Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's time for a new start

Hello peeps!  Well, I made the jump over to wordpress and have a new blog called......Love My Country Home.  Original name, huh?   I'm hoping that this will give me a little more freedom in designing my blog, etc.  I'm working on the finishing touches and hope that you will join me at my new blog

See ya there!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Edamame Dip and Homemade Laundry Soap

The last few nights have been busy at our house - homework, getting rooms ready for new carpet, and then just the normal every day life stuff.  I have been on a cooking roll lately (get it??? roll...sorry, bad joke). I made stromboli 2 nights ago, and last night I made edamame dip and also a roast w/ veggies in the crock pot and used one of those crock pot liners.  Have you tried a crock pot liner yet?  If you haven't tried one yet, you should - they make clean up a breeze and who doesn't like an easy clean up?  And, have you tried edamame?  It's really soy beans with a fancy name :)   This recipe is another one shared by the girls from work and I'm not sure where they found this version, but it's so so so so so so so good!  Rochella had it with veggies and Carl and I had it with crackers.  Either way it was delicious, not to mention healthy.

Edamame Dip

1 14 ounce bag frozen shelled edamame, unthawed
1/2 ripe avocado (I used the entire thing since I really like avocados)
1 shallot, peeled and sliced into quarters
1 clove of garlic, peeled
2 tsps olive oil or more if needed to create a smoother dip
2 tsps fresh lemon juice or more to taste
1 large handful of basil or more to taste (I used a little bit of dried basil)
sea salt to taste
*I also put cilantro in my dip*

1.  Cook edamame in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 3-4 minutes.  Drain reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
2.  Place all other ingredients and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid in food processor.  Season with sea salt.  Blend in more cooking liquid or a little more olive oil if too chunky or thick.
3.  Transfer to a bowl and serve with anything from raw veggies to rice crackers to pita chips.

Now for the homemade laundry soap.....We have a HE washer and if you have one, and even if you don't, I'm sure you've noticed how expensive the laundry soap is.  Well, in one of our recipe sharing conversations, Janna shared how she was going to make laundry soap and she also has an HE washer.  She uses the Duggar family recipe and loves it.  I think Janna made it in January or February and told us yesterday that she finally needs to make more!  So I bought everything needed to make the soap and followed the recipe, plus I added approximately 1 cup of all color bleach to the mix.

It was super simple to make and my house smelled so good and clean.  Here is the finished product. 

I'm using up the last of my store bought detergent and then I'll start using the homemade stuff.  All of the reviews have been good and nobody has reported any problems using this soap in their HE washers.  Total cost for this is around $10 - and I still have stuff left to make more.

Well peeps, I'm off to tackle another project.  Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with more groovy cool stuff to share.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Things are changing around here

Just a few changes happening around look to the blog and a new name.  The look is not that unusual.  I change for seasons and holidays...or when I get bored.  Now the name...that's another story.  Lets just say that I wish I had put more thought into the name of my blog when I started this.  Sometimes I give thought to decisions and sometimes I just plow ahead with no thought to the outcome.  The start of this blog happened to be one of those times.  I tried out different names, asked my family and some friends for suggestions and then came up with Love My Country Home because I love my country home! I'm thinking about making a few more changes, but these will be investigated, thought about, discussed, etc. so I don't have to go back later and try to change things up again.  I hope you like the new look and the new name. :)

My newest project

For a while now I've been wanting a new purse and just cant find what I want. Don't want to pay the price for a Vera or a Donna Sharp and I can't find anything in the stores or at resale shops that I like. I've been thinking about sewing again and have been inspired by all the projects Leslie has done, so I think that I'm going to have to make my own new purse. Time to dust off the sewing machine! Here is the pattern. I keeping with my new (hopefully long-lasting) thriftiness, I chose a free pattern from Jo-Anns.

And this is the fabric that I chose. It's kind of wild, fall-ish, something different. And I like it!

That is my project for the week. Plus we are have carpet installed in two rooms so that means the bedroom redo is almost finished. Stay tuned for another post! What projects are you working on. If you're like me you have tons of them started and not many finished. Don't worry about's our little secret. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

25 Things

Since I'm at a loss for what to post, here are 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about me to help you know me better.

1. My favorite snack is anything chocolate - cookies, chips, ice cream, candy, etc...

2. I absolutely love being married!

3. I wish my family didn't live so far away.  My mother and sister live in Florida, my brother lives NE of Indy, one sister lives in Chicago, my other sister and inlaws live about 2 hours away, and my SIL and her husband live in NC.  Don't get me started on cousins, aunts, and uncles.

4.  I love to bake and cook and have way to many cookbooks and printed recipes!  The many recipe conversations with the girls I work with also with contribute to this growing collection.  :)

5.  I collect (old) recipe books...this goes with number 4.  I'm not saying that I use all of them, but I love to look at all the different recipes and see how cooking and baking has changed over the years.

6. I love to go garage sale/estate sale/auction hunting!! And the best part about it is that Carl goes with me.  My MIL says that she learned this from me, but I really learned it from's all in the thrill of the hunt.

7. I used to be a nail technician.  Loved doing that until it became a job :(

8.  I would like to start playing the piano again.  I took lessons in junior high and I only remember part of 1 song.  A few years ago Carl and I bought an old upright for $10 at the Covered Bridge Festival and now I need to do more than just look at it.

9.  I cry easily. Like when people win on The Price is Right.

10.  I want to learn how to quilt (that's the reason for all the quilt blogs that I have listed) :)

11.  I really want to be healthy and in better shape.  The last two years have made me feel old!  Maybe 2011 will be the year of "buff 'n tuff".
12.  I love, love, love to ride my bike, and in 2011, I want to ride in the Hilly 100 in Bloomington.

13. My absolute favorite color is PINK.  

14.  I wish I was as creative and crafty as Martha Stewart. 
15.  If I'm going to have a drink, I like a gin and tonic with extra lime, a margarita, or a good glass of wine.
16.  I'm the oldest child in my family (4 girls, 1 boy).
17.  I love hostas and almost any other shade plant, and I used to sell them...for a short time. 
18.  Carl and I have named almost every vehicle we've owned.  There's been the Green Hornet, Red Ruby, the Gray Ghost, Zippy, the Tahoe Express, Betsy, and Big Mo.
19.  I have eaten brussel sprouts for breakfast.  Craved them...and no, I wasn't pregnant.
20.  I would like to start sewing again.  I guess this goes along with #10.
21.  I collect salt glazed pottery, brown and white crocks, and amber tiara sandwich glass.
22.  I really like to use coupons when I shop.  My goal is to consistently have them cut out and filed each week.  Everyone should have a dream, right?
23. I have a soft spot for mistreated animals and the elderly.  Would you rather have read "old people"?
24.  My three favorite movies are Father of the Bride, You've Got Mail, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
25.  I want to take baton twirling lessons.  I know it's crazy. 

Wow, this was much harder than I thought.  What about you.  What are some things that people don't know about you?  Do you dare reveal them.....

Friday, September 17, 2010

XXL Chocolate Chip Cookies and Noodles

Look at these cookies.  Big, soft, chewy, delicious chocolate peanut butter chip cookies....pure heaven.

It all starts here in a muffin top pan.  I found the recipe through Kevin and Amanda on Picky Palate.  I know I had a pan like this before and I think I brought it to Goodwill (silly me), so off to ebay I went to buy a new one.   There are so many possibilities to what you can make in this pan!  Do you think that maybe 3 regular cookies equal one of these babies?  The calorie count is probably so high that I don't even want to know. :) 

This is how deep the pan is.

A 1/4 cup of cookie dough goes into each cup.

This is the yummy result.  I think it would be even better with ice cream.  What do you think?

XXL M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Picky Palate
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup sugar
1 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla
3 3/4 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 oz bag chocolate chips
1 bag M&M’s (you’ll have some left over)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer beat the butter and sugars until well beaten.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.  Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; mix.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.  Do not mix in M&M’s!!
2.  Scoop 1/4 Cup of dough and press into a muffin top pan (or just press onto a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet).  Now, press your M&M’s onto pressed cookies.  This way they won’t break apart!!  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges just start to turn golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes on muffin top pan or cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.  Grab a tall glass of milk and EAT until your hearts content :)
About 18 XXL cookies!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 On another food note, I made noodles last night.  Honestly, I don't ever remember having beef and noodles or chicken and noodles until Carl and I started dating (it's one of his mother's signature dishes).  Actually, I think everyone in the general area where we live eats beef/chicken and noodles.  I think I need to talk to my mother about this.  Why didn't we ever have this when I was growing up.  Or is it that I don't remember it?  

