Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hot Cross Buns

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I'll be making Hot Cross Buns. Since I've never posted a recipe for them before Easter, you've never been able to join me in my indulgence. There's no excuse this year! And, actually, these are a relatively low calorie treat, so why not try them?

I've found through the years that regardless of how many Hot Cross Buns you plan to make, the best way to do it is to make one batch the size of this recipe at a time; that way, the next batch is mixing while you form your cute little dough balls. I've tried doubling it to save mixing time, but it's too hard for my brain to process splitting the dough so many times.


1 cup warm milk (around 100F)
2-1/2 tsp yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup melted butter
5 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs
1 cup raisins

Put the milk in the bread machine mixing container, or in a mixing bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over it. Add the other ingredients in the order given, reserving the raisins until after all of the ingredients are well combined, and the dough is forming a nice, stiff ball. Turn the bread machine on to mix only for 15 minutes, or mix in the Kitchenaid stand mixer (stirring the ingredients together by hand will be hard, since this is stiff dough). 5 minutes before the mixing is done, pour in the raisins. Let the dough stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then divide into 16 pieces. Form each one into a ball, and let rise until nearly doubled in size. Brush with 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tbsp water, and let the dough rise a few minutes longer. Bake at 375F for 22 to 25 minutes, until the desired degree of brown is reached.

To make these in advance, make the dough, form into balls, brush with the egg yolk, then cover with oiled waxed paper and plastic wrap. Place the baking trays in the refrigerator overnight, and remove from the refrigerator while the oven preheats. Bake at 375F for 22 to 25 minutes, and let the buns cool somewhat before putting the frosting cross over them.

The plan now is for probably 5 or 6 batches of these. With one daughter home for Spring Break, another coming for Easter weekend, and one son coming for Easter weekend, they'll each need some to take back to college - probably a dozen each, allowing for roommate consumption. And we'll probably see gobbling of about 2 dozen each day of the weekend, so that's a lot of baking.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Garden Tuesday: Wall Tree

We have a species of tree that grows up our garden wall. I don't know what it is. In a fit of originality a couple of decades ago, I dubbed it "Wall Tree".
Does anyone know what this tree is? The trunk and some branches grow sort of attached to the wall, and most of the branches are perched on top of the wall and even fan out over it. The couple of trunks you see here sustain about 30 feet of branches, which are about 3 feet wide, overhanging the wall on both sides, and forming a little canopy. Here's a closeup of the branches.

Sorry the pictures aren't that good. It's raining here, and I ran out during a lessening of the rain to take these pictures. I'm not that big on getting soaked when it's 36 degrees out. But if anyone knows what this tree is, please tell me!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chicken With Rice and Ugly Cauliflower

It was cold, rainy and blustery last night. I was also inexplicably tired. I had, as Ryan calls it, a "chicken carcass" thawed, so chicken and rice seemed like an excellent choice. I cooked the rice in the oven with the chicken, and it was great!


1 Roasting Chicken
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, quartered

1-1/2 cups rice
1 tsp salt
2 carrots, grated

1 small onion, minced finely
3 cups water

Clean out the chicken, salt the cavity, and tuck the carrot and two of the 4 onion quarters inside. Place the chicken in the roasting pan, rub the skin with a bit of cooking oil, and tuck the remaining onion quarters between the chicken body and drumstick. Put in the oven at 350F for about an hour.

After an hour has passed, remove the chicken from the oven. Spread the rice evenly around the chicken, sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt, and spread the onion and carrots over the rice. Pour the water over the rice, stir carefully to mix the carrots and onion in with the rice, and return the pan to the oven for another hour or so, until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken to a platter, stir the rice, cover it, and return it to the oven. Let the chicken sit about 15 minutes before carving it. The rice is very flavorful, and this is very easy to cook!

For some unknown reason, I had a brain meltdown last night, and didn't make a green vegetable to go with the chicken and rice. Instead, I decided that making cauliflower more interesting would be a terrific idea. Indeed, it was very tasty, but, boy was this cauliflower ugly!


