December 29, 2014

2014, It's a Wrap!

Looking back…

This post was Featured on Rattlebrige Farm Blog as most viewed for First week of Jan 2014. 

Since this is the time of year where things end, and then begin again, I was looking to see which posts were liked by the most readers. Here are the top ten "most read" posts for 2014.  I am always pleasantly surprised to see what everyone likes!



This is a cake recipe that my cousin posted on Facebook, and wanted to give it a try. Wow, lots of you really liked this too.


1. Italian Cream Cake, the most read post!
http://www.mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/06/italian-cream-cake.html

You all were very interested in my decorating challenge. The hall. I continue to work on this one corner of the house!
table vignette with blue and white plates
2. Decorating Challenge, The Hall
http://www.mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/05/decorating-challengethe-hall.html


The next decorating challenge has been our guest room. But, for now, it is just the way I want it. Also, I learned that a room is not truly finished until the window is dressed.


3.Designing a Guest Bedroom 
http://mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/10/designing-guest-bedroom.html#comment-form


As for the kitchen...it certainly looked different when we moved in. We painted all of the walls,  I hung drapes I brought with me, and installed a new light over the table. 

4. Kitchen Remodel
http://www.mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/05/kitchen-remodel.html


As the summer turned to Fall, I got busy putting some fall touches around the house.

5. Autumn Decorating Around the House
http://mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/09/autumn-decorating-around-house.html


Here is a picture of our new landscaping. When we bought the house there was no sidewalk  nor landscaping. These changes have made such a difference in curb appeal.

6. In the Beginning, No Landscaping
http://www.mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/06/in-beginningno-landscaping.html


The bedroom updates interested you all also. Take a look to see what adding prints can do to finish off the project.

7.Guest Bedroom Design Update
http://mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/10/guest-bedroom-design-update.html


Christmas at our house interested many of you. I am just the same. I like to see how others are decorating their homes. 

8.Christmas at Our House
http://mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/12/christmas-at-our-house.html


I have been having fun with my dish collection as they have been brought from storage. It is almost like getting new things. So glad to be reunited with my familiar objects.
blue white plate collection
9.Some of My Dish Collection
http://www.mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/05/some-of-my-dish-collection.html


I was antsy to begin decorating for Christmas...so I started playing with decorating ideas early. 

10.Starting to Think About Christmas Décor
http://mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/11/starting-to-think-about-christmas-decor.html


We have a wrap on 2014!
"Thank you" all of you who read my posts, left comments, and supported me over the months. The end of January will mark my 2 year blogging anniversary. It has been such a fun experience.

I have made several "virtual" new friends, and learned so much about blogging, keywords, and photography. I hope to "see" all of you...during 2015! I love reading your comments and putting names and faces together.  Maybe one day we will meet up at a blogger conference, or maybe at the lake, or at an antique show. 

Looking forward to a wonderful 2015!

Happy New Year...
Sheila


Sharing this post with...
Rattlebridge Farm, Foodie Friday and Everything else.
http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-foodie-friday-and-everything-else.html
Dwellings, The Heart of Your Home
A Stroll Thru Life, Inspire me Tuesday
Stone Gable Blog, The Scoop
Between Naps on the Porch

December 26, 2014

Easy Cinnamon Bread

I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas with your family...and that you are still in the glow of this wonderful time of the year. 
One of my goals for the season was to do more baking. I cranked out quite a bit of bread, so I think I met my goal. I did not make any candy and that is probably a good thing. If it is in front of me I tend to nibble it.

One of the breads that I made was  a recipe for Amish Cinnamon Bread. This is a recipe that my daughter gave to me last year sometime, and I am just now getting around to making it. It is a very easy and yummy quick bread. No yeast. For some reason when I read the word "yeast" I think "hard to make." I guess I need to work through that issue sometime...but later! 

The first time I baked this recipe I had a hard time getting the deep center baked. I kept adding 5 minutes, and another five minutes, then repeatedly testing with a toothpick to come out clean. I finally got the bread done...but the crust was a bit too crispy I think. I have forgotten how long this loaf was in the oven...but it seemed like forever.

Not to be outdone I mixed another bowl of batter and reconfigured the baking pans. Instead of the "two" loaves of bread I divided the dough into "three" Pyrex loaf pans. That fixed the baking time problem and gave me nice moist loaves of bread. 

So...here we go for easy Cinnamon Bread with my adapted recipe.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 3 Pyrex loaf pans with Pam, or I use Wilton's Bake Ease spray. Nothing ever sticks.
Use a mixer to cream sugar and butter, plus remaining ingredients. 
Divide dough. See below. 
Easy Cinnamon bread
Very easy and very tasty!  Yes, I had a nibble before I took the picture.

Easy CINNAMON BREAD 


Batter:
1 cup butter, softened not melted.
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice)
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon 

Cream together 1 cup of  butter, 2 cups of sugar, and 2 eggs.  
Add milk, flour, and baking soda.  
Divide batter into three equal amounts and place into the three greased baking loaf pans.  
In a separate bowl mix the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top of the batter in each pan. 
Swirl with a knife.  
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 min or until toothpick comes out clean.  
(The first time you bake this bread take a look at it about 30 minutes into the baking process. Test with toothpick and gauge the remaining cooking time. Ovens are different, pans are different, etc.) 

Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing.
Optional, I drizzled a powdered sugar glaze onto the bread for a little extra sweetness. 

Amish Cinnamon Bread
This is a good breakfast bread, snack bread, or tea time bread. 

I hope that you like it. Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by.
Sheila
©MyKentuckyLiving



This post has been shared with...
Dwellings, The Heart of Your Home

A Stroll Thru Life, Inspire me Tuesday

Stone Gable Blog, The Scoop

Between Naps on the Porch

December 22, 2014

My Christmas Hustle and Bustle

tabletop Christmas trees

Since Thanksgiving it seems that I have had a whirl-wind of activities. How is it that an empty nester is so busy? ha! It could be that I am just slower than I used to be so I have to whirl around more while actually accomplishing fewer things. Could that be it? 
Decorated Christmas Tree
Our smaller tree fit nicely in the entry hall...letting it be seen from four rooms.
We have decked the halls, decorated the tree, shopped for gifts, wrapped those gifts, sent Christmas cards, cleaned the house ( well, still cleaning), and baked a few goodies (I baked some bread today too.) We still need to go to the grocery and stock up on things to cook two Christmas dinners. Yes two. Our kids will be home at two different times...and of course we want to feed them good home cooked food. 
Christmas at My Kentucky Living
Dining room and parlor are on the front of the house. 
Our menu will include a spiral sliced ham, old fashioned mashed potatoes, various vegetables, rolls and cornbread. Pecan pie and a French vanilla cake (all dressed up) will be on the sideboard. A dressed up cake means that I take a cake mix as a base and then customize it. I may make a home made caramel icing. I will nail than down before grocery shopping. So, more about that later. 

I had to rework the dining room table because my garland and bowl took up one third of the top of the table. It looked great, but was large...so I pared it down a bit so I would have room for place settings. I have not decided if I will use placemats or a table cloth. Both of the Christmas dinners will be during the day...so less formal. I am still thinking about the table top design. I will take some pics once I have set the table.
Decorating with pine cones
I love the sculptural qualities of pine cones. They lend great texture to a room too.
After taking everything off of the table, I dusted it. Next I put a large oval silver tray in the center of the table. Then I put my elevated cast silver bowl on the tray. I was not sure how it would work. The tray is from a tea service and is finely detailed, while the bowl is large and bold with a rough finish. I think they work fine. What are your thoughts?
Pine cones

pine cone centerpiece
Maybe too many pine cones here!
Pine cones
I put several gold tipped pine cones on the tray...but they seemed too busy looking, so I removed them.
silver tray and centerpiece
Better without so many pine cones.
Without the pine cones the centerpiece has a more sculptural look. I like it better. I also added some candlesticks. I once read in an etiquette book that you are not supposed to light candles during the day  prior to four or five o'clock. I need to do my research to see if the rule still exists. You all know that I am traditional...and that means that there are a few rules. ha!
silver tray and centerpiece
The tray might look good with fresh cut pine branches, or maybe fresh cut boxwood. I am not sure I will accomplish adding fresh greenery. But it would look very nice I believe.
silver tray and centerpiece
A simpler look for the dining table centerpiece.
While uploading these pictures I made a decision. I will use a white tablecloth! OK, decision made. This centerpiece begs for a nice crisp white cloth. I always use a tablepad underneath my tablecloth too. A pad makes a nice base, protects the good wood, and helps the cloth to lay nicer. 

Now that I have decided to use a white tablecloth, I must decide which dishes to use....my white Mikasa Countryside Italian dishes that are my every day dishes, my navy and white wedding china, or the blue and white Spode plates. (I also have Spode yellow and white chargers.) Let's nix the white ones. I want some color on the table. That leaves the two blue and white choices. I am just not sure right now. I will surprise you!
christmas at my kentucky living
Having the tree in the entry hall kept the great room floor space open.
After the hustle and bustle of pre-Christmas activities/tasks/parties, etc. I am ready to slow down. The house has taken on a cozy look even though I used minimal Christmas decorations this year. Here is the parlor all decked out for the season.
Christmas at my Kentucky living
All cozy and ready for us to just hang out and relax with the kids.
There is a tv in the armoire and a cd player on the tea table. This room may be small, but it is not lacking in electronics. :-) It makes a great refuge from the large flatscreen with ballgames.
The weather report for my part of Kentucky is looking like rain...and not snow for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Good, since we will have kids on the road coming home. You know the song Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's house We Go...well my kids have to cross the Kentucky River and drive down through the knobs (hills) of Kentucky to get to our house. I want good road conditions for them. 
Byers Carolers
Byers Carolers will sing what ever I put in the CD player. Neat huh!
I still have to stock the larder...but in just a few days the oven and range will be pressed into some serious cooking. I want the house to smell like home when the kids get here! 
golden retriever
Waiting
Mikey is laying on the floor across from me and I can tell that he has things on his mind too. He is thinking of "Santa Paws," of all of the food that has been brought into the house and when he will catch a nibble, when the other people (our kids) will be coming home to play with him, and any other multitude of things that a golden might be thinking of while "waiting." I can confirm to Santa Paws that Mikey has indeed been a good boy this year, his eleventh!

I am ready for Christmas! I hope. :-) 

Having my children come home, having a warm home for them, and having sufficient food when others do without, and being loved,...I am blessed, and thankful.

This week our minister said that his six year old daughter asked him a question. She asked "will the poor kids have Christmas too." Then he said to us, the congregation..."we know the answer to that question." 

There are people in our church who gave enough money to purchase food to fill eighty food boxes, to be delivered to those in need in our small community. There are wonderful people in the world, despite what the news shows tell us, and many live in my community and attend my church.

I wish you a wonderful time during this season of spiritual renewal. Pass along a few smiles,a few hugs, and offer up some random acts of kindness... just because.


Merci Beaucoup…
While I am being sentimental...I want to thank you for being one of my readers! Who knew that so many would find my little Kentucky blog so interesting? This January will make two years since I started writing, and I am overwhelmed at the positive responses from readers, subscribers, and other bloggers. I also find it so interesting that I have so many international readers. And they want to know how I do the things I do! I cannot help but smile and be thankful for so much support. I am making plans for 2015 and hope you find my topics and photographs fun, interesting, and informative. 
Merry Christmas Y’All

Sheila


This post has been shared with...
Dwellings, The Heart of Your Home

A Stroll Thru Life, Inspire me Tuesday

Stone Gable Blog, The Scoop

Between Naps on the Porch

Savvy Southern Style, Wow us Wednesday


Rattlebridge Farm...Foodie Friday
http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/2014/12/foodie-friday-and-everything-else-link.html

Savvy Southern Style...Wow Us Wednesdays
http://www.savvysouthernstyle.net/2014/12/wow-us-wednesdays-201.html

December 20, 2014

Christmas at Our House

Christmas at Our House
©MyKentuckyLiving

This post was featured at...



As I recall, Christmas began with pulling tubs and greenery out of the basement! 

