Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Good Day!

Hello people!  Yes, yesterday was a good day!  I finished all my post-Christmas projects, and they are ready to send out!
Usually, I don't get a full day to myself too often.  But hubby was really tired  and spent most of the day in bed, so I curled up on my little red love seat and finished off all my projects.  I didn't have too much left to do, just small jobs.  Buttons, on the pillow, a pot holder, cowls,  etc.

The pillow
 is for my granddaughter, and will be followed up with a blanket to match.  I hope she likes it.   I loved making the seed stitch cowl, for my good friend Gayla.   A few other cowls,  for various friends, a potholder, and I made a couple of washcloths.  Feels so good to get them done!  Now, wrap them up and send them out!  

While I 
am here, I must show you the gift I received from my niece, Annie.  I saw it on Pinterest, and casually mentioned it to her before Christmas, and presto!    She had an old box grater that she didn't use, painted it, added some wire design on the top, with beads, etc., and presented it to me!  I absolutely LOVE it.  I can hang several pairs of earrings on it, and even a couple of necklaces and bracelets.  

My last pleasure of the day was to make
 this wonderful turkey pasta soup from some leftover turkey from the freezer, frozen vegetables, onions, celery, and broth.  Thyme , garlic, and pepper, and I had a nice easy supper, which everyone loved.  I only have one bowl left!  
Now, it wasn't 
completely a day to myself, (there are always interruptions), but it was a GOOOOOOD day anyway.  A nice, warm, cozy day!  

So, until I get another of those days, I will chug along on new projects, new recipes, and it'll still be fun!  I am so glad I got back to my knitting and crocheting!  There is such a satisfaction to making lovely, colorful cowls, blankets, pillows, washcloths, or whatever to give to someone you love!  I don't know why I didn't get back to it sooner.  I guess life got in the way, as it sometimes overwhelms , and there doesn't seem time for anything else.  But somehow, I have found a way to meld some pleasures into the everyday complications of life!  Thank you, Lord, for leading me to these better days!   I'll be back.........Later......JO

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Love Soups!

I love soups!  Especially in the winter!  I think most everybody does, don't you?  Started these yesterday, using a ham bone that we had a couple of weeks ago.  I always freeze the bone, with some meat left on it, until I am ready to use it.  I also freeze the gravy I make from the ham, so that I can add that to my soup when I am ready.   I use pineapple slices and a mustard/brown sugar glaze on the ham when I cook it for dinner, so the gravy has a sweet taste.  We all like it that way.  

Yesterday, I simmered the bone in water and chicken broth, along with 3 carrots, 2 celery stalks, two onions, and a whole garlic bulb, unpeeled.  I simmer that for two to three hours, drain, and use the broth, discard the vegetables.   This time, I made a lot of broth, because I wanted to make pea soup, and bean soup.  For the bean soup, I use the 15 bean dry mix, minus the flavor packet.  Don't like that!  It'll have plenty of flavor in it, believe me!    Naturally, I have soaked the beans, as per the bag instructions, so split the broth into two pans, added the beans to one, and the split peas to the other, and let them simmer for awhile til they are tender.  While the broth was simmering, I cut up about five carrots, smallish pieces, three small onions, and six stalks of celery, and cut up all the meat from the bone, or leftover ham.  I add these along with the beans, or peas, and let the whole lot simmer until the beans are tender.   I had also added two bay leaves to the bean soup.    I hope this isn't confusing.  I'll write the recipe out below.  

These will be our supper tonite, along with, for the guys, blt sandwiches.  For me, it'll be a rice cake with a little peanut butter on it.   We went out for lunch today,  watched football, and this soup supper will be a perfect ending for the day!  The guys love soup, too!  

So, the recipe.  I know this is very much like most bean soup recipes, but I love the added sweetness from the pineapple, and brown sugar that I used when baking the ham,initially.   The flavor is just fabulous!!!  

For the broth, one ham bone
8 cups water
2 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 whole garlic bulb, unpeeled, slice off bottom of bulb
2 med. onions, ends cut off, but unpeeled
2 or 3 carrots
2 or 3 stalks celery

For the bean soup
2/3 of the broth 
2 or 3 carrots, chopped 
1 large onion, chopped 
2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped 
1 bag 15 bean mix, soaked in water and drained 
1/2 to 1 cup ham, chopped
Leftover gravy, if you have it
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer all ingredients, except ham and gravy, for two hours on stovetop, or 6 to 8 hours in a crockpot, on low, then add ham and gravy and serve

For the pea soup
1/3 stock
8 oz. bag split peas
2 small carrot, or 1 large, chopped 
1 small onion, chopped 
2 stalks celery, chopped
Add chicken broth as needed, to desired thickness
1/2 cup ham, chopped.        Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer all ingredients for an hour or so, or until thickened, adding chicken broth, if needed for desired thickness.    Add ham and serve.  

Okay!  I know this is kind of long, but I really want you to try these soups.  The bean soup, especially, cause it is the most delicious bean soup I have ever had!   I don't claim to be any super cook, or anything, I just get excited when I cook something that is sooooo good, I want to share it.  Let me know, if you try it, or if I missed something in the recipe!   I hope you try it!  


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Moving Along

Hello everyone!  Now, that's a bowl of fruit!  Apples, grapes, kiwi, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, orange and grapefruit!  I'm in that CANDO thing with Astri,  so I am trying to eat healthier, so I can start feeling healthier!  

So, this kind of fruit bowl, along with a dollop of Greek yogurt, and about a tablespoon of granola, is my favorite breakfast in the world!  

That, and a cup of tea.  This is my new favorite tea at the moment, (since Christmas),  but YIKES, I don't have any yogurt.  So I had to make do with the fruit and granola.  Trip to the grocery store is in my immediate future.  

I am proud to say that the oranges and PINK grapefruit, ( the only kind to eat, in my opinion), come from my yard.  I have an abundance of oranges and grapefruit, so I use them all I can.  I will be making lots of orange juice, to which I add a little grapefruit juice, for more flavor, and then I freeze it for future use.  Takes up a lot of room in my freezer, but soooooo worth it!   We all drink orange juice, so it saves me $$$$ too.  

Our oranges and grapefruit are gorgeous, and big this year, so I will be putting them to good use!   My hairdresser is going to bring her two boys over, and they will pick enough for her to take home, as she juices too, and enough for me to make several gallons of juice, to start.   That saves me picking, and let's them climb trees!  Double treat!  
So, I am going to be a busy girl this week.  

By the way, I have lost 4 pounds total so far, and that makes me happy!  I am cooking smarter and better, and so, eating smarter and better, and I don't mind.  I splurge a little here and there, so it doesn't come off super fast, but that's okay.  Just so long as I am losing, and eating better, I am happy!       

I am also working on getting better organized,  but that is going slower, I am afraid, but I WILL do it.

Later.........    JO

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Settling In

Hello, blogland friends!  Yes, I think I am settling in for this new year of 2014!   I have sent out several more packages to places and people far away, so that my work might make someone else smile.  I hated to part with my blanket, the one I made for my granddaughter, Elizabeth.
Here it is, again.  I just love the colors, and I know she will, too, cause she picked them out.  I am so excited for when the package arrives, and she sees it for the very first time.  I haven't made her anything for a very long time, and I know she will love it and cherish it for many years.  She wanted it to fit a double bed, so it took me foreeevvvver to make it, but it was worth it.  

I also have sent out cowls, garlands, washcloths, and pot holders, and I am sure they will delight the friends and family who receive them.

It is a little after seven a.m., and I am sitting in my favorite chair, (which you also see in the photo), enjoying a cup of mint tea with honey, my new favorite way to have tea.  I have been working on my CANDO experience, and doing fairly well with that, so far.  Weigh in is today, so I will see what the official loss is.  Also, have joined in the 52 Project, where I am working on one goal per week.  This week is to get caught up with the ironing, and sort out what goes and what stays in my closet, and my hubby's closet.  Working on that!  

Like so many others, I want to declutter and become more organized this year.  I'm 69, you would think I would have mastered this by now, but no, old habits are hard to break!  At least that is my excuse.  
Lots to do this a.m., so.......Later.....JO

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Not Done!

Hello all of you wonderful friends out there in www land ! 
No, I am not done.  I left my tree up because we had company coming and it was more cozy and festive.   And now it is still up, cause it's more cozy and festive....... For me.  I just love the Christmas tree.  It brings on so many memories... Of my kids when they were little, my grandkids when they were little, our first Christmases together as a couple, Christmases with our parents, with friends, and extended family.  Wonderful memories.  So I am not in a hurry to take it down and put it away.

Also, I am still making Christmas gifts.  Well, post-Christmas gifts.  New year's gifts, if you will.   And Christmas gifts for next Christmas.   Things that I can have put away, and pick out for special people.  It'll be like going thru my own little special shop next Dec. 1st,  and finding something that says "Oh, that'll be perfect for Mary, or Annie,  or Mo.".  My goal is to finish at least one gift per month.

My other goal this year is to get healthier  (lose weight), but more importantly, get healthier.  So I have joined Astri of Apple Blossom Dreams in her CANDO project.  She will chart my weight loss for me, and we will all give one another encouragement.  I need to get healthier, and I know if I eat healthier, I will feel much better.

So that is me for the New Year.  Enjoy our tree a little longer, get my gift giving more organized, and get healthier.  Also, I want to enjoy those around me, help where I can, share the joys of life, and be thankful to God for everything and everyone in my life.  Hope you all have a happy, joy-filled year.   Welcome to all of you followers.  I hope I give you something to think about each time I post.    See you all.......Later........JO

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Finished a Year and a Project!

Hello All...
                                HAPPY NEW YEAR!     Blessings and good wishes to all of you for a healthy, happy, new year!

I have finished up my year with many small projects and one big project.   Finally, after two months, I have finished my grandaughter's blanket.  She wanted it to fit her full sized bed, so it took longer than I anticipated.  This is not my pattern, nor are my colors original, as she saw it on my Pinterest board, and said this is what I want!  I changed the colors a little bit, and I changed the edging a bit, but I love how it came out.  The colors are delicious, if I do say so myself!
 I think this is the loveliest blanket I have ever made, and I am glad my granddaughter picked it out, so I know she will like it!
I am sorry, that my photography skills are lacking, but this gives you a good idea of what it looks like.  

I must send it off now, and I am going to miss it!  It has been such a joy to make.   Thanks to my mother for having taught me many years ago to crochet, despite myself and my impatience at the time.  Once I mastered it, I was in love with crocheting forever.   

Soooooo, I have finished off a year, and a project and I am ready for more of life, and many more projects.  Maybe next year, I will have them all done in time!!  

I'll see you all .......Later.........JO