1 pound cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup water
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp oregano
4 shakes garlic powder
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook the cauliflower with the water and salt. 2 to 3 minutes before it's done, add the tomatoes, oregano and garlic powder. Cook the remaining 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, add the butter and parmesan, stir well, and serve at once. My mistake was adding the tomatoes at the beginning of the cooking time (I think), so the tomatoes colored the cauliflower. Boy, you should have heard the comments about the appearance of this! But it all got consumed, so I guess everyone got over the fact that it was ugly!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

First Dog of Spring

So, on Saturday, the boys were outside searching for first signs of spring. They found crocuses. They found chives. And they found the First Dog of Spring.
He, too, inspected plant life for signs of green, and found it.. He forgot that arbor vitae and holly are evergreen.

And he found sunshine in which to bask.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No Inspiration

I've tried all day to be inspired. Sorry, but it's not working for me. I'm bothered by "Health care", you see.

Is anyone else bothered by the fact that Congress just passed not "Health Care," but "Health Insurance Requirements"?

Is anyone else bothered by the fact, not being widely publicized, that this bill, which is supposed to cost about One Trillion Dollars over the next 10 years is in fact going to be tax increases of about One Billion Dollars per year for the next 10 years, but that the money won't be spent for the first four years, so, when it finally takes effect, it will cost One-and-three-quarters Billion Dollars per year for 6 years?

It matters not if the taxes apply to you at this time or not. They will. They are not indexed for inflation. When the Federal Income Tax was passed in 1913, it applied only to the wealthiest of Americans. It now applies to everyone, and has for a very long time.

Don't tell me I should have called my Congressman to voice my opinion; I did. I offered his staff suggestions. No one cared.

Here are real "Health Care Reforms" that would help our country.

1. Primary care clinics. Some have opened, and more could be used. They should be staffed by Physicians' Assistants or Nurse Practitioners, and overseen remotely by doctors. There are two in my area that I've frequented, and they are wonderful. This would be a way for doctors to assist more patients, at a lower cost to the patients.

2. Health Insurance Reform: Allow people to purchase insurance through interstate companies, according to their own needs or wants, as we purchase auto insurance. A single guy like my son certainly doesn't need maternity coverage, and a woman over 50 doesn't need it, either. Young people should be able to purchase catastrophic coverage, since they consider themselves unlikely to need (or want) coverage for most things. As we can choose to buy dental and vision care or not, so we should be able to choose to purchase or not purchase coverage for addiction treatment or mental health care. Premiums should rightly be charged on the basis of what's covered, and, frankly, the age of the persons covered. Let's face it, the vast majority of people have only Medicare coverage after the age of 65 or so, and, therefore, the government is covering the cost of the most expensive people to insure anyway.

So, I welcome everyone to tell me what you think, but, please, keep it civil. I don't think government is the answer to anything and everything (notice the post office versus UPS or Fedex, anyone?), but I know plenty of people have their own opinions. Tell me what you think, and I'll try to tell my Congressman and Senator, again, but don't count on them listening. They think we're too stupid to know what we want, and are now planning to sell us this bill which they've passed "for" us.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Garden Tuesday: Signs of Spring

My Square Foot garden is a fright.

But the chives are peeking through the mess!
Unlike Chan, we didn't rake (or blow) the leaves from our crocuses. So we still have them. (For the record, the dead leaves will stay until the lawn service arrives to mulch them in late April. We don't use fertilizers and such here - just dead leaves).

Our magnolia has a bud or two; I'm still amazed that a Southern tree lives here (although it's still small, having only been planted two years ago).
And here are some more of those robins! They've left Sue's yard and come to mine, and I'm pleased to have them!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pasta With Too Many Ingredients

Pam and I have a lot in common. She makes beautiful food; I make a lot of food. She takes beautiful pictures. I take pictures. She names her food for the ingredients; so do I. See? Just like twins, right?

But this dinner had too many ingredients for me to figure out how exactly to name it. "Pasta Primavera Chicken Alfredo"? "Chicken Alfredo Pasta Primavera"? "Pasta Primavera with Extra Crap Thrown in"? You see the dilemma. In any event, this is what I served the last night that my son and his girlfriend were here. I'm not gonna lie; this was a lot of food. I'd suggest everyone with a normal sized household cut it to 1/3 of what I list (other than the sauce, because there's nothing wrong with plenty of sauce), since 7 of us couldn't come close to finishing it.

3 pounds Mini Penne
3 carrots, sliced thin
1 pound frozen broccoli florets

1 pound frozen cauliflower florets
1 cup frozen corn
2 pounds cooked chicken, chopped into 1/2" cubes

Alfredo sauce:
3 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup cold milk
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup butter

20 turns fresh ground pepper
10 shakes garlic powder
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup parmesan

Bring the salted water for the pasta to a boil; add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the remaining veggies and cook for 9 minutes. Drain in a colander. While this is cooking, heat the chicken, a task for which I f
ind the microwave wonderfully suited. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Heat the 3 cups of milk to a simmer, and add the cream. Whisk the cold milk and cornstarch, and whisk this mixture into the hot milk. Cook until the sauce thickens, add the pepper and garlic powder (yes, I count the turns and shakes; I count everything). Cut the butter into chunks, and whisk into the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the hot sauce to the beaten eggs to proof, then turn the sauce down so it's just below the simmer, and whisk the eggs and parmesan into the sauce. Whisk until smooth, stir in the warm chicken chunks, and hold over low heat until the pasta's done. After draining the pasta, return it to its pot (or a serving bowl, if you're really fancy), pour most of the sauce and all of the chicken over the pasta, stir well and serve. Pass the remainder of the sauce.

This is a great fast meal, and using only one stockpot plus one sauce pan is a bonus (you really don't want to see my dirty dish pile after I've cooked a meal). But, unless you want to reheat and eat this for a week, cut the quantities down - a lot! The picture above is the bowl of leftovers - no one wanted to wait to eat!

And look at these big fat robins who were camped out on my lawn this weekend! They were about 300 feet from the house, and this picture was taken with a zoom lens. But if I could see them clearly from that distance, those suckers must have been massive! Anyway, they're a welcome harbinger of spring!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Daisy Lace Dress Project

Last week, Gaylen found this beautiful dress that she coveted. Sadly, she felt $400 was just too expensive for a girl from the 'burbs. I agreed that it was well worth coveting, but not $400 worth. So we agreed to keep each other on track and make a reasonable facsimile of it by June.

I've sketched a rough plan of what I think the pieces should look like. Sadly, this is Sunday night (and Amazing Race is delayed, so I have time to confess that I'm going to do this, so you will all keep me honest), so I don't have time to work on it again until next Friday night. I'm going to make a trial run from this fabric.
If I love what I've drawn based on that white dress, I'll find fabric I love for the real thing. Updates in weeks to come!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chicken Alfredo and Buttermilk Baguettes

Yes, this is a 2-for-1 deal, because I didn't take a picture of the chicken.

The little boys wanted "Baguettes" after seeing the Amazing Race on Sunday night, when they had to go to a bakery and buy a baguette for their clue. They didn't believe that "Baguette" was French Bread, so I came up with a twist on my time honored recipe, and made these.


1/2 cup warm water

1 cup warm buttermilk
3 or 6 tsp yeast
4 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp salt

Dissolve the yeast in the water; add the buttermilk, then the other ingredients, and mix according to my standard bread making directions. Form into 2 or 3 baguettes (depending upon the length of the baking tray you're using), brush the surface with warm water to remove the excess flour (which I clearly didn't do), let rise, and bake at 375F for about 18 minutes. The c
rust will be darker than other breads, but still quite soft!

You have, of course, noticed that the center loaf in this picture is, in fact, round. That's because my little guy decided he wanted one "exciting" loaf of bread, took one third of the dough, made it into a ball, and squished it flat on his baking tray. Well, what fun is the world when a little guy can't make his bread exciting?

My son asked me on the phone, before he arrived, if I would consider making Chicken Alfredo, because his girlfriend loves it. He even went so far as to advise me that s
ometimes he buys a jar of Alfredo sauce and pours it over chicken for her. He must really like her, since he won't "waste" money on spices or coffee or such "frills", and he and his brother depend upon me to sometimes send them frills like garlic powder and oregano. Anyway, since I still don't get out, I decided that I could surely figure out how to make Alfredo sauce; after all, do I really think restaurants the world over are buying jars of sauce for their clients? This is what I created.


