Monday, January 31, 2011

Mellow Yellow

Last week, I started what may become a regular feature until I run out of things in the same color or find something more interesting, both of which are possible. The first color was RED. And, here’s the next one – YELLOW with things found in the kitchen . . .
yellow food collage
Seen around the yard . . .
yellow collage3
Things seen on a walk . . .
yellow collage2
and in a local store . . .
yellow store collage1
My favorite yellow things – birds and flowers . . .
yellow bird collageyellow flower collage

What are your favorites in YELLOW ?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What do you mean where is Grenville????? I’m right here!!!!

Actually almost everyone was right in their guesses where i was. But Possum wins the Super Sleuther Award. And as Poetic Justice she gets a full day of weeding at the F&P. Just pick a day in late July or early August and the farm will be yours for the day.

Grammie i wish i was on my way back to Maine for some snow shoeing. Sounds like you’ll have lot of that later in the week. Elaine, you are so right about the call of the wood. I still haven’t figured which way is up on that piece in front of the shop. Sipping Blueberry juice was right Pat in MN but it has been too chilly to lite the fire on the patio. And out playing with JD is always on the schedule Christer. LOIS!!!!! You make it sound like i’m lost in the wilderness. Now that we have a ‘Super Wal-Mart’ there is no wilderness left here. AND Steve, don’t let the cat out of the hat full of spilt beans about the ‘Exotic Island Trip’ planned for Valentines day, her Birthday, and of course Muskrat Day (more on that as it unfolds). Don’t feel bad Mona, there are lots of daze when i’m not sure where i am either. Your right Ann. When the Jets and Patriots crumbled i hit the very bottom of favorite teams, and that was really stretching it. I’m not even sure if i’ll watch the Super Bowl.

SOOOOOOO ,,,, yes i have been a little busy of late. Between teaching English as a second language and working in the shop for the most part.
100_0266 100_0267 100_0268100_0269100_0284 - Copy 100_0272 
The first 5 photos are the same piece of walnut from start to finish. This years product is going to be candle holders. The last photo is a piece of wild cherry that was hanging around the shop for about a year and just begged to go for a ride on the lathe. It became a pair of tea light holders.

After patiently (not) waiting for something to break the surface, we finally have some Broccoli on the left and some Spinach on the right.
100_0290 100_0291  
You really have to look really close, but there is spinach and broccoli just starting. Their little cotyledon  leaves are barely visible.
train station (3)
And there was lots of stuff to do at the Historic Onley Train Station. About a week before Christmas the nice folks at the IRS sent us an early gift, our 501 C3 certificate. That makes us officially a Non Profit Tax Deductable organization and culminates a year and a half of work. Now we are in full gear going after some serious grant money so we can finally get a new roof. Then there was some Planning Commission stuff and Master Naturalist fun. And lets not forget those all important afternoon naps.

And you thought i was goofing off!!!!! BUT thanks to all for wondering where i was. Without you i might still be lost!!!!!!

Casablanca Date Night

annies012911Grenville and I went on a date last night to what has become our favorite local restaurant, Annie’s. There are not a lot of choices for dining in our area on the VA eastern shore; Annie’s is  our favorite place. It was also the inauguration of a new feature – dinner and a movie – last night’s film was Casablanca.casablanca poster

A bit more about the movie later in this post – in fact LOTS more – but onto more tasty things, like our dinners. We started off with an appetizer of Doc’s Crab Dip, followed by Beatrice’s dinner of Bowtie Pasta with shrimp in vodka sauce, and Grenville’s dinner of Blackened Tuna. Everything was delicious. Sorry we can’t give a taste sample through the blog, but we took photos of our dinners. dinner collage012911It’s important to mention that we passed on dessert and instead munched on popcorn provided when the movie started. Grenville was thinking about the chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, but he lost a few pounds this week and was reluctant (very) to find them again.
It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die.
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.
OK, back to the movie. Here’s a quick summary: Guy loves girl, loses her, sees her again with her husband, reunites with former love, send her off with husband, most likely never to see her again.
bogart-bergman collage
WHAT too short? OK more details:  Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), American expatriate and former freedom fighter, runs a Casablanca nightclub (Rick's CafĂ© Americain) in the early part of WWII.  This is a haven for refugees looking to purchase illicit letters of transit to get to America. One day, Rick is approached by a well-known (to the Germans) resistance fighter, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) and his wife, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). She was Rick's true love who deserted him when the Nazis invaded Paris. She wants Victor to escape to America and continue the fight against Fascism, but now that she's renewed her love for Rick, she wants to stay behind in Casablanca and tells him, “You must do the thinking for both of us.”

