Sorry about the little glare in the above picture - it's from a pretty calendar I have in my sewing room. Again, I just want to jump in and go to that little country church (with no face masks and no social distancing) with the American flag proudly displayed, and drive home in that red pick-up truck!
As a matter of fact, this brings me to something that I was thinking about this past week (or should I say, a question that I asked myself) - there is reason to be sad these days with so much going on this past year (and continues to go on), but I couldn't help asking myself if part of the sadness is because we are beginning to realize how much (before covid) we took for granted and we can't take it back? How much did the Lord provide for us and we failed to be thankful? The freedoms we had and now (in part) have been taken away or, at least, lessened in some way? If (or when) things get back to "normal", will we continue in our old ways of taking things for granted or will we have learned to always give thanks?
I have pondered these things lately - I will leave you to ponder them on your own. Maybe there is a reason for this time we're going through? What do you think?
Well.......as the post title suggests, I have quite a bit to share with you today so let's get going! 😊
This past week has been such a good week in that my strength, energy, and motivation in getting things done shone through (I do, however, pray for that every morning!).
On Monday (Labor Day) - since it was a cool, wet day here I chose to take this day "off" and do some stitchery all day long (which felt SO good). I sat in my sewing room, put my iPad where I could watch it and watched quilting shows and cooking shows, and pulled out several projects that I had started and seem to always be a work-in-progress. Here is what I worked on:
a cookie cover - this is September - I love doing applique work
these are what I've gotten done so far - starting with January (mittens), February (hearts), March (Shamrocks), April (umbrellas), May (flowers), June (all white for a wedding), July (patriotic), August (yellow sun)............so, I'm almost done with September and then (of course) October, November, and December are to follow. 😊
Still working on my granny squares - I'm now working on the next outer layer which is the dark green fabric. Really looking forward to making some quilt squares with these. This pattern, along with the Dresden quilt blocks, and the Log Cabin quilt blocks are my 3 favorites.
I pulled out a counted crosstitch I had begun a while back and had my knitting basket close by, but unfortunately didn't get to those - the two above projects kept me busy enough.
On Tuesday - it was back at it from a day of crafting so that meant (at least one of the things) menu planning. I have to admit that I spend quite a bit of time on this. I want our meals to be balanced so I use my kitchen notebook to help me pick and choose the appropriate foods to go along with the meals. I check the fridge, freezer, and pantry shelves to see what I can use, and then while checking those areas, I write down what we still need to purchase in order to build them up! This is what I came up with for the week:
*Chicken taco soup, tortilla chips w/salsa, watermelon slices
*Pizza bakeover, salad, fresh pear slices
*Cabbage roll casserole, boiled red potatoes, apple slices
*Pan-fried fish, steamed broccoli, fruit
*Chow mein over rice, stir-fried vegetables, fruit
*Mushroom Frittata, bacon slices, English muffins, fruit
*Chili, cornbread and honey, fruit
*Cheddar, Chicken and Ranch Quesadillas, chips w/salsa, fruit
On Wednesday - market day and then kitchen time afterwards. I had quite a few homemade mixes that I needed to make (our oatmeal breakfast packets, pizza seasoning mixes for our Pizza Wednesday nights, and a couple of homemade hamburger helper mixes). I also baked a Pecan pie. 😊
On Thursday - my cleaning and catch-up day. The ONLY drawback, that I can see, about lists is that it can be kind of frustrating when you don't see much being crossed off the list. What's worse is when I keep adding TO the list! So I used this day to clean the house (upstairs) for the weekend and because the day was SO pretty outdoors, I began my work of getting ready for the upcoming changing of the seasons by taking the summer geraniums away from the front yard - cleaning them up and clipping them back yet still keeping them only in the backyard. They are some of the plants that I want to repot with new soil and bring them indoors for the winter. I remember doing that a few years back and I had blooming geraniums in the kitchen all winter. What a joy THAT was! I also pulled out all my marigolds that I planted in the raised planters and potted them in one large pot so that it looks nice and full - I consider marigolds one of those flowers that can look right at home in the fall as they do in the summer! I picked the last of my herbs and dehydrated them for the pantry. So.......Thursday was an amazing day of getting a lot done. Oh! I forgot...........last week I bought organic apples for apple butter, so Thursday was the day for that as well. THIS is how amazing the humble apple is - I used the whole apple in these ways:
as you can see I have a crockpot full of apple slices to be made into apple butter, I have a bowl of apple peels to be made into apple cider vinegar, and I have a pan full of apple cores for a stovetop potpourri.
here are the jars of apple butter (recipe to follow)
here are the jars that will make the apple cider vinegar (again, directions to follow)
here is the stovetop potpourri - I added some old frozen cranberries in along with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg - if you want a beautiful smell in your home......this would be it! It can be used a couple of times - just keep adding more water to it. 😊
On Friday (yesterday) - it was a finishing up of things in the kitchen, a little trip out and about for a couple of clothes items, coming home and ordering some things on-line, and some laundry before the weekend.
Today (Saturday) - it's another cloudy, cool, wet day ahead, so this is the day to be spent in the basement with LOTS of cleaning, and going through stuff (hoping to give more away!).
Now forward with recipes:
SLOW COOKER APPLE BUTTER
6 lbs of apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Place the apples in the slow cooker. Mix the rest of the ingredients until well combined and pour over apples. Mix very well. Cook on Low for about 10 hours (I did mine a little longer), stirring every couple of hours (so this is something that you will want to make when you know you will be home all day). The apple butter should be thick and dark brown. To break the apples up, I use a potato masher and then I even puree them in the blender before pouring into freezer jars. This takes me right back to Mom - she ALWAYS made apple butter.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Organic apple scraps
3 Tbsp. organic sugar
3 cups distilled water
*Fill a clean quart jar with apple scraps
*In separate bowl, combine sugar and water and stir till sugar is dissolved.
*Pour over apples (you may not need all the water) until all the scraps are submerged
*Place a small jar filled with water (this is where the wide mouth jars are good) inside the quart jar to weigh the scraps down
*Cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band
*Store jar(s) in a dark place at room temperature for 3 weeks - check daily to make sure the scraps are still submerged, and that no mold is present. If any scum forms, just skim it off.
*After 3 weeks, strain the scraps and discard them
*Return your liquid to a jar. Cover again with cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Let stand in a dark place at room temperature for another 3 to 4 weeks, stirring daily. After 3 weeks begin tasting for desired tartness. When you think it's done for your taste, transfer the vinegar to a jar with a lid and begin using it!!!! Store in refrigerator.
*Note: if you use organic apple cider vinegar, you will notice a "strange" floating thing - that is called the "mother" and it's okay! You want that! But you can either remove it and store it separately, or leave it alone. When you make your next batch of vinegar, add the mother to the jar with the apple scraps.
Have fun with this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So good for our health. 😊
The other thing that I wanted to remind you of is that I hope you can enjoy the tasks at hand. When you do things around the house - whether that be crafting/sewing, cleaning the house, baking/cooking - just be present at the moment and enjoy what you are doing at the time. I know, with me, I can get to the point where I just want to get it done and move on to the next thing. But that deprives me of putting the love and care into what I'm doing. All it becomes is "just one more thing that I have to do" instead of "I GET to do this today!"
There is one more recipe that I want to share with you today. Saturdays is our Asian meal day and last Saturday I made slow cooker Teriyaki ribs and........they were really good. Here it is:
SLOW COOKER TERIYAKI RIBS
1 large rack of baby back ribs cut into pairs
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (I put a little less in)
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
*Sprinkle ribs with pepper and place in slow cooker. Pour 1/3 cup of the teriyaki sauce over them; cover and cook on Low for 7 hours or till tender.
*Mix together in small bowl, the remaining 1/3 cup of the teriyaki sauce, the balsamic vinegar, and garlic.
*Remove ribs from slow cooker and brush the above glaze over the ribs while hot.
*Enjoy!!!!! Seriously, these were wonderful.
I served them with an Asian slaw and watermelon slices on the side. They were SO tender.
And, lastly, I wanted to show you our splurge:
this is down in our basement - it's a place for growing things throughout the winter
a little bowl of fresh lettuce 😊 it's not a lot, but for the two of us if I can keep planting and cutting lettuce for salads throughout the winter, we'll be satisfied. I also have 3 tomato plants growing and ordered more pods for more tomatoes and lettuce as well. The nice thing is is that you can use the soil again for planting your own seeds - you don't need to keep buying their pods (which could get a bit pricey). So.....we're excited and pleased with it.
Now, before I go, I need to share from my Nehemiah book again:
*"Do you know anything about such a combat in prayer that is utterly, completely exhausting? Do you know what it means to feel that you can scarcely get through to God for the sheer pressure of the power of the enemy? What form does that take? Crowding upon our imagination come unholy thoughts, sensual desires, wrong actions. Pressing upon us are the drudgeries of daily life and the demands of business. Behind all such deadly antagonism to a work of God is Satan himself, using all the force at his command to keep back the building up of the temple of the Holy Spirit."
*".....whenever our enemy sees a work of the Holy Spirit, he concentrates all his forces against it."
*"The very fact that a work is of God will always arouse the opposition of the enemy."
*"Oh, dear child of God, in the heat of the battle and in the thick of the fight, have you learned to look up? Maybe you are not able to say very much or to utter a lengthy prayer, but in your heart you look up."
*".......the Christian church today is this: that it looks in every direction except upward. We look to every contrivance, except to God. We seek in every manner to deal with the situation, except looking up."
More good things to ponder this week. We have opposition, but we have God. Don't look around, look up. Pray. Always.
I hope you enjoyed today's post and that it will be of some help to you. I also hope that you can enjoy your homes today. Doing something is better than doing nothing!!! God bless and thank you for stopping by. 😊