Monday, June 9, 2014

The Burlap Saga Continues

When I was in college I was given the task of decorating a table with a theme and a budget for making it happen.  My theme was Thanksgiving.  My budget was $10.  I bought burlap, a basket type cornucopia and I don't remember what else.  Long after the activity was completed I still had burlap and a basket. (and I see that basket's twin sisters every time I go into a thrift store -  and you have too!)

Loved the burlap. Mine was the only table with a natural fiber cover, or any fiber for that matter as the rest were all done in paper. It wasn't the showiest, or the flashiest, but it was real.  Burlap wasn't particularly fashionable at the time, but I was a farm girl and didn't care.

You can imagine my amusement a few years ago when burlap became the hot decorating item.  So hot that my fashion savvy daughter chose it as a major component for decorating her wedding.  (See previous blog posts  for photos!)

The wedding came, was sweet, and went, and so did she.  North in the same general region I went to college, and the happy couple is now settled into their first "house" home.  So you can imagine my sweet amusement a few days ago when she proudly sent photos of a recent diy project.  Maybe you can spot it.

I don't know about you, but I like those curtains!  And I like the  minimalistic, vintage, bookish style these two call home. 

So that's how burlap has played out so far in the next generation for our family.  It will be fun to see in the coming years where other favorite things show up and how they are incorporated.

For some great ideas using burlap visit my Pinterest board on that topic.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Soup's On! Lentil Soup - Made My Way

I made my husband a very happy man a couple of years back when I started experimenting with "soup in a jar" recipes.  The inspiration came from my awesome friend Connie and her Aunt Viki when I learned that they had canned dried beans start to finish in the canning jar.   I felt cheated I had not known this wonderful method all my life.  They were kind enough to share it with me.

That was my first big break.

The second big break came soon after.  I found myself at a popular Italian restaurant with some friends.  Not being very hungry I felt adventurous and ordered the lentil soup.  It was divine.

The last big break, which I can only credit to God seeing all the good it has led to, happened at our area's bent and dent grocer.  The hubs and I like to get down there twice a year or so to scope out the bargains and load up on a few favorite things.  I hit the jackpot . . . a 24# case of (yep!) dried lentils for $6.99.

Lentils!  Healthful, wholesome, hearty lentils!! I started having ecstatic visions of soup as soon as I saw it!  The hubs thought I was nuts!

In the meantime I had canned some navy beans using Connie and Viki's method.  It worked beautifully, but I have to tell you, I've barely used those beans.  They're good, they're beautiful, but really, they're boring.  Then it crossed my mind that if I used less beans and added other things . . .  you see where this is going.

And thus dried bean soup made in the jar was born!  The lentils started it and I've added several more bean soups to the menu since then.  The hubs is happy - he gets tasty CHOICES when he has to heat his own lunch.  My mom is happy because she's a canning nut and loves these soups.  My aunt Sue for the same reason.  I'm happy as it provides budget and health friendly meals for us.

For the record, most of my soup recipes are condensed.  Like Campbells, you have to add water or milk to it.  As I type I've got my first attempt at a potato soup (Knockoff Zuppa Tuscano like Olive Garden's) using the same methodology in the canner.  It will require the addition of milk upon opening it. I could change it and add less bulk and more water, but really don't see any good reason to.

Also for the record, while canning beans start to finish in a canner is not a Ball Blue Book method, it IS approved by the extension service in Ohio or Wisconsin or somewhere.  It's been so long since I ran across that I forgot which state. Regardless, the beans still get the standard 90 minutes at 10 lb pressure and as long as you observe standard food safety protocol (sterilized equipment, clean hands, high quality ingredients, etc) you're good to go.


