Friday, September 25, 2009

Show & Tell Friday for September 25

Welcome to my autumn kitchen! For show & tell today, I am going to show some of my fall decorating in the entryway, dining room, and kitchen. There will probably be more to come, but this is what I have done so far.

Wreath and slate at the front door.

Fall paper treasures on the ribbon board in the front hallway.

I love this, a pretty tin wall pocket from Jo-ann Fabrics several years back. I got it very inexpensively on clearance. I have filled it with colorful silk leaves.

Here is my hutch all decorated for fall:

* The top shelf holds the usual Proverbs 31 stitchery plus my two favorite fall mugs.
* The next shelf holds an ironstone cup and saucer, my "Smile" sign, some tiny faux gourds, an original edition of Tasha Tudor's Pumpkin Moonshine, and a maple-leaf embellished syrup pitcher.
* The next shelf holds 2 favorite Gooseberry Patch books, a ceramic dish shaped like a bunch of grapes (or, as one of my grandchildren refers to them, "breakable grapes"!). a favorite creamer, Fiesta salt & pepper shakers, and a favorite booklet from Cracker Barrel. Oh, and a little sunflower in a spool pot.
* And on the bottom shelf, a favorite card, an envelope of tea, and in the front a favorite quote from John Donne. Also an ironstone gravy boat filled with ivy and accented with bittersweet, a pretty autumn teapot, a ceramic pumpkin, and a family heirloom mug.

Here is my kitchen island. The fall placemat was made by my good friend Marilyn. The ironstone soup tureen is a family treasure. I have accented it with a sprig of fall leaves in subdued golds and browns.
(Sorry about the trash can. I didn't realize it had gotten into the picture.)

Lastly, here is my old glass churn which holds a string of white lights year round on my kitche counter. I've added in silk leaves for fall. The photo doesn't really do it justice.

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, September 18, 2009

Fall Baking: Soft Spicy Hermits

The approach of the fall season really makes me feel like baking! Baking anything at all, but especially things with molasses, spice, apples, brown sugar, pumpkin, toffee, milk chocolate, and things like that.

When I was growing up my mother often baked a favorite bar cookie called Soft Spicy Hermits. They were good, but not my favorite because they tended to be rather dry. Some months ago (maybe it's been a year or two, I can't remember), a good friend made Hermits for a church potluck. She was kind enough to share her recipe with me. This week I was thinking about Hermits and thinking that they would be a good cookie to put in lunch boxes. I tweaked my friend's recipe somewhat and the Hermits came out so well. They are much more soft and chewy than the ones my mother used to make. Here's the recipe:

2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates

Whisk together the eggs, oil, molasses and sugar in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, baking soda and spices. Mix in the raisins and dates. Spread the dough in a greased 13x9 baking pan.

Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cut into squares while still warm. I cut about 30 squares, I think.

Hope you enjoy these Hermits if you try the recipe!

Show & Tell Friday for September 18

For Show & Tell today, I am just going to show a potpourri of autumn things -- all could be in the category of paper treasures, I guess. Next Friday, I will probably share some of my fall decorating with you all, as I plan to begin that on Monday. But today I am keeping it simple and using things I already have photos or scans of.

First, this very old ad for Nonesuch mincemeat. I display this somewhere every fall because it just makes me think of harvest and Thanksgiving.

This older cookbook is one I found at a thrift store. Love its autumn baking recipes. (Can you tell I am in an autumn baking mood? I hope to post a recipe either today for tomorrow.)

This is another older cookbook which used to be my mother's. It has some delicious-sounding old-fashioned recipes in it.

This, of course, is a much newer cookbook. It's filled with recipes, crafts, quotes, along with decorating and party ideas for the months of September, October, and November. If you can find one of these, you'll enjoy it. I get mine out every autumn.

When I first got the book, I made up a batch of Autumn Forest Potpourri from page 21. I keep it in a closed tin and it still smells wonderful!

This is a scan of a favorite notecard. I love this picture because it is so evocative of autumn in New England. As we drive around the countryside, signs for the new apple crop abound.

