Accidents in the Kitchen

While making chicken noodle soup this evening, a sudden memory flooded back to me of  my first year of marriage. About 10 minutes later,I burned my pinky pulling a pan of cornbread out of the oven. All of this detail to lead into my story.

When I got married, I had never done any cooking. Baking, yes. Cooking, no. I don’t even remember what I was trying to make for dinner, but I  needed cooked chicken. The only problem was that I had no idea how to cook it. I figured I could just boil it so I got out my new copper bottom Revere Ware pot, filled it with water, plopped in a couple of chicken thighs, and turned on the gas.

It had been a pretty tiring day at school, so I decided to take a little rest on the couch while the chicken boiled. As luck would have it I took a full on nap. I’m sure it was the smoke that woke me up. The apartment was filled with CHOKING smoke. I had no idea smoke could be so painful to breath. I tried to hold my breath and ran to the kitchen. The smoke burned my eyes. In my blinded state I desperately grabbed for the pot. I managed to turn the burner off, but in my haste I flailed around and knocked over the crock pot full of water that had been soaking from dinner the night before.

I ran out of the apartment and over to my crazy neighbor. She really was nutty – saw ghosts and stuff. Her son came over and braved the smoke to help me open windows. Our place smelled awful! My husband was met with an open front door and leftover smoke when he came home later that evening from a test.

I just asked him what he remembered from that fateful day. He said he had mixed feelings. On one hand he thought it was kind of cute. You know – newlywed wife tries to cook and all that. On the other hand…OH MY GOSH!!

When the smoke cleared enough, we went into the kitchen to determine the damage. The water had completely boiled out of the pot and cooked dry until there were just a couple of charred bones FUSED to the bottom. I kid you not. We turned the pot over and the copper had completely burned/melted off. I didn’t even know that was possible. The carpeted floor had soaked up all the filthy, crock pot water. “sigh”

The carpet was later cleaned. The apartment eventually aired out. And I received a new pot for my first Christmas gift.

P.S. After 25 years of marriage, I’m on my third Revere Ware pot.

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Peanut Butter Granola Bars

 I have a real problem buying granola bars from the store. It might be that the packaging misleads me into thinking I’m going to have more than a two-bite snack. I feel like I’m being ripped off. So after a bit of searching, I found a recipe I really like. The original recipe is here. I omitted the brown sugar in my version because it made the bars feel grainy and too sweet. This recipe has more steps than some I’ve tried, but I think it’s totally worth it. You get a more crunchy, flavorful result.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

4 T. salted butter

1/4 cup honey

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

1/4 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease 9 x 13 baking dish. (The original recipe calls for a 9 x 9 pan. They turn out pretty thick that way, though.)

In a small saucepan, melt butter with honey over low heat, stirring.

In a large bowl stir together oats, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until combined well.

On a large baking sheet, spread granola evenly in a thin layer. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes to keep from sticking or burning, until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. (Do not overcook; the granola will crisp more when cooled.)

Remove granola from oven and cool in the pan. When the granola is completely cooled, place in a large bowl.

Combine the corn syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is at a boil. Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the granola, stirring to coat well. Cool slightly and press into the prepared baking dish and let cool completely and harden. Cut into 15 bars. (Even though you can cut into the bars when cooled, I find they stay together best when cut the next day.)

Notes:  This is the kind of recipe that you can add or delete ingredients easily. The photos I took don’t include pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds because my kids don’t like them.

Other options include 1 cup raisins or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or mini chocolate chips. Let your imagination run wild.

Enjoy!

Projects, Puttering, and Puns

This weekend I kept trying to find the the enthusiasm to paint a hutch I bought a few weeks ago. I think my fibromyalgia was acting up because I was just too tired. I remembered a great post about puttering from Just Make The Coffee and devoted my weekend wholeheartedly to the endeavor.  (You can check out the blog here.)

I tried out a new recipe that I planned on blogging about, but it turned out to be inedible. It sat on the counter for half a day before my son had the courage to ask if he could throw it out.

Later, there was a pizza lunch with my daughter and her friend, a trip to the thrift store, then home to do laundry. No schedule. No pressure.

