Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Comfort Food 2

It is still cold here, but there is a promise of warmer temperatures for the next few days. Tomorrow is supposed to hit 58F. Friday it is supposed to be 65F. I cannot wait.

I made a big pot of red beans Monday to last me the week. This is a comfort food from my college days.

My usual lunch at the Ole Miss Student Union was a chicken club sandwich. After a few days of ordering, I didn't even have to ask. The ladies would just fix it for me when they saw me coming. On days I couldn't afford the sandwich, it was the red beans. A huge pot of red beans was cooked up daily and a plate cost no more than $1. It may have even been less and the $1 included a piece of sausage. Here's my version of this yummy dish:

6-8 oz. smoked sausage sliced thinly
2 stalks celery, chopped
half an onion, chopped
1 T butter
2 cans red beans - Do not drain. These are not kidney beans, but they can be substituted if you don't find red beans.
Tabasco sauce - I use 2 quick dashes.
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
salt & pepper

Brown sausage lightly in stock pot and add celery, onion, and butter as it browns. Once celery and onion are translucent, add red beans with liquid to mixture. Season with Tabasco, Lawry's, salt and pepper to taste. You can thin with water if necessary. Cook rice of your choice separately. Serve red beans and sausage over rice and sprinkle with Lawry's before serving. It goes well with the cornbread from my previous post.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bee Challenge

My bee has taken on a new project for this year. Before our next meeting each person is supposed to select a block pattern and make a sample block. We have to dig into our scrap stash to make the blocks. We will bring copies of the instructions for everyone and put it all in a bag to pass on to the next person each month. So each month I will make someone else's block out of my scraps. At the end of the year, we should all have a dozen blocks in our own pattern. The idea is to reduce our scraps, although I don't think it will put a dent in mine!

I chose a simple block, but it will require a little time to cut the squares. Still it went quickly, especially when I could stack the scraps before cutting.

This is my completed block. It is 81 2" squares sewn together.

I came home the other day to find my trash tumped over in the sewing room. Maisy does this whenever she thinks there are used Kleenex or candy wrappers in the can so I usually just put them out of reach. I thought I had done that with this one, but she had to have climbed up onto the baskets of scraps to get to this bucket. You can see the other basket overturned in the upper right corner. It didn't have anything of interest in it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bloomin' Cold

Back in the fall the Botanical Gardens had their fall plant sale. I purchased some pansies and some white snapdragons that had supposedly been winterized. The pansies are planted in the bed I made at the side of my yard and have done absolutely nothing. I cannot believe it. Only one plant had a bloom on it and that was before the weather turned cold. The snapdragons have also done nothing. What a disappointment.

But I planted violas in the pots on either side of my walk and will never buy another pansy. The violas are bushy and full of blooms. You can see the snapdragon sticking up in the middle - doing nothing but staying green.

My house came with a camellia at one corner of the porch. I grew up with camellias outside my bedroom window, so I was excited to have an established bush in my yard. A week ago, when we had some sunny days, some of the buds bloomed. I love the dense, ruched center. I don't know the variety, so if anyone can help with a name, I'd appreciate it. There are scores of different camellias out there.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas Postscript

I had a few odds and ends to post at the end of Christmas. These are some luscious fat quarters my Dad gave me for Christmas (of course, I did the shopping.) They are from this great quilt shop in Jackson, Mississippi, that I discovered this past fall, Quilt Arts. I don't know what I will do with them, but they just called to me.

I couldn't post this picture until this Christmas gift had been delivered. These are fun potholders made for my friend Gwen from Aunt Donna scraps. Is there no end to what we can do with those scraps?!

As I was putting my ornaments away, I couldn't resist taking a picture of these three little girls. I just love them. The bunny was featured a few posts back on the tree. They came home with me from Tokyo.

A Walk in the Woods

So, I finally got to my pictures from the trip to Fall Creek Falls State Park. The park has been voted the best state park in the Southeast and boasts the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. Fall Creek Falls is 256 feet high. While you could certainly get the best view of the falls during the winter, I bet the views throughout the park are spectacular the rest of the year.

Fall Creek FallsMy friend Kim
This was one of the trails. I'm so thankful my knee and ankle worked fine and I could maneuver it without any trouble.This rock looked like a big foot to me. One of the trees of the field clapping its hands. It looked like something out of Lord of the Rings.Go, Kim, go! She was very nervous. I told her we can't do the Amazing Race if she didn't cross the bridge, so she did.A view from the bridge.
This was the path up from the suspension bridge.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Comfort Food

This evening I made a big pot of soup from leftover Christmas turkey. Even though today was quite warm, the soup hit the spot.

I paired it with the best pan of cornbread ever. But then, what wouldn't be the best ever with buttermilk and lots of bacon grease. And it's pretty, too.

So here was my dinner. And here's that cornbread recipe in case you're interested.

1.5 cups corn meal (I used yellow)
3 T flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
0.75 tsp baking soda
4 T bacon drippings

Heat 9" skillet with drippings until hot. Sift dry ingredients (or not.) Pour half of drippings into batter. Turn batter into skillet and bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes.