What’s for Dinner Wednesday

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It’s Wednesday. Menu planning day. This week I’ve had trouble trying to figure out what to make. There’s no inspiration…not even on Pinterest! (Gasp!) The family’s no help, they don’t know what they want, I don’t know what I want to fix and there’s a part of me that is thinking about those…those….I can’t even type it! OK, it seems that all I can think about is those cold weather dishes like Stew and Chili and Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy! I even considered ham and beans with cornbread. Really? I’m the girl of Summer, right? Ugh.

Well, at least I had a distraction from it all this morning.

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It’s been two weeks since I added the last of the syrup to the wine. The bubbling has stopped…or at least it has slowed considerably. I decided to take a look (and a taste) to see how clear it is after sitting. It’s still cloudy, but it will take time for it to clear up. Still, I had to see. It’s a pretty color, don’t you think? It is also very tasty. It’s sweet and you can taste the blackberries. You can still smell the yeast a bit so I assume it’s still working, but the whole thing, all 4 gallons of it, has potential! I’m excited. Now to pick out bottles…

In the meantime, I figured out what to feed the family. Here’s what’s being served up on Momma T’s Table:

BREAKFASTS:

Sunday Brunch – Breakfast Bowls

Monday – Caitlin’s Fruity, Oaty Bowl of Goodness

Tuesday – Cottage Cheese and fruit

Wednesday – Toast with Almond Butter

Thursday – Caitlin’s Fruity, Oaty Bowl of Goodness

Friday – Eggs and Toast

Saturday – Caitlin’s Fruity, Oaty Bowl of Goodness

LUNCH:

Monday – Turkey Tomato Tortilla Sandwich

Tuesday – Fruit & Cheese

Wednesday – Baked Sweet Potato with Fetta and Dried Tomatoes

Thursday – Cucumber & Tomato Sandwich

Friday – Veggies & Hummus

Saturday – Gidget Sandwich lunch

DINNER:

Sunday – Country Style Ribs, Baked Poatoes and Watermelon

Monday – Pasta a la Momma

Tuesday – Better Than Take Out Fried Rice using leftover pork ribs

Wednesday – Rainbow Quinoa Salad

Thursday – Mexican Rice and Beans

Friday – Pub Club

Saturday – Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Salad

So there. I did it. I saved managed a menu full of Summery foods. No soups or stews or stuff like that, though it still sounds good. Maybe it’s because school has started up again or that football season is in the offing, or maybe it is my soul accepting that change is coming, but I’m getting excited about those cooler weather dishes. I’m looking forward to football games and wiener roasts too. What is happening to me?

 

 

Try It Tuesday – Tomato Jam?

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I have a LOT of small salad tomatoes coming out of the garden right now. It’s about all we have coming out of there, thanks to this guy.

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Now that we’ve caught him, maybe we will get more large, beautiful, WHOLE tomatoes. Until then, what to do with all of those cherry tomatoes? Afterall, we can only eat so many and I’ve given away several pints too.

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I considered canning them, but it would take so many of them to fill a jar, it just didn’t seem worth it. Fortunately I have a nice collection of canning and preserving books!

I looked at all of the tomato recipes and decided that for Try It Tuesday, I would TRY something unusual. Tomato Jam seemed as unusual as it gets! Each book had their own version and it seemed that my smaller tomatoes and cherry tomatoes (they are really more the size of ping-pong balls) would be perfect for this use.

The “So Easy To Preserve” is my go-to book, my Canning Bible if you will. It has tried and tested recipes that I can be assured are safe. I firmly believe that if you are going to can, dry or freeze foods, this book MUST be in your kitchen. I got mine at my local extension service, but you can get a copy directly from the Cooperative Extension at the University of Georgia by clicking HERE. This is a new sixth edition, mine is a fifth edition…I may have to pick up the new one!

