About The Country Wife Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another Yummy Smoothie Drink: Chocolate Banana!

The second recipe try in a row was a winner!  At least I loved it.  Dear One gave me the wavy fingers, but he drank it all and made no negative comments. I consider that a success.  Not a BIG success but still, successful.

This is what I did:

Using our blender, I put in--

1 cup unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk
1 frozen banana chopped into about 1-inch chunks (I chopped the chunks before freezing, placed them on a tray in freezer.  When frozen, I put them into a plastic bag.)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds (flax seed meal)

Let the blender roar until the smoothie is, well, smooth.  Probably about a minute in our blender jar.

Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.

You will need a spoon because it is nice and thick and frozen.  Just what I like in a smoothie.  You may, too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Knitting: Slip Stitch Designs

While slipping around here and there on the internet the other day I found Purl Soho.  There were several dishcloths using slip-stitch patterns.  This technique appeals to me because you can make some rather stunning designs in multiple colors but only using one color per row.  What is not to love?

We were going to northern Vermont for a family get-together.  Since this trip is not something we make frequently, I looked around to see if there were any yarn shops handy by that just had to visit.  There were!  The one I chose for our visit (because it had the Euroflax yarn called for in this pattern...) was Northeast Fiber Arts Center.   It is a FABULOUS fiber arts center.  ANYTHING you want to do, you can find the tools and materials there. Also the proprietor was so very helpful and took the time I needed to explain something else to me which I will discuss at another time.   I was so tempted to lay down some of my dwindling play money supply, but at the last moment sanity prevailed.  I cannot buy one more thing until I have finished more of my already-started projects!  I cannot, cannot, cannot.  If I say it enough times maybe I will hear it.  And obey!

Anyway, I did not turn out to buy the Euroflax yarn.  It was very very costly and is knit at a pretty fine gauge.  It sounds like it would be wonderful but I have a LOT of nice cotton worsted weight yarn that I need to use up so...I just needed to re-engineer this pattern to work at a larger gauge.  

This is what I have done.  (Well, at least, this is how I have started...)

Cotton worsted weight yarn in two different colors:  name one Color A and the other Color B.  You might even want to write down in your knitting notebook for this project which is Color A and which is Color B.

US Size 7 knitting needles, or even US size  6 or 5.  It just depends on what you like.  I am going to use this for a washcloth so I am using size 7.  (Plus there were two size 7 straight needles in the bottom of the basket where I found the yarn--two part balls of blue and one part ball of red, so I felt that was expedient, picked up the needles, and began knitting.)

There was a certain amount of mental energy spent to translate the finer gauge yarn at 75 stitches cast on to a larger gauge to knit a cloth that is a good size for a face cloth.  I decided to try 39 stitches, and miracle of miracles, that number was right the first time.  (The cast on number had to accommodate the pattern design.  It did.  Such a relief.)

Cloth about half done.
 Many knitters will know that "slip 1 wyib" means to slip the next stitch purlwise with the working yarn in back of the work.  Thus "slip 1 wyif" means that you will slip the next stitch after bringing the working yarn to the front as if you were going to purl (unless you purl Norwegian style--in which case, bring the yarn to the front between the needles before slipping the stitch.) then slipping the stitch and returning the working yard between needles to the back of the work again and continue knitting.  The first time or two it might seem awkward, but it will become second nature really soon.


With Color A, cast on 39 stitches.

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 2 (right side): With Color C, k3, *slip 1 with yarn in back (wyib), k3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3: With Color C, slip 1 wyib, k2, *slip 1 with yarn in front (wyif), k3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4: With Color A, k1, *slip 1 wyib, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyib, k1.

Row 5: With Color A, slip 1 wyib, *slip 1 wyif, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyif, k1.

Repeat Rows 2 – 5 until piece measures the length you want your cloth, ending with a Row 3. 

Since I am not there yet, this is what I will do:  when I get to almost the place where I think the cloth will be square, I will fold the knitting diagonally and see if it is square, or almost square, then work to Row 3. 

At that point I will knit one row of Color A, then turn work and cast off on the wrong side, purlwise.  No, it will not look exactly like the cast on row but--it will work and be reasonable.  If someone knows a better way to do this,  please let me know and I will share it with others on this page.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Munchie Monday: Easy Delicious Fruit Smoothie

We had some fruit and juices in the house.  I was feeling like not making anything big for supper.  Dear One agreed that a smoothie would fill the bill. 

This is what I did:

Got out the Bosch mixer with blender jar attachment.

Into the blender jar I poured:

1 cup orange juice
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen (sweetened, this time) strawberries
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed meal

Turned on the blender and blended until thoroughly mixed and ground up.

Served into two 12 ounce glasses.

Sucked it down as fast as the frozen beverage would allow!

Sorry there are no pictures.  We drank it before I thought of the camera.

A while afterwards Dear One heated some frozen french fries in the oven then ate them.

Not to be outdone so I took two slices of Red Hen 100% whole wheat bread, put on a little mayonnaise and two small slices of homemade baked seasoned tofu.  This makes a great sandwich.  You feel as good as if you were eating an actual Reuben sandwich. At least the tooth feel makes you imagine a nice meat-based sandwich but it is made of plants.  Next time I will get out the sauerkraut!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

May your heart be filled with gratitude this day, and every day, for the multitude of blessings from our Heavenly Father.  May you show and speak thanks to all those around you who bless your life and teach you new things.  It will make you happy to show gratitude.

My heart is filled with gratitude and love for the kind readers of this blog who make me happy every time I see that you have read a post.  I also love your comments both here and on Facebook.  Thank you ever so much.  My life is richer for your association.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Newsy Bits: Long Visit in the Emergency Room BUT ALL IS WELL

Don't spend even one second worrying. I am fine.  Just had to follow up on a troubling bit of pain in the wrong place.

After blood work twice, EKG, chest X-ray, and finally an exercise stress test, I was sent home in good shape.  Another heart scare.  Another time it turned out to be nothing.  Well, not nothing, just not something to worry about.  So I won't.  I probably won't go back again with the same pain in another year or two, if I remember this time....

Another instance of poor photographic techniques, and to show my emergency room bracelet to verify what I just told you....!

Did a little shopping for groceries on the way home, including getting a salad and some chicken...falling off the plant wagon. I had not eaten nor had anything to drink in 24 hours and was shaking and headaching so I went for quick and easy.  The orange juice was good, too!

Arrived home and remembered I had planned to turn the dehydrator on this morning to finish the apples I had put dehydrating yesterday but turned off at bed time. I checked them and turned them on again.  They need a few more hours. I am going to chance waking up in the night and shutting the dehydrator off then.

It probably was a good thing to have spent this day as I did.  I am sorry for those who knew about it and were worrying. The one good thing that came out of it was that I learned (in the stress test) that I can walk a lot harder than I normally do.  That is a good thing.  I hope I remember that tomorrow and go for it.

Well, happy trails to all! I am going to hit the hay now...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

GENEalogy and Family HiSTORY: Note from grandchildren

Some time ago I was staying with the local grandchildren while their parents were out for a little much-needed time away.  There were many activities we engaged in while I was there:  watercolor painting, knitting, reading books, telling stories, watching a little "show", etc.

At one point I was getting started on making supper. I like to make plant-based things sometimes, and do that if I have come prepared.  On this occasion I believe I was making a plant meal.  The youngest two children disappeared upstairs for a while.  After quite a while they returned and handed me the note in the picture.

The four-year old had dictated it to the six-year old.  I found it sweeter than sweet.  And their faces as they handed me the note!  I wish I had had a camera at the ready.  Well, the picture is in my heart.

Today as I am cleaning out and organizing, I took pictures of a number of paper items, and then put the actual items through the shredder. I have not been able to shred this piece of paper...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Munchie Monday: Red Refrigerator Soup

When I was growing up our mother often would go to the refrigerator, pull out a few containers of leftovers, and make the most delicious refrigerator soup.  Absolutely scrumptious soups.  The only problem was, they were impossible to replicate.

In our house, I have made a few refrigerator soups.  They are rarely popular, except with me.  This time I made one which I am not even going to offer to Dear One. He does not need to feel like a bad guy.  I AM rather likely to share it, however, because there were two quarts of it!

To start any good soup you need to get out a large saucepan and a good-sized onion.  Add 2 cups water to the pan and start it heating over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and put on the cover.

Now go to the refrigerator and see what is in those three or four containers that have been there a couple days or more.  Because we did not have a lot of containers this time, I cut up several small red potatoes, skins and all, and popped them in to cook with the onions.  I also smashed a couple cloves of garlic and dropped them on top.

