Saturday, September 24, 2022

Saturday Morning in Late September


My fall flowers in an old butter-churn.  : )

I finally put my fall decorations up!  Last Saturday I had the morning to myself so I brought up the boxes and went to work.  I went VERY light this year.  I pulled out my favorite items and decorated with only those - the others are left in the boxes which I plan to go through today and bag them up to give away.  I used to go all out with the leaf garlands and such but as I get older I truly enjoy the "less is best" because with everything else that I have in my home I believe going all out is just a bit too much.  It almost feels and looks a bit cluttered rather than pretty.  So, everything will stay up until after Thanksgiving which really extends this beautiful time of year. 

On Monday I watched Queen Elizabeth's funeral from beginning to end.  Got a bit weepy in places.  I love the pageantry and tradition.

The rest of the week was rather up and down.  Life sometimes gets that way, doesn't it?  

Yesterday was a wonderfully cloudy, cozy day which motivated me to do some things that were others-centered and creative.   I spent quite a bit of time on my monthly letter for seniors at the care center.  I enjoy writing the letter and then I enjoy looking through nostalgic magazines for articles that they might like and add it to the envelopes.  I try to buy pretty stickers to make the envelopes look pretty and stamp a nice greeting on the front.  I truly try to put myself in their place and think about what I would like if I was there.

Now we come to Saturday.  It's another cloudy and cool day which, again, motivates me to work.  There is a reason they call summer the "lazy days" because it's SO true for me!  In the Spring there is all that busy work of cleaning up after winter and getting the gardens ready and then the actual planting, but once summer comes it seems like all I feel like doing is the bare necessities of the housework in keeping it clean and organized and then the pulling of the weeds outdoors.  But once fall comes, it just makes me want to do everything!!!  There aren't enough hours in the day (nor the energy) to get everything done that I feel like doing.  It's like there should be 3 of me.  So I really have to write out lists now and prioritize (and I like doing that too!).

My Saturday chores look like this:

*Make our Sunday meal so I don't have to cook tomorrow - just heat and serve.
*Go through my fall boxes and bag things up.
*Clean the bathroom for the weekend.
*Wash and hang a load of laundry.
*Clean and better organize the laundry area.
*Clean the oven.

I have high hopes today, but I also have my doubts in getting it all done!  And......that's okay.  : )

There are two recipes that I want to share with you today before I go.  One is the Asian Sloppy Joes that I had mentioned a while back.  Again, no photos - sorry.


In large skillet, heat 2 tsp. sesame oil and add 1/2 onion, chopped.  Cook for about 4 minutes.  Add 3 cloves of garlic, minced and cook till just fragrant.  Add 1 lb. ground beef and cook until no longer pink.  Add 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup hoisin sauce, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar.  Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer and cook till it thickens, about 5 minutes.  Top the bottom half of hamburger buns, sprinkle with some chopped green onions and top with the other bun.  This is so good, but what I think makes it special is if you can make coleslaw and top the beef with a little of that before adding the top bun.  I hope you can try it!!!  : )

The other recipe is called a Bakeover.  I know that I brought up one of these in a past post but I made another this past week that we enjoyed so I wanted to share it with you.  The whole idea of Bakeovers is that it is a one-pan meal and it's a great way to use up leftovers.  The idea/concept came about from MaryJane Butters - she has a few books out and this "recipe" appealed to me.  So here it goes (and I DO have photos this time!!!).

Actually, there is no "recipe" - so I'll try to do a step-by-step explanation.  Since there are many ways to do this, you have to actually figure out what kind of crust you want.  For example, what I'm showing you today, needs a cornbread crust because it's kind of Tex-Mex theme.  So you want to make the crust first.  In my case I needed to make the cornbread batter.  Set that aside.

Next you need to figure out what ingredients you want - for me it was shredded chicken, onions, taco seasoning, black beans, canned tomatoes (drained), corn, some enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese.

So begin by adding the onions to your Non-stick, Oven-safe, skillet, and saute them until soft and then add all the other ingredients and mix well.  Add the cheese on top of this.

Then, pour your cornbread batter on top of all of this.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until the cornbread is baked through.  Now you flip it out onto a large plate.

Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and sliced green onions - maybe some sliced black olives, a drizzle of taco sauce - whatever you want. 

The nice thing about this (for me) was that here are all the ingredients I needed for this:

but as for the canned ingredients....... I only used half - I had half of the corn, black beans, and tomatoes leftover so I was then, a couple of days later, able to use those to make a quick and easy chicken taco soup!  Two big meals for very little money.  : )

*I will need to tell you - I found that the Bakeovers don't re-heat well.  So, you might want to wait to make this when you have a few people over (I know they'll like it).   Let me know what you think!!!

Well, I think that is about it for this post!  If I have the above list to accomplish (or a part of it), I had better get moving.  I hope you enjoy this day and weekend ahead.  Enjoy your home.  Make it clean, make it comfortable, make it inviting, make it yours and have fun doing it.  

God bless!!!  


Saturday, September 10, 2022

Time Away, Gearing Up, and a Slow Cooker Recipe


Country church right next to where we camped.

