Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays!

What does the fox say?, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
This is my Christmas card but could also do double duty for a New Year's card. It really isn't that Christmassy but represents a huge bit of pop culture for 2013. The uTube video of the song by Ylvis has had more than 403 million hits and is a silly catchy tune so being the hip 65 year old that I am this became the inspiration for my 2013 greetings.
These last two weeks have been fun and busy around here. As usual lots of baking...but sadly no cookies this year. Instead I baked panettone, Santa brownie hats, roasted and seasoned nuts and seeds and made chocolate bark. My Christmas Eve dinner was a soup made with Christmas lima beans. I made a project out of an old abandon easel and did the usual decorating.
Besides the fox, lots of folk had something to say:
The chickens had their version of Merry Christmas
Kate read her letter from Santa
Georgia woofed thank you for her new friends that Santa brought her.
As for me I wish you the Merriest of Christmases and the absolute best New Year
I hope 2013 was a good year for you and I wish even a better year in
Happy New Year

Lacy says Merry Christmas, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Santa hat brownie bites, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Kate, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Christmas tree, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Blossoms of light, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Tea with Santa, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Christmas lima beans, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Christmas wrap, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Christmas tree, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

New life for an old easel

new easel, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
Kate and I spotted an old easel a couple of months ago out in the rain in a parkway that is occupied by street beggars. We passed by it four times over the next couple of days and came to the conclusion it had been abandoned. So we decided to adopt it. I took it apart, sanded it down, stained the wood and repainted the chalkboard this raspberry pink. Then I added the old de-rusted hardware and added some new wing nuts. Here is the new old easel. I'm glad we rescued it.

old easel

old easel, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

lavender glazed candied chestnuts

Christmas morning and often before I love to include panettone on the menu. It is Italy's Christmas cake and is delightful. The key ingredients to making this cake unique are fiori di Sicilia, which is an extract of special flowers, and candied chestnuts. The best panettone I have ever tasted is the one Williams-Sonoma sells. The challenge is to duplicate it and make it with gluten free flour. I have never found candied chestnuts available for sale so I set out to make them myself, a good kitchen challenge. And as long as I was making them I decided to add one more flavor: lavender. I took roasted chestnuts and simmered them in a concentrated simple syrup (2 parts sugar to one part water) with a whole vanilla bean. Then I added the lavender and let it steep in the syrup. Then a second sugar syrup, even more concentrated to dip the already lavender dipped chestnuts, so double dipping. I added a little candied lavender to the top and let them dry for 15 hours.
I chopped them up, mixed them with the macerated dried fruit and citrus peel and added them to the batter of the cake. The cake recipe is from King Alfred Flour. The final result was a beautiful tasty and gluten free panettone.

lavender from the garden, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

panettone essentials, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

panettone muffins, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
Buon Appetito!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Even the fish are frozen!

frozen fish, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

It was again -9deg when I got up this morning. I was just so happy when I saw the faces of all of my barnyard critters when I went out to feed them breakfast and unfreeze their water. How can it be this cold?
Where is the beach? I want to know

Thursday, December 5, 2013

15 below zero??!!!??

Coco and Sunflower, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
Oh My God It's cold. I didn't think it got this cold. Last night I went out to check on my babies and found them all cuddled up trying not to freeze. I was worried sleeplessly all night wondering if they could sustain such a night. But I just went out to check and they are ok. So are all the chicken. Let's hope it warms up and we can all thaw out.