Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oregon Preztels Are Better Then Sliced Bread

Hi everyone,
Oh goodness, I think I've died and gone to pretzel heaven. My blogger friend Jami over at An Oregon Cottage posted this recipe for homemade pretzels. Click here to pay her a visit, to get the recipe, and leave her a nice comment. Tell her "hello" and that I sent you over for a nice visit ;) :)
I'm a woman with champagne tastes living on a soda pop can budget. NOTE: I don't drink.  It's just a point of reference to describe my financial status :) :) :)  So when I saw this recipe it looked really easy and it only involves a few ingredients.  This is what they looked like when they came out of the oven.

I didn't have Kosher salt, so I just used regular salt. Plus, it was a bit of a chore rolling out the pretzel dough. It just wouldn't look like the fancy ones that you buy at the mall. My father kept taking "sneak peeks" in the oven to see how the pretzels were progressing. "Fine, Dad, please leave them alone" Secretly, it made me  smile, because I knew that they had to be good if my dad kept checking on the status of said baked goodies :) :)
This is the prettiest  pretzel of the whole bunch.  Regular table salt works fine, but you do have to put quite a bit on there to get the same taste as Kosher salt.  The pretzels should cool down for a few minutes after baking, before you take a bite. Otherwise, it's still really hot and you might burn yourself. 

Okay, I just had to get that up there :) :) Oh, my homemade laundry powder is working really well. I've washed six loads from it so far. Click here if you want the recipe.  It's the dreamiest homemade version I've made to date. Plus it's pretty and pink.  Plus I've been thinking about quite a few things lately like:
* disastrous knitting projects
* financial wisdom
* decorating projects
* how I like to drown my worries in a cup of coffee :)
* how I really need to leave my worries at the cross :)

So I just wanted you to know I'm thinking about things. It's just a matter of getting the proverbial pen to paper :) :) :)  One of my goals this year is to get into even better financial shape. So I'll be talking about that this week. I've been listening to Dave Ramsey a lot on-line, plus reading his book "Financial Peace University - Revisited" You can listen to the show live  Monday-Friday or listen to archived shows here. I do need to be making wiser financial decisions from this point forward. I've done very well so far but  I'll save that for another blog post...really, truly!!! So life is exciting. I'm excited to see what this new year will bring :) :) :)

That's the news from Oregon today. Extra love and hugs, Heather :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

365 Day Photo Challenge for December 25th, 2010 till January 21st, 2011

Hi everyone, How have you all been? I've been doing well.  I've been a bit late in posting my 365 day photo challenge photos. So I'm just going to post the photos with no comments. I actually like it that way. Don't you?  It's a beautiful day today in Southern Oregon.  My dad is making breakfast for lunch. Yummy. Oh, I should probably readd Picasa to my computer. It would make uploading photos so much faster. However, I've heard some neat things about Adobe Photoshop, too :) :) Enjoy the photos. That's the news from Oregon today. Love and hugs, Heather :) :) :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011


In an effort to eat healthier this year, I've been attempting to make more meals at home. One of the things that is super handy is a slow cooker. Oh, my friend Sarah found one for me at her local Goodwill store for just $5.99. It works like a dream.  I'll be sharing about that soon, because there were some other seriously good yard sale finds that I'm just dying to tell you all about ;) :) Oh, I've posted a few photos at the very end of my post today...of the sandwiches I made from the leftovers!!! I forgot to take photos of the actual slow cooker process.

Also, I've been having problems with the font size on blogger today. I hope you can still read what I wrote. For some reason, I couldn't enlarge the font today...Boo :( :( :(

Heres the recipe for "Lemonade Chicken". I found on page 66 of Taste of Home magazine's winter edition of "Busy Family Recipes". Recipe submitted by Jenny cook, Eau Claire, Wisconsin (NOTE: make sure to read my notes at the end, because I did make a couple of changes to the recipe)

YIELD: 6 servings

*6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)
* 3/4 cup thawed lemonade concentrate
* 3 Tablespoons ketchup
* 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
* 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
* 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
* 2 Tablespoons cold water

1) Place chicken in a 5-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the lemonade concentrate, ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar; pour over chicken. cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours or until c hicken is tender.

2) Remove chicken and keep warm. For gravy, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into cooking juices. cover and cook on high for 30 m inutes or until thickened. Return chicken to the slow cooker: heat through.

So in place of cornstarch, you can actually use pumpkin puree...Yes, I said pumpkin puree. I'd read somewhere that it was a good substitute if you didn't want to use cornstarch. I used it in a chili recipe and it did a good job of thickening the chili. No, it does not taste like pumpkin. It seemed to work just fine ;) :)

I also used raw boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins....instead of chicken breast halves. It worked GREAT!!! Since I'm relatively "new" to cooking stuff from scratch, I thought chicken breast halves would be too large. As it turns out, it would have been just fine :)

I used apple cider vinegar. Not sure if there's any other kind of cider vinegar.

Even after letting the "gravy" thicken, it's still a little bit runny. Mine turned out just the like the picture of the recipe in  the magazine. Having said tastes GREAT!!!! It was very moist and tender...and tasted like sweet tangy lemon. You could easily substitute a different citrus fruit concentrate like orange or pineapple, whatever you think will taste good.