I watched my daughter’s riding lesson which consisted mostly of her trying out a couple of used saddles. (I think she’s tired of bareback lessons in the rain.) I don’t know how long it took me to notice the new hitching post her horse was tied to. My husband started and finished this project on Friday apparently. I don’t think he’s heard of  puttering. Here are some pics he took.

I seriously think it's time to invest in an easier and more efficient post hole digger.
Time for the Christmas lights to come down perhaps?

My husband was describing to me how quickly and problem free everything came together. There were no smashed thumbs, thrown objects or cursing. Now for the pun: I pointed out that his project went without a hitch. I laughed hysterically at my own joke. (I always do.) Lame I know, but my hubby is a huge fan of puns.

Not to be outdone, I finished an easy project that I started in December.

I originally bought this fabric to make a nightgown. They ended up as pajama pants. They’re flannel on the inside and silky on the outside. My daughter loves them. Hurray!

All that left for Sunday was a nap. I can handle that.

Blogging Observations

I’ve been blogging for almost a month now and have made a personal observation. I’ve consistently read other blogs before, but never made any comments or followed a blog. Recently I discovered that it’s much easier to keep up with blogs if I just follow them. But here’s the rub…I feel a bit like a stalker. If I make a comment or follow a very popular and well known blog, I know I won’t stand out, but on a relatively new blog, I’m noticeable.

Is there some type of blog etiquette I should know about? Is there a line you can cross with comments where you go from being interested to sounding like….well, a stalker? Personally, I like it when readers make lots of sincere comments on my blog. It’s fun. But maybe not everyone feels that way.

All this just to say that I only make a comment or ‘like’ a blog if I really mean it. Whew…glad I got that off my chest.

A picture of my daughter's bunny. Just because.

18 Steps to a Relaxing Bath

1. Remove pile of discarded work outfits from edge of tub.

2. Assemble vacuum with attachments. Vacuum floor and tub to remove all hair that has accumulated from a couple weeks of vigorous blow drying. Clean tub with cleanser. Clear counter tops of accumulated clutter.

3. Start running warm water and light lilac scented candle.

4. Turn off all lights so you can no longer see how dirty the rest of the bathroom is.

5. Climb in tub and relax head against fluffy folded towel. Begin to let the healing balm of silence relax all of your cares.

6. Have silence broken by the sound of one lone housefly buzzing and bumping against skylight.

7. Attempt to ignore fly. Surely it will stop. It does. Relax once again into the silence and warmth.

8. Hear sounds of crazed fly resume. Tell yourself it’s mind over matter. It’s just a little fly after all. Fly takes a much needed rest. Wait to make sure fly hasn’t changed it’s mind. Relax.

9. Fly again begins its incessant and maniacal drone intent on destroying any remaining peace and sanity while bashing its tiny, hairy, body against the glass.

10. Use faucet to angrily pull yourself out of bathtub. Desperately search for object to kill fly. Remember that you never manage to kill flies.

12. Grab first available towel and walk to top of stairs. Sweetly call husband. Ask if he can come here for just a minute.

13. Meet husband’s quizzical gaze with blank stare in order to get him to continue up the stairs. Notice as husband’s gaze glances from your face to toweled body then back to face.

14. Realize that husband is getting the wrong idea. Feel slightly guilty. Proceed to lead him to romantically lit bathroom.

15. Point out lunatic fly and ask him to kill it. Admire that husband offers no complaint and merely asks for a towel.

16. Generously unwrap yourself from towel and give to husband. Clap and cheer as husband kills fly on third try and disposes of carcass.

17. Thank husband profusely as he smiles and leaves.

18. Climb back into warm and inviting tub. Realize that your knight in shining armor has killed the equivalent of a dragon for you. Chivalry is not dead.

Our Old Barn

One of the reasons we love our property is the old barn. We figure it’s about 95 years old.

The south side. This is our view when we pull into the driveway or look out our back windows.
West side. You can see part of the milking parlor on the right.
West side.
North side.
North and east side.
East side.
We think this was a milking parlor. The poor thing is on it's last leg.
The west side of the milking parlor.
And finally, the north side.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. I’ll take you inside another day.