Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week 71, 4-30-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: Food is so primal, so essential a part of our lives, often the mere sharing of recipes with strangers turns them into friends.
                                                                                             Terri Guillemets

When I saw this quote, it reminded me of my friend Audell. She was traveling with her friend, Gail.  I was traveling with my friend, David, with a different tour company. We were on a train going from Denali to Anchorage and one of the restrooms was out of order. A line had formed for the other. Gail was sitting on a community seat and Audell was in line. David and I were in line behind her. We all started talking about what we'd seen in Alaska, and what we did and didn't like. Of course, with three women, we went from the food we'd eaten to the recipes. Poor David. He doesn't cook. (By the way, he's the only skinny one in the bunch). 

That was eleven years ago, and though I live in Missouri, David lives in Ohio, and Audell lives in Mississippi, we're still friends. We miss Gail, who passed two years ago. I've visited Audell and she's visited me many times. David has stayed a couple of nights when we were headed for an Elderhostel at Harding University.  Gail visited me and I visited Gail. We phone and send cards, and I love them all dearly.  I'll be traveling again soon, and perhaps I'll meet David in Kentucky or go by and pick up Audell and go to Florida. We'll see. Right now, food is all that's on my mind until we finish these books. And thank you for coming along - company helps.

By the way, Audell (77) works a full-time job every tax season. When it's not tax season, she's taking classes to keep up with changes in the tax law. She loves it. You have to admire her, though I can't for the life of me figure out why it's so much fun.

Amazing how travel brings you new friends, isn't it?  I met David on a trip to China in 2003. Also, in 2003, I met Ceil and George on a trip to Great Britain. They live in Minnesota, but always stop by when they're in the area (they travel a LOT). And at a travel talk at the library, I met Bev and Bill. That was at least five years ago. Bev and I started our cooking club in December of 2013, and she was my minion when I did the library teas and I'm her minion when she's getting food ready for her Bunco Club. They'll be here Friday for Cinco de Mayo. And because of our cooking club, I met Mim, the dearest, sweetest lady in the world. She's one of Bev's Tai Chi students and heard Bev talking about the club and we had an opening. Bev and I met Carol when we took cooking lessons at the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks. I met Peter when he was doing tablescape presentations at the Botanical Center.

A lot of my friends I've met through card making, so if you're looking for new friends, cook, travel, and make cards. Good people belong to these groups. Now I'm finding cyber friends through blogging. Life is good.

On to business. I didn't get far with my National Days of. I made Pigs in a Blanket because I never had before.

And I made zucchini bread because I had zucchini I needed to use, and I was tired of steamed.

That's as far as I got. I spent the week working on the Celebration of Citrus theme meal, the last thing on my April list for the books. I did find time to go to the Greene County Library Book Sale with Joey where I bought a shopping cart of books. What was I thinking?

Theme Dining: Here it is - Celebration of Citrus.

The Invitations

I had pictures left over, so I made a couple of note cards.

The Table

The Menu

The Food

Party Favors - Lemon Fudge

The Recipes


Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp lime zest
Salt and white pepper
6 Tbs whipping cream
2 cups mayonnaise
2 Tbs sugar

Use on butter lettuce or spring greens and citrus fruit slices.

(4 dinner or 8 lunch servings)

4 frozen Rock Cornish games hens, thawed – should be about 1 lb. each
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter
1-6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
3/4 cup water
2 Tbs steak sauce
2 Tbs honey
6 Tbs orange marmalade

Cut the hens in half with kitchen shears. Remove tail and back bone. Tuck wings behind backs.

Melt butter in a large skillet and brown hen halves on both sides. You might have to do this in batches.

Remove hens and keep warm while making sauce.

Stir orange juice concentrate, water, steak sauce, and honey into skillet and scrape in any browned bits. Heat to bubbling. Reduce heat.

Return hen halves to skillet, cover and simmer 45 minutes, basting several times during cooking.

Spread marmalade over hen halves, cover, and simmer another 15 minutes.

Serve with rice and sauce.


1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced celery
1 cup raw rice
2 cups hot chicken broth
Salt and pepper
1 cup diced tangerine or canned Mandarin oranges

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan.

Add onion and celery and sauté until transparent.

Add rice and toast briefly, stirring constantly.

Add hot broth all at once.

Cover and simmer over lowest heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally after first ten minutes.

Stir in tangerines.


