Friday Favorites ~ In The Kitchen

I love being in the kitchen. It gives me great happiness and satisfaction cooking and baking for my people. There are things about this kitchen that we will eventually update (I’m looking at you 1990’s tile countertops) but one thing I love is the west facing window over my kitchen sink that gets the most lovely light in the afternoons.

I also love my big kitchen towels I found at Target a few years ago, too. And apparently the dogs liked them as well and they had a grand ole time playing tug-of-war with one. Sad, I know.

But the good news is that I had to replace it and wouldn’t you know it, Target not only still had them but also in some new colors. They’re part of the Hearth and Hand With Magnolia collection. I am not a brand specific person, I like things that are well made, affordable, and do what they’re made to do, but I will say I haven’t bought any other kitchen towels since I found these.

I also found some napkins at Target because wouldn’t you know it, when the pups realized how much fun kitchen towels are they had to give napkins a whirl! We’ve had the majority of our cloth napkins for at least a decade but my favorites were some Pioneer Woman sets I got a few years ago. I liked the colors and they had the right texture to them. The way a napkin feels is the deal breaker around here so I am always on the lookout anyways but after the kitchen linen olympics with the dogs it has become more of a priority. I loved the color and subtle pattern to these sets, also done by Hearth and Hand, that come in packages of four. They also have some solid colors but I was drawn to these because they seemed so summery without being obnoxious.

I’m really excited about this next Friday favorite because it’s a book! A cookbook to be exact. I have been wanting to make a sourdough starter for a long while but the two times I attempted it I questioned what I saw and smelt happening and ditched the efforts. I have friends that tried it years ago and ended up basically giving themselves food poisoning and they are accomplished cooks and bakers so I am treading lightly with this kitchen adventure.

However, in our farm quest Rob came across a youtube channel and sent me a link to a few things knowing I would like it. The Prairie Homestead is just a well done online space for all things farming and homesteading. What I have found so engaging about their website is how easy it is to follow and understand…they present things in a way that makes you feel like they are just like you; and that you can do what they do. They seem normal, not like polished professionals and I mean that in the best possible way.

One of her videos was a tutorial on sourdough starter and I loved watching it. Next thing you know, her cookbook landed in Rob’s Amazon cart and then it arrived on my doorstep. It’s like magic, y’all 😉

I can’t wait to get back from Florida next week and start my starter! I will keep y’all posted on what I am sure will be my success. (Said totally tongue in cheek…I fully expect some bloopers because that’s the way I seem to roll.)

The last item on my list to share with you today is the reason my blog will never hit the big leagues, friends. Because y’all are going to love this dish and somebody is going to wonder where I got it, how much I paid for it, and how big is it. And I can only answer the first two questions.

TJ Maxx and $12.99

If you pushed me I might would say it’s a two quarter but honestly that is information I never paid any attention to. But isn’t it so pretty? Microwave, oven and dishwasher safe too! But sadly, not driveway safe. I had a companion dish that was oval shaped that met its demise, along with the English peas it was carrying, on our driveway one Sunday morning as we headed to church.

So there you go, friends, a few of my favorite things in the kitchen right now. What are some of yours?

Have a great weekend!

DPP ~ Day 15

Tom. Tom Kitty. Thomas. Tubby Toms. Chunkles. Bunny.

I would say that he answers to all of those names but the truth is he doesn’t answer to any name. At all. In true cat fashion he comes to you when he wishes to and sometimes that might just maybe coincide with when you call him. But it is a total coincidence, trust me. He will come arunnin’ when he hears you shake the cat treat container though.

Or if he hears water running. He loves to chill out with his front paws in the tub when the kids are running bathwater. Actually he will meow and carry on like nobody’s business when Sam goes to take a shower.

The girls made a regrettable mistake when they filled their sink up with a little water for him. He is quite insistent that you turn the faucet on whenever he decides he’s thirsty. Like, obnoxiously so.

But I gotta say, for a girl who grew up taking in every stray dog she came across I have mostly certainly become a cat person. Tom and his brother Milo are sweet company and I love their presence in our home even when they are being big annoying pains in the rumpus.

Inevitably, this is what I will see from the hallway every morning. Him just sitting there waiting for someone to come turn the water on.

Silly cat.

Marty and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Sometimes, you just have a bad day, ya know?

And it turns out that the exploded can of soda you found in your freezer on Tuesday was just the little tut tut, looks like rain cloud on the horizon because Friday the deluge hit.

You get up at 6:30 to start cooking for a luncheon and everything seems fine.

Until you realize, after you have put the batter into the little silicon mini cake thingie mind you, that you forgot a rather important ingredient. And if you have never tried to remove uncooked batter from one of those silicon thingies you haven’t really lived.

But you persevere and fix the batter and get it into the oven. And when it finishes cooking you take it out and you really think you’ve let it cool long enough only you’re all thumbs and drop it. Now the good news is that those silicon thingies won’t break when they hit the floor. But flourless chocolate cake? That stuff splatters absolutely everywhere.

So you clean it all up and don’t panic because hey, the luncheon is not until noon and you have plenty of time. You start over and it is all moving along just fine and you’ve got everything under control until you get a reminder text that there is actually a meeting an hour before the luncheon. So you have a minor melt down. But then remember that your kids are watching and you really want them to learn how to handle pressure better than you so you take a deep breathe, apologize to the kids for the minor melt down and enlist some help.

Lo and behold it all gets done and you’re ready to leave, not just on time but a few minutes early even. The meeting goes fine and the luncheon is great and by the time you get everything cleaned up you realize you better hustle because you are also committed to cooking some chicken legs for another gathering happening in a few hours.

You run to the store on your way home to pick up some chips and dip that you also need to send with the chicken legs and while you’re there you get on the phone to make arrangements for the two children who are not playing in volleyball games and now you really better hustle if those legs are gonna get cooked in time. Because you’re pretty smart you call ahead to the house and have the oven preheated. You get home and toss those chicken legs with olive oil and Italian season and pop them in the oven. You’re cutting it close time wise but you’ll make it.

The chicken gets done and because you’re in a hurry you try to cover it with aluminum foil only you’re all thumbs again and the pan slips off the counter and the bad news is that 9×13 glass pans
don’t bounce the same way those silicon thingies do. And hot 9×13 glass dishes shatter into all the pieces and chicken legs and glass and olive oil make one heck of a mess.

But you get it cleaned up, toss some of the luncheon leftovers together, put it into another 9×13 pan and sprinkle it with cheese. Because you have a really great friend she meets you in the driveway and takes the casserole and gets it to where it needs to go.

You get to where you need to go only a little bit late but things seem to be settling back down and all is well. You get done and pop the address of the girls volleyball game into your phone gps and head over to watch the rest of their game. On the way there there is so much construction on the interstate that you miss your exit and have to cross over the bridge, get off the interstate in order to turn around and get back on in the opposite direction. You make the last game and a half and there is much rejoicing as both girls win their matches.

Life is sweet and on the way home you’re relaying the story of your day and in the midst of telling it you remember that you didn’t send the chips and dip. Which isn’t a big deal really except that when you get home you can’t find the chips and dip. Like anywhere.

And that’s when you decide to pick up a five dollar pizza and call it a day.

Saturday morning life stays interesting

when a brand new bottle of soy sauce gets knocked off its place in the pantry and hits the floor. You might not be the one responsible for breaking it but at this point it’s just guilt by association.

But it’s ok because while you’re cleaning out the pantry you find a bag from the grocery store where one of your kids, who shall remain nameless to protect their innocent laziness, had put it without removing the container of spinach dip and boy wouldn’t that have been a special smell if it had sat for a few more hours?

By Sunday everything seems fine but you still move with lots of extra caution as you chop veggies and prepare for lunch. You even manage a smallish nap.

And here you are greeting Monday with a tentative hello and a cup of tea.

I Know Why Bird Watchers Watch

The most amazing thing is happening.

Our front door is one of those double glass pane frosted design kind of doors. A few seasons back a sweet friend gave me a lovely grapeviney wreath after I commented on how pretty I thought hers was.  Since I hang it out every spring and summer season it went up about two weeks ago.

Earlier last week I noticed that we were getting a lot of swooping bird action if we passed the door or even

the kitchen windows. I watched for a minute and sure enough two birds swooped in and landed on the wreath and then swooped away again.

At first I thought they were trying to pick branches off the wreath to carry away.

Boy, was I wrong!

Over the next several days I watched as they’d bring bright pieces of grass and twigs and tuck them onto the back side of the wreath. They were building a nest. I was fascinated but figured once the door saw some traffic (it’s the only door we use to come into the house) that they’d wise up and realize that the front door of Hadding Homestead wasn’t going to be the greatest place to set up a home.

I was wrong again. Despite our normal usage they have continued to build a sweet little nest. I’m a little concerned about how things will go if there are eggs laid at some point. I contemplated going to Hobby Lobby and finding something comparable that I could hang on one of the two porch columns but Rob thinks part of the draw for the birds is the fact that it is up under the roof and protected.

I’m not really sure if I should try and move the wreath and hang it on one of the porch windows? I don’t want to cause them to abandon their little home but I don’t want them to realize too late that they wish they had chosen a different location for their babies’ nurseries. If they even lay eggs.

To be honest I have thoroughly enjoyed them. They sing right at my door and it is a sweet happy sound. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve raised the window blinds to get a better look or crept stealthily to the window to try and catch a glimpse of them. Or waited, holding perfectly still with camera in hand to grab a few shots.

They’re utterly delightful and fascinating. Being so still and quiet and then being given the reward of seeing their curious little faces turn around, almost as if they are looking at me with the same curiosity that I have for them. I am assuming that the more brightly colored one is the male and the lil’ mama is the one doing the actual nest building.

The sweetest part is that they are always together. At first he would settle himself in on the lower inner circle while she perched at the top and crafted the abode. He would have the occasional  grass but lately he has been landing on the porch itself, almost as if he is standing guard while she works. They fly off together and return together.

It is making for a lovely start to spring.

“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” Luke 12:24