Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Hodgepodge


This beautiful graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
 Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! 

Not only is today Valentine's Day, it's also Wednesday!  That means it's time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Head on over, get the questions, and then answer them on your own blog (or in the comments if you don't have a blog).  Then go over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are this week's questions:

1. When's the last time you had a heart to heart talk with someone? A change of heart? Experienced figurative 'heart failure?'

Wow, what a bunch of questions!  Probably my most recent heart-to-heart talk was with my husband; they are fairly frequent occurrences.   A change of heart -- well, I have to say that the biggest, most complete change of heart ever would have taken place many years ago when I trusted Jesus as my personal Savior.  Figurative 'heart failure' -- probably last night when I noticed huge amounts of water damage on an upstairs wall and realized we had ice dams again.

2. Champagne, chocolates, flowers...what's your Valentine pleasure? Any special plans for the day?

Oh, of the three I would pick chocolate.  We have no special plans for the day.  My hubby will be working dawn to dusk and we'll just eat a quick supper and head off for our midweek service at church.  We tend to not exchange gifts for any holidays, saving our money for overnight getaways when we can find the time.
3. Are you a hopeless romantic or do you fall more in the category of practical and pragmatic? What's a gesture you find romantic?

I am a romantic, but not a hopeless one.  Romantic gestures on my husband's part may include suggesting a picnic or hike, a meal out, a coffee date, a scenic drive.  But I also see that some very practical things can be romantic gestures -- and we have both done these.  Things like changing the electric toothbrush head when one finishes with it so the toothbrush is ready for one's spouse to use. Taking out trash without being asked.  Answering the phone for the spouse when one is pretty sure there's a difficult person on the other end.  And what I see as the ultimate in this category, something I recall my husband doing more than once:  throwing vomit-covered bedding into the washer when a child is sick. 

4. Do you ask a lot of questions in life or are you pretty content with what you already know?

I very much enjoy learning new things.  I will probably always want to learn new things.  To learn, one has to ask questions. 

But as far as questioning life events ... I have learned that God has a purpose -- a good purpose -- for everything He allows to touch our lives.
5. Your favorite power ballad?

I'm not even sure what that is.  Maybe something by the Righteous Brothers, like Unchained Melody?  I consider it a ballad and it is powerful.  That's the best I can do on this question.  I refuse to delve into it any deeper than this.
6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I'm pretty excited that my Etsy shop, A New Hampshire Attic, is finally open and that I've had my first sale.  This is a possibility I've thought about and prayed about for a long time.  It's neat to see it coming to fruition.  Lots of work to this and a pretty steep learning curve.  Thankfully I like learning new things -- see #4 above!
Happy Hodgepodge, all!  Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

An exciting announcement...


Well, it's exciting to me, anyway!  😊 My brand-new Etsy shop, A New Hampshire Attic, has just opened for business.  It's a little rough around the edges still, but it'll get better in time, I think.

Although I'm still in the process of stocking and tweaking my shop,  I would love for you to visit and look around.   Please don't feel you need to purchase anything; just enjoy the trip down memory lane -- and tell others, if you like what you see.

So far I have only a couple dozen items listed, so if you don't see anything that catches your eye, bookmark or favorite the shop and return later.  I will be adding listings every day or so.  There are literally hundreds more items to list.

Most of what I have listed so far is vintage Christmas items, but there are listings in several different categories in addition to Christmas.  I'll also be having vintage stationery, vintage sewing notions, vintage hankies, vintage advertising, and much more.

Hope you'll enjoy your visit to A New Hampshire Attic!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Ever make a dessert in a slow cooker?

 I hadn't, until recently.  The concept has been around for awhile, but most slow-cooker dessert recipes call for a smaller cooker than what I have had.  Then I inherited a 3-quart crockpot with a removable Corning Ware casserole as the liner.  At first I used it mostly for smaller main dish recipes or for side dishes like vegetables.

Recently it occurred to me that now I could try one of the slow-cooker dessert recipes that so intrigued me.  I could take them to Sunday potluck lunches at church so we wouldn't have any leftovers tempting us at home.  I've now tried two recipes and am sold on this idea, especially for fall and winter.

