Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Bit of Sunshine on a Rainy Day

These sunshine yellow and white Millefiori beads are just adorable!

I mixed the Millefiori (translation: thousand flowers) with matte opaque white and matte transparent yellow seed beads for some contrast. A little sparkle is added via a pale yellow Swarovski Element crystal beads. I had enough beads for a complete ensemble, necklace, earrings, and a bracelet.

I think these cute Millefiori beads are a perfect Spring or Summer accent!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cold Oven Pound Cake

From the cookbook America's Best Lost Recipes
A strange name for a cake, but it doesn't matter because it is delicious. A cold oven, not pre-heated, is exactly how this cake starts. The pound cake has a dense yet light texture, rich flavor, and a crunchy top crust that melts in your mouth. If the picture is tempting you give the recipe a try, you won't be disappointed.

Cold Oven Pound Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup skim or 1 percent milk (see note)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large egss, separated, room temperature
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. (Do not heat the oven.) Grease and flour a 12-cup tube pan. Whisk the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the milk, vanilla, and egg yolks in a large measuring cup.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter, shortening, and sugar together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately in two batches, beating after each addition until combined. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and place in the cold oven.
3. Heat the oven to 300 degrees and bake the cake for 45 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 325 and bake until a toothpick instered in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the cake, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Serve. (The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Note: It is important to use skim or 1 percent milk, using 2 percent or whole milk will result in a heavier cake, with less height.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring is here...in the garage!

Last year, we wanted to add raspberry bushes to our garden. We didn't really have the room in the area allotted for vegetables (Dad is always pushing for more tomato plants!).

So we purchased two bushes and planted them in large white ceramic pots and placed them where they would receive full sun. The raspberry bushes thrived, produced good fruit well into to the fall. They produced fruit so long that I couldn't safely transplant them in the ground. The heated garage would serve as winter storehouse for the bushes.

The first day of Spring may be two weeks away, but as far as I'm concerned, it has arrived in our garage.

New growth is popping out all over!

What a nice surprise to find on a cold, overcast day. Both of the plants have survived and are sprouting. Another reason I can hardly wait for warmer weather, home-grown raspberries!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

No more snowy walks, I hope!

It was a chilly 26 degrees this morning as Sable and I went for our walk, but we didn't mind at all.

The snow is gone (mostly!), the skies were blue and bright, and the birds were singing--what wonderful accompaniment! All along our walk I could hear the male Cardinals calling out and I spotted two of them, a gorgeous, shock of red in the drab winter scenery.

I'm not trying to rush the seasons, but I do hope that we don't have any more days like this: