Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tea Bread Tuesday: Cranberried Lemon Yogurt Bread

I was very proud of myself with this one: I didn't have to purchase a single item to make this bread. Do you ever have one of those days when you are determined to clean out your pantry because you are tired of looking at the same item day after day, week after week . . . month after month . . . (cringe!) . . . ? Well, I confess, those Craisins had been sitting in my cabinet since Christmas. Then the lemons . . . I paid 50¢ for each a week ago, and, unlike my $3 lime spree of a month ago, this dollar weighed heavily on my conscience . . . Then, I had a fourth of a tub of plain non-fat yogurt left in the fridge, just enough for one cup . . . exactly what this recipe called for . . .

You would never guess that this was a "left-over" solution. The bread was simply delicious! It was moist, had a fine texture - I'm finding that I generally prefer a fine texture in my tea breads - and the flavor was just right!

The Ocean Spray website has many excellent cranberry recipes. Here's the link, if you'd like to try it: http://oceanspray.com/recipes/Cranberried_Lemon_Yogurt_Bread.aspx?id=258&nid=5

Saturday, August 28, 2010

“I-really-don't-feel-like-cooking” Pasta Salad

We spent the day running errands and when we got home, it was time for dinner, so I threw together this salad and opened up a bottle of wine.

Not bad for 20 minutes work . . .

The recipe was so easy! Simply toss together:

1 lb. Barilla Whole Grain Medium Shells pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed in cold water
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 can olives cured in olive oil
3 cans Italian-style tuna in olive oil
1 jar non-pareil capers (the tiny ones), drained and rinsed
½ cup finely chopped red onion
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Fresh herbs - today I added tarragon, basil and lemon thyme
Your favorite vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste

That's it! Buon appetito!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A book

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
—Emily Dickinson

I'm starting a new one tonight . . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tea Bread Tuesday: Honey Raisin Bread

This was very good; great texture and very moist. Would I make this one again? I'm not sure. There isn't a thing wrong with it, but nothing about it screamed "Make me again!" Although, come to think of it, I did make it again: I made a second loaf so I could use up some of the leftover ingredients. I'm sure my co-workers will have more to say about it tomorrow . . .

Here's the recipe:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup bran flakes cereal (I used Kellogg's All Bran)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ honey
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup raisins
1. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl combine the cereal, milk and vanilla extract. Let soak for about 5 minutes.
3. With an electric mixer, add egg, honey and butter to the milk and cereal mixture, mixing thoroughly.
4. Stir into dry ingredients just enough to moisten. Do not over mix.
5. Fold in raisins.
6. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350° F for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
7. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from loaf pan and finish cooling on a wire rack. When completely cool, wrap in plastic wrap overnight.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Generous Alstroemeria

What a lovely little flower: Bountiful, long-lasting, vivid in its coloring . . .

Lending its service year-round . . .

With a touch of exoticism . . . I love them!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tea Bread Tuesday: Blueberry Scones

Yup. I cheated. Once in a while I let somebody else do the measuring . . .

And this nifty pan took the work out of cutting up the scones . . .

These are indeed the lazy days of summer . . . Tea and scones in the backyard . . .

Life is good . . . (sigh) . . .

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy birthday, Lee!

Today was my husband's birthday. The hardest working guy I know spent the day putzing around the house and painting the bathroom door . . .

And then, like a little kid, he hovered around the kitchen until his cupcakes were done . . .

Happy birthday, darling!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tea Bread Tuesday: Piña Colada Bread

I like piña coladas, but this bread was just O.K. . . .

It was sweet and moist, but I thought the texture was too coarse (perhaps because of the coconut flakes), and this bread just didn't know what it wanted to be. I couldn't discern any specific flavor. Not bad with a cup of oolong, but, eh . . . I think this one was forgettable . . .

The recipe yielded four mini-loaves, which made them easy to transport to work . . . where my co-workers devoured them!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


The Soggy Dollar Bar, located on White Beach Bay, on the island of Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, is the birthplace of The Painkiller, one of my favorite rum concoctions. The bar is so named because, by the time you get there, your money is soggy from having had to swim ashore. The pristine, white sand beach, you see, has no pier.

We went there in 1997, when my husband won an all-expense paid trip through work. During our stay, the company arranged for a catamaran to take the group from St. Thomas to Jost Van Dyke. When we arrived at White Beach Bay, a marvelous barbecue was being prepared right on the beach for us; that's when a waiter handed me my first Painkiller. I liked it so much that I scribbled the recipe on the back of the book I had brought with me (between the unexpected wet landing, sand and partially smeared writing, the book was quite a mess by the time I got home, but I haven't been able to part with it).

I made some Painkillers today, and a lot of happy memories from this trip came flooding back . . . Here's the link for the recipe: http://www.pussers.com/rum/cocktails/painkiller/popup

Here I am, at White Beach Bay, sitting under a palm tree, reading a book - my idea of paradise . . .

My husband and I both agree that, aside from our honeymoon, this was the most wonderful trip we have ever taken . . .

Ahh . . . I have been longing for a trip to the Caribbean lately . . .

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pretty pinwheels . . .

. . . from a peppery salad green . . . Arugula flowers!

In the old days, it was forbidden to plant arugula within the walls of a convent because it was reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities . . . maybe that explains the amorous wildlife in our backyard . . .

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tea Bread Tuesday: Banana Nut Bread

Oh, my! This bread is worthy! The best banana bread I've ever made! So moist!

I got this recipe from "Down Home with the Neelys." They call it Momma Callie's Banana Nut Bread with Honey Butter.

Naturally, I also made the Honey Butter to go with it and piped it into a ramekin. Yum!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back to college!

We drove my son, John, to college today. All CAs (Community Advisors) needed to start earlier than other students to attend training and be ready when classes begin.

We left him full of enthusiasm for the year ahead. I'm so happy for him. I am so going to miss him . . . again . . . Does it ever get easier?

I made my husband pull to the side of the road today so I could take this picture. It is the first image you see when you get off the highway on the way to NIU. DeKalb is known for its corn. There are fields of it everywhere you look.

By the time we left, his dorm room had been transformed into a very personal space. It was cozy and efficient and full of John. The place vibrated with his energy. I can just picture him now sorting through his stuff, organizing it, settling in . . . This past week he had turned my dining room into a staging area, putting all the things he was planning to take with him all over the room . . . boxes, boxes everywhere . . . and now it's all empty . . .

And the summer is only half done . . . and I go back to work tomorrow . . . life goes on . . .