Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Christmas Through the Year: September

Being tethered to the kitchen, has put a damper on my sewing this month, but I'm not complaining. I am enjoying spending my days elbow deep in bread dough and soapy dish water. The windows are open, the music is playing, and I am dancing my way around my tiny kitchen. Lasagna is in the oven. I am giving my potholders a workout this week. Every time I grab them, they make me smile. I made a lot of these last year and I hope that those of you who have them are using them!  Deanna created a monster when she shared her tutorial for these last year and y'all are probably tired of seeing potholders, but I made more. :) It's time for the Christmas Train to pull into the station again.

Darlene (pop over there and link up your gift) and Cheryl (check in here for some great tutorials for fun gifts) are manning the engine and shaking their pom poms to encourage us to jump on board. Making a Christmas gift each month has been such a good fit for me. I now have 9 gifts in my box that I would not have if it weren't for their monthly nudging. Thanks girls!

I added 3 more sets to my Christmas box this month:

I made this set for one of my dearest friends for Christmas:

I'm not a huge floral person although I love wildflowers, but as I was making this set, I decided I need a floral quilt. That means shopping will be taking place because this pretty much consists of every floral fabric in my stash.

And this set is for the sweet girl over at North Camp. She loves to cook so I'm thinking these may come in handy - another western set:

And one more set for my Mom, who when  I first told her last year that I was making potholders told me not to make her any because she had enough to last her longer than forever. When she saw the ones I made, she changed her mind. :) So she gets a wine set. :)

And no, I have no plans to supply every kitchen in the world with potholders :) Come to think of it though, I have a wedding to attend next month and a kitchen basket needs a set of potholders! :)

Crazy Chickens!

So I've been lamenting the fact that my chickens haven't been laying any eggs. I kept counting and I was sure they ought to be laying about now. I told them they needed to be laying by the time our boy got back home. I kept peeking expectantly into the nesting boxes lined with fresh hay, but all I found was odd sticks and feathers and the occasional watermelon rind. I thought, "Why would those crazy chickens be packing things into their nesting boxes?" DH laughed at me and said, you've got a rodent shacking up with your chickens. So tonight he's going to set up his game camera and see if he can catch the offending tenant.

 The neighbors were over yesterday evening to settle on hay we've had delivered and Cotton Picker and I went out to chore. Yesterday afternoon we had just under an inch of rain so we got to chore in the mud! WooHoo! I cannot tell you how desperate we are for rain. Praising God for every drop.

We walk into the chicken yard and I just happen to walk into a corner and what do I see?

Yep. Right there in an abandoned waterer...10 eggs. 10 beautiful, nice sized eggs...that I cannot keep. Who knows how long they've been sitting there. :( I know I can test them in a bowl of water, but I'm leery of them just sitting out there. It doesn't look like a very comfortable place to squeeze into, but I've never laid an egg so who am I to say?

I don't know if they all came from one hen or if they're all getting in on the action. So who's the guilty rascal who thinks it's fun to hide the eggs?

Is it you, Greta?

These two look like they're concocting a plan:

Personally, I think Carol's the instigator.

 She's always got something up her sleeve...well, if she had sleeves.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Who Wants Cheesecake?

I hope y'all don't mind me reposting a couple of these recipes, but I did't have many readers when I originally posted some of these and I figure if I repost, you wont have to go hunting for them, although they are worth hunting for. :)

This is in the oven this morning and if you get here fast, there might be a piece left for you.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Oh my! We went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving and dined on lots of wonderful, yummy things. This cheesecake was the best and she graciously sent us home with the little that was left. DH said it made the best breakfast the next morning! LOL! I have been so blessed by her friendship...and her recipes!

I visited with Ranch Wife this week to see what I could bring for our Cowboy Fellowship Christmas Service and I told her I had just discoved a great new dessert. She said she had one as well and it made me laugh when we both said "Sopapilla Cheesecake"! Just goes to show that great minds really do think alike! I know that this will be gracing our table during Spring Works - I'm pretty certain that the crew will give it a thumbs up!

Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 cans crescent rolls
2 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened - not low fat - go for the good stuff!
2 C sugar (divided)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C butter
ground cinnamon

*Roll one can crescent dough into bottom of greased 9x13 baking pan.
*Stretch dough and pinch seams together to form crust.
*Blend together cream cheese, 1 C sugar and 1 tsp vanilla
*Spread over dough - not too close to edge
* Stretch second can of crescent rolls over cream cheese layer to form top crust
*Melt butter and 1 C sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and pour over crust
*Sprinkle with cinnamon
*Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

This same friend once had a restaraunt in Houston and now has a catering business here. We're helping her with a couple of parties next week so it'll be fun to see what else she has up her sleeve! I love to cook so I'm really looking forward to this! Be sure and remind me of that when I come back here later this week and complain about how much my feet hurt! It'll be hard to keep up with S! Maybe some of her energy will rub off on me. I can hope, can't I?

Y'all enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

There is Something About the Outside of a Horse That is Good for the Inside of a Man

Just wanted to pop in and share a few shots I took on Monday when I hauled the crew around a bit. Through the years, I have taken advantage of those times when I am called upon to haul the crew from one part of the ranch to another.

This is a big place and over 20 miles from one end to the other, and you can bet I grab my camera every chance I get. These are two of the sweetest, hard-workin-est, horse savy-est  fellas ever.

Sorry gals, they are spoken for. :)
This one is too. LOL.
I didn't get any spectacular shots this time around, but I did print a few out and turn them into greeting cards.

Now I'll probably spend too much time browsing through the thousands of pictures I've taken throughout the years in search of more.

These are mostly just cowboys sitting on their horses. DH said, "We're not DOING anything." I told him, "Honey, it just doesn't get much better than a man on a horse."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Honey Bun Cake Repeat

I posted this about 2 years ago, but I only had a handful of blog buddies back then and this one is worth posting twice. I figured I would post the whole recipe here instead of just linking to the original post although it's worth an extra click. :)
I'm taking the leftovers to the neighboring ranch this morning.

Honey Bun Cake

How is it that I have been blogging for over 2 years and I haven't shared this recipe?!

Another steer buyer was headed our way the other day so I popped this yummy cake in the oven. The kids say I feed everyone who wanders down the dirt road and I suppose there is some merit to that, but hey that's not a bad thing, is it?

I figure if someone's driving all the way out here, I can at least feed them. Said buyer, was slated to arrive at 8 in the morning. Too late for breakfast and too early for dinner, but I figured DH would bring him in for a cup of coffee while he wrote the check and what better to serve with coffee than this warm treat!

A fellow 4-H horse-judging mom was kind enough to share this recipe with me years ago and it's been a hit around here ever since. We're starting our spring branding next week and it'll probably find it's way to the table during breakfast one day so I'll be making it again.
It starts with a cake mix, but don't judge me for it.

Honey Bun Cake

1 yellow cake mix (1/2 c reserved)
1 C softened butter
4 eggs
8 oz sour cream
1/4 c milk

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c dry cake mix
1 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbsp milk
*Reserve 1/2 c dry cake mix. Mix rest of cake mix with butter, eggs, and sour cream and milk. Pour 1/2 into a 9x13" pan. Combine brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and cake mix and sprinkle over batter. Top with remaining batter. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and poke holes in cake. Drizzle glaze over cake and enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Time For a Quick Dessert: O'Henry Bars

This is one of the easiest desserts on my menu, but it's a hit every time. Chocolate and peanut butter is just a combination made in heaven and I don't even like peanut butter - not as a sandwich anyway. Don't think I've ever turned down a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup though - especially those little ones after they have been in the freezer!

Here's what you need to gather together:

No step by step photos today. I was crunched for time as I had to haul the boys hither and yon this morning. I dropped them off on the west side of the ranch in Ponderosa and picked them up at Petty Pens 3 hours later. We drove back to headquarters, changed their mounts, and I left a rig at North Camp and then dropped them on the East side of the ranch. Then I dropped the trailer at North Camp and brought the other pick up home - 60 miles this morning that took me out of the kitchen for a couple of hours. I love the excuse to escape - gives me a chance to snap a photo or two which I'll share in a few days because I think you're here for a recipe today. :)

In a medium-sized pot, cook and stir over low heat until mixture comes to a boil:
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 C light Karo syrup
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C peanut butter

Add in 2 C Rice Krispies
1 C peanuts

Mix well. Pour into 7x11" pan. Sprinkle 1 C chocolate chips on top to melt and spread over top. I usually pop this in the oven (if it's on) or the microwave for just long enough to melt the chocolate chips. I doubled this and put it in a larger pan. Then they descended, but there are a few pieces left:

I imagine they make a pretty good breakfast too...they DO have cereal.