Basically, I had a mess in the great room floor for a few days as I began the creative process of sorting and placing my treasured items here and there. We opted to go with a smaller tree this year...and less overall decorating, just to keep things simple and easy for us. We are empty nesters these days, so simple is good. I do not have little helpers like when the children were in school and home. I would get them to help me clean the silver, place decorations around the house, and other Christmas related tasks. They did get older and figured out that cleaning the silver was not fun like I had told them when I brought them into the silver cleaning workforce sometime in junior high school. 



December 18, 2014

My Banana Bread Recipe


Baking Banana Bread
©MyKentuckyLiving

Bisquick Banana Bread
I have been in the kitchen cranking out banana bread this week. I have had this recipe for years, and it is online now at Cooks.com. But like most recipes, I tweak them some. This is a great bread to make and give away, or to have for visitors at your home, or for yourself. It is good with your morning coffee or tea...or for coffee or tea time later in the day. It also freezes well, for about a month. I am going to share the original recipe, and share with you how I (and you) can "change it up." 

Bisquick Banana Bread 
preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • 2 1/3 Cups of Bisquick
  • 1 Cup of sugar
  • 1/3 Cup of Veg or Canola oil.
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • optional,3/4 Cup of chopped nuts. I use pecans.

1. Mix together Bisquick, sugar, oil, & eggs. Beat well with mixer.
2. Stir in mashed bananas.
3. Stir in vanilla and nuts.
4. Grease and flour your baking pan or pyrex. (I use 2 glass pyrex loaf pans or a Bundt cake pan.) 
5. Pour the batter into pyrex, pans, or bundt.
6. Bake 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes depending on the pan: glass, dark nonstick, size, mini loaf pans, muffin pan, etc. All of these affect baking time.Test for done-ness by inserting a toothpick or thin knife into the center of the bread to see if it comes out clean. Clean means that the batter has cooked and that the pan is ready to come out of the oven. Do not over bake...You get dried out bread.

Note: This recipe makes a lot of batter. I find that it is best to divide the batter into two loaf pans, or several small loaf pans, or muffin/cupcake pans.This requires you to monitor the baking time at all times until you have figured out what is best for your pan choice and your oven.  (If you put all of this batter into one loaf pan you can have a situation where the bread is too done on the outside in order to get the inside done.)  

My changes/suggestions
1. I often use half white sugar and half light brown sugar. I think it might make the bread more moist.
2. Can use a powdered sugar glaze of your choice.
3. I like a caramel icing on top of the bread. 
4. I discovered sugar cookie icing in a squeeze bag...it worked great on the top of my banana bread.
5. I always add a teaspoon or two of cinnamon.
6. You can also add a band of parchment paper to assist with removing the bread loaf from the container. Still grease and flour pan.

Enjoy. 

I would love to hear how you add to or change this recipe, if you do.

I give away some of the bread I bake...but I always bake some to keep around the house too. 
Here is the cookie icing I was telling you about earlier. This is a gift from heaven for me, since I cannot seem to make pretty iced cookies. Maybe I need to practice more...but this little packet of sugar icing works just fine for me. :-) I put some on the top of one banana bread loaf. I like it.
Have you tried Aspen Cider Spices before? I have bought these little cartons of spice mix for years at a local gift shop. They are great to include with a baked gift or keep around the kitchen. I like to put a couple of spoons full in my tea. You can also add it to apple cider, juice, or mulled wine. Sprinkle some on a ham before you bake it. Yum.

Back when we entertained larger groups I would put a gallon or two of apple cider, or apple juice, into my huge coffee urn, and put a box of spice mix into the plastic coffee filter (minus the paper filter.) As the cider "perks" the spices mix into the liquid. Yum. 

