Monday, December 31, 2012

It was a VERY Good Year

snow in VT

To paraphrase a line from one of Old Blue Eyes signature songs, it was a very GREAT year. We had fun road trips, family holiday visits and celebrations in New England, NJ and PA, a wedding, 2 milestone birthdays. We also were able to meet several more fellow bloggers. And, least you think it was ALL fun and road trips and celebrations, there were also house projects: we de-cluttered, packed and stored, planted a veggie garden, Grenville built and installed barn and tractor doors AND we listed our home for sale, which (unfortunately) is still available at year-end.

And, we DID have lots of travels and celebrations when we looked back at the calendar:

  • Jan - post-Christmas road trip visiting family in RI and PA; capped by week in NH
  • Feb - home (all month) on the VA eastern shore
  • March - week long trip to NJ when Beatrice visited her mom
  • April - hopped on the bunny trail to NJ, RI, PA for Easter family visits
  • May - wedding bells for Coleen and Paulo and family get-together in PA
  • July - birthday time in PA for Grenville's XX and in RI for granddaughter Ellie's 1st; back to NH for 3 weeks
  • August - lucky (for us) 13th wedding anniversary and weekend trip to Baltimore, MD, to ride trolley cars at Baltimore Street Car Museum and tour B&O Railway Museum
  • Sept - major NJ birthday celebration —  #90 for Beatrice's mom
  • Oct - looked for leaf changes in VA Blue Ridge road trip, but there too early; met fellow bloggers, Rebecca, Lenora (Lee), and Grace and spouses. 
  • Nov - another leaf peeping trip — to VT but leaves had already left; celebrated turkey day in CT and visited grandkids in RI
  • Dec - where did the year go ??? here we are AGAIN — an end of year post-Christmas trip and stops in PA, RI, CT, NJ and back home (finally) 

And, if you have read any of our posts during the past year — 296 excluding this final post, you know that we have shared these adventures with you, our blogging friends. It's been fun for us AND we appreciate your visits and especially your comments on our posts — Thank you.

NO, NO, NO this is not a swan song — we are NOT leaving, except (hopefully) on more road trips in 2013, although we WOULD like to leave the VA eastern shore when our home sells. Several bloggers have called it quits this year; others are on temporary hiatus for various reasons. We miss them and wish them all the best.

This is WHY we plan to relocate to NH and play in the snow, grandkids.

Ellie Bobby snow123012

Happy New Year

Sunday, December 30, 2012

For the Birds or Going Nuts?

There’s been a lot of colorful activity at the F&P feeders thisIMG_7398 past week, due to an added holiday treat — pecans. No, I didn’t buy these for the birds, they were “rejects” from my shelling the past couple of weeks. Smaller pieces were saved and added to the feeder daily — much to the birds delight.

Visitors have included the blues brothers (or sisters?)Blue Jay solo collageBlue Jay CollageThis is the time to see red as in cardinals – male and female
Cardinals Male collageCardinals Female collageCardinals M-F collageOther visitors have included — juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, sparrows and lots of finches.Assorted Birds collageFinches collageAnd, a non-feathered spectator . . .IMG_7052

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cards We Got Cards

If you are old young enough to remember the Perry Como Show * from years ago, there was a segment of the show with the intro:

Letters, we get letters, We get stacks an' stacks of letters . . .

Dear Perry, would you be so kind, to fill a request, And sing the song I like best ?

OK, we won’t sing for you, believe me it would not be melodious. But we do want to THANK folks for the stack of cards, photos and letters we received at Christmas.

The Christmas letters were enclosed in cards. These samplesXmas cards (24) below are purposely out of focus to protect the guilty, whoops senders). One sender described their dog’s medical problems this past year — in great detail too, more then we needed (or wanted) to know. Needless to say, it was a very unusual holiday message. Other letters were more traditional in describing the accomplishments of family members over the past 12 months.

