Saturday, September 28, 2013

First Impressions

What a wonderful Saturday morning!  As Fall approaches I think we all start thinking of our homes and ways to create a warm and welcome First Impression.

My sister and I decided this would be the perfect day for our Fall project.  Simple wreaths for our front doors.
Now we begin...

We gathered fresh grapevines to add to old wreaths.
We both brought things we might use.

If you have read other posts' of mine you might remember what I think about faux flowers.  O ! (usually)  Exceptions are outdoor arrangements and indoors if they are so expensive
I can't afford them!  Blooms that you have to touch to see if they are real.

O.K., here we go..... We poked and pulled and had so much fun.
It is a blessing to have a sister close enough to do things with.

Isn't this beautiful!
Sue did this one.  She wanted a smaller wreath because her door is smaller.  We used some beautiful cabbage roses and dried hydrangeas.  Wonderful!

Now doesn't that create a great First Impression?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Heads Up! How to Feed A Bunch of Folks!

We had anticipated this week-end for a while. Our two nieces, daughters of SH’s brother who died 14 years ago, were coming to visit. (Their mom had also passed away this past year). One of them lives in Texas and the other in Florida.

As southerners do, we immediately started talking about the food we would have. We knew we would invite our extended family and we also knew that everyone would be coming at different times during the day (Saturday).

I also have come to the realization that I have no sense when a large group of people are in my kitchen and I’m trying to cook. Soooo… this what we decided to serve:

Broccoli and cheese soup (with chicken)

Taco Soup

Chicken and dumplings

Mexican cornbread

Assorted crackers and chips

Iced brownies

peanut butter cookies

Halloween candies

I doubled all recipes and prepared everything in advance. I cooked two fryers early in the week, had lots of nice stock, froze the meat for dumplings and broccoli & cheese soup.

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I actually completed the Taco soup, placed in gallon freezer bags, froze, and it was good to go.
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Please replace this chili seasoning mix with a TACO SEASONING MIX.

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Taco Soup
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Paula Deen’s recipe:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 1 can pink kidney beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • l can tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 cans diced green chiles
  • l can black olives, drained, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 package ranch salad dressing mix
  • Corn chips, for serving
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Chopped green onions

Brown ground beef and onions in large skillet, drain excess fat, then transfer beef and onions to stockpot. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix. Simmer over low heat for about l hour. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, green onions.

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

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Beginnings of Broccoli cheese soup, sautéing onions in butter.

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Chopped broccoli in chicken broth

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Mmmm…adding chicken to soup.

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Broccoli Cheese Soup w/chicken

  • 1/2 gallon chicken broth
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 lg. package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 lb. Velveeta cheese
  • approx. 2 cups chopped chicken
  • 1 stick butter
  • lemon pepper to taste

Melt butter, add chopped onion and sauté. Thicken broth with flour. (make paste of approx. 1/4 c. flour and water. Dilute with some chicken broth. Add to melted butter and onion. Combine broth, flour mixture, and chopped broccoli in stock pot. Cook gently until broccoli is tender. Add chicken. Add cheese last and simmer until melted. Serve with Mexican cornbread.

Chicken & Dumplings(recipe from Southern Plate blog)

3 or 4 chicken breasts
32 oz Chicken Broth (feel free to use water with bouillon cubes added)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1-10 count can Pillsbury layered biscuits
salt and pepper to taste
Cook chicken breasts in approx. 4 c. of water until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Place broth in medium to large sized pot. Stir cream of chicken soup into gently boiling broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pull biscuits apart into three layers. Dip each layer into flour and then tear each layer into three pieces and drop into gently boiling broth mixture. Do not stir biscuits a lot, or they will cook up, only gently push dumplings down into broth as they float to the top. Cook about ten minutes after last dumplings are added. Add shredded chicken and turn on low until ready to serve. added, Tear up chicken, add to broth mixture.Turn to low until ready to serve.

note: I actually use my rolling pin and roll each layer of dough as thin as I can. We like thin dumplings.

