Friday, March 31, 2017

So, I cried.

I hated the wall color of the dining room I had just spent 6 days painting. Hated it. I loved the color on the paint card and the paint that was in the can, but it dried and looked far differently on my walls than I had expected. I had painted test sample patches, four different colors, but still, this wasn't the color I was expecting. Did I mention that I hated the color I had painted? It looked blue to me. Like if you were going to decorate with seashells and light houses blue. That is not my thing. It reminded me of my brothers old room, which I got after he'd moved out, but hadn't every painted, very light blue. The follow pictures were taken before 7 am on Friday and aren't the best. 



I'd already removed all the tape and plastic thinking maybe I would get used to it or I could live with it till fall. 


But no, it looked horrible with my furniture (buffet shown missing it's drawer, it's easier to move it without the draw in), honey oak floors and the wood trim. The wood trim looked bad against this paint. Washed out and dingy. 

I cried not because I knew without a doubt I'd be painting it over again, no I wanted to paint it again. I hated it that much. I cried rather because I was so sure this was the color I wanted and if I messed up this much, how was I ever going to find the right color? 

So, these were the colors that made the first cut. The burgundy wall they're hanging on, that's the color of the dining room before I painted.  I eventually picked the three color card that's on the bottom row, fourth from the left. The one to the left of the blue card. I painted the dining room the darkest color and had planned on the lighter color for the living room and the lightest color for the hallway. I don't see any of those three colors as blue, but blue gray it was on my walls. 


My friend Jenna (and her sweet mom) came over to point me in the right direction for attempt number two. She said if I wanted the trim to appear rich, I'd have to pick a paint with a yellow or brown undertone. I thought about sage, but Jenna said sage has a blue undertone. I am definitely not going with anything blue. 

So, we narrowed it down from this 


(He's so helpful.) To this 

Colors are a little off in these pictures. These weren't colors I'd originally considered, but I'm warming to them. Test swatches were painted of three of the colors on a cool and gray weekend. I swung from loving one of the colors to hating them all. It's so surprising how much different the paint looks on my walls than on a card. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

For a period of time!

A coworker is going through cancer treatments and working from home. Email communication always includes how many days she's into the treatment, how many total she has left to go, how many days till the believed bad cancer treatment and how many days that'll last. For the time being. She believes she'll lose her appetite and taste buds and isn't looking forward to it. For a time.

I am not always up or happy in a situation, but for the most part I see the value in seeing the glass as half full. Oh I have my moments and my days, but it's so much better, in my opinion to think of the positive. Too look forward to spring, if you can.  I know its harder to do so in some situations than in others.

This then has to apply to painting, which I've been dreading. I want to paint the living room, dining room and hallway this spring. Most everyone else probably having felt as I do about the wall colors in those three rooms would have already painted them. Me, I'm slow! This fall I'd like to fix the wood trim in the hallway and my bedroom (it has an orange gloss finish to it, which I've read can be really easy to remove or a pain in the butt, no in between) and paint my bedroom. Some other time I'd like to paint the spare bedroom and my craft room. Last, but not least I'd like to paint the stairwell going up. That is a lot of painting. 

For the most part, I've never painted and hadn't any clue what to expect. I told dinner guests a few weeks ago I thought it would take me 4-6 weeks to paint the living room, dining room and hallway. They didn't argue, but probably thought I was super lazy! I hadn't a clue. I started the Saturday after cookbook club. I taped the dining room which has three doors and four windows and then ran for supplies. 


I returned home to cut in with the primer. 

Sunday I went to church and then came home to roll primer. 


I shared pictures and was told I needed a second coat, which I did after the first had dried some. 

Monday night after work I cut in with paint.Tuesday night after work I rolled paint and I did a second coat on Wednesday after work. Thursday I came home and touched up the ceiling with white paint where the previous owners had gotten burgundy paint. 

There were a lot of spots like this. I just dipped a brush in white paint and blotted.  Brushing caused the popcorn to flake off and make a mess. 

Saturday - Thursday and I had one room finished! I removed the tape and the plastic, returned a lot of the furniture to its original spot and then cried. I cried a lot.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Quick and Easy Pie

Most everyone has probably had this pie. It's been around for a while and will probably continue to be around as its so quick, easy and good! 

This is all you'll need. Two containers of lime yogurt, 1 box lime jello (I normally use sugar free, but this is what I already had on hand), graham cracker crust, cool whip and water. 


Mix together 1/4 c boiling water and the package of jello until jello has dissolved. Cool slightly. Stir in both packages of yogurt. Fold in cool whip. Poor into pie crust and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. 


I love vanilla wafers with my banana pudding and graham crackers with this pie. So, I took the leftover Graham crackers from February when I made Valentines, crushed them and poured over the top of the pie. 


