Friday, February 19, 2010

Why Faeries Don't Like Cats

*No Faeries were harmed in the making of this image. A little traumatized, maybe, but not physically hurt.

The ribbon didn't fare as well.

Majick has apologized.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And My Dream Laptop!!

Thank you, Dede!!  For anyone who missed her comment, she sent me to the site where Richard "Doc" Nagy shows his latest creations.

And yes, I drooled, and drooled some more. 
His creations are amazing!

Here the the laptop that I fell in love with:

And here is his website, giving you a fair warning to have copious amounts of kleenex or paper towels handy. You'll need them! 

I see that he now has a kit to convert your own keyboard. Interesting. . .

It is snowing already, and a lot more is expected. I've got to go run some errands before it gets worse!

Everyone have a great day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Is THIS The New Apple? Or Is It A Dell?

I don't know, but I've GOT to find this keyboard and monitor! It is my dream come true computer.  What style! Every Victorian home should have one!

Look Who Dropped In!

This morning, I realized that the sun was coming up! Even though it is only in the 20's, or maybe because of it, that warm yellow glow was a welcome sight!

And when I walked back through from the kitchen, into the dining room, I found that I wasn't the only one who was responding to the sunlight streaming in through the windows.

These wee folk had suddenly appeared!  They seem to do this about this time of year, so I always take it as an early sign of Spring.

I would introduce you to some of them, but sadly, I don't know their names. They have never told me, but I do know a little of their personalities, just by watching them when they decide to come to visit.

This first little beauty is my newest little friend.  She actually winged her way up from Florida, taking the scenic route through Pennsylvania where my friend Pam, lives. Pure coincidence that Pam and her hubby were vacationing in Florida last year about the same time. 

She is delicate, floating on a bubble, and represents all things soft and feminine. She may have a tendency to forget things that she considers "ugly", but she is so loveable, you can't resist her charms.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have this guy. Yes, he has the slightest smile on his face, but that is only the satisfaction that he has everything under control. He shoulders the responsibility of his Faerie Clan, making sure that they don't get into too much trouble, and trying to balance their tendencies to play, with the realities of the world, that only he seems to see.

Then we have whom I call, The Blue Faerie. She is supreme serene. Always introspective, always centered and balanced. No matter what happens, she never has a blue sparkly hair frazzled, nor a ruffled blue irridescent feather. She is the essence of OM, and naturally has the ability to calm and find perspective.  Those leafy looking pieces behind her, are her gorgeous wings. Her inner beauty is so great, her aura is sparkling with peaceful color.

This little guy is a bit of an imp. A very intelligent imp, so loves to learn, for learning's sake, to expand his knowledge just for the joy of it. And he is also a bit of a tease. Not in a mean, malicious way, but more of a way of challenging not only his intellect, but yours too, to make you think, and laugh.

Then we have who I refer to as The Flower Faerie. She dresses as though she is one or part of a deep luscious bloom.  Our tie to all things of nature, she lives in harmony with the many jeweled insects that also call this community home.  There isn't a living species that this little Faerie doesn't love and respect, and they in kind, love her too. She is the original Flower Child.

And this one. .this one represents our inner child. She loves to dance, sing, paint with wild abandon, and tells wildly funny stories that make you wonder if they are true or not. .but most of the time, they are! She leads a rather flamboyant life!  She is our serious Faerie's greatest challenge, but she chooses to ignore him for the most part, which is probably even more infuriating for him. She represents everything that he isn't, although he would probably like to be, at least a little bit, if he were to admit it to himself.
I do LOVE her hair, don't you?

As I mentioned, there are sparkly, bejeweled bugs also on this little tabletop tree, with the largest of them perched right at the top! I keep waiting for him to fly away, but I'm thinking that he likes sunning himself too much.

I truly hate to tell them that we are now under a winter storm warning, with blizzard conditions beginning tonight, on through Wednesday evening.  I'm afraid that they might disappear again.
If only I knew their names.  Do you have any idea what they might be?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Two Day Onion Soup Recipe!

Yes, it really does take two days for it to taste its best, so this recipe is perfect for Mrs. B's Retro Cooking Month, picking recipes that take a little longer to prepare, for the weekend.

She hasn't been around, and I'm wondering if she got caught in that huge snowstorm and lost power.  I truly hope not!

