Friday, June 24, 2016

Strawberry Season

Our strawberry season is coming to an end so on Father's Day we picked berries and froze the majority in single serving containers for Joe's morning smoothies. The fragrance filled the kitchen so I went looking for a couple recipes. Both recipes are so good that I had to share.  We enjoyed these Pecan and Coconut Strawberry Shortcakes from Savoring Time In The Kitchen. The recipe makes 10 shortcakes so I ended up freezing the rest for our 4th of July picnic.

Mario Batali sent me an email suggesting I try his Strawberry Mojitos. Wow, are these good. The recipe is below. The black pepper and ginger beer gave it a unique flavor. We both gave it five stars. 


Makes 1 cocktail
3 ripe strawberries, hulled
5 fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons agave
2 jiggers rum
Splash of Ginger Beer


Place strawberries, mint leaves and one grind of pepper in a mixing glass. Muddle or mash the ingredients in the bottom of a mixing glass until a paste forms.
Add the agave, rum and a splash of ginger beer to the glass. Mix well and enjoy for summer's first welcome sigh.
My son's first father's day and I love this picture of my grandson Xavier getting ready for his bath. Such sweet cheeks!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Showy Lady Slipper....A Garden of Pink and a Strawberry Moon

June is Lady Slipper season in the "north country". These rare beauties are fragile plants and grow with a certain type of fungus in the soil that is needed to germinate. We were lucky enough to be taken to the area where they grow 20 years ago on Father's Day. Every Father's Day weekend for the last 20 years, we have enjoyed these special orchids and it's a tradition that Joe enjoys as much as I do. The Showy Lady slipper (Cypripedium reginae) is the Minnesota state flower. In addition to the lady slippers, there are also other bog plants like the white and pink ones in the third photo above. 

The peonies bloomed this week, and the garden is starting to have color. The pollen  subsided and we were able to put the awning up.  

This weekend we can enjoy the strawberry moon and summer solstice. 
The June moon was known as the Strawberry Moon to early Native American tribes, who measured time by things like the moon. The full moon marked the season of strawberries as it still does. 

Enjoy the weekend!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Neiman Marcus Popovers with Kitty's Jam

With Father's Day just around the corner, I wanted to try my new popover pan to see just how good these popovers claim to be. The recipe called for Strawberry Butter, but I had some wonderful Christmas Jam that I received as a gift from Kitty at Kitty's Kozy Kitchen. I mixed the Christmas Jam with a little butter and spread it on the popover and it was wonderful. My co-worker Rick gives me eggs so I used six of his pretty eggs for this recipe. Joe and I both agree that these popovers are excellent, and they are easy to make if you have the popover pan. Thumbs up folks!

Popovers Recipe from Neiman Marcus Cookbook

Makes 12 

3 1/2 C. milk
4 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
6 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 450°F

Place the milk in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.

Crack the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Turn down the mixer to low and add the warm milk. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn the machine off and let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Spray a popover tin generously with nonstick spray. Fill the popover cups almost to the top with the batter and place the popover tin on a cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until the popovers are a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside.

Turn out the popovers and serve hot with strawberry butter.

Note: The key to making great popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before mixing. It is also important to let the batter sit for an hour before baking it.

Strawberry butter (optional)

3/4 C. Strawberry Preserves
1/2 C. Butter

Place the butter in the work bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy. Add the preserves and beat until well combined. To serve, spoon or pipe the flavored butter into 2-tablespoon ramekins or onto side plates. Note: Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. This spread will last for two to three days.

I'm joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Traveling Tote - Spring into Summer

Hello on this first day of June!  I'm glad you stopped by for more of Miss Aurora's adventures. 

Recently Miss Aurora received some goodies in the mail from Miss Rosie!  Even a tote can have friends!

Miss Rosie and Linda More Fun Less Laundry knew that I loved anything decadent from Magnolia Bakery in New York City. I also received some goodies from Linda's trip to Cape Cod and Old Sturbridge Village. The heart cookie cutter is stamped with OSV, and Linda watched the tinsmith make it! When I light the berry candles at our next dinner party, I will be reminded that the candles were dipped by hand using an antique candle stand. Thanks Linda!

In February, Miss Aurora and Miss Bella escaped to Key West. There is nothing better than to leave New York on a cold winter day and arrive in tropical Key West. We stay at the Marquesa, and they have the most beautiful orchids everywhere. 
Miss Aurora was happy to get out for some fresh air this spring so we strolled down the Memorial Parkway in Utica, NY. We are a community of rich patriotism. Flags and memorials are scattered throughout our area, and our allegiance to the United States and its history are very strong. Our Memorial Parkway is 5 miles long and due to the high traffic, I've never gotten a good look at the statues. 
The statues I photographed are "The Hiker" which depicts a soldier from the Spanish American War (1898) in one of his long hikes through the jungle. 
The POW/MIA memorial - this statue depicts an American prisoner with his hands bound by chains as he kneels painfully on one knee. It is meant to remind all viewers that there are still prisoners of war and people missing in action from wars past and present.
The Central New York War Memorial - On top of the monument you will see a group of soldiers banded together as they put the American flag into the ground. 
137 years later, Memorial Day remains one of America's most cherished patriotic observances. The spirit of this day has not changed - it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy.
On Mother's Day, we enjoyed a private 35 acre garden in the village of Marcellus. A few times each year, the Hanford family graciously open their gardens to the public with proceeds going to benefit a local non-profit agency. 

My favorite tulips were the dark stemmed beauties, Tulip Couleur Cardinale. I can envision these beauties in my garden next spring and have found a source in CT. 
Miss Aurora has taken several a million trips to visit Xavier, our new grandbaby. The tote is perfect for toting gifts ;-) I should have set him into nana's tote bag for a photo :-)
Xavier was a very happy camper at our camp over Memorial Day Weekend. He's so alert and smart! 

Miss Aurora also transported gifts to the bridal shower for my future daugher-in-law Meshal. 2016 has been a busy and beautiful year so far :-) :-)
I hope you'll come back in September for our next traveling totes adventure.
I am enjoying the friendship with my fellow tote friends. Who would have thought that a tote bag could be our common thread! 

Emily with Miss Courtney Childs @ The French Hutch
Linda with Miss Rosie @ More Fun Less Laundry
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora’s Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul

I was invited by Life and Linda to share this at her link party, Dishing It & Digging It. I'll be happy to Linda! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

S'mores for Memorial Day Weekend

  It's that time of year again when our weekends consist of s'mores over the camp fire and watching the busy hummingbirds while doing yard work. Aren't the spring days the sweetest ones to play outdoors? We opened up our camp for the summer season, and the forget-me-nots are so prolific this year. I picked several bouquets before Joe mowed the lawn where they were popping up everywhere.

Memorial Day is the official start of Summer.
Don't burn the hot dogs!