Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Yep, it's a long holiday weekend and this is kinda how I feel-
Woo Hoo!!!

Happy Memorial Day everyone-enjoy:@)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Patriotic Peonies!

White peonies are always fun to play with... This time I snipped a couple and tucked them into red and blue water, added a pretty white one for some pictures and ~wa-la~ we have Patriotic Peonies:@) I have a fun test tube vase my friend T gave me, when I add about 15 drops of regular liquid food coloring to the tube it's intense and helps the flowers soak up the color quickly.
How long does it take to color them? Well that depends on a lot of things. I find that flowers about 1/3 open work the best. Cutting the stems short and warmer temperatures-both in the water and air, helps. I cut these flowers off where they met the main stem, that made their stem about 6" long. Brought them into the house and was amazed (and very pleased with) the color in 2 hours, but it was too dark outside for pics. These shots are from the next morning and as you can see, they have pretty much colored through.

I had a little fun with yellow and orange a few years ago HERE.
One note: The thicker food coloring liquids and gels don't work very well, it's best to use the cheaper drip bottles.

Happy Memorial Day palnning:@) 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rhubarb Custard Pie -and Rhubarb Recipe Round-Up

This Rhubarb Custard Pie is an honest and true 'old time' recipe that was totally new and very different for us, we thought it was great! The custard is creamy and smooth, there's the warmth of nutmeg, the great pucker power of rhubarb and (for the baker) the ease of no top crust. I'm sure it would be beautiful with red rhubarb but mine is green and I'm determined to use what Mother Nature gifted me:@)
The recipe is fantastic as is but I also think a handful of raisins would be a nice addition, 
and for some reason a little vanilla sounds good too...
Really good stuff folks!

Rhubarb Custard Pie-from Taste of Home
4 C rhubarb, cut approx 1/2" thick
1 - 1 1/2 C sugar-I used 1 C
2 eggs
2 Tblsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp nutmeg-sounds like a lot for our taste, I just grated some in
9" pie crust
  1. Spoon rhubarb into pie crust.
  2. Mix sugar, eggs, cornstarch and nutmeg well. Drizzle custard all over the rhubarb.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for approx 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rhubarb Jam Using Strawberry Jello

It's rhubarb season here in the mid-Atlantic states and once again this year my plant is hearty and healthy! I wanted to try something new and decided this Rhubarb Jam Using Strawberry Jello sounded good, and it was! From a quick Google I see folks have been making some variation of this jam for as long as Jello has been around... It's also easy to make different flavor combinations by simply changing up the Jello, a batch of raspberry or orange seem to be very popular. This is an extremely tasty jam and if you bump up the amount of rhubarb (as I did), you can really taste it.

Most recipes call for diced rhubarb but don't mention the size to aim for, I suggest about 1/4" across the "strings" and no wider than 1/2", so I'll cut the big stems into 4-6 pieces lengthwise if needed. Two other tips: I crushed the rhubarb with a potato masher as it cooked and stired the Jello in with a whisk.
Sounds like we have choices about how to can this... You can simply cool and store in the fridge (freezer for long term storage) or process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Since I knew my jars would be going home with the kids tomorrow I did what a lot of other bloggy buddies do and simply turned the filled jars upside down for about 5 minutes, then turned them upright, every one of them "pinged" and sealed... Sssshhhhh-don't tell the Food Police:@)

I started with two very similar recipes, one from Kraft and the other from Allrecipes, then made my own changes based upon the reviews. I think you'll like this if you try it folks.

Rhubarb Jam Using Strawberry Jello-makes approx 4 1/2 half pint jars
6 C rhubarb, diced about 1/4-1/2"
2 C sugar
1 four serving size package of Strawberry Jello
  1. Place rhubarb in large heavy bottomed pot, stir in sugar and let sit for 30-45 minutes, this will produce some liquid.
  2. Heat to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for about 13 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the Jello, stir until dissolved.
  4. Ladle into sterilized jars, wipe rims, apply lids and bands. Store as desired from above.
Preserve a little bit of spring and have a happy day:@)

I'm Joining:
Craftastic Monday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Okabashi Shoes-are you familiar with them?

Many years ago in July we had two steady weeks of rain in Philly, every pair of shoes I owned were soaked. One day while sloshing through the supermarket I saw a display of Okabashi Shoes, they appeared to be almost rubber(?), they were on sale and had sandals in my size. I immediately bought them, tossed my wet sneakers into the bag and wore them home. I still have that beaten to death well worn pair today. Let me tell you why I tracked them down again...
Pic from their site, trust me, a picture of my stubby piggies in them would not look this good:@).

Why it's a good idea to own at least one pair of Okabashi:
  1. It rains (sometimes a lot, sometimes suddenly), they don't hold water, give 'em a shake and they dry off quickly.
  2. If you're a gardener dirt hoses off beautifully, same thing for sand.
  3. Perfect for washing the car, the siding, the dog, etc...
  4. They fit snugly and have some arch support. A better fit than Sloggers and Crocs-in this reporter's opinion.
  5. Nice grip for walking on wet surfaces.
  6. They offer much more cushion for walking than cheaper flip flops. Also, no possible blow outs...
  7. They're cute.
  8. They feel great on.
  9. Many styles and colors to choose from, for both men and women.
  10. Recyclable.
  11. MADE IN THE USA!!!
I'm just sharing something that I do honestly like and recently treated myself to two more pair. I was surprised when Okabashi sent me an email saying they'd give anyone I referred to them an $8 discount if they use the code from this link HERE, so I'm passing it on in case you're interested.

Have a happy day:@)

Full disclosure: Will this post do anything for me? They say I'll have a buy one get one free offer, but since I only like low heels and sandals, I already have the shoes I'd want that are still available in my size.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Black Petunias-Cool or Kinda Creepy?

I'm always thrilled when I find something I've never seen before at the garden center. Are black petunias new to you too? They are a true black, and have a gorgeous sheen. The guy at the nursery told me they had them years ago and nobody bought them, then they were featured in a gardening magazine and now they sell out quickly!

Well, my timing must have been good, I picked one up for Ma for Mother's Day.
Luckily she did think they are cool... and not at all creepy:@)
As a woman was taking a huge pot of them to the register she said she prefers to think of them as "mysterious".

Have a happy day!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday Snippets-Grill Toy, Crock Pot BBQ Pork and Mother's Day Weekend

I'm always amused and entertained with the grilling displays at stores. While making my rounds this morning I saw this bacon cooker at Walmart and thought it was really neat for the guy griller that has everything:@) Love the reservoirs for catching the fat. 

The weather forecasters were calling for a hot and sunny day here north of Philly... Turned out, not so much. So I sprinkled some country ribs with equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika and two times as much seasoned salt (I used Lawry's Chile and Garlic). Gave it a few cranks of black pepper and tossed them into my crock pot on high. Four hours later, shred the meat and slathered it with BBQ sauce... Not a bad sandwich and the house smelled pretty darn good too:@)

Here in the mid Atlantic states it is officially the beginning of gardening season, we have passed our last frost date and can plant annuals... and the chaos at the garden center this morning proved that! Since I looked at the 10 day forecast (which showed night time temps in the 50/60's) and got my planters in last weekend, and we had several 80+ degree days, I'm the proud Momma of... Yep, the string beans are coming up-Woo Hoo!

Wishing you all a wonderful Mother's Day-enjoy:@)