Monday, September 22, 2014

Along Came a Spider....

      Happy Fall Ya'll! I've been waiting to say that! I took my camera outside with me today and snapped a few photos of nature. There were a couple of spiders along my path; thus the reason for my title. I think spiders are such unique creatures! There are so many different sizes and colors of them. I especially like garden spiders as they seem to have lots of colors. Along my path there were also some toad stools or mushrooms. I like to think of these as toadstools since they are quite large. They too, are such pretty colors. Like Fall! 

      The sun is still quite hot today even though the temps are in the upper 70's. It feels like the 80's unless you are in the shade. (It will be in the 80's the rest of the week.) I can still acquire a tan this time of year! The breeze is quite strong at times, making the chimes sound nice. We usually take them down in the winter cause the sound keeps me awake at night. We seem to have quite windy winters around here.

      I have kept myself busy working on my crafts and such. I really have enjoyed this new phase in my life! I love seeing things come together in a nice way; things I've made with my own hands! You will see what I've been up to in the photos below.

      Fall is a big birthday season for us. We celebrated a high school buddy of Randy's this past Saturday. It was nice to see old friends we haven't seen in quite a long time! I hope we get together with them all again soon! Randy's birthday is Thursday and April's is October the fourth. I will tell you the rest of the birthday's in October when that month begins. Needless to say, it's hard not to eat birthday cake! Some of them are really good! I only eat the good ones. 

      Thanks for reading and commenting on the recipe I shared in the last post. I hope you get to try it soon! Let me know if you do and how it turns out. I will be making some again real soon!

      I hope the weather is nice for ya'll this week! I can't wait for it to cool down just a little bit more! Have a great week! Blessings from Bama!

Isn't this garden spider lovely?

Now this spider is creepy! It was trying to attack the dirt-dobber or whatever that blue-winged insect is.

Perfect spot to sit awhile!

I think of morels when I see these mushrooms.

Some white mushrooms pushing up the leaves.

One of my favorite views.

I'm almost done with these shirts!

A plaster-of-Paris cast in play-dough.

I want to add 'boo' to the wreath.

The piece I'm trying to replicate with the plaster-of-Paris. It is so thin I don't know if it will work.

There are three missing pieces on top.

I've yet to start on this wreath. Maybe it will be for Valentine's Day instead!

The candy corns need another coat of paint. I enjoy painting, especially when I've got something on my mind.

Randy's dear, old friend, Knox Sharp Sr. He was the best man in our wedding.

The birthday boy, Knox Jr., getting a visit from the 'cryer'. She was hilarious!

His birthday cake, Bwhahahaha!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Cracker Recipe

      As promised, I am writing out the cracker recipe! It passed the Skylar test so I will share it with you.

Copied from the
Makes about 100 crackers

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (any oil will do)
1 cup water

Topping: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle a baking sheet lightly with flour and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.

3. Add the oil and water to the flour mixture. Stir until a soft, sticky dough is formed. Add more water if necessary.

4. Divide the dough into two halves and set one half aside. Sprinkle work surface lightly with flour. Pat dough into a thick square with hands.

5. Working from the center of the dough out, roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 1/8 inch thick. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for 5 minutes, then continue rolling.

6. Brush the surface of the dough very lightly with water. Combine the seeds in a small bowl and sprinkle half of them evenly over the surface of the dough. (I used about double the amount of seeds, focusing on sesame seeds.)

7. Using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, or sharp knife, cut the dough into individual crackers roughly 1-inch by 2-inches.

8. Transfer the crackers to the baking sheet using a metal dough scraper or spatula. Crackers may be crowded very close to each other. Prick each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent them from puffing during baking.

9. Bake the crackers for 12-15 minutes, until edges are browned. Thinner crackers will bake more quickly than thicker ones.

10. Transfer the baked crackers to a wire rack to cool completely. The crackers will crisp further as they cool. Store crackers in an air-tight container for 3-5 days. 

Note: If you want cheese crackers, mix in 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese to the flour mixture. Pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles course cornmeal. Proceed with adding the oil and water as directed.

