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Showing posts from December, 2015

Garden Pic Wednesday: Stinkhorn Fungi & A Cuppa Chicks

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Clathrus Columnatus (Stinkhorn) Ever seen a Clathrus Columnatus growing in your mulch bed or lawn? They're a funny little fungi common to the Gulf Coast, though they've been spotted as far north as Pennsylvannia. They frequent my mulched beds, especially when we've had a lot of rain. When I first saw one, I had to look it up to see what the little stinky thing was! This mushroom's common name is "Stinkhorn," and it's called that for good reason. It emits a mild stink to attract flies, which is how it disperses it's spores. (Most of the black specs in the photo are flies of various sorts.) It's bright orange colored and has this funny architectural form comprised of 3 loops or "columns." Usually about 2 to 4 inches tall. My other picture today is one of my garden art extra-large teacups filled with baby Hen & Chick succulents and some moss that has moved in. The mix of pea gravel, Chicks & green moss just looked so

Good Eating Monday: Orange Slice Cake!

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When I used to work at the flower shop, one of the ladies I worked was always baking different kinds of cakes. Cakes I'd never heard of, like Hummingbird Cake or Orange Slice Cake. Since I have a sister who likes Orange Slice Candy, I looked up a recipe for Orange Slice Cake to email her and that's when I learned more about it. What Orange Slice Cake is, is an old-fashioned cake popular in the Deep South during the Christmas season. Baked in a bundt pan, it's Southern version of a fruitcake, but with orange slice candy, nuts, dates & coconut and none of the usual candied fruit.  It's also typically an heirloom recipe passed down from one generation to the next.  I've decided I want to try making one sometime in January and am going to put the recipe here, because my blog is also my "recipe box." That way, when I am ready to make it, I'll have a ready-reference for the recipe! Orange Slice Cake Ingredients: 1 cup butter, softened

Mama Kat Thursday: Our Shiny Christmas Tree

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To me "shiny" and "Christmas Tree" just go together as naturally as peanut butter and jelly. What Christmas tree isn't a shiny, glittering thing wonder? So here's our shiny beauty this year: Christmas 2015 It's a live Frazier Fir purchased from the local Boy Scout troop tree sale. Of course, if I had my druthers, I'd prefer going to a tree farm and picking one. That's what my family did all the years I was going up and what my young sister, in fact, did do this year. But that's in Indiana.  I live in Florida now and the kind of fir trees that make for good Christmas trees just don't grow here.   Hidden on my tree are many treasures & surprises, such as this pin ornament Santa peeking out: Or this fun Peanut M&M guy: Or this elegant "chocolate dipped strawberry: glass ornament: Or one of these little mouse characters from the movie "The Rescuers": These soft little st

Garden Pic Wednesday: December Bells

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Here on the Florida Panhandle, winter has been mild so far. Jack Frost hasn't killed anything yet. Most notably, my Bell Pepper decided it felt like a second wind this autumn has several Peppers on it's branches right now! I'm trying to keep it protected on cooler nights and well fertilized, until I can harvest what Peppers it has . Out back, the promise of future heads are starting to show on the Broccoli and I have tons Cilantro happily  sprouting in a large pot! Winter usually means lots of Mexican cooking! **** That's it for today!

Friday Finds: Unique Art Image Gifts By Corbis!

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Looking for a new art piece for your home or office? Then you'll love the fabulous art of   Corbis Images !  Beautiful Food! Chile Peppers Poster Exploding Photography! Colored Sands of Time Canvas Print Ballet! Ballerina En Pointe Poster Botanicals! Cardoon Poster Corbis Images has lots more categories, too! Animal, Science, Landscapes, Maritime, Space, Recreation, Industrial,  Relationships, Rural Scenes, Food, Culture, Graphic Arts, Paintings & More! ****

Mama Kat Thursday: Frozen

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Not the movie. Reality. The Mama Kat blog post topic today is "Write a post inspired by the word "Frozen." In January of 2014 we had a deep freeze here in north Florida. Everything was coated with ice and heaped with ice crystals that looked like snow. Roads were closed. Schools closed. Kids and adults got out their cardboard boxes and giant black trash bags to use to "sled" down the high arched bridge between Okaloosa Island and Destin that was frozen solid. After all, no one owns sleds in Florida? I ran outside with my camera to capture frozen vegetation around my yard: Here's a shot of my ice-coated Hens & Chicks: You'd think being frozen would kill them, but nope. They just thawed out and kept going. So did all my iced-over herbs. They just thawed out, unfazed. The Cedar tree out front got thoroughly iced: Finally, a shot of some red cabbage I had growing that year thick with ice-crystal "snow": It w

Garden Pic Wednesday: Christmas Joy & Birthday Flowers

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Hubby told me a couple weeks ago he'd ordered a surprise, something in the way of a Christmas outdoor decoration. Last weekend it arrived: He knew I admired for years a display in front of a local business  something like this that was just the word "Joy" with a manger scene in the "O." So, he got this for me.  The letters and manger pieces are made of metal and the manger pieces & star just clip on. The red letters are glittery red and are propped up in back. Simple, attractive, yet is flat and stores easily in the box in came in. I don't want any outdoor decor that's a storage problem. What goes up has to come down, so we keep it simple. No decorating the whole house.  We probably need one of those lazy-man laser things the make your house "appear" decorated with lights. This week was also my birthday and I like to celebrate the occasion personally by buying some flowers and arranging them in a vase. One bundle of s

Good Eating Monday: Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles

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T oday's Good Eating recipe is a classic holiday cookie, called Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles or "Black & Whites." If you don't prefer peppermint, it can be left out. I use dried Chocolate Peppermint herb in mine, which gives a much lighter, barely noticeable Peppermint touch. With this batch I was also trying to figure out how to get the best patchy-whiteness on them so they look pretty--which is a trick, since the dough absorbs the Confectioners sugar very quickly. I find most photos of Chocolate Crinkles on Pinterest unrealistic. If it looks too good to be true, it's probably not. Sometimes people pin professional food photographer photos of Choc. Crinkles they've found on the web that clearly had to be painted with a combo of sugar & white paint to be that perfectly white all over. My photo, shown here below, is how you should realistically expect most Crinkle type cookies to actually look--not perfectly patched in white, by any means. 

Mama Kat Thursday: My Favorite Cat Quotes

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The Mama Kat blog writing prompt today is, "Share a Quote I Love." I love cats. I especially adore our oh-so-very personable cat, Sunni, so I decided to share 3 of my favorite cat quotes from Pinterest: #1) "There are few human experiences quite as magical or memorable as being "chosen" by a cat. We adopted Sunni from a no-kill shelter on the Air Force Base. Actually she adopted us. She responded to myself and Hubby in a way the shelter worker had never seen her respond before. It has like she decided, "Ah-ha, I've found my people." At that point, she made a visual connection to us and would act over-joyed as soon as she would see me walk into the cat room at the shelter for the couple visits I paid her before we officially took her home. Then, as soon as we got home, she expressed her delight to be with us by running back and forth between us to be petted by us, purring really loud and giving our arms and hands little love-licks. 

Garden Pic Wednesday: The New Oakland Holly

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We were out today. Needed to have the oil changed on Hubby's car and he wanted to take me to Captain D's for their senior fish lunch. Last week when he had my cars oil changed, he'd eaten there and had been so delighted, he wanted to take me. Their senior grilled Tilapia meal was pretty good and the corn of the cob is way bigger then Long John Silvers. Plus they serve the most delicious dinner roll that tastes kinda like a donut. A girl who worked there said, "Order a side of caramel and make your own dessert. The caramel is free." She brought us a roll drizzled with caramel to try and it was delicious! A fter that, we stopped by Lowe's to pick up a few things and stopping at Lowe's always means looking around the garden shop! Now, I've been looking for an Oakland Holly tree locally for 3 or 4 years. Christmas-tree shaped Hollies are used in landscape all over the place around here, yet, very mysteriously, I couldn't find any local gree

Good Eating Monday: Coffee Nut Loaf

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I love coffee and stuff made with coffee! This bread isn't just bread you eat with coffee; it's made with coffee! It's a recipe from my vintage 1978 Holiday Baking magazine I bought when I was an Airmen in the Air Force back then. Just pecans & coffee. Chocolate chips might make a nice optional additonal! Great with cream cheese and a unique option for your holiday treat tray! Delicious with cream cheese!  My Coffee Nut Loaf  Coffee Nut Loaf: Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour 2 teaspoon cinnamon 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cups sugar 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick) 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups sour cream (lite or reg) 3 Tablespoons instant coffee  1 Tablespoon boiling water 1 cup chopped pecans (use 3/4 in bread; 1/4 on top) Optional : 1/2 cup semi-sweet choc. chips or mini-chips Directions: In a small bowl: combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt & set aside. In a large bowl: combine

Friday Finds: Things To Do With Old Christmas Cards

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I love Christmas cards and hate to throw away all that beautiful card art, so I'm always interested in ways to put them to good use! So here's a selection of some of the best & easiest ideas: #1)  You Can Donate Many of Your Old Christmas Cards to the St. Jude's Children's Ranch Card Recycling Program : Visit the link above for their mailing address & details. Please note they cannot accept Hallmark, Disney or American Greetings cards.  They also sell their their recycled cards, too! Samples of tags I've made #2)  Gift Tags: It's so easy to turn cards into package gift tags! You just need scissors, a paper punch & some pretty yarn or crochet string for a tie string. I just separate the back of card from the front that I want to use as my tag front, flip the back over so any writing is hidden, then I just start cutting out. Many cards have designs the a lend themselves to tags. They have are or words, sometimes already in a squa

Mama Kat Thursday: Thought So MeMe

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The Mama Kat blog writing topic today is, "Write a post that ends with the words, "thought so." Have you ever had a customer service job? You know the kind where unhappy customers call to tell you why they're unhappy? I used to work at a flower shop. The fun part of the job was making the flower arrangements; the customer service was not-so-fun. Getting their woes over the phone was the worst! Customers would speak to me as if I were the devil who had on purpose messed their stuff up. A case in point was a certain gentleman who called late one afternoon.  I happened to be the one who answered the phone.  Now, I just arranged flowers; I didn't have anything to do with the accounting or billing end. One of the services our flower shop provided people was an in-house billing account, so they could "charge" their purchase and be billed by mail later. This was especially convenient for many people who liked to set up their orders in

Garden Pic Wednesday: November Gerbers & Fresh Garlic Sprouts!

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I came home from shopping at Walmart today, walked in the garage and was appalled that my garage stunk like a permanent marker! It gave me a headache immediately and I opened the garage door to let air in.   It smelled like spray paint--yet I hadn't used any. On investigation, I quickly found the culprit was a near empty can of Krylon spray paint had sprung a tiny leak in the bottom and it's contents had oozed out onto the shelf and dripped to the floor. Now the garage smells like Pine Sol. It's still airing out. **** Today's Garden Pics: When we came back from the Conference I found my Pink Gerbers fresh, green and eagerly putting up blooms! That bottom bud is actually a fully open flower now! Newly Sprouted Garlic: I planted garlic cloves in this pot a couple weeks ago. In the Deep South, you grow garlic during winter. I just used a store-bought bulb, split off the biggest cloves, then planted them a couple inches down. Hopefully, this rich Miracl