Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thrift Store Treasures

When my "go to town" days open up an extra hour now and then, I like to stop at the thrift store.  There is always a bargain or a treasure to be found, and in this economy "second hand shopping"  has been more and more appealing.  I like to reserve Antique stores for "dates" with Steve, or a fun outing with my friend Roxy, or my girls, but I have found many a bargain and many a treasure when exploring those dusty aisles as well.  The Mennonites have a thrift store here in town that I enjoy more than most, because their selection is large, and clean, and they always have Christian music playing, which always makes me feel happy and cozy.

About a week ago, I found a set of G.A. Henty books that were almost brand new, some of them were still in their plastic packaging; I wanted them badly (for the Grandkids), because I had collected a couple of them when the kids were young, but would have loved to have had the whole set. Well, rather than get them on the spot (I wish I had), I waited a week, hoping they would come up on the half off color of the week.  Alas, when I went back, they were gone.  Eddie had forewarned me of this probability when I explained why I was wanting to stop at the thrift store after a doctor's appointment Friday.  I kicked myself for not getting them when I had the chance, they were so cheap as it was.    I did find some treasures, however, and one of them was a prize to me.  It was a doll house.  I have a little granddaughter on the way (My son Nathan and daughter-in-law Himilce are expecting our first granddaughter, she is due the beginning of January).  When I saw it I went immediately to it.  I thought about it for a moment  and  soon someone else came over and looked at it while I was there looking and considering it.  I decided "no, I would not loose this one ha ha".  Now I didn't snatch it out from under them (all though my alarm bells were going off and saying "grab it quickly!").  I politely waited until they turned away, and then went ahead and put it in my cart, because I knew it wouldn't last the day.  Now I think I am going to have as much fun getting this little doll house ready for our precious granddaughter as I am going to get out of watching her play with it, when she is old enough to play with it.

 I found several other classic books (and quite a few for my grandsons) which helped soothe my heart over the loss of the others.  Eddie found a great pair of Nike running shoes, and I got a couple of shirts for Steve on the half off color, as well as a couple of other items.

Everything together came to a good deal less than I would have paid for Eddie's running shoes "new", and since he will be needing them for track, I feel like I really did well.   So I thought I would share my treasures with you so that you might enjoy them with me.

Here are some of the books, I actually got a second stack of picture books that are very nice, but didn't remember to get a picture of them before I started this post.

 Eddie was happy as a clam over these

 This is a tortilla warmer, and works nice for any kind of flat bread.

 I loved this.

18  The front porch of the dollhouse stirs up my imagination and I am having a brainstorm of ideas of how to decorate inside and out.

Thanks for sharing my fun.  I hope you have a wonderful week.

She sees that her trading is profitable.....
Proverbs 31:18

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brett's Big Girls

Throughout the summer months, we have a wonderful view that we never get tired of. The view is of our neighbor Brett's, Big Girls.  They are North American Spotted Draft horses.

Every night they are called in from the pasture.

They enjoy their night time treat.

For almost half of the year, they live here in Colorado.  The rest of the year they live in Scottsdale, Arizona.

 In Scottsdale, they work by giving people wagon rides in the desert that ends with a chuck-wagon dinner ( Brett is a great chuck-wagon cook)

 I think the girls enjoy their work... But I think they probably enjoy spending their summers out here in Colorado even better (of course I might be a little prejudiced about that idea).

 Look at these feeders... they are actually tractor tires... huge tractor tires.


"Nothin, I didn't say anything"

They are beautiful big girls aren't they?

They are very sweet and gentle horses.  Steve calls them the "Gentle Giants".

They are very good natured..... most of the time.   Sometimes at feeding time they get a little cranky with each other (notice the ears).

 This is Cappy.  He is 38 years old.  Isn't he beautiful still?

Harnesses and Bridles.  Even the gear is pretty.

I like old farm equipment.  I am not sure what this piece does ....must ask Brett next time I see him.

All rigged up  and ready to go.

"Its been nice.. have a great weekend".

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eddie Goes to Homecoming

Every Year there is some teenager in our house getting dressed up to go to something special.
Eddie is no exception.  He went to his first Homecoming last weekend.  Shopping for a purple shirt and tie brought back happy memories of when Russ and Olga went to Homecoming and Prom.  Purple is the school color, and is always a part of some activity we are doing, whether sports, or formals.  There is something fun about getting dressed up fancy, and going somewhere with a group of  friends don't you think?   Our first four kids enjoyed one formal  where all the homeschool group dressed up and went to a special formal dinner together; that is a very sweet memory.  Another happy memory we have is when Russ and Olga invited a group of kids to our house before the homecoming, and we set a beautiful table, and cooked a fancy meal.  Steve and Eddie and I dressed up and cooked and served.  Steve and Eddie wore suit and tie, and were the waiters.  All the kids had a great time, and so did we.

