The original MTNMAMA

Monday, April 30, 2012

" Big Ella" meets Miss Ella

"Big Ella" (Great-Grandmother) meets Miss Ella

Saturday night Miss Ella met the very special woman for whom she had named "Ella". It was a "happy tear" moment when my 84 year old mother held her 12 week old great-granddaughter for the first time. This is my parents first great-grandchild. They had traveled from WV to Oklahoma that day to meet Miss Ella.
"Big Ella" is quite a remarkable woman. She grew up during the depression learning all the skills she could to support herself.   She was the first ecologist I ever knew back in the sixties. Sometime I will tell you the story of her "cemetery dump" days. She has composted for 50 years.... way back before it was popular. My parents to this day garden and can over 50 quarts of green beans.....mostly for their children.  Half Runner Beans are a family favorite, She still sews, quilts, and hand braids rugs. The rugs are one art I could never do like she can. They are made of 7 flat pieces of fabric she sews together and braids. She made this rug for the lake house living room.

This rug was started when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter who is now 26. We finished it to this size about 10 years ago. I say we because I sew the rings together after she makes them. We use mono filament  fishing line to secure the braids together. It is invisible and sturdy. Aren't they beautiful?

A smaller version in the kitchen. She uses old draperies, men suits, and upholstery fabric as well as scraps from all her sewing. I told you she has been an ecologist since the sixties. She doesn't waste a thing, and by the way the beautiful colors just happen...they are all different.

Here is a quilt my mother made in 1992 while visiting me when I lived in Little Rock, AR. She took the scraps from the dresses I had made my girls and used them to make the stars. This is a special memory quilt for me..  The quilt above I tied or "tacked" it as my mother would say and then turned up the edge and hand feather stitched along the inner border edge. 
 Stars are my mother's favorite quilts and has made so many I can't count them all
So you see my mother, "Big Ella" is quite a woman. She was also a junior high/high school teacher for over 40 years. That alone deserves a metal.   We hope and pray Miss Ella will have the same talents, strength, and faith that made her Great-grandmother "Big Ella"!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meditation for a Sunday!

2 Corinthians 4:8-12


We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not despairing; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death works in us, but life in you.

Friday we didn't get the results that we had hoped and prayed would be revealed in Jeff's blood counts.  His marrow continues to show signs of failure.  Monday we will speak with our transplant physician as to what he believes will be the best approach to this problem.  Jeff continues to get long acting shots to stimulate the bone marrow.  We all will continue to pray for complete healing. We will not be crushed, or destroyed by this bit of bad news!!  I took this picture of the light house at the lake this past week.  It reminds me that God is in control and that He is the Greatest Lighthouse of all, constantly sending beacons of light for us to follow to Him.  This picture gives me great peace. Can you believe this was carved out of a tree trunk?  Amazing things can come from nothing, don't you agree?  The tree had died and the owner had the trunk carved into this work of art. God does that with us.  He can take our life messes and make something beautiful out of them too if we let Him.  God speaks to us through all of creation.

Another tree trunk!!  This is a carving of a blue Heron which live on Fort Gibson Lake.  They are beautiful and can be spotted standing very gracefully along the water's edge.  A beautiful sight to behold.  The water was choppy due to a brisk breeze the day  I shot these pictures.

The lake is such a peaceful place to be.  God's beauty and wonder is displayed everywhere you look.  It is so nice to be in a quiet place with little outside world influence.  It centers me back to the God of the universe who made it all and loves me above all else!!
Truly this is a place where I can be still and hear his the rustling leaves in the tress, the lapping of the waves on the shore and the crisp breezes blowing by me.
Thank you God for your creation and allowing me to experience it with You.

Sunday is DESSERT DAY!
Keeping with my theme this week of easy summertime additions to your menus I will share my recipe for :

Lemon Cream Cheese Dessert Bars

Shopping List

1 box lemon cake mix
1/3 cup  butter, softened
3 eggs
1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar (10XX)
1/2 lemon grated
2 TBSP. lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Now we cook:
Pour cake mix into bowl of mixer and add butter and egg.
Mix until a dough forms.
Pat dough into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Do no grease beforehand.

In a clean mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.

Gradually add the powdered sugar.  Stir in grated lemon peel and lemon juice. Beat till blended throughout.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture and refrigerate for later use.  Beat the remaining two eggs, add the vanilla, and then beat the mixture into the remaining cream cheese mixture.
Spread over the base cake mixture.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until set.
 Cool Completely.  Spread the reserved cream cheese mixture onto the bars.
Refrigerate until firm.

 Cut into squares and enjoy!!
Makes 24 bars!!!  A LOT!  Keep any leftovers in refrigerater....can be frozen too for future use!
Hope you enjoy these bars during the lazy, hazy days of summer!!

