Monday, January 19, 2009

New Projects

I feel very organized and somehow serene about the beginning of 2009. Christmas and New Year's holiday time was very nice this year - relaxed and with plenty of time to visit with our kids, drh's parents and other friends. Then we took a trip out of state to my sister's for her wedding, which I had greatly looked forward to - and we are all very happy for her and her new husband, as well as all their kids. They are good for each other and both deserve lots of happiness.

I had time to organize and clean up paperwork and balance the checking account, which had been sadly neglected during the fall. I cleaned up and put away all the Christmas decorations (admittedly I had fewer things out this year), did a fantastic job of re-storing all the wrapping supplies and boxes, returned some items that were not used as gifts, exchanged a couple of gifts and sent thank you notes. I still have to learn more about using the gifts I received from drh- a new camera, a digital picture frame and an MP3 player (also for pictures - for when I have grandbaby photos to show off).

I've worked on a single-size quilt I'm making for drh, starting with some blocks that were leftover when my younger sister and I made a quilt for the newly married sister. It has been a long time since I made a quilt, and never one for him. Something struck me a few days ago while I was looking at internet pictures of quilts and I'm now inspired by a picture, took the time to lay out the design on the computer and even calculated how much of what fabrics I need. Saturday I had to work in the morning, but after that I visited two fabric stores and had a good time looking at the options. I was disappointed that the old standby store, a chain but always had lots of choices, seems to be paring back their selection of quilting cottons severely! That's too bad, but it's probably the economy.

Sunday we went to the basketball game and enjoyed watching our team get another win. Before we left, I put ingredients for jambalaya together in the crockpot, and invited friends to come over for supper after the game. The meal was great! I also made apple/raisin/walnut salad, and homemade cornbread with butter and honey. MMM.

Here is the jambalaya "recipe." I used a 3.5 qt. crock pot; 5-6 hour cooking window.

1 pkg. Zatarain's red beans and rice mix (make sure the spice part is crushed up and not all in one hard chunk)
1 c. Minute Rice
a few slices of ham (not deli-shaved, but a thicker lunch meat is okay), cut into bite sized pieces
4 precooked Andouille sausages (Johnsonville makes them), sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
about 2 c. sliced or chopped red and yellow bell peppers (or orange, or green if you like them)
1/4 of a large onion, chopped
1 can of red beans, incl. liquid
fill the can with water and add to crock pot
garlic powder - 1/8 t. or so
oregano - 1/4 t. or so
thyme - 1/4 t. or so
hot sauce (Tobasco or any other) - a few drops

Stir all together in crock pot. Cook on low 4 hours. Stir thoroughly so all rice is completely mixed in and turned over and add some water (about a cup or less) if it seems dry. Cook 1-2 more hours on low. Make sure it doesn't dry out or burn to the sides and bottom. Serves 8.

You could add chopped celery, too. You could substitute or add cooked chicken cut into bite size pieces during cooking time, or add cooked, hot shrimp when it's done, if you wish.

I am looking forward to having some more of it tonight. Then I will do crosswords and watch tv. I had today off, so I sewed curtains for the church Sunday school rooms, did laundry and ironed, and went on a 4-mile run! It was beautiful out - unlike most days lately like last week when it was -20 degrees. This afternoon it was 17 degrees, NW wind of only 10 mph, and bright and sunny. Perfect!

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