Archive for the ‘ Food ’ Category

Easter Crafting

Decoupage Easter Eggs

Decoupage Easter Eggs

I don’t know what it is about spring that excites me about crafting with an Easter theme. I’ve never, ever, liked the smell of vinegar, so I have always hated the traditional Easter egg decorating.

Memories of my loving grandparents trying to get my siblings and me excited about dipping hard-boiled eggs into those little bowls of dye that smelled like vinegar make me cringe. They were kind, and patient, but I was not. After all, I did not like the smell of vinegar, and I did not like eating hard-boiled eggs.

Just the thought of eating something that I didn’t like in the first place, after ruining the pieces of art I was creating after suffering the offensive vinegar smell was just horrific to me! I’m sorry to admit that I was probably a pain in the neck during those times of decorating those Easter eggs!

But I guess that with the eruption of spring flowers, the urge to create spring-related, and Easter-related things gets to me. I try hard to resist, but now and then I succumb to the urge.

A few years ago I was watching a crafting television show on HGTV, and one of the topics was decoupaging Easter eggs. The show inspired me to try my hand at decoupage, and I had all of the supplies that I needed – some old plastic Easter Eggs, some glue, and some pretty, floral wrapping paper. The photo at the top of this page is a sample of some of the results, and I have to admit that I was pleased enough that these are displayed in a glass case all year-long in the foyer of my home.

I just found a YouTube video that demonstrates a similar technique to do what I did, although it is not exactly the same. I’ll admit that I really like the idea of decoupaging the half-eggs, and then filling the eggs with something special, but that is not what I had done. I simply decoupaged the entire egg so that it will never open. I am feeling inspired, though, to do what this video is demonstrating! And adding ribbons around the outside of the egg certainly makes it egg-stra special (pun intended.) I’m just not sure when I’ll have the time to actually DO this.

I will consider taking advantage of the after-Easter clearance sales to pick up some plastic eggs and put them in my craft-room storage closet for when I WILL have time, on a day when my hands don’t hurt too much to take on a crafting project.

Trip Down Memory Lane

Poop cake from Lewiston Maine bakery

Poop cake from Lewiston Maine bakery

A few evenings ago one of my sons asked to me find some photos of a family pet we used to have and email them to him. Well, my photo collection is NOT well organized, and I spent a few hours last night looking through dozens of envelopes of photos from the past. Yes, I found some photos of the pet that I will send to him, but that is not the focus of THIS post. This post is about another photo that I found that brought back some memories from a place that I used to work.

This cake was a specialty cake from a bakery in Lewiston Maine. I don’t know the name of the bakery (sorry) and I no longer have contact with the people who originally ordered it, so I don’t know HOW anyone can order this for themselves. But apparently the bakery had a lot of orders for this cake, and to be perfectly honest I think I would be inclined to order this cake on numerous occasions if I could. But I can’t, so it will just have to be a fond memory of a group of co-workers that got a birthday cake for a person who suffered from severe “potty mouth.” The people who ordered it called it a “poop cake.” Well, actually they used a different word that means poop, but I’m trying to “clean it up” for the purposes of being a “G” rated post.

It really is a chocolate cake, with chocolate fudge frosting with peanuts, plastic flies, and bathroom tissue tucked in and around the top of the cake. And yes, we DID eat it. And yes, it WAS delicious. Some of the co-workers joked about it being “Good ****”

The words around the bottom of the cake plate “Potty patrol” because we were always teasing the “potty mouth” co-worker that we needed to assign someone to help him control his mouth!

What is all of this brew-ha-ha?

When I was looking through the seasonal aisle at Rite Aid yesterday I was surprised to see gift boxes of brewing supplies on the bottom shelf of the gift aisle! I was there to buy some of those holiday books of Lifesavers Candy. While there I also found some inexpensive paper gift tags that look like real ornaments that I decided to buy, and some plastic and/or metal small ornaments. I was glad to find them – I can hang on the tree this year without fear of the pets getting hurt or ruining anything of great sentimental value this year.

I don’t really understand the urge that so many people appear to have about making their own beer. Seems like a trendy thing, to be having a party at your place and then pulling out some bottles with your own special labels on them. Bottles of beer complete with descriptions about whether it is a stout, or an ale, or whatever else you can make with the brewing supplies that seem to be on the shelves of every store in America this Christmas Season.

