Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkins, Hydrangeas, Sweet Potatoes, et al.

I really have no brilliant fall decorations.  

I just pulled out pumpkins from the past - and I'm about to show pictures - to Sarah and to Kate and Laura Beth if they want to see.

Sarah and Kate live about 8 hours driving time away.  They've expressed that seasonal homesickness.

I feel it too.  I want to go home.  To Evergreen.  I want to have coffee with Mother and her sisters and my cousins and Mary Ann and Ella (my grandmother)  - and laugh with all of them and talk about everything.


Well - there aren't that many left in Evergreen - but still, I want to go home.

I talked with a friend who used to live in Scottsboro - told her I missed her - and she said she always thinks of Scottsboro this time of year.  We had a lot of fun when she lived here, along with 2 other gals who've moved away, also.

This time of year stirs up nostalgia - doesn't it?  Therefore,

Here's a taste of home for my girls.

Burlap Pumpkins
on the mantel

My "funkin" which I can't decide whether to paint or not.
(I mean, I want to definitely, but just not sure how I want to do it.  
There are so many ideas on Pinterest and in magazines)

Faux Mercury Glass
which I did a couple of weeks ago.

The kitchen pumpkins
or, pumpkins which are in the kitchen

Blue and Orange
when there are reblooms on the hydrangea bush,
well, we get some blue and orange for football season.

Notice, Sarah and Kate, the two updates
on the photo wall!

Sweet Potatoes 
from Farmers' Market

These birds were on the clearance table at SteinMart.
$1.95 each.  

And finally,
the best pumpkin of all
in pink
(or a little sweet potato)

Happy Fall.
It's early in the season, yet.

I'm sure I'll get more pumpkins (real ones) and 
for Halloween.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Meal with Recipes

Since I haven't posted in so very long -

and still can think of nothing -

Today I have been cooking for family and for someone who's had surgery - to take a meal - and naturally I select some of my favorite recipes if I'm taking to someone -

Pictures with Recipes:

In this picture I'm cooking apples in apple cider, all from Crow Mtn.
It's that time of year.
Apples from Crow Mtn. - and their apple cider.

Also - I'm perking coffee on top of the stove.
It's its own kind of flavor.

Brunswick Stew
(Recipe below)

Cookies.  Easy.
Cake Mix Recipe, compliments of Kate,
with her two blogs here and here.
Recipe Below.

And Buttermilk Cornbread.
In an Iron Skillet.
Recipe from any cookbook.
Okay.  Recipes Below.

Brunswick Stew
original recipe came from this link
I made a few changes.
My adaptation to that recipe:

In a medium saucepan, over low heat, 
combine 1 3/4 cups catsup, 1/4 cup yellow mustard, 1/4 cup white vinegar.  
Blend that until smooth and add:

1/2 Tblsp. chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, 
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/2 oz. Liquid Smoke, 1 oz Worcestershire Sauce,
1/2 oz Tabasco Sauce, 1/2 Tblsp. Lemon Juice
Blend that until smooth, then add 1/4 cup dark brown sugar.
Heat thru, stirring constantly.  Don't boil.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce.  
(set aside - to be added later)

In a 2 gallon pot, over low heat,
Place in the pot
1 large bag of frozen hash brown potatoes (frozen cubed potatoes)
1 large onion, diced
2 cans(14 1/2 oz each) chicken broth
1 lb. baked chicken
8-10 oz. smoked pork
(easy way to do this, purchase rotisserie chicken and use that meat, 
and for pork, purchase at local BBQ place)

Bring to a rolling boil, stirring until potatoes are near done, then add:

1 - 8 1/2 oz. can early peas
2 - 14 1/2 oz cans diced tomatoes
The prepared sauce
1 bag of frozen lima beans
1/4 cup liquid smoke
1 - 14 1/2 oz can creamed corn

Slow simmer for 2 hours.

Yields - 1 gallon

I used the apple cider from Crow Mtn.  And I sliced LOTS of apples - peeled and sliced - to fill up a large boiler.  Bring those apples in the apple cider to a boil.  Add about 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice - or Cinnamon.  Cook and simmer until right consistency.  When I removed these soft cooked apples I tasted and knew they needed a perk.  NOT SUGAR.  but ... a dash of salt.  yes.  Salt.  Not too much.  Not too little.  A dash.  At least 1/8 tsp.  Salt definitely brings out the flavor in ANYTHING.  
Once done with cooking I stirred in 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring.


Any Cake Mix (for these I used the spice cake)
1/3 cup of oil
2 eggs

Add in whatever.  1 to 1 1/2 cups of add ins.
(for these I used 1/2 cup white choc. chips, 1/2 cup toffee bits, 1/2 cups chopped walnuts)

Bake 9-10 min. at 375 degrees

That's it.  FALL MEAL.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happiness is......

Okay - so I  have an idea for a post.  

ummmm - well - a lot of folks, including my daughter Laura Beth, are doing Thankful lists.  Seriously, that blesses me. It does.  I especially love reading her list, naturally.  But, well, I haven't done that one - since - well - since Laura Beth is doing it.  And others.

Anyway -

Yesterday I was putting new ink cartridges into my printer - FINALLY! - and I had that "ahhhhh feeling of momentary contentment".  And I thought to myself, "Happiness is having brandnew ink cartridges in my printer".   It buys me more printing time.  So then I thought - what other insignificant things give me fleeting, momentary happiness. Things which I know will fade - yet it's in the moment.


Well - I'll number some.

Happiness is.......
1.  Having new ink cartridges in my printer.
2.  First cup of black coffee in the morning.
3.  Being in the black in our checkbook - (being in the red for us is really still in the black - but it means we're spending more than Charlie earns - borrowing from Peter to pay Paul - whatever that means - more like borrowing from Charlie to pay Charlie - or it could mean we're "shooting ourselves in the foot" - something like that)
4.  Empty House - just me
5.  Empty House - just Charlie and me -
6.  Full House with children and grandchildren
7.  Full House with friends  (See?  I want everything at the same time - I'm a very mixed up person)
8.  Coming home from Wal-Mart and I spent 30.00 or under.  Almost never happens.
9.  Gets to be 5:00 pm and my tummy's truly empty - as in I haven't grazed all day.
10.  Sticking to a diet and the scales go down.
11.  Waking up in the morning and the scales are down.
12.  Being done getting my teeth cleaned.
13.  No cavities or cracked teeth or anything having to be done.
14.  Working on projects.
15.  Sleeping baby.
16.  Smiling baby.
17.  All four of my girls being emotionally well.
18.  Watching the Waltons on TV in the early evening with Charlie (or by myself)
19.  Being at the movies with popcorn and diet coke.
20.  A glass of wine on an empty stomach in the late afternoon.
21.  My girls being happy - oops - I already said that - sorry - idol territory.
22.  Having Sunday lunch prepared and being very hungry after church.
23.  Friday night.
24.  Sunday night.
25.  A completed project that turned out well.
26.  Clean house.
27.  Waking up to a clean house.
28.  Putting on pajamas in the evening.
29.  The Beach.  The Coast.  Salt air.  Salt water.  White sand.  Clear sky. Seafood.
30.  Evergreen
31.  A Baby being born.
32.  Smell of a clean house.
33.  An entire day to work in the yard and not feel like I need to do something else instead.
34.  Noone mad at me.
35.  Someone liking me.
36.  The faces of my grandchildren when they burst through the door.
37.  I'm exhausted and I wave goodby to my grandchildren in the driveway.
38.  A song on 96.9 or 101.7 which takes me waaaaayyyyy back.  To high school.  To college.  To dating Charlie.
39.  Gladys Knight and the Pips - especially Midnight Train to Georgia.
40.  Phone call from an old friend.

Okay - that's 40.  I'm tired of doing this.  Maybe I'll do more later.

I'm sitting on my couch and I just glanced out the front window and I saw my magnolia tree and just the out of doors.  I love that.  Another happy moment.  I just looked up again and saw the evening news on TV and some reporter who is waist deep in muddy flood water.  I would NOT be happy about being there.

If I were that reporter I would be especially glad(happy) to get home from work that day and to get a bath - no - a shower.  I take showers.  So - if she were making a list she might list "getting home from wading waste deep in muddy water for a news report."

Okay - now on the news there are people who have suffered tragedies from this flooding around the country.  Awful stuff.

See?  If I can make a happy list instead of a thankful-in-the-midst-of-trials list, well, I'm not in a valley right now.  So for that I can be so glad - but trials come - don't they?

So - #41 on my "happiness is" list - 
Being able to count my momentary happiness things - and to be able to focus on them.

42.  Getting emails from friends and family.
43.  Getting a comment (very rare) on my blog post.

Well - I just can't seem to stop.

Monday, September 5, 2011

No White or Pastels After Labor Day?


No more flip flops?  No sandals?  Is that the rule?

Here it is at 7:00 pm and I've been reading a few blog posts and there is that continuing theme of no more summer stuff after labor day.

I hope the weather pays attention.


I can't slip into my yellow sandals? which usually sit outside my back door -

I used to know all of that and pay close attention.

I don't think the rules are as hard and fast as they used to be.  At least that's what I'm saying and sticking with.  Honestly, I don't care that much.

I was just reminded of my childhood and going downtown with Mom to the shoestore where we shopped.  Suddith & Bethune - and later it was Lambert's.  We bought fall shoes for fall & winter and Easter shoes for spring and summer.  School shoes and Sunday shoes for fall - but I only remember Sunday shoes for summer.  What did I wear to school after Easter?  I know I wore sandals and flip flops in the summer.  Oh, and keds.  I wore keds to school.  Without socks, probably.

I don't think I ever bought any clothing item outside of Evergreen, AL when I was growing up.  I don't remember it.  Unless, it was in Troy, AL and we bought it at Rosenberg's - a very fine ladies' shop in downtown Troy.  I know my grandmother bought Mary Ann and me our Easter Dresses from Rosenberg's when we were 6 and 4.  Mine was dotted swiss.  Perhaps Mary Ann's was too.  When I was  a senior I bought my prom dress at Rosenberg's.  It was so expensive that my uncle paid half for it as my graduation gift.  Total cost of the dress?  $55.00.  Too expensive for Mother and Daddy to buy as one purchase for Prom - and "The Miss Evergreen Beauty Contest".  I confess.  We had that.  Sorry.

I'm rambling - but Labor Day in September is so different compared to the past.

It rained all day today - as in flooding.  Charlie worked in his office all day since the Courthouse was closed for Labor Day - so that he could get a lot done.  Labor Day defines nothing for me anymore in terms of seasons changing.  What the rain has done is probably make things a bit cooler - or at least less hot.  I'm so glad for that.  I'm looking forward to fall and winter.  Usually I'm not looking forward to cooler weather.  I am very glad for fall and winter this year.  It's been such a hot summer and a very very - well - not a summer for vacations and recreation.   A tedious summer.  Detailed.  Details.  Blessed.  Abigail was born.  Laura Beth and Scott had major changes, for which we are all grateful.  Kate came(from Wake) and went(to China) and came(from China) and went(back to Wake).  Sarah visited but she's deep into New Orleans.

Good grief!  I'm rambling.

But tonight?  I am enjoyng the sound of rain all around and all over us.  We're very wet outside.