Archive for April, 2009

Bring on the May Flowers

April 30, 2009

Got up this morning and it was cloudy and chilly.  Just the day for soup.  I made beef/lentil with veggies soup.  We all have our own recipes for soup.  So unless I find one that is extra special different, I will just let you know what i fixed.  It did taste yummy…just the thing for a chilly half spring day.

Cody came by and finished the raised garden beds for me.  I will fill with dirt and finish planting tomorrow.  Asparagus, rhubarb, and horseradish.  And Gary came by this afternoon and said he would plow the garden spot next week.  Good thing.  Look what came in the mail today.

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Lots and lots of Gurneys seeds.  I still have the plants to get, but it is way too early for that.  Nice to think about though.  By the end of May we should be able to get things in the ground.  Keep your fingers crossed.

After the Strawberry Mirror PIMA Cake, Erin from Dinner and Dessert has redeemed herself with this recipe.  It’s a keeper and a winner.

KEY LIME COCONUT BLONDIES

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 TBSP key lime juice
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9×9×2-inch metal baking pan with aluminum foil, extending foil over sides by 2 inches. Butter and flour foil. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then key lime juice. Add flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in shredded coconut. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake dessert until top is golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Decorate with melted white chocolate if desired

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The only change I made was to add white chocolate chips to and  the zest of 1 lime to the batter.

And made PAULA DEEN’S Herbed Monkey Bread.  I had never had a savory monkey bread and it went great with the soup.  The ingredients could be tweeked to your liking. 

HERBED MONKEY BREAD

Ingredients

 

  • 1 stick butter melted, plus 1/4 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 packages biscuits

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 12-cup Bundt pan; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine cheese and Italian seasoning.

Roll each individual biscuit into a ball. Dip each piece in the 1 stick of melted butter, then coat with the cheese mixture. Place dough into prepared pan; overlapping will occur. Bake bread, 30 to 35 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning, if needed.

Let cool in pan, 10 minutes; invert bread onto a serving plate. Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup melted butter on top and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. 

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I did cut back on the butter to the one stick.  It is very easy and very yummy.

And the UPS man is running late today.  Look what he brought me less than 15 minutes ago.

 

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It may just be time to start brewing tomorrow too.

Strawberry Mirror Cake

April 29, 2009

Many thanks to Erin of Dinner and Dessert…..I think.  This is the most complicated dessert I have ever made and I think I dirtied just about every bowl and utensil in the kitchen…at least one time.  PIMA.  But it came out and tastes great, so was worth it….I think. 

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Strawberry Mirror Cake

Cake ingredients:

3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 TBSP sugar
2/3 cup sifted cake flour

Cake Wash:

½ cup water
1/3 cups sugar
2 TBSP kirsch or strawberry liqueur

Strawberry Bavarian Cream:

2 ½ TBSP unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree(1 ½ baskets)
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 TBSP lemon juice
several drops of red food coloring
1 ¾ cups whipping cream

Strawberry Mirror:

1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP kirsch
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
Few drops of red food coloring

Strawberry Juice:

1 ½ pints of strawberries(18 oz)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water

1.Preheat oven to 450F. Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 inch jelly roll pan(rimmed baking sheet). Line bottom of pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.
2.Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.
3.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, ad cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to form peaks. Add the 2 TBSP sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks(do not over beat).
4.Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in . Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites.
5.Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until light brown and springy to touch(7 to 10 minutes). Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake. Wrap the cake layers, separated with waxed paper, and set aside. Cake may be frozen at this point.
6.To make soaking syrup: Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavor with liqueur. Set aside or refrigerate in glass jar until ready to use.
7.To assemble cake: Brush sides of 10-inch springform pan lightly with flavorless salad oil or almond oil. Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan; cover cardboard with aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan. Center one layer of the cake bottom of pan. Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten(not drench) the cake; set aside.
8.Prepare Strawberry Bavarian Cream. Immediately pour about half of the Bavarian Cream over the first layer of cake in the pan. Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream. Pour remaining Bavarian Cream over cake and smooth top of the cream with spatula. Refrigerate until the cream sets(1 to 2 hours).
9.Prepare the Strawberry Mirror.
10.To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of springform pan for a few minutes. Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the Strawberry Mirror to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at ANY point. Slowly unlatch the pan and slide it off the cake. Slice cake in wedges and serve in upright slices.
Prep Work

