Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rolineda up-date

We are still waiting to hear word on our Compassion International little girl, Rolineda from Haiti. Their website up-dated Jan. 29th and listed all the child development centers in Haiti, and categorizes each center as: not directly affected, moderately affected or significantly affected.

Rolineda is in a significantly affected child development center described as:

  • is located within the official “impact zone” as defined by the United Nations and Haitian government
  • has reported deaths or injuries to children
  • has reported significant damage to the church or other facilities
  • has reported significant damage to children’s homes, with many homes destroyed
Above Photo from Compassion International

From Compassion International Blog:
In the significantly affected areas we are searching diligently through the “tent cities” around Port-au-Prince to determine the condition of your children. The only way to do this is through a grassroots, tent-to-tent approach. The process is slow, deliberate and difficult, but it is moving ahead steadily.Praying for Rolineda and her family.

Shadow Shot Sunday

A shadow of our house on our neighbors house from a low-in-the sky sun just
before it set for the evening.
More Shadow Shot Sunday @ Hey Harriet!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Surprise Carrot Cake

I needed to whip up something for Bible study this week so I made a quick browse through my dessert recipe file. I pulled this one from an old Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook because I had all of the ingredients on hand and because it is a really moist and tasty cake. Though I love traditional carrot cake slathered with rich frosting, the "surprise" cream cheese filling in this version is a very nice contrast in taste and texture. The addition of 3 cups of carrots is an added benefit and a dusting of confectioners sugar completes the cake.

1 (8 oz.) pkg. Philadelphia Brand cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 c. flour
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 c. oil
3 eggs, beaten
3 c. carrots, shredded
1/2 c. nuts, chopped

Combine cream cheese, sugar and egg, mixing until well blended. Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients. Add combined oil and eggs, mixing just until moistened. Fold in carrots and nuts. Reserve 2 cups of batter; pour remaining batter into greased and floured 9 inch Bundt pan.

Pour cream cheese mixture over batter; carefully spoon reserved batter over cream cheese mixture, spreading to cover.

Bake at 350 degrees, 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool thoroughly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. 
Serves 12.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A bit of Showin' Off for Show and Tell Friday

When our oldest grandson, Jared was just 9 years old he received his first Rubik's Cube. His Uncle Brad told him about algorithms and gave pointers on how to solve this challenging puzzle. He spent two weeks doing little else but practicing the steps required to solve the puzzle quicker than his uncles. It has been a few years but he can still complete the puzzle
in less than 2 minutes.
He is happy to share his skill with you:

From Wikipedia:
The Rubik's Cube is a 3-D mechanical puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architectural Erno Rubik. Originally called the "Magic Cube", the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toys in 1980 and won the German Game of the Year special award for Best Puzzle that year. As of January 2009, 350 million cubes have sold worldwide making it the world's top-selling puzzle game. It is widely considered to be the world's best-selling toyFor more Show & Tell Friday visit Cindy @ My Romantic Home.

Finished Projects

One for my sweetie's birthday this weekend...
( last years special Birthday)

one for a new little (great) niece...
and one for my furry companion.
This is this Bernat pattern I followed to make Raiders Crochet Dog Sweater:

