Sunday, October 25, 2020
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
I'll make this short and sweet this morning. Many thanks to all of you who entered the drawing. (You know we'll have to do this again very soon for a set of holiday-themed --- Christmas-y --- potholders!)
The name drawn to receive the set of quilted fall season potholders is:
Send me your snail mail address, Dee, and I'll put the potholders in an envelope and send them on their way to you.
Hope everyone is enjoying this late fall season. We're expecting 3-6" of the white stuff to fall and possibly accumulate today through 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. I do believe Old Man Winter may be arriving early this year.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Our fall colors are gone. All gone. Although it was a glorious season with more vibrant colors than usual, the trees are just about totally bare now, and our landscape is waiting for a soft blanket of snow to cover the current drabness.
My garden is tucked in for the winter. Well, all except for my gladioli which are still standing up sturdy and green. I'll give them a little more time and am hoping to get the bulbs dug and brought inside to cure before the ground freezes solidly.
We had a temp of 26° this morning with snow forecast to start around noon time and continue through early Sunday morning. Will we actually get an accumulation on the ground? Time will tell. The forecasted temperatures say we will.
Papa Pea came in from chores this morning stating that it certainly feels like winter outside now. Even the air has a different feel to it. At 26°, I would think so.
We have a few things to accomplish outside before the predicted snowfall arrives. Stashing the deck furniture away for the season is one of them. But if we don't get to that on the list, it won't be the first time there has been an early snowfall on it.
I mentioned having a giveaway of some Thanksgiving-themed potholders a post or two back.
These I'm putting up for grabs don't specifically say "Thanksgiving" but are still appropriate to the season.
If you're interested in having your name included in the drawing for them, let me know by sharing what your plans are for Thanksgiving this year. I know it will be a different holiday for many of us because of . . . well, all that we're still having to factor into our lives. I've read in the past that Thanksgiving Weekend is the busiest travel time of the whole year, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that statistic will change this year. (A different and not happy situation for many of us.)
I'll add names to the drawing for the potholders until Monday night (October 19th) when I shut down my computer and the winner will be posted on Tuesday morning.
Everybody can use a brand spanking new pair of potholders, right? Or they would make a nice little gift for someone you know. Interested?
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
I've made Caramel Corn and Honey Caramels, my two very favorite autumn treats (well, except for an apple pie or
six two) and gotten that out of my system. Also, out of my house, I'm happy to report. Otherwise, Papa Pea and I would have already gained a couple of unneeded winter hibernation pounds.
Here's the recipe for the caramels:
1 cup butter
1 lb. brown sugar
Dash of salt
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup honey
1 - 15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt butter in heavy 3-qt. saucepan. Add brown sugar and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in corn syrup and honey and mix well. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk stirring constantly.
Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture reaches 245° on candy thermometer, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour into buttered 9 x 9 x 2" pan. Cool and cut into squares. Makes about 2-1/2 lbs.
MY NOTES: I don't use corn syrup anymore, but rather coconut syrup. I've substituted it for corn syrup in several recipes with no noticeable difference. If you use the light corn syrup, the color of your caramels will be lighter than mine using the coconut syrup.
The time for the mixture to reach 245° on the thermometer seems to depend on the cooking pot you use. This batch took exactly 17 minutes, I've gone as long as 25 minutes sometimes and wonder if it also depends on the humidity of the day . . . or something else. (WOOOOooooo . . . )
I've always poured the caramel mixture into a 12 x 7-1/2" glass pan. Using a 9 x 9" pan would make the caramels thicker than I prefer.
Here's a visual of how I make the caramels.
Melt the butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan.
Add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Do the same with the corn syrup and honey.
Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk stirring constantly.
Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches 245° on candy thermometer which should take about 12-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Then pour into buttered pan.
To cool the mixture to ready it for cutting, I put the pan into the refrigerator for about an hour. This particular time, I left it cooling for about two hours and the caramels were so hard when I tried cutting them, I had to let it sit out on the counter to warm up a bit.
This is the way I cut my caramels, but you may choose to do it differently. I score strips about 1-1/2" wide across the pan.
Then I use a metal spatula to remove each strip from the pan. (The first is always the hardest and does require some wiggling and coaxing.)
Then using my small chef's knife, I cut the strip into the size caramels I want. (During this process it's very important to taste-test a caramel [or four] to make sure they're good enough to give away for others to enjoy.)
Each caramel gets placed on a piece of candy paper and wrapped. (You can use pieces of wax paper cut to size also.)
Done and ready to be distributed. Or eaten. Enjoy!
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Here's a simple question for you. What do you do to relax? What calms you down, loosens your tightened muscles so they release held tension, clears your mind of the thousand and one things you've been thinking about?
There are times, most especially during these unsettling national and world circumstances, when taking a few moments, hours or days (if necessary and/or possible) to relax, clear your head and reset your physical body to a more comfortable condition is beneficial, let alone vital, to your well-being and to that of those around you.
What do I do to relax?
Although the kinds of handwork I'm passionate about are very satisfying and fulfill my need to create, I'll confess doing most of them doesn't fill the bill in the way I'm thinking of as true relaxation. Perhaps knitting a simple pattern while listening to an interesting audio book comes close. Maybe.
Or lying by the water on a sunny day and listening to the waves gently lapping up on the shore can lull me into a state of tranquility. But not having a cabin on a lake, or having a heckuva lot of free days in warm weather when such a thing is possible, this opportunity rarely comes by.
For pure unwinding, loosening of tense muscles, shedding disturbing (or interesting . . . or necessary) thoughts from my mind, losing myself in a truly good book, peeling through the pages is what produces satisfying relaxation for me. I'm temporarily transported to a different world, one that can entertain, uplift or even provide subliminal energy or revitalization.
Okay, your turn. What do you do to relax? Don't be shy about commenting. Maybe your method(s) will give inspiration to the rest of us!
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
It's now 7:18 a.m. as I write this post, and I already feel like I've gotten half a day's work done.
Papa Pea and I are both "morning" people. Our mental (and probably physical) capacities are at their best once we've had our morning liquid libations so we've been concentrating on getting to bed earlier in the evening and, thereby, more easily able to get up and goin' earlier in the morn.
As you can imagine, this is accomplished much more easily when it gets dark earlier in the evening than it did during the long days of summer.
Last night I could not keep my eyes open while looking through my latest quilting magazine, so I did the sensible thing (I did? Wow.) and was in bed at 7:45 p.m.(!). Picked up my latest book to read (didn't get very far) and then turned off the light before 8:15 because I was so cozy/comfy that I knew it was time to drift off into dreamland.
Woke at 5 a.m. this morning and was ready to get up. Now if circumstances don't keep me from maintaining such a routine (no doubt self-discipline will enter into the picture more than anything else), I know I'll be happier and have a more balanced schedule for my days in short order.
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Last Sunday night we had our last-of-the-season outdoor get-together with friends. We about froze our beezers. Everyone had been warned to wear warm clothing including bringing jackets. We had a fire in our small outdoor fire pit, but unfortunately the temp was only in the 40s (what were we thinking?) and, drat and darn, there was a breeze to boot. I think everyone had a good time, but it did feel
downright cold a little nippy.
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I harvested all our pumpkins late last week and several of them have already gone away to decorate other homes. I had a great harvest and although some are not entirely orange in color, with luck they may still turn. Did I remember to get a picture of the whole bunch of them? Nope.
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There are still several geraniums out in the garden that need to be put into pots and brought into the house to, hopefully, add some cheery indoor color over these coming winter months. Dear daughter plans on taking a couple/few, and I think I'll find a spot for two of them.
* * * * * *
I have a great recipe for caramel corn and everyone seems to like my Honey Caramels and . . . well, it's the season for indulging in both so I may spend a little time in the kitchen today stirring up a batch or two of each of them.
* * * * * *
I've had white valances over all my kitchen windows now for over twenty years (yes, I do take them down and wash them now and then . . . at least every 8 or 9 years or so . . . kidding!) but they no longer look bright and crisp so I just ordered new fabric (plain white again) to make replacements.
Also, I've recently spent a bit of moola on supplies (cloth and thread) since I've found a renewed interest in getting back into X-stitch work and haven't done any for . . . good grief! . . . about 30 years.
* * * * * *
You can tell my thoughts are planning for the winter months ahead and happy days at my sewing machine and hours on the couch in front of the open fire with needle in hand.
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Somebody said every day is a new beginning, and I believe it is. Plus, living where we do, every season offers new and different activities, routines, opportunities and even different foods. I love it.