Friday, April 25, 2014

What I've Been Up To

I've had these photos in my camera since before Easter. I don't want to talk about the crazy weather we are having this Spring, but it has been unseasonably brisk the last few days. Mr. Mountain Breaths has been working on a garden at school with his students, and they built a picnic table together. It's rewarding to build something ;o)

A dear friend stopped by for a quick visit Easter morning after church and brought me this sweet lamb cake. It came from our local Polish bakery. I should have put a bow around his neck.

This beautiful Lenten Rose is blooming in my garden. I love the little freckles.

These hellebores are beauties. They come back every year, thrive in the shade and deer hate them. What's not to love. In my garden, the Lenten rose is the first to flower in early spring, around the period of Lent. It's also known as Lenten hellebore or oriental hellebore. They are excellent for bringing early color to the garden and the table.

They are a perennial that grows from 12-18" high, and the blooms usually last about two months.
Varieties include purply black, pure white, slate gray, mossy greens, plum, dusty pink, chartreuse and lavender/blue.

Photo credit (Simon Garbutt)

Today is our youngest son's birthday, so I made Nick some photo blocks. Joe cut the blocks for me, but they also sell something similar in the craft stores. I had the photos printed at Walmart, and then used modge podge to attach them to the blocks. Once they were dry, I brushed on two coats of modge podge. We gave Nick the blocks when he was home for Easter, and he said he would rather have a gift like that than a Ferrari. LOL

When I saw this strawberry and cucumber salad in a Beatrix Potter book, I knew I had to make it for a friend's birthday dinner that I hosted. Easy and makes a nice presentation.

Cucumber and Strawberry Salad
2 American Cucumbers
12 oz large strawberries
Salt and freshly milled pepper
pinch of caster sugar (I used regular sugar and put it in the food processor)
3 tablespoons dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
A few borage flowers for garnish (I used pansies)

Peel cucumbers. Hull berries and slice thickly.
Arrange berries and cucumbers in alternating circles.
Season with salt, pepper, sugar. Spoon the wine over the salad
and sprinkle with tarragon.  Chill. Before serving,
Garnish with a few blue borage flowers. (I used pansies.)

The birthday gal is German, so I wanted to include authentic German bread in my menu. When I saw the recipe for Spicy Shrimp Remoulade on Molasses-Butter Toast at Savoring Time In The Kitchen's blog, I knew what I was making. They were a big hit, and I will definitely make them again.

I've mentioned before that I have been the caregiver for mom since October 2013. She lives alone, and we live about six miles from each other. Joe and I pick her up after work, and she has dinner with us a few evenings each week. I treasure these times and she is a lovely dinner guest. I enjoy setting a pretty table for her ;o)  She voluntarily gave up driving in July (she has Parkinson's and scoliosis), and loves getting out of the house but never complains. Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, and I haven't been able to visit all my favorite blogs lately. Hope everyone is well!


Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. What a darling daughter and son in law you and Joe are.
    She must LOVE being with you..
    After all our children are our favorite people to be with.:)
    Everything is so cute Deb..unfortunately I have no luck with hellebores..have no clue why,I love them..surely they know that.
    I love your cake..the lamb of course..Susan's dish..and what BP Potter book has that beautiful salad?
    It's gorgeous..
    And what Nick said?
    Very cute blocks.

    1. Monique, it's the Beatrix Potter Country Cookbook that has the salad. I requested it from the library before Easter and it arrived just in time. I wish you had better luck with the hellebores :-(

  2. Debbie, what a post filled with lots of going on. I have a dear mother-in-law also. It is so great that you have her over for dinner, and that she is such a great guest. I have never seen a lamb cake like that -- it is so fun! Love your bunny cake too. Count me in for the strawberry salad :). Love your photo blocks too, and they are cheaper to buy than a car :). I hope you have a great day. Joni

    1. Hi Joanie, ithe recipe is in the BP Country Cookbook. I've been enjoying all your pretty cookie posts!

  3. Adorable bunny cake topper, Debbie :) I love hellebores too and have a white one blooming now that I love. I lost a dark pink one over the winter so I need to get some more. Yours are beauties. Nick's photo blocks are so creative. Love his comment.

    So glad you liked the Spicy Shrimp Remoulade! We all thought it was delicious too.

  4. Great pics....cute block idea with the strawberry dish. I imagine my life with my mom will be like yours when we get back! Been so busy here with last minute packing and details...I'm exhausted!

  5. Love the picture blocks, that's a fun idea! Your bunny topper is adorable, I'd have to do that every year:@)

  6. All the food looks wonderful, Debbie. The strawberry-cucumber salad makes such a lovely presentation on a salad and I'm sure your friend enjoyed that and the scrumptious appetizer. What a lovely treat for your Mom to have dinner with you several times a week. Those are special memories to treasure.
    Happy Birthday to Nick and the made-with-love blocks turned out super cute! I'm going to remember that idea! Happy, relaxing weekend, my friend. xo

  7. I am sure your mom appreciates all you do for her! I think he was kidding about the car. :). Well, I know my son would want the car.

  8. Happy May day to you Debbie. You are so sweet for all of the things you do. I know they all appreciate it. She is your Mom afte rall and you love each other, especially she is a great dinner guest.
    The food looks so pretty and fun...very creative. Happy birthday to your Nick. xo

  9. I applaud you for choosing Mom over blog. It makes sense to me. Your Mom has been there for you, and now it's time for you to be there for her. Don't worry about getting around to my blog at all. I'm not doing anything special. In fact, I have been AWOL for a couple of weeks letting life deliberately get in the way via vacation time with my husband. Nothing big...just a getaway and time for me to decompress. I slept 12-14 hours a day!

    I'm glad to see you're a busy bee and enjoying your time with friends and family. In case we don't connect beforehand, I wish both you AND your Mom a very happy and loving Mother's Day! And Happy Belated to your son!


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