The cookbook shown above, Slow Cooking All Year Round, is one that I received for having a recipe published in it.  I'm so thankful that I have this cookbook, as I have turned to it again and again.

But now I could turn to the dessert recipes!  There are 29 dessert recipes in this book.  A few of them are candies -- one combines and melts the ingredients in the slow cooker and then the mixture is dropped onto waxed paper to cool and harden.  Most, though, are some sort of pudding, cobbler, or cake.

This is really a great idea for a church potluck as the dessert can be cooking unattended in the slow cooker during the services.  When ready to eat, you have a nice warm dessert to serve.  Of course, it could also work to have the dessert in your slow cooker at home if you are planning Sunday lunch for guests or family.

On to the recipes.  The first one I tried (and my favorite of the two) is Gingerbread Pudding Cake:
GINGERBREAD PUDDING CAKE
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg white*
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
----------------------------------
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup (or less) melted butter

In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg white* and vanilla.  In separate smaller bowl or a measuring cup, combine molasses and water.  Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the molasses mixture, starting and ending with dry ingredients and beating well after each addition.  Pour mixture into a greased 3-quart slow cooker. 

Sprinkle brown sugar over top of batter.  Combine hot water and melted butter; pour over brown sugar.  Do not stir.

Cover and cook on High setting for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted near center of cake tests clean.  Turn off slow cooker; let stand for 15 minutes.  Serve warm, scooped into bowls and topped with whipped cream or ice cream.  Serves 6 to 8.

* Changes I made: I used a whole egg rather than an egg white because I just didn't have time to separate an egg right then.  The recipe did call for 1/2 cup chopped pecans in the batter, but I left those out.  I also used less melted butter at the end than called for; it called for 2/3 cup, which would have been impossibly rich.  It is a very rich dessert as it is.  Next time, I am going to try just 1/3 cup of melted butter, or maybe even 1/4 cup.

To make this at church, I had everything in the slow cooker except the hot water and melted butter at the end.  I just added those at church before turning the cooker on.  We just brought along a container of French vanilla ice cream to serve with it.

This dessert got rave reviews from those who tasted it.  It's delicious!

🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎
Now for the second recipe, Slow-Cooker Apple Pie:
SLOW-COOKER APPLE PIE
8 cups apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons softened butter, divided use
1 1/2 cup biscuit baking mix, divided use
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

In a large bowl, toss together apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg; transfer to a greased slow cooker.  (I just tossed them together IN the slow cooker.) 

In a bowl, blend eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, 2 Tablespoons of the softened butter and 3/4 cup of the baking mixture.  (I beat them together with a hand mixer.)  Spoon this batter over apples.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with the remaining baking mix and remaining softened butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Spoon brown sugar mixture over batter.  Do not stir.

Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 7 hours.  Serve warm, spooned into individual bowls and topped with whipped cream or ice cream.  Serves 8 to 10.

I would not call this a pie, exactly; it was more of a cobbler.  But still very delicious!

So there you have it!  Some readers had been asking for the Gingerbread Pudding Cake recipe.  Now you can choose from two slow cooker dessert recipes if you are interested in trying this concept.  (And I highly recommend Slow Cooking All Year Round, too.)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

February 7 Hodgepodge


  The first Wednesday of February already!  Time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Head on over, get the questions, and then answer them on your own blog (or in the comments if you don't have a blog).  Then go over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are this week's questions:

1. February can be a little bit tricky given the weather and the winter and the whatnot. I read a list (here) of things you can do to make your February brighter which included-start planning your next trip, take more baths, make your own chocolate covered strawberries, and exercise in preparation for swimsuit season. Anything on the list you might try? Which suggestion on the list appeals to you most? Tell us something not on the list that helps make your February brighter.

Starting to plan for our next trip sounds good.  Hopefully a two day getaway near the end of March.  We'd love to go back to the York Harbor Inn (photos below) again. We will see.  


 As for something not on the list that makes my February brighter ... well, I've mentioned this before, but just seeing the daylight hours grow longer at the end of the day.  That's very encouraging.

