Monday, November 2, 2009

Apple Crisp Recipe

3 pounds of apples, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cornstarch
additional sugar & spices, if desired
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla, optional

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 cup oatmeal
dash of salt
6 Tablespoons melted or softened butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with no-stick spray. Sprinkle corn starch, additional sugar and spices over chopped apples. Add lemon juice, vanilla, if desired. Toss. Spread the coated apples into prepared baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes.
While apples begin to cook in the oven, prepare the topping. Combine chopped pecans, dry ingredients, spices and oatmeal. Add the softened or melted butter and mix. When apples have baked the first 20 minutes, remove from oven and crumble the topping mixture evenly over the apples. Return to the oven for another 20-25 minutes or until crisp topping begins to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.

We like this with a good vanilla bean ice cream!

I wish I could send you the awesome smell that fills the house while this is baking! Use this topping for other crisps such as pear or peach, even a combination of fruits. Adjust the amount of sugar depending or the tartness of your fruits and the spices as to your family's tastes.


The great orange bowl with dry ingredients in the top pic, I purchased from

More of my recipes can be found on my other website,

See the Food for Thought page for an index of recipes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Orchid Happiness

A couple of years ago I asked for an orchid rather than cut flowers for Mother's Day. After the blooms faded the plant stayed healthy but didn't bloom again until I repotted it with new orchid soil from MiracleGro. Since then I have divided and will divide again after this bloom event.
There are three branches of blooms, one large branch with now nine open flowers, the smaller ones with just a couple but I'm not complaining!

This is one of those plants that I thought I'd never be able to grow as I consider myself mainly an outside gardener.
This is just a bit of sunshine and happiness on an otherwise dreary day. Think about asking for this or GIVING this next time a flower giving occasion rolls around!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Quilt for Baby Zoie

I had to make a bib too! The front brown dotted fabric is a pocket...inside that is a detatchable keeper for a pacifier or small teether or toy.

This was fun! All my favorite colors, patterns and prints coming together for a special quilt. I wanted something that she would be able to use as she grew, not the typical nursery fabrics. A lot of the fabrics I used were purchased from Karen at another etsy shop, . Quality fabrics that were terrific to work with. A special thanks to my friend Kim Chambers who did the monogramming.

She's not here yet but it won't be long....Nov. 13th. Heidi and Chris, my oldest son will become parents to their first girl. She will join three older brothers!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kitchen Now Open!

We are REALLY enjoying the new kitchen floor AND the new dishwasher! Although this project took longer than expected (isn't that always the case?) we are now open and funcitoning with a punch list of details still left on the to-do list.
Here you can see the tile is laid out on the diagonal.
This view is coming in from the garage into the kitchen. The entrance from the garage as well as the main cabinet wall is a trompe l'oeil bricks that I painted and continue to work on occasionally. Thank you Rhonda for teaching me how!!!

A new faucet, compliments of Peter, Gloria, Sara and Casey was the perfect birthday gift for Scott & I and makes a huge difference in the look of the room. The counter tops still need to be redone. The house had Formica that was a yellow/tan color that I faux finished 5-6 years ago. It has stood up pretty well but will need to go asap.

The lower cabinets have been re-painted a fantastic find; an Ooops paint from Home Depot in a gray, new stainless/satin finished hardware, also from HD adds to the face-lift. I still need to paint the uppers.
Here is a view from the living room, over the breakfast bar. Behind the bi-fold doors in the laundry room and pantry space. These doors and all the trim have fresh paint and a bit of a color change. I had a bright white on all the trim throughout the house for as long as I can remember but am moving to a creamy white. This color is Whitewashed Oak from Lowe's in a semigloss.
More on the colors I've used. The wall color is called Raindrop and is from Sherwin-Williams. A couple of years ago I repainted my dining room in Meander Blue, the living room in a light shade called Buoyant Blue both SW color. One of the tools on their site is a color visualizer that helps see how a room would look with various paint colors. Kindof fun!!!
I hope you've enjoyed my little on-line tour. Come back anytime!!!


Meandering Blue

Bouyant Blue

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is Vacation? or The New Kitchen Tile!

Jonathan is back in school but Scott has taken this week as "vacation" to work on installing new tile in our kitchen. The renovation is great fun when you're a kid! We used lots of 3 day weekends to tackle projects around the house when I was growing up. What will Jonathan's memories be of these work days? He LOVED getting right in there, helping pull up the particle board as the project got started.
This was earlier today, (above) middle of Day 5, more tile is down by now but Scott is taking his time to get it right! Look at those straight lines!!! It's one of those rooms that was difficult to decide on what to make as the starting point (usually the center) because of the shape and flow of it all and I had to go make it even crazier by asking for the tiles to be on the diagonal. The vinyl square tiles (see last picture) looked okay 7 years ago when we 1st installed them but didn't hold up to having appliances moved. Although we had some extras for repairs the color had changed, they didn't stay stuck so out they went along with the particle board.

Here we are soooooooo tired but mudding the spaces between the wonderboard underlayment. What teamwork!

I found that a kitchen spatula worked best for me, like icing a cake only no licking this stuff!

This last picture is the before; the vinyl square tiles.
The old dishwasher is now G O N E, GONE. Today is our day to take it all to the curb and as we suspected, it was picked up before the trash company made their rounds tomorrow. I'm very happy to see it being recycled!!! Now, what dishwasher to get as a replacement....anyone have one you lover? or hate?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Square Foot Gardening

The first picture was taken yesterday; a bed of squash, cucumber, cantaloupe along with okra, peas, green beans and some flowers in front of a bed of azaleas. The second picture was taken of the same area 6 weeks ago (6/8/09). Most of my vegetable gardening has been in raised beds. This area had been filled with daylilies but was replaced with veggies.

Watermelon from the Mother's Day plant Jonathan gave me is coming right along. It may be hard to tell from this picture but this little melon is almost the size of a tennis ball.

Bees are busy in this bed of various vines getting pollination underway. I planted cucumber and squash along with the watermelon plan but have a cantaloupes and a honeydew, volunteers, that fit right in sprouted from the compost that I'd added at planting time.

Cute little cucumbers...triplets on a vine! In a couple of more beds butternut squash have also come up from the compost. It has been interesting to see these surprise bonus plants. I guess the compost bin NOT being hot enough in its old location has some benefits!

A resource I found after I'd started the raised beds but one you might also find helpful is by Mel Bartholomew, All New Square Foot Gardening.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pickled Green Tomatoes & Peach Preserves

My favorite helper & favorite hen; Jonathan & Lucy!

A new batch of peach preserves.

Trying new recipes is always fun but today's new kitchen adventure was special, pickling for the first time since I was a kid with 10 year old son. The tomatoes came from my garden, the recipe from the latest issue of my Food Network magazine, Aug/Sept 2009. Iron Chef Michael Symon used regular tomatoes but most of mine are roma & heirloom yellow pear so we'll see if these also work. Jonathan was my sous chef, helping with almost every phase; the picking, washing, slicing and all the measuring. He was exempt for the sterilizing and handling of hot jars. Now is the hard part....waiting until they are at their prime in about 3 months!
Pickled Green Tomatoes Recipe from Michael Symon.

More of my favorite recipes can be found at on the Food for Thought page.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Biscotti for Breakfast!

Sugar the Hen serving biscotti and Dunkin Donuts coffee for breakfast.
Last week at Whole Foods I tasted a really yummy biscotti, picked up one biscuit to buy but quickly put it back when I saw the price tag....$2.39 for ONE piece.
It didn't take me long to go to Martha Stewart website, search and find a couple of recipes to try. Double Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti and Pecan Cranberry Biscotti were the ones that I made.Loved them both and will experiment more with these goodies. My new RED KitchenAid mixer that my sweet hubby gave me for our anniversary made the process pretty easy, lots of fun and the house smelled SOOOO good while these baked.
More of my favorite recipes on my website,
See the Food for Thought link for recipes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Victory Garden 2009

I've been gardening for a long, long time but have concentrated my efforts of perennials, flowers, etc. and not so much on a vegetable garden. A few tomato plants here and there and herbs but that was the extent of it. This year we are enjoying the fresh produce from our yard, more specifically, planted in raised beds - boxes that my sweet hubby built for me. Our own bit of a Victory Garden is planted with peas, green beans, tomatoes, lettuces, cucumbers, squash and okra. There's a special watermelon too that Jonathan (my 10yr old) gave me for Mother's Day. Watermelon IS my favorite food in the whole wide world! I also have a fig tree & blueberry bushes that are several years old with their best crop ever, coming right along. Victory Garden isn't just the name of the PBS show. Victory gardens were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences in United States, UK, Canada and Germany during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil "morale booster" — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. Making victory gardens became a part of daily life on the home front.
This bed was the last to be planted. It is at the back side of our garage and was a large bed of day lilies. I was afraid that my planting efforts were ruined last week when we had a new roof installed and the workers arrived and promptly began yanking out the support trellises, stepping on the young veggies, tossed large plastic tarps on top for shingles to be thrown down on. I just had to go inside and couldn't watch what they were doing to this plot. Someone came to the rescue and put down a large sheet of plywood on top of two packages of shingles, on each side of the bed which kept the young plants from further damage. Gracias seƱor!
These are the first of many tomatoes that we harvested yesterday. The yellow pear tomatoes are a heirloom variety that were a tasty and pretty addition to last night's salad and homemade pizza.
Here are two of the raised beds. In front are peas growing up a bamboo trellis. The other box is home to 5 tomato bushes and a squash that got into the mix.
Tonight we'll enjoy squash and green beans, fresh picked and some cornbread would be nice, incorporating Buttercup and Gretchen's eggs. I'll be sure and have some hydrangea blossoms on the table too!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gretchen...aka Bubbles

Bubbles has a new name and shall now be known as Gretchen! She's a Lakenvelder, a German breed and I really wanted a name to suit her heritage. Crazy, I know.
They are enjoying a spell of free range time in the flower garden and where the compost pile used to be. Finding fat, juicy worms is delightful. Crazy, I know!

Me and Lucy, my big girl.
Jonathan and Buttercup. (See her cup shaped comb?) We celebrated his birthday last week with a trip to Orlando. He knew we were going on the trip but didn't know that we were flying, his 1st trip on a plane! We surprised him the morning we left and got the biggest kick out of his reaction to it all. Fun for him AND for us! Hollywood Studios was the fav and we could've done both days there. Disney was good too and glad we did it but going back to a park again, Hollywood Studios will be the place, for sure.
Can't believe Jonathan is 10! Crazy, I know!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mi Casa de Pollo

My oak leaf hydrangea was a Mother's Day gift a couple of years back from my son & daughter-in-law. Peter & Gloria's choice was most excellent, a gift that keeps on giving! Love it!
The chicken house is in place & the girls seem very happy in their new home. It's tucked into the corner of my garden, fits right in & I can see the girls moving about in the run while I'm standing at my kitchen sink. Love that!

We shortened up this side of the run, taking out part of the A-frame because of the plantings already in place. The path & pavers still need to be situated a bit better but for now, it all works.

The little girls, Bubbles and Buttercup are a bit camera shy. Bubbles has turned out to be a pretty good layer. I still feel a bit like a kid on Easter morning ever time I find an egg. Love'n being the chicken lady!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chicks in the City

This was taken on Saturday and is our first egg!
Here are my new girls. They've been here almost a week now and I'm having so much fun watching there goings on and listening to their sounds. So far we've gotten 3 eggs, all from Lucy, the biggest hen. She's an Athen's Rare Breed. I actually witnessed one of the eggs as it was being laid and that was pretty cool! The coop is in place but still needs a bit more work and I'll be posting pictures as soon as it's complete. The other two ladies are Bubbles, a Lakenvelder and Buttercup, her name and breed. (Newsflash!!! Soon after I wrote this one of the smaller girls laid their 1st egg, didn't want to be outdone, I guess.)
Lucy has been my layer. She's a sweet girl who is easy to hold, fun to watch and can really kick up the dirt. They've had a hay day scratching around where my compost bin used to be!

Bubbles is a Lakenvelder and boy does she make a racket when you pick her up. Missing some feathers but hoping she'll start filling in soon.

Buttercup. See her comb? It's a cupshaped crown with a complete circle of medium sized regular points. Not too crazy about being picked up (yet) but a very pretty bird!