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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring has got me Sprung!

Don't you just love a good Boston fern?
I know I do.
They make me happy.
I bought two the other day with these really cool hanging planters.
Yea, ferns!
But, oh yeah, we were talking about spring.
It is making me sick.
Allergies, you know?
I was coping for a couple of weeks and this week I crashed under the pressure.
The pressure in my head, the mucus.
Sorry, that is probably a little too descriptive for some, but
at this point, I'm laying it all out there.
The watery, itchy eyes, the stuffy nose and oh, my gosh, the sneezing!
Probably some snoring.
But that has not stopped my desire to add more blooms to the landscape.

Here is my front porch planting for this year.
Sorry, I cannot identify anything but the Dusty Miller and
Hen and chicks.
But I am showing it to you because of the Hen and Chicks.
I bought those for obvious reasons.   
Another reason is, that when everything else dies later in the season,
because I forgot to water them, the Hen and Chicks will survive. 

Succulents are so interesting.
Succulents don't need much water.
Ah, ha!

Back porch creation.
No succulents, because I remember to water the back porch plants.
Lucky plants.

Petunias, Dusty Miller, and the spiky thing in the back.
Okay, so I can't remember plant names unless I've planted them one hundred times.
In a hundred years, I will have them all down.
I walk into a plant store and it's all, "Oh, I like the pink and yellow ones!"
Sorry, to all you plant people out there.
(It's okay, the ones on the front porch are just going to die anyway.)

My little contribution to the pollen/allergy issue.
Go, flowering plants!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Raisin Bran Muffins

I really like to read murder mysteries.
What does that have to do with muffins?
Well, I just happened to find a recipe for muffins in a book I was reading by Phil Craig.
You just never know what you are going to find.
It's amazing!
They sounded really good, therefore I must try.
Sometimes I forget to get the camera going when I am
so excited about a new recipe.
All ingredients pretty much added at this point.
See recipe below.

Remember my handy scoop?
I love a kitchen utensil that gets used.
Scoop the batter into a greased muffin tin. 

I really like this recipe because it is lumpy.
I also like my mashed potatoes lumpy.
It is a personal preference. 

One tin at a time.
The other thing that is so great about this recipe is:
You do not have to make 24 muffins!
The batter can be stored in the fridge for up to six weeks.
I would not kid you.
That way, you can just make a few muffins and none go to waste.
Love it! 
(I got 24 muffins out of a half recipe. Make the whole recipe and give half to your neighbor.)

Now here is the best part and why they are better than other muffins.
Before baking sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar. 

The recipe calls for regular sugar, but I added brown sugar.
Because it is soooo good. 

Yummy, wonderful, crunchy, cinnamon-brown sugar topped muffins.
How's that for adjectives?
They really were great.
Make a batch the night before and have some for Saturday or Sunday 
breakfast.  Then have some more a couple of weeks later. 

Hope you enjoy!
The recipe is taken directly from the book I mentioned.
A Fatal Vineyard Season
by Philip R. Craig
Phil gets total credit for this one.
Except for the brown sugar, that was my twist.
Notice the other ingredients he suggests at the end.


5 cups sifted flour
2 t. salt
5 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
2 3/4 cups sugar

1 15 oz. package Kellogg's Raisin Bran cereal

1 qt. buttermilk or yogurt
4 beaten eggs
1cup cooking oil

grated rind of 3 oranges (3 T.)
1 cup chopped nuts

Refrigerate in container with tight lid.  Keeps up to 6 weeks.  Whenever you want fresh muffins, you bake as many as you need.
To bake:  put dough in greased muffin tins, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Thanks Phil for another great recipe!  I have read several of his books and there is always an interesting sounding recipe included. 

Check him out if you are a murder mystery fan.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Egg Explosion! (Eggsplosion?)

These pictures are two-fold.
First, look at this really functional egg holder.
It's from Anthropologie.
Yes, they do have household goodies.
Another reason I love that place.

The second reason is my little chickie's beautiful eggs.
Just look how colorful and fun.
Supermarket eggs are not this fun.

The holder just sits right on the shelf in the fridge.
You can just reach in there and grab one.
It is a nice contrasting blue color for my motley eggs.
I have been waiting for a reason to use the word motley, finally.

My only problem now is that I need another egg holder,
because the girls are laying eggs in abundance.
Since the snow storm they have been popping eggs out like crazy.
(Well, that's descriptive!)
We get anywhere from 4 to 6 eggs a day.
If you are one of our friends, you may have some in your fridge right now.
Lucky you!

So who gets credit for all the lovely eggs?
Meet the crew.
This is Brownie, one of the original ordered chicks.
She is responsible for our favorite green eggs.
Sometimes I don't eat her eggs right away because I like to see them when I
open the fridge door.

Diamond, is the most flamboyant bird with all her spots and colors.

Scout is the meanest, but a good egg layer.
She's just extremely bossy. 

This is probably Biscuit.
Biscuit and Ginger look identical except for slightly different colored heads.
If you've seen one you've seen them both. 

Buffy previously held the title of meanest bird, but she
has mellowed out and is top of the list for consistent layer. 

Scamp in the nesting box.
Well, she wouldn't come out and I was having a hard time getting good pics.
I'm sure she's thinking that she could at least have a private moment while laying my eggs.
Sorry, Scamp. 

