Hello Readers,
As you read this column, Easter weekend has been celebrated, and, to tell you the truth, I have no idea what this column is going to be about! Now, that is truth for you!

While looking for an inspiration, I picked up a 16-year old Woman’s Day magazine. Thumbing through it, I discovered the circle of life goes on. Articles on Solutions were: 21 Ways to Save Time Every Day; How to Care for Family Pets; Smart Money Moves, Looking for Bargains? Woman at the Wheel: How to Shop Safety. In the Health Department, all types of items to keep yourself healthy. Diet & Exercise show how to team up and shape up, lose the guilt and excess inches. Words of Wisdom was short but sweet; Gardening with Cactus…not a fan; If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It!; Good Looks concerning your smile, hair removal, clothing classics; Beauty Tips; How to Make a Classic Quilt…hmmm; How to Make Any Kitchen Better and lots of Food tips, recipes and menus.

Magazines are my Achilles heel; I hate to throw them out! I have saved old magazines for years, and really don’t know why. I don’t think they are valuable. I do know they hold a lot of information that I am always gleaning. I have magazines that are over 50 years old. I know, you are asking yourself, why? See answer above. I guess I could have a worse kind of addiction!

As I thumbed through the pages, I realized life was not so different in the year 2000. Everyone was trying to find the best way to reinvent the wheel. And then I saw it. It was in the Letters to the Editor, it was a Chair Planter. Just use an old chair, paint it a bright color and cut out the seat to set in a flower pot filled with any floral plants you love to display. So easy; so unique! So pretty!

There, I feel better now. I found something to share, something I know I would love to make to sit proudly in the corner of my lanaii, and something to write about, too. Now to find the right chair…

Something else to share is the best Shortcake recipe I have ever made. This is not a cake…it is a biscuit-type shortcake which is absolutely delicious to use with the fruit of your choice.


4 tablespoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used Half and Half, it was all I had)
2 egg, divided use
2 tablespoons coarse sugar (optional)

For the shortcakes:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds at a time until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add 1 egg and cream; mixing until dough is formed.
Place the dough on a floured surface and form it into a ball. Flatten the dough until you end up with a disc that’s approximately 1 inch tall.
Cut the disc diagonally to form 6 triangles. Beat the second egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of the shortcakes with the egg. Sprinkle the coarse sugar evenly over the tops (this is optional but it looks really pretty!).

Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove the shortcakes from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
Fill with fruit and enjoy! PAT
Actually, Readers, we found a lot of seamstresses that were difficult to find for BONNIE S.
Ordinarily, I contact a reader who is seeking information, giving the name and address of the person who offers the service requested. Because I have heard so many ask for a seamstress, I decided to publish the emails as there are many areas where seamstresses may be found.

In the latest edition of Village Crier you asked about a local alterations seamstress. I have been using “Ana” at 200 Dry Cleaners at Heath Brook Commons. She is amazing at alterations, and requests reasonable prices.
There is also an alterations store at the Gaitway Plaza shopping center on SW College Road next to TJ Maxx. I have not personally used the store at Gaitway Plaza. MARILYN B., OCALA

2. My husband and I highly recommend Charlie’s Tailor Shop. He is a professional perfectionist seamstress:
Charlie’s Tailor Shop
13 SW 10th St, Ocala, FL 34471
(352) 620-9888 AIBBUSH

3. Bonnie S. inquired about a seamstress for clothing alterations.
New to Citrus County, established in Crystal River with years of professional quality,
experienced and talented skill, Professional Alterations can help with all types of
sewing and alteration services to include personal, home interior and clothing design work. Leslie Goree can be reached at 352-463-7273 or by email: [email protected] Hope this helps. I am not Leslie, I am simply offering Bonnie a referral. Have a great day and thanks for your enjoyable publication. KAT W.

4. Ms. Schuett 352.489.0876

5. In the “Among Ourselves” section, a lady is looking for a good seamstress. I have a wonderful lady who has done things for me. It is Just a Stitch by Tee, Theresa Pasay 352-345-1438 She is located in Inverness and I highly recommend her. SALLY M.

6. One of your readers was looking for someone to do alterations. I highly recommend Blue Jay Stitches on 488 (Dunnellon Rd) just past Elkcam Blvd. on the left as you are heading out of Dunnellon. CLARA G.

7. Just read your article in THE VILLAGER; love your articles, by the way big fan. I just wanted to let you know there is a gal that opened an alterations shop across the street from where we work on rt. 488….She has sewing lessons but also does alterations. If you go past, “Too Your Health Gym” and past the animal hospital it is on the left opposite our big blue building where the storage place is….hope that will help BONNIE S. out! Keep up the interesting stuff God Bless. MAUREEN LAMB
Dear Pat,
After the Easter holiday, chances are you will have leftover ham. Do you remember this great recipe? It is wonderful to take to a potluck supper, too.
2 cups mini penne pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions and drained
2 cups chopped cooked ham
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Combine pasta, ham, chopped onion, pimentos, celery seeds, black pepper, salt and peas. Toss to mix. Sprinkle on sugar and vinegar and add mayonnaise. Mix well with spoon. Fold in shredded cheese. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Note: This salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days and recipe could be cut in half.

Another great recipe to utilize leftover ham:
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped green, red or orange pepper
3 cups water
1 (4 ounce) jar sliced pimentos, drained
2 cups cooked, chopped ham
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter for top of casserole
1 teaspoon paprika
Combine cabbage, onion, and pepper with water in a pot. Steam on top of stove or in microwave until cabbage is soft, approximately 10 minutes. Drain cabbage. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add drained cabbage and sprinkle on pimentos and ham. In a skillet on top of the stove make a roux by melting the 4 tablespoons butter, add flour and milk and cook until smooth. Stir black pepper, salt, and shredded cheese into sauce. Spread over casserole. Sprinkle on bread crumbs and cut the 2 tablespoons butter up in pieces on top. Sprinkle on paprika. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes until bread crumbs are brown on top. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Enjoy! MARIE FROM OCALA
Can your readers help me? I want to lose weight!!!! I have tried everything. Is there a success story out there that will give me some encouragement? How did you do it? WISHING

Hi Pat,
How many times have I found I did not have self-rising flour and self-rising cornmeal in my pantry! Now, with the following recipes, I won’t worry again, because now I can make my own.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt.
Whisk together. You can make more and store in an airtight container to use in recipes.
If you want to substitute self-rising flour for all-purpose flour in a recipe, just omit the baking powder and salt from the recipe, and use self-rising.
Self-rising flour does not contain baking soda so if you are using self-rising flour and the recipe calls for baking soda be sure to add it.
Combine the following ingredients to make one cup of self-rising cornmeal:
3/4 cup regular cornmeal
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
You can always make more and store in an air-tight container for use in recipes. BETTY, A BAKER
Dear Pat,
I know there are umpteen ways to season a cast iron fry pan. I would like to know the easiest way your readers do it! I am new to cast iron and having a hard time seasoning the pans. Can anyone help? EASY DOES IT

Dear Pat,
I was reading your recipe for cheese ravioli and would like to give it a try. I have a couple of questions.

1: Could I add chicken to the filling or another meat?
2: Could you e-mail me your recipe for lasagna sauce?

I do appreciate your help & look forward to your response. I will be paying closer attention to your articles in, “The Village Crier.” I love to be in the kitchen and cooking & baking. I am always looking for new recipes. Thank you. Hope your day is great.
NOTE FROM PAT: Yes, you may make a filling for the ravioli using chicken, beef, lobster, shrimp…anything you love. So happy to hear you are going to try this antique recipe that is tried and true! I will look up the recipe for Lasagna and send it on to you. That recipe sure was a hit in a lot of households!
Dear Pat,
Just reading the March edition of “The Village Crier,” and you wish to rid your yard of moles. Perhaps you mean gophers which are quite prevalent here. We have used the services of Allsons Wildlife Control, 4332 Dristol Ave., Spring Hill, Fl., 34609. Phone: 352-610-4754. They use traps which are the most successful way to terminate the pests. Please call and ask questions. ELISE D.

NOTE FROM PAT: Those pesky critters, no matter what name they go by, are busy in my yard again! Will make the phone call, Elise. Thanks!

Hey Pat!
I do a lot of decoupage. I especially love to decoupage wedding invitations on pretty blocks of wood or plaques. I singe the edges to get an antique appearance and then decoupage the invitation onto the plaque. Add a pretty hanger and the bride and groom have a copy of their wedding invitation that will last for years. Decoupage paste is expensive and I have found an alternative that works perfectly.
Take children’s white glue and put it in a jar.
Fill the glue container halfway with water.
Add the water to the glue.
Shake it up and it’s ready to apply!
After gluing the invitation to the plaque, use a brush to apply the “paste” from corner to corner and work down. Let dry. Then apply another coat from opposite corner. This gives the appearance of a canvas and a very pretty shiny surface. CRAFTY

The great pleasure in life
Is doing what people say you cannot do.
Keep Smiling!

Contributing is easy. Answer a request for someone who needs assistance, ask for assistance from the readership, share a recipe that brought raves, tell us about something you read about in a magazine that bears repeating, share your summer book author, let us know about a pattern for something you knitted or crocheted, tell us about an idea for an occasion or craft, let us know of a date for a happening… anything that sounds good to you is good for us. Send your contributions to Pat Gratton, Boomtown Media 11928 N. Williams St., Ste.3 Dunnellon, FL 34432 or email me at [email protected]