16 November 2016

Homemade Appalachian Pimento Cheese (and a Book Review)

victualsI've spent the last couple of months savoring and drooling over a new cookbook.  Well, to be clear, this publication is part travelogue, part coffee-table style pictorial, and part cookbook.  The short title is Victuals, which, in case you're like me and didn't know, is pronounced like vittles.

The full title is Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes – author being Ronni Lundy.

I recently moved to southern Appalachia, and was excited to get my hands on a copy for many of the same reasons written about in the Introduction:

…[T]he people of the southern Appalachian Mountains have been right about victuals all along.  About the way you say them, the way you raise them, the way you cook them, keep them, and share them.  About saving seeds, and working the land, and simmering pole beans, and making real cornbread.  About the connections between earth and the table, and between the table and the people seated around it.

Chapters include:  Roots and Seeds, Salt of the Earth, Corn, Beans, Apple-achia, Preserving, and Husbandry.  States mentioned and/or profiled include Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina.  The author travels to locations within these states to profile individuals, chefs, restaurants, and small farms and businesses who are keeping the history of southern Appalachia alive with their practices and products.  With words, she weaves history, childhood memories, and present day reality together to paint images of the true story of the southern Appalachian Mountains and their people.  The photographic images placed in between are breathtakingly beautiful, and they, too, tell the story.

Let me not forget the recipes! (I couldn't, if I tried.) Each chapter provides food preparation instructions that have been passed down for generations, and offers new twists on old – even forgotten – classics.  This is not the type of cookbook that can be flipped through in one sitting.  You will be salivating and wiping the drool from your mouth more than once -- maybe even every time you take a peek.

100_8304Recipes range from the simple to the elaborate, yet everything is doable.  I'm going to share here a simple recipe from the book for homemade Pimento Cheese, which is part of the more elaborate recipe for Lisa Donovan's Pimento Cheese Nabs, described as a cracker snack "for every mountain pickup truck driver's glove compartment emergency ration."

All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together well.  It's delicious on a sandwich right away, but if you could let it sit in the refrigerator for some hours or a day, you'd get an even better treat for your taste buds.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 oz. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz. finely shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 (2 oz.) jar pimentos, strained
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp finely grated yellow onion (grater I use
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Pimento Cheese

100_8309

More about Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes via Amazon.
More about the author, Ronnie Lundy.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  The words and opinions here are all my own.
Shared at Coffee and Conversation, This is How We Roll, Happiness is Homemade, and The Homemaking Party.

30 October 2016

Small Batch Canning in an RV (a Couple of Tips)

Yes You Can!I'm sort of ashamed to admit I did not do any canning this past summer.  Since living in the RV full time, the thought of getting out my big water bath canner, and probably having to use every burner on the stove to really heat that much water properly was a little daunting.  Not to mention, the idea of gas just flying out of my tank made me cringe a bit.

Yesterday, however, I made a pleasant discovery.  Small batch water bath processing was surprisingly a breeze.

Yes, you can can in an RV!

Did you see yesterday's post about crockpot apple butter? If not, you should go check it out.  That recipe and product is what I used for this canning project.

A couple of tips for water bath canning in an RV:

1.  Think deep instead of wide.  A tall stock pot works beautifully.  I have one in storage that measures 8 1/2 inches high (tall, deep) and 9 inches across.  I easily processed 4 half pint jars.  They were the tall slender jars, as opposed to the short fat jars.  I'm confident 3-4 whole pint jars would fit easily.

2.  A wash cloth in the bottom of the pot is enough to keep your jars from sliding about and / or clanking against each other.  No raised wire basket necessary!

100_8214

This is the type of half-pint jar I was using.  The quilted jelly jar, I believe it's called.

100_8221

Here you can see the small space, and how a more typical water bath canner would take up almost my entire stovetop!
Think deep instead of wide.

100_8216

Hopefully use can see the wash cloth in the bottom of the pot.
It's thin enough to not take up too much space, yet does a fine job of keeping the jars stable.

100_8224

All done! Four pings before I even got my camera ready.  Yes, you can can in an RV.

I'll save the big batches for the open fire outside, though.  I'll be attempting that next season (I hope).

Shared at Happiness is Homemade, Tasty Tuesdays, and Thrifty Thursday.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my mountaintop cannery to yours!