Anyway, I chose this recipe, but I made one minor change to the recipe. Instead of lemon rind I added 1/2 Tablespoon of Red Pepper Flakes (and then another and then a pinch more. I may have gone overboard there). I threw in a little salt too. I also doubled the recipe.

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When changing a recipe like this one, some of the ingredients can be interchanged, but never, EVER change the amount of acid, in this case lemon juice. The acid is there to prevent spoilage and is tested to make sure that the food is at a safe acidity level.

I thought that removing the skins from all of those little tomatoes would be a pain in the neck, but it actually went pretty quickly. Just a moment (less than 30 seconds) in the boiling water and then into the ice bath and they were slipping right out of their little jackets!

Tomatoes

After that I chopped and boiled and seasoned and boiled some more! Oh the aromatic spices in this recipe! Such a treat for the senses! I just love the scent of Allspice!

 

I cooked it all down and put it in jars, eleven half-pints in all with a little left over for the fridge. This allowed for a little taste. I had mine on a piece of white bread.

 

The Girl was VERY skeptical when I told her my plans for today. “I don’t think that’s going to be very good. It sounds like Ketchup and I don’t like Ketchup.”

It’s nothing like ketchup at all. It’s sweet, it’s jelly-like and it’s spicy. I probably would have been good to stop at 1 Tablespoon or less, but this heat level will delight The Girl and others in the family that like a bit of heat! I think she’s going to be very surprised and very pleased with the end product. I sure hope so, did I mention there are 11 half-pints?

I can see this jam being mixed with ketch up (shh…don’t tell the girl) and used on pork or even straight as a glaze on ham or pork loin. It will make an unusual gift for friends and family too! It’s going to be a nice addition to the pantry. If only my whole tomato canning had gone so well…

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What have YOU tried recently?

Thread It Up Thursday – Sewing Corner Reclaimed!

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Since last week’s post about my sewing corner shame, I have been driven to get things turned around, to design a happy space where I could create freely. A place that was organized and pretty. A happy sewing corner! It was a lovely adventure and it came together so nicely as you can see.

In the last 7 days I’ve painted, sanded, organized and created my heart out. I think that was my favorite part, I got to be really creative. I haven’t had the time, or the organization, to be so creative in such a long while. It felt GOOD!

Along the way, I discovered things, things I knew existed, but had kind of filed away and forgotten. For instance, there was this little “inscription” left by The Girl during her use of the machine, probably during one of her midnight, Hail Mary, night before judging, 4-H sewing projects.

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“Help I am Going…” None of us could quite make out the rest of it so we weren’t sure where she was going. Out of her mind, crazy, to run away? Who knows, she can’t even remember, but her written cries for help were found etched into other areas of the cabinet and my sewing box.

Not wanting to lose this “precious” memory when I painted, I took the liberty of deepening the carving, saving it for posterity. I told her she would one day inherit my old White sewing machine and cabinet and I wanted her to forever remember that moment that she was going…somewhere.

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I used Rustoleum  Chalk Paint in Charcoal. This was my first use of Chalk Paint and I really like it. It gave a nice look to the piece and the darker color makes the machine fit in with the darker wood furniture of the room. I’m in LOVE!

A quick search of Pinterest provided a bunch of fun and unique ways to organize sewing spaces. I took a few of my favorites and made some of them my own.

I loved this simple trick for organizing bobbins. It keeps them from rolling all over the drawer and they don’t come unwound and tangled.

A simple toe separator. And they are pretty too!

This one was probably the most fun! I took paint and a beautiful frame I found at Goodwill, some 4″ golf tees and some peg board and turned my messy spool drawer into organized, fun “art”!

At first I was going to paint the frame turquoise, but I fell in love with that platinum look and decided against it.

I spent most of those 7 days sorting through pins, needles, notions and fabric. I organized and folded and got everything put away. As I organized I found many of my treasures and unfinished projects. I also found my old wooden sewing box.

I picked this guy up at an auction several years ago. It was filled with all sorts of vintage sewing stuff and I LOVED it. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure was neat. It’s been through a LOT with me too. I hauled it with me when I was doing costumes for the local community theatre.

One evening as I was loading 3 kids into the van and all of my costuming stuff, I set this old box on the roof of the van and…you guessed it, I left it there, pulled out of the parking lot, turned the corner and crossed the railroad tracks. As I was picking up speed to merge into traffic, that’s when it happened. It fell off the top and all over the road.

Now I don’t know what I was thinking at 9:00 at night, but I pulled over, put on my blinkers and went back for my box and it’s contents. I couldn’t believe it had survived! Not only that, but there was minimal spillage of it’s contents!

That faithful box got a much needed makeover this week and is not the proud holder of ALL of my buttons!

I took care of my unruly stash of lace, elastic, ribbon and bias tape by twisting them around large craft sticks and displaying them in this old cracker jar! For added decoration, I put a bunch of my old, wooden thread spools in a fat pint jar. LOVE this!

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I folded and folded and folded and folded. There’s a neat little tutorial over at I Always Pick The Thimble  on how to fold your fabric to fit the space. I folded it to fit the drawers in my steamer trunk and the cute little basket that I found at Goodwill that I painted.

I love having my fabrics where I can see them!

Finally I added finishing touches. I found these beautiful drawer pulls at Goodwill. (all of the Goodwill finds appealed to my thriftiness, making this project EXTRA fun!)

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Found the perfect hangers for my tape measures. Now they are always at the ready.

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I added this piece of art to my happy corner. The Boy bought this for The Hubs and I for Christmas. It’s been hanging in the living room, but it just didn’t seem right in there. Once I got this corner put together, I knew that it had finally found its home. It is a fabric mosaic made by local artist Lori Miller. The piece is titled “It’s Possible” which just seemed to fit the whole of the project.

Everything is set for me to start working on my projects! For starters, I can now easily lay my hands on them. I have a very good feeling about this and I can’t wait to get busy!

The big question now is, what to do with this chair? You KNOW I already have the answer to that one. Stay tuned…

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Try It Tuesday – Too Much to Try

It’s 8:22 a.m. and while fussing about what I would blog on this Try It Tuesday, I’ve gotten dressed, brushed my teeth and my hair, eaten breakfast, checked on my wine project and worked on my Thread It Up project for Thursday! The dishwasher has been run, dinner is in the crock pot and the laundry is done!

Wait, what’s that? I have to actually put the laundry IN the washer first? OK, so the laundry isn’t done, but I DID run water and soap through a complete cycle. Doesn’t that count for something?

Today’s Try It Tuesday is about the fact that I’m trying to do too much. I’m sure it’s not what you expected, but I’m also sure many of you have been here before. I know I have. Too many irons in the fire. Too much to do and not enough time to get it done.

That’s me. This week in addition to the usual cleaning, which is not getting done the way I want it to get done, I’m trying to get ready for my Blackberry Margarita Bash on Friday, organize the storage closet, and organize my sewing mess. It’s out of control! I’m driven to distraction! I’m drowning in a sea of my own ambition!

Take the laundry…please. OK, I went in and set the water to running and poured in the detergent, when Eartha Kitt-E hopped up on the dryer for a little breakfast. I took this as an opportunity to brush our sweet kitten’s fur in this rare moment when she was still. Also, it’s one more thing off the check list! After a quick brush, I realized that the water was still running, but I hadn’t gotten the clothes. I closed the lid so that Eartha wouldn’t fall in (safety first!) and…well, I don’t know what happened next, but it wasn’t clothes for the washer.

Thing is, somewhere in between all of the other things, I was pretty sure that I had not only loaded the washing machine, but unloaded it to the dryer. The absence of the dryer’s tumbling lead me to believe that the dryer had finished and I could fold and put away that laundry. Load for the day done! But when I checked that silent dryer, it was cold and empty. Drat! Must have forgotten to switch the laundry. Lifting the lid, I found it too was cold and empty. Damp, but cold and empty. This left me feeling cold and empty too.

