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Showing posts from October, 2013

Morning Coffee Chat - Glad Farewell to October

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Hello dears, do come in.  There's a lovely spicy applesauce cake to go with our coffee this morning.  I made a half recipe and forgot to halve the spices.  Oh it was a good mistake though, don't you think?  It made such a nice spice cake out of what is normally a very subtly flavored cake.  It was a happy mistake, too, because I really wanted a spice cake but thought John might prefer the applesauce cake best.  As it happens, every time he eats a piece he "mmmmms" his way through it.  That's the nicest sort of compliment to a cook!

For all that I normally look forward to October, it's been a very tough month this year.  I must say I shall be glad to see November come in!  Some months just tend to be more full of difficult things than others and this year I guess it was October's turn.  Just three more days and we'll be done with and yes, truly this year I shall be happy to see it go.  

Weekly Meal Plan

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Good cold weather arrived this past week.  It was lovely!  Snuggling under covers, standing next to the heater and heating up one side and then the other, sitting in the morning sun and still feeling chilled.  It is the answer to a hot flashing woman's prayers!  I'm sorry to say that this week we'll likely end up turning on the AC at least a few afternoons as the temperatures creep back up but nights are going to remain cool-not frosty, but cool.  We take what we can get in this part of the South.

The week ahead is no busier nor less full than last week.  Plenty to do around here as always.  I hope to make a really productive week of it, too.  It's want to do as I did last week and spend a morning prepping foods for the week ahead.  It was a pleasure to know that dinner was ready to pop into the oven or crock pot and the majority of the clearing up was done as well.  I deviated from my menu only twice last week: I found I lacked three key ingredients for that new to m…

The Blessing Of Blessing

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It's been a long day today, not without sorrow but  filled with blessings, as well.  Even such days as this bring with them blessings if we'll only look at the day rightly and acknowledge the good that balances the bad in this world, the joy that balances fear, the light that balances the dark.  That is one of the rules of this world God created.  There is always ORDER and that means there is always BALANCE.

Why my day was difficult is not mine to tell about, but some few of you who are dear friends do know, so allow me to say very sincerely, Thank you.  You blessed me mightily with your readiness to go into prayer when I sent you the message and you blessed me with your thoughtful messages and checking in and later in heartfelt consolations. I feel a deep sense of peace and I felt it in the prayer recipient's messages today, as well.  We are not certain of the outcome, but we know how it appears at present and we are okay with whatever it turns out to be.

This whole busi…

A Year of Savings: 2013

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Oct. 19:  Synagogue for us this day.  We took a slight shortcut on our way to and shaved off about 8 minutes of time.  It won't save us bundles of money but all those 'little' sums add up to sizable portions.
On our way home, John wanted to stop at a music center to pick up some necessary items. He paid for these out of his pocket.  I'd told him our funds were 'done' for this pay period.  That's how we work things.  Necessities we'll purchase from our household accounts but only if we're out of allowance.
Came home to make dinner: savings $10.  I'm excluding the cost of the frozen pizza I purchased.  I 'dressed up' the pizza with leftover hamburger meat, some cooked onion and mushrooms.  
Got a call from the flea market in late afternoon.  I had a higher priced album in my booth and an offer was made for about half the price. I made a counter offer which was accepted and sold that item and one other.  It was welcome news after my disappo…

Years of Listening

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Years of Listening

I like to see men leaning on  a fence,
Exchanging news of friends, some town affair;
Discussing rain and crops, or sale of mare,
The needed tractor, wages, and expense.
Their lips are firm and speak with common sense.
Hat-brims shoved down against the hot sun's glare,
They stand with easy grace, tough-thewed and spare,
And argue out the trend of world events.
They chew on thoughts and meditative straws,
While dusty pickups wait, hub-deep in clover.
The world is in good good hands when men still pause
To rest beside a fence and talk things over.
What wisdom must be stored in those old rails,
With years of listening in their weathered nails!

by Margaret Grahame Collins

Morning Coffee Chat -

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Good Morning dears.  There's coffee, cookies and Angela has Banana Cake for us, too. 

Yes, I finally got busy in the baking area this past week. I made cookies for us and put several batches of dough in the freezer.  These should be powerful cookies because I stirred a lot of prayers into the dough as I made them on Monday.  It wasn't a good day.  Again we had frightening news.  It's so hard, so hard, at times to hold on to faith and not let fear ride roughshod over you.   I hung on only because we were waiting on a miracle and there were to be more test results on Thursday...With every ingredient I put in the bowl I spoke out my heart to God.  I mixed up four different cookie doughs that day.

If I'm a bit disturbed I usually work it out in one of two ways: I clean or I cook.  This week I cooked.  Sunday I made up a couple of makeover leftover dishes (gee, I hope I remember to take photos of them when I thaw them to cook!) and an extra entree for later this week.  Mo…

A Year of Savings: 2013

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I'm going to change things up just a wee bit.  I've typically been sending these out every 7 days with a variation of 9-10 days at the end of each month.  I'm going to begin sending these out every Friday, more like my old Frugal Friday posts starting this week.   This is in the interest of bringing back Frugal Friday posts at year's end.
Oct 8:  Our trip to Kingsland ended up just being an overnight thing due to cancellation of the appointment my daughter in law had for today.  Fortunately I packed water enough to last several days since their water is sulfurous, so I had water for the long ride home.  We also had snacks with us.  Our sole stop on the way home was  for a treat of a milkshake about 2 1/2 hours into the drive and a stop for a bag of boiled peanuts at a local peanut producer's farmstand.  Under $6 for both items.

Weekly Meal Plan - Slow Cooking Days

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It's cooler once more after a few days of humid too warm weather.  Here's hoping the cooler weather lasts because my cooking this coming week is meant to slow the cooking pace and take a bit of time to simmer, bake.  I like these cool days of cooking, I do truly.  We've planned to finally get the yard work tended to, last of the season for sure, as grass has not grown at all in the last two weeks.

My little garden is looking lovely.  The washtub of lettuce needs to be picked over, the spinach leaves are vibrant greed, the beets are tall and lovely with their red stems, the peas clambering, the cilantro is growing too.  Cilantro does not like the heated days.  It prefers the cool nights and shifting sun of autumn.

We've planned a day out one day this week. Not sure yet which day that will be, but I've got a picnic plan in mind, a couple of new recipes to try, projects galore to attend to, a new section of genealogy research that is puzzling, a good book started...I…

The Modern Home Economist: Cooking Lessons: Steak

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This past week after our visit to the meat market I cooked a steak.  Until I met John I'd never heard of the method of pan-frying a steak.  We'd only ever had it broiled or grilled in my childhood and that's what I did after I married as well.  John showed me how to pan fry a steak and I was pleased as could be because I loathe cleaning up the broiler pan.

I bought a Rib Eye as a special treat for us.  We've eaten mostly sirloins over the past year or so.  The Rib Eye was large enough for three servings.  If you're accustomed to purchasing the thin grocery store steaks you might not realize what a good buy a good large steak is.

Modern Home Economics: How To Bake A Cake

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I've been cooking and baking far longer than the average woman my age...and that's a fact.  Mama began teaching me to cook when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  Just at first, she'd prepare a meal and when I came in from school I was to heat things up so they'd be warm when she came in from work. About a year later she would 'talk' me through basic recipes as she worked nearby.  By age 12, she merely informed me of the menu and I prepared the meal from scratch when I got in from school.  A little later, and I was planning the meals and preparing them, too, as well as doing a bit of the summer preserving, canning and freezing. Mama taught me a lot...but she did not teach me to bake and that skill remained woefully unattended until my marriage when I opened my second favorite cookbook ( Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook ca. 1970) and began to attempt various recipes. 

Weekly Meal Plan - Autumn Comes At Last

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Despite the fact that we are now mid-October, the grass remains as green as it was all summer long.  The difference is seen in the fact that John hasn't mowed in 3 weeks time and the grass is only just beginning to look a little shaggy.  When he mows next week, it will be for the last time this year.  Because it's so very green yet outdoors, I haven't put up a lot of Fall decorations.  My centerpiece on the dining table is mostly greens and I find I like it very well.  I'll try to remember to get a photo posted of it this week.

Nights are cool and mornings are cooler.  The days heat up but this week the temperatures are meant to slide slowly down.  Today is supposed to be our last afternoon in the mid-80's.    I looked across the field and noted many trees are bare already and those which still hold on to their leaves are only just beginning to change color.  The golden rod and other yellow fall blooming flowers (mostly weeds) are blooming en masse and are gloriou…

Coffee Chat - Peanuts!

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Good Morning!   Now doesn't that look cheerful and pretty and Autumn-ish?  I'll bring back one of my smiling images with a coffee cup after a bit, but in the meantime let's enjoy this lovely scene.
We have no cookies this morning.  I should get busy and make a batch.  About time, per my husband who has waited patiently, sighing occasionally as he's gazed at the empty jar.  Poor dear.  I've spoiled him utterly with homemade cookies.  He said to me last pay period as we stood before the display of cookies, "Let's just have the ones you bake."  Well I never did take time to bake.

