February 27, 2013

The Summer List

It happened.  The sun came out for half a second, and everyone went nuts thinking that summer is just around the corner.

Accordingly, Sir Bradley started The List.

But there was a huge oversight which I have since taken care of.  He forgot to add BREAKFAST IN BED EVERY FRIDAY FOR MY LOVELY WIFE.   =)

February 25, 2013

Daffodil Chiffon Cake

Well, we have no sunshine and it's a bit too early for the daffodils, but the girls continue to lay eggs like nobody's business.  So this cake was just what the day called for. 

It's a lot prettier in the daylight...hmmm...but it was served at dinner time with low lighting, so I was about as impressed with it then as I am now looking at this ghastly picture (since removed!!).  Let's just say this recipe didn't necessarily make me proud. But Sir Bradley assured me that it was quite delicious, and finished off the last 3 servings in one sitting.  Gotta love that guy!

So if you're an chiffon kind of person, give it a try!  I was reminded again that I'm NOT.  And if you're needing a new challenge, i.e. figuring out how to successfully fold flour into stiff egg whites, go for it. And then let me know how ya did that. Ha!

Daffodil Chiffon Cake

The yellow batter:
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder

Mix all of the above ingredients together until perfectly smooth.  Set aside.

The white batter:
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. flour

Beat egg whites until foamy.  Add salt and cream of tartar.  Continue whipping.  Add sugar by pouring very slowly into the growing egg whites until they are stiff, glossy peaks.  Then ever so carefully fold in the vanilla and flour.  (Good luck with this.)

Scoop 2/3 of white batter into an ungreased angel food pan.  Then pour the yellow batter around in the middle.  Top off with the remainder of the white batter.  Take a knife and gently swirl it through the batter to make a pattern.

Bake @350° x 40-45 mins until cake bounces back when touched.  Cool for 5 mins and then invert pan to finish cooling.  Cut around edges and pop out onto cake plate.

A Sad Day for Els

The day started with a trip to the vet.  Not knowing what was in store, Miss Elsie laid down politely in anticipation of seeing her favorite Dr. Shaffer.  And the moment he came in (and later, his wife), she rolled over and wagged her tail, just waiting for loves.  Oh, life is good!

Then came the nail-trimming trauma.  She hates having her front paws messed with.  Sir Bradley held her tightly while Dr. Shaffer snipped away - a sweaty, 7-minute experience.

All would have been forgiven, but the worst was yet to come.

She was told that needs to go on a diet.

Let me say that Elsie runs like the wind, plays outside, goes on multiple walks a day, and hunts.  She is busy monitoring the Lower 40 and keeps things running smoothly.  She looks like a perfectly beautiful, healthy, muscly dog.  (And I might add that she is also the sweetest dog I have ever known.)  Look at that strength!

But 4 pounds need to go.

Sorry, Els.  None of us are happy about this, sweet girl!

February 22, 2013

Life at the Piano

Music is one of the hugest blessings in my life, a gift bestowed on me that I did not ask for.  It has always just been there for as long as I can remember.  And while it sometimes gets put aside in the busyness of this adult like, like an old friend, it is always ready for my return.  And what a joyous reunion it always is!  Other forms of art feed my soul, but the piano is where I go for strength and spiritual renewal.  The notes mingle with my thoughts and it all goes heavenward. 

In my dreams I compose amazing orchestrations, playing and directing great works.  And then I wake up and find I'm still human. =)

But no dream, in real life there's now a special pair of glasses to join me.  How clear the notes look again. Wow!

February 20, 2013

Sitka Catalog Dreaming

Out of nowhere the Sitka 2013 Workshop Catalog arrived in my mailbox, and one quick perusal told me I needed to put everything else aside!  Oh, my! The corners are now turned down and the pages are starting to get wrinkled as I go back over and over every page.

So here's my wish list of classes, requiring the small sum of $3,760 + hotel and travel costs.  In Hoke Dollars, that's about $369,231.  So it's not looking real hopeful, but I won't stop dreaming. =)

*Nature Journaling with Watercolor and Pen
*Edible Shellfish (culminating in a feast)
*Spirit of the Rough Sketch
*Ply-splitting: Braids, Baskets & Beyond
*Diving Into Oregon's Marine Reserves (no actual diving, thank you)
*The Alchemist's Fire: Fusing, Forging and Metal Clay
*Fused Glass in Mosaics
*The Written Fragment and the Rough Sketch
*More than Vacation Pictures: Travel Imagery Tips
*Portable Thought: Introduction to Bookbinding
*Italic Handwriting
*Lines and Layers with Drypoint
*Beginning Photography
*Weaving a Mini-Cedar Bark Basket
*Winds and Waves: Recorder Workshop
*Writing the Image, Drawing the Text

February 19, 2013

A Chorus Line

They heard me coming and came over to greet me, but despite my specific instructions, they would not line up correctly for a photo.

This will not do, girls.  A chorus line requires face forward!

I have to give them a little credit - they were concentrating, just not on the task at hand. =)

February 15, 2013

She Sleepeth

It was a lovely Valentine's Day indeed!  Verily, my morning began whilst I was still asleepeth...


