30 June 2011

Peach Pie

The perfect summer pie

We love peach pie. Almost as much as apple pie. Especially in summer. Peaches aren't quite in season yet though, so I made this one with canned peaches.

Here's how - based on a recipe in Betty Crocker's New Picture Cookbook:

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup juice from canned peaches
3 1/2 cups peaches, drained

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a saucepan, mix sugar, flour, spices and fruit juice. Cook over med. heat stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Pour hot, thickened juice over peaches. Mix lightly. Pour into pastry lined pie pan. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust and vent by cutting slits in it. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until nicely browned and juice is bubbly. Serve warm.


28 June 2011

Knitting Update

I have not been knitting as much. Mostly, I've been doing other things. Gardening, playing with my new BlendTec blender, and hanging out at the pool with my kids and reading beach books. However, something very exciting has been accomplished, and I wanted to show you.

Remember the UFO Post? I had found three sweaters that had been languishing in limbo for a number of years. I finished one and posted about it here. I've been working hard on the cardigan, and here's what it looks like now...

All I have to do is weave in those ends, block and assemble. I think it's do-able by Christmas, don't you?

Now, there was the matter of the sweater whose pattern was lost for 8 years. I started working on it and decided it was dated. Very dated. I didn't like it any more. Wow. So, I FROGGED it! Note: If you don't knit, and you're thinking I just had some kind of episode, click the link above.
Here's what I'm making with some of that reclaimed yarn.

I really quite like it. It's a cable with drop stitches that relax the cable. It should make a nice Christmas present.
Last of all, I have made a pair of slippers. The knitting is all done, now it's just construction. I don't know why, but that seems to shut me down a bit. 

I expect that since I'm traveling, I should have some finished work and new projects to share soon.

26 June 2011

Weekend Book Review - Breath, Eyes, Memory

This one will be on my memorable books list for this year. It is beautifully written. This is a story about the women of Haiti. It is sweet and tender, and heartbreaking. It asks how a woman can heal after unthinkable things have happened to her. It is not for the faint of heart, but in the end, I thought it was full of healing and hope.

24 June 2011

Introducing.....The Elna 654!

I just got an exciting new tool! I've been saving for her for a long time, and finally, Saturday, I got to bring her home. Of course she's a girl. She can do four things at once! I can't wait to start making things and sharing them here!

Don't get too excited though, I am going on vacation at the end of the week, so all those fun projects will have to wait until I get back. On Friday, we are off to Utah for a family reunion, then to Arches and Canyonlands, Four Corners, Red Mesa, CO (because we're close enough and that's where my Grandma was born), Mesa Verde, Telluride and home. Other than the family reunion part, these are all places I've never been. Super excited! 

I have a few fun posts scheduled for while I'm away - recipes and book reviews - and more!

Are you taking a summer trip? Where are you going?

23 June 2011

Etsy Photo Shoot

A good friend of mine recently took some amazing photos for my Etsy shop. I am so thrilled with how they turned out! I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and it turned out even better than I hoped.
So, by way of promoting both my shop and her photography skills, here is a sample of the photos. Alternatively, of course, you could just visit Lavender Ave. and choose your favorite...

22 June 2011

Brand New Etsy Shops!

Just for fun, I was browsing Etsy's Pounce feature. Here are a few selections from great new shops looking for their first sale.

21 June 2011

Betty Crocker - Vintage Style

This is one of my most prized possessions. I learned how to cook by using my Mother's copy, and when I saw this in an antique shop about 15 years ago, I had to have it. 

Some things I love about it:
1. The previous owner wrote notes, recipes, and inserted recipes she clipped from newspapers and magazines all over inside.
2. It was published in 1961 and is full of great tips for hostessing and welcoming the man of the house (properly coiffed with drink in hand) home after work.
3. It has some great pie recipes.

Today, I taught my daughter to make a lemon meringue pie. Since it was for Father's Day, she insisted on using the heart shaped cake pan, but other than that it was totally traditional.

Lemon Meringue Pie
from Betty Crocker's New Picture Cookbook

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup lemon juice (I use 1/3 cup because I like it extra lemony)
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind

Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Slowly stir at least half the hot mixture into egg yolks. Then blend into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Continue stirring until smooth. Blend in butter, lemon juice and rind. Pour into baked pie shell. Cover with meringue. Bake. Serve as soon as cool. 


3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar, a little at a time. Continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Beat until sugar is dissolved. Beat in flavoring. Pile meringue onto hot pie filling, being careful to seal the meringue onto edge of crust to prevent shrinking or weeping. Swirl or pull up points for decorative top. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until delicately browned. Cool away from drafts.

It was delicious, and I had a great time baking with my daughter. Some day, if you're nice, I'll share my no-fail pie crust recipe. 

