Four more pounds gone for a total of 51 in the past 2 years or so. Gee, I can live like this!

Love vegetables.
Eat lots of eggs.
I was literally shocked upon going to Dr. Stoltz for an appointment last week and finding I weighted several pounds less than I had thought fully clothed!  So I continue on the 4 Hour Body!  Staying away from eating things that are white and drinking no calories!  Except of course once a week when I have anything I want. 

Love apple pie!
Usually I make a dessert that day and have potatoes or mac and cheese.  It has become second nature to me now.  Not a struggle at all.  I continue on happily!

Christmas Preperations, & Dec. Birthday Dinner!

Christmas village
Antique finished Nativity
It is hard to imagine so much has happened since Thanksgiving week.  The passing of our beloved brother-in law and the devastating illness that has befallen Grandma Powell has as it challenged us and strengthened us in our resolve and in our faith.  I have not posted simply because there has been no time. But today I am pausing to share out birthday dinner yesterday for our sons Mike and Joel.  And to share a few special decorations made by Grandma Powell that have graced our home for many years.

Joel blows out the candles for his 40th three layer chocolate cake.
Mike blows out candles for his 44th Angel Food Cake.
The boys requested BBQ for their joint birthday dinner yesterday and I made and sent home with each of them their favorite birthday cakes.

Our beautiful granddaughters dress up every occasion and we loves their bright smiles!

The Christmas cactus is in full bloom and that too lifts my spirits!  Will soon plant the Ameryllis bulbs and start some baking for the big day!


Christmas Gift, Tablecloth Finished

With Love in Every Thread
This has been a labor of love and I am happy with the end result I think....never really sure it could not have been a little better.  But that is just me!  It is really pretty though and I would love it on my table so that is as good as it can be I think?

After stitching I did the final pressing.
To make the finished edge I ran a line of straight stitching  3/8" all the way around from the trimmed cut raw edge.  Next I used a hot steam iron and folded the edge under to the wrong side just above the stitching so it does not show on the right side of the finished tablecloth.  Then fold again and press.  Using dressmaker pins I pinned every 12" or thereabouts except the corners which I pinned more closely to ease them.  The final step was to stitch 1/4" from the folded edge of the tablecloth and do the final pressing.  NOTE:  It is really important to watch the tension of the sewing machine as you do this as you will not have attractive stitching.

Nothing left but to wrap it up and deliver!  Then on to my next project!


Cutting the corners of THE CHRISTMAS TABLECLOTH.

Well after my pondering was through this morning I did it.  Snip, snip, snip!  I found on an edge it is a Hallmark Fabric.  Whatever that may mean!

First I folded right side in down the length of the fabric and pinned the edges straightening to the very best of my ability!  Then I folded in half cross ways lining up all four corners.  Nest I trimmed a bit as to even things up.

Now for my biggest platter!  The big one the girls fired for me as a special gift!  Perfect as the template for a big easy curve!

And then to mark oh so carefully!  Instead of the Tailor's chalk (they were out of dark) I had to buy a fabric marking pin that becomes invisible with heat.

Then the cutting is done and I am ready to sew tomorrow!

Mother's E-Z Cookies. All of the grandchildren ask my Mom for these at Christmas time! Just thought I would share this busy season!

These "snow capped" drop cookies are a family favorite.
My Mom has made these for years and years and are one of her "go-to" recipes that are requested by young and old alike!  They would work for lots of occasions besides Christmas but I need to get into the grove so I am starting with these now.  Poor Katie hasn't had a homemade cookie for ages when I pick her up at school.  Bad Grandma!

The colored candy sprinkles give a festive look and taste great too.
Ingredients for E-Z Cookies:

1 boxed cake mix "Funfruiti, Party Rainbow Chip"  (The white cake with the colored sprinkles in the mix.)
1 thawed box of Cool Whip, 8 ounce size
1 egg
powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When taken from the oven they should be puffed and set but not browned.
Combine the first 3 ingredients until well mixed.  Drop by teaspoons full into a dish of powdered sugar and roll them around to coat well.  Place onto an un-greased baking sheet.  Leave 2" between the balls of dough.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Yield 28 cookies.   Cool, serve, and enjoy!

This is my 1,000th post.  What fun it had been.  Thank you all for visiting!


Christmas Sewing, Making an Oval Christmas Tablecloth, a Special Gift!

My guess is the fabric may be from the early to mid 1900's.
When I went through the vast array of fabrics I have accumulated I found a large vintage piece of cloth that appears to be just designed for a Christmas tablecloth.  Today I measured and laundered it and presently it is adorning my dining room table to give me time to ponder the project.  My table with all of the leaves still in from Thanksgiving is larger than that of the intended recipient but not so much as to alter my process. Pondering is a very necessary component of the things I do in the sewing realm!

If I shorten to drop too much I will loose design.
This is intended to be made for my best friend as a Christmas gift and I don't want to make any unnecessary mistakes of have unforeseen delays. Thus tomorrow I will trek out for some new tailors chalk as mine seems to be hiding from me. Or, maybe I have just used it all?

Diane, my oldest dearest friend,  is an elegant mix of tradition and playfulness and this is reflected in her home.  She has long loved antiques but has broadened into an eclectic mix laced with brightness and fun.

The all over print makes a happy cheery Christmas pattern.
Yesterday she gave me the dimensions of her oval dinning room table, 42" x 82" with the 23" leaf installed.  Today I researched how to make an oval tablecloth and it appears you decide the drop (overhang) around the table and add that to the dimensions.  Next you use a large round object like a big dinner plate as a template and trim off the square corners using that object as a guide. Then you hem.

I am still pondering the drop.
More will follow as I collect my thoughts and get after this project!

2 more pounds are GONE! Talk about cheering me up!

Gosh it has been a hard few months.  And, You can see from my posting that we do quite often eat REAL food.  So I can tell you with great certainty I am thrilled to see I have lost 2 more pounds during very trying sad times.  But I attribute this to the "good" habits I have formed that save me in times when I veer off the track a bit.

One is to drink no calories.  I find this quite easy now although it was not in the beginning as I was raised on and love "sweet tea".  I do not use any artificial sweetener at all ever because I do not believe in artificial, or chemical stuff.  Seems like there is too often a back story to them somewhere down the road.

I really have greatly reduced my habit of consumption of white stuff.  But I do not totally deny myself.

I have made progress in consuming more fresh and raw fruits and vegetables as well as cooked.

We eat more varieties of protein weekly.  More fish especially.

I do eat everything I want on my "free" day but find it is less a big deal as time goes by.  Fewer cravings and so forth.

It is OK with me to do this, what may appear to others as too slow but really steady program.

Now total 47 ponds gone gone gone.


Ham and Potato Casserole is a great use for leftover ham, Gratin De Pommes De Terre St Jambon as adapted from Julia Child

Tender slices of cooked potatoes, ham, and a bit of cheese is a creamy sauce.
This is a recipe with NO flour"gluten" free which is not the case with many recipes for scalloped or Au gratin potatoes.  We are working on cutting back a bit on the "grain" in our diets and it seems logical to me when a recipe such as this one..... is so delicious.... to go for it instead!

Julia Child gives a recipe using sausages in her THE FRENCH CHEF COOKBOOK.  I have adapted this recipe using ham for our family.  We loved it and it is much lighter and more flavorful than using flour as a thickener. 

This casserole served four as a main dish fro supper.
Ingredients for Ham and Potato Casserole:

3 1/2 C. sliced previously boiled potatoes (about 1 pound)
1 C. diced onions, previously cooked in 1 T. butter
2 - 3 C. cooked ham cut into bite size pieces
lightly buttered baking dish with 2+" sides
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. light cream
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 1/2 C. shredded cheese of your choice
1 + 1 T. butter separated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Arrange the layers of potatoes, onions, and ham in baking dish ending with potatoes.  Blend together the beaten eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a bowl pouring over the layers.  Sprinkle with the cheese and dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Bake in the upper 1/3 of the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the top has nicely browned and is bubbling.  Yield 4 servings.

This was served as a main dish for supper with sliced fresh tomatoes and fruit salad.


Jeff Sisson our beloved brother-in-law has passed to the next great adventure with our Lord Jesus.

I have no words. Only the Lord's Prayer,  the 23rd Psalm, and Amazing Grace give me solace.  We all mourn the passing a of an exceptionally good man man.


Yesterday was Egg Day So Today I make Thanksgiving Noodles! (Got Eggs from Harry the Egg Man Down the Road.)

Holiday's are not holidays in our family without the home made noodles.
There were plans made to get eggs Monday but after all the snow and cold set in I phoned Harry Brown and asked if Tues. or Wed. would work just as well.  He was just as happy as could be to oblige me.  Dear man that he is!

Tomatoes in my kitchen window.
So yesterday off I trekked and what to my delight did I see?  A big table of tomatoes just waiting for me!

Green and partially green tomatoes ripening in one dinning room window.
God bless you Harry!  He gave me a big sack and told me to help myself!

The third window of ripening tomatoes!
I returned home with not only 6 dozen eggs but I have three window sills of tomatoes ripening.  With any luck we may still have fresh home grown tomatoes at Christmas!

You do need a sharp knife to slice them!
Today I will pan to make a few batches of noodles to freeze for Thanksgiving then drop them into hot turkey stock for Thanksgiving Dinner.     This is the link if you would like step by step directions to make them too.

The vintage doilies add to the "character" of the patchwork coverlet.
There is mending and sewing to do and I will strip the beds, launder the sheets, and remake them for the company that will be here!  There is a vintage patchwork coverlet my Mother made that needs a bit of additional repair today. Many times I am able to make repairs using the vintage doilies I have collected to cover the worn spots.    Here is another link if you would like to see just how I repair them.

Doilies come in various sizes and colors I have found! 
I am so happy when all of my Children and Grandchildren are here. It makes these tasks fun!


Pizza and Pies for Sunday Supper.

Late Sunday afternoon our middle son called and they were on their way here from Indianapolis where they had attended the High School's band contest.  He said they would be picking up pizza and heading over to treat us for Sunday supper!  Soooo.......I hurried up and baked two of their favorite pies for dessert!

