Thursday, June 25, 2015

The days

I'm a proud single tasker. I don't "hurry up" and I'm fine with coasting through most of life.

This validates my single task lifestyle! Plus, there's other good stuff to be found here too.

Throw Back Thursday.

Remember the clank of the glass milk bottles in the metal crates as they were rolled down the hallway for milk break time in school. Peel back that foil lid on top of the bottle and serve that ice cold chocolate milk up with some iced animal crackers, yeah those were the days.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Anchor Bar in Buffalo New York

Chicken wings never go without love in our home. It's a big deal here in Ohio. Locally we have several restaurants that crank out a pretty good plate of deep fried poultry parts. That being said, if we are traveling through an area and hear of a spot which allegedly prepares good chicken wings, our car will go off the path and stop in to give a sample. This particular day we were within a few miles of the famous Anchor Bar in Buffalo New York.  The place where the wing craze all got started. I know Mister's darn glad that someone thought of it .So it might as well be from New York.
Skyline of Buffalo New York

  I could share the story of how it all happened and how this now wildly popular grub began but, you've heard that one before. If not, there are plenty of websites out there to give you the skinny and fill you in on the details. No history being offered up this time on Columbia Creations. Just food talk.

So here we are arriving to the destination. Mister is partial to the GPS but, I would throw that thing out of the window if I were driving. But, that's a rant best saved for another day. Upon arrival the first thing I take note is the building. It's well cared for and in surprising clean shape.
The bar crowd was basically non existent as we pulled up and parked right in front of the entrance. Inside we found the place to virtually be empty of customers, save what appeared to be a photo journalist and an old dude who was most likely a regular. It was barely noon. For this I was happy, crowds and booze are not my thing these days. Good food though, I have a close relationship with that. So my hopes were high.

The interior of the bar is as one would expect, a mix of motorcycles, (yes actual motorcycles) and various license plates nailed to the wall. Again, it's a clean place. I'm old school and tend to judge a food establishment partially on their restroom upkeep.
We took a seat at the bar, ordered our unsweetened iced teas and started up some friendly banter with the bar keep. She shared a few stories of the famous folks that she has served. Pleasant.
Mister looking at the menu, as if he was going to order any thing but wings...ppplease

I took the suggestion of the wing soup and Mister ordered clam chowder. Our server described the wing soup and listed the following ingredients, cream cheese, bleu cheese, medium wing sauce, chicken, cream of celery soup, and parmesan cheese. I was pretty sure I could chuck all of those ingredients together and come up with something edible so I gave it a whirl.
Mister's clam chowder was superior to my choice but, it wasn't Boston chowda that's for sure. Nothing fantastic or note worthy here. In fact my choice was ehh kinda peculiar but hey I do like a Premium saltine cracker so, those went into my purse. You never know when you're on a road trip when that pack of saltines in the glove box might come in handy.

See, I told you Mister was going to order those wings. Mild with a side of medium. I could have said the words before they rolled from his lips. We have become that couple who can order food for one another without asking.

Me, the turkey club. Three things I am certain to order if they are on the menu, soup, cottage cheese, or anything with bacon. No, not all three of them but at least one of them. I'm also partial to applesauce but that's usually on the kids menu. Cottage cheese is getting harder and harder to find on menu these days. I'm from Ohio, we like our dairy.
Turkey Club done right. On wheat please.
A handful of customers had arrived by the time we finished our meal. The old dude was on his 3rd beer and my eyes had adjusted to the dim lighting. Are you just dying to know how the wings were? Well they were fantastic. Perfectly cooked, meaty but not insanely jumbo and stringy. Just the perfect little wing.

My favorite wing spot up this point had been Zembie's in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Maybe it was the knowledge that the wing craze all started here at the Anchor Bar or maybe it was the charm of the old dude sipping his booze, I dunno. The Anchor Bar wings were very satisfying. My turkey club was decent too. Zembie's will still hold out as a favorite place to dine while traveling. I'm glad we have a new favorite to add to our list. Go out of your way to stop by and get a taste of those Buffalo Wings. The original.

Most of the turkey club sandwich left the building with me in a styrofoam container. 

That was the extent of our visit to Buffalo New York. A little drive by eating and we were out of there. I'm sure the city has many other interesting things to offer. Our mission that day was wings and wings alone. This was a slight detour that our car made which turned out okay. Trust me when I say there are plenty of bad food service choices out there when traveling. It's always good to know where the good places lurk.

Happy travels.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Peace Field Homes of the Adams

The 2nd President of the United States John Adams (also the first vice president) and his wife Abigail lived in this home.




 In fact the 6th President of the United States John Quincy Adams also called this structure home. John Quincy Adams was a man who was surely groomed from a young age to become the leader of our country. His mother Abigail Adams was a determined woman to say the least. Just as the old adage goes, Abigail was the great woman behind both men, her husband and her son.

