About The Country Wife Blog

Friday, March 31, 2017

Food Friday: Sautéed Spinach and Onions

One of the quickest, tastiest ways to get spinach into your diet is to slice up a couple of onions, place them into a large skillet in which is a little heated olive oil.  Let the onions cook until softened and beginning to caramelize.  Add in a giant pile of freshly cleaned spinach leaves,  almost overflowing the pan is best, then cover and let cook for about a minute.  Remove cover then stir until the spinach is nicely wilted. 

Add a little salt and pepper OR maybe some Montreal Steak Seasoning OR maybe some Soul Food Seasoning.  This is very yummy and so good for your body.

No picture today because I did not stop the cooking while the spinach was still bright green as well as soft.  My bowl looks sort of black and icky, but it really tastes good and I am satisfied that it is still healthy for my body.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Charity Quilts: Refugee Quilts Completed!

The quilts our Relief Society is contributing to the refugee ladies at the 8 April Women's Conference have been completed.   Two of the donators are not even members of our Relief Society so their contributions are especially appreciated.

There are two of these bright cheery quilts which are about lap quilt size.

This lovely muted colors quilt is large bed-sized.
There are two of this nice floral and bright patches quilt is twin bed sized.

Every one of these quilts are completely machine quilted and ready to go to a happy home. It is always wonderful to participate in an event which will bring joy to others.  Service just about always brings good feelings, as this did.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

DIY Building Project: DIY Craft Shelf/Cupboard

Here is a picture of the papercrafting shelf that Son #3 built for me out of 2 30-inch long, 2 12-inch long, and 1 11.5-inch long boards that were cut from 1 8 foot by 12 inch (actually only 11.5 or 11.75 inch) number 2 pine board.  The number 2 pine is the designation for boards that are smooth on both sides rather than construction grade that are rough on both sides, and premium that is really really smooth everywhere.  The premium is much more costly and the construction grade is so rough as to be impossible to use for finished work that will be often touched.  Too many slivers are a probability.

You will notice it took me no time to fill this cupboard up!  Also, notice that there is a cup hook screwed into the side of the cupboard where a power strip is installed for all the necessary plugs (phone, Ott light for ease in vision while crafting, Cricut Expression power cord, and other assorted temporary plug-ins).  There will soon be another cup hook installed for my nice metal yard stick which I use for so many craft projects in so many way.  Really, that yard stick is critically important to the craft room.  Often it is used to reach under and to the rear of obstructions when I drop something that rolls away from me.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Munchie Monday: Veggie Meatball Bites

Always I seem to be looking for non-meat regular food, like meatballs and burgers.  I feel sure that somewhere there are good recipes where we can make them.

Here is a recipe which started out at Cooking With Plants.

Meatless Meatballs (Veggie Bites if you make them flat instead of round, which is what I wanted)

6 slice bread, pulverized in a food processor
2 cups walnuts added to the bread crumbs and pulsed until finely chopped
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal flakes
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or plain ground sage
2 teaspoons dried cilantro (which I used by mistake, I was reaching for the basil but picked up the cilantro instead and did not notice....)
 1 Tablespoon Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock mixture
 1 can black beans, NOT drained
1/4 cup soy sauce

After turning the bread and walnuts into crumbs in a food processor, add all the remaining dry ingredients and pulse to combine.  When they are happily mixed, dump in the beans, including liquid in the can,  and soy sauce (you can use tamari or Braggs Liquid Aminos if you want instead of the soy sauce) and pulse to make a mushed up combination.

Using a 2-Tablespoon portion scoop put the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or if you have a high tolerance for stuck-on food, just lightly grease the pan and forget about the parchment paper.  I have a very LOW tolerance for food items sticking to the pan so I always go with the parchment paper...).  Use nice even rows  (this helps the food cook more evenly, plus you can take a quick count more easily) of the plopped-on mixture then go back and with clean damp fingers  and press down the veggie bite mixture a little bit to slightly flatten the balls.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn the bites over, and bake another 15-20 minutes.  I wanted these to be baked enough that they were sort of crisp and could be picked up and used with French onion dip.  Well, they were not crisp, but they were firm enough to be finger food.  Score! 

These did work just as I had hoped AND they tasted good to boot!  I was so pleased when a lady at the Relief Society Birthday Party where I was going to serve these, asked if she could take some of them home.  OF COURSE SHE COULD!  I did not want to take any of them home because they were such a temptation to eat myself. 

A bonus with the lady's request was that I gave her the beautiful glass bowls I had used to serve the dip and veggie bites it.  Two more things gone from our house.  It is hard to empty out a house when your general modus operandi is to collect things, not dispose of them. Yes, I did particularly love these bowls but we do not need them. I am glad they have gone to a good home.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Food Friday: Roasted Vegetables Again

Roasting vegetables is a such a delicious way to get vegetables into bodies.  Well, I love most vegetables so they are not a problem for me.  At the weight and wellness class the other day Jane told me she had roasted beets, cabbage, and onions.  I tried it.  It was scrumptious!

This does look rather unappetizing but it was amazingly good.

Chop half a green cabbage into large-sized dice.  Chop one large onion into the size pieces you like, about the same size as the cabbage.  Scrub and dry 4 small beets. Cut off the tap root then chop everything you have left (no skinning, not taking off the cap of the beet) into medium-sized dice.  Place all into a large bowl.  Pour on 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and stir to coat.  In a small bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon granulated garlic and 1 teaspoon granulated onions, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.  Sprinkle the spice mixture on the vegetables and stir again.

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes.  Stir and roast another 30 minutes.  This is how I did it.  It worked in our oven.  You might want to check more often to see if they are done to your liking.  I wanted the beets to be VERY WELL done.  Not a big fan of them, but they are good for us so...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Michaels Free Flower Arranging Class

Tonight we had another flower arranging class.  There was one student.  Here is her arrangement.  I thought it looked pretty nice.  The one I made was rather "stuffed in", so I am not showing it to you!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Watercolor Painting: A Fail For Sure. Good for a Laugh. A BIG Laugh!

Today I went to paint with friends.  We painted from live models.

Here is the first model.  Well, here is my second painting of the first model.

What creature do you think it is?  I have had three "dinosaurs", an aardvark, and an anteater.  Dear One just asked, "WHAT IS IT?"

When you look at the next picture you will be able to tell what creatures we were painting.  I think.

Dear One looked at this one and laughed.  Later on I showed it to him up close.  His comment, "Oh, it is two of them.  I thought it was one dog with a bad chin!"  That is so funny.  I loved it.  I am still laughing.

Well, first attempts at anything are often less than stellar.  At this point I think I can say, without a LOT of work, I will not be a dog painter.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Knitting: Blocking Swatches

I love to learn new things.  I love to improve upon old things I previously learned.  Currently I am a part-time teacher at the new Michaels Arts and Crafts store.  I teach/lead discussions/act as example and support for several different arts and crafts.  One thing Michaels requires is that the knitting and  crocheting teachers be certified by the Craft Yarn Council as knowledgeable enough to actually bless the students as they try to learn a new skill.  This certification process requires a somewhat costly course from the Craft Yarn Council.

Part of the certification requirements include making swatches in some basic stitches and techniques.  These small pieces of knitting have VERY specific conditions to be acceptable to the CYC.  One of them is an exact size.  To reach this size one must adjust needle size, number of stitches, and eventually blocking the pieces.

This is a picture of the preliminary swatches on blocking wires.

One little glitch in the system is that the blocking wires, which have lived in their little cardboard tube all their lives, impacted the swatches by passing on a tiny bit of dark grease-looking grunge.  This is not something I expected....

