Friday, August 29, 2014


It's time to make some sweet jalapeño mustard using the peppers from the garden (or from the store).  Some of my peppers look a little wrinkled (that is OK) as I have been picking them and putting into the fridge until I had enough to make a batch of this sweet hot mustard. As the garden is winding down I did not have quite enough peppers so I purchased a few at my local market and set about to make some mustard.
This is a simple recipe that will yield a dozen 1/2 pints with some left over for the fridge. You start with 42 peppers - if they are big probably only about 38 or so.
This next step is personal preference, if you like the mustard to be really hot all you need to do is to wash them and cut off the stems.
We prefer the mustard to have a little "bite" but do not want it to be so hot that we cannot enjoy the taste. When working with the peppers I put on latex gloves and a mask and glasses (like safety glasses), split the peppers and remove the seeds.
Next step is to grind the peppers. You will note my  hubby's arm as he volunteered to grind them for me. I have an old fashioned manual grinder but you can use any grinder that you have or if you do not have one they could be processed in a Cuisinart, etc.
This is what you will end up with - continue to wear the mask the gloves and glasses.


42 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and veins removed
2 cups yellow mustard (I use plain old French's)
4 cups white distilled vinegar
*6 cups sugar, 4 white sugar, 2 light brown sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 cup flour (I use Wondra flour)
1 1/2 cups water

*I know this is a lot of sugar but this is a condiment and you do not use a lot of this.  You could make this with the Whey Low sugar.

Grind the peppers in a food grinder (wear gloves, mask and glasses). Place ground peppers in a large pot (I use just the peppers and some but not all the liquid).  Add mustard, vinegar, sugar and salt.  Bring to a rolling boil then add the flour/water mixture (just put the flour into a bowl or measuring device, add the water and mix until they are completely combined), stirring constantly bring back to a boil and boil for five minutes. Turn off heat and place the mustard in sterile pint or half-pint jars. Seal with lids and rings. Process in boiling water bath for 5-10 minutes. Remove to a towel and let them cool and seal.
 I find it much easier to fill the jars using a canning funnel.
You do not have to have a special pot for the water bath, I use the pot that I have for steaming tamales and put a canning rack in the bottom, the pot needs to be deep enough so that the water will cover the jars.
After filling 12 1/2 pint jars I put the leftover mustard in a clean jar and into the fridge we will use this jar right away. The others will get a label and be put in the pantry for a week or so before using or sharing.

I moseyed over to The Graphic's Fairy and found a round label, then added the checked circle, my verbiage and some royalty free pepper clip art.  I created the label in Corel Draw.

 Note: Date has been removed from the print out labels.

 TO PRINT: If you have a draw program just copy and paste the sheet into your program. If you do not have a draw program an easy way to print out a sheet of these labels is to "right click" on the image and "save to your desktop", then "right click" on the file on the desktop and you get the option to "open in Picasa" (if you do not have Picasa it is free and an easy download) once in Picasa select the "print" option, then "full page", if it does not fit the page then select the" fit to page" option and it will print out perfectly.  If you are not using a lami-label then print it out on a full 8 1/2 x 11 full sheet label and then cut around the labels as you need them. I know this sounds complicated but it is really easy and once you have done it you will see it is that. Right click, save to desktop, right click, open in Picasa and print. Here is the link for Picasa: Link
Place the printed label sheet inside a lami-label and laminate. Cut out the labels and place on the lids. If you follow this blog you will know I LOVE lami-labels and always have them on hand.  Anything you print out can become a good quality sticky-back label. This step is of course, optional. There are labels provided with the jars, you could also print the labels off on a full sheet label and then cut them out. I prefer the lami-labels as they look very nice, the color looks great and you can wipe them off when necessary. Personal preference.

I decided to add some wax and string to some of the jars (those I might want to give as a gift) absolutely no functionality just makes them look more gift-able I think!
More than one way to add the twine and wax.  I chose the easiest and that is to cut a length of the red twine, determine the mid-point, dab a little hot glue on the back of the jar and once it is dried bring the string around to the front, cross the string, add another dab of glue, let it cool a bit and then apply a wax sticker.  You could also just use some was seals you make on a surface that you could peel off the seal and then glue that to the front.  I found these seals in a get-rid-of bin a long time ago and they were 10 cents and I bought all they had and over the years have used them for many things.

