Thursday, April 1, 2010

Enter our Giveaway!

This month, enter to win a copy of Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece courtesy of our sponsor, Crafts by Amanda!

Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece: Custom-Color Your Favorite Fibers with Dip-Dyeing, Hand-Painting, Tie-Dyeing, and Other Creative Techniques:

No crafter should feel limited by the yarn colors available in a favorite fiber shop - not when it's so fun and satisfying to hand-dye yarn and fleece right in the kitchen. Ultimate color control is now within the reach of anyone who loves yarn and fleece.

In Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece, self-taught dyer Gail Callahan uses fiber, color, and heat to create exciting new yarns and yarn colors. Her recipe-style instructions lead readers through a variety of simple techniques that turn plain or outdated yarns into colorful fibers, customized by color and quantity for the project at hand. And there are even eight projects for knitters eager to use their new yarns.

Standard kitchen equipment is all that's needed to set up a kitchen dye shop. Dyeing can be done in a microwave oven, a sturdy stovetop kettle, a crockpot, a traditional oven, or even an electric frying pan - Callahan covers every method.

Rules: Must be a legal U.S. resident, 18 years or older. You may enter once per day. Entries will be accepted through midnight, CST on April 30, 2010. Winner will be drawn at random and notified via email.  They will have 7 days to respond or an alternate winner will be drawn.

To enter, click here and fill out the form!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Questions from our Facebook Fans

As you know, we set up a facebook fan page for Old Fashioned Living. There have been several questions that have gone unanswered as of late, so I thought I would turn to you, our loyal blog readers for help! Here they are, you can post your answers in the comments, reply to the email you receive, or post the answers directly on our fan page.

From Beth Mitchell
Does anyone know how to increase egg production? I have about 53 layers and I am getting around 30-34 eggs a day.

From Barbara Cole
Looking for a good pickled beets recipe for canning. I know its early but I'm getting ready!

From Angela Desilets Murray
I am attempting my first real herb garden, any suggestions?? We have a farm but really don't know a whole lot about anything, we have six goats that we just love and seven old bettys (chickens) that are more like pets cause we only get two to three eggs a day... time to retire them. And a rabbit. I am also putting in the biggest garden that I have ever attempted to do. I am so excited.

From Kim Bowen
Grandma did it! I have a very old family, I am the last GD of the last DD. My grandma raised cotton and had a card and spinning wheel. What did your grandma do to inspire your love for old fashioned things?

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Recipes For Brunch

The story of Easter is the story of God's wonderful window of divine surprise. ~Carl Knudsen

It's always fun to shake things up and plan a brunch instead of a dinner for a holiday meal. Serve it up buffet style and ask for everyone to bring their favorite muffin, bagel or fruit while make other dishes yourself. Here are some suggestions:

Asparagus Frittata

1 green bell pepper, diced
12 thin asparagus stalks
3 green onions, ends removed, and chopped
1/4 pound Parmesan cheese, grated
8 large eggs
5 fresh thyme sprigs or a tsp. of dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon butter or olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Gently break the asparagus stalks off approximately 2 inches from the end. Slice into 2-inch pieces. Beat the eggs into a large bowl until frothy. Add the green onion, bell pepper, asparagus and grated cheese by the handful into the beaten eggs. Strip the thyme leaves from the stems and add to the bowl with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the egg mixture and cook until the eggs begin to set, approximately 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 more minutes. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook approximately 5 more minutes or until the eggs are set on top. Remove from the heat, cut into wedges and serve.

Celery Appetizer:
Stuff celery hearts with a mixture of 3 ounces cream cheese, 3 tsps. mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce, 2 tsp. butter, a dash of cayenne pepper, white pepper and paprika. Mix with fork until creamy. ~1930 Ladies' Home Journal

Strawberry Salad

4 cups torn salad greens
1 cup watercress (sprouts are nice too)
1 cup sliced, hulled strawberries
1/2 half of a small red onion, thinly sliced
Poppy seed Dressing (homemade or bought)
Edible flowers such as nasturtiums or chive blossoms

In a salad bowl, place greens, watercress, strawberries onion. Top with dressing and toss to coat. Garnish with edible flowers. Chive blossoms and nasturtiums are
peppery in taste. If they are not available to you, fresh mint can be used for garnish. Caution: Be sure that all herbs and blossoms are free of pesticides.

Lemon Fluff

1 cup flour
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large tub frozen whipped topping (16 oz.)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon rind-outer layer only
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 8 ounce blocks cream cheese, softened
2 small boxes instant lemon pudding mix
3 3/4 cups milk

Mix together flour, sugar, and butter. Press into a lightly greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake crust for 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Blend together the sugar, cream cheese and 2 cups of whipped topping. Spread onto cooled crust. Mix together the pudding and milk. Pour over the cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining cool topping.
Refrigerate overnight before serving.