Mostly we got cards from family, friends, and many fellow bloggers. Some were in the form of a photo card . . .

Xmas cards (17)Xmas cards (9)

Some featured family photos. Others included holiday favorites — Santa, trains and penguins, snowmen . . .

Xmas cards (3)Xmas Card collage12

The cards are all displayed in our living room, where we enjoy looking at them daily. THANKS to everyone who took the time to write and send us a holiday greeting or photo. Grenville and I appreciated and enjoyed your holiday wishes and send our best to ALL of you in return.

Happy New Year !

* The Perry Como Show was a musical/variety show that aired 117 episodes from 1950-1966. It began as a 30-minute program, later expanded to 60 minutes. The show featured performances by the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers. It was later retitled Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

cookies holiday (4)Holiday baking at The Frog & PenguINN has included several varieties of Grenville’s chocolate chip cookies, and a couple batches of banana-blueberry yogurt muffins. And, this 1216 Banana muffins (1) week, our kitchen has been filled with the aroma of homemade banana bread as several loaves baked in the oven. Not only is this bread SO easy to make, there’s lots of variations possible with added ingredients as I found when doing an online recipe search. It’s GREAT with a cup of morning coffee (afternoon or evening too) OR a glass of cold milk; hot chocolate goes well too.

The recipe below is from the King Arthur whole wheat flour bag. We visited the King Arthur Baking Education Center in Norwich, VT this year. This place is a baker’s (and shopper’s)delight featuring a retail store, baking education center, and state-of-the-art bakery where you can watch bakers at work. There’s also a large eat-in cafĂ© with sweet treats for sale (sorry, no free samples).

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

You do NOT have to mix the two flours, and can use only white flour if you prefer. This version may be a bit healthier, at least it would be nice to think so, don’t you think?.

  • 2 C very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ C vegetable oil
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 TBSP milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C King Arthur whole wheat flour
  • 1 C King Arthur unbleached all-purpose white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ C chopped walnuts OR pecans
  • 2 TBSP  sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan OR spray the bottom with cooking spray.

  1. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add oil, sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla and stir to combine.
  2. Mix in the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chopped nuts. Scrape bottom and sides of the bowl to thoroughly combine ingredients. (NOTE: Be careful not to over mix.)
  3. Transfer batter into prepared pan. Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter. 1227 banana bread (1)
  4. Bake in preheated oven for about 60 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then tip out of the pan, transfer to a rack to cool. (NOTE: Bread could be hard to remove if left sitting in pan too long.)

ADD-INS – include WITH the bananas (or not):

  • 1/2 C plain (or vanilla) yogurt or 1/2 C sour cream (not both)
  • 1 C chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C baking cocoa
  • 1/2 - 3/4 C blueberries (coating in flour helps prevent them from sinking in batter) 1222 whole wheat banana bread (5) ENJOY — if you are in the neighborhood stop in for a piece.
    Drop-in friends always welcome; back door ones are the best.

Friday Funnies

Signs of the holidays — past and future . . .

signs collageEarly this week, the local CVS store featured these items . . .

xmas display collageOn Dec 26, this display was featured . . .

1227 V-day  collageEaster will be featured next . . .  it’s coming on March 31, 2013.

WOW  — the last Friday Funny of the year. It’s been GREAT fun looking for absurd and/or silly things all around to share here.  
Thanks for the comments; hope you smiled or laughed — or BOTH.

Life is full of humor as quoted below:

The secret to humor is surprise. (Aristotle)

When humor goes, there goes civilization. (Erma Bombeck)

Humor is just another defense against the universe. (Mel Brooks)

There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor and we are funny to God. (Bill Cosby)

Start every day off with a smile and get it over with. (WC Fields)

Humor is mankind's greatest blessing. (Mark Twain)

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it. (E. B. White)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Grand Christmas

Christmas has come and gone in a single 24-hours. Preparations that began so many weeks ahead are over as well. We hope that your memories of time with family and friends lasts into the New Year.

