May 11, 2015

Birthday Fun and Pinterest Fail

I hope everyone had a glorious weekend, in my tiny world we not only celebrated Mother's Day but also gathered to celebrate the first year of life for my youngest grandson Dominick. It was indeed a weekend filled with fun, food, family and most importantly love.

Here my sweet little man offers me a taste of his birthday cake. Oh, how my heart melts from such innocents and true love.

I made deviled eggs, potato salad, and baked bean casserole for the celebration. As I was writing my shopping list of ingredients I'd need for cooking, I remembered a cute idea from Pinterest, a lovely, healthy snack for the children. I looked it up to make sure I would have all of the necessary ingredients to make it.

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm really not a big fan of Pinterest. When my cousin Ruth from the blog Dian's Timpanalley sent me an invitation to join many years ago, I, of course, being as nosey as I am, joined. 

I have a few things saved, not many, but remembered this oh so cute healthy snack and thought this would be the perfect time to make it.

What could be healthier celery, craisins, peanut butter, I used soy peanut butter, we have allergies, and pretzels. 

How cute these will look, I thought, even the adults will want to taste them. I washed and cut the celery, and was excited to start assembling them. I decided to make the butterfly first. 

Quickly my enthusiasm was squashed by my first attempt. I tried another technique at assembling one only to be crushed again. After several attempts, I realized that this was not going to work!

Since we first eat with our eyes, I knew I could not take my creations to the party. How on earth could I mess up something that looked so easy to make?

Here is my Pinterest epic fail. . .

At the party, I was telling my sister and niece about my Pinterest disaster. My niece told me that I was certainly not the first person to have a Pinterest fail, but, in fact, there are sites all over the web showing other people's  Pinterest fails! 

I came home and did a Google search and was surprised to find that I was not the only one who did not succeed.

Have you had a Pinterest success or have you had an epic failure like I did? I would love to hear from you either way. 

May 7, 2015

Lark Rise To Candleford and Names

I have become smitten with the BBC historical drama "Lark Rise to Candleford" this period drama was adapted from Flora Thompson's memoirs of her Oxfordshire childhood.

As I was walking down the isle of DVD's at my library, I noticed the title "Lark Rise to Candleford." I picked up the DVD and read the description and quickly made a decision to give it a watch.

As I started watching the first season, which was first produced in 2008 and ended in 2011 after finishing its fourth season, I was hooked. I appreciated the simple charm of the towns Lark Rise and Candleford and loved all of the charming and not so pleasant people who live there.

I'm almost finished with the first season and I'm looking forward to watching season two.

The names of a few characters caught my attention such as Miss Dorcas Lane, the postmistress of Candleford and her housekeeper Zillah.

I find the name Zillah beautiful and I think it should make a comeback. Zillah was a wife of Lamech in Genesis 4:19 and the name was in the U.S. Top 1000 in the 1800’s.

Dorcas is of Greek origin meaning gazelle. The biblical meaning is a woman who is abounded in good deeds and gifts of mercy. This name peaked in the 1920's, thank goodness. If a child was called Dorcas, I fear, she would be teased  unmercifully because of the awful term 'dork.'

Lark Rise to Candleford" addresses class distinction, woman's rights, liberal thinking, friendships, love, secrets, and struggles of everyday life.

I'm looking forward to watching the other three seasons.

May 4, 2015

Celebrated Spring with a Morel Mushroom Dinner

I have had computer and router issues for over a week, so far everything seems to be up and working. Fingers crossed.

I attended a morel mushroom dinner last Tuesday evening with my youngest daughter Susan and my niece Kathy where we met other morel mushroom lovers and enjoyed a glorious meal.

I'm on the left, my daughter Susan and my niece, Kathy.
Chef Jason Gorman cooked a multi-course dinner featuring morel mushrooms. Sommelier Christain Damiano selected/paired wines for each course.
Sommelier, Christain Damiano on the left.
Chef, Jason Gorman on the right.
The evening started in the bar area where sparkling wine flowed freely while the waitstaff passed hors d'oeuvres. I was so excited to start tasting the food that I completely forgot to take a photo of the morel mushroom bruschetta, trust me it looked marvelous and tasted delicious! 

The second hors d'oeuvre was a pizza with morel mushrooms.

Morel mushroom pizza with gorgonzola cheese, yummy.
Morel mushroom polpette, which means a giant meatball.
Sweet pea brodo poured over gnocchi and morel mushrooms.
What a tasty mouthful.
Morel braised short ribs with cheesy polenta.   

Vanilla panna cotta sans morel mushrooms ended our meal.  

I enjoyed the evening very much: the food was superb and the company was fun.

The morel mushroom season is very short, so if an opportunity to taste morel mushrooms comes your way don't hesitate these mushrooms are delicious

April 24, 2015

A Sweet Memory and May Baskets

We don't realize that little moments from our lives often become cherished memories for someone. That is especially true of my sister-in-law. Ever since my husband's death in 1998 she has shared some of her favorite memories of her big brother with myself and my children, now these shared moments have become some of our favorite stories about George.

My husband was the oldest of his siblings and often was the caregiver for his brothers and sisters. They lived in southern Illinois in a small rural community where he was a paper boy.

Here is her memory of a May Day sometime in the 1960's.

