreasing.  I think they came out well enough to give as a gift.  To make them a bit more unique I held a strand of one color all the way through for uniformity then added in the ends of other balls of yarn for added color.  They mostly came out with an acceptable (to me) appearance.  Even the orange held all the way through looked all right with a green held all the way through with it!

While doing this, I also made up a dishcloth holding three strands together (in honor of our National Holiday, the Fourth of July) but did not have enough of the blue to knit a full-sized cloth.  I tried using it as a dishcloth but it is really too thick for a dishcloth.  It will work very well as a hot pad though.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Little Visitor

Today I was sitting at the computer right beside a window overlooking the lovely side lawn at my sister's home on the Neuse River.  There is a very interesting tree outside the window with which I am unfamiliar.

There are tents set up across the lawn for the children's camp-out experience later this week.

All of a sudden a little visitor showed up beside me!  Quite a surprise!

Lizard?  Chameleon?  I think the latter because there was a little red sprinkled on his head.

This little guy was pretty funny because he ran along the window ledge then looked down then up.  And up. And up!  Then as quickly as he showed up, he leaped up the upright part of the window and disappeared.  I wonder what he found...

After conversation with my brother-in-law I learned the visitor was a gecko and the red on his head meant he thought he had a friend nearby who would be attentive to his colorful head!  Funny.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gardening (and cooking!) Today: Pesto

In recent months (and years, too!)  I have enjoyed pesto dishes at various functions.  Whenever I complimented the chefs on the pesto they told me how easy it was to make.  This year I wanted to make some myself, so I purchased a flat of basil plants.

The first flat of plants was eaten up almost overnight but some invisible creature, INSIDE OUR HOUSE BEFORE THEY WERE EVEN PLANTED!  I still decided to plant them.  The next day there were even more holes in the leaves.  I went to a local garden center and asked what I could do and was told a particular substance would kill the invisi-bugs who were doing this damage.  To tell you the truth, after dosing the plants, I could not see any difference.

Flat number two of basil plants went into the garden, but after a few days they did not look as happy...no holes but just sort of yellow-y green.  After several weeks they are finally beginning to green up a bit, but don't look like anything I can harvest yet.

Basil plants, number three, were a set of three large pots with strong healthy basil plants, three or four in each pot, that were all ready to harvest!  I could not resist since the whole shooting match was only $8.99 at a big box store!  The very next day I harvested 2 cups of leaves to make my first pesto ever!  (I also went to the garden and pulled three leaves off the flat number two plants, so they would not feel left our...).

Pesto pasta with my first-ever homemade pasta from our own basil plants!

This is what I did:

Wash and spun dry 2 cups of basil leaves and put them in our food processor.

Added 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of walnuts, and 5 previously-frozen garlic cloves (from when I had an over-abundance of garlic that I did not want to go by...I used 5 because I was not sure how much of the garlic flavor would survive freezing.)

After putting all these ingredients in the food processor, I pulsed them a few times to get the grinding process going.  When it began to look like a real mess, I began dribbling in 1/2 cup olive oil.

When the olive oil had been well incorporated, I added some Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste.

In the meantime I was boiling ruffled pasta.  When the pasta was cooked and drained, I put 4 cups of pasta in a bowl and added 1/2 cup of the pesto sauce and mixed it well.  It tasted so yummy.  I loved it!  Dear One sniffed, then ate two bites but was not inspired.  When I asked if I should take it to the children and grandchildren, he said yes immediately!  Win some, lose some...!

Friday, June 27, 2014


The last few days have been glorious!  There has been a little breeze to mitigate the heat.  There has been little humidity.  It has been just the best.

In fact,  with the gorgeous low-hanging clouds two days in a row, it reminds me of summers when I was a girl.  My brothers and sister and I used to lie on the lawn in those far-away days that were just like these recent days.  We would look up into the sky as the huge fluffy cumulus clouds would float by overhead.  We liked to imagine they looked like various fantastic shapes.  Sometimes they did.  Sometimes they didn't, but it was fun anyway.

