Friday, May 30, 2014

Pink Coleslaw!

I'll bet you all thought I forgot how to cook, right?  Not really.  It's a little bit hard to convert things to "Cardiologist Approved" format, and a lot hard to remember to find the fool camera, take a picture, copy the recipe, etc, etc, etc...or maybe I'm just lazy.

Anyway, Ryan went to the supermarket to pick up a few things for our Memorial Day Cook-In (come on, you know I don't grill).  While there, he called me to inquire as to whether I knew how to make coleslaw.  "Sure," I said, "but if not, I can bluff."  So with instruction to come home with cabbage, I was all set to formulate the perfect coleslaw for Ryan and his father.


1/2 head green cabbage
1/4 head red cabbage
3 carrots (about 1/4 pound)
1-1/2 cups light mayonnaise
4 to 6 tbso white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tbsp celery seed or sesame seed

Scoop the mayonnaise into a large bowl.  Add the vinegar, one tablespoon at a time, stirring to incorporate, until the mixture still holds some shape, but drizzles off the spoon.  Stir in the condiments and set aside.  Shred the carrots and red cabbage with the shredder blade of your food processor and scoop them into the bowl with the mayo mix.  Chop the green cabbage, then use the slicer blade in the food processor to cut it into strips.  Add that to the bowl, then stir the whole thing until the cabbage and carrots are thoroughly coated.  Chill for a minimum of one hour.

I was delighted by the pretty pink color this coleslaw had, and my dearly beloved was amused at my happiness.  He also was surprised at how good it was.  Ryan ate at least 1/3 of this on Saturday morning for breakfast, informing me that he "feasted upon the pink coleslaw."  Best of all, it's extremely low in sodium and with the light mayo there is no cholesterol!  (I've been working on a no-cholesterol mayo, and while my flavor is fine, the consistency is a little lacking, so no posting yet.  But Kraft light mayo has no cholesterol, so that takes some of the pressure off.)

So, there's a great, easy, one-bowl recipe for your summer cookouts or cook-ins!  Remember, Ryan feasted on it, it's just that good!

Happy weekending, everyone!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Garden Tuesday: Azalea

Over the weekend, my azalea bloomed.

Yes, I only have one, but I love how vivid it is.

Sadly, because it was so cold for so long, by the time my trees flowered, the leaves were already coming out, obscuring the flowers.  Oh, well, at least it was warm for the weekend.  Maybe spring has finally arrived, today's rain and chill notwithstanding.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thorsday Book Review

This is a book I bought as a gift, but I had to read it myself before sending it on to the recipient.  Come on, are you really surprised?

by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager

This is the story of a spy ring which was based on Long Island during the Revolutionary War.  I first learned of this book from the relative in Denver, who was fascinated by its premise.  Central to the book is Abraham Woodhull, a farmer from Long Island.  As a supplier to the British army, he was able to travel to New York City and obtain information from contacts there, which he then passed on via a series of other contacts.  This was an extremely dangerous thing to do, because the British, who were there as an army of occupation against its own colony, considered any action which aided the Rebels to be treasonous, and Rebel sympathizers were sent to prison ships in New York Harbor, where conditions were harsh and prisoners died.

Evidently, some of the information in this book comes from papers kept by the Woodhull family for in excess of 200 years.  I find that astonishing.  In my own research, I discovered that my grandmother's grandfather's grandfather was a "Rebel" soldier during the American Revolution, and yet this information was not passed down as oral tradition through the family.  Indeed, all of that grandmother's ancestors appear to have been here before the first American census, yet it was never mentioned once.  So the records the authors found amaze me.

This book is the basis for AMC's new show Turn.  The show is somewhat more entertaining than the book, because, of course, they have to show interpersonal action and dialogue, but it does convey the spirit of the book.

We're going into Memorial Day weekend here in the US.  While we traditionally think of this as the start of summer, a weekend for fun and picnics, it's also the day when we remember our war dead.  This book (and the TV show) are appropriate for this weekend.  4/5.

This week's Thorsday Book Review is hosted by Winston, who is visiting while his People are on their honeymoon.

Winston wants you to know that he's ignoring all of us.  Indeed, if we don't pay attention to the fact that he is ignoring us, he head butts us.  And then he ignores us a while longer.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Garden Tuesday, Sorta

Jeff didn't come for Mother's Day weekend; at my request, he waited until this past weekend, so he could be here for Ryan's 18th birthday celebration.

But he brought me flowers anyway.

Including this one rose which he thought was very cool.

(He also chatted up the cute girl in the store, and got her number.  Smart guy.)

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Coffee Coffee Cake

No, that is not an error in my title.  This is Coffee Coffee Cake.  Double your caffeine in the morning!


3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 t cinnamon
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp instant coffee
1 cup milk
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg beaters)
1/8 tsp baking soda

In a bowl, stir together the flour, powder, salt, sugars and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture is grainy, then remove 1 cup of the mixture to another bowl.  To that 1 cup, add the chopped nuts and remaining cinnamon, stir together and set aside.

Take the remaining flour mixture, and add the instant coffee, milk, egg and baking soda.  Beat until smooth.  Pour into a greased 13x9 baking pan.  Sprinkle the reserved flour/nut mixture evenly over the top of the batter, and bake at 350F for 28 to 32 minutes.

I made this cake while my oldest son was here, before his wedding.  I do believe he consumed 3/4 of it in about 24 hours; it was just that good.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Happy Thorsday!

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

There is no dog news here, lest you all be getting excited, but we are currently babysitting for Winston and Buffy (AKA Other Cat, she of Santa suit fame back in December), because....

