Friday, April 18, 2014

Tonight It's Dinner from Bangkok Joe's

This is one of my favorite restaurant's.

I love Thai food and Bangkok Joe's is one of the best.  I will be having the Pad Thai Chicken which is extraordinary.  If you are in Georgetown and you like Thai food, you must stop by.

A Closer Look at the Cookies

I thought these turned out very nicely.  Of course, as I am arranging them I end up sticking my finger on the icing and smudges one which made me mad.

But that little smudge did not alter the deliciousness.

Eggs and Cookies

In addition to dyeing Easter eggs, we couldn't let the holiday slip by without making sugar cookies too.  And in the shape of eggs.  Eggs symbolize the beginning of life and fertility and that is especially relevant at Easter.

This cute little glass basket full of eggs.

And another shot.

And another.

 I decided I wanted to carry through the green and pink theme, so I used both colors of crinkle cut Eco Shred to line the egg basket.

A little of each color in a bowl, in equal amounts.

Stir it together and then place it in the bowl.

Put in your eggs and you have a cute presentation.

I used an old sugar cookie recipe that is tried and true.  It takes a little longer to get it to the point of rolling and cutting, but it is well worth it.  You have never tasted a sugar cookie dough like this.

I did a tray in this pink color.

And I did another tray in these jewel tones.  The egg shaped cookies and the dyed eggs make for an inviting entry table.

We Dyed Easter Eggs

We couldn't very well let Easter come and go without dyeing a few Easter eggs.

This year we used this dye from Dudley's.  I don't think I had ever heard of Dudley's.  When I grew up it was Paas who had the market cornered with Easter egg dye.  I guess now it is Dudley's.

At least Dudley's has continued with the egg punchouts on the back of the package.  That brings back memories.  This dye was very different from any I have used in the past.  There were packets of food safe dye in different colors and several plastic bags.  You drop a hard boiled egg in one of the plastic bags.  Then you place 5-6 drops of the color of your choice directly on the eggshell and then rub the dye all over the shell in the plastic bag.  No little color tabs dissolving in cups of vinegar like we did years ago.

I decided to do a Beverly Hills Hotel basket of eggs this year and just used the green and pink dye packets. If you've never been to the Beverly Hills Hotel, it is done in green and pink which might initially sound awful. But it is stunningly beautiful.  So in their honor, I did green and pink eggs this year.

We ended up with a cute dish of green and pink Easter eggs to display.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

An Easter Present for Bev

I like to send Easter presents to my friends and family.  I enjoy sending presents at Easter as much as I do at Christmas.  Maybe it is something delicious I made in the kitchen.  Maybe something that I saw that was really cute and I thought would be enjoyed.  This year, it was the latter.  I found these cute Easter Bunny Pizza Kits which I thought were WAY cute.

From what I got of it on the label, the kit includes everything you need to make a "sweet" pizza with frosting and candy and all sorts of toppings on a cookie crust.  I was good and did not get one for myself. However, I could go back and pick up one more.  NO!  I won't.

Of course you need to enclose a card.  This one was for my friend Bev, or "Bevalicious", depending on the kind of day she is having!  Another of these went to my sister for her children and cards enclosed for each child with a little money tucked inside, a card to my sister and brother-in-law, one to my mother and one to my grandmother, who, unfortunately is suffering from a form of dementia.  But, she is still physically strong and she is still with us, so she gets a card like everyone else.

You do not need to spend a fortune on Easter gifts.  These little pizza kits were affordable on any salary and they are sure to bring a smile to anyone who is a recipient.

Entertain in Style and Sophistication With the King Cube Tray

I found these wonderful king sized ice cube trays.

These will be perfect when entertaining.

Each cube is 2 inches by 2 inches, which makes for a nice sized cube of ice.  They will make quite a statement in any type of cold drink.  These larger sized ice cubes melt slower which will keep drinks cold longer with less dilution.  If you want to add a little flair, you could add fruit, berries or mint leaves.

