Friday, May 29, 2009

BRIL #2 and chocolates...

Hello again everyone.  I'm baaaaaack!  

Yesterday my brother-in-law came for an overnight visit.  He is on his way to a new job in Colorado.  We hope that the next time he passes through he'll have his wife and kids with him. They are still in Pennsylvania until he can find them a place to live.  Anyhow, this brother-in-law is the one that used to sit behind me on the school bus and run his finger nails along the back of the seat making a most annoying sound.  It annoyed me the way a fingernail on the blackboard annoyed me.  And he would smile and smile and smile while I cringed and thought murderous thoughts about him.  Of course, now that we are adults, our relationship has changed.  NOW he does all kinds of OTHER things to annoy me!  But I love him anyhow.  Especially when he brings me lovely chocolates!  Speaking of which...

I made this Strawberry Frozen Yogurt from the book "Perfect Scoop...." by David Lebovitz.  It is THE ice cream book to have in your collection!  The book was suggested by Pam from Sidewalk Shoes.  Her blog is awesome, ya'll should check it out.  Anyhow... I made it yesterday and it was so easy!  And then it tasted fabulous!  It wasn't overly sweet, it was creamy and the strawberry flavor was absolute perfection!  I strained out the seeds so we didn't have to contend with any chewing or picking seeds out from between teeth.  All that strawberry loveliness just slid down the throat with beautiful ease!  And the chocolate in the center... that was brother-in-law's contribution.  IT was Dark Amaretto Truffle made by Wilbur Chocolates from Lititz, PA.  That is where he used to live.   The combination of the frozen yogurt and the dark amaretto truffle was bliss!  If you'd like to make this recipe here it is.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup, sugar
2 tsp. vodka or kirsch (optional)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces.  Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (I used kirsch), stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for one hour, stirring every so often.

Puree the strawberries and their liquid with the yogurt and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth.  If you wish, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.

Refrigerate for one hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes about 1 quart

So there you go.  I wrote out the recipe for those people who would like to give it a try.   Actually, I had intended to be lazy ~again~ and link this to Sidewalk Shoes blog, but I couldn't figure out how to do it.  She is so good about writing down the recipes on her blog.   
And for those of you who would like to try some Wilbur Chocolates you can go to and order some for yourselves.  I am rather picky about my chocolates, having had some of Europes finest.... so when I say these from Wilbur Chocolates are scrumptious, I really mean it!

Oh, the Dark Amaretto Truffle chocolates were a gift from my brother-in-law, probably the idea coming from his sweet wife, as was the cute quilted amish bag which I plan to use as my take along knitting bag.  Thank you sister-in-law!  ;-)  But, the other chocolate that I got...  That was all his idea for sure!!! 
Yup, this is more like him....

Thanks BRIL #2 (brother-in-law #2)  Luv ya!

Have a wonderful day ya'll!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two days in a row....and morels.

Hi ya'll!  Yup.  It's me again.  Not that I have anything of real interest to impart here.  But, I thought I'd keep the momentum going....  ;-)

So, going backward in time, I thought I'd share a little treasure hunting I did a few weeks back.  My friend and I went Morel hunting!  Morels are mushrooms.  And hunting morels is a HUGE thing around these parts.  Now, last year, my friend and I paid for a "class" through a sporting goods store to help us find morels.  They were supposed to give us tips and hints as to when to begin looking for them and how to go about spotting them.  Oh, and we got a T-shirt.  Well, we paid for the class, we drove two hours to get to the location they told us to meet up at and at the time of sign up we ordered the size shirt we wanted.  We also brought a picnic lunch so after we were done hunting we would all sit down and talk about our adventure.  Having said all that...  We got there and it was drizzling and cold, not a good sign for hunting morels.  We walked around for a couple of hours with a bunch of people, all of us with sticks and bags with holes in them (to help spread the spores of the mushrooms we picked).  We walked, we stooped down, we walked some more.  We pushed our sticks around in the leaves.  But my friend and I found nothing!  In our group, there was a woman who had a mass of children.  Okay, so maybe it was only about 4 or 5 kids, but they were so rowdy and LOUD that it sounded like a huge mass of loud hyenas!  Anyhow... that lady was the only one that found any morels.  The kids were actually the ones that kept finding them.  The "teacher" said it was because they kids were so low to the ground.  Hmph!  What ever!  All in all, that trip was a bust.  It was too early in the season to find decent sized morels.  (the ones found that day were about the size of a pinkie tip) And on top of all that, the T-shirts that we got were not the size we ordered!

My friend and I vowed that this year was our year!  We have been talking to everyone!  Seriously, EVERYONE about when, how and where to find them.  So, the information on ~when~ was rather easy to procure and the ~how~ also was relatively easy.  Most morel hunters will share that kind of information.  But the WHERE!  THAT people is the most valuable secret!  NO ONE will share that information.  Honestly, I know some of the nicest, kindest people in this town.  But they won't share the where of Morels!  They smile and they say, "oh, you should be able to find them nearly anywhere".  Or "I'm sure if you just look around you'll see them around..."  Which to my friend and I sounds like "blah, blah, blah".  Because we looked around, we poked around, we searched near and far and found NOTHING!
Until, this year!  We finally, put all the little bits of information that we've garnered over the last 14 months (about the time since our last attempt) and we headed out to the wooded, wet area's around town.  Some of the places that you would think would be PRIME for morels.  But found none.  Then we began to notice that there were cars just sitting around on the side of the old roads.  So one day, we stopped our car and began walking around near an area of the Mopac Trail about 5 miles south of where I normally run.  And there we found our very first Morel!
I saw it on the ground because the sun was shining down a ray of light directly on that golden bit of loveliness!  And then we plucked that little morsel and stood up and we slowly turned around in a circle and there were 5 more around us!  We were so excited that we were (very carefully, for fear of accidentally jumping and perhaps crushing some potentially unseen ones directly under foot) jumping up and down with pure joy!  And these, mind you, were not the tiny little things that were found by small children last year.  No!  They were a good size!  And there were 6 of them.  The picture you see before you is the smallest of the ones we found!  
So, now we knew that it could be done.  Outsiders who had no familial ties to this area could really find Morels without the help of long time family held secret of the locations of past Morel sightings!  Halleluiah!  

