Saturday, August 12, 2017

Etsy Site


I am in the process of setting up an Etsy site to sell some of my baskets.  Slow internet and slow brain are making this an arduous process.  I even downloaded new photo editing software, but I need a child to teach me how to use it.

As of this time, I have three baskets listed.  I'll try to upload another one today or tomorrow. I also need to make more as I have a craft show coming up in October and I need to have a lot of stock for that.  I have sent 10 baskets to a friend in California and she will try to sell some at the craft fairs where she sells other items.

I have named the site SgfCreations.  I would have like to make it two words, but that is not allowed on Etsy.  Would you like to see my Etsy site?  I would love some input.  Go check it out and let me know what you think.  I need more photos on the site and will be working on that in the coming days.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Blueberry Peach Dump Cake

I will admit to scrolling through Facebook.  The best thing about it, in my opinion, is the many different recipes.  I get bored with eating or making the same thing over and over.  This recipe I found on Tip Hero and, with some modifications, we had some last night. Obviously this makes enough for a family, so we will be enjoying it for some time to come.

A dump cake is one in which you assemble the cake in layers and don't spend time mixing.  After you get the ingredients together you dump them in and bake.  Easy, right?

Blueberry Peach Dump Cake

3/4 cup butter, plus more for the baking dish
flour, also for the baking dish
1 pound peeled and sliced peaches
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pint blueberries
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 box yellow cake mix OR use the following:
     1 1/4 cups flour
     3/4 cup sugar
     2 teaspoons baking powder
     1/2 teaspoon baking soda
     1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans

   

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter a 9X13 baking dish.  Sprinkle it with about 1 Tablespoon of flour and shake it to distribute it evenly.  This will prevent the cobbler from sticking.  Set aside.

   

Place the peach slices in the dish and drizzle them with the lemon juice.  Add the blueberries.  Add the vanilla to the juice and pour over the fruit..  Sprinkle the sugar over the top.  

   

If you are making your own cake mix, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk to mix and dump over the fruit. If you are using a cake mix, then dump it over the fruit.  

   

Gently use a fork to spread out the flour mixture and then gently shake the dish to settle the cake mix among the fruit.  Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon.  Slice the butter into small pats and place on top.  Sprinkle the chopped nuts over everything and slide this into the oven.

   

Easy, right?

   

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  The cake should be a golden brown and spring back when touched. I baked mine for 50 minutes.

   

Serve warm.  Even better, serve warm with ice cream!  

   

The buttery topping was crisp and delicious. the fruit was flavorful and the creaminess of the ice cream added a level of pleasure to this dessert.  Actually, for us, this was dinner.  We can no longer eat a full meal and then enjoy a dessert without feeling too full.  So we decided to do what they say and enjoy dessert first.  Or, in our case, only.

   

Friday, July 28, 2017

We Don't Own Cows

Sometimes after a big storm we find that a few cows have wondered up to our driveway.  Or up by the house.  We don't own cows.

This usually means a tree has fallen on the fence line up in the woods.  This allows the cows from the neighbor over the hill to wander from their property, through the woods to our grassy, green pastures. You know, the ones that look greener than their pastures.

  

Cows seem sort of like cats in this regard.  What's over there that might be more interesting than over here?

When our dog, RJ,  sees these cows he runs at them barking, hoping to chase them off.  He does this to the deer frequenting our property and they turn around and dash into the woods, with their white tails flapping behind them.  This is very satisfying.

Beef cows don't run from RJ.  He doesn't scare them in the least.  After all, they outweigh him by more than 1000 pounds. That's half a ton.  When he runs barking at them, they stare him down.   RJ stops stops barking and trots back to us. He doesn't act cowed by them, pun intentional.  He acts as though he has done his job and we can go about our business.

  

After a few of these visits, we got the name of the man behind us and now we call him to come and get them.  He doesn't try to chase them home, either.  He shakes a grain bucket and lures them home.

  

By this time the cows have had a grand adventure.  They got to sample some greener grass, they got to intimidate a dog and they got a mid day treat.  No wonder they love to visit us!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Should I Be Worried?

