Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Less

Asparagus has popped up! This is our first year of being able to harvest this tasty vegetable. I wasn't sure what to expect.The tiny and barely above soil sprout can grow several inches in an afternoon. The stalk shown in this photo was ready to harvest by dinner time. I won't say that we've had a bumper crop or anything, though it's been very satisfying to spy them here and there in the asparagus bed.
Fresh cut from the yard to the table asparagus is amazing, and that is all. 
Olive oil, salt and pepper, and a little sprinkle of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Simple. Delicious.


And then there was this day. Flying kites. Ohio springtime and kite flying go hand in hand.

Is it just me or Flying a kite is a feeling of freedom. I love being connected to the kite via that thin little line of string and feeling the wind tug and whip. It's the closest thing to flying while your feet are still on the ground.

Yes, yes, I know, anymore stained glass windows in my house and I'm gonna have people showing up on Sundays looking for a hymnal and the offering plate. Never mind that business, the window on the right is portable and can be moved from window to window in our house. The door however is staying forever in that location. I love the peaceful feel.

I suppose you are wondering if I'm ever going to post another recipe. I certainly am wondering. There's something about red highlights added to your hair that makes you wonder about things. Like. If my hair gets really grey anytime soon would I do a total dye job? I don't think so. Being over half of a century old... if my hair isn't getting really grey yet then I might get by with just a highlight from time to time. This was my first addition of hair color in over 10 years so I was a little nervous. I like it though.
This little doggie is very camera shy. It's a rarity for her to make eye contact with me when I'm trying to take her photo.
This ham bone of pooch however, he loves the camera. Of course, he's old and loosing his sight. Good ole' Tucker Boy is 14.5 years old.

Not much new in the cooking world around here. I've been dabbling with crock pot recipes, to date there's been nothing outstanding to report on that subject. I did however bake a great cake known as a Hummingbird Cake. I was rather fond. You can find the recipe here. Designed to be served as a 3 layer cake, I frosted each layer separately and had 3 one layer cakes. One to eat and two to share.
No photos though.

Last year was a blur of a year and I'm certain that I aged way more than 12 months. This spring has me with less energy and frankly less desire to flit around the house and do spring cleaning. My single tasking lifestyle is more by necessity than by choice.

I hope you're enjoying a lovely day wherever you are. Being productive includes things like kite flying and taking naps. Never underestimate the power of less.











Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's finished

Hanging a little cock eyed, and the photo is a little off centered. You get the idea though. My first big stained glass project is complete. Yippee!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hello

My flea market fever is creeping up on me as winter drags it's evil feet out the door. Our local second hand shops have been stocking their shelves with new items which have been purchased from department stores and then re-shelved at the likes of the Goodwill. All winter long I've dreamed of the flea market scene. Slim pickin's at the local secondhand stores around here.

I'm not sure who is involved in the restructuring of our area Goodwill stores. I will say, "I'm not impressed". The prices are outrageous. The "new" items that they have stocked can just as easily be found at a dollar store for far less than the Goodwill prices. My last 3 shopping trips to what was once a favorite secondhand store has found me leaving empty handed. Bummer.

Selling stuff at the flea market is just as exhilarating as shopping and find a gem. I've been stock- piling this winter and have a nice bounty to peddle at a few sales this summer. The gypsy wagon shall roll again!!

We had a slight break in the cold last week. Red potatoes went in the ground. Leftover from last years harvest and covered in 8 inch sprouts, seemed a shame to not give them a chance at a second go around. I'm hopeful their efforts won't go to waste and the planting will suceed. Also, two types of peas were planted. Of course....peas!!
No sign of asparagus yet. I have flea market fever and asparagus anticipation.
Crocheting has kept me within decent boundaries of sanity.
Stained glass window project number one is hours away from completion and projects two and three are in the works.
Isn't that just like the month of March? Hurry up and wait. I have many unfinished projects that are waiting in the wings for sunshine and blue skies.
Another winter in the books! Hip hip Hooray.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Another Day In Paradise

Fellow frozen friends of the North Coast, what have you been doing? For anyone who hasn't seen a weather forecast lately I can sum it up very quickly for you. Damned cold, frigid freezing air with full-on-too-cold to shiver existence.
 So I read
  Eye Candy Here
http://architecturalafterlife.com/  
Cool Ohio Stuff Here
http://ohio981.blogspot.com/
More Cool Ohio Stuff Here
http://moundbuilder.blogspot.com/
Great Attitude Here
http://youcancallmesue.blogspot.com/

Then I bake
I like it when the cookies crack around the edges. So, take that.


