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Archive for April, 2013

 

 

tulips 5

I’ve blogged about these beauties before, but I love these tulips.

The deep magenta and the soft pink tones speak to my heart and make me smile.

tulip center

The original bulbs came from Captain Cavedwellers great-grandmother. We got our starts from CC’s grandma. Where we have them planted they are always the last tulips to bloom, usually after the threat of frost has gone and spring has truly arrived.

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I can see them from my kitchen window and all it takes is a glance at their vibrant blooms to make me smile.

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The other day the sun was shining just right to take a few fun shots of the tulips (and the bugs hiding on the petals).

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The blooms were absolutely gorgeous.

tulips 4Rich and colorful.

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And the sky was a fantastic shade of blue.

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That made me really glad I took a few minutes to stop and enjoy my tulips.

She Who Loves Spring Flowers

 

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American football.

Sometimes I just can’t quite help myself.

I try to be a good wife. Honest, I do.

But then something begins to percolate and bubble and works its way into my thoughts and soon I’m saying something that throws Captain Cavedweller for a loop.

The other day he was completely engrossed in watching the NFL Draft. In our house, it is somewhat akin to a national holiday. Having been married for nineteen years, I know the routine:

• Do not walk, stand or breathe in front of the television.

• Only speak on commercial breaks if absolutely necessary.

• Do not, under any circumstances, ask any questions or initiate any conversation unless it is directly related to something that just happened in the draft process.

Having holed myself up in my office for the evening, I came out and sat down to watch a few minutes of the draft with him. From out of nowhere, I hear words flying out of my mouth that had absolutely nothing to do with football.

“Do you remember our wedding song?”

CC looked at me like I’d sprouted horns and rattled off a song and an artist. While he had the artist correct, he had the song wrong. The song he referred to was “our” song while we were dating, but not the wedding song.

Our wedding song was a brand new single that came out just a week or so before our wedding. I heard it on the radio and knew it had to be part of  our wedding. After much pleading and begging, the local radio station agreed to give us a copy of the song because there wasn’t anywhere local carrying the single yet.  It was “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery.

So when I raised an eyebrow and shook my head at CC, his eyes grew wide and a look of terror crossed his face, knowing he was in the hot seat.

“I know it was John Michael Montgomery,” he said, on the defense.

“Yes, it was,” I said, picking up a magazine and starting to thumb through it.

“Well,” he said, staring at me, waiting for me to end the misery.

“You’ll figure it out,” I said, getting up from my chair and leaving the room.

I felt bad, momentarily, at having disturbed his intense concentration of the draft. Then I felt a little annoyed that he couldn’t remember our wedding song. It’s the only wedding he was actively involved in. How hard can it be to remember one song?

Getting ready for bed, I sat reading a book when he wandered in looking rather sheepish.

“Just tell me,” he said, now consumed with the need to know what he shouldn’t have forgotten.

“Nope,” I said, pretending to be absorbed in the book.

I heard the shower running and a short while later the shower door slammed and CC charged out of the bathroom.

I Swear,” he said, smugly, waggling his index finger at me with a triumphant grin while he dripped water all over the bedroom carpet. “The song was I Swear.”

“Right you are,” I said and gave him a pleased smile as he returned to the shower.

Although football is a sacred thing to him, CC abandoned watching the draft and kept digging through his memory until he came up with the song.

Despite the fact I know better than to throw left-field questions like that at him, especially when his thoughts are focused on football, he generally takes them in stride.

And that is reason #393 I love him so.

She Who Is a Little Sappy Today

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Uncle John, my dad’s only (and younger) brother,  was in the service stationed in Japan in the early 1950s.

When he came home, he brought all his sisters (including his lone sister-in-law) a lovely tea set.

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The pattern is Noritake Morning Glory and from what little information I’ve been able to find, it was only manufactured from 1950-1953.

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I can remember my mom using her tea set for  extra special occasions.

snake plate

She would carefully take the cups and the little snack plates down from the high shelf of a cupboard and serve special little sweets to the ladies gathered in our home.

Long admiring the set, I was thrilled beyond words when my Dad gave it to me the last time we were at their house. Trying to downsize since their move from the farm into town, I was more than happy to give the tea set a new home.

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And I need to plan a little party so I can use these beautiful china pieces.

Thanks, Uncle John, for being so sweet and bringing them back to your sisters in the first place!

If any of you know more history about the dishes, I’d love to hear it. Please leave a comment or send me a message at shanna@shannahatfield.com

She Who Loves Old Dishes

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I read something yesterday that made me laugh. A lot.

It was a relationship article written by a man giving women five pieces of advice about how to communicate more effectively with men.

His spot-on comments made me think of Captain Cavedweller and also of a movie I remember watching long ago on the Saturday afternoon reruns with my sister. It featured Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin.

if a man answers

Made in 1962, the movie was called “If a Man Answers.”

It told the story of a new bride and how she struggled to make things work with her husband until her mother gave her a book that would fix everything. The wife was appalled when she realized it was a dog training book, but desperate, she began using it on her husband anyway.

This would be a great movie to watch with girlfriends. Make some fun beverages and have some close friends over for a relaxed dinner and movie!

The movie is super funny with a cute ending. And if you need some tips on how to train your husband…

She Who Is Still Chuckling

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flourless choc cake finished

The other day I needed to make a delicious dessert for a get together with girls.

I decided to give a flourless chocolate cake a try.

That turned out to be a very good decision.

Easy to make, you can make this as fancy or as simple as you like with a few garnishments.

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Chop chocolate into small pieces. Set aside.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. Set aside.

 

Beat eggs until they're senseless, er... light and fluffy.

Beat eggs until they’re senseless, er… light and fluffy.

 

Mix in melted butter, then sugar, cocoa and chopped chocolate.

Mix in melted butter, then sugar, cocoa and chopped chocolate.

 

Pour into a pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and lined with a piece of parchment. If you have a springform pan, use it. If not, a round cake pan will do. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until just set.

Pour into a pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and lined with a piece of parchment. If you have a springform pan, use it. If not, a round cake pan will do. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until just set.

You can pour a glaze over the top, lavish on a ganache, dust with powdered sugar and accent with berries or whipped  cream.

You can pour a glaze over the top, lavish on a ganache, dust with powdered sugar and accent with berries or whipped cream.

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake

4 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup cocoa

2/3 cup sugar

2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Chop baking chocolate into small pieces. Set aside.

Beat eggs until light and fluffy (a couple minutes). Add melted butter. Mix in cocoa and sugar, then chocolate pieces.

Spray a springform pan or round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom of the pan then spray it with the non-stick spray.

Pour batter into pan and bake about 30 minutes or until cake is set but still a little jiggly in the middle.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before inverting on serving plate.

Top with ganache, frosting, dust with powdered sugar, dollop with whipped cream or eat plain.

It is really rich and a little piece goes a long way.

She Who Loves Chocolate

 

 

 

 

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choc chip cookies

Okay.

Here’s the thing…

I can’t make chocolate chip cookies to save my life.

I can’t.

Honest to goodness.

I can make flaky pie crust from scratch, make homemade bread, create somewhat difficult desserts with no problem whatsoever.

But chocolate chip cookies?

Can’t bake a batch that is edible no matter how hard I try.

I think the link in my DNA code that enables a person to make good chocolate chip cookies is sadly missing.

I’ve tried all sorts of recipes from the Nestle Toll-House recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips to an assortment of others. I follow the recipes to the letter and still no luck.

I don’t want hard, crunchy cookies or cookies that melt into a lake of oozy dough. I want the perfect cookie – soft, chewy, and wonderful.

So I’m begging, if any one of you have a fail-proof, idiot-proof chocolate chip cookie recipe, would you share it with me?

You can post a comment here or email it to me at shanna@shannahatfield.com

As with most things that challenge me, I’m determined to overcome this one or die trying. After all, a chocoholic needs to be able to make a great chocolate chip cookie.

She Who Is Humbly Hoping for Recipes

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Looking for a fun party theme idea?

How about a gathering inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?

With the new Oz, The Great and Powerful movie out, and a new animated Dorothy of Oz coming soon, it’s a great time to take a trip to the Emerald City and plan a fun get-together.

Find everything you need to make an unforgettable party in Everything Oz – a fabulous book and guide by Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey.

oz cover

Bright, brilliant and fun, the book boasts 50 Oz-inspired projects to wear, eat, drink or display.

The book starts with a brief history of Oz, jumps into some craft and cookery essentials, then takes you on a fun crafting, baking, making and mixing journey.

You’ll find everything from party invitation ideas (flying monkeys, anyone) to Munchkin placecards, Ruby Slippers to Dancing Scarecrows.

oz frill drape

One of my favorite craft ideas was this frill drape. I can picture it in place of  a closet door or used as a shower curtain. The step-by-step directions are included.

There are also numerous fun recipes, like Squashed Witch Cupcakes, Over the Rainbow Cake, and Baum’s Buttons.

oz cupcakes

I thought this idea for Cyclone Cupcakes was so clever and yummy!

If you’re thinking about hosting an Oz-themed party, make this book part of your planning.

With all the great ideas, you can’t go wrong choosing a handful to share with your family and friends!

From Chicago Press Review, the book retails for $24.95 and is available  online at ipgbook.com.  I did also find it on Amazon.

She Who Needs to Host a Party

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