Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

No time for a long post as I have to get over to Pea's for the Halloween party tonight.

Don't you love my costume?
I just wish I had worn my purple glasses with the black and green sides! :)

Hope you are all having fun with the trick-or-treaters.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

If you can't Decorate with it, Wear it.

Grey or Gray?

I have been having quite the dilemma over the spelling of this color.  I have always thought it to be "grey".  But most often when I see it on other blogs, they spell it "gray".   I tried to spell it with the "a",  but it just does not feel right.  So I am now going back to "grey". 

So................some of you may remember this orange/grey color scheme I showed awhile back.

I was considering it for DH's tiny office space.  So far we have not painted that room. We are so overwhelmed with changing everything , that we have just left it as is. I am getting more and more like that. Everything seems to be such a big hassle, that I do nothing instead. It's so much easier that way.

I still love this color much so, that  I recently wore it!

Grey and orange--it's a great combo -- whether on the walls or on the bod--I love it!

I  need to finish this turkey project that I started in February.

I made two of these and intended for them to be table drapes for  a buffet or dessert table for Thanksgiving.  Now I don't think I will be cooking for Thanksgiving, but I may finish them off just in case. There is always next year and it would be nice to be ready if I do need them. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apple Oatmeal Cookies w/Browned Butter Glaze

Last weekend I also baked some cookies. I was not kidding, when I said I spent most of the weekend cooking/baking!

I made an oatmeal/apple cookie that I have not made in a long time.  With the oatmeal and fresh apple, this cookie is so full of fiber that it almost seems healthy.

On the recipe I noted that DH likes these.  He can be a little picky regarding cookies, so I always note if the recipe appealed to him.

He has quite a sweet tooth and I know he loves frosting, so I added some browned butter glaze to the recipe. He must have loved them because I made a double batch and when I went to get one four days later, they were gone! A quick mental calculation  says he ate a dozen a day!
 Apple Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup diced apple without peel
1 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt & nutmeg; set aside. Using a mixer, mix the shortening and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time. Slowly pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture until combined. Fold in the oats, apples and walnuts. Use a 1/8 cup measuring cup and drop dough about 3 inches apart onto parchment- lined cookie sheets. If you don’t have parchment paper, just grease the cookie sheets.
3. Bake until lightly browned (15 –20 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie). Let cool on wire racks. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

For the glaze:

Brown 1/2 cup of butter over a medium heat.  Keep stirring the butter until it is a light golden color:

Add 1.25 cups powdered sugar. If too thick, add enough water  to make a glaze. Then spoon the glaze over a warm cookie so it spreads and turns transparent.
If you make these, I hope you enjoy them as much as DH did.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mixed Animal Print Outfit & Banana Coconut Cupcakes w/Cooked Caramel Frosting Recipe

Today I am wearing this outfit while toting the  mixed animal print handbag I made Saturday.
I just wish I had some animal print sides for my glasses! I plan to get a set, but they were out of them the last time I was there. 

Since it's only 36 degrees outside, I will have to wear my animal jacket, too. :)

Every now and then you need to dress for fun!

DH knows that I use spotted bananas for baking, so when he came across this bunch at the grocery store, he could not resist bringing them home to me.
Instead of throwing them in the freezer, I decided to make some banana cupcakes and freeze half of those.

I used this recipe (I added toasted coconut to 1/2 of the batter) for the cupcakes. I like that the recipe uses 4 bananas (most use 2) so there is a lot of banana flavor.

A-Number-1 Banana Cake
Rated: 5 stars
Submitted By: Kevin Ryan
Photo By: Angie
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes Ready In: 1 Hour

"This is a very versatile and fast cake recipe. Not only is it moist and delicious, the same batter can be used to make banana bread and muffins. Delicious frosted with chocolate or cream cheese frosting."


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar 3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 - 8 inch round pans. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the bananas. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Stir in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into the prepared pans.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and place on a damp tea towel to cool.

Cooked Caramel Frosting

1/2 cup of butter
2 cups brown sugar (I used light brown)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Combine the cream and brown sugar in a heavy pan with high sides. Bring to boil. Stir continulusly for one minute. Add the 1/2 tsp. baking soda and boil one minute more.  (This is why you need a high sided pot; it will foam up). Remove from high. Cut the butter into pices and drop on top of the mixture. DON'T STIR it in.  Put the pan in the refrigerator until it's cold (I left mine in for about three hours)
It will look like this when you take it out:

I transferred mine to my big mixer.
See all that sticky caramel?

Get it all out.
Then beat on high until it looks like this:

I think it took about 5 minutes. I also added a touch more cream as mine seemed a bit thick.
The plain caramel frosted ones have no coconut inside.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Myrtle's Quite Fertile & the Kale Keeps Flowering

After cooking/baking all morning, I went out about noon to begin the big potted plant clean up. It feels so good to have all the deck containers (over 40 of them) put away for the winter. It was a sunny autumn afternoon yesterday--just perfect for that job. I even cut down some of the front gardens so I won't have to do that this spring.

