Saturday, April 30, 2011

As if they weren't already pretty!

While getting ready for my Jam Session photo shoot today, for the look book for the class in two weeks, I decided the jars of jam needed to be a little prettier.  This is the simplest thing to do when you want to give your accomplishments away to the most prestigious of friends.  Prestigious because they are worthy of your home canned products!  Always make sure you have more on hand for just these sort of people when they pop over.

Here's how to dress them up a bit, as if they weren't pretty already!

Skim through your scrap fabric and pick something pretty.  If you don't have scrap fabric you can easily, quickly and cheaply get remnants (scrap pieces) at any place that sells fabric.  They want to get rid of the scraps and for this ... you want them to... it's a win/win!

Using a round bowl, trace the circumference of the bowl onto the inside of the fabric with a pencil.

Cut out the circle with scissors (like you didn't know that!)  Use a rubber band to hold the fabric on the top of the jar of canned goodness.  Tie a piece of ribbon, rickrack, dental floss, or whatever you want to keep the material in place and look purdy.

You can even tie on a label of what the contents of your jar is if you want.  Which I did not do here.  Just thought I'd tell ya.

Canned beauty!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

When I colored my Easter eggs a couple of weeks ago, my intent was to grow grass in a planter and for it to hold my eggs and look pretty as can be at the center of my table on Easter.  Didn't happen.  Truthfully the eggs have been sitting on my kitchen counter in the egg carton that they were placed in the minute I got done coloring them.  So with Easter being tomorrow and 18-20 guests coming over for dinner I figured I'd better do something with them.

I changed my centerpiece from being on the kitchen table to hovering above the table.  I only lost one egg in the making of this brill idea.  I wound up gluing multi-colored pastel yarn to the bottom, bringing the yarn up to the top of each egg and tying a bow.  Then hanging them from our antler chandelier.  It actually turned out pretty classy I think and the yarn gives it a bit of softness.  See what you think. 

I apologize for the crookedness, or then again no... I meant to do that :). 

So I have been meaning to tell something that I learned this year.  Back in March, or maybe just because everyone kept saying how late it seemed like Easter was this year.  Well, while planning a blog I came across the reason why Easter seemed so late this year.  I found it in the dictionary of all places. 
Gee whiz.. I feel like I've typed this before... deja-blog!  OK  Easter seems so late this year because... Easter is observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21st.  This year the moon was full on March 19th which was a Saturday and not again until April 17th - Palm Sunday.  Making Easter fall on April 24th.  I never knew how Easter was scheduled.  Maybe there was a full moon when they discovered the stone had been rolled away from Jesus' tomb.  So that's how they remembered when it was?  Happy Easter everybody.  He is risen! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beginners Canning Class... Taught By Me

Afternoon all! I have decided to teach my first canning class. I am so excited! If you live in this area and are truly interested in learning how to can this summer I would love to show you how and hand out tips, recipes and basically instruct "hands on."

In my first class you will learn how to make strawberry preserves or strawberry jam. On Thursday, before the class on Saturday, I am going to Crossplains, TN to pick the strawberries that will be used in class. I will show you each step of the jam making and preserving process from chopping the strawberries to the lids popping, which is music to my ears!

If you would like to sign up, or know someone else interested please email me or call. This is my first class ever to teach outside of teaching a friend or two, one on one. I can't wait and am enjoying my lesson planning and preparing.  Home canned produce is just part of our pantry and with a lesson or two on how it's all done your very own jam could be part of your pantry too!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I am so excitedly tore up!  After several attempts and help from others, I have finally found my own Morel Mushrooms!!!!!!!  I have combed these woods on our farm for weeks, not constantly.. geez I have to work, looking for mushrooms and finally today it paid off in a big way!

Last Sunday, we went down to our friend's farm to mushroom hunt.  They already knew of a couple of patches of mushrooms and so nicely showed them to me so that I would know what exactly I was looking for and what type of environment you can find them in.  I think it's sort of luck of the draw on the area to find them because one of the patches that they had was by a creek and the other on a hill.  I had heard and read already that they can most likely be found in the woods (of course), close to water, around rotten stumps, poking up through the leaves. 

