Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Aspects of Fall

I wasn't going to post again today but the robins reminded me of how quickly these berries will be gone. These vibrant red berries are all over the trees in my courtyard. The robins have come by droves to eat them. They will strip a tree in a day or two. You will see as many as 50+ robins in just one tree having a wonderful feast on them. The trees themselves are so pretty. They are covered with lovely white blossoms in the spring, then have bright greens leaves for the summer and in the fall these vibrant red berries appear. They start out as green berries and you don't notice them with the green leaves on the trees. But once the leaves start to fall, you get to see these colorful berries. The trees are truly "all season" trees.
Till next time.......

By Chance

Some things in life happen by chance. In the midst of my patio garden this year a little sapling started to grow. I am assuming a bird dropped the seed in one fashion or another. It was 2 inches tall when I first noticed it. Now it is about 4-5 inches tall. When I cleaned out the flower boxes, I didn't have the heart to pull this little tree up. It won't survive for very long in the flower box. But I will let it grow and see if against all odds; it survives our cold winter. If it does, I will plant it elsewhere and give it a chance to be a full grown tree.
Till next time........

Monday, October 26, 2009

Favorite Cookbook

If you have a chance to pick up this cookbook at a flea market; don't pass it up. It is a must for anyone who likes to entertain using seafood. It is an old cookbook and I have had it for years and I would never give tt up. The recipes are simple and easy to follow and above all; are so delicious. The name of it is Southern Living The Seafood Cookbook and it came out in 1972. There are still copies of this wonderful book available. Use your search engine to find out where you can get it. It is the best seafood cookbook I have ever seen.
Till next time.......

Hot Pepper Peach Cheese Ball

This a Hot Pepper Peach Cheese Ball recipe that I received from a friend. It uses Robert Rothschild's Hot Pepper Peach Preserves and it is "out of this world" good. If you really want to impress your friends this upcoming holiday season, this is a must. Below is the recipe for this delicious spread.

Hot Pepper Peach Cheese Ball
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Robert Rothschild Farm Hot Pepper Peach Preserves
1 Tablespoon onion, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon Jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded or favorite shredded cheese
Cream together the first four ingredients and chill for about 1 hour. Form into a ball and roll in shredded cheese. Keep chilled until ready to use. Can be made 48 hours ahead. Top with sliver almonds if desired.
Here is the website for them. www.robertrothschild.com

You might think this is hot and you wouldn't like it. But that is NOT the case. It tastes delicious as you are eating it and then there is a MILD warm feeling when you finish eating it. This is definitely NOT a hot spread.
Till next time........

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Holiday Brunch Cup

Holiday Brunch Cup
2 oranges, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
3 bananas, mashed
1 cup of sugar
1-8.5 oz can crushed pineapple
Mix above ingredients till sugar is dissolved and pour mixture in a cup cake pan and freeze individually.Pop out the frozen mixture and put one in each glass. Let glasses sit out before adding the 7-Up so the drink will be slushy. About 30-45 minutes usually does it. Depends on how cold your freezer is. If it totally melts and is not slushy, it is still very good and it is not a big deal. 1-12oz can 7-Up (or Ginger Ale) Add 7-Up to glasses shortly before serving. Serves 10-12 (6oz glasses) If you are serving 12 people you will need an extra can of 7-Up. Depending on the size of bananas, you should get 10-12 frozen little half cup pieces. Once they are frozen they can be put in a freezer bag and stored till needed. It is a great "make ahead" item. Garnish with a half slice of an orange.
Till next time........

Eggnog

With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I would give you a few drink recipes to try before it was time to actually serve the guests. The first one is Eggnog. This is a very simple and a very good recipe. At least, my family likes it.
Eggnog
Beat until light:
3 eggs
Beat in gradually:
6 Tablespoons sugar (scant half cup)
Pinch of salt (a few grains)
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
Stir in:
2 1/4 cups evaporated milk
Diluted with 3/4 cup water
If alcoholic flavor is desired omit the vanilla extract and add 1/2 cup rum, brandy or whiskey (your choice, but only use one of them.) I prefer the rum. Place eggnog in a jar with a screw top. Permit to "ripen" in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Serve cold with a sprinkle of nutmeg on the top. You can add a dollop of whipped cream to the top before sprinkling the nutmeg, but it isn't necessary.

If all this is too much for you, you can always go buy a quart of it at the grocery store and then add the alcohol to it and let it sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving.
Till next time.......

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More Pods

More of the beauty and vestiges of the fall season. Now you can see why I am fascinated with these delicate pods. It's hard to believe that from such a rough pod can come the delicate white plumage. I guess that helps them float through the air to their final destination to grow for the coming year.
Till next time......

Milk Pods

The milk pods at the park are just starting to open and show their delicate seeds. I was lucky enough to get a few photos of them before they are totally open and have scattered their seeds. The pod itself is like a rough hard shell, tan or gray in color and then it splits open and this beautiful plumage of seeds comes forth for all to enjoy. Our winter rains have arrived and the plumage will be gone or ruined. The seeds will have fallen to the ground to grow again next spring. There is a definite time frame to enjoy the beauty of the milk pods. The pods themselves are often dried and painted a metallic gold or silver for a holiday bouquet or decoration. I am always amazed at the delicacy of the seed and plumage.
Till next time........

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dandelion Survival

The main part of this dandelion has withered and has died. But the flower just won't give up. The bloom stretches tall to reach for the sun to survive for one more day. It is strong and refuses to give up. But the season is over and the inevitable will happen. This lone dandelion ,that has come up through the gravel in the street ,has struggled for life and will live for another day.
Till next time.......

Japanese Obos

I went to the park the other day and of course took my camera with me. I never know what I will find to photograph. I tried for a little bird sitting on a bird house but he was too quick for me and flew away. The park is one of my favorite places to go, to forget the world and just be me. Most times, I also have a book with me and I sit at the shelter and read for a while.The five little rocks you see stacked just behind the blades of grass are an obos. It's a Japanese custom and it designates harmony between nature and mankind. It simply states, "I was here". The rocks are perfectly balanced. I left the obos there as that particular spot is a favorite place for me. Sometimes I make a sandwich and just park by the lake there and have lunch. I especially enjoy the late fall and winter at the park. If you happen upon an obos when you are hiking, at the park or at the beach, stop and maybe leave one of your own.
Till next time........

Last Rose of Summer

Summer is gone, Fall is fast moving on and the last rose of summer has bloomed. As I saw this last bloom and smelled it's fragrance, I thought how sad it was that it was over for this season. It looked lonely in the garden and I couldn't help but take a photo and at least preserve it's beauty for a little longer. It's hard to say goodbye to the beauty of the summer and early fall. But the fall has much to offer as well, as you will see in up coming posts.
Till next time.......


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cranberries

Did you know that in years past, they were called craneberries? The blossom of the cranberry resembles the head and neck of the Sandhill Crane, so they were called craneberries. In modern times, they are called cranberries and are harvested in the fall of the year in many northern states and eastern Canada. A small proportion of them are in eastern Europe. Following is a refreshing Cranberry Raspberry Punch.

Cranberry Raspberry Sparkle Punch
Yield: 8 – 8oz Servings
4 cups Raspberry Cranberry drink, chilled
4 cups Lemon Lime carbonated beverage, chilled.
In 2 quart pitcher or in punch bowl combine beverages. Stir gently. Serve immediately.

Serving Ideas :
You can float orange slices on punch. In punch bowl make and float an ice ring made of cranberry/raspberry juice mixed with water. Very refreshing and easy. Not too sweet.

Till next time.........

Recipe by: Pillsbury, Easiest Ever Holiday Menus Cookbook
Photo by Charles Armstrong, the Uni Maine Cooperative Extension's Cranberry Professional

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall Colors

The colors this year are absolutely gorgeous! If you haven't noticed them yet, do take a walk or drive and see this wonderful picture of Fall. Be it the cool weather, the abundance of rain or whatever phenomenon of nature, it is especially beautiful this year. I can 't remember seeing so much red in the trees. This year we have such an array of color. The yellows are bright, the variety of reds and orange are brilliant, then you have the few green leaves that haven't changed color yet and some of the reds actually look burgundy. It is such an array of colors. I am totally in awe of the Fall beauty this year. I can't get enough of it.
Till next time........

