Friday

Olive Cheesy Bread

Some people are olive lovers and some people are not. 
When my daughter Alexis was about 5 or 6, she had an obsession with black olives.  She liked to put one black olive on each finger and then eat them.  Concerned about the ingredients, I wrote to the Heinz Company who replied back with a letter, enclosed the ingredient list and a coupon for a free jar of olives. 
I recently looked up the nutritional valve of olives (because now there is Google) and it turns out olives are pretty healthy!

Not to say this recipe is healthy, this Cheesy Bread is not what I would exactly call healthy but it does have olives, which are good for you and it's Oh My Gosh delicious.


I think I found this recipe in one of the cookbooks I received as a gift a few years ago.

Hints and Tips:
  • I use a loaf of Italian bread if I don't have a loaf of french.
  • I always, always add more olives. I don't even measure, I just start chopping.
  • Green onions (scallions) make everything better. I add lots of extra. 
  • Actually, you can add more or less of the olives and green onions per your taste. 
  • I use Hellmanns brand mayo, it's just better. 
  • If you're out of Monterey Jack cheese use a mixture of cheeses for the best flavor.



Chop olives and green onion (Scallions)

Olive Cheesy Bread

Ingredients:
1 loaf French Bread
6 ounces Pimiento-stuffed Green Olives (about a cup diced)
6 ounces Black Olives (about a cup diced)
4 stalks Green Onions / Scallions
1 stick Butter, room temperature
½ cup Hellmanns Mayonnaise
2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese

Mix together butter, mayo and cheese

Directions:

Chop both black olives and pimiento-stuffed green olives.
Slice green onions into thin pieces.
Combine soft butter, mayonnaise, cheese in a large mixing bowl. Mix well then add olives and ½ the green onions to the mixing bowl. Stir together until thoroughly combined.

Add olives and 1/2 the green onions

Slice the loaf of bread lengthwise and place cut side up on a baking sheet.


Cut the bread to fix the baking sheet

Spread the cheesy mixture evenly on the bread.
Bake at 325ยบ for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly golden brown.

Spread the cheesy mixture onto the bread and bake.

To serve, sprinkle the remaining chopped onions on top then cut bread into slices or pieces and serve hot.

Oooey Gooey Yumminess

The cheesy mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days before using.
The cheesy mixture can also be placed in a shallow baking dish, then baked until bubbly and used as a dip served with crackers.




I am in the middle of collecting maple tree sap to boil down for syrup. I have not gotten enough yet to boil but it's close. I need about 11 or 12 gallons before starting. This Cheesy Olive bread recipe is good hot quick meal when I'm so busy boiling sap to make lunch or dinner!

Elizabeth



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Wednesday

Easy Baby Burp Cloths

Homemade Burp Cloths
We had a new granddaughter born in December! Her name is Lilly and she is the daughter of my youngest child, Daniel. 
Late last summer we came up with our own design for their Pregnancy Announcements which we think turned out great and very unique.

Daniel, Jennica and Lilly live with us while they save to build a house so I'm getting my sewing matching back to work!
When my kids were little I used to sew Halloween Costumes for them, along with pinafores, outfits, Christmas dresses, doll clothes and various other things. Sadly, I haven't sewn much for my grandchildren, the newest ones live in Texas and I only see them a couple times a year. It's difficult to sew little outfits without trying them on for sizing as I make them. And being so far away it's hard to keep up on what they're into at the moment.

Me with my newest grand baby Lilly

For the first project for the new baby I decided to make a few burp cloths because they're pretty easy and also in great demand. We tried using receiving blankets for burp cloths but it soaks right through onto whoever is holding the baby, ugh.

At Daniel and Jennica's Under The Sea Baby Shower they received a pack of cloth diapers so I using those for the burp cloths.
I purchased a few different patterns of flannel in mostly pink and pastel colors, but you can use any color of fabric you wish. Flannel is best for this project because it's soft.

These make great gifts too!

Cloth diapers and flannel material

Baby Burp Cloths

Materials Needed:
Cloth diapers
Flannel fabric
Straight pins
Thread and scissors
Sewing Machine

How to Make Them:
Lay out the fabric with the right side facing up. If the fabric is wrinkled or has fold lines, press it first.
Next lay the cloth diaper on top of the fabric.

Lay the diaper on the fabric.  Make sure fabric is right side up.

If needed, pull on the diaper along the outer edges until it is straighter on all sides.
Pin the diaper to the cloth.

Pin diaper to the fabric

Cut the cloth around the diaper, leaving an extra ½ inch all the way around.

Cut fabric around diaper, cutting the fabric a little larger than the diaper. 

Sew the diaper to the cloth making sure to leave an approximately 4 to 5 inch opening on one side that is not sewn.

Sew diaper to fabric leaving a 4 inch opening

Remove all the pins and turn the burp cloth right side out, pulling it through the opening.
Press the burp cloth around the edges. I also use a blunt tool to gently push out the corners.
Now pin the 4 inch opening closed and sew shut. Make sure to get as close to the edge as possible.

Pin the opening closed

I also add stitches down the middle of the burp cloth to hold the flannel to the diaper and it gives it a more finished look.

Add stitching down the middle if desired

Baby Burp Cloths finished!

I made a total of four Baby Burp Cloths

And if you have material left over, don't discard it! Use it to make a small matching baby quilt!
I am cutting the scraps into squares and sewing them together. Once I add a backing I'll have a small quilt that will match the burp cloths.

Elizabeth

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Beautiful sleepy new grand baby Lilly





Friday

Grandma Elder's Carrot Cake

This is a moist and delicious carrot cake that's not too sweet and gets raves each time I make it.
I usually make it as a sheet cake but it is so much prettier as a layer cake!

My mother-in-law Coy Lynch handed down her mother's Carrot Cake recipe to me many years ago. Her mother was AnnaBelle (Sharer) Elder from Alexis, Illinois. 
 I never got to meet Annabelle but the cousins all talk fondly of visits to her house. Annabelle and husband John H. had 5 children, one of which is the famous and highly successful high school coach John K. Elder. 

It has nothing to do with the recipe but here's a little horn tooting for my husband’s side of the family: John K. Elder has been inducted into both the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Hall of Fame. In 2008 John received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of Coaches Association Directors and in 2003 the Gerald Ford All-American Coach Award from the All-American Football Foundation.
Pretty cool!

Saturday

Holland, Michigan and the Tulip Festival

  
Looking for a great weekend trip this spring? I have just the place: Holland Michigan. And if you time it just right you could be there for The Holland Tulip Festival held in May.
Holland is a beautiful little town loaded with wooden shoes, statues, quaint shops, lots of Dutch heritage and countless tulips and other spring flowers.

Holland was settled in 1847 by Dutch Calvinist separatists, under the leadership of Dr. Albertus van Raalte. Their desire for religious freedom led them to unite and settle as a group along with dire economic conditions in the Netherlands compelling them to emigrate.

Holland is known as the "City of Churches."There are 170 churches in the greater Holland area, many of which are with the Reformed Church in America and Christian Reformed Church in North America denominations. A Holland church youth group leader started the trend of the "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets in the 1990's.

Make Your Own Hamburger Buns

There is something very comforting about the smell of freshly baked bread.

This past Christmas I received a few new cookbooks and one of them has a recipe for Hawaiian Grilled Cheeseburgers. We have been grilling pineapple and putting them on cheeseburgers occasionally, but that recipe took the sandwich to new heights.

To keep on the level of awesomeness of the cheeseburger recipe, I decided to try my hand at making homemade buns.
And let me tell you I was amazed and overjoyed at how easy they were and how well they turned out! It doesn't take much to make me happy, but a good recipe always does.

Here are a few things to consider before starting:

Sunday

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Who doesn't love a good grilled cheese sandwich? On cold winter days grilled cheese sandwiches and hot soup is a staple at our house.
But in the middle of winter I am constantly craving (and dreaming about) the fresh garden vegetables that were huge a part of our meals in warmer months. I do can most of our garden produce but it's just not the same.

I came up with this sandwich to add a little more nutrients and vitamins to a traditional grilled cheese sandwich but it's also just darn delicious!
Caprese is typically a salad of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil.
For an over the top grilled cheese sandwich I always, always start with a really good bread. It and the quality of the cheese makes the sandwich, in my opinion. I got that tip when I was very young from my sister Julie. She could make the best sandwiches in the world and the bread was always a key factor. Thanks Julie.

Wednesday

State Flag Christmas Ornament

Besides our large family tree, every year I put up a smaller tree in my dining room. This tree has evolved and changed themes and decorations somewhat over the years. It started out as a nature tree. Then I mixed in cardinals (our state bird), which has led me to make the tree a nature / Ohio tree.
I have added buckeyes, cardinals, morel mushrooms, pine cones, bird nests and various other things that can be found around our state.

We started a Crafting Circle and have an ornament exchange with family and friends, so I decided to make our Ohio flag as a Christmas ornament. Another reason I wanted to make the state flag: most ornaments for Ohio are centered around the buckeye nut or our OSU football team or other Ohio teams. I wanted a more unique ornament and one that is not sports related (although this can be used for that theme).


This ornament can be made as your own state flag and hung on a sports tree too! Or made larger to use as a decoration in a man cave or family room. Go Team!

Saturday

Felt Snowman Ornament

This is a cute little felt Christmas ornament I made for our ornament exchange one year.
We have a really large family so instead of having a gift exchange we started an ornament exchange. It's not mandatory so not everyone participates. It's wonderful to receive the little gift boxes in the mail containing each homemade ornament. And many of us add other small gifts like specialty coffee or tea, candy, fudge, cookies, jams, bookmarks or other goodies.

Many family members live out of state but for the ones close to me and who want to make crafts for Christmas we started a Crafting Group. It's a great way to stay in contact with friends and family while enjoying time set aside just for a hobby we love.

This ornament is made of felt and cross stitching thread and is really pretty easy.


Sunday

Grand Champion Pumpkin Cake

It's November already (yikes! how did that happen!?) and I just finished packing away all the Halloween decorations.
 I've been busy making a list for our Thanksgiving dinner and corresponding grocery list. I usually try out a new dish or dessert at Thanksgiving so have also been scanning through a few cookbooks for ideas.
I purchased a Pumpkin Cookbook way back in 1992 which was put together by The Crusader Sunday School Class at Calvary United Methodist Church in 1982 for a fundraiser. I purchased the cookbook at the Circleville Pumpkin Show and it's full of everything pumpkin!
One of the recipes in the book is for this Grand Champion Cake, called “Pride O' Pumpkin Cake”.

The note with the recipe states:

Friday

Thanksgiving Paper Craft

I got the idea for a Fall Decorated Christmas Tree from my sister Kathy a few years ago. Her tree is 6 foot tall and in their living room.
Mine is just a 4 foot tree and in my kitchen bay window. 

I decorate this little tree for fall with autumn leaves, acorns, pumpkins, etc. , then add Halloween ornaments towards the end of October.  In November I use a fall/Thanksgiving theme.

Since my Christmas Vintage Paper Ornaments turned out so well last year, I decided to make Thanksgiving ornaments too!
It's pretty much the exact same steps or directions as the Christmas ornaments except using creams, browns and black colors of scrap booking paper. And instead of Santa I used black silhouette cut-outs of pilgrims and turkeys.

These also make cute gifts.