Sunday, August 28, 2011

Riding Lessons

We have a good friend with a horse who is informally giving BonnieBlue riding lessons. I don't know if I want her to learn how to jump, though (a little GWTW reference).

The horse's name is Tank and BB loves him!

So far this summer, she has learned to back him up, stop him, turn him, and post.

BB likes to brush/comb Tank before and after the ride. Wisely, she's a bit afraid of the front end, but we're trying to teach her that the rear end is more dangerous. Tank goes out of his way to NOT bite when being fed a carrot or apple (all lips, this one), but I'm afraid he's going to kick her if she's not careful about giving his back end a wide berth.

She's learning patience because Debbie has to ride first, then her little girl, and then BB. It's just a great all-around experience for her.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My brains are too heavy.

Yesterday, we were heading to a friends for a regular Sunday dinner gathering of several families and I had several things to carry so I asked BonnieBlue to carry a little basket of mini-muffins. I admonished her not to drop it, but I should have admonished her to not sneeze over it. She did, about 2 seconds after I handed it to her. I didn't see; I only heard it. When I asked her if she turned her head, she said, "I tried, but my brains are too heavy."

With wit like that, I believe it.

Cornfetti - YUM!

This is my NEW ALL-TIME FAVORITE dish!

I was inspired by this recipe for corn salsa at But I also had some red peppers, zucchini, and onions on hand that needed to be used, and I'm all about compilations, so I adjusted. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures until I was packaging up the leftovers. So, I have one pic I'll save until the end.

1 red bell pepper
1 garden-fresh tomato
1 small onion
2 small zucchini
4 fresh ears of corn
2 t dried basil (I really need to grow a basil plant)
2 T olive oil
1T already chopped garlic or 2 cloves fresh (preferably, but I didn't have any handy)
1 small lime (I use a key lime)
2 pinches kosher salt
dash fresh ground pepper

1. Wash and chop all the veggies. Husk the corn, desilk as much as possible, wash, and shuck with a knife (see the simple dollar site for a picture and directions).

2. Heat the olive oil at medium (fyi, if you heat olive oil above medium it burns to a nasty flavor. If you need to brown something, use canola oil, which has a higher smoke point) and add the onion and garlic. After 2  or so minutes add the corn. Saute for 4-5 minutes.

3. While corn is sauteeing, add basil to remaining veggies and toss. Cut and squeeze the lime over veggies. Add them to corn, add salt and a dash of pepper, and sautee another 3 min.

EAT IT!  But don't burn your tongue. It actually tastes even better after it sits for a while.

 I made a bunch, and had a bunch leftover. We had ours with chicken quesadillas, and I had chicken leftover, so I chopped it up and added it to the leftover cornfetti. Lunch tomorrow!

I'm telling ya'. It tastes like summer!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Give-away at the Intrepid Thread

One of the few blogs that I follow, Jackie's Art Quilts, is 'hosting' a give-away from The Intrepid Thread (this is a tad complicated for simple-minded me) and one of the rules to enter is to become of follower of The Intrepid Thread.  I typically will not enter a give-away if the giver requires me to follow him/her. My time is extremely valuable (to me) and so I don't want to follow 'just anybody' (hence, I follow very few blogs). I made an exception for this site. First, I LOVE the fabric being given away (I can totally envision a quilt for BonnieBlue),

and she has an etsy shop and posts discounts at her blog. Today, 20% off fabrics. Nice. Visit the Intrepid Thread at And, of course, visit Jackie.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"If You're Afraid of Butter, Use Cream" --Julia Child

A friend of mine has that on a sign above her kitchen sink. Ms. Child would LOVE this recipe. I had insomnia a week or so ago, and since we don't have cable, I often watch public television (because broadcast tv is all paid programming after 1 a.m. Bleh.). I love public television. We have 3 public television stations, because of HD programming. Heaven. My favorite is called Create TV. At 2:30 in the morning I'm not too picky, but P. Allen Smith's show, From Garden to Table, is wonderful! This particular early morning, he had someone named Capi Peck (restauratuer), and she made a blackberry and peach cobbler that looked so easy it kind of freaked me out. And since I had just bought 5 pecks of peaches, I thought it was some sort of divine intervention. I made it the next day. You can find the original recipe here.

I adapted it, as I always do, to suit my tastes. In particular, on this day, I didn't have blackberries, and so I upped the peaches in the recipe. I also reduced the sugars (peaches are so sweet, I don't get why she used so much sugar) and butter (butter does make everything better, but it doesn't sacrifice that much taste to reduce it by a few tablespoons). I also added oats for good measure. What's cobbler without oats?

Start with:
I ended up not using the lime, so ignore that.

Mix the flour, oats, salt, and baking powder in a bowl with a fork or whisk. Bring the butter to room temp or slightly melt, and add to dry mix. I hate using a pastry cutter and I don't have a food processor, so I used the back of the spatula to flatten out the butter globs until it was all kind of incorporated. Set aside.

Peel and slice the peaches. Mix with the quarter cup sugar (in retrospect, I'd probably reduce this to 1/8 in the future) and pour into shallow, buttered baking dish.

In another bowl, beat the cream and powdered sugar until just before stiff peaks form. Add to flour-oat-butter mix and mix with spatula until cream is incorporated.

Spread over peaches. Melt the rest of butter and pour over (or slice and put on top), then sprinkle with sugar. Bake.

Ta-da! Serve with ice cream while still warm!

