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Posts from ‘September, 2010’

Fall Favorites

There are a number of things we look forward to each fall. Rob and I both love driving up to the mountains near our home at any time of year, but the drive is especially beautiful in the fall.

One place we enjoy visiting is Flat Rock, NC. It is a very small village but there are a number of quaint little shops and places to visit and get something to eat. This summer when we were up visiting the Carl Sandburg home we learned about a farmer's market that is held from 3-6 on Thursday afternoons behind the row of colorful little shops in Flat Rock. The market will be open through the 28th of October. We drove up there on a recent Thursday and arrived shortly before three and were able to peruse the farmer's stands and enjoy the live banjo music.

picture of Farm Market

We bought a couple of produce items and shared a delicious cranberry apricot scone from the Flat Rock Village Bakery before heading down the road to purchase some fabric at the quilt shop.

picture of Flat Rock Bakery

We even went back through Flat Rock later in the day so we could eat supper at Hubba Hubba Smokehouse. It's another one of our favorites up there.

My Quilt Shoppe is further down the road from Flat Rock just into Hendersonville. It's a nice little shop that you might want to check out if you are a quilter.

picture of Quilt Shop

Another of our favorites is Lyda Farms. We have been going up there for many years and enjoy their apples, cabbages, squash, and other vegetables and decorative gourds and Indian corn. We learned this week that Lyda Farms is having an apple tasting event which will include barbecue this weekend--October 2nd and 3rd from 9 AM until 3 PM. For more information call 828-685-3459. If you live in the Greenville area you might want to check it out.

I got this bittersweet wreath the last time we were up there:

picture of Bittersweet Wreath

We are truly blessed to live so close to the mountains.

Where are some of your favorite places to visit in the fall?


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“Real” I-talian Spaghetti Sauce

picture of Spaghetti Sauce

Have you ever seen the Andy Griffith episode where Andy ends up eating spaghetti in three different homes one evening due to a scheduling mishap and he is told that the secret ingredient to good spaghetti is an Italian herb called oregano? Well, I can remember when our family first began eating "Italian" food.

When I was in fourth grade I spent the night with a friend, Laura B., and she and I made pizza using a Chef Boyardee pizza mix. All the ingredients came in a box--the crust mix, a can of sauce, and a little can of parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top. You were encouraged to add more toppings if you desired. We ate this pizza (and enjoyed it!) for several years.

A few years later my sister's boyfriend's mother, Mrs. H., gave my mother a recipe called "Italian Spaghetti Sauce." My mom made it frequently after that and it became a family favorite. I've been trying to use up some of my pantry and freezer staples recently, so I made it and we enjoyed it over some spaghetti squash. It does make a good sauce, so here's the recipe in case you want to try it:

Italian Spaghetti Sauce

1 1/2 lbs. hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
chopped green pepper if desired
2 cans tomato paste (rinse half full of water and add to kettle)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 large pinch oregano and basil
1 bay leaf
dash each marjoram and thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef. Drain grease if any accumulates. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally for 2-3 hours. If sauce seems too thick add water. This should serve about six hungry people.


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A little bit of chocolate

picture of Blend Pudding

Sometimes you just need something chocolate. I got this recipe from a student many, many years ago when I first started teaching home economics. It's a quick and easy dessert that is very rich and chocolatey.

picture of PuddingCups

Deluxe Chocolate Pudding

1 cup chocolate chips
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk

Place chocolate chips, salt, egg, and vanilla in a blender container. Heat the milk just to boiling. Pour the hot milk over the ingredients and quickly blend for about one minute. Pour into serving dishes. Chill for several hours or overnight. Garnish with whipped cream or Cool Whip and chocolate chips, shaved chocolate, or a sift of cocoa.

picture of GarnishedPudding

This is very rich and very delicious! I like to serve it in some small demitasse cups. I'm not overly concerned about the egg but if it worries you you could use the equivalent measure of an egg substitute like Egg Beaters or some other pasturized egg product.


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Another Busy Week

It's been another busy week here at our house. This was the first official week of school and classes started on Wednesday. There's always lots to do and figure out the first couple of weeks before everyone gets settled into the new routine.

Nora is gaining strength and stamina and I think she will be glad to be able to get back to work and start earning money to pay off her medical bills which are beginning to trickle in. We are very thankful for the good progress she has made and for your prayers and well wishes for her recovery.

I cooked some pinto beans in the crockpot earlier this week and used some of them to make these

picture of Easy Beans and Rice

Easy Beans and Rice

1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 lb. kielbasa, sliced
8 oz. tomato sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups pinto beans (or one 16 oz. can drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (see directions below)
1 bay leaf
thyme, salt, and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet. Saute onion, celery, and green pepper for a few minutes. Add the sausage and garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add the spices, broth, tomato sauce, and beans. Simmer for about 10 mins. Add the rice and heat through. Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream or plain yogurt. Very tasty and inexpensive. If you like things a bit spicy you could add hot sauce to taste.

My friend Sandy encouraged me to try baking brown rice in the oven. It only takes a few more minutes than on the stove top and doesn't require any stirring or pot watching. Another benefit is that is doesn't boil over! I like to bake a large batch and then freeze portions for future use. The rice reheats quickly in the microwave. Just add a small amount of water when reheating and you will have fluffy hot rice in minutes.

Brown Rice in the Oven

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
2 tsps. oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients in a two quart casserole dish. Bake covered with a lid or foil for 60 minutes at 375 degrees. Can double in a 9" x 13" dish. Use immediately or portion out and freeze for later use. I often bake this ahead on Saturday and then just reheat for Sunday dinner.


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Another quick sewing project

The last time we were up in Ohio visiting my MIL in the nursing home I noticed that she was one of the few who didn't have some kind of cute bag that she could hang on her walker to hold her essentials. I guess they are kind of like a purse for most people.

I filed the idea away in the back of my mind and recently when Hobby Lobby had their Simplicity patterns on sale for 99 cents I purchased pattern 2822 which has a variety of bags for the walker, wheelchair, and even a caddy for on an armchair.

picture of Walker Bag

The directions were very clear and this bag went together quickly. She loves purple and I hope she will find this little bag useful in the future. I hope to make a few more of these for others I know who use a walker and might find them handy.


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