Archive for February, 2012

Perfect Day for Spring Cleaning and Sewing

Yesterday was a beautiful day!  It was one of those kind of days that I call perfect days.  It was warm enough to be perfectly comfortable, a nice breeze was blowing, and the sky was clear blue.  I opened the windows and let the breeze blow through the house.

Spring may not be officially here, but it sure feels like it and puts me in a cleaning and gardening mood.  Besides the regular chores such as washing dishes and catching up laundry, I also managed to pull the fridge out and clean under it.  I even tackled straightening the crafts/sewing closet yesterday, which I had been putting off.

While taking care of the closet, my eye spotted my little orange tote I use for keeping seed packets.  Hooray!  I wondered where it had gone and was beginning to think I was going to have to buy all the seed for the garden this year.  I sorted through the seed packets and put aside the ones I plan to use in the garden.  Next week I will try to go ahead and start some of the seeds indoors.

I was so much in the mood for doing things yesterday, it even led to a sewing spurt.  I sewed a nice blouse for warmer weather using an It’s So Easy, It’s Simplicity pattern(E2032) for a peasant blouse I had found a few weeks ago.  Here is one photo of the blouse and a closer up view of the neckline so the floral print can be seen better.  In the close up you can see where the single fold bias tape is used for the neckline casing.

Peasant Blouse

Yesterday turned into one of those days I feel I accomplished quite a bit.  Today has only been errands so far, but the day is young.  I did find a summer dress pattern and picked up the few notions needed for it.  I already have fabric at home in my stash, so maybe I will get it done this coming week.  If you are ever in the sewing mood and think you do not have the skills for it, remember try for a simple pattern and practice makes perfect(or at least a little better).

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

I was in a baking mood again today so I made some cookies.  This was from a Martha Stewart recipe which can be found at http://www.food.com/recipe/Chewy-Chocolate-Gingerbread-Cookies-145285 .  I found it while searching online for a chewy cookie which was chocolate and used fresh grated raw ginger root

I made a few changes.  I substituted semi-sweet chocolate chips for the chocolate cut into chunks.  I had no squares of semi-sweet chocolate, but plenty of chocolate chips.  I had bought two big bags of them at a good sale during the christmas season.  Also, I figure pouring chocolate chips in a recipe is a whole lot easier than trying to chop chocolate up into chunks.  Either way you get the important part—the chocolate!

There were only two other changes I did to the ingredients.  I only put 1 teaspoon of ground ginger instead of 1 1/4 teaspoons.  The other thing I did was used dark cocoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder.  I had regular cocoa powder, just thought the dark cocoa might add better flavor. 

There were two other changes I did towards the end of making the cookies.  The first change was after the recipe was mixed, I omitted the step to pat out the dough and seal with plastic wrap.  I simply put a piece of plastic wrap over the mixing bowl and stuck it in the fridge to firm.  The other modification I ended up having to make, was to bake the cookies longer than called for in the recipe.  This could have simply been a difference in ovens.  I baked mine for 15 minutes instead of the 10-12 minutes stated in the recipe.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

These were really tasty cookies, especially with a glass of ice cold milk.  The combination of chocolate with the spices was a nice flavor.  It was a good soft chewy cookie, which I will definitely make again and may even try a batch without the chocolate chips.

Homemade Banana Pudding

Pudding From Scratch

I have been in a baking mood today.  It started with making a peach cobbler this morning for breakfast.  This afternoon I was wanting to bake something else and decided I needed to use the bananas before they went bad, so I hunted up my banana pudding recipie.

First thing I did was to go ahead and separate the three eggs for the recipie.  I put the bowl with the egg whites in the fridge and started to make the pudding.   I figured if I made the pudding first, then it could be cooling while I made the meringue.  Into the pot went 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/4 cup of cornstarch, and the 3 egg yolks.

This was a hand written recipie and I haven’t made it in a long time, so I couldn’t remember if it was suppose to have vanilla extract in it and maybe I just forgot to write it down.  To be on the safe side, I decided to add about a 1/4 teaspoonof vanilla extract.  I stirred the pudding over medium heat till it thickened, which it did nicely.  Started out with a spoon, but switched to a whisk as it was looking a bit lumpy.

After sitting the pot aside, I used the mixer to make the meringue.  I love doing things the old fashioned way, but for some reason, my attempts to whisk merigue in a bowl typically fail.  Into the mixing bowl went the 3 egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.  A little while at high speed and soon the egg whites turned glossy white with lovely peaks. 

In the glass baking dish I layered vanilla wafers, bananas, and pudding.  Then after repeating the layers once more, I topped it all off with the meringue and used a spoon to gently fluff it up into nice pointy peaks.  Baked it in the oven for only 8 minutes and out came a fair worthy homemade banana pudding according to my daughter.

Homemade Banana Pudding

Beautiful Snow

 

Welcome to my new blog sharing the country life adventures from the small rural town of Kittrell, NC.  I love living in the country, but wasn’t raised that way, so have had to learn quite a bit and continue to learn more everyday.  I thought I would start out this fresh blog by sharing about the fresh fallen snow.

Snow Covered Peach Tree

This winter in North Carolina has been so warm, I didn’t think we would see any snow this year.  Well, yesterday evening it started to sleet and soon changed to snow.  The falling snow was so pretty. 

The snow was still there when I woke up, so I ventured outside with the dog to take a few pictures.  There was not much snow, so no chance to make snow cream yet.  Even though it did not last long, it was so beautiful.  The snow was pretty much all gone by the afternoon.