Strawberry Bavarian Cream
1.Sprinkle the gelatin over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.
2.Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl’ beat until light. Bring milk to a boil in sauce pan. Pour hot milk into yolk mixture and stir with a wooden spoon(it doesn’t say so but I would temper the egg mixture first to be safe). Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in sauce when drawn across the back of the spoon.(Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Immediately remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin mixture. Pour into a stainless steel bowl places over a bowl of ice water. Stir in lemon juice and a few drops of red food coloring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.
3.While gelatin mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatin mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture.

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Strawberry Mirror
1.Prepare strawberry juice.
2.Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.
3.Measure 1 ½ cups Strawberry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve gelatin. Tint to desired color with red food coloring. Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken(do not let jell); remove from ice water.
4.When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake. Refrigerate until set.

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Strawberry Juice

Wash and hull strawberries; coarsely chop. Place strawberries in saucepan; crush to start juices flowing. Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly 10 minutes. Pour juice and pulp through damp jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander and drain into a bowl for 15 minutes(Do not press down on fruit).

OK…that was the original recipe and directions.  Here are my changes and tips…for what they are worth.

1.   I used a box cake and made 12 cupcakes and 1 8 inch round.  When cool,
 split it in half.

2.   If you don’t have kirsch, don’t go out and buy it.  Use strawberry     flavoring.

3.  When it says “over ice water”…do yourself a favor and cool it over ice water.  Other wise it takes forever for things to cool so you can move on to the next step.

4.  When I took the ring off…all i did was run a spatula around the inside of the pan and loosened the catch.  I had used PAM in the very begining and sprayed the hell out of things.  I didn’t mess with the cake cardboard covered with foil either.  It is sitting on the bottom of the spring form pan.

I am sure there are a bunch more short cuts.  If I make it again, I may find some more.  It is pretty.

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Rain Rain and more Rain

April 28, 2009

It’s rained off and on all day.  We did get some sun in the afternoon, but clouded up again and in between rain storms.   At least it’s been a slow steady rain that soaks in and does some good.  Sorry I didn’t post last night.  Too lazy.

Had pork enchiladas. Used the remainder of the pulled pork.  And you wondered why I didn’t put brown sugar in the rub.  There was a method to my madness.  If nothing else, we got two great meals and a couple of lunches out of that one roast.  Can’t complain.

img_1265And homemade ice cream for dessert.

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

1 quart of fresh strawberries

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

Combine in sauce pan and cook until soft.  Drain and cool.  When cool add:

4 oz sour cream

1 pint heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp lemon juice

Combine and blend with immersion blender or in regular blender.  Chill until cold and then follow directions of your ice cream freezer.

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Girlie wanted pancakes and sausages for dinner tonite.  Hows this for dinner??

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Strawberry Bed and NASCAR

April 26, 2009

Another busy Sunday.  Got my strawberries this week in the mail and knew that I had to get them planted.  So…here we go.  With the help of DeeJaye and kids we got it done and the other three raised beds laid out.

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Girlie is getting the hang of the 4 wheeler even with the trailer on behind.  Lots of top soil hauled.

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Lots of digger links drove and “Eeeeeeeeeewwe.  That looks like a hairball”

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But the rings are built, and baby strawberries have had a good drink and covered under their straw blanket for the night.  It has been freezing or below the last few nights, so they are covered rather well.

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Of course we did alot of sneaking in the house to catch a few laps at Talladega.  And even though my driver ended up finishing 23rd, he is still 4th in the standings.  We decided to have a race dinner.

TAILGATING BRATS

Boil the brats in beer until almost done, grill on the BBQ till brown and almost split.  Add bun and whatever else you want and enjoy.

