Love deeply. Laugh. Cry. Talk to God. Be realistic about the to-do list. Stay in touch. Hug. Dream. Smile. Break Bread often with Family. Spend Time with your Girlfriends. Shop til you Drop! Extend Grace. Be Quick to Forgive and Slow to Anger. Walk. Breathe. Sing. Dance. Read. Eat Chocolate. Savor a Good Glass of Wine. Wiggle your Toes. Sleep well. Life is Good!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How could this go wrong?!

Guess what I found in the back of the fridge?
A pint-and-a-half of macerated strawberries!
Remember the week before Mother's Day 
when I did the strawberry jam?
There were extra strawberries so I sprinkled 
them with sugar and poured them into a mason jar, 
thinking we'd have strawberry shortcake.
I forgot about them!  They looked as good 
this morning as the day I put them in the fridge.  
And, oh!  so divinely sweet!

So ...... since I was doing some canning this morning ....
I tossed the strawberries into a pot with Balsamic Vinegar, 
a splash of lemon juice and some fresh ground black pepper!  
I ended up with two half-pints of some sinfully delish sauce!

I had the little bit leftover to dabble over ice-cream for lunch!
Yep!  Lunch.  That's it.  Nothing else.
I still have a full afternoon of canning!    
I needed an energy boost!

Today's canning adventure:

Vanilla Rhubarb Jam
Vanilla Rhubarb Sauce
Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Creamed Corn
Caramelized Vidalia Onions

Toss in some laundry, some blogging and some paperwork 
and you're experiencing my world today!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Super Woman Cape Needs Spot Cleaned!

Jams! Jelly! and Syrup!!  Oh My!

 This is how the last few weeks have been occupied!

Not to be left out:  beans, garlic, peppers and tomatoes!

It's been a canning by day and rental cleaning by night kind of life!

Note:  this week has been on a different scale.
Exhausted from the last few.  Flare-ups with health issues.
Chillin' more this week .... not by choice!
I'd rather be poking around in the kitchen.
Hoping the energy level kicks back up
before the tomatoes and peppers catch up with me!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paper Trails . . .

Today's Post was supposed to be something along these lines:

See y'all tomorrow!
This is where I'll be if you need me!

It ended up more like:


Latin procrastinatus, past participle of procrastinarefrom 
pro-forward + crastinus of tomorrow, from cras tomorrow.   
The act of replacing high-priority actions with  tasks of lower 
priority, or doing something which one derives enjoyment, 
and thus putting off important tasks to a later time.

I'm not so much a procrastinator and a perfectionist.  You wouldn't know that right off.  But, in my defense, perfectionism is not the same as OCD.  I only delay accomplishing a task because I feel the need to complete the task once I dive in and if that window of time isn't available I put it off for another day.  I know I'm not alone in!

You see! I'm blogging right now instead of tackling the stack of paperwork on my desk (the one thing I hi-lighted on the to-do list for today -- paperwork, not blogging).  Hmmmm.  

This explains why the garage is a wreck, my studio is a wreck, the dining room table is a wreck (again), the foyer bench is piled high, there's a tower of books the length of the bed in the guest room, and the deck pressure washing hasn't been accomplished.  

I'm been for the last dozen years trying to re-learn accomplishing large tasks in small increments.  Problem is I bounce from one thing to another and back again [attempting to accomplish a lot in one day] seemingly never to complete the task at hand until my alter-ego gets a firm grip on my constitution and yells "NO! Finish this!"  It's a good feeling to finish a task, although when I step back to gaze and then make a 90 degree turn there's the other stuff on the list waiting.  Is your list like that?  You mark off one thing and add five during the process?  Ugh!  There I go off in another direction!  The to-do list.  Which brings me full circle back to where I'll be ... if you need me!  Note: Yes! I've been told they make a drug for this!

Some days this is my thought process ... 
unrelated to math.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

.... tis the Season!

Seems like all I do lately is apologize for not blogging.  

Oy vey!

It's Gardening Season!
It's Canning Season!
It's Rental Season!

What more can I say?!  

I'm popping in with a recipe and a quick exit!  Canning pole beans and enjoying my role as Gramma today!  The following recipe is what we're having for dinner alongside a great salad!  Gotta use up those gorgeous cherry tomatoes and banana peppers coming out of the garden right now!  I know this isn't my usual fare, but every now and then you've just gotta splurge!  Having fresh fruit salad for dessert!  Does that get me a pardon?!


Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

12 oz spaghetti
1 (28 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c Parmesan Cheese, grated

In a skillet, brown the ground beef until cooked through, drain fat and stir in spaghetti sauce.  Set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain and place cooked spaghetti in bowl.  Add cream cheese, Italian Seasoning and garlic.  Stir until cream cheese is melted and spaghetti is thoroughly coated. 

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.  Spread small amount of meat sauce in bottom of dish.  Add spaghetti mixture. Top with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Bake for 30 minute until bubbly!

Click here for recipe from Plain Chicken !

I will be using a quart of spaghetti sauce I previously 
canned which already has Italian Seasoning and garlic 
in it.  I'll also use ground venison.  And, I'll likely 
just mix the sauce with the spaghetti/cheese mixture 
and put it all back into the skillet I browned the meat 
in and pop it right into the oven!  

Sunday, May 13, 2012


The three women who contributed to who I am!

Petie (my great aunt)
Mama (my grandmother)

And the two I contributed to!

Lindsay (Small child)
Jennifer (Baby Girl)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to Stretch a Ham!

