Friday, November 30, 2012

Clean Refrigerator Pasta

Or perhaps it should be named Clean Your Refrigerator Pasta.  A friend of mine gave me this idea.  At the end of every week she uses up all of her leftover vegetables by making a simple pasta dish with lots of olive oil and garlic.

Add a good amount of olive oil to a pan, bring up to medium heat and add vegetables (cut to same size) and minced garlic.  Cook at a low/medium heat until soft, then salt and pepper to taste.  We have fresh basil and oregano in our garden, so I added some at the end.

We had leftover tomatoes, yellow squash and mushrooms the day I made this dish.  It is also good with a combination of vegetables and beans.  I made vermicelli, saved a cup of pasta water, poured the cooked, drained pasta into the sauce pan, tossed and added a dash of pasta water to loosen the sauce.  Everyone loved it and my daughter reheated some for lunch the next day.  Nothing wasted with this dish!

God bless,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is the United States Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for my dear family and friends, and that God has blessed us with a safe home, good food and love.

We will be having the traditional dinner of roast turkey, cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, gravy, sweet and sour red cabbage, mashed white potatoes, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and blueberry pie (for pumpkin pie haters).  I'm going to spend the rest of today cooking in preparation; the kitchen already smells great.

Here is my cranberry sauce recipe:

2 bags fresh cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. finely grated orange rind
1 1/2 cups of white sugar or more to taste
pinch of salt

Cook cranberries, orange juice and rind over medium heat, covered, until berries pop open.  Add sugar and salt and cook until sugar is completely dissolved and sauce is thickened.  Pour into sterilized canning jars and refrigerate.

What to do with leftover cranberry sauce?  Mix it with leftover sweetened whipped cream and finely chopped pecans.  Pour into small bowls and refrigerate.  Makes a nice, fast dessert.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

God bless,

Removing Old Wallpaper

You haven't heard from me for a week because we have been busy every day stripping 55 year old wallpaper from our kitchen walls.  There were two layers of wallpaper to remove, the original from 1955 (when house was built) and the paper that I put up about 20 years ago (blush).  The original wallpaper was the old fashioned paper kind and had been placed right over the plaster without any barrier.

Original Wallpaper On Plaster

 First we gathered our tools:  a Tiger wallpaper scorer, various scrapers, Dif enzyme remover, garden sprayer, and sponges.

Basic Tools

The Dif was mixed in the sprayer with HOT water.  We scored the top layer of vinyl wallpaper with the Tiger tool, then sprayed on the Dif solution.  Oh, previous to this we had taped up plastic to protect our wood cabinets.  We waited, we sprayed again, repeat.  Finally we were able to scrap off the vinyl paper and it went fairly easily.

Then we went after the old paper.  Followed the same procedure an waited for the paper to soften, but only small pieces came off.  So, we scored it again, sprayed again and we began to have success.  To say this was a laborious task would be an understatement.  We literally worked inch by inch, respraying as needed.  It took us three days to get down to a bare wall.  After removing the wallpaper we used the sponges soaked with hot, soapy water to wash off any residual paste.

Bare Plaster

 After the wallpaper was removed we primed with a stain covering, latex primer, then we painted with a latex, semi-gloss paint.  A high-gloss, latex trim paint in a slightly lighter color was painted on the trim.

It took us a week of full time work to get this done, but I am thrilled with the results.  Just having clean, uncluttered, painted walls has given the kitchen a more up to-date-feeling.  Compared to hiring a painting company to do the work the money we saved was considerable.

Finished Wall

God bless,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day 2012: What Can You Do To Help?

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day and, even though I am Mennonite and am nonviolent, I do believe that we need to provide emotional and physical support to the men and women that serve in the military.  We put flags on graves in national cemeteries and attend ceremonies honoring the fallen, all of which are appreciated and give comfort to the families of the fallen, but we can do something now, today to help a member of the military.

Operation Gratitude has a number of volunteer opportunities to help make a service person's life a little more pleasant or easier.  It can be as simple as being a letter writer or putting together boxes containing essentials.  How long does it take to write a letter?  Anyone can give up a 1/2 hour a week to help another person.

Coming from a military family (yes, the irony is not lost on me) I know how important a helping hand can be to our soldiers and their families.  Remember their needs on days not designated for remembrance and honor, but every day of our lives.

God bless,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


See I am using my "yelly" letters.  If you are a United Stateser today is your day to have a say in who runs this country for the next four years.

Think about the privilege we have living in a country where men and women can choose their leaders.  What would it be like to live in a country where you couldn't vote because of your sex, race, or religion?  Or to never have any say in your country's policy making.

We are so fortunate and all we need to do is get our fannies to our local poling place and take control of our future.  It only took me twenty minutes to go through the whole process.

So, get out there and VOTE!

God bless,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Buying Amish Food (Getting My Fix)

Now that I am (mostly) mobile again, yesterday I decided to treat myself to some Amish foods.  Fortunately for me, we have a small store in my city that imports food and other products in from Amish country in Pennsylvania.

The Amish Country Store is in a quaint little wood house with a small barn-like extension off of the back.  There is a Farm All Cub tractor in the yard, along with flowers, children's wagons and baskets.

When you walk inside there are worn, creaky wood floors and simple displays fill with food, drink and crafts.  Walk into the the barn area and there is a deli counter filled with meats and cheeses, refrigerators fill with other foods and a selection of pickles.

I do a lot of my Christmas stocking stuffer shopping in this store.  They always have unique candies and things that I remember from my childhood.  It is definitely a trip down memory lane.

Yesterday I bought a half sandwich for lunch, Kunzler sweet bologna, cheese curds, and Groff's smoked bacon.  Oh, and a birch beer to wash it all down.  Today I'll make myself a BLT for lunch using this special bacon (and save the drippings for pork and sauerkraut next week).

I should be good for another week or two; until I need another trip to my childhood via my taste buds.

God bless,