Two sticks of butter cut into dice and frozen.
Beautiful and delicious pie pastry from the processor.
I keep two sticks of butter cut into dice and in my freezer for times like these.  It is a fast start to Food Processor French Pie Pastry! And, here is the link for this favorite recipe!

We ALL love Buttermilk Pie!
And we love Pumpkin pie too.
Then to mix up a Buttermilk pie filling and a Pumpkin pie filling and bake.  And here are these links for the fillings.    and     If you do not care for bourbon, just leave it out!

We have a great supper with lots of catching up and conversation, good food, and very little mess!

I will thank God every day I am able to do what I do. Gingersnaps, Banana Bread, Ribs, & Slaw

Every fall I always make Gingersnaps and this is my mot favorite recipe!
This 1-2-3 banana bread is as easy as it gets!
Yes, I was feeling all toasty and made my banana bread and baked ginger snap cookies yesterday. 

Mmmmm!  Need I say more?
That feeling continued today as I heard Brian out doors with the big leaf blower going! But then as I cleaned up my mess from having put BBQ ribs in to slow cook
and shredded cabbage for Cole slaw I heard my cell phone and it was a weather alert!  Winter Storm warning. NO, I am not ready for this! Not yet!

Oh gees!  The days have already been so grey.  That is bad enough but for the early cold and now snow before Thanksgiving.  Uncommon her but not unheard of.  And then all of the illness and hard times that have befallen those I love.

So much for my pity party.  Get on with it and rejoice in so many things! Not in any particular order.

1. I live in the USA.  While I strongly disagree with the direction things are currently headed we still are a wonderful nation and have been so very blessed.  I will remember to thank God every day for this and for those who guard and protect us all.

2.  My wonderful husband and family.  I will thank God every day for every one of them.

3.  Clean air and water.  I will thank God every day for this.

4. Food and our home and Molly.  I will thank God every day for this.

5. Prayer.  I will speak with God every day through this.

Psalm 71:18  Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.   (KJV)


BEEF JERKY at Home Recipe, Big Protein and Low Calorie Treat, Helpful Hints

Make in your oven or in a dehydrator at home.
We have made jerky in the past.  Several years ago Brian got me a dehydrator and I have made it with that.  It was good but messy and I am not a big devotee of dry, tough, raw meat!  On the other hand Brian loves it and in trying to keep on this semi-diet it might be wise to invest in exploring jerky further!

I remember Alton Brown rigging a dryer out of a box fan and furnace filters.  I don't think I want to do that but with an oven and a home dehydrator there is potential for coming up with a decent jerky I hope.

This morning I have been on a quest for potential recipes.  Many are similar to Alton's.  I found a top ten list in Men's Journal and between them and Alton I hope to be inspired!

2 1/2 pounds sirloin.
Sooo....I made my bi-weekly trip to Sam's Club and found a great piece of beef to make the jerky from!  I am going to place it in the freezer for between 1-2 hours to firm it up for easier slicing then mix up the marinade!  Most of the recipes are similar and I will just go with Alton Brown's.

Ingredients for Alton Brown's JERKY:

2 pounds red meat (beef, elk, bear, venison, wild boar, or any critter you can hunt)
2/3 C. Worcestershire sauce
2/3 C. Soy sauce
2 t. ground black pepper
2 t. onion powder
1 t. liquid smoke
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 T. honey

Semi-frozen meat slices much easier.
Place the meat in the freezer for 1 or so hours, so that it will be easier to slice.  Slice the meat with the grain as thin as possible.  Mine is about 1/8-3/16" thick.

Remove and fat or gristle.
Mix the brine ingredients right in a resealable plastic bag. (Place the bag inside a flat container to make this easier.)

Mix the brine in the bag.
Place the meat strips in the brine.  Move it around so the marinade is evenly distributed around it.  Seal the bag, working out as much air as possible.

Push out excess air, flatten into a flat container, and refrigerate.
Lay the bag flat in the container and refrigerate 3-6 hours turning every once in a while.

Remove the meat from the brine and  drain well, pat it dry and discard the brine.

This recipe smells wonderful as it drys!
It is helpful to spray the dehydrator or oven racks with non stick cooking spray before placing the meat on the racks.   Next place it so it does not touch.  I scattered the meat laden sprayed racks across my double sink and turned on the ceiling fan and left them a short time just to dry a little more before loading them into the dehydrator. 

If using your oven spray the racks.  Next you can place a drip pan on the bottom of the oven to catch any drips then turn the oven's heat to the lowest setting.  Place the strips across the racks and prop the door open with a wad of foil.  Leave until dry and leather like.  I would check every hour or so to start.

Or dry per mfg. instructions in a food dehydrator.

Store in air tight bags at cool temperature. 

I am very pleased with the way these turned out.  They are very flavorful.  I like to send to work with my husband in the event he does not have time for lunch.  It is a much better snack than chips or candy! 

This was a much less messy endeavor than my past attempts due to the use of the non stick cooking spray and the semi-freezing of the meat before slicing.  Both made this a snap.  I load the dryer shelves in the dishwasher and am done.