Thank You Lord and Merry Christmas Everyone!

Just taking a moment to say Merry Christmas and share with you our gratitude to our Lord for sparing my husband Brian the evening of 12-12 when the bolts broke anchoring a 300 pound motor atop a one ton milling machine he and another man were moving.  He was beneath and it hit him and kept going rather than pinning and crushing him.  He is injured but we are optimistic he will be fine soon.  He is home now with us resting and recovering! So thank you Jesus for sparing him and God Bless you one and all.    Diane


FESTIVE PARTY Scarves End this Sewing Project

Single Loop Glittering Metallic Purple Scarf.
Today I finished 6 festive party or special occasion scarves and two red paisley scarves.  This is the end of this current scarf session!  There are some I will wrap in tissue, box, and wrap as gifts, some I will keep for myself, and some I will place neatly in my "gift" drawer for later gift giving.
Double Looped Ice Blue Metallic Scarf.
What I love about them is the ease with which they change the whole look of an outfit.  Add a glittering metallic to a dark turtleneck and trousers and it becomes quite sheik.  Sort of Lauren Becall or Katherine Hepborn!
Single Loop black Velvet with Glitter Pattern.
Double Loop Black and Gold Metallic. (Side A)
Or wear with a skirt and sweater with a glittering scarf and again I see a very quiet elegance bursting through but with a loud whisper!
Single Loop Royal Blue Metallic Scarf.
One of the fabrics really stumped me.  I could not decide which side I preferred so I made two scarves, one of each side.  I will never know which side was meant to be the "right" side.
Black and Gold Double Looped Scarf. (Side B)
Really I have thought this to be great fun and I hate to say I am done!  I may have to make a few more?  We will see....If you would like directions to make one please click on the following link I am happy to share.
Silky and Lightweight Double Looped Red Paisley Scarf.
Tomorrow I round up lace and batting for a new project.  I will see you again with it I feel certain.


Festive Plum Tart with Walnut Crust

This recipe came from a favorite of mine, Ina Garten otherwise known as the Barefoot Contessa."  I adapted it a little but for the most part it is as she published it on The Food Network.  It is sweet and tart and delicious! 

Ingredients for Plum Tart with Walnut Crust:

2 C. flour
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
pinch of kosher salt
3/4 C. finely chopped English Walnuts
1 1/2 sticks cold butter cut in dice size pieces
1 egg yolk
2 pounds (about 10-12) plums pitted and quartered
Ina used Italian prune plumbs I used red plums

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and cut the butter and egg yolk in with a pastry cutter, 2 forks, or your fingers until combined and has pea sized lumps! 

Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a tart pan with a removable bottom.  Arrange the plums skin side down starting on the outside and working your way into the center.

Sprinkle the rest of the crumbs spreading them evenly across the top of the tart. Bake 40-50 minutes until lightly browned and the fruit is tender.

Serve with whipped cream and enjoy warm or at room temperature.   Yield 1, 9 1/2" tart.


Holiday Sewing! Quick Scarves & Cozy Tied Throws for Starters

Soft and cozy royal blue ribbed knit is outstanding!  So I made two!
A few weeks ago I took a quick inventory of winter knits that might be lovely as scarves.  I wanted some bulky, some silky knit, and all pretty.  My first dive into the first tote netted enough for six cowl or circle or infinity scarves.  I was looking for in the neighborhood of 2 yards by 11 or 22 inches.  Not all the same but in the neighborhood!

Love this soft and silky but with medium heft.
Red, black, and white cable is quite striking as well as so soft!

I REALLY like this very soft and a little bulky number and I made two of this too.

Six scarves lined up and done. 

Next I went through the three quilting totes and found three pieces suitable for tied comforter style throws.  I am not sure if I will give them all as gifts or who I might gift them with but I am enjoying getting back to my treasures!

Two velvet and one cotton patchwork topper for a throw.
I plan another fabric dive as soon as I get finished with these pieces!  I also hear throw pillows calling my name. you hear it too?  Ops I had to do it!  Thinking Christmas or New Years Eve sparkling glittering scarves!  Lots to do!

GLITZ GALORE! May go for something festive!
If you want to make one of these scarves (or more).  For each scarf cut fabric 2 yards (72")  by 22 inches.  Fold with right sides facing longways.  Machine stitch 1/2" from the edge the long seam.  Turn right side out.

Fold scarf in half.  Match the raw ends.  Pin right sides facing of the ends and machine stitch leaving a 4" to 6" opening.  Turn the scarf right sides and fold the raw edges of the opening together to close then hand stitch the opening closed.  You are all done!

