Sunday, September 26, 2010

A few new things

I really need to start writing here more...I've been busy every morning for the last week helping a friend who was in a bad motorcycle accident. Cooking, cleaning, running errands. It's wearing me out! I come home and collapse every afternoon & things are suffering, like cleaning, laundry & cooking. I managed to get a couple things done though.

Here are the last of the canned, diced tomatoes

And a couple jars of bell & banana peppers, not canned, these went straight into the fridge.

I played with some scraps ('scuse the crappy picture & my dirty ironing board cover).

J found a couple boxes of treasures for me when he was cleaning the garage (hundreds of needles in there, one pack dating from the 20s). Most are the kind I use for my treadle machines :)
And I pulled out a treasured scrap & threw these little squares together this evening, inspired by a pic found here. I think this may become a fall table runner.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What the heck?

Not that I don't have enough to do today but I figured I would surprise J tonight with his fav ham & bean soup. One page of my recipe is missing (that's what I get for writing it on post-its) but I remembered the rest.

2 lg carrots (about 1 cup prepared), sliced 1/4" thick & then diced
2 medium potatoes, diced small like you're making a fine potato salad
2 stalks of celery, diced very fine
1 med. onion, diced fine (I use the mini-chopper for the celery & onion)
1 clove garlic, diced fine
1 tsp EVO
2 40oz cans of great northern beans
1 28-32oz container of chicken broth
1/2 to 1 lb diced, cooked ham
pepper to taste

I dice the celery & onion fine because I don't like chunks of either in my soup, you can cut however you like. Heat the EVO in a frying pan, add celery, onion & garlic, sautee lightly. I leave the carrots raw because I like to actually taste them in the soup, the original recipe had them sauteed with the other stuff which made it all taste like onion. Dump the beans in a big crockpot, add potatoes, carrots & sauteed mix, broth, ham, pepper. Set for 6-8 hrs and forget it. The potatoes are only there to turn to mush & thicken the soup, that's how you know when it's done. You might want to add a little salt but J doesn't add it to anything and I find the broth is pretty salty anyway. Great with some home baked bread but it's a meal all by itself on a cool day.

A whole lotta nothing

Getting done around here, that is. Dang, I have 9 million projects I need to work on and I can't find my gumption. I've spent the last 2 days reading 6 mos worth of archives at Judy's blog. She's so fun, I can't get enough of her chicken chatter & man can the woman cook & garden. I originally started reading it for the quilting info...umm, lately I roll past those posts because I'm ashamed I have too many UFO's & I'm afraid to start another.

It feels like fall here in PA, it was in the 50s this morning & I didn't even complain too much when the dog needed to go out 3x in an hour before the sun came up. I slept really good for a change (3 nights of insomnia this week, sheesh), it's so nice with the windows open. I'm missing having the canner going every other day though, everything's slowed down out there, we went from picking a full basket of goodies every other day to maybe one in the last week :( I had to pick a bunch of green tomatoes that were growing along the back fence, sprawled on the ground...they were extras I over purchased, by then we were out of cages AND garden space so they got delegated to the way-back. Some critter has been eating them, totally green, just starting to ripen, very few have actually ripened on the plants. They're turning a pretty pale pink on the windowsill though (Brandywines & a new to me heirloom variety called Old German that's very tasty). Last night J was begging for some banana bread, with chocolate chips like I made a few weeks ago on a whim from some overripe nanners. Well...since the car still isn't fixed (my fault) & I've been maga lazy all week, avoiding a walk to walmart...I pulled a package of "just add water" chocolate chip muffins out of the cabinet last night & spent all of 30 seconds mixing it up for him. Yummm, the house smelled so good & it got toasty warm in the kitchen with the oven on. It's almost that time of year when I can cook a nice potroast, or a pork roast with sauerkraut, or a big pot of chili full of hot peppers & home canned tomatos. Oh boy...I really have to kick this 20 lbs so I can eat yummy cool weather stuff. He's already requested a huge pot of my ham & bean soup to take bear hunting in November.

Speaking of that 20 lbs...ugh, seriously, what's wrong with me?! Last summer I lived in the cutest pair of jeans with a really tiny size tag...affectionately known as the "come hither jeans." Ha, I haven't fit in those for 6+ mos. OMG, too funny, there's a story on GMA right now about vanity sizing on jeans. Yeah mine probably aren't as tiny as they claim but most of my fav Gap & London bootcut jeans fit me right & are super comfy, I don't even try other brands anymore. Last summer I paraded around the pool & beach like I owned it, proud I had a hot little body that no one would think bore 4 children in 8 yrs. This year...dang, I was hardpressed to take off my towel if anyone was around, I don't even want to see myself in the mirror in my bathing suit. One of today's must-do tasks is mowing half the lawn, that's a little exercise, right? My bike is collecting dust in the garage again, after I spent 2 days doing maintenance on it last month. Seriously, I've got lazyitis happening big time.

Hmm, apparently I'm dying for some conversation too the way I ramble on...I found out last night one of J's brothers is expecting their first baby. Woohoo, I get to make another baby quilt! Actually I have a couple tops done & one is gender neutral in a design I love so I think that's the one for them. And we're going to a Christening tomorrow for another of his bro's baby's, I already made that little one a quilt so today I have to either make (I hope) or buy (which means a walk...) a gift. I have the right fabric, if the pattern goes up to the right size I should be able to knock that out by noon.

OK, enough already, it's not like anyone reads this drivel. One more cup of coffee & then to work I go :) Have a great weekend!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

End of Summer...and the beginning of...

I'm a little out of sorts over this whole "summer's over" what? I can feel a raging night of insomnia coming & I guess that's to be expected. I'm still aimless, no clue where I'm really going. I have a few projects I'd like to knock out but that's just creative busy work. Hmm...I can't seem to collect my thoughts at all, I'll try again later.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I feel like a squirrel...

Hoarding away nuts for the winter. I just organized/inventoried what I've canned so far this summer & the shelves are pretty full. Not counting the 3-4 dozen jars of plum freezer jam (lost count, lol) & 4 of peach jam, here's where we're at, just in case I lose my list:

Plum Jelly 3 pts, 1 half pt, 7/10 (didn't gel well...)
Jalapeno Jelly 5 half pts, 8/10
Salsa 4 half pts, 8/10 (didn't care much for this...overcooked a bit & too much cilantro)
Dill Pickles 4 pts spears, 1 pt slices, 7/10 (great, very crisp)
Cucumber Lime Pickle Slices 2 pts hot, 4 pts regular, 8/10 (excellent!!)
Whole Habaneros 1 pt, 9/10
Mixed Hot Pepper Slices 7 half pts 8/10, 10 half pts 9/10
False Alarm Jalapeno Slices 3 half pts, 8/10
Tomato Sauce 3 pts, 7 half pts, 8/10
Diced Tomatoes 7 half pts, 9/10

I've given away a ton of the freezer jam, we just don't have space for it in there with the 10 or so bags of sliced & dipped (in cornmeal) squash. We're still picking a lot of hot peppers & will for another 6-8 wks. The tomatoes have slowed down considerably with the heat, my heirlooms are about dead. We're eating the last of the okra with tonight's dinner.

Here's where we store them, on the underside of the basement steps, easy access to the kitchen but cool & dark. We have to leave the bottom shelf empty, cat likes to nap there. I use mostly small jars, it's usually just the 2 of us eating. I finally removed the jar rings...a little nervous about that but I'd rather have them explode than open a bad jar later.
Back to work, house needs cleaning for dinner company tonight.