Although it was an A-list film with established stars and first-rate screen writers (Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch), those involved with  the film didn’t expect that it was anything special. It was one of dozens of pictures produced yearly by Hollywood. The film was a solid, if unspectacular, success in its initial run, rushed into release to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier.
The characters, dialogue, and music have become so well known that Casablanca consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films of all time.
casablanca collage
It was rushed into general release almost three weeks after the Allied landing at the North African city of Casablanca, when Eisenhower's forces marched into the African city. When the film opened, Warner Brothers Studio was able to capitalize on the free publicity and the nation's familiarity with the city’s name. The film’s cost of $950,000 was slightly over budget but an average cost for a film at the time. The box office receipts were more than $4 million.
  • Shooting began on May 25, 1942 and completed on August 3, 1942. It had a limited premiere was in 1942, but did not play nationally, or in Los Angeles, until 1943.
  • The film was based on the unproduced play Everybody Comesalgiers poster to Rick’s. The rights were bought for $20,000; it was renamed, possibly in imitation of the 1938 movie hit Algiers.
  • Screenwriters wrote the script as they went along barely keeping ahead of production; no one knew how it would end.
  • Casablanca was shot almost entirely on sound stages and in the Warner Brothers studio lot, except for the sequence showing the arrival of German Major Strasser which was filmed at Van Nuys Airport.
  • The street used for the exterior shots had been built for another film, The Desert Song, and was redecorated and used for the Paris flashbacks. It remained on the Warner backlot until the 1960s when it was dismantled.
  • The final scene had midget extras as aircraft personnel walking around a model cardboard plane, used because of budgetary constraints. The fog in the scene was used to mask the unconvincing appearance of the plane.
  • Ingrid Bergman was 5’ 9” compared to Bogart’s 5’ 7”. In their scenes together, he sometimes stood on boxes. Bergman was shot mainly from her preferred left side with a softening gauze filter and catch lights to make her eyes sparkle.
  • The cinematographer was Arthur Edeson, who had previously shot The Maltese Falcon which also starred Bogart.
  • The score was written by Max Steiner, who also scored Gone With the Wind. The song As Time Goes By  written by Herman Hupfield was in in the original play. Steiner wanted to replace it with his own song, but couldn’t as Bergman who had cut her hair for her next role,  couldn’t re-shoot scenes which mentioned the song.
  • One of the most quoted exit lines in movie history and the last line in the film (spoken on a fog-shrouded runway) wasn’t recorded until three weeks after shooting ended and was contributed by producer Hal Wallis. Bogart was called in to dub: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." 
  • Humphrey Bogart played the lead male part in his first romantic lead. It was his first and last performance with Bergman. Bogart became a star after his role in the film.
  • The role of the pianist Sam was played by “Dooley” Wilson, a drummer, who did not play piano. The role was originally to be done by a female lead (Hazel Scott, Lena Horne, or Ella Fitzgerald). Producer Wallis considered replacing Dooley’s voice on the songs, but changed his mind.
  • Paul Henreid, an Austrian actor who had fled Nazi Germany in 1935, played resistance fighter Victor Laszlo and was reportedly reluctant to take the role until promised top-billing with Bogart and Bergman.
  • Many other 40s stars were considered for leads: Hedy Lamarr, Ann Sheridan, French actress Michele Morgan, and George Raft. Ronald Reagan was never considered to play Rick; he was due to enter the army by the time of filming.
  • No one in the film ever says: “Play it again, Sam,” in reference to Rick and Ilsa’s song, “As Time Goes By.” Both Rick and Ilsa ask Sam to play the song, but not in those words.
  • The Casablanca movie poster was designed by Bill Gold, who  was 21 and a recent graduate in illustration and design from the Pratt Institute in New York when he was hired in the advertising department of Warner Bros. in NYC.
The 1942 movie review by New York Times film critic Bosley Crother makes for some interesting reading in tune with the time period in which in was written.
  • Casablanca won three Oscars: Best Picture (producer Hal B. Wallis), Best Director (Michael Curtiz), Best Screenplay ( Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch).
  • It was considered for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart), Best Supporting Actor (Claude Rains), Best B/W Cinematography (Arthur Edeson known for The Maltese Falcon), Best Score (Max Steiner known for Gone With the Wind), and Best Film Editing (Owen Marks).
  • Bogart lost to Paul Lukas who won for Watch on the Rhine. Bergman wasn't even nominated for this film, but for Best Actress in For Whom The Bell Tolls; she lost to Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette. NOTE: All the film images shown in this post (except the movie posters) were shot last night at the viewing.
casablanca poster1casablanca poster2

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Where is Grenville?

