Thursday, September 16, 2010

Show and Tell Friday ~ Smoking Table

This sweet little table was made by John's grandfather and given to us many years ago from John's Aunt Marie.
It is a smoking table and held JHH Seniors pipe and smoking paraphernalia. 
 Originally there was a small drawer in the front but was missing when we received it.
John closed the opening with a piece of wood and I attached a decorative piece before painting over the dark stain.
I didn't have to create a 'chippy' look as everything at my place gets nicks and dings the old fashioned way... just by living with it
Vintage photos
 John Senior is on the left c.1920's
JHH Sr. in his Mays Landing, New Jersey garden in the late 50's.

Joining Cindy @My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread

Trying to make additional room in my hoosier cabinet, I went through my cookbook collection to see if I could part with any.  I found a pamphlet with bread machine recipes and scanned through it.  I was excited to fine this recipe as I had wheat flour in the pantry and bananas on the counter.
 What a lovely loaf this is.  The banana is almost unnoticeable but it must add to the wonderful light, fluffy texture of this bread.  The honey and poppy seeds are a great addition to a new bread that will make  frequent appearances on our table.
Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread
From a little booklet titled
Healthy Bread Recipes & Menu Planner, page 10

2/3 cup warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 banana, sliced
2 tsp. poppy seeds (optional)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dry yeast

Add all ingredients to bread pan in order recommended for your machine*. Select the Basic/White cycle and press start.
Makes 2 lb loaf.

*  I almost never bake in my bread machine.  I set my machine for Basic Dough and wait for the cycle to complete.  After removing the dough from the machine, I shape it into a loaf or dinner rolls.  For this recipe I shaped it into a loaf and placed into a greased 9x5-inch loaf pan, sprayed the top with cooking spray, covered lightly with a clean towel, and allowed to sit in a warm place to rise a little over the top edge of the pan.  I baked the bread in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.  Tent with foil toward the end of baking time if top of bread is getting too dark. 

 Linking to Foodie Friday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Parched Land

Though we water the flower beds almost daily through this summers heat and drought, my once healthy and vibrant clematis finally succumbed to these unhappy conditions.  How sad we were to see it brown out and shrivel remembering the many years we enjoyed its gorgeous blooms.
I didn't get a photo in its dead, twig stage but here are a few from this past spring as it flowered all the way to the second story of the house.

It was sad to pull off all of the dead leaves and cut the vines back to the ground.  Well, we thought, we did enjoy it for a long time.
look what I noticed... 
 I am hoping some of our other trees and plants will recover as nicely.
For those of us who'd rather not send a small fortune to the township for water usage, this is how our gardens look.
This one saddens me the most. This Japanese Maple was planted when it was just a few feet tall.  About the same height as Abbey at the time.  So, it became known as Abbey's tree.  The first few seasons it was nibbled ruthlessly by our resident groundhog.  (a wire enclosure helped keep nasty rodent at bay) It spent this summer with the hose on slow-drip trying to keep it alive.  It is not looking good right now.  I am so hoping we haven't lost it completely.
Even the Eastern Redbud is filled with dried and browned seed pods that should be nice and green.
This Saturday we received rain for the first time in ages.
Not nearly enough.
There we are... South Jersey... in the red... excessively dry.
Gardening hasn't been much fun this year but the heart of the gardener is always looking forward!
Joining Susan @A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday!

Cranberry Upside Downer Cake

 When turned right-side up onto a serving dish and brushed with melted jelly, we enjoyed beautiful, ruby-red cranberries with a sprinkling of nuts on this lightly spiced cake.  Its 8-inch size is just right when serving a small group.
This cake is good served with a scoop of ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.  I chose, instead, a drizzle of confectioners glaze.

Cranberry Upside-Downer

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup minus 2 TBSP sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans…I used walnuts
2 cups cranberries-fresh or frozen(if frozen, do not thaw)I used fresh
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 whole milk
1/3 cup red currant jelly, for glazing the cake

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Put a 8X2 inch round cake pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Melt 6 TBSP of the butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle in 6 TBSP of the sugar and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour this evenly over the bottom of the cake pan, then scatter over the nuts and top with the cranberries, smoothing the layer and pressing it down gently with your fingertips. Set aside.

Working with a stand mixer, preferabley fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining stick of butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to beat until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Pour in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Mix in the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter over the cranberries and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove it from the oven and run a blunt knife between the sides of the pan and the cake. Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving platter. If any of the berries stick to the pan-as they might-just scrape them off with a table knife and return them to the cake.
Warm the jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, or do this in a microwave oven. Gently brush the glaze over the hot cake.

From the Book Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Linking to Foodie Friday @Designs by Gollum
Simply Delish @KB and Whitesnakes Home
Think Pink Sundays @Flamingo Toes

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spruced-Up Blogging Spot

Sometimes seeing something day-in and day-out causes us to not really notice it at all.  That is what happened in the corner of the living room where my computer is.  Responding to a prompt to post about "Where You blog" gave me opportunity to take a closer look at this oft occupied location.  My place was... sad.  What to do?  Scan the house for inspiration and the possibility of relocating a piece or two of furniture!
Here is what I came up with.
Remember... this is where I began.  I guess I just didn't realize how worn and neglected this once functional desk had become.  And, (coincidentally?) our once-a-month bulk trash pick-up was the next day.  I can not believe how quickly we had this piece at the curb!

Scanning the house, I spied this sofa table that functioned only as a place to drop off books, mail and an occasional camera flash or lens.  It sits a bit high and hasn't much top surface but it just might work.
Ugh!  Spaghetti wires! (and dust).  John set about de-tangling and did a great job by tacking a couple of wires to the surbase and neatly arranging the others.
I had the lace panel from the old desk and used a tension rod to attach it to the underside of the new table to further hide an outlet and the few wires that remained. Since it is a close color match to the wall, it is barely noticeable.
My only purchase was this painting I found at Home Goods.  I had a $40.00 gift card and the painting was $29.00!  It is on a deep-set canvas and could be hung without a frame.  I remembered a frame that held another painting I have had for years.  Because that painting just does not currently work in any place in my home, it has been stored under one of the beds. But the frame added size and character to my new painting. Ages ago I painted the original gold frame a bright white.  Time must have yellowed it because it works in this creamy room.
The printer had to go on the table top but I tried to make it less intrusive with a few accents.
A lamp we bought in Lancaster, PA back in the early 80's. 
A nice wooden file box retrieved from another room because there will always be paper and books here.
I moved this plant stand from across the room to fill the void left from the sofa table.  Pothos does not require much light so it should continue to do well.
Raider seems content with the spruce-up! 


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