Thursday, March 31, 2011

Early Morning Deer Sighting

Feeding the deer is no longer legal in our neck of the woods so we are not seeing as many deer as in years past.
We used to feed them corn in a large barrel during the winter months and had a tree near the feeding station that was illuminated with clear Christmas was so much fun to watch the herd gather in the evening and eat their fill and drain our pocketbooks in the process! A group of 15-30 deer per evening can consume a lot of corn!

When I spotted these deer and grabbed the camera it occurred to me that the pictures would not be great due to the early morning fog but I hope you can see them just the same.

There were actually five deer and if you look closely you will probably be able to see four of them...two are standing and between them there are two lying down. The fifth deer is just inside the woods directly behind the deer to the right.

Please look almost in the center of this picture and you can see one of the deer walking away from where I was standing!

Living in the woods never ceases to amaze me!!!

And by the way, this was taken two mornings ago and check the amount of snow...BUT, today it is melting and I have washed some windows and taken the Christmas lights off the ornamental cherry tree!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Frosty Morning

Ben gave me a heads up that I should take my camera (on my way to church) to snap a few ""frosty" pictures by the glad he did!

Thankfully this particular photo shoot didn't take long because it was really cold and the fingers were getting a little chilly to say the least.

The car thermometer read 8 degrees and that surely doesn't feel like spring...but according to our local weatherman the next few days will be up around the mid-forties!

The past several mornings have been quite frosty and I must say that it is beautiful near the Betsie River with the sun just rising.

You can detect the water in this photo that was taken in someone's driveway. The Betsie River dumps into Betsie Lake which then joins Lake Michigan...truly a beautiful area to call home!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Puff Pastry Delights

When I saw this recipe in a Sandra Lee magazine I immediately filed it away in the memory bank, knowing full well that one day it would be just the right token for someone!

As you know, Sandra Lee likes the semi-homemade way of doing recipes!
She surely came up with a great idea for these little pastries, they are delicious!

Don't worry, Sandra would never have you make your own puff pastry...Pepperidge Farm to the rescue!!!

These little gems are perfect for delivering to someone who is "hurting" or wouldn't they be perfect for a brunch or Easter gathering??? Oh the possibilities, they are endless!

Ben & I saved a couple for ourselves and dolled them up with whipped cream (which we don't need), a blackberry for added color, and a sprinkling of powdered sugar!

Puff Pastry Delights:

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 - 2 bananas, nicely ripened
3 - 4 tablespoons orange or apricot marmalade
3 -4 tablespoons, chopped pistachio's (roasted)
Fresh mint
Whipped cream, if desired
Blackberries, raspberries...for garnish if desired

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the thawed pastry sheet into 9 squares
Place the squares on a baking sheet (I used my silpat)
Very lightly score the tops of pastry with a sharp knife
Bake 10-13 minutes, or until golden
Allow to cool

Combine mascarpone & cream cheese together, slowly adding the powdered sugar.
Cut bananas in slices that will look nice on top of pastries and set aside, briefly.
Carefully spread the cheese mixture on top of pastries and top with banana slices.
Top the bananas with marmalade and sprinkle with pistachio's.
Garnish with mint and whatever suits your fancy!!!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pineapple Strawberry Smoothies

For some unknown reason I have been making smoothies lately and this particular one is a keeper!
The little mat is a paper piecing project that I made and it seemed to be calling to me for a photo-op!

Don't you just love the pink and white paper straws? So many fun items on the market these days!
Pineapple-Strawberry-Banana Smoothies:

6 oz. carton pineapple yogurt
6 oz. carton strawberry yogurt
1/2 cup milk (start with that amount & you may need to add more)
1 cup strawberries, cut in 1/4's and frozen
1 cup pineapple, cut in chunks and frozen
1 large banana, cut in chunks and frozen

Place yogurt's, milk, and about half the fruit in a blender and process until smooth. Add more milk if necessary and the remainder of the fruit, processing until smooth.

Top with a little whipped cream and fruit, along with a cute straw and you have a treat!

This made four generous glasses.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Is It Spring Yet?

Spring officially arrived on Sunday, March 20th and there was very little snow on the ground...just a couple days later a winter storm arrived with vengeance, dumping up to a foot of snow in our surrounding area!

The birds were confused just like we humans...but thankfully there were a few bittersweet berries on the vines that our feathered little friends could dine on.

The Mourning Doves pictured above look to be taking a nap during the storm...they spent most of the day in the ornamental cherry tree which is in a protected area right next to our house.

Hopefully, the weather will improve soon and we can get out our rakes, get the flower beds ready for planting and enjoy packing away our winter gear for another year!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shamrock Smoothies!

To say that these Shamrock Smoothies are delicious is not an exaggeration by any stretch...scrumptious perhaps would be appropriate in describing them.

