Friday, October 30, 2009

French Toast Bake

Happy Friday, everyone!!  Sorry, no pictures to post in this one! :o(

Boy, where to start!  I have been so busy lately, which I’m sure many of you can relate!  I’ve been working on some craft projects, which I’ll share in later post,  but mostly, I’ve been working on mundane things like washing windows and removing the screens, putting away patio furniture (which snowballed into cleaning and rearranging the garage to accommodate stuff), cleaning out flowerbeds and planters, putting away summer clothes and getting out the winter ones (which led into cleaning and organizing the closets) and all of the other wonderful things that need to get done before winter arrives.  And when you add those on top of the already every day things like cleaning, cooking, laundry and shopping, it makes for a very busy day!

I apologize for slacking off in leaving comments on your blogs or returning emails or even communicating on other social forums.  I’ve been on periodically to check in to see what’s going on, but have been horrible about making my presence known!  I do try to keep up!!  I even went to the extent of buying a laptop from my sister Val’s place of employment. (They buy numerous laptops to use in setting up programs and networks for businesses and colleges, and when they’re done with them, they sell them for half of the price you’d pay for a new one!)  It has been so convenient to be able to pop online throughout the day in between doing tasks.  The other night dinner was a matter of “let this simmer for 15 minutes and then add that and let simmer for another 10 minutes” type of meal and it was great because, instead of running downstairs to my family room to use my desktop, I had my laptop sitting on the kitchen counter and while things were simmering, I popped online and read a couple of blogs!  The only draw back is – I don’t like the keyboard!!  It has such a different feel to it than a regular desktop keyboard and I’m having a hard time getting adjusted to it.  So that’s partially to blame for me not leaving comments also.


On to my “Back-to-School Fall Recipe”!  I completely forgot about posting one last week, so I sincerely apologize for that!!  Again, it was that “being too busy” thing!  lol  I make this recipe ALOT!!  Every year we do a brunch for 2 of my kids’ birthdays, which are both in January, and this is much requested dish!  It’s very easy to make and quite delicious!

French Toast Bake

1 loaf day-old French bread

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/2 c. chopped pecans

1/3 c. raisins (optional)

6 eggs

2 c. milk

1 c. maple syrup – divided

1/3 c. light brown sugar

1/3 c. melted butter

Spray 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut French bread into 1” pieces.  Place bread in baking dish until it mounds up high.  Add cinnamon, walnuts, pecans, and raisins. 

Beat together the eggs, milk and 3/4 c. syrup.  Pour over bread mixture.  Sprinkle top with brown sugar, melted butter and 1/4 c. syrup.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Serve with hot maple syrup.


As always, if you’d like to see who else is participating in Colleen’s (And Baby Makes Five)  recipe pool, click here:



This will be the last week for the Back-to-School recipe pool.  Colleen is starting a new recipe swap next Friday called  “Homemade Holiday Recipe Swap”.  I’m really looking for to it!!  Thanks, Colleen, for a fun way to share our recipes!!

wirebtrswetdiva I hope everyone enjoys the Halloween weekend!!

Until Next Time. . . .Kris

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Now You See It, Now You Don’t!

What fabulous weather we’ve been having lately!!  I’ve been taking advantage of it and getting my flower beds cleaned out and washing windows and taking the screens out for winter.  I’ve also been able to get a few more projects finished up.

First, I finished the Stacy Nash Primitives sampler that I started last week.


Then I made a lamp for my end table in my Living Room.  I was so proud that I did this all by myself!  The only help my hubby gave me was to drill the holes in the lantern.  I had a style in mind, but couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for.  The only thing I found close to what I wanted had criss-cross grids across the glass panes and was a flat black!  

So I bought this lantern. . .


I cheated and bought a wood square with routered edges from my local craft store.  I cut a piece of pvc pipe to fit over the threaded stem and then painted them both with Charcoal Grey from Americana and then stained them both with Deep Ebony from Olympia Stain.  What a perfect match!!  I bought lamp parts from Home Depot.


I removed the metal ring from the top and hubby drilled a larger hole to fit the threaded stem through.IMG_1755

He also drilled a hole in the bottom corner.


I attached the bottom part of the socket and then ran a piece of wire up through the threaded stem and attached the wires to the terminals.


I ran the wire down and out the hole in the bottom.  I cut the wire that came with the lamp in half and then twisted all three wires together.


I epoxy glued the wire to the inside of the lantern and clamped in place with hair clips until dry.


I epoxy glued the lantern to the wood base and

TA    DA!!!  I have the style lantern I was looking for!!


Okay, finally, the project that I’m excited about!!  I have been wanting to hide the stereo in my Dining Room for quite some time now!  I’ve had ideas in my head, but trying to actually come up with a design that’ll work has been a major headache!!  My original plan was to make an apothecary-looking chest, but every time I wanted to use my stereo, I would have had to take the cover off.  I didn’t want to have to deal with finding a place to put it while the stereo was in use, plus the fear of it getting banged up.  So I put a door in the middle for easy access to the power button, plus use of the CD player.

Now you see it . . . .


Now you don’t! . . . .


I need to find something to put on top to hide the wires.   I just didn’t have time!

Well, that’s all I have for now!!  I hope everyone’s been enjoying some nice weather, too!  Unfortunately, these warm temps aren’t  here for long; it’s suppose to drop back down into the 50’s over the weekend, with rain on Friday. 

So Until next Time. . .Kris

Friday, October 16, 2009

Health Update and Taco Casserole

Happy Friday everyone!! 

Here’s an update on my “health issues”.    The good news is that I don’t have asthmas, my blood pressure is normal, my thyroid is normal and my cholesterol level is 172!  It’s been decided that I must have been suffering from panic attacks (anxiety, stress – whatever you want to call it) so I was given a prescription for Xanax to be taken when needed, which luckily I haven’t had to take any yet!!!

I have no idea what kind of stress I could have been under to cause the scary symptoms I was experiencing.  My life has been the same as it’s always been – busy!!  I’ve always joked that I work best under pressure, but I guess as I’m getting older, my body has decided it doesn’t like working under those conditions!  lol  So with “happy pills” in hand, I’ll have to learn to approach life in a less stressful way.   (Yah, right!)

As each possible health risk was tested and marked off the “probable causes” list, I found my tension was easing and my symptoms were disappearing, so now I’m back to my usual self!  Yippee!!


Sometimes planning dinner can get a little hectic while trying to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules, so it’s nice to find recipes that are easy to make and that everyone likes.  I found this recipe in one of those cook booklets you see in the checkout line.  It’s from Pillsbury and titled “Crescents, Biscuits & More”.  It’s becoming a family favorite.


Golden Layers Biscuit Taco Casserole

1 jar (16 oz.) taco sauce

1 can (12 oz.) Pillsbury Golden Layers refrigerated    buttermilk or original flaky biscuits

1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

1 can (2 1/4 oz.) sliced, ripe olives, drained

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/4 c. chopped red bell pepper

1/4 c. chopped green bell pepper

1 can (4 oz.) mushroom pieces and stem, drained (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly spray  13x9 pan with cooking spray.  Spread taco sauce evenly in bottom of baking dish.

Separate dough into 10 biscuits.  Cut each into quarters.  Place biscuit pieces in taco sauce.  Sprinkle 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese and the olives over top; stir gently to mix.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until bubbly.   Meanwhile, in medium skillet, combine beef, bell pepper and mushrooms; cook over medium-high heat until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently.  Drain.

Remove baking dish from oven.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 c. cheddar cheese and 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese over mixture.  Top evenly with ground beef mixture.

Return to oven; bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

May be topped with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sour cream and/or chopped avocado.


As always, if you’d like to see who else has recipes to share, check out Colleen’s (And Baby Makes Five) blog by clicking on the picture below.



Enjoy Your Weekend!!

Until next Time. . . . Kris

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What Have I Been Working On

Okay. . . Do you think you could get any comfier than this?!


This is my 1 year old cat, Charlie, taking a little “cat nap” in between getting into mischief!  He’s constantly on the go!!


Before I share some projects that I have completed, I want to show you what I got in the mail yesterday!!   The “A Primitive Place” forum was celebrating their 1 year anniversary by having a Celebration Sale.  I was lucky enough to buy this wool felt Acorn picture donated by Linda/Behind My Red Door!!  It is absolutely gorgeous!!  Linda, you do fabulous work!!  I am so thrilled to have this handmade treasure in my home made by a sweet prim friend!!


I also bought a fabric pumpkin w/ black cat that was donated anonymously, but I haven’t gotten that yet.  I’ll post a pic of it when I do!


Do you remember the Jenny Hoffman cross stitch sampler I was working on?  Well, it’s finished!! 


I love working on osnaburg fabric and never realized that the grain of the fabric can change the finished size of a project!  I’ve never experienced this before (all of my pictures have been the correct finished size) but this one turned out differently!!  The picture isn’t suppose to fit horizontally in the 10x13 frame, it’s suppose to fit vertically, which was what I was counting on!!  Oh well, I still love how it turned out even though I have to change my plans of how I was going to display it. 

I’ve started a new cross stitch sampler from Stacy Nash Primitives (actually, it’s a pillow, but I’m framing it instead!).  It’ll be hung next to the Jenny Hoffman one.


For those of you that like to stitch on osnaburg fabric but think it’s a little monotonous because of the small weave, I highly recommend buying a magnifying glass!!  What a difference!!  I have one that hangs around my neck and rests on my chest and another one that clips onto the edge of my hoop and can be adjusted as you work.  I bought them both from Joann Fabric.  The first one is great for stitching for short periods of time.  After a lengthy period of stitching, it seemed to make my neck feel heavy.  The clip-on one is great for longer periods of stitching.



A while back, I bought a couple of firkins from an antique mall in Amish country.  Do you remember these?

amish country 016

Well, I refinished them a while ago, but forgot to show you pictures of them!!  I removed the legs and eagle emblem from the bottom firkin and painted it Antique Maroon by Americana.  I like to try to restore the firkins with the wood bands because they are older than the ones with metal bands, so for the top one, I just wiped English Chestnut stain made by Minwax all over.  It really helped to restore the color and filled in any scratches and scuff marks.



And, finally, this last project is nowhere near complete!!  There is a lot of work yet to be done, but it’ll be several months before it’s finished!

This is my Rec room.  It had hideous looking paneling on it, that drove me nuts!!  So I finally decided to paint over it!!  Hubby wasn’t too sure, at first, but now that it’s done, he likes it.

This is where I do most of my crafting.  The cabinets are going to be replaced this winter with the ones from my kitchen, which we are going to build new ones!!  (So that will be another project that I’ll get to keep you updated on!)  


That whole back wall hasn’t been refinished yet.  I’m waiting until the cabinets are installed first.  When we first bought the house, this whole area was an enclosed bar made from cedar, which would have been gorgeous had the previous owners not stained the whole thing a real dark brown!   We had some septic problems and had to tear out the bar to get to the drain pipe. My brother was into renovating turn-key houses at one time and tore out these cabinets  from one of the homes so we took them and decided to turn this into a little kitchen area.  There’s a refrigerator in a wall cubby to the left of this picture, that, for some reason, I didn’t get a picture of.


This is Kory’s treadmill that she walks on everyday (except on Sundays, which she’ll let everyone know, is her day off!) And  I won’t show you my hubby’s desk because it is very messy!!


The room straight back is my oldest daughter, Brittney’s, room and to the right of that is a bathroom.

And there’s my new elliptical that I got for my birthday that’s only been used a dozen times and is broke already!!  There’s something in the electrical that’s messed up so you can’t program it.  The manufacturer is sending replacement parts to us and then a technician is suppose to contact us to make arrangements to come out and fix it! 

To the extreme left is a doorway going into the family room, which one day I’ll post pictures of. 

I still have curtains to make for the patio doors and decor to set out and hang on the walls yet, but I’ll get to that later.


Well, that’s all that I’ve been up to for now!!  I hope you’ll check back on Friday for another delicious recipe – Taco Casserole.  Yummm!!