Monday, March 20, 2017

Munchie Monday: Homemade Cheesy Broccoli Soup 2017

Whenever we go to Panera, Dear One chooses their broccoli cheese soup.  I thought I would try again to make some that he would like.  Today I did it!  I cannot believe it.  He said,  "This is pretty good soup.  Can you make it again?"  Well, that is a good question.  Usually I just dump in some of this and a little of that.  This time I wrote it down.  Yes, Dear, I can make it again!

To be honest, the whole reason this soup exists is because I steamed some broccoli in my Instant Pot for 2 minutes, but was busy doing other things when the 2 minute steaming was up and did not get back to open the Pot until it said 45 minutes on the warming cycle.  When I opened up the pot, the broccoli was SO WELL STEAMED that all the cell walls in the lovely florets had totally disintegrated. I  have a high tolerance for poorly cooked vegetables, but these florets were basically slime.  Even I could not eat them as broccoli.  Icky sticky!  The only way to use them was in something like cheesy broccoli soup...so I came up with a recipe.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup
3 potatoes, washed, peeled if needed, and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cups steamed broccoli
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
 2 large handfuls grated sharp cheddar- about 2 cups
2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon vegetable seasoning
1/4 teaspoon thyme 
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion

In a  medium sized saucepan place the potatoes, onions, and carrots.  Cover the vegetables with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot.  Let cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  (In our case, I started these before Church but did not have time for them to cook all the way through so I just shut off the heat and left them until we returned.  They had finished cooking with no heat under them.)

In a large sauce pan over medium heat start melting the butter then whisk in the flour.  Continue to whisk and cook until the mixture is a lovely creamy brown which indicates that the flour is cooked.  In the meantime, put 2 cups milk in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for one minute to begin warming it up.  Add to the butter/flour roux and whisk continually until the mixture thickens nicely.  Carefully dump in the vegetables and all the spices and stir well, until all the spices have broken up and are completely stirred into the mixture.  (Clumps of dried garlic or onion granules are not the most pleasant thing to meet in your soup spoon....)

If you have very steamed broccoli as we did, use a fork to mash it well and add to the soup, stirring well.  If the florets are rather large, you might want to chop them up finely before adding to the soup.  Many people don't like to come upon a whole broccoli floret in their cream soup.

Finally, add in the heavy cream and give a final stir.  Make sure the soup is at a good temperature for eating, then ladle into bowls. I believe this will make 8 servings.  Of course, if you have a large soup bowl or mug, it will make fewer servings.  You could probably do some fun garnishes but we are plain Janes here.

May I say I am just so thrilled to finally have a soup that has the seal of approval on it?!!!  The one thing he did ask was what were the sharp things that looked like pine needles that caught in his teeth.  I told him it was the rosemary.  He suggested ground rosemary. I never thought of that. I will try that next time.  In fact, I may just see if I can grind up all the rosemary in the little smoothy maker/ Nutri bullet knock-off that we have.  It might work.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Food Friday: Swedish Almond Cake!

Sometimes you hear of a recipe that so far exceeds your expectations that you want to make it again and again.  This is such a recipe.  My friend Judy sent me the recipe months ago.  I had not gotten around to making it yet. I had even bought the special pan for the cake and STILL did not make it.  Tonight I made it for our early morning eaters.  I think they will love it, if they try it.

The recipe is called Swedish Almond Cake. It could not be easier to make. I am sure it would be good even without the cool pan. 

This is the recipe as I made it:

Swedish Almond Cake

1/2 cup  butter, melted
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350º.

Grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan or the special almond cake pan that lets you cut perfect slices.

Stir the sugar, egg, almond extract and milk thoroughly.  In a separate bowl stir together the flour and baking powder.  Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Add the melted butter and stir until smooth.  Add a handful of slivered almonds if you like.  Pour into prepared pan.

  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40-50 minutes.  Cool.  Sift confectioner’s sugar on top.

Next time I will cook it for 40 minutes instead of the 50 minutes.  It was still wonderful but the crust on the end slices was a bit hard.

