Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Little Napkin Sewing

I have been doing a little sewing, in between the summer busyness going on around here. I wanted to make some more napkins to match my table runner. This fabric has a definite Fall look about it, but that's ok by me. August is next week. Can Fall be far behind?

I made these napkins larger than I usually do, in one layer. I found a tutorial on line that made mitering the corners very easy. I could not understand some of the other tutorials, but this one worked well. Then I used a leaf stitch on Big Brother to put a little decorative stitch on there.

Mitered corner napkins with decorative stitch:

Front:



Back:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crock Pot Cooking with Fresh Veggies


I love to cook using my slow cooker, but my slow cooker cooks too hot and fast to trust on its own for a whole day while at work. But, it does great if I'm only away from home for a few hours. So using the slow cooker on Sunday mornings is perfect.

Summer time is also a good time to use a slow cooker because it doesn't heat up the house like an oven would.

This past Sunday Morning I made Beef Stew in the slow cooker. It turned out great! I used some of our ripe tomatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots, a small package of stew beef and a few spices.

Tomatoes are plentiful right now, thanks to my hubby's unceasing effort to keep them watered all summer.

They are in buckets:



On Tables:



Pretty Tomatoes:



Ugly Heirloom Tomatoes:



All shapes and sizes!



Want some?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blooming Tuesday

Today is Blooming Tuesday at Mrs. Green Thumb Jean's Blog.

My hubby made this huge bouquet of crepe myrtle blossoms. Wouldn't several of these be pretty sitting around at a casual outdoor party, such as a cook out?



My hubby also made these two teacup bird feeders for me. I love them!





Here is part of the process of making the china cup bird feeders. My hubby found the things needed to make them at a local hardware store. I bought the china cup and saucers at a thrift store last fall.



A bouquet of Zinnias on the kitchen table.



This is the Mandevilla that I overwintered this past year. You may remember it as the plant that kept trying to get outside at the dining room window. Its come a long way. I hope I can keep it through another winter.



These are wild petunias. I wish all the plants in my yard fared as well as these do. I don't do anything to help them, yet they grow and grow, happy as can be.



On the eastern side of our yard are cotton fields, as far as you can see. They are just beginning to bloom.





Can't wait until late fall, when the whole field will be covered in white cotton, just like snow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Decluttering and Organizing the Laurndry Room

Before: I love my laundry room, but things sitting on the shelf fall over and look cluttered. In fact, two bottles of shampoo fell off and sit behind the water heater. As far as I can tell, they may be there forever.



After: I organized all the items on the shelves into plastic containers. One contains personal items, such as shampoo, soap, contact lens solution, toothbrushes, etc. One contains cleaning and dusting cloths and kitchen towels and cloths. The other two contain cleaning supplies of all kinds.



It definitely looks neater!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Growing

Ever notice how the heat doesn't really bother kids? This one is almost 4 years old. I can't believe how time flies.

Even though he is getting taller and lankier, he won't catch these Zinnias this year. Maybe next year, when he will almost be a kindergartner.



Let me tell you a little about this special guy. Even though there were other foods that I personally would have preferred, he ate watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, boiled egg and a brownie, for lunch. He skipped the lasagna altogether! Generally when he eats a meal at my house, I know that I need to have some raw fruits and vegetables on hand, because that's what he will want.



Cool Breeze!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Newest Crop

The first crop of okra that we planted never came up, so we are trying again. I grew these from seed in recycled cups.



In an effort to outsmart the heat and drought, we planted them here with a soaker hose all ready to go.





Farming is hard, even in our small kitchen garden. People who farm for a living have a hard job!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Waste Equals Work



I made an apple crisp Sunday. It was good, but it didn't fall in the category of recipes that I would post on the blog or probably use again. I really didn't have the ingredients on hand that would have made it spectacular! I had some apples in the refrigerator that had been there for a while and I made the apple crisp to prevent them from going bad.

It takes a lot of work and vigilance to make sure there is as little waste in the kitchen as possible. Especially this time of year when there are fresh vegetables coming in the house quicker than you can process them. Picking peas before work and then shelling them after work and then freezing them the next morning before work is one way to handle this!

You have to be vigilant about what is in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry, to make sure you are using things before their expiration date or before they turn to mush.

Sometimes its easier to just buy new food than to take the time to make meal plans using what you have.

I'm trying to do better.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blooming Tuesday

Its Blooming Tuesday over at Ms. Green Thumb Jean's Blog.

Yesterday I showed this picture, which I love. Well, here it is again,as well as some more pictures from my yard this past weekend.




Peekaboo bird houses:



Mr. Sunshine catching some sun:



A garden angel and tiny Lantana blooms.



A butterfly showing off his wings:



The Zinnias are still blooming around the birdhouses.



Another color of Sunflower:



These two are in competition for the brightest pink.



Eggplant blooms! I wish I liked to eat them....



A Sweet William in the middle of a bunch of mint.



Lots of color:

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Little Sunflower Whimsey

On this beautiful July weekend, I walked around the yard looking for some interesting little things to photograph that I might normally have missed.

I was so surprised when I looked at this picture and noticed the blue sky with fluffy white clouds in the background, even if I did accidently include my hand!



These are other shots, but none of these had the same cloud formations.







Can you tell I really like Sunflowers?

Have a great Monday and look for something you might have otherwise have missed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Slice of My Life

I already knew this, but, it makes more of an impact when you see it in person.

HEIRLOOM TOMATOES ARE UGLY!!!



In contrast, a gentle breeze blowing through the Crape Myrtle trees, blowing the tiny blooms around like snow, is beautiful! The picture doesn't show the detail, but there is a carpet of purple on the ground.



My weekend plans: Peas, tomatoes, squash and quilting, and oh yea... cleaning, laundry.....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cooking With Fresh Tomatoes

We are getting lots of tomatoes from our little kitchen garden and I am trying to make use of each and every one of them. We've been eating them in salads, on tomato sandwiches and I've been freezing them.

Leave it to me to make a pot of chili on the hottest day we've had so far this year! But, you can't beat the taste of homemade chili, spaghetti sauce or vegetable soup made with fresh home grown tomatoes. You just have to make sure the air conditioning is working well before you decide to cook one of these in the summer time.

This is how I used the tomatoes to make chili yesterday after I got home from work.

I put a pot of water on to boil and dropped the ripe tomatoes in, a few at a time. I set the timer on the stove for 1 minute.



As soon as the buzzer went off I lifted them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and transferred them to a bowl of ice water With an assembly line going, I continued the process over and over until all of the tomatoes had been boiled for one minute and then cooled.



The tomato peelings slide off as if by magic and there is very little waste. If I tried to peel the tomatoes with a knife, I would never peel them this perfectly. These are all of the peelings from a big bowl of tomatoes.



These are the tomatoes after the peelings were all removed.



Quartering the tomatoes on a cutting board is the easiest way to get all the cores and any spots that need to be trimmed off. After removing the bad stuff I cut the good stuff up into small pieces and added them to the pot that I was using to make the chili in.



I brought the tomatoes to a boil and cooked them until they were the right consistency. I added beans, browned ground beef cooked with onion and bell pepper, chili powder, a little salt and pepper, cumin and whatever else I saw in the spice cabinet that I thought would work.



Yield: Mugs of chili with a little cheese sprinkled on top, served with crackers.



This was a good meal, but it would be REALLY good in October!

Anxious For Nothing - A Bible Study

I thought I would share a new On Line Bible Study that starts Monday.  Its based on the book, "Anxious For Nothing" by Max Lucado....