These brownies are impressive and sooo easy!

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2 boxes of Duncan Hines brownie mix, mix as directed, add lots of nuts (pecans & walnuts). Icing is homemade coca-cola cake icing. To die for!

Coca-Cola Icing

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 T. cocoa
  • 6 T. Coca-Cola
  • 1 box confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 cup broken pecans

Bring to boil the butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola. Add the sugar, vanilla and pecans. Pour over brownies in pan while icing is hot.

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Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 3/4 c. Creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 stick Crisco butter flavor shortening sticks
  • 1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 3 T. milk
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Blend well. Add egg, blend. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Mix until just blended. Drop by rounded Tbls. of dough 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Cool 2 min. on baking sheet. Makes 3 doz. cookies. Add hersheys kisses when cookies are almost cool.

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I baked the Mexican cornbread on Friday, kept it in a warm oven on Saturday and it was perfect!
Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the Mexican cornbread but it is sooo good
  • 1 1/2 c. self-rising cornmeal
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small can mexicorn
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2/3 c. cooking oil
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1 sm. can mild green chiles
  • add jalapeno pepper(finely chopped) to taste
  • 1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix all ingredients, except cheese. Pour half of batter in greased 13 by 9 pan. Pour cheese over batter. Add remaining batter and bake @375 until golden brown, about 40 min.

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Life is so much easier if you wash as you go.

First published on 10/20/09 - bcp my life - Cindy & Susie's Visit

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A train-wreck that seemed to go on and on…..

Misc.Fall 2009 017 For those of you who are blessed as I am to have a cleaning lady, you know what I’m talking about when I describe the feeling just after she leaves…the house smells so clean, everything is dusted, the bathrooms clean….Ah, I think I’ll have me a large glass of sweet tea. Oh, I forgot to mention, I had just put a loaf of apple bread in the oven. I have my nest made with all my stuff on the table beside my chair. Phone, remote, fan, address book, a small basket with pens, scissors, stamps, nail file. Life is good…until the phones rings. I spill that large glass of tea. It goes everywhere including in the remote, Misc.Fall 2009 018 the phone base, the rug and carpet. Remember, it was a full glass of tea, sweet tea, sticky tea! Dear God in heaven, what a mess! I proceeded to wipe, blot, swipe . This episode did help me decide it was time to have carpets cleaned.
By now it was time to take the apple bread from the oven. It smelled sooo good! It was a large loaf and was browned to perfection. I got my pot holders out and carefully lifted that wonderful ,fragrant bread from the oven.  Before I knew what had happened, I had dropped the whole loaf of bread to the floor (my floor that my cleaning lady had just cleaned). Misc.Fall 2009 004 Because it was so moist and hot, and because the floor is ceramic tile, it just went everywhere! Misc.Fall 2009 010  I give up! I went to bed! SH said that he “dipped” him some bread before retiring.

(First published on my earlier blog, life)

No Siree......No Pressure Washers Allowed on this Property!

I read all the recipes…from Martha Stewart on down. Mix dirt with buttermilk, paint yogurt on concrete, etc. I tried them all and had a pretty good crop of green moss growing on my clay and concrete pots. I had worked extra hard on an old stone bench we have moved every time we moved for forty years. It was looking good. This is not a quick process. It had taken a couple of years to get that pretty green mold to grow.

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Now comes the interesting part; our neighbor loaned SH a pressure washer for THE WHOLE DAY! Oh Lord!
I came home after a busy day of running errands and I see my SH (sweet husband) out front with this “thing”! He was so proud. Our beautiful old stone bench looked like it had just been purchased at Wal-Mart. All my pots looked brand new.
He really didn’t understand why I was so upset. He thought they looked so much better.
Soooo, I started over. It’s coming along. NO PRESSURE WASHERS allowed here

!Autumn 2009 013 

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I really had it going on!

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Autumn Decorations

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I prefer SIMPLE for Autumn. You think this fat guy will last through Thanksgiving? This will be the extent of my decorations. HAPPY FALL!