Cooking · Dining · Food

Kitchen Adventures – How They Change

I’ve been cooking for over 5 decades.

That’s quite a statement, I know. When I contemplate it, I won’t lie to you, it is more than a bit astounding.

So many things have changed over the years. When I first began my kitchen adventures, my mother started me out with small tasks which led to simple meals which led to me being in charge of dinner for the family each and every night.

It did not hurt that my mom was a great cook and a great teacher. It also didn’t hurt that I enjoyed the end product of my efforts, too! LOL!

As I look back, I can see many things have changed over time. For instance I remember coming across a recipe in a magazine for tuna fritters that were deep fried. It was easy, tasty, and everyone loved it. Not bad for a 12 year old, right?

I came across that recipe recently and was tempted to try it again, but without the deep fat fryer as I no longer own one. Turns out, the recipe works well fried in a skillet with minimal oil.

My dad was a ‘meat and potatoes’ man. As a farmer, he worked long, hard hours and needed good hearty food to keep going. Our meals reflected that need, and to be honest, those tastes. Now, however, I find my preparation methods have changed even though I still love a good potato along with a good roast or steak or burger. Or, more likely, a good piece of chicken or pork.

Back then salmon came in a can unless you lived near a coast where fishing was prevalent. This is something that confuses so many today as food is moved around much more efficiently.

I still enjoy salmon but prefer it grilled rather than in a croquette. Although, a good croquette is nothing to sneeze at, either. LOL!

The thing is that food changes, evolves, updates simply because people shift, move about, change tastes, learn more. It is actually more fluid than you might think. Many of the favorites we grew up with evolved from recipes that moved with people as they moved from one country to another, from one area to another.

As growing and harvesting processes have improved, so, too, have transportation processes making availability easier and much less expensive. The downside to that is the customer might tend to look for fancier foreign foods rather than take advantage of locally grown items. This not only enlarges the carbon footprint, but has negative affects on local farming.

We need to support our local farmers. Period.

Food choices continue to evolve for a variety of reasons. Frankly, I applaud efforts to learn more. Dependence on certain foods can have major impact in areas we don’t always recognize, let alone acknowledge. Health benefits, too, have a major impact of consumption. That, too, is worth paying attention to.

There will always be food fads. Some are worth exploring and experimenting. Many will fall by the wayside.

For a long time I wanted to be one of those cooks who always had a kitchen garden. Trouble was, I never had space for, knew how to care for, or even had time for a kitchen garden. Definitely not a win/win for me!

I’ve come to terms with the reality of age, ability, desire, and willingness when it comes to tackling ‘projects’. As a result, I prefer dried garlic rather than fresh because even though the flavor is different fresh garlic won’t last long enough to be used in my kitchen. Trust me, I know. Ditto for fresh herbs.

Basically, it comes down to picking my battles.

These days I depend upon things that I can put into my oven or slow cooker. I love a good casserole and won’t object to left overs. Sometimes those left overs are better the second (or third) time around! And did I mention they save me time?

If you are new to the world of home cooking and a bit apprehensive, take my advice, start slow. Make the time to make a list of what you like to eat and find out how to make it yourself. Hey, those restaurant recipes had to come from somewhere! Give yourself room to make mistakes and to fail. Everyone does at one time or other. That ‘fail’ might actually be an unexpected success.

Remember that tuna fritter recipe I mentioned? I played with it a bit and after a few tries, I found a way to make it using a biscuit mix and you know what? After a while it was as good as the original recipe. And that was before I tried making it without a deep fat fryer.

That’s another thing, learn to play with your food. Really! Think about the flavors you love and learn to incorporate them into different foods. It is astounding to discover how many recipes use ranch dressing or dressing mix.

Whatever your cooking and/or eating style enjoy yourself. A good meal is a great gift not only to friends and family but to yourself.

Happy Cooking!

Jacques Pepin
Cooking · Dining · Food

Cozy Comfort Food For A Cold Day

I treated myself to some broccoli cheese soup and some of my favorite cornbread today.

You can choose your own favorite soup and accompanying bread, but I offer the recipe I use for you to try:

Copycat Marie Callendar’s Cornbread

Not quite the original but tasty just the same.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 9


  • 2 Cups Bisquick or other baking mix.
  • 1/2 Cup Corn Meal
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar use less if desired
  • 1/2 Cup Butter Melted and cooled
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 each Egg
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
  • Mix all ingredients and pour into pan.
  • Bake – Check for doneness at 25 minutes.


Card Making · Crafting · Craftroom · Quilting · Scrapbooking

Love My Gemini!

Maymay did an unboxing and demo of her brand new Gemini Junior and I had to share it with you.

