Thursday, February 12, 2015

Frying Pork Chops

Don't read any further if you don't eat meat because this post is about frying meat, in particular, pork chops.  We never buy pork chops or steak in the winter, we only BBQ them in the summer.   I used to cook pork chops in the oven, but didn't really care for that method so no more of that! I remember back when I first started cooking, the only way to make pork chops was Shake n Bake, that used to be a grocery staple!!!


  I can't remember the last time I ever had pork in a frying pan,  but I do remember them to be burnt to a crisp and dry as a bone, no wonder I wasn't anxious to cook them that way.  But, since I discovered this method, I'll be buying pork chops again, they're the best, done this way!!

We've fried pork chops twice now and both times they were so flavorful and moist, we have to admit, we liked them better than the BBQ ones.  

I left the chops on the counter for about half an hour, if your meat is too cold the outside will overcook while the inside comes to the right temperature, doing this will ensure a nice crust and a tender center.   Wash the chops, dry with paper towel and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder, or whatever you prefer.    Add about 1 tbsp of oil to your frying pan, get it good and hot, cook the chops for about 3 minutes or so at that temperature, then turn the heat down to medium, cook them for a further 3 minutes on each side.  Another hint to use during cooking is to stand up your chops, use your tongs for that, the fat on the edge will be brown and crispy.  When your thermometer reaches 145, they're done , don't cook them longer, they'll be dry!  Wait for 10 minutes (if you can't wait, they'll still be good, we waited about 5 minutes the first time, the next time we didn't wait at all) before you cut into your meat, the juices will not be all over your plate or cutting board but contained in the meat and so delicious!!

This seems pretty basic, but it was just like a new wonderful recipe to us!!  Do you fry pork chops?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Vegetable Soup in a Snap!!

It's the perfect time of year for soup, homemade soup, in particular.  I mentioned before that I was trying to make more soups and freeze the leftovers,  very seldom now do I ever buy a can of soup!!  I've made this vegetable soup recipe a few times now and every time it hits the spot - it's easy to make and the great thing about it is you can use whatever vegetables you might have on hand.  

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest, here is the original pin, which will take you back to that recipe.  But, I'll include the recipe anyway..

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 ribs, celery, chopped

2 carrots, sliced or chopped

2 cups mixed vegetables (today for extra vegetables, I used sweet potato, parsnip, frozen corn and frozen peas.)  I've used turnip as well.

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. oregano

1 bay leaf

8 cups water and 3 cubes of vegetable bouillon OR 8 cups of vegetable broth (I use the broth)

1 - 14 oz. can tomatoes, I only had the larger can on hand today but I just measured out the right amount.

Today I added 1/2 cup of pot barley which didn't make it into the picture!!

Heat oil in large soup or stock pot.  Add onions, carrots and celery.  Heat, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until onions are soft.  Add the rest of the vegetables and heat for just another minute or two.   I always cook them longer than stated.

Add salt, thyme and oregano, stirring to coat the vegetables well.

Add bay leaf, water or vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.  If using bouillon cubes, add and stir to make sure they dissolve.

Add tomatoes, stir and allow soup to simmer until all the vegetables are cooked.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Remove the bay leaf.  

  Two bowls were served at lunch, I froze two more meals and there was one single bowl left - much better for you and much more economical that buying numerous cans of soup!!!  Try it!!!  It's delicious!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Finds from the Road

Last week I tagged along with my husband when he had to go away for business, I like when that happens, especially when it's in an area where there are numerous thrift shops and a few antique malls within a nice distance - oh, GPS, you're a great invention!!!

How many times have you seen something on a blog or on Instagram and immediately think you need that item?  I've been seeing vintage Valentine candy boxes, it made me remember Dad buying those for Mom, I have never seen them in a shop, so I never imagined I would ever have one!  Jackpot - I found a booth that had five boxes - two were red, the others were non Valentine colors, I knew I was taking one, but I came to my senses and took the other red one too.

Both of the boxes are a nice size, about 10 inches in length.  The top one has writing on the back - From Warren, 1940.  The bottom one is very fancy and still has the Moirs, Halifax, Canada, tag on it.  You don't see elaborate things like this anymore.  The paper liner is still inside the box.  I really don't have anything in the line of vintage Valentines, now I do!!

I've been on an Ideals kick lately, my good friend, Sharon, told me they were great for SMASHing, I never gave them a second glance before, but she was right, they're great -  I found a few for Christmas, I used some for pages, some of the pictures are beautiful and some of the verses are ok to use too!    Jackpot, again - four Valentine Ideals books!

I can't remember the last time I bought a postcard but these were cheap and cute!

I very seldom ever look at the children's book section anymore, I have quite a few Eloise Wilkin books and any I do see are the usual ones you see all the time.  I was just walking past the books and this one was sitting to the side - I grabbed it - it was 50 cents.   It's a beautiful book, it was given to Katie from Birgitta, 1st Christmas, 1989 - you should have kept this book, Katie.  

I have never seen an Eloise Wilkin illustration that wasn't beautiful!

No trip would be successful without finding a Vera or two - I'm really liking that animal print one - it's different, has the tag attached and was only 75 cents!!!  

Yay - I actually have a post to link up, so I'm linking with ThriftasaurusVintage Bliss Tuesdays and Thrifter Share

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Grandma's Corn Chowder

Cold winter days are the perfect days to make a pot of soup - I made Grandma's Corn Chowder the other day, it was really delicious!    Right off the top, I have to say this is not my Grandmother's recipe or anybody's recipe that I know, it's from All Recipes, I don't care who it belongs to, it's a good one!  Another thing, I never plan a food post so if I have a picture and it's something worth sharing, I'll write about it, therefore, the picture may not be the very best!!

Grandma's Corn Chowder

1/2 c. diced bacon

4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped.  ( I used three nice sized red potatoes and left the peeling on, for some color)

1 medium onion

2 cups water ( I used chicken broth)

3 cups cream style corn ( I used one can of cream corn and two cups of frozen corn)

2 teaspoons salt

Ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups half and half

Place the bacon in a large pot over medium high heat and cook until crisp.  Drain and crumble, reserving about 2 tablespoons drippings in the pot.   Bacon would not have to be used at all, or you could just crumble some on the top, for whoever desires it!

Mix potatoes and onion into the pot with the crumbled bacon and reserved drippings.  Cook and stir 5 minutes.  Pour in the water or broth and stir in corn.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover pot.  Simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are tender.

Warm the half and half in a small saucepan until it bubbles.  Remove from heat before it boils, and mix into the chowder just before serving!

I froze the leftovers, after each having a nice size bowl, there are two more soup meals in the freezer for us.  I have been trying to make soup ahead and not buy canned soup any more, right now I have three kinds in the freezer.  It's so much better!!  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Books, TV, Movies and Music

It's winter, time for more reading, more tv watching but any season is good for going to the movies, I love going to the movies!!

Do you remember the movie, Into the Wild? It came out in 2007, the story of Chris McCandless, who after graduating from university, he abandoned his possessions and took off for Alaska, living in the wilderness.  Our whole family loved this movie and when I saw a new book, The Wild Truth, I put it on my Christmas list.  I've read it, if you're a fan of the movie, this book will answer a lot of questions that you might have about the film.  The book is written by Chris' sister, Carine McCandless - it really does shine a new background on this incredible story.  

Right now I'm reading Unbroken, I saw the movie over Christmas, it's one of those movies that grabs you in right from the first scene.  It's the true story of Louis Zamperini, set in World War II, he survived events that we cannot even imagine, that's all I'm going to say because I don't want to give it away!  This author also wrote Seabiscuit which became another fabulous movie.

Over the weekend we saw "The Imitation Game" another World War II true story - the story of  mathematician, Alan Turning who cracked the enigma code along with a group of other mathematicians -great acting and a great story!!

Before Christmas we started watching "Wentworth" on Netflix - if you liked "Orange is the New Black", this series is one to watch, it's very similar but set in an Australian prison, we just finished it up on the weekend, there's two seasons available, it was binge watching, for sure!!  Loved it - I think it's the better of the two series'.   Now, what are we going to watch?

I must include - Carla recommended it, now I know why she likes it so much - I always have the XM Sirius channels playing, after discovering this site, we are considering stopping our in house XM service - there is every kind of music you could ever want on here and even better, it's free!!!  Right now I'm listening to 70's One Hit Wonders!!  It's great!!!

Hope your day is filled with music!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Newest Hobby

I can't believe I haven't been on blogger since December 20, where did the time go?  Well, I can tell you where I've been spending a lot of my time - on Instagram!!  I started on Instagram nearly two years ago, it started out for me the same way that my blog did - taking pictures of thrifted finds and vintage things around the house.  My blog changed to include other things, like SMASHing, recipes and the like, there's still the odd thrifty find, but not as much as the only thing I look for actively all year long are Vera scarves and of course, the vintage occasion items.

Since the summer, I've become more interested in Instagram - I'm always looking for something different to photograph and every day I am taking part in Instagram challenges, I enjoy it a lot!  Now, I am walking in fields to get pictures of old houses, old cars, stopping on the side of the road to take a picture, chances for pictures that can become amazing are everywhere!!    I have to boast here just a bit, my pictures were featured in 104 challenges since the summer - some as stand alone features, others sharing a grid with others.   I love to browse and look at other pictures that people have posted, there are just so many ideas, I've learned so much and have plenty to learn yet, one important thing I've learned is that photo editing makes a big difference in your picture!!

I thought I would share this grid with you - showing my most viewed pictures.    I find it interesting that six of these shots were taken within the past month -  I'm most proud of the first shot, my most viewed, it was featured numerous times on different hubs, it was just a perfect day for photography and turned out perfect!!  All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone.    I like it that Pyrex is always popular too, but I've probably shared every piece of Pyrex that I own and how many ways can you photograph it?  

 I'm mackaypj on Instagram and I'm an Instagram addict!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas was Half Price

I went to four thrift shops yesterday, struck out at one but the others yielded me some vintage Christmas and it was all half price - that made me real happy!!!

I haven't had much luck at Value Village at all this season but yesterday was different, I came out of there with three things and I only paid $3.

This Noma tree topper box is in perfect shape, the angel looks like she was well taken care of, definitely, she was coming home with me!!

I debated on taking the angel but I'm glad I did - these chalkware figurines were made in Korea.  

Mom had a box made of old cards so I was taken by this - but, I'm not really sure if it's old or not, it just looks too perfect and in such great shape.  Anybody see one like this?  It doesn't matter if it's old or not, it has a vintage look and I like it!!

Next stop - three more items...

My first reflector box - full of reflectors.

I like this little planter, I think the Christmas bouquet might have been replaced, it looks just a bit too new.  

One lone poinsetta - I bought it because Mom had a bouquet of these that she always put on the table, well, now I have a bouquet of one!!

My last thrift stop was the shop where I bought the ornaments the other week and paid $2 for two boxes, last week I was in and they had another box but it was marked at $5, no way was I buying them for that, yesterday I got them for $1. SCORE!!

I never expected to find anything much this close to Christmas, it made my day!!

Linking up today with Merry Christmas Thrifter Share