Thursday, February 16, 2017

Strawberry Chiffon Pie for Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day was cold and windy.  What else is new: it's February, after all!  But at least we didn't have a repeat of Valentine's Day 10 years ago, with a blizzard dropping 2 feet of snow upon our weary heads (followed by blizzards on St. Patrick's Day and Income Tax Day.  What a year).

So, for Valentine's Day, I bought the boys chocolates.  But they aren't good for my dearly beloved, so I made him a strawberry chiffon pie.  Yes, this is the taste of summer in the dead of winter, using those frozen strawberries I always have in my freezer, and lightened up in the calorie department (at least a little bit).

STRAWBERRY CHIFFON PIE
Pie crust, baked and cooled (store bought, or my "Best Ever")
20 ounce bag frozen whole strawberries

1/4 cup Stevia
1 envelope plain gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
3 egg whites
3/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 cup Stevia
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp strawberry extract
1/4 cup sugar
In a saucepan, stir together the gelatin and 1/4 cup sugar. Add the 2/3 cup water, and heat while whisking until the sugar dissolves and the mixture simmers. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Pour 1 cup of the strawberries into a cup, and set aside. Thaw the remaining berries somewhat (I left mine in the bag on the counter for 30 minutes). Pulse these strawberries with 1/4 cup stevia in your food processor until they are crushed but not pureed, or mash with a potato masher.

After the gelatin mixture has cooled a bit and somewhat thickened, stir it into the strawberries and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the 3 egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff, then add 1/4 cup sugar one tablespoon at a time. In another bowl, beat the cream until it thickens; add the strawberry extract and the last 1/4 cup stevia and beat until thick.


Slice the cup of strawberries you've set aside thinly (I used my food processor, of course). Stir the mashed strawberries into the whipped cream. Fold in the egg whites. Top with the sliced strawberries. Spoon this mixture into your baked and cooled crust, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until it firms up. Fair warning: If you decide you can only wait an hour, your slices won't look pretty. Trust me.  (I actually put mine in the freezer for 2 hours, and it looked beautiful being served.)


Note: If you don't have Stevia, or don't worry about the excess calories, then use sugar instead of the Stevia.  It will taste the same either way: summer on your plate!

Everyone had a small slice of the pie for Valentine's Day, but I left the second half for my dearly beloved, and he's eating one slice per day, so it will last for 4 more days.

I hope you all had a day full of love, flowers and decadent desserts!  Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bridal Shower!

How better to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a few photos from Kellie's bridal shower?

I flew out at 6AM Friday, my driveway having been plowed of a foot of snow a good 6 hours before I left at 3:30AM, and it was bitter cold.  But the flights were on time, and everything went smooth as silk.

My other daughters and I decided upon an Alice in Wonderland theme, and they pretty much took point on the decorations.  I wield a mean credit card, and getting the room, meal and decor were all I needed worry about.  It all worked out well, though.

Cass and Shannon made all of these little Mad Tea Party hats for the guests to wear.  The one on the very top is a little white top hat, with "Bride" spelled out in scrabble tiles, and a veil with little jewels sprinkled on it.  The girls made sure I had one with a comb for attaching, so it wouldn't wreck my hair.
 A typical table.
 The groom's mother and me, before we donned our hats.
 This was the room, after we'd finished setup, before guests arrived.  The groom's mother was a whiz at tying bows in the chair sashes.
 Shannon came up with the red-dipped paintbrushes and pinwheels to be added to the flower arrangements.  Aren't they wonderful details?
 Kellie with her future sister in law.  Note the silly pouf hat on her head.  They were fun.
 That's Shannon and me with all of the in-laws.  They were charming ladies, and the little 2 year old girl is just adorable.  (Note that I brought her a little stuffed elephant, so we could be instant friends.  Nothing says fun to a little girl like a little stuffed animal, and I'll buy a friend if I want to.)
 I bought Kellie a Lenox china cake topper, and wrapped it for her celebration.  I figure she might as well have a good quality, permanent ornament for her house.
 Opening her presents, with help from the little girl (who will also be her flower girl).  It was a good day, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

Happy Tuesday, and Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  I hope you all are spoiled by someone who loves you best of all!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Do To Snow"

So, Ryan got a text message from his college: "Classes cancelled do to snow." Ryan told me he hopes the person responsible feels stupid, but I'm betting they don't even know what they did wrong.

