Monday, January 27, 2014

A Recipe and Our Pantry....



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I decided to make some muffins this morning. The recipe can be found here.  I did use fresh strawberries though, instead of the cranberries. This recipe is from a blog I read often, called "Mennonite Girls Can Cook".  They have some really wonderful recipes there.
 
Do you remember the chicken broth I was making? Well it ended up turning into this….
 
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A nice chicken stew. My husbands idea. He loves homemade soups and stews. I have to say…it really was delicious. I used some of our dehydrated vegetables in it, and I think that made it even tastier!
 
 
 
There is still a little bit of stew left, so I think I’ll make a some mini chicken pot pies with it. My favorite thing to do with leftover stew.
 
I’ve been busy working on my pantry lately. There is still more shelving that needs to go up, but that will come with time. My brother is doing the work for us and he does have a fulltime job and a wonderful family to tend to, so I don’t hurry him. He’s been doing a great job for us! Thank you Christopher!
 
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He is such a multi-talented man! He actually works at refurbishing vehicles, although I think he can do anything. He did tell me that this is definitely not something he loves doing. I’m so glad he loves his sister.
 
This is what our pantry looks like now. I’m in the process of making some curtains to hang below the counters. I also still have to poly the countertops, but I’m waiting for all the shelving to be completely finished.
 
You can click on any one of these photos to enlarge them, if you like.
 
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I love our 1800’s cast iron sink. We bought it from a lady in Kittery, Me.
 
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This is a close up of the 1920’s gumball machine shown in the previous picture. My husband bought it at an antique sale a couple years ago. I wonder if they still sell gumballs in large packages?
 
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This old cupboard belonged to my husband’s grandmother. It's the perfect addition to our pantry.
 
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The cupboard folds down into a bread board.
 
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Did you know that you can use the covers from parmesan cheese containers on your wide mouth mason jars? I use them on my half pint jars for bulk spices and herbs.
 
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This is a picture that I have had for many years. It belonged to my husband’s mother. I just love it, so I hung it up in the pantry. Seems like the perfect place, don't you think?!
 
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post. It’s just a kind of mishmash of stuff, but sometimes that’s how my brain seems to work. (smile)
Have a lovely day!
 
Blessings,
Julie

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Little Chat with Friends....

 
Hello everyone! It's a beautiful day here in Northern Maine. Cold, but that is to be expected, and we are used to it. We have a nice warm fire going in the cook stove and the tea water is on. Would you like to come in for a visit? Oh, please do! Can you feel the warmth of the fire? Take your coat off and sit a spell. What kind of tea would you like?
 
 
 
 
I put a chicken on to boil down so I can make some stock. My mom had to kill some of her roosters, so she sent one over. Thanks Mom! Have you ever made homemade chicken stock? I am thinking that my lovely friend Faye from The Blessed Hearth has. I always think of her when I am cooking, or making bread.
 
Faye has really been a true inspiration to me. I don't know if she knows that or not, so perhaps I need to tell her. If you have never visited with her before, you can find a link to her blog under my "Don't forget to visit my friends" list on the left hand side of my page. She'll have a fire burning and biscuits in the oven just for you. You'll find lots and lots of wonderful recipes, crafts, and spiritual inspiration on her blog. I love my visits with her!
 
There really hasn't been much going on here. I fell on the ice last Sunday and hurt my left knee, so I have been laying low this week. I'm hoping I didn't seriously injure it, but it doesn't seem to be improving much. Maybe it just needs more time?
 
Our eldest son Matthew, and his two little ones are coming over later on. They want to make a cake with Meme. I love baking with them! If I remember, I'll take pictures. (smile)
 
Well that's all I have for today. I always love our visits together, so thank you for stopping by.
Keep warm and stay safe!
 
Blessings,
Julie
 
 
 


Monday, January 20, 2014

My Dad….


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Today marks the 2 year anniversary of my Dad’s passing. A melancholy day.
My Dad was a big man, also know as Big John, or Leadfoot to his truck driving buddies. His presence may have been intimidating to some, but to those who really knew him, he was just a big old teddy bear.
 
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Dad loved football. His favorite team was the Washington Redskins. He also loved fishing and camping. I remember when we were all little, he and mom would take us camping at Baxter State Park. A lot of wonderful memories were made there.
 
Every Christmas morning he would wake us up by doing a Tarzan yell. That's when we knew we could all race downstairs to see what Santa had left us.
 
Because Dad was a truck driver, we had the privilege of being able to take trips with him every summer. I loved going in the truck with him. It made me feel like an only child. He took us places and showed us things that we wouldn't have otherwise seen, like the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge, the St. Louis Arch, the Rocky Mountains, Las Vegas at night. He was a great man, and the best dad a daughter could ever have.
 
Oh, the memories...
They are all dearly treasured!
 
Dad said that the five most important lessons he learned in his life were...
to listen
to follow directions
to take responsibility for his actions
to except life for what it is
and
to get out of life all you can get.
 
That last one really says it all about my Dad. He loved life!
 
Words cannot express how much this wonderful man is missed by our whole family!
 
We love him, miss him, and know that we will see him again.
 
XOXOXO DAD!
 
Blessings,
Julie

Monday, January 13, 2014

January Keeper's Meeting....

 

 
Good day everyone! I hope you are doing well. We have been having some funny weather lately. It's in the 30's one day and then single digits the next. I don't know about you, but....
 
 
 
Since that will take a while, I'll just tell you a bit about our January keeper's meeting.
Again....I forgot to snap some pictures! I am so bad at remembering to do that. Next time, though.
 
We had a wonderful meeting. There were around 15 of us. That includes 2 husbands! My lovely friend Marianne showed us how to cook on a wood cook stove. I had a chicken stew and biscuits all made ahead, while Marianne brought a very tasty apple pie that she cooked in the oven of our cook stove.
 
I told the ladies that I didn't think I'd make a very good pioneer woman. I didn't like feeling like a slave to the cook stove. That was the feeling I got when I was making the chicken stew and biscuits that day. I made everything from scratch. It took me a bit to figure out where the hottest spots were on the stove top....boil, simmer, warm. If you've never done it before, it really is a learning experience. I started everything at about 10 am, and finally finished around 4 pm. That's a whole day and only 1 meal! I'm sure with time I'd get better at it and it wouldn't take so long. Can you just imagine what it was like when that was the only way to cook?
 
Some of the women at our meeting could remember when they were young and that was how their life was. My mom said it was very difficult, because it wasn't just the meals that got done on the cook stove...soap was made on the stove, canning got done on it, boiling water for laundry and baths if you didn't have the reservoir. Winters wouldn't have been so bad, but can you imagine having to sweat over that stove in the summer heat?
It really makes me appreciate that I have a choice.
 
Marianne brought a book with her that was a great resource for anyone interested in wood stove cooking. You can find it here.
It's a wonderful book with lots of pictures and recipes.
 
At the end of the evening we all made our own "Apple Blossoms" to take home and cook.
Mmmm! Don't worry, I'm leaving you with the recipe...
 
Apple Blossoms
Serves 4
 
4 apples peeled and cored. (I like to use Cortlands)
 
Crust:
4 c. flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. shortening
1  lg. egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 c. ice cold water
 
Filling:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
 
Combine sugar, butter & cinnamon, then stuff inside apple. If you like you can add some golden raisins, chopped walnuts or craisins to this mixture, as well.
Roll out pie crust into small circles...6-8" depending on size of apple. You only want enough crust to wrap around, covering each individual apple without having too much extra.
 You can brush the outside of the crust with and egg wash if you wish to give it a nice golden look.
Bake the apples at 350* for 45-60 min. It really depends on the size of the apple and how well done you like it to be. I don't like mine too mushy.
 
Once it's done, pull it out of the oven and let it sit for 5 or 10 min. before eating. It's very hot! Enjoy it with a nice scoop of ice cream or this wonderful caramel sauce...
 
Sauce:
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
Mix well and place in saucepan.
Add and bring to boil....
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
 
Turn off and let sit until thick and warm. Now pour it over your apple blossom and you are in heaven!!
 
This is so good, but I will warn you....
 
They can be addicting!
 
I wonder how my keepers enjoyed theirs? I did get the chance to talk to Marianne, and she and her husband really loved them.
They are a nice treat on a cold night, with a side of ice cream and a cup of hot cocoa. (smile)
 
It's so good to visit with all of you. I do hope you are staying warm. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.
 
Blessings,
Julie 
 
 


Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Little Ride in the Country….

 
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There's something so relaxing about a ride in the country.
Hollie's face is proof of that! LOL!
 
Joe and I decided to get out yesterday and just take in the beauty of winter. I took a few photos to share with you. You'll notice a lot of them are of the Amish. My husband REALLY likes the Amish and their way of life just fascinates him.
 
I love the picture of the two Amish boys and the horse drawn sleigh.
You can't tell, but one of the boys is heading up the team of horses, while the other is being pulled behind on wooden skis. I guess they're not all work and no play after all!
How fun would that be!
 
I can remember the good 'ole days where, as kids, we'd stay outside and play in the snow all day. Our snow covered mittens would be hanging off our hands, our scarves would be frosted over where our mouths would be, and our socks would have traveled down our boots to the end of our toes. We still didn't have the minds to get in out of the cold. Sometimes I miss those days, but then again, as I get older, I'm really enjoying winter from the inside. LOL!
 
The warmth of the wood burning fire, a hot cup of tea, and a good book. Yah, I think I like it this way.
 
Thank you for visiting me and taking time to read my blog. I appreciate all of my loyal blog friends, and all of my new readers as well!
I do hope you come visit me again soon!
 
Blessings,
Julie

My husband wanted me to mention that you can click on any of these pictures to enlarge them. (smile)
 
 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year.....

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
 
Do you make resolutions? I have to admit that I don't.
I know that I would never keep them...and a little piece of me doesn't really believe in making them. I feel like I'm setting myself up for failure.

What are resolutions anyway? Well, they are a way to mark the beginning of changes in our habits and lifestyle. The most common ones being, weight loss, stop smoking/drinking, and financial freedom.

Did you ever wonder how they even got their start? I did, so I looked it up. This is what I found...

The first recorded New Years resolutions were made by the Babylonians around 4000 years ago. It revolved around returning any borrowed farm equipment, as their New Year coincided with the start of their farming season.

I guess it became a popular thing to do, because we're still doing it!

Well, no matter what your resolution may be, whether it's a re-do of the last resolution, dieting, getting a better job, keeping your home cleaner, or being kinder... just "keep in mind that our mistakes, our failures, our poor choices don’t have to keep us from our God-given destiny. With God, it’s not about the way you start in life, it’s about the way you finish." Joel Osteen

Many blessings to you and yours in 2014!
Julie