Sunday, November 4, 2012

Serve Your Country

     Just a shorty this time. I want to encourage you to vote. It's not only your right, but it's your duty.  Never think or say that you can't make a difference!
     Who would ever have thought that this young upstart, this new America, those rag-tag colonies could ever defeat the Royal British Army and Navy? They were a huge and old country that outfitted an experienced army.  And yet, a few men made the difference.
     It is that difference that gives you and me the right to vote.  All of the lives that have been given in too many wars make it your duty to vote; to tell them that you appreciate the lives they gave.
     If you didn't vote early, please vote on Tuesday.
    You will notice that I haven't offered any political preference.  That's not what Cat's Country Place is about.  The only preference that I offer is that I love my country, these United States of America.  
     Betsy Ross is a favorite heroine of mine; she is credited with having crafted the first flag, Old Glory, the Red, White and Blue.  I think we could have been friends.
    God bless you and God Bless America.

© 2012 Cat Brennan

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Season's End

I brought in the last of my produce this evening; a basket of ripe and green tomatoes, alon with a few sweet banana peppers from my wee garden.  I cleaned out most of the debris and put away the containers until next spring.

I'm going to enjoy a few ripe tomatoes and most likely will slice and freeze the rest.  There are many, but, I'm only one person, so it's all good.

I'll thin slice the green tomatoes, dredge in flour and freeze in layers.  Once they're frozen, I;ll put them in freezer bags to have fried green tomatoes in the winter!  Woo hoo! !

I've learned a few things. Next year, I'll place only ONE tomato plant in each of the containers. If I try for squash again, I'll put them in an ugly container so that it doesn't get stolen. Yes, you read right. I purchased a pretty, apple green container for my squash.  It was plastic, probably intended for icing down cans of pop or beer, and someone stole it from my patio!  They didn't get much as I had drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, and when I did that, the bottom cracked!

I will also put the squash in a sunnier location from the get-go. Having grown up in New Mexico where shade is at a premium, I wasn't prepared for "lack of sun shine" being a problem.  Sure enough, it is out here on the east coast!

I hope my lavender will bloom next year beyond a few spikes.

That's it for now. In a couple of days, I'll post pictures of the small quilt wall hanging the East Coast Family (plus three grand children) made for daughter, sister, cousin, aunt and mommy, Greta.  More on that next time.

Have a wonderful rest of your Country Weekend!

© 2012 Cat Brennan

Friday, September 14, 2012

Country Garden

   My wee container garden certainly didn't rival big agriculture, but it was a pleasure being able to play in the dirt this past summer. Most of the food items are done - there are still a few tomatoes on the vine, and the peppers are still producing, but they're all just about finished for the summer. I have O N E little zucchini on the vine that may or may not feed one person, but
it's there!  For some reason, someone swiped one of my garden containers .. the larger of the two that held my squash. I expect they thought they were getting a lovely container to ice down their beer. It was the ONLY container that I actually purchased, other than a couple of small plastic buckets. It was an apple green, plastic tub from Big Lots.  I'm not sure it served anyone, though. I have punched, poked or drilled holes in all of the containers for obvious reasons - drainage. When I drilled the holes in the now-missing container, the bottom cracked. That wasn't a big deal for me, as I wasn't going to move it or use it for anything other than growing plants, but if it was taken for a beer cooler, the culprit got nothing. As my mama used to say, "Such is life."
   I expect the two varieties of lavender to survive the coming winter, along with the mums, rosemary and hens and chicks. I'll 'bunch' them all together near the outside wall of my apartment, and with the shrubbery in front of them, all will be well.
   Two years ago when we had such a huge snowstorm, the heavy snow served as a blanket that kept out the extreme cold temps.
   See the picture of a few of the sweet banana peppers in various stages of turning red, with a partial frame of fresh-cut basil? Aren't they beautiful! I love the colors and that basil is so very fragrant. 
   I didn't have a lot of luck with my New Mexico Chile Peppers; they weren't very prolific, but a fun experiment.  Next year, I'll put that in a larger container.
   For my family and friends out west, sun is not an issue for you. You plant anything anywhere and it has sun. Not so, on the east coast.  I do have afternoon sun in my garden area, but even parts of that are not in enough sun. This was a difficult truth for me to learn. Next year . . .
   It's almost time to put all the garden to bed and look to getting ready for the holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.
   Would love to hear about your gardens as you wind down the season.
   Happy Country Living, whether you live in the country or just wish you did.
©  2012 Cat Brennan