Anyway, this is the reason for the cancellation:
 (That's the snow blown into a porch that's got a roof with a huge overhang, and walls on 2 of the 4 sides.  Must have been quite some wind.)


Looks like 8 to 10 inches to me, but it's blown around at a pretty good rate, so it's hard to tell for certain.  Plus, 2 of my 3 doors are snowed shut, so I'm not working my tailfeathers off to get out there, I assure you!  I do have to say that since I fly out at 6AM tomorrow, I'm glad the snow was today!

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Drive By Posting

I'm off to see the dentist...for the third time in as many weeks.  I had a tooth break on me, so Kevin did a root canal....and all the fun that entails.  At least I'll get a temporary crown today, so I'll be better able to eat.

In other news, Shannon and I made these coasters for Kellie's bridal shower favors.  I'm leaving at 4AM Friday for the bridal shower (you have no idea of just how much fun it is to organize a shindig remotely, and then figuring out how to get your stuff there is a delight, too).  My dearly beloved is less than pleased that I'm abandoning him for 3 days, and Ryan was just wailing last night, "What about my dinner???"

Happy Wednesday, everyone.  See you next week.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Jeffrey's Birthday

So, for Jeffrey's birthday, he and Shannon came up.  Tank was sad that we didn't have snow, or so Jeff said; I thought he enjoyed the mud very much.  It was Jeff who didn't enjoy washing his dog's feet.

So....pictures from the celebration.
 Shannon decorated the cake, following Jeff's request that she draw Tank on his cake.  The girl has talent, no doubt about that.
 (Plus, she looks great at 5 months along, don't you think?)

 I am not standing in a hole in my floor!

It's hard to believe Jeff is now 29 years old.  I didn't think I was that old!

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Superbowl Tank!

He was worried, I'm not going to lie.

But Tank was delighted by the greatest comeback in Superbowl history. (And no doubt by the snacks, too.)

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pizza!

For Christmas, one of my girls bought me two pizza stones.  I've always made my pizzas on baking sheets, and it's worked fine, but I figured I'd give the pizza stones a try.  Of course, lacking a pizza peel (a lack which has since been remedied), I put the pizzas on cold stones, but they were still fine.  And they looked pretty fancy.  My dearly beloved was quite pleased to have pizza for his birthday last Friday - or as pleased as an adult man can be over being reminded that he's getting older!

So, just in case you need a great pizza crust recipe, Mr. James Beard to the rescue.

JAMES BEARD'S PIZZA CRUST

1-1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil

Pour the warm water (about 110F) into your mixing bowl or bread machine bowl; sprinkle the yeast over it, and add the remaining ingredients in the order given.  Run the bread machine through its first knead and rest cycle, or beat the flour in at the lowest speed with a stand mixer, and let the mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes (or follow the directions over there -----> for other methods of mixing dough).  Split the dough in half, roll out to fit your pizza stone or baking tray (which may take the whole batch, depending upon the size of the tray and how thick you want your crust), sprinkle the stone or tray with cornmeal and put the crust in place.  Top with sauce and whatever toppings you desire (I used mushrooms and ground beef with onions and garlic on one, and tomatoes with ground beef with onions and garlic on the other), liberally cheese the top of your pizza, sprinkle with some oregano, and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 400F.

And, remember, a birthday pie is a great way to end the day!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

London Broil...

A conundrum: When the sale is "Buy 1, Get 2 Free," how many London Broils are the correct number to buy?

Evidently, the largest multiple of 3 in the store.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope you're all having a nice start to January.  Our Christmas weeks were hectic - that's no surprise.  First, Baby Madeline and her parents came to spend a week here before Christmas; they wanted her to be home on Christmas morning to open her presents.  I missed having them here on Christmas, but they need to make their own traditions.

