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My Little Cottage

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Hello to all of you and I hope you are having a sweet day! We have been busy with our deep spring cleaning around the old Cozy Home. My hubby and I got an industrious notion to take down everything in the bathroom yesterday and scrub the walls. My sweet hubs filled up a bucket with good warm soapy water with vinegar added to it, grabbed the scrub brush and got busy scrubbing away! God has blessed me with an awesome man!!! I took the shower curtain, window curtains, rug and decorative towel sets to be washed, wiped down the pictures and dusted off the little silk arrangements. Before we finished yesterday I had scrubbed down the tub and the surround as well as the sink and the "water closet" and gave the floor a good mopping. We were really tired when the evening came around. My feet were swollen and my shoulders ached, but it felt nice to know we had accomplished the task. We had a wonderful supper of homemade beef and veggie soup that we had put on earlier in the day just before we started our "clean fest". We just put everything in the bath back together this morning and it feels so good and fresh in there. I almost don't want to leave the room. I can't wait to finish cleaning all of our rooms this way!

Today we have been working on some other every day cleaning that needed tending. The sweeper, more laundry, etc. I was just about TWITTERY when our mail ran today and I found a copy of the NEW Celebrating Home Summer Catalog there! OH, MY GOODNESS!!!! There are so many new and wonderful items and collections added!!! We are getting an AWESOME garden cloche with an optional stand so that it can be used as a candle centerpiece, a new GORGEOUS collection designed by Pamela Scurry , as well as a great collection of nature and bird inspired accessories called th  "Nature's Song" collection!!! I think this is our prettiest catalog EVER! I can't wait 'til they post some photos of the newest items on the web site so that I can share them with you all! They will be available to purchase starting April 15th.

Before I end my post today, I wanted to share a couple of recipes that I have tried out lately. One is for a casserole and one is for a salad, they are BOTH just yummy! First the casserole:

Chicken and Vegetables Au Gratin

6-8 pieces of chicken (thighs or breast meat)
1 large package frozen California Mix vegetables (broccoli, califlower and carrots)
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 jar Ragu Cheese Sauce

In a skillet with a bit of oil, brown the chicken pieces on both sides. When brown, place the chicken in your slow cooker or Bean Pot and season to taste with Seasoned Salt, pepper, onion powder and powdered chicken bullion. Open the package of frozen vegetables and pour them over the chicken. In a separate bowl, mix together the chicken soup and the cheese sauce stirring until well blended and pour the mixture over the vegetables and chicken in the Bean Pot. Cover with the lid and place into an oven warmed to 325 degrees for aprox. 2 hours. Serve with a salad and dessert!

We had this for dinner Saturday and there wasn't a bite left! MMMmmm, GOOD! The salad recipe is one that I had last week with a group of friends. Here it is:

Carol's Berry Good Salad

1 package Mixed Spring Greens salad mix
2 cups sliced Strawberries
2 cups blueberries
1 can Mandarin Orange slices, drained
2 cups Feta Cheese
1 can Butter Toffee Pecan peices (I believe she used Planters Brand)
1 jar Marzetti's Poppy Seed dressing

Wash the salad greens and the fruit and allow to air dry. In a 9x13 Casserole Dish, place the salad greens first and then layer with the Strawberries, Orange Slices, Blueberries, Pecans and top with Feta Cheese. Allow guests to spoon the dressing over their individual servings. This salad can be served alone or as a side dish. Simply wonderful!!!

It feels so good to be back to posting. I enjoy reading your wonderful blogs and I hope you enjoy reading mine.

Until later, Stay Cozy,
Charlotte

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Week's Simple Woman's Daybook Entry

FOR TODAY, March 22, 2011


Outside my window...

The sun is just starting to come up and light the day. The sky is a beautiful shade of azure blue.

I am thinking...

That I am a VERY blessed woman, indeed!

I am thankful for...

The arrival of SPRING!!!!! I am also very thankful for every good BLESSING that God has given me in my life!

From the learning rooms...

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) This little phrase is helping us to remember the order of operation for solving algebraic equations. Thank goodnes for mneumonics! Sometimes we need all the help we can get.

From the kitchen...

Fixing a BIG pot of Chili to take to my weekly women's Bible study.

I am wearing...

