Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Another spring-like day here in Maine.

Its so nice to see the weather improving.  My dog Penny and I go out and sit on a bench beside the road to watch folks heading off for work in the morning and beside the river to watch the water fall and the drift of the current.  Its so peaceful.  I'm thinking spring and have plans to put a few tomato plants in containers along with some lettuce and maybe some herbs.
I know that I can plant lettuce and cut it back to about an inch to eat it fresh, and the plants will regrow new leaves in a couple of weeks. 
As for herbs, I'm thinking thyme, my favorite of fresh herbs, and maybe some parsley and cilantro will work well in pots.
It can't hurt to dream of spring. 
Have a good day.

Monday, February 27, 2017

I made Crash Hot Potatoes today.

Have you ever tried them?  They are a Ree Drummond recipe from her 'Pioneer Woman' TV show.  I've had the recipe for quite a while and make them now and then.  They really need the smaller spuds, and since I had a small bag of steamers I needed to use up soon,  I thought them ideal.
Yes, they were ideal.  Just the right size.
The first step is to boil them til tender, with the skins intact.  That's why smaller potatoes are best used.  These were boiled, then set out on a baking sheet.  I used a potato masher to mash them down, not quite flat, but so they split open.

Here's a view of the masher doing its job.  You push the taters that come thru the holes back down onto the potato.

Sprinkle the mashed spuds with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then bake them in a hot oven of 475*F for 10-15 minutes.

Here are mine after 15 mins. at 475*.  They are ready to serve.
Personally, I like to add a few dabs of butter on top of my taters to add more flavor.  They were very tasty with my baked chicken.  Mmmmmm good.
Have a nice day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I am starting my new garden.

I've moved from 7 country acres and a dozen raised veggie beds plus strawberries, asparagus and blueberries, to a town apartment and had to give it all up.
Or so I thought.
Here I can have a container garden if I desire....and yes, I desire.
To start, I got myself my first African violet for my apt. windowsill.

As you can see from my photo, there are many new buds coming soon.   I plan to get a few more of these violets for my apt.
For my outdoor container garden on the back garden patio facing the river, I plan on a couple of tomato plants and a short pot for about 4 lettuce plants.  I can cut those back to an inch and they will regrow into new heads for more fresh salads.
Let's see if this former gardener can control the number of containers she gets to tend this summer.
I'm getting antsy to get started but in Maine, that means buying potted veggies sometime in April so I have lots of time ahead of me to dream.

In the meantime, Penny has fun trotting thru the snow.
Look at the smile on her face.
Have a good day.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The sun is shining today.

Yes, good news.  The sun is shining and all is good.  Report from the weather service is nice weather with temps in the 30s and 40sF for the next 5 days.  I'll take it.  Maybe some of this snow will melt.

I took a fall yesterday on black ice while walking the dog. Nothing broken, thank goodness, but I'm well padded on the backside which hit the ground first.  Today a few aches and pains:  right hip, right shoulder and side of neck, right palm probably from trying to stop my fall and a swollen left middle finger probably from the same thing.  The hands always try to break one's fall and I'm grateful.  Luckily I did not hit the pavement with my head.

Today I took out meats from the freezer to plan for meals ahead.  Maybe spaghetti and meatballs, homemade pizza, chicken with veggies, and even a couple of pork chops are defrosting.  I'm getting hungry already just thinking of good food.

My son is coming over this weekend and I know he loves my spaghetti and meatballs and I always make enough to take home to my grandson who visits him on Sundays. 

I have a task for him.  One morning while clearing off the ice and snow from my car, and I even had the windshield covered, somehow the wiper on the driver's side came off and darn it, I just could not figure out how to get it back on.  I don't think anything is broken, but its a mystery to me how to get it fixed.  My son is great with cars so its a task I'll leave for this weekend when he visits.

The rest of my time for a couple of days will be taken up in mundane tasks; laundry, vacuuming, washing my two small floors and putting a coating of shine on them, and dusting off the furniture.  Nothing to wear me out too much.  And some cooking.  I'm even thinking of making some peanut butter fudge with walnuts.  That's something I have to debate.  I've been losing a little excess weight and eating fudge won't help so I keep putting off that sweet chore.

I hope the snow and ice in your area of the country are melting and adding to the water table for this summer so there's less chance for droughts.  Hang in there.  They tell me spring is around the corner.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

All is not dark and gloomy.

I've been snowed in pretty much, but that leaves me free to make gifts for friends and relatives and some seasonal things for myself.

I enjoy crocheting while watching TV at nite.  This set, two oven hanging towels and a spare dish towel for wiping, I made and gave to a lady who lives in my complex who is very nice about helping we older ladies with our snow clearing off our cars.  She has one of those flat things that looks like a Swiffer dustmop but larger, to scrape snow off cars which makes it simpler than the small brushes many of us use.  It sure makes the work easier.

  I also made more sets to give as gifts.....
This set I particularly like because of the flowers.  I've been thinking spring lately.  And you can't see the buttons, but they are little honey bees.  I found those buttons while stocking up at Walmart, and love them.  I'll have to get more.

Here's a close-up view of the button.  Isn't it cute.  And happy as well.

This one looks like spring.

This one could well be for Easter time.

And for this one, I just love the bears. 

One had to have something to while away the long winter indoor hours.
Have a good day.

Another storm behind us.

We've had too much snow for my liking.  I don't enjoy shoveling and scraping after each snow.   Then having to move my car to the other side of the parking lot so it can get plowed.  I really miss my son's garage.  I've been spoiled the last 12 winters.
The view out our front entry.  Too much snow.

The plowman doesn't  know where to shove this new stuff.  He's been moving it to the end of the parking spaces which means we are losing spaces so jockeying our cars back and forth is a big headache.

Out our back entry this is the view.  Our garden is covered with snow.  Nothing has been removed or shoveled out here.  Its not a priority these days.  The trees are truly lovely with that thick snow on the branches.  The river is just a thin sliver in the background. Most is frozen over as is the reservoir. 

This was our lot after the first 12 inches of the storm on the 12th.

Thankfully the weather report is just an inch of snow tonite and then clear sailing for several days.  We'll need it to rest up.
Traditionally, President's Week gives us a couple of whoppers.  That's still to come.  Til then I'll enjoy the hot cocoa and snacks and do crosswords and read for a few days.  Tonite is Movie Nite so I have to take a drink and a snack to join the group in our Gathering Room.
Have a good day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

A typical Feb. with snow, snow, snow.

We in Maine are being inundated with the snow we always expect in February.
Its also finally gotten much colder after an unusually warm Jan.
Out my window I can see the Presumpscot River flowing past.  Right now its pretty much frozen over except for the slight open section you see above.  The rocks are covered with snow, too.
Even the falls are frozen icicles.  You can see them between what looks like stairs in the photo, upper right, and the frozen top layer of the reservoir in front.  Here, too, there is a bit of open water in the reservoir.
This morning it was still snowing at 6 am when dog and I went for our walk which was very, very limited with 12" of new snow in our path.  Someone had shoveled in front of our entrance a few hours before so it was only about 3" deep so we didn't venture further than that area.  The wind had slowed down to barely blowing which was nice.
What's next?  Well, more snow of course.  Today is Monday and snow expected tomorrow on Tues, though not very much, but on Thursday another 6-7" is acomin'.  Yikes, its good to be retired and not have to get out on the road to get to work.   Its bad enough having to clear off our cars to accommodate our snow plow man but with snow every day, we've been told to leave them where they are another day.  Whew, that's good news.  I don't have to jockey mine back and forth another day.
I hope wherever you live, you are managing this winter with its snow and ice.  Be well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Its February. Winter is still upon us.

We had a strange January this year.  Lots of snow in December, then less in January and some rather warm days.  I wonder what Feb will bring.  Usually its lots of snow.  So far today we're getting a dribbling of snow.  They tell us maybe 3" total this time and then none for at least a week.

I have a few tips on making equal portions when baking.  I was making ground beef turnovers recently (they are a Lithuanian dish) and needed a better way to get my dough and meat portions pretty much equal.

Form your dough into a ball, then flatten it a bit on a floured board so its round.

In my case I wanted 8 equal portions so sliced it like a pie into 8 pieces.

I did the same with my meat mixture: made a ball, flattened a bit, sliced into 8 pie-shaped pieces.
This did the trick.  I didn't have to fiddle with portions like I did in the past.  Now they were all pretty much equal.

I could roll them out and fill them knowing they were about the same.  You can always roll out a smaller or larger piece of dough as needed.

Now for the crimping.  I pressed the dough together slightly with my fingertip. No, I did not use water.  It only makes a mess and is NOT necessary since this is pie dough.

Sealed all around with the tines of a fork.  And then to trim the edges.......

I used my pizza cutter to trim off the excess dough.  Worked like a charm.  Brushed them all with eggwash (beaten egg and a teaspoon of water mixed together).

When they were baked, I had a tasty lunch, or snack.  I love them both hot and cold as does my family.  I haven't made these since I moved here in Oct. so it was a great pleasure to enjoy them again.
Hope you all have a good day.