Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A few months ago my sweetheart was

 
returning something to a deep discount store and was given store credit… well ....... 
It was a smallish store and we were out of town and 
we needed to spend it right then and there… 
 So we looked and looked and looked – and picked up a set of 1200 count sheets [ooooo] 
and then I saw this instant pot – 
an electric pressure cooker / hot pot / crock pot / sauté pot.. 
And we got it. 
I had heard about the joys of an electric pressure cooker 
[had even been to a ‘class’ at Williams Sonoma] 
but just couldn’t spend the money  since I wasn’t sure how much I might use it… 
So I was a little concerned that this Instant Pot might not be up to par 
with a big name brands. 
 LITTLE DID I KNOW that the instant pot is ALL THE RAGE these days. 
Truly. 
There are entire on-line communities devoted to this sweet little appliance.
And now I know why… The first week alone I cooked a roast beef with all the fixings, artichokes, stuffed peppers, a whole chicken, and a dozen hard cooked [‘boiled’] eggs. 
And beans – oh how we love the pinto bean recipe my sweetheart found!
[And they make pretty delicious ‘re-fried’ beans too!] 
I’m cooking more than I have in YEARS…
So the other night I decided to do a whole meal in the instant pot – and now I know the reason some people have more than one – because – while it might be EASY [oh so easy] it’s not so quick when you’ve got several things to prepare –
Here’s my run down – 
 
Before work – I set my peas to soak. Once I got home I rinsed the peas and put in the instant pot – set on ‘beans’ – [30 minutes] – Remember the pot has to have time to gather pressure so it actually takes longer than the set time to cook. And, note: 30 minutes was too long for my pre-soaked peas – they were a little softer than I like. Best thing: I turned them on and did not touch, stir, look at them again.
While the peas were cooking I prepared apple cranberry stuffing -- > 
I searched a stuffing recipe and added a chopped apple I needed to use then threw in some cranberries for extra flavor. Once the peas were done I put them in a bowl, covered with foil, and put the frozen pork chops [seasoned with cinnamon and ginger] in the pot with the pea liquid, then layered in the removable basket and the stuffing in my 7 inch spring form pan ;lined with foil] and set it on for 15 minutes. But I had a little problem: I didn’t check the seal and since the pot was already hot it had some moisture around the seal so after a few minutes I had to check it and dry off the seal [wiped off with a foam brush.] 
Once it sealed the pressure built up quickly since the liquid inside was already hot. 
So it took a little longer than the 15 minutes...
Once the pork chops and stuffing were done I removed them, covered with foil, and set aside. I added the brussel sprouts [again, frozen] to the strainer [still using the same liquid] and pressured for five minutes… 
When they were done, I drained the liquid and set to sauté and added just a bit of olive oil and garlic to finish them off. 
 Oh. So. Good. In retrospect – 
Doing a meat and legumes in the same meal is probably a little too much - 
But it was delicious!
 
On another day, I decided to try the mac and cheese that EVERYone 
[in the Instant Pot Communities] is raving about -  
Here's the recipe I tweaked to my preference: 
Put 2.5 cups elbow macaroni in the instant pot with 2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk. Add salt and pepper.
Set manually for 8 minutes.
Release the steam.
Open pot and add: 1 tablespoon butter, 2 cups cheddar cheese 1 cup swiss cheese [it's what i had] and stir until melted. Start-to-finish: 2 minutes. Delish.
Next up one of those cheesecakes everyone's talking 'bout.
LOL
 

Friday, September 23, 2016

I'm just not a summer beach goer...


There. 
I said it. 
HA.

