Sunday, January 29, 2017

Raspberry Cake

My roof is leaking. Again. Winter Storm Jupiter brought rain, not ice. I had a little bit of water in the basement. Nothing alarming. I hadn't thought to check upstairs till a friend asked if it were dry. I immediately dreaded checking and for good reason! I had a light waterfall down one wall into the floor insulation in the attic. Sigh.  Fortunately I have good friends, one of whom is a Jack of all trades. They drove down that Monday to have a look and make a game plan for fixing it. I hadn't know when they'd return to work on it and I wanted to be ready with something delicious to feed them before and after being up on my roof. Raspberry Chocolate Cake seemed like a good fit. 


It's really easy. Mix cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and frozen raspberries. Bake according to package directions. Cool completely and frost. 


I used store bought frosting. It was really good and I'll be making it again. My friends didn't get back before I ate and shared this cake, so I get to try out another recipe. 

Visit  Patricia's Patchwork Quilt for the cake recipe. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

2017 Baptism Sampler

I started my annual baptism sampler marking the anniversary of my baptism this year a few days after January 5th and finished on the 19th. 

I started a new patriotic piece on Inauguation Day. It's huge and may take me the entire year to finish.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mantle Plans

I took down my Christmas decorations on the second of January and was shocked at how bare and bland the mantle was.  I hadn’t given it any thought the first five months I've lived here, but now I can’t stand it! So, here is what I came up with for January. 


That mirror has to go, but I don’t think it can without having to patch and repair that entire section of wall, so I’m going to get creative.  Well, others are creative and have given me their ideas.  Option one is to replace the small tiles with different colored tiles that will better match my yet to be painted living room.   Option two is to cover all the tiles with wood, framing the mirror.  Option three is to build up the wall above the mantle covering the mirror.  Like this; 


(Picture from Pinterest)

Which of these suggestions do you like best? Or do you have another? 

Back to the boring mantle.  I could decorate it twice a year.  In December with Christmas decorations and one set of decorations for the rest of the year, but I can’t do that.  Well, I could, but that wouldn’t be me   So, I’ve started with January decorations and have plans for February and March/April.  I may then switch to a basic theme for May through September and have season decorations for October and November.  My plan is to find, but things either at 50% or more (Joanns and Hobby Lobby) or get things for the mantle at thrift/flea market type places. 


So, let’s begin.  Disclaimer; most if not all of these ideas came from images on Pinterest.  I searched for mantle decorations and took ideas from several images.  I already had the silver buckets and I bought the filler at Hobby Lobby while it was 50%.  I used tea towels to keep the filler upright.  I bought the round balls at Hobby Lobby also for 50%.  The flakes welcome sign is one a coworker painted maybe 17 years ago.  The star of my January mantle is the took-forever-to-make-snowman! 



Isn’t he cute?  He better be!  He sure took me a long time and a lot of glue sticks to finish!


So, that’s the mantle for January. I already have ideas for February and stay tuned for updates on the area above the built ins.  Its getting a remodel too!


Click HERE if you want instructions on making the snowman. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Strawberry Banana Muffins

I've made these muffins before. They freeze great. 


I was wishing Friday night for snow, not ice. I didn't get my wish, but rain is still better than ice. 


I store my muffin liners in a wide mouth Mason jar.  Pinterest idea! 

This recipe makes 12 muffins. I'd suggest and hope I remember next time to make more than 12. I might try stretching it to 18 muffins next time. 


Strawberry Banana Muffins

1 egg
2/3 c sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 bananas
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 c strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with liners. 
Beat egg and sugar until combined. Add butter and vanilla. 
Squish bananas into egg mixture and mix until bananas are broken up and well mixed. 
In a seperare bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add strawberries and toss to coat. 
Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir just until combined. 
Bake until golden brown, 20-25 min, until toothpick comes out clean. 
Cool 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. 

Recipe source; 
Melanie Makes

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pistachio Cake

I'm about to show you something scary. Ready for it? Scroll down. 








Does a bundt pan scare anyone other than me? This is my mothers. It's nice and heavy.  I used it recently to make a Pistachio Cake. 


Two notes about the above picture. The recipe calls for 2 boxes of pistachio pudding. I used 2, but only one is shown here. Also, note that I removed the Box Top coupon from the cake mix box. Please save those. 



Guess what?!? It came out of the pan perfectly thanks to Bakers Joy spray! 


The recipe called for a glaze using milk, butter and powder sugar. I didn't care for it after making it up. I've never made it before and it might just be that I'm used to store bought frosting. 


Its very good and I'd encourage you to visit 
Patricia's Patchwork for the recipe. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shelf Cover

Four months ago I shared with you that I had made a table skirt for the table in my utility room. I told you then that up next was a cover for the shelving unit in there. Well, it's taken a while. I was going to make my own, but I happened to find one at Westlake Ace Hardware in the clearance area. Score! I brought it home and tried it on for size.


Looks great, yes? Except that it was yellow. It doesn't so in this picture, but it was yellowish and my utility room is white and gray. I hated the yellow. So I bleached it, in cold water, for about 19 hours and well... 

