Friday, November 21, 2014

Finally Friday

And a frosty one.

I love the way frost makes a plain bare landscape look so magical--and clean.

I think of frost as purifying.   It burns away the dross and leaves only the most solid of elements: earth and rock--and birdhouses.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is there an elf on the shelf at your house?

Across the country, schools and homes have elves on their shelves to prompt good behavior.
The elves are watching, you see, to see if kids are behaving.  If not, the elves will report to Santa, which means some unfortunate little boys and girls might not get what they want for Christmas.
Decades ago when I was a youngster, there was no elf on the shelf.
Santa Claus himself was watching us, or the Big Man upstairs. Like the popular elf, they were liable to be anywhere and everywhere.
We were threatened with a lump of coal in our stockings, or a sackful of switches for Christmas if we didn't behave.
Pretty dire consequences, right?
But that wasn't the worst of it. Sometimes we were told the Booger Man might get us.
I'm not sure how long these threats are effective, but I can remember being more aware of my words and deeds in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  If I did or said something I shouldn't have, my conscience at least spoke to me.
Of course, I knew Santa wasn't real, but the Big Man?
He's the one I didn't want to mess with.
How were you encouraged to be well-behaved when you were a child?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

That looks Pinteresting

I spent a few minutes browsing around Pinterest today, and found so many ideas to make lfe neat, productive and sweet.  

I made this Pecan Cobbler recipe, which is easy, warm and comforting. You have to try it!!

Pecan Cobbler

  • tablespoons butter (no substitutions)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 and ½ cup self-rising flour
  • 1 and ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 and ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 and ½ cup hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add butter to a 9x13 inch cake pan or casserole dish and melt in oven.
  3. Once butter is melted, sprinkle the pecans over butter.
  4. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir to combine, but don't over-mix.
  5. Pour batter over butter and pecans, do not mix.
  6. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over batter, do not stir.
  7. Carefully pour the hot water over the mixture; do not stir.
  8. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Best served warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!

Cobbler will not be firm after 35 minutes. It will firm up as it cools. If over-cooked, there will be less sauce.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A little fall texture...

I like the textures of fall foliage.  I captured too much window frame in this picture, but I like the red leaves, the cedars in the background, and the seedy grasses.  That fuzzy stuff on the left is goldenrod.

I used to dislike "barren" fall landscapes, but they aren't really.  There's a lot going on in the fall, even when plants and trees look dead.

They are getting ready for another growing season already.   No matter what the season, spring is coming!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Because we could all use a little extra serenity in our day...

I wish it wasn't this cold so early in the year, but there's nothing to be done about it, so I'll just admire some of nature's handiwork.  

When two seasons collide, it makes for some pretty and peaceful-looking landscapes, don't you agree?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cookbook and restaurant guide spotlights some of Kentucky's best dishes

One of the perks of being a newspaper editor is that you sometimes receive complimentary copies of books to review.
I jumped all over the chance to get a copy of "Kentucky Back Road Restaurant Recipes: A Cookbook and Restaurant Guide," because it features several things I'm pretty enthusiastic about: my home state, off the beaten path mom and pop restaurants, and plenty of tempting recipes.
The book is part travel guide, part cookbook.
It features a recipe from one of Irvine's own long-time favorite establishments, the little walk-up restaurant that we call "The Twin."
The book explains what each restaurant, cafe, deli, etc., serves, then it tells how to make for yourself one of that restaurant's specialties.
The recipe shared from The Twin was the cake they use in their hot fudge cakes.
There are other intriguing recipes.  One is for a simple chili that calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup.  I wouldn't expect that in chili at all, but it probably adds some flavor and creaminess.
There are recipes for country favorites, like old-timey green beans and chicken and dumplings made with eggs and lard.
There's a variation of a hot brown made on a hoecake instead of white bread, and there's peanut butter fudge cake (?!), and tomato bisque from scratch.
The book features lots of color photographs taken in and of eateries from across the state, but there are other non-food related attractions included too.
So, with this handy-dandy book in your possession, you can make some of the tried and true recipes yourself, or you can look up the places that made them famous and eat there.
Sounds like a good time either way.
Or a good Christmas present for someone on your list?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Long dark evenings make a lazy woman out of me

There were several things I could have done this evening, but because it's cold outside, and dark already, I've had little will to do them.
In the winter, even though it might only be, say, 6 p.m., my body tells me I should be inactive.
This evening, I did force myself to do some household chores, but the recliner kept calling my name. How about you?  Do you still have loads of energy and motivation when it's dark out, or do you choose a quiet pastime?
How do you while away the evening hours when it gets dark this early? Do you knit, crochet, paint or write?
Do you cook, watch television or read a book?
Or do you go out on the town? Get together with friends?  Shop?
Going out is usually the last thing I want to do once the sun sets.
Call me a hermit, I guess.