Sunday, May 31, 2020


Two days ago I started making homemade clotted cream. It is simple to make but it takes about 24 hours, so it can't be rushed.  (I now understand why the stuff is so darn expensive.)

I made the clotted cream and my lovely neighbor made cherry almond scones.  And then we each gave half of what we made to the other. It was the best breakfast I've had in weeks: homemade scones and clotted cream - delightful. We'll have to do it again when we can enjoy breakfast together!

Saturday, May 23, 2020


I'm not a big cook. I don't really enjoy it; to me it is more chore than fun. It just takes so much... time. Well, time is something I have in abundance these days, so I've gotten more adventurous in the kitchen lately. So, I present to you, drum roll please...

Moroccan beef and vegetables served on homemade Naan bread. 

Delicious, if I do say so myself. But it's bread, and I pretty much love any and all breads, so it wasn't a hard sell. Nor was it hard to make. You'll find the meat recipe here and the Naan recipe here

I've made these twice now and my Naan turned out much better the second time. The secret was to let the dough rest (in a bowl covered with plastic wrap) for a few hours. It turned out much better than the batch I cooked right away.

I think quarantine has gotten to me and I've officially lost my mind; the footstool talks to me, the pasties were happy to be eaten, and now the Naan seems to be smiling at me. It may be time to go out for a walk.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Too Close to Home

We're a game playing family, but right now these two aren't leaving the cupboard.

They're both great games, but they hit just a little close too home these days...

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Feeding an Army

Last week the kids and I set out to make pasties.

A lot of pasties. The goal was to make enough so we could have dinner and then freeze the rest for another meal or two.

We used this recipe and were quite happy with the results.  (We did add carrots into the mix.)

At the end of the day we'd chopped enough vegetables and rolled enough dough to make 25 pasties and two meat pies. (At the end of the day we got lazy.) Plenty to share with the neighbors, feed us dinner, and stash 20 pasties and one meat pie in the freezer for later.

The only down side - I think the pasties are in league with the step stool. Just look at that smile. I would have thought they would've been more upset at the idea of being eaten...

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Passing the Time

One of the things I did this week to keep busy was make eight gallons of homemade laundry detergent. Not a particularly exciting way to pass the time I know, but very practical. The best part is, I probably won't need to make any more until about August.

For me, homemade detergent is actually easier than store bought. Everything I buy has to be bagged at the store, unbagged and packed in a tote, loaded into the car, unloaded at the dock, and finally put on a luggage cart so  the ferry can bring it over to the Island. Since detergent is mostly water, dealing with the ingredients is a lot less work than lugging big bottles around. (The plumber told us not to use powdered detergent, or dishwasher soap, since we have a sewer grinder.) Plus, a few years, the Grand Hotel was getting rid of 50 pound bags of washing soda. I still haven't used even a fourth of the bag I stashed in the basement. So all I need to get to the Island are small bars of Fels-Naptha soap and the occasional box of  Borax

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent 

1 bar of Fels-Naptha or Zote soap, grated (I prefer Fels-Naptha)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup Borax

You will also need:

Large pot
Blender (immersion or stand) or a hand mixer
Containers to hold approximately four gallons of liquid
Funnel for filling containers

Get your biggest pot; I use the biggest pot we have - the one we use to boil spaghetti noodles. Fill it with water and set in on the stove on high heat. While the water is heating, grate the bar of soap.  Put the grated soap into the water so it can dissolve. This usually takes a few minutes (I think stirring helps the soap dissolve.) You want hot, but not boiling water. (If it boils, you'll get suds.) Once the soap has dissolved, slowly add in the Borax and washing soda - letting what you add dissolve before you add more. Once you're happy that everything has dissolved, turn the stove off and let the mixture cool. This takes a while so I usually just leave mine to cool overnight.

As the detergent cools it will congeal into a thick mass. I like to use my hands to break up the goo into smaller globs. (If you have kids at home, this is a perfect job for them - as long as you're up for lots of booger jokes.) After the mass isn't a mass anymore and more liquidy, use the blender to liquify it even more. The blender / mixer really breaks down the goo and it makes mixing in the water later much easier.

As I finish blenders full, I use the funnel to pour even amounts of the stuff into four, one-gallon jugs. Once I've got the entire pot full blended and into the gallon jugs, I fill the jugs with warm water; giving each one a really good shake to make sure the detergent and the water are well mixed. That's it. Then it's off to the basement until I need it. Usually I give the jug a little shake each time I use the detergent because sometimes it does separate a little (though as yet I haven't discovered a why one batch does while another batch doesn't.) I use about a half-cup of detergent per load of laundry.

I think for tomorrow's project, the kids and I will make pasties...

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Is it Just Me?

I think sheltering in place is finally getting to me and I'm losing my marbles. Not only am I watching way more TV than I ever have in my life, but I think the furniture has started talking to me.

I swear that step stool just asked me to stop stepping on his head.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


Spring is slowly coming to Mackinac. Today I noticed a few crocuses in my neighbor's yard. As I walked by my garden I saw a few hyacinths, tulips and a trillium or two inching their way up. If we can get another good rain and then a few warm days, I bet I'll have some color to brighten things up a bit. And there's nothing like flowers to improve my mood.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day

Wishing a wonderful day to one of the most 
adventurous people I've ever known.
Happy Mother's Day Mom!
Sorry we couldn't go to brunch
with you today.
Hopefully next year we'll
be able to celebrate as a family...

My Mother's Day was lovely. It started at 6:30 with a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee in bed, made 100% by my children.  (They wanted to make sure I didn't get up before they did, and even had the kitchen clean before I came downstairs.) The day ended with a steak dinner with baked and grilled pineapple on the side, and homemade pineapple ice cream for desert. (If you haven't guessed yet - pineapple is my favorite.) It may have been socially distant, but it was a delightful day.

Friday, May 8, 2020


The other day my friend, Lynn, posted about the doughnuts she and her boys made. My daughter saw the post and decided we needed doughnuts, too. Luckily, we had one of these, so whipping up a batch was a breeze. 

I think I need to reign myself in a bit. Now that I have lots of time I want to bake something sweet every day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Sharing the Love

My husband cleaned off the game shelf the other day, culling the ones the kids have grown out of and the ones we just don't play anymore. Rather than stashing them in the Goodwill box, I wiped them down, put them on the porch and offered them up on our local resideir new owners get as much enjoyment out of them as we did.

Friday, May 1, 2020

More Masks

Keeping busy is helping me deal with Michigan's shelter in place order. I can't imagine not having a hobby right now.

Let me tell you, the binding attachment my mom got me last year has been getting a lot of use this spring! It has made sewing on the ties go so much faster. The only down side - it doesn't like thick home dec. fabric. 

These masks will soon head to one of the hotels downtown and the Mackinac Island Airport.