Whatever the reason, we'll have some warm soup waiting for her when she returns.

You are going to need:

4 Tblsp. Unsalted Butter
6 Large Yellow Onions (yellow onions will make the best soup)
Table Salt or sea Salt
2 Cups of Water, plus more for deglazing
1/2 Cup Dry Sherry
4 Cups Chicken Broth
4 Cups Beef Broth
6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme, tied with kitchen twine, OR 1/2 Teasp. dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
Ground Black Pepper
1 Baguette
Gruyere Cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and move the rack to the bottom position.

Generously Spray the sides and bottom of a heavy Dutch oven with cooking spray.  Cut the butter into 4 pieces and lay in the bottom of the pan.

Peel the onions and halve them pole to pole, then slice in 1/4 inch thick pieces.  Put all of the onions in the pot, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Put a tight fitting lid on your pot, and slide it into the oven for 1 hour.

At the end of the hour, remove the lid, give the onions a stir, then position to lid so that it has a vent, and put it back into the oven for another hour. 

At the end of the second hour, repeat, stirring the onions, and scraping down the sides of the pot.  Keeping the lid ajar, return the pot to the oven for about another hour, checking after 30 minutes. You want the onions to be golden brown, and very pliable. Each time you check, scrape down the sides and bottom, putting the fond that collects on the spoon, back into the pot.

Carefully remove the pot and place it on a burner. This is where those Ove Gloves come in so handy, but if you don't have any use oven mitts. The pot will be HOT for a long time!

Over medium-high heat, cook the onions, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, 15 - 20 minutes.  If you notice them browning too quickly, turn down the heat. Continue to cook the onions until a thick brown crust forms on the bottom of the pot. (I took the photo before it got completely crusty, because at that point, I needed to be pouring water and scraping, not taking photos! lol)

Stir in 1/4 cup of water, scraping up the crust and stirring it back into the onions.  Again, let the water evaporate, and a crust form.  Add another 1/4 cup of water, and scrape up that luscious crust.  Repeat this 3 or 4 more times, or until the onions are a very dark, very rich brown. 

Stir in the sherry and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates.
(at this point I like to add another half a cup of sherry to the broth, but that is a personal taste)

Stir in the broths, 2 cups of water, the thyme and the bay leaf, scraping up any remaining bits of crust on the bottom and sides of the pot.

Increase the heat to bring the soup to a brisk simmer.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. 

Remove pot from heat, and let cool a bit before refrigerating.

The next day, remove the covered pot from the refrigerator, and skim off the solidified grease on the top.  If there are onions sticking to it, I peel them off and return them to the soup pot.

Heat the soup through, stirring it occasionally.  Remove the bay leaf, and the thyme sprigs.

While the soup is reheating, slice your baguette into 1/2 inch slices.  Place them on a cookie sheet and slide them into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden on the edges.

Shred or thinly slice the Gruyere cheese.  I add a little freshly grated Parmesan too, because that is my Hub's favorite cheese. Don't be afraid to experiment if you like another cheese better.

Adjust the top oven rack to about 6 inches below the broiler element.  Preheat the broiler.  Ladle soup into oven proof bowls, lay a slice or two of bread on top, being careful not to overlap. 

Sprinkle generously with cheese, and put the bowls on a cookie sheet. 

Slide the soup bowls under the broiler, and keep an eye on them.  You want the cheese to melt and the soup to get bubbly around the edges.  Let it cool 5 minutes before serving.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Today is Quick and Easy Dessert day over at Mrs. B's, so I am planning to make a Hot Fudge Sundae Cake.

If you put all of the ingredients together, and add the hot water to put it into the oven just before you eat, it will be nice and warm when you are ready to eat dessert!

You need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In an ungreased 9 inch square pan, pour in 1 cup of Flour, 3/4 cup of Sugar, 2 Tblsp. of Cocoa Baking Powder, 2 Teasp. Baking Powder, and 1/4 Teasp. of Salt.

You will see that I have added a little darker powder on top of the cocoa. That is what is known as Black Cocoa. It is SO rich, and strong, that a little goes a long way, but it adds so much chocolately flavor.  If you can find some (King Arthur Flour Catalog carries it), buy it. It has a long shelf life, and can be used in so many different ways.

It is actually easier to blend if you put all of the ingredients on top of each other in the pan. I separated them to show you all that goes into it.

Blend the ingredients thoroughly, using a small whisk or a fork.  If you are using a glass dish, then raise it up to look at the bottom. It is an easy way to see if the ingredients are blended as well as you thought!

In a measuring cup, pour in 1/2 cup of Milk, along with 2 Tblsp of Vegetable Oil, and 1 teasp. of your favorite Vanilla.

Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, making sure you get the corners. 

Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of your dish.  Spread the batter evenly over the pan.

Crumble 1 cup of packed Brown Sugar over the top of the batter, and sift or flake 1/4 cup of Cocoa Baking Powder over that.

Pour 1 3/4 Cups of HOT Water over the top. DO NOT stir! 

Slide into the oven, and bake for 40 minutes.  What happens is that as the cake bakes, it will rise above, forming a fudgy sauce underneath.

After it is out of the oven, let it set for 15 minutes.  Then serve warm with ice cream. 

If there is any left, refrigerate, and warm either in the microwave or oven to enjoy again!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bonus Jello Recipe!

Ok, Mrs. B, in all of her wisdom, posted the very same Jello recipe that I did, only SHE has pictures, too! lol

So I thought that I'd share another one that I enjoyed every holiday when I was growing up.  It is going to sound strange, but it really is very good.

And I shouldn't show you this graphic because it isn't anything like the salad that I'm going to share, but thought that it was too gross looking to not share it!  What lengths they went to, to come up with something new! Eeeuuuwww!

So back to the good one.

Make a package of lime jello (large box, or two small ones) according to directions, and let it get just to the soft set stage where you add fruits or veggies.

Nowadays, this is even easier to make because you can buy preshredded coleslaw mix, but "back in the old days", my Mom would shred some cabbage, carrots and onion, and mix that into the lime jello, then pour it into a mold.

Pop it out at dinnertime, and you have a festive jello salad!  And yes, it really is good!  She used to make another version using orange jello with carrots and raisins, but I always preferred the lime with the cabbage.

Ok, Mrs. B. . your turn! lol

Everything Goes Better With Jello!

Oh my stars!!  Does anyone else remember that slogan? Please say that you do!! lol

As you might have guessed, today is Jello Day at Mrs. B's! This is my offering.

Being a 50's child, I've eaten Jello prepared in so many different ways, I can't remember all of the different recipes.  And to tell you the truth, I don't fix it very much, myself.

But when I do, it is usually for a cookout, or family dinner, and everyone asks for it fixed like this:

There are two versions, one uses cream cheese (yum!), and the other, which is supposed to be a healthier version, but is also good, uses cottage cheese.  And either one is SO simple!

1 Small box of Jello, your favorite flavor
1 Small container of Cool-Whip, thawed
1 Small package of Cream Cheese, OR 1 small container of cottage cheese
Your favorite fruit (yes, you can even use fruit cocktail, 2 cans, drained. Mandarin oranges are a good choice, along with some chunk pineapple)

If you are using the cream cheese version, soften it at room temperature, then pop it into your mixer, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and whip it until it is very soft. 

Blend in the cool-whip. 

Add the DRY jello powder, stirring until it is thoroughly mixed through.

While you are doing this, have your fruit in stainer, draining off as much liquid as possible. 

Add your fruit last, folding it into the jello/cheese mixture.  You can serve it immediately, but it is better to let it set up a bit in the refrigerator for a while.

If you are using the cottage cheese version, no need to get out the mixer. It is easily made by hand. 

To cut calories and fat, you can use the low fat or fat free cottage cheese, and ditto for the cool-whip.  It still will taste VERY good!

There's always room for Jello!  (I watched entirely too much TV when I was growing up!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Skillet Barbeque Chicken

Today, Mrs. B asked for some quick and easy recipes. VERY good timing, Mrs. B, because my afternoon turned into "one of those days". 

I even had to cut back on my visual aids, but I'm sure that you all will handle it just fine!

This is a family retro recipe, because I've made it for years, and it continues to be an easy, filling meal.

I take four chicken breasts, skin removed and trimmed of fat, and cut them into approximately 1 inch pieces.

Drizzle some of your favorite olive oil in deep fry pan, and brown the chicken on all sides.

Add 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, whether it be homemade or from a bottle, and 1/2 cup of your favorite beer.  I've found that a nice dark stout provides a wonderful depth of flavor, and tonight, I used a nice Bock Beer! (You know Spring is on its way when Bock Beer starts showing up on the shelves!)  And what you do with the rest of the bottle is completely up to you! :-)  It is a shame to waste a good beer though, and the cook should get some sort of compensation for all of her hard work!

Then add 1 cup of frozen corn, and 1/4 cup of chopped green pepper.  I deviated from the recipe by chopping up a few roasted red peppers from the jar, that I always keep on hand. (I didn't have any fresh ones, and we like the flavor)

Also add 1 15.5 ounce can of Kidney or Black Beans, that have been thoroughly drained and rinsed. Mix together thoroughly.

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the chicken is fork tender and juices run clear.

Remove lid, and cook uncovered another 5 minutes or so, until some of the liquid cooks off.

While the chicken was simmering, pop come cornbread into the oven, and make a quick green salad, or buy some shredded cabbage, and mix it with your favorite dressing for a quick slaw.

There's your quick supper!  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!

Wishing everyone a Happy Groundhog Day! What do we do to celebrate? I don't know. Maybe what Groundhogs do when they're happy? Probably doing much like this handsome guy, who lives in our garden.

Last Spring, he was helping do early Spring yardwork by clearing out all of the sprouting sunflower seeds underneath the feeders, before I shoveled up the shells. And he did an excellent job too!

If he were foolish enough to pop his head out today, he would only see cloudy skies and snow falling. No shadow!!  

So strike up the band, and let the feasting begin!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Scrapbooking Answers

I wanted to thank everyone who gave me some wonderful suggestions to my early scrapbooking questions!

I truly appreciate the time you took to help me, and now I've got a better idea of what magazines to buy for my daughter, and what would be useful for her. 

And the stars are shining bright above me, because when her favorite scrapbooking haunt was closing, unbeknown to us at the time, someone was buying not only the store and the name, but the inventory too! I just found out that they are reopening next month in almost the original location! So I think that I'll go and sign her up for a class, too.

Yes, the stars are even smiling, because I received a very heavy large carton recently from a certain Jaz, over at Octoberfarm.  This wonderful woman with a heart as big as all outdoors, stuffed a box full of papers and embellishments from her own stash, to give my daughter a jumpstart in her new hobby! 

My daughter and I were ovewhelmed by Jaz's generosity. .she actually made my daughter speechless for a few seconds. I didn't think that could EVER happen! :-)

Jaz also sent along a beautiful example of her scrapbooking, and has given me her permission to post it.  I told her that I thought that everyone would enjoy seeing another form of her artistic eye once again creating beauty! 

I just love it!!

So thank you again, Jaz, and thanks to everyone who gave of their time to help me! Now when I buy my daughter any scrapbooking materials, I'm going to feel this warm spot in my heart, remembering how kind you all are!

BIG Hugs,

Recipe Storage

Whew! All sorts of things happening at once! :-)

Mrs. B. is having a retro cooking month over at her Confessions Of a Pagan Soccer Mom, and today, she asked everyone to show their system for storing recipes.

Hers is much like mine, only much neater!

Whether I get them off of the internet (thank you Martha, the Food Network, Cooks Illustrated, and others!),

 and either put them here, {cringe}for future reference, or on my kitchen counter beside my grocery list for immediate use,

Or from some of my too-many-to-count cookbooks that are stashed in various bookcases in the kitchen and dining room.

(excuse the plaster dust. .it is everywhere!!)

If they are successful,  and with added written amendments, they are then typed up in Word, stored, printed, and wind up here!

I've got a series of them, one for general meals, one for soups, one for desserts, one for holiday dishes, etc. and each one has its own graphic and color binder.  But all are put into page protectors.

Several years ago, I spent weeks culling through recipes, picking out each of my kids' favorite recipes, and made them each their own personal cookbook, in the same style, complete with an index.  Since then, if any of them gets another recipe they want to add, they give it to me, I type it up on their personal page, slip it into the plastic sleeve, and give it to them to add to their book.  One of them, who like to collect recipes like her Mom, is on her second volume! :-)

This may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn't, and it makes it so much easier for me to lay my hands on a recipe when I want it!

Happy cooking!!