Today my oldest son got married!  He and his bride eloped to a castle in Scotland.  This did two very smart things for them: (a) it avoided her family being honked off at the fact that my son wanted to be married here in our little corner of the world (and, really, the walled garden would have been perfect for it), and (b) it saved the bride from the endless "helpful suggestions" she was already getting from her mother, sisters, grandmothers, assorted get the picture. Best of all, they got a bargain: a 5 week honeymoon for far less than the cost of the traditional wedding, reception, blah, blah, blah.

Last week, I took pictures of my lovely new daughter in law, and here she is!

OK, maybe it's a little disappointing to miss my son's wedding, but I am very happy that they did what was best for them.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Garden Tuesday...Plus!

It rained a lot last week, and then it was warm, so leaves were popping out all over the place!  And what's better than an archway of burning bush in the walled garden?

Especially when there's a dogwood blooming over it.

Well, it turns out that such an arch is the perfect place for prom pictures on Saturday afternoon.

Ryan's date's sister went with one of Ryan's good friends, so they all came over for prom pictures at Ryan's house.They all cleaned up very nicely, don't you think?  A garden full of fun and celebration is the best sort of garden!

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Monday!

Mother's Day was bound to be wonderful here in my little corner of the world.  My dearly beloved is improving very nicely.  Some of the kids were home, and those who weren't here phoned.  The sky was blue, and the sun was warm.  And did I mention that my beloved is doing well?  Those are really all the ingredients I need to keep me happy.

And then the kids did this:

(The hydrangea is in a galvanized pail, and can be planted outside after I've enjoyed the flowers for a while.)

Truly, my cup runneth over.

I hope you all had as happy a weekend.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Miscellany

I have nothing exciting to report.

I've been working on a recipe for cholesterol free mayonnaise.  I have the flavor pretty good but the texture and consistency are not quite right.  Updates if/when I perfect it.

I've also tried out a recipe for a whipped topping (substitute for whipped cream).  Again, pretty good, but not quite right.  I'm trying to nail that one, too.

The good news is that my dearly beloved's cholesterol, which was never high, is now low!  Maybe it's the pharmaceutical, maybe it's my cooking, but I'm going to claim credit here.  It's been a hard slog.  I deserve credit for feeding him very healthy and his not even really noticing it.

Lastly, my eldest son and his fiancee are here for a few more days before they leave for their destination wedding/elopement and subsequent 5 week honeymoon.  We are babysitting for their cats (or, to be precise, Mark is babysitting for the cats).

They had plenty of engagement pictures taken, but this one really struck me.  It has a happy, lighthearted air to it.

Pictures of the bride will be coming on the big day!

Happy weekending, everyone!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happy Thorsday! Books!

You know it's been busy around here, since I went to another used book sale 2 weeks ago and am just now getting around to writing about it!

The library got these great reusable bags donated to them by a local bank, and were handing them out freely.  The boys and I filled 4 with books.

These were some of my books (in their bag).

These were more of my books.

I also got a few books for the relative in Colorado.  She can't drive, and is very happy when I send her silly little gifts like a couple of books.

But my greatest find was this book (sorry for the blurry picture - I must have been wearing my stooopid hat when I took it):

You can't tell, but it has a nice, padded cover, with these gilt-edged pages and the ribbon bookmark.  I'm not entirely sure how much use it is, given that it has information on how to start the fire in your stove in the morning, and times and temperatures are virtually nonexistent, but it's a great deal of fun to read, in addition to being a very pretty volume.  I think its previous owner must have died, and the heirs (probably men), just gave away everything, including this book.  No one would willingly let it go.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Garden Tuesday: On Wednesday

Two of my smaller rhododendrons out front are blooming merrily - they opened up yesterday.

So why is the bigger one stubbornly refusing to flower?

Oh, well, that just means more flowers in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thorsday Book Review: Cold Mountain

I'm pretty sure I found this book some time last year.  I remember seeing the movie when it came out, which must be well in excess of 10 years ago, and thought I'd read the book.

by Charles Frazier
copyright 1997

This is the story of Ada Munroe, who was raised as a well-to-do, well educated girl by her preacher father in Charleston, SC; they subsequently moved to Cold Mountain, in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, where he bought a farm and hired a couple to run the farm for him while he ran the church in town.

It is also the story of Inman, native to Cold Mountain, a soldier in the War.  The story starts in 1864, with Inman recovering from a severe neck wound in a hospital in Virginia.  When the man in the bed next to Inman died, Inman decided to leave before he could be sent back to active status.  His story follows his journey through Virginia and North Carolina and the people he encountered, from the Union and Confederate soldiers who try to capture deserters, to those who help him.

Ada's father died before the book began, leaving her alone to try to survive.  Ada was pretty much helpless, because the Indian couple who had been running the farm had left to avoid any problems with the Confederates.  Ada was very book-smart, but completely incapable of doing anything for herself; she also lacked much social skill.  It was very fortunate for her that a girl named Ruby was sent to Ada's farm one day by a kindly neighbor; in return for being given a cabin on the farm, Ruby would work with Ada to run the farm, starting with selling off the piano to buy some livestock.

The book's chapters alternate between Inman's and Ada's stories, including flashbacks to earlier occurrences, including the first time they met.  It has the feel of a family narrative, especially because the dialogue is not punctuated by quotation marks, but simply indicated by a dash before the statement (which was very off-putting to me at first, but became somewhat endearing).  This was a rather bittersweet story, and I was sorry when it ended.  5/5

(For the record, I don't really remember the movie, so I can't offer comparison.)