Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter 2013

 A day that was supposed to be gloomy at the start was quite the opposite. Well, at least reversed. The rain waited until I was almost home. 

I finally snapped some pics of this year's Easter decorations while the church bells were ringing this morning. Windows were open wide, and the sound was lovely. A few things have been added, and many old things have been used in different ways. That's the fun of collecting! You can always change things up from year to year. And I finally got to use the old basket my friend Abigail gave me...and that Grandma Norma hated. I love it! After that it was off to Mom and Dad's for too much food and an egg hunt.

Hope you all had a wonderful day with friends and family! Happy Easter!

My Grandma said it looked like I stole this basket from a funeral. I think it's lovely.
I also love these clearance tulips. What a great color! I knew this strange old mid-century vase would work great for tulips when I found it over the summer.

The oldest blown and dyed eggs in the "collection". 
Gilded eggs in a terracotta basket beneath the faux Fra in the hallway.
The second oldest eggs.
I love Easter lilies, but haven't bought any for years. I'm going to plant them on the south side of Mom and Dad's and see if they can make it.

The newest blown out eggs look great under cake domes. Such an easy way to decorate.
And no need to dye them! All of the blown out eggs get packed into cartons to use year after year. All of these, however, I may keep out in a glass hurricane or something. I just love them.
An old covered bunny dish that I "borrowed" from my mom.
A milk glass hen dish from Abigail. 

And a milk glass Avon dish I thrifted. 
A glittery corner of the dining room.

This was found in some Christmas decorations years ago. We are pretty sure my Great-aunt Mary made it. But all of those Yoder ladies were pretty crafty, so it's hard to tell.
I "borrowed" this candy dish from my mom, as well. I always get it out at Easter for some reason.

Kitchen chickens.
Junior had a pretty successful egg hunt.

Seriously excited about Jake and the Pirates socks.

"I found another one! And ANOTHER!"

The first daffodils are blooming! They were beat down by a late freeze, but some have managed to bloom.

He might be a little spoiled, but he deserves it!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs

Now that the days are growing longer and, hopefully, warmer, the hens have really been busy. Just last week eight dozen eggs were brought into work, and there are more and more glorious shades of olive, pale green, and aqua all the time. I really long for the day that I can have my own hens, but until then I am happy someone else is happy raising heritage breeds!

All shapes, sizes, and colors. I, of course, wanted to blow these out for Easter decorations.

And blowing out eggs means either a lot of baking, or a lot of easy, cheesy, crustless quiche. Look at the brightness of those yolks! You don't get that at the grocery!

I made two. This one was mushrooms, spinach, and Swiss. The other was grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and Parmesan. 
A baker's dozen of brown eggs went into the pot to hard boil. Martha taught me long ago to cover with an inch of water, bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and cover for 11 minutes. 

Remove to an ice bath and cool...and then put them in a bowl to store in the fridge. 

Did I say "perfect" hard boiled eggs? Creamy yolks without a trace of green/gray on the outside. The shells from the hard boiled eggs will be crushed and tossed with the birdseed at Mom and Dad's. Birds benefit from the extra calcium, helping them lay strong eggs themselves.

And as for the blown out eggs? Well, they have made their way to Easter decorations around the Penthouse. I still need to get some pictures to post! I love that little speckled olive green pullet egg. And the pale buff colored ones. And the pale green. And that light, light blue...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pork With Tangy Citrus Sauce

Citrus. I love it in all forms. Something I might love more than citrus? Simple dinners.

I ran across this recipe a few weeks ago and have already made it twice. It's so easy and so tasty and makes great leftovers. Plus, there's another fun Everyday Food video to go with it! Sarah Carey just makes me happy.

My own little citrus trees have not fared well this winter. I keep dreaming of a greenhouse with full grown citrus trees, though.

I remembered to season the pork before dredging in flour.
Cook the chops, then get the onions going and add the garlic.

Add the citrus juice. Smells soooo good!

Toss the pork back in. I sort of ripped it apart for knife free dining. Chicken would also be pretty good with this sauce.

I had it over rice, but had the leftovers over Israeli couscous. I think I liked the couscous, better. I also never added any sugar, although the second time I made it it was a wee bit tart.

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Wasn't I Lucky to Be Born in My Favorite City?"

That little quote from the beginning of Meet Me in St. Louis always makes me smile, because that's how I feel, for the most part, about Fort Wayne. I really do believe that I was born in my favorite city, although maybe it's because it's the only place I've lived.

Please pardon my following rambling.

Boston was the first place that ever caused me to want to move away from Fort Wayne. I'm not sure if it was because I really wanted to go to New York but Boston seemed more manageable, or if it was just the first big city I ever really spent more than a few days in, but Boston kept me coming back for years. The Public Gardens, strolling through Beacon Hill, making the quick trip to Cambridge and seeing "Dewey, Cheathem, and Howe" in the window of a building in Harvard Square, or going out to explore Mount Auburn Cemetery. Boston was the first big city I really got to know on a personal level. Later visits where it was quite like living a real life in Boston (if a real life means getting around the city, doing what you want, and not having a job). Boston was, and is, the lovely old dowager of New England, beautifully faded in a way that makes you wonder about all that she has seen.