I dug up the tubers from Myrtle's Folly--
Whoa! I was surprised how they multiplied. I just hope Myrtle survives the winter.

I had intended to remove the big porch planter, but after taking the dead coleus out, the purple kale looked so nice that I decided to bring 3 white kale from one of the dismantled deck containers to replace the coleus. I think it should last until Thanksgiving now.
Does anyone know how long the cordyline will last? It still looks fine and we have had a lot of nights in the low 30's, so I am hopeful that it will survive another few weeks.

Just take a look at how small the kale was when I  planted it in late May:
Isn't it amazing how huge it got? And no worm holes either! I am pleased as punch and intend to plant more next year.  The best thing about the kale is that it looks its best when everything else dies--after it gets hit with frost. The cold temps bring out the rich purple color.
I knew after all that work, I would not feel like making dinner, so I had prepared a bunch of spinach/cream cheese stuffed chicken breasts before I went outside. Then all I had to do was pop them in the oven.
I had made the carrots and fresh cranberry sauce on Saturday. It was a good thing because I was too pooped to even think of doing it after the outside chores.

I froze enough chicken for two more meals. You all know by now how I like to cook once and eat at least three times!

Last week I gave my my mother-in-law a bunch of canning jars that have been in my basement for years.  I once intended to grow veggies and learn to can, but that never happened, so I decided it was time to get rid of the jars.  In return she sent over some canned goodies--tomatoes, sauerkraut, grape jelly and grape juice. Yes, she even makes her own grape juice from vines in her yard.

I told her I would trade empty jars for these goodies any day!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Good Eats--Corned Beef and Chardonnay Caramel Baked Pears

DH came home from the grocery store today with deli corned beef and the instructions from the sales lady behind the counter to make a Reuben sandwich at home.  The lady told him she was a cook in a restaurant for 20  years and this is how they made Reuben's:

Instruction #1: Toast the bread in a skillet as though you were making a grilled cheese.  
So I put 4 buttered-side-down pieces of bread in a skillet with a slice of baby Swiss cheese atop each.

Instruction #2.  As the bread toasts, warm up the corned beef in a second skillet.
I did that.

In a matter of a few minutes everything in the skillet was done.

Instruction #3:  Top with cole slaw and then the second slice of bread.

As instructed, I put the corned beef atop a slice of Swiss cheese bread, added cole slaw and topped it with the second slice of bread.

Need I say more? YUM!!! That sales lady did not steer DH wrong! She did get him to buy baby Swiss  and cole slaw in addition to the corned beef he came to buy.  She was a great deli sales lady!  She made two additional sales and we LOVED the sandwich she suggested!

It is the time of year when I like to make Caramelized Pears for dessert.  I asked DH to buy some pears and he  brought home 4 of them.    We had two for tonight's dessert and saved two for tomorrow.
Did you notice the  dried Limelight hydrangeas in the background?

These were so easy to make and so good. I just cored them from the bottom, used a veggie peeler to remove half of the skin, added about 2 TBLS brown sugar, 1 oz. of Chardonnay and then baked them at 350 degrees  until soft (a little over an hour). I removed them from the oven three times to spoon the liquid over the pear, so they did not dry out.  Here is a pic to show the amount of liquid during one of the spoonings.

When the pear is soft and the caramel liquid is thickened, they are ready to remove from the oven. If cooked too long the liquid will harden as it cools--hard like rock don't want to cook it that long.  These are best served warm. They were swoon-over delicious! Even DH thought so and he is not usually that crazy over a fruit dessert.  If you don't have or like wine, you can use another liquid.  Last year I used diet 7-up.  You could use fruit juice or even water, if that is all you have on hand.

Earlier today I made a new leather/animal handbag. I won't repost it here, but you can see it on my quilting/sewing blog. Just clik here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Halloween Tables

Since it's the time of year when it's tough to find blog material, I thought I would post a few of my past Halloween tablescapes for my new readers.

I used to collect dishes and I loved to set tables. I have stopped buying dishes because I have run out of storage space.

 Now that tablesetting has been discovered by the rest of the world, my interest has died off.  I was really turned off by seeing so many tablescapes in blogland that were so over the top and never intended to be used--like the day I saw a stack of 12 different plates at each setting-- can you get any more outrageous!

Seeing certain bloggers trying to profit from others tablesetting talents also turned me off. It has been a few months since I set a creative table.
Right now I am not even interested in setting a Halloween table.   These are pics from previous years:

I think this table was my favorite...

This one is very similar. I used a different table runner, added some pumpkins and cookies.