3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken

salt, pepper and garlic powder
3 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup cold milk
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup butter
20 turns fresh ground pepper
10 shakes garlic powder
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup parmesan

Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and cook the chicken until it's almost done, then pour off the pan drippings (which can be saved for soup or use in a future dish). Just before the chicken's ready, heat the 3 cups of milk to a simmer, and add the cream. Whisk the cold milk and cornstarch, and whisk this mixture into the hot milk. Cook until the sauce thickens, add the pepper and garlic powder (yes, I count the turns and s
hakes; I count everything). Cut the butter into chunks, and whisk into the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the hot sauce to the beaten eggs to proof, then turn the sauce down so it's just below the simmer, and whisk the eggs and parmesan into the sauce. Whisk until smooth, and pour some of the sauce over the chicken. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, and keep the sauce warm on the stove, but not simmering, until the chicken is ready. Serve on a bed of linguini, and pass the sauce for everyone to add to his or her own plate.

I received such raves about this sauce on Wednesday that I'm going to make it to go with Pasta Primavera tonight.

And since I cheated you out of a picture of this divine chicken, here's a picture of my little guy on St. Patrick's Day. He got to choose how green the frosting was, and add the dark green sprinkles to the top of the chocolate cake.

Happy Weekend, everyone! Hope the sun shines everywhere as vigorously as it's shining here!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thor's New Friend

So, eldest son's girlfriend said she's leery of big dogs. She had a beagle sized dog as a child, but the biggest dog she'd ever seen was a German Shepherd. Thor spent a day trying to get her to do more than say, "Nice doggy."
And he succeeded. So he sang to her.

Then he laid on her feet to help keep her warm.

SUCCESS! She wanted her picture taken with her boyfriend and "the biggest dog ever!"

Happy Thorsday, everyone! May your friends also be concerned that your feet are warm enough!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Celebration of Pi Day Last Sunday

You all know I'm pie crust phobic. I am still working on my anxieties. That, however, is no excuse for not celebrating Pi Day on 3.14!
So, on Sunday, I made another Lemon Chess Pie and a new one, Almond Custard Pie. The Lemon Chess Pie was still fabulous, and the custard pie was quite goo
d, too, for those of us who are fans of custard. I really wanted a Coconut Custard Pie, but it turned out that my daughters used the package of coconut I had in the freezer, and I never knew it. There are only 3 of us who are fans of coconut, so I don't get much opportunity to use it; thus, I was stunned by having none! Maybe I need to institute stricter inventory control methods? Nah. That would take the excitement out of "Guess what food's in the house?"


4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
2-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 deep dish pie crust

Use a deep dish store bought pie crust, roll out one of those new fancy ones in your own pie plate, or try the one my dearly beloved says is the best he's ever had. Preheat the oven to 450F, and bake the pie crust for 5 minutes. Lightly beat the eggs with the sugar, the a
dd the extracts, salt and milk, and beat for a minute, until very smooth. Pour into the partially baked pie crust, and sprinkle the top with slivered almonds. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F, and return the pie to the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Let the pie cool before serving.
To make this gluten free, you could use either a ground nut crust or the marvelous coconut-chocolate crust I made for the banana cream pie last fall. The custard is silky smooth, similar to flan.
The cookbook which had the recipe from which I jumped off for this pie urged me to leave the crust on the oven shelf and pour the filling into it. Should you have a cookbook make such recommendations to you, I must STRONGLY urge you to IGNORE it! I pulled out the shelf, poured the filling in, and the stuff splashed into the inside of my oven. With expletives deleted, I had nothing to say about this insulting turn of events.

And since my dearly beloved whines that he hates corned beef (I believe he's whining at the memory of his mother's boiled dinner, where the corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage all landed in the same pot), I'm going to make my Dirty Corned Beef Brisket for dinner tonight. Happy St. Patty's Day, everyone! May the sun shine on you today!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Garden Tuesday: Green!

I can't say I've ever seen 2 feet of snow melt in 2 weeks and leave a green lawn; the normal color for this date is brown. But green's what we have!

That's not to say all of the snow is gone; it lingers in corners that don't get sun in very early spring or late fall. But our vernal equinox will occur this weekend, and hope for spring is eternal!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beef Stew and Biscuits

Well, when college kids discover as they're leaving to on a 6 hour ride to someone's house, so they'll only be 2 hours from NYC that the career fair they're going to was actually Friday instead of Saturday, what do they do? They go anyway, of course. What's the sense of letting facts stand in the way of a perfectly good road trip?

