Saturday, October 12, 2013

Nylon Net Scrubbies

I'm going to share a little project I am involved in.  I am making scrubbies.  It all started with a call from my daughter.  She works for Community Health Network as the community relations manager.  For a long time they had a woman who made Nylon Net Scrubbies for the hospital gift shop.  Recently she decided that she didn't want to do it anymore so my daughter asked if I would like to make them.  I thought that is the least I could do.  My husband volunteers once a week at the hospital, and I wasn't interested in doing that.  After practicing with a few different patterns, I finally settled on one.  Here is the pattern:

1 yard of Nylon Netting (makes 2 plus a couple strips)
Size N Crochet Hook

Fold the netting several times.  The width of netting is 72 inches.  The photo shows this width folded to about 3 or 4 inches.

Then I laid a yard stick on top, first to weigh the netting down and second to measure 2 inch increments.  They can be 2 1/2 or 3 inches or you can buy rolls of netting already cut.

Cutting 2 inch strips across the length will give you 18 two inch strips from a yard of netting.

Next you tie the strips together.  The knots will be hidden inside the scrubbie.  This scrubbie uses 8 strips.  Then roll up and start crocheting.

Chain 3, slip stitch to form a ring.  Chain 1.  Continue around making 2 sc in each stitch around and around until you use up two strips.

Then make 1 sc in each stitch until you use up 5 more strips.

With the last strip, sc in every other stitch until you don't have a hole.  Pull the starting tail through and tie with the ending tail.  Tuck the ends inside.

I realize my instructions may be a little hard to follow.  There are many variations of this on many crafting sites.  If you have never used these, they are wonderful.  They don't scratch but get off the toughest stuff.  *Since I wrote this blog, I have changed them a little.  I use a smaller hook (size I) and one more strip to get the size.  It makes a firmer scrubbie when it's wet, which makes it last longer.

Friday, October 11, 2013

It's Hard For Me To Identify Mushrooms or a Fungi

Color me dumb!  I have been seeing on Facebook all the interesting photos of those beautiful large mushrooms and fungi that people are finding.

These are all lovely and amazing.  I love seeing all the different varieties.  Even the ugly ones are beautiful in their own way.

Some people even find edible mushrooms although they all look the same to me.

Imagine how excited I was when I saw an amazing display growing on the side of a tree.  

As we got closer, I asked my husband what kind of fungus he thought it was.

He pulled the car over so we could get a photo and a closer look.

Take a good look.  It's insulating foam.  I wonder how many other people were fooled.  At least I hope we weren't the only ones.

Thanks to Dee Ann McGary and Joanne Vogt for the use of their photos.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Grape Jelly Making

Today I'm doing an update on my daughter's jelly making.  One month ago I wrote about them making a lot of jelly from plum trees in their yard.

Well it didn't stop there.  They had another plum tree ripen, and this is what they did with those plums.

21 more jars of Plum Jelly

Then a couple weeks ago they visited my son in law's parents in the Baraboo/Reedsburg area.  They had a lot of grapes to harvest, and my daughter wasn't  going to let them go to waste.  You guessed it, more jelly. 

Heather picking grapes.

Ewan helping with the grapes.

Sampling a few along the way.

More than enough grapes to go around.

Using the same process as they used for the plum jelly, they made grape jelly.  I'm not sure how many jars they got this time, but we have enough to last until next year and I'm sure they do too.  It's delicious.  They also had extra juice and they really didn't want to make more jelly.  I took home a half gallon of plum juice, a half gallon of apple juice and a gallon of 100 per cent grape juice.  As you can see, we drank some of it before the photo was taken.

 I'm so thankful to have all this jelly.  Not only is it wonderful, I didn't have to make it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Anniversary of the Peshtigo and Chicago Fires

I usually don't write two blogs in one day.  I have all I can do to write one some days, but I heard on the news tonight that it was a historical day.  On October 8, 1871, there was a terrible fire in Wisconsin.  It killed more people and burned more land than any other fire in history.  It was the Peshtigo Fire.  On the same day, one hundred forty two years ago, Chicago had the famous Chicago fire.  Over 1200 people died in the Peshtigo fire and 300 in the Chicago fire.  After I listened to this information on the news tonight,  I thought of a fiction book I read years ago. Most of the story took place in northeast Wisconsin.   I like books that are written in the area I am familiar with.  The book started out in the wild land around Waupaca and Amherst Wisconsin.  It is about a woman's survival.  Later in the book the characters end up in Peshtigo and Chicago.  That was the first time I realized that both fires were on the same day.  Connecting Waupaca and Amherst Wisconsin is the Tomorrow River which is a tributary of the Wolf River.  It can be seen when traveling along Highway 10.  The book was titled Tomorrow is a River by Barbara Fitz Vroman.  I am by no means a book expert and I listen to most of my books, but I enjoyed it.  It was a little long in some parts, but that may be my short attention span.  Maybe it can still be found in some libraries and used book stores. It was probably written over twenty years ago.   I have had two copies but I have no idea who I gave them to or where they are.  So if you like historical fiction, this book might be enjoyable to read.

Broadway Apple Cake

On Sunday I visited the Berlin Marsh Apple Orchard with my daughter and grandson.

I have a lot of apples to eat and bake with, so today I made this Broadway Apple Cake.  We ate it for the first time a few years ago when my daughter's mother in law made it.  It was so good, we have made it ever since.  I don't know why it's called Broadway Apple Cake, I'll have to ask.

The only change I made to the recipe is that I didn't peel the apples.  One of my friends told me that she never peels the apples in a recipe.  I tried it and it worked just fine.  I used the Wolf River apples and they are so large that I only used 1 and 1/4 apple. 

Broadway Apple Cake

2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 1/2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples 
1 teaspoon lemon juice 
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1 cup cooking oil 
2 teaspoons vanilla 
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted 
Powdered sugar (optional) 

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another bowl toss apples with lemon juice; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in apples and pecans. (Batter will be thick.)

Spoon batter into the prepared pan. 

Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove from pan.  Cool thoroughly on wire rack.  If you like, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover; store in refrigerator. Makes 12 servings.


Monday, October 7, 2013

The Regal Quick Chef Versatile Meal Maker

Last summer we had a garage sale.  I had a lot of small appliances for sale that had been in my basement for a long long time.  I had a juicer, a George Foreman, a couple blenders and this machine called the Quick Chef.

I was asking $2.00 for each and the only thing that sold was a blender.  I took everything over to my daughters sale and I sold another blender.  So I brought all the stuff home and intended to donate everything.  A couple times a week I make omelets or breakfast sandwiches.  One day I had a brainstorm and went out to the garage to get this Quick Chef appliance.  I am so happy it didn't sell because I use it often.  Yesterday for breakfast I got it out and preheated it for a couple minutes.

I put a little oil in the four wells and sprinkled some frozen hash browns.

Then I customized the next layer.  My dad likes green pepper and onion, but my husband only likes onion.  I put onion in all of them and green pepper in two of them.  The next layer was small pieces of bacon.  Whenever we buy a pound of bacon, we fry it all up at once. Then we put it into a ziplock bag for whenever we need some bacon.  I do the same with onion and green pepper.  When I find a deal, I buy more than we can use at the moment.  I just got green peppers for $.40 each so I bought a few and cut them up and froze them for later.

I used some of this fried out bacon to put on top of the potatoes, onion and green pepper.

Next I mixed three eggs with a fork.  I usually use one egg each but I only had three.  It was enough.  One time I mixed the eggs with a stick blender, but they got too fluffy.  Just barely breaking the yolks and mixing slightly is perfect.  I pour the egg mixture over the other ingredients and put shredded cheese on top.  I put the cover down and set the timer for 4 minutes.  This is the result.

The finished eggs.

My dad likes it plain with toast and jelly.

I like it in a breakfast sandwich with a little salsa.

This Quick Chef machine can make other things.  I make Mexican Rice and make tortilla pockets filled with the rice.  I also make little individual pies with crust and pie filling.

I am so glad it didn't sell.  The only problem is to find room for another gadget in my kitchen.  I doubt if they make them anymore.  It says on the bottom that they were made in 1994.  I thought that didn't seem so old and then I realized it was almost twenty years ago.  I think the closest thing is the Xpress redi-set-go machine that they have on infomercials quite often.  I see so many of those at thrift stores that I didn't think they worked.  This version works beautifully, you just have to use your imagination.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Berlin Marsh Apple Orchard

Today I went shopping with my daughter and grandson.  The first place we went was a small privately owned apple orchard. 

They didn't have a huge selection and it wasn't one of those fancy farm markets, but they had very nice apples.  There were just a few varieties.  Last year the apple crop was so poor that it was nice to see that this was going to be a good year for the apple growers.  He had Wolf River apples there that aren't easy to find.  My mom used to get them for baking so I bought a peck of them.  Another kind they had were the Honey Crisp variety.  They are a wonderful eating apple.  They are crisp and sweet.  I also bought a pound of fresh cranberries.  My daughter got some onions and a bag of Cortland apples which are her favorite.

On this table were MacIntosh and Cortland apples.

Cranberries sold by the pound.

Here is Ewan in his fireman coat holding his fireman hat in one hand and an apple in the other.

Next we went to lunch and then to a few stores that I don't normally get to.  I am a regular patron of the lumber yards and the Fleet Farm store.  Today we went to TJ Maxx, JoAnn fabrics, Target and the Outlet Mall.  It was a nice day.