In My Kitchen- June 2013

I don’t really have much to share.

I have made bread and cookies, cakes and casseroles,

sauces and many happy meals – but I didn’t take pictures.

Mainly because everything was eaten rather quickly- but also

because I am engulfed in a wave of depression that insists that

it isn’t that interesting and I don’t have the energy to fight it

right now.  Depression comes in so many guises that it seems

I am always fighting on a different front. 

But I am functional- can keep up with necessary activities- and

I want to honor the friendship that has been granted me by some

extraordinary people.  So, Celia, my dear, this is for you!

In my kitchen…


is this lovely cookbook- a Mother’s Day gift from my son, Luke!

I have been devouring the pictures and recipes, dreaming about

making the recipes, and  trying to get some of the necessary ingredients

stocked up so that I can make what I want when I have someone who

will help me eat it.  My husband will not happily eat any of the meals

that I am thinking about!

In my kitchen…


is this bowl, depicting the wind blowing into the sails of a ship.



This bowl (or one like it) – has been in my family since my earliest memory.

The truth – this bowl has only been in my possession for the last 20 years, because I found it

in an antique shop after I had broken the original.   I was so devastated when it broke that I

broke into tears and then hid it.  I didn’t tell anyone until I found this one and then I confessed

to my mother and sisters of my clumsiness and shame.  They were so wonderful and forgiving-

the bowl hadn’t meant nearly as much to them as it had to me- but everytime I look at this bowl

I not only remember the history of the original bowl- of family times cooking together- of it filled

with chicken soup with small dumplings (zsomervenka, in Slovak) of the wonder it inspired in a

little girl reading the story of a journey on its surface- BUT I also feel the love of my mother and sisters

and am reminded of the heritage of compassion and love that we share.

So that is what is in my kitchen this month- Love and hopefulness, and history and compassion.

Take a look at Celia’s blog for a list of other In My Kitchen posts- it is great fun to look into kitchens

across the world!

In My Kitchen- May 2013


Happy May day!

In my family, flowers play a large part of

every season and holiday.

I grew up in the greenhouse business-

and my mother was a florist ( a floral arranger)

so most of my memories are interlaced with


My sister Robin and I added to the tradition

by including may baskets or bouquets- and

Allyson and her son Aiden carry on the tradition for me

every May 1st.

So… In my kitchen…


are flowers!  Bleeding heart, epimidium , flowering quince, tulips, daffodils,

mint, brunera and grape hyacinth.



violets that Jordan picked for me!

In my kitchen…


are kid sized snacks.

In my kitchen…


are cow embroidered hot pads-  I love cows.

In my kitchen…


is a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans.

In my kitchen…


is a fig and almond loaf.


and more bread.


In my kitchen…


is this homemade Dilly Ranch Dressing – a gift from a blog

friend for Christmas.  I made a dip for the vegetable plate at

the top of this post with this mixture and it is so yummy!

One of the secret ingredients- or should I say, unexpected ingredients,

in the mix is saltine crackers!  They add thickening to the dip or dressing

and an extra base flavor.  I will find out the proportions and share the

recipe if you are interested.

That is my kitchen this month- join the other IMK posters at Celia’s blog ,

Fig Jam and Lime Cordial!

Capturing Spring…

It has become such a short season here.

A short blip between winter cold and summer heat.

And it is invaded on both ends by unseasonable frosts and

heat waves – I find I must seek it out whilst it is

here to be found.



Hydrangea Blossoms- (I cheated and bought these at a greenhouse!)


007Lovely pale pink hyacinth…


Cowslips ( primrose) growing at the side of my front walk.


Dandelions littering the yard with bright yellow.


A very healthy clump of chives in my vegetable bed.


Coral bells lifting her stalk- promising a future silent chorus.


Daffodils still in nightdresses – getting ready for their unveiling, soon!


Virginia bluebells…

021 in a woodsy location-always one of the opening acts!


