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Archive for June, 2011

Happy Father’s Day!

That’s my dad and your truly in the photo above. I wasn’t so fond of getting my picture taken, even back then. Even less now. But you really don’t want to hear about that today.

Today is all about dear ol’ dad.

My Daddy and I got along famously while I was growing up and he is still pretty special in my book.

So today, I’m posting links to a few recipes that my dad would thoroughly enjoy. Among the many things we share, a sweet tooth is right at the top of the list.

Berry Crisp

 

Homemade Ice Cream

 

 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Make your dad something special and see if he doesn’t appreciate and love it!

Happy, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

She Who Likes Her Daddy, a Lot

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Last year I wrote all about the Blooms of Death that invade my backyard around this time of the flower blooming season.

Well, the wretched things are back and in full bloom.

It is my opinion that they are:

1. obscene

2. disgusting

3. smelly behind anything imaginable. If you’ve ever smelled a dead rodent imagine multiplying that smell times 100 and having it waft in your open windows.

Captain Cavedweller, on the other hand, thinks they are fantastic. Of course he would.

She Who Can’t Wait for The Blooms to be Done

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If you’ve read my blog at all you have probably gathered from my ramblings that I like roses.

A lot.

As in they bring me ridiculous amounts of joy. They make me smile. They draw me into a wistful state and leave me floating in  blissful summer dreams.

We’ve had not only an unseasonable amount of cool weather but also some vicious wind that wreaked havoc on my poor roses.

Entire branches were broken off, poor little buds were beaten without mercy and I’m not convinced the two escaped convicts (aka the neighbor dogs) didn’t use them as some sort of sadistic demolition course.

I was surprised when I went out and found several roses blossoming despite all the challenges they’ve faced this spring.

Unable to stop myself, I cut a bouquet and brought it in the house where the scent led me into a somewhat euphoric state that Captain Cavedweller had to push me out of – at least long enough to make his dinner.

She Who Loves Roses

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Happy  Flag Day!

Are you wearing your red, white and blue? Hanging out your flag?Doing some Savvy Entertaining?

If so, keep things simple and enjoy your guests!

Go for a barbecue menu and make a Cupcake Flag – for dessert. It is simple and easy to do!

Here are some other tips for a fun patriotic gathering:

Use what you have – and add fun accents. Gather all your white, red and blue dishes then mix and match.  Use a tablecloth in red, white or blue (or sheets work, too) create a fun centerpiece using dishes placed at different heights and presto! You’ve got a great looking table. If you don’t have pedestals or cake plates to use, create height by turning bowls upside down and putting plates on top. In the photo above, the only thing I purchased were the napkins (yes, I have a flag scarf and it comes in really handy as a table runner!).

Inexpensive finds – Purchase patriotic pinwheels from the discount or dollar store and place in vases or jars around the gathering. These are fun and whimsical and provide a laid-back accent to your gathering. Hang red and blue crepe paper streamers along with red white and blue balloons around your gathering.

Involve the kids – by having them create the decorations. They can cut stars out of red, white and blue construction paper. Punch a hole in the top and hang with red, white or blue ribbons above a table, along a fence, at the front door – anywhere guests will gather.

Tie one on – your seat cushion or pillows. Liven things up with red and blue bandanas and red and blue fabric you may have on hand. If you are using fabric, cut it in squares to fit a pillow or cushion, trim edges with pinking shears, place a piece on both the top and bottom of the cushion then tie corners with a white ribbon. Do this for your throw cushions, accent pillows or seat cushions. It will bring a fabulous pop of color to your decor.

Hang your Flag – outside as a greeting to your guests and a reminder that you are celebrating the 4th of July to everyone who drives by. Use mini flags throughout your decorating scheme as well.  A nice take-away for guests is a small flag with a bag of patriotic sweets like peanut M&Ms.

She Who Will be Flying Her Flag

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Apple Pie

Drizzle on some caramel sauce and enjoy!

Our local summer baseball season has started which always make me think of things like hot dogs and apple pie. All-American all the way.

Here is a simple and easy recipe for apple. Make some this weekend and watch your family savor every bite!

Peel, core and slice your apples. Although I usually prefer Granny Smith's, I think I had Fuji the day I made the pie.

Put apple sliced in a microwave safe bowl and stir into sugar, flour and cinnamon. Nuke a minute at a time until apples are soft and begin to cook.

Get your pie crust ready to go.

Bake until golden brown and juice is bubbling.

Cool slightly before serving.

If you can wait that long...

Drizzle on some caramel sauce and enjoy!

Apple Pie

6 firm, tart apples (I like Granny Smith the best)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp. flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. butter, softened

Pie Crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out your pie dough and line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. You can use pre-made dough or whip up a batch of your own. I love this pie crust recipe using Vodka.

