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Thursday, April 18, 2013


My youngest son asked me if I could make breakfast
for a men's retreat this coming weekend.
So I began to look for recipes that would feed
the young men heartily.  I found the recipe online.
I want to share the recipe with you.
It's very easy to make and delicious.


2 1/2 cups season croutons
1 pound pork sausage
4 eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach - thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms drained and chopped
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 sprigs fresh parsley for garnish

  1. Spread the croutons on bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.  Crumble the sausage into medium skillet.  Cook over medium heat until browned.  Drain off any drippings.  Spread the sausage over the croutons.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until well blended.  Stir in soup, spinach, mushrooms, cheeses and mustard.  Pour egg mixture over sausage and croutons.  Refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next morning, preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until set and lightly browned on top.  Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve hot.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


When I've been invited to baby showers,
I will make a quilt for the baby.
I try to find out what the theme for the nursery is going to be.

I've been invited to a baby shower today and I made a quilt.
The parents are going to have a little boy.
His dad is a huge Nebraska Cornhusker fan!
I looked everywhere where I live for Nebraska fabric.
I had no success until I found the fabric online.
I ordered the fabric and designed the quilt.
Since they both work with CRU at Ball State,
I crocheted a blanket in red and white.
I still had some Nebraska fabric left and I wanted to use it.
So I made a car organizer for their little boy.

So off I go to the baby shower!

 The baby quilt all done!

 The backing fabric of white and black.

 The crocheted blanket to represent Ball State University.
This is my very first crocheted project.

The car organizer with the last of the Huskers fabric.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Last night, Jorge and I had one of our "sons" from the university over for dinner.
I was trying to figure out what to make for dessert.
I took one of my many cookbooks and searched.
Finally I found the recipe.  
The three ingredients are white chocolate,
peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate.
What could be better than that.

6 cups white chocolate melting wafers
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
    (1 oz. coarsely chopped)

Heat the melting wafers and peanut butter in a medium heavy saucepan on lowest heat, stirring often until almost melted.  Do not overheat.  Remove from heat.  Stir until smooth.  Spread evenly on waxed paper-line 11x 17 inch baking sheet.

 Put the chocolate into a small microwave safe bowl.  Microwave uncovered on medium for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until chocolate is almost melted.  Do not overheat.  Stir until smooth.  Transfer to small resealable freezer bag.  Snip tiny piece off one corner.  Drizzle chocolate over peanut butter mixture in zigzag pattern.  Swirl knife through mixture to create marbled effect.  Chill for about 30 minutes until set.  Remove from the pan and discard the waxed paper.  Break bark into irregular shaped pieces each.  Makes about 28 pieces.

 This is a picture from the cookbook.

 The cookbook where I found the recipe

I didn't have enough white chocolate.
So mine has more peanut butter.
It didn't matter because Jorge and Matt still loved it.


Thursday, April 4, 2013


The first Thursday of every month my guild meets.
We had a guest speaker from Quilt Expressions.
The quilt shop is in Fishers, Indiana.
 She showed many of her products and we shopped.

After her presentation, there was Show and Tell.
The ladies are awesome quilters.



Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Clean, Sharp Tools Work Better

Following a regular maintenance routine also means fewer blisters and backaches

With the short growing season here in Maine, I’d rather spend time gardening than tending to my tools. I’ll admit that in the past I’ve put away shovels that were dirty and rusty, set aside dull and stained hoes, and “fixed” the cracked handle of my favorite rake with a tight wrapping of electrician’s tape. As a result, my tools didn’t work as well as they should have. I’ve learned since then, though, that the time I wasted struggling with dull or broken tools would be better spent with a brief, regular maintenance regime and more efficient, productive hours in the garden.

Clean tools last longer

After every use, wash soil and grime from tools with a steady spray of water from the garden hose.
After every use, wash soil and grime from tools with a steady spray of water from the garden hose.

If nothing else, tools should be cleaned after each use. Doing so keeps diseases, fungi, insect eggs, and weed seeds from being unwittingly spread around the garden. Cleaning also extends the life of a tool by removing moisture-laden, rust enhancing soil from steel surfaces. For tools with a keen edge, a good cleaning keeps rust from eating the edge away.

Spades, rakes, hoes, trowels, and any other tools that come into contact with soil should be hosed off with water after each use. With the garden hose nozzle adjusted for maximum pressure, average garden soil washes away easily. To remove heavy clay soil, some scrubbing with a hard bristle brush also may be necessary. After washing any tool, dry it with a cotton rag before putting it away.

