Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Canopy of Hearts

So one day I was walking the dog, just going along minding my own business, when suddenly I realized I was walking under a canopy of hearts! I was utterly enchanted to look up and see a tree filled with dangling green three dimensional hearts! So I picked up a couple that were on the ground and brought them home to show Gryph.

A couple weeks later we were walking the doglet together and I pointed out the tree--still a thing of mystery and enchantment to me!--and the owner was in her yard, gave me permission to have some hearts right off the tree! But she didn't know what it was called.

Still enchanted and now on a mission, I had Gryph take some pics and then I looked it up online. Arbor Day Identification Guide It's called a Goldenrain Tree and that canopy of dangling hearts is, as far *I* know, totally unique to this tree. My hearts are drying on the fridge in a brown paper bag, and when they are dry, I will pop the sections apart and discard the seeds (curious cats and doglet, yanno? don't want them to get sick), then use the papery hearts in my crafts.

This world is so full of amazing treasures!! *big grin*

This particular treasure is my Gram's noodle recipe. My mom has cherished it since my Gram died forty years ago, and it's always had pride of place in her recipe box. After Mom's trailer flooded out four years ago, we rescued the box--but it had been too many days waiting for the water to recede, and her recipes had mildewed. I made Mom keep the box anyway, but I never got around to copying the recipes.

A disaster like that really undoes people, yanno? And neither of us could cope with the mildew; that smell really triggered our PTSD for a long time. Plus of course there was the reminder of everything we lost--two entire households of furniture and belongings!!--we were lucky to escape with as much as we did, and my mom was injured as well. If the power hadn't gone out right before the flood hit, we'd have both been electrocuted in the shin deep water. My Ladybug was only safe because she had jumped onto the highest piece of furniture she could reach, a recliner that was already trying to float out the back door in fast-moving knee-deep water by the time I got to her.

It was just a very bad time, and going through those mildewed recipes brings the nightmare back.

BUT a roommate threw away my sister's recipes while she was hospitalized last month (the person thought she wasn't coming back, I guess), and she needed all the recipes again... so I got out the box and started copying. I am throwing away the originals as I go--some of them are just black with mildew!--and it's still really hard to deal with the smell so I invented something.

Ta-daaa!!! Cathie's Patented High-Tech Foolproof Guaranteed Never-Fail Demildewizer!!!

Yes indeedy, folks, you saw it here first! A gallon zipper bag filled with baking soda. *cheeky grin*

It doesn't take away the black spots, but as long as Gram's noodle recipe stays dry, five days in the Demildewizer means it won't smell anymore! And now my mom can have her treasure back.

A new batch of recipes is in the Demildewizer now. I anticipate getting through the whole thing in oh, say, six months or a year... yeah, I know, long slow process. She had a lifetime's worth of saved recipes... and I REALLY can't handle that mildew. *sigh* BUT at least I have a start on it now!

I leave you with another treasure, a pic of the hawk which has been teasing the heck out of Gryph. This is a Cooper's Hawk, also know around here as a chicken hawk (I think for its size). A family of them has moved into our neighborhood. We think they came from along the Arkansas River downtown, and we're very happy to have them! But every time Gryph gets close with the camera, the hawks fly juuusssssssst out of range. It was amazing that this one stayed put for a moment! One of these days we'll get a good non-blurry pic, lol... but in the meantime, tis certainly a challenge and keeps life interesting!

Dessert, anyone?

Eeeep, what's up with Blogger? The only choice it gives me is the font, everything else is X'd out! Ah, the controls work even so. *relief* Well, I don't know if pics will load, and I'm still not feeling too great, so I will just post this recipe without a pic.

Dessert Enchiladas, banana-pumpkin

Sweetly Spicy Tortillas:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 or 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Mix together thoroughly.

3 Tablespoons butter

Cut butter (or shortening) into flour until well mixed.

1/3 to 2/3 cup water
extra flour as needed

Stir in. The sugar and extra butter make this dough very sticky, so start with the lower amount of water. I didn't remember and just blithely dumped in the usual 2/3 cup... it took almost a full cup of flour to fix that! Knead the dough about five minutes, and let rest thirty minutes in a covered plastic container.

3/4 cup really ripe mashed banana
3/4 cup leftover canned punkin
1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 teaspoon Mexican or other strong vanilla (or 1 teaspoon regular vanilla)

Mix together and use for filling.

Roll out the dough into six to eight inch circle-ish tortillas; I used half the dough and made eight thick tortillas because I was in a hurry. I think these would be better with thin tortillas, though. Cook the tortillas in a hot skillet, flipping once, until they rise on both sides, about a minute for each one. Stack them on a plate.

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Spread a couple big spoonfuls of sweetened condensed milk (right out of the can) on the bottom of an 8x8 baking pan. One at a time, layer a line of filling on each tortilla, spread some chopped walnuts on the filling, and roll the tortilla like a burrito. Place each one into the pan, smooshing the first six together as needed, and put the last two sideways in the remaining empty space. Pour on the sauce--I used more sweetened condensed milk--sprinkle with a little brown sugar, and bake until hot and bubbly, fifteen to twenty minutes.

These were w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l! But the sauce was way too rich and sweet, so I'm thinking that next time--and I do have leftover ingredients!!--I will thin the sauce with an equal amount of milk...or maybe even more than equal. It was almost like eating raw candy... that sweet.

Didn't stop me from having one for lunch, though. *cheeky grin*

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Eeep, two weeks!

I knew I was embarrassed about the rice sandwiches, but not THAT embarrassed... after all, I blogged about them!

Ah well, I was all done in by furniture moving and other things, including illness. I haven't done too much in the way of crafts during these two weeks, just added a little to the fringe on Gryph's bag and started a new doily.

Yes, I know, I said I wouldn't crochet for a while... but I got a dresser (YAAAAYYYY!) and so I unpacked a couple boxes and found my crochet booklets in one. The top one kept CALLING me... there is a doily on the cover that is so appealing I finally just had to start it in order to shut the book up! *lol* And oddly enough, I think it must have appealed this much to me when I bought the booklet, because after about four rounds I was thinking, "hmmmm, this seems so very familar..." and I suspect I have made it before... but (here's the reason for this blog again!) I don't still have anything I've crocheted, so yanno... I have no idea whether I have or have not made it before.

I'm using size 20 thread and that seems to be a little easier on my wrists and hands than size 30 has been. Pics will come in a couple days, when I am feeling better and when it has some size to it.

I've also been reading library books (mostly sewing-type crafts) and will review a couple of them soon. Tis time and almost past time to be thinking about holiday gifts....