29 October 2016

Crockpot Apple Butter – 'Tis the Season!

100_8199There won't be a lot of typing for this post, since I'll be letting the photos do the talking for me…

Folks, now's the time! The apples are at their peak, in both freshness and price, and the fall flavors are calling your name.  If your crockpot doesn't already have a spot on the counter, shove some stuff aside and bring her out.

This apple butter recipe is so stinkin' easy! The crockpot does most of the work.  All you have to do is prepare the apples, watch, stir, and wait.  And, believe me, waiting will be the hardest part.

100_8201

Peeling and slicing the apples is a little annoying, I'll admit, but even with just my humble apple wedger and corer, it wasn't too bad.  If you have a peeler-slicer-corer, you are way ahead in the game.  But no matter what you use, the time it takes to get these slices of sweetness in the crockpot is so worth it.

100_8202

Just a few autumn spices is all you need to add to your apples.  Cinnamon and nutmeg just scream fall, don't they?

100_8204

100_8203

I highly recommend sitting your slow cooker next to a window with a wondrous view of the fall colors outside.  It adds to the mood the aromatherapy coming from the crockpot creates.

100_8213

When it's all done, ladle the thick, dark, sweet goodness into jars.  You can freeze or can them for later.  But don't forget to leave some out for slathering on some biscuits right away! And if you're so inclined, put some back for Christmas gifts.  (Recipe after one more enticing image.)

100_8218

Crockpot Apple Butter Recipe
Adapted from recipe at Simply Canning.

100_8219*I used a 5-quart slow cooker, filled to the brim with sliced apples.  Adjust your additives, based on the size of your crockpot.

Ingredients

  • apples – peeled, cored, and sliced (I used fresh from the orchard, Fuji apples; any on the sweet side variety will work)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions

Peel, core, and slice apples – enough to completely fill your crockpot.

Mix together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a separate bowl.  Pour over top of apples.

Cover and cook on low for 12 – 24 hours.  (I know that's a huge gap in time, but it really depends on how juicy your apples are, and how low your crockpot cooks.) Stir occasionally.  Once the apples have broken down, you can take the lid off or leave it off-center so steam can escape.  Still stir occasionally, but now use a whisk.

As the hours slip by, the apple butter will thicken and become a deep, dark color.  You'll know it's done when any "watery-ness" has been absorbed or escaped.  Turn off heat when the apple butter is at your desired consistency.

[Note:  I know it's tempting to crank the temperature up to high to speed up the cooking process.  But be careful! The apple butter could easily scorch on the bottom, and it most certainly will splatter as it thickens.]

Your apple butter will last about a month in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze it for up to six months, or can it for your pantry with a 10 minute processing time (pints and half-pints) in a boiling water bath.  Just so you have an idea how far it cooks down, my five quarts of sliced apples gave me a little over 6 half-pints of butter.

Shared at Simple Saturdays, Simple & Sweet Fridays, Happiness is Homemade, and Tasty Tuesdays.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my buttery mountaintop to yours!

27 October 2016

Parmesan Mashed Potato Pancakes (Leftover Makeover)

Use it Up!I like potatoes.  Just about any way you make 'em, I'll probably eat 'em.  But I'm especially partial to Grandma Logue's mashed potatoes.  So smooth and creamy, I can just taste them.

Right now.

Mouth watering as I type.

Her "secret" is evaporated milk.  But try as I might, I never get them quite right.  Consequently, I always make more mashed potatoes than I eat.

Since I know I'm not the only one with this occasional predicament, I'd like to share with you a way to use up those leftover mashed potatoes.  You might call it a leftover makeover.

Parmesan Mashed Potato Pancakes

100_8210

Some people eat them for breakfast.  Can't say I blame them.  Sounds good to me.  Tonight I made them to go with our dinner of Italian dressing marinated baked chicken breasts.

I added parmesan cheese, onion, and freshly ground black pepper to our leftover mashed potatoes.  Minutes in the nonstick skillet resulted in a slightly crunchy outside, with a smooth and creamy middle.  The crust reminded me of a tater tot.  YUM!

