Sunday, December 4, 2016

Apple Brown Betty...

"She could peel an apple in one long curly strip."  That's the quote I always think of when I'm peeling apples.

Unfortunately, I only ever get about this far before it breaks.

Usually I quarter the apple, then cut the core from each quarter, then peel the quarter.  I find it easier, and it doesn't give me an inferiority complex because I can't do it all in one strip.

Today I made Apple Brown Betty for Sunday dinner dessert.  I remember my mother making Apple Brown Betty when I was a kid.  It was one of the very few things that she made from a store-bought mix instead of from scratch.  

I used Pioneer Woman's recipe for the most part, but I played fast and loose with ingredients and amounts as I wanted to double it to feed a crowd and to use up a bag of apples that has been taking up space in my fridge without being eaten and a loaf of homemade cinnamon bread that had been hiding in my freezer for about a year.

I peeled and sliced about ten smallish Gala apples very thinly.  I cut the cinnamon bread into thin slices, and then cut those slices into small cubes.  Got out my bag of dark brown sugar and two sticks of salted butter.  I used about a tablespoon of the butter and rubbed it into the baking pan with the wrapper to cover generously.

I sprinkled about 3/4 c of loose brown sugar (not packed) over the bottom of the pan.  Then I spread about 1/3 of the apple slices over that.  Then I spread about 1/3 of the cubed cinnamon bread over the apples.  Then I repeated those layers twice more (3 layers of each total) ending with the cubed bread on top.

Then I cut the butter into very thin pats and place them side by side over the bread cubes to cover completely.

This is easier when using very cold butter and a very thin bladed paring knife.  Today my favorite paring knife for this job was in the dishwasher, so I used a not-so-favorite one and pouted to myself the entire time.

I used two 1/2 cup sticks of butter for this job.  I used about a tablespoon to grease the pan, and ended up with another tablespoon left over at the end.

Sprinkle a little more brown sugar over the top of the buttered top, and then sprinkle about six tablespoons of water over the top of the whole thing.  I covered the pan with foil and baked it at 375͒ F for 45 minutes.  Then I uncovered it and let it bake about 5 or 10 more minutes.

I forgot to take a photo till after it had been tucked into.  We served it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and it was a hit with the troops.  I thought it was just a tad too sweet, in the way of desserts that don't have a smidge of salt added to the recipe, if you know what I mean.  It was a nice warm dessert for an autumn day, and it made the house smell lovely.

Now, if you are the first to tell me what movie the opening quote of this post came from, I will send you a Christmas ornament.  :)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A little project finally finished...

I mentioned in yesterday's Frugal Friday File that I was recycling some linen from an old pair of wide-leg slacks to make an embroidery piece.  I used only supplies I had on hand, and I started and almost finished it while I was binge watching Season 2 of Outlander that I had checked out from the library.  I finished the last little bit this morning, and I wanted to show it off.

I used to love the blog, Chez Larsson.  The blog author stopped blogging at the end of 2013, and I miss it.  She once showed a print that hung in her laundry room. It was a rather modern image of clothes hanging on a line, and it said "Mrs Larsson launders here."  I have never forgotten that and often thought of doing something similar.  Of course Carey would laugh if I had the nerve to put something that said, 'Mrs. St       launders here' in our laundry room, as he does as much of our laundry as I do.  :)

I found the frame at Goodwill about a year ago, and thought it was a great shape to hold a clothes line image.  I wanted to do something really primitive and simple.  I Googled 'primitive laundry embroidery' images, and found a crewel piece that looked to be circa 1970.  It had a great quote and really sparked my imagination.  I won't show it, as I couldn't find the original attribution.

I drew a simple pattern with pencil and paper.  When I got it how I wanted it, I traced it with a Sharpie.  I laid the fabric over the pattern and was able to see it pretty well, so I used a Pilot FriXion pen to draw/trace it onto the fabric. 
 FriXion's ink disappears when you apply heat, so it worked great.  All the pattern marks disappeared when I ironed it before framing.

Here's a closer look that shows just how primitive the stitching is.  I added the quote in small letters as if it were the 2nd clothesline.  It says, "If all of our troubles were hung on a line,

"you would take yours, and I would take mine."  Isn't that true?  I wouldn't want to trade my troubles for anyone else's.

Here it is hanging again.  I could do a better job framing, and I may someday, but for now done is better than perfect.  And I'm very happy with it.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 48...

1.  I have not spent 1¢ at Sonic since my ice machine has been put in use.  I LOVE my Opal Nugget Ice Maker!

2.  I made a menu plan, and did a big grocery shop to restock the pantry and freezer before Carey left for working out of town.  Stuck to my shopping list.

3.  Kasey has been on a business trip and needed some help picking up and delivering kids while she was gone.  But, of course, I have no car at the moment, so she delivered her car to my house before leaving town.  Though she said to use it for whatever I wanted, I didn't really have anything I needed to do in the outside world.  

4.  I'm using some recycled linen (from a pair of wide-leg slacks) to make a primitive embroidery piece for my laundry room.

5.  Paper towel consumption WAY down since Rudy is having fewer accidents in the house these days.

Keep Tryings:
I had to turn down a day of work due to the car situation.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  King Ranch Casserole
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  Twice-baked potatoes with barbecued brisket
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  ground beef patties, potatoes, broccoli
Thursday:  *pizza
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman

I've had to renew this one at the library.  I have read another by this author that I truly loved.  This one has an interesting premise, but the descriptions just go on and on and on.  I don't know if this is just my mood lately, or whether I just keep picking books that don't compel me to read them without stopping.  I would skim, but the writing is such that if I skim I miss important facts, and I find myself having to double back which takes longer than just concentrating the first time.  I may or may not finish.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 47...

1.  Kasey is on vacation this week and she gifted me a whole day of help around the house.  She mopped, dusted, hung a gallery wall of art, put up the Christmas tree (up, but not yet decorated).  It was way more frugal for me than a housekeeper, and spending a whole day of one-on-one time with my daughter is priceless!

2.  A year or so ago, before I decided to be more frugal, I contributed to an Indigogo campaign initiated by designers of a new ice machine, so they could get it built, perfected, and produced.  Contributions were for a set amount somewhat discounted from what the retail asking price would be set at once they were in production, and contributors would be receiving the new machines once production was up and running.  I received my Opal Nugget Ice Maker this week, and it works perfectly pumping out my favorite 'magic' ice just like Sonic's!  It was not cheap, but I am counting it as frugal because a) the money was spent last year with no assurance that they would actually be able to do all that was hoped, and b) I no longer need to make my trips to Sonic, so it should pay for itself shortly.

3.  I have been staying home every single day (except for yesterday's feast at Kasey's) due to not having a car at the moment.  Doing a few chores and watching library DVDs Kasey picked up for me.

4.  I have purchased one Christmas gift online this week, and I used one of my reward-points amazon gift cards to pay for it.

5.  I pay what seems like a lot for my cell phone service.  But I was thinking today that back in the 'olden days' when we were charged long-distance fees by the minute, my land-line (not even a known phrase back then) bill could run me double what I pay now just for the time I spent talking to my sister and mother.  So, yes, I could probably find a way to cut my cellular expenses, but just for today I'm going to look back a few decades and be grateful for the unlimited talk I enjoy now.

Keep Tryings:
Last week's 'Keep Tryings' included $300 of car repair that we had just had done on my car.  Yeah.  Wish we had held out on that for awhile.  The accident also completely ruined one of the almost brand new tires, which was another $300.  Carey is taking it today to start the process of estimating repair costs for the accident damage.  ugh.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Frito Pie
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's, coincidentally Frito Pie  :)
Monday:  roasted cauliflower 
Tuesday:  chicken curry
Wednesday:  *burgers
Thursday:  Thanksgiving feast
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

To remember from this Thanksgiving meal...

This may be one of those stories where you had to be there for it to be funny, but I'm going to tell it anyway, because it tickled our funny bones, and I don't want to forget it.

So as everyone had feasted to the max and people started leaving the table, Caitlyn (11) stretched out on the bench used as seating on one side of the table.  She groaned, and declared, "Oooohhhh, I think I'm having a turkey BABY."  Kasey and I got the giggles, because it was just so unexpected and descriptive of an over-full tummy.

Whereupon Jared returned to his seat at the table with his dessert, which forced Caitlyn to move suddenly, and she wailed, "Aaagghhh, my GRAVY broke!"

And that is one example of what I am so thankful for:  family and fun, love and laughter, that we share around the table and throughout the year.

Wishing you...

Hoping you all are enjoying a table laden with bounty and surrounded by loved ones.
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