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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where in the world are Grenville & Beatrice?????

Well if you read the entry before this you know where we are. The fun we’ve been having began on the trip down. We love to save a dollar here and so on our stop at the South Carolina Visitor Center on I-85 we picked up a discount room saver book. Most times we have been happy with the discount accommodations we find, well maybe not the one where Beatrice found a roach on her pillow, but we usually are. This time Beatrice spotted one for $29.99 in Charlotte. So instead of stopping in Greensboro, which is the halfway point, we trudged on the extra 2 hours.

Now the room was just so-so but the included entertainment was really something. We probably should have known we were in for a treat after reading that there were NO REFUNDS AFTER 15 MINUTES. Or by some of the more ‘unique’ looking characters of the cast.

After taking our lives in our hands going across the street to ‘Sugars’, for dinner and then back again, we noticed that the door to the room back to back with ours was open and the lights were on. Just the same as when we left. AND the same guy was sort of pacing around near it, and some young lady was fixing (or maybe re-fixing) herself in the mirror. BUT who really knows what goes on (wink,wink).

Once back in our room we were treated to a philosophical dissertation on life by some black sounding gent. I was amazed that for the duration of this diatribe he never stopped to take a breath. AND this part of our entertainment went on for well over an hour. I did wonder if there was anyone else in attendance but since Beatrice and i were comfy and tired we decided to forego finding out.

Next was a wonderfully heated argument from above us, complete with breaking glassware and crashing bodies. The climax was a splendid aria by the lead soprano directing to her fellow player to ‘get the f*** out’. With a slam of a door it was all over. We were a little disappointed that there were no encores.

While checking out, and conversing with the office Grey Parrot, we found out that if we had sprung for a few extra bucks down the street, we could have enjoyed live weapons discharges. BUT we opted for the savings since we get to listen to our intrepid hunters culling the deer population every evening at home.

Our final leg of the trip was interrupted by a detour to IKEA, not that we needed anything but as the bumper sticker says “We Brake For IKEA”.Once on the road again we ambled along, slowed by the usual day before Thanksgiving traffic.

Tomorrow, the saga of the Turkey Extravaganza.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

Before heading south to GA for the Thanksgiving holiday, I madepeanut butter cookies peanut butter cookies. This very easy recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies (depending on size).

The ingredients list is small and you may already have everything needed in your pantry.

NOTE: You can add chocolate chips or nuts for variations of this recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookies
  • ¾ C creamy peanut butter (any brand)
  • ½ C Crisco® all vegetable shortening
  • 1 ¼ C light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 TBSP milk
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ¾ C all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
Heat oven to 375°
  1. Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl; beat at medium speed until well blended.
  2. Add egg and beat until blended.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add slowly to creamed mixture at low speed.
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased baking sheet; flatten slightly with edge of fork.
  5. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until just set and starting to brown.
  6. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to cooling rack or brown paper to completely cool.
Best enjoyed with a tall glass of cold milk.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 2 minutes. Half-times take 12 minutes. This is no coincidence.
Erma Bombeck
thanksgiving collage
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

The Answer - Slide Trays

DSCF0021A few days ago, I travelled through several European countries and various parts of the U.S. and Canada without leaving the Frog and PenguINN – all within a couple of hours.

HOW?

A projector and trays of 35mm slides were tucked away in a closet. Remember those?

It was fun taking a trip down memory lane, but it was time for all of these to find another home.

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There were 18 slide trays, and nearly all were full – 100 slides in each. All were emptied, then the slides were labeled and boxed – takes up less room than all those trays. Both the projector and the trays were donated to a local thrift store . Perhaps someone will have a good use for them.

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Like fellow bloggers, Sara and Elaine, it will take a very long time to get these scanned – that’s a project for a rainy day or maybe a rainy month?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What is This?

Perhaps, fellow bloggers will recognize this without right away – not even sure you can find this still.

Hint: This is not something used in an auto or equipment. Not sure you recognize it? Try anyway – sometimes the guesses are more fun than the answer. No prizes, just having fun.

