April 27, 2014

Spring-Time Desserts

I was in charge of the desserts for Easter Dinner last weekend.  I made banana pudding and for the chocolate lovers, I made brownies.

The banana pudding is a family favorite and has been made often over the years.  My sister made this banana pudding for us the first time we had it.  I had always made a vanilla custard and then added bananas.  My sister had eaten this pudding at work many years ago, and she got the recipe from her co-worker who made it.   Maybe the recipe was on the can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Anyway I wrote it up on this card way before the days of Pinterest and searching the internet for recipes.   It's pretty straight-forward.

The brownies were a mix with sprinkles baked on top to look like spring - very festive.

And today, I made this for Cudjoe and I:

An angel food cake with strawberry icing.  I used an angel food cake mix from Aldi's.  It tasted great!  I made the icing using about 16 ounces of powdered sugar, fresh strawberries that I pureed with a bit of sugar,  a little half and half, and a stick of butter (room temperature).  I blended it with my stand mixer and after the cake cooled, I spread on the icing.

I love to bake and I love to cook, but one thing I don't like to do is write recipes, and I don't always  follow recipes.  I just like to throw things together.  As I've said here before for me, a recipe is a guide, and I'm not certain just exactly how much half and half or strawberries I used.  

These desserts are easy and delicious!  Just right for today's busy families!


April 20, 2014

Finally . . . Time to Put Out Flowers

I have bought planted pots and annuals and perennials for years from Mueller's Greenhouses.  I make the trip to their greenhouses in the spring every year.   I went Friday to buy a few things to get started:  Ferns for the front porch, rosemary and basil for the back patio, and begonias.  I absolutely love this place.  To me, greenhouses are a little bit of heaven right here on earth.   It is so peaceful, and their plants are beautiful.   Their color combinations, plant combinations and displays are very inspiring and nothing short of fantastic.

I have been making this annual journey for over 25 years.   I wanted to take pictures on the inside but was too bashful to ask permission.  I may work up the nerve next time.  I took this pictures with my iPhone so they aren't quite as good as with my camera.

Here are my Boston ferns.  They are always very lush and oh, so beautiful.  Now if I can keep the house finches from nesting in  them.   The ferns don't thrive with the nest and bird droppings (yuck).  

The begonias are in the back and the rosemary and basil are in the plastic bag.  I filled the back end of my car up.   I plan on going back again this week to fill it up one more time.

When I retire from being a court reporter, maybe I'll just water flowers in a greenhouse.

Happy gardening!!



April 12, 2014

"Potatoes on the Half Shell"

I love potatoes.  I always have and always will.  My mother  called these potatoes, potatoes on the half shell.  I never even heard them called twice baked potatoes until I was a young adult.  Now I never hear anyone call them potatoes on the half shell.

She baked the potatoes and cut them in half, scooped them out, added butter, milk, salt and pepper.  She mixed the potato mixture up with a hand mixer.  She would scoop the potatoes back in the half shell and put a half slice of American Cheese on top of each of them.  She then baked them in the oven until the cheese was melted and they were warmed through.

I oftentimes don't follow a "recipe".  I just cook stuff.  It's like that with these as well.  This is how I make my potatoes on the half shell:

I wash the potatoes, prick them with a fork and bake them at 350 degrees for an hour.   I stick them with a fork to make sure they are done.  I then cut them in half, scoop them out, add butter, sour cream, milk, salt and pepper, and mix them with my stand mixer.  I spoon the filling back in the potato shells, and cover them with shredded cheese and back in the oven until the cheese has melted and potatoes are warmed through.   Sometimes I use cream cheese, and I like to add minced garlic, as well.  I will use what I have on hand.

Serve with a side of ribs to family and friends!!

April 5, 2014

I Needed New Dishrags and Potholders

My dishrags and potholders had seen better days.    My dishrags were very faded.  I can live with that.  These cotton dishrags fade after the first wash.  But they had holes in them, and I don't want to live with that.  I have lots and lots of Peaches & Creme cotton in my stash.  My favorite dishrag is made using Peaches & Cream yarn and the Ballband Dishcloth, which is on the back of the yarn band.

This potholder makes me think of Black Eyed Susans.

I like to make the dishrags and potholders for hostess gifts or "little something extra" gifts.  I give lots of dishrags away.

A kitchen drawer full of these is so cheerful.

I actually have the green one turned the wrong way, and didn't notice it until I had already put my camera away and uploaded the photo.   

Now I'm all set!