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Friday, March 4, 2016

Ready or Not!

It's entirely too ironic how the world turns.  Inevitably, good ol' Murphy's Law will always bite one in the backside.

Here we are in the midst of a serious downturn in oil and gas. The economy isn't so hot and it's an election year.  Things are not easy for those of us whose jobs depend on such things so that makes little things seem huge in the whole scheme of things!

Now I'm not complaining but my timing and the world's timing are two COMPLETELY different things!  I am not ready to redo our kitchen.  Nope.  NOT AT ALL!  I have a completely different idea on how this house stuff is going to go!  But as nature would have it, I kind of have to start on the kitchen.

(Here is what I had when we moved into this totally awesome home!)  Picture it....1952, a hard working ranch wife, taking care of baby calves, kids, a husband and hired men.  Her house is small but comfortable.  She takes her pride in being able to provide warm meals and a warm home for all things great and small that enter.  The center of the home is the kitchen where she has a wonderful gift from an adoring husband.  It's a Monarch range that is electric as well as wood burning.  Electricity was tricky so having the wood burning part was essential.  This way she can still take care of everyone and everything.

Fast forward to 1980ish....a couple of hard working people with four awesome kids builds a house on 5 acres.  It's a dream home.  It's built with more pride than most homes and offers a variety of options for light and heat.  This home's center is the kitchen.  This is where a number of meals are prepared for the family as well as canning from a fabulous garden, chickens are prepared for the freezer after butchering, etc. And in the center of the home, literally, sits a Monarch wood/electric range.

Fast forward again to February of this year.  I have now learned how to efficiently use the Monarch wood/electric range.  It has prepared many a meal, baked goody and canned as well as heated our home when the furnace wasn't doing it's thing properly.  And here it is.


Cool, right?


But the oven stopped working.  And by stopped, I mean there was nothing.  The only way to heat it was from burning the wood part and that wasn't working for me.  So she needed repaired.  We learned that the Monarch company went bankrupt in 1985 and anything after was refurbished.  One can find refurbished parts for this ol' girl but they are a little pricey!!!!  So after comparisons were made, we chose to remove this range and get a new one.  Remember that little blip at the beginning about the economy?  We had to be economical.  It's not a choice right now for us.  It's a must.  The parts would have cost as much as two new ranges.  We just couldn't pass it up.

The removal was a bit hysterical and I do not have any pictures or videos.  But that old range was heavy!!!!!  Like seriously heavy!  Around 500 pounds heavy!  However, we got her moved to her temporary home in the basement.  We aren't completely decided on what we are going to do with her but until then, she will make a wonderful addition to the corner under the window.

We had some other removal of things before I got my new range in.  And I LOVE it!  It was meant to be.  It was on sale and everything.  I can now prepare meals for my family again without cussing.  And I have to look forward to planning a new corner with cupboards and everything.


Y'all, everything happens for a reason.  I believe that with my whole heart.  I know some folks out there don't have that belief and that's just fine by me.  But I do.  I can't wait to show you some of my creations soon!  Until then, be happy!  Eat cake first!

All my love,
Blonde & Blue

Monday, February 22, 2016

So I took a little VACAY!

Why, hello there peeps out in blog land!  It may have been a while (3 years, but who's counting?) since I have posted but I am back and am super excited!!!!

These last three years have been rather eventful to say the least.  I have gone through many changes that a lot of us do in life.  I have experienced death of very close friends and family, watched some beautiful weddings and met new humans in this world!  I have lost a friend or two but made new ones in the process.  We moved, changed jobs and have experienced the highs and lows associated with everything.

Here lately, I have decided that life is too damn short to be anything but happy!  And in that, I am going to start and continue to do things that make me and those around me blissfully joyful!  I now have a much larger kitchen in which to create awesome meals.  I have space in my formal dining room, regular dining room, sun room, "crap" room, basement and garage in which to create my crafty wonders.  But what I am most pumped about is that I gained a greenhouse, along with a few acres to begin what I hope and dream to be a fantabulous garden/orchard/farm/whatever I come up with to do out there!

I do have some disclaimers though.  I am, what I consider, a normal person.  I use chemicals I probably shouldn't, my family eats some processed foods, we drive four wheel drive pickups and I bleed my family's agricultural ways.  That does not mean I don't try and listen to things that are new and unfamiliar to me!  In fact, I have found out through means of the internet and old timers, that my chicken farming is rather natural and a bit out of the ordinary!  I truly do love trying new things, meeting new people and trying to make this world a better place.

Please also remember that the photos I post are mine.  I am still learning some things about photography and I'll get it all down but until then, please ask for permission if you do use my photos.  I would sincerely appreciate that!

A few things coming up rather shortly will be;  starting seeds, measuring and planning the perfect garden plot, house fixing up, some yummy meals, and a pinterest inspired craft or two!  Until then, I have attached a photo I took not long ago.  Enjoy and talk to you all soon!!!!


Friday, February 1, 2013

What Time Is It?

Funny how getting out of the habit of something can be so hard to get back into the habit of doing it again!  This is the same for not only missing church but working out, being organized, eating healthy, even making your bed everyday!  And at the same time, those simple things can weigh heavy on your heart!  So last evening, I broke out of my little comfort bubble and went to a function put on by my church.  We have a new pastor and this event was for getting to know her.  I met people that are new to my church, old to my church and everywhere in between.  What was really nice is that the onery old man who is very involved in our church gave me the "who are you and how the hell do you belong here?" questions.  He was intimidating and had we not been at the pub for this informal meeting, I would have curled up in a little ball and hid!  But I handled it fine.  He was appreciative of my answers and then invited me to come back to church this Sunday as did another gentleman.  I thought that was so awesome but I have to help a friend out Sunday morning and can't be there.  However, it is my full intention to be there next weekend! 

So to back up just a hair, when this was being planned I asked if I could bring anything in order to keep myself more accountable.  My friend tells me to bring something for munchies if I wanted.  And like normal, I stressed about what to bring!  What goes good with Bibles and Brews???  I found out that what I made did!  Disclaimer:::  I was so busy trying to get everything done and get out the door that I didn't get a picture!  However, I got rave reviews from even the onery old guy!  I did get one of the leftover dip though!

So what time is it?  It's time to keep things simple and do what's in your heart!  Jump in the puddles!  Throw a snowball or two!  Slide on the ice!  Go to church (someone upstairs is calling!)! Tell everyone you love that you love them!  I will leave you with a Bible verse that made lots of sense to me.  It's just about being simple!  Also, a couple of great appetizer recipes just in time for the super bowl! 

Keeping in Simple,
Blonde & Blue

 
CREAMY BLACK BEAN SALSA
(Taste of Home)
 
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 C frozen corn, thawed
1 C finely chopped sweet red pepper
3/4 C finely chopped green pepper
1/2 C finely chopped red onion
1 T minced fresh parsley
1/2 C sour cream
1/4 C mayonnaise
2 T red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
Tortilla chips
 
In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, peppers, onion and parsley.  Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar and seasonings; pour over corn mixture and toss gently to coat.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Refrigerate leftovers.
 
 
BUFFALO CHICKEN "FRIES"
(Cuisine at Home)
 
1/3 C hot sauce (such as Frank's)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 T Honey
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide strips, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/3 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C vegetable oil, divided
 
Whisk together hot sauce, butter and honey in a large bowl.  Toss chicken strips with flour in a large resealable plastic bag until coated; shake off excess flour.  Heat 2 T oil in large saute pan over medium-high; add half the chicken strips, saute until browned, about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to hot sauce mixture and toss to coat.  Repeat with remaining oil and chicken strips. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

K.I.S.S.

Most of you know what K.I.S.S. stands for right?  Most like to say Keep It Simple Stupid but that last word really bugs me so I call it Keep It Simple Silly!!!  And in the spirit of making life more simple and living by the moment, I need to organize my "stuff" a little bit better.  Not so much as to make it look better when company is here but to make it functional!  So with that said, I have an afternoon to myself today.  I walked into my bedroom and decided these baskets that were hanging on my wall, totally out of place, that were serving as my stache for my scarves needed fixing.  And like any good girl, floods of Pinterest pins started flowing through my head!  I vaguely remembered one for scarves where you hot glued shower curtain rings to a hanger.  Easy enough right?  So I ran to the store, grabbed some rings and headed for home.  I eagerly ran downstairs to find the hot glue gun and hanger.  I ran back upstairs and got everything ready.  Here is what I started out with...
 
Functional and simple plus kinda looks neat right?  Then I grab my scarves and start putting them through the rings.  I found out that fishing them through the rings took more time than what I wanted.  Then once I had a couple of scarves on it, things started popping off.  Dang it!!!  Then a burst of laughter and I thought to myself "Keep It Simple Silly"!  Here is what came after pulling them off and taking off the hot glue...
 
Thought..."They open!  Duh!  So much easier to put a scarf in it!"
My, My!  Brilliant! Easy AND functional!
 
Voila!!!!
 
I feel so much better now that those ugly baskets aren't on my wall and my scarves are in my closet where I can see them!!!  Now to finish odds and ends in the bedroom so I can mud & tape, paint, add trim, etc!  Not today but eventually!
 
 
Also, to those of you that were praying for Little Bear's dental appointment, he came out with fabulous news!  Ended up not having to do major work because dentist said it looked worse than what it actually was!!!  Hallelujah!  And the appointment was still so fun that Little Bear asked when we can go back again!  Thank God for a pediatric dentist that really loves his job!
 
Keep it simple my friends!!!
Love,
Blonde & Blue
 

 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It's All In What You Have...

...in the pantry!  I found a new recipe to try and come to find out, I didn't have all the ingredients.  So rather than going to the store, I chose to use that new recipe as an inspiration for something all my own!  Should you try it, leave me a message and let me know what you thought!



Amanda's Pepperoni Sausage Lasagna
FOR THE SAUCE:
1/4 C peanut oil (any kind but this is what I had by the stove)
10 slices bacon, diced
1 large white onion, diced
Salt
4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
4 quarts canned whole tomatoes (4 - 28 oz cans at store)
FOR THE LASAGNA:
Salt
1 1/2 boxes lasagna noodles
1/4 C peanut oil
1 pound bulk homemade pepperoni sausage (can use Italian sausage!)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2-12 oz pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 C ricotta cheese
1 C grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 T dried basil
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
Make the sauce:  Coat a large saucepan with oil and add bacon.  Cook until nearly done and add onions.  Season generously with salt.  Stir to cook until onions are soft.  Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.  Stir continuously!  Put the tomatoes through a food mill.  Add to bacon mix with 2 cups of water.  Season again generously with salt.  Simmer 2-3 hours stiring occasionally and adding salt if necessary.  Cook down to a thick sauce!  Warning:::It smells AMAZING!
Make the lasagna:  Cook the noodles only until pliable.  Do it in batches!  Let rest on a paper towel lined pan.  Cook the sausage in 2 T oil until brown and crumbly.  Remove from pan.  Add remaining oil and add garlic.  Cook until garlic is golden and remove from pan.  Toss the garlic in the trash.  Add the mushrooms and a little salt.  Cook until tender.  In a bowl, mix ricotta, parmesan, eggs and basil. 
Preheat oven to 400.  In a 9x13, spread a couple of ladlefulls of sauce on bottom.  Layer 1/3 of noodles across bottom.  Top with 1/3 of each: ricotta, meat, mushrooms, mozzarella and more sauce.  Repeat layers 3 times finishing with lots of sauce and mozzarella on top.  Cover with foil and bake for an hour.  Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.  Let rest and cool for 20 minutes before serving.
I got rave reviews from the family!  Hope you enjoy it too!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

We REALLY do have time - UPDATED!!!

My new year challenge to you was to smile and live in the moment...have you done that yet?  Just the first weekend into the new year, I found myself making lists of all the things I needed to get done: laundry, bake this, cook that, make this for so and so, make sure bills are paid, etc.  All of the boring, everyday stuff we have to do as responsible adults.  So when the munchkins asked to shoot their new potato guns, of course my response was "NO!  We don't have time."  Then I stepped back and said "Just kidding...we DO have time!"  Much to Mountain Man's disagreement, we drove out on icy roads and braved below zero wind chill to let the kids fire the things off.  I would post a couple of pictures but something is wrong with the site and won't let me!  Dangit!  UPDATE!  I got the uploader working again so here is the picture!



I have never messed with potato guns and so therefore, basic science I had learned in high school was not at the forefront of my mind!  We learned really quick that gas turns to liquid if it gets too cold...oops!  But all the same, we smiled, lauged and froze our fingers off!  But it was worth it! 

Hope this finds you smiling too!  Take time to do the little things!  They really are the BIG things in life.

Blonde & Blue

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bring on 2013!

I sit here this morning enjoying my coffee and reflecting on the last year.  My first thought arrives at "Crud...I forgot to make new year resolutions.".  But then I begin to think why I make them in the first place!  I love to break rules so why am I giving myself rules to break?  Here is to NOT making the typical resolutions...lose weight, not to procrastinate, not yell at my kids or my husband...you know!  The same old thoughts we all have.  Then I was enjoying a scroll through Pinterest and found a saying that I am sure I want to live by.  Not just because it's new years day and it's time to clean the slate but because it's how any and all of us should live. 

I DON'T WANT TO  EXIST.
I WANT TO LIVE!
 
So my proposition to myself, my family and to you is to LIVE!  If something comes to your mind, do it!!!  (Please be responsible!)  Here is my example.  This morning I went outside to grab something out of the car.  I found a small patch of ice on the sidewalk and thought of all the sliding on ice I used to do!  So I slid instead of thinking of how old I am and how the chiropractor would say otherwise and walk around, I did it!  I didn't fall or slip or anything.  It made me smile and I realized that I am not perfect nor is any other single person on this planet!  Do what makes you smile (please be responsible)!  Who cares what others may think!  Heck, I bet I made the little lady across the street and the next door neighbor smile too!  And they were smiling with me! 
 
There are always things that a person wants to change.  I challenge you to change the way you think.  When you look in the mirror, LOVE the person you see.  Look beyond your imperfections and beyond what others may see.  Look inside and love the person you are.  We are all perfectly imperfect and that is what makes us the people that make this world go 'round. 
 
Here is to 2013 and may it be YOUR year!  Smile and LIVE!
 
All my best to you and your family,
Blonde & Blue