Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lemonycello and the Blueberry Pancakes

We had a Pancake Day here at the homestead. Blueberry pancakes actually.
This past Tuesday was Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday. The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.
In many countries Shrove Tuesday is the day of parades and much merriment as Lent is observed with abstinence. The reason for pancakes is that religious families abstaine from eggs and dairy begining Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. So in order to use up all the eggs, milk and butter...PANCAKES !
I no longer observe Lent, however always the one looking for a good excuse to make pancakes (actually I make them at times with no excuse whatsoever..) I thought Larry and I would join in with Gusto.
Gusto being the Lemoncello of a previous posting.

Years ago (don't ask how many) I hitch hiked out to CA and ended up in Venice Beach. Every week some friends I stayed with would treat me to brunch at a little German restaurant. And every week I would have German pancakes. Very thin, crispy around the edge, rolled up with powdered sugar and lemon sprinkled on. I would butter those babies up, pour on the maple syrup and thank the carballicious Gods for putting me in that exact spot in that exact moment.

Ever since, whenever I have made pancakes, I sprinkle them with lemon juice, in memory of that time. Plus I just love them that way.
Well, this past week when I wrote my Lemoncello post, a friend of mine suggested drizzling vanilla ice cream with it. And I will be doing that very soon. But now I was making pancakes, and I had no fresh lemons and then I remembered what she said about drizzling it...HEY, I know,
add it to the soy milk to make buttermilk for the pancakes, stir it into the syrup....the ideas were bombarding my brain.

And I did it, I stirred 2/3 c of maple syrup together with a tablespoon of Lemoncello, and I added one tablespoon to a cup of soy milk for the blueberry pancakes and then I thanked those carb Gods all over again.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I had a Blast on the Magic Carpet Ride.

Lisa Swifka's done it again, pulled off a rip roaring blogger party that ended up with 1,088 blogs signed up and 40 countries being represented.
Lisa is the Top Hatted Whimsical Bohemian , who had us all on Magic Carpets whizzing around the blogasphere visiting, chatting, commenting, eyeballing and just enjoying one heck of a trip.
Thank you so much Lisa.
During the One World One Heart Blog Event I had the pleasure of winning a few prizes.
However, that was not the reason behind the wonderful event.

It was a chance to travel through the blogosphere and meet other bloggers who otherwise you may never have come across.
I had a great time meeting other people who are wonderful writers, talented artists, great cooks, organic gardeners, jewelry designers, breathtaking photographers, sweet knitters, quirky seamstresses and just a bunch of great people who let me enter their little piece of the planet for a peek into their lives and what they love to do.
Alas, it is over now. But do not despair...I hear tell we will be doing it again next year!!!

I ended up with over 200 comments on my giveaway and a bunch of new followers to my blog...*waves at followers*...
(stay tuned for a totally sweet blog candy giveaway celebrating over 100 followers).

I visited over 150 blogs and I looked at each blog and left a comment having to do with what I saw on their blog. I did not feel it fair to just enter the giveaway and leave.
I had a blast and will be participating next year.

I had the pleasure of winning an autographed copy of Tierra Red by K.P Vorenberg
I can't wait to read this. The reviews and comments I have read about this book make me very excited to start. And seeing how we keep getting buried by snow, I should have time to finish before the weather warms up and I have to start planting. Which is good because a common thread in those reviews was that once started this book is very hard to put down. Please stop by Kathy's blog and check out her memory books, this woman can bead.
And then follow the link on her blog over to her website and check out her necklaces...WOW.
She also sent me the most gorgeous bookmark. A mermaid. I collect mermaids. I love this.

I also won a most endearing four-leaf clover. Now I've been thinking it over and I could use a little more luck, oh yeah. This is also book related, as the sweet Barbara Olivo Cagle who sent me the clover is also an author. She has written a book about being one of sixteen children. The books title is 16 x Mom. A story about her mother raising sixteen children.
Barbara is lucky number 13.

I love my earrings from Shibori Girl. Kate does the most amazing things with polymer clay. Some of her pendants look as though there is a light inside them. Check out her blog. And her Etsy. She is very sweet also. And is encouraging me to roll out my clay (been putting it off) and play. Plus she is pretty funny and we are like sisters in our fear of all things dentistal. She is planning on kicking that Dental Dragons ass though. And she will.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lemoncello Tutorial and Gas Tank Martini's

Well I've been threatening to for about a year and finally bought a bottle of Lemoncello.
An Italian liquor...Lemon.

I love anything lemon.
I first heard of this on Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals show.
She drizzled it over a store bought sponge cake, added lemon curd then covered it in fruit.

I like liquors. I use Triple Sec in drinks and I also add a tablespoon to my cheesecake batter, really smooths the taste out.
So I had to try this.

And when we returned home from our trip to the big city (it's not that big, I just call it that because there is a Lowe's and a Wal-Mart there) I just had to Google Lemoncello to see what I could make with it.
And I found this over at Hope Studiosa tutorial for making your own Lemoncello.
I also found via Google, a bunch of recipes for drinks and desserts using Lemoncello.

We already brew beer and make wine. And I did make cranberry liquor about 20 years ago to give as Christmas gifts. It was awesome. Pretty much the same as they did in the linked tutorial.

Well it's almost 5 PM here and since you're immune from being labeled a "problem drinker" as long as you wait until after 5 for your first drink (this is an old family joke),

I shall gather my implements to partake of a "Lemoncello Martini". Yes, even those of us who choose to live out where "turn left at the pigs" is part of the directions to our place, drink martini's.
Even though this is my first lemoncello one, and all the martini's I have had up to this point have tasted like something I want to pour into the tank of the riding lawnmower.

Well there was the time I got creative and added cranberry juice to a batch and it made them better. Larry laughs at this.
He says "it's pretty bad when you add cranberry juice to something to make it taste better (he does not like cranberry juice, and also said "it's like adding a dog turd to something and it actually improves the flavor")

Ahhh Lemoncello, your lemony color attracts me like no other liquor can. Just this side of neon.

I have my stainless steel shaker and my martini glass. And look, just to be on the safe side, I have sugared the rim of the glass.

Well my camera's battery needs to go to the charger for the rest of the evening, so no pics of the actual martini, but suffice to say....the grass shall be cut at least one more time.
(Wonder what a set of Martini glasses are going for on Ebay....)

Larry is a huge fan of Baileys Irish Cream. So I am looking up a recipe for that. A little drink of that, late evening, for a nightcap. Sitting by the fire. A little Sade or Chris Botti playing. Oh I'm in the moooood for loooove.......

Anyone else out there ever brew beer or make a liquor?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Suet cakes are a hit, plus a recipe for Orzo

Just take a look at these crazy Cardinals. They are cuckoo over suet cakes.

There are 5 couples that have all but hogged the suet cake in the past few days. We had three couples that have been here for years but there are more that have moved in.
this picture was snapped from inside the house. Look how fat these females are hahaha\

Thats also a bird feeder with seed inside leaning up against the house. The suet cake is inside the red onion bag. well whats left of it.Going to put a fresh one out tomorrow as the snow is still falling and it is hard for them to find food right now.
I took this pic out my studio window across the whole yard about 70 feet. Love that "zoom" feature on my cannon Powershot.


Have you ever had Orzo?

It is a rice shaped pasta. A good alternative to potatoes, regular pasta or rice.

Here is a recipe I made up. Now I did not measure so I have to "guesstimate".

Orzo with Whatever

About 3-4 cups whatever veggies you have on hand. I used fresh cauliflower, green onions, mushrooms, baby carrots, yellow onions, frozen artichoke hearts, and frozen asparagus.(squash, green peppers, and spinach are good if you have any)
3 Tbsp. Olive oil ( or canola)
3 C. fresh chicken broth or 2 cans (14 oz. fat free)of broth
2-3 C. water
1 Tbsp.Chicken bullion ( this is all the salt I use, what"s already in the bullion)

2 nice size boneless skinless chicken breasts (shrimp or pork are good too)
1/2 lemon
1/4 white wine --optional ( I use white zinfandel as that is what I usually use, or any white wine is fine...but it is optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 nice bay leaf
Some ground pepper
12 oz. Orzo
Fresh Parmesan to sprinkle over top

1. Cut veggies into bite size pieces.
2. Heat up 1 1/2 olive oil in dutch over or very large skillet.
3. Saute' veggies, longest to cook to fastest cooking. just till tender.

While cooking,
4. Cut chicken breast into bite size pieces.
Season with garlic powder and a couple grinds of pepper.

5. Remove veggies into large bowl.
6. Put pan back over heat, add other 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and saute chicken breast.
When just done on all sides ( about 5 min.)
7. Stir veggies back in.

Pour in all broth and water and bullion. Add any herbs you like in stew I had bay leaf, oregano (just a bit) is good.

8. Bring to a low boil.
9. Stir in Orzo. Halfway cover and set timer.

Cook about 8 min... test that orzo till al dente' that means "just done".
Stir in wine if using, and lemon juice.

