Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday five for the end of June

Time for another Friday five ... the last one for this month.  How did June ever pass so quickly?  No matter; it is gone.  Here goes with five blessings from the week:

1.  The fun of beginning a very simple cross stitch project ... a little Scripture sampler I want to make for friends.  Even though I have a number of UFOs sitting about (one of them being a large cross stitch project I've barely touched in months) I found joy in starting this and should be able to finish it quickly.  It's so simple I can work on it in the car.

2.  Seeing several bears this week -- a sow and three cubs on our property, and then a bear crossed the road in front of my friend and I while we were walking.  We decided that we would turn around and walk the other way for awhile to let the bear get to wherever it was going.  We didn't see it again.

3.  Getting to enjoy a picnic together on Saturday night.  It was a blessing to pack up some food and take it to a pretty spot by a rushing river.  The photo at top was taken by the water's edge.

4.  Hearing two good, encouraging messages from Psalm 86 on Sunday.  Our former pastor, now retired, is visiting family in our area and preached for us this past week. 

5.  Our favorite ice cream place is open for the season!  (Sign below is from our second-favorite ice cream place, which is also now open.)

And there's this week's simple Friday five!  All of the flower photos (other than the one at the top of the post)  are from either our yard or at the home I am cleaning out.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Banana Crunch Cake

On Sunday, a friend at church gave me some bananas that needed to be used up.   She is in the process of moving and does not yet have a functional kitchen in the new place.  I really wasn't sure I could find time to bake, but took the bananas anyway.  I was thinking of either muffins or a coffee cake, but was undecided (and uninspired).

I didn't get around to using the bananas until Tuesday and was just looking through recipes trying to find inspiration.  After a bit I remembered an old Quaker Oats cookbook I have.  This is a great little cookbook and I still use the meat loaf recipe from it, quite often.  I thought it just possible I might have seen a banana cake recipe in that book.

Sure enough!  In the dessert section, I found this:

Best of all,  the recipe didn't call for anything unusual that I didn't have on hand.  (If you need to enlarge the recipe, just click on the photo.  That should do it -- it did for me.)

One thing I appreciated while putting this together was that the ground oat flour was specified in an actual cup measurement.  Often, recipes will call for a certain amount of oats and have you grind them into flour in a blender.  I usually buy the Bob's Red Mill oat flour in a bag, so a recipe that requires starting with oats (and doesn't tell you how much oat flour you'll actually need) isn't too helpful.  For the all-purpose flour called for, I used the Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.  I didn't use the chopped nuts in the cake part, but did in the topping, since I had a couple tablespoons of toasted walnuts on hand.  I think another time I would use quick oats rather than old-fashioned in the topping, just to make it more attractive.

This cake was delicious the day I made it, but by the next day it was really fantastic.  Very moist and flavorful.

It was fun cooking from one of my older cookbooks!  I hope you'll give this recipe a try.  We enjoyed it very much!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wednesday Medley for June 26

Somehow it's Wednesday again, and time for the Wednesday Medley hosted by Terri at Your Friend from Florida.  This week's questions have to do with National Parchment Day, which is celebrated the last Wednesday in June.  Who knew? Why not head on over to Terri's and get the the questions to answer on your own blog?   Here goes:

1.  Who knew there was a day to celebrate parchment paper?!  Do you ever use parchment when you bake or cook? Tell us about your favorite way to use it, please.
My favorite way to use parchment paper is in baking cookies.  I love that I don't have to worry about cookies sticking, or washing the cookie sheet in between batches.  I used to use teflon liners, but I like the parchment paper so much better! 
I also really like the parchment cupcake papers.  They work so well for muffins and cupcakes!
2.  When Terri thinks of parchment paper, she usually thinks about special writing or artist papers. She loves using specialty papers for creating cards or other art projects. Tell us about a creative way you have used parchment paper other than to bake with!
Honestly, I can't think of any other way I have used it.  I use tracing paper (which looks quite similar) for embroidering words or names on things like pillowcases and baby blankets.  I design the words on the computer and print out on tracing paper.  Then I just embroider the fabric right through it and tear it away afterward.  The lettering on the pillowcases below was done using this technique.