Not very pretty, but no one will care once they've had a bite. It's so so good. 


I've only once gotten it to firm up as shown in pictures, but don't let that bother you if it happens to you. You'll still love it!  You can do this with other flavors. For instance strawberry yogurt and strawberry jello. I think peach and lemon might be good flavors, but haven't ever tried them. Why change something that you really love? 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spotted Dog Bread

This recipe comes from Rachel's Irish Family Food cookbook (and no, it isn't Rachel Ray!). 

I made it twice, so the pictures are from both my first and second attempts. The first loaf would have been fine had I baked it a little longer. 

In a large bowl, mix together 3 2/3 c flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt. Stir in 2/3 raisins and 1 Tsp granulated sugar. 


In a separate bowl, beat together 1 2/3 c buttermilk and 1 egg. 

Make a well in the flour mixture bowl and pour most of the liquid mixture, leaving about 1/4 c. 


Using one hand with fingers stretched out like a claw, slowly combine the dry and wet ingredients, moving circles around the bowl. Do not knead. The dough should be soft, but not too wet or dry. Add more buttermilk mixture if needed, though I didn't need to oh either batch. 


So. It was a mess, but I resisted the urge to knead the dough and turned it out onto floured wax paper, which I folded up and over to smash the dough into a loaf. 



Cut a deep X into the bread loaf from edge to edge and transferred to a floured baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees and bake an additional 30-35 minutes till the bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. I covered mine with tin foil towards the end of baking as I thought it was getting too done. 

Loaf #1



Loaf #2



Much better!  I served it with butter and homemade pear jam. Yum! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Cookbook Club

I continued to check out cookbooks trying to find just the right recipe for the March Cookbook Challenge; Ethnic Food. 

The library had a lot of great children's cookbooks and one such book was used by Evelyn who made a Haitian pork dish. 


Jenna brought ??? (Sorry, Jenna, I forgot what it was!). Some sort of Mexican spoon bread?!?


We all thought it was good, but not something we'd make again. 

So, what did I end up making? Spotted Dog bread. It's Irish soda bread with raisins. I made it twice as the first batch didn't bake long enough. 


It was really good and so easy to make. I'll share the recipe in another post. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Let's Cook!

Maybe its having a larger and brighter kitchen or hosting a cookbook club resulting in my flipping through cookbooks at least once a month, but I found myself wanting to cook more, experiment more in the kitchen.  I tried corned beef and I made Irish soda bread for cookbook club, but there are other dishes I’d like to try my hand at making. 


Quiche  - I love the quiche sold at the Millennium Café at our local library, but I’ve never made one myself

Chicken Fried Steak – my mother’s recipe using cube steak and cracker crumbs

Mac and Cheese – I love the blue box, always have, always will, but I’d like to find a baked mac and cheese recipe that doesn’t require a white sauce

Dumplings – I asked my father if there was anything he’d like for me to make months ago that he doesn’t normally get and he said dumplings.  I’ve never made them, never eaten them and might use Reames dumplings, but I’m up to the challenge!

Meatballs! – Everett, a small town in NE Kansas, has a small café that I’ve gone to after church a few times and one of their Sunday specials is meatballs.  I’ve not had them, but they always look and smell so good!  I love meatloaf and meatballs remind me of mini, round meatloafs.  I must make them! 

Meatloaf!  - I made crock pot meat loaf for cookbook club, but it didn’t hit the spot.  I need to try again. 

Coconut Cream Pie – I’ve not ever had coconut cream pie, I don’t really know that I like coconut, but it’s a friend’s favorite and I’d like to try making one. 

Cinnamon rolls – On my own.  I’ve made them with Jenna before and I’ve made them on my own using frozen bread dough.  That recipe was a flop.  I’d love to learn to make the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls and give them away at Christmas as she does.  

Dinner rolls – Yeast, buttery topped dinner rolls.  

Brisket – Again, don’t know that I’ve ever eaten it and certainly haven’t ever prepared it, but it sounds good!

Jell/Cool-Whip Salads – A must for any church potluck in the country and something I totally love, but rarely make.


What else do I need to try making?  Whats something you’d like to try making? 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

A new trash can!

I have issues with brooms and trash cans.  I purchased three stainless steel trash cans from Home Depot on Black Friday for $18, I believe.  I’ve seen them priced much more than that at Walmart and thought I was getting a good bargain.  This last weekend, I switched to a plastic, off brand trash can don’t see a pretty stainless steel one in my future again.  


For one, this size trash can left a good 1/3 of the trash bag unused.  The can was full before the bag.  My second issue, it was a pain in the rump to remove the trash bag and I often tore the bag on these two little things within the can. 