 Maybe it’s my fair skin and the fact that I burn so easily, or maybe it’s the crowds,  – or maybe it’s just the HEAT – 

[I love the 'retro' setting on my camera - and this reminded me of a vintage postcard, so I made one...lol] 
 But I prefer to be at the beach in the spring or fall…
So we took a little detour this past week and enjoyed a long weekend at one of our favorite beaches.  
The water was perfect at least a few hours a day --
I say that, because it rained / stormed every. single. day.
 Even so, we enjoyed it - even being adventurous enough to be in the water during a rain storm...
We loved having our little rolly cart that we picked up at the Nashville Flea Market - it easily stored our stuff - and kept it up off the sand - a win-win.
 And, honestly -
It was all fun and games until this...
I just couldn't make myself get back in after I saw more than one floating around... After all, I've seen first hand what a jellyfish can do to a person - and it didn't look fun....

This is a beach we know and love,
one we visit at least yearly, and sometimes more often
[this is my third time this year…] 
So it was nice to be there together again…
Until next time...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It’s fall, y’all.

Or it was for a moment one morning this week when 
I walked outside and felt the glorious 65* temperature! 
Of course it was back in the mid-nineties before the day was through…
Still.
 It was so nice… and gives me hope that summer will not last forever. 
So even though I know that there will be more 90* days than not for the next few weeks,
 I went ahead and pulled out a little fall décor to keep the hope alive. 
 
 It’s the same ole, same ole that I use every year –
 just not always in the same spots, or in the same ways… 
What do y’all do? 
Do you put the same thing in the same spot every year ?
[I can’t even remember what I did last month, much less last year, - so that never happens] Or do you intentionally use your traditional items in new ways? 
Let me know – better yet, show me some photos on the facebook post! 
And, for the record... I'm not loving the grapevine wreath there....
I think it needs some orange...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lottie Scotty Update No. 003-2016

Y'all know we live a busy life - we like it that way - 
But sometimes it causes us to put special projects on hold for a bit....
And Lottie has been pushed to the side for a few weeks - 
[This is definitely the color-scheme!]
We're back on track and getting the front completed soon. 
- Craig's already rebuilt the dinette seats...
[It seems that the front and only part of the ceiling need to be replaced...]
 And for now, we're strongly considering using the metal table top we picked up 
as the kitchen counter....
I like the pop of red it will add...
Meanwhile, we've also been picking up a few things to use 
with her as we find them on sale...
Things like the heating / air unit.... and the fridge / freezer... and the sink...
 
As well as more fun things, like dishes, retro lunch trays and solo cup holders, as well as lamps we plan to take apart and use as wall lamps [on sale at Target for $5!! 
Also, fun 'wanderer' key chains and retro glass luncheon plates...
And we're still searching for the PERFECT color of aqua spray paint...
Those baskets [upside down in the photo above] - we're hoping to use for storage on a shelf that will be over the couch / bed... we're thinking they are thin enough.... 
And we need all the storage we can create in Lottie!
... Until next time!

Friday, September 16, 2016

I’ve got to start this post by saying

– thank you to my friends and family who are tolerant. 
To me that means being nice to someone and allowing them their beliefs without attacking them when you believe differently. 
And I appreciate that.
So, there’s that. 
 Now I’ll share some more of my recent Bible journaling pages – it truly is a way to get into The Word and worship as I create. I hope it’s inspirational for you!And, as happens so often, a favorite hymn has made it on the page...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I wanted to share a little update

It's really going much quicker than I thought it would.... 
It gives the option to fill in some of the pretty colored spaces...
Right now I'm thinking I love the look with the color showing...
For now, it's on to the butterfly!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hooray for this one!

Happy birthday!!
We love you with all our hearts!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Y'all know I'm loving my Instant Pot...

and I've got a big post coming at the end of the month - 
But I couldn't wait that long to share this little bite of deliciousness...
And while it looks small - it's actually a good eight servings....
It's easy to pull together - Here's what I did - 
I crushed a sleeve of graham crackers in the food processer. Once they were crumbs I added in 2 tablespoons of melted butter and mixed it all together. I pressed the mixture into a 7 inch spring form pan, being sure to go up the sides a bit. [Use a glass like all the recipes advise - it works easily.] I set that aside to work on the filling.
I put 4 oz. cream cheese , 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt in the same food processer and whipped those together, then I added 2 eggs, one at a time. I poured it into the spring form pan, carefully covering the crumb mixture so it wouldn't get soggy...
Next I put one cup of water in the instant pot, put in the wire rack that comes with it then put my cheesecake on top. 
[It's not completely even - but it makes no difference. 
I've seen other recipe say to fold the handles down...]
Cook on high pressure for thirty minutes
[just click manual and it's pre-set to go!]
Let the pressure release naturally and take out of the pot - It will be wet on top - Soak the moisture up with a clean paper towel and let cool for thirty minutes or so before putting in the fridge for at least four hours.
THIS IS THE HARDEST PART.
[The waiting.]
And as you can see I took mine out of the pan at about 3 hours. so I ended up with some crumbling crust.... Still delicious. But I'll admit it was much firmer after the four hours...
This is NOT a traditional cheese cake - although I've seen lots of successful instant pot recipes out there - I wanted something that was a bit more healthy, and one I hope to use a sugar substitute in to cut the carbs a bit more....
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
[Oh, and the chicken stew on the left there? It was made in the instant pot too! No stirring or worrying about it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Yay.]

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Guess what? I printed photos!

I used to print my favorites at the end of each month... 
but, I don't know... I was so busy Livin' Life 
that I suddenly realized I hadn't really printed since July 2015. 
I know!
CrAzY.
 So, have you heard of Charlie's place? 
It's this neat little gathering place with scenic country views
that a sweet friend found for us to get together to scrapbook...
and scrapbook, I did...
Of course, the first thing I did was sort and separate 
about a year of photos - ha.
 
Then I sorted through paper packs...
Has it really been so long since I've scrap booked?! 
Then I enjoyed pulling together some pages... Above is a compilation of some of my sweethearts fishing photos for 2015....
And a few pages of hunting weekends...
Then I went on to pages of scrapbook crops...
This was The Playhouse when Shirley renewed my faith in all things cricut and my sweetheart cooked fish for us. [Photo Cred: Amanda Z.]
And this is from a fun weekend with friends in B'ham at a crop where they were seriously more serious about scrap booking than I was... lol [Photo cred: FB Page]
Then I documented one of our best days ever [ONCE we'd assembled our new patio cover - and by we, I mean mostly Craig... He did a great job!  
And lastly, I'll share a little tribute to Easter 2015... 
I did a few more heritage pages...
And a few that still need just the right photo...
It was fun to get back into the swing of it!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Remember that Summer Bucket List?

Well - there was more than a few things on the list that didn't get done...
I didn't finish up the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt....
Although, I feel like I gave it a go - here's the bicycle...
Still setting out front from when the siding guys were here...
[Note to self: MUST put this away before winter. Ha.]
 And the paw print...
 But there's still quite a few I didn't get...
I also never planted heirloom tomato seeds that the oldest was going to share with me - but I did plant one cherry tomato plant and this volunteer came up...
And I didn't read all of the Bill Bryson books that I have....
Or glue the tape measure into a star...
[But I did read several great books - and 
completed lots of art projects....] 
[photo cred: the internets] And, we didn't catch up to Bones from start-to-finsih 
[or at least to where  we started watching a few years ago...] 
But we are on season six, and it's been fun learning the 
backgrounds of all of the characters....
And, sadly, I never got back to the garden right out the back door...
I didn't get the bottle tree back in its place [again, from when the siding guys were here,] I didn't weed the flowerbed out [but honestly once the lantana does its thing, it's hard to tell...] and I didn't have a fire pit night - or make hobo meals in the coals... but with a steady temp of 98* around here, I just wasn't in the mood to be outdoors an awful lot... 
 
I did enjoy many of the things on the lists I made - 
and while watching the butterflies wasn't on the list - 

They have been a lovely sight to see! 
It's still summer weather here in my neck of the woods...
And while I'm trying to not wish my days away [the whole be present thing, you know - ] 
I am looking forward to my favorite time of year! 
Shall we have a fall bucket list this year?
I may be too busy to accomplish that... lol