With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart: 5/15/11 - 5/22/11

Friday, May 20, 2011

That's Not a Hummingbird

But just as exciting to see!
Imagine our surprise to see a beautiful Baltimore Oriole on this dreary morning on the hummingbird feeder.
We don't remember ever seeing an Oriole in our yard.
 The Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) is a small icterid blackbird that averages 18 cm long and weighs 34 g. This bird received its name from the fact that the male's colors resemble those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore.
(Source: Wikipedia)
I have now learned visits to hummingbird feeders aren't uncommon
Source: Wikipedia:
Baltimore Orioles forage in trees and shrubs, also making short flights to catch insects. They mainly eat insects, berries and nectar, and are often seen sipping at hummingbird feeders. Oriole feeders contain essentially the same food as hummingbird feeders, but are designed for orioles, and are orange instead of red and have larger perches. Baltimore Orioles are also fond of halved oranges, grape jelly and, in their winter quarters, the red arils of Gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Minty Iced Tea

A very simple and refreshing summer beverage.

Best if made each morning for dinnertime.
Begin by filling the tea kettle with fresh, cold water. Bring to a boil then pour into a 1-gallon heat-resistant pitcher. This should fill the pitcher about 1/3 full. Add six tea bags (regular or de-caffeinated) with the tags cut off. Allow to sit on counter to brew and come to room temperature.

When cool, remove the tea bags. Give a slight squeeze but not too much or your tea will taste bitter. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar (1 cup if you like your tea a little sweeter). Squeeze in juice from 1/4 of a lemon. And enough cold water to fill pitcher 2/3 full.

Go out to garden and snip a couple pieces of rampantly growing mint. Sniff its wonderful fragrance and let out a little aww... as you are returning to the kitchen.

Common garden mint
Spearmint for a little stronger flavor
Run the mint under cold water and then plunge it into the pitcher of iced-tea, crushing slightly with your fingers to release its flavor. Garnish pitcher with a couple slices of lemon.
Chill the iced-tea and serve over ice.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blue Salvia

While on bended knee placing pieces of sod in the bare spots in the lawn, I came face-to-flower with the blooms of the blue salvia growing in the front yard.
No matter that my hands were muddy and my pant legs wet, I headed inside for my camera.
These photos remind me of  plants growing in an aquarium
or on the ocean floor.
A little like the growing Magic rocks I had as a kid.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Little Ella (whom I take care of) would eat pizza every day for her lunch.  She loves frozen pizza that I just warm in the oven but some days we make homemade pizza together.
Making the dough in the bread machine is the easiest part
When the dough is made, we roll and pat it into a circle on a cookie sheet that we sprinkled with cornmeal and a little flour.
Then we add sauce and top with Mozzarella Cheese.
For a nice crispy crust, I heat a pizza stone in the over to 420 degrees.  The trickiest part (for me) of making the pizza is transferring it from the cookie sheet onto the hot pizza stone.  Plenty of cornmeal on the bottom and a few hard shakes helps the dough slip off easily.
Be CAREFUL ~ the oven and stone are very HOT!
I recently tried substituting all-purpose flour for the bread flour.
I found no difference in texture, rising or taste.
I have also made the dough using my KitchenAid mixer and it bakes up just the same.
Here is my dough recipe that came with my first bread maker.
We like it because it rises really nice and tastes great.

Dough directions for a 14-inch pizza
1 cup water
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Place dough ingredients in bread pan in order listed.
Set on basic dough and press start button.
When cycle is completed, remove dough from bread pan.

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 420 degrees.

Shaping directions:
Punch dough down.  Pat/roll dough on a cookie sheet (one with no sides) that has been sprinkled with cornmeal and a little flour, shaping edges to form a crust.

Spread on your favorite pizza sauce, herbs and toppings of choice.

CAREFULLY slide the pizza from the cookie sheet onto the stone (that is in the oven).

Bake for 15 minutes until done.
When done, I use tongs and slide the pizza from the pizza stone onto a large wooden cutting board.

mm mm... your house will smell wonderful and your tummy will be happy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


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