Thursday, April 17, 2008

To An Early Daffodil

To an Early Daffodil

Thou yellow trumpeter of laggard Spring!
Thou herald of rich Summer's myriad flowers!
The climbing sun with new recovered powers
Does warm thee into being, through the ring
Of rich, brown earth he woos thee, makes thee fling
Thy green shoots up, inheriting the dowers
Of bending sky and sudden, sweeping showers,
Till ripe and blossoming thou art a thing
To make all nature glad, thou art so gay;
To fill the lonely with a joy untold;
Nodding at every gust of wind to-day,
To-morrow jewelled with raindrops. Always bold
To stand erect, full in the dazzling play
Of April's sun, for thou hast caught his gold.

Amy Lowell

First Grade Circus and One Big Brown Monkey

Can You believe He is 10 ?

Cade had his 10th Birthday on the 10th last week - His Golden Birthday! We had a lot of things going on so he didn't get to celebrate it in the way he probably wanted to- with a real party with his friends. I think he had a great day any way. Mom came down to visit and we went out to dinner. The resturant that we ate in had a magician working that night. He gave special attention to our table when he found out that Cade had a bithday. After making things out of balloons for both boys and showing us several magic tricks, Scot arranged for him to give him his birthday present through a magic trick. He had been wanting and waiting for an Ipod since before Christmas. He was very excited when the magician made one appear for him on his birthday. I am sad that I didn't bring my camera.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

What is Master Gardening?

I have been asked lately what is a Master Gardener and Why do I want to be one? Well, the classes are nearly over and I have the volunteer hours ahead of me. I guess the obvious reason is that I more than a little enjoy plants and want to learn more. Here is some basic information that I found that sums up what the program is all about.

Master Gardening Program

The Master Gardening program is filled with a variety of people, all with the same goal of learning, sharing, and teaching gardening topics. They band together for the good of gardening.


The program is sponsored and conducted by the land-grant university in each of the fifty states. Classes are conducted by local county organizations, their agents, outside professionals, experts, specialists, and sometimes master gardeners themselves.

On a weekly basis classes come together and learn about different gardening subjects, plant identification, soil and plant nutrition, weed science, composting and mulching, basic entomology, fruit and vegetable gardening, lawns, trees, and methods and techniques of propagation.


For attending the classes, a small fee for text books and supplies is required. A "pay back" of volunteer hours is required by each county. Some have a yearly certification program, others provide advanced training.

As a volunteer, there is no end to local projects: assisting schools in children's gardens, visiting nursing homes, helping with habitat landscaping, garden days, county fair booth, library lectures and displays, field trips, public plant clinics, and public seminars. Volunteers write newsletters, do radio and TV spots, answer the Master Gardener office phone and hold plant sales.


The program was originated in the early 1970's at Washington State University. Master Gardeners were taught and trained as helpers to the county agent.

With over 3,000 county agents in the United States, the program is well organized. Now there are county associations, cluster groups, state meetings, and regional conferences. There is even an international event.

info found at

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Recipes To Share

I have been busy making and baking for quite a few different things. I am posting some of the recently requested recipes that I have promised to share.

Mocha Layered Cheesecake


* 1-1/2 cups cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
* 1 tablespoon boiling water
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
* 1-1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 4 eggs, lightly beaten
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
* 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
* 3 tablespoons butter
* Chocolate-covered coffee beans, optional

Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. In a small bowl, combine the coffee granules, water and cinnamon; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Divide batter in half. Stir melted chocolate into one portion; pour over crust. Stir coffee mixture into the remaining batter; spoon over chocolate layer.
Place pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 16 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. Place in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
Bake at 325° for 45-50 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with coffee beans if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 16 servings.

Down To Earth Granola

I like to layer this granola with yogurt and fresh strawberries and blueberries

4 cups regular oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups raisins and/or craisins

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl mix oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm oil and honey. Whisk or stir in vanilla. Carefully pour liquid over oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon; finish mixing by hand.

2. Spread evenly in a 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool in a pan on a wire rack. Stir in raisins or dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in a freezer for 3 months. Makes 8 cups ( 24 servings )

Exotic Chicken Salad

5 cups canned chicken- cubed
2 Pounds green and red Grapes- halved
1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
2 Cups celery sliced
3 ounces slivered and toasted almonds
20 ounces drained pineapple chunks
Dressing ingredients:
3 cups mayo
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp curry powder
2 T lemon juice

Mix all dressing ingredients together in one bowl. Then mix the first six ingredients together in a large bowl. Gently stir in the dressing and mix well. Chill thoroughly to blend flavors. Serve on croissants.

Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies
From the Bon Appetit Cookbook

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Stir butter and unsweetened chocolate in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs and 1 3/4 cups sugar in large bowl until pale yellow and light, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in warm chocolate mixture. Whisk in vanilla, then flour. Mix in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Cool brownies completely in pan on rack. Cut into squares. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.) Sift powdered sugar over.

mint brownies Bon App├ętit | August 1997

Two toppings — one mint, one chocolate — accent these luscious treats.

Makes 20 small brownies.
For brownies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

For toppings
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon whole milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
Make brownies:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Stir butter and chocolate in small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Set aside. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate mixture, flour, peppermint and vanilla extracts and salt; stir until just blended. Mix in nuts.

Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Make toppings:
Beat powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, milk and extract in bowl until creamy.
Spread over warm brownies. Chill until set, about 1 hour.

Stir chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over low heat until smooth.
Cool slightly. Pour over mint topping, spreading evenly. Cover and chill until set, about 1 hour. Cut into 20 squares. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover with foil; store at room temperature.)

Cool slightly. Pour over mint topping, spreading evenly. Cover and chill until set, about 1 hour. Cut into 20 squares. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover with foil; store at room temperature.)

Calico Salad


* 12 packages (16 ounces each) frozen peas, thawed
* 12 packages (16 ounces each) frozen corn, thawed
* 12 cans (8 ounces each) sliced water chestnuts, drained
* 3 cups sliced green onions with tops
* 6 cups mayonnaise or salad dressing
* 2-1/4 cups milk
* 2-1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
* 3/4 cup lemon juice
* 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
* 3 jars (4 ounces each) sliced pimientos, drained
* 6 cups slivered almonds, toasted


In large bowls or containers, mix peas, corn, water chestnuts and onions. Combine the mayonnaise, milk, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper; pour over vegetables. Add pimientos and mix well. Chill for several hours or overnight. Before serving, add almonds and toss. Yield: 140 servings.
Printed from Apr 1, 2008

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