Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone-and my Thoughts

                     {#airborne.gif}  Happy New Year Everyone{#airborne.gif}

This morning we woke up to an inch or two of fresh snow-first snow of the season here where I live. Just enough to make the woods beautiful.
We are going to our friends Mr L tonight, for his annual shrimp boil on New Years Eve. Nice to be invited out to a friends, and very local as well. I will be making a pasta dish to take along with some garlic bread.
Still making soap today. My order was for 3 dozen bars. I can usually manage to make 1 dozen a day, so hope to be able to mail out on wednesday. I was really thankful for this order; it gave me a boost for my shop as I was very dissappointed with my holiday sales as a whole-but also very thankful for the sales I did receive. and I was also happy to be able to make a soap totally fragrance free for my customer-so that most of all made me happy.
My thoughts on the coming New Year: as I have mentioned before I never was one to make a list of resolutions. Instead, as I have gotton older, I may make a few goals for myself instead. 
   1. To make my little world here in my woods as happy and content as possible. 
   2. Enough of all the gloom and doom-especially the direction I preceive our country is going.
While reading this book on the civil war-"On Shattered Ground" sorry, but these times-although different-just do not compare. We will survive this-some how some way. Our country is still the greatest country on earth. and I weill strive to keep it so-in what ever I can do. ps--I found it promising that the senate republican minority leader called in the vice president-a democrate-to help with negotiations on this fiscal cliff. as it seems the President is keeping the hands of the democratic majority leader tied on how he can compromise  so people in congress are trying to work together-although the news media does not want anyone to think that
ok sorry enough politics
   3. one of my goals still remains on my list-to look at the positive rather than the negative, to keep an open mind, to continue learning.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lazy Day Today and Venison Roast

  Turned out to be a real lazy day today. Windy and pretty cold this morning, so I did my outside chores, and was in for the rest of the day; keeping the wood stove filled with wood for a warm fire.
  I had taken out a small venison roast last night, marinated it in just a small amount of Louisanna marinade, and this morning I rinsed it off well with cold water, and put it in the slow cooker on top of thin sliced red onion and minced garlic, with just a tad of light olive oil. It stayed in the slow cooler on very low all day. The juices made up into a delicious gravy, and I made fresh mashed potates, and frenched green beans along with a tossed salad. Definately Good Eats!!
   I just got in a large soap order, that needs to be totally fragrance free, so since the venison smelled so good cooking-was worried about scent transfer to the soap-my customer is extremely allergic to all fragrances--so I will start on that early tomorrow morning, so today I got into reading a book I had recently purchased.
  I needed a little break from my civil war book-on scattered ground-am up to a long chapter that was wriitern by Mark Twain. So I put that down and stared on my Sparks book The Lucky One. My mom introduced me to this author-his stories keep you reading til you are finished. I am about half way thru the book now.
   Now usually what I do, when it gets to a major turning poing in a book-I read the last chapter-to find out if everything turns out ok-this drives my friends and family nuts-but I have always done this on a good book. But so far I have not done that with this one-and will try hard not too lol This book is so good I may continue reading it this evening.
   Happy weekend everyone.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rug Hooking Project

Those of you that followed me back on Multiply and also Blogger, remember that hooked rug I had started?? Well, since this is kind of a lazy week; it's really cold outdoors, got all the fire wood in, and I haven't been feeling super great-major food allergies I think, not sleeping well---decided to get back on my hooked rug this afternoon.

 All I have left to do now are the borders. My goal this winter is to get caught up on all my quilting, weaving, and hooking projects before I get tempted to start anything brand new. I am so bad about that-getting 4 or more projects going at the same time.

 I just finished up with one side-will do the corners last. This is my first rug hooking adventure-so when it is all completed I am really hoping it will steam down flat-I put a few too many stitches in several areas. But I am really liking the outcome otherwise. 

 For my new readers here, I had purchased this printed pattern from Minick and Simpson-they had put together kits to help out the soldiers, and since I had my own wool I asked if I could just buy the printed linen. She said yes, she had one left, and had even sewn on the binding already. All this wool is recycled wool clothing from the resale shops. The white is actually a sweater that ended up working out well-a little stretchy but I like it. I had my Moms old rug cutter, that needed all new cutter cylinders added. She wore hers out-she did lots and lots of hooking when I was young growing up. So I bought a couple sizes that are for primitive hooking-mostly blocks of color, not allot of shading or detailed work.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ice Flowers This Morning

  When Larry went up to the post office early this morning, he spotted some ice flowers along our driveway. So when he told me about them, I bundled up and grabbed the camera. I had done a post about these a couple years back, but I have never spotted them here on our property. I usually forget all about looking for them.

