The simple pleasures of home shine brighter
when the spirit of God intertwines our hearts
with His gentle Joy.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What's On The Menu? 4

What's On The Menu 4 us On Crooked Creek? ? ?

Homemade Italian Vegetable Soup!

I often order the minestrone soup @ Olive Garden, which also happens to be my favorite restaurant! But, until ours is built nearer to home, I've managed to come up with a compatible Homemade Italian Vegetable Soup. Yes, dear ones, I know that we've been experiencing triple digits for 34 days. . . but sometimes I need a H O T meal!

I always start with the freshest vegetables I can find at our local grocery. Cabbage, carrots, celery, onion and zucchini.

Add one can of cannellini beans and one can diced tomatoes .

Chop and saute the celery and onion .
Chop all the remaining vegetables and add to the pot with freshly ground black pepper, basil, parsley, and sea salt to taste.

Add the canned diced tomatoes , 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Let the vegetables boil for about  7 ~ 10 minutes.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 20 ~ 30 minutes.

Add the drained cannellini beans and heat thoroughly.

Generously ladle into soup bowls and serve as an appetizer, first course or main meal!

I do believe the construction crew broke ground just this week for our very own Olive Garden! But until then, On Crooked Creek will suffice with our version of Homemade Italian Vegetable Soup!

Until next time. . .

On Crooked Creek is joining our gracious hostess Yvonne @ StoneGable for  On The Menu Monday!Be sure to visit Yvonne and be inspired to whip up something nutritional for your family's menu!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kitchen Tip: Spicing Things Up!

What's On The Menu Monday isn't a recipe this week.
Instead. . .we're Spicing Things Up!

Kitchen Tip:
I adore Barefoot Contessa. . .and try to watch her show several times a week. A few years ago, she mentioned that you shouldn't keep spices over a calendar year, as they loose their flavor! I was crushed!
You see, my son ~and ~daughter in law had given me this beautiful tiered spice rack for Christmas. The thought of throwing out all of those spices just made me sad.

So~o~. . .
Every year, I dump out the old. . .

wash all those spice jars. . .

and refill them with new spices!

I've picked up a few helpful tips over the years to speed the process.

* Once the bottles have been thoroughly washed, I enlist the help of a blow dryer to quicken the process.

"Mr. Ed" states it reminds him of the huge blow dryer at the car wash.
Just angle the bottles, as you don't want the water to pool on the bottom of the jar.

* Another tip is to fill the bottle with a paper towel and let the bottle stand overnight. The paper towel will absorb all the moisture in the bottle. (If you have the time and patience!)

* I use white copying paper cut into fourths to make a paper funnel.  Insert this funnel into the mouth of the bottle and s l o w l y pour the spice through and into your bottle.

A second sheet of paper is place under the bottle to catch any spills.

One down. . . eight more to go!!!

YES! I do agree that spices need to be replaced at least once a year to keep optimum flavor to your recipes.

So~o~o. . .

 On Crooked Creek. . .

we're spicing things up!

Until next time. . .

On Crooked Creek is joining our gracious hostess Yvonne @ StoneGable  for On The Menu Monday! If you haven't been to this newest weekly meme, by all means drop by and feast on all the lovely menus, meals, recipes and kitchen tips! Be sure to thank Yvonne!

One Thing Leads To Another. . .

You might categorize  this post as a

chain of events     OR
                                                               the domino effect  BUT

my dear friend ~ and former co~worker ~ summed up the latest happenings On Crooked Creek as

one thing leads to another. . .

After keeping our Grand Dog, Roscoe, I felt a th0rough vacuuming and dusting were in order On Crooked Creek.  He's such a good boy ~ but when he stands up and shakes ~ his tiny dog hairs go
e v e r y w h e r e !

Since it had been awhile since Spring cleaning,
I pulled the furniture away from the walls to vacuum beneath and that's how
                                    one thing led to another. . .

the final outcome was this!

Moving On Crooked Creek nine years ago, the Entertainment Unit was purchased to fill this South wall in the Living Room! It is huge! We both adore how it fits the space nicely. Behind the glass doors, "Mr. Ed" and I have showcased some of our treasured collections and heirlooms.  But
for nine years the look only changed during the holiday season. . . at Christmas On Crooked Creek!

As, I'm sure you've read in Blog Land lately. . . ladies have been changing things in their home decor! While they haven't grown tired of their treasures and heirlooms; they are wanting some change in how those items are arranged.  Same things; refreshed look!

My inspiration came from several sources. Two very dear blog friends.
Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life with her post Revisiting The Bookcase which you can view by clicking on the title. . .                            
Babs @ upstairsdownstairs with her post Texture  ,
 again, just click on her title to view her beautiful post!

So~ o~o~ as one thing led to another. . .

I began at the top and worked my way down!

Although I didn't change much atop  the Entertainment Unit, everything was given a dusting and airy fern garlands were added!

Next came the left side of the unit. Again, cleaning all the glass and accessories as I went.

I adore how the garnet candlesticks, pedestal and hand painted planter give a rich hued backdrop for my angelic figurines. The ginger gar has such a stately presence when placed along side of my vintage books.
Prompted by the suggestion of my dear friend Debbie @ Memories of Home, I added more of my blue items to my usual red, gold and green hued decor.

( Note:
Marty, did you notice how I placed the books on their side, imitating those in your bookcase?)

Left ~ to ~ right . . .this side became more of a challenge. I began eliminating some previously used items and shopped the house for other accessories for a newer, refreshed look!

The vintage aqua planters are such lovely, stand alone, art pieces. I am thrilled at how they add softness and enhance my modest Hummel figurine collection! Mixing more garnet hued items with the blue creates a cohesive visual balance in the unit.

Babs, added a clock in her post on texture. I imitated her decor theory here to reproduce the garnet hues.)

One thing I struggle with On Crooked Creek is noise. Living within a few blocks of The Burlington, Northern and The Santa Fe tracks and K~ 15 Highway, I have taken refuge in continual soft background classical music. However, hiding those distracting silver stereo speakers is an ongoing struggle! By using my French Country planters, I am now able to enjoy the soft music without visual unpleasantness!

By shifting the vintage books to other areas, I now needed to fill in the open shelves below the glass doors.  I felt it was time to showcase some of our "hidden" treasures from the lower level living areas for our viewing pleasures on the upper level.

Combined with some of our favored selections.
Although "Mr. Ed" and I didn't return our parents photos to the Entertaninment Unit, we have another "work ~in~progress" project where they might be better utilized. Time will tell. 

 Change is constant  On Crooked Creek, and
                                               one thing leads to another. . .

Until next time. . .

Just A Note:
A special note of thanks to Babs @ upstairsdownstairs, Debbie @ Memories of Home, Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life and Susan @ Between Naps On The Porch for their continued inspiration through their blogs, e~mails, and visits! Also, my friend and former co~worker, Laura who allowed me the use of a phrase from her e~mail for the title .  . . one thing leads to another. You, dear ladies, along with the ladies in the Land of Blog are a source of continued motivation and creativity with your guidance and wisdom. You continue to bless my life in amazing and productive ways!

On Crooked Creek will be joining our dear hostess Susan @ Between Naps On The Porch for Metamorphosis Monday. As you can see from this post, the Ladies in the Land of Blog are such great resources for making needed changes in your own home decor!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Celebrating Baby Kitty's Big Day!

H A P P Y   B I R T D A Y   B A B    K I T T Y ! 

Dear Baby Kitty,

My, owner, Pat @ On Crooked Creek and I wish you a purr ~ fect day filled with joy and wishes from all the felines and their owners from the Land of Blog!!! 

Our knowledge of each other began when Pat was a "lurker"! It wasn't long before Pat was hooked and followed a few ladies regularly. . . Confessions of a Plate Addict title caught her eye. Pat  l o v e s plates! Not only did she enjoy reading Debbie's blog. . . but she was excited to meet "The Staff".  

Pat thinks Kitty and I could be twins!!! I heard her many times state that Isabella is a raving beauty! She adores that Ozzie and I were given male gender names! But, you, Baby Kitty, are her favorite of all!

