Monday, February 28, 2011

Nashville Lawn and Garden Show

My Nashville Brother will be very very busy this week.  It is time for the Lawn and Garden Show.  He works very hard to get ready for this show to open on Thursday.  The above picture was taken at last year's show.

If you have never been, it is amazing.  They bring in dirt and flowers, stepping stones and building materials, plants and grass, and create areas that look like you are outside in someone's yard.  (All of this is done inside several buildings.)

There are also vendor booths where you can purchase all kinds of gardening related stuff.  If you have time, lectures are also available each day.

This is a picture of my Nashville Brother on the left presenting an award. 
If you would like more information about the Lawn and Garden show, you can visit their website:
I am planning to go some time this weekend!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Measuring Bowls

It is no small secret that I have a thing for bowls.
Bowls of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

These 4 bowls are the newest addition to my collection...they were a birthday gift.

Tucked inside each bowl is a little secret.
They are actually measuring cups!!!

I can't wait to use these little measuring cups in my next recipe. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chocolate Gravy

When my husband and I were dating, his mother  served chocolate gravy one night for supper.  I had never even heard of chocolate gravy before.  The sound of gravy that was chocolate seemed horrible to me.  But let me just say, it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. 

Chocolate gravy is a southern tradition.  I have adapted this version that is a little different from my mother-in-laws.  Because chocolate gravy can be made diffferent ways, I still love it when she makes it for us.

You will need:
3/4 cup sugar
1 heaping tablespoon plain flour
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, flour, and cocoa. 

I usually use a wire whisk to mix the dry ingredients, and continue to whisk after adding the water and milk.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickens.  Remove from heat and add
butter and vanilla.

Serve warm over hot biscuits and butter!!!
Enjoy this Southern chocolate gravy.
Tidy Mom

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

White Orchid

When we arrived at my Nashville Brother's house
on President's Day, I immediately began
 taking pictures of his orchids.  He has a window
full of beautiful orchids in his kitchen that he has grown for years.  I noticed that one of them had a tag on it, and I did think that was odd...but I didn't realize until later, that it was an orchid he had purchased...for me!!!

As you can see, the orchid is now sitting in my kitchen.  And, it is now my responsibility to keep it alive.  My brother assures me that all I have to do is water it once a week, remove any dead blooms, cut spent stems back at the base, and take it to my screen porch for the summer.  A little plant food is o.k. too ever so often.

Please stay tuned.
If I manage to keep it alive, I am sure you will see it in the background of my pictures occasionally.
If it doesn't make it, I will never tell.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Today Is My Birthday

Today is my birthday!!!
I have celebrated in style...all weekend long.
Beginning Friday with a night out with my daughter and her friend to see the Justin Beiber movie in 3-D. 

Then, on to a day of shopping and dining at the Olive Garden on Saturday with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and my daughter.

And now today, I have had a wonderful Sister/Brother day at my Nashville Brother's home with a delicious lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.
(We were celebrating brother's birthday, also.)
We had a great day today, and I'll have more pictures  coming soon.

Thanks to my daughter and son for giving me a special gift of cleaning house and taking care of random errands while I was away.  It sure was nice to come home to.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lenten Roses

Here they come...

The lenten roses are beginning to come up from the ground.

Beautiful, beautiful flowers in shades of purple and white.

Reaching for the sun that has finally decided to stay around in the Big Woods for a few days.

This is without a doubt my favorite flower.
Welcome Spring.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Sheath Cake

Looking for a wonderful Valentine Dessert???
Why not try chocolate cake with chocolate icing???
I love to make this cake, because it seems like I am making something out of nothing. 

These are very basic ingredients...
2 cups sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
1 stick butter (or margarine)
1/2 cup oil
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I always start by preparing my pan.  I like to use a paper towel and apply a thin layer of Crisco.  Then, I sprinkle a little plain flour in the pan, scatter it around, and shake off any excess.  Today, I am using a 13x9 glass dish, but a metal cake pan will work fine.

Sift the flour, sugar, and baking soda together.  I like to sift mine onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, place the water, oil, margarine, and cocoa.

Mix well and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat.
(Be forewarned...this is the stage when everyone in your house will come into the kitchen to see what you are making.  It smells sooooooooo good.)

Slightly beat the eggs together in a bowl, then add the buttermilk and vanilla.  I never have buttermilk at my house.  So, the above picture shows a little trick I do to make buttermilk.  Just add about a half teaspoon of white vinegar to your milk, and you will have instant buttermilk.

Now, slowly add the egg/milk mixture to the chocolate mixture, mixing as you go.  (As you can tell from the photo, I forgot to beat my eggs before adding the as I say, not as I do.)

Now add in your dry ingredients.

Beat well with a wire whisk.  The batter may appear a little thin.

Pour yummy looking batter into prepared pan.
Then, bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Now, it is time to make the frosting.


This has to be one of the best and easiest cake icings ever.  I make it often, and use it on white cakes, yellow cakes, marble cakes, etc. etc.
 You will need:
1 stick margarine
4 Tablespoons Cocoa
6 Tablespoons milk
1 box powdered sugar

Start by beating the softened margarine with a hand held mixer.  Then, add the cocoa.
(Notice in the above picture, I am trying to do this by hand.  It is not working.  What was I thinking???)

Alternately, add the milk and powdered sugar.

Notice how beautiful this icing becomes as soon as I pull out the hand held mixer.  (What was I thinking earlier????   This is truly an easy icing...almost impossible to mess it up.)

I took this picture of the finished cake in the sun on purpose.  I was just so glad that the sun is shining. No snow for us today...
only sunshine and chocolate cake.

Can I tell you this cake is delicious???
Can I tell you everyone in my house was waiting for a piece???
Can I tell you the smell of this cake baking is heavenly???
I'll just bet you can even smell it just looking at the picture.

Happy Valentine's Day
I'm loving this chocolate cake sooooo much, I'm linking up with Tidy Mom.
Tidy Mom

Friday, February 11, 2011

Easy Monogram

My daughter bought a pack of 3 monogramming initials a couple of months ago.  We immediately came home and ironed one onto her purse.
It has stayed attached with no problem.

There have been two more sitting in the package ever since, so today we finally decided it was time to get out the iron once again.

The pink one found its new home on my daughter's bathrobe.  Not bad.
Now, where to put the green one???

We searched and searched for just the right place to put this last monogram.
My daughter gave up and went to take her shower.
And then, it hit me.
So while she was in the shower, I did this...

I just love it when something is meant to be!!!


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