The first day of the low-hanging clouds was truly spectacular as the sky was a perfect blue except where the clouds ranked themselves row on row.  I was so sorry I was unable to take a photograph of them.  These photos from the second day show the clouds but are nowhere near as spectacular as there was a lot of other cloud material in the sky.  Still, I love them.

Row after row, rank after rank of low-hanging cumulus clouds.

Lovely cumulus clouds with distinct silver linings!  I love them.

After a long day of travel, I arrived on the Neuse River in North Carolina, and there were the same low-hanging clouds a third day in a row!  What a glorious earth Our Father has given us to enjoy.

On this day I also took no photographs due to a total inertia which overtook me as I came out to watch my sister, her husband, son, and grandsons empty the crab pots.  Sitting in one of my grandfather's Adirondack chairs under the branches of a lovely green oak-ish tree overlooking the river...who could move back into the house to get a camera?!  Such a lovely pleasant evening in a gorgeous part of the country.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Garlic Project: Scapes

We were away for a couple of days in June.  When we came back: AMAZING THINGS IN THE GARDEN!!  The garlic scapes had shown up.  This was so exciting to me.

Here are some pictures I took:

Here is a picture of the scape I harvested:

Garlic scape on the marble slab waiting for inclusion in a recipe

If you look closely you will see a little snip in the scape just below the blossom where the scape curls on itself.  This is because I had already cut it to use in a recipe before taking the picture!

This was the first time I had grown a garlic scape (well, I was actually growing hardneck garlic as I have noted before, and scapes are part of that process!) and I wanted to see how it tasted....so I made a mashed potato salad..

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Flowers Today: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous!

After a couple of days of glorious flowers, here are the flowers at our own garden...truly from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Even so, these flowers give me a certain amount of pleasure as they grow below our porch.

Budded bearded iris, and smooth stone placed by grandchild
 A kind friend shared multiple clumps of perennials with us two years ago.  Last year they were just getting settled in and did not do much.  Sadly, the lawnmower  thought some of them were weeds and they did not come up this year...

Of the ones that have come up, only the white Siberian iris has bloomed. I  am hoping for more blooms pretty soon.
Siberian white iris

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flowers Today: Pansies

There were lots of little plots of pansies in the temple gardens.  Here are some of them:

Pansies and maybe Persian daisies

Lots of sweet-faced pansies in white and purple

Multiple pansies and yellow calla lilies

Friday, June 13, 2014

Flowers Today

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  With friends I went to the temple.  When we finished our temple service we walked around the temple to look at the flowers.  There were many glorious flower patches.  Here are some:

Maybe Allium...

Planter near entrance

Deep pink roses in one of the rose gardens

Lovely light pink roses

Gorgeous pink calla lilies

First yellow calla lilies I ever saw
This is only early June!  Think of how gorgeous the gardens will be even later in the season.  It is always a special joy to see the gardens when we give service in the temples.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Food Today: Chex Mix Project

Father's Day is coming up soon.  On Mother's Day the ladies at Church receive a bag with Lindt chocolate truffles and a beautiful bookmark with a painting or photograph produced by a member of our congregation and a useful quote. 

We wanted to do something for Father's Day, but different in some what.  SO....we hatched out the scheme of making Chex Mix to add to the Lindt chocolate truffles.  The children's organization bagged up the chex mix into zipper-close plastic bag which they attached to a white shirt cut out of card stock.  They also cut out bow ties which were stapled to the white shirt.  Two Lindt chocolate truffles were put in a snack-sized zipper-close bag and also attached.  All in all, this is a project to be remembered by everyone!  It remains to be seen how it is received on Father's Day!

Last batch of Chex Mix bagged up and ready to go...

Sixty white-shirt-bow-tie-chex mix-and-Lindt-chocolate bundles were produced.

Happy Father's Day to all!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Knitting Today: Mentoring

One of the sweetest things I love to do it share knitting with people.  Often there are girls or women who would like to do something with their hands but don't think they can.  They may have had a previous experience with knitting (or crocheting) but were unsuccessful at one time or another.

Things I have done to help others learn to knit:  teach a class at Joann Fabrics and Crafts, teach a class at Relief Society, teach a class at Church while waiting for youth activities to complete, teaching a class or individuals at home.  All these make me smile happily to myself when I see the progress these questing people have made.

Most recently Angel wanted to learn to knit.  My preference for knitting fiber is natural fiber, most notably wool.  It turns out Angel is VERY allergic to wool.  No lie.  Some people really are allergic to things: smells, foods, fibers. 

Since Angel could not use wool we discovered she could use cotton so she started working with worsted weigh cotton.  She knit a washcloth which came out very well.  She was more than willing to rip out and re-knit when she felt the work was not correct.  Such a GREAT attitude.  Every time you take out and re-knit a piece of work, the work improves and your overall knitting skills improve.

The second item Angel knit was a headband with several knit flowers with button centers. I could not be more impressed with her knitting skills!  She is getting good at what she does.  I look forward to what she will knit next...

Angel's knit headband with knit flowers!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Food Today: Vegan Broccoli Potato Soup

My time at Parkview Adventist Medical Center last fall was eye-opening,  a fabulous learning experience.  One of the recipes we cooked has stuck with me.  The recipe is at Grammie's Kitchen and Bedtime Stories. 

The last limp broccoli tree was waiting patiently in the refrigerator for attention and today, since we took two vehicles to Church, I returned home in time to make a fresh meal for Fast Sunday lunch,  This was it.  So delicious!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Gardening Today: The Kitchen Garden is IN!

This morning I awoke early.  It was gently misting outside but there was enough daylight to go out and get my hands dirty with the garden.  Son #3 had given us some very sturdy metal posts and two rolls of heavy wire that he had used in his garden last year for tomato trellises.  They seemed just the thing for our garden so that was my main project for today.
Left end of Kitchen garden

The posts were taller than I am so it was a bit difficult to pound them into the ground with our splitting maul, but I did get all four in the ground...two for the ends of the tomato row and two for the ends of the pea row. I did manage to pound my left forearm once in the process, which raised a sore black and blue mark...good for a few comments on gardening with the ladies, I guess...

The next job was to get the wire unrolled, pushed flat, and ends of the wires clipped  so they could come back on themselves and grab the posts at the ends of the rows.  That was more of a project than I had imagined.  I am used to cutting chicken wire with tin snips.  This wire was in NO WAY as simple a job!  I was finally about two-thirds of the way through cutting the wires when Ethan came by for Seminary and asked if he could help.  It had taken me ten minutes to cut those wires.  He did cut the rest of them in less than thirty SECONDS!!!  That is the difference between old wimpy lady  hands and young strong boy hands!  I am so grateful for his help because I was wearing down...a pretty frequent problem here.

Right end of Kitchen garden

Installing the wire on the posts was no picnic, either, but was finally accomplished so it was on to the planting.

Closer up of the right end of Kitchen garden

This year we did not start any plants ourselves.  Our first purchase was a flat of basil.  Within the first couple of nights something ate half the leaves INSIDE THE HOUSE...so it was not slugs, as one gardener suggested.  Later on we purchased some dead bug material which seems to have slowed up the bug damage...

With the garden now "ready" with composted goat doo, spaghnum peat moss, spading, straw in a walking path, and fencing and posts installed, the planting could be finished.  The plants we used were Sunsweet tomatoes-6,  lettuces-12 leaf lettuces, basil-10, sage-1, Parris Island Cos Lettuce--a few feet of row, Sugar Snap peas, Maestro peas, zucchini--3 plants from which I should have selected one strong but couldn't bear to pinch out two, and rhubarb-1.  This to go along with the 7 German hardneck garlic I planted last fall.

View of things yet to do for the final setting-up process...taking away the cement blocks!

With the plants (and Parris Island Cos seeds) in the ground, now I feel like I can just lie back and wait for the harvest.  Well, there will be a small matter of weeding, and potentially watering...

The annotations are a result of finding a new app called Skitch which is part of the Evernote app.  So far I love them both. I think I will probably love them even more when I really learn how to use them!