April 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad

Mom and Dad invited Dave and I down to Rehoboth to stay at the lovely Victoria Hotel for a special birthday celebration earlier in April. It was a lovely occasion. Because Dad is on a special diet and sugarless deserts are hard to come by, I started his own personal Desert of the Month Club last summer. For his birthday he got Strawberry Delight. I think his favorite has been the January Custard.

Etsy Recognition

My Seaman's Scap was placed on the Anchors Aweigh Treasury on etsy. This is a temporary collection of etsy merchandise that may be featured on their home page. Usually treasuries follow a theme like "spring" or "Easter" or a color like "blue". The way that etsy or other etsians come up with these treasuries is to customer search keywords. When I place a listing on etsy I can use up to 14 descriptive keywords for each listing. So I try to come up with the words that etsy and customers are most likely to search for. I just listed the Seaman's Scap last evening and this is my second appearance on a treasury. Samantha once included my watercolor portrait on a treasury that featured the color grey. This treasury was put together by etsian, Megan, who has a shop called "cram" (Crazy Aunt Megan). Thanks Megan! It is good for business.

April 25, 2010

Move Over J Crew

Samantha introduced me to the photo editing program on my computer. It is deeply satisfying to have complete artistic control over my photographs. I am now achieving the look that I want for my Cotton Ginnie Studio. Mostly I cropped and sharpened the photos and added contrast. The above photos were taken by several people. I took the shots of Caelen wearing the Seaman's Scap & Scarf (yes I call it a scap as in seaman's cap) Caelen & Samantha took the shots of me modeling the Geisha Girl Sweater and the French Blue Sleeves. Samantha promised to edit my underwear out of the one shot .... a neat trick I haven't learned yet. Samantha also took all the shots of Lauren wearing the Fair Isle Knitted Hat. I am so happy with how these turned out.

April 20, 2010


I was going to garden today but strawberries were on sale at ACME. I couldn't pass up the deal so I bought four pounds of very pretty and fresh berries. As you know, strawberries are no bargain if they spoil before use. So there I was with four pounds of strawberries that needed immediate attention. The garden would have to wait.
Now I do have a large strawberry patch that has begun to flower but won't see fruit till June. So I have some fav. strawberry recipes. I made a Strawberry Cake to serve for breakfast the next morning. I also made my Gramma Kellogg's recipe for a frozen desert called Strawberry Delight and I froze a couple of pounds of strawberries for future use. Finally I saved a few for just eats. In order to freeze strawberries you simply hull them and place them in a freezer container cover with water and then into your freezer. Thaw for later use. My two favorite strawberry recipes follow:

Strawberry Cake
6 T. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. plus 1 T. sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 lb strawberries hulled & halved
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 10" pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a med. bowl. Put butter & 1 c. sugar in bowl & mix at med. speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes) Reduce speed to med. lo; gradually mix in flour mixture.
Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 T. sugar over berries.
Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325 Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on wire rack. Cut in wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered for up to two days.
Strawberry Delight
1 c. flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c. nuts
1/2 c butter
2 egg whites
2/3 c. white sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1 c. whipping cream
Mix first four ingredients in shallow pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Mix with fork while baking. Sprinkle 2/3 of crumbs on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Save the rest for the top. Put whites, berries, lemon and sugar in bowl. Beat at high speed for 10 minutes. Whip the cream and fold in. Spoon over the crumbs. Freeze for 6 hours.
Left over egg yolks may be added to a custard recipe:
Egg Custard
2 1/2 c. milk
4 eggs plus any leftover egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar or agave nectar
pinch salt
1/2 t. vanilla
Scald milk, sugar and salt. Remove from heat just before it boils over med. heat. Separate eggs beating whites slightly. Add yolks and beat slightly. Add milk mixture to eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour into pie plate or individual ramekins. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

April 19, 2010

Lemon Cake

It being David's birthday April 12, I made a couple of cakes. First, Southern Living's Best Ever Carrot Cake ... and it is and a Lemon Cake that we used to make when we worked in the DuPont kitchen. David loves all things lemon. The recipe follows:
Lemon Cake
2 1/4 c. cake flour (not self rising)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3 T. plus 1 t. lemon juice
1 c. plus 1 T. plain nonfat yogurt
1 1/2 T plus 1/2 t. grated lemon peel
5 T. plus 1 t. (1/3 c.) stick of butter softened
1 1/3 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs plus 3 large egg whites
confectioners sugar (for glaze)
Garnish: small edible flowers like pansies.
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12 c. bundt cake pan w/ nonstick spray
2) Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix 3 T. lemon juice w/ 1 c. yogurt.
3) Beat 1 1/2 T. lemon peel and the butter in a large bowl w/ mixer on med. speed until creamy. Beat in granulated sugar (mixture will look like damp sand.) then eggs and egg whites until incorporated. On low speed, beat in yogurt mixture, then flour mixture just until blended. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.
4) Bake 45 minutes or until a pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean (over baking will dry the cake). Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Invert cake on rack and remove pan. Let cake cool completely.
5) Whisk confectioners sugar and remaining lemon juice. 1/2 t. lemon peel and 1 T yogurt in a small bowl until smooth. Place rack with cake on wax paper. Spoon and spread glaze on cake, letting excess run down sides. Let stand until glaze sets Transfer to serving plate and garnish with flowers.

Empty Nesters

For about three years in a row we have had house sparrows build a nest on our back porch. First we would notice the couple flitting back and forth and visiting the sight. Then a nest would appear and mamma would sit only to leave for traffic in and out the back door. It seemed like no time at all before mom & dad were back and forth feeding 3-4 little youngsters. And only a matter of weeks before all the babies had flown.
This went on until last Spring when the house sparrows again showed up but this time no nest was constructed on the traditional site. This year we have a nest but it remains unused and abandoned. I don't know why they snubbed the space last year but this year I wondered if it might have been because of Molly. The back door is her territory which she guards against the two interested Toms that live nearby. All though she would not be able to reach the little nest her presence might have made the sparrows less then comfortable.
But every year the sparrows come back and scope out the old homestead. I do wonder if they are the original couple or if they are the children and grand children.

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