Recipe for Parmesan Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

100_8206Ingredients

  • 3 cups prepared (leftover) mashed potatoes
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely diced yellow onion
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • kosher salt, for sprinkling

Procedure

  1. Combine mashed potatoes, cheese, onion, black pepper, egg, and flour in a large bowl.  Mix together.  (Today, I used a bit over a 1/4 cup of flour.  The consistency of your mashed potatoes will have an impact on the amount of flour used.)
  2. Heat vegetable oil (enough to cover bottom of pan) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Drop mashed potato pancake batter by rounded tablespoonful into pan.  They will spread some on their own, or you can help them out a bit with the spoon.
  4. Fry in batches until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes per side.  Don't overcrowd the pan, and try not to flip too soon.
  5. Transfer mashed potato pancakes to draining rack, or a paper towel lined plate.  Immediately sprinkle with kosher salt.

Shared at This is How We Roll and Tasty Tuesdays.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my mountaintop to yours!

09 October 2016

On Strangers (Scripture & a Snapshot)

100_4555

This image of Amicalola Falls in north Georgia was actually taken a few years ago.  I was revisiting the computer file for another reason, and thought an early fall photo would be nice.

Scripture is Leviticus 19:33 >> "And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex (or, oppress) him."

I have no interest in getting political.  I just came upon this scripture in a recent morning devotional, and it made an impression:  how different and tolerable this world could be, if we all got "back to the basics."

Shared at Scripture and a Snapshot.

I'm still relatively a stranger to my mountaintop, and thankful it has been welcoming.

28 September 2016

The Humble Apple Wedger & Corer

100_6880Apple season is in full swing in the mountains of north Georgia.  In fact, the Georgia Apple Festival (it's 45th year!) begins in less than two weeks.  I visited Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge yesterday, and found people by the bus load carrying out apples by the bushel.  According to their website, varieties that include Golden and Red Delicious, Mutzu, Rome Beauty, and Granny Smith are currently available.

Personally, I'm anxious to get my first taste of Arkansas Black.  And I'm counting on some  fresh, sweet Fuji apples to go in the planned crock-pot apple butter.  Those should be coming available soon.

Here are a few landscapes of Mercier from about a month ago.  Very pretty place.  Can you imagine all the fruit and produce harvested?

Mercier and More

I've been told, if you do a lot of baking, cooking, and / or canning with apples, the peeler-slicer-corer is a must-have.  The cost doesn't seem prohibitive to me, but I don't consider myself enough of an apple professional to warrant such equipment at this time.

However! My apple wedger and corer thingamabob is useful and awesome.  I was surprised, first, at how heavy it was – not cheaply made at all – and second, the blades are sharp enough to require little muscle.

100_6878

It's super easy to use, especially for turning your single apple into an 8-piece snack.  I even like it for prepping the apple for peeling, since I find it pretty simple to take a knife and peel each wedge.  And, of course, separating that core without waste.  Huge plus!

100_6881

100_6882

So where do you fall with apple preparation? Are your knife skills superb and no additional tool is necessary, are you a professional peeler-slicer-corer user, or do you (like me!) find the humble wedger and corer to be a simple, easy-to-use time saver?

100_6887

Shout out to Georgia Grinders creamy peanut butter! All natural, hand crafted goodness.

Shared at Wonderful Wednesday and This is How We Roll.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my apple-ful mountaintop to yours!

14 September 2016

Need More Soil! (Almost Wordless Wednesday)

That's what this field pea seedling was yelling at me this morning.  It's light years ahead of its siblings in growth, for some reason.

100_8158

Just look at those roots!

100_8160

Shared at This is How We Roll.

From my fall garden to yours!

08 September 2016

Salsa Chicken & Rice Burritos

SalsaChicken & RiceBurritosI love that my mother is on facebook.  Even though she doesn't think the commenting back and forth gives me a valid reason to call less, it's all good.  Plus, I get to see her recipe shares.  We have pretty similar food tastes – good and bad (sorry, Mom) -- so I usually pay attention to the links she sends to her timeline.

A most recent share was for homemade chicken burrito bowls that were actually to be prepared for lunch over a period of about four days.  The recipe was from Tasty on BuzzFeed.  With over 640,000 views, you might have seen it.  Anyway, I liked how the chicken and fixin's were prepared, so I decided to have it for dinner last night.  I kept it more to true burrito style, though.

I went from pinning the recipe post to Pinterest, to saving it to my "cookbook" in Evernote.  If it makes it to Evernote, it's a keeper.

100_8123

As you can see, the onions and peppers, as well as the boneless chicken, is baked all on one pan – love that.

100_8125

In addition to the salsa chicken, peppers, and onions, we add black beans, corn, and rice.  You can prepare these separately, or cheat like I did, and use a frozen blend.

100_8126

100_8127

Put everything on a burrito size tortilla, top with cheese, and roll her up.  You can make it small enough to hold in your hand, or big enough you need a fork.  (I needed a fork.)

Salsa Chicken & Rice Burritos

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed)
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), sliced
  • 1/2 large white onion, sliced
  • olive oil for drizzling, abt 2 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning (try homemade!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 pkg frozen corn, black bean, rice blend
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
  • burrito size tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F, and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Place chicken, peppers, and onions onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle taco seasoning evenly over both sides of chicken breasts. Salt and pepper the onions and peppers. Toss to coat.
  4. Top each chicken breast with salsa. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165°
  5. While chicken, onions, and peppers are baking, heat the corn and black bean blend until warmed through.
  6. Once chicken is done, allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice into strips.
  7. Assemble burritos with tortillas, salsa chicken, onions, peppers, and vegetable blend with rice. Top with cheese and roll up.
  8. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 - 3 servings

Shared at This is How We Roll and Happiness is Homemade.

07 September 2016

Homemade Smoky Taco Seasoning Recipe (and a Reminder)

Homemade Taco SeasoningThere are a million places on the web to find a taco seasoning recipe.

Seriously.  I just googled "homemade taco seasoning" – without the quotes -- and received about 1,170,000 results in 0.64 seconds (thank-you-very-much).

So this post is not so much about the recipe (though one does follow).  It's more about the reminder.  Why do many of us go out and buy a packet of taco seasoning, when we can make it ourselves? Wasting that dollar, when we all know those dollars add up.  I know I'm guilty of it.  If you're like me, you probably already have the spices needed to make taco seasoning sitting in your pantry.  If not, the one you might be missing is worth the small investment even if you only cook at home a few times a week – the ingredients are not uncommon or rare.  And you can control the heat.  And the salt.

And the smoke.

Yep.  I typed smoke.  You see, the only paprika (a needed ingredient for taco seasoning) I had in the pantry was smoked paprika.  But I went with it! And it was good! So don't be scared if that's all ya got.  It works, too.

Homemade Taco Seasoning (Smoky or Not)

The following makes about the same amount as in one of the store-bought packets.  I only needed a tablespoon, so cut it in half, and still had a bit extra.  Credit to Food Renegade for the recipe.

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (smoky or not!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (optional; I just gave the grinder a couple of turns)

Mix it all together and store in an airtight container.  If you'd like to make a bigger batch, visit the link above for a quintupled recipe.

100_8122

Stay tuned for a recipe using this homemade taco seasoning!



Shared at Coffee and Conversation, This is How We Roll, and Happiness is Homemade.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my smoky mountaintop to yours!

31 August 2016

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

Birds and Bread PuddingI know, I know.  The flyers in the image are not hummingbirds, but they are birds that come partake of the "bird buffet" we have set up out back.  And I've been thinking about adding something for the hummers.

I've tried having a hummingbird feeder in the past – more than once – and, to be honest, I found it to be a bit of a pain.  Each and every time I got lots of bees, wasps, and ants.  Yet nary a hummingbird would visit.

It's been a bit disappointing, as they are a hoot to watch.  My grandparents had a window feeder at their place in Arizona, and it was a joy to watch the hummingbirds flit about.

But since we've moved to the mountains, I have actually seen hummingbirds fly by without any effort on my part! So I figured maybe, since they're already here, I would give another go at getting some to hang out for a while.

I bought a small feeder for a buck, and set out to make my own nectar.  Finding a recipe was easy:  4 parts water, 1 part white sugar.

100_8101

However, I discovered there was at least a couple of different camps:  those who boiled the sugar water, and those who did not.  Of course, I wanted to join those who boiled not.  But I don't want to hurt the hummingbirds, so I dug a little more.  Here's what I found:

Hummingbirds.net says, "It's not necessary to boil the water. The microorganisms that cause fermentation don't come from the water; they are transported to the feeder on hummingbird bills."