I heard RJ barking.  This is not unusual.  He barks at deer and other wildlife.  He barks at the various delivery trucks.  The drivers carry dog treats, so his barking is to remind us to let him out for a biscuit.

  

I looked for RJ and found him in the front yard.  He was looking up at the roof and barking away.  I went outside to see what was bothering him so much.

  

This is what I found.  Yes.  A buzzard.  He was just sitting on the roof, biding his time.

  

I guess I'll be dead soon.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Truck Bed

Semi trucks drive back and forth across the country every day. Most of them have a sleeper cab behind the driver's seat so that the trucker can pull over and sleep when needed.  Some are fancy with a TV and a refrigerator and some are quite simple.

The bed in the cab-over semi Lee recently bought is one of the simple ones.  Most likely this is because the whole cab lifts up to access the engine underneath and anything not locked down will fall forward.

Lee has been working on the truck, but I am no mechanic so I can't help with that.  I decided to help him refurbish the sleeping area.

  

First off, the mattress is disgusting.  There are unknown stains on it.  I'm hoping they are spilled Cokes.

  

But it has to go.

  

Every job on the interior of this truck starts with tossing the supplies up and then climbing inside.  Don't forget anything, because climbing in and out is a pain.

  

The platform the mattress sits on also needed help.  I cleaned it and gave it a fresh coat of paint.  I had to tie the seat belts up and off the platform.

  

I guess they are there so one guy can drive and another can sleep, but still have seat belts on so they don't fly through the windshield in an accident.  On the other hand, it could just be to secure the mattress when they lift the cab.  Who cares about the driver!

  

I had to buy a new, kind of pricey, non-standard size, mattress to replace the old mattress.  Because, ewww.  Then I had to buy similarly pricey sheets.  Good thing Lee had a birthday recently.  The refurbished sleeping area is my gift to him.

  

I'm storing the mattress in a guest room for the moment.  I worry about mice setting up housekeeping in it when we aren't really using the truck.  I bought sheets and a spread to use when Lee takes the truck to a cruise in or truck show.  I won't be sleeping in there.  The A/C  in the truck isn't currently working.  But it will look nice all tricked out.

My job is done.  What is taking Lee so long?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bruschetta

  

I have really enjoyed the bruschetta at a local restaurant called Tizzone's.  Recently I decided to make my own.  In addition to the usual ingredients, tomatoes, onions, ( I use the sweet Vidalia onions) green onions, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I bought an avocado.

I found a nice baguette in the bakery section.  What I did not find in the produce section was basil.  I need to plant some, because our Kroger store is frequently out.  I bought some cilantro instead.  So my treat will be a combination of pico de gallo and bruschetta!

  

I chopped all the produce and mixed everything together with some salt and pepper.  I left it to meld the flavors and cut the baguette into diagonal slices.  These I toasted in the toaster oven and placed on a plate.

  

There is a trend now to make avocado toast.  I thought that would make a great addition to the meal.  I placed a wedge of avocado on each piece of toast and smashed it down with a fork.

  

Then I added the tomato mixture.

  

I cut up an orange and we had dinner ready for our al fresco dining on the screened porch in the back of our house.

  

This meal was a hit for both of us.  What I did not anticipate was that the avocado really enhanced the bruschetta.

  

It kept the vinegar and olive oil from making the toast soggy.  It also kept the tomatoes and onions from biting back on our rapidly aging stomachs!

  

It was a perfect summer meal.

Mini Orchard

We have a few fruit trees.  They were planted at different times so they are various sizes.  The oldest is 8 years.  The newest was probably planted about 4 years ago.

Every year there has been one problem or another.  The peaches developed peach leaf curl, so now I spray for that every winter.

The dead wilted leaves are the result of the fire blight.

The apple trees developed fire blight.  I have been fighting that for years. You can only treat fire blight two ways.  One is by cutting off the affected limbs.  Other than that, you must spray every three days after you see the buds and until they flower out.  I did this AGAIN this year.  It is better, but every week or so another branch starts wilting.

