Thursday, September 29, 2011

calico beans with a twist and surprise rolls

Calico beans has become a favorite family meal, especially good for a large group on a cold fall evening. The recipe usually calls for a can each of lima beans (I often use a package of frozen), baked beans,  kidney beans and white beans. Drain all the beans except for the baked beans. Add a pound of browned ground beef or ground turkey and 6-8 slices of bacon chopped fine along with 3 tsp dry mustard, a cup of brown sugar, some catsup or tomato sauce, and 2-3 Tb vinegar. The recipe is flexible and I made it in a crock pot yesterday, substituting black beans for the lima beans, so it was not as pretty as with the green limas. I had more room in the crock pot so decided to add a can of pumpkin puree. It was thicker, but delicious and so nutritious. The Gardener could detect the difference right away and said he preferred the original calico beans, so we'll see what I do next time!
Calico beans are always good with bread and a salad, so I picked up these slightly expensive rolls on a whim (Sara!) at Tar-get. They were P R E T Z E L  rolls -- I've never had these before, but they took me right back to the streets of Manhattan and how we loved to buy hot pretzels. Tasted very similar. Yummy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't Let the Rain Fall Down

It was wedding time this weekend ... two outdoor weddings in one very rainy weekend. 
Did you read that correctly?
Friday, with rain pounding against our windows (3 inches fell that morning), I texted my 
friend mother of the bride to "hang in there." She texted back that the wedding venue
was under water. The weather began to "mellow" by mid afternoon. 
By wedding bell time you could not have experienced a more perfect early fall
evening ... blue skies, freshly washed air with humidity slowing
vanishing ... Such a pretty, pretty wedding. 
 (by the way the chairs were white until I turned this mosaic
 into a 60s look. Aqua chairs would have been fun though!)
Saturday, the day of wedding #2 brought a deluge of torrential rain for much of the day.
At 4 pm we headed up to the lake, barely being able to see the road for the rain.
By the time we arrived at our destination, the sun was shining and it was
 apparent the rain showers had not been there recently. 
Another pretty wedding, this time in the woods with suspendered groomsmen
and a bride whose beauty could take your breath away.
Three young flower girls added to the joy of the wedding party.

The sun smiled down as it set across the lake ... a soft breeze made me reach
for my shawl as twilight brought a sweet chill to the evening air.
Time for the father daughter dance. We got up for a closer look to see how
our friend's dance lessons had paid off. Not bad at all. And tears came to my eyes when bride's
 big brother tapped his dad on the shoulder to steal the last minute of their dance.
Connecting to Little Red House's Monday Mosaics.

Friday, September 23, 2011

retro, recycling and a smile

It's fun to see how younger women are taking up knitting and crocheting .... reminds me of how we would gather in a dorm room and talk and crochet for hours when we were in nursing school.

So I decided to offer a bride a lap blanket to snuggle up in on our cold southern winter evenings. I thought she would particularly enjoy the fact that it is sort of "retro" and in a sense, recycled. I used only left over scraps from other projects over the years. As it always seems to be, I had enough of each color to manage at least one row around. And, when I asked her mom, one of my dearest friends, the colors her daughter would be using in her home, I was delighted that this little blanket would fit right in!

I thought she would enjoy a flower adorning it (my attempt from my online instruction) ... sort of a smile to a little girl who, with her brother, used to frequent my house of boys, always armed with her coloring books, pretty markers and colored pencils. Now she's all grown up and a beautiful bride.

Hers is one of two outdoor weddings we are attending this weekend. Right now the badly needed rain is pouring down, but I'm thinking "rain, rain go away, come again another day ... "

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

streaming thoughts

1. The other day relatives were visiting and Eldest happened to call Youngest (who was at the beach) via his iPhone, on speaker. My mother was in the den with me and she could hear their conversation coming from the kitchen. At first I wondered if she did a double take at their voices in the kitchen. Maybe she thought Youngest had just walked in the door.

Eldest came into the room carrying the phone with Youngest talking, his voice growing louder. His face came into view on the phone screen (like a mini skype session.) "Well mom," I asked,  "did you think C was actually here?"

I was amused when she replied, "No, not at all. I know not to be surprised by anything anymore in this day and age." Not bad for a nearly ninety.

2. Also on this phone to end all phones, Eldest shows me a little calendar ap with my age punched in --years, months, weeks, days, hours and the seconds ticking. I can watch myself growing older by the second. No stopping the clock. Wow, it's a little too visual for me!

3. It's not that I'm lonely, but last night I spent an hour or so crocheting with the computer ... a tutorial online. My hands were so close to hers and we used the same color yarn ... it was a bit weird. But I got a flower of sorts completed for my project. Pictures to come.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

the legumes are back

Reading blogs can lead to all kinds of things, including ...  i  d  e  a  s !
I saw something similar to this on Pat's BackPorch Musings and could not 
resist duplicating trying to duplicate it. I used some left-over lentils, beans, and dried
 peas for my mix. The smallest, squatty candle is the lid from the middle-sized one.  Now that dusk comes early, we enjoy lighting a candle or two or three while we eat our dinner.
Reposting this from a year ago, for once again these are on our table as we welcome fall.

Connecting to Chari's Happy to Design for Sunday Favorites.

Friday, September 16, 2011

...linen n things...