This doesn't show up too well, but I have this autumnal calendar page tacked up over my dresser. I love the sentiment and the picture. I have a tag made by a dear friend displayed along with it.

I've saved the best for last -- a closer look at the tag made by my sweet friend. The leaves are scans of some autumn leaves I had sent her, painstakingly cut out. The picture is one that I took (you may have seen it here on my blog) at a state park. I had sent it to my friend and she printed it out to use in a tag. I believe she told me that she printed it out twice and that the moose in the picture were punched out of the brown part of the water using a moose paper punch. Notice how she trimmed the legs of the moose on the right so he looks as if he is standing in the water.

I absolutely love this tag and keep it displayed on my bedroom wall year round. I need this reminder every day.

So that is my simple Show & Tell for today. I hope you've enjoyed seeing a few of my autumn-themed treasures. To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home.

Happy Show & Tell Friday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Barbecue Pork Shepherd's Pie

Monday night, I made the most delicious shepherd's pie from the leftover Crock Pot Ribs. I must emphasize that the idea for this dish is not original with me; my daughter Carrie devised this and shared the idea. I tweaked it a little and we were so pleased with the result!


Leftover crockpot ribs
Barbecue sauce (see below)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained, or 2 cups cooked mixed vegetables, or any amount of any leftover or cooked vegetable you like.
7 to 8 medium red potatoes, quartered, not peeled
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 Tblsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar (a few tablespoons) to sprinkle on top

Remove the meat from the cooked leftover ribs and cut or pull into bite-sized pieces. Place in a casserole or baking dish -- I used a 13x9" glass baking dish, but the size will depend upon the amount of pork you have. I think I had 5 or 6 cups. Add barbecue sauce to moisten -- use leftover sauce from crockpot ribs and then additional sauce as needed. (I had run out of BBQ sauce and so made up 1 cup using the recipe that follows.)

Meanwhile, you can be cooking the quartered red potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain them. Add the sour cream, milk, butter, and salt and pepper. Mash by hand using a potato masher.

Microwave the meat and sauce mixture for several minutes or until hot. (Alternatively, you could simply heat them in a saucepan or skillet and then transfer to the baking dish, but I prefer to save a step or two [and a dirty dish] by using the microwave.) Spread the corn over the top and heat for another minute or so. Keep mixture warm while preparing mashed potatoes. Spread the mashed potatoes over the corn and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Bake the casserole at 350º until heated through and bubbly around edges. Cheese will be melted and the potatoes golden brown. I think I baked this for about a half hour.

* As I mentioned, I made up a cup of my own barbecue sauce to use for this recipe.

1 cup ketchup
2 Tblsp. brown sugar
1 Tblsp. instant minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 Tblsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Several dashes Tabasco sauce
1 Tblsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Oh, and if you prefer, you could surely use leftover mashed potatoes, or prepare a couple packets of instant mashed potatoes, to top the shepherd's pie.

Hope your family enjoys this as much as we did!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crab Quiche recipes

Recently I mentioned crab quiche in a menu plan for the week. I am going to share a couple different recipes since I don't always make this the same way. I've tried a number of crab quiche recipes over the years, but these two are the ones I use most often. Both of my favorites were adapted from other recipes. Here's the first one.

Crab Quiche 1

I adapted an appetizer recipe to make this quiche.

9-inch unbaked pie shell
4 ounces imitation crabmeat (or use the real thing if you prefer)
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups half-and-half (I use the fat-free type)
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1 cup shredded Swiss or sharp Cheddar cheese (or a combination)

Place the crabmeat in the pie shell. Beat the eggs, half & half, and dill weed together. Stir in the cheese and pour over the crabmeat.

Bake in preheated 425º oven for 10 minutes; lower oven temperature to 350º and bake for 30 minutes longer or until the quiche tests done. Serves 4 to 6.

**(And if you would prefer to make appetizer squares from this recipe instead, do this: Line a jelly roll pan (15x10) with pastry. Crimp the edges and prick the pastry well with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Use 8 ounces of crab and spread it over the baked pastry. Use the same amount of eggs and dill weed, but use 1 1/2 cups half & half, and 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Pour over crabmeat and bake for 30 minutes. Cut into small squares to serve.)**

Crab Quiche 2

I adapted a lobster quiche recipe (from my favorite cooking newsletter, Cook & Tell [see link in sidebar]) to make this crab quiche.

9-inch unbaked pie shell
4 ounces real or imitation crabmeat, flaked
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups half & half (again I use the fat-free)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
A few grinds of pepper
2 to 3 teaspoons dry minced onion

Heat oven to 425º. Layer the crabmeat and cheese in the pie shell. Beat the eggs, cream, Worcestershire, and pepper together and stir in the onion. Pour this over the crab and cheese. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 10 minutes at 425º. Lower oven temperature to 350º and bake for 25-30 minutes longer, or until the quiche tests done. Serves 4 to 6.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Crock Pot Ribs

Recently, I mentioned this recipe in my menus for the week. Lady m asked how long I cook the ribs for, so I decided to share the recipe again. I am sure the recipe is here in the archives somewhere, but I did a search for it and couldn't find it. So, I will post it once more.


3 to 4 pounds of country-style pork ribs
Steak seasoning, lemon pepper or other favorite seasoning to taste
1 cup barbecue sauce

Place ribs in crock pot. Sprinkle liberally with the seasoning of your choice. Lemon pepper is good; Montreal-style steak seasoning is outstanding. Or try one of your own favorites. That's all for now. Don't add anything else to the pot; just the ribs and seasoning. Cover crock pot. Cook ribs all day on Low, or 4 to 5 hours on High.

30 minutes before you are ready to eat, drain off all the liquid from the crock pot. Spread the barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cover crock pot again and continue to cook for 15-30 minutes.

This easy recipe produces some of the tastiest ribs you will ever eat. If you use bone-in ribs, the meat will fall off them. Boneless ribs are even better. This has become a favorite meal in our family! Great with mashed potatoes and coleslaw for a warming winter meal.

* I recently found that it works very well to scrub and pierce several baking potatoes and just place them on top of the ribs before cooking. The potatoes will be done perfectly when the ribs are done. Just remove them and keep them warm while you are doing the last steps of draining the ribs and adding the barbecue sauce. *

That's it! Hope you enjoy the ribs!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Homemade Life ~ September 12

Here are a couple of homemade items to share. First, a fall-themed placemat purse. Several years ago, I found a pattern for a purse made from a placemat and these lovely fall placemats. This is very simple, just fold the placemat right sides together and stitch up the sides, then attach grosgrain ribbon or whatever you like for handles (I cut mine about 17") and, if you like, some sort of button, snap, etc. for a closure at the top. If you like, you can line the purse by adding another, thinner placemat or a coordinating cloth napkin. If you leave the lining unattached at the top, that serves as inside pockets.

This shows how the purse can sit flat by means of simply folding and stitching across the ends of the bottom seam on the inside.

This is not new, but I've never used it or shown a photo of it, so thought I would. I made this several years ago. It's a fall-themed tote using different leafy fabrics. I love the dark red patches on the corners.

This tote will sit flat too, owing to a piece of fabric-covered plastic canvas (for washability) in the bottom. This photo shows the lining fabric better and also the ribbon ties that hold it closed at the top if needed.

That's my simple homemade life post for today. If you would like to see other homemade ideas, be sure and check out Life on a Back Road. You will find lots of inspiration there!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A second little tote

Well, I've just completed a second little library tote! My older granddaughter did not ask for a tote, nor did she need one, since she has a Bible case which holds quite a bit. But since they both started Patch the Pirate Club on Wednesday evening, we quickly came to the conclusion that she needed one of these totes also. Things were spilling all over the car on the way home! It was obvious that they both needed a tote.

So I set to work to make one. This little tote was a dishtowel this morning! (It came in a set with the flowered dishtowel that I made the first tote from.)

Fun! If some of you try out this pattern, let me know what you think!

Show & Tell Friday for September 11

For Show & Tell today, I am sharing one of my treasured cookbooks. I suspect that some of you will be as entranced by this little book as I am.

A book just like this was in our home when I was growing up. I loved to sit and page through it by the hour. I don't recall my mother ever really cooking from it. It had come in a box with the same illustration as the cookbook cover, and it was kept in this box in the cookbook drawer like a very special treasure.

