Backyard Chats

Pre-measured Coffee
September 30, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Homekeeping

Need a helping hand to make the coffee in the mornings? Measure out the usual alloted amount of coffee into coffee filters (unbleached, of course) and store in an airtight container. Be sure to label the container. Sometimes those few minutes saved in the mornings can make for a smoother transition into the day. Have a good one!


Basic Bread Pudding
September 23, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recipes

With the cost of grocery item these days, using up the last of anything is always a challenge. Bread is no exception and in most households, along with milk, is a constant staple.  Rescue bread remnants before they head to the compost pile by keeping a basket or container in the freezer where you can easily toss the bag and it’s contents.

The following is a basic recipe for bread pudding.  There are endless variations of bread pudding recipes : chocolate, apple, coconut, raisin, blueberry, pumpkin, and dried fruit;  just to name a few. Traditional bread pudding is served with a bourbon sauce.

Basic Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place 8-10 slices of bread, which have been toasted & cut into cubes, into a greased 8×8 inch oven proof dish. Set aside.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine:

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon salt


2 cups of warm milk mixed with:

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)

Pour liquid over bread cubes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, covered  (uncovered will produce a crusty top layer). Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 6 servings.

Pork Chops and Brown Gravy
September 16, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recipes

Add about 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon cooking oil to your pan over medium heat.

While the pan is heating; generously season pork chops with garlic powder (not garlic salt), seasoned salt and lemon pepper. (I use about an 1/8 teaspoon on each pork chop). Sprinkle each pork chop with a generous teaspoon of flour.

Place pork chops in the hot pan; seasoning side down. Repeat seasonings on second side.

Repeat flour on second side.

Let pork chops brown on first side for about 3 minutes. Turn and let brown another 3 minutes on second side.

Remove pork chops from pan and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoon flour to meat drippings in pan.

Whisk until thoroughly blended.

Whisk in about 1/2 cup water; bring mixture to a boil.

Continue cooking until thickened.

Return pork chops to pan; cover pan and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until pork chops are done.

Suggested meal: serve pork chops with mashed potatoes, vegetable and bread.

Note: 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce may be added to finished gravy if desired.

No Cupcake Papers?
September 9, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Food

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Even a well stocked kitchen falls short from time to time. No cupcake papers in the pantry? Simply grease each section, including the rims (generously) before adding the batter. Hot cupcakes taken directly from the oven will hold up better if they are allowed to cool a minute before removing from the pan.

September Monthly Reminders
September 2, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Homekeeping


We all know, each month brings an unending list of chores. Prioritize the list and get done what you can. If time is short, catch up on repetitive chores the next time around. Try keeping ahead of those “must dos” on your list. Here are just some highlights………

Dates to remember




School events

Labor Day: September 6

Grandparents Day: September 12

Autumn Equinox: September 22


Check date of annual vet visit

Administer monthly pet medications

Schedule grooming date

Clean water and food bowls

Check toys for damage/replacement


Consult your vehicles maintenance schedule

Check for current registration and auto inspection documents, tags or stickers

Check the date/mileage of the last oil change

Check for current insurance cards

Inspect windshield wipers for replacement, top off windshield wiper fluid

Ensure tire pressure is correct; check date of last rotation

Wash exterior and de-clutter  interior

Home Maintenance

Clean or replace air conditioner filter & check condensation drain

Replace vacuum cleaner bag and check belts for damage (keep an extra belt on hand)

Spot treat carpets

Deodorize sink drains

Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Check out for detailed information on September home maintenance:

Weather-stripping doors and windows

Chimney cleaning

Storm windows

Basement vents

Insulation evaluation

Gutter maintenance

Keeping mice out

Exterior caulking

Stockpiling firewood

Cleaning the dryer vent

Inspecting the roof and chimney

Garden –  “it’s time to clean up and prepare for spring”

Seasonal Sales

*Back to School Items: Clothes & Supplies
*Gardening Supplies (the end of the season close-out)
*Household Accessories, such as rugs, lamps and dishes
*Bicycles and Car parts

Shop seasonal foods in your area:

Manual Drip Coffee Makers
August 31, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Food

Coffee pots for one person can be a counter hog. The solution…a single serving, manual drip coffee maker. Simple to “operate”,  easily stored, and inexpensive; less than $5. Know someone trying to go green? A drip coffee maker, cone (or hemp) filters and their favorite coffee grounds make a great gift. Find your way around the world of environmentally friendly coffee: Rainforest Certified,  Fair Trade, Bird Friendly, USDA Organic Coffee.

Today’s Smile – Dog Days of Summer
August 29, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today’s smile is courtesy of: