Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cooped up and reading cookbooks ...

Very dangerous!  [Some days I feel almost trapped by this awful weather.  So many cancellations and delays.  What are we becoming?  A bunch of weather wimps?]

So I've been reading cookbooks.  And cooking some new things.  And eating way too much for someone who doesn't want to go walking in sub-zero weather.

I did go on a 3-day quilt retreat that I'd give mixed reviews.  I won't go there (literally; I won't go there ever again).  But it was educational.  And I got some sewing done.  Nuff said ...  

Also, Mom is back in the health care unit at River Terrace and that has made all us 'kids' feel a little out of sync.  We made a flying trip up there last weekend and she was doing just OK ...
There have been some good days.  For instance, last week I actually got out and went to the library to hook!  And there were five of us there; that was good considering the weather recently.  Laurie came all the way to Worthington from Indy!  I got the loom warped and now I've just started a new run of rugs.  Got started on a new hooked rug.  And yesterday I took a day away to go shopping.  Went to Jasper to Carson's and took advantage of the sales they're having; bought a couple of new items of clothing.  For me!  As several of my friends know, I'm a thrift store shopper so this was difficult for me.  But sometimes you gotta go hog wild and buy something NEW!  Even if it was 50%-70% off.  LOL!  It was fun.  Also went to four fabric stores and got a lot of fabric for a quilt that I'm in the middle of.  (Actually, I'm in the middle of two quilts right now but that's nothing new for any quilter!)  And found time to stop at the grocery to get "a few things" on the way home (sigh).  

Since I have been reading cookbooks, I want to share this simple recipe for cauliflower casserole that I tried recently from the "Welcome Back to Pleasant Hill" cookbook.  It's easy and I thought very good.  I would think you could use any kind of cracker ...

2 c. cut cauliflower (about 1/2 a large head)
1/4 lb. Velveeta cheese
4T. butter
12 Ritz crackers, crumbled

Cook and drain the cauliflower till almost done.  Drain well.  Melt cheese with half of the butter.  Mix with the cauliflower.  Place in greased baking dish.  Melt remaining butter and mix with the crumbled crackers.  Sprinkle crumbs on top of casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

You know, I was thinking about getting rid of the two Shaker cookbooks I have and even asked Margo if she wanted them (she already had them).  But now I think I'll keep them.

Here's the quilt I just got started on at the retreat.  This is all I got done on this one but it is a good beginning.  My friend Jane shared her pattern for a quilt called Chocolate Decadence that she did, but along the way I kept the fabrics I chose but changed the 'pattern'.  I think it will look good...
My version of Chocolate Decadence ... (in progress)
Here's what our entry deck looked like about a week ago.  Yes, that's a giant icicle hanging down from the deck.  We don't remember that ever happening before.

Keep warm and take care of each other!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Welcome to my life today.  It looks beautiful but it's wicked cold.  Here's what I saw when I went out to feed the birds this a.m.  The shadows even look cold!
What a way to begin a new year!  So cold here ... yesterday it didn't get above zero!  Yikes!  This a.m. it was -9 when I got up to make the coffee and it's getting colder as the day progresses.  But we are safe and warm here and still have plenty of bread, milk, chocolate and TP.  So it may be a couple days till we go forth, but then it will probably only be because we're tired of being "stuck" at home.  I hope everyone who reads this is also safe and warm and has electricity!  That has been a potential problem we should prepare for here ...

Thought I'd begin the year by showing you what I've been doing to pass the time cooped up here on top of this hill in Greene County ...

Well, one of the things we enjoy doing to pass the time is work on jigsaw puzzles.  Here's one we finished recently. It was quite challenging.  The one we're working on now looks like Santa's big bag of toys for all the good little girls and boys.

And of course ya gotta eat!  Wendell is the best biscuit maker. The other night he made some to go with a stew I fixed for dinner and I thought these looked as pretty as a picture.  I've been doing lots of comfort food meals these past few days.

I like to pretty much always be occupied with some needlework.  Here's a pillow I just finished.  It's a Maggie Bonanomi design, from one of her books, and done in mostly hand-dyed wools.  Very simple and quick to make. 

We feed the birds and I think it's really important to keep it up, even if it's soooooo cold you don't want to go outside to do it.  But yesterday the gold finches acted like they were starved!  It was about -14 so maybe they were.  Anyway, I know this isn't a very clear picture but I was amazed at how many were hanging on to the old feedbag!  At one time we counted 10!  Today the feeding frenzy has slowed down somewhat.

TA DA!!!  I finally did it; I finished this white-on-white yo-yo quilt top I've been working on for (literally) years.  I remember taking some to Green Valley the first year we went there -- that's how long I've been working on it.  2,444 yo-yos if I did my math correctly.  What can I say -- "thank heaven's it's done!".

We bought a wonderful assortment of fruit from Holden Abrell, representing the FFA at OVHS.  It contained three bags of apples, a bag of oranges, peanuts, some fudge, and a lovely pineapple.  So yesterday I thought, "how can I heat up the house a little and accomplish something, too?"  So I made an apple pie with some of the Granny Smiths from that assortment.  Now my usual MO is to buy the crust (because I am not a good pie crust maker).  But I didn't have any on hand.  Wendell got me this wonderful collection of cookbooks/DVDs from the TV show America's Test Kitchen for Christmas.  And he thought I should/could do it from scratch.  Bottom line, it SEEMED like it would turn out badly but it turned out delicious.  So glad we did this.  Together.  But I must say, it's lookin good in this picture!

This makes me want to cry.  This is the way I often get the main course done all year round -- Wendell cooks it on the grill.  Don't think that's happening any time soon on this grill!  Oh well ...

P.S. -- Wanted to post this pix of the way Wendell wrapped my Christmas gift this year; he says he saw this idea in Country Living?!  He made the handle.  What a guy!  I didn't even know he LOOKED at "my" magazines.  It must be love ...