Then I crochet

It's a Hat, bad camera work but, I'm an amateur.
Then I have very low expectations for myself and those around me. It's okay. I won't whine and cry about the weather on this here little ole' blog. I'll just share with you how I am muddling my way through the days of February. Half way baby.
Fat Tuesday, I ate cake. Three pieces because I'm a fatty like that. And painted my nails.
Tomorrow, I am making a little money and actually working some. Then baking bread! Then reading and crocheting again. This is the song that doesn't end.

Stay toasty my friends!!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

February Ohio Sky



The vacant snow covered fields of Ohio are rarely graced with the warm sunshine. My skills of taking photographs as we cruise down the road at 60 MPH are not a fine tuned machine. Still though, you have to admit the sunshine is looking pretty good against that frozen landscape.
Thaw.
We have dogs so the use of salt to melt the ice and snow directly in their path is not a good idea. Plus when it's so freezing cold the salt doesn't work. I resorted to busting the ice on our back porch steps and basically chiseling a path for the poochies and salting the human foot path.
Melt.




Muddling the days of February is always a challenge. On the off chance that I'm out and about this time of year if I see the sun shining through the trees it's a photo worthy moment. I will admit that the color scheme of nature during the winter brings a peace. A nice quiet hush. Still, green fields and the smell of earth in the garden trumps over February's dignified staunch pose.
Motionless.

 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Groundhogs Day

Will it be Punxsutawney Phil or Buckeye Chuck? I will take the spring forecast predicted by the later as he is foretelling an early spring. Groundhogs are snarly and vicious if provoked by humans so the folklore surrounding their credibility as soothsayer meteorologists seems desperate to me. I can't speak for other parts of the country but, here in Ohio we have had our fair share of snow. This isn't all that unusual nor are the freezing temperatures. So if Buckeye Chuck offers a glimmer of hope to an early spring then who am I to question the integrity of a rodent.

I baked a wonderful Pecan Pound Cake the other day. Then followed it up with an Ice Cream Cake Roll. Have you ever eaten one of those delicious ice cream cakes from the queen of dairys? I discovered a quick version of those wonderful chocolate crunchies layered in with the decadent fudge. As an application in my cake roll though, the result was less than great. The chocolate crunchies make for rough slicing. The cake roll pretty much turned into a crushed looking cake like thing when I served it but, the flavor was pretty good.
 I baked a basic chocolate cake roll in my jelly roll pan, followed the basic rule with cake rolls. With softened ice cream in hand, I slathered the entire roll with cookies and cream. At this point I should have left well enough alone but, I had to add those chocolate crunchies. The cake rolled up fine. It held it's shape while refreezing. Slicing this sucker was a nightmare though. The crunchies became so hard in the freezing process and the entire thing was a disaster. I will however use the crunchies again in a different layered situation.
 Sometimes home cooks just do not measure things. I am passing along the basic process and giving you some inspiration not providing an exact recipe.

One dark chocolate bar melted together with a few tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave creates a product similar to the magic shell sold in the ice cream isle at your grocery store. Do this. Or buy Magic Shell.
 Crunch up Oreo cookies to a nice crumble. Use the entire cookie. Pour your melted chocolate and coconut oil mixture over the crumbles and stir together. It looks like a goopy mess but the great thing about coconut oil is the properties which make it harden as it cools. That's it. This ingredient might not have worked well in my cake roll but, I think it will be fantastic in a layered cake.

Ice cream in February, why yes, please and thank you!

Groundhogs Day 2015 just another day in paradise......