  They form when it has been warm enough to still have water and moisture inside the plants, and then when it gets really cold nature makes these ice flowers. I also included a couple of photos of the twin deer that visit the feeders every day now. This has been a year due to the drought and extreme hot summer-there is little food for the wildlife this winter. enjoy

Here is an article about the ice flowers or sometimes called frost flowers here

Monday, December 24, 2012

Another Art Swap Arrived in the Mail This Morning

   I was very excited that I received this package from Jilly in the UK. She mailed it some time ago so have been anxiously waiting for it.
   I love it! The photos don't do this quilted wall hanging justice-as I didn't have a good spot to hang on the wall yet and take a photo. The first photo was taken on the door in our unfinished bathroom-cause there is good light right there and I wanted you all to see the pretty hanger So don't look at the backgroune-lol
Thank you Jilly

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Memorable Conversation with my Mom Today

  I call my Mom at least once a week, sometimes more. She has dimentia, but actually she is still doing pretty well-things considered. Brother has taken over her financials for her cause she was worried she may forget to pay someone.
   She is as active as she can be with her new local church, and also with a senior program she goes to. She has found rides for these activities. She can not sew any more, which is sad as she used to spend hours on her quilts. Instead she still does lots of reading, and I sent her some new 12" blocks to embroider, which she can still do and enjoys.
  A couple years ago she had mentioned about the wood cook stove that she was brought up with-thru the entire time til she went off to college. She had called me this afternoon cause she was bored, I told her when that happens to just call me or her friends. Now never before-growing up as kid at home-do I remember her ever mentioning the wood cook stove, and no indoor plumbing.
  So, anyways I brought the conversation back to the wood cook stove. I told her about my boiled cider-which did not remember ever having. But she said she remembered it was a real art to bake something perfectly in the wood cook stove. Of course very easy to cook on top of the stove-lol She said she loved the huge water resevoir the best-cause they always had hot water that way for all their needs. Including taking a bath-so she told me they had these galvanized tubs-would use the hot water from the stove to take a bath in.
   So this was a really neat conversation we had. Learned that the house was not updated with a hot water heater and shower, and gas stove, til the early years of when she had left home and gotton married. 
  After todays conversation-my farm girl country roots definately came from my mom and her parents. 
 Just wanted to share this, our conversations in the past are usually a bit strained, and I can't wait to get off the phone with her. This was really nice, and will be very memorable-I will think of this as my Christmas present between the both of us this year.

Homemade Belgian Waffles This morning

I only make these for a treat for us, and I don't change up the butter to something healthier like I will do in most recipes I make now

. To go with this I cooked down to a thick fruit sauce-blueberries, strawberries, and rhubarb from my freezer. I also tried out my boiled down apple cider-awesome!

The photo shows my gluten free ones. I have followed a recipe I found at allrecipes for years now. Here is a link to the recipe.

 Since we put sugar on top of our waffles-fruits, syrups, I don't think the recipe needs 1/2 cup sugar so I put in 1/4 cup sugar instead which I usually use splenda or a blend of sugar and stevia.. This works out well for us-I divide the recipe in half and make Larry the regular version, and I use gluten free flours plus xanthan gum in mine.

This recipe always turned out perfect too. We splurged and bought a Krups waffle iron about 6 years or go so for this-very nice.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Art Sunday Art from my Swaps

  I thought I would share the art I have received so far in my art swap.
First from Ingi   Rabbit in the Woods

Mr. Rabbit is sitting in my bay window-so he can watch the deer, squirrels, turkeys, and the rest of the critters-lol

and from Yellow Rose she sent me a painting of birds, and also a very cool cut out christmas ornament

I didn't have a good place to take photos, so I set these pieces up in my bay window.
I am not a painter, so I sent along handmade pillows, each one different, made from my own hand dyed fabrics, vintage laces and threads. 

My Boiled Cider Comes off the Wood Stove

    I just took this off the wood stove.