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spring Chicken Couscous Bowl for a Busy Day!

A Busy, Busy, Busy Day!!!

I spent most of the morning in the yard yesterday planting the pots around the pool. This is my Clematis. It is so beautiful. The weather was hot and humid. I hope not an indication of summer months to come! I have a great summer recipe to help you through the HOT weather!

Spring Chicken Couscous Bowl

Shopping list:

Israeli Pearl Couscous - 2 cups dry
Chicken broth -2 1/4 cups
Boneless skinless Chicken Breasts - 2 pounds
Italian salad dressing of your choice for marinating
Seasoning-Weber Kickin Chicken to sprinkle on chix
Asparagus- 1 pound
Lemon- juice of 1 lemon
1/2tsp salt
1/4tsp pepper
1/2cup olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup sliced almonds

I love Israeli pearl couscous. Little balls of pure delight , I even went so far as to buy this bag at a Cosco in Chicago and bring it home on the plane. We don't have Cosco in OK! :(. I will have to go back when I run out!!

Now we cook:

Pour the chicken broth into a two quart saucepan. Bring to a boil. Next add the dry couscous and cover tightly with a lid. Turn to a simmer (low) and set your timer for 8 minutes. No peaking, when done turn off heat and let sit and steam for 5 minutes. NO PEAKING!!

Grill the chicken. I marinated mine in a ziplock bag for about an hour in Italian salad dressing. Not fancy but good! When ready to grill I seasoned the meat with a Weber Rub called Kickin Chicken. Use what you have...salt and pepper works well too... but please season your chicken. It does make a difference. Place on grill presentation side down first. After about 7 minutes check to see if the chicken releases easily from the grill. If so turn the chicken and cook on the the other side another 7 minutes. This will depend on the size of your chicken breast so watch carefully and remove when fully done but not overlooked and dry. Let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes. Slice on diagonal when ready to serve.

Halfway through cooking the chicken you can trim the ends of the asparagus, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and put on the grill. Watch carefully so that you do not burn the tips. Turn frequently. When soft and grill marks are present remove to a platter. Cut into one inch pieces.

It is time to make the dressing that will bind everything together in the bowl.

Lemon Vinaigrette:

Juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Whisk together the above. Continue to whisk while slowly drizzling in 1/2 cup olive oil. You have now made the most tasty, easy, versatile Vinaigrette that there is out there. Yum! You can use it on anything....salads, pasta, marinate with it....the possibilities are endless!

NOW you can open the lid on the couscous. Fluff with a fork just like you would do with rice. Add in the1/2 cup sliced almonds, asparagus pieces, and Vinaigrette. Carefully toss the mixture with a fork to mix. Do not over mix and destroy out little balls of goodness.

See all that yummy goodness just waiting for a fork. Ok....get a smaller bowl and place an ample scoop of the couscous mixture into it. Add your sliced chicken.
This my friends is goodness beyond compare! You can serve this hot, at room temperature or eat it straight from the fridg the next day. Now the beauty of this recipe is essentially you just learned a basic method by which you can vary one hundred million ways. You can change veggie, change protein, change the dressing get the idea!!! Be your own chef!    BYOC! Use what you have leftover in the fridg. You are going to love this simple summer supper or lunch!!
 I added some leftover carrots I had in the fridg from dinner the night before!
Made a good thing even better! Don't be afraid to experiment with all kinds of the things that you like. How do you think people come up with GREAT recipes?

Better scoot, am sitting in the infusion room at Baylor with my hubby while he gets his monthly infusions. will be back later with Lemon Cream Cheese dessert bars to finish this weeks recipes.

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Carolina Chicken BBQ Sandwiches

 Enjoying Tuesday at the Lake....Part 2!!!

Today was filled with sunshine and beautiful breezes here at the lake.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get my pictures to transfer from this computer to the blog.  My daughter arrived mid afternoon and helped me.  I discovered the Picasa connection and transfered all the pictures to it and from there I am pulling the recipe pictures I need for today's Carolina Chicken.  Sounds a lot  easier than it actually was.  We also spent time  trying to make the comment section easier so you can talk back to me.  Please tell me what you like, what recipes you tried and what worked for you.  Also tell me what you had trouble with and what you would like to see more in the way of recipes and quilting.  I would love for this blog to be interactive.  That way I can learn from you too!!!

As I promised tonight I will share my Carolina Chicken BBQ sandwiches with you.  I love this recipe because it has the "tangy" vinegar/mustard BBQ sauce that I grew up with in West Virginia.  I have adapted this recipe to the Crockpot.  If you haven't noticed I LOVE the crockpot and use it whenever I can.  That way I can sew and quilt while dinner is cooking!!  Win/Win for everybody in my house!!

Carolina Chicken Barbeque Sandwiches

 Sorry but the first picture with my new camera isn't great.  Kinda left off the left side.
I promise to get better.!!!  Practice, Practice, Practice!!  I will just have to do more recipes.

Shopping List:

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs  ( I use a lot of these and find them in the freezer section of the grocery.  Tyson makes a 3 pound bag.  You can use breasts but be careful about cooking times and allow more liquid because breasts can get dried out easily.)

BBQ Spice Rub -  I used the one we made last week while making BBQ shrimp.  If you want to use another rub you have on hand feel free to do so.

Sauce ingredients:

1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 TBSP  spicy brown mustard
6 sandwich buns

NOW WE COOK!!!!   

Please note I have doubled the recipe so you will see 4 pounds of chicken thighs not 2 as the recipe states.
Sprinkle the chicken thighs amply with the BBQ Spice rub.  Massage the rub into the meat.
I doubled the recipe (again) because I was having our small group of 10 adults from Church to the lake for dinner so I wanted to have enough for leftovers this week.

Take the thighs and put in the crockpot.  Pour about 1 cup of water into the bottom of the vessel.
Set the crockpot on high and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or l0w 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Cover and cook for the specified times above.
Meanwhile we will make the sauce.
1.  Heat the vegetable oil.
2.  Dice the onion.
3. Saute till translucent....about 5 minutes.
4. Stir in vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar and mustard.

5.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally during that time.  Sauce has a wonderful vinegar smell which I love.

 6. Turn heat off and cover.  Keep in this container until chicken is done.
 7. When chicken thighs are done pour off cooking liquid and save it.
8.  Return chicken to the crockpot and shred with two forks.

 9.  Shred until it meets your desired consistency.

9. Pour sauce over chicken until completely soaked into all the meat.  If more liquid is needed use the reserved cooking liquid.
Doesn't that look mouthwatering???  It smells even better.  Keep warm in crockpot on low until served.

Serve on any type of sandwich roll or bun.   Refrigerate leftovers.  It tastes even better the next day.  Now where I come from....West Virginia.....we would put a great big spoonful of cole slaw right on top of the BBQ top with the bun and eat it all together!!!  YUM! YUM!
How do you like your BBQ?  If you have never tried a "Vinegar Que"  I would encourage you to try this.  You will be glad you did!!
Remember to comment below and let me know what you think!!
Tomorrow I promise pictures from the that I have the "picture" thing and my new camera figured out!
Till then....Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama

Recipes for the week

Tuesday at the Lake!!

Did you think I got lost ....That I went into the yard on Saturday afternoon and never returned?  Well, it could have been like that because I was having so much fun planting and taking pictures and enjoying the day outside but it really didn't happen that way!!  I did come in about 5pm and we decided to get carry out from Pei Wei and watch a movie at home.  It was a nice evening although the movie was very different....Extremely Loud and Incredibly have to watch it completely and think about it awhile before you can decide whether you like it or hate it.  My jury is still will probably be a hung jury for sure!
After church on Sunday we headed for the lake to spend a few days before we have to leave for Dallas on Thursday.  For those of you who are reading this and don't know...."The Rest of the Story" I will give you a brief synopsis.  My dear hubby has fought a battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma since Jan 1999.  We have had mulitple courses of treatment here in Tulsa, at MD Anderson in Houston and Baylor Medical Center Dallas.  In Dec 2011 he underwent his second Bone Marrow Transplant this time from a non-related donor.  The road to recovery  has been so much harder than before.  On his three month bone marrow biospy he was found to be 100% donor graft.  Yeah.....however as of two weeks ago his counts started to drop and an unscheduled bone marrow biopsy revealed that his donor graft was 70% and the MDS (pre-leukemic bad cells) were 30%.  SOOO...we have a plan and are headed to Dallas on Friday to get his monthly infusion of IGG and his antibiotic breathing treatment to prevent pneumocystic.  He will also have blood counts.  The physicians have taken him off all anti-rejection drugs hoping the donor graft will get stronger and overpower the MDS.  If the counts go up that may be an indication that it is working.  Anyway if you are interested in the WHOLE story we have a blog on, enter the website jeffreydsmith.
Being at the lake is so peaceful and relaxing.  I have some great recipes to share this week.

Spring Couscous Bowl with grilled lemon chicken

Carolina BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Lemon Cream Cheese Desert Bars

Hearty 9 grain bread with malted wheat flakes

The computer here is not letting me download pictures very well today.  My daughter is coming down tonight and bringing my laptop.  I will try to get a recipe up by the end of the day complete with pictures.

 I am off to work on more quilt blocks.  I am getting caught up on the Barrister's block Sow Along.  She is up to 24 blocks, counting the bonus blocks.  I found her in March when I had time to "surf the net" while I had a pin in my toe.  Amazing quilters out there in cyberspace.  I wanted to start the Sow Along but haven't had a minute to start sooooo....while at the lake is a great time to get caught up.  I started yesterday and by evening's end I had 9 blocks complete.  I f I do the the same today and tomorrow I can do it!!!  I am using shirting blues for the background fabric and the rest is from the deep stash that I have here at the lake.  It is looking good.  As soon as I can share pictures I will show you. For some reason the computer let me download this pix of my little "calf".  She had shots yesterday!!  Poor Ella!!  Still awful cute!
Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Antique Sewing Basket Treasures

Spring is Here!!

Cleaning, Organizing, Planting and Grilling outside....that's What SPRING means to ME!!

Well, it happened.....Yesterday about 4 o'clock I HAD to kiss Jenny and Ella goodbye and send them on a plane back to Chicago!!!  Boo Hoo!!  BUT...they will be back next Saturday!!!  Remember that big test that Jon is studying for????  Well, he consented to let them come back the week before the test so he could devote all attention to studying.  We are so glad they get to come back so soon!!!  That made saying goodbye much easier.
I don't know why but for over 25 years whenever I have a houseguest leave I deal with the sadness of their departure by CLEANING!!!  I do the sheets, vacuum, clean the bathrooms....the whole house.  Keeps me busy for a few hours then I am tired and go to bed!!  That is exactly what I did last night.  Put all the baby "stuff" in the closet in Jenny's old room and cleaned out Kristy's stash of weights that had been left in the game room for months.  AHHHHHH!!!  Feels good!!  Spring has finally come to Tulsa!!  We didn't have winter but we had a brief bout of summer (temps in high 80's and 90's) in early April and then rain and clouds for a week.  The past few days have been glorious....60's and 70's with bright sunshine.  So now I am ready to Spring Clean my sewing room!!!  As I was dusting and putting things back where they belong....I tend to get things out use them and put them in a pile instead of putting them away??  Anyone else out there do that??  Or am I the only slob?!!  Anyway was I was dusting...something I don't do often up there...I ran across this basket which is such a treasure to me.  It has lots of "special" things I either inherited or were given by people that appreciate my love for "old" stuff and my love for sewing.

This embroider bag was made and belonged to my maternal grandmother, Orpha Neal.  Isn't Orpha a beautiful name?  I should have named one of my girls that ...oh well!!  She died in 1952 before I was born but I am told she was quite the seamstress.  Her love for "all things sewing" must have been in the genes that were passed along to me.  Inside the bag you will see her original embroidery floss.
Look at the "vintage" fabric in the lining of the bag.   This is one of my favorite treasures.
 This is my mother's original thread caddy.  Notice the original thread....and yes they are all wooden spools.  My mother just turned 84 and is still sewing, quilting and hand braiding rugs.  Amazing!!!!!  She is BIG Ella after which Little Ella got her name.
I don't know who belonged to this button box but it is probably 1930's from all the information on the stuff inside.  Wanna see inside????
What a stash!!!  Measuring tapes, buttons, needles, wooden spools.  Look at the red piece of dressmaker chalk in the center.  It is well used.  I love the pearly buttons at the top of the pix...These are old buttons taken off of something and saved for another occasion.  That is too cool!!
This button box was given to my mother by a neighbor.  It had been given to her and she knew Mother and I loved this stuff so she passed it along!!!  Thank you Norma!!
Wait to you see what this box has inside....these are the coolest needle packs I have ever seen!
 Aren't they just the Bomb??  They are full of needles too.
These are from the New York's World's Fair 1964-65.
Don't you wish you looked like these ladies when you sew?  I am usually in my pj's (like now) or sweatpants and t-shirt with thread and snips all over me!!!  LOL!!

These needles are too precious to use!!  But I love to look at them and wonder about the seamstress that owned them....What did she sew with these beauties???  Did she have a large family?  Did she work outside the home?  Did she love to sew or sewed to keep her family clothed?  UMHHHHHH  we will never know but we can dream about her and her life in the past when things weren't quite as complicated.

Does your insurance company give you cool needle packs?  I wish mind did!   

Last but not least in my "Treasure" Basket is an old jar of buttons.  I don't even remember where I got this but I love the jar as much as the buttons.  Don't you?

Now that I have shown you all my basket treasures I have to dust them and put them away.  This time I am moving the basket to the hall and displaying them on one of the shelf's in my old Barrister Bookcase.  That way everyone else can enjoy looking at it too.

Look what just came across on a text message from my daughter!!

Bumbo Time!!
I am not so sure she likes it yet...this is her first attempt.

Gotta run... Since SPRING is here I need to get outside and plant my pots.  I LOVE planting, growing and harvesting anything and everything.  More to come on that!!!  I also have a great SPRING COUSCOUS Chicken Bowl that I will share!!  Hopefully tonight when I am done planting and going to the movies/dinner with my hubby.

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama