Black Sheep Dancing

Why be like everyone else when you can be yourself?


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Breakfast Pie

Growing up, when we went to my Grandma’s house, I remember always having dessert for breakfast. Why wouldn’t you have cookies to start you off right for the day? Or pecan pie? Or brownies? My absolute favorite were the cut out cookies shaped like cardinals. As a kid I thought this ritual was normal. Now that I’ve gotten older, I have realized I just had a very wise, very cool grandmother.

Remember how Sunday I picked black raspberries with my mom? Well, I took home what we picked, and I had to use them up before they went bad. Did you know there are hardly ANY recipes for black raspberries? Everything for the red ones or blackberries, but not black raspberries. Argh.

I contemplated making:

  • Black raspberry syrup
  • Cobbler
  • Muffins
  • Popsicles
  • Cookies
  • Pancakes
  • Jam

But in the end, I went with the trusty dusty black raspberry pie. I used my usual crust and made it all cute with little hearts. (Awwww) I used a recipe for Blackberry Pie, sub black raspberries.

Ready for the oven!

A little extra, so I made a jar pie.

Isn’t it beautiful? The crust turned out perfect, and it didn’t boil over. This pie just looks amazing. I can’t wait to dig in and try it!


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Happy 4th!

This 4th of July was a much needed break. Spending time with friends and family while cooking and spending time on the Ponderosa is always a good time, but it really felt good this weekend.

When I arrived back home, mom and I did a quick trip to a tag sale. I finally found some canning jars! The whole shopping trip was 18 quart jars, two half quart jars, a full sheet new in the packaging, a vintage 50’s hat, two necklaces, and a set of six vintage ice cream bowls for $3. Score!

Sunday mom and I went out to our berry patches to pick some red raspberries and black raspberries.

Not too many red ones, but we got four pints of black ones! Well, four until I tipped mine and it landed in a big ole patch of poison ivy. I almost broke out in tears, I was so sad to see them all go to waste.

We had our get together Sunday too. I made my Confetti Potato Salad and this REALLY cool cake I found over at Glorious Treats.

 

 

 

Isn’t it so adorable? It was really easy to make too. My pans were 9″ instead of 8″, but I like the longer blue part anyways. Everyone was so impressed, and I thought it photographed really well. To decorate I got the pinwheel in the floral department at the grocery store and I made the two stars with red wrapping paper, star cookie cutter, glue and a bamboo skewer.

Now I just need to decide how to use all those yummy black raspberries. Jam? Syrup for pancakes? Infused vodka? Frozen yogurt? Only time will tell!


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Marmalade Recipe

So, remember that yummy Pineapple Lime Marmalade I made? (It really is yummy – like sunshine in a jar!) Well, here’s the adapted recipe. I apologize to the lady who wrote the one I adapted it from. Can’t for the life of me find it now.

Ingredients:

  • 3  cups lime segments and juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple in small pieces
  • zest from all your citrus fruit
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 (3 ounce) envelope liquid pectin
Directions:
  1. Thoroughly wash all your citrus fruit and remove the zest with a vegetable peeler. Scrape as much of the pith as possible from each strip of peel with a very sharp knife and slice the zest into very small, thin pieces. This takes a long time. Put a movie in and get slicing!
  2. Place the prepared zest, water and baking soda in a nonreactive pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let it sit overnight.
  3. In the meantime segment your zested citrus fruit by slicing off the ends of each fruit, standing it up on a cutting board and slicing off the white stuff (really technical terms here). Then cut each fruit in half and cut between the membranes to free the segments. Place the segments in a 4-cup measuring cup and keep going until you have accumulated 3 cups of segments and juice. Add your pineapple pieces to make 3 1/2 cups total fruit.
  4. Next day – Return zest to boil. Add the fruit and 1 cup of the sugar into the peel mixture. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the remaining 5 cups of sugar and and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Quickly stir in the pectin and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir constantly for 6-8 minutes to evenly distribute the zest throughout the marmalade.
  8. Ladle quickly into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.
  9. Let jars sit for 2 weeks before you taste to let the marmalade mature, kinda like wine. Heck, drink some wine while you are waiting.

I’m thinking this would be great over some cream cheese spread on a cracker, or I’m hoping to try soon to make some thumbprint cookies and roll them in coconut and then use this in the middle. I think that would be heavenly!


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Trying new things – fried zucchini blossoms

Finally getting around to posting photos of dinner I made for my mom and dad…except life happened and they weren’t able to come. Bummer! Luckily I had an additional dinner guest, so it was not all for naught.

I was excited to try eating some of my zucchini blossoms. My aunt and cousin had recently told me how they ate them in Italy, so of course I had to try it!

I found this totally awesome recipe by Giada De Laurentiis for stuffed ones.

Blossoms that are stuffed and awaiting frying.

Blossoms all fried up!

I also made some Confetti Salad, fresh strawberries, Caprese Salad, and even made some pesto with the basil in my garden. On the side were some yummy breadsticks.

The whole dinner.

I was told the zucchini blossoms were the most awesome thing I have ever made. Really, what’s not to like about fried cheese?


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Happy Birthday, Munchkin!