Until Next Time. . . .Kris

Friday, October 9, 2009

No Fuss Pork Chops and English Apple Pie

Happy Friday to all of you!  It’s a rainy day here in Ohio and perfect to get some cleaning and baking done in preparation for my son’s After-Homecoming bonfire tomorrow.  It’s suppose to clear out tonight and be partly sunny with temps in the mid to upper 50’s over the weekend.  BUT, Monday night they’re calling for more rain mixed with SNOW and temps in the 40’s!!   Brrr!!  Too early for that!!!


Since this is apple season, I have a couple more apple recipes to share with you. 

This first recipe is absolutely delicious!  The ingredients seem strange, but they are a perfect blend of sweet and salty with the apples and soy sauce.  I hope you give them a try.  I modified the baking directions – the original recipe calls for the pork chops to be browned in a skillet then baked in an oven for 45 minutes.  To me, pork chops tend to be a little tough, so I slow cook them to make them very tender.  You don’t even need to use a knife to cut them, just a fork!   Now THAT’S tender!!!  lol

No Fuss Pork Chops

1 c. applesauce  (I make my own)

1/4 c. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. onion powder

6 pork chops (I use the sirloin chops - no bones)

2 c. apple juice or water

Combine the applesauce, soy sauce and onion powder.

Pour about 2 cups of apple juice or water into the bottom of a broiler pan.  (I like to use apple juice to enhance more of the apple flavor.)

Place your pork chops on top of the broiler pan and spoon the applesauce mixture evenly over the pork chops.

Wrap the pan tightly with foil and bake in a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Here is a picture of the before.  The after-pic was too blurry to post and the chops were eaten before I realized the picture was bad!  LOL


This next recipe has been handed down the generations on my mom’s side of the family.  It’s really good with cinnamon ice cream (when you can find it!), but vanilla works good, too!!


English Apple Pie

1/2 c. butter or margarine

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 c. flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

3 T. water

1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

6 c. apples, peeled and sliced

1/2 c. sugar

1 unbaked pie crust (I use Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts)

In a medium bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.  Stir in flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon and water until smooth and thick.  Stir in nuts.

Mix sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon together and sprinkle over the apples, then toss.

Prepare your crust in a 9” pie plate.  Add the apples, then evenly spread the topping mixture over the apples, keeping away from the edges about and inch(it’ll spread during baking).

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.


I hope the weather turns nice for everyone to enjoy their weekend!!

I should be back in a couple of days with some completed projects to share with you!

Until Next Time . . . .Kris

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pumpkin Scarecrow Tutorial

I’ve had a few people email me asking me how I made my pumpkin scarecrows.  So here goes. . . .



Materials Needed:

light-up pumpkin in a size that  correlates with the size scarecrow you want to make.

clothes – I bought mine at Goodwill for around $4.00.  

2 or 3  1x2’s for the frame (depending on the size scarecrow).

4”x4” piece of wood to attach head 

exterior wood glue


staple gun


I assembled the clothes together and laid them on the floor with the arms outstretched.  Measure across the arms to determine how wide to cut one 1x2 (I didn’t go the whole width of the arms, I cut mine a little shorter).  Next measure down from the shoulders to the hip area to get the length for another piece of 1x2 (add an additional 1 1/2” to length).  Measure across the hips and cut another piece.  Finally, measure the length of the legs and cut 2 pieces 2-3” longer than measurement.

To assemble, lay the arm piece on top of the body piece and attach with exterior wood glue and screws.  Next, attach the 4”x4” head plate (see diagram below).  Finally, attach the hip piece and then the leg pieces.



Set the pumpkin on the head plate and attach with wood glue and screws from underneath.

Add the clothes to the frame using a staple gun to attach. 

Decorate as desire with raffia, hats, etc.

To display, I wire mine to different objects to hold in place (i.e. picket fence, chair, metal fence post pounded into ground, etc.)


I’ve got a couple of projects in the works that I hope to share with you soon.  I’m working on a “now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t” project and painting my Rec room.  Hopefully. I’ll have pictures to share early next week.

