Monday, August 29, 2011

Tea for a Two Year Old

Little Bird turned 2 on the 18th and her party this year was a High Tea.  When we went to the Ritz for tea she loved the little tid-bits that were just her size.

Her family from both sides came for the festivities.  She was the center of attention.

And she loved every second of it!  As a Birthday Girl should.

She was given some wonderful presents.  This is a ‘sliding puzzle’.  The pieces move about the board but don’t fall out.

Little Bird loves her books.  And Elmo is a particular favorite.

She dove right in!

The High Tea menu was planned months in advance.  I’m not kidding you.  There have been battles fought that had less planning than this party.   I think it turned out lovely. 

The sandwich tray.   

The top is smoked ham, goat cheese and pesto (from my CSA boxes!) on oat bread.  The middle is chicken salad on white and wheat bread.  The bottom plate is cucumber with dill cream cheese (again from my CSA boxes) on oat bread.


We had cranberry, chocolate chip and lemon-ginger.

Strawberry cream tarts.

Mixed fruit tarts.

Zucchini bread (CSA again!).  

The right side is regular zucchini bread.  The left side is the same batter but I threw in a bunch of dark chocolate chips and dried tart cherries.  Oh my goodness!  When Himself comes home I’ll be making more of that.

Chocolate dipped strawberries.

Homemade fudge.

Little Bird and her family.   

Happy birthday baby girl!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Luncheon

Recently I had a group of friends over for a summer luncheon.  In planning the menu I wanted to be able to fix as much as possible ahead of time so I was not tired and frustrated by the time they arrived.

I found some wonderful mixed greens at Whole Foods.  The variety was great.  I predressed the salad with a pomegranate dressing.  It has a delicate sweet/tart flavor.  It is also from Whole Foods.

For the entrĂ©e I decided to go with quiche.  I couldn’t decide what to make… so I made three!  There was a sausage, green pepper, and mushroom.  A ham, asparagus, and mushroom.  And one I made up, eight cheese lavender quiche! 

I found these fresh at a farm stand, so I put together a bowl of honeydew and blueberries.

Lemonade and ice tea were the drinks.

Himself is the baker of our family, so I was lazy with dessert.  I went to The Cupcake Connection in town and bought 2 varieties of cupcakes.  Key Lime and Sweet Potato (this one tastes very much like a carrot cake).  

It was so easy.  Everything was put together the night before.  The quiches went in the oven in the morning and all that was left was to dress the salad about 20 minutes before I expected everyone.  

I’ll share the Cheese Lavender quiche with you.  For me, making a quiche is the easiest thing in the world.  I don’t measure any more.  So the measurements I’m giving you are approximate.  Mine are for a 9X9 baking dish, so go up or down as you need to.  As you can see from the photos, I used very large baking dishes for my luncheon.  

Eight Cheese Lavender Quiche  

1 box readymade pie shells 

5 eggs 

1 cup of cream (or whole milk, but cream is better)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 to 2 cups Italian cheese blend (the one I use has 6 cheeses – Romano, parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, Fontana and asiago)
1 Tsp Herb de Provence
1 tsp culinary lavender
Salt and pepper to your tastes

Line baking pan with pie pastry.  

Mix together all the cheeses with your hands until well blended.  Then add the four seasonings.  Again mix until blended thru the entire bowl of cheese.  Set aside.  

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the cream.  Set aside.  

Put the cheese evenly into the pastry lined baking dish.  Pour egg mixture over top.  You should be able to just see the egg mix thru the cheese.  

Bake about 25 minutes at 425 F, until a knife inserted in the middle comes up clean.  

(If you really filled up the baking dish, you might want to set it on a cookie sheet to bake in case it bubbles over a bit.)  

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Otterfully Wonderful Morning

Back to the delightful morning in the beach at Ft Worden, WA.  As I’d mentioned, except for a few minutes when I arrived, I had the whole stretch of beach to myself.  I found a large log that had washed up at the top of the beach and sat enjoying the peaceful solitude.  

But then I realized I wasn’t quite as alone as I thought I was.  Someone was enjoying a brunch on the beach about 40 feet away from me.

And that someone was a river otter!  

I have been fascinated with otters since childhood and was thrilled to have one so close.  I snapped a few photos of him as he munched on his mussel (and growled at the sea gull who kept edging ever closer).  I watched for a while, until my attention was caught by a gorgeous sail boat going by.  When I looked back at the water line, the otter was gone.

My disappointment was very short lived tho.  Because when I looked closer… MUCH closer… there was Mr. Otter only a few feet from me!! 

When our eyes met, he gave a cute wiggle and started rubbing himself in the sand.   