The house originally was quite smaller. Built in 1731.  The additions over time turned the home into quite an interesting series of rooms and hallways. In this photograph you can see the brick structure of the house as it existed when John and Abigail purchased the home in 1787 and also visible are the additions, several were done by the family over the years. The purchase of the home was made sight unseen, as the Adams were in England at the time. Upon their arrival home Abigail was displeased with the house. The ceilings were too low. Having been spoiled by the grand architecture abroad she sought to have the ceilings raised. This was an impossible feat so instead this crafty lady had the floor lowered. A problem solver she was. The family remained in the home for many generations until 1946 when the home was given to the United States by the Adams family.
Check out the abundant Wisteria growing on many areas of the home. The sweet smell of blooms filled the air during our brief visit. Mixed with the scent of Lilac. The Lilac bushes were in full bloom as well. Actually the smell of the Wisteria to me is one of a smokey lilac scent.



As we arrived by trolley, transportation  provided by the National Historical Park Service, I noted the lush peaceful feel of the tree canopies first.
Speaking of trees, being the geek that I am, I was thrilled to photograph and see this tree in the photo below. A rare Yellowwood Tree which was planted by John Adams. His interest in gardening and composting must have been an experience he shared with other men of his times. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were superior gardener/farmers.

Our tour guide was well versed and offered many interesting facts. She answered questions with cheer and shared the story of how John Adams in his green thumb enthusiasm had started  his plants in Abigail's Waterford Crystal bowls. On display in the home is one such bowl. It sits there mocking with a crack caused by a tree root. A tree started in the bowl. I'm certain this must have made Abigail fume.


More time wandering around the grounds at Peace Field would have been nice. Sometimes when I'm a weary traveler in a robotic like state I just follow the tour guide and soak in the quid pro quo, taking the nickle tour without venturing off and exploring on my own. Still it's amazing to know this tree has stood the hands of time and appears to be thriving with the help of a crutch. Even from a distance it was a crown jewel.
Another area I would have happily lollygagged about was the library. A seperate building
on the grounds which houses over 14,000 books, books once belonging to both Presidents and their family. How sad that photographs are not allowed inside of the buildings. I understand why. The very selfish side of me wanted to have my own images of the visit. My interpretation of the area. My time spent there. Captured through my photography. Alas, this is the best I have to offer. Exterior photographs of the fantastic place which houses marvelous things.




Oh how I would love to provide you with visuals of the 8,000 original items in the home. Items that once belonged to this under appreciated and fascinating family. Of note to me particularly were the plates and dishware on display. As I stood there admiring them, it was intriguing to know, right there... in front of me...  were the very plates these patriots ate their meals from. It was of great note to know Abigail survived, fed her family, and helped to run the family farm from the money she earned selling dishware. John Adams would ship the dishes to her from overseas and she would sell them to the farmers wives and folks in her quaint area. Abigail persevered despite the grief in her life from the death of her children, long separations from her husband, famines and disease. Among the original items in the home is also an afghan hand knitted by none other than Abigail Adams herself. It's a lovely white throw which makes up a bed in the upstairs bedroom. Almost within reach, but of course, one wouldn't dare touch it. The pattern was of a close, tight knit and looked complicated. Sorry folks no photo. The afghan exists there though, trust me. Go see for yourself. I could go on and on and tell you of the desk belonging to John Adams, the elaborate bell system rigged up through up the home to summon the Irish maids and servants to various rooms. I will go back one day and allow myself to soak in different aspects of this detailed place.

Just as I found Lucy Hayes and Mamie Eisenhower to be of great interest while touring their presidential homes, Abigail Adams with her great strength and determination was of equal fascination as I wandered about Peace Field in Quincy, Massachusetts.

One by one, I hope to tour at least the library or the home of every U.S. President. The Adams homes, gardens, and library offered a unique proposition in that I would be able to place a check mark beside two Presidents names as having seen their domiciles. As John Adams and John Quincy Adams both resided in the same place. The park rangers do a great job on the tour. I believe in the short time period allowed for each tour the information was as detailed as possible. Yet, it was a bit like trying to celebrate two of your children's birthdays in the same afternoon. Neither President seemed to have their glory moment along the tour. I found myself bouncing from persona to persona trying to decipher who the guide was referring to.

Our tour began at the birthplace of John Adams. Pictured below. John was born in the upstairs right hand window. The interior of the home is what I've come to expect. Bare, simple, basic things. A fireplace for warmth and cooking. A desk, a chair. Sparse to say the least. The birthplace home is in need of restoration. The home is only about 20 percent of the original building although as renovations have taken place over the years, proper time period materials have been used. This portion of the tour was brief and is in a different section of town than the house at Peace Field (also referred to as the Old House)

As the visitor is looking at this home, one needs to merely turn around and there stands behind the visitor the birth place of John Quincy Adams home. Pictured below.


It was here that John Adams with the help his wife, truly launched his career as an attorney. His children were born in this house, his wife labored and toil and kept the home fires burning as he spent most of his days and nights in the city of Boston.

We know the stories of our country, the war, the documents, the meetings and the men. As I visit these presidential houses each time without fail the story left with me is one of home. Just like my home. The meals and how they are prepared. The gardens, flowers, and certainly their ideas of entertainment.

Find out if the National Historical Park Service has a Presidential home or library near you. It's worth the drive.  A true feeling of our history can be felt and understood on a deeper level with one step onto the property of these great leaders. Despite your politics there's no denying the level of hard work which surely merits respect for the title and office and President of the United States.

Get on the Bus Gus....


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.