Okay....try it out. Enjoy...!! Since I had leftovers, I made what I call seriously delicious "lemonade chicken blues bun" sandwiches. My daddy asked for seconds. Here's a few photos :) :) :)

This is a little toaster oven I bought at a yard sale for $5. The lady had purchased it from QVC. It's great for a single person or two people. However, since her family was growing, it was no longer practical. Plus the last time I toasted these buns in my toaster oven, they burned on the I used this. It worked  GREAT!!!!
I began by reheating the lemonade chicken in a small saucepan on medium-low on the stovetop. Make sure to stir occasionally. I'm convinced that help spreads the heat around, so the chicken will warm up a little faster. While that was happening, I took some "Blues Buns" (aka seriously delicious hamburger buns) from Dave's Killer Bread and toasted them here. Take a look at their website. The story behind this company is truly inspirational. There is a real "Dave" behind the face of this company and when you read his story...well, it's just wonderful :) :) Plus, it's the best store-bought organic bread EVER!!!

While the buns were in the toaster, I did take out some butter to soften. Here is my chicken sandwich about half-way to being eaten :) :)
So  once the buns have been toasted, add some butter. It's whatever you prefer. I like butter today, because that is what I had in my refrigerator. Attempt to pull apart the chicken and pile it on the bun. Take a spoon and gently drape some of the "lemonade" gravy over the top. Place top half of bun on top of the chicken.

Here is my simple, but very tasty sandwich.
So here it is. It's simple and that's okay. You could easily load it up with other goodies, too. It tasted GREAT. My father even asked for seconds. He was a little "sad" when I told him there wasn't anymore. So next time, I'll have to make more, so there's be extra sandwiches ;) :)

That's about it for the moment.  If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out. That's the news from Oregon today. Love and hugs, Heather :)


Monday, January 10, 2011

My 25th Teacup and Tea Things Tuesday & Teatime Tuesday for January 11th, 2011

Update added Jan. 13th,  - Wednesday
I needed to switch to a new blog background since the site that hosted my previous background is changing servers. ANd I can't seem to figure out how to grab the new code. So I grabbed a new background instead. I'm not sure if I'll keep this one or not!!! I'll keep looking. May you all be enjoying a lovely cup of tea this week!!!

Hi everyone,

I'm really excited to actually have another post up for this week. You have all been so patient with me, especially since I haven't done anything since last Tuesday :) :)  Okay here's what I have to share today. You might recognize these tea things from an earlier post :) 
This is what I had for tea this evening. I was originally planning this around 3p.m. However, I started knitting. When that happens I lose all track of time. Do you recognize the tea things? The lovely teacup, saucer, and goodie plate are from my sweet friend Dorothy over at Notes from Mémère. There were many other items she sent me along with these things. A lot of thought went into each gift :) :) So I just had to try everything out today :)
The same sweet friend also sent me this lovely magazine. It was a surprise gift subscription. The postcard came in the mail a couple of days ago. The magazine arrived today. Ladies, let me tell you. I used to buy Southern Lady a lot. Then when finances got really tight, I had to stop buying it. So when I saw Dorothy's postcard in the mail, I did the happy dance. It's a lovely magazine. Oh, I would recommend this issue because there are lots of tea things in it. Tea doesn't figure prominently as the subject of any particular article, at least not that I noticed yet. However, there were quite a few tea things pictured in this magazine. Many of which reminded me of some of the items that you all have shared on your blogs.

Great, so I've tempted you with beautiful tea things. Now what about the actual tea? Well, today I had this lovely cup of chamomile tea. My grandmother and I would drink this almost every day when I would visit her during the summer. Plus, it is a wonderful tea. It has a light flavor that is easy on the tummy, too!!! Doesn't it look nice with my teacup? Yes, it does :) :)

Every cup of tea needs a yummy baked goody of some sort. It can be sweet or savory. Whatever you like the best. Now today I wanted a donut. Not just any donut will do. It had to be a French crueller. I am not sure what makes it "French". What I do know is that it has a light sugar glaze on top. Inside, it is really light and airy. It's wonderful.

Oh, this is one of the pages inside the current issue of Southern Lady magazine. Check it out. is that  not one of the coolest sewing machines ever? It looks like something out of the 1950s and has a bit of a space age look to it. Goodness, I do love vintage items.
Thanks for stopping by for tea. I was layed off from my job just over a week ago. It was not a total surprise, since lay-offs are typical this time of year. So ladies, please don't be worried for me. Your prayers are always coveted/appreciated.  Otherwise, I'll still be here blogging. Job hunting has already begun.  Two side-blessings of my current employment status is that I can sleep in a little bit longer. Plus, I have time to catch up on all of my favorite blogs. No worries, there's plenty of job hunting. That's a requirement :) :) I just wanted to keep you all up-to-date on what's happening here :)

Oh, time for a "State of the Laundry Soap" moment from  yours truly. Do you remember that fabulously pink homemade laundry powder that I made? I've washed three loads with that so far ;) :) Now the recipe directions said it would work for over 100 loads. That is an awful lot of dirty laundry. I can happily say that my clothes smell absolutely heavenly when they come out of the washer :) :)

That's about it for the moment. I've been working on another pair of socks and taking lots of photos. So I'll be sharing that with you this week. Do you ever have a hobby (or hobbies) that you are so passionate  about, it makes you lose all track of time? Knitting does that for me :) :) Thanks for stopping by to visit me today. You are all dear to my heart and have been great encouragers. You all make me smile. If I can pray for you, let me know!!!

Oh, I'm also working on really committing Scripture to memory. My current verse is Romans 5:3-5  "And knowing that, we  glory in tribulations; knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint because the love of God is being poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us"

My favorite line in those three verses is "..and hope does NOT disappoint" Hope and faith in  Jesus Christ is NEVER a disapointment.  Things may get rough. Things may be smooth as butter. No matter which one you find yourself in, one thing I know to be rock solid, Jesus Christ is always there to comfort me,  lead me, guide me, reassure me when things are not a certainty :) :) :) 

Otherwise, my grammar is atrocious sometimes...but I have the verse memorized. That was really important. Next I'm working on I Corinthians 13:4-8a. That's the news from Oregon today. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)