Sunday, October 19, 2014


We took a bit of a road trip, the longest the kayaks have ever been from home, down to Upper Pleasant Valley Wildlife Management Area and Tygart Lake. It was uncharted territory for us and a nice departure from the usual scenery. The foliage was just perfect. 

We paddled all around the pond for a while, spooked out a family of red winged blackbirds, paddled up the creek and through the cow pasture until a downed tree across the creek prohibited further passage. 

We were entertained by an osprey that kept screeching from its perch and diving into the pond for a snack. It was fascinating to watch, and something we'd never witnessed before. That's him/her in the photo above. 

Tonight we are expecting our first frost. The temp is already 36F so I am confident we will get a good one. It is late coming, I feel, and as beautiful as this fall has been, I think I am about ready for putting the garden to bed. Ah. I should go clip some fresh cilantro first, though. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Moving too fast

corned beef :: cookies for breakfast :: spoon bread

Didn't I just post yesterday what happened in the kitchen last week... wasn't yesterday Thursday? Isn't today Friday? How does the grass need mowing again so soon? What happened to the weekend?

Whew! Like is flying by at a break-neck speed for us. I don't even know what we ate this week but I know my fridge is chock-full of leftovers, so we must not have starved. I made squash casserole, more couscous, a for-real corned beef (for the first time), lots of salad, and who knows what else.

Like I've mentioned in previous posts this fall, I'm on a bit of a corn/cornmeal kick. I was flipping through the Nero Wolfe Cookbook and was surprised to see a recipe, which I've always considered pretty humble food, in such a gourmet cookbook. Then I was in an antiques store and found an old ladies auxiliary cookbook from Monticello that probably has four different ones.

Consider this week one of the spoon bread cook-off. This picture was the Three Eggs and Boiled Milk recipe from the Nero Wolfe Cookbook (there was an option with fewer eggs).

Spoonbread #1 
from The Nero Wolfe Cookbook

5 Tbsp butter, melted
1 c. white cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 c. boiling water
1 c. milk
3 large eggs, beaten
1/3 c raisins, soaked in Kirschwasser (brandy) (optional)

Add boiling water to cornmeal and salt, mix and let sit for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425F. Bring milk to just a boil then remove from heat and stir, carefully, into cornmeal mixture. Temper eggs with some of the cornmeal mixture, adding remaining eggs a little bit at a time back into main bowl. Stir in melted butter and raisins (if using) and pour mixture into buttered baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top and set through. Serve with maple syrup and or cream and currant jelly.

Observations: This spoonbread bakes up like a cornmeal soufflé, which is a bit different than I am used to. It was delicious straight out of the oven, albeit a bit eggy in the way that a clafoutis or a cream puff can be eggy. For that reason, I wish that I had used the raisins, or dried cherries, and had it for breakfast. It was excellent with the maple syrup and really had a melt-in-your-mouth sort of texture. In the future, I will plan it as a brunch option instead and perhaps, in lieu of raisins, add grated cheese instead.

Play along by sharing what's in your kitchen at Beauty That Moves.

PS, I went back to work this week part time as an admin. asst. for a local church. I like the work but it takes a chunk out of my routine!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cut card

I was bumbling through Pinterest one day not too long ago and found a pin that looked interesting - it was about block carving. I sent it to Julian (on his computer, across the living room, sheesh) and he liked it too.  A little bit of research and a mini shopping spree later, and we spent one night last week coming up with our Christmas card print for this year.

We've never done anything like this before, but I thought there was no sense jumping off the deep end without a reason, so I hatched the homemade card plan and got to work. We bought the speedball starter kit and Julian said if I would draw something out, he would carve it (isn't it nice to be good at different things?). I found inspiration in the words of silent night, my least favorite Christmas song, so that's pretty ironic.  Since this was our first endeavor with block printing, I wanted something simple, and the idea of calmness came to mind. All is calm, all is bright.

Don't you just love it? We've got ink and a brayer on order, so we've not had a chance to experiment with the actual printmaking part. Can't wait for the next step!

Keep calm and craft on with Frontier Dreams