Thursday, April 30, 2015

Holiday Hits: Adopt a Shelter Pet Day


Today is Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, and completely by coincidence, we adopted a new dog from our local animal shelter yesterday!  Her name is Madison and she was described as a Dalmatian/Labrador mix, but we don't think she is either one (I'm leaning more toward some sort of hound mix).  As you can see from her photos on Petfinder, she is black and white with large ticking spots in the white.  Her head is large and her body is not, her legs are sort of short and her tail is ridiculously long, and we think she is absolutely adorable.  She was just spayed yesterday, so she is feeling a bit under the weather at the moment, but normally she is an active and cheerful dog.  She is rather submissive so our terrier mix Ruby is not too upset at this new addition.  She has very little training, but she is young enough (about 2-3 years old) that she should be able to learn fairly quickly.  We have our work cut out for us, but we are excited to have her as a new family member!

If you can't adopt a pet today, how about making a donation to your local animal shelter, or volunteering some time there?  It would be wonderful if animal shelters were not needed at all, but the reality is that there are so many homeless pets that need help, and today would be a great day to start!

               

This 'n That Thursdays: America's Quirky Roadside Attractions

From World's Largest Things

When it comes to travel, I have some pretty unique ideas as to what constitutes a fun vacation.  While most people would choose a trip to the beach or lake, or perhaps to a more exotic location if time and/or finances allow, I would be happy as a clam (a Giant Clam of Pismo Beach, CA, that is) if I could take off on a road trip to visit some of the nation's most unusual roadside attractions.  In addition to the Giant Clam, here are just a few of the wonderfully bizarre sights I would seek out:

From NCPR

I might as well start as close to home as possible, so the Jimmy Carter Peanut in Plains, GA, is first on my list.  Really, who wouldn't want to be immortalized as a giant peanut with teeth?

From Flickriver

As I am presenting these roadside attractions in no particular order, we will now zoom quickly to Dunseith, ND, to visit the Wee'l Turtle, constructed of 2,000 old wheel rims.  So clever -- after all, what else are you going to do with 2,000 old wheel rims?

From Imagekind

I'll take any excuse to travel to New Mexico, so why not The World's Largest Pistachio in Alamagorda?  I do seem to be nuts for nuts, don't I?  Well, they are supposed to be good for you, although I won't be munching on these giant versions, obviously!

From Living the Dream Key West

Time to skedaddle back on down South for a look at Betsy, the giant spiny lobster in Islamorada, FL. While the Canadians claim that their lobster in New Brunswick is the world's largest, the two lobsters are different species (Betsy is Panulirus argus, while the Canadian contender is Homarus americanus), so the old girl can safely claim to be the largest of her kind.

From BootsnAll

Things are about to get nutty again as we head on up to Brunswick, MO, to take a look at the World's Largest Pecan, which was recently moved from down on the farm to become a city slicker in downtown Brunswick.  But wait!  In 2011, the town of Seguin, TX, took back the title of World's Largest Pecan by constructing a nut even larger than the one in Missouri, after their original version lost the title to Brunswick's giant pecan 30 years earlier.  So here we go to Texas to gaze upon their new pride and joy!

From Pecan Fest Heritage Days

I think I am becoming a bit travel weary, so since we are in Texas anyway, let's end our tour for now with a visit to the renowned Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, where colorfully painted junk Cadillacs are half-buried nose-first in the flat and barren ground for all eternity (or at least until they rust out).

From Senior Citizen Travel

I hope you've enjoyed traveling to see some of America's most unusual sights with me (does this gal know how to have a good time or what?).  We may have to do this again some time!
             

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wish List Wednesdays: Helena Fountain


The Grandin Road catalog is one of my favorites because I love the brightly hued home décor items featured in each issue.  This month's catalog is full of ideas for creating a fun and colorful outdoor living space.  One piece I would really enjoy in my outdoor space is the Helena Fountain ($299).  Made of durable resin, the urn resembles a glazed ceramic pot, and is available in a choice of four colors (blue, orange, red, or yellow).


The Helena Fountain is 24 inches tall and 21 inches in diameter, but weighs only 14 pounds without water, so it is easily moved.  It plugs into any standard outlet and is a self-contained unit (water is recirculated by an internal pump).  With all of these practical features, the only difficulty I can see with this fountain is trying to decide which color I like best!
             

Friday, April 24, 2015

Foodie Fridays: Buttery Garlic Baked Mushrooms


Lately I have been wandering happily down memory lane, and this week I continue to sample some of the recipes from the Australia and New Zealand cookbooks I mentioned last week.  The recipe I selected for today comes from a quirky little spiral-bound cookbook I bought in New Zealand called Fiordland Cook Book (1990?), published by the Rotary Club of Fiordland (did you know that New Zealand has fiords?).  My husband and I spent a delightful couple of days in the vicinity of Milford Sound on our second trip to New Zealand.  I will always remember the boat tour we took in the sound -- the scenery was breathtaking, and dolphins played in the water in front of the boat.

We spent the night at a wonderful old farmhouse bed and breakfast in nearby Te Anau, where we were served afternoon tea and dinner as well as breakfast.  All of the food was homemade and delicious.  I don't think the mushroom dish I've chosen from my cookbook was served, but I was looking for a nice side dish for a brunch and this one seemed perfect.  I had to modify the recipe a bit, mostly because the instructions were rather vague, but the end result is tasty, rather like deconstructed stuffed mushrooms.  Be sure to serve the mushrooms with plenty of the crumb mixture, which is where the flavor comes from in this dish.

Buttery Garlic Baked Mushrooms

1 lb. button mushrooms, halved if large
1/2 C. breadcrumbs
2 T. chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp. dried)
salt and pepper to taste
4 T. butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. lemon juice

Grease the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish and add the mushrooms, overlapping slightly if necessary.  Combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Sprinkle over the mushrooms.  Stir together the melted butter, garlic, and lemon juice.  Drizzle over the breadcrumb mixture.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until browned and the mushrooms are tender (I stirred everything once about halfway through the cooking time).  Cool slightly before serving.  Serves 4.

The bird on the cover is the takahe, a rare New Zealand species
found in Fiordland.  They are sitting under a New Zealand tree
fern, probably the endemic Cyathea bealbata, the silver tree
fern or ponga.
             

Thursday, April 23, 2015

This 'n That Thursdays: Songs I Know By Heart

From IsraBox

Last week I read a post about one blogger's list of "The Ten Best Songs of All Freaking Time".  Not surprisingly, I suppose, the songs on her list, while okay, were not ones I would have chosen.  We all have different tastes, and I have to admit that I am not very musically inclined.  I tend to remember the songs of my youth, not so much because they were necessarily the best, but because I associate them with some of the best years of my life.

While I have the sort of singing voice only cats seem to appreciate (and we all know how musically inclined cats are), I do have a rather impressive repertoire of songs I know by heart.  The main reason for this is that back in my younger days I used to do a lot of cross-country driving by myself, with only my dog for company.  I frequently traveled from college to home and back, and later made a few solo trips just to visit places I wanted to see.  When I met my husband, we did quite a bit of long distance driving in the summer, and sometimes he would have to take a flight to some meeting while I would drive home alone (again with my faithful canine traveling companion).  I would also still make periodic trips back to my home town, and as I moved farther and farther west these trips got longer and longer.  I loved traveling by myself, but often when the trip was especially long I relied on music to keep me focused, and the louder the better.

Back in the day, there was no satellite radio, MP3 player or the like, or even CDs, just whatever local radio stations were available in the area.  At first there weren't even any cassette players in the cars we owned!  Often I would pass through a place that had no radio reception, and that was when I was forced to resort to my own singing to keep me going.  I memorized quite a few songs back then, and to this day I can still remember most of them, although it sometimes takes a little while for all of the lyrics to come back to me.  The post I read last week reminded me of these oldies, and I decided to make a list of them.  I surprised even myself with the number of songs I can belt out from memory.  It just goes to show how desperate I was all those years ago when I had to sing to myself on my solitary long distance trips!

As I mentioned before, the one requirement of all these songs was that they were rousing enough to keep me alert for driving, and some were chosen for this quality alone, so don't expect only critically acclaimed music on this list. (Melanie?  Really?  Well, it was certainly a memorable tune, and trying to hit those high notes took some real and not always successful effort!)  Also, I am completely uninformed as to the newer methods of listening to music online, so I just link to the best YouTube videos I can find.  Are any of your favorites on my list?  Maybe I can sing them to you (but only if you're a cat!).

1) Cher (her Dark Lady album cover, shown above, is my favorite from back when album covers were so important)

  Dark Lady

  Apples Don't Fall Far from the Tree

2) Cat Stevens (whatever you think of his politics, in my day his songs were beloved by many)

  Moon Shadow (I just loved this song -- still do)

  Sad Lisa (this is the best version on YouTube, but the blinking image is annoying; scroll down the page to remove it from sight)

  Another Saturday Night (don't know why I memorized this silly song, but I can't unmemorize it so it's in my repertoire!)

3) Jim Croce (some of his fun songs -- his untimely death deprived us of a truly delightful singer)

  Roller Derby Queen

  Bad Bad Leroy Brown

  You Don't Mess Around with Jim

4) Linda Ronstadt (such a shame she lost her singing voice to Parkinson's disease)

  Blue Bayou

  Poor Poor Pitiful Me

  I Never Will Marry (with Dolly Parton, who wrote the song)

  I Ride an Old Paint

  Carmelita

5) Joan Baez (one of the best singing voices I've ever heard)

  Tennessee Waltz

  The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

6) Roger Whittaker (he was actually from an older generation, but I just love his voice)

  The Last Farewell

  Durham Town

7) Carly Simon (she was wildly popular when I was young, with good reason)

  You're So Vain (so who was she really singing about?)

  That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be

8) Melanie

  Brand New Key (such a silly song, but so catchy!)

9) Bobbie Gentry

  Ode to Billy Joe (a sad song that just got into my head and wouldn't leave)

10) Simon and Garfunkel (the only duo -- for some reason I've always preferred solo performers)

  The Boxer

  I Am a Rock

I did try to remember the lyrics for favorite songs by Gordon Lightfoot (Sundown and Rainy Day People) and Don McLean (American Pie and the hauntingly beautiful Vincent, see below), but somehow they were just too frustratingly complicated for my poor musically-challenged brain, and I never could keep the words straight.  There may be a couple more songs I memorized in the past that have slipped my mind at the moment (hey, it happens when you get to be my age), but this has been such a fun trip down melodic memory lane!

             

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wish List Wednesdays: Cavin Richie Jewelry from David Morgan


Browsing through the most recent issue of The Nature Conservancy magazine, I noticed an ad for nature-inspired jewelry by Pacific Northwest artist Cavin Richie.  Intrigued, I decided to check out the collection on the David Morgan website.  All of the pieces are lovely, created by lost wax casting in bronze, with great detail and beautiful patinas.  There are so many different animal species to choose from, as well as a few leaf designs and even some sailboats.  The Moose Pendant ($62) shown above was the piece that originally caught my eye in the magazine ad, but of course I found a few more favorites:


The puffin is my favorite bird, so how could I not love the Puffin Pendant ($58)?


I also have a special fondness for crustaceans, so the Dungeness Crab Pendant ($62) is on my wish list as well.


I don't think I've ever seen a musk ox in jewelry form before, but I think the Musk Ox Pin ($60) is adorable.


Ditto for the Halibut Pendant ($58) -- I've never seen this flatfish as wearable art either, and while it may not be for everyone, I would happily wear this piscine pendant!

According to Cavin Richie's website, he has sold his Wildlife in Bronze jewelry business to the David Morgan Company.  The designs are Richie's and he will continue to create others, but the jewelry will be crafted by his assistant.  All of the jewelry in the collection are exquisite works of art, and I would be thrilled to own one or more of them!
             

Friday, April 17, 2015

Foodie Fridays: Damper


Recently I have been browsing through the cookbooks I bought on long ago trips to Australia and New Zealand.  We have traveled to Australia twice and New Zealand twice (our first trip combined both), and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves each time.  I think the first recipe I tried from these cookbooks was for a bread called damper.  Damper was a staple for drovers and others who spent a lot of time camping outdoors, as it only required a few ingredients and was baked in the "damped down" ashes of a campfire.  I found my recipe in Doris Brett's Australian Bread Book (1984)*.  Brett modified the campfire version into one that could be baked in an oven.  Her recipe is similar to Irish Soda Bread, and produces a loaf that is richer and softer than the original damper eaten by drovers.  The recipe is so easy that if you've never baked bread before, this one would be a good place to start!

Damper

1 1/2 tsp. salt (I used 3/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
3 C. flour
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. water

Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Cut or rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add enough of the milk and water to form a soft dough (I used all of both).  Shape the dough into a large oval.  With a sharp knife, slash the top with a cross or X pattern.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes, until it is golden brown, a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly before slicing.  Makes one loaf.

*Australian author Doris Brett is quite an interesting person.  She is a clinical psychologist as well as an award-winning author and poet.  She has written a book about therapeutic storytelling for children as well as both poetic and prose accounts of her experiences after being successfully treated for ovarian cancer.  The latter led to a very public estrangement from her sister Lily Brett, who is a well-known novelist and poet, which you can read about here.  Most recently, Doris Brett published a memoir about caring for her husband when he suffered a serious heart attack.  After reading about this incredible woman's life, I was not sure she was the same Doris Brett who wrote my cookbook, but her likeness on the back cover as well as the dedication to her husband Martin confirmed that she is.  I don't know how she ever found time to bake bread, let alone write a cookbook about the subject!
             

Thursday, April 16, 2015

This 'n That Thursdays: Incredible Corgi Cuteness

From Orange County Register

Last weekend an absolutely awesome event was held on Huntington Beach in California -- the third annual spring So Cal Corgi Beach Day!  Started in October 2012, the event is held four times a year, one for each season.  This month, over six hundred adorable corgis frolicked in the sand and surf while smitten onlookers enthusiastically snapped photos and filmed videos.  Here are just a few of the images:

From AJC.com

From Orange County Register

From Bustle

From AOL

There are several videos of the event on YouTube, but this slightly risqué one is hilarious:



Who could resist so much stumpy-legged sweetness?  And I think that this is just the start of a great idea.  After all, there are a lot of beaches in California and elsewhere, 52 weekends a year, and dozens of different dog breeds as well as all sorts of mutts.  There is an old saying that every dog has its day, and doesn't every dog deserve its day at the beach?  Personally, I intend to lobby for a Dalmatian Beach Day -- I can't wait to see all of those spots on the sand!

From Charles and Fred
                

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wish List Wednesdays: Dog Lives T-Shirt


When it comes to movie watching, I have one firm rule.  I don't care how many people meet untimely ends in a film, but absolutely no dogs must be harmed.  Although I know the danger is not real, I just can't watch animals, especially dogs, suffer even imaginary pain.  Apparently I am not the only one with this attitude, and The Animal Rescue Site even sells a Dog Lives T-shirt which expresses my feelings perfectly.  The 100% cotton shirt comes in sizes from S to 5XL with a choice of four colors (black, blue, pink, or purple).  They are reasonably priced at $16.95, so I may just have to get one in each color!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

On the Homefront: Baby Box Turtle


I was in the backyard yesterday evening clearing out some overgrown vines when I almost stepped on a tiny baby box turtle (Terrapene carolina).  It was so small and cute I just had to stop and take a couple of pictures before moving it to a safer spot.  I placed a quarter next to the turtle for scale, and you can get a good idea of just how small it really is.


Moments like these always remind me of why I love living in the country!  A few years ago I saw a newly hatched baby box turtle digging its way out of the ground in a nearby park.  It was so new that its shell was still shiny and all black.  Last year a female box turtle laid some eggs at the edge of our gravel driveway, but unfortunately they did not hatch.  I sometimes see adult box turtles on our property, but this is the first time I have found such a small baby.  I hope it survives, and that I will see it again!
             

Friday, April 10, 2015

Foodie Fridays: Two Bean Pesto Salad

Almost too pretty to eat!

I found a recipe for Two Bean and Pesto Salad on the Mystery Lover's Kitchen website, a site where various cozy mystery authors blog about their favorite recipes as well as their latest mystery novels.  There is a subgenre of cozies that features protagonists who are involved with food in some way, and these books usually include recipes, so some but not all of the recipes on the site are inspired by the writers' works.  In fact, the post from which this recipe came was an announcement of a giveaway for two cookbooks, both filled with recipes inspired by these cozy mysteries.

Naturally I entered the contest, but I was also intrigued by the recipe, as I have been craving summery salads that require little to no cooking lately.  The only cooking needed here is the steaming of the green beans, and if you use prepackaged microwaveable beans like I do, this step is simplicity itself.  I did modify the recipe somewhat based on what I had available.  I also perked up the flavor with some lemon juice, since my version had a greater proportion of white beans to green beans than the original, making the salad a little too bland without some added acidity.  This side dish is even hearty enough to serve as a light main course, and is a great addition to my repertoire of easy summer vegetable recipes.  With recipes like this one, I might even have time to catch up on my reading this summer!

Two Bean Pesto Salad

8 oz. slender green beans (haricots verts)
1 can (14-16 oz.) small white (navy) beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 medium red onion, diced
1/2 large yellow bell pepper, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz. (about 1/2 carton) refrigerated prepared pesto
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt

Steam the green beans until crisp-tender.  Cool and slice into thirds lengthwise.  Combine with the remaining ingredients.  Serve at room temperature or chilled, plain or on a bed of lettuce.  Serves 6.
             

Thursday, April 9, 2015

This 'n That Thursdays: "Call The Midwife" Television Series

Some original cast members, from left to right: Helen George (Trixie),
Bryony Hannah (Cynthia), Jessica Raine (Jenny), Miranda Hart (Chummy).
(From Public Media Newswire)

The fourth season of "Call the Midwife" started recently on our local PBS station, and I just realized that I have never mentioned this series here, which is a terrible oversight!  "Call the Midwife" is my very favorite television show, and the only one that I consistently watch every week when the new season starts (I have even been known to snap at my husband if he tries to interrupt me when it is on).  I have absolutely no interest in babies, nursing, or nuns, and yet I just can't get enough of this series which revolves around all three.  I was hooked after watching the very first episode of Season One, and am just as enthusiastic now, which is very rare for me, as I usually lose interest in a show after two seasons.

This British BBC drama is narrated by Vanessa Redgrave and set in the poverty-stricken Poplar district of London's East End during the 1950s-1960s.  I was born during this time, and I would be a contemporary of the babies born in the episodes, so it is especially fascinating for me to watch the changes that occur in the medical profession during this period.  Some of these changes include the beginnings of vaccinations for common diseases at the time, such as tuberculosis, the introduction of birth control (and a look at what life was like for families before contraception), new ideas about childbirth (i.e., home versus hospital births) and child care (breast feeding or bottle feeding).  The television show is based on a series of books written by Jennifer Worth.  Young Jenny Lee (her maiden name), played by Jessica Raine in the TV series, was a midwife in the East End of London at the time.  Seeing how the rather naive girl changes and matures as she faces the challenges of her job is another one of the interesting aspects of the show.  The women with whom she works, including other midwives and nurses as well as the nuns of Nonnatus House (the nursing convent where they are all based) also have compelling stories, as do the many residents of Poplar.

In Season Four, Jenny Lee has moved on, but new characters are introduced and the stories, which progress beyond the tales from Jennifer Worth's books, continue to be engrossing.  If you have never watched "Call the Midwife", I strongly urge you to check for your local listings and give it a try, or watch the most recent episodes online.  Once you get to know Chummy (Miranda Hart), Trixie (Helen George), Cynthia (Bryony Hannah), Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter), Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt), Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris), and the rest of the delightful cast, I have a feeling you will be hooked on this wonderful drama as well.  Some of the scenes may be too intense for young children, but I think that older children may find this critically acclaimed show compelling.

You might even want to read the books upon which this series is based.  I read the first one and thoroughly enjoyed it, and have been meaning to read the next two, but life (in the form of ailing animals) has been getting in the way of my being able to find a block of time for reading lately.  You can buy the trilogy in one book here, and the television series is also available for purchase.

I am already looking forward to the next new episode on Sunday night!

Some current cast members, from left to right: Foreground: Charlotte Ritchie
 Barbara), Helen George (Trixie), Laura Main (Shelagh Turner);
Background: Pam Ferris (Sister Evangelina), Judy Parfitt (Sister
Monica Joan), Emerald Fennell (Patsy), Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne).
(From BBC)
             

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wish List Wednesdays: Turtle Bracelet


I am very fond of turtles, so it is no surprise that I find the charming Turtle Bracelet ($54) from Femail Creations to be irresistible.  According to the description for this bracelet, the turtle reminds us to stay grounded and steady.  Wearing this piece of jewelry with its African turquoise stones and pewter turtles, I think I could do just that!
             

Sunday, April 5, 2015

On the Homefront: Citrus Colors Easter Bunny Brunch Table

Harvey the Easter Bunny welcomes you to our citrus colors brunch table!

For some reason I always associate citrusy colors and flavors with spring and Easter, I think because their cheerful hues and bright taste are like the welcome cheerful brightness of spring after a long, dreary winter.  This year for Easter I decided to highlight the colors and flavors of citrus fruits, and also the rabbit theme I started last year with the purchase of a table runner and napkins from HomeGoods and some white bunny plates from Crate and Barrel.  New napkin rings, some gold foil-wrapped Lindt chocolate rabbits, and a white ceramic bunny (above) from Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago boost the bunny quotient in the dining room.


Round woven spring green place mat from Stein Mart several years ago; orange dinner plate from Publix several years ago; white Bunny Plate by Elvis Swift from Crate and Barrel last year; yellow and white bunny napkin and table runner by Colordrift from HomeGoods last year; Birch Lane Easter napkin rings; stainless steel flatware; orange juice glass from The Cupboard in Fort Collins many years ago; yellow ceramic mug, probably also from The Cupboard; small white appetizer plate as saucer from Target a few years ago; small scalloped bowl from Pier 1 ages ago, holding lemon candies and an Easter Peeps chick.

A closer look at the Bunny Plate




A yellow vase is filled with orange tulips and surrounded by the fauna of
spring -- lambs, bunnies, a frog (nothing announces the arrival of spring
better than the first frogs of the season), and even Easter Dalmatians
(harbingers of spring in my world, anyway!).

A lazy susan filled with more springtime fauna -- bird salt and pepper
shakers (from Pier 1), and bunny, bird, and cow cream pitchers.

The flowery cow cream pitcher was purchased at the Atlanta Botanical
Gardens gift shop earlier in the year -- I think I'll name her Flora, for obvious
reasons (does anyone else name their animal-shaped cream pitchers?).

A nest bowl full of colorful Easter eggs (I buy them already dyed from
Publix, because I do not enjoy dyeing Easter eggs).

A closer look at the Peeps milk chocolate-dipped chick on a nest
of Lemonhead candies.

The bunny napkin and napkin ring.

Tea is served!

A closer look at the yellow teapot and the choice of teas --
Lemon Lift by Bigelow and Ceylon Orange Pekoe by Twinings.

A menu full of citrus flavors is essential for this Easter table.  Lemon, orange, and lime all make an appearance, from the main course to the dessert.  This is more of a lunch than a breakfast menu, but none of the dishes are overly filling, except possibly the dessert!

Citrus Colors Easter Bunny Brunch Table Menu:

Tea or Coffee
Mimosas
Lemon Baked Cod*
Roasted Asparagus with Lemon**
Lime Cream Pie with Buttery Cracker Crust***

Photo by PaulaG on food.com

*Lemon Baked Cod

1 lb. cod fillets (4 pieces)
1/4 C. butter, melted
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
paprika for sprinkling

Combine the butter and lemon juice in a pie plate or shallow bowl.  In another shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper.  Dip each fish piece in the butter mixture, and then coat with the flour mixture.  Place the fish in an ungreased 8x8-inch square baking dish.  Pour the remaining butter mixture over the fish and sprinkle with paprika.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  Serves 4.

From Williams-Sonoma

**Roasted Asparagus with Lemon

1 lb. asparagus, tough ends removed
2 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, and zest.  Pour over the asparagus and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange the lemon wedges around the asparagus.  Roast at 450 degrees until the asparagus is tender and just turning golden, about 6-8 minutes.  Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the pan juices.  Serves 4.


***Lime Cream Pie with Buttery Cracker Crust

4 oz. buttery crackers (equivalent to 1 sleeve of Ritz)
1/3 C. sugar
4 T. butter, melted
1/2 C. lime juice (about 3 limes)
zest of 3 limes
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 C. heavy cream, whipped

Crush the crackers in a large bowl by hand so that rather large pieces remain.  Add the sugar and butter and stir to combine.  Pat the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake the crust at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes until it is a deep golden brown.  Set aside to cool completely.

Stir together half the lime zest and 1/2 tsp. sugar and set aside.  Combine the milk, lime juice, and the rest of the lime zest.  Stir until thoroughly blended, and then gently fold in the whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the cooled crust.  Scatter over the sugared zest and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until completely set.  Serves 6.

Note: This pie was called Key lime, but since no Key limes were used, I changed the name to lime cream.  Also, I used a different brand of buttery cracker (Back to Nature Classic Round Crackers) rather than Ritz, so I changed that part of the name as well.

Our Easter meal

Candy is an important component of any Easter celebration in this house!  In addition to the chocolate Easter bunnies, Easter Peeps chicks, and Lemonhead candies, tangerine Jelly Belly Jelly Beans and Dark Orange Lindt Lindor Truffles are offered as the candy choices:



May your day be filled with fun and colorful family and friends!

Is poor Ruby destined to become the Easter Bunny terrier?
By the look on her face, it seems she fervently hopes not!

And of course I have to end this Easter post with my favorite Easter Peeps YouTube video: