Winter 2014

Winter 2014

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ham and Egg Cups

I have been married for 46 years.  During that time I have done most of the cooking.  Everyone says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  I thought that was true until the last couple years.  My husband (AKA Old Dog) has turned into the Galloping Gourmet).  He watches cooking shows, he prints recipes and sometimes reposts them on Facebook and then he makes out the grocery list.  I am very tired of cooking so I welcome this with open arms.  On top of that, last weekend I cut my pointer finger very bad and have it all bandaged up.  I didn't realize how much I relied on that finger.  Even typing this is a challenge.

I posted his Meatloaf recipe as while back.

This weekend he made an egg dish.  I don't know where he got the recipe, but it was very good.  He wrote it in long hand on a piece of copy paper.  I almost said typing paper, but I would have been dating myself.  Oh yes, I already mentioned how long I have been married.  Talk about dating ones self.

Ham and Egg Cups

24 slices of honey ham
10 large eggs
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
Pat of butter
1/4 cup milk
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 Tablespoon shredded cheese per cup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare muffin tins with cooking spray.
Place green pepper and onion in a bowl with the pat of butter.
Cook in microwave for 1 minute.  Remove from microwave and cover with plastic wrap.
Line each muffin tin with two pieces of ham, overlapping.

 Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper

Ladle some egg mixture into each cup.
Top each egg cup with green pepper and onion mix.
Top each with 1 Tablespoon of cheese.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the eggs are set.

These are very good.  The edges of the ham gets crunchy which is the way he likes them. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Loomed Rag Rug

Last Christmas I received a present from Santa that I have wanted for a long time.  Most of you are familiar with Rag Rugs made on looms.  They are for sale in many places from Amish farms to craft sales.  You can even see them in commercialized stores.  I like those, but I always wanted to make one myself.  I have crocheted many rugs made from fabric scraps but I never made a loomed rag rug.

Through my blog, I have become familiar with other blogs similar to mine.  One such blog is   I ordered a loom from them.  OK, it's confession time.  I ordered the loom myself, wrapped it in Christmas paper and said it was from Santa.  In defense of my family, they had no idea I wanted this loom or they would have ordered it for me.

On Christmas Day I had my husband assemble it.  My son-in-law and my husband wondered how much I paid for it because it was a very basic design and the actual cost of materials was minimal.  I just said Santa got a deal, which was a little stretch of the truth.  If I would wait for someone to make me a loom, I would have a very long wait.  I think it is harder to make than it looks.  The looms come in different sizes.  There is one for place mats plus the rug sizes.   I opted for a 25 x 37 inch rug loom.  If I was going to learn how to do this, I wasn't going to mess with a tiny place mat.

Loom is just wood, nails, eye hooks and metal rods.

 Fortunately I could start the day after Christmas.  Since I crochet rag rugs, I had some fabric strips already prepared.  I also had unraveled a rug years ago that had been damaged by a puppy.  I could get a good start with this even though a finished rug of this size takes eighteen yards of fabric.  It would be very expensive to buy this much fabric so that is why they are called rag rugs.  People use old clothing, thrift store fabric and best of all, old sheets.  The fabric is ripped into strips about one and a half to two inches wide.  

The warp of this rug is fabric where some use other materials.  Starting on the left hand nail, just string the fabric up and down around all the nails.  The warp threads won't show much except on the very top and bottom.

Warp threads in place.

Now it is time to start weaving.   Instead of using one strip to go over and under like the potholders we all made as a child, this technique uses two strips one in each hand.  In a braiding type technique put right hand strip over the left strip and under the next warp.  Good instructions with pictures come with the loom.

A good start to a long process.

This is a big piece to work on so I had to lean it against the wall and put it on a chair to get the right height.  A few times everyday, I would work on it.  A lot of the rag rugs have a raggedy look.  I like it smoother, so I folded the strips as I wove them through.  They suggested a process for connecting the strips that involved making a knot.  I didn't like that bump, so I used a needle and thread and sewed the strips together as needed.  Since this is my first rug, I tried to develop things that would work for me.  There is nothing wrong with adding strips by layering both strips,  cutting a slit through both and taking the tail of the top strip, pull through the slits and pull tight.  I did both so there weren't a lot of knots.  I think the hardest part is learning to secure the row ends around the metal rod.  If not secured properly, the rug will fall apart on the sides when it is taken off the loom.

After working for several inches, it is time to flip the loom.   This rug is worked toward the center.  It makes it easier to choose colors and helps keep the rug from stretching out of shape.

Rug is worked toward the center to keep it straight.

