Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas this year

Paperwhites in Denver, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
A few of my favorite things:
paperwhites, cactus blooms in December, fresh snow, giraffes, the Denver skyline Corona del Mar or any beach, my chickens-their eggs- and their hen house, of course my beautiful grandchildren, my kids and their spouses, my puppy dog, delicious food from my garden, a day in the kitchen, a good football game (USC or the Broncos), a morning with my sketchbook, camera or watercolors, cashmere sweaters, shells and starfish, handmade quilts

Wishing all my friends and family their very favorite things this Christmas including love, joy and embracing the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ

Poinsettia, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Madelaine, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Christmas in Corona del Mar

Christmas in Corona del Mar, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Christmas on Elm Street

Christmas on Elm Street, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Zoo view, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
Denver skyline and the front range covered with snow

zoo giraffe, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Christmas hen house, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Christmas traditions

Denise, Dana Strand, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
Last weekend I flew back to California to bake cookies with my very good friend Sue. We have made cookies together for over 30 years until last year when found it impossible since we lived in different states. Neither of us survived very well.
Before a day of baking we walked on the beach. This time we took the Dana Strand path: 4 miles of ups, downs and on the sand....beautiful views.
Both baking and walking on the beach are traditional activities for me. We can add new ones but giving up old ones are not good for our health.
Enjoy your favorite traditions.

Footsteps in the sand, Dana Strand

A walk on the beach

Dana Strand, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Checking out the snow

Checking out the snow, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Denver has been blanketed by snow for the last 6 days with very cold temperatures....last night minus 6 deg. That is cold! Yes it is winter. My feathered girls love to go out into the big yard to look for bugs, seeds and any leafy greens that may be left but this week not so much....With the inside of their hen house toasty warmed by a heat lamp these two check out the chances of going out..........nope, not a chance.
I hope you all stay warm inside by the fire!

Heavy snow, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

last of the 2011 harvest

rainbow carrots, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

We have had about 14 inches of snow in the last 3 days in Denver so I'm pretty sure my garden is "done" for this year. I had a bountiful back yard this year and for that I am grateful. I will do somethings different next year but for now I am enjoying the last of my veggies.
On Thanksgiving day Kate and Ella helped me pick the root vegetables for our dinner. The carrots went into my white bean provencal, the beets became the main salad ingredient and the next weekend the baby leeks became a layer in the celery root-potato gratin.
What a rainbow of color and yummy vegetables!


beets, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

baby leeks, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks

What will you be doing today? I am guessing a little turkey and cranberry sauce will be on the menu.
My day will be the same:
It started with a little iPod, Touch, Pad, Mac
then a shower and make up with a little curl in my hair
followed by some time in the kitchen at the baking center with beaters to lick
most likely some artwork
after the big meal, I'll take a walk in the cold air to balance out the day
a bedtime story
and then a long nap with a smile on my face

Last weekend my Denver girls went to Seattle to visit my beautiful granddaughters there. We celebrated an early version of Thanksgiving and had the time of our lives. The cousins loved playing with each other.....lots of giggles, "Go Fish", walking adventures and some electronic fun.
Today will be like most of the rest of you....filled with fun, family, friends and the thankfulness of being together on a day of "rest" and reflection.

studying the iPod, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

getting ready for the party, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

baking cookies, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

help with the beater, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

art work, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

a walk in the cold, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

bedtime stories, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

a little nap

a little nap, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What to do with your green tomatoes:

green tomatoes, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
When the first winter storm was in the forecast I had plenty (more than 80 lbs) of unripened tomatoes. "Fry them" I heard. I tried fried green tomatoes years ago and even though everything fried tastes good it didn't even resemble a tomato in the end. So I asked every patient that sat in my chair if they were a gardener and if they answered "yes" my next question was "how do you ripen the green tomatoes?"
1. Wrap them in newspaper loosely in no more than 3 layers.
2. Place in a cardboard box and seal it up.
3. Store in a cool place.
4. Peek every 7-10 days
5. Cross your fingers.

wrapped and ready to "send", originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

wrap the green tomatoes loosely in newspaper (dunnage) and close in a cardboard box. Store in a cool place.

ripe after 10 days, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

after 10 days they are red, ripe and delicious

Monday, November 7, 2011

November pumpkins

The pumpkin patch was good to me this year. The GD squirrels ate my neighbors' pumpkins but not mine. I harvested about 15 small to large size squash and am now trying to be creative with what I do with them.
These are strange looking pumpkins called Galeux D'Eysine. They are heirloom French pumpkins with gnarly skin that looks like peanuts or warts. The French named them "Galeux" which means embroidered pumkins from the provence of Eysine. They have thick orange meat that have been delicious in everything I have made: butter, bread and a fabulous pumpkin pie I will call:
Mile High pumpkin pie...with about a mile of meringue on top. I had to do something with all of the extra egg whites remaining from my ice creams and custards.
Pumpkins are so thematic for this time of year and lend themselves to decorating, sketching and painting and even a head for a doll.
What will you do with your pumpkins?