I spent a couple of days last week canning.  
We stretched this After Easter Sale Ham to unbelievable limits!

After eating it in various ways for two weeks, I diced up the remaining 
lean meat and pressure canned it. The pile on the left side is the bone 
and fat trimmings.  No Way!  I didn't toss them!  You know me better than that!  
Usually I'd make beans or soup with that bone. I decided to make some stock. 
What better way to flavor multiple future cuisine?!!!

After having everything on a low boil for about four hours.
I removed all the meat and fat  and cooled and refrigerated the stock.
No! I didn't strain it.  There are still tiny bits and pieces 
throughout the stock. No!  I didn't add celery,
onions or anything else to the pot. Only the pork.

After all the scooped out stuff cooled enough to handle,
I went to the recliner with it and picked  all the meat off,
while my four-legged sons eagerly watched!  These little bits will be saved for 
Navy Bean Soup.  The hambone  is gonna get another dunk in the pool!
There's more flavor in that marrow that will add  more flavor to the beans!
All the fat went into the bowl with the fat that will be skimmed off the stock later.
It will be combined with  white rice, vegs and chicken for  dog food.
No waste!  Eventually the dogs will get the bones too!  Doggy Heaven!

When I took it from the fridge this morning, there was a very thin layer
of fat on top. I literally rolled it off the top.  It went into a container with
 the other pieces of fat from the stock.  (Remember ... dog food recipe!)

Is this "gold" not gorgeous???  I reheated the congealed stock.  It is NOT fat!
Then I pressure canned it for later use!  You should smell the house! 

We ended up with five pints of ham, six pints of stock!  I didn't add liquid to the ham, 
only dry packed it. It made half a jar of liquid.  It looks more roasted than
the pretty pink color, which it would look like if I had added hot water.

The only trash we produced from this ham was the wrapper!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Strawberry Season in the Deep South!

Guess what's going down around here today?!!

My Baby Girl gave me a flat and a half of 
fresh local grown strawberries
Early Mother's Day gift!  Beautiful!

I'm making Strawberry Jam!   
Why not something more exotic?
Why?  When I can buy it so cheap at the grocer?
Why?  When it's labor intensive?

Why not?
They didn't cost me anything!
They are grown the next county over!
I know what's in the jam!
It's MY time and MY labor!

I'm gonna freeze a gallon bag full of strawberries
for smoothies and hope to get at least a dozen half pints of jam!
I may even make some Strawberry Champagne Jelly!
Now, that would be a challenge since my few attempts 
at jelly turned out to be syrup!  

I may need to get more strawberries!!
Later!  I've got recipes to search for!

I canning!

Update!  Fourteen half pints of Strawberry Jam from the flats!!
Brought home three more flats from the farmer's market yesterday!
And!! Hubs brought home three baskets of Chilton County Peaches!
Gonna be a busy week in the kitchen!

Friday, May 4, 2012

After the rain ...

Happy Friday Y'all!

After over 5" of rain fell in the area this week,
the garden has gone crazy!!!   I could almost
hear everything growing and stretching out there!

I took a walk-thru with my camera this morning
making a mental list of what needs to be done
over the weekend.  Itching to get out there today
but I'm busy canning today.   Ham and Ham Stock
pictures with follow tomorrow.  You know you can't wait!



 Yes!!  First Red Cherry Tomatoes!!!

Sweet Banana Peppers!!
These are almost a foot long!!

This is the first year we have used high 
nitrogen worm castings in the garden.

The peppers and corn love it!  
Apparently everything else does too!
Having issues with squash and zucchini.  
Still no female blossoms = no fruit appearing yet.

I planted a new bed in a different location.  
We shall see!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Silence is, indeed, Golden.

Hello out there!

Sorry I've been a sporadic blogger lately. There have been many, many distractions.
Gardening season, to-do lists, health and  occupy peace and quite, to name a few!
The introvert in me needs time to chill.  To recharge.  To regroup. To refresh.  To re-energize.
For me these things are best accomplished quietly, alone, without much outside stimulation.

This is how God wired me.  I'm comfortable in my own skin.  I like my own company.
Solitude is rejuvenating.  There truly is strength in silence and a reason behind Be Still and Know ...

I am rarely a big crowd kind of person. Only when the event calls for that small percentage
of extrovert personality that occupies my temperament. Chit chat and small talk annoy me.
As do superficial relationships.  Constant noise saps my energy. I'm a reflective individual.
Therefor I'm likely thinking more about the conversation at the table than participating in it.
Large crowds tend to drain me. Not 100% of the time, but more often than not.
It is the rare occasion that I feel in my element away from home.

Neither of my daughters were born with this trait. They are both adrenaline junkies (in their young age)! They love being in crowds and group settings and constantly on the go doing something. It actually refuels them.

I draw energy both from small groups and from being alone.  Perhaps I'm a combo, but I do lean
more towards being a loner than a thrill seeker.  I find myself longing for silence, that ahhhhhhhh moment when my personal normalcy returns. Sitting in silence.  Gardening.  Watching an old movie. Cleaning house. Shopping or dining by myself during the day. Working in my studio ... harnessing creative energy.  Or, even a major chore like canning.  Just me and a hissin' pressure canner in the kitchen all day long! Followed by welcome silence, of course!  

It's that alone time that recharges my batteries ... even if I'm crazy-busy!
I'm not alone in this world!  Extroverts out number introverts by a large scale.
Supposedly they are what makes the world go 'round.
But I think the rest of us bring balance and keep it from spinning off into space!

Move at your own blessed pace!