Hi everyone!  In keeping with part of this post, we had a time away.  We left on the Tuesday after Labor Day with our camper and head off to South Dakota, partly to just get away and partly to meet with some of my family who live out that way.  It was a hot day when we left and our campground was a hot and dry space.  Growing up in South Dakota I know what hot and dry means but this was crunchy dry - we were very surprised that there were no restrictions on campfires.  We didn't have any because we just felt it wasn't the right thing to do since it was so dry, but it was also too hot so sitting by a hot fire didn't exactly tempt us!  We arrived in the heat of the afternoon so setting up camp under those conditions wasn't exactly ideal, but we did it and once we got the camper plugged in and ready to go, on went the air conditioner!

This is a place in South Dakota where it is out in the wide open spaces (which I love) and we were told the sunsets were beautiful (which was true).  So that first day we just ate in the comfort of air conditioning and then set our chairs up outdoors to capture that sunset with the camera.  The cows across the lake gave us a pastoral scene, the night air was taking the heat of the day away, the lack of any noise whatsoever, created an environment in which making falling asleep that night very easy.

The following day (Wednesday) a breeze was blowing which helped quite a bit.  We began setting our screen tent up outside the camper and prepared for our company.  We hosted a lunch for all of them - Sloppy Joes and cold cut sandwiches, pickles, chips, sweet treats, and beverages.  We thought the heat would ruin our time together but every time I think something will ruin any get-togethers, the opposite is true.  It doesn't matter the size of my house or yard or camp site or heat or cold or whatever it is, it's the getting together with people you love that matters.  There was conversation and laughter and a few tears, but it brought us together and that's all that counts.  That evening, we parked our chairs in the same spot as the night before, and watched that beautiful sunset again.  Thanking God for His goodness and provision.  The night, however, was a different story.  The breeze turned into a full-blown wind and my husband was awakened to the fact in the middle of the night that he had to go out into the wind and take the screen tent down before it blew away!  Do you know hard it is to take a screen tent down with 40 mile-an-hour winds and in the dark?  Whew!  And then we have the kind of camper where the beds fold out like a pop-up trailer so all night the flaps of the bed were making noise from the wind.  Suffice to say.......we didn't sleep well at all that night and, after listening to the weather reports, the next day wasn't going to be any better, so we decided to call it quits and come home early.  And that's okay.  We learned a LONG time ago, to be VERY flexible when it comes to doing ANYTHING!  It's not easy though when you planned one thing and then have to change the plans.  The time we had was wonderful and that's enough.  : )

Here are a few photos I wanted to share with you:

The first evening the sun was yellow-orange.

The second evening it was rosy-purple.

And this was the sunrise - we sat in our jammies with hot coffee and reveled in God's creation.

From a walking trail.

A pumpkin patch!  

At one point, I felt like I was on the set of "When Calls the Heart" - the church right down the road, and a young woman rode by on her horse!  Talk about feeling like you were thrown back in time and I loved it.  It was hard to leave that atmosphere of beauty and quiet (except for the 40 mile-an-hour gusts of wind! LOL).

And now we are home and the next part of the post is the gearing up part.  For us, everything begins in the month of September.  Our church has Wednesday evening programs which begins with everyone eating their meals before they go off to whatever they signed up for.  This is my second year of helping out in the kitchen.  It's such a fun group of women to work with and it's busy, busy, which I like.  And then our small group meets twice a month and that begins now.  A time of fellowship and study in different passages of the Bible.  A time of getting to know each other deeper - someone to laugh with and cry with as we go through this life of ups and downs.  And then my husband and I have Bible study with a couple of friends that we enjoy so it's a busy time of the year.

Our home, as with everyone else, needs to be kept up.  The gardens are looking pretty sad but, again, that pretty much happens every year so it's nothing new.  I still want to over-winter some things and put some plants from the pots into the ground.  We've pulled things that needed to be pulled.  Out comes the fall decorations and soon mums and pumpkins will be adorning our steps.  I really do love the four seasons and I always seem to be ready for each one when they come.

Inside, there is the constant going through things, decorating, changing, cleaning..............

And, lastly, a slow cooker recipe to share with you.  I bought a magazine (Delish Chicken Dinners) when I was out a few weeks ago and my husband was looking through it, noticed this recipe, and asked if I could prepare it for him.  I'm glad I did.  It's so good.  Again, I have to get better at taking photos of what I prepare - I used to be much better - not so much now.  Sorry about that.  Here is the recipe:


1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. rigatoni (I used Penne)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (not from the can!)

In a slow cooker, add chicken, butter, heavy cream, and broth.  Season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Cook on High for 2 hours, until chicken is cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and shred with two forks.  Set aside.

Add pasta and Parmesan to slow cooker and cook until pasta is done - 20 to 25 minutes more.

Return chicken to slow cooker and toss to combine.  Enjoy!

As with Alfredo, it doesn't reheat well.  It tastes okay (which I guess is the main thing) but the butter and cream does separate so it doesn't look as good if you don't mind that.  But this is very good and I love slow cooker meals.  All you need is a salad or steamed vegies and a bit of fruit on the side and it's very satisfying.  My husband says it's a keeper and he's pretty picky!!!!  : )

I think that's it for today.  Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time out of your day just to read what I have to offer.  I appreciate all of you.  God bless the rest of your weekend and enjoy your home!