Prince Charming was up and ready, and he greeted me with a kiss and a dozen red roses!  He's more of a spontaneous wildflower kind of man, so this was a real surprise.  It was a bit of a blur, but I felt the kiss and remember seeing him through the slit of one eye, with my face smashed against the pillow and my hair sticking straight up.  He was maddeningly handsome.  He smiled and said I was beautiful, which proves that 1) he's blind and 2) he's a keeper. =)

February 14, 2013

To Miss Perry From Charley

Back in the early 1920's a young boy gave this Valentine to his teacher, my grandmother. The card still sparkles with glitter and pops open to show a dove beneath the lilac trellis. 

She saved this Valentine as well as others from Corrine, Ruth, Harold, and Ethel.  They are all so sweet.

Happy Valentine's Day to you!  I would love to hear how you are celebrating the day.  =)

February 13, 2013

A Touch of Blue

We're swimming in the season of everything red, so here's a little change of pace!

Happy day!  =)

February 12, 2013

Yogurt Dessert, One More Try

My apologies for those using Safari (vs. Firefox).  It seems to be eating my pictures, and you missed half of the last blog post.  Perhaps the hearts were just too much for the system to handle, so I have removed them.  Just too much love!  So my apologies to everyone, and let's try again. You should have seen:


As much as I love desserts, I do set basic ground rules, i.e. only so many servings a day, must be of good quality, must taste good if I'm going to consume the calories, etc etc. And no eating ice cream in the middle of the day.

But I was a desperate woman.  And out of that desperation came an exceptional discovery:  

Mixed berries 
cold, wonderful, creamy, delicious, wholesome, fresh, homemade yogurt
 chocolate sauce   


 True Love Forever 

February 8, 2013

Hope Springs Eternal

About this time of year my heart starts pining for spring.  I can hardly wait to feel the sunshine and smell the dirt! And it's fascinating to hear the ground quietly snap and pop as it dries out.  Right now all I hear is squish squish 

Sir Bradley, I think I just stepped in something.  Could you clean my shoes again? 

Can't tell you how thrilled I was so see a few signs of life outside!  The daphne is budding, a big surprise, because only a few days ago there was nothing.

The chives are coming up.

Two of the girls found something tasty at the same time.  They shared.

February 7, 2013

Gordon Old Style Press

Invented by George Phineus Gordon from New York
Built in early 1870s
Weighs around 600 pounds
2 hrs 15 min to load it, 1 hr to unload it
A dream come true for my young man

February 5, 2013

Looks Are Deceiving

Hmmm...doesn't a nice oatcake sound good today?  I made up a lovely batch, practically humming out loud in anticipation of the first bite.

Stop!  Halt!


Good thing I don't give up so easily, or my eyes might get stuck in a permanent eye roll.

Next time around I'll find a better recipe and cut them out in heart shapes.  =)

February 4, 2013

Yogurt Maker

You know it's going to be a good day when a package like this arrives!  I have a weakness for kitchen gadgets, and so when birthday money came, there was already something on my list ready to order.

Aren't these jars just the best?  I couldn't resist lining them up.  I love lining things up.

My first batch of yogurt, blissfully left unattended all night:

So for those who want more info, keep reading.

Convenience: A+
Yogurt can definitely be made without a gadget like this, but I am sold!!  I have tried other methods that are all over the internet...unfortunately, my crockpot gets too hot, the heating pad has an auto shut-off, and the water bath/cooler method doesn't stay warm enough.  The oven method works beautifully but it's hard to justify heating a huge oven for 8 hours straight.  My best results have come from placing the Dutch oven wrapped in towels behind the wood stove where it is nice and warm...and that requires frequent monitoring and winter days.  So the yogurt maker has turned into a great, everyday solution.  The jars are small and come with lids, so they're perfect for packing in lunches or grabbing as a snack. 

Ease:  A+
Boil the milk.  Cool the milk.  Add a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt.  Pour.  Push the button.

Cost:  A+
Our favorite organic Trader Jo brand comes at 99¢ a pop.  The cost of homemade per jar is 25¢ for milk + 10¢ for frozen berries.  The electricity for the unit is negligible, costing less than a dollar per year.  When comparing similar serving sizes, I can make a fresher, better-tasting product loaded with fruit for 23% of the cost.  That's 23¢ instead of 99¢.  I sense an increase in my Paris Fund. =)

Taste:  A+
FABULOUS!  Healthy, smooth, fresh, all natural, and terribly good for you!

Fun Factor:  A+
Can you see me smiling?!

February 1, 2013

Friday Frittata

So at the end of the day with limited time and limited groceries, I went for the frittata.  It is gluten free and vegetarian, so it will meet the needs of some.  I finished it up late last night, threw it into the refrigerator, and now I'm hoping no one will think they are eating "leftovers" this morning!  There was just no way to keep it warm long enough.

The bottom layer is filled with sauted onions (sliced razor thin), crimini mushrooms, a handful of other vegies I had on hand, and my favorite - artichoke hearts.  A little cheese, a little milk, a little basil, a little sea salt, and a lot of fresh eggs and I think (I hope) it all adds up to a winning combination!

Happy Friday to all!   I hope everyone is welcoming in February.  =)