This title page tells a little more about it. Further on, acknowledgment is given to Heloise Frost as the author and compiler of the book and to Ellen A. Nelson as the creator of the gorgeous illustrations. The book is copyright 1951 by Jack Frost Studios.

Here are the illustrations for the different countries. I can't remember the order they are in the book, so will put them in alphabetical order to make it simple. First, America.

The British Isles.







Here is a view of what the inside of the book is like. Wonderful illustrations on each page, plus truly practical, delicious-looking recipes. I love that the text is hand-printed.

My copy of the book belonged to my grandmother. I just had to scan this page because it includes her lovely handwriting.

I think I will turn to this book when it comes time for the international covered dish dinner at our church's missions conference this year.

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!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This week's menu plan...

I like to take part in Menu Plan Monday when I can, but lately I just don't seem to get around to posting menus on Monday. Part of the problem is that I plan my meals from Thursday to Thursday, which is our grocery shopping day. Since I've just finished planning this week's meals, I thought I would share:

THURSDAY: Crab Quiche, Asparagus Mixed Vegetables

FRIDAY: Tomato/Macaroni/Cheese Casserole, Green Beans, Homemade Bread

SATURDAY: Hot Dogs, Homemade Baked Beans, Coleslaw

SUNDAY: Crockpot Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli Salad

MONDAY: Basque Soup, Cornbread

TUESDAY: Greek Spinach Pie, Greek Potato Salad, 3-Bean Salad

WEDNESDAY: Lasagna in a Bun, Pasta Salad

THURSDAY: Shepherd's Pie, Coleslaw, Baking Powder Biscuits

And there you have it. Always subject to change, of course!

Friday, September 04, 2009

A fun little sewing project

Last weekend, my 6-year-old granddaughter asked me if I could make her a little tote bag so she could have a way to carry her Bible and other items to Sunday School. I was sure I could easily do so, and promised to make one during the week. I spent some time looking through patterns I own, and also searching online, but didn't find anything as small and simple as what I wanted.

Finally I decided to ask the ladies on a crafter's forum I enjoy for their input. Two of them immediately sent this link, which was pretty much just what I was looking for.

little library tote

It was developed as a little tote for kids to use in carrying books to and from the library, and is made from a dish towel. I loved the idea. The hardest part for me was finding suitable dish towels. I finally found a set of three in a kitchen outlet store for only $3. I'm going to keep an eye out for appropriate ones, because I plan to make more of these. They were easy and fun.

I tweaked the pattern just a bit and used 1/2" seams on the tote itself rather than 1/4". I used the 1/4" seams on the handles though. And I had enough fabric left over to add a little pocket to the outside of the tote. There would have been enough for a pocket front and back, but my iron stained one of them, so I only put on one pocket.
All in all, a very cute, fun project. I am thankful both to the writer of the tutorial and the dear ladies who sent me the link. If you should try making one of these, I'm sure you'll have as much fun as I did.

Show & Tell Friday for September 4

Recently Mr. T covered one of our living room walls with pine paneling which he had made. He will eventually do all four walls, but hopes to replace our old windows as he goes, and we don't have those yet. So he decided to begin with the one windowless wall. It turned out beautifully as you can see, and looks so nice with the ceiling which we put up a couple of years ago.
It meant, though, that someone (read me) had to take everything out of these two nice bookcases so they could be moved away from the walls. It was a good time to declutter them. In the process, I found some treasures.

When I was a child, a favorite gift was one which would sometimes be given to me and my siblings at Christmas -- a box full of small coloring and activity books. I came across several of these books and thought they were too cute not to scan and show you.

A Mother Goose coloring book.

A Round the Mulberry Bush activity book.
A Twelve Months coloring book. I'd love to make a sampler like this!
A Little Fire Chief coloring book.
A Playtime coloring book.
I couldn't resist showing some of the inside of this book. To me, the drawings look like Eloise Wilkin's art, but there was no credit given to the artist.

A ballerina and skater.

Girls jumping rope.
These are so adorable, don't you think?

And 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!