Tuesday, September 29, 2015


My daughter is a creative genius.

This looks like a box of books, right?

 Nope.  She made them into table numbers for the reception.

I think they are great, but I also think that given my love of books, I might feel compelled to unfold the pages and make them back into real books at the end.  Shannon had better remove them from my line of sight, so I'm not tempted.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Miscellany

In preparation for the festivities this weekend, my piano is being tuned today.  Right now.  The guy who was supposed to come flaked out, but I was able to find this lady's father, who sent her to me within an hour of my phone call.  They are wonderful.

I made my dress this weekend.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

My dearly beloved told me it must be much too long, because I'm not 7 feet tall.  I told him he is silly.  It's hanging for a couple of days before I put the hem in.

(I had purchased something else, but didn't love it.)

Tonight's projects include contouring 2 suit jackets to fit him better, and removing about a half mile of excess fabric from the width of his suit trouser legs.  Easy-peasy; 3 hours tops.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cookbook Wednesday: Jacques Pepin

You all know I read The Wall Street Journal. every day.  (No, that isn't a typo; the name of the paper ends with a period, so I thought I'd type it right just this once.)  On Fridays, they have a Mansion section, which often features houses and housing concepts so foreign to most of us that I just shake my head (a turntable in your garage, so you don't have to turn your car around, because there isn't enough room? really? an elevator to take your car to your apartment? really?) and they always have an interview with someone famous about their childhood home and memories.  Last Friday, it was Jacques Pepin.  And that caused me to remember this cookbook!

This came from a library used book sale a few years back.  And given next week's festivities - my daughter's wedding and all of the pre-ceremony excitement, which will go on for a few days - I thought refreshing my short-cut repertoire was in order.

 He has all of the usual categories.
 In his first chapter, he advises all of the convenience foods you should have to make cooking easy when you're busy.  Really! A fancy chef who gets paid plenty, who believes in the wonderment of canned foods and bouillon cubes?  His intro says he wrote this cookbook with his daughter in mind.  That's great news for the rest of us.

Most of his recipes have but a few ingredients.  And there are plenty of tips about something you can store long-term in your pantry, to make the cooking faster.
 He does give recipes done the long way, like yeast breads...
 ...but he also acknowledges the goodness of frozen bread doughs and the like.

 I don't know why these pictures aren't as clear as usual, but the Cream of Corn Pudding calls for a can of creamed corn.  Easy-peasy.
 Yams with maple syrup and butter, with canned yams as the basis?  A real time saver.
 He even says that some frozen berries are just as good as fresh.  I already knew that, but it's nice to see someone who gets paid for being a great cook acknowledging that.
 You know I'll be poring through this cookbook for ideas for next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night dinners (and snackage throughout those days and Friday).  I'll just think of it as a practice drill for Thanksgiving week; after all, I'll never be feeding more than 18 people next week!

This is Cookbook Wednesday, started by Louise, who is on hiatus.
Enjoy your Wednesday, and Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Garden Tuesday!

We were down at the lower end of the yard, looking at some yew branches which will have to be tide aside to facilitate entry to the yard for the wedding in 11 days.  Across the driveway from said yews, my eye fell upon the trunk of one of our larger trees.

I think it's an ash, but it might be an oak, or maybe something else.  I don't think it's a walnut tree.  But I could be confused.  I don't usually look at it from 10 feet away; usually I'm gazing upon it from a few hundred feet away, enjoying the majesty of 200+ year old trees.

For reference, the pillar next to it is about 3 feet square.  The tree is big.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cookbook Wednesday: Only One Day Late!

I had a little bit of free time today.  I wonder how that happened?  No matter; I came to visit you.

I got this cookbook a few years back from one of my daughters for Christmas.  It's certainly a very pretty cookbook, loaded with gorgeous pictures.  It's so pretty it's almost intimidating.

"Shop, cook and eat like a local"

(Around here, that means Old Forge Style Pizza.  Just sayin'.)

 There are even lots of pretty pictures included with the table of contents.
 All about olive oil, and its myriad uses.  Good for a dolt like me.

 How to make your own Bouquet Garni.  Here and I thought that was just a spice bottle my mother had on her shelf to look fancy despite the fact that she could barely boil water.
 I think this was the only page without pictures.
 I've made this salad dressing.  But that isn't what's interesting about this page.
 Ryan bought me this bookmark from a school field trip when he was in about 7th grade.  Look at the sharks.
 Now look again when I turn it slightly!  The sharks are coming, and boy are they p**sed!
 I guess this is where pilaf comes from?
 Don't ever let anyone tell you ketchup isn't authentic French food.  Here's your proof.
 Something to do with pine nuts besides make pesto!
 And, of course, the obligatory cheese section.  Because life is not complete without cheese.  Just ask my (future) son in law, the "cheese snob" (his soon-to-be wife's words, not mine).
Happy Cookbook Wednesday on Thorsday, everyone!  With my eternal thanks to Louise for creating this event, and hopes that we will see you perhaps around the holidays, or whenever your hiatus ends!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Garden Tuesday: Drive By

The grass has mostly come in; Ryan has gently mowed it for me a couple of times.  Sadly, there are still bare spots where the stupid sprinkler washed away the seed, so I've overseeded those in hopes that we will be all green in 3 weeks....

And, in a random turn of events, we had a visiting kittycat on the porch the other day.  He did not stay to say hello after I opened the door.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review...on Monday?

It's been a hectic weekend.  Our oldest son and his wife came for the weekend, the sons went to the first part of the bachelor weekend (paintballing, skipping the casino), I sewed two-and-a-half test dresses in search of the right pattern for my mother-of-the-bride dress, and a big contact lens problem at 6:30AM today has me seeing blurry.

So I'm hiding.  And I thought I'd write a review of a book I read probably 2 months ago.

By  Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I bought this book at a used book sale in April, and it waited for a couple of months for my attention.  "Literary" and "Pie" in the title?  It had to be good, right?  The book is set in the aftermath of WWII, in London and on Guernsey.  Juliet Ashton is an author attempting to begin her second novel, when she receives a letter from the Isle of Guernsey.  Her name had been written inside a book, and the writer wanted to know if she could recommend a book for him.  Thus began a correspondence between Juliet and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, so named when some of the members were caught breaking the Nazi imposed curfew during the war.

The book consists entirely of letters between Juliet and others: her publisher, her best friend, members of the Society...

I had to stick with it through the first quarter or so of this book, until I became caught up enough in the story to want to see it through, to find out what happened to the member who was taken by the SS, what happened to the father of that woman's child, what would become of the marriage proposal Juliet received from a rich man, how those on Guernsey fared after the war.  I'm just not a fan of reading nothing but letters between people and waiting to see how they are interrelated and interwoven.  Ultimately, it was a good book, but I would have enjoyed it much more had it been a more standard narrative.  3.5/5

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Garden Tuesday: Plums!

Well, I guess that even though the wedding plans are pretty well firmed up, tiny crises are going to continue to plague me!  I've been a pretty inconsistent poster the past couple of months, and it's not going to get any better, apparently.

But over the weekend, I strolled down to our orchard, and found our three plum trees teeming with beautiful little plums!

 From a little farther back on the second tree, you can see the plums scattered over the branches!

I picked in excess of 50 of them; since this is still about 40 in this bowl, you can surmise just how tiny they are.  But they are lovely and sweet, with just a little tang to the skins.

I can't find any recipes for plums, but I'm thinking of attempting to create maybe a cobbler with some of these.  And another trip to the trees is probably in order.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!  See you next time my brain is untangled.