I know they sell oval size stainless steel trash cans and they might work better, fill the bag more, not be a pain to remove the bag and not tear the bag, but at $40+, I’m sticking with my plastic off brand trash can. If you're interested in the stainless steel one, I'll let you know when the garage sale is scheduled! 

Speaking of trash and cans; apply Press N Seal to the wall behind/beside your trash can to catch any messy toss and misses.  When it gets messy, remove and stick on a new sheet.  Clean up is a breeze, no more scrubbing your walls to remove gunk! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Corned Beef

I have two dishes I’ve never made or eaten before that I would like to try this spring.  The first is Corned Beef. 

So, what is corned beef. Its beef, normally brisket.  The term Corned refers to covering the beef with large rock salt kernels that were referred to as “corns of salt”.   The practice of salting meat likely dates back to ancient times in cold areas when they found that meat didn’t spoil if it made contact with enough salt. While corned beef is an Irish tradition, corned beef and cabbage is an American tradition.*  That explains why I never found a recipe for corned beef and cabbage while going through ethnic cookbooks from the library.
So, I stumbled upon a recipe for corned beef using a crock pot and basic ingredients.  She made it sound really good, so I went with it.  I made it Sunday morning before church.

I rinsed the corned beef well and placed it in a lined 6 qt crock pot.  I could have used my smaller crockpot as I had a small corned beef. 

For the sauce I mixed together molasses, Dijon mustard, whiskey (recipe calls for bourbon, but I didn’t have any) and the seasoning packet that comes with the corned beef.  I set the crock pot for 10 hours and went about my day. 

Just FYI.  It stunk!  I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to eat it and retreated to the basement to work on projects to escape the smell.  I checked the meet after about 9 hours and it was perfectly done, so I switched the crock pot to warm and prepared the other dishes.

I found these cute little potatoes at Aldi and boiled those. 


I also made crescent rolls and my favorite mixed vegetables.  If I had company for dinner, I was planning on making coleslaw.  That way I’d still have had corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, just not all as one dish!  No company, so no coleslaw.

Here’s my plate.  Check out that purple potato!   I thought the meat was good, but salty.  Tender, but tasted like beef jerky.  I’d eat it again, but I doubt I’d make it again.  Roasts are too expensive and there are other roasts I’d prefer over corned beef. 

If interested in the recipe, click here:

Information about Corned Beef obtained here:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The March Garland That Almost Wasn't

I started the March garland a few days before March.  I cut strips out of green paper and folded and glued them using Elmer permanent glue dots.  


Um, they’re not permanent.  I needed four hearts and a stem to make one clover and I figured I needed fourteen clovers, give or take a few.  I got four sets of clovers glued together and had started on the fifth when the first set started to come unglued. 



I glued them again and started on that fifth set, again and the second set started to come unglued.  Really?  Fine.  I stopped and went back and glued all the pieces over again, even those that hadn’t yet come unglued.  All future clover pieces I doubled glued.  I eventually got all the hearts and stems I had needed to make the garland glued and then sat it aside as it was past my bedtime!  I awoke the next morning to find this…




I decided then that there would be no March garland, but after a few days I decided to try again, but with to just make something really easy as it was now the second week in March.  My schedule was packed and it took several days to trace, cut, punch and string, but here is my March Garland that almost didn’t get made.



And here is my spring mantle. It needs work, but it's a start. 


I need to swap out the white candles for some colored ones and I might someday spray paint the watering can, which I found at Goodwill. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Do you ever find a recipe and think to yourself; I can’t wait to try this, only to find it later and think; What was I thinking?  That was the case with this recipe.  I got all the ingredients some time ago eager to make it, but then when I decided to make it I was for sure it wouldn’t be anything good.  I was wrong.  They turned out great and were very easy to make.  They'd good for lunches or a bake sale. 
(Of note, I don’t have it written down where the recipe came from so can’t give credit where due.)


Layer one is a tube of peanut butter cookie dough spread out on a ungreased 9X13.  Bake 10-13 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown and the middle is set. 

Throw on 2 cups mini marshmallows and throw back in the oven and bake until the marshmallows puff up (4-5 minutes). Remove and cool.


Give Josey a marshmallow to play with (and remember to pick it up later before it gets stuck to the bottom of your shoe or becomes glued to the dining room rug). 


In a sauce pan over medium stir and melt 2 cups chocolate chips, ¼ c. sliced butter and ½ cup peanut butter.  Stir until smooth.



Remove from heat and add 2 c rice krispie cereal and ½ c salted peanuts. 

Drop by spoonfuls over marshmallows and spread to cover. 

Cool and cut into bars.

So, I have an entire pan of these and I don’t want to eat them, so... I took them to work where they’ll eat anything and everything.  Now I’ve got an open package of rice krispie cereal.  I could make rice krispie treats, but I’m thinking of trying something else.  Stay tuned!