Back to the food...Janna shared Pioneer Woman's noodle recipe which is what I made, but I used 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of wheat flour.  I let my roast cook in the crock pot all day while the noodles dried.  Later tonight I'll put the noodles in the boiling broth in the crockpot while I shred the beef.  I don't make noodles too often, but it just sounded good and hopefully it will taste just as good.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This weekend Carl is going to race and I'm going to try to get the rest of my yard work finished.  I think it's also time to get projects lined up for winter.  Whatever you're doing this weekend, I hope you enjoy it.  Before I sign off, I would like to leave you with a quote that I found on facebook:   Let your smile change the world, but dont let the world world change your smile♥

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

20 Years Ago Today

Happy anniversary to my sweetheart, the love of my life, my prince charming. Thank you for making the first 20 years so wonderful.  I'm looking forward to the next 20 and more.  <3

I was reading over the post I did last year and was cracking up at some of the things I wrote.  If you would like to check it out too, click here

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wow, can you believe this weekend is over?  I think we crammed as much as possible into it.  What about you?  Just a quick recap of what we did.  Saturday:  We went to Farmers Pike on the east side of Indy and I think we hit about 70% of the garage sales on the way there.  We did find some treasures - another square candle holder in the amber tiara sandwich glass pattern I'm collecting, an American flag (the people told us they couldn't even give it away - isn't that sad!), a wooden American flag, a hooked rug (I only paid 25 cents for it)  and Carl found a brad nailer gun (I'm not sure that's the correct name, but it it good for woodworking). 

The most exciting part of our trip was when Ryan decided he was going to be a sling shot.  Basically it was a bungee jump but in the opposite direction.  Before the kids were shot up in the air, they all got to jump on the trampoline and try to do flips.  It must have been harder than what it looked like because so many kids tried and tried and couldn't do it.  Carl did manage to get this awesome picture of Ryan though. 

On the way home we stopped at the Warm Glow Candle Outlet...ahhhh, the smell, the was wonderfully inspiring...I'm ready to decorate for fall after that visit :)  However, I only bought one small candle and 3 placemats that I'm using on my entertainment center.   If you must know, I'm waiting for the Covered Bridge Festival to shop for more fall decorations and treasurers.  Carl and I like to go without the boys - it's a win-win all the way around :) 

Okay, please ignore the crack in the crock, but this should give you the basic idea.  Now I need to find some greenery to fill that crock and make it look pretty again.

 On Sunday Carl and Kyle went riding - Ryan's bike broke so he had to stay home with me and clean the house - poor guy missed out on the fun.  I did make a loaf of sausage bread and 2 loaves of cinnamon bread for the boys. 

Monday was a better day - Carl and I went to a small festival by our house and I found more amber glass (yippee for me!!) - I now have one (yes one) candle stick and a last supper plate.  I was so excited about that because I just saw some on shopgoodwill and ebay for much more than I paid.  I love it when I get a deal!

After lunch we went to Shades State Park with both of the dogs, walked some trails, went fishing and let the dogs swim.  Ryan caught two fish...the only fish of the day.

As the fishing was winding down, I told Carl that I was going to let the dogs go for a swim.  Snickers loves the water and can swim well - like a fish, and although we haven't been to the lake with Harley one would think he would be able to swim too. He is a retriever afterall.  Can you tell where I'm going with this story?  I also should have thought about the way they fight over sticks and balls when we play at home.  I threw a stick out and both dogs went in the water for it, fought over it, and were a pretty good distance from the shore.  Snickers won that round and started her way back, but Harley was (barely) treading water.  By this time Kyle came back by me and Carl was on his way back, and we are watching Harley tread water and then he went under.  It was pure panic!  Kyle went in after Harley and was the hero of the day.  From that point on each dog went in by themselves and we decided not to throw the sticks too far out for Harley.  We just can't figure out how he is swimming - I wish I had a video of him - it's kind of funny - it really does look like a dog paddle move.  Now our Indian name for Harley is Swims Like a Rock. I know both of the dogs are tired after today because they have been quiet all night - no barking at anything tonight.