Condensed Lentil Soup
based on Carraba recipe

For Each Sterilized Quart Mason Jar add:

slightly heaped 1/2 cup DRY lentils
¼ to 1/3 link (chopped) uncooked hot Italian sausage (sausage is more for taste than bulk)
(note, 1 lb sausage makes 14 jars using just a bit more than 1 oz per jar)
1 cube Knorr chipotle seasoning
1 tsp dry minced onion or ¼ cup fresh chopped onion
1 stalk chopped celery (1/4- 1/3 cup)
1 chopped or sliced carrot (1/4- 1/3 cup)
small pinch of savory
small pinch of marjoram
1/2 tsp salt
chicken broth- fill to within 1" from top. 
   If broth is not available use two Knorr chicken cubes and omit salt

Fill jar with water leaving 1 inch head space.
Clean rims
Seal with sterilized rings and flats. Process 90 minutes at 10 lb pressure.

To serve add 1-2 c water as desired, heat and serve.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Rhubarb Craziness

Yes, I know it has been a looooooong time since this poor blog received any attention, and to just get it out there and over with  - ITS MY FAULT.  Feel free to stalk us on facebook, twitter, instagram, etsy, etc if you want to look further at what's gone on for 2+ years.  Suffice to say life has been quite full!

But I'm still me and I still like to do creative stuff when I can and share it when I think it's worth sharing -  so here you go.

One of the things that has happened in 2+ years is that the hubs has perfected the art of growing RHUBARB in southeast Alabama.  You heard me right.  What we were told wouldn't grow here is growing in abundance a few steps from my back door.  Lots and lots of it!  And besides listing it for farmer's market sales I get to make pies, crisps, jams and today . . .  (drum roll please)  COOKIES.

I found this amazing recipe over at Little Dairy on the Prairie.  And with a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff begging to be dealt with this afternoon I figured "why not?"  It gave me the opportunity to:
   1. Use rhubarb in a new ay
   2. Try chopping rhubarb in the Ninja  (a most awesome birthday present from the hubs)
   3.  Try mixing dough in the Ninja
   4.  Spoil the hubs a little.
   5.  Get this baking bug out of my system

So here are the results:

LOVE using the Ninja -  it made so much work go faster and easier.  LOVE the cookies.  You'd never know there's a full 2 cups of rhubarb in the recipe, or any at all for that matter.  Rhubarb blends well with anything you put it with and in this venue add both fiber (Bonus!)  and moistness.  I did make some changes to suit our own preferences and if I make them again will do some things differently as well:  use semi-sweet chips instead of Toll House, use less and/or different sweetener, and whole wheat flour.  If my Bonnie is coming I'll switch it up even more to make it dairy and gluten free.

Here's the recipe with my Hortonized changes in italics:

  • 2 cups rhubarb, diced   (I diced them REAL fine in the Ninja bowl)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar, divided    (Brown Sugar.  Wish I had used less)
  • 1 cup real butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 2½ cups quick cooking oats   (Was out.  Used Old Fashioned Oats)
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon  (thought that was a lot so only used 1 tsp)
  • 3 cups chocolate chips  (Chocolate attack!  Used half this amount)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)   (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sour dehydrated cherries (to take the edge off the sweet Toll House chips and what I thought was too much sugar)
  • 3/4 cup mixed pecans and walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cream eggs, butter, 1½ cups sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy. About 2 minutes.  In Ninja
  3. Add diced rhubarb and ½ cup sugar in blender. Blend until pureed. Pour into creamed ingredients. Mix together.  Forget that, I just added the sugar and rhubarb to the stuff in the  Ninja bowl.  Worked beautifully.
  4. Sift flour, salt, soda and cinnamon into creamed mixture. Add quick oats. Mix until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and raisins. Mix together.  I did this backward.  I mixed the dry stuff and poured the rhubarb/butter/sugar stuff into it and folded it all together, then added the chips, fruit and nuts.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes.  Mine were nowhere near done at 8 minutes.  Using stone may have had something to do with that but it typically took 11-12 minutes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back to this Wedding Stuff: Beautiful Burlap

When  my precious friend Sonja over at VeryVerdant, and I sat down with our bride to be eight months before her big day, I was not privy to what was going on in her pretty head as far as styles, colors, etc that she wanted for her wedding.  I credit Sonja with pulling it all out and forming a workable plan that I could  pull together months in advance while our bride was hundreds of miles away at college.