You remind her of a cat she had throughout her High School years. Seems the neighbor gave her "pick of the litter". His name? Thom. NOT  Tom. . .as in Tom Cat . . . but Thom. A shortened version of  Thomas! She adored sophisticated names even in her youth!

So~o~o...naturally, when she received the invitation to attend your birthday party. . .she brought me along, also! It didn't take a lot of purr~suasion, though...I, myself, am quite smitten with you! 

Here's  what your owner had to say about the post  Pets Enhance Our Lives! Beyond her comment is the story of how I came to live with "Mr. Ed" and Pat.

Thank you for inviting us to your Eighth Birthday, Baby Kitty! I (we) look forward to many more posts with snapshots of Co~Hostess...Baby Kitty!


Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Oh, Pat! I loved reading Maurice's story! She is indeed special! My Ozzie is another female with a male name...and an attitude! Wonder if there's a connection...sort of like a boy named Sue! lol Regards to Maurice from my staff!...hugs...Debbie

Pets Enhance Our Lives!

( A repost from March 23, 2011 @ On Crooked Creek!)

Maurice 2011

Our Princess, Maurice, has been a source of joy in our lives for nearly 10 years. Although she's NOT the friendly type. . .nor is she a lap cat. . .she tolerates me and l o v e s "Mr.Ed".

l o v e "Mr. Ed"!

Let me tell you how we got our cat . . .

Please be seated.

A former student of mine was playing with a stray calico kitten on the elementary school playground one Fall day in 2000. I cautioned her that we shouldn't play with the stray cat and to go join her friends at the climber. She did ~ with a bit of an "attitude".


I had bus duty that evening. The buses were late coming from the High School. Another student confided in me my "attitude" student had gone around the building to get the stray cat. I summoned the help of another staff member, then I went to retrieve my wayward student. We met at the side of the building. I assumed the cat had left ~ she was empty handed.

Honestly, I didn't do a thing back there!

I learned a short while later my student had stuffed the cat into her back pack and taken it home to the farm. That would be the end of it. W R O N G! Cat ~ Napper, as "Mr. Ed" nicknamed my student, informed me my Christmas present would be a little late this year. She was giving me a kitten. Seems her napped cat was expecting! ! !

You can't . . .

see me. . .

I'm hiding!

"Mr. Ed" and I made a journey to the Cat ~Napper Farm during Spring Break 2001 and were honored to have "our pick of the litter". This beautiful little kitten with a white tip on its long, long tail came over. . .sat at my sandal feet and began licking. I picked it up and began to gently stroke, no purring. I tried to clean its nose. Through the giggles of Cat ~ Napper and her Mother, I was told it wasn't dirt, but a marking.

I work hard for my cat food. . .
so you'd better treat me right!

I took the kitten to the truck where "Mr. Ed" set waiting. I could hear ~ "NO's" ~ before I reached his open window. "I chose this one, but I might have to choose another. This one's broke." Again, giggles from the girls! Unenthused he replied, "Let me have it." As soon as he held the kitten, the purring was thunderous. I turned to Cat ~ Napper. . ."We'll take this one."

One Christmas present . . . ready to go!

Two weeks later, weened ~ we brought Maurice home. I never could get that correct on newborn kittens. I thought we had a male ~ thus Maurice ~ French for Morris. As in the famous Friskies Cat Food commercial ~ Morris the Cat. Turns out Maurice ~ is a female.

Now you see why I tolerate her!

Her mother a Calico. Her father a Siamese. A female with a male name.

Okay. . .let's get to the happyily ever after already!

Talk about CATTITUDE ~ Maurice definitely is a "cat with an attitude".

Me. . .attitude. . .please!

From the humble beginning of a farm cat born under the rabbit hutch. . .

A vision of loveliness. . .
Christmas 2010!
to being called PRINCESS . . .

Maurice 2011

Maurice has been such a source of joy in our lives!

Thank you for being such a receptive audience.

I wish you l o v e through the eyes of your pet!

Until next time. . .