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We’re be on the road heading south for the next couple of days, so the answer will be delayed – lots more thinking time (if needed). There’s a story behind this photo and it will be a future post.

Early F&P Thanksgiving

The taste results are in and the pecan pie was a voted a delicious success after Sunday dinner – an early Thanksgiving at The Frog & PenguINN. We’re taking another road trip and will be in Georgia on Thursday – more on that later. As for the pie, there were no leftovers on the dessert plates.
pecan pie cut1110 (1)pecan pie cut1110 (2)


 Thanksgiving is still  a few days away, but we celebrated with an early turkey day dinner at the F&P. We were grocery shopping last week and thought that turkey sandwiches would be a great take-along lunch for our road trip south. But the smallest turkey was 12 lbs. which was more than we needed for sandwiches, so we bought it and then invited several friends to join us for dinner – they were happy to oblige, and we were glad they could join us, and now we can make those turkey sandwiches.

turkey 1110 (3)Grenville handled the turkey cooking duty. Doesn’t that skin look tempting?  Yes, we sampled it too, unlike Ralphie Parker’s father in A Christmas Story . (Do yourself a favor and watch this classic film. The turkey scene alone is worth the viewing.)
turkey sliced 1110 (1)
My prep work was side dishes: stuffing, green bean casserole, and mashed sweet potatoes spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, orange juice and golden raisins.

The table was decked out in fall colors. This photo was taken before everyone sat down.
turkey dinner 1110 (2)
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for our many blessings. We are especially thankful for good friends and are also thankful for and appreciate everyone who reads and/or comments on our blog.
Thanks Everyone – enjoy the holiday !

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pecan Pie

I have been putting my pecan cracker to good use the past couple of weeks since there is a bumper crop of pecans here this year. And, this weekend some recently shelled ones went to good use for our first pecan pie of the season. NOTE: This recipe calls for using the sugar substitute, Splenda®, and light corn syrup. Sure, there’s still calories, just less of them.

Today, the term bumper crop has come to refer to any unexpected windfall. It’s usually associated with a large harvest of agricultural products that over spilled containers used to ship them to market. It is thought to have started in the 1700s when people referred to large swellings as bumpers.  These origins  may explain why automobile fronts are called “bumpers.”

Pecan Pie with Splenda®

pecan pie 1110 (1)This recipe uses a single 8 or 9-inch pie crust. You can use a pre-made refrigerated crust or make one I opted to try my own – see below.

Preheat oven to 350°

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 C Splenda® brown sugar blend, firmly packed
  • ¾ C light corn syrup
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ C pecan halves
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
  1. Combine eggs, Splenda®, corn syrup, butter and vanilla and mix until blended.
  2. Stir in pecan halves and pour filling into pie shell.
  3. Bake 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes pecan pie 1110 (2)out clean.

Couldn’t resist showing the pie baking. Cool on wire rack and serve warm – great with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Indulge!

pecan pie 1110 (4)

Just for fun – WHAT was I thinking? – I decided to make a pieBC cookbook0201 crust as this recipe only calls for a single crust.
OOPS, forgot to mention that we were out of the Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts that come in so handy.This recipe is from the Betty Crocker Cookbook – a great all-purpose resource. Making the crust work was a bit tricky, at first since the dough kept sticking to the rolling pin and/or pastry board. I am not a pie crust maker, but this attempt finally worked.

Standard Pastry ( 8 or 9 inch one crust pie)

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 C plus 1 TBSP shortening
  • 2 to 3 TBSP cold water
  1. Measure flour and salt into bowl. Cut in shortening thoroughly.
  2. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until all flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of bowl. (Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water if needed.)
  3. Gather dough into a ball and shape into flattened round on lightly floured board. (Note: If the pastry is sticking badly and you have time, refrigerate for a short time and try again. Grenville said this works for him)
  4. Roll dough 2 inches larger than inverted pie pan (helps to put some flour on the rolling pin too as mine does not have a cloth cover as called for in the cookbook).
  5. Fold pastry into quarters, unfold, and ease into pie plate. (This was the tricky part for me.)
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pan. Fold and roll pastry under, even with pan. Fill and bake as directed in recipe.