1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups cubed beets (canned)
2 Tbs butter

Mix together the sugar, cornstarch and salt.

Add vinegar and water and stir until smooth.

Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

Add beets and let stand 30 minutes.

Before serving, heat to boiling and add butter.


1 cup flour
1-1/4 cups quick oats
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs (1/4 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tbs orange zest
1 egg
3/4 cup grapefruit juice

Heat oven to 400°.

Butter 10 muffin cups in a regular-size muffin tin.

Whisk together flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda.

In another mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and orange. Beat in egg and then add the grapefruit juice and blend well.

Stir in flour mixture just until all is moistened.

Divide evenly into the ten muffin cups.

Best served warm.


1 Unbaked 8” or 9” pie shell
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
3 egg yolks, separated
1 Tbs lemon juice
4 tsps orange zest
2 Tbs butter
6 Tbs sugar

Heat oven to 475°.

Prick pie shell to prevent puffing. If puffing persists halfway through baking, prick in two places.

Bake 8 minutes. While pie crust cools, make filling. Reduce oven to 400°.

Separate eggs into two separate mixing bowls.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Whisk in orange juice and water.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Reduce heat. Continue stirring and cooking for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour very slowly into egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return to saucepan and bring back to bubble state. Continue cooking and stirring an additional 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add lemon juice, orange zest, and butter. Pour into crust.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating and slowly add the sugar. When stiff peaks form, spread over filling, being careful to spread all the way to the edge to seal. Bake for 8-10 minutes to brown meringue.

Bake 15-18 minutes.

Best served the day it's made.

 The Citrus Muffins are a little hearty. For a lighter muffin, try this:


2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup salad oil
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Heat oven to 400.

Lightly grease a 12-muffin pan.

Mix first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.

Combine all remaining ingredients and add to mixing bowl, stirring just until moistened.

Spoon into muffin cups (they should be 3/4 full).

Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve with Sweet Lime Butter

Sweet Lime Butter:  Mix 1 stick softened butter, 2 Tbs powdered sugar and zest from one lime.

Whew! That was a job. But now April is finished, which means the year is 1/3 finished. On to May. I showed you the May tablescapes last week. The tea is finished and I'll show you next week. The Strawberry Lunch is well on the way, but Lazy Daisy Lunch needs quite a lot of work. In the meantime, we'll pause for Cinco de Mayo, because I haven't had friends over for ages. Besides, I already had orange and lime green dishes in from the garage and they'd been washed.

Sorry for the short post, but it's been rain, rain, rain, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, and limes all week.

Monday is May Day. Many, many years ago when I was a little girl, we made baskets out of construction paper (sort of a cone), and we put in flowers, candies or cookies and hung them on neighbors doorknobs. Then we'd knock on the door (not many doorbells then), and run. The idea was to be a mystery gifter. With everything available these days, I think I'll put that on my goal list next year. Hopefully, I won't be buried in Teas, Tablescapes, and Theme Dining by then, and I won't have to make the baskets from construction paper. The only problem is that most people don't know about May baskets now. They'll wonder what the heck is going on. Hmmmmm....








Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week 70, 4-23-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men. Chinese Proverb

And weeds recognize it best. We've had three days of rain and more to come. However, today we finally have sunshine, so today's post will be brief, so I can participate in the War of the Weeds.

Teaching and Learning: I had another session with Brandon at the library, and the recipe pull-down tabs are ready to go. They're at the top, under the heading. I've arranged them in the order I usually find in cookbooks.

Click on a category - a list of recipes will drop down. Click on the recipe you want to see. You will be taken to the WEEK where I posted the recipe. You'll have to scroll down to search for the recipe. You'll be in a new window, so you must close it to go back where you started. Then click on "Home" to close the drop-down tab.

My next step will be learning how to alphabetize the recipe names in each category. Baby steps - we'll get there.

Time for Others: More cardmaking. Results of FS63.




Results of FS64:




And we made three cards in Katie's class

The Pepper report: We had to make a little trip to the vet. Pepper has been scratching his hair out and even making bald spots. Dr. said he probably has an allergy and gave him a shot. Let's hope it works.

And now the dilemma. Pepper wants a kitty and I don't want him to have one. Remember the photo of Pepper and Stormy from last week?

I decided to open the screen and see what happened. My boy is such a gentleman.

I haven't opened my indoor patio yet, so all the outdoor furniture and pots are still there with the indoor patio furniture. Stormy climbed over everything, sitting awhile in a pot.