We didn't visit the grandkids at Christmas, but will see them next week. Their mom emailed photos of grandson in his “handsome” clothes (his words) and granddaughter.1212 Bobby-Ellie Xmas1212 Ellie Xmas collage

The first photo in this collage was our favorite.

1212 Ellie gifts

We saw and heard both in a Christmas morning video call, even if we didn’t understand granddaughter’s conversation. It's not the same as being there, but still pretty great.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Will there be an empty stocking at your house?

Most of you know about our tradition here at the Frog & PenguINN of watching a Christmas movie almost every night from Thanksgiving till Christmas. And if you check out the side bar you'll see some of our favorites. Of course not every holiday movie is a favorite, and thats where "The Bishops Wife" fell for me over the years. But this year it seemed to hit me a little differently. Over the past few years i've added a line to our Christmas dinner blessing by closing with  "Happy Birthday Jesus". Sometimes i would get funny looks but it just felt right.

Alabama has a wonderful song on their first Christmas album called "Joseph and Mary's Boy". The chorus goes:

Who's the one we need to thanks
Who's the party for
Who's the one responsible for all this peace and joy
Who deserves the credit for the blessings we enjoy
Preacher said last Sunday it was Joseph and Mary's boy.

So what does this have to do with the movie???? Maybe as we get older ( better i hope) we take the time to look a little deeper at things. Thats what happened this year watching "The Bishop's Wife". I won't give away the whole plot but in the end the bishop remembers what Christmas really means. He sums it all up in his Christmas Eve Sermon given at his first small church.

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe.

For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. Its his birthday we're celebrating. Don't let us ever forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shinning gifts that make peace on earth.

Happy Birthday Jesus, AND Merry Christmas to all from Grenville & Beatrice.

Christmas Eve 2012

Ah yes….. its Christmas Eve. The big day is just around the corner. Part of me is all excited saying "what took it so long to get here?" the other side is saying "Wait a minute,,, wasn't Thanksgiving just yesterday???? Where did the time fly?????"

Christmas Eve was a big deal at my house when i was a kid. We lived in Northern New Jersey. Right across the river from NYC. Back then FM radio hadn't caught on, and there was no such thing as Internet or satellite radio ( in fact satellite wasn't  even in the vocabulary)  so everyone listened to AM radio. Now my mother was a true music fanatic. No, she didn't play an instrument, unless of course you consider the radio one. I remember that kitchen radio went on at 7AM when she got up and didn't go off till 11PM when she went to bed. Back then, except for school closing due to snow, the only station on our radio dial was WNEW, 1130 on your AM dial. This was where the music of one of America's greatest eras lived. Music from the 30's and 40's. The BIG  band sound, the Swing place. Home of the crooners, balladeers, voices that are still the standard today.

Banner for website with border copy2BUT Thats not all…. WNEW had broken new ground since its inception. They were one of the first stations to have 'disc jockeys'  that played records between shows, had they're own News Team, and still did live broadcasts from places like the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria. Remind me someday and i'll tell ya more, BUT today is Christmas Eve and I'm  drifting back to Christmas Eves past. 

Like everyday, that radio in our kitchen went on at 7am. Klavin and Finch yucked it up till 10. Then more music and stuff with Ted Brown. The hours seemed to K F Billboardstretch out to120 minutes long. I mean really, how much of this could a kid endure? Where was the Christmas Magic? Couldn't an hour be just 30 minutes? Maybe even 15? FINALY it was noon. Twelve o'clock high. It was officially Christmas Eve. 

Now Christmas Season at my house started back on December 15. That was the day my father started setting up the Lionel Trains. This was no small oval. No sir. This layout had been growing since my father was a kid and got bigger every year. Of course living one town away from the Lionel Train Factory probably helped a little. As a kid, our dining room was huge. In reality it was about 8 feet by 12 feet. And it wasn't really a separate room, but more like a pass-through room. You had to go through the dining room to get to either the kitchen or the living room. We seldom ate in it since the kitchen table was closer to everything. But every December 15th  most of the floor began getting covered with tracks, buildings, mountains, and Lionel trains. Yep!!! That was the start of the Christmas season.

BUT Christmas Eve was special. It was the start of the Christmas Celebration. And it all started at twelve o'clock high noon. That's when WNEW, 1130 on your AM Dial began playing Christmas Carols. Almost none stop for the next 36 glorious hours. Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride, You Better Watch Out, Rudolph… AHHHH Christmas Eve…Sugar Cookies baking, Eggnog ready for sipping, and the great voices of a by gone era singing Christmas Carols on the radio. My mother and I singing along with Sinatra, Crosby, Sara and Ella, Eartha and her list to Santa. Life was good!!!!


And now it's 2012. Its Christmas Eve. WNEW has been gone for over 20 years. BUT the tradition of Christmas Carols has endured. This year, though, i didn't have to wait till today. Pandora Radio on the internet started the Carols a week before Thanksgiving. And try as i may i couldn't resist tuning in early. The music of Christmas has been filling the Frog & PenguINN every day. Sometimes jazz carols, sometimes swing carols, and sometimes (like now) classical carols. There are no sugar cookies baking today, Bread and more Chocolate Chips are scheduled for later. But i think i'll share the wonderful music of Christmas with the neighbors this afternoon by turning on the outside speakers. If you drive by, slow down and take a listen. You might even want to sing a verse as you head on.

Happy Christmas Eve…. Grenville (Wishing for a White Christmas)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sweet Nutty Treats

Recently, I posted about shelling pecans — and have1222 roasted pecans (1) shelled a LOT of pecans. Gift bags have been made up for family and friends the past couple of weeks. While shelling takes time,  entertainment has been provided by activity at the bird feeders visible from our kitchen windows. There’s been a lot of colorful drop-in visitors, especially cardinals and friends. Maybe it has something to do with those shelled pecans added to the feeder?

Dec birds collage1There’s a LOT of unshelled pecans left to do, courtesy of our neighbor’s tree and another friend’s two trees. The pecans are offered gratis, self-harvesting is all that’s required. Pecans are recognized as a Southern treat, and at nearly $10/lb. are a costly one as well. After Christmas, I’ll go back to pecan shelling and freeze them for use in any recipe that uses nuts (and even some that don’t). FREE is a very good wonderful thing and a real money saver!

Pecans are a treat anytime, especially sweet roasted at holiday time. Here’s my version, adapted from several recipes. 

Cinnamon Roasted Pecans

An online version of this recipe used 2 cups of only white sugar, I reduced the amount to 1 cup, split between white and brown sugars. Also, if using less than 2 lbs. of pecans, just half the ingredients.

  • 2 lbs pecan halves
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • dash of ground cloves
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP water

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly grease rimmed baking sheet.

  1. Blend sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves in bowl.1222 roasted pecans (4)
  2. Whip egg whites, water, vanilla in large bowl until fluffy.
  3. Fold pecans into egg mixture and toss gently to coat.
  4. Slowly add in sugar mix, toss with robber spatula to coat.
  5. Spread pecans evenly on sheet. Place in middle of oven and bake for 15 minutes, then stir pecans with spatula. Stir every 15 minutes until pecans are no longer wet – about 1 hour.
  6. Cool and then store in airtight container. (IF you can refrain from sampling them.)

1222 roasted pecans (8)According to Grenville, the official Frog & PenguINN taste-tester, this recipe is definitely “a keeper.”

Now, we have to make sure that friends coming for Christmas Eve / Christmas Day dinner get to enjoy some since they are so very addictively good.

For those, who prefer toasting pecans without sugar, here’s another variation, which is even easier.

Easy Roasted Pecan Halves

  • 1 lb pecan halves
  • 4 TBSP salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

  1. Place pecans on cookie sheet and spread evenly.
  2. Break pieces of butter into small pieces and scatter on pecan halves. Sprinkle salt on pecans.
  3. Bake 10 minutes. Stir gently, turn pieces as stirring. Cook another 10 minutes; make sure pecans do not over-brown.
  4. Remove and cool before storing.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Funnies

If you can’t get around, then go under . . .

1212 going under (1)That’s NOT what happened  but it almost looks like that SUV passed under this farm sprayer travelling on Rte. 13 here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Yeppers, its winter Solstice again. Time to celebrate the changing of the year from old to new. WHAT!!!! you don't follow the Ancient's Agronomic Calendar???? Well not many folks do anymore. At best they might remember this is the shortest day of the year. And then only if the TV news slips it in between war and doomsday coverage. 

For the Ancient Celtic's this would be the beginning of their growing season. Time to plan what and where to grow their crops for next year. Even the Mayan's would be celebrating the beginning of another year by turning the calendar. At least that seems to be what modern day Mayan's are doing.

If the weather hold out, tomorrow we will go up to a spot on Mutton Hunk Fen Preserve that holds a special spot in ancient history. We are lucky enough to haveOptimumfieldbearings one of the Carolina Bays on the preserve. These bays were formed about 140,000 years ago due to some sort of meteoric impact with the earth near todays Saginaw Michigan. Back then the northern half of the US was in the middle of an ice age. Michigan was covered with anywhere from 1 to 2 miles of ice known as the Wisconsin Ice Sheet. Whatever it was that hit the earth came in at a very low angle.  This object came through the atmosphere fast and was really really hot. It hits this huge block of really really cold ice. The explosion must have been tremendous. Most of the ejecta (big word for fragments of the object) flew in a general South West direction. When they finally hit the ground they slide making a tear shaped impression. An impression that usually points back to Saginaw. Some of the ejecta must have been pretty big. Our Carolina Bay is approximately 5 acre in size.

I have no idea whether there is any historic or mystical significance to this site, and it doesn't really matter. Mutton Hunk is a place that is truly unique. It was rescued from development, and is being allowed to return to its natural state. I hope you'll take a moment today to find a spot outside in nature, and take a moment to enjoy the rhythms of our earth.

Happy Solstice……Grenville

Recovery Report

A short Recovery Report from the Futon

Grenville 1214  3 thumb 6
{FUTON: Noun- A place where Grenvilles are often found, sometimes hiding under nankies. Usually in a horizontal position, with eyelids closed.}
Thanks to all for the well wishes. Chicken soup and futon therapy has been working well. And of course Princess hugs.

This is one of those 'hanger oners" of a cold. Your not really feeling bad, but not feeling good. Runny nose sometimes, and sort of achy, and sort of cough, and always ready for a nap. Of course that last one seems to be a chronic condition, possible inherited!!!!!

The goal now is to be well for Christmas, since we are having friends over on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As always we will put on a Gastronomical Bacchanalia  of taste tempting treats such as a giant AntePasta, single fried oysters (an Eastern Shore staple for Christmas), and Princess Lasagna. But more on that later.

Don't forget, Tomorrow is Winter Solstice. Shortest day of the lunar year. New Years for the Ancients. From here on our days will be getting longer until Sumer Solstice in June. If you have a chance get outside and celebrate the beginning of a New Year, and all of the great possibilities it holds.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Books, Cheeses, Wreath & Pecans

IF you’re wondering (or maybe not) WHAT these items have in common — ALL are connected with Christmas (really).

The books are holiday-themed reads selected at random from the library where I volunteer regularly, re-shelving books. IT gives me a chance to “find” books that I might not have selected to read. xmas reads (5)
The only author I’ve read in this group is Patterson who writes with so many co-authors that it’s like reading different ones each time. The remaining books are first-time reads by these authors. What’s great about reading a holiday book is that it’s usually not one in a series. Not sure HOW many I’ll read — 2 so far, but as the return date is mid-January, there’s still lots of time.