Here's a group shot, with Chuckles at the far right.
She moves too fast and I never got a good shot of her.
Just a blur in the background.
She does lay the little tiny cute eggs, though. 

And yes, if you noticed, I lost my little Cluck.
I'm sad, but things happen with chicks.
She actually refused to coop and just disappeared.
I will miss you my little chick-a-dee.

We are down to 8 chicks and yesterday we got 7 eggs.
Way to go, girls!
Don't worry, we have had some casualties, but Daddio has more chicks-a-coming.
Sometime in April we should have a new gaggle of baby girls.
Don't miss it!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boy Cake

You did not know that there are boy cakes and girls cakes did you?

Boy cakes involve much more preparation and design layout than girl cakes.
Discussion and drawings.
Father/Son Cake Bake for Cub scouts.

Daddio whipped up the cake and 2Groovydude
was in charge of the "making it look cool."
Daddio observes for accuracy.
More jelly beans!

The plan was not totally original, 2Groovydude found a similar cake on-line.
He added the dirt path idea however, which tasted very, very good.
It was a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.
The dirt was the best part of the cake.
Everything on the cake was edible.
The trees are upside down ice cream cones.
Pretzels and Tootsie rolls for sticks and logs.
Graham crackers for the tent.
Chocolate covered raisins for rocks.
Jelly beans for glowing fire embers.
And of course, Goldfish crackers for the jumping fish.
Very cool, dude!

Finished product with proud participants.
At the yearly dinner for cub scouts, the cakes are put in a drawing.
The really great thing about this cake,
Ben had the winning ticket.
We got to bring it home and eat it.
It was very good, I have to say.
That's how I knew how great the dirt tasted.
Wow, I'm so proud of my boys and their Boy Cake.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Asparagus the Family Favorite

Yes, I realize that I am a food freak.
But really, if you have never tried another recipe of mine,
you should try this one.
Well, if you are an asparagus fan.
I am still bringing out recipes I tried during the snow storm.
Here is another one.

Asparagus Rolantina
Do you love that name?

First, trim the asparagus spears.
To do this, just pick up a spear by both ends and bend until it snaps.
Where it snaps is where you cut.
That way you are left with only tender bits and no tough ends.

Boil the trimmed spears for about 3-4 minutes. 

This recipe is really fun, because you get to roll everything up in bacon and cheese.
(The original recipe calls for prosciutto ham,
which would be delicious, but I always have bacon, so I substituted.) 
I cut the bacon pieces in half.

Layer bacon, Swiss cheese, and asparagus spears.
I found that working on the diagonal worked the best.
Secure with a toothpick and your bundle is complete. 

Now you have these cute little asparagus bundles.
Veggies in a pig blanket.
(That is cracking me up.)
And the ever lovely pour shot.
You know it. 

Bread crumbs over all. 

Place the dish in the oven to brown those bread crumbs. 

Toasty and good.
We were scrambling the next night to eat this left-over.
That is a real sign of success at my house. 

I found the recipe at

Now for my issues with this recipe.
I usually try to make a recipe the first time according to the directions.
(Okay, I don't always, but I try.)
For this dish, I would add the bread crumbs, much less bread crumbs, then the butter.
The amount of crumbs made it too dry and all the good butter was under neath, so it took a long time to get that pretty toasty brown color on top.
So, I'm just saying, that's how I will do it next time.
Be creative, do it however you like.

2hipchick's Version of Asparagus Rolantina 

1 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
8 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices partially cooked bacon, not crisp
Black pepper, to taste
4 T. butter, melted
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil asparagus until slightly tender, 3-4 minutes. 
Layer bacon, then cheese slice then 3-4 asparagus spears and sprinkle with black pepper.  Roll everything up and secure roll with a toothpick.  Place rolls in a casserole dish.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over all or down the middle, then pour melted butter over all.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until bread crumbs are brown and bacon has cooked through.
Really you have to try this.  It is delicious!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dog Days

My dogs are driving me crazy!
Rhubarb is cranky.
Belle has decided to stay up all night and pant.
Hopefully, a little doggie tribute will get them back in my good graces.

You have to admit, when God designed a Corgi he was appealing to our funny side.
They are just quirky.
Look at the Rhubarb.
She's a sausage with little tiny legs.

I will never get tired of taking pictures of her little feet sticking out.
Today is not her normal rocket dog position.
She has tucked them together into this hilarious little package.
Her little tiny rabbit feet.
Snicker, snicker.

Oh, my Belle, Belle!
We love her, but she is in that really annoying puppy stage
where she has forgotten everything we have worked so hard
to teach her.
She has gone rogue.

She does love her bone chew. 

At least this keeps her entertained for hours,
so she can't think of other mischievous things to try. 

She gnaws for a while then stops to look adoringly at the bone, then
attacks again. 

After a fun filled day of making us all crazy, she finds her blankie,
runs around the house like a psycho dog,
then collapses on the floor for a nap.
What a life! 

Dual dog chew. 
This is about as calm as it ever gets.
They both have a bone this day, but normally they just get one,
because they end up fighting over the same bone anyway.
Belle chews for hours, then Rhubarb snatches it away.
I don't think Rhubarb really wants it.
It is just fun to take it away from Belle, in true sibling fashion. 

Bellie even has 2Groovydude annoyed with her
night-time shenanigans.
I will have to remind him of his faithful puppy who braved the blizzard with him
to check on the chickies. 
We love them.
They are keepers.
But, boy, sometimes, I wonder.