Saturday, September 29, 2012

Moon Alert

A Reminder: Tonight is the Harvest Moon 
September 29, 2012

The Harvest Moon
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests. 

I scooped up the moon 
in my water bucket...and
spilled it on the grass
by Ryuho

I thought my net was full of shinning fish
but when I shook it all that I had caught 
was just the moon.
by Sodo

Friday, September 28, 2012

Last Call

Season's Curtain Call

A fallen leaf is nothing more 
than a summers wave good bye
Italian Vegetable Cheese Strata
Cook's notes: Recipe adapted from
Use a greased 13 x 9 pan-chopped sausage could be added
  • 1/2 cup green onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach 
  • 1 thinly sliced small zucchini
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • 1 TB. Dijon mustard
  • 2 TB. parsley flakes
  • 1 TB. dried basil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan-Romano cheese 
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 -cups 2 % milk 
  • 3/4 cups half and half
  • 1-1/2 loaves of French bread cut in large cubes-about 5-6 cups
  • Saute onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini in 1 TB. butter for several minutes, add in tomatoes and spinach-mix well and place in colander to drain any juices
  • In a blender mix eggs, milk, half and half, parsley, basil and mustard, and Parmesan-Romano cheese  
  • In greased pan layer half the bread, half the sauteed vegetable, 1 cup Colby jack cheese and half milk/egg mixture
  • Repeat layer and press down to make sure bread cubes are submerged in milk/egg mixture
  • Sprinkle rest of Colby-Jack cheese over the top-let sit 20 minutes before baking or  refrigerate overnight 
  • Bake 30 minutes covered with foil @ 350
  • Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes longer or until golden brown and puffy 
  • Let sit 10 minutes before serving

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


A local florist/greenhouse in my area hosts several seasonal DIY events with ideas for those who are looking for inspiration. There is a designated house on their property which is opened several times a year offering a wealth of do-it-yourself projects. 
I was instantly attracted to the tire projects since we have two huge stacks of tires in the garage which I would love to get rid of for more space. 
This eye catching display is made up of 3 different tires encased in burlap with a dried flower arrangement inside the tires.

This is a tire swing. Each tire was painted orange connected together and boasts cushioned seats and pillows.
Looking for an unusual light fixture that surly would be a conversation piece? Then this would be perfect choice with the shade being a kitchen strainer.
This was a novel approach to a headboard in the master bedroom. Note in the back it is one long door on its side. The door serves as a headboard and then on either side of the bed shelves are attached to the door serving as nightstands. 
But my very favorite room had to be the Fido dog room. If only Bella had been with me.
This photo is Fido's bed. It is a large table turned upside down with a mattress stuffed in center. Each of the four leg pedestals represent paws.
How about this! It was an open wardrobe/dresser with a variety of clothes specially made for that small dog in your life.
Now this was the ultimate light fixture in Fido's room. Just in case you think you are seeing things...yes those are suspended milk-bones.  
And what dog doesn't need its own spa. Off the bedroom was a door out to a balcony porch over the first floor. Check out the milkbone shape pool! 

In case you did not find just the DIY craft for you try Pinterest I know you will find something that brings out the inner artistic YOU! 
Those who dream by day 
Are Cognizant of many things
Which escape those 
Who dream by night.
by Edgar Allen Poe

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Feeding A Crowd

A favorite book for all ages. It all began with this poem...
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a popular tale of few words and simple line drawings but packs a lot of meaning into the pages. Perhaps you remember growing up with these books. September 25 is the birthday of the poet, cartoonist, playwright and songwriter Shel Silverstein. Did you know that he wrote the song for Johnny Cash A Boy Named Sue that was a #1 hit? ______________________________________
Each month some of the recipes I have posted are served to a senior group that meets regularly for bingo and lunch. Today Chicken Florentine Casserole (recipe posted September 2) Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad (recipe posted September15) and Brownie Parfaits were served. I thought you might enjoy adding a dessert recipe to your  collection. 
Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad

Brownie Parfait

  • Make a boxed brownie mix and then cut brownies into small squares
  • Equal parts of cool whip and instant vanilla pudding mix (mix cool whip and pudding together)
  •  Alternate brownie piece, cool whip/pudding mixture, sprinkles , brownie piece, cool whip/pudding and ending with sprinkles
  • another option is to use pieces of crushed Oreo cookies (in chunks) substitute for the brownie pieces, instead of sprinkles use M&M’s and depending on holiday could add food coloring to pudding mixture-
Note: kids love to make their own. Try making the recipe with Oreo cookies putting it all together in small plastic flower pots (buy them at dollar store) and then add gummy worms. It is called DIRT DESSERT !