 I started out with 1/2 gallon or a little more of apple cider, and placed it in my Griswold cast iron pot, along with a 4" cinnamon stick.  I probably could have let this cook down a little more, but I love the flavor already. I guess I didn't want more to cook away-lol. This is a little over a cup, and could have gotton a little thicker. I figured for a glaze over meat, I can put some of it back on the stove.
      I am making us Belgian Waffles tomorrow morning so will use this for a syrup choice along with the maple syrup I have from Wisconsin. See my blog a couple posts back for the link back to Jims wood stove cooking. I will do this again.

String Quilts Made from Silk Ties

On saturdays I usually turn it on PBS and watch the morning craft and sewing shows.
Today on Fons and Porter they are doing a string quilt made with ties. I love this one. I usually don't like tie quilts cause they do not de construct them. Here is a link

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    Song Saturday Beyond the Missouri Sky

    This is one of my most favorite cd's  this is just one of the songs.

    Making Chocolate Popcorn & on the Wood Stove Boiled Cider

      I have posted this recipe in the past, but it is so good. I use the very first recipe listed here but I use quality dark chocolate instead of the milk chocolate.  It turns out crunchy and fabulous just like the gourmet store bought Thought I would make up a batch today and we will deliver it to our small post office here to enjoy.

      Sunshine today, no wind, but still very cold here. Is to warm up later on this afternoon. 

       I put some jazz on for background music today. I actually prefer quiet most days-no tv no radio, but today I was in the mood for some jazz.

       I also am making some boiled down cider, to use as a glaze. I read about it on Jim's wood stove cooking blog. Since it is colder now and the wood stoves are cranking, thought this would smell good too as it cooks down. I just happen to have a gallon of cider in the pantry.

      Yikes,  from this photo my wood stove looks pretty dusty, as does my Griswold pot (which is actually nice and tempered and clean inside)   My new ecofan from Lehmans is actually turning fast and pushing out heat from the stove.

      Have an awesome friday.

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

    A Non Productive Day Today

      I am one of those people that even though I am retired, I am still pretty busy and productive. I am either cooking or baking something, making soap, or doing something creative out of my craft room. I also have many projects in the house to do too-like finish up the tissue papered walls in the bathroom, set more rocks in there too. 

    Not today though-wasn't too productive-lol

       Today, with the weather here-very high winds and quite cold, I thought a good day to weave. I have towels on my smaller loom still, and need to get those woven off. I have probably 2 more towels to weave plus the one I am working on now. These are kitchen towels or can be used as hand towels. In my search tool-lower left side bar, near my fish-if you type in weaving-it should bring up this project. Well, with all this wind making noise I just could not get into this-as I need to be focused.
       I did read a bit in a civil war book I picked up "On Shattered Ground" I really like this book so far-it is a composite in timely order of the events of the war but thru documents and written material only.
      This morning I made a double batch of my amoretto recipe-had not made that in some time, and is nice to have around. I usually like that over the rocks or mixed with scotch over the rocks. If you put in recipes beverages, you will find it in that tag there is a post with my kaluha recipe and amoretto recipe together.
       I also spent way too much time on the computer today. But a day like this, is nice to do as well. I ended up deleting my google plus account-so if I did that right it should be gone. Never was really comfortable with that-and I really don't need it. No interaction over there, and most of my friends that tried it too do not like it-and have ended up on facebook instead.
         I am working with my other blog-blogster- and here too, with better communication between my readers. That will be my goal in the coming year.
       We were going to go out hunting tonight-it is black powder season-but decided to wait til tomorrow-for the wind to die down.
       Well, I am off to make supper

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    Thoughts on my Blog Here on Blogger

      I started this blog right after Yahoo 360 went under, cause allot of my quilting friends decided to come here and allot also went to Facebook. Now this month Multiply has gone under-and I have chosen to use this as my main blog for archiving my material.

      When Multiply added the cross posting feature a couple years ago-I also brought allot of my blogs on recipes and crafts etc. here.

      I love my page on blogger, I love all the added features here, great archiving tools, search tools, I can list the blogs I like to read on one of the side panels.

      A couple things I don't like here, when I make a comment on another bloggers page-I am not notified if there was a reply to my comment-only way to know that-is to go back and find my comment.

      It is also difficult to get friends built up here. Seems most post their blogs, but do not interact with comments to their blog. Is it just me, and have some of you ran into this as well?  I have found a couple blogs I enjoy reading, and I enjoy commenting on-but for the  most part never get any feedback on my comments-Also they don't comment on my blog-so I am figuring they do not visit me. 

