Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Busy, Busy Day

Pancakes for breakfast - quick and easy with a mix.It was a very busy day for me. I started with a yummy pancake breakfast. I use Crusteaz Mix. It's so easy, just pour a bit of mix into a measuring cup, add water and stir with a fork. I ended up being too full in the middle of my second pancake. No fear of wasting food around here. I've got three furry kids who are always more than willing to help me clean my plate. The dogs loved it.

Lots of boxes for packing and sorting.Now that our boys have moved out of the house again I will be going through their old bedrooms and clearing out stuff, sorting, organizing then do some re-decorating. We're planning on making the larger bedroom a guest room in the event we have company sometime. I might still make use of a portion of this room for some sewing or craft activity. I'll have to see how things develop. The other bedroom currently houses our treadmill, weights and a weight bench. My husband wants to keep this as a Workout Room so we'll be removing all the extra 'stuff' that has accumulated over time in there. We're currently storing some stuff that belongs to the boys. That's about to change. Anything I cannot send on to them or that they do not come to claim is going to be sold in an upcoming yard sale this month or next.

Assorted boxes for sorting.Thus the collection of boxes. I need to go through all the stuff in those rooms and sort into boxes for the yard sale - or they will go into boxes to be sent on to the boy's new homes. We've decided we're not going to be the free storage facility any more. I've got quite a bit of my own stuff I want to go through and thin down 'stuff' as well. I'm hoping to make more room for actual living space. Right now there's so much stuff it's hard to move around in the Workout Room and a bit crowded in some other rooms.

I found most of the boxes at McDonald's and the grocery store. Don't know how sturdy they are, but they'll do for what I need. Then my husband called to say they were throwing out file boxes at work and did I want some? You bet. Those are always a nice size to work with and they're pretty sturdy since they have to hold lots of heavy papers. I see I'll have to re-assemble them. They look like they're still in good shape. Yeah, free boxes . . . and recycling to boot!

My favorite stand-by: Better Homes and Garden Cookbook and a favorite Gooseberry Patch cookbook.After lunch I took a peek at a few of my favorite blogs and found a recipe for Italian Flat Beans that sounded really good on Rebekah Teal's Mary Janes Farm City Farmgirl blog. We love these beans as served at our local Carino's Restaurant. The recipe called for Italian flat beans. I looked around a short bit. I first tried the Farmer's Market but since it's Wednesday I missed their schedule (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays). Then I swung over to the local grocery store. I found the long, skinny green beans. That was all the fresh beans they stocked. I know what I'm going to try growing next year. They were expensive! Along with them I picked up two small tomatoes and fresh garlic. Man! Talk about a heavenly scent once they started cooking. And I learned to easily skin the tomatoes by boiling them for 30 seconds in with the beans then plunging them into ice water. The skins just slipped right off. Very quick and easy.

I've been craving meatloaf lately. Usually when I get a desire for meatloaf we head on over to Cracker Barrel. They've got that good old-fashioned down home cooking going on over there and their meatloaf is yummy. I knew I had some recipes for meatloaf so I dug out all my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and found one in the first book I started flipping through. It is called 'A Pinch of This, A Dash of That'. I happened to get a call from my husband about this time so I mentioned I was going to make meatloaf for supper to see if that suited him. "If you're going to have the oven going on one of the hottest days of the year (98 degrees today), stick that lasagna in with it." I recently made up lasagna and decided to double it for two pans. I stored one in the freezer for a later date. Objecting that is would be too much food at one time to sit in the fridge for just the two of us, my husband responded that we could divy it up in plastic containers and refreeze it if we couldn't eat it fast enough. And it would be cooked so he could take them with for his break at work. Okie dokie, meatloaf and lasagna it is. Then I thought, well if I'm going to have the oven going anyway how about a touch of something sweet for my sweet tooth. The perfect thing to slide next to the loaf pan of meatloaf would be another loaf pan for a pound cake. I have always loved the pound cake recipe in the Betty Crocker Better Homes and Garden cookbook.

You can see in the picture my pound cake didn't rise very well. The recipe called for lemon zest which I didn't have on hand. I did have lemon juice so poured a splash of that instead. Then it called for sifted flour. I do not have a sifter. My mom had a cool one when we were growing up, but I've never seen one in any of the stores around here like that. So I guesstimated on the flour. I think I got too much and the batter was too heavy to rise - or I need to replace my baking powder for some new fresher stuff. It's tasty as it is. A bit on the lemony side but still yummy. Just not as light and fluffy as it could have been.

Some of my cookbook collection.Mmmmn! Our house was a sensory delight this afternoon. Everything smelled so good! When my hubby got in after work it was only about 20 minutes or so before we could eat. My tummy was really growling with all the baking and cooking. And of course our furry kids always have their ears and noses perked up when I start to cook or bake something. As usual I had leftovers on my plate after supper and they were more than willing to help me out with them. So now there's leftovers enough for a couple days in the fridge. This means I won't have to cook for awhile. Yum and Yeah!

After supper I asked my husband if he wanted to accompany me outside to check the progress on our grapes. Last year we lost nearly every one of them to the birds. I'm determined to be checking them often so we can be the ones to benefit from them this year. They're not ready for picking yet. There's certainly LOTS of them this year. We've got concord grapes we usually make into juice. And a few years ago I planted two vines of seedless green eating grapes. I'm looking forward to those especially. I love sweet green grapes. I might even try grape jelly with the purple concord grapes as well as juice.

While outside we decided to tackle some of the humongous weeds that have grown up while we were out of town. It's like a jungle out there where everything just grew like crazy and turned wild. He pulled weeds, I pulled weeds, then he had to take off to his men's group meeting at church. So I continued pulling weeds. After nearly an hour I was getting over heated, dripping sweat and all grungy and thirsty. Decided to go inside and cool off with some ice water. What! Both the front and back doors were locked and I didn't have my key. By now the dogs were barking like crazy with me rattling the doors trying to get in . . . and the lasagna was still in the oven as it needed extra time to cook from starting out frozen solid. Hmmmn. What to do? Thankfully the neighbor across the street was outside in his yard and let me use his phone. And he even got me some ice water. I know I must have looked atrocious - all grungy and sweaty from pulling weeds on the hottest day of the year. Oh well.

My hubby soon was home and I got another tall glass of water and sat in a lawn chair while he bagged up all the weeds I pulled. I propped my feet up on another lawn chair and by this time there was a gentle breeze as things were cooling down. It was about 8:30 by this time and I'd been running nearly all day with shopping, cooking and baking, gardening. Whew! Just the few times I've gotten up to walk around tonight I can tell already I'm sore. I just might relax and sew tomorrow.

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