That was a joyous occasion!  We walked around for another couple of hours but found no more.  We did find some stems where someone else had gotten to one before us.  But the 6 we found were all that were found on that day.  We soaked them in a bowl of water with some salt added to it, then rinsed them and then we sauteed them.     And they were simply Marvelous!   

The next weekend we decided to try it again.  We went to a different place.  A private property belonging to someone my friend knew.  And it was purported to have morels in that area.  And we did find 4 more but they were older ones and had a bit of frost damage due to the light frost we had experienced a couple days prior to our hunt.  

After that.  We hadn't gone back out looking.  The weather had gotten cold again and things just didn't look good for hunting.  And now the season is supposedly over.  But we are continuing to talk to everyone we meet in the hopes that one day before the next season someone will take pity on us and give us a location where we'll be able to have more than a little tantalizing taste of the delectable Morel.....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'll begin with "hello, again."  It's been a long time I know.  What can I say, this has been a longer process than I had anticipated.  Or... perhaps I'm just getting old.  Who knows.  All I'm sure of at this point is that life is moving way too fast for me and I feel as if I just can't catch up.  

There are so many things that I have to do, should do and want to do... there are times when I stand in one place and feel horridly overwhelmed by it all.  And then there are other times when I just feel so at peace with what is going on in my life that I am wonderfully overwhelmed by it all!

So first thing first!

The house, for the most part is settled.  We still have boxes, mostly in the basement and those 8 boxes in my honey's office that are boxes of crystal and china that I STILL can't unpack because I have not found my shelves for the china hutch.  And at this time I am considering giving up the search and just getting glass shelves put in place so I can get those boxes unpacked!   

We've already got a garden semi-planted.  I am sharing a garden spot with a friend of mine at her house.  She has a whole property lot that is dedicated as a garden, so most of our vegetables will be gotten through that space.  Our little garden plot here at the house is dedicated to leafy vegetable and tomatoes and herbs, for now.  We have a little tomato on one plant so far and the lettuces are going strong!  We've already begun the thinning process and have enjoyed "gourmet" salads through that.  And one of my friends gave me several strawberry runners which I am keeping picked.  She told me not to let them bloom and to pluck the blooms off this season and then next year they will be healthy and prolific.  So, that is what I'm doing.  We also have a thornless blackberry vine that was planted by a previous owner about 6 years ago.  Unfortunately, the last owner didn't do much to keep it going so it was in sad shape by the time we moved in.  But another friend of ours told us how to take care of the plant and now we have a boat load of new growth AND a bloom!  So if we're lucky, maybe we'll get at least one berry out of the plant this year!  

We had some excitement this weekend!  First... our daughter and her boyfriend came up on Sunday and spent the day with us (that was the first bit of excitement!).   They spent the night but left far too early for my liking.  But, Sunday evening, as the boyfriend and we were sitting around in the living room (baby girl was upstairs sewing up some things), my honey noticed something flying in our dining room.  Suddenly, he shouts "IT'S A BAT!" Seriously, we had a bat flying around in the house!  I instinctively grab a blanket and toss it to my honey, then I run into my sitting room and grab another throw I had in there and toss it to the boyfriend and yell at them to "GET IT!!!!!!!".  Then I scream up the stairs (as I'm squealing every now and then because the bat is flying in my direction) to my baby girl to warn her that there is a bat flying around down here!  She, promptly slams the sewing room door closed so the thing won't fly in, in the event that it decided to fly up the stairs where she was.  The guy's chased the thing into the basement and after several minutes of scuffling sounds and shouts, all became quiet.  They eventually came back upstairs but no bat was caught.  THEY LOST IT DOWN THERE SOMEWHERE!  Amongst all the boxes and "stuff" we have down there, they lost it....  So, we all sit down and talk about what we're gonna do when...... Ethan (the cat) suddenly goes to the basement door and is sniffing around.  That's when we hear the soft sound of something bumping into the door.  The guy's take their blankets and go back down.  And, again, nothing.  So my honey and I decide we're going to go to bed.  The kids stay downstairs (baby girl is feeling somewhat safe since we closed the basement door and all the vents).  After about an hour I hear a squeal and a shout and some more squealing and then baby girl is screaming up the stairs "it's going upstairs"!!!!!  My honey jumps out of bed and heads down the stairs and after a bit more squealing, scuffling and yelling.  The bat is trapped in the studio!  The studio is off the kitchen and it has it's own door leading out to the deck.  The door leading to the deck is open and the bat can smell the air coming through the screen door so it is trying to fly out that way but can't.  So boyfriend bravely offers to go into the room and open the screen door to let the thing out.  Which he does and the bat heads off into the night!  Phew!  Of course, we still don't know how that thing got into the house to begin with.  We did find out that it crawled it's way into the house from the basement through the intake vent in the hallway.  So, closing the vents everywhere else did no good what so ever!

We've not had another bat incident since.  But then again, it's only been two days....

So, how's that for a story?  

Oh, the peonies... they came from our yard!  We have peonies growing!  Hurray!