To end our weekend, we made elephant ears.  After paying $5 for them at a couple of fairs this summer, we decided that we would make our own and save some money.  I found this recipe on

2 c. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. shortening
1/2 c. water
Oil (for frying)

1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Blend everything, but water, as you would for pie crust. Add water and shape into a ball. Add a few more drops of water if dough doesn't handle well. If too sticky, add flour. Divide into 10 even balls. Roll out to 9 to 10 inch circles.

Dip in hot oil until brown. Flip, remove and put on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with topping. If thicker, elephant ear will be soft. If thinner, elephant ear will be crispy.

It was a wonderful weekend for us.  I love spending time with my family and this was perfect.  I hope your weekend was wonderful, happy, and full of memories.  I want to leave you with a post my sister had on her facebook page:  Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is knowing not to put it in your fruit salad.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Espresso Shortbread Brownie Bars

I finally made the espresso shortbread brownie bars that I blogged about earlier this week and I have to say that they are easy to make and delicious.  I found these on My Baking Addiction and if you like to cook or bake, you need to check out this site!  Here are some pictures of the finished product:

All I'm gonna say is that I've had 4 - yes four - of them today.  Any bets on what time I'll be sleeping tonight? 

Espresso Shortbread Brownie Bars
from Food & Wine Magazine; May 2010
and My Baking Addiction


Shortbread Crust
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans (I used espresso powder)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Brownie Topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs


1. Make the Shortbread Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor (I used my mixer), combine the butter with the flour, sugar, ground espresso and salt; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Press the crumbs into a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan to form a crust; prick all over with a fork. Freeze for 5 minutes, until firm. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, Prepare the Brownie Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa, salt and baking powder. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the chocolate over low heat.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla, then stir in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the brownie batter is smooth.

4. Pour the brownie batter over the shortbread crust, smoothing the surface. Bake for 30 minutes, until the brownie top is dry and lightly cracked around the edges; the center will still be a bit soft.

5. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Make Ahead:  The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

I haven't joined Colleen's recipe swap for a while, so if you have time, please join me and lets see what yummy recipes everyone has posted about this week.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Well, it always seems like Labor Day weekend is the official end of summer.  The family talked about what we wanted to do this weekend and there are so many different things to choose from, which will hopefully lead to a good (and possibly long) post next week.  What about your family - any special plans for the weekend?  Whatever you do have fun and be safe.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cast Iron Cooking

I have another confession....I am in love with my cast iron skillet. I love cooking in it because it makes food taste so incredibly good and yummy, and I use it almost every single day.  Sometimes multiple times a day.  It might even be considered one of my BFFs.  This summer my favorite foods to cook in it were asparagus and brussel sprouts.  Click here to learn how to make these veggies my way.  

I actually have a set of skillets that belonged to my grandmother and two dutch ovens and a griddle that belonged to my parents.  I've been thinking recently about using more of the skillets than just the 10" that I use so often; however, when I looked for them, I couldn't find them anywhere.  Let me tell you that I was just a bit worried.  I've cleaned out so much junk this summer and was worried that I got rid of them by mistake.  Just a little wee bit of stress!  If you only knew how much my grammy meant to me, you would know why I had to find those pans.  I even called one of my sisters and cross examined asked her if she had them, and she did have some but unfortunately they weren't the ones I was looking for.   So, after looking all through the house and interrogating my poor baby sister, the light bulb in my little head turned on and I thought that I should look in the garage.  Bingo, score, found them!  Ok, I'm not going to lie....Carl found them for me.  Would you like to see a picture of my little beauties?

The pans that make me smile...

This is one of the dutch ovens.  The other one is still in the attic.

They all needed to be cleaned and one has some bad rust spots that need to be sanded off, but I'm thrilled to have them where I can see them.  In my excitement, I had to look for a good website for everything cast iron and these are what I found so far: Cooking with Trader Joe'sWhats Cooking AmericaHealthy Cast Iron Recipes, Dutch Oven CookingByron's Dutch Oven Cooking Page, and Texas Cooking.

Well, it's time to say goodnight and dream about my pans and the meals we'll be making together.....
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...