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My Topping….Finally

April 25, 2009

Started the morning out making muffins.  The batter is really yummy and the muffins even more so.  This recipe is from Sunny Anderson on Real Food.  I gotta find some new ways to use up the strawberries.

SUNNY MORNING MUFFINS

  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a small bowl, mix together strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let sit 15 minutes until strawberries give off juices.

    In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, eggs, oil, 1 cup sugar, strawberries, and lemon zest.

    Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in blueberries and walnuts.

    Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out with a few crumbs but not wet, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack to room temperature.

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    The picture hardly does justice to these.  The are just delicious.  Try them if you get a chance.

    MIL had brought me a beef roast so cooked it up for dinner.  Browned the roast after seasoning with the Deen house seasoning, along with onions, garlic and mushrooms.  Put it in the oven and cooked till done.  Had a couple of boiled taters from the tater salad.  Somehow they had escaped.  I grated them up and added finely chopped onions,salt and pepper, a little Parmesan, and an eggs.  Fried them until brown in about 2 inches of oil.  Then made a fruit salad.

    FRUIT SALAD WITH VANILLA DRESSING

    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
    • 1 cup seedless grapes, halved
    • 1 pint strawberries sliced
    • 2 bananas, sliced
    • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

    In a small mixing bowl whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, honey, vanilla extract and salt.  Set aside.

    Place all of the fruit and the nuts into a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Add the dressing, toss and serve.

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    I used an original recipe from Anton Brown and adapted it to the fruits that I had.  This is a great fruit salad.  The dressing does get a little runny, but the taste is wonderful.

    On the first of the month, I issued a challenge for ice cream toppings.  I am the last one to post mine.  Sorry. 

    JACK DANIELS SAUCE

    1/4 cup butter

    1 cup sugar

    1/4 cup water

    1 beaten egg

    1/2 cup Jack

    Melt butter over medium heat, add sugar and water and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually add butter and water mixture to egg, beating constantly. Slowly stir in bourbon.

    I had trouble with the sauce separating.  Finally got mad and took the hand mixer to it and BTH out of it for about 5 minutes.  It worked.img_1255

    Of course I heated the sauce too hot and it melted the ice cream.  Well, maybe that really wasn’t so bad.  Oh…BTW…Honey, I only used a little Single Barrel.

    Sure Signs of Spring

    April 25, 2009

    Look what I found outside the kitchen/dining room window……

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    I don’t remember planting these.   It might have been the lady who took care of my yard last summer while we were gone that did the planting.  I never had good luck with bulbs….most of them never see the light of day again after being planted.  I know there is no Garden Fairy, but however they got there, it was a very beautiful surprise.

    And more sure signs of spring….

    Had company last night.  The neighbors from across the road came out of hybernation.  They brought me some of their stew.  It was yummy.  We sat and had a few beers and got caught up on each others lives.  And that is why this blog is about 12 hours late.

    Ran into BB at the grocery store yesterday.  Haven’t seen him in forever.  He used to work with my Honey in American Falls at the Case dealer.  He has been laid off since early December, but hopes to go back the first of the month.  He had been working in Utah, but now has to go to Missouri.  I know winter layoffs are common in construction…lived through plenty myself…but this one seemed a little long. 

    MIL came home from Idaho Falls yesterday bearing gifts.

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    And

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    DeeJaye and crew have already been into them as you can see.  So I traded MIL goodies for dinner and she went away a happy as a clam.

    PULLED PORK

    RUB:

        2 Tbsp Deen House Seasoning

        2 Tbsp Penzey’s Smoked Spanish Paprika

        1 Tbsp Penzey’s Crushed Brown Mustard Seed

        1 tsp Dried Mustard Powder

    Rub a pork sholder/butt roast with dry rub.  I used the latex glove trick that Alton Brown suggested and yes, more of the seasoning stuck to the meat instead of my hands.

    Add about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the slow cooker and add any seasonings that didn’t stick the the roast and then the roast itself.  I cooked mine for about 6 hrs on high, but I was home and could watch the water level.  You can adjust the temp to suit yourself.  Cook until fall apart tender then remove, let cool a bit and then shred.  If I was going to use all the meat for BBQ Pork Sammiches, I would put some brown sugar in the rub.  But I only used half the meat.  The other half reserved for……..

