Thursday, April 26, 2012

Use Your Stuff

Lunch with the Ladies

Spring Mix Salad w/ Tomatoes
and Creamy Raspberry Dressing
Fresh Fruit - Cantaloupe and Pineapple
Dessert - Individual Amaretto Cheesecake Mousses

Little embroidered napkins I got at flea markets in Germany.
 The punch cups I found for 75 cents and 50 cents at a local antique malls -
just the right size for a bit of dessert.

I got this cheesecake recipe* from my friend, Karla, in 1989, when she brought it for dessert to our annual Christmas get together.  It's easy to make and over the years I have experimented with the flavors -  Irish Cream, lemon, vanilla - it's fun to play with food. 


Serves 12 - more or less

3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, take them out of the fridge about two hours before you start to create this dessert. Go ahead take them out of the wrapper, put them in a big mixing bowl.

Put 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 2 teaspoons of sugar  in a small mixing bowl and put them in the fridge for 3 minutes.  Take the bowl out of the fridge and whip (stiff, but don't turn it into butter).

Put 1/2 cup of cold water in a small sauce pan, sprinkle 1 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatine over water, let stand 1 minute.  Stir over low heat until completely dissolved (about 3 minutes), remove from heat. 

Back to the big mixing bowl and to the cream cheese add 1 1/4 cups of sugar.  Using an electric mixer (yes, you can do this by hand - but life is short) beat cheese and sugar mixture until fluffy (about 4 minutes).  Gradually add 5 oz. evaporated milk (just buy a 5 oz. can - it will make this much easier) and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice beat on medium high for another 2 minutes. 

Add 1/4 cup of Amaretto Liqueur and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the gelatine mixture and gradually pour these ingredients into cream cheese and sugar mixture, blend well - beating another 2 or 3 minutes. 

You're through with the mixer.

Now fold the whipped cream and sugar  into cheese mixture.  Fold gently, you  want to have 'spots'  of whipped cream lightning up the heaviness of the cream cheese mixture.

Pour into individual punch cups or dessert glasses and chill at least 4 hours.


My punch bowl cups would wait a long time for punch - but using them as
dessert cups gives them a chance to get out every now and then.

Everyone enjoyed the lunch and (I'm happy to report)
there was a little dessert left over. 

Life is sweet.

*Yes, you may prepare a graham cracker crust and pour the mixture into it.  Chill at 8 hours if you're making it a 'pie.'


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April Showers

I was out shopping Friday and it started to rain.  On the way home I saw this little truck - unusual for Texas - so I took a picture. 

Yes, I'm easily amused.

I've been reading and enjoying your blogs and couldn't help but notice the ones from Australia are enjoying autumn - my favorite time of year. 

The weather on the other side of the world inspired me to buy this yarn. 

Homespun, this textured yarn, is made by LionBrand and the color I'm in love with this week is "FIESTA" (#396).

I'm using Number 13 needles and this is where I tell you - I only know the knit stitch - and all I make are scarves.  Hey!  It keeps me off the street.

The trouble with blogging is you want to share everything.

My pictures are o.k. 

In real life it looks like I'm holding the season in my hand.

I might have put a touch more black into the mix, but it's pretty amazing just the way it is.  Our weekend weather was a bit cool and I happily began working on a gift for one of my friends. 

Or maybe I began working on MY newest scarf..... 

What's new in your world today?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Funny that we put so much effort into spring cleaning.  Sure with the added light I can see the dust much easier but in spring I am outside so much more than I am in winter.  Maybe we should have late autumn cleaning instead.  That would work for me.  I could put this off until November - - -December if I keep the blinds closed...

Perhaps we learned spring cleaning from God and nature, since the world outside is made beautiful every spring we work to make the world inside beautiful.

Maybe Spring Cleaning is a way of giving thanks for the beauty outdoors. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tax Day 2012


17 APRIL 2012 
What's on your list?

1.  Mail federal income tax package.

We've seen our duty and done it.