So now, Eddie has had his first lesson in tying a tie... "the bunny goes around the tree and into the hole..." or something like that.  Do you think he will remember?  Hopefully, but don't hold your breath.  I still can't do it after all these years, and I have tried to remember it so I could show the boys when they need help... oh well.  I guess that will remain Steve's job.  As an additional note, Eddie has worn the clip on ties before for special things, but said this year  "no clip on"; and so we did the tie tying class.

Here is Eddie's shirt and tie.  I actually got a beautiful picture of Eddie,  dressed up and smiling, he gave me no trouble at all... and guess what, the memory card was not in my camera, and I didn't realize it until now.  There will be no getting him back into the clothes anytime soon... so this it.
I enjoyed the laughter and smiles while I was taking these pictures.

Eddie and his friends went to Texas Road House for dinner.  He got himself a huge steak.  I think that was a highlight for him hehe.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Peaches and Cream Pie

Here  is one of my favorite recipes that I got from my Mother in law years ago.  The recipe card with her hand writing is all splattered and stained, now, which shows how much it has been enjoyed. It was originally called "Cream Peach Pie" and you can go ahead and call it that if you want,  I call it "Peaches and Cream Pie",  and "Peach Cream Pie", and can never seem to keep its original name in my head.  This one disappears quickly, so double the recipe if you can. I am a firm believer in doubling everything... I think it comes from raising a lot of hungry kids and wanting to be one step ahead.  I  freeze the extra meal when  I double up a recipe, but I have not frozen this one... I don't think it would freeze very well.

I have updated this recipe recently with more step by step pictures, and changed the pictures from this post out, because I didn't have a very good picture when I first posted it.  Here is the link to the update, if you want to see the updated post.

Peaches and Cream Pie 

1 Single Pie Crust
Fresh Peaches (about 5-6 large)
2 Tablespoons Organic Non-GMO Cornstarch
1 Cup Organic, Unbleached Sugar or Sucanat
2 egg yolks
1 Cup Whipping Cream
 1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Blanch your peaches in boiling water for about 2 minutes, strain and cool; now your skins will slip right off; then pit them.  You can cut them into halves or quarters, what ever suits you.  The amount of peaches I use varies every time, depending on the size of peaches and the size of my pie crust. Lay your peaches in the pie shell.

In a bowl, mix together sugar and cornstarch. Add egg yolks and whisk together.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk until well blended.
Pour over the peaches.

Cover Pie with foil and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350.  Bake for an additional 50 minutes... or until all is bubbly and somewhat firm.  Take foil off last ten minutes of baking.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fruit Leather

I had about 50 lbs of peaches to work with this year, and thought I would try my hand at making fruit leather.  I skimmed a variety of recipes and instructions on the internet, and proceeded with recipes and advice in my head. I concluded that you need not be precise, and I work well in that format.
The peach leather turned out to be very easy to make, and a nice little break from canning and freezing.

Peach Fruit Leather
Preheat oven to lowest setting on your oven (my lowest setting is 170 degrees) .  Take what ever amount of peaches (or fruit of any kind) you would like to work with and wash and pit them.  Put into blender, skin and all. You may add sugar or honey or nothing at all (I used nothing at all, because the peaches were sweet enough on their own).    Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with a piece of parchment paper, and then buttering it lightly.  Pour blended peaches over parchment paper until covered with a thin layer about 1/4 of an inch thick... give or take.   Put into oven for 10 to 14 hours, checking periodically.  If you let it  dry too long, your leather will be like... well...leather... (don't ask me how I know this.....).  For a chewy, but not too chewy consistency,  test it at about 10 hours.  If it is dry, but still nicely pliable, it is ready, if still wet in places... back in the oven it goes.  A dehydrator is next on my list... Once I get that figured out I'll share                           
it  with you.  I had one batch that was overly dry, which I restored by storing with a slice of bread... this works wonderfully  to revive dried and hardened brown sugar by the way... I am always amazed at how it brings that moisture back.  The next batches came out just right, because I watched them a little closer the last couple of hours.  Trim off the ugly jagged edges with some kitchen scissors, and then cut into rectangles of what dimension you choose and roll them up.

Click here for more fruit leather recipes

Monday, September 17, 2012


 This is the first year we have gotten peaches on our little peach tree.  It was because we had such a warm spring, and we didn't get a freeze after the peach blossoms bloomed.   Peaches are never sure thing around here.  Our tree is just bending with fruit.  Aren't they pretty?  The peaches didn't get very big, but they were sweet and tasty.

