Sunday, September 25, 2022

Neat Things That Followed Me Home...

Neat Stuff That Followed Me Home...

Feels like Fall around here - and some new things followed me home from a few places during the last few weeks.

Did a "Target Run" this week and was happy to see the Mrs. Meyer's Fall collection.  I had pulled out the last of what I purchased last year in Apple Cider scent and used it all up yesterday.  Love the Fall Leaves scent and it will make cleaning up after dinner fun.

I will admit I have a thing about dishes.  I love them - and downsizing meant I did get rid of some of our sets.   Our everyday white dishes ( that can be dressed up or down) had seen better days.  Stumbled upon these in our local Boscov's - do you have Boscov's near you ?  They are simple and I love the textured edges of the little beading on the sides.  I am a bit of a perfectionist...

So, when I got them home and washed them I noticed that one mug had a "blip" on the handle - right where your thumb would be - and one of the dishes had mark on the edge.  I had purchased two sets of 4 and when I was leaving the register the clerk told me to save my sales slip and if there were any that were not right to bring them back.  I was skeptical - but I took those pieces back and they exchanged them for two others in an open box used for display.  We have been loving our new dishes...the mugs have such a nice "feel".
I have been seeing these Blue Diamond pans advertised on television and thought they looked interesting.  Our pots and pans are Analon brand and about 15 years old.  They have held up great - except for the frying pans.  I was able to get this Blue Diamond pan on sale at Kohl's - and I had a coupon and 20 dollars in Kohl's Cash - and it was on sale - so it was a steal.  I was tempted to purchase the entire pots and pans set, but wanted to try this one first.   It is great - eggs slide right out and it cleans up well.   I don't think I will purchase the set, but I am on the lookout for the large, deep, covered fry pan.
We are off on a trip in the future and needed new carry on luggage - something with wheels.  We had nice tote bags that matched our luggage, but they got heavy carrying them through the airports.  We found these American Tourister models at Kohl's at 50% off...and I had a 30% coupon so we grabbed them.  I think they will be perfect for our carry on item and hold enough so that we will have some clothes if our luggage gets lost.  Been hearing horror stories of people not getting their luggage for days....or even for the entire trip.  I know there are folks who can go for an entire two weeks with just this size case - I am not one of those people.  We will check a bag and carry this with us...or roll this with us!
Fortunate to have a Talbots outlet near my home and they were having a big sale.  The stripped top is summery and will be for next year, but the T by Talbots top is going to be a great travel item.
And, of course I had to make a stop at my local Dollar Tree...where I never leave empty handed.  The Hallmark greeting cards they sell at a discount price are worth the trip, but some other great things made it into my basket...
These name brand (peds) trouser socks are a great color variety and I needed some new ones for the Fall and Winter.  6 pair for 1.25!

I can never have too much glitter....

Dollar Tree tea towels/dish cloths are not the best quality - but they are cute and I like to keep some on hand to wrap around a loaf of homemade bread to take as a hostess gift.

Had to pick up these...soon it will be time for pumpkin muffins and these will be perfect! You can find the recipe I have been using for pumpkin muffins for many years here - 

More glitter filler....found some in bronze and gold, too.

And...could not resist these skeleton salad tongs!  Not sure if we will be entertaining anyone during the Halloween holiday, but I had to have these!
And...all of the Christmas and Winter items were starting to show up in Dollar Tree this week.  I made myself not even look...until I see what I tucked away from last year.
What has "followed you home" recently?  I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment below.  Thanks so much for stopping by Our New Vista !

Sunday, September 4, 2022

So Long, Summer!


So Long, Summer!

Once again, summer seemed to fly by and it's Labor Day Weekend.  I've been spending the last, lazy days of summer enjoying time on the porch...reading some great books.  And, making sure to enjoy these last days of the season.   The beautiful wreath above is not mine and is not on my door.  Last weekend John and I went for a morning walk in downtown Lancaster and happened on this amazing scene.   What an interesting decoration.  Oh, and we took the short drive to downtown to visit the Lancaster Public Library.  The library had a summer reading program for adults...for each book you read you filled out a short form - author, title, rate the book 1-5 stars, and describe the book in three words.   At the end of summer a drawing was held from all the entries.  I was thrilled to be a winner!

My prize was a great tote bag filled with three new books, plus a gift card to a local restaurant that has great soup and sandwiches.  What a win-win....I had the pleasure of reading some really great books and I won a prize.   Watch for a post on "what I've been reading" lately in the future.
After picking up the prize, we walked to Lancaster Southern old market building that has been remodeled and used as a food hub and shared working space.   You can read more about this unique place here - 

The market was not yet open for lunch when we arrived, but the great little coffee shop at the entrance was open so we stopped for some tea, a cappuccino, and delicious coffee cake.

And then continued our walk around Lancaster....

The great Seasons oil and vinegar shop was not yet open...

and we strolled past an old movie theater that has been converted to apartments.  I love that they did not disturb the beautiful tiled entry...and that they kept the flavor of the place with old movie posters.

Stumbled upon this little shop that also was not yet open....but we definitely be on my list to return and visit soon. 

