Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

I can't find my keys...
I must have mistaken them for a kit kat.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


It's time for a change...
Brandi was not impressed with my Pressure Cooking adventures and Summer said she is sick of looking at my blog and having jars of chicken looking back at her.
So, I will tell you about my latest kitchen adventure:

It kills me to wait all winter, spring, and summer long to get those yummy ripe tomatoes.
Oh how I love a fresh garden tomato.
I can make an entire meal of tomatoes for days and days.
So, when the threat of frost and winter sets in, it makes me sad to see all of those poor green tomatoes.

So, I heard of making jam out of green tomatoes.
Sign me up!!
I just googled "green tomato jam recipe" and I had dozens of choices.

This is what I did...
Made 4 cups of green tomato puree by throwing the prettiest green tomatoes in the blender.
Added 4 cups of blackberries and raspberries that were lurking in the freezer.
Add 4 cups of sugar.
Boil 10 minutes.
Add a 3 oz box of Jell-O.
And 1 tsp. lemon juice.
I had blackberry fusion on hand.  Not sure why, but it was a great combination.
Simmered for 20 minutes.
Put in small jars and put it in the freezer.
It was so darn yummy that I ran downstairs and found a box of berry blue Jell-O.
And I had plenty more green tomatoes.
And I threw in the last few raspberries and found about 2 cups of blueberries.
The second batch ended up much thicker than the first , not sure why.
So, by the end of the day I had used up all of the random berries lurking in the freezer, 
used the end of the tomato crop, 
and barely made a dent in my food storage sugar supply.

There were tons of recipes on the internet.
Some were freezer jam.  Some you could process and leave on the shelf.
Lots of options.
I totally recommend this cheaper version of berry jam.
And, if the tiny nut in the raspberries or blackberries bother you,
You can make this entirely with the tomatoes and the Jell-O.
If the tomato seeds bother you, you can strain them out.
But, if you leave them in, they just seem like seeds from the berries.
It's like camouflage. 

PS.  I went to a class last week sponsored by the "other" stake.
Topic:  Pressure Cooking.  (not canning like I did, cooking, as in, cooking dinner.  every night.  in the pressure cooker.  fast.)
Between the crock pot and the pressure cooker,  I don't know why I even have an oven.
Oh yeah. to bake bread so I can eat my yummy freezer jam.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

pressure canning

For the past year or more I have been contemplating the purchase of a pressure canner.
I have mostly gotten the hang of canning things in a water bath.
But, I realized how much more I could grow and can if I could pressure cook.
So, after much price comparison shopping and reading reviews,
I purchased the silver pressure canner pictured below on the left.
I was quite intimidated by its massiveness and its buttons, knobs, and gauges.
But, it came upon conversation a few weeks ago with a friend of mind that we needed to learn how to use a pressure cooker.  
And, wouldn't you know it...chicken was on sale for $1.39/pound at Ream's with the purchase of 40 pounds.

 I'll spare you the disgusting details but this is what it looks like when you get the chicken into the bottles and ready to can.
Still quite intimidated by the knobs, buttons, and gauges, my friend and I called the neighbor across the street to come walk us through the process. 
I was afraid I would do something wrong and blow something up and end up in an ambulance on the way to the hospital like Cliff Bingham who lived next door to me growing up. 
They were pressure cooking beans, as I recall.  And I have been freaked out by the thought of pressure cooking ever since.
Here is the chicken just after coming out of the pressure canner 90 minutes later.
The quart bottles were on the bottom and you can see the white film on them from all of the minerals and whatnot that is in our water.
All but one of the bottles sealed.
It looks quite gross and my house smelled like chicken for a day or two.
But, it felt like a great accomplishment to can my own chicken.
So much so that I decided to make chili a few days later.
I was at Sam's Club and I found a big package of extra lean ground beef that was marked down for quick sale.
I used that along with the 3 bottles of canned tomatoes that were in my fridge.
I had canned tomatoes a few weeks ago and I had 3 bottles that didn't seal, so I used those.
I also used the peppers from my garden.
And chili powder from the pantry.
I thought that turned out to be a pretty cheap project for food storage.