Finally after a little over three weeks, the rug is finished.

The only thing left to do is take out the metal rods and remove the rug from the nails.  It was a fun project, and I will be making another one soon.  When I was putting away Christmas decorations, I discovered a plastic tote with a lot of pre-cut fabric rolls.  I had forgotten all about purchasing them from a garage sale many years ago.   I don't know how people make these rugs to sell and make a profit.  They take too much fabric and too much time.  For now, I will make them for our use and the fun of it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How To Make A Knitting Seam

Normally I don't get a lot of views to this blog.  It is mostly my kind Facebook friends and some family members.  I don't sell ads or use it to make money.  It is mostly a journal of this moment in my life.  We turn the blogs into hard covered books.  I imagine future generations won't believe how primitive ma and pa lived in the 21st century.  The blog I wrote for knitting a Christmas Stocking is the exception.  I have over 10,000 views to that blog.  People have asked some very good questions about knitting the stocking and knitting in general.  I am not an expert, unless knitting for over 50 years makes me one.

I usually knit in the round, if I can.  However, some things need to be knit flat and then sewn up.  One question I had was how to sew a neat looking seam.  In order to demonstrate that, I knit two small sample pieces.

The stitch in this sample is called the Stockinette stitch.  It is knit one row and purl one row when knitting flat.  Looking at it you can see the vertical rows that look like a crochet chain stitch, and the horizontal rows look the same only side by side.  These rows are connected by cross pieces that are created by knitting from stitch to stitch across the row.  I use these cross bars to seam two pieces together.  In the picture below you can see the hidden cross bars between the stitches.

To start seaming, I thread a yarn needle with matching yarn.  In this case I am using a contrasting thread to show how it's done.  It will be easier to see this way.

Put your needle under the first bar on the right side piece.

Under the bar on the right, then the left.

Working under a bar on the right, then under a bar on the left, continue back and forth as pictured.  Pull the the yarn tight to close the piece together as you continue.

Pull the yarn through on each side.

Continue until the seam is closed.

I used contrasting yarn but it can't be seen when finished.

Inside of seam looks like this, but the outside is nearly invisible.

I hope this helps those having trouble creating a smooth seam.  You can also pick up two bars on each side if you want a more relaxed seam.  Just be sure to do both sides the same or you won't come out even when you are finished.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Today we were going to have patty melts for supper.  Oops, I can't say supper anymore.  That word annoys one of my facebook friends.  From now on, I must say dinner or evening meal.  Anyway, in order to make patty melts, I needed bread.  I thought of how years ago, when I was a child, my mom would put the bread dough in round cans.  They were either tomato juice cans or Hi-C juice cans.  That was back in the day when we didn't worry about drinking Kool-aid or Hi-C.  Maybe they didn't put all the additives in the juice like they do now.  We used to love that bread, and a hamburger fit on the bread perfectly.

Today my Tuesday recipe is in honor of my mom and her round bread.  This isn't her recipe.  She made plain white bread.  This recipe has a little oatmeal and honey in it to make it slightly more nutritious.  This recipe is based on a Taste of Home recipe but my technique is a little different.  I make the dough in the bread machine but bake it in the oven.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk (warmed enough to melt the butter)
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey

In a bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, yeast and salt.

Warm the milk in a measuring cup but do not boil.  Add the butter and stir until melted.

Put the warm milk and butter in the bread machine container with the honey and warm water.
Put in the flour, oatmeal, yeast and salt mixture.  Turn the bread machine to the dough setting and turn it on.  This will mix the dough and let it rise for the first time.  It takes about an hour.  This process can be done in a mixer with the dough hook or mix by hand if you want a workout.

The dough as it comes out of the bread machine.

At this stage you can add more flour if the dough is sticky.  Today it was perfect.  I greased the tomato juice can and put the dough in.  I warmed a little more honey,  brushed it on the top of the dough and sprinkled on a little oatmeal..  I covered it with a towel and left it to rise for an hour or so.  Our house is quite warm so it rose quickly.

The recipe suggested putting a loaf pan of water in the bottom of the oven.  I don't know if it is necessary, but in this case I followed instructions.  I think it adds some moisture to the oven heat.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the loaf for 45 minutes.

