Monday, March 30, 2015

H11 Piercing Rays Complete

Only 13 more to go since I completed this one tonight.  Only the tough ones are left.  Even though the center doesn't match up perfectly, I blame Kracken, I am happy with it over all.  Why do I blame the cat?  He was all up in my business while I was sewing, going back and forth between me and my sewing machine demanding, my attention and he pressed my seam allowance button.  Some of the pieces were sewn at a 3.5 which is 1/4 inch, but some at 2.5.   I didn't realize what had happened, thus the points don't match.

H11 Piercing Rays
Now another row is complete.  To see the graph of all my completed blocks click here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Slow Decline Quickly

I take a lot of photos.  A lot.  Most have purpose, but sometimes I just shoot a picture of something random that makes me happy.  Yesterday while I was out taking pictures of my bluebonnets, I saw this and had to get a picture because it was one of the strangest mushrooms I have seen.

If you have followed me for any length of time you know I love taking pictures of mushrooms.  Blog post Shroooooms! as just one example.  But here's the strange part.  This morning I took out the garbage and noticed that things had changed over night with my mushroom.

Not only had it opened, but it was dripping thick black . . .  stuff.

It looked like oil.

The story doesn't end here.  A few hours later I made another trip to the curb to bring my garbage can back in and found another change had occurred. Of course I had to grab my camera again.

Shrinking, rotting, lovely.

And now, at the end of the day, as I walk past one last time on my way to the neighbor's for dinner, not much remains.  In a mere 30 hours it is finished.

Imagine, I would have missed all this amazing nature if my bluebonnets had not been blooming.

And my dogwood!  So nice to see it recovering after the years of drought and no blooms.

One last spring happy . . . my trumpet vine.  And a little visitor if you look closely.

Love this time of year.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pork Dumplings and Other Yummies

Something that makes me very happy is time spent cooking for a friend.  Especially when they don't mind being my guinea pig for something new I am  trying.  Yesterday it was my friend Janet who joined me for dinner.  

On the menu were Pork Dumplings inspired by my neighbor Lucy.  She picked up some wonton wrappers for me at the Chinese Market in town and I have been anxious to give them a try.

The wrappers were so much easier to work with than the ones I have used from the grocery store.

I made 32 of the little dumplings, cooking up 10 for us to share and flash freezing the rest for another day.

They were paired up with a quick dipping sauce that worked really well, though I wish it  had been a tad bit thicker.

On the side I served a Grilled Asian Chicken Salad and was over all happy with the meal and thrilled with the company.

I have also gotten into mini loaves of bread.  Lately I have made Peach Coconut Banana Bread and Strawberry Bread (I didn't add the glaze) for desserts, but also a couple savory ones like Beer Cheddar with Green Onions (I used Shiner and detoured from the recipe using green onion instead of chives) . . .

 . . . and Carmalized Onion and Spinach Bread with feta and olive oil (I used red onion not yellow and sprinkled the tops with coarse sea salt before baking).

I like them because they are small and I can make 4 from a recipe that would normally be 1.  Now I have several in the freezer to pull out when I have last minute company or to serve with soup or salad.

My Pork Dumplings
1 pound ground pork, uncooked
3/4 c mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 c green onion, sliced then chopped
1 Tbsp seasame oil
3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp fresh ginger root, grated
2 Tbsp soy sauce
32 wonton wrappers

All the ingredients except the wrappers are mixed together in a bowl.  I used my little scoop to spoon about a Tbsp of filling onto one wrapper at a time.  Wet the edges and bring the corners up to seal.  Make sure there is a flat bottom and place it on a  flour dusted plate.  Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.  I put the plate in the freezer, minus the ones I was cooking right away, and once frozen, placed them in a freezer bag.  To cook, heat 2 tsp vegetable oil in a pan.  Place dumplings flat side down and cook for about two minutes.  Check the bottoms for a nice golden color.  If ready, pour in 1/2 cup of water and cover the pan to steam the dumplings for about 4 minutes.  Remove the lid and remove the dumplings.  No need to thaw before cooking.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Playing Detective Isn't Hard

Day two of spring break had me embarrassed to show you the state of my garden.  Or at least, how it looked this morning.  It has been neglected since last summer and the weeds have had made themselves at home.

However, after a day of pulling weeds and planting, I have made some progress.

I decided to start with herbs this year.  I love to cook and fresh herbs make a big difference.

Threw in a few flowers, too.

Since Breck really liked the jalapenos I canned year before last, I planted three bushes this year.

But while taking a break from the garden, I returned to find one of the jalapenos eaten to the ground.

And two of the parsley plants as well.

At first I thought a rabbit may have dug under the fence, but then I saw this.  Doesn't take a true detective to know the deer must like jalapeno and parsley.

When I pulled the weeds, I left four bluebonnet plants that had popped up.  Seemed wrong to yank them out.

But it isn't just my garden sporting spring bluebonnets.  My front yard is covered in mounds of them.

If the size of the leaves is an indication of the health of the plants and the size of the flowers we will get, we are going to have a bumper crop year.

Last year a late frost hindered the flowers.  Hopefully that won't be an issue this year.  Cross your fingers.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I'm Walkin' Into Spiderwebs

Today was the first day of Spring Break for me.  I slept in (if you can call 6:45 sleeping in), had my coffee (took my time and enjoyed it), and after noticing a little fog out the window stepped outside to see what the day would hold.  I found a sight that I have never seen before.

Everything was covered in dewy, moist spiderwebs.

The lacy pearl like strands were everywhere.

There were webs that were quite confusing.

What spider could possibly have made this?  It looks more like a rat's nest of fishing line.

The webs went on and on covering almost 2 acres.

I might not have noticed the display if it had not been for the fog cutting the bright morning light and coating the webs with moisture.

Funny thing, though.  I didn't see a single spider.

 But I know they were there somewhere.

Pretty cool, right?