NOTE:  For complete instructions with photos go to my link as follows.....
Of course you can plat around with the dimensions too!


Little Pies, Pecan and Cherry

I could not sleep Saturday/Sunday night so at 3:30 AM I just got up and got busy making what my husband had requested for Sunday Dinner, individual desert pies.  Little ones 3-4" across the top. 

The recipes are all here just use the finder box should you want them.  I was just having fun messing around!  The tin foil pie pans were handy so I just got after it and in no times I was taking out 6 little pies.  Three each pecan and cherry! Yum!

We have been so very busy lately it was really just plain fun to make these and they were delicious! They just hit the spot with our son Mike and granddaughters Emily and Kate!  Felt good doing for fun rather than because I could or should!

Actually one top crust will make two small pie shells and a recipe for filling for an 8" pie will fill three little pans!  So go have some fun should you be so inclined!


Thanksgiving Countdown 10 Days and it's GO Time for Prep. Starting with Spice Inventory & Making Sachets.

Many times in the past I have gone to prepare things and not had the spices I need.  That has changed over the years.  I keep a good supply of most everything.  I find the best and most economical places to purchase are Asian markets, which I love!  When it comes time to "inventory" I use the older spices for making sachets.  So this morning first thing I pulled open the doors and drawers and my Mother's old blue spatter dishpan and mixed up a batch for closets and drawers.

I found whole Anise, Whole Clove, whole Bay leaves,  green Cardamon seed, and Cinnamon sticks. After dumping a portion of each into my dishpan and stirring to combine I was almost ready!  The room filled with the lovely scents and my spirits were lifted.

Next I cut double layers of cheese cloth into about 7-8" squares and 14" sections of butcher twine.  You can use ribbon and trim back the cheese cloth if you like but these are just going in the back of my closets so no need in this case.  The clove and bay leaves are said to repel moths and the like so that is also a big plus.

Next I placed a big spoonful of the herbs and spices in the center of the cheesecloth and gathered up the corners then tied with the twine.

And I have 10 lovely sachets for my closets and a good idea of any seasonings I need to replace as this Holiday season fast approaches!


Make Ahead Pizza Dough also known a Slow Ferment Pizza Dough

Loved the crisp bottom crust uncommon in a home oven!
Every once in a blue moon I will click around to several blogs, one being Orangette.  I saw this Pizza dough, had everything on hand, so gave it a try.  Easy to stir up, very little mess, and easy to handle dough.  So far a winner.  It is great to keep in the refrigerator 5 days or so (actually 6 days) before using and I like that too.  I love to mix up things in advance!

So when Friday rolled around I called my husband and told him not to stop for Pizza as he often does on Friday nights as I had it covered!  Plus my Pizza's are always DELUXE!

This pizza was topped with sauce, pepperoni, fresh ground chuck, mushrooms, black olives, Parmesan cheese, and Mozzarella. YUM.
Ingredients for Slow Ferment Pizza Dough:

2 C. bread flour
2 C. whole wheat flour
2 t. kosher salt
2/3 t. instant yeast
1/2 t. sugar
1 3/4 C. water

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir together until there are NO dry bits.  Tightly cover and store in the refrigerator.  The next day pull it out and knead for about a minute until it is smooth and elastic.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days untill you want to make PIZZA!

About 2 hours before you will be ready to make the pizzas pull the dough out of the refrigerator.  Use a spatula and remove the dough to a lightly floured board and divide it in half making 2 smooth balls of dough.  Cover and leave 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough is easily stretched.

45 minutes before baking the pizzas select either option one:  for metal baking sheets place them about 6" from the broiler.  Or option two place pizza stones or baking stones on the lowest oven racks.  Heat the oven to it's hottest setting.  NOTE:  I used pizza stones on the lowest 2 racks and set my gas range to 500 degrees F.

Next tear 2 nice sized sheets of parchment paper.  Place on a cutting board or cabinet or the back of a baking sheet or if you are lucky a pizza peel!  Stretch one portion of dough to 12" or so.  I just pressed it out with my fingers and the heels of my palms.  The dough worked very easily.  Then repeat on the second parchment with the second dough. 

Add the topping you have selected and you are ready to bake.  Open the oven, slide out the lowest rack and slide the pizza ON THE PARCHMENT onto the hot stone from off the peel or baking sheet or whatever you have used.  Pull out the next lowest rack and repeat sliding your pizza onto the second hot stone.  Close the oven and bake 8-10 minutes.  Reverse the pizza stones from their pack positions and bake 5 or more minutes until the desired bubbly cheesy pizza happens you like.

