Sunday, October 15, 2017

Week 95, 10-15-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter. 
                                                                     Carol Bishop Hipps

The times they are achanging. We're having summer AND winter here in Missouri in the middle of October.  On the 13th we set a record high of 88F and two days before we were having nights in the 40F's. Saturday was 87F and today is predicted to be 62F high and 39F low.

When my son was born on October 8 in 1957, the leaves up and down the hospital street were glorious. Now we're still mowing lawns and using sprinklers. The leaves won't turn until the end of October. Snow days are scarce now. When my parents talked of 8' drifts of snow while walking to school, we'd say, "Oh, my", while glancing at each other and thinking, "Yeah, right!". We just knew they were exaggerating. Now I'm not so sure.

My week has been cables, cats, and cold weather. Pepper's diarrhea came back, and after making two more trips and spending an extra $25, I got the easy solution from my friend Linda. A quarter of an Imodium A-D caplet in a little ball of cheese did the trick. Now I have two bags of pill pockets he won't touch and a bottle of Imodium A-D gel caps which rattled like aspirin so I thought they were caplets.

With the cold nights, I've had Stormy in the house. I think Dr. implanted a turbo-charged motor when she was spayed, because that girl is non-stop energy. She continues to slip outside and stay out for a night and sometimes a day, but now I know she'll come home when she's ready. I wanted to get her socialized and adopted, but Pepper has decided he wants to keep her, so I'm in a quandary.

Veronica has been spayed and I'll pick her up Monday. I wanted her to have a few days of quiet and know that all is well before I release her.

So much for the cats. And finally on Thursday they buried the new TV cable, so the lawn guys can do their work. Then the heating and air guys came and started up my new furnace so I have heat. I can use a blanket and wear a sweater, but I worry about the kitties. We used the gas fireplace and turned on the oven to warm the house. I was glad for real heat  this morning. 

So things are getting back to normal, but I didn't accomplish much this week, so short post.

Thrifting: Steg said I didn't have enough grass seed, so when I picked up more, I dropped some things at the thrift store while I was down that way. Of course, I had to stop in, and it was Senior Day. Goody!  

Remember the gingerbread teapot from Bev? 

I found salt and peppers to go with it for only 80 cents for the set.

A fish plate (equivalent to lunch size) for only 80 cents, and I have things which match - a large platter and smaller plates with indentations for cocktail sauce cups.

Not quite matching, but will use it anyway - a little holder for sugar and sweetener packets for only 20 cents. I got the teapot, creamer teapot, and the holder in three different places at three different times. Some things just take patience.

Tasting: Bill, Will, and I went for lunch to a place I'd not been as it's rather new. It's near  Will's ankle rehab and it's called Bellacino's. They make pizza, pasta, and grinders. Everything is made fresh - the pasta, the bread, the pizza dough, the sauces, etc. I followed their lead and ordered the Italian grinder. They ordered a large one and split it. I ordered a large one and had three meals. The little bits on the bread are Italian sausage pieces atop melted cheese. What you see in the first photo is one sandwich. I cut it in half and then I cut the half in half. So I ended up with 1/4's. I ate the first one, split the second one with Bill, and then ate the other two later - one for dinner and one the next day for lunch. It was still great.

The Halloween decorations were going up while we were there, and I can't believe how sophisticated and widespread the Halloween celebration has become. When I was young, we carved a pumpkin and put it on the porch and made our costumes from whatever our mothers would let us use.

Truly a Tasting week, as I had lunch with a couple of people from the library on Thursday at Market House Cafe in Ozark. No wonder they have five stars. Everything is delicious, the service is tops, and the owner gives you cooking tips. I also learned recently that she's the wife of Pepper's vet. 

We had fried zucchini and fried green tomatoes for appetizers which made me go into fits of ecstasy. I had fried green tomatoes at Lady and Son Restaurant in Savannah, and these were so much better - sorry Paula Deen. I asked the owner how she gets her breading so crispy and she told me. See - cooking tips. I had a hand-cut and hand-breaded pork tenderloin sandwich on homemade bun. Had I seen this photo on her facebook page, I'd have had the chicken and dumplings. Don't they look yummy?

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And then we split some pumpkin cheesecake, which is the best I've ever eaten. When I asked if they made it in house, the owner told me that she can't duplicate it, so she buys it at Sam's Club, but it's rather expensive. I told her that I'd not be buying a whole one at Sam's because I'd eat every bite, but I'll come back to the restaurant for just a piece instead. And soon. Don't you just love it when you get honest answers? They do make some of their cheesecakes in house, along with lots of other goodies. You know, the kind where you want one of each because you can't decide?

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And I want some dishes like these. Of course.

Thousand Cranes Project: Bellancino's is across the street from the Greene County main library, so I stopped in for a Bookends, the library newsletter. World Peace Day was September 21, but some of the cranes are still on display. I've always loved these little guys.

Tales: Remember the book I wasn't going to read? I read the back cover, and now I want to keep it. In order to live up to my commitment of disposing of an item a day, I have to throw out seven items by the end of the week. The things I took to the thrift store don't count, because I already had them ready to go. They can be little things, but one a day - no cheating. Maybe I won't like the book, and I won't have to finish it. I can stop any time before I've read 100 pages. After that, I have to finish it. It's a law. A Patsy law.

Tasting: I have a new recipe for you. I organized a bunch of loose recipes this week while cleaning off my desk so I can work on THE BOOK, and I ran across this and had to make them.

(From Taste of Home Magazine, submitted by Mrs. Leonard Keszler)

1 cup butter, softened
1  8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar (plus some for tops, optional)
1-1/2 tsps vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°.

Cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. 

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.

Fold in cranberries and pecans.

Put batter into 24 greased or paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Tips: This batter doesn’t rise very much; 24 is just right. If you use frozen cranberries, they start to stiffen the batter right away, so work quickly. I found these on the tart side, so next time I’ll sprinkle the tops with a little sugar before baking. A nice tender muffin which freezes well.

Trash day!: Here are my seven discards for the week. I told you they could be little things. Two hangers, two tops from my grubbies drawer (don't worry, I have plenty so I won't be getting paint on my good tops), a little vase I'm not sure of its origin or why I have it, a container DIY book, and a Victoria magazine. I wanted to cut out some of the pictures for card making and use some of the full pages to make envelopes, but I just couldn't bring myself to destroy it. I get inspiration from magazines such as this, so I'll put it in blog-buddy Carrie's CARE box and see if she wants to tuck it away until spring. Then she'll be the one who's inspired to have a ladies lunch and serve pink lemonade in tall stemmed glasses, and I can just relax and read a book.

I have so many cook books, and thought I could part with one each week. Don't see that happening. This one is only 48 pages, I picked it up in Vermont on a trip years ago, and haven't made a single one of its recipes, but now I just have to make eight of them before I can part with it. Sour Cream Raisin Pie, Mrs. Scott's Brown Bread, Hot Milk Sponge Cake, Salad Dressing No. 5, Heavenly Meringue or Angel Pie (haven't decided which), Squash Pie No. 2, Cranberry Applesauce, and Lemon Delight. 

Sour Cream Raisin Pie because Robert is a fan of raisins. If the recipe is as simple as it looks, Joey will make it for him often. He'll have to test it though, because I think it sounds gross, and I'm not touching it.

Mrs. Scott's Brown Bread because it sounds like fall.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake because it might be like my mother made.

Salad Dressing No. 5 and Squash Pie because they might be like my grandmother made.

Heavenly Meringue and Angel Pie sound like Pavlova's and I keep saying I'm going to make one.

Cranberry Applesauce because I've never seen a recipe.

Lemon Delight because it sounds like a variation of a Lemon Pudding Cake but lighter for summer.

We'll see how it goes. I might run across this little book months from now, list of recipes I want to make inside the front cover, and not one of them put into action. I do that, you know.

Tales: When I went to Ozark for lunch, I stopped in at the library to pick up the book I ordered through Mobius - Purses and Poison. It's the second in the series by Dorothy Howell,with her flaky protagonist, Haley, who loves designer handbags. so she can't be a total bum, right? 