P.S. also known as whistle pigs

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Nooks and Crannies

If you landed here on a search for English Muffins then here is a recipe you might enjoy. Were you in search of reading devices? I can't help you there. Let's move along to the nooks and crannies of a 1920's bungalow home. Come on it will be fun.
Behind this hardly noticeable door in my kitchen is a bounty of goods. I have opened this door to retrieve an item while in the midst of company and several people have remarked to having never noticed it as a cupboard.
Check it out!
Many nooks and crannies of our home have been left in their original condition. I'll save my money on baking supplies. Have you priced home remodeling items lately? Kind of ridiculous when our kitchen functions great as it has for nearly 100 years. Why on earth I would be so bold as to come in and start renovating? If that's your thing, great. I would rather forsake new and improved to have a little extra spare change on hand for luxury baking items in my kitchen. What do I consider luxury baking items? Parchment paper, coarse sugar, lots and lots of flavorings, good flours, the best butter I can get my hands on, you get the point. Nook untouched holding my supplies.
I didn't tidy it up before you arrived. This is how I live. Someone lined the interior of my spice cupboard with a spiffy patterned wallpaper. I washed it down with some bleach when we moved into this house over 2 years ago, shut the door, and felt good about that.
The door of this cupboard has the cool old hardware. I considered cleaning it up and all, but times a wastin' and she waits for no one. Again, if you're into fine tuned hardware in your home, great. I have cakes to bake and no time for fine hardware. Isn't it splendid with natural patina?


In older homes with lots of wood, the eye overlooks hidden treasures, like my spice cupboard. It's been in my mind for days upon days to bake a cake. Not a chocolate cake, not a Maida Heater cake, not a spice or fruit or cinnamony cake. What to do, what to do?

We are suppose to be hit with some artic air soon so I might as well put on another pair of socks and go slide around in the kitchen and bake a cake.

Good bye January you mean old bitch.




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Oatmeal Bread


Recipes with a reason. Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cookbook was illustrated by Andy Warhol. One can only image how this cookbook came together. In 1961 the etiquette queen of New York and Andrew Warhol worked together to create a complete vision of cooking. I have a first edition of this book but, sadly it's been used and very abused. Who had the most tantrums while this book was in production? I'm sure both author and illustrator threw around a few choice words from time to time.

Anyhow, poor Amy met a fate that is one of debate. Did she jump onto the sidewalk in front of her New York townhouse on 87th Street or did she have a lightheaded moment that caused a fall from her 2nd story window? Her fate was dismal either way. Dismal would be the reasoning behind my selecting this recipe today.
In her recollections Ms. Vanderbilt associates this recipe with her experiences of World War I. Mind you she was a mere child during that time period but, the rationing of wheat inspired the baking of this Oatmeal Bread. In her book she refers to this loaf as a "delicious wartime sacrifice loaf."
Just as I imagine what Amy and Andy must have been doing during the late 50's and early 60's as the cookbook is being created. I also imagine what life must have been like for Ms. Vanderbilt during the days of 1914. I can't imagine that she suffered too horribly during the war as she was from a somewhat affluent family. Unlike another female of this time period Marina Yurlova.
Marina Yurlova would likely have never had the luxury of smelling this delicious bread baking during World War I. For certain there were no molasses around as she crawled on her belly through the barbed wire. She must have laid awake dreaming of the warmth of a bed and water in which to bathe. She would be the true spirit of womanhood during this time period in which Ms Vanderbilt makes mention of wartime rations.

Although Andy Warhol was of Slovakian descent, I doubt he knew much of hunger or being exposed to freezing conditions as Marina Yurlova had known for many years. Mr. Warhol knew his own suffering when he was the victim of an attempted murder in 1968. Shot and severely wounded. He survived by the skin of his teeth. Warhol was also known to be a bit of hypochondriac and spent some of his childhood suffering from nervous system disorders.
What an awful bunch of dismal gloom. Should I frame these illustrations and call them Warhol art?
That man can draw meat! And various other food stuffs.

I didn't use the raisins called for in the above recipe. Mostly because I'm over dried fruit. I used chopped pecans instead. My Miss Aimee made that wrinkled nose face and said, "Is there raisins in here?" Oddly enough the mouth tastes raisins even though my loaf contained none. It is outstanding in flavor. I will bake this loaf again. Aimee and Mister loved the bread.
Marina Yurlova was the same age as my daughter when she fought for the Cossacks during World War I as a soldier. She won the St. George Cross for bravery 3 times. How my imagination toils around the suffering of this young militant woman. She narrowly escaped having her leg amputated after a severe injury. She was imprisoned and had a mental breakdown yet, still persevered to become an author of the book Cossack Girl.
I wonder if the three Andy Warhol, Amy Vanderbilt, and Marina Yurlova ever crossed paths in life in any way shape or form.
If you are venturing about in the ice and cold of January, it's all too easy to complain of the dismal days. Open up your pantry door, most likely you have food. And Heat. Most of us have the above ingredient list in our pantries with exception of the molasses. You might have to put on your boots and slosh out and grab a bottle of Brer Rabbit. It will be worth the inconvenience. Warm up your world and beat the dismal blues of January with this simple rustic bread.
I'm thankful my daughter has never known firsthand the horror of war.
It's a little history lesson in our home. Teaching can extend out of the classroom into the kitchen with a little bit of imagination. Tonight we enjoyed this recipe for Oatmeal Bread and the story behind the triumphant survival of a young woman of history.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Still Fussing

The glass is cut and the edges are ground smooth. Next step is washing each pane and securing them into their forever spots. Then caulking with brown caulk,learning as I go and discovering the joy of working with Glazing Compound. Applying a coat of oil based primer prior to glazing. Creating a hanger to suspend the entire thing as a free hanging piece in my upstairs window. So, I'm still a few weeks away from completion though I'm happy with the progress thus far.
I took a few close up photos so that you can see not only the variety in colors but in textures as well. The big pieces made my palms sweat as I cut them.




You're viewing the backside of the frame. When completed and facing right side out, the iridescent quality of the green panel will be visible. Each piece of glass is unique. I'm not an expert, in fact, a beginner is a better description. I'm self taught and likely have broken many stained glass protocols but, I'm not striving to enter this into an art fair. It's meant to bring cheer to my hallway and make my family smile!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Deep Freeze

Look what found their way into my cart at the Goodwill. Lucky brand slipper boots with a sole sturdy enough to venture to the back porch to feed the birds but, still relaxed enough to putz around the house in a slipper sort of mode.
Bargain at under $4.00.

 Look double squirrels on the bird feeder. The snowman feeder is cute as heck but, a real pain in the behind to fill with sunflower seeds. I purchased this thinking it would certainly prevent the squirrels from eating the bird feed. How's that working for me? Not effective. This was taken pre-deep freeze. Currently the feeder hangs among the snow covered frozen branches waiting for me to come out and refill.
Homemade Granola makes me get out of bed in January. I like a little yogurt with a generous amount of granola. I could live on this stuff. I've found granola is most enjoyable without the addition of dried fruit. I'm kinda over dried fruit. From scones to biscotti to granola, I've used my fair share of dried fruits and at some point my interest might return to this humble ingredient but, for now, I'm over it.
Uncle Tim Soup loaded with crackers makes a perfect weekday evening meal. Quick to come together and everyone loves it around my house. A huge pot of soup in under 20 minutes. Caker cooking at it's finest.


Deep Freeze weather demands crocheting. Today I floated from the stove to the crochet corner to the glass cutting area of the basement. The scarf is for Anna. It matches a slouchy beanie that I've already crocheted for her. The scarf is a free form piece of work with no pattern. I'm making the ends of the scarf fancier by crocheting in the back posts only and doing a half double crochet throughout the entire middle section.
Here's a little update on the stained glass piece, I've been fussing with lately.
A serious amount of aged caulk needed removed first and foremost. A heat gun and razor knife made this job easier.
 Plexiglass does not play well with a heat gun. This panel held a little challenge but, it's de-caulked. Yep, it's a word, de-caulked.
 So here you have it. Old window panes and plexiglass removed. Painted with leftover brown paint from my basement stairs project. Today, six more pieces of glass were cut for this piece and are placed into their proper area. Good news, I only broke two pieces of glass. I'm getting better at the cutting and grinding of the glass.

It's my goal for the weekend to finish the stained glass window and Anna's scarf.
Pot number two of soup is made and dinner is covered for the weekend so aside from an exciting auction to go to, I will be tinkering away during the deep freeze finishing up projects.
I really cannot think of a better way to wittle away the time when it's to cold to venture out and about. Deep freeze mode has arrived!