3.  Terri used to be in the cake business and has piped many borders and roses and leaves and letters, etc., etc.  You can make a pastry bag from parchment paper!  Have you ever tried decorating a cake with a pastry bag and specialty tips?  Do you have a picture to share?  Don't be shy, now!
Decades ago, when I was younger and much less wise, I made lots of decorated cakes, including two wedding cakes, but have no photos of any of them.  I will say I had a lot more enthusiasm than skill. I did learn, while making the wedding cakes, that my hubby was pretty good at making roses!

I should also add that both of my daughters have designed and decorated fabulous birthday cakes for their kids.  My younger daughter has done cake decorating professionally.
4.  Tell us about something you baked or cooked in the past week or so that turned out great, parchment or no parchment.  Will you share the recipe?
A friend who was moving gave me some overripe bananas to bake with.   I vacillated between muffins and coffeecake and looked at various recipes but nothing seemed just right.  In an older Quaker Oats cookbook, I ran across a Banana Crunch Cake that sounded ideal.  Sometimes the simpler recipes are still best, after all.  It turned out scrumptious and I will plan to post the recipe on Thursday.  The Banana Crunch Cake is the one cut in squares toward the middle of the photo.
5.  The last Wednesday in June!!  How can that be? Has your June flown by or have you been able to enjoy each day and make it slow down for you?
It has flown by.  It didn't look too busy on paper, but it turned out to be very busy in reality.  Hoping I can slow down and enjoy the July days a bit more.
6.  Tell us something about your week so far, if you will.
It's dark and rainy today (Tuesday as I write this), but yesterday was nice.   My friend and I got out to walk both days, since today's rain didn't begin until late morning.  Oh!  And yesterday, on our walk, a black bear crossed the road ahead of us!  We decided to turn around and walk in the other direction for a few minutes to give her time in case she had cubs along.  They often do, this time of year.
Roses along our walking route
 And there you have it -- this week's Wednesday Medley! 

(Oh -- and the sweet illustration at the top of the post is from a 1950s calendar page.)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Out of a vintage kitchen

 Over the next week or two I'm hoping to feature some fun items that I've found in my sorting and sifting at my childhood home.  I thought I'd start with a few things from the kitchen.  Some of these are available in my Etsy shop, A New Hampshire Attic.  Some others were in the shop, but have sold.  And then there is at least one item pictured here that's not in the shop.  Enjoy the nostalgia ...

From a book called "Cake Mix Miracles"
Kitchen herbs are fun!
Any self-respecting kitchen will have recipes clipped from flour bags.
These are rice paper guest towels.  Who would ever have thought?
From a gorgeous little food coloring booklet.  These are paintings, not photos!
A blotter that came in a box of cereal.
This booklet featuring Homer Laughlin Jubilee dinnerware went to a collector.
Even a family fitness plan!
The Joys of Jello Cookbook has had many incarnations.
This glorious time of year?  Oh yes, let's eat outdoors!
Canning from the victory garden
So there you have it!  Just a few fun memories from a vintage kitchen.  Stay tuned for posts featuring the vintage sewing room, the vintage stationery drawer and more!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Friday five for June 21

Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Friday again!  They seem to come around so quickly!  It should be easy to come up with five things I'm thankful for, since three of them happened in one day -- last Saturday. 

1.  One of my cousins and her husband bought the large pine hutch my parents had loved so much.  It had been locally built and they bought it when they added onto their house in the mid-1960s.  What a blessing that this nice piece of furniture went to a home of family members where it will be loved and appreciated, rather than gathering dust in a used-furniture store.

2.  We attended a gorgeous outdoor wedding Saturday afternoon.  It had rained most of Friday and even was raining Saturday morning, but by 2 pm the weather was beautiful and just perfect for a wedding in a lovely setting by a pond.  It was good also to be at a wedding where the Gospel was clearly proclaimed.  Below you see the one and only photo that I took!  The centerpieces were so pretty and so simple.

