Thursday, May 7, 2009

Birthday surprise!

Beautiful red roses from my sweetheart for my birthday today. Thank you Fred - I love you!

Hooray! I'm not eligible to collect Social Security! 62 years young!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One thing leads to another

We had a Weber kettle years ago. Loved that barbecue! I even did a few Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys in it. When it wore out we replaced it with a gas grill. We bought a $199 "special" that I thought would be so much better than the Weber.

It wasn't. It cooked hot dogs and hamburgers OK, but I gave up on anything else. Cooking with indirect heat was a joke - things too close to the fire burned and things too far away weren't cooked. I gave up. We didn't use it at all the last two summers.

I missed cooking outside and eating wonderful barbecue. I told Fred last fall that I wanted a new grill this spring when our income tax refund arrived. We got a HUGE surprise when we learned that a considerably bigger refund was coming than we expected (hence the new things in the kitchen too).

I did my research at the library, online and at quite a few different stores. I was determined to get a good barbecue this time. And this is the result. I especially love the color! I'm very eager to give it a

One thing leads to another I guess. I borrowed the neighbor's power washer to clean the concrete slab out back that was supposed to be a patio. What a difference! The slippery moss that loves to grow on the covered north side of the house in our wet climate is gone. Once that was done the grill moved into place.

I decided to try growing herbs in pots this summer as I've started using fresh herbs a lot in my cooking. Figured I'd add strawberries and tomatoes while I was at it. The pots look so pretty all lined up in a row - tarragon, marjoram, flat leaf parsley, thyme, dill, rosemary, sage, mint and chives. I still need to get one more pot for mint - can't forget mint for summer drinks! The bigger pot in the corner holds a grape tomato plant, and the strawberries are in a hanging basket. I can hardly wait to start harvesting!

When I stood in the door and surveyed my handiwork I figured something was missing. We've never had room for a patio set, but I figured I could fit in a bistro table and chairs. So back to the stores I went - looking and looking for something that would work that didn't cost a fortune. I'm thrilled with the result. It's going to be so nice sitting out here for brunch or a casual dinner.

I have hanging baskets of shade loving fuchsias and impatiens. Since I don't do ladders they are waiting for Fred to hang this weekend. Now we are all set for summer!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oh dear! Long time no post!

It's been WAY too long since I've written a post. Time has been flying by, and I've been as busy as one can possibly be, but I've done no quilting for almost a couple weeks. And when I'm not quilting I'm not thinking about blogging.

I started writing a post, which immediately became lengthy and wordy - you know me, when I tell a story it seems like it takes me forever. I figured no one would take the time to read it all, so I erased it. I'll just let a few words and lots of pictures tell the story.

I've refound my love of cooking, thanks to being on Weight Watchers and actually reading their cookbooks. So I reorganized my kitchen. It was organized fairly well before, but now it's still way better than it used to be.

The first picture shows a car full of stuff to take to Goodwill. There are still more things in the back seat. Clearing out things I've not used in years, things that are worn out, things no longer needed, and things that I'm replacing because they are flimsy and of poor quality.

I also took two large boxes of cookbooks I cleared off my shelves to the library for the book sale.

Staples for baking in the first cupboard to the left of the refrigerator.

More baking staples, plus plastic storage boxes for various cookie cutters, tart pans, and more. A Cuisinart Griddler is on the right of the bottom turntable - replaces and electric grill and an electric griddle.

Baking pans, bowls and liquid measuring cups to the left of the staple cupboard. Gone are all the duplicate pie, bread and cake pans. New little pans - 6" cake pans, pie plates and mini bunt pans are ready for me to start "baking for two".

Now I actually have counter space in this area to work on.

The cupboards for dishes and glassware have also been reorganized. Now that I've shrunk a couple inches it's much harder for me to reach that top shelf.

I can actually reach my pitchers and iced drink glasses now without a step stool! (Gotta love that Crystal Lite in so many different flavors!) I don't show them in a picture, but suffice it to say they are no longer above the refrigerator.

The other turntable - just below the dish cupboards, now holds cereal - much better than on the other side of the room where they were.

The bottom shelf has bins for potatoes, root vegetables and more. Cleaning out the pantry allowed me to move all the pasta from here into the pantry. Much better!

I've not shown pictures of everything, but you get the idea. It's much more pleasant to work here now. I can't wait to bake something! I think the first thing will be cookies for Fred - something that I won't find too tempting to resist!
Since this burst of organizing energy I've been spending a lot of time reading cookbooks, marking recipes for trial (what did we do before Post-Its?), and watching Barefoot Contessa and America's Test Kitchens/Cooks Country. And after years of being bored out of my mind when cooking I'm enjoying it again.