19 June 2011

Weekend Book Review

When they say "grow more in less space" they aren't kidding. We read this book 15 years ago, when we first started gardening. We're on our 4th copy, because we keep giving it away. If you have always wanted to garden, but worried you didn't have room, this is the book for you. It is also full of helpful information about soil, building planter boxes and more.

This is my newest gardening bible - because gardening in the Rocky Mountains sure isn't like gardening in Oregon (duh, I know, right?). This book is full of great tips on improving soil, what to plant and when, and charts for frost dates. If you live in the Rockies, get this book!

18 June 2011

Maple Date Bars

Maple Date Bars
Cooking Light Magazine

1 1/4 cups finely chopped pitted dates (about 12 oz)
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 cup regular oats
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
cooking spray

Combine dates, water, and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cook 12 minutes or  until most liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Mixture will look like jam. Stir in rind, cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture. Mixture will be crumbly.
Press 2 cups flour mixture into bottom of 9x13 pan coated with cooking spray. Spread date mixture over flour mixture. Top with remaining flour mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

All I have to say about these bars is YUM. 

My husband, who vows that he hates dates, ate these.

16 June 2011

Magnetic Chalkboard

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I mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to make my daughter something like this for her room.

I explained it to my husband, and he thought it was a good idea, but he wanted to go a bit bigger.
Using something (I can't remember the name of it, so I'll call it shower board. It's the stuff you can make dry erase boards out of.) he made this!

So, I don't know where all the little circles came from. Maybe the dust in the air from installation, but anyway, who wouldn't want a floor to ceiling magnetic chalkboard?

To make this, we cut the shower board so it would fit between the desk and the door, and behind the shelf. We sanded it, then painted three light coats of magnetic paint. 
After that, two coats of chalkboard paint. We let it dry for a day, then hung it on the wall.

After it dries for three days, the instructions say to rub it all over with chalk, then erase it, and it's ready to go.

I think she likes it!

15 June 2011

Etsy Finds!

The yummiest lemon-lime sugar scrub from Farmstead Organics 
( I have some and no, they didn't pay me to tell you about it)

 La Minerve - available at Vintage Clips  - so whimsical

The "I Love Paris" Handbag by Creating Things

This squeezable little guy is named Percy and you can get him at Fresh from the Needles

This gorgeous pillow, and more, can be found at Bed Buggs Boutique

14 June 2011

Teaching Little Brother

There's nothing in the world like watching your biggest kid teach your littlest something you once taught him.

12 June 2011

Weekend Book Review - True Grit

In this true western, Mattie Ross relates how she saw her father's murderer brought to justice. She is a bright and confident young girl, well educated and determined. She hires Rooster Cogburn to aid her in apprehending the murderer, they acquire a Texas Ranger, rather against Mattie's will, and set off into Indian territory. She chose Rooster Cogburn because he was "said to have true grit." He did, but in the end, Mattie is the one who is truly the grittiest. The story is so matter of fact that in parts it is laugh out loud funny, and in others skin crawlingly realistic.

For a great essay on True Grit, read this post at 27 Notebooks.

08 June 2011

A Memorable Family Outing

Memorial Day, we decided to take a family drive up to Pikes Peak. It was a beautiful, clear day. As we got to the entrance of the park, we had to detour around a fallen tree that had taken down some power lines. Perhaps we should have thought about that...

It was a beautiful drive, if a little windy. When we got to the summit, we drove around the parking lot and parked to the left of the summit sign. A gust of wind blew up, throwing some gravel against our car and KABOOM! Out went a window on our van. Thank goodness for safety glass.

Conveniently enough, with the window "open" we could hear the announcement over the loud speaker letting us know that they were experiencing 100 mph gusts and we should crack our windows a little and be aware of flying gravel. We jumped out and quickly took a photo by the summit sign, jumped back in the car and drove down the mountain. On the way down, we saw more than one motorcycle lying on its side on the side of the road.

My children are convinced that Pikes Peak is a dangerous place and they say they will never ever go there again. Naturally, that means I will be running them up there once more before summer is over - with the windows open - and be sure we'll check the weather before we go.

07 June 2011

Crossing Fingers, Holding Breath

I planted my garden this last weekend. Nighttime temperatures have reached 47 degrees, with a chance of temperatures above 50 degrees later this week. I am planting my eggplant, tomato and pepper seedlings in bigger pots and hoping for the best.
My daughter and I planted lettuce, peas, Swiss chard and collards, beets, zucchini, cucumbers, beans and melons, cauliflower and basil...I think that's it. The pumpkins and winter squash will go on hills in the front and backyard - ground cover - right? Assuming we have no wild weather (ha) or more freezing temperatures, we should have quite a garden in a few weeks.

We used some leftover pipe from our sprinkler system to lay out the square feet. We still need to put up the trellis for the melons and beans.

Cute girl planting collard greens

lettuce starts - hoping they make it!

Another job that needed to be done - we finally pruned the Wisteria. It was out of control.
Like my bag of BBQ charcoal?