 I believe we have white peaches... they hardly look like peaches to me, in their white and greenish coloring.    But I love their scrumpscious shining bodies after they have been blanched and peeled.  I was glad to find out that I had gotten "Freestone" type peaches; they pitted very easily, and peeled with only one movement after I blanched them.

 I had also purchased  peaches very cheaply... there was a surplus everywhere around here, because of our warm spring. With all the peaches combined, I was able  to can 21 quarts, and make a couple batches of "Fruit Leather", 3 pies, 6 quarts of frozen, and 6 pints of jam.  It feels nice, knowing you have your pantry stocked for the season... I am getting there.

 The Peach Leather was a first for me this year.  It was very easy to make, and is a great snack on the go.  I'll post the recipe for you this week.

 Peaches and Cream Pie before it went into the oven.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Birthday Month

Candles outside

and candles inside.... Lets celebrate.  September is our busiest birthday month (with January coming in second, but will probably be tied for first after our 6th grand baby is born ... YES,  IT'S A GIRL ) Our son Nathan turned 32  today..... Happy Birthday Nathan!   Our son Luke (featured above) turned thirty a little over a week ago,  our Grandson Elon turned six on the 3rd; then comes our son- in- law Benjamin, who  turns 32 on the 30th
We celebrated Luke's 30th by having a little party with some  family and friends.

Aren't they precious?
And full of mischief.

We prepared a feast, and put up the ping pong table

And played a little ping pong

And had a wonderful time.



Check out Luke's corn salsa on the previous post; I think you will really enjoy it.

Luke's Corn Salsa

Luke made some awesome Corn Salsa the other day.

He piled it on top of  what he calls "Mexican Pizza" and I call an  "Indian Taco" It is Indian Fried Bread loaded with cheese, green chili and beans, fresh peppers and lettuce.  It was so, so good.
This salsa would be great with corn chips or Mexican food of any kind.

Here is his recipe: much of the ingredients are to be adjusted to the Chef's taste and desired volume.

Corn Salsa

Corn cut from 4-8 fresh cobs (you could use canned or frozen if you don't have fresh).
1/2 cup pickled Cherry or Jalapeño Peppers, chopped
1/2 Cup Hot, Pickled Carrots, chopped (these often accompany pickled peppers in the jar)
6-8 Green Onions, chopped
1-2 cups Vinegar or Jalapeño Juice
1 Large Tomato, diced
1 Large Lemon, juiced
1 Bulb Garlic, peel, crushed and chopped (yes, the whole bulb... it was really good)
1/2 cup fresh Basil Leaves, minced
1/3 cup Tomato sauce

Combine all ingredients and stir.  Serve fresh

Spoon Bread with Honey

This is one of my favorite Corn Recipes.  It is a bit of a cross between corn bread and corn pudding.  It is wonderfully moist and sweet.

Spoon Bread with Honey

1 1/3 Cup Frozen Corn
1 1/3 cup Creamed Corn ( use my creamed corn recipe minus the onion and bacon (or not) or you can you can use a can of creamed corn).
1/2 cup butter melted
2 Eggs
1 8 Ounce Container of Sour Cream
2/3 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Cornmeal
3 Tablespoons Sucanat or Coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix moist ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together.  Combine all and stir.  Pour into a greased  9x 13 pan ( use a smaller pan if you like a thicker bread).  Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes.
Drizzle honey over the top and spread over entire pan of bread.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Creamed Corn

Homemade Creamed Corn is better than anything you could ever buy in the can.
Even Eddie ate it up with enthusiasm (he's one of our picky ones).

Creamed Corn with Bacon

Fresh corn cut off the cob of 8 Ears of Corn  (about 5 cups of Corn)
2 Tablespoons Butter
3 Slices of Bacon (I use uncured bacon, I have used organic natural pork, beef or turkey for bacon... its all very good)
1/3 cup chopped onion (one small onion)
1 Tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon Sucanat or honey
1 Cup Half and Half
1/2 Cup Cold Water
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp; drain saving about 1 tablespoon of grease.  Cool, crumble and set aside.  to the bacon grease, add the butter and onions; sauté until tender.  Add the corn;  saute until corn is lightly cooked.  Add the flour and mix well. Now stir in the sugar, half and half and water.  Stir as it thickens.  Add crumbled bacon; reserving about a tablespoon to garnish on the top.  Add salt and pepper to taste and pour into serving dish.  Garnish with remaining bacon.
Serves 6