Sunday, June 28, 2015

I Cooked!!!

  Those close to me know that I don't love to cook.  Eat, yes.  Cook, no.  I don't mind baking, although I'm having to work on my skills since moving to a high altitude location. I have quite an extensive collection of cookbooks and I tell people they are for staging so people won't think to badly of me. Actually, my cookbooks are more like fictional novels to me.   I think if I was living alone I'd subsist on egg sandwiches, peanut butter and granola bars.

I get too busy doing other things like cleaning and quilting and playing with the dogs.  All of a sudden the family wonders where dinner is.  What's up with that?  Our son (and his two pugs) is staying with us while his house is being built so I have to please two men and actually.......cook!  Oh, the horrors!!!

One of my favorite fictional reality shows is The Pioneer Woman on Food Network.  Who doesn't love Ree Drummond?  One of the things on my bucket list is to either meet her or win something from her.  She makes everything seem so effortless and fun!  Yesterday I watched her show and decided I had most everything to make this fabulous casserole.  I quickly ran down to the store and got the other things I needed and - voila - dinner!  Easy peasy!!!  She advised that you can make this and serve it right away, put it in the fridge and bake for the next day or freeze it for later.

Cheesy Sausage Rigatone
by The Pioneer Woman

Our son really loved it and I got a hug and a "well done, Mom!"  He even took some to work for his lunch.  I hope he doesn't think I'm going to start doing this "cooking thing" everyday!  Seriously, it would be a good idea to at least try one new recipe a week.  The recipe was easy and delicious.  It would be great for a pot luck or after church Sunday supper.  Here's the recipe.  If you don't care for Italian Sausage (I used the mild) you could use ground beef.  If you are a vegetarian, you could skip the meat all together.  Serve it with garlic bread and a salad and call it a day!

In a few days I'll share my famous peanut butter cookie recipe.  Easy peasy and addictive!

Have a fabulous week ahead!!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day

People across the United States celebrate Flag Day on June 14 each year to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the flag’s adoption. On the same day, the United States Army celebrates its birthday.

To learn more about Flag Day in the United States visit this web site for the National Flag Day Foundation here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A New Technique in the Quilt World

I spent part of the afternoon yesterday spray starching fabric for a couple projects I'm working on.   I don't know about other quilters, but I like to try new techniques that will make my cutting and sewing more accurate.  I first read about this here on Nicole's blog of Sister's Choice fame.  She's an awesome quilter and I always learn so much from her.  Go on over and read about it.  She heard about it from everyones favorite Moda quilter, Carrie Nelson on her post here. Go ahead on over and read what she has to say as well.  There's not much more for me to add to what they wrote except to say it really works.  I had tried it on one fat quarter the day before.  After the fabric dried and was ironed I cut it out.  Wow!  The pieces were nice and crisp and cut like a dream.


I laid the fat quarters across our patio chairs and clipped them together with those awesome little wonder clips so they wouldn't fly away in the wind.


Then I sprayed the berjabbers out of them.  Yes, that's a word!


I'm trying to use up some of my pre-cuts and I'm working on a jelly roll race quilt.  I had purchased this drying rack at a garage sale ($2 - score!) so I draped and clipped the strip sets I had on it and sprayed away.


Nice and neat and organized.  It was sunny and breezy and took no time for them to dry.


Notice the long grass in the background?  We have a 1/3 acre lot and most of the back is lawn.  We have had a tremendous amount of rain this year and has rained most every day in May.  I fertilized the lawn which made it grow and grow but it rains so you can't mow.  We're just about caught up cutting it though and, hopefully, with a few dry days we can get it all mowed and looking nice again.  I did threaten to borrow my friend's llamas so they could graze it down for me but I don't think our HOA would appreciate it.....


I have two pieces of advise.  First, buy cheap inexpensive spray starch at the dollar store.  You're going to use a lot!  I know, we all love Best Press and it's my go to spray sizing.  However, this is not the time to use it.  Secondly, purchase one of these gizmos that fit on the top of spray paint cans.  They really help your hand and fingers from getting so fatigued.

Some gals at one of my quilting groups were talking about this technique the other day and, on the most part, they thought it was a waste of time.  Of course, they hadn't tried it!  To me, quilting is a growth process.  You need to challenge yourself to try new things.  Anything that makes us a better quilter can't be all bad.  Right?

Let me know how you do.  What have you learned lately that has knocked your socks off?


Friday, May 8, 2015

Flowers

No, I didn't grow these flowers.  I bought them yesterday at Trader Joe's.  $10 for a vase full of beauty. They make me happy just looking at them.


I am so glad Trader Joe's came to our little corner of the world!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Would You Like To Be My Neighbor?

We have a new furry member of the family here in our little court.  So I thought I would introduce you to her as well as a little lady who has been here a while.

This is sweet little Ginger.  She lives across the street and has been here about two years or so.  She's a rescue dog (good going mommy and daddy) and is totally spoiled.  She thinks that the court is hers and can't understand why there are other dogs in the neighborhood.  We have such a great court and most nice evenings after work everyone stands outside and chats.  I always know when they are out because Maggie and Mollie start barking because Ginger is out.  Ginger is always styling with her clothes.  She's a love!!!



Meet Duffy, the newest member of the neighborhood.  She lives next door and has been here about a week.  She is a year old auburn colored King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.  The neighbors were going to get a puppy and had one all picked out.  However, it didn't thrive and it passed away which was sad.  They were going to wait for another little when they got the call that Duffy was available.  Housebroken, crate trained, what could be better.  She's a petit little sweety.


The only problem we have now is that our two Scotties and the pugs go crazy when she is out in her yard.  It's just like having children.  The neighbors have the well mannered children while we have the obnoxious and noisy ones.  I'm hoping to introduce them to Duffy at some point so they'll stop barking (screaming is the better term) but since she is new and still a little shy I'll wait.  In the meantime, the neighbors have assured me each time I apologize for my noisy hounds that it's alright.

I tell you, we have a great neighborhood!!!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring

I thought I should check in on this lovely spring day!  It's hard to believe that April is almost over and May is just around the corner.  Gardening is certainly different here than back home in California.  Our last frost date is officially May 15th!  It's been a tad milder this year without as much spring snow so this is the first time I've actually had my tulips bloom without getting frozen the minute they show color.  It's a mild 70 degrees here now.  I just heard that it's 92 back home in the central valley of California.  I don't miss the heat at all.  At least here when it does get too warm we can go into our cool basement and chill.  No need to run the air conditioner.

We did have a snow storm last week that was half snow/half rain.  What it does is make the snow terribly heavy.  What I should have done is gone outside that evening when I noticed it and knocked the snow off the branches of the trees.  As it was, my flowering pear took a hit and we lost quite a few large branches.  Lesson learned.  Next time I'll be the crazy lady in my bathrobe and a flash light in the middle of the night beating the trees with a broom.

I don't see as many people here gardening like I did back home.  I have a friend that does, however, and I want to go see her yard for inspiration.  This isn't probably the year to do much, though, what with the drought and all.  I know California is on water rationing but we have been ever since we moved here three years ago.  Most of the time we can water from April to September three days a week and 15 minutes per sprinkler station.  We were pushed back to twice a week for a while last year.  When I first got here I had a gardener that had me water a lot more.  Other than worried that I would be fined by the city, I stopped when I got the first water bill.  Ouch!!  We are fortunate in that it rains in the spring, summer and fall which really helps.

I keep myself happy with a few house plants in the interim.  This is one of my favorites, Purple Shamrock.  It's a tuber that can be grown outdoors in mild climates.  I have mine inside and it really puts on a show in the spring.  After that it dies back and hibernates until the next year.


Isn't it gorgeous?  I have it by the kitchen window and have to rotate it daily as it starts to "go towards the light!"


I repotted it this year in this adorable bee flower pot.  You do know I love bees, don't you?  I'm trying to find another one for one of my bee friends but no luck so far.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sleepy Time Gal



This is my grandpug, Allie, taking her afternoon nap.  I'll try to get a good photo of Bonnie, although black dogs are more difficult to photograph.  Our son will be taking them to his new house when it is finished being built. I have already volunteered to babysit them while he's at work.  I can't imagine them not being here!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pie Oh My!

I love to bake.  Cook, not so much.  Since moving to Colorado baking has been a challenge.  It's the high altitude thing.  You have to make adjustments to recipes:  add more flour, decrease the baking soda, adjust the temperature, etc., etc., etc..  Problem is, there isn't one fix for all recipes, so there is a lot of experimenting.  This involves baking for cakes, mostly, but can also be for cookies.

My son has been asking for a coconut cream pie so I finally got around to making one last night.   I must admit that I used a frozen Marie Calendar's pie crust to expedite the process.  Her crusts are really, really good so I recommend them highly.  The recipe for the pie came from Allrecipes.com and you can find the recipe I used HERE.


Oh, my goodness!!!  You have to try this recipe.  It's wonderful not to mention easy.  The filling calls for three cups of half and half so, to quote Ina Garten, "how bad could that be?"  Our son doesn't care for meringue so I used whipped cream for the top as the recipe calls for.

He and my husband thought it was the best pie they had ever eaten.  Aaron said I could sell them!  I'm certainly not bragging, but since my baking skills have been sorely lacking here, it was good for my ego.

Do you see the cute Scottie salt and pepper shakers?  The recipe calls for salt but not pepper obviously. I just wanted to show them off.  My BFF in the whole wide world, Nikki, sent them to me.

This evening I have plans that include a cup of tea, a slice of pie and a good movie.  What plans do you have?

Have a lovely day!!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Presidents Day

We are having a peaceful Monday here in Colorado.  It's been snowing since last evening and is just beautiful outside.  Nothing like our friends back east are getting, however.



It's a great day to stay inside, clean house, bake a pie, do some sewing and continue my MI-5 television marathon.

I started watching MI-5 on Netflix but then they took it off of their scheduling on February 1st.  Luckily I can borrow the dvds from our local library.  Ten seasons with ten episodes each.  I only have 34 more  episodes to watch!  It's very addicting.  I love British television.  Lately, hubs and I have been watching Grantchester on Masterpiece theater.  Love it!!!  For some reason I have not watched Downton Abbey. What's up with that?

Yesterday our son and I took the metro into downtown Denver, met up with some friends of his, and went to a home and garden show.  I love riding the metro.  $4 round trip and no parking fees!!!  The show was HUGE and gave us all kinds of home improvement ideas.  By the time we were done my feet were killing me.  We ended up not even seeing all the show.  We figured after a while we didn't need to see it all as their was quite a repetition in categories.  When I got home, you guessed it, I relaxed by watching MI-5.

Have a wonderful Presidents Day.  If you are back east, stay safe!!!