Flowering Quince- not much good for fruit- but lovely early flowers.


And of course the lovely violet, humble and sweet, growing amongst the grasses.


Lamb’s ears- so soft and fuzzy… Smile


And a Japanese plum- the leaves are a soft red- the flowers will be almost white.

Spring in NE Ohio- Here for only a short time- so I’m trying not to miss the show!

When Silence enters the heart.

I am a functioning depressed person.  I can chat, cook, shop, babysit,

pay bills, wash, clean – all those tasks I need to keep my home and family

running.  But what I want to do is read and occupy someone else’s life.

And I cannot write.

There is silence inside my heart.

The feelings are so strong that my words shut down.

Spring has become a trap for me-

I long for the new life around me and yet I encounter the

memories of death and loss.  I lost my sister-

a woman who was part of myself-

the other side of myself –

Fifteen years ago.

I started this blog 5 years ago when I finally could

write again and for the first year all I really wrote about

was her.  And those final 10 weeks of her life as we

battled against the cancer that took her.

Ten weeks- all of Spring and then she was gone.

And Spring was gone- and has forever after become a time

of hope and loss.  And…

That silent place within my heart.

I look at budding flowers and see her gardens.

I long to make them into small bouquets of tribute and hand

them out to anyone who will reach for them.

I spent my time in the Intensive Care Unit making little

nosegays and giving them away – asking for prayers- hoping

for miracles.

Silence breeds silence. 

If I don’t shake this off, I may walk away-

and I don’t want to do that.

I have made some very dear friends through this

venue of blogging and losing you would diminish

my life more than I can say.

So please forgive me –

I will be back as soon as I can find something

positive to say. 

And thank you for your friendship.

Duchess potatoes from leftovers


I usually make potato soup or potato pancakes out of leftover potatoes.

But last night I was making a roasted pork tenderloin with thyme, honey and OJ

and I decided to make the meal a little royal- so I made Duchess potatoes.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes,

Heated up 3/4 cup of cream,

melted 1/4 cup butter in the cream,

whisked one whole egg into the mix

and seasoned with nutmeg and s+p to taste.

Spooned mixture into an icing bag- added a star tip and squeezed onto baking pan.

Then I baked in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F-

They were delicious.


Add roasted vegetables and pork,


and a pineapple slice and blackberry fruit salad,


and you have a really great evening meal!

A preview of Spring- Island style

It is cold and blustery in NE Ohio today.

We left in the midst of a sleet storm on Monday morning.

And we came south and east and stopped on Chincoteague Island, Virginia.

To Spring.

Here are some pictures- I forgot to take pictures of all the pansies and daffodils


But here are:




tea and TimTams!


Ally and Aiden at the park in Pocomoke City, Maryland.



Ladybug on Aiden…


Aiden on ladybug.


Small blue wildflowers blooming in the grass-(Veronica?)


Aiden at the ocean


a new friend…


pictures taken of picture taking.


Boots gone- pants rolled up…


and soaking wet!


and rolling in wet sand!





Almond and fig bread.  There is always BREAD!

Cake break

I’ve been making so much bread- didn’t want you to think I’ve been

starving Frank’s sweet tooth!

I made an almond pound cake with almond glaze yesterday.


Here’s the recipe-

For the  pound cake:

2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Softened

1 Package of Cream Cheese, Softened

½ cup Almond Cake & Pastry Filling

1  cup sugar

4 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp Almond Extract

1 ½ cup AP Flour

½ cup Almond Meal

1 ½ tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

For the Almond Glaze:

2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted

¼ cup Almond Cake & Pastry Filling

6 TBS Milk

1 tsp Almond Extract

½ tsp Vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a bundt pan with Pam, sprinkle flour and spread around pan by shaking it from crevice to crevice and then set aside.

2. In a mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and almond filling. Pour in the sugar and mix until fluffy and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each one until it is incorporated before adding the next egg. Then add in the almond extract and vanilla extract.

3. While ingredients are mixing, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add this flour mixture into the wet mixture. Mix until just incorporated.

4. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake the cake for roughly an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before pouring on the glaze.

I had a little trouble getting the cake OUT of the pan- finally ended up cutting into pieces and placing on a platter and then spooning the glaze over the slices.

5. To make the glaze: combine the confectioners’ sugar, almond filling, milk, almond extract, and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until it is completely combined and smooth. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake. Let the glaze harden for 15-20 minutes before you cut and serve.


In My Kitchen- March 2013

In my kitchen…


Is  a reconstituted sourdough that traveled all the way from Australia!


Meet Thing Two,Priscilla’s American progeny!

Celia sent me some dried starter with two requests- that I named it and let you know

that Priscilla is the mother – and that I share some if anyone would like some.  So if you

would like some of Thing two, let me know.  In fact, if you want some of Thing one– which

is an all American starter and very sour- you are welcome to have some .

In My Kitchen…


is a beautiful loaf of bread made from Thing Two!

My husband, Frank,  really enjoyed this loaf.  It is so different from Thing One- the sour

taste is very mild, and it isn’t quite as chewy as my first starter.


I know this because I made a loaf out of Thing One– and it has the sour x8 and is very chewy!

They both are delicious – THANK YOU, CELIA!!!  I love the different flavor and texture.

In my kitchen…


are many different flavors of sugar!

I’ve had lot of salts from bacon to truffle, Hawaiian red to French grey, Lava Black to

Himalayan Pink- vanilla salt, hickory salt, all kinds of salt.

But I just noticed all the sugars I have.  Ginger, Lemon, Orange, Lime, Tangerine, Demerra, Vanilla,

coconut, Espresso, Dark Cocoa- I’m going to have to start using these- soon!

In my kitchen…


is a dwindling stash of TimTams.

In my kitchen…


Is a pile of crocheted cotton dishcloths made by my sister.

Thank you, Cynthia!

In my kitchen…


are dried herb wreaths and swags- Lemongrass, sage, bay leaf, and assorted soup herbs.

I’m making a big pot of soup this weekend and using up the herb wreath I made for


In my kitchen…


is a molasses cake with whipped cream.


Notice the little metal tab on the side of the pan?  You swing that all around the cake

once it is baked and it loosens the cake from the pan.  I found this at a thrift shop and

LOVE IT!  (The molasses cake was very good,as well!  Smile    )

In my kitchen…



are dragons,and leprechauns,and cats,and turtles and rabbits!

In my kitchen…


are red tulips- from the florist- everything outside is frozen. Sad smile

In my kitchen…


is a Steak salad with edamame and red onions.  YUM!

Well- that’s all I’m sharing right now- What’s in YOUR kitchen?

Join us at   Celia’s blog, for a list of kitchens around the world.

A rabbit bread tutorial- shaping bread- making fantasies in dough

My friend Celia, from the blog Fig jam and lime cordial, recently made a bear bread using

my last tutorial and she requested some other bread shapes.  Specifically a rabbit.

It is coming up Easter, soon, so I decided to add a couple of more animal shapes for

you to try if you are interested.

First of all, though- Celia was getting a little carried away, and said , “A Dragon!  Can you

make a dragon?”

Now I like dragons myself – and my grandson, Aidan is a little dragon crazy!

So I tried my hand and imagination for a dragon.


What do you think?

OH wait I forgot his flaming tongue!


Not bad for a first try- I’m going to work on this one just a bit!

Now on to the rabbit…

Go here for a recipe for honey whole wheat bread if you are looking for similar results.

There are also instructions for the basics of building a gluten cloak so that your bread will

keep his shape and not become all globby.


Here is a rabbit – all ready for an Easter Basket!

