Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Long-Awaited Day Arrives

I have been waiting for this day for quite some time. And while the wait has technically only been two months; in reality, it has been much longer. Say, like 26 years, or so.

But what are we waiting for? Any way, it is a pretty day outside.

Okay, here's a hint: I hate this bed. I hate the mattress, I hate the fake-wood headboard with the flower sticker and and I hate the fact that it is a queen-size bed and that my husband and I frequently try to claim the same piece of bed real estate at the same time.
Wait - where is my mattress going? And why is my daughter happily absconding with the thing? She wisely decided to ignore the headboard, though.

Well, this certainly looks different.

And if you guessed that I am finally getting a new bed, then you are the smartest thing on the block.

It is at about this point that my husband and I sincerely hope that the promised bed does indeed arrive today. Otherwise, we are going to have a problem tonight.

Ta-da! Here is the new mahogany king-size four-poster bed and nightstand (to the right of the picture). The antique oak library table switched to the other side of the bed and will remain.

The only problem was the lack of two connectors for the foot board posts. The posts are sitting on the foot board for the photo, but will be set aside until the missing double-ended screws are found.

I wonder if we should have bought steps for the bed? It is awfully tall, after all...

A Couple of Turns in the Kitchen

I decided to get started on the food for Super Bowl Sunday a day early. After all, I would have enough to do tomorrow, so I might as well make things easier on myself.
First off is a recipe that I shamelessly lifted from the blog of my good friend, Rosie Hawthorne. In my defense, the recipe worked in perfectly with some of the other items on my menu. Rosie had recently made homemade tortilla chips, and I decided that I could do that too. Just remember, Rosie: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Here I have white corn tortillas, Old Bay seasoning mix, ground cayenne pepper, whole cumin seeds and melted butter.

The Old Bay, cayenne pepper and freshly ground cumin go into the butter.

After the tortillas were cut into wedges, they were arranged on baking sheets and brushed with the seasoned butter. Following Rosie's recipe, I baked these in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Looking good.

And they are good with the freshly-made salsa.

I think something for breakfast is also in order. And luckily, I know just the thing to make.

I decided to do a recipe that I have not made in years. In fact, I don't know that the dear daughter has ever had these. I think she will like these Drop Donuts.

Drop Donuts

My mother taught me this recipe. I loved when she made this when I was a child.

1-3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, mace or nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon canola oil

Stir together the dry ingredients. In a separate container, mix the wet ingredients together before mixing with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

Here we have a bowl of powdered sugar and a rack on a baking sheet sitting by.

Meanwhile, heat the oil to 375 degrees.

I clip a remote thermometer to the side of the pan so that I can keep an eye on the temperature of the oil.

When the oil is hot enough, drop small spoonfuls (about 1 tablespoon) of the batter into the oil.

The donuts cook quickly, so keep an eye on them.

Now it's time to coat the donut. This is best done when the donut is still warm.

The daughter took on the donut-coating task. Then she placed the coated donut on the rack to cool.

I keep cooking them while she plays with the powder sugar.

Don't these look good?

This recipe makes about 2 dozen donuts.

A couple of donuts had to be tested for quality-control, of course.
I think we are ready for tomorrow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Snow Plow Cometh

Snow plow scene: take 2. This morning the intrepid snow plow driver once again attempted to clear our street and cul de sac. This might be a tad easier in the daytime.

It's still a bit difficult to maneuver the snow around the curve.

At least he didn't get stuck this time.

And see that? Just in time for my husband to leave for work.
It only took the snow plow half an hour to completely clear this short section of road.
All right, enough about that silly snow.

Do you remember seeing this picture of my terrestrial orchid a few weeks ago?

The little beauty is now fully blooming. This is Ludisia Discolor, which is also called the Black Jewel Orchid. This terrestrial orchid is native to Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma. However, this particular plant seems to be quite happy living in my breakfast room.

That is one of the nice things about orchids; they like to bloom during the gloomy winter days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Plow Oops

You know that the roads are bad when the county snow plow gets stuck in front of your house. Repeatedly.

"Houston, we have a problem. "

" Why does this always happen to me?"

"Okay, now we're moving...."

" Or not. Rats, stuck again."

Finally he got unstuck, again, and moved down to the cul de sac, where he got stuck yet again. Are you seeing a pattern here?

Oh wait, our elderly neighbors are coming home. And now they are stuck in front of our house. My husband went out to help them, with only a little bit of prodding on our part. The driver of the snow plow also came to lend a hand, while the neighbor's wife helped. Between the three of them, they got the car going again. As a bonus, my husband got to meet some of our neighbors while doing a good deed.

My husband reported back that the county snow plows have been out on the roads non-stop since midnight on Monday.

My daughter thought you might enjoy seeing this report about IU from an Indianapolis news channel.

Have I mentioned how glad I am that I didn't have to go out today?
Snow Plows and Snow Cream

I am pleased to bring you yet more pictures of snow from Sunny Southern Indiana.

At least the chairs are cushioned now?

A male cardinal visits the feeder.

The view through the laundry room door (near floor-level).

The dear daughter, ever fashionable, sets to work clearing the driveway and front walk.

Looks like she did a pretty good job!

Oh wait, she had help. Her father flagged down a couple of men who were going through the neighborhood, clearing driveways, to help us. I think that was $25 well spent.

I know there is a step off the front porch there somewhere.

Ah, there it is. The diligent daughter found it.

I still think that is a lot of snow.

Friend and fellow blogger, Rosie Hawthorne, left a comment in my last post. To wit:
Rosie Hawthorne said...
"Make snow cream!"
My dear, your wish is my command.

I interrupted dear daughter's shoveling so she could scoop up some pristine snow for this dish.

A large bowl full of fresh snow ought to do it.

I think we'll keep it simple and use Half and Half and sugar.

The Half and Half froze immediately upon making contact with the snow. Then some sugar was mixed in.

Looks like soft ice cream. Tastes like ice cream.
You know, none of us had ever had snow cream before. In fact, I had never even heard of snow cream before watching an episode of Paula's Home Cooking with Paula Deen on the Food Network. Then, Rosie recently blogged about making snow cream. Is this a southern thing?

Snow cream for all of my hard workers.
When my husband heard what I planned to make and why, he asked if I always did everything that Rosie told me to do. Then, after eating the snow cream, he declared it to be wonderful. I told him that he should be glad that I listened to Rosie.
Thanks for the advice, Rosie!

A Winter's Storm

Le sigh, the snow that was forecast did indeed arrive. We woke up this morning to see that we were snowed in.

After 12 hours of sleet yesterday, the snow started falling in the middle of the night.

Tis a winter wonderland.

The birds like to sit in this tree and chirp at me when I am out on 'their' deck.

12 inches. Great. And by the way, this wasn't a simple matter of just sticking the yardstick down into the snow to measure it. No, first I had to get a knife and cut through the 2-inch layer of sleet midway down so that I could get the yardstick to the bottom.

My daughter's car is somewhere under that snow pile in the driveway. Fortunately for her, Indiana University closed the campus for the day. The county is under a snow emergency as well. Only emergency and public safety vehicles are allowed on the roads.

If you click on the picture, you can see that the birds have been busy tracking through the snow.

Anyone need a table full of snow?

You weren't planning on trying to sit down here, were you?

Yep, that's a lot of snow.
At least I have the family here at home with me today. As far as I am concerned, the only way to enjoy the white stuff is from the inside of a nice, warm house.

And look who seems to be feeling better today. Finally. This little cat has caused me no end of worry these past few weeks. I think that Midnight just wanted to make sure that all of his Internet friends were thinking about him. The little scamp.

And now I will send you all warm and safe thoughts, no matter what your weather is today.