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!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Peaches and (Melted) Ice-Cream

We spent the weekend preparing for Issac.  
Didn't everyone, in some form or another?

Hubs went to the island and cleaned out the refrigerator/freezer.
I raised a few things to a higher elevation .. just in case.
We've been there with the storm surge.  Yuk.
I also cleaned out the fridge and tried to use up some produce.
Less to deal with during a potential power failure.

Anywho!  Part of what he brought back home was melted ice-cream and a few
brown eggs (probably expired or close to it).  I had half a dozen peaches to 
deal with .... a little over-ripe.  I hate throwing anything with potential in the trash!

I remembered having come across Ice Cream Cake at  Cookies and Cups via Pinterest! 
and sorta combined it with a Peach Crisp recipe shared on Facebook from!
(both pictured below)

Since I couldn't decide which to make ... and remembering I needed to use 
the melted ice-cream or toss it, I decided to combine the best of both!   
I ended up with a Peach Upside Down Cake (of sorts)!

Here's how I did it!

After peeling and cutting the peaches into chunks, I tossed them into 
an iron skillet (of course!) along with a half stick of butter, a couple 
of tablespoons each of brown sugar and toffee bits, and a handful of 
coarse chopped pecans.  I only warmed this til the brown sugar melted.
Note: use a large skillet, because you will be putting in an entire cake mix!

I added two cups of the melted ice-cream ... and drank the last half cup .... 
to a boxed yellow cake mix. I know .. gasp!  It was there.  It was quick.  
I also added the three brown eggs that came home from the island refrigerator.  
If they had been USDA store bought eggs, I'm sure they would have been way 
past there expiration date.  But, good ole farm eggs last longer, so I took my chances!

Moving on ..... I poured all the batter (mix, ice-cream and eggs) over the peaches 
and put the skillet into the oven ... 350 for 30-35 minutes ... or whatever the box says
 ... as long as the center is set before you take it out!   I wish you could have smelled it!

Let it cool so all that goodness beneath can set and not run all over the place!
Then turn it upside down on to a platter.  Beautiful and very moist!

Awesome as is, but, of course my hubs added a side of ice-cream.  
I told him there was ice-cream in the cake.  "So!" he said!

I'm sure you could use any flavor cake mix.  I thought about using the 
Spice Cake mix in the pantry, but decided to wait and combine that one with 
some of my 'canned' apples!    Hmmmmm.  I'm thinking cherries and chocolate 
would be awesome as well!  Or blueberry and lemon!   Oh my!

Can you come up with any other combinations?  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Roasted Gaaaah-lic!

Let's talk FOOD!!  I roasted garlic!  I know it's easy to just cut the top off, drizzle it with olive oil and stick it in the oven.  That's cute 'n all for a small gathering of friends for a wine tasting, BUT, I'm talking serious business here!  I'm talking about adding roasted garlic to soups, spreads, pasta.  You name it!  And when you always have it on hand, it's a cinch to toss in a few cloves or mash up a few and mix into your favorite spreads or dips.  The possibilities are endless!

What little garlic I get from my garden is often used fresh.  There's never enough to really make an impact on 'shortcuts' in the kitchen.   Seein' as how I use garlic (roasted, minced or dried) in about 75% of the dishes I prepare, I like to keep it on hand - ready and waiting!  Whether you need a few cloves or half a cup, it's waiting!! 

This is how I roll!!


I purchase a large bag (approx 3#) of peeled garlic cloves.  I told ya this was a shortcut!  Pour it all on to a piece of foil on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  I withhold any other seasonings.

Pull the ends of the foil up and fold and crimp tightly to hold in steam.  Roast at 250-300 degrees for two hours or more.  The smell will no doubt chase any lingering vampires out of every nook and cranny!

Voila!!  Roasted garlic!

I don't bother trying to pressure can it for long term use because it keeps well in the fridge.  I just spoon it all into pint size jars and stick them in the fridge and use as needed.  I've done this twice in the last six months.  Trust me!  It will keep in the fridge for ... well, let's just say, I 'lost' a jar at the back of the fridge once.  Beats me how long it was in there.  But it was still good!  Scouts' Honor!!

If I were gonna make up a large enough amount to make it worth pulling out the pressure canner, I'd probably do 3-4 bags at a time and can them in 1/2 pint jars.  No need to put any liquid in the jar.  Next time I do a batch of caramelized onions, maybe I'll do some more garlic and process it all at once.  I'll have enough for a year!  Maybe!  Just, maybe!  Did I mention it really smells up the house?  Just keep some Oust on hand and keep the overhead fan drawing it outside!  Hubs came home the other night and said he knew what I was doing when he got outta the truck!  [smirk]  The Oust really does work!  I used it twice this week ... fried oysters and garlic!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Peaches! Peaches! More Peaches!

Old Fashioned Peach Preserves
Source:  Preserving the Harvest

1 quart water
1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid
3.5#s peeled, pitted and chopped peaches
5 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Prepare an acid bath by pouring the water into a medium-sized bowl and adding the ascorbic acid.  Dip the peaches in the acid bath; drain well.

Combine fruit, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy 6-8 quart saucepan.  Stir over medium heat til sugar is dissolved.  Boil slowly, stirring constantly, until thickens, the fruit is translucent, and a cooking thermometer reaches 220 degrees F.  Stir in almond extract.  Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle into sterile jars, allowing 1/4" headspace.  Cap and seal.  Process ten minutes in boiling water bath.

Note: I doubled the recipe (since there was no pectin used) 
and ended up 16 half pints.  Two thumbs up!  

More Carolina Peaches
in a Light Syrup

Light Syrup:  1-2/3 cups sugar + 4 cups water
I doubled it for seven quarts of peaches.  There was 
little more than a cup left - which I poured into the
pot with all the peelings .... making peach honey!

This is what I was doing this morning at 

The beginnings of  Peach Honey!

I'll update when it's finished and canned!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I finally did it!  I made laundry detergent!  
I've had the ingredients for nearly nine months.  It's about time!
The recipe was a FB share by The Morristribe!  Thanks Kelly!!
You can watch Kelly's 'how-to' video here!

These are the only ingredients!  
I understand you can change the soap
to Zote or Ivory or Dr. Bronners, 
or whatever you choose, I suppose!


1 bar Fells Naptha Soap
1/2 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
Hot water

Other things you'll need:
A junk store pot, a grater and a long spoon or whisk
(these stay together - for detergent making only)
Two five gallon buckets
Containers to pour finished product into.

Grate the bar of soap.

Pour four cups of water over the grated soap.

Bring to a low boil over medium heat til melted, stirring often.

Per Kelly:  Pour melted soap into a five gallon bucket.  
Add remaining ingredients and stir.
Fill bucket halfway with HOT water.  Stir well.  
Pour half into second bucket and top both buckets 
off with HOT water.  Stir.  
Put tops on and let it sit overnight.

NOTE:  Lifting a full five gallon bucket is tough on my back.
I divided the ingredients in half for each bucket and 
then filled each with HOT water.  It worked out fine!
I left the buckets in place by the sink overnight.

The mixture was thick and gelatinous this morning.
I just stirred it up really good and commenced 
funneling into containers!

 I've been saving containers for awhile .... 
prob since I bought the ingredients 
for this project nine months ago!

 This posed an issue at first!

But, it popped right out!

Let the funneling begin!

All this for less than $3 !!!
Not $3 a bottle ..... $3 for ten gallons!
I only used a small portion of the washing soda 
and borax.  Enough left for many, many, 
MANY more mixtures from those single boxes!
Shake container when using.
Use 1/2 to 2/3 cup per load.  
It's a low-suds gel liquid.
You can add a scent from essential oils if you like, 
but I like the clean, fresh smell of the finished product!
Heck!  It took me longer to put up this blog post 
than it did to go through this entire process!
Next, dishwasher detergent!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

♪ ♪ Sweeeet Caroline-ah Peaches ♪♪

The Carolina Peaches arrived!!!

This is what I did with the entire lot!
'Cept, of course, the ones we devoured!

Peaches in Vanilla Syrup .... and then some!