Dog chest measurement 
 10 ins [25.5 cm] 
Medium 16 ins [40.5 cm] 
Large 24 ins [61 cm] 
XL 30 ins [76 cm]
Bernat Super Value
 (5 oz / 140 g) 
Sizes S (M-L-XL
Main Color (MC) 1 (1-1-1ball 
Contrast A 1 (1-1-1ball
Contrast B 1 (1-1-1ball 
Contrast C 1 (1-1-1ball 
Contrast D 1 (1-1-1ball 
Contrast E 1 (1-1-1ball
Sizes 4 mm (US F) and 4.5 mm (US G) crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge.
14 dc and 8 rows = 4 ins [10 cm] with larger hook.
Stripe Pat
1 row A, 1 row B, 1 row C, 1 row D, 1 row E and 1 row MC. 
Rep last 6 rows for stripe pat throughout.
Neck Ribbing: With MC and smaller hook, ch 8 loosely. 
1st row: 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook. 1 sc in each ch to end of ch. Ch 1. Turn.
2nd row: Working in back loop only of each st, work 1 sc in each st to end of row. Ch 1. Turn. 
Rep last row 30 (46-70-82) times more omitting turning ch at end of last row.
Body: Change to larger hook. 
1st row: (RS). Ch 3 (counts as first dc). Work a further 33 (49-73-85) dc across long edge of neck ribbing. 34 (50-74-86) dc. Join A. Ch 3. Turn. 
Cont in stripe pat as follows: 2nd row: 1 dc in first dc – inc made. 1 dc in each dc to last dc. 2 dc in last dc – inc made. Ch 3. Turn. 
Rep last row 2 (6-10-16) times more. 40 (64-96-120) dc.
Shape Leg Opening: First Side: Next row: Miss first dc. 1 dc in each of next 4 (7- 11-15) dc. 5 (8-12-16) dc. Ch 3. Turn. Leave rem sts unworked. 
Next row: Miss first dc. 1 dc in next dc and each dc to end of row. Ch 3. Turn. 
Rep last row 1 (3-5-5) time(s) more omitting turning ch at end of last row. Fasten off.
Center Section: Next row: With RS facing, miss next 4 (7-9-12) dc, join yarn with ss in next dc. Ch 3. 1 dc in each of next 21 (33-53-63) dc. 22 (34-54-64) dc. Ch 3. Turn. Leave rem sts unworked. 
Next row: Miss first dc. 1 dc in next dc and each dc to end of row. Ch 3. Turn. 
Rep last row 1 (3-5-5) time(s) more omitting turning ch at end of last row. Fasten off.
Second Side: Next row: With RS facing miss next 4 (7-9-12) unworked dc, join yarn with ss in next dc. Ch 3. 1 dc in each of next 4 (7-9-12) dc. 5 (8-10-13) dc. Ch 3. Turn. 
Next row: Miss first dc. 1 dc in next dc and each dc to end of row. Ch 3. Turn. 
Rep last row 1 (3-5-5) time(s).
Joining Row: Miss first dc. 1 dc in next dc and each dc across Second Side. Ch 4 (7-9- 12)loosely. 1 dc in each dc across Center Section. Ch 4 (7-9-12) loosely. 1 dc in each dc across First Side. Ch 3. Turn. 
Next row: Miss first dc. 1 dc in each of next 4 (7-9-12) dc. 1 dc in each of next 4 (7-9- 12) ch. 1 dc in each of next 22 (34-54-64) dc. 1 dc in each of next 4 (7-9-12) ch. 1 dc in each of next 5 (8-10-13) dc. 40 (64-96- 120) dc. Ch 3. Turn. 
Next row: Miss first dc. 1 dc in next dc and each dc across. Ch 3. Turn. 
Rep last row until work from Joining Row measures approx 4½ (7-10½-11½) ins [11.5 (18- 26.5-29) cm] ending with RS facing for next row and omitting turning ch at end of last row.
Shape Belly: Next row: Ss in each of first 7 (10-15-19) dc. Ch 3. 1 dc in each of next 27 (45-67-83) dc. Ch 3. Turn. Leave rem sts unworked. 28 (46-68-84) dc. 
Next row: Miss first dc. (Yoh and draw up a loop in next st. Yoh and draw through 2 loops on hook) twice. Yoh and draw through all loops on hook - dc2tog made. 1 dc in next dc and each dc to last 3 dc. Dc2tog over next 2 dc. 1 dc in last dc. Ch 3. Turn. 
Rep last row 3 (6-9-11) times more. 20 (32-48- 60) dc.
Cont even until work from 1st row after Neck Ribbing measures 10½ (16-22-25) ins [26.5 (40.5-56-63.5) cm] omitting turning ch at end of last row. Fasten off. Sew seam from Neck Ribbing to Belly shaping.
Back Edging: With RS facing, MC and larger hook, join yarn with ss at seam. Ch 1. Work 1 row sc evenly around Belly shaping and back edge, working 3 sc in corners. Join with ss to first sc. Fasten off.
Leg Edging: With RS facing, MC and larger hook, join yarn with ss in any st of Leg Opening. Ch 1. 
Work 1 row sc evenly around Leg Opening. Join with ss to first sc. Fasten off.
Leg Bands: With MC, ch 6 loosely. 
1st row: 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook. 1 sc in each ch to end of ch. Ch 1. Turn. 
2nd row: Working in back loop only of each st, work 1 sc in each st to end of row. Ch 1. Turn. 
Rep last row until work from beg measures 5 (6-8-) ins [12.5 (15- 20.5-24) cm]. Fasten off. 
Sew leg band seam. Sew leg band to leg edging.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Barefoot Blogger ~ Shrimp Bisque

This is delicious!
No more words needed to describe this wonderful soup!