Mile High pumpkin pie

Mile High pumpkin pie, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Pauline, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.


Pumpkin Bread, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Pumpkins on the Porch, 3, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Pumpkins on the Porch in California

thread sketched pumpkin, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

watercolor November orange

winter storm, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

time to put Halloween away

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trick or treat

Ella and I , witches, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Boo at the Zoo
Ella and I are pretty cool witches out to trick or treat at the Denver Zoo

Captain Hook

Boo at the Zoo, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Mr. Smee and the crew of the Jolly Roger
Plus a cool green witch

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No squirrels allowed

no squirrels 1, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

OMG I hate squirrels. Even though I have no trees for them to hide or live in they make themselves welcome at any time. Fortunately Sophie keeps them well controlled when she is on watch in the back yard but yesterday I found one in the chicken coup eating the girls' food. That is enough! So I built a Scare Squirrel to help ward them off.


Scaresquirrel, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I hope this will work

Scaresquirrel, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

up close you can see our Ms Scare has fabric for hair and candy corn buttons for eyes

Friday, October 14, 2011

Journey of a pumpkin

pumpkin, inside, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

At the end of May when the soil was finally warming up in the garden I planted a few pumpkin seeds in the corners where the plants could spread out and get plenty of sunshine. Last week I harvested the last of them so they wouldn't freeze in the cold night temps. Now what to do with all of these beauties (15 in all). Some of them will still be around for Halloween but a couple of them went into the oven to roast. Then pumpkin puree, main ingredient to pumpkin butter which then became the flavorful part of pumpkin gingersnap ice cream.

pumpkin after 3 months of sunshine

Cinderella pumpkin, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

pumpkin puree

pumpkin puree, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

to pumpkin gingersnap ice cream

Recipe for:
Basic vanilla ice cream base:

Ice Cream Base:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Heat the milk in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Prepare an ice bath by setting a 2-quart bowl over a larger bowl partially filled with ice water.

Set a strainer over the smaller bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color and the sugar has dissolved. Gradually pour the warmed milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the same saucepan you used to warm the milk. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Strain the custard into the top bowl of the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Add the heavy cream and stir over the ice bath until cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight. Yield: about 3 cups.

1 cup spiced pumpkin butter:
5 cups pumpkin puree
slice a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, light brush or spray inside of pumpkin with vegetable oil, turn upside down on a baking sheet and roast in a 375 deg oven for about an hour. Scoop out cooked pumpkin and puree in food processor or food mill. Place puree in colander for 30 minutes to drain of excess water.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3 1/2 tsps ground ginger
3 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Combine in a saucepan and reduce until proper thickness, about 30 minutes
1/2 cup crushed Gingersnaps
2 Tbs Calvados
Combine vanilla base, spiced pumpkin butter and Calvados and place in ice cream freezer. When semi-firm, add gingersnaps. Place in freezer for a couple of hours to continue to harden.
Bon Appetit!!!

pumpkin ginger snap ice cream, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Glittered sneakers

glittered sneakers, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Just another day (or 2) at Nana's..
What's more fun for a little girls than glitter on sneakers? More glitter and a touch of jewels! After inspiration from The Martha Stewart Show, I hoped that my Denver girls and I could have a fun day personalizing their shoes. I bought us each a pair of classic Van's sneakers, added some new colors to my glitter collection, searched for the perfect diamonds, blue topaz and lavender pearls, grabbed some mod podge and glue and started to work.
I am proud to say that Kate (4) and Ella (8) made their shoes themselves with only a little supervision by me. They chose the colors, the jewels and their pattern. We swapped out the laces in Ella's and here are the results.
The bonus: remnants of glitter everywhere!

gold, jewels and monogram

glittered sneakers, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

mask off

mask off, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

glitter and mod podge

glitter and mod podge, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Kate paints with gold glitter

Kate paints, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

add a little bling to the toes

glittered sneakers, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.