June 26, 2013

Eggs Florentine

 Last week, Steven and I caught an episode of Jacques Pepin on PBS making this fantastic French egg dish. I watched the whole thing, and then hurried to write it down. Steven and I really enjoy eating many different dishes for breakfast, especially on his days off from work. Some dishes we have often are Blueberry Coffee Cake, Fluffy Scrambled Eggs, Waffles, Pancakes, Huevos Rancheros, Homemade Oatmeal and Eggs Benedict. But, some days are just cereal, muffin, or toast days too. This dish will fit perfectly into our breakfast repertoire quite nicely, as I made it for the first time this morning and we loved it! It was pretty easy too. 

You can just watch Pepin's Egg-ceptional Episode right now, or just read on for the directions.

 Eggs Florentine

4 eggs
1 can cooked spinach (or fresh or frozen)
2 T butter
2-3 T flour
3/4 C half and half
salt, pepper, and seasoned salt to taste
ham - diced (optional)
cheese - I used 1 Cup mozzarella, a sprinkle of parmesean, and a grating of gouda

1. Boil the four eggs. To prevent eggs cracking, follow Jacques easy tips, by poking a small hole in the larger end of the eggs with a straight pin about 1/8" only (it breaks the air pocket membrane inside).
2. Boil eggs for approximately 12 min. Run eggs under cold water and peel. Set aside.
3. In one sauté pan, melt 1 T butter. Drain water from can of spinach and place in pan.
4. Add diced ham with the spinach. Leave sautéing on med low heat until no liquid remains, and ham is slightly brown.
5. While that's sautéing, in another small pan, melt remaining 1 T butter over med low heat. Stir in 2 T flour with a wooden spoon. Pour in milk, and whisk rapidly and continuously until all lumps are gone. Keep stirring with a whisk (or fork), until mixture thickens. I like to add salt, pepper, and seasoned salt to taste here to perfect this white sauce.
6. In a shallow oven-proof dish (I used a pie pan), spread ham and spinach mixture over bottom. Sprinkle a little cheese. Arrange hard boiled eggs on top. Pour white sauce over eggs. Top with parmesan or mozzarella cheese.
7. Broil dish for about 3-4 minutes, until tops of eggs are slightly browned (like my picture).
8. That's it. Super delicious. Super fun to make and eat!
  Ours was gone in no time!!!! Hope you enjoy it too! 

June 22, 2013

Renewed Writing

My Mom's Birthday was June 5th. I always try to make her something special as a gift. A few 
months back, she had texted me this picture from a conference she had been at:
Her text just said,"Can you print this for me?" 
I texted back, "sure". 
When she got home I gave her a printed copy of the photo. 
"Oh, that's not what she meant," she said. 
I see now. She wanted me to "paint it". 
But, then I forgot about it for a while. 
Until....birthday time, that is.....

I started with this frame I already had. 
 And got out our calligraphy set and walnut ink. I am pretty certain I haven't touched these items for at least 5 years???? And no doubt the walnut ink was even older than that. Steven does most (okay, all) of the needed calligraphy around here. He's just great at it! He even has some font alphabets memorized. Me?...well, I have to copy. 
 I measured out some spacial dimension guidelines on a piece of calligraphy paper. And then practiced a bit.
 I wrote out the words from the texted picture she sent me...in pencil first to make sure the spacing was correct.
 And filled in my letters. I just "mock-copied" the same style that was on the printout. 
 And, it started working out okay, to my relief! 

 But, then, as I almost was done, some mistakes were made. Oops. No turning back really. 

To cover those mistakes, I decided to do a wash over the whole thing with the walnut ink. I used a 1 1/2" wide brush, thinned the walnut ink with water, and ran my brush over the whole thing. It ended up looking like watercolor. And that was good with me.

 And here's the two to compare. The one on the left is the texted printout, and the one on the right
 I did. So, what do you think? 
 A close up. Alas, I forgot to take a final picture of it in that ornate golden frame, but you can picture it, can't you? My Mom loved it. Maybe she was just amazed that I remembered to actually "paint" it for her this time. Well, though I am rusty at it, it was my pleasure to try! 

I did forget to add the verse till the night before, but it got on there at the bottom. 

                                                      Psalm 34:18

                                                       New International Version (NIV)
                18      The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are
                                 crushed in spirit. 
 And, just today, Steven and I worked on this printed project together as a gift for a friend. We love how it came out. You can't really tell from the picture, but Steven printed the black type onto vellum, and had the color printed on parchment paper underneath, which shows through. Love it! Now, we need to make one for Nathan, and well, baby #2 too, if we can find out who he/she will be! Two more weeks to go!