Cooks Note: We love this mustard and find all kinds of things to use it for besides ham sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs.  It is great to brush it on ham as a glaze, to brush on bar-b-que chicken when it is almost done (it has sugar so would burn if you tried to brush on while cooking), etc. Use in any recipe you would use mustard, try it in a potato salad for a zippy salad, set out some with pretzel sticks for dipping - have fun with it, we do.


Round Ribbon Label, The Graphic's Fairy, Link 
Wax seal stickers, BasicGrey Clippings Wax Seals for Scrapbooking
Canning rack,Prepworks from Progressive International CKC-400 Reversible Stainless Steel Canning Rack
Red Twine, Red Hemp Twine - 20 LB. Test - 1mm - 430 Feet - 100g - 100% Hemp Fibers
Canning jars, grocery and big box stores
Lami-labels, Fed-Ex copy stores (Kinko's)
Font on label, French Script & Georgia

Thank you for stopping by. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


This is a little complicated so hang in there with me...I have two dear old friends, they live in the same state, one in the north and one in the south, they are both adorable, they are both very accomplished artists, they went to the same high school but not at the same time, they do not know one another, they both love chickens. Sounds like a riddle doesn't it?

Last Christmas one friend posted her painting which was made up of her REAL critters on FB as a Merry Christmas.  I asked and received permission to post her art work and then to share with my other friend.  Long story short (too late) I wanted to frame this print on canvas for them both and it was put on our project list and well, oh well, it's August and the print is finally framed!

The first thing I did was to print it out on canvas, did not work, colors were awful. So I tried cotton poplin, no go, and finally I printed out on linen and it was the best of the three types of printable fabric.
Now for my secret weapon (my hubby). I gave him the exact dimensions of the prints (approx. 5 x 5 1/2) and asked for a simple frame, see above.
 I painted them with Annie Sloan Primer Red.
 Next painted the stars yellow and then when they were both dry rubbed on some Annie Sloan dark wax, let it dry and rubbed again to finish.
 Glue the linen print to the frame, attach the star with glue (hubby had routed two little holes for the stars) and set in a simple easel.
 Not quite done, needed a card to put inside the package so my same friend had done another painting of one of her girls so I simply printed them out on some cardstock, trimmed and folded and I have a card to tuck inside the package.  All that is left to do now is wrap them and get them off to California.


Paint, Annie Sloan Red Primer, at speciality stores & online
Wax, Annie Sloan dark wax, at speciality stores & online
Frame by hubby, back is plywood and the sides are oak that he ripped down.
Wooden Star, Craft Warehouse
Easel/display stand by Tripar International, art & craft stores
Printable Linen for Ink Jet, craft & specialty stores, I think  mine was Mcgpaper Inkjet canvas.
Art work by Susan Kandarian-Gefvert

Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Many years back my husband fell in love with his first bite of buttermilk pie at the Old Chickahominy House in Williamsburg, Virginia. This classic southern dessert is a yummy custard pie in flaky pie crust, about a zillion calories per heavenly slice.
Lovely place to visit and to have a typical Southern meal served in a vintage dining room. The Old Chickahominy House is located at 1211 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA.
First recipe is the "impossible pie" recipe from Bisquick but made with Whey Low sugar. Cutting the pie into 8 slices, 203 calories a slice. Cooks note:  I think this recipe calls for too much sugar and with the one with regular sugar and this one with Whey Low sugar I only use a little more than a cup. Also, your pie cooked so that the center still has a little jiggle should look like the second photo, we like it to have the dark top and some would think overdone - not us.

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 1/3 cups  Whey Low sugar (I use less)
 1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

Mix together the eggs, vanilla & sugar, then add the butter and the Bisquick, stir until well mixed. Pour into a pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray, put into a 350° oven for about 30 minutes depending on your oven - this one was in a little longer on purpose because hubby likes the top browned.  Serve with some macerated berries or some fresh whipped cream.

 Second pie is the same recipe but with regular sugar. Cooks note:  I think this recipe calls for too much sugar and with the one with Whey Low sugar and this one with regular sugar I only use a little more than a cup.


1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 1/3 sugar (I use less)
 1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

Mix together the eggs, vanilla & sugar, then add the butter and the Bisquick, stir until well mixed. Pour into a pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray, put into a 350° oven for about 30-35 minutes depending on your oven.

The great thing about this pie is that it is so easy, just a simple custard type pie and a nice ending to a meal with some berries or a dollop of real whipped cream or a little of both. 270 Calories per slice.

I purposely use a large pie plate to make more portions but you can make it in a smaller pie plate and have a taller pie. This is one of those things that when you need a quick dessert is so easy to whip up quickly and toss in the oven.  I have also just put the pie into a square pan and then cut out pieces to put into a sherbert/footed glass and add the whipped cream and berries.

