Monday, August 29, 2011

End of August Ramblings, Recipes and Roadtrips

Ok, so I know I didn't post any pics with yesterday's blog of what I've been up to around the   house. So this one is to make up for that!

I've kept busy with work (surprised? No??) and have been working on a few projects as well as taking a few little short roadtrips around the area. So that's whatcha gonna get today....LOL...don't you love that slang?

First up.....I'm making progress on the Christmas present quilt wall hanging!!!! YEA!!!! It's not done yet, but getting closer!!!!
It's taken a few months to decide what I wanted to back it with and I finally settle on red that matches the thread in the embroidery. I used a fusible batting (you use an iron to mesh the front and back layers together) in between, pinned it together, and sewed with my machine around the squares.

The next step in the process has been to pin the edges to create a border.....I finally got that done Saturday morning!
The next step is going to be creating the tabs to go along the top for a rod  to go thru so it can be hung. Not sure when that will happen exactly, but once those are done, I can then proceed to the final stitching around the edges of the quilt. Oh, see that little funny thing in the lower right hand corner? That's where I put my initials and the years (yes, years!) it was done. This is a project that has taken me almost (but not quite!) two years to complete! It also lets me know which part is top and bottom! ☺

Cooking......hmmmm....let's see now....I've made a few new recipes! First up, Chocolate Cobbler!
This was actually super easy to make, but I must admit when I first was putting the ingredients together in the baking dish....I had my doubts about how it was going to turn out....let me show you what that looked like!
Yeah, I had my doubts about how that was gonna ever cook up into something edible! But it did! It reminded me of a warm pudding cake in the end and was tasty both warm and cold! Here's the recipe!

Chocolate Cobbler

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13 glass baking dish, melt two sticks of butter in the oven.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together:
1 1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c self rising flour
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c milk

3. Once the butter is melted, pour the batter over the butter. DO NOT STIR!

4. In a separate bowl, mix:
1 c sugar
6 Tbsp cocoa powder

5. Sprinkle on top of the batter. DO NOT STIR!

6. Pour 2 c boiling water
on top of that (agan, DON'T STIR!).

7. Bake for 30-45 minutes until you have a nice golden brown crust. Serve warm. Great with ice cream.

*My tips*: If you find you don't have any self rising flour, you can do what I did and use the following in place of the self-rising flour:
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp baking powder

I plan on making this one again, but the next time, I think I will use less butter as I felt it was a little greasy for my taste. But it was very good!!!
Yesterday morning, I was up early and  cooking by 5:30 am! My cooking is now done for a couple of days, but I did try a new recipe or two! First up, I relied on Betty Crocker (thanks, Betty!) and made double chocolate bars from a couple of her cookie mixes. Super easy and simple and tasty! Here's the finished product:
*BTW*, I bought the mixes on clearance at Walmart for just $.75 each....half price!

Next up: What was in my slow cooker yesterday! (Recipe will follow!)
Slow Cooker Ground Beef Barbecue

1. Place 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (I used a 1 lb pkg) in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until brown, breaking up meat as it cooks, about 15 minutes. Drain excess grease.

2. Place cooked meat,
1/2 large onion, chopped (I love onion, so I used a whole one!)
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp already minced garlic)
2 1/2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar ( I didn't have any cider vinegar, so substituted (after online research) 1 tsp of white vinegar)
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 3/4 c ketchup
into slow cooker and stir to combine.

3. Set the cooker on Low, and cook for 6 to 8 hours.

Can I just smelled heavenly out in my kitchen yesterday morning?  I think this one is also a winner. I can use it just like sloppy joes...or they even suggest you can use it as a hot dog topping! Yum!!

I love finding new recipes and a couple of sites that I recommend are and ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One of the things I really like about the site is that you can, if needed, adapt the recipes. For instance, the original recipe for the slow cooker recipe above served 20. That, for me, was too much! So instead, I put in for 10 servings and got the recipe you see above. There are numerous internet cooking/recipe sites out there and that just means more ways to be creative with cooking in the kitchen! My idea of a great time! ☺ And cookbooks….need I say more?!

Travel...I made a trip over to the Knox area earlier this week after having a place called Sharp Shopper recommended to me. It was a beautiful day out, I had the day off, and was in the mood for a drive! (I just remembered...this was the day of the East Coast earthquake that I didn't feel!)
This place was cooooooooooool!!!!! They don't have the same items in all the time, but what they do have, they have really good prices on! It's a big building, clean interior (clean bathrooms, too!), friendly staff.....and some really good bargains. You have to check the expiration dates on things, but they have everything from canned goods to paper goods, to candy, to frozen things, veggies, deli meats.....a nice selection. And easy to find!!!! Not far off of the Knox exit on Interstate 80 - it's gonna be a place I go back to again!

On my way back, I stopped off at Trader Horn in Clarion, which, in my opinion, is another interesting store. (Trader Horn is also where I picked up the embroidery project from earlier in the blog!)
What a beautiful day it was....gotta love that blue sky!
I loved the ivy growing on the silo across the road from Trader Horn. It reminded me a little bit (only a little bit!) of the kudzu that had grown around my home in Georgia! So, yeah, just had to take a picture of it!

While I was out and about, I had fun playing around with the camera taking pictures of me....LOL...I was hoping to come up with a new profile pic for Facebook. Here's some of what I got!

While at Trader Horn, I picked up a couple of $1 decorations for fall to hang out on my porch!
I already had the welcome hanging….I just added the “I Love
Fall” deco to add some fall color that is gonna come sooner than we know! I like how it looks!
The other little hanging is in honor of my niece and her hubby and all those who have/do serve us. Becky and her hubby Frank are both in the Army and Frank is now overseas while Becky is at Fort Hood in Texas, serving and raising their daughter, Liliahna.

Here's what they look like together:

Well, that’s about it for today. I need to finish some other tasks before I get some rest before my shift tonight. The internet was acting weird yesterday afternoon/evening, even though the router shows I have connection, Internet Explorer was a different story! I'm happy I'll be able to post and share these with you today!
Be blessed beyond measure, stay safe, and may the peace of God rule your heart and mind!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August, Sweet August...and...Turning 55....and....No Regrets!

I ♥love♥ the month of's the month I was born! Yeah, a little prejudiced about the eigth month of the year. Just a little! My birthday falls almost smack-dab in the middle of it and, this year, I turned 55. Half a century plus five. Wow, there are days I feel at least that old (and then some!) and others, in my mind, I'm still back in my 20's and 30's!

I celebrated by doing a little shopping and then being treated by my friend Pam to dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, China Wok. She was such a trooper as she tried my favorite Chinese dishes....Mongolian Beef and Hot and Sour Soup! Mongolian beef brings back many happy memories of time with friends in GA when we would go to the local Sun Garden restaurant. Good food and good friends and good conversation....all great things!♥

 Instead of cake, I opted to have cheesecake (and chocolate cheesecake, to boot!) for my birthday. I'd thought about rhubarb pie, but wasn't able to find any rhubarb, so.....cheesecake, it was!  Pam and I sat on my living room floor and talked and laughed and played with Cady. Simple things often have a way of making one smile and good times with a great friend is one of those life pleasures I truly treasure and enjoy! It was a great day....and I had a ton of Facebook birthday wishes that just made my day!♥

I've been thinking lately about "if-I-had-known-then-what-I-know-now", what would have I done differently? What I had no way of knowing then is that I would develop the interests and skills I have now. If I had, I would have taken business classes, gone to business school and then to culinary school, or at least taken cooking classes. But that's not how life went. But....ya know what? No regrets.

I believe God orchestrates our lives, has full control over everything but allows us to make decisions along the way that will shape who we become. I'd have loved to have married, been a wife and mom, raised at least half a dozen kids. Instead, I'm single (and OK with it!) an aunt to 14, a great aunt to 3, and have numerous "children" around the world that I've had the awesome privilege of playing an important role in their lives. That singleness allowed me to move to GA for ten years, allowed me to travel to other countries and witness God at work. No regrets.

Over the 55 years, I have found that I can be alone but not lonely. And yet while I am alone, I'm not truly alone as God is with me. I am in a season right now where I really don't know what God is up to and it's probably just as well I don't have a clue. I'm trusting that He has a reason and a purpose in where I am, what I'm doing and if I hold on tight to His hand, He will walk me through everything that comes my way. No regrets!

My friend Pam and I were sharing with each other yesterday over the phone, encouraging one another with the Word of God and it was a great time of fellowship.  I am especially encouraged, even today, by parts of Philippians 4:

 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

I cling to His Word, trusting He has brought me this far and He will continue to walk with me as I seek to follow after Him! I pray this encourages your heart today as much as it has mine! May you be blessed beyond and always!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Say, Hey, Good Lookin'....Whatcha Got Cookin'?

I'm in the midst of three days off and the weather outside is kind of gray and damp and I love it! The grass in the yard is brown in spots and the rain is much needed to perk them back to their normal state of green! Altho....I have noticed.....some of the *weeds* have not suffered at all from the lack of rain and I may need to get the weedeater out soon! Crazy, but true!

Today, I'm just going to share about what I came up with in my kitchen for dinner. It started off with my thinking about what needed to be used up from my freezer and what I could prepare from those items. Here's what I came up with!

There were some frozen loaves of bread as well as cinnamon rolls in the freezer, so I put them out to thaw and raise early this morning. Today hasn't been too hot, so I was able to bake them this afternoon....and so, just to make your mouth water.....

Here's the end product for the bread....
and the rolls!!!!

While I was at it, I also made ravioli today, starting with a meat sauce! It turned out great! I took a pound of ground beef and cooked it up.....
Gotta love my crockpot and food processor!!!!!
 I added to the beef mixture some finely processed celery, onion, and carrots (gotta get those veggies in there somehow!)...and added a nice zesty spaghetti sauce and slow cooked that for several hours.

As the bread and rolls were in the oven baking, I cooked up the ravioli and added it to the sauce mixture. Here's the final result (it's yummy!!!!!):

And for desert - I couldn't decide between chocolate mousse and fruit salad, so I made both. LOL, that is, after discovering that I had no white milk in the house! So I used chocolate milk instead! (I don't go through a lot of white milk, so I only buy a half gallon at a time....and even then, I have a hard time using it up....methinks I may need to find some recipes that call for milk more often!).

Here are the results for dessert!
Today, this was just a simple mix of mandarin oranges, pears, peaches and pineapple chunks in their own juices. Love fruit!

The chocolate mousse has got a crumbled chocolate cookie topping!

There ya go....what was goin' on in my kitchen today!

May you be blessed beyond measure....always!!!