Maddie turned 9 months old while she was here, and she's quite the little crawler.  Here she is, selecting a gift for herself.
 She was better able to hold this one, so she worked at it for a while.
 "Mommy and Daddy can open that present from Uncle Ryan; it looks too complicated for me."
 "Oh, boy!  Uncle Ryan sure does know how to find fun stuff!"  Evidently, she has been enjoying her elephant at home, too.
As they left on Christmas Eve, others began to arrive.  Christmas morning was the usual feast, with the addition of Jeff cooking up 3 dozen eggs with ham.
 Does Adventure Beagle really like Mark, or was it just that she admired his spiffy Patriots Christmas sweater?  Maybe both.
 Tank spent plenty of time trying to sucker Patrick into feeding him.  He also wore his Christmas tie very well.
 Quincy had to wear a Christmas bow tie, so he wouldn't try to eat it.

 The soon to be newlyweds!  This was his first Christmas with us, and he seemed to really enjoy it.

 I do admit that when 9 people buy presents for their siblings and parents, Mom doesn't have to do much to make the pile look astronomically huge.
 Remember my grandmother's antique German glass icicles?  When Shannon and Chris went to Germany with his mother in March, they and his mother bought me some additional glass icicles.  I am so happy!  They are beautiful!
 Christmas dinner was different.  I got tired of the price of Standing Rib Roast ($400 for one meal, with no leftovers), so I bought Filet Mignon.  Cut by a local butcher, I bought 50% more than we needed for only $300.  After some of our celebrants had gone home, we had it again a couple of nights later, and it was just as wonderful then.  (I did have to go in and cook seconds for some of the menfolk on Christmas, but that was fine, because it meant everyone was happily stuffed.)

 Look at all of these happy people, busily stuffing their faces!

And the best Christmas present of all?  Baby Madeline will be a big sister in June, and Shannon and Chris are expecting their first baby at the end of May!!!!

So, belated Merry Christmas to all of my friends out there in Cyber-World, and I hope 2017 finds you healthy and happy.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Tree Skirt

In 2000, when my girls were 13, 11 and 10, we all made quarters for a Christmas tree skirt.  Of course, that was one of the things burned in the fire.  So last year for Christmas, the three girls got together and made new quarters for a Christmas tree skirt, leaving me with a piece of white fabric from which to make my quarter.  I finally finished it 3AM Friday night, and put it together today.  It took 4 hours, and I was cranky, I'm not gonna lie.  But it's finished, and it's beautiful!




And now, I need to finish wrapping the 11 million (OK, that might be an exaggeration) presents that remain sitting in a corner, and get the boys to set up the tree, and decorate it, and plan for the Christmas week, including meals (because the first kids start arriving Monday), and clean the house, and....I forget what.  But at least the driveway got plowed around 5 today.

Happy weekending, everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday's Dogs on Thorsday

Tank is a good boy.  Exhibit A (in case you needed proof):


That's our friend's granddaughter, being helped to ride Tank.  Yee-Hah!

Happy weekending, everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thaksgiving

Picture heavy, few words.  Making a schedule is good for my organization; it looks like I knew what I was doing in these pictures, right?  Especially with my potato peeling crew.
 And my table setup crew, with Bebop supervising.
 And, of course, Jeff had to chuck up a wooden paddle in the drill driver to mash the sweet potatoes.

Everyone has learned that they really have to line up for a picture, or they won't get fed.  Dogs line up in hopes of getting food, too.

 OK, already! We want food!

 Isn't this a wonderful picture of my daughter and her husband?
 The baby is our friend Greg's granddaughter.  Our granddaughter went to see the other family, since her daddy's on sabbatical this year, and they had time to drive.
 Turkey #1, right next to Ryan.


 Turkey #2.  Total weight: 49.23 pounds.



 Our friend and his baby granddaughter, age 4 months.
 And, desserts!  Apple, pumpkin, Lemon chess, lemon meringue and cranberry walnut pies, plus carrot cake and 2-color cake.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!