Monday, October 28, 2013

MOUNT AIRY, NORTH CAROLINA

On our return trip from our recent vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, we took a detour into Mount Airy, North Carolina. Mount Airy is the home town of the late Andy Griffith and affectionately called Mayberry RFD.  

When we left Burlington, NC that morning it started raining....the first and only rain we saw the whole 12 days we were gone.  By the time we got to Mount Airy, the clouds were still there but the rain had stopped. The main street is one-way so we had to do some fancy driving to get to the far end of the street so we could drive all the way down the street in town.  

We drove around a bit and even down the main street and actually was heading out of town without getting out of our car when I saw the produce market.  I had been wanting to get some "local" sweet potatoes ever since we had left Myrtle Beach several days earlier.  So we stopped.  By the time we left, we had 40 lbs of sweet potatoes, several varieties of local apples for 70 cents/lb  (even honeycrisp), a bunch of bananas, smoked ham slices, and 3 pumpkins.  


After talking to a couple of people at the produce market, we realized we had to go back "into town" and enjoy their famous pork chop sandwich at the Snappy Lunch. (It was really good and very reasonably priced.) The walls were full of memorabilia.  Andy would often come there for lunch when he was in school before the school had a cafeteria. In an early episode of the Andy Griffith Show, Andy tells Barney they should go get lunch at the Snappy Lunch making it the only actual place in Mount Airy referred to in the show.  Next door is Floyd's Barber Shop and next to it was Opie's Candy Shop.












Here are some of the sites around the city.
The side of a building off Main Street.

Pretty flowers on one corner.





















Andy Griffith's home that is now available as lodging.  They hang a sign outside asking to respect the guests privacy when it is occupied.





On the other side of Andy Griffith's Museum is the separate Playhouse.




Just a house I liked.


At the Snappy Lunch I saw a hanging kitchen towel for sale that I decided I wanted to make when I got home. I usually make them with a crochet top for hanging but liked the idea of the double towel.  It was very easy and fast to make. 



I had this set of two hot pads and 1 towel that I bought several years ago and just hadn't done anything with it.







I folded the towel in half with right sides together and pressed it with the iron.  








I wanted a "line" to follow to sew a gathering thread.









I drew a line in the middle of the hot pad with a marking pen.  I also marked the line dividing it into fourths.







I  divided the towel into fourths by folding it in half and then folding the sides to the middle.  (I marked the points with pins.) 
((The picture is distorted because I took the picture from the side instead of over the top.))



I pulled the gathering thread and with the right side of the towel facing the right side of the hot pad matched the (quarter)pins with the dots on the line on the hot pad.  Evenly spreading the gathers, I pinned the towel across the hot pad and sewed the towel onto the hot pad.


Top half of the towel turned down over stitching.









I sewed a large button on the front of the hot pad. (end without the loop).  








Bring the loop on the hot pad over to "button" the button which allows it to hang over the oven door handle.








We ended up spending about 2 hours in Mount Airy.  It was one of those "side-trips" that you take almost on a whim that turns out to be one of the memorable times of your trip.

UPDATE:  On Saturday, I made a new hanging kitchen towel to have up for Valentine's Day.  I actually bought the two hot pads to make two for Christmas, but didn't get around to them. 


I had a towel left over from last year when I made my plastic bag holder and so I decided to use it with one of the red hot pad. Tutorial HERE.









Before.....





and after.....








and hanging....

Thursday, October 24, 2013

CHEESY CHICKEN & RICE CASSEROLE

The other night I decided to try this recipe for Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole. I have had this recipe from Campbell's since 2006 but, as my usual story goes, I've just never got around to making it. It takes only about 5 minutes to prepare it and 45 - 60 minutes to cook it. I used brown rice so I cooked mine 60 minutes to make sure the rice cooked. I also lowered the oven temperature to 350 degrees because I was using  a glass baking dish. I did use the 98 % Fat Free cream of chicken soup. I forgot to cover the dish when I baked it, but it turned out okay. The mixed vegetables might not have looked dry looking, but they didn't taste dry.


After putting it in the oven (without the cover), my husband and I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy some of the fall colors. We have maple trees in our yard but they are always the last ones in the neighborhood to turn. It is really interesting. We are just two doors down from the next cross street, but the maple trees on that street always turn first. We don't really understand but this has happened every year since we moved here 5 years ago. The trees on that street will be almost bare of leaves when our trees finally turn.


Since our trees haven't turned yet, I had to make our front "porch" at least look festive.



















CHEESY CHICKEN & RICE CASSEROLE

1        can (10-3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup (regular or 98 % fat free)
1        can water
3/4   cup uncooked long-grain rice (white or brown)
2       cups fresh or frozen vegetables (I used frozen mixed vegetables
1/2    teaspoon onion powder
4       skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2    cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I didn't use that much)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (350 degrees F if using a glass baking dish)

Stir the soup, water, rice, vegetables and onion powder in a 12 x 8 -inch baking dish.

Top with chicken.  Season the chicken as desired.  Cover with aluminum foil.





Bake for 45 - 60 minutes or until chicken is done.









Top with cheese.  Return to oven to melt the cheese, if necessary.

Makes 4 servings.

Variations:

Mexican Fiesta:  In place of onion powder, use 1 teaspoon chili powder.  Substitute Mexican cheese blend for the Cheddar cheese.

Taste of Italy:  In place of onion powder, use 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.  Substitute 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan for the Cheddar cheese.

Go HERE. to see some of my other favorite chicken recipes. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

PUMPKIN MUFFINS

I missed going in to volunteer at Hillcrest Thrift Shop due to conflicts for three weeks.  So I had to look for something to bake to take this week.  I didn't have to look too hard though.

I actually made some banana gingerbread on Monday since I had to time.  (I will be writing up that recipe soon.  It was really good.) While it was baking in the oven, I was just looking through a file of recipes to try and found a recipe I had cut from a newspaper (didn't save or write which newspaper, but I think it was the Ventura Star Free Press not the name of the paper anymore).  It was a recipe for muffins.  I put it aside just in case I felt like trying it Tuesday morning before going in at 12:30.

Well, I got up Tuesday morning and you know I decided to make them.  I told my husband to eat one to let me know how they tasted. (I didn't want to take them if they weren't good....I did have the banana gingerbread I could still take.)

I was fixing my hair and he came in and said, "Well, I ate one of your muffins.  They were good...not sweet though, but good.  Just like I like them."  I told him since they only had 1/4 cup sugar in them they were probably more of a breakfast muffin.  So when I took in ten of them (I left one more for my husband to eat later), the volunteers were finishing up their lunch. They "oohed and ahhed" when they saw them (they usually do when I bring in my treats).  I told them they weren't sweet.  Jim, the manager, took one and said it was good....he needed to eat less sugar.  N.C. came by the register later and told me what a good cook I was and I should open a business. When my shift was over, I went to the community room to get my container. There were 5 left.  I took one to eat and left the other four. Dana said she hadn't gotten one yet.  I told her to take whatever was still there when she left. 

When I got home, I ate the one I had taken.  They aren't sweet, but they were really good.  In fact, they were just right. My husband thought I was eating the one I had left (for him), but I told him I had brought it from Hillcrest and I had left the one for him.  He immediately went and got it and ate it. (I think he thought they were just right too.)

They were so good....can you guess what I am doing this morning?  Yep.  I am making another batch.  (I made the second batch and lowered the temperature to 375 degrees and they didn't get as brown.  I also only had 4 paper liners and so I just sprayed the other cups with cooking spray and that worked out fine.)




PUMPKIN MUFFINS

2      cups buttermilk baking mix
1/2   cup raisins
1/3   cup canned pumpkin
1/4   cup chopped walnuts
1/4   cup sugar
1/4   cup skim milk
2      tablespoons oil
1       teaspoon ground cinnamon
1       egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  


Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Mix just until blended.  (I added the raisins first in the baking mix and made sure they were all separated before adding the rest of the ingredients.)













Pour batter into 12 paper-lined muffin cups.  (My batter was thick. I spooned it in the cups.  It also works fine without the paper liners.  Just spray the muffin cups with cooking spray.)



Bake until golden brown, for 16 - 18 minutes.  Remove from pan immediately.





Makes 12 muffins. 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

OUR QUILT OF VALOUR (PART EIGHT)

Our group only consisted of four of us....Kay, Dorothy, Sharon, and me when we met last week.  Kay was at her seat in front of the sewing machine and Dorothy was at the ironing board when I got there (late).  Last month we managed to get all of the strips/rows sewed and even got the first two sewed together.  

If you want to go back to the beginning of this adventure, click HERE or if you just missed last month, click HERE.


Dorothy pinned most of the strips together











Kay sewed them all















and Sharon did most of the pressing.

















I "supervised".  I did press the last two strips of the quilt top after Kay finished sewing, but didn't get a picture of that.

Here is the quilt top finished


We chose the three fabrics and Sharon took them home to make the pillow case for the finished quilt.







We also chose some left over fabric to use for the binding.











We decided to get together this week and pick out some fabric for the backing.  We plan to meet at a quilt shop, chose and buy the material, and then enjoy lunch together.  We deserve it!

Since I was late, I asked if anyone shared anything before I got there, but Sharon said no one had anything.  So I just took pictures of Kay "new" quilts hanging in her "craftland".  I look forward every month to seeing her work.  She does such a fantastic job and she had a lot.





Santa goes Trick or Treating too:

This one Kay created herself.  Isn't it cute?!

TIP ALERT:  COLOR CATCHER SHEETS


While everyone was working, Kay shared a product she had used when she prewashed some fabric she bought that she thought might "bleed".  




















They are sheets that you just drop in the washer when you wash mixed colors.











The interesting thing is when we were reading online the requirements for our quilt of valour at www.qovf.org , they included in the instructions to wash the finished quilt using a color catcher sheet.  (I am not being paid to endorse this product. I am recommending it because I saw the results of it at Kay's.)


When we left Kay's, the quilt top was folded and waiting for our next meeting.  It felt really good seeing it finished.






See our next and last installment HERE.