Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ENGLISH COUNTRY GARDEN - IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR!

Awhile ago I posted a different version of this video but it's time to get excited about Spring and the coming of our beautiful flowers.

Enjoy!


Friday, March 4, 2016

RHUBARB BUNDT CAKE

In no time at all my rhubarb plants will throw off the snow, shoot out of the ground, and be ready for harvesting.  That means it is time for me to pull the remaining batch from last season out of the freezer and use it.  With that in mind, I decided to make a rhubarb bundt cake.  Unfortunately, I had no recipe and was unable to find a recipe on-line that I thought would yield what I was looking for.  Did that stop me?  NO!  In fact, I feel very good about the cake that resulted!  





RHUBARB POPPY SEED BUNDT CAKE.  Serves 10 to 12.
*  1-2/3 cups sugar
*  5 eggs
*  1-1/4 cups butter at room temperature
*  2 tablespoons Creme de Cassis (a sweet, dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants)
*  2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*  1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*  3 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2" pieces
*  3 tablespoons poppy seeds
*  Powdered Sugar sprinkled on top
Preheat oven to 325ยบ.   Use shortening to grease, and then flour, bundt pan.
Add sugar and eggs to electric mixer bowl and blend well.  Add the butter and Creme de Cassis and beat mixture until it is light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.  Slowly add flour to the mixture, continuing to beat until the batter is smooth and the flour is incorporated.  Fold in the rhubarb and poppy seeds.  The batter will be quite thick.  Add cake batter to the prepared bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, let rest 15 minutes, then remove from pan onto a wire rack to finish cooling.  Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

This makes a delicious breakfast!


Friday, February 26, 2016

LEAP YEAR - LEAP DAY - FEBRUARY 29, 2016

Remember as a child learning the verse:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November
All the rest have 31,
Except for February.

What about February?  Well, in three out of four February’s there are 28 days, but in a Leap Year there are 29 days.  This year is a Leap Year and, accordingly, this February 29 is Leap Day.  Why is this necessary?

At the decree of Julius Caesar in 46 B.C., one day was added to the calendar in order to synchronize our calendar with the Earth’s orbit around the sun.  To simplify, the Earth takes approximately 365.25 days to orbit the sun every year.  It’s that .25 of a day that creates the need for a leap year every four years.

Like many astrological events, Leap Day has a tradition.  In Ireland and England tradition allows women to propose marriage to a man on that day.  It is questionable how this tradition came to be.  One belief is that in 5th century Ireland St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait too long to be asked to marry, and St. Patrick decided that on Leap Day it should be allowed.  Another belief is that the five-year-old Queen Margaret of Scotland enacted a law setting fines for men who turned down marriage proposals from women during leap year.  Regardless of when or how this tradition came to be, it appears from a quick review of YouTube videos that this tradition continues throughout the world.  Fortunately, in our modern age, it is now okay for women to propose marriage on any day of the year.

Of course, the tradition was captured on postcards during the Postcard Era in the early 1900’s.  Here are two examples from my collection.  The first card is quite serious, a direct request for marriage.  This postcard was sent to Mr. Chas. P. Arthur, Hampton, Iowa.  The sender wrote:  "Wish I was with you or you were with me... either one would be all right.  Don't you think?  Lovingly, Alethie".



"My dear and much respected sir, I send you this your love to stir; I ask your heart not in a jest, and hope you'll grant my fond request.  I'll be your wife until you die.  And now await your prompt reply."



The postcard above was postmarked April 8, 1909, and mailed to Miss Etta Tohd (?!?), Maiden Rock, Wisconsin.

Celebrate this Leap Day by watching the delightful rom-com, "Leap Year."  Spoiler Alert:  If you haven't seen the movie, don't watch this film clip!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

COOKBOOK TITLES - A CARTOON

I just had to share this with you.  Have a laugh-out-loud day!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

GORDON RAMSEY: ROASTING IN HELL'S KITCHEN



Gordon Ramsey has been a Michelin rated restaurateur and TV personality for years.  Perhaps you've seen him on Kitchen Nightmares berating restaurant owners, chefs and staff.  If so, you know that he could not be more outspoken, or use more profanity if he tried!  To me it's all very fascinating and I was excited to pick up his 2006 book, "Roasting In Hell's Kitchen."   Granted, the book is dated, but it was written by Ramsey, about Ramsey, and from what I can tell, things haven't changed much for him.  Yes, new restaurants have opened and other restaurants have closed; TV programs have changed; and in many ways his life has changed.  However, none of that changes the fundamental essence of who Gordon Ramsey is and where he came from.  To get that, you will want to read this book.

It is clear that Ramsey's childhood significantly shaped him.  The family moved continuously as Ramsey's musician, alcoholic father pursued pipe dreams, frequently, taking out his failures and frustrations on the family by physically abusing them.  He taught Ramsey how to swim by holding his head under water for minutes.  Cruel!  It seemed to Ramsey that the only way that he could please his father was by playing soccer.  He was good at it and he pursued it with a passion, achieving a commendable level of success.  After a serious injury, however, his hopes of becoming a soccer pro were dashed.  By the time Ramsey was sixteen, he had had enough of his father's abuse and moved out of the house.  By then he was already pursuing a career as a chef.

Gordon Ramsey is not a person who has ever cut corners.  It is clear that from the time he was a small child, to present day, he is all in on everything he does (even the swearing!).  In the book, Ramsey walks us through the steps that brought him to his career successes, which are undeniable.  To his credit, he has also managed to do the necessary work to build a strong family with his wife of nearly twenty years.

This is an interesting story, and not a big time commitment to read.  The challenges Ramsey has overcome are intense and most people would not have made it.  His pursuit of perfection seems to have saved him, and now we can enjoy his accomplishments.

I absolutely recommend this book.

Friday, January 1, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR GREETING on Vintage Postcard

This charming old postcard brings you best wishes for a cheerful and healthy new year, close to those you love, and filled with peace and happiness.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

CHRISTMAS MENUS on vintage postcards.


Grace, Kindness, Good Cheer... I hope all of these are on your menu, not only for Christmas but all year long.  

Thinking about food, though, consider the following menu for Xmas Dinner at the U.S. Naval Hospital in New York in the year 1918.  


Nearly 100 years later this menu (without the cigars and cigarettes!!) will be served in many, many American households this Christmas.  

This was an important time on the world scene.  Consider:

Historical Events for December 1918
4th - US President Woodrow Wilson sails for Versailles Peace Conference in France, 1st President to travel outside US while in office
9th - French troops occupies Mainz
13th - US army of occupation crosses Rhine, enters Germany
15th - American Jewish Congress holds its 1st meeting
16th - German troops evacuate Finland, give over Kiev in the Ukraine to revolutionary forces and pull back from Estonia as Bolshevik forces move in
17th - Workers' and soldiers' councils take control of German government in Berlin, until elections in January selects new national assembly
20th - The Allies turn their attention to Bolshevik expansion in the East, landing troops in Crimea and Latvia
26th - After spending Christmas with American troops in France, Wilson goes to London for preliminary discussions about the forthcoming peace conference
27th - The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans begins.
30th - John E Hoover decides to be called J. Edgar Hoover 


Consider how times have changed.  


HAVE A HAPPY AND BLESSED HOLIDAY SEASON.
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