June 17, 2013

Some Days

....Nathan waters the garden for us in the mornings.
....we just play in the garden all day.
...we find things hiding out in the garden. 
....we just color lawn mowers, and our hands, with markers.

.....we have beloved cousins over to play grocery store and playdoh with.

 ...we try on awesome costumes we made (Steven made- yes, really!!!) and take pictures for VBS.

....I'm relieved that I got another cushion sewed for my porch bench, since the original one I made blew away in a storm. 
.....I am working on putting some of my original patterns into print for all to enjoy.
....we take time to just. be. family. 
                                      And those kind of "some days" are truly my favorite.

June 9, 2013

3 Free Jammies

Last year, when Nathan was about 15 months old, I had a certain way I liked to dress him for bed time. My preference, with the windows open OR the air conditioning on, was usually in a t-shirt and pants combo. This year, with the delayed summer weather I hadn't really planned on being prepared with similar summer pajamas for N (that fit). Suddenly, summer was here, and I found myself grabbing warm up pants and play shirts for him to sleep in. When I had a few nap times free last week, I made N 3 pairs of pajamas. 

 I know...they're wrinkled. Just pay no attention to that. This Mama just doesn't have the time to give care to any wrinkles. Like most mommy's say: "It'll all come out in the wash anyways." And that's so true. 

The best part about these jammies, is that 2 of them are all "upcycled". The black and gray stripe one was a turtleneck that my Mom donated to my sewing pile a few years ago. 

The blue one was a new, men's size Large shirt that I picked up at Rue 21 last year for  just $3. 

The green one was some extra length of knit fabric I had that was a Moby Baby Wrap I had made about two years ago.  

I used the sleeves from two of the shirts, and a little length of elastic, to create simple pants (similar to these).  Though I love my standby pattern of Rae's for all of Nathan's t-shirts, I drafted this pattern off a store bought tee he had, following Dana's directions.  

And, I think N likes them all! I made them all a little extra big, so they'll be sure to fit him next summer as well.  Yeah for new summer jammies, and yea for saving about $15-40 not buying them. Double yea! Now, if only I can find time to sew together that last pair that I cut out about two weeks ago. Ahem. Well, ya know. That's sometimes how it really goes. 

Have a great week!

June 5, 2013

A Morning Peek at the Garden

 Ahh. Early mornings. In some way I guess I am thankful that our son delights in waking us often between 6:30 & 7 each morning. Though I'd be remiss if I said I missed the time when I could sleep in till 10, eat breakfast at 11, and lunch at 3, I'd be untruthful. I do miss those days. But, oh, the joy that the morning light brings. The sun rises in the back of our house with this humble alley view, and sets right into our front living room. It's quite lovely. Those mornings, when I see the sun rising, I get to enjoy sneaking outside early to get the garden watered while breakfast is in the oven, Steven is surfing his Ipad, and Nathan is watching Curious George. I'm often reminded of God's promises when I see the beauty of this morning light:

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

         "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,    for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;   great is your faithfulness."

            Lamentations 3:22-23


(L to R): red beets, salad mix, russian kale, spinach

(Lto R): honeydew, zucchini, snap peas.

corn:  hybrid sweet and queen & silver queen.

(L to R): yellow pear tomato, japanese cucumbers, sweet peppers, Roma, big boy & early boy tomatoes.

A beautiful succulent collection Steven put together the other day. A little desert oasis. love it. 

An herbal tea plant revived by Steven. 

First year blueberries growing to perfection. Can't wait! 

And on the porch,  going to try planting another herb garden of cilantro, basil, and oregano. 

In my window boxes this year, I've decided to trade in annuals for some wild flowers and more climbing vegetables. Yes, I think the front porch will be a good place for them.
And when I came back inside from the garden, our berry breakfast coffee cake was ready. Though I've certainly made this recipe of my friend, Gina, over 20x, this one has come out the prettiest and tastiest by far. We all just love it (no matter how it comes out)! Yum, yum!

And the rest of may day will include birthday preparations for my Mom's birthday celebration this evening. A homemade peach pie will surely be on the stove soon to cool, a fresh potato salad put together, and later.... some grilling of meat and corn on the cob to be done. Sounds like it will be a fantastic day!  

Hope you and your family are very blessed!
Enjoy the majesty that our Creator has put all around us!