This one uses the same purple tablecloth, but everything else is different. 

These skulls are the same ones I showed you yesterday. After I used them on this table, I spray painted them silver for the following year.

Most of you know that quilting is my favorite winter hobby.  I make a lot of table runners. You may have noticed all the different runners I have for Halloween. I made them all.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the way I used to celebrate Halloween. This year I plan to do nothing--boring, but much less work! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What a Wet Mess!

It's been cold and rainy for a few days. Since the deck plants have not been hit by a hard frost, I have had to wait to cut them all down and put them in their winter storage home.   It is still raining, so I just snapped these pics from my family room door.

Major mess!!  I was hoping to get all the containers in the storage space this weekend, but if they don't dry out a bit, I won't be able to.  They will just rot if I store them too wet.

I went to the bedroom window and snapped a few photos of the Arbor gardens.  I cut a lot down a few weeks ago, but there is still a lot more to do.

It will probably have to wait until spring now.

The sedum outside the living room window:
All the leaves are falling off. The heads will look nice with the first snowfall, so I will leave these until spring, too.
I was thinking that I am very late in putting my containers to bed this year, so I looked up my October posts from 2010. It seems that I put the plants to bed the weekend of October 22, so I am not late at all! I now feel so much better. :)

Last year on Oct. 19 I posted about my Halloween decorating. This year I am not planning to do any Halloween decorating, so I will repost some pics from last year:

I really enjoyed this vignette last year and I had planned to redo it this year. Somehow time & my energy escaped, and I never got around to doing it. 

I am hoping to do some sort of Thanksgiving decorating this weekend.  We have already made reservations to attend some concerts for the  last Saturday in Oct. and the first Saturday in November, so if I don't get it done this weekend, it probably won't get done at all. I need to find more time in my weekends!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bundles of Autumn Love

I've been cooking again. As this head of cabbage softened in the microwave, I made a tomato sauce. I bet you know what I made just by looking at these two pictures.
After stuffing the cabbage leaves with a beef/rice mixture, and baking them for nearly two hours, I ended up with a lot of stuffed cabbage,or Golabki as my Polish/French husband calls them. Whatever the name you know them by, they are little nuggets of lusciousness.
I can't give you the recipe, because I don't use one. I did google and I found dozens of recipes that sounded very similar to how I make them.  I like the tomato sauce version that has vinegar and sugar added to tomatoes and tomato soup. It has a sweet and sour type taste. I used some of my basil-infused vinegar.

 Of course, when I spend half a day cooking, I like to have multiple meals for the freezer.
So I made vegetable/beef soup in onion broth for lunch and will have it again on Tuesday for a light dinner. I froze half of the spaghetti squash and 4 meals of the stuffed cabbage. I did all this cooking today and we are not even eating home tonight! It's my mother-in-laws 82nd birthday, so we are going there. The golabki will be for tomorrow night.

I can't forget DH's sweet tooth. Yesterday I baked a banana bundt cake and an apple pie.

I am now done cooking for awhile. I really do not cook that often. During the work week, we have meals that I have in the freezer or just something quick to whip up (tacos with previously frozen seasoned beef, for instance). I have no desire to clean up a big cooking mess when I get home from work.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen today, I heard a strange noise in the driveway. What?
It was the snowblower! DH was testing it out before the first big snowfall.  Hopefully, that won't be for a while!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We Had only a Few Hours of Sunshine this Weekend

and I enjoyed them to their fullest!

I expect this to be the last day I will  use the hammock this year. It's only 55 degrees today, but with the sun shining and a quilt tossed over, it was fairly warm.

For two days it rained and was very windy. My poor urn almost met its demise yesterday afternoon when it blew over for the second time this year.  The thing is so heavy I can't pick it up, yet it fell over twice! When DH came in and told me one side was all cracked, I expected much worse than this.
It is still usable. Next year I will just turn this side toward the garage wall.

I am disappointed in the 4 grasses I  planted in the rockwall garden.  None of them have bloomed.
This is blue oat grass.
I don't think it grew much at all. Do any of you know how long it takes for this grass to grow? I think it is supposed to get very tall.  The other grasses  have not grown much either--Maiden Grass   Gracillimus & Maiden Grass Morning Light.  I always thought grasses grew 4 feet or more in a year.  Hopefully they will take off next year.

Here is something that I am happier with.  The kale has finally turned nice and purple.  I didn't think it was ever going to!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Christmas Tree Inspiration

I got a catalog in the mail this week with the most gorgeous Christmas trees. I just had to post these for my own inspiration when I began to decorate my tree in November.  I thought maybe some of you would also be inspired.

Love this gold tree!
 Love this blue/bronze tree!
 Love this red/gold tree!
 Love this green/bronze tree!
I just love them all!
Which one is your favorite?
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