AllAboutBirds.org says, "If you mix up small quantities of sugar water every day or two, there’s no need to boil the water. But if you mix up larger batches and refrigerate part for later use, then it’s wise to make the mixture with boiling water."

A list of things not to use is found at Field Guide To Hummingbirds:

  • Honey – "Once diluted to feeder strength, honey becomes an ideal food for a variety of microbes, including some that can cause disease."
  • Brown or even brownish sugar – Too much iron.
  • Artificial coloring – "The vast majority of hummingbird flowers put the color on the outside, not in the nectar…[T]he dyes used in most 'instant nectar' products and the food coloring in your pantry, are like nothing the birds would ever encounter in nature."

And, finally, from a most respected source:  Audubon.org says,

Choose a hummingbird feeder that comes apart completely for regular scrubbing, inside and out, with a bottlebrush and hot water. Use only a mix of four parts water to one part plain white sugar—never use honey, which promotes dangerous fungal growth, molasses, or brown, raw, or organic sugar, which contain levels of iron that could be lethal. Plain white sugar perfectly mimics the chemical composition of natural nectar; don’t waste money on commercial mixes. It’s not necessary to boil the water, but keep any extra nectar refrigerated, and empty the feeder every few days, more often in hot weather. Never use red dye; nectar is naturally clear, and the coloring could be harmful.

Happy feeding! (And please wish me luck.)

Handwashing Crochet Blanket and Feeding Hummingbirds-001

Shared at This is How We Roll and Happiness is Homemade.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my mountaintop to yours!

30 August 2016

How to Hand-Wash a Crocheted Blanket (in an RV)

100_8093Today is laundry day.  (Oh, joy. Right?) We don't have a washer and/or dryer in the RV.  I hope to one day have an outdoor washing area to do the bulk by hand (I dream of having this wringer), but that is not our situation at this time.  So I go to a local laundromat.  The cost for a "regular" load is $3.50 to wash and $1.00 to $1.50 to dry.  Since there's just two of us, we can usually get away with just one load a week for our everyday clothes, but anything such as sheets and bed quilts require an additional load (and an additional $5).

I'm pretty diligent with the bed sheets and top quilts, but have to admit the other blankets aren't getting the attention they deserve.  One of my crocheted blankets is now crying for that attention.  It's pretty dingy and smells a lot like dog.

Here's where I interrupt the flow and share about my heirloom crocheted blankets:  I have six of them, all handmade for me by my grandmother.  The first one I remember receiving was very frilly and girly – light and bright pastel colors with one whole side being tasseled.  I still adore it.  It's in my mother's storage right now, and unfortunately does have a small hole in it.  I might have gotten that one while in elementary school; can't quite remember.

The next one is the one I washed today – a simple purple and white.  She made that one for me when purple was my favorite color.  It's easily over 25 years old, maybe even well over.  I know that, because the one I consider most elegant is the rose and white squared one she made for my high school graduation (25 years ago).  Since then, she has made me a Christmas red and green, and a Denver Broncos white-orange-blue (about 17 years ago).  She also made my guy one for his Tampa Bay Buccaneers obsession. (Are you ready for some football?)

Here's a few stuffed in the linen storage area.  Not the best picture, but I was too lazy to get them all out.

100_8094

Back to the hand-washing a crocheted blanket exercise.  It's a good idea to know what kind of yarn was used before washing.  Using hot water can cause shrinkage in some materials.  The common acrylic yarn can be machine washed on a gentle cycle and tumble dried with low heat.  (I used to do that before we shrunk our living space down to an RV.) If you have no idea the yarn make-up, use cold water.

But let me add, in my humble opinion, I think crocheted items should always be hand-washed if at all possible.  You can tell a noticeable difference in the yarn -- a weakening -- after agitation.  (Maybe a front load machine wouldn't be as bad?)

Decide what (clean) basin you want to use and put your blanket in it.  A bathtub would be great.  I used the RV shower / tiny tub.  Fill with water at the proper temperature until the blanket is submerged.  Add mild detergent.  (I used dish liquid – not a lot is required.)