Now remember that this little girl is a feral kitty, never touched by a human. I opened the slider, which leads into my family room. I was sitting on the couch, reading. Stormy walked right in, looked at me, went on into the living room, explored everything, went into the kitchen where she helped herself to most of Pepper's dinner though she'd already eaten hers.  

The next day, I left the screen and the slider open again (raining, raining), and Stormy walked right in. Pepper followed her and joined me on the couch in the family room. Stormy came over and plopped down under the coffee table in front of the couch and started watching television.

After a bit, she went into the living room and Pepper followed. When I took a little peek, she was lying on the couch and Pepper was on the floor in front of her. He adores this little lady. I went back to my book in the family room and then I heard a crash. Stormy had climbed into the middle of a pot of hyacinths on the coffee table and knocked it over. Dirt everywhere. 

I know she'd love to be a house kitty and Pepper really wants her, but can I put up with the mess of another kitty? She's still young and wants to explore and climbs everywhere. What to do, what to do? 

Things that Grow: Not my things, but Peter has given me permission to share some of his photos. 

A Bluebell Glade in Ireland

And photos from the Japanese Garden at our Botanical Center in Springfield, MO

Kudos to Peter for his excellent photography.

Theme Dining: I've scarcely started on the final theme meal for April. I'm definitely going to do A Celebration of Citrus - my refrigerators are full of grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes.

I'm deciding on the tablescape, and I don't have anything lemon yellow. Guess butter yellow will be okay. We'll see. I have no idea what to do for a centerpiece. Any suggestions?

I have plenty of pictures to make the invitations, and the envelopes are finished (made from pages of a produce calendar).

I have some tag ends from tea bags to decorate the menus; being inspected by my supervisor, as you can see.

The tentative menu follows. I haven't tested even one of the recipes yet.

Grapefruit Salad with Lemon Cream Dressing

Game Hens A L'Orange

Orange Rice

Lime Beets

Lemon Muffins

Citrus-Mint Iced Tea

Orange Meringue Pie

And for party favors, Lemon Fudge

So this week is going to be very busy. Status report next week. And as this is a short post, how about a preview of May Tablescapes?

May Flowers

Pansies Plus

Cabbage Patch

Blue Asian


Taking Time for Fun: Some days have more than one National Day, but you just knew I'd choose the ones about food, didn't you? These are American, but I hereby extend a welcome to readers from other countries to join us.

Monday, April 24: National Pigs in a Blanket Day - click HERE.

Tuesday, April 25: National Zucchini Bread Day - click HERE, but don't use that recipe. Use this one -

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsps vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 8-oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
3 cups flour
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Heat oven to 350°.

Grease two regular-size loaf pans and set aside.

Mix eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in zucchini and pineapple.

Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl and then stir into zucchini mixture.

Bake 1 hour.

Note: This is a nice quick bread to slice for afternoon tea or for making zucchini-cream cheese finger sandwiches.

Wednesday, April 26: National Pretzel Day - click HERE, and if you're not going to be near a mall to buy one, there are some recipes on the link. OR you can skip the pretzels because it's also National Kids and Pets Day. I'm sure Pepper is going to want lap time (and maybe some little bits of pretzel).

Thursday, April 27: National Prime Rib Day - click HERE. Go out to a restaurant or make your own from the recipe on the link. If you're a vegetarian, you can watch a baseball game because it's also National Babe Ruth Day, and if you can't find a game, it's also National Tell a Story Day. If you don't know any stories, as a last resort, it's also National Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day (if you can spare a day where you won't accomplish a thing). 

Friday, April 28: National Blueberry Pie Day - click HERE. There's a recipe on the link, or you can plant a tree because it's also National Arbor Day. Click HERE for the foundation website and information on how to get some free trees.

Saturday, April 29National Shrimp Scampi Day - click HERE. And if you're allergic to shellfish, you can plant a rose because it's also National Peace Rose Day - click HERE. Antonia Ridge wrote a lovely non-fiction book about the Peace Rose called For Love of a Rose. You can find it HERE.

Sunday, April 30: National Oatmeal Cookie Day - click HERE. There's a recipe on the link or use the one on the Quaker Oats box. It's also National Raisin Day, so add some to your cookies or fix a Ham with Raisin Sauce. The sauce recipe is under "Sauces" above. And if you just don't want to cook, it's also National Honesty Day (but I thought that was every day).