Tools that don’t come in contact with soil, particularly those with sharpened edges like axes, pruning shears, and knives, should be wiped down with a thick, rough cotton cloth to remove any gums and saps from their blades. When working on pitch-producing plants like conifers, dampen the cloth with a little paint thinner before wiping. In all cases, once dirt and residue are removed, dry the tool with a clean cotton rag.

Apply oil to prevent rust

Oil steel tool heads to prevent them from oxidizing. The oil creates a barrier between the air and the steel.
Oil steel tool heads to prevent them from oxidizing. The oil creates a barrier between the air and the steel.
Even after washing and drying, steel tool heads are still susceptible to rust when exposed to oxygen. In fact, as a general rule, the better the grade of steel used, the more vulnerable it is to rusting. So, considering the high cost of quality gardening tools, it just makes sense to keep rusting to a minimum.

Motor oil is an inexpensive and effective rust preventer. When applied to steel surfaces, the oil insulates the steel and prevents it from oxidizing. To thin the oil out and make it easier to work with and to better coat both porous and smooth steel surfaces, I mix one quart of nondetergent 30W motor oil (any brand will do) with a pint of kerosene or lamp oil. This 2:1 ratio of oil to kerosene can either then be wiped onto the steel surface with a clean cotton rag or sprayed on to metal surfaces—a recycled household-cleaner spray bottle works for me. Store the mixture away from heat sources and dispose of it as you would any motor oil.
Whichever way the oil is applied, keep the coating thin so it won’t drip off the tool head and onto the floor. Because oil is organically based and breaks down rapidly in soil, you don’t have to worry about this small amount of oil adversely affecting your soils.

Remove rust with a wire brush

Extremely rusty tools require special attention. I use a sheet of 80-grit sandpaper to remove light coatings of rust. For a slightly heavier coat, a stiff wire brush can be effective. But, when rust has turned a steel surface rough, like the texture of medium-grit sandpaper, a heavy-handed approach is needed. On badly pitted steel surfaces like those on tools you find at yard sales, the quickest and most sensible option is an electric drill with a wirebrush attachment.

 Sand away a light coating of rust. 80-grit sandpaper should be coarse enough to get the job done.   Use a wire brush to remove a layer of rust.   For a very heavy coat of rust, use a drill with a wire brush attachment.       
Sand away a light coating of rust. 80-grit sandpaper should be coarse enough to get the job done.
Use a wire brush to remove a layer of rust.
For a very heavy coat of rust, use a drill with a wire brush attachment.

Before taking any kind of wire brush to a tool, always put on a pair of safety glasses. The rust particles or the wire bristles can fly off at high speeds and in unpredictable directions.
Once I’ve removed as much rust as possible, I then apply a coat of my oil mixture to the newly exposed steel to stop the oxidation process in its tracks and keep in check the almost-invisible residual rust that I couldn’t remove.

Sharpen tools for peak efficiency

Sharpening tools is a slightly more complicated procedure than removing rust. Some tools like shovels, axes, hoes, and trowels are best sharpened with a hand file, while other tools like pruning shears and knives call for a honing stone. Depending on how dull an edge is, some tools may require a session with a high-speed grinding stone.

The tools needed for basic sharpening are neither expensive nor complicated. The most basic sharpening tool is an 8-inch-long mill file with a bastard cut (photo below, left), which you can purchase at any hardware store for about $8. When sharpening a tool with a mill file, work by drawing the cutting teeth in one direction over the edge being sharpened. For best results, hold the tool steady in a clamp, vise, or other bracing system, keeping the file at an angle from the plane of the tool’s working surface as you push it along the edge you are sharpening. And since sharpening edges with a mill file requires two hands, get one that has a handle on one end. This makes it easier to maneuver and get a good edge.

For pruning shears and knives, it’s possible to get good results with any of the diamond, ceramic, or high-carbon steel honing devices that are on the market. However, my experience with honing knives and pruning shears is confined to oil stones, which I find easy to use. When sharpening a blade on a stone, simply slide the blade over the flat surface of the stone in one direction until you reach the desired sharpness. No matter which device you choose to sharpen your cutting blades, it should come with directions for use.

Use a hand-held mill file to sharpen hoes and shovels. The key to successful sharpening is keeping the tool steady and the file at the proper angle.    Sharpen pruning blades and knives by sliding an oiled honing stone in one direction across the tool’s beveled edge.   
Use a hand-held mill file to sharpen hoes and shovels. The key to successful sharpening is keeping the tool steady and the file at the proper angle.  Sharpen pruning blades and knives by sliding an oiled honing stone in one direction across the tool’s beveled edge. 

Grind battered tools into shape

Grinding sharpens tools quickly. Lawn-mower blades and axes that take a lot of abuse deserve an annual trip to a grinder.
Grinding sharpens tools quickly. Lawn-mower blades and axes that take 
a lot of abuse deserve an annual trip to a grinder.
Since the grinding process removes metal quickly, only the most battered tools are candidates for regular grinding. Tools like lawn-mower blades and grub axes usually merit an annual trip to my grinder. An electric bench grinder is the best way to retrieve a keen edge because it has an adjustable tool-rest platform that allows for more exacting edges.

With a grinding wheel turning at several thousand rpm, the chances of overheating the steel are high. Overheated steel will lose its temper, which means its hardness becomes compromised and the tool will never be able to hold a sharpened edge for very long. So during grinding it’s very important to keep the tool from getting too hot, preferably keeping the surface cool enough to touch. Periodically immersing it in water is the standard cooling procedure.

High-speed grinding should be done with caution. Even with the extra eye shields provided on some machines, you should always wear safety glasses when grinding tools. A bench grinder/buffer can be purchased for around $40. You can also do some basic touch-up grinding with a small grinding wheel (less than $10) made to fit an electric drill.

Store each tool in its own space

Drill holes in tool handles so they can be easily hung from nails affixed to the walls of a garage or storage shed.
Drill holes in tool handles so they can be easily hung 
from nails affixed to the walls of a garage or storage shed.
It’s important to store your clean, oiled, and sharpened tools properly. I organize my tools according to when and where I use them. Weeding tools are near the door closest to the garden; cutting and pruning tools are near the door closest to the shrubs and woods. And I return them all to the same spot when I’m finished to save time looking for tools when it’s time to work.

Hanging your tools by their handles on a storage shed or garage wall not only keeps them out of the way but also prevents damage to sharpened edges. A 10-penny finish nail driven into a handy two-by-four is the easiest way to keep tools aloft. I drill 1/4-inch holes through the handles of my axes, shovels, hoes, rakes, and other long-handled tools so I can hang them on the nails. I like to keep the business end of the tool hanging toward the floor so when I pull the tool off its nail, it won’t swing down and hit something or someone.

I’ve seen the light—or at least have become more aware of my own dimness— as far as tool maintenance is concerned. Without being too compulsive about it, I now clean, sharpen, and repair all my gardening tools, even if they are only being set aside for a couple of weeks.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I found this recipe online and made it. 
This was very easy and delicious!

  • 12 tablespoons ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped in very large pieces
  • 1 package (17.3) ounce frozen puff pastry, defrosted.
For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Place a 12 cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to catch any butter that may ooze over.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups.  Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface.  Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right.  Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter.  Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins.  Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.  Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard.  Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide.  Place each piece, spiral side up, in the first six of the muffin cups.  Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch.  Be careful - they're hot!  Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.

Monday, April 1, 2013


I realized early this evening that I was all of out bread.
I most certainly did not want to go out and drive to the store.
So I got my handy cookbook and made the bread.

It's very easy to make.
Here's the recipe.

3 1/4 to 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon caraway seed
2 cups warm water (115° to 120° F)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups rye flour

In a bowl combine 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, the yeast, and caraway seed.  Mix the water, brown sugar, oil and salt.  Add it to the flour mixture.  Beat at low speed with your mixer for 1/2 minute scraping the bowl.  (I have a Kitchenaid Mixer).  Beat 3 minutes at high speed.  Stir in the rye flour and as much of the remaining all purpose flour as you can.  Knead the dough really well in the mixer till the dough is smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn once.  Cover it and let it rise till it doubles (about 1 1/2 hours)

Punch down the dough; divide in half.  Cover and let them rest for 10 minutes.  Shape and place them in two greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pans.  Cover; let them rise till nearly double (about 40 minutes).  Bake in 350° oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

I made my loaf on a 16x4x3 inch pan.  My kitchen smells wonderful and Jorge is using self control in not cutting up a slice of bread and coat it with some softened butter.