Peel, core and thinly slice your apples. Put in a microwave safe bowl and stir in sugar, flour and cinnamon. Microwave a minute at a time, stirring after each setting, until the apples begin to cook. Spoon apples into the crust and drop in a few teaspoons of butter. Place the second crust on top, seal the edges and poke in a few air holes with a fork. Slather the rest of the butter over the top of the crust then bake  about 35-40 minutes until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown. If you are worried about the edges of the pie getting too brown, cover them with a strip of foil and remove about 10 minutes before the pie is ready to take out of the oven.

To save myself from cleaning up a mess in the oven, I use a round pizza pan or a metal pan with a ring in the center made especially for pie baking to catch any juicy spills.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel.

She Who Likes Pie Way Too Much

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I love roses.

Anyone who knows me at all, even a little bit, probably knows that fact. It really isn’t a secret.

I also love roses growing in my garden. Captain Cavedweller does not. So it is my sole responsibility to take care of the roses. He will water them on occasion, but when it comes to getting close enough to touch them or be snagged by the thorns, he stays far, far away. I am the one who looks like I’ve wrestled a bob cat anytime the roses must be tended or trimmed.

So the other day, Captain Cavedweller bought me some gloves.

Not just any gloves, mind you, but rose trimming gloves.

They are lavender leather and lovely and have extra long coverings that go nearly up to my elbow.

The bright pink stitching on them makes them even more girlie – an added bonus.

 

The sweet rose embellishments on the back nearly threw me for a loop.

 

The roses on each finger tip completely made me melt in a puddle. I’m a done-gone-goner.

She Who Loves, Loves, Loves These Gloves – and Captain Cavedweller

 

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I posted this info last year, but it seemed like a great time to share it again, so here goes…

 

If you are planning to do some entertaining this summer, make sure you have a basic “toolkit” of summer entertaining essentials. It will make your life so much easier and your entertaining efforts so much simpler.

Ice and Beverages – I can’t stress this enough, but make sure you have plenty of ice and beverages on hand. When you think you’ve purchased all you need, buy a little bit more. You’ll be glad you did. In addition to whatever fun summer beverages you are serving, make sure to have an ample supply of ice water available – be it in pitchers or bottles. Encourage guests to stay hydrated. If you are serving one specific beverage, try a beverage server. It will keep your drinks cold for a couple of hours, make self-service a snap and it looks really nice! Also, if you are intointeresting party drinks, keep some fun sugar on hand to rim the glasses and offer lemon wedges, maraschino cherries, peach slices and mint to garnish drinks.

Chairs – Again, when you think you have all you need, set out a few more. There is nothing worse than being at a party and not being able to sit down to chat. Create groupings or set them around a fire ring, but just make sure you have enough.

Trash Cans – If you put them out, people will use them. One easy way to clean up after a party is to have a trash station set up. Have a trash can and another container for recyclables (lined with trash bags, of course), provide a pan or basket to collect dirty utensils and have a tray or container to hold used plates and glassware. Your guests will gladly  throw away their trash and pile in their plates and forks if you give them an easy way to do it.

Shade – If you are entertaining outdoors, check out what shade is available at the time you have designated for your party a few days before the event. Is there adequate shade for everyone. Do you need to get a few lawn umbrellas or maybe invest in or rent a tent? If your yard is lacking in shade think about how you can create some. If you are on a tight budget but have the willingness to get creative, something as simple as a sheet tacked to corners of the house and some stakes in the yard can create temporary shade.

Barbecue Grill – Make sure if you are barbecuing that the grill is in a safe place. Do not reuse plates or utensils that touched raw meat. Clean the barbecue after each use so it is ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Napkins, Towels and Hand-Wipes – Between drippy hamburgers and juicy watermelon, summer entertaining seems to call for more napkins. Have plenty available. You may want to also have paper towels on a stand set out or a container of hand-wipes. A great place for the paper towels and hand-wipes is at your trash station.

Keep Food at the Right Temperature – A good rule of thumb is to never let food sit out more than two hours and in the summer heat, that time frame should be even less. Keep cold foods cool by nestling serving bowls into bowls or pans filled with ice. If you don’t want guests to see the ice pans, put a drape over them before setting in bowls. This not only keeps food cool, but also creates a nice element of visual interest on your buffet table. Keep hot foods hot by bringing out a hot plate, using a crock pot or warming bricks and laying them under the warm dishes. My own rule of thumb after a party is “if in doubt, throw it out.” Don’t try to save food, especially containing things like mayo, if it has set out too long.

Condiments are Important – Have a variety of condiments including everything from ketchup to pickles and keep them well-stocked. And for goodness sakes, buy mayo not salad dressing. Your guests will definitely thank you!. For the 10-rules of condiments, check it out here.

The Extras – If you do a lot of outdoor entertaining, have a basket that contains bug spray, hats, fans and sunscreen and set it out where guests can easily find what they need.

She Who Need to Get Entertaining!

 

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