The warm bread was so good, we didn't have patty melts after all.  My husband had tuna fish sandwiches and left over chili.   Dad had leftover round steak, mashed potatoes and blackberries.  I had the best dinner of all.  I had fresh bread, peanut butter and Lingonberry jam that I bought at IKEA.  What could be better than that?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Homemade Lip Balm

Last August I made a batch of deodorant.  It worked out very well and one container lasted for over four months.  The only problem I had with it is that a little goes a long way.  If you use too much, the excess collects in the wrinkles of your armpits.  Others may not have wrinkled armpits, and I didn't know I did either.  Fact is, I do.  It is an easy fix.  Either don't use so much deodorant or wipe off the excess.

Today I thought I would make some lip balm.  There are a few different recipes for this, but most are basically the same.  I don't use lip balm much, but my daughters and grandchildren do.  It uses much of the same ingredients used in the deodorant recipe, without the baking soda and cornstarch.  You will need Beeswax Beads, Vitamin E oil, Coconut oil, Essential Oil and empty Chap Stick type tubes, round EOS containers or small jar or tin. 

Melt two tablespoons of beeswax beads, four tablespoons of coconut oil and 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E oil.  Mix these ingredients together and melt over boiling water or a few seconds in the microwave.  After it is melted put in ten drops of essential oil.  I used peppermint oil.  I have seen it colored with beet powder to make a colored lip balm.  When it cools slightly pour into empty lip balm containers.  These can be purchased online or clean out and wash and dry completely a container you have on hand.  This recipe will fill several containers.

Fill a Chap Stick type tube.

It works in these containers also.

Or a small jar or tin.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Poor Little Deer

It is still cold.  Yesterday we received about three inches of snow throughout the day.  At dusk I noticed a small sized deer under our bird feeders.  We think is one of the twins who come regularly.  The mother and the other young deer was off near the edge of the woods.  Eventually they walked off together, but I noticed one of the young deer was limping.

 Today that was confirmed.  The little deer came back to bird feeder and then went over to our perennial garden.  He or she was limping badly.

It is so sad to see.  Today I didn't see the mom or sibling.  I hope she didn't lose them or worse yet, I hope they didn't abandon her.  I took a number of photos before she left.

I zoomed in and it looks like a puncture wound behind her right front leg.
  I hope it isn't a bullet hole.  There is another wound on the right back leg.

She was looking over her shoulder for something.

Then she look directly as me.  I wish I could help her.

After she had eaten several dried leaves and seed pods, she walked away in the opposite direction. 

For those of you who read my blog, you are familiar with another deer we call limpy.  She made it through the brutal winter we had last year.  She had a fawn this past Spring and we see her with her young one often.  She has a hind leg injury or malformation, but this little one may have more problems with the front leg injury.  I hope she doesn't get an infection.  I will put extra food out for her and hopefully she can heal.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday Remembers Groceries Express

Today it is snowing a little, and it's still very cold.  The birds are so busy eating anything they can find.  We don't cut back our perennial garden in the fall because on days like this the birds spend a lot of time pecking at all the dead flower heads.  They must be finding something because we have a lot of birds on the feeders, on the ground and in the flower garden.  At one point we had 7 male cardinals and 3 females, 20 mourning doves, 6 bluejays and more junco's and purple finches than I could count.

This finch looks kind of miserable.  I believe he has the grumpy cat look.

Besides a snowy January 8th, it is also Throwback Thursday.  I was cleaning out a closet recently and came across a memory from the past.  It was 1997.  That seems like yesterday, but it was 18 years ago.  My friend Vickie and I worked across the hall from each other.  We were having a day where it was hard to imagine doing our jobs until retirement.  Her job was much more stressful and important than mine, but some days a person is just ready for a change.  We conjured up a plan to open our own business.  We figured we were on the cutting edge.  Our business was a grocery delivery business. We thought that people would line up for miles around to have us deliver their groceries.  We got set up with a phone line, a computer, car signage and even special hats and jackets.  We offered an email ordering system as well as phone or snail mail.  We charged a small fee plus a percentage of their grocery order.  We used coupons and shopped sales.  We thought we had everything covered.  We did not take into consideration that people are basically cheap.  They complain about working all day and not having time to shop for groceries, but didn't want to pay for the service.  Gradually we acquired a few customers.  They became friends.  Vickie had a daycare and became very fond of the children.  I had a few lonely senior citizens who were willing to pay a little for a visitor once a week.  I ended up staying for an hour talking and even writing checks out for them to pay their bills. 

My friend Vickie's husband even created a logo for us.

Eventually our business fell by the wayside.  We moved away to Princeton, Wisconsin.   Vickie continued with deliveries to the daycare until it too went out of business.  Groceries Express wasn't a failure, even though we didn't make our fortune.  We made some friends, and we have some good memories.  We were on the cutting edge but just a little before our time.