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
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