Let's Talk Dried Flowers And Meatloaf...
Hello friends and happy Friday to you all! Although the calendar says February, the last 6 days has brought all four seasons to our area of Kentucky. Last Saturday we had snowflakes falling the size of golf balls then 3 days later I was wearing capris and flats. I could have gotten away with flip flops if I liked wearing them...and if I was up to date with my pedicure 😳. The temps started to drop again and for the last three days, this is what we've had...
Can you see the rain drops on the window? My little fairy hiding behind my miracle orchid is showing me the weather today. But, you know what? That's okay. I'm totally okay with the rain because 1) It's not snow and 2) Spring is on the way and all the daffodils are starting to pop up and soon the tulips will be, too. All the spring flowers need this rain and like it or not (this goes to my husband) the grass does, too. I don't want to jump the gun here because anyone in this area knows we have had ice storms and tornadoes in April! So, since it's rainy and not snowing, I'm in the SPRING state of mind today. And to get me in the mood I have my Yankee candles burning.
This scent above has to be one of my top 3 favorite scents. We bought two of these puppies back at the Yankee After Christmas sale and ironically one of them didn't have a wick! Of course we didn't know it when we bought it, but we decided to put it in one of those candle warmers that are full size and it melts the candle all the way through. I bought this one below for $2 at a garage sale last year and it was brand new-only needed a light bulb which I have plenty of! I was excited that I remembered I bought it. I have a tendency to forget some of the things I buy... I will say, I worried that by warming them up versus burning a candle via wick the scent may not last as long. Well, so far this candle has lasted well over a week and it still smells amazing!
In my office I have this one burning. Another top 3 favorite. Is it possible to have like 7 top three candles? Because I have at least 7 top three lol.
And needless to say, last week Yankee had "another" sale so it was a MUST for me to swing by and pick up some tarts. All their spring scents made me want to decorate for Easter, but I will at least wait for March for that. So to compensate, I picked up Easter color tarts 😂 This is my stash I keep in our bedroom! I won't show you my kitchen stash... I'm sure it's gone through "someone's" head that it's just something else I "collect"...😉
So yesterday I was relaxing and enjoying my hot tea when I found myself staring at the beautiful bouquet that a certain special someone had delivered to me unexpectedly for Valentine's Day. I'm just going to say it out loud, it doesn't matter WHO you are, when someone comes to the door (work or home-doesn't matter!) delivering flowers, 1) they become your most favorite stranger and you automatically become the friendliest person EVER and 2) you secretly hope that your name is on the winning envelope attached to the that 3 pronged plastic rod stuck in the bouquet. And last week, my name was on a winning envelope 😍
A week has gone by and I remembered that one of my "Encouraged to Try" resolutions was to learn different ways to preserve cut flowers and display them. So, I finished my tea and headed to work! The flowers were starting to change color and some had already dropped their petals so I opted to do the quickest route and set out to oven-dry them. There are all sorts of ways to dry flowers, but since this was so last minute and I really didn't want to head to Hobby Lobby to pick up supplies, I just figured I'd give this a shot.
So, first I removed the leaves from the flowers and cut them down to an easier size to work with. As you can see, some were already dried up like these asters. I just put them aside to use with the others later.
Then the ones that were still fresh looking I cut from their stalk, same with the roses. Some of the flowers I could shake and the petals fell so I placed those on a plate for later as well.
When I was finished going through and cutting everything, this was my collection to go into the oven...
I just love these colors ☺️ Now it was time to arrange them for "baking". I went to put the oven on 100 degrees, but it automatically adjusted to 170, so I was forced to work with that. Next, I took three cookie sheets and lined them with aluminum foil because the point of drying is for the flowers to lose moisture so with that being said, I didn't want my cookie sheets stained or ruined. I separated all the flower heads so they weren't touching each other and although I didn't feel like I had a lot of flowers, I was surprised I ended up using three pans.
And into the oven they went!
I left the oven door open the entire process and about every 20 minutes or so I checked on them. The first 20 minutes I was shocked to see the asters already dried up. I was also aware that the roses were becoming "flat" on the side they were lying on and I didn't want that. When I lifted them, I could see the moisture on the foil so I came up with an idea!
I wanted to raise the roses off the foil so I decided to use wooden clothesline clips. And they worked perfectly! Back in the oven they went! Notice how they are starting to lose their white color...?
Earlier when I was cutting the roses, I noticed some of the stems had little sprouts. I immediately remembered reading a post on facebook that someone else noted sprouts on her rose stems and was wondering if they could root them. I decided to look this up on Pinterest and sure enough, it's completely possible to do. I have many different types/colors of roses in the yard, but I don't have either of these white ones (large single bud and miniature small buds). When Bill came home from work, he ran out to the compost bin for me and collected some beautiful prized soil, enough for three little clay pots, so each stem would have a good start.
The flowers dried in the oven just as I expected. I tossed the green fern leaves though. I had a feeling they would shrivel and look brown so I was okay with tossing them. After they were finished, I let them cool on a little rack before arranging them in the vase they were delivered in. I will say, I am not too fond of the smell afterwards. You know that smell when flowers sit in a vase for too long and need to have the water changed? Well, it's similar to that...😷 It did fade though.
While they were cooling, it was time to prepare dinner. Bill had gotten some ground beef and ground pork out to thaw, which was my hint that he wanted some homemade meatloaf! Yes, meatloaf. I have to laugh because most people associate meatloaf on the same scale as liver and onions. Ironically, we both also like liver and onions!😂 But to be honest, neither one of us really cared for meatloaf growing up. But what I was about to make wasn't just any meatloaf!
Back in our early years of marriage, one of the 50 something magazine subscriptions I belonged to was the magazine Taste of Home. It's still around and I'm SURE most of you have heard of it. It was one of my ultimate favorite magazines and a time where I really enjoyed learning to cook. Taste of Home ran many recipe contests and literally tried the recipes in their test kitchens. I soon learned that their main headquarters was located in Wisconsin and they had a restaurant that served visitors. Their menu consisted of winning recipes from different contests. One of the winning recipes was a meatloaf recipe...and it was the number one seller on the menu. It was published in the magazine that month and I cut it out to try. And ever since then Bill and I absolutely LOVE meatloaf-well, this one anyway! And being that it's a recipe, I was able to take out what I KNEW I wouldn't like 😌, but the flavor is still there. The key to this recipe though is the sauce. I was kindly asked to make more of it after trying it for the first time so now I double the recipe so there's extra at the table. I included the recipe on my home page under the "recipe" tab located in center of page or you can click here and scroll down.
...and to make you hungry, here's all the ingredients ready to be mixed! Yes, that's cheese! Who doesn't like cheese???
Stuff and pat it into a nice big loaf pan and stick it in the oven! Now it's time to make the sauce!
After 45 minutes of baking, I remove it from the oven and with a baster, I suction out any grease. The better the ground meat, the less grease there is. I didn't have much, but I still try to remove what I can. I just stick the baster in at all 4 corners where the meat has pulled away from the pan and suction what I can.
Then I cover the top with the sauce (saving some for those who want a little more at the table) and let it drip down the sides of the meat a little. Back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Then this...
DELICIOUSNESS!!! Of course no meatloaf is complete without some sort of potato, so potatoes and green beans were the side dishes. The meatloaf, however, was once again the spotlight!
And here is my little dried flower arrangement that decorated the dinner table. You can see how the roses lost their white color and took on an antique look.
And now they sit in my office for me to continue to look at and remind me how my name was on the winning envelope...💘
OH, and here's our little rose stems in their new temporary setting. Hopefully they'll take off and we will be able to plant them at the end of spring. Bill suggested we use the glass bell I picked up at a garage sale (I CANNOT WAIT FOR GARAGE SALE SEASON 🤣!!) to cover all three at the same time to create the greenhouse effect we need instead of using a cut-up two liter bottle, so we plugged the top with foil since it doesn't have a top and viola...Fingers crossed this works!!! (I see humidity!)
That's it for today! Have a great weekend everyone. Oh and try the meatloaf and let me know what you think!!!