Friday, March 17, 2023

Sewing Projects, and more Cooking Exploits

 I've been continuing to work on my various sewing projects and even to invest in some more colorful fabrics for quilts, trivets or whatever else I can dream up. When we head out west I will have a bag full of trivet supplies to take for my amusement. The quilt topper is finished and now I just need to sew on the backing. Being as this is the first quilt I've made, I am finding this last step a bit daunting. I'm using a fleece throw and I'm not sure how easy it will be to work around the edges with. I know, it's 85° out and I need a quilt why? 😀 It will look pretty on the bed during the day and on the floor at night, lol.

Crazy bright puff quilt topper - tada! Each fabric square represents
material I used to make a trivet with, so I love them all so much.

I had also decided to downsize my cross-body purse to something more dainty. The big one is great for travelling and has, in addition to the essentials, every manner of things in it, like lotion, mints, a nail file, meds, & wet wipes, but around town for errands, too big & unwieldy.

I happened upon some fairly decent looking faux leather fabric at Walmart and figured that would do fine. $5 later, here's what I ended up with, a quick little bag with velcro closure. It'll hold wallet, phone, keys, lipstick, advil and that's about it.

The other night after a big shopping day, (grocery, drugstore, library,, I was pooped so I pulled out of the freezer an old standby - a beef and black bean burrito.  Add the fancy Tex-Mex rice w/onions, corn and cheese & you've got a delicious gem. I use a combination of enchilada sauce & salsa, plus a dollop of the chipotle sauce mixed in as a topper while cooking.

Believe it or not, we get 1 dinner each and 1 breakfast (w/egg)
each and we still feel like we pigged out a bit. So good.

I've been tackling a few pressure canning opportunities as I find meat on sale, (Ms. Frugal here 😊), and this week I found 10# bags of chicken leg quarters on sale for $4.70 a bag! I bought 2. There are about 10 leg quarters per bag, and sure, they have a fair amount of skin/fat on them and may have come from older birds, but they're great in a casserole, a stew, or even pulled off the bone for burritos or chicken salad.  I set some aside raw to grill later, and froze a few too.

I chose quart-sized jars and got 5 quarts.
Each quart held something like 3-4 drums and 2-3 thighs.

I can them using the raw pack method, so after rinsing, I skin them, take off excess fat and cut the drum/thigh apart. Most of them have a small portion of the back attached (with the oyster), so I cut those off too and use them to make broth. Into clean jars, bone and all, with just a skosh of chicken stock and some salt. They cook in their own juices. Great to have a few of these handy for soups or easy meals.

And lastly on the food topics, I was (finally) on the other side of town within easy reach of this fantastic Oriental Market - they are huge and have been at that location for many years. I was on the hunt for dried mushrooms. After trying to source them online, I decided I'd rather pick them out in person, and at a better price.  Eons ago, I took a cooking class with the emphasis on Chinese dishes and enjoyed using Cloud Ear mushrooms. I have wanted to round up another package, so we made a stop. I bought 3 different types to try, as well as some ultra fresh bean sprouts. We'll see how they do.

2 different types of shitake's and one of the cloud ear
 (black fungus is how it's labelled).

The reason we were on the other side of town was to freshen-up the funerary flowers on the family plot. We try to get by a couple of times a year. I can't believe it's been 5 years since Ed's Mom passed, talk about time flying by.. we certainly still miss her!

Finally, from my Irish roots and for my Mom & Sister, both born on this date, I'd like to wish you a 

Well, that's about it for today, thanks for stopping by and check back again soon. Appreciate you taking the time to read it. 💚

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Azaleas, and our Cruiser's Potluck

 Once again it's that time of year for the big azalea bloom-out and boy, did they! The problem was that we had a spell of HOT weather shortly after they bloomed and within 2 weeks (or less) it was over; brown, spent flowers drooping then falling to litter the ground. Sad, so sad. I love seeing the bushes blanketed with the pink's, fushia's, salmon's & white's. Here's one pic of some bushes by the pool that aren't fully out yet but close.

The landscapers stop trimming the azaleas in the fall
to ensure a good bloom, that's why they look leggy.

Here's one right out front in the roadway median. There was a big uproar around here regarding a severe pruning of the common area azalea bushes. They had gotten to be 6' tall and needed to fill-out not get taller. Anyway, a severe "murdering" occurred a couple of years ago and they're looking stunning; short and stout with a ton of blooms! Good job grounds committee.

You can also see the storm security door we recently
installed which allows us to leave the front door open
for nice breezes through the house, and for
when we're sitting in our small courtyard area.

My friend Nancy is in the process of moving to a new apartment complex, so I offered her some moving boxes we had from my M-I-L's house. When she came by, we not only had a great little visit with her but she brought books! Many by my favorite mystery/thriller authors, thanks a bunch Nancy!

I generally don't keep many hardcover books, so I will 
begin whittling the pile down right away. Many are re-reads,
but I don't mind that one bit.

On the cooking front I made another beef pot pie, with Tex-Mex overtones - lots of cumin and cumin seed, california chili powder and some reconstituted dried chili's/garlic paste. So good, a big hit with the boss.

Beef pot pie with flourishes, lol.

I've also been stocking up on silk flowers (on sale) for spring/summer bouquet baskets. Surprisingly Walmart had some really gorgeous flower bunches they were selling for $1, and some full, pretty forsythia picks for $.25, I couldn't pass them up!  When I make up these baskets they go outside where they live until they are completely beat up by the brutal summer sun/heat. I toss them and make new ones using thrift store straw baskets or wreaths and silk flowers. I don't have the skill or patience for live plants anymore.

Really nice little find.

Now for the fun part. We went down to Rodman Dam to meet up with Marlene/Benno of  fame, our long-time cruising friends formerly of m/v 'Diesel Duck' and Allayne/Dennis, our good friends from Venezuelan cruising days and formerly of s/v 'Audrey Paige'. They are from the northland and winter here in FL, visiting family in the area.

From the left clockwise; Dennis, Marlene, Benno,
Allayne, Ed and Harley chilling out nearby.

 The meetup location got mixed-up but we all ended up in a nice picnic pavilion with 2 tables, ideal for a potluck situation. Just by the river there were some folks fishing and tearing it up - catching mainly mullet, which are really good smoked. They were catching them left and right, we were jealous of all the good fishing fun. 

Perfect spot to chill out and fish from.

Just down from the dam the "fishing" birds hang out; cormorants, anhinga's, ducks and whatever.

In addition, there are always a few osprey around too.

After a few hours the heat got a little too brutal
so we hugged all around and went our separate ways.

It was a shame that Nancy couldn't make it but it's on again for next year, God willing (and the creeks don't rise).

Here are a few more shots.

Marlene with her doxies Reggie and Elsa.

Everyone except Allayne who took this great shot.
There's never any lack of conversational gambits with this bunch,
every time we see each other it's like no time has gone by at all.

It was a great day out and about and has been a fun few weeks as well.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit. We love comments should you feel so inclined. 😄