Monday, October 12, 2015

Making it Monday...

Girls sleepover tonight while I help my friend take care of an administrative chore.  It is now almost midnight.  

I almost never let myself succumb to a late-night sweet craving, but, I mean, it's a girls' sleepover!

So at 11:30 I go to the kitchen, and popped back out in about twenty minutes with hot-from-the-oven chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies.  Yum!

Ready for the recipe?

Cookie Quickie
1 box cake mix (any flavor, I used chocolate)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
optional additions: chocolate or peanut butter chips, nuts, or candy

Stir all together.  Add nuts, or chips (I used peanut butter chips), or candy pieces, or leave them plain.  Experiment with the combinations!

Drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for about 12 minutes.

That's it!  Perfect for whenever you need a super-quick answer to a yearning for a homemade goody. You can see my friend popping one in her mouth in the background.  :)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sewing a reversible adult scarf/bib...

Well, my house is empty again.  Company has left.  The hubs has returned to work.  I am enjoying the solitude, and I thought I'd share a sewing project I worked on a couple of days ago for my guest.

Lots of women I know are forever spilling something on the front of a clean blouse front at mealtimes...myself included.  My visitor had a bib that she wore at some mealtimes.  It was not something that you would want to wear while dining out, however.  I went on the search for some ideas that would give protection while looking less conspicuous.

The option I liked best was a commercially available scarf/bib that described their product as 54" long by 8 1/2" wide.  I could work with that.

I thought that making these reversible would add to their versatility, so for each scarf I purchased a yard and a half of two coordinating, washable fabrics.  (I could have purchased less fabric and seamed together to make up the length, but I didn't want the added bulk at the seam.)  I chose prints (as spills are less conspicuous on a print than a solid), and I tried to keep my choices somewhat neutral, so they could be worn with multiple outfits.

I cut two coordinating fabric pieces 54" x 10 1/4".  With right sides together, and using 5/8" seam allowance, I sewed around all four edges of the fabric, leaving an opening on one long edge large enough to turn the scarf.

After trimming the corners, I turned the scarf right side out, pressed the seams neatly, and then top-stitched a scant 1/4" around all four edges.  The top-stitching takes care of closing the opening left for turning.

This can be worn loosely gathered as a scarf, and pulled flat to give full coverage of a blouse front.

I added four tucks at the back of the neck so it would lie more comfortably.

Two scarves.

Four looks.

I made this for a petite person, so the length was okay at 54".  If I made any for myself, I would want a longer version, so I would probably make it at least 72" long to look more scarf-like.

I made up an instruction sheet.  Click the photo above to see it enlarged.  You should be able to copy and save it if you find you or someone you know could use one too.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pumpkin-y goodness...

I love Autumn in general, and October in particular.  Do I enjoy October because it means my birthday is imminent, or do I enjoy my birthday because it's surrounded by my favorite things?  

I don't usually go out for trendy things, but I liked everything pumpkin before there was pumpkin everything.  Diego's birthday is two days after mine, and he likes pumpkin-y things too.

I noticed Pumpkin Spice pudding in the store yesterday, so I picked up a couple of boxes.  I thought I might make a trifle or something for next Sunday's dessert.

Two days ago I picked up the jar of Pumpkin Butter.  If I follow through on my intentions, we will enjoy some of it this afternoon on some warm-from-the-oven homemade bread.  Yum!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1.  One more day of company.  Sister-in-law will be picking up m-i-l on Friday morning.  I have been cooking at home almost exclusively.  We've been out to eat only twice in three weeks.  Today the hubs was going to the grocery store and asked if I needed anything.  I said, "I don't know.  What do you want for supper?"  "WHATABURGER!" says he.  I will remind him of this when he complains about me not cooking sometime in the future.  :)

2.  I needed thread today (for a sewing project before m-i-l leaves), so rather than drive to the city, I broke down and went to the new WalMart.  It's only been open two weeks!  I was hoping I'd make it at least a year without stepping foot inside.  :(