After scalding, peeling, halving and pitting the peaches,

I made a batch of syrup:  

Four quarts of water + eight cups of sugar.
Added four split/scraped vanilla beans.  

After all the jars and lids were sterilized,

I packed the halved peaches into the jars.
I added a tiny pinch of cinnamon and clove.
I cut all the vanilla beans in half and 
added a half bean to each jar.
Then I ladled the hot syrup over the top.

Of course, if you are a canner, you know all the other things!
Remove air bubbles ~ one inch headspace ~ screw on rings!

Water bath quarts 25 minutes and pints 20 minutes! 


I put all those peaches up like this. I'll add a thickener for pie filling when I open them ... if that's what I wanna use it for.  Otherwise, 
we've been eating them right outta the jar!   I used the syrup from 
the last jar to sweeten a pitcher of iced tea!  The angels sang!!

Guess what?  The Carolina peaches are getting thin around this neck of the woods!  I brought some more home yesterday!  I'm going back for more today!  Hey!  You can't blame a girl for trying!  It's a once a year thing!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Not exactly Olympic Style Discipline!

My NY Red Necks! I likely won't ever sprint or high jump
in these but they get me where I'm going!  At least they're
suitable for 'watching' the Olympics!  Don'tcha think?!!

I watched a bit of the Olympics over the weekend.  Awesome swimming, track and gymnastics events!  One comment struck me as pure awesomeness .... I spent four years working towards this moment.  Four years.  That's some serious discipline, people!  I have a difficult time spending four hours focused on one thing.  I'm challenging myself this upcoming week ..... beginning tomorrow.   Nothing huge like preparing for an Olympic event.  Simply an exercise in personal discipline.  Five days.  Daily efforts.  Mundane tasks.  There are more or less eight hours each day (if I don't piddle it away on the computer.)  The areas I need to focus on are Self, Garden, Studio, Garage, House.  Let's see how this goes! Make me accountable!  I'll randomly report in each day with the exhaustive details and see how it all ends up before the weekend!  Gold?  Silver?  Bronze?  You be the Judge!

Monday:   Did I mention we returned home last night to ants in the kitchen?  I went 'all out war' on them.  Never could find where they were coming from ... no trail ... just scattered.  I sprayed.  I scrubbed.  I sprinkled.  I woke up this morning and .... they were back.  My kitchen is currently upside down.  Everything from one side is congregated with the other side.  Looks like the 'house' gets the focus this morning.  Specifically the kitchen.  I know the damp weather can drive them inside, but geeze.  I do not like any kind of crawling critter in my kitchen.  Kitchens and bugs ants just don't go together.  I'll report back later with [hopeful] progress on the rest of the areas of focus.  But for now ... I'm combat ready in the kitchen!

Unless I'm greeted in the morning by a parade of ants, all is good!  I cleaned and sprayed and then my husband sprayed the little nook and cranny behind the stove ... the only place I saw any resemblance of a 'trail' ... ants be gone!  Of course, one thing led to another!  Every large and small appliance was washed and  shined!  Everything was moved from one counter to the other, cleaned and replaced!  As soon as dinner is finished and I mop, it'll be done!  I'm about ready for another round of canning!!!  I know!  I know!

I have another goal this month!  I want to use as much as I can from the freezers.  Today was a good start.  I pulled mystery meat from the freezer.  Fortunately it was triple wrapped and bagged.  The label read 'Gobble Gobble' so I assumed it was leftover turkey debris from last Thanksgiving!  Yep, and it wasn't freezer burned!  Into a pot with chicken stock, mixed veggies and frozen pasta noodle/dumplins!  Sort of a Turkey Pot Pie Soup!  Thick and rich!  You should smell it cooking!!  I also pulled out three small bags of dried cherries and a huge bag of frozen, cooked bacon.  I must have tossed that in the freezer for 'who knows what'?  What have you found in the freezer that time forgot?!!

No!  I didn't get around to the garden, or the garage, or the studio.  The ants orchestrated most of my day and it's been raining all afternoon!  There's still time for a 'self project' though!  I'm thinking a nice warm foot soak, a cup of hot tea and a good book are in order while the soup simmers!  Til tomorrow!!  TTFN!