Clean with a mild solution of vinegar and water.  Oh!  They are BPA free.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gaining Control Over the Ornamental Grasses

We are slowly making our way through the yard and gardens and getting cleaned up from winter.  We were fortunate last night that we did not receive snow.  There were areas around us that not only received snow, but they got sleet as well.  Very bizarre weather, indeed.  One of the things we have accomplished this week is to get the ornamental grasses in the large pots cut back.

Here, a scraggly mess from the winter months.

And here, cut back to a height to let new growth make its way up./ I also cleaned out around the grass and laid down a fresh layer of cyprus mulch.  It won't be long now until we have beautiful ornamental grasses in all three pots.  If you look closely, you can see new shoots of green sprouting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Gardening Tools From My Friend, Bev

Now that the weather is improving, we are venturing outside to spend some time in the yard.  There are many projects which need our attention.  And if we are to do a good job of maintaining the grounds, we must have the right tools.

Thank goodness for my friend Memrie, ... er, I mean, Bev.

For Christmas last year, she gave me these much needed items.  It is always recommended to wear gloves when working in the garden.  I must admit I do not adhere to this advice.  Most times I work barehanded.  I think it is because I have never found a pair of gloves that felt good on my hands and allowed me the flexibility to do what I needed to do.  These gloves do just that.  The two loppers were especially nice to receive.  The pair on the left for light pruning and on the right for heavier duty pruning.  Thank you dear Bev. Over the coming days you will see some of what has been accomplished in cleaning up the yard with these new tools.

Following Up on Our Hosta Planting Last Week

It was just last week that I shared with you that my two new hostas arrived.  

First was the White Feather, seen above.

And the giant Sum and Substance.

We planted these rootings straight away into a pot because the ground was still too wet for them to be planted in the permanent location.

Look how sad they both look in this pot.

But no more!!!  Amazing.  Just amazing how much they have both grown in the past week.  I am hoping for and expecting both of these to be magnificent later this year.  You will also notice there is something else in this pot that wasn't there before.  Those spiny little plants between the two hostas are Mixed Carpet Sedum. They arrived over the weekend as a "freebie" from Gurney's.

I forgot I was due a free plant from my previous order.  Let's hope they take off like the hostas.  Sedum is a ground cover and is drought tolerant.  Given the past few summers, they should thrive quite nicely here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Spa Day for Baxter

Baxter had a spa day yesterday at Paws of Enchantment.  He was a very tired little boy when we picked him up.

Look at those heavy eyes and that expression.  Baxter is the only dog I've ever had who has facial expressions.  I just wait for him any day to say to me, "That's enough pictures for right now."  

Moving Outdoor Plants Outdoors

We have a lot to talk about this week at Crest Avenue, so here goes with the second post for the day.

Spring cannot get here soon enough for nearly everyone in the country.  This has been a long and arduous winter for most.  I decided this past weekend that it was time to put the potted plants which were brought in for the winter back outside so they could adjust to being outdoors again.  As is the case, the plants were a bit winter-weary.  The conditions inside the home are never suited to vibrant life in many of these plants.  If we were in a more temperate zone, there would be no need to bring them in for the winter months.  But that is not the case, so we are forced to bring in those plants which will not make it through freezing weather and do the best we can to keep them going until the spring.

The boxwood on the far left and the cyprus on the far right are both healthy.  They stayed out during the winter and managed to remain in good shape.  The diamond grasses in the large pot in front on the left stayed out during the winter and are coming back in full force.  The little brown pot in front has freesia.  I am uncertain at this point whether they will come back.  I hope so because I absolutely love freesia.  The succulent in the center of the table with the light colored foliage was inside for the winter and suffered.  I am hopeful that once it has been in the sunshine and fresh air for a few days it will revive.  In the back, at the top of the picture is a peace lily and hellebores. Peace lillies are hardy.  They can survice in the harshest environments.  So while it looks a bit sickly right now, I expect a full recovery.  And the hellebores actually look dead.  But there are tiny growths appearing, so they will be vibrant again in a few weeks.  In other areas around the house we have some severe damage from the winter weather.  We will address those areas in the coming weeks.

#outdoor plants

We Sprouted Sprouts

Last Wednesday we talked about growing alfalfa sprouts in the new Sprouter we got at Williams Sonoma. We followed the instructions that came with it and were told in those instructions that within 2 - 4 days we would have a fresh supply of sprouts to use on our salads and sandwiches.  Well, guess what.  We do!!!  It took a little longer than 2 - 4 days, but we do, indeed, have fresh alfalfa sprouts to enjoy.

Here is the top level, or level 1.

Middle level, or level 2.

Bottom level, or level 3.

Just so you don't think I'm pulling your leg and photographing the same container 3 times, here are all three containers full of alfalfa sprouts.

And here they are atop my lunch salad for today.

Today's salad consists of yellow grape tomatoes, sliced pepperoni, hearts of palm, a fresh garden mix of greens and fresh alfalfa sprouts.  What a spectacular looking salad.  I cannot wait until lunch.  In a separate container I brought a quarter cup of 2% cottage cheese with diced pineapple and a wedge of cheese.  Now, will I have a piece of chocolate this afternoon?  Probably.  I may even have two pieces or three.  But I can do so because I had this for lunch.  And that's how I roll.

#alfalfa sprouts

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Fresh Batch of Doggy Bones

We made doggy bones yesterday for Baxter.  And he helped!!  Well, he supervised.  When the timer went off for each batch, he started barking.  It was really funny.

These were made in the Bake-A-Bone, which is a wonderful thing to have for this purpose.  We used the standard recipe which is flour, baking powder, milk and peanut butter.  They cook up in 10 minutes.

Then, to make them crunchy, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Once that temperature has been reached, turn off the oven and place the bones in the oven for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.  When we took these out this morning they were still a little soft, so they are sitting on the counter today to dry out a little more.

Once again, homemade treats are a great alternative to store bought.

A Patch of Daffs

I love daffodils.  I thought these were so pretty on my walk this morning.  They are kind of naturalized in this picture.

They are not all planted in perfect little rows, and I rather like that.  This taken on the campus of George Washington University.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Beautiful Easter Bowl

Sometimes you need to be patient in order to find a deal.  At a recent visit to the local HomeGoods I found this charming little bowl tucked away on a shelf, way in the back where nobody would see it.

I don't know if someone placed it in the back with the intent of coming back for it or if it just ended up in the back.  All I know is that I knew I wanted it as soon as I saw it.  And the price - how could you have any argument with the price.  $.9.99?  This is now in my possession. 

We Are Making Our Own Sprouts at Crest Avenue

I recently found this wonderful little sprouter kit at Williams Sonoma.

I like sprouts in my salads and on sandwiches, so I thought I would give this a try.  It was originally $16.95, on sale for $9.95 and free shipping.  Oh, and I had a coupon.  So it was a deal I couldn't pass up.  The whole thing couldn't be easier.

The white tray on the bottom collects the water.  There are four clear trays on top.  Fill three of the trays with seed.  So here is the first tray.

The second tray.

And the third tray.

Measure two cups of water.

Place the fourth clear tray on top of the stack and pour the two cups of water into the top tray.  No seeds in this tray.  Leave the top off while growing sprouts.  The top can be placed on once they have sprouted.

There are tiny holes around the perimeter of each clear tray which allow the water to filter down through the trays until it reaches the bottom white tray.

You can see the water trickling down the sides of the trays as it makes its way to the bottom.  Repeat this process every 24 hours, rotating the clear trays and in two - four days you will have fresh alfalfa sprouts.

This is a picture of what we are expecting in a few days.  So let's see what happens.  I am anxious and hopeful that we will have a bumper crop!

More Beautiful Spring

I will let the pictures speak for themselves today.

Incredible beauty.