Make your dough and let it raise once.  Then portion out pieces to make the rabbit-


I used to weigh these out when I was selling them- so I knew exactly how many I

could get out of a batch of dough.  Now I dole out the pieces according to proportion.

the body is twice the size of the head-let’s say 3 ounces.  That makes the head  1 1/2 oz.

The legs are 1 ounce each about 1/3 the size of the body.  The arms are half the size of

the legs- 1/2 ounce each-  and the ears  – just a little smaller than the legs-3/4 oz.


Start off with the body and shape it into a long circle with a smaller top than bottom’


Pinch the bottom together between each shaping and tightening of the dough.


It should be oblong- wider at the bottom than the top- place on your sheet.

Now do the head the same way- only it can be round rather than oblong.

Place it on the sheet on top of the smaller part of the oblong.


Now start on the feet and think “Thumper” making the foot shaped like an exclamation point,

but flat on the edges so you can slide it just a little behind the hip part of the bunny.


Do it on both sides.


Now do the same thing with the arms and place them between the head and the body.



The ears come next- and you want to roll them into a small snakey little shape.


leave a little lip on the base of each ear so that you can place them slightly under

the head for support.

016Make his puffy cheeks – roll the balls as tightly as you can-


021place in the middle of the face and then using a bamboo skewer

start to tighten up and attach all the pieces.  Push the dough together at the edges and then into the

larger mass.  Do this with all the pieces, ears, legs, and arms and also between the head and body.


Now when working on the ears, shape the tips to be cute- and add definition.


Poke a hole for his bellybutton, and add dried currants for nose and eyes.



Bake at 350 to 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes- until golden brown.

Add a bow, a paper cut out carrot and a marshmallow or white chocolate tooth-

AND you have a bread rabbit.

I also made a few other animals while I was at it-


a dinner roll bunny, a ST. Patty’s guy,  a turtle


And a cat.

A little chicken soup with your bread?

I’ve been so sick- I haven’t been out of the house in over a week.

I had a flu shot- but those germs really don’t care- if they are out to get

you- then they do!

Any way- I was home- feeling quite sorry for myself and also just feeling

really bad.  Headache, muscle aches, coughing, congested- miserable.

And I started thinking about chicken soup.

I was able to make it to my computer and keep up with reading my emails and

blog posts- and my friend, Jane put up a recipe for Chicken bread soup on her newsletter,

See Jane Cook.   She put up a recipe from Joyce Goldstein that I had to try – so I made it

for myself

Soo good- it was bread pudding with chicken soup.  Velvetty and delicious- every bite

a comfort.  I almost felt well for the 20 minutes I took to eat a portion.

Here’s the recipe and a few pictures if you’d like to try it.




  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into small dice
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 12 to 16 oz. total), cubed
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 or 5 thick (1-inch) slices of sturdy bread
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or half Parmesan and half Fontina

In a wide saucepan melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms  until the edges begin to brown.

Add 1 tablespoon butter and remaining 1 tablespoon oil and reduce heat to medium. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add chicken and stir fry until golden, about 5 minutes. Add wine and boil until it evaporates. Add chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and the cinnamon. Cover and simmer gently until the chicken is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Toast bread slices on both sides, adding more butter if necessary, until golden.

In a 6-quart, deep-sided casserole such as a souffle dish, arrange 2 to 2 1/2 slices of the bread in a single layer.  Sprinkle some of the cheese on top, then the chicken and vegetables. Top with remaining bread slices. Soup may be made and refrigerated up to 8 hours at this point.

Ladle broth over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover loosely with foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the depth of the casserole. The bread on the top should be chewy and the bread on the bottom, custardy. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

I left out the mushrooms- didn’t have any- and substituted 1 tablespoon of brandy for the wine.

I used my spelt bread because it is very sturdy and I had half a loaf sitting out.


This is the highlight of my week.

I’m making this one again- but when I feel well so that I can savor it and taste all the flavors.

This soup make have saved my life this week.


Or maybe just made it worthwhile to keep on living!