Tuesday:     Morning!!!  Up and at it!  Coffee made!  Laundry running!  I accomplished a couple of goals this morning in a little over an hour:  Cleaned/organized a corner of the garage!  I have a little pile for a friend!

I made it out to what's left of the garden!  Pulled out the spent Roma Tomato plants and cut back the over-growth on a nearby Crepe Myrtle.  I hope the trailer doesn't get pulled away before I finish the task. A couple more days and I'll have the other three areas cleaned up!  Then, there is some serious weeding to be done.  Didn't you know the sky rains weeds during the Dog Days of Summer?  : )  Oh! And, so far, so good on the ants!

Click on this pic!  Just do it!  The photo took on a dream-like
appearance!  Maybe there were garden angels hanging around?!!

A little accomplished in each area, each day will get it done .... eventually!  Now that I smell like a goat ... I'm gonna clean up and tackle a couple of inside chores and run out on the town awhile.  In my best Arnold Schwarzeneggar voice: I'll be back!

Knocked several things off my list today!  My shopping list, that is!  Made a trip to Sam's for hunting camp supplies.  Unloaded a dehydrator full of jalapenos and mixed peppers and reloaded it with mixed veggies!   Likely won't accomplish much more outside til the weekend.  My granbaby girl is gonna hang with me the next few days!  Yay me!

Wednesday: I attended the sneak-peak ultrasound this morning and got a glimpse of our second granbaby girl!  She'll be here in October!  First granbaby girl got to see the images of her baby sister!  She was so excited!  Not much gonna get done today ('cept laundry) around here cause we're playing with dolls and watching Little Bear!  Just dropped in to say hello!

Thursday:    Today's task:  Clean up the foyer!  A lot of stuff has dropped into the area over the busy last few weeks.  Hope to get back to the garden clean-up this weekend!  During the mix, I've got a few errands to run today with granbaby girl in tow!  Be blessed!!


I set a timer for one hour and went at it while my granbaby played with her dollhouse and watched a movie.  Can't believe I got it all done that fast.  Fortunately, things were already grouped together for the island rental, or the camp or just needing to be put away from a recent road trip.  Now, to deliver the 'stuff' to its respective locals!  Who am I kidding?  This time next week, I'll have to do this again!

Friday:  There have been distractions this week.  Nothing major.  But enough to throw me off the discipline track.  Although I accomplished some of the to-do list, I've been inconsistent in the 'self-health' arena.  I don't get it. I've thought about it quite a bit.  Why do I have the discipline to keep my mouth shut when needed?  Why do I have the discipline to do the mundane chores.  Why do I have the discipline to feed my pets every morning?  Yet, I'm not disciplined enough to take care of myself?  Why?  Perhaps because the other things are for the benefit of others?  That would explain a lot since I am wired for service. Unfortunately, I'll be out-of-service if I don't focus on myself consistently.  Sounds a bit selfish, huh?  This is what this post began as on Sunday ..... a lesson in self-discipline.  I think I failed ... especially in the self-health part.  I wasn't consistent with supplements, exercise, stretching ... much of anything.  I can't seem to develop a routine.  Yet, flying by the seat of your pants isn't acceptable when you're trying to tackle health related issues.  Okay!  Enough whining!  I apologize for the boring epilogue!  And the boring blog this week.

I'll set another timer today and accomplish another task.  Granbaby is on the way to spend another day before she starts K3 next week.  When she is here to play, it never bothers me to let the laundry go, or be entertained by swirling dust bunnies, or watch the weeds waving back at me from the garden!  That's an acceptable reason to let the chores slide a little!  Times flies by and she's growing so fast!  There is still no excuse for no taking better care of myself.  It takes a lot of effort, as does anything in life.  Okay!  Okay!  I'm done.

No!  Wait!  Today will be five days without having a Coke!  Hmmmm.  Maybe I did have a little discipline.  Before you applause, the real challenge will be getting through the weekend .... working outside ... and passing up the bright red, ice cold can of cola!  : )