Holiday Baking for Buffet or Brunch

Was watching a YouTube video and another video showed up from a German baker.  So I watched the 100-year-old recipe from the grandmother for a strawberry pudding-based sheet cake turned into a layered pastry.  It was not a pretty cake but it appeared deliciously YUM! Check out Einfache Rezepte videos for some old-fashioned favorites to add to your holiday desert buffet or to finish out a family brunch.  Recipes include breads, cakes, and various pastries.  Be sure to scroll past the step-by-step video to click the MORE under description to get the ingredients list and pre-heat temperature for each recipe.  

You can find old-fashioned American recipes by searching this blog using the word "Grandma" to find recipes of my Grandmother's.  She loved desserts too. However, man of her other meal dishes and casseroles are also included on this blog.


Quotes on the Foundation of America

Below are a few quotes by four of America's forefathers related to the Christian foundation of the United States of America (USA).  These are often abbreviated. distorted, edited, or misquoted to achieve a political purpose other than the point the original speaker meant to make.  In celebrating the freedoms offered in this country and for the future of America, it is important to know and understand history, as well as what was actually said and done. It is important to know the facts and find the truth instead of accepting political incorrectness, which could lead to the tyranny of government the founding fathers warned about. 

 

"The God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" - Thomas Jefferson 

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God." - John Adams

"It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!" - Patrick Henry

"Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual… Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us," - John Hancock.

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"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other." - John Adams

“The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one-directional wall. It keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.” - Thomas Jefferson 
  

Celebrate Independence Day (July 4th) and this country by learning the facts about the Constitution and the history of freedom and sacrifice.  For more, see posts:     

 

Common Sense on Abortion Alternatives

Is abortion a constitutional issue or a health issue?  Is the issue about federal direction or state legislation?  Or is the abortion question more about perception vs. common sense; facts vs. feelings, or crime vs. laws?  

As a human rights issue, there are people on both sides with different views.  There are many people on the pro-life side of the abortion issue trying to prevent fetal homicide.  There are also pro-choice groups saying it should be a woman's personal choice for birth control relevant to her health and her personal reasons.    

Looking at the issue from a birth control choice, there are lots of birth control options available to women, and many methods are free!  Choose a medical-based birth control that insurance covers under the Affordable Care Act and take as directed.  Another choice is non-drug over-the-counter protection and plan with partner that it will always be available.  Obviously there is also the choice to NOT have sex before being ready to build a family, since abstinence is the most effective method of preventing pregnancy.

What about rape where there was no choice? There are exceptions for when a woman is physically forced against her own will,  Emergency contraception is available at many medical facilities to prevent fertilization.  Reporting rape to authorities may help them capture the perpetrator so the crime will not happen again to someone else.  If this not quickly done and an unwanted pregnancy occurs, many states allow early-term abortion for rape victims as well as exceptions for mother's health risks.

If preventing unwanted pregnancy is really this issue, lots of common sense options are already available as noted above.  Are anti-life/pro-violence advocates uninformed or is there actually another hidden agenda behind their rhetoric?  Have they done any research into mental and emotional health of women who have had abortions? What do the protestors' words really mean?  

Why would anyone cry "not your incubators?" Using the term incubator in a derogatory manner is insulting to women who choose to use their womb to build a family.  Whether their own family or to bless another as surrogates do. Family leads to another alternative - adoption.   There are agency that will help with closed adoption, let the pregnant girl choose baby's parents, or even help her if she decides to keep the baby.  If others are truly for women's rights, how can they so callously redefine a machine that is supposed to be used for keeping babies safe, warm, and alive as bad?  Or are they instead implying that women are flightless birds (egg-to-chick-to-hen) with little brains?

Notes: 

For  more on fetus right to life, see Unborn Victims of Violence Act.  

To see who really benefits from pushing abortion, check out these articles:

The Other Side of the Story

Is the 1st amendment dead? Do news sources now twist and distort selected information to match a political or ideological narrative rather than strait-forward fact research and reporting? Mainstream media (#MSM) and politicians are often one-side biased.  What is the other side of the story they are not telling?  How do you get the full picture?  Sadly, you have to do your own research by going to other sources for factual reports, personal blogs, citizen articles, investigative journalism, and personal videos of people who were actually present.  The list below is some of the documentaries and research done thus far.

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Pre

Protest 

Post


Note:  This blog seldom addresses political opinion, however it often promotes patriotism through interesting stories, poems, songs, and video. Sometimes a promoted one-sided story is so false, that you must offer alternative evidence to get to the truth.  

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions/examples:

  • PROTEST is the act of objecting or a gesture of disapproval, especially a usually organized public demonstration of disapproval.
  • REVOLT and INSURRECTION imply an "ARMED" uprising that quickly fails or succeeds.

Grandma's Recipe Box: Yellow Squash Casserole

 


Here is a side  dish from my Grandmother's recipe box.  It is a quick recipe that is cheesier than the traditional Baked Squash Casserole.   If you have a lot of squash from your garden and want a big crowd pleaser that travels well, you might want to check out our Squash Dressing recipe.  


Yellow Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

7 large or 4 medium yellow squash, sliced
1/2 stick of butter or margarine 
1 teaspoon season salt 
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
Dash of red pepper
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely crushed potato chips

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Saute' squash in butter until tender, stirring frequently - about 5 minutes 
  3. Place squash i shallow baking dish
  4. Combine seasoning and herbs.  Sprinkle over squash.
  5. Mix together cheese and chips,  Sprinkle over top.
  6. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes - until cheese is melted.

Planting and Dividing Bearded Iris Corms

There are multiple varieties of iris, some are water plants (aka flags) and others are garden plants that are fairly drought tolerant.  The most well-known variety in the USA is the bearded iris.  It is called that because it has a furry-looking part and petal that hangs down like a beard. Bearded iris grows from corms, which are long tuber rather than round or flat bulbs.  Irises are easy-to-grow and do not require much effort once they are planted.  

Most of the irises in my garden are from divisions taken from my grandmother's garden or from transplants she gave to my mother.  My grandmother gave me these directions for planting corm-type iris.  The back of the iris is called tail feathers, the iris will grow outward from the tail, and new "chicks" will grow from the sides of the corm or belly.  So plant the iris with the corm facing in the direction where you want it to grow towards building a clump.  Plant them in full to part-shade - more sun means more flowers!  Dig new holes for corms only slightly deeper than the corm height.  Bearded iris prefer to be close to the top of the ground with just enough dirt covering them to prevent drying out from sunshine hitting it.  

To dig up bearded iris to move or divide, use a shovel or pitchfork pushed 1-2 inches below ground at an angle to move beneath the plants.  Push down of the tool as a lever until you hear the iris pop out of the ground.  If you have not divided in over 3 years, you may need to move to an opposite side of iris clump to dig a large corm with lots of chicks.  When digging and dividing iris, the chicks with roots can be broken off the mother corm and planted separately to get even more plants.  If you do not plan to plant the new iris corms quickly, cut the tail down to a 3-inch fan to help conserve the moisture for the stored corms.  

Did you know iris can climb trees?  My mom had a large oval flower bed that she made an iris fencei ended  around by planing the tail outside and letting the plants grow into the center of the bed around a large flowing bush.  I thought that was a cool idea, so I decided to try the same thing around a tree.  A few years later, I saw this weird thing growing on the base of my tree.  When I got closer, it was a long bar iris corm!  Its roots were  growing into the tree bark and would not come easily off.  I had to carefully dig around the tree roots to loosen corms in the dirt, which was not easy as some tree roots had grown over some of the corms.   I had to cut some corms into 2-4 pieces to get them out from under roots and the ones growing in the bark broke too as I tried to pry them off.  The process took hours!  Needless to day, I do not recommend planting bearded iris around trees.  

Dividing and Planting Daylilies

Plants that like to be divided are crinums, irises, and daylilies.   Iris and daylily are easily divided as they grow very near the surface.  For this reason, you can have them in multiple places in the garden or share the plants with others.  Daylilies have multiple varieties in a myriad of colors.  Varieties can look like other types of lilies, be star-shaped, or have ruffled petals.  Some have flowers that a just above their leaves and others shoot up on a stem more than a foot above their leaves.  

Daylilies can be divided at any time in Spring or Summer, after they sprout up from the ground.  The easiest way to dig them up is to take a long-handle shovel or pitchfork and dig at an angle about five to eight inches from the base of the plant to make sure you do not cut through too much root.  Wiggling the tool will at each section of digging will help loosen the soil around roots.  Keep working around the clump of all sides in this way until it comes out of the ground.  Knock all the soil off the clump so you can see the base and roots of every plant in clump.  Starting from the outside working inwards, individually grab the base of each plant and pull it so its roots become loose from the clump.  Quickly plant new divisions or if you are sharing divisions cut off some of the foliage to make them easier to transport without wilting. They will quickly grow new leaves one they are in the ground.

To plant daylilies, choose a sunny location in garden or landscape bed.  Then dig a shallow but wide hole where the new plant divisions will go.  The space needs to be wide enough to splay out the plant's roots in it and deep enough that the roots can be cover with half-inch to full inch of soil.  If you want the look of a clump to start, make the hole wide enough to put three plants in with the tips of their roots touching.  It is important to spread the roots out as new plants will grow out of thick areas or tubers that form on the roots or the mother plant.  Eventually, the baby daylily will become a separate plant with its roots intertwining with others.  If planting several daylilies, leave nine inches to a foot between the planting holes to allow for spreading outward.  Most daylilies will double in size each year.  Water new plants every other day for four weeks to start.  Then regular weekly watering is fine.  Many daylilies are drought tolerant, but wilted blooms indicate they are not getting enough moisture - make sure they are not being watered during the hottest time of the day.


Sharing and Planting Milk and Wine Crinum Lilies

There are lots of varieties of crinum lilies, which are the largest plants in the amaryllis family.  The Milk and Wine variety grows very well in Texas and Oklahoma gardens from bulbs where they can get full to part-shade.  Although I have relatives in California who have grown them in pots with the leaves overflowing the sides.  Healthy plants will have lots of long leaves and a fully grown plant can get up to shoulder high.  The plants often bloom directly after a summer or autumn rain, which is why some people nickname them rain lily.

Mine are heritage plants as divisions passed down through family generations.  It originated from my father-in-law's mother yard and he gave one to his wife's mother.  It was from the second Grandma that gave our original bul to my husband after we moved into our house.  His Grandma also gave one to my Grandma (they were best friends) many years before we met.  My Grandma planted it next to her front porch.  my husband planted ours in the front corner of our house, where it spent many years until we had to have our house re-leveled.  I have shared out many bulb divisions to friends, siblings, and now nieces.

If you have Milk and Wine (or other types) crinum lilies, you can divide them to share with others.  When you see more than 5 stems, you may divide bulbs to get more plants or you can wait until the group is about a foot in diameter.  When you divide the bulbs, you may find baby bulbs (nicknamed pups) around the main bulb that can be anywhere from ping-pong ball size to the size of a softball.  If you are mailing bulbs to others, I suggest you send ping ball size nested in shredded newspaper to save mailing costs.   You can divide them in early spring after you see green shoots.  The bulbs you give away or replant should be put in the ground within a week or tow.  Most of the other bulbs I give away are softball or baseball size.  I tend to put the bigger bulb back in the hole where I dug out the division.  

Do not let them go too long before dividing, when we moved our plant from the front of the house to the backyard, it took hours and very deep digging to get it all out.  The mother bulb had grown to the size of a basketball!  The bulbs grow out and down.  Unlike houseplant amaryllis, which like to have 1/3 to 1/2 of the bulb above soil-level, crinums need the entire bulb underground with only the stem sticking out.  Nor does it like to be planted too deep like most bulbs, which are supposed to be planted 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb is tall.  

Plant Milk and Wine crinum lilies in full sun to get the most blooms. Be sure the hole is deep enough to completely cover the ball portion of bulb with dirt and where stem sticks up out of the soil - plant no deeper than size of the ball part of bulb. If planting more than one bulb, plant them at least two feet apart to allow for spreading as the plant grows. Water tham slightly each day for first two weeks to help them settle in.  After that, the plants should be fine with normal watering or rain. Do not overwater as too much can cause the bulbs to rot.  Replants may not bloom until the following year.  Multiple blooms come at top of plant (in summer thru autumn) after plant is over  a foot high.  

Besides the care listed above, know that the long leaves will die over winter but do not remove the dead leaves until new green growth can be seen coming out from the soil in early spring. The old dead leaves serve as winter cover for the bulb. When cleaning off dead leaves, you may notice that the original single stem has become many as the plant grows.  Toss the dead foliage in the compost heap, if you have one,

Although getting theses bulbs as a share from family, friends, or neighbors is the best way to know they will grow in your garden; you can buy bulbs to try in garden or pots.  Softball-size Milk and Wine bulbs sell for up to $25 each on ebay!  Other crinums can be bought for as little as $8 on ebay but "vintage varieties" sometimes can be found in southern nurseries as special "vintage" or "heritage" local offerings for less.

Outer Space Rocks as Gemstones in Jewelry!

Whether you believe in extraterrestrial beings or not, you probably are aware of stones falling from the sky to earth.  These stones have attracted interest of both rock collectors and jewelry makers. Most rocks from outer space are parts of asteroids. comets, or meteorites that fell to earth.  Higher quality gemstones often are created through the process of these objects passing through the earth's atmosphere or created by impact with earth. Sometimes the stones used in jewelry are kept natural for one-of-a-kind Boho-style. While other jewelry designers may choose to shape, facet, and polish the stones to create more traditional jewelry pieces.

Diamonds are believed be prevalent in space and some resulting from asteroids may be found in Russia, Brazii, and Africa.  Diamonds in space there are mostly black (aka Carbonado Diamonds or Enigma Diamonds), which are not typically found in natural diamond mines on earth.  