One of the surprising elements that Becky embraced was burlap.  While I've loved burlap my entire life, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that burlap is a hot decorating item these days.   Here's how it came together . . .

 Sonja made this beautiful bunting for the head table.  It now graces the happy couple's apartment.

We made many of these white burlap flowers that were used in corsages and as table decorations.

If it looks like a bag, it's because it IS a bag!  Several of these with assorted prints graced the coffee service  table. 

Yes, this is a repeat.  Both the boutonnieres and the bouquets were wrapped with burlap.

Last and most certainly not least, awesome pew cones filled with fragrant rosemary from my herb garden.

All images copyright Bonnie B Photography

Thursday, December 22, 2011

For my Baby Girl or . . . You're Not Home For the Holidays

Dear BS and PJ, or PJ&B, whichever way you guys abbreviate yourselves, Merry Christmas!  We SO enjoyed being with you last year, but now that you're married and live a zillion miles away and can't make it here to visit this year, we're taking here to you, via electronic miracles that didn't exist fifty years ago.  (Somehow I find it ironic that old fashioned Christmas cheer is being spread by new fangeled technology!).  Whatever the case, WE LOVE YOU GUYS, miss you and wish you the most joyous of Christmases!

Last used at your wedding.  
Don't worry, the new stockings are in the works.  :)
I added led candles in jars and around this group this morning.  LOVE the led's!

This is the little red maple that had to be sacrificed to build a fence to keep the horses out of the orchard.

LOVE what the girls did here!

Foyer Tree

Dining Room Tree -  love the look with the blue stuff
I couldn't bear to put away Mama New's quilt after Thanksgiving so its been blinged up some for Christmas.

 Charlie Brown Satsuma Trees

Cloe's the best decoration of all in light of the recent break in's around here.  And last of all . . . .

The Girls miss you and Send their Love.
Your parents do too!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bag Lady

We interrupt this series of belated wedding posts to announce that this blogger has become a bag lady.

Ok, that just didn't sound right.  So let me start again.  Tonight I learned to make gift bags.  Seriously.  And it wasn't even hard, though my fingers are telling me next time to use something else to crease heavy kraft paper.

A friend called needing an order filled earlier today.  While thrilled at the big order I wasn't thrilled about the non Christmassy look of my cute little cellophane bee gift bags.  Rather than do the thirty mile round trip to the local WM, I took matters into my own hands, quite literally, and used what I had at home to make what I wanted.  I must say, I'm quite happy with them.

For the record, I watched several youtube tutorials before attempting to do this.  "How to make a gift bag" search will produce lots of links.  And I did a trial run out of a Christmas sale paper before  attempting the real thing, something that taught valuable do's and don'ts.   If you have any notion of doing the same, go for the short videos first, and please understand that you don't need any special tools or gadgets to do this like some videos show.  Like sewing, if you cut well and measure and mark things correctly, it goes together easily.  The main thing is to not be afraid to give it a shot.

So enjoy, Merry Christmas, and if you get a handmade bag from me you better reuse it!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Butterflies - Theme I

Our Bride and Groom had three things they wanted to incorporate into their wedding.  The first was butterflies.  I'm not privy to how that got started, but I do know a necklace was involved early on.  Beyond that . . . well, it's ok not to know.  That being said, one of the visions for this wedding was for them to be surrounded by butterflies as they said their vows. 

For the record, the smaller butterflies were cut from card stock by Toni at on her Pazzles.  The larger ones were cut by hand from a damaged Strong's Concordance and inked by hand.  Fitting for Bible majors don't you think?

Many thanks to Bonnie at for sharing her awesome photos with us!

images copyright Bonnie B Photography