Monday, December 7, 2020

Blue Hearts & The End Of My Blog

Early on during the corona virus, I did this project.
When we put scalloped wood trim on the guest cottage door,
we had some of the trim leftover.  I had my husband cut it into hearts.
I painted it, distressed it. Wrote "HOPE" on the pop caps --
and promptly forgot about them.

I just came across these pics.
I don't even know what I did with the hearts!
Chalk it up to "corona brain".

I started this blog to document all the antique furniture that I fixed up and sold.
And other vintage items I worked on.  
(I should have started it way before 2014.)
Then I documented getting my NW Missouri home ready to sell.
Next fixing up the new Ozark home.
Getting through the corona virus.
And lastly building and decorating the guest cottage.
(By the way, we have had every weekend booked since
we launched on AirBNB the first weekend of November!)
I have decided if I need to "document" something else I will start another blog.
It's a bit bittersweet, but this one has ran it's course.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Recipe For Brownies Made With Pumpkin Puree

Most quirky recipes that have pumpkin puree use it as a trade for fat or oil.  Not this bad boy.  1 1/2 sticks of butter PLUS the pumpkin.  Maybe it makes it more moist.  I am still in the midst of trying out different (odd) pumpkin puree recipes.


3/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 T. water
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup half and half
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 9x9" pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Add eggs, sugars, water & vanilla to cooled butter.  Whisk to combine.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until it is smooth.  Add flour and only mix until combined.  Bake about 25 min -- don't overbake.  The brownies will set up more after they cool.  Take them out of the pan with the foil to prevent drying out after taking them out of the oven.  After about 30 minutes make the ganache (really adds to brownie flavor).  Heat half and half in microwave until hot -- add chocolate chips and let it sit for a few minutes before stirring.  spread on brownies while warm. Weird and wonderful.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Stone Walkway Leading To Guest Cottage & Lighting Bling


This post comes after hosting our first two groups of AirBNB guests.  The hosting went fairly well -- other than a leaky shower and neighbors shooting fireworks at 3 am.  Both items now under control.  We have guests booked for all the other November weekends, so we are off to a good start.

Obviously the walkway was completed before then. But my husband did such a great job with it, I needed to take pics of it.  And then we added solar lights along the walkway... icing on the cake.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Two Recipes For Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins


The first "recipe" (if you can even call it that) has three ingredients.  I first ate these pumpkins at a down-home bakery and a worker let it slip that they had canned pumpkin in  them.  So after I wiped the gooey melty chocolate chips off of my fingers I googled "Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins" and found the secret:

1 box chocolate cake mix

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree or 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree

chocolate chips (I  like the really dark ones)

Mix all three ingredients (use about 1 cup of the chips to start, add more until you think "enough").  Spoon in to cupcake liners or sprayed cupcake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until done.

(Surprisingly good, no pumpkin taste)

But I have given up cake mixes, or any "mixes". So I had to look for a real Chocolate Pumpkin Muffin recipe.  The only problem -- I didn't have any eggs.

1.5 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup water

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

1 T. white vinegar

1.5 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or put liners in one cupcake pan (12 cupcakes.) Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl, and all moist ingredients in another.  Then combine them, without overmixing. Add chocolate chips. Fill cupcake holders 2/3 full and bake 20-22 minutes.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

"Processing" My ONE Pumpkin & A Pumpkin Bread Recipe


We all recall my ONE pumpkin.  I planted, oh... say around 75 plants and they produced ONE pumpkin.  My fault for not watering during a very dry summer.  I lost so much interest, that I can't even remember the three varieties of pumpkin that I planted.  I want to be a major producer of pumpkins (and by that I mean maybe 100, not an outlandish amount.) So I want to be able to tell buyers how to cook their pumpkin, if they are those kind of people.  (I come from people that decorated with pumpkins and compassionately put them out for the trash the following week.)

This method of cooking pumpkin saves you from arm strain trying to cut up a raw pumpkin, and it gives a glorious bright orange steamed puree:
First I gently washed Mr. Pumpkin and stabbed him several times with a large carving knife (you can understand why my peeps were squeamish about this.) I took out the top rack of the oven and turned it on to 400 degreees.  I lined a large cookie tray with foil and set the whole entire pumpkin on it (jabbed, but not cut up.)  It was a large pumpkin with thick walls, so I think that I left it in 90 minutes.  Until you could literally stick a fork in it and have it feel tender.  A smaller pumpkin would not take so long.  Take it out and let it cool.  Cut the cooled pumpkin in two.  Spoon out guts and seeds (a better person than I would have roasted the seeds.)  Cut away the skin.  Put chunks of cooked pumpkin in a food processor until smooth.  Try to get as much orange goo scattered around the kitchen as you possibly can. As you can see, I put two cups in each zip lock baggy (I got 12 CUPS out of my ONE pumpkin!) You can keep it for a week in the fridge, or put it in the freezer.

For my first pumpkin recipe (more to come) I made two mini traditional pumpkin breads.
The recipe makes one regular sized loaf or two minis.

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 T pumpkin pie spice (I made my own, recipe below)
1 cup flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
(if you want a cream cheese swirl mix 8 oz cream cheese (softened), one egg, 1/8 cup sugar, 3 T flour and swirl it in.  Don't make my mistake -- do use regular full fat cream cheese.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line pan (s) with foil.  Combine all moist ingredients in one bowl, and dry in a different bowl.  Fold in the dry until just combined. Spoon into pan (s) and bake 45-50 for the regular sized loaf pan, less for smaller.

Pumpkin Pie Spice:

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Eight Months Of Changing My Diet

 I am still learning.  Evolving.  Especially in my eating habits.  This week I read about how bad soy sauce is for you -- not just the sodium.  Look it up if you are interested -- I am not going to preach about it here.  

But I did throw out FIVE bottles of  soy sauce or sauce that had soy in it.  It made me wonder what changes were next because I had already made SO MANY this year. More about that later. 

The changes that I have made:  I had blood work done in February that showed that I had high cholesterol.  I could either make some changes or take medication.  These are the permanent changes that I have made in my eating -- from now to forever, amen. (Like 2020 was not going to be hard enough without giving up junk food.)

1.  DEEP FRIED STUFF. No more, ever.  I have never been a huge french fry fanatic, so that isn't what hurt.  But it was giving up Chic-Fila sandwiches.  So sad.  Yeah, I can still have their grilled chicken sandwich, but it really isn't the same.  And no more onion rings or sweet potato fries. Fried cheese curds. Doughnuts.  Kiss it all goodbye.  Gone.  

2.  DESSERT MIXES.  No more desserts made from boxes.  I make a dessert once a week, and I have decided that I don't really know what is in those boxes -- so I will make it from scratch. Also no cornbread mix. Same with eating out -- we love a certain bakery type of restaurant -- and if the restaurant makes a great dessert from scratch then we will split one.  So it goes without saying -- "store bought" cookies and desserts are out.  Adios to Oreos and Little Debbie cakes.

3.  BREAD.  Don't worry, I am not giving up bread.  Just no more white bread.  Ideally I would make wheat bread myself.  Next choice is what comes from our favorite bakery restaurant.  It is $6 but we put it in the freezer and use it sparingly.  Third choice is wheat bread from a local amish bakery, only $3 a loaf -- I load up on that when we can get it.  Fourth choice is bread from a health food store that is locally made -- and it is $7 a loaf.  Last choice is a good quality loaf from the local grocery store -- probably about $5 but still loaded with a bunch of ingredients I am not familiar with.

4.  PASTA.  Not giving that up either.  But using a 50% rule.  Using at least 50% whole wheat pasta or 50% vegie noodles along with regular pasta.

5.  HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.  Out.  And it is in so many things.  Jams, breads, ketchup, ice cream.  You really have to read the label because it sneaks into so much.

6.  PROCESSED MEATS.  Out.  Hot dogs (which I LOVE), sausage, pepperoni, bologna.  All gone.

7.  PIZZA.  The main change here kind of goes back to #3.  I won't eat the pizza if the restaurant does not make the crust from scratch.  Papa Murphy's does.

8.  POTATO CHIPS.  I don't even need to go into all of the reasons.  I can't even pretend that they have anything beneficial.  I don't think I have eaten even one since February.

9.  ICE CREAM.  It deserves it's own category.  Our grocery store sells a brand that has five ingredients listed on the front: milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, vanilla bean.  Yes, I will eat that.  We live near a college that makes ice cream from their own herd of dairy cows -- yep, I will eat that.  But the regular tub of ice cream with unpronounceable ingredients -- nope.

10.  DRINKS.  I am only drinking water (we have great well water), tea (unsweetened) and milk.  I just had gum surgery this year so I am trying to avoid anything with acid.  

I have also ADDED a few things to my diet -- more fish, vegies.  But I think what I have subtracted is the most important. It will be interesting to look back on this list in a few years.  Will I be avoiding more types of food?  Maybe less sugar?  

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Tour Of Stonecrest Cottage Living Room


Our loveseat finally arrived via UPS.
It fits into the guest cottage perfectly.
The living room seats four,
which is the maximum sleep number.

We donated our 8 year old TV to the cottage,
and bought ourselves a new one.

Better view of the loveseat.
I had actually bought five pillows for this living space,
and only two fit.

View from the bedrooms hallway to the front of the house.
20'x24' still feels spacious.
We are hoping to list it on AirBNB in the next few days.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tour Of Stonecrest Cottage Kitchen


We are within a few days of launching on AirBNB.  It has taken so long, that it is hard to believe it is about to happen.  A few more tiny details.  Above is an overview of the kitchen.  Tiny, but everything you might need.  And nicer than my own in several ways.

The hickory table.  Seats four, extra chairs in the closet.

Some dishes are new, some are from the thrift store.
Since it only sleeps four I don't have to have huge stacks of dishes.

Part of the farm animal theme that runs throughout.

Full sized appliances and a microwave.
It is definitely going to be helpful having a second
kitchen when we host the family reunion next year.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Amish Heritage Tomatoes


We went into Amish country last week to order a pair
of adirondack chairs.  And stopped by the general store to
pick up some baked goods - and tomatoes. 

These were slightly brownish purple on the outside.
And made yummy grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, October 16, 2020

First Frost, Pumpkin Washout, and Ode To Cherry Tomatoes

First frost last night.  Sigh. These were my brave nasturtiums, which flourished despite 6 weeks without rain.  I see their cheerful faces straight out of my kitchen window.  This is the second summer I planted them there, and will probably grow them again next spring.

I also harvested my ONE pumpkin.
I planted too late, and couldn't haul enough water for the drought.
And I forgot what kind I planted.
I don't think the final product is supposed to be dark green.

Plus an armadillo took a taste.
(Maybe wasn't an armadillo, but we blame everything on armadillos.)
Better luck next year.

The frost also took my cherry tomato plants.
These were volunteer plants from ones that I planted last year --
but those DID NOT thrive.  These were SUPER HERO tomatoes.
They took the drought.  They took the chickens (who learned how to 
wait for the ripe orange color, and then would leap up and pick them).
They took the two year old who came and picked to his hearts desire.

I did pick any last night that were starting to turn.
But now I wish I would have read up on whether I should
 have picked the green ones.
The vines were not "dying back" after summer, 
without a frost I think that they would have kept producing for weeks.

The cherry tomatoes were a literal bright spot in 2020.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Making Basil Pesto With Almonds


I had a good crop of basil this year.
Despite quite a major draught.
I know freezing temps are around the corner,
so I decided to harvest most of the plants.
Most of it I am going to air dry.

When I looked at this recipe,
I thought "No problem, I have all of those ingredients".
I was picturing making a mountain of pesto.

Then I got my parmesan container out of the fridge.
Ouch.  Well, enough for two rounds of the recipe.

I have a tiny food processor, so it only held a single recipe.
Later I found a recipe that included lemon juice,
and I would probably add that the next time.

I searched for a cute jar,
then found out it only keeps 5-6 days in the fridge.
So I will probably freeze it on a sheet pan,
cut it up, and put it in a plastic ziploc in the freezer.

Blue Hearts & The End Of My Blog

Early on during the corona virus, I did this project. When we put scalloped wood trim on the guest cottage door, we had some of the trim ...