3.  Sharing a meal and Bible study with our dear young friends on Saturday night, and getting to hold their new baby.  It made Saturday a very full day indeed, but it was such a day of blessings!

4.  A wonderful day in God's house, with His people, on Sunday.  We had several staffers from The Wilds of New England with us.  The young man preached both services, and he and the young ladies helped out with the music also by singing, and playing guitar, cello, and violin.  What a talented group of young people!  It was just a good day and we felt so very blessed.

Some of the cabins at TWNE
5.  A great Father's Day cookout with our daughter and her hubby and their four kiddos.  My hubby was so blessed later to see a little tribute to him that our daughter posted on Instagram.  He does all that he does selflessly, with no thought of reward, but it just blessed his heart to read her words of appreciation and love. 

That's the Friday five for this week!

Short post for the longest day

Just popping in with a little announcement.  I'm having a one-day sale at my Etsy shop, A New Hampshire Attic to celebrate the longest day of the year, June 21.  Selected listings will be 20% off for today only.  Note that this sale will not include items in the Vintage Christmas category.  I am planning a Christmas in July sale, so you will want to wait until July for deals on Christmas goodies.  Hope to see you at the sale!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A comical Wednesday Medley

Yes, it is Wednesday again, and time for the Wednesday Medley hosted by Terri at Your Friend from Florida.  This week's questions have to do with National Garfield the Cat Day, which is today.    Want to write a fun, light blog post this week?  Just head on over to Terri's and get the the questions to answer them on your own blog.   Here goes:

1.  If you have ever followed the Garfield comic strip, you know Garfield loves lasagna.  What is your favorite Italian food?  
Hmmm, my favorite Italian food.  That is a tough question.  I enjoy pizza, lasagna, stuffed shells, spaghetti and meatballs, calzone, and more.  Don't think I can pick a favorite.
Do you over-indulge when it comes to pasta?
Possibly on macaroni and cheese.
2.  Tell us about your very first pet.  If you have never had a pet, can you tell us about an animal that touched your life in some way?
When I was young our family dog was supposed to be my brother's pet.  But Queenie captured everyone's heart.  She was fearless but occasionally lacked common sense.  The amount of porcupine quills pulled from Queenie's face over the years was very surprising.  It seemed that she never learned.  In her later years, she became very much my dad's dog, riding shotgun in his pickup whenever possible.
3.  Garfield sleeps his day away, only waking to eat or sweet talk his girlfriend Arleen.  How many hours sleep do you normally get each night?  How much sleep do you really need?
About 7 hours of sleep seems ideal for me.   That's usually about how much sleep I get.  Sometimes a little less.
4.  Garfield lets the mice in the house have their way.  When was the last time you had to chase out a little varmint?  
At my dad's a few months ago.  Actually, it was nearly dead already.  However, my most recent mouse encounter was a few nights ago when I was innocently descending the cellar stairs to do some laundry. I was four or five steps from the bottom when a mouse came hurtling out from under the washer, seemingly straight at me.  Of course, he was really diving for cover under the stairs.  And then, from under a retired freezer I use as a pantry -- at right angles to the stairs -- another mouse came rushing toward me.  Two mice in less than 30 seconds was a little much, I thought.  Mr. T set a mousetrap, but it hasn't been touched.
5.  Garfield also loves his teddy bear Pooky. Did you have a favorite stuffed animal when you were young (or now!)?  If you didn't or don't, what about someone you know? 
I'm sure that I did have one, but can't remember right now.  One of my daughters had a large pink bunny, simply called Bunny,  who went everywhere with her.  One time when Bunny was left behind at church, our pastor and  his wife made a special trip to deliver him.  They knew Bunny was pretty important to a little girl's being able to sleep that night.
6.  Please tell us something about your week, so far!

 I completed a gigantic project of sorting recipes.  See previous post for the details.  So good to have that done.