I own a regular size Gemini and my results were similar to hers but I’ve learned how to adjust sandwiches, etc. Overall, this machine is a great addition to my craft room. See what Maymay has to say about hers:

That multipurpose die that she used to cut all those layers of paper is intended to be used with fabric, so if you are a quilter looking for a way to easily cut fabric, you might want to go over to Crafter’s Companion and check out what they have available. 😉

Around the House · YouTube

Developing Your Design – Where To Start

I’m a long time fan of the Farmhouse Vernacular. Not only because the design esthetic is close to mine, but because Paige has developed a pretty clear methodology on How To Do It.

How to decide what your particular design is.

I know it sounds complicated and scary, but it really isn’t. It is also easier than you might think.

The first thing you need to do is collect pictures and samples of those things you love and want in a room, or your home.

In years past you would be directed to collect these things from magazines but these days you can create boards on Pinterest or similar boards. You can also use your phone to collect photos of items, etc., that meet the “I LOVE THAT!” criteria. (Note the capital letters.)

What is the “I LOVE THAT!” criteria? It could be color, style, design, inspiration or any other definition that makes your heart beat a bit faster and brings a smile to your face when you see it.

If you are a collector, you might consider including your collections in a room or two. If you have a particular fondness for a certain color or collection of colors, you might consider including them in your design for a room or two. If you feel particularly adventurous, you might evolve that collection of colors to flow through your entire home. It isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Are you fond of a particular style? Some folks really enjoy comfy cozy furniture that lends itself to curling up under a blanket to watch a movie. Others prefer clean clear lines with minimum frills. Not sure what you like? Take some time to gather ideas – note that reference to Pinterest noted above. 🙂

Personally, I prefer color in my home. I also like a touch of whimsy and a bit of casual comfort. I don’t love (let alone like) sofas or beds covered with pillows that require a complete stripping of the furniture before it can be used as a place to sit or recline on. I ‘get’ the idea but the reality is that I wanted the sofa or the bed to be used not as a display area. 🙂

Check out Paige’s latest on her gallery wall. It is an awesome collection of items that continues to evolve – something else that is a great idea as it limits or eliminates boredom of design.

The ideas extend beyond the gallery wall – you can use them in some form or other for the rest of your home, too.

Tell me what you think!


Odds & Ends

Time to catch up with film and TV.


I’ve been taking a look at my Roku channels and removing those I don’t watch. Oddly, there aren’t that many. I find I spend a lot of time on PlutoTV or YouTube. Yeah, surprised me, too.

I’m slowly getting back into series TV.

Over on AcornTV the return of Queens of Mystery (season 2) was such fun. The series is quirky. The mysteries interesting and I’m starting to see where the base “what happened?” mystery is being addressed.

Over on Paramount+ Star Trek Discovery has once again been pure joy. I’ve lauded the cinematic look and feel to the series since the beginning, but it is the writing that keeps raising the bar. To be clear, I’m not one of those nitpickers who would rather complain over the perceived error regarding [ fill in the blank ]. I’d rather sit back and enjoy a story that is well written, isn’t insipid, and treats the audience as thinking adults.

Yeah, I get a bit pissy about that. 🙂

Speaking of Paramount+, the ability to catch up with NCIS and Ghosts when I feel like it is great. I love watching these shows live, but when necessary to be able to not have to record them is great. If you’ve never set a recorder to capture a show that was pre-empted by a sports show and you ended up missing a chunk of what you wanted to watch… You don’t know what you’ve missed.

Ghosts has become such a wonderful success! Frankly not many UK shows can make the jump to the US audience and succeed. Ghosts is one of the very few and it is developing into Appointment TV.

Call Me Kat over on FOX is another of those ex-pat UK shows that moved to the US market. Season 2 just premiered and I am pleased to say that it looks like season 2 is going to be great.

I finally sat back to watch Being the Ricardos on Amazon the other day and was blown away. This Aaron Sorkin film looked at the relationship between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz not Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. It has the full support of the family, too. Lucie Arnaz even posted a video talking about the project before it was released and stated that she was impressed.

The film is exceptionally well cast and the writing sharp. For those who take the time to notice, there is a lot of information about how a series is produced. The main focus of the film is the relationship between Lucille and Desi. Behind all the glitz and glamour, beyond the masks of characters, the story of these two people is compelling.

Oh, and if you are interested, Lucie Arnaz did a documentary based on her family home movies and interviews with folks who knew her parents. You can find it, Lucy and Desi A Home Movie, on Amazon.

Love Those Reruns!

I’ve loved BritComs for years. A couple have found their way on my viewing list once again.

‘Allo, ‘Allo is one of those Croft and Lloyd series that I once watched on my local PBS station, then found on Pumpkin FM. A bit silly, a bit farce, a bit tongue in cheek. Always good for a laugh. Click here for more information about the show.

Thanks to both PlutoTV and Hulu, I’ve been able to watch the Mary Tyler Moore show again. It is amazing how well the show holds up.

These are a few of the movies and shows I’ve been watching. What have you been enjoying?

Card Making · Craftroom

From The Craft Room: What Can I Make?

Last year my focus in the craft room was to find tools that I wanted to use to create cards. I found several sets of edge dies that checked that box.

Step One: Play A Bit

As you can see, I started with the card stock base, folded into an easel, and added the edge die to allow for a border at the bottom. I then took my leaf punches to add interest. The matching leaf stamps were added inside the punches and then along the bottom edge of the card.

Step Two: Play with color and placement.

The great thing about edge dies is that you have complete control over where to place them. This particular one was used on a set of 6 cards and each card came out with a different amount of space at the bottom. I used the same papers, inks, punches, and stamps on all of the cards and envelopes.

I do have to say that the recipients of the cards were very impressed with the results. Something that made me smile.

If you are looking to try new things, I suggest you go back to your stash and see what you have in hand. Can you use them to make something different? What have you tucked back into a corner or a drawer and haven’t played with yet?

I’ll be doing more playing in the craft room this year so keep an eye out to see what I come up with.

Happy Crafting!

Around the House · Crafting · Musings · YouTube

Starting The New Year

Happy First Wednesday of 2022!

Among all the get fit, healthy, slim, organized, up to date, etc., etc., videos and blog posts out there, I’ve found a couple that actually speaks to me and are relevant to my crafting/crafter’s journey.
You might find them useful, too.

On YouTube:

Just Get It Done Quilts is doing a 21 day de-clutter challenge. Now before you panic, these are easy 30 minute things you can do each day – with a time limit – so you can reclaim your sewing space.
They are practical ways to get back to doing what you love: quilting. Check it out.

Sew Becca is embarking on her 2022 get healthier journey by incorporating a quilt that will journal her journey. She is building upon an idea she learned from Scrap Fabric Love. Check out Becca’s videos for the explanation.
The beauty of this process is that it can apply to pretty much everything. So, if you want to track your water intake, the number of steps you make, the weight loss or gain, this could apply to you. Also (and the thing I find most amazing) is that the process does not limit itself to quilting. If you are a knitter, crocheter, quilter, painter, paper crafter, or whatever your jam, this process can be accommodated to you.

Sometimes it is the little thing that help us get back to what the life we want. Whether de-cluttering or tracking is needed, these are easy things you can do to get you where you want to be.


Here’s What I’m Thinking

As we step into 2022 I’m thinking about projects I want to embark on. I’d bet you are also thinking along those lines.

First Up: I have an accumulation (aka: Stash) of quilting fabrics that need to be used. Really, there is no point to having it if you aren’t going to use it, right? And, while I can agree that there isn’t a huge time limit, ‘later’ basically means that you spent money on stuff you don’t really plan to do something with.

With that in mind, I have had a set of patterns for a Block of the Month quilt from AccuQuilt that dates back to, I think, 2012 or so. They are lovely, easy to piece and would be a beautiful wall hanging, table runner, or quilt.

If you go to the AccuQuilt website, click on the Patterns link and you will find a wide variety of options. Or, you could simply click on these links. 🙂

I don’t know if they are still available, but I do know that there are loads of free patterns available – and every die comes with free patterns – so there are loads of options.

Second Up: I also have an accumulation of card making supplies that I want to spend more time with. There are lots of techniques I want to try out, too. While I did focus on replacing old ink pads and gathering cardstocks in 2021, this year I want to make use of what I have rather than buy more. Space is limited and, like fabrics, there isn’t much use in not putting thing to use.

Third: I’m looking (once again) to expand my meal options. There’s nothing like getting stuck in the same rut with the same meal plans, right? It seems to me to be time to experiment a bit and try new things.

I also have quite a collection of cookbooks, so there are thousands of options I can choose from.

What do you think?

Are you feeling adventurous? Are you thinking that you might want to dip a toe into uncharted waters and try new things, use up old things and make room for some unexpected accomplishment? Not to mention possibly getting a head start on holiday gifting?

Let me know what you are contemplating. And, no matter what, take time to spend time with yourself. Enjoy!

Cooking · Food

Thinking About Bread?

I’m one of those folks who absolutely love bread. Well, most breads. 🙂 When I discovered how easy it is to make bread, cinnamon rolls and, yes, even pie crust, it was a multiple epiphany. Why multiple you ask? Well, I learned these things over several years.

If you are interested in learning how to bake breads, CONGRATULATIONS and WELCOME TO THE CLUB!

A little over the top? Let’s just say that if you are interested in dipping a finger into making one of the most basic foods there is, you are embarking on a wonderful journey.

One of the best resources I’ve found is the Fleischmann’s Yeast website. They have great recipes for all levels and loads of instructions, tips, and techniques to help you succeed.

As you embark on your journey, or continue with what you’ve learned, don’t forget to enjoy the process. 😀