When you remove the pizzas let the sit a few minutes before serving.  Yield 2, 12" pizzas.  These were do again pizzas and we will do them again!!

NOTES;  These bake beautifully on the parchment and slide right off.  The pizza roller cutter did not even tear.  I did not get a speck of anything on the 2 pizza stones and did not even have to wash them.  WIN WIN!  The second pizza we just cooled and slid on the parchment onto a plastic bag to freeze for another day.  Another Win!


Pork Fried Rice with Toasted Walnuts

Fast Fry and Delicious.
Last week I cooked a double batch of rice intending to make fried rice this week with the excess.  While looking at fried rice recipes I thought the one from Epicourious looked the most tasty so I adapted!  I love toasting walnuts in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes and adding to stir fry dishes and they were delicious with this!

Ingredients for Pork Fried Rice with Toasted Walnuts:

12-16 ounces lean pork (Place chops or steaks in the freezer 40-60 minutes ahead to firm up for easy slicing and for removal of bone or fat, I have also used cutlets or loin roast.)
4-6 T. peanut or grape seed oil
2 lg. beaten eggs
1 red onion diced
1 bunch green onions with tops sliced on the diagonal about 1/4"
1 T. fresh ginger grated (I keep fresh ginger wrapped in the freezer, then peel and shred what I need and return the unused portion to the freezer, works great!)
2 t. sugar
2 T. hoisin sauce
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1/4-1/2  t. toasted sesame oil
4 C. cold cooked rice
1/3 C toasted whole walnuts, toased as above outlined

Slice the pork thinly with a sharp knife and set aside.

Heat half of the oil in the wok.  When oil is shimmering and hot add the eggs and leave for 10 seconds then turn.   Lightly scramble for 1 minute and remove to paper towels to drain and set aside.

Everything goes back into one pan!
Add the rest of the oil to the wok and when hot add the pork and fry until browned.  Add the onions and cook another minute.  Mix the sugar, sauces, oil, vinegar, and ginger in a small bowl then stir in well.  Add the eggs back in breaking them up as you stir.  Toss in the cold rice and stir well until everything is well coated.  Serve in flat bowls dividing the toasted walnuts atop each serving.  Yield 4 servings.

This was served with a seafood salad and sliced apple for dessert.  My husband was a happy hubby.  He remarked he has lived long and is in reasonably good health because he eats well?  Well that, the grace of God, and good genes I say



I only make about a half dozen or so quick breads and this is one that tops my list.  Grandma Powell gave me this recipe a lifetime ago and we love it!  I had misplaced it and looked for it for a good while!  Then the light came on and my senior moment passed.  I have found it and share it with you now! This recipe yields 2 large loaves of Pumpkin Bread and it does freeze well.  As always, just double wrap for freezing.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bread:

3 C. sugar
1 C. vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2/3 C. water
2 C. pumpkin
1 C. chopped nuts
3 1/3 C. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
1 t. nutmeg
( I leave out the nutmeg and increase the cinnamon to 1 tablespoon plus 1 t. vanilla)

Mix together the sugar and oil.  Add the eggs one at a time beating well.  Blend in the pumpkin.  Alternate adding in the dry ingredients and the water beating after each addition until just mixed.  Stir in the nuts.  Put half of the batter into each of two greased loaf pans.  I sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar but this is optional.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 -1 1/2 hours until a skewer or toothpick tests clean.  Cool and remove from pans.  Store in plastic wrap.


Asian Radishes and Cooking Greens

Small Asian Radishes from Harry's Garden

Friday I had made plans to go buy eggs and tomatoes from Harry and Carole Brown.  As usual he loaded me up with many additional goodies including Asian Radishes which upon tasting my husband LOVED and so did I and I am not usually a radish fan!  He also gave me a huge bag of greens and Carole gave me her recipe for the way she fixes them.  The cooking time can vary depending what texture you prefer.  I simmered these all afternoon for a very succulent and tender dish which we loved. 

The greens were a combination of Kale's, Turnips, and Collards.  They were just wonderful and had big flavor.  Much more than I would have ever dreamed!

Beautiful just picked greens!
Carole's Ingredients for Cooking Greens (as best i remember)

Grocery sack of greens
1 to 3 strips thick cut bacon diced
1 diced onion
1 large clove garlic chopped
1/4-1/2 t. red pepper flakes
8 -9 C. water
3 T. beef bouillon granules or 9-10 cubes
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Washy and de-vein the leaves being sure to tear out the tough main stems and veins.  Roll handfuls of leaves and slice roll about 1" thick and then cut once through the middle.

In a very large kettle cook the bacon until not quite crisp then throw in the onion and garlic and stir well.  After a minute or so add all of the greens, water, pepper flakes and bouillon.  Simmer over low heat 3-5 hours or all day if it suits you!  About 1 hour before serving time add the vinegar, salt and pepper.  Today I am serving the greens with home fries, and pork chops and an apple pie for dessert.

I served the greens in a side dish with an extra splash of balsamic vinegar along with the home fries and pan fried pork chops.

To prepare Asian Radishes for a Veggie Tray:

Peel, slice longways, and let stand is very cold water or in the refrigerator until serving time.  Veggie trays I often serve right when my husband comes home from work.  He always wants to munch on something at that time and it keeps him out of the chips and crackers!  Today we had the Asian radishes paired with carrots, celery, and cold blanched asparagus with a buttermilk dip.


2 Ingredient Houshold Cleaning Solution Works!

Nice clean drip pans were the result of this almost effortless test. 

Recently I read of mixing 2 common ingredients and cleaning inside oven doors with it.  Having noticed my toaster oven door wanting I tried it as well as "painting" the drip pans and burner caps of my gas range.  Both came out well!

Ingredients for Cleaning Solution:

baking soda

These are the painted dirty drip pan as I waited 30 minutes.
Mix together to a paste like consistency still loose enough to apply with a brush.  Paint surfaces to be cleaned and wait 30 minutes before cleaning off with a wet cloth or sponge. 

Soiled toaster oven door painted with baking soda and water paste.
Clean as a whistle as I wipe the grime away with a wet sponge,  Who knew?
This worked great on the inside glass of the toaster oven and good on the drip pans.  I did use a little steel wool on a few scorched places on the burner caps but it came off very easily.  For the most part just a couple of wipes with a wet sponge after waiting 30 minutes, netted clean lovely results in an easy, non caustic manner.  I was very pleased with these results.


Fast, Easy, and KILLER White Chicken Chili, Perfect Fall Lunch or Supper

I make this thick and spicy!
I first tasted White Chicken Chili years ago when David Belt made it for lunch at Ethan Allen where we all worked.  It was DELICIOUS!  In fact I have never tasted better David!  I loved it because it was seasoned with cloves which I adore.  Unfortunately my husband does not.  This version is custom made for him!

I was inspired by the Brooks White Chili Bean ad that Brooks Beans is running.  I got a hankering and this is what has come of it!

Ingredients for Fast, Easy, and KILLER White Chicken Chili:

1 purchased rotisserie chicken (I used one from Sam's Club)
2 cans Brooks White Chili Beans
1 can Cream of Chicken Chili
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chilies
1 can condensed chicken stock (I used about 12 oz, strong chicken stock I had frozen)
1/2 C. hot water
1 fresh jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
1 T. chili powder (I uses Mexanne), or to taste
2 t. Shiriacha hot sauce, optional or to taste

Take the skin off the chicken and remove from the bones and tear or dice the meat.  Add all of the ingredients to the soup kettle except the hot water.  Pour it into the bottom of the container the chicken was packaged in and swirl or stir to capture any remaining chicken juices and add them to the pan of chili ingredients.  

Simmer until the raw jalapeno has cooked and reduce to a low simmer until ready to serve.  Top with shredded Monetary Jack or other cheese to you liking.  YUM.  Yield 6-8 servings.


Dark Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies are Dark Chewy Caramel Good!

Dark, Chewy, and Delicious.
Little did I know this weekend when I became bored with the politics of the day and switched the TV to the food channel only come across Ree Drummond making these wonderful cookies!  I fell in love with the simplicity of them and the luscious consistency.  My adaption was to use packed dark brown sugar and old fashioned oats which were not specified in her recipe.  These are "do agains" as my daughter-in-law calls them.

Ingredients for Dark Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies:

2 sticks (1 cup) room temperature butter
2 C. packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
3 C. old fashioned rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or sil-pat mats and set them aside.

Using  a large mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar beating until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and eggs as you continue beating.

Combine the flour, salt, and soda whisking together and beat into the butter mixture.  Add the oats mixing until well combined.

Drop using a tablespoon scoop dipped in sugar between scoops for ease of dropping or a tablespoon of batter for each cookie leaving 2" between them.  Bake 12-14 minutes until brown and done.  Leave on the cookie sheet a few minutes to cool before removing.  Yield 3 1/2 dozen very yummy cookies. 


The JACCARD, my favorite kitchen tool. Tenderizes meat and poultry in minutes without additives.

When you push down the blades extend into the meat tenderizing without chemicals.
Some years ago I purchased my first Jaccard only to give it away to a visiting relative who fell in love with it after eating moist, tender, and juicy skinless boneless chicken breast we had prepared after using our Jaccard in the prep.

