Friday, March 31, 2017

Cooking for the Kids

 A couple months ago, The Blog Tech took another job in a town not far from where he was working to open another after school program.  I now cook for both.  I'm not complaining since these programs are probably gone after this term due to that wonderful new administration that is so concerned about helping the little guys. I am just happy to be still feeding them right now.  Feeding 50 people is a lot trickier than feeding the less than 20 that were there when I started this several years ago. Here is some of the food I made over this last week.  Above is poblano mac and cheese which I seriously think the kids would eat every single day if they could.

 Egg roll bowl is another favorite.  I love making this for them because it is filled with vegetables.  This batch had 4 whole heads of cabbage in it.

 And they really love meat and cheese platters.  I always send these with crackers or rolls so they can make sandwiches with them if they want. I made a small one for the smaller group.

And a huge one for the original group.                                                                                                                             
 Soup making season is coming to an end but I made them wedding soup one last time.

 Taco pasta is a good meal. It gets served with Fritos sprinkled on top.  Kids love Fritos!  Heck, they love pasta and they love tacos so mixing the two together is a real treat.  A week in the life of the after school kids!

Here is another shot of my Fall Flowering Cherry tree. It flowers now and then again each Fall.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thank You For Your Advice and a Fall Mirror Chain

 Here is a new Fall mirror chain I made.  I hung this on my back porch so it catches the late afternoon sun and sure does reflect that light. Click for a closer look.

Thank you all so much for the pill advice.  Teddy took her pill last night!  What a relief!  I cut the "big" pill into 4 pieces and let it sit out all day to air out....what a great idea!  I also fed her very little so I was sure she was hungry.  Then I wrapped the pill pieces in Limburger cheese and covered each one with room temp ground lamb that I sprinkled with liquid smoke....another great idea!  I basically created a tasty stink bomb.  She gulped them down.  Now I am just hoping she will do the same thing 5 more times.  Nothing like putting a problem out to the blog world to get advice.  Plus, it's a relief to know I'm not the only one with this problem.  I was feeling like such a loser puppy mom.  I thank you and Teddy sort of thanks you.

 Back to the mirror chain.  What really makes these special is the bead work you add to them.  It weighs them down too which keeps them from blowing all around.

I use all glass beads and glass pendulums.  You don't want to put anything on these that won't weather well.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

More Glass and a Plea

 I went back to the thrift store where I bought the depression glass for my daughter last week and to my surprise, they had more. I got her a set of 8 of these cups and saucers for 14.99.

 And this candlestick.  I'm sure there is another one in their backroom somewhere. Or maybe someone bought it.

 Another cute covered bowl. These pieces were all between 1.99 and 4.99.

 I'm thinking that this, at some point, had a lid.

 And these pretty plates were 99 cents.

Remember, I served one of the little cakes on one.

*Okay, I am hoping someone has a suggestion for getting pills into an impossible dog, Teddy. She is taking  Enrofloxacin for a bladder infection.  They make her sicker than well, a dog. The vet said they are very bitter tasting.  I have used everything I can think of....smoked salmon, every kind of cheese in existence, ground beef, ground lamb, bacon, ham, you name it.  Forget peanut butter, she hates it.  She knows the pills are in all of these things and she won't even look at them.  I can't shove it down her throat because I really like having hands. So, if anyone has some genius full proof pill ideas, I am open to suggestions.  Or even if you just have a non pill taking dog story, misery loves company.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Spring Walk

 Everything is waking up in my gardens.  I should be used to this by now but each Spring I am amazed when I see everything coming up.

 Teddy comes along for a look.  My poor pup is getting old.  She can't hear or see very well anymore.  Though her hearing might just be selective because she still seems to hear the word 'treat' clearly.  She has a bladder infection and it's a real chore to get her to take the pills.  The antibiotics make her stomach sick too which makes her even more resistant to taking them. Old dogs break hearts.