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Country Toh-may-toh - Toh - mah - toh

However you want to say it, homegrown is best.  Actually, I almost never buy tomatoes in the grocery store anymore. I would rather do without than eat the hot-house, plastic-looking, chemical tainted orbs that have next to no taste.  Once in a while, I do pick up an organic variety, but not often. 
     My niece in Albuquerque ruined me for anything less than the best; aka home grown tomatoes.  She and her husband have a garden in the North Valley and that's where I got my home-grown-tomato taste buds.
     My wee garden is doing okay. I'm still waiting on the squash, the New Mexico Chili is coming along and I have quite a few sweet banana peppers. At the suggestion of a dear friend, I did go out and play honey-bee; helped out the pollination of the flowers with a little brush.  I'm hoping . . .
     Although I haven't had a huge crop, the small tomatoes I have had have been delicious.  They are a nice dark red inside and so sweet.  I just finished a BLT (minus the L).  Whole wheat toast - bacon - mayo and a home grown tomato. 
     The variety that has worked best for me this year is a Better Boy; I would love to get my hands on some heirlooms - maybe next year.
     My dad often cooked for us on the weekends. He and my mom both worked during the week and they shared the chores.  He was a 'man before his time' .. I never heard about women's work and mans work in our home. If the pipes froze in the winter, and Daddy was at work, Mother went out to heated up the pipes.  If the dishes needed washing, Daddy knew what soap and water were for. 
     One of my dad's inventions was Bacon and Cottage Cheese on Toast; don't growl until you've tried it!!  It's almost as good as a BLT!
     Another of my favorite 'snacks' in the summer is a small bowl of Ice Cold Cottage Cheese with diced tomato on top.  Earlier in the week, I enjoy some homemade Chicken Salad with tomatoes. 
     I'm going to miss my fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes when winter sets in, but in the meantime . . .

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tropical Country

palm tree 4     Maybe you would like to fly off to Bermuda, sail the Caribbean or just hop down to Florida!  If that's not an option, bring the tropics home from your favorite fruit stand or grocery store.  I've just added a new recipe on the page above CAT FOOD - Let me know how you like Tropical Fruit Ice Freezey©.  It's a new recipe I've just put together using currently available fruit. 
     Peaches and mangoes just naturally go together, so try your hand at this easy-peasey fruity dish; it's not overwhelmingly sweet, and Goldilocks would say, "It's just right"!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Country in the City