I am now on my third one over a span of more than 35 years!  It is one tool I would never want to be without.

So just what is a Jaccard?

It is a tool that safely extends 45 very sharp stainless steel blades 1" into any meat or poultry you choose.  It has a safe handle and there are three rows of fifteen blades.  It is dishwasher safe and had a self storage case.  The blades retreat unless appropriate pressure is applied and the cover is removed.

I love it because it decreases the cooking time I would estimate by at least a third and it retains moisture more readily due to a better absorption of marinade and a shorter cooking time.

Earlier in the week I used it to tenderize 1" thick USDA Prime sirloin steaks.  Even at a grade Prime not the tenderest of steaks.  After tenderizing both sides of the beef I marinaded in Sesame Asian dressing for about an hour in the refrigerator.

To cook I seared them atop the gas range in a grill pan turned to highest heat on the first side for 3- 4 minutes.  Next I turned them and placed the cast iron grill pan in a preheated 400 degree oven for 5-6 minutes.  I removed from the oven and covered for 5 minutes then served,  delicious.  Perfect medium as my husband likes!  More the taste and texture of a T-bone than a sirloin!

The menu was steak, baked potato, sliced tomato, and fresh sliced pears with walnuts and a drizzle of honey for dessert.

I purchased my most recent JACCARD  from and paid around $40.  I think it is well worth the investment.  They make great gifts and Christmas is just around the corner.  PS:  I DO NOT OWN STOCK AND AM NOT PAID FOR THIS ENDORSEMENT.  I just like the thing!


Fall Baking Begins wih Mother's Vintage Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Coconut Pecan Topping and Fresh Baked Pear and Pecan Bread

Mother's Hand Written Recipe.
Today was the first baking I have done for awhile and it bears the flavors of fall.  Mother made this  vintage recipe for Oatmeal Cake for years and it was my favorite as a child.  The one I always asked for!  It is dense and moist and the broiled pecans and coconut topping are way beyond my candy with cake?

This broiled coconut pecan topping is perfect.
Mother's Vintage Oatmeal Cake Ingredients:

1 C. rolled oats
1 1/2 C. boiling water
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. sugar
1 stick (1/2 C. ) soft butter
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/3 C. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. soda
1/2 C. raisins (optional)
1/2 C. chopped pecans (optional)

Broiled Coconut Pecan Topping Ingredients:

2 sticks butter
1/4 C. cream or evaporated milk
2 C. brown sugar
2 C. sweetened flaked coconut
2 C. coarse chop pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and place the rack so the top of the cake is in the center of the oven.  Butter and flour a 9" x 13" baking pan and set aside.

Pour the boiling water over the oats and leave to sit for 20 minutes.  Cream together the sugars and butter in a large mixing bowl. Next stir in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.

Using another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients and add 1/2 to the batter.  Add 1/2 of the oat mixture and stir just until combined.  Add the rest of the flour then the res of the oats stirring well.  If desired add the nuts and raisins just until combined.  Bake 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the topping ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Stir as you bring to a boil.  Boil 1 minute and remove from the heat. 

When you remove the cake from the oven spread evenly with the warm topping.  Place the cake under the broiler for about 2 minutes until bubbling!  Do not walk away.  Watch closely as not to burn.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  This cake travels well and is always a hit.

Beautiful Fresh Pear and Pecan quick bread.
I saw this recipe on the Iowa Housewife blog and had to try it.  It came out beautifully and is delicious!  Love something a little different and this did hit the spot. I did adapt the recipe a bit as one of our sons does not care for the flavor of nutmeg.  I used ginger instead and it was great with the pears.

Wish I had a jar of my Grandmother's Pear Honey to slather onto this beautiful bread!
Fresh Pear and Pecan Quick Bread Ingredients:

2 lg. eggs
1 C. sugar
3/4 C. sour cream
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 t. fresh grated lemon zest
2 C. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
good pinch of ginger (or nutmeg if you prefer)
1 1/2 C., 2 medium fresh pears, peeled, cored, and chopped.
1 C. rough chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees  F. and butter and flour a 5" x 9" loaf pan and set it aside.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Add sugar, oil, sour cream, and lemon zest mixing altogether well.  Add all of the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Stir in the pears and pecans.  Spoon into the loaf pan and spread evenly.  Bake 60-70 minutes until it tests clean.  Cool 10 minutes and remove from the pan.  Cool completely before wrapping tightly in a large plastic bag.  Store in the refrigerator if you have any left.  Most of mine was gone after one setting!