      Most of my Multiply friends went to Blogster-there I can have great interaction with friends-but the format of the software is soooo old and outdated that nothing works well, and who ever is in charge there does not care to fix anything.  So, I know that no blog site seems to have it all.

      I would love comments here about what I am experiencing here on blogger-does this happen to you as well-little interaction, and difficult to get friends here? thanks

    Also any thoughts on google plus-I joined that and still do not have that figured out.I have my blog tied in with that.
        It seems set up for better interaction with friends-but the few friends I have here do not interact there either. 

    Happy Wednesday-Doings

      Today was one of those dreary looking days, very cloudy, and one could feel the weight of the air.  There is a winter blizzard coming from the west of us and will make it's way up north by just missing most of Missouri as it heads up towards Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Chicago area and further north. We are to get a thunderstorm tonight, along with very cold temperatures.

      It definately feels and looks like a storm brewing here. So this morning I refilled the wood rack, brought in wood for the two wood stoves, and then helped Larry bring in some more wood, and he also wanted to get the wood splitter out of the woods and up near the house and covered. So with that task finished, I have been doing up the laundry, and getting ready for supper.

       When ever a possible storm is coming, I like to have dry wood in, laundry washed, and clean up the house a bit as well-in case we should lose our electric. I do have several gallons of water on hand as well.

       We have been enjoying our daily deer visitors. Always the young twins, lots of does, and once in awhile a buck. The wild turkey flock we watched up near the house since spring-paid us a visit too this past week-my have they ever grown-so cool to see these very large turkeys up so close to our bay window-

       Black powder season has opened up-and ends on christmas day, I am thinking of going out in the woods to one of our food plots and hunt tomorrow and the next day-will be the perfect weather for it.

      So are you all ready for Christmas? Have not decided what to make us for Christmas dinner. It may just be bbq ribs, cause they are Larry's favorite food, and I still have some in the freezer.

       well, enough rambling on-have a great evening all


    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    Sharing my New Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

      I wanted to share this recipe, cause it is sooo delicious. The last couple years, especially, I have been searching for a really tasty homemade hot cocoa mix, and not one of those recipes from my 60s and 70s years that used an instant coffee creamer, and nextle's quik, etc. have you ever read the ingredients on those things?? lol  And I no longer buy any premade cocoa mixes from the store. If you read the ingredients, even on the no sugar ones, you will understand what I mean.
       Anyways, last year I found one that I liked pretty much, but was still just missing a little body to it, plus I used really dark cocoa which was a bit on the bitter side.
       A little while back I found this recipe from America's Test Kitchen-had to be pretty good right-it is-I love it. It makes a nice big jar full too, I had a couple cups left over from last years mix-so I threw that in, so it would not go to waste. If you need less sugar use a dry sugar substitue. and when shopping for white chocolate chips, be sure to flip the back over, and only buy ones that have no hygronated fats included. The ghiradelli brand is excellent. I think adding these chips in was the missing ingredient. I think this is a better quality cocoa then store bought. and I change up the milk, instead of cows milk when making up my hot cocoa, I heat up soy milk, or almond milk, or coconut milk-all with no added sugars.
    Hot Cocoa Mix from the America"s Test Kitchens
    3 cups nonfat dry  milk powder
    2 cups confectioners sugar I used half splenda and half conf. sugar could also use a sugar-stevia blend-I like Domino's brand
    1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips I used ghiradelli brand
    1 1/2 cups Dutch processed cocoa I used a good quality from Penzeys spices
    1/4 teaspoon salt I omit
    Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined
    working in a couple small batches, process in food processor intil all the chips are ground fine.
    the mix can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 months-or freeze what you do not think you can use up in 3 months
    To make a cup of hot cocoa: heat one cup of milk until steaming-3 to 5 minutes  in a small pan on the stove-I popped mine into the microwave on medium til it was steaming hot. whisk in 1/3 cup cocoa mix until well dissolved-this mixed in really really well too.
    Pour into mug and top with  marshmallows if desired--they have peppermint mini's now available-yum

    In Sympathy

      My heart goes out to the families of the victims from the horrific crime yesterday-no words are available to express my grief over this one

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Christmas Candy Making

      Today is warmer and full sunshine, so especially since we have full sun-going to make some candy today.
       Thought I would share some links to my archived recipes:
           peanut brittle    I love this one, and have gotton good at making this-lol
            divinity  new for me last year-fun to make and turned out awesome
           fanny may fudge-with my version of mostly dark chocolates, less sugar
            Ina Gartner's white chocolate lollipops-I could not find my post on this one, but here is her recipe-I love this one-made these last year, as I watched her make them on her show.

