Busy Day

Today I probably won't get much, if any, time for sewing.  I'm getting ready to cook tomorrow.  Yes, it is Easter Sunday, but we're also celebrating Matthew's birthday tomorrow.  His birthday isn't until Tuesday, but with everyone so busy these days, we're taking the weekend to relax and enjoy one another's company.

As is always the case, I spend at least two days getting ready for something like this...and only partly because it's a great motivator to clean up my messy house.  So, of course, housework will be involved.  But you don't want to hear about that, do you?

Here's what's going on this morning:

First, I rolled the Perfect Harmony quilt into a nice little package and tied a ribbon around it.  I had that ribbon from something someone gave me, and it was perfect for this quilt.  I like this method because it's a nice gifty way to present a quilt, but in this case, it will also protect the dowel rod from getting broken.

Then I decided it would be fun to give this napkin-folding method a try.  I saw this tutorial on Our Best Bites.  It was a little difficult with the napkins I have to get them to stay folded.  These are going to sit overnight to see if any of them ~FAIL~.  These napkins are all made from natural fibers, which seemed to cling the best for this purpose.  Also, you need a good-sized napkin.  With so many folds, they get pretty thick.

After doing it about half a dozen times, I figured out that once you've accomplished the "lastly" part in the tutorial, you need to really tuck one corner under the other and give the outer corner a good tug to make sure they are really nested inside one another.  ("Nested".  That's Peep talk especially for Easter.)  Then when you turn it to open up the ears and the little base, hold it good and tight around the bottom.  If you don't get it right away, keep trying.  Also, experiment with different napkins.  Some work better than others. It gets easier with just a little bit of practice.

While I was folding the napkins, I was boiling some eggs.  I'm going to make some special deviled eggs out of these.  I saw a cute idea for Easter Deviled Eggs on Real Mom Kitchen.  For now, I just hard boiled the eggs.  I'll tell you more about what I'm going to do with them tomorrow. 

Query:  How many people mark their hard boiled eggs this way?  This is how my mother used to do it, and so I do it like she did.  Is this idea unique to my mother (and, presumably, my grandmother), or does everybody do it this way?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Matthew requested prime rib for his birthday dinner, and so prime rib it is.  Also on the menu are garlic mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes (at Matthew's special request), a mixed green salad, and my recipe for Tart Green Beans with Bacon.  I'm just about to show you how to make a non-fattening dish very fattening.  Sometimes I think it makes sense to throw caution to the wind, don't you?  For Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays, I don't worry about eating healthy.  I figure that leaves us 357 other days in the year to watch fat, calories, and sugar intake.  

So when I was a young bride still quite intent on pleasing my new husband (the same old one I've had for 38 years), I tried my hand a fresh green beans.  My mother was not fond of fresh vegetables.  I have no idea why.  Perhaps it was because she grew up on a farm.  She enjoyed the convenience of canned.  Perhaps she was just a product of her times.  Perhaps it was because my grandmother was a marathon canner.  Of course, there is a difference between home-canned vegetables and commercially-canned ones.  Our family was served the commercially canned ones.  All of that to say that I'd barely eaten a fresh vegetable up to that point unless it was raw carrots or celery.

I tried making them myself, but they were undercooked, stringy, and squeaky.  Undeterred, I asked my dear mother-in-law how to make fresh green beans my new husband would like.  This is the advice she gave me, and I have followed it ever since:  

"Boil the snot out of them until there is absolutely no nutrition left."  

And that is what I did.  It worked.  My green beans soon became legend (in my own family).  I wouldn't say that I boil "the snot" out of them any more, but I'm relatively certain that most of the nutrition is cooked out of them.  As I was saying, it's one of those days when I throw caution to the wind.  I sort of prefer them bean al dente these days.

Here's how I do it.  Boil two pounds of fresh green beans in salted water until they no longer squeak when bitten.  We do not like having our skulls rattled by squeaky green beans.

While you're doing that, fry up six slices of bacon (in 1/2-inch dice) until it's lightly browned.

Here, you can pour off some of the fat if you prefer, but I prefer all the fat and twice the calories for this application.  When the bacon is beginning to brown, add in 2/3 cup diced red onion.  I like the color of the red onion, but you can use yellow onion as well.  I advise against using sweet onions.  Sweet onions lose their flavor when they're cooked.  Red and yellow onions become sweeter than sweet onions, and I'm going for the sweetness in this recipe.

