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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sweet Potato Surprise

Nope, my sweet potato surprise isn't a new Thanksgiving recipe.

Remember this spring I planted ornamental sweet potatoes in my front planters?

Well, I had quite a surprise when I pulled out the old vines while cleaning up the front porch...

There were sweet potatoes growing... and some where pretty big!  Wow.  I guess I thought that the ornamentals wouldn't grow the tubers.

From what I've read, the ornamentals are not very tasty and most sites suggested storing them to grow slips from next year.

Sounds like a plan to me!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Gifts and Crafts

Are you busy with Christmas fun?  We certainly are and loving every minute!

This last week we attended the Christmas luncheon for my Homemakers group.  It was held at a local restaurant that opens for special events.

The best part of the meal was the Derby Pie for dessert!

Then we headed over to the Ag Extension office to see the displays for the 100th Year Celebration.

There were ideas for last minute Christmas gifts...

And funny ideas for Christmas party gag gifts.

In my books... chocolate is NEVER a gag gift!  LOL

Laughing over the gift ideas.

And there were some cute craft ideas too.

LOVE this Christmas ornament wreath!  This would be great to get started with ornaments bought at after Christmas sales.

And this would be a good craft for the kids to do as presents.

Corks can be bought too, if needed.  And you could use up snippets of leftover fabric for the wings.

Only FIVE more days until Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Sunflower Treat

Remember in my story about combining the sunflowers I said I had brought two bags home with me?  The other day it was really kind of miserable out so we decided it would be a good day to see what the birds thought of the full sunflower heads.

The birdy reviews were mixed.

Titmice and chickadees were not impressed.  The cardinals were interested but to scaredy cat to come check it out closer (ohhhhhh...something new!).

But this little Downy woodpecker was ALL about the new treat!  She had no problems feasting.

She did quite a job cleaning out the flower head.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bath Makeover At My Parents' Home

I had quite a surprise the last time I went up to visit my parents.  "My" old bathroom had been completely remodeled.

I don't have any 'before' shots... because there was no reason I would have a before shot.  Mom did the best she could with a cute shabby chic look but...

And that 'but' led to a complete makeover!

Gone was the painted wall... the yellow/gold tub (she had it re-enameled)... the ivory shower surround.

Gone was the contractor vanity and old vinyl flooring.

And in its place was this elegant grey design.


Oh... here's a close-up of the tile.  I think she said it was a special order thru Home Depot.

I absolutely love it and it's giving me the 'itch' to do some makeovers in my home!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Southern Lefsa

Before we left on our trip up North, we tried our hand at making a batch of lefsa.  After all, we'd bought all the equipment to use... let's use it!

It is a two day process.  First day is the ricing of the boiled potatoes.  Then they have to sit in the fridge overnight.

Next day Himself added the other ingredients and formed them up into equal size balls.

Then he smoothed them out for rolling.  At this point they went back into the refrigerator to keep chilled until it was time to be rolled out.  That way they wouldn't stick.

Rolling pin and boarded floured up and ready to go.

Getting started.

And almost done.

Then it was my turn.  You use 'the stick' to get the ever so thin dough off the rolling board and over to the griddle.  Then you have to flip-roll it on.  You have one chance to do it right...

This is what 'right' looks like.

That is not my first attempt.  

And here is a lefsa ready to come off the griddle.

You slide The Stick under and lift...

...ever so carefully lest it fall off.  Which is not a good thing.

Carefully roll it out onto a dish cloth.

See how thin it is?  That is perfect.

A yummy stack of goodness.  Just butter and munch!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Not THAT pumpkin!! (Recipe: Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins)

Last month when Himself and I came home from our trip we went right into a special obligation.  The very next day we were demonstrators at the county Extension Homemakers 'Holiday Cooking School'.

Yes... WE.

But first let me back up a bit.

I was on the committee for setting up the cooking school.  Each year one person from each Homemaker Club does a quick demonstration of a recipe (think Rachel Raye and the like).  As the group worked out details, it was decided that since the cook book that was part of this event was titled "From The Family Table" that the recipe demonstration was going to be a Homemaker and a family member or friend.

And that is where the "we" came into play.

You betcha I roped Himself into my able bodied assistant!

However we weren't going to play it straight!  Seriously, some of these ladies have been cooking 60+ years.  How interesting is it to watch someone dump ingredients and stir?

So we decided to do a fun skit through which I would talk about a portion of the recipe.

When it was our turn, we headed up to the demo table.  As I introduced the recipe (Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins), Himself brought out our crate of ingredients.... looking all 'husbandy' and put-upon.   He sat sat the two small pumpkins up on the table, then started fooling around with things in the crate.  

When I asked him to get out the large pumpkin, that's where the fun began.  He pulled out a BIG pumpkin we had carved a face in and set it down with a thud.  I 'jumped' at the thunk and looked at the jackolantern... then slowly turned to him with the 'Wife look'.

"WHY did you bring that?!!"

"Because we need to do something with it.  I know how much you paid for that thing..."

"It's a jackolantern!"

"Well, you said we needed pumpkins.  Can't you stuff it?"

"It's a jackolantern!  If I stuffed that there would be enough rice to feed a battalion!  Besides, how will you get the rice to not fall out of those holes?"

We went back and forth for a bit... with lots of laughter from the audience.

(Unknown to us, there was also a MC we had to work around (someone didn't send us the memo on that one!) so we just pulled her into our ad libs.)

Eventually Himself pulled out the 'right' pumpkin then I did my bit on how to select and prep the pumpkin for the recipe.

(Notice the jackolantern on the table?  LOL)

The final portion was some questions from the floor.

(BTW, this recipe is one that I finaled with in a cooking contest a few years ago.  The below is a photo from  the contest so you can see what the finished recipe looks like).

Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice

3 to 4 cups water

4 mini pumpkins

Juice of 1 orange

2 teaspoons honey

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup dried cranberries OR tart dried cherries OR pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon chopped mint

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a small sauce pan, add wild rice and fill with enough water to cover and allow room to boil like cooking pasta. Bring to a boil and then simmer for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Rice is done when it starts to "pop" the grain.

While rice cooks, cut tops off pumpkins. Using a large spoon, scoop out seeds and strings. Place pumpkins upside down in a pan with 1/3 inch of water. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully turn pumpkins upright and return to oven until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 to 10 more minutes.

When rice is cooked, pour into a colander and rinse with cold water. Place the rice in a medium size bowl.

Juice orange and add honey, mixing together. Pour over rice. Add salt and pepper, and stir well. Stir in cranberries, pecans, orange zest and mint. Adjust seasonings if needed. Stuff rice into pumpkins and serve.

(Does not have to be done up in the mini pumpkins... but it does look cute!)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Let The Christmas Festivities Begin!

Yesterday was such a fun day, the official 'start' to the Christmas fun.

We started the day with a shopping trip to Walmart.

What?  You don't think that sounds like much fun?

It is when you are shopping for someone else!  The church we attended before moving out to The Sticks hosts a Christmas party each year at a small "not so affluent" nursing home.  Folks make gift bags for a resident and they are given out at the party.  It was so much fun.

This year we got to do a bag again!  (Remember the wee 'Fairy Princess'?  Her grandma now is in charge of the party.)  We chose to do a bag for a man since I remember they were the ones hardest to get sponsored.

After our shopping trip we drove out to my friend's house to drop off the bag.  Since we had just bought everything, I put the bag together using the hood of my car as my worktable!

I hope he likes everything!
(BTW... "George" is a package of handkerchiefs!  LOL)

After dropping off the bag, we headed over to Trenton, KY for their Christmas parade.  On our way, we went by the Amish tack shop where I used to get things when I had my May.  They were having a benefit bake sale AND a customer appreciation day... for which they were giving free bowls of stew.

Of course we got some!  We're not silly!

Oh my goodness, it was wonderful.

Then it was on to Trenton where we met back up with our friends.  It's a lovely little town and we enjoyed looking at the decorations.

Many of the shops were having Open House.  This quilt shop was handing out treats of hot cider and cookies.  Notice 'someone' looking out the bottom of the right window?

Isn't she cute?  She wanted a cookie SO bad!

We commandeered another friend's home!  Himself brought their rockers down for comfy seating.    LOL  Hey Masha and Doc... we missed you!!!  Thanks for the hospitality!

(Don't you just love their house??)

The wee Fairy Princess was sporting her new "Anna" cap.

She and her mama headed down to the street for some serious candy catching.

When you're the only kid in that particular area, the candy is plentiful!  (Ya gotta have thrown candy at a Christmas parade!)

I love small town parades.

The floats are so fun.

But not commercial at all.

It looks like Olaf was happy to see 'Anna'!  LOL

Two mules and a horse.  It's just not a parade without horses!

Even it they are little bitty horses!

Yep... dogs count too!

In a small town parade everyone can get in on the fun.

And the floats are fun for everyone.

(Love this hay bale 'Bremen Town Musicians!)

Then it was all over.  The Princess checked out her royal bounty, then shared with all.  I came home with the chewy candy and Himself came home with the bubble gum and chocolate with nuts.  Princess kept the regular chocolate and the suckers.

Thank you for sharing!