All of the bottles that I canned did seal.  That was good.
I had one bottle worth that I didn't can, I just added more tomatoes and a can of beans from my food storage.  The kids thought it was the best chili they had ever tasted.
It turned out to be more like a chili concentrate where you add more cans of whatever you have to make a meal.  So, even thought it was only 8 pints.  
I'm sure we could count it as at least 8 meals depending on who is eating and how much we add to it.

And then...
we had some potatoes that needed to be used that had come with our vegetable co-op thingy.
I had the carrots, celery, onions, and stew meat on hand, as well, and the next thing you know...we have lots and lots and lots of vegetable beef stew on the storage room shelves.  
I'm pretty happy about that because these are things that Cole will eat and he is definitely the picky eater at this house.
I was worried that my investment in a pressure canner might have been pretty steep. 
But, I can see now how easy (relatively speaking) it is to use a pressure canner.
And I love to grow things in my garden all summer and see them lined up on my shelves all winter long.
As this growing season is winding down (and I failed miserably as a gardener this year), I find myself already planning all of the things I want to grow...and can...for next year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Done!! Again!!

I thought I was done with all of these vintage photos, but then I realized that I didn't include any of my Grandma Ethel or her Mother, Esther May Smith...
so here you go.

Esther May Smith Norton
This photo hung in my Grandma Ethel's bedroom for as long as I can remember.

I'm not sure when any of these photos were taken.
That is the next project.
All together I scanned 140 photos.


I saved the best for last...
I think I spent about 12 to 14 hours scanning photos the last week. 
These turned out so cute.
I can't tell if Sierra looks more like my mom or if Halle looks more like my mom.
I'll do a comparison one of these days.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another one...

Nan is definitely the one on the left.
Showing off her legs.
or her tights.

Cole just asked me why all of these pictures are "WHITE".

Thursday, October 13, 2011

some questions for mom

I've been scanning again.
My fingers hurt from typing and pushing the scanner buttons.
My kids are in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher and making dinner.
It could be interesting...

 Mom, is this you?

Maybe you didn't want your picture taken?

More to come.
I'm saving the best for last.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


surprise MOM.
I have been scanning pictures this week.  
Look how cute you are.  were.

This is the ONLY picture I have of anything Dalton.  at all.
Raymond, Sylva, Morgon Leon, & Dolores

And I will need help with this one...
I assume it was taken in Parawon.
I can make a guess on 2 of them, maybe 3.
I will certainly need the help of you and Dolores one of these days.

I'm about half way done scanning photos.
I may have to stop soon and cook. and do laundry.  and shower.
But, I am on a roll......

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dr. Hooker Retirement Dinner at Sundance

 Whenever they have group dinners or anything for Rick's work, he usually lucks out and is working.
We've missed out on things like Carrabas and Chef's Table.
But, not this time BABY.  Dinner at Sundance.
 This was a wedding reception that was happening.
Rick told me not to take pictures of the reception because the girls might see them and get their hearts set on something that he isn't willing to "pick up some extra shifts for".
I just wanted to pretend that we were guests of Art & Rebecca so we could see how the other half lives.

But, our event was across the water in the Redford Room...
 So, this dinner was a retirement party for Keith Hooker.  This was as close as I got to a picture of Dr. Hooker.  The funny thing about it is that I still don't view Dr. Hooker as one of Rick's partners.
Dr. Hooker started in Provo in 1972.  He pretty much started the entire program there.
He took care of almost any kid in the Valley at one time or another when I was growing up.
He had daughters that we close in age to me.  
They went to a different school, but they danced and I danced.  I knew who they were.
So, it's just weird to me still that Rick and Keith are partners.
 The dessert bar.  Not a great picture.  But, I love how they just threw out some boards and some big flat rocks from the River just out the door and plopped some cheesecake on them.  Looks great.  Tasted better.

Here are Cameron and Kim.  Cam and Rick went to school together in Kirksville.  They went to MI to do rotations when we did and we were next door neighbors.  

I couldn't decide which pictures to use.
Cameron kept trying to pose crazy and the poor Sundance lady didn't know how to react.
Brandi helped me pick the outfit.
Good times.  Good food.  I gained 2 pounds.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beautiful fall day in October

I took this picture on Tuesday.
I didn't get a great shot.
The girls said to wait for a week or so and the leaves and colors would be much prettier..