On OFL we have recipes for lovely lemon desserts.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Bulbs, Tubers, Rhyzomes & Corms, Oh My.

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day. ~W. Earl Hall

Many of us are still patiently waiting for our fall planted bulbs to bloom. While we wait, it's time to plan spring planting of summer blooming flowers. Many of these flowers are not hardy, which means they don't survive the cold winters under normal circumstances. It's also time to determine whether you want to divide or add to your supply of hardy bulbs, corms, tubers or rhizomes this year. What is the difference between bulbs and these other plant types?

Why aren't they all just called bulbs? A "bulb" is what a tulip or daffodil grows from. It's the rounded thing (for lack of a better word) that stores the flower which will eventually bloom. The pointy part is what the stem grows out of, and the flat bottom is where the roots will form. This is a simple definition for the others:

A corm is what a gladiola grows from each season. It looks like a bulb but has an indentation at the top, and a flattened part with roots at the bottom like a bulb.

A tuber is thinner and looks kind of like a carrot in some ways. The roots are at the bottom again, and the stem grows out of the top. If you've pulled up Queen Anne's lace it looks like this as do daylilies, both wild and cultivated.

A rhizome is what we plant to obtain the Iris. It's an ugly, long, thick root that lays sideways with one end bending upwards, which is where the stem appears. Rhizomes should always be planted fairly close the surface, unlike bulbs or corms which need to be planted fairly deep.

You don't really need to know these definitions to grow these type of flowers, but it helps to know the terms if you are reading articles or books on landscaping or planting instructions. Below are some of the most common type of summer blooming flowers that grow from bulbs, tubers, rhizomes or corms.

Tuberous Begonias
Elephant's ear (Colocasia esculenta)

Lilies (Lilium spp.)
Rhizomatous Iris
Lily of the-valley (Convallaria)
Blazing Star (Liatris)

You'll notice that most stores have large displays of these out for purchase already. I have planted and divided daylilies as early as April in my Zone 5 landscape, but most of the others should be planted AFTER the last frost in your area. Even if you can work the soil, the tender varieties should be planted after the frosts have finished. It's hard to be patient, but it is important to do so.

Next Monday I'll post more on planting and selecting the summer blooming flowers I've mentioned today.

On OFL we have an article on growing gladiolas.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Enjoying Your Family Celebrations

Where man sees but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing. ~Albert Laighton

Family celebrations should be about creating lasting memories with the people we love. Don't let yourself become wrapped up in the perfect menu or trying to impress everything with your entertaining skills, especially if it takes away from the enjoyment of the day. Keep several things in mind as you plan your holiday:

1. Don't do it all yourself. Ask everyone to bring a dish for the holiday table. Use this as an opportunity to make family members feel good about contributing a dessert or dish to the celebration. Try to include everyone, even teenagers who can bake a batch of cookies. I loved to bake when I was a teen, and I have a nephew who makes an awesome chocolate chip cookie.

2. Keep the food simple enough that you won't be spending the entire day in the kitchen instead of visiting with family.

3. At the celebration itself involve children of all ages in some part of preparation. This may be as simple as carrying napkins to the dining area to be put on the table, to setting the table itself. Teenagers are the perfect age for carrying food to the table, rounding up extra chairs etc.

4. If you have little ones coming for the day stop by the dollar store or somewhere else and pick up cheap coloring books or activities to keep them busy before and after dinner.

I have a couple of easy recipes for Easter celebrations:

Crock Pot Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

9 medium potatoes peeled and sliced
1 small sweet onion, sliced very thin
4-5 cups chopped cooked ham *see note
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
dash or two of paprika

Saute the onion until soft and set aside. Layer HALF of the ham, potatoes and sauted onions in the crock pot. Season with paprika, salt and pepper, sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese. Start over and layer the second half of the same ingredients. Pour the soup into a bowl, add the 1/2 cup milk and mix it well with a whisk. Pour over the top of all the ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Note: Any diced ham can be used. It can be leftover from a bone-in or boneless ham, you can buy it at the deli, asking for it to be sliced thickly, or you can buy the large ham slices and chop.

Creamy Jalapeno Dip

This dip can be served while everyone is waiting for dinner, or later if you need a snack.

1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
16 ounces low fat or regular sour cream
1 package dry ranch salad dressing mix
2 tsp. garlic powder (not garlic salt)
Optional: 1-2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. You can make this the night before or first thing in the morning. Refrigerate and serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

On OFL I have several articles I've written with more Easter tips and recipes:

A Light & Festive Easter Dinner:

Easy Ham Recipes