Agitate the blanket for a bit – swish it around, turn it over – and let it soak for 15 to 30 minutes.  Today, I soaked mine for 25 minutes because I got sidetracked with something else.  The following image is embarrassing, but I'll share anyway – I call it "time + grime + dog."

100_8097

After the swishing and soaking, you'll be ready to rinse.  Drain, refill with cold water, and repeat at least a couple of times.  I did that three times today, making sure no dirty soapy water was left attached to the blanket.  I don't know if you can see it here, but there was a noticeable difference when done.  I am very pleased with the results!

Handwashing Crochet Blanket and Feeding Hummingbirds

After the washing and rinsing is complete, the best way to dry is with the blanket laying flat.  [Note:  if hand-washing and drying crocheted clothing, always lay it flat.  You'll want to re-shape it and leave it in that position until dry.  Hanging is a no-no.]

This particular blanket is approximately 5 feet wide and 6 feet long.  I do not have a suitable place to lay it flat until dry.  So I'm breaking the rules and hanging it.  Regardless of to where you move it, be prepared.  Your crocheted blanket is going to be super-heavy.  I gathered mine up, hugged it to my chest – soaking my shirt – and yelled at the dogs to get out of the way, as I ran the 20 feet -- drip, drip, dripping -- to the outdoors and a towel I placed on a table.  Never you mind the fact that I had an empty laundry basket sitting right there (from the laundry I did earlier) I could have used.  Hopefully you'll have more sense than I.

Expect drying time to be at least 24 hours.  Mine has been hanging for a couple of hours and is still dripping.  But I think it's definitely worth the time (and mere pennies) to do it yourself and preserve your handmade item.  If you follow these simple steps, I think you'll be pleased with your freshly cleaned crocheted blanket.

100_8104

Shared at Making a Home Linky, This is How We Roll, and Happiness is Homemade.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my (rule-breaker) mountaintop to yours!

19 August 2016

Closer to Nature for World Photo Day

100_7908A deer cautiously entered the clearing behind the RV.  And the wild mountain beauty took my breath away.  I moved as slow as I could, but didn't manage a picture before she calmly walked back into the woods.

It's probably not a big deal to many of you, but it's such a rare occurrence for me.  I should say, it was a rare occurrence.  Since we moved, I'm blessed to see so much more – and be closer to it all.  From the clouds in the sky that seem so much bigger and more dense.  To the bees on the white clover, the flexible plant bending under the weight of the insect.  To the myriad of birds that visit us each day.  To the rooster and turkeys I hear in the distance.  To the quick-footed rabbit, and the raccoon I can't ever catch in the act, but know he's there.  And, yes, even the snake that I hope will continue to maintain his distance.

I've missed more shots than I can count! Just the other day, I hurriedly got our rat terrier Kody inside from a walk.  I wanted to grab the camera and capture a view of the mountain as the sun went down.  I was in and back out in under a minute, I'm sure, but it was gone.  The sun had descended just a wee bit more, and the whole view was changed.

I love photography, though I am very much an amateur.  The large exhibit at the fair each October is a highlight for me.  I take my time wandering through all the cool "scenery." So here's my contribution to world photo day:  a few I've taken, and liked.

100_5028

100_8067

100_0410

From my mountaintop to yours!

09 August 2016

Baked Peaches: a Summer–Fall Recipe in Pictures

100_7986Peaches are generally available all summer long, starting mid-May here in Georgia.  But freestone or cling-free peaches, the kind that are easiest to do anything -- like eating and canning -- with because the fruit doesn't cling to the pit, are a mid to late summer juice-running-down-your-chin delight.  And who doesn't enjoy the freshness of summer fruit?

I also enjoy (and am very much ready for!) the flavors of fall.  While we're not quite yet in the pumpkin spice latte season, adding buttery brown sugar and cinnamon to summer peaches and baking them to melt-in-your-mouth softness kind of bridges the best of both worlds for me.

Feel like giving them a try? Here's the "recipe."

100_7973

Cut a couple of clean, fresh peaches in half.  Remove the pit.

100_7976

Top with a small bit of butter, a teaspoon or two of brown sugar, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes.

100_7978

Oh my.  Warm, sweet, soft goodness. From my mountain of peaches to yours.

Shared at The Homemaking Party, Making a Home, Tasty Tuesdays, Tuesdays with a Twist, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, and Happiness is Homemade.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...