Saturday, January 30, 2010


What a week. Busy; the days passed in a blur. We're starting the weekend with one kid fighting a cold and an irritating PayPal/USPS issue rearing its head again. So, let's introduce lightness into this cold, grey day with popovers.

Easy to make, crisp on the outside and doughy inside, they're delicious drizzled with honey. The ingredients and proportions are similar to crepes (more eggs, less butter), but they are baked in muffin tins and don't keep as well.

Still, they're well worth the wait.

recipe from Baking with Julia

1 c flour | 1 c milk | 1/2 t salt | 3 lg eggs | 2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 425. Spray 10 cups of two muffin tins (you'll roughly fill every other cup to allow room for puffing). Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into muffin tins. Bake without opening the oven door for 25 minutes. Turn temp down to 350 and bake another 15 or so minutes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

coming soon...

Orchid blossoms! I have two plants that I bought five years ago at Home Depot. Every winter, each sprouts a new stalk that grows to about a foot long and then gets tiny buds. By March I have flowers that last for MONTHS!

Until then, I savor the promise of spring.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Helping Haiti

We have so many ways to help. PJ and I were talking to the kids about the devastation in Haiti as we ate dinner Friday night. Trying to convey not only the sadness, but more important, the concept of responsibility. Here are just a few ways to help:

-- The Haiti Fund at Episcopal Relief & Development
-- Craft Hope for Haiti
-- Agencies listed on

Saturday, January 16, 2010

mystery solved!

Last August, after watching Sarah raise chickens for a few months, the kids and I drove to a farm on a Sunday morning and returned with Mrs. Bevo and Wanda.

For five months, I've fed, watered and cared for them while they turned a once-grassy area into a bona fide chicken yard. Every day I checked for eggs. And every day I was just a little disappointed to find nothing but poop. But chickens are goofy, and they kind of grow on you. So, I waited patiently, gave them garden scraps (they LOVE tomatoes) and watched them grow big and beautiful.

Until one crowed. Make that two.
Roosters. Dang, no wonder.

I returned them to Dan this morning (he sells off his truck at Northaven Gardens now, so the drive wasn't nearly as far). He had a truck full of cute, possibly-hen pullets, but I came home empty-handed. We'll fix the drainage in the chicken yard, build a larger coop and then try, try again!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

crepes with nutella

Crepes are a favorite for breakfast around these parts. Best spread with Nutella, folded into fourths and eaten warm. They keep well if stored flat and wrapped in foil. Make the batter the night before so it can settle overnight. If you use it right away, it gets too bubbly when cooking.

You'll need a crepe pan. Mine is an 8" de Buyer, and I love it. Heat the pan on med-high (butter the pan the first time you use it, but never again, as long as you don't wash it -- just wipe down after use). Scoop about 1/4 c of batter. Before you start pouring, lift the pan from the heat. Quickly rotate the pan with your wrist as you pour the batter so it spreads evenly across the pan. They don't take long to cook (10-20 seconds per side) and make for good breakfast table entertainment when you flip them (particularly when they flop on the floor). Give the pan a shake to loosen the sides and flip with a flick of the wrist.

We're creatures of habit and always spread half of the warm crepe with Nutella. Whipped cream is good too, and strawberries when in season. Fold in half and then fold again.

Crepes (recipe from Food Network, courtesy Alton Brown)

Combine in blender:
2 lg eggs | 3/4 c milk | 1/2 c water | 1 c flour | 3 T melted butter, cooled slightly

That's it!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

knitting, baking and ice

A trip to the yarn store yesterday; new mitts from Jennifer's pattern today.

In between stitches, maple scones from The Weekend Baker.

Baked while the kids broke ice in the pool.

And finally, quiet in the kitchen.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

cold morning=warm breakfast

We've had unseasonably cold weather for the past few days. Given that I'm not from the south, I love it. My kids; however, shiver their way to the breakfast table, moaning if any cold foods appear before them.

So this morning I made quickie (Kerbey Lane mix) pancakes and oatmeal. No moaning=nice start to the day.

No pancakes or oatmeal for me though. I try to keep a supply of quick breads, scones and biscotti in the freezer so I can take something to work and eat at a normal hour; 6:00 a.m. just doesn't do it for me. This morning it was pumpkin chocolate bread made last weekend.

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread (adapted from Martha Stewart)

12 T unsalted butter melted, cooled | 2.5 c flour | 2 t baking powder | 2 t pumpkin pie spice | 1 t salt | 1 c sugar | 1 c light brown sugar | 1 can pumpkin | 3 lg eggs | 3/4 c semi-sweet chips | chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Butter/flour four mini loaf pans. Mix flour, powder, spice, salt. Whisk sugars, pumpkin, melted butter, eggs. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips and chopped pecans.

Spoon batter into pans. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans briefly and then remove from pans and cool on wire rack. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

diana+ love

I discovered the Diana+ some time ago on the blue hour. I was intrigued by the dreamy quality of the pics -- the saturated blues, light leaks and unpredictable border cropping. I hunted around and found one on sale on Amazon and have loved it ever since.

My favorite pics exaggerate the blue of the sky or water. These few are from Thanksgiving at the lake.

The 120 film takes a little getting used to; I'm a 35mm kind of gal. I did notice last month though that there's a new 35mm Diana mini...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

ms. terrell's auction quilt

Last spring, I was amazed by Erin's auction quilts. Back then, I didn't plan to create anything similar -- just admire hers from afar. But in September, when no one volunteered to do Ms. Terrell's class project, I couldn't keep my mouth shut. Which brings us to today, and me making a quilt.

I've been following Erin's instructions, and (so far), it's going pretty well. The kids drew their favorite animals (including a surprising number of bats, fish and tigers); I scanned, printed, soaked, cut and sewed. Today, I finished the squares. Next up: adding the white strips and piecing the squares together. Auction isn't until March, but I suspect that with work starting again Monday, it will take me that long to finish!

Friday, January 1, 2010

happy new year!

I have many resolutions for 2010, but only one I'm actually willing to commit to: I'll get into the habit of carrying my camera everywhere and will take at least one photo a day.

As for running, organizing, budgeting and healthy eating, hmmmm. If the half-eaten package of ballerina hazlenut cookies beside me is any indication, those may take awhile.