Pancakes, eggs, bacon, and fruit for breakfast this morning. Dinner was chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, salad, and Angel Biscuits. Homemade pizza for supper. Off to do more dishes and make dessert for tomorrow!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

First Up -Tabasco Pickles!

This morning I went out and mowed as soon as it was light enough to see. I mowed fast. We have a big yard and it only took me an hour and 15 minutes this morning. I knew much of the rest of my Sunday was going to find me in the kitchen and I wanted to get that done. Since I'll be cooking for a couple of weeks y'all will probably be getting recipes. This isn't really an official recipe since you already start with pickles, but it's a favorite around here. I've been making these for about 20 years and there's no telling how many batches I've made. These are great with barbecue so I probably should have posted them at the beginning of the summer instead of at the end, but we eat them all year long. Since our pickle-loving son will soon be home (everybody cheer!), and I'm feeding lots of boys, I thought I would mix up a batch.

A new bloggy friend (Hi Pauline - waving!) sent me a yummy sounding recipe for something else this morning and she wrote: Rice vinegar and a little cider vinegar is a good mix,unless you were weaned on a pickle and like it sour. 

I laughed because that just might be the case with our boy who loves all things sour. As a baby, he once grabbed a lemon slice and loved it! And pickles? Whooeee - that boy loves pickles. When he was 1 and we were spending Christmas with my in-laws we had what is now referred to as 'the pickle incident'. My MIL kept out a relish tray and as people walked by they would nibble and refill the various empty spaces. Finally my SIL said, "Who keeps eating all the pickles?" No one fessed up and really that entire family loves pickles, but the culprit was  discovered as soon as it came time to change diapers. LOL.

Probably not a good idea to mention 'diapers' and 'recipe' in the same post, huh? Oh, let's live dangerously - be brave. These are really good if you like a bit of spice.

The original recipe calls for a gallon jar of pickles, but I'm making a smaller batch because this is all they had. This is a little over 1/2 gallon:

Dump out the pickles into a colander. Mine is 29 years old from the dollar bin on the Air Force Base - it works.

  You'll need about 7 garlic cloves, 2 1/2 oz of Tabasco, and 2 C of sugar.

Cube the pickles:

And toss a couple handfuls into the jar:

Then add about 1/3 of the sugar:

A few cloves of the garlic:

And shake 1/3 of the Tabasco in:

Repeat in layers

Pop the top on and then roll:

Now did y'all NEED 9 pictures of this not-really-a-recipe? I think not, but there they are. Then just keep the pickles in the fridge. Take the jar out once a day and give it a good roll or two. In about 7-10 days, they'll be good to go. They've got a little sweetness and a little spiciness - the perfect combination. DH just walked in and glanced at the screen. He said, "That sounds like you."
What can I say, although I'm not even remotely this cute. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cooking for Cowboys

Today I'll begin with heart felt apologies to Darlene. She let us know that September was National Sewing Month and we MUST sew every day this month. I wanted to. Really, I did. But my September exploded last week. Our Fall Cow Works are on the horizon beginning on the 24th.
10 days.
12 cowboys.
3 meals a day.
I've been cooking for a crew for 25 years. I couldn't cook a lick when we married so my apology to those early crews. I can't even remember much of what I served. Perhaps that's selective memory and I'm thinking it's a good thing.

So through the years, I have collected recipes...lots of recipes. My family are very willing guinea pigs. They are not picky eaters and will try just about anything. That makes it enjoyable for me.

I posted about my recipe book here,

The Recipe Book

 and when making my menu, I mostly pull out the tried and true recipes I have always made for the crew. Once I did not make lasagna. They jinggled in and Bill said, "Last day! We're having Lasagna! Yay!"  Ummm...nooo. I felt awful. I guess they have come to expect certain things and since they pretty much only get it when we brand in the spring and wean and ship in the Fall, they look forward to it.