Shrimp Bisque
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 3 3/4 cups.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer.

Transfer the shrimp and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.
In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season, to taste, and serve hot.

Note: I halved the recipe and substituted chicken stock for the seafood stock. I also used fat-free half and half. I know it would be deliciously rich with regular half and half but that would be for a special/occasional splurge.

Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dishsponsored by KitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday ~ The Promenade & Apple Muffins

After enjoying lunch at Panera Bread we (I) spent some time snapping pictures on a cloudy, overcast day. No Shadow Shot pictures this day!
These photos were taken at The Promenade, an up-scale shopping plaza in the business area of our town.
Dormant trees lining the road in and out.
Even in January there is vibrant color in these bushes.
A pair of statues enjoying a game of checkers.
More statues intended for the enjoyment of those strolling by.
Back home, it was into the kitchen to warm up and make some homey apple muffins. Nothing fancy but full of rustic goodness. They are on the dense side with a crisp outside and tender inside and loaded with apple and raisins.
They are a hearty breakfast favorite in our home.
Apple Raisin Muffins
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup milk (I like to add a splash more)
1 extra large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (large) peeled, finely chopped tart green apple
1 package (1 cup) Sun-Maid Baking Raisins
  • HEAT oven to 400 F. Grease or line 12 (2 -inch) muffin cups with paper baking cups.
  • COMBINE flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, mix well.
  • COMBINE butter, milk, egg, vanilla and apple.
  • ADD to flour mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  • FOLD in raisins.
  • SPOON batter into prepared muffin cups.
  • BAKE at 400 F in upper third of oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
For 24 mini muffins, bake 15-17 minutes.
VARIATION: Substitute grated carrot or zucchini for chopped apple.
Makes 12 muffins.

RECIPE UP-DATE October 2011
I experimented with this recipe because I wanted to reduce the amount of butter and because I thought the batter a bit too dry.  I like the new results.  Here is what I changed:
* Decreased the butter to 1/4 cup
* Added 1/3 cup  unsweetened applesauce
* Made 10 muffins instead of 12
Joining Susan of A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

TWD ~ Cocoa-Nana Bread

Cocoa-nana Bread
Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 1/2 cup store-bought chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over baking.)

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute, until softened. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. At this point, the batter may look a little curdled -- it's okay. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Still on low speed, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with a foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40 to 45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 to 75 minutes) or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temp right side up.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mosaic Monday ~ A Baby Smile

Look who learned to smile at her Mom-Mom...
if you listen real close you'll hear her tiny little coos.
We had a delightful conversation!
Babies are bits of stardust blown from the hand of God.
Lucky the woman who knows the pangs of birth for she has held a star.

God's Masterpiece

From graceful lilies pure and white,
God fashioned lovely skin,
Forgetmenots he chose for eyes,
Then formed your baby chin.
He took a tulip bright and red --
'Twas one that did not fade;
A softer, sweeter little mouth
Before was never made.
Another flower next He used --
A rosebud, pink and fair;
Touched it to your dimpled cheeks

And bade it blossom there.
Then with His magic fingers picked
Two morning glories white;
Curled and shaped your little ears,
Soon they were fastened tight.
That crowning bit of golden down
Will soon become your hair;
He gathered pollen from the flowers,
And sprinkled it with care.
For dainty little fingers dear
And precious, tiny toes,
He used slender daisy frills;
A snowdrop made your nose.

This world and all within it
He created here for man;
But Baby was "God's Masterpiece"
Since time and life began!

(Poem by Dora Dinsmore)

See more Mosaic Monday by visiting Mary @ Little Red House.


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