Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day April 2014

Its finally that time of the year! I've been waiting and dreaming all winter of spring, and what a brutal cold, long, winter it has been here in the northeast.
On the 15th of each month, gardeners from all over the world share a few bloom photos on their blogs. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to participate in April's bloom day but a few things are finally appearing.

Hellebores are usually the first flower to bloom in my garden. I've had these bloom as early as late January or February during a mild winter.
They are really pretty this year. Hoping the colder weather and possibly snow this week doesn't affect them. Yes....I said snow. I'm not too happy about that!
Even the crocuses were reluctant to make an early appearance. I always thought crocuses were supposed to naturalize? It seems like I have fewer every year but maybe the voles are getting them. I guess it's time to replenish them.
Striped Squill
My daffodils started blooming just in time for bloom day. They literally opened up overnight. 
 There was a time when daffodils didn't do anything for me, but I have so much trouble with the critters eating my tulips I've started planting more daffodils. Now I look forward to their cheerful appearance every spring.
The Star Magnolia is just starting to bloom. I'd better enjoy the blooms while I can because it won't take the cold weather.
Happy Spring!
Linking to: May Dreams Garden

Monday, April 7, 2014

Orange Supreme Pie

Do you love oranges? Do you love pie? Have you ever considered making an Orange Pie?


I didn't either but when I saw a picture of an Orange Pie on-line, and loving all things citrus, I knew was going to make that pie.
 When my sister gave me some oranges fresh from Florida this week, I remembered that Orange Pie. I found two recipes but this one had a cream cheese filling in it and cream cheese has never let me down.

This pie is a citrusy slice of spring! The cream cheese and oranges make such a lovely combination.
Wouldn't this pie look beautiful on your Easter dinner table? And I bet most of your guests have never had Orange Pie before. It's absolutely delicious and so refreshing!

Orange Supreme Pie

Orange Filling:
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. clear-jel
1 tsp. orange Kool-Aid
3 oranges, peeled and membrane removed. Cut in small pieces and drain off the juice.
additional 1/2 cup cold water

Bring 1 /1/4 cups water to a boil. Mix together sugar, clear jel, and Kool-Aid. Add 1/2 cup cold water to the sugar mixture and stir. Pour into boiling water, stirring as it cooks. Remove from heat after it thickens. Cool completely. Stir in orange pieces.

Cream Cheese mixture:
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip

Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add cool whip.  Pour into baked pie crust. Top with orange filling.
I had extra orange filling that didn't fit in the pie so I just spooned it over my slice of pie.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Snack Bars

Every year a group of cousins in my family take a fun-filled bus trip to a neighboring state. These bars have been brought along frequently by a cousin-in-law and they are so good I asked if I could have the recipe. It's kind of a cross between a rice crispy treat and a cereal bar. Whatever they are, I just know I love them!
You can substitute other cereals for the ones listed. I threw in some Cheerios which weren't included in the recipe.


Snack Bars

2 1/2 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half
2 cups corn chex
2 cups honeynut chex
5 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups mini m+ms (add at the very end so they don't melt)
Melt butter, marshmallows, and peanut butter over low heat. Pour over the rest of the ingredients except m+ms. Stir until everything is covered. Let it cool a little before you add your m+ms or they will melt.
Press into a 9x13 pan.

Pile them high on a plate if you are going eat them right away......

or wrap them individually for longer storage.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Creating a new look for my home

For many years my home décor has leaned towards country and although I was very tired of it, it just seemed overwhelming to start changing it. Last year I repainted the main living area in my home in a neutral gray, Revere Pewter. 

I loved the color but didn't like the oak trim with it so with my husbands permission I ended up painting the trim, doors and fireplace white. LOVE the results but most of the country décor has to go.

 After reading countless blogs and pinterest, I found myself going back to the ones that featured the French country cottage look the most. I'm really loving that shabby, chippy, distressed furniture look.
I know I can't change everything overnight, but now that I know what I like, I'm finding things around the house or in thrift stores I can transform without investing a lot of money.             

Here are a few I've been working on this winter......

I found this old frame at a thrift store for a $1.50

I gave it a coat of a light aqua paint I had on hand. This was one of my homemade chalk paints that I wasn't thrilled with but is useable.

Then I gave it a coat of the white Annie Sloan paint that I love.

I did some distressing, especially the edges and the raised ridges on the frame.

 And finished it off with a coat of Annie Sloan wax.

When I started this project I was intending to do a chalkboard with it, but I saw something similar to this on pinterest and made this instead. I printed out a B in a font I liked and traced it on burlap using white chalk and painted it. I also gave the little flower pot a coat of paint.

Just dry brushing a wood box with some Annie Sloan paint gave it a fresh new look.

Repainted a sign I found at a thrift store. Cost of the sign....$1.50 plus paint.

I'll do a future post on this flowerpot.

 Linking to: Chicken Chick

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tomato Bean Chowder

I haven't made any new soups lately so here is one I have been making for over 30 years that we like really well.
I first had this soup when we visited missionary friends on an Indian Reservation called Pikangikum, 60 miles north of Red Lake, Ontario, Canada. A place so remote we had to fly in on a seaplane.
Now if I saw this recipe somewhere, the ingredients wouldn't jump out at me and say that sounds delicious. But it is in fact very good and one I make at least once every winter. It looks a little like chili soup or pepper soup but tastes completely different.
After a few days of warmer milder weather, we are getting yet another round of cold weather this week with predictions of another possible storm this weekend.
 Its' a good week to make a pot of soup and stay in.

Tomato Bean Chowder

1 1/2 lb. hamburger fried and drained
1 med onion chopped and sautéed in a little butter
1 cup celery chopped and sautéed in a little butter
1 large can pork and beans (1lb 12oz.)
2 cans tomato soup (10 oz.)
3 cups water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Note: Do not omit this. It makes a big difference.
salt and pepper to taste

Onions and celery may be sautéed together.
Brown and drain hamburger then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until celery is tender, approximately 45 minutes.