Monday, May 23, 2011

How Was Your Weekend?

Mine was pretty nice, thank you.

Here is a brief rundown of simple life in the country.

I was daydreaming at work last Friday and wondered what else I could make that I use a lot of. Well, here it is...da da da dahhhhh! Sour cream. How easy was that to make?

Get a very clean glass jar with a lid. Put one cup of heavy cream in it. Get a culture...use a 1/4 cup of a good sour cream you get in the grocery store. Make sure you get one that contains only cultured milk (hint: mine is named after a flower. Most others contain fillers.). Mix the two together, put on the lid and leave on the kitchen counter for at least 24 hours. It doesn't ferment, so there is no burping the container.

The taste was incredibly fresh and different than store-bought stuff. OK...I HAD to try it. I mixed a little with a teaspoon of sugar and topped my apple pie for breakfast. Yummy!!!

What is better than hanging sheets on the clothesline? Answer: being able to hang the sheets! I've not been able to do much for the past few months. It sure is great to be able to do stuff again! Even something as simple as hanging sheets on the line. This is the first of many hangings this year.

The Lantana is in bloom. I love this flower. It grows great in the heat and is pretty drought tolerant. We haven't had rain to speak of for a while and this looks great. The leaves have a stinky odor if you rub against it. The butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and hummingbird moths love it. It's really cool to see a whole family of hummingbird moths in this shrub all at once.

I've got a tomater! It's not a good picture, but it's dead center. Hubby and I have our own gardens. He gardens at yard level. I garden in boxes. For me, it's easier to pull weeds while sitting on the edge of the box. A lot of weeds are kept out by doing it this way, too.

Aren't these strawberry plants beauties? Well, they are Ozark Beauty strawberries. They are everbearers, but they are seasonal where we live. They are a cinch to grow. Look at all the new runners I'll be able to plant soon!

Our fire pit. Trixie's ready for evening fires. I spent all morning on Saturday pulling weeds from between the blocks. I also pulled the weeds from the sidewalk. This was my first major foray into yard work for a while. This is the second year for this area of our yard. Hubby leveled the land and prepared it for the block. I set the block. Believe it or not, I love laying block. I have to redo our pavilion patio because we relocated this block from there. was YOUR weekend?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Saurkraut salad.  



Once upon a time, very long ago, I dated a really great man. His Mom invited me over for dinner on Sundays or Saturdays, depending upon when we had a date. He always apologized for his Mom's cooking not being up to par.Well, let me tell you...she was a fantastic cook! I learned so much from her. Including this scary sounding salad.

Now, saurkraut salad...doesn't sound that great, does it? If you like saurkraut, even a little bit, you'll love this salad. It doesn't taste like saurkraut. It does have crunch and flavor.

Here's how you make this simple recipe.

Saurkraut Salad
Saurkraut, canned, in a jar or in a plastic bag
Crunchy veggies like celery, carrots, onions, radishes, cukes, green peppers, etc.
Equal parts white wine vinegar, cooking oil (not olive), sugar

Place equal parts white wine vinegar, cooking oil and sugar in a saucepan over low heat just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat to cool.

Place saurkraut in a colandar, rinse and drain well.

Peel and chop or grate your veggies.

Place saurkraut, veggies and cooled vinegar mix into a bowl. Stir well.

Salt and pepper to taste, if you like. It gives more color and flavor.

You may eat this at room temperature, but I like it best when it has been refrigerated until cold.

Crunchy, sweet and yummy!

Now, Mr. K, you were blessed with a great cooking Mom all of your years. You didn't even know it!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Have you ever looked at yogurt and thought 'I can make this!'? I did that. The lovely internet has a bunch of recipes to make your own yogurt. I use it instead of sour cream for just about everything...biscuits, muffins, pancakes, cakes, etc. You get the same fluffy texture and flavor as with sour cream.

Here is my recipe. You have to follow the instructions or it won't work. The instructions are very simple.

You'll need:

Stainless steel saucepan to cook on the stove. 2 quart is best unless you make a half batch.

ORGANIC yogurt leftover from what you bought in the store. About 1/4 cup or 2 tbsp for a half batch.
NOTE: DON'T use anything other than organic! It will not work! There are too many gums added to regular yogurt to thicken the milk and to give a creamy mouth-feel to it.

Milk. 2% or Whole. Whole makes a thicker yogurt.

Cooking thermometer.

Stainless steel whisk.

Clean plastic containers with lids.

Warm place to put it.

How to do it!
Put 4 cups of milk in the 2 quart saucepan. For this batch, I used 2%.

Heat the milk to 190 degrees F. Use the thermometer to check the temp from time to time. Don't let it go over 190 degrees and don't quit before it reaches 190 degrees. Don't worry if the milk sticks to the bottom of the pan. Sometimes it will get a little brown.

Take the milk off of the stove and let it cool to 110 degrees F. Use the thermometer to check. Don't let the milk go under 110 degrees.

Add yogurt. Whisk with whisk until you see no lumps.

Put milk into plastic containers and put on the lids.

Put containers in a warm place until they coagulate. You can be creative in how you process the yogurt.
You can wrap them in a towel and place them on a low heating pad.
You can preheat an oven to a temp of about 100 degrees F. Turn off the oven and wrap containers in a towel and put on the rack. Leave the door closed.
Wrap them in towels and put in the sun. Do not expose the milk to the sunlight.
*My favorite...I put them in my microwave with the night light on underneath. This stays just warm enough. If I put it in there at night, by morning I have yogurt. DO NOT MICROWAVE YOGURT. Take out the yogurt if you need to use the microwave. You can always put it back in.

**TIP: Put the yogurt in small containers or you'll have to wait forever for the center to set up.

Here's the lovely stuff! My homemade yogurt in a 1 cup container. I can't call it organic because I have store milk in it. I don't know what hormones are added to the milk. If you use organic milk, you'll be better off. However, 1/2 gallon of organic milk in my area is $5 for a 1/2 gallon! At this time, I can't afford that.

The taste is totally different from store bought! Yum!

Monday, May 9, 2011


The last post showed the new washcloths I made for the shower. I used one last night and they are a scrubby with a nice lather. It worked! Hooray!

In my last post I complained about the terrycloth ones I buy in the store. Well, instead of just complaining, I started doing something about them.

As you see, the one on the right is what I started with. Yuk! The one on the left is the finished product. I crocheted around the edge after I trimmed and blanket stitched around the edge. I hope this lasts a while and doesn't fray any more. If I remember, I'll keep you updated on this one. I'd hate to put so much time into these for them not to last. I have two more to go.


The babies are huge! Look at all of the feathers they have! This will be my third week of them being with me. They've eaten 15 lbs of crumbles in two weeks time. I just bought a 50 lb bag of crumbles. Let's see how long this lasts with these little eating machines!

The three on the right and the one in the middle forefront have learned to take a dust bath. That's what they're doing now. It's so funny to watch. There's no dust, just grass. I have to move this pen tonight so they don't wear out the grass. This is just a playpen for them. They are outside in this for about an hour, right now. I have to watch them because we have hawks.

I hope all of you have a great day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Projects Completed

I've been busy crocheting, as usual. This is a hobby that can be done all year long because it is so portable. I've been doing this for about 40 years...I started when I was about 8 years old.

Anyhow, here are a few washcloths that I've been working on in the past few days.

I am sick and tired of buying terrycloth ones and they fall apart in a few washings. Even my good ones aren't that good. These are made from a popular brand of acrylic baby sport yarn. These are popcorn stitch every other row. I've made some for washing dishes and they soap up really well. They stay soapy and scrub very well. I figure that if these are half as good as the ones I made for the dishes, then I'll be on the gravy train! I'll probably feel like I've gone to a spa, with all of the bubbles!

Here is another project I made for me.

I've made a couple of prayer shawls for people I know who've gone through rough times. This is just a plain ol' shawl I made for running around the house. It's something quick that I can throw over my shoulders and run outside quickly. I used a size 10 knitting needle with knitting worsted yarn. I should have gone down a size or two needle for looks. I haven't washed it yet. The stitching may tighten up a bit with a washing. Knitting is not my passion like crochet is, but I learned to do this at a very early age, too. This is plain stockinette stitch so it doesn't curl up on the long sides. I crocheted around the edges for a little more rustic look and to stiffen up the edges.

After 40 years of needleworking, I'm still addicted to it.

Happy hobbying!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I'm Making Hats

Here are some of them. They are made from scraps from projects I've completed.

Several weeks ago I read an article in the Sunday newspaper about a priest in Michigan who goes about town giving homeless people scarves, mittens and hot coffee. He is kind of like a watchman for these people. He keeps tabs on them to make sure they're doing OK.

I thought how selfless he was. He was helping people who really needed help. For many years I thought of doing this for the homeless, but on a grander scale. It was overwhelming to imagine all of the work my project would take. All of the space I'd need to accomplish this huge task. I actually feel I'm called to do something for less fortunate people. 

Then I saw this article. Same deal...smaller scale. Hmmm. I can do something small and help the most people. I reread the article and there was no mention of hats in there. So I made the green, beige and white one above. It was easy! It only took maybe 2 hours of time and some scraps I had laying around. Easy!!! Then I made another to be sure it worked. That's where the purple one came in. Then another purple. Then the purple and white. I'm just going and going between projects.

'Where do you find the time to crochet?', most of my friends ask. When I watch TV after chores and work. Saturdays and Sundays when I take my breaks between cleaning and cooking.

My goal is a hundred hats for the homeless. Local homeless. I know there is a need. I see homeless people in my town, every time I go to town. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Brrrrrrrr!

Just wish me luck with this project. There is a need.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another Yummy!

I got a little bug in me to bake some bread for Easter. Actually, I try to make this for every Easter because it's Easter bread!
 I love this stuff! Because Lent is a time of abstinence from meats and dairy, this is loaded with dairy! Lotsa eggs. Lotsa butter. Lotsa sugar. Lotsa yumminess!

It is Greek-style Easter bread. This bread is flavored with anise. Yes. There are different styles of Easter bread depending upon different cultures and how Easter is celebrated with each.

No. I am not Greek. I am Hungarian-Croatian-German-American Indian. What a mix! Anyhow, the Croatian side, my Mother, always baked the nut roll (shown below) for Easter and holidays. She and my Aunt always made this, poppyseed roll and apricot roll. Apricot is my favorite. Then, nut. NOT poppyseed. I don't like it that much. Mom and Auntie LOVED the poppyseed.

We used to have great after Easter service lunches at my Aunt's house. She'd bring out the good china...the good tablecloth...all her pretty things for the table. It was a HUGE table! Then, we'd have a tureen of little noodle soup, that's what we called it. It is actually a beef broth flavored with veggies. The broth was strained off and served with very fine egg noodles. Then the veggies and a huge beef roast, from the soup, were served in another bowl.

THEN...drumroll, please...the nut rolls!

It was tradition. I loved that tradition!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yum! Shortcake!

We've been picking strawberries from our garden for about a month, now.

Here's how we get rid of them...Yummy!

I hull the strawberries, slice them and add sugar to them. I use about 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. I cover and let them sit for a while in the fridge. This give the sugar time to melt and some of the strawberry juices to come out.

I make a 'Lazy Daisy Sponge Cake' recipe from an old Pillsbury Family Cookbook from 1963.

Lazy Daisy Sponge Cake

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk, scalded
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease a 9-inch layer pan. I used an 8" x 8" square glass dish so I can split the cake, if I want.
After milk is scalded, remove from heat and add the butter to it until the butter melts.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl.
Put eggs, sugar and vanilla in another bowl and beat until lemon colored.
At low speed, add dry ingredients.
Then mix in the milk and butter mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F until a silver knife comes out clean. This will be about 30 minutes. Cool a bit and make your strawberry shortcake!

It takes me about 15 minutes to put together the cake and 20-30 minutes to bake it. The taste and texture is so much better than the rubbery little dessert cups you get at the store.

We ate 2 of these cakes one right after the other. I cut them into 9-pieces each. We had 18 shortcakes!

This is one of my favorite desserts ever! I also use blackberries on this cake and peaches, too! Use your imagination and enjoy this simple cake. You won't be sorry! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spaghetti Pie! Yum!

Here's one of my favorite things to do with leftover spaghetti. Yes! A spaghetti pie! Yes, we couldn't wait.

This is one easy thing to make. I don't remember where I got the recipe. I think it was word-of-mouth from an Italian friend.

Put in enough spaghetti in a bowl to fill an 8" or 9" pie plate. I fill the pie plate beforehand to make sure I have enough. Then I put it into a bowl. Then, lightly spray or grease the pie plate.

Scramble one egg and add to bowl. Stir egg into spaghetti really well. You can salt and pepper if you like. I usually don't because the toppings are flavorful enough.

Put eggy spaghetti into the pie plate.

Top with leftover, meats and veggies, then cheese. You may use the sauce, if you like. I left off the sauce on this one. I used a liberal amount of pepperoni in this one. It turned out really good. 

Put into the oven at 350 degrees F until a knife comes out of the center clean. I use a glass dish because I can look underneath to see that all is cooked.

Serve with more sauce and cheese.

Easy! Let me know if you like this recipe.

Breakfast fit for a King and Queen

Have you ever wondered what the royalty eats for breakfast? Well, the King and Queen of our household have this.

On the left, fruit bowl. On the silver (plated) platter, bacon, sausage, toasted Easter bread and homemade crumpets. On the right, homemade strawberry jelly and butter.

Of course, the Princesses have their treats, too! (In the blue bowl.)

Best wishes for a very happy life together, Prince William and Princess Catherine!!!


Last week we went to our favorite feed store. There were these cuties there...on sale.

They are the Cornish breed. Aren't they sweet?

As you can see, their wings are half feathered out. However, they were all a bunch of fuzz when we got them. So, in 4 days time, we have chicks with wing feathers. In exactly one week, as of yesterday, their wings are fully feathered, they have larger tail feather tufts, and their bodies are feathering out a little. Their feet are huge for their size!

If this is any sign, they are going to be whopping-sized chickens!

They've already gone through two sets of increasingly large boxes. And, this past weekend, my hubby and I built them a large wooden cage which should hold them until they get ready for introduction to the flock. They are enjoying exploring their new home.