Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peter Rabbit, More Squares

I love the tales told by Beatrix Potter.  The books are tiny enough for little ones to hold, the illustrations amazingly gorgeous, and the stories unforgettable.  And every child can relate to the curious and naughty Peter Rabbit, who gets himself into a great deal of trouble when he does not heed his mother's warning and goes into Mr. MacGregor's garden.  He eventually makes his way back home and his mother tenderly takes care of him and tucks him into bed.

These plates hang on my kitchen wall year round but I thought it very appropriate to share them with you at Easter.   They remind me of many lovely afternoons when my children would sit at the kitchen table to have tea and cookies with mommy.    And they also remind me what our Easter celebration is really about:  Forgiveness from someone who loves us very much and a chance to start anew.

*  *  *  

Here are 5 more of my blocks for the stitch-along 39 squares challenge.

A basket of flowers.



Maple leaf in the fall.

Pink piglet.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cheesecake Supreme

I mentioned yesterday that I would post my recipe for Cheesecake, so here it is.  The first time I made this cheesecake was a special occasion.  A certain handsome Italian guy was coming for dinner.  It was our second date.  The main course was fondue, and cheesecake was what I served for dessert.   I topped it with strawberry glaze and sliced strawberries.  Turned out he loved cheesecake, but disliked strawberries, so he scooped all the lovely fruit and glaze off his piece.  In spite of the strawberries we got married a couple of years later.   ;-)

Since then it has been made for various family gatherings and special occasions.  I taught my little sister how to make it and my oldest niece.  It is now firmly entrenched as a family favorite.   And it will be dessert at our Easter dinner this Sunday.

(One of my sisters took this picture)
Here it is in the center of the dessert table at my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary luncheon a couple of years ago.  My little sister stayed up all night and made 3 of these cheesecakes for the event.  This one fell a little, but not bad for a 4 am cheesecake.  :-)   

Here is the picture from the cookbook. Doesn't that look wonderful?  It tastes as good as it looks!
(See a picture of the one I made for Easter here.  And a picture of the one Diana @ Bits and Pieces made here. )

Cheesecake Supreme 

 (From Better Homes And Gardens New Cookbook, 1962 Ed.)

A truly spectacular dessert. Filling’s smooth and creamy, the crust almost like a lemon cookie. On top, beautiful strawberry glaze and fruit.

Make Crust:
1 cup sifted flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup butter
1 slightly beaten egg yoke
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, sugar and peel.
Cut in butter til mixture is crumbly.
Add egg yolks and vanilla. Blend thoroughly.
Pat 1/3 of dough on bottom of 9 inch spring form pan, sides removed.
Bake in hot oven(400) about 8 minutes or til golden; cool.
Attach sides to bottom, butter and pat remaining dough on sides to height of 1 and 3/4 in.

Make Filling:   
5- 8oz packages cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 and 3/4 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 or 5 eggs (1 cup)
2 egg yokes
1/4 cup whipping cream

Let cream cheese stand at room temperature to soften (1 to 1.5 hours). Beat creamy.
Add vanilla and lemon peel.
Mix sugar flour and salt and gradually blend into cheese.
Add eggs and egg yokes one at a time, beating after each just to blend.
Gently stir in whipping cream.

To Bake:
Turn into crust lined pan.
Bake at 450 for 12 minutes;
Reduce heat to 300 and continue baking 55 minutes.
Remove from oven; cool.
Loosen sides with spatula after 1/2 hour.
Remove sides at end of hour.
Allow to cool 2 hours longer.
Glaze with Strawberry Glaze OR Pineapple Glaze and sliced fruit
Serves 12.

Strawberry Glaze  (this is the one I always use)
2 or 3 cups fresh strawberries
1 cup water
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

Crush 1 cup of strawberries; add the water and cook 2 minutes; sieve.
Mix cornstarch with sugar (amount of sugar depends on sweetness of berries);
Stir into hot berry mixture. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly.
Cook and stir till thick and clear. (add a few drops of red food coloring if needed.)
Cool to room temperature.
Place remaining strawberries atop cooled cheesecake; circle with halved pianaple rings if desired.
Pour glaze over over strawberries and chill about 2 hours.


Pineapple Glaze   
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Combine sugar and cornstarch in saucepan; stir in pineapple juice and lemon peel.
Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to boiling. Cook and stir until thick and clear. Cool to room temperature.
Cut canned pineapple rings in half; arrange spoke fashion around edge of cheesecake. Spoon glaze over; chill two hours.
Or, spoon glaze over top of cooled cheesecake and chill. Trim with fluffs of whipped cream centered with drained ppineapple chunks.

 I like to double the dough recipe and then pat the dough all the way up to the top of the pan.    This bakes messy so be prepared to clean your oven afterwards. 
I always make the strawberry version.  And these days I leave all the toppings on the side and let each person top their own. 
This recipe was from my Grandma's 1962 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicks and Bunnies and Eggs

Things are beginning to look like Easter around here!   The sun is shining and the little chicks and bunnies and eggs have started to make an appearance.

(Mona, this picture is especially for you!  I have faux greenery too!)

Three more embroidered squares have been completed for  my 39 squares stitch-along-sampler.   That brings my total  up to 19.  

My sweet old yellow boy kitty, Willie, who died a few months ago.  (I think I will go back and add a neck. this looks strange with just a face.)

A gingerbread boy cookie.

I love zinnias!

