Saturday, November 5, 2011

Craving Comfort Food

Seeing that we are already past our second snowstorm here and might get a flurry again tomorrow I almost feel like fall has passed us by again. That must be why I am in a Christmas crafty mood already when usually I am a too late to craft last minute kind of shopper. But it's hard to get the seasons right in Colorado when it is 80 degrees on Tuesday and snows 8 inches on Wednesday, then back to 65 on Thursday. That goes on almost all year here except for July and August.

But it is comfort food season and I have a couple of must haves on my menu this weekend.

 When I was visiting mom last month I noticed her apple peeler/slicer on top of the frig and asked if she was planning to make me an apple pie. I am notoriously spoiled that way so she agreed that I needed an apple pie for the occasion, whatever it was. I ran off to the store to get some apples and found that despite the season apples are not cheap this year for some reason.  Go figure, we all have less money and things keep going higher and higher in price. I got the best deal I could and she still frowned a little when I told her what they cost.

The apple pie was perfect and I fell in love with the apple peeler/slicer.  So of course mom was packing a coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond (she always just happens to have a coupon) and off we went to buy me an apple peeler/slicer. The kids think it is the greatest thing ever because it makes these neat little round peeled slinky apples that are fun to eat.  

And I love it because now if I want to make mom's Fresh Apple Cake it is hardly any work. Or if I can get Big K to make it then it is no work at all and I just get to eat it. She loves to bake for me. Yeah, I am spoiled.

I love this recipe. It is super easy and perfect for a fall weekend dinner or potluck.

Fresh Apple Cake

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 eggs
3 cups finely chopped apples
1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped (optional if you have kids who don't like)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour (I sub 1/2 whole wheat sometimes and it turns out still very moist)
1 tsp baking soda
1-2 tsp cinnamon to taste
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Beat first four ingredients together then alternately add apples, nuts and dry ingredients until well blended.
Pour into ungreased angel food cake pan (1 hour) or 9X13 cake pan (45 mins) Bake at 350 degrees. Remove from pan when cooled. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

I was shopping at WalMart and found a cryopack package of ham slices from Hillshire Farms that is basically the leftover end slices from spiral sliced ham. It is really good ham and it was so cheap compared to buying a whole spiral ham to cut up for a casserole! I am going to make this Martha Stewart  Mac and Cheese with Ham for dinner tomorrow. 

Comfort food and a little sewing is what is on my menu for the weekend. If it snows a little I won't mind 'cause I still have 50 stockings to make and I can snack on apple cake when I need a break. Ha ha! I just made a poem, unintentional. Sorry about that :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Lot of Lists

I like lists and I need to make more of them.

Lists are good for us because they represent a commitment. When you write something down it becomes more than just a thought. It becomes a kind of contract with yourself. Some people are better at fulfilling their contractual obligations than me. I usually fail at something because I have a habit of letting life dictate to me rather than the other way around. I am not saying that I mind that so much, because I am basically happy with my slightly scatterbrained life. But I do have my moments when I beat on myself for not accomplishing things that I know would make me happier.

So I keep saying to myself "I need to make a list..." and now I am at the point where I guess I need to make a list of lists I need to make. Does that make any sense at all!??

Here are just a few that I can think of at the moment:
Christmas list
Handmade Christmas gifts I need to get busy on
Menu plan and grocery list
Things I absolutely without question need to get rid of before we move
Things I cannot live without and plan to take with me when we move
Things I love and want to keep even though I don't need them when we move

And now that we have to move and I have so much to do to get ready for the holidays and downsize and pack I have this sudden urge to sew a lot more and try to knock out all those projects I have had dancing in my head for years. Kind of like when I was in college and it was finals and my term paper was due I would suddenly notice that the bathroom was filthy and needed to be scrubbed inch by inch with a toothbrush. I am not making that up. Ask my friend Mona, she used to laugh at the silly things I could think up to avoid finishing that term paper or studying for a final.

Yesterday I did get started on a project that I have been planning for the last few years and I am pretty excited about it. Big K is going to help me with it so that will be even more fun. I'll show you in a few days I hope! It involves these burlap mini-stockings that I did a tutorial for last year.

If you want to make some you can go here to see the mini-tutorial for the garland.

I had these two runners already cut out so I got them finished up too. 

I guess I am officially a day behind on NaBloPoMo now 'cause I wrote this post last night and then didn't get it published due to technical difficulties. Double post tomorrow or really today since it is 2 am.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Frugal vs. Poor

You ever hear people say that they grew up poor but they never knew it? I hear that all the time and you know exactly what they mean don't you? Their life was so filled with the riches of a loving family that they were never aware that life was measured in material objects. They had a mom who was really good at faking it, putting together the latest fashion outfits from the clearance racks. Or loading up the Christmas tree so there were plenty of packages and surprises. And she could pull off a killer pot of "goulash" with a dab of hamburger, a can of tomatoes and some wide egg noodles. So were they really "poor" or not? Probably not in the way that we mean impoverished, like people who are homeless and go to bed hungry each night. They probably grew up in a family that despite working hard always had to stretch to make ends meet. And that seems to be where so many families are today. 

So now we are more sophisticated, in touch with the world and maybe we don't feel so alone. So Frugal Is the New Black. I really like that for some reason. I like that it might get people started thinking about what is really important in life, not the material things but how well you live with what you have. I like that people are getting creative and having fun re-purposing a recycling and sharing their ideas. I even like it that if you are shopping at Wal-Mart and forgot the recipe for homemade laundry soap you can look it up on your smart phone. That's actually pretty funny, but true. And I have been using this homemade soap for over a month now and we love it!

No new sewing creations today :(  

We will be moving in 3 months and I decided that I can't take the she-beast Pfaff with us to our new tiny house, so they will be coming to pick her up for consignment sometime soon. Now every time I am sewing I get a little pang of sadness. I haven't sewed on my old Kenmore for 7 years now. She is a good old machine and I am sure I will be just fine without The Beast. 

Just some random thoughts, but I'll do better next time. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I May Be Crazy, but I Joined Anyway

Ever see a blog reference to NaBloPoMo? I have seen it around and just figured "that isn't for me" the part time, loosey oosey kind of blogger that I am. But National Blog Posting Month caught my interest this year because I really do want to blog. I am not sure why I don't get it done most days because almost every day of my life I create something, or cook something, or just have some thoughts that I think I should write down. And isn't that what a blog is supposed to be? Yeah, but I guess I sucked at keeping a diary or journal when I was young. That's probably why I don't have any recipes written down, even though I mean to do it so I can remember when I make something that knocked everybody's socks off. Although, writing it down doesn't always settle everything in question. Big K and I have been arguing for 6 years over our "world famous" peanut butter fudge recipe that we invented. She wrote it down and left it here in my cooking notebook. But every year we get into a debate about the butter and chocolate chip proportions. Could very well have something to do with how much wine we had while we were inventing it, but I'm not sayin'.  

Anyways, I have accepted this challenge to write at least one post per day for the next month. It could be anything, but write it down I will.

I am totally in love with the Graphics Fairy and rustic fabrics now. I made these cute tea towels just to satisfy my urge to play with graphics and tried the Citrisolve transfer method. It took a little playing around, but I think I got it now. 

Pillow ticking is so classic, and blue is just my color. Love.

Off white bulap runner with ticking ruffle and matching plaid raggy ribbon. 

More fun with burlap. Yes, I am in the Christmas spirit already. I think these will make awesome gifts for friends and family on my list. Come back for a tutorial on how to make these adorable table runners and best of all the price is well under $10!
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