In my ongoing clean it campaign, the window panels got their wash and necessary ironing. 
Goodness, they barely fit the ironing board.
 I think so often of my Grandmother when I do household tasks. We were never that close (back in those days grandmothers and their grandchildren were not "buddies")--I treated her with great respect. But we spent a full week with her every summer, and some Christmases as well. She must have had a great influence on me as she certainly was a superb keeper of house and home and wonderful, wonderful cook. Something to live up to. I know it must have been a treat for my dad to sit at her table on our visits there, even though my mother was a great cook (and much of her talent in that area she learned from her MIL.)

So I thought of my grandmother as I was ironing, and wished she was there to put these panels in her ironing machine, zip them through and in no time they would be nicely pressed. I can see her in the kitchen running the sheets and pillowcases through the machine. She even could do men's shirts and pants. I loved to watch her, and of course we could not lean in too close to the hot machine.

I learned later in life that she was actually asked to go on the road to do demos for this iron roller machine, she was so good at it. But of course she didn't. A career of any sort was far from her mind. Her work was at home and with that she was content. And she excelled at it.

Iron photo pulled from the internet ... not necessarily the company that made my grandmother's, but it is similar and gives the general idea.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

s t r e t c h i n g

I believe my favorite kind of cooking goes like this:  "Hmm ... let me see what I've got. What can I make out of what's in the pantry?" Somehow it comes together and it's usually pretty good, but of course I never can make it exactly the same a second time, even if I could remember it. It does meet some sort of creative need though, and I find cooking like this so relaxing!

For instance, the other day I had just about 2/3 a cup of cooked brown rice. Not quite enough but I didn't want to take the time to cook more. Could I put in some things to stretch it? I looked around the pantry and frig ... I'm on a clean-out-what-I-have campaign anyway. This is what I found: 1/2 of an onion, a can of black beans, a can of artichokes and a red pepper. I chopped and stir fried the onion and pepper with olive oil, garlic and curry. Then added the rice, chopped artichokes and black beans. It may not look so pretty, but I must say it was delicious and could have been a meal just in itself.

Monday, September 12, 2011

a rocking survey

I've just come through one of the busiest times I can remember and have been feeling just a bit exhausted. Thus, when at a shower at my DIL's house this weekend, I didn't mind at all taking our new grandson out on the porch to rock him to sleep. It was a spectacular fall day ... no humidity, mild temperatures, blue skies filled with fluffy clouds. Littlest One snuggled into my arms and his eyes got heavy. Such peace! It was just the rest that I needed.

There was an annual festival going on just a few blocks from the house and people parked wherever they could. As I rocked I enjoyed watching people walk by headed to or from the festival. I counted over 100 passing by the porch. I began to take note of who noticed the baby and who did not. Who smiled and who spoke ... and ended up with an unofficial count. I'd say 75% either smiled, spoke, or somehow acknowledged the sweet baby I was holding in this order: children, women, families, and lastly, (sorry) men. Who can resist a baby?

Friday, September 09, 2011

it's about her shape

I collect pitchers and have always been attracted to one shape in particular. Can you guess?
Since we packed up the house for new carpet, it's been a good but busy 
time to get everything really clean, including these girls.
Here is my favorite shape. Not sure why, I just think it's lovely.
Even when she's old with age-crackles.
This little lady's shape is nice as well...very different ...her nose isn't all that graceful.
Back they go to watch over the dining room, shiny and clean, and I'll keep on with my unpacking. 
It's just like moving!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

a slow goodbye

Summer is waning. The signs are subtle, but there. The heat is still intense, but a bit less so, and--it's hard to describe--but a sort of tired heat.
 Or maybe it's just that I am tired of the heat!
The sun has a different slant in the sky; the mornings are cooler and darker. And leaves are falling ever so sparsely--the early birds.
It's like they are saying, "we're done, we're outa here."
 Just enough to want to sweep them off the patio.
Down here in the south we'll be raking our leaves well into December. 

As hard as it is to say goodbye to summer--a busy and fun one it's been--the time has come, and we can't hold on.
Activities let go for the summer are starting up again. There's no stopping the clock.
Meanwhile, the summer flowers are more brilliant than ever, reveling in the slight change in temperature.
It's like the want to show off, hoping they can hang on to life a bit more.
And so they will, til the hard frost comes.
And we'll enjoy them!

Friday, September 02, 2011

charity find

This summer, at a dusty charity shop in a very small town, I found this old glass outdoor 
light cover in a dark corner. We have something similar covering our back door light.
$1. I tried to bargain with him. I mean it was just an old piece of junk.
And I think there is some sort of thrill to a bargain, probably gotten in my bloodstream 
from my days of bargaining for food in African markets.
"This is for charity, you know." I was instantly ashamed and paid 
 the man full price. I really have enjoyed having it on my table.
And even more so when I saw something very similar in a crate and barrel
 catalog for, hmmm, let's say, at least 25 x what I paid? And, by the way, we've never 
had a second batch of hydrangeas before, but I'm loving them!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

how fast time goes ...

I read in a magazine article: "Someone said that birth 
to third grades takes 30 years, and third grade
 to college takes three minutes. It's true."

I think they were reflecting on their child's college graduation. I add:

And then, watch out, life really speeds up!

Photo by clc
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