Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pear butter!

     Came across a bargain at the grocery:  a bag of with about a half-dozen bruised pears for $1.66.       Decided to buy them and try my hand at making some pear butter.   

       Wasn't thrilled with the recipes I found, but did run across a nice recipe for pear sauce ... spiced with cinnamon, ginger and vanilla.   And since apple butter is basically cooked-down applesauce ... seemed like pears should be the same.

       Took me a couple of hours at the stove, but I ended up with a lightly spice, very pear-ry  tasting  product.   Tasted pretty good on the pancakes we had for Christmas Eve breakfast!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Some after Christmas notes

  Just a few thoughts as we unwind a bit from the holiday ..

Santa came through: An insulated lunch bag was on my list.  I take my lunch to work every day, and rather than place it in the office fridge (which the janitorial staff is rather ruthless about cleaning out), I leave it in the bag with a cold pack if needed.    Just in case though, I'd found a pattern for a quilted lunch bag, and I was mentally choosing fabric from my stash, pricing insulation, etc.  But by gosh, Santa delivered.  So it's on to the next project.

Kitty Christmas:   Rather  than buy new toys for our furries  (Senior isn't interested; it took Big Boy all of 15 minutes to rip his toy  apart last year), we dug all the old toys out from under the couch and chairs.  They had a grand time chasing around the forgotten balls and bottle caps.   The more durable mice were placed in a bag with dried catnip overnight.  Those were a big hit, too ... even with the territorial dispute over 1 mouse ... 

Can't stop selling:  I must be way out of the loop on this ... 
  Had not seen the major TV shopping channels since we dropped pay-TV a few years ago.  This year, both have appeared in "over-the-air" formats here ...   
       I'd remembered that at least one of those channels would shut down on Christmas Eve and show public service  announcements, or just put up a "Happy Holidays from ..."  sign.
      So, when I clicked through the channels Christmas Eve, I was surprised to see they were showing pre-recorded "holiday events"  -- hosts doing infomercials  about various products.  One of the stations was inviting viewers to shop online.  

     Guess times have changed ... I realize none of the online stores shut down for the holiday, so everyone else has to keep up.  Still, I found it a bit jarring. 

 (And this is the part where all the comments tell me it's been going on for the last decade, and I just haven't been paying attention, right ;)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

     To all my friends ... I wish you a joyous Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Black walnuts

  The time has come, the walnut said ....

  It's time to see how the black walnuts we've collected from around the neighborhood have fared after a a month or so of curing.  
  That mess in the photo is the pile of shells from the first half-dozen that I took a hammer to.

     So far, so good.  I was a bit surprised.  I was expecting them to be large nutmeats, like a regular walnut.  Didn't realize that the shells had many chambers ...   Oh, well, I was going to chop them up anyway ... nothing like getting a head start.

    Cracking nuts is good frustration relief, too, LOL!  And it certainly entertains the cats ... especially when a piece of shell goes skittering off.

    A little early to tell just how much nutmeat I'm going to get out of those 6 dozen nuts ...  but it's time to peruse cookie and cake recipes ...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shopped at Target? Check your cards

  In case you missed it on the news ...

If you shopped at any Target store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 and used a credit or debit card, please check your account NOW.   According to news reports, up to 40 million customers' credit and debit card date may have been stolen.  Check your account online, or give  your bank or credit-card issuer a call.

The fact this happened at bricks-and-mortar stores across the country ... and impacted that many people is truly scary.

Here's a link to a story:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oh Christmas tree .. where art thy ornaments?

          The arrival of  our tabletop Christmas tree has created a bit of excitement for two of the furry residents here at the casa de chaos.

       Of course, they have to sniff the tree, and taste the tree (even though it means getting a swat from Mom).  Then, we move on to "King of the Hill," where BB and LG push each other off the table. (risking another swat.)

       Then, after Mom and Dad go to bed ... it's time for the real game:  knock the ornaments off the tree.   Got up this morning to find ornaments all over the floor .... and in two of the four corners of the room.