      Ta-da! In between putting temporary tattoos on the girls arms, I guess I did pretty good! You definitely need to put some homemade pimiento cheese on these crackers. I grate a block of cheddar, mix in about a third cup of mayonnaise, (I love mayonnaise so I probably use a lot more than this!) about 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and a small jar of pimientos, drained. You may mix in the food processor, but I just use a spoon.

      I hope the recipe is as good to you as it is to us! Let me know if you try them! Blessings from Bama!

Aren't these crackers pretty?

The girls sure do love their Uncle Randy! And he loves them too!

A shirt I'm working on for the girls. I procrastinated with them last year so I'm finishing them this year!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Still Sweltering in September!

      But hopefully by the end of the week, things will begin to cool off a bit! I am absolutely soaked as I sit here after my walk! The green juice I'm drinking sure is refreshing on a day like this! Is it still hot where you are or has the temp cooled down? I hope you are comfortable, wherever you may live!

      As the days are beginning to shorten, I seem to have less time to get things done outside. I guess it's because I have to wait until evening to do any digging because of the heat. I dug a few potatoes last night and it was still so hot! I don't know if potatoes are worth growing here. I will have to talk to Randy about that for next year. It's usually hot when I have to dig the trench to plant them, and hot when we harvest them. They did seem to do well where they were planted, but if I rotate the garden, the rest of the dirt is not soft like that. I may choose to plant something else, like more okra. Ours didn't make this year because of the cooler first half of the Summer. Okra likes long, hot days. It does well with less water. It is usually the easiest crop to grow. I wonder if next Summer will be like this?

      I am so looking forward to Fall and cooler weather! I never thought I'd say that because of the long, cold winter we, and everyone else had. I don't want it to be like that again, but sources say it will be; and maybe even worse! I sure hope not! The Polar Vortex was more than lots of people could handle! I don't know if we can take another one here in the South! But as I was saying about Fall, I am getting in the crafty mood again. I am so glad! Crafting makes me about as happy as gardening! I just need to take time to craft all year! I take time to cook and garden; what's one more thing? I think I was getting out of balance with some things. I'm so glad when God gets me back on track! Life is so much more joyful when we trust and follow Him! 

      We went on a camping trip Labor Day weekend. It just happened to be the day after I made the peach freezer jam. I had my hands in those delicious peaches all day, so I ate peaches all day. Stomachs don't set well when fed too many peaches. You'd think a grown woman would know this! I suffered the whole camping trip with a bloated stomach and much discomfort! I still managed to enjoy most of the trip, in spite of that! I learned an important lesson: Don't eat too many peaches while making jam! We got back Monday in time to host the family cook-out. I was so glad to see my girls! They are growing so much! They are coming again this weekend and I can hardly wait! The weather will be a little cooler so we can spend time outside, hopefully without getting eaten by mosquitoes and see-me-nots, and chiggers! Chiggers will always be a problem, but if we wear the right clothes and shoes, we will have less chance of getting them.

      I made some delicious crackers today to go with a homemade chicken chowder I made last night. The chowder was made with corn I froze this Summer and potatoes from our garden. So it was semi-home grown! The chicken was left-over smoked chicken from the night before. The chowder is really good! I kind of went by a recipe, but mostly added what we like. I hope the crackers will compliment it. If Skylar likes it, I'm O.K.! He's quite picky about food. I guess I've spoiled him that way. Like the biscuits I make are more hard than fluffy. They're still better than store bought though.

      When the temps cool down, I hope to get back to writing more. Hopefully, soon! Ya'll take care and have a good day! Blessings from Bama!

The making of peach jam.

Relaxing at the campground.

It rained a lot while we were camping so we had to caddywonker the awning.

Relaxing with my honey.

A fawn lying just out from the camper.

The deer were so tame.

The campground where we stayed.

Five of my favorite people!

A typical Southern breakfast with grits and homegrown fried egg! 

My little poser!

The bat looks like he's going to take a bite out of something!

The beginning of a wreath.

Two rows of potatoes, one more row to go.

Can ya'll believe I used this by myself?

Yummy cracker dough!

I was inspired to make these after eating some at a Guntersville restaurant.

They are not even, but for my first time, they turned out pretty good. They are going to be candy corns.