Friday's roast beef and potatoes was just as well received as anticipated. Saturday was 39, windy and rainy, so beef stew seemed like exactly the right meal for a bunch of hungry, cold dudes. There were no leftovers, so I guessed right.


3 pounds steak, cut into small pieces
3 large potatoes, grated
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup barley
2 large tomatoes, cut in bite sized pieces, or 1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen chopped spinach

small amount vegetable oil
12 cups water
6 beef bouillon cubes
2 tbsp Worcestershire powder
2 tbsp tomato powder

1 tbsp salt, or to taste

Heat the oil in a large stockpot, then add the beef and onion. Cook until browned, then add the shredded potatoes, water and bouillon cubes. Bring to a slow boil, then simmer about 2 hours, until the potatoes are partially dissolved. Sprinkle in the Worcestershire powder,
tomato powder, and salt; add the carrots and barley. Cook another 30 minutes, then add the tomatoes and spinach. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, and serve piping hot.
When I have sweet potatoes in the house, I like to add them, but I didn't have any this week.

During the last 15 minutes of cooking your stew, whip up a batch of these biscuits. They are not as pretty as the classic Southern baking powder biscuits, because I don't roll them out and cut them, but they disappear just as fast.


2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Stir together the dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a measuring cup. Pour the wet into the dry, and stir well; the dough will be very stiff and lumpy. Drop by spoonsful onto greased baking sheets. Makes 10 to 12.

Of course, I quadrupled this, and had 45 biscuits. Thor got one. And while Thor is dispirited because his girl went back to college, and Jeffrey and his friends were only here a very short time, Thor is thrilled because Mike and his girlfriend are visiting from Carolina. Oh, the excitement of having your people around!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not "The San Francisco Treat"

So, Patrick being unemployed, I shipped him off to get a job with the Census Bureau. Yesterday, he came home with a most astonishing story: As a Census Bureau enumerator, he visited a house with a whole herd of loudly barking dogs. Specifically, these dogs were mastiffs! When the homeowner came outside, of course the mastiffs just sat down and watched him talk to Mr. Census. When Mr. Census was invited inside, the dogs were quiet. When Mr. Census left, the mastiffs hollered at him, letting him know WHOSE house he had just visited. Naturally, Patrick explained to this man that he was raised with mastiffs, and showed him Thor's picture. A nice visit was had by all!
Yesterday, because I was disorganized, I forgot to take my chicken out of the freezer until 4:00. So, exactly what do you do with a frozen chicken? Thank you, Pam! I spatchcocked it! Seriously, this is a great way to roast a chicken. Despite the fact that the bird was still frozen on the inside, I was able to cut along the spine with my kitchen shears and twist the chicken open. Remove the innards, of course, rinse the inside and salt it, then cut 2 carrots into eighths and one onion into quarters. Slide one piece each of onion and carrot under the skin of the chicken next to each thigh, tuck one piece of carrot next to each wing, then arrange the remaining veggies under the splayed out chicken. Because this was still somewhat frozen, I roasted at 375F for about
1-1/4 hours, and it was absolutely perfect.
I served a side dish inspired by two things with this chicken: First, that I had insufficient rice for the hungry hordes, second, Rice-a-Roni, which I haven't purchased in years.


1-1/2 cups rice
1/2 cup broken angel hair or spaghetti bits
1 minced onion

1 minced garlic clove
1 stick butter or margarine
4-1/2 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups frozen chopped spinach

Melt the butter in a large pan; add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the pasta bits and cook until golden. Stir in the rice, followed by the water and bouillon cubes. After 10 minutes, add the spinach, and cook until all of the water is absorbed. It looks pretty on the plate, and it's a great way to sneak veggies into those picky eaters!

And, while Thor is depressed, because he knows his girl is leaving soon, I have been unable to communicate to him that he has some real excitement coming his way this evening: Jeffrey called me Wednesday night. He had wanted to get on the university sponsored charter bus to get a ride from West Virginia to NYC for a career fair, but was unable to get a spot. After talking to 3 friends of his, he called to see if I would let them all come here for the night. They're driving to New Jersey where they'll catch the train to the city, and return Saturday evening. 3 new friends for Thor! How much better can life get? I'm thinking roast beef and potatoes, because what college guy doesn't love beef and potatoes? And a chocolate peanut butter cake will probably make all of Jeff's friends like me, right?

