Sunday, January 28, 2018

Projects, projects...

I'm finally feeling better and happily working on projects.  I was excited to make homemade lotion bars.  I have plenty of beeswax from our hives, coconut oil, shea butter, vitamin E oil, and lemon essential oil.  I put it all in a double boiler and viola... lotion bars.  I love the photo below.  The bars were beginning to harden,  thus the middle is clear and the outer edges are starting to solidify.    

 I really like my new molds.  The bees look great.  The speckles are from the beeswax.  My brother made the little rectangle container and it works perfectly for holding them.

I am doubtful about my next project.  This garden stake is quite old and fell apart a few years ago.  The red glass faded beyond recognition.  I read on Pinterest that if paint on glass fades try using nail polish.  Well, I tried nail polish, but am very doubtful that it will work.  I don't think the polish adhered to the glass like I hoped it would.  I guess we will find out this summer.
Sixteen years ago I made the curtains in our guest bedroom.  They are faded and weren't overly heavy fabric to begin with.  My husband and I found a new material and I will make curtains next weekend.  We like the material so much I may also make a quilt for that bedroom with it.  Right now it is just hanging over the window for inspiration.
Last but not least, my husband smoked and grilled a chicken this weekend.  The chicken was perfectly delicious.   It was a great time to try the garlic cheddar biscuit recipe I had seen on Pinterest.  They were amazing.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuts
2 c. buttermilk biscuit mix (Jiffy)
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 t. garlic powder
2/3 c. milk
2 T. butter
2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. garlic salt

Bake for 10-13 minutes at 400 degrees.

That is it in a nutshell.  It feels good to  be busy again.  I am super happy about the lotion bars, as I don't have very good luck with store bought lotions.  Most of them cause me to break out.  The curtain project is going to be on the list for next weekend.  I'm seriously considering going back and getting more material for a quilt.  We shall see.  What are you working on?  What new recipe have you tried?  What was your last sewing project?  Have you ever experimented with lotion bars?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Garden Plans...

 January is a time for garden catalogues, hot cocoa, and planning.   There were a few things I did last year that I will definitely incorporate into this year's garden.  

I love using basil, oregano, parsley, and garlic in an ice cube tray covered with olive oil.  I froze them and then add one to two cubes when I brown meat or saute vegetables.  They are wonderful and easy to use.  The herbs taste fresh.
 I've never planted basil or oregano before.  I enjoyed them profusely.  Especially basil leaves on pizza.  I know it sounds crazy, but it adds a bite.   The other Pinterest project that I found incredible was cutting my cherry tomatoes into quarters, drizzle with olive oil, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Roast at 350 for 45 minutes.  Freeze on the pans and then transfer to a freezer bag.  These are amazing.    They are great fresh out of the oven and also tasty on pizzas.
  Lemon cucumbers and geherkin cucumbers are also at the top of my list.  I try to plant the tiny geherkins somewhere where they are easy to see, but find they do better if they are running rampant and are hidden under the lemon cucumbers or beans.

I also plan on planting more of these little acorn squash.  They worked great on the grill this winter.  I have two left and I wish I had a few more.  They were the perfect size and tasted great.

Loofahs are again on the list.  I grew one once 3 years ago and haven't been able to replicate the success again.  The loofa was wonderful and I used it of a long time.  I want to grow several and give them away as gifts.  Maybe this will be the year.  

I will again grow my pumpkins in the green house and let them crawl out the top.  I still have my platform incase one grows on the roof again.
 I am going to take a small red box and fill it with moss.  It will be the perfect setting for the little garden house my brother made me.  I am super excited about this project. 

Last, but not least, I plan on continuing with the sunflowers in the washtubs.  They looked great this summer and it was fun to watch the goldfinches eat the seeds this winter.

That is a few of my gardening plans.  It was nice to relax and think about warmer weather.  I am feeling much better and even painted the upstairs bathroom this weekend.  I also took Ella for a much needed snowshoeing trip.


What are you excited to plant in your garden this year?  Do you have something that is tried and true and then something you haven't tried before?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Coffee and Donuts...

 I have wanted to try making donuts forever.  I've never been brave enough.  Also there is the fact it takes over an hour to make them.   This weekend was the perfect weekend to give it a try.  It snowed heavily all Saturday.  While my husband was plowing, I made the dough then went out to do some snow blowing.  When we came back in I kneaded the dough, cut out the donuts, and fried them up.  I was extremely nervous.  I don't know why I was so sure this was going to be rocket science.  It wasn't.  In fact, I was so excited at how easy they were to make I forgot to take a nice photo of them glazed beside a cup of coffee.  

Krispy Kreme  Recipe

3 T. milk
3 T. boiling water
1 t. sugar
1 t. dry active yeast
Stir gently and leave it to activate.  

1 3/4 c. flour
3 T. sugar 
2 T. butter
dash of salt
1 egg 
Add the egg to the yeast mixture, then add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture.  Knead for 5-10 minutes.  Let rise 1 hour.   Go blow some snow.  Roll out the dough and then cut donuts.    I fried them in almond oil (I was out of veggie oil) at 350 degrees.  The recipe said two minute, but I think it was less than that.  Glaze with 1t. butter, 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 3 T. milk and 1 t. of vanilla.  

They turned out pretty darn good despite my apprehension.  Much easier than I had anticipated.   I found the recipe on Pinterest, but it doesn't go to a website that I can share or give credit to.

 While enjoying my coffee and donuts, I watched and got a few photos of the wildlife outside.  My visiting Evening Grossbeak was a nice addition to the feeders.
 I always feel so bad for the deer when the temperatures dip so low.  They wander through the yard often looking for spilled seeds from the bird feeders.  It was seven below today.
It was another slow weekend.  We are pretty much in hibernation mode.  It is too cold to do much of anything and we are both slowly recovering.  I hope it warmer where you are.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

All you need is just a little squash...

 Of course, with the new year comes garden planning.  One thing I will plant more of these little squash.  They have kept well this winter and are the perfect treat for me.  My husband isn't a fan, so they are just the right size for one person.  I put a tablespoon of brown sugar and a pat off butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.  As Goldilocks would say, "they are just right.". I will have to look at my seed packets to see what type it is.

 I am feeling tremendously better.  I was able to sit outside with Ella on Saturday morning for the first time in for weeks. I was enjoying my coffee and Ella was gnawing on a bone, when smart as you please a coyote comes trotting down the road right in front of the cabin.  I've seen them go after dogs, so I jumped up called Ella to the house and sent the coyote trotting off.  Ella was oblivious to it all.  She was just happy to be outside.

I have never been so happy to be healthy.  I was able to go for a short walk and check the property.  There bees were active.  The birds were very busy.  I even saw an Evening Grossbeak.  Only one.  I remember when we moved her there were 40 to 50.

Well, that's all I know.  It was a pretty calm weekend.  How has your new year started?