Monday, January 30, 2012


 Last week I spent two days cleaning out the pantry. I couldn't believe the amount of expired stuff. We have only been in this house 8 years and I am embarrassed to admit that I found stuff that had an expiration date to use before year 2000. Granted it was only two Hamburger Help** boxes, but still.....that's pretty gross. Those two boxes have lived in three different houses, in three different pantries, in three different states. Huh?? Double yuck!! One of them even included meat in the mix. EWWWW.... Don't get me wrong, I have cleaned out the pantry at least twice a year and organized it, but never really payed attention to expiration dates. If it tastes stale, duh, throw it out. But you better believe that I am going to check dates several times a year from now on. The horrors....thank goodness we have never, never had any bug issues.'s the pantry before checking dates and organizing:
Above: What a mess! The little red bag thing to the left of the picture is for holding plastic grocery sacks.

Above: What I dug out of the bottom of the pantry.

Above: Whew....much better. It still looks messy, that's why I keep the doors shut. Eventually, soon, hopefully, I am getting a bigger pantry. Behind the back wall of the pantry is another room, a mother in law suite. I would like to extend the pantry three feet into that room. This expansion would allow me to store those bulky appliances & stuff that gets used, but looks ugly on the counter. Ex: ice cream churn, blender, big mixing bowls, waffle iron, bread machine, toaster, apple peeler-corer, etc. Yes, I do have a bigger broom, that one is D#2's broom. It does come in quite handy, though.

Above: I baked some wonderful bread the other day. It smelled so good and baked up really pretty. It was delicious. D#2 was awed by my electric knife. After I cut the first piece of bread, she begged me to cut more bread with my cool "Chain saw for cutting bread" knife. This knife is about 20 years old. Dear Hubby and I received it as a wedding gift. I love it! The cutting board was a Christmas gift from one of DH's coworkers. He made them in his home workshop. I love gifts like this. I believe we have had it for about 12 years.

I have been working on this quilt. It is called "Paper Dolls" and it is adorable. I had stopped working on it around the beginning of November last year to concentrate on Christmas gifts. The quilt is from Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet. She creates the most adorable stuff. I have finished the "Sophie ties on her apron" block. It is the 2nd block on the bottom left corner. The one with the broom.

Quilting, applique and embroidery are all used in this quilt. Don't you just love the details. I still need to put the ric rac on the apron and then this block is finished.

Above: Here is the next block that I have started: "Kassidy bakes cookies". If you can zoom in closer you will see the back rounded part of the mixer (black fabric) is still in the tack down phase. I am using the needle turn method for appliqueing. Of all the appliqueing methods that I have used, this is my favorite.
Above: Needle turn applique. Don't you just love the cord. It is ric rac!

Above: Here is what the pattern sheet looks like. Lori's instructions are awesome! She explains everything. The only thing she doesn't do is tell you which fabrics she used. But that is a good thing. Customize it and don't copy. Use what you have on hand and don't buy more.

Above: Once you cut out the fabric pieces, these are basically the only tools you will need to applique. The bottle with the blue top is baste glue. I have never used this stuff before and now that I have, I love it. It does just what it's name suggests. It bastes the fabric down. Just put a tiny drop of glue on your base fabric and then place the piece to be appliqued on top of the glue. No pins or baste stitching necessary. Now just applique until  your hearts content! or your fingers become numb. Your choice!

Above: The hardest thing for me, was choosing the background fabrics. I didn't want them too busy, but not too plain either. So I compromised. Some are plain and some have subtle backgrounds. Appliqueing is so much fun. If you want to try it, start small. This quilt is suppose to be a block of the month quilt, but since my local quilt store is not offering it, I am doing it at home by myself. I can do one block a month, maybe even two. We'll see.......

Anyway have a great day and happy appliqueing,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Shazam! It's Cold and Windy!

Brrrr..... It's been cold here and windy! I think the low tonight is 25 with 20 mph winds!! Those cold, icy fingers whip through the house freezing everyone. I know that the people up North think we are so wimpy down here when it drops below 65 degrees. But hey...we don't complain when it's 95 and the humidity is 100%. We just accept our Dolly Parton style hair and continue on about our business.

Above: Yep....she's definitely got it going on!

The night before last, I cooked up a crock pot full of BBQ chicken and had at least 5 large chicken breasts left. I love cooking this way because (1) I don't have to heat up the stove and (2) I can prepare dinner in the morning and forget about it (*not that heating up the stove is a big deal, I just turn the knob, but I guess I do save energy and plus--(3) crock pot cooking is just plain fun!). Salad and corn completed the meal. The crock pot is my favorite way to cook chicken, pork and beef. Since I had so much chicken left I thought that a big pot of Brunswick Stew was in order.  Dear Sweet Son had the misfortune of saying "Not stew again!" Well, in my most motherly voice (kind of like my mother use to say but not these exact words) "OH NO YOU DI'INT....for that son, you may go outside and collect rock and sticks for your stew!"

Well....then after realizing his gaffe and looking quite pitiful, I let him have some and would have even let him have some more, if he asked-because your momma still loves you, even when you insult her stew.

Brunswick Stew
2 quarts whole tomatoes (I did use diced)
1 T. olive oil
2 medium onions
4 garlic cloves (I didn't use garlic)
16 oz. BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Vidalia BBQ Sauce)
8 cups shredded smoked pork or chicken or both (I only had chicken)
2 cups lima beans ( I used 2 cans)
2 cups corn kernels ( I used 2 cans)
3 cups peeled , diced potatoes
1/2 t. liquid smoke (you could technically leave this out, I couldn't taste the 1/2 t.)
1 t. apple cider vinegar ( see comment above)
3 t. yellow mustart (see comment above)

I used my large stew pot. This recipe makes a lot. You can always cut it in half. I did freeze the leftovers to reheat for a quick dinner this winter.

In stew pot, saute onions in olive oil. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Cook forever (or 20-30 minutes) over medium heat. I cooked it for about 3-4 hours adding the potatoes and lima beans the last 30 minutes. For the true Southern experience, serve it with white bread (Sunbeam King).

Here's a picture of the Brunswick Stew. Sorry it's in a plastic bowl. I didn't remember to take a picture until I was freezing it. 
                                                        Have a wonderful night and stay warm!!