Very light.  Very yummy.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

People are Really Nice

Doesn't it make your heart just sing when you think about all the kindnesses people do for you?  Doesn't it make you want to be an even nicer person?  Well, it does me.  I had been thinking about how to organize the workroom so it was actually useful, and still available as a guestroom when someone needed a bed for a night or two.

Yesterday as I was driving along after doings some good works myself, the thought came to me how to improve on my organization in the workroom. 

It seemed that if I bought a 12" wide 8 ' long board that was smooth on both sides and cut it into 2 30-inch pieces, 2 12-inch pieces, and 1 11-inch piece then screwed them together, it would make a nice cabinet for some of the taller paper-crafting tools if I set it on my large table.

I went to the local lumberyard and was shown out to Larry who asked me what was up my sleeve.  He has helped me for 25 years at that lumberyard, often with crazy ideas.  He suggested #2 pine and thought we should look through the 16-footers so we could decide which end we wanted.  We found a nice enough one and took it to the saw room.  He actually cut the pieces exactly to my requested sizes!  Well, I knew he would if he was not too busy.  Such a kind man.  I went inside and someone helped me choose the right screws for the job. 

On my way home I thought I would stop in to see if Son #3 would want to pre-drill the screw holes for me, thereby saving Dear One a lot of frustration.  Well!  Son #3 not only pre-drilled the holes, he also installed the screws and in fifteen minutes I was on the road again.  The grandchildren were there and offered to help then pointed out that Dad had made a lot of cabinets and was really good at it.

So, there you have it....really nice people doing really nice things going beyond my wildest expectations.  So nice. I need to be nicer.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Snow Day, Work Day

Today a huge snow storm was forecast.  After a difficult sleep night I woke up around 7 AM.  It was snowing, as predicted, but it was light snow at first.  Later it became a much heavier fall of the white stuff.  As of about 4 PM we have had twelve inches of snow and the wind has picked up.  It will be interesting to see what comes of the storm by the time it is forecast to end late tomorrow.

This morning I decided to make it a busy day at home since my visiting teachers canceled, my art instruction canceled, then Michaels closed at 11 AM which canceled the art class I was going to teach tonight.  All of these were good things.  There was then no need to endanger life or limb, my own or other people's by going out on the roads.

The first thing I did was make some nice pan-fried diced potatoes and scrambled eggs for Dear One who loves that sort of thing.  Well, I do, too, but am avoiding them currently. At least for the most part.   I had a little scrambled egg with fresh made pico de gallo on it.

The next thing I did was sat down at my computer to do some house-cleaning.  My storage said I had used up 14 GB out of 15 GB and did I want to spend $19.99 to get 100 GB of storage.  Well, no, I did not want to spend that money because, 1.  I did not have that much I wanted to spend because a.  I was too disorganized and b. too lazy to change the organization on my email; and 2. I also did not want to spend the money because it would just put off the evil hour when I would have to face my own mess of email messages.

SO...I spent an hour at the computer, emptying out most of the email accounts I have.  (It is remarkable how many email accounts one person can have.  It would be really amazing if one person could actually manage all those email accounts and not just store messages...!)  Eventually I was ready to empty the trash.  I was messaged this cheery little note:  "Do you want to bulk delete forever 10,978 messages?"  I took a deep breath (knowing I had probably deleted some very important messages) and said, "Delete!"  It took a while but they are now gone.

Next I moved on upstairs to the workroom.  There is so much room for improvement that there is no room for any other stuff.  The main table is full.  The auxiliary table is full.  The knitting machine table is full.  The queen-sized bed is full.  The bureau is full.  The bookcases are full.  It is time to do something about it.  Having all that stuff is a terrible burden.

What I did:  I picked through both wastebaskets and put all the paper into one bag and all the plastics into another bag.  As I was going through the paper trash I used a hexagonal paper punch and a small heart paper punch and cut out as many hexagons and hearts as I could for future paper-crafting projects.  The tiny bits then went into the recycling bag.  Both wastebaskets now have liners.  Each wastebasket now has its own mission: one is paper scraps, the other is plastics and other non-recyclables.