And he came a little closer.  Before long he had wiggled himself within 6 feet of me!  I decided to risk moving to pick up the camera.  Mr. Otter flipped on his back and started scratching his chin. 

Since moving didn’t bother him, I started talking to him.  That brought on a whole new round of wiggling and sanding. 

His fur was so thick and plush.  I would have loved to have felt it.  But you know, it never left my mind that as flirtatious Mr. Otter was, he was still a wild animal and a great big cousin of the weasel.  I had my escape route mapped if needed…

After a bit he settled into the sand with a content sigh and drifted off to sleep.  When I got up to leave, he opened his eyes for a moment as if to say, “Good bye.  Nice meeting you.”  

It was nice meeting you too, Mr. Otter!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Encyclopedia of Moi: L

Luna moth:  Beautiful, mysterious, and rare.  I’m still as excited to see one now as I was that first time when I was a child. 

Ladybug:  When I was just starting school, our neighbor had two maple trees in his yard that where usually full of lady bugs.  And not just red/black dot lady bugs… there were black/red dot and yellow/black dot.  They fascinated me.  I’ve never seen such a variety since. 

Little Brown Puppy and A Falling Star:  My favorite childhood book.  About a homeless puppy who chases a falling star and find a home instead.  Mom found a copy for me about 15 years ago.  It was a lot of work and I really appreciate it.  I’ll make sure Little Bird and Little Hoss have a copy in their little library! (OK, I realize that “Little” isn’t actually in the title… but that is what I called it as a child!) 

Lists:  I have probably killed a whole forest to supply all the paper I’ve used to make lists on!  I make all sorts of lists. Not just your standard “to do” or “grocery” lists, but personal like my “50 Before 50” list or what movies I’ve seen (computers have saved a lot of trees as most of my lists now are in excel).  And man-oh-man… when I am planning a big trip, you should see the lists I make!

Lavender:  One of my favorite scents.  Recently I found a lavender based perfume and it’s wonderful!  Found out Little Bird loves lavender too.  I brought her back a sachet from WA and she sniffed and sniffed it. 

Lily:  In particular, day lilies.  I really enjoy these easy to grow flowers.  What I like is there are so many colors and shapes.  It’s fun to find a new one and put it in the garden. 

Lilacs:  A favorite flower AND scent!  I’ve planted 4 along the west side of the shed and next spring I’m going to plant 4 more on the east side.  I can’t wait til I can cut bunches to bring inside! 

Lobster:  Everything is better if there is lobster in it! 

Lace:  I am amazed by the REAL stuff.  One of these days I want to see lace makers who still use bobbins to hand-make lace.  And I want a piece of it… which I will frame because I’ll only be able to afford a small piece… 

Letters:  In high school I started writing pen pals and by the mid 90s, I had about 30 pen pals from all over the world.  It was fascinating.  As email and the internet took over, people started writing less and less.  I still have a few of those original pen pals but we’re down to a letter at Christmas.  But now I get to write letters to my sponsor kids.  So the fun continues!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

For Goodness Snakes!

Much earlier I mentioned our resident King Snake.  We call him “Elvis”.  The King of Rock and Roll was known for his costume changes at his concerts and Elvis the snake isn’t one to not meet a challenge.

We found this in the yard!  It’s over 6 feet long.

In places it looks like chain mail.

It’s absolutely perfect from head…

… all the way down to tail.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Lighthouse and Beach at Ft. Worden (Port Townsend, WA)

I like lighthouses.  A lot.  So when Friday morning was sunny and yet wonderfully cool, I decided to spend it out at the lighthouse.

There was a sign at the park visitor center saying there were tours of the lighthouse that day.  But when I got out there it was locked up tight.  Bummer!! 

But it was still pretty to look at.  It would have been a great place to live and I imagine the view from up there is spectacular. 

Since I couldn’t get near the lighthouse I decided to walk around it.  I followed the fence towards the beach and saw this sign…
Uff-da!  However, in looking around I saw that was the ONLY sign stating this.  And it was not visible from the beach.  So I decided to take my chances – like the few other people walking along the beach. 

Strolling through the sand dunes was very peaceful.  By this time I was the only person out there.  What a treat to have it all to myself. 

Wildflowers were everywhere, many I had never seen before.  Just beautiful!

As I reached the beach and its pile of driftwood, I had this view of the lighthouse.

I ambled along enjoying my time there and all the amazing things to be seen… like this piece of kelp. 

It was a nice walk.  The sea on one side and flower-covered dunes on the other.  And I had it all to myself.  Well, I did have one visitor as I sat on a huge driftwood log.  He was quite a character. 

But that’s another story…