 If you look closely, you will see ramps!  Woohoo!!!

 Soon this area will be filled with perennials.

 More ramps.  Click for a closer look.

 Not much happening in the lower garden yet.  You can see a mirror chain front and center.


 My poor fish are water deprived.  We have a leak which we haven't been able to locate yet and the water is low.


The flox will be blooming soon on the steps.
The Fall flowering cherry is doing it's Spring bloom.  Allergy time!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Homemade Wind Chimes

This is my latest project....wind chimes.  I love wind chimes but good ones are really expensive.  I decided to make my own.  Hola, they are a lot of work!
I might not be in the wind chime business for long though because the glass for these is expensive.  It's pretty complicated to make your own so I don't think I will be going down that path.  I'm trying to find a less expensive glass supplier but so far, no luck.

 I've only made two of them so far but I'm really enjoying them.  It's been breezy the last few days and these things really sing.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Little Spring Cakes

I hadn't baked a cake for a while so yesterday was the day. It's warm here and was not a good buttercream day but I soldiered on.
 I just used a basic yellow cake recipe from King Arthur Flour.  I use small springform pans and and small bowls.  Just make sure to coat them thoroughly with butter and flour before adding the batter.



  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease your choice of pans: one 9" x 13" pan; two 8" or 9" round cake pans, or the wells of two muffin tins (24 muffin cups). You can also line the muffin tins with papers, and lighly grease the insides of the papers with non-stick spray.
  3. Beat together the butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed, until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium-high speed of an electric mixer.
  4. Add the eggs two at a time, beating the batter well and scraping the bowl between each addition, until fully combined and the batter has thickened.
  5. Stir in half of the flour, then all of the milk, followed by the rest of the flour, scraping the bowl after each addition. Mix just until combined. The batter will look curdled after the milk addition; that's OK, it will come back together once the rest of the flour is added.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, spreading it level.
  7. Bake the cake until golden brown — 40 to 45 minutes for a 9" x 13" pan; 36 to 42 minutes for 9" pans; 38 to 44 minutes for 8" pans, or 24 to 30 minutes for cupcakes. The center of the cake should feel firm when gently pressed, and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven. Allow it to cool completely in the pan, then loosen the edges with a knife and gently remove from the pan. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

 Cool them on racks.

 Make some buttercream and divide it into bowls so you can color it.

 When the cakes are cool, slice them through the middle and spread them with vanilla flavored simple syrup  and raspberry jam. Top this with some buttercream and spread it to the edges.

 Place the tops on the cakes.

 Spread the sides with buttercream and then pipe flowers on the tops of each cake.

 Fill them in with green leaves.  Frosting covers lots of flaws!  I always sit each one on a square of waxed paper while I frost them.  I sit them in the fridge for a while and they can be lifted off easily with a spatula.

 One went to my daughter on another thrift shop find.  I love picking up fancy plates for next to nothing to place baked goods on when I give them away.  Then you don't have to worry about getting your plate back.
These went to The Blog Tech and his wife. She worked out of town all week and I wanted to give her a surprise when she came home.  I'm sure at least two of these are no longer on this plate this morning.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Garden Totem

 I haven't made a garden totem in a long time.  Not for the lack of not liking to make them; I love to make them.

 Rather, I ran out of people to give them to.

 I bet I gave 30 of them away when I was making them all the time.

 I had a lot of trouble getting a good shot of this one and now it's gone so these pics are as good as it gets.

 This one is comprised of 13 pieces.

 And it sure was fun to make.

 I placed a Lenox porcelain duck in the lower globe and a vintage Italian Capodimonte flower basket in the upper globe.

All of the pieces were purchased at thrift stores and the entire totem cost 10.00 to make.  These can stay out all year except for winter.  I use all weather glue so rain doesn't bother them.  These look so pretty placed in the center of an outdoor dining table.  Though, I have been known to scatter them throughout my raised beds.