Summer sunflowers growing in the city were so pretty.
Once the calendar turned over to September though, all of my summer decorations in our home were looking tired, and I was eager for Fall.  I usually have a bright patterned cloth cover on the side table between our chairs, and have some matching pillows scattered on the sofa and chair.   I was not quite ready to retire the bright summer colors for the deep, dark ones I use for late Fall and Winter. So I was excited to find this fabric while shopping for some other items at our local Walmart.
I thought it was the perfect blend of late summer/early fall colors  And it was a precut 2 yard piece that cost only $10.97 !  That is a bargain price compared to what a decorator fabric costs at a local fabric store.  I will say that the weight is not quite as heavy as a Waverly fabric, but still very nice.
I took the old topper off of the table ( you can see it is more colorful...I usually put that out in mid May and keep it on till Fall)
and laid it on the fabric...cut it out, leaving enough fabric to turn the edges under.

I did not sew the edges...I used "stich witch" bonding  and just turned the edge under and pressed it to hold.

It worked great...quick and easy.

I had enough fabric left over to make two pillows...but just for the front of the pillows.  I found a pillowcase that I was not using and cut that up for the back of the pillow as the color went well.

A simple edge on the back pieces...and just made a fold over backing.
The finished product!  I love the colors with the dark chairs...

This pillow looks good on the sofa and blends with the moss green pillows...

And one more pillow on my favorite chair, too.
I was inspired to dig out some Fall leaves and decoration and will spend this week getting my Autumn decorations displayed.
Hope everyone had a great summer, a fabulous Labor Day Weekend...and is ready for Fall.
Do you change your home with the seasons ?  Let me know - leave a comment.  I love hearing from you!
Have a great week !

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Daddy's Chocolate Cake


Daddy's Chocolate Cake

Did you ever have a recipe that you used to make all the time...and then for some reason you don't make it for years and years?  That happened to me recently with my recipe for Daddy's Chocolate Cake.  This is a recipe my mom used to make ALL the time when we were growing up - and it got nicknamed Daddy's Chocolate Cake because my mom first made when she and my dad were dating and he loved it.  Way back, in the 1930's, my mom had an after school job helping a woman who was a home economist from the college nearby.  I think her names was Mrs. Kushki.  Many of our family recipes are ones my mom learned while doing housework and helping Mrs. Kuski in the kitchen.  That is where this recipe comes from - my mom would make it with icing some days, sometimes I remember her just sprinkling walnuts on top before it baked...but it was a staple in our house.  My brother also loved this cake and we would joke that we could tell when he was coming home to visit because she would make this cake!  Last week I was going through my recipe box and found the card where I copied it from her when I was first married...and thought it was time to make it again.  

You can see that the card was well "loved"...all those stains from years of making it.   I remember how much I loved those recipe cards with the blue and white motif!
This is a very easy cake to make....
This cake uses baking cocoa which I always have on hand...

and one stick of margarine - or as my mom used to call it - "oleo"!  I am guessing you can use butter as well.
Into one cup of boiling water put 3/4 cup of cocoa and one stick of margarine.  Mix well.

Mix in 2 cups of sugar...
then add two eggs and mix well.
The recipe says to use sour milk....I am thinking that means buttermilk, but we NEVER used that.   Take 1/2 cup of regular milk ( and this day I had no milk so I used half and half) and add a teaspoon of lemon juice and stir in two teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vanilla...and mix it up till frothy.

Add this to the cocoa mixture alternating the milk mix with 2 cups of flour.  Mix well.
Spray a pan with nonstick spray - or as my mom did, use the wrapper from the oleo to grease the pan...

Pour in the batter and smooth it out...then bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees for a glass pan or 375 for a metal pan.  The house smells WONDERFUL while this is baking!

When finished baking, remove from oven and let cool.
I made a very simple icing ( or frosting) to top the cake.
I used about 3/4 cup of Smart Balance margarine - I find this works great for making icing and baking cookies, too.

I added a bit of vanilla and beat the mixture well...

adding powdered sugar to get it to the right consistency.  I forgot to measure how much, but you will know when it looks ( and tastes ) right!

Spread the icing all over the cake...and I topped it with chocolate sprinkles - or as we call them - jimmies for a fun touch.

We were so excited to eat a piece that I forgot to take a photo before I cut the cake!
  It is a big cake...good for a crowd or pot luck.   I shared pieces with several neighbors and then put the rest in the freezer to enjoy another day...because really, I could eat the whole thing.  Tasted like memories!  And, it freezes very well...we have enjoyed it since and it tastes just as good as the day it was baked.

Here is the recipe - I am not sure how to make it so you can print it, but hopefully this helps - 
Daddy's Chocolate Cake
1 cup boiling water
1 stick margarine
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk - add teaspoon of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons baking soda, mix.
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour

Melt the margarine and cocoa in boiling water.  Add sugar, mix.  Add eggs, mix.  Add flour and milk mixture alternately with flour...mix well.
Bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven for glass and a 375 degree oven for metal.
Cool and frost as desired.  ENJOY!
This is a very "homey" cake...not fancy, but oh, so good.
Do you have any recipes that you have "re-discovered" or have a family story that goes with them?  I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment below!  Thanks so much for stopping by Our New Vista!

Neat Things That Followed Me Home...

Neat Stuff That Followed Me Home... Feels like Fall around here - and some new things followed me home from a few places during the last few...