2.  Figure out what is eating garden flowers and make it stop.  Soak another batch of seeds. Replant.  (Wish I could figure out how to get 'it' to eat weeds.)

Yes, that was me moaning when I saw that my beautiful little plant was MIA. 
Cut down in its youth by unseen forces.... grasshoppers ... or something that did
not know Moonflowers are poisonous (not everything reads my blog).

Moonflower eaten by ???  (probably the same creature that ate every EVERY leaf off the redbud tree). 

Happy to report that the tree, after a few days of nakedness,
has started to grow leaves again.

3.  Remember to keep doors closed.  We have Butterflies and Lady Bugs everywhere, even in the house.  Not sure how that happens but it seems like at least once a day I am happily (and gently) putting the cute little creatures back outside to work in my garden (some one's got to).

4.  Get outside and enjoy the garden.  Things not eaten by the bugs and blooming include:

Oxalis, my purple plant (I've had it about a year) and the green one Mom gave me in February. 

Chives (can't wait to put them in a salad),

Have you ever had chive blossoms in your fresh salad? 
Try it (as long as you don't have any chemicals on your plants). 
I think they taste better just after they bloom -
if you wait too long they will go to seed.

and Marigolds - here's the first one to bloom this year (it wintered over in the one of my patio pots and got a head start on the seeds I've planted in recent weeks). 

5.  "Weed" around the grapevine.  I planted one grapevine last year.  It didn't get taller than 18 inches last year.  The little bit of fruit it produced was a dozen or so hard little greenish-blueish balls - not as big as a marble - and (of course I tasted one) they tasted like sour, bitter, yucky thingys.  This year the grapevine is up and running and the daisies that were planted in front of the grapevine are racing to fill up the bed. 

I have to clear this area out, notice the little white rocks -just to the right?
I've got a couple of moonflowers there that haven't been eaten. 

6.  Give away excess daisies to anyone who wants them.

Being "busy" is highly overstated (and overrated).  I just make a list so that when I get sidetracked I'll remember what I was planning/hoping to do.  One of my long term goals is to make our world a better place and you can help, just try this:

Go outside and just enjoy the day - or night.
The happiest people I know can tell the
difference between the way the air smells
in the spring and in the autumn.  

The seasons are gifts and your life will be
better if you spend at least
     ten minutes outside every day.    

I leave you now to go pull the grasshoppers off the roses, all part of my glamorous life.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Plans for the Future

It's that time of year in the garden when everything is growing - I just need to get out of their way and let the plants do what they were put on this earth to do.

Knowing that spring will give way to summer is very comforting to me, it also allows me to plan and make my garden, well, my garden.   Every year there's a chance to make things better, try something new, and with a little planning now my summer nights will be even more fragrant and beautiful than they were last year.

Please note:  These vines really can get 15 feet tall.
 Plan ahead, have some place/space for them to grow.

This summer I want to have moonflowers.  Two weeks ago I soaked a few seeds overnight in a cup of  water, and the next day I planted the seeds around the garden.

Slightly warm water.  Twenty four hours later we have sprouting
(in one or two - not all).  This is where I tell you that these seeds are in a
very small cup -  less than two inches across.  I use this cup because it is
 not my every day coffee cup (this helps me not drink my sprouts).

I put little white stones around the seeds so I would remember not to weed anything growing between the stones (sometimes I get a bit zealous and start yanking out anything that looks 'out of place' to me).

It's a good thing I marked the plants because when I looked
at the seedlings Wednesday afternoon my first thought
was these are too ugly to be moonflowers.

In a few weeks these will be a beautiful shade of green and a little taller.  The trick to moonflowers is to know that they will grow and to have a place for them to stretch out a bit.  I'll keep you posted on these.  I'm now waiting patiently for a warm summer night when I can stand and watch the flowers bloom.  And the fragrance will be wonderful. 

If you have time and you like a sweet read, try Jan Karon's book The Trellis and the Seed.  It's a children's book, sort of, and you can probably read it in 10 minutes.

Thanks Barnes and Noble

This book will explain the life of the moonflower as it gently reminds you that you're never too old (or too young) to enjoy a thing of beauty.

