Monday, July 15, 2013

BIRTHDAY, FOOD TALK AND A COUPLE OF PROJECTS

Terry was out of town in Springfield, Missouri on his birthday.  We had a hard time coordinating everyone's schedules to celebrate when he got back. As it turned out, we ended up going to Cracker Barrel for breakfast one morning, and then we all went to a matinee movie. 

Terry is very easy to buy for.  He likes Dillard's gift cards (he gets his clothes there when they mark them way down), cologne, and he always wants Rachel to stock him up with his favorite hair spray.  :)  (Note the Christmas bag...all I had at home!)

 
Terry always gets emotional when he reads his birthday cards.  Rachel made him this plaque, and of course he got teary-eyed when reading it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I was able to have dinner with my friend, Shirley Gould.  It has been two months since J.R. passed away.  We had such a nice visit.  Shirley is such a strong woman, and I actually came away encouraged by her.  Although she is heartbroken, at the same time I see an inner peace in her that only God can give.  We both talked about J.R. and the great memories we have of him, and it was very therapeutic.  She is a special lady, that's for sure.  I took this picture with my phone in bad lighting, thus not the best quality.
 
 
Rachel found a place on-line called Bulk Natural Foods where you can order all kinds of things.  It is a natural food co-op.  She ordered a 25-pound box of peaches for $16.00.  She gave me around half of hers which was 41 peaches.  Since she and I make a lot of smoothies after we work out, I decided to freeze some so I could just take them out of the bag frozen and put them in my smoothie rather than using ice.  Rachel sent me a link on-line telling how to freeze them, so I thought I'd share with you how I did it.


If you look closely, you can see that on top of my peaches I used a knife and cut an X.  So I got a big pan of water and brought it to a boil.  Then, I put my peaches in and let them boil for maybe 45 seconds.  When I took them out of the boiling water, I dropped them immediately into cold water.  I ran water in the sink and then added ice cubes to make it really cold.  After the peaches had cooled enough that I could hold them, I just lifted up the edges where I made the X, and the skin just peeled right off.


After removing the skin, I cut the peaches in half, removed the pit, and then cut them in slices.  I put them all in a big bowl and then covered them with water and lemon juice (ratio of one tablespoon of lemon juice to two cups of water).  This is to prevent browning.  I stirred them around really good and then rinsed them. 


I didn't want the peaches to be in big clumps when I put them in the freezer bags, so I put them on cookie sheets and put them in the freezer for a few hours.  I put aluminum foil on the cookie sheets so they would be easier to remove. I just peeled the paper off the back.  I didn't mind if some were kind of stuck together.  I then put them in my freezer bags and popped them in the freezer.


On that note, I have to insert a little commercial here.  Rachel has a machine called a Vita-Mix which is great!   It is powerful, and she uses it all the time.  The blender I had wasn't crushing the ice very well for my smoothies.  I would love to have a Vita-Mix, but although it is definitely worth it, it is a little pricey, and I really didn't want to spend that much.  I was in Kohl's and came across this:

It is called a Ninja, and it is amazing!  I can put ice in it, and with just a few pulses the ice is like powder.  So, now I can make a smoothie in a jiffy.  We love cole slaw, but I hate chopping the cabbage.  Now, I can put it in my Ninja and with just a couple of pulses the cabbage is chopped perfectly.  A word of caution, though...it will also "ninja" your fingers.  I cut myself twice really bad reaching into it to get something out, and the machine was off.  So, KEEP YOUR FINGERS OUT OF THE MACHINE!!

I decided that I wanted to make some freezer peach jam, so Rachel and I ordered a box each the next week.  I LOVE peach jam. I googled freezer peach jam and found a recipe using low-sugar pectin.  It turned out great!!


If you are interested in checking out Bulk Natural Foods, you can find it HERE:  They have pick-up sites all over the state.  Rachel picked ours up in Ashland City. 

I've had a garden crisis over the last couple of weeks.  First of all, the leaves on my tomato plants started drying up.  Terry told me I always water my garden too much, so I had intentionally not watered it much.  Finally, I went out and broke all the dead stems and leaves off.  Then, we got all the rain, and it really looked good, and I had some big tomatoes ready to ripen. The, the other day I walked out to my garden and found this:


I was so upset.  Someone had told me to buy an owl to put up but I hadn't done it yet.  So, I put it up but had a hard time with it.  It's head wouldn't turn after I got it up.  And it obviously didn't work, but the next day there were lots more with bites all in them, and I have seen birds in the garden from my kitchen window.


I've had a lot of suggestions on Facebook including using old VHS film, old CD's, putting water out for the birds, using aluminum plates that shine and make noise.  I haven't done any of that yet, but I have been picking the tomatoes when they first start turning and putting them in the window to ripen.   

I found this little iron piece at a garage sale:


It was really chippy which I like, but I wanted it a little less dramatic.  So, I got a paintbrush and took some off-white paint and lightly and randomly brushed over it. 


Here it is when I first started going over it.


The finished product.  I have never had much success with live plants inside, but I decided to try my hand at it again.  I'm hoping for the best with them.  I decided to put it in front of the fireplace for a summer look.

Terry and I were eating in a restaurant, and I saw this sign on the wall and took a picture of it with my phone:


A friend had given me some old barn wood.  I took a piece of it and just went over it with some green paint.  Then I used my Silhouette to make the BLESSED stencil and made my own version of the sign.




I decided to put it over my mantle.  It describes perfectly how I feel every day, BLESSED, BLESSED, BLESSED.  Thank you, God, for your blessings on me!!

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