Turn heat to low and fully cover till most liquid is absorbed. Dish into serving bowls or platter. Sprinkle with fresh ( or packaged) Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This Time of Year is for the Birds

Usually when winter comes there are plenty of plants and weeds that have gone to seed so birds can have a good diet. However, if you live in a part of the country where winter lasts for months and snow and ice are a constant, it can be challenging for birds to forage. We have a family of Cardinals that were here before us that let us know when the feeders are empty.

Below I have posted a couple of recipes that can help feed your resident birds and provide hours of entertainment for you, your kids and probably your indoor cats who have window seats.

This is a great project to do with children.

Home made suet

* 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
* 1 cup lard
* 2 cups yellow corn meal
* 2 cups quick oats
* 1 cup flour
* 1/2 cup birdseed, dried cranberries, dried apple, crumbs from the bottom of the good cereal box etc. (optional)
Muffin pans, ziploc storage containers, cut down plastic bottles to 1 1/2" or half gallon milk containers cut down.
Twine or hemp if you are going to gift these or want to make hangers.
Melt the lard and peanut butter on the stove top over low heat.

Then add the dry ingredients and stir till blended.

After mixing pour evenly into bottoms of cut down half gallon juice or milk containers. Or you can use those Ziploc plastic storage containers.. Set aside to cool, you can put in the fridge to cool quickly.

After cooled and set, pop the cakes out and fill your hangers.

Now I just save old onion bags that are sturdy, pop in the cake, and tie the top onto a heavy cord then hang in the trees.

If you are using the Ziploc containers,I have found that filled about half way was just the right size to make the suet cake to fit the square wire baskets you can buy at most places that sell birdseed in larger bags and have a good birding section. Make sure the baskets are dipped into plastic, or painted as birds can become stuck to frozen bare metal.

For gifts, you can get decorative pans or molds. Tie 8" of hemp into a circle and lay one end into the mold before you pour in the suet.

Pine cone feeders. (almost like the recipe above, so you can make both)

3 cups corn meal
1/2 cup shelled seeds like sunflower or thistle
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (store brand is fine)
3/4 to 1 cup rendered fat. (lard, bacon drippings, etc.}
Several large pine cones
Optional: 1 cup chopped fruit and/or a cup of quick cooking oats

In a large bowl, mix the corn meal and seeds together. Using two forks cut in the peanut butter, as you would for a pie crust.

Melt the fat and pour into the corn meal and peanut butter mixture. Mix well and allow to cool. If it is too runny, add more corn meal or some oats.

Stuff the suet into a pine cone. Hang several of these stuffed cones from a limb (as in photo above.) In a few days your birds will love you. I hang mine near a feeder to speed this process.

This recipe is very flexible-and a good way to use grease and fruit. Store excess suet in the refrigerator.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

3 Day Coconut Cake...Yeah Right.

I love coconut. Gosh, I love just about everything....and that can be a problem and a blessing.
Take this cake for instance. I have been making this for years. The name of it is '3 Day Coconut Cake'. "3 day" because it's actually SUPPOSED to SIT for 3 days before you cut into it.
Therein lies two problems. This cake has never in the 30 years I've been making it, sat for 3 days until being cut into.
Should it sit for 3 days? Yes.
It gets better and better with each passing hour.
The flavor of the coconut permeates the cake and the frosting and it is so much better than Pepperidge Farm Coconut Cake. Which, for store bought cake, I actually like.
But this 3 Day one, I love.
A problem and a blessing.
A problem because I do not have people around to share this with right now, only Larry and I in the immediate, half snowed in, area.
Our neighbor came by and plowed our driveway the other day, but he is getting married soon and is on a big diet.
So it is just us to eat this.
Guess I should not have made it...yeah, right.

3 day Coconut Cake

You're going to mix the filling the night before so plan accordingly. It is worth it.

Your best recipe for a yellow or white or whatever kind of cake you like. Or a cake mix. I use a yellow cake recipe. Lowfat is fine.
But use coconut milk if you can for the liquid. NOT 'Pepe Lopez' cream of coconut. Just plain coconut milk in the can like you would use for a curry. Or just use water.

14 oz. Unsweetened coconut if you can get it. I used sweet.
1 cup sour cream- lowfat is fine.
1 cup white sugar or sucanet or raw sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
12 oz.container frozen whipped topping, thawed- lowfat is fine.

Night before you bake the cake, Mix half the coconut with the sugars and sour cream. Cover and stick in the fridge. Chill over night.
Next day :
Bake that cake however you do. but use a bundt or tube pan or 2 8" round or square pans and cut the tube or bundt into 3 layers. If you do the 8" pans cut each into 2 layers.

Cool completely. Cut into layers.
Remove 1/2 cup of filling and put in bowl, set aside.

Smear filling between layers.

Fold whipped cream into reserved sour cream mixture. Fold gently. Then frost that cake.
Take the rest of the coconut and sprinkle all over cake. Keep in the fridge. Covered.
Now see if you can wait 3 days. (wait at LEAST till late in the evening, 10 hours if you can)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

SNOW DAY Pictures !!!

Here in southern Ohio we did get a bit of the white stuff. Just took a few pics out in the yard today. A pretty lazy day which has afforded me time to make more rounds of the blogs participating in One World One Heart blog event. There are about 1000 bloggers signed up now. So go to the post below enter my giveaway so I know you've been here then click the link or the poster and check them out. So many great blogs, I get lost in thing I know I've been there for at least 15 minutes to an hour.

I love St. Frances of Assisi
Total SCORE from Big Lots for 3 bucks.
The trail to our back woods. I love how this looks with the archway.
Old rusted springs from box springs. Going to brace up and plant morning glories on this year.
My clothes good. Well, depends on the day. Not today so good.
Across the road from us. Anyone want to buy it and build a house there? Any Artsy, earth lovin', bonfire drummin', from scratch cookin', growin' yer own damn food person wanna? Move HERE... PLEEESE.
Turn out of our place, turn right.
Head out of our place and turn left.
One big mess o' dogs. Poor Larry was trying to hold them while I snapped pictures.
This is looking up our driveway, that is a workroom/exercise room in front of the truck. Over behind the fence you can see part of the house.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An Accomplished Woman with Autism

I don't know much about Autism (but I am learning). My family has not been personally touched by Autism.
However, since beginning my blog I have met quite a few bloggers who have children with Autism.

My misunderstanding and ignorance led me to believe that just about everyone with this disorder was totally cut off from the world that the rest of us live in. Like in their own little world that we could only sit by and observe, never really being a part of it. And they the same, here...but not here.
I saw the frustration and sadness in a mothers eyes, on a T.V show I watched for about 3 minutes years ago, when her son would pull away whenever she tried to hug him.

I thought only ones who could have any sense of living in both worlds were like "Rainman" or that piano player who is blind and plays so beautifully by ear, but cannot tie his own shoes.

I understand now that there are so many levels of Autism. That functionality depends on the person. It is not an 'across the board' dealing.

This morning I watched Martha for a moment (commercial break on the news show I usually have on) and there she was, getting ready to make a pillow with some actress (I since found out it was Claire Danes).
And they were talking about Dr. Temple Grandin. I had no idea who this woman is. But now I am fascinated by her. I am blown away by her.
Dr. Grandin did not talk until she was three and a half. After being diagnosed Autistic, her parents were urged to institutionalize her.

Claire Danes will be playing Dr. Temple Grandin in an HBO movie this coming weekend( Saturday Feb.6th).
A movie about her life and how she became an accomplished author, and a pioneer in the way animals are treated before slaughter.
Dr. Temple holds a PH.D and is an assistant professor at Colorado State University.

Her current bestselling book on autism is The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's. She also authored Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships, Animals Make us Human, Animals in Translation, Thinking in Pictures, Emergence: Labeled Autistic and has produced several DVDs.

On The Way I See It:

"Every library, large or small, needs this book on its shelves. Every school, large or small, with the responsibility of educating children with autism or Asperger’s needs the guidance this book offers. . . . Last, and certainly not least, every parent will find within these pages golden nuggets of advice, encouragement, and hope to fuel their day-to-day journey through their child’s autism. . . . The wisdom she offers through this book and its personal reflections on autism will, I’m sure, ring true for many more decades to come."

-Ruth Christ Sullivan, first elected president of the Autism Society of America

On Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships:

"I wish I had this book when Sean was a child. It would have helped me understand Sean so much more."

-Judy Barron, mother of author Sean Barron and co-author of There’s A Boy In Here

"If you’ve ever wondered, ‘What is going through my child’s mind? Why can’t he get social interactions?’ then this book is for you! ‘A-ha!’ moments abound."

-Veronica Zysk, managing editor of award-winning Autism Asperger’s Digest

I hope everyone who can, will watch and tell your friends. Maybe stick a little something on your blog in support of the children with Autism and the families who may need a little hope.
I know there are breakthroughs all the time and I will continue to pray for more.