Thursday Morning UPDATE:   These plants are poisonous.  So are daffodils. clematis, azaleas and lots of other  beautiful things in our gardens.  This is one of the many reasons I wear gloves when I work in my garden.  Thanks for the reminder Robin.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It Followed Me Home

I put him in the dining room, it looks like
 he's pointing at me in the kitchen. 

Two weeks ago I had lunch with my friend, Paula.  In order to work up an appetite we shopped before lunch.  I have a collection of "JOY" things and when we came across this little guy I decided I would add one more. 

When I go out for lunch I usually order the chicken salad - I figure if a restaurant, especially one calling itself a 'tea room,' can make a decent chicken salad, I'll come back and try other items on the menu.

I made this recipe up as I went, once again playing with my food.

Grilled Chicken Salad

1 grilled chicken breast (charcoal or wood will have a better taste than gas grilled)  I chopped the meat up into tiny little squares trying to make all the ingredients look about the same size.
1 handful of chopped dried cranberries
1 handful chopped pecans
1 handful of chopped celery
1/2 handful chopped spring onion (I only used the green part)
1/2 handful of fresh parsley

Toss these ingredients together then add 2 or 3 tablespoons of your favorite mayonnaise.

Cover and chill for a couple of hours (it will taste even better chilled overnight).

This recipe made 4 generous servings.  I was experimenting (yes, my husband is o.k. with being my guinea pig).  In a week or so, Paula and few other friends are coming by - guess what we're having to eat?

What's new in your kitchen?

I'm taking my gnome and my recipe over to Uncommonly Yours' Link Party - join me.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

In the Garden Easter 2012

Last night's full moon was so bright, I kept checking to see if someone had left the outside lights on.  Sometime after 10 pm I went out to see for myself how beautiful and bright it was.  The weather here in Fort Worth is perfect.  My husband refers to days and nights like we are having as "Chamber of Commerce Weather."  As I looked around the garden in the bright moon light I could see my flowers and smell the roses and fresh cut lawn.

This morning I suspect it was the brightness of the moon that encouraged more of my flowers to bloom.

Some things in the garden are perfect.

I prefer the name "Pincushion Plant" to Scabiosa - who's with me?

I've grown Lantana for years, this is the earliest it has ever bloomed.

The scent of this rose is very spicy. 
I like the reddish foliage almost as much as the blooms.

There are three roses in this bed.  The one showing off right now was a gift from Patti.
The daffodils up front need a couple more weeks before I cut them back.

Happy Easter
Welcome Spring
God bless us - everyone!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's A Sign

It has been a week since I slept in my own bed.  I am fortunate enough to be traveling around Texas in springtime.  It's beautiful here folks.

I was in San Antonio on Tuesday as tornadoes tore across North Texas.  I have talked with a few neighbors and know that our home is still there, safe and sound. 

I am curious to see my garden.  Like a young child, gardens change daily and each day you are not there you are missing something.

Life is full of trade offs.  I have had a chance to visit with friends and do a little sightseeing.  All those bluebonnet pictures showing up online are true - Texas wildflowers are at their peak this time of year.  Even Interstates, my least favorite way to travel, have color. 

This morning I head home up US Highway 281 through the Texas Hill County.  When I drive this stretch of highway I take it as a sign that we are all loved, and I always feel like the road between San Antonio and Stephenville was created just for me to enjoy.

This morning I woke up 'under' this sign -

I can hardly wait to see where the day will take me.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I like the expression "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  Most of us have figured out that life can be tough and sometimes you don't get what you want.  The trick is to be smart enough to make the best of your situation and act like you are happy until happiness catches up with you.

Then there are times when you get exactly what you've been hoping and praying for.  For me, that's a day or two of no responsibilities.  Life hasn't given me lemons, but I do have a bit of free time on my hands.  Today, I'm making a cup of tea and doing a bit of reading.

"I never travel without my diary. 
One should always have something sensational to read..."
Oscar Wilde

If you were given 24 hours of nothing to do, what would you do?