More Orchids

It’s that time of year where I put pictures of my orchids on my blog for no reason other than I’m proud of myself.

Still truckn’

Came back to read more about my truck?  Aren’t you sweet.

The driver door, tail gate and hood are from different black trucks.  I say he is all original…. originally from other trucks. I named him Patches. When he rolled off the assembly line he was two tone green, then painted a minty green and some of the cab is white from that repaint, some is still pine green, oh and the black drivers door.  Yea like I said – Patches.

So why am I writing about him now seeing as we welcomed him to the family back in August?  He is having a very long sleepover at the mechanics, the brake overhaul was just to much for us on our own, and I miss him.

It’s much more than just a truck, it’s a family project and a conversation starter everywhere Patches goes.

Follow him on Instagram.

Still reading?  Good for you.  So here is the bonus content.
– The ODO reads 25K so it could be 125 or 225
– The air filter canister is original and it’s Ford blue.
– The VIN can be used to determine the month year and where it was built.  June ’72 Virginia, thanks for asking.
– The grill appears to be original to the truck even though it’s the ’71 design.
– When we look under the hood we play a game ‘what did this wire go to’ mostly the answer is the AC.
– Originally there were two gas tanks to switch between, he is missing the one under the bed so it’s just the 10 gallon behind the seat.
– my favorite thing is the instrument cluster
– The rust holes in the bed keep water from collecting and the bed rusting through, yes that is ironic.
– When you go through a puddle really fast the passenger has to put their foot over the hole in the floor or they get really wet.
– I half jokingly say he would make a great spokes person for a no more body shaming campaign.

Keep on truck’n

I have too many projects and hobbies… say me never!  Well may be I say it once in a… no never mind.

Last August one of my lust affair became a love affair.  I adore old vehicles especially the big gutsy V8s that the 70s were known for.  Old pick up, pile on even more love.

I was looking, almost in a fantasy state, through local adds and decided to change ti to a reality.   We looked at a ’73 F100 three hours away, total bust.  I’m okay with rust, in fact expected it, but I want to see it so I know what I am getting into.  The rust was all poorly painted over, even the loose stuff in the bed, so sad.  It was a V8, but not the original and poorly mounted.

I kept sending my husband pictures of this ratty miss matched pickup.  He said if I called and set it up we would go look at it.  Done.  A quick trip out of town, a crank of the engine later and even he was in love.  A handshake and a tow dolly latter,  he was sleeping in our driveway.


So to get to the boring fine points, the frame is in good shape, the rocker panels aren’t rusted out and it has power steering.  The exciting stuff, oh I could go on forever.  A 1972 F100, V8 360, that I am guessing gets 8 miles to the gallon.  We put in a rebuilt carburetor, and he lives no more sleeping!

His name is Patches, he’s my truck.  Come back I’ll have more stories.

Bodacious Mac n Cheese

That’s right I said Bodacious.  This is how I make mac and cheese, and it is a labor of love.  You might not think that mustard, mushrooms and and ham have a place in this classic but I promise it’s worth a little stretch on the traditional. (sorry no picture, we ate it all)

I have more tips and ideas at the bottom of the post for now; When you pick the cheese think melty soft squishy cheese.  If you pick cheese that is to dry the cheese sauce will be tacky and not saucy.

Labor of love, step 1
Pre heat the oven to 350C, and open the wine to let it breath. 
I start by warming the milk and cream in a small sauce pot, being cautions not to scorch it, while infusing it with flavors.   At a minimum I add the bay leaves, garlic and mustard as it is warming, but infusing the milk with the mushroom flavor is very subtle yet over the top.  This takes a while so I like to start it first.  If you don’t like the texture of mushrooms, no worry they don’t actually make it into the mac and cheese. 
Labor of love, step 2
Salt the pasta water and cook the noodles al dente.  When draining the pasta shake off as much water as possible and add it back to the still hot pot to help drive off as much of the water as possible.  This will keep the final product from getting to watery.  Add the diced ham and stir. 
Labor of love, step 3
You can make the bread crumb mixture now or in the end, doesn’t really matter.  Just toss the bread, Parmesan cheese and thyme in a blender or mini prep food processor, zip and done.  Mix with melted butter.  Too much fuss?  Store bought bread crumbs, work fine…just get some decent cheese none of that shakey mess.  Or skip it all together.
Labor of love, step 4+
Now it’s time for the foundation, the roux.  If you have never made a roux there are tons of articles out there, be patient you will get the hang of it.  It does need a lot of attention so I like to make it at the end when I can give it my full focus.  Melt the butter on low med until its foamy and add the flour, mixing to form a paste. Continue to cook the roux until it’s that toasty brown color and nutty fragrance.   Add the infused milk mixture, pouring through a strainer to remove the mushrooms and bay leaves.  Stir constantly, I like to use a whisk, heating it gently until it begins to thicken so about 2 min or so on med low.   Pull it off the heat and stir in the cheese.  
Pour all this mess into the pot with the noodles and ham, stir.  Then pour all of this glorious stuff into an oven safe dish, about 8 x 8 should do it, and top with bread crumbs.  Bake it at 350C until it is bubbly around the edge and the crumbs are lightly brown, about 20 min.
I know this is a lot of steps but like I said – a labor of love.  See below, after the ingredients, for a few extra tips and flavor ideas.  
Cheese Sauce (infused milk and roux)
1 cup of 2% milk
1 cup of heavy cream
1 -2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoons garlic powder
big handful of sliced mushrooms
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoons flour
1.5 cup of shredded cheese (truth I have used up to 2 cups)
Pasta
1/2 lb of dry pasta, pick something that will hold the cheese but not have to compete with the size of the ham, favorites are med shells and corks screws
8 oz of diced ham
salt for the water
Bread crumb top
2 slices of white bread, day old is best
1/3 cup of parm cheese
(thyme is really good too)
Those after the credits tid bits – 
– Something I found to be helpful when making a roux; a white enamel pot takes the guess work out of the color.  
– Stuff I have put into the milk and would recommend any combination of; mustard, thyme, bay leaves, mushrooms, dash of liquid smoke, crushed garlic cloves, onion slices – experiment. 
– Ever had mac and cheese that was lumpy, that’s because the fat to starch ratio was off.  We usually only have 2% milk in the house, which is why I use the heavy cream for the extra needed fat.   However you can mix 3/4 cup of milk with 1/3 a cup of melted butter for 1 cup if heavy cream.  