Stir the onion around a bit until it starts to soften.  Then add in 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Add a few grinds of pepper if you like pepper.

Bring that to a boil and stir it until you're sure the sugar has all dissolved.

Then turn off the flame.  Once your green beans are boiled, drain them and place them in a casserole dish.

Then pour the bacon/onion mixture over the top and toss it around a little.  Pretty huh?

Now, you can serve it up immediately, or you can do what I do.  I put it in the refrigerator at this point and reheat it in a 325°F. oven for half an hour when I'm ready for it.  You can safely make this dish two days ahead of time.  In fact, the flavors are better when it is allowed to sit overnight.  I'll put the recipe at the bottom of this post.

For now, I have some other things to take care of if I'm going to have any time for sewing today.  It's a beautiful day, and our weather is expected to last for at least several more days.  Today it's time for the tomato starts to go into the greenhouse.  Fly away little tomato starts!  I've been resisting because the water is turned off out there (to keep the pipes from freezing during the winter).  Mike assures me he will have it back on before the end of the day.  

And, of course, there is the housework, which is next on my list.  Any big plans for your weekend?


Oh, and one more thing.  Don't forget that the March NewFO Linky Party and Giveaway goes live tomorrow!

Now here's that recipe I promised you:

Tart Green Beans with Bacon
recipe by Barbara Stanbro
serves 8

2 pound fresh green beans -- washed, stemmed, stringed, and broken
6 slices bacon -- cut in 1/2" pieces
2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Boil green beans until tender.

Meanwhile, fry bacon in a skillet until lightly browned.  Add remaining
ingredients to skillet and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat.

Drain cooked beans.  Pour bacon mixture over beans and toss lightly


Dogwood Lane Rambles said...

This how my Aunt Sissy who grew up on an Oklahoma homestead taught me to make green beans: boil the snot out of them with a hunk of bacon and a chopped onion. Serve the whole thing with the pot liquor and some corn bread. Ambrosia I tell ya and completely void of nutrtion!

Tami C said...

Love your Perfect Harmony quilt package. Great idea for protecting the dowl rod. My mom always did fresh green beans and I think she probably cooked hers like your mother-in-law did. I think I'll try your recipe for Tart Green Beans with Bacon. I was hoping that the link for the March NewFO Linky Party would be in today's post since I'll be out of town tomorrow.

WoolenSails said...

I love green beans, butter and salt is all I need. I always soak mine, usually overnight and that helps in the cooking process.


Teresa in Music City said...

I never learned how to cook vegetables from my mom either, and there have been quite a few trial and error opportunities through the years :*) Thanks for sharing this great recipe - can't wait to try it! We will have a low-key Easter this year, but I need the rest so I'm okay with that!

Cinder Gal said...

Yes, I make my hard boiled eggs somehow to let me know they are hard boiled. Once, long ago, we were selling home raised eggs and this one time I was short one egg to make a dozen. Seeing an egg in a different part of the frig I grabbed and added it to the carton. Later they lady I'd sold them to said "I didn't realize chickens lay hard boiled eggs, now".

Lyndsey said...

I steam most of my vegetables and I tend to like them slightly undercooked if anything. I love just about all vegetables. That recipe looks great.
I've got family coming over for Easter and I suppose I should do some housework but I'm hoping to find some sewing time later.

Lucky Duck Dreams said...

Love green beans with bacon! I also add dill!

Lynette said...

oooOOOOOOooo It never occurred to me to mark the boiled eggs..... brilliant!

Brown Family said...

We never kept boiled eggs on hand so no need to mark them. THe beans look good!

heartsease54 said...

Yep, that's the way they were marked when I was growing up too. I still mark them individually if I don't do a full dozen. If I do a dozen, I just mark the carton AND mention that the marked carton is hard boiled.

Diane Wild said...

I usually drew a happy face on my hard boiled eggs...or, sometimes an angry face. Depended on my mood.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

My oldest son's birthday is Thursday.

Anonymous said...

The ribbon is perfect for your 'Harmony' quilt! and those beans!!! Well, how can a body go wrong when adding bacon and onions???!!!!???? Will definitely have to give that one a go soon!!! Thanks a bunch for the recipe!! Hugs, Doreen

Lynne said...

Sounds delicious. Love the presentation style for giving a small quilt!