rain     It is raining in Central Virginia!  Hallelujah!  We've had a delightful, gentle downpour off and on since mid morning.  I had errands to run and deliberately left my umbrella in the car.  I keep at least one in the car all the time and have 2 or 3 more in the coat closet.      small umbrella yellow small            
     I grew up in Albuquerque and never owned an umbrella out there; didn't have any use for one. Now, having a half a dozen of the things isn't uncommon.  And losing them seems to be an option as well.
    After temperatures in the triple digits for at least 4 days in a row last weekend and through the weekend, the 78º and rain fall are as welcome as  Popsicles.  I love this part of the country - come for a visit and see the green - you might want to stay.
    I often post my projects on  "Sew Many Ways" web/blog site. Karen, the blogger, is a Rhode Islander who has some delightful suggestions for sewing and other home living ideas.  As a result of this exposure, my readership has expanded.  Thank you all for that.
peach 3     I've just added a summer beverage recipe that I think you'll love!   Just click on the "Cat Food" page above, and you'll see that simple recipe - just think Peach!  I made this recently and it was deliciously refreshing.  While you're there, be sure to check out the other recipes.                  
jalapeno peppers clip art     My wee garden (all in containers) is coming along. The squash is blooming - that got a late start simply because of lack of planning.  All of the tomatoes are blooming and I've several of the fruit in various sizes.  So far, the squirrels have NOT discovered my garden.  (Shhh!)  The New Mexico Chili Peppers and the Sweet Yellow Banana Peppers are "coming on".  There are many fragrances out in the patio as well, including dill, 2 varieties of basil and 2 of lavender, peppermint and rosemary. The Green Basil was a gift and it is the biggest, most fragrant of all my herbs.  Oh, the green onions, mums, and marigolds add lovely color. a few Morning glories came back from last year and they're such fun in the morning .
     I've rearranged a few of my pages and added one: Cat Can Reuse.  Check out that page (at the top) for some ideas to re purpose old things.  I'll be adding more and I get them photographed.
     Hope your summer is terrific, whether you live in the country or simply wish you did!.
© 2012 Cat Brennan

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Cures" in the Country - Honey and Cinnamon

The following information regarding Honey and Cinnamon came in an email forward from one of my sisters. She nor I lay claim to the validity, authenticity or reality of these concoctions, but I found these ideas interesting and wanted to pass them on to you. 
I believe there is so much we don't know about natural sources for healthy living and I feel strongly about utilizing/consuming as many natural products as possible; I abhor GMO's - genetically altered products - that we're finding in nearly every foodstuff , grain, seeds and so much more these days.  May I suggest that if you do choose to use some of these, you will be better served to consume honey that has been produced in your area.  Many people believe that honey has natural allergy fighting components when honey from local sources is used.
And now, here's that email:

Posted ImageHoney is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot. What it will do is what some call 'turning to sugar'. In reality, honey is always honey. However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will "crystallize". When this happens loosen the lid, boil some water and set the honey container in the hot water, but turn off the heat and let it liquefy naturally. It is then as good as it ever was. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. This will kill the enzymes in the honey.
Cinnamon and Honey

Bet the drug companies won't like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon: It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'Ram Ban' (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects for any kind of diseases.
Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Researched by western scientists:

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply it on bread instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also, those who have already had an attack, when they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.
ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients may take daily (morning and night) one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain -- and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain. 
BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder. 
CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.
COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses.
UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from its root.
GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.
INDIGESTION: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals
INFLUENZA: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural 'Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.
LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old.
RASPY OR SORE THROAT: When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.
PIMPLES: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.
SKIN INFECTIONS:Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin Infections.
WEIGHT LOSS:Daily in the morning one half hour before
breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.
CANCER: Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder three times a day for one month.
FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.
BAD BREATH: People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.
HEARING LOSS: Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Country Spring is marching its way into Summer, and I've got my container garden started!  It's exciting to know that I'll enjoy the some great veggies (maybe even freeze a few?) later in the season.  I did have to put out some special bait to "feed" my slimy friends, the slugs (thanks to a special friend for that tip, or I may have lost all my plants) and yes, it's safe for veggies and an organic product.