    BBQ SAUCE

    Sweet Baby Rays Award Winning BBQ Sauce

    shot of Tequila..use the cheap stuff and save the Patron

    chapped garlic

    Combine in sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Add meat.

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    I found a pretty loaf of bread in the day old bin and cut it up for buns.  Add a little coleslaw and you have dinner.  Enjoy!!!!

    Red Sky in Morning…

    April 22, 2009

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    Red sky in Morning..Sailors take warning.  Red sky at night…Sailors delight.  Yeah…watched Deadliest Catch last night.  Gotta love that show and the crew of the Time Bandit…and God be with the rest as well.

    Almost 80 today, but weather headed down hill for awhile.  Suppose to rain and snow, but the low is suppose to be 30…so won’t be too bad.  Hate to see the sunny skies leave though.  Decided to make a bunch of salads today, so the rest of the week is simple. 

    First of all, I made a potato salad.  Everyone has their own recipe for tater salad, so I won’t bore you with mine.  I also made a pasta salad…pasta, bunches of fresh veggies and zesty Italian dressing…very simple.  Then made Sunomona…Randy style.  Then made a tomato salad.

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    TOMATO SALAD

    chopped Roma tomatoes

    chopped red onions

    Mayonnaise

    sour cream

    dried dill weed

    salt and peeper

    All amounts depends on how much you want to make.  I use Romas because they aren’t as juicy, but more meaty.  Usually two parts tomatoes to one part onion (if you have some cucumbers…throw them in too).  I use equal parts mayo and sour cream….salt and peeper to taste as well as dill weed.  I personally like the taste of dill…so I use lots of dill.

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    Add ham and you have a wonderful dinner.  And enough variety all the gkids are happy.  And for dessert…brownies.

    FUDGY BROWNIES

    1/2 cup butter

    3 oz unsweetened chocolate

    1 cup sugar

    2 eggs

    1 tsp vanilla

    2/3 cup flour

    1/4 tsp baking soda

    Melt butter and chocolate over low heat.  Cool and the add sugar.  Add eggs one at a time then stir in vanilla.  Add dried ingredients and add to sugar mixture until just combined.  Spread into greased 8X8 pan.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars and frost.

    CHOCOLATE CREAMCHEESE FROSTING

    1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

    6 oz softened cream cheese

    1/2 cup powdered sugar

    Melt chips over low heat and then cool.  Stir in cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

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    First Stir Fry of my Life

    April 21, 2009

    Somebody gave Daughter Number 2, DeeJaye, an electric wok.  What were they thinking???  She is the last one in the county that would use it.  She and the kids were here for dinner tonite,  so what the heck…I will try it.  I found a recipe in Paula Deen’s Quick & Easy and, as usual, changed it just a bit.  One of these days the food police are going to come along and nab me, but until then……..

     

    BEEF STIRFRY

     

    Combine:

    2 lbs thinly sliced beef

    3 Tbls corn starch

    2 tsp salt

    2 tsp Pensey’s California Seasoned Pepper (regular pepper will work)

     

    Heat to medium high:

    4 Tbls vegetable oil

     

    Add beef mixture and cook for 2 minutes

     

    Combine and add to beef mixture:

    2 Tbls minced garlic

    ¼ c water

    3 Tbls soy sauce

    1 Tbls garlic-chili sauce

    1 tsp sugar

    1 Tbsp sherry

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    Slice thin and add to beef mixture and cook for two minutes:

    1 green bell pepper

    1 yellow bell pepper

    1 red bell pepper

    1 yellow bell pepper

    1 red onion

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    I served it over rice, but what ever you want would work.  And it is sooooooooooo yummy.  Hope you enjoy.

    Happy Birthday Leon

    April 20, 2009

    I have been trying to keep up with birthdays and special occasions this year.  So…it’s Leon’s turn.

