Saturday, October 30, 2010

To Facebook or not to Facebook

I started using Facebook about a year ago.  My sisters and my son convinced me that I should hop on the bandwagon.  After spending a year partaking in all of the fun, I have pondered whether or not it is worth it.  The down side is that you see a side of people that you never knew existed, and quite frankly, that you really wished you wouldn't have seen.  I guess the mere fact that people can sit in front of their computer, instead of facing an actual person, gives them the boldness to use language that they would never have used if they were speaking directly to you.  I've found that at times I am "out of the loop" and discover shocking things about people, or stumble across startling photographs.  But on the flip side, I have seen many positive aspects of the whole Facebook experience.  I "talk" to one of my sisters on almost a daily basis.  She lives a long way from me, and so it is a great way to stay in touch.  Cousins that I used to rarely see now pop up on my screen almost daily.  I can hop on over to their pages, and see at a glance what they are up to, hear about their kids, and every now and then get a good chuckle about some of their antics.  Keeping in touch with old high school friends has also been very enjoyable.  Being able to see pictures of a brand new niece within hours after she was born, and hear that everyone is doing well, is a blessing.  So you see I have many more "plus" items than "negative" items.  But one item to add to the "plus" side is that I was recently connected to a childhood friend that I would never have guessed I would ever have seen again.  She was the perfect friend -- a next door neighbor friend.  Someone who was always there; and there was never a question of whether or not we would spend a day together.  We spent summers riding her horse, wandering the countryside, eating rhubarb and strawberries out of her mother's immense garden, and just being friends.  Here is a picture of us.  Aren't we a rough and tumble looking group.  From left to right is my friend, Pam, me, and my sisters Megan, and Peggy.  We are holding some of our new puppies.

So to answer my own question, I think I will continue on Facebook.  The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Antique Tidbits

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending an antique show with my mom.  Simply attending an antique show is fun in itself; but when I can go with my mom, it is a real treat.  She knows so much about so many things.  I enjoy listening to her stories about how her grandmother used some of the things that we saw, and explaining to me the history about different dishes (her specialty).  We had a delightful day, and I managed to take a few pictures of some of the highlights.  However, when we walked in the door, and I looked at the first cute thing, I was taken back by the prices.  And then I remembered .... I wasn't at a thrift store, or at a Farm Chicks sale, I was at an antique show.  Therefore, I prepared myself for antique show prices. 

These cute salt and pepper shakers I would have loved to have purchased.  But because of the high price (yikes!) I brought home a picture instead:

This picture isn't very clear, but this is the biggest batter bowl that I have ever seen.  It measured 16" from handle to spout.  I think that would be a wonderful size, but I also wondered if I would even be able to lift it when full:

Here is a beautiful comb that someone bold enough could wear in their hair at just the right event:

And to wrap things up, I couldn't help but take a picture of this, even though I think it is just plain creepy.  An alligator purse that has the alligator's head incorporated into it.  I'll pass on carrying this around:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Zucchini Bread

 Zucchini season is coming to a close.  I still have a few left to work with; but for the most part, the zucchini days of 2010 are over.  Throughout the summer I typically make a zucchini stir fry with most of the reasonably sized ones.  I save the big ones however for zucchini bread.  My mother-in-law gave me this unique recipe years ago.  The unique features are that it is made with wheat germ, maple flavoring instead of the typical vanilla, and sesame seeds sprinkled across the top. 

Recently I spent the better part of a Saturday making zucchini bread.  Here are the loaves waiting very patiently to cool before I popped most of them into the freezer to pull out some cold, winter day to have with a cup of hot tea:

If you look closely, in the bottom right hand corner, you will see one particular loaf in a very cute loaf pan.  Here is a closer view:

Isn't that cute!  My sister, Miki, and her daughter (my niece), Annie, gave it me this summer for my birthday.  It is my favorite loaf pan of all of my loaf pans.  Just looking at it makes me want to go bake something.

Well, now I have gotten side tracked by the cute pan, I guess I should move on to the recipe:

Wheat Germ Zucchini Bread

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup finally chopped walnuts
3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon maple flavoring
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1/3 cup sesame seeds

Combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and walnuts.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until blended.  Add oil, sugars, and maple flavoring.  Continue to beat until mixture is thick and foamy.  Add flour mixture and stir just until blended.  Stir in zucchini.  Divide batter equally between 2 greased and flour dusted 5 x 9 loaf pans.  (Actually I've used all sizes, just be sure to adjust the baking time).  Sprinkle sesame seeds evenly over batter.  Bake in 350 deg. oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean  (about 45 min).  Let cool 10 minutes in pans.

Enjoy :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Nice Surprise

This morning while in the midst of my usual teaching school, clean the kitchen, do laundry, etc., a woman came to our front door carrying a box.  Look what was printed on top of the box :)  Of course every task I was involved in came to a screaching halt.

I knew this had to be something good!  Inside were 2 dozen beautiful roses .... a mixture of colors!!

They are so pretty, and I was totally taken by surprise.  It isn't my birthday, Mother's Day, etc.; but they were from my son, just because he loves me ....  thanks, Luke -- you made my day :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Peach Crisp

I have enjoyed our "peach season" this year.  There is just something about having fresh peaches on hand that just seems so summery.  One way I put them to use is by making a peach crisp.  My go-to recipe is actually a combination of a couple of different recipes.  And of course when eating it still warm from the oven, a scoop of ice cream is a must.

Peach Crisp
4 cups sliced fresh (or frozen) peaches
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons butter or margarine
Toss peaches with 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon.  Spoon into a lightly greased 8 inch square baking dish, or a 9 inch deep dish pie plate, and set aside.  Combine oats, brown sugar and flour.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle on top of peaches.  Bake at 350 deg. for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What a Little Bluebird is Giving Away

I was just visiting my friend, Koralee's, blog, Bluebird Notes, and saw that she is in the midst of a week long giveaway.  It's not too late to enter.  She has collected items from several lovely ladies that she met at The Creative Connection Event in Minnesota.  all of the little items are so charming.  If you get a chance, pop on over and visit her for a chance to enter.