I jazzed up the original recipe that was in a Midwest Living magazine.
Preparing the smoothies doesn't take long and believe me you will be so pleased that you made them...refreshing to say the least!

Shamrock Smoothies:

1 banana, sliced in 1" chunks
6 Kiwi, peeled and quartered
Place the above prepared fruit on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for approximately 4 hours.

In a blender, combine:
1 cup green grapes, seedless
6 oz. Key Lime yogurt (Yoplait)
1 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp. honey
4 -5 Tbsp. Rum, if desired
1/2 of the frozen fruit
Blend well and then continue adding the remainder of the fruit, blending well after each addition.

I added a few drops of green food coloring and that brightened the mixture beautifully!

Pour into desired vessels and top with whipped cream and a slice of Kiwi or fresh mint and you have a St. Patrick's Day treat!

I am linking to the following:
sassy sites
paisley passions

Sweet & Salty Snack

I stumbled upon this recipe idea at Ask Your Neighbor while searching for snack recipes recently...what did we ever do without search engines???

Their recipe called for cereal along with popcorn and Frito's but no candy other than the white chocolate used to hold the mixture together.

Another change I made was instead of plain popcorn I used white I guess the recipe is yours to modify as you wish...have fun! Seems to me that nuts would be a great addition also.

I thought these party cups were the perfect size for a little snack...or perhaps a large bowl would be more like it if you were watching a movie!!!

Sweet & Salty Snack!

16 oz. white chocolate chips
2 cups Frito's, crushed
8 cups (generous) white cheddar popcorn
12.60 oz. bag M&M's

Combine the Frito's and popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.
Melt white chocolate chips until smooth and pour over the popcorn mixture, add the M&M's and stir until well combined.
Immediately spread mixture onto a large piece of parchment paper and allow to dry.

Would love to know if you can limit yourself to just one little party cup of this heavenly sweet and salty snack!

Quick, easy and children could devour this in no time!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dried Cherry/Orange Muffins

This is a must-try recipe...the combination of dried cherries and orange in a muffin is to die for!
The bread cloth pictured above was made and given to me from a dear friend and I thought it looked like spring with the cross-stitched pansies!
The hot pink daisy is a gift from Maggie :)

I have been making these muffins for many years and sometimes I make regular-sized ones but thought the mini's would be nice for a change!

Looking closely, I hope you can detect a slight glaze on top of the muffin pictured above. When the muffins come out of the tins, you immediately dip the top into a glaze consisting of sugar and orange juice!!! So tasty!!!
I made some of the muffins in regular mini muffin tins and then some in the decorative pans pictured below. The tins came from Olsen-Sayles Gift Shop a number of years ago and they turn out an adorable little bite-sized muffin.

Dried Cherry/Orange Muffins:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
3/4 cup sour cream
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. grated orange rind

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add sour cream alternately with the dry ingredients. Fold in orange rind, dried cherries, and chopped nuts. The batter will be stiff.
Line muffin tins with liners or spray with Baker's Joy and fill 3/4 full with batter.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes depending on size of tin you use.


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice

Stir together and when the muffins are removed from pan, dip into the glaze mixture.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Remembering Joe and Frances

Please let me introduce you to Mr. & Mrs. Joe (Frances) Dunn!
A beautiful couple with hearts of gold!
The above photo was taken by Ben back in 2007 when he was out in California on business. Ben and Joe met through business endeavors and my dream was to one day meet this lovely couple in person. Until then, I chose to correspond
with the Dunn's via snail mail and telephone. Frances and I discovered that we
shared the same birthday and that formed a special bond between us.
Sadly, Frances passed on a few years ago and Joe was determined to continue working at his office and each week he placed a yellow flower at his beloved's resting place.
And speaking of flowers...
this bouquet arrived at my door one day from Joe just because and the tears flowed freely...I called to thank him but really wanted to give him a big hug! Such a sweet man!

The above photo exemplifies their admiration for one another, they loved one another deeply! And they loved their dear family as well!
This photo was taken when Ben visited Joe about a year ago.

After Frances passed on, a package arrived at our home from Joe, containing these precious choir angels that he and Frances purchased in Mexico. I shall treasure them forever and they are a beautiful reminder of Joe and Frances! The two of them are now singing together once again!

Here we have Joe, a proud and happy great grandfather and the boys are surely showing their love of Grandpa Dunn!

This past Friday, February 25, 2011, Joe was called home...I am sure that Frances was waiting with arms stretched wide to welcome him and he no doubt presented her with a yellow flower! Their reunion is blessed with love and they have left a wonderful legacy to their family and friends.

We truly were blessed to share a friendship with Joe & Frances and we offer our love, thoughts, and prayers to the Dunn family! May memories serve to comfort you and please know we loved your Mom & Dad!