Saturday, March 28, 2009

Favorite Ingredients Friday for March 27

Favorite Ingredients Friday this week has a Mexican theme. I am a day late posting this, but am sure folks will enjoy these recipes anyway. I have a main dish, side dish, and salad to share. First of all,


1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, divided use
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup salsa, divided use
1 medium bell pepper (any color), chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 teaspoon ground cumin
8 flour tortillas, 7 to 8 inch diameter
Garnishes if desired: chopped tomato, sliced black olives, shredded lettuce

Combine 3/4 cup of the shredded jack cheese, 3/4 cup of the shredded cheddar, cream cheese, 1/4 cup salsa, chopped bell pepper, green onions, and cumin. Mix well. Spoon about 1/4 cup (or a little less) of this mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up each filled tortilla and place, seam side down, in a well-greased 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Spoon the remaining 3/4 cup salsa evenly over the enchiladas; cover with remaining shredded cheeses. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until piping hot. If desired, garnish with any or all of the optional garnishes listed. Pass additional salsa if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

I love this recipe because it is so easy and is very tasty too.



3 cups cooked rice (either white or brown)
1 1/4 cups sour cream (I use light sour cream)
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided use
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large bowl combine the rice, sour cream, 1/2 cup of each shredded cheese, chiles, salt and pepper. Spoon into a greased 1.5 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, at 350º for 20-25 minutes or until piping hot. Yield: 4 servings.

This recipe makes a wonderful side dish with any Mexican meal. If you prefer, you can make this a main dish by adding 1/2 pound cooked, drained ground beef to the other ingredients before placing in the casserole dish.

And finally,


1 large or 2 medium bunches romaine, torn in bite-size pieces
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (I toast nuts in the microwave -- quick & easy)

1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tblsp. vegetable oil
3 Tblsp. sugar

In a large bowl combine all of the salad ingredients and gently toss together. Put all of the dressing ingredients in a small jar. Cover securely and shake to combine. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat ingredients with dressing. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

This is a delicious salad! We love this salad served with a Mexican meal -- the light, fruity taste is a nice contrast to the spicy hot flavors.

To see what others have shared for Favorite Ingredients Friday, head on over to Overwhelmed with Joy and check out the links.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Homemade Life, March 27

For A Homemade Life today, I thought I would share my recipe for homemade baked beans. We have taken to serving beans and hot dogs every Saturday night for the past couple of months. This is an economical old New England custom. If you are feeling really economical, skip the hot dogs and serve the beans instead with homemade brown bread. In either case, cole slaw makes a nice accompaniment. Applesauce would be good too.


1 pound dry navy beans or small white beans
1 onion, peeled and quartered or chunked
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tblsp. salt
1 tsp. prepared mustard (any kind)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup molasses

The night before you want to serve the baked beans, empty the dry beans into a container about double their bulk. Cover the beans with cold water and let stand overnight.

Next morning, heat the oven to 350º. Then drain the beans and place them in a 2- or 3-quart bean pot. (A casserole dish of the same capacity works as well, if you don't have a bean pot.) Add the onion, the sugar, salt, mustard and pepper to the bean pot. Now add cold water to cover the beans and stir it all up. Cover the bean pot and bake for 1 hour at 350º.

Turn the oven temperature down to 300º. Stir the molasses into the bean mixture. Cover the pot again and return it to the oven. Bake the beans until they are thoroughly tender, about 6 more hours. Check the beans every hour and add water as needed to keep them covered. It is important that they not dry out on top.

Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

This recipe is a combination of one from Cook & Tell, a favorite cookbook of mine, and the recipe my grandmother used for baked beans.

If anyone would like to try making brown bread, here is the recipe I use.

(Traditional brown bread is steamed in cans, so the slices come out round and moist. This is a quicker way and quite delicious.) My kids always enjoyed this.


Beat 1 egg in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup molasses, 3/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup water (you can substitute 1 cup buttermilk for the yogurt and water if you prefer), and 1/4 cup canola oil. In another bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt. Add to the egg mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup raisins (my kids preferred chopped dates) and stir all together quickly but thoroughly. Pour into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and bake at 350º for 45 minutes or until the loaf tests done. Remove from pan to a wire rack immediately. Yield: 1 loaf.

Another homemade thing I made this week was this dish towel.

I have been wanting for quite some time now to try my hand at making a flour sack dish towel with a band of fabric trim. From my experience making all of the trimmed pillowcases back at Christmas time, I thought I could figure out a technique for trimming a dish towel. It worked quite well. I was in the mood to make something with a springtime look, even though the snow continues to remain very deep up here. I made this dish towel to give to an aunt as a birthday gift, and sent one of my crocheted dishcloths along with it.

That is about all of my homemade goodies for this week. To see more homemade ideas shared by others, go to Life on a Back Road. You will find lots of inspiration there!

Show & Tell Friday for March 27

For Show & Tell today, I want to share just a few early spring scenes.