This time??

Well rinse and repeat, I have been neglectful again.  I would say so much has changed this past year, truthful but the same song and dance I gave last year about this time.

So what have I been up to? Working lots, now not working so much.  Bought an old truck, ’72 F100, that needs work but more on that another time.  Family changes, some good some sad, nothing that I really want to air on my blog.  I learned to make a rocking mac and cheese that (duh) I will be sure to share later.  Discovered I now like avocados, which surprised me.  Made new friends, and I like all of them so that’s convenient.  Got a little better at decorating, at least in my opinion.

What haven’t I bean up to?  Never did learn to drive a stick, I know I know – shame on me.  Still haven’t mastered the creme brulee.  I have not given up my love affair with fabric and sewing, even through my machine hasn’t been out in a while.

What do I want to be up to?  Stuff that make me a bad ass at this adulting thing!
Learn to make crepes, apple fritters, and a reliably good stuffed pork loin ( I may have caught one on fire, which is not a reliable method).  Sew clothes for myself, noting crazy just something for around the house. Growing more orchids, fluke accident with the heater in the green house and I lost several. Paint something that I want to hang up, where other people will see and want to see it.  Work on Patches, he is my truck!  Thin out the clutter herd, closets beware.  Learn Gregorian short hand, everyone needs something random stashed in their head, and that’s way more useful than song lyrics. –  unless you’re playing trivia, then song lyrics are helpful (domo arigato Mr Roboto).  I’m sure my mind will wonder to other things as time goes by, lets see how much makes it to the blog!

I did it again.

I can’t believe I have neglected my blog, again!  So much has happened in the past several months.

I started a new job that I worked very hard to get.  I quit 6 months later for a job that worked hard to get me. 

I became a Doctor Who fan. 

We have had a multitude of personal life changing events.  Some expected, some a surprise, some devastating, some confusing and some very wonderful. 

I learned the value of being flexible in situations.

The dogs are still lazy.

I haven’t bought a purse in six months (whaaaat?)

We had what  my sister in law and I were calling the first annual WTFgiving in November.  

Discovered the basics to a really yummy kale smoothie.

Made new work and church friends.

 But what I haven’t done, is make a list of blog topics.  *sigh*

Wooty Whoo

I am an animal lover and enjoy having woods in the back yard.  We see all kinds of creatures; eastern king snakes, blue heron, ladder back woodpecker, and what appeared to be a whole tribe of racoons having a drum circle on the deck with the fish food container.  I was excited when one night we spotted a new visitor in the back yard.  Then he came back again the next morning and my husband took this awesome picture.   I read that the barred owl can and will actually eat fish, sometimes wading in shallow water in search of a meal.  Sure enough, I’m missing one Butterfly Koi.

Come on Spring!

Every spring we have finches that will nest on the front porch. They always insist on building a nest  in the middle of one of the ferns smashing and pulling until the middle of the plant is dead.  Never mind that there is a clean, covered and safe from predators birdhouse hanging two feet away.  Well, we have had a warm few days here in NC and they are starting early, by pulling apart my front door wreath and stuffing it into that birdhouse. 

Washable Sponges

I never know what to do with my left over terry cloth pieces when I make reusable paper towels.  I always end up with what looks like a heap of mascaraed hand towels and lint everywhere.  So I added washable sponges to my Etsy shop.  Check the Etsy Mini shop to the right.  Or click here.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/180246405/washable-sponge-set-of-2?ref=shop_home_active_1

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/180246405/washable-sponge-set-of-2?ref=shop_home_active_1