One of the things that I was looking for this year that I could not find (but have seen there in years past) are those small cushions filled with tiny micro-beads that I need to buy. Several years ago one of my sons had bought one for me as a gift, and it is the perfect cushion for me to sleep with my left arm across it at night – having it there relieves the pressure on my shoulder. The kittens had poked holes in the one he gave me and it was leaking micro-beads out all over the place, so I put it in a larger pillow case to contain the beads that were spilling out, but I’d really like to buy a new one.

Fruit trifle

Fruit trifle

Fruit trifle

Many years ago I found a beautiful recipe for a fruit trifle for a crowd. The recipe says that it feeds twenty-four people. I have shared the recipe with my family and friends, and we often enjoy the fruit trifle during the summer when we have large family gatherings. However it has been a couple of years since we have enjoyed a large family summer gathering, and I simply cannot justify making the fruit trifle for my small nuclear family!

So when I learned that the Jefferson Ruritans were holding a “picnic” where a “crowd” might appear, I decided to fix my beautiful fruit trifle.

I volunteered to be on the decorating committee, and was given the honorary title of “chair” of the picnic committee. Although the actual planning of the picnic was mostly done by the club president, I managed to have some creative freedom in the decorations – to a point. Although the picnic was going to be indoors, I was adamant that it be as picnic-like as possible, so I bought some of the mesh food tents that are used at picnics to keep the bugs off of the food, and with the help of my sister Lori, we “planted” several plastic “ants” on the food tents to try to give the picnic some authenticity.

The picnic was last night. The trifle was a big hit – this was the first time I’ve ever fixed the recipe and ended up with a completely empty bowl at the end of the meal! I did get one request for the recipe (it’s already been emailed out!) Doesn’t the photo make the trifle look amazing? And how do you like those plastic ants on the food tents! When the club president saw the ants, she thought they were real bugs and she tried to brush one of the ants off of the table! Didn’t I laugh!

Simple but delicious comfort food recipe

learning to cook (free clip art)

learning to cook (free clip art)

One of my favorite comfort food recipes ┬áthat I learned from Mom was a very simple dish that our family used to call “Mom’s Good Stuff.”

We decided to name the recipe “Mom’s Good Stuff” because the first time she served it to us I can remember telling her much I loved it and asked her what it was called. She just smiled, shrugged and said that she had no idea what it was called, that it was just something that she had thrown together.

The first thing Mom would do is make mashed potatoes. She used instant potatoes, but I prefer using fresh “new potatoes.” You know, the red potatoes that have very thin skins. I’ll wash them well and cut them into small bite sized pieces. Then I cover them with water and boil them until they are soft, drain them and put a bit of butter on them. I don’t usually bother to mash them because I’m lazy, but they taste great anyway.

(Alternately I’ll use those great pre-cooked and mashed potatoes by Bob Evans that are sold in the refrigerated section of the local grocery stores. Those mashed potatoes are delicious!)

While the potatoes are cooking I’ll peel and slice a sweet onion. (Hint – freeze the onion for ten minutes first to reduce the eye irritation.) Melt a pat of butter in a frying pan and then add the onions, cook them until they are caramelized.

(If I’m feeling really lazy I will skip the frying the onions. Instead I’ll slice the onion, put it in a covered microwave save bowl, add a splash of water, cover it, and microwave it for a few minutes until the onions are very soft.)

When the onions are fully cooked, add a crumbled up pound of super-duper extra lean ground beef – the kind that is so lean that you do not have any fat to drain off when it is cooked! Then brown the ground beef. If the pan gets too dry, add a splash of water to prevent burning the beef or the onions.

(Since my hubby refuses to eat onions, instead of adding the cooked onions to the ground beef, I’ll serve them “on the side” so they can be added to the individual plate if desired.)

You really do want to have some “liquid” in the pan, so you might need to add some water, liquid bouillon or some beef broth to the ground beef if it gets really dry while you are cooking it.

Once the beef is browned, sometimes I’ll add some super-sweet corn niblets or some mushrooms. If I’m going to use canned vegetables like that I’ll use the liquid from those cans instead of adding water, bouillon or broth to the beef while it is browning.

I like to put a mound of the mashed potatoes on my plate, the cover the potatoes with the ground beef mixture. As a kid I liked to make it look like an erupting volcano. Come to think of it, I still do!

It is a fantastic base dish. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Maybe I’ll make that for dinner tonight!

 

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