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Archive for August, 2010

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Aug
28
2010

Simply Saturday Number One

It’s going to be a busy one ~ for the first half anyway.  Rachel and I have little baking project for today. A little  nephew,  is turning 10 today and he wanted us to make his cake.  He’s having a bowling party so that is the theme.  I will try to get a picture of the finished cake up tomorrow.  I am going to do the baking and icing and Rachel the decorating.  Then its on to the regular Saturday stuff and possibly a visit from little Sam this afternoon.

I thought I might share an update of my tomatoes that I started hoping for winter tomatoes to go with all the salad Jerry and I will plant in October.

tomatoes22

They are looking pretty good I think. I am not experienced at all starting tomatoes.  We usually buy them already well established and plant them directly in the ground in Spring.  But so far just the fact that they are still alive and I have not forgotten to water them is thrilling! I think most of them have 4 sets of leaves and as soon as the stalk is a little stronger, I will plant them in the pots I plan to keep them in.

The girls were exhausted last night from a very warm first week of college.  BIG changes for everyone around here.  Benjamin and I have one more week before he starts his freshman year of high school.  Is that possible??  I almost cried thinking about it.  He’s going to be getting a little classroom experience this year taking a couple of science classes with some other homeschoolers.  Chemistry is first up.  A twelve week intensive and should be a good experience for him.  The next four years of our lives will likely fly by.  What I will do after he is in college is anyone’s guess.  I doubt very seriously it will be anything to compare to the last 22 years and then will be 26 years, I have spent in the constant company of 6 of the most interesting people I know or will ever know.

Better get rolling this morning.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!



Aug
27
2010

Foodie Friday – Petit Fours

Happy Friday!  We are all pretty exited to see the weekend roll around. REALLY happy.  The girls are at the end of their first week of college and they are no worse for the wear.  The first two days they very nearly had heat strokes but the weather has cooled some and it makes all the other new things much more bearable.  The air even smells different today.  A little coolness in the atmosphere!  I LOVE IT.  Plus we have a birthday this weekend!  Hannah will be 22 on Sunday.

Victoria ask for my Petit Four recipe. I am going to warn you they are a pain in the backside.  BIG TIME.  They are SO messy!  And delicate.  And beautiful and SO tasty.  I LOVE this cake recipe.  It’s a sturdy, medium dense cake which is what is a must (in my opinion) for petit fours.

Buttermilk White Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp  salt
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter or shortening (I use butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 egg whites

Grease and lightly  a 9 x 13 pan.  In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Then add buttermilk, butter and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until combined.  Beat on medium to high speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally.  Add the egg whites and beat 2 minutes more.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30-35 minutes or until cakes test done.  Cool cake in pan on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Then remove the cake  and cool completely on a wire rack.

Cut into desired shapes.  I cut my squares about 1 1/2 inches.

Heat 1 cup of jelly, I used apricot,  with 1/4 cup light karo.  Brush cake squares but in wax per lined covered containers one layer deep and refrigerate at least 4 hours. I like to leave them over night.

Now comes the fun part! I used this Martha Stewart  recipe and  followed it to a T.  Then go here for a great picture tutorial of the icing process.  Then decorate as you like.

Voila!  Now hose down your kitchen, soak the pots and spoons and go take a hot shower and try to get all the icing out of your hair! Karen1

They are lovely but goodness they are a lot of work : /

Here’s to a great weekend everyone!


Aug
26
2010

Thoughtful Thursday

The following is solely my opinion on things.  At times what I have written seemed rambling and disjointed.  I hope I brought it together enough to make it worth your time.  Next Thursday will be easier to write.  I found myself concentrating awfully hard gathering my thoughts on the whole purpose of writing about such a broad subject.

Just committing to writing posts for Thoughtful Thursday has prompted me to be thoughtful.  Contemplating all the definitions of thoughtful, made me think and think hard.

1. showing consideration for others; considerate.

2. characterized by or manifesting careful thought: a thoughtful essay.

3. occupied with or given to thought; contemplative; meditative; reflective: in a thoughtful mood.

4. careful, heedful, or mindful: to be thoughtful of one’s safety.

I suppose being called thoughtful would be a very high form of praise indeed.  And I reckon thoughtfulness is a virtue to strive for.  It covers so many human characteristics that make one also kind and giving.  One who is dependable and honest and not prone to impulsiveness and impertinence.

One of my very favorite quotes is:

What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other? ~ George Eliot

If you can find it in yourself to consider this thought every day of your life, with every task, everything that is asked of you or required of you, it will certainly make some bitter pills easier to swallow.

Being thoughtful, to me, means putting the needs of another above your own.  It means considering the consequences of what you choose to do or not do in any given circumstance.  It recalls that age old Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.  And in my opinion, there is certainly not enough of that going around these days.

As I am sure most everyone has, I have done things for the good of someone else when it seemed the cost to me, personally, was beyond exorbitant.  And at the time, while I most certainly did what was required, I didn’t necessarily do it with a gladness.  At times I have felt bitter, used, put upon, taken advantage of.  Looking back, however, the act of going ahead with the right thing, the thoughtful thing, paid me back in ways I couldn’t see going in.  Such is life.  And at the end of mine, I want to know I lived my beliefs.

Sometimes one is discouraged from patting oneself on the back.  I am not so sure that is ever a bad thing.  Pride is a slippery slope, but unless you reflect on a good deed done, bask in the happiness or helpfulness you have brought about, how do you ever step up the next time you are needed in such a personal way?  Sometimes the praise or thanks is slow in coming or not forthcoming at all.  We can live with that.  Surely.  You were not thoughtful so someone else would compliment you and stroke your ego, telling you how good a person you are.  You did it so when you put your head on your pillow at night, you can sleep with a clear conscience knowing when called upon, you responded and in a way that made someone’s life less difficult.  Sometimes that peaceful rest and clear head is more than any “thank you” could ever be.

Often I used to say to my youngest brother “When you wake up each day you have choices.  You have to ask yourself, will I do the right things today or the easy things?”  More often than not, those things are not the same things.  I think he thought so many times I was being preachy and condescending.  That was not my intention at all.  I wanted him to be happy.  To have purpose.  I believe until you learn to enjoy doing for others even at great cost to yourself, you can never truly be happy.  As the quote says “what are we here for?”  What indeed?  If we do not interact with other human beings and more than just coexist, are we not just some terrible experiment gone wrong?  No matter what religion you call yourself a part of, if any, no matter what you believe about how and why humans exist, our humanity depends on our thoughtfulness.  Even if you don’t believe in anything, the fact of the matter is, how happy you are rarely depends on what others do for you or even what you do for yourself.  My contentment, happiness, peace, fulfillment, serenity wholly depends on my interaction with other people and how well I nurture my relationships.  Relationships, good ones, strong ones, aren’t happenstance.  They may start out serendipitously but they must be tended, cultivated, patched and treated as something of great value.  Protected even.  I guess what I am trying to say is a good, healthy relationship requires a lot of thought.

I have known both extraordinarily selfish people and extraordinarily thoughtful people.  Intentionally or not, they touched my life and helped me decide what kind of person I want to be.  That decision is one that evolves constantly.  As well it should. We will never handle every situation the way we should.  We will mess up.  We will hurt feelings.  We might even let our mean streak take over from time to time.   But it isn’t what happens to us, but how we handle what happens to us.  And we must always be mindful that how we react to these happenings almost never affects just us.  We should right wrongs whenever possible.  And remember forgiveness is for us not for the person we are forgiving.  And on the other hand, if you do your best to right a wrong and the offended person chooses not to forgive, then that is their burden to bear.  However, if we are thoughtful people, hopefully those times will be few and far between.

Circumstances change, people come in and go out of our lives, hardships and heartaches happen to all of us and hopefully we will all know, more than once in our lives, happiness and true bliss.  But if nothing else may we all be content.

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