When one sweet family moved from the ranch, the wife called me and asked me for numerous recipes. Her husband said she had to get them before they moved. LOL. Just for the record, she is a great cook and I have a few of her recipes that we love too.

So I am in menu planning mode. Lots of meat and potatoes and bread and dessert. Quite a departure from our empty nest menu.

I'll make all the favorites, but I like to introduce a few newcomers into the mix every once in a while. Some people say that cowboys are picky, but I haven't had that experience. Sure, some won't eat salad, but more often than not, the salad bowl is empty at the end of a meal. I was once told of a ranch that fired the cook for making chicken. I make a mean chicken enchilada because I have a dear friend (Hi Beth! waving furiously!) who kindly shared it with me and  that pan is always empty. So just try and fire me. Long about day 7, I'm so wore out that I might make chicken and HOPE they'll fire me because I have some sewing to do! :)

So, the list begins:

And the first trip to the grocery store is made:

A stop at Sam's where I really didn't need much because there is quite a bit in my freezer:

I make most everything from scratch, but I love my shortcuts. I will be baking some kind of bread just about every day, but I buy the 5-cheese Texas Toast for Lasagna day and I buy the Angus Burgers at Sam's.  The paper plates are for supper at night. No dishwasher here - except for me - so I'll be washing enough of those tin plates as is. At night, they get paper plates.

I'll be back for more later because I just found out this second that we'll be skipping a week before picking back up. Good thing too because I'll need that week to recuperate.  I used to do this with 2 little chiddlers scampering about hollering, "I BIG now! I go wiff Daddy!" and, "I holping you Mama!" and never bat an eye and I can't for the life of me figure out how. I miss those days and it's heck getting old.

Monday, September 17, 2012

To Report or Not to Report

That is the question...

Often, I wish I had joined up with Judy and everyone else in the weekly stash report. On the weeks I do things like use 12 yards for the back of a quilt - yes, I did that recently with the Western Many Trips Quilt - I think, "WOW - that would be fun to report!"

But then there are those weeks when Tony drives up in his big brown truck and staggers towards me with a big box...

Or when my truck just stops entirely on it's own accord  right in front of a quilt shop...

Truth be told, there are probably more of those weeks than the 'use 12 yards' weeks and then I think:

"WHEW! Thank goodness I don't have to report THAT!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Good News!

Our baby boy is back from Afghanistan!

Just had to pop in and shout the good news! He's not home yet, but we're counting the days! Today hubby and I went to Texas to pick up a trailer and we stopped to grab a bite to eat. We had just taken our seats and pointed out that we were sitting right under a Marine flag, when he called! :) At least he's back on American soil. Praise God! Oh, I can hardly contain myself! Thank you all so very much for your thoughts and prayers. I am truly, truly grateful! Think I'll have all the happy tears cried before he gets here? Nah - me neither.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Conversation with Great- Grandma Kate

Last week my in-law's gave me this quilt:

 It belonged to DH's great grandma Kate:

My FIL said he wanted to pass it on to us because he knew that I would treasure it. Excuse me while I wipe away a tear. Treasure it? Ummm...YES!

I love the odd square thrown in here and there to fill an empty space when there was no more of a particular fabric.

Today we go out and buy more. Maybe I need to stop doing that.

No one in my family ever sewed or quilted. How sad is that? And then why do I have this burning desire to do so? Have we been married so long that DH's family has truly become a part of me through some form of Osmosis? I mean. I had no desire what so ever to even become acquainted with fabric until we had our first child. And even then, my MIL showered us with her quilts. Me? Quilt? I was overwhelmed by the thought.

So now I am over the moon that I have  this quilt and as I sat with it in my lap, running my fingers tenderly over the patches of fabric, I wished like crazy that she was sitting beside me. I have so many things I would like to say,

"Where did this....and this....and this piece come from?"
"What did you make for supper the day you stitched this block?"
"Did your mother quilt?"
"Here, let me cut some more squares for you."
"Do you want me to bring in some more wood so that you can continue stitching?"
"Did your children sit under this quilt as you stitched?"
"Where did you live when you were making this?"
"Who claimed this quilt once it was finished?"