While we are in the kitchen let me share a few pics that I took while the banana bread was baking.
Red Kitchen Aid Mixer
This is a nice six quart pro mixer and bowl. Hubby gave it to me for Valentine's day several years ago. I often mix double and triple batches of things...so a normal size was just not large enough. Daughter inherited my original white Kitchen Aid. She says she uses it every week. So, it went to a good home!
I have a few farm animals in my kitchen...
roosters and Petunia Pig. Here is one of my small roosters.
Beatrix Ball tray
My Beatrix Ball tray is very useful. Easy cleanup with a formal look. For this traditional girl, it is the best of both worlds. 
Christmas in the Kitchen
Here is one of many looks for the kitchen table. Also, we put wreaths all around the house, even the back. I like the look. The wreaths remind me that this is a special time of the year. A time to be home and stoke the home fires. A time to be quiet and cozy...and think about what is really important in life. 
Kitchen in Candlelight
And here is the kitchen with a little candlelight. I always love a reason to light candles...and holiday time is a great reason. 
I may just sit down and enjoy a piece of warm banana bread and a hot cup of spiced tea, and watch the flicker of candlelight...and think about how special this time of the year is. 

If you do not have time to make this banana bread before Christmas, I suggest you try it sometime this winter. It is good. 

Thanks for visiting.
Sheila 

Here is the link to the recipe online too. 
http://www.cooks.com/recipe/s96ls0kb/bisquick-banana-bread.html

Aspen Cider Spices are available on Amazon.(I offer an Amazon link in the sidebar because I am an Amazon Affiliate.) Click, then type Aspen Cider Spices in the search box. Let me know if you like them.

Thanks for visiting,
Sheila
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
More Posts, Christmas@MyKentuckyLiving
Christmas in the Parlor
It's Looking Like Christmas
Making Your House Festive With Greenery/Christmas
A Kentucky Christmas Luncheon With Friends
A Christmas Bowl
My Sweet Potato Casserole
A Holiday Home Tour, Lexington
Welcome Guests With A Festive Door and Windows
A Few Simple Ornaments
Buffet Table Fun
Another Christmas Centerpiece...sort of.
An Easy Christmas Centerpiece
Using Blue & White Spode for Christmas
http://mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com/2014/11/blue-white-spode-for-christmas.html

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I am sharing this post on the following blogs

RattleBridge Farm
http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/2014/12/foodie-friday-and-everything-else-link.html

Between Naps on the Porch

Dwellings, The Heart of Your Home

 A Stroll Thru Life

Stone Gable Blog
Savvy Southern Style, Wow us Wednesday

December 15, 2014

Byers Choice Caroler Collection


Hello everyone. Are you surviving the seasonal whir of activities, shopping, and baking? I hope you are. Take a few minutes to look at my carolers...and step into a fun world of collectibles. 

Today I thought that I would begin showing you my carolers. I collected them for a number of years at the rate of one per year in most cases, ...and then I tapered off...as they take quite a bit of space to display and to store the other ten and a half months of the year.

This is my hunt couple with fox. In Kentucky there still are some hunt clubs that carry on the English tradition. 
I love the attention to detail that is done on these hand made creations. Their mouths are open for you to imagine that they are singing...thus they are "Carolers." In some ways they remind me of the French Provencal Santons. There is a personage for almost every possible villager! 
Their riding jackets are patterned after the ones that people wear. He has a horn and she has a riding whip. Both look quite smart!
Both jackets have a small berry and holly flower. I am impressed with the lace blouse and the braided leather whip. Her skirt is a moiré type fabric. Each is wearing the appropriate hat for his/her costume.
We had to have the fox of course. Also note the riding boots for the mister.
I am not sure...but I feel that the heads are a sort of papier-maché. The lady has tissue paper around her wire legs....Sorry Miss, I had to look.
I have a few other "village" people to show you later.

Here is a link to the Byer website if you are interested in seeing more. 
I have no affiliation with Byer...I just love the Carolers. in fact I just returned from spending a few minutes there.
www.byerschoicecorner.com

Thanks for visiting today,
Sheila


You Might Like These Christmas Themed Posts Too…

Christmas in the Parlor
It's Looking Like Christmas
Making Your House Festive With Greenery/Christmas
A Kentucky Christmas Luncheon With Friends
A Christmas Bowl
My Sweet Potato Casserole
A Holiday Home Tour, Lexington
Welcome Guests With A Festive Door and Windows
A Few Simple Ornaments
Buffet Table Fun
Another Christmas Centerpiece...sort of.
An Easy Christmas Centerpiece
Using Blue & White Spode for Christmas




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