This was Thursday.  
At 3 in the afternoon, after the snow had all day to melt and this is what is still left...

It's kinda weird to see the snowy picture with all of the leaves still on the trees.
We may have lost a branch on the apricot tree in the back yard.  darn. (sarcastic)
The branches on the right side (above) that are pointing down in front of the garage window...
well, they are supposed to grow straight up.  But the weight of the snow made them bend down.
We may have lost a few branches from that tree as well.  Darn. (serious)

Cole made a giant snow ball in the back yard.  
Then on Friday he went outside and made snowballs. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Finnish Pulla

We had a combined YM/YW Activity a couple of weeks ago.
Summer signed (me) up to make something from another country.
She chose Pulla.

 When Cole saw this pan of braided bread, he said, "Mom, WHAT is that?"
I said, "braided bread."
He said, "Wow mom.  That looks terrible.  I thought you knew how to braid."
 The YM men at the Church said something different.
They asked what it was and I told them.
Then they asked what makes Pulla so special or different.
Luckily I had asked myself the same question and I had found this information:

What is Cardamom:
The fruit of a large bush that grows wild in the Cardamom Hills in southern India, cardamom is cultivated in Tanzania, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea -- and Guatemala, which is the world's largest exporter.

Traders carried cardamom along the spice routes from India. The Vikings brought it from Constantinople to Scandinavia, where it's still popular, but used almost exclusively in baking. (I can't quite picture a Viking baker. Can you?)

Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice, after saffron and vanilla, because it too must be harvested by hand, when the pods are only three-quarters ripe, or the pods will split open and spill their seeds.

The paler the green husk, the older the 15-20 small, dark brown seeds inside. The seeds should be sticky; if they aren't sticky, they aren't fresh.

From ancient Rome, three facts about cardamom that might be related: it was used in perfume-making, as an aphrodisiac, and to cure bad breath.

In India, cardamom often flavors tea; in Arab cultures, it flavors coffee. Bedouins will first show the cardamom pods to their guests, as a sign of respect, before pouring coffee over them (the pods, not the guests).

Ssshhh... it's the secret ingredient in Swedish Meatballs.

This important trivia was very impressive to the YM.  
I could tell by the way they listened to attentively as they scarfed down the bread.
Cole must have decided that my bread braids didn't look good, but they tasted just fine.
The bread didn't last long at home either.

Here is the recipe that I used:
2 c. milk
1/2 c.warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 c. white sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. ground cardamom
4 eggs, beaten
9 c. flour
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 T. white sugar

warm the milk in a saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat.  Let it cool until lukewarm.

dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Stir in the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (abt. 2 cups).  Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Add about 3 cups of flour and beat well.  The dough should be smooth and elastic.  Add the melted butter and stir well.  Beat again until the dough looks glossy.  Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff.

Turn out of bowl unto a floured surface  Cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes.  Knead the dough until smooth and satiny.  Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top.  Cover with a clean dishtowel.  

Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  Punch down and let rise again until almost doubled.

Turn out again on to a flour surface and divide into 3 parts.  Divide into 3 parts again.  Roll each pice into a 12-16 inch strip.  Braid.  You should get 3 braided loafs.  Lift onto greased baking sheets.  Let rise for 20 minutes.

Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 for 25 to 30 minutes.

Check often because the bottom burns easily.

*The recipe says to make sure you have plenty of time because it takes 4 hours to make this.* 
*This is true*

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I don't remember EXACTLY when I got started on Fiestaware...
but when we moved to Kirksville, I remember my friend Jacque had a bunch of bright colored dishes that I loved.  And then we started going to Estate Sales and Antique Stores and seeing lots of the same dishes.
So, I started learning more about Fiestaware.

 This is a view of one of my shelves in the kitchen.  It has a few of my favorite things.
A mix of Fiesta, Pyrex and milk glass.
The plates on the bottom left are all Fiesta.  And of course, my favorite color of Pyrex: aqua blue, especially this line called "Amish".  The 2 milk glass things in the front, right.  
And next to those on the the right is a rock from my dad's cabin in Fairview.
More Fiesta
The orange thing is a "disc" pitcher and the red salt and pepper shakers.
My Hawaii salt and pepper shakers.
The striped glasses on the left are from a cute little antique store in Brandon, MS.
We visited there once while Bette & Waino were visiting.
Out in front of the entrance to the store was a pile of disassembled chairs. 
We asked about the pile and were told it was going to the firewood stack.
So, we asked if we could purchase one of the chairs in the pile.
The owner of the store told us to take what we wanted since it was save him a load to the woodpile.
Bette continued taking the chair apart and took it home in her suitcase.
 This is a view of some of the bowls and plates in my cupboard.  
The orange plates in the stack came from DI.  I've had a hard time identifying which color it is.
I think it is Mango-Red which was produced from 1969-1972.
The other colors above are white (duh), cobalt, sunflower, and shamrock.
We use the Fiesta for our every day use.  
It's fun to go to restaurants and try to determine if any of their plates or serving platters are Fiesta.
We have also been known to rewind TV shows or movies and watch in slow motion to see if any of their props are Fiestaware.
Country Living magazine did feature in September 2011 about Fiesta...

As American mealtimes grew more casual in the 1930's--with families eating in the kitchen--Homer Laughlin China Co. responded by introducing a one of informal dinnerware called Fiesta.  Designed by Prederick Hurten Rhead, art director of the Newell, West Virginia, outfit, the dishes sported a handcrafted look in bright colors such as red, blue, and green.  Here's how the good became collectors items:
1936:  Just 6 months into production, the factory turns out its one millionth piece of Fiesta.
1950:  Hues shift with trends, and pastels emerge;  10 years later, a bolder palette returns.
1973:  Believing the stye had run its course, Homer Laughlin discontinues the line.
1986:  Demand for vintage Fiesta leads to a relaunch.
2008:  The Mentalist, joins a long list of TV shows and movies, including two and a half men, and A Christmas Story, to use the vibrant ceramics as props.

Back in the day, you could find a good deal on Fiesta on Amazon.  Not so much any more.
So, I/we just wait for a sale at Macy's.  Usually about 50% off.
It's kinda spendy, but if you buy it one plate at a time for 50% off, it's not too bad. 
The kids loves to mix and match the colors with the napkins and the seasons.
I love Fiesta.
My mom, my sister, and my SIL's all collect Fiesta.  It's fun.
(and we may have a slight problem, but there's worse things to collect, I'm sure)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Color Coding the Proclamation and more...

I saw this activity on the internet several weeks ago and I thought it would be a good idea for the YW Activity that I was in charge of in August.  It included The Family:  A Proclamation to the World...
to print your own copy go here: the Family
or you can pick one up at your local Distribution Center.

This is the copy that I had found online where the document has been color coded according to the 8 different Young Women Values.  To learn more about that go here:  Young Women Values.
You can find this color coded version by doing a google image search of "color coded proclamation".  Several versions will pop up.

Then I printed out a little prompt sheet of my own with the scripture and description of each value. 
I gave each of the Young Women at the activity a copy of Family:  A Proclamation to the World, and a prompt sheet.  We had volunteers read paragraphs (slowly) and then the other girls would raise their hands (or shout out) when a phrase was read that pertained to a value. And then we would underline/color that phrase.  At first it was hard, but it got much easier as we went along.

 The copy on the left is my version and the one of the right is Sierra's. 
(I had Cole and Sierra with me because Rick was at work.)

It was such a great learning opportunity for me, that I had this really great idea to color code my Patriarchal Blessing.
So, on Friday night, I typed up my blessing onto the computer so that I could make the font bigger and add space between lines and make the margins bigger so I could add notes.  That was as far as I made it with that project.  (which I am doing as a Personal Progress activity)  But, it was a really good reminder of the words and phrases in my blessing.

Here is the really exciting many of the phrases of my Patriarchal Blessing were repeated throughout the talks given in General Conference.  So, sorry to all of the rest of you, but this conference was meant for me.  I'm not sure if I would have recognized that so many of the General Authorities were talking directly to me if I had not just recently read through my blessing so carefully.  I can't wait to get the Ensign in a few weeks and take a printed copy of my blessing and compare the counsel given to me as I color code my blessing with the Young Women Value colors.

PS.  I highly recommend this activity to any who want to become more familiar with The Family:  A Proclamation as well as your own Patriarchal Blessing.