Next it was on to the surfaces of the tables and TV stands (2 of them in the room--one has the yarn winder and swift on it, the other was full of paper-crafting supplies).  The auxiliary table was mostly cleared off with stuff put where it needed to go, then the main table was worked on. I was able then to install the new pine shelving unit/cabinet that Son #3 and Larry at the lumberyard made for me yesterday.  That made me happy.  Now I just need to screw in some cup hooks for hanging some other tools.

Pretty soon things will be cleared off enough that I can take down the knitting machine and table and move the auxiliary table into its new home.  THEN maybe I can get the bed empty.

These are things I really want to get done today but by the time the above-mentioned were done the old blood sugar was dipping very low and I was a dragging puppy.  Took a break to get some food.  Which morphed into a longer break to make food for Dear One with morphed into yet a LONGER break where I made some whole wheat tortillas from some freshly ground whole wheat flour.  Now I need to stuff a couple of them with refried beans and the pico de gallo left over from breakfast THEN FINALLY I will get back to the workroom.  Almost no chance of finishing tonight  but the good news is the storm is forecast to continue until tomorrow evening so maybe I will have tomorrow free as well!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Handwork: Knit and Crochet Flowers

Lately I have been longing for spring.  I found some free patterns for flowers, both knit and crochet.

Here is a pile of them that I made this past week:

There is a daffodil, a jonquil, a star flower, a rose, and some funky imaginary flowers.  They were fun to make.  They are not perfect but I feel perfectly fine about them.  Another day I will find the patterns to share.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Munchie Monday: Breakfast Salad Today!

Don't you just love a great breakfast salad?!  I do.  You may not but there is nothing like starting the day with some good vegetables and healthy protein.

This is what I had in my breakfast salad:

2 cups iceberg/carrots/cabbage lettuce mixture
2 cups spring lettuce and baby spinach
1/2 cups chick peas
1/8 of a red onion, sliced thinly
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
2 Tablespoons Spicy Peanut Salad Dressing

What I did:

Chopped the greens.  Added the chopped greens to a large bowl.  Added the remaining vegetables then topped with the salad dressing.  Stirred it all up.  Ate it with pleasure and a certain amount of feeling virtous as I realized it was healthier than many breakfasts I have had.

Doesn't that look pretty?! And yummy!  The only glitch was that the red onion happened to be rather spicy this time.  I gave the last few shreds to the white-tail deer who frequent our back yard.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Food Friday: Spicy Peanut Salad Dressing

Today I made a salad dressing that was especially yummy.

This is what I did:

In a small blender, I placed

1/4 cup peanut butter
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons Ume Plum Vinegar though other vinegar or even lemon juice would have worked
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste (or just finely minced ginger)
1 heaping teaspoon sambal oelek or garlic chili paste

Blend very well until a nice smooth sauce. If it is too thick to be a salad dressing, add water, one Tablespoon at a time until the texture is right.

Yields:  about one cup

This tastes really nice on a big fat vegetable and bean salad.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Handwork: Refugee Quilt

The ladies at our church have a Relief Society.  In about a month we are having a get-together with lots of women from the nearby refugee community.  These ladies have been invited for a morning of fellowship, friend-making, and quilt-tying. Each of the church congregations are asked to bring four or five quilts all ready to tie, and with the bindings already finished.  The idea is to send every refugee lady home with a couch-sized quilt.

A friend had given me several baby-sized quilt tops.  I wanted to turn them into larger quilts.  A second friend did the mathematical figuring for me and cut the fabric at the quilt fabric shop where she works.  This afternoon I worked for about three hours stitching together the additional fabric in a pleasing pattern that turned the small quilt top into a much larger quilt top.  To boot it looks really nice.

Now the mathematical genius will turn the top into an actual quilt!  Already more than three people have contributed to this one quilt.  Good deal!

It will be enjoyable to spend the morning getting to know these refugee sisters and sharing the time finishing quilts that they can take home and use.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Papercrafting: Giant Paper Flowers

We had a papercrafting class at the local Michaels' store this week.  I had made a sample flower in purple.  To make the project as easy as possible, I photocopied the templates onto card stock.  This worked but had some disadvantages, i.e. the instructions showed on the petals and I didn't think to turn the petals the other side up.

When we actually had the class I drew around the templates that I had cut out from the card stock.  This worked well until putting together the petals I failed to erase the pencil marks or turn the petals over. Oh, well.  Still a nice enough flower.
For this flower I made a loose pompom for the center of the flower by way of embellishment.  I also attached a ribbon for a hanger.  When I took the picture, the glue was still wet so I could not put hang the flower to show it off to good advantage.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Garden 2017: Cucumber in February

Good friend O gave us a Persian cucumber plant started which was healthy and happy about a month ago.  I was reluctant to take it because I kill plants but then I thought about trying to learn to enjoy cucumbers so when it was offered a second time, I accepted it.

After a week on the kitchen table I took it upstairs and planted in a planter where I had killed some very healthy scallions that I had enjoyed for months during the fall and early winter but which I had let go whereupon they gave up the ghost and are still sitting there looking at me accusingly.  I moved out a few of them to make place for the little cucumber.

Here is the cucumber as it looks on the 27th of February.  Pretty cute, I think!

Somewhere online I saw a simple lighting set up for indoor vegetable plants.  You use an empty gallon milk jug the you fill halfway full of sand. Stick in a 2.5 to 3 foot piece of PVC pipe.  Purchase a clamp-on lamp and a full spectrum light bulb.  This seems to make this cucumber pretty happy.  You can see the tiny cucumber with the dying blossom on the end.  I think I need to find some compost for the little guy.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Munchie Monday: Chicken Fried Cauliflower Steaks

Yes, it is true- you can make cauliflower steaks and they are pretty good, too.  In my opinion.  Dear One was not interested in sampling them.  No surprise there, just a prick of disappointment.

You will need:
1 small cauliflower
1cup flour (I used all-purpose King Arthur)
2 eggs well beaten in a flat dish
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, granulated garlic, and granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt, and black or white ground pepper
3 Tablespoons mild honey
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce or more if you like very spicy

Slice cauliflower into 3/4 inch thick steaks.  Put into a large skillet in which you have brought 1/2 cup water to boil.  Carefully situate the steaks in the pan and cover.  Cook/steam for five minutes then remove from pan with tongs. Place on a cooling rack and let sit until completely cool.

In a clean heavy skillet start some canola oil heating over medium heat.  I probably used about 1/4 to 1/2 inch oil.

Put the flour and dry spices on a large plate and mix well together.

Set the bowl with the beaten egg beside the plate with the spiced flour which will be used for dredging.   Place both of these near the cooled and somewhat dry cauliflower steaks.  Carefully pick up one steak at a time, dredge it on both side, dip both sides in the egg, then back to the flour, and finally ease the steaks into the hot oil.  Fry on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until as brown as you like.  When both sides are happily crispy, remove to a paper-towel lined plate for a minute or so.

At this point, remove to a serving platter and drizzle with the honey/sriracha mixture you have made. Enjoy right away.  If there are leftovers, they are still good for another meal.

One caveat...the slicing may not go as smoothly as you might like.  Smaller " steaks" work just as well, however.  A diner might think eating four or five small steaks is no problem but later the tummy will be much as full as if eating a full-sized steak.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Food Friday: Homemade Veggie Burger Sandwich!

We eat veggie burgers around here.  I am still trying to make one that works as far as flavor, texture, ease of construction, and enjoyment.

This is the one I made this week.

This picture was an open-faced sandwich that I had to start eating with a fork.  It was delicious!  The layers were: toasted one hundred percent whole wheat bread, smear of Homemade Balsamic Mayonnaise, one Roma tomato sliced sort of thin, slice of sweet onion, Homemade Veggie Burger, sauerkraut on top then sprinkled with Montreal Steak Seasoning.  It was so good and stuck with me for hours.

Here is how I made the veggie burger.  I am sorry I don't have a really specific recipe just the method, but the method worked.

We had some leftover squash soup, some leftover rice glop (my term for rice and other ingredients that have become a more or less solid mass since I failed to stop the cooking in time), some leftover cooked pinto beans.

Started heating our cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat then made the veggie burger mixture.

In a large bowl I placed the very flavorful squash soup--about 2 cups of it, 1 1/2 cups of the cooked rice, and 2 cups of cooked pinto beans. I used a potato masher to smush them up until I was satisfied with the texture.  Some of the beans were still mostly whole.  At this point I added about 3 Tablespoons of leftover thick pizza sauce, about a teaspoon of Montreal Steak Seasoning, and a good big glug of Worcestershire sauce. Then I threw in about 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats. I mixed these all together very well.

By this time the cast iron frying pan was hot so I added a Tablespoon of coconut oil and let it melt.  Using a 1/2 cup portion scoop, I scooped four mounds of the veggie burger mixture into the pan, pushing down on each mound with the back of the scoop to make a nice neat round burger about one-half inch thick.  I let them cook, still over medium heat, for 2-3 minutes or until I thought they were solid on the bottom. I then flipped them, cooked them longer on the second side then served to Dear One along with French fries. I had some mashed potatoes and salad with mine.

The upshot:  these taste really good.  When they came off the frying pan they were too soft for my Dear One's palate but he did think they tasted good.  This was for lunch.  At supper time I got the two leftover ones out of the refrigerator and found that they had become much more firm. Yay!  When I warmed up one for my own supper (Dear One did not want a repeat...usual story there...) it softened up again but still worked as you can see on the sandwich photo.

There was enough of the "batter" to make four more veggie burgers the next day using a smaller scoop, which was quite large enough.  I felt justified in eating two of them!  After all, what could be wrong with beans, rice, oatmeal, and squash?!

This is still not the perfect veggie burger (especially since I don't have an accurate list of all the ingredients in all the components) but is on the way to getting there. Something about the oatmeal firms them up, I think.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Watercolor Quick "Primitive" Painting

A friend is having a birthday soon.  Not all my supplies were at hand so I decided to just do a quick little painting and attach it to a card blank.  This is what I managed in the short time I had with the few supplies I had.  Not my best work.  Not my favorite work.  Still, it is somewhat colorful, which is something I like.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Knitting: Heart Baby Blanket

Not too long ago I was emptying a binder of knitting patterns...ones that I decided I was never going to knit up so I did not need to keep them anymore.  One pattern caught my eye: it was titled Heart Pattern.

Since I had been given some lovely soft yarns I thought I would give it a try. After all, it was around Valentine's Day...and what is not to love about heart patterns?!

When I tried to find the creator of the pattern I found a very nice lady named Stephanie.  She has a blog called And She Knits Too! 

Look to the right side column for the Heart Scarf pattern.  It turns out to be very simple and easily memorized.

What I did differently is that I held two strands of worsted weight yarn together and used US size 15 needles. I did three pattern repeats in the body of the work with garter stitch edges.  For some reason I started out with K2, P2 ribbing for a couple of inches.  No idea why, but after the first pattern repeat I decided not to rip back and start again. Usually I do rip back.  Anyway, this will be a lovely baby blanket for some baby who is coming up.  I will probably do 8-10 pattern row repeats, depending on how it looks.  I also have several different colors of yarn and will just work in the new yarn as I finish each skein. There is one sort of golden yellow which I will use as the ending yarn.  In between are some browns and greens. I think it will look unusual and maybe nice.  Hopefully nice.  If not, I will donate it to the animal shelter for a soft cat blanket....

You can see that this is not block and that I have just added in the first strand of brown at the top.