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson & Richard DiLallo — a widow (Gaby Summerhill) decides to re-marry on Christmas Day at her Massachusetts farm. But the bride's choice of a groom is a mystery as she won't tell her family or even her potential husband, one of three suitors who have proposed. Gaby decides,then sends a DVD to her four adult children inviting them to attend. She is sure the mystery will bring them home for the holiday.
A Covington Christmas by Joan Medlicott — the new pastor at the Cove Road Church in Covington learns that a former pastor (from 40 years ago) was not an ordained minister, and not qualified to marry people. This means that the longstanding marriages of five congregants are invalid and it’s decided the couples will remarry on Christmas Eve. The church needs repairs and funds are lacking; can it be fixed in time? 
Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanna Fluke — Cookie store owner Hannah Swensen finds her neighbor with his head bashed in and sprawled on the floor of his condo near an upended box of Hannah's Gingerbread Cookies. She discovers a list of potential murder suspects as long as her holiday shopping list.
Fellow blogger, Rebecca, Shenandoah Gateway Farm, is a big fan of Ms. Fluke’s mysteries, which are titled after desserts AND contain cookie and dessert recipes. Check out the Lovely Lemon Bar Cookies recipe posted on Rebecca’s blog, as well as other tasty recipes.
Tidings of Great Joy by Sandra Brown — Architect Ria Lavender is enjoying her success when at a Christmas party, she meets handsome, charming Mayor-Elect Taylor MacKensie. Ria never imagines that they will leave the party together and get caught up in the magic of a snowfall and champagne that results in her becoming pregnant. She persuades Taylor to marry her (temporarily to give the baby a name, then falls in love with him. She fears his prime concern is protecting his career and vows to keep her distance; unforeseen events teach them both a lesson in miracles and love.
An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor — Dr. Barry Laverty is looking forward to his first Christmas in the village of Ballybucklebo, but learns that his sweetheart might not be coming home for the holidays. He has little time to dwell on his disappointment as he and his senior partner deal with an occasional medical emergency, seasonal ills, and new competition in the form of a patient-poaching physician whose quackery threatens the townspeople’s health. The two doctors play Santa to a struggling single mother who has a sick child and no money. (This is the largest book to be read last.)cheese gift (7)

THESE cheeses (all 3) are from friends, Barbara and John, who live in the other VA near Washington, DC. This holiday treat, which has been arriving for the past several years, is MUCH appreciated and enjoyed. Barbara is a long-time online friend (pre-blogging). We have only met once, yet not only do we receive this holiday treat, but they refuse any in return (we have tried). Barbara told me that our Friendship is her most important gift.

pine wreath (2)This wreath hangs on our front door, a handmade gift from a new neighbor, Angie, and made from assorted pinecones and pecans, locally gathered. It’s a lovely adornment and also much appreciated, but Angie told us it would not be a “keeper” because of the natural materials.

THIS week, I have been busy preparing gifts — pecans. They are always the perfect size and color and enjoyed by many !pecan shellingHow about YOU — Surprises Received and/or Planned ?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Loss for Words

Like people worldwide, we are deeply saddened by the senseless violence in a Newton, CT elementary school this week. Even more heartbreaking is learning that these so young victims were first-graders between 6-7 years of age. And, that the adults who died did so trying to protect even more children.candles9 0105

These times try not only our souls, but truly our minds and especially  our hearts.

Hug your loved children, grandchildren and others. If they are not near, call  or write — and perhaps do it more often than before. Time is far too short; memories may need to last longer than we know.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Cold Cures: Chicken & Cookies

Grenville 1214 (3)
Left out another C — vitamin C (but that would have made a really long post title).

Grenville has been dealing with  a pre-holiday cold this week complete with drippy nose, clogged ear drums and coughs. Yesterday, he donned his most comfortable sweatshirt and gave in to a (very long) daytime nap. Doesn’t he look comfy stretched out on the futon?

