Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jaws....and Max ,Noah and Grizzly..,Gardens~

















It's no secret our darling Max has a fixation w/ sharks.
I had no idea the day I mentioned the movie Soul Surfer and Bethany Hamilton..that Max would be so smitten.
Mind you these boys FISH..
In Florida..the whole family..fish..while I click..
The boys,dad,mom..enjoy casting and casting and watching and waiting and catching.
They are good.
You never ever hear..:"I am bored"~
They have their bait..eeewww,lures,rods,book about which fish they can catch and cannot..

They have caught small sharks..
funny though..when their dad prepares lobster..
it's a different story..
They can bit a bit squeamish at that.
Anyways Max's bday this year is shark themed.
They are all going to Toronto..there is an aquarium w/ sharks..they will stay in a hotel..eat cake at midnight..and have fun en famille before his celebration dinner at home.
We will do what we always do and take him to lunch..he gets to pick a gift or two.I jumped the gun this year because where would I find sharks?
So Amazon..was the source for his Shark Toutou(furry friend,stuffie)..EBAY the source for a silver shark necklace and a shark's tooth bracelet..and Ebay for this shark cookie cutter that came in a set of 6 different sea world cutters...I had some..but not one shark.
I made the usual Sprinkle Bakes sugar cookie I have posted..and whipped up..some sort of Royal Icing.
I have given up on outlining...for the moment.
I think I would need a class..The outline is often too hard and cracks..
the lines not flowing like the ones I see on blogs..
so I head to flood fill right away:)
No lines just flood the cookie..
Then add food marker and icing accents.
I bought a little globe shaped vase and decorated it like the sea  with shells and a net..
Easier to give  this way and Max may actually notice..
Do you know he has known the exact countdown in days to his birthday..geesh since Christmas I think.

I think he will like these:)
8 years old..
Time FLIES.
So much so..I cannot believe I made the sand dollar cookies in 2012~
They are so easy and so good too..
And then these..in 2010
That post brought a tear to my eye when I reread it recently..
Someone I "knew"  through my blog..Judy..in Texas..
was just such a nice nice person..she would send me links to recipes for the boys..  if she made paper things that were so cute she would send me one.. she once sent a JoAnn's fabrics craft bag..we spoke of fairy gardens and Texas..and here..about our husbands..and food..
When I posted about Rod McKuen and my LPs..on this particular post..she wrote and asked if she could send me some of hers..
I said no..I had his poetry books and I was all grown up now..and didn't even have a turntable any more..
But I just could not get over all her kindness..
She is the one her husband wrote to me to tell me of her passing.
I think about her so much.
A little angel in heaven fo certain.
Probably overlooking all our fairy gardens now.







The peony side  garden will bloom soon:)  The Alliums lead the way as do the Korean Lilacs..the scent at the moment is so nice..I have about 4 clematis in there two growing up ..and 2 meandering..some roses..Irises..poppies.. a yellow tree peony..odds and ends..and hydrangeas at the back..I added cleomes and salvia at the front for wher the Forget Me Nots ..Forget Me.
The thing about here..is it's green before color happens..and green it is..
The round cutting garden is sooo green..can't wait for the pops of color.Some roses..Irises..a tree peony..shastas.. rudbeckias..perennial geraniums..the hostas circle my little Trevi Fountain:)

My little family across the street got a new camera and let me play with it♥
It gets a lot more in than mine..and these were automatic!
Mind you it's a very good camera:)
I would love to be a camera tester...
I think I would..just to see how they all work differently.
You know..I thank God for my liking hobbies.♥



Some of you might remember Noah's dog Kali  went to heaven while he was in Florida..she was older and apparently had a weak heart..we never knew.. and she was checked regularly..
Anyways.. a couple of months ago..they went to meet Grizzly..
Tuesday night much to all their joy..Grizzly moved in..

Happy Boy..happy dog♥




Forgive the resolution...I will get better ones from her..The day we visited..Wednesday..he was either too busy running around..or sleeping in his bed..
Hope he gets along with the chickens..so far..he has fit in perfectly there.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

~More Of Spring,here in QC~









It's been very unusual weather..from stinking hot..to just about freezing..in fact my Thai basil did freeze..so fragile,her leaves are brown and curled in most parts..
Growth has been pretty much stunted..but the hostas are starting to fill in nicely..the clematis had little nests of bugs in the recent growth as well as the hydrangeas so those were pinched off..
The Alliums are starting to bloom..I have thick buds on certain Irises..the Bleeding Hearts and Forget-Me-Nots are still in full swing..the lilacs too..this latest cold front made what was already in bloom stay.
Like a temperature controlled fridge at a florist.
I was back to socks and slippers ...for a few days.
I bought a few more annuals ..unfortunately a very pretty zinnia was snapped to it's bottom in one heavy wind..I have two more..but will probably pick up another if I can..and they are edible,a beautiful way to add color to many salads..and presentations of desserts etc...
I forgot snapdragons!
Those who know me well will see what I meant about the tulips..they scream at me.
I was about to pick them I think;)..until Jacques walked in and said :"I just love all those tulips in the front..all the colors."..............alrighty then;)

Today was much nicer..just right to garden.
Still awfully breezy..it seems the weather just gets windier and windier.

I repotted some african violets ..they were so pot bound the poor things..
Garlic..radishes.. ♥
The rest a bit slow..it's just been too darn cold for the veggies.
I transplanted a lot of Irises..since  there is even more sun than before in certain spots..they love sun.
Some Goosenecks..into a back shadier garden..where I WANT the INVASIVES to take over.

So..

Call The Midwife and Mr Selfridge are over:(
I found the latter not as good this season..
Ray Donovan..Orange Is The New Black.. The Affair (Oct)..etc ..will begin again..seems I go from wholesomeness on TV to..well ..not;)
And I enjoy both.

We are almost done Grace and Frankie..
Have you seen that Netflix original series?
Jane Fonda,Lily Tomlin,Martin Sheen,Sam Waterson?
We like it..
I have to say Lily and Jane look great..
I know there has been a bit of behind the scenes work done..
but ,well done.
Jane is 78.Unbelievable.
I won't be going near a knife and scalpel ever unless I need it medically.
But it works for them.
But then I watch a movie with Isabelle Huppert who has visibly done nothing..and I love her face just as much....even more..in fact I admire her aging so beautifully and gracefully.
Elegant,understated,timeless.

Dans la cuisine~
I made some very yummy muffins .

If you enjoy the taste of cranberry and orange..try these.
I found them here..at Culinary Concoctions By Peabody.
I made exactly half the recipe and I got 7 of those cute smaller muffin cups that are in most HomeGoods/HomeSense since last year.
I could have made 8:)
They are REALLY good.
Too good? Maybe:)
I made less icing ..just a drizzle..
I used Craisins.
The sour cream gives them that wonderful texture..you know like a sour cream donut.
They would be great if you have overnight guests..or just for you..w/ tea..coffee..
I love finding a great recipe.
I think you will agree~

And what a difference a day makes~





Thursday, May 21, 2015

Those Parrots~Financiers ...and Rhubarb♥






















It has been Parrot Tulip time here..I planted 50 last fall..maybe 30 have come up..
they were a mixed bag..of pinks and yellows and oranges..
I am a white..pink and blue girl in Spring and Summer..
I only develop a love of orange..etc..in late summer..fall..I am not a red person either.there is not one red flower here..  except a rose or two..
So every photo I have taken of my clumps of Parrots..have screamed at me..They are show for sure..but next year just pinks I think ..if I am lucky.
These tulips do nort return for me..every year I have to plant the pretties..
The orange and yellow overshadow my pinks..
But.. I have adapted..
just not for photos..

Years ago I received a cute cute book from a friend..Gardening In Eden..
we all know..QC is far from Eden for Gardening..
yet..
at this time of year..
Eden rings true.
You can live anywhere and experience Eden.
It is the feeling of the moment..
the view at that moment..
how you are at that moment..
so when the pink parrots were dancing in the wind..and my humble rhubarb was staking it's spot..s..before I transplant for a bigger stalk..bigger stalks..
I picked some pink parrot tulips..my small rhubarb stalks..took out my jar of pralines roses..
some coconut..almond flour..beurre noisette was prepped..and I made small rhubarb financiers~
Some I made heart shaped..some true financier shape.
I adorned some w/ pink pralines..and some with finely sliced rhubarb.They are not cupcakes,nor muffins,nor cakes..
The beurre noisette..aka brown butter.. gives them a deep flavor..the coconut some sweetness..the rhubarb and pralines..some ♥ color.
They are minis in my books..and we are minis now.
If our family is not coming over..or we are not going there.

La Recette~ Coconut -rhubarb financiers.

Basically a financier is made with browned ,butter icing sugar ,almond flour,egg whites..flour.

2 small stalks of cleaned,chopped rhubarb..mine were very narrow..so if yours is big..don't use more than 1/3 cup of finely chopped rhubarb.

50 grams of butter that you have browned and cooled..

30 grams almond flour

35 grams coconut..I use sweetened.

20 grams of flour

65 grams of icing sugar

65 grams egg whites

almond or coconut extract to your taste.

Sift the flour,icing sugar,and almond flour togetherin a bowl.
Add coconut..mix

add the egg whites ..(not beaten)..
add cooled browned butter..
I filled 4 financiers and 3 hearts..so this recipe makes 7 mini cakes..
On top I added slivered thin rhubarb to some..and crushed pink pralines to others~
Bake in a pre-heated 400 F oven for ap 15 mins..
Cool..unmold..

sprinkle w/ icing sugar..
A financier mold looks like this~

They are great molds..I think mine is Silikomart

We visited their store a few years back ..maybe 5 years ago.. in Mtl..and I bought a few of their good quality molds.
The hearts were made in cheap silicone heart molds..the same ones I use for my beeswax .

For the pralines roses...pink pralines..

You can watch a video here..I keep mine in a small hermetically sealed jar~

40 grams of almonds whole

80 grams of sugar

70 grams of water

a tiny bit of red or rose food coloring.maybe two drops.
Place everything in a pot and bring to a boil..stirring constantly until the TEMP is 125,remove from stove top and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture caramelizes..see video..make sure to coat the almonds thoroughly..once the consistency is right return to stove top to remelt the sugar and recoat completely..Place on parchment..cool..break apart..store..
The video is perfect!

The peony heads are forming..I've caged them..early blooming clematis are doing their thing..
The apple blossoms have lost their panache.
The high winds ..made it look as if it was raining apple blossoms here..and in a heartbeat..they were gone.
A lot is fleeting..that's why I like to pick up a few annuals..geraniums..bacopa..cleome..cosmos..zinnias..dahlias..pansies.. salvia..not too many..
Thanks to The Graphics Fairy for my garden graphics~
I saw some oregami dresses on Pinterest..and wanted to make some..I found a neat tutorial on Youtube..
They are so sweet♥
Love them on packages.. I think a jar of pink pralines ..would be perfect wrapped this way..any gift really:)
Enjoy the long Memorial Day Weekend my American friends~






Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blanc de Blanc~


















Barbara's Tree~



It was ..is... a long weekend here..
Saturday was a bit of a curmudgeon day..humid..grey..heavy..
Sunday..today ..is absolute ..perfection.
The kind of day..where the outside looks as good as the inside..
The grass is green..the gardens are growing..
the house is sunny.
As is everything had been groomed for you..but you have groomed it..
so..effortless it seems.

A funny little footnote..


A shout out to Staples/Bureau En Gros..is in order also..
Jacques and I each bought a computer last year from them..I took the prolonged warranty..

they had sold us a security program..that ended after one year..
We removed it this week..but could not get the computers to kick in to Windows Defender..I called them..and they said come in..

I did stop at a nursery;)

And we went..

Samuel..the young BRAINIAC ..I mean that in the kindest way..adorable ..sweet smart tech guy..took like 10 magic minutes to make everything right.
No charge..brought my computer back to the car and would not even accept $ compensation.
Kudos.. Staples /Bureau En Gros here in QC.
I already am in love w/ their print centre.."Isabelle".

Back to the gardens..

Some white is popping out ..here and there..Violas..Lilacs..Sweet Woodruff..Solomon's Seal..did you know that all these apart from Solomon's Seal  are edible blooms?Apple blossoms?
I have them here..so I know that there have not been any insecticides used at all.
I have  found a great site for edible blooms..
Lily Of The Valley is definitely NOT edible.. poisonous..but what a scent..my mom♥
It grows wild here..on the side/length of the driveway..the area is not a great gardening area so I have left the ferns..LOTV..Lilies etc..just grow wild~
I love white..so much so that if you look in my closet..my shirts and tshirts are white..  90% or black..the other 10%..I have very little color..
I like white furniture..white blooms..I have a Blanc Pinterest Board:)

The scent of lilacs..and lily-of the valley..are uniquely and individually intoxicating~

Lily Of The Valley has lovely meanings..The Return Of  Happiness..Purity..Sweetness..it is also said that they bloomed at the foot of the cross where Mary shed her tears..:(

I loved a book called The Language Of Flowers..may just read it again..I rarely do that..but I think I will..

Dans la cuisine~


I wanted to use the pans I bought at Amazon..5 ,small, 5 inch Wilton pans to make smaller cakes..
I halved my Gâteau Au Beurre recipe..but it only made 4 layers..will have to try and perfect a small 5 layer cake recipe..
The cake was as good as always..but because the cake is small..the icing was too sweet..next time I will up the cream cheese and butter and reduce the sugar.
But I must say..small is in when you are baking for 1 person.
Cuteness♥
I have shared  this cake recipe before..I'll do it again..this time..halved..

La Recette~

Courtesy of Denise Cardin..when I was a young bride of 21..and she was our back door neighbor..w/ 3 boys..in her later 30's..


 2 eggs
 1 cup of sugar
1 cup flour sifted
1 tbsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 /4 cups of milk that you have simmered  to melt butter the size of an egg yolk..1 tbsp is fine for this halfer recipe.

Combine eggs,sugar,flour,baking powder, salt then milk/butter mixture'until homogenous.

Place in 4 of the Wilton pans.. I measured..to make sure the same amount of batter would be in all 4 pans...bake ap 25 min..until a toothpick comes out clean.. check  after 20 mins..these are small pans..like playing w/ Easy Bake ovens almost:) at 350F.

Let cool..unmold..stack and frost and adorn...with violas..or cherry blossoms..or lilacs..etc..
For the full recipe..it will make 2 8inch round pans..and you would bake 1/2 hour.

Fresh is the operative word for our gardens this weekend..
nothing is burnt..the greens are vibrant and new still..
some of my garden ornaments are getting tired and old..
like..
a small flat garden stone I made..when we moved here.. that has these words on it..

In Search Of My Mother's Garden..I Found My Own~
Alice Walker

With thanks to Derek.
Some people you never ever ever forget.
A smile.. an act of kindness, a twinkle in their eye..compassion..dedication..artistry..kindness..
That..and more..  Derek~




Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rose De Mai~


















Mai~May..
Rose De Mai~
May here in my small town is  all about pink..and white..rose et blanc..what's not to love?
I wish every post I ever posted was Rose De Mai~

Rose rose rose..
We have so many blooming apple trees..almond trees..
that pink is predominant .
A picture perfect little town in May..

After the rains..the grass is greening up nicely and the leaves are sprouting.

I heard the rain impige upon the earth~ James Joyce~


I have a few precious items in my post today..
not only have I planted the most beautiful French radish seeds..
but I have actually been in love with the way I have smelled lately..me:)

Cerisier En Fleur..

and

 Rose De Mai..

Fragonard~

 Sublime scents~♥


I have always loved flowers in brown paper bags..
so much so..in the 80's I made a ceramic paper bag;)
2 actually..I gave one away..and kept one..and still have it.

It never dawned on me back then..to put a vase..in a bag:)

When this bag arrived to me..as a gift ..
w/ 2 different sides..written on..(oh me and the written word..)
I knew.
I knew.
I knew a vase at one point would be settled in..this brown paper bag~
Be still my ♥
You know..the simplest things..bring the most pleasure..
the sight of your husband..a friend..children..grandchildren..nature..the sky..blooms..fresh produce..art..a kind word..an email..a snail mail..a pet.. a song ..a scent..a child.

Pink and white blooming in your town after the coldest winter you remember..



these are the important things..


gardens growing,flowers blooming..
health..happiness..
on your own..
or with someone..
cups of tea..cups of coffee..a great cookie..
 a piece of cake..
a smile,
a good movie..
a good show..
a good book..
a fantastic clematis ..a fantastic recipe..
a glass of wine..
the sea..
watercolors
pretty paper..
ribbon..

I talk way too much in May..
when our world turns into technicolor.



Enfin.. here is a GOOD cookie for you~

From..

Milk And Cookies Bakery..Vanilla Cookies and Variations..
this one is the classic chocolate chunk cookie.

2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
 2 cups flour
 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt(I omit because I use salted butter)
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temp(I use salted)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs room temp.(I used Alain's)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract(I use vanilla bean paste)
2 cups chocolate curls
2 cups chocolate chunks

Pre heat oven to 350F
In a food processor..process the oats until they are finely ground..
Add to the flour and baking powder..soda and salt..
Combine.
In the bowl of your stand mixer... cream butter ap 3 minutes until light..to soften it perfectly
with the motor running..add the sugars..one at at time until well incorporated..add the eggs one at a time..beating well after each addition..add the vanilla..keep scraping down the bowl w/  a spatula..as you add the ingredients*
Slowly beat in the dry mixture..
While the mixture is still a bit streaky..  scrape the paddle.. add to the mix and knead the dough with lightly floured hands..Do not overwork..just make sure everything is blended..
At this point you can add what you want..I added chocolate chips..milk choc chips the first time..
The author advises for choc chips..2 cups of choc. chips
2 cups chocolate shavings..
I added  enough choc chips until they looked exactly like I wanted them to look..
Place on parchment lined cookie sheets in a pre-heated 350 degree oven..scoop w/ a small ice cream scoop..into balls of ap 1 1/2 inch diameter..press to make hockey puck shape:)

Bake for ap 15 minutes..
This book has many cookie recipes..basic doughs..and add-ons..I think this book is really good..so many books go off on tangents..this one sticks to basics and adds~ons:)

PS..This is just me writing about the  book..they don't even know I read it..