My sister-in-law (Mr. Garden's twin sister) and I were on the phone today to plan Easter dinner.  We always have such a good time when we get the whole family together!  All the kids will be coming home... it's just going to be a great celebration weekend!   Looks like I will be making cheesecake. (among other things)   I should post that recipe.  Look for it later this week. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

J is for Jewel Box

J is for Jewel Box.

My kids sitting by the reflecting pool at the entrance to the Jewel Box.  (taken 6 or 7 years ago.)

The Jewel Box is an Art Deco style display greenhouse, a showcase for flowers and plants.  It was originally planned for the worlds fair in St. Louis, but they ran out of time to get it done.  It was finally built in the 1930's and renovated in 2002.  There are over 4,000 panes of glass framed in verdigris copper.  They have lovely seasonal and holiday displays.  And it's a popular wedding site.   If you ever find yourself in St. Louis, I recommend a visit.  It's in Forest Park, next to the zoo, the art museum and the Muny (outdoor theater).

(The rest of these pictures came from the web.)

It's the letter J week on Alphabe-Thursday over at Jenny Matlock's.  Stop by to see all the other great posts.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Picked these up for a song!

I picked up these two embroidered pieces for just a song at a thrift store.  It was my lucky day!

A sweet daisy pillowcase.  And this darling tablecloth with a teapot in one corner and cream and sugar in another.

I have completed two more squares for my little sampler. A teapot and a bluebird.

And yes, you were all correct with your guesses for my last post.   It was a house in a tornado.  Can't be from Kansas without including that in my sampler can I? 
Be sure to stop in and see what the other 50+ participants are doing with their samplers at 39 Squares.  Everyone is so creative!

By yesterday afternoon almost all of our snow had melted.  Only a few patches like this remained:

And today's rain made even those disappear.   Once again snow free!   I love rainy days.  I may be the only person on the planet who does, but they make me relax.  I want to curl up on the couch with my kitties and a good book.    

Speaking of books, I am supposed to choose the next read for our book club that meets next week.  I'm open for suggestions.   What good books have you read lately?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

14 squares complete and some movies.

We received several more inches of snow on the first day of spring.   So I decided it was a good time to stay cozy and warm and watch some movies.  We just started Netflix and enjoy the convenience of movies arriving in the mail.   Just finished viewing The Constant Gardener.  Have you all seen it?  Does this kind of terrible thing really happen?

I also watched The Young Victoria with my best friend.   We see just about every Queen movie that is made.   Very fitting for two gals who grew up singing "God Save The Queen".

I finished up a few more blocks for my 39 squares.  Well, for me it is only going to be "35 squares",   because: #1- I got a really late start.  An  #2- I want it to be a specific size.   This sampler is a fun way to brush up on my stitches and learn a couple of new ones.  I had never made bullion knots before last week.  Here are pics of the 14 I have made so far.



Cup of tea.

Purple coneflowers.

Can you tell what this is supposed to be?  



Blue daisy


I think I may add something more to this one. 

And the last four are the initial squares.

Hope you all had a nice weekend, with real spring weather!!

PS-  Gail over at Faithfulness Farm is having a  lovely little chicken themed giveaway to celebrate her 100th post!  Stop by her place and tell her I sent you.

Friday, March 19, 2010

39 Squares and Penny Rug

A couple of days ago I decided to join 39 Squares.   This is a group of bloggers who are making a fun  embroidered sampler, one tiny square at a time and posting the pics each day.   They are already on square 18 or 19, but I can catch up.   Right now I have 7 blocks completed and 2 more partly done.  Thanks Amy for this fun and creative challenge!

I also made my little Easter penny rug.  (still need to iron it.)  This is a pattern from  fellow blogger Elizabeth at Creative Breathing.  Thanks for sharing your ideas and patterns with us Elizabeth.  I really had fun making this.

What fun crafts are you working on?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I is for Italian

I is for Italian.

No, not salad dressing.

My Italian.  My honey.

Well... only half Italian really.  His Dad's side of the family is 100% Italian.
He's as good as they come and I think I'll keep him.

 (Family photos may not be borrowed or pinned.)

(family photos may not be borrowed or pinned)

I is also for immigrant.   And immigration policy. And speaking of that (I know that I'm opening a whole can of worms here, but...) what do you all think about our borders and our government's current immigration policy?   If it were up to you, what would you do to make it better? 

Today is Alphabet-Thursday.  Visit Jenny's to see all the other I posts

Monday, March 15, 2010

Irish Dance Solo Dresses

 (Family photos may not be borrowed or pinned.)

Here is daughter and one of her best friends at an Irish Dance competition at Gaelic Park in Chicago a few years ago.   They met in an Irish dance class when they were about 9 or 10 years old and have been friends ever  since.  

I wanted to show you some of the fantastic dresses Irish dancers wear when they compete on stage.  These are "solo dresses".  Each one is different.  Some are designed by the girls themselves.  These dresses have to be earned.  Girls have to advance to a certain level in competition before they are allowed to wear a solo dress.  Each girl will also have a school costume, which they wear for their first few years of dancing (before they qualify for a solo dress), and later for team dances when uniformity in look is important.

These pictures represent various styles of solo dresses from the past 10 years of Irish dance.  Note the different fabrics and styles as fads came and went in the competition world.


Have you picked out a favorite? Or two? Or three?

(Only two of the dresses above belonged to my daughter.   The others were owned by other dancers.  I found most of these pictures at the websites that sell new or used solo dresses.)

I am linking to Mary's Mosaic Monday.    And Cuisine Kathleen's St Patrick's Blog Crawl.