Now for the good stuff:  some celery was just about ready to go, as in: rather wilted, so I chopped it and tossed it in. There was a tiny bit of kale.  Next two very small containers of thyme-roasted beets, then some very wilted lettuce which I chopped fine.  Half a green bell pepper was chopped well and added to the pot.  The next to the last delight was about a cup of sauerkraut and juice.  I know what you are thinking, BUT it really gave the soup some pizzazz!  Finally I checked the refrigerator one more time to see if there was something else hiding in there that the soup needed.  There was!  A pint of homemade tomato-vegetable sauce.  In it went and the soup was just about ready.

There was not much broth, which I think is the best part of any soup so I added some more water and a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable seasoning
This soup was pretty good.  Of course,  the picture is not a food photographer's dream, but you get the idea.  I am looking forward to another bowlful pretty soon.  Well, the next time I need to eat, which won't be for a while.

Friday, November 18, 2016

TannyRaw made these crackers on YouTube. I thought I had posted about them but do not seem to find them.  This is a recipe/process you are going to think is not worth the effort and is not worth trying, but the  results really are worth the effort. I was sorry I was not able to take them to Relief Society tonight to share with the sisters.

This is what I did:

Ground 3/4 cup flax seeds in the blender.

Chopped 4 sweet onions then ground them in the food processor until they were really mostly mush.

In a large bowl I mixed together the onions, flax seed meal, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and a pinch of salt.  (TannyRaw did not put in salt.  I am still a salt person but this was very little salt.  Truly a tiny pinch and it made a difference.)

When they were completely homogenized, I put them into the fruit leather tray in our dehydrator.  This made three trays full.

After 9 hours at 135 degrees F. I did not think they were done/crispy and dry enough so I shut them off overnight. (I did not want them to burn during that time. I knew they were just about ready.)

The next morning I gave them another 3 hours then pulled them off the fruit leather trays.

These are so delicious.  Store them tightly covered after eating your fill.  After three days of having the cover off, they are beginning to soften up a little.  They are much like fruit leather now.   I think I will put them back in the dehydrator for a little while. Or the oven.

Did I say these were acceptable to Dear One?  They were!

UPDATE:  I put them back in the dehydrator for a couple hours and they crisped right up.  Perfectly edible again.

Food Friday: Raw Onion Crackers!!! They are really good!

TannyRaw made these crackers on YouTube. I thought I had posted about them but do not seem to find them.  This is a recipe/process you are going to think is not worth the effort and is not worth trying, but the  results really are worth the effort. I was sorry I was not able to take them to Relief Society tonight to share with the sisters.

This is what I did:

Ground 3/4 cup flax seeds in the blender.

Chopped 4 sweet onions then ground them in the food processor until they were really mostly mush.

In a large bowl I mixed together the onions, flax seed meal, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and a pinch of salt.  (TannyRaw did not put in salt.  I am still a salt person but this was very little salt.  Truly a tiny pinch and it made a difference.)

When they were completely homogenized, I put them into the fruit leather tray in our dehydrator.  This made three trays full.

After 9 hours at 135 degrees F. I did not think they were done/crispy and dry enough so I shut them off overnight. (I did not want them to burn during that time. I knew they were just about ready.)

The next morning I gave them another 3 hours then pulled them off the fruit leather trays.

These are so delicious.  Store them tightly covered after eating your fill.  After three days of having the cover off, they are beginning to soften up a little.  They are much like fruit leather now.   I think I will put them back in the dehydrator for a little while. Or the oven.

Did I say these were acceptable to Dear One?  They were!

UPDATE:  I put them back in the dehydrator for a couple hours and they crisped right up.  Perfectly edible again.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Garden Harvest: Roasted Beets

Beets are not my favorite vegetables.  They are edible however, and are supposed to be very good for you.  SO...when I was given a bunch of beets, I decided to roast some of them.  In the back of my mind I remember making some wonderful roasted beets many years ago when dear friends asked us to use their CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) shares when they were going to be gone for half the summer.  That particular CSA hostess often included recipes, especially for vegetables that were lesser well-known.  She gave us a recipe for roasted beets, roasted in the (well-scrubbed) skins.  They were so very good.  Just not good enough for me to plant beets in our garden yet.  If I find the recipe and it still is as good as I remember, perhaps beets will be in the garden next year.

