Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot to the One-Touch

Has anyone noticed that it's damn hot in Minnesota? 

My cat Stickee, hogging the fan this morning

I've been fighting with my One-Touch Ping meter remote for the past 2 mos.  It had "Ping-ed" out.  The thing didn't seem to read or sense the strips when inserted or when blood was added.  I finally got fed up with swearing and throwing strips around and called One-Touch and they promptly sent me a new one!  Awesome customer service they have.  How nice it is not to waste 3-4 strips per test!  Back on track with my awesome testing schedule. 

As for the home front:

Too hot to paint right now...

The garden is going insane with this humidity and heat!  I have to take pictures this week.  We've been eating snow peas regularly for a couple weeks and I've already harvested my first 1 1/2 cups of garden peas.  I really enjoyed sitting on the stoop shelling them :)  I quick-blanched and froze them.  I'm hoping to have at least one ziplock bag of frozen peas this year!  The scarlett runner beans, trionfo violetto beans and other climbing beans are over 6 ft tall and starting to fill out.  I'm hoping to dry some of the varieties-wonder if I'll have enough? 

My broccoli plants are giant, but no broccoli in them yet!  I forget how long they take to make a crown, can anyone inform me? 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rhubarb Recipe Featured on Website!

My rhubarb recipe blog from a couple weeks ago is featured on Chickens in the Road Blog today!  If you haven't checked out this hilarious and informative website about Susan McMinn's independently-woman-owned and worked farm and animal friends, please do so.  You can check out my recipe feature and see tons of other delicious ideas, HERE.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dresser Update-Opinion's Needed!

Here's an almost-done shot of the dresser...don't mind the hubby was sanding the other cabinet in the garage.  I'm thinking we won't antique the looks so nice and clean as it is.  We'll see after the hardware gets put on.  We might re-sand the top and repaint it, as I didn't like how the third coat looks.  Maybe I was just too picky that day! 

Any opinions on whether to antique the edges with Briwax or not? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hoosier Cabinet Update-with pics!

I started cleaning up my little Hoosier cabinet last summer.  I discovered under gobs and gobs of paint, a nicely-made piece of furniture with beautiful etched glass cabinet doors (under horrid red paint.)  Worth the work so far and the near two gallons of stripper!  My husband has taken over the finishing of the project this summer, as my wonky elbows/wrists can't handle the scraping and the sander for too long.  

We have been hemming and hawing about what color to paint it.  Neither of us really wanted to do it in "just" white, so a white-ish green or blue were going to be the finalists.  But then he finished cleaning up the front of the drawers and we saw these...

Gorgeous drawer fronts!
So we have decided to TOTALLY strip every little bit of paint off and stain it!!!  EEK!  The wood is just too pretty to cover up.  I think it's going to be a beautiful, crazy mix of colors.  But, something you can't replicate.   Here are some pictures to keep you curious!

My hubby's meaty arm working away at the top cabinet half...  

Here's after two applications of stripper...still pretty gloopy!
There was a tambour door!  We probably will have to make one, thank  goodness for You Tube!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jam-Packed Weekend!

My momma, sister and I went to our local pick your own strawberry-blueberry-raspberry-corn farm on Saturday.  Bright and early, 8:30 it was already in the mid-eighties.  We parked our vehicle and walked right into the field. They take great care at this field and do not use any pesticides.  The ground is also covered in straw, so that you can just sit or crawl on your hands and knees to pick.  This also keeps the berries clean, so very little if any, washing is needed.  I didn't wash any of them.  These were giant, delicious and prolific!  


My sister said the weigh/pay booth looked like an international border crossing...
We each picked near 10 lbs. of berries!  My mom made a pie and some jam, my sister froze a ton for smoothies and daiquiris, and I used most of mine to make 6 half-pints of no-sugar strawberry jam, 3 half-pints of no-sugar strawberry-peach jam, and then had leftover peaches so I made peach-lemon thyme jam.  I think I'll whip up some strawberry quick bread or muffins or some hand pies.  

Check out these beauties...
I need to work on my technical canning skills, as I know that my head space could use work.  

Can't wait 'til the blueberries and raspberries are ready!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Put on Your Pelmets!

I successfully made a pelmet box!  Finally after my second purchase of fabric-the first was a little "loud" and my husband said it looked like an apron.  So that is EXACTLY what I'm making out of it!  He's always right about things...
So, my second purchase of fabric turned up a lovely turquoise Moroccan-Ikat print.  He liked this one.  The first box was for the window over the kitchen sink, which was 40 inches.  Here's a picture-don't mind the icky blinds, I hope to find something to replace them...

I learned how to make this HERE 

I'll be showing a step-by-step story with the big, 64" box that is just started.  I ran out of steam this weekend!  It was hot, hot hot!  Hopefully I'll work on it this week.  I guess I have to, as I've taken over 1/2 of the kitchen floor and the kitchen table.  JB has declared that he's building me a little counter/worktable someday in there to do my "projects."  He's so nice.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Beautiful Boudoir-Step 1, The Dresser

I am finally redoing our bedroom.  It is currently the ugly, rental-house beige that was badly applied.  I have decided to use a all-over wall stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils to highlight one wall. This is the one I ordered!  
I have decided on the paint colors, a pale fleshy-mauve color and the stencil is a darker mauve color.  There are splotches on every wall.  I'm hoping to buy the gallons in the next week or so.

This weekend I am re-painting our dresser (my Grandmother's Minneapolis Lugar Furniture Company, circa early 1900's-though not as fancy as the ones shown on the website) BLACK with worn edges and I'm going to use Briwax to antique it.  I hope to get some vintage hardware too-maybe some crystal knobs to add to it. 

I'm not usually one to cover nice wood pieces, as it does have a nice grain, but the top is missing most of the stain due to my sisters and I spilling nail polish remover all over it and covering it with stickers and more nail polish as I'm discovering.  And I don't want to strip it.  Neither does my husband, as he has the final job of finishing up my little Hoosier-Style cabinet.  Remember that? It's in the final process of stripping the 5-6 layers of for surely lead, cream, light avocado green, a hideous red, and more cream paint...

Here are some before pictures of the dresser...and you can see the ugly beige-ness of the room too. 

Full View

Mirror base cutouts and front carving detail

Bottom of dresser carving detail

I need to find two old matching nightstands that I can paint to match, but for some reason I'm having a hard time finding some!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rhubarb Galore!

My momma has a patch of rhubarb that is very ready to use this week.  I actually picked a stalk that had a leaf over 3 feet across!  Who needs an umbrella?  My mom said there's an old picture that shows my aunties wearing jungle outfits made out of rhubarb leaves when they were little!  Super cute.

I had been craving a rhubarb dessert ever since she had made one a couple weeks ago and I scarfed down a huge piece of it, chased with a large bolus.  She put almond extract in it...heavenly. 

But I wanted cherries too.  So I took the basic recipe and of course I had to change it...

Notice the ever-present glucose tabs to remind me I'm diabetic and shouldn't eat the whole pan at once...

Cherry-Rhubarb Crisp (lower sugar)

1/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 (21 ounce) can light/sugar free cherry pie filling  (Walmart has a great one w/ only 8 carbs per 1/3 c.)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb, cut to 3/4 inch pieces

Crust and Topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/2-1/3 cup crushed sliced almonds and walnuts

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine the sugar and cornstarch and add the cold water.  While stirring consistently, heat until it starts bubbling and thickens to a nice clear glue-like consistency.  Stir in the cherry filling and add the almond extract.  Stir well and set aside to cool.  Give it a taste too, as you might like more or less almond flavoring. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, oats, brown sugar and cut in the butter until the mix is nice and crumbly.  I did it by hand with a fork, but if I could have found my beater dough hooks, they work nicely also.  Use about half of this to pat into your 8x8 glass baking dish and smoosh it down hard.  You may add more or less, depending on your preference for how thick your bottom should be.  Put this in the oven for 5-7 minutes so it has a chance to cook a little and solidify.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Remove from the oven, add your rhubarb pieces to cover it completely and then spread the cherry mixture over the top of the rhubarb.  It will all liquefy together, so it doesn't have to cover ever inch.  Add your crushed nuts to the remaining crumb mixture and stir well.  Cover the top with the crumbs and your ready to bake. 

Bake for around 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.  This will be hot and bubbling when done, so be careful and let it cool enough!  Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream topping.  Or just eat it out of the pan with a spoon like I do every day!