3.  Monday was quilting-at-the-library day, and it was a UFO (UnFinished Objects) day instead of a common-project day.  I got all the pieces for my mystery quilt cut while I was there.  That means I'm only three months behind now.  LOL  

4.  The weekend coming up I will be: staying in my jammies, ordering pizza, and having a TV marathon.

5. We don't have pretty Autumn leaves here, but the slightly lower temperatures and humidity levels are SO welcome!

6.  I have to remember to renew my driver's license!

7.  I've taken a three-week hiatus from decluttering while company was here.  It is time to start gearing back up...after my jammie, pizza, and TV weekend.  :)

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

I can't remember the last time I posted 'What I'm reading Wednesday.'  I have been reading as you can see on my Shelfari book shelf (lower right margin under my blog list) or on my Reading List page (linked under the blog title photo) where I usually give a very short review of each book I read.

This week I'm reading Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.  It is the story of Mary Anning and her contributions to science by her fossil finds in 19th century Lyme Regis, England.  The author has me yearning for a seaside holiday.

Speaking of seaside holidays, these photos from Cath at Home of the Tessellated Pavement in Tasmania has fed my coastal dreams this week.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday desserts...

As usual, when I started to think about what to make for today's dessert the main criteria was something that would not require a trip to the grocery store.  I settled on this recipe, and it only requires five ingredients (which were all in my pantry), and it is super easy.

Pecans, butter, flour, brown sugar, eggs...that's it.  These are made in a mini muffin pan, and the author says not to fill more than 3/4 full or you will have a mess in your oven.  Also, she says that Baker's Choice spray is best to coat the pan.  I didn't have any, so I used my spray coconut oil and then floured each section of the tin...wasn't as hard as it sounds, I didn't do a bang up job.

When baking is done, cool for one minute in the pan, then turn them out to cool.  Apparently if you leave them in the pan longer than on minute they are difficult to remove.  I followed the 1-minute suggestion, used an orange peeler to loosen the edges, and had no trouble.

I wouldn't exactly call these cupcakes, though you could decorate the tops with a little whipped cream to make them look a little more like one.  They are definitely a mini, nutty, morsel of goodness.  Here's the interesting part...Carey and I both tasted one when they came out of the oven, and we weren't that impressed with the flavor.  But after dinner, when they were cooled, we liked the flavor much more.  Not sure why that would be, but my advice would be to let them sit awhile before tucking in.

I found the recipe on Lick The Bowl Good.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Snuggle up little hens...

I just put two chickens in the oven to roast.  I had been planning to stew them for use in casseroles, but the slight temperature drop we've had just put me in the mood for a nice roast chicken.  I will probably serve one, and bone the other to use later.

A squeeze of lemon over the top, half a lemon inside each, and the other lemon halves in the pan, a sprinkle of salt and pepper inside and out, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika over the top.  Add a drizzle of olive oil over each.  Bake in a fairly hot oven for a short while, then reduce heat and cover with foil for remainder of cooking time.

I'll probably serve with roasted potatoes and spaghetti squash.  Spaghetti squash seems to be new to my mother-in-law, and she really enjoyed it when I cooked some last week.  Her dietary restrictions have not really been the challenge that I feared they might be, and she seems to be surviving unscathed from my cooking.  :)

M-i-l will be here for one more week.  Two of my brothers-in-law stopped by this morning on their way to their hunting lease.  She was happy to see her boys.

Tonight I am picking daughter up from the airport, and everyone is eager for her arrival.  I loved spending time with the children; however my sleep schedule, iffy at the best of times, has been a real challenge this week.  My fingers are crossed that Hurricane Joaquin will not impact her flight schedule, as she is coming in from the east coast.

edited to add:  Served with roasted parmesan potatoes and a squash casserole, so I could put them in the oven to finish at the same time for easy finish up by husband.  I had to nix the spaghetti squash as my airport run to pick up Kasey was scheduled for dinner time, and didn't want to overtax my husband's kitchen skills.  :)
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