Friday, October 30, 2009

When I Was Very Young

While my mother was in Massachusetts visiting her sister, my dad took the opportunity to go through old family photos and random negatives. A few of those negatives were of my brother and me. I had them printed up and I got them today.
It looks as though I may have been about four years old, which would have made my brother two at the time. We are only sixteen months apart.



I can tell that these were taken in the summer, as my birthday is in June. I don't remember this party. I wish I did.



But I'm pretty sure that I was excited about it as you can see from this photo. My mother is inside the door probably telling my dad to hurry and take the picture.

My brother Donald and I on the swing set in our back yard. Can you see the fence behind us? I fell over that little fence when I was six and broke my arm. I was trying to catch a ball. When I stood up and straightened my arm out, the bone came shooting out. I spent a week in the hospital. Now that I remember. I don't eat minestrone soup because of that stay. Who feeds minestrone soup to a child who is ill? Mean nurses, that's who!
My brother turned fifty last month and I will be framing up a few shots of him when he was small and sending them to him. He knows something is coming, just not what.
I think he is going to be very surprised! There is nothing like looking back at your childhood when you have reached the half-way point of your life. It keeps you young.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Pins

I made these for the women from church that I visit teach.


They were oh, sew easy to make!



Aren't they cute?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sloppy Joes and Bitty Biscuits


I made Sloppy Joes for dinner last night and, because I forgot to buy hamburger buns, I served them on tiny baking powder biscuits. They were delicious, if I do say so myself. Hmm, I think I will. What is it about tiny food that makes me happy? I don't know.
Anyway, I'm sharing the recipe with you just in case you want to make tiny food for your family. I'm sure they will appreciate it!
Sloppy Joes
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, or 1/4 of a large one, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
2 cloves minced garlic
Sauce-
2- 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup plus 1 T brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all sauce ingredients in a pan and heat through to blend flavors.
In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onions and peppers. Want more flavor to your meat? Allow it to caramelize a bit. Go on, I'll wait.............................................................
Done? Okay. Now add the garlic and saute gently until the garlic permeates the meat, maybe three minutes. Don't burn the garlic. There is nothing that can rescue burnt garlic. Trust me.
Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the meat and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Why only 1/2? Because you are going to allow the other half to cool and put it in the freezer for the next time you want sloppy joes! Smart, huh?
Bitty Biscuits-
You could make your biscuits from a baking mix but, really, it isn't all that hard to make your own. This is my favorite recipe for baking powder biscuits, from The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook by Christopher Kimball. They are yummy!
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 T chilled butter, not margarine, cut into 1 T increments
3 T chilled shortening
2/3- 3/4 cup buttermilk
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and soda in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse twice to mix.
Add butter, one piece at a time, and pulse once after each addition. Add shortening and pulse 6 more times, or until mixture looks like coarse meal.
Place mixture in a mixing bowl and slowly fold in the buttermilk with a spatula or wooden spoon. When dough begins to hold together, turn out onto a floured surface. You might need a little more or a little less of the buttermilk.
Roll or pat (my preference) dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter, being careful not to twist the cutter. You want those puppies to rise!
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, turning the baking sheet around once halfway through.
This recipe will make 16 2-inch biscuits, perfect for a family dinner! Want to pump them up? Add 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese. You will probably have to add a little more buttermilk if you do.
So, there you have it- Sloppy Joes with Bitty Biscuits. Nothing tastes better on a chilly Autumn night.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Sweet Giveaway at Fiona and Twig!

Anne from Fiona and Twig (fab name!) is giving away -a $25 Anthropologie gift certificate and an autographed copy of the most amazing book- The Find by Stan Williams. Oh, be still my heart!
Head on over and follow Anne's blog for a chance to win. Or not. I don't mind if you want to let me have all the chances. ;)

All Around The House

Cozy quilts coming out of hiding to take the chill away.

The colors of autumn tucked in a corner.


With all of this string and many extra fingers, I should never forget anything again!


The last bloom of oxalis in my garden.


Moss at my steps creating a spiky miniature forest.


Aw, sweet brother and sister, Tobias and Wednesday.



You know what they say about curiosity and cats don't you, Tobias?



Never fear, you're much too cute!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Cranberry-Apple Oatmeal

This is actually a repost from last year. Since fall has arrived, I have made this three times. It's the perfect go-to breakfast when you have time to spend. Enjoy!



Cranberry-Apple Oatmeal
1/2 cup oats- quick or old-fashioned
1 cup water, plus more for adding as the oatmeal cooks
2 T dark brown sugar
1 T butter
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 apple, cored and cubed. You don't have to peel it, I don't. But if you want to, go ahead.
Scant 1/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
Now, don't think I'm odd, but I also add just a tidge of black pepper- a shake or two. Just because.
Add water, butter, brown sugar and oatmeal in a large skillet. Turn heat to medium and begin stirring together. As oatmeal thickens, add spices and salt and continue stirring, adding water, 1/4 cup at a time, as it becomes absorbed into oatmeal. It is quite similar to making risotto. After 8 minutes or so, add apple chunks and cranberries and continue stirring and adding water (up to 1 cup or so) until the apples are soft but not mushy. This should take about ten - twelve minutes. Done! The result is a creamy, flavorful oatmeal with the snap of tart apple bits and cranberries.
That's it. Simple, huh? It is satisfying and delicious. If you would like to make this a breakfast for four, make a few scrambled eggs and bacon or some toast and jam to serve with it.
Who knew you could do so much with so little?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deep In The Heart Of Home

That's where I've been- cleaning, puttering, pondering, creating, planning. I'll be back soon. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creative

Yesterday was my friend's birthday and I wanted to make something special for her. She owns the quilt shop where I work and, consequently, something sewing related was out of the question. Really, she's surrounded by quilts and sewing notions every day, she needed something soft and pretty instead. Taking a page from Dawn's book, I created a little- oh, what does she call them?- assemblage in a box.




The back is a scan of an old ledger page I found in Marietta. I attached a tiny nest in the center and then gathered a pretty taupe satin ribbon around it. A bit of raw wool gives the eggs a soft place to nestle. I created the little friend flag using the Jane Austen font and a vintage hat pin.
Tea dyed lace and a few vintage buttons finished it off nicely. I can report that she loved it!
I'm a bit out of practice when it comes to things like this. Lately, I've been hovering over my sewing machine stitching quilt pieces together so this took a bit of time. But, it was so worth it to see the smile on my friend's lovely face.
Ah, creative feels so good.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fairy Bath


The Fairy King, who looks suspiciously like Alfred Hitchcock,
cannot help but think that this conversation with Mr. Crow
is drawing him closer to taking a very cold bath.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mirror Trick

Above my stove hangs a mirror. A very plain, oak-framed mirror with a little beveled edge. I took it down yesterday and my kitchen immediately went dark. I hadn't realized how much that little mirror added to the whole feel of la cucina.




So, instead of trying to find something to replace the very plain mirror, I dressed it up a bit.



At one time, whenever I went to a yard sale or estate sale, I would buy pretty beveled, flat mirrors. The kind that sit on a sideboard or dresser to add a bit of sparkle. Well, I though, why couldn't one of them dress up and add a bit of sparkle to the plain over-the-stove mirror?
A bit of heavy-duty glue, 24 hours of drying time and I now have a mirror with a little pizazz!
The second mirror adds a lot of interest and depth to the room now, shooting what is reflected in it in all sorts of directions.
Cooking is going to be so much more fun now.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Someone...

has snuck in and placed silver threads in my hair.