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nature

Sometimes, you just have to stop and take notice of nature. This little "lady" stopped by to say hello one morning. She was at the bottom of my screen door. It took her all day to get to the top. The fact that I was going in and out didn't seem to bother her. She stayed there all day. The next morning, she was still at the top of my door. Didn't look like she had moved a muscle. She remained there all day. I was starting to get concerned that she would starve to death before coming off the door. When I went to bed that night, she was still there. But the next morning when I opened the blinds, she had gone. Perhaps she was resting as I read they migrate great distances for food. Last week I rescued one from the bird bath. It didn't seem like it could quite jump out. So I picked it up and put it in the leaf lettuce to rest and eat.
Never be so busy that you miss out on the little things in life.
Till next time.......

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mystery

October brings an air of Mystery to our minds. I thought I would tell you a little about a prominent Mystery House. In 1884, a widow named Sarah L. Winchester began a construction project of such huge proportion that it took carpenters and craftsmen until her death thirty-eight years later to finish it. She is the Winchester Rifle Heiress. There are many things about the Mystery House structures that are unexplained. Today, it has a cafe, gift shop and provides tours for the public. The following website will tell you more about this Mystery House.
www.winchestermysteryhouse.com
It is located in San Jose, California, USA.

Till next time.......

Memories

These tasty little morsels of fried dough were called "doughnuts" in my home. We didn't indulge in the bakery doughnuts, but once in a while, my Mom would fry up these lemon flavored doughnuts spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. After they are fried, they were to be shaken in a brown paper bag containing cinnamon and sugar. But at our home, they never made it. If all of us were home when she was frying them, they hardly made it to the table. They were so good warm and they very quickly disappeared. To this day, these delicious little morsels of cake doughnuts are eaten plain. They really don't need the extra shaking of cinnamon and sugar. What memories or special treats do you remember from your childhood?
Till next time......

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gorgeous Fall Bounty

Fall is here and Halloween is just around the corner. Lots of children will be searching for just the right pumpkin to carve for Halloween. Have you ever wondered where the custom of carving a pumpkin came from? Carving a pumpkin dates back to ancient Ireland. It is said that the Irish people would wear hides to scare away the evil spirits on October 31st. and they would use lighted candles in turnips, beets and potatoes to guide the good spirits to their homes. The use of pumpkins did not come into being until the Irish immigrants moved to the United States, where big orange pumpkins were cheaper than turnips. Little did we know right? My advice is to have a bowl of apples, candies or popcorn balls for the goblins come Halloween night. Who knows what pranks they might play on you if you don't.
Till next time.......

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Brighter Days Ahead

Kasey's GreatGrandmother crochets cheerful hats for the Children's Oncology dept. They are hung on the wall and each child gets to pick their very own hat. I don't think she has kept track of the number but I do know; she has made a LOT of them. What little child wouldn't want to pick one of these delightfully cheery hats to wear? I'm sure it makes their days a bit brighter. So to Kasey's GreatGrandmother, I say thank you! If you want to know more about Kasey go to:
http://www.kaseyskrafts.com
Till next time.....

Kasey's Krafts

Kasey was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis at 3 years of age. It is a rare blood disorder that affects one in 200,000 children. She is a very cheerful and bright little girl and spends a lot of time waiting and undergoing treatment. So she decided to make these little kits to pass the time more quickly. Then she decided it would be nice to make them for the other children. So she and her Grandmother started making kits. It is a non-profit organization now and is called Kasey's Krafts. To date they have made 1,650 of these kits. They donate kits to the Childrens Hospital and the Ronald McDonald house. Kasey is now 5 years old. This all started because of a little girl's compassion for others. Thank you for reading about this great cause. Kasey has an older sister, Sara, who is the representative to the student council for her class. These two very young girls are already showing leadership. If you want more information you can contact their Grandmother at info@kaseyskrafts.com. http://www.kaseyskrafts.com Till next time.......

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ladies Night Out

Last night was Ladies Night Out. There were 6 of us and we had such fun. Never laughed so much in my life. We went to a Seafood House and all of us got shrimp in one form or another. Some had fried shrimp, some got shrimp with pasta and I opted for a Shrimp Po' Boy sandwich. This sandwich originates from Louisiana and is so good. It had a spicy sauce on a hoagie roll and lots of fried shrimp and lettuce. After we had eaten, we went to the home of one of the ladies to play cards. That's when the hysterics started. We were telling tales of when we were in high school. Yes, we can still remember "way back then". I didn't win any of the card games but I had a wonderful time. That's what our group is all about, getting together and having fun. Pictured is my sandwich. It was so Yummy! At the end of the evening the hostess served us a frosted banana cake and ice cream. How good it that!
Till next time........