Then she would look at me as if I had grown a second head when I tell her about the tools we have for quilters today and the never-ending selection of fabrics we have at our fingertips and she would shake her head.

I imagine she would tell me, "Hush child. You are quite the chatter-box", but then she would smile.

And I would sneak in another, "When did you find the time?" She would glance at me with wise eyes and I would simply say,

"Thank you. I will treasure it forever."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Eenie Meenie Miney Moe-ing

Now that the Gypsy Quilt is pieced and has been handed off to Jackie, I am chomping at the bit to start something new. Something small. I am plumb tuckered out from making big ol' quilts and I'm ready for something that will not have me making 100's of blocks. And therein lies my problem. It's an internal conversation.

"That's a great quilt!"
"No! You will want to enlarge it"
"How about this one?"
"No! Look at all those seams. You will be a slave to the ironing board again and you will make twice as many blocks."

Maybe being a dirt road hermit is becoming a problem. :)

So, do I make a table runner? I want one to lay across my washer and dryer. My laundry room/mud room/entry way are the first thing you walk into and a pretty runner will dress it up a bit. I also have  a long- 11ft - shelf in there that would benefit from a bit of stitching attention.

But perhaps I need to make more potholders. I need more for Christmas.

Or I have this wall hanging I really want to make for a gift that I didn't get made last year.

Pillowcases. I need to make some pillowcases for the kids who live at North Camp for Christmas. Those are quick, but it always takes me a coon's age to choose fabric.

And then there is this table mat:

I snapped up this issue as soon as I saw it. Must make that table mat.

An apron? DD wants an apron to go with the potholders I gave her for her birthday.

So I have fretted these last few days as I cooked for a cowboy crew and entertained company. Carol pretty much tipped the scales. She whipped out that table mat here. Isn't it great?

Project chosen. And guess what? I have never embroidered. Not a thing. I was an avid cross stitcher   for years, but never embroidered. I was a bit intimidated by it, but this looked like a great way to kick things off since it was just a small bit. And I loved it! I'm not very good at it, but I was so tickled with this little pumpkin that I just didn't even let it faze me.

Now I want to embroider a whole bunch of things!

I used one strand each of a red, yellow, and orange in order to embroider the leaf and I was tickled with how it turned out:

These are monster hexagons! It felt strange making them, but I really like the way they are coming together.

And I am loving the fact that I do not need to make this bigger...or do I?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Winners and Flimsy Complete

Wow! I think it's safe to say that y'all like giveaways and you like to read! I want to thank each and every one of you for chiming in and thanks to Quilting Gallery for hosting a week of fun! Lots of great gifts were offered up and hopefully fun, new bloggy friends were discovered! As for me, I now have a LOOOONG list of books to keep me busy for a really long time. I appreciate y'all sharing your insights to what you were reading as well. Y'all are a well read bunch!

So I imagine y'all just want me to hush up and spill the beans about who won.  I used Mr. random number generator and he said 220 is the winner and that just happens to be:

Blogger ytsmom said...
Either one would be great, but if I won, I would pick the clips. I have been wanting some of those for quite a while.

So the second number that was drawn was 86 and that happens to be:

Amy DeCesare said...
Right now I'm reading Killing Lincoln. It sounds upsetting or depressing, but it's really fascinating, and I'm learning so much about history.

Amy wins the fabric!

So if y'all will drop me a note and let me know where these little packages need to be sent, I will get them out to you! Congratulations and I hope y'all enjoy them!

This weekend a little birdie told me that September is National Sewing Month and a few people like Darlene, whom I always listen too, said that we had to sew every day this month. I'll try, but I'm not making any promises. We'll be shipping this month and that tends to remove me from my stitching schedule. Ppfftt. Schedule! What schedule? I'm sure shipping or not, Darlene expects me to sew. :)

However, I did manage to finish up a flimsy. I finished piecing the Gypsy quilt!

The border is on,  I pieced the back, and made the binding. Now I am in a quandry about what to chose for the quilting. This is another big quilt...surprise! It measures 100x100. For some reason I have a pretty good sized stack of blocks left over. Don't know what I was thinking when I did the math, but there will be a Gypsy sidekick one of these days.
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