Butch that was George's nickname came into my bedroom with construction paper and scissors. We're going to make May Baskets and deliver them to our neighbors tomorrow morning. So we sat in the middle of my bedroom floor and cut strips from the construction paper so we could weave the baskets. 
Butch went to the kitchen and mixed flour and water and made a homemade paste. I was in charge of gathering the flowers, I picked wild violets and dandelions. 
We sat for hours weaving the baskets. Butch who always had a stash of candy in his room, some he bought and some was given to him by his paper route customers brought the bag into my room. We added one and sometimes two pieces of candy in each basket. 
The next morning we woke up and put the flowers I'd gathered into the woven May baskets. We would hang the May basket on the doorknob, ring the bell and run fast so we wouldn't get caught. 
We delivered 100 baskets that morning and nobody knew it was us. We both felt so good and happy on the May Day.
While shopping a church rummage sale, I came across some paper baskets with wire handles and the May Day story filled my mind. So, of course, for 50 cents I purchased the four baskets.

I will fill each basket with a small potted flower that my neighbors can plant, perhaps a marigold plant or pansy or do you think that cut daffodils would be better? In memory of my husband, I will tuck in a few pieces of candy. Will you be hanging a May Basket on your neighbor's doorknob this year?

Here are a few May Baskets from the world wide web. 




Source: Simply Balisha
From simple homemade baskets to beautiful creations I would be delighted to find one on my doorknob on May 1st. 


April 22, 2015

Morel the Cadillac of Mushrooms

They resemble tiny Christmas trees growing around the base of trees and fallen branches in the woods. The start of warm weather combined with moist soil from April showers is the conditions that indicated that morel mushroom season is starting.

I was introduced to morel mushrooms my first year of marriage when my husband and I took a weekend trip to southern Illinois to visit his parents.  My experience with mushrooms at the time had been my mother telling me not to touch or eat the mushrooms that would pop up around the edges of our yard because the were poisonous. So imagine my surprise and horror when we starting hiking through the woods looking for these little brown and yellow mushrooms.

I certainly had no idea how popular and tasty the morel mushrooms was, but I soon found out. I found out that certain people had the ability to smell the fragrance of these mushrooms, my husband being one such person. As for me, I had a hard time even seeing the mushrooms popping out from the ground let alone smell their scent. 

We emerged with a huge grocery bag full of yellow and gray morel mushrooms making his family very excited.

Source: Earth Eats

The mushrooms are soaked in salt water to remove the microscopic bugs, yuck, and placed into a bowl of salt water.

 They are cut in half and rinsed dragged through egg and milk mixture and popped into a hot pan and fried.

Source: Hub Pages

Source: Hub Pages

The kitchen is the most popular place while the morels are being fried up. Any and all excuses are used to getting close to the platter of fried mushrooms to snitch a piece or two of these delicious treats. Hands are smacked away from the platter, but no one seemed to mind the sting of the smack to get a taste of the nutty and creamy morel mushroom. By the time the mushrooms are finished being fried half the platter would be gone!

Since 1974, when I was first introduced to morel mushrooms the popularity of these treats have been featured on many cooking shows, including 'Hell's Kitchen' where the chefs had to identify certain foods. 

These little Christmas tree shaped mushrooms can sell from $29.99 - $50.00 a pound!

What was my inspiration for this post. . . 

A local restaurant which is owned by Tony Mantuano, who has been on the show 'Top Chef' is offering this unique morel mushroom dining experience for only $75.00. 

I will continue to remember crispy fried morel mushrooms that I was introduced to in 1974.

Has anyone else had the pleasure of stomping through the woods hunting this particular fungus? I would love to know where your are from and how you cook them. 


My niece and I will be attending this event, what a nice surprise not only will I be able to enjoy this very expensive feast I will get to spend an evening with her. With camera in hand I will photograph the meal and share it with you on a blog post.

April 20, 2015

History Made Into a Movie: Woman in Gold

I don't often go to the movie theater to watch a movie, but when my very dear friend, who had a knee replacement and who was going stir crazy asked, how could I refuse.

Our movie choice. . .

  1. "The film is based on the true story of the late Maria Altmann, an elderly Jewish refugee, living in Los Angeles who, together with her young lawyer, E. Randol Schoenberg, fought the government of Austria for almost a decade to reclaim Gustav Klimt's iconic painting of her aunt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which was confiscated from her relatives by the Nazis in Vienna just prior to World War II. Altmann took her legal battle all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled in her favor in Republic of Austria v. Altmann(2004)."Source Wikipedia
I'm sure you will recognize the painting by Gustav Klimt's, 'The Lady in Gold,' or as it was originally  named 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baurer,' the subject of the movie.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have no recollection of any of these event that were on going for ten years. 

I enjoyed the movie so much that I wanted to learn more about the events that surround this famous painting. I was able to find this non-fiction book that gives the history of the painter, Adele, and Vienna.

Here is a photo of Maria Bloch-Baurer Altmann, reunited with the portrait of her Aunt Adele.

Both the movie and the book has gotten mixed reviews. For several years, I have become very interested in history, so the movie and book, which does have some very dry spots, interest me. Has anyone else seen the movie, or remember hearing about Maria's struggle for ten years trying to get back the painting? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.


April 19, 2015

Greeting Card and Blogging

I have missed blogging and my blog friends.

While shopping an estate sale yesterday, I came across this mid-century greeting card, read it and for some reason I thought of my blog and blog friends. Thought I would share this very lovely card with you.

Stay tuned for more post, 'cause I'm starting to blog again.