Using  the remains of last night’s dinner, a store-bought rotisserie1214 chicken soup (2) chicken, I made a timeless old-fashioned remedyChicken Soup. There are lots of recipes around, but in the past few years, I haven’t followed any specific one. It seems (to me) that making chicken soup is nearly foolproof. And while I have followed cookbook and internet recipes, now I wing it. No pun intended, not even a fowl joke (whoops).

1214 chicken soup (6)

So, without listing any exact measurements, here’s MOST of the main ingredients (others can be added): chicken carcass with meat left on, carrots, celery, onion, salt pepper, bouillon (cube or powder), low-sodium chicken broth. Other added spices included parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (just like the song, a great memory jogger). My seasoning choice was this mixture sent by blog friend, Tammy, Sweet Southern Happiness. THANKS!
1214 chicken soup (5)Place carcass in large pot, cover with water (6-8 cups), add sliced onion, celery leaves, bouillon, and seasonings. Let come to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until meat falls off bones. Remove carcass, cool before cleaning off chicken. Add large carton of chicken broth and can of beef broth OR just use only chicken broth (personal choice here).
While waiting for pot to boil, peel and cut up 3-4 carrots1214 chicken soup (3) and celery stalks (more or less as you prefer). Add to the pot with the reserved chicken. If needed, you can add any leftover chicken from last night’s dinner (we had some). Cook on low heat until veggies are softened AND add other veggies of your choice — corn, string beans, peas, etc. MY choice was frozen corn and scallions.
1214 chicken soup (8)

Final step, add pasta or rice (your choice OR not) and cook directly in soup. We prefer orzo, a short-cut pasta shaped like a large grain of rice.

Serve with a salad and/or fresh bread (Grenville baked a loaf yesterday). ENJOY even if you (hopefully) don’t have a cold.

And, the COOKIE Cure are these chocolate, chocolate chip mint and butterscotch chip cookies that Grenville baked the other day.cookies holiday (5)YES, he told me that they made him feel better.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Funnies

Stuck in holiday traffic ???

road stop2Gotta Go ???

Problem is HOW to stop these porta-potties on the run.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Banana-Walnut & Yogurt Muffins

Weather on the VA eastern shore this week has been damp and1212 banana yogurt miffins (1) overcast most days — so trying a new (for us) muffin recipe was a great (better than good) thing to do for breakfast. My  search was for a recipe using wheat flour, bananas and yogurt. There are lots of ones online; this one is a combination of a couple of those.

What I LIKE about about muffin recipes is that you just combine ingredients; there’s no need to drag out a stand or hand mixer. AND,  I used the Texas size, as in LARGE, muffin tins, as we donated the smaller ones  we used to own. SO we had 6 LARGE muffins with this recipe. It will make 12 muffins, using the smaller tins.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, before starting.

Banana-Walnut & Yogurt Muffins

  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 C white flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 C non-fat vanilla yogurt (or low fat plain – add vanilla)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP low fat milk (or whatever you have available)
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe bananas (chopped)
  • 1/2 chopped walnuts (pecans if you prefer)
  1. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon.
  2. In separate bowl, combine yogurt, egg, milk, and oil.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix, BUT don’t mix.1212 banana yogurt miffins (2)
  4. Stir in bananas (add chopped nuts or other fruits if using).
  5. Scoop batter in tins.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Check for doneness when toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack, then pour a cup of fresh coffee, spread some cream cheese or butter and ENJOY !

1212 banana yogurt miffins (3)1212 banana yogurt miffins (6)

A FEW Variations / Additions

  • Use a combo of white & brown sugar OR use only brown
  • Add MORE vanilla flavoring (especially using plain yogurt)
  • Add semi-sweet chocolate chips OR peanut butter chips.
  • Add nutmeg OR more cinnamon.