kitchen

A look back.

Today seems like a good day to take a look back. It’s raining and chilly here today, a good day to remember the green of summertime. Most of these photos are from June and July.

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Here you can see the difference a few weeks of warmth, sunshine and rain.

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All this green seems like a dream. Our garden is bare, except for some carrots and of course the asparagus. We harvested lots of yummy vegetables this summer. Many jars and freezer containers have been filled and at times I was sick of preserving food. How nice though to be able to run downstairs and grab a few jars to prepare dinner. Good, home-grown food. And as usual, I’m already dreaming of next year’s garden.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cookies

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I know Valentine’s Day was a while ago. I’ve been slowly working on the blog again, and wanted to share my all-time favorite cookie recipe. If you know me, you know cooking isn’t my thing. I don’t mind it, but I don’t love it either. Baking on the other hand, I’m pretty sure I love it. 🙂

This recipe was passed down to me from my Mom. Every Christmas, and special moments in between we would make these buttermilk cookies.
Ingredients:
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
6 c. flour

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Cream butter and sugar together.

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Measure buttermilk, add baking soda and let it set.

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It helps to have a cute kitchen helper to stir things.

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Add eggs and vanilla extract.

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Cream that together well. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

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Add some flour.

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Then add some buttermilk.

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Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk until everything is combined. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.

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On a floured surface, roll out the dough. Obviously not all the dough at once.

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Cut out cookies with your favorite cookie cutters.

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I like my cookies thin, but you can make them thick too. It just takes longer to bake if they’re thicker. Put the cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Bake the cookies at 350° until the bottoms are starting to brown. I don’t have a specific time because my cookies are usually all a little bit different.

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Let the cookies cool.

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Frost the cookies with your favorite frosting. I like to use buttercream.

American Buttercream Frosting:
1 c. butter, softened but still a little cool
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp. milk

Whip the butter for about 8 minutes. I am not kidding. It turns white and fluffy. Add a little powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Combine and add the rest of the powdered sugar. Whip the frosting as long as you like. You literally can’t ruin this frosting. Add some food coloring if you want tinted frosting. Sometimes I think the frosting is a little too buttery, so I just add a bit more milk and powdered sugar.

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Let the frosting harden a bit on top before packaging. These are fun to wrap neatly and give to friends or people who drop by. Often when I make them, I package a few to give to the next person that drops by. It is a fun way to bless people.

Patchwork Curtains

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These cafe curtains have been a labor of love (and sometimes frustration) for the last 10 months. *hangs head in shame. I am very good at starting projects, sometimes it just takes a long time to finish them. I knew I wanted patchwork and my Mom suggested cafe style curtains. I used two old linen tablecloths and bought some fabric to add a little bit of color.

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Next, I got out my handy-dandy graph paper. I love graph paper. It makes planning and sketching fun. I figured out how big I wanted each panel, then just drew in the shapes. After that, I added seam allowances and started cutting.

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You can tell that I didn’t iron the old tablecloths before cutting them. I probably should have. After cutting, I had to zig-zag or surge around each piece. This is when I started realizing what a big project I had started. I thought about putting a thin backing on the curtains and not worry about all that sewing. I ended up zig-zagging around each piece. I felt like any more material and seams would make the curtains too stiff to hang nice.

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Then I sewed the pieces together. This was my favorite part. It was like putting together a puzzle. Although by the sixth panel, it wasn’t as fun.

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None of the curtains are the same. I chose to put the colored rectangles/squares in a random order.

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For rods, I chose cheap, Oil Rubbed Bronze rods from Lowe’s, and popped off the ends. I used knobs from World Market for the ends of the rods. I used gorilla glue to glue them on. So far I have had to glue one back on. We bent some old silver spoons to hold the rods in place. The clips used to hang the curtains are from Target or Lowe’s in the ORB finish.

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Here is a more detailed shot of the knobs/rods. Once J. had bent the spoons, I started hanging rods in place. It took me most of a day to get six rods hung. We have three windows in the kitchen, and so each window needed two.

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For the top curtain, or valance I used the same old tablecloths. J. advised me to keep them simple. I love when he gives me ideas. I cut the lace off of this old, stained cloth to trim the bottom of the curtains.

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A finished valance. The lace with the old tablecloth material turned out a little wonky, but I think it’s okay. Sometimes when I make things out of old stuff, they are less than perfect. I am learning to appreciate things just as they are. I would rather have old and imperfect.

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The finished product. I am very happy with how it turned out. I’m not sure that I’d do it again, though. But, who am I kidding? I totally, probably would do it again.