Tuesday, January 23, 2018

WHAT'S COOKIN'?....










I am really having trouble 
thinking of things to
 write about lately.

  I went looking through my photos
 to see if something would 
jog my creative juices.

 There wasn't anything there 
that did just that, 
but I did find something 
that got my 
appetite flowing.






I have a habit of 
taking photos of the things that I cook.
 Especially, 
if I think they look
 pretty and palatable.
  The only thing is 
that my little camera 
doesn't always make the food look 
as good as it does to my eye.
  So, 
I point, click and then 
forget about it. 
 usually...





...but today 
when I saw this turkey breast 
it looked pretty good and 
I remember that it tasted really good.

 So,
 now you will get the story 
of how that happened.






Every once in awhile 
one of those corny infomercials 
will catch my eye and 
no matter how I try to resist,
 I end up falling for it.

 It is a known fact in my family 
(namely my loving SIL) 
that I probably fall for it
 way more than I should.
  
This NuWave oven 
is one of those things.

 I have to tell you though,
 and even that naysayer 
has been known to agree,
 that it is one of 
the best appliances 
that we own.






We have cooked everything 
meat-wise along with roasted vegetables 
and they all cook to perfection. 
 Tender and juicy 
and in much less time 
than the conventional oven.
  It is very portable
 so it goes into the motorhome 
and it is a great thing for
 the summer kitchen 
as it doesn't put off any heat.






We like pasta. 
 Sometimes we have it by itself 
or as a side dish. 
 It is always good
 either way...





...and accompanied by 
garden tomatoes 
with a sprinkling of 
salt, pepper and fresh basil
it is unbeatable.





I made
 some fresh tomato soup 
the other day. 
 This time of year 
soup is just the thing 
and with a little slaw and garlic croutons
 (homemade)
 it tastes wonderful.





I tried a new recipe 
for beef stew, 
loaded with 
potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms. 
 A healthy and filling dinner.






Tonight 
we are having pork chops
 with mustard potatoes. 
It is still cooking 
in the crock pot and 
smells really good.

We have been doing 
our grocery shopping at 
Trader Joe's 
for the past few weeks.

 Even though 
we have to drive a ways to get there,
 the price of the groceries,
makes up for it. 
 Truthfully, 
we can feed ourselves really well
 for about two weeks 
compared to the price 
for one week of food 
from local grocery stores...





...and they have 
the most gorgeous display of
 cut flowers 
for really great prices.






Sitting down at the table 
with good food, 
pretty flowers and
 cloth napkins 
makes an evening at the Cottage 
very special.


Hope you are enjoying 
a special evening 
wherever you are.


...Judy...






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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SMALL CHANGES...










January 
is already half over 
and the snowmen are
 making their annual pilgrimage 
throughout the Cottage...





...they are always welcome 
right after Christmas is all put away 
and this year 
that was not an easy task.

 There was something 
about this Christmas 
that seemed extra special 
and it was harder than usual 
to let it go.





I started packing up 
most of the decorations 
on New Year's Day 
but kept putting off
 taking the tree down.




  
With the exception of
 that icicle garland, 
there was something magical
 about this tree.

 When I took the first photo 
after decorating it,
the garland stuck out 
like a sore thumb to me 
but I didn't want to disturb
 the other ornaments 
so I just left it.

 The Captain says 
it looks like shark teeth!

As I said,
regardless, 
there was something magical
 about this tree.
  
It reminds me of 
a pretty lady
 dressed up in
 a ball gown...




 ...a scene from 
a child's doll house, 
or the setting for the ladies of
  Little Women...





...and when seen from
 our TV viewing spot at night,
 with the lamps lit
 and the candles glowing,
 it was a sight
 that I did not want
 to change.





But, finally, 
change it did, 
and about two weeks after Christmas
 the tree was taken down 
and packed away
 for another year.

  I think I am in mourning
 just a little bit.





For Christmas 
I added some sprigs of greenery 
and berries
 to this garland 
I bought at Michaels.

 After Christmas,
 I added these paper pom poms 
for a more "winter" feeling 
and will keep it up for
 awhile longer.






See the plant by the window
 on the pedestal?

 In April of 2017, 
I brought this China Doll home
 from the nursery.

 Notice that it reaches 
to the top of the floral painting 
at this stage.

 I thought it was pretty 
with its delicate foliage 
but since I have never had
 much luck with indoor plants,
 the saleslady 
had to talk me 
into it...





...and she was right.

  It just won't stop growing.
  I think I will have to 
trim it back 
shortly.





I got this grape ivy 
about the same time
 and have had to trim it
 a few times.

 It looks like 
I might be nurturing 
a sort of a
 green thumb!





This has been
 a very slow news week 
at the Cottage.

 Hope everyone is having 
a good start to
 the new year and 
keeping warm and dry.


...Judy...





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Thank you, ladies, 
for inviting me to 
join your parties.






Tuesday, January 9, 2018

TINY HOUSES...










Are you a fan of the craze 
that has been sweeping the country 
for awhile now? 
 I'm asking about tiny houses.





I admit that I sometimes watch
 the show on HGTV.

 I do like to see 
how the rooms are laid out and 
how they are decorated 
but to live, for any length of time, 
in one would drive me crazy. 

I'm not talking small houses. 
 I know that the time will come 
when we will be looking at those,
 but small houses and tiny houses 
are entirely two very 
different things.





Now,
 I do like little.

  You may have noticed 
that I use that word a lot
 in describing some things. 
 I associate it with the four "C's":
  cuteness, comfort, coziness and cottage.





When we celebrated 
our first Christmas in the Cottage, 
I bought a little Christmas village.
  I used it for a few years,
 having lots of fun making 
snow drifts and arranging bottle brush trees
 around the houses.
  After awhile 
some things were misplaced or broken 
and I sold the remaining pieces
 in a garage sale. 
 I knew it was time
 to make someone else 
happy.






I have always wanted 
a gingerbread house. 
 Not a big fancy one,
 embellished with candy canes and gum drops,
 but a little one
 that looked like a 
Swiss chalet...





...however, 
since I have never had the desire 
to make one myself, 
I thought this cake pan 
would fill my needs...





...and, it did make 
a cute cake that tasted wonderful...
but when it came to decorating it
 with the required icing, 
it was a disaster! 
 I finally finished it
 with a dusting of powdered sugar
 and FYI: 
 to keep the sugar from disappearing 
into the cake, 
add a small amount of
 cornstarch 
to the sugar.





So,
 this year, 
I bought this sweet little cardboard cottage,
 two different shades of brown paint 
and a white paint pen.





I put the finished project 
under glass 
and that fulfilled my wish 
for a gingerbread house 
until I remembered
 one little house that was left over 
from the original Christmas village
 and I thought, 
why not!






I forgot to take a picture before
 I started painting it,
 but you can still see 
the ugly green paint
 that was on it...





...and after a couple of coats of paint,
 some snow and some glitter, and
  even though the transformation 
didn't come in time
 for Christmas...






...the newest little gingerbread cottage 
is done in time for 
the snowmen of
 January.





When Tami and Tim spend Christmas 
with his parents 
they do a basket exchange.

  Tami bought this little music box 
to add to her basket.  
While she was getting things together,
 she realized it didn't work
 so she asked me if I wanted it. 
 What? Are you kidding? 
 I'm not proud
 and it makes the sweetest addition
 to my type of
 tiny houses.


...Judy...





Happy January
 everyone 
and stay 
cozy and warm.

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