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Perhaps I need more sleep? Perhaps less to do? More than likely I need to lower my expectations of what I can do in a day. At any rate, on this Try It Tuesday, I’m going to try to focus on one thing at a time and get something done. Or maybe I’ll try a nap…but first, I need to find the drill.

Monday Musings – End of Summer Bummer

We’ve hit the Dog Days of Summer. Those last days of warm rays and carefree days.

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Ernie has the right idea, not a care in the world. He’s certain that the DOG in “Dog Days” is all about him, and I envy him.

You see, when we hit August and all of the buzz of summer turns to preparations for the return to school, moving students off to college and the talk of apples, crisp weather and season premiers I get more than a little melancholy, baby. Why are we in such a hurry to get to the “next thing”?

I’m a girl of summer. I love the heat and the humidity. Like Ernie, I crave the rays and long to soak in their heat! Oh to be a dog in these dog days. Instead, I move into a panic mode and freak out about all of the things I need to get done before the snow flies. I think about how the sun is setting earlier and rising later every day. Actually I DWELL on these shortening of days. Instead of living in the moment I borrow sorrow from the future.

I once had a friend tell me that to get through this transitional time, I should embrace my inner pumpkin lover. I’m afraid I’m not much of a pumpkin lover…except pie, and then only at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Today, watching Ernie sun himself for the 500th time, I realized she was wrong. Instead of looking to the cooler months and finding some way to cope, I need to put my bare feet in the freshly mowed grass of the here and now and wiggle my toes in the cool, dewiness while the sun warms by back and shoulders. I need to LIVE in these last days of summer and now worry about what is ahead. Fall and Winter will come soon enough. They don’t need my help to hasten their pace.

I realize that there are many of you out there who look forward to these cooler days. To the crunch of leaves under your feet. To sweater weather and bonfires. Some of you are even looking way forward to the sn*w and the cold and I say more power to you! I hope that when your season gets here you revel in it and experience all it has to offer! I’ll be on my couch, drinking my weight in Chai Tea.

I’m a girl of Summer and my season isn’t over yet and I’m going to hold onto it like a toddler holds on to a temper tantrum, kicking and screaming all the way to the first leaf turns orange, Thankyousoverymuch! Maybe we should all take a page from Ernie’s book and relish the moments we are gifted. Just soak in the sun and not borrow worries from tomorrow.

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. – Matthew 6:34

I don’t know what your worry might be, but may I suggest that you take your shoes off and wiggle your toes in the grass of what is good and right in your life right now and let tomorrow worry for itself?

UPDATE: After posting this I saw a commercial for s’mores, another for back-to-school, and when I log onto Pinterest, the first thing I see is a recipe for “One Pan AUTUMN Chicken Dinner.” *sigh*

Thread it Up Thursday – My Sewing Shame

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I chose to give Thursday the theme of “Thread It Up” with the intention of diving into my stash of unfinished and yet-to-be-started sewing and fabric projects and finishing them up. I have a LOT of them.

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See that trunk and those two totes? They are full of fiber dreams and unfinished projects. Now, I could waste your precious time, and mine with all of the excuses for why I haven’t finished (or started) them yet, but the truth is, I’ve just gotten overwhelmed and this corner of my world that was meant for creativity is just my dirty little secret.

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OK, maybe it’s not so much a secret as this mess takes up two corners of my dining room, but as you can see there are more projects and my machine is cluttered and disorganized and just an overwhelming mess. As I type this, my fingers are clumsily tripping all over the keyboard as my anxiety rises.

So, the first step on this Thread It Up Thursday is to get this mess cleaned up and organized so I can ACTUALLY Thread up my machine. The second step is to go through the projects and see which ones I STILL love and want to finish, and release those that I no longer have a passion for. The results will be next week’s Thread It Up Thursday post. I’m trading my shame for accountability and I’m getting my sewing act together.

Stay tuned…