    These are my favorites, and my new favorite this year is the coconut chocolate recipe I got from Ingrid-Rabbit. I used my sugar free coconut from bobs red mill, and dark chocolate-this is so awesome-just melt 8 ounces of chocolate-she has semi sweet, and toast 2 cups of shredded coconut-then stir the coconut into the melted chocolate-thats it- drop by teaspoonfulls on waxed paper cookie sheets-let set up-and then pop them in your mouth.  I made another batch this morning using half dark chocolate and half chocolate mint chips, and I forgot to toast the coconut-but I like them this way too-a little more chewy instead of more crunchy--thanks again Ingi.
      Just need a little break-off to make my fudge-I am using coconut-almond milk this time for the milk and mostly all unsweetened dark chocolates. will use half organic sugar and half splenda to help keep the sugars down.

    Photos of my dark chocolate fudge-so heavenly, and the chocolate coconut drops
    This fudge is as creamy and fabulous as it looks. I used for the milk diamonds coconut-almond milk, 2 cups organic sugar, stevia-sugar blend for a cup of the sugar, and 1 cup of splenda, all the chocolates were mostly different darks-like bittersweet, or baking so less sugar in the chocolates, and I did use a cup of dark chocolate chips and dark mint chocolate chips once this sets up-I will cut into small pieces, and store in the freezer. this makes 5 pounds of fudge-
    Larrys says it is windy and still quite cold outdoors-so next up us homemade caramels-a first for me.

      Just took the caramels off the stove and poured them. they are now to cool a bit til set up. I don't own an 8 by 8 pan so I used a longer and more narrow one-which I think will be good, as the caramel will not be so thick. It taste like caramel-but I think is not going to be chewy like kraft caramels, but harder. Have never made or had homemade caramels so do not know what they should be like.
       It did take forever, allot longer than 10 minutes, to get up to the 148 degrees. I did even bring out my vintage taylor thermometer to see if my new taylor was correct-and they both read the same temperature.
    the next step is to sprinkle with fancy salt-I have kosher flaked, that I will use, and cut into pieces. I think they said to cut this in half and then roll them up and then cut and salt-have not decided if I want to roll them up though-

    Here is Ina's recipe for the caramels

      Wednesday, December 12, 2012

      Good Morning to all my Readers

        My laundry soap saga-{#basic-ohsnap.gif} well late last night I checked my 5 gallon bucket of soap-and it still did not look like soap-so figuring perhaps I boiled away the soap since it took me too long to get it all grated-I grated 3 more bars of soap-but larger flakes so went faster-boiled that down with a large pan of the mixture-and added back in to the bucket-still some wierd soap I have here-{#rofl.gif}I am really thinking that perhaps the glycerin could be the problem. I used a different glycerin-I thought glycerin was all the same-but perhaps not? don't know-but I did add it to everything in the beginning of the process, and not folded in at the end-that was really the only difference. 
         well I am not going to throw out 5 gallons of soap-so will use it and see how it cleans, and not worry about this any more.
        For those of you that are interested-I found a new blog about the adventures of someone and their wood cook stove here  I am finding it interesting reading, and can adapt some of it to my wood stove. Todays blog was about boiled cider. I have seen that mentioned in gourmet food magazines and always wondered about it. you put cider in a pan-put on the back burner of your stove and forget about it for several hours while it cooks off all the water-you end up with a thick syrup like honey-I happen to have a gallon of cider on hand-so I may just boil down half of it. Might be good over belgian waffles.
         I am kinda blah today and cold too this morning, we are getting use to cold temps again this week. Don't know what I want to do yet, when it warms up, I need to refill the wood rack, take the compost bucket out, and see if Nikita wants to take a walk later.
        We have been getting 4 to 6 deer visitors every afternoon now, but still no sign of the wild turkey flock. I miss seeing those guys.
        Those of you watching the Voice-were you surprised who got sent home last night?? The final 4 are all excellent-and any one of them can win. I was surprised who went home though, the young teenager with an unbelievable voice-but I know celo green will help him now with his career going forward.
        Have an awesome new day everyone!!
      more vintage cards here

      Update-well I just went in the laundry room to try out the soap--and and I got soap!-it looks like it is suppose to now 
      So needless to say I am happy happy now.

        Monday, December 10, 2012

        Wood stove Cooking

        I am more and more wanting a wood cook stove-I have no idea where I would put it {#basic-ohsnap.gif}, but I have always wanted one-and to learn how to cook and bake on it well.
          I have thought of designing something on a patio, with the wood cook stove, and have a roof over the stove-for the pipe and to protect it from the elements. we are getting old now so don't know if this will ever happen-but I still want one-lol
           I have run into a few articles online, and this one caught my eye-cooking on an exisiting wood stove. Now I have done this in the past-so perhaps I need to expand this idea further. I have all the cast iron I would ever need-we have been collecting pieces  for 30 years now-I pick up a piece when ever I see something we don' t have, can afford, and is usa vintage.
          anyways here is a post I just ran into today This even goes into cooking inside the woodstove-which I never would have thought of-one would need to have the fire temperature fairly low for this I would think. I do have that cookbook they show at the end of the article-I picked up this book just before retirement-I need to get that out and read it again.
           Here is another post I ran into allot of it information cooking on the woodstove-so I guess I need to look into this further-cooking on the wood stoves we have already.
          If you happen to be like me and dream of a wood cook stove (I know I am wierd) here is a page with lots of photos.


          Healthy Mondays Christmas Goodies

          I haven't posted a healthy mondays in awhile, so since I am watching the Packers play in their game tonight, and I just finished another pillow for my craft swap-I decided to look for healthier goodies to make for Christmas.
            Elana's pantry is one of my new go to sites for gluten free, she also posts vegan and grain free, and her recipes are very user friendly and good tasting. check here for 10 christmas cookies. 
             I found a very long list of healthier cookie recipes from Eating Well here  lots of choices on this site.
             from above site I found Boot Tracks-it is made with your waffle iron

          From the Nourishing Gourmet I found several healthier chrismas candy recipes-refined sugar free here

          20101124IMG 3227 thumb My Favourite Snickerdoodles

          I found a vegan snickerdoodle cookie recipe that looks good-I would change up the sugar to organic sugar, or could use coconut sugar, stevia-sugar blend, or other healthier sugar choices. recipe here

          Saturday, December 8, 2012

          Art Sunday Civil War Christmas

          I posted an art sunday civil war christmas last year, but decided I wanted to do one again this year, as we are still in celebration of the anniverasary of our civil war.

          December 25, 1861

          Soldiers' Recollections of Christmas 1861
          Soldiers' Recollections of Christmas 1861
          Christmas dawns on nations engaged in fraternal warfare. The largely non-religious nature of the holiday at this time in American history is evidenced in relatively little discourse of religious nature. In army camps North and South, many soldiers feast on turkey and side dishes and engage in recreational activities. On the home fronts of both nations, the holiday celebration is muted by the absence of family members away in the army.
          For some northern soldiers, the holiday is rather dull. One Minnesota soldier writes:
          This Morning dawned very pleasant and the whole day, but it was a very dull Christmas for us…. the dulest Christmas that ever I spent in all my life and hope I never shall again. Being a soldier is not like being at home on that day. The boys in my mess got a lot of oysters and good fresh milk and made a good Soup of them. But I had to look on and see them ‘go in right’…. good ernest, as I am no oyster eater. I could not stand it to look on, so I pitched in and eat a lot of bread and Molasses, for a substitute for oysters.

          n 1861, Nast was assigned by his bosses at Harper's Weekly to draw an illustration for “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” His Santa was drawn from Nast’s Bavarian roots and was among the first American commercial images of Santa. In 1863, Nast drew Santa crawling down a chimney.

          A nice blog post here about a civil war christmas

          Another post from Barbara Brackman's civil war blog here

          Christmas Eve 1863To the left is a photograph of one of Thomas Nast's depictions of a heartsick separated family's Christmas during the third year of the American Civil War. The woman looks longingly at the winter's moon while the lonely soldier gazes sadly at his family's picture. Click on the picture for a larger image. Then, look closely at the lower images to see the graves of comrades and other scenes all too familiar to the Civil War soldier. Conversely, in the upper right and left corners, joyful images offerhintsof a much happier time.
          This photograph originally published in Harper's Weekly, now courtesy of the Library of Congress.

          from here    do also click on this painting for a larger view if it does not show up-still click to view

          My Hanukkah Dinner for Hubby & my New Ecofan for the Woodstove

            I was very pleased with my dinner. Worked on it most of the day, I love to cook, so this was my hanukkah gift to my special someone.
             I started out making kugel, we got the recipe from a friend, and is a little different than the usual eggs, sour cream, and cottage cheese. This recipe is the noodles, tossed with beaten eggs, then raisins, and diced apples are folded in along with cinnamon and vanilla extract, and very little sugar.
             I then started the corn beef on the stove, simmered slowly all afternoon; while making Ingrid's coconut and chocolate delight-these are awesome and will be making these again for sure. Recipe in comments on yesterdays blog.
            For side dishes I make red cabbage with sliced apples, and sprinkled in some caraway seeds that I simmered in a bit of water on top of the stove-this dish was very delicious. I also was so proud of my latkes. I do not do well with fried potatoes, or fried hash browns, so I was a little leary about this.
            After much reading online, and from some of your's input, I decided on following a recipe I found on Food Network. I saw the recipe in a video on their hanukkah recipe page. The chef was Anne Burrell and I will definately save my notes and make it this way again.
             In her recipe she used yukon golds, but I had russetts on hand, and since most recipes used those I did too. I boiled three small russets that were diced small til tender. While they were cooking I shredded three large russets into cold water with lemon juice added. I did not like her idea of using rice wine vinegar to stop the oxidation of the potatoes.  After reading your input on the food mill, I decided to mash the cooked potatoes with my vintage hand masher. Oh and I threw in dehydrated minced garlic into the water while they were cooking. I then poured the shredded potatoes into a strainer. and then squeezed the water out of them by hand til dry-added to the mashed potatoes. I diced a few onions and threw them in. and I beat one egg, and added 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to the egg and stirred that into the potatoes.
            I used one of my iron skillets with light olive oil-and fried, and then I had a cookie sheet with a cookie rack on it that I put the potatoes on to drain-and put those in a warm oven to keep hot til ready to serve. For sides we had apple sauce and sour cream for the latkes, green olives stuffed with blue cheese-which are fabulous, mustards and horeseradish, and red wine.
              An awesome feast if I must say so myself-lol  Larry will probably try out the kugel tomorrow for breakfast.
          Oh and this is a photo of my new fan for the wood stove-love it-no noise-none-those of you that run a woodstove in the house you know what I mean-those fans are just too noisy for me
          I found this fan in the lehmans catalog and showed it to Larry. he says yes I have been looking at those for a few years now and they have been fairly expensive. These were down to 150.00 but plus shipping. so we looked on ebay-and Lehmans was selling their newest models of these ecofans for 119.00 with free postage-so we bought one to try. I love it-I thought the photo of the fan would show it in spin mode but doesn't. No electric to run these-they just sit on top of your wood stove. when I get some extra money I want to get one for our second stove. They do throw the heat-and they are Quiet-did I tell ya I love that-lol

          Wednesday, December 5, 2012

          Busy Day Yesterday-Winter Coming in Over the Weekend

           My neighbor friend and I spent the entire day in town yesterday. She needed to get some things looked at on her car at the dealers, I had a dentist appointment, and we both had food shopping, and a stop at Kitchen Collections too. In the process of dropping her car off and me walking to the dentist, she told me about a book store right around the corner.
             This was a treat as they had one very long wall of magazines-mostly speciality magazines on different topics-including lots of fiber arts, so I enjoyed that adventure and came away with a mixed media magazine from Australia.
            The other big hunt was for a new wood stove thermometer. Ours are all going on 30 years now, and one of them finally stopped working. the main stores did not carry them, a lumber yard had one I did not like, so I said who will have one for sure is the farm store. I got the last one. We are used to our thermometers with the colors-ranging from yellow up to red-red being too hot, and that is the one the farm store carried.
                Started early in the morning and we got home just before dark-so yep a long day-lol
             I bought a few things to make christmas treats for us, want to try some new recipes and will give allot of it away too. 
             I have two more items to make for my swaps, this has been fun for me to create nice pieces again. I have busy making soap and putting up venison, and doing other things that I really needed to get back in my craft room again. So thanks again to all that swapped with me.
             We have had May like weather for a week now-and we are getting spoiled for sure. but winter temps are slowly on their way-the house was cold this morning as we have been used to 60s at  night.
             Not sure what I want to do today. I may wash up all the rugs again and clean a little so everything is washed before the 20s hit here next weekend. I also need to make up another pail of laundry soap-I seem to be going thru it much faster than last year-doing up more rugs this year I think. I can do that while I work on another of my swaps.
            I am with friend Deb, not being able to tag my blogs the way I want to and being able to archive them so I can go back to them-is a real drag here. Hoping the new blogster rewrite gets unveiled soon.
            Happy Hump Day everyone. I guess I know I am getting older when mostly the only christmas cards I receive are from business's now-and not having any family here-and being so busy with other things this year, I may not bring out my little trees this year-although I may do that christmas eve like I did last year. Hubby is jewish, so we never did allot with the holidays-but I do enjoy cooking and baking for all the holidays
            Enjoy your wednesday

            Sunday, December 2, 2012

            This Post is for my Christmas art-craft Swappers

              I started on my swaps last night, decided to make pillows for everyone from my hand dyed, sun dyed fabrics.

            Art Sunday Reindeer

              I am thinking reindeer this morning
            animal, cute, deer, photography, reindeer
            below a little fiber art-hooked rug
            Hooked Rug Santa & Mischievous Reindeer on Roof Top

              Friday, November 30, 2012

              Good morning Friday & I won a Little Giveaway

              Well, I am reading my blogs and my emails this morning-so nice to do with a cup of coffee and being retired now don't have to rush off to work-love that. and from the Eat Boutique I won this book. I rarely win anything so this was fun.
              I signed up for Eat Boutiques posts by email because they aways seem to have good recipes, and I noticed they did allot of really nice giveaways. They are always featuring different companies too here is what they say on their blog:
              Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes for food fans, and sell individual items for home cooks. With our global friends, we share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans.
              I needed to look up the book I won, cause I had entered for another one that was all for canned things and homesteaders which would have been really nice. We don't eat much sweets, Larry can't any more-but I do like to make a few things thru the holidays and January's winters-for fun  My candy books are all ancient so this will be nice to read thru.
                  A little sore this morning from the wood stacking. We haven't been able to keep up with the firewood constant-so my body needs to readjust each time.
                 Late yesterday afternoon, I picked up Miss Calico kitty and we took a walk to the furthest of our ponds. She used to take walks with me all the time when we first got her about 8 years ago now. When we got to the pond she was anxious to get down and not be carried, so we had a nice walk back together. I think my furry family members have always kept me motivated to take a walk every day.
                 It's friday already. this week has flown by for me. I will be making another batch of the christmas soap today-the guest soaps with peppermint and red and green and white highlights on top. as I had sold the first batch I made. and I will be working with more wood this afternoon too, and I need to get back in my craft room and make my swaps.Hoping most of saturday I can devote to my swap projects.
                   and I guess I need to think about maling out some of my homemade fruitcakes too-to beat the holiday rush in the mail.  Have an awesome Friday!

              Tuesday, November 27, 2012

              Brrrr Very Cold This Morning

                It was in the teens this morning, that's pretty cold, especially since we have been spoiled with excellent weather. Not to worry though the 60s are coming back in a few days. I love that about Missouri.

                 I made up my hand lotion of goat milk and honey-and it whipped up really nice-really like it. However, me and shrink wrap are not getting along too well. I still do not have the hang of that. I like to put that around the jars-helps to seal them during shipping.

                 Nikita surprised me, and was ready for a walk today. She hasn't wanted to go for 3 days-so was thrilled she wanted to. I am keeping her on 3 times a day the cosequin ds pills-they really do seem to help her allot. I am also giving her bayer plus asprin twice a day. Its a buffered asprin that is for sever arthritis in us humans.

                So did any of you shop til you dropped?? lol  I am not much into crowds, and I really have no one to buy for anymore. I do enjoy making a few of my handmade crhistmas cards to mail out to a few family members, and I enjoy the craft-art swap-which I am doing with some of my blog friends.

                I did however, buy a book about stones for myself. I have been getting interested in the different stones and crystals and how they can help us-kinda like aromatherapy.That's how I look at them anyways.  So I asked someone that sells these stones and crystals-she is also native american, if she could recommend a book-and she did. So am anxious to get this now. I also have coming on pre order another book about quilts and the civil war by Barbara Brackman-she is a leading authority on the subject, and I have learned allot from her books. She has several blogs going on about different times of history and quilts-see my blog list to the left.

                Well, I better back to my shrink wrap-lol have a great day all



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