Thursday, September 29, 2022

Slip sliding into Autumn

I have the hurricane on my mind this morning! I hope you and those you love are safe.  But so many are in a state of shock and darkness.  Our skies are perfectly Autumn blue, and we have been having the essence of perfect weather here.  
I've been getting a room ready for a new floor... the laundry/ storage room we call "the knotty pine room." Right now I'm waiting for the product to get to the carpenter. It's always something.  Hoping it doesn't end up like the kitchen counter tops ordered May 2nd... I finally just canceled after hearing that I was next about twenty times.  
I really don't have a lot of news. I'm making my Halloween cards this week...  that always makes me quite cheerful! It's my card season. I often send about 40 Halloween and 40 Thanksgiving.  And Christmas? About 130... then I send Valentine's and St. Patty's and Easter... 40 each... then I rest the USPS until the next Halloween.  I might change all that up this year.  It's just so fun though! I love creating cards from paper and "junk."
I'm using the little tip-in art cards from Jenny Penton. She's a planner creator I really love to follow.  Planner Perfect is her brand... I've been using her method about 7 years or more. She sells her exquisite leather traveler's notebooks also.
I've had some porch visitors lately.  A former student who is a missionary in the Philippines brought his wife and daughters by last weekend.  What a joy to meet this wonderful family.  They teach the scriptures, provide meals for children, help build homes... He told me about the kids he adopted ten years ago who are in college now... I was really blessed by that visit! He and his family came with arms filled with mums and pumpkins... he'd remembered how much I love to decorate. 
My son helped me arrange our book shelf..  His extra height was much appreciated! As you can see, I've moved a lot of books to other places... I have his short story and mine featured.
Although October hasn't arrived yet, I still feel that urgency to prepare for winter.  This year we did get two small propane heaters in case of power outtage. My dream would be to have the fireplace working against, but that isn't happening this year.  
Getting ready to have a cup of hot tea and watch a movie.
Right now I have a cat asleep on my lap. My fuzzy prodigal daughter returned to me. For two years she had become hopelessly in love with my son and barely gave me the time of day... I was kind of sad actually. Well, overnight Miss Fickle came back to me and ignores him... I can tell he's sad, but he hides it well with a laugh.
Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, September 2, 2022

September's Song

I have always loved this month. Back to School.  Cooler days and chilled nights. Bright blue skies. Autumn's arrival. New clothes... what's not to love? 
My grandparents were married on September 1, 1919... I've written about them many times.  One of my grandmothers had a September 18, 1899, birthday.  
So here is my Rx for a lovely job I'm currently undertaking.  Is there anything more personal than our clothing? I have spent a fortune on clothes in my past.  And now?  Most people would be surprised!  Zero.
During my teaching days I bought a lot of bling. I wore "ugly" sweaters before they were cool... every holiday... and in between. I had a little of every color, despite knowing I was a spring... animal prints?  Sure.  Tailored. Casual. Tie dye.  You name it.  If I woke up on a Tuesday and felt like Annie Hall, I could do that.  Or I could pull off Elvis if I so chose
Then... I retired. I suddenly realized my skin didn't feel good with sequins.  My soul didn't like all that glitter... I think I decided to speak for myself and to mute the voice of my wardrobe.  (Sometimes, admittedly, both of "us" should have been silent! )
I discovered a brand of clothes on QVC called Anybody... soft,  rather plain... so very comfy.  For two years I still bought a lot of variety in that brand. Then in the fall of 2019 I tried a soft, narrow-ribbed, long sleeved knit top...
I decided to go for it,  and I ordered it in pumpkin, slate blue, fir green, Grey, blush pink, black, ... Every. Single. Color.  except white.  I'm just not clean enough to wear white more than two or three minutes... lol... I don't know why... it's just instantly spotted or stained for the whole day...
 I wear the tops with a mix and match of long knit skirts. Once in a while I layer one with a sweater or sweatshirt... That's it.  They wash and dry and look the very same as they did on day one. We run the AC so cold,  I wear them 365 days a year.  In fact,  I've worn one of those shirts for the past 1100 days... what a style maven! 
So on Wednesday I nominated myself to bag up my former wardrobe and pitch it.  I didn't donate as I should have. I didn't feel like washing all those clothes,  mending,  deciding if they were worn too much... thinking who might benefit and who might judge...
I selfishly just bagged and pitched four large black trash bags... hangers and all... wedding dress?  Prom dresses... coats... scarves... jackets... bling and working girl... out! I saved only a few pieces I honestly loved.  
I discovered I really passionately hated some of those clothes. I felt so free... Am I this plain,  Type 2, nondescript woman?  Right now I am.... passionately so. 
This top honestly doesn't look so asymmetrical on me... I'm not thin enough for it to "swing" I guess... yep. That sounds about right.  
I went wild with fruit from Aldi delivery.  These are delicious!  And I have the perfect excuse, my son's birthday! 

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Brownies

prep time: 20 MINUTES
cook time: 40 MINUTES
total time: 1 HOUR

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Brownies - a chocolate and cherry explosion of flavour as chewy brownies get pieces of sweet cherries baked right in and even more in the delicious frosting.


For the Brownies

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup good quality cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ounce unsweetened bakers chocolate, melted (1 square)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, chopped and cut in quarters

For the Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 tbsp milk; only enough to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency.
  • 1/3 cup fresh cherries, chopped

To prepare the brownies

  1. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar, melted chocolate eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stir slowly until the sugar is dissolved. Pinch the mixture between your fingers to make sure that you cannot feel any sugar granules. This is an important step in baking fudgy brownies.
  5. Gradually mix in dry ingredients.
  6. Fold in the chopped cherries.
  7. Spread the batter into a greased or parchment lined 9x9 baking pan.
  8. Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes at 350 degrees F (325 F for glass bakeware) Cool completely before frosting. When cooled, if your edges are too high you can trim them horizontally with a serrated bread knife to level the brownies.

To prepare the Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Mix all the ingredients together except the cherries and beat very well until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add the milk last to get the frosting to the right consistency.
  3. Finally fold in the 1/3 cup chopped fresh cherries.
  4. Spread evenly on top of the cooled brownies before cutting into squares or bars.


Note. You can also make these with frozen cherries when not in season.