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thor's Busy Week

One of Thor's girls is home from college for Spring Break. He has had a very busy week keeping her in line.

He has to make sure she eats properly.

That includes sharing with him.

He has to amuse her when she has nothing to do, as evidenced by her standing around.

He declined to be photographed helping her keep up with her Facebook postings, Farmville, and IM duties. And he barricaded the door when she was working on a paper due Monday for one of her nursing classes. A guy must be ever vigilant, after all!

Vigilance is exhausting.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cool Rise "French" Bread

This is another great cool rise recipe from the farm wives cookbook. It isn't really a French bread; it's closer in flavor to Italian bread. However, Italian bread doesn't have any fats in it, so I can't really classify it, other than "Good Bread!"


1-1/2 cups warm water

6 tsp or 2 packets yeast
4 to 5 cups flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

Place the water in your mixing bowl or bread machine container, sprinkle the yeast over it, add the flour and other ingredients according to the directions in my previous Cool Rise bread recipes. Note: Start with 4 cups of flour. The dough will be very soft, and you'll need to add more flour. It took me less than 5 cups both times I made this.

After the dough has been kneaded, form it into three small or two large loaves. Brush the tops of the loaves with salad oil, brush waxed paper with salad oil and place the waxed paper over the bread loaves. Loosely cover the waxed paper with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours to rise.

When you're ready to bake the bread, take it out of the refrigerator and uncover it. Turn the oven to 375F and let it preheat. After it's preheated, put the bread in the oven and let it bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until nicely golden.
The recipe calls for the bread to be brushed with water and the tops of the loaves slashed, but when I tried that the first time I made the bread, it made the bread collapse. Try it if you wish, but be forewarned.

And, last weekend, I finally got to sew a skirt! The picture is blurry, but, so what! This is the first time since last August I've been able to stand up long enough to even cut out the 3 pieces for this skirt. A friend is vacationing in Mexico, and this fabric reminded me of her - it's a tropical pattern, and her favorite color family! Thanks, G, for the inspiration!

Garden Tuesday: Days Gone By

My grandmother was absurdly talented. She could cook like nobody's business. She was a fabulous tailor/seamstress. And she was quite an artist - she could draw, paint and sculpt.

And she was one helluva gardener.

This was in back of her house, which was a tiny 4 room cottage. She'd had the back yard excavated, and a French Door put through the basement wall. Because there were slopes up either side of the back yard, lined with rocks, she filled in with soil, then planted flowers and "stuff" to make it pretty. Like I said, she could garden.

All these flowers make me long for spring. Soon, soon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

How Time Flies!

31 years ago.

29 years ago.

20 years ago.

2 years ago.

We don't look too awful shopworn after all this time! And, now more than ever, I think life is just about perfect in our little corner of the world. (And, no, my dearly beloved won't buy me a present, but at some point today, he'll discover the date and tell me he's looking forward to the next 31 years.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

"You're cooking Grass for Dinner?"

So queried Patrick, upon peering into the pan merrily simmering on the stove whilst I sliced the roast beef. To be fair, I could sort of see his point.
And, since Ann asked what the pasta with my beautiful roast beef was, I'm obliged to tell all of you.


1 pound mini penne
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
1/2 can diced tomatoes or 2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 onion, minced
30 turns fresh ground pepper
garlic powder

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the penne. Return to the boil, add the frozen spinach, and cook for 11 minutes. Pour into a colander to drain, and cover the colander with the pot lid. Pour the olive oil in the pasta pot, and return to the heat. Saute the minced onion for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir the pasta and spinach combo into the onion and tomato mixture, and add garlic powder and pepper to taste. Stir in more olive oil as needed to moisten the dish. Serve at once.
Also, for those who wondered, I can't thinly slice anything without this wonderful slicer. This is the turkey I made last night coming off the slicer.

The meat is held on a carraige which is pushed back and forth across the blade; you can make the slices as thick or thin as you like. This one was on clearance from Penney's for about $50, and, believe me, it was worth every penny of the cost!