It’s hard to believe my munchkin is already five! How time has flown! Since this year seemed to be the first year he really knew what was going on, I finally bit the bullet and expanded the party beyond our closest family and friends to his little friends from school.

Now every party needs a theme. I asked Keeler what he wanted. He specifically said:

  1. Dragon cake
  2. watermelon
  3. tag

Well, we were able to do two of the three. I found a pattern online for the cake. Not as hard as it looks. Watermelon – yep. Ran out of time for a game of tag.

The cake, sans frosting.

 

Awaiting wings.

I used tootsie rolls for the claws, icing for the eyes and chocolate chips for the pupils and nostrils. The spine scales were crackers I made earlier this week.The cake was just a basic yellow cake I made from All Recipes and the icing was from a can. Real high tech around here.

One thing I will say, you really have to freeze the cake after assembling, and periodically freeze it while icing to make life a whole ton easier. Less crumbs get into the icing, and the finish is much smoother when you spread it when it is harder.

I had lots of grand ideas for the theme, but in the end, the entertainment was bubbles, coloring pages, blow up swords and paper crowns from Oriental Trading Company, and a garden hose. A pop up tailgate tent from CBear served as the “castle”. Everyone had a great time, and I didn’t have to break the bank to do it. Win for everyone!

We also had everyone bring a canned good instead of presents. Hopefully that helps the kids learn about giving, and less toys around the house here to trip over. We’re going to take them to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Food wise, again, I kept simple. I made:

  • Fresh fruits and veggies sliced up
  • Cucumber Slices With Dill (since I have a ton of cucumbers and dill to use up!)

  • Confetti salad – a bean salad from my grandma’s recipe collection
  • Bread from the bread maker
  • Ham and PB&J for sandwiches
  • Amish Macaroni Salad (Everyone LOVES this!)

My family brought:

  • Chicken salad sandwiches
  • Orzo salad
  • Strawberry Salad with feta

Munchkin’s actual birthday is this week. I usually take the day off and we do whatever he wants to do, and we go to the toy store and he gets to pick out his own present. I’ll also take him to the food bank to deliver the food we collected. Should be a lovely day! Last year we went to the park and to the movies to see Toy Story 3. This year? Stay tuned!


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Happy Birthday – No Cake.

This weekend Aunt M came down for birthday celebrations. Mind you, this was her third celebration, but who’s counting? And what do you get someone who has everything she needs? You make dinner, of course!

We had…

Caprese Salad Skewers

Amish Macaroni Salad

Marinated Portabello Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Beets

Pineapple Salsa

Mojitos

And, for the big birthday, neither myself nor my sis are big fans of cake. Everyone else is welcome to enjoy it, but there are so many better things in the world to eat, why waste time on cake? Although, I must admit, I love to bake them. Anywho, I went with the Southern Style Strawberry Shortcake. I even made the whipped cream by hand. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! That stuff is so awesome. I may never get my whipped cream from a can again.

After our lovely dinner we had every intention of going to the Gallery Hop, but Munchkin was begging for a movie, so we went to the movie theater. Sometimes caving to wants is easier for everyone involved, and it was super hot out, so that air conditioning was looking more and more appealing. Movie sold out. Boooo. We decided to stop in a nearby store and that’s when the storm hit. Crazy wind, rain, and even hail! The power went out, so we decided to head home. Shopping is no fun in the dark!

Happy Birthday, Aunt M!


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I’m here!

It’s been a busy, yet not so busy few weeks. It seems any free time is spent pulling weeds out of my garden these days. I’m looking forward to when my plants are so big you cannot see the weeds growing underneath them. I have a few posts started, but until I complete them, I thought I would share some of my favorite things at the moment.

In no particular order…

  • the smell of freshly cut grass
  • sitting on my porch
  • hugs from munchkin
  • eating something from my garden
  • postagram (http://postagramapp.com/)
  • the feeling of the sun on your skin when you get out of the pool
  • my garden
  • walks with munchkin and riley
  • iced tea with mint simple syrup

What are some of your favorite things right now?


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Refreshing Saturday

This is day 3 of my mega long weekend. I am so enjoying it. After a busy month, I needed to kick back and relax. I had my naps, my reading…today it was a sit on the porch kind of day…kind of. After we did everything else.

First, we went to the parade. Munchkin loved the gallons of candy he got. I’m pretty sure he ate about five pounds of tootsie rolls just during the parade, not to mention everything we took home.

Then we went to the grand opening of Columbus Commons. It was lots of fun, but I think the festivities could have been a little more clearly defined. It was hard to figure out everything that was going on without any posters or schedules. Fun, non the less. The science experiments by COSI were a highlight!

So, we were ready for a break, or at least I was. We were sitting on the porch eating some of my cinnamon bread when I spotted the mint and I HAD to have something with it…immediately. So I made some yummy mint simply syrup to put in some iced tea. Ah, did that hit the spot!

We topped the evening off with Tangled. Very cute, classic Disney movie. We might have to buy that one.

Mint Iced Tea

Combine 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water and approx 10-15 mint leaves (chopped) and bring to a low boil and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain into a jar and refrigerate.

To serve: Pour about 1/4 of glass with simple syrup. Fill glass with ice and top with iced tea. Stir and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Enjoy!