Ten Things I've Learned Watching "Chopped"

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Chopped is a competitive program in which chefs compete against one another.  The goal is to make it through appetizer, main dish and dessert rounds, using special ingredients from a mystery basket and the contents of the very well stocked pantry and fridges in the Chopped kitchens.   The ingredients are sometimes exotic, sometimes just crazy and occasionally common ingredients that aren't typically restaurant quality fare.

As I watched this week I realized I've learned a great deal.  Here are a few of them:

Questions and Answers and Comments, Oh My!

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I realized the other morning that it has been quite a long while since I replied to comments or answered questions.  Pardon me for being rude! It's been at least two months.  I've been busy, it's true. August was a full month  and September simply flew away didn't it?  So I thought I'd try to catch up.

Starting way back in August, I have to share that after my comment on peaches in the August 2 Iced Tea chat that it's about 50/50 for eating peaches with the skin on, lol.

A Year of Savings: 2013

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October 1:  A new month, a new opportunity to make the very best of savings.  I'm off to a good start so far.  We had Harvest Morning today.  I set aside money for savings, tagged an 'extra' amount that wasn't needed for a routine bill (three pay periods this month for us) and put it over on that car loan.  It wasn't a huge amount in either case but it was set aside anyway.  It's SAVINGS.  I won't share the amount, simply because I feel that is too personal, but I'm proud of it just the same.

Coffee Morning Chat

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Oh come on in!  I've got gingerbread this week.  Do you like it?  I love it dark and slightly sticky, so I always use dark molasses in mine.  Gingerbread is a wonderful treat in autumn to me.  That's when I enjoy most spice cakes the best.  In my school years, gingerbread came to the lunch table with a clear lemon sauce atop.  In my school years, you might also need to know we ate REAL food that was freshly cooked daily and was delicious.  Later years, when I married, Gingerbread was a common dessert.  I served it with homemade applesauce as often as not and the kids ate it up.  Now we're on our own here, just two adults and John prefers it with whipped cream.  I resort to my childhood taste combination and spoon over a little warm lemon curd.  Not quite the same but close enough.  Oh and for the record, this time of year I love a Gingerbread latte when I treat myself to coffee.

What a lovely day last Sunday was weather-wise.  It was quite cool in the morning, even at 10…

Weekly Meal Plan

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The weather is cooperating with the idea that there's been a seasonal change.  I'm pulling out my cooler weather recipes even if it's not exactly as cool as I'd like it to be.  We've had a couple of afternoons on the porch and were quite comfortable.  I've had the AC off most nights and mornings until well past noon and then it cycles on.  And did I mention that the propane man came Friday was a week ago and filled up our tank?

I have my little potted garden on the patio where it can get plenty of sun.  The lettuces, carrots, peas, beets, and spinach are all coming up nicely and the tomato plants never looked so good as they do now.  I have high hopes we'll eat from those pots before the new month is over.

Arroz con Pollo, Pineapple Salad
A simple enough meal of chicken and rice. I cut up a whole chicken I bought and divided the pieces.  I roasted a few, cooked twice as much as we needed for this dish, so I could put a casserole of chicken and rice in the f…

Weekly Meal Plan

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I was just looking over the weather forecast for the week ahead. The day time temps are remaining in the 'sunny and mild' zones but the night time temps are starting to slide down the thermometer.  Thursday morning it's supposed to be in the high '40's...and yes, that gets me excited!  I love the cooler months.  We just may manage open windows every day next week and that's welcome too.

The fair is in Perry this week.  I don't know if we'll get to go or not.  Our week has filled up with obligations.  Even if we don't go I'll manage to bring a bit of the fair to our week.  You'll see.

Brunswick Stew, Rice, Coleslaw, Corn Muffins
Mama made the brunswick stew.  I thought I'd serve it over rice both as an extender and to tone down the tomato-y taste of the stew.

A Year of Savings: 2013

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Sept 21:  Shabat.  It's a day of rest for us and normally we eat out after synagogue.  This week we decided to head home.  John asked if I had anything to fix quickly.  As it happened I was able to offer up two suggestions.  We decided on hot dogs and baked beans as our meal.  Savings: $16  Yes that figure is higher than usual.  For some reason we've found it has been costing us about that much to eat out these days instead of the more usual $10-$11.  I suspect it's because we've tired of the hamburgers and are opting for chicken or another type of sandwich instead.