Thursday, March 17, 2011



We have a weird tradition here in Charlotte and perhaps in other areas of the country.  Pansies are planted in the Fall and then bloom all Winter long.  At the beginning of Spring, one removes the beautiful Pansies while they are still in bloom and replaces them with "not as pretty" Vincas.  Here is a photo of a Winter Pansy still blooming next to a Spring Hyacinth.  We brought some of the cut Hyacinths indoors.  While they have a nice odor, our house smelled like a funeral home for a week!

At the end of February, our Bradford Pear trees burst into beautiful white blossoms. They are lovely other than their strange odor.  Within a few days, the blossoms cover the ground with a snow-like appearance.  Immediately thereafter, the trees burst forth with lovely green leaves, that are literally, a "breath of Spring!" These are decorative trees only.  They do not bear fruit.

When viewed closeup, the fallen blossoms resemble popcorn!

Popcorn or Petals?



We are both German but love to celebrate many holidays.  For tonight's St. Patrick's Day meal, I have used Irish foods but prepared them German style.  I cooked the Brisket almost the same way that I make German Pot Roast.  It was braised in the oven for three hours along with onions, garlic, carrots and celery.

The sautéed vegetables before adding them to the roasting pan, under the Brisket.  The pan then gets tightly covered before braising it all in a 350〫 oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours...

The cabbage after cooking it and before reheating it in some butter...

The Corned Beef Brisket before cooking...

Happy St. Patrick's Day To All, Irish Or NOT!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yorkshire Pudding

Our nephew, Jeffrey, from NJ, visited us and our daughter, Lynne's family, this week.

The first dinner that I prepared for him was Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding.  The "Pudding" was a big hit.  Jeff had never eaten it before and was so surprised that, despite its name, it isn't "pudding!"

Yorkshire Pudding
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients with beater until smooth.
About 30 minutes before roast reaches desired temperature, heat a square pan, 9” X 9” or oblong baking dish, 11” X 7” in the oven.
When the roast reaches desired temperature, remove from oven;  increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Transfer roast to platter; cover lightly with aluminum foil.  Pour off ¼ cup drippings from roasting pan.  Place drippings in heated square or oblong pan.  (If necessary, substitute butter and oil, since roasts are extremely lean nowadays!)  Pour in pudding batter.  Baked until puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve with the beef.
*This batter can be used for Popovers, as well.  If you cut the recipe in half, it will serve 2 for Popovers.
Makes 4+ servings.  Larger pan will serve more because it will not puff up as much.  Better to slightly over-cook than under-cook.  (Just my opinion!)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Correct Answers to the "Kitchen Gadget" Contest

The "Kitchen Gadget" Contest
Here are the correct answers to my "Kitchen Gadget" contest.
1)  Utensil Pot Clip.  One clips it onto a pot and then can rest a spoon in the slot. All drips go back into the pot!
2)  An Opener for Pop Top Cans.  No need to break a nail!
3)  A Kaiser Roll Press.  These German Rolls have their tops cut part way through into five sections.  Just for "design" purposes.
4)  Cupcake Plunger.  One can remove part of the inside of a cupcake with this plunger and then use the plunger again to refill the hole with ice cream, Cool Whip, etc.
5)  The BEST Meat Tenderizer!  It is made by the Deni Corporation.  We use this all the time.  One "unlocks" it and then the spring action makes tons of tiny holes in chicken, flank steak etc.  It not only tenderizes the meat, but it also allows better penetration of a marinade.
6) A garlic press that allows one to store garlic within it, in the refrigerator.  It has a built-in cleaning system.
I would like to thank the good sports who participated.  You all gave me some much needed laughter!
No one guessed FIVE out of SIX correctly, but, congratulations to Carole & Al H. who had THREE correct and to Gene G. who had TWO and a HALF correct. 
I guess that I get to keep my Cupcake Plunger.  That is fairly new and the only one that I have not used so far!

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Name These Kitchen Gadgets"

The first person to name 5 out of 6 of the kitchen gadgets pictured below will win one of these "unnecessary, cannot live without" kitchen helpers!  Send your answers to either my e-mail address: or send me a direct message via Facebook.  Please follow my blog while you are "visiting."






Thank you for visiting my blog!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Tangerine Project

I am a "Gadget Queen," who enjoys both electronic & kitchen gizmos.  I actually even use them all, well, almost all of them. 

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me if I had a citrus juicer because she had a large bag of tangerines that they couldn't peel but might possibly yield some juice. She had hurt herself and was not able to hand juice them.  I replied that I only had two kinds of lemon juicers which would be too small.  

Suddenly, I recalled that my food processor from five years ago came with a juice attachment that I had NEVER used.  (I don't like any form of citrus fruits.)  Weird, but true.  I dug through my gadget pantry, found it and then volunteered to help her out.

This morning, I washed them all and read the directions for the citrus attachment.  My friend had given me a LARGE container in which to put all of the juice.  Werner (Mr. Green Thumbs) offered to cut them all in half for me as I was "processing" them.  The machine and juicer worked great, however the end result was less than we had hoped for!

The Bag of 20 Tangerines

The Food Processor with Juicer Attachment

And now..... A drum roll, please!

The Finished Project!

Perhaps my friend can enjoy ONE Tangerine Screwdriver. 
P.S.  Here is a direct quote from my friend that I just received via e-mail.

"I took my vitamins with the tangerine juice you made for me after you left because I hadn't taken them yet today and it was actually delicious.  Very fresh tasting.  Now I know why people like to make their juice fresh.  Thank you so much!!!"

So, I guess that good things come in "small" packages!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"A Thorn In My Side" (Actually, it was in my FOOT!)

Yesterday, Werner, who is a.k.a. "Baron Von Green Thumbs," (GT for short,) happily announced to me that his first spring plants were popping up!  Well, I grabbed my camera to capture his rapture and stepped off our deck in my slippers and promptly stepped upon an errant branch of THORNY Pyracantha.  It punctured the rubber sole of my slipper, my sock and, of course, the bottom of my foot!  OUCH!  His excitement did not make for lovely photos, but any sign of spring is worth a "thorn in my sole!"



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Words By Joan

Hello, my friends!

I have just set this up.  I have NEVER blogged before, so this shall be  a test to see if I did everything correctly.