First of all, this is the clothesline that goes from the balcony of our house out into the woods in our back yard. This photo was taken just over a week ago. You can see how much snow is still out there!

And this is my hutch decorated for early spring. I finally took my snowy decor down, because after all it is spring by the calendar if in no other way. I will show closer photos of the two lower shelves below, so will only describe the top 2. The top shelf features a cross stitch from Proverbs 31, made by a dear friend. That pretty much lives here permanently. On either side of it are "Tea for One" teapots in pretty spring colors, given me by dear friends.

The second shelf features a lovely teapot with a fruit motif given me by the same friends. To the right of it is a Fiesta ware cup and saucer, part of my motley Fiesta collection. To the left is a pretty pincushion embroidered by another dear friend.

The next shelf down has a maple sugaring theme, since that's the season we're in right now. I have empty syrup cans (one of which is shaped like a sugarhouse), old photos of sugaring time, an old maple syrup ad, old labels from syrup cans, and a metal sap spile. Oh, and a little wooden evergreen tree beside the sugarhouse.

The bottom shelf again has some old ironstone dishes from my mother's family, on a green & white dishtowel used as a runner. There's more Fiesta ware -- the green and white salt/pepper shakers -- plus a little salt shaker from the Colonial Homestead pattern, and a little green salt dish. I have no idea where the top to this dish is, but it used to have a little matching chicken top to the basket. I also added to this shelf a couple of die-cut shamrocks a friend sent me, and a little bunch of yellow silk flowers for color.

That is my simple Show & Tell for today. To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home. Happy Show & Tell Friday!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Show & Tell Friday for March 20

For Show & Tell today, I have some of my inexpert attempts at paper crafting to share. A dear friend of mine is excellent at this craft and has really inspired me, especially with her tags. I like the idea of tags because they can be displayed in so many ways and they need not take a lot of time to make.

One of my goals for 2009 is to nurture my creativity. I thought that perhaps setting a goal to make one tag a month might help with that, since it is a new craft to me. I thought that narrowing the challenge by designing one tag each month, themed for that month, would help me focus better. And I also decided that I would buy no new materials or equipment for this venture, but would just use what I had on hand. I have plenty of card stock, a few punches and stamps, and a multitude of sewing trims and other embellishments, though no brads or other special paper crafting supplies. I also plan to keep all the tags the same size for this project.

So I decided to be brave and show scans of my tag efforts for January and February, and hope that no one will laugh at them.

Here is the front side of the January tag.

I wanted to have a snowflake/snow theme for this tag. I scanned some snowflake scrapbook paper and printed it out on pale blue card stock so that I would have one print side and one pale blue side. I was thinking of some different snippets of poems I had read about playing in the snow. That led me to thinking of some old photos of a childhood snow fort. So I put a copy of one photo (printed on white card stock) on the tag along with a few lines from a poem. I had intended to punch more than two snowflakes in the tag but my punch wasn't working well at all. I punched through some foil to sharpen it a bit, and one of the foil snowflakes came out intact so I stuck it on the tag. The large snowflake was on the envelope of a Christmas card my friend sent me. The cord is a silver-gray old-looking cord. The clear snowflake is one from a package I got at Jo-Ann's or Walmart after Christmas some time ago. The hole at the top was not big enough for the cord, so I strung the snowflake on clear thread and attached it directly to the tag. The little snowman was a charm that used to be on a necklace belonging to one of my daughters. I had saved it for years and decided this was the perfect use for it.

Here is the back of the tag.

The clear snowflake is the same one that's on the front; I just flipped it to the back to scan it. The glittery white snowflakes are from the same source as the clear snowflake; I just snipped off the little hanging loops from them. The snowy cabin is a Gooseberry Patch illustration. And of course, the blue snowflakes were added (none too expertly) with some small rubber stamps.

Here's the front of the February tag.

I scanned some red snowflake fabric and printed it out on white card stock. This is fabric I used some years ago to make a Christmas apron for one of my daughters. I wanted to use a family photo on this tag, but it needed something to set it off. The little scalloped frame was from a set of Christmas frames I had bought on clearance at a scrapbooking store last summer. I was at a loss as to how to trim the frame; it needed something, though, and I wanted it to look as if it was being held in place some way. So I borrowed an idea from a friend and glued tiny thread bows to buttons. At the very bottom of the tag is a piece of vintage bias tape from my grandmother. As you will see, it wraps all the way around the tag. I overlapped it here on the front and decided a button would be a good "fastener" for it.

Here's the back of the tag.

I glued on plaid scrapbooking paper to cover it. You can see the same bias tape at the bottom edge. The 2 red diecut hearts were sent to me by my creative friend, and I wanted to incorporate them in my February tag. I thought it would be nice to use the saying "Cold hands, warm heart" so printed those words out and then cut and glued them. The tiny mittens are made from white felt. The little hot cocoa sticker on the small attached tag was from a set of stickers my daughter gave me when we visited her this past fall. It seemed perfect to use here.

