Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thor's Easter

Thor had a few of his people home for Easter, as you may have surmised. Does it look here like the Easter Bunny forgot to bring Thor a basket?

The Bunny wouldn't do that.
Thor checked it out, but this doesn't look all that promising. Clearly, he's not at all related to GMarie's Beau, a magnificent bloodhound.

Oh, looki! Kellie unlocked the secret of the Easter Eggs!
And Thor wants everyone to know that his 10th birthday is next Thursday! Thor hopes you will all get yourselves an applesauce cake, and celebrate his birthday wherever you are!

(Did you think I'd forgotten Thorsday? No. The power went out at 8 this morning, and just came back on at 5:40 PM. I wouldn't dream of disappointing Thor's friends!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Carrot Cookies

If we had to leave treats for the Easter Bunny like we do for Santa, these cookies would be just the ticket.

I found this recipe in my 1930s Encyclopedia of Cookery when I was looking up "yellow carrots" which appeared in a frozen veggie blend I'd bought (and, no, I found no listing for "yellow carrots"). It looked interesting, and I thought the boys might like them for lunches. So, I've made them twice. The original recipe had nowhere near enough sugar, so they came out tasting like flat bran muffins, but the second attempt was perfect! Best of all, no one even recognized that these are even good for you!


2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups quick oats
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Cream the shortening with the eggs. Stir together the dry ingredients, and beat them into the creamed mixture. Add the milk to moisten the mixture, then stir in the carrot and nuts. Drop by spoonsful onto greased baking sheets. Bake 15 to 18 minutes in a preheated 350F oven, until browned.
(Please don't laugh at my baking sheets. They've been with me for 32 years, and I won't toss such loyal items.) These would keep well for more than a day if you have fewer cookie monsters in your house than I have!

Tomorrow, Thor will give you his view of Easter! Today, he's just snoring through another rainy day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Garden Tuesday: Sunshine

After it rains, in my yard there's no rainbow. But the grass is verdant and lush, and the shadows are interesting.

And crocuses abound among the leaves which haven't yet been mulched, because we have yet to mow.

I hope you all get abundant sunshine!

Monday, April 25, 2011


2 of my daughters, Jeff and his roommate were supposed to come home for Easter. Sadly, Jeff came down with a nasty viral thing (pharyngitis?), so he stayed in Pittsburgh. Something about not surviving the Wrath of Mom if he polluted the folks at home....

Anyway, I made only 3 dozen hot cross buns instead of 4's
my little guy displaying some of them!

And I made 9 pounds of lamb, having purchased the meat before Jeff became ill on Thursday. That's OK, I can have another lamb dinner tonight. My little guy manned the camera for these pictures.
He also helped me set the table.

And he delivered the side dishes to the dining room: Roasted potatoes, creamed spinach, asparagus (Big Fat Yeast Rolls not shown). Note that the serving spoon for the roasted potatoes is an ugly cooking spoon. Something about not slowing people down from getting enough food. Thoughtful kid, no?

And what Easter celebration would be complete without the obligatory picture of Thor poking his nose between Ryan's chair and the next one, hoping for handouts, before that Meanie Mommy scolded him?

Hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rainy Thorsday

What's a big dog to do when it's rainy outside?

Protect his boy from school work, of course.

Encourage naps.

Then wait for food!

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Cake

This cake is a tradition for Easter. The vibrant colors just scream "spring!" And the kids just adore it. I've had to take up making a variation of this for Christmas, but that's a story for another day. So, without further ado.....


1 Yellow Cake Mix, split in half
2 eggs, twice
3 tbsp oil, twice
5/8 cup water, twice
1 Box Orange Flavored Jello
1 Box Lime Flavored Jello
1 pint Whipping Cream
1 tsp Lemon Extract
1/2 cup sugar

Split the yellow cake mix in half: You will use approximately 1-3/4 cups mix for each layer. Beat the cake mix, one box Jello, 2 eggs, 3 tbsp. oil and 5/8 cup water for 2 minutes, until smooth. Pour into a greased & floured round layer pan. Repeat for the other flavor. (As an alternative, if you don't want to use a boxed mix, try my favorite yellow cake, split the batter in half, and beat one flavor of the Jello into each half of the batter; pour the prepared batters into the layer pans.) Bake the layers at 350 for about 32 to 35 minutes, until they test done. Note that the tops of the cake will not rise as they do with most cakes, and may be sunken when the cake cool.