  

One year we had quite a few peaches on a young tree.  There was just enough to make a pie. The next morning when I went out to pick them,  the entire tree was stripped of peaches and there were a lot of peach pits under it.  We had a small wire fence around the tree and some small animal had bent up the bottom and had a feast.  The last few years we have had a problem with a late freeze after the peaches have bloomed.  This kills the blossoms and means no fruit for the year.

  

The late freeze this year destroyed the apricot blossoms.  One of the peach trees is a late bloomer, so it has lots of peaches.


  


I may actually get some fruit this year!  I will have to fight off the deer and other fruit lovers, but that is RJ's job.

  

The early blooming peach has a few peaches on it, but they look damaged and spotty.  If you are a peach tree expert, send help!  I am supposing the frost damaged the blossoms a bit, but not enough to totally destroy it.  They may be edible.  I'll find out in a few weeks

If you are an expert, I know I have put off trimming the trees. I plan to catch up this winter.

  

I have a few plums on the young plum tree.  That looks promising!

The Granny Smith tree with the worst of the fire blight has a few apples, but we have two of them and the healthier Granny has quite a few apples!

  

When my sister died I was devastated.  My friends at the Fincastle library got together and bought me a pear tree.  It now has a few pears for the first time.  I will think of her every time I eat one.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Peach Shortcake

I saw a recipe for strawberry shortcake using a donut for the shortcake.  That sounded interesting. But then I heard that Bryant Orchards had opened.  They pick fresh peaches each day and put them in their store.  If you have only eaten peaches from the grocery store, you have never tasted a real peach.  The ones at Bryant Orchards are sweet and delicious and not mealy and hard like those in the grocery stores.

I decided to get some fresh peaches and make a Peach shortcake using donuts!

Peach Shortcake

Peaches
Donuts
Greek Vanilla Yogurt

  

This is super easy! Peel and slice the peaches.

  

Slice the donuts horizontally.  Place some peach slices on one half of a donut.  Spoon some yogurt on top of the slices and then cover the yogurt with more peaches.  Put the other half of the donut on top and you're done!

  

I took the finished picture and was a little disappointed.  It didn't look too exciting.

  

Fortunately I had a can of whipped cream in the refrigerator.  That made a better picture.  And added fun to the shortcake!

  

I was thinking a giant scoop of ice cream would make it even better, but I didn't have any ice cream.  If you have ice cream, then I would definitely add a scoop!

Grilled California Chicken

Have you noticed that you can make almost any recipe a "California" recipe by adding an avocado?  That is what this is.  A great chicken recipe.....with avocado.  I started with a recipe from Delish and made minor changes.

This is a great recipe for the grill, but we don't have one, so I used my George Foreman grill.  Don't judge me.  It counts!

Grilled California Chicken

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
pinch Kosher salt
ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1 avocado, sliced
4 slices tomato
3 Tablespoons sliced basil IF YOUR STUPID GROCERY STORE HAS ANY!
sourdough bread, optional

  

Balsamic Glaze

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

  

Place the chicken breasts in a gallon size Ziploc bag.  Mix up all the ingredients listed above chicken breasts. This is the marinade.  Pour it over the chicken.

  

Place the sealed bag in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Longer is better.

  

Use the wait time to slice up the toppings and make the glaze.

  

Pour the balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan and add the brown sugar.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Stir frequently until it is reduced by half.  Easy, right?  Set it aside for later.  Mine thickened too much to drizzle when it cooled, so I just reheated it and then it was perfect.  And quite tasty!

  

Grill the chicken until it is no longer pink in the middle.  If you have an instant read thermometer, it should be 170 ยบ.  Don't remove them from the grill.

  

Place the mozzarella, avocado and tomatoes on top of the chicken breasts.  Cover them to melt the cheese.

Place the chicken on toasted sourdough bread and drizzle the very delicious balsamic glaze over the top.  Sprinkle with basil, assuming your store didn't run out on you.....

  

My avocado didn't want to stay where it belonged.  I just smashed it on the toasted sourdough and placed the chicken on the avocado toast.  Avocado toast is a new ..ish.. trend and I happen to be trendy!