       I really thought that after the first year or two, they'd calm down (like our other cats) so that we could put up the big tree ... I think it may be 2028 before that tree goes up again.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

On sale: strings attached

  I've noticed a change in how the supermarkets in my city are doing weekly sales ---  the big loss leaders  now have a few strings attached. 

   For example, at one store, coffee was on sale for $4.99 a can ... provided you buy two.  Last week it was on sale as part of a "Buy 10 items and get $10 off." )

   That store also had ham for  99 cents a pound, provided you bought an additional $10 worth of groceries. Another store had it for 97 cents, with a $25 additional purchase.  (I've seen this  with turkeys, but it's the first time I've seen this kind of restriction on ham.)

     The conventional wisdom was that stores would use the loss leaders to draw in shoppers, who would buy  enough other items to make up the "loss."   Wondering if so many shoppers are now  just buying the loss leaders  that stores are using the "additional purchase" card to make sure they get back their investment ...


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Buying in bulk

  My DH likely thinks I've gone round the bend ... I bought a case of TP from one of the big office supply stores. 

   I got  one of those daily deal e-mails offering a discount on "break room" supplies.  And since the price was at my target for 12 double rolls ... and since the rolls were 450 sheets compared with the 264 on the "double" role of the same brand, I thought it was a great deal.   

    Besides, they shipped it to my door for free, so what's not to like?

     (And I put it next to the case of tissues that I bought earlier in the year ...)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ever think better of something?

  I was poking through the pile of garage-sale goods (actually, stuff left over from the last sale), when I came across a small pile of linens:  couple of pillowcases, couple of pairs of curtains/valances.

  Thought about it for a few minutes, and realized that with the cost of material, these items were worth more to me as potential fabric for projects than what they'd bring at a sale.

   So I took them out of the pile and put them in another pile ... my fabric stash.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

November freebies

Had much to be thankful for, freebie-wise, last month:

1 roll paper towels
1 medium French fries
1 mp3 song
3  tea bags
2  K-cups
1 smoothie mix
1 brownie mix
1 box crisps
1 Align trial size
2 energy drinks
2 cookies
1 bottle water
1 cup coffee


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bright idea: keeping warm

  I've not been able to find an affordable replacement for my insulated patio curtains.  (Really, when did pinch pleat drapes go out of style? Everything is grommets!)

  So my latest project has been to find a suitable liner for my current patio drapes.  Looked at the commercially made blackout liners; nice, but cost almost as much as a new pair of drapes. I can buy the  lining, but I'm not quite sure how to attach it.  And I'm a bit worried that the lining might be a bit too heavy for the curtain.

 (I'm  wondering if lightweight flannel or  polar fleece would work? Anyone have an idea?)

   And while I debated, the temperatures dropped.  Got to do something   ...

Then I remembered:   A few years ago, I bought several yards of felt to use as window coverings during the winter.   I sewed a pocket at the top, and put them up using tension rods.   We seldom used the one I made for one room, so I did a bit of measuring ... turns out the felt, and the rod, fit perfectly inside the patio door frame.  Well, not quite perfect ... it's a bit short ... but close enough. (Which  makes the cats  happy, since that's a prime bird-watching spot, LOL!)

     It's noticeably warmer by the door now.  It may not be a permanent fix ... but at least it's free.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pumpkin seeds

   Here's the cookie sheet full of seeds from the 2 pumpkins we processed last week.   That, and another small pan of squash seeds went into the oven to roast at 250 degrees.   They'll be the basis for a nice big batch of trail mix. (made with raisins, chocolate chips that are on hand.)

    I'm hoping for a triple play of sorts ... roasting the seeds will pre-warm the oven for a batch of muffins I plan to make.  It will also throw a bit of extra heat into the house.    

  I also did a small load of laundry -- kitchen rags.  They're drying on a rack in the kitchen near the stove.