This is what I did with the beets:

Scrubbed 5 large beets.  Cut off the tops and the root ends.  Cut the beets in half then sliced into 1/2 inch slices then sliced the other direction as well.

Put the beet chunks in a 3-quart bowl.

Beets in 3-quart bowl
Added to the bowl:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mixed all this together well (I used my hands, but you could use a rubber spatula or long-handled wooden spoon.  I enjoyed licking the salt-pepper-and-thyme-y goodness off my fingers.)

Preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.

Beets on pan and ready to roast

Put the prepared beets on a large rimmed baking pan, in this case a half-sheet pan.  Spread the beets around so they were in one layer.  Cooked for 30 minutes.  Removed from oven and stirred well then returned to oven for another 30 minutes of cooking.  Removed from oven again and let sit a few minutes to cool.

Roasted beets cooling

They were more than edible!  Not fantastic as in feeling like I had died-and-gone-to-Heaven good, but very much eat-able.  Based on how these taste, I may try to turn some of them into borscht soup.  My last effort in the borscht department was such a disaster taste-wise that I thought I would never make it again.  Just today I saw a recipe that looks really good.  It uses sauercraut!  What can go wrong with sauercraut?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Early Morning Food Success: Nutella "Crescents"

After a string of not-so-well-loved early morning food episodes, I finally struck a chord with the kids:  Nutella Crescents.

This is what I did:

Opened a can of Crescent Roll Sheets and laid out two sheets, pinching them together slightly where they had been perforated.

Cut each sheet into 6 (more or less) square pieces of dough.

Placed 1 Tablespoon (or a little less)  Nutella in the middle of the dough.

Ran a dampened-with-water finger around the outside edges.

Folded the dough over on itself to make a rectangle then pressed down firmly all the edges.

Placed on a parchment-lined half sheet pan and baked for 12-14 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven.

When done I sprinkled a little confectioner's sugar over the top.

These went like wildfire!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Harrisville, NH Weaving Workshop

Quite a few years ago Aunt Freda very kindly gave me her Harrisville Designs 36-inch, 4-harness floor loom.  It came up soon afterwards that the Harrisville Designs people in Harrisville, NH had a 5-day Learn To Weave Workshop.  By a miracle I was able to attend that program.

Tom Jipson was the teacher.  We met in an upstairs studio and worked on 22-inch looms with the beautiful Harrisville weaving yarns.  There were two different weights. I used the heavier weight for my projects.  I have forgotten the reasoning but that is what I used.

We had the assignment to make four (or was it five) different stitch samplers.  These were actually a nice size for a scarf when they were done.  By the end of the week I had completed all but one of the samplers, which made me very happy.  I don't think anyone completed all of them.  There were some intermediate weavers who did just plain stunning work. I wish I had pictures of their work to share.  One of their assignments was to use most of the Harrisville yarn colors.  They wove a throw on larger looms.  The squares of colors marched across the throw  in diagonals.  So fabulous.

Here are some shots of one of the samplers I made:

One end of one of the samplers is below. The fringe was  fun to make but took a little effort.  Well, every new thing takes effort.  In this case, I believe it was worth the effort.

This section shows several errors.  I still like it.  You can see that the warp was composed of two colors, pink for the lower half and blue for the upper half.  The weft was different for each section.

These squares show some pretty simple work and is mostly correct.  What a surprise!  Weaving is really enjoyable.  The most work is selecting yarn, winding and cutting it to the correct length after doing some nifty math problems...length of fringe, length of project, length of sample at the beginning, take up, etc, etc, etc.  (And that is just the warp!  You still have to figure the weft, and then wind the bobbins. ) Once the math is done, the yarn is wrapped and cut, then you have to dress the loom (with the warp). I was so grateful to have a great instructor there who always answered all questions.

This first project was completed late the first night. 

The  studio was open 24 hours I seem to remember so you could go in and work whenever you wanted.  Most mornings I was there by 6 AM and worked until 9 or 10 PM or later.  Nearing the end of the week I had to let up on the long hours and went back to the rooming house to visit with the other weavers who were staying there.  We had such a great time together.  We kept up with one another for a while but then we sort of drew apart.  Sad.  They were wonderful women.  So talented in so many different ways. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Munchie Monday: Food Failure

Just to add to the list of food failures...I thought I would make a smooth that someone on Facebook posted and said it was great.  News Flash:  It was not.  I can eat almost anything, but this was definitely not pleasing.  A little too gritty.  Having said that, Dear One ate his whole serving!

This is what was in it:

1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen cherries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
3 ounces firm tofu, chopped
1 cup almond or other plant milk

Put everything except the almond milk in your sturdy blender (if the frozen strawberries were very large, chop them somewhat).
Healthy smoothie, if you can take it...

Pour the milk on top and blend well.  It makes a nice thick smoothie.

WELL....it was not the best. It was certainly good for you, BUT the taste was not the best.  For one thing, I did not have blueberries which were actually called for in the recipe. 

For the main problem:  we are accustomed to orange juice-based smoothies.  Having an almond milk-based smoothie did not work for our tastes.  You may love it. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Food Friday: Breakfast Salad

Yesterday I woke feeling like salad.  So I made one.  For breakfast.  It was a large salad (Dr. Michael Greger's  Daily Dozen App calls for a large salad every day.) No,  actually it was a gigantic salad.

This is what was in it:

2 handfuls of chopped romaine lettuce
1 very large handful baby arugula
1 medium head of raw broccoli chopped, including stem
1/4 small red onion finely sliced
1/3 cup chopped cooked red beets (don't I feel virtuous about eating those!!!)
1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
Some Vidalia Viniagrette salad dressing

I forgot the ground flaxseed meal I planned to put on top.

I tossed all this together and managed to eat it all.  I woke up this morning 3 pounds lighter!!  That may have had something to do with the fact that I ate one medium/large baked-in-the-microwave russett potato and one Tofurky kielbasa link (seasoned with a little General Tso's sauce) for my other meal for the day.  Plus a good bit of water.

This was Day One of my 10-day goal of eating totally plant-based foods.  We will see if I can get beyond the first day.  Not as easy as one might expect.

The idea for the 10-Day plant-based eating came this time from Dr. McDougall's webpage.   If you go to this page and look at the column on the right you will see 10-Day Meal Plan.  It is the same thing he uses in his very expensive residential program.  Click on that plan and download a PDF of his recipes.  They mostly seem reasonable to me, though because they are different from our "usual" I will probably have trouble selling them to the local family.  Oh well. I can become healthier....

Breakfast Salad!  Yummy.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Garden 2016: Put To Bed

Today I finally went out to finish up putting the garden to bed for 2016.  It is now done.  Well, except for putting away the last of the garden hoses. I somehow imagined that Dear One was going to wash the car one more time this fall (not that I wanted him to do that, he just seems to do that sort of thing pretty often), but he says no.  Yay.  One more thing can be taken care of before the snow falls.

Front garden put to bed
Side garden put to bed
These gardens do not look appreciably different from the last picture I posted, but underneath they are much happier. I took our four-tined garden fork and fluffed the hay.  I am just certain the soil underneath is happier.  The last of the kale is also happy to have warm feet.  I will probably harvest that in the next couple of days.  I think I will plant more kale next year. I love that stuff.  Now that I know how to raise and, more importantly, harvest it, I am a very happy lady.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

GENEalogy and Family HiSTORY: The Beginning Story

From my teenage years I have been interested in learning about my family, both ancestors and what came to be my posterity.  It all started when my mother began preparing a four-generation pedigree chart with associated family group records in the late 1960's to submit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah at the request of Church leaders.

For my undergraduate work I went to Brigham Young University.  One Sunday afternoon I went to the library which was open for genealogy research.  I had had no success that day, but a lot of fun, searching for our immigrant ancestor, Matthias Corwin.  We believed he had come to Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1633 but had not found how he got there, or the town from which he emigrated.

The library chimed that it was time to leave. I picked up my papers and began sauntering out.  Walking through two stacks I saw (and can still see it today!) a thin red leather volume that called out to me.  I pulled it out and thumbed through it.  It was a book of passenger lists.  There on the page was Matthias Corwin, his brother George, and his sister  Martha (I think)!  They had come from Sibbertoft, Northamptonshire, England.  That was the information I had been seeking, and there it was.

That hooked me!

Sadly, I did not record the name, etc of the book so I do not have an actual source record, just my memory.  Memory being what it is, well, I am trying to locate that book now after all those years.  Maybe with online options, I will find it.

For all the years since that day, I have been learning and teaching genealogy and family history principles.  In fact tomorrow I will be presenting to the local Rotary Club.  I have a very short slide presentation. Because I imagine these men and women will be meeting on their lunch hour, I need to be fast. I will speak briefly about myself and background as I was asked, talk about what a genealogist does, show a little video, then show a minute part of FamilySearch.org.

We shall see how it goes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils

The Frugal Crafter has mentioned, and demonstrated, the Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils multiple times.  Recently the Holiday catalog came from Dick Blick's Art Supplies.  There were deep discounts on these pencils.  I looked at them for quite some time.  Ordered the small set to try them out, BUT had the order declined because of a problem with my payment.  It turns out that I had not updated my online buying method the last time my info was stolen by someone in Texas...

After I fixed the purchasing info I started looking around to see if I could get these Inktense pencils at the same price elsewhere.  I could!  At a site which had no shipping charges!  SO  I went ahead and made the plunge, going for this much bigger box.

So far I have not done any real work with the pencils, but winter is coming on. I am hoping to give up many of  the other activities on my plate and hunker down with these pencils, a pot of water, and some wonderful Arches watercolor paper which was a gift from a friend.  Well, and maybe a basket of previously started knitting projects...knitting is always good winter work in a rocking chair beside the woodstove.

When Lindsay Weirich suggests any color supply set, she usually says to purchase the largest set you can afford rather than buying a small set then a larger one, since that way you always have duplicate implements.  I did not want to go the $100 set, which was the largest offered and which price was half price at Blick. Yikes!  One hundred dollars was half price!!!  I could not afford that set.  (Actually, I want to spend the next $100 I have to play with on DNA testing, for whatever that will be worth.)

When I have anything completed, I will show and tell my experience with these Inktense pencils.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Munchie Monday: Apple Crisp!

The old saying: "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade" can also be applied to apples.  If the apples are soft, make apple crisp.

We had a bowl of nice tart apples which were no longer crisp and perfect for eating.  Thrift makes it impossible for me to toss them onto the compost pile.  This morning I awoke just after 4 AM and decided to finally do something about those apples which were screaming at me to take care of them before they totally turned into mush and bruises.

What I did:

Peeled, cored, and chopped the apples and tossed them into a 3-quart bowl.

Measured out 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon which I sprinkled over the apples.  With a spatula I mixed the apples, sugar, and cinnamon until every chunk of apples was well seasoned.

Cinnamon flavored apple chunks in 9 by 13 dish

In that same 3-quart bowl I put 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg.  After mixing that around I added 1/2 cup softened butter and, using my fingers, rubbed the butter into the flour mixture until there were lovely crumbled.

Crumbs ready for the topping

Put the seasoned apples evenly into a 9 by 13 glass baking dish then sprinkle on the crumb topping.  Place in a preheated 350 degree F. oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the apples are cooked and soft.  (I did not bother greasing the baking dish.  We shall see if that was a poor decision....)

Cooked crisp, cooling on the marble slab (a useful family heirloom which came from a great-aunt's hardware store counter)

When the apple crisp is getting close to being finished cooking, it fills the kitchen with the most delicious cinnamon fragrance.  Such a lovely smell for early morning visitors to enjoy as they enter the house from the middle-fall cold outside air.  Much nicer to sniff that the smell that happens when I foolishly steam some broccoli florets to munch on as a snack throughout the day....

Friday, November 4, 2016

Food Friday: Roasted Parsnips. Yes!

We came into two very large parsnips.  I thought of putting them into a soup pot but then thought of something else.  Roasted vegetables are so good.  Why not roast parsnips?!

So I did.

This is what I did:

Peeled the parsnips.

Cut the parsnips in half then sliced them into about 1/2 inch slices which I then chopped into about the same size chunks.
Parsnips coated with olive oil and seasonings

Put the parsnips in a large bowl with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Stir until all chunks are coated with the oil.  Sprinkle over the top in 1 teaspoon of garlic/onion granule mixture, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt.   Toss until every piece is seasoned then put in preheated 350 degree F. oven for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, check to see that the parsnips are softened.  If they are not quite soft enough for you, give an additional 10 minutes in the oven.

Roasted parsnips ready to eat!

Add more salt if you think they need it.

These tasted pretty good.  We shared them with the local grandchildren.  Did not expect Dear One to even try one...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Gardening: New old Method--Ruth Stout No-Work Gardening

The hay bale gardening did not turn out to my expectations this year.  The weak link here was the gardener.  As usual.  Anyway,  recently I was talking with my sister.  She is converting their huge vegetable garden in North Carolina to the Ruth Stout method which we learned about years ago.  I thought: why not try it here in Vermont? After all, Ruth Stout lived in Connecticut.  We have ten bales that are pretty much on their way to being compost from this year's garden failure.  They should be great.
Right end of front garden after installing rotted hay.

So, today I went out to the two small gardens and yanked up most of the leftover tomato, basil, lettuce, etc plants.  I laid them right back down where they had been.  I had most of the tomato plants pulled up and positioned horizontally on the ground then stepped over towards the rhubarb to yank off the dead leaves.  Stepped in a hole with my left foot then dropped like a stone and rolled completely over.  I wish there had been a video taken of it.  It was a beautiful thing.  At least today, or right now, it seems like it was a beautiful thing.  This happened about an hour ago and I still feel okay.  Afterwards I got up and kept working for a while longer. I am hoping that later this evening or tomorrow  I do not feel any ill effects.  That would really put me off the work...and I want this garden to succeed next year.

I used several of the ten bales from this year's hay bale garden which did not work as well as I had hoped.  After that I brought some of the rotted hay from the grow-box garden (where the lovely doe deer ate all the yellow string beans just when they were getting good looking...I told you about that...) and spread it over the front garden. 

Rhubarb end of the front garden.

So far I have not gotten the side garden completely covered.  I think I will look for some new "bad" hay that animals won't eat to finish it off.  Maybe even use some of the wood chips we got last year when we were going to do the Back to Eden gardening method....

There are lots of articles about Ruth Stout and her gardening method on the internet.  Plus a couple of YouTube videos with her showing someone around her garden.  (There are Magyar subtitles but the videos are in English.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Papercrafting: A Simple Birthday Card

Several family birthdays are coming up.  Dear One brought up the subject last week.  He wondered what I was going to do for birthday cards. 

This is what I did:  I got out my "punch around the page" punches.  We have two different sets.  They require specific sized squares.  I cut two different 12" by 12" sheets of paper into four 6" by 6" pieces, then cut down one of each pattern into 5" by 5" squares.  Save the 1" strips you cut off.  You will use them in a moment.

To punch around the page you start by punching the corners.  After that then you will insert the paper into the other punch and line up one corner design with the little silver design just to the right of the punch.  Give it a good punch.

Next you slide the paper to the right and line up with the silver design at the end of the punch.  Punch it out.  With a 5" square you have now completed one of the four sides of the paper.  Complete the other three sides.  If you are very precise, the edge design will be just perfect.  If not exactly precise, you might have a tiny sliver of paper sticking up between motifs which you will need to very carefully cut off.

Front of a recent card

When creating the inside of this card, I used the strip of leftover paper.  Cut a small heart out of one end, clip off the curved excess, then glue down the plain strip at the right side of the card then add the heart below the strip.  Add a little note, and mail off the card.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Healthy News: Team Leah Bean Rett 5K 2016

Last year I was able to walk a 5K to help raise money for Rett Syndrome research while we were on vacation  at Virginia Beach.  The Boardwalk was a wonderful place to make this happen.

This year it was too windy to do it on the Boardwalk, so I did it here at home.  I am happy to report that I managed to walk a 5K on Monday.  In fact, I used the MapMyFitness app on the cell phone I carry for emergencies and I actually walked 3.5 miles! Yay!  So good.

Having walked 5K I can proudly wear this shirt, which was my small donation to the Rett Foundation.

Side Note:

When I came home from the walk I worked on putting the garden to bed for the winter. I was well on the way when I stepped into a hole in the dirt and dropped like a stone and rolled over like a hedgehog...a complete rollover.  Amazingly I did not feel hurt, picked myself up and did some more work.  After about twenty minutes the adrenaline got to me and I stopped with the gardening and went into the house and sat in my rocking chair...watching the birds at the feeder,  a very restful and relaxing thing to do.  By evening the right side of my body including neck were screaming at me but now, several days later, there is no residual pain.  Thanks, Heavenly Father!