I completed this Stacy Nash Primitives cross stitch picture.  (Sorry!  Not a very good picture!))


And I’m working on this Jenny Hoffman sampler now.  I should have it done in a couple of days.



I hope to see you back here on Friday with recipes for No Fuss Pork Chops and English Apple Pie!

Until Next Time. . . .Kris

Friday, October 2, 2009

Feeling Under the Weather and Back-to-School Recipes

Sorry I missed posting recipes last Friday, but, unfortunately, I was in the hospital all day.  I’ve been experiencing shortness of breath and tightness in my chest and neck for the past couple of weeks.  On Friday morning. I wasn’t sure if I was having a heart attack or what, so my hubby took me to the emergency room.  After a couple of normal EKG’s and a couple rounds of blood work that determined my cardiac enzymes were normal, they sent me home.  On Wednesday, I went for a stress test and the cardiologist said everything looked fine other than my blood pressure was a little high.  One of my sisters (who is a nurse) has asthma and said my symptoms sounded like that’s what it could be.  I went to my family doctor yesterday (actually, the nurse practitioner) and she said that it could be different reasons and that we’d have to weed out the possibilities.   If I had asthma or panic attacks, that could cause the shortness of breath and raise my blood pressure.  Since the medication for panic attacks would take a couple of weeks to work and my blood pressure was borderline, she gave me a prescription for an inhaler to start off with and see if that helps.  So far it has!  Thank goodness!!  It is so scary not being able to breath, especially when you’re at home by yourself!!  I have to go back in a week to have blood work done to check my thyroid  and to have my blood pressure checked again.  Hopefully, we’ll get this figured out!!  Boy, it’s tough getting old!!!   LOL

I’ll hopefully be back to posting on a more regular basis soon!  I hadn’t been feeling too well to feel like making any projects, let alone having the desire to do any tweaking or even finish my fall decorating.  And that’s not good!!   LOL


Here’s a couple more family favorites!!  The soup recipe comes from Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa and the bread recipe is an old Pampered Chef recipe. 


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

3 lbs. plum tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 c. plus 2 T. olive oil

1 T. kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 c. yellow onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 T. butter

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28 oz.) can plum tomatoes, with their juice

4 c. fresh basil leaves

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 qt. chicken stock or water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 c. olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic with 2 T. of olive oil, the butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown.  Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock.  Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.  Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade.  Taste for seasonings.  Serve hot or cold.

** I used a hand-held blender. 

IMG_1690My hubby took the bread out of the pan right after it came out of the oven instead of letting it cool for a bit, so it fell apart a little and I couldn’t get a very good picture.  But, it’s really good – even cold!!

Antipasto Bread

1 (16 1/2 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1/3 c. hard salami, chopped

1/3 c. red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 c. pitted ripe olives, sliced

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted

1 c. parmesan cheese

2 pkgs. refrigerated dinner rolls

Preheat oven 375 degrees.

Spray Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Chop artichokes, salami and red pepper.   Mix altogether with olives and garlic.  Set aside.

Cut each dinner roll into 4 pieces. (64 pieces total).

Dip 16 pieces in melted butter then in parmesan cheese.  Arrange evenly in pan.  Sprinkle with 1/3 artichoke mixture.  Repeat twice.  Top layer ending with dough/parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with any remaining cheese.

Bake 27-30 minutes.

Pillsbury Dinner Rolls have changed since this recipe came out.  They are difficult to pull apart to get even pieces, so I use my kitchen shears and cut them into 8 rolls, using the seam marks as a guide. Then cut each roll into 4 pieces.

Also, instead of rolling each dough piece in butter then in parmesan cheese, I sprinkle the cheese first, then add buttered dough pieces, then sprinkle more cheese on top.  Easier and less messy!


As always, if you’d like to participate or see who else has recipes to share, click on the picture below to go to Colleen’s (andbabymakes5) blog.



I wanted to share a couple of pics of my scarecrows that I made a couple of years ago using clothes I bought at Goodwill and light-up pumpkins.




Until Next Time . . . .Kris


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