Impactites (aka Libyan Desert Glass or Moldavite) is melted sand particles burned by the impact of a meteorite.  Libyan Desert Glass are pale yellow-colored stones, which are soft or brittle - therefore it is used sparingly in earrings or pendants.  Gemstone quality desert glass is rare for use in faceting or cabochons, so most jewelry will be wire-wrapped or hole-drilled if the shape and size of stone is appropriate. Moldavite is a unique dark green gemstone that has been placed in jewelry for about 100 years.  However, it is not readily accessible everywhere.  Check TV shopping networks and seller websites where many new designers sell their wares to get a Moldavite piece to mix into wearing with your other green gemstones.

Meteorites of iron of other metallic substances have become very popular for jewelry.  People are fascinated by owning these mostly in their natural form.  However, the do make interesting cut cabochons and beads too.

Pallasite (aka Palladot or Space Peridot) is a meteorite containing another green stone called Olivine.  Olivine is the mineral family that the August birthstone Peridot comes from, but is not the same quality as that well-known gemstone.  Although some Peridot -quality may come from outer space and be cut out of the meteorite part, most of the Olivine is not removed from it's meteorite host. Typically it is used as an interesting combination of colors. sold as Pallasite to collectors and occasionally fake versions are wire-wrapped or drilled for an extremely rare version of jewelry. (Learn about Olivine from volcanoes too.)

Tektites are usually black stones formed when an asteroid or comet hits the earth.  Since it is drop-shaped and glass-like, it is used in the same types of jewelry as Impactites.

The above gemstones are linked more to the science of space and the uniiverse, also known as astronomy.  There may be other gemstones in space that have not yet made it to earth.  However, if instead of space science you are more interested in astrology, which is a using stars and planets to try to explain life, then check out zodiac gemstones from earth.  

Six Ideas to Make the Laundry Chores Easier

Laundry must get done, but it takes time to do it right.  Who wants to spend their time doing laundry?  Below are six ideas that can make doing laundry easier and more organized.  If it is easier, then the task is less likely to be dreaded as a major chore.  If it is organized, then it will be time well spent instead of feeling like it was hours wasted.

6 Ideas for Laundry Chores

1. Organize your laundry room!  Have all necessary supplies and equipment are there and in easy reach.  Open shelves are easier to work from than closed cabinets.  This also makes it easier to recognize when you are almost out of something.  You can add it to your shopping list instead of having to make an extra run just to get detergent.

2. Share the laundry chores with others.   Get everyone in the family to gather their own dirty clothes and bring them to the laundry room for sorting appropriately.  Older children should be taught how to help out with sorting and doing all types of laundry.  Start them washing with something easy like towels and after they have the hang of that, then show them how to do clothing.

3. Mobilize the process.  Instead of one "dirty clothes" hamper, make several available to be sure clothes get into the hamper instead of into a pile on the closet or bedroom floor.  If you have multiple larger bathrooms, then this is the logical space for hampers.  If bathrooms are small, then a hamper or laundry basket in each bedroom makes more sense for getting everyone to get together their laundry.  Baskets can be used to carry dirty laundry to the washing machine ares.  Then after washing, drying, and folding laundry, it can be returned to each basket to be carried into the correct bedroom.  When the basket is picked up by the clothing owner, clothes on hangers can be placed over the top of basket to go back to the closet into that bedroom in one trip as well.

4. Timing is everything!  If your washer and dryer do not have load buzzers to let you know a load needs to be moved to prevent moldiness or wrinkles, then consider using a timer.  The time can be a portable kitchen timer or an app on your phone.  Set it for about half an hour depending on your normal wash or dry cycles.  Carry it with you into other rooms where you are multi-tasking to save time by cleaning, exercising, or playing games with the kids.  When it goes off, check your load and reset timer if appropriate.

5. Do not like ironing?  You can prevent the need to iron clothes, if you get them out of the dryer quickly and then hang or fold them immediately.   Since immediate may not be possible if you did a large load, as you pull clothes out of the dryer, flatten stack things like t-shirts and shorts on top of the dryer so you can quickly hang up trousers and collared shirts first.  If you find you still have some wrinkles before wearing and hate to iron, consider tossing the item back in the dryer with a wet washcloth for 10-15 minutes to remove most wrinkles.

6. Scheduling is also important.  Some people like to do all their laundry on the same day so they have evenings free.  Others prefer a free weekend and plan 2-3 specific nights to do various types of laundry loads.  Do what makes the most sense for you and your family.  Having a schedule for laundry duties helps you manage your time better.  If you have older children, who will be helping with some of the laundry chores, a written schedule will keep them on track too.