Here is the full on version from Southern Living Magazine.
If my calculations are correct one slice (cutting the pie into eight pieces) is 507 calories. Is it better, you bet but the version made with Whey Low sugar is very good too.

Southern Living Magazine Recipe

Buttermilk Pie Filling: 

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon loosely packed lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Garnishes: fresh berries, whipped cream, fresh mint
 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together first 2 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and next 5 ingredients into flour mixture; pour into Perfect Pastry Crust.

2. Bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes or until almost set, shielding edges with aluminum foil after 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool 1 hour.

Southern Living Magazine Perfect Pie Crust Recipe 
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons cold shortening, cubed
  • 4 to 5 Tbsp. ice water
  • Parchment paper
  1.  Pulse first 3 ingredients in a food processor 3 or 4 times or until combined. Add butter and shortening, and pulse 8 to 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 4 Tbsp. ice water over mixture; pulse 4 or 5 times or until dough clumps together, adding up to 1 Tbsp. ice water, 1 tsp. at a time, if necessary. Gently shape dough into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes.
  2.  Preheat oven to 400°. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle (about 1/8 inch thick) on a floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate; crimp edges. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Line pastry with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  3.  Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment paper, and bake 8 to 10 more minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).

    So the calories go from 203, 270 to 507. Big difference for sure. The actual number of calories for the first two pies will be less as I do not use the amount of sugar in those two recipes.
    Old Chickahominy House, Link 
    Whey Low Sugar, Whole Foods and Online, Link 
    Recipe source for buttermilk pie with crust, Southern Living Magazine
    Thank you for stopping by. 

Friday, August 22, 2014


I have been wanting to do a B&W tablescape for some time and decided a family fish-fry would be a good opportunity to do so. The day before the dinner I had just set out the dishes and place mats and was trying to figure out what I thought would be best when my hubby brought me a package that UPS had just dropped off - true story.  I set the package down on the table and opened and the most adorable caldron from Grandinroad was inside - with cute red feet - from my dear Sis - she said on the note a pre-birthday gift! Was this magic or what??? I know this is intended for Halloween but what an adorable centerpiece for my table - right?
All I did was go to my bag of artificial flowers and pull out big white flowers (3) then added two stems that were daisies and a red poppy - folded back the stems on the big flowers so they would fit in the caldron and poked in the other two stems and voila - a centerpiece from the caldron.
After trying several of my napkin rings I was not satisfied, too country, too fancy, just does not look good.  I needed something red - so.....I have a bag in my craft room of napkin rings that I have made and also cut rings (hubby cuts them for me from tubes that go into golf bags from the sporting goods store and from sturdy paper tubes, just file the edges).  I pulled out four plastic ones and then found some Washi tape that I liked and in less than ten minutes tops - I had my perfect napkin rings - simple pull out the right amount of Washi tape and put on the ring - that easy.
Candle holders - needed more red so I inverted little red polka-dot soup pots and put a glob of Tacky under the candle for stability.
Simple menu card and ready to have a nice dinner celebrating the fish caught in Alaska!  It was yummy guess this means we have to go back and get more fish for another dinner - I'm in for sure!


Napkins, Link 
Chargers, IKEA
B&W placemats, at HomeSense by Mahogany
Black dinner plates, Living Colors
Black and white salad plates, HomeGoods by Ten Strawberry Street
Tablecloth, HomeGoods
Goblet and wine glasses, Villeroy & Boch, Bernadotte pattern
Caldron, Link
Menu card in Corel Draw, primary font, Comic Sans MS, secondary font, Lobster 1.3

Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Last Saturday was Alzheimer's Idaho (local grassroots organization) annual golf tournament. I volunteered to make centerpieces for the tables.  The goal was to make a nice centerpiece while at the same time keeping cost down so that the centerpieces could be sold at the end and make a little money for AI in the process.
 Deciding on the design was the first order of the day.  I love ivy and the elegant way that it drapes but small ivy plants from the florist were out of the question for (24) centerpieces.  So - I went to my local garden store and bought ivy plants - the kind for ground cover, they had three different varieties so I bought some of each.  I had almost two weeks to the day to make these so we just put them on the patio and watered them and put them out in sun for a little bit of each day and they flourished and in two weeks we had quite a bit of growth.  I found some twig baskets that were plastic lined at a local import store, so no need for a saucer. Now all I needed was ribbon, silk flowers, florist pins and bags of moss.
You can see in this photo (before any ribbon placed) that the moss just finishes off the centerpiece and hides the ivy pot.
Inexpensive florist pins (see lower right in photo) are a very good way to hold down ribbon or some of the plant, great to use to help balance the design. Besides the plants and the twig basket all you need for the centerpieces is a bow for each one and various flowers from the $ store that you cut off of the stems, and some sticks.  Once the bows are made, the flowers cut off the stems it is just a matter of sitting down and putting them all together.  I think it took me maybe six hours or so to do the 24 centerpieces.
I used two types of ribbon and lots of different flowers so each one was different.
A nice little basket to take home.
The last thing that I did was to make a pick to go inside the pot to let the attendees know that the centerpieces were available to take home. By keeping the cost down I was able to make 24 centerpieces for $137.55 or $5.73 each meaning that after deducting for the cost the charity would net $342.55 for the cause.  Truth in advertising I donated the ribbon, wire, florist pins, paper and picks. Both the garden store (thank you Zamzow's) and the import store (thank you Tai Pan Trading) gave me a discount when I told them I was making centerpieces for a charity golf tournament.


Plants, Zamzow's, Eagle, Idaho
Twig Baskets, Tai Pan Trading, Boise, Idaho
Black plaid ribbon, Costco
Red plaid ribbon, fine design store
Moss & flowers, Dollar Tree
Florist pins, Walmart
Wooden skewers for pick, grocery store
Ivy/Heart pick design, Corel Draw
Font for pick, Comic Sans, MS

Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, August 18, 2014


What the heck is a bierock? Or for that matter a berrock, burek, or other names, it is a meat sandwich filled with ground beef, cabbage and other items a traditional food found in parts of Germany, Russia and Argentina. I first encountered these savory sandwiches my freshman year in College.  The cafeteria cooks for the dorm where I lived were German Mennonites and it was a special day when these were served. Most cultures have some type of a portable savory "sandwich." Growing up the special treat around our home was Cornish pasties my father would make.  We were of German heritage but he learned to make these wonderful little meat pies from his sister-in-law my adorable little Aunt Gert who learned from her English mother.
Once again, I do not have a recipe for these so I measured while I made these and will list my measurements. You can find these in the Midwest at a particular fast food restaurant and they make all kinds and add cheese, etc.  Berrocks can be found in the Fresno, California area at specialty food places, the County fair, etc. I had been making these for a long time before I saw my first recipe in a Sunset magazine cookbook.  Purists will probably just shake their heads when they see my recipe because I put diced potatoes in mine, no caraway seeds, no sausage, etc.  If you look online you will find many recipes, all a little different. I start out with good ground beef and brown the beef until almost done then add diced onions and cook for a bit and then add diced potatoes and cook until I am ready to add the seasoning - salt and pepper only and we like them with lots of pepper - my husband says when you think the pepper is right, add some more pepper, and I agree.  Finally add chopped cabbage and stir and when the cabbage is wilted you are ready to fill you little sandwiches.
 Ground beef, onions and potatoes...
Add your diced cabbage...
While browning the meat, etc. I put the dough in my mixer.  I used the same dough recipe that I recently posted - here is the link - dough.  Over the years I have used different recipes for the dough and some of the online recipes suggest using frozen bread dough, my dear SIL Babs makes wonderful berrocks using Bridgeford bread dough. I found this quick dough recipe to be perfect for making the bierocks. The dough is so easy to work with.  After you take it out of the mixer just flatten it into a square and cut into 12-14 pieces.
Fill them with approximately 1/3 cup of the filling, twisting the bottom to close.
Set them in a warm place and cover with a towel and let them rest for ten minutes.
Lightly brush them with a little olive oil and bake in a 350°oven for about 20 minutes, depending on your oven, you want them to be nice and brown but not overcooked. Serve with some coleslaw or a nice green salad and you have a meal.  They freeze wonderfully too.

My recipe:

2# good ground beef
3 cups diced potatoes
3 cups diced onions
1 medium head of cabbage, chopped
salt, pepper, lots and lots (teehee, we like them peppery, personal choice)

1 recipe of dinner roll dough

Preheat oven to 350°

Cooks Note:
Since I did not have a recipe for this and always just eyeball everything - 2# of ground beef was a little too much for 14 bierocks so we saved the leftover filling and you can either freeze it for later or as in our case we are going to add shredded carrots to the filling and use it for tacos.

Thank you for stopping by.