My favorite blue toile printed tee shirt and jeans. I have had this tee forever and it is still my very favorite. The pattern includes cornflowers and little hearts and butterflies, so pretty!

I am creating...

A home, a place for my family and friends to gather and create sweet memories.

I am going...

To a Civil War reenactment with a group of homeschool friends this coming Friday! I love going on homeschool field trips.

I am reading...

Lots of poetry this week and lots of blogs along with the books that I mentioned in last week's post (I am a s-l-o-w reader and mull the books over while I am reading them).

I am hoping...

To get my spring cleaning and "shoveling out" done soon! I have our local Union Mission charity coming to pick up the usable items in good condition on Thursday. I pray they will be a blessing to someone.

I am hearing...

The sweet birdsongs that come with this spring season! We have been seeing a good many Robins this week.

Around the house...

Spring Cleaning!!! Emptying closets and drawers, washing down walls and woodwork, cleaning windows, washing curtains!!! It hasn't been that long ago that I did some of these cleaning tasks, but somehow now that SPRING is here it just seems right to do them again!

One of my favorite things...

The first pink blooms on the Weeping Cherry trees around our little town. I am still waiting for the Redbud trees to burst forth in their beautious blooms!

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Cleaning, Bible study, school, field trip and anything else that might present an oportunity.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

I am having a bit of trouble posting pictures on blogger lately for some reason. Maybe next time.

I hope you have enjoyed my humble weekly Daybook post. I do enjoy taking time to set down and get my thoughts together like this every Tuesday. If you would like to participate in the Simple Woman's Daybook then visit sweet Peggy's blog to learn how to get started. Once again, my thanks to Peggy for hosting the Daybook.

Springtime HUGS and Stay Cozy,
Charlotte


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Thoughts and a Chicken Recipe

HAPPY SATURDAY, Blog friends!!!

This is a real quick post. I am tooling around on my FaceBook page and just having a lazy last-day-of-winter Saturday. This morning I looked out my window to be thrilled with the first really noticeable haze of soft green on the mountain-side across from my little house in the valley. Last night I heard the song of spring peepers for the first time this year! SPRING is indeed here at long-last!!! (Well, tomorrow is the official first day, but who is counting~lol!) I wanted to share a recipe for Honey Ginger Chicken Stir Fry that someone had posted over at FaceBook. It is from the Recipe Goldmine website! They have some pretty great recipes over there! I love anything with ginger! Here is the link:

honey ginger chicken stir-fry recipe

Hope you are having a BEAUTIFUL day!!! See you again on Monday!!!
(or over at FaceBook :-)

Stay Cozy,
Charlotte



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook (03-15-2011)

FOR TODAY


Outside my window...
Even though it is now 7:00 AM, the sky is still dark and all is quiet in my little corner of the world. This is the result of turning the clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time this past week-end. I am OK with the change, it just means that SPRING is that much closer~(aaahhhh)!

I am thinking...
That it feels very good to once again have the desire to write. My dry season seems to have ended, at last! Praising God for His wisdom and His goodness in bringing me through that season.

I am thankful for...
The blessings of home and family. Blessings that are so dear and fragile at the same time. I just can't imagine how very different life would be without either of them. I am praying for those affected by all of the earthquakes and floods that we have seen this past few weeks. I am also praying for those in Japan who are suffering devastating loss from the recent tsunami.

From the learning rooms...
I am starting the process of assembling Caleb's portfolio for the year. We are doing some last minute projects that reflect what we have been studying the past few months.

From the kitchen...
I am sipping my morning cup of peach tea and having toast with blackberry jam for my early morning breakfast (mmm). My husband and son will be having waffles with maple syrup when they wake up. I am thinking about making pork barbeque for dinner this evening and fixing home fries and peas with carrots to go with it.

I am wearing...
my good old slacks and a tee shirt.

I am creating...
No crafts going right now.

I am going...
to the Women's Bible study group at our church this morning. We are studying the book of 2 Corinthians.

I am reading...
Laugh Again by Charles Swindoll, 15 Minutes Alone With God by Emilie Barns and the book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible.

I am hoping...
to finish sorting and filling a Celebrating Home fundraiser order this afternoon and to finish a few more entries into my son's homeschool portfolio later today.

I am hearing...
the sounds of the busy world waking up outside. The cars on the road that runs by our home carrying people to their jobs and children to school. I hear the birds softly singing and a soft breeze is blowing. Another day is dawning.

Around the house...
I need to vaccuum the floors, the laundry needs to be carried upstairs to be placed into drawers and closets, we will be cooking and doing dishes as we do each day.

One of my favorite things...
I have so many favorite blessings in life that it is hard to choose just one. This morning I am choosing to mention the way that my tea tastes in the morning! My sweet husband bought Bigelow peach flavored green tea at the store this week and it is just WONDERFUL!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I am going to attend a Celebrating Home meeting with my Unit Director on Thursday evening and will be delivering items sold for the fundraiser that morning. I am talking with a new client about decorating her living room and we will be having our school lessons each day. I hope to make it to my mom's sometime this week for a visit, as well.

I want to thank our dear blog host Peggy for hosting The Simple Woman's Daybook each week.

Hugs to all and Stay Cozy,
Charlotte



Monday, March 14, 2011

My Official Return :-)

Good morning to ALL!!!

I have resolved to return to the world of Blogging! It has been a very l-o-n-g winter and I have had a lot of personal life changes to work through (as stated in a previous post). I have taken time off to pray, reflect and come to terms with this season of my life and now, I am happy to announce, I am ready to get back on track with this favorite old blog. I have missed posting.

Well, today is Monday, so the BEST place to start is by offering a recipe. This past week-end, my FB friend, Shannon (better known as Epic Gifted Academy) posted some WONDERFUL Mexican recipes! Though they all sound so very tempting, my very favorite had to be the one for Sopes! I had never heard of these delicious little corn-based shells! She states that, " Kids love sopes because they can fill them with any ingredients they want".  Without any further delay, here is the recipe:



Sopes are made from corn (just like a corn tortilla) but are thicker and can be filled up with your favorite ingredients.


Ingredients:

3 cups of Masa Harina (I use the brand Maseca)
2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp salt
Corn oil (for frying)
Toppings

Prep:

Mix your Maseca, water and salt until you get a soft (Playdough-like) dough. I usually have to add more water to get the consistency I want if the masa is too dry. If you get it too moist, you can always add back in a little more masa. Once you're done kneeding out all the dough, let it sit for about 10 mintues. This usually gives me time to clean up and get the rest of the ingredients I need out and on the table.

Make small balls out of the dough (I usually have them fit in my hand, about 2 inches unless I'm making mini-sopes for appetizers). I have a tortilla press but if you don't have a tortilla press, you can lay the ball on a flat surface, put plastic wrap on the bottom and on the top, then press firmly with something flat. You don't want it flat as a tortilla (or pancake) but rather, relatively flat and thick.

Once you have all your sope balls flattened out, get ready to fry them. I do not use a lot of oil but these do require oil to cook (you can always dab them afterwards and absorb much of the oil).

I put a small layer of oil in the pan just so it's entirely coated (about 1/4). You do need to submerge them a little so they cook evenly.

Once you're done frying the sopes, which should not be overcooked or undercooked. You can tell when you look at them. They look like thicker cooked fresh tortillas.

Take them out to cool a little. When they've cooled just enough that you can actually handle them without getting burned, poke your finger or a knife toward the rim of the sope and follow it around (like you're opening a can of soup). Cut with your finger or knife a ridge that leaves a wall on the outside of the sope. The rest you will push in. It ends up looking like a little boat that you can fill. You're going to want to fill the sopes with refried beans (traditional recipe) and you don't want the beans falling out.

Once you have your sopes made, fill them with refried beans (will post another recipe for homemade refried beans so NO ONE buys them in a can, yuck!) and serve them on a platter on the table.

There are many things you can fill your sope with... traditionally speaking, they are filled with cheese (oaxaca or queso fresco - fresh cheese), cream, sliced avocados, diced tomatoes, grated cabbage (not lettuce like they serve stateside), red or green salsa, or meat products (tinga, chile con carne, chicharron)...

Buen provecho!

Thank you, Shannon! These are WONDERFUL!!!

I will see you all tomorrow with my weekly entry in the Simple Woman's Daybook!!!

For now, Stay Cozy!!!
Charlotte