And there is this week's Wednesday Medley!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A satisfying project completed

So a couple of weeks ago I tackled a project I've been thinking about for awhile.  It involves recipes printed from online sources (and a few printed out pages from my personal cookbook).  Storing these recipes has been a source of frustration to me for years, and recently it came to me that I could just get a really large binder and place the recipes in page protectors.  I didn't take a photo of the "before" storage, but trust me, it was not pretty.  Photos of the "after" are sprinkled throughout this post.

For some history:  A long time ago (I just looked back -- aren't blog archives wonderful? -- and it was in 2006) I was trying to find a solution for recipes I'd clipped from magazines, and I went shopping to see what I could find that might work.  I think that what I found was intended to be a planter. It’s galvanized metal, long and narrow, with an embossed ivy design. It held my recipes just fine, and looked neater and decorative at the same time. I put index cards in it for dividing the recipes into categories, and it worked well for quite awhile.

Until, that is, I started finding recipes on the internet and began printing them out.  What I found myself doing was to fold these recipes in half and tuck them into the metal box with my clipped out recipes, which these folded pages soon displaced.  I tried to solve it by putting all crockpot recipes in a file folder, and all gluten free recipes in another folder. and placing those with my cookbooks.  That did help quite a bit, but still my metal box was bristling with those folded papers.  It was annoying to look at and even more annoying to have to unfold various papers whenever I was looking for a recipe, to see what it was.  So when this binder idea came to me, I jumped on it.

I got the thickest binder I could find and a couple packs of page protectors.  Then I began the process of moving all of those recipes out of the box and into their new home.  I hadn't been sure what I would use to decorate the covers -- this is the type of binder with a clear pocket on front, back and spine -- but one day I was making an envelope out of a Gooseberry Patch calendar and realized the artwork was the perfect size for these large binders, with only a little trimming necessary.  I cut another piece of a calendar to decorate the spine.  Voila -- an absolutely beautiful binder with some of my favorite scenes on it!
 This past weekend I had some cooking and baking to do and used several of my printed-off-the-internet recipes.  What a blessing to just turn to the appropriate pages in my binder and use the recipes!  I'm very pleased with how this project turned out and how useful it is.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday five for June 14

 I am not quite sure where this week went!  Somehow it is Friday again!  Usually on Monday I will go to my favorite Christmas Friends site and share some sort of plan for the week, just for accountability.  This week I just didn't get there at all!

So, let's see about a Friday Five.

1.  A wonderful day in church on Sunday!  We had a visiting preacher (a missionary) and oh, what an encouragement he and his family were to us.  Such a blessing.

2.  The first ice cream date of the season on Sunday night!  I had a small Moose Tracks (on the left) and Mr. T had a medium Maine Black Bear (on the right).  I know, my ice cream looks larger, but it's a smaller dish. 
Curious about the flavors?  Here are the descriptions from Gifford’s Ice Cream:

Last summer when we met up with Vee, we went out for ice cream and she chose:

I really think that Vee's choice sounds most delicious of all, and I hope to try it before the summer's out.
[Edited to add:  Vee tells me (see comment below) that her FIRST choice would always be Caramel Caribou, which must have been unavailable that evening last summer.  It does sound delicious!]

3.  Getting out to walk 4 days out of 5 this week.  Even the rainy days had some un-rainy hours and we were able to get out.  The scenery in peoples' gardens is lovely.  All of the scenery pictures in this post are from one of our favorite walking routes.

4.  A great checkup at the dentist this week!  Maybe too much information, but you know how they measure the "pockets" on your gums?  Mine have improved vastly.  The hygienist commented on the huge improvement in only a year and asked "What have you been doing differently?"  It has to be the Essiac Tea,  one benefit  of which is reducing inflammation in the body.  Essaic Tea for the win again!

5.  God's hand of protection on a friend who had a horrific accident while working on a vehicle this week.  He has some serious injuries, but his life was spared and he will recover -- and his family and friends are very, very thankful!

And there's my Friday Five for this week!