Today, I got off work early and totally meant to spend at least an hour on the Christmas Corner of our attic, but when I got home and heard the attic fans on which come on automatically when the temp in the attic reaches 100 degrees, I decided to find something else to do.  I woke Miss Pepper up from her nap, got my rain boots on (cause I can tromp anywhere in them), put my bug spray on and headed into the woods.  For a long time we didn't find much except for a box turtle that Pepper tried to become friends with.  Then after a while Pepper headed back up to the house and I kept traipsing down a different path. 

I was mid talking-to-the-woods, pleading for it to show me where they were hiding.  "Just one!"  I said out loud.  Then to the right of my path I spotted a mushroom.  I thought I was imagining.  I blinked my eyes real fast like it was going to run or disappear. I seriously could not believe my eyes.  I reached down, after snapping a few camera shots, gently broke the stem and put the mushroom in my bag.  This was a hot spot because right after I found that one I looked around the same area and wound up finding eight Morel mushrooms.  One of them was right on the trail by a big tree.  Nothing hiding it at all.

After Shaun came down to check out the mushroom hot spot, we hunted mushrooms for about another hour in different areas but wound up coming out of the woods with the eight mushrooms that I had found there. 

Another lucky thing for me was that Sally's Mom had shown me how to fry the mushrooms on Sunday so after soaking and rinsing them for a while I fried them up like a pro.  They were wonderful and I got to share them with Shaun, Jody and Stevie.  It's always nice to get to share something special.  It makes for an extra lucky day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Eggs... Hollow Style

I love colored Easter Eggs as everyone should but for some reason hate to waste the inside of the egg.  Something about just what that hen went through to create it.  Anyway, instead of hard boiling my eggs to color I poke holes and blow out the insides into a bowl and make omelets, use them in cake batter, make a quiche for cryin out loud... I just don't like to waste them. 

I saw a documentary of a single lady once that said you can freeze eggs.  Not while still in their shells, but as yolk and white.  She also said that you could half an egg.  By cracking the egg into a bowl, mixing it up and dividing it in two.  There's a good hint for the single cook when the recipe calls for one egg. 

So to get the insides out of the egg, you gently and I mean gently poke a hole in the top of the egg using a straight pin.  Just push the pin into the shell ever so slightly and it will go. 

Next put your fore finger over that hole and turn the egg over to have bottoms up and poke three small holes like a triangle and then break out the center.  This hole needs to be bigger than the top hole and poking three right together makes it a lot easier to get this one the right size. 

Put your thumb and finger over both hole and give it a good shake to break the yolk.

Stop laughing right now so you can do this step!
Over a bowl, put your lips on the top of the egg and blow the insides out into the bowl.  If they don't come out very easily, take your pin and either make the bottom hole a little bit bigger or use the pin to mix up the egg.  Shake it some more and blow again.  Come on... puff those cheeks up! 

Run water into the bigger hole to wash any excess yolk out of the egg.  We don't want no stankin eggs!
When you color these eggs you have to hold them under the color water obviously because they are empty and not heavy like boiled eggs.  They will also retain a little water so drain them well.

To color my eggs I used a coffee cup half full of boiling water, 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar and 5 or 6 drops of food coloring.  You don't have to have that store bought stuff. 

Waalaa... empty Easter Eggs and no egg guts wasted!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oh No It broke... Paint it!

Saturday, while potting flowers and making a dirt mess of my potting station which is what it's for, I discovered that one of my small clay pots was broken.  I admit I don't use clay pots much for planting.  They are beautiful and have wonderful qualities but if I use them for plants that need to be watered often, I have to water even more often because the clay obsorbes so much of the water.  My aloe veras love clay pots.  They don't even require water hardly ever. 

I didn't let the loss of a pot slow me down.  I picked up the pieces and thought... chalk board paint!  Then I could write messages on the pieces and place them on top of the dirt in my potted plants.  I felt brill!  Plus it was yet another use for the paint that I feel like I have a ton of when in fact I only have a quart because that is the only size the hardware store had so I think I'll be using it for a very long time.

I ran upstairs, got the paint brushes and paint and headed back down and amidst the pots, dirt, mulch and plants I started painting pieces.  It was super duper easy and looks cute in the pots with messages written in chalk like Smile :) , Pink Petunia, and Hens & Chicks.  Plus I didn't have to throw away my teeny broken pot.  I wound up painting the other two small clay pots and putting seperated hens and chickens in them.  Fun on top of fun :)!  I almost couldn't handle it all by myself.

Now, if I could only find chalk that you can sharpen!  I always have trouble writing small with a regular piece of chalk. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pretty Pots to Plant In

I just cannot be normal.  I refuse to purchase normal pots from WalMart to put my summer beauties in.  Well, unless they are on serious clearance and big enough to repot an inside plant in.  Instead I am like a scavenger when thrifting and at yard sales trying to find items large enough to put plants in. 

At my Thrift Store, I call it mine because it's the one I frequent, two weeks ago I looked up to the top of a long clothing rack where they display kitchen glassware at one and and pots and pans at the other, and spotted a big pot.  I darted, and I mean darted, towards it, picked it up and immediately admired it's size, age, nice wooden handle and it's price wasn't bad either at six dollars.  Six dollars is a tad high but it is a good sized pot that a lovely summer geranium would soon call home.

This spring and summer I ask you to venture out.  To break out and find something unusual to plant something wonderful in.  Take the kitchen outside, take the laundry room outside, take the bathroom outside (ok not like that!)  I am going to show you how to take an old stock pot and turn it in to a planter and also give you more ideas of things you can look for to plant in from the last couple of years. 

First select the pot to plant in. 

If it has no possible way to drain water you're going to have to make this happen.

If the pot is thin enough, or has rust holes already, simply use a hammer and nail to make the hole.  Sometimes you have to use a drill and drill bit. 

Line the bottom of your pot with gravel or rocks then top it with potting soil.
It helps to insert the pot your plant comes in into the dirt to get the correct size hole.  Then easily remove the plant, dirt and all, from the pot and insert it into the hole that you made. 

Fill all around the plant with potting soil and top with mini chunk mulch to help keep the soil moist. 

Give your new plant in it's new pot a good drink of water and a smooch of good luck!

Here are some other items I have found are fun to plant in.
Old chip can.  Used the lid on a bird feeder.

Large, enamel bowl.  It already had thin rusty spots so it was easy to knock holes in.  The chair... came with no seat.  I did spray it pink.  When you're single you can paint anything island pink.  Shaun doesn't go for pink so much :)
Yes, it's a hospital pee pot.  And I did clean it first :) (enamel pot planted in in the background)

This lovely Pyrex nesting bowl I bought at a yard sale and luckily it already had a hole in the bottom.  Who the heck would get rid of this?

This, I thought, was a good idea.  I did have a bit of trouble cutting the matting  to line it with but it finally worked and did great all summer.  Not bad for a twenty five cent old kitchen basket at a garage sale!

Good luck and send me picks of things that you find to plant in!  I'd love to see the great ideas! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easy Rolls For Supper

Almost every meal deserves the accompaniment of bread of some sort.  What else are you going to use to sop up what's left on your plate?  I have here a really easy roll recipe that I have had for years upon years and haven't the slightest clue where it came from, which is a tad strange.  There are two things I can always remember, where the yard sale was the I got my finds from and where I found a great recipe.  I'm thinking a sister?  That is highly likely.  So if you are my sister and you know and use or have used this recipe and answered the phone when I called looking for a quick and easy roll to make with supper one night, please refresh my memory.

Also, forgive me for not having prep pictures.  I decided to share the recipe a little too late in the roll making process. 

Easy Rolls

1 Cup Self Rising Flour
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Melted or Softened Butter

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.  Spoon into six, greased muffin cups.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes or until they begin to brown around the sides.

"Em are mighty fine biscuits."  That was a quote from the supper table tonight.  I'm not going to say which one of use said it.