Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cool As A Cucumber

Cucumber Salad

I love this time of year for the bounty in the garden!


It's so easy to make fresh delicious meals with vegetables from the garden. This is an old fashion recipe that's still a favorite at my house.

4 medium cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
half of a red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Place sliced cucumbers in a large bowl and toss with salt. The salt will remove excess moisture from the cucmbers.

2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then drain excess liquid. Add sliced onions to cucumbers in bowl.

3. Whisk together remaining ingredients to make the dressing. Pour over the cucumber and onion mixture. Toss well and refrigerate two hours before serving.

Serves 6

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bounty of Bees

Busy Bees
Every third bite of food we eat has been pollinated by industrious honeybees.


But, in the past two years, nearly one third of America's honeybees have vanished. Here are a few ways you can help.

Replace some of your lawn with flower beds.

Plant native plant species, which are well-suited for local bee populations.

Reduce or eliminate pesticides and insecticides in the garden.

Choose plants that flower at various stages in the growing season to provide a consistent source of food for pollinators.

For more information about honeybees and other pollinators go to pollinator.org .
You can get a free Pollinator Garden Wheel and a poster of this art depicting North American bee species. There is also a pollinator friendly planting guide for various ecoregions of the U.S. available for free download.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fresh Red Raspberry Sorbet

I am lucky to have a place to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in my garden. One of my favorites is the red raspberries which I love to use to make sorbet. But even if you do not have a garden, plenty of delicious fresh fruit is available from your local market or grocery. This is a surprisingly simple recipe with wonderful results.



First, I have to give credit where credit is due. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Sorbets, Sherbets, and Granitas, in the June 2002 issue. If you can find the back issue at your local library, there is much more information about making these wonderful treats from a wide variety of fruits.

Here is the red raspberry sorbet recipe. (You will need an ice cream freezer to make this.) This recipe makes about a quart of sorbet which is perfect for most ice cream machines.

First, to make the simple syrup, prepare an ice bath. You can make any amount of syrup as long as you use equal parts sugar and water. Two cups of each is enough for one batch of sorbet. Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until all sugar is well dissolved, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl set over the ice bath. Let stand until syrup is well chilled. Any unused syrup can be stored in the fridge.

Place the fruit in the bowl of a food processor with a few tablespoons of water to help it process smoothly. Puree until smooth; pour into a fine mess strainer set over a bowl. (I use this old food mill my Mom used to make tomato juice, but any fine mesh strainer will work) With a rubber spatula, press gently on the mixture to extract as much juice as possible. Don't press too hard or you'll force the seeds through the strainer. Discard the seeds and pulp.

Transfer two cups of fruit juice to a tall plastic container. Add 1 1/2 cups of simple syrup and stir well to combine.

Transfer to an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. The sorbet should be smooth and thick.

Transfer sorbet to an airtight container. Freeze for at least two hours before serving.

I hope you get a chance to try this recipe with raspberries or a fruit of your choice.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Felted Wool Goodness

I have added a few new items to my Etsy shop this week.
DandlylionEggs put my Red Poppy Felted Flower Brooch in her Red Poppies Treasury. Have a look here at this pretty collection of poppy art.

And I added this cute, new green handbag. It has a beautiful floral print lining.


And last week I added this butterfly applique zippered pouch.

I am working on a series of these pouches with different appliques and a variety of colors.
More on those later!

I have been busy working on a couple of lovely custom orders for felted wool flowers, but tomorrow I WILL share my sweet recipe for Red Raspberry Sorbet! Until then. . .
have a great day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Heart Felt Brooches

I made a new batch of "Heart Felt" brooches.

These cute, stuffed, heart shaped pins were made from felted, recyled wool sweaters. Each heart is two layers of felted wool and "puffed" with a little stuffing. I added a small appliqued heart and embroidery to each one. They are a combination of bright colors - pink, purple and red and each one is different and unique. They are available in my Etsy shop. Get one for yourself or someone you love!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Going Green(ish)

Here are some ideas for "light green" living!


You would just love to "do the right thing" for yourself and the planet if it were convenient, fun, inexpensive, and made you feel good. Right? Well, idealbite.com is a great Web site for tips and products to help you go green. You can also sign-up for them to e-mail you a green idea every day.
And, if you live in San Francisco, Chicago, New York or Los Angeles you can get specific information for your area. We can all commit to a few small changes to lessen our impact on the earth.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In Full Bloom


My pretty, white Annabelle hydrangeas are in full bloom these days.


I just love the huge showy flowers! They are bright white
and as summer goes on they will fade to a pale green.


They make nice cut flowers.
I cut the wody stems at an angle and keep them in fresh water.

And the smaller pink hydrangea also has gorgeous blooms. I would love to dry some of the flowers to be able to enjoy them over the winter. I've dried some of the white flowers in the past by hanging the cut blooms in a cool dry place until they are dry and hold their shape. But, this year they just seem to wilt. Maybe because we've had so much rain? (about 12 inches above average) I can try again as they start to turn green but I'd prefer them to be white. Please leave me a comment if you've had success drying your hydrangeas and have any suggestions for me. In the mean time, I'll just enjoy their beauty in the garden.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ripe Raspberries

The sweet, delicious red raspberries are ripening in my garden! And I think there are going to be quite a few berries. I wasn't sure what to expect this year, because we moved quite a few of the plants this spring. The berry patch was looking a little sparse early in the season. The last two summers were very hot and dry and last year we had a very late freeze. Although we gave the plants extra water over the summers, I think the weather was a little hard on them and the center of the patch had died out. In April, we moved a lot of newly sprouted canes and condensed the growing area. Since then we've had A LOT of rain here in Indiana. The new canes now appear healthy and will bear fruit next summer.

In the mean time, I should be able to pick enough berries to make at least one batch of my favorite red raspberry sorbet! I'm off to pick berries and in the next few days I'll make sorbet. I'll have pictures and will share my surprisingly easy and mouth watering recipe!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fresh Blooming Flowers

It seems there are new flowers blooming everyday in the garden.

Hibiscus

Clematis

Goat's beard

Black-eyed susan

And, there are also new felted flower brooches available in my Etsy shop, FeltSewGood. These are pretty flowers that you can wear. I made them out of felted, recycled wool sweaters and wool roving. For more photos and information see my shop here.