gardening plant shovelSo far, I have 2 varieties of tomatoes, 2 varieties of chili peppers: hot New Mexico and mild, sweet yellow banana peppers, dill, rosemary, green and opal basil, green onions and 2 varieties of lavender.  Also, intermingled among the edibles on the patio are some mums, a Pansy that won't give up her winter ghost, 2 varieties of hens and chicks and a sweet little ground covering sedum.  I'm going to try a container of summer squash, too.  The Topsy-turvy will have to wait until next year as I'll be out of town for a full week and no one to water it.
A visit to a friend's home a couple of weeks ago reminded me of a beverage that I really enjoy in the summer.  Sweet tea is a staple in the south as much as cheese is in Wisconsin and grapes in the California vineyards.  Out west, one has to add her own sugar - in the south, if you prefer it, you have to specify UNsweet tea.  When I was still living west of the Mississippi, during a visit, my grand daughter ordered sweet tea in a restaurant. The waitress (obviously not knowing the genteel ways of the south) informed her, while pointing to an object on the table, "There's the sugar and you can sweeten your tea however you want it."
iced tea pitcherI digress, a favorite summer beverage:  Sweet Tea with Lemonade.  Frankly, I don't like really sweet tea, but I've gotten around that. While visiting in Arkansas some years ago, I discovered mixing my sweet tea with lemonade is the answer and the best of both worlds - I did this in fast food places where you dispense your own beverage and ordered this concoction in restaurants, alike. 
My simple recipe is to brew strong DECAF tea, enough for 2 quarts, and sweeten while it's still very warm.  Add 2 quarts lemonade.  Serve over ice  and enjoy.  Be sure to refrigerate the remaining beverage.  I like this so much better that iced tea with lemon.
Hope your week is great and I would love to hear from all of you; especially container gardeners.
© 2012 Cat Brennan

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Fiesta in the Country!

¡Viva, La Fiesta!

I had a Fiesta for my April Birthday Celebration. My family is scattered all over the country; about half of us live on the east coast and most of the rest in the great Southwest with a few sprinkled in the mid-west. As a result, birthday gifts will often arrive over a period of several days - NOT a problem! and therefore, our birthdays are Fiestas.  ¡Arriba!

This was my Fiesta Menu:
   Tamale Pie (My own recipe)
   Authentic Guacamole (My mom's recipe)
   Chile con Queso (my recipe) a wee bit spicy!
   Salsa with Chips (Thank you Señor Pace)
   Biscochitos (Cookies traditionally made at Christmas time in Mexican homes. The     Biscochito is the OFFICIAL COOKIE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO  per LEGISLATION).

   We used napkins that I made from a 'hot' chili pepper cotton print.  My birthday cake was not of "fiesta" origin; rather my mom's 'famous' Christmas Cake with the most delicious Cooked Brown Sugar Icing you've ever had (Brown Sugar ANYTHING is to ME what Chocolate is to Choco-holics). 

   Of course, we had  beverages: Ginger Ale or Peach Margaritas (Instead of the traditional salt on regular margarita glasses, we rimmed them with  lime and dipped in red sugar).  We used wine glass charms with little Red Chili Peppers that I fashioned from Fimo™ Clay then I added a small wooden heart with each guest's name printed on it; both attached to a hooked wire loop and around the glass stem .. no mixing up who's margarita glass was who's. 

   Those were fun to make and practical.  I have a can of Black Blackboard Paint (thank you Free Cycle), so I painted the simple little wooden hearts with that. Then, I penned each guest's name on them with Chalk Ink™. This medium will wipe off with a damp cloth, so the charms can be reused.

   We talked. laughed, and ate; and yes, I received a lot of wonderful gifts.

   If you need help with your Fiesta, I'll be glad to share recipes with you;
 just send me a message or an email.Fiesta Hat clip art

  Have a great weekend whether you live in the country, or just wish you did!

© 2012 Cat Brennan

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chicks and Plants

Spring is here and most of the time the days are pleasant and sunny with cool nights. The days are getting longer, the grass is beautiful and it's almost time to get the veggies and flowers out. As you may recall, I live in an apartment, so I really don't have a huge garden, but I will make the most of it.  I firmly believe that life is not about what you have, rather how you live it. 

Garden ThymeI went to 'my' Southern States™ store a few days ago. I call it mine because it's not too far away, nor is it the only one in the Richmond area. Love that store!! They have their baby chicks in the store lobby in 3 or 4 different open containers.  As soon as I walked in the door, I heard the peeping. Now THAT was music to my ears. 
My dad used to take me to Ravel Brother's Feed Store (Isleta Blvd., South Valley, Albuquerque, NM) when I was a youngster.  I'm sure he went there to buy chicken feed or food for the milk cow and beef steer, but all I saw were the baby chicks. It was like going to the zoo for free.  Give me a blank check and the choice between dress shopping or Southern States - look out baby chicks, here I come.
After playing with and admiring the fuzzy little critters, I wandered around the store and out into the garden and plant section.  I picked up a few plants, including some succulents, sweet yellow banana peppers, dill and lavender. And lo and behold! I got a 4 inch pot of New Mexico Chile Peppers with 2 plants in it. Pure gold to me!  In addition to cucumber and onion seeds and the plants purchased, I received a FREE Topsy Turvy™ Tomato Planter that I'm going to try. 
May 1st is my date with the dirt and all these little guys are going outside.  I have a wild assortment of containers for my various plants including kitty litter buckets, a 5 gallon painter bucket a storage tub and some "actual" planter pots.  I've drilled holes in ALL for good drainage, so we're good to go.
On the days that are really nice, I set these babies out to harden off, so they should be happy when put into their new homes outside in just a couple of weeks.
Have a great weekend while you're enjoying your life, whether you live in the country or simply wish you did.
© 2012 Cat Brennan

Monday, March 19, 2012

Country Can Do

Borrowing just a bit from an old Hank Williams, Jr. song, A Country Girl Can Survive!  And I really enjoy going beyond survival.  Recently, I saw a post online that I simply HAD to try.  I made a small ironing station to sit beside my sewing machine, repurposed an old wooden TV snack tray that I picked up for a song.  First, I covered the tray top with and inexpensive Ironing Board Cover and Pad set which I had cut in half and made to fit.  Next, I used my handy-dandy staple gun to  attach to the underside of the tray and woo hoo!  Now I can press as I sew with more ease. Pressing-as-you-go is essential to sewing, but takes a lot of time when the ironing board is in one room and the sewing machine is in another. 
You can see my new project at the CAT LITTER page. Just click at the top of this page on Cat Litter. You're welcome to "scoop out" any of my ideas! (yes, I know, bad pun)!
This mini pressing station folds up and will fit in the car when I go away from home to sewing events.  Wish I could give credit to the one I saw, but I've seen several. This little item works for all but the largest of clothing pieces, and gets me through what ever my current project is.

© 2012 Cat Brennan

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Country News

There's no need to reinvent the wheel, when someone else has already done it so well. Therefore, let me share with you a really great website: Still Tasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide Guide. This site breaks down your questions into food groups and has some wonderful answers to questions such as, "Is it okay to put hot food directly in the fridge?" or "Are eggs still safe after the expiration date?"  These and many more questions can be found at this user-friendly site. Just click RIGHT HERE to find a plethora of food stability facts.
thanks giving autumn on the farmI regularly surf the net and love it when I find useful information like the above.  I grew up with no less than three sets of encyclopedias and several dictionaries in our home.  It was so much fun to open an encyclopedia to look up information on some subject and then get lost, sometimes for hours, in that one book that held a world of knowledge within its covers, and that was only one book of fifteen or more in just one set. I often went down that same path in the dictionary; look up one word only to wander among so many others that were new to me!  What wonderful fun that was! So, is it any wonder that I "get lost" on the Internet just as easily?
What has this to do with Country living?  Country life is, at least in part, about self sufficiency!  I believe that if I can make "it", not only cheaper, but as good or better and with the resources at hand, that is the way to go.  This helps to preserve my resources and be a good steward of the the things He has provided for me. That is self-sufficiency and that is Country living.
I have found so many answers to questions on the 'net.  I use Bing for my search engine - that's not a sales pitch, just my preference - and I can type in a question with as many or as few words that describe the information I'm seeking and voila!  my answer cometh! And it arrives with lightening speed!  ("google" has become a universal word meaning "to search the 'net", and I expect that one day it will be included in our dictionaries as such). 
If you're still wondering, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?", google it! 
And finally, just for fun, I've been told: BING = Because It's Not Google, and GOOGLE = Go Ogle. Who knows?
© 2012 Cat Brennan

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Country Easy

05recipe3-2-1-CAKEDoes this look delicious, or what?!?  I got this recipe from my sister, June, who writes, "Cat, I got this recipe from my friend and quilt buddy, Beth Sprayberry." . It's called 3-2-1 Cake. 
I have not  yet tried this recipe, but only because I don't have an angel food cake mix in the house.  Go to the CAT FOOD page above for the complete recipe.  Proper credit is with the recipe, and it sounds, not only easy, but fun, and delicious too. 
I titled this blog Country Easy because this recipe just sounds so easy.  Let me know what you think of the recipe and please, do try it. This seems like one of those ideas that was long in coming and short on work. I'm going to make this and it will be so handy when someone drops in unannounced.
Click on the CAT FOOD page right now to see this easy dessert.

© 2012 Cat Brennan

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winter in the Country

Winter has come to Central Virginia; since it's the middle of February, I shouldn't complain. Of course, the operative word in that sentence is shouldn't. I don't mind rain and/or snow, but, I do NOT like being cold and right now, at approximately 4:00 PM, the thermometer outside my apartment reads 38°. brrrrr.. 
We had just enough snow yesterday for me to snap a picture, and then it went away. In its wake, we had whistling winds and cold temperatures. If you look closely, you can see the snow falling which was kind of pretty. The temperature registered 43° when I took this photo.
So, like any normal  Country woman, I stayed inside, made Beef Stew and cut out a few projects to sew.  I'll keep you posted on those as I get to the cushions that I'm recovering with a "Log Cabin" pattern.  I'm recycling some denim jeans for this project (thank you all who have provided me with your unwearable jeans).
Christmas was delightful for me again this year.  I  posted some new photos of Christmas gifts that I made.  One is the ornament that I made this year for my family and friends; it's a little ski-guy constructed from gum-ball tree pods from Maryland (in my daughter's yard) and acorns from Virginia (in a friend's yard).  The little skis are actually doll house roofing shingles split in half and the little guy wears a scarf of Home Spun cotton.
Next is a Cupcake Pincushion that I gifted to friends and family members who sew, and yes, I actually made one for myself. Some were "frosted" in chocolate and some are topped with pink "marshmallow frosting".
You'll find the little ornament on Cat's CHRISTMAS Country Style page and the Cupcake Pincushion on the CAT FUR to KITTEN BRITCHES page - all of the page "buttons" are at the top of this blog in the "green area".
Stay warm and have a great week. If you have a Valentine in your life, give him or her an extra hug and kiss and be kind as well (a box of chocolates wouldn't hurt, either).

© 2012 Cat Brennan

Friday, February 3, 2012

Country Organizing

 We're approaching another weekend in the Country.  Just in time, an organizing idea I've found useful. Interestingly, I've seen this idea pop up lately in several locations, including Martha Stewart's online tips.  This is a great way to save space and it keeps all of your spray-bottles handy.  I've been doing this since I moved into my apartment more than three years ago.  Since the "big gun gurus" of homemaking and organizing have published this tip as a "new" idea, I thought I should put in my (old idea) 2¢ worth.  You can see that I've labeled ALL of my spray bottles, even the commercial products, with a trusty permanent marker - I can locate at a glance which one I need. The other 4 spray bottles (my home-brew cleaning products) contain (from Left to Right) Vinegar/Water - in a 50/50 ratio for all-purpose light-duty kitchen cleaning, next LOC, an Amway bio-degradable product I've used for 40+ years, third, an Ammonia mixture for window care and lastly, a Three-part Mixture for treating stains on clothing (this works so much better than any of the commercial stain-treatment products). These are all within easy reach just off my kitchen area. Simply hang the bottles by their "triggers" slipped over your apparatus.
In my apartment, the utility room and all the closets are fitted with these white rack and shelving units that you see above.
Martha's tip included installing a spring-loaded "curtain rod" under your sink for these bottles.  The idea is to get the bottles with their "trigger-like handles" off the floor or shelf to make room for other items.

© 2012 Cat Brennan

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Onions Make Country Folk Cry, too..

onion 4I searched the 'net regarding the following question, and this is what I found (
Question: Why Do Onions Make You Cry?
Answer: Unless you've avoided cooking, you've probably cut up an onion and experienced the burning and tearing you get from the vapors. When you cut an onion, you break cells, releasing their contents. Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfenic acids. Enzymes that were kept separate now are free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound that wafts upward toward your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away. . . read more by clicking here.
Grandson, Jerrod, recently discovered this discomfort, simply from being nearby when his mom was chopping onions.
Onions are still delicious and add so much flavor to otherwise, often, bland dishes. I frequently caramelize my onions before adding to many cooked dishes. 
Ya'll have a wonderful Country weekend whether you live in the country, or just wish you did.
© 2012 Cat Brennan

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Country Discounts for Senior Country Folks

Dear Country Shoppers,

Do you like to "save a buck" when you can?   OK, I know there are some of you who don't want to admit to being old enough to get a senior citizen discount, but personally, I like my bank account more than I like my pride.  Some of these discounts start as early as age 55, and these days, that's not "old".

Kroger, the largest food chain in America, offer discounts of up to 10%; the day is decided on a local basis.  Here in central Virginia, our Kroger Stores off a 5% discount every Tuesday to youngsters over the age of 55.  
Ross: Dress for Less gives a 10% discount to this same age group, also on Tuesdays. 
Senior Day at Hancock Fabric is the first and third Wednesday of each month and they offer a 15% discount to those who are 55+.

Your "Kroger" might be King Sooper's in Denver, or Smith's in Albuquerque - Kroger has many different store names; as they purchased "local" food chains, they had the good sense NOT to change the store name.

There are so many discounts "out there" - you just need to know where to look, and I looked!  Rather than 'reinventing the wheel', I'll pass along this web site where you'll find over 120 stores, restaurants, motels and a variety of other services.  Just click here for that list.

Happy saving for all my country friends whether you live in the country or simply wish you did.

© 2012 Cat Brennan

Monday, January 2, 2012

Country New Year

new year streamers
     How was YOUR Christmas?  Was Santa good to you?  Mine was a delight with so many wonderful gifts and time with part of my family.
     The Christmas Eve Church Service was delightful.  Two of  my grand daughters sang with the choir - can you say PROUD GRAMMA? 
     The east coast family had Christmas Eve gifts and goodies at married grand daughter's home; what a wonderful time and her home was delightfully decked out in wonderful holiday fashion. She served some cute little 'penguins' and her Parmesan Canapes were to die for as well as pretty.  She used the lovely white napkins her Aunt June machine-embroidered for her wedding and the presentation of those was really nice.  I've posted pictures of these on the page Cats and Cat's Kittens.   
     I will be sharing some of the gifts I made, as well as the annual ornaments I produced this year.
     One of the things I would like to try out this coming year are some craft and/or sewing tutorials.  There are zillions 'out there' on the Internet, so I thought I would add my 2¢ worth!  Any input out there?
     Here's a neat idea from Martha Stewart that is both practical and functional. To check out her web page, just click here.
     I'm praying that the New Year will bring you what you want and all you need. Plus, I wish you that Perfect Peace that passes ALL understanding, Wisdom and Joy. Until next time, Happy New Year, whether you live in the Country, or just wish you did!

© 2012 Cat Brennan  © 2012 Cat's Country Place