Then I went to New York. Big mistake. It was exactly as I imagined, only better, and I seemed to know that city like the back of my hand. Subways were a piece of cake (though I think I owe that to cutting my teeth on the T in Boston), I knew how to get to where we were going, and after one night out in the East Village I was beginning to shift my love, as I knew I would. It didn't help that my first glimpse of the skyline was looking south from the George Washington Bridge, and an enormous full moon was hanging over the World Trade Center. That first time seeing the skyline, no matter how many times you visit, that first time is really something. My last trip I walked from Grand Central up Park Avenue over to Fifth Avenue at the Guggenheim Museum, down Fifth Avenue to Rockefeller Center, then Southeast through Chelsea, down to the West Village and into Greenwich Village, down Broadway to shop at Century 21...and then realized I was almost at the tip of Manhattan. I just took it all in all day. My legs were almost unbending when I returned to the Golden's Bridge station in Westchester.

Los Angeles was in there somewhere. Pass. I need real Seasons. Oh wait...then I went to Charleston. Oh, stole my heart. What can I say? I'm very disloyal in my love affairs with places. Charleston is beautiful. Elegant. Charming. So very European. And the gardens! And Charleston is a survivor! She has survived bombardment, burning, and the Great Earthquake of 1886 which measured a 7.5 on the Richter Scale (the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 was a 6.7). I really do love Charleston, and if I had my wish I would have a home there...but could I live there year round? Is there enough bustle? It would be much easier to grow my citrus. Hmmmm.

Then there is Chicago, that rough and tumble upstart of a Midwest metropolis the old, East Coast cities looked down their patrician noses upon. I always took their snobby lead and thought "why not just move to New York if you are going to spend THAT much money?" However, you get the hustle, you get the bustle, you get the four seasons and great shopping and nightlife. And it's close to home.

I'm not saying I'm packing up the Penthouse to make a move somewhere by any means. I am just saying it's nice to know that one does have options close to home, because I think being close to home is what I've learned is the most important thing to me, and Fort Wayne really, truly is home.

Wasn't I lucky to be born in my favorite city?

Sometimes a fresh view is all you need. I mean, Fort Wayne can look like a much larger city from a higher vantage point.

At the top of the Hancock Tower the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago quickly give way to vast, rolling Midwestern land. It just happens a bit faster in Fort Wayne.

There is definitely not a replacement for the Gas House anywhere else.

I do love this sky line. 

And the jumble of old and new.

The Penthouse lies just beyond St. Joe Hospital's red brick tower in the center of the pic...right where everything begins to flatten out.

Friday, March 15, 2013

On the Town With Izzy

I had the great luck on Wednesday to spend time with one of my favorite people - Ms. Izzy. She's a snorty little gal who is happy on the go...until her little legs run out of steam. We sure did a lot in one day!

Took a little trip to the Allen County Courthouse and Courthouse Green. Izzy agrees that the statue of Anthony Wayne should stay in Freimann Square.

Next stop, the former Courthouse and Jail, now the History Center. She, of course, already knew the history of the first French fort, Fort Miamis, built in the area.

Next it was on to Wunderkammer Company to get a sneak peak at the new exhibition opening this weekend. I mean, people like us don't wait for an opening to see what's going on (though we wouldn't miss the opening of a door!).

A quick stop at the Penthouse to throw pillows on the floor and have some refreshments.

Then time for bed. By the sound of her snoring she was worn out! I mean seriously. Imagine Paul Bunyan snoring.

She really is a sweet little dog, even when she gets a little stubborn. Although I had her for less than 24 hours, it was strange last night to do things around the house without a little "click, click, click" at my heels. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reminder of Spring

After the weekend warm up and a sudden heavy snow last night (it wasn't much, but boy did it come down fast), I noticed this little guy doing what he can to brighten his corner of the Penthouse. I love all my little Overwinterers, but man I am ready to have the apartment back to normal.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Turkey and White Bean Chili

Despite the fact that we've hit 54 degrees in the past few days, snow is already forecast again this week. Nothing like Saturn, mind you, but chilly enough to make some chili! I was flipping through recipes and back issues and found this lighter version, but still hearty chili. It may be cold, and I may want comfort food, but I can still watch my waistline!

Who am I kidding? Ground turkey was on sale. 

The recipe from Everyday Food is really easy. Simple ingredients, big on flavor.

Mise en place people! It makes cooking and baking so much more enjoyable! It's like you are starring in your own show! Not that I pretend to do that when cooking or anything.

Browning everything up. Make sure you cook the cumin! Raw cumin is N to the ASTY!

Simmer, simmer, simmer.

Dig in! I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, of course. The radishes from the grocery were really rather sweet. I can't wait for leftovers!