Archive for May, 2007


Don’t you just love a good cake? This simple cake, made with fresh whipped cream and strawberries, is a perfect springtime dessert. The recipe, Strawberry Country Cake, can be found in Ina Garten’s cookbook Barefoot Contessa Parties. The recipe makes two 8-inch cakes, so you can freeze the second one for up to 6 months.


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Are you heading off to a Memorial Day BBQ this weekend and aren’t quite sure what to bring? Look no further. This spinach salad with strawberries and spiced pecans is not only beautiful, but always a huge hit. It does take a little effort to put together, but it is worth it – trust me. 

Thanks Tammy for starting a summer dish blog chain. If you want participate and share your favorite summer recipe, please just write a quick post on your blog and leave a comment here with a link to your post (so we know where to look). I can’t wait to see some of your yummy dishes!  

For spiced pecans:
1 cup pecans
1 egg white
¾ tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. water 

For dressing:
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. celery seed
2 Tbsp. corn syrup 

For salad:
6 cups fresh spinach
2 cups strawberries (1 lg. container – 1 lbs.), sliced
¾ cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms  

To make spiced pecans, beat egg whites until very frothy, but not stiff.  Add remaining ingredients, and then add pecans and mix to coat.  Spread pecans on baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 200 degrees for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.

Shake together all ingredients to make dressing.  Toss salad ingredients together.

Toss salad with dressing and top with pecans just before serving. This recipe serves about six people.

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Here are two more pages from our Jamaica scrapbook. A few of you mentioned how you would like to get started srapbooking. It has been a hobby of mine since my daughter was born five years ago. I started with her “baby” album and have been keeping a chronological album ever since. Last year I started a “home-improvement” scrapbook to showcase all my husbands handy work around the house. I also (starting with our vacation last May in Hawaii) began to put our vacation pictures in smaller, separate scrapbooks from my chronological scrapbook. Why? Generally I like to use a 12×12 format for my chronological scrapbook, but for vacations I tend to use smaller scrapbooks (this one being 81/2&11) making it easier and quicker to finish.

Want to try your hand at scrapbooking too? Do you like to work with your hands (cutting, gluing, etc.) or are you more comfortable on a computer keyboard? Would you mind spending an evening just to complete a double-page layout or are you more inclined to spend time in front of your computer? I myself am a hands-on person who loves to shop for pretty stickers and paper. Scrapbooking by hand is WAY time consuming, but is very rewarding. Digital scrapbooking can also be rewarding and tends to be a lot quicker.

jamaicascrapbk0002.jpgTo be honest, every once in a while I am tempted to try my hand at digital scrapbooking. I do use the computer for some of my layouts already (the large circle in the second layout was done using a computer font which was then printed out on my scrapbooking paper). Digital layouts are beautiful and a whole lot faster to complete. In the end though I always find myself going back to scrapbooking by hand. I guess I spend enough time in front of my computer screen blogging and working on homework assignments that it is nice to use some paper and scissors to create something beautiful.

Oh, and just in case you were interested (I know that it is hard to read), the text inside the circle says “If there was one thing that Leah enjoyed on our trip, it was definitely the POOL. She even took off her “bubbles” and swam all by herself.”

Coming up in the next few posts – two new recipes that take advantage of strawberry season and hopefully a few more scrapbooking pages!

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NEW! MAR-12x12 Girl Scout Scrapbook

I have fond memories of being a Girl Scout when I was a child. I remember going on weekend trips with the Scouts and my Mom (who always volunteered to be a chaperon) to Washington D.C., Salem Massachusetts and even the Amish town of Intercourse Pennsylvania (yes, there really is a town called Intercourse). We also enjoyed many camping trips with our troop.

My daughter will be entering Kindergarten this September and that puts her at the right age for starting out in the scouts. At five years old, you start out as a Daisy, then move up to a Brownie, then become a full fledged Girl Scout. I just found this collection of Girl Scout scrapbooking supplies from K&Company. Aren’t they beautiful? I’m tempted to purchase the albums and supplies now, just in case they are no longer available once she starts to program.

jamaica scrapbookThere hasn’t been much crafty stuff going on around here. I did work a little bit on our vacation scrapbook last night (this is the first page in the scrapbook – I’ve completed three) and hope to get in an hour or two tonight. I will try to scan my favorites as I go along. My regular yearly scrapbook has fallen way behind and I haven’t even opened the home improvement scrapbook in a long time.

I have been reading quite a bit though, having just finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and starting Moloka’i by Alan Brennert for a neighborhood book club I recently started. If you like to read, feel free to stop by my book blog and join us for our monthly discussion on books. You can also find reviews of all the books I have been reading in the “book reviews” category.

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When the first sign of spring hits the north east Joe and I like to get outside to do a little clean up. This past weekend we tackled our first ever landscaping project. With Leah’s help, we transformed a dull grassy area into a pretty little garden. Filled with Winter Boxwood Gems, May Night Sage, a Crimson Pygmy Barberry bush, lights and a birdbath, we now have a nice manicured area right next to our front door. Not bad for a couple amateurs! 




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The other day Leah came home from preschool all excited. She had read the children’s book Philippe in Monet’s Garden at school. I haven’t read the book myself, but apparently it is the story of a frog who makes a home for himself in Claude Monet’s Giverny garden.

I love Monet and enjoy his work and so I was thrilled that Leah had so much enthusiasm about the artist. We had seen a few paintings by Monet at the Philadelphia Museum of Art when we visited last summer. 

Of course, art that you love doesn’t have to be painted by some famous artist. A few years ago Leah and I worked on our own masterpiece – her hand prints.  Painted on with various colors of finger paints, Leah’s hand prints are now displayed prominently in her bedroom. It is a reminder that we can all create a little art, even if it never hangs in a museum.     

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