Once the pecan filling was added and baked, the results looked good enough to eat. The real taste test will come later tonight when Grenville and some friends sample it. Everyone is invited !

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fall Morning Walks

Mother Nature has been flaunting her colors here on the VA eastern shore the past couple of weeks.These images were taken on several fall morning walks within 10 minutes of the The Frog & PenguINN.
orange collage
Yellows, reds and orange . . .
red-yellow collage
Many colorful berries among the foliage . . .
colorful berries
Foliage of multi colors . . .
leaf colors collage
Looking upward . . .
looking up collage
It’s good to be home to enjoy this beauty.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grenville Answers

The rumor that Beatrice pushed me into the chipper is greatly exaggerated. BUT thanks to everyone who had great ideas for our tree. The way the puzzle was made looked like this:

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I was amazed at the size of the limbs the chipper would take. When it was done they went to the back of the property where i had made a new bin for the chips and dumped thP1040138em. AND yes some will be used for walkways, some for mulch, and some will get run through our chipper and become ‘green fertilizer’.

I did save 3 of the nice straight limbs fP1040176or future turning projects. I see lots of bowls in that pile, but not till next year. Well maybe sooner if i turn a few green. And of course we saved the infamous (now) seat for two. After I set it in front of my shop it just looked so cool i left it.

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This was the real trunk. It’s hard to see but the tree was allowed to develop multiple main trunks and some nasty crotches, one of which was starting to split. This is what was left of the stump after grinding. Next year it will sink enough to get seeded .P1040151

We also had the guys trim a huge limb off our neighbors pecan tree that was right over our barn. I only kept one piece for turning. Pecan wood doesn’t bring a great price here, but nice oak does.

Thanks to everyone for sharing our adventure. Our next adventure is to Atlanta for Thanksgiving Dinner with the Old Bike Rider his family and friends (some of whom we just haven’t met yet.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seating for 1 or 2 ?

Grenville thinks this will make a dandy patio seat for two – or maybe one?  WHAT do you think?double seat1114 (2)

This was part of the mighty oak tree that was removed from the Frog & PenguINN front yard last weekend.

Grenville also thought this would make a great puzzle, but hasn’t yet figured out how to package it.  ANY suggestions?

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Maybe he has too much time to think – you think?

Monday, November 15, 2010

CNWR Sunday Afternoon

A couple of weeks ago,  we spent a few hours bike riding at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (CNWR).

The ocean surf was very rough that afternoon.

beach tree collage

These ducks found calmer waters.

duck collage

A Great Blue Heron was enjoying the afternoon too.heron collage

Pecan-Apple Pancakes

IMG_5915We have a bumper crop of fresh pecans this year courtesy of a neighboring tree. Our neighbors, Dan and Jim, enjoy them but only harvest a few and always appreciate the pecan pie that Grenville bakes for them.

Here’s a breakfast recipe I tried this weekend. Pecans were our nut of choice (did I mention we have a LOT this year?) but this recipe will work with walnuts as well. When I asked Grenville’s opinion, he told me this one was “a keeper.”

Apple Pecan Pancakes

  • 1 C flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ C (plus 2 tsp) milk
  • 2 eggs (separated)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ C apples (peeled, finely chopped)  - save rest and slice
  • ½ C plus ¼ C pecans (chopped)

pecan-apple pancakes1110 (2)

  1. In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  2. Stir in milk, egg yolks and vanilla.
    (Note – if batter is too thick, add a bit more milk.)
  3. Add apples and ½ cup of pecans.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold into batter.
  5. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto a hot, greased griddle or skillet.
  6. Turn when bubbles begin to form and the edges are golden. pecan-apple pancakes1110 (5)
  7. Cook until the second side is golden.

Serve topped with remaining ¼ cup of pecans, apple slices, syrup.

pecan-apple pancakes1110 (1)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Mighty Oak

house oak tree 1114 (2)
This oak tree has been in the front yard of The Frog & PenguINN since Grenville and I bought our home in 2003, so we’re not exactly sure of its age. However, this lovely and very large tree started  losing many branches in wind storms the past couple of years.
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We decided not to chance the tree falling on the house one blustery day, and consulted a local tree specialist about trimming some of the larger limbs away from the house.
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To our dismay, we learned that trimming the branches would be nearly as costly as removing the tree. We were shown an area in the lower tree trunk which could split in cold weather. Hearing that we could trim some of the tree, only to have it split, fall and possibly damage the house another time, we made the decision to have the tree entirely removed.
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Live thy Life,
Young and old,
Like yon oak,
Bright in spring,
Living gold;
Summer-rich
Then; and then
Autumn-changed
Soberer-hued
  (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
Hearing that we could trim some of the tree, only to have it split, fall and possibly damage the house another time, we made the decision to have the tree entirely removed this past weekend.
tree gone 111310 (1)
The front yard is much more open and the pecan tree on the left will be able to open up after being blocked by the oak tree. We will miss the oak tree and may plant another tree in its place next spring.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It’s a Pecan Cracker

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Couldn’t fool many folks, yesterday’s “What is This?” was a Nut Cracker – Duke’s Easy Pecan and Nut model. pecan sheller (6)

This was a 2008 Christmas gift from my true love, Grenville. I told him the 5 golden rings would have been a nice touch too. But thankful he didn’t bring home a partridge in a pear tree, cows, pipers, dancing ladies, milking maids . . .

pecan tree (1)And, it was a very useful gift because that year our neighbor’s pecan tree was overflowing. We harvested and shelled many pounds of pecans and used them for baking, snacks, cooking and as give-aways.

Last year, the pecan tree didn’t produce well so the nut cracker was retired to the pantry. It was so well retired, we almost didn’t find (don’t you hate when that happens?) And, the tree is producing well again this year so we’re shelling LOTS of pecans. This is another “present” that Grenvillle brought me last week. Yes, I know, he’s a real sweetie and he does help shell them too. Maybe I’ll have to get him his very own cracker this holiday!

pecans picked (4)

Growing up in NJ, we didn’t have pecan trees in the neighborhood. Here on the VA eastern shore, there seems to be at least one pecan tree every couple of blocks. You don’t even have to look up, but just check out all those lying on the ground. It seems that most folks don’t harvest them – maybe because it is time consuming. But having fresh pecans in the freezer is well worth the manual labor not to mention a real money saver – we don’t buy shelled nuts. This year’s harvest will be frozen and could last until the next good season. Unless, of course, Grenville gets in a pecan pie baking mood.

Some Facts About Pecans

The name “pecan” is a Native American word of Algonquin origin that was used to describe “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”

The pecan tree is the only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America, the pecan is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species.

pecans in tree (4)Pecan trees are members of the hickory genus and a pecan is not really a nut, but technically a drupe – a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk. The husks are produced from the exocarp tissue of the flower while the part known as the nut develops from the endocarp and contains the seed.

pecans in tree (1)

Pecan nuts have a rich, buttery flavor; they can be eaten fresh or used in cooking, particularly in a southern favorite, pecan pie. Pecans are also a major ingredient in praline candy.

Pecan wood is used in making furniture, in wood flooring, and as a flavoring fuel for smoking meats.

Pecan trees may live and bear edible nuts for more than three hundred years.

The pecan is the Texas state tree.

Pecans retain their freshness, flavor, and nutrients when stored in an airtight container or freezer bags; storing them at room temperature is not recommended.

Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals.

Pecans are a natural, high quality source of protein with few carbohydrates, no cholesterol and are sodium free.

Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that pecans rank highest among all nuts and are among the top category of foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity. This means that pecans may decrease the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, and neurological disease like Alzheimer's.

And we thought they just tasted delicious.

There’s lots more information on pecans available at the National Pecan Shellers Association website.

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