2. Tell us about something you've seen or done recently that you'd say was 'super'?

I am completely drawing a blank on this question.  Maybe the spectacular full moon at the end of January?

3. Best thing you ate in a 'bowl' last week?

Hmmm ...I'd have to say it was a serving of gingerbread pudding cake topped with French vanilla ice cream.  I'm hoping to share the recipe for the pudding cake soon ... it was made in a slow cooker and quite delicious.

4. Something you're 'cheering' for right now?

 Not quite sure how to take this.  "Cheering for" as in happy to see -- a good price on chicken breasts this week coming up, decent prices on avocados. "Cheering for " as in encouraging a team -- maybe the thought that spring will eventually come.  You know, "Come on, Spring!  Let's go, Spring!" It's unrealistic to expect it here and now, but there's nothing wrong with encouraging it on a bit, I guess.


5. The Winter Olympics begin Friday, February 9th in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being all in and 1 being no interest whatsoever) how interested are you in the games? Which event do you most want to see (you'll find a list here).

I am interested but not obsessed.  I would rate my interest a 6 or 7.  If I have an opportunity to watch any of the events, I would be most interested in figure skating, downhill skiing, and ski jumping.  Quite a few of the athletes have ties to New Hampshire so I will be interested in how they do.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

By the time this is posted, we'll likely be in the middle of a big snowstorm.  The apple tree will  likely look like it does in the photo below.  Happy Wednesday, all!

Friday, February 02, 2018

A February Morn



I always enjoy looking through old magazines, and old New Hampshire Troubadours, of which I have a small collection, are some of my favorites.  This poem is one that I found in the February 1948 issue. 

A February Morn
by Grace Wight Buckle

Diamond drops among the pines,
Fragile, fleeting things;
Catching color that outshines
Man-made polishings.

Patter of the melting snow
From bent branches sped;
Gentle showers falling, though 
Blue skies glow o'erhead.

Color crystaled in the green; 
Bird-song, winter-born;
Shadows reach on earth's white sheen -- 
A February morn!

Beautiful, I thought.  So descriptive of a morning in February.


Thursday, February 01, 2018

February goals


 Just like that, it's February and the year is 1/12 over.  Time to set some goals for the month:
* Continue my informal study of Come Before Winter, by Charles Swindoll, for my quiet time
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones.
* Add 4 to 8 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook
* Continue study for Sunday School -- A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night  
* Limit sugar and red meat.
* Drink enough water each day.
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week.
* Do something creative each day
* Post in my Christmas blog at least once or twice weekly
* Post in this blog most weekdays if possible
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects
* Plan for family birthday gifts and begin crafting any handmade ones
* Set up an Etsy shop and begin selling vintage items
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Send lengthy emails to several friends
* Call faraway friends to chat
* Learn more about cultured foods and begin making more of them
* Declutter and reorganize my closet
* Declutter and revamp computer room
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal
* Sort out and declutter my dad's house; work on estate
* Possibly plan a getaway with my hubby
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating

FEBRUARY'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Drink enough water/exercise/eat healthfully
WORD FOR 2018: Settled
 ⛄💕 ⛄💕 ⛄💕 ⛄💕 ⛄💕 ⛄💕 ⛄💕 ⛄💕 ⛄
And here is how January went:
 * Spend time reflecting on 2017 and considering my goals and a word for 2018 -- done!
* Resume my informal study of Come Before Winter, by Charles Swindoll, for my quiet time -- done!
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- only memorized 3 verses
* Add 4 to 8 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook -- done!
* Continue study for Sunday School -- A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus -- done!
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night-- not done consistently, but there were nights when we managed it
* Limit sugar and red meat  -- done!  (for the most part; we still need to work harder on eliminating sugar, but we cut back on it pretty drastically)

* Drink enough water each day -- not done consistently
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week -- not done consistently
* Do something creative each day -- done!
* Post in my Christmas blog at least once or twice weekly -- not done
* Post in this blog most weekdays if possible -- not done, but I posted 10 times in January -- not bad
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects  -- done! (that is, the projects aren't done, but I worked on one of them nearly every day)

* Plan for family birthday gifts and begin crafting any handmade ones -- done!
* Set up an Etsy shop and begin selling vintage items -- not done, but I've been working on it
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- done!
* Send lengthy emails to several friends -- done!
* Call faraway friends to chat -- not done
* Learn more about cultured foods and begin making more of them -- not done
* Declutter and reorganize my closet -- not done
* Declutter and revamp computer room -- not done, but I've made plans and done some preliminary work
* Declutter and reorganize pantry -- done!
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able -- not done as much as I'd like
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal -- done!
* Sort out and declutter my dad's house; work on estate -- done!  (obviously not finished, but I've worked on it nearly every day)

* Possibly plan a getaway with my hubby -- not done
* Make 2 photo calendars -- done!
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating -- done!

JANUARY'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Drink enough water/exercise/eat healthfully
WORD FOR 2018: Settled

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Last Hodgepodge of January


How did this happen?  It's the last day of January!  Thankfully, it's also Wednesday and time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Something fun to cheer us all up as we grapple with the fact that the year is now 1/12 over!  Snowshoe on over, get the questions, and then answer them on your own blog.  Then go on back over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are this week's questions:

1. Speaking of endings....at your wit's end, at loose ends, a dead end, burn the candle at both ends, all's well that end's well, or no end in sight...which 'end' phrase might best be applied to your life lately? Explain.  

No end in sight applies to several situations in my life right now: estate responsibilities, pastoral search, closet reorganizations, winter itself. 
An ice-covered brook with high water under the ice
2. What was a must have accessory when you were growing up? Did you own one? If so tell us what you remember about it.

A must-have winter accessory at one point -- maybe 5th or 6th grade -- was a stocking cap.   Mine was red; it may have had a white stripe or two, and the pompom was rabbit fur.
This isn't a stocking cap, but it's red and has a bunny fur pompom, I'd say.  Fur earmuffs too!
3. Something that made you smile yesterday?

Watching a video of my 9-year-old grandson diving at swim lessons.

4. January 30th is National Croissant Day. Do you like croissants? Sweet or savory? We're having chicken salad for lunch...would you rather have yours served on a croissant, a wrap, a bagel, bread, or a roll of some sort?

I do like croissants, very much (and prefer them savory), but oh, the calories.  I would probably prefer to have my chicken salad in a wrap, with some baby spinach leaves and a bit of cranberry sauce.  But if you insist, I'll have a croissant.

Speaking of chicken salad, the very best way to prepare chicken for that (in my view) is in a slow cooker.  You put chicken breasts (bone-in are probably best, but boneless work find too) or a whole chicken in the slow cooker and sprinkle with seasonings of choice.  Montreal Chicken is usually my choice, but poultry seasoning works well too, as does lemon pepper or Greek seasoning.  You don't need to add any water, but you can add a tiny bit if you'd like.  Cover and cook on High for 4 hours. Let cool for a half hour or so and remove meat from bones (if there are bones) and cut into bite-size pieces.  I like to freeze this cooked chicken in quart-size freezer bags to use as meal starters on busy days, but we are talking chicken salad right now.   

For that, just put the desired amount of your diced chicken in a bowl and add mayonnaise to your taste and whatever else you like in your chicken salad.  I usually use salt, pepper, onion powder, and poultry seasoning.  Occasionally I will add some sweet pickle relish or some finely chopped celery.
My paternal great-grandmother with her chickens
A side benefit to cooking chicken this way is that several cups of nicely seasoned chicken broth are produced simultaneously.  You just strain it into a clean container (I use a recycled quart-size yogurt container) and put it in fridge or (for longer storage) freezer.  Next time you need chicken broth, it's there!


5. Sum up your January in fifteen words or less.

Surprisingly relaxed in spite of stress, busyness, and weather events: thank You, Lord.
6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I'd hoped to have an Etsy shop up and running by the end of January (mostly for vintage paper items and some hankies, etc.) but that didn't happen.  I have, however, done lots of research and homework and will set a new goal for this to take place in February.
Things like this.  1930s, wouldn't you guess?
Another Hodgepodge and another month in the books!  Happy Wednesday, everyone!