Baseball, Hot dogs, and Spring!

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It’s finally here.  After months of cold wet wintry weather spring is officially here.  I have been outside working on weeding, transplanting and cleaning our my garden beds. IMG_0903It will be a long time until I am able to pick a beautiful garden bouquet but working outside now will save me hours of work.

Spring is officially the month of new beginnings.  For example the new baseball season begins.  I live in Illinois and the Cubs winning the World Series has been a big deal. We love our Cubbies and whenever we have the chance we go and see them play.  Last Saturday we drove to Milwaukee Wisconsin and saw the Cubs beat the Brewers.  For those of you who have never been there it is an hours drive from Chicago making it an easy drive and I love the stadium.  The majority of fans were Cubs. We got to go with my entire family making it a special day.

What is better than baseball gardening and sometimes arrives in the spring? Babies. My daughter and her husband are having their first baby this summer. I got to spend some time with her this weekend and she looked wonderful. Babies are the best. I love the way they smile and look and smell. Life is good. Spring is here and looks like it will be quite a special year.

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Hail No!

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Welcome Spring

Every Midwesterner  knows that spring is like a teeter totter. The temps go up then they go down. Just when you put away all your winter gear the temperature drops like a rock. This spring/winter has been no  exception.Tonight  the sky darkened and the heavens let loose. Hail bounced off the table and chairs like ping-pong  balls escaping from a container. Well I’ll take this over a tornado any day.

Spring weather has been an obsession with every gardener I know. In fact my daughter in law never watched the weather channel until she met us. Working outside is liking being freed from winters home arrest. We get to smell the fresh air, feel the spring winds on our face and watch for the signs of spring.

Rainy nights and lightning never scare me. But give me a storm capable of producing a tornado and I’m heading to the basement. I have been through many heart pounding, adrenaline rushing, storms. The tornados   have always missed my home but tore through neighborhoods, fields and power lines nearby.

So tonight and for many nights to follow I will watch the weather forecast. Tomorrow’s supposed to be in the 70’s which is a little bit warm for March but I’ll take it.  My mind is ready for warmer weather. Enough of this cold. Like my mom use to say for March it’s ” in like a lion and out like a lamb”

Peonies

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imageJanuary brings the snow and ice in Illinois.  The mailman brings the anticipated seed catalogs.  I dream of flowers and red ripe tomatoes. Spring  also means Peonies to me.  They bloom around May 26th give a week or two and then they are done for the season.  They are a perennial that come up year after year after year. The fragrance is indescribable.  In early spring the plants are sold at nurseries and big box stores and should be planted in full sun  but will survive in partial shade.  The one complaint about these flowers is they droop especially after a heavy rain.  I have supports on mine to help them from becoming floppy. I can not wait for spring !

1948 Betty Crocker Christmas Cooky

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Tis the season to bake and I have included some of my favorite recipes from my grandmother Caroline Mionske.  My grandmothers handwriting dots this old  Betty Crocker cookbook.  She loved to bake and so do I.  Every year  I do this in remembrance of Christmas past.

Russian Tea Cake

1 cup soft butter

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp good vanilla

2 1/4 cups sifted flour

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup finely chopped nut

Cream  butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Stir in flour, salt, and  nuts. Dough will seem to be a little dry. Make sure flour is sifted as with many old recipe this seems to still need it.  Chill dough. Roll into 1 inch balls Bake until set.  Cooked dough will still look white but bottoms will be light brown. Bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar while still warm, then re-roll before serving. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

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Peanut Blossoms

These cookies are from the 1980’s.

1/2 cup Butter

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

2 Tablespoons milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

9 oz Hershey kisses unwrapped

Cream butter and peanut butter.  Add sugar and brown sugar.  Add egg, mill, and vanilla.  Beat untill  creamy.  Combine flour, baking soda,and salt, gradually add to creamed mixture..  Chill dough.  Roll into one inch balls then roll into granulated sugar.  Bake 350 10 minutes until set. Remove from oven and place a Hershey’s Kiss on top.  They will melt sticking to cookie.  Store when completely cool and Kiss is hardened.

 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Pie?

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Granny’s Butter Pecan Pie

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Pecan pie was my father-in-law’s favorite pie on Thanksgiving. Sometimes he would have half a slice of pumpkin and half a slice of pecan with a generous dollop of whip creme. If you are lucky enough to live in Georgia peans are sold in huge bags along roadside stands. But I live in the north so off to my local grocery store I go.

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If you find a store that sells nuts in bulk give them a try.  They seem to be as close to fresh pecans as I can find.  I buy the pecan halves but pieces will work as well.

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Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown corn syrup
  • 1 cup pecans ( see note below for instructions)

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir eggs, sugar, dark corn syrup, salt, and melted butter until well mixed. Pour into shell and bake for 45 minutes checking to see if set. {If crust becomes too brown cover with tinfoil and continue to bake.}

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If you are feeling a little creative push pecan halves into crust before filling and baking.  The pecans will float to the top while the filling bakes underneath.

 

 

 

About Me

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Do you love to garden?  Are seed catalogs part of your current library? What about counting the days until spring? Does the person who does your nails cringe when you walk through the door and ask what on earth have you been doing? Then you my friend are looking at me. I love to garden but also have a “life after frost” as my family likes to put it.  I am retired but spend my days in the Midwest home of the best black earth in the country.  We live among fields of corn and soybeans but  live a few hours away from Chicago. I like to think we have it all, country and city both in the same place. So I hope you enjoy my posts.Even if you don’t garden enjoy the pictures.

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