Chicken Florentine

Monday, September 24, 2012


I wonder how long one would have to wait for a beer in this very crowded Munich beer hall?
Perhaps the crowds have lightened up since Saturday was opening of the 16 day festival that goes through the first weekend in October. It is truly a spectacular event to witness with some 6 million people from around the world descending on the beer tents/halls in Munich. 
The festival is an important part of Bavarian culture having been held since 1812. History tidbits: Crown Prince Ludwig was married to Princess Therese of Saxee-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invite to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of royal gates to celebrate the happy royal event. And so began the beginning of Oktoberfest. Over the past 200 years it has been canceled 24 times due to cholera and war.
And they sure know how to kick up their heels and have a good time. So perhaps you might be considering hosting your own festival/party if traveling to Munich is not possible for you. These recipes will be perfect for entertaining with a Bavarian flair.

Oktoberfest Meal-serves 25
 Cook's note: Red cabbage goes well with this meal
Hot German Potato Salad
· 8 lbs. small red potatoes
· 2 LB. of bacon
· 1 cup cider vinegar
· 1 cup of sugar 1 cup water
· 3 heaping TB.of flour
· salt, pepper
·3 TB. celery seeds

· Boil potatoes with skins on till slightly soft-you want to cook them until peel starts to split-don’t overcook
· Drain and peel cut in half or quarters
· Fry bacon save grease
· In fry pan start with grease, sugar, vinegar and water-whisk on low heat till boil
· Add flour to 1/3 cup water and whisk that into sugar/vinegar mixture and cook till thick, adding celery seeds and salt and pepper
· To crock pot add potatoes, chopped bacon.
· Pour sugar/vinegar/flour mixture over and cook on low heat 2 hours
Option is to cook potatoes mixture in a covered baking dish and cook in oven @ 350 for 50 minutes

Apple Sausage Mixture
·7 LBS. of sausages (use a variety of ones that are fully cooked like from Hillshire and Farm Fresh-Example Polish, Kielbasa (they come in a circle shape like ring bologna)
·5 apples diced
· 3 onions diced
·10 cups apple cider
· Dice meats in 1-1/2 slices
· In a large soup pot add meat slices, cider, onion, apples
·Cook covered on low heat for an hour or so till apples soft 

 Black Forest Cherry Bundt Cake
Serves 12
·1 box of chocolate cake mix with pudding mix in it
· 1 can cherry pie filling (reserve 1 cup for cake mix ingredients and save rest for the topping)
·3 eggs
· 3/4 cup water
· ¼ cup oil
· 2-3 TB cherry brandy or 1 tsp. almond extract

· Grease a bundt pan or a 13 x 9 pan and sprinkle with 1 TB. sugar

· Mix all ingredients and bake @ 350

    Bundt pan 45-50 minutes or if using a 13 x 9 pan check at 30 min


For each cake slice top with large TB of cherry pie filling then add a dollop of cool whip 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

First Day of Autumn

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.
by Elizabeth Lawrence

Today is a perfect day for Bella to enjoy a Fall walk. Enjoy your day :)

Friday, September 21, 2012


"Art lives after the artist. She tried to hold onto that sentiment...It was cold comfort"
The book cover picture is quite artistic. It shows the back of a woman's head with a waterfall. The story spans several decades from the late 20's through the 40's. The Massachusetts Water Authority needs to create a water reservoir for an electric plant to furnish Boston with power. And so begins the struggle to save the town Cascade. 
Desdemona Hart, Dez for short, is a gifted artist who is forced to leave art school in New York and return to rural Cascade, MA to attend to her ailing father. She returns finding her childhood home in foreclosure. Dez rushes into a marriage of a childhood friend, Asa Spaulding and her world is turned upside down. Asa wants conformity and children but Dez longs to be free to pursue her passion-art in New York.
Dez makes a promise to her dying father to protect his life's work the theater he founded that once produced Shakespearean plays. 
When plans to dam a river nearby a threaten the existence of Cascade, Dez uses her art skills to draw public attention to the plight of the town. 
The choices made by the cast of the characters in this novel keeps the story-line moving  and suspenseful. This book has it all: infidelity, art, Shakespeare, anti-semitism, perceived duty, honor, ecological conflicts, missed opportunities and forbidden love. After completing the book I was quite surprised to find out the author does not have an art or theater background. Her references throughout the book show her to be quite knowledgeable. It is evident the author has done extensive research for the time period 20's,30's and 40's adding many authentic details. 
I really enjoyed her writing. It is one of those books you read for awhile, put it down and look forward to getting back to it to see how the story unfolds and ends.
Something to add to your reading list. 
Pumpkin Bread

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 2 TB orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2-1/4 cups flour ( I used half white and half whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • scant ground cloves
  • scant nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup orange flavored cranberries or regular
  • Preheat oven 350
  • Grease one large loaf pan or use two-three mini loaf pans
  • Cream butter, sugars and 1 egg. Add in second egg, pumpkin, orange zest and orange juice and beat all ingredients together
  • In another bowl add flours, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and cranberries and nuts
  • Add to pumpkin mixture but only stir to moisten ingredients
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until center comes clean using a toothpick
  • Cool in pan 10 minutes, invert to a cooling rack


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nature's Ever Changing Beauty

Poems writen upon awakening at dawn are called aubades (French word: a musical composition to be played or sung at dawn or early morning or poem appropriate to or greeting the dawn)

"The year's at the spring

And day's at the morn;

Morning's at seven;

The hillside's dew-pearled;

The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His Heaven;
All's right with the world!"
-  Robert Browning
I picked this poem thinking perhaps Robert Browning was inspired by the early morning to write it and the lines of this poem inspired me to take these early morning pictures 

The World According to Bella
Check out my recent submission to the WWN It got on their Home front page. Follow this 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lost Forty Adventure

The Lost Forty is a Minnesota Legacy. It's located in the Chippewa National Forest. In the late 1800′s, Minnesota was one of the largest timber producing states in the country. Timber companies and developers were moving westward as they logged the northern forests of the United States. Minnesota was on their radar during this period of time.

Today, less than two percent of Minnesota’s forested land contains virgin or “old growth” timber. Fortunately, there still exists an easily accessible area in Northern Minnesota that was never touched by loggers or developers. This property is called the “Lost Forty″ and it is home to one of the last stands of virgin, “old-growth” Red and White Pine in Minnesota. Some of these trees are well over 300 hundred years old.

Yikes! Did not realize we were so far north until we stood at this vista overlooking Moose Brook. I read the sign that said: Moose Brook flows into Hudson Bay and arctic.
Despite the cloudy weather the scenery was spectacular.
I was intrigued by the artistic look on this tree bark.
Some of the trees in this forest are over 300 years old. I tried counting all the rings but finally gave up.
The woods are serene and peaceful. My walk reminded me of Henry David Thoreau's words:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
The ride to and from Lost Forty was eye-catching. The hues of crimson, golds and yellow maples were at their peak. Lucky for me the road was not too well traveled. I was in and out of the car numerous times taking pictures. But finally my husband cut me off and said "Enough!"

Enjoy these early (official date is Saturday September 22) autumn pictures.

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Early Frost

An early frost prediction 
sent me into a tailspin
scurrying around to save
what was left of the crop.
Bowls of overflowing 
freshly picked tomatoes 
lined the kitchen counters
in many shades of red and green. 
I needed to think real fast 
what could be made 
that would use such an ample supply
of all those tomatoes 
in different sizes and shapes.
Creamy Tomato Vegetable Soup
Cook's notes Makes 8-9 cups, serves four and tastes better the second day for flavors to meld
recipe adapted from Carmela Hobbins's cookbook Celebration With Carmela's Cucina
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 small onion-chopped
  • 1 small clove of garlic minced
  • 1 medium potato-peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1 large carrot-chopped
  • 1 small zucchini-chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery-chopped
  • 1 can of chunky tomatoes (Garlic, Oregano,and Basil)
  • 4 large tomatoes cut in chunks
  • 1 TB. tomato paste
  • 2 TB. flour+1 tsp.
  • 1 TB. brown sugar
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 cup half and half 
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped or 1 TB. dried basil
  • Chop fresh tomatoes into chunks and puree in food processor with drained can of chunky tomatoes-set aside 
  • Chop all the vegetables and onion into chunks and then add to food processor to make into finer pieces
  • Saute vegetables with garlic in butter
  • In a soup pot add sauteed vegetables, sprinkle 2 Tb.+ 1 tsp. flour over vegetables and blend well
  • On a low heat add chicken broth, basil, brown sugar, 1 bay leaf, tomato paste, pureed tomatoes
  • Cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally
  • Remove bay leaf and whisk in half and half, add curry powder and paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste and cook 10 minutes longer uncovered 
  Serving suggestion: Add Parmesan cheese over soup

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What if...

What if you wanted to make the apple cake (posted on September 12th) but did not have enough vegetable oil. Could you substitute olive oil?
Good question for
so I found the answer is YES! provided it is extra light olive oil. Some reviewers cautioned  the taste could be altered but I found it was just fine and did not detract from the over all cake flavor. And I was so close just needed 1/2 cup more :) This time when I made the recipe I used a 13 x 9 pan and I must say the frosting is just what makes the whole cake. never fails to answer my questions-a good reference source

After the blog was posted on Wednesday a friend commented that she had same Betty Crocker Cookbook Dinner for Two. She did say her copy appeared to be in better shape than mine. Noted that the penuche frosting is on page 62.  

Apple Spice Cake (recipe posted September 12th) 
The following information comes from Garrison Keillor's Writers Almanac September 16th

Today is the birthday of the creator of Curious George, H.A. Rey, born Hans Augusto Reyersbach in Hamburg, Germany (1898). As a kid, he spent a lot of time at the zoo, drawing the animals. In 1939, he and his wife, Margret, both German Jews, were living in Paris when World War II began. They were at work on a new book featuring one of Hans' animal drawings: a mischievous monkey named Fifi. "It seems ridiculous to be thinking about children's books," Rey wrote to a friend. "[But] life goes on, the editors edit, the artists draw, even during wartime." By June 1940, the Nazi invasion was imminent, so Hans built two bicycles out of spare parts, and the Reys gathered whatever they could carry, including the collection of monkey sketches for the book manuscript. They fled Paris two days before the Nazis invaded, and rode 75 miles in three days, which turned into a four-month journey that took them to Lisbon, then Rio de Janeiro, and finally New York.
The first book, Curious George, as the monkey was now called, was published in the United States in 1941. George went on to become an international sensation. Margret Rey explained the little monkey's success this way: "George can do what kids can't do. He can paint a room from the inside. He can hang from a kite in the sky. He can let the animals out of their pens on the farm. He can do all these naughty things that kids would like to do." H.A. Rey's explanation was even simpler: "I know what I liked as a child, and I don't do any book that I, as a child, wouldn't have liked."
Rey was also an astronomy buff, and besides the Curious George books, he wrote The Stars: A New Way to See Them in 1952. The book includes constellation diagrams with cartoon outlines to make them easier to remember and recognize. His new diagrams were widely adopted by other astronomical texts, and the book is reissued from time to time as we learn more accurate information about our galaxy. 

My favorite Curious George book is Curious George Goes to the Hospital. The story line is that George eats a puzzle piece thinking it is candy. The Man in the Yellow Hat rushes him to the hospital. When they get to the hospital it details all the things a child might encounter. Towards the end of the book some excitement occurs when George commandeers a go-cart and crashes it into a dining cart. This book was written in 1966 so many of the things talked about in the hospital have changed in terms of technology but still a fun story to share with a child who might be making a hospital visit. 

Do you have a favorite Curious George book?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Early Fall Walk

How beautifully leaves grow old.  
How full of light and color are their last days. 
 ~John Burroughs
A perfect day to enjoy the emerging hues of golds, yellows and reds of the north woods.

I spent so much time outdoors it was lucky the dinner was an easy one to put together. I recreated a salad I saw in a food magazine. An extra  bonus...its a healthy meal.  

                  Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad
cook's notes: to save on calories use prepared lite dressing and serves 4 
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved and patted dry on a paper towel
  • 3/4 cup red onions
  • 1 bottle prepared Ranch lite dressing 
  • optional chopped Romaine lettuce
  • Cut broccoli and cauliflower-add in onions, nuts, tomatoes and radishes
  • Mix in dressing BUT only enough to moisten 
  • Refrigerate 1-2 hours for better flavor
Serving suggestions bread and fruit


Thursday, September 13, 2012


For these kindergartners its all about the shoes, hair and clothes for the first days of school. 
I was in my daughter's classroom taking pictures for a school activity. The variety of fancy footwear really caught my attention as well as their stylish clothes and hair. What they may have lacked in size due to their age they oozed in personality and charm.  It looks to be a lively year. I will have to say I tied A LOT of shoes today!
What do you remember about your kindergarten days? For me, it was making gingerbread men with Miss Anne :)
Today was a marker day for me. I reached the 600 mark for blog postings in three years.
And today was a marker day for all those Roald Dahl fans. Eight novels of the British children's author are coming out on his birthday September 13th. So now all the E-book fans can follow the adventures of Willy Wonka, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and James from James and the Giant Peach. Roald Dahl would have been 96 today. He died in 1990. More than 25 million of his books are in print in the U.S. alone.
Quotes from the book James and the Giant Peach
James: Whenever I had a problem, my parents told me to look at it another way. 

Earthworm: *How*? First, I was bird bait, and then I was *shark* bait. 

James: That's true, but you could say that you gave us wings to fly, and that you defeated a giant shark single-handedly. 

Earthworm: No-handedly. 

James: You're a hero. 
Earthworm: I am. I'm Wonderworm! 

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...