When the layers are completely cooled, beat the whipping cream with the lemon extract and sugar until quite stiff. Frost the cake with the whipped cream, and store it in the refrigerator.

And to answer Duckie's question, I think a Strawberry Chiffon Pie will be a lovely addition to Easter dinner, don't you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Garden Tuesday: Green!

Look! My lawn turned green! And I got a picture of it yesterday morning, while the sun was out!
And my chives have sprouted. Looks like I'll need to get hopping on cleaning the leaves out of the garden beds, right?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

I'm here to help you start planning your Easter baking. Because you're all just thinking away about all the baking you'll be doing Friday and Saturday, right? There's nothing else on your "to-do" list for the week, right? I thought so.

'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 made 4 batches: 1 on Friday, and 3 on Saturday, one of which was baked Sunday morning.


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 400F for 22 to 25 minutes, until the desired degree of brown is reached. For the frosting crosses, stir together 2 cups confectioners sugar with 1 tsp vanilla extract and enough cream to make it drizzling consistency. Drizzle the frosting in a cross pattern over each Hot Cross Bun.

Oh, and let the buns cool if you want actual frosting crosses. Otherwise, you'll have frosting drips like mine.

Two of my girls will be coming home Thursday night (no Friday classe
s), and Jeff, who's currently job hunting in Pittsburgh, will be coming home Friday, and bringing his college roommate, with whom he's crashing during said job hunt. So I expect to make some Hot Cross Buns Friday, and more on Saturday; Easter dinner will be Saturday night. Then Sunday will be traditional Easter activities, including the visit by the bunny, before everyone leaves around 2. So, you can expect a couple more Easter food posts this week, to help you with your planning!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The "I'm a Dum***s" Skirt

The name of this skirt will forever in my mind be, "I'm a dumb**s."

I made a skirt from this fabric 3 years ago for my daughter, who was then entering law school (and will graduate in 4 weeks). Why I bought 3 yards for a 109 pound girl I just can't remember. But I always loved the color, and finally got around to making myself a skirt from the same fabric - thanks, Faye!

My husband calls this color "wild turkey". It's a long story, going back to the formica on the walls when we moved into this house. He commented that this skirt came out gorgeous, with an outstanding finish.

Now, why I'm a dumb**s: I used this pattern, which I've had for years, and decided that I'm much chunkier than when I bought the pattern, about 15 years ago. So I added 4" total to the skirt, and made it up without ever trying it on. To be fair, I don't usually use this view for this pattern, so maybe I had a right to be confused. But, really? 4" off? What a dumb**s. I stomped about, hollering HBO words for a few minutes. Then I ripped off the waist facing, took 3/4" more off each side seam (for a total of 3" off), and then another 1/4" off because it was still too big. So what should have been a 2 hour skirt was closer to 4 hours.

I'm really glad I learned to do a lapped zipper installation. It hides the zipper really nicely. The zipper I had was miles away from a match (this is the truest representation of the skirt's color).
So, skirt #1 is finally done! I cut a plaid skirt on the bias yesterday, and let it hang overnight. I'm getting ready to start that one now. And this time, I will remember to try it on!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fried Rice

Last weekend, the kids took it upon themselves to get Chinese food. Never one to object to a cooking night off, I paid the bill.

Of course, any time you get Chinese food, you get a ton of white rice. What to do with it, other than make soup or rice pudding? Here you go. Fried Rice.


3 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated or finely chopped gingerroot
2 cups cold dry-cooked white rice
4 tsp soy sauce

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup bean sprouts

Heat the peanut oil in a skillet and add the onion, scallions, garlic and gingerroot; saute until soft. Add the rice and cook until warmed through. Stir in the soy sauce. Make a hole in the center of the rice and pour in the egg. Cook slightly, and then stir to scramble. When it's cooked, break up the scrambled egg into small pieces, mix well with the rice, stir in the bean sprouts and heat through. Serve at once.

This really only takes a few minutes. But my brain's been so fried the past 2 weeks that I forgot to take a picture. So, instead, I'd like to show you that my lawn has turned green this week! Hooray! We might actually get spring soon!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thor is Post 1000!

What did Thor see in the driveway over the weekend?

His boys riding bikes! A great opportunity to romp and play!

And one of Thor's girls came home this weekend. Hooray for sisters!

And what does Thor think of the 2" of rain that fell over the past 2 days?

"It's April. Wake me when the rain's over."

Thanks to everyone who's read my ramblings for nearly 4 years, and inspired me to write so much, when I truly have so little to say!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Garden Tuesday

What's this black thing in my garden?

It is (or was) $500.

What's it for?

For Dan to fix the roof, so it will no longer rain on my head while I'm brushing my teeth.

Maybe we'll have some real green by the weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend sewing

3 tops. Two from a green cotton knit I got last May from an online store. One long sleeved that doesn't even really look like the pattern I used.

One using my go-to top body, and a cap sleeve copied from a daughter's top.

Another cowl necked tank top, which I was able to wear today, because the weather decided to go up to 71 degrees, in a stark departure from the mid-40s (or less) that we've been enjoying.

Non-stop calls from the accountant about tax crap and other assorted stuff are stifling my cooking creativity. I'm trying to get back to normal, really, I am! I'll be around to visit you soon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thorsday Studies

How's a dog to pass a cold, rainy day?

By helping his boy with school work, of course.

Unless he's studying something boring like poetry, in which case naps are in order.

Really, if Robert Frost had wanted the canine audience, he should have written this:

I see a tree.
On that tree I pee.
I romp and play;
I play all day,
Until I see a tree.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Garden Tuesday: Hunting for Spring

I sent the little boys out to find spring. They found mud, gnawed sticks, magnolia buds, and, finally, crocuses.

Maybe spring will arrive some day, after all!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kitchen Sink Chicken Soup called because it seems I put everything but the kitchen sink in this soup.

It was cold and rainy Friday afternoon, and soup seemed like a good idea. Out of the freezer came a chicken carcass, into a pot with water it went.


1 Chicken Carcass

Water to cover
1 to 2 tsp salt
1 large onion, minced
3 carrots, peeled and grated
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 bunch parsley, finely minced
2 t 3 tsp poultry seasoning
2 cups leftover cooked long grain and wild rice mixture

Place the chicken carcass in the pot, cover with water, and add salt and the onion and carrot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the meat falls off the bones; fish the bones out. Add the celery, parsley and wild rice; heat through, taste to correct seasonings, and serve. Excellent refrigerated and reheated the next day.

This soup didn't last long, obviously, and will doubtless make a repeat performance next weekend, when one of my daughters will be coming home to work on a college project involving her little brothers.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Over The Top 15 Day Challenge

Last weekend, Faye invited everyone to join in a 2 week challenge to sew tops. I thought it was a good idea, because 2 weeks isn't too long; at least I won't get bored.

Here's what I did this weekend:

From the remainder of the gold velour, a long sleeved draped top. I wanted to try this for a while, but wasn't sure I'd like it. Fabric about which I'm indifferent seeme
d like a good way to experiment. The pattern was for a sleeveless top, but we're in cold country, so sleeves seemed like a good idea. I actually like the top.
Second was the last 3/4 yard of the gold, as a tried and true cami.

Last was a pink tee-shirt knit made into a cowl necked cami. This is another pattern I'd been afraid to try for about a decade. I believe my dearly beloved will be demanding more from this pattern.

There's a green top cut out, but familial issues got in the way of productive work today. *sigh* There's always next weekend!

March Sewing

I didn't get much done in March. Between kids home for spring break and illness, there wasn't a lot of spare time.

I made 4 things out of 4 yards of beige velour: A long sleeved top, from New Look Pattern 6015, loosely based on view B, trying to replicate a top I bought back around 1976.
A tank top. No pictures for the A-lined sleeveless dress and jacket, similar to ones I've made previously.

Then I wanted to try this Vogue pattern out of this gold fabric. I didn't love the color, so it was no loss if I hated the dress.

Well, I remade the dress about 412 times, and it finally came out like this (note: you can see most of my office in this picture, which is why Thor sits right outside my office door and NOT inside it.)

Hubby likes the dress; says it's dramatic. I don't know if I like it or not. Ryan said it was weird. To that, Mark responded, "No, it's not. It looks like a cheerleader dress for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."

Ryan: "Mom's too old to be a cheerleader."

Mark: "The (some team, I forget who, but he was specific) have a cheerleader who's 42 years old. So Mom's not too old and she's certainly pretty enough."

If I had a favorite child, Mark would have earned the distinction that day.