It shrunk. Sorry, I wish I had taken a better picture. It remained short like this since late September. Oh I hated it, but I dreaded addressing it. I have two sewing machines, but I haven't used either in years. Besides, the craft room wasn't ready for completing projects yet.  

Fast forward to Winter Storm Jupiter. Fixing this was at the top of my to-do list for the weekend.  I still cheated and didn't use the sewing machines. 


I've always known I was going to use this fabric. I love it. I haven't a clue when or where I picked it up. It's a heavier weight. There's no print in the seam to tell me anything about it. I think it goes well with the coral colored table skirt. 


I measure and thought I needed to add 8" of fabric to the bottom. I cut 10" and it ended up being just perfect! I didn't have enough to hem the edges, so I used fray check on the edges. It's far from perfect, but I'm very happy with it. 

So, what's behind the curtain? 

Top shelf has disposable plates, napkins, plastic containers for sharing food with others and chlorox wipes. 

Second shelf holds fiber one bars, protein bars, rice cakes, nuts, oats and pop tarts. Those pop tarts shouldn't be there. It was a moment of pre Winter Storm grocery shopping anxiety. 

Third shelf holds my containers of sugar, flour, powdered and brown sugars and a container that holds measuring cups and spoons. I love that container. It's so nice to have multiple sets of measuring cups and spoons when cooking several recipes at once. 

Fourth shelf holds cookie sheets, muffin pans and the bread machine. 

Bottom shelf holds delicates that need to be washed (linens I pick up at flea markets, table clothes that require special handling, etc) and various cleaning supplies. 

There is a hook hanger on the side that my aprons and clothes pins hang from. 

It's nice to have that all hidden and to mark that project off my to-do list. 



Tuesday, January 17, 2017


2017 Winter Storm Jupiter has come and gone thankfully without the predicted outcome. I'll be honest, I was nervous. I can't recall a recent time when I've gone more than a few hours without electricity and those times were during the summer. I wasn't anxious about being cold or having to prepare for work in the  dark. Not knowing what to expect, I prepared some. I started by doing all my laundry. Then I brought down the heavy down blankets and a wool quilt I picked up a few years ago at the Brownville Flea Market. It's very heavy and warm. 


I filled a few pitchers with water and made a pitcher of tea. I also gathered flashlights, candles, a phone charger and made certain I had food to eat that hadn't needed to be cooked. (Better food than shown was on hand.)

I put batteries in two radios and gathered up some lanterns (compliments to my father). 


And gathered up some reading material from the library (I also had plenty of books of my own). 


I covered the bird feeders with tinfoil in case they froze over and I couldn't open them. (I missed that temps were to rise into the 50's after the storm moved through.)


And I made plans to shelter in place and get lots done. Friday night I made a pistachio cake, strawberry/banana muffins and a taco braid. Saturday I completed a project I've been working on for a week and crossed off something that has been on my to-do list for months. Sunday I scooted around on my rump and up on a step ladder oiling (Old English) all the wood trim in the living and dining rooms. I actually felt bad for the wood. It was so dry. Here's one example, this is the door in the dining room that goes to the second floor. 



Getting there; 




The curtain in the doorway was put up last fall. It's double layer. The cats love being upstairs, but I hate all my heat escaping up there, so the covering. The cats can push through and I keep the heat from rushing up the stairs. 

Monday I stayed in, made more strawberry banana muffins to freeze, cleaned house, tackled a few chores and came to realize my roof was leaking. Quite a bit!  Yikes! More on that at another time. 

I shared my baked goods with others. 


Stay tuned. Recipes and project posts coming soon. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Sure, I don’t cook often enough to need more cookbooks, but I can’t resist.  I picked these up during a recent thrifting/antique run to Abilene KS with my father. 



The cookbook below on the left was gifted to me NYE by my friends Pat and Sue. The cookbook on the right was one I picked up at the bookstore at the library.



They’re so much fun to leaf through and maybe someday I’ll get around to make a recipe out of them!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Starting Over

For Christmas my mother received a food saver and she planned to share it with me (and store it at my house, you now because I have a nice large basement!).  I knew the first thing I wanted to try in it; taco meat!  I love Mexican dishes and I especially love cheap, whole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants.  Taco Villa, Tortilla Jacks and Taco Casa are my favorites (in that order).  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, none are on my way home or in my neighborhood.  

Earlier this month my kind parents bought and brought over 3 or 4 lbs of ground beef from Herman’s Meat Market to fry up.  Mom got busy frying all of it while I worked to put away $168 with of purchases from Sam’s club (twice annual sale on tp, Kleenex, laundry detergent, etc) and my father read the instructions on the food saver.  While down in the basement I asked my father if I he’d help me move the power cord for my freezer to another outlet that wasn’t being used.  The outlets are over my head and he kindly moved it.  Back upstairs we seasoned the browned ground beef with Williams Chili Seasoning, which I use in place of taco seasoning, measured out 2 cups of meat and sealed several portions using the food saver. I was set to quickly throw together tacos, enchiladas, sanchos, nachos or even chili when the mood set it.  I threw them down in the basement freezer and forgot about them. 



Fast forward ten days.  6:20 am on Tuesday, I ran down the stairs to grab a Lean Cuisine TV Dinner to have for lunch that day.  I had ten of them, neatly stacked in a plastic bin.  I was looking for the just the right Tuesday lunch day flavor when I realized they were all soft.  ?!?  Um, I squeezed em.  They were room temp!  Thawed!  Along with everything else in the freezer!  I glanced down and saw what was once a beautiful roast, but was now an ugly colored roast.  Bread dough had thawed and risen in its package looking like a nice soft pillow.  Oh No!  The entire contents of my FULL freezer; thawed!  I’ll have to call in and cook everything then I can refreeze it all.  No.  It was past that point.  

Was the door opened?  I don’t think so.  Had it come unplugged?  No, the light was on when I opened the door.  Was the freezer, which was bought after I moved in, broken?  It ran when I opened the door.  What happened?  I shed a few tears, called my parents waking them before they're normally up, shared the news and went onto work.  


My father visited that day and tested the outlet and the freezer.  Nothing wrong that he could find. 


He left, got home and while thinking of it, returned to test an idea he had.  His test proved accurate.  The outlet we moved the freezer to runs only when the basement lights are on.  I don’t leave them on and I don’t frequently go down there, so more or less the freezer had been off for ten entire days.  I contribute the lack of smell to the fact that the freezer was full and the basement is cool.  

Of course, my trash had already been picked up. So, I unloaded and lugged up the contents of the freezer in trash bags that my father took to dispose at his house the next day when they’re trash was picked up. 

Look all this beautiful ground beef! 



Amd roasts, pork loin and chicken, some of which was my mothers. 

There was more. It really was full.  

So, now I start over.  Its sad and frustrating, but in the grand scheme of things its life.  It isn’t cancer, as my coworker has.  My entire house wasn’t flooded, as I know some in Louisiana experienced last year.  My house isn’t being swept away by flood waters or lost in a tornado or fire.  It stinks, but lesson learned.  



Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Christmas Ornaments

I decided last minute to stitch my parents little ornaments.  Christmas was on Sunday, I began stitching the Wednesday before and finished them on Christmas Eve. The designer is Prairie Schooler and it's a freebie from several years ago. I added my parents names and the year, on mine I just put my name. 


I finished them in hoops and glued green felt to the back. It was too last minute to finish them any other way. 


I think they're cute and I may do this again next year. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Confetti Upside Down Cake

For dessert on New Years Eve, I served Upside Down Confetti Cake. I had wanted to make a fruit cocktail cake recipe I made years ago, but I couldn't find that recipe. I think I like this one better! 

Begin by cutting 10 maraschino cherries in half. Ten. Not a 10 oz jar, which is what I did. Oops, but I rather liked this oops and I'd probably do it again! 


You'll dye your fingers! 


Spray your baking dish with cooking spray, then pour in melted butter. Place cherries cut side up and then sprinkle fruit cocktail over the cherries. (Picture taken as I was spreading the fruit cocktail.)

Prepare cake mix according to package. Stir in 2 Tbsp candy sprinkles. 


Bake. Let cool 5 minutes and then invert onto platter. 


Let cool completely and sprinkle candy sprinkles over the top. 


Festive and pretty!  Perfect for a New Years Eve lunch!

Upside Down Confetti Cake

4 Tbsp butter, melted 
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
10 maraschino cherries (I used a 10oz jar and would again)
1 can fruit cocktail, drained (I used a no added sugar fruit cocktail)
1 package yellow cake mix (I used a sugar free cake mix) 
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
2 Tbsp candy sprinkles (I used more to sprinkle over the cake after cooling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. 

Add melted butter to the dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange cherry slices over the sugar and sprinkle on the fruit cocktail. Set aside. 

Prepare cake mix according to directions. Stir in 2 Tbsp candy sprinkles. Pour into prepared dish. 

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes and then invert onto platter. I used a cookie sheet covered with tin foil. 

Recipe is from  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Years Eve Luncheon

I invited good friends Pat and Sue over for lunch on New Years Eve. It was their first visit to my new house. 

I wanted to make pizza. Buy pizza. Make one of the delicious pizzas I have in my freezer. Pizza. Cooking for others is scary, for me anyways, but I'd love to feed others around my table more and pizza won't do! 

I made Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing.  A new recipe. 

I layered 3 chicken breasts. 


A box of stuffing (I used turkey flavored). 


Then a mixture of water, sour cream and cream of chicken soup. 


Recipe said to cook on low for four hours, but to check at three. I checked at two and a half and the chicken was done, but I think my crock pot runs hot. 

Of course I forgot to take any pictures. Here is one of the left overs. It was good. I think next time I'd make it using chicken tenders. 


Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

4 chicken breasts (I used three as they were huge)
1 6oz box cornbread stuffing mix (Stove Top or similar, I used Turkey flavored) 
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water

Line crock pot with liner and lay 4 chicken breasts at the bottom.  Pour dry stuffing mix over the chicken. Mix together soup, sour cream and water. Spread over stuffing mix. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, but check after three. Fluff stuffing with a fork, serve. 

Original recipe from