You may – or may not – have noticed that Grenville hasn’t been doing a lot of blog posting lately. And, in case you are wondering (or NOT) where he’s been lately, here are the choices . . .

Maybe he’s been working in the back yard ?
OR maybe out with John D.?
OR maybe in the greenhouse ?

OR maybe in his workshop ?
WHERE do you think he’s been hanging out?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Souperior Meat Loaf

No, that’s not a type in the blog post title. Dry onion soup mix is a featured ingredient in this meat loaf recipe. Grenville now asks for this version every time we have it for dinner.

Souperior Meat Loafopnion soup mix

  • 1 Lipton® Onion Soup Mix (or any brand you prefer) 
  • 1 lb ground beef 
  • ¾ C plain bread crumbs 
  • 2 eggs 
  • ¾ C water 
  • 1/3 C ketchup

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Shape into loaf in 13x9-inch baking or roasting pan.
    (Optional: spread some ketchup on top of loaf)
  4. Bake uncovered 1 hour or until done.
  5. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6-8; prep time 10 minutes; cook time 1 hour

012611 mac and cheese (1)Sorry, there’s no photos of last night’s dinner.
It was delicious served with homemade macaroni and cheese.

Perfect comfort food for a rainy winter night – or snowy one too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Change of Pace

Scenes taken on a road trip to Lancaster, PA last fall to give some folks a break from snowy or cold winter weather.

Beautiful farm land . . .
farms collage102510
Children travelling to and from school  . . .
amish kids collage
No speeding here . . .
buggyPA1025 (2)
Drive-in windows are NOT just for cars . . .
amish banking collage
Heading for Tractor Supply . . .
tractor supply collage

Welcome Visitors

The welcome bird visitors have returned to our feeders, even though there are still those unwelcome visitors — starlings. These images were captured last week from the Frog & PenguINN kitchen window.

Male and female cardinals share well. . .
cardinals-others collage
Female cardinal in the crepe myrtle and at feeder . . .
cardinal female collage1
Goldfinches enjoy the thistle sack . . .
goldfinch collage0124
This sparrow was a very good subject . . .
sparrow collage1

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Ever happen to you?
0111 bundt cake
Bake something that didn’t want to release from the pan?

That’s what happened to me with this pecan bundt cake last Saturday . It wouldn’t come out of the pan, even after a cool-down, and careful edging to loosen it.  In desperation, I smacked the pan with the results shown above – it came out, but in several pieces.
But all was NOT lost because the pieces were delicious served with some butter pecan ice cream brought by friends M&B and served after after dinner.

What’s a bundt?
If you are a movie fan – like Grenville and myself – you may recall the exchange from the 2002 film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding in which a  young Greek woman (Toula Portokalus) falls in love with a non-Greek teacher (Ian Miller) and worries whether her family will accept him. At a family gathering, Toula’s future mother-in-law brings a bundt cake. Toula’s father (Gus) introduces every family member to Ian’s parents, the Millers. When the introductions are over, Mrs. Miller holds out a bundt cake. Completely confused, Toula’s mother asks,
“What’s this?” “It’s a bundt cake.” Mrs. Miller says. Completely dumbfounded, Toula’s mother repeats, “Bundt?” “Yes, bundt.” “Bundt?” “BUNDT!!!”
“Oh…It’s a CAKE!” She finally confirms, adding “This cake has a hole in it.”
The term bundt cake is is used chiefly in North America to describe a dessert cake that is baked in a bundt pan, shaping it into a distinctive ridged ring. “Bundt”bundt pan
derives from the German word, bundkuchen.  The German word bund in bundkuchen originated either from bundling or wrapping the cake's dough around the pan's center hole or because a bund is a gathering of people The d in "bundt" is assimilated into the t.
The term, bundt, was trademarked in 1950 by H. David Dalquist, founder of Minnesota-based Nordic Ware. Dalquist developed the pan at the request of members of the Hadassah Society chapter in Minneapolis, Minnesota who wanted a lighter version of the traditional German cast-iron Kugelhupf (or bundkuchen) pan. which were heavy and hard to use. The women called them “bund pans.”

Dalquist modified existing Scandinavian pan designs and made an aluminum pan. The pans sold slowly until 1966 when “Tunnel of Love” was baked in a bundt pan and won second place in a Pillsbury Bake Off contest. Sales of the pan increased and it surpassed the tin Jell-O mold to become the most popularly sold pan in the U.S. Since its introduction, more than 50 million bundt pans have been sold by Nordic Ware. Pillsbury licensed the name in 1970 for a line of cake mixes.

More stuff: the bundt pan has its own celebration since the Governor of Minnesota declared November 15 as National Bundt Day. Some early bundt pan designs are on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

We now know — and so do you about “bundt.”

Cranberries – the Answer

red what is thisDid this red What is It?have you stumped ?

Looks more familiar in this next photo . . .
It's cranberries.

Hope this one didn’t bog you down too much. (Sorry, that was Grenville’s pun.)

Congrats go to Techno-gran for being the 1st correct reply. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Red – What is This? #3 of 2011

Seeing Red was the title of a recent post and continuing with that theme, can you figure out what this is?
red what is this
Hint: Something edible, better when cooked.

Sorry, that’s all for this one. Check back tomorrow for the answer. (Marty, no guesses for you this time since you’ve already sampled this.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Potatoes, Onions & Eggs – Saturday Breakfast

It’s the weekend. Wait a minute, since Grenville and I are both retired from the paid working world – every day  is like a weekend. Whoops, sorry if you are still in that world. In a sense we still work, only now it’s called volunteering, which is a different form of work.

Saturday and Sunday breakfasts are special cause that’s when we make something quicker than oatmeal, toast or smoothies. Grenville’s specialties are pancakes or French toast, made using leftover homemade bread. Today was my turn and so here’s an easy breakfast using potatoes, onions, eggs and cheese.

Slice a couple of potatoes very thin. Cut and slice an onion or use the whole onion if you really like fried onions. Season the potatoes with some salt and pepper or your choice of spice(s).

We had some red potatoes so that’s what was used today. Put some olive oil in a pan and heat until hot. potatoes-onions (3)Put in the potatoes and onions and start cooking.

This photo shows the potatoes and onions separated as I started the potatoes a little sooner, then added the onions.

potatoes-onions (7)Here they are cooking together. Keep flipping the potatoes until they are all browned and crusty. When they start sticking. they are getting – we like them really browned.

While the potatoes and onions are cooking, potatoes-onions (4)I scrambled 4 eggs and when the potatoes and onions were nicely browned, poured the eggs on top and let them cook.

potatoes-onions (9)The final touch, which I almost forgot today, is to add some shredded cheese on top – today it was cheddar, mozzarella works well too.potatoes-onions (10)

Once the eggs have set and the cheese is melted, it’s ready to serve. Today was an NL (no lunch) day so I cut this in half and served with a fruit cup of bananas, kiwi, pecans, and dried cranberries.

Here’s Grenville's breakfast plate.

potatoes-onions plated (1)

If you’re ever in our neighborhood, let us know and we’ll serve this for breakfast – weekend or not. It’s best enjoyed in “jammies” so don’t forgot to bring yours – and slippers too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Great Grandma's Banana Bread

FA baking book012011 (4)There were some overripe bananas sitting in our fruit bowl a The Frog & PenguINN which usually means that it’s time to bake another loaf of banana bread. 

Last year, I tried a couple different recipes and we liked all of them. One of those could have been used again, but I bought The Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Home Baking for $1 at a yard sale and on page 45 there was a new (to us) banana bread recipe. What made this recipe different than others we tried is that it uses bread flour and  sour cream, both of which were on hand. And, we have lots of pecans from last fall’s bumper crop harvest.

While, the book didn’t say whose Grandma created the recipe, feel free to pass it off as a family member’s treasured favorite.
After all, who’s to know?

banana bread ingredients 012011
Great Grandma’s Banana Bread
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 9x5-inch loaf pan. Makes 1 loaf.
  • ½ C (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ C sour cream
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 C bread flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ C chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  1. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs, sour cream, bananas and vanilla; mix well.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda; add to eggbanana bread mix 012011 mixture and stir well.
  4. Stir in pecans or walnuts (if using).
  5. Pour into greased 9x5-inch loaf pan. 
  6. Bake for 55 minutes, or until loaf tests done.
We’re sampling the finished bread tonight in our “jammies” and slippers – evening dress at the F&P.
bb baked012011 (3)bb sliced012011
Best served with a cold glass of milk or a cup of hot chocolate.