So those are my simple paper crafting efforts so far. I may post about the others later on as I finish the ones for each month.

To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home. Happy Show & Tell Friday!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Homemade Life, March 14

For A Homemade Life this week, I want to share a homemade substitute for canned pie filling. I must hasten to add that I would not try to fill a pie with these fillings. They are just to use when a recipe calls for a can of raspberry, blueberry, or apple pie filling... for topping a cheesecake, say, or used as a fruity layer in a dessert. I am sorry that I don't have a homemade substitute for cherry pie filling, but there's probably one out there on the internet if you look.

Last Sunday I made a dessert that called for a can of raspberry pie filling. That is one of the most pricey kinds of canned pie filling, so I set out to devise a substitute. I tweaked a recipe I found in Make Your Own Groceries, and it worked perfectly in my dessert recipe. Here it is:


3 cups frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/3 cup plus 3 Tblsp. sugar
4 1/2 Tblsp. cornstarch
3 Tblsp. lemon juice (bottled is fine)

In a heavy saucepan of appropriate size, combine all ingredients. Stirring constantly, bring to the simmering point. Continue to simmer and stir to dissolve the sugar and to thicken. It will take about 10 minutes. Let cool before using.


Use the exact same recipe, but substitute 3 cups frozen blueberries for the raspberries. In either case, if you have the fresh berries, those may be used instead of frozen. But obviously the frozen berries are cheaper this time of year.


4 cups peeled and finely chopped apples
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
6 Tblsp. butter
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 dashes nutmeg
Dash of salt

Combine the ingredients in a heavy saucepan of appropriate size. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 or 6 minutes or until very thick. Let cool before using. When cool, if you like, you may add 3/4 cup raisins.

To see more homemade ideas shared by others, go to Life on a Back Road. You will find lots of inspiration there!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Show & Tell Friday for March 13

My Show & Tell today will be very short and sweet, due to time constraints and busyness in my life right now. I thought I would show you the ribbon board from my front hallway, decorated for March. Unfortunately, the photo doesn't show the top of the board, but I'm sure you get the idea. A couple of the items on the board are not St. Patrick's Day items, but the rest are.

Right in the middle you see a birthday card made for me by a dear friend. I thought the greenish background and springy colors worked great on this board. Over near the lower left is a lovely card my daughter gave me some time ago. I often display this in different ways because it's one of my favorites. I love the illustrations and a marvelous quote from Louisa May Alcott.

Some of the cards on the ribbon board are newer St. Patrick's Day cards we've received in recent years. Others are St. Patrick's Day illustrations I've found elsewhere and printed out on card stock. The dark green shamrocks are simply cut from card stock.

That's my simple Show & Tell for today. To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home. Happy Show & Tell Friday!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Beaded Bracelet link

So many of you have been interested in the crocheted beaded bracelet I showed in the post "Getting Crafty" that I thought I would share the link. I should add that I did not use seed beads (as specified) in the one I made. I used bead assortments from Walmart. The one I used for the pink bracelet is "fashion glass" brand and the assortment is called "pretty pink glass E beads". They come in 30-gram tubes, and I used about 2 1/2 tubes between the bracelet and the t-shirt. It will take more than 2 tubes just for the bracelet, so be aware of that. Other than the difference in the beads, I used the size 8 steel hook and followed the pattern directions.

So, for all those who are interested in how to make the beaded bracelet, it's a Michaels project. Very easy. Here's the link: Beaded Bracelet. Happy crafting!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Getting crafty

Here is my craftiness for this week. I finally finished this crocheted beaded bracelet for my granddaughter's birthday. It was my first attempt at anything like this, and I was pleased with how it came out. I had never tried crocheting with beads. It was much easier than I expected. The most time-consuming part was stringing all of the beads on the crochet thread to begin with.

Here is a picture of the bracelet.

And another of the bracelet lying in its gift box.

I was inspired to embellish a t-shirt with some of the beads I had left over.

Wish I could take credit for making this gift bag. It's made of felt and isn't it cute? I got it from Avon, though.

Show & Tell Friday for March 6

For show & tell this week, I want to show some of my vintage cookbooklets.
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These are two of the newer ones I have, from the 1950s.

I love these colorful little booklets. The plaid one is from the 1940s; the other two are undated. Isn't the little rhubarb booklet cute?

Two more. The jams & jellies book is from 1926; the other is undated.

The Cook's Book is from 1924; the Royal Baker is my oldest cookbook. (And it looks well-used, doesn't it?) It was published in 1911. Almost 100 years ago!

And here are the last two for today. These citrus cookbooks are among my very favorites. I love the colorful cover art! One is from 1939 and the other from 1940.

That is my simple Show & Tell for today. To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home. Happy Show & Tell Friday!