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    Hope you have a great day.  Sorry I can’t be there to give you this or didn’t have time to make one while I was there over Easter.  Please forgive the mamby pamby white frosting.  Maybe the inside will make up for it.

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    Brazen Bites sent me this recipe from conversationswithacupcake.com.  Its involved, but not hard. 

    RAINBOW CAKE

    2 boxes white cake mix

    6 eggs

    1 cup water

    2/3 cup oil

    Wilton food colors red, organge, yellow, green, blue, purple

    Mix cake batter and separate 1 cup of batter into 6 smaller bowls. 

    Red layer: 1/4 tsp red food coloring

                           1/2 cup raspberries

    Orange layer:  1/4 tsp orange food coloring

                                  2 Tbsp orange juice

                                  orange zest

    Yellow layer:  1/4 tsp yellow food coloring

                                 2 Tbsp lemon juice

                                  lemon zest

    Green layer:   1/4 tsp green food coloring

                                2 Tbsp lime juice

                                lime zest

    Blue layer:   1/4 tsp blue food coloring

                            1/2 cup blueberries

    Purple layer:   1/4 tsp purple food coloring

                                  1/2 cup blackberries

    Bake each layer separately in 8 in round sprayed pan at 350 for 20 minutes.  Let cakes cool and remove from pans.  Frost when totally cool.

    WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING

    1 cup butter

    1 120z pckg white chocolate chips

    1 lbs powdered sugar

    1 1/2 cup milk

    Melt chips in microwave and combine remaining ingredients until smooth.  This makes plenty of frosting for both between layers and the sides and top of the cake.

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    I didn’t have any trouble with the layers, but the frosting on the other hand…

    I think the frosting need more than 3 lbs powdered sugar and it needs to be refrigerated.  After I cut it…it fell over.  Still tastes and looks great, but just an idea.

    At any rate…Happy Bday Leon.

    Gardening Weekend

    April 19, 2009

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    I didn’t cook one thing this weekend.  Leftovers.  Nor did I clean house.  Oh opps.  It was way too pretty here.  It was outside and starting to clean up the winter mess.  Decided that if I make the kids help clean up the mess, maybe they won’t be quite so….kidlike outside.  I know…if ya wanna have a nice yard, don’t have kids around or a dog.  We’ve got both.

    I did get the east side of the house done.  From the crawl space…..

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    to the front step.

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    I got the roses pruned back so one could get to the front door.  The “sidewalk” weeded.   The wasp traps rebaited.  Yes, they are out and about already.  And new mulch.  I used the recycled rubber and so far so good.  Smells like a tire shop, but hopefully that will go away.  I put in new solar lights and took out the 12 volt ones completely.  All that is left is to put a flag on the bike and redo the pond.  It no longer holds water.  Once again thanks to dogs and kids.  All three hostas made it as did the ground cover and the hens and chicks.  With the extreme temps we get here, I wonder every Spring what will make it and what won’t.  Just a bit too early for flowers.  Not long, I hope.

    Today, DeeJaye came over and got the 4 wheelers running.  Two new batteries, air in the tires and fresh gas and away they went.  She had never had to put the acid in before, but handled that just fine.  Gotta get the sprayer on the big one and plan on hooking the little green trailer up to the little one and using it as a super dump truck.  And yes, Honey, your oldest Gdaughter was out in the driveway learning to drive it.  And she didn’t do too bad.

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    I got some of my herbs repotted too.  Basil, purple basil and rosemary.  I had gotten the rosemary at Christmastime and it got really tired of living in the house.  I cut it back, so keep your fingers crossed.  Lots of basil.  I kept cutting it back and not using it right away, so into the water it went.  I forgot about it and next time I looked…it had roots.

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    WyoNella got me these cups.  The really huge one we saw last summer on our trip to Mississippi via Route 66.  We had spent the night at the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, New Mexico and had breakfast at a cute little cafe.  The had one of these cups on either end of the counter.  Too cute!!  I have one more big one and another smaller one.  HHHMMMMM…what to plant?????

    Gotta clean house and bake something tomorrow.  Hope ya’ll are having as wonderful of weather as we have been blessed with.