Monthly Archives: March 2020

Creative Quarantine Cooking

Have you been missing your favorite dishes at local eating establishments? Are you unsure what to eat? I am like most of you. In pre-Coronavirus days, I confess to being  lazy at times regarding cooking.  Life often sped at a frantic pace. Too often it left me finding short cuts to meals and frequent excuses for spending money eating out.  Now that we are all under quarantine, there is plenty of time to cook and plan meals. However, we may not find what we want on the grocery store shelves. Where is that pioneer spirit of our ancestors? They survived much worse than this.  We need to develop creative alternatives and substitutes in our cooking.

Here are a few ways that I have gotten creative with my cooking lately:

One day, I rummaged through my freezer and found some frozen chicken breasts.  I daydreamed about chicken dishes that I enjoy”ed” in dining establishments. What made them taste so good? Cheese and bacon! So, I made baked barbecue chicken. In the last 15 minutes or so, I layered cheddar cheese and bacon on top of the chicken.  Voila! It was a tasty new way of preparing chicken!

I longed for delicious salads like those at restaurants.  What made them so delicious, I questioned ? The dressing, of course! So again I began experimenting, with salad dressing. I started by adding different vinegars from my cupboards to Italian dressing. It has made my plain old salads much more scrumptious, I have discovered.

What about that sweet tooth? That is an easy one. I put a store bought chocolate chip cookie in a dish then zapped it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. I added a scoop of ice cream on top, using whatever I had on hand.  It began to melt so I took a bite while it was warm. It finished melting in my mouth. Delicious!

I think we are onto something. What are some successes that you have had with cooking experiments? You share yours and I will keep sharing mine as they come to me…

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How I am Spending My Quarantine At Home

I have been trying to stay busy at home during the Corona-Virus quarantine. Two great stress-relievers I have found through the years are decorating and gardening. Neither are expensive. I enjoy repurposing things or using thrifted items for my home. I like to replace cushions, make pillows or window treatments with reasonably priced fabric found at a local fabric outlet. Also, I frequent local nurseries and home stores at the beginning of each planting season to see what new and interesting plant varieties are available to add to my garden.  It helps me stay positive when I am productive and I get great satisfaction in doing things myself.

My most recent decorating projects include some window treatments for my kitchen and office windows.  I found some inspiration for these on Pinterest.  I made simple swags with ribbons for the kitchen.  I found some Waverly fabric with a floral motif online.  I think the grey and beige color goes well in the kitchen as it matches the putty grey countertops. I like the updated look of the design in the fabric which is neither traditional nor modern.IMAG1408 (3)

I wanted to mimic some roman shades for my office but don’t need to raise or lower them for privacy so made the faux version. I used black and white ticking fabric from an old shower curtain that I already had.  This past week I decided to put something over the top of the short windows to elongate them and bring height to the room.  This is what I ended up doing when I unpacked these galvanized planters from my boxed décor. I had saved the black frames and decided they would be perfect to frame out the planters.IMAG1416 (1)

Next, I have been anxious to get outdoors and start planting a garden at the new house. The area near the front door is what I want to focus on first. It has looked pretty empty since we moved in before Christmas.  I began positioning potted plants to figure out an arrangement before planting them. I am slowly putting in a few plants at a time. Here is how it looks so far.  It is pretty shady so I am having to stick to things that do not need sun. Emerald green hostas and burgundy heucheras went in near the corner. I put in some candytuft along the edge of the sidewalk. I had this gate/trellis so I put it by the side of the house and tucked in a purple clematis so that it could begin to climb there.  This miniature birdbath is a temporary fix with a fern to fill in this empty space.  This weekend I added the planters and outdoor rug to make the porch area look more cozy.  I have a ways to go, but this is how it looks so far. IMAG1414 (1)IMAG1411 (1)I would love to know how you have been spending your quarantine time and how you are staying encouraged.  I welcome suggestions on things to add to my garden space or ways to decorate.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

What an appropriate scripture that I found in the bible today.  Keep praying and stay positive!

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The Tarheel House

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The Tarheel house was so named because it was sky blue like the colors of our alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill. The original owner had been a graduate of UNC and had painted it this color.
We felt fortunate to have found this house during a bad economic time at a good deal. It was outdated in certain ways. It only had eight feet tall ceilings throughout the original parts of the house. The three and one half baths had old fixtures, cabinets and countertops. One upstairs bath had a jarring chartreuse green toilet and double sinks with navy blue laminate counters. The other two plus the half bath had busy floral wallpaper. There were five bedrooms in all with one master upstairs and one downstairs. A negative feature was that the laundry room was upstairs to accommodate the four original bedrooms.

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The kitchen had an ancient original built in stove with attached microwave that I was afraid to use. There was an original Jennair cooktop on top of the tiled island. The nice feature of the kitchen was that it had a beamed ceiling, cottage-styled cabinets with vertically panelled doors and a big picture window overlooking the back yard. The almost acre sized yard had a park-like feel with an expansive lawn in the back. One side was wooded between the next house. The back of the lot was beside a creek whose bubbly waterfall sounds could be heard after a heavy rain. The down side of the yard was that the house was on a considerably sloped hill from front to back. Parking in the driveway was challenging though the garage was level.

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The desirable features of the house outweighed any negative. A more modern master bedroom was added to the lower level at some point. It included 9 foot ceilings, hardwoods, two walk-in closets plus a lovely master bath with shower, tiled garden tub, vanity and his and hers sinks. In addition, features that attracted us included shiplap in the dining and living room, built in bookcases, a window seat, an office above the garage and a huge walk-in attic for lots of storage space.

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