Complete recipe:

Peach Cobbler

• 4+ cups peaches, peeled, cut (about 5-6 small peaches or 3-4 large)
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 cup flour
• ½ cup oats
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 tbsp. baking powder
• 6 tbsp. and 2-3 tbsp. butter, unsalted
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
• 2-3 tbsp butter, melted
• Another 1/8 cup sugar (less really)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a shallow ovenproof dish. Combine and sugar and mix. Pour fruit into the buttered dish.

Combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix together (I use a large whisk). Slightly melt 8 tbspn butter. Add to flour mix and with a flat, hard spatula. Frequently, flatten the mix with the back of the spatula and then scoop around the side of the bowl, mixing flour mixture and butter thoroughly, until butter is incorporated thoroughly. Mix will be crumbly.

Beat the half cup of heavy cream and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until peaks form (but not for as long as you would to use it for a topping.) Add the cream to the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Most of the dough will be quite soft and some will be crumbly.

Spread the dough over the peach mixture. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the dough. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 cup of sugar.

Bake the cobbler for 35-40 minutes or until the dough begins to turn a light brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream (as soon as possible!).

I'm starting to share stuff at link parties. I shared this one at A Vision to Remember.

My next blog entry will be a recipe for something like a warm corn relish, or what I am calling Cornfetti! Yum!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can it!

Rhett and I canned for the first time this past weekend.

Peaches were on sale for $50 for 5 pecks at a local (somewhat) fruit farm til Friday, so canning peaches this weekend was on the agenda!

FYI- This is a peck (minus a few I ate!)

We're ramping up on food storage and preparedness-related behaviors, so we were ready to try canning. Rhett has been buying canning jars for a few months now. Unfortunately, we didn't have a water bath canning pot and paraphanalia, nor did we think it would be hard to find one. We spent several hours and visited 7 stores on Saturday morning to find what we needed. Hence, we didn't start until 3 and didn't finish until about 11 p.m.

I'm not going to post a specific tutorial, because you need to be precise for something like this. But I did learn a few things. Like, blanching peaches doesn't guarantee that they will peel easily.

Rhett is my hand model.

Using a teapot to make the syrup speeds things along a bit and makes pouring it into the jars a lot easier. Also, I added the fresh fruit to the syrup instead of sprinkling it directly on the fruit.

And our new granite pot holds seven quart-size Ball jars.

And 4+ pecks of peaches makes about 12 quarts (and one pint) of canned peaches.

You might remember that I bought 5 pecks. Where did the others go? Peach cobbler! Recipe to follow in next blog.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gift Idea using Buckeyes

Last May, during Teacher Appreciation Week, I just couldn't get it together to complete the requested task from my kid's teacher's supervisor for their Teacher Appreciation gift. The supervisor wanted to collate a book of letters/pictures from the kids with each letter/picture saying/showing what that kid appreciated about his/her teacher. That was a really busy week, and I just didn't have time to sit down with BonnieBlue to have her draw the picture. I will shamefacedly admit that I even considered drawing one myself, but frankly, BonnieBlue draws better than I do. She can get a facial expression down pretty darn well. Here's an example:
Rhett so very much loved this picture that he wouldn't let us erase it for weeks. I finally took a picture so that he'd let his daughter draw on her easel again!

Anyway, I felt bad about missing the Teacher Appreciation thing, so the next week, when I had more time, I made these:

Being in Central Ohio (go bucks!), we can use Buckeyes (chocolate covered peanut butter balls that look like buckeye nuts after they come out of their husks) for any occasion. And just a few weeks before, Kroger was having a sale on these boxes, 10 for $10. So I scooped some up for just something like this. Since I had missed Teacher Appreciation Week, I created the message to coincide with my apology of sorts: "We appreciate you everyday!" But you could come up with something like, "I'm nuts about you!" for something more generic. But this was pretty good for my needs.

What I did:
The wired heart ribbon is from Costco - big ole' role for $7. I used red and gray cardstock; I cut the gray paper like a fat letter "T", backed the horizontal rectangle in red, and printed out my message on regular copy paper. I cut the message to fit inside the gray rectangle, and then stuck the vertical gray bar into the candy box end.

These are Anthony Thomas buckeyes, but I'm a big(!) fan of Harry London's. Costco (at least ours here in Columbus) sells this 1.25 lb bucket for $7.99. That is the deal of the century!

I could use any number of cute little containers to divy up the buckeyes or give the whole bucket to someone I really love.

Oh! If you want to make your own, here's a recipe I adapted from the

Buckeyes2 cups creamy peanut butter (you can't use the organic stuff for this...too oily)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 - 2 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
     (note: Start with just less than 2 cup and add to taste; I don't like mine really sweet)
Chocolate Coating
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and mixed with
2 T shortening

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.

Get the butter to just over room temperature so that it is soft and just about to melt. Mix in peanut butter (heat it a bit too if that helps). Add the vanilla extract and then gradually add the confectioners sugar until you get dough the consistency of cookie dough.
Chill if the dough is still warm to the touch. Roll  into 1 inch  round balls (buckeyes in nature are not all one-inch, so don't worry about exactness here). Stick a toothpick in a ball and pick up. If the ball falls apart or off, chill some more.
Melt and mix the chocolate and shortening. Using a toothpick, pick up the balls and dip in chocolate. It's tricky to do this without dropping the peanut butter ball into the chocolate, but if you kind of hold it sideways, it works. Leave the round spot where the toothpick is chocolate-free (so that it looks like a buckeye nut!). Place on the cookie sheet. When done dipping all the peanut butter balls, chill in fridge for an hour or so. Store in an airtight container. (Makes about 3 dozen buckeyes)

I've linked up with Get Your Craft On Tuesday at Today's Creative Blog.