Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ Branches and Me

This meme, all the way from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is just too fun to resist! Hey Harriett hosts a weekly shadow search and shoot "that capture the play between light & shadow".
With morning just breaking over a light covering of snow I caught a few shots before the shadows vanished from the cloud cover.
The sun peeked out just long enough to see the silhouette of a dormant lilac bush on the shed doors.
Trying not to get in the way I realized I was making my own rather interesting shadow!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Daily Blessings

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path
Psalm 119:105

Did you notice?

Way down there on my side bar?

I added a two new links that I use daily.
I decided to read (and Listen) through the Bible this year.
I skipped last year and missed it.

It only takes 12 1/2 to 15 minutes each day.

I am following the Straight Through plan
but other options are
Chronological
and
Old and New Testament Parallel

I Click on the Audio Bible link

and open the Bible Passage Look-Up in a new tab
(You might just want to listen)

then
read along as I listen to Max McLean narrate the days chapters.

It's never too late to join in
You'll be blessed ~ guaranteed!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Show & Tell Friday ~ Photographing Crystal~

For the longest time I've wanted to frame photographs of crystal pieces that belonged to my husbands family. I have been working at capturing the sparkle and detail of these beautiful pieces but have not been able to achieve the results I want. It is a lot trickier than it looks getting good shots!

I would be thrilled for any advice you talented photographers out there would share with me.

This pretty little jam/condiment jar is not old but sweet as ever. It was a gift to my MIL from her sister, Elsie as a souvenir from a trip to Florida in 1973.
This lovely wine glass came from my husbands grandparents. There were six of these beautiful stemmed goblets, but I broke one last Christmas while washing it.
I love using and enjoying my treasures instead of just looking at them in the china cabinet but now I am very reluctant for fear of losing another one.
The size of this pitcher is not conveyed in this photograph. It is large and so heavy I need two hands to pour from it. It is flat and lackluster in this photo and I really wish I knew how to bring it to life and show its true elegance.

I have some more pieces I want to photograph then place in black frames and hang in my foyer. Decorative and sentimental!
Stop by and visit with Cindy @ My Romantic Home to see the terrific Show & Tell Friday posts! And, better, yet ~ share something from your home!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lasagna Spirals

Here is a recipe that I really like... Easy to prepare, relatively inexpensive (when cheeses are on sale), containing dark leafy-green veggies and not bad on the calorie count (when made with low-fat ingredients).

Pretty enough for company. Comforting for anytime.
After combining filling ingredients, spread on lasagna noodle.
Roll up ~ aren't they cute little bundles?
Cover with sauce and bake!

Lasagna Spirals
(recipe from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 10 wide lasagna noodles
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and drained (I use 1 pkg. spinach)
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse.
  3. In a large bowl combine broccoli, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, green onions, basil and nutmeg.
  4. Spread about 1/2 cup of the broccoli mixture along each noodle. Roll noodles to form spirals. Place in prepared dish. Spoon spaghetti sauce on and around spirals, and top with Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 298 | Total Fat: 10.1g | Cholesterol: 29mg

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday ~ The Bridge Builder

This quaint bridge is one of only two in-service, still standing covered bridges in New Jersey. At one time there were over 75 covered bridges in New Jersey but now only two remain. One is in north Jersey Hunterdon County and this one, just the next town over from us, in Cherry Hill.
It was designed by architect Malcolm Wells and built across the Cooper River's north branch by homebuilder Bob Scarborough
We took the opportunity this very cold but sunny day to drive by and take some pictures.
Scarborough Covered Bridge is located on Covered Bridge Road. It is in the residential community of Cherry Hill's Barclay Farm neighborhood.
There is a small park on the northeast side of the bridge which spans the north fork of the Cooper River.A few shots of the stream below the bridge. Though it doesn't show, the water was moving rather briskly.


(following from sources here and here) It was Wells' idea to employ the Town truss as he wanted to copy or emulate the covered bridges he saw in Bucks County, PA. This bridge has an incomplete A-frame and diagonal braces over the pedestrian walkway. The bridge is 55 feet long and located in the middle of one of our oldest neighborhoods in Cherry Hill.

In 1959, Bob Scarborough was developing housing on the Barclay Farmstead, and wanted to extend the subdivision street system over the North Fork of Cooper River, a small creek at the site. A lover of the Bucks County Covered Bridges, Scarborough decided to have a covered bridge for the purpose, and commissioned architect Malcolm Wells to design the bridge. It was dedicated on Saturday, February 14th, 1959. The bridge was renovated in 1993 and rededicated on its 34th anniversary.
In need of a good scrubbing, this plaque pictured above, shows a newspaper article of the bridge under construction back in 1958.
The bridge was dedicated on Valentine's Day in 1959 as 101 couples kissed to mark the tradition of the Kissing or Friendship Bridge.
Had we been here a couple of weeks ago we would have gotten shots like the one below. (Source)
Here is how the bridge looks in the summer. Source

The Bridge Builder

Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,

To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;

The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;

You never again must pass this way;

You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,

"There followeth after me today

A youth, whose feet must pass this way."

"This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

Joining Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

TWD ~ Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake

Celebrating a two year anniversary of launching her blog Tuesdays with Dorie, our host, Laurie, picked a couple of recipes for us to try. I chose the Cocoa-Buttermilk Cake but with a lighter whipped cream topping rather than the suggested Chocolate-Malt Buttercream frosting.
For the Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)

For the Chocolate-Malt Buttercream

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted, butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake: Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs one at a time, then the yolks one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and, if you want, add the melted chocolate, folding it in with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the cake pans.

Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (Once the layers are cooled, they can be wrapped airtight and left at room temperature overnight or kept frozen for up to 2 months.)

To Make the Buttercream: Melt the chocolate with half the brown sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the malt powder and cocoa together in a small bowl, pour over 3 tablespoons of the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Whisking the melted chocolate gently, gradually pour in the hot malt-cocoa mixture and stir to blend—it should be dark, smooth and glossy; set aside.

Working with the stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes more, until well blended. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract, then reduce the mixer speed to low. Scrape in the chocolate mixture and mix until smooth. Still working on low speed, gradually add the confectioners' sugar. When all the sugar is in, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for a couple of minutes. Lower the speed and add the remaining tablespoon of boiling water, then increase the speed and give the frosting another quick spin. It will be light and should be thick enough to use immediately. If it doesn't hold its shape, beat it just a bit more.

To Assemble the Cake: Place one layer top side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Frost the top of the layer, and cover with the second layer, top side down. Frost the sides and top of the cake, either smoothing the buttercream for a sleek look or using a spatula, knife or spoon to swirl it for a more exuberant look.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour (or for up to 1 day, if that's more convenient) to set the frosting, then bring it to room temperature before serving.

Dories alternative suggestion of coffee flavored whipped cream was delicious!

Coffee Whipped Cream recipe:

1 cup very cold heavy cream
1-4 Tbs confectioners' sugar (to taste), sifted
Coffee extract made by dissolving 1-2 Tablespoons instant coffee or espresso powder in an equal amount of boiling water and allowed to cool.
Directions:
With mixer and the whisk attachment, beat the cream and sugar together. When the cream is almost whipped, beat in some or all of the coffee extract.


Tuesdays with Dorie

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mosaic Monday ~ A year of Flowers

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever
Isaiah 40:8

Joining Mary of Little Red House for Mosaic Monday!

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