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Archive for November, 2020

Start your ovens!

November 30th, 2020 at 09:26 pm

I started some holiday baking. Here's a recipe I developed. It's a quick one. 


Chocolate Coffee Muffins

2/3 cup milk

5 T butter, melted

3 Tablespoons of freshly brewed coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup sugar

1/2 bar baking chocolate chopped ( I used dark chocolate)

1/3 cup baking cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 to 2 cups flour

additional sugar for topping

Muffin tins with cupcake liners

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Mix wet ingredients together. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients to the wet. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more milk. 

Put into cupcake liners in your pans. I used an ice cream scoop to try and make them all the same size. I sprinkled some sugar on top and baked about 18 minutes or until the toothpick came out clean. 

I think this could be changed up by using different types of chocolate or even chocolate chips. My husband doesn't like coffee, but he likes stuff made with coffee. 

Catch Up

November 29th, 2020 at 08:45 pm

Hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving. It was a quiet one here, just the two of us. Our Pastor asked if we had a quiet one and I said, especially since my husband doesn't talk very much when he's eating. Pastor laughed out loud and said he was a kindred spirit.

I can't say we've honestly saved a lot of money the past few months. It seems although we aren't going anywhere on short trips or anything, other things have come up. Unexpected dentist bills and I needed new glasses -- mine were five years old and it was time -- I wasn't seeing very well. Currently our governor has said no indoor dining and although some places are offering tables outdoors, I don't like to be windblown or get super cold while trying to eat, so we aren't even doing that. We did some of the take out last spring when he instituted this rule and honestly, by the time we got the food home, it just wasn't as good, even if I reheated it. So, I'm on KP until further notice. I know our grocery bills have gone up because I have been trying to make different things so we don't get bored eating the same stuff. We did have a wild outing last week -- our grocery store choices are limited here in our city so we drove 45 minutes to Springfield and went to a large store where they have other things that our stores do not carry. It was kind of nice finding some things we like that normally cannot get. I have gotten more creative as far as reworking leftovers. I try to cook things that make more than one meal not only to save money, but also so I can save myself some time. 

My Christmas shopping is finished. Other than a few items I ordered online, most were purchased locally. I know a lot of people love the online shopping and convenience, but I guess I'm old enough to not care for it that much. Plus, I like to support local retailers. I just mailed over 50 Christmas cards. That was an ordeal -- addressing them all. For those I don't see either in person or on social media, I wrote letters in the cards. The U.S. Postal system ought to be pleased I bought so many stamps, right?

I have one more delivery for our knitting group at church. We made over 1,100 hats this year. Yes, that is less than the past couple of years, but honestly, the fact we hit over 1000 with the fact we didn't meet for months is amazing. Most of the ladies worked at home on hats.  Three schools were "adopted" and we also made 130 for a local group that puts together packages to send to soldiers. We included scarves and also bought 130 tuna packets to go in their boxes. We made some to give our cancer center for them to put out for patients to take too. We made over 200 dish cloths to go in food baskets that one of the food pantries gives out for Christmas and we also gave some to a women's homeless shelter as well as took some food there too. I need to sew buttons and beads on to some fidget sleeves and drop them off at a couple of nursing homes. So, take that Covid 2020 -- you didn't stop our group, Stitches of Love! Our ladies' group at church isn't having their holiday bazaar. We normally sell cookies by the pound and usually make quite a bit of money that we use for missions as well as other baked goods and gently used Christmas items. So, it was suggested that we donate the money we normally would have spent making the cookies and baked goods to the ladies' group so they have some money for some of the missions they support. So, other than some baking I plan to do to share with friends, most of my big Christmas stuff is done. I do need to wrap and mail two packages which I hope to get done this week. But, I have the stuff already so that shouldn't be an issue. 

I finally decided to go through two piles of papers in my area. I call my little room the bear room because I have some teddy bears there. I used to collect them. I gave away three fourths of them, but I kept some that had the most emotional hold. So, instead of my office, it's the bear room. I have a bad habit of letting papers pile up thinking I'll get to them later. Well, later was today. Yay! Lots went to the shred pile and some to recycling and my pile has diminished. 

So, that's what I've been doing. Nothing exciting, but it is the day to day living we all experience, right?



A few craft updates...

November 15th, 2020 at 08:04 pm

Hats, hats, and more hats! At least that is what it seems. We had our final meeting for the church looming knitting group last Thursday. Our totals are as follows:


Hats: 1089
Scarves: 291
Baby hats: 132

Considering we don't have a huge group and that many were hampered due to the Pandemic, I thought that was a goodly amount of hats and scarves. The school district we normally give the bulk of the hats to is on remote learning so we are dropping some hats off, but are looking for other places that can use the hats immediately. We have been creative. One group is another church that puts together boxes to send to soldiers. We have been making hats and scarves in military colors (as requested by the group that does the boxes) and I will drop the 130 hats and the scarves off as well as some food to put in the boxes from our group. Some of the hats will go to the kids who are a part of the court appointed children's advocate since their workers see their kids in person. We did give some hats to a high school that is doing hybrid learning; the principal is a friend and I asked if he could hats and he said yes and gave me a count of which kids he figured would honestly wear them and needed them. We plan to give hats and scarves to a woman's shelter as well as the healthcare center that sees low income families. The whole purpose is to provide something new for these folks and hopefully help them get through the winter. The local TV station has already started the yearly coat drive so hopefully they will have hats, scarves, and coats for the winter.  We also are giving hats to the local cancer care center for them to put out for people to take and use. And the baby hats will go to the local hospital for the staff to give to parents to take home and use. 

I need to get into church and count the dishcloths. We were given a bunch of dish cloth cotton from another church and another lady and I worked on making those. We will give them to a local food pantry to put in the Christmas baskets. Hopefully all the knitting, looming, and crocheting will provide things for our community this year.

Throughout the year I worked on different Christmas gifts too. I did some embroidery on some towels for a friend who likes towels. Instead of Christmas towels, I did winter so he can use them for more than just Christmas. I also embroidered some napkins for friends who the husband is an amazing cook and they like to have the family over. I crocheted a bookmark for a friend in her favorite color. Another friend likes crocheted dish cloths so whatever yarn I have left over from this and that, I make a bunch to give him. 


It's a very blustery day here. It's in the 40s temperature wise, but the gusts of wind make it seem far colder. Glad I can sit here at my computer in a cozy house and drink a cup of tea while I write my blog. Hope your day is going well as well.



My Happy Place

November 9th, 2020 at 08:47 pm

Currently we have weather that is above normal in temperatures and it has been so lovely -- sunny, warm, and replete with fall colors. I guess that is going to change tomorrow as a front comes in. Hope we don't get bad weather out of it.

I am trying to stay positive and think of things that I like doing that doesn't make me feel like I'm missing out on stuff due to Covid restrictions. I've concluded that my kitchen is my happy place. 

I know this summer I spent an awful lot of time canning and preserving stuff. I know I have a love affair with food and I've decided I'm going to try and challenge myself in making some new things. I said on Sunday that was I trying a Barefoot Contessa recipe with pork loin instead of lamb and many SA folks commented they like her too. She just has a calm, endearing attitude, doesn't she? Plus, she does a nice job teaching how to do things.

We ran a couple of errands (we had a CD come due and wanted to draw the money out since the interest rate was horrendous if it rolled over.) We came home and I got to work on vegetable soup. I had found a beef chuck roast in the freezer and I put it in the slow cooker overnight. I cut it up and took out all the fat and started a vegetable soup. I then worked on making a rum cake. I've never made one before and I saw a recipe using rum and thought, hey, I have a bottle in the pantry so why not make a rum cake. I hope it tastes as good as it looks. 

So, I got to spend a lot of time in my happy place. And I think it makes DH happy too, because he likes to eat!

November Already

November 8th, 2020 at 11:51 pm

It's hard to believe it is already November. A friend and I were discussing this at church this morning; it seems like this year has been so strange. I feel like my life has been on hold as we wait for the Pandemic to disappear and it hasn't and there doesn't seem like there is too much to look forward to as the holiday season approaches. Illinois' cases have been going up in staggering numbers. It is depressing to say the least.

I am glad that the election is over. Some of my candidates won and some did not. Just hope they all do their best for the good of our city, state, and country. 

As we have more mitigations due to the infection rate. , there are fewer things we can do. I've been cooking even way more than I had been since the choice is that or going to get food and bringing it home. That's OK, but not my favorite and it doesn't seem as good. So, I guess at this point I'd rather cook. I've been watching Barefoot Contessa shows, some on demand, to get ideas. I found a recipe on her recent tomato episode where she takes tomatoes and onions and puts them on the bottom of a roasting pan and then takes a lamb roast and puts it on top and makes a Rosemary and Dijon mustard topping. We don't eat lamb, but I thought, maybe I could use it on a pork loin roast. I've made so many of those lately, I'm kind of tired of our old way of making it. I tweaked a risotto recipe she made and used butternut squash and ground turkey instead of peas, asparagus, and sausage. DH loved it and we have enough for another meal. 

Are you planning on a big get together for Thanksgiving? We normally do not have one. The last couple of years we've invited another couple, but they are staying in due to health issues and I can't blame them. I wonder if Thanksgiving will be the big travel holiday it has in the past.

So, November is here. I'm trying find positives. Each day I post something on my Facebook account for which I am thankful. I really do have a lot to show gratitude for, it just seems sometimes life gets a bit challenging. 

Looking forward to election day

November 2nd, 2020 at 03:49 pm

Let me point out this is not a political post. 

That being said, I'm looking forward to election day because I'm simply tired of all the nasty political advertisement and social media posts. I want to tell them all, go back to kindergarten and learn how to play nice. It's not just one side, it is both sides. Egad. 

In other news, DH picked the last of the herbs and the leeks and green onions. We did a third planting of onions and they are small, but hey, food is food, right? I plan to use some of the onions and leeks and roast them with potatoes and bell peppers as part of our supper tonight. 

We had a nice time on Halloween. We put a bowl of candy in the middle of the driveway and sat in the opening to the garage door and instructed the kids to take two pieces of candy. It was fun seeing the kids dressed up and the kids and parents were very polite. We have quite a bit of candy left over. I have some cookie recipes on using it up, so I may put the candy in the freezer and then make Christmas cookies with the leftover stuff. 

Last week the stock market wasn't very good. Sure hope it rebounds. We haven't spent as much as usual simply because there isn't a lot we need or want. Almost all of my Christmas shopping is done. Just waiting on DH to tell me about a musical CD he wants so I can order it. I may start thinking about addressing Christmas cards in the next few days and will need to buy stamps. I guess I'm old fashioned. I like sending and receiving cards. One of my friend's daughter just started college and I have been mailing her a card each month and her mom visited her dorm room over the weekend and said she has the cards tacked to her bulletin board and was so happy to get "real mail." 

Hope your day is a good one.