After my hectic and frustrating week, Saturday calmed down. The house was so quiet and I was so happy for a stress-free day. The kitties were sleeping, and I told myself, "To heck with washing windows. Let's read". And so I did, and found this book as delightful as the first, Handbags and Homicide.

Sorry about the green sticker, but Mobius told me not to remove it EVER.

Tasting: I just couldn't wait to start the Vermont cook book, so I made Mrs. Scott's Brown Bread. Her loaf pans must be smaller than mine, because my bread looks more like biscotti. The taste, however, is wonderful. I didn't bake it the hour the recipe specifies; mine was done in about forty minutes. Next time I'll use my mini-loaf pans and bake it about twenty minutes. That way each person can have his own little loaf, and I can have two end pieces. The crust is nice and chewy and this bread has body. You feel as if you're eating something good for you, and you forget about all the carbs. 

(A Vermont Cook Book by Vermont Cooks)

2 cups graham (whole wheat) flour
1 cup corn meal (I used yellow)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour milk (1 Tbs vinegar in a measuring cup and add milk to make 1 cup/wait 5 minutes)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup milk

Heat oven to 375°.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

Pour in the sour milk and syrup.

Mix well, then add enough milk to make a thin batter – about 1/2 cup.

Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on pan size.

If using mini-loaf pans, bake about 20-25 minutes.

Note: My interpretation of Mrs. Scott’s vague recipe.

Travel (by computer): I met George and Ceil on a trip to Great Britain years ago. We've kept in touch, and I consider them BFF's. Then they went to Russia and met Lena and Yuri. I just got some photos from George from that trip. Some are his, and some are Lena's. I love the onion domes. Russia must look like some wonderful fairytale land. Yes, it's on my list. George said that he's sure Lena wouldn't mind if I shared them.

And for my Russian readers, her link is HERE.

Ta-Ta For Now: And I leave you with pictures of Stormy. Guess we're keeping her. Pepper wants her and she really is a sweet little girl. I just wish she didn't nag so much. Meow, meow, meow all the time.









Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 94, 10-8-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: Life is just full of surprises.  Me

Last week I said that no one missed my blog post, and I was wrong. Several of you told me that indeed I was missed. But here's the surprising part - I missed you. Even though you can't reply, I feel as if I'm sitting down and having a chat with you. I missed our little visits, so here I am (a day late), but I'll drop by each week, even though I might not have a lot to say for now. Soon I'll be back blabbing away full steam again; so much so that you'll want to tell me "enough already".

Nephew Will broke his ankle and has been off work, so he, Brother Bill (his dad), and I have spent several days together. I don't see much of them anymore, so I treasure our times together. I always have fun with these two, even if they beat me when we play Chickenfoot.

I've also done some reading.

I didn't really like the Baldacci book, and now that I've made a commitment to rid myself of one item per day, today's item will be the unread Baldacci book in my garage stash.

Five Days in Summer started out as a thriller which kept me turning pages, but ended up a little too much on the "sick" side to suit me. The serial killer was really sick.

Show of Evil is the sequel to Primal Fear, which was made into a movie starring Richard Gere. It's enough different from other murder thrillers to hold my interest, so I'll keep the third book in the series and read it soon.

Handbags and Homicide by Dorothy Howell is a different matter entirely. Don't let the lack of stars on Amazon fool you. If you like Kinsey Milhone of Sue Grafton's ABC murders, you'll love Haley Randolph. She's addicted to designer handbags, a little on the flaky side, and very gutsy. I bought this book at a thrift store on a whim, and it happened to be the first of a series. I've discovered that neither Christian nor Greene County libraries have book two in their collections, so I've ordered it in from our library consortium.

And while we're on the subject of cozy mysteries, I want to share a wonderful website I found which is just full of information and even has the authors listed in alphabetical order and also lists their books in series order. Click HERE.

Thank Yous: To Linda for the beautiful teacups for the library teas.

 And the teabag rests that I get to keep since the tea is served in teapots at the library.

To Carrie and Annie, my mother-daughter blog buddies for all these wonderful surprises I found in my latest CARE package.

For autumn decorating

And for cardmaking

There was even a squeek toy and laser pen for the kitties. Stormy has plucked all the feathers from the squeeky toy - my little destruction derby kitty - and loves chasing the red light around the room.  Pepper didn't show much interest, but we'll get to that later.

And to Brother Bill, the champion napkin ring finder for these pretty little blue flowered ones (ceramic).

And the ones with the gorgeous seashells, also cermaic, which I'll use on the redo of the Sailing, sailing.....theme dinner.

The theme dinner items are still sitting on the cabinet, collecting dust.

And at the other end of the cabinet, the December Holly Tea items still wait patiently.

The Pepper and Pals Report: A lot going on here. First of all, Pepper had a bout with diarrhea this week, so maybe he'll show more interest in the toys now that he's feeling better.

He and Stormy are becoming good buddies. Pepper still chases Stormy, but now it's playing and not trying to herd her back to the patio. They even use the same potty boxes and eat together. I've had a challenge this week, keeping them in separate spaces, because I was lacing Pepper's food with diarrhea medicine.

Stormy loves being a lap kitty, but can't decide whether she wants to be a house kitty or a feral kitty. She followed me out to the outdoor patio last week and wouldn't come back in. She was gone for two days and two nights and then I heard her crying from the top of the fence. I tried everything to help her down, but she'd move away from me and then finally just walked all the way around the fence to the gate and came down on the diagonal boards as if that's what she planned all along. What a brat!

And now she's out prowling again. She slipped out last night and wouldn't come back in, and still hasn't shown up today and it's almost noon.

She still sleeps in her carrier in the screened in patio, but spends a lot of time in the house. I want her to get really friendly with Pepper because I can't leave her in the cold patio this winter, looking through the sliding door at Pepper inside all cozy and warm.

To recap the kitty situation: Stormy is the only remaining member of the Weather family. Mother Misty and Brother Sunny have since moved on.

Pepper was a feral kitty, living in my neighbor's back yard, until he was injured and became a house kitty after spending a month in the hospital. His sister is Midnight, here with her daughter BJ. We thought BJ was a male, so named her Butch, Jr because she looked like Joey's kitty Butchie. Now BJ is short for Betty Jean.

BJ had a litter of five, of which only one is still around. I named her Veronica, after Veronica Lake with her hair over her eye. Photos HERE.

And here's a photo of Veronica kitty I took the other evening.

And here she is, looking directly at the camera, with two of her siblings. Out of the litter of five, she's the only one remaining. So sad. I don't know what happens to them, and probably don't want to know. That's why I'm trying so hard to trap them and have them spayed.

And Hercules, of course, the neighbor kitty who is like The Man Who Came To DinnerHe belongs to a neighbor the next street over, and when he ended up in the trap, I got his owner's permission and had him neutered.

Midnight is Pepper's sister, BJ is Midnight's daughter, and Veronica is BJ's daughter. I fed them only dry food all weekend and set the trap with wet food this morning. I looked out and saw Midnight in the trap. I was so excited as I've been trying to trap her for months. When I got closer, I realized she was eating food, but the door wasn't down. Of course, she ran out when she saw me, but later I found Veronica trapped inside. I really didn't want her trapped until November, but while I had her, I took her in and Dr. Hardy says that she looks old enough. One down and two to go. I caught BJ once, but it just happened the vet was closed that afternoon and I had to let her out. She's very wary of the trap now. And Midnight is just plain smart. 

Now for the clean up crew. The janitor continues to do an excellent job of cleaning up.

But his boss has become a problem.

He brought two of his family members to dinner last night, so now I'll feed the kitties earlier and bring the leftovers inside before dark. I don't need squabbles over food when the result could be a smelly backyard. I find it strange that I have possums, skunks and raccoons, and they never compete with each other nor do they bother the kitties and visa versa. However, they do have fights with their own kind. 

The Holidays are Coming: Bill and Will and I had dinner at Cracker Barrel and they always have the most interesting and/or beautiful decorations for the holidays. They're all decked out for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

And remember Joey's beautiful winter room?

I think we need to go to Cracker Barrel for lunch soon, because they probably have something she wants.

Until next time -